There has been hope for a generation that Linux would storm the desktop world and earn the right to stand along side Apple and Microsoft as equals…unfortunately, despite all the hard work that goes on around the world…that is still not the case. I took a virtual trip to Japan this week to pull down another old favorite of mine from days gone by to test drive the latest version of TurboLinux.
Once getting past the challenge of a website that is only in Japanese (the auto translate feature of Google Chrome is such a great thing) I downloaded the 654MB ISO image for the Client OS version 12.5. With a focus on the Asian market, there is a bit of a challenge with English Translations and from default it Loads the Desktop in Japanese, luckily though the desktop icons have an English component so I was able to locate the installer icon.
As usual I installed TurboLinux in a Virtual Environment with 4GB of RAM and 20GB of HDD space available and it loaded like a charm…once I got past the stumbling block of not being able to read Japanese. From the LiveCD to installation was a seamless transition and I could see that a lot of work had gone into improving many of the functions since I last visited TuboLinux back in 2008/2009. I was able to make the translation of the Live CD programs to English but for whatever reason, the installer remained in Japanese. I was able to make it through the installer (partly by luck but also with the help of screen shots and Google Translate).
Once installed I was able to get back in and change the language settings to US English and adjust the resolution to 1024×768 so that I could actually see the screen without having to scroll around. I like the fact that it is very much “Windows Like” in having a Start button and a very familiar feel to the way that the desktop is laid out unfortunately when I took a look through the installed software, there was no Office Suite installed with the default (hence the small 684MB download for the LiveCD. When I opened the YUMExtender I was greeted by the Kana and the frustration started to grow a little extreme.
Included with the Distro is a fairly solid list of software though:
- Web Browser – Konquorer
- Email – Thunderbird
- Photo / Image – The Gimp
- Amarok and RealPlayer for Audio
Once I navigated through the minefield of options within the YUMExtender (in Japanese) I was able to install LibreOffice and it became a fully functional Desktop.
Consistently though, the Japanese Kana would pop up and have me scratching my head wondering what I did wrong? Every turn I would make beyond the KDE Settings for language I was greeted with a language that at best I could only guess at to make changes.
I like the layout and the function of the OS, it is slick, quick and overall well thought out…except for the fact that Japan accounts for 1.8% of the world’s population…which means that at least 98% does not speak or read Japanese…this is a problem as I fall into that 98% and as much as I would like to give a favorable review, there needs to be more thought put into the configuration of language settings for the OS.
As for a rating…I just can’t get past the usability failures because of no real language settings so TurboLinux gets: