Lin-X Linux 1.1

In my last review I took a look at a distro that looked like Windows Vista. This week I got an interesting suggestion on the Request A Review page from Jai Ho about a distro called Lin-X. Lin-X is a remastered version of Ubuntu designed to look and feel like Mac OS X. Lin-X has turned the cool Apple logo on its head a bit by putting in a skull and crossed swords. Surely an act of blatant defiance of Steve Jobs and his lawyers. We’ll see if anybody at Apple notices this amusing act of rebellion.

What’s New In This Release
I looked around for details on what was new in this release but since the developer site is offline at this point, this brief bit of text was all I could uncover.

· Boot and system sounds do not work with the sounds window disabled
· This will be fixed (hopefully ;p) with the next release. However we apoligize for the inconvienence.

If you know more details about what was updated please post them in the comments.

Requirements & Installation
Since the Lin-X site is not available I could not find exact install requirements. But since it’s based on Ubuntu you should simply bear the Ubuntu install requirements in mind. I had a few problems with the install which I’ve detailed in the problems section. Suffice to say that once you actually get the install going it’s about the same as installing any other Ubuntu-based distribution which means that it’s not difficult.

The Lin-X login screen features an apple logo complete with a skull and crossed swords.
The Lin-X login screen features an apple logo complete with a skull and crossed swords.
Since it's based on Ubuntu, it's pretty easy to install Lin-X once you get the installer started.
Since it’s based on Ubuntu, it’s pretty easy to install Lin-X once you get the installer started.

Desktop & Apps
Obviously the big attraction in Lin-X is the Mac-like look and feel. When you boot into the Lin-X desktop you notice the Mac OS X Leopard-like wallpaper and the Dock-like panel at the bottom of the desktop. It’s about as close as we are probably going to get in terms of having Linux look like the Mac. I know that some Linux purists will gag at the very thought of this but I found it mostly amusing and attractive in its own right. It was a little weird to see Linux dressed up like a Mac but after a few minutes I got used to it and just did the usual stuff I do with my computer.

Lin-X comes with a respectable amount of software and here’s some of what you’ll find in terms of apps:

Games
Mahjongg
Mines
Robots
Sudoku
Tali
Gnometris
Chess
Blackjack

Graphics
F-Spot Photo Manager
GIMP
XSane IMage Scanner

Internet
aMSN
Evolution Mail
Firefox
Firestarter Firewall
Pidgin IM
Transmission BitTorrent Client

Multimedia
Brasero Disc Burning
Movie Player
MPlayer Movie Player
Rhythmbox Music Player

Office
OpenOffice.org

Hmmm...remind you of anything? Such pretty wallpaper...
Hmmm…remind you of anything? Such pretty wallpaper…

What I Liked Most
The clear attraction to Lin-X is its resemblance to Mac OS X. Otherwise it would just be another version of Ubuntu. The single thing I liked the most about Lin-X is the cool Apple logo with a pirate skull and crossed swords in it. It’s a way of taking Apple’s marketing slickness and turning it upside down. If I were a marketing droid at Apple I’d be outraged by this bastardization of one of the most well known corporate logos on the planet. I suppose that that’s one of the reasons why I like the Lin-X logo so much.

Problems & Headaches
This distro was a pain in the ass to deal with initially, to put it bluntly. The developer’s site seems to have been closed so I had to get the .iso file from Softpedia. But when I booted into the Live CD desktop I got a screen asking me to login with absolutely no information about the login ID and password were. I tried to find it on the developer’s site by using the cached Google version of it but still couldn’t locate it. I tried using “root” for the ID and password but that didn’t work either.

So I opted to go right to the install instead. However, that stalled out in VMWare so I had to use Parallels instead. If you try to use Lin-X in a virtual machine I recommend that you try to have more than one kind available in case you run into problems. I usually start with VMWare but I’m glad I have Parallels and VirtualBox on my machine for situations like this.

Certainly not the usual kind of apple...
Certainly not the usual kind of apple…

Where To Get Help
You can always post a note in the Desktop Linux Reviews Forum and we’ll do our best to offer feedback or at least point you in the right direction. As of the writing of this review the official Lin-X site and forum are not available so I can’t refer you there for assistance.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
This is definitely one for the distro-hoppers to play with and enjoy for a while. It’s cool to see and use a Mac-like version of Linux. But it remains to be seen if the developers will actually continue on with this since their site is down and little or no information exists as to what their intentions are with Lin-X.

I do not recommend that anybody really consider Lin-X as their main distro until there is some kind of confirmation from the developers that they intend to continue on with it. And getting their site hosting bill paid up might be a good start.

Beginners should definitely not bother with Lin-X.

It appears that the Lin-X team has not paid their hosting bill.
It appears that the Lin-X team has not paid their hosting bill.

Summary Table:

Product: Lin-X Linux 1.1
Web Site: http://lin-x.info/ (Official Site) and also try the Lin-X Softpedia Page.
Price: Free
Pros: Comes with a very well done Mac OS X look and feel. As close to making Linux look and feel like Mac OS X as we’re likely to come.
Cons: Developer site is unavailable as of the time I wrote this review so there’s really no support for this distro or information about whether or not it will continue to be developed. Live CD requires login but no ID or password is provided.
Suitable For: Definitely one for the distro-hoppers that want to play around and check it out. Non-distro-hoppers should probably avoid this and stick with regular Ubuntu or one of it’s other remastered versions.
Summary: Once you get it installed it’s fun to use a Mac-like version of Linux. But after you get over the coolness it’s just another remaster of Ubuntu.
Rating: 2.5/5


Comments

  1. sid says

    i cant find link to download lin-x, it seems pretty cool

    all the links are unavailable…the site of lin-x shows just the logo

    can someone plz post the links for downloading lin-x???

  2. says

    I remember years ago using some distro that allowed you to pick a MacOS theme from the selection of themes. This was the "old" Mac OS desktop complete with wrong sided window buttons.

    It too was fun to play with for a while, but eventually I switched back to the default KDE.I think they eventually got threatened by Apple or something as I have not seen it since.

    No matter how hard I try, I just cannot get into the Mac interface. It is just slow and cumbersome to me. Since this is just a Mac'ed up version of Ubuntu, I would just rather stck with that.

    Beyond that, this seems like yet another distro built by the author to prove that he could.

  3. jai ho says

    Jim, i have a suggestion for you…

    while doing reviews about linux distros,please give their performance in multimedia…while most of the famous distros does not support multimedia on the spot,it will be useful for news users….

    That is one advantage given by Lin-X live dvd…you can test everything on the spot (multimedia,AWN etc) and it will help newbies….

    If you already have installed ubuntu no need to download Lin-X LInux…just download the 33 mb tar file from mac4lin project page

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/mac4lin/

    For more, you can find step by step procedure in how to forge….

    http://www.howtoforge.com/mac4lin_make_linux_look

  4. Cruiserdude says

    While I hate to rain on anyone's parade, this is clearly NOT the best way to make your desktop look like a Mac. Rather than relying on a shady offshoot of Ubuntu with little support, why not just re-skin your existing Ubuntu install? That's what I'm running right now, it looks and feels great, and the only problems I've had are people unfamiliar with GNU/Linux thinking its some sort of Mac ripoff (grrr).

    Anyway, a combination of the Mac4Lin theme, Avant Window Navigator with the OSX skin, OSX fonts, the Global Menu bar, and a few other tweaks, you can make your fully Canonical-supported Ubuntu distro look just like this. In fact, here's a tutorial: http://mihirknows.blogspot.com/2009/05/turn-ubunt… . Its easy enough to do or undo for your average GNU/Linux user, and is a fun little project that shouldn't take nearly as long as setting up a whole new distro.

  5. Brian Masinick says

    I guess I'll just have to get over the coolness of this distro. Without enough information to really deal with it and no assurance that there will ever be an update or any further development, this is a hard one to go after, but just like before, I always enjoy reading about these niche distributions. Sometimes I even go out on a limb and get a few of them, but I tried the Hannah Montana Ubuntu variation, I actually have instances of Live Android working in my Virtualbox OSE, plus I have Tiny Core, Tiny Me (in a Unity Linux 3.7 prototype skin), a really off the wall version of Debian called Canabix, so I think I have enough unusual distros in my collection right now. I use them for research and for amusement, but return to my every day systems for most of my activities, and my every day system remains sidux right now (with antiX, SimplyMEPIS, and Debian Stable providing a solid core, and backup should anything "happen"). That's enough for right now. Besides, SimplyMEPIS is starting to gain steam on their 8.5 effort, and I want to help out with it, and antiX is bound to be active testing its next release soon, and I want to be an active part in testing and promoting those two – a couple of my long term favorites.

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