Red Hat 6.2 vs. Caldera Edesktop

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The debate rages among uses as to which flavor of Linux is the best. Today we are going to compare two of the most popular Linux products. Give you their strengths and weakness so you can decide which one would be the best fit for you.


So which is the best? The answer is that it is that is to close to call. Both provide relatively fast easy and clean installs. Both default to the same shell program (BASH). Both provide feature rich and easy to use default X desktop environments. Caldera default window manager is KDE, Red Hat uses a Gnome environment with the Enlightenment window manager. The differences between the two distributions lie in flexibility more than function. Edesktop is structured for new Linux users and for people converting from windows. The interface and installation is streamlined to automate as much of the process as possible. To do this they had to sacrifice flexibility, there are not as many packages available at installation time on the Edesktop distribution. While the installation wizard of the Red Hat distribution is also guided it allows for a lot more flexibility in configuration during install, however you can.t play pacman while you are installing packages like you can with Edesktop.

Red Hat 6.2

Red Hat 6.2 is currently the best selling Linux distribution on the market. It also provides the basic framework for a number of other distributions (SuSe and Mandrake Linux being the best known). While it doesn.t provide many applications with the distribution, and window managers provided do not include a large number of themes. It does provide the widest assortment of packages to be found in any distribution in its class. The RedHat Package Manager (RPM) is one the easiest and most widely used methods for package installation available. Most Linux distributions include support for RPM packages (including Edesktop). The support base for Red Hat Linux is second to none. There is extensive documentation on Red Hat Linux for all levels users (from Linux newbie.s all the way up to the system guru.s).

The default X window environment is Gnome running with a Enlightenment Window Manager. This environment is very customizable, and widely supported. If you have web access you can use the Helix Code web site (helixcode dot com) for updates and bug fixes. The only disadvantage gnome has compared to the K Desktop Environment (KDE) is that KDE does have more built in application support.

Screen shoot of a gnome desktop running a sawmill window manager

After install the operating system is very stable, the worst situation I have encountered is where the operating system is unable to accept remote connections, and this only happened once. The platform I used to test was a custom built AMD 750Mhz system. It had one AMD 750 Athlon processor, 192 MB of RAM, a ATI all-in-wonder 128 video card, and creative sound labs esonic sound card. I never had any trouble configuring Red Hat for my hardware profile. The only real issue I had, and it.s a minor one, is that the volume of sound was lower than it would be in windows.

Caldera Edesktop

If your new to Linux or want to convert from Windows to Linux this is the distribution for you. The install is about as easy as your going to get, there is a minimum of configuration options, the hardware detection is fairly reliable as long as your hardware configuration is on the supported configuration list. You even get a pacman video game to play while it is installing the packages. The KDE desktop is easy to learn and customize. It includes a wide variety of utilities more from (kde dot com). The only problem I ran into during the install is that when I tried to install into the MBR of the hard drive, LiLo wouldn.t install correctly. I never had any problems when using a boot loader like Boot Magic (which is provided with the boxed version of Edesktop). To get around the LiLo installation issue you make a boot disk in the installation wizard. Use the boot disk and go to the /sbin directory and run the LiLo executable this will reinstall LiLo and take care of the problem.

Screen shoot of a KDE desktop running under Edesktop

When you get away from the standard user setup and want to setup web servers, mysql servers, mail servers, etc. Edesktop becomes less desirable. To streamline the installation and setup procedures Caldera sacrificed some of the flexibility of the operating system. If you are enamoured to the Caldera interface but want to setup a Linux server you can get Caldera.s Eserver which is geared more towards the server environment.

In conclusion, if you just want to get up and running with Linux, then the Edesktop is system for you. But if you want to setup your own Linux server, or want the flexibility to customize your Linux box to run whatever you want to, then Red Hat 6.2 is probably the better choice.