For many, the computer interface has always followed the same formula:
- Start Menu
- System tray
- Desktop icons
With those simple elements, people have happily interfaced with their hardware and done their jobs for a very long time. For those working within the world of Windows, the best take on that formula was (in many an opinion) Windows 7. So, it should come as no surprise that some Linux distributions have adopted that formula to create a desktop with which users would feel a sense of immediate connection. Some Linux takes on that metaphor have failed and some have reached a modicum of success. But none have managed to pull off what ChaletOS has.
Don’t get me wrong, under the all-too familiar looking desktop (Figure 1), ChaletOS is still Linux. But the execution of the design cannot be mistaken.
What makes this so “Windows-y”
The first thing you should know is that ChaletOS is based on Xubuntu—which indicates the look and feel was achieved via Xfce. Added to this desktop were a number of tweaks focused on giving the user the ability to alter and refine the style, as well as the inclusion of Conky. Included with this Xfce-volution is what Petrovic calls the Style Changer. The ChaletOS Style Changer is an elegant solution for tweaking the look and feel. With it, you can easily change the theme of both Xfce and Conky (Figure 2).
No, the Style Changer isn’t on par with the likes of Ubuntu Tweak, but when you glance at the ChaletOS Settings manager, you have everything you need to tweak the platform to perfectly meet your needs. Click on the ChaletOS Start Menu, and you’ll see yet another familiar landscape (Figure 3).
Within the Menu, you’ll find all the standards:
- Recently Used
- App/configuration categories
- Quick access to Log Out/Shutdown/Reboot
- Quick access to Settings
- The Start Point
One reason I believe ChaletOS to be a solid distribution for new users (besides its ultra-familiar interface) is the Start Point app. Open this app and you’ll see a world of possibility (Figure 4).
From Start Point, you can update your system with the click of a button. You can click on the How To tab and find ChaletOS-specific how to videos and articles or click on the Recommended tab and find videos about software that can be installed on ChaletOS.
I’ve been thrilled to find more distributions including apps like ChaletOS’s Start Point. Any distribution that plans to focus on new users should consider these help centers a must-have.