Zenix 2.0

I have once again been playing with custom live CD and have released my second incarnation of Zenix.

I had to stop maintaining Zenix. Sort of a combination of too small a user base, not enough free time, and some life changes.

You can download the iso from

32 bit:

64 bit

Zenix 2.0 is built using the live build scripts and Debian Squeeze as a base and is designed to be a minimal, but not frugal installation of (Debian) Linux.

Zenix Screen Shots

The general goals of Zenix are:

Buddhism within the Linux community

I know this is probably one of the most controversial aspects of my re-spin and that Buddhism is in the minority of religious practices in "The West", all the same, Buddhism is a part of who I am. From time to time, people who know me will ask about Buddhism and thus the Buddhism in Zenix.

One change from the first release, I have moved much of the Buddhist content to the Zenix site and lessened the content on the respin. Hopefully the Buddhist content is "soft" in that non-Buddhists will find it unobtrusive.

Minimal footprint

Although there are many light weight distros out there, everything from SliTaz and various LXDE spins, many of them seemed a bit frugal to the point where basic functionality suffers.

With Zenix I added enough applications so that the respin feels less frugal. Default applications include Midori, icecat, xchat, cream, gedit, vlc, and audacious.

Why midori and icecat? Midori is faster then icecat and works very well in it’s own right as well as with low RAM installations. Icecat has a wider range of features, extensions, and customizations.

At the same time it is "lightweight" and users can add applications they feel it lacks.

Zenix will run on as little as 128 Mb with very acceptable performance.

When installed, Zenix uses just over 1.5 Gb of space on the hard drive.

Window managers

I included openbox + tint2 and awesome.

Graphical configuration tools

Openbox and awesome are window managers, as opposed to desktop environments, and thus lack graphical tools for system administration. The target audience for most window managers is intermediate to experienced Linux users who are familiar with the command line.

To increase the user friendliness s much as possible, I included graphical tools for system administration, or at least a menu entry, for basic system administration.

There are graphical tools for customization (background image, gtk theme, openbox configuration,)software management, printers, customizing the openbox menu, managing the firewall, encryption, and security (zenmap and wireshark).

There are (custom)menu entries for setting a default shell, enabling /disabling the terminal MOTD, setting the default window manager, managing PSAD, setting a mouse theme (opens a dialog in a terminal), managing conky, and setting a password.


I use Zenix on my Netbook, which is obviously portable, and so am interested in security.

Security features include – ufw (firewall enabled by default), psad, fwsnort, zenmap, wireshark, and encryption tools.

Adblock is enabled in Midori. NoScript and AdblockPlus are included with icecat.


Zenix runs quite well from a CD or Flash drive.

Zenix is configured to use persistence by default. You can save your data in a persistent /home directory, or if you wish to make changes to the system, a persistent ( directory. With a persistent root directory, any changes to the system or installed applications will be available across (live) sessions.

If you use persistence, you can encrypt your data with Cryptkeeper.

Zenix as a virtual guest

Zenix runs well as a virtual machine with both VirtualBox and KVM. The VirtualBox guest additions are pre-installed.

See the Zenix live page for additional information.

What makes zenix different from Crunch Bang

Although both distros use Debian and openbox, IMO, and I am biased, Zenix is more polished.

With Zenix I included a custom theme, and all applications match the default theme. As an example of attention to detail, I wrote a custom skin for audacious.

In addition to themes, as outlined above, Zenix includes a number of security features.


Ladislav Bodnar agreed to list Zenix under "New distributions added to waiting list" on Distrowatch


Thank you to everyone who helped with the release. Several people on IRC were kind and patient enough to take the pre-release versions for a test drive and provide invaluable feedback. s-fox and Unit193 were instrumental in providing support and testing and I could not have done it without either of these two. s-fox designed the zenix web site.

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21 Responses to Zenix 2.0

  1. itbcn8 says:

    Very interesting distro!! I am downloading it now and will try it in virtualbox. I like the themes and the idea of it being about Buddhism. :D

    I just hope the “Religious Distros” thing doesn’t become a trend. :) A Buddhist distro is cool, but I shiver to think of things like Christian, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim distros…. EWwwwwww.

  2. bodhi.zazen says:

    @itbcn8 : Thank you for taking it for a spin, hope you enjoy it.

  3. Pingback: Links 1/6/2011: GNU’s Proportion Measured in GNU/Linux, Mageia 1 is Released | Techrights

  4. h4rd3r says:

    great job man!

    see Zenix 2.0 running under VirtualBox at CrunchBang Statler:


  5. bodhi.zazen says:

    @h4rd3r: Glad you liked it, nice screenshot, thank your for the ping back.

  6. jozen says:

    First, thank you for making Zenix. I’m very happy with Buddhism and Debian Linux both. It’s great to see this.

    I have day-dreamed of making a similar distro, but I don’t understand the processes involved.
    (I’ve only tried remastersys)

    I do think its great to have the features included, and seeing the graphical tools included.

    I think it has a “polished” look, but its too dark for my taste, and my eyes to be honest.

    I think I’d enjoy a dialogue with you, as I know we have at least two common ties… well, you have my email.

  7. Stefano says:

    Hi, I tride Zenix some weeks ago and it’s great!
    Few dasy ago I tried also on a netbbok and I have had some problems, I would ask about on the forum in Zenix main website but it seems not active.
    Is it still active?

    Thanks for any answer!

  8. bodhi.zazen says:

    @Stefano – The Zenix Forums are active.

  9. Cogent Agent says:

    Zenix is exactly what I’ve been looking for, for a long time.
    Glad I didn’t have to create it myself. ;)

  10. Carlos Eugenio says:

    I think it is not working more:
    NOTICE: This domain name expired on 10/08/2012 and is pending renewal or deletion.
    Do you know if the site has changed?
    Where is it?
    Which is the password to access when you open the live zenix?

  11. bodhi.zazen says:

    I had to stop maintaining Zenix. Sort of a combination of too small a user base, not enough free time, and some life changes.

    You can download the iso from

    32 bit:

    64 bit

  12. Eric says:

    Could you tell me what skins were you using in Zenix? Openbox looked awesome …

  13. bodhi.zazen says:

    @Eric – Thank you for your kind words. The skins are all custom, openbox and audacious.

    If you send me a PM on the Ubuntu forums with your email address, I can send you a copy.

  14. apprentice says:

    ^^openbox does look awesome
    great little spin
    too bad about life and changing times

    do you have your configs posted anywhere?

  15. bodhi.zazen says:

    @apprentice – I have the configs “somewhere”, will post them if I can find them.

  16. gunther mondo says:

    I lack the password to start the installation of zenix,
    and I cannot find it anywhere.

  17. Daniel Baldwin says:

    Hi Bodhi,

    Sorry to be so late to the party here, I wanted to say that I really like Zenix, I have only just found out that it was discontinued. I installed this distro for a friend on an old computer and he has recently been in touch saying that he has forgotten the password.

    Is there a default root password so that I could get in via root to change his password? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have changed it.

    Also, would you happen to know how I could change the root password, given that the only account on there belongs to the guy who has forgotten his password. I would just reinstall a new OS but he has some ancient hardware that he doesn’t want to get rid of. It took me forever to even find a distro I could get it working on let alone one that was light-weight enough to run on the old machine. On the upside it was in searching for a lightweight release that would even accept the hardware that led me to Zenix.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  18. bodhi.zazen says:

    @Daniel Baldwin There is no root password by default. You can try either booting to recovery mode or boot a live USB and reset the user password. See http://xmodulo.com/2013/02/how-to-reset-root-password-in-debian-ubuntu.html . Rather then running ‘passwd’ you can reset the user password with ‘passwd user_name’

  19. dirtmike says:

    thank u for your hard work… gonna give zenix 2.0 a try

  20. bodhi.zazen says:

    @dirtmike – Zenix is a bit long in the tooth, but some people still use it.

  21. Secris says:

    @bodhi.zazen can you blame them? It truly is a one of a kind distro. I loved it so much I occasionally pop into the irc channel just to see if anyone happens to be on.

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