Simplicity X 20.4 Pre-Beta

It’s been a while since I posted last.  Long story short, I was told in January that my entire department *could* be made redundant on March 31st 2020.  Everyone in the department knew that meant that we would, and after a consultation period, I was told two weeks ago that I would indeed be being made redundant.  Fast forward to this week, and I didn’t feel good on Monday, felt really rough on Tuesday and Tuesday lunchtime I self-isolated and left work for the last time.  I felt a little better yesterday, and better still today.

This is what I’ve been working on all day. Simplicity X 20.4 Pre-Beta. It’s rough but most of it works. The idea is to make a version of Simplicity good enough for people to use as a replacement for Windows. X 20.4 has predictive text in apps, Zoom, Redshift (changes the brightness of the screen depending on the time of day), Rhinote sticky notes, LibreOffice, Remmina remote desktop, Joplin task manager, a Pomodoro timer (https://bit.ly/3dpEjnU), RescueTime for limiting apps and sites and Firefox plus a VPN, password manager and ad blocker. There’s still lots to do on it, but I wanted to put this out today.  You can download it from
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/204Beta/X204PreBeta2.iso/download
MD5: c026cefe93f74f4e4c3cc8e0cf00c78d

Since I’m going to be in self-isolation for 2 weeks, expect quite a few releases, because sitting at home watching Netflix isn’t my thing!

Simplicity Linux 20.1 now available for download

We are pleased to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 20.1. It is based on Buster Dog (https://debiandog.github.io/doglinux/zz03busterdog.html) and uses Cinnamon as a Window Manager. We’ve also preinstalled PulseAudio rather than the usual ALSA because it was causing problems with a few modern apps.

Simplicity Linux 20.1 comes in three different editions: Mini, Desktop and Gaming. We usually create an X Edition, which showcases features which may or may not appear in a future version of Simplicity Linux, but we’ve decided to rest this for one release cycle as will be explained later.

Mini is our lightweight Linux distro. It features minimal pre-installed software, instead using cloud based software. It uses Google Chrome as the main portal to software, and has shortcuts to commonly used cloud based software.

Desktop is our more fully featured version of Simplicity Linux. It comes preinstalled with Chrome, LibreOffice, Claws Mail, GIMP, and VLC. More software is available via Synaptic on the dock bar. We’ve also included Catfish to help you find any files on your system.

As mentioned earlier, we usually release an X Edition, a showcase of features we may or may not include in future editions. This time around we began with Blacknut Cloud Gaming, added OBS and then decided that as a one off, rather than creating an X Edition, we would create a Gaming Edition. We have also added the Steam Launcher, which will get the latest version of Steam and install it on first run.

We’ve enjoyed working on Simplicity 20.1, and have been using Mini and Gaming as our daily desktops!

Links to ISOs:
Mini (586.4mb):
MD5: f5236deb345b7fc39d87278c1777bc42 https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/20.1/Mini20-1.iso/download

Desktop (747.4mb):
MD5: 7967a68533cf0df3b8f86d5012a4f5d8 https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/20.1/Desktop20-1.iso/download

Gaming (690mb):
MD5: e2af16702fbfe609a7e0d69e9eaa8c56 https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/20.1/Gaming20-1.iso/download

A little Christmas present!

I made a little bet with myself last night.  If I finished work early, I was going to use the time to fix a couple of nagging issues with a new version of Simplicity that I’ve been working on and release it.  Normally I finish at 5:30pm.  Today I finished at 1pm.

Which is why I am releasing an Alpha of Simplicity Linux Gaming Edition.  It comes with Steam, Vortex Cloud Gaming and OBS.  I’ve been using it a lot lately, and today played Brawlhalla using Proton on this version.  There are still a few issues with it, hence it being released as an Alpha rather than a Beta.

I’m also releasing Simplicity Linux Base 20.1 Alpha.  Base is the version I build on and modify to create the other versions.  However, recently I’ve been using it as my daily desktop and have found that it works pretty well.  So I decided to release it.

You might also notice that I’m using BitBucket to store the ISOs.  I’m not abandoning SourceForge, instead I am trying BitBucket and comparing them.  I thought an Alpha release was a fairly safe way of trying it out and comparing features.

Simplicity Gaming Edition 20.1 Alpha can be downloaded here
Simplicity Base 20.1 Alpha can be downloaded here

Happy Christmas to everyone and I hope you enjoy these releases.

OggCamp 2019

Just a quick announcement that I am going to OggCamp 2019!  I’m not presenting a talk or taking part, but I’ll be around the event as an attendee and if you want to come and say hi, please feel free.  I’ll be at the pre-event party tonight, the event and party on Saturday, the event on Sunday.

Simplicity Linux 19.10 Alpha ISOs are here!

We’re proud to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 19.10. It is based on Stretchdog, which in turn is based on Debian Stretch. As this is an alpha release, none of these images should be considered finished versions, and may contain bugs or issues which won’t be present in the final release. These images should also be considered to be designed for live booting rather than being installed.

All three editions of Simplicity Linux 19.10 feature Ecosia as the default search engine. This is a search engine where revenue from ads is used to plant trees. It is something we have been testing for some time, and we weren’t going to include it in the alpha releases. However, after hearing about the fires in the Amazon Rainforest, we have decided to include Ecosia in each version. It’s our way of trying to help in whatever small way we can.

Simplicity Mini 19.10 Alpha is our cut down version of Simplicity Linux. There are few local applications, instead being replaced by browser based versions of software which are run through Google Chrome. comes with Google Docs, Gmail, Netflix, Vortex Cloud Gaming, Spotify, Mega.nz, Vivaldi browser which opens on boot, Lastpass password manager, DotVPN, uBlock Origin.

Simplicity Desktop 19.19 Alpha is our fully featured release. It comes preloaded with LibreOffice 5, MPV media player, Clementine music player, GIMP which has lots of plugins also preinstalled, and Inkscape. It comes with Chrome which has DotVPN and uBlock origin built in,

Simplicity Linux X 19.10 Alpha is our experimental release. It should not be considered stable and is designed as a test bed for features we may or may not use in future releases. It comes preloaded with Libreoffice 6.2, Simple Screen Recorder, Darktable, Timeshift, Harmony (a streaming music player), Focuswriter, Rambox (condenses messaging and e-mail into one application), Okular, and Sylpheed. It also comes with Google Chrome which has been preloaded with DotVPN, uBlock Origin, and Avast Online Security plugins.

Mini 19.10:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/19.10Alpha/SimplicityMini1910Alpha1.iso/download
MD5: 026d619a804d3f1a58e37f791a5f548f
SHA1: 3a32b95606195062d6bc95222a5b5c5345385882

Desktop 19.10:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/19.10Alpha/Simplicity1910DesktopAlpha1.iso/download
MD5: 091e5143b82acbf51ea4001ac71dfc72
SHA1: 4786e9dd6ae0a54c3dc5d161beec15f13740114d

X 19.10:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/simplicitylinux/files/19.10Alpha/Simplicity1910XAlpha.iso/download
MD5: 7c52df02c114aa47e3fbb53886083ff8
SHA1: ffcbee3562aa5681404e1987a445ca7fdb7511cc

T minus 2 days

We’ve been a bit quiet lately.  As someone commented, life happens.  Life happened again and disrupted our plans.  But now we’re back on track and pleased to announce that on Friday we will be releasing Alpha ISOs of Simplicity Linux 19.10.  X is mostly ready to go, although being X we will always be tinkering with it.  Mini is ready to go as well.  And Desktop has a few issues we’d like to fix before putting an Alpha out.

In addition to this, we’ve gone back to how we used to work – eating our own dog food.  When Simplicity was originally released, it’s what we used as our daily desktop.  It meant that we could find bugs faster and iron out annoying issues.  We ran with the mantra “If it doesn’t work for us, it doesn’t work.”  For various reasons, we stopped doing this and Simplicity suffered for it.  Now I am running a customised version of Simplicity 19.10 X on my machine as my daily desktop.  Is it smooth running?  No.  But it makes me fix those problems because otherwise I can’t do the things I need to do.

The ISOs will be uploaded to Sourceforge on Friday and there will be more details on the releases tomorrow, until then, here are a couple of screenshots of Mini’s new layout.

A fresh start

Long story short, about 2 years ago I burned out from developing Simplicity Linux and decided to take a break.  I meant to only leave the project for 3-6 months but for various reasons I didn’t go back.

During that time, something happened to our host, and our site was replaced with a For Sale sign.  That has now been resolved and at some point during January, a brand new version of Simplicity Linux will be posted.  We’re planning to go back to the same schedule of a release every 3 months, along with an Alpha and Beta in the months between.  At the moment we’re going to support 32-bit and 64-bit, and will have a cut down Light version as well as Desktop which will be fully featured.  We will also continue with our X release which will be an experimental test bed for future features.