The changes to Ubuntu Unity and Gnome3 set me into motion in search of a replacement Distro. Last year I tried many Distros looking yet something was missing. I didn't realize what it was until I tried Fuduntu in its 2013.1 version released in January.
I tried it and truthfully, I didn't expect what I found. That name just threw me because it's not a silly Distro. Quite the opposite, in fact, I discovered a 'sleeper'. This product, developed by +Andrew Wyatt, has all the earmarkings of a thorough-bred commercial grade Distro, yet is community-based managed by a small dedicated collective team who understand the 'fundamentals'.
Fundamentals. A good word, which is descriptive of what has been missing in the Linux Desktop world. The basics, if you will, the entire enchalada was cast aside by Canonical in their 'vision' to chart a new course with Unity.
Despite their best intentions, Canonical chose to discard 'fundamentals' and threw the baby out with the bathwater.
Unity brought its own set of features but discarded a whole raft of features found in Gnome2. That fits my definition of regression. The side effect of Ubuntu with Unity is seen in a series of third-party utilities, i.e., TweakUI, which is now in the Ubuntu repository to fill those feature deficits.
Fuduntu, much to my pleasant surprise opened up to a beautifully asthetically minimalistic Gnome 2.34 GUI. Get out of town!
|Fuduntu Linux 2013.1|
Immediately, I felt as sense of nostalgia, harkening back to pre-Unity versions of Ubuntu.
Now, I thought, this is exactly what I need. The fundamentals hath returned. I was happy.
Giggly happy in fact. Anyone in their right mind will immediately find this Distro likeable. I mean, what's not to like? It's familiar, functionally complete, and intuitive, yet, it doesn't over-embellish.
Okay, so you get it. I like Fuduntu. Lets look at some of the salient features.
tmpfsI was at first concerned by the use of tmpfs, but haven't encountered any issues. Essentially, /var and /tmp are mounted to a tmpfs in ram to speed up operations. You only have log files for your current bootstrap session. On a Netbook, this is a plus and I haven't seen a need for log rotation or viewing older logs. To the average user, this is going to go unnoticed but does yield a performance improvement and is particularly well-suited for Atom based machines with hard disk drives (HDD vs. solid state drives SSD).
Swappiness is set aggressively to 10 and should yield a performance improvement in reducing the need to swap to disk, the slowest operation with any HDD equipped machine.
Andrew Wyatt is the author of the original and exceedingly popular Jupiter power management utility. Users of Netbooks and Laptops alike will appreciate that Andrew chose to merge key features of Jupiter into Fuduntu--specifically power management will help keep your battery running optimally during your unplugged sessions.
Look and Feel
Fuduntu in its default configuration is minimalistic. I like minimalism and appreciate the aesthetic chosen by the Fuduntu Team. The default icon set is Faenza Cupertino. I'll go out on a limb here. It's gorgeous.
Again Fuduntu scores high with its choice of Nautilus Elementary, a patched simplified, most-elegant version of standard bearer Nautilus File Manager component in Gnome 2.34. Coupled with the Faenza Icon set, the result is an exceptional file manager.
VLC Media PlayerToday, VLC Media Player has taken over the reigns from one-time King MPlayer and distinguishes itself as the exemplar. A facile and most capable media player fluid in all respects, VLC comes with Fluendo's own codecs and GStreamer enhanced ongoing development support resulting in a superior multi-media experience.
I wasn't sure how I would feel about Cairo Dock, recalling its use in prior years, but I have to give this product an enthusiastic thumbs up. Reviewing the product, I would say that it is functional, overall much improved and there when needed. At this point, I think were I to switch to another Distro without it, I would miss it. The integration of Compiz effects is a big plus in the aesthetic department and in the default start-up, the Desktop dock is minimally populated with just the basic applications, not over done.
This if not present would be a glaring omission and it has become the standard to be included in most every Distro, Libre Office. It gets the job done.
System ToolsI was surprised at what I found on the System Tools menu. First off, Ailurus will help you with a wide range of system settings and really is a nice utility to quickly get to some of the customizations that might otherwise require the user to get 'under the hood', as in, going to a terminal and doing some command-line wizardry. Also found on the System Tools menu, is Deja Dup Backup, GParted, and Disk Utility, a nice graphical utility to diagnose the health of your hard drive with Smartmon.
Not too surprising is the presence of GIMP, but also found is Shotwell Photo Manager. I would mention that too often in other Distros, they overload the menus with redundant programs, many of which I'll never use. I like that GIMP is included by default as I seem to recall that Ubuntu does not.
InternetAgain, Fuduntu strikes a nice minimalistic application mix, including Google's open source Chromium, Pidgin, Mozilla's Thunderbird email client, DropBox, and Remmina Remote Desktop Client. These by themselves should cover most users' needs. Not over done. As for myself, I chose to download Google's Chrome web browser and XChat to stay in touch with the IRC channels.
AccessoriesTo my surprise, I discovered when pressing the print screen button that Fuduntu binds the key to running perhaps the best screen shot utility out there, Shutter. Pressing PrtSc takes a shot with Shutter and opens up the application to the just taken shot. Nicely done. Gedit is also included and is the standard Gnome GUI programmer's editor. Included also for terminal sessions are the popular vim and Nano text editors.
As mentioned before, I am giddy. This modest Distro with the funny name fits the bill. It does the job and it does it well. The installation was clean and intuitive and more importantly easy to use. As updates occur, you'll find a system tray update icon appear. Fuduntu having a Fedora lineage uses rpm package management with yum. You may opt to use the graphical package manager front end found on the System->Administration->Add/Remove Software, or, for those who prefer, drop out to a terminal and fire off a yum command which has its own accompanying man page documentation.
So, what makes this understated Distro so great? I think that the return to fundamentals is the most sensible thing about it. Concerns regarding the ongoing support for Gnome 2.34 are valid but Red Hat will continue to perform code maintenance through end of year 2014. I trust well before then, Andrew Wyatt and Fuduntu Team will have set into motion a replacement GUI. Rumor has it that he and +Ikey Doherty co-Founder of SolusOS, are collaboratively working on the soon-to-be released SolusOS 2.0 which will run with their newest fork of Gnome3, Consort. Also rumor has it that Andrew Wyatt is planning inclusion of KDE in the Fuduntu repository.
All in all, Fuduntu strikes the right balance for me: professional, sleek, minimal, nimble. It has the fundamentals 'down pat'. Give Fuduntu your serious evaluation. I promise, you won't be disappointed.