Sunday, May 14, 2017

Black Lab 11 - best damn Xfce ever???

In his words, to the dev team and contributors (like me), lead developer Roberto J. Dohnert called this release, #11 in the Black Lab series "the best damn Xfce desktop ever!"
Let's take a look. And just for the record, since he's gotten some stick from customers about screens advertised here on the blog and on Facebook, Roberto advised me to keep the default theme so that everyone can see what it looks like out-of-the-box. Later, I'll show the steps I took to install a custom icon (Papirus) theme. And as a note, all shots and steps taken were from a Live session on my test box, an Quad2 Core Optiplex 780, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB RAID0.

Here's the default desktop, single panel on top, Home, Removeable devices, Trash and Installer on the the left :

The Live session loads quickly, applications in the Panel (Thunar, Libreoffice 5.1, Rhythmbox, Firefox 52.1 ESR) are designed for the Enterprise user - no surprises, work that needs to be done gets done.

The kernel is current 4.8 stable :

Xfce is lean and mean, light on the hardware even while doing some blogging and browsing and installing icedtea-8-plugin through apt.

And to keep it up-to-date, without interruptions, BL 11 Xfce feature the Ksplice Uptrack Manager for on-the-fly no-reboot-required OS and security patches :

Speed and responsiveness are excellent. Suspend works smoothly. BTRFS is an installable filesystem option in v 11, supporting snapshots. AC wireless and the 5 GhZ band are quickly recognized and speed is very good, unusual among distros I've tested. Why exactly? I don't know. Ask Roberto J. Dohnert; if he's had enough Starbucks' coffee or you offer to initiate a support contract, he may be forthcoming.

This release features the default Xfce application set (Thunar file manager, Leafpad text editor, Parole media player, Xfburn CD-burning program, Ristretto image viewer) and all work exactly as expected - straightforward, no-nonsense. In the theming department, v 11 uses the GNOME icon set. As I said, I've customized sessions before, and people get an incorrect idea of what the finished product is going to look like; this time around, I'm going to show interested users how I install the customized icon set (Papirus) that I'll be using and how to apply it.

This install will use a PPA (Personal Package Archive). I enter the PPA in the terminal, select Enter, apt-update and then install papirus-icon-theme :

And it's now an option:

And now, the Desktop, after the only customization that I've done during the Live session (and probably the only one necessary for me after installation) :

Give v 11 a try. Black Lab Linux will be offering the OS for free, concentrating on its hardware. You have nothing to lose and a really cool OS (particularly this Xfce spin) to try.

Links :

Black Lab 11 Xfce Enterprise


Stay tuned for the MATE review!

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