Xandros 4: Home Edition - Premium
I just received my boxed set of Xandros Desktop Premium Home Edition. The box was heavy. I thought to myself, "the box is heavy!" That's because it contains not only the sealed packet of 3 cds, but also a quick start guide and a rather thick User Guide. I beta tested an early early version of Xandros years ago, so my memory of it has all but faded. I do recall that at that time, it wiped out my entire disk. I'm hoping it has a partitioner this time. A little older and wiser now, I thought I could avoid catastrophe even if it doesn't. So, how did it go?
The box itself is a rather enticing package. Presented in primarily shades of blue, the front contains a large xandros logo in blue and gray as the focal point accented by a few graphics of some of the apps awaiting the user. The back of the box depicts a desktop screenshots highlighting some of xandros' multimedia capabilities while pointing out some of the other system traits. Inside the front flap we find a page listing some more capabilities of xandros, such as Music Management, Office Suite, Windows Compatible, Security Suite, and Wireless Networking. The other inside covers features more screenshots emphasizing the point and click capabilities through examples of applications. It's quite an attractive presentation.
Inside the box we find a packet of 3 cds: Installation CD, Applications CD, and Versora Progression Desktop for Xandros cd. Also included is the Getting Started Guide. This little booklet is a full color summary of the install choices & procedures, howto start the system, and a basic quick introduction to starting applications. In addition, there is this 380-page User Guide. This book is a detailed guide to using the Xandros Desktop. It goes into such detail, any user is almost guaranteed success. One could write a full review just of this book. For example, within its 18 chapters we can find out how to install, use, and customize the desktop, connect to the internet, and manage files and the system. But that's not all. It also details how to use all the various applications. And it all focuses on point and click. I haven't seen a reference to the commandline yet. This book appears to be a wonderful asset. The User Guide alone is probably worth the price of the Xandros package to the new Linux user.
Bonus: As a surprize I suppose, some other neato stuff in the box are Xandros stickers. One is a computer case sticker. Xandros also gives their new user 30 Skype minutes. Your serial number is also in the cd packet, so look for that and don't lose it. It's also in sticker form, so you can stick it on the side of your monitor, in your User Guide, or on your case.
The installer starts off with a text screen telling how to access some Troubleshooting tips. It must default to about 3 seconds tho because the full screen blue splashscreen soon appears. The background looks very much like their wallpaper in the desktop screenshot, with a thin red progress bar marking the progress of the process output in text. The next screen I see is the NVIDIA logo. I thought that was quite interesting. This is the first installer I've seen that uses NVIDIA drivers. The result was amazing. I got a full high res screen with 3D effects. The interactive installer presents its information in a modern looking 3d box of another lovely shade of blue. It looked great. The first screen is a Welcome screen advising the user that the upcoming wizard will guide them through their install. The next is the license agreement. It was relatively short and briefs the user on the concept of gpl'd software and asks one to comply with the rules for it as well as the proprietary software included. Then comes the fun stuff.
On the left side of the interface windows the steps are listed. As each step is begun, the listing bolds. It is organized as follows:
- Software Selection
- User Accounts
Software Selection is fairly easy as applications are called by task name rather than their actual development name and the list is categorized by broader task-sets such as Accessories, Games, Graphics, or security. I ended up choosing about everything except some printer specific drivers. Full install was about 1.4 gigs.
Under the Disk section, one now has several choices available.
- Use Free Space (which was grayed out on mine)
- Take Over Entire Disk
- Resize Windows Partition (also grayed out)
- Replace Existing Xandros (grayed)
- Manage Disk & Partitions Manually (For Experts)
Since my disks are already sliced up, I chose to manage disks manually. This consistantly attractive screen looks very much like qtparted, but perhaps a bit more simplified. The operations include Assign, Unassign, Edit, Delete, and Browse. I don't believe I've seen a browse option in a partitioner before. How convenient! In case you've forgotten what might be on a particular partition, which I do quite a bit. Another extra found was Xandros amazing ability to detect the operating system or data installed on many of my partitions. Never before has an auto-detect been so complete and correct. So, I chose my target partition and clicked Assign. Under Assign one can choose the filesystem from Ext2, Ext3, Reiserfs, or Reiser4. Having been bit the initrd snake on more than one occasion, I typically choose Ext3 - as I did this time. Next one must confirm their choices and choose a bootloader option. One can 'untick' the box for the option of installing one or choose where to install one. I unticked and was warned that my new system wouldn't boot without manual intervention and confirmed this was correct.
Next came the Network configuration step. I say configuration in that one has edit, add, delete, etc option as well as dhcp or static - all the standard configuration options. However, my on-board Gigabyte chip (that I've been using lately) was auto-detected, set as eth0, and setup as dhcp. This was my desired setup, so all I did was click Next.
Now was Administation time. This is where one sets their root password, as Xandros uses the Linux standard of user/root priviledges as opposed to the new trend of sudo. This is a good thing in my book as I don't like the sudo philosophy of complete system management. To me sudo is something that should be configured by the admin for a few user/command specific tasks if needed. Also at this point one could choose some higher security restrictions such as making users' homes private and enforcing strong passwords). Interestingly, one also sets their hostname during this step.
Next is User Account(s). Then finally a Summary screen outlining all choices for confirmation before making any changes to your disk. Click Finish and we're on our way. Xandros took about 10 or 15 minutes to install and the user is entertained by a lovely slide show, as well as a progress bar with percentage is used to keep the user informed. Then the usual user can reboot into their new system.