Simplicity Linux 13.10 Is Now Available!

We are proud to announce that Simplicity Linux 13.10 is now available for download.  From today you can download Obsidian, Netbook and Desktop.  Media and X will be available in a few days, as we’re still not 100% happy with them.

Simplicity Linux 13.10 is based on Upup by Pemasu which in turn is based on Puppy Linux by Bary Kauler.

Desktop has the biggest change this release cycle.  We have now brought back OnLive to Desktop.  Improvements in WINE and video drivers mean that OnLive works better than it has in the past.  We know it’s not Steam, but with OnLive if you have a decent Internet connection, at least you don’t have to worry about big downloads, you can just get on with gaming.  Desktop also has Dropbox integrated into it, so you can sync your files and get them on any device with a browser.

Obsidian is a bit bigger than Netbook, but Obsidian is still more cut down than Netbook.  We’re not entirely sure what happened!  We have also removed the browser from all releases.  You can now pick your own browser, rather than being imposed with whatever we use.

We’ve enjoyed developing Simplicity 13.10 and we are looking forward to bringing you Simplicity 14.1 Alpha on 25th January!  And if you want to come say hi to us, we will be at OggCamp 13 from tomorrow until Sunday!

Simplicity Linux 13.10 Beta Releases are go!

Simplicity 13.10 Beta releases are now available for download.  As with all beta releases, they’re still not the finished product, but they’re a lot closer to it than the alpha releases.  We wouldn’t recommend you use this as your day to day OS (we do, but we’re used to the bugs!) but you can download it, use unetbootin to install it to a USB key and play with it without affecting your computer.

The biggest change we have made is getting rid of the horrible LXDE menu.  We knew it had problems, so we fixed it using XFCEAppFinder.  Personally, I think it’s better than trawling through menus to find what you’re looking for.  It’s not perfect, but we’re working on the bugs. We’ve also updated the repos for you, so they should be up to date when you boot up.  There are a few other refinements too, especially to the stability of the platform.  We personally ran 13.10 Desktop Beta as our main machine OS for 15 days without a single crash or problem, so that gives you an idea about stability…

For those not familiar with our releases, we will explain quickly.  Obsidian is a really cut down version of Simplicity.  You get virtually nothing with it.  So there is no Flash, no browser, no pre-installed apps.  What you do get is Quickpet which lets you add what you want, a network manager, and a nice looking user interface.  Obsidian is 198mb and you can get it here.

Netbook is our next smallest release.  You get Flash, and a few other apps pre-installed.  But not a lot.  Again it has Quickpet, so you can add in things you want and not bother with things you’re not interested in.  Netbook is 213mb and you can get it here.

Desktop is our full featured release.  You get Dropbox, LibreOffice, VLC, Flash and a whole host of other software.  We have opted not to include a browser, because we know some of you love Chrome, some love Firefox and some of you like Opera.  So we give you the choice about which browser you want.  Desktop is 314mb and you can get it from here.

Finally, for now, there is Media.  Media doesn’t use LXDE as it’s interface like our other releases.  Instead it uses XBMC.  This is because Media is designed for computers where you’re not sat right in front of them.  It’s ideal for lounge PCs or bedroom PCs.  It’s kind of big, weighing in at 384mb, but it does come with a lot of plugins and addons pre-installed.  You can get it from here.

Simplicity Linux 13.10 will have a final release around 25th October 2013.  It might be earlier than this though, because we are going to Oggcamp, and we would quite like to have it out before then, so people can come talk to us about it!

Simplicity Linux 13.10 Alpha releases have arrived!

Simplicity Linux 13.10 Alphas are now available.  Be warned, these releases are buggy, as is the nature of Alpha releases, but they do generally work.  13.10 is based on Raring Puppy by Pemasu.  The forum link for his release is here.  The kernel is, as you might guess, and it is a non PAE kernel, meaning you do not need a machine with PAE to be able to run it.  The window manager is LXDE for all releases except Obsidian which uses Openbox (released tomorrow due to unforseen problems).

As usual, Simplicity Linux 13.10 falls under several catagories:

A stripped down version which comes with very little pre-installed software.  The idea is you get a nice looking light UI, and then a browser and network manager.  If you want more software, just add it from the Puppy Package Manager (and later apt).  You can download Simplicity Netbook 13.10 Alpha here.

Desktop is our big release.  It comes with media players, LibreOffice, and a lot of other software.  Desktop is a full featured Linux distro compared to the cut down versions like Netbook and Obsidian, and less specialised than Media.  It also assumes some familiarity with Linux (you don’t have to be an expert, but having used Linux will help).  You can download Simplicity 13.10 Desktop Alpha here.

Media is designed to be used in lounges or bedrooms or anywhere else you want a nice looking OS to put on your TV.  It is the one we personally use when we’re partying to manage our music (like for our launch parties) and we also use it around our house for watching stuff on YouTube and other places.  You can download Simplicity Media 13.10 Alpha here.

Known Issues:
As we have said, there are bugs.  There are a couple of big ones we know about.

  • Media has a bug where it will try to help you configure your system on startup, but won’t let you select any options.  Pressing ctrl-alt-backspace will force Media to go to the command line.  From there if you type xwin xbmc it will boot into XBMC without asking the setup questions.
  • Subdivision has a bug (okay, we forgot a script or two!) where it won’t load Wbar or Quickpet on boot.  The easiest way for users to fix this is to just go to the menu at the top of the screen and click on run then type lxterminal from there you can type wbar to launch wbar or quickpet to launch quickpet which will give you access to a lot of very useful software.
  • We have been promising apt as a package manager.  We have it working but not as nicely as we would like, so we didn’t include it in this Alpha release.
  • We know the menus in LXDE are ugly as all sin.  We’ve got a fix for that coming in Beta.

Tomorrow is Simplicity Linux 13.10 Alpha Release Day!

We’ve been working hard for the last month or so on Simplicity Linux 13.10, and now you finally get to see the first fruits of our labours.  As always, the alpha images will be rough around the edges, so don’t expect them to be perfectly formed bits of Linux distro just yet.  And since we created those images, more bugs have been fixed.  At the moment we’re on schedule for Obsidian, Desktop, Media and Subdivision to all have Alpha releases out tomorrow.

As yet, at best we’re looking at a Beta release for Simplicity Linux X 13.10.  For those who follow all things Simplicity, you will know that X is our experimental release.  It’s not designed with a use case in mind, it’s designed to be more like an in house version of Simplicity if we were designing it from the ground up, just for us and no-one else.  Last time it was stripped down, but this time we’re loading it up with eye candy.  And that is the reason there is no Alpha – the eye candy isn’t behaving how we want it to!

In the meantime, between now and tomorrow (probably in the afternoon, during the Spa Grand Prix 😉 ) when we upload the Alpha images, here is a screenshot of Simplicity Linux 13.10 Obsidian loaded up with WBar, VLC and Opera (they don’t come pre-installed) running Openbox as its WM.


Simplicity Linux 13.7 Released

We are proud to announce that Simplicity Linux 13.7 is now available.  Obsidian 13.7 is available here.  Desktop 13.7 is available here.  For those new to Simplicity Linux, Obsidian is our extremely cut down version, which contains Firefox, a network manager, LXDE and PCManFM as a file manager.  But very little else.  Simplicity Linux Desktop is our full fat Linux which comes with Skype, the full LibreOffice, Firefox, VLC, and many other pieces of software.

There are many differences between Simplicity Linux 13.4 and Simplicity Linux 13.7.  This is the first version of Simplicity Linux based on LXPup rather than Carolina or Saluki.  We have a new, more back to basics UI.  The Cairo Dock bar has gone, and now we’re using the standard dock from LXDE.  Speaking of LXDE, we are moving from XFCE to LXDE because it is noticeably easier on laptop batteries, but we feel the differences between look and feel are minimal.  As laptop users, we thought that anything which gives you a bit more battery life has to be a good thing!  We have also put more focus on Gslapt as the package manager rather than Puppy Package Manager because we feel Apt based package managers are far better when it comes to dependencies.  We also have a new version of Skype, bringing it up to version 4.2.  VLC has also been updated to version 2.07 and the version of Firefox we ship with is Firefox 22.0, not 18.0 ESR as many other Puppy derivatives ship with.

We hope that you enjoy using it as much as we have enjoyed developing it.  And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask us!


Almost ready for release!

So, hopefully by tonight (or later this afternoon, depending on how nicely TalkTalk are to us!) we will have uploaded Simplicity Linux Obsidian and Desktop 13.7.  You may be wondering why there is no Netbook or Media editions.  Well, we have had issues with XBMC on LXPup which Simplicity is based on.  We’re working on that for 13.10 and we plan to have a 13.10 Media Alpha out in August.  As for Netbook, we’re resting it for at least one release cycle.  Because we think that Obsidian and Netbook are too similar.  If there is demand for it, we’ll bring it back, but at the moment we don’t think they’re different enough to warrant two releases.

Simplicity Linux 13.4 is the release that got us noticed by the wider world.  Simplicity 13.7 hopefully builds on that with the back to basics UI.  And we are planning on implementing a lot of cool stuff in Simplicity 13.10.  But of course, that is a whole 3 months away!

What can you run Simplicity #Linux on?

I’ve seen searches have been performed on Google for what are the minimum specs for Simplicity Linux.  We have a Dell Mini 9 which has an Intel Atom N270 / 1.6ghz processor with 1gb RAM.  We run Simplicity 13.7 Obsidian on that with great results.  It’s fast, stable, and we can do all the online things we need to do on the road.

Then we have a couple of test machines that we run Desktop on.  They 1.73ghz Pentium dual core machines with 1gb RAM.  They run Desktop pretty well.  They’re not the fastest in the world, but they’re enough for browsing, working on a few bits and pieces, etc.  They run a lot cooler than our production machine, and given that it’s been in the mid 20s for a month (give or take a week) this summer in the UK, we’ve been using them.

The production machine uses whatever we’re working on via USB.  It’s a dual core 2.73ghz machine with 4gb RAM.  It handles whatever we throw at it, and it’s used for making Simplicity.  It gets used for movies, powering the launch parties we hold amongst the team, we take it on the road with us to conferences, and many other use cases inbetween!

As for minimum specs, we’re not sure.  We know Desktop runs relatively slowly on the Dell Mini 9, and we know that on our ancient 800mhz machine with 512mb RAM, pretty much nothing but Obsidian runs, and even that struggles because Firefox is just too much for it.  Although Midori does make it barely useable (if you don’t want to watch videos etc).

We hope that helps those looking for specs!  And one other thing – as yet Simplicity doesn’t work on any other processor except x86 or 64 bit machines.  We’re working on a respin for the Raspberry Pi and possibly other architectures, but until then, it’s just regular PCs.  When more architectures are available for use with Simplicity Linux, we’ll let you know; because we want the most people possible to be able to use Simplicity!

Something different from Simplicity Linux – Simplicity X 13.7

This is something we’ve been working on for a while, but haven’t got around to releasing.  The three editions of Simplicity Linux and the Subdivision release have clear goals.  Obsidian is for people who just want to get online and use Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Desktop is for people who want a complete Linux distro with local applications rather than just using Cloud based software.  And Media is for people who have a lounge or bedroom PC and want something fast booting and pretty that can deal with all their media.  And of course Subdivision is to help people make the transition from Windows to Linux without having to be worried about that “scary” Linux tag, whilst using an environment similar to Windows and with Windows compatibility somewhat given via WINE.

But, the team at Simplicity Linux are creative people.  Which led us to Simplicity X.  A version of Simplicity Linux without a goal.  There are no end users targeted.  There is no use case targeted.  It’s an example of “What would happen if we did this…” and then making it happen, and putting that into an ISO.  Hence X, which stands for eXperimental.  Simplicity X 13,7 is available for download here.  The download link uses something that we may or may not use in the future.  We get $7 for every 1000 downloads, and we don’t think that the process is too annoying.  Definitely less annoying than pop up, pop unders or surveys.  And we get money from it, so we think it’s win-win.

Simplicity X 13.7 is tiny.  We stripped everything out.  Absolutely everything we could track down.  Including the browser.  Yup, Simplicity X 13.7 doesn’t even have a browser.  What you do get is choice.  We included the SlickPet software, which allows you to pick software you want installed.  Including a browser.  Because there is no browser, there is no Flash either.  This is how we managed to get a LXDE fronted Puppy Linux with PCManFM as the file manager to weigh in at just 139mb.  You do get Gslapt, so you can install other software you want too.  But Simplicity X 13.7 really is about as bare bones as you are going to get, unless we also removed SlickPet, LXDE, PCManFM and Gslapt too.  And the few wallpapers bundled with it.

This doesn’t mean Simplicity X will always be a tiny release.  As we said, Simplicity X is purely experimental.  If you want to try it, great, but we promise nothing from it.  It could be stable.  It could be unstable.  We have no idea until we finish tinkering with it.  But, you might just find features from Simplicity X become features in the full Simplicity Linux.  Because that is the one thing we want to gain from X, trying out things, seeing if they work, and if they do, how well do they work?

We hope you enjoy it.

Simplicity Linux release date brought forward!

There’s a shocking headline to see from a distro :p  Because of work commitments and the real world being dull and boring, we’re bringing the release date of Simplicity Linux forward to 25th July.  So, you only have to wait 12 short days and the new release versions of Simplicity Obsidian, Desktop and Media will be out.  We have quite a few kinks to work out in Media, but we’re pretty much there with Obsidian and Desktop.  We’re resting Netbook this release because we think it’s very similar to Obsidian, and once you’re using Obsidian, you can put all your favourite cloud based apps in speed dial in Firefox.  Or Chrome if you want to use Chrome!

We are really looking forward to delivering something amazing to you, we hope you all enjoy it as much as the recent buzz around Simplicity suggests you all are!

Subdivision 13.7 released

As promised yesterday, our offshoot distro for Windows users wanting a pain free migration from Windows to Linux has been released as part of the 13.7 release schedule.  And for those who didn’t see yesterday, here is a screenshot of it in action.


It is based on the same underlying OS as Simplicity Linux, but we’ve tweaked the UI a bit to make it feel a bit more like Windows XP and a bit less like Linux.  Plus the program names have been changed slightly on the desktop to make them sound less technical.  We’ve also taken the terminal icon from the desktop but left it in the menu, just in case a user wants to use it.

You get WINE, Skype, VLC, the full LibreOffice suite, and Firefox preinstalled, plus the gslapt package manager so anything you want, you can install.  We deliberately did not include an anti-virus because we feel it’s not something you need in Linux as standard, and perhaps Windows users might feel more comfortable knowing they don’t need one when they use Linux.

You can download the image here.