Whether you’re a fan of the command line or the novice I recommend you to do a test with INX (INX Is Not X), this is a minimal Linux distribution that has the characteristic of not having any graphical desktop, all the tools and packages provided work in the terminal.
INX is a Live CD currently based on Ubuntu 8.04, a bit old but for the tools it ships and the goal this is enough.
Keep in mind that this distribution is more a proof of concept and a good way for learning some trick from the terminal but is not to be used as standard environment.
Once booted the live you’ll have a menu and choosing the introduction you’ll see that INX works on at least three levels
- Just type letters and numbers from the menus, and have fun
- Do some tutorials, and learn some stuff
- You type most of the commands yourself
On every console (CTRL+ALT + F1/f2 ..) there is a particular Menu/application, you start on the first and you can work there or go in the others:
- F2 = INX Radio, there are some preset station or you can add others from shoutcast (key “s”)
- F3 = Internet menu, from here you can browse the web (with Elinks or links2), read email (mutt or Gmail with elinks), listen to radio (same as F2), connect to an IRC channel (with irssi) or setup your connection (dsl and wifi)
- F4 = It’s the TTY dedicated to tutorials, there are all the basic concepts of LINUX/Unix systems, like process, kill, users and so on; it’s interactive and you can test immediately the lesson.
- F5 = This is dedicated to GNU Screen, i’ve already talked of this small utility that is vital if you work on remote systems, here you can find also a menu to use the office suite (Jed, SC and calcurse)
- F6 = Bash prompt, from here you can give any command, to become root use
Typing menu at any prompt you’ll be presented with INX menu that is another way to call/test programs and functionality of this live distro.
From here you have the same options we have saw in the various TTY and some other options:
- 5 – File access sharing This option is useful to access your local disk, an USB or mount a file system over the net with sshfs
- 7 – Office You’ll be presented with another menu where you can choose which Office program use.
- 8 – tools From here you can install more software and get informations on the Screen, Linux and other useful stuff.
- 9 – Fun Like the name say this is dedicated to games and other entertaining programs, like asciiquarium, Robots find Kitten and other things.
As wrote this is not a distribution you want (or must) to install on your PC, but as Live CD i found it great.
You can use it to teach to people that have no knowledge of the terminal some of the basic concepts, for this the tutorials are really the gem of this live, or to show to people that in their life have only used a Graphical environment some alternatives.
So if you want to show to someone, or learn yourself, something more about the command line of GNU/Linux systems this is a great choice.