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DistributionWatch Review: Kondara MNU/Linux 2000 - page 2

Tough-Looking Penguins Everywhere

  • October 10, 2000
  • By Eric Foster-Johnson

The desktop version comes with four CD-ROMS: a CD of Linux for Intel systems, a CD of Linux for Alpha systems, and source and applications CDs. Few Linux distributions include an Alpha version as a standard part of the release (normally, you have to order it separately if it is even available). This support for a non-mainstream CPU is great and helps add to the freedom of choice for Linux.

Kondara comes in two main versions: Kondara MNU/Linux 2000 aimed at desktop systems, and Kondara MNU/Linux Server 2000 aimed, as you'd suspect, at server systems. Aside from the color of the manual, the documentation is virtually identical between the two. This reflects the fact that a Linux system can work equally well as desktop workstation, server, or both at once. The server package includes an extra printed Administrator's Guide. Both versions include a good-sized printed User's Guide.

To help get started, the User's Guide covers two of the main window managers, Enlightenment and Sawmill, each with their own chapters. The Enlightenment chapter is especially long. Another chapter focusses on KDE (there is no GNOME chapter, but Sawmill and Enlightenment are often used as the window managers on the GNOME desktop), the Mutt email client, the XChat chat program, and Wanderlust, an emacs add-on (there is a large emphasis on emacs in this distribution). I never would have focussed on Mutt so much, but I don't mind getting user-oriented documentation. Window managers in particular are a difficult concept and all documentation is appreciated. Other chapters in the User's Guide deal with PPxP and ppp communications, accessing the Web, floppies and CD-ROMs, setting up printers, using packages in RPM format, and running the setup command. A chapter at the end includes the Alpha Miniloader (MILO) how-to document.

The Kondara.org Web site includes a lot of documentation, such as a guide to the RPM package format at http://www.kondara.org/docs/Kondara-RPM-HOWTO.en/Kondara-RPM-HOWTO.html. See http://www.kondara.org/docs/ for the main documentation page online. The Web site includes the same content as the printed manual as well as a number of frequently-asked questions lists and how-to documents. Many of these documents are in Japanese, but a very handy one, especially for users of Kondara Linux, is a how-to on installing Japanese support from the Kondara RPMs. You can use this how-to with any Red Hat-based distribution (including Kondara MNU/Linux).

The slim Administrator's Guide, which comes with Kondara MNU/Linux Server 2000, includes a long section on the Kondara-developed mph administration commands, including how to configure the Linux kernel, setting up Web, file, DNS, mail, and Samba servers, along with a section on adding users. The Administrator's Guide is short but to-the-point, and covers a great deal in its pages.

The frequently asked questions lists continue the emphasis on fun, with topics such as There is no sound with my Let's Note. (sob...).

The server version includes much more support than the desktop version, especially for things like DNS and firewall configuration, as well as 10 support incidents versus 5 incidents with the desktop package. This is reflected in the price difference between the desktop and server versions, $44.95 and $149.95 US, respectively.

Kondara MNU/Linux includes a separate applications CD-ROM, packed with RPM packages, along with Sun's StarOffice 5.2. As in most RPM packages, there are separate directories for i586 (Intel), Alpha, and noarch (short for no architecture) for packages not specific to any architecture.

The applications CD does have some fun use of English, such as the following from the start of the README.en file on the CD:

Welcome to Kondara MNU/Linux World! From now on, you are a member of Kondaraz. The developers of Kondara MNU/Linux are persistently dragging Kondara, a kind of road roller representing a tough work, with the sound GORO-GORO day by day, because they want to make Kondara MNU/Linux a much better Linux distribution. (Well, actually they are often struggling with it.)

Kondara provides a Japanese-language Web page pointing at the RPM repository at http://www.kondara.org/rpm2html/. You can download the packages, in Red Hat RPM format, from this site or from English mirrors such as ftp://rufus.w3.org/linux/Kondara/.

It's kind of hard to figure out how to buy the package from the Kondara.org Web site (look for what looks like a release announcement link and click on that). You can purchase the distribution from Digital Factory USA at http://www.df-usa.com/ or in Japan from Digital Factory Co., Ltd. at http://www.digitalfactory.co.jp/. At the Japanese site, you can also purchase Kondara MNU/Linux Web Cluster 2000. The desktop version costs $44.95 and the server version $149.95 US.

There are also downloadable RealPlayer movies on the Japanese site featuring the Kondara penguins on their motorcycles. How many other Linux distributions feature their own movies?

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