Distro Candidates: MX vs. AntiX, which is best for the following purpose?

HAL_2000

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Reading some very interesting posts by users Poorguy & Tolkem at ...
... but not wanting to hijack that thread, I first searched the fora to see if this question has already be asked and answered, and finding none, I ask it here:



As between Linux MX and AntiX, which distro is best suited for the requirements below?


I have a series of 32 bit machines, both laptops and desktops, which I would like to revive with a light, agile distro of Linux. Most have at least a 1.6 GHz processor if a laptop, and normally 2.8 GHz or above for a desktop (Intel P4 or AMD), the biggest challenge is that many of them are still limited to 1 or 2 gigs of RAM.

Both Linux.org posters Poorguy & Tolkem had good things to say about AntiX, and I have followed their advice and started looking at it, but also running into a related distro: MX. Both seem to be well-suited to the task of reviving this older hardware, so my question revolves which is best suited to the task, taking into consideration what I'd like to do with Linux once installed.

AntiX Keeps Going For Low-End Computers (phoronix)

antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution
based on Debian Testing for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems.
antiX-Linux - Browse /Final/antiX-19 at SourceForge.net


What I've already tried.


Over the last few months I have been testing Linux distros on older hardware and finding the following strengths and weaknesses in general.

Lubuntu was a little bit slower than I cared for, Mint (both Mate and Xfce) and Zorin were having issues, Linux Lite was nice and speedy, but ending long term support for 32 bit systems, something that a lot of lightweight distros were doing, save for a very few.

Lubuntu, Linux Lite and LXLE all readily recognized connected hardware, like Wifi cards, sound and webcams.

Q4OS in its XPQ4 guise was very fast and light and the machines, even with very little Ram, moved along nicely, but suffered from lack of recognized hardware / driver support. Indeed, if it had not been for lack of driver support, my search would have ended with Q4OS.

So now it's down to MX and AntiX. According to SLANT, AntiX uses IceWM as a desktop environment, while MX uses Xfce as default DE. I understand that IceWM has an extremely small footprint, which is very nice when you are dealing with a 1 gig / 32-bit machine.

As between MX and AntiX, which can 1) be more easily themed, as I'd like to do, below, and 2) will ROX replace the DE in either distro making any DE size comparison moot?

Some background I've found, but articles are no substitute for your own experiences.

AnitX vs. MX

In short, between AntiX and MX, which is best suited for:

1) Older hardware with 1 Gig Ram (Laptops and netbooks) or 2 Gig RAM (desktop motherboards), running P4 / AMD 32-bit architecture;

2) Modification of the theme and icons, as described below;

3) Recognizing attached hardware, or at least has a driver - retrieval utility?

4) Optional - will replacing the DE with ROX dramatically alter the performance of either distro?



THEME MODIFICATION

Lookalike Windows XP Classic (Motho ke motho ka botho)


HOWTO: make MX look more like Windows 7



DESKTOP MODIFICATION

ROX is a fast, user friendly desktop which makes extensive use of drag-and-drop.

The interface revolves around the file manager, or filer, following the traditional Unix view that `everything is a file' rather than trying to hide the filesystem beneath start menus, wizards, or druids.
 


jglen490

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I think you already answered your own question with
Lubuntu, Linux Lite and LXLE all readily recognized connected hardware, like Wifi cards, sound and webcams.
Hardware is the hardest thing in Linux, simply because of drivers. Whoever is prepared to provide the most drivers out of the box, IS the winner.
 

sp331yi

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OP asked one of of two options. neither chosen. therefore a non-answer was given! from a non-debian user . A: antiX, of course. bu you knew this, OP!
 

HAL_2000

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Okay, let me rephrase the question: all things being equal, what are the differences between AntiX and MX?

According to the provided link, MX is prefered among misanthropes... Which I will now know and buzz in first in case that question is put to me on JEOPARDY.

But if there are those who have worked with both distros, which of either is best suited for the stated task?

Here's one thing I *read* about MX which is very interesting: you can customize your install and the create a customized ISO from that install.

This is very interesting, because what I am doing with these machines is mass- producing them for a 3rd grade classroom in Panama (long story, but this charity has gone *international* baby !).

ADDENDUM: wedded to the question about which distro is best for the stated task, does adding ROX change that equation?
 

HAL_2000

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I think you already answered your own question with

Hardware is the hardest thing in Linux, simply because of drivers. Whoever is prepared to provide the most drivers out of the box, IS the winner.

You know jglen, this kind of dashes my starry-eyed expectations of LINUX. Perhaps the Ubuntu-derived distros spoiled me with their easy device recognition. Q4OS, being of the Debian strain, while faster than the rest, is a real pain in the keester insofar as device recognition OOTB is concerned, at least for someone new to Linux.

One of the major reasons I am here is because nearly every Windows-based motherboard and add-on card manufacturer has taken drivers for even Windows 7 offline.

Thus far, Q4OS has been the fastest performing distro on 32-bit architecture of any of them. Windows theming was a snap and the desktop looks gorgeous.

That's where the fun ends though, with, as the techical term goes -- s u c k y -- device recognition.

Unless I can fix theming in LXLE (it's modifying the taskbar that drives me nuts), or device recognition in Q4OS, I'll have to accept cr*ppy theming in LXLE, or leave the kids without sound or a webcam for Q4OS.

Hence my turning to MX / AntiX for a possible solution.

Thanks for any good info you can share.
 

poorguy

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Antix and MX are both based on Debian Buster and I believe you may run into the same problem with the Wireless as you did with Q4OS.

What I suggest is to create a bootable DVD or USB of both and see if the wireless is detected.

The next thing is that Antix is a very hands on distro and learning the terminal is a must.

Of the two MX is going to be more of what you are looking for.

Just food for thought.
 

jglen490

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You know who writes the hardware drivers for Windows, or at least the reference material? The manufacturers. Windows is still the big gorilla in the room, and they make a lot of money from the gorilla.

Most hardware manufacturers pay little to no attention to Linux, or at least have. So that leaves the devs to write drivers, some kind of way. The tide is turning, but very slowly. That's why older hardware is usually better supported in Linux, just because it takes time to figure out patented, closed source machines.

There are a few makers who give some good support for Linux, but there's little financial incentive to spend their resources for little return. Don't feel bad, it's just life.
 
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HAL_2000

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You no who writes the hardware drivers for Windows, or at least the reference material? The manufacturers. Windows is still the big gorilla in the room, and they make a lot of money from the gorilla.

Most hardware manufacturers pay little to no attention to Linux, or at least have. So that leaves the devs to write drivers, some kind of way. The tide is turning, but very slowly. That's why older hardware is usually better supported in Linux, just because it takes time to figure out patented, closed source machines.

There are a few makers who give some good support for Linux, but there's little financial incentive to spend their resources for little return. Don't feel bad, it's just life.

You know, my recent project was getting a desktop to recognize both its onboard sound and a VGA (whaaaaat ?) card with dual monitor support. Q4OS was a real pain getting both recognized, which is nice, but the school kids have asked for a webcam to Skype with other classrooms. That project remains (sounding great and having two monitors), with all its guts hanging out and a dormant Logitech webcam.

I just need to get that cam working to make the machine, as the Sith Emperor would say, "fully operational."
 

poorguy

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I have a series of 32 bit machines, both laptops and desktops, which I would like to revive with a light, agile distro of Linux. Most have at least a 1.6 GHz processor if a laptop, and normally 2.8 GHz or above for a desktop (Intel P4 or AMD), the biggest challenge is that many of them are still limited to 1 or 2 gigs of RAM.
The processors you are using need to support SSE2 or above or you will have a very hard time using any modern browser.

Most browsers require SSE2 and above to work properly meaning any processor that doesn't support SSE2 will be painfully slow.
 

HAL_2000

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The processors you are using need to support SSE2 or above or you will have a very hard time using any modern browser.

Most browsers require SSE2 and above to work properly meaning any processor that doesn't support SSE2 will be painfully slow.
You know, this reminds me of the time when General Patton was advancing very quickly into enemy territory and HQ sent orders to hold up and not attack an enemy-held city.

Patton wrote back: "Have already taken City-X. What do you want me to do? Give it back?" *

In this instance, I have tested Lubuntu Lite, LXLE and Q4OS with their bundled browsers: SeaMonkey, Pale Moon and Fire Fox, and tried streaming movies and music on these machines and using those browsers.

While I ran into roadblocks trying the same thing with XP, with those distros of Linux and using those browsers, I have not run into a problem.

I do value your opinion, but what am I to think, given such experience?

* "Have taken Trier with two divisions. What do you want me to do? Give it back?"

[Patton's reply to a message from General Dwight Eisenhower to bypass the German city of Trier because it would take four divisions to capture it.]






;-)
 
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wizardfromoz

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This Thread makes for an interesting read - nice rants, but I feel it may be going a little bit overboard.

HAL

Just in case of any misapprehension on your part, we are not an official arm nor organ of Linux, just scored the dot org name - we are manned by volunteer staff who share a love of Linux and have varying skills in various departments.

So please do not "shout" at us. ;)

A good read is

https://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm

On your subject, do you know if the computers are PAE or non-PAE? We can tell you how to check that, if you have the time and patience.

Mepis Linux, a product of the Mepis Group, now known as the MX Community, had a member know as "anticapilista", real name Paul Banham, who engineered the first antiX (pron. "antics") as a free version of Mepis.

The Mepis Group afterwards collaborated with Banham, and so modern MX-series and antiX have close ties. That was around 2006 or so.

I have been using MX since MX-14, for over 5 years, and find it excels in most ways, but I have not had to load drivers for such as external webcams, or peripheral devices other than printers.

I typically run 80 to 100 Linux, but am currently reorganising and so just using 67. I have installed over 150 Linux at one time or another.

And yet I have not yet had any experience with ROX, other than a brief sortie into Puppy Linux. One of my friends here, Darren @darry1966 , a New Zealander, is well-versed in Puppy, so he may have some input on ROX.

If it were me, I would be installing half a dozen lightweights on one machine and comparing them. If those rigs are BIOS-MBR, you would need to be aware of The 4 Partition Rule, which is a limitation placed on us by Microsoft, not by Linux. We can get around it in Linux with an Extended Partition under which a large number of Logical Partitions can be created and used.

Although your subject matter clearly refers to 2 candidates, have you made the acquaintance of Elive Linux? I have downloaded it but have yet to try it.

The "minimum hardware requirements" for running Elive (32 bit) are:
  • 300 MHz CPU (Pentium Pro and above, due to the limit of I686 architecture)
  • 256 MB of RAM.
  • At least 5 GB of disk space (for full installation and swap space)
  • VGA graphics card capable of 640x480 resolution.
  • CD-ROM drive. (I take it that includes USB)
To briefly touch on your Patton analogy -

A saying often attributed to the US Military in WWII, but actually used by a Finance Miniter in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, is

The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a bit longer.

In Linux, and at this site, the difficulty we address as soon as possible, and the incredibly challenging we take in our stride and it may take a whole lot more questions and research :)

So you be patient with us, and we will try to be patient (and helpful) with you.

Cheers and

Avagudweegend

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

HAL_2000

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Wiz wrote:

"Just in case of any misapprehension on your part, we are not an official arm nor organ of Linux, just scored the dot org name - we are manned by volunteer staff who share a love of Linux and have varying skills in various departments."

First off, I really do appreciate the friendliness and helpfulness of all the posters.

No misapprehension, my friend. Most help fora that are actually part of a vendor will have the poster's affiliation and any special qualifications co-located with their avatar.




Wiz wrote:

"So please do not "shout" at us. ;)"

Sorry about that. That was unintentional. Copy-and-paste on a portable device has less editing tools I'm thinking. Normally backspacing before the quoted text will take off the text over-size and bolding, but in this case it did not.


Wiz wrote:

"A good read is
https://linux.oneandoneis2.org/LNW.htm"

While that might be true for some, there are a lot of problems with that analysis. Please keep in mind that I want Linux to succeed, but there are some very good reasons that, after some 30-odd years, the Linux market share, even if it is free and more secure than Windows, hovers around a paltry 2 percent.

This response actually deserves its own thread, but as briefly as I can, the reason I think that acceptance has not happened is because Linux too is work-intensive and complicated for the average user.

One thing I have found, after giving away a couple hundred PC's and laptops over the years. The people I give machines to are completely code-unfamiliar. The machine has to be ready-to-use and easily understood at the first instance. It has to be reasonably fast and responsive.

Otherwise, the First-30-Seconds response is: "this machine s u c ks," and it doesn't get used, or worse yet, gets thrown away. As an added factor, it should be able to install devices like printers and webcams, probably the most frequently added peripherals. Lastly, for kids, college students and even business employees, whatever word processor it uses must be able to be acceptable as homework product (at the very least .txt and .rtf are the lingua franca of word processing, but LibreOffice can handle even .doc / .docx formats).


Do you remember the famous line by Strother Martin (as evil overseer) in the film COOLHAND LUKE?

"What we got here... is a failure... to communicate."

Very briefly, Linux is strongest where you might suspect: in servers, in devices, and in the demographic that loves to work with code and programming. But when it comes to the general public, acceptance has been lacking.

I have had occasion to examine the internet from the corporate and governmental level, and more recently, to be able to examine the hard drives (thus understanding their use patterns) of hundreds of average computer users, from scientists, software engineers, teenagers, moms, some dicey individuals, and grandmas and grandpas.

Windows was a singular OS, and each user used it in his or her own way, utilizing only a small part of its capability. *Most* had little to no computer knowledge, aside from turning the machine on, logging in and going to the email, card game, photo program or music download they were using.

Windows is geared to the masses and has widespread acceptance. That's a fact. But I think they've abused that market position and dominance and turned it into a means of surveilling and controlling the individual and information.

Linux is kind of a small, extremely computer-savvy brotherhood of (self-identified) Nerds (is "Nerds" capitalized?) who share a love of computers and computer code, but are highly individualistic, and thus, splintered, like the feuding Scottish Clans vis-a-vis the tyrannical English King, or the warring Germanic tribes, until uniting against the Romans.

I submit that the way for Linux to grow in public acceptance is to release at least ONE distro that is GUI-based and not Terminal / Command Line based.

I am here because I refurbish and give away computers to those who need them. XP can no longer be practically used in the USA (but is still broadly popular overseas), and manufacturers have taken nearly all drivers offline.

Linux offers the possibility of useful life extension for what otherwise is going to be consigned to landfill. And for that reason, I am an enthusiastic student and looking for the best means to provide a refurbished, user friendly machine to those who need one.

Wiz wrote:

"On your subject, do you know if the computers are PAE or non-PAE? We can tell you how to check that, if you have the time and patience."

Thank you Wiz. Forcepae drove me crazy when I started loading Linux on some Centrino / Pentium-M laptops. Only by seeking out computer fora like this one did I even learn of its existence. I've tried to give back to the forum with a tutorial on getting around FORCEPAE with this post:

Answer: Some machines are (usually Centrino / Pentium-M older netbooks and laptops), but most are simply 2.8 GHz and faster Pentium 4's and AMD based boards.

Wiz wrote:

"Mepis Linux, a product of the Mepis Group, now known as the MX Community, had a member know as "anticapilista", real name Paul Banham, who engineered the first antiX (pron. "antics") as a free version of Mepis."

Verrry interesting. This is what I have been asking about.


Wiz wrote:

"And yet I have not yet had any experience with ROX, other than a brief sortie into Puppy Linux. One of my friends here, Darren @darry1966 , a New Zealander, is well-versed in Puppy, so he may have some input on ROX."

That would be very nice to hear about. Can you ask him please? Thank you.

Wiz wrote:

"Although your subject matter clearly refers to 2 candidates, have you made the acquaintance of Elive Linux? I have downloaded it but have yet to try it.

The "minimum hardware requirements" for running Elive (32 bit) are:
  • 300 MHz CPU (Pentium Pro and above, due to the limit of I686 architecture)
  • 256 MB of RAM.
  • At least 5 GB of disk space (for full installation and swap space)
  • VGA graphics card capable of 640x480 resolution.
  • CD-ROM drive. (I take it that includes USB)
As Spock would say, "fascinating."

It should be clear by now what objective I am trying to achieve with Linux and the roadblocks I am encountering. I don't say 'roadblock' to be the burr under anyone's saddle, but the problems are the sheer broad array of distros and the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

Poster "poorguy" for instance, helped identify what might be going on between Lubuntu and my recent favorite: Q4OS: one is Ubuntu-based and the other Debian-based. The Debian-based distros appear to require more work to get devices recognized.

Wiz wrote:

"To briefly touch on your Patton analogy -

A saying often attributed to the US Military in WWII, but actually used by a Finance Miniter in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, is

'The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a bit longer.' "

Yes, the US Navy Construction Battalion, C.B. or "Sea Bees," based out of Quonsett Rhode Island, from when the Quonsett Hut comes (or so they say).

I look forward to exchanging information and jokes with the members here.
 
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dos2unix

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While that might be true for some, there are a lot of problems with that analysis. Please keep in mind that I want Linux to succeed, but there are some very good reasons that, after some 30-odd years, the Linux market share, even if it is free and more secure than Windows, hovers around a paltry 2 percent.
Depends on your definition of "succeed". Linux may not own the desktop, but they own the server market. Reverse the numbers, Microsoft has less than 5% market share there.
 

poorguy

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This response actually deserves its own thread, but as briefly as I can, the reason I think that acceptance has not happened is because Linux too is work-intensive and complicated for the average user.
I've given many Linux computers to people and what I've discovered from doing so is what I already learned from Windows users.

And that is.
Most users are unwilling to learn some basic knowledge of keeping their computer properly updated and the needed basic maintenance skills to keep their computer running properly.


Back to Linux.
To have a good first Linux experience the perspective new Linux user must have the willingness and desire to first learn some basic Linux know how to properly install and update and configure their new Linux install.

Most people are unwilling to do this from my experience.

I submit that the way for Linux to grow in public acceptance is to release at least ONE distro that is GUI-based and not Terminal / Command Line based.
Most of the mainstream flagship Linux distros such as Linux Mint and Ubuntu and many others already exist where everything can be set up via the user interface / GUI.

The problem you are running into is you have older computers which are not capable of running the mainstream flagship Linux distros.

The computers you have can be used however you need a lightweight Linux distro those computers can run and use as it comes OOTB.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please don't take my comments the wrong way as I'm not trying to be a hard ass just giving food for thought and hopefully helps you to accomplish your goal.
 
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HAL_2000

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Well, I agree, from what I understand of your positions.

1) Most folks not knowing, and not caring to learn about software / hardware. In fact, I submit that the majority of users just want to know enough to use their computers (for emailing, music, cellphone video, card games, Skyping and perhaps some social media). Anything more than absolutely necessary is annoying to them. If Linux can release a distro with those users in mind, it can seize a substantial chunk of market share from Microsoft, and perhaps even Apple/Mac.


2) I have to work with what I have. Once this inventory of older machines has been exhausted, the mission will change.

In the meantime, revive these machines for perhaps 3 years of hard use and they will have acquitted themselves well and earned their spot in Cyber-Heaven.
 
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poorguy

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One of the excellent options with Linux is it can can be test driven for the cost of a DVD or USB and a little time.

I'd give MX Linux a try and see what it does.

I would also look at LXLE again and yes the default desktop wallpaper sucks however it comes with a lot of other desktop wallpaper choices and installed software and is a good distro.

The Wife uses LXLE on her 2006 Acer laptop and uses Zoom to keep in touch with family and friends.

I never thought my Wife would ever become a Linux user however "surprise surprise" miracles do happen. :)
 

poorguy

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1) Most folks not knowing, and not caring to learn about software / hardware. In fact, I submit that the majority of users just want to know enough to use their computers (for emailing, music, cellphone video, card games, Skyping and perhaps some social media). Anything more than absolutely necessary is annoying to them.
Pretty much sums it up and the way it is.

2) I have to work with what I have. Once this inventory of older machines has been exhausted, the mission will change.

In the meantime, revive these machines for perhaps 3 years of hard use and they will have acquitted themselves well and earned their spot in Cyber-Heaven.
Unfortunately time wins over usefulness and old technology becomes outdated and useless. :(
 

HAL_2000

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The Wife uses LXLE on her 2006 Acer laptop and uses Zoom to keep in touch with family and friends.

I never thought my Wife would ever become a Linux user however "surprise surprise" miracles do happen. :)
Like I do for each distro. I visited the LXLE forum and what I gathered is that LXLE was designed to be used out of the box with little to no modification. To its credit, it installed easily, moved about quickly even on older hardware and readily recognized and installed needed drivers. It does come with a large number of beautiful wallpapers and has a respectable suite of baked-in applications.

A recurring sentiment, however, was that it should not be themed to resemble Windows, indeed that was a very strong sentiment. I kind of got the impression that I should leave themes and icons the hell alone, and if I messed with them, some LXLE associates resembling Samuel L. Jackson and John Travola were going to pay me a visit.
 

wizardfromoz

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I have to scoot for some Saturday morning shopping and will be back, but Hal, is there a timeframe pencilled in for when you need to make the rollout to Panama?

Wiz
 

HAL_2000

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I'd like to have as many machines ready before June 1 as possible, because the State and business is opening soon. Even though I was in recovery, like you and your shoulder, for a bit, playtime will soon be over and a bunch of backed-up work will begin.

So far, five machines have been delivered and at least three are in the bullpen in various stages of readiness. Oddly enough, the teachers and kids like the XP machines (?! ) (which come loaded with card games and noisy shooter games) but are wondering about the Linux (LXLE) which have already been delivered. Some examples of recent donations attached. The blue laptop is an HP Stream, with Q4OS/XPQ4 themed. The Vaio has Win7, as does the HP mini-tower (great sound!), while the eMachines have XP/Sp3, which apparently is not a problem in Central America.

Go figure.
 

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