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Continuing the recent trend of highlighting lesser-known operating systems, this week we bring you three that should at least look good. As opposed to the usual GNOME or KDE window managers found on most Linux distributions, these have all chosen in favour of Enlightenment.
This results in a considerably different desktop appearance, with lashings of transparency and drop shadows everywhere. If a functional Linux operating system beneath a layer of eye-candy sounds like your thing, then one of these might be worth a go. With Live CDs and USB sticks, it’s easier than ever to test drive Linux without installing anything and there’s full instructions on how to do so at the end of the article.
Based on Debian Linux, Elive is the only one on the list that’ll cost you. It’s free to try, and by try I mean run a fully-functional Live CD but if you want a full install it’ll cost you a donation of $15 or more. Don’t be put off, all you need is a spare USB stick or a blank CD for a quick demo.
Elive 2.0 comes with enough software to keep style-conscious Linux types happy, and when you’ve run out then you can install more using the included Synaptic Package Manager. There are custom Enlightenment themes pre-installed, and the whole desktop experience is built to be visually pleasing.
This Linux distribution contains the older E16 release of Enlightenment for speed of stability, and the newer E17 version which includes some pretty insane effects. If you are running an older PC, the developers have made very clear that this distribution is not as hungry as you might think – so you can have a pretty OS without worrying about system requirements.
At the time of writing, the next version of this OS is supposed to be out but oddly enough the download is unavailable at this time. Never mind, because Luna Serena still looks very impressive.
Currently based on Ubuntu (but shifting allegiance to Debian in the near future for stability), OpenGEU remains a popular Linux distribution, despite a lack of updates for a while.
Check out the following video for a taste of what version 8.10 can do:
If you like the look of this one pay close attention to the website, as version 9.10 “Quarto di Luna” looks even more impressive than the last.
The main focus of moonOS is speed, low system requirements and a beautiful interface. The Ubuntu-based OS uses Enlightenment instead of GNOME, and there are further plans for another version of moonOS using the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) for older machines.
The only problem I can see is that they’re dropping Enlightenment in favour of GNOME in the upcoming moonOS 4, so if you’d like to see a flashy window manager in action you’d better act fast.
Making A Live CD/USB Stick
Being Linux distributions, the Live CD/USB combo is the order of the day. You can download the image file in .ISO format either using your browser or via a torrent link at each official website.
If you’re burning a CD then ImgBurn is your best bet, Linux users can get it working using Wine and Mac users will be able to burn the image using the OS X Disk Utility. Windows and Linux users can use UNetbootin in order to make a Live USB stick containing a bootable version of the software, and Mac users are able to do the same by running UNetbootin using Wine for OS X.
I always choose the USB option, though if your PC’s old it may not be able to boot via the USB drive. Once you’ve burned your CD or memory stick restart your PC and enter BIOS setup. You’re going to need to set your PC to boot from either USB or CD (depending on what you’re using).
Most PCs enter BIOS when you hit F2 or Del after powering-on, but this will vary. Once you’ve worked it out prioritise your CD drive or USB volume to boot first, either within the Boot Devices menu or a separate Hard Drive boot priority menu. F10 will save and exit and restart your PC.
If you did it all correctly then you’ll see the UNetbootin boot loader, simply make your choice and follow the instructions. You’ll be gawping at pretty effects in no time.
Do you use Enlightenment? Would you consider switching based on the strength of a GUI? Did you ever think Linux could be so pretty? Commenting is good for you, you can add your thoughts below!