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HandyLinux Desktop
Developerthuban, Starsheep, and arpinux
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Working stateDiscontinued
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseSeptember 2013; 10 years ago (2013-09)
Latest releaseHandyLinux 2.5 / 11 June 2016; 7 years ago (2016-06-11)
Available inMultilingual[1]
Update methodAPT
Package managerdpkg (Synaptic)
PlatformsI586, I686 and amd64
Kernel typeMonolithic Linux kernel
user interface
LicenseFree software licenses
(mainly GPL)
Official websitehandylinux.org (archived)

HandyLinux is a simplified Linux operating system developed in France, derived from the Debian stable branch. It was designed to be easily accessible and downloadable, so that it could be used by people with very little computer experience and on a range of older hardware that was no longer supported by the latest versions of proprietary operating systems.[2][3] It was particularly aimed at older people with dated hardware who do not need nor possess the skill to use many features afforded by state-of-the-art operating systems.

The last version was released in June 2016, and the project is now listed as "discontinued" by DistroWatch.[4] On April 20, 2020, it was announced that HandyLinux was being replaced by Debian-Facile, which is not a distribution itself but a customization of Debian.[5]


The goal of the HandyLinux project was to provide a "stable" Debian-based OS for elderly people, novices, and people seeking freedom and full functionality on a user-friendly desktop. HandyLinux was an official Debian derivative with a simple and clear graphical user interface called the HandyMenu.[6] The system featured built-in tools to facilitate the handling of home computing.[7]

The distribution and the project's documentation was aimed primarily at French-language users. Documentation was intended to teach users desktop navigation and help them to learn the HandyLinux distribution.[8][9] Prospective users were encouraged to browse the HandyLinux online forum[10] and ask questions about the operating system.


HandyLinux was designed to be installable on any modern computer with, at minimum, a Pentium 4 processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 3.7 GB of hard drive storage available.[11][12]

The distribution could be run as either of two "live" versions, live CD (handylinuxlight) or live USB, to sample the prepackaged software and test its compatibility with the installed hardware.[13] Alternatively, it could be installed on a netbook equipped with at least 4 GB of storage on computers built before 2005 (HandyLinux i486 non-PAE) and on computers built from 2005 onward (HandyLinux i686-PAE).[14][15]

If they choose, users could remove the default HandyMenu and substitute the classical menu of the Xfce desktop environment, as well as add software packages, and customize the look and feel of the distribution after becoming more experienced with the OS by reading the documentation.[16][17]

All the software needed for a functional desktop was included in the disk image, and an Internet connection was not necessary to install the program bundle prepackaged with the HandyLinux operating system.[18]


Tools were integrated for improving accessibility: a color inverter, a screen filter and magnifier, direct access to documentation, copy and paste button, a virtual keyboard, and voice synthesis integrated into the browser.

Some small practical programs are also included: screenshot, calendar, file search, automatic download folder sorting, Bleachbit for cleaning, "Archive Manager", Disk Utility for formatting, Hardinfo for system information, and XL-wallpaper wallpaper changer.

Desktop environment[edit]

HandyLinux's native desktop environment was based on Xfce, and the Compiz compositing window manager is optional.[19] Users could switch to the more traditional Xfce menu if they preferred it to the HandyMenu.[20]

A seven-tab menu with a large computer icon enabled users to graphically launch applications,[21] and only a single click is necessary to open files and folders or run a program.


HandyLinux updates generally followed updates of the Debian stable branch.[22]

Name Release date Megabytes Base 32 bits Supported platform
handylinux-2.5-i386[23] 2016-06-11 1344 Debian based 8.5 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinux-2.5-amd64 2016-06-11 1212 Debian based 8.5 64bits amd64
handylinux-2.4-i386 2016-04-10 1367 Debian based 8.4 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinux-2.4-amd64 2016-04-10 1240 Debian based 8.4 64bits amd64
handylinux-2.3-i386 2016-01-24 1378 Debian based 8.3 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinux-2.3-amd64 2016-01-24 1244 Debian based 8.3 64bits amd64
handylinux-2.2 2015-09-06 1359 Debian based 8.2 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinux-2.2-amd64 2015-09-06 1182 Debian based 8.2 64bits amd64
handylinux-2.1 2015-06-09 1335 Debian based 8.1 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinux-2.0[24] 2015-05-16 1325 Debian based 8.0 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinuxlight-2.0[25] 2015-05-23 697 Debian based 8.0 32bits I586 & I686-pae
handylinux-1.9 wheezy[26] 2015-04-11 1250 Debian based 7.8 32bits I486 & I686-pae
handylinuxlight-1.8[27] 2015-01-17 656 Debian based 7.8 32bits I486 & I686-pae
handylinux-compiz 1.6.1[28] 2014-08-16 1160 Debian based 7.6 32bits I486 & I686-pae

A development fork of HandyLinux in the Finnish language was published May 29, 2014.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Debian derivatives HandyLinux available in French and English Archived 2016-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Wiki Debian HandyLinux Debian Derivatives Census Archived 2016-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ dokuwiki HandyLinux Getting started with HandyLinux "En:begin [Documentation HandyLinux]". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  4. ^ "DistroWatch.com: HandyLinux". distrowatch.com. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  5. ^ "Publication d'images amorçables Debian-Facile pour débutants, en version Stable 10.3 - LinuxFr.org". linuxfr.org. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  6. ^ "HandyMenu documentation". Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-06-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ (in French)Techandtux Handylinux la dérivée de Debian à portée de main (fr) Archived 2016-03-07 at the Wayback Machine 2014-01-10
  8. ^ "Handylinux light documentation". Archived from the original on 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2015-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ "HandyLinux Documentation". Archived from the original on 2015-12-25. Retrieved 2015-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ "HandyLinux Forum". Archived from the original on 2015-09-06. Retrieved 2015-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  11. ^ "3.4.Matériel minimum". 2014-02-18. Archived from the original on 18 February 2014. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  12. ^ (in French) Frédéric Bezies Test de Handylinux 1.0 Archived 2014-04-09 at the Wayback Machine 2013-10-02
  13. ^ (in French) documentation handylinux the material tested and certified for HandyLinux Archived 2015-07-01 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2014-03-25
  14. ^ (in French) Cyrille Borne Handylinux pour eeepc Archived 2014-03-11 at archive.today Retrieved 11 March 2014
  15. ^ (in French) @bc l'actualité installation sur un pc de 2002 avec le CD handylinuxlight Archived 2014-04-18 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2014-02-21
  16. ^ (in French) La Fabrique du Web HandyLinux : Debian sans se prendre la tête Archived 2014-04-21 at the Wayback Machine 2014-04-20
  17. ^ "Documentation HandyLinux". Archived from the original on 2015-04-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  18. ^ (in French) Alain Bach Installer handylinux Archived 2014-04-22 at the Wayback Machine 2014-01-31
  19. ^ softpedia HandyLinux Compiz Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "menu in the Raiders section". Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-06-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ (in French) Solidrnet.fr HandyLinux, Linux sans se prendre la tête Archived 2014-02-21 at the Wayback Machine 2013-12-23
  22. ^ Softpedia Handylinux Changelog Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "HandyLinux Is a Great Toolbox for Linux Newbies". 9 July 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  24. ^ Softpedia HandyLinux 2.0 Officially Released, Based on Debian 8 Jessie Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "handylinuxlight 2.0". wiki handylinux. Archived from the original on 2015-04-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  26. ^ Softpedia HandyLinux 1.9 Out Now, the Last Release Based on Debian 7 Wheezy Archived 2015-04-14 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "HandyLinuxLight on Softpedia". Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-07-19.
  28. ^ Softpedia HandyLinux Compiz Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "HandyLinux Puolanka Edition". 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-05-31. Retrieved 2014-05-31.

External links[edit]