Distro Reviews

openSUSE 13.2 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

openSUSE is posssibly my favorite distribution (with Arch and Manjaro as close seconds). Besides the fact that I have a fondness for it because it was the first distribution I used after discovering the boxed retail edition in 2002, I appreciate it because it is very powerful, robust, reliable, and flexible, offering tools that make it easy to use for new Linux users or for experienced users who would rather not do everything manually on ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Tanglu 1.0 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Tanglu Linux is a Debian based distribution -- 100% compatible with its parent -- that aims to provide a Debian system without the constraints of the Debian release schedule and distribution segmentation system, i.e. having a stable, testing, and unstable branch of the release, which results in outdated software in the stable branch some time after release and the freezing of packages in testing, for the beniefit of Debian developers who would like to be able ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Voyager 14.04 LTS Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Voyager is a Xubuntu based distribution from France developed to make the user's time working on a computer a pleasant one, by making it a showcase of photography and graphic design and providing convenience tools to improve general usability. The developers achieved their goal, making Voyager, in my opinion, the best looking Xfce desktop distribution, if not the best overall. Some of the customizations include a pre-configured drop-down terminal, multi-tab terminal based system monitor ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Fedora 28 Workstation Review

June 1, 2018, 6 p.m.

Since I last reviewed Fedora -- version 22 with a Netinstalled Cinnamon desktop -- there have been various changes to Fedora's flagship edition for desktops. Flatpack's and Wayland have been embraced, and more recently there have been efforts to separate the core of the OS from the additional layers with atomic and modularity, which allows installing different versions of software. The improvement which has been getting the most attention in this release, however, has been ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Void Linux 20171007 Review

May 24, 2018, 6 p.m.

Void Linux is an independent rolling distribution that only includes FOSS software by default. It is reminiscent of Arch Linux in its minimalism, use of a custom package management and build system, and some other aspects of its design. Like Arch it is a distro suitable for advanced users who want to configure their OS as they see fit. It does, however, offer live ISOs which can be used to easily install a system, either ...

GO TO ARTICLE

openSUSE Tumbleweed [Snapshot 20161204] Review

Dec. 15, 2016, 6 p.m.

Slightly over a year ago, openSUSE wisely merged its Factory development branch and the not widely used Tumbleweed rolling branch to create a new stable and viable rolling release, also called Tumbleweed, while still maintaining Factory as a separate development branch and a basis for Tumbleweed snapshots. The new Tumbleweed immediately solved one of the issues I had with openSUSE's regular releases -- with one year between releases, software available in the default repositories could ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Netrunner Rolling [201511] Review

Nov. 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Netrunner offers two KDE-centric versions of their distribution, one based on Kubuntu, which is itself based on Ubuntu, but uses the KDE desktop environment instead of Ubuntu's own Unity, and the other based on Manjaro, itself based on Arch. Being specialists in KDE, the developers make efforts to enable all technologies offered by KDE into both editions of the distribution, as well as to customize the Plasma desktop settings to provide what they view ...

GO TO ARTICLE

openSUSE Leap 42.1 Review

Oct. 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

openSUSE's regular release this year, now given the name "Leap" has some major changes designed to increase stability, while providing up-to-date, if not leading edge, software. This change is accomplished by basing the core of Leap on the SUSE Linux Enterprise product, on top of which the openSUSE community can add components that it desires and will maintain.

This change allows the product offerings to better complement each other while meeting the priorities of ...

GO TO ARTICLE

elementary OS 5 Juno Review

Nov. 9, 2018, 7 p.m.

elementary OS is an Ubuntu (LTS) based distribution that strives to improve the Linux user experience and places an emphasis on the cohesiveness of the desktop environment and the apps that run on it. It targets new Linux users moving from Windows and macOS, offering a simple environment that does not require a steep learning curve.

It is also the only Linux distribution that funds development of and monitizes the distribution through a pay-what-you-want model ...

GO TO ARTICLE

BunsenLabs Helium Review

Aug. 26, 2018, 6 p.m.

Bunsen Labs is a Debian based GNU/Linux distribution that is a showcase for the Openbox window manager, continuing this role after its spirtitual predecessor, Crunchbang, ceased development. Like Crunchbang, it makes an Openbox based "desktop" environment usable out-of-the-box, configuring Openbox and the various tools that are usually used with Openbox to make a complete desktop environment.

This article reviews the latest release of Bunsen Labs named Helium.

GO TO ARTICLE

Solus 3.9999 Review

Oct. 10, 2018, 9 p.m.

Solus is an independent rolling release distribution featuring its own package management system -- forked from Pardus Linux's PiSi package manager, and its in house developed GNOME stack based Budgie desktop environment. As the developers described it when Solus 3 was released:

This is the third iteration of Solus since our move to become a rolling release operating system. Unlike the previous iterations, however, this is a release and not a snapshot. We’ve now ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Apricity OS 2015-07-28 Review

July 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Apricity OS, currently in beta iterations, is an Arch based distribution developed by "a Chicago based team of developers, dedicated to creating useful, intuitive software that helps people better integrate digital computing into their daily lives." It uses the Antergos developed Cnchi graphical installer and Arch's official repositories along with its own repositories for Apricity specific packages and prebuilt packages from the AUR. The default desktop environment is a customized GNOME shell with many ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Antergos 2015-04 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Antergos is an Arch based distribution from Spain, offering users a simple installation of Arch. It was formerly known as Cinnarch, using the Cinnamon desktop by default, but because of the conflicting priorities of Arch and Linux Mint -- the developers of the Cinnamon desktop -- Antergos dropped Cinnamon as its default desktop and changed its name. The conflicting priorities that precipitated this change are that Arch values having the latest packages and associated libraries whereas Linux ...

GO TO ARTICLE

NixOS 14.04 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

NixOS is an independent Linux distribution with a completely unique and innovative approach to package management, system configuration, configuration rollback, and prevention of breakage due to dependency issues -- even combining all of these functions into a single configuration file activated with one command. This system offers the obvious benefits intended by the developers, but some users may also appreciate its power in customizing the system down to the dependencies and options built into installed packages ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Sabayon 14.08 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Sabayon seems to be a distribution that had been highly esteemed and popular in the past -- as evidence by the distribution version selection dropdown on the Opera browser download page listing Sabayon and by Vritualbox and VMware offering a customized install of Sabayon -- but has lost some of this esteem in recent years. It is a Gentoo based system, but unlike Gentoo allows a choice of binary (default) or source package management. It is also ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Sabayon 15.10 Review

Oct. 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Sabayon 15.10 is the most significant monthly release since version 14.01, especially for those with a preference for the KDE desktop, as this release finally updates to the Plasma 5 series. In addition, installation is now performed using the new Calamares program instead of the unpopular Anaconda.

GO TO ARTICLE

Rosa Desktop Fresh R5 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

ROSA Desktop Fresh R5 is a Mandriva based distribution by ROSA Labs of Russia that offers users an easy to use Linux system that provides all of the software an average user may need as well as media codecs out-of-the-box. ROSA Labs has taken advantage of Mandriva's efforts to make this a distribution that eases users migrating from Windows -- and even new computer users -- to the Linux platform. In addition, for users with simple ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Fedora 22 Review

May 1, 2015, 6 p.m.

Fedora 22 Workstation, which replaced an existing installation of the Fedora 21 based Korora 21, has pleasantly surprised me. This surprise is probably due to my terrible experience with version 20 of Korora, a distribution which aims to make Fedora a friendly out-of-the-box experience. Although, at the time, I liked Korora's changes to Fedora, the GRUB bootloader installation was not reliable. In fact during kernel updates it completely wiped out the directories in the ...

GO TO ARTICLE

Deepin 15.4 Review

April 1, 2017, 6 p.m.

Deepin Linux is a Debian based GNU/Linux distribution from China featuring a custom desktop environment called Deepin Desktop Environment, acclaimed for its beauty and its innovative system configuration center. It includes a suite of applications developed in-house to complement the desktop environment -- Deepin File Manager, Deepin Terminal, Deepin Music, and Deepin Movies, among others. It also includes Deepin Store, a GUI Software Manager that makes it easy to browse, discover, and install software. -- a ...

GO TO ARTICLE