Highly disappointing start
StartCom Linux is a Red Hat clone. The Multimedia edition resembles Fedora. It is currently ranked #81 at Distrowatch.
The last time I viewed this project's main page, I remember seeing a reason for starting the distribution. The project developers expressed their anger about the pricing of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat's decision to discontinue the Base version. As a result of with developers were forced to rebuild the distribution from source. But this time I see that StartCom has converted to a commercial identity. And the original cause is lost.
Pentium D 3.4 GHz with 2 gig of RAM, Nvidia 7300GS with 256 meg RAM and 19" wide screen monitor.
For this review I used the Multimedia Edition DVD, also known as Kessem. The DVD does not provide a Live environment, thus the user is forced to install the distribution first. This is quite amazing, given the fact that Fedora now provides a live environment.
When the system boots for the first time, some configuration is further required. Selinux is removed from Multimedia edition, so the desktop users are saved from a restart. Display configuration is completely messed up in Kessem. Even after selecting "Generic LCD 1440x900" the configuration did not give me the option for setting 1440x900 resolution. I selected 1400x1050 and desktop came up with 1024x768.It looked horrible.
StartCom uses the same Anaconda installer: used by Red Hat, with some changes in the package selection. Some sets, like Cryptography are available under two headers.
The installer asks about Language, Keyboard, disk partition, boot loader, root password and packages to install. The user account is created on first boot.
StartCom does not have very appealing user interfaces (I reckon Fedora is better), but they are not so bad either. Dejavu fonts are missing from the default install.
Being a DVD installation there are a lot of applications to choose from. Latest Open Office 2.3 is installed whereas Firefox is still 1.5; 126.96.36.199 to be precise.
There are a lot of unique softwares present in Kessem which are not found in other distributions; for instance , MySQL Administrator . Wine is also installed by default.
Being a multimedia edition, I was too much excited about the codecs and multimedia applications. Certainly there are a lot of Multimedia applications, but none of the Codecs worked. I was unable to play WMV files and DVDs. Its pathetic for a distribution, calling itself multimedia edition and yet unable to play DVDs.
Compiz Fusion is installed by default, but all attempts to enable the eye-candy resulted in XServer crash.I had the latest Nvidia drivers and all the required settings in xorg.conf, but still I was unable to have the nice desktop effects.
The previous versions were a lot better, and I strongly supported their cause. Now with this release the cause is gone, and a new commercial identity is in place. The system crashes a lot, seems like there was no testing done at all. Just stay away from StartCom, Fedora is lot better, stable and reliable.