back to article antiX 23: Anarchic for sure, but 'design by committee' isn't always the best for Linux

The latest release of antiX is Linux how it used to be, in the good way. It's not the friendliest, but it does everything – and, wow, it's fast. The "proudly antifascist" antiX project has released its latest edition, based on Debian 12. This release is codenamed Arditi del Popolo – "the People's Daring Ones" – after a 1920s …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Great. Now I need to download and test yet another distro on my hand-me-down laptop (the one my kids program their microbit/elecrow on).

    It looks intriguing, so this is now on the list of things I will test. Oh, maybe also for my first netbook, which sits quietly in a corner, playing music.

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge

      In the same boat, just getting used to the MX distro recommended a little while back. Never a quiet weekend

    2. keithpeter Silver badge

      Live remaster

      You will find lots to play with.

      As OA says runs like shit off a shovel on a 32bit only core-duo laptop with 3Gb ram. I value the support for i686 (non-PAE kernel by default on that arch).

      AntiX includes tools for customising a live image.... but the documentation is a tad confusing.

      I'm currently stumbling my way through the various howtos to make a live bootable usb from the 'base' graphical image that includes some software installed from debs and some extra software installed from the debian repositories. I'll get there. Anticapitalista does respond on the forums, so I may post an appeal for fraternal support.

      I suppose that AntiX is the natural successor to blag linux - but also a contrast. The blag live images were Fedora based (back around 2009) with a good selection of the basics. AntiX is, as the OA says, the Syndicalist version - composite motions congealed in code for the trade unionists amongst us.

      Icon: As soon as this pub closes...

      1. jonha

        Re: Live remaster

        (I am currently not at home but I'm 99.99% sure that those MX utilities also exist in antiX.)

        You could either use mx-snapshot which will create a full-fledged ISO, with all changes you did and also your home bits and pieces intact if you include the "Preserving accounts (for personal backup)" option. You could then transfer the ISO to a USB stick or similar and presto, you have new system with all your mods.

        Or you could do it in one go with live-usb-maker which also has options to create an encrypted USB stick, again with all changes on the new stick.

        Hey Liam, if you're bored you could do worse than look into those utilities and also the whole way the antiX/MX system supports frugal installs.

        1. keithpeter Silver badge

          Re: Live remaster



          I'll look for mx-snapshot on the antiX image.

          (I also think that a look at live distributions generally could be fruitful).

          1. keithpeter Silver badge

            Re: Live remaster

            antiX basic live image comes with 'iso snapshot' which can be accessed from the Applications | antiX menu.

            Works quite nicely. I'm posting this from a live session using the snapshot iso (dd'ed to a second USB stick).


    3. nautica Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "Great. Now I need to download and test yet another distro on my hand-me-down laptop..."

      Bearing in mind that antiX and MX Linux work very closely with--and are extremely similar to--each other, you might just find the following article very informative--as well as surprisingly entertaining. It concerns itself with how the installation of MX Linux Continuum (MX, v18.3) on an EeePC 1000 resurrected that device, when the author was certain its life was over. The EeePC 1000, by the way, uses an Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz CPU--which most experts charitably agree can only compare, at best, to a 1.2 GHz Celeron M processor.

      You can find the article here.

      “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained”

      ― Walt Disney

  2. steelpillow Silver badge

    The sytemd-free ecology

    There certainly seems to be a growing systemd-free ecology out there. The Devuan developers complain about the number of tools and apps which expect systemd to be there and have to be fooled or hacked to make them run without it. The Devuan build system automates a lot of that, so I wonder how the rest of the ecology copes? Feeding retro-compatibility patches back upstream seems an obvious thing to do, but there is no guarantee the app maintainers will accept the undoing of their previous amputations.

    Liam, one for you to write up, perhaps?

    1. abend0c4 Silver badge

      Re: The sytemd-free ecology

      I thought it was interesting that it's not only free of systemd, it's avoided elogind.

      I'm fairly unbothered about systemd, per se, but I think it would be very useful to have an overview of what it takes to get a Linux system up and running - particularly now there is rather more granular and explicit security - and the different approaches.

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: The sytemd-free ecology

        what it takes to get a Linux system up and running

        then you should try Linux from Scratch. Only for the brave

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: The sytemd-free ecology

      This. Thank you for this level of informational content.

      The constant focus (just) on the OS, to either the detriment or ignoring of the tools and apps that run on top, is the fundamental problem that has held back Linux desktop. And it always will, seeing this - so they've just made another fork of desktop Linux, one that isn't even compatible with all the end-user applications that are out there. And this is a good idea??!

      The whole thing (desktop Linux) is beginning to feel like a group of anti-social people who do things *their* way, regardless of how that might affect others. "Hey, I made a fork! It uses [X/Y/Z], doesn't do [X,Y,Z], and therefore needs you the user to do [A,B,C] even though you may not really want to. Isn't that great?! Use my fork today!!"

      Yes, yes, "choice" and all. But if you've EVER been in retail you learn that the more choices you give people...the LESS they buy, because they just end up confused and therefore indecisive. Too many choices = market confusion, and Average Joe walks away. I've said it before: STOP FORKING DESKTOP LINUX and simply focus on making a few, select distros the absolute *best* they can be. I'll get downvoted but beyond techies the voluminous selections of Linux distros is a turn-off, not a 'benefit'.

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: The sytemd-free ecology

        I think that's a fundamental misunderstanding. Most of these forks are essentially hobbyist (I don't intend that at all disparagingly), and are never going to attract a large user base - nor I suspect, do they expect to. Meanwhile, if someone is seriously thinking, for whatever reason, of getting into Linux, they're surely going to google something like "Best Linux distribution for beginners" - and will find a handful of distros top all the lists (they do - I've just tried that). So they probably end up going with Mint. How is that "confused by choice"? Probably rather less so than buying a car, a guitar, a laptop (and way less so than, say, buying home insurance).

        Meanwhile, the hobbyists fulfil a role in trying out new ideas, contributing back to the developer community, and occasionally gaining wider traction - because they've hit on something which turns out to be useful/attractive to enough other people, or perhaps to some business/industry need. That's pretty much how the major distros got to be major... and hell, Linus Torvalds himself started out as a hobbyist! Indeed, hobbyists tend to be people who, primarily, make stuff for themselves, because they can. And they tend to be highly motivated and rather good at what they do.

        That's simply how Linux works. Do however, feel free to ignore all this and go with the majors - I (mostly) do myself.

        1. pdh

          Re: The sytemd-free ecology

          I just google'd "Best Linux distribution for beginners." The top of the response page is a table of 9 distros, with a tag at the bottom saying "15 more." Many non-enthusiasts will find that to be daunting.

          1. unimaginative

            Re: The sytemd-free ecology

            I get a top 10 list, which I doubt would intimidate anyone who was installing an OS.

            Tge biggest barrier to desktop Linux is you cannot buy machines with the OS preintalled from major retailers - except for Chromebooks which do sell quite well.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Re: The sytemd-free ecology

              Dell sells some of their systems with Ubuntu as an option. They'll even give you a (very small) discount for selecting it instead of Windows.

              1. Inkey

                Re: The sytemd-free ecology

                Stuff the major retailers.... they will follow what custumers want.... when enough folks start asking for nix boxe's they will comply....

                As mentioned else where in this thread dell will sell pre installed linux pc's.....

                I'm supprised no one has mentioned starlight (i may be wrong), but they seem to me like a no brainer and highly configurable... the also have a fanless small factor machine which looks super capable for those lamenting intel retiring their nuc's

                They use open-source firmware and disable the intel mangement engine, uses secure boot, suppply lvfs updates and comes with support, and there's more than enough top distros to choose from including mx


                Ive been wanting one for over a year now.... :(

            2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: The sytemd-free ecology

              Since you mention Chromebooks I'm reminded that most users not only do not care what the OS is, they don't understand how to use it beyond a very simple (sorry for the car analogy) level eg put petrol in and turn key to drive a car. AND why should they?

          2. steelpillow Silver badge

            Re: The sytemd-free ecology

            "Besl Linux distro for beginners", huh?

            So try googling "Best house for first-time buyers", "Best first car", "Best first date", "Best destination for your first holiday", "Best first smartphone" - massively broader choices, but I'll bet that never stopped you. So do tell, why is Linux supposed to be so different?

            1. ianbetteridge

              Re: The sytemd-free ecology

              All of those search terms are big, which means they tend to be full of relatively low-quality content designed to exploit Google's increasing inability to determine what a good answer looks like. Same, of course, for "best Linux for beginners" – although with most of the pages designed for that keyword, at least they'll come to the same (correct) conclusions of "just use Mint or Ubuntu".

          3. JamesTGrant

            Re: The sytemd-free ecology

            Try Googling ‘best car’ or ‘best toaster’..

      2. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: The sytemd-free ecology


        No downvotes from me, just questions.

        Which select distributions?

        How would such a choice be arrived at? - this is free/libre software after all

        What system would you suggest be put in place to prevent forks? Some form of licencing?

        Where do the *.BSDs fit into all of this?

        (Desktop != distribution - beware category errors)

        PS: I'm not sure who has just made another fork (and what that OS fork is of). AntiX, the subject of this article, has been around for a long time and has always (I think) been built on Debian - not a fork exactly - the majority of packages pull from the Debian repositories. The rebuilt packages are the ones that have elogind as a dependency.

        1. t245t Silver badge

          KDE or GNOME hard-depends on systemd?

          > The rebuilt packages are the ones that have elogind as a dependency.

          KDE or GNOME that otherwise hard-depends on systemd.

          Why does KDE or GNOME depend on an init system?

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: KDE or GNOME hard-depends on systemd?

            systemd has absorbed so much of userspace, forcing a One True Way for a bunch of components that used to have multiple alternatives, that dependencies have become inevitable.

          2. Mike_R

            Re: KDE or GNOME hard-depends on systemd?

            Data point:

            Currently running MX-23, no systemd, no SNAP, and GNOME (with gnome-session-flashback, no less)

            HW: HP ProDesk, Intel i5

            Upgraded from MX-21 about a week ago, no problems before and none since

      3. unimaginative

        Re: The sytemd-free ecology

        You are right about too much choice. Well proven.

        I do not understand why you think this or any other fork is incomparible witn end user applications. What applications do you have in mind?

        Forks do have a pupose though. Antix, for example, makes old hardware usable. Saves money and the planet.

        There are a few select distros for the average Joe user with reasonably new hardware, and a few more to revive old hardware. The rest either lack a userbase, or are server distros, or specialist tool.

    3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: The sytemd-free ecology

      [Author here]

      > Liam, one for you to write up, perhaps?

      It's a bit... general. I will see if I can contact the devs of the systemd-free Debians and ask them; that might work.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have a Pentium D 2.8ghz PC with 1GB RAM and this has had the older AntiX version on it for about 9 months now, as it runs well on what would be consider a very low spec PC these days.

    I also have a Dell Wyse thin client with dual core Celeron and 2GB of RAM which runs DietPi, a cut down distro based on Debian 12 which can be installed in less than 4GB of drive space, so ideal for my Thin client which only had 4GB of EMMC flash for the OS. With Dietpi and Kodi installed it makes for a great HD fanless media PC to stream content to or playback via a USB drive.

    And I only paid £12 for it used from Ebay. So way cheaper than any of the current SBC that you can actually buy.

  4. jonha

    > But we can't help but feel that, as its name hints, it's a bit anarchic. It feels designed by committee, where everyone got their choices included. Some judicious pruning and selection would really help buff it to a shine.

    I am not sure I follow. Take the various apt, synaptic, MX Package Installer, aptitude etc choices. Nobody forces you to use any or all of them but if you're used to one of those, it's nice to have it OOTB. The worst they'll do is waste a little disk space and even that can be reclaimed by judicious use of apt, synaptic, MX Package Installer, aptitude etc :-)

    Also, I was used to synaptic but when I saw (and played with) aptitude I was immediately sold (nowadays I do much with simple apt-get commands). Wouldn't have happened if they had only included one or two package managers.

    And if they prune and select... who's to decide what's included and what's left out? I bet that there will then be people who loudly lament the missing aptitude while others groan about synaptic. Etc etc.

    It's not an obvious one, IMO.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    idles at under 200MB of memory in use

    It's a strange thing, but somehow I used to run Linux (redhat, I think, though I did manage to compile (eventually) Gentoo) on a Libretto CT50 with a huge 32MB ram and 2.9G hard disc...

  6. Grunchy Silver badge

    Somehow if you’re going to host your own web page, now you have to install certbot because http is illegal for whatever reason (because unless you register with Let’s Encrypt and the Electronic Freedom Foundation, your site is automatically boycotted by all the latest browsers). But certbot instructions only walk you through their snapd installation. So if you’re running Ubuntu server in a Proxmox container, you can’t install snapd containers because your Linux os is already in a container.

    And it’s like, what’s with all this farging bollshet??

    (There’s another sneakier installation procedure involving a Python script which I believe is disparaged because it doesn’t necessarily program your computer to generate daily system reports to certbot HQ as part of its continuous “update” scheme.)

    1. Ayemooth

      I've found to be a great alternative to Certbot. I tried it out when Certbot updated itself to a version that didn't work on CentOS 6 (because that was out of support, but we needed to keep it running a bit longer while we got stragglers moved off it), and promptly switched our other servers that Certbot still worked fine on.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      That never used to be the case. certbot could always be installed via apt. I only found out they switched to snapd last week when I was spinning up a new web server.

      I didn't have much luck with for some reason, but I was under time pressures so couldn't really investigate why.

      Personally, I feel there is a magpie mindset that has encroached in to Linux. I don't know where it started, I felt that web development was bad for it and continues to do so, so I don't know if it's come from there or what. But the mindset of "the latest is the greatest" and that there is no room for the older more established ways of doing things is infecting Linux and it's not the better for it.

      Probably answered my own ponderings here. It's "techbro" culture isn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        more like "containerised lazy arsehole bro" culture

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off Topic.....well maybe a bit off topic.....

    Quote: "...But you will probably want to break out the hammer and chisel, and sculpt it down into something you find pleasing..."

    Fedora (38) is in widespread use here at Linux Mansions. And I've tried the "sculpt it down" approach. Using a program to check for packages which are not needed: for example:

    $ rpm -q --whatrequires kernel-modules

    Answer this time (and is very often) "no package requires kernel-modules" -- really??

    So....packages which seem to be clearly required are labeled "no package requires <package_name>"!!

    So my "sculpt it down" project has been a complete failure.

    Is something more successful available for Debian and Debian-related distributions?

  8. Sanguma

    very useful with earlier tech

    I made good use of the antiX 19 386 when we were in lockdown in 2020. I was at Mum's, to help her in case anything needed to be done, away from my PC, and with only an aged Pentium laptop, where the original MS Win XP installation had bitrotted off the HD. With antiX 19 I was able to keep in touch with my email and keep up with the news.

    That's what antiX is aimed at, and it's probably the best distro for the job. It's not something you'll find many other distros capable of doing.

  9. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    AntiX, the Linux Distro...

    ...previously known as AntiTwitter?

  10. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    I'll give this one a spin...

    ...on my EeePC netbook. Pretty much all it ever does is run a browser, so all I need is supported WiFi and sound and 2D video acceleration. Mint doe sit reasonably well, something lighter might well be better. Or maybe I should just google for a linux kiosk distro.

    1. chololennon

      Re: I'll give this one a spin...

      > I'll give this one a spin... on my EeePC netbook

      Currently for my EeePC (1000HE) I use Debian 11.7 with Trinity Desktop. It works well with 2 Gb of RAM and a slow mechanic hard disk, but the Internet browsing is terrible (ohhh I still remember those days, 14 years ago, when browsing on that laptop was really nice). I use Pale Moon, but that's not enough, websites nowadays are extremely heavy. For sure I will try antiX 23 on it :-)

    2. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: I'll give this one a spin...

      I have one of those, I installed loads of different linux distros on it. They worked more or less, BUT the absolute best performance I got was with Haiku.

      If all you need is a browser, give it a try.

  11. F.Domestica

    Chose AntiX on my Ancient Acer...

    .. simply because it was the first extremely-lightweight 64-bit distro to mostly be happy on that machine. I agree with the article's observation that it might actually benefit from being a bit more minimal and better organized, but it *is* quite responsive on this 1.8GHz/1GB Celeron 540 box. Even boots fairly fast.

    Known issues: Doesn't sleep or hibernate; I can't close cover without having to reboot. Display doesn't always come up properly on first attempt, but that happened with Windows too. Won't boot with my USB3 PCIe card plugged it; I need to pop that until it's running... but that too may simply be a hardware quirk. And, yes, finding what I'm looking for in its menus can be a bit if a nuisance.

    But Raspbian didn't run on thus machine, and antiX does, and that's good enough for now even though I'm not interested in its "bootable thumb drive" capability or some of its other philosophical underpinnings.

    1. nautica Silver badge

      Re: Chose AntiX on my Ancient Acer...

      "...I agree with the article's observation that it might actually benefit from being a bit more minimal ..."

      The difference between the '-full' (1685 MB) and the '-base' (961 MB) versions is 724 MB. The vast majority of this figure can be accounted for by one application included in the 'full' version--and NOT included in 'base': LibreOffice.

      On a 32-bit older machine, simply use the 'base' version, along with the extremely capable, and very much smaller (< 40 MB, total) word-processor and spreadsheet applications Abiword and Gnumeric.

      Now, you're back to "...a bit more minimal...".

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, is it true that systemd and elogind are CPU bloat?

    The article implies that systems are negatively impacted by systemd. Ignoring for the moment the configurability, ease of use or lackof, overreach, general ethos, and religious arguments, is this true?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. JamesTGrant

      Re: So, is it true that systemd and elogind are CPU bloat?

      Well only sort of.. out-of-the-box there are more compiled binaries running as daemons (writing to binary files which are not human introspect-able which ‘take control’ of config files and processes it itself doesn’t provide.) Also, the Systemd init launches several processes ‘in parallel’ (or at least, without waiting for process to return before kicking off other processes). H/w dependant, you my not want to do that (it’s all configurable of course… and you can turn off a lot of the systemd ‘services’ you don’t want - but it’s very much ‘opt-out’ rather than opt-in, you can strip it right back but I think many folk prefer the ‘start with only the minimum’ approach. Which is (of course) totally understandable and in many cases, necessary.

      Also, (although you didn’t ask for a systemd gripe…) even the Systemd init was unreasonably buggy, even for ‘normal’/basic server use as late at 2016. (Not to mention NetworkManager which was initially terrible - an immediate ‘yum remove’.) It felt at the time that someone who didn’t care about the impact of undertested s/w, was forcing their s/w on the masses, with a view to supplanting very mature s/w just ‘because swapping networks on a laptop is hard’ - even though I have a server and the word ‘Enterprise’ is in the distro name… grrrr.

      Understandable that it was very frustrating at the time

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, is it true that systemd and elogind are CPU bloat?

        Cheers for the reply. I'm not intentionally trolling, but it does seem very windowsesque!

        1. Reaps

          Re: So, is it true that systemd and elogind are CPU bloat?

          poetter twat worked/works? for MS.

          he's trying to kill linux for MS

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proudly antifascist?

    What is "proudly antifascist"?

    Does that mean roaming the streets in black clad gangs with covered faces, beating up everyone they deem fascist, i.e. more right wing than the lib-dems?

    And most of all: what does that have to do with Linux?

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Proudly antifascist?

      "And most of all: what does that have to do with Linux?"


      If you like the technology that antiX is using, you can just go ahead and use it.

      If you don't like the branding, you can just remove it.

      anticapitalista is just exercising his human right of free speech. Remember that he lives in a country that has been governed by a military dictatorship within living memory (just).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Proudly antifascist?

      You're describing the Proud Boys. They are an alt-right terrorist group.

      The people who are against these thugs are not the people FOX tells you they are. Wake up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Proudly antifascist?

        So the Center for Strategic and International Studies is being run by Fox now?

        And The Atlantic apparently:

        And Wikipedia:

        And the BBC:

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Proudly antifascist?

        Just one question:

        if antifa is supposed to be fighting "the good fight", why do they always cover their faces?

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: Proudly antifascist?

          Because they don't want to be doxxed and otherwise targeted by fascists.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Proudly antifascist?

          why are you posting as "anonymous coward"?

          are you a fascist hiding? you seem to be anti-anti-fascist?

  14. 897241021271418289475167044396734464892349863592355648549963125148587659264921474689457046465304467

    "Atom-based Sony Vaio P, and it makes that geriatric sub-netbook feel sprightly."

    It'll be much faster when you upgrade to an SSD! I chose MS Linux for my Sony VAIO P, because Firefox was able to play Youtube videos without stuttery audio (albeit at very low frame rate) ), antiX couldn't. I might try the new version...

    @Liam Proven: BTW I'm replacing the quite thick (3mm) 3M heat-resistant self-adhesive pad, which is holding the mSATA converter in place, with a thinner version, because it sometimes causes issues: the keyboard is pushed up a smidge, and occasionally the drive isn't recognised at boot. I believe the thicker sticky pad is disrupting that miniscule connecting cable's positioning, which was a bodge: It had to be thickened on one side of the miniscule connector using heat resistant Kapton, else it simply fell out - the miniscule cable wouldn't be retained by the miniscule cable clip. Pushing the keyboard down a little compresses the 3mm foam of the sticky pad, after which the drive is detected. Removing that 3M sticky pad isn't going to be easy - they stick like stink! Therefore to avoid damaging the mSATA converter board, I'm going to carefully saw through it using dental floss, then clean off residue using 90% isopropyl alcohol (or whatever works... might need a tiny careful drop of oil first, to dissolve any remaining slightly baked adhesive, and then dissolve the resulting gunge using isopropyl). I've been putting this task off because it's all so damned miniscule in there, but feel ready now that I've bought a huge magnifying glass with integral LED lights from fleabay. I hope there aren't any miniscule screws left over after reassembly...

  15. LybsterRoy Silver badge

    -- it's blisteringly fast --

    I just love this comment. How much faster does it read emails, browse the web or allow a document to be typed - does it make my fingers go faster?

    1. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

      Fast software doesn't make you wait for very long until it's ready to browser the web etc.

    2. robinsonb5

      I've always described it as feeling like you have the computer's full attention.

      It's not just about raw execution speed, either - there's a lot to be said for keeping the UI's footprint as small as possible. The moment Linux gets short enough of RAM that code required for interactivity gets swapped out, you might as well be trying to get a response from a sullen teenager whose nose is buried in its phone for the eighth consecutive hour.

  16. Fido

    My experience with AntiX-19 is that it was one of the few distributions which ran on older 32-bit processors such as the Athlon Thunderbird and Pentium III that lack SSE instructions. Alpine used to run on such systems and was less political, but the last round of updates broke that for me. Does anyone know whether AntiX-23 works on a Pentium III processor?

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      antiX 19 can run on PII, so I'd expect 23 to be similar. From :

      > antiX should run on most computers, ranging from 192MB old PII systems with pre-configured 128MB swap...

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