Sunday, January 5, 2014

Siduction 13.2.0 KDE Review: Impressive Debian "Unstable" spin with cutting edge packages

Siduction is one of the distros which I didn't get a chance to review previously due to lack of time and opportunity. It is an operating system based on Debian "Unstable" branch offering cutting edge packages and applications offering most of the common desktop environments like GNOME 3, KDE 4.11, LXDE, XFCE, etc. For this review I take up the KDE version. Siduction 13.2.0 GNOME will be included in the "Best GNOME Distro" review I am preparing next week.

From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
For this review, I used my Asus K55VM laptop with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 3rd generation processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphics. I installed the OS on a 25 GB partition and a multi-boot setting. I used Mint Image Writer to create live USB of the 64-bit 1.2 GB ISO that I downloaded. First, I did a live boot and once satisfied that everything is working, I installed it on my laptop.

Siduction 13.2.0 ships with KDE 4.11.4 and the latest Linux kernel 3.12. I checked if I can install KDE 4.12 but it is still not available for Debian and Kubuntu backports didn't work for me. However, I guess Siduction developers will be soon releasing the KDE 4.12 update and I am waiting for it as well. Dolphin 4.11.4 is the default file manager and it works as good as ever.


From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Aesthetics
Siduction 13.2.0 KDE ships with a slightly tweaked lower panel (a bit thinner than typical KDE plasma interface) and Siduction wallpaper. I somehow don't like the present wallpaper and still think that the previous volcano wallpaper or the desparado one before that looked much better.
From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

To spice up the desktop interface a bit, I used a more colorful wallpaper.
From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
The wallpaper options available in the distro are a bit bland.

From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Siduction's boot splash is primarily text based and the login screen is pretty bland. It doesn't even take the default username and I thought auto-login is more convenient than writing username-password every time. Even there, Siduction uses LDM and hence, switching to autologin is not as easy as other KDE distros. I'll discuss it subsequent sections.

Rest of the things are typical KDE aesthetics and Siduction gets 4/10 from my side for aesthetics.

Hardware Recognition
Wifi, sound, screen resolution, etc. worked as expected. For touchpad, though recognized immediately, but double tap for right click didn't work immediately and I had to manually change settings. Scroll function worked, however, without any issue.

Further, installing bumblebee for hybrid graphics was easy and straight forward. It helped me to bring down laptop heating issue to a significant extent.

For it's impressive hardware recognition (better than Debian Wheezy), I give Siduction KDE a 8.8/10.

Pre-Installed Applications
Siduction ships with the following packages pre-installed:
  • Office: Kaddressbook, Kontact, Korganizer, Ktimetracker, Okular document reader
  • Internet: Akregator Feed Reader, Blogilo, Ceni, Iceweasel Browser, IRC, Kmail, KPPP, KRDC, Knode, Konqueror Browser, Konversation, Kopete IM, Knetattach, Ktorrent, xdg-browser launcher
  • Graphics: Acquire Images, digiKam, DNG Converter, ExpoBlending, Gwenview Image viewer, ImageMagick, Kamoso webcam, Ksnapshot, Panorama, Photo layout editor, Skanlite, Xsane Image scanner
  • Multimedia: K3b, Alevt, Kaffeine, VLC 2.1.2
  • Accessories: Ark Archiving tool, Kate, Kcalc, KDE groupware wizard, Kgpg, Kjots, Kleopatra, Knotes, Krusader, Kwrite, Midnight Commander, Nepomuk backup & cleaner, Root terminal, Terminal, UX Term, X Term, Yakuake, gparted, Kernel Remover, NTFS Configuration, gparted, Zim Desktop Wiki
One of the glaring absence is that of a decent office application like LibreOffice suite or Calligra suite. However, LibreOffice 4.1.4.2 is available in the repos and can be installed by running the command as root:
# apt-get install libreoffice

The default browser is Iceweasel, which is the debian counterpart of Firefox. It works exactly like Firefox. Anyway, if you don't like it, original Firefox can also be installed, as discussed in my review of Debian Wheezy.

From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
VLC player is the latest one and ships with all multimedia codecs. I could play my favorite music and video files in VLC without any issue. The distro doesn't ship with any app exclusively for audio files. The other video player, Kaffeine, also works well.
From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Adobe flash plugin is not shipped by default, but can be downloaded by running the command (as root):
# apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree

From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
The graphics section is quite rich and should please DSLR camera owners. However, I miss GIMP here. But, it can be downloaded from the repos by running the command (as root):
# apt-get install gimp

Otherwise, Siduction KDE ships with an interesting ensemble of applications and offers more than a typical Debian. Special mention can be made of out-of-the box ntfs support, kernel remover, etc.

Documentation for Siduction is quite strong and readily available on the desktop. The bug report option is there as well - it is actually handy to have for "unstable" distros.

Except for a missing office suite, I felt quite good about the packages offered by Siduction and hence, give a score of 6/10, penalized for no office suite, no download manager, no 32-bit architecture or Skype pre-installed, no GIMP, etc. to name a few.

Installation
The installation bit is browser based and may surprise you. It is totally alien of all Debian/Ubuntu based distros I have used. Complication level is medium and should not challenge once you get familiar with it. I actually used manual partition to format the partition of my choice and install Siduction with boot and home in the same partition. It took about 15 minutes of time. The below screenshots are from Siduction 13.2.0 GNOME but the process stays the same.

From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Repositories
Sadly I couldn't locate any package manager like synaptic and had to install all my preferred packages or updates through terminal. It sources most of it's packages from Debian unstable directly and there are some Siduction specific repository links as well in the /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ which I didn't explore much.

Lack of a suitable package manager may limit Siduction's adoption among Linux novices. However, a PM is quite easy to install in debian - as root, run the command:
# apt-get install synaptic

Installing Bumblebee for NVIDIA 
In my hybrid graphics laptop, to avoid over-heating and increase battery life, I installed bumblebee by running the following command as root:
# apt-get install bumblebee-nvidia primus
Once installed, I added my username to bumblebee group by:
# gpasswd -a arindam bumblebee

Post reboot, my laptop heating was totally gone and it stays super cool even after 12-14 hours of continuous usage.

Enabling auto-login the hard way!
As Siduction users LDM (from Canonical stable), enabling autologin is more difficult than any other KDE distro I have used. The KDE settings auto-login option doesn't help and I had to actually change the lightdm configuration file to enable auto-login. As root run the following command:
# nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
I searched for autologin-user and made it active with my name as the user-name
autologin-user=arindam
From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Saved the file by Ctrl+x and did a reboot. Auto-login worked without any issue. I got some real good help from the Siduction Linux forums to resolve the auto-login issue.
From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Performance
Boot time
Siduction has a comparatively higher boot time of about 1 min with auto-login option. It is about 13% higher than the average time taken by other KDE distros.

CPU-RAM Consumption
At steady state with system monitor running, Siduction takes about 478 MB RAM which is 11% lower than average KDE distros under similar circumstances on the same laptop.

From Siduction 13.2.0 KDE http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in

Siduction is pretty smooth to use and feels quite light. I didn't note any issue with performance and stability during my brief usage. In terms of performance, it definitely ranks within top 5 KDE distros that I used during 2013.

Space-wise as well, Siduction is no space hogger and takes less than 4 GB.


Operating System (64 bit) Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel CPU (%) RAM usage (MB) Size of installation Boot time (sec)
Debian KDE 7.3.0 0.7 Debian Wheezy KDE 4.8.4 3.2.0 0-5% 423 4.1 49
Neptune 3.3 1.9 Debian Wheezy KDE 4.11.2 3.10.12 0-5% 439 7.2 53
Netrunner 13.06 1.4 Ubuntu Raring KDE 4.10.5 3.8.0 0-5% 475 5.9 40
Siduction 13.2.0 1.2 Debian Unstable KDE 4.11.4 3.12.0 0-5% 478 3.7 60
Mint 15 KDE 1.4 Ubuntu Raring KDE 4.10.5 3.8.0 0-5% 483 7.0 45
Solydk 2013.11 1.6 Debian Testing KDE 4.11.3 3.10.3 0-5% 484 6.2 59
Bridge Linux 2013.06 1.0 Arch KDE 4.10.4 3.12.5 0-5% 490 4.6 39
Mint 16 KDE 1.4 Ubuntu Saucy KDE 4.11.3 3.11.0 0-5% 496 7.0 37
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 1.6 Mandriva KDE 4.11.3 3.4.70 0-10% 496 5.8 65
Kwheezy 1.4 4.0 Debian Wheezy KDE 4.8.4 3.2.0 0-10% 511 12.4 49
Kubuntu 13.04 0.9 Ubuntu Raring KDE 4.10.5 3.8.0 0-10% 523 4.9 35
Mageia 3 1.4 Mandriva KDE 4.10.2 3.8.0 0-5% 530 3.9 46
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 2.3 Gentoo KDE 4.11.3 3.10.19 0-5% 537 7.1 64
Kubuntu 13.10 1.0 Ubuntu Saucy KDE 4.11.2 3.11.0 0-5% 547 5.2 53
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 1.8 Arch KDE 4.11.1 3.10.10 0-10% 550 5.0 41
OpenSUSE 13.1 4.4 OpenSUSE KDE 4.11.2 3.11.6 0-5% 593 6.0 53
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 1.6 Mandriva KDE 4.11.3 3.10.19 0-5% 620 5.4 53
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 2.0 Arch KDE 4.11.3 3.10.24 0-10% 655 7.0 66
Fedora 20 KDE 0.9 Fedora KDE 4.11.3 3.12.5 0-5% 691 8.4 77
Korora 19.1 2.4 Fedora KDE 4.11.1 3.11.2 0-5% 697 9.2 79

Final words ...
Siduction is not for weak hearted and there may be bouts of instability post updates. Further, no package manager, more control to the user, etc. means that a bit of experience with Linux is required to use this distro as the primary one. It gives comparable performance as Debian wheezy and is very smooth to work with. If you like using the latest packages but want to stick to Debian, possibly Siduction is a good choice for you. Further, the rolling release concept means that unless something doesn't gets broken, you don't need to install the distro ever again!

Another impressive thing about Siduction is robust documentation and a very helpful forum. Siduction 13.2.0 KDE gets an overall score of 7/10 from my side and is absolutely recommended. You can download both 32 and 64-bit versions from here.

Siduction Rating: 7/10
Breakup:
Installation (20%): 6.5/10
Aesthetics (20%): 4/10
Hardware Recognition (20%): 8.8/10
Pre-installed Packages (10%): 6/10
Performance (30%): 7.5/10

27 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Please search google images for linux wallpapers hd. I fiund it there. Else let me know, I'll post the link.

      Delete
  2. Informative. Thank you very much. I have been following your blog from the OpenSuse KDE review. Unlike some other blogs, I don't see any lose comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my blog. I write what I see and experience as objectively as possible.

      Delete
  3. Nice review Arindam , I also have an hybrid graphics card with optimus ( 610m) , can you please explain how to install Bumblebee for better battary life only and avoid overheating . Bumblebee wiki is very confusing and please recommeded an ubuntu based distro with it.And very Happy New Year :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chin:

      Please try Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon. Once you install it, open terminal to run the following commands:
      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable

      Then run update command:
      sudo apt-get update

      Install bumblebee
      sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia primus linux-kernel-generic

      Once downloaded, run command to include user to the bumblebee group
      sudo gpasswd -a arindam bumblebee

      Here arindam is my user name and you can replace it with your username.

      Restart and enjoy less heat. When you need to run a program with nvidia graphics on, run the command
      Optirun (program)
      To run vlc with hybrid graphics on I'll run
      Optirun vlc

      Please let me know if you get stuck anywhere.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
    2. thanks a lot , will let u know , keep rockin

      Delete
    3. Arindam installed linux mint 15 and followed your steps , however also installed laptops tools with it , heat is much less and back up has incresed . Thnx a ton . Keep reviewing and bye bye windows .

      Delete
    4. Great that bumblebee worked for you. Enjoy!

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gnome version comes with an office suite pre-installed. It seems to have been intentionally left out of KDE spin, in order to not pre-empt user choice. Some KDE users preffer Calligra, some stick to LibreOffice. User choice and simplicity. In a Linux context one might see it as a bonus, rather than a a negative.

    Excellent review, btw. Thanks for bringing this distro to light.

    PS. Previous comment was deleted due to a missing word that hindered understanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Makes sense to me. Thanks for bringing up the point.

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Surr. Will review in January whenever I find time.

      Delete
  7. Awesome blog. A paradise for the distrohooper ^^

    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanksbfor liking my blog :)

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  8. Dear Arindam,
    Really nice blog here !

    i have an old compaq pressario v 2000 laptop with AMD Turion 2.1 ghz processor and 1 gb ( upgraded ) ram..
    which would be the best distro to enjoy linux experience while providing decent functionality at same time in view of limited resources in my old laptop..

    regards,
    anupam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anupam,

      Thanks for liking my blog. On systems with similar specs, I successfully used PCLINUXOS LXDE & Manjaro XFCE. You can please try these two distros.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  9. Hello Arindam, thanks for the great review.
    Do you have a chance to make a review for gentoo stable branch?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hasan, thanks for liking my review. I haven't tried Gentoo that way, except for trying live cds a few times and Sabayon linux. But in 2014 I'll surely try my hands on Gentoo.

      Delete
  10. Hi Arindam,

    I've come across your blog quite a few times on google while searching for linux reviews and I like your reviews.

    Do you know of any good distro with NVIDIA drivers pre-installed?

    Best,
    Nitin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nitin:

      You can try out Mageia 4. I am using it for last one week or so. It comes with Nvidia drivers pre-installed. Please use the 3.6 Mageia 4 DVD and not the LiveDVD. Live DVD didn't work with any of the Live USB creators that I know of and Mageia website recommends.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  11. Hi, consider including siduction (GNOME3), Mageia (GNOME3 not KDE!), ALT Linux (GNOME3) on your GNOME Distro review!! plz plz plz :p I am getting a new hard drive in a couple of weeks and I am following every post on this blog just to find the most suitable distro for me. I am a GNOME3 fan. Just suggesting... Anyway, keep up with the good job dude, I really really like spending my spare time reading every detail on distros I did not know they even existed up to now!! Such as Tanglu!! I assume that one will be on your review too, won't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did I mention that such reviews are not available at all on the whole web? They are both up-to-date as well as full detailed! ;)

      Delete
    2. Hi,

      Thanks for liking my reviews. Yes, the Tanglu review in distrowatch review section was penned by me :). Sure, I am downloading Mageia and ALT Gnome versions and include them in the gnome comparison for my next review.

      Regards,
      Arindam

      Delete
  12. Many thanks for your superb reviews! Laptop is using Mepis MX14 "AntiX" (1.5GB INTERNAL RAM, 1.5GHz "INTEL CELERON M370"), and distribution is using "Debian Testing" ("XFCE"), meta-package installer (for "foreign" non-free software), "Synaptic Package Manager" and many other graphic aids to configure the system to taste. "QUPZILLA" is a fast browser, and I add "ICEWEASEL"(Firefox Debian) and "Epiphany/Web". Link >:- http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Main_Page news 2014-03-10 "MX14 RC2"

    My desktop is "PCLINUXOS KDE (LANCELOT) FULL MONTY" 4GB of comprehensive packages with "GOOGLE Chrome" browser our-of-the-box and is rolling release with snapshot inter-net mirrors. I have used "Ubuntu" and "Linux Mint" over the past years, but now I am seeking "Skype" and "GOOGLE TALK/Hangout" done out-of-the-box ("PINGUYOS 14.04") to aid newcomers converting away from "BULLY" corporate habits.
    Review >:- http://www.webupd8.org/2013/12/pinguy-os-1310-released-screenshots.html
    https://kixspeak.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/best-ubuntu-fork-pinguyos/
    http://refugeeks.com/pinguyos-12-04-review/

    DOWNLOAD >:- http://linux.softpedia.com/get/System/Operating-Systems/Linux-Distributions/Pinguy-OS-58478.shtml http://pinguyos.com/2011/08/md5sum-what-is-it-and-why-should-i-care/ http://pinguyos.com/2012/08/321/ ("INSTALL GUIDE") http://pinguyos.com/installation-guide/

    Tweaking customs >:-
    http://www.webupd8.org/2013/09/mount-google-drive-in-linux-with-google.html
    http://www.webupd8.org/2014/01/enable-hardware-acceleration-in-chrome.html
    http://www.webupd8.org/2014/03/fix-skype-not-using-desktop-gtk-theme.html

    booting time to 10 seconds http://www.howtogeek.com/69753/how-to-cut-your-linux-pcs-boot-time-in-half-with-e4rat/
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/e4rat

    GENERAL >:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions

    ReplyDelete
  13. Many thanks for your superb reviews! Laptop is using Mepis MX14 "AntiX" (1.5GB INTERNAL RAM, 1.5GHz "INTEL CELERON M370"), and distribution is using "Debian Testing" ("XFCE"), meta-package installer (for "foreign" non-free software), "Synaptic Package Manager" and many other graphic aids to configure the system to taste. "QUPZILLA" is a fast browser, and I add "ICEWEASEL"(Firefox Debian) and "Epiphany/Web". Link >:- http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Main_Page news 2014-03-10 "MX14 RC2"

    My desktop is "PCLINUXOS KDE (LANCELOT) FULL MONTY" 4GB of comprehensive packages with "GOOGLE Chrome" browser our-of-the-box and is rolling release with snapshot inter-net mirrors. I have used "Ubuntu" and "Linux Mint" over the past years, but now I am seeking "Skype" and "GOOGLE TALK/Hangout" done out-of-the-box ("PINGUYOS 14.04") to aid newcomers converting away from "BULLY" corporate habits.
    Review >:- http://www.webupd8.org/2013/12/pinguy-os-1310-released-screenshots.html
    https://kixspeak.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/best-ubuntu-fork-pinguyos/
    http://refugeeks.com/pinguyos-12-04-review/

    DOWNLOAD >:- http://linux.softpedia.com/get/System/Operating-Systems/Linux-Distributions/Pinguy-OS-58478.shtml http://pinguyos.com/2011/08/md5sum-what-is-it-and-why-should-i-care/ http://pinguyos.com/2012/08/321/ ("INSTALL GUIDE") http://pinguyos.com/installation-guide/

    Tweaking customs >:-
    http://www.webupd8.org/2013/09/mount-google-drive-in-linux-with-google.html
    http://www.webupd8.org/2014/01/enable-hardware-acceleration-in-chrome.html
    http://www.webupd8.org/2014/03/fix-skype-not-using-desktop-gtk-theme.html

    booting time to 10 seconds http://www.howtogeek.com/69753/how-to-cut-your-linux-pcs-boot-time-in-half-with-e4rat/
    https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/e4rat

    GENERAL >:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions

    ReplyDelete