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.
Evolve OS Beta 1 needs considerable fine-tuning to get to release candidate status, but it has two innovations that distinguish it from the crowd of Linux distro newcomers. This new arrival is built around a home-made desktop called “Budgie” and a custom package manager forked from Pardus Linux. I am always interested in new desktop approaches. That’s what drew my attention to Evolve OS.
ChaletOS began as a personal project of developer Dejan Petrovic. This operating system has a familiar Windows-like style, with appealing simplicity and impressive speed. Much of that performance credit goes to the use of the Xfce desktop. The system controls are tweaked to bring unique style-changing capabilities to a classic Linux desktop environment.
If you favor the OS X environment, Pearl OS might be a Linux distro to feed your fancy. Pearl OS is a revival of the discontinued Pear OS distro. It picks up where Pear left off in early 2014. Pearl OS has two desktop versions: XFCE and MATE. Both are based on Ubuntu Linux distro version 14.04 Mini release. The two flavors of Pearl OS are customized to look and act like the OS X operating system.
Korora, a Linux distro based on Fedora, the community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, just keeps getting better. When I reviewed Korora 19, released in July 2013, I said it had the potential to grow in popularity among users looking for a better, more user-friendly Linux distro that reaches beyond Fedora’s enterprise appeal. Korora 21 provides even more assurance of that statement’s accuracy.
Converting video files from a variety of media sources can be a huge chore. That task can be much more manageable with HandBrake, a GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder. It is available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows, which makes working on more than one platform a bit more convenient. The latest version for Linux, version 0.10 released Nov. 23, has many upgrades.
The developmental path and sketchy developer website may cast an unfavorable impression about Zenwalk’s trustworthiness as a serious computing platform. The ho-hum impression when first running the live edition does little to encourage users to take this Linux OS for a stroll. Zenwalk Linux becomes a bit more impressive once you get beyond the awkward first-time experience.
4MLinux is a unique mini Linux distribution that tries to be what it is not. Its limited-purpose design is too basic for even lightweight distro functions. Much of any benefit users might derive from 4MLinux mimics what already is available from USB-launched pocket Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Porteus and Knoppix. However, much of their advanced functionality is missing from 4MLinux.
How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know offers an unglamorous view of the Linux OS. It takes readers behind the GUI into the bowels of command line operations. This second edition of Brian Ward’s classic Linux reference book is completely revised. Though it offers something for everyone, casual Linux users run a slight risk of getting lost in some of the verbiage.
Puzzle GNU/Linux is a strange OS distribution that shows the value of open source ingenuity. This Linux distro is built around a hybrid desktop that is highly customizable. You might get the impression when you start using it that the desktop environment is a new creation. It’s not — but Puzzle GNU/Linux does provide a new approach to controlling the user interface.
The Practice of Cloud System Administration, Volume 2 is a look into IT gone bad in some companies, and how doing it right can salvage enterprise use of cloud computing. The authors make 11 statements about computers and their networks on the first page of the book’s preface. They ask which statements are true. You most likely will get numerous wrong answers.
The Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition 1.1 marks a new path for Makulu. This latest release has numerous new features that could make it a top competitor against the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition. Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition, or MCDE, has fewer standard apps than the previous Makulu Xfce and KDE versions offered. Dropping the kitchen sink philosophy has made it a lot less unwieldy.
CAINE, a professional-grade digital forensic Linux distro, uses an old-school desktop environment hardened with top-notch specialty tools. CAINE provides tight security and built-in digital investigation tools. It is less inviting for non-forensic specialists to use as an everyday Linux desktop, but it could serve the purpose for users who are willing to handle several interface inconveniences.
Black Lab Linux is a general purpose free distribution for home users and SMBs. This particular segment of the Linux OS tries to bridge free OS and preconfigured commercial hardware/software with a flexible set of options. Black Lab Linux is an outgrowth of OS4 OpenLinux, a distro released in 2008 by the same developers. There is a blurred line between the free and enterprise versions.