The boot process for Linspire 5.10 was very easy and straight forward. The initial screen that appears prompts the user for three options - Linspire 5.0.59, redetect, and diagnostics. Redetect simply probes the entire system looking for new components and re-locates existing devices. Diagnostics is the equivalent to Microsoft Windows safe-mode for helping to diagnose system malfunctions. After the option is selected or ten seconds expire, a simple screen appears with a progress bar appears, as Linspire boots. Unlike previous versions of Linspire that were very sluggish at booting due to probing devices, Linspire 5.0 booted extremely fast. We found the time to be about 30 seconds from the time it started to the log-in manager. Overall, this aspect of Linspire was great but it would've been more helpful if during the boot process it was more descriptive on its status rather than showing a boring progress bar.
Now that we had logged into Linspire 5.0, we were ready to take a peek around. Even though most of us here at Phoronix prefer GNOME over KDE, our first impression of this desktop was slightly impressive with its nice standard icon set with an overall sleek appearance of the desktop. From last checking out Lindows 4.5 several months ago, Linspire developers have substantially tweaked and improved much of the operating system. After getting into Linspire, we first looked through the Launch menu. Most of the different categories and programs were well laid out, so they were very easy to fine. Linspire even had the My Documents, Recent Documents, and other similar features to Microsoft Windows XP start menu. When browsing under Run Programs > Internet > Internet Connection Tools, we were very disappointed to see the number of dial-up ISP programs. Although this may be nice if you use one the eight ISPs listed, as they're ported to Linux, but we feel this simply may be a ruthless attempt by Linspire to marginally increase their revenue.
Next, we tried out the CNR Warehouse for ourselves. We simply launched the warehouse from the icon located on the bottom KDE toolbar. From the CNR (Click-N-Run) Warehouse we were able to browse the programs we were interested in by category, after finding a couple of programs that interested us we simply had to click them in order for the download and installation to occur. Overall, this process was very simple and easy, just like apt or yum. The CNR Warehouse can also be viewed from Linspire's website.
We couldn't help but to play some games while testing Linspire 5.0. As Linspire only includes three basic games we next turned to the CNR Warehouse. Some of the games available at the warehouse are Quake 3, DH: Lore Invasion, Doom 2, and also Tux Racer. We were pleased to see a few of our freeware favorites also available through the CNR Warehouse, Cube and America's Army. Looking to see how well these default ATI Linspire drivers would hold up in some true 3D FPS gaming, we installed the Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo (3334). After downloading the demo, we simply had to double-click the icon in order to begin the installation process; we didn't need to even launch the Konsole ourselves. To our surprise, the game ran great, FPS wise while having a decent image quality, with the default Linspire drivers for ATI cards. We were experiencing no graphical problems at all.
Linspire's Internet Suite is based off of the Mozilla web-browser, so when we used it we didn't have much to conform much. Throwing in a music CD, we were pleased to see Lsongs launch and the music began to play. The office suite used by Linspire is OpenOffice 1.1.3.
It's time for Mandrake to move over, Linspire is definitely the easiest Linux distribution for beginners to learn. We probably wouldn't recommend any existing Linux user to switch from their current distribution of choice over to Linspire; however, Linspire is definitely a welcome sign for any existing Microsoft Windows user who is interesting in making the switch over to Linux freedom. This distribution isn't exactly free. Linspire 5.0 is available via digital download for $49.95, $59.95 retail version, or Linspire with a CNR membership for $89.95 and $99.95 respectively. The hardware support and included packages is something to praise. Linspire developers definitely deserve applauding for the fabulous job on ease of use.
· Easy to use
· Hardware Support
· CNR Warehouse database
· Stock ATI Lindows drivers worked
· Quick Installation
· To basic for current Linux users
· Cost - Although not expensive as Windows
· CNR Membership costs money
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Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10