Linux

The coolest distro ever!

Jack Wallen has played around with a lot of Linux desktops. It wasn't until he came across Elive Compiz that he was truly blown away by a PC desktop. Take a read and see if you can make it to the end of the blog before you are downloading this incredible desktop distribution.

What do you get when you take Debian, add Enlightenment E17 to it, and then figure out a way to use Compiz as the compositor on top of all of that? What you get is the coolest distribution ever. What I am talking about is Elive Compiz.

You may be saying, "But this has already happened." It hasn't. I had spoken with the originator of Enlightenment, Carsten "Raster" Haitzler, about hoping to see Compiz working with Enlightenment. He said it wouldn't happen because Enlightenment already had its own compositor. And it didn't happen. That is until one of the Elive developers, Thanatermesis, did some private coding sessions and came up with Ecomorph. Ecomorph is a special version of Compiz that works with a special version of E17 that works with Ecomorph.

And work it does. Seamlessly. I have seen "things of beauty" before in this industry, but this tops them all. If you need proof, check out this Youtube video. I will appologize for the "uber hip-ness" of the video. Also, the reason you don't see straight-up screen casts is because getting screen casts to capture the Compiz compositor is tricky.

Now, what about this Elive Compiz and why should you try it?

First and foremost you must know that this effort is in the early stages. It is clearly stated that this version of Elive should not be used on production machines. Naturally I tossed caution to the wind and installed it over the Kubuntu distribution I had just loaded (and wasn't liking anyway).

If one can fall in love with a distribution of Linux, I have. Let me explain.

Remember those days when you first started using Linux and you were just thrilled to have something different and cool on your desktop? Something to impress all of those around you? Well that is what Elive Compiz is doing for me. It's brought excitement and that new-car smell back to Linux for me.

But why should you try it? There are many who would like to just give Compiz a try but don't have the experience to undertake the installation. This solves that problem for you. There are also those, like me, who have always wanted to add some serious 3D effects to Enlightenment. This is for you. There are also those who just want to see how far the PC desktop can be taken. This is for you. I would guess that anyone reading this blog will have their interest piqued enough to download this and give it a try. You should.

What will you need?

When I first started this Live CD I was surprised at how well it ran from the CD and RAM. It's smooth and fast. Of course running after installation is even better. But what will it take to run? The only requirement mentioned on the site is a strong recommendation foran  NVidia graphics card. I have installed Elive Compiz on machines with NVidia 6600 and 6800 GT graphics cards. Both instances ran perfectly.

What does it include? Upon installation I found Elive Compiz contained almost everything I needed. I had to install OpenOffice and a few other pieces of software (GnuCash, Scribus, etc). Since this was a Debian-based distribution, it included the Synaptic utility which makes installation simple. There are a few other bits and pieces included to take the socks blown off your feet and blow them across the room. One of those bits is the Emotion demo. Emotion is a video playback library unlike any you have seen. Emotion is based on libxine and treats videos as smart objects that can be made transparent and layered on top of one another...you just have to experience it. Final thoughts

I can't say enough about this project. If you doubt just how amazing Elive Compiz is, I suggest you grab a download and run it. You'll find a machine to install it on and you'll play with until you can't pull yourself away. It's that cool.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

65 comments
pancho centeno
pancho centeno

hoy estoy probando deferentes distros para viejas pcs , tengo la esperanza de haber encontrado la mejor y para probarlo solicite una prueba gratis por falta de dinero para hacer ahora un aporte.

drbowman68
drbowman68

I think this is great look like a mac but much much better it is very cool.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

It's neat for a presentation, but I can't see dealing with this all day while I work. I turn off the do-nothing eye-candy effects I already have.

lastchip
lastchip

I was really enthusiastic about this distro after reading Jacks article, but having downloaded it and tried it, wireless consistently fails to work. I accept that's not exclusive to this distro, but keeping in mind laptops and netbooks now outsell desktops, it really is time wireless was a non-event. It is also clear it IS a distro in development. Don't misunderstand me, I've nothing but admiration for developers trying to piece together a complex solution such as this, but graphics are also a bit hit and miss and frankly, I don't want to spend significant chunks of time wondering if it's going to work or not. So for me, it's something to revisit again in the future to see how it's progressed. There's no doubt the distro is fun, but no Internet connection isn't!

Pringles86
Pringles86

Haha. I ran the LiveCd on my home computer which has Ubuntu 8.10. After selecting English the system doesn't boot. So I thought I will just boot into Ubuntu and find out whats going on. I get the following error: "fsck.ext3: Unable to resolve 'UUID=N'" "fsck died with exit status 8" I read up on it and I guess I have to fix the UUIDs in fstab. I really wanted to try this, I guess I will see if I can break my Windows box at work with it too.

Jaqui
Jaqui

it started with bloatware [ E17 ] and added even more bloatware. [ compiz-fusion ]

Markx.Allen
Markx.Allen

Linux Mint already holds this title...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

For the benefit of my fellow Windows users, here's what I think Jack is talking about. Debian is an existing Linux distribution. Enlightenment is a desktop GUI, competitor to Gnome and KDE (the desktop GUIs most familiar to those of us who have only dipped our toes in the icy Antarctic waters a time or two). After several seconds of less-than-dedicated research, I've concluded a compositor enhances the visual appearance of the underlying GUI, but I may be way off base here. So apparently the Elive Compiz is a new Debian-based distribution with beaucoup eye-candy. This seems to be some sort of break-through. Jack, you don't say much about the apps in this distro other it included almost everything you need. That included a video player and some undescribed goodies, but not an office suite or a money management tool. Maybe I'm the only one needs those more than a video player.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Most do have a support contract which requires payment but if you do not require any support then the majority are free to use. You can try some of the available Live Distros which are available to download here. A Live Linux runs off a Optical Disc or USB Thumb Drive and doesn't require installation on the computer. While there are disadvantages to this it's a great way to test different distributions by simply making a CD/DVD or a Boot Thumb Drive if the computer supports the last option. http://www.livecdlist.com/ And a Convenient Point to look at the different Distros is here Distro Watch along with download links. Though I'm not sure if this site has Spanish Support. http://distrowatch.com/ You are also able to join a Linux Help Forum in your area the Wikipedia listing is probably your best bet as you can change the language to Spanish so it's easier for you to read. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_user_group Col [i]edited to add[/i] La mayoría tienen un contrato de soporte que requiere el pago, pero si no se requiere ningún apoyo entonces la mayoría son de uso gratuito. Usted puede probar algunos de los disponibles en vivo distros que están disponibles para descargar aquí. Un Linux Live funciona con una óptica o disco USB y no requiere instalación en el equipo. Aunque hay desventajas a esto, es una gran manera de probar diferentes distribuciones simplemente haciendo un CD / DVD o una unidad flash de arranque si el equipo es compatible con la última opción. http://www.livecdlist.com/ Y un buen momento para mirar a las diferentes distros está aquí Distro reloj junto con los enlaces de descarga. Aunque no estoy seguro de que este sitio cuenta con el apoyo español. http://distrowatch.com/ Usted también es capaz de unirse a un foro de ayuda de Linux en el área de la lista de Wikipedia es probablemente su mejor apuesta que puede cambiar el idioma a español por lo que es más fácil para que usted pueda leer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_user_group columna

Doug Vitale
Doug Vitale

I also feel that too many desktop effects and eye candy can be overkill. Therefore I have to question the real world practicality of using compiz fusion; who really uses the wobbley windows and the spinning desktop cube? I guess there are some individuals who like the myriad of special effects available on the Linux desktop thanks to compiz-fusion but I think that most Linux users who place much more of an emphasis on stability and minimal resource usage.

jhecht
jhecht

Pros - lots of apps, works on older 'puters, ethernet set up automatically. Cons - you can't get the 'real' version without a $5 'donation' - I paid just to see what the distro was about. GUI design is retarded - WAY too much dysfunctional eye candy. For example, there's a Mac-like 'dock' thingy that shows icons for programs, but there is no way (I could find) to display the >names< of the programs in the 'dock'(!) Menu functions also suffer from eye candy bloat, and lack of functionality. This is a 700 MB package, and is IMO less user friendly than Puppy Linux at 90-100 MB. And Puppy runs faster as well... I'm of the Bauhaus school of design - 'form follows function'. A good design is one that gives maximum function, with minimum interference from 'pretty' add-ons.

---TK---
---TK---

this is a distro I am going to keep an eye on. But its going to take to much work to get it the way I want it... I spent a good 2 to 3 hours working with it, and 1.5 hours working with ndiswrapper... still couldn't get the wireless working, the network manager kept getting in the way and wouldn't allow it to load a new interface... I guess I could have replaced it, but ill leave that up to the distro's developers. I'm not seeing any of their donations..

---TK---
---TK---

but if you want to break Windows just mod the boot.ini file :)

jlwallen
jlwallen

kernel + vi + elm + lynx that's it. am i close? ;-)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Compiz was awsome the entire week I kept it installed; then I ripped it back out and got on with real work. ;)

t0ken
t0ken

...right? :)~

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm not disagreeing with you, but it's makes for better discussions if you provide some supporting evidence. What do you think makes Mint 'cool'? Why should users of other distributions (or even Windows users, gods forbid) try it?

JackOfAllTech
JackOfAllTech

that doesn't want eye candy? That was one of my early complaints about XP. I want na OS that just does what I want it to do without getting in my way.

Sagax-
Sagax-

Wait a minute. Do you just sit there looking at your desktop thinking how kool it is? I do NOT. I see mine when I log on and briefly when I change apps. To me big news is streamlining and extending the X-server and HAL and Hardware drivers. The desktop for a few seconds each session - not so much.

jlwallen
jlwallen

The only reason I didn't include a listing of all the apps is because, like most distros, the list is pretty long. I can make it easier by telling what i had to install after the distro was installed in order to make this a fully working OS: OpenOffice Gnucash Icedove (Elive uses the Iceweasel-branded version of Firefox/Thunderbird/Lightning. Oddly enough Icedove was not installed by default.) Scribus that was it. I was surprised by the inclusion of: gtkpod xmms (with working mp3 support built in) xine gmplayer by the way - Iceweasel came installed with all necessary plug-ins already installed and xine and gmplayer worked with DVDs out of the box.

Jaqui
Jaqui

but vi has to go. nano is much better than vi. and I tend to just use ... mail. :D

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

kernel + sh + vi + mail + lynx sh.. that's the most basic command interpreter I can think of. mail.. why suffer the bloat of elm when you can simply use mailx. ;)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

In terms a Windows user can understand, please. What does it do that E17 doesn't do by itself? Can Compiz do it's thing with other desktops / GUI's?

Doug Vitale
Doug Vitale

Mint is even more user-friendly than Ubuntu. One subjective observation is that it has a better UI, meaning it's better looking and more intuitive. Mint also comes preinstalled with more "restricted" codecs. The Administration and Preferences menus contain a few options not installed by default in Ubuntu: 1. MintAssistant - allows the user to set a root password and specify whether or not quotations appear in the Terminal window. 2. MintBackup - backs up the home directory to a single file. 3. MintDesktop (under Preferences) - allows the user to select desktop icons, specify the Nautilus mode and determine whether or not to show splash screens for major applications. 4. MintInstall 5. MintNanny - provides for child protection by blocking specified domains from the Web browser. 6. MintUpdate - the system update app. Backup and Nanny applications are available for Ubuntu but outside the default installation package.

jlwallen
jlwallen

i've been using Linux for ten years now. i've pretty much run the gamut and have reached a point where the desktop is pretty much the last single selling point left for linux. think about it... it's been sold on the server and the back end for many services. what it still needs is for the public to be sold on the desktop. so that's what i spend a lot of my time focusing on now. it's not for everyone sure. but it's turned into one of my favorite topics and one of the issues i consider i carry a certain level of expertise.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

In what way is that any better than OpenGEU which has been our for months and has this same ecomorph. It works better than Elive for me and there is no charge. Only thing I had to add was Thunderbird to get my favorites. I have been running it for about a month now and could not be happier with it. Elive adds nothing that has not been out there already.

Slayer_
Slayer_

OpenOffice - Borderline, but readable Gnucash -Uh no, not a word Icedove -Makes no sense but it is almost a word Scribus -Fine gtkpod -what? xmms -what? xine -is this like sign and cosign? gmplayer -It has the word player in it... I mean, sure, geeks are unimaginatve, but almost every name in there was not even a word or symbol, doesn't sound good, nothing. And yet Fanboys claim Linux is easy to understand???

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

binary for Nano binary for Joe binary for KeepassX tar.gz for other things Lucky for me though, nano is one almost every distro so I can use it to get around until I get Joe's Own Editor on the system.

fevrin
fevrin

it doesn't take 3 months to know you can open vi(m), press "i", and use it like any other editor. From there, you can *ease* your way in ;p Just sayin'.... But, to each his or her own.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

To which the response is, "That's why we have flash drives, now isn't it?"

Jaqui
Jaqui

you don't need to spend 3 months learning nano to edit a conf, you do vi(m).

fevrin
fevrin

so what does nano have that vi(m) doesn't? ;p

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

abacus. that's it. compile programs on that.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

What's the difference between a desktop, a windows manager, and a graphical user interface? I actually know, but I know how much you'd be disappointed if I didn't ask. Let's try this one instead: What's the difference between Jaqui and a wing nut? Wing nuts are useful.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

was one of the first things I turned off. I don't think it's worth the overhead. I suspect I'd feel the same way about Compiz. I've usually got the desktop covered with tiled apps anyway. Most of the time I don't know what my wallpaper changer has put up. Thanks.

Jaqui
Jaqui

now that wing-nut Palmetto will ask what the difference is. ;)

t0ken
t0ken

Yes, you're right, my mistake. Didn't mean to spread false or ill-informed info!

Jaqui
Jaqui

it is a window manager. huge difference.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I don't think I can add to the first description but you can also call it the 3D effects layer on top of the window manager. You have OS You have the back end infrastructure .dll and various other api bits You have the visual 2D layer from shell=explorer.exe You have the visual 3D effects With Compiz, the 3D effects layer can be seporated from the 2D display layer. If you want the effects, add the module. If you prefer the resources, remove it. If you prefer a different 2D display layer, switch it leaving the 3D layer untouched. Windows Plus if the primary function of the addon was 3DFX bling. (I believe it was the 3DFX Voodoo2 at that time)

t0ken
t0ken

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compiz Basically, it takes things that the GUI means to display, and adds it's own little touch to it. This is transparent to the OS and apps, meaning it's affects are 100% visual & aesthetic (sans memory and cpu time, of course). Vista actually has a compositing window manager (DWM, which provides Aero), so if you've used Vista Business or Ultimate (and it was enabled on that PC), you've seen one in action. E17 is a desktop, or if it's easier to understand, a GUI. Compiz can be installed on E17, as well as many of the other open source "GUI's" (Gnome, Xfce, etc, or my personal favorite, KDE).

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Around :46, why does she grab her right breast? Apparently she's either far more excited about this than I am, or watching porn.

william.r.thomas
william.r.thomas

looks like an OSX/Vista mashup... I have enough to do just using those two operating systems... this really ins't a compelling reason to try linux - although the girl is one of the more attractive linux geeks i have seen

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

...to the people who named them. ;\ Unfortunately, one person's intuitive is another person's WTF. Additionally, we need some way to differentiate between different files, so the file names need to be different. While the end user need only know email, web browser, or music player, support techs need to know Outlook or Thunderbird; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, or Seamonkey; WMP, WinAmp, or MediaMonkey? Windows file names are no more intuitive. Even though MS introduced long file names with Windows 95, they still maintain the old DOS-style 8.3 file names for most Windows system files.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Nix isn't supposed to be a research project, why should every little thing need to be researched, why can nothing be blatantly intuitive?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You ask questions that anybody with even a minimum of initiative can answer for themselves after a few minutes of internet research. If you don't know how to search or which search engine to use, start here: http://www.webreference.com/content/search/ As for posting images, that capability was removed with the last site update. All you can do now is exactly what you did: provide the URL for the image in your post.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"Icedove is an unbranded Thunderbird mail client suitable for free distribution. The goal of Thunderbird is to produce a cross platform stand- alone mail application using the XUL user interface language." http://packages.debian.org/unstable/mail/icedove Or you can go up a level for a list: http://packages.debian.org/unstable/mail/ I wouldn't have thought to look for it but I would have found it when searching "mail". My personal experience has been finding software through description searches and or functional setups. I need a mail transport and it happens to be postfix. Until it conflicted with Exime, I had no idea that Exime was a different mail transport. I didn't have any reason to either. Since they both support the sendmail standard (for better or worse), it really doesn't matter which I choose functionally. There are a few sites dedicated to Windows app equivalents also though they could be more accessible.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Most can even be found in a dictionary. IceDove is your mail client? I thought you had one of the USB fridges plugged in. Why not just call it "Mail" or even better, "Email". Yeah know, like it is in the Windows start menu. http://www.trevorsarchives.selfip.net/temp/SeriouslySimple.jpg So I see Internet and Email. Both painfully obvious to anyone that uses a computer. If IceDove was called Email, I probably would have figured it out with one glance. Or subtext it like Windows, its Email, opened by Microsoft Outlook. Internet, opened by Avant Browser A little english goes a long way. -Edit, Ok I give up trying to post images here, BBC doesnt work, HTML doesn't work, what works here?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The names of most Windows apps are only "consumer friendly" because they've been around long enough to develop name recognition. Excel - a verb describing performance; nothing to do with numbers. Outlook - this may describe the calendar function, but not the rest of the app. Access - is usually inaccessible. But let's not concentrate our fire on the marketing twits are Redmond. They aren't responsible for: PhotoShop - I already own the photos; I don't need to shop for more. Acrobat - has nothing to do with contortionists or jugglers. And let's not forget the boys at Google (which is itself a mispelling): Chrome - nope, no heavy metals here. Picasa - okay, they bought this one; still an undescriptive name.

jlwallen
jlwallen

check out menu entries for these applications or hold your mouse over the menu entries - you'll get a perfect description of what they are. GnuCash - Finance Management (that's pretty obvious) Icedove - Mail/News Mail Client (again pretty obvious) you get the idea.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Excel means spreadsheet? PowerPoint is an obvious descriptor for presentations slides? Access clearly means database software. "Bob" clearly means "software menue system". Sun is a computer company not related to astronomy? But then, it's just software branding and not unique to any platform or software vendor. Turns out Cheerios isn't a depression medication either. In the end, they are just labels to differentiate the software. Normally, the long name would be listed where people are not expected to understand the short version; Mozilla '"Firefox" Web Browser'. Package managers also offer searchable descriptions. rpmdrake package manager has a clear search field and descriptions for each rpm. Synaptec package manager has the deb people covered with name and description search.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The PC boys, didn't search and replace on the subject line.... oops, or have they turned it off ? fuck shit cunt twat Edit Here Apparently not...