Sneak Preview: Corel Linux OS Second Edition
It's a little strange to think that the first looks at Corel's entry into the distribution arena were appearing just last October. Maybe that's because so much has happened since then:
The GNOME project went from the widely-maligned 1.0 release to October GNOME (which was better), to the 1.2 release, which is good enough that Helix Code is happy to package it and send it out on CD's. KDE (which still forms the anchor of the Corel desktop) has moved to within mere months of releasing KDE2, which promises to shine. Eazel, Inc. is working on the Nautilus shell for GNOME. Slackware even broke the heart of the script-kiddy next door by introducing KDE to its distribution, causing my unhappy neighbor to consider going back to Windows because "what's the point?"
My neighbor's unfortunate notions about the matter aside, the trend in the Linux world is clear: usability for the mythical "average user" is getting better in steady increments. The milieu into which Corel placed itself less than a year ago has changed as a result: if you can boot from a CD, agree to some defaults, and get a live network connection up, you're only a download away from two solid and stable desktop environments that remain generally distribution agnostic (if you stick to the major players).
So Corel is dealing with proving a value proposition as it tries to maintain its place as a distribution for people who want to experience Linux but don't want to suffer for it, even as most major distributions are taking the pain out of installing Linux. As ever, the questionable Windows 98 standard looms in the background. If Corel managed to outshine every other distribution in ease of installation and use, it would still be faced with overcoming the simplicity people perceive to exist in Windows.
Corel has kept their product very simple to install, configure, and use. It may lack the sense of being uniquely slick it carried just nine or ten months ago, but it still provides one of the most unthreatening and easy introductions to Linux out there. For the most part, little new ground is broken with this edition. There are some additional tweaks and features that are very welcome, but the core distribution remains largely the same: no surprise for a point release.
Getting Corel Linux OS--Second Edition
Corel will not be releasing the new edition of their OS for another week, timing its release with LinuxWorld in San Jose. Initially, it will only be available for download, but retail outlets should have it by the end of August. Corel Linux will be available in two packages: the Standard Edition (priced at $29.99), and the $89.99 Deluxe Edition (which will include two Loki game CDs, including Myth II--Soulbligher). Details on all the available software haven't been finalized at the time of this preview.
It was a happy set of coincidences that caused Corel Linux OS Second Edition to arrive at our office on the same day the local computer shop informed us that their first Durons had come in. We assembled a new work machine that afternoon, plopped a new hard drive in the old Celeron 466, broke out a (legally licensed) copy of Windows 98SE, and set out to see what life is like for the Windows user looking to make the transition via Corel.