4 May 2004 ken   » (Journeyer)

Two new announcements today that I found interesting. First, Knoppix 3.4 is out! For those who aren't familiar with it, Knoppix is an excellent live-CD that you can pop into a CDROM drive, boot from it and experience a full GNU/Linux system without any hassles, installation or changes to your computer. Useful for a variety of functions, including introducing newbies to GNU/Linux, recovery CD or just plain portable linux on a CD.

Personally, I've been waiting for Knoppix 3.4 because my laptop has an unusual chipset (Packard Bell Easynote) that requires a very late 2.4.x or 2.6.x kernel above to support it. Knoppix 3.4 comes with both, so I can finally put a worthwhile distribution on my laptop. It was a race between Fedora Core 2 and Knoppix, but it looks like Knoppix got there first. Still awaiting the bittorrent download to finish though :) Other fun goodies on this release include KDE 3.2, OpenOffice 1.1.1 and Gimp 2.0.

The other interesting release is the Red Hat Desktop. In a reversal from their abandonment of Red Hat 9, RH is now back on the desktop. Among the more interesting details of this deal is that they are bundling a variety of non-Free addins, such as Acrobat Reader, Macromedia's Flash plugin, a Citrix client and Real Player. They have done a lot of relationship building to ensure that a lot of what users take for granted on a windows desktop is also available on their desktop.

It's not cheap though and obviously targeted at the enterprise or really wealthy SMB. The smallest lot you can purchase is 10 at a time, for a tiny fee of US$2,500. That comes to about $250 per desktop! Phone and Internet support is included, but limited. Phone support is for one month and Internet support for just a year. Not a lot at all. Purchases in larger sets are somewhat more affordable. A 50 set expansion set (have to have purchased one of the more expensive options earlier) costs $3,500 for 50 desktops. US$70 per desktop, which is somewhat lower, but still steep for a one year license. Windows XP is cheaper, especially when amortized over 3 years.

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