I stumbled upon Hefftor Linux thanks to distrowatch.com. It’s listed over there as one of the distros on the waiting list. Checking out their website really did catch my attention as it looked very sleek and professional. So, I started to read about it, watch a You Tube video and finally took one of the many editions for a short test drive.
Hefftor is based on Arco Linux. Arco is an Arch based rolling distro that offers extensive tutorials. These range from basic installation guides to how to make one’s own Arch based distro and custom build ISO. Something I will need to study further.
Hefftor basically combines the power and work done by Arco with some nice theming and customization of their own. I downloaded the MATE edition and only used it in a live session for a quick look. If one were to proceed with a full installation, one could choose every piece of software to be installed during the installation process. A very cool feature I wish more distros would offer. It might be a bit too technical for beginners as you also get to choose the Kernel, not just productivity software and utilities.
As I mentioned, there are many Hefftor versions to choose from, 7 at the time of writing. It is a bit confusing as there are “Hefftor” and “HefftyLion” branded versions. It turns out that the HefftyLion” editions are products of a cooperation with LionOs that is in turn based on MX Linux. Maybe a bit too much for a young project?
The download size of the HefftyLion Mate edition was 1.83GB. There isn’t much productivity/creativity software available in the live system but a lot can be added during actual installation. Htop showed system resource usage during idle as: 613 MB Ram, 69 tasks and 160 threads which are good values and what would be expected of a MATE based system. As we can see from the screen shots, the system is heavily themed. The main theme in use is Juno-Palemoon. It’s very sleek and dark, a bit too dark for my taste but everyone has their own preference. We are greeted with a beautiful wallpaper and a nice Conky in the center of the desktop. The Control Center consolidates all configuration options nicely. Both Caja, the default MATE file manager and Thunar are included. For Music, we get Strawberry, a fork of Clementine and for Videos, VLC. The default browser is Brave, a Chromium based and privacy focused browser. I enjoyed using it. Websites look a lot cleaner and more appealing without the ads. On the other hand, a lot of the content on the internet is revenue dependent and I’m not sure Brave’s reward system can compensate for that. There is no flashy software center , just Pamac as a software manager. Since this is Arch Linux, users are expected to make an effort to use the terminal for software installation and system updates.
I’d say Hefftor Linux is for intermediate users who would like to experiment with Arch Linux and build themselves a good looking and a more customized system. Hefftor has many tutorial videos as well as a Discord and Telegram channel. Being a young, smaller distro chances are you’ll get a lot more personalized help when getting stuck with something. Additional appeal for some might come from the emphasis by the developer on using tiling window managers together with the highly customizable “Polybar”. What might put some people a bit off is the branding. The system itself as well as some included home developed apps carry the name “Heff-…”, derived from the developers last name: Brad Heffernan. I personally don’t mind and am thankful for another interesting project to keep an eye out for.
If you’d like to give it a try, head to their sleek website and download your favorite edition. We’d appreciate any shared feed back in the comments section below.