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DistributionWatch Review: Corel Linux - page 4

Introducing Corel Linux

  • January 3, 2000
  • By Kevin Reichard

With a machine that meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements, however, Install Express hums, especially in a situation where you're installing Corel Linux to coexist with another operating system (in our case, Windows NT 4.0). This was the case with the Gateway server, where Install Express correctly analyzed the system configuration and installed accordingly, providing a graphical interface to LILO that lets users choose to boot Corel Linux (in several different modes) or whatever is on the NTFS drive.

Install Express offers the choice of four install options: a Standard Desktop (the default), Desktop Plus (which adds development tools, editors, and compilers), Server, (which adds the Apache Web server, an FTP server, sendmail, and Samba), and Custom. The final option pretty much negates the Install Express feature, allowing you to install on a package-by-package basis much like every other Linux distribution.

For the most part, Corel Linux autodetected the hardware on both machines and adjusted accordingly. Besides the X glitch, it couldn't detect the onboard PCI-based sound system on the Gateway machine (a sound system that's become increasingly popular among hardware vendors), but manually running a configuration command configured the card properly. It does a decent job of supporting the Plug and Play protocol, but hardware that falls outside of PnP or is too old will run into problems. Once you've installed Corel Linux, every boot presents a startup menu with several choices: VGA mode, console mode, debug mode (where kernel messages are sent to the screen, much the way every other Linux launches) and expert mode.

In a nice touch, Corel includes an emergency shell, used in troubleshooting situations. Designed for expert users with PCs that feature a bootable CD drive, the emergency shell (which is really the KISS Shell) boots a Linux system and lets you fix whatever is broken.

There is a happy ending for the Dell installation, as well. The obvious way around the deadly combination of Install Express and minimum requirements is simple: perform a custom installation and configure the system yourself, which is what we did. Of course, this undercuts an advantage claimed by Corel: for older machines�undoubtedly the majority of PCs in the Linux world�you'll need to install Corel Linux by hand just as with every other Linux.

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