Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, April 26, 2021 at 23:59

Curious about Deepin 20? Here's our review to this latest version of the super beautiful and unique China operating system for your computers and laptops. We can say that Deepin is now a fashion in computing ready to compete with Windows and MacOS. This series of release begins with the big switch, from WPS to LibreOffice, and similarly from Google Chrome to Browser, aside from other large improvements in its system most notably the desktop in general and Control Center in particular. Here's Deepin Twenty for you all!

General Information

  • Name: deepin
  • Version: 20, 20.1, 20.2
  • Origin: China
  • Basis: Debian GNU/Linux version 10 (Stable)
  • Hardware platform: desktop and server
  • Developer: UnionTech Software (also known as UOS), formerly Wuhan Deepin Technology
  • Desktop environment: DDE 5.2
  • Kernel: Linux
  • Default username: uos
  • Default password: -
  • Package management: DEB, DPKG, APT
  • Source code:
  • Website:

Acquisition by UOS

There is an important news. In 2019, prior to Deepin version 20 launched, Wuhan Deepin Technology as its developer company had been acquired by UnionTech Software. This is the background behind many changes in the operating system today, including externally the addition of an enterprise system, called UOS (United Operating System), and a Server edition aside from Deepin itself as the main product, and internally many new apps such as Browser and Mail. This also results in changes in its End User License Agreement dated December 2020.


There are several update releases within Twenty. 

- The version 20 "Innovation is ongoing" released September 2020.

- The 20.1 "Details Make Perfection" released December 2020. 

- The 20.2 "Beautiful and Wonderful" released March 2021.

- The 20.3 planned on June.

- The 20.4 planned on September.

- The 20.5 planned on December.

To proceed...

1. Brand New Visuals

  • Front face
  • Start menu
  • Panel
  • Round corner style
  • Notifications
  • Themes

Beauty is tradition to Deepin OS. Every release looks very pretty, very well designed. This Twenty version brought a noticeable change to the desktop as a whole and an overhaul to the Control Center (will be discussed below). Deepin is now more rounded, that's the style, so the Dock and the Window Frames are now more rounded than previous release version 15. Speaking about the translucency, now version twenty looks thicker, less translucent.
[Picture 1.1. DDE these days]

Start menu is back to millions of people's shape, the Plasma Launcher-like one. However, it is added with a brand new fullscreen menu, the paging one, aside from the original fullscreen menu is still available. There is an interesting fact, that is, the visual and the ability to switch positions between items on fullscreen menu, is also present in latest GNOME particularly v40. To change between menu shapes, you click the arrow on top-right and further, click the button on top-left.
[Picture 1.2. Full screen start menu]

Multitasking is visually improved, it is limited to 4 workspaces only, with different wallpaper pictures each, and every running app displayed as icon. You can try to open several Deepin Apps and the multitask will display beautifully like below. 

[Picture 1.3. Workspace switcher at Deepin 20]

This is the fashion of modern Deepin: everything is rounded on its corners. The Dock and the window frames are all rounded in each's four points, looking uniquely cuter now, thanks to this. This distinguishes Deepin with other GNU/Linuxes & technologies, like elementary OS or GNOME.

[Picture 1.4. Rounded corners shown by Movie, File Manager, and Album]

Notifications got a new bubble as it has been made independent out of v15's settings sidebar. Now it is a bell button on your bottom-right corner of screen and when clicked a one-third part of screen will be opened sliding from the right edge bringing your notifications.

[Picture 1.5. Notification tray showing on desktop covering its deepin wallpaper]

To finish this section, Deepin Themes, it is now divided into two, Light and Dark. The icon theme and cursor theme are named Bloom. Its default font is Noto Sans. The fashion is, every Deepin App can use theme independently! A user may apply Dark Theme to all applications, for example, and he/she can decide Deepin File Manager alone to use Light Theme (by its menu), and vice versa. More setups awaiting in the Control Center such as the color schemes, window effect, transparency, Magic Lamp, and even the round corners can be adjusted. However, looking at the settings is very similar to looking at MacOS' counterparts. Last but not least, as a part of appearance, this Control Center redesign is truly admirable seeing how tidy and easy to understand it is for eyes of a new user.

[Picture 1.6. DDE with Efficient panel style, Dark Theme enabled system-wide, Control Center in Light Theme, and Yellow selected as Accent Color]

2. Updates to File Manager & Dialogs

  • Front face
  • Faster search
  • Full text search
  • Right sidebar
  • Better settings
We are happy that now Deepin File Manager includes full text search, that is, allowing us to find text contents within our files and not just the file name. This works by enabling Full text search within its Settings > Advanced > Index section. 

Now its front page got better design, very informative display of user's folders and disk drives without neglecting their capacity indicator.
[Picture 2.1 File manager displaying multiple disk drives and capacity bars]

As a part of its new design, now it features information sidebar which can be opened with the 3rd button from the magnifier button.

[Picture 2.2 File manager showing it version (5.2.8) and right sidebar]

For people who want a decent file chooser dialog (to open / to save), Deepin is excellent solution for you for it features thumbnails view with preview, right sidebar, and also search ability. If you are unsatisfied with GNOME's or GTK's file chooser because of its inability to show thumbnails (for ages), you should try Deepin's. You can test it by pressing Ctrl+O on Browser and see how good is it for you. 

[Picture 2.3. File chooser dialog showing folders & drives, the files with thumbnail previews, information sidebar, and a search bar]


3. The Heart

  • Control Center is now a window.
  • Deepin ID.
  • New designs. 

Control Center is the heart of Deepin. Previously a sidebar, now it is a window. Changes to this heart affect Deepin users: (1) aligned experience with most people's experience in using control panel (2) Deepin ID facility -- an online service dedicated to Deepin users similar to Ubuntu One currently available for Mainland China only -- (3) easier access to all important settings. With cute and familiar icons, Control Center will be easier to use even to first timer.

Below is a gallery of pictures of all sections in Control Center (hosted in Imgur).
To compare it, Deepin is one among a few distros with single control panel. One CC is enough to rule them all. To remind you, see openSUSE as example with the duo Yast-KDE System Settings, Mageia with duo MCC-KSS, and Ubuntu with duo GNOME CC-Tweaks. We rarely see all in one CC in GNU/Linux world until we find Deepin.

4. New Office Suite

Deepin 20 switched from WPS to LibreOffice. We can celebrate this! Because this means a switch from proprietary to free software -- to use Deepin's parlence "[...] aims to provide open source solutions.". Personally, I felt pleased Deepin Team made my wish a reality, as four years ago I have published that I wanted Deepin to do this switch and now they really did it. However, there is one caveat -- and it is the only flaw for Deepin's beauty -- as it looks very ugly unless one installs some package manually (click here to see my report). All in all, it is a winning for Deepin in its own goals. Thanks Deepin Team for winning Free/Libre Open Source Software!

[Picture 4.1. Writer, Calc, and Impress running with Tabbed Toolbars enabled]

5. New Deepin Applications

Deepin 20 brings along several brand new, interesting apps! Of course, as it is a professional operating system, every one of them comes with full documentation online as well as offline.

  • Browser

Deepin 20 ditches Google Chrome and presents its own Browser. I say 'own' as it is already documented its user guide in Deepin Help as we can go to its menu > Help. Actually, it is a modification to Chromium (the free software licensed base of Chrome) and compatible to Chrome Extensions. However, the default search engine is the most popular one in China. Technically, the package name is org.deepin.browser, the developer team is called UnionTech LTD, and the maintainer email is, however the issue is I cannot find the source code anywhere even at Deepin's GitHub.

  • Downloader
Deepin now features Downloader. It is a combination of usual download manager with a BitTorrent plus Metalink client! To think a resemblance, it is similar to KDE KGet got married to Ubuntu's Transmission. 

  • Voice Notes

A new, unique thing introduced in Deepin today, it is Voice Notes, a text editor that enables user to add voices in it.  We can mix our writing with our own voices -- type some paragraphs and add some rainy sound on it would be an example. It features a sound recorder built-in. 

  • Draw

Windows had Paint and Deepin had Draw. You can draw freely with colors, create shapes with strokes and fills colors, arrange some photos, resize and rotate them as you wish, as well as write some awesome text aside from the crop feature in it. There is a deeper meaning of this, that is, now GNU/Linux users got a new drawing program! However, there is a caveat as the window cannot be resized unlike other Deepin Apps.

  • Mail

Previously it brought Thunderbird, now it brings Deepin Mail. It is a beautiful looking email client with easy to use initial email account setup. It supports both IMAP and POP technologies so we can rest assured to enjoy mailing at home. However, it has a shortcoming that is the text viewer fails to display most emails properly even the plain text ones.

  • Disk Utility

It is a Deepin's own developed program (just like most of others) to format, resize, and manage disk drives in simple ways. Think about it like GNOME Disks or Apple Disks. However, in this version, it got important feature that is Verify or Repair Bad Sectors. However, at the moment it does not have ability to burn ISO image to make USB bootable media.

  • Device Manager

Introduced at v20.0 Innovation is Ongoing, this is our new star, a "Dxdiag"-like system information viewer. It can display our PC brand, CPU, RAM, GPU, motherboard, and other hardware devices' defatils and once again Deepin displays them beautifully more than any other GNU/Linux techs even KDE's. 

6. What's New?

A lot of new things come into existing Deepin Apps we already knew such as Screen Capture and System Monitor. Fundamentally, v20 is very different to v15 as the previous release, as the repository is now different (now is while previously is as stated officially in 2020 announcement. 

Screen Capture is now a combination of Screenshot and Screen Recorder. So we don't ask where is the recording feature as it is now merged in our Ctrl+Printscreen press. It features ability to determine saving folder, enable webcam and voice, pointer and click indicator, keystroke indicator as well, and video format choices of GIF, MP4, and MKV.

System Monitor now displays both visual graphs and process table on a same screen, with additional disk and network transportation graphs. It also serves as a GUI systemd's service manager (similar to what Mageia had) if we visit the Services tab. This is the advantage of Deepin's over other SysMon even KDE's one. 

App Store is now faster to open its front page which displays apps. Deepin employs new concept in delivering several foreign software packages, which is, bundling Windows apps with wine so they can be run by Deepin user. However, this is the place where Deepin still distribute proprietary software and even displays a ranking of them (WeChat 1st, WPS 2nd, and Chrome 4th)  jumbled together with the other free software. 

7. Performance

"Excellent performance [...] By reducing memory occupation of deepin applications [...] you will enjoy enhanced system performance [...]"
---Deepin 20.2 -- Beautiful and Wonderful--- 

Their promises above are true. Deepin 20 runs with about 600MB of memory. It is about two times of Kubuntu's load, some 200MB below Ubuntu Budgie's, and considerably far lighter than our standard Ubuntu GNOME's today.  I've tested it by installing a fresh Deepin system and took three times of screenshots System Monitor showing the memory load. As you can see below, it is Deepin 20.2, showing kwin_x11 (40M), Xorg (20M), dde-session-daemon (20M) the processes among processes in Deepin. With such excellent desktop experience cost only six hundreds MB of memory, I can say Deepin's performance is very good!

6. Originality and Similarity to Other Products

Lacking originality is a trait of all desktop GNU/Linux distros except a few. One of these few are Deepin of course, the other one is Elementary OS. Honestly as an Ubuntu user, I can say Ubuntu had originality when it featured Unity, but lost it since transforming back to GNOME. If you look at Deepin, you will sooner or later acknowledge its developers determination to make their product original from the apps to the documentations, all in harmony, all in deep care, with very little cracks to critisize. To compare it, look at elementary OS, does every own app included with their own documentation like Deepin's?

About similarity, visually, Deepin is closest to Apple MacOS these days (from Mojave to Big Sur) except for several things such as the start menu which instead resembles Windows 7. You can confirm this by many ways, look at the Control Center, for example, as the names and visuals are so similar. Technically, Deepin is closest to Debian, as all the underlying system as well as the security updates come from that universal distro. Its codename is apricot to be aligned to Debian's codename buster. Deepin uses APT and not DNF, utilizes repository and not DMG, and powered by Linux and not other kernel.

To compare it with other distros, there is no distro caring about its welcome screen more than Deepin. The closest one, elementary OS, does not have it yet. You see, today, welcome screen is a trend, like adopted by Mageia, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Manjaro, etc. but no one makes it as an animated video like Deepin does. You say themes selection? Yes, the video has a next button to give the user choices of modes, themes, and icons. Clearly Deepin is better in this regard.


In live session, Deepin's default username is uos now with no password (I confirmed with 20.2). Known issue is when the screen is locked (e.g. after 15 minutes of no activities) a user cannot enter the desktop anymore with whatever password. The temporary solution is by entering background terminal (Ctrl+Alt+F3) and typing  $ sudo passwd -du uos  and finally going back to desktop (Ctrl+Alt+F1).  Thank you so much Deepin Espanol community for explaining it.


Deepin Twenty has/is:

- Better performance and speed in the whole system.
- Beautiful! Everythin in it is, even the Manuals are.
- A lot of new features and even apps.
- Big changes in built-in apps (office suite and web browser).
- But got serious issue in LibreOffice theming, and minor issues such as failed live login.
- And not been yet to be mass produced unlike Fedora Thinkpads by Lenovo and elementary OS laptops by Star Labs.


Deepin 20 is a fashion, successful beauty operating system with good performance. Among GNU/Linuxes, it has the originality and it is clearer to see in this release. I think it needs mass production as real computers. Several shortcomings exist such as the bad theming of LibreOffice and live session issue but those are covered up by the goodness. If now Lenovo proudly produce Fedora Thinkpads, I think it is not too difficult for them and other brands to produce Deepin Laptops and so on as well. To Deepin Team, thank you very much, you all have made an excellent OS and please continue! Finally, I can say Deepin 20 will be very much appealing to both of Windows' and MacOS' users to try and use in their machines. Enjoy Deepin computing to you all!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.