UbuntuDDE weds Deepin Desktop with the latest Ubuntu for a beautiful, user-friendly distro

If aesthetics and ease of use are two of your top priorities in a desktop operating system, UbuntuDDE is here to fulfill both needs.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The default UbuntuDDE desktop.

UbuntuDDE uses Deepin Desktop to create an elegant operating system.

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Five years ago, I proclaimed Deepin Linux one of the most beautiful desktops on the market. The only problem I found with Deepin was its software center, which had a tendency to prompt users to install what could have been less-than-trustworthy software. 

That lack of trust gave a lot of users pause and Deepin fell off many a "best of" list. That same distrust also led to the birth of another Ubuntu spin, this one called UbuntuDDE -- and it's not only a thing of beauty but as user-friendly as Deepin was, without the concern for malicious software.

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UbuntuDDE marries a Ubuntu base (currently 23.04) with the Deepin Desktop. UbuntuDDE also includes its own software store, called DDE Store, which uses the official Ubuntu repositories.

In other words, UbuntuDDE is a perfectly safe rendition of Deepin that anyone can trust and enjoy.

When you first get a taste of UbuntuDDE, you might think the desktop is the love child of GNOME and KDE. The desktop looks like it contains elements of GNOME (such as the Application Overview) with the aesthetics of KDE. Although that is not the case, that combination certainly makes for a gorgeous and easy-to-use desktop. 

You'll find a split bottom panel. On the left side is a collection of launchers (from left to right - Launcher, Show Desktop, Multitasking View, File Manager, Photo Album, Music player, Calendar, Control Center, Software Updater, and Trash. The secondary panel is the system tray that contains things like keyboard selector, network options, clock, and power control.

Click the Launcher and what looks like GNOME's Application Overview appears, complete with search bar.

The default UbuntuDDE menu.

The Deepin menu looks very much like the GNOME Application Overview.

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If you don't like the Application Overview-like launcher, click the icon in the upper right corner and it will switch to a more traditional menu, where you can opt to sort items alphabetically or by category.

The alternative UbuntuDDE desktop menu.

A more traditional desktop menu for UbuntuDDE.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

UbuntuDDE ships with plenty of software, such as Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, GIMP, Cheese, and much more. You'll even find Snap installed, which makes it easy to add third-party proprietary software such as Spotify and Slack. Along with those tools, you'll also find a collection of the standard Deepin tools, such as Deepin Music, Deepin Movie, Deepin Calculator, Deepin Log Viewer, and Deepin Text Editor. All of these tools come together to make a well-rounded desktop operating system that is as easy on the eyes as it is to use.

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Even the UbuntuDDE Control Center is well thought out. You'll find the main window broken down into easy-to-understand categories, such as accounts, display, default applications, personalizations, and more. 

The UbuntuDDE Control Center.

The Control Center is laid out in easy-to-view categories.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Here's the only knock on UbuntuDDE I could find: The first time I installed an application via Snap, the process was considerably slower than normal. I assumed that was just Snap being Snap and needing to sync with Snapcraft or something. However, even after that first run, Snap installations weren't nearly as "snappy" as I've grown used to. That could be because I was running UbuntuDDE as a virtual machine. Even so, I've had other VMs that didn't suffer from sluggish Snap installations. 

Who is UbuntuDDE for?

That's a simple question to answer. UbuntuDDE is for anyone (regardless of skill level) who wants to migrate from either MacOS or Windows but wants to use an elegant desktop that is not complicated and can be trusted to serve reliably and securely. That is what UbuntuDDE brings to the table. 

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Download an ISO for UbuntuDDE, burn it to a flash drive, and install it on a spare desktop or laptop computer. I'm confident you'll find this Linux distribution to be a stellar replacement for your current operating system.

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