GrafPup, The Puppy Linux Based

Grafpup is a compact distribution containing the Linux kernel and various Open Source and freeware programs. It is especially well suited towards graphic artists and other imaging proffessionals but has many other tools available as well. Grafpup has been loosely based upon Puppy Linux, which is a creation of Barry Kauler. However, there are a lot of unique features which set it apart both from it's parent and most other Linux distributions.

Grafpup strives to provide a complete workflow for the digital artist, from beginning to end. As such along with the major graphics applications like Gimp and Inkscape you will also find a variety of support programs and extra features. Color management is enabled for all applications that support it, and there is a basic selection of color profiles included in the standard install. For those doing photographic work there is almost complete support for raw image formats via both dcraw and the ufraw plugin (both Gimp and Cinepaint), as well as the gtkam utility for directly connecting a wide variety of cameras. Scribus and Abiword take care of publishing needs, and Gutenprint provides a wide range of printer drivers.


One of the big problems with a lot of mainstream Linux distributions is that they have become quite bloated and slow. The prevailing mood seems to be that in order for a desktop to be functional and good looking it must also be huge, ponderous, and slow. Grafpup aims to shatter that myth with an extremely efficient yet good looking desktop based around the Openbox window manager and the Lxpanel desktop panel/taskbar. A slightly customized ROX-Filer makes file management easy and provides desktop icons. Tyinh all of these disparate elements together is a full suite of custom configuration tools, wizards, and other gadgets. Most of these are graphical, too, and better yet most of them use the gtk+ toolkit for a nice uniform look. Most file formats should open right up in an appropriate application just by clicking on them in a filer window.

At this point a few people will probably be thinking "Hey, gtk+ is really slow. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about!". But then most distros aren't small enough to run fully in RAM and still leave plenty of free memory for your applications! That's right, in most cases Grafpup loads totally into memory, and all of the applications will open within a couple seconds and respond instantly to your input. The base distro is distributed as a live cd that weighs in slightly more than 100MB. But Grafpup can also be installed quite easily to a usb pendrive, ide flash, a "frugal" install on your hard drive, or in a conventional manner with all the files decompressed onto your hard drive. Even in this last case it will only take up @2-300MB, depending on what extra applications are installed. Even if you just want to run the live cd though, you will still be able to save your files to a hard drive, flash media, or even back to the disk itself.


Speaking of extra packages, Grafpup comes with a pretty good package manager that resolves dependencies, and there are well over a thousand applications in the repository (and growing). These range from basic command line utilities to full office suites, audio and video production tools, and Java. Both KDE and XFCE desktops are available too.

In addition to conventional packages Grafpup is also able to load compressed modules (they have the .sfs extension) very much like Slax does. This capability is used to package very large applications like OpenOffice, or the full development environment. Just place one of these where you have your save file located and it will be found the next time you boot up. Coming soon there will be a tool to add them in on the fly (we already had this, in a limited fashion, in Grafpup-104).


Most people are aware that Windows has a teriible track record with security. Maybe that is why you are investigating Linux in the first place. Being based on a very recent Linux kernel Grafpup is by it's very nature more secure than Ms Windows. However, some live distros (Puppy Linux included) compromise security somewhat by running all graphical applications as the system administrator. Grafpup is a big departure in this regard and runs a full multi-user environment, just like a conventional *nix is supposed to do. Now it's probably not the world's most secure OS (if you want that run OpenBSD) but the philosify is that things should be secured from the ground up. That means instead of nagging you with passwords and extra security "features" (which are really just ugly patches on a broken system) you have a hardy system which allows you to get your work done. Need to configure something or install a few software packages? Just give the admin password once and do what you need to do. Nothing too difficult here.
Download here or here and try it.


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