Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Because Beauty is Basic

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

GoblinX Mini 1.2.0 was released yesterday and it sounded very interesting to me. It's described as "a son of GoblinX and contains only XFCE as windows manager and GTK/GTK2 based applications," while "GoblinX is a Live-CD that is based on the excellent Slackware distribution." The most intriguing thing to tuxmachines however, is the small size. Many of you might know of my soft spot for mini distributions, GoblinX Mini Edition weighs in at 150 mb. This is my first look at GoblinX. Let's see whad'up.

I downloaded and burnt GoblinX, then booted the livecd to find a distinctive splash screen. Featuring a silouette of a goblin, it gives a haloweenish macabre feel. The booting progress splash is predominately yellowish-orangy in color, it sets the tone for the whole theme, as we will soon discover. However, the verbose background, while quite attractive and obviously original, doesn't seem to fit in with the theme of the system.

        

After accurate hardware detection and setup one is presented with a login screen and given the instructions to start X. Login as root with the given password and start X in one of several ways. This is a wonderful feature as some folks' video cards may not yet be supported by xorg/XFree86, and some livecds can't work for them. Fortunately for nvidia graphics users, GoblinX comes with nvidia drivers and after it detects an nvidia chip, sets up nvidia as the driver. The window manager chooser must be a left over from the full sized livecd as it contains several choices including KDE and fluxbox, however xfce is the only one available on the mini.

    

The desktop is a unique experience due to the original theme and color scheme chosen by the developers. The color scheme could almost be described as pumpkin and the default theme is dominated by a yellow-orange hue. The default wallpaper contains enough yellow to compliment the theme and colors accomplishing continuity probably intended. There's a convenient launcher located at the bottom of the screen, containing shortcuts to popular apps and useful utilities, while a taskbar resides at the top autohide. The overall look is effective yet refreshingly different.

The menus contain many carefully chosen, useful, and popular applications for accomplishing any number of day to day requirements. I found most if not all of the applications quite stable. Some of the highlights include Firefox, gimp, gaim, xmms, and abiword.

    

The internet connection isn't enabled by default although a firewall is. There is an adsl and dial-up configurations in the menu. I didn't see an entry for dhcp, although the binaries dhcpcd and dhclient were available. In executing dhcpcd on the cli, I obtained a lease and was surfing as desired.

    

One drawback I encountered was the mounting of all partitions on my computer. I've mentioned several times in past reviews that I think this is not the best practise of livecds. Although GoblinX is stable and I encountered no problems, it still could result in data loss due to any number of reasons.

GoblinX ships with a hard drive installer and the interface is simple and user-friendly. I tried the installer a few times over the course of the past two days and never did get a hard drive install. It seemed a little buggy, as sometimes I would be given a xdialogue debug looking screen instead of the second step of choosing a partition. Sometimes it just skipped right to the unpacking and coping the image to some alleged partition. I did complete a full install routine (while getting screenshots), however, the net result of several attempts was no hard drive install. I was able to ascertain that the installer was installing the system to the booted ramfs. I gather this is perhaps a bug of unionfs or could even be perhaps in the installer code itself. I didn't investigate any further.

One seems to be able to save any user settings to a file on a partition or floppy and although the booting livecd declares its search and application of user configurations, it does not ask where the file is nor does it seem to actually access the default locations. In any case user settings are not restored.

Also in the menu are applications for installing and uninstalling packages as well as the conversion of one package format to another, presumably for installation. However, seems moot for the livecd mode.

Overall, this livecd is rich with inimitable characteristics making for a refreshing user experience. The solid foundation found in Slackware makes this experience pleasant and fun. The included application choices are adequate to perform everyday computing needs of the general user. It's a treat having nvidia graphic drivers included. I dare recommend to the developers not mounting all partitions at boot, removing menu items for inoperative functions, and perhaps adding dhcp internet connection during boot.

        

For these and other full screenshots, please visit the gallery.

More in Tux Machines

Andrew Crouthamel: How I Got Involved in KDE

Since this blog is starting after the beginning of my contributions to KDE, the first few regular posts will be explaining my prior contributions, before moving into the present. Read more

Security: Debian LTS, Linux Potential Local Privilege Escalation Bug, Australia Wants to Mandate Back Doors, Equifax Breach the Fault of Equifax

Graphics: NVIDIA and Gallium3D

  • NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Adds New KHR_driver_properties & KHR_shader_atomic_int64
    Not to be confused with the new NVIDIA Linux/Windows drivers that should be out today for RTX 2070/2080 "Turing" support and also initial RTX ray-tracing support, there is also out a new Vulkan beta driver this morning. The NVIDIA 396.54.06 driver is this new Vulkan beta and as implied by the version number is still on the current stable branch and not in the Turing era. But this driver release is quite exciting as it does bring support for two new extensions... These extensions are very fresh and not yet in the official Vulkan specification: VK_KHR_driver_properties and VK_KHR_shader_atomic_int64.
  • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Linux Benchmarks Coming Today, NVIDIA Driver Bringing Vulkan RTX
    NVIDIA's review/performance embargo has now lifted on the GeForce RTX 2080 series ahead of the cards shipping tomorrow. I should have out initial Linux benchmarks later today, assuming Linux driver availability. As wrote about yesterday, just yesterday I ended up receiving the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti for Linux benchmarking. But, unfortunately, no Linux driver yet... But I am told it will be posted publicly soon with the Windows driver. Assuming that happens within the hours ahead, I'll still have initial RTX 2080 Ti benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux out by today's end -- thanks to the Phoronix Test Suite and recently wrapping up other NVIDIA/AMD GPU comparison tests on the current drivers.
  • Intel's New Iris Gallium3D Driver Picks Up Experimental Icelake Bits, GL Features
    One of the talks we are most interested in at XDC2018 is on the Intel "Iris" Gallium3D driver we discovered last month was in development. We stumbled across the Iris Gallium3D driver that's been in development for months as a potential replacement to their "i965" classic Mesa driver. But they haven't really detailed their intentions in full, but we should learn more next week. This is particularly exciting the prospects of an official Intel Gallium3D driver as the company is also expected to introduce their discrete GPUs beginning in 2020 and this new driver could be part of that plan.

Survey: Console Based Linux File Managers

The term ‘file management functions’ refers to the functions used to manage files, such as creating, deleting, opening, closing, reading from, and writing to files. In the field of system administration, Linux has bags of graphical file managers. However, some users prefer managing files from the shell, finding it the quickest way to navigate the file system and perform file operations. This is, in part, because console based file managers are more keyboard friendly, enabling users to perform file operations without using a mouse, and make it quicker to navigate the filesystem and issue commands in the console at the same time. A console application is computer software which can be used with a text-only computer interface, the command line interface, or a text-based interface included within a graphical user interface operating system, such as a terminal emulator. Whereas a graphical user interface application generally involves using the mouse and keyboard (or touch control), with a console application the primary (and often only) input method is the keyboard. Many console applications are command line tools, but there is a wealth of software that has a text-based user interface making use of ncurses, a library which allow programmers to write text-based user interfaces. Read more