Archive for the ‘OS Reviews’ Category

Elementary OS

Posted: April 6, 2014 in Generally Speaking.., OS Reviews

Well here’s something I haven’t done in far too long: a distro review. I had been having some issues with various items on my laptop which was running Linux Mint. However, I wasn’t fond of Cinnamon and MATE made me miss what will never be again. KDE is too heavy for my laptop without frequent flakiness and I just can’t do enough with XFCE to make it look and behave the way I want without making me sorely miss GNOME 2.x So I decided to try something else. I had been hearing rave reviews of Elementary OS, which comes with the Pantheon desktop. So I boot up a copy and discover that wow, it’s pretty. The Elementary Team really likes the Mac look and they made it show it clearly. It’s probably the prettiest desktop environment I’ve seen to date. I ended up installing it (so you know I liked it) and I’m a fan of put-the-bare-necessities-on-and-let-them-add-their-own school of thought, which is nice because there’s nothing but the basics. However, after a couple of days, I could see that EOS is just a tad too simplified for me. I realize that many desktop environments are trying to simplify to accommodate new Linux users but it’s starting to get pretty insulting (are you listening Gnome 3?)and unfortunately this gorgeous desktop falls into that category. “Files” Pantheon File Manager is obviously aimed at the simple (I mean, files? really?) and it does even less than Windows Explorer. Nautilus has also gone in the insult-our-fanbase-by-treating-them-like-sheep route and has crippled Nautilus.  I love love love the customization options in KDE but it eats too much.  I like Openbox but I don’t have time for it. What to do, what to do.  So ATM, I am using Linux Mint Debian (my long time love affair with Linux Mint) with Cinnamon, which has its flaky moments too but Cinnamon 2 is so much better than ever.

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Gnome 3

Okay, I downloaded Fedora 15..but not to review Fedora Linux..but to review Gnome 3. There are several things to like about it, such as the simplicity and ease of navigation..and it shore is purty. But, I don’t like it. I use Linux for one main reason. It looks and does EXACTLY what I want it to do, not what some corporate entity wants it to. The feature set is exactly what Gnome needs. The taking away of customization is a horrible step in the (Windows) wrong direction. I get the need to revamp, and appeal to newbies, primarily refugees from Windoze..Clean it up, Team Gnome then I will be back to revisit this.

Amplify’d from www.gnome.org

My old keyboard was some generic brand that I can’t even remember anymore but it felt great, low profile keys like a laptop, 2 usb ports built in. The only thing it didn’t do that I regretted was that the keys didn’t light up in the dark, thus allowing me better visibility during my late night design sessions. Alas, like all good things, it came to and end when a few of the buttons didn’t want to work anymore, particularly the space bar. So, I ordered the Ihome keyboard, which is meant as a drop in replacement for a Mac. It’s layout is that of Mac, but it is working so far just fine and it also has low profile keys, which are set up for Mac also, with the Option and Command, F14 and F15. One thing it’s not: silent. This keyboard is very very loud and if the key is not hit exactly in the center it may not process, so for long reach keys, such as my oft-used Delete, I may end up with a serious problem with this one too. I hope it grows on me because I’m just not all that willing to put up with a lack of spacebar while I type long enough to send this back. Wow it’s loud in here!

Before I forget again why this didn’t become my go-to browser and have to reinstall just to find out 😀

Maxthon Browser is great. However, limited extensions are a problem here. The speed dial/new tab page doesn’t meet my need for organisation, but there was only one extension on offer, New Tab Plus, which I actively hate for the intrusive ‘instruction’ that wouldn’t be necessary if the app weren’t so counter intuitive. Then it never remembers my settings either. Yes, deal breaker. I like to have everything within 2 clicks distance, sorted by user folders. New Tab Plus is just junk for me so bye Maxthon..more extensions, more users.

Maxthon Cloud Browser | Fast & Secure Browsers | Download Maxthon Web Browser Free.

Home of the Mageia project

Posted: February 25, 2014 in OS Reviews

I may have posted already about my woes in trying to install Mageia 4 from DVD..apparently I’m not the only one and there is a serious bug involved..good to know because I was all kinds of unhappy that it crashed BEFORE installing files, therefore no GRUB for me..I ended up installing Linux Mint 13 with Xfce and everything is smooth sailing (well except for the part where I’m not overly fond of Xfce but Gnome is garbage and Cinnamon is too flaky for me and KDE is a tad overdone for my tastes)
I’m going to try again with the Live CD and maybe then I can give a proper review, aye?

Home of the Mageia project.

Well, Linux Mint 12 has released and Clem and gang have expressed their need to make the move to Gnome 3, in order to keep the compatibility with Ubuntu and that they held onto Gnome 2x longer than most others but that it was important to ease users into the change to Gnome 3. To that end, Clem et. al. has Mintified Gnome 3 with elements of Gnome 2x, using MATE, a fork dreamed up by a lone programmer who apparently hated Gnome 3 as much as the rest of us haters. Clem has taken a crafty and sensible approach, easing in the new Gnome 3 features while keeping some Gnome 2x features, thereby allowing at least one release to slide into the Gnome 3 experience. Note the standings of Linux Mint, which has now taken the number one spot on the DistroWatch ranking. Apparently, from what I’m reading and from the brief test of Unity, said Unity blows and people are fleeing the sinking ship. I myself couldn’t stand Unity and I’m not much bigger of a fan of Gnome 3 (I thought it sucked marginally less than Unity) so now as a longtime Gnome user, I’m finding myself in a dilemma, thinking for the first time since using Linux that it may be time to rethink KDE. I have enjoyed XFCE but to me, it just feels like a Gnome that fell off the short bus. I know it’s not, but it ‘feels’ that way…anyway, I’m currently downloading MEPIS 11 to see if I, in any way, can rethink the KDE desktop. We shall see.

Linux Mint 10 Review

Posted: December 22, 2010 in OS Reviews
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First off, my apologies for such a late showing of this review.  I always take notes as I test a new distro and I was going to write this review using my handy-dandy Android app, so I took my little paper and stuck it in a pocket..somewhere.  I finally located it today, which is the reason for my tardiness.  Now that my groveling is complete, awayyyy we go!

I booted a Live CD of Linux Mint 10, nicely named Julia, and waited for the boot.  The booting didn’t take much longer than average but longer than I would have liked.  The throbber ‘dots’ from the previous Isadora are again present.  The boot finally ends in a gray desktop with very little green to be had (:O) but it was a nice ‘metal’ theme that had a simple yet elegant LM 10.  The new icon theme, which is apparently made from sets “Faenza” and “Elementary” and of course, mintified, is VERY nice to look at.  It was a little wow moment.

One of the big changes for Linux Mint this go around (and there’s always at least one to wow you with) is the Mint Menu.  That’s right, the amazing Mint Menu that makes other distros wish they were green, has gotten even better.  The menu is now themeable, and more customiseable than ever, with the nice new icons incorporated and menu entries have been revised to make categorizing better as well.  Additionally, one can use search engines from the menu now, as well as the search and install packages right from the menu.  I did forget to check the CPU usage for this so I am uncertain whether or not these menu improvements will be detrimental to memory.

The other big big change for Mint is that now, upon deciding to do a hard drive install, one is now presented with the option of upgrading to the DVD edition of Mint.  This includes all the goodies that have to be missing from the Mint editions that get distributed in the USA and Japan due to patents and copyrights etc.  So now no one has to miss out on the full issue of Linux Mint.  This is something I can take advantage of myself.

Other nice improvements include changes to the Update Manager, which now comes with an ‘ignore list’ and now tells the size of individual updates.  The upload manager, which also remained untested by me as I have no use for it, went through some minor changes as well, including the ability to run in the background and it’s looks now mirror the download box in Firefox.  Additionally, the Software Manager is faster, which was nice..although not as noticeable as the speed increase was on Isadora lol.

As for aesthetics, I liked the look of Linux Mint (I always do) but as far as the artwork is concerned, I have to say none of the hired artists have done work to surpass that of some of the long time community members.  In future releases I would like to see artwork by Linux Minters again.   The brushed metal look is good though.   Everything I tested worked just fine, as expected from the Mint team.  Wireless and DSL connections fine, as well as all the apps were all in perfect working condition.  As usual, I give high marks to Linux Mint, an A- for performance and an A- for looks.  Great job to the Mint team!