I last reviewed Makulu Linux back in May 2014 when it was still at version 6. I summed up my feelings towards Makulu Linux by stating that I can't wait for versions 7, 8 and 9 and that I had the warm glow with Makulu which I had felt previously with SolusOS, Fuduntu and Point Linux.
The artwork in Makulu Linux has always been very good and it has been put together in a unique and interesting way with some eclectic software picks.
Makulu Linux Aero Edition has been made to look more like Windows. The Makulu webpage describes this version as follows:
This is not a Windows Clone, it merely has a similar feel and look to it.I watched a video review of Makulu Aero Edition by the Linux Help Guy. I like watching the videos that this guy produces and they are generally very positive in nature. With regards to Makulu however he asks the question "Who is this for?". The point he makes is that if people want a Windows look why wouldn't they just use Windows.
It is 100% Linux and equally as powerful as any other Linux environment.
This build only exists because users requested its existence.
How To Get Makulu Linux
- Insert a blank USB drive
- Run RUFUS by double clicking on the downloaded file
- Click on the little folder icon near the bottom next to the word FreeDOS and find the Makulu ISO
- Make sure the bootloader is correct. I recommend the MBR for all machines (IE UEFI/BIOS)
- Click start.
Yes it looks a bit like Windows and a lot of effort has gone into making it look like Windows but I don't think it looks so much like Windows that it will confuse new users. It really doesn't look that much different to Linux Mint.
There are other Linux distributions out there that have a much closer look and feel to Windows. For a Windows 7 look try Zorin OS and for Windows XP there is the excellent Q4OS.
(Check out this review of Q4OS and this guide to making Q4OS Linux look like XP).
Makulu Linux Aero Edition comes with the Cinnamon desktop which by its very nature provides a very familiar Windows like look and feel with a panel at the bottom, a menu, quick launch icons and system tray icons.
When you boot Makulu for the first time a welcome message appears and when you click OK another one appears and you are basically shown a series of cue cards highlighting various nuances about Makulu such as:
This is not a Windows clone, it merely has a similar look and feel to it. It is 100% Linux and equally as powerful as any other Linux environment. This build only exists because users requested its existences.
This is a sensitive build, PLEASE use update manager to manage updates. Do not update via custom scripts, commands or Synaptic manager. You have been warned. Use the Update manager to ensure smooth updating.
Please make sure your numlock is switched offThe Linux Help Guy video makes a lot about the above message. The point he makes is that new users to Linux already confused by the Windows look might find that the distribution is already not straight forward because you have to be careful about how you update the system.
To be honest whilst I see the point I don't think it is a real issue. As I stated before, yes it looks a bit like Windows, Mint looks a bit like Windows but they don't look so much like Windows that anybody is really going to be that confused and new users might not even know they can update using scripts or Synaptic so asking people to update using a tool called Update manager doesn't sound like a bad thing.
The next welcome screen states that the wallpaper is set using a tool called variety (which I will come to later on). Basically there is no point changing the wallpaper using Cinnamon's desktop settings because Variety will change it. You have to turn off Variety if you want to us the default settings.
On the 4th welcome screen (there are 10 in total) you are informed that you can change the update server if the one you are currently using is slow. You also need to reboot if you change language settings and furthermore you are told that there are a lot of new themes available within Makulu Linux.
The 5th screen tells you that Popcorn time is installed by default and that in some countries it is not legal to use it (I will come to this later on). You are also informed that Google Cloud is available.
Welcome screen 6 says that Pipelight is installed to enable Silverlight videos to be played, screen 7 states that Kingsoft Office is installed, Claws mail is installed, Steam and PlayOnLinux are installed and there is support for all documents and music formats.
Almost there. Welcome screen 8 says that there are some WIFI tools installed for testing WIFI security. In addition Megasync is installed for synchronising with the Mega cloud storage service. There is also a firewall and antivirus software.
Finally, screen 9 asks you to donate if you like the operating system and screen 10 wishes you well on your journey.
On to the rest of the look and feel then. In the top right corner is a large clock, in the bottom right a quote of the day message and as you can see from the screenshot above when you press the little M in the bottom left corner a menu appears.
Customising the desktop
There is a tool called Variety which is used to customise your desktop's look and feel. If you want to use Cinnamon's desktop settings uncheck the box which reads "start variety when the computer starts". and also uncheck the "change wallpaper at start" checkbox.
If you quite like the wallpaper changing then you can choose how often the desktop wallpaper changes and which folders it uses to find the wallpaper.
Using this tool you can customise other features such as toggling the clock on and off as well as changing the style of the clock and you can remove the daily quote if you so wish.
There are a number of different wallpapers provided with Makulu as shown by the image below:
Connecting to the internet
For those of you new to Linux, connecting to the internet is very straight forward. Click on the network icon in the system tray, choose your network and enter the security key.
You can also download the songs if you so wish.