With a new release candidate just being released into the wild I thought that I would give the Italian Based Semplice Linux a whirl. It is Debian based so I should be familiar with how things work but it uses the Open Box Desktop…which is something that I tend to steer clear of…mostly out of personal preference.
I decided to give the 64bit version a go and at just 524MB it is one of the smallest distro’s that I have installed in a good long while. It’s home is at Source Forge so the download was lightning fast and even better when I powered up the Oracle Virtual Box for testing…it hit the full desktop alarmingly fast (in fact I found myself waiting for something to tell me it was ready). I set up the Virtual Box with 4GB of RAM and a 20GB Virtual Drive and went about installing Semplice.
The installer was quick and fairly responsive but I found myself on a couple of occasions wondering what to do next as the system just sat there. A few clicks, a quick coffee break and I was ready to put my first OpenBox Distro through its paces. The initial boot up was incredibly fast clocking in at under 19 seconds!
Right off the bat I was set back by the strangeness of the Desktop Wallpaper…it would not adjust down to the default resolution that I have set my Virtual Desktop to (as you can see by the very pixelated screenshot), but with a quick visit to a Linux Wallpaper site I was refreshed with an interesting Debian desktop that I could live with. The nice thing about OpenBox is that it is very, very fast and responsive. There is no Start Button and you access all of your Apps with a right click…basically anywhere!
Speaking of Apps, I was surprised by lack of selection in the Default Distro but at a very light 524MB download…one can not expect to have all the bells and whistles included and the inclusion of Synaptic Package Manager means that I was able to customize Semplice to fit me exactly how I wanted it.
- Internet – Chromium Browser, Claws Mail, Pidgin and uGet
- Office – AbiWord and Gnumeric
- Music/Multimedia – Gnome mPlayer, Exaile and Volti
- Other – Gnu Paint, Galculator, Mirage
Overall while the choices are not ideal, if you are looking to breath new live into an older machine…anything OpenBox will do just that but with the repositories that were included with the Distro, I was more than a little disappointed that I was not even able to install Samba from Synaptic Package Manager so that I could give the Exaile Music player a test with my Network Storage (I was able to get this to work after updating the Repositories).
While the setup was a bit odd, and the additional downloads of functional software upped the bandwidth required for this Distro well above what even a full CD would have required I like how things were laid out and could be changed in a multitude of ways…but I am not convinced that OpenBox is the right desktop for me…or that Semplice Linux is worth the time or effort to customize it to my liking.
In its defense though, this is a Release Candidate…but I have a sneaky suspicion that this is basically as good as it will get. I will not be extending my time with Semplice Linux to install it on my Netbook…that ship has passed and as for a rating:
Chris J Powell