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Super OS 10.10

October 25, 2010

I just finished reading a fun and interesting book about Superman and his struggles with Hollywood. So I thought it fitting that I write one of this week’s Quick Looks about Super OS 10.10. No, Super OS is not from the planet Krypton and it’s not vulnerable to Kryptonite. It’s an Ubuntu remaster that takes the Ubuntu base on throws in a bunch of other software, drivers and codecs.

One might call it Super Ubuntu, but that probably would not please the folks at Canonical. It might invite unflattering comparisons between regular Ubuntu and Super OS, from those who prefer the latter to the former.

What’s New
Here’s a sample of what’s new in this release:

*Based on Ubuntu 10.10
*Easy installation of Nvidia, ATI and Broadcom drivers, even without an internet connection (the “surprise” I mentioned earlier)
*usb-creator: Live USB creator right from the DVD menu (replacing cd2usb)
*Java re-added, replacing OpenJDK (only Java works with some banking websites)
*All software in the Super OS repository updated to their latest versions

And here are other things that differentiate Super OS 10.10 from Ubuntu 10.10:

# Additional Multimedia Support: VLC, support for DVD-playback, MP3 support and for other formats, like QuickTime video, Real video, Windows Media Video, Flash Video, DivX, Xvid, (.mov, .wmv, .flv, .avi, etc…) etc…
# Internet software: aMSN, Skype, Opera, Google Chrome and Firefox (all browsers include Flash)
# Portable Applications available (RUNZ included)
# Programs are easier to run: App Runner is included
# Mount tar.gz/.zip/.rar/.iso files with File mounter
# Other software: Ubuntu Tweak and GParted
# Super OS has it’s own repository, in addition to the official Ubuntu repositories
# Live USB creator (usb-creator) right from the DVD menu (see second image)
# Improved compatibility with 32-bits application, by including ia32-libs (64-bits version)
# Wubi, allowing easy installation alongside Windows
# Computer Janitor disabled, since it is pretty much a useless and confusing program
# Focus on making it very usable offline

I’m not going to cover all the stuff I wrote about in the Ubuntu 10.10 review. If you aren’t familiar with those changes, please see the original review on Desktop Linux Reviews.

The rest of the new stuff is relatively minor. No doubt some users will be pleased at the driver inclusion, the USB creator, Java and the software updates.

System Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this update:

700 MHz x86 processor
256 MB RAM
3 GB disk space
Graphics card capable of 1024 x 768 resolution
Sound card
Network or Internet connection

The ISO file I downloaded weighted in at 1.17GB, so you’ll need a DVD if you want to burn it. Super OS 10.10 uses the exact same installer as Ubuntu 10.10, so it’s easy to install and you can view the same slideshow, etc.

When you first boot it up, you get the choice to run it as a Live DVD desktop or to do the install. I opted for the install and skipped running it live.

I also opted not to have updates or third party software included during the install because I wanted to see the differences between Ubuntu 10.10 and Super OS 10.10. I installed the 32-bit version, but there is a 64-bit version available as well.

I was somewhat surprised when I fired up Super OS 10.10 and looked at the available software in the desktop menus. Frankly, I was disappointed.

GIMP was missing and I had expected a heck of a lot more software to be included by default, given this distro’s name and the fact that it has its own repository. There seems to be a bit more than regular Ubuntu (especially under the Internet applications category) but you’d think that it would be packed to the rafters with applications. No such luck though, so you’ll still have to make good use of the Ubuntu Software Center if you want lots of applications at your fingertips.

Speaking of the Software Center, if you open it you’ll note that there is a hacktolive section in the Installed Software menu. This lists the extra software included with Super OS 10.10. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:

App Runner
File Mounter
RUNZ Framework
Win32 Codec Binaries

Super OS extra software.

And here’s a sample of the regular applications you’ll find available on your desktop after the install:

Shotwell Photo Manager

Using Super OS 10.10
When I first booted into the Super OS desktop, I sort of expected some significant differences between it and regular Ubuntu. Alas, I was destined for disappointment. The desktop looks exactly the same. There’s no cool Super OS logo or really anything that differentiates it from regular Ubuntu.

Super OS 10.10 performed pretty well. I saw no instability or speed problems while using it. It seems as solid as regular Ubuntu.

The inclusion of multimedia codecs was certainly nice; I think a lot of users will really appreciate not having to download them separately.

Final Thoughts
Super OS 10.10 is an interesting diversion from regular Ubuntu, but I saw nothing that really turned me on or that would get me to use it as my default desktop distribution. Super OS lacks a real identity; it would probably be better classified as Ubuntu Plus or something like that. It doesn’t add the same level of value as a distro like Linux Mint, for example, that includes additional tools, branding, menus, etc.

On the other hand, however, Super OS 10.10 might appeal to those who simply want Ubuntu but with slightly better multimedia support and various other applications. Super OS certainly fits the bill in that sense while still staying true to the look and feel of Ubuntu.

So the final verdict on this distro very much depends on what you expect to get from it. If you are expecting something as elaborate as Linux Mint then you’ll be disappointed, but if you just want Ubuntu with some additional stuff then it might very well fit the bill for you.

Super OS 10.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

Click to the next page to view the full image gallery (14 screenshots) of Super OS 10.10.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments. For full distro reviews, visit Desktop Linux Reviews.


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10 Responses to Super OS 10.10

  1. Critchon on March 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I have problem install Windows Application in Wine: The file ‘/media/Data/Applications/Jendela/unetbootin-windows-494.exe’ is not marked as executable. If this was downloaded or copied from an untrusted source, it may be dangerous to run. For more details, read about the executable bit. Have solutions?

  2. hour on December 11, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Please help me! I tried it by installing within windows7,after i installed why i still can’t install my nVidia geforce 310m driver? I use nomodeset because my sony vpccw21fx always blank screnn when i use normal mode. I really wanna use Ubuntu! :sad:

  3. Dinin on October 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I like superOS because it saves a lot of time, when installing ubuntu to a pc. I like the ubuntu design and it is good to see, that there is a derivative what expends the abilities of the original ubuntu, without re branding, and changing the default appearance. I use a pen-drive as a live system, and with super os I can use a full featured live system anywhere, without hours of preparation on the basic ubuntu.

  4. Chris on October 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I’m glad I read this article. I had been mulling over bothering with downloading Super OS or not but your article has helped me make up my mind, I’ll pass. I don’t really care for Ubuntu 10.04 or 10.10, the former made me switch to Mint. Seeing that Super OS is just Ubuntu with some optional extras is definitely not doing anything for me. Their website is very deceiving, though. On it, they have images of a Gnome desktop with a different theme and personalized Super OS background, making it look like Super OS will look like that out of the box, not look exactly like Ubuntu. Thanks for the review, I found it very useful. :smile:

  5. JIm C on October 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    a good distribution is one that suits me, not necessarily you, don’t you get it yet, it is called choice.

  6. Carling on October 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Super OS is Ubuntu Period, what a wast of time and disk space downloading it, plus a total wast of a DVD, Some people are just Buntu crazy they would not know what a good distribution is

  7. helios on October 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Those who like Ubuntu, but are looking for immediately available media additions are probably the best fit for Super OS.

    It’s not my intention to be flip or contentious so please don’t take my comment in that context.

    Why wouldn’t anyone installing an operating system on their computer be looking for all media additions? I am fully down with FOSS ideals and beliefs but there comes a time where dogma has to make room for pragmatism.

    While I agree that the omission of apps like gimp are a mistake, I think Super OS fills a glaring niche. The problem with many Linux “advocates” is that they hand a new user a live cd and walk away. When Hulu or Pogo.com won’t play, the disk is removed and put in the coaster pile with another “Linux Sucks” team member.

    Super OS while not really qualifying for a distinct distro has a place at the Linux table.

  8. Brian Masinick on October 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Based on what is included in this software, it seems to me that this would be useful for someone who is definitely intending to use their system a lot for multi media use, generally likes Ubuntu software, and may also be interested in further modifying the default Ubuntu system, potentially creating their own remastered system. For such a person, this might be a “Super OS”; it would certainly get them off to a “super” start.

    Other than that, it seems to be more of a packaging convenience distribution, and not a really distinct brand. That said, the latest Ubuntu release, based on my previous tests that I’ve run on two systems, a Gateway PA6A 17″ portable and a 15″ Lenovo 3000 Series Y410 laptop, using two variations of Kubuntu (one a 10.04 LTS installation, modified with Personal Package Archives (PPA) and back ports, later upgraded with a version upgrade to 10.10, and the other, a straight installation of 10.10, plus a Beta installation of Xubuntu 10.10, upgraded to release, and a couple of Virtualbox installations of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu, I can say with a reasonable level of confidence that Ubuntu and its variations are a step up from the usual six month Ubuntu releases.

    In the past, only the Long Term Support (LTS) versions could really be considered “stable”. The other releases have always provided the latest software, but it has been a mixed bag. Sometimes they work, sometimes there are issues. That may still be true for some people. With the changing Linux kernels and the modifications to the X Server software provided by the Xorg project, it seems that there are always new systems that get picked up in support, but it also seems that there are nearly as many systems that either get dropped or become problematic each time something changes. Based on what I’ve read about other people’s experience, I can’t claim that the changes brought about by the kernel and X server changes in the 10.10 release that things are any different. All I can report is that after testing more than a half dozen combinations on two different systems, the overall Ubuntu repository health in the most current release this Fall is of overall quality that exceeds that of the more volatile six month releases, but I suspect that once again, not everyone will be pleased with the outcome. For me, I was.

    It does not seem, based on this quick look, that Super OS provides enough that’s different to justify its own spot on a hard disk partition over any of the Ubuntu variations that I have already installed. What it may provide for some people, however, is a somewhat richer multi media setup immediately following installation, so that may make installing Super OS worthwhile for anyone looking for a fresh Ubuntu installation that is intended to be used to watch movies and view various other types of media intensive content.

    People who are set on staying as close to free software as possible would not be interested in this release. There are some efforts underway with things like Gnash to replace Flash, and avoidance of non-free binary blobs as much as possible. For those who prefer sticking with software that has as much source code behind it as possible, this may not be an option they’d be looking for. In that case, looking at one of the GNU sponsored projects may be more suitable, or possibly opting for either Debian or Fedora instead, which try to start and stick to only “free software” (software backed by source code) as much as possible.

    Pragmatic individuals who could care less about source code and are more interested in free software that provides a rich media experience are the people most likely to try out this software and find it worthwhile. Those who like Ubuntu, but are looking for immediately available media additions are probably the best fit for Super OS.

  9. john on October 25, 2010 at 7:53 am

    I tried it on a Dell 6410. The wifi did not work but I was advised a driver is available. It did not installed so could not use the wifi
    I tried Mint 10 rc1, on teh same PC, same disk, got the same message a driver was available, did the same thing and it installed it so the wifi is working from Mint

  10. genothomas on October 25, 2010 at 4:28 am

    :shocked: It’s very shame for not adding ‘Pinguy OS’ with Linux Mint, because I think it’s very suitable in this review..!!!

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