Redmond Linux: a review.
From: Mike <mikeywoll at cox.net>
Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001 05:50:09 -0500
A new build of Redmond Linux was released on 1/11/2002.
This release does not include the bugs reported in this
review. Current users can upgrade to the new release using
the updater included within Redmond Linux. Anyone may
download an iso of the new build from the download page
at www.redmondlinux.org or of course purchase a copy.
I have been following the development of Redmond Linux for a while now,
never actually using it. I decided to change around my LAN, and figured
now was as good a time as any to give it a try. All I can say is wow.
Flawless install in under 20 minutes on a duron600@1050 abit kt7 256megs,
generic nic, SBPC 128, tnt2 m64. If you're frustrated by linux, or are
thinking about trying it out read on. This is simply the best option for
those looking for a windows alternative, or a linux playground/schoolyard.
It addresses every issue I have ever heard a new user complain about.
If you are an experienced user, I highly suggest you recommend this distro
to potential newbies or frustrated newbies you may encounter.
I'm not at all affiliated with Redmond Linux, I just see this as a solution
to the flame wars that clog up the linux newsgroups.
Anyway... on with the review.
The installer proceded as follows:
1) Put CD in drive, boot off CD, if you currently use windows you can
start from there as well booting from the CD or it will make a boot
2) It auto probes for mouse, keyboard, and videocard/monitor. These
consisted of hitting next until they were done.
3) Choose partition to install on. You have the option of the whole
existing partitions, free space, or expert, where you do the partitioning.
I don't know if you can partition on the fly, but even if you could I
recommend partitioning in another app.
4) The install starts. There is only one possible config. Easy for new
users who don't know what exists in the linux realm.
5) Set up users, enter names and passwords. Easy.
6) Set up networking, and printing. DHCP, none, or manual settings.
Printing using cups and it looks like gimp-print. Piece of cake as well.
7) Play solitaire until done. Its really a step!!!
8) make boot disk/restart.
Like I said. A complete install in under 20 minutes. You can look up
it comes with at http://www.redmondlinux.org
After playing around for a few hours I'm still very impressed.
The kde menu (your only window manager choice) is set up neatly and
logically organized. In every menu the most often used choices are there,
and "advanced" options are under a submenu. For example,the section
"music and movies," has mp3 player (xmms in disguise) dvd/divx player
in disguise) an option to watch tv... as selections, as well as a sub-menu
option for "more multimedia programs," which contains the mixer, midi
mapper, and arts builder. The menus are very simple to understand, and
every program works perfectly. Full screen divx, handled much better than
win2k did on this box.
The desktop is a clone of windows. "My linux computer" opens to give
shortcuts to all your drives, which are all perfectly configured to
automount. CD's auto-run, ex... DVDs automatically load with xine, every
file type I tried was correctly linked to its application. The feel is
much more windows like than linux. There is no home directory mentioned
(it does exist, just silently), and drives are presented as if they were
not part of a contiguous filesystem, but separate file systems. The
"Network Browser" icon opens up to all the Windows workgroups you can
access from your box, browsing is the same as with windows. NO MOUNTING
NEEDED!!!! Unfortunately, if you want to access a smb/windows share
directly through other programs you must mount it, or copy the file to
your local drive.
RedmondLinux developers have made all the program choices for you. They
chose mozilla as the web browser and email client, but of course you could
install whichever you wanted. They did provide IMHO a great selection of
apps. There is one very strong app for every task you may need. I
personally would only want to add kate, kmail, knode, and maybe
star-office, these are personal choices; an equally powerful alternative
to each is included. Everything is there in one form or another, including
all of the common linux browser pluggins.
Administration is a breeze. The Developers made front-ends for almost
everything you could want, and incorporated them into the KDE Control
Center as pluggins. Suddenly the KDE control center is as powerful as
linuxconf, no joke, but much easier to use. They did the same advanced
options thing from the menu here as well, which lends itself well to its
target audience. I personally like the fact that the developers added a
link to turn sshd on or off, and called it remote access configuration.
The launcher hints at the possibility of remote trouble shooting/repairs.
This would be a godsend for newbies, as well as a sound business opp for
Overall the distro surpasses Windows in ease of use, hands down. That is
a pretty bold statement, but if you try it out you will probably agree.
However, it is definitely not a distro for power users. I have been using
linux since redhat 7.0 came out, not that long but I know my way around
pretty well, and this distro would do everything I need it to out of the
box, except for satisfy my desire to tinker, and experiment. I like
setting up a system just right, and Redmond Linux is more of a pre-defined
(?) OS. Of course this means they track every app they distribute, and
know they will work right out of the box. Every single app and frontend
worked flawlessly. Litterally less than 20 minutes to a 100% stable 100%
functional linux system. Not even a single additional program is needed
to be totally functional. A great deal of polish went into this distro and it
I know several hours of testing is not long, and may not give a broad
picture of the distro, but the difference between Redmond Linux and other
distros is so profound, a few minutes is all you will need to see its
benefits. I plan on putting this distro on my mother's first PC (a
Christmas gift). If that is not a measure of its simplicity I don't know
I must caution that this is the first (1.0) release of Redmond Linux, and
it has had 2 (major?) bugs reported.
There is an error with KDE apps (nearly all the apps in this distro).
They potentially crash on saving. This is fixed by downloading this file, or
waiting for the 1.01 release:
un-installing the included kdelibs:
Press control alternate and F1 at the same time
log in as root
type: CD /<directory where you saved the above file> press
(this moves you to the directory)
type: rpm -e kdelibs --nodeps press enter
type: rpm -Uhv kdelibs-2.2.1-42rl.i586.rpm press enter
(this un-installs the broken version and installs the
type: exit press enter
Press control and alternate and F5 to switch back to the desktop
Log out, and log back in.
The second error involves a bug with CD writing, and is explained on the
Redmond linux news group, which can be accessed from the Redmond linux
I have to add that I experienced neither of the bugs