Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Going Live with Elive

Filed under
Linux
Reviews
-s

Elive is a new linux distribution presented as an installable livecd. Its developers state that Elive is built from scratch based on Debian. They released version 0.3 on August 30 and claim it's "The first good release..." At the request of a friend, tuxmachines decided to take a look at Elive and see what we see. What we found was a different, stable, and complete operating system with a great look and original tools. It uses Enlightenment for the desktop environment in your choice of e16 or e17. This was my first look at e17 in person, so much of the coverage will undoubtedly focus on that. However with tools like their harddrive installer, Elive won't be slighted.

LiveCD

Your experience starts when you boot the livecd. An unique boot awaits to take you to the bleeding edge desktop environment. The initial boot screen has many options from which to choose including a toram option, options for a system with graphical problems (which means xmodule=vesa) and even a choice of many many different languages. I thought I'd seen a screen similar to that before, but I just can't get the ole synapses firing and place my finger on the memory. The silent boot features the Elive logo on a neutral background with tips and info to fill the void. The verbose output scrolls in front of a fullscreen Tux to keep you company. Although Elive is said to be written from scratch, the boot process reminded me of Knoppix in many ways. All this culminating in your choice between the e16 or the e17 desktop environment. This lovely boot can be yours for the mere cost of a 646mb download.

        

I chose the "Graphical Problems" option at boot time so as to use the vesa drivers, however as the X server started I got a surprise. The unmistakable NVIDIA splash screen greeted on the way to the desktop. Although this was a pleasant surprise in one way, on the other hand it does indicate that the chosen boot option was ignored in favor of hardware detection. As Elive mounts all partitions it detects, without the included nvidia drivers, I could have been hitting reset possibly corrupting data.

That aside, I chose e17 as the graphical interface and again was met with more pleasantness. Since this is my first look at e17 and have really only seen customized screenshots, I'm not sure what's default and what Elive customized. However, one finds a pretty theme with nice options enabled and enhanced with some rather cute animations. The most charming of these animations was the twinkling of a little star on the background, as if the wallpaper was animated. There were some extraordinary special effects that happen with mouseovers and even throughout the whole experience, such as this little highlighting slider shooting out of the right of the screen as one moused over icons in the launcher/panel. In addition those icons did what can only be described as "throbbed" upon mouseover. When one brings their mouse over to a window to bring it in focus, this whip of a dark cloud swipes across the top window decoration. A similar effect happens as one navigates the menu or options in some other drop downs. Also in the file manager, the properties function shades the entire window and draws a connection to the properties of the file highlighted. These effects are hard to capture in screenshots and even harder to describe in words. E17 is quite the impressive desktop.

        

Elive itself was quite amazing as well. Even though I did not try to load Elive into ram and instead ran it off the cd, these effects seemed responsive and didn't cause unusually high overhead. Elive is sitting on a 2.6.11 kernel with XFree86 Version 4.3.0.1, and gcc 3.3.6.

Some packages include firefox, gimp, xmms, OpenOffice.org, blender, grip, gmplayer, and on and on and on. Actually the Elive website has a complete list of packages HERE. It's quite the complete desktop. I did encounter some troubles with xmms and grip due to requiring root permissions to access the cdrom device(s). Multimedia video playback was out-of-the-box.

        

    

Elive also includes its own hard drive installer. laid out as a seven step process, the installer is a user-friendly graphical application that requires very little input from the user. The step are as follows:

  1. Choose the harddrive

  2. Morph the partition if necessary & pick the swap
  3. Pick the partition & filesystem
  4. Enter a hostname
  5. Enter a root password
  6. Name a user and password
  7. Install grub (or not)

The install seems to take a little longer than one would think, as I believe I saw something on the site about dma being turned off by default on all drives. However it does work and a dancing penguin let's you know it's still working and a progress bar keeps one informed of the progress.

The Harddrive Install

Once installed the init stdout does in fact look different than any other I can recall seeing. The system boots with good speed detecting hardware and setting up devices as it goes. The only niggle I've identified as of yet is it doesn't detect my hda21 partition, which hinders my inclusion of multimedia functionality. Also, the first coupla boots the system kinda locked up on me and one time the keyboard went dead (although the mouse continued to operate normally). After a coupla reboots the system settled down and remained stable. I can't speculate as to the cause, perhaps it was writing or adjusting configuration files, I don't know. In addition it's worth mentioning that although all partitions detected are mounted during the boot the livecd, this is not the case with the harddrive install. So, my hitting hard reset wasn't as tragic as it could have been.

Another notable thing is that although the login screen is a gorgeous and unique experience, the system defaults to e16. e17 can be started manually, but even putting a link to the startup script for e17 in my .xsessions didn't fix that little problem. However the e16 desktop on the harddrive install is gorgeous. A pretty theme and nice looking wallpaper greet the user. The xterms are transparent and engage is deployed adding to the overall feel of the desktop. As stated, one can start e17 from the commandline and it too is different than the e17 on the livecd. A great animated theme and very tasteful wallpaper is presented. I loved the animated wallpaper on the livecd, and fortunately for me, it's available through synaptic.

        

Elive uses deb packages and apt-get with synaptic front-end to handle software installs and upgrades. The developers have already set up mirrors in the source.list so, it is ready for use. The use of synaptic has been covered quite extensively on this site and moreso elsewhere, but one basically clicks the icon to update the source database, then marks any packages for upgrade or install, and clicks apply. It's a wonderfully easy procedure. Synaptic is so reliable and easy to use, even some rpm distributions are now using it.

        

Final thought

In conclusion, I've found Elive to be a new exciting project producing an unique and thoughtful Linux distribution. It's designed to demand less system resources making it available to users with an older machine as well as including advanced features like animations for users with newer equipment. For a first release, this system performs admirably. I found it more stable than anticipated considering its young age. I was quite charmed by the animations and eye candy and am really really impressed with the enlightenment project. More and more, KDE is being challenged. I think it was a wonderful choice for the Elive project. I wouldn't hesitate recommending this system to anyone, new or experienced alike. I really liked Elive.

Oh, it took some doing, but I finally captured that little launcher highlighter thingy zooming across the desktop to do it's thing. Smile He looks different in this harddrive install screenshot than on the livecd. On the livecd it was a gel-like blue bar reminiscent of macOSX or aqua themes, while on the harddrive install he's this little golden orb. Too cute!

More Screenshots in the TuxGallery.

failed to mention

I failed to mention that the full kde 3.3.2 is available thru the package manager.

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

re: review

Yeah, it was interesting that the installer reported seeing no swap and did not allow me to adjust that option. However, it sees the swap space after boot. I don't have any windows installs.

I'm not sure what you mean by revealing what partition the kernel was on. ?

Elive did install on the partition I wanted and "asked" it to.

The kernel reports seeing hda21, but the system won't mount saying it doesn't exist. Yeah, little niggles I guess, but nothing fatal.

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

re: puzzled

It was installed onto partition hdb3. I have a hda1 while hda2 is extended with 5 - 21. Hdb is just 1, 2, 3 primary. Hda1 is a unix slice for freebsd, and hda21 is storage. Mandriva is on hda6. hda5 is my /boot. hda8 is /home and hda9 is what I call /mnt/local where all my premium games are installed. The rest is various linux installs. No winders here. Usually after an install, I skip lilo or grub, boot gentoo and run lilo from there cuz that's where my lilo.conf stays current.

edit: hda7 is swap.
----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

themes

I have to go look and see if there are other themes for e17! Big Grin

----
You talk the talk, but do you waddle the waddle?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Programming: GNU Parallel, Rust, Go

OSS Leftovers

  • Openlab: what it is and why it matters
    Six months on from its announcement at Openstack Summit Sydney in late 2017, community testing project OpenLab is in full swing. OpenLab was initially formed by Intel, Huawei and the OpenStack foundation as a community-led project for improving SDK support and also introducing other platforms like Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry to the Openstack environment. Ultimately the idea is to improve usability in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Melvin Hillsman sits on the governance board along with Dr Yih Leong Sun of Intel and Chris Hoge from the Foundation. Hillsman moved from Rackspace to Huawei to work specifically on the project. "The reason we think Openlab is important is, basically, Openstack for some time has been very specific about testing and integration for Openstack services, focusing only on the projects started at Openstack," Hillsman tellsComputerworld UK at the Openstack Vancouver Summit. "It's been working very well, it's a robust system. But for me as a person in the user community - my getting involved in Openstack was more on the operator-user side.
  • Open source innovation tips for the customer-driven economy
    New technologies, ranging from big data and blockchain to 3D printing, are giving rise to new opportunities and challenges for companies today. To stay competitive, organizations need to become more intelligent, customer-centric, and increasingly agile to cope with changing business demands. The worry for many companies which are trying to innovate is that while the speed and scope of applications are expanding rapidly, the variety and complexity of technology is increasing simultaneously, putting pressure on their IT infrastructure. Speaking at the SUSE Expert Days 2018 held in Singapore recently, Dr Gerald Pfeifer, VP of Products and Technology Program, SUSE, told attendees that these prevailing trends have come together to make Open Source the primary engine for business innovation.
  • Qualcomm is able to release the Snapdragon 845 source code in 6 weeks
    Qualcomm‘s latest high-end system-on-chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, was announced at the Snapdragon Tech Summit back in December. The chipset offers 4 Kryo 385 (A75 “performance”) and 4 Kryo 385 (A55 “efficiency”) CPU cores, the latest Adreno 630 GPU, the Spectra 280 ISP, the Hexagon 685 DSP, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and a new Secure Processing Unit (SPU). The Snapdragon 845 SoC is a powerhouse in benchmarks and it is already available in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and the OnePlus 6. Developers on our forums have been itching to get their hands on a device with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest, but there’s just one thing that has made some developers worry about the future of development on the platform: The lack of publicly available source code for the kernel, HALs, framework branches, and more on the CodeAurora Forums.
  • Kata Containers 1.0 Released, Formerly Intel Clear Containers
    Back in December was the announcement of Intel's Clear Containers being spun into a new project called Kata Containers in collaboration with other organizations. Kata Containers has now reached their version 1.0 milestone. Kata Containers 1.0 is now available for this container technology designed for offering a secure and scalable container experience built atop Intel VT technology.
  • What's new in OpenStack?
    As OpenStack Foundation Chief Operating Officer Mark Collier referenced in his opening keynote, the uses which OpenStack is seeing today expand far beyond what most who were involved in the early days of the project could have ever imagined. While OpenStack started out primarily in the traditional data center and found many large-scale users, particularly in the telecommunications industry, who were using it to manage huge installations of traditional x86 server hardware, the flexibility of OpenStack has today allowed it to thrive in many other environments and use cases. Today, we see OpenStack powering everything from academic and research projects to media and gaming services, from online retail and e-commerce to manufacturing and industrial applications, and from finance to healthcare. OpenStack is found in all of these different places not just because it is cheaper than using the public cloud, not just because it makes compliance with various regulations easier, but because its open source code makes it flexible to all sort of different situations.
  • Should Red Hat Buy or Build a Database?
    For a decade, at least, observers of the company have speculated about whether Red Hat would or should enter the database market. The primary argument, one made in this space eight years ago, has historically been that Red Hat is de facto leaving potential dollars on the table by limiting itself to operating platform and immediately adjacent markets. In a more recent piece, analyst Krishnan Subramanian adds that Red Hat is at risk because databases represent a control point, one that the company is effectively ceding to competitors such as AWS or Microsoft.
  • Tidelift Raises $15M Series A From General Catalyst, Foundry, & Others
    This morning Tidelift, a startup focused on helping developers work with open source technology, announced that it has closed a $15 million Series A round of funding co-led by General Catalyst, Foundry, and Matthew Szulik, the former CEO of Red Hat, a public open source-centered technology company. The subscription-powered startup has an interesting business model which we’ll dive into shortly, but it’s worth noting that the open source space as a whole is quite active. It’s something that Crunchbase News covered last year, describing how startups working with open source software have enjoyed a dramatic rise in investor interest. That puts Tidelift in the midst of a trend.
  • Tidelift lands $15M to deliver professional open-source support
    Tidelift Inc. is raising $15 million as it looks to boost its unique open-source software model that sees companies pay for professional support of their favorite projects, allowing those that maintain them to get compensated too. The Series A round was led by the investment firms General Catalyst and Foundry Group, as well as former Red Hat Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Matthew Szulik. The company was able to attract the investment after coming up with a novel idea for maintaining the most popular open-source software projects in a way that benefits both the users and those who help to create them. It works like this: Companies pay a subscription fee that entitles them to professional-grade support, similar to the kind of commercial subscriptions offered by firms such as Red Hat, Cloudera Inc. and Docker Inc. A part of these fees are then used to pay the developers who maintain the software. The net result, at least in theory, is that everyone is happy, as companies enjoy the benefits of professional support at lower rates than they might expect from an established firm, and the developers of the software are finally rewarded for their efforts.

today's howtos

Ubuntu: Ubuntu 18.04 Install and First Look, Canonical and Trilio Deal, Ubuntu Server Development and Shuttleworth's Controversy

  • Ubuntu 18.04 Install and First Look
    The long anticipated Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” Long Term Support (LTS) release has arrived… Let’s install it and take a look around.
  • Canonical Managed Cloud adds data protection and recovery with Trilio
    Canonical and Trilio announced today a partnership agreement to deliver TrilioVault backup and recovery solutions as part of BootStack, Canonical’s fully managed OpenStack private cloud solution. TrilioVault will also be made available as an option to Ubuntu Advantage support customers. As a result, users already taking advantage of the Ubuntu platform for their OpenStack deployment now have seamless access to the only OpenStack-native data protection solution on the market. Together, the two companies are pushing the boundaries of enterprise OpenStack clouds to become increasingly easier to build, simpler to manage, and more reliable in the event of a disaster.
  • Ubuntu Server development summary – 22 May 2018
  • Ubuntu's Shuttleworth Creates Controversy with OpenStack Summit Vancouver Keynote
    The OpenStack Foundation is facing a bit of drama and controversy as it deals with issues related to a keynote delivered by Ubuntu Linux founder, Mark Shuttleworth at the OpenStack Summit here on May 21. Typically the OpenStack Foundation posts videos of all its session online within 24 hours, but with the Shuttleworth keynote, the video was apparently posted and then promptly removed. During his keynote, Shuttleworth took direct aim at his OpenStack competitor Red Hat, which apparently made some people in the OpenStack Summit community uncomfortable.