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Linux Deepin Brings Mac-Like Sensibility to the Linux Desktop

When we consider the Linux desktop, most often GNOME 3, Ubuntu Unity, KDE, Cinnamon, and XFCE come to mind. Those desktops range from the old-school functional to the new-school modern. Each has its strengths and weaknesses along with a vocal following to give it a push into the eyes of the public. For the most part, we use one of those desktops with little thought to making a switch. That’s been my modus operandi for the longest time. Ubuntu Unity has been my desktop. I enjoy its combination of efficiency, powerhouse search, and modern flare.

But then along comes Linux Deepin, a distribution from China that looks to upturn the Linux desktop with an almost Apple-like sensibility. Linux Deepin offers a keen UI design that outshines most every desktop you’ve experienced. Along with that total redesign of the UI, comes a few bonus apps that might easily steal the show from most default apps.

The second you boot up Linux Deepin, and are greeted with the animated starscape login screen, you know you’re working with something a bit different. But what makes this relative newcomer so special? Let’s examine some of the pieces that set Linux Deepin apart.

There are primarily three aspects of Linux Deepin you’ll want to get to know: 

  • Desktop

  • Control Center

  • Deepin Apps.

Let’s look at each.

Deepin Desktop

The Linux Deepin desktop consists of two major parts: Dock and Launcher.

Although each are, fundamentally, straightforward, you’ll find minor additions that make the Deepin Desktop a thing of elegance and simplicity. Before we get into those pieces, let’s look at the whole.

First, the Launcher. If you’ve ever used GNOME 3.x, you’ll be immediately familiar with the Deepin Launcher. However, the Deepin Launcher doesn’t include all of the bells and whistles within GNOME 3. Instead, Deepin opts for ease of use. The Launcher can be opened by either hovering the cursor in the upper left hot corner, or by clicking the Super (or “Windows”) key. When the Launcher opens, you’ll be greeted by the Favorites menu (Figure 1).

deepin favorites

Adding applications to the Favorites menu is a simple matter of right-clicking an app launcher and selecting Add to Favorites. do you reach the installed apps? With the Deepin Launcher opened, click on the upper left corner (four small squares in a circle). This will reveal the app categories (Figure 2).

deepin launcher

You can either scroll through all of your installed apps, or click on a category on the left edge of the Launcher. The categories are locked (so you cannot edit them). I did a test to see how the Launcher handled newly installed apps. I wasn’t at all surprised icons were automatically added when installing from the Deepin Software Center. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see the Deepin Launcher automatically add an icon for an app installed via command line (app tested was Calibre).

One added feature to the Launcher is a search. There is no visible sign that a search exists; but if you open the launcher and type the first few letters of an app's name, the results will immediately appear.


The Deepin Dock is fairly straightforward. You can add launchers to the Dock from within the Launcher (right-click and select Send to dock). Launchers can be removed by right-clicking a launcher on the Dock and selecting Undock. A launcher can be moved by clicking on a launcher and dragging it to another spot on the dock.

If you right-click a blank spot on the Dock, three options will appear: 

  • Keep showing

  • Keep hidden

  • Auto hide. 

As of this writing (beta version of Linux Deepin 2014), the functionality of the Dock hiding is a bit off. The only way to get Auto Hide to work is to select Keep hidden. When that option is selected, the Dock will disappear after a moment of inactivity on the Dock. To get the dock back, simply hover your cursor over the bottom of the screen.

Finally, one of the nicest features of the Dock is that some launchers offer interactive pop ups when you hover over the launcher. For example, the Wi-Fi icon will display all available networks when you hover over the icon.

To connect to a different wireless network, hover over the Wi-Fi icon and select a network from the popup.

Control Center 

The Deepin Control Center is one of the finest examples of how to set up a central repository for desktop configurations. If you click on the Control Center icon on the Dock a side-bar will open on the right side of the screen (Figure 3). From this Control Center, you can handle nearly every configuration necessary.

 deepin control center

From within the Deepin Control Center, you can configure everything from user accounts to the boot menu. No other distribution (that I have found) offers such a complete control center. You can even drag and drop and image into the Boot Menu for a Startup Screen.

Another incredibly handy tool, within the Control Center, is the Shortcuts tool. From here (Figure 4), you can assign keyboard shortcuts for nearly any action imaginable.

Deepin shortcuts menu 

To create a new shortcut, follow these steps:

  1. Click the + button associated with Custom.

  2. Enter a name for the shortcut.

  3. Enter the command for the shortcut.

  4. After the shortcut name/command are saved, click Disable.

  5. When prompted, input the new shortcut for the command.

  6. Test the shortcut.

You can also edit pre-existing shortcuts by following these simple steps:

  1. Locate the shortcut in question.

  2. Click on the shortcut associated with the app/action/command.

  3. Input the new shortcut.

Shortcuts go a long way to make your life far more efficient by eliminating a lot of searching and clicking. Linux Deepin makes creating shortcuts a snap.

Deepin Apps 

Finally, we have the Deepin Apps. Included with Linux Deepin you will find the following Deepin-specific apps:

  • Deepin Music Player: Plays Music files

  • Deepin Movie: Plays video files

  • Deepin Game Center: Installs Games

  • DPlayer: Plays DVD/Blue Ray discs

  • DSnapshot: Screenshot tool

  • Deepin Terminal: Terminal app

Surprisingly, each app is of the highest quality and competes with any similar app on any Linux distribution. The one app that you might find a bit spartan in features is the Deepin Music Player. What it lacks in features (such as the ability to connect to external players and connect to streaming music services), it makes up for in usability and stability.

For those that don’t hold the same appreciation for the included apps, a vast repository of ready-to-install apps awaits you in the Deepin Software Center.

If you’re looking for a new Linux distribution, one that combines elegance and user-friendliness, you cannot go wrong with Linux Deepin. When the 2014 release is officially out, I highly recommend you download and install this up-and-coming distribution that is sure to make you question your current choice of desktops.



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  • Grzegorz Said:

    New Chinese Green Dam Linux? ;) Hope, to see these features in Gnome/KDE/XFCE.

  • BenZilla Said:

    It's a distro developed by a totally commercial company in Wuhan, which does nothing with the government. Please DO NOT take POLITICS into LINUX.

  • bbe Said:

    Comes from china? No, please dont. They give you spyware, even on Linux. Don't trust Chinese.

  • some person Said:

    yes, because the united states people are to be trusted, right.

  • Martin Bohun Said:

    stupid, vile, racist comments like this have no place in civilised society.

  • waqas Said:

    I used this distro. Its very attractive and feature rich but its hardware hungry. Slows down the pc.

  • maggie Said:

    Hello, our OS is open and all codes are in github, you clould view on

  • anonymous666 Said:

    She is right, if the code is on github all piece of code available, then there should be no spyware. I used the word should as reading the code is the only option to be sure there is no spyware:)

  • maggie Said:

    We will develop new window manager to replace compiz to reslove this problem.

  • Douglas Linford Said:

    I've installed the final release of Deepin 2014 on a MacBook. Great OS! Does your comment mean that you are in the process of replacing lightdm and compiz?

  • Old Score Said:

    I used to have a MacBook Pro (provided by a client). When I left that client, I missed the MacBook Pro. I searched for a mac-like Linux - and tried them all. Either they crashed on my laptop or were horribly slow. Then, I found Deepin. I installed Deepin on an HP Pavilion g7. I now use this for all of my non-MS Development work - just like the MacBook Pro. Excellent experience. Absolutely excellent: They have thought of all of the nice little details - like opening a terminal window from the file manager - and - visa-versa. Tons more of these little things that make all the difference to someone like me. I found myself at first saying, "I wish I could just right click and..." - and when I did, what I wanted was there! If you do development for a living, this is has all of the nice little things to make your life A LOT easier. To compare, the Windows 7 install I had on this HP was much, much slower. This distro is FAST in comparison. If it gets faster, wow, that'd be great! Only complaints: 1. Wallpaper - hard to set - cannot select how it gets set either (stretch, fill, etc). 2. Desktop shortcuts (to borrow a Windows term) - manual labor needed to make them happen, but functional. 3. VPN - in general works - but, I had to install strongswan for a very specific need b/c I could not figure out how to control the built-in one for this very narrow need. 4. Desktop switching was hard at first, (Ctrl-1, 2, 3, etc), but now, it is second nature and just fine. The only issue here is that you have to wait for the app to launch in the desktop, otherwise whatever desktop is open when it finishes launching is the desktop that it is in. 5. Terminal window - all other windows have a "Switch to Desktop" in them - but not these. Not a major problem, but it is inconsistent. Other than those five issues above, I've found this to be the BEST Linux distro for actual, real daily work. Lastly, I will repeat what I said above - they've thought of a solution for every little detail that you'd want as a developer. My experience has been super smooth because of that. Those little details make all the difference.

  • Gamal Said:

    Downloading now >>>> i'm going to try it it's look nice :)

  • dekien hazelhoff Said:

    Any idea when it will come out?

  • zipple Said:

    I don't like it because it has a resemblance to windows8, which I don't like.

  • Kbtarl Said:

    Really looks good! Cant wait to load in Virtual!

  • cyberdog Said:

    Good review. I like Deepin a lot, and use the RC, but for now Mint is still my distro of choice. Deepin's only rival is Elementary OS, which looks great but needs lots of ppa adds & tweaking before you can use it for day-to-day stuff.

  • Jon Said:

    I've been using eOS stable 0.2 for awhile and it's nice. You're right: you have to add a lot to it to make it a daily OS. I added Firefox and Chrome, Elementary Tweaks, and changed a few settings to get it where I needed it, but it's still eOS and provides its own unique flavor of Linux. However, I'm writing this comment from within Deepin 2014. This is a very attractive and useful OS. I like that it cleaned up my GRUB after installing. The eOS GRUB became cluttered, but Deepin organized it quite nicely. Deepin shows that Linux doesn't have to be ugly and difficult. We need more distros like it: with a competent and modern graphic design team.

  • Jim Said:

    I have just installed Deepin 2014 64 bit on my Toshiba Qosmio laptop and it is by far the best distro I've tried thus far (previous was Bodhi 2.4) and it even has a built in boot manager to help with my triple boot (Windows 7, Hackintosh Mavericks & Deepin) :-)

  • sohail Said:

    I have dual OS lunix deeepin and window 8 Window 8 is best among all

  • Raoul Said:

    With the last version ,i cannot create à personnal launcher as Teamspeak With native Ubunu and Xubuntu , this option exist WHY NOT IN DEEPIN SYSTEM ???

  • Raoul Said:

    Rectification...with native ubuntu and Xubuntu this option exist....

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