"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." (Robert A. Heinlein)

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Test Drive: BlankOn 9.0 on the EEEPC 900


During one of my frequent visits to DistroWatch I happened to notice the post informing of the latest release of BlankOn: a Debian derived Indonesian Linux distribution. I, usually, don't care much about “National” distributions, they are interesting initiatives but often lack of support if you live outside their “target” country. What in this case caught my attention has been the custom panel interface resembling, in DistroWatch screen-shots, the “good” old netbook interface I used for years.
I so downloaded BlankOn ISO Image; it took a little to me find the right link since BlankOn site is only in Indonesian language, eventually I found it by following the “big blue button”. I then prepared a bootable USB disk using UNetbootin and re-booted my EEEPC.

First impressions

BlankOn desktop is based on Gnome Shell, it opens with plain screen with only a panel at the to side.
by clicking in the BlankOn logo in the upper-left corner the side panel is activated.

the side panel acts as application launcher in similar way to many “applications menu” Gnome shell extensions.
The “Locations” button on the side panels open a “Places” side panel. This panel offers a handy access to common home folders, mounted drives and network.
The top panel hosts the usual handful of icons for network, sound, battery and time. On the left part the top panel hosts icons for open windows, hovering on them with mouse pointer shows the icons enlarged.
in the top right corner there is a workspaces switch icon

Conclusions

In addition to the good custom desktop interface BlankOn is also a “rich” Linux distribution, ready for use stuffed with most of the applications you might need. I'm not going to install it but I might try to install its custom panel on a Ubuntu installation. I have already found some how-to but I'll be very careful before to try it on the EEEPC since I already had my troubles trying things like this.