Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7
Ubuntuís long-term-support version, with nice GUI and no installation bugs
The Razor version is still a little experimental
This is the second yearís release of SalentOS, so I think we can hope that itís here to stay. It now has a bilingual wiki and a forum in the process of creation, and thereís a 64-bit version coming.
I tested both DVDs. The menu is found by pressing a key and the choices are a disk check, live session, or installation. Ubuntuís bug in recognising video chips is thankfully absent. If you need to shrink a Windows partition, youíll need to use Gparted in the live session first. Installation is carried out with Ubiquity, from which SalentOS has wisely removed the slide-show which crashes some computers. On one disk, the installer defaults to overwriting an existing installation, on the other to using the whole disk, so click with care! Encryption of /home is supported.
Media codecs and the Flashplugin are installed, although Flash is the version which doesnít run on 32-bit AMD CPUs. As is often the case with Ubuntu and its derivatives, USB audio devices couldnít be enabled.
Razor-qt is a lightweight desktop using the qt graphics library. In this case Openbox is used as the window manager, although kwin would seem more appropriate. Itís very responsive, even with animated effects enabled. The panel is movable, although the side versions are extra wide. Thereís also a large analogue clock on the desktop which wonít go away. There are still things that canít yet be done from the GUI ó managing multiple keyboard drivers, configuring special keys, accessing the partitions of other OS ó but all the main needs are covered.
The Openbox version is a little lighter: I'd recommend a minimum of 256MB, but 384MB for the Razor system. Thereís a dock at the bottom of the screen, but no pager: I installed bbpager.
The applets and software are drawn from Xfce, Gnome, and KDE. Thus, for a file manager Openbox has Xfceís Thunar, but Razor has the lighter Pcmanfm. Both disks have Abiword, Gnumeric, Chromium, Sylpheed, and Pidgin. Razor adds Clementine and Smplayer; Openbox has Exaile, Gnome-mplayer, and Gwibber. All started from the CLI without any serious complaints, but Gnome-mplayer failed to work: I replaced it successfully with Parole. New software can be installed with the Ubuntu Software Centre or Synaptic. On the Razor system, Synaptic is not set up to ask for a password, so has to be launched from the CLI with sudo. Both had all the repositories enabled and set for a local mirror.
Ubuntu respins are not usually a source of excitement, but SalentOS actually offers something different. If you like Openbox or are are intrigued by Razor-qt, itís well worth trying.