Pear OS, Reviews

Pear Linux 6 review

Pear Linux 6, code-named Bartlett, is the latest release of Pear Linux, or Pear OS, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu Desktop. Unlike its parent distribution, which uses the Unity Desktop, Pear Linux features a custom GNOME Shell called Pear Shell.

Pear Linux 6 is based on Ubuntu 12.04, and features many new and cool features. In fact, the version of Pear Shell that comes with Pear Linux 6 is a near-complete overhaul of the edition in Pear Linux 5. And by my assessment, it is probably the best GNOME Shell adaptation available. It is most definitely better than the stock GNOME Shell.

But do not just take my word for it, let me show you why I came to that conclusion. But before we come to the desktop itself, where all the fun stuff are, let’s take a look at the installation process, As stated earlier, Pear Linux 6 is based on Ubuntu 12.04, and uses the same Ubiquity installer, the graphical installation of Ubuntu Desktop.

Because the installer is not the same as the edition available on Ubuntu 12.10, it lacks support for automatic LVM partitioning and disk encryption configuration. Those features will likely make it to the Pear Linux installer in the October release.
Pear Linux 6 Partition Methods

Though the installer recommends at least 5.1 GB of available disk space, a new installation of Pear Linux 6 takes up just 3.1 GB of disk space, and the installer create two partitions – one for /, the root file system directory, and the other for Swap, disk space that the system may use as memory.
Pear Linux 6 Install Specs

At the login screen, there is only one option in the Session menu – Pear Linux Shell, and for this particular distribution, it’s all you need, considering that there is no other GNOME Shell adaptation that even comes close.
Pear Linux 6 Login

Now to the desktop itself, which is just about as beautiful a desktop interface as I have come across on any distribution that uses the GNOME desktop environment. As stated earlier, it is a major rewrite of the Pear Shell that shipped with Pear Linux 5. The wallpaper (yes, I know, it’s just a wallpaper) is cool to the eyes. Compare that to the default on the latest edition of Chakra (see Chakra 2012.08 review). On the desktop, are two icons – Trash and one for a script called Launch Me First, which is supposed to be a post-install script.
Pear Linux 6 Desktop

Clicking that Launch Me First icon opens this window, which reveals what the script is about to and will do on the system. The problem is I do not see a need for the tasks it is designed to perform. Is “update the repository” the same thing as running sudo apt-get update? If so, why is that even necessary on first-boot? Appstore is the distribution’s graphical package manager and there is an icon for it in the dock. So what does “set-up Pear Appstore” actually do? And what temporary files need to be cleaned up in a brand new installation – on first-boot? From what little I know about this script, there’s no real need for it. Perhaps an application like Kaptan or Kapudan is what the developer(s) had in mind when they wrote it.
Pear 6 Post Install Script

Once the script is done running, you MUST reboot. That is likely to mean that the system will not function properly otherwise, but from the three tasks it is designed to perform, I do not see any reason for a forced-reboot.
Pear 6 Post Install

Though the dock is at the bottom of the desktop by default, it can be moved, using the point-and-click Pear Dock Config tool, to any of the other three edges of the desktop. It is, however, not a good idea to move it to the top edge, since that will interfere with the panel. This screen shot shows the dock on the right edge of the desktop.
Pear Linux 6 Dock Right

The desktop’s Hot Corner is enabled by default, so sliding the cursor into the top-left corner reveals the Mission Control view, which makes it possible to see open application windows on the current workspace or virtual desktop.
Pear Linux 6 Mission Control

Repeat the cursor-sliding action on the bottom-left corner, and the bottom edge of the desktop magically and smoothly slides upwards, revealing the virtual desktop icons. Slide the cursor out, and the desktop returns to normal. I like features that are cleanly implemented, and this one is.
Pear Linux 6 Workspaces

Pear Linux does not have a traditional menu, but features a full-screen, Mac OS X-like menu. It’s also just like the K Desktop Environment’s Takeoff Launcher and the SimpleWelcome of ROSA Linux and Mandriva. This screen shot shows what it looks like out of the box. It also shows the complete set of graphical applications installed by default. A count of the icons in this screen shot will show that there are 20. That’s a total of 20 applications installed by default. No Office suite and games are installed.
Pear Linux 6 Launchpad

One of those 20 installed applications is Firefox (version 16.0.2). And that is the only Web browser installed. However, with the Pear Browser Manager, you can install three other Web browsers available in the repository. The Pear Browser Manager is represented on the dock by that greenish icon. A screen shot of it is shown below.
Pear Linux 6 Browsers

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  1. I haven’t try that pear yet but I’m willing to try.

  2. swarfendor437

    Also the Web Browser was (as I understand it) created in ZorinOS!
    I was deeply disappointed with 6 compared to 4 – as with 5, no decent Office Suite (LibreOffice). When I installed the 32-bit I got a broken desktop that was all blue. 64-bit fared better but I could not alter the settings for brightness and password (screensaver and password lock) – and did not get a response to my broken install post on the forum!

  3. So based on everyone slamming Pear, I go and have a look at Luna. Here’s what I find:

    “elementary OS Luna is undergoing development. It’s near a beta release, but isn’t quite there yet. In the meantime, we ask for your patience as we finish this release and get it pushed out. Jupiter has served us well over the last year and a half, but its age is showing. As such, we don’t recommend downloading it.”

    So I can’t download Luna, and the developers themselves recommend I don’t download Jupiter. But all these posts here are ripping on Pear.

    Does anyone but me find that ironic?

  4. This is a distro for people that like Luna OS but for some strange reason don’t install Luna? I am really tired of all these respins that are essentially wholesale lifts of other established respins.. Stop wasting your time and resources on stuff like this.

  5. I noticed that they took and renamed Ubuntu Tweak to Pear Linux Tweak. The overlaying scroll bars are easy to use. A person just has to unlearn a few things then after you do they are not annoying. This distro needs some original work done.

  6. Maybe measure your words better.
    There are other desktops based on GNOME 3 out there that you didn’t mention. There’s that distro from Indonesia, another one from Spain, I think and surely at least a couple more I don’t remember.
    Maybe a careful search on Distrowatch will reveal some, but maybe not all.

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  8. Neil Johnson

    This is clearly Pantheon with a slightly more attractive sling-shot launcher. Nice work though!

  9. Pingback: Lightworks for Linux Preview | Linux Action Show! | Jupiter Broadcasting

  10. Guitar Picker

    Other good Gnome3 Ubuntu derivatives worth looking at are Deepin Linux and Pinguy. They both do a good job of fixing up gnome 3 into something useable.

  11. Pingback: Links 3/11/2012: Fedora as Rolling-Release Distribution Amid Delays? | Techrights

  12. akbar the younger

    a little biased

  13. The Pear Tweak tool didn’t enable the window buttons to be moved from left (default) to right when I asked it. It seems to be anchored left – even after save. The overlay scrollbar is annoying, while the left top and left-bottom hotspots kept getting in the way when I was working. I appreciate the concept for both of them, but I think I still prefer separate windows/workspaces as defined in Compiz, which are locked into your menu bar. Otherwise, a pretty cool looking release.

  14. Jesse Brandao

    It’s not a gnome-shell adaptation, it’s a pantheon-shell adaptation. Most, nearly all, of the work behind this shell was done by the elementary OS team, who are currently building Luna OS.

    • he has a point. and its not so much an adaptation as an almost wholesale lift. Seriously, the only thing they didnt take from elementary UI wise is Slingshot. The reason you had instabilities is because Luna is still in development (not even beta yet… this is not a distro for production machines)

      • Eduard Gotwig

        They even used Slingshot from The elementary Project, but in an older version with old concepts.

        BTW. – What is this for an article??? NO reference to elementary? Seriously, this is crappy….

        Have a nice weekend.

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