Today brought the release of Greenie Linux 5.1J. Yet another Ubuntu-based Linux desktop, the Greenie Linux distribution is aimed at Slovak users. I was able to reach English by pressing f2 from the boot menu.
After running the Greenie 5.1j release as a live CD I installed it fairly quickly and examined the default desktop. As you’ll see in the screenshot gallery, Greenie Linux comes with a great looking desktop and GNOME interface. I also found the screenlets feature installed by default to be of use. This allows me to view a desktop icon that tells me my inbox status instead of going through the browser all the time. This is one of many conveniences I found in Greenie screenlets.
The Greenie Linux website isn’t supporting English anymore which is disappointing to me. This means support is a question mark and that is probably the main reason Greenie Linux won’t be a primary distro for me. A smaller detail I didn’t like was Ubuntu mentions in the installer and other places in the distribution. I think establishing your own identity is key for upcoming distros. Some users are annoyed with the many Ubuntu branches causing for even more reason to get this out of there.
I’d use it more if it had English support. It is usable and worked great for me but somehow I felt disconnected without others to talk to, articles to read, etc. The website not having English support was the deal-breaker for me. This one was a little too far out there for me but may be good for the user base that it was created for.
The Ubuntu-based gNewSense is sponsored by the Free Software Foundation and is released without any proprietary or non-free components. This means no restrictions are placed on usage or sharing of gNewSense. The same can’t be said for Linux distros like Ubuntu and Debian. gNewSense is an exact snapshot of what free software has to offer. To achieve this gNewSense comes stripped of Ubuntu logos, proprietary firmware, and restricted modules.
Although I’ve reviewed several Ubuntu-based linux distributions recently(moonOS, Mint7 XFCE, & others) I feel like gNewSense is on a whole different level due to its free software status. Many users will pass over it because it consistently favors compliance over ease-of-use and usability. More and more newbies are coming to Linux for a solution, not because of their morals and beliefs about software. While I’m all for finding solutions, remember that the freedom to share is what got us this far.
I installed gNewSense and have taken these screenshots to share in hopes a few users will give it a shot.
moonOS 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.
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.
Adding 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.
The Ubuntu-based Tuquito 3 includes quite a few changes like its new GNOME desktop environment and cool new desktop gadgets. I took the time to try out a few of the Google Gadgets and see how they worked for a complete beginner on this distro. What I found was a desktop social media feel hard to find in anywhere. In some ways Tuquito reminded me of gOS gadgets which features similar widget-like internet applications that are extremely powerful. I examined the Web Clip and a few other gadgets and found them to be fantastic.
This screenshot shows us the options available for the Web Clip widget. Type another RSS feed into the field and press the Add button. The Web Clip gadget will now display posts from your feed right on your desktop.
Notice the Web Clip widget now has my RSS feed posts shown inside of it. Keep in mind you can blend multiple feeds together this way too giving you a unique custom feed that includes all the feeds you subscribe to anyway, right there in one.
DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition was released on March 1st, 2009. The distro has experienced some significant changes recently and it really seemed to do it for me in the past so i thought I’d give it a try and see what it could offer me. The biggest changes to DreamLinux were to the 3.0 version of the Linux OS which featured a complete re-design and a totally independent architecture called Flexiboost, based on overlaid modules. The main things this feature does for users is it allows the co-existence of multiple separate window managers, currently Gnome and XFCE. Both of these working environments share all applications available on the system.
Built on Debian 5.0 “Lenny”, the 3.5 release has filled some details in for the redesigned DreamLinux distro focusing on portability with enhancements to wireless drivers, laptop, netbook, and pendrive installs. The XFCE desktop environment is included paired with Gnome available in the form of a module. The shiny new distro features the 188.8.131.52 Linux kernel, new icons and a new GTK+ theme. I was curious to see how DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition behaved after its complete re-design.
I downloaded the 695MB .ISO file which took me a little longer than I would have liked, buying on CD for $1.95 is recommended. I burned my .ISO to a CD and ran the distro as a live CD. Right away I noticed many different methods of installation for the DreamLinux distro. OEM install allows the installation onto an entire drive for users just running DreamLinux. Another option was the DL Install icon which installs onto a created partition. The Easy-Install icon on the desktop allowed for the quick addition of many applications that are not included out-of-the-box due to legal reasons. Some of the applications include Azureus, Opera, Picasa, Skype, Google-Earth, Wine, Google Desktop, SongBird, Google Gadgets, XMMS, Deluge, Xara LX, Kompozer, Adobe Acrobat, Midori, Mplayer, W32Codecs, and Firefox. This is also how you can install DVD Support by adding the Libdvdcss library.
I was quite satisfied with the desktop and icon dock at the bottom. The dock caught my attention due to more than a dozen beautifully crafted icons that brought instance access to the terminal, network browser, root file manager, PDF reader, Gthumb, Inkscape, Mixer, Rhythmbox, Totem, CD/DVD Burner, DCP- Control Panel, Synaptic, and Eject-Close. Most of the icons were brilliant but I did not like the Inkscape icon compared to the standard Inkscape icon or the internet icon used. Overall though, the dock functioned and performed well everything worked like a charm.
In addition to navigating via the dock at the bottom. The menu can be accessed by right clicking on the desktop and selecting from the categories available. Here I was able to find a full list of applications I enjoyed and the system controls for adjusting the system behavior.
DreamLinux Desktop 3.5 Edition still has a few bumps and bruises that need attention depending on the hardware you’re using but I enjoyed a near flawless installation and initial use of the distro. I was also impressed with the Flexiboost architecture concept allowing the use of Gnome as a module. The application selection was very good although I missed OpenOffice 3.0 as the default, I enjoyed the multimedia apps installed. I’m excited to put the new wireless and netbook support to the test installing DreamLinux 3.5 on an older laptop.