Desktop OS for Personal Computing

with 5 comments

I have been using OpenSolaris as my primary desktop for quite a while – it has been working well, all the devices except blue-tooth work.
Features like suspend-resume and network auto manager have made life easier. With ZFS boot environment and Image packaging system, it has been easier to eliminate unwanted software and services to keep the desktop lightweight. I do not want to waste CPU cycles on fancy cruft that comes with default installation which may not required for desktop usage.

I usually keep upgrading to the latest builds, but noticed that few things have been degrading compared to previous builds I have been running. Mainly it looked like the boot up time had increased to more than a minute compared to something which it look 20-30 seconds previously. Rather than spend time debugging what went wrong, I surveyed a number of available Desktops to see if I am missing anything by running OpenSolaris, looking for something that works well and has a fast neat UI. I use virtualbox extensively to get access to different versions of Solaris as needed. In this Survey I used trial on VirtualBox as the first yardstick, followed by USB or CD booting it on my laptop.

1. Windows 7. A trial version is available for download – It looks like they rearranged few things on Windows Vista, fixed few bugs and called it new – like expired food in a new can. Slow and sluggish and certainly I may not buy it even if they give a 99.99% discount on it. I ran it on Virtual box as well as installed it on a spare partition, to try it.

Rating 2 out of 5.

2. Ubuntu Netbook Remix – the same old Gnome user interface with an additional launcher which looks like was assembled in a hurry. Tried it on VirtualBox but did not consider it worthwhile to try it further.

Rating 1 out of 5

3. Intel’s Moblin – seems promising given it is still being worked on. Interface is much better than other Linux distros out there. It worked on Virtual box, but it panics when booted with USB stick. May be I will giver it a try when they get it working.

Rating 2 out of 5 (would have been higher if only it worked)

4. Live-Android – booted really fast, and has a refreshingly new GUI interface that is years ahead of the Windows 7 and Gnome. The USB booting does not seem to work. Booting from CD works. They are still working on it, and there are hacks to install other Android apps on it.
Working with browser is tough and it doesn’t look like it gives any access to the file system. However it has what I was looking for in my personal computer desktop – a fast and usable interface.

Rating 5 out of 5 (hoping it will mature into a full Desktop)

5. It seems Google is working on an OS called Chrome OS. If it is similar to Android and delivers on speed and usability, I am sure it would replace my existing Desktop. It might also mean the end of Windows Desktop and many other copy cat Linux Distributions out there.

6. Tinycore – offers a neat way to start with a cruft-less operating system that weighs less than 11mb and then add applications like firefox.
Rating 2 out 5 (requires a bit of work to install and to get it working)

7. Webconverger – another distro that launches just the browser, worth mentioning.

There were a bunch of other distributions that I wanted to try like Fedora, Ubuntu and gOS, but looking at their screenshots, my guess is that they aren’t any better than Android at this time so it would be futile to try them. At the moment I may install tinycore on the spare partition and upgrade to a better option if one becomes available.


Written by chandanlog

19 Aug 2009 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Solaris

5 Responses

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  1. Hi Chandan :), I can see that you like not only proficent operating systems … you like minimal look&fell … I should suggest you, not to try "another copy cat linux distribution", just to try Debian … this GNU/Linux OS version has some good points that you should try, first at all APT, the package management system … it’s like the Image Packaging Systems but it’s more mature, second is not needed to install everything, you can start with a basic system, later install xorg and a window manager like englihtenment ( or blackbox ( (
    Great blog!


    19 Aug 2009 at 9:53 pm

  2. Nice! Also, give jolicloud a shot:


    19 Aug 2009 at 10:58 pm

  3. What I would like to see is Moblin interface on top of OpenSolaris! With Sun and Intel being strong partners I hope this happens eventually.

    che kristo

    20 Aug 2009 at 12:13 am

  4. I looked at the trial version of windows 7 it was available for downloading.It seems like they rearranged a few things on the windows vista,they fixed a few things and called it new.It was very slow to open and very slow from page to page.I certainly would not buy it even if they gave it to me,they are still testing I hope.


    20 Aug 2009 at 10:31 am

  5. Very nice reviews, i would hope too to see live android become a full desktop, and i’d love to play with it. Also i was thinking that to stay in the game, future os will need to boot much faster as 30sec to 1min. is way to long of a wait. Was wondering why no one seems to work on this, is it because it’s not possible for now.

    Strategy games

    13 Nov 2009 at 12:31 pm

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