Updated: July 6, 2015
More distro slaying. Our latest candidate is SuperX 3.0 Grace. This distro is no stranger to Dedoimedo, and I've tested it before, with mediocre results. It did offer a unique streak, and it came with some lovely results that you don't get anywhere else. However, it was nowhere near as good as its claimed business-like mission statement.
It is time for a second chance, with the latest edition, which claims Debian and Ubuntu LTS roots, or rather Kubuntu. We will be doing all of that with my newest laptop, which has no less than seven or eight other distros and Windows flavors installed at any given time, so it's going to be a good, raw, challenging experiment. After me.
The testing started weird. On one hand, SuperX worked with UEFI without any problems, which is a good thing, but then, the boot menu was text only, and it waited for my input before moving forward. I have no explanation for this.
The live desktop boots with some quirky flute music, in between Zamfir and orient, which makes sense, given the Indian roots of this distribution. It's always interesting to see how different people approach the Linux question, and it's refreshing to have a new perspective on aesthetics. Deepin did it quite well, and just a few days ago, we played with ChaletOS, which had a similar cool and classy approach to desktop looks.
The desktop is very clean, very pretty. But it's KDE4 rather than Plasma, plus you get a full-blown full-screen menu that we've seen in Mageia and ROSA, which isn't the best solution, especially not on KDE. Moreover, this thing won't let you create shortcuts on your desktop or in the panel, so essentially, it's a Gnome 3 stupidity thing, and if you have to access the menu to do things, then it's a Windows 8 type of failure.
You do get hot corners, fancy workspace transition effects and such. However, desktop effects per se do not seem to be enabled. I am interested to know what kind of blend of technologies was used to achieve the desired.
Worked okay, with some ups and some downs. Samba sharing worked, but you cannot print to Samba shares. Wireless was fine until it died, due to the Realtek bug that plagues Ubuntu-based distros on my G50 machine.
This part worked fine. You get all the stuff you want.
Same like we saw with Linux Mint. You can fix it by installing a new kernel, but that's the only way really. Quite annoying if you think about it. Then, there are worse things in life, like going on without the Internet for a couple of hours.
Problems accessing data
Another issue I had in the live session was, I could not access the local partitions. Later on, they were accessible, so I'd assume the installer locks them to prevent access during the setup, but still, they are read only. Why would EXT4 partitions be read only?
Installation - Goodness Gracious
The very first thing you will see is a license agreement. Wait, what? Sort of in line with its business approach, I guess. But it is confusing at best. The terms mention payment, and that you could be charged for services, and if there are none such, you ought to call this number. This almost made me cancel the testing, as I'm no mood for corporate games when doing home distro testing. Made me think of Xandros.
Then, it did not go as planned. In fact, it went horribly wrong. The usual Ubuntu stuff happened, including the KDE-like disregard for other distributions on the disk, but then the situation escalated. First, the distro did not correctly detect my location. Somewhat like what we've seen with ChaletOS and the weather widget. Most importantly, and most critically, the installer decided to crash all of a sudden and with no good reason, which probably meant my system was left in an incomplete, unknown state.
A reboot later, my suspicion proved right. SuperX Grace had indeed failed to setup the bootloader. Worse than that, it seems to have only partially done that, because the recovery took a while. Quite a while. Even I had to refer to my own tutorial.
I am aware that modern laptops and their technologies can pose a challenge to distro developers, but that sure is no excuse for a botched installation that leaves the system in a ruined state. How about actually preserving the old bootloader, so if something goes wrong, it can be restored? Or something.
SuperX 3.0 Grace failed this crucial test, and therefore, it's not a distro I can recommend, even for casual testing. Friendly, accessible for most part, with a colorful selection of programs, media stuff, unique looks, and a dubious menu. But then, it won't print to Samba, it struggled with some of the hardware, and it essentially ruined my box. It's simply not meant to be, and if anything, it's worse than Darwin. All in all, SuperX fails its own high bar of standards. I shall look around, but almost like Mageia, which had a similar trajectory downwards, I am somewhat skeptical. Well, that would be all. It's not the one that you want, Olivia Newton-Jones style.