Black Lab Linux, a distribution that aims to rival Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, has just been updated to version 5.1 Alpha.
Black Lab Linux is a distribution designed for general desktop and power users that comes with a lot of applications and features. In the past, the developers tried to market this distribution as a replacement for Windows and Mac OS X systems and they even tried to make it look like those OSes.
It turns out that users didn't really go for that look, so the makers of Black Lab Linux had to change gears and make some important modifications. The current build of this Linux distribution looks very different from the previous editions, but that might turn out to be a good thing.
“With this release we bring you some of the new features that will be presented in Black Lab Linux 5.1. We changed the UI so it doesn't look so Mac which was the biggest criticism of 5.0, the CDE style is more like a test run to see if you guys like it. If you hate it, make it known, if you love it make it known.” reads the official announcement.
Black Lab Linux 5.1 Alpha uses Linux kernel 3.8 for this release, which is an odd choice, to say the least. It's quite old and it received numerous updates, but it's no longer officially supported, at least not by the kernel developers (the work is now being done by Canonical). Fortunately, Linux kernel 3.15 is available in the repositories for anyone who wants to update.
Other packages that have been updated include OpenSSL, OpenSSH 6.6, GTK 3.8, KDE 4.13.2 Backported packages, Firefox 30, and Thunderbird 24.6.
The developers also plan to integrate VLC 2.1.3, the Cinnamon and MATE repositories, and many more changes.
There are other Black Lab Linux releases, but some of them are for enterprise use and users will have to pay for them, which also buys them support by email or phone. When this version becomes stable, it will share the same fate as the other ones, at least for a few months.
Black Lab Linux devs usually make the operating system free of charge a couple of months after the initial release.
Check the official announcement for more details, features, and changes about this build. You can download Black Lab Linux 5.1 Alpha right now from Softpedia.
Remember that this is a development version and it should NOT be installed on production machines. It is intended for testing purposes only.