Recently I stopped hopping distributions, because I found one that I like a lot – Arch Linux. There is a lot good that can be said about Arch Linux, though I would like to save it for a proper occasion. Meanwhile, I will talk a bit about a new/old discovery I made lately – Makulu Linux.
To be perfectly fair, I have not used Makulu Linux before. I merely looked at it from afar since version 6.0. It piqued my interest as a Debian Testing derivative with a pretty take at the XFCE desktop environment. I am not a very big fan of XFCE, but I did use it apart from E17 when beginning my ‘new life’ with Linux. It was comfortable and triggered severe Win98 nostalgia in me. Definitely something to consider for other ‘Windows refugees’.
The author of Makulu Linux made certain key changes in the new instalment (version 7.0), for instance switching the kernel from a Debian-based to a Ubuntu-based one. I considered this an interesting choice as it could potentially yield a Debian-Ubuntu hybrid – the best of both worlds.
My very first impression when booting into the live environment was…stunning. Makulu Linux XFCE is gorgeous! The tasteful icon design, the fantastic set of wallpapers, everything! Since it was rather late at night, I thought I’m using a gaming GUI, instead of yet another Linux distribution. The visual pleasure was so great that I instantly suggested Jacque Raymer (the author of Makulu Linux) the following:
– Preparing an XFCE theme package of Makulu Linux
– Making a similar theme for the MATE desktop environment (my current favorite)
In all honesty, Makulu Linux offers the most visually attractive XFCE there is!
The other thing I usually do when trying out a distribution is checking the size of the repositories and their content. I admit it is completely perverse, though I really (highest necessity, you see!) need to know whether I can safely use my dedicated NVidia graphics card or should I completely forget about it. Luckily, the NVidia drivers were present in the repositories and I would have gladly proceeded with their installation, had this not been done already! Quite surprisingly, the drivers were already installed during the setup process. Although, they were not the only thing that I received as a ‘tribute’. Makulu Linux came pre-installed with a fine selection of software I would have to install myself later on anyway.
Unfortunately, I had some problems with NVidia driver configuration. Since I noticed that the complete set of drivers is installed (including the PRIME package for dedicated laptop graphics), I assumed that I can simply run the nvidia-xconfig command from the terminal and be happily done. Alas, nay! The nvidia-xconfig command ‘was not found’, to my complete astonishment. Re-installation (removal, purging, etc.) of all of the driver packages did not help. This was new to me as I had far more problems with crashing X Window System/Server on startup rather than key commands not being recognized. In the end I ignored the problem and did everything the traditional way – Bumblebee. This worked flawlessly as on any other Debian-based operating system. This might be an interesting case, though. Bumblebee is known to cause problems under Ubuntu, from which Makulu Linux 7.0 now possibly stems.
From there everything else worked flawlessly. After a bumpy ride on the reefs, my Linux boat could finally set sail onto the magnificent Makulu sea of infinite possibilities. There were some minor setbacks, but nothing major I would be unable to resolve myself. From a completely different perspective, I believe the greatest selling point of Makulu Linux is actually human effort. Jacque Raymer has shown to the Linux community that a single person, when striving for utmost perfection, can achieve much and often more than a team of developers. Two words – well done!