Deepin Linux 15.8: A functional and elegant desktop

Thanks to a finely balanced ratio of aesthetics and ease of use, the developers of Deepin created the closest thing to a perfect desktop operating system.

Deepin Linux 15.8 might be the most gorgeous desktop OS Desktops come and go. But when one as beautiful as Deepin Desktop Environment 15.8 comes along, you realize the desktop can be equal parts art and functionality. Jack Wallen explains.

I've used a lot of desktop environments—hundreds over the course of 20 plus years. I've worked with everything from AfterStep to the beta versions of GNOME and KDE (all the way to most recent offerings) to macOS and to Pantheon, Enlightenment, Blackbox, Fluxbox, Fvwm, Windows 95/98/Me/7/8/10, Xfce...the list goes on and on.

I was certain I'd seen the most beautiful desktops available. That is—until Deepin released version 15.8. Once installed (as a VirtualBox VM for testing). I realized that I beheld the single most beautiful desktop on the market—regardless of the platform. That's right, Deepin blows away the competition. Game over, hand 'em all the awards.

Deepin 15.8 is as though Pantheon, KDE Plasma, and GNOME came together in a perfect storm of customizations. The end result is a bit of desktop magic Linux (or any platform) has yet to enjoy.

SEE: Side-by-side chart of popular Linux distros (Tech Pro Research)

Yes, it's that good. So good, in fact, it might become my daily driver (replacing my all-time favorite desktop platform, Elementary OS). I don't say that vlightly, as Elementary OS has been my go-to operating system for quite some time. In fact, I thought it would take a miracle to drag me away from Elementary OS. That miracle may have arrived.

What makes Deepin so beautiful?

The developers and designers have gone out of their way to design a desktop operating system that is as functional as it is elegant. They did so, without forking another desktop. Although it might borrow ideas from other offerings, Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) is its own beast.

You might find a touch of GNOME here (think GNOME Dash—Figure A), or KDE (that glorious KDE blur effect—Figure B), or Budgie Desktop (their unique control panel sidebar—Figure C), or Pantheon (a user-friendly dock is in place—Figure D). These design ideas were brought together to create something wholly unique and wonderfully user-friendly.

Figure A

Figure A

A GNOME Dash-like overlay.


Figure B

Figure B

A blur resembling that of KDE Plasma.


Figure C

Figure C

An homage to the Budgie Desktop control panel.


Figure D

Figure D

An Elementary OS-worthy dock.

That control center

For years, configuring the desktop has always occurred in a fairly traditional app window. Budgie Desktop opted to go a different route by introducing a control panel sidebar. Deepin Linux opted to borrow that same feature and improve on it, all the while keeping with the gorgeous designscape they created with the desktop.

Open the Control Center sidebar, and you can take care of every possible configuration for your desktop. Configuration options include:

  • Accounts
  • Display
  • Default Applications
  • Personalization
  • Network
  • Sound
  • Time/Date
  • Power Management
  • Mouse/trackpad
  • Keyboard
  • Updates
  • System information

... all from a single, beautiful sidebar.

The Deepin Control Center sidebar also includes a notification system. This feature is tucked away a bit. To find it, open the sidebar (by clicking the gear icon in the dock), click the left-pointing arrow, and then click the menu button in the upper right corner (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E

Accessing the notifications in the Control Center sidebar.


It's not all just beauty

At this point, you might say, "What good is a beautiful desktop, if it doesn't make the platform user-friendly?" Let me put those concerns to rest. Deepin Linux 15.8 is as user-friendly a desktop operating system as you will ever experience. Since Deepin Linux is based on Debian (as of version 15), it enjoys a rock-solid, user-friendly foundation. Deepin Linux also includes additional built-in features such as:

  • File manager network sharing (with Samba pre-installed)
  • Multitasking view
  • WPS Office Suite
  • Cloud printing
  • Font installer
  • A handy Deepin introduction app
  • Application store (Figure F)
  • And more

Figure F

Figure F

The Deepin App Store.


Thanks to a finely balanced ratio of aesthetics and ease of use, the developers of Deepin created the closest thing to a perfect desktop I have ever experienced. If you're looking for a desktop operating system that will make all others seem like they've wound up behind the curve, it's time you give Deepin Linux 15.8 a try. I have faith there's no way you'll be disappointed.

Also see

deepinhero.jpg
Image: Deepin Linux

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.