Distro Review Linux

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.


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


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.

Development Linux Software Reviews

Linux KDE Web Development Tools – Reviews and Screenshots

All apps listed here, unless otherwise noted, refer to the KDE Specifc version, but have been tested in Gnome as well.

KImage Map Editor


Here’s a simple to use and very useful image map editor.  Drop an image or existing HTML file into the app window and draw the part of the image you want to map.  You can even define map parts of the image using a polygonal area tool.

Even more impressive is that you can define all the javascript functions that should occur when the selected part of the image is effected.  Onclick, OnMouseOver, etc… Tested and works well in KDE and Gnome.

How to Install

From a terminal window type   sudo apt-get install kimagemapeditor



URL checker.  Straightforward utility.  Enter a URL and this tool will recursively check all links on that page, and optionally check parent folders as well.   You can then sort the results by good and bad links, etc…  Tested in KDE and Gnome.

How to Install

From a terminal window type   sudo apt-get install klinkstatus


kdeveloper screenshot

Provides an easy to use Integrated Development Environment for Linux with support for KDE related development.  The KDevelop-Project was founded in 1998 to build up an easy to use IDE for KDE.  This is the tool to use to create more great KDE apps.

How to Install

From a terminal window type   sudo apt-get install kdevelop

Quanta+ 3.5


Quanta Plus is a highly stable and feature rich web development environment. This app was built for the KDE Desktop.

How to Install

From a terminal window type sudo apt-get install quanta



KXSLDbg is a debugger for XSLT scripts written for the KDE environment, and works in Gnome too. It includes a graphical user interface as well as a text-based debugger.

How to Install

From a terminal window type sudo apt-get install kxsldbg


screenshot - Kompare

Kompare is a great tool to use for comparing files.  This is especially useful in development when comparing two versions of a file or application set.

How to Install

From a terminal window type sudo apt-get install Kompare


Kommander snapshot

Kommander 1.3 includes an editor where you visually build dialogs and applications and edit the scripted elements. It also has an executor which processes the generated XML file.

How to Install

From a terminal window type sudo apt-get install Kommander


kjscmd is a tool for launching KJSEmbed scripts from the command line.  kjscmd is a script interpreter that uses the KDE JavaScript library and runs on the command line only.  It can be run without KDE support as well.


KBugBuster is a GUI front end for the KDE bug tracking system that includes many reports and user options.


CallGrind KcacheGrind screenshot

Open Source Profiling and visualization tool that includes CallGrind.


KUIViewer is a utility to display and check user interface (.ui) files created in Qt Designer.



An UML modeling tool for the KDE environment.  It supports Java, C++, reverse engineering, and more.  I am always amazed at the wealth of tools available in open source, and this tool is such a rich example. It’s availabe in many languages and works on a bunch of platforms, including Windows.

Distro Review Linux Software Reviews

Slax 3.5 Minimal Linux KDE – Live CD – Quick Review & Snapshots

Continuing on my search for a Kubuntu replacement as I wrote about in my earlier post.

Slax 3.5 Minimal Live CD
Here’s a nice KDE 3.5 Linux distro with a minimal set of applications and only a 180 MB download. The Live CD took about 5 minutes to fully load and the CD was constantly churning throughout the entire time I demoed the product.

Since it’s a minimal distro, there’s no Gimp, no Firefox, no Open Office. Instead, you have Kplayer, Kopete, K3B, Konquerer, ,Konsole, Kword, Kspread, and Kpresent. Everything worked fine (except for the excessive CD churning).

The desktop is aesthetically pleasing with the tux background spread over the continents.  The menus are set pleasingly to the eyes.  The folks at Slax have decided not to jump to KDE 4 yet, and I think that’s a great move, until the kinks have been ironed out on the plasma desktop.

Although Slax was pleasing, it didn’t tickle my Linux bone enough to give up Ubuntu in my search for a Kubuntu replacement. The search continues…

Slax Live CD Screenshots

Distro Review Linux Software Reviews

PCLinuxOS Quick Review and Screenshots – Kubuntu Alternative

Continuing in my quest for a replacement to Kubuntu as discussed here in my previous post. We are looking at KDE distros that can replace the Kubuntu 9.x release, which to me still seems like it’s in beta.

PCLinuxOS 2009 KDE
It’s running on KDE 3.5, which is a good start in my opinion. It took nearly 4 minutes to load the opening screen from the live CD, which seemed like forever. During the whole time I played with the live desktop, the CD was churning and I was afraid it was going to bust a gut.

Radically Simple

The PCLinuxOS tagline and philosophy is to make the Linux distro desktop simple and easy to use.

Some notables – They are still using Synaptic for package management, which is better and easier to use than the new Kubuntu package manager. The package selection was quite rich, with a heavy accent on graphics programs and sound and music devices. All told, I think there was a couple dozen programs in those two sub menus. Which brings me to the next point, the menu selection is based on hierarchies. Sometimes, you’ll have to wade through several submenus to get to an application.
Generally speaking, it was a pleasant distro.

Here’s some screenshots of PCLinuxOS 2009 on KDE 3.5

PCLinuxOS Snapshot on KDE
PCLinuxOS Snapshot on KDE

PCLinuxOS Snapshot Configuration Manager
PCLinuxOS Snapshot Configuration Manager

PCLinuxOS Snapshot Control Center
PCLinuxOS Snapshot Control Center

PCLinuxOS Snapshot on KDE
PCLinuxOS Snapshot on KDE

PCLinuxOS Snapshot on KDE
PCLinuxOS Snapshot on KDE

PCLinuxOS Snapshot - Help Screen
PCLinuxOS Snapshot - Help Screen
Distro Review Linux Software Reviews

Mandriva KDE Quick Review & Screenshots (vs. Kubuntu)

As you may have read from my previous posts on leaving Kubuntu after 3 years, I am looking for a better KDE solution. To that aim, I am installing well-respected KDE distros and comparing them to the Kubuntu that I have known and loved, but that has gone to a beta feel in the recent 9.x release.

Mandriva KDE
Installing Mandriva KDE, similar to Kubuntu, is installed from a live CD. You get to taste the OS before actually installing. That’s where the similarities end.
Mandriva is using 4.x KDE and looks simply gorgeous. The developers took care to make a very pleasant looking and highly functional distribution. All the expected apps are installed in the live CD including, Open Office, Kmail, Firefox 3, and Gimp (which is not included standard on Kubuntu).

Mandriva Screenshots

Mandriva Snapshot - Software Configuration
Mandriva Snapshot - Software Management

Mandriva Software
Mandriva Software

Mandriva TV Time
Mandriva TV Time

Mandriva Main Menu
Mandriva Main Menu

Mandriva Backup Tool
Mandriva Backup Tool

Mandriva includes a host of neat tools that really add to its utility. The software configuration tool is straightforward and uncluttered. Mandriva comes with a Backup tool that automatically pops up when you insert a USB disk on key. The menu structure is also clearer and easier to navigate than it’s KDE cousin.  For example, the recently used apps sits atop the main menu (as you’d expect) and ready for easy access, as opposed to having to fumble through tabs and an array of mouse clicks on arrows on Kubuntu.

I was impressed also with the ease of installation and configuration which rivaled Kubuntu’s legendary ease.

Although this is a preliminary look, Mandriva looks like a real winner and has restored my faith in KDE even in the post v.3.5 era.