desktop3

SalineOS is a desktop-oriented distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux, and uses the Xfce desktop environment. The latest stable release is SalineOS 1.1, released late last month. This is my first review of this distribution and also its first listing on this site.

Installation: Like all Debian-based distributions that I have used or reviewed, SalineOS does not use Debian’s graphical installation program. Rather, it uses a very simple installation script called Remastersys-installer, which calls on the services of GParted for disk partitioning. Like the installer on Linux Mint Debian Edition, it is just a very basic installer. There is no support for LVM, the Linux Volume Manager, RAID, and disk encryption. You need some knowledge of disk partitioning on Linux before you can install SalineOS 1.1
installer

Desktop: SalineOS is an Xfce-based distribution, and ships with Xfce 4.6.2. The latest stable release of Xfce is Xfce 4.8. The desktop features a beautiful wallpaper with a top and bottom panel. The bottom panel is only visible on mouseover. More screenshots of the desktop are available on the last page of this review.
desktop3

Related Post:  ClearOS 5.1 review

Package Management: What other package management tool would a Debian-based distribution use if not APT, the Advanced Packaging Tool? And the most commonly used APT tool, the one used to install/uninstall and update applications, is apt-get. Unlike Linux Mint and Ubuntu, SalineOS does not have its custom graphical package manager, so the graphical interface to apt-get that is available for use is Synaptic.

The package update notifier is a simple script with an icon on the top panel (see the desktop screenshot above). It is supposed to install all available updates automatically when you click on it. Though it works as intended, it does not give you the option to even view the updates that are going to be installed. Rather than this script, it would have been better to install update-notifier, a graphical update notification tool available in the repository. Update-notifier, which uses the update-manager package provides a much better package update checking and notification.

A screenshot of auto-update script.
updates

The first time I ran the auto-update script, I got this GRUB-related message.
aptwarn

Related Post:  Linux Mint 8 review

Installed & Installable Applications: Out of the box, SalineOS 1.1 ships with a decent collection of applications. Here is a list of some of the main applications installed:

  • OpenOffice.org 3.2.1
  • Chromium, the only Web browser installed
  • GIMP
  • Fotoxx, a simple image manipulation program
  • Ristretto image viewer
  • Parole Media Player
  • Rhythmbox music player
  • Icedove, for email and news
  • Pidgin Internet messenger

These are besides the standard Xfce desktop accessories and system utilities. Though there are dozens of games in the repository, not one is installed by default. Chromium is the only Web browser installed. Rather than Mozilla Firefox, Iceweasel, a re-branded Firefox, is the other well-known Web browser available for installation. Moovida, a media center application is available. However, XBMC, the other media center application, is not. Java JRE service is made possible by the installation of OpenJDK Java runtime. Web browser Flash support is not available out of the box, but there is a script in the repository that will download and install a non-free Flash plugin from Adobe.com.

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6 Responses

  1. Certain gui panel apps like “CPU scaling monitor” and “System Monitor” I find extremely useful in gnome; though which seem dysfunctional in lxde. Will these things ever improve? Are there any other option? Also, I had great difficulty moving panel apps to specific locations on the panel. I found this aesthetically bothersome.

    Aside from that, I was very impressed with my trial of lxde, and would love to use it full time – but for a few minor flaws.

    1. Don’t expect things to work in LXDE and Xfce the way they do on, say, KDE and GNOME. Some aspects of LXDE and Xfce are still behind the curve.

  2. There is one thing I miss in all your reviews I read up to now: Is it possible to use 2 monitors in extended desktop mode?

    1. This works fine on multiple monitors (up to 5). The grandr application is very helpful for that.

      Having hopped through at least 10 distros — I have found this one (Linux Mint LXDE) to have an excellent balance of lightness, stability, and adequate included features.
      Debian LXDE was extremely disappointing – packed with out-of-date software, and no GUIs for managing either network connections or Asian languages.

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