Act 3: Symphony OS Beta 1 PR1

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Symphony OS Beta 1 PR1 was released today and each time I visit the site, I notice the number of downloads is increasing at an amazing rate. Interest is high in this innovative desktop system and Mezzo is probably the reason. This release brings some new features, bug fixes, and improved performance and stability. The following is what Tuxmachines found upon booting the new Symphony OS Beta One Preview One.

For those not in the know, I'll borrow a summary from symphonyos.com, "Symphony OS is a Desktop computer operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux and Knoppix GNU/Linux. Rather than using the KDE or Gnome Desktop environments as most Linux distributions do, the Symphony OS team has created the revolutionary Mezzo Desktop environment. Mezzo is the revolutionary desktop system that disposes of standard concepts like "The desktop is a folder" and nasty nested menu systems that are hard to navigate and harder to manage and instead presents all needed information directly to the user via the main desktop and four desk targets for tasks and files related to Computer, Programs, Files, and Trash."

        

As announced today, this beta brings with it:

* Improved stability in mezzo

* New faster orchestra renderer now using .orchestra for it's profile (singular)

* Updated applications

* Added Totem Media Player

* Build no longer uses set knoppix paths so it can be installed and used multi-user with GDM or KDM

* Startup uses livecd-init while in livecd mode and desktop-init when starting from GDM/KDM

* Profiles no longer needed for each orchestra app.. No more Select Profile dialogs I hope.

Although a hard drive installer is present, this release is said to be a livecd only. The developers hope a future beta will be installable. I tested the installer again this release and it does work, but there are still some issues that need to be ironed out. There were a few ambitious users who worked out a hack and were discussing it in the symphony forums, but for now just using the installer as it is, all I get is a big blank screen. No one is more anxious than I am for the installer to be ready, but for now, we have a revolutionary livecd with which to play. In a league all their own, Symphony OS is paving the road to a new way of thinking.

Each release brings new features, better functionality, and revamped appearance. As we are greeted by the desktop this time we find a new background, again in blues, however noticeably missing the telltail Symphony OS logo. We find three focal boxes to begin our journey. Two with clickable links and one with a future option of rss'in some news headlines (so it appears). The first box contains links to the mostly used application types in computer and internet history:

  • Favorite Programs

    • Web Browser

    • Email
    • Instant Messenger

        

And in the second we find probably the most used folders:

  • Favorite Folders

    • My Files

    • Documents
    • Music
    • Pictures
    • Downloads


When one clicks on the little Symphony OS logo in the lower left hand corner, one is presented with the Programs desktop. This could be thought of as perhaps your menu. It contains click application links. Offered in three semi-transparent focal boxes we find:

  • Favorite Programs

    • Web Browser
      Mozilla Firefox

    • Email
      Mozilla Thunderbird

    • Instant Messenger
      Gaim
  • All Programs

    • AbiWord Word Processor

    • Firefox
    • Gaim Internet Messenger
    • Gnotepad
    • Thunderbird Mail Client
    • Terminal
    • Mozilla Thunderbird
    • Totem Movie Player
  • Tasks

    • Run Program

    • Install/Remove Programs (inoperative)
    • Edit favorite Programs (inoperative)

        

In the upper left hand corner is Computer. Clicking this icon brings one to a desktop featuring all your devices, settings configs, and some common tasks; again in the now familiar semi-transparent organizational boxes. These choices are:

  • Devices
  • Settings

    • Background Picture

    • Configure Network
    • Configure Sound
  • Tasks

    • Install Symphony OS to Hard Drive (semi-inoperative)

    • About My Computer
    • Shutdown

        

The lower right corner is your Trash can. The upper right hand corner features a folder icon and clicking on it opens your File menu. On this desktop we find some favorite locations, recent or new files, and a task box. It is laid out like so:

  • Favorite Locations

    • My Files

    • Documents
    • Music
    • Pictures
    • Downloads
  • New & Recent Files
  • Tasks

    • Search Files (semi-inoperative)

    • Browse Files
    • Edit Favorite Locations (inoperative)

    

Symphony OS has its roots in Knoppix and this release features linux-2.6.11, gcc 3.3.6, and XFree86 4.3.0.1. This time I was able to test out the "toram" feature and this makes for a much more enjoyable experience. As I also tested run from CD method, I found the baseline performance increased as well. Many more things were working this version although some things still weren't. Symphony OS just gets better and better each release and this project is one of Tuxmachines' favorites. It is certainly stable and fast enough for use. I encourage everyone to test drive this wonderful original system. If you wish to peruse older articles on this revolutionary operating system, please find see SymphonyOS - Act II (Alpha 4) or Putting on my Tie & Tails. In looking back, one can see how Symphony OS is maturing and improving. More screenshots of this release can be found in the gallery.