• Follow us

Technology

MX Linux Reinvents Computer Use | Reviews

MX Linux is a blend of mostly old and some new things. The result is an appealing midweight Linux operating system.

The midweight category is a bit unusual. Desktop environments that run well on minimal hardware typically fall into the lightweight category. Lightweight environments like Xfce, LXDE/LXQt, Enlightenment and iceWM often are paired with software applications that do not tax system resources with heavy graphics and animations.

Lightweight Linux distros are good choices to keep aging computers running fast and furious. So-called midweight distros push the resource limits a bit with more full-bodied software and features that place them on the upper edge of lightweight performance.

MX Linux falls into that edgy category. It runs only the Xfce desktop with a few full-service Web browsers, graphics tools and the LibreOffice suite without slowing down system performance.

Besides the solid performance, one of the best selling points for MX Linux is its ease of use. LX Linux requires no learning curve to use the Xfce desktop efficiently. Another key ingredient is a very handy collection of system tools designed specifically for the MX OS.

MX Linux Updater full system upgrade preview screen

MX Linux lets you perform a system upgrade without doing a reinstallation for every new release.

- click image to enlarge -

MX Linux 18.3, released on May 28, is based on Debian 9.9 "Stretch." It features a customized Xfce desktop. This new version, while a minor release, brings updated MX applications and an improved MX user manual.

Family Roots

MX Linux is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution. If you are looking for a server component, you will not find one with this distro. MX Linux started as a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities, hence its "MX" moniker.

MX Linux is not a fork of its roots. Rather, it merged some of the best elements of both antiX and MEPIS to create a better product than either of the parent families. AntiX still runs a variety of lightweight desktop options that include Fluxbox, IceWM, JWM and Xfce.

I started playing around with antiX several years ago when looking for suitable Linux OS to help a local business owner keep his older computers out of the trash heap. In that same time frame, I discovered MX Linux, a variant of antiX that was only several months old. Even then, in its early beta release, MX Linux showed tremendous potential. The MX Linux 18 series today shows not just potential but established execution.

MX offers just the Xfce desktop. It kept its roots as a midweight operating system designed to combine an elegant and efficient desktop with simple configuration, high stability, solid performance and medium-sized footprint on system resources.

Much to Offer

MX Linux draws from the core antiX system and includes work and ideas used by Warren Woodford's long-dormant MEPIS project. Ongoing backports and outside additions to the MX software repository keep components current.

Even if keeping an aging computer productive is not your goal, MX Linux has another very redeeming feature not found in most Linux distros. It is highly portable.

MX Linux is a great option if you need to carry a fully functional Linux operating system in your pocket without lugging around a laptop. That can be a huge convenience if you travel or work at different locations with access to computers. It is easy to install the entire system to a USB stick.

That by itself is not unique. Other Linux distros allow that option to varying degrees. MX Linux, however, took the concept of persistent memory in a live or portable environment that already existed in antiX Linux and expanded the concept. MX Linux also simplifies the process.

Running live sessions of a Linux distro is a handy way to check out a distro's suitability for your computing needs. Normally, however, you cannot save settings or add/remove software in live sessions. That is where persistent memory comes into play.

MX Linux provides three forms of live persistence, including the Puppy Linux style "frugal" installation option. It also offers multiple options with its own built-in tools to burn the ISO to a USB drive with a choice of storage options.

Look and Feel

The Xfce desktop is easy to use but less a thing of beauty. MX Linux's focus is performance and simplicity. It is less concerned with snappy animations and other graphical niceties.

The default desktop view places the taskbar along the left edge of the screen. That might strike you as a configuration found in a GNOME 3 display. Xfce typically is configured with a bottom panel.

MXLinux Xfce desktop

The tweaked Xfce desktop lets you add applets to the panel and launchers to the desktop. It provides full access to a well-populated menu arranged by application categories. Another style menu pops up with a right-click anywhere on the desktop.

- click image to enlarge -

The tweaking tool makes it is easy to place the taskbar any place you want it. You also can tweak several theme settings as well as choose Xfwm compositor or Compton, or none, and then tweak the settings even more.

To move the taskbar, right-click a blank spot on the panel and click Panel > Panel Preferences. Then click the Mode drop-down to select Deskbar, Vertical or Horizontal.

The Xfce desktop controls make this environment one of the most easily configurable desktops. Add the configuration panels MX Linux developers created for an unbeatable desktop you can set up your way.

Not a Clone

Despite MX Linux's origins and some shared antiX core components, MX Linux is not a clone. There are numerous distinctive differences that make each different. Most of those differences are in the OS underpinnings. They are evident in key areas such as the look and feel, and the application software base.

For example, the antiX distro is more lightweight by design. It relies more on command line structure instead of a fully dedicated graphical user interface, or GUI. MX Linux runs a real desktop environment rather than windows tiling managers such as IceWM, Fluxbox and JWM (Joe's Window Manager).

I want to keep the focus on what makes MX Linux 18.3 such a good Linux distro, so I will avoid the temptation to do a major comparison of the MX-came-from-antiX scenario.

MX Minimum Requirements

The Xfce 4.12.3 desktop has been around for a long time. The added system tools built into MX breathe fresh life into an already smart desktop environment.

The relatively low system requirements make MX Linux compatible with a wide range of hardware components. Despite the specialized "midweight status," here is what your computer needs to run MX Linux without a glitch:

a CD/DVD drive (and BIOS capable of booting from that drive), or a live USB (and BIOS capable of booting from USB); a modern i486 Intel or AMD processor; 512 MB of RAM memory; 5 GB free hard drive space; a SoundBlaster, AC97 or HDA-compatible sound card; and for use as a LiveUSB, 4 GB free. What's Inside

MX Linux offers an impressive set of basic traits. Of foremost importance is the kernel status. The kernels are secured against known vulnerabilities. The kernel is updated to 4.19.37. So-called "zombieload" patches are included.

This distro still supports both 32-bit with PAE (non-PAE kernel: antiX) and 64-bit architectures. You can upgrade or downgrade kernels easily with the MX Package Installer.

MXLinux Updater full system upgrade preview screen

MXLinux lets you perform a system upgrade without doing a reinstallation for every new release.

- click image to enlarge -

Included are core antiX systems and automatic enabling of most Broadcom drivers. The release includes UEFI installer (64bit and 32bit), LUKS encrypted root, home, and swap partition options, along with a new Bug Manager for better user experience.

Installed Software includes LibreOffice 6.1 and the Firefox browser as default. The default software covers productivity (Orange Calendar, PDF-Shuffler), graphics (GIMP), communication (Thunderbird, HexChat), multimedia (Clementine, guvcview, SMTube, VLC media player) and a number of tools specific to MX Linux (called MX Tools) that range from a live-USB drive creator to a network assistant, package installer, repository manager and a live ISO snapshot creator.

Speedy Installation

MX Linux uses the installation tool popular in antiX Linux. It is not the most modern-looking installation tool, but it gets the job done with no hassles.

The directions and step-by-step process are easy to follow. You can install MX Linux to a USB drive and boot from it to totally bypass whatever operating system remains on the hard drive. This method gives you a live session with the ability to save all configurations as well as data and software changes directly to the USB drive.

You can do a frugal installation to the hard drive without configuring a dual boot and without messing with the operation of the existing operating system. Boot the computer without the USB stick in place and run your old system. Boot the computer from the USB stick and have MX Linux boot from the hard drive with all configurations, applications and personal data instantly available.

You also have the option of installing MX Linux to the hard drive and using it as the only operating system on the hard drive. Whichever method you select, MX Linux provides even more flexibility through unique installation routines. For instance, the ability to configure a workgroup and to share directories is available without having to install any extra package.

Bottom Line

MX Linux makes transitioning from any desktop operating system simple. It provides a computing platform that is a bit different and very reliable.

MX Linux is a powerful, easy-to-use computing platform that goes beyond lightweight performance without filling your computer with software bloat.

The latest MX Linux 18.3 ISO is a "refresh" release, not a major upgrade. It has all the recent updates, bug fixes and system updates. This distro does not offer rolling releases, however.

You can perform a system upgrade from an existing MX Linux installation when new refresh releases are issued to get all the updates since the original MX-18 version release. There is no need to do a re-installation with each new release.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you'd like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please email your ideas to me, and I'll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column. And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software. Email Jack.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

TechNewsWorld

Dodging Facebook's 'Like' Trap for Small Businesses 2019-06-07 08:00:00Despite complaints about user privacy and the sharing of personal data, Facebook remains the de facto social media powerhouse. It may have started out

Big Data: The Key Focus of a Data 2019-06-06 19:52:58Big data -- a term used with increasing frequency -- refers to the rafts of data that businesses collect on a day-to-day basis, both advertently and i

MX Linux Reinvents Computer Use 2019-06-06 14:36:13MX Linux is a blend of mostly old and some new things, resulting in an appealing midweight Linux OS. The midweight category is a bit unusual. Desktop

Reliving D-Day Through Augmented Reality 2019-06-06 11:23:54The National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, is honoring the exploits and sacrifices of the Greatest Generation in a new augmented reality

YouTube Punishes Homophobic, Racist Pundit Following Internet Furor 2019-06-06 06:10:41YouTube on Wednesday demonetized the account of right-wing commentator Steven Crowder following widespread indignation over its initial response to hi

Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup 2019-06-05 06:11:05Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers' eyes during the keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in

Apple Spotlights Privacy, Big Iron at WWDC 2019-06-04 13:11:15Privacy, a new muscular Mac Pro workstation, and the debut of iPadOS were topline items at Apple's WWDC keynote. During its more than two-hour presen

AMD Slam-Dunks Intel at Computex and It's a 2019-06-03 13:23:30Like a lot of folks, I'm a tad sick of Intel. Last month we learned of its second big security scandal in as many years. Once again, the company not

Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer 2019-06-01 08:00:00When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interfa

Amazon Debuts Echo Show 5: Smaller, Cheaper, More 2019-05-30 12:22:59Amazon has announced the Echo Show 5 and is taking preorders. This third-generation Echo Show is called the "5" because it has a 5.5-inch diagonal d

GitHub Opens New Door to Financial Support for 2019-05-29 13:29:26GitHub has made it easier for open source developers to garner financial support as recipients of paid sponsorships. GitHub Sponsors, launched in beta

Apple's New iPod Gets in Touch With Gamers 2019-05-29 05:35:19Apple has refreshed its iPod touch line of media players with a faster processor, greater storage capacity and improved communications features. The n

PCWorld

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13: Developer beta 2 2019-06-17 13:26:00With over a billion users, iOS is one of the biggest consumer operating systems in the world. Here's how it's going to change your iPhone and iPad t

Save money and batteries with $20 off the 2019-06-17 12:57:00Wireless keyboards are great, but keeping them charged can be a pain. The Logitech K750 wireless light-charging keyboard for Mac eliminates that issue

Newegg is selling the ray tracing-ready Zotac RTX 2019-06-17 09:57:00If you're looking for a new graphics card, you'll want to check out this Newegg deal today: The Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 is on sale for $6

HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 review: A giant, 2019-06-17 06:30:00The HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 is HP’s latest attempt to create the ultimate premium Chromebook. Aimed at corporate users who want something nicer

How to check your graphics card's GPU temperature 2019-06-17 06:03:00How hot is your PC’s graphics card temperature? During normal operations, your GPU temperature shouldn’t matter much—your graphics c

TVision by T-Mobile review: This streaming TV service 2019-06-17 06:00:00If you don’t like making sacrifices in your TV entertainment choices, and it’s available where you live, TVision isn’t a bad deal. B

41 must-see PC games at E3 2019: Watch 2019-06-14 14:36:00E3 2019 is probably the most PC-centric show we’ve seen in years, what with Microsoft announcing Xbox Game Pass for PC and bringing its future f

Huawei delays the launch of its $2,600 folding 2019-06-14 14:11:00Following the near-disastrous roll-out of the Galaxy Fold, Huawei has delayed the launch of the Mate X folding phone, which was due to arrive this mon

Best antivirus for Mac: Protect yourself from malicious 2019-06-14 14:05:00We name the top free and paid Mac antivirus products to root out malicious software and prevent infections.

Blue's high-fidelity foldable microphone for laptops and Macbooks 2019-06-14 11:39:00Most of us probably know Blue microphones for their longtime podcasting and gaming favorite, the Blue Yeti. But the brand has plenty of other options

The Full Nerd ep. 96: 16-core Ryzen, Radeon 2019-06-14 10:45:00In this episode of The Full Nerd, Gordon Mah Ung, Brad Chacos, Alaina Yee, and Adam Patrick Murray dig into AMD’s major

Get 200+ hours of CompTIA certification training for 2019-06-14 10:05:00A myriad of jobs will be eliminated in the coming years. Will automation threaten yours? Ensure your livelihood — and save thousands at the same

FOX News

Apple wants to make Oscar-worthy movies to beef 2019-06-17 12:50:56Apple has Oscar envy.

Google wants next billion users, but has no 2019-06-17 11:09:24Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his company doesn't have plans to launch in China, but that doesn't mean the tech giant wants to ignore its hundreds o

Amazon slams AOC claim for saying it pays 2019-06-17 10:06:59Amazon on Monday fired back at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. after she claimed that the tech giant pays its warehouse workers "starvation wag

Buttigieg fears tech could fuel racially biased credit 2019-06-17 09:33:13Pete Buttigieg fears that artificial intelligence may further fuel racial bias in America's already challenging credit scoring system.

Russia used social media to influence EU citizens' 2019-06-17 09:04:00A report from the European Commission on disinformation has said that Russian sources attempted to influence the recent European elections through soc

Pentagon seeks laser-armed space drones to attack enemy 2019-06-17 08:14:45Laser-armed drones operating in space may soon sense, track, target and ultimately incinerate enemy Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles flying above t

$4 AirPods, robocalls ending, delete car data, and 2019-06-16 06:00:38End annoying robocalls, delete car data and get some real talk on cord-cutting.

20 everyday tasks that nobody does anymore 2019-06-15 06:00:44Daily necessities are vanishing one by one, thanks to new and efficient technology.

7 cool gadgets for summer fun 2019-06-14 16:49:07Summer is already in full force, and that means it’s time to head out to the beach, take a long bike ride, or explore the great outdoors. These

Does Amazon really pay no taxes? Here’s the 2019-06-14 13:21:28Democratic presidential candidates have seized on reports that Amazon.com Inc. paid no 2018 federal taxes as they press for changes in

5G speeds, online prescriptions, creepy car cameras, and 2019-06-09 06:00:08Answering all of your questions about 5G speeds, online prescriptions, those creepy car cameras and much more.

5 ways to protect your child online 2019-06-08 06:00:33The truth is, the internet was never really designed for children. Yes, it’s exciting to connect everyone in the world, to celebrate freedom of

TechCrunch

San Francisco is getting closer to an e-cigarette 2019-06-19 00:48:30San Francisco is getting closer to banning the sale of e-cigarettes in the city in a bid to prevent minors from accessing them—but the new legis

Google will start attributing lyrics in its search 2019-06-18 22:53:43Earlier this week, music lyrics repository Genius accused Google of lifting lyrics and posting them on its search platform. Genius told the Wall Stree

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will launch on June 2019-06-18 20:39:12After a year of teasing out Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Niantic (the company behind Pokémon GO) and WB Games have at long last announced an of

The real risk of Facebook’s Libra coin is 2019-06-18 19:31:11Everyone’s worried about Mark Zuckerberg controlling the next currency, but I’m more concerned about a crypto Cambridge Analytica. Today F

Apple Watch’s own built-in apps can be deleted 2019-06-18 19:19:08Good news for Apple Watch owners who don’t want to clutter up their Watch with unused apps. With the release of the new watchOS 6 operating syst

People familiar with Slack’s upcoming public offering share 2019-06-18 19:05:17Slack, the popular workplace messaging company, is expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday in the second major direct listing in t

This $99 AirPower knockoff is available for order 2019-06-18 17:04:50There are a number of key differences between Apple’s AirPower and lookalike knockoff, AirUnleashed. The most pertinent one, however, is that on

An open letter to Google and Apple: Stop 2019-06-18 17:00:43Take away my toolbox and ask me to be a carpenter. This is what Google and Apple are asking of Iran’s budding entrepreneurship sector by barring

Atlassian’s co-CEO Scott Farquhar will join us at 2019-06-18 16:39:36Few companies have changed the way developers work as profoundly as Atlassian. Its tools like Jira and Confluence are ubiquitous, and over the course

Careteam aims to unite patients and healthcare providers 2019-06-18 16:35:30How best to untangle the Gordian knot that is navigating your own healthcare? It’s a tricky question, and one that seems to have become only mor

For pen testing firm IOActive, security is cultural 2019-06-18 16:26:18IOActive may not be a household name but you almost certainly know its work. The Seattle-headquartered company has been behind some of the most breath

Probably Genetic helps families identify genetic conditions early 2019-06-18 16:22:49Probably Genetic hopes to provide families of children on the autism spectrum with more complete diagnoses.

Electrek

Tesla loses its VP of HR and diversity 2019-06-18 20:58:16 Tesla has lost another top executive today as Felicia May, Vice President of HR and Diversity & Inclusion at Tesla, left the automaker. more&hell

Another setback for utility-regulated EV charging, we need 2019-06-18 16:36:57 Kentucky is now the latest state to find that Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVCSs) are exempt from utility regulation. Had Kentucky’s Pub

Tesla’s biggest bear Jim Chanos becomes biggest hypocrite 2019-06-18 16:30:24 Tesla has many detractors but maybe none bigger than hedge fund manager Jim Chanos who has consistently compared Tesla to a fraud and said that its C

US solar market sees strongest Q1 ever, industry 2019-06-18 14:45:57 The US installed 2.7 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics in the first quarter of 2019, marking the country’s strongest installation numbers ever i

Bosch unveils new 2020 e-bike motors and batteries, 2019-06-18 14:33:54 Bosch’s electric bicycle motors and batteries have been leading the market for years without seeing many significant advancements. Now the comp

Tesla launches new ‘Arcade’ app, produces funny commercial 2019-06-18 14:32:02 After first teasing it at E3 last week, Tesla is now launching its new ‘Arcade’ app and it produced a funny commercial for its new in-car

Anker’s Powerhouse 120000mAh Portable Generator is $350 (Reg. 2019-06-18 13:33:07 Anker’s eBay storefront offers its Powerhouse 400Wh 120000mAh Portable Generator for $349.99 shipped. Discount reflected in-cart.  Re

EVgo announces roaming agreements with ChargePoint, EV Connect 2019-06-18 13:07:35 Charging network EVgo announced today that it has reached roaming agreements with ChargePoint and EV Connect, making it easier for EVgo users to char

Ireland’s climate plan calls for ICE ban, 950,000 2019-06-18 11:48:17 Ireland has released an ambitious new Climate Action Plan that aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, with a goal of putting 950,000 electric ve

The first Tesla Pickup truck is here – 2019-06-18 11:00:23 We are all waiting for an imminent announcement about the unveiling of the Tesla pickup truck later this year, but now a YouTuber has beaten the auto

Eviation’s all-electric Alice airplane coming to US regional 2019-06-18 10:27:11 All-electric aircraft manufacturer Eviation Aircraft has announced its first commercial customer — Cape Air, a Massachusetts-based regiona

Revolt unveils 125cc class electric motorcycle with nearly 2019-06-18 10:24:17 India has set some of the most aggressive two-wheeled electric vehicle adoption legislation in the world. Combined with the country’s high rate


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.