Before the general hysteria of a new Ubuntu release starts, I wanted to slip in a note about one other distribution. There have been some comments recently, from @zdnetuk among others, about Linux distributions getting "bloated" because they are becoming too large to fit on a CD. In fact I have made the same observation myself to some extent, because I used to partition my disks in 4GB sections, and have plenty of room to load any Linux distribution I wanted into one of those, but there are a lot which will not fit in that amount of space these days.
Swift Linux has just made a new release, and for this release they have switched to Linux Mint Debian Edition for a base. This switch brings some very significant benefits for them. First, they get a good, solid, well-developed and well-supported base to build on. Second, they are using a base which is very complete, so in their case they can "tailor it down" by removing some things and replacing some things with smaller alternatives. Third, and this is a big plus, they can use the very nice Mint utilities if they want, which can save them considerable time and effort. The most obvious example of this is that the new release of Swift Linux uses the Mint Installer, so installation is fast, smooth and easy.
The ISO image is less than 700MB (see comments above about "keeping down the bloat"), so it could be burned to a CD and installed that way with no problem. It is also compatible with the unetbootin utility, and with that size it can be burned to a 1GB stick. I downloaded the ISO, converted it to a Live USB stick, and had the installation done in about 30 minutes total.
Based on the version of the Linux Kernel that is installed (2.6.39), and the time frame relative to the just-released Mint 201204 version, I am pretty sure that this Swift release is based on LMDE 201109. It will be even more interesting to see it based on the new LMDE release - and since the Swift web page says that they make new releases frequently (agile computing), that might happen fairly soon.
Other highlights of the contents of this release:
- Iceweasel 10.0.2 (browser)
- mtPaint graphic editor
- Geany 0.21
- LibreOffice Writer
- LibreOffice Calc
So, the bottom line is, if "bloat" is your concern, and Linux Mint Debian interests you, then take a look at Swift Linux.
The first really obvious change from Linux Mint is that Swift has removed Gnome/MATE/Cinnamon/Whatever, and installed IceWM, which is much smaller, faster, and simpler. If