Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7
Semplice is based on Debian Unstable (Sid), with the Openbox window manager. The installation disk will fit on a CD and the installed system will run well in 512MB. I tested the 32-bit version.
The live session starts with a screen to set the language, keyboard, and timezone. Installation is done with the distro’s own tool, which is simple but effective. There’s no guide, so a beginner would need to read up on partitioning. There’s a forum in English and Italian, but for documentation you need to use the Debian and Openbox wikis.
Openbox comes with with the Tint panel, containing a taskbar, notification area, and clock: no menu (obtained by right-clicking) and no pager (obtained by middle-clicking, and the taskbar can be reconfigured to show the contents of all desktops). It’s largely managed by editing configuration files, although Obconf can be installed. I got more facilities by replacing Tint with FBpanel, which needed some tinkering: the Debian version has a few bugs. I never discovered how to lauch Openbox’s menu from the keyboard.
The programs installed include Chromium, Pidgin, Xchat, Claws-mail, Gnupaint, Abiword, Gnumeric, Exaile, and Gnome-mplayer. All ran from the CLI without warnings. Media codecs, the Flash plugin, and various drivers are supplied.
If you want a rolling-release, bleeding-edge distro, Debian Sid is less trouble than Arch and more reliable than Sabayon. And with Debian, you’ll never be short of software. If you also like a very plain GUI, then Semplice is worth considering.