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Spending a Week with Xandros: First Impressions

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Thinking of dipping your toes in the Linux pool? Xandros Desktop Home Edition — Premium may just convince you to jump in with both feet! Let Bryan Hoff guide you through the benefits and pitfalls of this free and easy-to-use Linux distribution.
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Sometimes analogies and theoretical situations are the last thing you want to read when you’re making a decision about your future operating system. So let’s forgo all the "what-ifs" and "maybe somedays" and take a look at my real-world experiences with Xandros Desktop Home Edition Premium as a replacement — or at the very least a complement — to Windows XP. I installed Xandros and used it for a week, observing my experiences — both joys and frustrations — without Windows XP. Whether you want to be eased gently into the world of Linux or you just don’t want to set Aunt Mary loose upon the world with Windows, Xandros may be for you.

Here’s a real-world scenario: I only have one copy of Windows XP Professional, and I want to run it on my new Mac Pro under Boot Camp. But my old PC needs an operating system too, so do I go out and spend $199-$299 on a new copy of XP, or $79.95 on Xandros? And before you mutter about the plethora of free Linux distributions out there, remember that I’m looking for one that is as compatible as possible with Windows, from the security suite to NTFS read and write support. And while distros like Ubuntu are the flavor of the moment, sometimes people want certain features without compromising or resorting to hacks. And for people like Aunt Mary it’s really not an option anyway.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Xandros Desktop and the First Run Wizard

Can I...?

No matter which flavor of Linux you run, there are going to be times when things don’t work quite as advertised. Of course, many times things work exactly as they should. Let’s look at what worked and what didn’t.

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