Beautiful, Useful & Simple…based on Gnome 3.2
Pear OS 3 was released on December 14. The French developer, David T. is the creator of this distribution. The Ubuntu based distribution features Linux kernel 22.214.171.124, and a rather interesting take on a Gnome 3 interface.
After downloading the ISO and burning it to disc, I booted. The boot took longer than normal, which took some patience. After boot, I explored a little. One issue I noticed was my inability to mount other partitions in the finder app. Nothing too pertinent, but no recovery options in this live session. I then started the Ubiquity installer. It hung a bit at the second screen, but after a bit of waiting, the process continued as normal. It opened nautilus a.k.a. finder several times during installation, but did close them again. After about 5-10 minutes, installation had finished and I rebooted.
I was greeted with this screen:
More exploring. Unfortunately, one of the first things I noticed was the fact that the system was still using French. A quick reboot fixed this, but it was still annoying as I had already selected english during installation. Pear OS seems to use the fallback session interface for Gnome 3, shunning both Unity and Gnome Shell. The Finder app is simply Nautilus renamed, as are the Pear OS Control Center and Launchpad, which are Gnome System Settings and Slingshot respectively. The icon theme looks like some mashup of Faenza and Mac, and other icons, and is rather inconsistent, although the Clementine icon does look nice.
Default apps include Gnome Documents, Gnome Contacts, Opera web browser, Clementine music player, Back In Time backup utility, and BleachBit. This was the first time I had encountered Back In Time, and I was pleased to meet it.
Here are some screenshots:
It wasn’t immediately obvious that Launchpad was where the list of apps were. It may have been better to at least assign it a keyboard shortcut, or put a shortcut in the top panel. The fact that it was just thrown onto the dock with other apps didn’t differentiate it from the others enough. Pear OS provides a welcoming Mac-like interface for those transitioning to Linux from OS X. It would have been nice for a bit more consistency in the icons, as the default set seems to be a complete jumble. As Clementine is the default media player, it would have been nice to have some more native integration in the dock or panel as well.
There were a few issues that I noticed, particularly the fact that the Pear OS Appstore refused to change its language from French (even after selecting english),
And ugly colors in the Image Viewer toolbar.
Pear OS is an interesting take on new technologies, utilizing Gnome 3 innovation while providing an OS X style interface. OS X users may be able to make more sense of the interface, but with the inconsistencies in icons, colors, and localization, this may not be the distribution that converts them to Linux. While needing a bit more polish, Pear OS 3 provides an intriguing look at the possibilities of the Gnome fallback session.