After having some issues with Sourceforge when we originally launched 15.7, we have finally uploaded the latest release to Sourceforge and have updated the links in the original post. But if you are really eager you can find them below:
The latest Beta release of Simplicity Linux 14.4 is now available for download. Simplicity Linux 14.4 is based on Slacko 126.96.36.199 by 01micko from the Puppy Linux community.
Simplicity Linux 14.4 uses LXDE as the Window Manager for Netbook and Desktop Editions, and uses KDE 4.10 as the Window Manager for Simplicity X 14.4. As usual, Netbook is a heavily cut down Linux distro which gives access to a browser, e-mail, and a few local based applications. Netbook is designed for those who want to browse, check their e-mails, and perhaps look at a few photos or watch downloaded movies on their machines, but little else. Desktop is designed for a fuller experience, and as such includes Dropbox, LibreOffice, Skype, and more local applications. X is our experimental release. It is designed to see what else we can do with Linux, with the intention being that features we like will filter down into the stable releases. X should generally work, but should be considered highly experimental, and highly unstable; it is not really designed for day to day use.
So, we have finally released Simplicity Linux 14.1 Beta! You can download the Desktop version here (548.5mb) and the Netbook version here (244.8). For those wanting MD5 sums, they are available on the Sourceforge page by clicking the i icon next to the files. Media and X versions will follow very soon once we’ve finished tweaking them.
One of the big changes we have made this time around is that we have changed the default browser from Firefox to Chromium. This is based on what we have observed from CPU usage. Whilst Chromium may create a new instance per tab, we have noticed that Firefox uses far more CPU resources, which goes against what we are working towards – an efficient Linux distribution.
As per usual for Desktop, you get LibreOffice, Skype, Dropbox, OnLive (for all your gaming needs) and WINE. We have also included Java, which does make the Desktop version a lot heavier than before, but we think that it’s worth the added size.
Another change we have made is not to include VLC or any other media player. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, we think there is a shift in how people use media these days from files being stored on their computers to streaming. With Spotify, Grooveshark, Pandora and Google Music all having web based access, we’re not sure there is any need for a seperate media player. Also, if you want a media player, you can take your pick from the media players in the repositories.
Oh, and 14.1 has fixed the shutdown problems everyone encountered in 13.10! We hope you enjoy using this beta release, which as always is offered for free but with no guarantees that it will work 100% or that it will work at all on your system. Such is the nature of beta software.
So, just had a lovely evening at the Oggcamp party, spending a couple of hours with Phillip Newborough, and his wife and stepdaughter. Obviously I knew Phillip because of Crunchbang, but I’d never spoken to him. Lovely guy and lovely family. It’s one of the reasons I go to Oggcamp. There are giants in the Open Source field there who you can approach and talk to. Try doing that in the Closed Source world with folks from Apple or Microsoft.
But, when I got in I was looking over stats (I’m a geek, I like numbers and pretty, pretty graphs!), and saw that 50% of the downloads from the last 3 days have been Linux users. That is a shift, because almost every release until now, the majority of downloaders have been Windows users. I even wrote a post about it here at the beginning of the year. This time however, 50% of the downloaders are Linux users. So, that must mean a couple of things
1) People using other Linux distros are trying Simplicity and
2) People using Simplicity are staying with Simplicity
For those thinking I am getting big headed, you have me wrong. I’ve never been in this for money or notoriety. I like Open Source. I like Puppy. I just think with a bit of polish, Puppy can look better and be more appealing. The cartoony look and single click didn’t appeal to me. But that is part of the Open Source ethos, if you don’t like something, make it the way you want it to be. I’m just glad that I can call myself an Open Source developer and be a part of this incredible community.
Simplicity 13.10 development is going nicely. We are using Raring Puppy by the Puppy Linux Forums user Pemasu but we are using the version with the 188.8.131.52 kernel. The forum link is here, if you’re interested. However, we’re not using the standard version as our base. Instead, we removed a lot of stuff, and installed LXDE on top of it from the Ubuntu Raring Ringtail repos, then changed the startup scripts to make LXDE start on boot rather than JWM. We also added wbar, because Simplicity 13.7 lacked a dock, and to be honest, we missed using it but we couldn’t get it to work properly in time. But with new repos to use, it’s a piece of cake! So, in case you’re wondering how all of that looks, here is a screenshot!
Click image to see a bigger version
All in all, we’re pretty happy with where our development is going. There is still a lot to be done, but we think that this version of Simplicity Linux could be one of the best we’ve released. The alphas will be released for Simplicity Linux 13.10 and will be available in Obsidian, Netbook, Media and Desktop Editions. Netbook is making a comeback because we’ve decided that Obsidian could be stripped back even further to a minimal window manager, giving a reason to have Netbook as well as Obsidian.
It hasn’t been a week since we released Simplicity 13.7, and Simplicity 13.10 Alpha is already starting to take shape! We’re planning to release Simplicity Alpha 13.10 on 26th August, but for now, we have a screenshot of Simplicity Desktop 13.10.
Click to see a larger image
We think a lot of people are going to be surprised when Desktop launches, because it’s defiantly has a few tricks up it’s sleeve! For a start, there is no browser. For a long time we’ve heard people asking for Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Chromium, Iron, etc. We’re not about bloat, so we’re not going to include every browser people ask for. Instead, we’re using Quickpet, so you can just pick which browser you want. Secondly, Tor is integrated into Simplicity Desktop. It runs on boot silently in the background. If you don’t want to use it, don’t. If you do, just set your SOCKS proxy to 127.0.0.1 and port 9050 and you’re good to go. We’re including this because we know some people are worried about three letter organisations spying on what they do online.
But the biggest surprise you might find is the size. We’re expecting it to get a little bigger (not everything has been added), but right now the pre-alpha is 260.7mb. Including LibreOffice 4.02. And Dropbox. And LXDE.
As we said, it’s not finished. We’ve got to add some eye candy, an online games store, and fix a few bugs. But right now, we think it’s looking really good.
So, unlike other distros (yeah, we’re looking at you Ubuntu), we listen to the community. Sometimes they’re not always vocal. Sometimes they vote with their feet. Or rather their mouse clicks. And we have noticed a massive drop off in downloads since we added advertising to the links for the alpha downloads.
Whilst we’ve made some money (11 cents to be precise) from these adverts, we
1) Don’t think it’s paying off and
2) Would rather have lots of downloads rather than any amount of money
So as of now, the ad sponsored alpha links are gone for good. We might bring them back, as in you can choose to support us, or you can choose not to support us, but either way, you get a choice. Perhaps that is the model we should have gone for in the first place, but hey ho, you live and learn.
The second change is more dramatic. As of now, all Simplicity Linux releases going forward, including the 13.7 Beta and Release editions will contain TOR and Polipo. They will autoboot, and will be running in the background. We could include Vidalia, but we don’t want to. The point is this: if you’re fed up of PRISM, Tempura, and general shenanigans going on with your traffic, you can use TOR to hide yourself a little better. Whilst TOR and Polipo will be running, we will not enable them in Firefox by default. That is your call to make. If you want them, the hostname will be 127.0.0.1 and the port will be 8123. Just pop that into Firefox’s proxy settings, click apply to all connections, then go and be anonymous.
The Simplicity Linux team strongly oppose PRISM and Tempura and any other method of data collection of the general public on a mass scale. This is our way of sticking two fingers up at those who snoop, and protecting our users from being snooped on. Plus, since we dogfood Simplicity Linux, and we like TOR, it makes sense for us to have it right there!
Simplicity Linux doesn’t stay still. For a long, long time we’ve used XFCE (around 2009 I think…). We’ve also used Carolina Linux as a base for a long time and before that, Saluki and WolfPup. We love all these projects, and we think they do amazing work. But we’re moving away from them.
Having played today with LXDE, I really like it. I think when it comes to a simple, easy to understand interface, LXDE beats XFCE hands down. We’ve been playing with it via LXPup. Now, as I said, I love Carolina Linux, and I think it’s a great base for developing a Puppy based OS. But it has limitations. If you want to run Chrome, it’s not going to happen. And I’ve tried regular Slacko, and it didn’t run some other things I wanted it to. But LXPup does. Plus LXPup is tiny, and that is with a lot of stuff we will end up removing.
I’ve been following and trying LXDE for a long time, and it’s never felt complete. Until I tried it today, and for the first time I was happy to use it as a desktop environment.
Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Whilst Simplicity Linux is free, has always been free and will always be free, it’s not free to create it. There are hosting fees, domain name fees, etc. So we are trying a hybrid of something we saw CheckMate do and our own spin on things.
From now on, if you want access to our alphas and betas, you can have them, free as always, it’s just that there will be an advert before the download. Full releases will always be available advert free. It’s just a way of us making a little bit of money to support Simplicity Linux without you, our wonderful users having to do anything or spend anything.
The first bunch of ad supported Alpha images are here:
So, as we get ready to unleash our new alpha releases upon an unsuspecting world, we read today that Windows 8.1 will have new features. These new features include a start button, wallpaper, and you can boot to desktop.
We have all three of those features. We’ve always had all three of those features. Well, okay, Media Edition no longer boots to desktop, but that is something we’re waiting to unveil to you all in a few days (maybe tomorrow?)
Watch this space. 13.7 is probably going to be the best Simplicity Linux we’ve released, and 13.7 Media Edition has blown away our non computer using member of the team. It’s quite special 😉