Friday, 29 July 2011

A new Skinny

A beta for a Wheezy and Squeeze compatible SkinnyDebbie is available.

I just finished making a very painful upgrade of my main laptop’s OS. The upside of this is that it essentially forced me to tie up a number of loose ends with the SD I’ve been using for the last couple years.

My new OS is Wheezy, and so far I’ve only had a chance to test SD on that target. But I don’t think there’s anything that should cause any problems with Squeeze.

The new Skinny is hugely different from the originals. Rather than being IceWM and ROX-filer centric, it is Openbox+fbpanel and Thunar centric. Installation is via tarballs with Makefiles. There’s no “Control Panel” to speak of.

To install the latest SD, you’ll need to install two tarballs:

You may also want to check out skinny-update-manager — but it’s a bit more rough than I’d like at the moment.

Given the similarity of this to other recentish developments in the lightweight desktop environment area, this will probably be the last Skinny. While the prototype for this release predates both Crunchbang Linux and LXDE, it’s profoundly amazing how similar this effort is to those two.[1] I’ll maintain this release as long as I use it, but I think the whole SD project has probably outlived its usefulness.

I’ll update the main site soonish.

[1] In case you think I’m suggesting that either of these projects were in any way influenced by mine, I am 99.9999% percent sure this is not the case. It’s just a matter of spontaneous convergence. As for influence in the other direction, let me also say for the record that I shamelessly ripped off the taskbar clock/date format from Crunchbang Linux. There are some significant differences between SD and CBL and LXDE which I will document later. However, the differences are probably not big enough to warrant keeping an additional and hugely obscure DE in the field.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


SkinnyDebbie for Lenny is out!

This should be considered a beta release. There has been a ton of refactoring and restructuring, so I am pretty sure that there are some bugs that need to be squashed. Also, all the development was done in a virtual environment where I was not able to test automounting or audio. I’ll do real automounting and audio testing in September, but the underlying code for both worked fine in Skinny for Etch.

The basic installation process is:

1) Do a Debian Lenny network install without any desktop environment.

2) Login to the user account you created. (Do not login as root.)

3) Install SkinnyDebbie by typing the command:


followed by:

install bash

I will integrate installation documentation into the main website in the next few days.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Repository changes

I have closed the test repository I created earlier and created a new repository for SkinnyDebbie that I hope to use when everything goes live (next week?).

The new repository is:

deb binary/ 

Please update your entries accordingly.

Monday, 22 June 2009


I have built a repository for testing purposes that you are invited to use if you are sufficiently brave.

To use the repository, add

deb binary/ 

to your /etc/apt/sources.list and update apt or aptitude or do a reload in synaptic. Then look for entries under skinny.

Note that because I am not using digital signing (yet?), apt,aptitude, synaptic, etc. will warn you that the skinny packages cannot be authenticated. The risk in installing these unauthenticated packages is no greater than the risk of installing a tar or other package that you may download off the Web. But if you are feeling extra cautious, you can download the packages only (without installing) then inspect the code manually to verify that there hasn’t been a third-party interception.