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Elive Linux
Developer Samuel F. Baggen (Thanatermesis)
Written in C
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release 24 January 2005;
13 years ago
Latest release 3.0 / 10 September 2018
(8 days ago)
Latest preview 2.9.99[3] / 5 January 2018
(8 months ago)
Marketing target Personal computers, servers, tablet computers
Available in 69 languages
Update method APT (several front-ends available)
Package manager dpkg
Platforms I486, IA-32, x86-64,AMD64 (soon)
Kernel type Monolithic: Linux
Userland GNU
Default user interface Enlightenment
License Free software licenses
(mainly GPL)
Official website www.elivecd.org

Elive is a non-commercial Linux distribution based on Debian and uses Enlightenment as user interface.


Elive was born in Belgium prior to 2005 as a private experiment by its founder to customize a Knoppix Live CD running the Enlightenment and with the designs based in the Evil Entity distro, it was called Tezcatlipotix, since the result was better than expected the desire to create a public version started.[4][5]

Two months later the first public version with the name of Elive appeared publicly, appearing directly in Slashdot.[6]


Elive has access to online repositories of Debian (Wheezy) and uses its own repositories with more than 2500 packages that includes own specific software for Elive, extra software, or packages that replaces the default ones provided by Debian, improving the overall system and integrity.[5][7][8] Elive comes with a complete set of included software to fit any needs for example free programs as: LibreOffice, Chromium, Iceweasle, Icedove, VLC media player, GIMP, Inkscape, Blender, Skype, Virtual box, Avidemux,...[9][10]

Elive has 3D effects without need of an accelerated graphic card.[11]

Desktop environments[edit]

Elive offers images specifically built for Enlightenment.[12][13][14]


Elive is a very light and fast system which makes it a very good option for old computers.[8][15][16] The minimum system requirements

  • Beta version: 500 MHz CPU with 192 MB of RAM and 128 mb of SWAP
  • Stable version (3.0): 500 MHz CPU with 192 MB of RAM and 128 mb of SWAP
  • Old stable (2.0 Topaz) : 300 MHz CPU with 128 MB of RAM
  • Older versions: 100 MHz CPU with 64 MB of RAM[17][14]

For a better and complete experience, suggested requirements are Pentium 4 with Hyper-threading and 512 MB of RAM.

For most everyday users, the memory consumption will never hit 1GB

Installation and Live images[edit]

Live Mode[edit]

Elive releases both images for CD/DVDs and USB flash drives that can be used in live mode. When booting from the drive the image was burnt into, it will be available to use different kernels (one for newer and on fore legacy hardware) with different drivers support. This way, it will be harder to meet any drivers related issue!

In Elive's images are available multiple tools to automatically detect the best software settings for the available hardware, reviling its usage extremely user friendly.

The live mode is capable of running a complete desktop environment: any needed software is already bundled inside the os image, meaning it's ready for everyday usage out of the box (ranging from libreoffice to a personalized version of Vim).

The most important feature of the live mode is Persistence, meaning, in case the drive is a usb flash drive or a similar device (like DVD-RAM), the remaining free space can be used as if the os was actually installed (any change made during a live session wil be saved!). Moreover, in case a swap partition is added to the drive, hibernation is available in live mode too.[18]

The downside of such any easy to use os is the size of the image itself, which weigths over 3 GB. This is more than the usual size of most common linux distros featuring live mode (like ubuntu and Q4OS[1]), but it's really understandable when releasing an extermely user friendly os which meats the minimum requirements[2] of light operating systems like Puppy Linux.

Install Mode[edit]

Although it works greatly in live mode, Elive works best installed on the hard drive rather than used as a live distro, so it's claimed to be good for a daily used basis. This is mainly due to the Bottleneck caused by the slow data transfer rate of usb flash drives (data rate that drops significantly in case a dvd drive is used, which can cause a painful experience).[19]

The installation of Elive in your computer is initiated from the Live environment. This is required to have an optimal configuration of the specific hardware which is due by automated tools that guide the user in the Live mode, then a clean installation can be proceeded with the system correctly configured.[20]

Despite the default installation will be almost a clone of the live session, since some users may find it bloated, the installer lets you select which software and features you want to install.

Commercial Status[edit]

Prior the Elive 2.0 (Topaz), the only way to get Elive installed on the hard disk was through a small donation. Although it still had free alternatives for those who couldn't afford to donate.[21][22] Elive got the false reputation to be a commercial distro. Elive is developed mainly by only 1 programmer so to keep it running funds are needed to keep Elive alive.

In 2017 Elive decided to remove this limitation by promising to release the 3.0 version entirely cost-free [23]. As version 3.0 was released, these promises were kept and now the os is available either through donation and download, delayed free direct download and torrent.

Package management[edit]

Package management operations can be performed with dpkg on the lowest level command or for administering packages the apt toolset is used.

dpkg provides the low-level infrastructure for package management. The dpkg database contains the list of installed software on the current system. The command can work with local .deb packages files, and information from the dpkg databases, but doesn't use repositories.

For less expert users, any .deb package can be installed just double clicking on it like it where a .exe in windows.

APT tools[edit]

An Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) tool allows administering an installed Debian system to retrieve and revolve packages dependencies from repositories. APT tool share dependency information and cached packages.

Again, for a a more user-friendly approach, in elive there's a GTK+ based program (Synaptic) included by default for searching, downloading and installing programs as it'd be possible using APT (Debian).

Source Code[edit]

All the sources codes including the new one are moved to github repositories.[24]


Two branches of Elive (also called releases, distributions or suits) are regularly maintained:

  • Stable is the current release and targets stable and well-tested software needs.
  • Beta or testing is the preview branch that eventually becomes the next major release.

Other branches in Elive:

  • Old these are old versions available the Elive Museum page. These are CDROM versions and aren't supported anymore but the site of Elive kept them available to download for old computers that require very light systems.[17]
  • Compiz was in the versions of 2009 an experiment with E17 and Compiz. But since 2.9.0 is included by default as a stable option[25]


  1. ^ Distribution Release: Elive 0.3 (DistroWatch.com News)
  2. ^ "Elive 3.0 Stable is released!". Elive Linux. 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2018-09-11. 
  3. ^ Elive 2.9.22 beta released - Elive Linux
  4. ^ Thanatermesis (2006-12-04), tezcatlipotix, retrieved 2017-04-19 
  5. ^ a b "Enlighten your desktop with Elive | PACKT Books". www.packtpub.com. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  6. ^ "Elive Beta: Enlightenment Sans Commitment - Slashdot". tech.slashdot.org. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  7. ^ DistroWatch. "DistroWatch.com: Elive". distrowatch.com. Retrieved 2017-04-23. 
  8. ^ a b "Elive" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  9. ^ "Applications Included - Elive Linux". Elive Linux. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  10. ^ "You Want A Beautiful OS? Try Elive - Make Tech Easier". Make Tech Easier. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  11. ^ "Elive Linux- Fast and Fantastic Linux Destro – Code Morning Xyz". codemorning.xyz. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  12. ^ "Enlightenment Linux: It's Not What You Think | Reviews | LinuxInsider". www.linuxinsider.com. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  13. ^ "OpenSourceFeed: Elive 2.7.2 beta released with improved look and feel". OpenSourceFeed. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  14. ^ a b "Elive 2.0 "Topaz"". soypintino.bligoo.com.ar (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  15. ^ "Elive consigue ser más rápida y más bonita que antes". Linux Adictos (in Spanish). 2017-03-13. Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  16. ^ Nestor, Marius. "Elive 2.7.6 Beta Linux OS Lands with Amazing Speedup Improvements to Some Apps". softpedia. Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  17. ^ a b "Elive - Download Old Versions". Elive Linux. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  18. ^ "Fastest and best looking Linux Distribution. (Elive) - Forums". CNET. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  19. ^ "Elive 2.8.8 Beta erschienen - Pro-Linux". Pro-Linux (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-15. 
  20. ^ "Elive 2.0 - Distro Review". jeffhoogland.blogspot.be. Retrieved 2017-04-22. 
  21. ^ "Modulo de instalacion Elive Topaz 2.0 metodo para obtenerlo!" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  22. ^ "Elive 2.0 Topaz" (in Russian). 2010-03-07. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  23. ^ "Elive - Crowdfunding 3.0". Elive Linux. Retrieved 2016-12-01. 
  24. ^ "Elive Systems". GitHub. Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  25. ^ "E17 Compiz - Elive Linux". Elive Linux. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 

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