Installing Xandros

I finally got the new case from NewEgg the other day and Sarah's new PC is up and running. I installed Xandros Desktop 3.0 OCE on it yesterday and set about configuring it. I'm finishing up my configuration and customization today.

I'm going to post several entries about my experience with Xandros over the next week or two. I'll probably write an article summing them up later. Today, I'm a bit frustrated, so I'm going to talk about the bad part of my experience. I'll get to the good part later.

The first problem I ran into was configuring the e-mail client. Xandros uses Thunderbird as the default mail client, but also includes KMail. I decided that I'd set Sarah up with KMail, because (1) that's what I use, so I know how it works and (2) it integrates with the KDE address book, which integrates with KOrganizer, and all of them integrate with Kontact. I figured that this would be a snap, because I know that KDE includes a a control center module to set the default mail client, web browser, and so forth. The only problem was, Xandros removed that module! For a minute, I thought I was loosing my mind. But a quick trip to the Xandros forums confirmed that, yes, they had removed the module and nobody knew how to change the setting without it. Talk about a kick in the head.

The second problem was when I started trying to install software from the "unsupported Debian sources." The Xandros Network application actually has a checkbox to include Debian's APT sources when searching for packages. This is nice, because Xandros has a somewhat limited archive, and I wanted to get K3B and KOffice, among other things. The only problem was that a few of the packages I got from the Debian repositories, namely K3B and KOffice, didn't work. Oh, they installed without any problems, they just didn't run right. For instance, k3bsetup didn't run at all and KWord was fine untill I tried to press the right or left arrow buttons to move the cursor, at which point it would crash. In fact, after another trip to the Xandros forums, I even heard complaints that installing the KOffice packages from Debian had messed up some people's entire installations. How true that is, I don't know, but it did not inspire confidence.

So, it looks like if I want K3B and KOffice, I have to build them myself from source. What a pain. That also means that I need to figure out how to make a Debian package, because otherwise I'll be installing things outside the system package manager, which, in my experience, is usually a bad idea.

Oh, you know what else was lovely? When I installed the kernel sources (I needed them to build the drivers for my wireless card), the package dumped them in /usr/src without bothering to extract the archive. They were sitting right there in a bzip2 compressed tarball. And when I extracted them, they didn't include a config file. I was able to just copy the config file from /boot, but the point is that I shouldn't have to.

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