First Look

Turning Windows users into Linux users with MakuluLinux Aero

makululinux 0

MakuluLinux running the Cinnamon desktop environment

Credit: MakuluLinux

Slick, sleek, and fast and very Windows-like ... this is a distro that could get your users on the path of OS righteousness


Did you know that hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in the world? They can run at up to 20 miles per hour and more people are killed by hippos every year than are killed by lions and tigers combined.

As it happens, the hippo is also the mascot of one of the most impressive end user-oriented Linux distributions available, MakuluLinux, which is also interesting for another reason, it’s a realistic path for migrating Linux users to Windows.

The problem for many users is that most Linux distros pose a steep learning curve simply because they’re habituated to the way Windows looks and feels and most distros don’t look or feel anything like Windows. If this is the kind of problem you face then there’s a variant of MakuluLinux that might make your users’ transition much easier: MakuluLinux Aero

makululinux 1 Mark Gibbs

MakuluLinux running the Aero desktop environment

Created in South Africa, MakuluLinux (“Makulu” is the Zulu word for “big chief”) is both Ubuntu- and Debian-based. The distro runs on a PAE kernel and, according to the distro’s creator, Jacque Montague Raymer, “provides a Sleek, Smooth and Stable user experience that is able to run on any computer from old to new, from netbooks to notebooks, desktops to server stations” and he isn’t kidding; MakuluLinux is slick and sleek and supports KDE, Unity, Xfce, LXFCE (an interesting mashup by MakuluLinux author of LXDE, Xfce, and Compiz, with Emerald themes), and Cinnamon desktop environments. 

makululinux 2 Mark Gibbs

According to the MakuluLinux site the impetus for creating MakuluLinux Aero was requests from the MakuluLinux community and they point out that it’s not a clone but rather Windows-like.

 Based on the Cinnamon desktop environment, MakuluLinux Aero requires a 64-bit platform and its features include:

  • Debian Kernel : with rolling updates
  • Cinnamon 2.4.8
  • Netflix and Popcorn Time live streaming
  • EFI/Secure boot compatible
  • Huge driver base support
  • Complete office productivity suite
  • SteamLinux and Steam Windows 
  • Wine and PlayOnLinux
  • Mega Limited (a New Zealand based hosting provider that provides 50GB of free online storage) cloud sync
  • Firewall and antivirus

The distro also includes Makulu Constructor which is:

... a built in constructor tool [that] lets you quickly and easily create a 100% snapshot of your LIVE system as it is, save it into a ISO that can be then re-installed on a new computer. It comes complete with a livemode, installer and full EFI/Secure boot. In fact, this release was compiled with the same constructor tool, which is evidence of how powerful it is. Make any changes to your desktop, doesn’t matter how big or small, then hit the construct button and let the constructor go to work. when it's done out pops a bootable EFI ready ISO. It's all automated with almost no interaction required from the user. This ISO can be put onto a DVD or usb and installed on any other computer. You can now customize your system to your heart's desire and then make a complete installable backup to either store somewhere safely, or to install on a chain of computers. It has never ever been this easy to compile Linux before, with just one click of a button!

I installed MakuluLinux Aero in a virtual machine under Virtualbox from the downloaded ISO; a totally painless task. In operation, MakuluLinux Aero is, as billed, very Windows-like and migrating a user from the Microsoft world to the Linux world shouldn’t be hard at all.

MakuluLinux's author notes:

Whatever you do, DO NOT install cinnamon-tools in menu options. cinnamon-installer is not fully compatible with current cinnamon build.

Please Guys, when updating don't do a dist-upgrade and don't update via synaptic if you arent prepared to deal with the consequences, use the update manager, that is why it is there, it also produces MUCH safer updates and wont easily break your system.

You have been warned.

The system’s performance is excellent and as a business productivity environment it's got everything you need. If you’re looking for the next step in evolving your users into the open source world, MakuluLinux Aero is a great way to go about it. MakuluLinux Aero gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.

Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies