There have been several commercial attempts to cloak Debian's mighty engine in a nice sleek-looking exterior. Xandros Desktop OS is one of the slickest attempts yet at putting a point-and-click interface on the untamed beast - think of it as Debian with pizazz.
Xandros version 2.0 was released in December, 2003, and not surprisingly, a flood of reviews hit the web soon thereafter. Most of these reviews have focused on the ease-of-use factor, which is Xandros' trump card.
Which creates a dilemma for reviewers like me. For the past few weeks I've been reading over and over about how Xandros has added so many Windows-like features ("root" is called "Administrator", the modem is on COM1 rather than ttyS0, and there is even a "drive C:"). I was starting to get bored even before I received my Xandros CDs in the mail (which took a long time given my remote location). One reviewer wrote that "geeks should look elsewhere" - as a certified geek, I found that depressing.
So rather than simply repeat what has been said ad nauseum ("Xandros is so easy to use, just like Windows - Wow!") I've decided to take a different approach. I'm going to throw everything I can at Xandros, including "not recommended" things that could possibly break it. That means installing Debian Unstable packages, running it as a server, stripping off the graphical bootup system, even running a different window manager than KDE, and so on. "Geeks should look elsewhere" - hah! Damn the "kernel panic" messages, full speed ahead. I realize that this is unconventional, but hey, it's my computer and my review, and I don't have anything better to do this weekend, so why not?