Parsix Linux 3.0

The very first review I wrote for Desktop Linux Reviews was Parsix Linux 2.0. Well I’m pleased to note that Parsix Linux 3.0 has just been released and I couldn’t resist doing a review of this update.

When I first launched DLR I had no idea how well the blog would be received or if it would really amount to anything. Well 30 reviews later here we are and I’m happy to see how things turned out and it’s fun to be able to take a look at another version of the first DLR review.

If you missed the first review, here’s a snippet that explains what Parsix Linux is:

Parsix Linux is a Gnome-centric distribution created in Iran and based on KANOTIX and Debian. I downloaded it a while back but never quite had time to get a review done for ExtremeTech while I was working there. Distrowatch had a good interview with him recently where he talks about why and how Parsix Linux was born and how it differs from KANOTIX. The developer of Parsix is Alan Baghumian, a native Iranian.

For more information about Iran, see this list of books.

What’s New In This Release
There’s some good stuff in this release and here’s some of what you’ll find:

GNOME 2.26.3
Brand new kernel based on Linux 2.6.29.6 with extra patches and drivers
Updated installer system that supports separate /home partition
ext4 file system
GRUB 2
NetworkManager is finally default networking stack
AuFS and UnionFS support
SquashFS+Lzma compression for live-CD
GNU Iceweasel 3.5.3
GParted 0.4.6
Pidgin 2.6.2
OpenOffice.org 3.1.1
Compiz-Fusion 0.8.2

Parsix Linux features a somewhat bland but very functional Gnome desktop.

Parsix Linux features a somewhat bland but very functional Gnome desktop.

Requirements & Installation
Here’s a list of hardware requirements from the Parsix Linux install guide:

The minimum required hardware is a 500MHz processor and at least 512MB of RAM. For better performance, 1GB of RAM is recommended. At least a root partition with 5 GB free space and a swap partition is required for the installation. Swap partition’s capacity should be about twice as your RAM’s. Since Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0r0, its officialy possible to use an extra partition as /home.

One of the problems I had last time with Parsix was that I could not get the install to finish. I’m happy to note that I had no problems with it this time around, I was able to get it successfully installed.

Please note that Parsix Linux is a Live CD distro so you can simply boot into the CD and play with it without having to do an actual install. I recommend that particularly for Linux beginners that might not be comfortable with the Parsix Linux install (more on that in the problems section).

The install took about 12 minutes. The install itself is not particularly difficult if you’re an experienced Linux user and can be done via the Live CD desktop. Note that there is some partitioning required via GParted.

The Parsix Linux 3 install menu.

The Parsix Linux 3 install menu.

Use GParted to partition your hard disk as part of the Parsix Linux install.

Use GParted to partition your hard disk as part of the Parsix Linux install.


Virtual Machine Configuration
I’ve gotten a bit of flak from some folks for using virtual machines to do my Linux reviews. While I intend to continue doing that I thought it might also be interesting to include some information here about the virtual machine product I’m using and how I have the virtual machine configured. At some point I think I will write an FAQ that explains why I use virtual machines and that should help educate folks on how useful virtualization can be.

In this case I’m using VirtualBox and the configuration is below. I hope that this proves somewhat interesting or helpful to everybody. If not please let me know in the comments and I’ll skip doing it in future reviews.

Desktop & Apps

The Parsix Linux desktop is reasonably attractive and quite reminiscent of Ubuntu. That’s not particularly surprising given that it uses Gnome for its desktop environment.

Here’s some of what you’ll find in terms of default software:

Games
Mahjongg
Mines
Nibbles
Robots
Sudoku
Chess
Blackjack

Graphics
GIMP
gThumb Image Viewer
OpenOffice.org Draw
XSane

Internet
Gnome FTP Client
Balsa Email
Iceweasel Web Browser
Liferea Feed Reader
Pidgin IM
Transmission BitTorrent Client

Multimedia
Audio CD Extractor
Brasero Disc Burner
Cheese Webcam
TV Viewer
VLC Media Player

Office
OpenOffice.org
Grisbi Accounting
Fax Manager


The default installation provides a pretty good range of software. I didn’t find it lacking much as far as doing most of my basic computing tasks.

Adding & Removing Software
To update your system simply click System then Administration then choose Update Manager. You’ll need to type in your password and then the update manager will load. There were three updates available and I had no problem installing them to upgrade my system.

To install additional software or manage installed packages simply click System then Administration then Synaptic Package Manager. There’s quite a bit of additional software available via Synaptic so I urge you to check it out and see if there’s stuff there that you might want to keep on your system. I had no problems installing additional packages or removing ones that were already installed.

Use the Update Manager to update your system.

Use the Update Manager to update your system.

Use Synaptic to add or remove softare on your system.

Use Synaptic to add or remove softare on your system.


Sound and Multimedia
The only app appropriate for DVDs was VLC but it crashed each time I tried to play my Superman test DVD. I generally don’t use VLC for playing DVDs so I’m not sure how reliable it is for that. Note that the Parsix Linux documentation includes instructions on how to download additional multimedia codecs.

I had no problem with sound as the default desktop sounds loaded when I booted into my Parsix Linux desktop and I had no problem with sound while playing YouTube videos.

Networking worked fine and I didn’t need to do anything to configure my system to connect to the Internet.

What I Liked Most
I love the idea that this distro comes from Iran. Given all of the negative media coverage of that country recently, I think it’s nice that there’s something positive being done by Iranians that puts their nation in a more positive light internationally.

I also liked the additional software available via Synaptic in Parsix Linux.

Problems & Headaches
I’d like to see a more original theme used in future releases. Something that would set Parsix Linux apart. The wallpaper is attractive but it’s not really enough. It would be ideal if perhaps some sort of theme highlighting Iranian culture in a non-political, non-religious way might add some additional aesthetic value to this distro.

I know that harping about aesthetics probably doesn’t matter to a lot of people but it is one of the things I always notice when I first boot into a distro. I’m always hoping to see some breathtaking new theme or wallpaper that I haven’t seen before.

While I had no problem with installing Parsix Linux this time around, I view the install routine with a dubious eye for newbies because it requires using GParted to partition the hard disk before the actual install. Experienced Linux users won’t bat an eyelash at having to do this but somebody brand new who has never partitioned a hard disk or used GParted might be very confused. I’d like to see a more automated install routine that is easier for potential newcomers to Parsix Linux.

Sound and video worked perfectly while playing YouTube videos.

Sound and video worked perfectly while playing YouTube videos.

Where To Get Help
You can always post a note in the Desktop Linux Reviews Forum and we’ll do our best to offer feedback or at least point you in the right direction. You might also want to check out the Parsix Linux Install Guide, Wiki and User Guide. You might also want to check out the Parsix Linux Forum. Don’t worry if you don’t read Persian as there is an English section as well.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Parsix Linux is definitely worth taking a look at if you’re an intermediate or advanced Linux user.

Beginners are certainly welcome to check out the Live CD but the partitioning required to install Parsix Linux might be a bit much depending on the person’s experience with such things.

I enjoyed using Parsix Linux. While some might consider it a bit on the obscure side, I found it to be a pretty good desktop distro. The developers have done a good job with the documentation and seem to provide some good support in their forum and on the rest of their site.

I think it’s well worth a download.


Summary Table:

Product: Parsix Linux 3.0
Web Site: http://www.parsix.org
Price: Free
Pros: Live CD, slightly better install. Good selection of software.
Cons: While the install has gotten a bit better, it’s still cumbersome and could be difficult for newer Linux users.
Suitable For: Intermediate to advanced Linux users. Beginners are encouraged to try the Live CD but may find the installation confusing or difficult if they don’t have disk partitioning experience.
Summary: Parsix Linux is an attractive desktop distro that works pretty well for the most part. It’s worth taking a look at if you’re an intermediate or advanced Linux user.
Rating: 3/5