Lindows 4

Lindows 4, the next installment in the line of Windows-inspired operating systems and is an easy-to-use Linux operating system, designed to appeal to your typical Windows user of the era. 

This time I will be using VirtualBox 5, as the OS is a bit heavy for 86Box to handle. We should have some luck with the emulated hardware that VirtualBox uses and supports. Host machine uses an Intel Core i5 2500.

Install is pretty much the same as previous versions, simply choose the hard disk you wish to install and away you go. No need to optionally configure packages, though power users might prefer this to optimize their installation and remove stuff they do not see.

After installation we are greeted with a first run box that reminds us to set the time zone of our computer, along with the option to set an administrator password if one wasn’t set using the install. The screen resolution can also be set here, by default it’s 1024×768.

After this we are treated to a tutorial that explain the basics of navigating the operating system. This reminds me of the tutorial that would launch when you first started Windows 98, along with a slideshow list of features included in the operating system. For first-time Linux user this is a welcome addition and lets them feel comfortable using their new operating system.

The user can mouse over the different desktop icons and taskbar items to find more information on their purpose and how they are typically used.

Exiting the tutorial prodded to be problematic, despite clicking on the ‘Go to the Real Desktop’ link, the application froze. I waited a couple minutes but nothing happened, the OS become unresponsive.

A quick reboot brought the OS back to life, through the damned tutorial started again. I even saw a browser window showing a SWF file, proving the tutorial was made in Adobe (Macromedia) Flash, Luckily I was able to exit it this time.

For whatever reason Lindows Internet Suite decided to load, this serves as the default email client of the OS, along with the browser. From the looks, it’s just a rebranded version of Netscape Navigator. I believe this was the era when Netscape was purchased by AOL and began reimagining their web browser before making it open source, though the about box mentions Mozilla so maybe that already happened.

The Windows-like user interface

Click-N-Run is still at the forefront of the OS and was the preferred way of installing software rather than using a package manager. This was aimed at making easy-to-install software by mimicking the Windows way of installing via the use of a setup wizard.

The file manager of the OS, you can see a lot of inspiration from the Windows XP silver Luna theme via the button bar and the style of the icons which mimic Windows Explorer, yet the taskbar still has the Windows 2000 feel to it.

Two MP3 files come bundled with the OS, showcasing the multimedia capabilities. One is a typical pop song of the era, and the other is an audio voice thanking you for choosing Lindows. Kind of similar to how Windows ME included that Beck song, or that David Grey song in Windows XP

XMMS still looks like an OS X Aqua program with version 1.2.7 is used here. Also, our sound drivers are working! (AC97)

Images can be previewed within the file manager itself

Right-clicking can bring up a context menu that lists the different actions available

File properties window

It’s also possible to split view the file manager, like an earlier version of Windows snap though this gives it a total commander feel to it.

Clicking on the icon that looks like a lifeboat jacket brings a menu with a list of tutorials, and link for further help online. Like the earlier tutorial, it’s all drivers in Macromedia Flash 6.

Printers control panel, which uses the KDE Control Module. Here print jobs can be managed and canceled for physical and virtual document printers.

There are a few printers supported, but I don’t own any of them to test. It does give a few options for the type of printers, including SMB network-connected printers. USB is also supported, with the list corresponding to the amount of USB ports the machine has?

Quite a few options here, I guess the user has to trial and error them to see what works best? There are further options remaining for setting the borders of the page, the option to share the printer on the network and setting a page limit quota.

The Control Panel has had a slight redesign, let’s see what’s changed.

A few themes are included, with some mimicking your favorite OS. The default Lindows theme has been altered compared to previous versions.

I’m sure this was the wallpaper used on some Sony DVD players when they were idle (Powered on without a disc inserted)

A few of the included screensavers, the Virtual Machine one made me think the OS was self-aware in how was being run

One of the benefits of Linux is every element can be customized, and that trickled down into KDE and Lindows itself. Different aspects of the UI can be tweaked to your benefit. This won’t apply to most users who would rather pick from a default theme or style and use them, but is a nice option for power users.

Not much change has been made to the bundled applications, in-fact the only notable addition is the Wifi utility which is based on KWifiManager. I guess this only supports 802.11b networks using WEP, anything beyond that is unsupported.

A readme file written and left for us by Jack Donaldson explains some of the elements of their start menu and the file directories. Thanks Jack! 

I wonder if he’s still involved with Linux?

An extended look at the control panel, here we can find information about our system like the memory usage, I gave the OS 512MB which seems to be plenty. Information about the installed hardware can also be viewed in a similar manner to the Windows Device Manager

Shutting down Lindows

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