Lean Debian derivative Semplice Linux


The default Openbox desktop already looks quite modern, but it could use a little more polish. To achieve this, Semplice offers the Appearance settings tool in the Appearance menu. The tool, originally from the LXDE collection, supports detailed visual adjustments of the desktop. In addition to setting options for colors, window frames, and the widget theme, you can also change the font type and size, as well as the appearance of the mouse pointer (Figure 3).

Figure 3: You can modify the appearance of the Semplice desktop with a single tool.

Using the Appearance | Visual effects menu item, you can enable additional visual highlights such as shadows and transparencies. Note that some graphics cards cannot handle these effects, and there is no easy way to revert if things go wrong. Thus, testing these features on a Live system first makes sense.


Semplice Linux comes with its own Alan2 dynamic menu tool for Openbox. Alan2 generates new entries and program groups in the menu when you install additional software without having to edit the configuration files, which is otherwise the case in Openbox. Because of its modular structure, the Python tool also lets you integrate extensions.

In this way, you can add, for example, a dynamically updated system info display to the desktop menu. Extensions specifically written for Semplice Linux and Alan2 are available from the Semplice Forum [2]. If an application you install fails to create a menu entry, you can add it manually in the Alan2 menus [3].

Web Applications

Semplice prompts you in a separate dialog during the installation whether to install different services and applications and enables web application support out the box. This explains why you will find an Add web application entry in the Applications | Internet menu after the first reboot.

Clicking this launcher opens a small window in which you can set up web services, such as your choice of webmailer, which then launches in a separate window (Figure 4). In the corresponding settings dialog, you can set the size of the window and add a new entry in a submenu.

Figure 4: Thanks to Oneslip, you can integrate individual web content seamlessly into the system.

After creating a web application, the WebKit2-based browser Oneslip is launched without a navigation and address bar, thus resembling a conventional program window.

Another cool feature of Semplice Linux is the ability to control the active services in Applications | Administration | Services. In the corresponding dialog, you can switch on the services you need by checking a box or disable them by unchecking (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The Services Settings dialog lets you control various system services at the push of a button.

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