I’ve reviewed so many different Ubuntu remasters that I’ve more or less become numb when I see a new one. After all, aren’t they all pretty much the same? Well no, not really. Different remasters offer different things. This week I decided to look at Pinguy OS. Pinguy OS is a strange blend of Ubuntu, Linux Mint and a bunch of other stuff all rolled into a unique package. It contains the default Ubuntu features and a whole lot more including a ton of multimedia codecs, additional desktop goodies, and a great range of default software.
Before I get into the review, you’re probably wondering what Pinguy OS is and why it was made. Here’s a brief bit of background from Antoni Norman where he explains why he created Pinguy OS and how it’s different from Ubuntu:
Ubuntu is a great OS and undoubtedly the most popular and easiest Linux based Distro to use but even with its default setup and chosen programs it’s still lacking functionality and ease of use for most new users. So what I decided to do was build a Distro that looks good, could do everything most user would ever want to do and that was very simple to use.
I started out by listening to what my friends and family wanted to use their PC for and found the most user friendly programs for the task they wanted to do. After a while I got a good idea what most people use their PC for and what programs where the easiest to use. Like using Shotwell for easily uploading images to Facebook, gtkpod for putting music, photos and video on a ipod/iphone and mvPod for converting the video to a iPod friendly format.
So all the programs in Pinguy OS have been chosen because of there ease of use and functionality, I also changed every file type to open with the right program, like for some reason by default .iso are opened with Archive Manager so I changed that to Brasero Disc Burner.
As I already said apart from it being easy to use I also wanted it to be a very good looking operating system. There are now a lot of programs out there for Linux to give the OS a very smart and polished implementation, like CoverGloobus, Gloobus Preview, GNOME Do, and Docky. These programs don’t just give the OS a good look and feel but they are also very useful and handy.
Pinguy OS is an optimise build of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Minimal CD with added repositories, tweaks and enhancements that can run as a Live DVD or be installed. It has all the added packages needed for video, music and web content e.g. flash and java, plus a few fixes as well. Like fixing the wireless problems, gwibber’s Facebook problem and flash videos in full-screen.
Everything is set-up for samba, all you need to do is right click a folder you want to share and add a password in samba using system-config-samba.
It also has a UPnP/DLNA server (pms-linux) so you can share your music, video’s etc. With a PS3, XBOX 360, Smart Phones or any other UPnP/DLNA media reader.
Nautilus has been replaced for Elementary-Nautilus with added plug-ins so it can get music and video art from the web. The default theme is Elementary using ttf-droid font with Docky and a custom Conky.
I have also added DVB support to Totem for anyone with a TV card that wants to watch tv on their PC but don’t want to install a dedicated program like myth-tv.
For a full list of installed programs and repos for 10.04.1 *OLD* download this file.
If you like this Distro and would like to help it improve and grow you can always donate, it doesn’t matter how small the amount is, it all helps.
What’s New In This Release
This release is actually a minor update to the original 10.04.1 release, so there’s not much to report in this section in terms of new features. However, here are some of the features you should take note of that are found in Pinguy OS:
Ubuntu Software Center
Linux Mint MintMenu
Linux Mint MintUpdate
I’ll look at each of these features in the appropriate sections of the review. Suffice to say that they add a lot of value to Pinguy OS, and they set it apart from some of the other Ubuntu remasters.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s what you’ll need to run Pinguy OS:
Recommended minimum requirements
Pinguy OS should run reasonably well on a computer with the following minimum hardware specification. However, features such as visual effects may not run smoothly.
- 700 MHz x86 processor
- 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
- 8 GB of disk space
- Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution
- Sound card
- A network or Internet connection
Recommended for visual effects
Visual effects provide various special graphical effects for your desktop to make it look and feel more fun and easier to use. If your computer is not powerful enough to run visual effects, you can turn them off and will still have a usable Pinguy OS desktop. Visual effects are turned on by default if you have a graphics card which is supported. For information on supported graphics cards, see DesktopEffects.
- 1.2 GHz x86 processor
- 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
- Supported graphics card (see DesktopEffects)
Installing Pinguy OS is as simple and easy as installing Ubuntu itself. The install is quick and painless. Pinguy OS is a Live DVD distro, so you can simply pop the DVD in and run it without actually having to install it onto your computer. The ISO file I downloaded was about 1.43 GB.
The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Here’s what the bootsplash and login screens look like in Pinguy OS:
The Pinguy OS desktop is unique, it reminds me a tad bit of Mac OS X. You’ll find two Docky bars at the bottom of the screen and on the left. The bottom Docky bar reminds me of the Mac OS X Dock. You’ll find the Docky control icon, as well as the Firefox, Thunderbird, Deluge, Rhythmbox, VLC, Terminal and Trash icons on it. The Docky bar on the left contains links to your Computer, Home, Documents, Music, Photos, Video and Download folders.
There is also a menu at the top of the screen that contains the usual links. Clicking the Pinguy OS (start) button on the panel at the top launches the MintMenu. From there you can access all of the usual stuff. The MintMenu from Linux Mint is quite nice. If you haven’t used it before, I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s somewhat strange to find it in this distro, but it works well.
There is also a system monitor called Conky on by default on the desktop. It lets you see CPU, RAM, disk, and other information. It’s actually quite interesting; the only thing I didn’t like about it though is that there seems to be no way to configure it or turn it off.
Beyond that, the desktop is uncluttered. The wallpaper is subdued and features a bridge during sunset. If you right-click the desktop you can change the wallpaper by choosing from a selection included with Pinguy OS or you can go online to get more wallpaper. You can also adjust the theme, fonts and visual effects.