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DistributionWatch Review: Corel Linux - page 3

Introducing Corel Linux

  • January 3, 2000
  • By Kevin Reichard

We installed on two different machines: an older 100 MHz Pentium PC from Dell with an existing Windows installation and a newer Gateway server ready for a clean installation. There's a ton of differences between the two machines: the older Dell has a 400-megabyte hard disk, an older ATI graphics card with 512K of video RAM, an old SoundBlaster card and 32 megabytes of RAM. The Gateway server, by contrast, has a 1.3-gigabyte hard disk, 128 MB of RAM and a speedy ATI graphics card with 2 MB of video RAM.

Why the two installations? To test Corel Linux under different circumstances, especially some that mirror real-life circumstances. Most reviews�including those from industry trade rags and trendier online magazines�occur under optimal circumstances, with the operating system installed on a shiny new machine with a mondo hard drive and the latest and greatest in graphics cards and sound cards.

But most of us don't live in that world, and we must work with the hardware at hand. While we have no firm numbers, the suspicion here at LinuxPlanet is that most of our readers (as well as most Linux users) are using some sort of older Pentium-based PC, not just the latest and greatest box, and that we're not likely to go dumping our older peripherals just because newer ones come along. (In addition, a good many Linux boxes are older systems used for specific server tasks, such as file and print servers.) So a priority for many Linux users is making their older systems work.

This can be a challenge for those interested in Corel Linux. These requirements exceed those of any other up-to-date Linux distribution, and did indeed impact on our ability to fully install and configure it on the older Dell system.

One area where Corel has made significant strides in terms of user friendliness is in the installation process. It features several different scenarios for installation: totally replacing another operating system, installing on a computer without an operating system, coexisting with another operating system, and residing in the same disk space as Windows (3.1, 95/98) or MS-DOS. It can be installed like every other Linux distribution, giving you the option of choosing which components you want installed as you roll through the process. Unique is Install Express, where you tell Corel Linux where to install and then let it go off on its own. Install Express analyzes your system components and then makes decisions about what should be installed and configured.

Combine Install Express with an older PC and the result is a less-than-satisfactory installation. The relatively stringent installation requirements pretty much killed the installation on the older Dell PC, at least as far as graphics was concerned. It wouldn't install XFree86, presumably because the Dell graphics card featured only 512K of video RAM and Corel Linux determined that it was incapable of supporting X. Now, never mind that this PC had performed perfectly well in the last month running both Slackware Linux 7 and Red Hat Linux 6.1�Corel Linux found it lacking.

So, the first thing to consider when evaluating Corel Linux: it really does enforce the minimum system requirements when using Install Express.

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