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A Quick Look At Chapeau Linux 23

As I have mentioned here before, I tend to hop around operating systems on my laptop - primarily different Linux distros. This time around, I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit - away from the Ubuntu-based universe. 

Chapeau is a sort of kinder, gentler Fedora; it is also based upon Red Hat Linux, and the default desktop is Gnome 3. The more cosmopolitan among you may have realized that "chapeau" is French for "hat" - see what they did there?

A noticeable difference from Fedora is that Chapeau has quite a bit of third-party software installed/available, and the initial impression is one of a full-featured distribution that is ready to go, as far as multimedia and gaming is concerned.

Many Linux users eschew the use of third-party programs on principle, but there are enough distros out there to satisfy most peoples tastes and preferences in that regard, and personally I don't mind one way or the other. 

Chapeau is available as a 64-bit ISO live DVD image, and I installed from that without incident - although the installer (Anaconda, I think) confused me a little as to the process for wiping my existing drive. As mentioned, I tend to use Ubuntu-based distros, and those installers are somewhat different. I figured it out.
Once I restarted after installing, the login screen appeared and I proceeded as expected - however there was a pretty ghastly graphical glitch and I thought something had crashed, but after a couple of seconds, the desktop appeared. All my hardware was detected correctly including the trackpad, and connecting to my home wireless network was intuitive and painless.

One thing I noticed almost immediately (and I don't usually care much about this sort of thing) was that the default font seemed a bit - not ugly, exactly -  but odd. I am not a font guy, so I am not sure exactly why it seemed odd to me, it just is. The font size seemed too small to my old eyes as well, although the screen resolution was set correctly. 

A little digging and I found that the initial font scaling is set like that - I used the built-in "Tweak Tool" to increase the scaling to closer to 1.0, which helped. I have not yet fiddled with the actual fonts being used. Tweak Tool does seems like a nice way to allow quick access to several system settings.

Updates are pretty slow, but for all I know this may be a Fedora thing; it showed a "this may take some time" warning, and it did.  The initial update took about 20 minutes to show which updates were available, although it had apparently downloaded them in the background during this time. I did not note how large the updates were, but there were about a dozen items.

I was then prompted to reboot to apply the updates, which was a new one on me with Linux - again, that may be a Fedora feature. The actual update installation took less than 10 minutes, and another reboot, but was otherwise uneventful. Even so, 30 minutes seems more like a Windows update cycle than that of a modern Linux distro.

I still don't quite "get" the Gnome 3 interface, mostly because I am kinda stodgy in some aspects and I am used to the "Start button and menu" paradigm introduced by Windows 95 way back when - I still don't see how the Gnome 3 layout is intrinsically "better".

That being said, it works well enough, and other than the graphical glitch after the login screen (which shows up on every reboot, but not when waking from sleep) the Gnome desktop is smooth and responsive on my almost 4-year old AMD-powered Samsung laptop.

The default Chapeau software selection allows for the playback of DVD and Blu-Ray disks, as well as playing games on Steam, and using Wine to run some Windows software in Linux. Firefox is the default web browser, and VLC is the default video player (both of which I typically use anyway).

Chapeau also features integration with Google drive, which I did not try yet. I did set up Dropbox, and it worked as expected with no issues.

A tip of the hat then for the Chapeau team (sorry, I could not resist) for producing  a very pleasing non-Ubuntu based distro.


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