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
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.
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.
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.
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.