LINUX PICKS AND PANS

Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist

Every once and a great while I stumble on a Linux distro that makes me sit up and smile. Modicia O.S. is one of them.

It is not that Modicia steps over the bleeding edge of innovation. It is a seemingly standard desktop Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. It comes in one desktop flavor, Xfce — but with a twist.

Yet nothing is standard about Modicia O.S. That is what generates the happiness. This distro takes one of the oldest and most reliable desktop environments and adds features and conveniences that make using it seem like something brand-spanking new.


Modicia O.S. hot corner feature

Modicia’s hot corner feature opens a GNOME 3-style screen display with a sidebar on the left and a panel of workspaces that slides out from the right edge.

Modicia O.S. Desktop Ultimate 18 Long Term Support is a newcomer to the land of Linux distros, having been released just last month. This new member of the GNU/Linux family was created by professional multimedia users for professional multimedia users.

It is the brainchild of an Italy-based developer community headed by the Modicia Web Design and Development Company. Modicia is a general purpose optimized computing platform that just works right out of the box for use in every field — amateur or professional.

Simplicity and Finesse

Modicia is a workhorse distro for those who have a penchant for audio and video tasks. It provides top-notch free software for graphic, video and audio performance with interactive menus.

However, nothing gets in the way of users who need a solid platform for office operations or general everyday business or personal uses. Modicia comes with a recovery tool and automatic PC optimization, all with graphical user interfaces that eliminate the need to open a terminal window.

Modicia is a complete desktop platform. It is easy to install, requiring no setup or tinkering to connect to the Internet, local printers and other typical computing accessories.

The Xfce desktop interface is intuitive and uncomplicated. The combination of software and desktop usability puts the “ultimate” in Modicia’s formal name.

Software Sufficiency

I spend the bulk of my work time perched at my keyboard, researching open source topics, reviewing software, and writing about Linux. Compared to the working software collection installed on my main computer, the only software package Modicia lacked was the Geany IDE editor. That was the only software tool I had to install, and the process was effortless.

The developer chose an impressive assortment of pre-installed software based on recommendations from professionals, videomakers, photographers and office workers. The beauty of the software scheme in Modicia is the great assortment.

Usually, a distro is stocked with one or two titles that do the same thing.

Not so with Modicia. In both the office and multimedia categories, you get multiple software titles to give you the best range of tools.

More software comes with Modicia than the typical top-of-the-line free open source picks for professional uses. The developer has packed Modicia with some of the best commercial software for free use.

Have It Your Way

Writing and graphics packages are essential to my line of work. Modicia comes with the latest versions of the LibreOffice suite, Calligra Words and Calligra Sheets. It also includes the OnlyOffice Desktop, Calibre e-book library management, and E-Book Editor (which supports various e-book formats).

Multimedia offerings are equally attractive. Modicia includes Shortcut, ProjectX, Kdenlive and Avidemux video editors. It comes with Audacious, VLC and Parole Media Players, as well as Audacity for recording and editing audio files.

If you work with sound or music files, you will be smiling over the choices of various editing and transcoding tools, such as Play It Slowly, LMMS, DVD Encoder and Handbrake.

For preparing presentations, you get slide makers in several of the office suites bundled with Modicia. You also get Imagination, and Pencil2D for hand-drawn animation using both bitmap and vector graphics.

Do you work with sound? Marvel at the skills available with Qtractor, Mixxx and the ZynAddSubFX Synthesizer.

There is much more to discover inside Modicia: Professional RAW format images, XnView-RawTherapee, GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, MyPaint, Karbon, mtPaint, GravityDesigner all await you.

Powerful Performance

This operating system is preconfigured with the necessary plugins for all the software used for productive work. Modicia optimizes the performance of host hardware through a software intervention on the use of RAM and processor.

Program-loading is sped up in RAM with an opening speed increased by 25 percent, according to the developer. The data scanned and read in RAM are compressed to avoid using the swap partition and allow 20 percent higher speed.

If you like to take control of your computing system, you will enjoy the professional strength maintenance, cleaning and optimization tools available in Modicia. You also can assign control of system resources with the possibility of participating directly. Otherwise, those tasks are handled by the specialized graphics tool you execute with a single mouse click.

Super GUI

Superb software and system performance aside, what I really like about Modicia is how the developers tweaked the Xfce desktop into a super environmental shell of sorts. Using it is like have Xfce on steroids.

System usability often comes down to the little things built in. for instance, you do not have to load every software title listed in the menu to find out what an unfamiliar application does. Just hover the mouse pointer over the title to see a brief description of the application. Super cool!

I love the functionality of the desktop switcher that is part of the Xfce panel. It provides point-and-click navigation among a nearly limitless number of virtual desktops.

That is fairly standard for numerous Linux distro desktop choices, but what is totally nonstandard is the ability to have a GNOME 3-like desktop display by just pushing the mouse pointer into the lower left corner of the screen. Totally awesome!

Look and Feel

I am tempted to describe Modicia’s desktop array as a hybrid concoction, but that’s not exactly right. When you put all the appearance elements and functionality together, though, you have what is essentially a new desktop offshoot.


Modicia O.S. desktop

Modicia O.S. has a top panel as well as an animated bottom dock — an unusual combination of usability features.

For starters, Modicia’s design puts a fully functional panel bar at the top of the screen. The left side is home to the main menu and launcher icons for file manager and the application finder/launcher. The center section is docking space for thumbnails of running programs. The right end of the top panel is the system tray for notifications and status icons.

The panel fully supports installable Xfce applets. The docking space for running apps and the applet selections often are eliminated in newer desktop panels if the panel is even provided.

Combine the more traditional top panel with the macOS-style panel on the bottom of the screen, and you have an unbeatable user interface. The bottom panel holds animated launcher icons for favorite applications.


Modicia O.S. menu

Modicia offers great flexibility with both a two-column application menu and finder app, and a dock-style favorites launcher bar.

One of the neatest features in Modicia is the hot corner in the lower left edge of the screen. Push the mouse pointer into that corner to see a GNOME 3-style screen display of sidebar on the left and slide-out panel of workspaces from the right edge.

Menu Mania

Right-click anywhere on the desktop to open a cascading menu to access settings, tools and desktop controls. Right-click on any application’s name in the main menu at the far left of the top panel to add/remove its icons to or from the panels, or from the desktop itself.

You can control the behavior and functionality of all aspects of the operating system by accessing numerous control panels in the main menu. If you do not like the particular panel style in the default configuration, just open the Xfce Panel Switch tool for a selection of six other options.

Modicia has not only the traditional two-column applications menu, but also the full-screen style GNOME 3 menu display.

Bottom Line

Modicia O.S. Desktop Ultimate 18 LTS lives up to its name in terms of being an ultimate computing platform. It offers a very pleasing user experience that is ideal for office or home functions.

It has the potential to be ranked among the best of the general-purpose Linux distros. I tend to favor Linux Mint’s homespun Cinnamon desktop as my primary computing workhorse. I keep a few winners on my various computers for variety and different productivity options.

Modicia has been my preferred OS the last few weeks after I stumbled upon its smile-creating capabilities. Its combination of panel types and other user-enhanced tricks soon may qualify it for the default boot choice on my primary computer.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please email your ideas to me, and I’ll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.Email Jack.

20 Comments

  • My apologies if i’m not posting in right place- i’m new here…

    Question 1: is Modicia really Linux? I understood that the 2 things that make Linux Linux are the Linux kernel, and free price. Modicia does not seem to be free. The closest i’ve found is a d/l link that takes you to a paypal page (minimum "donation" is $50 i think).

    I’m going to pay $50 for a Linux pig-in-a-poke distro? You go first, thanks anyway.

    My second and related point. It’s all very well to make a no-evidence-offered claim of a 20 to 25% speed boost, but when it’s by a company, i need to see more evidence than usual, not less.

    I want to believe in Modicia, but they’re making it hard.

    Am i missing anything here (like a free download link)???

    Infinice

    Why are computers like hemorrhoids? When you sit down the pain returns

    • Hello, Infinice. I AM happy to answer your questions about Modicia. Thank you for your comments.
      First, Modicia is a true Linux distribution. The request for donation/payment that you mention is a revenue strategy that a growing number of Linux developers are using to support their efforts. Regarding the Paypal buttons, I have found that in almost every case, you can enter a zero money AM ount and proceed to the download. Payment is voluntary.
      Even better, you can find a direct download link on the Modicia Linux website here [https://www.modiciaos.cloud/download.html]. You will see the Paypal donation link in the center of the screen when you scroll down. On both sides of the center link are download buttons that bypass the donation request.
      Be aware that this current download is the latest edition of Modicia Linux. It may have a different look and features than what I described in the June 2018 review.
      In reviewing that now earlier Modicia release, I found its performance to be very fast. Speed is a key feature of the Xfce desktop. The computer’s hardware and memory can impact on the speed as well. Plus, the tweaking done by the developers is a factor than contributes to Modicia’s speedy performance.
      I hope these responses resolve your issues.
      Best wishes,
      Jack

      • Thanks- I appreciate your comments, tho i’m still trying to find more exact information concerning its speed (if only a negligible boost, I’ll go with Deepin, because i’m a complete noob, a would-be refugee from Windows). Another important issue is windows compatibility. Modicia seems to claim an edge here. Do you think it’s substantial, or real at all?
        I’m dismayed by the fact that most of the videos on Modicia are Italian, or music-only. I’ve tried to find a manual, but none exist. Their forum is Google gateway’ed, demands a telephone number (I have none and wouldn’t share it with Google even i did have one.), so in the help department Modicia resembles Deepin (lotsa luck pal).
        Which seems the more usable, stable, and user-friendly to you?
        Infinice
        skeleton walks into a bar, orders a beer and a mop.

        • Comparing Windows compatibility is sort of misleading. If by compatibility you mean running applications that let you exchange the same data files between a particular Linux distro and Microsoft Windows, that is largely a function of the applications you use in Linux, not the Linux OS itself. For instance, you can run LibreOffice or GIMP or FreeOffice or a slew of other programs that read/write to Microsoft Windows data file formats reliably well. If you are looking for which distro runs Windows programs, the answer is none. But you can use special applications such as WINE in almost any Linux distro to create an environment within Linux to run certain Windows programs. This process is not perfect.
          Early on in my migration to Linux, I struggled with using WINE to get access to things like MS Word and my financial programs. I later gave up that ghost in favor of Linux applications that do a great job in file compatibility with Windows. I have worked in the education and publishing industries extensively and nearly never had any issues with being able to exchange files between Linux and Windows users.
          You asked what would my preference be between Modicia and Deepin Linux. If I were a new Linux user bolstered by what I now know, I would defer to Modicia as a starting point. The tweaked Xfce desktop is a plus over other great distro choices that use Xfce. The great beauty of Linux, however, is that you can save your data and use the same applications as you hop around to other choices.
          I recently wrote about the distrotest.net website. Go there and try out different Linux flavors.
          Good luck. I hope our conversations have been helpful.

          • dear jackmderm:
            I sincerely thank you for bothering with yet another noob!
            I found your remarks re windows compatibility unhelpful, but then i never expected that there was much help to report. Indeed, that’s why i wrote (i don’t believe Modicia claims of better compatibility are justified). I need a critical minimum of compatibility to run a core of vital apps (I’ve been searching for Linux equivalents but so far the results have been grim.}
            Modicia is a better start point due to Xfce? I’m tempted to ask why, but that’s just curiosity, as i certainly trust your judgement.
            You recommend that i just jump in and start sampling distros.
            Frankly, Linux is (still!) such a painful proposition that if i manage to get Modicia going i’ll delay trying other distros as long and as much as possible.
            Linux has made great strides in usability but still lags behind other OS’s. My Modicia experience has, so far, been horrendous.
            I managed to get the "Ultimate" image onto a USB key but it refuses to boot (errors galore).
            So i registered for Modicia forum, but they never bothered to send me an activation email, so i can’t post. So far so typical. Modicia will have to be exceptionally easy to use because it’s support network seems to be non-existent.
            Windows is rubbish, but has so much third-party help and freeware utilities to compensate that, ironically, it ends up being better (despite Microsoft’s incompetence and greed). So far i’m feeling that Linux creativity and public-spiritedness is swamped by its disadvantages (tiny forum sizes of individual distros, smaller software bases, etc.). But i’m just kvetching- ignore me (I’m old and, as i prefer to call it, "experienced".)
            Thanks again for responding.
            Why are computer like hemorrhoids? When you sit down the pain returns!

          • Take two:
            Hi- i reread your reply and realized i hadn’t tried your recommended distro test site.
            It bombed on Chrome, but worked (very slowly) on Firefox.
            As a result i’m even more discouraged about my prospects of accomplishing anything on it. I saw not one syllable of help anywhere in its interface.
            Fair enough- but if it’s (ONLY) for Linux initiates, they should’ve said so. I’m willing to put in sweat equity but i’m not psychic. So unless you can suggest some magic fix, i’m giving up.
            Shameless wimp.

  • I stumbled across Modicia a week ago and liked it enough to replace Peach OSI, then started running into things that were missing or a bit of a stumbling block for a minute. After installing a font manager, Synaptic, and a few other bits, it’s almost to where I want it.

    The one thing I’m stuck on is the Circle Menu on center-click. How do I either modify it or eliminate it? I’m so used to using middle-click for scrolling around web pages that it’s an automatic thing and a forehead slap every time I do it in Modicia. Is there a way to revert the mouse middle-click back to normal usage?

    • Hello Timmer, you can remove the central button menu by giving this command from the terminal as an administrator.
      sudo apt-get purge –auto-remove gnome-pie
      Eventually reboot the system. If you want to configure the action of the central button you can do it from the control panel.
      Greetings.

  • First of all, my congratulations to Jack M. Germain for the excellent work he has done for years. Secondly I want to do my comlimenti as a programmer and as a user to the MODICIA OS team for the excellent work done in terms of graphics and software. Keep it up and you’ll soon be a real alternative to professional owner platforms. You have my estimation as a programmer and my trust as a user. Congratulations.

  • Because of your hard work and objectivity, you are one of the very few respected technical writers left. Thank you.

    This sounds like a good candidate for a very good distribution, EXCEPT for one unstated very big negative: if it’s based on Ubuntu, it USES SYSTEMD–unless the developers worked very hard at replacing it with another init system. You did not indicate that this is the case here.

    I won’t touch it. Please indicate in future reviews whether or not a Linux distribution uses systemd; in fact, please indicate explicitly WHICH init system IS used.

    Thanks very much.

    A very-long-time reader.

    • I agree. It looks good via a live session but try installing it and making just a few of the normal personalization changes and it becomes rife with bugs including missing wallpaper, icons and input/output errors. Why something with this potential was based on Ubuntu and not Debian beats me. Just another sick and useless fish in the already overpopulated Linux sea.

      • I want to know what’s wrong. I have installed and modified it without problems for a month. Can you be precise? Perhaps as Linus said the problem lies between the chair and the keyboard.

        • Typical snarky Linux forum comment pointing immediate ‘blame’ towards the user. In light of your stated zero problems status it’s possible I received a corrupt download. MediaFire is not the best source for files of almost 4G even with a download manager and I could not find a torrent or an MD5 code to check against. Please point me in the right direction if either of these exist. In the meantime I’ll try another download and install the result on its own instead as part of a dual boot setup.

          • Hi;
            I’ve installed it as a dual-boot setup and i’ve been running it now for three days solid: about 12 hours a day. Haven’t come across a snag yet. as solid as houses, as the saying goes. The only snag is that I couldn’t run it inside a VM because the live image keeps coming up with a login screen after installation. Otherwise, I have to agree with every comment made by Jack M. Germain.
            The md5 code is right there on the MODICIA download page. So, chances are that the best place to download it https://www.modiciaos.cloud/download.html

          • Hello Gian19; Thanks for your comment, it makes the whole MODICIA O.S. The problem with WM is that it immediately turns on the Risync user, he can still access by changing login like this: User = modicia Password = modiciaos
            Best regards.

          • I did not mean to accuse anyone, it was just a doubt that often takes me when something goes wrong. The ISO it was downloaded from mediafire. Maybe you’re right could be corrupt or as often happens there is an incompatibility between the distro and hardvare in possession.

    • Hi Wormwood,
      Thank you for your comments and your suggestion. You make a valid point. SystemD is one of the more prominent raging debates involving Linux distros. Alas, it is a topic that is foreign to many Linux users who just want an OS that works without getting involved under the hood. I will keep your suggestion in mind for my review contents going forward.
      Best wishes,
      Jack

    • Good morning to all, first of all I sincerely thank Jack M. Germain for the detailed review, has grasped every nuance of distribution going beyond the superficial start, so that his review we have included in the distribution as an initial guide.
      Regarding the perplexities of Mr. Wormwood we attach below the output of the terminal that is freely questioned by anyone, including her.
      Hoping to have been useful to you, I greet you and wish you a good day.
      MARCO M. MARIANI project’s team coordinator
      of the MODICIA O.S
      — Logs begin at Tue 2018-06-19 09:37:35 CEST, end at Tue 2018-06-19 09:41:01 CEST. —
      Jun 19 09:37:42 modiciaos systemd[1]: Started Regular background program processing daemon.
      Jun 19 09:37:42 modiciaos cron[654]: (CRON) INFO (pidfile fd = 3)
      Jun 19 09:37:43 modiciaos cron[654]: (CRON) INFO (Running @reboot jobs)
      Jun 19 09:39:00 modiciaos CRON[2999]: pam_unix(cron:session): session opened for user root by (uid=0)
      Jun 19 09:39:00 modiciaos CRON[3000]: (root) CMD ( [ -x /usr/lib/php/sessionclean ] && if [ ! -d /run/systemd/system ]; then /usr/lib/php/sessionclean; fi)
      Jun 19 09:39:00 modiciaos CRON[2999]: pam_unix(cron:session): session closed for user root

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

LinuxInsider Channels