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Zenwalk 6.2 Review

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Administration:
Many of the admin tools are accessible from the menu, but also from within the Control Panel, itself accessible from Zenwalk menu > System > Control Panel. The only discernible difference between the Control Panel on Zenwalk 6.2 and that of prior releases is the inclusion of Firestarter, a graphical setup and configuration frontend for IPTables.

Zenwalk 6.2 Control Panel

In the last version of Zenwalk, Zenwalk 6, the display tool did not work. While this is not a Zenwalk-specific problem, it is worth pointing out that the display tool now works: You can now change the screen resolution. The Display tool is accessible from Zenwalk menu > Settings > Display, and also from the Xfce 4 Settings Manager

Display tool
display tool

Managing users on Zenwalk is as easy as launching the userconfig tool and selecting from one of the available options. While creating a user involves a lot more steps that on other distros, even a noob will not have a problem creating one. But if you do need help in creating users on Zenwalk 6.2 or earlier, there is a tutorial here just for you.

User Profiles manager
userconfig

Media and Hardware Detection: Zenwalk 6.2 does reasonably well when it comes to media and hardware detection. Audio CDs will open in Goobox, the default CD player on Xfce. Exaile, which is much better than Goobox, is also installed, and should have been the default CD player. Video DVDs will open in Totem, but the plugins required for commercial (encrypted) DVD playback are not installed, and are not in the repos – Current or Restricted. VLC, another video player, is in the Restricted repos, but like ZUT, the Zenwalk Update Tool, it is buggy, and does not play.

Distros like Pardus and Mint will auto-detect and configure a printer when one is connected to the system. With Zenwalk, however, you will have to manually configure any printer that you connect to a running system. It’s a simple three-step process, but this type of task should be handled by the operating system – automatically. Here’s a short tutorial on how to add a printer to a Zenwalk 6.x box:

Note: The assumption here is that the printer is locally connected, and not somewhere else on the network.

1. Launch the Printing tool from the Control Panel (also from Zenwalk menu > Settings > Printing, and Zenwalk menu > System > Printing). Click on the drop down as shown below and select Printer.
printer tool

2. The next screen will show the printer(s) connected to the machine (there is auto-detection, but no auto-configuration.) Select the printer you wish to configure and click the Forward button.

3. Here is where you name the printer. Click Apply.

4. With the printer configured, you may print a test page just to be sure that the setup was successful. That’s all there is to setting up a printer on Zenwalk.
print test page

Browsers and browser plugins: Iceweasel is the only browser installed. It will render flash content, and that’s just about it. JRE, the Java Runtime Environment, is not installed. It is, however, in any of the Current repos, and installing it and testing the browser for Java compatibility is a breeze. Aside from Iceweasel, you will also find GNU IceCat in the repos. GNU IceCat is the freer version of Mozilla Firefox.

Security Tools and Network Manager: Zenwalk 6.2 now ships with a graphical frontend to IPTables, the Linux firewall application. However, it is not enabled by default. You may use this tutorial, if you need assistance in setting up Firestarter, to enable and configure it.

Firestarter’s active window

There are no VPN apps installed, but openVPN and vpnc are in the Current repos.

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14 Comments

  1. Jim says:

    hey! pls help me, just istalled the latest zenwalk available…

    there were about 3 or 4 things in the installation that failed to install..

    but, it was still able to run.

    now i changed from xp to zenwalk..

    the problem is that i cant use the gnome session option and i cant click the menu in the xfce.

    pls help me..

    • finid says:

      If some files failed to install, in order words, if the installer spewed some error messages, then it is likely that the iso image was corrupted, or the CD was not burned properly. Your option(s): Reinstall, but check the integrity of the CD before installation. That should fix the problem. If you are migrating from XP to Linux, welcome, but Zenwalk is not the distro I’ll recommend.

      Better alternatives are Mandriva Free, Mandriva One, Linux Mint 8, Ubuntu 9.10, and Pardus 2009. Mandriva Free is highly recommended. It is not perfect, but it’s more noob-friendly than others.

      While we are at this, read this, this (Pardus’ review). Those should gie you an idea of what to look for in a distro.

      • Jim says:

        thanks for the response, my apologies for my late reply…

        uhm, can you recommend other linux distros?
        not that what you recommended earlier was not of my preference but because..

        my laptop is already kinda slow, it olny have 256 [246] mb ram. the hd is 40gg.

        its just a notebook, and with windows, its already kind of slow..

        im kind of used in using windows and i usually install lots [and i mean lots] of softwares that i think would be helpful and kinda cool.

  2. dvilla says:

    “DVD playback are not installed, and are not in the repos – Current or Restricted.”

    Correction. It is available in restricted:
    http://wiki.zenwalk.org/index.php?title=Watching_a_DVD

  3. finid says:

    I’ve got to be honest. This review was a rush-job, probably the worst I’ve ever written. I should have double-checked the grammar and some of the facts before hitting “Publish.” But stuff happens, and life goes on.

    If you write as many reviews as I do, eventually, you’ll write one that demonstrates “Primary-school English along with poor knowledge.” But I think Jon is mad because his fave distro got a bad review.

    For the record, the reviews on this site are designed to help my readers decide whether a distro is worth downloading or not. Distro-hopping can be fun, but at some point you just want a distro that works. If the reviews on this site helps you find that distro that just-work, I think that counts for something.

  4. Joe says:

    What tipped me off to stop reading the review was the claim that Linux Mint doesn’t have multiple workspaces… ugh…

  5. Matt says:

    “feels slightly much more polished” – this doesn’t make much sense, and really lowers the expectations for the rest of the review. Double & triple check everything before publishing.

  6. Jon says:

    An atrociously-written review. No way I’m clicking thru to the second page. Primary-school English along with poor knowledge.

    • finid says:

      “Primary-school English …” I think you’re being generous. It’s probably lower. Sarah Palin’s level, or George Bush’s.
      But “poor knowledge.” About what? You could help us all by pointing out where I missed the mark.

    • johnix says:

      Sorry to tell you Jon, but you have at least two typos and one grammar mistake in your reply. Furthermore, there are many readers who don’t have English as their first language, whom would appreciate understandable English. The review is more than adequate to know what Zenwalk is all about and what to experience after installing it, saving a lot of people a lot of homework. Thanks to the editor.

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