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ZevenOS Linux - a blending of Ubuntu and BeOS

ZevenOS is a Linux distro that has the look and feel of BeOS. BeOS was an operating system that was around over a decade ago, but it never really caught on with anyone apart from a few enthusiasts, so it seems odd to base Linux on it. Will ZevenOS go the way of the dodo and quietly disappear like BeOS? Maybe not. This OS is all Linux and underneath it's just like any other, so it has every chance of surviving.

ZevenOS 4 is based on Ubuntu Linux 11.10, so it is bang up to date. Unlike Ubunto though, you don't get the Unity desktop and instead there is Xfce. The idea is that the distro is lightweight so that it will run on limited hardware with a low powered processor. There is an up-to-date KDE version called ZevenOS-Neptune for those that don't like Xfce though.

The desktop is similar BeOS if you compare it with screenshots on Google and the colour scheme and icons are reminiscent of the old operating system. One of the aims of BeOS was to be great at playing multimedia and this idea has been carried over to ZevenOS. As soon as the installation is done you can go to YouTube and watch videos, load your music including MP3 and WMA files and play them. You even get a video editor bundled with the distro too.

The web browser is Firefox 8 and you get Audacity audio editor, DeaDBeef audio player, Gnome Mplayer and OpenShot Video Editor. There's also Brasero disc burner, CD Player and Yet Another Video Tube Downloader (YouTube downloader). ZevenOS is great for multimedia.

ZevenOS Linux

In the graphics department there is GIMP photo editor, Inkscape vector graphics editor, Shotwell photo browser and organiser, and Simple Scan. There are lots of excellent programs and utilities and the only slight disappointment is with the office software. You get Gnumeric spreadsheet, AbiWord word processor and Orange Calendar. LibreOffice is better, but you can always download it and install it yourself if you want it.

As this is Ubuntu under the skin, you get Synaptic Package Manager and also Ubuntu Software Centre. The latter is excellent for browsing for software, downloading it and installing it.

There is a lot of like in ZevenOS. The bundle of software is good and Flash and audio/video codecs are included making it ready to use straight away. The BeOS-like desktop is interesting at first, but I'm not convinced it's a good idea. However, if you have an old PC it might work better than the latest KDE.