Linux Distro Battle Royale

Posted by Kevin Saturday, August 16, 2008 0 comments

Recently I have been exploring alternative OS options to see if I can find something with the wide scale compatibility, and dare I say it, usability of the Windows operating system. I am not a windows fan boy by any means, I just know that my PC will work with pretty much every piece of hardware on the market as long as manufacturers have made decent windows drivers for the product. As far as software is concerned, you can find anything your heart desires for windows. The interface may not be as "pretty" or intuitive as that of say Mac OS, but it does work...usually. The reason for my switch is that I am growing tired of the constant barrage of updates, crash reports, and odd sluggish moments.

I have had Ubuntu installed on my system for the past year or so. The installation was easy, and most of my hardware worked straight off the bat. The only thing it seemed to lack was eye candy. In the age of vista and OS X, I have grown accustomed to my transparencies, docks, gadgets and fun task switching animations. So in my effort to spruce up the OS I did alot of Google searches and found a so-so dock application, and attempted to install compiz fusion. Compiz fusion is a visual appearance plug-in type application that enhances UI look and feel with animations, transparencies, and several other neat effects
that seemed to fit my eye candy requirement. Unfortunately....the installation was a failure....and I sunk back into the windows abyss.

Last month I found a new distribution called gOS (good OS). G
OS is based on Ubuntu, and includes compiz fusion, plus a few other fun visual items that I wanted. There are a few versions of this OS, and I decided to go with "Space" (it looked the most flashy).

Here is a screen shot from my gOS desktop:

(note the os X like dock interface)

Without hesitation I immediately replaced my ubuntu installation after I ran the live CD. Sadly I was disappointed with reliability and some driver issues. As far as reliability goes, I have had to restart the system from freezes about 5 times this week. Two of the three involved Wine (windows API emulator) and the rest were just from surfing the web. What kept me from going straight back to windows was the eye was literally so awesome I just had to reboot just to see wobbly windows and play with the cube desktop switcher! I know, your probobly thinking..."wow this guy is a noob and knows nothing about OS's"...ive experienced windows 3.1 to Vista and mac os 6 through 10.5 leopard. Leopard is still my OS of choice....but alas I dont have a mac at home, only at work......anyway, I digress. My point is that this is the kind of face lift Linux needs to become a mainstream option for the newest generation of computer users.

I have also tried gOS's newest release "gOS 3", and am already scared for its future. gOS 3 is still in its beta stage, but its missing many key features of spaces:

1. Dock no longer supports applet stacks
2. What happened to compiz fussion??
3. Seems slower than spaces

As I said, this is still in the beta stage. As far as the compiz support goes, it seems that it is still an option through the desktop effects preferences, but there is an error when it is attempted to be enabled. gOS 3 is also based on ubuntu 8.05, which is a plus since 7.10 based 'space' was not upgradeable, yet I hope by final it will be based on the soon to come 8.10 release.

Overall, I am very excited about the project this company has been working on, and I hope to see the linux community continue to grow toward this direction.