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DistributionWatch Review: Libranet 1.2.2
Introducing Linux by Libranet
May 30, 2000
Linux, as we are all aware, can be used as a hobbyist's plaything. Until recently, many people thought that this was all Linux was good for. The sheer amount of configuration changes a single user can make to a Linux system tends to lend support to this observation.
As Linux continues to make more and more inroads into the mainstream consumer market (i.e., Users Formerly Known as Windows Users), an interesting trend is developing. Distributions are becoming tighter and more packaged than ever. Many of the configuration changes Linux users could traditionally make are downplayed or, in the case of the latest offering by Corel, hidden altogether. Linux distributors are realizing what hardcore Linux users may not want to understand: the "average" user just wants to work on the PC. Or play on it. Not play with it and its operating system.
One of the distributors that fall into this new category is Libra Computer Systems, Ltd., a company out of Vancouver, BC. Their Linux offering, Linux by Libranet, tries to take this approach to providing Linux to users new to the operating system. Instead of presenting a lot of choices, decisions, and individual setups to make during and installation, Libranet wants to get a working desktop environment up and running on your PC with minimum user input. Once installed, Libranet provides customization and application choices on its feature-rich desktop.
Officially based on the Debian/GNU Linux distribution, in this instance that could translate into "Debian thinly disguised as Libranet." This might be a problem unless you read the Libranet material on their Web site very carefully. For the most part, Libra Computer Systems claims Libranet to be nothing more than a comprehensive desktop environment running with Debian. In only one place did I see the company classify this product as a Linux distribution. Which begs the question: is Libranet a separate distribution or is it just Debian with a fancy new face? A look at the product itself offers clues.