Here we go again, another Linux distribution has been updated and caught my attention so I’ve decided to take it out for a spin and write about how the ride was. This time, the distribution is called GoblinX and it’s currently occupying position 38 in the DistroWatch top.
GoblinX is a Live CD distribution based on Slackware and its primary goal is to provide a functional and easy to use desktop, yet beautiful and pleasant to use by users with any level of Linux knowledge alike. There are several editions to choose from, depending on your needs:
- The GoblinX Premium - This is the most complete edition of GoblinX, ideal for users that prefer a large number of applications and features. Unfortunately, this edition isn’t available for download as ISO for free. You can either get the Mini edition and create the ISO yourself or PURCHASE the ISO with about 5 bucks if i remember correctly.
- The GoblinX Standard - This edition provides most of the popular applications and features and can be downloaded as ISO from the distributions’s homepage. At the time of this writing, there isn’t a 2.6 final release available, only version 2.6 rc01.
- The GoblinX Mini - This is the edition I’ve used for this post. It’s basically the ’son’ of the Standard edition but only contains the XFCE desktop manager and not as may applications at the Standard edition. It’s indicated for users that want to customize the distribution.
- The GoblinX Micro - This is the smallest edition and only provides a few applications and the Fluxbox desktop environment. It’s suitable for users that like a fast distribution and want to have their own customized GoblinX.
You can download any of these editions from the GoblinX Downloads Page.
GoblinX uses the concept of modular live CD, allowing you to build your own live CD with only the applications and packages you need. The list of available modules can be found HERE and the Mini edition only provide these modules:
- a_Core.mo - The module contains the core of the system, the basic command line applications, and must be included to all livecds editions.
- a_Deflibs.mo - The default libraries used by applications.
- a_X11.mo - The X11 Xorg Server module.
- a_Xfce.mo - The Xfce module includes Xfce Desktop, a lightweight desktop environment.
- a_Defapps.mo - The default applications included to all livecd editions. This module contains Firefox, Abiword, Gnumeric, Xmms and other applications.
Once you burn the ISO to a CD and boot it, you’ll see the boot menu which provides a few boot options to choose from:
After choosing the Text Mode, you’ll see the loading screen, verbose or not:
And the text mode logn screen:
Here, login as root and tpe ‘go’ to start XFCE. And a few desktop screenshots:
The Live CD includes several custom tools written by the GoblinX developer, including:
- Magic Center, which is a control panel-like tool for general system configuration.
- Software Master, which provides tools for managing software.
You can use it as a Live CD but it’s pretty annoying to have to wait for it to read the CD for every action you make and also, there’s the free space available which is basically your RAM and on many systems, that isn’t more than 100-200 MB of space. So if you want to take full advantage of this interesting distribution, my advice is install it to hard disk.
INSTALL TO HARD DRIVE
To do this, you can use the HD Installer, another custom tool written by the developer.
First, you’ll need to create or edit the partitions. Open the terminal and type
# cfdisk /dev/hda
(replace /dev/hda with the device you want to partition).
You will basically need a primary ext3 partition with the boot flag enabled and a swap partition. Here’s a screenshot with what your cfdisk should at least look like:
Now, run HD Installer and select:
Destination: the ext3 partition with boot flag enabled in cfdisk (presuming you have more than one to choose from)
- Completely Format Partition
- Multiuse Mode (3)
and press the ‘Execute’ button.
It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. Next, press ‘OK’ when prompted whether to install LILO and ‘Run’ on the next dialog.
Finally, press ‘Exit’ to complete the installation and reboot the system (don’t forget to remove the LiveCD media from the CD-ROM).
At the login screen, again login as root and type ‘go’ to start XFCE. The first thing you need to do is setup Gslapt. Open Menu / System / Gslapt Package Manager and go to Edit / Preferences. Here, click the Sources tab and remove the last three sources, leaving only the las.ic.unicamp.br source active. Update the database. You are now ready to start installing additional programs.
GoblinX is a distribution that dares to be different and unique. While mostly every time, unique doesn’t equals good, this is not one of these times. It might be a little difficult to get used to this distribution but it surely worths it. At least giving it a try. Enjoy!