Makulu Linux 6 MATE hands-on: A good path to Linux for XP users

Makulu Linux 6 MATE hands-on: A good path to Linux for XP users

Summary: A new release, a new installer, and a new desktop makes this a fun and beautiful option.

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I wrote about Makulu Linux 5 Xfce a couple of weeks ago, and at the time I said that I loved the distribution but I hated the installer. Now, thanks to a lot of hard work, Makulu Linux 6 has been released, with an updated (hopefully improved and simplified) installer and a new MATE desktop added to the Makulu Linux family.

The download is on the Makulu Linux MATE page, as a hybrid ISO image of roughly 1.8GB which can be burned to a DVD or copied directly to USB stick. It is a Live image, so you can boot and run it to test Makulu on your hardware, and to see if the MATE desktop interests you. 

The MATE Live desktop is shown below, it is exactly what I expect from Makulu — beautiful wallpaper, bright colourful icons, and lots of interesting-looking additions scattered around the screen. The Installer icon and an Installation Guide are on the upper left corner of the screen.

Makulu 6 MATE
Makulu Linux 6 MATE Live

The updated installer is one of the most important parts of this release. My comments about the installer in Makulu 5 were not very kind; I thought it was seriously over-complicated and intimidating for inexperienced users (or even moderately experienced users).

But a Linux installer is not something that you want to go casually monkeying around with because the consequences of making a mistake or getting it wrong are severe. It looks like Makulu has done a good job in this regard, because rather than try to make huge changes to the installer, they have taken the approach of splitting the existing installer into two installation modes.

Makulu Installer
Installer Mode Selection

When you start the installer, the first screen asks you to choose between "Easy" and "Expert" installation mode. "Easy" mode only asks has three steps:

  • Run Gparted to partition disks, if necessary
  • Select the Root partition
  • Set the hostname

It goes off and does most of the installation, and then it comes back and asks for real name, login name, user password, and root password.

This is a huge improvement for inexperienced (or impatient) users over the installer in Makulu 5. Actually, as far as I can tell, the "Expert" mode of this installer is still the same as the Makulu 5 installer. But I have a minor personal rant, and a couple of comments and warnings about this process.

First, for experienced users, you need to be aware that if you take the "Easy" installation path, it will format an ext2 filesystem and it will install the Grub2 bootloader to the MBR of your disk. If you want ext3 or ext4 filesystems (sorry, no other options), or if you want the bootloader installed to the root filesystem (or not installed at all), then you have to use the "Expert" installation.

Second (here comes the rant), why ask only part of the questions, then go off and process for a while, and then come back with more questions which could just as easily have been asked along with the first batch? This really irritates me, and I don't see any sense in it. You've got me on the line. I'm answering your questions.  Please, just ask me everything you need to know right then and there, and then go do your job.

When I'm done answering questions, I expect to go and pay attention to something else, and when I come back I want the job to be done, really done, not just partly done and sitting there waiting with more questions (end rant).

Post Install
Post Install Setup Guide

When you reboot the installed system and login, you learn that the interrogation is not over yet. The first window that comes up is this "Post Install Setup Guide".

Now, let me explain something about my writing here. I intended to make this another gallery post, with a screen shot of each step in the installatoin and configuration dialog.

That turned out to be impractical — no one would ever slog through that many pages of a gallery. So, I'm showing you this first shot of the post-installation setup, and I will just list each of the steps in the process:

  • Welcome to Post Installation Setup (shown here)
  • What we are going to do
  • About to setup Repositories
  • Select Repository Location (Country)
  • Want to apply current updates?
  • Updates done
  • Are you running in a VM?
  • Chrome for VirtualBox will be removed
  • Do you want to keep default Makulu software?
  • You selected to keep the Makulu software
  • Do you want Compiz and Emerald animation?
  • Animation will be on
  • Do you want Variety wallpaper enabled?
  • Variety enabled
  • Do you want Docky enabled?
  • Docky will be enabled
  • Do you want Update Manager on?
  • Update Manager will be on
  • Do you want to configure the TimeZone?
  • Choose TimeZone geographic area
  • Choose TimeZone city
  • Do you want to configure the keyboard settings?
  • Choose keyboard model
  • Choose keyboard language
  • Choose keyboard layout
  • Choose key functions (AltGr, Compose, X restart)
  • Configure locales?
  • Choose locales
  • Choose default locale
  • Run Setup Guide again on next boot?  (Oh, God, no, please, anything but that...)
  • Setup has been removed from startup (thank you SO much)
  • Run driver manager (you mean we're not done yet? Seriously?)
  • No driver check will be run
  • Setup done, now reboot

That's a lot of questions — 34 by my count, and I'm sure there were a few places there where there could have been a few more if I had answered differently — and a lot of what I consider unnecessary confirmation of what I just selected. 

I mean, you asked me the question, and I answered it, do I really need to be told what I just said? The advantage of this is that you really get to choose what you want and what you don't, and pretty much how everything will be set up. 

The disadvantage, though, is that you risk confusing, overwhelming, or even terrifying the user with all of this information. Or just plain boring them to death. At the beginning of this post, I said that I hoped this might be a way for Windows XP users to start using Linux.

I still hope that is true, because once you get through the installation, Makulu really is a wonderful distribution, and I think Windows users could find it very comfortable and easy to use. But I am afraid that a lot of them might get put off by what they perceive to be a difficult and complex installation process, even though it might seem quite simple and straightforward to an experienced Linux user.

(Getting up onto my soap box) I don't understand why Makulu doesn't use the Linux Mint Debian installer. The Mint developers have said that the designed it for portability and adaptability to other distributions, and that they would be happy for anyone else to use it. It is clear and simple, has lovely graphics, asks for only the information that is really necessary to perform the installation, and it works very well. I know that Makulu includes a lot of stuff that is not in Mint Debian, and the temptation is strong to make all of that configurable on installation, but if you want to attract new users, keep it simple

You've already done a good job of including the configuration for that stuff in the menus, so just choose some good defaults to start with, and put a Configuration Guide on the desktop of the installed system.  (Gets down from soap box)

I know this all sounds very negative about the installer, so let me summarize it this way. This installer, with "Easy Installation Mode", is a significant improvement over the previous release. Some people, such as me, may still not be entirely pleased with it. But it is certainly good enough, it will get the job done reliably, and you only have to deal with it once, then you can get on to really using Makulu Linux, and that's where the real fun starts.

The MATE desktop on the installed system looks like this:

Makulu MATE
The Makulu Linux MATE Desktop

That is the MATE Application menu, showing commonly used Places and System commands, and then with a cascading menu of applications by category. You can click "Favorites" at the top right to change to a simple list of commonly used items. To add anything from the menus to the Favorite list, you can either right-click on it and choose "Add to my Favorites", or you can drag-and-drop it to the Favorites label. Right-clicking also gives you the chance to add an item to the panel (bottom of the screen) or to the desktop.

Across the top of the screen is the "Docky" launcher, which is similar to the MacOS desktop launcher.  The icons in it will expand and contract as you sweep the cursor across them.

The bottom panel should look and work in a way that is familiar to Windows XP users, with the MATE menu button at the left side (as with the Windows "Start" button), then a group of "Quick Launch" icons just beside that. At the right side of the panel there are a series of status and control icons, for things like volume, battery, network, date/time and various others. At the right end of the panel, basically mirroring the MATE menu button, is a button to bring up the "Slingscold" launcher display.

Makulu Linux
The Makulu Slingscold Launcher

This is essentially a graphic alternative to the MATE cascading menus. Everything available is listed; in this case, there are eight pages of icons that can be selected across the bottom of the screen, or you can enter search terms in the input field at the top to filter the icon presentation.

What else can I say about the desktop? Well, it has Conky included to display the date/time and a "fortune"-style message of the day on the wallpaper; it has Compiz and Emerald enabled for full desktop effects, including things such as "wobbly windows", transparent windows, window open/close effects, and all sorts of fun stuff. The important thing is, it should be easy and intuitive to use.

As for application contents, it is pretty similar to the Makulu 5 Xfce distribution I looked at previously:

  • Linux kernel 3.13.7
  • X.org X server 1.15.0
  • MATE 1.8
  • Chromium AND Iceweasel browsers
  • Thunderbird mail/news reader
  • Kingsoft Office Suite
  • Audacious music player
  • VLC media player
  • Pitivi video editor
  • Handbrake media transcoder
  • Image Magick graphic tools
  • Pinta image editor
  • WINE Windows application compatibility
  • Adobe Reader
  • Adobe Flash player (and plugin)
  • Lots more utilities, games, controls...

As I said about Makulu 5 Xfce, this is a very good selection of applications. I can only think of two things that I might consider "missing" - gimp for graphic editing, and some sort of photo management program. But of course as with any good Linux distribution, both of these are just a few clicks away in the package manager. I just did a couple of quick searches in synaptic, and of course gimp is there (duh), and simply searching for "photo" produces a very long list including shotwellf-stop and various others.

Here's the bottom line — Makulu Linux 6 MATE rocks. It's solid, it's easy, it's beautiful, and it's fun. The amount of work that has been put into it is obvious. I started this post by asking if this might be a good path to Linux for Windows XP users. Now I can answer that — and not only for XP users, but for anyone else as well. Try it.

Further reading

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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39 comments
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  • Just what the Linux world needs...

    ...yet another distribution with a different set of uninstalled applications and settings.

    The amount of time that has been spent duplicating work could have solved Linux's main barrier issues many times over, a long, long time ago. For all their talk of taking over the desktop, the Linux folks don't seem to understand what's holding the OS back from doing just that, and so all they offer are endless different variations of the same exact thing.

    Preinstalled applications (called bloatware on any other OS, but oddly not on Linux) and different window skins are not going to move the bar. Making the OS easier and more consistent to install, manage and use will.

    And I say all this as a Linux user, but from experience trying to get non-techie family members to use it, it's still so very far from ready for general public consumption.
    PC987
    • That was supposed to be...

      ...with a different set of PREinstalled... auto-correct fail right there.
      PC987
      • Sounds like you are against choice

        Windows "itself" is bloated. What do you suggest for luring Windows XP users over....an empty distribution with no applications whatsoever? I think the author said the .ISO image is 1.8GBs so how much bigger is that than the Windows 7 .ISO image? Oh, its not bigger. I see.
        Every anti-linux comment repeats the same thing, "Not ready for public consumption". Maybe true but are they going in the right direction? I say yes.
        j4w4
      • As a long time Linux distro user...

        I absolutely agree with what you say. Until the so-called "Linux community" can decide to get behind/develop one (preferably semi-rolling) distro and push it solely for commercial use, there won't be a viable "Linux alternative" for XP users and any other Windows users for that matter. At least no more than there is now.

        This doesn't mean things can't stay as they are. One of the things that's great about the world of Linux distros is that there *is* so many choices. But it's also it's greatest weakness as well. But we can have both, one distro for the masses and the old "way-too-many-choices" for the rest of us. It's not just either or.

        (sigh) I don't see it happening though.
        bandersnatch42vt
    • Re: Just what the Linux world needs....

      ...yet another distribution.

      Absolutely I totally agree. Some would claim choice is good but I am of the opinion it has a detrimental effect upon the adoption of Linux on the Desktop.

      Makulu Linux does look like an interesting and very polished distro. and no doubt another Ubuntu off spin (of which there are many).

      Taking advantage of the end of support for XP much pushing has been taking place regarding the likes of Linux Mint but Makula Linux looks to be a credible option as well. I will certainly test it out on a Virtual Machine just because it looks interesting.

      Incidentally I discovered a gem of a distro. recently in the shape of elementary OS being very similar to OS X in appearance. Certainly a credible option for Mac Users with old Hardware ie. pre Snow Leopard.
      5735guy
      • Not an Ubuntu derivative

        Makulu Linux is certainly NOT an Ubuntu off spin. I stated this clearly in the first post about it, covering the Xfce release. I should have repeated that important fact here - my bad.

        Thanks for reading and commenting.

        jw
        j.a.watson@...
      • LOL!

        Further makes my point from above... So you also believe that choice has a detrimental effect upon the adoption of Linux on the Desktop... and yet, ironically, the gem of a distro you discovered recently could not have existed without the diversity of the ecosystem which you feel is detrimental to Linux adoption.

        Considering that some developers are trying to imitate and others are trying to innovate, I wonder exactly what direction should these projects take in order to focus efforts towards one goal, that is the goal of market dominance and I further wonder how that goal is compatible with the goal of creating better software?
        techadmin.cc@...
    • I cannot agree with you more

      If you combine the amount of time, effort and money of all Linux distributions, it will have to be the most monumental task in the history of human kind. I tried so many times Linux. Most of the problems are driver related. All linux needs is full OEM support. I wasted countless hours trying to make a 3g card work. I use Linux for my servers, but cant recommend linux as an every day machine. Unless you are retired and have to play. Installing Linux, always makes me feel like a child. The feeling of adventure. But after a while, when I want all my hardware to work, I have to go back to reality, back to MS junk.
      ilovepie
      • I often hear this complaint about driver issues on Linux

        I understand how it can be frustrating when that one driver you want to work doesn't work. What I don't understand is why you would drop the OS just for that one piece of hardware just because it works on Windows. I've worked with Windows since the days of MSDOS. I've seen my fair share of issues with how a piece of hardware works or rather doesn't work with Windows. The solution, historically, has always been to dump the hardware, not the OS.

        Now considering all of the fine hardware that does work with Linux including much hardware that Windows stopped supporting several versions ago Linux takes an awful lot of criticism for not supporting this piece of hardware or another. The simple fact is that Linux supports more hardware out of the box than Windows ever did and works flawlessly from one hardware platform to another more often than Windows ever did. I have booted Linux on hundreds of desktops, laptops and even a few netbooks over the last 7 years using boot CDs then later bootable USB drives. It is astounding how few driver issues I've had. Mostly it just boots up and works without even prompting you to install any drivers. It is sad to hear that anyone would just drop a potentially positive change just to stick with a piece of hardware that wasn't supported especially in light of all the hardware I had to swap out over the years that was not supported by the latest release of Windows.
        techadmin.cc@...
    • Different kind of 'bloatware'

      You say 'as a linux user', but your words contradict your so-called 'linux user' experience. The problem with pre-installed applications on Windows machines and Linux/Mac machines is that OEMs are typically paid to load these programs on Windows machines in order to subsidize the cost of the hardware, so that they can sell systems at competitive prices. So many of those pre-installed applications are trials, 'free-to-play' and yet another system updater program to go along with the inherently broken update model that Windows users are faced with (like the numerous system tray apps, e.g. java that beg you to update them every few weeks). On the other hand, pre-installed programs on linux machines are fully functional and probably even desired depending on what your preferences are. You can easily get distros that feature a minimal set of installed programs, but many new users don't know what linux has to offer in terms of programs, so loading them with programs for each task is more desirable. The reason for the numerous linux distros is what your 'cup of tea' is, you can usually find a distro that's 'right for you', whether it be a solid basic out-of-box distro that makes it easy to add things (like Ubuntu), a fully featured and loaded distro like this distro, or a more power-user oriented distro like Gentoo/Arch. I'm sick of hearing arguments that say that 'if everyone just put their effort into solving linuxes main problems instead of making more distros...'. That wouldnt even work. Not everyone that makes distros can do the kind of programming needed to solve these issues or even has access to the low-level hardware information needed to solve hardware compatibility issues. It would be like asking the guys who do the art assets (models and textures) for a game to try and fix programming errors in the game because there arent enough programmers to write stable and thorough code. Big logical fallacy. As to 'variations of the same thing', you miss out on the choice that linux has to offer. Your workflow in MATE will be entirely different than what it would be like in KDE, Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome, LXDE, Pantheon, etc. Each one innovates in its own ways. Linux has its share of problems and it's not totally ready for the general public, but you're completely off-the-mark on why exactly that is.
      Zeroangelmk1
      • Java updates...

        If Java updates only came every few weeks, I would be happy. Sometimes it feels more like every few hours.

        Thanks for reading and commenting.

        jw
        j.a.watson@...
      • Absurd

        Preinstalled applications are preinstalled applications. In one case, and OEM was paid to include them, in another, the distro maker(s) decided to install them based on their own personal preference. It's really splitting hairs to say one is bloat and the other isn't.

        Choice is always good, but I think you're missing the point. This article suggests Makuku is a good option for XP users. It might be a great choice for an existing Linux user who wants THOSE specific programs and THAT particular desktop skin, but for a typical Windows user, Makulu is no better than any other Linux distro.

        Consider your own list of desktop environments - MATE, KDE, Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome, LXDE, Pantheon. Seven different UI's. Each with about the same level of refinement and usability as an automobile from the 1950's. Do they get the job done? Sure. Do they offer the general public the feel of a superior OS? Not even close.

        I've not had a single Linux install that hasn't needed some degree of manually editing of config files, be it for file sharing, display settings or what have you. While I don't personally mind doing it, there's simply no way a typical Windows user is going to be willing to, even for the option to choose between 7+ different desktop environments. Surly the combined efforts of the developers of SEVEN different desktop environments could have worked out a standard system to configure basic OS settings.

        You have to remember, again, that this article is about Linux's suitability to general Windows users. You have to evaluate the problems solved and, more importantly, not solved by yet another distro in the context of those users. If none of the existing issues are solved, then to a general Windows user, the existence of yet another choice IS meaningless.
        PC987
    • I see no reason to slam Linux

      simply because people come up with different distributions/applications that do essentially the same things. Yes there will be duplication of effort but there will also be new and better implementations that will come out of it.

      Distribution maintainers simply take what they consider to be the best of those applications and package them with an installer that pre-installs what they consider to be the best choice of applications. This is nothing like bloat-ware installed by PC manufacturers, not because it is a preferred application by a large percentage of the user base, but because someone paid them to include it in the system and it is often unused by most end users because it was never considered a preferred application. There are distributions that contain different choices for the pre-installed applications as well as distributions that have no pre-installed applications so that the end user has complete control of what gets installed and what doesn't. It is also a trivial process to remove multiple applications from a distro and substitute your own from the repositories. "sudo apt-get remove firefox banshee gthumb; sudo apt-get install opera rhythmbox geeqie" will very quickly replace the default web browser; media player and picture viewer/organizer in a Debian derivative distro. A redhat derivative distro has similar functionality in yum.

      Yes, there are two package managers offering similar functionality therefor duplication of effort but your claim that this is keeping Linux from taking over the desktop market is lost when you try to work out how these duplicated options in various linux distros actually make each distro superior from a management perspective and yet there are no options at all like this in the desktop market leader. Surely, without the work being split into hundreds of projects, the desktop market leader should have a one to many solution ratio where the one solution is superior to the twenty solutions on Linux? Instead we see twenty on Linux and no option on windows at all.

      I think that its perfectly alright to have multiple web browser, media player, sound, video and image editor projects on Linux. There are choices like this on the Windows platform too. I also think that its perfectly OK for there to be multiple Linux distributions because that's where we don't have a lot of other choices in the Windows world. On Windows, if we don't like the OS we're stuck with it anyway because we can't run the apps on any other platform but if I don't like where Ubuntu is going I can still use my apps on Fedora... I have a choice because there are other people working on functionality that has already been implemented in another project. I wouldn't want to see that go away only to see the project managers take it in another direction and leave me with no choice.

      Those who have had limited choices as there main... uh, choice have a difficult time seeing the advantages of freedom of choice and often see it as a disadvantage. There are plenty of challenges holding Linux back from dominating the desktop market but a diversity of choice is not one of them. I would much rather see Linux become the best desktop OS rather than the most used one perhaps on its journey to becoming the best it may become a more used desktop OS and maybe even the most used one. However, it will not get anywhere by limiting the diversity of the ecosystem.
      techadmin.cc@...
    • Microsoft puts the squeeze on Windows to shoehorn it into 16GB devices

      http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247647/Microsoft_puts_the_squeeze_on_Windows_to_shoehorn_it_into_16GB_devices?source=CTWNLE_nlt_mobilew_2014-04-14

      With most Linux Mint and most other distros the minimum requirement is 4.4Gb free space. The above article show MS trying to squeeze Win 8.1 to 16Gb and even 32Gb! We can be pretty sure that this "limit" has not even started to include MS Office or Photoshop and either of these alone will beat any one Linux distro for disk capacity gobbled up.

      With all the software I need under Linux (Gimp, Libreoffice, Inkscape, Blender, Scribus, Openshot, XnView, Kingsoft Office Suite [newly added to test], Handbrake, VLC, to name a few), I have used 7.5 Gb on this computer and never exceeded this in any other Linux installs. I don't call this bloatware. Even with this "bloatware", a Linux distro like Linux Mint completes its install on a single-core Athlon PC with 1.5Gb ram in under 50 minutes.

      It's the beauty of the different flavours of Linux distros that we are spoilt for choice. Try and tell Ford, GM or Toyota to put out only 5 models. Walk into a nice restaurant or eatery and find that you have only 5 items on the menu.
      orionds
  • No Linux is like Windows

    Most honest Linux users would never tell you any Linux distro will be like any Windows. Sure, you may find similar user interface styles and it may provide a more familiar feel to a XP user then say Windows 8 would. But the common ground ends there. People using XP might be using programs like iTunes, MS Office, Skype, or many other programs not typically available to a Linux user from their package down loader. Yes, you can argue that Wine or a virtual machine might help with some of that. Or that Linux offers some really capable alternatives. Which I could concur that is true. But when you think about it. A XP user has refrained from even upgrading to Windows 7 so how on Earth would they decide to move to Linux? This is not about weather Linux is good or bad. This is about the fact that a XP user would most likely not make such a dramatic switch to Linux when they won't even move on to a more familiar and easier upgrade to Windows 7.
    JohnnyES-25227553276394558534412264934521
    • What if the decide they have to move?

      This is an interesting comment, and I hadn't considered it from this perspective before. You are correct, whatever their reasons for not changing, people who are still using XP are almost certainly still using some equally old applications. So the choices they have before them now are pretty clear: continue with XP, even though it will no longer be updated by Microsoft (I suspect that a LOT will make this choice), or change to something else, and that choice is likely to involve some very significant application changes in addition to the operating system change itself. I think this presents at least as much of an opportunity for LInux as the operating system itself does; Office XP is a heck of a lot closer to LibreOffice than it is to Office 2013 or Office 365.

      I agree with your basic statements about Linux and Windows, by the way. That is why, when I wrote about Zorin OS not long ago, I kept finding myself asking "why do they say this is so much better/easier for Windows users than any other Linux distributions or desktop"? I think Linux is a good, usable and viable alternative for Windows users because it is easy, intuitive and flexible. I don't think it is necessary (or even possible) to create a Linux distribution which is a "Windows clone" just to get ordinary users to try it. That is really not where the obstacle lies.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      jw
      j.a.watson@...
    • Why do you say "dramatic" switch?

      How much different would the user experience really be from Windows XP? It doesn't sound like it would be all that much different to me. How hard is it to launch a browser, email client, or media player application on Linux?

      The reason "average" people don't move on is because they just want a computer that works. They don't care about every detail of the operating system. ZDnet has been publishing article after article about how XP is dead and the second of coming of Christ will occur if everybody doesn't burn their XP based system before its too late. That's why people(a lay person even more so out of fear if they read ZDNet at all) might have a motivation to migrate from Windows XP to a good alternative OS.
      But I would assume that most people who don't care about the details of their OS won't be reading ZDNet. Thank God.
      j4w4
    • "Moving" to the GNU/Linux desktop is unnecessary for Windows XP users

      Especially, if a Windows XP user has applications that [s]he wants to continue running. Better options include:

      o install the GNU/Linux desktop and dual-boot with Windows XP
      o boot (preferably, to RAM) a GNU/Linux LiveCD/DVD

      And, at a minimum, use the GNU/Linux desktop for sensitive activities such as online banking/trading/purchases, receiving/sending email, etc. Conducting general Internet surfing would also be much safer with the GNU/Linux desktop.

      P.S. Makulu Linux, with its large ISO size, does not strike me as a good candidate for booting to RAM for the vast majority of Windows XP users. Both Puppy Linux and Debian's Xfce/Lxde Live ISO's are much better candidates. Why boot to RAM? The OS runs both faster and more smoothly.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
    • Linux is expensive

      I think a Windows XP user would be the most absolute fool to upgrade to any flavor of Linux, because he is likely to have hardware that will will no longer work. Just for interest, I installed Mint Linux without a problem, but getting it to work with my scanner and printer was an exercise in futility that I soon gave up. There was absolutely no printer drivers available for Linux and every single one of the ones available for the scanner gave me a big red error message about some mumbo-jumbo of a missing library without telling me any other things that might have been informative.

      Such a thing has never happened to me with any flavor of Windows or Mac OS. This lack of the ability to use existing hardware extends not only to peripherals like scanners and printers, which at some expense might be exchanged with something that does work with Linux, but other items such as wireless cards and video interfaces that are not easily exchanged with something else. I can see why Linux has never gone anywhere and never will with normal every day non-geek users.
      arminw
      • A matter of luck or ...

        What scanner and printer do you have? Linux is not perfect for peripherals but it is rapidly improving. Even the networked Ricoh multifunction copier/printer/scanner we have was automatically recognized and installed.

        For Epson printers and scanners, the driiver is automatically downloaded and installed. I just recieved by mail a China-manufactured wi-fi dongle that supports Linux and comes with a driver disk for Linux as well as Windows and the Mac.
        orionds