After having successfully configured Mandrake 9.2
to process Chinese in a western environment, I was curious to find out whether I, still being relatively new to Linux, would be able to install and configure a Chinese Linux OS in such a way that it also would be able to process western languages.
So, having a spare Compaq Pentium III (Coppermine), 531 Mhz, with 128 MB RAM and a 6 GB IDE harddisk (no sound, no modem, no graphic card however), I decided to see if I could install Red Flag Linux 4.0
For what it's worth, this is an account of my experience....
I obtained the Red Flag Linux 4.0 (HOT) version from an ISO purchased from one of these providers that supply you with downloaded iso versions for a fee. The version comes on one CD ROM.It comes with
Linux Kernel 2.4.20-8 i686
Xfree version 4.3.0
KDE version 3.1-27 Red Flag
The set up routine is completely in Chinese.
It ships with Diskdruid and Fdisk but as my HD was empty and did not intend to have windows installed on the same HD, this was all relatively simple.
Once I had made all the appropriate choices, the installation process itself took only about 1 hour.
Red Flag apparently is designed to run as a Chinese environment only, so during installation you do not get the choice to allow for any localisation. Having said that, you're on your own now, in case you don't understand Chinese....
As far as I can detect all hardware components (LPT/COM/USB ports, CD-Rom and floppy disk) were detected properly. From the hardware side, the only bug I encountered is the fact that not having had any chance to localise during installation, the system assumes you're using a standard US keyboard. Having a European keyboard myself, this can be annoying and I still have to figure out where to change the options for the keyboard setting as the kde control center does not supply this option either, nor is there any equivalent to the mandrake control center.
Using Red Flag
The standard (complete) installation of this iso version comes with a rather limited choice of applications.
I can live comfortably with the fact that it ships with KDE as the only GUI, but I find it annoying that there is also a very limited choice of KDE applications: Kword and Kwrite are not included.
As a matter of fact, apart from various editors and Kmail, no office applications at all are included.
The IME works perfect and gives you the choice to input English, Pinyin, WuBi ZhengMa and something called “zhineng ABC”. From the way it looks and works , I'd say we're looking at something like SCIM as input manager.
Further software packages installed include: PDF viewer, GIMP, Ark, Ksnapshot, Kooka, CD and MP3 software, Konqueror, Kget, gFTP, KPPP, Mozilla 1.3, Kmail, Gaim.
By doing the standard installation you get a fully functional Linux System in Chinese. One probably would be able to set up a user in English by changing the locale and i118 files (analogue to setting up a Chinese environment in Mandrake 9.2) but as I set it up on a pc without internet connection and given the fact that I miss various tools I've got addicted to in the mean time, like the midnight commander, I'm not even tempted to make experiments.
The downloadable iso as such works fine but missing any office applications it does not provide you with a “turn-key” ready made solution to use it as an office work station. And besides, everything being in Chinese, you're not choosing the simplest way to get around. Compared to other distributions that supply you with office applications that you can perfectly use on a stand alone machine without an internet connection, Red Flag, lacking office applications on the iso version, is no alternative.
Having said this, I'll stick to Mandrake, which suits me perfectly. Please feel free to comment on Red Flag Linux....