SalentOS is a Linux distro that easily can put a smile on your face. It is a flexible and accommodating desktop platform that balances demands on system resources with efficient performance.
SalentOS is not well known, but it has much to offer. This distro makes it easy to leave behind whatever other computing choice you currently use.
Salent has been around for the last few years on the Ubuntu base. Its latest release shifts its foundation with an approach that includes elements of GNOME and XFCE desktops. However, it uses neither.
SalentOS 1.0, aka “Luppìu,” made its debut last fall. It is the project’s first release based on Debian Linux’s stable branch. All previous SalentOS versions relied on Ubuntu.
I took a look at a slightly later release, SalentOS 1.0.1-2, and I really liked what I saw. The Luppìu release starts a new line of desktop-oriented distributions featuring a customized desktop based on the Openbox window manager.
As the use of Openbox suggests, this distro now targets legacy computers and users looking for a lightweight desktop to conserve system resources. Yet the Openbox desktop is anything but soft on performance. Integrated into SalentOS, the result is simple, elegant and complete.
Look and Feel
SalentOS has a very pleasant-looking screen and user environment. It has no clutter as there are no icons you typically find plastered on the desktop. No trash can icon. No File Folder. Nada! You can not put application shortcuts on the desktop either.
Instead, you can right-click anywhere on the desktop for a pop-up menu that provides access to whatever you need. That menu includes a launcher for the home folder, Web browser, terminal window and power off functions. It also has a fully populated applications menu and menu launchers for Openbox and SalentOS preferences.
A neatly organized panel bar or dock sits at the top of the screen. It has the menu button and launchers for a Web browser, Thunar file manager, terminal, settings, Styler and Shutdown on the left half of the bar.
The virtual workplaces switcher and thumbnails of open applications sit in the center section of the pane bar. The right half of the panel holds the notifications tray for connectivity and audio indicators, along with the Yanima Wallpaper Changer launcher and clock/calendar launcher.
SalentOS lacks a distro-specific software repository. Instead, it uses the Synaptic Package Manager. Normally, you have to manually check the package manager for updates. SalentOS displays an update alert icon on the notifications tray. Click on it to launch the upgrade panel of the package manager.
Opens the Box
The Openbox window manager is an old-time favorite. It is very configurable in its own right. The developers took Openbox’s classic visual style and tossed in some new tools that add significant options for theme developers.
The result is an ability to change nearly all aspects of interaction with the desktop. I have used and liked Openbox in numerous lightweight distros. Its performance in SalentOS offers new ways to use and control it.
Balance is the key to its success in this distro. The developers kept Openbox’s extremely simple design in the default setup.
Out of the box, SalentOS is a speedy powerhouse that needs nothing more — but developers added more control to its operation without forcing you to do much of anything to tweak its look and feel. Let me give you two examples: Styler and Yanima.
Styler is a new tool for configuring and customizing the system. It is easy to use. Just choose your preferred theme with a click. Also, you can customize tint2 panel with icons, themes, launchers, positions and other settings.
Yanima Is the new Wallpaper Manager. You can setup the wallpaper changer and download new backgrounds from the cloud. By default, it randomizes the flow of background images. You can
Under the Hood
With the changeover to the Debian Linux Stable Base (Jessie) came the Linux 3.16.0-4 kernel. However, it is a bit behind the times. The latest kernel release is 4.9.4, issued on Jan. 15.
If you crave the latest and greatest Linux engine, you can add the testing repositories to “/etc/apt/sources.list”. Open a terminal window and enter: apt-get dist-upgrade.
Also new in Luppìu are a system update alert tool and an installation wizard. One factor that makes this release a more lightweight system is the lack of a demon for background system settings. This release has optimized graphics effects and preinstalled drivers for the major wireless cards.
I was less pleased with finding LibreOffice 4/3 installed rather than a more current 5.* version. Firefox ESR is the default web browser
SalentOS will run on a 1-Ghz (Pentium 4) CPU with 512 Mb RAM and a 6-GB hard drive. However, you will get a better performance with 1 GB RAM and a 10-GB hard drive.
SalentOS’ name comes from the developer’s hometown in southern Italy. Its primary language is Italian, so expect some unsuccessful or missing translations to English when you view the website.
However, the localization of language into English within the OS itself is very good in this release. The credit for that comes, at least in part, from efforts to translate the native language into English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German in this release.
The developer also packs into the installed software base an impressive collection of applications to make a great system for those who want a simple, lightweight and beautiful GNU/Linux System.
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