A request came in a few weeks ago to review the Point Linux operating system. I had already downloaded Point Linux with a view to reviewing it anyway so I bumped it up the queue a bit.
According to the Point Linux WIKI page
, Point Linux is a desktop distro aimed towards experienced users and the business/IT sector.
- Kernel – 3.2.0-4
- Based on Debian 7
- Desktop – Mate 1.4.2
- Supported Architectures – i386 (i686 PAE) and amd64
To burn the ISO to DVD use your favourite disc burning software.
To install Point Linux to USB download Unetbootin
. Run Unetbootin and then navigate to the Point Linux ISO. Insert a blank USB drive into one of the USB ports on the computer (if it isn’t empty, format it). Now choose the USB drive in Unetbootin and click “Install”. For more information about creating a USB drive with Unetbootin click here
To install Point Linux insert the USB drive or DVD into the computer and reboot. (If the computer doesn’t boot to the GRUB menu then you will need to change the boot order on your computer so that USB/DVD comes before the hard drive. (This is done via the BIOS setup).
If you have the GRUB menu available select “Default” and Point Linux will load in live mode. Run the installer from the desktop.
Point Linux is fairly straight forward to install.
- Choose your language
- Choose your timezone
- Choose your keyboard layout
- Enter the details of the main user
- Choose the disk to install to
- Choose the partition to install to
- Choose where to install GRUB to
- Click Install from the summary
The partitioning bit is the part where a lot of people struggle and so I plan to write a guide on this in the next few weeks.
If you asked me the question “What is your favourite ever distro?” then I would answer Ubuntu circa version 9.10 or 10.04.
At that point in time everything was simple. Ubuntu still used Gnome 2, there was no Gnome 3 and Unity was still in the making.
Point Linux looks and feels like Ubuntu back at version 10.04.
Point Linux uses the Mate desktop environment which was originally forked from Gnome 2. The Mate desktop isn’t unique to Point Linux and is used as an alternative desktop in a number of distributions with the most high profile being Linux Mint.
Linux Mint has developed all their desktops so that they have the same look and feel whether you are using Cinnamon, Mate or XFCE.
Point Linux has used the Mate desktop and it really does look like a throwback to a few years ago.
The top panel has the traditional “Application, Places, System” menu control and there are icons for the Firefox browser and Thunderbird.
On the right side of the panel are icons for notifications, audio settings, networks, power settings, a clock and user settings.
The bottom panel enables you to easily switch between virtual workspaces.
The menu has a really clean interface. It isn’t modern in any way but it is easy to navigate.
Connecting to the internet
Connecting to the internet is very straight forward. There is an icon on the top toolbar for setting up networks.
Clicking the network icon shows a list of wired and wireless networks. Click on the wireless network that you want to connect to and if it requires a security key enter it.
Point Linux has included FireFox for browsing, Thunderbird as an email client and Pidgin as an Internet Messenging application.
Customising the Mate desktop
I am not going to go too in depth here about how to customise the Mate desktop (that is an article for another day).
To change the desktop background however all you have to do is right click on the desktop and select “Change Desktop Background”.
Point Linux doesn’t have many default themes or backgrounds to choose from.
It is however easy to add your own wallpapers.
Go to the internet and download the image of your choice and then from the “Appearance Preferences” click the “Add” button.
Navigate to your downloaded image and it will become your desktop background.
You can also change the panel settings of either of the panels. To do this right click on the panel and choose properties.
On the “General” tab you can change the position of the panel, the size of the panel and whether it fills the entire width/height of the screen.
You can also decide whether to autohide the bar when not in use.
The “Background” tab lets you change the colour of the panel and whether it is transparent or not.
It is also possible to add further items to the panels by right clicking on the panel and choosing “Add to panel”.
There are a number of items to choose from including launchers and sticky notes.
Flash and MP3
Point Linux gives you the ability to watch Flash videos (and play games) as well as listen to MP3s by default.
There is no dedicated audio application installed so I had to install GMusicBrowser to prove that MP3s worked.
Point Linux isn’t overloaded with applications and there is the definite feel of quality over quantity.
- Archive Manager
- Pluma Text Editor
- Document Viewer
- Eye of Mate Image Viewer
- LibreOffice Draw
- Firefox Web Browser
- Pidgin Internet Messenger
- Remmima Remote Desktop
- Thunderbird Mail
- Transmission BitTorrent Client
Sound and Video
- Brasero DVD burning software
- VLC Media Player
You can use a number of tools to install applications but the main one to use (graphically) is Synaptic.
Whilst Synaptic isn’t as glamourous looking as one of the many software centres out there it is incredibly functional and gives you full access to repositories.
Point Linux 2.2 is a welcome blast from the past with the way it looks. It reminds you of how good things were back when Gnome 2 was prominent.
The performance of Point Linux on the Toshiba Satellite Pro that I am using is excellent.
I didn’t come across any issues whilst using Point Linux and the experience has been really good.
There is one thing I would like to add though. If I could go back to any point in time in my past then it would be either the 1970s or the 1980s.
I like the 1970s because in my head it would be like “Life on Mars” and I like the 1980s because I have lived through it once already and life seemed easier back then.
The truth is the reason why I would be happy back in the 1980s is because I know what happened and during my 1980s nothing bad happened.
The same can be said of Ubuntu back at version 10.04. I used it. I remember it well. It was great, it was stable and I really liked it and I know nothing bad happened whilst I used it.
Is that a good enough reason to go back in time?
Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome 3. They have all added something new and they are clearly the future of Linux. (Ok KDE as well, if you must).
Point Linux is like a time machine. It gives me back a really good operating system which works in a way I used to work. Do I still want to work that way? I am not quite sure.
Taking it on face value, Point Linux is a really nice operating system that performs well, is easy enough to navigate and has no real major issues. If that is what you need then it is well worth a shot.
Thankyou for reading.
Point Linux in 60 Seconds
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