Submitted to DistroWatch’s waiting list less than three weeks ago, AzzeraOS is a new Debian-based distribution from Italy, aiming to provide solution for public computers in particular. Despite not being a stable system at the time of conducting this review, Azzera comes with different settings to make GUI customization permanent, relying on a separate configuration file that needs to be managed via command line.
QEMU / KVM
Somewhat expecting it, the Debian Buster splashscreen loads after selecting the first option from the boot menu. Reaching the desktop offers a customized Xfce 4 desktop environment with two panels, the latter offering two remote control programs for Italian system administrators. Other available programs include, but are not limited to, the web browser Chromium, three Terminal emulators (Xfce-Terminal, XTerm, UXTerm), Synaptic Package Manager, and GDebi Package Installer.
Despite relying on Xfce, Azzera is rather heavy for its kind, in terms of active RAM usage. Idle memory usage shifted between 773 and 775 MB, demonstrating a difference of 100 MB when running htop via Xfce-Terminal. With only two cores available, the OS pushed both cores above 80% CPU usage, even when starting the light-weight XTerm Terminal emulator.
Clicking on the question mark next to Workspace 1 opens a web page with Chromium, which explains why users should use AzzureOS and how to prevent guests from making permanent changes. It still is a work-in-progress.
Despite the recommendation to update the system before publishing the review, I decided to end my test after reading the manual. What personally confuses me the most is the assumption of the developer that the average Linux system operates like Windows XP by automatically assigning every new user account administrator privileges, which is not the case even for popular distributions such as Ubuntu that require the root password every time before software is being installed or removed. Other settings such as GUI customization can be limited by creating user accounts for each user (or user group), setting a password for each that will be handed out to said user(s), and not allowing sessions to be saved (or schools and libraries explicitly forbidding to change aspects of the desktop environment, which was — and still is — the case at my former grammar school).
Overall, it seems to be just a slightly customized Debian Buster with two tools for Italian system administrators needing remote access to a specific computer network. And with the user manual telling administrators to “disguise as a school technician”, one might start to question whether this is supposed to be a genuine Linux distribution or a developer just being a little bit too paranoid about students snooping through the far-from-fancy Synaptic Package Manager, which can be hidden from the Application Menu with two simple clicks and does not run without root access by default.
Medion Akoya E4070 D
Processor: AMD A10–5700 APU @ 3.40 GHz
Display: ATI Trinity Radeon HD 7660D
Memory: 4 GB RAM (3.46)
Storage: 2 TB ASMT 2115 (Medion HDDrive’n’Go external HDD)
Network: RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
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