Category Archives: Desktop Linux Reviews

Desktop Linux Reviews

Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon

Linux Mint has long been one of the most popular desktop distributions, so it’s always a big deal when a version is released. This time around it’s Linux Mint 17. This review covers the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint 17, but much of it also applies to the MATE version with the exception of changes to the MATE 1.8 desktop. As to which desktop environment you should use, I think it just gets down to your own personal preference. MATE is a more traditional desktop while Cinnamon has a more modern feel to it. If you aren’t sure which one you might like better, my advice is to try both of them and then make your decision. Linux Mint 17 is a long term support release. It will receive security updates until 2019. The Linux Mint developers plan to use this package base until 2016, so upgrading should be a piece of cake once you start using Linux Mint 17. What’s new in Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon Here’s a sample of the new features in this release: Update Manager Drivers Manager Login Screen Language Settings Software Sources Welcome Screen Cinnamon 2.2 System Improvements Artwork Improvements Main Components LTS Strategy Update […]

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Lubuntu 14.04 LTS

Minimalist distros are an important option for many Linux users. Not everyone wants tons of desktop glitz and zillions of bells and whistles. Lubuntu has always been a terrific option for minimalists who prefer to stay within the Ubuntu family. Now Lubuntu 14.04 LTS is available and it follows in the footsteps of previous releases by providing a high-quality desktop distro that is light-weight and fast. You should know that LTS releases like Lubuntu 14.04 are mostly geared toward providing a long term, very stable desktop. So this release is not chock-full of new features. Don’t let that disappoint you though because Lubuntu 14.04 is still worth upgrading to if you are using an earlier version of it. If you are totally new to Lubuntu you can get a pretty good overview of it, along with a history of prior releases on the Lubuntu page at Wikipedia: Lubuntu is a lightweight Linux operating system based on Ubuntu but using the LXDE desktop environment in place of Ubuntu’s Unity shell and GNOME desktop. LXDE is touted as being “lighter, less resource hungry and more energy-efficient”. Like Xubuntu, Lubuntu is intended to be a low-system-requirement, low-RAM environment for netbooks, mobile devices, and older […]

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Xubuntu 14.04 LTS

Xubuntu 14.04 LTS has been released in the wake of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS so it’s time for a full review. Xubuntu 14.04 is a long term support release, so the focus is really on stability and finesse, not on adding tons of new features. Xubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment instead of Unity, so it works very well as a lightweight alternative to regular Ubuntu. Xubuntu can be particularly useful if you have an older or otherwise underpowered computer. If you aren’t familiar with Xubuntu, you can read the Xubuntu about page or the Xubuntu strategy document to discover more about it. You can also get a basic overview of what the Xfce desktop environment has to offer on its about page, the Xfce wiki, and you can connect with other Xfcse users in the Xfce forum if you have questions or comments to share. What’s New in Xubuntu 14.04 LTS Here’s a sample of the new features in this release: Light Locker replaces xscreensaver for screen locking, a setting editing GUI is included The panel layout is updated, and now uses Whiskermenu as the default menu Mugshot is included to allow you to easily edit your personal preferences MenuLibre […]

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Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS

Ubuntu 14.04 was released recently and as usual the other flavors of Ubuntu have also been updated to 14.04 including Ubuntu GNOME. Ubuntu GNOME tends to get overlooked a bit, given all the attention that goes to the main Ubuntu release. However, that’s a shame since it has quite a lot to offer anyone who prefers the GNOME interface to that of Unity. Please note that Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS is a long term support release. Such releases tend to focus on polish and stability rather than introducing loads of new features. So bear that in mind if you are looking for a desktop distribution that will be supported for a longer term. If you aren’t familiar with Ubuntu GNOME, you may want to browse the FAQ about it on the Ubuntu GNOME site. There’s some helpful background information there that might be of interest to you. Wikipedia and DistroWatch also have information pages about Ubuntu GNOME. Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS Features Here’s a sample of the features in this release: Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 is now an LTS (Long Term Support) release. This is our first LTS Release supported for 3 years. Most of GNOME 3.10 is now included. See […]

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

It’s time for another review of Ubuntu, Canonical’s popular desktop Linux distribution. Ubuntu moves to version 14.04 in this release. This time around the code name for Ubuntu is Trusty Tahr and it’s a long term support release (LTS) geared toward providing a more polished desktop experience. I bet you’re wondering what the heck a tahr is right? Frankly, I’d never heard of such an animal until Ubuntu picked it as the mascot for this release. I have to give the Ubuntu developers credit for consistently finding weirdly named animals to represent each Ubuntu release. They must have a guy or gal who spends part of his or her time browsing Wikipedia to find these animals. Perplexed about this strange critter, I did a bit of searching to discover more about it and here’s what I found: Tahrs are three species of large Asian ungulates related to the wild goat. Until recently the three species were believed to be closely related and were placed in a single genus, Hemitragus. Genetic studies have proven that the three tahrs are not as closely related as previously thought. Now they are considered as members of four separate monotypic genera; Hemitragus is now reserved […]

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Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon

Linux Mint 16 Petra has been released so it’s time for a review. The newest release of Linux Mint is always a big deal in the Linux world, and I’ve been looking forward to checking out Linux Mint 16 for a while. Please note that I’m going to cover the Cinnamon version of Linux Mint 16 in this review. I’ll do a separate review for the MATE version later. What’s New in Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon Here’s a sample of the new features in this release: Cinnamon 2.0 MDM 1.4 USB stick support Performance improvements Software Manager improvements System improvements Artwork improvements Linux kernel 3.11 Ubuntu 13.10 package base Cinnamon Cinnamon 2.0 comes with sound effects for events, a better user management applet, improved edge-tiling as well as edge-snapping. Nemo has better MIME handling so it’s easier to associate applications and commands with file types. It’s also faster than in the last release of Linux Mint. The file operations window will now show as an icon in the system tray if you close it. There’s quite a bit in Cinnamon 2.0, more than I can cover in this review. You can see a full list of Cinnamon 2.0 improvements in the announcement on Segfault. […]

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openSUSE 13.1 KDE

openSUSE 13.1 has been released so it’s time for a review. I’ve always liked openSUSE, I started out with SUSE Linux years ago and it’s always had a special place in my heart. I’m glad it’s still around and doing so well these days. Whenever I install it, I’m reminded of where I got my start with Linux and I’m grateful that it was available back then. This review covers the KDE version of openSUSE 13.1. However, you can also use GNOME as the default desktop environment. Both desktops are great, and work well in openSUSE. Ultimately it gets down to your personal preference, but I don’t think you can go wrong with either option. If you aren’t familiar with what KDE has to offer, you can read an overview of KDE in openSUSE 13.1 that covers the advantages of the Plasma Desktop. Suffice to say that the combination of KDE 4.11 and openSUSE provides a powerful desktop operating system that is also elegant and pleasing in daily use. What’s New in openSUSE 13.1 KDE Here’s a sample of the new features in this release: KDE KDE Plasma Desktop is the default in openSUSE, and the 4.11 version of this Free […]

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Pear OS 8

It’s often said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that’s the case then the developer of Pear OS 8 truly loves Apple and its products. Pear OS 8 is probably the closest thing any Linux user will ever come to getting a Linux distribution from Apple. Pear OS 8 blends the look and feel of Mac OS X and iOS 7 into Ubuntu. I know that the very idea of this will probably shock some Linux users. Apple is probably the exact opposite of Linux in terms of openness and so making a Linux distribution that essentially mimics Apple’s products might be considered over the top, to say the least. Some might even think that the Pear OS 8 developer jumped the shark in a big way. But there might also be folks out there who would appreciate a desktop Linux distribution molded in the likeness of OS X and iOS 7. So Pear OS 8 might be very appealing indeed to them. What’s New in Pear OS 8 I was not able to locate a list of new features for Pear OS 8. The closest I could come was this page on the Pear OS […]

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Linux Lite 1.0.6

Linux has not always had the reputation of being simple and easy to use. Linux Lite 1.0.6 is a distribution that aims to change that by making Linux more accessible to less tech-savvy users. Linux Lite is based on Ubuntu, and it uses the Xfce 4.8 desktop environment. Linux Lite is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. For this review I used the 64-bit version. What’s New in Linux Lite 1.0.6 Here’s a sample of the new features in this release: This is our most feature packed release to date. We’ve relied heavily on feedback from the community to help guide the development of Linux Lite 1.0.6. New features include easier networking setup between Linux Lite and Windows/other linux operating systems, a system report tool to help troubleshoot problems, support for scanners, bluetooth and a brand new login screen. The Help and Support Manual is our most comprehensive to date and is available both offline and online. Thank you to everyone who contributed ideas, code and their support. System Requirements for Linux Lite 1.0.6 Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro: 700 MHz processor+ (your CPU must support pae for 32bit, or for 64bit you need a 64bit capable […]

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Edubuntu 13.10

Ubuntu comes in many flavors, and it’s designed for very different kinds of users. Edubuntu 13.10 is an Ubuntu spin for educators. It comes preloaded with quite a selection of education-related applications including some for science and engineering. While this release does not have much in the way of new features, it’s worth looking at since it differs so much from the other Ubuntu spins. It also adds real value for those who want a distribution focused on learning rather than just a general desktop. Here’s the official description from the Edubuntu site: Edubuntu is a grassroots movement, we aim to get Ubuntu into schools, homes and communities and make it easy for users to install and maintain their systems. We are students, teachers, parents and hackers who believe that learning and knowledge should be available to everyone who wants to improve themselves and the world around them. Our aim is to put together a system that contains all the best free software available in education and make it easy to install and maintain. What’s New in Edubuntu 13.10 Here’s a sample of the new features in this release: Unity: 7.1.2 LibreOffice: 4.1.2 Firefox: 24.0 Thunderbird: 24.0 Linux: 3.11 Upstart: […]

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