SuperX OS is a solid Linux distribution that dispels all of the criticisms about using free open source operating systems.SuperX is a relatively new distro developed by Libresoft. Based on Ubuntu and Debian, it adds a highly customized KDE desktop environment. Version 3.0 — dubbed “Grace” after computing pioneer Grace Hopper — was released March 23.
Version releases come out about every 10 months or so, but the maturity and impressive performance of this latest release makes the SuperX OS a prime replacement choice for whatever distro you now use — it is that good.
SuperX OS should be one of the first options for anyone looking to dump Microsoft Windows. It needs almost no learning curve.
A Better KDE
As an advanced Linux fan, I used to prefer the KDE desktop environment for its wide range of configurability and flexibility. However, traditional KDE implementations are often complex and confusing for newcomers, with sometimes overwhelming options to remember. What I especially like about how Libresoft’s SuperX KDE is the way developers tweaked it to be simple and effective.
One example of this tweaking is the absence the Activity feature. Activity is a subset of Virtual Desktops. Each Activity space you create can have its own set of Virtual Desktops. The Activity feature is an alternative virtual desktop. In KDE, you can use both methods.
Each Activity workspace or screen can have its own wallpaper, icons and widgets. I never found the Activity feature in KDE to be anything near useful. It seems not to exist at all in SuperX OS. The right upper corner, the usual hot spot to navigate to the Activity controls, is not a part of SuperX OS.
Over the years I have switched to the Cinnamon desktop. I find its flexibility and configurability rivals that of KDE, but it is simpler and more convenient to access all of its overlapping features. That is the same reaction I have toward how KDE functions in the SuperX OS.
Under the Hood
What caught my eye in this KDE variant distro is its desktop responsiveness. Grace gives more priority to application performance.
The Grace engine compresses unused memory pages within RAM rather than swapping them out to the swap partition. This makes the OS responsive even when the system memory is low. Commonly used applications are preloaded and cached in memory for faster startup of favorite applications.
SuperX Grace comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. This release is a Long Term Support version. It will receive regular software updates and bug fixes until April 2019.
SuperX OS 3.0 runs on most legacy hardware. It excels on well-endowed modern gear.
System requirements are rather basic: minimum 1-GHz processor (dual-core recommended) with at least 1 GB of RAM (2 GB recommended) and 25 GB of disk space.
SuperX 3.0 ships with KDE 4.13.3, Linux kernel 3.13, and a full range of multimedia support. The installer offers an option to install non-open source drivers and codecs to ensure that all audio and video formats play, including Flash-compatible plug-ins.
KDE tends to make older, less-endowed computers sluggish. A favorite old laptop with 1 GB RAM locked up once it fully loaded Super X OS. Other older computers with 2 GB or more RAM worked fine.
The customized KDE 4 desktop environment works impressively well. It sports a dark plasma theme.
SuperX includes all the tweaks of KDE and QT, plus the benefits of some adopted Linux Mint tools.
I like one in particular: SuperX Sources is a fork of Mintsources from Linux Mint. The Package Manager is based on Muon. SuperX has social and instant messaging integration provided via Social Messenger.
SuperX comes preloaded with both the Mozilla Firefox and Chromium browsers, and a fully functional Flash player. The Firefox browser comes with the download manager/accelerator DownThemAll! extension preinstalled.
SuperX’s default video player is VLC. Musique is the default music player. OpenShot video editor is preinstalled, as is the Filezilla file transfer client.
Other solid software packages include KDE games such as Kapman and Potato Guy, LibreOffice office suite, GIMP image editor, Thunderbird email, Kate text editor, KTorrent torrent client, Java, K3B disc burner, GParted partition editor, Kamerka webcam, Konversation IRC client, and more.
Moving around the desktop is very easy in SuperX OS. The corners are hot spots. Push the mouse pointer into the upper left corner of the screen to see an Expo view or thumbnail presentation of all open windows on all virtual workspaces. Pull the mouse pointer out of the corner to return to the standard screen view.
Push the mouse pointer into the lower right corner to see a grid view of the open applications in each workspace. This view gives you the added advantage of seeing which apps are open in each workspace. Click the minus sign in the grid to remove an empty workspace. Click the plus sign to add another workspace.
The left corner holds the main menu button. Click on it to see the full-screen display of all installed programs. The top of the screen shows the Home view. This is the list of Favorite Applications and Recent Documents. Click on the desired file or icon to open the document or load the program.
Also at the top of the screen is the All Applications view. It shows rows of icons arranged by category type. The cursor bar automatically blinks in the search window at the top right of the screen. As you start entering letters of the alphabet, icons for all programs and files appear on the screen under their menu categories.
A Power icon sits in the top center of the menu screen. Click it to see a list of Power options, including Suspend, Restart and Power Off in one row. In a second row are the Session options: Lock, Log Out and New Session.
A fully functional panel bar sits across the bottom of the screen. It holds minimized program labels and the traditional notification emblems. You can place the expected KDE widgets on the panel. They include the option to put a Virtual Desktop Switcher on the panel to make navigation among workspaces a one-click process.
Free or Donate
Libresoft Technology is a privately held company that provides commercial services based on SuperX and other open source technologies.
Do not let the prompt for payment on the download page deter you from trying SuperX OS. Just put $0 in the payment window and press the download button.
Of course, you can voluntarily pay whatever you want for this open source Linux distro. Besides the freemium version — which worked flawlessly on several of my old and new computers — Libresoft offers a professional version for business and enterprise use, with paid support.
SuperX OS has almost all of the applications that an average home or office user would want out of the box. It is quick and easy to add much more.
Do not let the newness of this distro keep you from trying it. This latest release is far more developed than many Linux distros that have been around much longer.
Libresoft did not attempt to reinvent the Linux OS wheel or create a new desktop to add more confusion to an already crowded desktop field. Instead, it focused on fine-tuning one of the most productive Linux desktop environments.
SuperX lives up to its name. It is a superb operating system choice.
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Time flies. Can’t believe it’s been 4 years since this release but now a brand new version featuring KDE Plasma 5 is out. Regular Linux users might be somewhat frustrated by the restricted system options but these have been put in place to satisfy the developer’s core market. Suffice to say an ‘unlock script’ for these features is already being worked on. I installed this latest version on a real bottom end system and also added Compiz & Emerald. Everything works well with no issues and is fast considering the system specs. With so much garbage software coming out of India (and China) this is one of the few pieces that has retained my interest.
I’ve tried many, many distros in the past and some of my favorites are Manjaro, Mint and Zorin. I just installed SuperX and so far I AM really, very impressed. It’s functional, simple and beautiful. It’s also pretty snappy on my aging linux box.
I’m really looking forward to spending some more time with this distro.
You are one of a very few internet science and technology writers with any credibility, due to your obvious knowledge, and hard work and study of your subject before "putting pencil to paper". Clarity, conciseness, and a very good penchant for teaching ‘don’t hurt none, neither’.
Keep up the outstanding work.
By the way, does SuperX support non-PAE processors (I know I could–possibly–get this info from SuperX, but MY penchant is laziness)?