As I continue my tour of different Linux desktop environments, I’m going to start playing with Deepin, or Deepin DE. Let’s see how it works !
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Deepin greets you with a very simple desktop,, with just a dock at the bottom of the screen. You get the option to use “fashion mode”, which is just a dock at the bottom, with some system indicators such as network or battery life, and system menus, or the “efficient mode”, which resembles Windows, with a task bar, indicators on the right, and a “show desktop menu”.
It hosts a launcher, which opens a GNOME like grid of all applications installed, a multitasking view shortcut, similar to what the elementary OS one does, spreading all windows for you to see, and showing virtual desktops, and then some application shortcuts.with the Deepin File Manager, Deepin Store, Deepin Music, Deepin Movie, Google CHrome, Control center, and “disk”, which is a handy applet allowing you to see all available disks quickly. You can add app shortcuts just by dragging them to the panel, or by right clikcing its icon when the app is started, and selecting “dock”.
With Deepin, the desktop can store files, countrary to GNOME or elementary OS. With a right click, you get the option to create folders or documents, with handy templates already created for office documents, as well as accessing some settings, such as the corner settings, to select hot corner functionnality, from turning off the screen, opening the control center, showing all windows, opening the launcher, or simply showing the desktop.
You can also get to the wallpaper settings through this context menu.
This is Deepin’s implementation of the system settings. The first thing that you’ll notice, is that it pops up from the right edge of the screen: it’s not an application, with its own window, it’s part notification center, and part control center, ressembling the Mac OS X equivalent, for notifications. It uses transparency and blur efficiently, and looks very good, although since it’s monochrome, it isn’t always easy to use muscle and visual memory to find what you’re looking for. The settings are dispatched into neat categories, and you can just scroll from one category to another, which limits the number of clicks, but can be quite weird at first. I’ll go into more detail about what is available in this control center, but it does look the part and is a new, innovative implementation of settings.
We’ll go into more details in a separate video, but let’s just say that Deepin likes to bring its own version of stuff. Almost everything, from the file manage,r to the music player, the video player, the application store, the terminal, text editor, calendar, image viewer, sound recorder, even the system monitor and the screenshot tool are custom Deepin applications. They all look quite consistent, with the same stark white theme, window controls on the right, and application menu left of the minimize button.
Windows and desktops
Deepin obviously uses application windows, with controls on the right, which look quite like the windows controls. It keeps the minimize, maximize, and close order, and adds an app menu, which lets you get to some quick options, such as the settings, or shortcuts to create a new window, or exit the application. All default Deepin apps also allow you to select a dark theme on a per-app basis, which persists after closing the window.. This is an awesome touch that I wish other distros would implement.
The overview opens a complete view of all available windows, and virtual desktops, which you can rearrange by drag and drop, and customize with different wallpapers. The whole implementation is very straightforward and nicely animated.
Performance was pretty good. Apps open quickly, the desktop reacts nicely, and all animations ran smooth as butter. Memory consumption seems to be around 1.2 to 1.4 Gb of RAM when Idle, which is high, but not terribly. CPU consumption was altogether very low as well.
To conclude this first tour, I’m impressed with the attention to detail that went into Deepin. The desktop looks great and smooth, everything is nicely animated and uses vivid colors, and the basic features I need from a desktop environment are all very easy to find an comprehensible. Default apps seem nicely built, and apart from some translation hiccups here and there, everything was smooth and clean. With basic but easy to find customization options, the Deepin Desktop Experience is a welcoming one.
I’ll keep using Deepin for the next month or so, taking a tour of the applications, the system settings, the customization options, available software, and so on, so bear with me.
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