February 19, 2019

DistributionWatch Review: Storm Linux 2000 - page 2

Another Contender for the Linux Desktop

  • March 8, 2000
  • By Kevin Reichard

There is a choice of graphical and text-based installation procedures, either from a boot CD or from within Windows (using Visual Basic technology); we tested all iterations.

The process begins with Storm Linux scanning your system for installed components, first for a SCSI card (which was on neither machine), then a CD-ROM drive and finally for all other hardware components (graphics card, hard drives, network card, sound card, et al.). Overall, Storm Linux did an okay job of scoping out the components on both test systems, although it failed to detect sound cards on either system--in one case, a Creative Labs sound card that had been detected during previous tests of Corel Linux and Red Hat Linux.

The next step was creating Linux partitions. This step is where most Linux users trip--or at least are heavily intimidated--but Storm Linux did a good job of presenting PartitionMagic in addition to the standard fdisk and cfdisk utilities. Experienced Linux users will want to use fdisk or cfdisk, but PartitionMagic will definitely appeal to less experienced users. PartitionMagic can analyze hard disk(s) and automatically create partitions, creating a custom partition using your parameters.

One snafu: at this point in the process Storm Linux halted installation because it couldn't detect existing Linux partitions, and as a result Storm Linux assumed that the entire hard disk was occupied by a Windows NT system that couldn't be divided. We needed to delete those partitions with other software before Storm Linux would actually install. Once Storm Linux saw all that wide-open disk real estate, it installed, partitioned, and installed LILO with no problem.

Storm Linux checks if you want to install X, and if so, asks what desktop environment (KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment) to use as default. Choose what desktop environments you want installed and which is to be the default; those with limited disk space probably will want to choose between Gnome and KDE and not install both. (Gnome requires some hefty libraries, and if not planning on using it, you'll want to pass on installing it. However, if you have enough disk space, then by all means go ahead and install Gnome anyway.) X installation ends with a query about how you want your system to boot (booting directly into X is recommended and is the default).

Then configure the system as requested, first by entering network information and then by creating user accounts. Network configuration is straightforward. Creating a user account is a matter of specifying a username and password. (You'll need to go to the command line to add the groups and other permissions to this account, however.) One nice thing about Storm Linux is that it won't allow the installation to continue if you don't create a user account. This is to prevent--or discourage, anyway--use of an insecure root/return account.

Specifying what software to install as part of Storm Linux is next. It divides packages into four text groups (development, Internet clients, Internet services and games) and four graphical groups (graphics, X development, games and Internet clients). Install entire groups, or choose specific tools within the groups. Perhaps the biggest weakness of Storm Linux is the relative paucity of what most of us would consider essential Linux software: except for the standard KDE applications and a few essential tools (Netscape Navigator being the most prominent), there's not a wide range of software included.

One thing that never worked with Storm Linux: sound. In theory, the onboard sound system on the Dell should have worked, as it worked under Corel Linux and Slackware Linux. However, we never could get sound working with this package.

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