Beginner-friendly Linux OS: Desktop/LX

Lycoris Desktop/LX is a distribution of Linux aimed firmly at desktop users, especially those migrating from Windows to Linux for the first time. The distribution fits on a single CD and includes all of the basic applica-tions needed for day-to-day desktop use.

Click here to see a screen shot.

Installing Desktop/LX is a straightfor--ward process. Novice users may encounter some trouble with the large number of questions posed by the installation wizard; however, the default values are sensible and the accompanying documentation provided by Lycoris is excellent. Lycoris does not allow the user to select the packages installed by the distribution, instead offering a one-size-fits-all model which is ideal if you're new to Linux. The installation took about 20 minutes and came in under 1.5GB of disk space.

Lycoris is based on the KDE desktop, which has been designed to be familiar to Windows users. All applications have been identified by their task rather than name under the Start button. The tweaks added by Lycoris to the KDE desktop are nice, although not revolutionary. Most other distributions such as Red Hat and Mandrake have made similar usability improvements.

Two add-on packs are available for the Lycoris distribution: a productivity pack which includes the OpenOffice.org office suite and 40 excellent com-mercial bit-stream fonts, and a games pack which includes several Linux games and a one-month subscription to Transgaming WineX (www.transgaming.com). This utility allows over 150 Windows games to run under Linux. Installing the add-on packs was easy - after inserting the CD, an installation wizard automatically started and installed the entire add-on to my system. I could immediately use all of the features without a reboot.

Overall, Lycoris is a great distribution if you've never used Linux before. However, it focuses on the familiar, preferring commercial applications to lesser-known free alternatives. Lycoris offers an easy introduction to Linux, but the limited range of software included means the distribution is probably best suited to first-time users.

In brief: Lycoris Desktop/LX

Desktop/LX is a Linux operating system distribution for first-time Linux users. Applications to perform most common functions are included. Although well-designed for an entry-level audience, power users may find it limiting.

Price: $US40, ProductivityPak $US50, GamesPak $US35

Vendor: Lycoris

URL: www.lycoris.com

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Alastair Cousins

PC World

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