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Pear Linux Comice OS 4 review

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Judging from traffic that recent articles about Pear Linux has been generating, it looks like the community is still searching for a user-friendly desktop distribution that uses the GNOME 3 desktop environment. For those not familiar with the discussion surrounding GNOME 3, a “user-friendly” GNOME 3 desktop is one that has been heavily modified to make it more like a traditional graphical interface for desktop computing.

If you have not heard about Pear Linux, it is a relatively new community project that publishes several versions of Linux desktop distributions. The projects first “stable” release, Pear Linux Panther 3, was a horde of bugs, and was soon put back in beta mode.

During that time, the distribution was renamed to Comice OS, and the first stable edition, Pear Linux Comice OS 4, was released on March 23. There was a standard desktop edition, a netbook edition, and a KDE edition. The KDE edition is in first beta. This article presents a review of the standard desktop edition. An installation image is available for 32- and 64-bit architectures, each weighing in at about 1.1 GB. Shown below is the boot menu. While the installation image comes as a LiveDVD image, the installation process cannot be initiated from the Live environment. That is designed solely for testing the system. Installation has to be initiated by selecting the second option on the boot menu – Install Comice OS 4 install.
Comice OS 4 Boot Menu

When the installation starts, the installer lets you know the minimum disk space required for installation. Keep in mind that a new installation of Comice OS 4 takes up about 3.5 GB of disk space. If the screen shot of the installer looks familiar, that is because Pear Linux Comice OS 4 is based on Ubuntu Desktop, so it uses the same installation program as its parent distribution.
Comice OS 4 Install Specs

While the installer is based on Ubuntu’s, the version on Comice OS 4 is slightly buggy. For example, while the test system from which this screen shot was taken from had an existing installation of Comice OS 4 Netbook edition on it, the installer did not detect it.
Comice OS 4 Disk Partition Options

Even from the Advanced disk partitioning tool, there is no indication, other than correct detection of a Linux file system (ext4), that there is a Linux distribution installed on the target hard drive. Other than this, the installer works pretty much like its counterpart on the parent distribution.
Comice OS 4 Advanced Disk Partition Tool

Though Comice OS 4 is based on Ubuntu, it does not use the Unity shell, but a heavily modified GNOME 3 desktop, with ideas liberally borrowed from Apple’s Mac OS X. Shown here is the default desktop. The Dock, visible by default, is powered by Docky, and it can be enhanced with Docklets, one of which provides virtual workspace capabilities. However, the Workspace Switcher docklet can only provide two virtual workspaces.
Pear Linux Comice OS 4 Default Desktop

For easy access to installed applications, Comice OS 4 makes use of a Mac OS X-like “menu” called Launchpad. On the Linux side, it is similar to K Desktop Environment’s Takeoff Launcher, which I actually prefer to Comice’s Launchpad. (See Takeoff with the K Desktop Environment’s best menu style for some screen shots of Takeoff Launcher. The first page of Launchpad is shown in the image below.
Pear Linux Comice OS 4 Launchpad

Aside from the Mac OS X-like interface, the rest of the system functions just like any other Ubuntu-based desktop distribution. For example, a connected printer with a compatible entry in the printer database is automatically configured. The firewall is enabled out of the box (in Stateful mode), but a graphical interface to manage it is not installed. You might want to read How to install and configure a graphical firewall client on Comice OS 4.

One aspect that does not function like other desktop distributions derived from Ubuntu is removable media detection or more correctly, response to insertion of removable media. Though Totem is the installed video player and Clementine, the default music player, nothing happens when an audio CD or a video DVD is placed in the optical drive. And the reason is because of the default removable media setting shown in the image below. Or at lest that was what I thought, because simply disabling Never prompt or start programs on media insertion did not change anything, which tells me that there is more to this than meets the eye.
Comice Os 4 Removable Media Setting

A list of major applications installed by default on Comice OS 4 counts the following as members:

  • Firefox 10
  • Skype
  • Clementine music player
  • LibreOffice 3.4.4
  • Shotwell photo manager
  • Empathy IM client
  • Evolution mail and calendar
  • Cheese webcam
  • Totem movie player
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11 Comments

  1. Daemon says:

    Me dieron una idea de como corren los programas de Java en otro sistema operativo y como se verían en un mac.

  2. marlor says:

    Looked at the screenshots and was very impressed with the look of the desktop – like the bottom launcher. I downloaded the 64 bit version and installed it on my second system. The OS crashed 3 times and had to reinstalled. The forth time around I installed Remastersys and made a backup – just in case another crash. This time it did not.

    I am very much pleased with the way it looks after installing. Did not have to adjust the upper header font so I could read it like I had to with Ubuntu 12.04. This is a major plus for Pear Os. Another plus for Pear OS is that it is not laced with many programs very lite by the way which is a good thing. You install what you want and can select what want in a browser.

    Since Libreoffice is not installed it is much easier to install Apache Openoffice 3.4 without having to look, find and remove all Libreoffice’s files. This is a real time saver.

    On the downside, Pear OS seems to take longer loading the system upon booting than Ubuntu but this is not a major problem. Something a person could live with for a better desktop.

    So far I actually like Pear OS better than Ubuntu 12.04 due to the fact that I can feel more freely in using Pear without having to worry about spyware which Ubuntu is starting to incorporate into their operating system. Ubuntu is losing my trust and how many others?

    I think Pear OS will surpass Ubuntu and Linux Mint in popularity and become the next major player.

  3. It´s look very nice also the major applications I used a lot. I will give a try. It´s very similar to mac

  4. Dennis Jane says:

    A little bit buggy, Desktop Crisp Clean and fresh, GUI works fine for me,simple but Adiquate, Unlike some others. I wish these distro’s would use media players that actually work though and have stop buttons,instead of making us search through endless repositories looking for and then having to test for suitable replacements.
    Also fed up with having to take out firefox and replace it
    with the superior and much more secure Opera or Chromium, which both look so much better too and one of which should
    ,in my opinion, be the default browser.
    Overal, though, a reasonable start that with a Long term
    support version, the bugs fixed and the right default Application set could, very possibly, have a pomising future.

  5. Ancient Mariner says:

    Been using it for a couple of weeks as a main system. It is to OSX users what KDE is to Windows users – an easy staging post into the world of linux. I don’t get the feeling that it is intended for the power user who demands lightning fast responses and wants to drive everything from the command line. Instead it’s a very easy, practical and friendly version of Gnome 3 that has been reliable thus far.

    FWIW Pear 3 worked fine too, for the couple of weeks I had it on evaluation.

  6. Wizard says:

    It is an interesting project and hopefully will appeal to more people once the next release is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

    However, there is another interesting distro that is based on GNOME 3. Luninux OS 11.11 is currently based on Ubuntu 11.10. I find it more stable and it works out of the box with the Broadcom wifi drivers, such as the 4321 that was frequently found in HP notebooks around 3-4 years ago. So, no compiling the STA drivers, etc. Would love to see you give it a try. Cheers!

  7. themainliner says:

    Pear has nothing to offer. It’s Gnome 3 Shell with an light airy wallpaper. Gnome 3 Shell is unusuable. If Pear want to implement Gnome 3 tech and deliver a desktop then they’regoing to have to use Cinnamon. This release is devoid of usability.

  8. Diegus says:

    Looks pretty nice!!! Will give a try!

  9. business says:

    I learned something newhere now I’m good for now. Cheers!

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