While going through the list over at DistroWatch.com to find this week’s target OS to review I stumbled across a system that may just be the fix for my need to tweak, modify and change the way I look at my computer. What if you could rapidly switch between several “Desktop Environments” with out having to log out each time? What if there was a system that was completely free and built upon one of the most used and enjoyed systems ever?
The Download was a little bit onerous at 1.6 GB but when you consider that it includes the fully functional Desktop Environments of KDE, Gnome 3, Gnome Panel, Unity, XFCE, Enlightenment, OpenBox, LXDE, and FVWM well that is a small price to pay for all that goodness. Hybryde Linux is based on the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS so it has full compatibility with the latest and greatest hardware out there but it is very stable as well.
Off the bat, I did notice one issue that the developers failed to build in…the Live Desktop is in French with no easy way of switching over to your native language (maybe a desktop icon to the Control Feature that allows that change would be handy) but that was a minor flaw as I started the install, I was greeted with the Ubuntu Option for my Language of choice and off I went.
I did run into some stability issues when running the 64Bit version of Hybryde in Oracle VirtualBox. It was mainly during the rapid changing from one Desktop Environment to another which could be expected because of the way it all wraps up together. So many choices available though it was hard to settle on one so I figured I would give a Desktop Environment that I had not tried before on for size and see how it all came together.
The FVWM Desktop was an interesting look into both the past and the future all at once. It has a flavor that reminds me very much of the NeXT Desktop (yes the Steve Jobs project when he left Apple the first time) but includes so much more Open Goodness. The menu runs across the top and includes access to all the programs that you need. The one issue that I ran into was finding the browser because the top Icon for Internet Programs did not load wit anything other than a default System Icon.
What was nice was the ability to return back to the Hybryde Desktop Manager with a simple click on the right side of the screen (the typical Redo Icon). This made navigation a snap and like I said earlier the Oracle VM option that I use to test may be to blame for the performance issues in displaying the Hybryde Desktop if the switch happens too quickly.
Overall the Distro comes with all the usual suspects as far as extra software. When in the Gnome Panel there is also one of my favorite additions which is the Zero Install platform that lets you grab the URI of a giving .deb file from anywhere and have it install like a champ. This has come in handy more than once when I did not want to go through the hassle of adding the full Repository for just one program.
Overall, I think this is a great system for anyone who has the attention span of a Gnat like me. I love to tweak and tinker (I have been changing my Desktop Environment for more than a decade with anything and everything that I could get my hands on) so this is truly like a kid in a candy store syndrome for me.
As for the the rating and the usability…I would say that this is worth a proper and full install and when the updated Ubuntu 12.10 base version of it comes out…it will definitely earn a more permanent installation on my MonstaPuter!