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Review: Xandros Desktop OS 3.0 Deluxe (Page 3)

 

Stability

Because Xandros is built on Debian Linux, I expected it to be stable; and I wasn't disappointed. As of this writing, my Xandros test system has been running continuously since I installed it about a month ago, with absolutely no system problems whatsoever. The only reboot occurred when I changed the video card to test the Plug 'n Play hardware detection.

 

Codeweavers Crossover Office

One of Xandros' selling points is its inclusion of Crossover Office, which is basically an enhanced version of WINE that allows some Windows applications to run on Linux.

In the interest of fairness, I admit that I'm not the biggest proponent of this concept. To be sure, I respect the programming skill that goes into getting Windows applications to run on Linux. That's no small feat. But with few exceptions, I've found native Linux software that can do almost anything I need to do with a computer, and which works at least as well as anything I use on my Windows machines.

Nonetheless, I do realize that being able to run some Windows apps on Linux is an important feature for many people, so I tested the Crossover Office feature. My results were mixed.

For example, I was able to easily install Internet Explorer 6, but could not access secure sites because the cipher strength gets set to zero-bit during the install. This problem has a simple solution that's almost amusing, though, because it involves editing the WINE equivalent of the registry. (The registry is the cause of many, many problems on real Windows systems, as well.)

Other programs that wouldn't install (or that didn't run properly after installation) included AdAware (it locked up during the registry scan), Trend Micro Internet Security (hey, it was handy, so I tried it), a beautifully coded Bible study program called e-Sword that's probably the most stable piece of software I've ever used on Windows (it appeared to install okay on Xandros under Crossover Office, but it couldn't read the Bible files once it was started), Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004 (error message saying it wasn't supported on that operating system), and Macromedia Flash Player for Internet Explorer (the animations were dizzyingly fast).

Installing MS-Office on XandrOSOn the other hand, MS-Office XP installed without a hitch, and seems to run no worse on Xandros than it does on Windows.

Other Windows applications that installed and functioned usably using Crossover Office included IrfanView 3.85 and WinMX 3.53 (the latter of which functioned perfectly except that it could not be minimized), and the 2002 version of Dreamweaver MX.

 

Simulated rebootOne thing I did find rather amusing was the "simulated Windows reboots" that occurred after certain software installations. The reboots were refreshingly quick compared to an actual Windows reboot, taking well under half a minute.

 

 

Summary

Xandros 3.0 Desktop Deluxe Edition is a rare find. It's as "perfect" a desktop Linux distribution as any I've ever come across.

Xandros combines the proven stability and power of Debian with a user-friendly interface, excellent hardware support, and a generous and well-chosen selection of applications that will allow most users to do productive work without any additional investment. It also offers users who are inclined to do so a valid Linux platform on which to learn the ins and outs of Linux.

In short, Xandros 3.0 is a keeper.

 


 

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