Monday, February 06, 2006

Play LinEx Review

Ok, So this is a Gaming & education specific Linux distro. I got my copy courtesy of Linux magazine (love the cover disks), more information about the distro can be found on the LinEx project website. It is Spanish so perhaps you may be more interested in their translated small about LinEx section. I'm writing this article on my laptop while installing the distro on my desktop.

First boot from CD & Installation

OK on boot it gives you the option to install graphically or in "text mode" I opted for graphical and fortunately the GUI appeared fast and didn't hang or bomb out (has happened on some GUI Linux installations). I was able to select "United Kingdom" as my keyboard, Then I was able to select my monitor from the list, (So far very similar to the mandrake installation).

What packages

I was then given a list of:

  • All ages
  • All Ages with 3D support
  • Over 18
  • Over 18 with 3D support

I went for over 18 with 3D support (I love my gore code ABACAB, why can I still remember that after having not played on a mega drive for over 10 years).

I then went for manual partition, Quick and easy with Disk Druid (again this is looking very Mandrake (I haven't used it since they went Mandriva).

Entered a root password and made a user (again very easy).

Opted for "install default software" couldn't be bothered with manual package selection today. So far I like this a lot, It seems fast, painless, user friendly and promises to have 3D support (hopefully for my Nvidia Gforce 4 which has proved impossible in the past with the 2.6 kernel and fussy at times with the 2.4).

Coffee/work time

I can now leave this to install (thank god for a DVD that doesn't need to be changed). This is the time I'd normally use to get a coffee or even as the meter suggests 65 - 70 mins to complete, cook some food. But today I'm installing it before popping to work so this article will have to wait (along with the installation) for me to finish my day job.

Finally (Not including that I had to restart due to someone turning of the electricity and not telling me first) the installer ejected the CD and prompted me to remove the disk and then click the button to reboot.

First Boot

OK so I have installed, so far easy peasy as easy if not easier than MS winblows XP. The system boots. I'm confronted with a custom GDM greeter that looks nice and log on with my username and password. I popped in a CD (to listen to while I was writing this) "Black Pearls" by Eric Sardinas. the app didn't start immediately (as it does on some installations) for me this is nice I don't like applications auto starting.

The gnome button is in the bottom left (as apposed to top left which I’m used to, but this I suppose helps windows users and is just personal preference). I found the CD player program no problem.

First problem No Sound!

OK so I have hit my first problem. No sound when I play my CD. I had a quick look in the menus and couldn't find anything. I saw that this distro uses OSS sound rather than alsa (which I tend to use) I did a test on the sound and It seemed to play an annoying tone (like on the old BBC test screens), so I assume that my sound works. so apt-get install gxine to see if I can play with a program I'm a little more used to.

Thank you GNU for lots of apps. GXINE installs thanks to apt-get (I don't think I could never go back to RPM). GXINE loads and I select CD from the menu and I'm thankfully greeted by the sound of Eric’s Dobler guitar. On another note I can see that the network is working as it has found out and displayed for me the artist and track information. so for now problem solved but I may have to come back to this one.

Network & Internet

As previously found out the network is fine. Firefox is there so I'm safe for web browsing and a Google search gives results (I'm back on track and happy again), still noob friendly except for the one audio problem.

Just to be evil I visit my delicious for something to test the system. Google video sounds like the thing for the job. The Mortal Kombat spoof I have there looked good to me for a giggle. The video didn't play so I clicked the "install missing plugin" button and it installed flash and I got to see silliness. So for now at least all good and noob friendly there.


The sarge installation comes with the usual Open Office 1.1 (2 will be in the next stable version of Debian). Along with all the other productivity programs. Not much to add here.

Games & Graphics

This is what this distro is all about isn't it? Well along the top is a list of choices, Arcade, Board, Card. Miscellaneous, Platform, Puzzles, Simulators, Strategy.

A quick go of supertux runs, but it bombs out when I turned on OpenGL. So I figured a quick GLX gears was due.

64 - 86 FPS on my Nvidia Gforce 4 hmmm I'm sure that is lower than I’ve had before.

Neverball also doesn't seem happy. So I think I may have to look into installing some Nvidia specific stuff. So on the games for me, there is a nice selection but I can't play them.

For a distribution that prides itself on its breadth of games this one doesn't Inspire me greatly. There are a number I haven't seen or played before that are certainly entertaining, But I'm not particularly impressed, Partly due to being unable to play most of them (If they need 3D).

Oh and I still don't see any point to the KDE Potato guy.

The Updater - another downer

OK so I already ran and used apt-get. But there is a funky little updater that throws up 4 "are you sure" messages before giving me loads of progress bars one after the other. then seems to run a collection of scripts to automate apt-get update and apt-get upgrade which is sort of nice but I personally don't need them. Oh and I continue to get "are you sure" messages so sounds like the script gets upset and reruns a few times. Having said that It looks like it is now installing Java so perhaps these scripts put stuff on that they can't put on the CD... I'm not entirely sure.

Oh goody It borked my installation. apt-get -f install didn't work. Had to go into aptitude (synaptic kept bombing out) and purge all the linexedu-* packages. So I'm a little unsure about the testing on their software removal and upgrading. The problem was caused by a program not upgrading properly and failing to delete files that weren't there.

On rebooting the screen turned itself on power saving. And I always get this with 2.6 kernels and at this point with all distros I give up. As far as I'm concernd it should work "out the box" and this problem has been common with me for years and ive spent days trying and trying without success so i give up on the screen not going on. There is no option to install with 2.4 kernel.x kernels and Nvidia so at this point I gave


Good for Noobs but failed for me! my lousy graphics card strikes again (It has never liked 2.6 Kernel).

In short, For noob friendliness this system is fine, Only if you don't have the Nvidia problems I have, I have yet to try a distro and have good luck with Nvidia drivers on this computer under the 2.6 kernel. It may be an unusual card, or just that something is desperately wrong (but somehow works under windows and the 2.4 kernel) with my system or graphics card or monitor. So if you aren't me this is a good system apparently. I'd love to try it on another machine with a different graphics card some time.

I'm off to try a different distro now


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