All original content copyright © Tom Wilkinson 2003-5. All rights reserved.

Cheep Linux Megapack

Newcomers to linux can often be confused by the fact that unlike many other operating systems, there is no single company who supply Linux, and frequently each company's distribution of the increasingly popular system varies from the others, in ways that vary from the subtle to the blindingly obvious. New users are well recommended to try as many different distributions as possible, and to settle for the one with which they are most comfortable. However, one problem that can arise here is that people may not know what is available, and hence make a bad choice. Cheep Linux, a distributor of a full range of linux CDs for a low price, has come up with a possible solution to this problem in their Megapack.

The Megapack, which is revised regularly, contains a number of the latest Linux distributions that have been selected on the basis that they are easy to install and use, as well as the Definite Linux Bookshelf CD. This contains a large number of manuals including the KDE and GNOME users guides, a guide to getting started, the HOWTOs and the the Linux User's Guide, in addition to a number of more technical texts such as the Linux Programmer's Guide. In addition to the manuals, the disk also contains reader software for Windows, Mac and Linux so that they may be accessed before and after Linux has been installed.

At the time of writing, the Megapack contained five distributions: Mandrake 7.2, Red Hat 7.0, SuSE 7.0, Slackware 7.1 and Corel 1.2. This is a lower number than have been in previous editions of the package, because both Red Hat and Mandrake have recently swelled to two disks as opposed to the usual single CD. While this means that there is a slightly smaller choice, there is a greater variety of software available. Even if the distribution you finally settle on is not one of Mandrake and Red Hat, as everything is supplied in RPM format, the additional programs, for the most part, may be installed. All the distributions supplied have scored above-average results in their reviews in previous issues of the magazine.

In addition to the eight CDROMs, the box includes a voucher which will allow the user to obtain a further 3 CDs, paying only for postage. These can be selected from distributions which are not included in the box, such as Debian or TurboLinux, or from disks full of applications including games and utilities. There is even a disk full of desktop themes. The voucher can also be used at a later date to obtain a new, up-to-date version of a distribution included in the box. All considered then, the Megapack offers a good value "starter kit" for relative newcomers who are ready to experiment with different distributions.


If you're looking for a collection of distributions to help you find the one you're suited to, the Megapack may well be just what you are looking for.

Score: 8/10
Pic of me. If you're lucky