LinuxVillage is proud to present our very own home grown distro.
VillageBox is part of a community – LinuxVillage Forum. This is where you go for support regarding VillageBox. But it’s a lot more than that. You are very welcome to visit at any time about any topic or question relating to Linux, or just hang out, have a chat and make some friends.
VillageBox is a lightweight but fully functional OS based on Debian and currently uses the Testing repos. It will become Stable once Debian Wheezy is officially released, and there will also be a Testing version of VillageBox available for those who want to stay even more up-to-date.
VillageBox uses Openbox as the Window manager, with Tint2 as the panel but with no icons. There is no Desktop manager involved, and thus no ‘desktop’ as such. The Openbox Applications menu automatically updates when installing software.
VillageBox has Remastersys installed, which enables you to make an installable copy of your system. This can be used as a back-up, to distribute amongst friends, or as a basis for your own creation.
VillageBox is 32 bit and runs the 3.2.0-4-686-pae kernel, which allows the computer to see more than 4gb of RAM.
VillageBox runs the following main software –
- Openbox – window manager
- Openbox-menu – updates application menu on the fly
- Obconf – configure Openbox
- Tint2 – panel
- Lightdm – display manager
- Thunar – file manager
- Midori – web browser
- WICD – network manager
- Gigolo – local network
- Geany – text editor
- ePDFViewer – PDF viewer
- Catfish – file search
- Geeqie – image viewer
- Sakura – terminal
- Gparted – partitions
- Remastersys – remastering software
- Xarchiver – archiving
- Xfburn – CD/DVD software
- Synaptic – package management
- Conky – lightweight system monitor
- LXappearance – customize look and feel
- CUPS – printing
- Keeptalking – language and locale
- Xcompmgr – ‘desktop’ effects
VillageBox is able to set Language and Locale preferences. Feh controls the wallpaper as a plugin to Thunar – right-click on a picture and set it as wallpaper. Launch Gigolo from the tray and it uses Thunar to display network shares – double-click in Gigolo to open in Thunar. Remastersys now offers a ‘Boot to RAM’ option in the live cd/usb.
The wallpaper and DM login have been given their own look. The desktop keybindings are listed in the right-click menu. Screenshots are enabled by scrot through the right-click menu or by hitting ‘PrintScreen’. CUPS printing is available through the browser via its own command under ‘Applications – System Tools – Printer’. Sudo is NOT enabled. Gparted’s file recognition has now been extended.
VillageBox has been designed as a basic but fully functional base for people to build their own spin. If you want to overlay LXDE or another desktop manager; change browser, file manager or panel; set up a multimedia or diagnostic spin; port it to another language; add things like ZRAM and sudo; it is the raw canvas that will allow you to build what you want. Or you can use it just as it is!
A note on the installation procedure with the Remastersys Live Installer and VillageBox.
When you initially boot the live cd/usb you have the option of loading off the media or loading to RAM. Loading to RAM means the system runs a lot faster, and you can also eject the media you booted off. Either way there can be a wait of up to half a minute whilst the system loads. It looks like nothing is happening but be patient – this just depends on the speed of your machine. The system will bring you directly to the desktop – remember there is no root account – no password is needed to activate the installer. Because there are no desktop icons on this remaster, you need to activate the right-click menu and go to Applications-System Tools. Once there click on ‘Live Installer’.
The installer is pretty straightforward. It will ask you if you want to continue, which keyboard and locale to use, which partition to use, and then it will open gparted. Go ahead and adjust your partitions accordingly – if no action is needed just quit out of gparted. You will then be asked which partition root will go, which file system you want, where to put /home, and then password/user details. VillageBox does not run sudo, so you will have a root account to set up. Just be aware that if you are used to ‘keyboarding’ your way through a list, hit ‘tab’ not ‘return’ when filling in the user details – ‘return’ will take you to the end of the list and give you an error message. After setting the user details you will then be asked where you want the bootloader installed, and to set the time zone.
At this point you will then be given the location of where the install will go, and asked if you want to continue. If all is well click yes. The install does not take long on hardware – however be patient if loading into VBox. When installing grub a terminal will pop up with some scary error messages on it regarding the process. Just close your eyes! A minute or two later when you open them again they will be gone and you will have a dialogue box telling you a that the new system is installed and asking if you want to reboot. If you click ‘yes’ the system will spit out the cd/usb and reboot. The whole process from boot to reboot shouldn’t take more than ten to fifteen minutes.
You can also do a full install onto a usb device, which gives you your own portable computer that fits in your pocket!
All being well you will have the lightDM login screen appear – just login with your user name and start playing!
Remember, you can use Remastersys to create your own build. Just go to Application-System Tools-Remastersys Backup and you too can create your own spin as a backup, to give to friends or make your own mini distro.
And after all of this, don’t forget to pop in to the Forum and tell us how you went with it all.
26 Jan 2013
- Fixed the network mount glitch that can cause Thunar to pause on start. Thunar and gigolo still work together fine. Just click the network share and it will mount and stay mounted for the session.
- Installed numlockx to allow numlock to turn on at boot. Default is OFF due to some laptop incompatabilities. Edit autostart to switch on.
- Edited Remastersys to allow a ‘Boot to RAM’ option in the live cd/usb device.
- Removed Azenis icon theme and installed MeliaeSVG. Retained Tango as root icon theme, plus it fills the gaps that MelaieSVG leaves.
- Did a couple of cosmetic changes to Tint2.
01 Feb 2013
- GParted now recognises the following file systems – btrfs; ext2, 3, 4; fat16, 32; hfs, hfs+; jfs; linux-swap; nilfs2; ntfs; reiser4; reiserfs; xfs.