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Elive 2.1.37 preview

April 19, 2013

It’s been ages since I last took a look at Elive. A development release has just come out so now is a good time to take a peek at it.

Elive is a desktop distro based on Debian, and it uses the Enlightenment window manager. Elive is geared toward providing you with a high quality desktop, with minimal hardware requirements.

Elive 2.1.37 Live Desktop

Elive 2.1.37 Live Desktop

Here’s part of the official description of Elive:

Elive is a complete operating system for your computer. It is the perfect choice for replacing your proprietary, high-cost system. It is built on top of Debian GNU/Linux and customized to meet your needs for a complete operating system while still offering the user eye-candy, with minimal hardware requirements.

Turn your old computer into a high-powered work-station with an Interface that will dazzle anyone who sees it. This is Elive’s goal.

Elive comes with a full suite of applications for either work or leisure. It offers everything from a full Office suite to games and Multimedia. You can enjoy watching movies to making your own. Creating DVD movies with custom menus and theme music can easily be accomplished by using the included real-time non-linear video editor. Elive gives you the ability to make 3D animations, edit and manipulate audio and image files for better quality, effects, or design.
Elive is a very stable system that will continue to run day after day without problems. The Enlightenment desktop is ultra-fast and perfectly stable with no random errors or surprises. There are no viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, or any similar nuisance. Elive is a secure and serious system.

If you aren’t familiar with Enlightenment, here’s some background on that too:

Enlightenment is the flagship and original name bearer for this project. Once it was just a humble window manager for X11 that wanted to do things differently. To do them better, but it has expanded. This can be confusing so when we refer to Enlightenment, we may mean the project as a whole or just the window manager proper. The libraries behind Enlightenment are referred to as EFL collectively, each with a specific name and purpose.

The window manager is a lean, fast, modular and very extensible window manager for X11 and Linux. It is classed as a “desktop shell” providing the things you need to operate your desktop (or laptop), but is not a whole application suite. This covered launching applications, managing their windows and doing other system tasks like suspending, reboots, managing files etc.

Enlightenment and EFL support several platforms, though Linux is the primary platform of choice for our developers, some make efforts to make things work on FreeBSD and other BSD’s, Solaris, MacOS X, Windows (XP, Vista, 7 etc.), Windows CE and more. Compatibility will vary, but most of core EFL support all Linuxes, BSD’s, Solaris and other UNIX-like OS’s. Mac support should work mostly thanks to the X11 support in OS X, and Windows support exists for most of the core libraries (XP, Vista, 7, CE).

Please note that this release is a development version, the installer is not complete so you will not be able to install it. It’s a live distro though, so you can download the ISO and boot into it in a virtual machine or via DVD.

Elive 2.1.37 Installer Error Message

Elive 2.1.37 Installer Error Message

I had no problems running it as a live distro in VirtualBox, but I’d like to see how well the installer works.

I was surprised at how fast applications loaded, despite not having Elive installed. It seems to be quite speedy, even as a live distro. I suspect that this distro will, indeed, work very well for those who are using older hardware.

What’s New in Elive 2.1.37

Here’s a sample of what’s new in this release:

Automatic language and timezone configurations based on your physical location
E17 updated to the new released version with lots of bugfixes
E17 improvings in the automated positioning of windows in the desktop
Suspend ready
Fixed an important bug in the e17 menus
Fixed a bug with Intel cards when the screen is blanking

Elive 2.1.37 Panel

Elive 2.1.37 Panel

Software in Elive 2.1.37

Elive comes with a pretty good selection of software, here’s a sample of what’s included with it.

Torus Trooper

Document Viewer
LibreOffice Draw

Browser of Share
Mail Reader

DVD Encoder
Sound Recorder
XBMC Media Center


Elive 2.1.37 Settings

Elive 2.1.37 Settings

Elive 2.1.37 Boot Menu

Elive 2.1.37 Boot Menu

Final Thoughts About Elive 2.1.37

I’m looking forward to the final release of Elive 2.1.37.

I liked the solid selection of bundled software, and the Enlightenment desktop is a refreshing change from GNOME, KDE, etc. Elive 2.1.37 is definitely worth a look, especially if you’re a distrohopper and you want a change of pace from your usual distros.

Hopefully, we’ll have a final release soon for a full review on Desktop Linux Reviews.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments. For distro reviews, visit Desktop Linux Reviews.

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4 Responses to Elive 2.1.37 preview

  1. Brian Masinick on April 20, 2013 at 5:34 am

    One thing I am wondering about before I download this particular version, since it only runs either Live or in a virtual environment is whether it has enough wireless drivers included to operate a wireless network live. If it does not, for example, have the b43 wireless firmware included, then this particular version would not be useful to me running live; I’d HAVE to use it in a virtual environment on a system that already has wireless firmware included.

    Do you happen to know if the live image has much wireless firmware included, especially NON-FREE firmware, such as the Broadcom b43 firmware driver?

    • Jim Lynch on April 20, 2013 at 6:05 am

      I do not know, Brian. Sorry.

  2. Brian Masinick on April 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Ought to be worth a fresh look; I’ve used Elive before and it can be pretty handy!

    • Jim Lynch on April 19, 2013 at 9:38 pm

      Yeah, it doesn’t get as much press attention as Ubuntu, etc. But it’s certainly worth checking out. It’s kind of a quiet distro in comparison to some of the others.

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