viernes, 24 de septiembre de 2010

Meeting AntiX! An Informal Review

Yesterday, I downloaded AntiX, a lightweight Linux distro based on Mepis. I had heard of it before, but had never downloaded it. The reason? As I understood, Antix was intended for old computers, and even though my computer is quite old, it handles Mepis very well, so I had no reason to try it...well, that was what I thought.

I also heard about some features Antix has that made me curious, so I wanted to try them. According to what I had learned on the Web, those features were:

1. Even though it is intended for old computers, AntiX runs as well on new boxes.

2. AntiX is a rolling distro.

3. AntiX is based on Mepis, but it uses Debian testing (Mepis uses Debian stable).

4. AntiX can be configured to support Spanish with no further download (that's a very important point in my country!)

5. Remastering is a reality for AntiX.

6. In spite of its light weight (the full Live CD is less than 600 MB), AntiX handles multimedia quite well.

Well, those features called my attention, so I downloaded this distro. To be more precise, I downloaded AntiX 8.5 "Marek Edelman." Thus, the very first thing I learned from AntiX was a bit of history (I really liked that, by the way!)

The second aspect that called my attention was the visual theme of the desktop. The colors combine with the wallpaper to create an effect of nostalgia intertwined with underlying vitality. It is quite the same feeling one gets after finding an old black & white photograph of a very happy moment, if I could compare it to something. I almost felt as if I had been in front of a resurrected computer from the early 90's just by looking at the desktop. And sure, the OS was in Spanish. ^__^

From my quick glimpse, Antix comes with:
Abiword for text processing
A spreadsheet
Web browsers
A calculator
Synaptic as a package manager
Pidgin for chatting
Several applications for multimedia and graphics
A control center

Partly influenced by my experience with old games running on new machines, I expected AntiX to perform way too fast to be functional (younger generations might not know what I'm talking about). But the distro ran beautifully. The menus, the windows, everything ran flawlessly even though it was from the Live CD.

Then came my first "serious" tests...(I am no technician, so my tests cannot be that "serious," but I'm quite a demanding computer user!)

First test: Web connectivity
No problem. AntiX picked my wired connection out of the box. It comes with IceApe as the Web browser. I thought about challenging AntiX with a difficult Web task. Why not YouTube for a start? No big deal. The page loaded without any glitches and so did the videos I picked.

Second test: Can Antix see my other partitions and have access to them?
In this case, I had a problem. I could mount my Mepis partition, but I could not mount my old XP "storehouse." Apparently, I need to be granted root access for that. I felt a bit disappointed at first, but then I thought "Hey, this is not a big deal! You just have to learn how to grant root access." Actually, it counts for more points in security.

Third test: Some leisure applications
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so I ran the preloaded games. It comes with a DOS emulator. Hehehe! You won me over with this, little distro! I am a fan of retro DOS games!
Besides the emulator, the breakout game is a little jewel! I spent more time "testing" it than I intended to!
I also ran the basic drawing application (the equivalent of MS Paint). The black background made it look so "DOS-like"...but still, it ran perfectly. It even has some features that beat its MS counterpart!

Because of time (I had a lot of work to do), I could not keep testing this new distro, although I definitely intend to continue doing it as soon as I have some more free time. Actually, I also plan to try it on a real dinosaur computer that someone I know has in a cardboard box, forgotten in a corner of a storeroom. I don't know this ancient PC's specs yet, but I am sure it is old! Will AntiX run on it and bring it back to life?

I still need to continue my tests and I still need to learn a great deal about this distro, but meanwhile let me say that AntiX is definitely a keeper! Congratulations to its developer, contributors, and community!

2 comentarios:

  1. Well, congratulations on your new finding. How does it feel having the possibility of actually resurrecting an old machine? ;-)

  2. To be honest, I feel a bit like Dr.Frankenstein! I really hope AntiX may bring that old PC back to life. That's a way to be environmentally friendly.