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Foresight Linux 2.0.6 Review

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Multimedia and Encrypted DVD Playback: Mozilla Firefox 3.0.3 is the only Internet browser installed on Foresight, and by default, comes with the necessary plugin to handle flash content on Web pages. For other types of multimedia content, you are left to search for and install the plugins yourself.

Totem, the movie player, lacks the necessary plugins to playback commercial or encrypted DVD videos, and will throw the error shown in the screenshot below if you launch it and try to play a commercial video DVD.

To enjoy your DVD videos on Foresight, you will have to launch a terminal application (Applications Menu > Accessories > Terminal), and type in the following command:

sudo conary update gst-plugins-ugly

afterwards, you can play any commercial video DVD on Foresight.

Security and Network Manager: The Linux kernel has a built-in, enterprise-grade firewall application, but not all Linux distro ship with a graphical firewall client to configure it. Foresight is one of them. Unless you love working with IPTables from the command line, you will have to use Conary to install a graphical firewall client.

From the Network Manager applet, you could create virtual private network (VPN) connections using OpenVPN, Cisco vpnc clients, or via PPTP.

What’s Special About Foresight: Aside from its use of the Conary package manager, and its support for LVM and software RAID configuration, Foresight has no other feature that sets it apart from other Linux (or BSD distros).

What Needs to Improve:

  • The Anaconda installer used by Foresight needs to be updated to provide support for the creation of encrypted partitions and LVM volumes. Distros like Fedora that use Anaconda have had this feature for quite some time
  • Out of the box, we expect Firefox or any other Internet browser installed to have the plugins needed to render multimedia content other than flash
  • Since the plugin needed by Totem to playback encrypted video DVDs is in the repository, why not install it by default?
  • We know that a gui frontend to Conary is already in the works, and it is one of the features that we are looking forward to in the next major release of Foresight
  • Foresight needs a “Control Center”, similar to what Mint is trying to implement, and what’s already a standard feature of Mandriva
  • We expect a graphical firewall client to be installed by default on all Linux and BSD distributions
  • I have never understood why some Linux distros are using sudo instead of the traditional root user account for access to admin rights. I honestly do not see any advantage to it, and I just hope that Foresight will revert to using the root account

Foresight is a good distribution, and for the vast majority of (potential) users, none of the issues we identified in this review are show-stoppers. Minor configuration changes will take care of most of them.

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