Upon first boot, I was greeted by what must be the UGLIEST default desktop I have seen in a long time. The default theme is the so-called “blagCanyon” theme, and it was all I could do not to immediately switch to something more aesthetically pleasing, such as “Clearlooks” or at least the old “Bluecurve” theme. Even more appalling is the default wallpaper, which seems to resemble an embroidered hippopotamus. Here it is, in all of its “hippo-beast” glory:
Thankfully, visual elements are easy to change. I am happy that BLAG detected all of my hardware, since I would have ended the review process right there if it had not done so. I fully expect a Linux distro from 2007 to detect all of my hardware from 2002, especially considering that I do not have any peculiar peripherals. BLAG set up a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024, which is the highest resolution my monitor will support. I am pleased that the default fonts look fine as well.
Let’s look at some the software that comes with BLAG. Remember that all of this fits on one CD.
Like Ubuntu, BLAG defaults to the GNOME desktop (2.16.3), which is fine with me. For those interested, Fluxbox is also on the CD. I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of packages installed by default, including:
- Graphics: Blender , Inkscape, and The Gimp
- Internet: Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim (not yet re-named “Pidgin”), and gFTP
- File sharing: Bittorrent and gtk-gnutella
- Office programs: Abiword, Gnumeric, and Scribus
- Audio/Video: Audacity, Democracy, Grip, gPodder, Listen, Kino (video editor), Istanbul (screencasting), Streamtuner, and Thoggen (DVD Ripper)
As you can see, there are a number of multimedia applications installed by default, which is nice. I ran into a few other pleasant surprises as well. For instance, playback of MP3 files works out of the box, which is rare to find in many Linux distros (due to legal reasons). Also, I popped one of my favorite DVDs into my DVD drive, fully expecting to have to download a few extra packages to enable DVD playback. To my surprise, Xine popped up and began playback immediately. Nice.
Testing my luck, I decided to fire up Thoggen DVD Ripper to see how easy it would be to “rip” my DVD. Once again, the process worked exactly as it should, and within seconds I began the “ripping” process. As you can see from the screenshot, it was going to take my aging computer over seven hours to complete the procedure, so I canceled it. Still, it worked, and it worked the first time for me, which is impressive.
The main software package NOT installed by default is OpenOffice.org. I presume it was omitted due to space considerations on the one CD. Fortunately, it IS available in the software repository. More on that in a moment.