Ubuntu Satanic Edition - The Distro of the Beast

Garry Parker

Well-Known Member


I'm the creator of Ubuntu SE and I thought I'd share the story with you...

I work in software development and have been using Linux as my main desktop for 20 years. I've tried lots of distros, but on the desktop you can't really beat Ubuntu (as long as you avoid Unity, but that's a different story).

I'd been using Ubuntu for a while when Ubuntu Christian Edition was released. As an atheist I though this was a pretty daft idea - why would anyone need a religious Linux distro? So, in the name of satire I created Ubuntu Satanic Edition, Linux for the Damned. It's hard to believe it was released in December 2006, almost 9 years ago.

I've always been into heavy metal and this influenced the look and feel of the distro, taking the symbolism often used in heavy metal artwork and applying it to the wallpapers and colours of the desktop.

What started off as a couple of wallpapers expanded to screensavers, boot splash screens, icon sets and sounds. I even started making custom ISOs for the distro and running my own website, forum and package repository. I even sold a few t-shirts and mugs.

It was quite an outlet for my artistic side and I created a range of artwork, including original creations done in GIMP and Inkscape, and raytraced images using Povray. I also edited my own and other people's photos. It was great fun. I even got to do some coding as the boot screens and screensavers were written in C.

It caused a bit of a stir when it came out, and seemed to attract all sorts of nutters, included people who thought they were actual Satanists. There are 666 comments on the original "About" post! We also got banned from distrowatch, which was a laugh.

Before long, I found myself running the exact thing I'd set out to satirise; a religious Linux Distro! I guess as long as I was aware of the irony that made it OK, right?

Trying to make the distro something more than just a different look, and wanting to include more of the original influences and my own interests, I started including Creative Commons licensed metal music on the CD. This was a way to spread the word on some decent up and coming bands from around the world and felt good to do so.

Interestingly, the colours used in the standard Ubuntu distro became much darker and it started to look surprisingly similar to SE... whether we were an influence, I have no idea.

After about 5 years I kind of got bored with the whole thing. I had kids and had got heavily back into my guitar again, so my spare time was taken up with other things. Ubuntu SE is still available, but it's based on such an old version of Ubuntu now it's hard to get any updates. I have no plans to continue its development, but the wallpapers are still available if anyone wants to download them.

All in all it was a good way to explore both my inner artist and inner geek, and I learnt a lot. I hope a few other people enjoyed it, too.

Garry Parker

Well-Known Member
I love you, Garry Parker. Respect for the 1995 Linux desktop; I started on Christmas Eve, 2001.

I'm a UNIX programmer, so I spend most of my day with way too many terminals and vim sessions open, so the Linux desktop has always made sense for me. Even back in those days there were plenty of distros and window managers to choose from. I used Debian and Enlightenment for a long time which I loved.

It's got better over the years. Anti-aliased fonts made a big difference. As did, ironically, the advent of Firefox for Windows. Before that, many web designers thought they could get away with only supporting IE. Once the open source browsers took off, surfing the web became as pleasant on Linux as it had been on Windows.

Nowadays I use Ubuntu. It's Debian for dummies, but there's nothing wrong with that.


The Good and Wise Call Me “Rufus”
I use Ubuntu Studio as a base, then customize it. I cut my teeth on a trial by fire Gentoo Stage 1 install somewhere around August 2002, and I still miss its golden era which ran (roughly) from mid-2002 through the end of 2004. I made the jump to Ubuntu in 2008, I think, and I have to say that I do not like 14.04 much. It feels like the "for dummies" aspect of Ubuntu has stripped control away, as though there is an "Ubuntu layer" which supersedes the "Linux layer" (bear in mind that Ubuntu Studio defaults to XFCE rather than Unity). I am considering returning to Gentoo trying Funtoo (which is effectively the current incarnation of the original Gentoo concept), but I am not sure that I can spare the time given the imminent end of security updates for Windows 7 (I have not yet made the Ubuntu installation my "home" because I am still fighting to get my USB mixer to work in duplex mode with JACK).

EDIT: I was mistaken regarding the end of security updates for Windows 7 because Microsoft redefined “Mainstream Support.”

Garry Parker

Well-Known Member
I know exactly what you mean about the "Ubuntu layer". I use Gnome Classic instead of Unity, which is OK for my needs but not quite as good as Gnome 2 which was the peak of the Linux desktop in my eyes. I do use XFCE on my Mythbuntu media Centre, but it didn't quite do it for me as a general desktop.

I've run a Linux media centre in my home for about 10 years. It mainly consists of MythTV for recording, plus it stores all my DVD rips, music and stuff. I've maintained a website about MythTV for a number of years:


I was into building silent PCs for a while to run in the lounge, but since we moved I now keep it in the garage and run the cables through the wall!


The Good and Wise Call Me “Rufus”
I know exactly what you mean about the "Ubuntu layer". I use Gnome Classic instead of Unity, which is OK for my needs but not quite as good as Gnome 2 which was the peak of the Linux desktop in my eyes. I do use XFCE on my Mythbuntu media Centre, but it didn't quite do it for me as a general desktop.
Have you tried MATE?