Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The "Perfect" Linux Desktop?

I have seen many posts detailing the "perfect Linux desktop." These are usual semi detailed posts on installing and setting up a newly released distribution and the software set added to the base packages.

There is one thing about open source Linux distributions that seems to attract many of the love it or hate it crowd: choice. To some, the fact that there are hundreds of different distributions all built around multiple configurations of a common universe of packages wrapped in a decent list of available desktop environments, makes for an environment where there is something for everyones taste and if you don't like it - there is another distribution to fit your needs. To others, this fact is one of the loudest criticisms sung to the tune of a drum labeled fragmentation.

So of all the readily availably and well done distributions is there a "perfect" Linux desktop? This is one of the yes and no answers that centers around personal preference. The team at Canonical made waves with the introduction of their in house GNOME skin dubbed Unity that shipped as default in Ubuntu 11.04. GNOME changed the much beloved look and feel of the 2.x series with the introduction of GNOME 3. Many users love these new UI experiences and many loath them. KDE and XFCE also have crowds of loyal users.

When it comes to distributions with a default, untouched install - my personal favorite, and what I would consider the best looking or close to perfect as you can get - was Ubuntu 10.04. Version 10.10 looked pretty nice as well, but I stayed away from it due to the limited support life. For me no of the current releases fit what I want untouched, but Ubuntu 12.04 (with its 5 years of support) configured with GNOME Classic (gnome-session-fallback would be the packed to install) gets my vote and is what I use currently. A close second would be a slightly customized XFCE environment in Xubuntu 12.04.

Software set is another area where someones perfect would be vastly different that another users. With my system I have mainly added additional multimedia programs, such as Gimp (2.8 from PPA), OpenShot and DVD Styler.

I have had an interest in created a customized installation CD for some time, and will begin an experiment in creating one using the Remastersys tool - based on my version of the perfect Linux desktop with Ubuntu 12.04 as the base. I will be documenting my experience, the steps taken and the software set used here on my blog. I will also try and get the final ISO uploaded for anyone interested in downloading my customized version of Ubuntu.



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