Parsix 3.0 Released
The Parsix Linux distribution is derived from KANOTIX, based on the Debian testing branch, and developed by a team in Iran. The distro comes as a live CD with English and Persian languages installed by default and many others available. According to the release announcement features of the new Parsix 3.0 include GNOME 2.26.3, Linux 184.108.40.206-based Kernel, the installer supports separate /home partition, ext4 file system and GRUB 2, SquashFS+Lzma compression for the live CD and much more. After seeing the amount of changes to this release and remembering positive reviews of Parsix 1.0 and 2.0, I burned the .ISO to CD and got started.
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Look and Feel
The default theme of the Parsix 3.0 desktop is very earthy featuring colors of brown and green. The light brown background and panels give the desktop a very clean look which is accented by brighter orange icons on the desktop. The orange icons match the Parsix logo which appears as the head of the menu on the left side of the top panel. The menu remains similar to the standard GNOME look besides the brownish background tone. This is all easily changed by clicking System — Preferences — Appearance where I found Kev-light, Kev-dark, standard Parsix and a few other themes.
It Just Works
Parsix included everything necessary for me to play an MP3 right out of the box. I downloaded it with Iceweasel, double clicked the .mp3, the file was opened and began playing with the Exaile music player. I also found VLC can handle any of my video needs. It’s nice not having to set up codecs, this is very newbie friendly.
I was happy to see an all-star application lineup which only boosted my confidence of Parsix 3.0. A few that caught my eye included Exaile, GIMP, VLC, Cheese, Brasero, Iceweasel, Pidgin, and OpenOffice. Balsa email client is included instead of Thunderbird, which is my preference at the moment. After looking closer I noticed Icedove, the free/unbranded Thunderbird is easily available through Synaptic Package Manager. In my opinion, having a good selection of applications out of the box is important to help users understand the possibilities of the distro. Sure most applications can be added after installation through Synaptic or even the terminal but this just adds another layer of complication to the users experience.
It was nice to see an excellent set of instantly usable application mixed into the GNOME 2.26.3. The theme matched throughout my experience (log in window, desktop, boot, etc) and I actually began to like these earthy tones quite a bit before I was done. Codecs out of the box are huge for basic desktop users both for ease-of-use and necessity.(Some users can’t install things at first) These things along with the Debian base are enough for me to give Parsix a several week test run on my laptop. Way to go Parsix!
Everyone knows that the Ubuntu operating system is free to download; not everyone is aware, however, that the operating system has a host of applications and utilities that you can also get for free. Here is some of the most popular Ubuntu download software you can find online.
The GNOME Do is an application launcher that allows users to quickly search for items on their desktop or online and perform useful tasks on them. The latest version of the software, version 0.8.2, also includes an intuitive new desktop dock called Docky. It can be downloaded from the Do homepage, http://www.do.davebsd.com.
VirtualBox is a virtualization program which is loaded on an existing OS, then allows you to load and run additional operating systems, each within its own virtual environment. It can be downloaded from VirtualBox.org.
If you’re looking for an open source music manager, Songbird is a good Ubuntu download application. Songbird allows you to manage your IPod, download album art, play streaming audio on its browser and has a whole host of useful add-ons such as LyricMaster, which displays lyrics from your favorite tracks. You can get it from http://www.getsongbird.com.
HandBrake is an open source video transcoder that allows you to convert any mpeg video (including DVDs) into an mpeg-4 video file that can be played on virtually any device. The latest version, HandBrake 0.9.3 can be downloaded from http://www.handbrake.fr. The software is cross-platform and is also available for Windows and Mac OS.
If you’re unhappy with the way your Ubuntu desktop looks, then Ubuntu Tweak is an essential Ubuntu download application. Tweak allows users to change hidden system and desktop settings but can be used only with the Gnome desktop environment. It also makes the task of installing third-party upgrades such as the latest Firefox beta easier. Get it from http://www.ubuntu-tweak.com.
Conky is a software system monitor that allows the user to monitor the status of many system variables including the CPU, memory, swap space and network interfaces and displays the information on their desktop. It is available from http://www.conky.sourceforge.net.
Aside from applications, there are many essential Ubuntu download e-books in pdf format that you can get for free that will allow you to get the most out of your Ubuntu OS. These include The Official Ubuntu Book, the Linux Bible 2007 edition, Beginning Ubuntu Linux and Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks. These resources and others can be downloaded at the FreeBookLinks.com site.
If you are interested in Flash training movies or printed manuals for Ubuntu check this out.
And of course, what would an OS be without some games to kill time with? Some popular games include America’s Army 2.5 (multiplayer shooter game), Babylon Project (space combat simulator) and Flightgear (flight simulator). Try http://www.ubuntuforums.org for links to these games.
Of course, the ultimate Ubuntu download is the latest release of the Ubuntu OS, version 9.10 which is codenamed the Karmic Koala. Although the OS is not due to be formally released until the end of October, you can already download the Alpha 4 version of the software for testing and de-bugging by the online community. The OS features new versions of the Linux kernel and the Gnome desktop environment. The default instant messaging client has also been changed from Pidgin to Empathy and Firefox 3.5 is the new default web browser. Also added is the Palimpsest Desk Utility application, a testing and monitoring tool which shows you the uptime and temperature of the driver as well as being a partition management tool.