Announcement: Minute Marathon, Linux Test Drives
I’ve decided to do something that will keep my interest even more constantly “over-revved” at 18,000 RPM. Most times, you read a review from a professional column, one that actually has time, and not another full time job (yay?). Most users trying out Linux, try a popular distribution with very little knowledge of how to even do basic tasks. Some of these things are “invisible” to them, despite good design or fancy GUI’s.
That is why I wanted to start a series on here, dubbed “Minute Marathon’s,” mainly to address curiosity of many Linux users have about the ever growing immense list of Linux distributions. The focus is simple, construct a standardized Virtualbox test Virtual Machine with the same resources allocated each time, giving fair chance to any distribution (even the very unknown ones :-). The parameters are as follows:
Operating System rules:
- (1) distribution to be tested at a time
- 1 full day of testing
- Default environment for the distro will be used
- If no environment has been specified as the default, Gnome or KDE will be used.
- (1) dedicated virtual machine partition, totalling in 20 GB of size to allow even the most bloated distros room.
- 2 GB of RAM (which is even substandard for most store bought PC’s, more of an average number to go with)
- Virtualbox guest additions will be used
- Only* open source video drivers will be used
- 64 MB of Video Memory
- Devices attached will include CD/DVD/USB
- 1 day of testing is structured for this primary reason: Users and people in generally today are inpatient. The world moves just too fast today. The primary goal of this series is to take a distribution, and if I cannot get a fully functioning set of software installed and working within that day, including kernel/GUI installation, then it will not be recommended for users (see chart below), rather novice or advanced users.
- Testing Scale will be on a  to  scale.
- Testing Criteria is as follows (open to suggestions):
- Installation Process – how easily/fluid is the install?
- Presentation/Usability – how easy is it to navigate the GUI?
- Default Software Selection – what is included, and can you use the system “fully” from the start?
- Software Installations – how easy/hard is it to install software, and how large is the pool of applications?
- System Customization/Preferences – what can you change, and how easy is it to* change?
- System Settings – how easy/hard is it to delve into and change aspects of the system?
- Final Thoughts – how will this system fare in the long term from these initial impressions?
That’s it. This is just an initial write-up and can change over time. Hopefully these quick “trial runs” of Linux distro’s provide insights into just how easy it is for the average Joe to get up and running with a Linux system, hookup what they have, and get rolling with typical user activities. Maybe this will be short lived, maybe not. But that is the fun of Linux, trying new things.