TUXEDO OS 2 Preview in test

New Tuxedo

© Photo by hani Pirzadian on Unsplash

© Photo by hani Pirzadian on Unsplash

Article from Issue 270/2023

The popular Linux PC forge TUXEDO extends Ubuntu to include the latest KDE packages and says goodbye to Snap for its in-house TUXEDO OS distribution. The latest version is suitable for any PC.

It is hard to predict whether installing Linux on a new PC will work without detours. Individual components might only work after some time-consuming research and extensive efforts to install the required drivers. In fact, the result might even turn out to be a non-booting total failure. That's why Linux-friendly hardware vendors offer computers with a preconfigured Linux system, where everything is guaranteed to work. Some go so far as to put together their own distributions, which include all the required drivers, kernel patches, and additional tools for all the computers they offer.

This is true, for example, of US supplier System76 or the German computer manufacturer TUXEDO. Both these vendors provide their own signature Linux distributions, but, whereas System76's Pop!_OS has been freely available for some time, TUXEDO's TUXEDO OS was intended only for TUXEDO customers until September 2022, when developers released TUXEDO OS 1 as an ISO image. The version 2 release was imminent at the time this article was written. We decided to take a look at TUXEDO OS 2 Preview [1].

TUXEDO OS 2 is based on Ubuntu 22.04, but it comes up as TUXEDO OS 2 when you type lsb_release -a or display the /etc/os-release configuration file. Nothing changes in terms of the typical Ubuntu-style conventions: For example, there is no root account, and you need Sudo to gain administrative privileges.


If you slot in the 3.3GB installation disc with TUXEDO-OS-2-202302231702.iso (you can also write this to a USB stick), you are first taken to a live system after selecting TUXEDO OS 2 Try & Install in the boot loader. After prompting you for the language, region/time zone, and keyboard mapping, the installer spends a few seconds updating the localizations before launching a KDE desktop.

A click on the sole desktop icon (Install TUXEDO OS) lets you start the setup routine. TUXEDO OS relies on the popular Calamares [2] installer framework. If you're installing on a non-TUXEDO device, a warning will appear to remind you that any special tools intended for TUXEDO hardware won't work.

The installer prompts you for the language again and then jumps directly to the most important part, partitioning the disk. You have four options: You can select a partition to shrink in Install alongside. A slider (Figure 1) helps you divide the disk space between the old and new systems. Replace a partition lets you define a partition to delete. In addition, you can erase the hard disk and choose Manual partitioning. This works for legacy partition tables (MBR) and for the newer GPTs. You can also elect to encrypt the TUXEDO OS partition with LUKS by clicking on Encrypt System and assigning a password.

Figure 1: The partitioner can shrink existing Windows and Linux partitions to make room for TUXEDO OS.

When you erase the disk, you can choose between No swap, Swap (without hibernation), Swap (with hibernation), and Use swap file for the swap area. By default, the system uses an installation without swap space, and when shrinking an existing partition, the installer does not even ask you for swap space.

As the file system for the root partition, you can choose ext4 (the default), Btrfs, or XFS – but only if you use the whole disk or partition manually. The install continues with creating the standard user account. The Require strong passwords option can be disabled, and TUXEDO OS will even log you in automatically if so desired. That's all it takes; the installer now unpacks some files and waits for you to confirm the reboot.

The freshly installed GRUB boot loader has a boot menu from which you can boot other Linux and Windows installations (Figure 2). This worked without problems in the test; in fact, a triple boot configuration with TUXEDO OS, Ubuntu 22.04, and Windows 11 worked without further ado.

Figure 2: The boot manager lets you launch other Linux and Windows installations in addition to TUXEDO OS.


On the test machine, a compact mini-PC with a quad-core Celeron N5105 and 16GB RAM, TUXEDO OS 2 booted into a usable KDE desktop in 13 seconds. For comparison's sake: Ubuntu 22.04 took 18 seconds on the same machine, and Windows 11 Professional 20 seconds. All three systems were configured to automatically log in the default user.

The current TUXEDO OS KDE packages come from the KDE-Neon repository [3]. The look, placement, and structure of the start bar and menu are sensibly chosen for Linux newcomers. The interface responds quickly to all actions. Initially, the desktop has no additional workspaces. You can drop files directly on the desktop, and they end up in the ~/Desktop/ folder.

By default, applications use light colors, and the start bar and menu have a dark color scheme. If you change the colors to TUXEDO Dark in the settings in Appearance, give the browser a darkening add-on, and change the background, you can make things really dark (Figure 3).

Figure 3: If you prefer it dark, you can easily adjust the desktop.

Software Selection

The developers pre-install many useful programs directly, including Firefox, Thunderbird, and KTorrent in the Internet category. You can use LibreOffice for your daily office work and play videos with VLC. VirtualBox – somewhat unusually – comes with the proprietary Oracle extension in place. Even the build-essential developer base package is already on board. Table 1 shows a small selection of the version numbers of the packages included with the TUXEDO OS 2 Preview.

Table 1

Preinstalled software





KDE Plasma


KDE Frameworks













Administrators who love legacy tools will be happy to see the terminal-based Midnight Commander file manager and the htop process viewer. TUXEDO OS does not automatically install an OpenSSH daemon. If you want to log in to the computer remotely, install OpenSSH Server with:

sudo apt install openssh-server

Although TUXEDO OS is an Ubuntu derivative, the developers are obviously not fans of the Snap [4] package manager favored by the Ubuntu project: The service you would need for using Snap (snapd) doesn't even make it onto the disc. Applications such as Firefox, which Ubuntu prefers or exclusively provides as a Snap package, are sourced from TUXEDO's own repository (Listing 1).

Listing 1



The Plasma Discover software manager looks like the modern app stores of other operating systems and offers detailed descriptions, screenshots, and reviews for many applications. However, it does not source all installable packages from the repositories, only applications in the narrower sense. On the other hand, you're not limited to .deb packages – Plasma Discovery also insludes Flatpak packages in the list of installable applications. You can add more Flatpak repositories in the Discover settings. You don't need root privileges to do so, by the way, because Flatpak packages are not installed globally across the system. For advanced users there is Muon (System | Muon Package Manager), a classical package manager, which also supplies library packages and smaller tools.

TUXEDO OS uses X11 as the basis for the desktop and not Wayland. However, detecting the monitor size proved problematic in the test. The fonts and controls turned out to be way too big. To find out how to fix the problem, see the "X11 Settings" box.

X11 Settings

TUXEDO OS relies on X11 instead of Wayland, but you can add Wayland support retroactively. The developers justified their decision to go with X11 by arguing that X11 provides better compatibility with hybrid graphics setups (with a low-powered integrated graphics card and a powerful add-on card), which you will commonly find in TUXEDO notebooks.

Very large fonts and controls were preset on the test computer with a 27-inch monitor. The obvious way to fix this – right-clicking on the desktop, selecting Configure Display Settings, and resetting Global scaling from 150 to 100 percent – didn't improve things even after a reboot. KDE offers another possibility to adjust the font sizes: In the system settings under Appearance | Fonts you can Force font DPI. After enabling this option (with a value of 96 dpi) and logging in again, we were finally able to use the desktop.

However, what was actually responsible for the display issues in our lab was the following entry in the /etc/sddm.conf.d/kde_settings.conf file:

ServerArguments=-dpi 144

It told the X server to start with the -dpi 144 option. The installer obviously mistook the monitor for a high-resolution laptop display. To change to a good resolution, we just needed to remove the three offending lines or hash-tag them out (#).

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