Sunday, November 06, 2005

Linux at home.

Our house uses Mandrake Linux, but, it does not stop me from looking at other distributions to see if they are better. On Saturday I tried Kubuntu 5.10 to see if it will replace our setups. I like the fact that it is on on CD.

My quick impressions:
  1. Installation was fairly simple. I had a few problems on the custom partitioning on my machine.
  2. I like the simple options presented. However, I would prefer finer options on what is installed or not installed. I really didn't need all of the things it installed by default. Not a problem as I could run ADEPT to remove what I didn't like.
  3. I had a few problems with my USB drive being recognized. I realized the the SDA error was really an information message and the drive was there.
  4. It didn't recognize my USB scanner at all. As I need that the distro would not be installed.
  5. It didn't come with any games by default. For me that is not a problem as this is a work machine, not a game machine. For my wife and especially my daughter that was a problem. For my daughter this distro was a non-starter as her PC is not hooked up to the internet and I had no way to easily install all of the cool linux games she likes to play with.
  6. The first ID you create has admin capabilities by default. I like to grant only root the rights to add/delete software. When I want to do something to the machine I sign on as root or use SUDO.
  7. I liked ADEPT. From my short time using it I prefer it over the RPM manager in Mandrake.
As a result of this I am still using Mandrake. When they fix the USB scanner issue and maybe a game issue I will look at it again.

On a side issue my daughter has been playing with my wife's Linux box for the last several months and asking me to install Linux on her own PC as it has more cool games. I installed Mandrake 10.2 in one hour (installation and configuring) she now has a dual boot machine and just loves playing the various games that comes with Linux. She has absolutely no problems logging in and out and working with Linux. She is now using OpenOffice to write her letter to Santa. This impressed myself and my wife as neither of us showed her where office was. For anyone who says Linux has a ways to go in the user interface to match windows keep this in mind-> She is a seven year old who has no problems using the Linux interface and is capable of figuring it out on her own.

My next project is to eventually hook up my daughters machine to the home network. But, I will be setting up a very restrictive firewall on her box. Windows will have not network connection! I can then apply patches to her Linux partition, send files to the printers but she can only surf the web from either my machine or her mother's machine under our supervision. I can also set it up that only a few sites are available to her for researching her class projects.

Eventually Mandrake 2006 will be generally available for download and I will then do the upgrade path on all of the boxes here at home.

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