First Look at MX Linux Fluxbox on the Raspberry Pi 4

MX Linux Fluxbox Raspberry


The MX Linux community recently announced their first respin for the Raspberry Pi computer, MX Linux Fluxbox-RaspberryPi Respin, so I thought to give you guys a first look at it to tell you what works, what doesn’t work, and what needs to be improved.

MX Linux Fluxbox-RaspberryPi Respin is MX Linux’s first attempt to offer an AArch64 (ARM64) port for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer. The work is done by Jerry Bond and others, and let me tell you that it’s one of the best Linux on Raspberry Pi experiences I’ve tried so far in terms of performance and usability.

I’m not a fan of the Fluxbox window manager, but I understand why Jerry Bond choose it as default graphical environment for this Raspberry Pi spin of MX Linux. It’s super fast and consumes very few resources. For example, the RAM usage is always around 300MB (without any apps running), and that’s very important for older devices, such as a Raspberry Pi 3 with 2GB RAM.

Yes, that’s right, MX Linux Fluxbox for Raspberry Pi runs on Raspberry Pi 3 and later devices. For this review, I’ve used my Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM and the experience has been quite amazing so far.

MX Linux Fluxbox-RaspberryPi Respin

As you can see from the screenshot above, MX Linux Fluxbox-RaspberryPi Respin is based on the official Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian). This means one thing, that you’ll get the awesome Raspberry Pi Configuration utility, which makes your life easier by giving you full control over the tiny computer.

The most important thing you can set here is, of course, the size of the GPU memory for smooth video playback. In addition to the Raspberry Pi Configuration utility, you’ll also get all the cool and useful MX Tools to fully configuring MX Linux for the best possible experience.

The installation was a breeze. All you have to do is download the binary image from the official website and write it on a microSD card using the official Raspberry Pi Imager utility. Then insert the microSD card into the Raspberry Pi and power it on.

On the first boot, the system will reboot once it reaches the login screen. The default user is Pi and you have to use the password “raspberry” (without the quotes). Thanks to the Raspberry Pi Configuration you won’t have to do that again as you can choose automatic login on the System tab.

The graphical UI uses the Tint2 panel at the bottom of the screen as a taskbar from where you can launch apps, access running apps, switch between virtual workspaces, and access the system tray area. In addition, you’ll also get an app launcher with several predefined shortcuts on the left side of the screen.

What works? Almost everything that’s essential for everyday computing. Wi-Fi 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks work, Bluetooth works out of the box and I was even able to connect my TaoTronics wireless earbuds with zero effort, sound works, video playback works in Full HD, and YouTube 1080p works too in Firefox (default web browser) if you enable WebRender and VAAPI support in about:config.

What doesn’t work? Netflix/Hulu/Disney/Spotify and other popular audio/video streaming services. But that’s a general problem due to the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. The Widevine CDM plugin isn’t available on the Linux build of Firefox for the AArch64 architecture, so you’ll have to install and use a patched Chromium browser (I highly recommend using this guide).

I really like MX Linux on the Raspberry Pi computer. You also get a bunch of popular apps installed by default, including the Thunar file manager, Claws Mail email client, VLC media player, Synaptic package manager, and even Conky to spice up your desktop, since Fluxbox is so 90’s.

Last updated 8 months ago