So I am not much of an Alice or Charles Dickens for that matter but when it comes to my Sunday Reviews of new and interesting new Linux Distributions…well this is my favorite part of the week. Recently the this relatively new OS went through a bit of a transformation, mainly because of the love it or hate it relationship that many experience with the Ubuntu Unity Interface. I gave this early Alpha Release a quick Test Drive and mainly because the new GUI intrigued me.
I set up the virtual machine with the standard 20GB of space and assigned 4GB of RAM to give this a shot at earning the elusive Dozen Donuts. DescentOS is very much so based on Ubuntu and in fact during the LiveDVD start up…it even uses he full Ubuntu 12.04 scripts…but to my surprise it started up significantly faster than any version of Ubuntu that I seen in some time.
For a 930MB download, the mirror was very fast but there is not a Torrent Option available? With this being a pre-release Alpha for testing, I typically would not have given this OS a second thought but then I looked at the Mate Desktop Interface and when I focused on the fact that it is based on the solid core of Ubuntu…I would give it a whirl.
Install of the OS took less than 15 minutes with the standard Ubuntu 8 or 9 clicks and I opted to update the system and install 3rd Party plugins during the install (which tends to slow down the process some what). The initial restart was a very fast 22 seconds…yes 22 seconds to a full desktop…that s a definite bonus.
From the standard install, there is the usual suspects for Applications:
- Firefox for Web Browsing
- Pidgin for Messaging
- LibreOffice for Productivity
- The GIMP for Image Editing
But there was a pleasant surprise in the Sound and Video section, as it included:
- Guayadeque for Audio
- OpenShot for Video Editing
The biggest surprise was the Mate Desktop Environment with the inclusion of Docky for quick access to Applications. The Mate Desktop is very minimalist which is nice and would be an easy transition from the standard Windows Desktop as it includes a Start Menu button that includes easy access to all of the installed programs.
The one downfall that seems to have become standard for most Linux Distros lately is the building of a Software Package Installer beyond the bundled Synaptic. By default it reads from the Ubuntu Repositories so there is a great selection of available Software but with that selection also comes the challenge of understanding what is so “great” about each piece.
All in all I would say that this is among the best Linux Distros that I have seen in a while. It is a unique balance of speed and simplicity with a focus on choice. If this was just a Thumbs Up review…it would definitely get Two but the reality is, DesentOS is the closest to a Dozen Donuts that I have seen yet…so:
Give it a whirl (if you like to test early releases) or sit back and try Version 2.1 which is a stable release. Myself, this is going to be a daily driver for a while and may even take over on the desktop from Ubuntu (at least for a while).
Cheers and Happy Sunday Everyone!
Chris J Powell