MX Linux MX-17 Horizon - Second test, top notch

Updated: February 9, 2018

My Lenovo G50 laptop is back in business. After having its UEFI gently bricked by whatever dodgy QA-less mechanism in any which one distro that I've tested in the past year (but definitely NOT Ubuntu 17.10, it happened before), installing a new kernel helped resolve the issue. So we're testing distros on this machine once again, and the first candidate is MX-17 Horizon.

Now, I have already tested the distribution on the old LG machine that I have, and found it to be an excellent performer. Slick, fast, elegant, everything you need for fun and productivity. But will it shine on the G50 box? Let's check.

Teaser

Into the horizon he rode

Or something. Maybe it's the sunset. Never mind. MX-17 booted in the exact same fashion on the Lenovo laptop as it did on the LG one - a million different font sizes and colors and types. Again, very fast. In the live session, all the hardware was correctly initialized. Resource utilization was low and similar to the RD510 machine, 440 MB RAM on idle and the CPU ticked just 1-2% max, with even more blazing fast results than on the 2009 box.

Live session

Partitions

Bootloader

The installation was also super quick - roughly four minutes to copy data, and then about two or three minutes to setup GRUB. This is definitely better than what we had with MX-16, where this step took half an ice age to complete. Now that the UEFI is working properly, after reboot, I had the MX-17 menu, and the set of eight different operating systems all nicely writ and displayed on the screen.

Ship ahoy!

The booted system had the same set of ailments as we've already seen. No Wireless, as this is the one configuration that wasn't properly ported from the live session. Also, the same annoying Bluetooth error (even though I didn't fiddle or do anything with it).

System installed and booted

Day-to-day stuff, all there

Much like what we've already seen - and there were no supposedly hardware-dependent nonsense regressions or bugs - you get smartphone support for all three major types, check, media support check, full network support, check, a good arsenal of programs and robust package management, check. Consistent and pleasing looks, check. Predictable and enjoyable user experience, check.

I customized the distro a little, installed extra software, even configured a panel shortcut for Microsoft Office Online, because why not. After all, it's an essential program for pretty anyone who needs to write documents and share them with the world. The performance of the site/app was phenomenal (through Firefox 57). Instant response, btw.

Apps

Office running in MX-17

Other things

A delight all around. Very easy to configure and use, it's all there. I still think Plasma has some definite ergonomic advantages over Xfce, but then, this desktop environment is making great strides forward, and it has superior Samba and smartphone compatibility. Fonts are also really good in MX-17 Horizon. There are some small visual glitches that need to be polished, but it's nothing that makes you pout in anger. Actually do people pout in anger?

Settings

File manager, tweaked

Very nice fonts - and a new, better text editor:

Fonts

The VLC icon is too big for the system area:

VLC icon, system area

Resources & performance

Splendid. 420-440 MB of RAM on idle, the CPU ticking near zero. Everything opens instantly. Blink, and you'll miss it. And I mean fast blink, not a lazy chameleon waking up. This is by far the most responsive system that I've tried in the past decade.

Resources

Hardware compatibility, stability, suspend & resume

100% on the hardware side, all the bits and pieces worked correctly. Suspend & resume, too, again with lightning speed going to sleep and back again. There were no hangs, crashes or other errors apart from the first boot niggles.

Battery life

Now, the interesting part. MX-15/16 scored the all-time high on this laptop for any Linux distribution, clocking a very respectable 4.5 hours for the former, about 5.5 hours for the latter (with absolute zero activity that is), and consistent 3.5-4 hours overall.

The battery capacity is about 75% now (has gone down in the last threeish years). Funny, because the LG has almost all of its chemical energy eight years down the road. But that's manufacturing quality and whatnot for you. Anyway, whatever number we see indicates the theoretical limit is about 25-30% higher were the battery new and fresh.

And so, with brightness set to about 50% and light desktop activity, the system area icon showed about 3 hours and change, which means a new one would give about 4 hours. This is slightly less than what MX-15 did, in line with the last release, and roughly 30-40% better than most other distros. Very cool, I have to say.

Battery

Ready to party

Indeed, wunderbar:

Nice 1

Nice 2

41% of people did not notice I changed the desktop background.

Conclusion

Here we go. This is a short review by my standards, but I did carefully and thoroughly check every single aspect of the desktop experience, in line with my normal testing, I just didn't repeat myself. Everything worked. There were no new problems other than the few small issues we've already seen. And on the bright side, you do get the advantage of even better performance and responsiveness on the new hardware.

While MX-17 Horizon will work perfectly well on ancient rigs, it still gains from new platforms, and lets you take full advantage of its speed. Battery life is also very good. Overall, it's a really top-notch distro, and it didn't botch or falter on two different machines. And as you recall, pretty much EVERY distro that I've tested in the last two and a half years since I've purchased the Lenovo laptop has had some issues, and then when I switched to the LG laptop, then they almost all started having problems there. And it shows it's not hardware that's bad - it's software. Good distros are far and few in between, and MX-17 Horizon is truly a magnificent product. Way to go.

Cheers.

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