Monday, April 29, 2013

Xubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" Review: Rock solid and stable as ever!

Let me set the tone of the review at the very beginning itself, these words are from the Xubuntu 13.04 release notes:  

"The Xubuntu team is glad to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 13.04. Xubuntu 13.04 will be supported for 9 months and will need other media such as a USB device or a DVD to install. What's new in Xubuntu 13.04? Xubuntu 13.04 is mostly a maintenance release, and there aren't many new features. However, there are some changes, which include: Gnumeric and GIMP are reintroduced on the ISO image; new application versions - Catfish 0.6.1 and Parole 0.5.0 with many bug fixes; updates for the Greybird theme and a new wallpaper; duplicate partitions are no longer shown on desktop or Thunar; updated documentation. Starting with 13.04, the Xubuntu images will not fit on standard CDs. This is an effect of changing the target size to a 1GB USB device."
From Xubuntu 13.04
These words more or less sum up the incremental changes in the present release. Of course, XFCE never had any drastic shake ups like Gnome or KDE. More or less, things remained the same and supremely stable. With Gnome 2 being part of Linux history and things life complicated in Gnome 3, a lot of users, like me, have found solace in XFCE for good reasons.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" Review: Fast, efficient and functional

Lubuntu is one of my favorite distros for it's amazing resource efficiency and functionality. It may not be the most eye-candy in the Ubuntu clan but definitely the most resource efficient. LXDE traditionally consumes lower resources than Gnome or KDE and even XFCE. And most importantly, it is customizable enough to make it look really attractive. Though the release note of Lubuntu 13.04 didn't state a whole lot of incremental improvements, still I was interested to check it out.
"Lubuntu 13.04 is now available. Features: based on the lightweight LXDE desktop environment; PCManFM, a fast and lightweight file manager using GIO/GVFS; Openbox, the fast and extensible LXDE window manager of LXDE; LightDM; Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome; based on Ubuntu 13.04. Improvements since Lubuntu 12.10: new version of PCManFM (1.1.0) including a built-in search utility; artwork improvements, including new wallpapers, community wallpapers, new icons; removed Catfish, since PCManFM has its own search utility; fixed a very old bug causing GNOME MPlayer to crash with some CPUs; several fixes for the GPicView image viewer."
True to the note, it doesn't come with a whole lot of innovations from Lubuntu 12.04 and 12.10. But, without any doubt, the current release is a rock solid distro offering amazing performance.
From Lubuntu 13.04

I downloaded the 720 MB 32-bit ISO of Lubuntu 13.04 and installed it on my Asus K54C laptop with 2 GB RAM and 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor. Lubuntu Raring comes with LXDE DE and kernel 3.8.0-19. Looks wise, it retains the same traditional look but now comes with some refreshing Lubuntu wallpapers.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" Review: Sizzling with Unity 7 but does it warrant an upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04/Ubuntu 12.10?

Let me start with where I left off in my review of Ubuntu 13.04 beta 2. To me, as an user, it appeared to be an updated version of Quantal (12.10) and nothing more. However, I ended with a note that possibly by the time of release Ubuntu will come up with something really spectacular like Smart Scopes. I must say, I am a bit disappointed with Ubuntu in the absence of Smart scopes. I heard that it is still unstable and possibly, would release with Ubuntu 13.10.

From Ubuntu 13.04
With that expectation, I downloaded the Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail 32-bit ISO, about 833 MB in size and was quick to install in my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM, once the release note came in Distrowatch. I'll take you through my experience of a couple of days with the latest release of Ubuntu.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Manjaro 0.8.5 KDE Review: With KDE 4.10.2 and added Steam!

Within a short span of time, Manjaro seems to have hit the right cord with Linux users. In last 8 months, it had 6 major releases with almost all desktop flavors available in their kitty and currently ranked within top 10 in Distrowatch. For those uninitiated to Manjaro, it is an user-friendly spin of Archlinux with popular desktop environments which just works once you boot up. To me, Manjaro is going the Linux Mint way, to provide highly functional, pre-configured Linux distros to make Linux easy for those who are uninitiated. That they are going in the right track is evidenced by the popularity of the distro within a short span of time. Their first release of Manjaro 0.8.0 XFCE was on 21st August and now their fifth upgrade is out within 8 months!

From Manjaro 0.8.5 KDE
Manjaro definitely is one of the distros that I regularly follow; it brings quite a few good features not present even in some prominent Linux distros. For example, can you think of running a 32-bit KDE 4.* distro on a Pentium 4 without the machine slowing down? Manjaro runs and runs quite effectively! Yes, I agree, definitely Archlinux is lighter than Debian or RHEL based distros, but credit must go to the Manjaro Linux developers as well - they have retained the advantages of Archlinux and added to it, the elegance and user-friendliness of Linux Mint.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Fuduntu 2013.2 Review: As ever - Simple, Effective, fast and now with added Steam!

This year January, I reviewed the 2013.1 update from Fuduntu and was extremely impressed by it. Since then Fuduntu has been one of my favorite distros and I use it on my netbook, dual boot with Linux Mint 13 XFCE. Fuduntu, though the name has resemblance to Ubuntu in it, is more of Fedora with the advantage of rolling release. However, to me it is truly Fedora + Ubuntu, as it combines the simplicity and professionalism of Fedora with the fun of Ubuntu. It means that once you install it, you need not re-install it again - by just downloading the updates, your system has always the latest release.With the present release, Fuduntu also comes with a Fuduntu Lite version for advanced users and netbooks, which actually provides the basic shell without much pre-installed applications. For this review, I used the Fuduntu "heavy" version only - may be I'll take Fuduntu Lite next time.

From Fuduntu 2013.2
My present review is not based on the upgraded Fuduntu from my netbook but from a fresh installation of the latest Fuduntu 2013.2 32-bit on my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. I avoided reviewing based on the pre-existing installation I have as it has a lot of customization. I downloaded the 1.1 GB 32-bit ISO of Fuduntu 2013.2 and at first did a live boot followed by installation. One note here, Unetbootin doesn't work with Fuduntu but Imagewriter (the Linux Mint one) works well to create a live-USB.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Emmabuntus 12.04.2-1.04 Review: Xubuntu LTS spiced up!

I recently came across Emmabuntus in Distrowatch, it is a Xubuntu 12.04.2 LTS based distro which comes with a large number of pre-installed applications. You can say it to be Ultimate Edition for Xubuntu. Naturally, I was inclined to try it out - to check if it is just mindless collection of applications or the developers have used their judgement in selecting those apps.
From Emmabuntus 12.04.2-1.04

I downloaded the 3.5 GB Emmabuntus ISO. And used an 8 GB pendrive to create a live-USB using unetbootin. I did a live boot followed by installation in my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. Initially I thought Emmabuntus to be just another dump of all available applications but once I started using it, I realized it brings in some very good features in addition to dumping all available apps. Details in the remaining part of the article.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 "Raring Ringtail" Beta 2 Review: With a better looking Unity!

It is April 2013 and we are eagerly awaiting the release of Ubuntu 13.04. Discussions are on whether it will have the usual 18 months of support or a lesser 9 months. Codenamed Raring Ringtail, the OS is at the final stages and in this article, I give you a sneak preview of what is expected. Of course, Ubuntu will add some last minute surprises when the final release comes.
From Ubuntu 13.04

As of now, the ISO is at 835 MB and is perhaps the heaviest ISO I have seen of Ubuntu. I did a live boot followed by installation on my Asus K54C with 2.2 Ghz Core-i3 processor and 2 GB RAM. As of now, it has Unity on Gnome 3.6 desktop and Linux kernel 3.8.0. I guess the final release with come with the latest 3.8.5 kernel. Already I used kernel 3.8.5 on Pear OS 7, this week, after downloading from the Raring repos.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pear OS 7 "Corella" Review: Simple, elegant and smooth Mac clone of Ubuntu 12.10

I have got good familiarity with Pear OS 6, having used it for more than 6 months. I really liked the launcher (and felt it is much intuitive and better than Gnome 3 launcher), and the social networking apps like G+, Facebook and Twitter. Pear OS 6 is based on the long term version of Ubuntu - Precise Pangolin. The latest release of Pear OS, Pear OS 7 is on the other hand based on Ubuntu 12.10, which has got 18 months of support.

From Pear OS 7
Following the release note in Distrowatch on 4th April, I downloaded the 1.1 GB 64 bit version. As of now, there is no 32-bit version available for Pear OS 7. For Pear OS 6, I had a rough experience with the 64 bit version as the launcher broke immediately after the first update. So, I re-installed the more stable 32-bit version with pae kernel. So, I was interested to see if the stability improved for the 64 bit version in the 7th release.

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