Desktop/LX from US company Lycoris differs from the other Linux distributions in that it is aimed purely at the home desktop market and attempts to produce a system anybody can use, even if they have no understanding of Linux. To that end, it is a small distribution, coming on only one CD. The standard edition offers no development tools or servers and concentrates on having enough software to perform day-to-day tasks.
The installation has a very Windows-98 feel, but is quick and easy to do. Technical questions are avoided, using the plainest English possible, and the graphics card section lets users choose all the common resolutions and refresh rates they could want. After completing minimal set-up information, the installer presents customers with a card game to play while the install proceeds.
Following the first reboot, a custom splash screen takes users into a modified Kool Desktop Environment (KDE). Lycoris has licensed font-rendering technology from Bitstream, so fonts look a little different in Desktop/LX compared with other distributions. The overall look and feel is influenced by Windows XP, presumably to make it familiar to new users. It includes a customised control centre and various wizards to get things working. Lots of effort has gone into the desktop, with menus clearly structured and well-labelled with icons. There is also a utility to browse the PC’s hardware and local network, also reminiscent of Windows XP.
Desktop/LX runs on the older 2.4 series of Linux kernel releases. The disadvantage is that hardware support will not be as wide: onboard network cards are not detected and the module obtained from Lycoris support has to be installed manually. There is little in the way of system configuration tools, mainly because of the lack of server software. The control centre, however, does provide enough for most tasks: adding users, changing the monitor settings and so on.
A big let down is the exclusion of Open Office. This free office suite, easily rivalling Microsoft Office, is an expected part of any Linux distribution. Included instead is Koffice, a small KDE office suite that is suitable for small tasks but cannot compare with Open Office. Lycoris intends to sell a separate package with a modified Open Office, but this is already included with most rival distributions.
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