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XP killer ? RedHat 8.0 Personal Review
LinuxLinks Review
By Dave Edwards


RedHat 8.0 is a new major point release of the RedHat Linux distribution. The last such release, RedHat 7.0, caused a fair amount of controversy when it was discovered that the included gcc compiler was unable to compile the shipped Kernel. Once again RedHat has raised the mirth of Linux diehards with this release by its unification of the Linux desktop and the apparent relegation of KDE. Some people are calling this the beginning of the end for Microsoft's domination of the operating system market. A lot of Linux evangalists have been saying this for a long time. Now the dust has settled, has decided to take an in-depth look at this release.

We decided to look at the boxed edition of RedHat personal because that's what RedHat sent us ! What do you get in the package?

RedHat 8.0 Personal consists of

  • 7 CDs including the complete source. The Professional version has all of the software on a DVD - it's a pity the Personal version isn't distributed on DVD too as DVD drives are common place now and a great timesaver.
  • RedHat installation Guide (in printed form) and some nice stickers to put next to your Windows XP and Intel Inside logos.
  • RedHat Network Basic Service: 30 days of Web-based installation support.
  • RedHat Network Quick Reference Guide.
  • A documentation CD containing: Linux x86 Installation Guide, Linux Getting Started Guide, Linux Customization Guide, Linux Reference Guide. and the Linux Security Guide. The last of these manuals is a welcome offering given the increasing popularity of Linux and the concerns that go with a widely used Operating system. These manuals are available in HTML and PDF form on the CD.

The Personal edition retails at $45. If you want to just get the ISOs then you can download them from the RedHat site or from We always recommend you buy cheap CDs rather than download ISOs as burn problems are a frequent source of frustration for the beginner.

RedHat installs most of the packages you would expect. Instead of trying to include everything like SuSe, RedHat have restricted the number packages they distribute. Given the popularity of RedHat most other Linux software can be found on their contrib ftp site or on the internet itself at We believe this is a good thing. Too many packages creates too many inconsistencies and makes it much harder for the distributor to keep the whole package working together. There are some omissions notably a good DVD player (Xine is a good choice) and an MP3 player: these are not included because of legal reasons which is disappointing. For the home user, DVD and MP3 playback are oft requested feature at the LinuxLinks forums. Highlights of the packages that RedHat Personal installs includes:

  • Cups 1.1.15: The Common Unix Printing System.
  • Ximian Evolution: An email package with an interface reminiscent of Microsoft Outlook. Also includes a contact manager and calendar.
  • gcc 3.2: The GNU compiler suite: most things in Linux are compiled using this software.
  • GIMP 1.2.3: A graphics package to rival Corel Draw
  • GNOME 2.0: The default windowing system/API
  • GNOME Meeting 0.93.1: NetMeeting clone for Linux.
  • gPhoto 2.1.0: Univeral Application for Digital Cameras.
  • KDE 3.0.3: A rival to Gnome - adopted as standard on SuSe and Mandrake Linux distros
  • Kernel 2.4.18: The guts of the Operating System - an abstraction of the hardware of a computer
  • Mr Project 0.6: A project management applciation.
  • Mozilla 1.0.1: Web browser and email package derived from Netscape
  • Office 1.0: The opensource form of StarOffice from Sun
  • Postfix 1.1.11: An alternative to sendmail.
  • Perl 5.8.0: The swiss army knife of computer languages: terse, sharp and deadly
  • XFree86 4.2.0: The X windowing system on which KDE and Gnome build.
  • Emacs 21.2: The venerable GNU editor. Almost defines the term 'bloatware'.

So that gives you an idea of the bundle you get. What does it all mean ? How does it fit together and should you buy it ? We'll give our opinions on the next few pages. So read on...


Read ahead

1. Introduction
2. Installation
3. Candyfloss ?
4. What's New
5. Discussion
6. Conclusion

Last Updated Saturday, November 02 2002 @ 10:51 AM EST

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