PantherX compared to other distributions

Table of Content


PantherX is a GNU Guix downstream distribution, with the aim to provide a more complete, lightweight and user friendly computing environment.

What sparked PantherX was one user’s frustration with the direction of Apple’s MacOS and the endless number of failed attempts to permanently switch to any of the “popular” Linux distributions. While far from perfect (yet), PantherX has finally sealed the deal, and is improving on a daily basis. It just feels right and literally never breaks - much of this is thanks to Guix and LXQt.

What’s unique here

Let me try to illustrate what differentiates PantherX and Guix, that benefits all users knowingly, or unknowingly:


Imagine you need to configure a system with multiple applications and services; May it be a desktop for your grandparents, or a powerful web-server for your next business venture - commonly you will have to deal with some configuration files, learn about the specific options and expected location of the file, and create some scripts or service files to make sure everything starts (and re-starts) automatically.


If you made it this far - All works great, until one day you get a call from your grandparents, or co-worker, that things “suddenly” don’t work anymore. Soon you realize that with the last update, the configuration format has changed, moved to a new location, has been modified or corrupted. Now you’re stuck trying to figure out how-to fix this on 1 or 100 machines remotely, which will cost you your evening and sanity - and keeps users on the other side from accessing their work.

To the rescue

On PantherX, instead of manually setting up applications and services, you define them in the system configuration, and the operating system will not only generate all required configuration files and services automatically, but also regenerate them for each update.

And if something does go wrong (cosmic rays?), you can always roll-back to before the update - in a second.

Think big

Now picture this, for the entire operating system - from the boot-loader to desktop; automatically keeping everything the way you have specified it; seamlessly migrating most changes without you ever noticing and instant roll-back if you ever need it. Better yet, you can apply configuration changes to 1 or 100 machines automatically; In fact, you can have them reconfigure themselves from slot machine, to web server, to desktop. Not physically of course (yet).

GNU Guix

  • contains no non-free software but PantherX makes them available, where superior (or necessary)
  • supports GNU Hurd and Linux Libre as Kernel, PantherX additionally supports non-free Kernel
  • relies on GNU Shepherd as init system, so does PantherX

Read more about the differences between Linux and Linux-libre on


  • relies on systemd as init, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd
  • has a fixed release model with stable versions often shipping very old packages
  • has a huge community that supports virtually all desktop environments without specific focus
  • uses apt package manager


  • relies on systemd as init, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd
  • releases a new version every 6 months, PantherX uses a rolling release cycle
  • supports various desktop environments including Gnome, KDE and LXQt. PantherX supports only LXQt.


  • Slackware uses BSD-style init scripts, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd
  • stable snapshots are available but many users rely on the -current branch which makes this effectively rolling
  • package manager doesn’t handle dependencies


  • GNU Guix and PantherX where in large parts inspired by NixOS
  • Nix uses various languages, and a special DSL for packaging, PantherX uses Guile for everything
  • supports various desktop environments



  • is based on Debian with GNOME as default desktop environment. PantherX defaults to a more lightweight LXQt.
  • Ubuntu relies on systemd as init, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd
  • has a fixed release model

Linux Mint

  • is based on Ubuntu with Cinnamon as it’s default desktop
  • Linux Mint relies on systemd as init, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd
  • has a fixed release model


  • openSUSE relies on systemd as init, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd
  • uses KDE as default desktop environment but supports others as well
  • is available as a stable and rolling release


  • is based on Arch with Xfce as it’s default desktop but supports others as well
  • both Manjaro and PantherX rely on a rolling release cycle
  • Manjaro relies on systemd as init, PantherX uses GNU Shepherd

See also

If you want to read a more in-depth comparison of GNU Guix with other distributions: Guix: A most advanced operating system

PantherX & (unofficial) GNU Guix Wiki.

Last update: 2023-02-03 19:33:34 +0000 | Apache-2.0

Inspired by the excellent Arch Linux Wiki