Review: Fuduntu 2013.2

I haven't checked out Fuduntu in over a year. I wasn't particularly planning to do so either, because I wasn't exactly expecting huge changes. But then I saw some news that changed my mind.

Welcome Screen + Main Menu
Fuduntu, as regular readers know, is an independent distribution that maintains GNOME 2 essentially as-is and uses the RPM package format, so it can sometimes use third-party packages developed for Fedora. Recently, though, there was a discussion among Fuduntu developers that culminated in the developers announcing a feature freeze for Fuduntu along with support ending by this September, along with the lead developer Andrew Wyatt (also known as FEWT) announcing his official resignation (though he may still unofficially consult with the project from time to time) from the project after support ends. The main reasons for this were that maintaining GNOME 2, keeping Fuduntu independent from Fedora while maintaining support for RPM, and having Andrew Wyatt work way too hard on this were all unsustainable; the remaining developers may decide to turn Fuduntu into something else entirely, in which case it would be once again based on another distribution (a likely candidate is openSUSE, which is interesting because I am not aware of any major distributions based on openSUSE at all), and it would probably need a new DE (perhaps the Consort DE from SolusOS, though that is purely speculation on my part). In any case, I am reviewing Fuduntu because this will certainly be the last such review I can do of Fuduntu in its current incarnation, and may be my last review of it ever.

For this final review, I tested Fuduntu using a live USB made with MultiSystem. Follow the jump to see what it's like and how it will be remembered.

After the boot menu, I was greeted by a few lines of text that had me temporarily worried that the system had frozen while booting. Thankfully that gave way to the login screen; the system automatically logged me into the desktop after about 10 seconds. The desktop is essentially identical to before save for a different wallpaper, so I won't go into that too much. I will say that the Cairo Dock is a little slow and sluggish; also, I'm not a fan of its inconsistent appearance when a window is maximized and I move the cursor near the bottom each of the screen. Otherwise, though, it was not unstable and it generally worked fine; anyway, the rest of the desktop looked and worked great as usual.

Chromium + LibreOffice Writer
Chromium 25 is the default browser. As usual, proprietary codecs and my laptop's volume keyboard shortcuts all worked fine, as I was able to watch YouTube and Hulu just fine.
Google Docs has once again been replaced by LibreOffice; granted, I did download the "full" version as opposed to the "light" version of the live ISO file, but anyway, I guess the developers realized that users wanted a more full-fledged productivity suite. Also, I'm wondering if the Google Docs Linux applications even work anymore now that Google Docs has become Google Drive, which has no official Linux client.
Speaking of Google Drive and similar software, Dropbox is also included. Most of the other included software is also standard for Fuduntu, though there does seem to be an abundance of GNOME games stuffed in too. Nautilus is still the default browser with the Elementary mods, which is great.

I was able to install Skype and Google Talk by downloading the RPM files from the respective websites and clicking on them to install. This time, both of those installations worked fine without any issues, and both of those programs worked well in recognizing my laptop's webcam and mic, which is great.
Nautilus Elementary + PackageKit + Desktop Cube
All the dependencies for Mupen64Plus were already satisfied, so I just had to download the TGZ file, extract its contents, and run the installation script. As with Manjaro, I was not able to configure the input plugin to set the keybindings as per my preferences, so while it worked, it was again no better than the new version with no GUI. As with Manjaro, I should mention that the menu entry for Mupen64Plus appeared very quickly.
I was able to use the GUI package manager PackageKit to install Redshift, its GTK+ panel applet, and the Linux Mint Menu. I was able to use the first two of those just fine. While the last one installed, I was not able to add it to the panel, because errors would pop up; I'm guessing that the Linux Mint Menu for GNOME 2 really isn't supported anymore.

I was able to experience basic Compiz desktop effects like the desktop cube just fine on Fuduntu. Also, the system used about 270 MB of RAM at idle; that is fairly standard for a GNOME 2 desktop, but is quite lightweight compared to most DEs these days.

That is where my time with Fuduntu 2013.2 ended. If this distribution were to continue, given that this was the best experience I have had with this distribution thus far, I would heartily recommend it to newbies. Now that the distribution is only going to last for less than 6 months, though, there doesn't appear to be much point in doing that except for putting the sentiment out there. Fuduntu has been on a wild adventuresome ride over the last couple of years, and I wish the developers the best of luck in finding a path and a purpose for a reborn Fuduntu.