AntiX – A Lightweight systemd-free Linux distribution for old computers

If you threw away your old computer, it’s time to power it back on. AntiX is a Linux distribution that can run on old computers without any problems. AntiX, based on Debian, is a lightweight Linux distribution without systemd.

Desktop environment

AntiX is extremely fast, even if you run it in a VirtualBox. Instead of using a heavy desktop environment, AntiX comes with iceWM, a lightweight window manager for performing day-to-day tasks on your distro.

AntiX looks great with iceWM (by default) on top of it. It is fast and can be run as a live CD or USB for fixing boot issues. When AntiX is installed on the hard disk, there is almost no lag between the options you click and the response.

Besides iceWM, AntiX full and AntiX base flavors come with 3 other window managers, fluxbox, jwm, and herbstluftwm. Once you have AntiX up and running, you can easily load the window manager of your choice from the Menu > Desktop.

AntiX 19.2 “Hannie Schaft”

The latest release from AntiX is AntiX 19.2 codenamed ‘Hannie Schaft“. Hannie Schaft, based on Debian buster, came out last month with numerous bug fixes, improvements, and upgraded software. The 19.2 version offers AntiX running on runit init system as well.

If you are already running AntiX 19 series, you can upgrade to 19.2 without download the .iso.

AntiX Flavors

AntiX offers 4 different flavors, all without systemd and available in 32-bit and 64-bit architecture.


AntiX full version is flavor with all the necessary software pre-installed. It is larger in size compared to the other available flavors. AntiX full comes with 4 window managers, namely iceWM, Fluxbox, jwm, and herbstluftwm.


AntiX base is the base of the system. It comes with all the 4 window managers that are included in the full flavor.


AntiX core is the core of the system. It has no window manager, cli installation, no UEFI support, no encryption support but supports most wireless. It is minimal in size.


AntiX net is even smaller than the core. It does not have a GUI installer, no X, no UEFI support, no encryption. AntiX net does not even support wireless. If you want to build your own distro, use AntiX net and connect the wired network to download and configure packages.

Default applications

AntiX full comes with all the frequently used applications. For file manager, it has ROX-filer, LibreOffice office suite, Firefox for web browsing, Claws mail as the default email client, Firejail for making the system more secure.

Besides many other applications, AntiX has also built or customized tools for AntiX to configure and manage the desktop easily. It includes the following –

  • AntiX updater
  • AntiX user manager
  • Chroot rescue scan
  • CLI Apt-based package manager
  • Command line control center
  • Format USB
  • IceWM toolbar icon manager
  • ISO Snapshot
  • Live-USB Kernel Updater
  • Live USB Maker
  • Personal Menu Editor
  • Yad color

ISO snapshot is a handy utility to take a snapshot of your distro at any moment. The utility can save the build iso of the current installation at the current state.

Another great tool is the Live-USB Kernel Updater. As the name suggests, it allows updating the Linux kernel easily. By default, AntiX comes with the older kernel, so you may want to update the kernel.

Installing new applications

If you want to install new applications, you can use CLI apt-based package manager or GUI software installer. If you do not like the current window manager, you can always install a desktop environment.

Since the distro is targeted at older computers, it is recommended to keep using the available window managers in the distro. Installing any other desktop environment may slow down your computer.

AntiX software installer
AntiX software installer

Issues (if any)

I have used AntiX a couple of times in the past, and I am using 19.2 now. So far haven’t got any serious issue other than those caused by my own set of actions. For example, installing multiple desktop environments created errors, but that’s optional. You can continue to use the pre-installed window managers without any problem.

Download AntiX


Mohd Sohail is a web developer and a Linux sysAdmin. He also loves to write how-to articles, applications reviews and loves to use new Linux distributions.

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  1. I’m running Antix 19 (Marielle Franco). Doing a att upgrade or dist-upgrade does not upgrade to Hannie Schaft (Antix 19.2). so how do I upgrade to version 19.2?

  2. Hi, I have the same problem (Marielle Franco to Hannie Schaft), I don’t know how to perform an upgrade without downloading the iso image, also I can’t find instructions how to perform such an upgrade. Please give me instructions.

  3. Hi there…
    I’m new on Linux…. and I was trying new desktop environments and clicked on Herbstluftwm desktop option…and now I have no idea on how to go back to a default environment.
    Please help me!

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