Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shift Linux 0.6 Review

Another uninspiring Ubuntu derivative

Neowin.net is a technology news website that actively focuses on critising Windows Vista, and supporting Mac and Linux. Neowin runs under the slogan, "Where amateurish journalism looks better.". Shift Linux is a project that was created by the Neowin community. Neowin's Shift Linux is designed to give the user an experience of being part of the Neowin community and to have a simple, easy-to-use live CD that can be installed to a hard drive.

According to the project website: "Shift Linux is based on Debian and Morphix, therefore it has access to all of the software and applications as other Debian distributions.". And this is definitely not true, as Shift is clearly an Ubuntu derivative.

Shift Linux comes on three flavors; fluxbox, gnome and KDE. I used gnome edition for this review. Shift Linux is currently ranked # 58 at distrowatch

Test Machine
AMD Athlon 64 3200+, with 2 gig of RAM, Nvidia 5300GS with 256 meg RAM and 19" wide screen monitor.

The booting was extremely similar to Ubuntu 7.10, discussed in one of my previous posts.

The first thing that I noticed about Shift Linux was eye-straining theme. I was reminded of energy saving efforts by Blacke Google; but even Blacke was not much irritating to eye as Shift Linux was.

The installation is again similar to Ubuntu 7.10 discussed in my previous post

I have to say the look and feel was just horrible. I am sure that if I have this theme on my desktop; I will have more frequent visits to my Ophthalmologist. My eyes felt the pressure even after a small exposure, that I had for this review.

Secondly, the theme is greatly disconnected. The initial splash screen has the original Ubuntu light brown screen. And I was never able to see the grub splash screen because of irrelevant errors at boot time.

Applications are the same as Ubuntu 7.10.No custom application. There was one notable exception though; Firefox 3 alpha 8. This exception made me think "Who, in his able senses, includes an alpha software in its release?". First answer was definitely M$, but second was Shift...

Out of box multimedia support is missing from the default installation.

Eye Candy
Downgraded Compiz is present to provide basic eye-candy.

One does not require a howitzer to kill ants/bees/rabbits/dogs. When one wants to "give the user an experience of being part of the Neowin community" what one needs is a theme not a Linux derivative.

I did not seen any reasoning or logic for creating Shift Linux. What the project website describes as need is the need for gnome/KDE/fluxbox theme, not an Ubuntu derivative. I tried really hard to find at least some other difference but failed. Shift Linux just provides an additional theme, and as a matter of fact, an ugly theme.

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