[Last Updated June 18, 2010. Scroll down to read.]
I'd like to share with you folks a project I have been working on, and maybe get some feedback.
Masonux. Current version is 9.04-20090917.
Website is http://sites.google.com/site/masonux/
256 mb of RAM is required for the graphical installer to work.
Any i386-architecture CPU manufactured in the last decade or so is fine.
2 gb of hard drive space will be plenty.
Older computers, netbooks, thumb drives, and any computer with a low tolerance for bloat: I am looking at you.
For systems with less than 256 mb of RAM, see the notes to myself page at the website for install directions. (note as of 13 November 2009: that page is currently a work in progress as i am working on the 9.10 release. do not attempt to use the notes to myself as a how-to guide right now.)
I'll toss in some copypasta from the website here:
The "blue" screenshot attached shows memory and hard drive usage on a fresh install of Masonux on the first boot.* LXDE. LXDE is somewhat of a new kid on the block, but quickly gaining popularity. Here, and here are a few articles on LXDE written by third parties.
* Lightweight. The heaviest part of Masonux is the installer. After it is installed, that 256mb of RAM will be plenty. A fresh install of Masonux uses about 1 gb of hard drive space and 65 mb of RAM at boot.
* Great to build up from. Some people find it easier to build up to exactly what they want than to strip away bloat they don't want. This is great for people that prefer building something to suit their needs over tearing something down to suit their needs.
* Sticks to its roots. Masonux uses unmodified Ubuntu packages and the default software repositories. Except for the desktop environment, Masonux very much is Ubuntu. Things like the Ubuntu "USB Startup Disk Creator" work flawlessly with it.
* Self-reliance. One-man distributions of GNU/Linux pop up all the time. Because I have included the entire development model in the notes to myself, you yourself can recreate exactly what I have done incredibly easily should I fall off the earth tomorrow.
* Easy Networking. The outstanding network applet included Ubuntu does not work by default with LXDE, but it does work with LXDE in Masonux. This single small modification to a single configuration file, which is well documented in the notes to myself, is the only place where I modified a default setting.
The "pink" one shows the default Ubuntu wireless networking in action in LXDE - something that, as far as i know, is completely unique to this project. connecting via command line sucks, so instead of learning how to do it I learned to make nm-applet work in LXDE. This screenshot also shows that LXDE, after about 5 minutes of work, can look quite nice!
There really isn't that much to this project at all -- please see the notes to myself page at the website linked above if you would like to know exactly how this is put together.
What I would like to humbly request from the community:
-Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Technical advice as well.
-Let me know how it runs on your machine! I can test in VM myself, but I only have a few computers laying around that I can actually install it on as the primary operating system.
-If anyone would like to help seed, it would be appreciated.
UPDATES TO FOLLOW
June 18, 2010
The niche once filled by Masonux is no longer a niche, and thus I've decided that Masonux no longer has a need to continue. It's been fun folks, and thank you for your support.
Check out Lubuntu, LXDE Mint, Remastersys LXDE Lite, and Peppermint for some other distros that use LXDE.
Announcement relating to Masonux 10.04:
May 16, 2010
I'm still a college student, for those unaware. One more week of lecture, and then Finals week. Once that is done, my little brother whom I haven't seen in a while is coming out to visit. Once that is done, summer school starts for me... Only taking one class, though.
-Re-evaluate Lubuntu and the Linux Mint LXDE spin, and see if Masonux still needs to even exist. Compare hard drive, ram, and CPU usage on identical virtual machines.
-If it looks to me like Masonux still needs to exist, I'll get to work in earnest as my schedule allows.
If anyone wants to look at the notes from the 9.10 cut and start experimenting with 10.04, please let me know about any quirks you discover and if you were able to find workarounds.
1 December 2009....
I released Masonux 9.10 beta2 today. It has some issues, you can read about them there.
Good news, though:
I updated the Notes to Myself page, so people that want to can now use that as a how-to guide to get a funcitonal LXDE/Ubuntu 9.10 desktop identical to Masonux onto a system with a wired internet connection.
It includes covering how to make your own metapackage so you can remove things listed in the lxde metapackage without putting yourself in a situation wherein 'sudo apt-get autoremove' breaks your system -- this can also work if you want to get rid of some stuff included in ubuntu-desktop without borking your system.
As always, the content of the website aside from the software itself is licenced under the WTFPL.
9.10 Beta1 announcement to follow.
I'm happy to announce the first (and potentially only) Beta of Masonux 9.10.
-I am calling this a beta. That means do not use this in a production environment. I am asking the community to do me the favor of installing it in a VM or on extra non-critical computers and giving me feedback or advice - Especially in terms of hardware support when compared to Ubuntu/Masonux 9.04, and if you find a working solution to 9.10-related regressions, please share them.
-I decided that the "-20090821" method of distinguishing version is a bit... awkward. Now, releases will be numbered as such: "Masonux 9.10.1". I am calling this release "Masonux 9.10 Beta1" in my head. It may or may not be re-released as "Masonux 9.10.1" in the future.
-Masonux has a new look, and a new desktop background thank's to the artistic contribution of a certain ubuntuforums.org community member.
-The .iso does not play nicely with Ubuntu's "USB Startup Disk Creator". It does work with unetbootin.
-The "Install" icon on the desktop seems not to function. Entering "ubiquity" in a terminal works.
-There is currently no power manager aside from LXDE's native "battery monitor" panel applet.
-The current NetworkManager doesn't seem to like to place nicely outside of GNOME. The workaround I used for previous releases no longer works. Wicd, the most popular alternative to NetworkManager is now being used. If anyone here is able to get NetworkManager to work in this release, please let me know how you did so.
-The hardware support regressions present in Ubuntu 9.10 also exist in this release. In the case of my own Dell Mini 9, I'm having connection problems. The wireless card is recognized as "eth1", and seems to get stuck at "Obtaining IP address..."
-I will periodically try a command line install and sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade to see if hardware support of 9.10 improves over time. If it does, a new point-release of Masonux will be released so folks can get that better hardware support OOB. This will be done because I had folks claiming the 9.04 release of Masonux (that came in august) supported hardware out of the box that Ubuntu 9.04 did not support. The only possible reason for this is because Masonux 9.04 came out in August, and thus included four months worth of upstream package updates that Ubuntu 9.04 did not.
-lxmusic is installed by default. There is a very real chance it will not be included in the final release.
-Hard drive and RAM use on my test machine (Dell Mini 9) remain about the same. 1gb and 65mb at first boot.
-Following Ubuntu's lead, empathy has replaced pidgin. Likewise, if Ubuntu where to replace Firefox with Midori - I would replace Firefox with Midori in my release. I have no love or dislike for empathy over pidgin, I am merely following Ubuntu's lead and will likely continue to do so. If you think my decision to follow Ubuntu's lead is mistaken, please share your opinion. If you think pidgin is better than empathy, please direct that part to the Ubuntu developers.
-The default sources.list (for now) looks like this:
you will need to run sudo apt-get update prior to installing additional packages, and if you want to tailor the menu.list to suit your needs you can use this tool to do so. I went with mirrors.us.kernel.org to do my part to lighten the load on Ubuntu's main US servers.Code:deb http://geekconnection.org/remastersys/repository karmic/ deb http://mirrors.us.kernel.org/ubuntu/ karmic main restricted universe multiverse