Q4OS 1.6.3 – 2.2.1 Testing

A Linux desktop operating system that features a minimal desktop environment and package selection

Q4OS is an open source distribution of Linux that provides users with a minimalistic computing environment comprised of a lightweight desktop environment and a handful of applications and utilities.

Distributed as 64-bit/32-bit ISO images

The system is distributed as two ISO images, one for each of the supported architectures (32-bit and 64-bit), that can be written to blank CD discs using any CD/DVD burning software, or deployed to USB flash drives using the UNetbootin application.

However, please note that these are not Live CDs, which means that you won’t be able to test the distribution before installing it. The boot prompt provides users with two installation options, as well as an advanced feature that allows OEMs to preinstall the OS on their computers.

Offers two installation methods

As mentioned, the boot medium comes with two installation methods. While the first one, called Classic Install is highlighted by default, we recommend to use the “NO questions, FULL automated” option, which will automatically partition the disk drive and install the operating system.

Installing Q4OS

The entire installation process should take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on you your computer’s specs, as well as the media used, as USB sticks are much faster than CD discs. When the installation is complete, the installer will reboot the machine and start the Q4OS operating system.

At the login screen, you need to choose the predefined user, without a password. It will then ask if you want to set English as your default language, or choose a different one, as well as to set up a password for the adminq user.

Uses the Trinity Desktop Environment

The distribution uses Trinity DE (TDE), a clone of the old-school KDE3 desktop environment that was used a decade ago on various Linux distributions. It provides users with a familiar interface that looks exactly like the one of the Windows XP operating system.

Default applications

Default applications include the Konqueror web browser, Krusader twin-panel file manager, KWrite and Kate text editors, and a few other utilities. Support for Wi-Fi connection is also included in the distribution.

Bottom line

During our tests, Q4OS proved to be a fast, responsive and stable Linux-based operating system that runs well on low-end machines. It is the perfect Linux OS for Windows XP users!

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Linux Lite 3.0 – 3.2 Beta

An Ubuntu based Linux operating system designed to be as lightweight as possible

Linux Lite is an open source and freely distributed operating system based on the popular and highly acclaimed Ubuntu Linux distribution, but using the lightweight Xfce as its default desktop environment.

Availability, supported architectures, boot options

The distribution is available for download from our website as two Live CD ISO images that can be burned onto CD discs or USB flash drives of 1GB or higher capacity. Both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures are supported at this time.

The Linux Lite bootable mediums are designed from the ground up to start the live environment with default options in ten seconds from the moment they are booted. To access the hidden boot loader, press any key during that timeout.

Default boot options include the ability to start the live session with default settings or in safe graphics mode, run a memory diagnostic test using the Memtest86+ utility, as well as to boot an existing operating system from the fist disk drive.

Really beautiful and productive Xfce environment with popular apps

We must admit that the Xfce desktop environment used in Linux Lite is quite attractive, despite the fact that it has no bling factor. It’s comprised of a single taskbar located on the bottom edge of the screen, from where users can access the main menu, launch applications, as well as to interact with opened programs.

Default applications include the Thunar file manager, Ristretto image viewer, GIMP image editor, Mozilla Firefox web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird email and news client, Mumble voice-chat utility for gamers, Xfburn CD/DVD burning software, VLC Media Player, and the LibreOffice office suite.

Bottom line

Summing up, Linux Lite is a really great, stable, productive and beautifully crafted Ubuntu-based operating system that can turn old and semi-old computers into powerful and modern workstations, replacing that deprecated Windows XP system.

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Qubes OS 3.2

A Xen-based Linux distribution the provides strong security for desktop computing

Qubes OS is an open source distribution of Linux built around the Xen hypervisor, the X Window System and Linux kernel open source technologies. It is based on Fedora Linux and designed from the ground up to provide users with strong security for desktop computing.

The distribution has been engineered to run almost all Linux applications and uses all of the drivers implemented in the Linux kernel to automatically detect and configure most hardware components (new and old).

Features at a glance

Key features include a secure bare-metal hypervisor powered by the Xen project, secure system boot, support for Windows-based and Linux-based AppVMs (Application Virtual Machines), as well as centralized updates for all AppVMs that are based on the same template.

In order to sandbox several core components and isolate certain applications from each other, Qubes OS uses virtualization technology. Therefore, the integrity of the rest of the system will not be compromised.

Distributed as Live DVD

It is distributed as a single Live DVD ISO image, supporting only the 64-bit (x86_64) hardware platform, which can be deployed to a USB flash drive or 4GB or bigger, as well as burned onto a DVD disc. From the boot menu, users can try or install the operating system.

The installation process is text-based and allows users to set a timezone, choose the installation source, select software packages to be installed, select the installation destination, set the root password, and create users.

Uses the KDE Plasma desktop environment

The default desktop environment is powered by the KDE Plasma Workspaces and Applications project, which comprises of a single taskbar located on the upper part of the screen, from where users can access the main menu, launch apps, and interact with running programs.

Bottom line

In conclusion, Qubes OS is a unique Fedora-based operating system that implements a “security by isolation” approach and uses lightweight virtual machines called AppVMs that are definable by users.

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Linux Deepin 15.3

An easy-to-use Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and dedicated to the Chinese community

Linux Deepin (formarly Hiweed GNU/Linux) is an open source and freely distributed operating system based on the Ubuntu Linux distribution and featuring its own desktop environment, theme, icons, and login manager.

Availability, boot options and system requirements

It is available for download as installable-only DVD ISO images, one for the 32-bit architecture and another one for 64-bit hardware platforms. The ISOs can be deployed to USB flash drives of 2 GB or higher capacity, as well as on blank DVD discs.

From the boot prompt, users can only install the operating system. Recommended system requirements include an Intel Pentium IV 2GHz processor or better, at least 1 GB of RAM (2 GB recommended for best performance), at least 10 GB of free disk space, a modern video graphics card from Intel, AMD or Nvidia, an AC97, SoundBlaster or HDA sound card, and a CD/DVD-ROM devices or USB port.

Astonishing desktop environment, powerful applications

As mentioned, Deepin uses its own desktop environment, which is very futuristic and provides users with an astonishing graphical session comprised of a single dock located at the bottom edge of the screen, from where users can launch applications.

Among the includes software, we can mention Google Chrome web browser, Nautilus file manager, Mozilla Thunderbird email client, Pidgin instant messenger, Remmina remote desktop client, Gedit text editor, Kingsoft office suite, as well as Deepin Software Center, Deepin Game Center, DMusic audio player, DPlayer video player, and DSnapshot screenshot utility.

Bottom line

Summing up, Deepin is a great Linux distribution that boots fast, looks really amazing and unique (something never seen in a Linux OS before), and uses a stable Ubuntu base that runs well only on high-end machines. It really deserves ten stars!

New in Linux Deepin 15.3:

  • Dock:
  • Combined power plugin and shutdown button
  • Optimized network, sound, mounting and other plugins

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Android-x86 6.0-r1

A free and open source software that allows you to run Android on your personal computer

Android-x86 is a port of the Android open source mobile operating system to the x86 (32-bit) architecture, allowing users to run Android applications and replace their existing operating system with the Android OS.

Features at a glance

Key features include a KMS (Kernel Mode Setting) enabled Linux kernel 3.10.x LTS, Wi-Fi support, battery status, V4l2 camera support, G-sensor, bluetooth, suspend, resume, audio though ALSA, and mouse wheel support.

In addition, it supports software mouse cursor, external monitors, debug mode through Busybox, external keyboards, netbook native resolution, better disk installer, as well as external storage automatic mount.

Distributed as a 32-bit Live CD

It is distributed as a single Live CD ISO image that supports only the 32-bit hardware platform. From the boot prompt you can start the live environment with default settings, with the VESA framebuffer, or using the debug mode. It is also possible to install the OS to a local disk drive.

Originally designed as a collection of patches for Android x86 support, the project matured enough in the last years to finally be seriously considered as a good alternative operating system for personal computers.

Supported computers

At the moment, Android-x86 was tested only with the ASUS Eee PC platforms, Viewsonic Viewpad 10 tablet, Dell Inspiron Mini Duo hybrid laptop, Samsung Q1U UMPC device, Viliv S5 handheld PC, as well as with the Lenovo ThinkPad x61 tablet.

At the moment, the project is in active development state. The final release of the project will integrate support for multiple targets, multi-touch touchpad, better power management and multimedia support, OpenGL ES hardware acceleration for Intel and ATI Radeon graphics cards, and OpenGL emulation layer.

Conclusions

In conclusion, if you ever wanted to run Android on a desktop computer or laptop, the Android-x86 does just that. It allows users to install the Android OS or just use it directly from a USB flash drive or optical media on their personal computers.

New in Android-x86 6.0-r1:

  • Update kernel to 4.4.20 with more patches from AOSP.
  • Update Mesa to 12.0.2.
  • Preliminary HDMI audio support.
  • Add F2FS support.

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KaOS 2016.09

A lean, clean and Open Source Linux operating system that uses the KDE environment

KaOS is an open source Linux distribution built around the KDE Plasma Workspaces and Application project, as well as the pacman package manager software from the Arch Linux operating system.

Distributed as a 64-bit Live DVD

The system is distributed as a single Live DVD ISO image that supports only 64-bit hardware platforms. It can be written to a blank DVD disc with any CD/DVD burning software, or a USB flash drive using the UNetbootin application.

KaOS is completely independent and provides users with a rolling-release system, which will make sure that their installations will always be up-to-date without requiring them to download a new ISO image and upgrade the entire OS.

Boot options

The boot medium allows users to run the live environment with support for Nvidia and AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards, run a memory test, detect the hardware components, or boot the currently installed operating system.

Based on Arch Linux and built around KDE

As mentioned, the live session is powered by the KDE project, which provides a modern computing experience with a neat collection of hand picked open source application for common tasks.

Its main goal is to be small and fully focused on KDE and Qt technologies. It is based on the Arch Linux operating system and uses the pacman application as its default package manager for installing, removing and updating software packages.

One of its key features is the graphical installer provided on the Live DVD, which not only that allows novice users to install the operating system with only a few mouse clicks, but it also provides advanced configuration options for experienced Linux users.

Default applications

Default applications include the QupZilla web browser, Calligra office suite, Quassel IRC client, Krita digital painting software, Clementine music player, Plasma Media Center, Kdenlive video editor, Dragon Player video player, and many others.

Even if it’s based on the Arch Linux operating system, KaOS has its own software repositories comprised of Core, Main and Apps groups, which will give users quick access to some of the best and useful applications, libraries and core components.

Bottom line

If you like KDE and Arch Linux-based distributions, you should really give KaOS a try. Who knows, it might become your only operating system.

New in KaOS 2016.09:

  • Desktop:
  • A new addition for KaOS is a First Run Wizard. It will run on the newly installed system and enables with just a few clicks to adjust mouse behavior, menu launcher, desktop theme, used wallpaper, color scheme, widget style, window decoration and virtual desktops used. With one click this Wizard will also link to KaOS Documentation and all contact info.

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Q4OS 1.6.2

A Linux desktop operating system that features a minimal desktop environment and package selection

Q4OS is an open source distribution of Linux that provides users with a minimalistic computing environment comprised of a lightweight desktop environment and a handful of applications and utilities.

Distributed as 64-bit/32-bit ISO images

The system is distributed as two ISO images, one for each of the supported architectures (32-bit and 64-bit), that can be written to blank CD discs using any CD/DVD burning software, or deployed to USB flash drives using the UNetbootin application.

However, please note that these are not Live CDs, which means that you won’t be able to test the distribution before installing it. The boot prompt provides users with two installation options, as well as an advanced feature that allows OEMs to preinstall the OS on their computers.

Offers two installation methods

As mentioned, the boot medium comes with two installation methods. While the first one, called Classic Install is highlighted by default, we recommend to use the “NO questions, FULL automated” option, which will automatically partition the disk drive and install the operating system.

Installing Q4OS

The entire installation process should take between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on you your computer’s specs, as well as the media used, as USB sticks are much faster than CD discs. When the installation is complete, the installer will reboot the machine and start the Q4OS operating system.

At the login screen, you need to choose the predefined user, without a password. It will then ask if you want to set English as your default language, or choose a different one, as well as to set up a password for the adminq user.

Uses the Trinity Desktop Environment

The distribution uses Trinity DE (TDE), a clone of the old-school KDE3 desktop environment that was used a decade ago on various Linux distributions. It provides users with a familiar interface that looks exactly like the one of the Windows XP operating system.

Default applications

Default applications include the Konqueror web browser, Krusader twin-panel file manager, KWrite and Kate text editors, and a few other utilities. Support for Wi-Fi connection is also included in the distribution.

Bottom line

During our tests, Q4OS proved to be a fast, responsive and stable Linux-based operating system that runs well on low-end machines. It is the perfect Linux OS for Windows XP users!

New in Q4OS 1.6.2:

  • Another update of Q4OS ‘Orion’ desktop is available, version 1.6.2 stable. It’s a maintenance release of the Q4OS 1.6 ‘Orion’ series, and it’s built on and improves the previous version. There are several internal improvements, a bunch of bug fixes and security fixes included.

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MeX Linux 160630 Free

A Linux Mint based Linux operating system that features the Cinnamon desktop environment

MeX Linux is an open source Linux distribution based on the well known Linux Mint 17.2, Debian Jessie and Ubuntu 15.04 operating systems and built around the latest stable release of the Cinnamon desktop environment, a clone of GNOME 3.

Distributed as a hybrid, 64-bit Live DVD

It is distributed as a single ISO-hybrid Live DVD image that supports only the 64-bit architecture and can be easily deployed onto a USB flash drive of 1GB or higher capacity. You can also write the ISO image on a blank or DVD-RW disc.

Boot options

The default option on the boot menu of the Live DVD is “Copy to RAM,” which can be used to copy the entire live environment directly to the computer’s system memory and use it from there, ejecting the boot medium.

Other boot options include the ability to start the operating system in compatibility mode, test the RAM (Random Access Memory) for errors, or use the persistence mode, which will save all the files and configuration for future uses (only compatible with USB sticks).

An unusual desktop environment

Starting the live environment will drop users to a login prompt, where they need to use the root/root or the mint/mint username and password credentials. The desktop is a bit unusual, as it’s comprised of a bottom panel and a curved dock (application launcher) located on the upper part of the screen.

Default applications

Default applications include the Nemo file manager, Mozilla Firefox web browser, Evince document viewer, Leafpad and Gedit text editors, Tomboy note-taking tool, GIMP image editor, gThumb and Eye of GNOME image viewer, and Synaptic Package Manager.

In addition, it includes the GParted disk partitioning tool, Deja Dup backup utility, USB Image Writer, USB Stick Formatter, an upload manager, a log file viewer, an update manager, a system monitor, an archive manager, a font viewer, a screen capture tool, and a terminal emulator.

Bottom line

We recommend this distribution to all Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint/Cinnamon fans who want a stable, reliable and modern operating system that uses the latest version of the Linux kernel.

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GeckoLinux 421.160623.0 Rolling – 421.160627.0 Static

An open source GNU/Linux distribution based on openSUSE Tumbleweed and openSUSE Leap

GeckoLinux is a free and open-source GNU/Linux operating system designed for personal computers and laptop, based on the openSUSE distribution, both the rolling Tumbleweed edition and the static openSUSE Leap distribution.

The project aims to offer users a polished interface and out-of-the-box usability on the desktop. Each edition is shipped with eight different flavors that include the Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, GNOME, Xfce, LXQt, and Budgie desktop environments.

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Scientific Linux 6.7 – 6.8 RC1 Free

A free, recompiled Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system designed for scientists

Scientific Linux 5 and Scientific Linux 4 are two old, but still supported branches of this open source distribution of Linux based on the public sources of the well known Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system.

Distributed as 32-bit/64-bit installable-only DVDs

All Scientific Linux branches can be downloaded as installable-only DVD ISO images for the 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) hardware platforms. However, a separate Live CD edition is also available for download via Softpedia for each Scientific Linux branch.

Boot options à la Red Hat Enterprise Linux

The boot menu on the DVD ISO images has not been modified, only the artwork was changed. It allows users to install or upgrade in graphical mode or in text mode, as well as to rescue a broken installation or add extra kernel parameters for specific devices.

Graphical installation process that is intuitive and straightforward

The graphical installer, which is also used on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS and Fedora operating systems, is intuitive and straightforward, requiring users to choose a language for the installation process and a keyboard layout, partition the disk (encryption is supported), configure the network, setup the timezone and system clock, and add a root password.

In addition, you must choose what software packages to install. It is possible to install GNOME and/or KDE desktops, software development tools, clustering, cluster storage and server-oriented utilities, as well as office and productivity applications.

Furthermore, you can customized the software selection or add additional software repositories. At the end of the installation, you need to configure the system (enable/disable the built-in firewall, configure SELinux, set the date and time, add users, test the sound card).

Bottom line

Summing up, the Scientific Linux operating system is a great and completely free product that is used by numerous scientists around the globe. Do not hesitate to try out the Live CD edition of Scientific Linux, as well as newer branches.

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