Netrunner 14.1 Review


The Netrunner distribution is a curious one as the project maintains two separate branches with different bases. Netrunner puts out a regular stable release based on the Kubuntu distribution and a rolling release that uses Manjaro as its base. As the Netrunner's website states, "The Netrunner team is focused on making the KDE desktop as snappy and responsive as possible. Sponsoring parts of the KDE development, we also concentrate on new technologies and include them in Netrunner as soon as they are ready for usage. The distro is offered in two variants: The Standard release is built on Kubuntu/Debian, while the Rolling release is built on Manjaro/Arch." The Netrunner distribution lists three goals: "Power-up, don't dumb-down the user; include add-ons, codecs, customizations; and avoid lock-ins, favour free (libre) alternatives."

I opted to try the project's latest Standard release which is based on Kubuntu 14.04 LTS. This version of Netrunner is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The download of the Standard edition of the Netrunner distribution is 1.4GB in size. Booting from the project's live disc brings us to the KDE desktop. The interface's background is a soft blue colour. Our application menu, task panel and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. Large icons placed on the desktop give us access to the local file system, a hardware information screen, the system installer and a documentation file. Clicking on the documentation icon opens a web browser to display the distribution's on-line release notes.
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