Lanna Linux is a Linux distribution as well as resource for open source tools and applications. The primary motivation is to help people use a rolling release of one of the broadest distribution of Linux (Debian Testing), the stable windows manager and desktop environment (openbox and LXDE), and the latest stable versions of highly functional applications and utilities. The end goal is a desktop that works very well with minimal hardware requirements and is fit for purpose.
Apparently there are no other distributions with the combination of LXDE and Debian Testing, hence this distribution. Kali Linux used to include LXDE but it no longer appears to do so.
The main difference between Lanna Linux and LXDE in general has to do with two Linux Mint applications:
- File manager: Nemo + Thunar (search + replace functionality)
- Image editor: Pix
The combination of Debian Testing (rolling release) and LXDE which is an old and mostly frozen desktop environment might seem contradictory, but if one wants to use the latest version of applications, Debian Testing possibly has the greatest variety, and if one wants a highly resource efficient but modern desktop environment, then LXDE is one of the best options. Desktop stability and minimal resource requirements is a powerful combination.
There is an argument to be made that Debian Unstable is possibly more stable than Debian Testing.
The main hardware target of this release is the Intel NUC line of small desktops. Even fewer resources are required, but an Intel Nuc 6 Celeron with 8gb of RAM is very sufficient, and even 4gb of ram with a Pentium, Atom, or Celeron class processor is quite useable.
Lanna means a million rice fields in Thai, and refers to there being a wide variety of distributions of Linux, of which Lanna Linux is merely one.
Why choose Debian vs. Arch or Fedora (or others)?
There are excellent reasons for choosing Debian vs. Arch or Fedora, depending upon one's needs and preferences:
- Stable releases and semi-rolling release options (testing and sid)
- Largest collection of binary apps
- Supports a wide variety of hardware, so can run the same distribution on myriad devices such as Raspberry Pi, ARM-based Chromebooks, x86-based desktops, etc.
- Dependency-resolving package management (apt)
Crunch Bang, Successors, Derivative Distributions
There is something to be said for Crunch Bang (and its successors), and the reason for the original's demise. The bold statement is that there was no real reason for its continuing existence as things had changed to the point that continuing the release was pointless. Use of vanilla Debian could easily serve the needs of those who would consider using Crunch Bang. Indeed, the same might be said for all derivative distributions, though that would account for the majority of linux installations. Useful derivatives not only provide end-users with time-saving packaging and support, but also contribute upstream to the core distribution.
Hence even the smallest derivative distributions can provide value, both upstream and downstream. This is where Lanna Linux wishes to contribute. It is meant to be an opinionated distribution with a specific hardware target and use case, along with streamlining access to up-to-date applications.
The main motivation to use LXDE is a dissatisfaction with the stability and resource requirements of Cinnamon. The ease of modification and look and feel were attractive, but more stability and lower resource use is needed. Even though largely without ongoing development the LXDE desktop environment invited its use out of sheer functionality and stability.
LXDE now has GTK3 updates available.
Current Debian/Ubuntu LXDE Distributions
Currently there are a number of distributions supporting or based on LXDE, and can be considered as alternatives to Lanna Linux. However none combine Debian Testing (or Unstable) and LXDE.
- KNOPPIX v.8.6.1 (2019-11-25), based on Debian Stable -- Focus on bootable LIVE DVD images
- Raspberry Pi OS v.2021-10-30, uses the PIXEL desktop based on LXDE, based on Debian Stable -- Focus on Raspberry Pi hardware
- Trisquel Mini v10.0 (2022-02-02), based on Ubuntu
- LXLE v.18.04.3 (2019-09-09), based on Ubuntu -- Focus on continuing the LUBUNTU distribution, which has since switched from LXDE to LXQT
- Kali Linux unfortunately has not supported LXDE since 2018, based on Debian Testing
- Sparky Linux unfortunately has not supported LXDE since 2020, based on Debian Testing
Lanna Linux is similar to these, though focused on x86_64 hardware, based on Debian Testing, with a focus on usability and updated applications, has a particular niche. Dark Mode is the standard configuration.