Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
As announced on Distrowatch, "The new generation of Elive has started and the beta-3.1 for the future version 0.5 is officially released. Version 0.5 is based on Dsslive with kernel 2.6.15 and X.Org 7.0. Other new features include SATA support, better compatibility with amd64 processors, new drivers for wireless networking, and several improvements to the hard disk installer. Enlightenment 17 now comes with a beautiful Lucax theme, while Firefox also has an exciting, never-seen-before look." It was time for Tuxmachines to take another look.
The first thing mentioned in the changelog was the change to the DSSLive from the previous Morphix base, but we are left wanting for a real reason. What was the advantage? To DSS experienced, it might be obvious. For me, I had to check. Turns out that, according to the DSS website, "DSS (Debased Scripts Set) project is dedicated to providing you with a "System Development Environment" to create your own DEbian BASED Live Linux System." In fact, it's further explained,
Normally you're stuck with the type and amount of applications the creator decided to include, now you can customize the system to fit your needs, by generating on-the-fly compressed modules (layers) including additional software .
The idea is to not "debase" the Default Debian System, and for this purpose the USS (The Upstream Salmon Struct) has been designed.
In this way you'll have a HW autodetection and autoconfiguration flavor without affecting the standard system.
DSS can be used to:
- create your own live distribution
- put together a demo disk to show off the power of our favourite OS
- build a portable system to install on external USB/FIREWIRE HD and boot it up.
- backup your system and run it from a CD/DVD
Ok, I'm sold. I'll take one!
But what about the new look spoke of? I booted the Elive livecd and logged in as instructed. Where it once defaulted to E17, it now defaults to E16. They've updated the look of E16 to so closely resemble their E17 theme, that I have to admit I wondered where was the twinkly wallpaper and the floating orb? I later discovered where they were. Right where they always were -> in E17.
Interesting tidbits found in the changlog are:
Whoosh! That Lucax theme is sleek, dark, and sexy! I don't understand why the developers set their old elive theme with E16 as default. They should set their best looking and lastest greatest as default in my opinion. E17 with Lucax looks killer. The wallpaper is a medium to dark blue with darker blue abstract depressions as designs. This is an animated wallpaper as well, with white twinkles. Too bad I wasn't able to catch them in a screenshot. The menu is dark as well with wonderful looking effects. The gray menu text shows highlighted with greenish-blue text in a bubble-effect. The windec has a wonderful 3D rounded look with dark bluish purple button indicators. In this theme the icons in the panel throb with a mouse over, again unfortunately not captured in screenshots. The cursor is wedge-shaped and in a matching bluish purple. The overall look and feel of this theme just really impresses and excites. YUM! I love it! :up:
As far as their statement that it is used for Night look, I didn't see it. The Night theme changed the menus and windec to a darker color and the widgets were a bit different, but nothing that could compare to Lucax. Their statement about Firefox seems exaggerated to me as well. Seems like I've seen the theme used for it at the Firefox theme site - or one very similar. If original work, it surely reminds me of one I'd seen to achieve a MacOS look. Firefox looks great in Elive, but I'm not sure it's "don't have seen a browser with a similar style in all [my] life."
The changelog also states of the their kernel:
- Drivers, Kernel and Modules:
- Kernel 2.6.15 Debian based
- SATA Suported from the kernel
- Better Amd64 Machines Compatibility
- A lot of Wireless and misc drivers added
- Better Amd64 Machines Compatibility
But one of the new features I noticed soon enough was the new upgrade feature of the installer. I clicked on the hard drive installer icon in the panel and a window opened up informing me of its intention to check my system. I'm not sure what it was actually checking, but it soon came back stating it found an older version of Elive, 0.4 to be exact, and suggested I just upgrade that. Seemed I wasn't given much choice in the matter actually, as clicking ok sent it on its way. I wasn't really given a chance to do a fresh install. I figured that's okay at this point as I'd love to test this new feature and report on it's functionality. I wouldn't say the upgrade process was a 100% success. E16 retained much of the original theme configurations while losing the wallpaper altogether. E17 lost most of the menu items. But it did boot (with new kernel) and function. Apps seemed updated to newer versions, and opened and worked fine. So for "experimental" software, it was a bit impressive. It did better than some big-named distros with years and years of development.
As far as application offerings, I think they are pretty much as previously found in earlier version of Elive, albeit updated version. They all opened and appeared to do their thing as far as I tested, except for Streamtuner - which shot a crash error and exited, and their keyboard shortcut tutorial - which didn't respond properly to the keyboard shortcuts it instructed me to use. The cdplayers worked wonderfully, and mplayer played the commonly downloaded video formats without any complaints. New this release we find Thunar and Bonfire. And as previously found, the wonderful control panel seems to be a bit improved. I love this control panel. It's the most original and fun control panel I've ever encountered. I'm looking forward to it being perfected. Also new on the desktop is a news feed applet set to pull in Elive news. Clicking on a headline opens Firefox to the corresponding article.
The Xorg version found was 7.0 and the Elive livecd asks the nvidia user if they'd like to use NVIDIA proprietary drivers, nv, or vesa. I chose NVIDIA and the resolution I preferred, then never had to give X another thought.
Hardware detection was really good. My printer and scanner were detected and operable upon boot as well as all the other common hardware, including my bit more obscure ethernet chipset for which some distros neglect to add support.
The system performed excellently. Most apps opened right up instantaneously. Even OpenOffice and Firefox seemed much quicker on Elive than normally experienced with other distros. Menus snapped opened without delay and window movement was smooth and slick. In addition, the system was quite stable in my testing. The only problem was streamtuner as mentioned earlier.
Overall I continue to be amazed at this offering. Many developers include E! with their distros, but this is the only project to embrace it as default and put in so much effort to customize and beautify it. It's just a really neato package! Elive remains one of Tuxmachines' favorite projects.