Masonux Home

What is Masonux?

In general terms, Masonux is a Linux-based graphical computer operating system - an alternative to the modern Ubuntu Linux or the archaic Microsoft Windows operating systems. For information on why, in my personal opinion, GNU/Linux is great, please see whylinuxisbetter.net.

More specifically, Masonux is derivative of Ubuntu Linux using the LXDE desktop environment created using remastersys. Masonux contains the following: Ubuntu base/command-line install, LXDE, Firefox, Pidgin, Synaptic Package Manager, ubiquity graphical installer, and remastersys.

For exact details on what is included, you are welcome to peruse my notes to myself and see exactly how this is built. It does not contain any custom artwork, logos, or any other modifications to any of those packages beyond those made by Ubuntu - that would be beyond the scope of this project and require that I host and maintain source code instead of merely pointing you to it.

I am distributing Linux and GNU tools inside of an .ISO file. Some would thus consider this to be a GNU/Linux Distribution, while others would get upset at that claim for a variety of reasons relating to repositories, source code, etc. I am not interested in debating the matter -- call it what you wish. I think of it as a "Project".

Get Masonux

Masonux is distributed in the form of a 325 mb .iso file linked in the downloads section.

Features

  • Ubuntu. The non-graphical "guts" of Masonux are entirely Ubuntu. This is the wikipedia article on Ubuntu.
  • LXDE. LXDE is somewhat of a new kid on the block, but quickly gaining popularity. Here, here, and here are a few articles on LXDE written by third parties.
  • Lightweight. The heaviest part of Masonux is the installer. After it is installed, that 256mb of RAM will be plenty. A fresh install of Masonux uses about 1 gb of hard drive space and 60 mb of RAM at boot.
  • Great to build up from. Some people find it easier to build up to exactly what they want than to strip away bloat they don't want. This is great for people that prefer building something to suit their needs over tearing something down to suit their needs.
  • Sticks to its roots. Masonux uses unmodified Ubuntu packages and the default software repositories. Except for the desktop environment, Masonux very much is Ubuntu. Things like the Ubuntu "USB Startup Disk Creator" work flawlessly with it.
  • Self-reliance. One-man distributions of GNU/Linux pop up all the time. Because I have included the entire development model of the latest release in the notes to myself, you yourself can recreate exactly what I have done incredibly easily should I fall off the earth tomorrow.
  • Easy Networking. The outstanding network applet included Ubuntu does not work by default with LXDE, but it does work with LXDE in Masonux.

Minimum Requirements

For an automated graphical install, 256 megabytes of RAM, 2 gigabytes of hard drive space, and a home desktop or laptop computer with an Intel or AMD processor manufactured in the last decade or so. The base install will use about 1gb of hard drive space and 60mb of RAM at boot. The installer itself requires 256 mb of RAM. After it is installed, you are good to go with 128 or even less, depending on your needs.

If you have less than 256 mb of RAM, aren't afraid of the command line, and want to install Masonux then please read the notes to myself page for directions. I am reasonably confident that Masonux will run on systems with 96 mb of RAM or less, but this has not been tested as far as i know.

Installation Directions

If you have ever installed a Linux Distribution, you know the routine and assorted options available to you. Masonux can be installed onto a thumb drive using Ubuntu's USB Startup Disk creator. From the LiveCD environment, Ubuntu's standard graphical installer can be launched from the desktop icon. If you have never installed a GNU/Linux distribution successfully, I do not recommend that you attempt to install Masonux as your first unless it's on a machine you have sitting around currently not doing anything.

I am currently only releasing an .iso for i386 architecture. If a demand for other architectures presents itself, I may release for other architectures.

Feedback

Your feedback is requested and will be greatly appreciated, even if it is negative feedback. The discussion forum is here.

Why I Created This

Masonux is a lightweight derivative of 32-bit Ubuntu that I made for myself because I wasn't happy with any existing distribution for one particular and very specific niche use: lightweight, easy to install, and nothing by default except a basic desktop environment, firefox, and pidgin.

I decided to share it with the community. If you find Masonux useful, all credit goes to the folks that have worked on the GNU Project, the Linux Kernel, Debian, Ubuntu, LXDE, remastersys, and all of the associated and included projects. If you find that you have no use for it, then either I am to blame or my needs and yours do not coincide.

Release Numbers and Naming

The name and logo of "Ubuntu" are trademarked, and the company behind Ubuntu has come down on folks appending -buntu to their project's name.

Linus Torvalds owns the trademark to the name "Linux," and the Linux Mark Institute sub-licenses the name on Linus' behalf. I am to lazy to apply for the right to put "Linux" in the project's name.

Well, it would appear I need a name for this project that does not include "*Buntu" or "Linux." So, I am simply and unimaginatively following the established pattern. Adding -ux to my name is simpler than coming up with a clever recursive acronym and accomplishes the same thing, so I went with that and here we have "Masonux".

The version number (9.04) reflects the 32-bit version of Ubuntu it is based on. The part after the hash mark (-20090802) reflects the month and day the .ISO was generated, reflecting the most recent software update reflected in that .ISO file. Masonux 9.04-20090802 was the first release. There will be no sequential numbering (v2.0, v2.1, v5.0, etc) as that would serve no purpose for such a small project tied so closely to such a large project.

Support

Masonux consists of stock unmodified Ubuntu software packages, and Ubuntu has outstanding support available. If google searching, the Ubuntu Wiki, and the Ubuntu Community Documentation fail you, the best support for any Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux system that sticks close to its roots is ubuntuforums.org. Me directing you there for support is not a brush-off - in my opinion, that really is the best place to find tech support if you cannot find a solution to your problem on your own.

Ubuntu Command-line solutions to problems will generally work identically in Masonux. Mileage will vary with point-and-click solutions.

Dude, linux suxx0rs.

If you feel that way, then do not use it.