Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
A brand new distro has been released and Tuxmachines is on the case. NepaLinux is a Debian-based live and installation CD localised into the Nepali language, complete with Nepali fonts, input method, spell and grammar checker, dictionary, and GNOME theme. It was said, "With the launching of the software, Nepali people who are using pirated software can use Nepali software free of cost." Well, any purpose that produces a new linux distro is good enough for me. But can NepaLinux persuade windows pirates to switch?
Nepalinux developer Subir Pradhanang told Nepalnews that, "NepaLinux is a Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), in which the source code is open and the users have the freedom to use, study, modify according to one's needs and redistribute it. We have developed the software both in Nepali and English but our primary target is the Nepali people who were facing problems due to lack of command in English."
Tuxmachines is always thrilled to learn of Linux being developed for other languages. We love to hear of Linux making inroads into areas previously neglected and we welcome Nepalinux to the fold. The Nepali alphabet is really pretty, too bad we had to boot using lang=us.
When you boot the livecd, you are give a plethora of choices in boot options. They are presented in either ne or en and cover a wide range of video requirements. A choice with nvidia 3d acceleration was even offered, but the drivers were reported as non-existant during that trial boot, so this reviewer just went with vesa. There were a few other choices for xmodules as well, such as fb and nv.
Silent splash is default and the background screen is quite attractive with an unobtrusive brick red color and customized debian logo. The progress bar is an orange color which kinda clashes, but I feel petty even mentioning it.
The the livecd form, Nepalinux boots straight into the gui as user "nepali". One is greeted by Gnome 2.10.2 with XFree86 4.3.0 and Linux-2.6.11. Nepa's version of gnome isn't customized much other than the inclusion of their logo and wallpaper. All the splash screens match the wallpaper and give the distro a wonderfully uniform appearance. The login screen is very similar in appearance as well. One isn't introduced to the login screen until after the hard drive install.
The menus are full of applications for the various tasks one might need to complete. There are several choices in most major catagories. For example, one can choose between Balsa, Thunderbird, or evolution for email and Mozilla, Firefox, or Epiphany for web browsing. Also in abundance are plenty of configuration and system tools, although some require root priviledges and I was never able to find the root password for the livecd. There are so some help applications and graphical manual viewers as well as docs and wiki on the nepalinux website.
The harddrive install is familiar, similar to the installer for elive. It walks the user thru partitioning and setup configuration, then installs onto a partition of your choice. The installer was quite slow in operation, it took over an hour to install here. After the actual install one is offered the options to setup the root password, user(s) account, and hostname. In addition, one could install grub to boot their new system if needed.
After the install, we didn't have much luck here. It would boot with a few non-fatal errors here, but the gui would bomb out. X would start, but gnome didn't come up. Instead we were getting a terminal window with an error box stating that it "could not start child process." I tried all 3 users: nepali (left over from livecd), s (me), and root.
The livecd itself was quite sluggish and a bit unstable. Some applications would crash almost immediately while others did so after a little use. All the browsers were unstable while using gmail and surfing around. After all the ooh and ahs, it was quite a let down.
So, in conclusion, Nepalinux is a beta product and it is quite evident. The performance is substandard and the stability is non-existant. The hard drive install seems to work, but there are still too many bugs as the newly installed system would not function here. This is a great first effort and, again, remember it is still beta. We will keep an eye on this noble effort and keep you posted. For now it's not going to sway too many windows pirates, but maybe by the time final is released.