Linux Distribution Review: Netrunner 4.2 (Dryland)

I noticed Netrunner 4.2 on distrowatch and was interested to see that it gets very good reviews and is considered by some, to be better than Linux Mint 12 KDE-the latter I use as my desktop system. All a bit strange, Linux Mint is No 1 on Distrowatch and Netrunner is 55. Naturally, I was compelled to download it and have a look, like most mainstream distros it runs as a live DVD with an install to hard disk option.

Netrunner 4.2 is in direct competition with Linux Mint 12 KDE as it offers a ‘working out of the box’ experience-no need to do remedial work to get sound, video or flash working. Unfortunately, for me that is where the similarity ends.

I used a Dell Precision 380 with 2Gb of ram for the review.

It took roughly 4 minutes for the live dvd to boot and present a usable desktop-which is 3 minutes longer than Fedora 17, Sabayon 9 and Mint 12. I am not being harsh here, if a live distro takes that long to boot it’s difficult to tell if something has gone wrong.

Netrunner 4.2 presented a ‘booting in x seconds’ screen almost instantly, went to a nice boot screen and then just sat there with some progress dots blinking on and off. When the desktop appeared it took another minute to be usable.

The Netrunner KDE desktop is well designed and pleasing on the eye but the old style menu system looks and feels dated now. I was impressed with apps that are included such as Skype and Wine.

Conclusions

I didn’t like Netrunner and from what I can see from the live dvd it’s not a distro I would use or consider installing. It’s a real shame, the people who have put it together are obviously very talented and have put in a lot of work-I’m just not sure who their target user is.

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