Distro Astro 1.0.2

One of the great things about Linux is that there really is a distribution for everybody, even astronomers or folks who would just like to learn a little bit about astronomy. If that’s you then you’ll want to take a peek at Distro Astro 1.0.2. Distro Astro is all about learning about our solar system and the universe itself.

Distro Astro comes bundled with a great selection of astronomy applications (more on that in the software section), and it’s based on Ubuntu and Linux Mint. So it’s easy to install and use, even if you’re new to Linux.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 Boot Menu
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Boot Menu
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Live Desktop
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Live Desktop

What’s New in Distro Astro 1.0.2
Here’s a sample of the changes in this release:

Upgraded software:
INDI Library 0.9.6 now includes all the latest drivers as of July 18, 2013.
Mint Display Manager upgraded from 1.0.8 to 1.2.5.
LibreOffice 4 upgraded from 4.0.1 to 4.0.4.
Gimp 2.8 upgraded from 2.8.4 to 2.8.6.
Linux Kernel upgraded from 3.2.0-40 to 3.2.0-49
Internal packaging changes:
LibreOffice has a new icon theme that is consistent with the rest of the distribution.
Mint Display Manager has a new HTML theme with Hubble UDF background.
IRAF shortcut icon now opens it as the current user instead of user ‘iraf’.
Fixed a few (mis)alignments in current default login screen.
Optimization tweaks.
VirtualBox guest packages removed from local repository because it is not needed and merely occupies space.
Inherits updated packages from Ubuntu and Linux Mint repositories as of July 25, 2013.

This is a point release, so there’s not an enormous amount of new features in it.

System Requirements for Distro Astro 1.0.2
I was not able to find a detailed list of system requirements for Distro Astro 1.0.2. However, it was originally based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Linux Mint 13 Maya, and has been updated as noted above in the What’s New section. So if your system can run either of those distributions, you should be able to run Distro Astro as well.

If you come across a specific list of requirements for Distro Astro, please post them in the comments below. Thanks.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 Download
You can download Distro Astro from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 2.02 GB, so it’s not a small download by any means. Don’t let that throw you though since it comes with some great software.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 Installation
As I noted earlier, Distro Astro is based on Linux Mint and Ubuntu. It uses the same installer, so it’s quite easy and fast to install it. You can watch a slideshow of Distro Astro features and software while your install happens. I recommend going through the slideshow since it introduces you to some of the astronomy applications included with Distro Astro.

Note also that Distro Astro is a live distribution, so it’s possible to run it off a disc to check it out without having to do an install.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 Install Type
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Install Type
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Erase Hard Disk
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Erase Hard Disk
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Install Slideshow
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Install Slideshow
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Login
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Login

The Distro Astro 1.0.2 Desktop
One of the things I really like about Distro Astro is the look and feel of it. The developers didn’t just glom a bunch of astronomy apps into Ubuntu and Linux Mint. They took the time to include some gorgeous wallpapers to give it’s own feel and identity. The wallpapers are images from the Hubble telescope.

From the minute you boot into the desktop, you know that this distro is all about the heavens. The default wallpaper is gorgeous, but you can easily switch it by right clicking your desktop and choosing Change Desktop Background. There are a number of attractive space-based wallpapers that are included by default, and you can get different kinds online.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 Installed Desktop
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Installed Desktop

On the desktop you’ll find a couple of icons for personal files, and your computer. But there are also seven icons for astronomy applications that make it easy to get started learning about space and the universe.

Click the Start button on the panel, and you’ll see the handy Linux Mint menu. If you’ve used Linux Mint before, you’ll feel right at home in Distro Astro. It’s easy to navigate around to find applications, the Software Manager, Control Center, etc.

If you prefer you can opt for the Nightvision theme instead of the default Clearskies. Nightvision is much darker, with red text. It’s not my cup of tea, as I don’t care for red text at all. But your mileage may vary so check it out anyway.

There are also Nightvision and Hubble screensavers you can use in Distro Astro 1.0.2. The Hubble images are quite gorgeous, especially if you’ve never seen them before. Some of them are breathtaking to behold, and they convey well the amazing beauty of our universe.

Linux Software Included in Distro Astro 1.0.2
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release. The focus of Distro Astro is obviously on astronomy apps, and there’s quite a lot to choose from as you can tell from the list below.

But the developers of this distro have not forgotten the need for other applications, you’ll find all  your usual favorites here such as VLC, GIMP, LibreOffice, etc. So you can do quite a bit more with Distro Astro than just use astronomy applications.

Astronomy Applications
AstroCC Coordinate Converter (convert astronomical coordinates)
Astronomy Clock 2 (see astronomical time)
Astronomy Lab 2 (simulate astronomical events)
Celestia (explore the universe)
GCX Astro-Image Processor (process astronomical images)
GPredict (satellite tracker)
Gravity (gravitational simulator)
Iris (process astronomical images)
KStars Planetarium (desktop planetarium)
Meteoracle (predict and observer meteor showers)
Nightshade (desktop planetarium)
OpenRocket (design and simulate model rockets)
OpenUniverse Space Simulator (explore the solar system)
ORSA (celestial mechanics tool)
Planets (simulations of planetary systems)
Radio Meteor Analyzer (analyze radio meteor data)
Sky Charts (desktop planetarium)
SkyGlobe (desktop planetarium)
StarPlot (view star charts)
Stellarium (planetarium)
Virtual Moon Atlas (study lunar features)
VMA Command Center (virtual moon atlas)
Where is M13? (display deep sky objects)
wxAstroCapture (capture planetary objects)
XEphem (astronomical ephemeris)
XTide (view tide and current predictions)

Graphics
GIMP
Image Organizer

Internet
Firefox
Mozilla Thunderbird
Pidgin IM
Transmission

Multimedia
Brasero
Clementine
Totem Movie Player
VLC

Office
LibreOffice
Simple Scan

Linux Software Management Tools in Distro Astro 1.0.2
Distro Astro uses the Linux Mint Software Manager, so it’s quite easy to add or remove applications. Just find the application and then click the Install or Remove button. You can also read see star ratings and read short reviews by other users, before installing an application.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 Software Manager
Distro Astro 1.0.2 Software Manager

Problems & Headaches Found in Distro Astro 1.0.2
Distro Astro 1.0.2 ran very well for me. I saw no noticeable issues with it. It seemed fairly fast and was very stable while I was running it.

If you’ve seen any issues with it, please note them in the comments below for the benefit of other readers. It’s always helpful to know if there are potential problems with a distro before somebody installs it. Thanks in advance if you note anything.

Where To Get Help for Distro Astro 1.0.2
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you. You might also want to email the Distro Astro developers, send them a form email on their site, or post on the Distro Astro Facebook page.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Distro Astro 1.0.2
I was quite impressed with Distro Astro 1.0.2. Any Linux users who are interested in astronomy should definitely check it out, it’s certainly worth a download. It provides a great selection of astronomy applications, but it can also be used for other things. So it’s not just limited to its primary function.

If I could change one thing about this distro, it’s the name. Distro Astro just isn’t memorable enough. If there are no copyright issues involved, perhaps the developers could simply call it “Voyager” and then use a tagline like “Discover the Universe with Linux.” Okay, maybe I’m nitpicking, but a catchy name can work wonders at getting people’s attention. And I’d really like to see this distro get some real attention since it has quite a lot to offer sky watchers.

Distro Astro 1.0.2 is suitable for beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on Distro Astro 1.0.2? Tell me in the comments below.



Comments

  1. Philip Rewve says

    Hi, I am trying to dual-boot DistroAstro 1.0.2 on my Toshiba laptop. I have 120G/byte HDD. The primary partition is 80G/byte with Windows Vista (NTFS) installed. I have tried to install DistroAstro four times to date on the extended partition. I have created /root, /home & /swap partitions. All goes well until it is ‘creating user account’ then it stalls. I am only connected to the internet via a mobile broadband dongle.

    Can anyone advise where I maybe going wrong?

    I emailled Bamm last week and received a reply and now I cannot communicate with him. I have ping’d the IP address and it is not responding.

    Thank you for reading.

    73’s and clear skies,

    Philip

  2. Alejandro says

    I have installed this and all good, but when I try to upgrade one application, for example “Stellarium” I can’t.

    Can anybody give me instructions?

    Thanks

  3. says

    Hi Guys,

    Just one point to note – the red theme is for using your laptop at night in the dark – red light does not affect your night vision as much.

    Good review…

    Cheers,

    Richie

  4. Brian Masinick says

    As far as the Astronomy goes, this distribution clearly has some specific target interests. In fact, though, since it is based on two general purpose distributions, this is actually a general purpose distribution too, just with specific application focus.

    If you don’t mind the astronomy applications, but love the art work, who knows, it may be worth using as long as you have the space for the “unnecessary” extras. Then again, learning a little bit about astronomy might be an added bonus.

    • says

      Very true, Brian. You could easily use this as a regular desktop distribution. It comes with enough of the usual software to do so, but you also get all of the astronomy stuff with it. So it works out very well for those who are interested in that and who want helpful tools necessary to pursue it.

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