Linpus Lite is the distribution for netbooks and smartbooks developed and maintained by Linpus Technologies, Inc. of Taipei, Taiwan. The company’s flagship Linux distribution used to be Linpus Desktop until it decided to focus on the Lite and QuickOS line. Linpus Lite 1.4, announced on July 30, 2010, is the latest update, and also the first to come with a standalone installer. This article is the first review of the Linpus Lite edition to be published on this website.
Let us begin by looking at the installation program.
Installation: Linpus Lite is based on Fedora, and uses a cool-looking installer dubbed Sapphire. Sapphire, like Anaconda, the Fedora installation program, is a two-stage installer. It, however, lacks the advanced features of Anaconda. For example, disk encryption is not supported. For a distribution designed for use on netbooks and smartbooks, I did not expect it to support RAID, but it is worth confirming that is does not. LVM, the Linux Logical Volume Manager, is also not supported. The only journaling file systems supported are ext3 and ext4. By default, the installer creates two partitions, one for /boot and the other for the root file system directory. A new installation takes up about 3.8 GB of disk space.
Linpus Lite 1.4 installer. View more Linpus Lite 1.4 installer screenshots.
GRUB (legacy – version 0.97) is the boot loader, but the installer does not provide an option to password-protection it. You may password-protect the boot loader by using the grub-md5-crypt command. See Going Paranoid on Fedora 13 (scroll down to step 3) for instructions on how to use grub-md5-crypt to password-protect GRUB.
Desktop Interfaces: During the second stage of the installation process, GNOME and Xfce are the desktop environments available for installation. A third desktop interface known as Simple Mode is available after installation. Simple Mode is similar to Jolicloud’s interface. After Simple Mode is installed, from the command line by running yum install simple-mode, you can switch between Simple Mode and desktop mode (GNOME or Xfce) by clicking on the DesktopSwitcher applet on the panel.
CompizFusion, a 3D compositing window manager does not work out of the box, but it can be enabled using the Desktop Effects utility from the System > Preferences > Desktop Effects. Note: Switching between desktop mode and Simple Mode will not work with 3D desktop effects enabled.
Default GNOME desktop on Linpus Lite 1.4.
Default Xfce desktop on Linpus Lite 1.4.
Screenshot of the Simple Mode interface showing applications in the “Office” tab. More screenshots from the Simple Mode interface are available here.