First Look at blendOS: A Blend of Arch Linux, Fedora Linux, and Ubuntu

An immutable operting system built around Distrobox and using the GNOME desktop environment.

From the maintainer of Ubuntu Unity and the Unity desktop environment, here comes blendOS, a GNU/Linux distribution that aims to be the last distribution you’ll ever use, especially if you distro hop.

blendOS is here to offer you “a seamless blend of all Linux distributions,” as its creator wants to call it. blendOS is based on Arch Linux and GNOME on Wayland, but it lets you use apps from other popular distributions, such as Fedora Linux or Ubuntu.

This is possible because you can use the native package managers from Arch Linux (pacman – included by default), Fedora Linux (dnf), and Ubuntu (apt), which are included as containers using Distrobox/Podman. However, the DNF and APT package managers aren’t included in the live ISO image, nor blendOS’s own blend package manager.

Everything that makes blendOS stand out from other distributions (read: the magic behind it) is installed when you install the system on your personal computer. The live ISO image is very basic and only includes a few packages as it’s designed mainly to let you install the distribution on bare metal.

When using Fedora Linux’s or Ubuntu’s native package managers for the first time, the containers are created automatically. After that, you can use either blend, pacman, dnf, or apt in the same shell to install or remove packages, without any tricks.

The Linux distribution also offers an immutable system for those who want to use a read-only file system for extra stability and reliability. It also follows a rolling release model, since it’s derived from Arch Linux.

Even if it comes with the GNOME desktop by default on the live ISO image, blendOS will let you deploy a new installation with another popular desktop environment, such as KDE Plasma, MATE, or Xfce, or even window managers like Sway or i3.

Apart from the fact that you can install any app from any of the supported Linux distributions, blendOS also comes with out-of-the-box support for sandboxed Flatpak apps, which you can easily install directly from the Flathub Store app, which is a Web App that puts the Flathub website on your desktop.

It also comes with its own Welcome app, which mostly lets you know about blendOS’s features.

For now, blendOS only supports Arch Linux’s main repositories and AUR (Arch User Repository), the Fedora Rawhide repository, as well as the repositories of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS or Ubuntu 22.10.

Configuring the system for the first time is easy with the included and user-friendly First Setup app. Installing it is also easy with Crystal Linux‘s in-house built Jade GUI, but branded as blendOS Installer.

Another interesting thing about blendOS is that it even comes with its own package manager called blend which appears to work with multiple distributions. This can be used to, for example, update the system by running the blend system-update command.

All in all, blendOS looks good and quite promising. But it has a specific target audience, namely distro hoppers. So if you really can’t decide between using Arch Linux, Fedora Linux, or Ubuntu, then blendOS is definitely for you, and you can try it right now by downloading it below or by visiting the official website.

Last updated 1 year ago

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