January 25, 2006

Review: Atomix Linux 3.2

Author: Mirko Perak

After several years' work, a team of young Linux experts from Serbia has released Atomix Linux 3.2 to the public. Considering the long development period -- more than three years -- my expectations were fairly high, but Atomix met my expectations.

Atomix Linux is a derivative of Fedora Core Linux. When I've tested Fedora Core 4, applications such as OpenOffice.org, Gaim, Evolution, and ImageMagick have crashed a few times. During the two months of testing Atomix I haven't had any programs crash or freeze, which I found impressive. It appears as if the Atomix developers have focused on making sure that all applications function reliably.


Before you begin the installation, set up the computer so to boot from a DVD or CD. The distribution comprises one DVD or five CDs. You can find ISOs on the Mannheim University FTP Server or the project's Web site (CD ISOs only).

Since Atomix is a Fedora derivative, it's no surprise that it uses the Anaconda GUI-based installer. Anaconda is simple and accessible, even for users who are inexperienced. Choose the packages carefully, however. For some reason, the Atomix team did not include some popular applications with the set of programs that are installed automatically. You'll have to select some programs manually if you want to install them, including Evolution, GnomeMeeting, gFTP, KPhone, Nvu, aMule, GnuCash, dvgrab, and several others. It's difficult to say why developers excluded these applications, which would normally be installed if you were using Fedora Core.

Atomix on the desktop

Click to enlarge

Atomix uses KDE 3.4.1 by default, but you can install GNOME if you choose to. Among the applications installed by default are the GIMP 2.2.7, Sodipodi, Skencil 0.6.16, Inkscape, Blender 2.3.7a, Thunderbird, Firefox 1.0.4, Adobe Reader 7.0, Scribus 1.2.1, OpenOffice.org 1.1.3, Nvu 1.0PR, Bluefish 1.0.1, Xine, Sound Juicer 2.10.1, MPlayer, K3b 0.12.1, amaroK 1.2.4, and the Red Hat network tool.

One of Atomix's strengths is its multimedia support. MPlayer (and a package of additional skins) is available for displaying content in DivX format, and Atomix includes Xine for playing DVDs. If you decided during installation to install the video players package, you will get libdvdcss, so you will be able to watch commercial DVDs by default. For music, Atomix includes amaroK and XMMS, which play Ogg files out of the box. Users that want to play MP3s will have to install the xmms-mp3 and amarok-xine packages from the DVD.

Binary NVIDIA and ATI drivers are not installed by default, so users will need to install them separately from the Atomix site. Installation of other packages can be performed with the tools under the Add/Remove Packages entry in the System Setting menu. The Atomix team recommends the graphical KYum tool, which can be found on the installation DVD.

Atomix on the server

Atomix Linux proved to be as good on a server as any other distro. If you want to use Atomix as a server, choose the Server option during the first step of the installation process. This will enable file sharing support, Apache, PHP, and network printing. If you choose the Server installation, the graphic environment will not be installed, though you can install KDE and GNOME later.

To install these or other applications from the console, you can use Yum. Yum will download new software from the Atomix repository by default, but if you want to install applications from the DVD or CD media using yum, then edit /etc/yum.repos.d/atomix.repo to add the following line:


You can use the command service from the console to initiate and stop services, or in the graphic environment you can use the service configuration window. Atomix comes with the Apache Web server version 2.054, and you can also automatically install support for PHP, Perl, Python, and SSL. Additional modules provide support for Kerberos, MySQL, PostgreSQL, LDAP, and Subversion.

Atomix on the server won't give you anything you won't get from Fedora Core, but if you like Atomix on your desktop, you might also want to run it on the server.


Atomix Linux doesn't offer anything new in the world of Linux distributions. Nevertheless, its advantage is its quality, and a high level of technical refinement. You don't have to deal with the usual troubles in the initial system configuration, so you get a functional desktop out of box. Despite the fact that Atomix is the product of Serbian experts, support for the English language is installed by default, hence the other users throughout the world can try this distribution also without any problems.

Mirko Perak is freelance IT journalist from Belgrade, Serbia. He was the first journalist to write about Linux regularly in Serbia.


  • Linux
Click Here!