Pur­pose-built dis­tri­bu­tions

There are a plethora of lean dis­tri­bu­tions that have been pruned and tuned for a par­tic­u­lar rea­son – try these

Linux User & Developer - - Feature -

trimmed dis­tri­bu­tions aren’t only de­signed for age­ing hard­ware – we’ve al­ready seen dis­tri­bu­tions that are built to per­form blaz­ingly fast on a mod­ern com­puter. Sim­i­larly, there are sev­eral oth­ers that are built with a par­tic­u­lar op­ti­mi­sa­tion or ap­pli­ca­tion area in mind.

Op­ti­mised for USB

Por­teus (http://por­teus.org) is a por­ta­ble distri­bu­tion de­signed and op­ti­mised to run from re­mov­able me­dia such as a USB flash drive, SD card or CD. If the medium is writable, it’ll save all changes in­side a folder and load them on sub­se­quent boots. The distri­bu­tion is based on Slack­ware Linux us­ing a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the linux-live scripts that help cut down boot-up and shut­down times.

The lat­est re­lease sup­ports newer EFI machines and also in­cludes the lat­est In­tel firmware fix for the Spec­tre vul­ner­a­bil­ity. In­stead of a sin­gle ISO, Por­teus is avail­able as seven sep­a­rate ISO images, each with a dif­fer­ent desk­top – from the heavy­weight KDE and Cin­na­mon to the light­weight LXDE and Open­box. Sur­pris­ingly, the ISO of most edi­tions weigh in around 300MB each.

This is be­cause the distri­bu­tion ex­ists in a com­pressed state on the stor­age me­dia and the fa­mil­iar Linux directory struc­ture is created on the fly dur­ing boot. An­other unique as­pect of the distri­bu­tion is its use of mod­ules, which are pre-com­piled pack­ages that you ac­ti­vate and de­ac­ti­vate as per your re­quire­ments. When you fetch pack­ages via Por­teus’ pack­age man­ager, you also get the op­tion to con­vert them into mod­ules. You can then ac­ti­vate the mod­ules to use the app. If you move these app mod­ules to a des­ig­nated directory in­side the re­mov­able stor­age, the app is avail­able in sub­se­quent boots as well.

Go­ing with­out Sys­temd

Al­though a ma­jor­ity of dis­tri­bu­tions have shifted to the Sys­temd sys­tem and ser­vice man­ager, its op­po­nents be­lieve it adds a level of com­plex­ity that goes against the UNIX phi­los­o­phy. Sev­eral dis­tri­bu­tions have weeded out Sys­temd and con­tinue with the SysV init sys­tem.

an­tiX (https://an­tixlinux.com) is one such dis­si­dent. In ad­di­tion to stick­ing to SysV, the distri­bu­tion also prides it­self on its Live USB skills. The distri­bu­tion has a unique cus­tomis­able boot loader that en­ables you to save cus­tom boot en­tries. Also of note is the live-usb-maker tool that en­able fea­tures such as per­sis­tence, live re­mas­ter and sev­eral oth­ers. an­tiX of­fers a choice of light­weight desk­tops and win­dow man­agers and even of­fers a core edi­tion that ships with just enough ap­pli­ca­tions to help you build your desk­top from scratch.

The full edi­tion of an­tiX is one of the light­est dis­tri­bu­tions around thanks to its choice of IceWM to­gether with the Rox file man­ager for the desk­top along with a very well cu­rated col­lec­tion of apps. A hand­ful of main­stream apps, such as Fire­fox and Li­breOf­fice, are com­ple­mented by

lightweights such as GNOME me­dia player, Claws email and Dillo web browser along with more es­o­teric but use­ful apps like the Droopy net­work file-shar­ing web server. The distri­bu­tion also uses a hand­ful of cus­tom tools such as the pack­age in­staller and the an­tiX con­trol panel, which en­ables you to mod­ify as­pects of the distri­bu­tion.

Run­ning we­bapps

Sev­eral dis­tri­bu­tions have weeded out Sys­temd and con­tinue with the SysV init sys­tem

Right Un­like the usual slew of light­weight dis­tri­bu­tions, An­tiX is only lean in terms of its re­source util­i­sa­tion

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