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Pear OS Linux Panther 3 review

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Another neat feature of the desktop is Launchpad, a full-screen menu that is similar to the Takeoff Launcher and Mandriva’s ROSA Launcher. A minor problem I observed with Launchpad, which is visible in the screen shot below, is that it gets truncated on the right side if the screen resolution is at 1024×768 or lower. (Hint: The search box should be wider that is visible in the screen shot.) Other that that, Launchpad is usable.
Pear OS Linux Panther 3 Launchpad

With regards to installed applications, the latest available edition of Opera for Linux (version 11.60), is the default browser, and Sylpheed is the default email client. A glaring omission in installed applications is that there is no installed office suite. If you need one, LibreOffice and OpenOffice are available for installation. Also, there are no games installed.

By default, Pear OS ships with Adobe Flash plugin and a Java JRE installed, so Opera has no problem rendering Flash content and in passing the Java test. Device notification works. However, the default action for audio CDs is to make a copy with Brasero (it should be to play with Clementine, the installed music player), and because the library required to play encrypted video DVDs is not installed, you will get the error message shown below if you attempt to play an encrypted video DVD with Totem, the installed movie player.
Pear OS Totem Encrypted Video Error

A minor issue I observed, “minor” because I do not mind a sprinkling of french on my desktop, is that two main applications are partly or entirely in French. Clementine, for example, is entirely in French, and the graphical application manager displays some text in French. Those are the only two installed applications I observed that have some localization issues.

Software Management: There are two installed graphical applications managers – an old version of Ubuntu’s Software Center, and Synaptic Package Manager. The former is the one with localization issues. Synaptic has no such problems.
Pear OS Panther 3 Appstore

By default the system is configured to check for updates daily, but only report the availability of non-security-related updates weekly. I do not like that setting because if a newer version of an application is available, I want to know pronto. But that is just me. Some might be satisfied with the default setting.
Pear OS Updates Settings

System Management Applications: Almost all the graphical management applications are accessible from GNOME 3’s System Settings, but the two I will highlight here are not in System Settings. They are the PPA manager, and Back In Time. The screen shot below shows the main interface of Y PPA, the PPA (Personal Package Archive) manager. It makes managing repositories a bit easier. With this tool, you would not need to use the command line to add a repository or perform other PPA-related management tasks on the system.
Pear OS Panther 3 Y PPA  Manager

Back In Time, is a graphical interface combining the capabilities of three separate Linux applications – “rsync (take snapshots and restore), diff (check if something changed) and cp (make hardlinks)”. Using it, it is easy to take manual or automated snapshots of the system. You may also restore the system to a previous state. This is just about the same thing you can do with the Time Slider application in OpenIndiana. On a test system from which this screen shot was taken, I configured Back In Time to take hourly snapshots just to see if it really works. As you can see, taking the snapshots worked, but I have not tried the restoration aspect yet.
Pear OS Panther 3 Back in Time

Physical and Network Security Posture: Like Ubuntu, Pear OS Linux Panther 3 comes with the firewall activated, but a graphical firewall client for managing it is not installed. Aside from the firewall, AppArmor, one of 3 application firewalls for Linux distributions, is loaded, with 12 profiles and three processes in enforce mode. Because it is based on Ubuntu Desktop with the graphical installer, Pear OS lacks support for any physical security feature during installation.

Final Thoughts: Despite of the (minor) issues I found in this distribution’s latest release, it is the best distribution powered by the GNOME 3 desktop environment that I have reviewed so far. And I do not particularly care that it is fashioned after Mac OS X. After all, if you want to base your distribution on another operating system, why base it on something but the best. It is a new distribution, and the developer seems to have the right ideas. All he needs to do now is to tweak it a little bit more, make it as smooth as OS X.

Resources: This is the only GNOME 3 distribution that I feel very comfortable recommending to any user, even a newbie. If you want to take it for a spin yourself, download a 32- or 64-bit installation image from here. Post support questions here and at Questions & Answers.

Screen Shots: There is just one more screen shot to share here. You may view additional screen shots at Pear OS Linux Panther 3 screenshot preview.

The desktop reconfigured to show two docks.
Pear OS Linux Desktop With 2 Docks

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13 Comments

  1. Issac Maez says:

    Backup

  2. Jingaling says:

    Here i another Pear OS review that might be worth looking at :)

    http://blog.jingaling.co.uk/2012/02/pear-os-linux-review.html

  3. Neil McCabe says:

    I have just installed Pear Linux 3 on my main pc. Yes the language problem is a bit of pain, also I have noticed the dock will disappear for no aparent reason, not in the hide sense more of an invisible appearance if you hover the mouseover the dock all you see is the text headers then double clicking below the text on the application you want to load fails. Thirdly when I set up a user account for my wife her desktop had no top panel and the dock was completely un hideable in the settings. Maybe it should be reclassed as a Beta version until the bugs are ironed out.

  4. Jon N. says:

    I downloaded Pear OS 3.0 Panther onto an older Compaq Presario M2000. I agree that it looks nice. Besides a few quirks, it was an enjoyable experience. With Pear, I found it immediately frustrating that the top panel, like all panels in the Current Ubuntu & Mint Distros are not customizable by default. The author is right that some system apps, like Launchpad and others start speaking French, when I specifically told the OS to speak English! The clock, even when set to AM/PM format, still shows 24 hour/Military format. I am glad that this distro is here, because I can only modify Ubuntu to “look like a Mac” with Mac4Lin from 11.04 back. I have several problems with the most popular Linux distros out now. Having to hack my computer to do the things I used to enjoy with just a few clicks is a “no-win” for me. I have worked with Ubuntu for several years now, and not being able to change, modify or delete a panel by right clicking it, is a big turn off for me. I feel that if the OSS/Ubuntu community doesn’t fix these issues soon, more people will consider Linux as unusable on the private sector desktop, and will feel that they have only one of two options: Mac OS X, or Windblows. Pear OS is now my last stand on the Gnome platform. I am seriously considering switching over to a KDE distro at this point, or giving up on Open Source, and switching to a MAC.

  5. osxlinux says:

    Pear is a good os with a couple of bugs to be expected. I modified my Mint 12 to mimic Pear after using it for a week.
    http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=61&t=88874

  6. Eddie says:

    Nice looking and okay for a new distro, but not special new. I was doing the same thing and doing it better with Unity back in the spring. Any desktop can be made to do what you want it to if you take time to learn it.

  7. Toni says:

    Thanks for the review. The idea of an OSX-style linux has a morbid fascination for me, since I use a Mac for work and find its appearance attractive but its work flow management terrible. Might still give it a try though.

  8. StillAgnomeThing says:

    IMHO, people releasing stuff with have no excuse for doing so.
    Tried Pear OS and I was faced with the same frustrations I encountered with Linux Mint 12. It is basically a Gnome 3 problem. Frequently the mouse (touchpad) becomes unresponsive. To regain control I must jump through hoops.
    My question is how can people feel justified to release stuff with such severe shortcomings?

    BTW am happily using Kubuntu Oneiric

    Thats All Folks!!!

  9. Raxidahvg says:

    For a stable release, Pear Os sure has it share of bugs. Sure this isn’t a “show stoper” per se, but the image transmitted to the users may be of a crippled, unpolished piece of software, even if this is far from the truth. Of course i fully understand that, this being a newborn operanting system, may lack a fully stablished and organized community and users to provide useful feedback.
    Continue the awesome work on Gnome 3 that you guys have been doing. I hope this and al future releases to be successful.

  10. Ruud says:

    Is it possible to install launchpad in XFCE?

    • finid says:

      If it is in the repository of the distro your are using, I guess you can.

      • swarfendor437 says:

        I found similar problems in respect of the language issues but was able to sort out the clementine language issue by installing locale languages and applying system-wide. Found similar issues regarding touchpad. Was impressed with the speed of boot but that is more than possibly due to lack of software present – no wine, no office suite and no Assistive Technology – orca has to be downloaded after install – not good – this should be addressed in future releases – even Macs have an inbuilt screenreader VoiceOver. Being French I would have hoped they could have utilised mbrola voices patched to Orca as reported by ‘Thoughts of a Dragon’!

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