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4MLinux 37.0 Release Packs in Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS and New Applications

One of the most lightweight distros, 4MLinux, has just announced its 37th major release. This version brings a variety of improvements, of which we shall be looking at here.

Before that, however, I feel that it would be appropriate to find out more about it, especially since it’s such a niche distro.

What Is 4MLinux?

Despite its somewhat unusual name, it actually is quite logical, especially when you look at the project’s goals:

  • Maintenance (system rescue Live CD),
  • Multimedia (full support for a huge number of image, audio and video formats),
  • Miniserver (DNS, FTP, HTTP, MySQL, NFS, Proxy, SMTP, SSH, and Telnet),
  • Mystery (meaning a collection of classic Linux games).

This is where it gets the “4M” part of the name from.

One interesting quirk of this distro is that it doesn’t come with a traditional package manager, instead opting for an ecosystem of extensions. The minimum requirements are also quite relaxed, requiring just 32 MB of RAM to run. The result of all this is an incredibly lightweight and fast distro, perfect for those older computers gathering dust in a cupboard.

New Features

This release brings a variety of improvements, most of which are as follows:

Linux 5.10 LTS

This release brings in Linux kernel 5.10 LTS, resulting in better hardware support and many small improvements. To be honest, I was actually quite surprised at this addition, as I thought that they may not opt for one of the latest kernels right now.

If you want to see what other improvements this addition brings, I would suggest reading our coverage for Linux kernel 5.10 release.

New Applications

One area that M4Linux struggles in is application support. Due to the lack of a package manager, the list of available apps is very short, making each addition to it extremely meaningful.

This release brings the Dmidecode tool for reading hardware-related data from SMBIOS, FluidSynth software synthesizer, HandBrake video transcoder, and qBittorrent BitTorrent client.

These applications should improve the usefulness of this distribution, hopefully helping older computers stay out of landfill.

Updated Applications

2021 has had a plethora of large app upgrades, including the new interface in Firefox 89 and the vast improvements of LibreOffice 7.1.5. Now, all these improvements are coming to M4Linux with the new release.

Here’s a list of updated applications with this release:

  • LibreOffice 7.1.5
  • Firefox 90.0.2
  • Mozilla Thunderbird 78.12.0
  • Audacious 4.1
  • VLC 3.0.16
  • MPV 0.33.0
  • AbiWord 3.0.5
  • GIMP 2.10.24
  • Gnumeric 1.12.50
  • Chromium 90.0
  • Mesa 21.0

In all, these updated applications should provide a much-improved user experience.

Final Thoughts

M4Linux, despite being quite a niche, has made some incredible improvements with this release, especially when considering the incredibly small development team.

Even though it isn’t targeting the latest hardware, I can still see how this distribution might be perfect for some use cases.

You can read the official announcement to learn more.

What do you think about M4Linux 37.0? Let me know in the comments below!

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