Cover-mount DVD/CD review February 2008
For those of us with capped broadband, magazine cover disks can be quite handy. You can save on the usage clock and the long wait to download and burn a distro ISO image.
The Linux Magazine tends to give away more complete versions of a single distro on its cover disk. This could mean, in the case of Ubuntu, the disk contains both the live install and the alternate versions. In other cases the magazine gives away premium versions of a distro. In the old, pre Novell days, it used to give commercial version of Suse Linux. Last year it arrange for giveaway of Xandros with free maintenance subscription for a year.
The March 2008 cover disk contained Mandriva Powerpack 2008. This means non-free device drivers and DVD/multimedia codecs. With the problems I've been having with Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon, I thought I would give Mandriva a try. Yeah, it's RPM and it'll probably bite me you-know-where but what the heck. I won't be on the computer during the FA Cup 5th round.
Linux Format, tends to do multipacks, more than one distro on the same disk. One feature I like is the multi-boot facility. Other mainly Windows mags just bung ISOs in some folder and that's their good deed done for the month (please don't hurt us RMS). You can choose to boot to one distro or another. There are also PDFs of articles and install packages (usually tar balls) for selected applications.
On the March 2008 DVD, Mike Saunders (the disk compiler) went a bit crazy. A double-side DVD distro mega pack. Ubuntu 7.10, OpenSUSE 10.3, Mandriva 2008, Fedora 8, Knoppix 5.1, and PCLinux0S 2007. It also had ISOs of Debian 4, DSL and Mepis 7. It would seem a bit mean to quible with assortment of riches but it seems to be the greatest hits 2007. And come on... Mepis deserves to be on the boot menu. Anyway, these our minor criticisms. This issue definitely gets a definite buy recommendation for bandwidth limited or time poor penguin fans. The editorial/features content is also quite good. It cover broader range of expertise (beginner to intermediate users) and more of a sense of humor than Linux Magazine.
Another difference between the two magazines is that strictly speaking only Linux Magazine has a cover mount DVD, stuck on with some sticky gooey thing. By contrast, Linux Format has them in a pocket insert. You're meant to tearout the pocket and refold it into a more conventional CD sleeve. Too much like hard work.
That's it for the disk review. I will probably do another unscientific distro review for Mandriva to follow those of Ubtuntu 7.10 and Fedora 8.