Huawei installs this system on its laptops. What is Linux Deepin?

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Windows 10 and Windows 7 are the most popular systems in the world. Why an alternative? All because of the economic war. The Chinese concern Huawei may have difficult access to American products, including Windows. It is produced by Microsoft – one of the largest IT companies in the United States.

Windows has been installed on almost all laptops and desktops around the world for years. However, it is not the only system with which you can buy a laptop. Apple sells macBooks with macOS, and Huawei in China has launched laptops with Deepin.

What is Deepin? What is Linux?

Linux, or basically GNU / Linux, is a system developed as open source software. This means that anyone willing can look into the source code, learn how it is made, correct errors and join in the development of it. You can also create your own version. This is how Android was created, which you definitely used on your smartphone.

Currently, both hobbyists and the largest IT companies – Microsoft, Google, Intel, IBM, as well as Huawei work on Linux.

Linux is available in many varieties (distributions), usually completely free. Most often it is used in data centers and servers, but there have also been some good distributions for use at home and in the office. Deepin, installed by Huawei on Matebook laptops, is one of them.

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This is the "Huawei system" desktop

Deepin is considered a very nice system. Perhaps this is the nicest Linux distribution you can test. Although it is created by a private company from China, it is available for free worldwide. It has been well translated into many languages, including Polish. The authors earn from paid support for business clients.

The program menu can be operated in two ways. By default, the list looks like on mobile devices. If you prefer something similar to the "Start Menu" from Windows, you can switch to this view.

All settings are collected on a side panel, similar to the Windows 10 notification area. The bottom dock (this is the type of bar) is similar to the Windows taskbar – you'll see programs enabled, your shortcuts and some notifications. You can also stretch it across the entire width of the screen to make it look like a Windows bar. Deepin can work in day or night mode. In my opinion, how Deepin looks and behaves does not differ from the popular Windows. Sometimes it even wins with ease of use and transparency of settings.

What programs will I get with Deepin?

Like Windows, Deepin is installed with a set of basic applications. You probably know some of them from Windows, a large part was created especially for Deepin. Here is the full list:

  • Google Chrome browser
  • Thunderbird mail client
  • File manager (very simple but readable)
  • Photo viewer (unfortunately not editable)
  • Movie player and music player
  • Text editor (more complex than notebook)
  • WPS Office package (I had to download the Polish dictionary myself)
  • Easy Scan
  • Document and PDF viewer
  • Basic calculator
  • Calendar (no day planning option)
  • Dictaphone
  • A tool for taking screenshots and adding descriptions to them
  • Desktop recording program
  • Simple scanning and programs for printing and scanning in the cloud
  • System monitor
  • GParted (program for formatting disks, creating partitions, etc.)
  • Application store
  • Terminal (to work from the command line, you will not need it at first)

You must have noticed that something is missing. Deepin has no Paint equivalent or Photos application freshly installed. This is where the app store comes in handy. You will find there a very good program Pinta, which will perfectly replace Windows's Paint or the popular program Paint.NET. I recommend the easy-to-use Digikam program for collecting and processing photos.

What works? What is not working?

My first impressions of using Deepin are very good. The system has no problem with laptop performance and cooling. Typical internet surfing, writing, and listening to music seem to load the processor less than under Windows on the same hardware. As a result, the laptop is noticeably quieter and works smoother (I will add that Deepin works on a slower disk than Windows). Plus for Deepin!

How will Deepin handle the equipment? I haven't found any USB device that Deepin won't recognize correctly (SD card reader, disk, camera, keyboard, sound card, gaming pad, network card). To my surprise, he immediately connected to the Bluetooth mouse and wireless headphones. Only the built-in camera at the beginning did not want to cooperate, I found the driver by trial and error, which I do not recommend.

The sound was Linux's Achilles' heel for many years. Fortunately, Deepin has no problems with movies, games, music and notifications. Don't worry, you can turn it on all at once. In addition, the system flawlessly switches between the external sound card, Bluetooth headphones and built-in laptop speakers.

The external monitor caused me some problems. I had to log out so that the hummingbird wallpaper appeared on both screens. Some programs also place their dialog boxes on the second screen, and some games do so. For the sake of addition, I will add that the screen brightness adjustment has been cleverly solved on both screens. Built-in has adjustable backlight, and on the outside just the colors are dimmed. Of course, there is a blue light filter for night work.

I connect the printer and scanner to home Wi-Fi. Deepin did not perform any configuration – the printer simply appeared in the program's print menu. The scanning application also immediately detects the scanner on the network.

Speaking of networks, a lot of people have to use VPN (Virtual Private Network) for remote work. I am one of them and to my surprise I had no problems with setting up a connection to the network of good programs and Virtual Poland. Little things like adjusting the brightness of the keyboard backlight and multimedia buttons.

However, I had some problems. The trackpad on my laptop works better under Windows. Deepin interprets finger pulling too often as a click too often. I also had a problem with energy management – for an unknown reason, it took me two days for the laptop to function properly when the "sleep" function started. However, I am convinced that Huawei will refine these functions for its laptops.

What can I play on Deepin?

Relax, you won't stay on Deepin without games. Steam, the most popular game store, took care of the customer of its service. If you have an account and games there, surely some of them will be available on Linux. In the titles I like, I didn't have any problems with graphics and effects … of course, as far as possible of my old laptop.

I use the Steam controller to play, to which I had to install the driver myself. After installation, it works fine – even better than on Windows, where I sometimes notice delays.

On Linux, however, there are no customers for other popular game stores: Epic Games, Origin, or uPlay. In the Deepin application store you will find the Play on Linux program, thanks to which you can run a lot of games from Windows and DOS. The Polish store is a mine of good, though not always new games for Linux. You can buy, among others, The Witcher, which has a Linux version.

Movies, graphics, design – are there programs for it?

It's time to ask an important question: Will Deepin replace Windows? It depends what you require from him. Many popular programs are only available for Windows and we can't help it.

I asked my friends what programs they use at work and at home. From the answers of almost 30 people, I chose the most frequent programs and found replacements for them. Almost all of them can be found in the Deepin app store.

GraphicsAdobe Photoshop, Affinity PhotoKrita, GIMP. Unfortunately, none of them can fully replace Photoshop
PhotographyAdobe Lightroom, DxO Optics ProRawTherapee, Darktable
vector graphicsAdobe Illustrator, CorelDRAWInkscape (it's not the best but you can live with it)
CAD designAutoCAD, SketchUpFreeCAD, LibreCAD, Sweet Home 3D (interior design), there are also some CAD for electronics. None even stood next to AutoCAD
paintingArtRage Studio, Corel PainterMyPaint, Krita (Corel Painter is second to none)
Film editingAdobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Power DirectorYou can install OpenShot, DaVinci Resolve from the manufacturer's website
3D modelingMaya, 3ds MaxBlender (has an unusual interface, but great possibilities)
OfficeMicrosoft OfficeWPS Office, LibreOffice (they don't have as good spreadsheet as Excel)
TypesettingAdobe InDesignScribus (you can install with the help of Synaptic
Organizing the systemCCleaner, Revo UninstallerStacer
File ManagerTotal CommanderDouble Commander
Password ManagerKeePass, LastPassKeePass
Sharing music and moviesPlexKodi (not exactly the same, but I recommend it)

One thing you can be sure of: Deepin will certainly not lack applications for programmers and administrators. At the same time, only a few programs are paid, which is a great advantage of this system.

You convinced me. Can i test it

Of course! Deepin is free and you can install it on your computer at any time. To do this, you need a USB stick (4 GB sufficient) and a Deepin installer to record on it (you can do it with a very easy Rufus program).

Make sure you back up your files before doing so. It's best to use it if you use a disk other than Windows installation. When writing this article, I used a USB-connected disk to prevent any disaster.

When you're ready, restart your computer by selecting your USB stick as the startup disk. Further steps are simpler than installing Windows.

Now you can also feel what it is like to use a Huawei laptop available only on the Chinese market. I work on Deepin for the third day and I hope that Huawei MateBook with Deepin will also reach Poland.

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