deepin 2014

A video overview of the changes to be found in the 2014 release of Ubuntu-based Linux distribution ‘Deepin’ has been posted online.

If that reads like a mouthful, no worries: the video below shows a number of neat changes, some of which (e.g., live wallpaper on the lock screen) may leave you with your jaw wide open and drool on your chin.

Deepin has form for bringing the bling to Linux, and this latest alpha release shows it doesn’t intend on bucking that trend anytime soon.

The upcoming release is pencilled in for release on June 15 and features yet more visual rejigging of its HTML5-based desktop environment, this time underpinned by lashings of Google’s increasingly popular Go language, a helping of Compiz for some fancy effects, and various GNOME technologies.

The video below presents a silent overview of the first alpha build.

Deepin, Depends

The China-based open-source distro continues to go from strength to strength in its own country, and is continuing to work hard on internationalisation efforts. We’ve read that as many as 15 languages will be fully supported in the next release — a fantastic feat for such a promising distro.

Deepin is backed by a 30-strong team of developers, designers and community staff, of which half are dedicated solely to software development. It’s this that gives the distro its edge; it ships with a growing number of (incredibly well made) custom applications, including the Deepin Software Center, dedicated media applications, and a games centre.

For the upcoming 2014 release development has focused on revamping (yet again) the application launcher, introducing a new set of flat icons, adding a brand new installer and debuting a handful of new and improved first-party apps, including instant messaging client Deepin Talk.

The Deepin 2014 Launcher

Also debuting is a new Qml-based control centre that presents system settings in a totally different way to most other Linux distributions. It’s less Windows Control Panel and more Android Settings Shade. You can see it in the video above around the 1:00 minute mark.

Everyone’s a Critic

If there’s any criticism to be levelled at the project it’s an inability to settle upon one consistent interface. The UI seems to undergo a huge overhaul in every release. This affects everything from the position of the dock on the screen to the design of the icons and the way one interacts with the application launcher.

While iteration, improvement and fresh new features are to be expected in a distro still trying to find its feet in the world, one hopes that this won’t always come at the expense of familiarity and dependability.

Should the project hit upon an icon set, GTK theme and desktop shell worth sticking with, it could well find itself challenging the more established Ubuntu-based derivatives, such as Linux Mint and elementary (sic), as alternative choice du jour.

Try the Alpha

Deepin 2014 is due to hit stable in June. An alpha is available to download now. 

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