Chris J Powell

OS Sunday – A Distro that is More than Just a Name

Many moons ago I tossed around the idea of moving over to PC/OS which was an Ubuntu based  distro that really thought outside of the box when it came to building an “Open Desktop”.  There was always something that was just missing, I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something that was needed…but what it was was just out of my reach.  Back in July 2012, there was a change…and PC/OS became OS4.

The 1.5 GB download was lightning fast and the install in the Oracle Virtual Box with 4GB of RAM and 20GB HDD took less than 15 minutes to complete.  I was impressed with the simplicity right out of the box, as it is based on Ubuntu with the XFCE desktop environment I knew that I would be in for an interesting treat as this is my number 2 favorite Desktop…despite some challenges in getting some things to work in the past.

The initial boot came in at a precise 28 seconds which is on par with most of the other distros I have tested in the past and is a far cry from the 9.5 minute boot process that my work PC takes when loading up Windows 7!  I really lie the simplicity of the desktop and the Desktop Widget that is included in the upper right (as a replacement for a standard Menu Button).  The included software was well thought out and leaves little to add in as you move around the Distro.

  • Web Browser – Google Chro
  • Productivity – Scribus, AbiWord, Gnumeric
  • Audio / Video – Banshee and VLC
  • Photo – The Gimp and Inkscape
  • Additional Software – iPod Manager, Document Reader (pdf), Audio Editors and Audio Recorder and a host of other software that provide a great Out of the Box Experience.

Adding additional software was not a problem either as Synaptic Package Manager is included, what was really refreshing about the System Menu though is that this Distro seems Enterprise Ready as it has the Active Directory Membership, Windows Wireless Drivers, Firewall and AntiVirus (really) all ready built in to the initial install.

The responsiveness was really nice as the bottom menu bar lets me interact with the last active Window, has my Pidgin Instant Messenger status available and also displays my active desktops and trash bin / file manager all at my ready!

The one thing that I found irksome was the persistence of the Menu Widget and its location as a large box in the top right corner of the screen.  When using full screen apps…like The Gimp, it cuts out much of the functionality of the right side editor features and this is not a good thing at all!  That being said..a quick fix within the Panel Settings and it was completely resolved and life was good…in many many ways.

With its roots with Xubuntu 12.04, OS4 has a solid foundation to continue to build on…and as of right now…there is a new champion that is reigning…I will test out the form and function of this OS on my Netbook, I think that Lubuntu may be in trouble and not be getting reinstalled for a while!

As for the rating of OS4…the only real fault that I could find is the layout of the Panel at time of install.  This is a personal preference but I think more thought should be put into the placement as not everyone has a wide screen monitor and the ability for OS4 to bring new life to aging hardware could be lost because of too much tweaking.  That being said…OS4 comes as close to a replacement or Ubuntu on my primary system that I have seen and I give it:


Yes the first full Dozen ever given!


Chris J Powell

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