Home > Releases > moonOS 3 Review, Screenshots, Video

moonOS 3 Review, Screenshots, Video

moonOS 3.0 DesktopmoonOS is another fantastic looking distro that has always put a lot of stock in appearance. Based on Ubuntu 9.04 Januty Jackalope and codenamed “Makara”, the moonOS 3.0 release is no exception with plenty of improvements to moonControl, the moonOS system control center, moonGrub, moonSoftware, and more. Along with many interface improvements moonOS 3.0 uses the Linux 2.6.28-15 kernel, Firefox 3.5, Pidgin 2.6 and Xorg 7.4.

I decided to give moonOS a try and see how it would stand up to some basic daily tasks.

Live CD:
Because moonOS runs as a live CD I was able to test out the distro before installing it. Right away I think almost anyone will notice the speed of the moonOS live CD. It takes no time to get into the desktop and once you’re there the navigation is not sluggish at all. I was especially impressed with the snappiness of the large icon animation. The quick speed of this distro says a lot if you consider the amount of eye candy included with moonOS.

The moonOS installation differed from the Ubuntu installer very little other than having the green color scheme applied, which looked great. In reviews of moonOS 2.0 I had read that it was painfully slow to install taking over an hour on average. I think this has been improved as installation took 30 minutes on my machine. An estimated time of completion shows underneath the installation progress bar. This was helpful at first but wasn’t as accurate as I had hoped. My installation seemed to hang at 95% when the installer said “installing language packs”. I clicked on the skip button underneath the progress bar and the install finished almost immediately. Other than that one potential hiccup the install went flawlessly.

A lot of Linux distro desktops look good in screenshots, but it usually doesn’t take long to notice something that isn’t working smoothly or doesn’t quit fit right. This is really what I expected with the appearance of moonOS however what I found was quite the opposite.

By default the splash screen, login window, and desktop all are themed with a leafy blend of green and yellow. The menu is a dark green color with lighter green rollover and shadowed white text that pops out nicely. The menu rollover is animated nicely as well and only looks as good as it does because there’s no lag what-so-ever. This is the same for the large icon strip the shoots down the right side. Default icons include (top to bottom) GIMP, Thunderbird, Writer(called “OpenOffice Word” here), Pidgin, Exaile, Synaptic, Terminal, Thunar, and a Calendar icon.

In the top are a few more icons that allow the user to access the home and root folder and “see file on desktop” option along with some system stats. These icons were equally useful and it made sense they’d be separated from the icon bar on the right.

After noticing how quick and elegant this distro was ending up I was hoping it could perform some of my daily tasks so that I could possibly make this install permanent and use moonOS to actually get something done. I noted a few things I must have on a day to day basis and tried to find a solution on moonOS right out of its box..

Network Connection – Almost all my activities require being connected to the internet. I was relieved when moonOS picked up my wired connection automatically.

Browsing The Web – I love using Firefox mostly because of the extensions and add-ons I use. moonOS offers Firefox so i’m happy.

Graphic Editing – This was obvious for me. GIMP is included by default on moonOS and has served as my Photoshop replacement now that I run Linux.

Listening To Music – I had not used Exhaile before testing it but after a 30 minute overview I found no problems using it. The tabbed interface in the top left corner of Exhaile along with features like Album Art Collector and plugin options have made me consider using it on my primary machine with or without moonOS.

Text Editing – The OpenOffice suite has you covered for larger projects while you can open gedit under Applications — Accessories — Text Editor for a lightweight option. These are more than enough for stuff I do.

moonOS 3.0 moonSoftwareAdding Software – After looking into adding packages to moonOS i discovered it uses a tool unique to the distro called moonSoftware. After selecting it in the menu I saw a message stating that I needed to download the data package before I could use moonSoftware. I agreed and watched moonOS download and install the single package. After it was finished I saw another message confirming its’ success. Then up came the moonSoftware window. This useful interface features the same functionality as other graphical package managers and also displays a screenshot of the application selected which I found to be a nice touch.

moonControl – I also checked out moonControl which serves as the moonOS main control panel. This interface includes a box in the top right that holds groups Look and Feel, Internet and Network, Hardware, System, and Other. When a group is selected, options for the group show up on the left side of the window. moonControl worked just fine for me and helped me find a lot of things without hunting around the desktop and menu for them.
These are just a few things moonOS can help you do. Much more is available right out of the box. Download it here.

TIP: Get help using moonOS in the XChat IRC chat room. Left Click — Applications — Internet — XChat IRC

moonOS may not take over as my primary operating system but it does have many features out of the box that I wish my Ubuntu setup had. What do you think of moonOS?
See official moonOS release notes.

  1. September 10, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    The only thing about it that interests me is that it apparently utilizes the LXDE desktop environment. I’ll try to give it a spin this evening.

  2. September 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    It’s E17 not LXDE

  3. September 10, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Oh. I was at work when I wrote that prior comment and has only glanced at the following link: http://moonos.linuxfreedom.com/ which led me to believe that it used LXDE. Looks like the “Main Edition” uses Enlightenment DR17 and then there’s also an LXDE edition.

  4. felipefrog
    September 11, 2009 at 1:02 am

    I have been using MoonOS 2.0 on my Eeepc 701 with great results, can’t wait to do the update!

  5. TOM
    September 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Good tips , Thanks alot

  6. September 11, 2009 at 6:04 am

    WOW, it seems very cool!
    As long as it is Ubuntu-based distro then for sure it is perfect.

    Nice review!

  7. September 11, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Now that I’ve had a few hours to play around with the moonOS live CD, I’m impressed. I may try out the E17 desktop on my laptop. First I’ll make sure the moonOS live CD works there too.

    Has anyone had any experience switching to E17 via the Ubuntu repos? I see it there, but would like to hear how it went for someone else.

  8. Paco
    September 11, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Looks great i’m gonna try it out!!!
    Thanks for the post!!

  9. Linux Expert
    September 11, 2009 at 11:51 am

    MoonOS is similiar to OpenGEU and Maryan. Actually its virtually identical, except for a MUCH prettier appearance.

  10. September 11, 2009 at 11:53 am

    @Paco We’d love to hear any feedback on your experience.

  11. September 11, 2009 at 11:55 am

    @Linux Expert Sounds like another good distro to review. Is it just as snappy? … Anyone else have experience with OpenGEU?

  12. alie
    September 11, 2009 at 11:56 am


  13. September 11, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    @alie I found it to be much faster than Mint, on my machine at least. The desktop and overall style I think you’ll find is much different. I do sometimes wonder why many so many distros go with a green theme?

  14. alie
    September 11, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Beginlinux, i like ur review, but i noticed u didnt give a link to the distro page/web site

  15. September 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I’ve updated this, thanks for the tip.

  16. Eddie Wilson
    September 11, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I haven’t checked yet but I wonder if they have a 64 bit addition? I really like to try it.

  17. slumbergod
    September 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Thanks for the nice peek at moonOS. I use Xubuntu but I am always interested in what other distros are like, particularly when they are based on different environments like Enlightenment.

  18. September 11, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    The moonOS live CD won’t boot on my Dell Inspiron laptop. Worked fine on the desktop. So much for that.

  19. down8ve
    September 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Just a note of my personal experience with it so far to balance the glowing review. Noticed that Synaptic does not launch with “sudo” rights, you have to do a “sudo synaptic” from terminal instead.

    Compared to Elive I like the more up-to-date software, the (Mint)Moon control and such, but there is something rather clunky about the interface, just can’t put my finger on it. The desktop effects tend to confuse things a bit, too.

    Still this is another really nice distro, as the author describes.

  20. Adam
    September 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    It’s Exaile, not Exhaile.

  21. Napoleon
    September 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Both MoonOs 2 & MoonOs 3 work fine on my two Dell Inspiron laptops, the 8100 and the E1705. Perhaps, there is something in Adam Gonnerman’s BIOS configuration that is interfering with the live CD.

  22. Sunny
    September 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    MoonOS is the first real linux os i want to try, bc I only have Red Flag on my new notebook. Does anybody know why it doesn’t boot from CD?

  23. September 12, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    moonOS live CD worked no problem on my Dell Inspiron 8500 laptop as well as an older Dell Latitude c600 laptop. Also did a full install that went excellent compatibility wise on my Dell Latitude. On my laptops I can change Bios Configuration by pressing F2 after restart on DELL screen or one time boot option is F12.

  24. September 12, 2009 at 6:14 pm


    Thanks for the info. If I were really interested in getting moonOS installed I’d take your advice. Seems likely that’s the issue. The live CD appears to boot into safe mode with what looks like the standard Ubuntu desktop. Except that it’s frozen, of course.

  25. September 14, 2009 at 4:04 am

    Thanks for the great review

  26. September 15, 2009 at 4:00 am

    I had the same problem with the language pack during the install. I installed MoonOS on an old Inspiron 1100. The 1100 has a problem with Ubuntu installs graphics do not like to load using live cds so I had to power off 7 times before it I could see. Then the resolution was stuck at 800×600 repaired and did a couple of restarts now it works fine. I am giving this computer to a 13, 12, and 11 year old that have just started using Linux but only have windows at home. Will be interesting to get feed back from them.

  27. September 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Wow, I also thought their default was LXDE, but it isn’t. That looks a little gimmicky for me, but hey the more choice the better it is for everyone!

  28. ram
    September 16, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    How exactly do you install this on the hard drive? Live CD boots up fine but I cant find the installer in the desktop.

  29. RedMoon
    September 28, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    You won’t be able to see the desktop installer unless you navigate to the desktop folder with the file manager. Definitely an oversight on the part of the people who made the livecd.

  30. Felipe Moreira
    October 31, 2009 at 1:58 pm


  31. Tachikoma
    December 13, 2009 at 5:38 am

    You forgot to mention the one click download of an amazing collection of full enlightenment desktop themes if one gets tired of the leafy green and yellow. Full themes including wallpaper, menu & window appearance and even the desktop clock gets re-themed. Unlike gnome, where you have to get a gtk theme and an emerald theme and wallpaper- and install them all separately.

  32. linxbot
    December 13, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Those they who has problems with laptop installation(especially with HP and compaq shits)there is a problem with acpi settings in laptops bios.. some may find the screen being blank white with the hard disk is spitting fire.. this is not with Moon OS fault, as I seen all the ubuntu varitions same problem. While grub is loading instead of hitting enter key, type vga=791 after word splash– then enter key if it worked you haved to correct it to menu.lst boot entries by adding with vga=791..
    Someof the laptops are working with xforcevesa instead of it.. that depends on what graphic card your vendor is.. only intel based Graphic cards working without any issue now..

  33. December 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I’m annoying people over on the moonOS forums with this issue but maybe someone here can help–
    When I install this distro, restart the computer, it doesn’t work. The moonOS forum replies seem to want me to believe my LiveUSB (via USB Creator) /is/ the install.
    What gives?

    The thing is, I REALLY like this distro for my 702 (mods: 32GB SSD, 2GB RAM) … and would have installed it to the main drive, but am stuck with the ‘USB Disc live install’-is-the-install issue. I’m using Ubuntu 9.10 Ultimate Edition on both of my ASUS Eee computers (the other is an Eee Box 202 w/ 2GB RAM) which I’ve installed LXDE onto. Enlightenment — E17 — doesn’t seem possible to add; a pity.
    PS: Please help?

  34. JMR
    February 20, 2010 at 12:25 am

    * Good distro; I have used multiple Ubuntu derivatives such as Linux Mint, Super OS, CrunnchBang, and others. I didn’t even know about MoonOS…..but I already installed it on one of my home network PCs and I like it
    * Lightweight snappy window manager / desktop / GUI….fast boot times, menus respond extremely fast, apps launch really quick. I have good powerful PCs….but this OS would be just as home on older / less powerful units
    * Good multimedia support out of the box. Although it’s easy to fully enable in Ubuntu by installing a few packages, it’s already been done here. Java Jre / Flash already installed….the GStreamer0.10 codecs already installed (for WMV, quicktime, MPG, MPEG, AVI, MP3 support). Additional repositories also enabled, so it’s easy to install a few additional nice-to-have packages such as Real Player and Adobe Reader
    * Ubuntu-based, can’t go wrong there…….Synaptic Package Manager allows you to install the same software you’d able to install using Ubuntu
    Not bad, not bad…..even if latest version is still based on Ubuntu 9.04, as opposed to the latest version 9.10…..I say, go ahead…download and play with it!!!

  35. March 23, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Ubuntu 9.04 it’s OLD! XD
    Need actualization to Ubuntu 9.10 or 10.04 😛

  36. March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    agreed. I think the same about PC/OS some times. They can run behind

  37. June 6, 2010 at 5:38 am

    God I love Enlightenment. I’ve been stuck behind the Ubuntu Gnome Desk for too long. Got to pop this in tomorrow and install it in a Vbox. Even if I don’t switch I could recommend to new users. Metacity just doesn’t compare to Enlightenment.

  1. September 11, 2009 at 8:34 am
  2. September 11, 2009 at 7:29 pm
  3. September 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm
  4. September 12, 2009 at 5:06 am
  5. September 12, 2009 at 9:35 pm

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