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Turbolinux 10F: Turbolinux is Alive and Well - page 4

Rediscovering Turbolinux

  • April 4, 2005
  • By Bill von Hagen

Many people who are longtime Unix and Linux geeks, myself often included, tend to focus on the system capabilities of a Linux distribution while still touting Linux as the eventual ruler of the desktop. However, Linux will never take over the home desktop unless it provides applications which do what most people want to do with their computers. By this, I mean things like Web browsing (Mozilla 1.5), receiving and sending mail (Mozilla again), and easy-to-use software support for multimedia audio files, CDs, various MPEG files, VCDs, and DVDs.

I was surprised by the absence of KDE standards such as kmail, konqueror, and kwrite in the menus, though they were installed on the system. The default panel icons for a Web browser and mail application are both linked to Mozilla (1.5), and the Programs > Office menu only contains the OpenOffice applications. Konqueror is linked to the default file manager icon, as it should be on a KDE system. BTW, every time I plan to disparage konqueror using the "who needs a file manager anyway" approach, I find another cool thing that it can do. For example, I recently wondered aloud why one no longer found "xman" on Linux systems as a graphical man page browser, at which point a kind friend pointed out konqueror's support for man pages using a URI like "man:ls". I'm never building xman again--why bother, since it largely just highlights my age.

One of the coolest things about Turbolinux is its support for playing DVDs through CyberLink's PowerDVD package, which Turbolinux licensed from the vendor. Figure 5 shows PowerDVD's startup screen. Figure 6 shows PowerDVD playing a standard DVD. Playback was smooth and the application featured a nice set of controls for displaying subtitles, moving around in the DVD, and so on.

The presence of a commercial app may be disconcerting to people who only want to see GPL software on their Linux box, but I see it as a great example of the growing presence of Linux in the home market. Companies like Adobe can hardly avoid porting Acrobat Reader to Linux if they want to see PDF continue to grow in popularity, but seeing other commercial software vendors porting their products to Linux is a great thing as far as I'm concerned. Applications like Xine are still great and I use them on my Linux boxes that run other distributions, but PowerDVD really did a nice job as far as I was concerned, and it certainly didn't bloat the cost of Turbolinux 10f.

Turbolinux also comes with a Turbo Media Player application, which is a customized version of the standard KDE kaffeine application (with the Xine libraries) that includes Windows Media codecs licensed from the Borg, making it easy to play every media and file format that I threw at it. It also includes RealPlayer8 for RealVideo and RealAudio support. Pretty darn complete from a multimedia perspective.

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