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Deepin Linux 15.1 Detailed Review – Digging deep into Linux distro world

Desktop

This is one of the most interesting aspect of Deepin. Instead of using commonly known desktop environments (DE) like KDE or GNOME, Deepin developers created their own DE called “Deepin Desktop Environment”. What makes it more interesting (to developers) is that, Deepin DE is build using HTML5 and webkit. I am not aware of any other DE which is build using these technologies and this desktop shows the possibilities of these technologies. Since most of the desktop users may not be interested on the technology, I am skipping over to the functionality of the desktop.

Once you login, you will be greeted with a blank desktop with a blue background and a Mac like dock bar below. You might feel that the developers tried to mimic a mac desktop, but trust me, the similarities ends there. Another desktop which got a similar layout is the one that comes with Elementary OS. The downside of that desktop was the top panel bar that reduces the screen area, but in deepin, developers have avoided such a panel, thus improving the screen area for other applications.You can even hide the dock bar by selecting the “Smart Hide” option from context menu which is available on right click over the dock bar.

Right click context menu of dock bar also allows switching into 3 different desktop mode’s. If you are a fan of traditional desktop, you may select either the “Efficient Mode” or the “Classic Mode”.

You can configure each corner of the desktop by right-clicking on the desktop and select ‘corner navigation’ from the context menu. This will show each active corner with a gear and you can choose the desired action for that corner. By default 3 corners are already set except the right top corner.

Now going forward, clicking on the icon which resembles a Rocket, will open the menu covering the entire desktop. By default all the software icons are displayed on the screen without any categorization. If you prefer category wise menu listing, then you need to select it from the top  corner of the menu with icon having wording “A” (which i guess stands for All and this icon changes based on your selection). A feature on this menu is the blue dot over some icons which tells that the software is newly installed and not yet opened. Another interesting feature I found is the option to uninstall a software directly from the menu. You just need to right click on to the software you wish to uninstall and then select “Uninstall”. Yes it is that easy to uninstall a software.

The next major highlight of this desktop is the control center. Usually the control center will be a separate window in all the linux distro’s I have seen.

Deepin Control Center

Deepin Control Center

In Deepin, the control center is integrated right into the desktop. On clicking the control center icon on the dock, a panel is open vertically right from the screen. You click volume or the wifi icon on the dock, the respective control’s are open right on this vertical panel. Desktop customization can also be done from this panel along with other options. Even though i don’t see any major usability improvement with this implementation, still the change is welcoming and interesting. It also gives a different look to the desktop from the traditional desktops that you have seen.

The desktop of Deepin was a nice experience, but it has not been completely bug free for me. The smart hide available for the dock bar at time do not work properly and it just stays over an application window. I had to logoff and login to fix this issue. Even though this is not a frequent problem, but whenever it happens its quite annoying, Another issue I found was at the time of login into the desktop. It took a minute or so, for the entire desktop to load. Sometimes the dock panel just freezes with only few icons loaded. If this happens, restart and login is the only way out. Maybe these issues might get ironed out with updated, and since these issues are not frequent I am quite happy with this desktop.

Swaroop Shankar V

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Swaroop for a very honest and enlightening review.

    I’m a disenchanted Windows user of many years. After Windows 10 I started looking for a Linux distro that was “for me”. I’ve tried most others and until Deepin had settled for ZorinOS as the easiest for me to adopt.

    But Deepin has been a real eye opener. Yes the file is large at 2.3GB but Debian is now 3.9GB, PC Linux OS is 3.88GB and most others are around 1-1.5GB. Then again my Windows 7 USB installation is 3GB, so Deepin isn’t too bad.

    I agree with your overall assessment. Deepin is a real refreshing OS visually. So many design elements remind me of my Android tablet that I wonder if the designers got some inspiration from both iPads, iMacs and Android tablets.

    As a new adopter fresh from Windows 7 and 8 I’m finding Deepin about the easiest Linux distro to install and use. I gave up on Debian as I could not get WiFi to function correctly – remember I am a Linux novice – and many others were great until I needed to access my Windows home group, add a printer or perform some other semi technical task. So far Deepin seems to be providing a good job of shielding me from the technical (for me difficult) aspects and spoon feeding me enough to encourage exploration. In this aspect Deepin is very Windows/Mac/Android like.

    I hope I have not incurred to ire of Linux techies, but I do speak from the viewpoint of a new convert. If others look closely at what Deepin provides then I see Linux becoming much more mainstream on many disenchanted Windows users desktops and laptops.

    Deepin is installed on my Samsung NP305v5a-S06AU laptop. Powered by quad core AMD A8-3510MX processor, AMD Radion HD 66206 GPU, 8GB RAM, newly installed 240GB Zenith SSD and 78 mAh battery upgrade. I now get around 3-4 hours on a charge. Deepin response issues are not a problem with the SSD. It dual boots with Windows 7 Home.

    • Thanks for the comment Ian. As you said Deepin can be a substitute for windows. One of the biggest challenge for switching to linux from windows was the availability of application, but nowadays most of the people use web application more than desktop application, so its not really a problem now i feel. So deepin with its visual appeal, easy of use i think it can be a real replacement for windows.
      BTW I really dont think you have incurred the ire of Linux Techies because they are happy to welcome new user onboard 🙂

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