Recently I’ve posted an article about the Windows manager and desktop environments that use less resources on Linux and thanks to a comment of Sebastian I’ve discovered Livarp, a lightweight GNU/Linux Distro.
Livarp is a DEBIAN-based distro that tries to take the best part of available Debian GNU/Linux applications without loosing accessibility or design, special attention was paid to the documentation that in a simple page collects all the most important information you need to know on the available software of this distribution and how to configure it.
And if this is not enough you can also visit the the irc freenode chan #livarp, where you can get more help for the installation/configuration.
Livarp can run on a PIII with 128M ram but is better with a PIV and 512M ram, higher configurations are just a bonus.
But before continuing the description of this nice and small Distribution a DISCLAIMER, Livarp is done for people that love the terminal and are not scared by changin a configuration file with it, if you prefer a distribution where you can do everything from the GUI than it’s better to stay with the GNU/Linux distribution preferred by the masses.
Livarp can be installed from its installation CD or from the image done for USB, and it’s available in English and French from the official download page, if you want the English CD you can use the command:
or if you prefer to download the image for USB stick you can use this:
Please note that at the moment of the writing of this article the last stable release was the 0.39, but the 0.40 should be available soon, so verify on the official website if it’s been released before going with these wget.
Once you have downloaded your favorite version burn it on CD or put in on your USB stick and reboot your computer, you should see the following image:
Select the GUI install and you’ll find a pretty standard wizard that will ask you the usual things, such as Language, keyboard layout, user and root password and how to partition the disk, if you are curious or want to see which kind of information you need for the installation you can go on the documentation site where there is a walkthrough of all the installation windows, the complete installation of your system should take something between 5 and 15 minutes.
On your first boot, the post-install script will auto-launch to purge the system from the live* packages, and configure apt with multimedia repositories, to do this the system will ask for the root password that you have just set, after this you are done, Livarp is successfully installed.
Features of Livarp 0.39
This is a short list of the main features that distinguish this small distribution:
- 95% of the software included is open source/free (conky, some firmwares and flashplugin for the last 5%)
- light, fast and stable: livarp is based on Debian Squeeze, one of the most stable distro at the moment.
- anynoob-inside livarp is made for every user that can read and want to discover alternatives window-managers.
- 9 sessions available from live to install: vtwm, dwm, echinuswm, awesomewm, evilwm, pekwm, wmfs, fluxbox and compiz stand-alone.
- livarp-xs-maker, this script transforms your livarp in livarp-xs (mono-session) by removing all unneeded sessions.
- livarp help center, a complete documentation available locally in your distribution including all the on-line docs.
- composite management with xcompmgr and transset-df.
- no graphical session-manager: your session is launched by startx, then a clean zenity dialog window appears to let you choose your session.
- auto-mounting handled by udisks-glue with dzen2 notifications.
- gnome-network-manager for network-management.
Coming soon in Livarp 0.40
Livarp_0.4 will move from the actual 9 to 12 different Windows Manager that the author divided in three main groups:
‘Basic’ : dvtm, dwm, ratpoison and evilwm
‘Config’ : dwm_reloaded, wmfs², spectrwm, pekwm and openbox
‘Graphics’ : vtwm, awesome and fluxbox
Thus, a greater selection to choose from for users who want to test new Windows Manager.
The “clickmes” it’s a new implementation of the post-installation script and a replacement of livarp-xs-at the same time.
The principle of the post-installation is to complete properly the installation while offering a series of optional modification so each user can install the software he prefer,
and here is the problem: what changes and which packages should offer the post-installation script ?
In Debian there is a wide choice of packages, so putting to many choices could lead to a longer post-installation process and deprive the user of the immediate discovery of livarp and this is contrary to the goal of this distribution.
So the solution is to prepare a series of script that will do simply tasks, in version 0.40 there is a folder “clickmes” that contains a series of script called “install-linux-free”, “install-office-light” or “install-unison-backup-software” and so on, hopefully many more will arrive as contributes from the users in the future making this folder rich of many different scripts.
So the user will just have to use a file manager, or terminal, move in that directory and run the scripts that install their favorite software, a bit more “raw” than Ubuntu software center (or equivalent) but easy to setup and use.
Personally I like the the wide variety of choice that we have on GNU/Linux between different software, graphical environments and how to use GNU/Linux in general, this is in my opinion one of his greatest strengths, and not a weakness (can you imagine if there was only Unity ) , add to this that on the laptop that I use at work my WM is Flubox and you understand that my opinion for this project can only be positive, I think that it’s very well maintained and with a great detail to the documentation, that I have not always seen in other projects equally well made, but that left behind this important aspect.
It seems to me also good for all the old computers or if you want to test some of the alternative Windows Manager without having to install them on your computer, you can now finally try Awesome and Ratpoison and see if you’re comfortable with these window managers, rather particular and without having to touch your installation.
So to conclude my best wishes to the author and to all the staff of the project, I always love the minimalist new distributions like this one and I wish him good luck, and for more great images of this distribution check Arpinux’s DeviantArt page