If you are looking for a Desktop Linux distribution that is simple yet different, reliable and runs well on legacy hardware, then MX Linux is a good choice. MX Linux is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities (hence the name MX). One can expect the best of both worlds is put into MX Linux.
MX Linux is a mid-weight operating system having Xfce as the desktop environment. The latest release MX Linux 17 has been released on Friday 15h December 17, 2017. MX Linux 17 is based on Debian 9.3 (Stretch) with Linux kernel version 4.13.0-1 and brings a lot many changes when compared to its predecessor MX 16.1. Let us dig into further into MX Linux 17 (here onwards referred to as MX 17) and see what its latest release offers to the Linux community.
Features At A Glance
|Current Release||MX 17 released on 15 Dec 2017|
|First Release||24 March 2014|
|Based on||Debian 9.3 (stretch)|
Available in both 32-bit (PAE and non-PAE)and 64-bit (PAE only) ISOs
|Genre/Known For||Medium-sized footprint with decent user interface theme and performance meant for beginners.|
|Default Desktop Theme||Xfce v4.12.3|
|System Requirements for hard drive installation||Minimum: Boot capability of USB or DVD drive Modern AMD or Intel (i486) 512 MB RAM 5 GB hard disk space Recommended: Boot capability of USB or DVD drive Modern AMD or Intel (i686) 2 GB RAM 10 GB hard disk space|
|Download Page||Download Page|
MX Linux Installation
The MX Linux 17 distribution comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and both weigh around 1.2 GB in size. The installation files are available in ISO format at this link. You will need either a blank DVD or USB drive to be able to try out and install Linux MX. If not, you can always try MX Linux out as a virtual machine. In order to install the MX Linux ISO on USB Drive, image burners like “Rufus” on Windows can be used. Following image captured during installing MX 17 distro as a virtual machine.
Burning MX 17 ISO image onto USB drive is straightforward and did not give any glitches while running the OS from the USB drive. The default desktop theme is Xfce which has the taskbar along the left edge of the screen. The desktop theme Xfce is highly customizable and tweaking its settings is easy.Coming to default software applications, MX 17 comes with standard software to carry out day-to-day activities of a typical user. It does come with a set of installed games for game lovers. From a user experience (UX) perspective, one can say MX 17 has done a good job.
When the user boots up the MX for the first time, the desktop environment will load a welcome window containing various links will appear as follows:
The MX 17 booted with the Xfce theme (version 4.12.3) with a nice background image. Only the vertically placed panel on the left appeared a bit different otherwise it is nice.
Applications Bundled With MX 17
MX 17 has all the applications that the typical user needs to get started. You have LibreOffice, VLC, GIMP, FireFox, PDF-Suffler, etc. to join the party along with the handful of utilities and accessories useful in daily use. Followings are the partial list of default applications with this release:
- Office Productivity Suite: LibreOffice v5.4.1-1
- Email client: Thunderbird v52.5
- Music Player/Manager: Clementine v1.3.1
- Web browser: Firefox v57.0.2
- Backup: LuckyBackup v0.4.9-1
- Security: Passwords and Key v3.20.0-3.1
- Terminal: Xfce4 Terminal v0.8.3-1
- CD and DVD burning application: Xfburn v0.5.4
- Games: AisleRiot Solitaire, Chromium B.S.U, LBreakout2, Mahjongg, Peg-E, Swall Foop, Hearts Card Game
- Graphics: GIMP, gscan2pdf, LibreOffice Draw, Nomacs
- Internet: GNOME PPP, HexChat, Transmission
- Multi-media: Alsamixer Audio, Asunder CD Ripper, Clementine, gMTP, guvcview, PulseAudio, SMTube, VLC
- Security: Gufw firewall
- Miscellaneous: Dictionary, FBReader (e-book reader), Orange Desktop Calendar, Orange localtime, PDF-Suffler (PDF merging, rearranging and splitting), Live-usb Maker, MX Boot Repair, Nvidia driver installer, MX Repo Manager, MX Package Installer, Bluetooth Manager, Catfish File search, ClipIt Clipboard Manager, Conky Theme Manager, GParted, Grub Customizer, and Samba.
Command Prompt – The Xfce way
The Xfce Terminal is having vibrant colors and the default prompt is having two lines. While the first line displays the user name with system and the second line the actual $ prompt.
MX 7 armed with Java and GNU Compiler Collection including gcc, g++ compilers.
Get Hardware Specs and Benchmarking
Open a terminal by clicking “Start menu->System->Xfce Terminal” and type the below command and press Enter.
$ inxi -F
Below is the sample output generated by the above command:
In case hardware specs need to be shown in the graphical report, click “Start menu -> System -> System Profiler and Benchmark”. User can select one or more categories: “Computer”, “Devices”, Network”, and “Benchmarks” to generate HTML based report.
Performance and Resource Utilization
MX 17 is responsive and fast with minimal consumption of system resources like CPU and RAM. It just works without any lagging with decent user experience.
- Preferences for mouse and touchpad by clicking “Start menu -> Settings -> Mouse and Touchpad” and click “Start menu ->Settings -> Keyboard” in order to set keyboard settings.
- For setting video and audio settings, click “Start menu -> Settings -> Display” and “Start menu -> Multimedia -> PulseAudio Volume Control”. Nvidia display cards can be installed using the “nvidia-settings” package. MX 7 supports ATI and Intel cards too.
- Samba on MX Linux allows users to print via the network. Click “ Start menu -> System -> Print Settings” and configure new printer. Scanners (through SANE) and webcam will work in MX Linux.
- The GRUB (bootloader) specific settings can be modified by clicking “Start menu -> System -> Grub Customizer.
- MX 7 supports both “su” and “sudo” way of obtaining administrator privileges.
- Software packages can be managed through Synaptic (GUI based APT packaging system). Aptitude is also can be used.
- For burning images onto USB drives, live-usb maker or UNetbootin can be used.
MX Linux is an easy-to-use yet powerful that does a decent job without including unnecessary software. One of the strengths of MX Linux is the good collection of MX utilities which will definitely save the time of less experienced users. Having support to both 32-bit and 64-bit architecture is definitely a plus to this Linux distribution.