It was curiosity not necessity than encouraged me to download and burn the liveCD of Webconverger. Currently in release 5.5, this distro is aimed towards those who intend on using a PC in an internet kiosk type scenario. Thats not to say that home users will not have a need for it, but as a distro for productivity is probably not the best option for the home user.
Essentially Webconverger is a Web browser sitting ontop of the Linux Kernel. Debian derived it really is Linux in a very simple form. The LiveCD takes around 30 seconds to boot and immediately puts you into a browser (Iceweasel 3) at the Webconverger home page. With the .iso coming in at around 250mb its not going to take long to download and burn.
The homepage itself seems to echo the ethos of “simple” & functional and you can visit it here.
Theres no packages so to speak available to the user on the LiveCD although Adobe 10.0.32.18 are running out of the box. Webconverger is not intended to be a complete desktop solution though and in places like internet cafe’s its often frowned upon when users want to start installing things!
Web pages (as you’d expect) can be tabbed and the current session will be closed when the homepage tab is terminated. This results in history being reset and all ready for a new user! There are no login’s/passwords for users to contend with further cementing ease of use for any user!
So what is provided on the homepage?
Users are presented with a few online app’s links. Googledocs and an online app which I have never used before, Letterly (this allows quick generation of standard letters)
Webconverger is reported to run on less than 128 meg of ram which makes it suitable to turn your old redundant hardware into webstations!
On the Grub menu is the option to install to HD and the website contains various options for download.
For those who want a customized version and don’t have the knowledge to do so themselves Webconverger offers that service for you. For more details see: http://webconverger.com/buy/
Whilst the home user isn’t going to consider this as their main desktop solution (IMO). What it does, it does very very well. Boot time even from the LiveCD was very good and the system is virtually unbreakable, even for the most persistent of users!
I was very impressed with the speed in which BBCiplayer performed on the test machine, giving a very smooth results even in full-screen. I also tested it on the Twitterfall site which often appears to bog browsers down after when there are numerous other tabs in use. This did not happen with Webconverger and scrolling remained smooth.
With all the options of Iceweasel disabled (no right click, no menus, no window resize,no bookmarking) this distro really is unbreakable for the average careless user!
At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking that Webconverger has a limited audience (ie as a Web kiosk) however I think thats rather unfair since Webconverger could be used in a variety of situations. The person who has no interest or experience of computing (let alone Linux) would benefit greatly if all they wanted to do was to surf and access net apps. The beauty of this distro is that its very unlikely you will receive phone calls with problems/errors.
On my test machine all hardware was configured automatically and correctly, so for out of the box compat Webconverger scores a hit there too!
I’d recommend this distro and Ill certainly be adding a few more redundant PC’s to my home as a result of Webconverger, as well as resting easy when someone simply wants a PC to surf (I have a silver surfing Gran in mind)!
Webconverger 5.5 can be downloaded from its homepage: http://webconverger.com/
Goblin – firstname.lastname@example.org