I've always tried to navigate a narrow line between performance and good looks. I continue to sacrifice performance to Desktop Environments, applications and graphical utilities that are easy on the eye and out performed by uglier examples. If I have to look at it all day it shouldn't make me wince. Stripping everything out of a distro and leaving end users with an excellent network manager (Ceni) and Apt package management, and not a lot else, is a stroke of genius. My first step after deploying a distro is ripping out what I don't want, use or like. The second step is then to install and build things I do use all the time and prefer the looks and operation of. AntiX Core lets me skip step one and go directly to installing only those things I really want, I just don't install anything until I miss it. Xfce is a concession to pretty but it is a lot lighter than KDE, Gnome3 or MATE.
The revelation is that instead of rebooting periodically switching to Linux Mint, to do things I couldn't do in antiX, I gradually learned how to build the missing functionality into my antiX environment. I reached the tipping point and began to actively pursue solutions to the functionality gaps in my installation, there is now nothing I need to do with my PC that I cannot achieve with antiX. I was pleased to get to that point with Linux...but to achieving it with a minimalistic distro that I have had to build up myself, which didn't arrive fully formed 'out of the box' really feels like progress. However, this all sounds very complicated doesn't it? Perhaps it does, but it isn't. Let me show you.
If you want to get clever, I strongly recommend using Gparted to pre-partition your drive before you start. Split the disk into three. Use a calculator and work backwards, make the last partition on the the disk, sda3/hda3, about 1 gigabyte in size (1024 Megabytes) or three times your amount of physical RAM. The middle partition on the disk, sda2/hda2 should be as large as possible because you're going to use it for data. The first partition sda1/hda1 is for your antiX install my desktop has balloon to 12Gb but the fresh install on my netbook is almost 2.3 Gb, a lot of which is LibreOffice (hey, I like it!) When asked if you want use a separate location for you /home drive select option y and assign it to sda2/hda2 at this point this is a fresh /home. Now if you're unlucky or reckless enough (raise hand) to trash your operating system you can reinstall, choose option y again for separate /home drive but in this circumstance this is not a fresh /home (so don't format it).
If it's simply a question of installing antiX on a new hard drive or a drive you are re-purposing, and don't care about the data on it, then when the installer asks you where you want install to enter hda1 for a SATA (or PATA IDE) drive or sda1 for an SSD drive. For filesystem ext4 is a reasonable choice. After entering a username and a matching pair of passwords for your user and for root the system will install very, very quickly. That last question to answer is whether or not to install the Grub boot loader to the MBR, answer y if unsure. Now you can type reboot and when the PC restarts remove your installation media.
Now the work begins. Log in with your new user account and lets start working the command line. My first job is usually to enable the Debian Testing repositories, this will give you more flexibility and up to date package choices. Enter sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.d/debian.list and simply remove the hashes (#) from the all three lines in the Debian Testing section. I also enable the Liquorix repo listed in /etc/apt/sources.d/various.list. If you're not using a wired connection or it isn't set up correctly run the excellent Ceni network managment tool and set up your network connection. When you've made a connection and got an IP address let's do a sudo apt-get update.
If (like on my desktop PC) you need to install Nvidia proprietary network drivers I recommend the SMXI script. Simply enter smxi at the command line and navigate through the menus, there are plenty of automation options for installing alternative kernels, Xorg: the graphical display server, as well as a range of desktop managers and desktop environments. If smxi isn't for you your first step is probably installing Xorg: sudo apt-get install xorg. It's not rocket science. Next should probably install a desktop manager which will provide a graphical login prompt. I opted for Slim but it does require some dirty configuration file editing. If simplicity is what you're looking for GDM3 will work out of the box, but it's bloated and pretty slow. Other desktop managers are available. the command to install Slim is sudo apt-get install slim.
Not only is Linux not a politically sound hair shirt, antiX Linux is not a lightweight compromise. It is stripped to the bone, but ready for you to build into something tailor made to your own personal needs. After applying myself to learn more about Linux and Debian antiX Linux has become everything I used to rely on Ubuntu for. So there is no competition this year, antiX is light and flexible and antiX Linux M13.1 Core can build from a network connection and a package manager to be whatever you want, just what you want and no more than that.