Pear OS 8

It’s often said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that’s the case then the developer of Pear OS 8 truly loves Apple and its products. Pear OS 8 is probably the closest thing any Linux user will ever come to getting a Linux distribution from Apple.

Pear OS 8 blends the look and feel of Mac OS X and iOS 7 into Ubuntu. I know that the very idea of this will probably shock some Linux users. Apple is probably the exact opposite of Linux in terms of openness and so making a Linux distribution that essentially mimics Apple’s products might be considered over the top, to say the least. Some might even think that the Pear OS 8 developer jumped the shark in a big way.

But there might also be folks out there who would appreciate a desktop Linux distribution molded in the likeness of OS X and iOS 7. So Pear OS 8 might be very appealing indeed to them.

Pear OS 8 Boot Menu
Pear OS 8 Boot Menu

What’s New in Pear OS 8
I was not able to locate a list of new features for Pear OS 8. The closest I could come was this page on the Pear OS site. If you have a full list of new features, please post it in the comments below. Thanks.

Pear OS 8 Cloud
Pear OS 8 Cloud

System Requirements for Pear OS 8
I also could not find a defined list of system requirements for Pear OS 8. This, along with a complete list of new features, is something that the Pear OS developer should consider adding to their site.

Linux Mint is an excellent model for this, the Linux Mint developers always make it very easy for users and reviewers to know what’s new and what is required to run the new distribution.

Since Pear OS 8 is based on Ubuntu, use that as a baseline for system requirements for this release.

Pear OS 8 Download
You can download Pear OS 8 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 1.13 GB. Pear OS 8 is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. I used the 64-bit version for this review.

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

Pear OS 8 Installation
Pear OS 8 uses the Ubuntu installer, so it’s quite easy and fast to install it. You can download updates and add third party software during your install.

Pear OS 8 is also a live distribution, so you can run it off a disc before actually doing an install on your computer.

Pear OS 8 Live Desktop
Pear OS 8 Live Desktop
Pear OS 8 Install Prepare
Pear OS 8 Install Prepare
Pear OS 8 Install Type
Pear OS 8 Install Type
Pear OS 8 Login
Pear OS 8 Login

The Pear OS 8 Desktop
The Pear OS 8 desktop looks like a blend of iOS 7 and OS X since it seems to contain icons from both of Apple’s operating systems. If you’ve used OS X or iOS 7, you’ll be able to spot the icon similarities right away.

As soon as I saw the desktop I started wondering when Apple’s lawyers would be sending the Pear OS 8 developer a letter expressing their displeasure. Apple has never taken kindly to those who…er…borrow their intellectual property so it would not surprise me if the Pear OS 8 developer ended up in hot water with their legal department at some point.

At the bottom of the desktop is a Dock that is very similar to what you see in OS X Mavericks. You’ll see application icons, system settings, the trash can, the Finder, and even a Launchpad for applications.

At the top is a menu bar that also resembles the one in OS X. It even has a similar notifications icon to the far right. The wallpaper also bears an eery similarity to something that Apple would include in its desktop operating system.

Pear OS 8 also includes a desktop configuration tool called My Pear 6. It lets you easily change the Dock, Notifications, Hot Corners and Desktop. The Theme tab wasn’t functional when I looked at it, but it had a “coming soon” message on it, so no doubt we’ll eventually see that added to Pear OS.

You will also find an icon for Clean My Pear, a tool designed to help you clean up your Pear OS 8 system when needed. It offers an automatic cleanup, internet cleanup, system cleanup and trash cleanup.

Pear OS 8 Desktop
Pear OS 8 Desktop
Pear OS 8 Launchpad
Pear OS 8 Launchpad
Pear OS 8 Finder
Pear OS 8 Finder
Pear OS 8 My Pear 6
Pear OS 8 My Pear 6
Pear OS 8 My Pear 6 Dock
Pear OS 8 My Pear 6 Dock
Pear OS 8 Hot Corners
Pear OS 8 Hot Corners
Pear OS 8 Notifications
Pear OS 8 Notifications
Pear OS 8 Clean My Pear
Pear OS 8 Clean My Pear
Pear OS 8 System Settings
Pear OS 8 System Settings

Linux Software Included in Pear OS 8
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.

Available in the Pear Software Center

Document Viewer

Empathy IM
Pear Cloud
Thunderbird Mail

Brasero Disc Burner
VLC Media Player

Pear Contacts

Linux Software Management Tools in Pear OS 8
Pear OS 8 comes with the Ubuntu Software Center as its software management tool. There are thousands and thousands of applications in the software center, and everything is broken down into the proper categories. You can also search for applications, and you can see a Top Rated list for each category and at the top level of the Software Center.

To add or remove an application, just find it and click the Install or Remove button.

Pear OS 8 also comes with a PPA Manager that can be accessed from an icon on the Dock.

Pear OS 8 Software Center
Pear OS 8 Software Center
Pear OS 8 Install FileZilla
Pear OS 8 Install FileZilla
Pear OS 8 Installed Applications
Pear OS 8 Installed Applications
Pear OS 8 PPA Manager
Pear OS 8 PPA Manager

Problems & Headaches Found in Pear OS 8
One thing I didn’t like about Pear OS 8 is that the Pear Software Center (the Ubuntu Software Center) icon is hidden away in the Launchpad. Why isn’t it on the Dock? A user unfamiliar with Pear OS 8 is probably going to be frustrated trying to figure out how to install or remove software. So putting the icon for the software center on the Dock should be a priority in an update to Pear OS 8.

One of the big problems with Pear OS 8 is the accessibility of installed software. In OS X you can access applications in the Applications section of the Finder. But Pear OS 8 does not have an applications category in its equivalent of the Finder. There is also no drop down menu of application categories when you click on the pear icon in the menu bar (OS X doesn’t have this either but many Linux desktops such as Xfce do).

So if you want to see all of the applications installed in Pear OS 8, you have to go into the Pear Software Center and click on Installed. This makes no sense to me. Who (except a Linux reviewer like me) is going to bother to do this?

VLC, for example, is a hugely important multimedia application. But it doesn’t appear in the Launchpad or on the Dock. So how is a user even going to know it’s installed by default in Pear OS 8? Most simply won’t and will wonder how to play multimedia files.

I even searched for VLC in the Launchpad, but nothing came up for a result. And yet the Pear Software Center says that it is installed so where is the icon to access it? Sure, you can launch it via the terminal application. But can you imagine Apple requiring users to launch an application via a terminal window? If Pear OS 8 is the Linux version of OS X then accessing installed applications should be a no-brainer.

I didn’t see any overt issues with Pear OS 8 in terms of stability or speed. The installer worked fine, and the distro itself seems fast and stable when using it.

If you’ve seen any problems or issues with Pear OS 8, please share them in the comments below for the benefit of other readers. Thanks in advance.

Where To Get Help for Pear OS 8
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 check out the Pear OS forum and blog.

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 Pear OS 8
Pear OS 8 does a very good job of copying the look and feel of Apple’s operating system. And it comes about the closest I’ve ever seen to providing a Mac-like experience in Linux (it even offers its own version of Apple’s iCloud service). It stumbles a bit though when it comes to software accessibility and organization, and that clearly needs to be fixed in an update or future release.

At the beginning of the review I mentioned the old saying that imitation is the most since form of flattery. But something else popped into my mind as I was using Pear OS 8. In the Lord of the Rings there is a description of Isengard – the fortress of the wizard Saruman – that seemed oddly appropriate to Pear OS 8.

In this case Linux is Isengard, and Saruman is the developer of Pear OS 8. Apple, of course, is Barad-dur, the Dark Tower in Mordor.

Here is the quote from the Lord of the Rings:

“A strong place and wonderful was Isengard, and long it had been beautiful […]. But Saruman had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived – for all those arts and subtle devices, for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor; so that what he made was naught, only a little copy, a child’s model or a slave’s flattery, of that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great power, Barad-dûr, the Dark Tower, which suffered no rival, and laughed at flattery, biding its time, secure in its pride and its immeasurable strength.”

Pear OS 8 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on Pear OS 8? Tell me in the comments below.

28 thoughts on “Pear OS 8

  1. Im impressed by its speed. Takes a little while to get it how you want… LibreOffice was tricky to install but after purging, installing ptyhon uno I got it installed – Most the info you need to fix any broken packages is on google…

    I installed ubuntu tweak to give me a few more options so I could add icons to the desktop. Also found you can search for an app in the top bar and once loader add it to the Dock. The Launcher isnt the best way to find open apps.

    I prefer this to Mint which is saying something as Mint is really stable… This seems as good and faster.
    Maybe worth looking at adding more repositories when you install it as well.

  2. Does anyone know how to udate adobe flash player? I am using Pear Os8. When I try to install flash player it asks which version to install:
    YUM for Linux,
    rpm or
    APT for Ubuntu 10.04
    I think I must choose the last one but I am not sure I am new with Linux. Please help. Thank you

    1. Use APT… Pear OS is based on Ubuntu, so most apps that work on it, will work on the Pear OS.

      Just as in TLOR, Isengard has been destroyed (the Pear OS site is no longer available).

  3. Desde que conoci a Linux me interese en sus distros.pues sus colaboradores son muy “profesionales” que buzcan satisfaser la necesidad de los usuarios en computacion.
    Hablando especificamente de “Pear 8”, me gusto bastante en todo,nadamas espero sus mejoras,porque este que salio a distribucion es un Beta,como sistema operativo cuenta con lo basico.

  4. I tried fedora, ubuntu, pear, and many other distros. Finally I decide to permanently use pear 8 to replace windows on the old machines.

  5. i’m using Pear OS 8, i have used Windows, Mac OS, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint, i can say all additions from way back as 2005 when i first had access to computers, what i can say is that its a nice OS, does not overburden my laptop

  6. Look at “Pear OS 8 Launchpad” above. You have access to 21 apps in it, and the rest cannot be opened through this Launcher. There should be 3 pages of it, rather than just one.
    You have not done your homework, Mr. Lynch!

  7. Good review. Cover well what I spot too on the distro. That said, I like it so much that I installed it on my main computer. I am very please with it. It is clean looking and very stable for me. No major issues beside the regular Linux not loading remote windows share drives, grrr… but at least Linux shares are easy to setup. In all in all, this is by far the nicest I have seen. Better imo then Elementary. So if they work more on it, it is the first one which I can see finally pulling Linux out of oblivion on the desktop. That is if Apple bulldogs don’t go after the developer.

    1. Somehow I do not understand why they want to create a competing Linux distro. Why not just team up with Elementary developers, since they seem to share the same mind set? It’s all this fragmentation in Linux world that is the reason no more people are using it in the first place.

      Personally, I couldn’t care less about the name of the OS… I’m interested in functionality.

  8. Gravedigger, win8.1? Really? A friend gave it to me, a week later I gave it back and haven’t spoken to him since! lol. XP and win7 are the only two time Bill got it mostly right. But 8.1, yuck

    1. Windows 8.1 is an upgrade to Windows 8 which fixes a lot of the issues that many people have had with that operating system, but it’s still a big change to a lot of users. I had to switch back to Windows 8 since my laptop had issues with 8.1 and ASUS doesn’t support this laptop with newer operating systems.

      I’ve used Windows since the beginning and thought that 95, 98, XP and 7 were all worthwhile versions (Me, Vista and 8 all had issues…)

  9. I agree with Gravedigger, it is buggy software. First time I used Clean My Pear, OS7 fatally crashed and I had to reinstall the thing as it was dead in the water. I use win7 and Ubuntu 12.04 on my pc and LXLE on my laptop. Now if you want an OS that is prettier than Elementary, as pretty as Pear OS8 BUT works on any pc, new or old, with no hassles, LXLE. Try it on a VM, it’s great IMHO.

  10. Check our elementary Os. CUrrent version is Luna. Its looks like Mac Os in a Linux way, very stable and enjoyable linux distribution based on Debian. :)

  11. Well, if this is Version 8, then the developers have gotten away with mimicking Apple software, perhaps they have not managed to get on the “radar” of the company. (If that is the case, it might be good if this blog doesn’t have any Apple company readers, otherwise, game over).

    I do not recall using previous releases of Pear OS, but perhaps this one would merit a look. I don’t have anything against the appearance or the consistency of the Apple interface, though I do have issues with using free software, but then inhibiting others from using modifications to the software, which has happened in some cases.

    Apple has contributed one really useful technology: the original Webkit, which was a modification of KDE’s KHTML, since heavily modified mostly by Google.

    I have to wonder, though: if this distribution merits only a 3 out of 5 on a rating scale, that’s only 60%, not very good at all. I’ll have to think about whether or not I choose to give this one a look.

    What do others think about this or previous versions of Pear OS? Based on the few responses here so far, not too much. I may take that into account, or I may try it out myself; depends on how much time I have available to test software in the next couple of weeks.

    1. While Pear is an attempt to mimic the look of OS X, it isn’t a very good attempt. No regular OS X user would be fooled. Presumably, if Apple is aware of Pear, it doesn’t care enough to make a fuss. Or, its lawyers think the resemblance isn’t close enough to make a winnable case.

      I see it as one of many Ubuntu derivatives. I tried Pear 7 and didn’t see anything to push me away, or to keep me around.

    2. I left Mate 13 which froze too often for this newby, the same when I used OS7. Looked nice but not worth the reboots. Went back to Ubuntu 12.04 and the only problem I have had since is Ubuntu’s old version of Wine.

      Why use an OS with a generous (going by OS7) 60% review when under the hood ut is Ubuntu anyway?

      Apple couldn’t care about Pear OS, but if Ubuntu was to try mimicing OS X?

  12. It’s a superficial attempt to mimic the appearance of the OS X desktop on a Ubuntu base.

    I suppose uninformed Linux users who think OS X is simply all about eye candy will think that’s all there is to it. But, there are none of the OS X-specific capabilities that distinguish that product.

  13. I have installed PearOS7 for a friend. It looks good, as does 8, but we had problems. The worst was when the desktop locked and we were unable to access anything that wasn’t already on the launcher. In the end I installed Cinnamon and he’s very happy.

    I hope PearOS8 has those issues fixed.

  14. While it appears to be a promising distro, I’ve had nothing but problems with Pear OS 6/7/8 – it’s too easy to break the Pear-specific apps, the distro freezes at various times and when you try to update the distro you can find that some of the installed apps don’t work. It really needs to install an office suite by default and it’s not as functional as elementary OS.

    I’m currently running a multi-boot system using Windows 8.1, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, elementary OS and Deepin Linux on my laptop. I’ve played with Pear and attempted to use it and Zorin OS as an additional Linux install, but the issues I’ve had with Pear have discouraged me from keeping it on the machine.

    Maybe next time…

  15. If my eyes aren’t failing me, the bar on top is elementary’s wingpanel and the launcher itself is slingshot, right? So the is basically just Elementary OS with some themes thrown on top?

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