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Bestix, a new live CD

Bestix, a new Kanotix-based live CD, is now available for download.
ISO-image and package lists are here:


The goal of this system is twofold.

1)  Present a simple system, with a simple user interface.

2)  Localization in every available language.

More detailed description:

1)  The system is simple in the sense that only a small set
    of programs is included:

    OpenOffice.org 2.0.2
    Firefox        1.5.0
    Gaim           1.5.0
    Skype          1.2.0
    Xchat          2.6.1
    VLC            0.8.4

    The window manager is icewm with XP theme.

    The idea is to have a kind of Internet-Cafe-CD with the most popular
    programs.  People who find the wealth of programs with Skolelinux/Knoppix
    overwhelming, may well be pleased with this simpler presentation.

    Although the program set is small, the system can easily be expanded thanks
    to the magic of unionfs.  An installation dialog suggests additional
    software that is then downloaded and "installed" into RAM.  Alternatively,
    people can go to the klik website (in the Firefox toolbar), and choose
    their applications there.  
    In principle (with a cheatcode), you can download and install your
    additional applications on USB key, or on the hard disk.  As with any
    Knoppix-based system, you can install the system to hard disk with

2)  Localization and its problems

    The original intention of this CD was to create a multi-lingual live CD,
    with as many translations of OpenOffice.org as possible.  Thanks to a
    recent collaboration between the Debian and Ubuntu OpenOffice.org teams,
    the openoffice.org-l10n packages have been purged of redundancies, and
    now every openoffice.org-l10n package that is included with Debian is
    also on the CD.  To the extent that translations are available for the
    other programs, they are also included.  The grub boot menu permits you
    to easily boot into the language of your choice -- if you find that your
    language is not supported, despite the availability of free software
    for that language, please let me know.

    Building on this basis, I have attempted to construct localized menus for
    icewm, but it is here that the CD reveals its weaknesses.  While most
    western European languages are (I hope) well-supported, there are problems
    elsewhere, connected to the way icewm/Debian handles fonts.  For example,
    when the menu includes both Arabic and Western fonts, the Western fonts
    "disappear".  I have not yet solved this problem, and I would be happy
    to hear suggestions leading to a solution.  Not every non-European language
    has problems of this kind -- for example, Chinese looks just fine.
    In many cases, the translations of the menu are incomplete.  If you are
    dissatisfied, please write me, and I will include your corrections.

    The CD includes scim as a character input method for Chinese / Japanese /
    Korean.  There has been some discussion between myself and my collaborators
    whether this is the best character input method or whether uim should be
    preferred.  If you have opinions in this matter, please let me know.

As usual, your complaints and criticism, as well as encouragement, are welcome.

Conrad Newton

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