So, doing some “Distro Hopping” to find a linux distro that I don’t have to assemble, to run on an old 32 bit netbook, that is, quite honestly, the perfect size for me. Hardware is dated, very much so, so one of the requirements was extremely slim. THis turned out to be not so difficult, as most distros that will still run on 32-bit (ie, not Ubuntu) are all pretty light in and of themselves. Or, at the very least they start out quite light, like Debian, but you can make them quite bloated too, nothing wrong with that.
But, since this was going on an old Acer Aspire One, I needed something that would let me do a slow transistion to an all-cli based workflow.
MX Linux! This is actually a really great first poke at it, and had this machine posessed more than 1GB of RAM, it would have worked swimmingly. But, this machine is limited in pretty much every way except maybe disk space.
It ran well enough though, it truly did! Just a smidge pokey, likely based on some choices: Firefox instead of Seamonkey. Full DEs instead of just window managers. Nothing at all wrong, but just lagged a little too much for my use.
But, MX Linux is kinda built on the antiX distro, which itself is based on Debian. This sounds like a win to me, because I am far more handy on Debian-like systems than RHEL systems, which is amusing only because professionally, it’s all RHEL based.
But, back to the choice here: antiX! Prounounced like “antics” I believe. It is a breath of fresh air.
The window managers shipped have enough customization done to them to make them feel like a full DE experience. Wifi indicators, battery indicator, a sensible taskbar, etc. Its VERY usable. Oh, did I mention, this is all on a 32 bit Intel Atom?
A lot of work went into supporting tools for users, too. You do not ever have to drop to a shell, if you don’t want. There’s a GUI tool written for pretty much everything. And these tools were written with care, by the antiX team.
The other thing it has going for it is the antiX team openly declares it to be an anti-racist and anti-fasicst project. Only more good here :)
All of the pieces making up the GUI are pretty well done, maybe without the polish of other tools, but thats to be expected for a small project. I can do without polish. They are most certainly built using the KISS principle. There’s very little attempt to create a grand, unified, look-and-feel, but that’s fine for me too. I prefer function over form, so they all work, all fine with me.
Overall, I really do suggest everyone take a peek at this distro. It has a lot of things going for it, and far fewer moving parts than more “modern” distros, with “modern, full desktop experiences”. It’s the wood handle hammer thats been doing its job for 50 years, rather than the fiberglas one, with composite handgrips, and specialty contoured head.