LibreOffice 5.0, The Document Foundation’s latest open source office suite, deserves to top the list of contenders for best performance in this category. The foundation last month released LibreOffice 5.0 for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. It is the 10th major release since the launch of the project, and the first in the third development cycle. The release coincides with the rollout of Windows 10.
The latest release of ExTiX offers a new spin on an old desktop environment and exhibits a passion for speed and ease of use. ExTiX 15.3, a fusion of the LXDE and Razor-qt desktop environments, has the economy of working in the LXQt desktop environment. LXQt is lightweight, modular, very fast and user-friendly. It is based on the popular LXDE — that is, Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment.
The latest Android-x86 Project release takes us one step closer to using the Android OS on a desktop or laptop computer — but the project suffers from stability and reliability issues. If you want one Linux-based OS to run on all of your devices, Android-x86 could become a viable alternative. The major advantage would be keeping all of your settings, apps and Google services on an equal footing.
Point Linux 3.0, dubbed “Agni,” combines a solid operating system with a traditional no-frills approach to performance and reliability. In several ways, Point Linux belies the criticisms of Linux desktop newcomers who find that Linux not simple and straightforward to use. Point Linux is easy to install. It has a clear interface. Everything works out of the box.
MyNotex is one application I keep revisiting for my note-taking and project management tasks. Italian Developer Massimo Nardello releases one major update per year. MyNotex keeps getting better and better. Version 1.3.1, was released in June. Nardello took what was a near-perfect locally stored note-taking program and made it better than using cloud-based services such as Evernote, Box or Dropbox.
The Solus Project is a rebranded and rereleased Linux distro trying to regain its former popularity. In a field of Linux distributions cluttered with look-alike offerings, Solus brings something simple and something new. Solus has impressive potential for being uncomplicated and different. Based in the UK, the Solus Project is the latest iteration of SolusOS, which morphed into Evolve OS.
Mangaka is a not-so-traditional Linux distro with a gorgeous look. After gaining some traction among fans of the manga and anime communities, Mangaka fell dormant in December 2009. Developer Animesoft International regrouped, and the latest Release Candidate version came out on June 20. The Mangaka Project — the name means “love” in Japanese — started out with the code name of “AngelOS.”
The special release of Makulu 9 Aero edition might seem like one flexible Linux offering too many. However, anyone hankering for a Windows-like operating system and the best of what is easy about using Linux could not make a better choice. The Linux OS is notorious for its great variety of distros. Linux is also infamous for having far too many choices.
Antergos is an Arch-based Linux distribution that offers six desktop choices. This is a distro that Linux tinkerers might well embrace, but it comes with a few more stumbling blocks than other Linux options, which could make it a less welcome alternative. Its developers created a cute logo that espouses the notion that Antergos is a distro “for everyone.” In some ways, that is true.
The antiX distro is both something old and something new. It is a handy and innovative approach to keeping aging computers fast and active. It is also an energy infuser for new computers. I started playing around with antiX when looking for something different to keep some older computers out of the trash heap. antiX is a fast, lightweight distro that is easy to install.
ConnochaetOS is a nice entry into a pure, free Linux experience. Most people mistakenly equate open source with “free,” as in pay nothing. Experienced Linux users know, however, that the open source concept separates the price of the software from the cost of obtaining enterprise-level modifications and support. The notion of “free” does not mean there’s no cost to get it.
Chromixium is a new Linux distro that goes one big step further than the few existing distros catering to the Chrome OS. It one-ups Google’s semi-proprietary Chrome OS locked into the popular Chromebook hardware. Chromixium sole developer Rich Jack’s innovative version 1.0, released last month, is a Chrome OS clone that runs on nearly any aging or newer computer.
The latest edition of Simplicity Linux, version 15.4, recently became available for download. Simplicity Linux delivers just what its name suggests: It is a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. Simplicity lets you carry your entire desktop, favorite installed applications, and complete collection of documents and files in your pocket everywhere you go.
Makulu Linux now is one of the first major distros to integrate the Unity desktop. It was more than worth the wait! The Unity desktop is Ubuntu’s flagship desktop environment. Canonical pushed through its development several years ago as a way of introducing users to its “unifying” computing platform for all devices. It removed the traditional panel bar and two-column application menu.
Voyager-X 10.14.4, released in March, is based on Xubuntu/Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. This new Voyager-X is one of the first distros to use the new Xfce 4.12 desktop, more than one year in the making. Ubuntu has yet to implement it, and few other Linux distros have put the new update into play. Thus, the latest Xfce desktop is considered “experimental.” However, it is a fully functional upgrade.
You will not see much new in Ubuntu 15.04, aka “Vivid Vervet,” unless you peer under the hood. The release of Ubuntu 15.04 for the desktop includes mostly maintenance and bug fixes, along with new integrated menus and dashboard usability improvements. Perhaps the most significant technical change in this desktop release is the adoption of Systemd to replace the default init manager system.
SuperX OS is a solid Linux distribution that dispels all of the criticisms about using free open source OSes. SuperX is a relatively new distro developed by Libresoft. Based on Ubuntu and Debian, it adds a highly customized KDE desktop environment. The maturity and impressive performance of Grace, its latest release, makes the SuperX OS a prime replacement choice for whatever distro you now use.
Parsix GNU/Linux 7 is a feature-rich rendition of the GNOME desktop that you must take for a spin. Dubbed Nestor, the project’s goal is to provide a ready-to-use and easy-to-install operating system based on Debian’s testing branch and the latest stable release of the GNOME desktop environment. The Parsix distro meets that goal — and goes even beyond.
Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 RC3’s implementation of the Enlightenment desktop, makes an awesome desktop computing platform for office or home. Bodhi is one of only a handful of Linux distros embracing the Enlightenment environment. Its developers call Bodhi the Enlightened Linux Distribution. Beware if you try it: Bodhi Linux could easily become your favorite Linux distro.
Q4OS has the potential to become a new attention-getter among up and coming Linux distros. But this distro has a way to go before its development reaches full functionality. Right now it is working its way to a non-beta version 1.0 release. New beta versions are frequently released, often a few weeks to a month apart. The latest release was version 0.5.25 on February 4.