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.
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.
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
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:
Win32 Codec Binaries
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.
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.