3 August 2013

ALT Linux 7 KDesktop review : A Silent Russian linux that simply works and doesn't make noise on every releases.

(Centaura Montana) kdesktop 7.0




ALT Linux  , published by ALT Linux Ltd., a software vendor based in Moscow, Russia, is a distribution that originated from what used to be Mandrake Linux, now Mandriva Desktop . ALT Linux announces the release of ALT Linux Seventh Platform (p7), a new stable branch of ALT Linux repositories designed for development, testing, distribution, updating and support of all kinds of complex IT systems, ranging from embedded and mobile devices to enterprise servers and data-centers. The Seventh Platform is created by the ALT Linux Team as part of the Sisyphus project and is maintained by the ALT Linux company.




ALT Linux is a set of RPM-based operating systems built on top of the Linux kernel and Sisyphus packages repository. ALT Linux is developed jointly by ALT Linux Team developers community and ALT Linux Ltd.ALT Linux Team arose from the merger of IPLabs Linux Team and Linux community of the Institute of Logic, Cognitive Science and Development of Personality. The latter cooperated with Mandrake Linux and SUSE teams to improve localization (specifically Cyrillic), producing a Linux-Mandrake Russian Edition (RE).At some point, Mandrake and Mandrake RE became in fact different distributions and thus the decision was made to create a separate project. The name ALT was coined, which is a recursive acronym meaning "ALT Linux Team".The split led to the creation of the Sisyphus package repository, which is an unstable branch of the ALT Linux development.

When I have tasted many European and US based distros just thought why not look into what going in the Russian camps .So decided to test the Russian based distro Alt linux a new update of 7th platform they have just released . Alt Linux 7.0 kdesktop (official name of version) which is more than 4gb around 4.3gb dvd edition .So I downloaded the 64 bit edition of Alt linux 7.0 kdesktop and created a live usb .Both 32-bit and 64-bit edition are available for platforms .So I inserted live alt usb and rebooted my Dell inspiron laptop and choose to boot from usb drive .












So now I clicked to install dvd version and with a surprise the language is not English but Russian but dont worry just press f2 on your keyboard select up english language .Here by pressing f2 you can just change your language .


you can just see English language very clearly .


The  installer is beautiful designed interface and very simple to understand.By clicking the icon next you can just continue the installation setting stuff.  



Installation is just simple select your language ,country , timezone , keyboard and lastly default grub 2 is provided and then user and root  password creation .At the step of the installation process shown in the image  you can customize the applications that will be installed, in very much the same fashion as that of old Anaconda, Fedora system installer.




The default disk partitioning scheme is based on the traditional scheme, though LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, is supported. So also is RAID, but disk encryption is not (supported). A new installation uses about 4GB of disk space, with ext4 as the default journaling file system. Btrfs, jfs, reiserfs and xfs are other file system choices. GRUB 2 is the boot loader, with no option to specify a password for it.










Mostly the screenshots while installation are in Russian language which I doesn't seem to understand ,

























Alt Linux 7.0 KDesktop is average and within  minutes I was presented with KDE desktop. As you might guess from KDesktop part of the name, Alt Linux only supplied with KDE. Just to finish with technical details, Alt Linux 7.0 KDesktop uses KDE 4.10.5, Linux kernel 3.8.13.4.



APPLICATION

 Debian’s Advanced Packaging Tool, APT, is the package management framework on ALT Linux, with Synaptic Package Manager as the installed graphical interface to apt-get, the most commonly-used command line utility in APT. The version of Synaptic that ships with this version of ALT Linux is Synaptic 0.58 which was released in late 2006. Compare that to Synaptic 0.75, the version that comes pre-installed on Linux Mint and Ubuntu. So the graphical interface you have to use on ALT Linux 7 KDesktop is very old  as compared to Synaptic on other distributions .




Talking about updates and the updates manager, this screenshot shows the type of interface that the updates manager presents, if there are any updates. By the way, the list of applications shown in this image, are the available updates after booting into a new installation on one of my test systems.You have the option to install updates automatically or manually .




ALT Linux 7 KDesktop ships with many useful applications. In all, there are more than 37,463 packages in the repository, with about 2,790 installed. For running Windows games and other Windows’ applications, Wine is available, as are two of its frontends – Q4Wine and PlayonLinux.



Alt linux kdesktop 7.0 comes with healthy application list as most of the commonly used apps preinstalled some screenshots .





Use gparted for custom partioning everything worked well.



Application wise it is having healthy list of course firefox browser preinstalled and default is konqueror but if u need chromium or other browser  it can be found in repos .Actually ALT come with it default kaffeine media player but i use smplayer or vlc which can be found in default repos. look how media plays in kaffeine media player.





GnomeMplayer playback result out of box while playing other formats.




How good Alt Linux 7.0 KDesktop is with flash? Really - very good. I was able to play videos from YouTube straight out of the box.What about other video formats? Same - I started few videos from local drive and had no issues with them. All played fine without request for additional codecs. Actually gnash flash player installed but there is option to install flash in repos.





It has 2 launcher one is classical and other one default kde type .




Now how the ALT linux theme for folders looks in dolphin file manager.






After screen lock how it looks .




The default email client available in ALT linux is mozilla thunderbird and kmail .






Alt linux kde  comes  with multimedia and  restricted codecs preinstalled so it played songs  in amarok as its  default audio player very nicely.

Aside from Synaptic, there is an alternate package manager in the System Control Center. It too, like Synaptic, looks old, but it works.Post installation process is required to keep the distro stuff updated. you can do it through system software centre .




Graphical applications for managing desktop settings are accessible from the KDE Settings manager. For system-wide management tasks, there are several applications in the System Management Center. Like Synaptic, they work, but they all have a very old feel to them. This screenshot is a view of the main interface of the System Management Center.






Aside from the firewall, there is an Internet Protocol address blacklisting application in the System Management Center that you may use to blacklist offending IP addresses. Other than the firewall and this blacklisting application, I did not see any other network security system in place.







I  had an issue when going through Indian language websites couldn't easily read it which i was  able to do it  in mageia 3 kde which i reviewed earlier .

http://gujaratsamachar.com/




It doesn't have inbuilt cloud application but you can use dropbox ,yandex etc .You will have to download from their sites respectively.A clone of dropbox kfile-box preinstalled .






It contains quite a few applications for different tastes and purposes. But I would expect to see more.




Beauty n Aesthetic




Just downloaded some plasmoids they were just working fine even conky was working fine but i don't use it so didn't configure it and conky screenshots not uploaded .



In terms of aesthetic is just to normal any kde based standard theme .As it kde it has lot of customization for folks who love customizing their OS. Alt linux kdesktop 7.0 comes with vanilla desktop environments in all the versions and has a lots of wallpaper preinstalled thats a good bunny really , Same is valid for available desktop wallpapers. It would not change distribution size too much to add half a dozen of wallpapers with Alt Linux logo would increase loyalty of users and brand recognition, wouldn't it ?.






 Aesthetic looks with a beautiful  analog clock widget .




Hardware integration

wifi , bluetooth ,touchpad etc worked well within my use for 15 days and seems it has well configured hardware integration .


I had a very weird issue after locking the widgets still they were moving on the bottom panel .









Also it notified when I connected to wired and wireless connectivity which I don't see among other distros.



Performance wise it consumes 700mb  ram actually nothing running in background .






How did Alt Linux 7.0 KDesktop recognise my hardware? In particular, my DELL inspiron laptop has hardware keyboard button  to control volume which didnt worked at all .Brightness control on  laptop worked absolutely perfect. Same as in any other Linux distribution I have tried so far on this laptop.  Alt Linux 7.0 KDesktop behaved itself better than any other system I've tried so far on this laptop! It is a good sign for me that nothing is lost for my laptop in Linux. So, I'll hope to see a Linux system which works with my hardware buttons for volume control right out of the box. To add to my praises of Alt Linux 7.0 KDesktop hardware support, touchpad worked absolutely fine, including scrolling on the edges.


TIME TO CONCLUSION


Alt linux kdesktop 7.0 is not an exceptional or eye-catching release has marginal improvements over previous one, but it is a very stable one. Performance definitely has improved for all the spins from the last release, most notably for KDE. Yes, it quite put a good impression on me. Yes, there are few issues here and there, but they are not major and have not seen anyone perfect . You can easily solve all issues or live with them. Most important that you get quality and stable system when you install it on your hard disk .Also it is the most widely used operating system in schools and colleges and office purposes after windows in Russia and giving tough fight to Microsoft camp. One thing to note forums and site is specially in Russia so support will be tougher to get . Just try it if it works for you it would be  a nice thing to know recent development in Russian linux  camps .


"With love from Russia. "

U can try it using ,

1. Usb transfer .
2. suse image writer.

NOTE 

If  you have any issue just visit their forum you will get answered to all your queries .

http://forum.altlinux.org/


you can download to test  or buy  both 32bit and 64 bit Alt Linux 7.0 kdesktop from here

http://www.altlinux.com/



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