Elive 2.0 Stable review

Elive is a Belgian, Debian based distro using the Enlightenment (E17) window manager.

If you want to install Elive 2.0 to your hard drive, you will need to donate money to its creator.

This fact was not mentioned on Elive’s homepage, so this came as a surprise to me when I wanted to install it.

You have to donate at least €15 before you get access to the module required to run the installer.

As a result, I can only review the live CD.

Elive 2.0

Live CD

Elive comes with a lot of software installed, which came as a bit of a surprise to me, since it’s often mentioned as a good light-weight distro.

The live CD comes with Abiword, Gnumeric, a video and audio editor. It has flash support, mp3 support it plays popular video formats.

The file browser (besides the horrible E17 one) is Thunar.

Besides that it has Skype, Amsn, Iceweasel (Firefox) and Xchat.

There is an application that adds SMB support to Thunar (to share files with Windows).

The live CD was tested using 750mb of ram memory and everything ran smoothly. E17 offers a good mixture between light-weight and eye-candy to its users.


A minor problem is that some of the software is a bit outdated. For instance Iceweasel uses version 3.0.6 and Thunar uses version 0.9.0, both pretty old versions.

There are some weird choices of pre-made directories and stuff in those directories. For instance, there is a “Desktop” directory which has a “Torrent” and “Xchat” folder. The same directories however also appear under “Downloads”. There is a directory in “Video” called “Elive”, but that contains a stream to a IBM Linux commercial, also there is a “cinerella_projects” directory, but Cinerella isn’t installed. In the “Music” directory there are streams to shoutcast radio stations. Pretty weird.

There is no application to change the keyboard layout. I don’t used QWERTY so I found it hard to use. I know you can change it using the terminal, but that really shouldn’t be necessary.

Thunar doesn’t offer me the option to mount the hard drives in my PC. So I have to manually mount them from the terminal. There are applications on the live CD that need hard drives (video editor, …) so this is a little issue for people who don’t know how to manually mount drives from the CLI.


I don’t find this distro worth the trouble. As a live CD it’s not bad, but it’s not great either.

I understand the developer wants some sort of income from his project, but I don’t see why I would pay him for his work when I can just install Debian Lenny and E17 and have the same thing for free.

Do you agree, or not? Drop a line in the comments.

    • mariusz
    • March 24th, 2010

    “Debian Lenny and E17 and have the same thing for free”.I disagree unless you advance user who likes to spend lots of time typing in terminal. Believe me guys it is very stable, gorgeous looking OS. It’s take some time to learn e17 but it shouldn’t bee a big problem for most linux users.I’ve run it on my HP DV6000 along with vista for couple weeks and I’m very happy.Definitely worth 15$ I spent on it.Some people trying to make living doing what they love to do so why not to help a little.

    • Scott
    • April 4th, 2010

    I downloaded Elive Gem stable some time ago and was required to make a “donation” to get it. The good: it made my 5 year old laptop run like greased lightning! I would’ve caused even the newest Windows machine to freeze up just by by doing half of the tasks. I also really liked the Enlightenment desktop. The Bad: An Adobe Flash update is not supported without compromising the integrity of the system. I spent hours with a friend trying to get this to work, which eventually it did. But… now my “stable” system is grossly unstable. My solution: Download the new distro (Topaz) which has flash 10. Of course now I’m required to make a “donation” which my financial situation doesn’t allow. I’ve purchased software from other vendors and gotten much better support and upgrades. I realize this is open source, but my question is… If we have to pay for this, why is there not better support. I have no problem donating to a
    cause I believe in to make a better OS, but some support of existing distros would be nice. Not just release new versions and require a “donation” before you give up the goods.

      • Shaine
      • May 5th, 2010

      I may not have a lot of room to comment because I havn’t tested Elive at all. I do feel a lot more obliged to offer donation to a developer when it is a choice before or after installation. He does offer codes to override the “donation” feature for writing about Elive or some other service. I’d like to test it because I want to see what it can do that MacPup 2.0 can’t. I know MacPup mounts drives easily with Pmount, offers multiple keyboard layouts, has latest Opera w/ flash, and additional packages. Though I don’t think Elive has apt-get I’m interested in being able to use deb files with Elive. Is Elive just the same as slapping E17 onto Debian?…depends on the level of integration.

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