April 25, 2019

Sneak Preview: Corel Linux OS Second Edition - page 5

First Looks

  • August 7, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

We were not happy about the two biggest problems we had: the partitioning issue and the erroneous detection and installation of our network card. While they left a bad impression, they were overcome easily enough. They did, however, underminethe overall sense of otherwise flawless ease with which the product installed and configured.

We like the fact Corel built its distribution on Debian: the fact that the Debian packaging system is lying underneath probably made design of some of the graphical update and installation tools much easier on Corel's designers. The package management tool Corel included leverages Debian's apt-get to provide smart detection of package archives on CD, which it checks before moving on to 'net-based update archives. We found Corel's updater compared favorably with Red Hat's browser-based update tool, and it provided better feedback and seemed less cumbersome.

The user experience is simplicity itself. No user interface, no matter how rabid its advocates, has taken all the difficulty out of operating a computer, especially one in a networked environment. Corel has, however, arrived at an interface that sticks largely to the style of the Windows Explorer, and offers a few usability tweaks on top of that.

Motivated home users wanting to learn a little about Linux will have a pleasant enough experience installing and configuring the product. Office users placed in front of it will face a gentle learning curve that holds few surprises. With a knowledgeable support person taking the time to provide a few shortcuts to network resources and useful apps, there's no reason Corel can't be deployed as a standard desktop.

Experienced users who are happy with their current distribution will probably not find much here to get them to switch, although it's a good OS for a second machine: we intend to keep our installation intact as a general purpose word processing and web browsing station. The Win98 installation living on the same computer has a doubtful future once "The Sims" has worn out its welcome.

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