Back to article
DistributionWatch Review: Storm Linux 2000
Another Contender for the Linux Desktop
March 8, 2000
To outsiders, it can seem at times that there are few differences between the many Linux distributions hitting the market. Even Linux insiders can be forgiven if they share the same sentiment as they try to parse the differences between distributions.
Which is why a distribution like Storm Linux 2000 can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Storm Linux is based on Debian GNU/Linux and on the surface shares many of the features of Debian GNU/Linux and other distributions based on Debian GNU/Linux (such as Corel Linux). On the surface, Storm Linux gives you a choice of KDE, GNOME, and a variety of other window managers--again, in the same fashion as almost every other Linux distribution.
However, what Stormix adds to the basic Debian GNU/Linux distribution in Storm Linux 2000 is extremely noteworthy, especially as Linux becomes a more and more of a factor in the corporate, enterprise and educational spaces. Besides being extremely easy to install, Storm Linux adds a crucial piece of functionality of obvious importance: the framework for an administration system that relies on open modules.
Storm Linux 2000 is available in two forms: a free downloadable ISO image and boxed commercial version (the Standard Edition) carrying a suggested retail price of $49.95.
We downloaded Storm Linux 2000 and burned our own installation CD and also evaluated the commercial Standard Edition. Downloading the ISO image and burning your own CD-ROM is the only way to acquire a free version, which is extremely limiting: there's no way to install via NFS or FTP, nor can you download a zipped image and install it directly onto a hard-disk partition (an extremely handy distribution method; see the ZipSlack download option for Slackware Linux for a good example). Don't look for this limited distribution method to be expanded soon; Stormix says that it won't be until the next major release of Storm Linux 2000 that the free-download formats are expanded.
The system requirements are middle-of-the-road compared to other Linux distributions: Pentium or better processor, 32 MB of RAM (64 MB recommended), 300 MB of hard-drive space (one gigabyte recommended), a bootable CD-ROM drive or a non-bootable CD-ROM and a 3.5-inch floppy drive. Officially, Stormix doesn't support Storm Linux installation on laptops, as PCMCIA (PC Card) support is not actually offered. This is a queer omission: every other major Linux distribution includes PCMCIA by default in virtually every kernel, and for Storm Linux to omit it is surprising.