After trying pretty much every popular Linux distribution, I found that I had a disc from one of my magazines with LindowsOS on it and decided to give it a whirl just to see how it performed on one of my laptops.
The install process was as smooth as the company has hyped it up to be—I only had to choose one option (whether I wanted to partition the disk(s) manually or automatically) and away it went. Within ten minutes I was booting up my new installation. I was a bit surprised that Lindows only configures one user – I had a password to enter but I couldn’t choose who to login as. Then again, I suppose this is aimed at people who use Windows at home and probably don’t have user management.
The desktop certainly looks polished – by the looks of it a themed version of KDE 3 although it is similar to the Mac OSX demos that I have seen in places such as PC World. Everything is Lindows-branded – the Mozilla build provided has a different skin and is called “Lindows Internet Suite”, which I find to be a tad bit cheeky but in fairness the about: dialog mentions the Mozilla project.
Whilst the desktop does look great, I was disappointed with the poor configuration (which I would expect Lindows to do for me). The IM program (basically Gaim, but themed of course) wouldn’t let me login to my MSN account, whereas it has always worked on every other distro/machine I have used it on. Also, Lindows made the rash assumption that I was using a US keyboard, meaning that the @ sign and ” were swapped, amongst other things. The US-bias continued when Lindows assumed I was in some timezone other than GMT (or BST rather, but GMT should really be the default since it is the central timezone other than UTC) so my clock was messed up. Yes, I could easily change both of these but the point is that Lindows is trying to be friendly to Linux newbies and I expected better configuration.
All in all, Lindows is an impressive piece of software for those looking to migrate from Windows – but it’s too like Windows in its hand-holding for me and I’m not too impressed that you have to pay for updates either when I get these for free with other distros.