Linpus Linux Lite 9.4 – Review and Screenshots

Linpus Linux is a Fedora based distro that was designed to support the Asian market with Unicode support.  However, Linpus is available in English, as well as several other languages, from their website.  The Linpus Linux Lite version reviewed here is designed to be a simple to use and low memory usage for the Netbook and light-computer user community.  Some Acer Netbooks come pre-installed with Linpus Lite.

The version reviewed here, Linpus Lite 9.4, was released in December 2007.  Many of the installed packages are outdated, however once you’ve installed the OS, you can easily update any required application by accessing the RPM Repository.

Installation

Linpus Lite came as a 700 MB download from their website.  We had to jump through a few pages to get to the actual download file.  The download itself was quick and the bootup for the Live CD installation was quick and painless.  After the OS loaded, the initial desktop display is in simple-mode.  After the initial loading, we did not experience any CD churning including during heavier memory tasks, such as loading Open Office and Firefox.

First Impressions

Linpus Lite is actually two Linux OS in one.  There’s simple mode, which is easy enough for children and total computer newbies to navigate, and the more standard Fedora desktop which is fine for most users.  We liked the choices provided, and the simplicity of the setup in both environments.

desktop
Simple Mode

Full Mode
Full Mode

The Simple mode is super-intuitive.  There are five menu tabs on top, each opening a new screen of applications represented by big icons in squares.  The layout is not only pretty, but also very functional.  I did not see a way to add or edit the icons or paths to the quick links.  That would further add to the usefullness of this menu structure.

The Full mode is actually a full-power Fedora Desktop.  If you never knew that the simple mode existed, Linpus would exist in its own right as a capable Fedora-based distro.

There’s a little icon on the bottom left corner toggles between the simple and full modes.

Toggle Desktop
Toggle Desktop

Installed Applications

This section is a bit dated since this distro version was launched in late 2007.  The aging Open Office 2.2 and Firefox 2.0 are shining examples of packages that require immediate updating once you’ve got the OS running.  The good news is that with Synaptics Package Manager, you can select the afore-mentioned RPMs and easily update, as well as install everything Fedora has to offer.

Gallery of Screenshots

Continue reading “Linpus Linux Lite 9.4 – Review and Screenshots”

Zenwalk 6.01 Live CD Review & Screenshots

Zenwalk 6.01 is a Linux Distro that aims to modern, user-friendly, and fast.

They offer four versions for download on their website:

  • Standard desktop OS
  • Core version – for minimal installation.  This can be used as a server, or as a starting point for desktop users to then install whatever packages they need rather than going with a standard installation.
  • Live Edition (reviewed here) – Try out Zenwalk Linux from your CD drive without installing to your hard drive.  Includes a full complement of programming tools, disk and partitioning management, and more.
  • Gnome Edition – Gnome Desktop installation.

Download and Install

Developers love Zenwalk.  It’s fast but has frills too.   We downloaded the Live CD iso file, which was approx 687MB, one of the larger Live CD distro downloads we’ve seen thusfar.   The download was quick and painless.

First Impressions

The live CD boots quickly and without problems.  The default Xfce desktop is clean and easy on the eyes.  There’s a handy menu bar at the bottom for quick links to most used items. The menu tree expands from a start button on the top left of the screen.  We instinctively knew where all elements and items were to be found since everything was placed exactly where you’d expect.

Desktop
Desktop

It Ain’t Fancy, But It Works Well

Zenwalk follows the Mies Vander Roe school of thought that “Less is More.”  There are few gadgets and widgets to get in your way here.  Lack of fancy does not equal a reduction in usefullness.    Zenwalk Live CD comes installed with a full aray of your favorite Linux apps, with a nice and well fortified repository for you to add more programs after installation.

Modular Approach

Zenwalk focuses on a modular approach to application processing, while allowing only one application per task.  This modular processing approach makes things work fast!  Many users have configured Zenwalk in its minimal state (core download) and use it as a thin client or fast server for gaming or application handling.

Installed Apps

The Live CD comes with a fine assortment of installed applications.  Development tools included are Heany and Hex editor.  For graphics, Gimp is installed along with Evince.  Multimedia tools include Brasero for CD/DVD burning, Exaile, Media Player, and others.  The full Open Office 3.0 package is installed (which you’d expect with a nearly 700 MB download).   Zenwalk shines with a nice list of network tools, including SSH and VNC browsers, Icedove, Iceweasel, Pidgin, Bittorent, and more.  See screenshots for the Live CD menus.

Gallery of Screenshots

Conclusion

Zenwalk 6.01 Live CD is a worthy distro for users looking for a straightforward and fast OS with access to a full range of apps, particularly for the developer community.  Zenwalk is on version 6, which attests to its longevity, and for good reason.  Zenwalk (formerly minislack) has a dedicated community who actively participates in the forums on their website.  The fast Xfce desktop coupled with a good smattering of installed apps and an full repository makes Zenwalk a good choice for many Linux users.  There’s always room for a distro that just works.

Vector Linux 6.0 Gold – Review and Screenshots

Vector Linux is a popular Linux Distro whose motto is “speed, performance, stability”.

Version 6.0 was released in February 2009.  Their stated goal is to “Keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide.”  Having said that, this end user decided to see what was cooking at Vector.

Xfce Desktop – GNOME packages

The modest but pleasant Xfce Desktop is complemented with a nice array of GNOME packages.

Download

The 700 MB ISO download directly from their website http://vectorlinux.com/downloads was fast and without incident.

Vector also offers a deluxe version, which includes installation support and costs $22.99, available for purchase online at their website  (Note: We are not associated with Vector in any way).

Vector also comes in a KDE version.  The Xfce version reviewed here is targeted at the power user and at users with older hardware looking for a fast Linux that will work without bells and whistles.

Tricky Installation

There is no live CD, so you’ll have to install Vector Linux to begin testing its capabilities.  The installation screens are pretty straight forward for active linux users.  First-timers and users new to Linux may find the installation a bit daunting.  Vector has been around for about 10 years, and the process is polished, however, it’s roots are in Slackware (A Linux distro for advanced users), and it sometimes shows.

Install 3

Most of the questions should be familiar to users who have installed Windows, such as configuring your time zone and language.  You will have to configure a Linux partition on which to install the OS.  There is an automatic configuration option for those who find it too confusing to configure it manually.

Pleasant Desktop, Nice Selection of Installed Apps

Desktop
Desktop

Installed internet browsers include Sea Monkey, Opera, and Firefox.

Open Office is not installed on the basic version (it is included in the Deluxe edition). Instead you’ll have Gnumeric Spreadsheet, Abiword, and Calendar.

Multimedia includes the great VLC player, Mplayer, Xine, XMMS, and others.

Configure your system with the VASM Control Center.

Gallery of Screenshots

Continue reading “Vector Linux 6.0 Gold – Review and Screenshots”

Ultimate Edition Linux 2.2 vs. Ubuntu – Quick Review and Screenshots

Ultimate Edition 2.2 was released on June 17. It’s the latest salvo from TheeMahn, creator of this popular distro of Linux. Ultimate Edition was originally released in late 2007 to be Ubuntu with a “better user experience and with improved usability.” In the releases since, they have broken from Ubuntu and actually have created their own repository .

Like Ubuntu, Ultimate Edition is Gnome based. TheeMahn also built Ubuntu Gamers Edition, and it shows in Ultimate Edition (UE). Ultimate Edition has software pre-installed and ready for use on a live DVD environment.

Slow to load, Gamer appearance
We reviewed the live DVD x64 version. The file was 1.1 GB and downloaded  quickly from one of their mirror sites.  They do recommend you seed this file as a torrent afterwards to help distribution and to enable UE to continue to be offered  for free.

The DVD loaded to the desltop environment after a couple minutes of considerable churning.
Here’s the default desktop

Ultimate Edition 2.2 Desktop
Ultimate Edition 2.2 Desktop

First impressions are that it’s a gamers distro.  I can’t imagine business users embracing a mouse cursor of a rotating fighter jet (at least that’s what I think it was).

Here’s a gallery of screenshots for all the menus and installed software

There is a healthy helping of installed programs.  There aren’t 2,500 programs as we saw in the “uber” linux version of ArtistX, but there is definitely a good mix, with emphasis on sound and video, and graphics.  UE also comes packaged with some non-licensed video tools,  such as Handbrake.  Although Ubuntu doesn’t offer some of these tools out of the box, and sometimes not in their official repositories, there is such a large Ubuntu user-community, that often you’re only a few clicks away from adding anything that you can’t find at first try.

UE comes with a large assortment of backgrounds and Gnome themes.  That may account for the bloat in the size of the file download, as the installed base of programs is not too different that what is available out of the box for Ubuntu.

UE backgrounds ultimate edition linux

Conclusion

Ultimate Edition has done a good job with deskop design, and offers a great number of themes and background to further tailor to your individual needs.  The initial default setup looks childish and is geared more towards a young adult gamer group.  The product set of installed programs was very good, but we didn’t see an amazing jump over what’s available out of the box from its mentor, Ubuntu.   The usability was good, but not a great diffrentiator to give up the comfort of the solid Ubuntu distro with the large installed user base.

For users looking for a “different distro”  than Ubuntu/Kubuntu, we recommend trying out Mandriva Dream Linux, ArtistX, and MintLinux (click for reviews).

Mint Linux 7 Quick Review and Screenshots

Mint Linux 7 (Gloria) http://www.linuxmint.com/

Mint Linux promises to be an elegant and easily updateable distro.  Originating from Ireland, it was launched as a variant to Ubuntu (which is based on Debian) and has quickly become one of the most popular flavors of Linux available.  The two great assets of Mint Linux are that everything works out of the box, and that it’s simply gorgeous.

Let’s have a look…

Mint Linux - Login Screen

The intro screen offers a nice clean look and easy to understand access to login and session management.

mint2

The welcome screen features quick links to version information and a PDF user guide.

mint3

I like the Menu, Gnome based, but much easier to navigate.  You have all your favorite applications neatly arranged to select.

mint4

Or page through all your installed applications with a brief description of what each one does.

Package inclusion

The installed application is more or less what you’d expect.  Aside from the Ubuntu/Debian ‘usuals’,
they have included Gimp and Thunderbird.  You are always just an install away from adding any other package, so we won’t dwell on what’s missing.

Conclusion

Mint Linux is a clean and very usable Linux Distro.  Knowing that it’s based on Ubuntu means that you should have no problems with package support and sustainability going forward.  The layout and interface is clean and easy, and the menu structure is particularly straightforward.

Dreamlinux 3.5 Quick Review and Screenshots

Dreamlinux 3.5 is a Debian (Lenny 5.0) based popular Linux distro from Brazil.

Dreamlinux can be run directly from a CD/DVD/USBStick or to a Hard drive. Dreamlinux comes with a selection of the best applications designed to meet most of your daily needs.  Dreamlinux ships with the XFCE desktop, which is pleasant and easy to navigate.

This distro is really suited for a USB disk on key install, and the installation disk offers several easy step installations depending on your intended media (USB, CD, Hard drive, etc…).

In pursuit of the perfect Linux Distro

The folks at Dreamlinux have a goal, to make a distro where ‘dreams can come true’.  The idea is to take a solid core Linux distro, Debian, make it look pretty, add the coolest and most-needed apps, then make it easy to install to just about anything.

The distro lives up to the magic of easy to distribute and pretty looks.  As for the most-needed or best apps, I guess that’s a matter of personal preference.  I for one would have liked to see Gimp, for example.  But then again, with Linux, you are always just an install away from your favorites that may have been left out from the start.

Bottom line

Dreamlinux is a good distro and looks great.  Do they have the stamina for udpates and consistency of the larger distros?  Maybe users with more experience on this distro can chime in here.

Let’s take a walk through the OS with screenshots.

Dreamlinux 3.5 login screen
Dreamlinux 3.5 login screen

Nothing fancy here, but wait, the good stuff is soon to come.

I’m running this in a virtual machine (VMWare) so you can see the VMware menus straddling some of these snapshots.

Dream Linux 3.5

Nice looking desktop with easy to navigate menus.  Here’s the Office menu.  No suprises here.

Dream Linux 3.5

A matter of personal taste.  Many users like the menu bar with the Mac look.  As you mouse over the icon enlarges to give the 3d effect.

Gallery of Screenshots

Here’s a gallery of screenshots, including the nifty compass that appears as the default homepage on the internet browser.


Open Suse KDE Live CD Quick Review – Snapshots

Looking for a KDE replacement for Kubuntu…

Open Suse KDE with Live CD

Novell has got this baby hopping and it’s a serious contender for the Kubuntu replacement that I’ve been searching. Although it’s running on KDE 4.1, they seem to have put the pieces together nicely.

Plasma Desktop – like it or not
The plasma desktop, which is the new interface for KDE 4, is one of the ‘like it or not’ kind of things.  I personally do not like it one bit.  The tab menus are confusing.  The lack of a simple “desktop” metaphor that we’ve become accustomed to, and the hokey clicking on arrows to get to sub menus, just doesn’t ‘do it’ for me.

Loading took a long time

Loading of the live CD took about 3 minutes, which seemed like forever.  The CD was quiet once the loading stopped.

Beautiful Desktop

The default desktop is a very pleasing green with nice menu colors.  The tools are all there as you’d expect.  No surprises.  You will have to install Gimp on your own.

Screenshots

Open Suse KDE 4 Screenshot
Open Suse KDE 4 Screenshot
Open Suse KDE 4 Tab Menus
Open Suse KDE 4 Tab Menus