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Windows Interoperability in A Linux Distro

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the kicking-the-tires-folks dept.

Operating Systems 355

Magenta writes "There is a review of the Desktop OS Version 3 Business Edition from Xandros. This operating system is meant to allow users to easily move from Windows XP to Linux without the problems that can arise. Xandros not only can use Window's file system but it is able to run a great number of Windows programs using its CrossOver Office tool from CodeWeavers. This is one of the most accessible distros to come along in awhile and it marks a big step forward in the progress on Linux on the desktop."

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355 comments

VIVO LOS MANCHAS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214097)

2012 called... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214286)

... they want their "Linux ready for the desktop really, really soon now! With only 45 minutes of XFree86Config-hacking it is also now really easy for the average user!"-story back.

/shrug (-1, Flamebait)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214100)

Unfortunately the Windows programs I want to use are the games like Everquest 2, World of Warcraft, Battlefield 2, etc. Xandros is nifty and allows you to run a lot of Windows progy's, but I think a fair chunk of people fall in the same group as me.

Linux should focus more on becoming user-friendly so it gets a bigger customer base, this would inspire more developers to include a Linux version of the more popular games/ apps. My 2cents.

Re:/shrug (2, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214135)

WineHQs game support has come on tremendously lately, it's not just for apps anymore.

Re:/shrug (5, Informative)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214185)

not to mention that Transgaming's Cedega [transgaming.com] runs all the games the parent mentioned...

Re:/shrug (2, Informative)

jiushao (898575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214328)

Everquest 2 appears to be unplayable according to Transgamings game database [transgaming.org]. Same thing [transgaming.org] with Battlefield 2.

World of Warcraft is apparently considered extremely playable. Unfortunately as is common with the Transgaming stuff that still means that the installer crashes (but has finished when it does), the graphic glitches in places and performance is lousy in some situations without a special hack. Overall it is a way to get to play games, but it is hardly the most user-friendly solution there is.

Re:/shrug (1, Interesting)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214175)

Linux should focus more on becoming user-friendly so it gets a bigger customer base, this would inspire more developers to include a Linux version of the more popular games/ apps. My 2cents.

This simple thing is lost on most everyone in Linux it seems some days.

Does Tux Racer alone not suggest good gaming is possible on Linux? Do increasingly better drivers for nVidia and ATI not sink in?

Oh, that's right. The problem is user-friendliness which is the antithesis of the leet geek brigades who search out things to do because they're hard and prove how smart they are.

I got tired of writing in hex in my head when I was a teen. I just want stuff to work. XP and FC3 for me for now while I wait for the Linux equivalent of XP to hit... And wait...

Re:/shrug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214379)

"... I wait for the Linux equivalent of XP to hit...."

Prey there isn't an equivalent. You are asking that Linux distros use the same/similar EULA as Windows?! And the same/similar click I agree terms as Window's auto updates?! And the same/similar click I agree terms as Microsofts media player?! Have you read them? You should. They are *nasty* No thanks. I value my privacy and freedom.

Re:/shrug (1)

Donald Ferrone (863523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214421)

Does Tux Racer alone not suggest good gaming is possible on Linux?

Simple question, simple answer: no!

MOD PARENT UP! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214455)

Tuxracer is a counter-example for good games on Linux.

Re:/shrug (-1, Troll)

hacker (14635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214181)

"Unfortunately the Windows programs I want to use are the games like Everquest 2, World of Warcraft, Battlefield 2, etc."

[...]

"Linux should focus more on becoming user-friendly so it gets a bigger customer base"

Talk to your game vendor, this is not a Linux problem.

When software you have from a vendor does not work with Linux, talk to your software vendor, this is not a Linux problem.

When hardware you have does not work with Linux, talk to your hardware vendor. This is not a Linux problem.

Also, Linux has no "customer base", nor does it want or need one. Talk to your Linux vendor of choice to determine their goals, and try to choose the vendor that best fits your needs.

Re:/shrug (1)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214240)

What came first of the chicken and the egg? The vendors won't release games for Linux because the userbase isn't big enough and the userbase won't switch to Linux because the lack of games.. Overgeneralisation, but the point is still there. The same goes for everything you said. I've had numerous problems with a wireless card. It wouldn't work with prism54 and with ndiswrapper it just stayed up for a short while. Yeah, it's up to my vendor to create drivers for it, but guess what, most users aren't even going to go through the hassels I did in getting it to work, let alone contact anyone to complain on the lack of drivers. They will simply shrug, blame it on Linux and give up. And I intentionally said "Linux" and no specific OS because that's the way they will attack it, I tried if 3 distros before I got it to "work".

Re:/shrug (3, Insightful)

hacker (14635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214445)

"I've had numerous problems with a wireless card. It wouldn't work with prism54 and with ndiswrapper it just stayed up for a short while. Yeah, it's up to my vendor to create drivers for it, but guess what, most users aren't even going to go through the hassels I did in getting it to work, let alone contact anyone to complain on the lack of drivers."

You've hit the problem right on the head! The users have come to expect (in the Windows world) that everything they buy that "fits" in their PC, will "work" in their PC, at the highest level of performance and optimization.

They've grown comfortable in their propritary softwareship. The problem here is that these same vendors are PROHIBITED (by contract in many cases) from opening up their APIs to non-Microsoft partners if they wish to continue to use the "Certified for Windows" stamp of approval on their hardware.

Do you go out to Sears, buy tires that "look like they'll fit", and then complain when you bring them home to find they don't fit on your Mini-Cooper? No, you find out what kind of hardware your Cooper takes, you bring those specs to Sears and you ask them which tires meet those specifications.

In Linux, since vendors refuse to support the hardware or software through proper drivers (ATI, NVidia, 3Com, etc.), you find out (via the Linux HCL) which hardware is supported by which vendors, and you support THOSE vendors with your wallet.

But I stand by my statements. None of this is a Linux problem. There is more than enough code, talent and time in the Free Software community to write perfected drivers for every single piece of hardware out there that fits in a computer (embedded, PC, workstation, server and mainframe). The problem is that the vendors don't provide docs or APIs, or the ones they DO provide are incorrect, false or just plain wrong.

Trust me, I've been on this side of the fence, working for a Linux company that 3Com approached to ask us to write drivers for their WinModem in Linux, because IBM insisted they "fix it" for their Thinkpad line of laptops (this was back in 2000/2001). 3Com assumed we could just write 100% compatible drivers in a WEEKEND and have a fully-debugged, functional equivalent of their Win32 WinModem driver shipped to them by Monday. No docs from them, no APIs, nothing more than a binary copy of their Win32 WinModem driver.

We insisted they give us docs or APIs or something, and what they gave us... and you'll love this (I still have a copy in my email archives), was a slightly-blurry digital picture of a whiteboard, where their engineers described how they "thought" the Linux version of their WinModem driver would work.

Needless to say, we laughed at them and told them to find someone else. They never did.

So the problem is NEVER on the Linux side when it comes to hardware not functioning properly.

Re:/shrug (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214211)

Linux should focus more on becoming user-friendly so it gets a bigger customer base, this would inspire more developers to include a Linux version of the more popular games/ apps

All the game makers need to do is use SDL and make a few other adjustments, and the game will be cross-platform. It's not terribly difficult. Most developers don't need all the shiny new features of Direct3D.

Re:/shrug (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214216)


Linux should focus more on becoming user-friendly so it gets a bigger customer base

I have a non-negotiable arrangement now that friends / family / etc only get my computer support ("Help, the mouse isn't working" stuff) if they're running Linux. Windows users get the Linux installation offer or nothing.

Who cares about useability? It's ease of maintenance for the local IT guru that really matters to Linux uptake. ;)

Re:/shrug (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214234)

Sounds like a pretty snobby/selfish attitude.

Re:/shrug (1)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214365)

Watch how fast the local IT guru is out of business because his customers now have systems that don't need maintenance, at least not enough to warrant hiring somebody to do it. Ease of maintenance is an IT-job killer. If it's so easy, who the hell needs an IT guy?

Re:/shrug (0)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214443)

I call BS. Computers aren't easy, and there is nothing out there today that makes them so. Windows is ill-mannered, Linux is complicated and can be ill-mannered. Computing today is complex, network computing even more so. It is currently possible to hide the complexity, but eventually the complexity rears its ugly head and you need someone to come along and fix things.

Re:/shrug (1, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214217)

linux shouldn't work towards supporting games. Linux shouldn't go towards being transparently windows compatible. It should do its thing. Apparently, "its thing" is an organic, each person pulls to his own side, process. But it's working. Linux won't die out all of a sudden because you can't play battlefield 2. It won't die out because program x or y won't run. It was meant as an experiment, as a learning process for the brand new Intel 80386. Just because everybody seems to want to use linux nowadays doesn't mean that linux should fit everybody's uses. Those people should adapt it to their own uses, which is what the source is there for.

Jesus... (4, Insightful)

Knome_fan (898727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214220)

Wow, what a tremendously dumb comment.

So here we have a linux distro that according to the review is very easy to use and on top off that even offers the possibility to run many Windows programs out of the box.

Now what does the average slashbot have to say to that?
But I want to run my Windows(tm) games. As long as my Windows(tm) games don't work on linux, linux isn't for me.

Finally, as if this comment hadn't been dumb enough, he tells us that linux has to become more user-friendly in order to gain more market share, so that more games will be available for linux.

The funny thing is that just before that he told us that linux wouldn't gain any market share even with a userfriendly distribution (remember the review?) that runs many windows programs out of the box, because he couldn't play Everquest on it.

Needless to say that it only took seconds for the famed /. mods to mod the parent insightful.

Impressive...

Re:Jesus... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214376)

Especially insightful when you consider that the distribution in the review is targeted at business customers, who are hardly likely to object to not being able to play Everquest....

Re:Jesus... (1)

slashdotnickname (882178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214390)

Finally, as if this comment hadn't been dumb enough, he tells us that linux has to become more user-friendly in order to gain more market share, so that more games will be available for linux.

That's not dumb at all.

I use Linux at work and would love to switch my home PC to it as well, but I mainly play games at home so that's just not currently possible. The truth is that simple.

Re:Jesus... (0)

Loren_Burlingame (787768) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214444)

don't confuse "not 100% point-and-click" with "not possible" as was stated previously in reply to this parent, many current Windows games, including MMOs are not only playable but fully supported under Transgaming's Cadega (based on wine) on Linux.

Re:Jesus... (1)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214425)

Hey, Genius... People want to make love, not make install, got it?

If you should dropped your linear thought process for a while you would see the reason my so-called Windows(tm) games ARE Windows(tm) games is because until Linux gets a bigger user-base companies won't make jack$hit if they try to sell a Linux version of their game/app. Newsflash buddy, the world revolves around money and if its not there it ain't gonna happen.

How hard is it to make an operating system where someone can double-click instead of going through a myriad of steps to install a basic friggin program?

The sad thing is Linux is doing this to itself and until things change it's going to continue to be the ever-striving underdog who will never compete against Windows as an alternative OS for the majority.

A must (2, Insightful)

omar_armas (633987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214105)

This is a must for real end users(mom and dad) change to Linux.

Omar

OUTRAGED!!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214267)

Going through the review it was sounding pretty cool. However, as I looked at it more closely and checked out the screen shots I (as a loyal /.er) became outraged!

The whole UI just looks like a rip off other other UIs and tiny tweaks and of course the blatant rip-off of NTFS from another OS! I know others must be sharing my dismay at how a product is so blatantly coping others!

...oh wait. Its Linux you say. Awsome! This is just what we need! ROCK ON!

Agreed, but consider this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214292)

There is a nasty bug in Linux that makes the computer reboot every 49.7 days. The worst part is that this bug has been around for almost 10 years...

What good is a million eyes looking at the code if they are attached to half a million idiots?

I guess most people don't realize this because they need to recompile their kernel every other week, or they use Linux only to boot into illegal copies of Windows.

Re:Agreed, but consider this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214362)

What? That is simply not true!!!

Re:Agreed, but consider this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214407)

No there isn't. The bug in question was part of Windows 95, where a millisecond counter rolled over at 2**32-1.

I apologise if this looks like feeding a troll, but better this than stand by and let some innocent person believe these lies.

Re:A must (2, Interesting)

gvc (167165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214371)

I dunno. My dad (78 yrs old) converted to Linux. He uses Linux stuff: Mozilla, OpenOffice, The Gimp, K3B, and so on.

I installed wine and all the apps he was used to -- MS Office, Photoshop, IE (actually he dumped IE for Mozilla on Windows a couple of years ago.) -- but he didn't really use them. He found it easy to switch. In the case of K3B he said it was "much easier to use than that Roxy-whatever thing on Windows." His slide scanner worked perfectly without the installation of any extra software, and mult-vendor multimedia/DVD "just works" unlike in windows.

So I guess that having the Windows apps there provides comfort. But in this particular case study, they were placebos.

SWEET!!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214108)

sweetness is a linux distro that is this good for user migration. greater sweetness is getting first post :-)

Not good for free software (3, Insightful)

Enoch Lockwood (889602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214130)

Uh... this is not good for the cause, you know.

It only encourages people to keep on using proprietary and closed Windows software instead of extolling the virtues of free software.

Re:Not good for free software (2, Insightful)

SimilarityEngine (892055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214195)

It's OSS, it's Linux, it's familiar. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the XP-style interface, but for some people it could ease the migration process. Let people become accustomed to the benefits of a stable kernel, a powerful software toolkit. If you have faith in the inherent quality of OSS this shouldn't scare you, surely?

Perhaps I'm an incurable optimist, but a journey of 1000 miles must begin with a single step.

Re:Not good for free software (1)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214295)

Agreed. The main reason that my family is hesitant to migrate to any distro of Linux is the learning curve involved. I see this as very helpful in making it easier for Windows users to transition to Linux. To me, this is the middle ground that may not be so scary for the average home user. I would even be willing to pay for it, if it makes it easier for me to support my family's system, and eventually move them to a more "pure" distro.

Re:Not good for free software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214301)

Good point, but XP is stable enough for me. Also, not many people care about a stable "kernal", as most people don't even know what a kernal even is. The default interface on all of the linux distro's that I've tried are far from pretty. The installation of programs is quite a headache still too (if you can find the programs). Oh, and don't forget the lack of drivers... So yeah, I think linux is far from being ready to use.

Re:Not good for free software (4, Insightful)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214248)

I don't get this. Firefox and OpenOffice and the OpenCD and running Apache or MySQL or whatever from Windows are universally considered to be Good Things, because they encourage people to run free applications on an unfree platform, and hook people onto free software from the application end.

However, allowing people to run unfree software on a free platform using Wine or Winex or Crossover Office or whatever is Evil and Wrong and encourages people to forever be trapped by Bill Gates.

How come you guys think that people can only migrate from the applications downwards, rather than from the OS-up?

I'd have thought once you got people to switch the Operating System, your job's mostly done, and getting them to switch applications would be relatively easy - people install and uninstall applications all the time, compared to their OS, after all....

Re:Not good for free software (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214415)

Migrating an OS is easy if you don't have to change applications. Most users don't care about the OS if it gets out of the way and lets them run the programs they want - consider how easy it is to migrate from Linux to FreeBSD for example. If you are running MS Office on Linux then it's hard to migrate to OpenOffice - your UI is different and many of your custom templates, VBA scripts, etc will not work. If you are running OpenOffice on Windows it is trivial to move to Linux, Solaris, *BSD etc. because the program you spend all of your time working with is exactly the same.

Re:Not good for free software (1)

dlefavor (725930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214470)

How come you guys think that people can only migrate from the applications downwards, rather than from the OS-up?

Because the only things that matter are the applications. No user cares any more about the OS than about the diode or capacitor in his garage-door opener.

If it's so important to you that people switch operating systems, either give them some applications that drive the switch or deliver a genuine ROI.

No wayyy. (3, Funny)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214136)

You can FORGET IT until I get my minesweeper and solitaire.

oh, and calc. I so love calc.

Re:No wayyy. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214318)

I believe that parent is a JOKE -- obvoiusly minesweeper, solataire, and calc are among the classic screenshot examples for WINE.

Just for fun... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214139)

Xandros' Windows functionality is OK for a demonstration. But its speed sucks for production environment.

BTW, Xandros isn't a pretty looking dektop. And, it is not FREE as in FREE BEER

Re:Just for fun... (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214222)

It's mostly not free due to the Crossover [codeweavers.com] app that is included

$39.95 - $74.95 depending on which version you buy

And speed can always be better, and it continues to get better

Re:Just for fun... (2, Insightful)

hacker (14635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214225)

BTW, Xandros isn't a pretty looking dektop. And, it is not FREE as in FREE BEER

Nor should it be free as in free beer. It includes proprietary (well, for-pay) software in the install... CrossOver Office.

Free Software is not free [puzzling.org], and it probably never will be until our core society changes dramatically at the community and economic level.

Power costs money, bandwidth for hosting the project cost money, domains cost money, developer time costs money, hardware and backups cost money, distribution cost money, and many other aspects of the Free Software-production machine cost money.

Free version (4, Informative)

genericacct (692294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214250)

On their downloads [xandros.com] page, there is a link for the Open Circulation edition. Completely gratis if you use bittorrent. I'm considering trying it here at work.

Re:Free version (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214397)

It is severly limited in functionality, including all that windows integration they boast about.
Regards,
Steve

The REAL benefit... (0, Flamebait)

webphenom (868874) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214142)

...is lost on me.

Linux sucks. WHY would I abandon the sanctity and harmony of Windows for a geekOS such as Linux?

What does Linux offer me other than faggotty freaks who wear pocket protectors?

Nah, thanks. I'll stick with Windows along with the rest of the RELEVANT world.

FUCK OFF!

Re:The REAL benefit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214239)

I am not a MS basher, therefore this post will be scored accordingly

You have confused "people ignore me because they are close-minded!" with "people ignore me because I say idiotic things!"

Re:The REAL benefit... (1)

SimilarityEngine (892055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214330)

What does Linux offer me other than faggotty freaks who wear pocket protectors?

Well, you could always install Linux on a spare couple of partitions and find out. I really can't answer the question for you, because I don't know what your specific needs are. Go on, dip your toe in the pool. That's what distros like this are good for.

Nah, thanks. I'll stick with Windows along with the rest of the RELEVANT world.

Okay. I hope it works out for you.

Windows compatibility (4, Interesting)

lilrowdy18 (870767) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214144)

The only question that comes to mind is:

When do these Windows compatibilites start to become security issues in Linux? I mean I am all for having some Windows apps run in Linux. The main reason I use Linux at home was because things like IE and other security ridden problems in Windows arent available in Linux.

Just my $.02

Re:Windows compat. [as security risk in Linux] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214273)

When do these Windows compatibilites start to become security issues in Linux?

Never. If you find the Windows compatibility risky you can turn it off and use the secure, reliable, extensible, sensible Linux underneath.

Re:Windows compatibility (4, Informative)

leonmergen (807379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214372)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought Wine used some sort of chrooted environment when executing Windows programs, thus only limiting the security risk to other Windows programs, and not your Linux OS ?

NTFS Read / Write (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214149)

I hope Xandros arn't using the stock NTFS filesystem driver for Linux.

Next page [slashdot.org]

The only way to get "reliable" NTFS Read/Write under Linux is to use the captive driver with NTFS.SYS from Windows.

Next page [slashdot.org]

However, you may be in violation of your Windows EULA if you use it, and it's certainly not something that is easy to set up.

Next page [slashdot.org]

If you get it wrong (Or God forbid you let some automated script get it wrong you!) you can say goodbye to your data.

Next page [slashdot.org]

Writing any data to an NTFS partition with anything other than Windows is just asking for trouble.

Next page [slashdot.org]

Don't do it!

Typical response... (1)

daviq (888445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214154)

Windows user: Linux, that's for programmers.

Linux user: Windows, that's for people who don't mind crashing computers.

W: But Linux has no good programs

L: This is not true my friend, and you can run Windows programs using Crossover Office.

W: Yee of little faith now changes name to Linux user 2.

30 Great Number (4, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214157)

From Crossover's website:
  CrossOver Office currently supports more than 30 of the most popular windows productivity applications
 
Well, that's quite an acheivement but 30 productivity apps isn't "a vast number of Windows programs".

Re:30 Great Number (4, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214179)

"Supported" means that if it doesn't run, you get tech support. It also means they will continue to run properly in future versions. There are plenty of other apps that are unsupported which work fine though.

Re:30 Great Number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214227)

Well, that's quite an acheivement but 30 productivity apps isn't "a vast number of Windows programs".

Thirty is vastly more than most people actually
use productively.

About 28 more, to be precise.

Talk about advertising (4, Informative)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214158)

The original posting overstates the abilities of Xandros.

Crossover office is a product you can buy and install on most Linux distros. It's a nicely patched up and packaged version of Wine.

As for being able to access Windows filesystems, the Linux kernel contains drivers for FAT, FAT32 and NTFS. I would be very suprised if this distro can write to NTFS safely as this is something that is still being worked on.

Re:Talk about advertising (1)

hoborocks (775911) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214251)

I would be very suprised if this distro can write to NTFS safely as this is something that is still being worked on.

Is it still being worked on? I'm still confused. I thought it was too, then I found this.

http://www.jankratochvil.net/project/captive/ [jankratochvil.net]

Re:Talk about advertising (2, Informative)

Hikaru79 (832891) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214393)

The Captive-NTFS project you linked to is a bit different than the linux-ntfs project the parent was thinking of. Captive-NTFS is an emulated version of Windows' own ntfs.dll . Linux-NTFS is a from-scratch implementation of the NTFS protocol, which is apparently quite well documented, so no reverse-enginnering was needed. The difference is like running Microsoft Office through Wine as opposed to using OpenOffice -- they both work, but you'd rather not do the former once the latter catches up.

Re:Talk about advertising (2, Interesting)

ssj_195 (827847) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214400)

"Proper" NTFS writing (i.e. working out how the NTFS file system is structured, and writing a reliable open-source driver to manipulate it based on this information) is probably a long way off - the current "writing" is basically limited to over-writing non-disjointed files with files of equal or lesser length, which is really not that useful. The method you linked to basically just employs Window's own driver to do the dirty work, so is a black-box solution which may or may not even be legal (very probably not, if you don't have a legal Windows install, but IANAL). I haven't tried it for almost couple of years, now, but at the time it was slow - like "200k/s writing speed", slow. It's doubtless improved since then, though.

Yeah, but... (0)

toygeek (473120) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214162)

Does it run Li... oh...wait... it IS linux. Gotcha.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214275)

The next question would probably be: Does it run Windows?

important questions that need to be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214171)

Yeah, but can you build a Beowulf cluster with this? Is it free? As in speech? As in beer? It it easy enough to use with beer? Lots of beer? Can you build a Beerwulf cluster to automatically distribute beer to the drinkers most ready for a refill? Can you do all that in Japan?

Re:important questions that need to be answered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214200)

I think the real question is if old people can do it in Korea?

This is infinitely dumb... (4, Insightful)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214187)

Lets say that it succeeds and you get a few hundred thousand moms and pops pulled over to Linux to run their Windows apps on this distro.

That is a few hundred thousand people who will eventually run into application support issues, driver issues, printing issues etc that they won't be able to turn to friends for help with.

That is a few hundred thousand people who will tell their friends that they tried Linux and it sucked.

The Linux community needs to concentrate on driver support, end user support and encouraging developers to migrate native applications to the platform. Anything else is just inviting failure.

Re:This is infinitely dumb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214231)

What are you talking about? Have you ever tried Xandros or Linspire at all?

Re:This is infinitely dumb... (1)

Osrin (599427) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214297)

Yes, both. Have you ever run a support organization looking after upwards of 3m PC users? :)

Re:This is infinitely dumb... (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214461)

Actually, driver support for desktops is getting a lot easier these days, because there's a really common motherboard chipset with all the necessary capabilities for someone who doesn't install any extra hardware.

Of course, having a program to configure the kernel for the hardware that's in it, as well as hotplug support for figuring out what unsupported device you've plugged in and building the module would be really nice, but it's a lot less necessary with the current state of the hardware world.

Credit where credit is due (3, Informative)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214190)

First off , This is great that they have had the fore sight to include the drivers to read and write NTFS .It is also very nice that they have included code weavers cross over office.This is great for getting some people to switch to linux , shame they didn't include cedega as well , which could of really completed the package , though this is a business edition.

But credit where credit is due , the article summary makes it seem like Xandros was responsible for these things.http://www.codeweavers.com/ [codeweavers.com] code weaver site , responsible of Crossover office and naturally a link to wine on which Cross over office is based http://www.winehq.com/ [winehq.com].
A link to the linux NTFS project http://linux-ntfs.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] (I assume this is the driver they are using , correct me if I'm wrong)
(Cross over office is a great product , It also has a rather pleasant installer in my experience.So you don't need to switch distros .)

Why Xandros, and not any other Distro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214192)

They are only offering the features of the Crossover plugin for 30days, (after which I'm guessing you have to pay for the plugin) or lose all windows program compatibility...

Mind as well stick any other distro, and just get the Crossover Plugin...

Cool (2, Interesting)

ArchAngel21x (678202) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214194)

It sounds like Xandros, with the help of Linspire, could really give Microsoft a run for its money. As Linux becomes more easy to use, I think it is more likely that Linux will take market share away from Windows than Mac. Why buy a new computer for a new OS when you can install a new OS on the computer you already have?

Next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214197)

Import all Windows application-specific settings & data into Linux applications (so user will stop using Windows ones).

e.g. Outlook accounts & mails => Thunderbird
MS Office language preference, templates => OpenOffice.org
Internet Explorer bookmarks => Firefox (if multiple Windows browsers are detected, ask user which one should be used as source)

photoshop? (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214198)

has anyone tried this with Photoshop?? it does say that it runs, but I want to know wether or not its worth it.. is it fast? can you use ANY windows app or ANY part of the CS ??? Maybe i'll just install Debian or Gentoo then use the Codeweaver's software..

Re:photoshop? (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214247)

The Codeweavers Cross Over software would be better.. might as well just buy that instead of something that resembles windows completely.. Even still, the CrossOver software is rated "Silver" on the Codeweavers website..

"Silver This application installs, and runs well enough to be usable. However we find it has enough bugs to prevent it from running flawlessly."

The road for Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214212)

..to become "user friendly" on the desktop is not paved with emulation of Microsoft's software.

This is a step in the wrong direction. How will the native software for Linux improve if the people who are migrating are still using Microsoft Office?

When I read this Friday it was... (1)

Kylere (846597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214224)

because it was part of the post entitled "Review of Consumer-Friendly Linux Distro" http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/05/07/29/2139202.s html?tid=106 [slashdot.org]

But anyone with an interest looked at their heavily linked off that review story on Xandros already, this is not news, it is a month old review that was made prior to that last linux distro review show by them here on slashdot.

desktop linux (1)

lpcustom (579886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214237)

I find it annoying when people say linux isn't ready for the desktop, or their mom and dad couldn't use linux. Compared to Windows, Linux is harder for "mom and dad" to break. Most of my family uses Windows. They are constantly needing help with their computers. I could set up a Debian Desktop for them that they couldn't break and would do everything they need a computer to do. If they had any probs, I could SSH in and fix it at a command line in no time. There are a few Distro's that try to make it easy for Windows users to migrate. These distro's tend to break nearly as easy as Windows. I tried Xandros and felt that the package selection was a little limited. They also basically just renamed some of the programs and gave it different icons and such. It is based on Debian so that, to me, is a plus. Compared to vanilla Debian though it seems lacking to me. Linux is my Desktop. How can it not be ready?

Re:desktop linux (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214430)

Compared to Windows, Linux is harder for "mom and dad" to break.
And it's also harder for mom and dad to use. Some people's time is worth more than f*cking with X to recognize your video card. That's why I switched from Linux back to Windows. Less rhetoric, less stupidity, more time for things that are important in life.
Recognize that not everyone is a computer programmer, and messing with some arcane operating system that promises the ultimate in user configurability is not one of their goals in life. Come, join us, move out of your parent's basement, take a shower, discover women...

You need to read no further... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214241)

...than this review to understand the challenge of deploying Linux as a desktop replacement.

The reviewer lists as a "Con" the fact that it has "No Gnome". Now, why exactly would a company that is trying to make a desktop replacement work seamlessly find some moronic need to include BOTH KDE and Gnome support? Does anyone really think that having two GUIs really enhances useability? It may enhance something, but it sure doens't enhance "ease of use".

Reviews of desktop Windows replacements that include the Con of "No Gnome" should not be respected. Clearly the reviewer doesn't get it. The rest of the conclusions should be discounted acordingly.

Windows software... (2, Interesting)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214244)

...really isn't a problem, especially if you're targetting you're average desktop user (excluding gamers, as ever). Word can be replaced with Open office writer with few problems, how many people use word because it has mail merge which you can link to an access database or because it has spellcheck?

The real problem is hardware thats not compatable out the box, most people will give up. I've run Mandrake for 2 months no problems (However took a year to get hardware sorted) until a couple weeks back when the computer moved upstairs and I added a wifi card. Its either Windows with its problems (not saying Linux is perfect, merely Linux's short comings don't affect my use of the computer) and net access, or Linux and no internet.

Untill hardware is supportted (And by no means is the *nix developers fault), it'll fail to get a foot hold.

And no, I'm not Linux savvy, I just know UT2004 gets more frames per sec in mandrake (Mandriva, silly, silly name) than XP2 and looks just as good to me, and firefox seems a little more responsive, not to mention CGI scripts/php in apache worked better than apache in windows. And thats what matters to me.

Spellcheck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214408)

how many people use word because it has ... spellcheck?

Er, not you, for one, clearly!!

Order in Chaos (2, Interesting)

markpapadakis (115698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214266)

"This is one of the most accessible distros to come along in awhile and it marks a big step forward in the progress on Linux on the desktop"

The majority of users have simple, finite needs. They want to be able to browse the net, check Email, chat with friends on IM networks, play music and view pictures, and write documents using Word. Occasionally, they want to play games.

Let's assume there is a Desktop Environment / Operation System that allows them to do all that:

o easily
o virus/trojan/spyware free
o through a gorgeous UI
o crash-free

We can easily exclude Windows from the list. Linux doesn't suffer from viruses / worms but does suffer from everything else. That leaves Mac OS-X. It may not be 100% crash-free but everything else is a given on this platform.

So, how does this Xandros edition make things better for those users? It simply introduces more windows problems to the already flawed Linux desktop experience.

Sure, it allows you to 'easily' run some windows applications directly. But is this really the way to go for making Linux more acceptable by the majority of users?

How about bridging the differences between the various DEs ( KDE, Gnome.. ) ? How about realizing all linux users are necessarily programming/systems gurus or wannabes ? Or even providing some nice, complete applications that don't require you to mess with .. text files and environment variables or even recompile them to get them to run ?

Hopefully, order will prevail the Linux 'anarchy' and something good will come out of all those fine efforts.

Well.. (1)

Sierpinski (266120) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214290)

Time for Microsoft to implement a new "innovative" filesystem type that is 'unfortunately' not compatible with previous Windows XP filesystem types.

Embrace.
Enhance.
Exterminate.

MS Will Implement an "innovative" file system (1)

sjvn (11568) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214388)

It's called WinFS (Windows File System). Fortunately, Microsoft couldn't get their act together in time for it to make Longhorn/Vista... whenever it's going to show up!

http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1640212,00.as p [eweek.com]

But, someday, somehow, MS will have a new, improved, and totally propritary file system to bedevil us with.

Steven

Great! (1)

rockytriton (896444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214311)

Great! Now we can get less than 1% of windows applications to run for only a little more than 50% of the price of windows!

Lacking GNOME is not a minus (2, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214331)

Xandros is meant to be a typical business os where things Just Work [tm], are simple and user friendly.

These distributions are much better off supporting only ONE desktop solution. The prime target of Xandros doesn't know what GNOME or KDE is, they just want to get their work done. Xandros chose KDE, which is not a bad choice, and did a good job integrating it.

Confusing the issue with two very different ways of using your computer is just not a good idea. It is better to completely integrate one solution.

This is also why Ubuntu should stick to one user interface with their official distribution, and leave KDE to the more unofficial Kubuntu.

For the more technical users / companies, there is always Red Hat, SuSE, Mandrake, Slackware, Gentoo, Debian, etc.

WTF? (3, Insightful)

smvp6459 (896580) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214343)

I can't really see what's different between this and major distribution from a commercial entity. I run SUSE 9.3 and it's got everything but crossover office (and Wine is fine for most tasks).

So:
- Four-click install with automatic disk partitioning [SUSE's just about got it]
- Industry-leading hardware detection & configuration [SUSE's got it]
- A single control center for all your settings [SUSE and many distros have got it]
- Shield your files from prying eyes with automatic home folder encryption [ok, it's not automatic in SUSE or most distros, but do you really want your mom and dad to encrypt their files?]
- Acquire images through the USB scanner support [sounds like most distros]
- Support for new nVidia and ATI PCI-Express video cards [sounds like nVidia and ATI]
- Recursively change properties of files in selected sub-directories [Sounds like Konqueror]
- New! Synchronize your system clock with a network time server [Holy shit, computers do this...wow what a novel idea]
- Xandros File Manager [ie konqueror]
- Xandros Disc Burner [ie k3b]
- Full server-accessed Windows networking [ie samba]
- StarOffice 7 with full commercial support [too cool for open office]
- Special Xandros edition of CodeWeavers CrossOver Office 3.0.1 [don't see the major advantages over a well setup version of wine]
- Xandros Networks updates [sounds like most distros]
- Get notified of updates immediately with the Xandros Networks panel applet [sounds like many distros]
- Startup and Trouble-shooting Guide [weee!]
- 380 page User Guide (PDF with download version) [sounds like they cheaped out...SUSE still gives you two solid books in addition to the PDFs].
- Access to a huge inventory of free Linux software [ie the Internet]
- 90 days e-mail installation technical support [ie we don't want you to call and talk to us, oh yeah and screw you that you may have hosed your system when ntfsresize failed and now you can't get online]

Crossover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214457)

- Special Xandros edition of CodeWeavers CrossOver Office 3.0.1 [don't see the major advantages over a well setup version of wine]

Try telling that to your grandmother.... and clearly you've never used Crossover. It's quite nice, actually.

The wrong direction (4, Insightful)

frodwith (904084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214356)

The idea that making Linux more compatible with Windows will make it "more ready for the desktop" is just plain wrongheaded. Linux as it stands is more than ready for the desktop. I use Debian on my desktop at home, and have never needed to boot into Windows to get anything done. Neither has my far-from-technophile wife. I actually find Debian to be much more user friendly than Windows and have been able to show several nontechnical people how to use it without problems (once it is set up and installed). Sure, people might miss the ability to play their favorite first-person-shooter, and openoffice.org or the gnome office tools might take a little getting used to for a Windows user, but this is a minor (and passing) inconvenience. The general feeling I get that making Linux act like Windows will make it ready for the desktop just makes me scratch my head in wonder. Are you all idiots? Linux is better than Windows. That's the whole point. Why try to make it act like an inferior system? Why even bother switching to Linux at all if you're just going to turn it into a poorly behaving Windows wannabe?

Windows Filesystem (2, Insightful)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214373)

Xandros not only can use Window's file system

I have never used Xandros, but are you implying installing linux on a Fat32 filesystem? Why would I want to use a filesystem that does not provide for permissions? If your just talking about mounting and accessing it, what distro doesn't? Every single dual boot system I have ever installed (Suse, Mandrake, RedHat, Fedora etc.) has detected and mounted the existing windows partition. My USB thumbrive mounts automatically in Fedora Core 4, it uses windows format. The only thing I really see different about Xandros is Codeweavers which I already have. I really don't see anything truly revolutionary here. Don't get me wrong I like linux but if you have seen one KDE/Gnome desktop you've seen them all. Every week a new screenshot gallery showing the same tired pictures of KDE, Gnome, OpenOffice etc makes it's rounds on all the linux sites. The only thing to me that has really made things easier recently is the move to Synaptic, APT, Yum, URPMI, Click & Run etc. But again they all do basically the same thing, some better than others but nothing earth shattering. What is so much better about Xandros that would make me want to dump PCLinuxOS? If your just trying to attract windows users, your going to have a hard time. Until Linux is pre-installed on Dell Desktops as a dual boot or cheaper option, your never going to get a windows user to switch.

Re:Windows Filesystem (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214474)

Fat32 is DOS's file system. Window's file system is NTFS, which does support many (but not all) permissions features. I don't know if something like softlinks could be done. NTFS does support hard links I think.

just dualboot (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214386)

i keep a 1 gig disk partition with Win98se for games and the occasional windows only app i need, but i disabled the network adapter in the Windows System config because i do not want or need windows to access the internet, i do not use windows very often anymore, i just stay booted in to Linux about 99% of the time...

Fraction of the cost?!?!? (2, Interesting)

Mr. BS (788514) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214392)

A quote from the Xandros website...Get full-featured Xandros for a fraction of the cost of Windows XP.

At $129 dollars per license...that's one helluva fraction!!!

Save your money! Use your fav linux distro and buy Crossover Pro for $75 bucks [codeweavers.com] if you need that functionallity!

The start button (1)

deathwombat (848460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214434)

WHERE IS IT?!!! I CANT FIND IT!!!!!!

*falls onto knees planet of the apes-style*

the bastards, they blew it up!!!!

*breaks into tears*

Why wont someone please think of the children?!!!

ooohhh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214456)

progress on Linux on the desktop.

I sense a new wave of annoying "Ready for the desktop!" buzzword overloads by people who can't handle choice.

Pictures (1)

flying_mushroom (775544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214479)

What on Earth...?! Are those really screenshots?!

Don't they know how to press Print Screen? (Yeah, it works on KDE too; go figure...)

Windows games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13214480)

I run Windows games under Linux (ubuntu) all the time...it's called Cedega. I didn't read through all the posts to see if anyone already mentioned this, so sorry if this is redundant.

Don't listen to lamers and trolls (1, Flamebait)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 8 years ago | (#13214482)

I used Xandros a while ago. While not the most recent version, even back then I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get a very functional KDE Linux system.

While I applaud the community's efforts to continue making Linux more user friendly, something we need to realise is that regardless of how much work we do, there are always going to be the "ready for the desktop" idiots churning out one article after another about how Linux isn't acceptable purely because it isn't 100% identical to Windows. Because of that, I think developers ought to stick to making improvements where they think they need to be made, rather than being dictated to by the "ready for the desktop" morons. These people are generally MS-only drones who can't think for themselves and are going to reject anything that isn't Windows on principle, so we shouldn't worry about trying to please them, because apart from anything else, we're simply never going to.

The main reason why I hate the phrase "ready for the desktop" so much is because it is completely subjective. Wtf is "the desktop", anywayz?
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