Emmabuntus review - very disappointing

2 weeks ago, I got an email from the team of Emmabuntus asking for a review for their distro.  I agreed that I will check it soon but I had been very busy then. So today I decided to give Emmabuntus a try.

In case you have never heard about Emmabuntus before, it is a distro based on Xubuntu and according to the email I got, the aim of Emmabuntus is to be user-friendly and light-weight so it can be used on old computers.

First impressions, download and installation

Emmabuntus doesnt have a dedicated website, it uses a page on sourceforge.net for introduction about the distro and hosting the download image files.

Currently, there are 3 image files to download and I picked the latest version which is based on Xubuntu 12.04. The file size is really bigger than my expectation, over 3GB. So if you want to try this distro, make sure you use a DVD or a big enough USB.

I used Unetbootin to create the bootable USB for Emmabuntus. It booted up with no problem and the installation process is just similar to that of Ubuntu or Linux Mint, so new Linux users wont have any trouble to install Emmabuntus. Make sure you select the right keyboard layout before installing because French layout is set by default in Emmabuntus.

The installation took quite long due to the big size of the ISO file.

Emmabuntus desktop

Right after booting up Emmabuntus the first time, you will be ask to select a setting for the Cairo Dock. There are 3 options by default and I picked the second one, called "Simple". After that, the dock will appear and it will be there in the next boot up.

Emmabuntus review

One the default desktop of Emmabuntus, you got a panel on top and Cairo Dock at the bottom. On the top panel there are several applets. And on the Cairo Dock, there are many applications. All your internal partitions will be shown on the desktop by default.

review for emmabuntus

The default wallpaper is bluish, with a quote in French at the top right corner. I think it means " One day, the world will be free!"

Pre-installed applications

Since the ISO file is really big, there are a lot of default applications here, which reaches to the level of redundancy. You have both Firefox and Chromium, 3 music players, several chat clients, 2 video players,  many games and educational apps,  4 dictionaries, and many other miscellaneous apps like wikipedia, free software news ... When you click on the Menu on the top panel, each time you hover the mouse on a section, a huge submenu will appear showing a lot of applications.

there are a lot of preinstalled apps for everything

In short,  there are a lot of pre-installed applications in Emmabuntus, and many of them were unknown to me before. And this is something I really dislike because I always prefer minimal distros with just some basic preinstalled applications.

Performance and problems

This review is quite short because there are too many bugs that didnt allow me to try anything with Emmabuntus. The most serious bug happened to the keyboard layout. I didnt know what was wrong but half of my laptop keys were malfunctioned. They just gave wrong outputs. I thought something was wrong with my keyboard but after checking with a liveCD of Linux Mint, everything was still fine. So I believe it must be a problem of Emmabuntus. And since I cannot use the keyboard with Emmabuntus, I had to ditch it after several hours of testing.

Another problem with Emmabuntus is that whenever I boot up, there is always a dialog box asking me for the root password for something I dont even know.

One more thing I noticed is that the plymouth image of the bootable USB is still that of Xubuntu. After installing Emmabuntus successfully, the plymouth image will be changed. But in my opinion, it still looks quite ugly. Besides the grub 2 menu still shows Ubuntu instead of Emmabuntus.


Perhaps this is the first time I write a negative review for a Linux distro but I really dont like Emmabuntus. It is just Xubuntu with a lot of redundant pre-installed applications, which make the distro really bloated. Moreover the developing team is too careless and neglectful, they didnt test and double check anything before releasing the distro. So eventually I removed Emmabuntus after 3 hours.
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