Sunday, 26 May 2013

An Everyday Linux User review of Mozillux

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  22:52 4 comments

Introduction

This month I have chosen to review some of the smaller distributions in the Linuxosphere.

Last week I wrote a review about Emmabuntus which is a French distribution that is based on Xubuntu 12.04.

This week I am writing a review about Mozillux which is a French distribution that is based on Lubuntu 12.04.

What is Mozillux?


Mozillux is one of those distributions that is built to run off a USB pendrive in a similar fashion to Puppy Linux or Slax.

The Mozillux website sets out its intentions with the following sentence:


"Mozillux has been designed with a particular attention to nomads users."
There are two versions of Mozillux available. The first version allows you to save information and install other applications for later use and the other is just used as a live DVD or pen drive. (Basically then you are choosing persistence or no persistence).

For full system requirements and to download Mozillux visit http://www.mozillux.org/.

Installation

You download Mozillux as a zip file and inside the zip file is a set of instructions telling you how to install it to a USB drive or a DVD.

There are 3 methods listed for installing to a USB drive. The "advanced" method is the method I used which involved running Unetbootin. The other methods involved partitioning the USB drive and extracting the ISO and running batch files or shell scripts. The Unetbootin root was easier and achieved the same goal.

First Impressions


Mozillux looks a lot like the stock Lubuntu 12.04 release. The main difference is the panel down the left hand side.

When you have a distribution like this that is so heavily based on another distribution then the thing that I think you have to review is the selection of applications that are included.

In the "What is Mozillux" section I told you that Mozillux is built to run from a USB drive well whilst this maybe true the first thing that is obvious is an icon to install Mozillux on the desktop.

If you run the installer then you get a fairly stock Ubiquity installer and the process works exactly the same except that it doesn't matter whether you install the 3rd party extras or not because they are included anyway.

A second thing to note is that when I tried to enter the security key for my broadband connection the key initially failed. The reason for the failure was the same reason that Emmabuntus failed in last week's review.  The default keyboard layout and language for Mozillux is French.



The Mozillux team have placed an icon on the desktop for keyboard map settings which enables you to change the language quickly and easily.

If you choose to install Mozillux to the hard drive of your computer then the keyboard issue does not occur as you can choose the keyboard layout and language as part of the installation.

Connecting to the internet





















Connecting to the internet in Mozillux is a simple process. (It is based on Lubuntu after all!).

Simply click the network icon on the top panel and choose the wireless network you wish to connect to. Follow that by entering the security key and you will be good to go.

As long as your keyboard layout is correct then you should not have any problems.

Flash and MP3





























Flash works straight out of the box with Mozillux. There is a good reason for that which I will come to later on.





















Playing music also works out of the box with Mozillux so no messing around having to install Lubuntu restricted extras.

Applications

As I mentioned earlier the key to differentiating Mozillux from Lubuntu is with the choice of applications.

I am not going to go through all the applications as there are a lot of them but I am going to go through some of the key ones.

First of all LibreOffice is installed which makes Mozillux immediately useful.

The default browser is FireFox and the mail client is Thunderbird. Mozillux is called Mozillux because the goal of the project is to "Promote Mozilla softwares embedded in a full desktop suite".

Other common applications that are installed are Skype, Keepass, Unetbootin, Dia, Inkscape, Shotwell, Filezilla, Pidgin, Transmission, Audacity and VLC player.

There are a couple of intriguing applications as well. One I quite liked was FreeTux TV.























FreeTux TV lets you choose from a large list of channels that enable you to watch television online.

The choice of channels is both long and ecclectic and the nature of the channels makes it a no no for children as there are some adult channels and a channel called "Knives and Guns".

Other applications that I quite liked were "Drum machine" and "Notessimo" which are small applications that let you compose music.

There is also an application called "Kazam Screencaster" which lets you record your desktop.

Installing Applications

Did I mention that Mozillux is based on Lubuntu 12.04? Oh I did? Well obviously installing applications in Mozillux is done by running Synaptic which is of course the same application you would use in Lubuntu.

Online Applications

Mozillux has followed a trait that is one of the key features of Peppermint Linux which is to include links to online applications such as Google Docs.

There are applications for generating strong passwords, composing music, transferring large files over the internet, cloud services, Picasa, image editing, FTP clients and IRC chat.

Games





















Now one striking feature of Mozillux is the huge list of games that are linked to from the "Games" menu.

For a Linux distribution the list of games in general is quite impressive and if you are bored and on the move, it could be a way of wasting a fair amount of time. I like the fact that there were SNES and Sega Genesis emulators included.

There is a menu item called "Flash games" which takes up the whole screen and a fair amount of scrolling. Why?

If you read the Mozillux frequently asked questions paged the question appears "Why so many games?". The answer is given as follows:

"Mozillux was also designed for families, as a safe environment for families"
If this statement is true then I would suggest that the developers look into the FreeTux application which includes adult television channels and a channel which promotes weapons.

On the Mozillux website there is a page called "Games" which shows a list of Flash games provided by Good Game Studios. There is a link for "Partners" at the top and if you click the link then you can sign up and get paid for getting people to play games made by "Good Game Studios".

My instant thought was "Ah Mozillux are being paid every time someone clicks one of the games links".

To test this thought out I tried a few of the games on the list. My inclination was to play the games I thought I would like, such as "Pacman".




The games I tried were all installed in the /usr/games folder and the links at the bottom pointed to various games publishers and there is nothing to suggest that the links are there for financial gain so I was wrong about that theory and the games are there purely for the pleasure of the users.

Performance

The desktop of Mozillux has widgets on the right hand side which tell you the memory usage and CPU usage.

I am using a fairly decent machine. Mozillux runs at about 100 MB off RAM without any applications running and uses 1% of the CPU available. With Firefox running the RAM goes up to 500 MB with 3% of the CPU used.

Summary

Mozillux is basically Lubuntu with a set of applications the developer has decided would make Lubuntu a better distribution.

Mozillux comes with Flash working out of the box which saves effort for the new user.

Mozillux comes with a decent set of applications for the sort of person who just wants to use their operating system without worrying about what is under the bonnet.

There is a mix of standard desktop applications and links to web applications and there is a large selection of games for the casual gamer.

Mozillux would make a decent distribution to keep on a USB drive to enable the travelling family to work, play games and surf the web.

I mentioned before about the FreeTux TV application which has questionable content but this is a small issue that can easily be resolved.

Mozillux doesn't bring much new to the table. Lubuntu works well already and it would be relatively simple to use the base Lubuntu distribution and add just the tools you need but if you are the sort of person that doesn't want to do that and want a more complete set of applications then Mozillux is a reasonably good choice.

An alternative distribution to Mozillux is Peppermint Linux which also uses the LXDE desktop. Peppermint does not include so many desktop applications and more web applications.

Thankyou for reading.

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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4 comments:

  1. Hi, You wrote: " it would be relatively simple to use the base Lubuntu distribution and add just the tools you need..." , well not so easy and almost impossible for a beginner. Having flash, java, servers finely tuned, LibreOffice latest version, games, music and video tools, working fine altogether is not trivial :-) Maybe the desktop is looking like Lubuntu because they share LXDE but Lubuntu is missing a lot of things. Mozillux also have sonant server and client (a must for gamers), FTP server, web HTTP personal server for easy share of your files as well as testing a blog or whatever, and all are already setup and just ready to launch at your convenience. Another thing is about the instructions for you to build your own pendrive, and the results greatly differs from unetbootin because if you want to build say a pendrive with persistence, unetbootin force you to use casper like others ubuntus, here you have other choices. And last, Mozillux works great on Apple Macs and can very easily revive some old hardware at no cost :-) Free monthly updates gives you a high secure usb pendrive or DVD you can carry everywhere. That is not something Lubuntu because Lubuntu have no LTS long term support. The one thing you wrote about FreeTuxTV depends on the country and operator you select when you start it: this software allows you to watch worldwide TV from many countries, so you need to be careful and you can later come back and blacklist some channels to protect kids if you need, it's up to you :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mozillux also includes important software in case you need to repair a broken computer, gparted for disks and partitions management and Ping which I did never saw before. Ping allows you to backup partition or full disks just like Norton Ghost, you need to start it from the first screen before enter the live system. Somehow better than PartedMagic and Clonezilla (which have so many bugs) ! Retroshare also is a must when you travel in another country, it will keep you safe. Plenty of network wifi drivers in it, works fine out of the box, so it won't let you down if your exotic video card is not recognized and will install for you everything your video card may need. Excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Be warned when using unetbootin to create your pendrive, it will destroy the original Mozillux syslinux boot loader and replace it with its own, and that will prevent you from using ping and other tools loaded before the live-usb. It's better to build your pendrive either with the direct-to-pendrive or with frugal instruction if you need to save some datas persistant. You need at least 4Go pendrive, either ways.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mozillux v13.7 include important changes such as persistence of personal datas if you are running from a usb pendrive in frugal mode. Also the personal frugal pendrive builder is simpler and stronger. A very good update in my opinion !

    ReplyDelete

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