PinguyOS is the distribution made for everyone, the out-of-the-box functionality of PinguyOS makes this distribution a perfect choice for Linux newcomers. The massive list of hand-selected applications ensures that users get the best possible experience no matter what they plan to do. Though if you prefer a minimalistic interface, or if you are picky about your applications, PinguyOS may not be the right choice for you. The polished interface is highly functional and easy to navigate. And I feel that the Conky system monitor is a tool that is missing on most distributions. So if you want a full featured distribution that holds nothing back try PinguyOS 11.04 today.
After booting up the PinguyOS 11.04 LiveCD you will come to the live desktop where you will see an icon that will help you start the installation process.
When the installer starts you will be asked to confirm the language you want the installer to use. Now you will see an installation checklist with a few options, you can accept third-party packages or receive updates during installation, when finished press forward.
Next you can select your partitioning options. The installer will then give you time to choose your location, keyboard layout, and enter your user login details. Then the installer will finish copying all the files and after a short wait you will be asked to reboot.
It looks good, it feels good, and it works good. The login screen is fairly simple, just select your username, enter your password and press login. You will then arrive at your new desktop environment.
Navigating The Desktop
For new users there are several launchers with tooltips to help get you started. For everyone else there are menus in the top left corner to start hunting for your applications and customization options.
A Deeper Look
The system notification area is fully loaded with various tools and toys that should help you out. I feel that the biggest flaw is the unified window menus that now appear along the top panel, the one thing I could never seem to adjust to. PinguyOS looks particularly well after some minor customization.
All of your application and options menus can be located in the left corner of the main top panel. The menus are layed out much like you will find when using Mint 11 Gnome. The Gnome 3 Dash menu has not yet been incorporated into PinguyOS, a good choice in my opinion.
The main menu tab contains your places, applications, and your system menu all visible at the same time which is convenient. There is also a sub menu for your favorite applications.
As for the PinguyOS 11.04 Panel selection you will find a 2.3x style Gnome panel that functions similarly to the Linux Mint menu structure. The main panel holds your menu icon, a system monitor, some notification icons, and your user chat menu on the far right side.
Menus for all open windows will now appear in the main panel also much like Mac OS. All of the usual panel applets are available to add to your panels as well.
Too May Panels?
PinguyOS 11.04 also comes with Docky installed, Docky is the stylish panel along the bottom of the screen. From the Docky panel you can launch your favorite applications, add new launchers at any time. There is also another floating panel on the left side of the screen with a few Nautilus launchers.
To manage installed software when using PinguyOS you can primarily use the Synaptic package manager, Synaptic handles Debian packages. The Linux Mint installer or the Ubuntu software center are also available.
Find Synaptic in the system section of your main menu, click on the package manager button. You can use Synaptic to install new software, or just to keep your system up to date.
How It Works
You can even manage your software sources and repositories using Synaptic. Users trying Linux for the first time should have no troubles, search for the package you want, highlight it for installation and click apply.
You will find Elementary Nautilus as the default file manager in PinguyOS 11.04. Elementary is just a simplified version of Nautilus which maximizes space and distractions.
Elementary can be reached using any of the folder launchers in the floating left hand panel, or from the places section of your main menu. The Elementary Nautilus window looks much the same as regular Nautilus when using PinguyOS.
Understanding The Interface
You will find a panel along the left hand side that displays some important folders, connected devices, and your network folders. You also have a minimal taskbar with a few basic functions, and your file or folder display area on the right.
And when you check you the default themes, as I'm sure you will, you will find several to choose from. Many of the themes specially created for PinguyOS. But many of the themes are simple remixes of the Equinox theme which is actually quite attractive.
Customize Your Themes
If your into customization PinguyOS also offers the ability to customize the available themes or create and save your own. Look in your main menu for the control center and open your appearance settings to find these options.
We Want Wallpapers!
Tragically there are no extra wallpapers to be found but as usual on Ubuntu derivatives you can click get more themes or wallpapers online to automatically open a browser so you can find more.
Despite the desktop being a bit heavy, this distribution functioned extremely well during my tests. Everything is fully functional after installation which makes this an excellent distribution for new users. Unfortunately this may not be the wisest of choices if you have a fairly out-dated machine. Though the machine I used for testing was far from top of the line. The application roundup is well-chosen, and many of my favorite tools are already installed. Grab yourself a copy of PinguyOS 11.04 today.