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"It's our pleasure to announce the immediate release of the fourth stable release of Semplice Linux. Features: New GTK+ 3 mixer; visual effects; a simple application to remove some resource-hungry features (Bluetooth, printing); new beautiful theme (with a dark variant); Openbox 3.5.0 is the Window Manager used in Semplice; Linux kernel 3.2.41; Chromium web browser 26.0.1410.43 based on the WebKit rendering engine; Exaile 3.3.1 (a music manager and player for GTK+ written in Python) and GNOME MPlayer 1.0.6 (the power of MPlayer combined with a friendly interface); AbiWord 2.9.2 and Gnumeric 1.12.1; Pidgin Internet messenger 2.10.7, a graphical, modular instant messaging client."
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 7
Easy to install, lots of software, and the latest versions of things
Bleeding-edge: if an update breaks, you just get to keep the pieces
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.
The live session starts with a screen to set the language, keyboard, and timezone. Installation is done with the distro’s own, simple tool: Linstaller. There’s no guide, so a beginner would need to read up on partitioning. But then a beginner shouldn’t be using Debian Unstable! Linstaller includes some useful features, like searching for the fastest mirror, but won’t encrypt. There’s a forum in English and Italian, and for documentation you can use the Debian and Openbox wikis.
Openbox comes with with a panel containing a taskbar, notification area, and clock: no menu (obtained by right-clicking) and no pager (obtained by middle-clicking). There are a few configuration tools, but it’s largely managed by editing configuration files.
The programs installed include Chromium, Pidgin, Xchat, Claws-mail, Gnupaint, Abiword, Gnumeric, Exaile, and Gnome-mplayer. Only Gnupaint, Abiword, Gnumeric, and Xchat ran from the CLI without warnings, but everything worked. Codecs, the Flash plugin, and various drivers are supplied: this is not for open-source purists.
If you want a rolling-release, bleeding-edge distro, then Debian Sid is less trouble to set up than Arch and probably more reliable than Sabayon. And with Debian, you’ll never be short of software. If you also like a plain, uncluttered GUI, then Semplice is worth considering.