Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

SaxenOS 1.1 rc2

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

It's been over a year since I tested the origins of SaxenOS, but when rc2 of version 1.1 was announced I thought it was time to see what was new. There have been changes afoot within the SaxenOS project, some major changes. Yet some of the fundamentals remained the same. It was easy to see the roots of Saxen while appreciating the new.

When last we visited SaxenOS it was known as STX. It was a small lightweight distro, based on Slackware and designed for low-spec machines. The iso came in a mere 390mb download and featured the cute Equinox Desktop environment. It was fast and stable and featured its own STX Control Center for setting up some hardware and other basic configurations.

Today STX is SaxenOS. It is still based on Zenwalk 4.2 (which is based on Slackware 11) and it is still perfect for older hardware. The iso has grown to a full 614mb but now features the wonderful XFCE 4.4 desktop with the Thunar file manager. It's still fast and stable and features lots of great software choices. However, missing is the STX Control Center. There seems to be individual utilities to accomodate those configuration chores now.

The installer is still the same slackware derived ascii-graphical, somewhat simpified and super-fast. The whole install took about 15 minutes here, although your mileage may vary dependent upon your hardware. The installer itself couldn't be much easier unless it read your mind as to the partitioning. This could be the most difficult step for newcomers, but cfdisk is included should resizing and making partitions be necessary. After that it is a cakewalk. ADDSWAP, pick TARGET partition, sit through the INSTALL, set root password, (optionally) install bootloader, and it's over.

Despite the change in desktop environments, it still looks very similar to STX 1.0. The background is blue with the "pill" logo in the upper right corner. There's a panel monitor-width at the bottom with a few quick launchers next to the menu button on the left and some task indicators on the right. Active windows have their buttons in the taskbar. It's a practical and utilitarian setup with the added bonus of being familiar to previous users of STX or even Windows.

SaxenOS 1.1 rc2 is using a 2.6.18.6 kernel, gcc 3.4.6, and Xorg 7.1.1. Some of the software choices include SeaMonkey webrowser/email suite, TextMaker & PlanMaker, Gaim, gxine, streamtuner, Ace of Penguins (games), The Gimp, gThumb, gedit, gFTP, Transmission, Realbasic 2006, InstallJammer, and VirtualBox. There's a whole menu of configuration tools as well. They include utilities to install wireless windows drivers, add users, customize your login screen, manage your disks and partitions, setup the bootloader, activating services, and search for files or apps. Also noteworthy is gslapt. It is your choice for package management with repos already setup.

        

        

Hardware detection was quite good. Upon first boot one is asked to configure some of their hardware like sound, video, and keyboard. For me, all was detected and offered as a choice. All I did was highlight the correct option and click ok. My netcard is detected and the correct module loaded, but I did have to manually run dhcpcd after boot to connect. My scanner was detected and configured correctly, all I had to do was open xsane to scan. The printer configuration was just a matter of two clicks confirming the auto-detection.

        

Another thing that hasn't changed with the new and improved STX/SaxenOS is how much I like it. It is quick and nimble without sacrificing stability. All apps opened quickly and functioned very well. I found the software choices ample and intuitive. I think it could be "prettied" up a bit more, but as it is, it isn't distracting and leaves plenty of room for personal customization. I congratulate Stibs et.al. for the wonderful progress and 1.1 looks like it's going to be a great release. I encourage all to try it out, especially if you are a slack or xfce fan.

More in Tux Machines

Programming: Bugs, Mistakes, and Python

  • Living on the command line: Why mistakes are a good thing
  • Getting started with functional programming in Python using the toolz library
    In the second of a two-part series, we continue to explore how we can import ideas from functional programming methodology into Python to have the best of both worlds. In the previous post, we covered immutable data structures. Those allow us to write "pure" functions, or functions that have no side effects, merely accepting some arguments and returning a result while maintaining decent performance.
  • The code's crashed again, but why? Tell us your war stories of bugs found – and bugs fixed
    Even the best software goes wrong from time to time. So, what exactly happens when it throws a wobbly, especially when it's a key component in a production environment? Whether it's a total crash, a transaction failure, or the mangling of important data, there's going to be some kind of business impact. And the more the problem persists, the greater the level of pain, loss, and disruption. Everyone wants faults identified, diagnosed, and fixed ASAP. Identification is not normally a challenge – user complaints, curses, screams, and threats usually provide a pretty good clue. But before anyone can prioritize and schedule a fix, someone needs to diagnose the problem.

Lakka – Transform Your Old PC into a Retrogaming Console

Lakka is a free, lightweight, and open-source Linux distro that turns a small PC into a full-blown game console. It features a beautiful and user-friendly UI with eye candy colours and a PS4-like User Experience. You can install it on your SD card and easily set it up or run it LIVE. Its wide range of joypad support allows you to use PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo game controllers. If you don’t have a PC to use Lakka on you can dedicated hardware at a cost as low as $30 thanks to its support for a variety of computers not excluding Raspberry Pi, Raspberry 2, HummingBoard, Banana Po, Odroid, CuBox-i, Cubietruck, and Cubieboard 2. Lakka is the official OS of RetroArch which takes care of its inputs and display, and it implements all game systems as a libretro core. This separation ensures that users are able to configure their setup once and have their changes effected across all game systems. Read more

VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 1

  • Announcement: VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 1 released
    Please do NOT use this VirtualBox Beta release on production machines! A VirtualBox Beta release should be considered a bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes.
  • Oracle Pushes VirtualBox 6.0 Into Public Beta
    Oracle's Munich developers responsible for maintaining the VirtualBox virtualization software this morning announced the first public test release of the upcoming VirtualBox 6.0. While VirtualBox 6.0 is referred to as "a new major release", as of the beta one stage there are just a few features to note. With VirtualBox 6.0 Beta 1 there is support for exporting a virtual machine to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The second listed feature at this stage for v6.0 are improvements to the graphical user-interface for this VM software.

Games: MMORPGs, Disappointment From One Hour One Life and Linux port of Total War: WARHAMMER II