NuTyX 15.05: Child of Linux From Scratch


© Lead Image © modella,

© Lead Image © modella,

Article from Issue 179/2015

The independent French distribution NuTyX offers impressive performance and many innovations.

Several hundred different distributions vie for the attention of Linux users. Many of these distributions rely on one of the established systems as their basis and thus exhibit many features of the original. But NuTyX [1], which originated in Switzerland and is now being developed in France, takes an individual approach. The NuTyX distribution – currently at version 15.05 – is based on Linux From Scratch and has its own package manager with separate repositories.

First Impressions

NuTyX already stands out from the crowd when you download the ISO image. Although many distributions have now reached a volume of 2-3GB, NuTyX comes as an ISO image of just 200MB that will easily fit on a CD or an older USB memory stick. In addition to the operating system, basic tools, and the package manager, the image file also includes the installation routine and the GRUB boot manager. Graphical interfaces are missing, as are the major office programs, web browsers, and multimedia applications.

Because NuTyX does not support a Live mode, the newly burned CD immediately launches into the installation routine. You first need to choose a language before the routine takes you to a window with various installation options. In the window, you can prepare your mass storage, configure the boot manager, and configure the network connection (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Not pretty, but functional: the NuTyX installation routine.

If you already have another operating system on your hard disk, you will want to repartition the disk. After selecting the Partitioning option, NuTyX launches either fdisk or cfdisk. When done, you can add a filesystem to the new partition by selecting the Format menu item; the routine supports many different filesystems.


If you want to change the keyboard mapping, you can do that from Keyboard. Then, go to the Install menu item to initiate the system installation. The routine prompts you for a couple more parameters, such as the date and time, the bootloader storage location, the network configuration, and so on; then, it takes you to a login prompt after completing the install. Type root as the username and nutyx as the password. The operating system then starts the routine for modifying the standard password for the administrator.

Because the NuTyX installer does not set up any other users, you will probably want to define a couple more user accounts to avoid working with root privileges all the time. NuTyX offers the nu command for this task. When you run the tool, the system prompts you for the new username and then for the matching password. After confirming the password, the new user account is available for use on the system.


NuTyX supports several graphical interfaces; however, in contrast to popular distributions, they are not installed using one of the well-known package managers. Instead, the operating system comes with its own Cards tool for package management that automatically resolves any dependencies. The distribution still does not have a graphical management tool, but you can type cards --help to view all the parameters for Cards.

To add a graphical user interface to the system, you first need a working X server. To set this up, type

cards install xorg

at the root prompt. Then launch the X server in the normal way with the startx command. To install a full-fledged graphical desktop, type:

cards install <Desktop>

NuTyX supports the KDE, Openbox, Razor-qt, and Xfce desktops.

Next, reboot the system; after a graphical login, NuTyX automatically launches the X server and loads the desktop environment you installed. The first time you boot the computer after installing the new desktop, make sure you select the correct desktop environment when you login from the Desktop field at the bottom left. If you have set up multiple desktop environments, then you can select the desired desktop at this point.

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