In this Linux desktop environment review, we have a slightly controversial choice. Deep in, both as a distribution and as an office environment, is an environment that not everyone feels comfortable using and trusted. However, we’ll put that aside, dispel some myths and take a look at the beautiful Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE), its user experience, some notable features, and give recommendations on where to experience it and who should use it.
Deepin First Impressions
One of the first things that struck me while using Deepin is its visual aspect. It takes a lot of really great design elements from across the Linux ecosystem and combines them into a desktop environment. It’s a bit of this, a bit of that, and it’s a truly unique experience to use. It looks complete, like something someone would customize an installation of KDE Plasma to.
Deepin’s user experience is remarkably similar to a traditional desktop paradigm, albeit a bit more sophisticated than normal. You have it all on the bottom taskbar, including a searchable app menu, pinned icons for favorite apps, and a system tray with all kinds of useful info. It’s surprisingly traditional.
One of the main features of Deepin is the Deepin Tool Kit or DTK. It is a framework for creating Deepin applications, similar to GTK. DTK makes Deepin look very specific and makes applications developed for Deepin look very cohesive, just as GNOME applications tend to do.
Speaking of Deepin apps, there are several apps native to the Deepin desktop environment. Everything from the file manager to the app store to the calculator has all been specially designed for Deepin. It’s very similar to Pantheon, where the developers had a very special image in mind when creating Deepin.
Deepin File Manager
One of the benefits of building your own applications for your desktop environment is that you are in control of every little detail. One such example is Deepin File Manager. I have never seen a file manager bring in so much useful detail from other desktop operating systems.
It has great folder icons at a reasonable size for most Linux distributions, but it also has a good place where it shows you the partitions mounted in the “Computer” folder. Rather than going to the “/” directory and finding your various partitions that way, or worse yet going to “Other locations”, you can simply access it from the default screen of the file manager. files. I really like this because it gives me complete transparency and control over my file system.
Deepin App Store
The Deepin app store reminds me a lot of Discover from KDE Plasma, but it’s a bit better integrated. There are tons of categories on the left, and there are a bunch of apps in the Deepin App Store that have (wine) next to them. This means that these are Windows applications that run under Wine. The whole process is transparent. All you have to do is click on “Install” and the application will install and run under Wine.
Moreover, nothing is hidden from you. VNC servers and sensor apps are all visible to you. There is nothing difficult to find. It makes me feel like there is so much software available for my Linux desktop.
One thing that I really miss in most Linux desktop environments is a good settings menu. The macOS Settings menu is so easy to navigate and makes me want something like that on my Linux desktop. The Deepin Control Center is just that: a simple, icon-based settings manager that gives me what I need without a whole lot of extra cruelty.
Performance is one of the areas where Deepin is starting to suffer. At rest, Deepin hovers over around 870MB of RAM and 8% CPU usage. That’s a lot to ask of a machine, especially considering that one of the benefits of Linux is to “revive your old hardware”. Deepin is not suitable for those of you looking to use it on much older hardware.
That said, if your hardware can handle it, the actual performance of the system is excellent. Applications open fairly quickly, the switch from virtual desktop to virtual desktop is seamless, and overall it’s a great experience to use on capable hardware.
The disadvantages of Deepin
One of the biggest drawbacks for me is the feeling of being juvenile. It’s a tough line to walk, but between the default icon theme that looks cartoonish and the odd look of the multitasking view, it looks like a system aimed at someone half my age, if not younger. . Personally, I don’t like the visual design and I have a hard time getting used to it.
Where to discover Deepin
The most obvious place is Deep in. This was my role model for this review, and I would say it’s a shining example of the good things about DDE. If you don’t want to use Deepin, DDE is also available for a variety of distributions.
Who should use Deepin
Anyone who really likes the aesthetic of Deepin would be a great candidate. The DE is very aesthetically oriented, and it’s a perfect fit for someone who wants just that.
Be sure to check out our other desktop environment reviews including GNOME, XFCE, Cinnamon, and more. Also check out our other Deepin content: like our Deepin Linux review and a great guide to making Deepin closer to Windows in 3 clicks.
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