Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Linux Deepin 12.12 Review

I had some time today so I decided to check out Linux Deepin 12.12. Linux Deepin is a Chinese distribution based on Ubuntu 13.04. It comes with its own desktop environment called Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and its own set of default applications.

The look & feel of Deepin is very similar to the Window 7 desktop with transparency, shadows and glass effects. While the Windows 7 theme may not appeal to all Linux users, the desktop is extremely well-polished, and one of the prettiest desktops that I have seen since I came across the elementary desktop a few years ago. If you are someone who enjoys trying out new Linux distros then Deepin is something that you don't want to miss.

The Desktop

The DDE desktop is based on Compiz. There's a compiz-based dock at the bottom of the screen which acts as the taskbar. Moving the mouse over an aplication icon shows a preview window similar to the Windows 7 taskbar. The desktop supports icon grouping. Dragging one icon over another will create an icon group.

Application Launcher

Deepin uses the default Gnome Shell launcher. Clicking the first icon on the dock or moving the mouse to the top-left corner of the screen starts the application launcher.

Default Apps

Deepin comes with its own set of default apps:

  • DPlayer for playing videos (based on mplayer2)
  • DMusic for playing music
  • Deepin Software Center
  • DSnapshot for taking screenshots

The default apps have a glassy UI which fits well with the Windows 7 theme of Deepin.


DPlayer is based on MPlayer2 and can therefore play any format that you throw at it. The seek bar displays a preview when you move your mouse over it. There's an in-built video converter with limited options that can be used to convert videos for mobile devices.


DMusic is the default music player with a very unique feature. It downloads lyrics automatically and displays the song lyrics at the bottom of the desktop. While the lyric search is a hit and miss affair, the compiz-powered display of lyrics looks very nice on the desktop. DMusic has three UI modes which can be toggled with a button.

Deepin Software Center

Deepin has one of the best looking Software Centers I have seen to date. The window layout is very neat with a separate view for uninstalling installed apps and upgrading packages.



Linux Deepin can be downloaded from its website.

Download Linux Deepin 12.12

Due to the use of Compiz and heavy graphics, Deepin is sluggish when run in a virtual machine (even after enabling 3D acceleration). Try out Deepin by installing it to a USB drive if you have one lying around.