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Innovation

Deepin 23 Preview shows the Linux distribution has plenty to offer

Here's a rundown of the latest preview release of Deepin Linux and if it's a worthy contender to be your next operating system.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
Woman sitting on couch with paper calendar and laptop
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Once upon a time, Deepin Linux was heralded as the single most beautiful Linux distribution on the market. And it was. There was a certain polish the UI had that others couldn't match. The funny thing about competition is that it breeds innovation. 

The second that other Linux distributions caught wind of how Deepin had pretty much taken the market by storm, they decided it was time to get serious about competing with the new kid on the block.

Now, when I install Deepin Linux, I don't get that same feeling I had when I first experienced it. 

What the Deepin Desktop offers is now more commonplace than it was. That doesn't mean, however, that it's not a highly polished desktop operating system. It is and it certainly looks the part.

Deepin desktop is its own thing, but you can easily see hints of both KDE Plasma and Gnome, so it's obvious the designers and developers took hints from two of the best open-source desktops on the market and made something special. 

Also: These 2 Linux desktops are the simplest picks for new users

For instance, with a click of a button, you can switch between a very Gnome-like Application overview and a KDE Plasma desktop menu. In fact, that's a pretty clear indication that Deepin is all about the user. And the latest preview release of the desktop distribution goes a long way to continue driving that point home.

Two desktops side by side

A tale of two desktop menus as seen through the eyes of Deepin. The Gnome-like UI is on the left, whereas the KDE Plasma-like UI is on the right.

Screenshots by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Recently, the developers made available a preview release of Deepin 23 and there are plenty of exciting additions to the distribution. Let's take a look at what these new features and improvements are.

What is Deepin?

You might have never heard of Deepin. If so, I'll give you the short answer to the question. Deepin is a desktop operating system that is devoted to providing a beautiful, user-friendly, safe, and reliable operating system for everyone. Developed in China, Deepin did go through a period where a good portion of the Linux community was concerned that the operating system was tracking information via the Deepin app store.

To add to that concern (whether it was intentional or not), Deepin was completely acquired by Wuhan Deepin Technology, which is a state-run corporation. That means the Chinese government has even more control over Deepin OS. That doesn't however, mean there should be any concern. Deepin is open source, so anyone can audit the code, which is housed on GitHub.

With all that said, Deepin is a beautiful, user-friendly distribution, and Version 23 looks to add considerable polish to something that was already pretty shiny.

Let's take a look at what's coming with this distribution.

Also: How to choose the right Linux desktop distribution 

Linglong

Linglong is a new package format that was developed by Deepin that hopes to solve a number of compatibility issues of traditional package managers, as well as reduce security issues. To accomplish this, Linglong centralizes the control of permissions. 

Linglong is also available to any Linux distribution and there's also a Linglong Web Store with a few apps to install. Remember, however, this is still in early development.

Atomic updates

This feature should raise the eyebrows of anyone who understands how easily an update can go sideways. Essentially, an atomic update is one that protects a system from an update going wrong. 

An atomic update will install updates but if anything should go wrong during the update, the system can easily be reverted back with no changes having been made. This means you will effectively avoid any catastrophe that might normally be associated with updates.

Other new features

Those two features alone are pretty game-changing and are big enough to mention on their own. There are a few other changes that make the list, including:

  • New wallpapers
  • New repositories
  • HWE 5.18 kerne
  • A new independent development stream has been added

You might not find drastic changes to the UI in this release. But remember, this is a preview, so anything could happen between now and the final release. If you do choose to test Deepin 23, remember to not install it on a production machine, as this release can be a bit unstable. Should you want to give the preview a go, download the ISO from the Deepin CD Image site (ISO) and have at it.

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