Unpopular Opinion Penguin #3: The Empire Strikes Back

Hello, and welcome! To another entry of this section called Unpopular Opinion Penguin.

I’m here to take a look at the newest “review” that our lovely haters (let’s call them for what they are) at DistroWatch published on their website some weeks ago. Unsurprisingly, this so-called “review” is once again filled with lies, deception, and hypocrisy, as it’s been a custom of theirs, in what has been their most recent attempt at undermining and trying to bury our work under the rug.

Without further ado, let’s begin.

(It starts with one) One thing

It’s the 12th of October, 2020, and I wake up to a tweet mentioning Nitrux and a review of nobody else but DistroWatch—Not again!—I scream internally. But there it was, Distrowatch Weekly Issue 887, and along with it a “review” of Nitrux 1.3.2 —Wait a minute, there it says Nitrux 2020.09.05? — Ah, yes, that’s because these clowns keep using their own version number for our releases, because fuck us, why else. As I scroll through, I’m just wondering why they “reviewed” version 1.3.2 when 1.3.3 had already been released two weeks ago! (Nitrux 1.3.3 was released on the 27th of September, 2020) and version 1.3.4 being released nineteen days later.

Not that it matters as Nitrux has been a rolling-release distribution for some time now, you don’t need to reinstall using the latest ISO; you can update using the package manager. But of course, they glaringly omit that.

Anyway, what I’m going to be doing is take a screenshot of each paragraph section of this “review” and go through each of them as I uncover their evident hate and discomfort for us.

Let’s begin with their introduction; let’s see.

Ah, yes, the classic It’s Ubuntu-based. We use an Ubuntu minimal rootfs to build our distribution; that’s no secret, but taking a look at the ISO’s build log and searching for archive.ubuntu.com (which is the Ubuntu main server), brings about ~340 results, comparably deb.devuan.org brings over 1,000 results. So, fair enough, it’s still dpkg-based; that’d be more accurate.

Right we do mention a handful of key features you know what else we mention? Our cross-platform, convergent UI framework and applications that we make with it!. What a strange thing to just completely omit isn’t it?.

Never have I seen the Live ISO boot to SDDM, never. Not on VirtualBox, not on VMWare Workstation, not on my laptop or my desktop.

Yes, the default is the dark theme, we also include a light theme, and we also include a mix of the two. Also, we include a second layout for the desktop; the default is the macOS-like layout; the alternative is the Windows-like layout. Ah, but of course, let’s not mention that to our readers. So much for “exploring the live environment.”


Summary: It has been only the introduction, and we’re already omitting information, huh, DistroWatch? We’re off to a great start.

We have been mentioning for the past three releases (1.3.2, 1.3.3, and 1.3.4) the following:

  • The Calamares-qml installer presents two issues that affect its usage when selecting the options “Replace” or “Install alongside.” Visit GitHub for more information.


I guess you didn’t get the memo, DistroWatch?.

Effectively, we use a BTRFS layout by default. No, we don’t set a Swap partition; we don’t live in the ’90s anymore; mind you, if you need one, you can use a Swap file; that’s the modern way of doing Swap.

Ah, “curiously,” as in it’s visible, but I’m still going to hang on to that. Right, let’s say fair enough, the background, though transparent enough, shouldn’t be white.


Summary: More omissions.

Okay, fair enough, that I can confirm that it has happened before (connection problems to Devuan’s main servers). We fixed that by not using their main servers but their mirrors; it was fixed for version 1.3.3. Obviously, the update was also rolled out for the version they were “reviewing.” Nonetheless, the “review” makes it seem as if it was a problem that we caused. No, DistroWatch, we do not manage Devuan’s servers, we manage our own, and you didn’t have a problem with our server(s).


Summary: Trying the blame-game now, are we?.

Oh, but it gets better!.

What are you even talking about? we do set the favorites in the application menu!; however, that’s why there is a dock at the bottom; it serves the same purpose. Removing the favorites page from the menu is an open issue it would’ve been informative to mention that, don’t you think?. Then, yes, you have to switch to the next page in the menu to access all the applications; why in the hell are you making it sound as if it was this gigantic, enormous, and difficult task to do it? Do you know what else you can do? You can drag the central area of the menu (or use the mouse-wheel) and perform the same task! You would’ve known had you actually explore the Live environment as you supposedly did.

Oh-my-god. “Programs are grouped strangely on Nitrux with the category names being: Bundled Apps, KDE apps, Maui Apps, Qt Apps, and Utilities.”Gee, I wonder exactly what the hell could be in the folder KDE apps, probably Gnome apps! Are you being serious right now?. Then that frivolous “I asked a non-techie person what category might hold an image viewer”— I don’t know, maybe use the search bar in the menu? No? that’s still too “techie”?—What.

I mean, wow, ok, let’s calm down for a minute, let’s say that this is something that does happen, fair enough, how can a user manage this confusion? Simple, by editing the menu folders!. Period. Right-click the menu icon, configure NX Menu, voila!. What does DistroWatch choose to do here? Nah, let’s fucking omit more information!.

But ok, using your anecdotal UX experiment, are you literally ignoring the System Settings icon in the dock? Was that not an option? I mean, you didn’t have a problem opening the file manager and the terminal emulator? But you do have a problem with the customizable menu categorization?.

Nonetheless, let’s say that was some weird feedback about the categorization.

Then again, so much for “exploring the Live environment.”

And it doesn’t stop there, no, “Nitrux does not appear to be trying to be particularly lightweight, so I was surprised the manual pages have been excluded from the distribution.”Oh, so because we ship Plasma, we have to ship …manuals too? What?. What does that even mean? Do we include like four-hundred applications pre-installed as some distributions do? No, then what the actual hell are you even talking about, man?.

Also, “Digging further, I found Nitrux ships with the OpenRC init software and service manager.You make a complete fuss over the menu categorization (which is perfectly customizable!). Still, the fact that we use OpenRC is like, yeah, whatever, nothing important to see here. Lol, this is all kinds of funny and maddening, I swear.

Oh-my-god. “Something I occasionally ran into while running Nitrux was some application windows were very small when opened.”The windows are small the first time they’re opened! Such a terrible problem! Oh, what’s that? They’re fine afterward? Better not mention that, hehe.

“This happened in both test environments and did not change when adjusting screen resolution or the number of open windows on the desktop.”Why would they change… I give up, Jesus.

Summary: I am frankly at a loss of words.

Well, at least the “reviewer” didn’t have any problem with the Hardw…, seriously?

Of course, the resolution is limited in the Live environment; you have to install the Guest additions! Come on! What’s the excuse now?. The changelog of the exact version that you’re “reviewing” explicitly mentions the following:

  • To utilize 3D acceleration in a hypervisor like VirtualBox, please use the guest additions ISO from Oracle, do not use the Debian packages from the repositories. For VMware Workstation and VMware Player, please use the package open-vm-tools-desktop from the repositories.


So you didn’t even have the decency to read up on what you’re supposedly “reviewing”? What legitimacy could this “review” possibly have now?.

“When running on the laptop, the distribution detected all of my hardware. Again, Plasma was a little slow to respond. However, performance picked up once I disabled many of the visual effects in the settings panel.”I find that statement hard to believe; I don’t have a Core i3. Still, I do have a Core i5 (7400, god knows what i3 he has), and if anything, the smoothness and responsiveness of the Intel i945 Open Source driver are amazing, visual candy enabled and all, so I cast doubt on that “claim.” Especially since, you know, there’ isn’t an ounce of proof other than his word, which I mean considering everything so far has little to no value.

“Nitrux is a mid-weight distribution, consuming about 540MB of RAM and taking up 6.2GB of disk space”—Looking at his system specifications—You have 6GB of RAM, and half of that would be 3GB, so for Nitrux to be a “mid-weight” distribution it would need to have used 3GB of your RAM, which it didn’t use, it was using 540MB!.

If we then say, 6GB = 6000 MB, then 540MB = 9% of his total, available RAM. Nine. What the hell are you even on?!. You’re making up numbers now? “mid-weight”?. So you’re using a scale of 0 to 1000MB on a machine with six, freaking, times your top measure. Bravo.

The amount of used storage is perfectly standard; why are you even implying something else here?.

Summary: Great Scott! What am I even reading?!.

And it keeps going, and going, and going…

In a strange twist, unsurprisingly, we didn’t touch the one thing that the “reviewer” likes the most. But this goes on to show that lovely bias against the things that we did do.

“For example, trying to find programs like Pix and qps returned no search results in Discover, but did show up when using the APT command-line tools.”Well, here’s hoping that you opened a bug about that before you imply that it’s our fault too. Not that it would’ve mattered because that was a previous version of Discover (version 5.18.5 IIRC), we don’t use that version anymore. So, yeah.

Summary: The guy only described Discover, presumably in a seeming streak of luck we didn’t develop it; otherwise, he would find the tiniest of issues and make it sound like the greatest bug in the history of human software. Ever.

“The first is the NX Desktop, which is basically KDE Plasma with some alternative components. Nitrux swaps out some elements, adds some of its own applications, throws in the Latte dock, and enables several effects. It does provide a slightly different look and feel for Plasma, so I suppose the goal has been accomplished.”Yes, your supposition is correct; that was the point because, you know, it never was a desktop environment as you claimed, remember? Remember I told you that? And, we literally never intended to use vanilla Plasma 5.

“However, the changes are not ones I like. The menu feels empty and mostly a waste of space, I’m not a fan of the dock, and the enabled effects slow Plasma down noticeably. Desktop environments are always a matter of taste, and, personally, I wasn’t a fan of the alternations done to Plasma. “Ah, there it is, a glimpse of honesty. See? You could’ve saved words had you started (and limited yourself) only to say that, instead of letting this tirade of lies, deception, and hypocrisy reach the internet. Alas, it is your website, so who’s there to stop you?.

“Kup reportedly can create backups at a set interval, or we are told jobs can be triggered manually through the utility’s system tray icon.[…] However, I could find no option to trigger a new backup job. Even when backups were set to be entirely manual, I could not find a way to initiate them.”

Huh, what’s that? It does actually work? Lying again, I see.

That’s interesting, ain’t it?. Not only was I able to create a backup plan, but it did also actually work.

I thought you said that it didn’t work? Unless, no way, you lied?. I do not believe that!.

“Finally, the Nitrux website promotes NX Firewall, a tool for configuring the firewall. NX Firewall appears to offer very few options. We can turn the firewall on/off, and we can allow or deny both incoming and outgoing traffic. As far as I can tell, allowing or denying traffic in either direction is an all or nothing scenario. There doesn’t appear to be an option to open specific ports while blocking all others. The firewall is disabled by default but can be turned on with a click.”Well, yes, that’s all that it’s supposed to do? It’s just a simple firewall interface; it’s not a fucking CIA command center, for the love of GodCome on.

“Something I found odd was that once I had accessed the NX Firewall tool, made a change, and closed it, and then I could not relaunch NX Firewall. I also found that after opening the firewall utility, I could not launch the System Settings panel. Rebooting the computer allowed me to open the settings panel again and the firewall tool. As a test, I opened the NX Firewall and immediately closed it without making any changes. Then tried to open it again. This action failed, as did try to open System Settings. This seems to be a consistent problem with just opening NX Firewall disabling the settings panel until a reboot occurs.”Right, so, not only do we not have a bug reported about that, if it were that reproducible, someone would’ve told us. If that did happen, you could’ve logged out and logged in. Or, if we go by your train of thought, you could’ve also hammered your computer and purchased a new one to fix the problemI mean.

“This was a unique and unpleasant experience for me in the realm of firewall configuration tools.”—Likewise—This has been a unique and unpleasant experience for me in the realm of media coverage of our stuff.

Summary: I regret ever emailing DistroWatch to add the distribution to their list. I do.

It doesn’t even matter how hard you try

“Nitrux is an unusual project in a number of ways. In some ways, it feels like the developers are regularly trying to find or create an identity for their distribution. They’ve promoted AppImages, talked about alternative update methods, temporarily turned the distribution into an exclusively commercial offering, then shifted back to free downloads.”—Ah yes, the “commercial offering” argument, you know, for a website that proclaims to “Put the fun back in computing” and that thrived because of FOSS, you sure want us to be left out in the cold, dick.

We never sold licenses, we never sold subscriptions, we never sold physical copies, we never sold support, yet you insist on that?. Your “commercial offering” was a fucking one-time pay-what-you-want, free support, 5 EUR donation; how much of a wretched, miserable being do you have to be to no want other people to earn something for their work?. I’m completely disgusted by that rhetoric (whether it’s you or anyone else), and that’s saying something considering the bullshit treatment you have always given us.

We had a flourishing Patreon. We debuted a Liberapay page. We were considering Bountysource, but due to the absolute disgusting behavior of you changing our distribution description at your website, all of that is nothing but dead. So, by all means, you did manage to one-up us in that regard. Congratulations!.

“Their current offering feels like a strange mixture of Ubuntu, a modified Plasma desktop, and OpenRC init software in place of systemd.”—What’s that supposed to mean? If we stayed as close to Ubuntu as we were, you complain that we don’t offer anything special; if we don’t, then it’s a “strange mixture” What the fuck do you want from us then? What?!.

“Oddly enough, I’m not sure what to make of Nitrux in part because I have trouble figuring out who it is targeting.”—Well, it’s not targeting you, that’s for sure.

“There seems to be a slight focus on gaming and AppImages, but without many features geared towards either.”—Seriously? A “slight focus on AppImages”? Ever so slightly that we include literally tools to manage them, integrating them, sandboxing them, updating them, we released our Maui apps as AppImages (the apps that you didn’t even talk about!), we promote a central AppImage store, I mean, fuck off. And what’s that bullshit about not being for gaming? Why? Because we don’t include Steam by default? How would that suddenly make it “for gamers”? You seemingly didn’t even bother to find out that the itch.io store isn’t even included by default! It’s a shortcut to download the installer. Let alone that you didn’t talk about it? Or because we didn’t include a dozen Linux games? How can you even say, “but without many features geared towards either. It doesn’t make any sense in the slightest.

“I wouldn’t say Nitrux feels like a general-purpose operating system either as it has a strange menu structure, a limited range of default applications, and a curious mixture of repositories and default programs.”—Are you fucking kidding me? It’s not a general-purpose system because of the menu?! The same menu that you can customize? That menu?. You are unbelievable. Then, “a limited selection of default applications” in what fucking universe is that even, remotely, a problem? And what limitation are you even talking about? The only possible thing that we don’t include is an email client, a calendar application, a camera application, solitaire, or some ’90s game like that; how does that detract from the distribution not being general-purpose? Not to mention that a user can add whatever software they want! why are you implying something else?.

A “curious mixture of repositories and default programs.—Here’s something for you, take the Firefox package from Debian, Devuan, or Ubuntu, and you tell me that it is a different program to warrant your absurdity. What’s my point, the packages that all share are the same! Yes, there are packages found in one (like OpenRC) that are not in the other (OpenRC is not in the Ubuntu repositories, but Debian and Devuan have it). According to your astounding logic, every distribution with its own repositories and those of Ubuntu, Debian, or Devuan repositories has “a curious mixture of repositories.” And what’s “curious” about the default selection of software? It literally is a file manager, image viewer, web browser, calculator, software store, video editor, video player, settings program, office suite, image editors, etc., what the fuck does that even fucking mean?.

“I always appreciate it when projects try to add value or custom software or new ideas to their distribution. Stuff like NX Desktop and NX Firewall, for example, are at least doing something different.”—Do you? Do you though?. Because the only thing you have done is try to undermine and minimize our work whenever you please.

“These, along with Kup and the customized installer, give Nitrux a distinct feel. Unfortunately, the items which Nitrux uses as substitutes for more popular applications do not work as well as the tools offered by other distributions. NX Firewall has very limited options, even next to relatively simple tools like Gufw, and it causes the System Settings panel to stop working.”—Seriously, you whined that NX Firewall is not complicated enough, but you put Gufw as the comparison? Lol, what?.

“The note-taking and terminal applications open in tiny windows and always need to be resized. The note-taking tool doesn’t even seem to recognize documents it has saved before. The backup tool’s interval backup option did not work for me, leaving me without archives of my files.”—Here’s a pro-hack, use your mouse cursor and resize the goddamn windows!. Buho saves the notes and opens them; what the hell are you even talking about? And I have proven that Kup does, in fact, work. Stop lying!.

“All this is to say that while Nitrux is trying something different from the mainstream, there is a reason some applications and environments become mainstream: they typically work better. Being different is interesting, but I don’t think (in this case) there is a value-added by the alternative tools Nitrux is promoting.”—Ah yes, there’s a reason, they don’t get attacked by you, for one thing. Also, we haven’t called it a day with the apps? So, how about you fucking wait until we actually finish them properly, and then you exert your exquisite “critique.”

This guy will get a heart attack when he discovers who’s to blame for that vanilla Plasma 5 look and whose applications are in Plasma Mobile.

But in the end, it doesn’t even matter

So all of your “review” could’ve been summarized as “I, Jesse Smith of DistroWatch, do not like Nitrux, at all. I hate them and everything they do. So I’m going to try to use my reach to deter potential users from using their software. And I will do it by spreading lies, misinformation and publish “reviews” where I never point out anything of value but bury them under countless “problems” that only I “discovered.” I will also restrict the number of users that reach their “page” at DistroWatch to prevent them from climbing the rank and will only “moderate” the “user reviews” that are fitting to my end of undermining their reputation and work.”

Now, that would’ve been an honest review.