back to article MX Linux 21.2: Middleweight Debian-based distro is well worth a look

There are so many Debian derivatives out there that a few months ago, we did a roundup that compared some of the leading ones. We mentioned antiX and MX Linux, saying that we planned to come back and give MX a fuller review. The project just put out its second point-release of 2022, which seemed like a good time to do so. …

  1. Zenubi

    Multimedia !

    That menu - Multimedia - takes me right back to the 90's

    (Beavis and Butthead laughing sound)

  2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    "replacing Devuan as our preferred systemd-free distro."

    The sub-head should have had "systemd-free" in it somewhere, as a dog-whistle for those of us who look for such things. Now I gotta try this distro.

    1. Steve Foster

      @Pirate Dave

      Except that if you RTFA, it's not "systemd-free", it's "systemd-installed-but-unused".

      1. Swarthy

        Re: @Pirate Dave


      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: @Pirate Dave

        Same diff. If pid 1 isn't systemd, all is good, right? I mean, all my systems have Emacs installed, but it's also unused...

      3. Solviva

        Re: @Pirate Dave

        systemd-neuter-d maybe

      4. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

        Re: @Pirate Dave

        "*Effectively* systemd-free", then -- as in, the thing is present but you don't have to deal with it. And, as the story makes clear, it's only there so you don't have to deal with its absence. Best of both worlds, it seems to me. (That such a kludge is necessary(ish) is deplorable, but that's the world we live in.)

        I suppose one could say that MX Linux contains systemd the way Salk vaccine contains poliovirus :-)

    2. Robert Grant

      It's not a dog whistle if everyone knows what it means.

  3. sb56637

    SpiralLinux, GeckoLinux, and Btrfs

    Hi there, SpiralLinux and GeckoLinux creator here. It's worth mentioning that if Btrfs isn't desired then it's very easy to select any another filesystem during installation, all the major ones are supported.

  4. tl3

    A Grandma here....

    It professional, (not retired though), tech support for many and a Debian fan for years.

    Intrigued enough by this review to pull out an old MBA and install it.

    Also, loving this series. Incredibly interesting, and saves me OS shopping;)

  5. David1

    Excellent Review

    I recommend you to explore the MX tools more thoroughly: they are amazingly useful.

    My personal favourite allows you to easily create a portable, persistent clone of your

    own tweaked MX operating system on a USB stick: this works when plugged into almost

    any computer capable of booting from USB. And it does not touch the machine's native

    system unless you want it to.

  6. bombastic bob Silver badge

    does not use systemd, but has it installed... ?

    because of NVIDIA drivers?

    NVIDIA - remember what Linus told you few years ago?? (he was NOT saying you are #1 either)


    Oh, and excellent news about NOT using "the cancer known as systemd" for MX

    1. Solviva

      Re: does not use systemd, but has it installed... ?

      Not NVIDIA, it's udev (or systemd-udevd) that many things depend upon.

      Systemd sucked the independent udev into systemd thus making some traces of systemd almost essential for a modern working system. Gentoo forked udev at this stage (called it eudev) and maintain a fully systemd-free udev equivalent.

  7. A.A.Hamilton

    Thanks for this analysis. In the last few months, on my 2008 vintage Thinkpad, I have moved from (previously long-term) Mint XFCE to Zorin OS lite to Linux Lite and now, on the basis of your article, I have just installed MX Linux 21. My impression, after an hour or so of playing, is that this distro meets my needs better than all the previous installations. I am most assuredly not a Linux technical expert, but MX linux installed in a most straight forward way on my dual boot Thinkpad with no glitches apparent so far. Yours was, for me, an excellent recommendation.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Detecting virtualization

    IMO this is absolutely none of the business of the virtualized OS aside from a small handful of niche performance cases. It should be the sole responsibility of the virtualization system to deal with keyboard/mouse capture, video passthough/emulation and so on. Sadly I seem to hold a minority opinion on this.

  9. l8gravely

    Best setup with an NFS home dir?

    So I'm a long long time Unix/Linux guy, and I've got a home server with lots of memory/cpu for my main usage, and a desktop which I feel like I can blow away at need because I mount my home directory to it via NFS. These days this seems like a good idea, especially if you use brtfs anywhere. I've had horrible luck with SUSE servers using this and trying to upgrade. I had to blow one away completely because the snapshots got corrupted and nothing I could do would let me get back to a stable situation.

    But anyway.... what do people with multiple systems at home do for their home directory setup? I like sharing it via NFS, but this doesn't work on a laptop I might take elsehwere. And then I have to remember which apps/settings I need to copy over to get something hopefully workable on the laptop. It's a pain. Been thinking of looking at Unision, but not sure it's the right solution either, since I doubt I want my laptop's files to really overwrite by main server files willy-nilly. Which is why I like NFS, because they're the same files no matter what.

    And of course in $WORK we run Netapp filers and the computes all NFS mount tools/home/data directories. This is something that alot of vendors seem to have gotten away from since this isn't the "lone developer on his laptop" model 95% of all installs are done for. Except in large engineering/compute clusters.

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: Best setup with an NFS home dir?

      It's a laws-of-physics thing: if you want to allow completely disconnected operation (when the "server" is not reachable) then the local copy may change. If the central copy also changes during this time, then you have a split-brain situation.

      Unison doesn't overwrite willy-nilly. If both sides diverge, the divergent files are left as-is until you force a sync in one direction or another.

      Syncthing is more modern and worth trying out: it's very strong on both encryption and NAT-busting. If you make divergent changes, then you'll end up with extra copies of the files with extra characters in the names. There's an android client too.

  10. binary

    MX Linux... Worth a Look

    MX Linux is worth much more than just a look. I've used this distro for a few years now and found out that it's just as good - if not better and more functional - than Windows 11. After using Redhat, SUSE, Fedora, Manjaro, and the not-so-ready-for-prime-time Linux Mint, I think MX Linux should be the choice for Linux users. Ninety nine Linux distros listed below MX Linux, in my opinion, should be tossed in the garbage, but then, what will the Distrowatch maintainers do? :(

  11. Zolko Silver badge

    Thanx Liam

    Nice to see you've been convinced. Time to update my MX 21.1 to 21.2

  12. jgarbo

    Hasta la Visa MX

    Left MX21.2 after it couldn't handle deb zst compression and crashed Flatpak alternatives to my writing app, Manuskript. Stable but outdated Bullseye. Back to Kubu 22.1. Sloppy but works. Miss the MX tools, but how often did I use them...

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