About Desktop Linux Reviews

There’s a ton of different Linux distributions and desktop Linux apps available for download. But how do you tell what’s worth using? The sheer amount of open source software can be both a blessing and a curse. The choices can be utterly overwhelming.

The Desktop Linux Reviews blog is designed to help you find your way through the clutter and to help you simplify your Linux choices. It will focus mostly on desktop Linux distributions and apps although an occasional foray into non-desktop stuff may happen.

The Desktop Linux Reviews blog is written by Jim Lynch.

Jim has written for many leading industry publications and sites over the years including PC Magazine, ExtremeTech, Computer Gaming World, Windows Sources, Salon, MSNBC, Forbes and many others.

Jim also has extensive background in online community management. He’s served as community manager for ZiffNet, ZDNet, PCMag, ExtremeTech, The FamilyEducation Network, and MSN Games.

Jim has also produces the daily open source news roundup, as well as tips and he’s also an answers expert for ITworld.

He also writes Linux Tips and Technology and Other Musings.

Jim is always available for freelance writing assignments, community management consulting, and miscellaneous web editorial work. To hire him please send him an email with information about your assignment.

You can visit Jim’s Google+ page.

Thanks for dropping by, hope you enjoy the blog.




Comments

  1. dolphin oracle says

    I’ve been a fan since the old ExtremeTech days! I thought you might be interested in a new release from the MEPIS and antiX communities, MX-14. mepiscommunity.org/mx. Think Linux-Lite-ish, but debian stable based, and with a community repo for more up-to-date apps.

    Thanks!

  2. dolphin oracle says

    I’ve been a fan since the old ExtremeTech days! I thought you might be interested in a new release from the MEPIS and antiX communities, MX-14. mepiscommunity.org/mx. Think Linux-Lite-ish, but debian stable based, and with a community repo for more up-to-date apps.

    Thanks!

  3. Craig Barnes says

    Why have I received no answer or reply from you since February 16th?? Will I ever get one, or are you just too busy and/or disinterested? All I asked was one simple question and that was if a reader could register or not?

    • Jim Lynch says

      Hi Craig,

      Very sorry I missed your earlier message. No, the site isn’t set up for registrations. I appreciate the interest but I had a terrible time with spammers the last time the registration was open so it’s been set to off.

  4. Craig Barnes says

    Where or how do I register on your site to be a member? If I click on the “Hello Guest” link in the upper-right corner, at drops down a (sub)menu that asks me for my Username and Password!? I obviously don’t have either yet, since I haven’t even registered an account. A careful examination of the rest of the page didn’t reveal any signup link to me. Please tell me how to accomplish this. Thank you.

  5. Uranela says

    I was surfing through your website searching for a review on UberStudent, and didn’t seem to find one. As I am an academic researcher, this kind of surrounding is ideal for me. Please, do write a review. I am though specifically interested in the question of free software. How much is UberStudent really free and is it only made for those who are in transition from Windows? I am not a skilled Linux user, but I do have some knowledge and would rather use the Terminal than the clicking whenever I can.
    Thnx!

  6. KS67063 says

    I don’t use add blockers either. If the add is something I’m interested in I will check it out. If not just don’t click on the link. They really don’t bother me and it might help your favorite websites make a little money to keep going.

  7. random says

    Hi Jim… I really have enjoyed reading your site, but having those "IDG news report" videos autoplay on every page load is excruciating. Is there any way you can make them not play until the user hits a play button? If I wanted to watch video news, I would not be reading a web page. (I hope you take this in the spirit of constructive criticism which is how I intend it.) Anyways, thanks for the content, which has been helpful to me as my old netbook distro gets long in the tooth.

  8. Brian Masinick says

    paul wrote:

    interesting that there is no review of OpenSUSE or SLED, either one is years ahead of most of the desktop distros listed here, having said that I’m not a Linux desktop fan, I believe it still has a long way to go before it can even be considered a replacement for Windows. Personally I don’t believe it ever will, even MS has difficulty getting people to move to new versions.

    I've not been much of a fan of OpenSUSE. I've had enough difficulty managing the peculiarities of various releases, and I've run across very unusual configuration issues, even though without exception OpenSUSE has always DETECTED hardware correctly. Every issue could be resolved; I just found it irritating when so many other systems just work, and this one comes so close.

    On the other hand, I've never seen such a clean system as I've seen in the enterprise desktop releases of SLED, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. SLED shows how to do a minimal desktop right. I'd like to see what the latest release looks like too.

  9. Brian Masinick says

    I also come in here with a variety of browsers to see how well the various browsers behave. Most of them these days actually do, how about that! ;-)

  10. Brian Masinick says

    masinick wrote:

    Jim, I am trying to remember to visit your site at least occasionally with some browsers in which I do not have adware choked off. I am doing that now. While the fat lady turned slim holds no interest for me, some of the context specific ads were actually pretty good.

    Good job with this; I think this site is coming along quite well. Wouldn’t it be great if somebody wanted to finance this site and have YOU manage it? :-)

    Actually, I am here today with Iceape and Adblock Plus, but this is one of the few sites that I've explicitly enabled advertisements. I am thankful that the ads are not obtrusive. The Google Ads are often pretty handy and have some context. I am less enthusiastic about "getting ripped" with fantastic Abs. Why not simply exercise? Nevertheless, I come here pretty often, but occasionally I actually click on stuff explicitly, since I understand how tough it can be to keep work. I appreciate this site, so at least in small ways I want to help.

  11. says

    Hi Paul,

    Welcome to DLR. I think I did a review of OpenSuse back when I was writing for ExtremeTech. You might want to check that site to read it. I will be covering it again here but I did not want to rewrite the old content again. I'd rather wait for a new release. Thanks for the reminder though.

  12. paul says

    intersting that ther is no review of OpenSuse or SLED, either one is years ahead of most of the desktop distros listed here, having said that I'm not a linux desktop fan, I believe it still has a long way to go before it can even be considered a replacment for Windows. Personaly I don't believe it ever will, even MS has dificulties getting people to move to new versions.

  13. says

    Mike,

    Welcome to DLR. The best thing you can do is go get yourself a copy of Linux Mint:

    http://www.linuxmint.com/

    It's one of the best distributions out there and it's based on Ubuntu. It should meet all of your needs for desktop use. So no need for you to wade through a bunch of other ones if you are new to Linux and want to get your feet on the ground.

    VM's are very helpful if you simply want to test a new distro and see what it's like before installing it on a real computer. You can download VirtualBox for free and install it on Windows to play with Linux if you want. Download VirtualBox here:

    http://www.virtualbox.org/

    I noticed that you registered for the forum too. That's great. You can post questions on there and the folks there are great resources. We should continue this discussion in there as that's the best place for ongoing threads.

  14. Mike Lippert says

    ps I realize you do all of your testing inside of various VM's. While that's interesting and appropriate for doing reviews, I don't have any VM currently set up, so setting one up is just one more obstacle to my trying out a linux distro.

    Perhaps the pros/cons of the various VM's you use and how to set them up would be interesting blog entry sometime, although they usually run under some OS, and part of my desire here is to choose my main OS. :-)

  15. Mike Lippert says

    Hi Jim,

    I just read through your latest review of Mandriva Linux, having started by reading the Kubuntu review.

    As a computer savvy user (I've been a windows developer for a long time), but still Linux novice, I realized that I would really appreciate a meta review.

    By that I mean I really want to start using Linux as my main OS, however all of these distros are confusing.

    So what I'd like to see is someone describe how all Linux distro's are similar, and actually enumerate the ways in which they usually differ.

    For example, if an application is available for "linux" does that mean it is available on *all* "linux" distros? If not, why not? What are the gating factors?

    It seems that linux distros tend to differ in what desktop they offer by default, and what applications they install by default. That's interesting, but if I can always download and install a different desktop, and get the applications I want that weren't installed by default, that seems like a minor difference.

    Frequently I see people say, just give the distro a try, but that seems like a large endeavor. Is there a way to set up your computer to make it easier to just swap a distro, and then potentially swap back, while continuing to use linux apps with the same data? (e.g. my Firefox bookmarks and history).

    I've only really installed Ubuntu myself, but even that, when I went to upgrade to a later version, it seemed best to re-install (this was edgy to fiesty I think), and I determined that I should have used a different partitioning scheme, in particular having a separate partition for /home.

    So I guess I'm asking for some base information about linux, so when I read your reviews of a particular distro, I can say, "ah, this is what this distro gives me on top of basic linux and different from other distros."

    Thanks,

    Mike

  16. says

    Jim, I am trying to remember to visit your site at least occasionally with some browsers in which I do not have adware choked off. I am doing that now. While the fat lady turned slim holds no interest for me, some of the context specific ads were actually pretty good.

    Good job with this; I think this site is coming along quite well. Wouldn't it be great if somebody wanted to finance this site and have YOU manage it? :-)

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