The five best desktop Linuxes you haven't tried

You might want to try them

One of the pleasures of Linux is that you can try out different distributions to see which one works best for you. You like Ubuntu, but you want to fine tune the desktop engine? OK, try Kubuntu with its KDE desktop then. Some worthwhile distributions, however, don't get as much attention as they deserve. So, here's my list of five great distributions that you might want to try.

Before launching into my list, let me preface it by saying that this is a list of what I consider relatively easy to use desktop distributions. So, while Debian is a great distribution, I haven't included it because to get the most out of it you should be an experienced Linux user. I also haven't included special purpose distributions like my favorite system repair Linux, SystemRescueCD. It's a great system repair operating system. Even if you don't care for Linux and your job is bringing misbehaving PCs back into line you really should get a copy. It, however, isn't a good, general purpose desktop.

So, without further adieu, here's my list of the five best desktop Linuxes you may not have tried.

First, on my list is an old favorite of mine: SimplyMEPIS. What I like about this distribution is that, more so than any other Linux I know, it just works. It really does. I install it on any machine, it runs and life is good. I especially like that its creator, Warren Woodford, includes several small, but extremely useful utilities to make using the desktop easier.

So why haven't you heard of it? Well, MEPIS is in many ways a labor of love. Woodford isn't just the creator; he's also, by his own choice, the only major developer. That means that when sometimes life pulls him away from the distribution and that happened recently. Now, however, Woodford is back to working on his Debian-based distribution so a new version of MEPIS should soon be arriving. Trust me; it will be worth your time.

Another distribution which fell on hard times, but is back and looking really good is gOS (Good OS). The first version got a lot of attention as being the "Google operating system)," because instead of emphasizing desktop applications it focused on bringing users Google's applications. It's not that, but after a 2.0 version, which wasn't that well polished, the latest version gOS 3.0, though, looks really sweet.

It's meant really for OEMs to install on netbooks, but you can download and use it on your own PC. It includes an installer for a small horde of Google Gadgets, as well as links to Google Mail, Calendar, Reader, etc. etc. You get the idea. You'll never want to run this distribution without an Internet connection, but with one, I'm finding it to be a lot of fun and darn useful.

Tags Linuxdesktop linuxlinux distribution

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

2 Comments

Anonymous

1

Linux Distros

Good choices.
I have taken a stab at recommending a distro for new users which includes some of these you mention:
http://linuxlatitude.blogspot.com/2008/03/which-linux.html

Anonymous

2

Check out Wolvix:
You should

Check out Wolvix:
You should have a look at Wolvix
http://www.wolvix.org/
Slack based: the oldest and maybe still the greatest.
But as we know Slack can -ahem- lag a bit in user friendliness: Wolvix takes Slack and makes it accessible.
Live, HD Install, USB install.
GUI mediated
Control panel a la PCLOS. ( possibly better !!)
Never mind the Distrowatch rating

( Another great Slack based Distro btw: Vector Linux.)

Wolvix close to release of v2.0
Here is a compendium of reviews;
( never seen a bad review of Wolvix.)
Check the forum post for a list of reviews:
http://forums.wolvix.org/index.php/topic,1000.msg4425.html#msg4425

Run with the Helpless Heffalumps or be part of the Wolf pack :) :)
I've been testing Distros for 12 months to move my personal computing off MS; and in principle I agree with much of your assessment.
For me, Wolvix has been the best I've found for a fully functional desktop out of the box with access to all that Slack goodness.

Regards..

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?