Linux XP is a strange beast. From what I gather it tries very hard to emulate the look and feel of Microsoft Windows in order to make the transition to Linux easier to the Microsoft-familiar.
That is an admirable goal shared by some rather successful commercial entities like Xandros. Apparently with this release, Linux XP is more like "Linux Vista," however. I question the logic of emulating an OS that has received such a chilly reception among end users.
I must stress from the beginning that I do not agree with the idea behind this distribution. I believe half-measures like this that spend so much time and effort trying to turn Linux into something it's not (Windows) are detrimental to end-users.
If someone wants to learn Linux, great, but they should learn proper Linux, not this ~censored~ Frankenstein monster. There, now I've said my peace. On to the rant.
I should note that at the time I wrote this the English-default version of Linux XP 2008 was not available, only the Russian one. Thus a few of the screenshots will be in Russian. Thankfully the installer itself was a modified version of Redhat's Anaconda, so if you've installed Redhat Enterprise or Fedora you can feel your way through it.
The graphics associated with Linux XP look well done. They borrow a bit from both Vista and OS X on their website and during the installer. It's obvious that a lot of work has been done to really make Linux look like a Microsoft product.
Upon reboot I was greeted by the login screen, which was similar if not exactly like the one for Vista. Notice the yellow box at the top. Linux XP is only available for free if you agree to a 30 day "trial", after which you must purchase it.
This is quite similar to a purchased version of Windows XP. I can only guess that the system locks down similarly after 30 days. Of all the things to emulate from XP, Windows Product Activation is perhaps the one thing I wanted the least.
You'll also notice that like Microsoft Windows, the user is never prompted to create a regular user account. Instead the default is to run the desktop as root user, which is a very, very dangerous thing to do. This risk is multiplied when you factor in a completely new user of Linux. Bad idea.
I was given the choice after logging in to use either an XP look or a Vista look. For a lark I chose the Vista look. I flailed around in the dark a bit and finally found the language switcher (keep in mind at the time this was all in Russian). It gave me a dialog that I assumed said "changes will not appear until you reboot." I rebooted and found I was correct.
My attempt to install Bookworm using their "Install Windows Applications" icon failed. WINE Doors asked me for some credentials and then decided to give up and sit there for several minutes. I canceled it. Attempts to install with "Run in WINE Windows Emulator" also didn't work. I didn't feel like trying it from the command line.
MP3 and WMV/MPG playback worked as expected with Rhythmbox and Totem, respectively.
The usual suspects were installed by default: Firefox, Pidgin, Totem, OpenOffice.org. Surprisingly, Java and GCC were also present. GIMP and Inkscape as well as XSane were included. The usual GNOME games were installed, with two notable additions: SuperTux and Planet Penguin Racer.
I was surprised at the potential usability of this distribution. It has a lot of things included that will make an end-user happy. My only caveats would be support, software, price, and root.
I question whether or not a relatively obscure distribution like this would get good support from the community or have reasonably sized software repositories.
I'm also not too keen on the price, but I suppose the same could be said about Xandros. I am very much not impressed with the handling of "run everything as root" which circumvents one of the key security features that Linux has over Windows.
Despite these concerns, Linux XP does manage to provide a relatively stable desktop with lots of features. It just happens to look like Vista now, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.
Update (10 jun 08) - It has been brought to my attention that the "Buy Now" and "Download" links on the Linux XP website are no longer functional. I was also told that they are not answering emails, so it's possible this is now a dead project. I'll post another update if that changes.
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Full source code has also been published so that programmers can view it and to make it easier to crack or find a workaround to bypass Linux WGA.
So what’s the way to crack or bypass Linux Genuine Advantage? It you manage to install the program, and you get locked out from Linux system after your password grace period expires after 30 days, here what you can do to uninstall LGA:
1. Reboot the machine.
2. Boot into single user mode.
3. Remove the entry it created at the bottom of /etc/inittab.
4. Type this command: kill -HUP 1
5. Type this command: rm -f /usr/local/sbin/linux-genuine-advantage
6. Type this command: rm -rf /etc/linux-genuine-advantage/
7. Type this command: rm -f /etc/nologin
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