Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/pinguyos-title.png”>Have you wanted to check out Linux, but were too intimidated by all of the choices available? Now is a good time to get your feet wet with a distribution that is geared towards new Linux users.
Much like Mint Linux which we have covered previously, PinguyOS has the latest base 10.10 Ubuntu Linux distribution and customizes it with an eye towards ease of use. Continue reading for an overview of this operating system and whether it is worth your time to check it out.
PinguyOS is an Ubuntu-minimal base installation with customized packages, sources and other tweaks to make it a “zero effort” install. What I mean by this is when you install the regular Ubuntu operating system, there are a number of problems you face out of the box due to technical and other legal restrictions which can make it a several-hour or day-long endeavor to get it optimized and running the way you most likely want it. The creators of PinguyOS have taken the viewpoint of a new user and has tweaked, remixed and otherwise customized the operating system so that it is ready to go as soon as you install it.
After you download the ISO file (32 or 64-bit, depending on what your computer supports) you then burn it to a disk. Place it in your CD drive and boot off of it – you will be given several choices much like the original Ubuntu install. You can either “try before you buy” and run it as a LiveCD or jump straight to the installer if you want to wipe out your current system and dive in head first. If you are installing it to your system follow the prompts as they are very straightforward.
Getting Accustomed To The Desktop
If you are coming from either Mac or Windows you will feel at home in PinguyOS. The main difference is that the “Start” menu is at the top along with the clock and other system shortcuts. On the right side is a system status menu – if I had one complaint about the OS it is that this is information that would be mostly irrelevant to a “new” Linux user and seems extraneous from this viewpoint. As a big Linux user myself I thought it was cool that this was included in the default install.
There is a dock at the bottom and left named Docky, this works much the same as the Mac OSX dock and will be familiar if you are coming from Apple. The start menu is the same one that Mint uses – it has been optimized to look much the same as the Windows 7 start menu with a search bar and frequently used programs.
You have many programs available to you right out of the box. VLC and many multimedia codecs (including h.264) are installed and I had no problems playing the movies I have saved on my shared drive. Speaking of file sharing, Samba – the Linux folder sharing program – is installed and ready to be activated on any folder so PinguyOS plays nicely with any other Windows or Mac computers on the network.
What Makes PinguyOS Different From Mint Linux?
First of all PinguyOS borrows from some of the packages that Mint Linux has developed to make things easier for end users. But it also adds in frequently used programs so that you do not have to search around for them, some examples are Docky, Virtualbox, VLC and media codecs. In this respect it is not a “bare bones” Linux install like Mint Linux, it is more rounded out with programs many Ubuntu enthusiasts use.
Although PinguyOS started with an minimal Ubuntu distribution it has added many of the programs most power users will install right away after an install. In this way it literally saves someone hours of time of research and installation of these packages. The creator, Antoni, listened to friends and family while deciding which packages to install in this distribution in a way that many power users of Linux simply forget. The way that Linux is infinitely customizable is also its downfall for many new Linux OS users as it is easy to get drowned in the sea of choices. PinguyOS makes it simple to get up and running in minutes instead of hours.
If you are looking to get into Linux, PinguyOS is a must-try distribution. Download it today and you can literally be running Linux like a pro in minutes. If you have always wondered what all of the geeks that are running Ubuntu rave about, this is it! Let us know how you make out, we would be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.