Metro-X 3.1.5

Metro-X is extremely robust and easy to configure.
Enhancements

One of the more intriguing features of Metro-X is multi-screen support. If you use Metro-X MGA video cards, four monitors can be operated simultaneously (see Figure 2). Applications can be loaded into their own screens and controlled by a single mouse and keyboard. A GUI based utility is provided to handle the physical screen layout and mouse movement (see Figure 3). I would love to play around with this configuration, but my wallet won't cooperate.

Figure 2. Monitor Configuration Screen

Figure 3. Screen Layout GUI

As with most modern X servers, multiple screens and virtual resolution are supported. I cringe whenever I have to work on a system that doesn't allow these features. I normally work in several applications at once, and trying to cram multiple windows into a single screen is a nightmare.

There is also the fail-safe escape method. If the X server freezes or your mouse becomes disabled, Metro-X can be brought down by pressing the ctrl, alt and backspace keys simultaneously. This is a lot quicker than pressing ctrl-alt-f1 to get a virtual console, then killing the X Server process.

If you're into video capture, MPEG playback or video conferencing, Metro Link sells a video suite called Metro-Media. The application runs on Metro-X with Motif and can be used by developers and end users.

For developers and end users who use Motif-based applications, Metro Link also supplies Motif 2.0 at $199US.

Performance

I immediately noticed a performance increase when Metro-X was installed on my system. It seems to be a very stable environment. Several programs that misbehaved under XFree ran great with Metro-X. Before Metro-X, Netscape was continually giving me trouble—now, it runs like champ.

Support

Support options are dependent on where you purchased the package. If you received it from Red Hat, Red Hat provides the support. Red Hat offers on-line support at http://www.redhat.com/ and phone support at 1-800-546-7274.

If the purchase was made directly from Metro Link, they provide support through e-mail at tech@metrolink.com and phone support at 1-954-938-0283.

I have yet to encounter a problem that required a tech request, so I can't speak to the quality of support.

Overall impression

With the ease of configuration, stability, available options and enhancements, I think Metro-X is a real bargain. I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to spend his time producing instead of configuring.

Mark Nassal is a Unix Systems Engineer for Harte Hanks Data Technologies in Billerica, Massachusetts. His areas of concentration are Intra/Internet site development and Systems integration. Primary administration is performed on SunOS, Solaris and Linux systems. For relaxation he enjoys photography, graphic arts and thrash music. Mark can be contacted at nassalm@tiac.net or http://www.tiac.net/users/nassalm/.

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