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Elive CD 0.4 - a Review This Time!

Date/Time Permalink: 04/09/06 10:05:24 pm
Category: Reviews

Elive screenshot 6

Elive screenshot 7

Today on my Elive desktop, I experienced a freak rainstorm. But no matter how much it rained, it never put out the fire raging on at the bottom of the screen.

How does anybody expect me to get to work and review this distro? Every time I'm on my way to do it, I'm going whoa-a-o at the trippy graphics effects or playing with the desktop modules. What to say about it? Elive is almost as different from other Linux distros as systems like Plan9 or BSD is different from Linux as a whole. Yet the learning curve is minimal. Let's put it this way: some distros/systems focus on performance, or being a server, or security, or being a good toolkit. Elive, and the desktop it's devoted to, Enlightenment, have one goal first and foremost: the User Experience. If it doesn't thrill you to the bone with a touchy-feely multimedia womb experience, the Enlightenment team loses sleep over it. They're crushed. They flaggelate themselves with floggers made from IDE ribbons, moaning "The User was not impressed! We must work harder!" I have learned nearly every program this CD has to offer, and I have not exerted a single moment's effort in doing so: obvious icon cues, loaded menus, help balloons, and at times gently flashing lights have led me by the hand the whole way.

The natural thing is to suspect, with all this... "eye candy" doesn't cut it here... this *baroque* *gauze*, the thing you might think is "speed". Bet you think it's slow, huh? Nope, both E16 and E17 running live from the CD match my installed Window-Maker desktop for speed. Only the Fluxbox series, FVWM, and TWM are faster.

OK, I've raved on for two posts now without saying anything particularly weighty, so what's the straight dope? Can I think of *ANYTHING* this distro isn't? Well, yes. It's no server. It's not a workhorse. I can't detect anything like a programmer's tool here, though I'm sure the editor will accept code. There *is*, of course, the power of Debian's apt-get system under the hood, so if you install this baby and start snarfing packages, you'd be able to get there from here. But really, I'd rather you didn't. Elive is a gold-plated Aristocrat, and to see it dirty it's hands compiling tarballs like a regular grunt distro would be tear-wrenching. Save Elive the way you tuck a lover away on the side - and get away with it when you need the guilty pleasure.

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