Recently (in my Pardus Linux article) Ghacks reader PeterB mentioned one of his favorite distributions Greenie Linux. Of course I had to give this a whirl and see what it was all about. At first I was a bit disappointed in that this Slovakian distribution had dropped English language support on the site. So learning about the distro wasn't going to be easy. So instead I knew I was just going to have to download the ISO file and give it a whirl. Fortunately I knew the creators of Greenie wouldn't have also dropped English support in the distribution itself (Alas, I do not speak Slovak).
Well, I was correct. The English support wasn't dropped from the distribution. I did, however, have to make my way through to the install in order to select English as the language. In this article I will show you how to do that, and then I will highlight what makes this distribution good for the new user.
After you have downloaded and burned the ISO (Of course you can just use the ISO in VirtualBox, if you don't have a blank CD or DVD handy). Put the CD (or DVD) in the drive and reboot your machine. When the live version of Greenie finally is loaded you will notice everything is in Slovakian. No problem. Notice (in Figure 1) the highlighted icon on the desktop (the one that says "Instalovat Greenie"), I was fairly confident that translated roughly into "Install Greenie". I was correct. Double click that icon to begin the installation.
You will also notice (in that same image) that the very first step is the language selection. Saved! Scroll around until you find your language of choice (mine being English).
Ah, but youi're not completely out of the woods yet. Although the language has been set, your keyboard has not. Greenie still thinks the default keyboard is Slovak. So (as shown in Figure 2), when you reach the keyboard selection, make sure you select the right keyboard layout. If you do not, you will have trouble using Greenie Linux once installed.
Outside of making sure you select those two items, the installation is fairly standard. It is based on Ubuntu so you should find it an incredibly easy installation.
How does it differ?
There are a few, instantly, noticeable changes that Greenie has made to the standard Ubuntu. One of the first things you will notice is that there is a heck of a lot more icons on the desktop and panels than on the standard Ubuntu. The panels are practically bursting with icons and monitors. The two icons on the right side of the lower panel are of particular interest (one of which was mentioned by PeterB). Take a look at Figure 3. The far right icon (the big X) is basically an icon for the xkill command. This command will fire up a special cursor that will kill any application you click on. It's very handy when an app is not responding. The other icon (the odd green and white "gear" next to the xkill icon), when clicked, opens up the run dialog. Handy...but for new users? Not so much, seeing as how you need to know the command you wanted to run to take advantage of this tool.
What is most impressive about Greenie is that they have really jammed a lot of good applications into this distribution. In fact the more you poke around the more you start to think this distribution is just as much for experienced users as it is for newbies. Greenie even includes a cool tool called Ubuntu Tweak. This tool allows you to configure a ton of otherwise hidden settings, configure templates, clean up unneeded packages, and a lot more. After using Ubuntu Tweak, I'm thinking this tool needs to be included in every Ubuntu release! In fact, Ubuntu Tweak needs an article on its own (it's that good).
PeterB was right. Greenie Linux is one outstanding distribution. All you have to do is get beyond the language barrier (by simply installing the distro) and you will find a flavor of Linux that has something for just about everyone. Give this distribution a try. You won't be disappointed.
Update: The homepage of Greenie Linux is no longer available.