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Best Linux 2000 is the most popular version of Linux in Finland, written by SOT, URL www.bestlinux.net. I downloaded the iso (CD image) of Best Linux after looking at linux.org and reviewing the 5 penguin rating. The download is 580Mb so it is restrictive to high bandwidth downloads. It took about 4 hours over a 512Kb cable modem so a modem download would be astronomic! From the iso image, you need to burn a CDR or CDRW, Adaptec EasyCD does this very easily and takes about 40 minutes. You can buy the version boxed for about $30.00 and have the 'official' released CD, but the download is the same image file. Check out bestlinux.net for a retailer or buy online. Full documentation is available online as well and makes life a lot easier. Installing was a bit of a headache for me. If you do not have a bootable CDROM you can install from a floppy, FTP or HTTP site. Not having a CD to hand I tried a FTP install using the bootnet.img boot disk. This failed dismally as did the HTTP install. I have the luxury of a LAN and working servers to try this from but I could not get them to work at all. In the end, the boot.img worked with a local CDROM with no problems. Boot disks can be made from the CD in the DOSUTILS directory using rawrite and one of the many image files. Pcmcia support is included as well for loading onto laptops. I have tried this on a PIII Toshiba Tecra and had no problems at all. Even changing cards is very easy and most are auto detected and configured by wizard. To install the minimal you need 120Mb of disk space but the typical ( iwould recommend this install) that has all the goodies needs a huge 740Mb to install plus a 128Mb swap partition so you need at least a 1.6Gb disk to have a usable machine. DONT FORGET THE ROOT PASSWORD! The install auto detects any network interfaces and configures them during install. It takes about 30 mins to install then gives you the option to boot into Xs
erver automatically then reboots. On reboot you are given a nice logon gui asking for a username and password that then boots you into Xwindows K Desktop Environment (KDE)that looks very much like Windows 98. From here, the world is your oyster! There is a very easy modem install wizard that configures dial up connections for your ISP. Netscape Communicator is installed by default so a browser is usable straight away. Desktop shortcuts for the floppy drive and CDROM are already there so no command line mnt /dev/fd0 stuff to fiddle with. There is a selection of quite good games like Asteroids (remember that one!). For the home user this is the ideal Linux system to get into, in my opinion anyway. Installing is simple, the desktop is intuitive and gives a good selection of commonly used utilities you need to get started using the machine. Being a network admin, I found it quite good as BIND 8.2.2 is included with the release as well as C++ compilers. The traditional UNIX black screen command prompt can be loaded from a bash shell, or booted to by disabling KDE. Adding and removing users is very easy by gui in KDE or from command prompt using common UNIX commands. Web servers are included as well. I prefer Apache personally as it gives excellent performance on very low spec machines. FTP and Telnet servers are configured in a few minutes as well giving a fully functional UNIX environment. SMB and NFS are supported for server operation as well. This version of Linux has come a long way towards plug and play. On boot up, the system checks for any new hardware or devices that have been removed and even allows you to keep the old configuration should you wish to reinstall later. Hardware support is also much better. This version supports any i386 architecture processor from a 386 to PIII. This gives a use for that old 486 gathering dust in a corner somewhere! 3dfx support has improved dramatically in this version
for Matrox G400 and above cards. For the home user who wants to learn more I think this is an excellent version to try out. Even if you find UNIX environments hard to get a grip on, you can still use KDE for web browsing or playing around on a home LAN to learn more that way. It is a fun version of Linux that is cheap and well supported by user groups or through SOT themselves. Many books are available on Linux now as well, many often have a version included in the book price to. All in all good fun!