Geubuntu/OpenGeu Mini-Review

Thursday, January 31, 2008

If you've read the title, you'll notice 2 names for one distribution. The recent change of names actually characterizes what I think is the state of this distribution. It's a great effort that needs a little more time to achieve cohesion.

Don't get me wrong. I like OpenGeu. The best part of it is the themes. I like what they've done to spruce up the themes. More on that in a bit.

Let's start with the install and the packages. The install went smoothly, owing to OpenGeu's heritage from Ubuntu. There were no problems at all with the install and it was pretty straightforward in the normal Ubuntu fashion. The nVidia drivers were even set automatically for me. I just had to click my approval. This is a big deal for me, as I am using onboard video and it does look awful when the generic drivers are loaded. The reboot did take a while though. I had expected that after the install it would boot faster, since that drivers would have been known by then. It still took its time rediscovering my ethernet card and loading an alternative driver for it.

The packages installed by default were a mix of apps associated with Gnome, Xfce and Enlightenment. The menu could be activated by using the 'e' logo on the bottom 'shelf' (the taskbar), or left-clicking the mouse on any open area of the desktop. Conversely, right-clicking brings up the Favorites menu listing the most commonly used apps. The bottom shelf also has a icon list(of the same apps) that scrolls sideways as you move your cursor along it's width. The icons 'throb' as the cursor pointed at each icon. Other icons displayed on the shelf included the desktop switcher, active apps, and applets for the CPU temp, CPU speed, battery meter and clock.

Speaking of effects, there are plenty. The default effects that come with each theme are wonderful and says a great deal about how much time they've spent making this implementation of Enlightenment drool-worthy. All menus opened have shadows and highlighting on by default with the colors and hues contrasting wonderfully. Moving your cursor across the entries produced a shine effect.

I did notice some quirks. When I started using the Moonlight theme, the button and scrollbars didn't change color. They maintained the orange hue that I thought was bound to the Sunshine theme. I tried the other themes and they still had the same hue. Then I opened a terminal and noticed it had transparency pre-set. When I maximized the window, I noticed the image behind the transparent effects was the wallpaper for the Sunshine theme (instead of the wallpaper of the current theme). Another theme snafu happened when I highlighted any icon on the desktop or a couple of the icons on the shelf. It showed the same background color from the Sunshine theme. The Xfce panel on top didn't adjust to any theme changes as well.

Moving on to other quirks, logging out and shutting down gave me consistent errors that the logout was taking too long. Another weird error was latency when I launched HTop on the terminal and did something else in the same window. I experienced latency when I opened a separate tab or the terminal would close itself when I attempted to adjust the fonts in the profile section. The strange thing about it was that it happened only when HTop was active.

Overall though, I like what they done with the themes and this is one 'beautiful' distro as far as the GUI is concerned. The developers just needs a little more time to tweak out the minor details that make Ubuntu what it is right now -- very polished. So despite the small quirks, I'd still recommend this.

Next up...Re-install with Xubuntu and download the packages from the Elbuntu repositories.

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