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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
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Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 6
Lots of audio, video and graphic editing and production software. Built-in OpenMosix as well.
Not very well finished, a fair number of odd error message annoyances and broken minor components.
Straight to the desktop, with some helpful information to introduce me to Dynebolic. The background art is a nice contribution from South African artist Faith47 - her site is worth a look too. The desktop is xfce, a good choice considering the site emphasises it's able to run on older slower hardware. The default layout is a bit strange, the main menu panel laid vertically from the top right-hand corner.
A feature is made out of "Nest" - saving your files and changes to a removable writable media you take with you and your Dynebolic CD.
The first thing I found was the default file browser, "ROX filer" is far too limited. No back button, no address bar, no breadcrumbs, no left pane, no tree view. One or two of these features would make it a sufficient file browser for getting around different hard drives but as-is, I don't really want to use it! The default file manager with xfce "XFE" is much more fully featured and is much easier to get around. It's included, but I haven't yet found how to set it as the default file manager.
Very good range of multimedia software
Dynebolic uses xine as audio player which looks very similar to winamp, and did play all the formats I threw at it: mp3, ogg, wav, and wma. I didn't have any others handy. Sound editing software includes Audacity, plus a drum machine and live sampling and looping software, a synthesizer and more. Mplayer is the video player and did play divx and xvid compressed .avi files, mpegs, m4v and mp4 files fine. There's a TV viewer and other playing software. A plethora of video importing, editing and compositing software is included, and live "veejay" software. Streaming software called MuSe is included, to allow you to broadcast audio and video content on the net in a number of popular formats.
I noticed whenever I tried to play video files, mplayer would pop up with a strange message "New_Face failed. Maybe the font path is wrong" but the video would play fine anyway.
There's also a very full range of graphics editors: the Gimp, Inkscape for vector graphics, Blender, and a fractal generator! There's also a fractal zoomer/morpher. If you know what fractals are you'd know that you can zoom in on the pretty picture forever with endless complexity. Kinda fun if you're that way inclined.
There's also various applications for interfacing with digital cameras and scanners which will load and arrange and show thumbnails of pictures for you, which is nice for the lazy user (like me).
So for multimedia this is without a doubt the most fully featured Live CD I've come across so far.
There are also a suite of gui development tools, with the invitation to users to contribute more to the project.
Make a Dynebolic supercomputer!
This is an interesting one: This is the first Live CD I've come across to come with the OpenMosix clustering software.
This is actually an excellent addition to a multimedia-focused distribution, because of the amount of processing things like rendering in 3D take. Dynebolic means you can have a cheap supercomputer - or room full of PCs - at your disposal for video processing.
Unfortunately I don't have the time to test this, it would take quite a while to do so.
Not much else
This is obviously a live CD very much focused on providing a tool for multimedia types. As such it's great, but I found myself missing a lot of applications. AbiWord is there but no other Office applications, Firefox is the only available web browser. There are a few modules you can download from the website and install as easily as dropping in the /dyne directory - including the full OpenOffice suite and Wine. There's more information on their modules page.
A few rough edges
Little error messages pop up here and there every now and then. They are generally not a big deal. It also failed to mount my ntfs-formatted USB notebook hard drive on boot - it was there, it just didn't seem to mount the NTFS partition. When I unplugged it and plugged it in again it was mounted properly. When I tried to change the default file manager from ROX to xfe (see above) by clicking configure, then interface, then file manager I get "failed to open the File Manager preferences" - I can't do anything about it. The system is already running as "root" so it can't be that.
Nothing is hugely broken, it's more a series of minor annoyances. It strikes me that it just needs a bit more attention to detail.
Good hardware compatibility but not great
My Logitech cordless mouse and all corded mice worked fine, but the touchpad on both my test laptops wouldn't react properly to tap-to-click, nor did the right hand side for scroll wheel work, which has in most other distros. The two Microsoft wireless mice I have acted very strangely - moving the mouse caused windows and desktop environments to switch all over the place, so they were unuseable. The wireless devices in all 3 machines was not detected at all even though there is a wireless icon in the main "Configure" menu. The wireless configurator is "KWifiSelector" which only allows you to connect to broadcast networks, which is again no good for my secured, non-broadcase work network. My widescreen display on my home laptop became a source of frustration. It defaulted to 1024x768 which looked stretched sideways. There was one widescreen resultion setting which looked better but it displayed strangely, overlapping and doubling up everything for about 2 inches on each side.
All that said, everything else worked fine, all USB devices are detected and a popup asks you if you want to mount and view the files. Sound was fine, and apart from my widescreen issues display adapters seemed to work fine. So while definitely not perfect, it was entirely workable.
Great if you're a media activist
I'm definitely recommending it to my media activist friends. Well, I would but I'll have to make some media activist friends first.
I'd also recommend people who don't have a need for office applications and who have older hardware, as the hardware recommendations are lower than most of the other distros I've tried: A P1 or K5 with 64Mb RAM will run it fine, apparently, or even an Xbox.