You don’t need a judge to break Wintel’s stranglehold on computing. TheLinuxStore.com’s duOS machine lets you turn Wintel into Lintel by dual-booting Linux and Windows 98 for a great price on a great box.
What Do I Get?
The basic machine is an AMD K6-2; the one I tested was a 450MHz puppy and sported a 50x CD, 64MB of memory, and a decently fast Western Digital 8.4GB hard disk. Decent sound (it comes with speakers), ready-to-be-plugged-in networking (the NIC is a fast Kingston RJ-45 PCI card), and a high speed ATI Xpert 8MB video card make this a hot machine in terms of its hardware. More machine is available for a price, but this one will take quite a while to outgrow.
What about the software side of things? That’s what separates real computers from kiddie toys, after all. Its Linux implementation is based on Corel/Linux (which is Debian- based itself).
It includes, pre-installed, the desktop environment KDE as well as the programmer’s GUI toolkit Qt, and, to top it off, you also get Corel’s WordPerfect Office 2000 (including everything from word processing to spreadsheets to database software) and the standard Linux set of tools, plus a really snazzy file manager.
Further, it includes Microsoft’s Windows98 Second Edition. Bundled and pre-installed under Win98SE is Corel’s Windows version of its latest WordPerfect Office (the Windows version allows you to import and export files in Microsoft Word format).
Reading and writing files from one side of the great operating system divide to the other is accomplished by accessing the mutual file in a directory that is common to both operating systems. You are warned that such access does not translate Linux “newlines” ( \n ) into Windows’ “carriage return / newline” ( \r\n ) combination and vice versa. Other subtleties in OS variances may require additional translations.
Setting up networking was a piece of cake, although it had to be done twice, once for each operating system. The dual setup involved the same tasks of setting the local IP address as well as that of the gateway and DNS servers, using the Network Control Panel for Windows and the cumbersome ifconfig or more reasonable Control Center’s Network/TCP/IP for Linux.
The network interface card the duOS contains disappointed us, as it contains only an RJ-45 jack and does not include a BNC post. Most home and small business networks will likely be BNC-based. Adapters cost but a few dollars, as does a dual-terminal NIC — either one really should have been included.
It Takes Two
You plug it in, hook up a monitor, stick it on the network (or hook a modem up) and experience LinTel for a good price on a nice box. What is there not to like? Having both OS’s pre-installed sold me: I’m definitely buying one.
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