Saturday, May 31, 2014

Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.05 Review: User-friendly and efficient distro for daily use

Well, I tried Archlinux a couple of times and didn't get a perfect distro out of it with my limited knowledge of Linux. So, I keep on trying the next best things - Manjaro, Chakra, Antergos, and now Netrunner. My last review of Chakra was not that good - I used Arch, Manjaro and Antergos previously and thought what works with them, should work with Chakra as well. That's where I messed up big time. I forgot that Chakra split from Arch in Spring 2010 and emerged as an independent distro. And it prompted me to write another better review of Chakra after doing a fair bit of research on it.

Chakra GNU/Linux is quite unique a Linux distro intended to provide pure KDE experience to the users. It is originally based on Arch Linux and focused to provide GTK+ free KDE experience. As per Distrowatch, "Chakra GNU/Linux is a user-friendly and powerful distribution and live CD originally forked from Arch Linux. It features a graphical installer, automatic hardware detection and configuration, the latest KDE desktop, and a variety of tools and extras." It is a semi-rolling release distro, meaning the user need not to install again unless it breaks. And Chakra is very stable like Manjaro.

From Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.05
Chakra GNU/Linux now supports only 64-bit systems and releases one major update every quarter. The latest update is 2014.05 released in May-14. The release note mentions the following incremental improvement: "The Chakra team is proud to announce the first release of Chakra 'Descartes' series which will follow the 4.13 KDE releases. This new release includes new features and updates as follows: KDE Software Compilation - the latest stable version of the KDE series; Nepomuk search has been replaced by Baloo, we have implemented a patch that permits the user to disable Baloo; Chakra Tools are fully translated into more than 30 languages thanks to the amazing job done by our users on Transifex; artwork - new Chakra Logo and new default theme for GRUB, KDM, KSplash, Yakuake; NVIDIA 331.38 and Catalyst 13.12 drivers; Linux kernel 3.12.15, X.Org Server 1.14.5...."

I downloaded the 1.8 GB 64-bit ISO and created a live USB with Linux Mint Image Writer on a 4 GB pendrive. I installed it on my Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphics, on a 50 GB partition along with Kubuntu and Linux Deepin.

From Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.05

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pinguy OS 14.04 LTS Review: Fantastic now after "Papercuts" & upgradable to GNOME 3.12

My user experience with Pinguy OS 14.04.1 LTS Mini was a bit unhappy as there were several bugs and I felt it was a bit rushed out. So, on 19 May 2014 when the final heavier cousin was released with several papercuts, I was eager to check the level of refinement in the distro post all the bug fixing. For the uninitiated, Pinguy OS is a tweaked GNOME distro based on Ubuntu, providing users a ready to use operating system with an intuitive desktop. Previous releases of Pinguy scored well over the unsettled and unstable Unity desktop and the much maligned stock GNOME 3 desktop for me.

From PinguyOS 14.04
The present release, Pinguy OS 14.04 LTS "Papercut" is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and ships with GNOME 3.10 and Linux kernel 3.13.0. The default file manager is Files 3.10.1. The desktop is upgradable to GNOME 3.12.2, as quoted from the developers blog:
"The full final has been released. Known bugs: selecting auto login in the installer does not work - I had to disable it so the live session would auto login; Apturl is broken, this is an issue with Ubuntu; to make the distro work with GNOME 3.12 I had to add restore extensions to start-ups - this forces the extensions to start; if you use symbols in your password make sure you pick the correct keyboard; in Firefox some of the add-ons are disabled, just run add-on update to enable them."

I downloaded the 2.3 GB 64 bit ISO for this review. I created a live USB on a 4 GB pendrive using Linux Mint Image Writer and booted it up on my Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card. I installed Pinguy on a 50 GB partition in a multiboot environment along with other Linux distros.

From PinguyOS 14.04

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Siduction 14.1.0 Dev Review: A brief exposure to LXQt, the next gen LXDE desktop

From the Debian stable, Siduction is possibly the most cutting edge distro I have used. Siduction is based on Debian Unstable and ships with the latest KDE, LXDE (former) and XFCE desktops with a range of updated packages. The latest developmental release 14.1.0 Dev ports the latest buzz in the Linux world "LXQt" or the next gen fusion of LXDE and Razor-Qt desktop environments. I am an admirer of LXDE desktop for it's efficiency and was seeking an opportunity to try out LXQt.

From Siduction 14.1.0 DEV
The present version of LXQt is at beta stage and hence, should be used with caution before the final release is out. My interest was mostly to try it out and get a feel if it is as good as or better than LXDE and not to use it for production purposes. So, I downloaded the 793 MB 64-bit Siduction 14.1.0 Dev ISO and created a live USB using Linux Mint Image Writer.

I did a live boot followed by installation on my Asus K55VM with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphics. Siduction ships with Linux kernel 3.14.3 and LXQt 0.7.0 with PCManFM as the default file manager.

From Siduction 14.1.0 DEV
As this is a developmental release, I am not giving any score to the distro. Once the final release is out, possibly I can do a detailed assessment.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Voyager Live 14.04.1 Review: Xubuntu on steroids!

To me Voyager Live is a well decorated Xubuntu. I tried previously Voyager Live and it looked beautiful but I found it much less efficient than Xubuntu and felt, kind of defeats the purpose of XFCE distros. This was for Voyager spin of Xubuntu 12.04. However, the present release changed my impression and I'll tell you how.

Voyager 14.04.1 is based on the latest LTS (3 years though) spin of Xubuntu and ships with Xfdesktop 4.11.6 running on XFCE 4.10 and Linux kernel 3.13.0. The release note states "Rodolphe Bachelart has announced the release of Voyager Live 14.04, a Xubuntu-based distribution with a customised Xfce 4.11 desktop and a large number of usability improvements designed for power users and multimedia fans. Some of the new features of this release include: new light and dark themes, as well as a new icon set; Bluetooth and print services are now disabled by default; workspace switch by mouse action; Impulse screenlets for music integrated in panel; tightly integrated and automated music application trio - Clementine, Covergloobus and Impulse; detachable SMTube for viewing YouTube videos; a panel applet for graphical measurement of Internet traffic; a modified Whisker menu with additional configuration options... ".
I downloaded the 983 MB 64 bit Voyager Live 14.04 ISO for this review. I created a live USB using Unetbootin and installed it on a 8 GB partition in my Asus K55VM laptop 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M processor. Initially I had a bit of issue in making Voyager recognize the already existing partitions I had on my system. However, after reformatting the drives by gparted CD and removing the existing partitions to create new ones, helped.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pinguy OS 14.04.2 Mini Review: Power packed Ubuntu Trusty spin with an enviable collection of repositories but is a bit buggy!

With the release of Ubuntu Trusty, I am expecting plenty of Ubuntu based spins to come out in the next couple of months. One of the first spins to release is that of Pinguy OS, an established name among the Linux beginners. Pinguy's beauty is that they provide an easy to use and stylish operating system which works without requiring much tweaking from the user. I was impressed with the design and aesthetics of the Ubuntu Precise based Pinguy OS 12.04 release and hence, decided to try out the Trusty spin as well.
I downloaded the 64-bit Pinguy OS 14.04.2 release from sourceforge. Though it's name suggests "Mini" but the ISO is about 1.6 GB in size. It is an unusually large ISO for a stripped down version, I must say. The release notes states of a whole of add-ins over Ubuntu GNOME version. I'll discuss the important features in the subsequent sections. 

Like Ubuntu Trusty, Pinguy OS ships with a tweaked GNOME 3.10 desktop and Linux kernel 3.13.0. I created a live USB using Linux Mint Image writer on a 4 GB pendrive and installed it on the Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce graphics. Though the below screenshot show Pinguy as Ubuntu 13.10 but in reality it is Ubuntu Trusty. I understand it is Ubuntu's fault but, a rebranding to Pinguy OS 14.04 would have done better.

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