Friday, July 27, 2012

AntiX 12: Most complete lightweight Linux distro I have seen!

Linux never ceases to amaze me - particularly the light-weight distros aimed for low powered PCs! There are so many options and depending on your need and suitability you can pick and choose which one to use. Plus, it brings your old machine back to life without compromising on the security and with the state-of-the-art applications! You can't ever think of that with any other operating system, for sure.

I came across the latest release of AntiX in distrowatch. I have never used AntiX before and thought of trying it in VirtualBox. And surely I am amazed with what I saw.

I downloaded the 694 MB ISO from Sourceforge site. For a light-weight Linux, the ISO seemed a bit bulky initially. The boot up was really fast and I was greeted with a window giving me option of booting with Icewm or Fluxbox. Since both are lightweight desktop managers, I decided to go with Icewm.

From AntiX 12 RC2

From AntiX 12 RC2

From AntiX 12 RC2
Application-wise, AntiX 12 is the richest among the light-weight Linux distros I have seen. A very catchy desktop with a good collection of essential apps like LibreOffice suite, MPaint, Gtkam digital camera browser, Iceweasel, bit-torrent, Dillo, Links 2, Pidgin chat, GParted, MPlayer, webcam (guvcview), GDebi package installer, etc. to name a few. Flash support is out-of-the-box. However, a few of the preferred apps may be missing but you can download them from synaptic package manager. It is based on MEPIS and Debian testing and you can get the advantage of Debian repos with AntiX.

From AntiX 12 RC2
CPU and RAM usage
Before I used AntiX, I thought Puppy uses the lowest RAM/CPU. But, it seems like AntiX is the King here. Fluxbox uses 1% CPU & 65MB RAM whereas with IceWM, 2% & 71 MB, with no other app, except conky, running!

Honestly, I really liked AntiX. If you have a old computer lying, Intel/AMD x-86 compatible, you can try AntiX to check if it works for you. Potentially, it is equipped enough to give the flavor of a fully functional and complete OS! In fact, it is the most complete light-weight OS I have ever used. Kudos to the developers.

A slideshow of the screenshots that I uploaded in Picasa is presented below.


  1. antiX is a great distro. Besides its low resource consumption, it is also very stable. :)

  2. I love antiX and I am waiting for "12" to be finalized so I can download it. Going to put it on a compaq 733mhz, 256mb ram.

    1. AntiX 12 loads with only 60 MB RAM. Definitely the best "ultra" lightweight distro I have seen. Is your wifi working well with Antix 12? I faced some challenges there.

  3. Just installed in a Pentium III 500 mhz with 192 MB ram, so far am impressed. dual booting with Windows XP

    1. Antix will easily on the hardware you mentioned. But I guess, Windows XP will be dead slow on it. Even on my P4 with 1 GB RAM, XP was really slow. It is when I migrated to Linux, I realized the difference in speed.

    2. I have never used a computer that was not more responsive with xp than it was with any linux distro I have tried. And, yes, I am an advocate of Linux, but speed is NOT a reason to use it.

    3. :). Then you haven't used my 10 year old HP 2.4 Ghz Intel P4 PC with 1 GB DDR RAM. XP was pathetically slow on it till I replaced it with first Ubuntu 11.04 followed by Archbang (the present OS). It is dual-boot with XP and Archbang. Now, I guess time to replace XP with one of my favorite Linux distro - Manjaro Openbox!

      Also, I have seen a lot of old computers dragging in WinXP but running like a Core i5 with Linux (specifically Arch).


    4. Anonymous, Try my Emachine EL1200. Any Linux..I repeat ANY Linux will run circle around any Windows. One major reason is disk access. Under Windows the hard drive accesses non-stop for hours at a time and the CPU is pinned at 100%. Under Linux the hard drive stops accessing about 10 seconds after the OS finishes loading and the CPU idles around 12% or less.

      Under Windows opening apps and windows takes forever. Under Linux the drive goes blink-blink and the app is loaded and ready.

      Windows won't play videos without a LOT of audio stutter and frame-dropping. It takes a good 30-60 seconds of disk access for the things to even start. Under Linux they play just fine and start immediately.

      I'd say that Linux is WAY better on this system.

  4. $ inxi -Fxz
    System: Host: Biker Kernel: 3.4.2-antix.2-486-smp i686 (32 bit, gcc: 4.7.0)
    Desktop: IceWM 1.3.7 Distro: antiX-M11-686 Jayaben Desai 01 May 2011
    Machine: Mobo: IBM model: 2628TWU Bios: IBM version: KXET33WW (1.06 ) date: 09/05/2001
    CPU: Single core Pentium III (Coppermine) (-UP-) cache: 256 KB flags: (sse) bmips: 1992.53 clocked at 1000.00 MHz
    Graphics: Card: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Rage Mobility P/M AGP 2x bus-ID: 01:00.0
    X.Org: drivers: ati,mach64 (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) Resolution: 1024x768@87.0hz
    GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on softpipe GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 8.0.3 Direct Rendering: Yes
    Audio: Card: Cirrus Logic CS 4614/22/24/30 [CrystalClear SoundFusion Audio Accelerator] driver: snd_cs46xx bus-ID: 00:05.0
    Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: 1.0.25
    Network: Card-1: 3Com 3c556B CardBus [Tornado] driver: 3c59x port: 2c00 bus-ID: 00:03.0
    IF: eth0 state: down mac:
    Card-2: Ralink RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI driver: rt61pci ver: 2.3.0 bus-ID: 06:00.0
    IF: wlan0 state: up mac:
    Drives: HDD Total Size: 20.0GB (27.5% used) 1: id: /dev/sda model: IC25N020ATCS04 size: 20.0GB
    Partition: ID: / size: 6.4G used: 3.6G (60%) fs: ext4 ID: /home size: 12G used: 5.2G (47%) fs: ext4
    ID: swap-1 size: 0.76GB used: 0.03GB (4%) fs: swap
    Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 55.0C mobo: 45.0C
    Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: 0
    Info: Processes: 103 Uptime: 3:58 Memory: 213.3/501.5MB Runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 4.7.0 Client: Shell inxi: 1.8.17

  5. $ lspci -knn
    00:00.0 Host bridge [0600]: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX Host bridge [8086:7190] (rev 03)
    Kernel driver in use: agpgart-intel
    00:01.0 PCI bridge [0604]: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX/DX - 82443BX/ZX/DX AGP bridge [8086:7191] (rev 03)
    00:02.0 CardBus bridge [0607]: Texas Instruments PCI1450 [104c:ac1b] (rev 03)
    Subsystem: IBM ThinkPad 600X/A21m/T20/T22 [1014:0130]
    Kernel driver in use: yenta_cardbus
    00:02.1 CardBus bridge [0607]: Texas Instruments PCI1450 [104c:ac1b] (rev 03)
    Subsystem: IBM ThinkPad 600X/A21m/T20/T22 [1014:0130]
    Kernel driver in use: yenta_cardbus
    00:03.0 Ethernet controller [0200]: 3Com Corporation 3c556B CardBus [Tornado] [10b7:6056] (rev 20)
    Subsystem: 3Com Corporation Device [10b7:6356]
    Kernel driver in use: 3c59x
    00:03.1 Communication controller [0780]: 3Com Corporation Mini PCI 56k Winmodem [10b7:1007] (rev 20)
    Subsystem: 3Com Corporation Device [10b7:6159]
    00:05.0 Multimedia audio controller [0401]: Cirrus Logic CS 4614/22/24/30 [CrystalClear SoundFusion Audio Accelerator] [1013:6003] (rev 01)
    Subsystem: IBM ThinkPad 600X/A20m [1014:0153]
    Kernel driver in use: snd_cs46xx
    00:07.0 Bridge [0680]: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ISA [8086:7110] (rev 02)
    00:07.1 IDE interface [0101]: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 IDE [8086:7111] (rev 01)
    Kernel driver in use: ata_piix
    00:07.2 USB controller [0c03]: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 USB [8086:7112] (rev 01)
    Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd
    00:07.3 Bridge [0680]: Intel Corporation 82371AB/EB/MB PIIX4 ACPI [8086:7113] (rev 03)
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Rage Mobility P/M AGP 2x [1002:4c4d] (rev 64)
    Subsystem: IBM ThinkPad A20m/A21m [1014:0154]
    02:00.0 USB controller [0c03]: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller [1106:3038] (rev 62)
    Subsystem: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT82xxxxx UHCI USB 1.1 Controller [1106:3038]
    Kernel driver in use: uhci_hcd
    02:00.2 USB controller [0c03]: VIA Technologies, Inc. USB 2.0 [1106:3104] (rev 65)
    Subsystem: VIA Technologies, Inc. USB 2.0 [1106:3104]
    Kernel driver in use: ehci_hcd
    02:00.3 FireWire (IEEE 1394) [0c00]: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT6306/7/8 [Fire II(M)] IEEE 1394 OHCI Controller [1106:3044] (rev 80)
    Kernel driver in use: firewire_ohci
    06:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Ralink corp. RT2561/RT61 802.11g PCI [1814:0301]
    Subsystem: Belkin F5D7010 v6000 Wireless G Notebook Card [1799:701e]
    Kernel driver in use: rt61pci

  6. I really apreciate the work of this author!. Great job man, but, we only talk about using linux for low resource PC or notebook, but, what about using linux in a modern PC like Core I3, I5 or AMD counterpart and testing this distribution.

    I have a Core I3 Toshiba and with Slitaz 4.0 i have very bad experience with multitasking, in fact, i can run a series of application but Chrome turn my notebook with 4 GB on RAM very slow when i open more than 15 windows! and lack my videos, etc, etc...

    I'll try to search wich linux lightweight distribution is stable, even if they are used a lot of apps running with no lag or freezing windows.

    1. Hi Gonzalo, I used Slitaz for sometime but ran out of luck with it. Currently using Linux Mint 13 XFCE - it is fast, responsive, never hangs and I do multitask a lot. It performs surprisingly well on my Asus Eee-PC 1101HA with 1 GB RAM! Plus XFCE, unlike Gnome 3, has a customizable desktop - at times I make it look like Windows 7, at times it looks like a Mac!

  7. Hi, I am new to Linux, I loaded Mint13 XFCE to revive an old laptop Pentium M750/2.5GB RAM (1.x GHz, single core, P3+). I Wiped out previous Win XP, Installation was smooth, had lot of fun customizing desktop and exploring around.

    But CPU usage shown in "built in" Task manager, is very high reaches 100% for long periods,barely can play a slideshow of photos (Gimpviewer?)+ mp3 in banshee(?) + task manager.

    I initially had 512MB RAM, upgraded to 2.5MB, still no luck, what could be going wrong or should I downgrade to "lightweight distros".

    Configuring laptop for home use - Libreoffice, Firefox, Videos from coursera etc, manage family photos with Picasa like lightweight editing, podcasts.

    Tried Puppy, and Antix 12 both thru USB boot, couldn't configure wireless in either and GUI of puppy looks too old fashioned.

    As you can see I have followed your blog quite a bit, a big thanks for your good work, has helped me "boot the windows out".

    1. I guess the main issue is your CPU usage. Single core CPU doesn't work for me with modern Linux distros. I have a 2.4 Ghz single core P4 desktop with 1.5 GB RAM. Even Lubuntu 12.10 become a bit slow on it while multi-tasking. Currently I am using Puppy Precise 5.4 on it and it is blazing fast even with HD videos playing. It takes a bit of time to get used to Puppy but it is worth.

      Hope it helps you!

    2. Thanks Arindam, How do I get wireless to work on Puppy?

    3. Puppy network manager has options for both wlan0 and eth0. Once you click wlan0, it will automatically detect the wifi connections available. Hope it helps.

    4. hi Arindam, i tried the puppy linux and even the precise puppy linux, but gave me wifi problems. in the puppy, i couldn't even get the wifi to work. and on the precise, the wife worked for a couple second and when i close the browser and reopen, no internet connection available.

      now i'm running xubuntu and everything works and even support chinese fonts on webpages; but far from lightweight. :(

      guess i'll try antiX and see. but i couldn't get it to boot from USB.

    5. Not sure why Wifi is not working in Puppy. I use Puppy in one of my old computers and wifi works uninterrupted with Puppy Precise. Please check if AntiX brings you luck! Also, you can please try out Crunchbang Linux/ Peppermint 3 / Lubuntu, all these are actually lighter than Xubuntu.


    6. arindam,i trid to install AntiX, but couldn't get it to boot from USB. :( i followed the instruction, but still wouldn't boot. :( i'm a noob when it comes to linux.. so maybe something I'm not doing right.

      i'm running it on a Atom 330 - 1.6 GHz dual core Intel and so far xubuntu runs quite nicely. lags a bit from time to time, but its acceptable.

      also, want to run linux on my acer aspire one, which is super slow with win7. :(

    7. try running bodhi. i run bodhi on a x40 1.6ghz with 1gb ram with bare profile and it flies. last night i installed puppy slacko and setup dual boot to get myself familiar but bodhi is very easy to use due to ubuntu and debian repositories. i am still trying to figure out how to do command line installs on slacko.

  8. Additionally, once you boot up a Puppy, you'll get the network options. Go for Simple Network Setup and you'll see both eth0 and wlan0 options. Once you click wlan0, wifi will become active and scan the available networks. It takes a bit of time in doing so and is not automatic like a Ubuntu.

  9. dual boot with windows xp, everything works like a charm. using ceni to connect to wlan0, else not detected my wireless card. Feels like running windows 95, but faster and more secure.

    Acer Aspire 4736
    Dual Core t6600
    2gb Ram
    Shared Intel 4500HD
    320gb HDD

  10. Hello! What a amazingly looking website you own! Did you optimize this domain with our own help?

  11. I've discovered a gem. Porteus v2.0. It boots in under 20seonds, shutdown in under 5 seconds and runs lightning fast even on my older hardware. It is fairly complete and the package manager makes any slackware package available with dependency resolution. It is very light weight and one guy even has it running on a Raspberry Pi!

    1. Cool! Great to know. I'll try out Porteus 2.0 pretty soon.

  12. The Macpup os works better with wifi for some reason, and the Enlightenment desktop is really cool, but something to get used to. I run Macpup 5.29 on a HP dv900, because it was a throwaway with the primary hd missing, and I needed a usb live distro with Grub that I could install to a usb. I'm running KDE Mint 14 Nadia and Peppermint Linux on the secondary hd, and my trusty Macpuppy on a usb stick is the only way to get to them! It is a great fork of the Puppy!

  13. mac-pup is the answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Sir,
    My machine dates back to 2006. Its configuration is 2.4GHz intel P4 CPU, 512+256 MB RAM, 845 intel chipset motherboard. Currently windows XP is installed on it. I request you suggest me some lightweight linux distro, apart from antix, which is easy to install and easy to operate.

    1. Please try Crunchbang and once installed, get a docky as well. It gives me a MacOSX like feeling on my P4 2.2 Ghz, 1.5 GB RAM HP PC from 2009. It runs real fast, supports multitasking and is very easy to use. It is one of the best lightweight OS I have used and is very stable.

      Also, you can give a shot to Debian 7 LXDE. It worked perfect on the same machine and again, is very stable.

      Do let me know if you need any help from my side.


  15. Thank you. Definitely I am going to consult you when I install them.

  16. The best I've found for netbook or atom cpus or even for old computers, is Mozillux. The iso is large to download because it is full of ready-to-use softwares, but it is VERY light in RAM, under 120 Mo RAM, and very fast. Mozillux is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with LXDE software, finely tuned. Everything works out of the box, from drivers to games. It"s worth a try !

  17. After waiting a few hours for it to download, I wrote it to my SanDisk 8GB stick, rebooted my other machine, here's the output:
    Welcome to antiX-13.2 Luddite!
    Current bootcodes:
    quiet antiX=MLX
    Scanning usb,cd devices for antiX/linuxfs
    retrying ..........
    Fatal Error
    No usb,cd devices found (DUH!!)
    p=power off

    I mean, DUH, because how would it get this far if it wasn't running off a USB HDD?
    Thanks for nothing, and for wasting my time.
    Going back to Lubuntu LXLE