GeckoLinux is a small project based on openSUSE. The last major release, based on version 15, was about two years ago. It appears to be maintained by one developer, Sam, and has it’s website hosted on github.
GeckoLinux is a spin of openSUSE aiming to provide a better out of the box experience than the famous original. GeckoLinux aims to achieve this by bundling non-free software and codecs, something openSUSE doesn’t provide by default. GeckoLinux also improves on font rendering and includes TLP power management software to improve battery life for laptop users. While openSUSE focuses their releases on KDE Plasma and Gnome desktops, GeckoLinux offers a larger variety including: MATE, LXQt, XFCE and the Cinnamon desktop we’ll be looking at here.
Like the original, you can choose between the normal release based on Leap 15.2 or a rolling release based on Tumbleweed. GeckoLinux promises it’s systems can be kept up to date and upgraded to future openSUSE releases without issues. The static Cinnamon edition I downloaded was 1.25 GB in size which I then put on a USB stick for live testing.
The boot process took fairly long and the splash screen was pure openSUSE. Then, the Cinnamon desktop appears with the usual jingle. I opened a terminal window to check htop but it wasn’t installed. The install of this tiny piece of software took very long as the system decided to retrieve and build all the repositories before proceeding. The subsequently installed neofetch went much faster.
To keep in line with my other reviews, I measured the resource usage in a virtual box and the result was quite typical of a Cinnamon system:
- 767 MB of RAM
- 78 Tasks
- 183 Threads
Appearance wise, GeckoLinux Cinnamon edition uses the popular Numix theme with Faenza icons. I was hoping for a more greenish theme to fit the overall perception I have of SUSE and wild Geckos but we only get a green wallpaper and a green logo for the menu launcher. The overall color scheme is black/grey with beige colored folders. Being Cinnamon, This is all easily changed, of course, and no issue whatsoever.
The included software choice is quite restrained which I appreciate. Only the important parts of LibreOffice are there and little else, leaving it up to each user to add whatever they need. GeckoLinux also prides itself with better low-level package management which results in fewer unnecessary installed packages compared to openSUSE.
Software we get installed includes:
- Internet: Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, Pidgin
- Office: LibreOffice: Writer, Calc, Draw and Impress, Document Viewer
- Multimedia: Gnome Image Viewer, Pix, VLC, Clementine
Under Preferences we get the general system settings while under Administration, we get the more advanced YaST tools.
Having a look at the YaST Software Repositories we can spot some additions compared to openSUSE:
Chrome isn’t actually installed, the default browser is Firefox. The same goes for Skype and the Nvidia drivers but, unlike openSUSE, the repositories are there to facilitate installation if the user wished to add them. As with openSUSE, additional software is installed via the YaST Software app. It is a bit old school and not very suitable for beginners. A more modern software center would have been a nice addition for GeckoLinux. As a test, I installed Skype and it worked without a hitch.
I mentioned in my Leap 15.2 KDE review that there were constant 100% spikes in the CPU usage making the system very unresponsive. This was thankfully not the case here but the 4 CPU cores did hover constantly at around 10-15% when idle which is a bit high. Video playback with many different formats went smooth in VLC and I did like the miniaturized Clementine player in the bottom panel when listening to music.
Overall I enjoyed my short time with GeckoLinux and the Cinnamon desktop. It appears they have succeeded with the goals they have set out to achieve. There aren’t many reviews of the current version on the net yet so I couldn’t compare my experience with others. If you have tried the latest version and want to share your experience, please type away in the comments section below!