Monday, September 26, 2011

My latest antiX-core system

Well, if you read this blog, you undoubtedly know that: 1. I like Debian-based software, 2. I am a big fan of SimplyMEPIS and antiX, and 3. I have more than one version of antiX installed.

Right now, I have three versions of antiX installed, two on my 17" Gateway portable and one on my Lenovo laptop. Each of them I have designed a bit differently to use for different purposes.

The first one is antiX M11.0. Though it's the latest version currently installed, this is the one I have had the longest. It's the "full" version, which has changed a bit over the years. This one comes with two window managers, IceWM and Fluxbox. By default, it uses the Debian Testing repositories as the basis of its software, and it comes with a MEPIS kernel, MEPIS installer, and a few MEPIS tools, plus the extremely flexible smxi packaging and system management tool. It uses default applications that are a bit lighter in resource usage than most general purpose systems, so it runs well on older hardware and faster than most systems on newer hardware. I've added the Xfce desktop to it.

The second one is also on the Gateway, and it is antiX core. Built at a time when anticapitalista was still experimenting with the build, once systems like this are installed, they can be updated indefinitely. I think this one is going on two years old, or whatever the timeframe was when this idea was first germinating. In this version, I began by installing just LXDE and Xfce desktops instead of IceWM and Fluxbox. My first experiment was to compare resource usage between the two desktops. In typical implementations, LXDE comes in a bit lighter in memory use and its default applications tend to be a bit lighter and faster too, but I was surprised to find very little initial difference between the two until I added additional tools to Xfce. In fact, my earliest implementation was actually just slightly smaller, tighter, and faster than LXDE, but that is no longer the case.

With this version of antiX core, once the initial experiments were done, I set this one up on Debian Sid repositories instead of Debian Testing, and I started to use it in companionship with my Debian Sid system to test desktops and the latest software, so it's not as tight and light as it once was, but it's still quite responsive.

The third, and my latest version of antiX, which went on my Lenovo laptop was also antiX core. This one is also set up with Sid, but it has only the Xfce desktop and several additional utilities. I used the xfce task metapackage to pull in pretty much all of Xfce, then I added the Google Chrome and Opera Web browsers to it, and that's about it.

On many of my systems, I add nightly builds of Firefox and Seamonkey, but I did not do that here. I usually run just Chrome for browsing Email, forums, and research news sites, and I use Opera only to view special interest sites and download images and movies, but otherwise I stick with Chrome.

This one is probably tuned about as well as any of my systems with not too many services enabled, so it starts and runs very well. Because of that and because I created it myself, much as one would assemble an Arch Linux system, I like this one very much.