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Emmabuntüs 2 Xfce 32-bit Review : A Linux distro that works out of the box without internet connection


Emmabuntüs is a French Linux distro that’s derived from Ubuntu LTS.  It was designed to provide a non-profit ISO to facilitate the refurbishing of old computers (rather than destroying them) and donate them to humanitarian projects like Emmaüs communities.

The aim of Emmabuntüs is to be simple, open and fair and at the same time, Emmabuntüs also targets at promoting Linux and GNU to beginners.

Emmabuntüs Logo

The first version of Emmabuntüs distro was based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Emmabuntüs 2 is based on Xubuntu 12.04 LTS rather than Ubuntu since Xfce consumes less resources and is more user friendly.  Emmabuntüs 2 ISO includes tons of applications and also third-party & non-free software.  In order to enhance the navigation a Dock has been added which can be used to access all the software.

 

Main Features of Emmabuntüs 2:

  • This distribution is entirely installable without internet connection as all the required packages are in the ISO.
  • Third-party & not-free codec are included in the ISO and the user can choose whether to install it or not.
  • It is adapted to run on machines with 512 MB of RAM.
  • Automated scripts are used to automate certain steps in the installation. They allow you to choose whether to install non-free software, uninstall unused languages etc.
  • It includes extensions in browsers for parental control & privacy.
  • More than 60 additional applications are installed by default.
  • A dock that simplifies access to software.
  • This distribution includes software that require special installation procedure as OOo4Kids.
  • The grammar checker LanguageTool is installed as an extension in LibreOffice.
  • 3 languages ​​(English, French, Spanish) supported completely in distribution.

 

Emmabuntüs 2 minimum system requirements are a CPU running at 1.4GHz with 512 Mb of RAM and 20GB of free space for the installation.  For live mode, at least 1GB RAM is required.

The size of the ISO is 3.5GB and I used Unetbootin to extract the ISO on a pen drive.

 

Live Mode:

The live mode greets us with a dialogue that welcomes us & thanks us for trying Emmabuntüs.

Emmabuntüs2 Live Welcome

 

After that you get a dialog asking whether you want the dock to be activated or not.  If you are going to install then its recommended to not activate the dock.

Emmabuntüs2 Live Activate Dock

 

I tested the live mode without installing the dock and everything worked out of the box.  Only thing that frustrated me was the keyboard layout which kept changing to French (which is the default) whenever I opened a new application and then I had to change it to English from the taskbar.  Yes, I know that I can change the default keyboard layout in the settings but I didn’t do that because I was testing the live mode.

Emmabuntüs Keyboard Layout Selection

The distro gives a feel of Xubuntu because Xubuntu’s default theme & icon sets are used in Emmabuntüs 2 without any modification.  Since Emmabuntüs is based on Xubuntu LTS, there is no need to talk about stability or speed.

 

Installation:

Since this distro comes with all packages on the ISO, I turned off the modem, rebooted my PC and then started the installation.

The graphical installer is the default installer that comes with the Xubuntu and its pretty easy to use.

To my surprise, the installer showed me the option to install third-party software even without internet connection as mentioned in the features of Emmabuntüs.  So I checked the option to install third-party software and then proceeded.  The rest of the installation is similar to Xubuntu.

Emmabuntüs2 Install 3rd party codec

 

Installation took more time than any other distro because the size of the ISO is 3.5GB and Emmabuntüs will install 60 additional applications in addition to the default applications.  Also we choose to install third-party software during installation.

 

Desktop & Automated Scripts:

Emmabuntüs 2 comes with Linux kernel 3.2.0 and Xfce 4.8 desktop environment.

Emmabuntüs2 Desktop

Emmabuntüs2 Terminal

 

After installation, you are again greeted with some dialog boxes that are run by automated scripts.

1) Choose the type of Dock

I choose the simple dock and it seemed more than enough for the average user.

Emmabuntüs2 choose dock

 

2) Option to install non-free software

I did install the non-free software and the installation went smooth.

Emmabuntüs2 non-free install dialog1

 

Emmabuntüs2 non-free install dialog2

 

Emmabuntüs2 non-free software installation

 

3) Option to remove unused languages

I removed all languages other than English and the script performed its work properly.

Emmabuntüs2 language remove dialog1

Emmabuntüs2 language remove dialog2

 

Emmabuntüs2 language removal

 

File manager is Thunar 1.2.3 and it does its job properly.

Emmabuntüs Thunar File Manager

 

Performance, CPU & RAM Usage:

On a stock installation, CPU usage was around 1-5% and the RAM consumed was just around 180MB even with all those extra applications, third-party and non-free codecs installed.  The installation consumed around 7GB of hard disk space.

Performance was totally stable since its based on an LTS version of Xubuntu.  All multimedia files played without any issues.

Emmabuntüs2 resource usage

 

Applications:

Emmabuntüs 2 comes with tons & tons of applications pre-installed. Some of the applications available are,

  • Accessories : Archive Manager, Caffine, Catfish File Search, Leafpad, Notes etc.
  • Development : Geany
  • Education : AbulEdu, Childsplay, PySyCache, Tux Math/Paint/Typing etc.
  • Games : Solitaire, Mines, Sudoku, PlayOnLinux, etc.
  • Graphics : digiKam, GIMP, Inkscapte, Pinta, Shotwell, Simple Scan etc.
  • Internet : Chromium, Empathy, Filezilla, Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird, XChat etc.
  • Multimedia : Audacious, Audacity, Brasero, Clementine, K3b, SMPlayer, VLC, Xfburn etc.
  • Office : Abiword, Calibre, Document Viewer, HomeBank, LibreOffice, OOo4Kids etc
  • System : Boot Repair, Nepomuk Backup, Printing, Ubuntu Tweak, Unetbootin, VirtualBox, Wine etc

You can read the complete list of applications in the Emmabuntüs2 wiki.

Emmabuntüs2 Education Menu

 

Emmabuntüs2 Graphics Menu

 

One application that has to be mentioned is OOo4Kids which is a Office suits targeted at 7-12 years old kids.  OOo4kids is based on OpenOffice.

Emmabuntus2 OOo4kids

 

Software Manager:

Emmabuntüs 2 uses the repositories based on Ubuntu’s “Precise Pangolin”.  You can use the default software center to add/remove applications.  In addition to that, you can also use synaptic package manager (which is pre-installed) to add/remove specific packages.

Emmabuntüs2 Synaptic Package Manager

 

A few points regarding this review:

  • This review is based on installing & using Emmabuntüs 2 without an internet connection.
  • But it does not mean that Emmabuntüs 2 is only for users without internet connection.
  • Internet connection worked fine in my Emmabuntüs 2 installation and I had no issues updating Emmabuntüs 2 or installing software from the repository.
  • I would like to add that you can also add/remove applications, update software and use Emmabuntüs 2 like any other Linux distro if you have internet connection.

For example, Firefox comes with parental control add-on, privacy add-on and other few add-ons.

Emmabuntüs2 Firefox

 

Emmabuntüs2 Firefox Add-ons

 

Conclusion:

Emmabuntüs2 is totally stable, fast & responsive even with all those extra applications pre-installed.

A few important things that I like in Emmabuntüs2 are

  1. Option to install third-party software without internet connection
  2. Option to install non-free software without internet connection
  3. Its based on Xubuntu LTS which means that its best suited for production machines

If you are looking for a Linux distro that works out of the box without the need for internet connection then just stop searching and download Emmabuntüs 2.

Emmabuntüs2 Xfce version can be downloaded directly from this link.

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