I use Kubuntu GNU/Linux at home and am generally pleased with it. But at work, I use Xandros GNU/Linux
because it seems to integrate better w ith our network environment.
Recently, Xandros came out with Xandros
Desktop Professional version 4.1. I paid my money for two copies (one to give as a gift and one for
myself) and started installing it over the weekend.
Although I had heard Xandros would require “Activation” before you could access all of its services,
I thought they had changed their mind about that. But I guess not. I’ll get to that in a moment. First, a note about two other problems.
Even though Xandros is one of the easier to use distributions, getting my networked printer to work
with it took a little guessing. I have an HP2600N color LaserJet printer hooked to my home network via the built in Ethernet port. When it comes time get Xandros to link to it, you need to use the appsocket
choice (as opposed to http or ipp) and input the IP address in the following form: socket://192.168.1.100 (replacing the IP address with the address you have assigned to your printer). At least, that worked for me. YMMV.
The second problem is with Xandros Network (XN). XN is the interface to the Xandros repositories.
You use it to update your system and is kind of like how Dr. Pournelle describes Apple computers (i.e., they either make things trivial to do or impossible). The first time I fired it up, it locked up. This is
never a good thing but especially so when you are using a utility that alters your system. I have no idea why it locked up but otherwise, I have had no other problems (other than the one I will lay out next).
Now, back to the Xandros activation problem. After the main installation, something called the
“First Run Wizard” executes and among other things, you are given the opportunity to register your product. It seemed like a good idea so I did. Below are the instructions located on the Xandros site (see the FAQ):
next step is to sign in.
have an Account on http://shop.xandros.com ?
your E-Mail address
and click Sign In.
to Step 3 Below
do not have a shop.xandros.com account, please create one
in the New Account square to the right of the screen and enter your
to Step 3 Below
your point of purchased from the Product
field. If it is not listed, please choose other and enter the store/website
which you purchased your Xandros software from.
the Serial Number
which was included with your
purchase and click Continue.
screen will be displayed. If you receive an error…
check and retry your serial number.
may only be registered once, if you’ve already registered it is no
are still unable to register, please contact Xandros technical support
via e-mail at email@example.com
your account for e-mail from Xandros which includes your activation
you have received the Activation Code, return to the Registration page
of the first run wizard (as documented in step 1). Enter the Activation
code and click Activate
Your Xandros Networks
account has been activated.
You are now able to access new updates and other interesting software
for free, as well as special Xandros Editions of popular commercial
software. A Xandros Networks Premium Membership entitles you to even
more free applications and discounts on third party software and
additional Xandros items.
I entered my serial number (received when I paid for my copy) and checked my email for activation
code (see step 4 above). As I said, this was this past weekend. As of this morning, I have received no activation code. So I logged into my account at Xandros to see what was going on. The account confirms that
I purchased two copies and even shows the serial numbers. But when I try to display my activation code for the copy I registered, nothing comes up. Sigh.
I will try running the First Run Wizard again to see if the problem was with the registration. If
not, then I guess I’ll be contacting Xandros support to find out why I can’t get an activation code.
Regardless of what the problem is, this points out why I don’t like these schemes. To me, all they are
designed to prove is that their customers are not stealing their software. But even though they have a record that I paid for the two copies, I guess that’s not enough.
As long as they keep an activation requirement, I don’t know if I will ever buy
another copy of Xandros. Especially since I could, with a little trouble on my part, get Kubuntu to work at the office. In fact, the next go around, that’s probably what I will do. YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.