Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Snowlinux 3 White Review: As usual good, will be interesting to compare with Linux Mint 14

If you think Ubuntu 12.10 is buggy and painful to use, then you must try out the new Snowlinux 3 "White". It is based on Ubuntu 12.10 and it simplifies a lot of stuff which Ubuntu complicates! Desktops available along with this edition are: Mate 1.4, Cinnamon 1.6 and Gnome fallback 3.6. Linux kernel is 3.5.

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
Once the release note came in Distrowatch, I downloaded the 32-bit Mate and Cinnamon versions. Look wise it is typical Snowlinux, same set up and same wallpaper! Except for the menu, it is in fact difficult to distinguish between the mate and the cinnamon version! Cinnamon settings separate the Cinnamon one from the Mate.

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
I used two systems for the test here:

1. Asus K55V, Core i7 (3rd gen) 2.3 Ghz, 8 GB RAM, Nvidia 630M 2GB graphics
2. Asus K54C, Core i3 2.4 Ghz, 2GB RAM

Desktop looks as usual clean and professional. Aesthetics are really good and the distro looks polished. File Manager, Nemo 1.0.9, a fork of Nautilus, looks really good with dark and light color combinations. Functionalities provided are the same as Nautilus.
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon

Touchpad was not recognized by default but a little bit  of tinkering with the mouse and touchpad settings made it work perfectly. Otherwise, it has all the good points that characterize an Ubuntu distro like sound, resolution, drivers were picked up perfectly.

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
Both Mate and Cinnamon worked real smooth on both the systems in live boot. I installed them to my Asus K54C which happens to be the laptop where I test the different distro releases.


I use Linux Mint for my regular needs. Honestly, it is difficult to distinguish between Linux Mint and Snowlinux for Mate and Cinnamon versions. Menu looks identical, color choice is similar. Somehow I am not very comfortable with the idea of two distros looking similar to each other!

Applications are judiciously put in both the versions - there is no shortage but overabundance has been cautiously avoided.
  • Graphics: Eye of Mate image viewer, Shotwell for photo management, LibreOffice Draw and Simple scan
  • Internet: Firefox 14, Thunderbird 14, Empathy for chat and Transmission to download torrents
  • Office: LibreOffice 3.6 suite, Document viewer to view pdf, cbr files, Dictionary
  • Multimedia: Gnome MPlayer, Rhythmbox for music, Brasero to copy and write CD/DVDs. 

Pluma is the default text editor. Audio/video codecs and Adobe flashplugin are not present by default. But, these are downloaded during installation.


Applications can be downloaded via Ubuntu Software Center and it has the richest collection of software in the Linux world! I downloaded, without any problem, a lot of applications from the repo.

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
CPU and RAM Usage

Before going on to the topic, amazingly the 32-bit version was able to recognize the 8 GB available RAM along with the 8 cores of the Core i7 processor! Why do I need a 64-bit edition in that case for Snowlinux?

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
Anyway, RAM usage is around 290 MB on live boot and post-installation it is around 240 MB. This is actually low and far lower than Ubuntu 12.10 on the same Asus K54C laptop. I got slightly higher CPU usage at 10-30%, and need to check which process is driving the higher CPU usage.


Just like any other Ubuntu distro, installation is plain and simple. Just answer ypur language, where you want to install, location, key board, create your login ID and password and you are done within 30 minutes if you are installing updates and third party software (like multimedia codecs, adobe flashplugin, etc.).

From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon
From Snowlinux 3 Mate Cinnamon

Both Mate and Cinnamon versions look pretty similar. But, I like the Mate version more. The Cinnamon version won't boot in my Asus K55V stating its inability to recognize the graphic driver. Also, I found it to be a tad bit slower than the Mate version.

Mate version is really smooth to use. The aesthetics are pleasant in both, semi-transparent menu and the polished interface, add glamor to the desktop. In overall, really good alternatives from Snowlinux for those who don't like Gnome 3 or Unity. And Snowlinux is far more resource efficient than a Ubuntu. Only one question, can the Mate/Cinnamon versions be made a little different in looks from Linux Mint? At present state, if I change the wallpaper, it is difficult to recognize it from Linux Mint. Possibly the developers can answer better. Anyway, Snowlinux update of Ubuntu 12.10 has come before Linux Mint, whose release candidate for 14 came yesterday. I am going to try those out as well and compare with Snowlinux.

You can check out the release notes and download information here.
23 Nov 2012: Please check out my review of Linux Mint 14 and comparison with Snowlinux. http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.com/2012/11/linux-mint-14-nadia-review-is-it-better.html


  1. I like the way you altered the desktop in the first/third images. I assume you are using Cairo as your dock because I see it listed in your menu. The background is a nice choice, as well. What are those applets I see for the clock and resources listing on the desktop? I've only seen applets like that in KDE.

    I must agree that I am not sure how this distribution is much different than Mint and what the benefits are of one over the other.

    1. Actually the clock and CPU meters come with the Cairo dock theme only - I guess I chose the Mac theme.
      Yes, it is strikingly similar to mint. Snowlinux 3 Mate/Cinnamon are very good distros, but I would like them to be different from Mint. I have the Linux Mint 14 RCs with me and will review them sometime this weekend.

  2. Thanks for the review, i haven't heard a lot about Snowlinux.

    Interesting, that the installer finds 8 Gigs of RAM.
    However, on 32-bit system, you don't have enough adresses (2**32) for using more than 4 Gigs of RAM. It's impossible.
    You can use the additional RAM by installing a RAM-Disc, though.

    I checked out the Snowlinux website and you can choose between a version based on Debian and one based on Ubuntu.

    I wonder why they do all the work and create a distro that's based on Ubuntu and that's so similar to Linux Mint. It's a waste of resources.
    But it is how it is with Linux guys. There is always room for one more distro.

    Regards, Tom

  3. Snowlinux uses a PAE kernel, as does Ubuntu since 12.04.
    This allows 32-bit systems to recognize and use >4GB RAM.

  4. The PAE kernel on 32-bit systems allows the system to use up to 64GB RAM.
    If you are very lucky to have more than 64GB you'll then need to move to a 64-bit system.