Monday, September 20, 2021

Cutefish is an adorable Linux desktop environment that could make serious waves

Jack Wallen believes that a new Linux desktop environment could be a big hit when it launches.

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I love a good desktop environment. I love desktop environments that are user-friendly and modern in design. This is why elementaryOS was my favorite Linux distribution for so many years. I eventually moved away from that desktop and settled on Pop!_OS partly due to the purchase System76 Thelio desktop. Pop!_OS and COSMIC offer the perfect combination of efficiency, performance, and modern design.

SEE: 5 Linux server distributions you should be using (TechRepublic Premium)

Every now and again, I feel the urge to try a new desktop environment. Cutefish was a brand-new desktop environment that I discovered.

This interface was special at first glance. Cutefish is already showing that it could be a good option for the masses.

This is one gorgeous desktop. Beautiful.

Cutefish is built with Qt Quick and is a straight-up reminder of macOS—which, from my perspective, is not a bad thing. Apple has done many things right, including the macOS desktop. Cutefish isn’t an exact replica of Apple’s renowned interface, but it’s still very similar. However, any desktop with a dock (rather than a taskbar) smacks macOS. It’s why so many people compare elementaryOS to macOS. 

Cutefish is, however, not ready to be used by the masses, as I already mentioned. In fact, the developers haven’t even created their distribution. Cutefish can be installed on Arch Linux or Manjaro. You can also download a pre-installed test version of Manjaro. Cutefish was very difficult to get working on Manjaro my first time I tried it. This version was slow and unresponsive at times. 

For those who have Manjaro running, you can always use Cutefish to try a different experience. The install command is:

sudo pacman -S cutefish

However, I wouldn’t recommend this route. Instead, download the pre-built version to create a virtual machine. This will give you the full Cutefish experience without the tedious work.

Even if you decide to go the full-blown Manjaro route, remember that this desktop is still in the early stages of development. So, everything should be viewed through the lens of understanding … as in, understand that things probably won’t work as expected. Despite that, I love this desktop. It’s not perfect, but Cutefish shows that a Linux-based desktop can be perfectly tailored to users’ needs. Cutefish comes pre-installed with a floating dock, and a top panel. It is easy to add applications to the dock. All you have to do is open Cutefish, right-click the icon in your dock and select Pin. This desktop is the most user-friendly I’ve ever seen. It’s quick and easy to use.Figure A.

Figure A

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The default Cutefish desktop interface is easy to use and accessible immediately.

The top panel doesn’t do much, but clicking on the system tray will open a popup that lets you control sound, Bluetooth, dark mode, and power options (Figure B.

Figure B

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The popup menu for the system tray is just as well-designed and intuitive as the rest of Cutefish’s desktop.

Cutefish is very much like elementaryOS. It doesn’t offer much in the way software included. The Firefox web browser, Kate text editor and Konsole terminal window are all included. Also, a Bluetooth manager, settings tool, and a software center are available. You can find all these apps within the GNOME-like Application Overview.Figure C.

Figure C

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The Cutefish application menu looks similar to GNOME. 

VirtualBox resizing is not compatible with the Manjaro Cutefish edition. Therefore, everything looks smaller than it should. Cutefish is adorable, despite this caveat.

Cutefish is still in its early stages of development, but this desktop interface caught my eye. If they continue on their current path, they’ll have something quite special. I do hope that they will offer this desktop for other distributions than Arch or Manjaro. It would be a shame if new-to Linux users were to miss out on this exceptional desktop because the underlying distribution is a little too difficult for less-skilled users. Manjaro makes Arch accessible to people who haven’t had years of Linux experience. However, it is not Ubuntu or Mint. 

I recommend that you keep an eye out for this desktop. Cutefish could really make waves once it is finally released to the public.

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