New Unity7 based distro

Where are you testing this on? Is it VMware or VirtualBox? What settings are you using and have you set the BIOS to boot from CD?

Hey dude thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it!

Huh, can I have a screenshot of the default live desktop/or installed desktop? Also, I’ve tried to when I got similar issues in another virtual testing session but I do not know how to completely switch to Caja over Nautilus. The name change to DocSurf was purely due to issues with the xdg-mime query default inode/directory returning org.Gnome.nautilus.desktop instead of mate.caja.desktop However this caused even more issues such as the trash starting nautilus and not caja (hence nautilus calling itself trash). I do not know how to completely remove nautilus and replace it with caja, although I’ve been trying since last night. If you could, please do help me on how to make caja the default, replacing even the trash

Ah, this is because I used the ubuntu-server codebase rather than the ubuntu-desktop codebase, so I can start without the GNOME environment, and have a minimum install base. However I found that this causes the sudo command to take unnecessary amounts of time to compute and the boot time to be doubled along with firefox hanging sometimes. Presumably because of security, but now in the next build of synOS Canora I’m going to be using the ubuntu-desktop codebase, for added speed.

Thank you so much! That’s exactly what I will do now.


Your Optical drive is on IDE but your hard drive is on SATA. Try switching your optical drive to SATA, and see if it runs!

It didn’t work on SATA, but when I switched the hard to IDE it worked. You might want to fix that on final release.

Live desktop and DocSurf

I am not going to use Caja, but Nemo over Nautilus, so can’t help much with using Caja.

I did that in both Ubuntu Unity and default Ubuntu, but simply can’t remember how today. Best you should invest your energies to create the live iso with 19.04 than 18.10. Ubuntu had linked some folders in root to /usr, just like it was done in Arch long time ago. And, also 18.10 is practically dead.

Hope you’d read the thread testing-unity-session-in-19-04 from the beginning, you would see what we have been experimenting on. You can also build with the mini iso on UEFI.

I downloaded the ISO:

$ md5sum synOS-Canora_build09032019_1.0-idx02_lab06n.iso 
cfcd7270dd1a6488d964e16fe9572fed  synOS-Canora_build09032019_1.0-idx02_lab06n.iso

$ sha256sum synOS-Canora_build09032019_1.0-idx02_lab06n.iso 
5ff5e6cfae70c09b672ccb7d060b9668bf509fefeb9cc356c857e7165be1d4c0  synOS-Canora_build09032019_1.0-idx02_lab06n.iso

1. Boot

1.1. VirtualBox

TL;DR - does not boot, stalls at Begin: Regenerating SSL certificate.

I tried IDE, SATA, SCSI and SAS for optical drive on my VirtualBox 5.1.38 host - SynOS does not start: shows text Plymouth screen with dots:

Ubuntu 18.10
. . . .

While booting verbose mode (verbose noplymouth INIT_VERBOSE=y instead of quiet splash) - the longest process is:

Begin: Regenerating SSL certificate... ...

this steps stalls for 15 minutes. I’m using SSD, so speed is not a problem. Other VMs work normally.

1.2. KVM

TL;DR - boots only with UEFI.

Also it does not start from KVM with:

sudo kvm -m 1536 -cdrom synOS-Canora_build09032019_1.0-idx02_lab06n.iso

It boots only with UEFI after installation of OVFM (sudo apt install ovmf) from Virtual Machine Manager.

2. Analysis of the system

2.1. Live mode

The Live version has 8 nautilus-related packages:

$ dpkg -l | grep nautilus | wc -l

The does not contain any relevant information to synOS.

I can’t get the idea behind renaming Caja to DocSurf.

2.2. Installation

Casper and Ubiquity worked as expected.

2.3. First boot

But after reboot I have strange window named Install with Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu.

Click on Try Ubuntu ends with showing of LightDM greeter (expected behavior).

Clicking on Install Ubuntu starts installation wizard. It is completely unexpected for installed system. Next reboot ends with the same Install window.

You should not have ubiquity package in installed system!

So I purged all ubiquity-related packages with sudo apt purge ubiquity*.

2.4. Next boot and analysis of packages

The Unity is installed as if one will install ubuntu-unity-desktop.

The hostname is ignored, sets itself to default synos-trident.

System comes with preinstalled openssh-server, this is not good idea. Also you have broken host keys here. So I purged SSH Server with sudo apt purge openssh-server.

The system is booted with Linux 5.0, which is not yet released in Ubuntu:

$ uname -a
Linux synos-trident 5.0.0-050000-generic #201903032031 SMP Mon Mar 4 01:33:18 UTC 2019 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

$ ls /boot/
config-4.18.0-15-generic     initrd.img-4.18.0-15-generic     memtest86+_multiboot.bin         vmlinuz-4.18.0-16-generic
config-4.18.0-16-generic     initrd.img-4.18.0-16-generic     vmlinuz-5.0.0-050000-generic
config-5.0.0-050000-generic  initrd.img-5.0.0-050000-generic
efi                          memtest86+.bin         
grub                         memtest86+.elf                   vmlinuz-4.18.0-15-generic

$ dpkg -S /boot/vmlinuz-5.0.0-050000-generic
linux-image-unsigned-5.0.0-050000-generic: /boot/vmlinuz-5.0.0-050000-generic

$ apt-cache policy linux-image-unsigned-5.0.0-050000-generic
  Installed: 5.0.0-050000.201903032031
  Candidate: 5.0.0-050000.201903032031
  Version table:
 *** 5.0.0-050000.201903032031 100
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

The linux-modules-4.18.0-10-generic with /lib/modules/4.18.0-10-generic is unneded as there is no kernel in /boot.


The system is shipped with locally installed packages:

$ sudo aptitude search ~o
i   libgnome-desktop-3-12                                              - Utility library for loading .desktop files - runtime files                  
i   linux-headers-5.0.0-050000                                         - Header files related to Linux kernel version 5.0.0                          
i   linux-headers-5.0.0-050000-generic                                 - Linux kernel headers for version 5.0.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP                    
i   linux-image-unsigned-5.0.0-050000-generic                          - Linux kernel image for version 5.0.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP                      
i   linux-modules-5.0.0-050000-generic                                 - Linux kernel extra modules for version 5.0.0 on 64 bit x86 SMP              
i   orta-settings-manager                                              - Settings manager for the Orta gtk theme                                     
i   orta-theme                                                         - the Orta gtk theme and Metacity decorators                                  
i   pinguybuilder                                                      - This script creates a livecd of the installed system and works with *buntu s
i   spectrum-plymouth                                                  - Install Spectrum plymouth in Ubuntu                                         
i   vertex-theme                                                       - Vertex is a theme for GTK 3, GTK 2, Gnome-Shell and Cinnamon       

and several PPAs:

$ grep -r -v ^# /etc/apt/ --include="*.list"
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/noobslab-ubuntu-themes-cosmic.list:deb cosmic main
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/teejee2008-ubuntu-ppa-cosmic.list:deb cosmic main
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/noobslab-ubuntu-icons-cosmic.list:deb cosmic main
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/unity7maintainers-ubuntu-unity7-desktop-cosmic.list:deb cosmic main
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic main restricted
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-updates main restricted
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic universe
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-updates universe
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic multiverse
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-updates multiverse
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-backports main restricted universe multiverse
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic partner
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-security main restricted
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-security universe
/etc/apt/sources.list:deb cosmic-security multiverse

$ aptitude search '~O LP-PPA' | grep ^i
i  arrongin-telinkrin-themes - Arrongin and Telinkrin theme uploaded on PPA
i  faenza-icon-theme - Faenza Icon Theme
i  libunity-control-center1 - utilities to configure the GNOME desktop
i  libunity-settings-daemon1 - Helper library for accessing settings
i  obsidian-1-icons - Obsidian-1 Icons uploaded on PPA
i  ubuntu-unity-desktop - The Ubuntu Unity desktop system
i  ukuu - Kernel Update Utility for Ubuntu-based distributions
i  unity-control-center - utilities to configure the GNOME desktop
i  unity-settings-daemon - daemon handling the Unity session settings

including UKUU

$ apt-cache policy ukuu
  Installed: 18.5.1-0~201805120527~ubuntu18.10.1
  Candidate: 18.5.1-0~201805120527~ubuntu18.10.1
  Version table:
 *** 18.5.1-0~201805120527~ubuntu18.10.1 500
        500 cosmic/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

which is dangerous for end-user as it provides not-tested kernels.

The installed system contains many development packages with headers:

$ dpkg -S /usr/include/ | sed "s/,/\n/g" | grep "\-dev" | wc -l

$ du -sh /usr/include/
43M	/usr/include/

and development tools such as build-essential, g++, g++-8 but they should not be installed by default on the system.


Debsums says that you have modified some config files:

$ sudo debsums --config --changed
[sudo] password for synos:      

The /etc/lsb-release came from base-files, its contents are:

$ cat /etc/lsb-release

I’m not sure, but looks like copyright violation.

The /etc/casper.conf came from casper package, it is not expected to be in installed system.

The /etc/PinguyBuilder.conf came from pinguybuilder, which is locally installed.

The full scan gives the following result:

$ sudo debsums --all --changed
debsums: missing file /usr/share/applications/caja.desktop (from caja package)
debsums: Error: symlink loop detected in path 'usr/share/icons/hicolor/256x256/apps/ubuntu-logo-icon.png'. Please file a bug against gnome-control-center-data.

Here - in /usr/lib/os-release we have copyright violation.

The /usr/share/applications/caja-browser.desktop and /usr/share/applications/caja-folder-handler.desktop are changed to have DocSurf name.

The error messaga about ubuntu-logo-icon.png was fixed by reinstallation of gnome-control-center-data package, so we will continue:

$ sudo debsums --all --changed
debsums: Error: symlink loop detected in path 'usr/bin/vmhgfs-fuse'. Please file a bug against open-vm-tools.

Here the /usr/share/unity/icons/launcher_bfb.png came from libunity-core-6.0-9, but you have overwritten this file with your logo.

The symlink loop is fixable after reinstallation of open-vm-tools package. Let’s continue:

$ sudo debsums --all --changed

Here you have changed /usr/share/plymouth/themes/ubuntu-logo/ubuntu-logo.png, /usr/share/unity-control-center/ui/UbuntuLogo.png, /usr/share/unity-greeter/logo.png.

Scanning the system for non-deb stuff with

sudo find /bin /etc /lib /lib64 /opt /sbin /srv /usr /var -type f -exec dpkg -S {} \; 2> ~/Desktop/results.out

gives the following results:

  • /etc/vmware-tools, /usr/bin/, /usr/bin/, /usr/lib/vmware-tools - the parts of VMWare guest tools, should not be installed with the system;
  • /etc/PinguyBuilder - part of locally installed PinguyBuilder
  • /etc/skel/.config and /etc/skel/.local - parts of your user profile, should not be customized this way, should not be in the installed system
  • /etc/python3/debian_config - leftover
  • /etc/systemd/system/snap* - leftovers
  • /etc/network/if-pre-up.d/mtuipv6 - leftover
  • /etc/network/if-up.d/mtuipv6 - leftover
  • /etc/network/if-up.d/update - strange file with apt update command, should not be included in installed system
  • /usr/local/share/fonts/.uuid - leftover
  • /usr/share/ - leftover
  • /usr/share/icons/pixelfun3 and /usr/share/themes/pixelfun3 - leftovers
  • /usr/share/themes/poppy, /usr/share/themes/Mc0S-Color-Concept - leftovers
  • /root - leftovers
  • /usr/share/sounds/ubuntu/stereo/synos-desktop-login.ogg - login sound theme

All parts marked as leftover(s) should not be included in installed filesystem.


IMHO this looks more like copyright changing, than creating new functionality or bringing new life to Unity 7.
I do not find any reason to use this repack of Ubuntu.The OP should change the vision and/or the production method.
Everyone can get such a system from mini.iso by installing ubuntu-unity-desktop, removing nautilus and installing caja in it.


Hey man, I’m honestly grateful for such an in-depth analysis.

I have stated that this is an alpha test build - this is not feature complete! I have not reached feature freeze yet and hence this is a very barebones desktop with little to nothing changed!

The reason for asking for testers is because I was having issues with the live-session on different workstations/virtual machines with Unity.
This is mostly a test build to make sure that all the packages work nicely and Unity interacts well with everything.

Additionally yes, I have changed the branding from saying ubuntu to synOS Canora but as far as I am aware this is not in fact a violation of copyright as I have not released this for general public - only private testing and aditionally I will be adding my own useful features at the end.
Things like Caja and Mirage have been renamed to DocSurf and Pureview for the specific reason that they will be modified and ‘soft forked’ to have some new planned features like on the fly large-thumb previews, Mac OS-like video and audio preview playback integrated within Caja and Mirage supporting green screen editing similar to Preview on Mac OS X, and many more. Hence the name changes justified - there will be a justified amount of changes that make these apps a fork, not an original!

But this is in a very early Alpha stage!

To put it in perspective I started building this on sixth march and whatever you’re seeing is built as of ninth march! VERY EARLY into development! This was purely meant to see, again, how Unity works on different devices, and whether or not Ubuntu-Server 18.10 works well

which segways me into

The boot issues, app_start time issues and other bugs I have noticed are caused due to be using the ubuntu server 18.10 iso rather than a minimal or default desktop iso. This has been the single major reason for the unnecessary apps and weird issues. And by doing this test, I have figured it out. Based on the feedback I have received by chanath, itzswirlz and now you, Norbert, I have concluded that I will use the default desktop iso, based on 19.04 for the next build.

As for the ubiquity installer issues, I shall be switching from PinguyBuilder to rsync/other manual methods for the next iso building.

There is more I wish to say but it is 3:45 AM IST, and I must sleep

Norbert and everyone else here, I would like to apologize for any inconveniences caused. These are Alpha builds however; not the final and all the issues mentioned here will most definitely be fixed and improved for the next alpha (or hopefully beta)

I sincerely, sincerely thank you all for all your help. I couldn’t have done this without all of you.

I will list down the features you can expect from the next alpha tomorrow. Hopefully I can change your mind and make you enjoy using this distro @Norbert :smiley:

Don’t worry about anyone having “inconveniences,” just keep on doing what you do. Consider the work on 18.10 as testing, and then, move to 19.04. There’s not many guys trying to do remixes with Ubuntu any more.

Hi @chanath ,
I’m back after my long hiatus. I had a lot of work to do and now I finally got back to working on this.
synOS 1.0 Canora is reaching feature-complete levels. I’ll be posting again soon for the Beta 1 build.
I think you and everyone else will agree that it’s gotten a lot better.
Instead of using Pinguy builder I decided to use Linux live squashfs scripts to make sure that even the configuration files of the demo home folder are copied over to the live boot.
Previously was using Radiance theme because Faenza was not working well with Ambiance, but now I’m using a more skeumorphic variant of Ambiance along with a fork of Faenza with even more icons and blue coloration for folders.
I’ve switched away from Caja because it just was not working properly, and am now using a forked version of Nautilus from the old Xenial archives with some extra features. To prevent it from “upgrading” to the ugly GNOME variant of Nautilus with the extra padding, renamed it to DocSurf.

I’ve additionally switched to Ubuntu 19.04 as a base and using the latest Linux Kernel.

There are also a lot of eye candy.

There are a lot, lot more changes.

Even at such an early stage I can already tell you with confidence that synOS Canora is the most feature complete, easy to use and beautiful Unity remix distro, compared to the few that are around.

Will be posting soon. Thanks all. See you soon.


Hoping this pans out. Couldn’t help but notice that ever since Canonical dropped official support for Unity, Ubuntu has been steadily dropping in popularity in Distrowatch. Coincidence? Gibbs Rule #39


Is there any update on this? I would love to test out the Beta build!

@jaime-cruz @londoed hi! Sorry for disappearing, yes this is being worked on, however I had gone on a hiatus due to my exams. Right now I’m working on two important aspects. Ubuntu 20.04 has deprecated a lot of important unity-desktop package dependencies such as the hud package, this making unity tweak tool inoperable. Additionally the default Yaru theme is unusable. I am working hard to patch the hud package in, right now with the temporary solution of calling in xenial packages. I am also working on a new Beautiful skeuomorphic theme.

check this out.


Thank you for the update. With Focal right around the corner I find myself wondering if I’m going to stay with Bionic, or switch distros. I’ve tried on numerous occasions to use the Gnome desktop and every time I come away frustrated with how slow and unintuitive it is.

A unity8 based distro would be awesome

Or your own Desktop Environment. Working on one! :slight_smile: Nice if people would join…

Debian is releasing an Unity 8 desktop


This is not about Debian, this is about Ubuntu. But still, kind of nice that Debian is playing around with Unity8. :wink:

If someone is doing something on Debian, it might stay a longer time…:slight_smile: