2010-07-12 ChameleonOS Alpha 1 has been released for testing. The ISO boots as a live CD so you can test without installing. There is an icon for the installer on the default live CD desktop and in the menu. ChameleonOS is crammed with a range of pre-configured ‘skins’ that will instantly alter the appearance of your desktop (panels, wallpaper, icon and GTK theme…) The default skin is available in a range of colours and there are also skins providing the same look and feel as the Gnome desktop, KDE 3 and Windows Vista/7.
The ISO is 500MB and is available for download across the Unity Linux mirrors:
Livecd user login is guest/guest and the root password is root.
There is a range of software included on the live CD including the Chromium web browser, Sylpheed for email, Pidgin for IM, Gnome Mplayer, Audacious, Thunar and PCManFM file managers amongst others.
This is mainly a ‘proof of concept’ release, a technology preview if you like to see the changeable skins in action and to get an overall feel for the project. The script controlling the skins operation is called LXSkins and all related skins files and scripts are stored in /usr/local/share. They are currently fairly rough and ready bash scripts and will be where most of my attention is directed for future releases.
To change skins, right-click on the desktop and go to the Change Skins, submenu. Wait a few seconds for the pipe menu script to identify the installed skins (especially whilst running live) and then click on the skin you would like to use. The screen will ‘blink’ a few times and about 5 seconds later you will be presented with a new look desktop.
You can create your own skins too. Just configure Openbox, LXPanel, GTK, icon themes, wallpaper and whether you want desktop icons (using PCManFM or iDesk). Then use the right-click menu option to create a new skin from the current desktop. The new skin is created in ~/.lxskins and will appear in the Openbox menu.
If you do try ChameleonOS, please provide some feedback to let me know if it worked or didn’t. I am happy to take advice or feature requests for future releases. If you want to get involved in any capacity, again let me know. You can leave a comment below or at the release announcement on the Unity Linux Forum.
Chameleon-OS is based on Unity Linux 2010, which is in turn a fork of Mandriva. Unity is specifically designed as a base for respins (or branches as they like to call it). The current window manager is Openbox with Lxpanel (but not full LXDE).
- Chromium browser won’t start when using the default black & blue skin. This is because the font isn’t set in the GTK theme file. Solution: right-click desktop–>appearance–>GTK & Icon theme. Then set the font to sans 10.