Thought Void linux would become my daily driver. Pleasantly surprised it didn’t

Forum Forums General Other Distros Thought Void linux would become my daily driver. Pleasantly surprised it didn’t

  • This topic has 11 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated May 20-10:09 am by storm-crow.
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  • #142499
    Member
    storm-crow

      Hey everyone,

      Started using antiX 22 as my first real linux distro about 6 months ago (other than RPi OS when my main computer died). Bought a 2013 Thinkpad T440s for about 150USD and wiped it immediately. Recently, I’ve been messing around with Void Linux because it was showing up in some /r/unixporn customizations, and I wanted to keep using a lightweight distro (and not Arch because I didn’t want to be both elitist and still using systemd). I thought I would end up moving over entirely, but after a month or two, Im pleasantly surprised that I haven’t moved away from antiX for daily use. The main reason I’ve stayed is because of how nice backups and restoration is on antiX. I have borked my OS several times, with trying to switch from init to runit, to accidentally wiping my hard drive at 3am with gparted, to accidentally downloading newer versions of glibc from unstable repos. Ive been able to fix it every time by either restoring an .iso I’ve made in the last month, or by digging through a fresh iso and transferring a few necessary system files (mainly init scripts) from a fresh iso to my machine. With Void, the live isos cant even be used with persistence unless you fully reinstall them on the flash drive, and void-installer isnt even available in the repos, meaning once things have been installed on a drive, you cant easily reinstall it without using dd. that being said, there are some pros/cons and design choices of both that i think are worth appreciating.

      AntiX, at its worst, is ugly and old fashioned. It looks like windows 95, and being a debian derivative, there isn’t as much room to experiment with the newest cutting edge thing in the linux community. I dont hate the windows 95 of it – it works, I know where things are, and its easy to deal with, but I’ve seen some people poopoo it because of this main reason. Everything works and is stable out of the box, and the real magic of the distro seems to be a lot of scripts for instant configuration. daemons are on by default, autoloading to a half decent menu makes icewm usable (tried it on void, before I realized id have to rewrite the icewm config just so i wouldn’t have to dig for a terminal), and a bunch of well written menus for editing configs make it a lot easier to deal with without living in the terminal. Hell, the antix CLI is included in the base iso. None of this is particularly magical code (other than maybe some stuff with installer/live iso persistence), but it works to make user experience smooth, if a little dated.

      Void, on the other hand, seems built for stability on cutting edge. It isnt even really supposed to be a lightweight distro, but by using runit and a lot of suckless tools and philosophy (a lot of the void devs also work on the suckless projects), it runs fast and light.Ive been using it to mess around with wayland builds, and having access to all the fanciest new toys has been nice. Im terrified of breaking my machine because I havent figured out a nice backup system, but I havent managed to break it as catastrophically as i have antiX (though i havent tried). XBPS is really as fantastic as people say, but there are some design choices. Github as a repo for source code feels modern and accessible to computer enthusiasts- I dont love having my linux distro platformed by Microsoft, but in 2024, that’s where people go for open source code. Gatekeeping propietary software as “restricted” in the source repo and requiring an understanding of github to find it is a surprisingly good way of ensuring that proprietary software is available, but isnt going to be used to spin things off into a newly available iso focused on closed source, commercial software. Discord, Spotify, and all the Jetbrains IDEs are available, but you have to clone into the source code repo, enable the restricted packages, figure out how to grep through the source for restricted packages to figure out that they are available. (Void says these packages are subject to be removed at any time for any reason as well). I really dont love how void-installer isnt available in the repo, but if this is how they avoid people building frankenVoids and distributing them, I sort of get it (though i still hate that I cant modify my iso with persistence and then install it on another device).

      The community surrounding antiX seems to be slightly better, but part of that might be the size & the fact that we have a (once again, dated) BBS forum on the website instead of being focused on Github/Discord/Reddit. People here are a little friendlier, and Im not reading through random github pull requests for fights between Devs. The main dev for Void had to step away because of family stuff and was getting a little combative on reddit and github before that, and while thats perfectly understandable, I didnt need to know that. the community can also be a little RTFM, though thats not surprising considering the distro is aimed at “advanced linux users” and academics, rather than people with 20 year old machines who just need them to work. With a bigger userbase on Github, there are also more projects for void-hyprland has build scripts for xbps-src even though they arent in the repos, and the .deb to xbps-src converter is nice. On the other hand, the explicitly anti-fascist values of antiX do a lot to make sure the community remains relatively non-toxic. All the drama about the hyprland dev being transphobic and the discord being a bit of a boys club full of trolls seems worlds away from our cute little slice of friendly left leaning computer enthusiasts (who, unlike some linux users, seem to realize that free software is far from the biggest concern when it comes to democracy). As a trans woman with a background in social science, rather than a tech bro, this makes a pretty big difference.

      Overall, antiX seems to work as a lightweight distro because it’s quick and dirty, whereas Void seems to be lightweight as a result of being perfectly engineered. If Void had a half decent iso maker and I could use void-installer for restoring backups (the closest thing ive found is just using dd for both), Id probably end up switching over to Void as a daily driver. For now, I’m actually pleasantly surprised that the non-academic, non-commercial, quick and dirty distribution still ends up being nicer to use.

      #142503
      Member
      abc-nix

        The “antiX Magic” is what brought me to antiX. Having a Linux OS run fast and efficiently from a USB drive sold me. I spent half a year booting from the live USB with persistence, most of the time ignoring the installed OSs on my laptop, until I made the full migration and installed on disk. Based on Debian made it an easy transition, as I can build Debian packages for antiX from other sources, so that is also a plus.

        I used Void for less than a month, so I cannot talk about the project as a whole. I do agree navigating the Github sources is difficult. It is best to know the exact package name to find the source and get whatever you need from them. I still use it to adapt some runit services from the ones already created for Void, so their existence is also a win for me.

        As you say, being a small community has its advantages. The thing I enjoy the most here in the forum is that we try to helpful (if the post isn’t a rehash of a question asked recently) and we avoid the “troll behavior” I see in other communities. They appear here from time to time, but if you don’t feed them, they go elsewhere, so it is best to ignore them.

        Thanks for narrating your experience with antiX and Void.

        #142511
        Member
        Xunzi_23

          Hi storm-crow. out of the fresh download antiX is pretty plain and very much undersells itself.
          On ICEWM customizing and remastering is so easy that many users just take antiX as a basis and have
          made own spins.

          Debian stable is more about stability than cutting edge, if you want that sid is the way to go
          and just as stable as many other distros. As always have a recent backup just in case. The antiX
          tool allows you to make an ISO of your system with ease, if running live you can clone the stick

          like abc-nix I run antiX for live for months at a timeas well as carrying it as a rescue and repair
          customized install setup.

          Addition: I very rarely use a menu, starters on a self hiding toolbar, most used middle to least used far left.
          Claws for Email auto starts and collects mail it is on desktop 2 of 6. Other applications open on a specified desktop with
          position and size pre determined. A few Applications resist that :-).
          Theme is one from BobC which maximizes usable space on the desktop.

          I just manually setup conky and ICEWM. I want to understand how things work as that way any odd issues are easier to fix.
          Glad you are enjoying the experience and forum.

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Xunzi_23.
          #142514
          Member
          PPC

            If your main complain about antiX is it’s “Windows 95 looks” you have 2 available options:

            1- Assuming you are running the default desktop (zzz-icewm, or any icewm desktop) – run IceWM Control Centre – it allows you to personalize both the toolbar and the menu.
            In my case, I make it so that the taskbar just shows icons for the open windows (and not icons and the tile of the window); I just leave 2 information squares on the system tray (CPU/RAM/SWAP and the current Network usage)- that alone makes the toolbar look a bit more according to the modern toolbar standards
            You can also personalize the menu, hide the entries you do not want to see, to make it more streamlined. You can disable the “Personal Menu” and/or place the “Personal” entries directly on the first layer of the menu. The most recent version of IceWM Control Centre does also allow displaying the application categories directly on the first layer of the menu (if it’s not in the repository, it will be very soon, sorry, I haven’t checked recently)- you basically get a very similar menu to something like KDE uses- so modern looking toolbar, modern looking menu. In antiX’s git, we have available “antiX Conky Manager” a script that allows you to manage conky and also switch to a more modern looking conky configuration, more similar to the desktop applets you get on some modern OSes.
            Nothing that I described here uses any extra system resources, but can change dramatically the way antiX looks and even it’s usability.

            EDIT: I just checked – the repository already provides the latest version of the IceWM Control Centre (that just has 3 strings that require translation, other than that is perfectly localized- this information is only relevant if your antiX is in another language other than English). You not only can toggle on/off displaying the App categories on the first layer of the menu, but you also have a brand new entry that allows to show/hide menu entries (i.e. change the status of the .desktop file of any application so it’s entry is shown or hidden on antiX’s menu – in fact I toyed with adding that entry, so I’m glad it’s there now, finally). Considering how light antiX is, antiX Control Centre + IceWM Control Centre gives so many options that there’s almost nothing, on the IceWM desktop, that you can’t configure via a (simple to use) GUI.

            2- install and enable FT10 antiX transformation pack (it’s the package ft10-transformation) that installs and configures a tint2 toolbar that uses a jgmenu. The current testing version, available in the forum does allow for 3 different kinds of menu, that you can select according to your taste.

            P.

            • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by PPC.
            • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by PPC.
            #142542
            Member
            punranger

              Some of us very much enjoy the “Win95”-ness. I like the fact that everything works out of the box. I like the somewhat stern appearance. I hate spending time customizing everything. (But it’s great that you can.) The main improvement of recent antiX versions has been the change to zzz default.

              antiX linux: The best way to revive an old computer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCTaUAP6sSg

              #142549
              Member
              PPC

                I hate spending time customizing everything.

                I’m laughing, because so do I… yet I spend lots of time creating GUI’s so anyone can customize antiX as much as possible, how strange is that? To me, it makes no sense at all something like:
                Q: How do I put the toolbar on the top of the screen?
                A: That’s as easy as it can get: manually edit the toolbar configuration file and change this setting… to this value…
                I’m well aware that, for 99% of human on Earth, even clicking buttons to customize anything already seems like a job for Tech Support, so, for them “manually edit…” is the same thing as telling them: “Sorry, that’s too hard for you, just use another OS”.

                I just commented on how to change antiX’s default looks because that was one of the OP’s complaints. Mostly I like the way antiX looks. I like it even more after “spending a little time” (some 2 minutes or so?) customizing everything (hum… after spending days creating the GUIs that allow me to do that 🙁 ).
                And yes, I agree with one of the main “recent improvements” concerning the User Interface is using zzzFM as default File Manager, with all the recent changes (bookmarks, recent files, trash can, etc). Some users like rox. Most users (including me, find it too strange to use as daily driver- with one single exception – it’s devilishly easy to drag and drop .desktop files to the desktop, to add application icons!)

                P.

                #142550
                Moderator
                Brian Masinick

                  Please allow me to give my “take” on this because it’s probably radically different than most people, simply because I know what I want and I know how to get “it”.

                  1) antiX provides one of the simplest ways to get a configurable system, and it even provides multiple starting points.

                  Net is the most configurable of all; it hardly has anything present except for an network image that will respond; being “Net”, it requires a physical network connection, from which you decide what you do or do not want to install. It’s not usable for anything else other than providing a physical network presence, from which you install every other aspect (and package) for what you need.

                  Core is a similar idea, but it starts with an operating system image and enough core components to provide a bootable physical system and core system utilities, from which the name Core was chosen. The current generation of Core images provide “no gui environment, but should support most wireless.”
                  They are “Suitable for confident/comfortable users who want to build up from a minimal install”

                  Base provides “4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm.” It is
                  “Suitable for those who want to customise what to install.”

                  Finally, Full provides “4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm plus full libreoffice suite.” It is
                  “Suitable for most users. Lots of applications pre-installed and has the best hardware support.”

                  These descriptions were obtained from the page https://antixlinux.com/download/

                  2) For me, what I like about antiX is that it provides a lot of tools for me, regardless of which starting point I use. Back when I had my own router, which provided multiple wired access points plus wireless access, I’d often start with Core because I could build precisely what I want; had Net been available when I had wired network access, I may have used it as a starting point because I was quite familiar with a similar method Debian uses/used, called “netinst”; you boot the system, and using the wired network, you choose a network access point containing the software you wish you install to create a bootable system; from there, you install whatever you want; Core provides a bit more, especially the current generation; it provides a wireless network and core system utilities so it is a practical starting point. The two reasons I haven’t used Net or Core much recently is that Net requires a wired network and both Net and Core boot with Version 5 kernels; my older systems can use Version 5 kernels; my newest system requires a Version 6 kernel; same with Base; otherwise I’d probably start there for most of my systems.

                  Nevertheless, even Full is a reasonable starting point; I can easily get rid of the applications I do not want, either by removing them with apt purge commands or by using the convenient Package Installer tool; typically on my newer systems I reduce the apps I do not need by removing them with Package Installer, then further customize my own appearance and private tool and application collection, after which I generally perform an ISO Snapshot followed by Live USB Maker to build my own custom Snapshot; I repeat this as often as I want to create dual function removable Live Images that can also function as installation images and backup images.

                  On my newest system the method I use to maintain my update and backup strategy, once installed and configured is to perform the activities mentioned immediately above.

                  --
                  Brian Masinick

                  #142561
                  Member
                  storm-crow

                    I just commented on how to change antiX’s default looks because that was one of the OP’s complaints. Mostly I like the way antiX looks. I like it even more after “spending a little time” (some 2 minutes or so?) customizing everything (hum… after spending days creating the GUIs that allow me to do that 🙁 ).
                    And yes, I agree with one of the main “recent improvements” concerning the User Interface is using zzzFM as default File Manager, with all the recent changes (bookmarks, recent files, trash can, etc). Some users like rox. Most users (including me, find it too strange to use as daily driver- with one single exception – it’s devilishly easy to drag and drop .desktop files to the desktop, to add application icons!)

                    I dont actually hate the way antiX looks, but the first thing I did after installing was start writing my own iceWM theme (I like true black for dark themes, so i modified one of the preinstalled themes and made a fun new start button). I was curious about what other lightweight distro users thought about it, and I saw some blog comparing it to tinypuppy, void, alpine, etc and their only complaint was the ‘Dated’ look of things. iceWM’s customization options are pretty decent, but Im happy to use it simply because of how lightweight it is. i like keeping my cpu usage under 3% unless I’m streaming video or running some compression algorithm or something. wanted to try it on void, but it would have taken a lot more customization without the antix menus/control center.

                    zzzFM is fantastic. I’m shocked at how much nicer it is than Thunar. being able to mount/unmount disks as root without opening a new window, being able to save a few simple commands- I keep trying to do these things in Thunar on XFCE Void and im disappointed I cant just click a button to run du -h | sort -h without opening a shell.

                    2) For me, what I like about antiX is that it provides a lot of tools for me, regardless of which starting point I use. Back when I had my own router, which provided multiple wired access points plus wireless access, I’d often start with Core because I could build precisely what I want; had Net been available when I had wired network access, I may have used it as a starting point because I was quite familiar with a similar method Debian uses/used, called “netinst”; you boot the system, and using the wired network, you choose a network access point containing the software you wish you install to create a bootable system; from there, you install whatever you want; Core provides a bit more, especially the current generation; it provides a wireless network and core system utilities so it is a practical starting point. The two reasons I haven’t used Net or Core much recently is that Net requires a wired network and both Net and Core boot with Version 5 kernels; my older systems can use Version 5 kernels; my newest system requires a Version 6 kernel; same with Base; otherwise I’d probably start there for most of my systems.

                    Nevertheless, even Full is a reasonable starting point; I can easily get rid of the applications I do not want, either by removing them with apt purge commands or by using the convenient Package Installer tool; typically on my newer systems I reduce the apps I do not need by removing them with Package Installer, then further customize my own appearance and private tool and application collection, after which I generally perform an ISO Snapshot followed by Live USB Maker to build my own custom Snapshot; I repeat this as often as I want to create dual function removable Live Images that can also function as installation images and backup images.

                    I made the mistake of trying to install void’s base is the first time I tried it. Gave up after i realized I didn’t have access to a wired connection, and didn’t want to deal with wpa_supplicant in order to start downloading packages. With antiX core, I can deal with wifi from the command line/ncurses. I haven’t tried building an antiX image from base (no ethernet) but I might try on a VM out of curiosity. Unlike with Void, its pretty easy to build a nice system in a VM, create an iso, load said iso on a usb, and then replace my whole system with it. might try that so i can migrate my laptop from init to runit smoothly – I installed antiX-runit on my beat up Huawei (“it used to be a laptop”) to rescue all my old stuff from windows 10 and adware, and I’ve found runit to be a little smoother. Every so often, connman disconnects from dbus on init, and switching from init to runit might fix that.

                    antiX has also just been really educational for Linux – I get how an operating system and init system work, and I dont think id have been able to figure out how to use Void if not for an OS that autoconfigures things real nicely and gives GTK apps for most shell commands. Breaking my system is great for learning, but that doesn’t mean I cant quickly restore my system to check work emails an hour later.

                    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by storm-crow.
                    #142578
                    Moderator
                    Brian Masinick

                      @storm-crow I like your idea of putting a system together in a VM, then when you like what you have, create an ISO image and then you can run that ISO image LIVE from a Flash Drive, load it into a VM, or install it onto a physical drive.

                      What I most often do is write a new ISO image to a Flash Drive any time a new release or an interesting spin becomes available, then I try out that version directly from the Flash Drive. Usually I like it; in cases where I don’t, I can overwrite the Flash Drive with something else and move on!

                      When I DO like the contents, I typically have several SSD partitions on a system where I can install; from there, (which is pretty FAST) I can experiment, add my own customizations, then CREATE my own private ISO Snapshot, use Live USB Maker to write it to a different Flash Drive (they are pretty affordable so I have quite a few), then I can use these as backups and I can also use them live or install them on other systems.

                      This alternative also works well; as with most things “Linux-based” there are usually several approaches that are possible; with the numerous tools that antiX offers, this is DEFINITELY possible, as is your interesting VM alternative; thanks again for sharing!

                      --
                      Brian Masinick

                      #142584
                      Member
                      techore

                        I thought I would end up moving over entirely, but after a month or two, Im pleasantly surprised that I haven’t moved away from antiX for daily use. The main reason I’ve stayed is because of how nice backups and restoration is on antiX.

                        Glad you are still using antiX and hanging out.

                        I have been tempted to give void a try but still here. I appreciate you sharing your experience for it helps me be better informed.

                        As you say, being a small community has its advantages. The thing I enjoy the most here in the forum is that we try to helpful (if the post isn’t a rehash of a question asked recently) and we avoid the “troll behavior” I see in other communities. They appear here from time to time, but if you don’t feed them, they go elsewhere, so it is best to ignore them.

                        Very true!

                        #142758
                        Member
                        marcelocripe

                          Hello storm-crow.

                          Welcome to antiX Linux and the Forum.

                          I don’t know how to write in English and I send my texts translated by the internet translator. I hope you can understand everything. If your native language is not English, please translate my original Brazilian Portuguese text directly into your language with the help of internet translators and you will get a much better result.

                          Please read my real welcome in the Welcome to antiX Linux and the forum (antiX 23) and Welcome to antiX Linux and the forum (antiX 19, 21 and 22) thread.

                          Please learn how to ask for help here on the antiX forum by reading the threads I linked in my real welcome. Please note that there are 3 editions of antiX from series 19, 21 or 22 and 23 that have technical support in this forum. Each edition has 4 ISO images (full, base, net and core) on two different boot system types, SyVinit and Runit. If my sum is not wrong, at the present date there are about 32 different types of operating systems. That’s why you need to learn how to ask for help here on the antiX forum.

                          marcelocripe
                          (Original text in Brazilian Portuguese language)

                          – – – – –

                          Olá, storm-crow.

                          Seja bem-vindo(a) ao antiX Linux e ao fórum.

                          Eu não sei escrever em idioma Inglês e envio os meus textos traduzidos pelo tradutor da internet. Eu espero que você consiga compreender tudo. Se o seu idioma nativo não for o Inglês, por favor, traduza o meu texto original em Português no Brasil diretamente para o seu idioma com a ajuda dos tradutores da internet que você obterá um resultado muito melhor.

                          Por favor, leia a minha verdadeira boas-vindas no tópico Seja bem-vindo (a) ao antiX Linux e ao fórum (antiX 23) e Seja bem-vindo (a) ao antiX Linux e ao fórum (antiX 19, 21 e 22).

                          Por favor, aprenda a pedir ajuda aqui no fórum do antiX lendo os tópicos que eu indiquei na minha verdadeira boas-vindas. Saiba que existem 3 edições do antiX, das séries 19, 21 ou 22 e 23 que possuem suporte técnico neste fórum. Cada edição possui 4 imagens ISOs (full, base, net e core) em dois tipos de sistema de inicialização diferentes, o SyVinit e o Runit. Se a minha soma não estiver errada, na presente data são cerca de 32 tipos diferentes de sistema operacionais. É por isso que você precisa aprender a pedir ajuda aqui no fórum do antiX. 

                          marcelocripe
                          (Texto original em idioma Português do Brasil)

                          #142992
                          Member
                          storm-crow

                            Been hearing what people are saying on here, and starting to play around more ideas. decided to buy some 3.0 flash drives (only owned one 32g usb2.0 drive) so i can keep running void on an external drive. been playing around with dd to make backups. not convinced to fully switch to void, but I have a fun & fancy sway config that ive been customizing for void (no elogind, so zero traces of systemD) that i can maybe dd onto my hard drive when its ready. Still using antiX for work/email/all my accounts, and made a few backups.

                            biggest complaint at this point is that iso-maker compresses antix fairly fantastically, and dd doesnt compress void, but what can you do.

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