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VNU Net: Corel Linux [Review]

By Will Head, VNU Net

An improvement on the original, with a user-friendly graphical
installation wizard.

Corel Linux was one of the most anticipated Linux distributions
last year, and racked up an impressive 47,227 downloads during its
first week of release on CNET’s download.com website.

While Linux is a stable and advanced operating system it is not
for the uninitiated. It won’t always work first time, can require
tweaking, and generally should be left to those who enjoy such
activities.

Corel is hoping to change all this. Gone are the text-based
install screens written in badly translated geek. With Corel Linux
you’re treated to a fully graphical installation wizard written in
sensible English. However, if Xwindows won’t run on your particular
hardware set-up you won’t even get as far as the welcome screen,
the machine will just spit out the CD and quietly reboot.

For the time being, this is a reasonable compromise because the
current market for Corel Linux is likely to be people who want to
run it as a desktop operating system and therefore want a graphical
user interface. If you just want a console-based server then a
text-based install won’t phase you. In terms of hardware
compatibility, Corel Linux is no better or worse than other
distributions – some pieces of kit might make it wince, but this is
well documented on Corel’s website.

After plugging through the set-up screens we were ready for the
final reboot. Everything seemed to have been painless. If anything,
we’ve experienced more problems with Windows.

Reset the machine and the first thing you’ll notice is the
graphical shell that its over the Linux Loader. The only minor
gripe is that it sets the default boot option to Linux without
asking if you would rather have Windows.

After a couple of minutes the system powers up the XServer and
you are presented with a graphical log-in. By default the KDE
window manager is set up for you and greets you once you step
through the door. One major addition on the K menu – equivalent to
the Windows Start menu – is Corel File Manager, which provides a
very ‘My Computer’ view of things from your home directory to other
machines on the network.

We encountered the first hiccup when we installed Wordperfect
for Linux. The default Corel Linux installation does not include
all the libraries required by Wordperfect and therefore fails to
run. A check on Corel’s website confirmed the missing library
complete with instructions on how to add it. Using the Corel Update
utility it was just a matter of selecting the required package and
clicking update. The utility can also connect to FTP sites as well
as performing updates from CD. This allows Corel to post simple
upgrades in the future.

Corel Linux is available for £4.95 on a CD or you can
download it free.

System Requirements
Pentium, 24Mb RAM (64Mb recommended), 500Mb of free hard disk
space, CD-ROM drive, 2Mb VGA PCI graphics card and a CD-writer if
downloading.

Good Points
Fully graphical, straightforward installation, simple-to-use file
manager and effective update facility.

Bad Points
Some minor hardware compatibility issues.

Conclusion
Corel has taken the stability and flexibility of Linux and
added ease of use and good styling.