| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 125, 7 November 2005
Welcome to this year's 45th issue of DistroWatch Weekly. As expected, the three main BSD releases stole the limelight of most open source news sites last week, with especially FreeBSD 6.0 looking like a truly excellent product. We will take a closer look at some of the issues discussed on the FreeBSD mailing lists shortly after the release and share our experiences with upgrading the DistroWatch server. Also in this issue: a comment on the events of the past week affecting SUSE Linux and Kubuntu, and a link to an interesting sub-project by Linux From Scratch - for the fans of cross-compiling. Our featured distribution of the week is the OpenSolaris-based BeleniX live CD, while the amaroK project is the one that gets our US$300 October 2005 donation. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in ogg (5.47MB) or mp3 (6.31MB) format (courtesy of Shawn Milo).
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
FreeBSD 6.0 Released
As expected, the final release of FreeBSD 6.0 was announced late last week. Originally scheduled for August, but delayed due to showstopper bugs, the new FreeBSD release has been greeted with much enthusiasm among the users of this popular open source operating system. Although it is a "point-zero" release, the first reactions among those who upgraded their systems were overwhelmingly positive, with many claiming that 6.0 is a huge improvement over the so-so 5.x series. FreeBSD 6.0 is considered a stable release and users are encouraged to upgrade their production machines.
However, FreeBSD is a complex operating system and an upgrade of this scale is bound to lead to problems in certain circumstances. The most often reported issue after upgrading to FreeBSD 6.0 concerned locales settings, which many users lost after the upgrade. The immediate solution is to recompile Perl to link to the new libc library, although it is generally recommended that you recompile all installed ports to eliminate any potential problems incorrect linking might lead to. This, of course, only applies to upgraded systems, not to new installations.
Another issue that came up frequently during upgrades from 5.x was the failure of "make buildworld" at various stages of compilation. It appears that deleting the /usr/obj/* directory before running "make buildworld" eliminates this problem.
Some users reported that the NVIDIA driver, downloaded and built from the graphics card manufacturer's web site, made the upgraded FreeBSD 6.0 system unbootable. The solution is to disable loading the driver before rebooting the newly upgraded system, then install it directly from FreeBSD ports, rather than using NVIDIA's way of compiling the module.
Other than these minor issues, general happiness with the new release seems to be the order of the day. It looks like that FreeBSD development team has done an excellent job and version 6.0 is possibly the project's best and most feature-full release to-date. Give it a try and let us know your impressions!
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Miscellaneous news: SUSE rumours, Kubuntu status, Cross Linux From Scratch
The peace in the world of Linux distributions was disturbed last week by a wave of what later turned out to be an unsubstantiated speculation about the future of SUSE Linux. A so-called Linux web site (which we won't link to and won't name here because it continues to cheerfully disseminate sponsored anti-Linux propaganda from its pages) published a story asserting that Novell is about to pull the plug on the development of SUSE Linux. This was apparently based on a recent announcement about layoffs at Novell. While the rumour was quickly denied by the networking giant, the company did admit that cost-cutting measures were being implemented and, as a result, the KDE desktop will be removed from future releases of Novell Linux Desktop and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. However, the measure will not affect Novell's openSUSE project which will continue to build SUSE Linux with KDE as its main desktop.
The fans of Kubuntu had a reason to celebrate last week as their preferred distribution is gradually getting recognition it deserves from the Ubuntu founder: "In his opening remarks at the start of the conference, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that he was now using Kubuntu on his desktop machine and said he wanted Kubuntu to move to a first class distribution within the Ubuntu community. The large number of Kubuntu users at the conference was evidence as the need for this. Free CDs for Kubuntu through 'shipit' should be available for the next release if the planned Live CD Installer removes the need for a separate install CD." Read the full story on the Kubuntu web site. On a related note, a rough feature list of the upcoming Kubuntu "Dapper Drake" is now also available for your reading pleasure.
Have you ever wanted to build a Linux distribution from scratch for an architecture other than i386? If so, then here is some good news. In a move to expand to all popular processor platforms and to teach users about cross-compiling, the Linux From Scratch project has announced the launch of Cross Linux From Scratch (CLFS): "Building CLFS teaches you how to make a cross-compiler and the necessary tools, to build a basic system on a different architecture. For example, you would be able to build a Sparc toolchain on an x86 machine, and utilize that toolchain to build a Linux system from source codes." To find out more, visit the subproject's new web pages and start exchanging information on its already very busy mailing list.
Finally, an announcement by Mad Penguin about a light-hearted contest to win a boxed edition of SUSE Linux 10.0, Xandros Desktop 3 and other prizes: "See that handsome penguin down there? His name is Vic and he's pleased to make your acquaintance. Vic, meet [insert your name here]. [and here] meet our beloved mascot, Vic. There, now you know each other. Here's the deal. Your mission is to take Vic here and create a work of art in the form of desktop wallpaper. He's big enough to allow you to scale him to fit your masterpiece. The trick is that you MUST do something that is funny or otherwise entertaining." If you have some artistic talent and a sense of humour, give it a try - the competition runs until the end of November. Learn more here.
|Featured distribution of the week: BeleniX
The world of open source software is getting more and more exciting almost by the day. Only a couple of years ago nobody could possibly imagine that the venerable Solaris by Sun Mircrosystems would one day be a free operating system, in both senses of the word. Although burdened by an unusual license, the Open Source Initiative now assures us that Solaris is indeed Free Software, which anybody can use and enjoy without any strings attached.
Being a true UNIX, Solaris is certainly not the easiest system to run and administer. But since the OpenSolaris project opened up to public participation and the source code was released for all to examine and modify, several more user-friendly derivatives have emerged. One of them is called BeleniX LiveCD, developed by the India Engineering Centre of Sun Microsystems in Bangalore. Although the product comes from Sun, it appears to be more of a hobby project of a few developers than a real Sun product.
We tried out the BeleniX live CD on a spare computer. The operating system goes through the usual boot sequence before prompting the user to select the preferred language and keyboard, after which it tries to configure X.Org. If it succeeds, it will boot into a good-looking graphical desktop with XFce 4. While the number of included graphical applications is limited to Firefox (1.5 beta2), Gaim, SuperTux and the usual XFce utilities, the live CD does a fair job detecting and configuring hardware and network, so it is ready for use straight after boot.
BeleniX is probably the best and least intimidating way to learn the basic concepts of Solaris. Sure, many of the commands you know from Linux or BSD behave exactly the same way on a real UNIX, but there are also substantial differences that make the operating system look difficult to the uninitiated. Luckily, the BeleniX web site provides a page with quick links to documentation for those who wish to learn more about Solaris and its underlying technologies.
Products like BeleniX are a clear indication that momentum is building behind Solaris and that many people find the product interesting enough to join the rapidly growing Solaris developer community. And that, together with a growing number of free operating system options, can't be a bad thing.
BeleniX - the first OpenSolaris-based live CD that boots into a graphical desktop
(full image size: 890kB)
|Released Last Week
OpenBSD 3.8 has been released: "We are pleased to announce the official release of OpenBSD 3.8. This is our 18th release on CD-ROM (and 19th via FTP). We remain proud of OpenBSD's record of eight years with only a single remote hole in the default install. As in our previous releases, 3.8 provides significant improvements, including new features, in nearly all areas of the system: Improved hardware support, including new aps driver for the built-in accelerometer found in some IBM ThinkPad laptops, new art driver for Accom Networks Artery T1 and E1 cards...." A detailed account of all changes can be read in the release announcement and on the product's features page.
RR4 Linux 2.60.4
A new version of the Gentoo-based RR4 Linux live DVD is out: "The fourth 'dot' release has hit the net in these hours. That's RR4 Linux 2.60.4 and sports a lot of changes, under the hood and not. Fixes: KDE Menu removed duplicates; SATA DVD readers support; Radeon 7000 Video detection; ATI Drivers 8.14.13-r5; cleaned Perl installation; speed-up in RR4 boot from hard disk. Improvements and additions: Linux kernel 2.6.14; added online live DVD installer update via a desktop icon; full support for IPW2100 and IPW2200 wireless cards; new boot theme; Ndiswrapper 1.5 rc3; updated GNOME to 2.12.1; Opera 8.50; OpenOffice.org 2.0; amaroK 1.3.5...." See the release announcement and release notes (in PDF format) for further details.
EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0.1
This is a new security and bug-fix release to EnGarde Secure Linux 3.0: "Guardian Digital is happy to announce the release of EnGarde Secure Community 3.0.1 This release includes several bug fixes and feature enhancements to the Guardian Digital WebTool, the SELinux policy, and the live CD environment. The following reported bugs are fixed in this release: users can not add/edit web files; WebTool can not stop MySQL; WebTool errors-out if resolv.conf is empty; users cannot upload files via FTP; PHP not built with GD library; WebTool should give the user some feedback upon errors; problem when creating a second Virtual Host on the same IP...." Find more details and download locations in the release announcement.
NetBSD 2.1 has been released: "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that release 2.1 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD 2.1 is the first maintenance release of the netbsd-2 release branch. This release provides numerous functional enhancements, including support for many new devices, hundreds of bug fixes, patches and updates to kernel subsystems, and many enhancements to the user environment. In addition, all of the security fixes and critical bug fixes from the NetBSD 2.0.3 update are included as well." Read the rest of the release announcement for a detailed list of changes.
ClarkConnect Gateway/Server 3.2
ClarkConnect Gateway/Server 3.2 has been released. What's new? "The full list of changes is available in the developer change log -- highlights include: Multi-WAN; user login access for changing passwords; sub-administrator login access; network diagnostic tools. Version 3.x supports upgrades from ClarkConnect 1.1 and later. When you run the ClarkConnect installer, make sure you select the upgrade option (see adjacent screenshot). As with any upgrade, please backup any critical data. Some software required conversion utilities and name changes. You should double check the following after your upgrade...." Read the rest of the release notes for known issues and software package notes.
It's official: FreeBSD 6.0 is here. "It is my great pleasure and privilege to announce the availability of FreeBSD 6.0-RELEASE. This release is the next step in delivering the high performance and enterprise features that have been under development in the FreeBSD 5.x series for that last several years. Some of the many changes since 5.4 include: significant performance improvements to the filesystem and direct disk access layers of the OS; expanded support for wireless networking adapters and new support for the WPA wireless security protocol; experimental support for the PowerPC platform." Read the complete release announcement and release notes for more information.
The first stable version of T2, a Linux distribution build tool kit originally forked from ROCK Linux, has been released: "After a year of very hard work, we are happy to announce the immediate availability of our first stable release of T2. T2 2.1 is our first stable branch, forked out of ROCK Linux 2.0 one year ago. It has lots in common with that release, like ROCK Net, ROCK Plug, .gem file format, devfs, monolithic kernel and x11, but far more robust and improved to fulfill our goal of making a clean and stable framework for spin-off projects and customized distributions." See the release announcement for a more detailed description of the project.
Kaella is, effectively, a French edition of the popular KNOPPIX live CD. After many weeks of testing, version 2.1 has now been released for download. The new version is based on the CD edition of KNOPPIX 4.0.2, but it comes with OpenOffice.org 2.0.0, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird 1.0.7, and a corrected French language module for KDE. Other improvements include several cosmetic changes in KDE, new French translation of the KNOPPIX menu, addition of French documentation, and addition of new ADSL modem drivers. For a full list of changes please see the release notes (in French).
BeleniX LiveCD 0.2.1
This is bug-fix release of BeleniX LiveCD, an OpenSolaris-based distribution with an option to boot into a graphical user interface with XFce: "This is primarily a bug-fix release with the addition of a few utilities like a Volume Control and mixer utility and a GUI tool to manage services or daemons. Thunderbird did not work in 0.2 due to some missing files which have been added. Another item of interest is the addition of DTrace Toolkit that consists of various useful DTrace scripts and documentation." See the full release announcement and a more detailed changelong on the project's home page.
GoblinX Mini 1.2.1
The GoblinX project has announced the release of GoblinX Mini 1.2.1, a bug-fix update to the 1.2 series: "The GoblinX Project is proud to announce the release of GoblinX Mini 1.2.1. GoblinX Mini 1.2.1 brings some small bug and error corrections: an upgraded kernel (184.108.40.206); Linux live and Unionfs, added Gxine, Xine-lib, Gdhcpd, Zmixer, Xarchive and Graveman; removed Wv2, Jfsutils, Eye of Gnome, Lame, Flex, LVM; added a better log system; firewall does not send log messages to console, added a new bootsplash theme, ebona_goblix, based on the beautiful Ebona wallpaper of ViperV6; removed NVIDIA drivers - the Mini edition does not have any applications that need 3D acceleration...." See the latest GoblinX Newsletter for more details.
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Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Fedora Core 5 delayed
As has become tradition in the development of Fedora Core, the release of "test1" of the upcoming Fedora 5 has been postponed. Originally scheduled for release today (Monday), Fedora Core 5 test1 is now expected on November 21 instead. Subsequently, all following releases have also been delayed by two weeks. No reasons for the delay are given, but the preliminary schedule now reflects the new dates, with the final release of Fedora Core 5 now scheduled for 27 February 2006.
After many months of waiting for Debian "sid" to stabilise from the post-"sarge" upgrade mess, the developers of MEPIS Linux have finally announced a new upcoming release, version 3.4. A test version should be out within the next few days: "SimplyMEPIS 3.3.2 was replaced with Simply 3.3.3, which is a great build and includes OpenOffice.org 2.0 and Mozilla Thunderbird. I'm sorry most of you won't have the chance to use it, as Simply 3.4 is now in the works and should be available as a test in a few days. This new version will incorporate some new stuff: KDE 3.4, OpenOffice.org 2.0, and X.Org." Read the rest of the announcement for further information.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
DistroWatch server upgraded to FreeBSD 6.0|
Following the release of FreeBSD 6.0 last week and many overwhelmingly positive early reports about the new version, we decided to upgrade the DistroWatch server over the weekend. Although we didn't have any major problems running FreeBSD 5.4, our "geeky" hearts simply demanded that we ran the latest and greatest whenever possible. As always, upgrading a remote server located half-way across the world does bring a considerable amount of anxiety (will the new kernel boot at all?), especially because upgrading FreeBSD requires two reboots. Luckily, everything went fine and the server was never down for more than a minute on two occasions last Saturday.
Two minor issues came up during the upgrade. As reported by others, a "rm -f /usr/obj/* might be necessary prior to "make buildworld" to eliminate some compile problems down the line, and this was the case with our upgrade too. The second issue was the "pf" firewall which, for some reason, refused to allow any traffic through the SMTP port after the upgrade. However, after disabling the firewall and re-enabling it again, without changing any of the firewall rules, everything was back to normal. Other users also reported similar problems on the FreeBSD mailing list, so it looks like we were not the only ones affected by this issue.
As always, these types of upgrades (and the anxiety they bring) tend to lead to inevitable comparisons between FreeBSD and Linux (and even Solaris, now that it is free) as a web hosting solution. We switched to FreeBSD from Debian "woody" about a year ago and had mostly positive experiences. Unfortunately, a FreeBSD system does seem to require much more baby-sitting than a Debian-based server would ever need - virtually all FreeBSD security updates, rare as they are, require that either the kernel or the userland (or both) be recompiled and the system rebooted. On the other hand, we have enjoyed the ability to keep the system and software up-to-date by compiling the latest applications from FreeBSD ports - a big advantage over any stable Debian.
There is, of course, no such thing as a perfect operating system. That said, FreeBSD has proven itself over the years as one of the most reliable workhorses powering an enormous number of mission critical web servers around the world. To a large extent, our experience is in line with this fact. We are currently entertaining the possibility to award the November 2005 donation to the FreeBSD Foundation. Are there any objections among our readers? Please agree or disagree in the forum below.
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October 2005 donation: the amaroK project receives US$300
amaroK is the second multimedia application in a row (after MPlayer) that receives our monthly donation. Gaining many new fans and supporters over the last few months, this KDE-based music player is a great addition to the increasingly powerful desktop. amaroK is one of the most feature-rich media applications available today and the project's recent drive to generate further development funds has prompted several readers' emails recommending amaroK for a donation. We are pleased to oblige.
amaroK - a media player for the KDE desktop
Our monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and two online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxISO.co.uk and LinuxCD.org, each of which contributed US$50 towards this month's donation. Both stores have an excellent selection and latest releases at very reasonable prices. Next time you need to order your favourite Linux or BSD CDs, get them from LinuxCD.org or, if you are in the United Kingdom, from LinuxISO.co.uk.
This is the PayPal receipt for the donation to amaroK:
This email confirms that you have paid muesli (-at-) gmail.com $300.00 USD using PayPal.
Transaction ID: 0KH8523573841532G
Total: $300.00 USD
Item/Product Name: amaroK fundraiser
Item/Product Number: amaroKfunds
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the donations programme:
Since the launch of the DistroWatch Donations Programme in March 2004, we have donated a total of US$5,605 to various open source software projects.
* * * * *
New distribution additions
* * * * *
New on the waiting list
- DeveLinux. DeveLinux is a live Debian-based distribution designed for developers and programmers. It includes useful development software on a single live CD.
- Grafpup Linux. Grafpup Linux is a desktop Linux operating system based closely on Puppy Linux. Its goal is to be as useful to graphic designers and other imaging professionals as possible while still remaining extremely small and fast.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
And with this we'll say good-bye until next Monday. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
|• Issue 554 (2014-04-14): Review of FreeNAS, OpenSSL bug, Fedora.next, Robolinux Stealth VM, measuring memory|
|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
|• Issue 552 (2014-03-31): Tanglu 1.0, Ubuntu GNOME LTS, SliTaz for ARM|
|• Issue 551 (2014-03-24): Linux Mint "Debian" 201403, call for end to proprietary firmware, LVM|
|• Issue 550 (2014-03-17): Review of NixOS 13.10, Lubuntu seeking feedback, Android-x86 4.4-rc1 impressions|
|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
|• Issue 543 (2014-01-27): Review of Korora 20, FreeBSD 10.0, DNF, ZFS rescue CD, Bridge Linux interview|
|• Issue 542 (2014-01-20): QupZilla, Ubuntu with MATE, Arch on Raspberry Pi, best applications|
|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
|• Issue 540 (2014-01-06): SMS 2.0.6 and SME Server 8.0, Hawaii desktop, PHR statistics 2013, more on multi-part archives|
|• Issue 539 (2013-12-23): Centrych 12.04.3, Fedora 20 and its spins, dividing archives across multiple discs|
|• Issue 538 (2013-12-16): Mint 16 review, RHEL and CentOS 7 plans, SteamOS, Windows XP replacement suggestions|
|• Issue 537 (2013-12-09): OpenMandriva 2013.0, Gentoo developer interview, project Neon, Linux Mint and security|
|• Issue 536 (2013-12-02): Impressions of openSUSE 13.1, Ubuntu Touch, FreeBSD 10 delay, troubleshooting OS lock-ups|
|• Issue 535 (2013-11-25): GhostBSD 3.5, Debian and MATE, Ubuntu 14.04 features, security updates|
|• Issue 534 (2013-11-18): Review of OpenBSD 5.4, Fedora on ARM, menu names vs command-line names|
|• Issue 533 (2013-11-11): Point Linux 2.2, Pisi update, Debian and Xfce, Bruno Cornec interview|
|• Issue 532 (2013-11-04): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.10, Debian's init, FreeBSD's PKG-NG, Linux on ARM|
|• Issue 531 (2013-10-28): PC-BSD 9.2, openSUSE testing, nftables, upgrade pros and cons|
|• Issue 530 (2013-10-21): Kwheezy 1.2, DPL interview, Zenwalk's future, keeping up with vulnerabilities|
|• Issue 529 (2013-10-14): Ubuntu's Mir, dmesg and photorec tips, Tiny Tiny RSS|
|• Issue 528 (2013-10-07): Semplice 5, Haiku package management, Klaus Knopper interview, making custom distro|
|• Issue 527 (2013-09-30): Tiny Core Linux 5.0, SteamOS, moving operating system to new computer|
|• Issue 526 (2013-09-23): Look at ArchBang 2013.09.01, BSD Now, kernel stats, command-line tips|
|• Issue 525 (2013-09-16): The Official Ubuntu Server Book, FreeBSD 10 and OpenBSD 5.4, Skype alternatives|
|• Issue 524 (2013-09-09): Look at LXLE 12.04.3, Ubuntu's new package format, Secure Boot and dual-booting|
|• Issue 523 (2013-09-02): OpenIndiana 151a8, openSUSE "Evergreen", GNOME and DuckDuckGo, running apps from RAM|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• Issue 508 (2013-05-20): Review of Debian 7.0, interviews with Clement Lefebvre and Gaël Duval, scripting with xdotool|
|• Issue 507 (2013-05-13): Impressions of Calculate Linux, 13.4, Ubuntu's portable packages, mintDrivers|
|• Issue 506 (2013-05-06): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04, Debian "Wheezy", Slackware on systemd, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Full list of all issues|