Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.
Everybody and their grandma is installing gOS these days, and so I wasn’t planning on joining the crowd on this one. But it was CoachDANNY‘s assessment of gOS that finally convinced me to install the Ubuntu overlay of the OS, and give it a try.
I won’t delve too deeply into this one. My concern is mostly how it performs on older hardware, and since I’ve already touched on both minimal Ubuntu and enlightenment in past installations, there’s technically nothing new in it. (In other words, this is not the live version.)
The obligatory screenshot. No doubt you’ve seen a lot of screenshots like this one, with the green theme going.
This was installed over a command-line installation of Ubuntu 7.10 on this laptop (you guessed that?), using the method described here. I tacked a note on that thread, mentioning there what I want to mention here: If you presently add the gOS desktop metapackage over a text-based system, you don’t get some fundamental packages, like xorg, gdm, a GTK2 engine, icon or cursor themes, etc.
That’s nobody’s fault, unless you want to point a finger at the developers and packagers, who need to include those as dependencies. And either way it’s not a big deal; you just add them as if you were building any other window manager-based system and let it configure itself.
I should also note that any software you want — like Firefox or XMMS, which are part of the “default” setup — have to be added too.
It’s a very pretty desktop — something I give enlightenment credit for. The Ubuntu-overlay edition gives you a very slick toolbar at the bottom of the screen, with very snazzy throbber effects and a nifty overall theme. It’s very pretty.
If I was going to do it again though, I’d certainly try to avoid some of the things that gOS probably comes with by “default” (again, “default” in quotes since the metapackage doesn’t draw in the software). For one thing, and I knew this when I installed it, Firefox runs like an overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey on this — gOS or no gOS. And why XMMS, with its antiquated GTK1.2 (read: too ugly for gOS) interface, would be included over Audacious or even BMP is beyond me.
At the basic GUI level, things move at an acceptable pace. Adding more active processes and a few more doo-dads — even just one or two open programs — and once again you’re thinking you need a new computer. I don’t harbor much resentment against gOS for that though: It was meant to run on faster, newer machines than 450Mhz.
So falling back on my original assessment of elive — it’s very, very pretty and has all the glitz you could ask for, particularly if you were a true computer neophyte and you needed big pulsing buttons with nice labels on them. It’ll run acceptably on older hardware, but if you’re a performance-driven technocrat (I am guilty of that) you’ll probably prefer something of your own concoction, and a little lighter.