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Feren OS 2021.10 Review

Feren OS 2021.10 Review
I always had a love and hate relationship with KDE. I love how customizable it is. I love the appearance of the modern KDE Plasma desktop, especially after the recent blur effects. However, I have never used KDE in my production machines due to its overwhelming options. I understand that a highly customizable desktop has to somehow expose all those settings to the users, but it is not visually appealing to me. Most of the time, I get lost in the settings dialog. The same goes for most of the KDE applications such as Dolphin, Konsole, Kate, etc. They have too many options to distract my regular workflow. I find Linux Mint with Cinnamon a good fit for my need because Cinnamon has a good balance of customizability and settings.

After Linux Mint dropping the KDE support, Linux Mint users had only two choices: switching to Linux Mint with Cinnamon/XFCE or switching to other KDE-based distros. Feren OS is a promising alternative for those who love KDE without losing the best apps from Linux Mint.


Installation

Installing Feren OS is just like any other Linux operating system. One noticeable difference is the language, timezone, and username have to be set in the first reboot after installing the system. Similar to Pop OS, this can help to install the operating system for someone else or distribute a machine with Feren OS pre-installed. However, after setting the username, the system must be restarted once again. If you are installing Feren OS on your computer, you have to restart the computer twice before logging into the operating system.

First Impression

Feren OS is polished and aesthetically pleasing out of the box. From the welcome screen itself, you can choose the light or dark theme and the accent color. You can also configure the nighttime from the welcome screen to reduce eye fatigue at night. Overall, this is the first KDE-based distro that looked good to my eyes without any additional customization.

Applications

Though Feren OS utilizes KDE Plasma as the desktop environment, some default applications including the file manager, software manager, and update manager have been replaced by the apps from Linux Mint. The default theme looks the same on both GTK and QT apps, so you cannot tell the difference between the apps borrowed from Linux Mint and the default KDE apps.

I tested the latest Feren OS 2021.10  at the time of writing this article. Nemo file manager does not support batch renaming yet though Linux Mint introduced a new tool named Bulky to batch rename files months ago. I hope Feren OS will include Bulky in the upcoming releases.

Web Browser Manager

Feren OS Web Browser Manager
One of the unique apps from the Feren OS team is the Web Browser Manager. Using this, you can install or uninstall different web browsers with Feren specific customizations. For example, installing Mozilla Firefox from this application enables compact tabs and cleanses the new tab page. One downside is the installation package cannot be determined by the user. Firefox is installed as a Flatpak package instead of a native binary. I would go for Flatpak or Snap only if there is no other choice, but the Web Browser Manager does not give me that option. Therefore, I instead prefer installing my favorite browser from a PPA.

Usability

Feren OS is a production-ready distribution built on battle-proven technologies: Ubuntu with KDE. The user interface is customized for you already. If you are a Linux Mint user who wants to switch to KDE, Feren OS can be your next distribution. For a pure KDE experience, I would rather recommend Manjaro or KDE Neon.

 

Conclusion

Unlike just another Linux distribution, Feren OS brings a unique mixture of apps and desktop distribution that cannot be found in any other distribution. It may be appealing to the Linux Mint users who want to try KDE, but for vanilla KDE fans, I don't see a reason to try Feren OS other than some patches Feren OS includes. For anyone else finding KDE overwhelming, Feren OS provides the best of both worlds. You can get the benefits of KDE without getting lost into the sea of settings.

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