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Xandros Desktop--Not Your Father's Linux Distribution - page 2

From Corel to Xandros

  • November 11, 2002
  • By Bill von Hagen

The Xandros Desktop installer is quite user-friendly, requiring a minimum amount of information in order to successfully install the operating system. The Xandros installer is much more reminiscent of the installers for true commercial operating systems such as Apple's Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, dividing the installation and configuration of the system into two steps. All of the non-critical configuration is done by Xandros' First Run Wizard the first time you boot the operating system, rather than as part of the actual installation process. This is a refreshing change from the long-winded installation processes used by distributions such as red Hat, even in workstation mode.

Xandros' installer has seven stages: a Welcome message, the Xandros license agreement, choosing between an express or custom install, setting the root password and creating a user account, a summary screen, and the actual installation process which ends with a classic Linux "Create a boot disk" dialog. During all of my test installs, the mouse froze on my system during this last dialog, but I was able to cope by using the Tab key to cycle between buttons.

Xandros' Express Install takes over a single disk in your system and installs a selection of packages known as their "Standard Desktop", requiring 1204 MB. Selecting the Custom Install enables you to select alternate sets of packages, known as the "Minimal Desktop' (845 MB) and "Complete Desktop" (1438 MB). The custom installation also enables you to manually configure disk partitioning and mount points, manually configure your network settings, and so on.

Once the install completes and your system reboots, the system prompts you for one of three boot modes: the Xandros Desktop, Safe Mode (shades of Windows!), and Custom (Expert) mode.

The first time you boot your system using the Xandros Desktop mode (the default), you can log in using the account you created as part of the installation process. Once you log in, Xandros runs its "First Run Wizard", which completes the configuration of the system by prompting for information such as whether you're right or left handed, the date, time, and timezone, printer configuration, system (GUI) behavior, and a final dialog that enables you to access the Xandros version of the KDE Control Center, or run the Xandros Networks tool, a preview of a browser-based news and update application.

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