Pear Linux 6.1 – Review

PearLinux61

One of the biggest draw backs of Linux adoptions for home users is that it looks so clunky and fearfully difficult to use. Pear Linux is one promising distro that is out to change that perception. And so far, it is doing an outstanding job.

A derivative of Ubuntu Linux with firm Debian roots, it has one of the most strikingly clean and simple interfaces out there. Taking inspiration (and sometimes stealing outright) from Apple’s MacOS X, it has made it simple enough for an average Joe to adopt it as his defacto desktop.

PearLinux Desktop

PearLinux Desktop

The current version of Pear Linux is 6.1 (at the time of writing) which is based on Ubuntu 12.04 and uses a highly customized GNOME shell as a desktop called Pear Shell. The beauty of the new desktop is that there are no confusing old school menus which we have to traverse to find our application of choice. Rather a Mac style Dock for our applications at the bottom of the screen. And if we want more we can easily use visually pleasing Launchpad to search for our installed applications.

Main and exciting features included are:

  • Pear Appstore: The appstore is like Ubuntu Software Center but with better looks and management. However, the selection of software available is extremely limited. If we need more software, we are forced to switch to Synaptic Package Manager to install our applications.
  • LauchPad: This simple, visually pleasing and beautifully designed app makes it easy to search and find installed software without needing to remember their names or traversing through complicated menus.
  • Firefox: The OS comes pre-installed with Firefox browser. I still prefer Firefox for most of my web browsing especially critical ones. So good to see it here as well. For those seeking Chromium can always download it from Pear Appstore.
  • Twitter and Facebook: There is also a nifty little browser driven app for Facebook and Twitter. Which directly launches them into separate dedicated browsers. Ideal for frequent users who do not want to constantly log in and out of social networking sites on Firefox or Chromium.
  • Empathy: Great for chatting on Yahoo, Google, Facebook etc just like any Ubuntu release. Its a great tool to keep all your chats in one place and with one click to log in everywhere.

However, one drawback we noticed was that it did not come pre-installed with LibreOffice and Skype. Two vital apps that are now defacto standard with any desktop. Be it Linux or otherwise. We had to download Skype from Skype’s official website and install it using the Debian Package Installer (sort of cumbersome if you are a non-techie) and LibreOffice from Pear Appstore. Again not an ideal choice. Both should have been part of the basic installation.

PearLinux Launchpad

PearLinux Launchpad App

Pear Linux installation is similar (rather the same) as that of standard Ubuntu Installation, which is good as it is pretty easy to follow. We were given an option to install multimedia codecs during installation. After downloading and installing VLC media player we were able to watch video on our desktop without much fuss. Even on older hardware.

We ran Pear Linux on many different computers and it seems to run fine on older systems as well as the newest out there without much of a fuss. The memory management was really good with Pear Shell taking less than 384MB of memory at any given time.

However, we did encounter issues when we ran it within Virtualbox. It would not install or run properly without doing a lot of tinkering.

From January onwards, we are going to introduce a new feature called, XenStreet Ratings for Desktop. By which we will try to rate all Linux distributions on the following criteria. Do suggest if you want us to rate on other criteria as well. But for now, we are going to keep it to simple five points as listed below. The ratings are from 10 points each.

Description Rating (10)
Installation – Ease of Use 8.0
Desktop – Ease of Use 8.5
Deskop – User Interface 8.5
Pre-Installed Applications 6.0
Installing Applications 7.5
XenStreet Overall Rating (10) 7.7

As rated by our experts at XenStreet, Pear Linux scored 7.7 points.

You can download your copy of Pear Linux at: http://pearlinux.fr/


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