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[Review] Pear OS 8: It’s All About Looks

Notice: Pear OS has been discontinued.

Apple’s Mac OS is known for its elegant looks. No surprise that some Linux distribution try to look like Mac. Elementary OS Luna has done a good job on imitating OS X look but Pear OS 8 does it better. Like Elementary OS, Pear OS too is based on Ubuntu but unfortunately this OS is so buggy that you will never realize that it is based on easy to use Ubuntu Linux.

Pear OS is a one man distribution and French developer David Tavares has done an excellent job on using Gnome to give a Mac OS as well as iOS looks. But this focus on looks has left so many bugs in the OS that it will frustrate you to the limits. Before I go on listing the pros and cons, lets take a screenshot tour of Pears OS 8:

Screenshot tour of Pear OS 8:

You can open this gallery to take a quick screenshot tour of Pear OS 8:

Every OS has its pros and cons. You tend to explore things as you stick to the OS for some time. I have been using Pear OS 8 for a week now and I’ll like to point out the good, the bad and the ugly side of it.

Thumbs Up:

Installing Pear OS 8 is quite easy since it is based on Ubuntu. You can read the complete guide to install Pear OS 8 in dual boot with Windows 8.

As stated earlier, Pear OS 8 has done a wonderful job in imitating Mac OS X and iOS. I really wonder how come Pear OS has escaped Apple’s lawsuit radar till now. May be because it is not that popular for the moment. I have a strong feeling that as soon as it gets considerable popularity, Apple’s lawyer will be up David’s behind. After all, if Apple can sue Samsung for rounded corners, Pear OS has done much more than that.

Anyways, coming to good things in Pear OS 8. Apart from the Mac like looks, it has its own Pear Cloud which gives 2 GB of free storage. Pear Os also has a PPA manager installed by default which lets you manage the PPAs in a better and easier way. Of course you can install Y PPA Manager in Ubuntu and other distributions, but keeping a PPA manager by default is a nice idea.

And then there is Clean My Pear app which allows you to delete unwanted files, cache and other temp files. It’s somewhat like BleachBit. A good to have app. To install new software you have Pear Software Center which is nothing but Ubuntu Software Center.

The thing that I liked the most in Pear OS 8 is the default music app Musique. Its a bit slow in scanning the library but it does a fine job otherwise specially with the thumbnails. I wonder if this app is available for other distributions.

Pear OS 8 Musique app

Thumbs down:

List is huge in fact. Despite of being based on a beginner friendly OS Ubuntu, Pear OS 8 has several basic things not working by default. For example, default apps for audio and video files are missing while for images, Firefox is the default application. Why on earth would it do that if it there are Musique, VLC and Shotwell installed by default? Now, you’ll say I am exaggerating and can simply change the default apps, well, there it goes ugly. It does not allow to set a default app for audio and video. Bite it.

Pear OS 8 review

That’s not it. You will never realize that VLC is installed by default. Its not in right click context menu, its not in launchpad. I found it when I tried to install VLC and I was notified that VLC is already installed. I ran VLC from terminal and locked it to dock and for the future use, I am dragging and dropping the files in it. Surprisingly, if you install another video player (such as SM Player), it can be easily set as default app. I tried re-installing VLC, but it was still ‘invisible’ in Pear OS 8.

Oh, I also found out that while installing an application using apt-get in terminal, you don’t need sudo access. Wow!

Then there is this issue with Pear Updater. Pear Updater is equivalent of Software Updater in Ubuntu. Pear updater notified me that there were 7 updates available but despite of repeated attempt, it never installed it (though it showed that updates were installed). I had to use Synaptic to install the updates. You can read more about how I fixed the Pear Updater issue.

Pears OS 8 Pear Updater

Pear Cloud which provides 2 GB of free cloud storage behaves strangely. I created a Pear ID, I could log in to the web interface but the same credentials never accepted in the desktop app:

Pear OS 8 Review

Well, this is not the only thing that doesn’t work. There is an Apple like Contact apps which does not work either. Try adding or uploading contacts and it will throw error, that too in French.

Pear_OS-8-Contacts

In the last, there is no Office application installed by default in Pear OS 8. Even if you install LibreOffice, it is not properly integrated and menu bar is not integrated in the global menu bar.

Conclusion:

I don’t understand the point of reinventing the wheel if you can’t make it better. Linux Mint has reinvented the wheel (Ubuntu) in a better one. Pear OS, on the other hand, while reinventing the wheel has focused so much on its look that the wheel is not ‘roll-able’ any more. May be square shape looks nicer but a wheel still needs to be circular to be able to roll.

Pear OS 8 seems to be released in a hurry. Pear OS 8 website and forum were hacked couple of days before the scheduled release of Pear OS 8. Since it’s a one man manged Linux distribution, its possible that he might be distracted with that. But still, its around two months since it was released first and two months are good enough to fix the said basic issues.

To conclude, Pear OS 8 could still be a good choice for people obsessed with Mac OS looks. They will have to find some workarounds to fix the numerous issues to make it work. For the rest of Linux users, beginners or seasoned, there is nothing that could make you switch to Pear OS 8 fro Ubuntu or Linux Mint or any other popular Linux distribution.

Have you ever used Pear OS 8? What are your experience with it? Do share your views in the comment section.

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