Its not the first Linux distro to bring Indian Languages support. The first succsssfull distro was Indlinux. However, BOSS Linux is the first integrated and extremly usable Indian language distribution.
Here is my experiences with BOSS Linux Tarang.
Tarang impresses from the word go. First this appears a very well designed website offering easy and intutive navigation.
BOSS is "Made specifically for the Indian environment , it consists of a pleasing Desktop environment coupled with Indian language support and other packages that are most relevant for use in the government domain".
As it is supposed to be used in government offices, it packages almost all the essential softwares required for normal office and home usage.
To list a few
1) Firefox with Indic language printing support
3) NTFS Read/Write
4) Gnome 2.14
5) BharatheeyaaOO (Localised OpenOffice.org 2.0.1 )
6) Input Method - SCIM with Remington Keyboard Layout for Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi,and Marati
7) Liferea – RSS/RDF Reader
8) Migration Tool - Bulk Document converter and most important
9) Netinstall usng windows boot loader, no need to burn CD.
BOSS offers three different CD's to download.
1) Install CD,
2) Live CD and
3) Utility CD.
The install is fairly simple with anaconda GUI installer. All I can say is install is to the standard of recent ditro's like Fedora. The interesting part is after the install. BOSS linux shines with good boot speed.
On login I saw my windows ( both NTFS and FAT) drives automounted and displayed on the desktop. Otherwise the desktop is very neat and offers a little customized Gnome.
BOSS is based on debian, so package management is simple. I simply installed the Restrictic format software. Infact I found the mirrors to be very fast, the advantage of having in-country mirror :).
Then came the turn OpenOffice.
Turning on and using hindi language is a child's play. Wow, drafting a letter in my mother tougue. Though I must admit that I am very bad when it comes to writing good hindi. I'll wait for my father to come and then will I write my review in Hindi.
I have a wireless router and the configuration on BOSS is as simple as Desktop => Administration => Networking . I do not have a printer to test the printer configuration or a good graphics card to chekc 3D Desktop ( I looks so good, I love compiz). Bad! can someone gift me a good graphics car or a printer :).
Here are the typical applications I use : XChat, Gimp( everyone uses it), Gaim, keyjnote and bonfire for CD burning. BOSS is based on debian so it has acces to debian's wast software repository.
Here comes the best part about BOSS, excellent documentation. The user manaul is very exhaustive and easy to read. Even a new linux user will find it easy to follow. I specially like the detailed # Desktop and th e Audio/Video sections.
In future BOSS is planning different versions of BOSS ( a la Ubuntu versions) namely, educational version (edubuntu), KBOSS (kubuntu) and a server version (Not sure what they call it in Ubuntu, but Ubuntu server version is there). I found BOSS to be as good as Ubuntu Dapper LTS, it does not have the latest packages of Edgy. Otherwise both are equally good. Advantage of BOSS over Ubuntu is faster speed ( not sure why?), great Indian language support and faster mirrors, in India. Advantage of Ubuntu is global recognition, HUGE userbase, very helpful and again HUGE community and Mark Richard Shuttleworth. I would suggest all Indians to try BOSS, at leat they will have the urge to write in their mother tongue. With current stability, BOSS looks right on the track, way to go!!!