Chris J Powell

OS Sunday – The Usain Bolt of Linux

There are times when it is bitter sweet to say goodbye to something that has been a part of you for a long time.  This will be the last post of Krispy’s Rants (at least as you know it today). No fear for my loyal readers…it is not a Goodbye just a see you soon.  This Week’s OS Sunday reveals a distro that is tweaked and optimized and focused entirely on usability.  Netrunner Linux is among the smoothest OSes I have downloaded recently.

As always for OS Sunday I am using Oracle VirtualBox to install and test the Linux Distro of the week.  The Virtual Machine has 4GB of RAM and 20GB of HDD space and it is truly a welcome change to return to the world of Linux after last week’s rather painful experience with Windows8!

The downloading of the ISO was a bit painful as the .Torrent was incredibly slow (after 3 hours it was still stuck at just 15%) so I downloaded from the Server and will continue to seed the Torrent when it finally completes. I chose the 64-bit version but both 32 and 64 are available at the Download Page.  Once the ISO was down, the setup and configuration was very painless.  It booted to a Live Desktop in seconds and nicely, on the Desktop was a Install Icon (something that has been lacking in the past few Distros).

The layout of the Install script was a welcome change, both simple and comprehensive and just  7 easy steps to get anyone started.  With download being fairly large at 1.3GB, I was expecting the install to take longer than it did but at just under 10 minutes (those darn language packs) I was ready to do the first boot to a full install.  Netrunner is built on the Kubuntu 12.04 LTS distro so it features the KDE desktop (which I am not really a fan of) but the way that Netrunner integrated both Gnome and KDE apps into the Distro deserves a hearty congratulations.

First Boot came in at a respectable 27 seconds to a fully functional desktop. Despite preferring Gnome / Unity over KDE, I must say that the Netrunner version and the time and energy put into the User Experience is very commendable.  The “Start Menu” has everything you need and to my surprise included links to some popular Web-apps like Dropbox, Google Docs, and more.

What you get with that 1.3GB download investment?

Internet:

  • Firefox Browser
  • Skype
  • Thunderbird Email
  • Pidgin Internet Messenger

Office and Productivity:

  • LibreOffice
  • Calligra Flow???  I was intrigued by this (see more)

Graphics:

  • The Gimp
  • Karbon
  • Krita
  • Gwenview

What really impressed me though was the out of the box integration of several games and Wine.  For those that are new to Linux, Wine is an Open Source Project that strives to enable the installation of Windows Software in a Linux environment and for the most part, it does a pretty good job (I have successfully been able to install 80% of the programs that I have attempted to install including MS Office – all versions including the beta version of Office 2013).

While KDE is not generally my cup of tea, Netrunners take on the venerable Desktop environment could get me to convert.  Everything is there at my finger tips but then it came time to install some additional software and to my surprise…there was options here too!  Both Synaptic Package Manager and the Muon Software Center were included.  I was very impressed and well more than just a little tickled that I could install basically EVERYTHING I wanted and it was ready for it to be a full Windows or MAC replacement out of the box!

As for the interesting addition of Calligra Flow…it is an Open Source version of Microsoft Visio that includes prebuilt connections for Cisco Routing, Network Diagrams and many more options.

Overall, Netrunner is one of the most complete Linux Distros that I have stumbled across and is more than worth the investment of a download, in fact it has even earned the opportunity to be a full install on my primary system for the next little while.  As for the rating:

Cheers and stay tuned for what comes next from Krispy’s Rants!

Chris J Powell

 

 

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