21 Jul 2015

Emmabuntus 3: take it all

This is not the first time I have reviewed the distribution I'm going to talk about now. Moreover, I interviewed one of the team leaders and we ran a joint contest with this France-based team.

The distribution continues to develop. Their latest release is number 3, and it is based on Ubuntu 14.04.2.

Let's talk about Emmabuntus 3 today.

The only option to download the ISO with this distribution is through the Sourceforge's network of mirrors. They don't provide a torrent file for the downloading. Although it is not a big problem anyway.

The ISO image size of Emmabuntus 3.1.01 is 3.8Gb. This is more than Emmabuntus 2 used to have. I downloaded the ISO image and tried to "burn" to a USB stick using Ubuntu's built-in image writer. Unfortunately, this did not produce a bootable USB stick. Then I had to revert to a "classic" option using the dd command. It took about 30 minutes to complete. But again, Emmabuntus 3 refused to boot from USB. As the last resort, I burned the ISO image to a DVD-RW drive. It worked.

So, fasten your seatbelts! Let's go!


The Emmabuntus 3 boot process is the same as for Ubuntu and many other Ubuntu-based distributions. There are no questions along the process until you see a screen with a choice between Try and Install. Of course my selection was for the Try, and soon I ended up with first screen.

First impressions

Emmabuntus 3 boots in to a standard Xfce screen with an Emmabuntus-themed wallpaper and a toolbar at the top. There is a menu button in the top left corner and several icons in the notification area in the top right corner: network, battery and volume indicators, as well as date, time and username.

Once booted, you see a notification window for a few seconds that tells you that you can get new updates from Emmabuntu's web page. Then this window disappears and another one appears.

Emmabuntus 3 start screen
This is Lxkeymap application. It offers you the option to change the keyboard layout. Of course, you can do this, but this feature only allows you to set up one default layout. If you need more, read on.

Once you are finished with the keyboard, you have a some more configuration-related questions. They are about the speech recognition tool and Dock activation. It seems OK, but if you answer "no" to the Dock question, you have no option to navigate through your open applications with a mouse. That's because Emmabuntus 3 does not have a list of open applications on the panel. To restore this option, launch Cairo-Dock application manually from the System part of the menu. I think this is a big omission from the Emmabuntus team. Not all people like docks, and I am among them.

The freshly booted system without any additional application launched takes about 267 Mb of memory, which is good enough compared to my recent Ubuntu 15.04 and Fedora 22 GNOME experiences.

Resource usage of Emmabuntus 3

Emmabuntus 3 comes with only one default wallpaper. At least, I found no more. It has Emmabuntu's stylish penguin, Framasoft logo and Emmabuntu's Motte de passe in French.

I must say that French language is visible in many places of the system. For example, if you open Chromium browser and navigate to any Google page, you will be greeted with French text. Default bookmarks have French names too. In other words, it is very easy to tell where Emmabuntus distribution originates.

Emmabuntus 3 is a French distribution
Although, I must admit that there are fewer French traces in Emmabuntus 3 than were in Emmabuntus 2.


Emmabuntus 3 is based on Ubuntu 14.04.2. It means that both distributions share the same drivers' base. The network card of my laptop Toshiba Satellite L500-19X was recognised and configured automatically. All I had to do was to select my network and enter the passcode.

Network drive

Emmabuntus 3 comes with the Gigolo application. It made connection to my network shared drive a task as easy as a summer breeze.

Keyboard configuration

Even though you have a keyboard selection as one of welcome questions in Emmabuntus 3, it only allows you to set up the default keyboard layout. If you need more, you need to follow the standard Xfce process that I have described in the dedicated article. It worked for me without any problems.


The Emmabuntus team aims to deliver computer hardware with their pre-installed Linux distribution to people in areas where Internet connectivity may be very limited, if at all existent. That means that once you get your Emmabuntus ISO image onto a DVD, you have a lot of applications packed there. Many tasks may be carried out using several similar applications.

For example, you have both Chromium 41 and Firefox 36 browsers. They come with many plugins pre-installed. Libreoffice comes along with Gnumeric and Abiword. VLC, Clementine, Audacity are all there, and that's not nearly a full list of multimedia tools. And I could continue this for many other areas. I won't bother you with a full list. I'll just say there are many applications for all your needs. And some more. Maybe even too many.

And then… if you want to use a Windows application in Linux, Wine is also here.


Of course, Emmabuntus 3 has no problems with multimedia playback. Both local MP3 files and YouTube videos played well with one exception which may be quite important actually.

Unfortunately, you cannot play YouTube videos if they are embedded in other pages. "Plugin not supported" message is all you see in this case.

Emmabuntu 3 multimedia capabilities

General impression

Generally speaking, Emmabuntus 3 felt quite solid and responsive as an operating system. There were no crashes or unexplainable delays.

Emmabuntus 3 continues the range of the successful Linux distributions developed with a particular task in mind. In my opinion, the task is good by itself. Emmabuntus' team aims to resurrect old computer equipment and give it a second life in remote and less fortunate areas of Earth, mainly in francophone Africa.

That is why there are a lot of French roots visible in the operating system, and that is why you have a lot of applications in your distribution that you would not install by yourself. You usually have one or two, but not 10 multimedia players in your system, don't you? But you know your choice because you tried many before, and you can easily download and install a new player when you wish. That's not so easy when you have no Internet connection, or when you are not so familiar with different existing applications. You only use applications pre-delivered by the distribution in most cases, and then you can make a choice of yours.

There are three more areas of improvement that I would like to mention.

First of them is a panel with a list of applications, rather than a dock-only solution. Second is a bootable USB option. Third is a choice of a few more wallpapers. By the way, if you want to have nice photos for your desktop, why not check my own photos? Maybe you like some of them!

Bearing this in mind, I would give Emmabuntus 3 a good mark, though I would not use it myself.

Video used on the screenshot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQvypWfFMvw


  1. Thanks very munch Dmitry for this best article.

    Some little answers :
    - Now the sourceforge download was some problems (http://sourceforge.net/blog/sourceforge-infrastructure-and-service-restoration/), but on this page http://www.emmabuntus.org you can find toorent for download :
    - You can install Emmabuntus on USB with the application Multisystem (this application was included on Emmabuntüs) :
    - On Emmabuntus you have a lot of wallpaper to change the post explain on forum but now sourceforge was in restoration, but you can found wallapapers here : /usr/share/xfce4/backdrops/ or here : /usr/share/xfce4/backdrops/screen_ubuntu

    Ok for the next version we add panel for list applications.

    Best regards.


  2. Direct access on ISO on Sourceforge :