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The other evening, I decided to test installation of a Caldera OpenLinux 2.2 distro which came with a used book. The test machine was a Pentium 166 with 64 mb of ram.
After creating the boot disc, I selected a couple of options regarding the amount of hard drive space to use, keyboard and mouse, and programs to install. The system detected my ancient NEC xv14 monitor and ATI video card properly, and booted to the KDE desktop (version 1!). I would say that installation was no more difficult than SuSE 7.1 had been. The copyright of this release was 1999, and it looks very similar to the KDE on my SuSE 7.1 release from 2001, similar enough that I could find the control center and set up background, etc. Caldera appeared to offer more choices of video cards, monitors, etc than did SuSE (when installing SuSE on that machine, there was no option for NEC xv14, so I had to use VESA), and many, many cool wallpapers, compared to perhaps a dozen in SuSE.
On the downside, being an older distro, it only came with Netscape 4.5. SuSE came with 4.5, as well as Netscape 6, a huge improvement, plus Konqueror and Mozilla (neither as good as NS-6, IMHO). I suppose I can download NS-6 and install it though.
I don't hear much about Caldera on this forum, and from my initial experiences, it seems a shame.
However, I have tried SuSE 7.3, 8.0 and 8.1 and all of them have YET to disappoint me! In fact,i was sooo imprssed with SuSE it is now my officlail distro of choice.
So yes Caldera is great for that machine, but SuSE is way cool for a more powerful newer machine
I am strongly considering purchasing SuSE 8.2 when it comes out, as my overall experience with 7.1 was positive.
According to some reviews, 8.2 Professional comes with a cool SuSE logo T-shirt as well.
Distribution: Slackware 10, Fedora Core 3, Mac OS X
Well the last Caldera OpenLinux release was eDesktop 2.4, which was a pretty good distro for the business user. Had some nice tools and kept most technical stuff out of the way. A lot of the time it just worked which was nice. It was what I started with when it came to linux (using the 2.2 distro that you described from the back of the "Linux fro Dummies" book). The eDesktop was a vast improvement and seemed to follow the old slackware addage of not increasing the version count everytime Alan Cox releases another patch (as mandy and red hat often seem to do). It was a long time between 2.2 and eDesktop.
Unfortunately they changed their licensing and have drastically altered their business model. They're now called SCO UnixWare if memory serves and produce various unix solutions. Try a google. They are still fairly prominant in the business world I think but I know little bout that I'm afraid (some of us aren't allowed to leagally drink never mind make business decisions with SCO UNIXWare in mind).