Three Great Distributions for Christmas: sidux, AntiX M8.0 and SimplyMEPIS 8.0

Posted by masinick on Dec 24, 2008 4:12 PM EDT
LXer Linux News; By Brian Masinick
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LXer Feature: 24-Dec-2008

The Debian project has packaged and produced some really great software and the latest project, code named "Lenny" has resulted in a couple of really outstanding derivatives, AntiX and its parent SimplyMEPIS. In addition, the Debian project "Sid", has led to the creation of an awesome cutting edge system called sidux. Any of the three would make a great Christmas gift for the Linux geek in your life.

The Debian project has packaged and produced some really great software and the latest project, code named "Lenny" has resulted in a couple of really outstanding derivatives, AntiX and its parent SimplyMEPIS. In addition, the Debian project "Sid", has led to the creation of an awesome cutting edge system called sidux. Any of the three would make a great Christmas gift for the Linux geek in your life.

This Christmas season, there is some really great software that is available. There are easy to use systems, really fast, lightweight, state of the art and cutting edge. Only one of these systems (at the time this article was written) have reached their final release, that being sidux 2008-04. But the other two, SimplyMEPIS 8.0 Release Candidate 1 and AntiX M8.0 Public Test 1, are every bit as solid and useful as sidux, not to mention even easier to install and use.

We can thank the Debian projects for putting together an extremely robust set of packaging tools, rigorous testing procedures, and an excellent assortment of software. The result is that there have been a wealth of outstanding distributions created to meet a wide variety of interests.

sidux

The sidux project was started in November 2006 to actively develop the most current collection of software that is capable of running on the latest assortment of hardware. The sidux kernel is constantly updated to provide the latest driver changes and kernel improvements. A number of excellent tools have been created to tame the wild and constantly changing "unstable" Debian binary packages, named after the equally unstable character from the Toy Story movies, the boy named "Sid", who enjoys blowing up toys.

Debian Sid contains excellent software but it is such a rapidly moving target that packaging instabilities often happen. The sidux project has taken steps to harness the power of Debian Sid and carefully manage the handling of potentially problematic packages. The result of their effort is a great desktop system, rapidly changing, that offers the newest software that is available, and the software really works.

sidux 2008-04 is the latest in the series of sidux releases, which are produced roughly once a quarter. The latest release contains a very recent sidux kernel from the Linux 2.26.27 branch. sidux contains only "free" software but their documentation and optional tools make it easy to obtain "non-free" firmware drivers, particularly for wireless network cards and peripherals. Their custom tools also ease the process of accessing "non-free" multimedia extensions so that, at your choice, you can use the tools that you want to use. The result is a very current and useful desktop system.

SimplyMEPIS

The MEPIS project has long been focused on the creation of easy to use desktop software that is above all, stable, easy to use and easy to modify. Originally conceived in 2002 the first public release was created in May 2003, and in 2004 the SimplyMEPIS series of releases was made publicly available. It was also popularized by a book entitled "Point and Click" Linux, by Robin Miller.

The current released version of SimplyMEPIS is Version 7.0, based on Debian Etch. The current development release of SimplyMEPIS is Version 8.0 and are now beginning the Release Candidate process with Release Candidate 1. The software which has already been through six successful Beta test cycles is an example for other distributions to follow. It is a model of stability, simplicity and function. Already it works better than many released software distributions and puts to shame many commercial software applications.

SimplyMEPIS 8.0 is also based on the Linux 2.6.27 kernel. It has undergone considerable testing already by the developer Warren Woodford and the active MEPIS community at the MEPIS Lovers Forum. Whether the final release is approved before the end of the year or not, SimplyMEPIS 8.0, Release Candidate 1 is one of the top desktop systems of 2008. It is very clean, stable, easy to install and of course easy to use. You can run it as a Live CD to evaluate, you can install it to disk or you can also use it as a recovery and system management CD.

AntiX

Another project in the MEPIS family is the lightweight AntiX, which replaces the desktop environment with a choice of two window managers, IceWM and Fluxbox. It also replaces the display manager with SLIM and uses several smaller, lighter applications to reduce memory consumption and the size of the system footprint. The AntiX project is also in a testing cycle at the present time. There have already been three successful internal test versions which the AntiX testing community has evaluated, and now the public testing period has begun.

Like its parent SimplyMEPIS, each AntiX test release is solid and intended to work. The test releases are intended to identify and resolve any inconsistencies and remove all glaring defects. What is so nice about both MEPIS projects is that even the test releases are very usable, and even with the testing limitations they provide extremely useful software.

These three distributions are all worthy of the Yuletide season and they all make a great present for your favorite Linux geek and to the Linux desktop community in general. You never know, they may well remain on your systems once you try them out. All of them are upgradeable as further improvements and updates become available.

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I really like Sidux, but I don't use it Steven_Rosenber 5 1,805 Dec 29, 2008 7:07 PM
Sabayon stig 1 1,146 Dec 29, 2008 5:18 PM

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