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"It's our pleasure to announce the immediate release of the fifth stable release of Semplice Linux. Changes? Are there any changes or you just kept drinking? We haven't just spent nights drinking; we changed a lot of things and fixed many nasty bugs. For example, we added UEFI, LVM and encrypted LVM support in our even more awesome installer. So even if the NSA goes to your home, they can't retrieve your important personal data. And you can get easily to your favourite web applications via our new WebKit-based web application viewer, oneslip. By default we include links to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a beautiful Tetris game. Also, you can now further customize the features of your Semplice box. Other changes are listed in the changelog."
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.