znx: A new horizon for Linux distributions.

Luis Lavaire
Apr 19, 2018 · 2 min read
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At Nitrux, we strive to create a better experience for our users in every bit of our system. We have worked a lot on projects like NOMAD, our plasma-based desktop environment, NX Software Center which is our very own software center; focused on the use of the AppImage format, and a lot in both the UI (apart from NOMAD) and the UX.

We also aim to create a better system from its foundations. For a couple months ago, I’ve been working on an idea for a tool that performs safe system updates and is unobtrusive with the user (our motto is to be a system that helps the user to get his job done). Thus znx was born.

znx is a tool that does the following:

  • Performs safe updates. The system never gets broken after an update.
  • Isolates the storage and the operating system. If you use znx, you don’t need to “install“ any system: znx will load the ISO file on boot without extracting any content to the storage device.
  • Save bandwidth by downloading differential content. This means that you don’t download a completely new system, just the new or updated packages. This is achieved through zsync.
  • Reduce the filesystem complexity, and thus, be transparent to the user on what he stores on his computer. No hidden data.
  • Managing the boot configuration is very simple. A small bunch of files store the whole configuration of the boot process (one per image).
  • Adding or trying out new distributions is really easy. Give znx a path or URL and it will know what to do.

znx follows the UNIX philosophy guidelines. It’s a simple tool that does one thing and does it well: it manages several distributions within a single storage device.

Almost any distribution can be used with znx, because it doesn’t rely on any distribution in specific. Its written in POSIX shell script, which makes it really easy to get it working.

Right now znx is still a work in progress, but you can try it out already (with caution!). The most adequate and recommended device right now is a USB drive, until it’s stable enough to use on the machine disk. See znx help for more information about how to use it.

A lot of thanks to our community for their support. Without them, none of this could be a reality. We hope you to enjoy every step we take as much as we do.

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
- Steve Jobs.


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