22 Jun 2011

Testing Strategy

This blog runs for few months already, and soon will change number of posts to 3-digit number.
Is it a good time to tell you what I am doing here at all? Probably most of my permanent readers already know, but...

This blog is about reviews of Linux based Operation Systems. To be precise, not Linux alone, but mostly Linux. There were a reviews of BSD-based system (1, 2), and some more to come.
When I do my reviews, I have my own schedule of items which I check. More or less all my reviews cover these items, unless it is impossible to do so.
What are the items?
  • Network connection. Most of my reviews are based on my own experience of Operation System when running it on my Compaq C300EU laptop. It has built-in Broadcom 4311 WiFi card. This WiFi card is currently supported by both kernel and free open firmware. Since then, I expect recently released OSes to support this WiFi card out of the box. Otherwise I expect it to be easy enough to install drivers/firmware.
    Other than Compaq C300, I also have Toshiba L500-19X laptop. It has Realtek 8191 WiFi card, which was not working for Linux-based Operation Systems until recent. But since then I saw several which do support this WiFi card out of the box.
    Why do I use 2 laptops for tests? Mainly because Compaq's DVD-drive no longer reads DVD disks. It is too old for this task. If image of the Operating System is too big to be burnt to CD-RW or to 1 Gb USB drive, I have no other option but to use Toshiba.
  • External network drive mounting. I have 1 Tb external network drive (Freecom Network Drive, FND) directly connected by wire to my wireless router. Once I am connected to the network, I try to mount this drive to my filesystem, either using graphical tools, or manually using mount command. This mounting excersice requires Samba to be either included in distribution, or easily installable.
  • Music files playback. Network drive contains my musical archive, and once connected, I try to playback files from there. Most of my music files are in MP3 format. Playback of them requires MP3 codec to be either included in distribution, or easily installable. If codec is not there, I also try to install music player which has MP3 support included, like VLC.
  • Video playback. Sometimes (not always) I also check ability to play video on-line on sites like YouTube. It requires Adobe Flash player installation, which I don't do all the time. But some of my reviews have this feature covered.
  • Russian keyboard layout. I am Russian living in the UK. That's why presence of Russian keyboard layout is important for me. I need both Russian and English (GB) layouts. Not only layouts themselves, but also ability to switch between layouts and see current status. Usually all three functions (layout + switch + indicator) are done in same configuration step in Desktop Environment, but some OSes have them in separate places. How easy is it to configure usage of different layouts? That's another part of my usual review schedule.
  • Software package. What is included into the default distribution? Office applications? Media players? Games? Network tools? Browsers? Each distribution has its own approach to this bit, from naked Bodhi to over-packed Knoppix. How useful is it to have this set of tools available for this type of distribution? These are the questions which I try to cover.
California's Newest Licensed Driver!
Image by vvvracer
And if everything is OK, I am happy, because "test passed". If not, I try to figure out myself and tell you about my findings.
If I like the distro I am reviewing, I also include it into the assortment of Buy Linux CDs page, and you can purchase it for yourself, if you have issues with downloading or burning the image.
Of course, this is just a skeleton of my review. Each time I see something new and interesting, which I try to tell you about. Hope all that information is interesting for you.
And of course, little touch of personality for each system I try. Do I like it? Don't I like it? Sometimes I am little bit too harsh in my conclusions, but... I think you excuse me for this. At least, this is my blog...

Do you find my reviews interesting? Do you want to change somethin im the skeleton of my reviews? Please leave your comments here.

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