| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 111, 1 August 2005
Welcome to this year's 31st issue of DistroWatch Weekly. SUSE LINUX has always been developed behind closed doors - some believe that it's time to open up and let the community get involved. Are you curious about the current status of the Enlightenment window manager, version 17? If so, we'll show you how to set it up on the recently released VectorLinux 5.1. Also in this issue: "Freedom Toasters" that dispense distribution CDs across South Africa, and an interview with Jonathan Riddell, the lead developer of Kubuntu. Happy reading!
"Fedora-izing" SUSE Linux
Let's start with an interesting opinion about SUSE LINUX, as expressed in this editorial by Linux Magazine. The author of the article argues that the current development model of SUSE doesn't have the right vibe with open source and Linux community and that Novell should consider a different approach:
"It’s pretty darn clear to me that to make mojo, SUSE Linux Professional needs to look deep into its roots and re-birth itself as a public, open source project similar to Fedora. While Novell executives might think twice about copy-catting Red Hat and many of Novell’s critics would undoubtedly categorize such a response as a knee-jerk reaction and a Johnny-come-lately, there are a number of reasons to Fedora-izing SUSE Linux. Heck, I think it would be a better Fedora than Fedora."
The above is certainly true. Unlike the development processes of Fedora or Mandriva, both of which is completely transparent and open to public participation, the development of SUSE LINUX has always been taking place behind closed doors. There is no public directory where interested parties can monitor the development progress or examine SUSE's patches, and there is no public changelog to inform us about current changes. Of course, the SUSE developers have long argued that public testing does not necessarily result in a more bug-free distribution than a carefully designed internal quality control programme. On the other hand, the lack of openness is a concern - for many, the ability to participate in development and beta testing is a major attraction when choosing a Linux distribution.
Where do you stand? Do you think that SUSE should open up its development process and perhaps even create a "SUSE Foundation" with public participation? Or do you believe that the distribution's current development model has proven itself and that it should continue without any major changes? Please discuss below.
VectorLinux 5.1 with Enlightenment 17
A few weeks ago we published news about Elive, a live CD featuring the Enlightenment window manager. The interest in this project, as well as the new and visually attractive Enlightenment, has been high among our readers and we received many inquiries and comments about both projects. Now we have great news for all the Enlightenment fans out there: the developers of VectorLinux have built Enlightenment 17 packages for their distribution and made them available for free download from VectorLinux mirrors.
We managed to set it up, although, disappointingly, it required more work than we had expected. Here is how we did it. First, we modified our /etc/slapt-get/slapt-getrc file by adding the source to the Enlightenment packages. We chose the nluug.nl mirror and added the following line:
After saving the file, we updated the list of available packages like this:
We expected slapt-get to be able to resolve dependencies automatically, but it wasn't the case, so we proceeded with downloading each package from this directory:
slapt-get --install e e_modules ecore edb edje eet elation elicit embryo emotion entice entrance epeg epsilon esmart etox evas ewl examine express iconbar imlib2 imlib2_loaders imlib2_tools
Next, we edited /etc/XwmMenu.ini to add Enlightenment to the list of available options in the post-login "Start Menu"; we added the following three lines to the end of the file:
Entry 9 Label = - Enlightenment
Entry 9 Execute = enlightenment
Entry 9 Description = Enlightenment window manager
Now we were able to login to Enlightenment and start having fun. Don't expect to be enormously productive - Enlightenment 17 is still in beta and we found that many menu entries were configured with non-existing applications. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see some of the available eye-candy and a refreshing change from the well-established desktops, such as KDE, GNOME or XFce. Definitely worth spending a few hours investigating this alternative desktop!
VectorLinux 5.1 with the latest snapshot of the Enlightenment 17 window manager
(full image size: 463kB)
If you are lucky enough to live in the beautiful land of South Africa, you'll be pleased to know that you can obtain many popular Linux distributions and FreeBSD for free - from Freedom Toasters. Set up by the Shuttleworth Foundation in various public places across the country, these "vending machines with a touch screen" provide the ability to burn copies of most major distributions on blank CDs or DVDs. The available distributions include the latest versions of Debian, Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, Impi Linux, Knoppix, Mandriva, Slackware, SUSE, as well as CDs containing popular open source projects, such as OpenOffice.org.
Jason Hudson of the Shuttleworth Foundation explains: "The Freedom Toaster project began as a means of overcoming the difficulty in obtaining Linux and open source software due to the restrictive telecommunications environment in South Africa, where the easy downloading of large software packages is just not possible. The Freedom Toaster is a conveniently located, self-contained 'bring 'n burn' facility, where users bring their own blank discs and make copies of the open source software they require."
Sounds like an interesting idea!
Is Microsoft preparing Linux law suits?
Is Microsoft getting ready for patent infringements law suits against Linux? There are those who believe that this is indeed the case. Their reasoning was given further credibility last week when an independent survey company representing several major IT players conducted a paid survey among IT decision makers. A large section of this survey was devoted to public perception about how Red Hat Enterprise Linux infringes on Microsoft patents. Here is one of the questions: "Given this statement, would you be more or less likely to believe that Red Hat Enterprise Linux infringes patents owned by Microsoft?"
The survey then went on to present a hypothetical situation that Microsoft granted patent rights to Red Hat, but not to other Linux vendors, then asked: "How would that impact your interest in deploying other brands of Linux in your IT system?"
Is this a beginning of a new Microsoft versus Linux battle? And are we going to witness an endless series of patent infringement law suits against Linux companies? Whatever it is, it seems that the largest software company in the world is getting more and more desperate every day....
|Interview: Jonathan Riddell, Kubuntu
Interview: Jonathan Riddell, Kubuntu|
The Kubuntu distribution is a partner project of Ubuntu Linux. Designed for those who prefer KDE over GNOME, Kubuntu maintains the usual high development standards of its parent project, while providing users with the latest KDE packages throughout the distribution's release cycle. We caught up with Jonathan Riddell, the initiator and lead developer of Kubuntu.
* * * * *
DW: Jonathan, thank you very much for your time. First, can you tell us something about yourself? How old are you? Where do you live? What do you do for living? When and why did you start using Linux?
JR: I'm 23 and live in sunny Edinburgh in Scotland. Mostly I do freelance programming and computer consulting, but sometimes I do rickshaw driving instead to get a change of scene. I started using GNU/Linux in about 1999 when a friend gave me a SUSE CD, I spent a couple of weeks getting X to work but once it was working I discovered KDE and haven't looked back. I've worked on Umbrello UML Modeller and various other parts of KDE.
DW: Kubuntu is essentially a project that brought KDE to Ubuntu. How did it all start? Are you on Canonical's payroll or is Kubuntu a purely volunteer effort?
JR: Sometime last year I blogged about a new super secret project which would become Ubuntu, for a short time I was top hit for "ubuntu linux" in Google. After Warty (the first Ubuntu version) was released Jeff Waugh phoned me up saying they wanted a KDE edition of Ubuntu and shortly after a few of us started working on getting the KDE packages ready.
Kubuntu is a community effort and, just like Ubuntu, a mix of volunteer and paid work. Canonical were kind enough to give me a short contract before the Hoary release and I've got another one for Breezy.
DW: How many developers work on Kubuntu?
JR: We have a growing group of MOTU (Masters of the Universe) developers who look after many of the KDE packages in the archives, we also have Froud who is working hard on the Kubuntu documentation. Basse has done great with much of our artwork (although he has competition from Matea who did our new Konqueror throbber). The rest of the Ubuntu developers are also extremely supportive of Kubuntu and help a lot. I should also thank the Debian KDE-Qt team who make the packages we base ours off.
We're always looking for more helpers, good ways to help are mentioned in HelpingKubuntu.
DW: Kubuntu was released at the same time as Ubuntu, with the then latest version of KDE. Later, when an updated version of KDE came out, you released a new set of ISO images and provided an apt repository for the latest KDE. Are you planning to continue with this practice? And what is the policy with these "special" releases - are the updated KDE and KOffice debs officially supported or is this just an unofficial service to users who want the latest KDE packages?
JR: One of the great features of Kubuntu and Ubuntu is that they are kept up to date with the latest releases. The KDE and KOffice update packages are not as well tested as the definitive releases but I do support them in the same manner. They are also extremely popular. In the future I'd like to also make packages of KDE SVN snapshots to help developers and testers.
DW: I noted on several forums that some users have been complaining about the quality of KDE packages in Kubuntu. They say that these packages are buggy and that Kubuntu is not as stable as Ubuntu. What can you say about this? Have you received any similar complaints?
JR: We did have some problems with overlapping files which took longer than it should have to get fixed due to the C++ transition blocking new packages in the archives. Other significant problems have included a beastie in KControl stopping you from using administrator rights, this is a general problem with KDE but seems to occur more frequently because of our sudo changes; Kopete was also caught out by a change in MSN's protocol which Gaim was fortunate enough to not be affected by. These are the sort of issues which happen to all distributions, but I am aiming for 100% bug free in Kubuntu Breezy :)
DW: What is your favourite package management utility - Synaptic, Kynaptic, or the good old apt-get? Which one would you recommend for novice Linux users?
JR: I use apt-get but really none of these are good enough for novice users. For future versions expect us to move towards more user-orientated package managers. The gnome-app-install application is a good start in this area but we want to do a lot better.
DW: The Kubuntu developers seem to have made some important modifications to Konqueror. Can you tell us more?
JR: There aren't any significant changes in Hoary's Konqueror, but for Breezy I'm looking into using Konqueror's "simplebrowser" interface.
Konqueror's "simplebrowser" interface
DW: The developers of Ubuntu tend to make "milestone" releases during the distribution's development cycle, but this is not the case with Kubuntu. Why not? Will we see any beta and RC releases before the final release of Kubuntu 5.10?
JR: We haven't been able to do a Colony test CD yet because KDE has been so heavily affected by the C++ transition from GCC 3.3 to 4.0 and the archives are now going through changes to the X packages. Users who want to live on the edge can try a daily build. We should have known usable Colony test CDs for Kubuntu soon and we will have preview, release candidate and final releases in line with the Breezy schedule..
DW: What other additions can we expect in the next release?
JR: I'm looking to use System Settings as a replacement for KControl.
System Settings as a replacement for KDE Control Centre
One small addition that I really like is a nifty item launcher called Katapult.
The "Katapult" item launcher
It's not yet clear if KDE 3.5 will be released in time for Kubuntu Breezy, the KDE 3.5 release schedule will be set depending on when the KDE 4 branch becomes ready for application development. But when KDE 3.5 does come out, we'll be the first with packages.
DW: Jonathan, thank you very much for answering our questions.
|Released Last Week
Scientific Linux 3.0.5
This is the fifth release of Scientific Linux 3.x series: "Scientific Linux (SL) release 3.0.5 for i386 has been released. Release 3.0.5 took a little longer than we expected, but it is finally here. We wish to thank all the testers, those who sent us patches and suggestions, and all those who have given us kind words of encouragement. Scientific Linux release 3.0.5 is based on the rebuilding of RPMS out of SRPMs from Enterprise 3 AS, including Update 5. Its biggest improvement over 3.0.4 is perhaps the addition of Firefox and Thunderbird, as well as newer, and hopefully better, kernel modules." Find more details in the release announcement and release notes.
ADIOS Linux 4.12
An updated version of ADIOS Linux has been released: "ADIOS 4.12 live boot CD is the latest version based on Fedora Core 3.0, kernel 2.6.12, SELinux, SquashFS, Unionfs, KDE, IceWM, OpenOffice and User Mode Linux virtual machines with kernel 2.6.12 for LIDS and SELinux. It seems to be stable, fewer complaints so far. ADIOS-selinux 4.13 pre-release 1 is working using targetted security policies (removed OpenOffice.org to make it fit on a 650MB CD). The YETAA-0.2 toolkit to make your own Fedora Core 4 live CDs allowed me to make a personal workstation from the FC4 installation CDs." The release announcement can be found on the project's news page.
VectorLinux 5.1 "Standard" has been released: "The developers of VectorLinux are proud to announce that the latest version, 5.1 Standard Edition, is available from our FTP site and the various mirrors. We think you will find this a fast, easy-to-install and very robust operating system that can be used on older hardware and new as well. Slackware is our core and we bring many things to the table that a modern desktop should have, like auto hardware configuration, the latest 2.6.x kernel, automounting of USB devices, and a real package management with dependency checking...." The release announcement.
Kubuntu 5.04.5 Live CD
Following the release of KDE 3.4.2, an updated Kubuntu 5.04 live CD is now also available for download: "KDE 3.4.2 released with Kubuntu packages and live CD. KDE 3.4.2 has been released. You can download Kubuntu packages from any of these deb sources (add to sources.list). A live CD is available based on Kubuntu Hoary with all current updates, KDE 3.4.2 and KOffice 1.4.1. The packages have also been uploaded to our breezy development version." Read the release announcement for further details.
Klax Live-CD 3.4.2
Another interesting live CD with the brand new KDE 3.4.2 (besides Kubuntu) is Klax. With its primary goal to showcase the KDE desktop environment, along with other KDE applications, such as KOffice, Klax is an excellent bootable CD for testing and demonstration purposes. A new version was released yesterday: "Klax KDE 3.4.2 Live-CD: an ISO size of 330 MB; all KDE 3.4.2 modules except kdebindings; Qt 3.3.4 with qt-copy patches, K3b 0.12.2 and KOffice 1.4.1." Unlike Kubuntu, which is based on Debian, Klax is based on Slackware Linux and SLAX. More details are available on the project's home page.
SNAPPIX is a KNOPPIX-based live CD with many open source Java components integrated into one compact package. A new version was released yesterday: "SNAPPIX 0.9 'OSCON' showcases the open source components in SNAP Platform 0.9, which feature the SableVM open source Java VM, GNU Classpath library, and Jikes compiler, the Apache Ant build tool, the Jython scripting language, plus the Eclipse universal tool platform, and the Tomcat servlet and JSP container. SNAPPIX 0.9 contains Mono 1.1.6, MonoDevelop 0.7.0.0, MonoDoc 1.0.6-3, and XSP 220.127.116.11. MonoDevelop features full syntax-highlighting and debugging integration of C# applications for the Mono environment." See the release notes for more details.
Onebase DevelopGo 1.0
The developers of Onebase Linux have announced the release of a new product - DevelopGo 1.0: "The Onebase Linux Project is pleased to announce the availability of 'Live Development Platform' for programmers. DevelopGo is a special live CD that comes with over 11 languages, 5 popular integrated development environments, 4 GUI designers, 5 GUI tool kits, extensive language bindings, wide collection of offline documentation, and with core Onebase support - all in a single live CD. Read the features page for more details on the software included in it. Note: It also comes with multimedia support." Read the release notes for further information.
X/OS Linux 4.0
X/OS Linux is a distribution built by compiling source RPMs for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Version 4.0 has been released: "After some delay, the final release of X/OS Linux 4.0 is now available to the public. Highlights include the 2.6 Linux kernel featuring numerous enhancements over the previous 2.4 version, Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) to apply more granular security policies, improved storage capabilities supporting file systems of up to 8TB and more. The Global File System (GFS) and Cluster Suite software is included in this release to ease the task of creating and managing advanced cluster configurations, and is available as an extra option during installation." Here is the complete release announcement.
Famelix is a Brazilian Linux live CD designed for potential Windows converts - complete with a familiar look and feel of Windows XP. A new version 1.1 has been released after some six months in development; it includes a new kernel with patches for bootsplash and supermount, a number of updated packages, such as KDE 3.3.2 and OpenOffice.org 2.0 beta, multilingual support, and other optimizations. Find more details in the official release announcement and in this discussion at BR-Linux.org (both links in Portuguese).
Famelix 1.1 - a new release with a Windows XP theme for KDE
(full image size: 764kB)
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Progeny Debian 3.0
The developers of Progeny Debian have published a roadmap leading towards stable release 3.0: "Progeny is pleased to announce that, beginning in August 2005, Componentized Linux will become a fully supported Progeny product." The final release of Progeny Debian 3.0 Developer Edition is scheduled for 26 September, following two previews and one release candidate. For more information, please see this roadmap.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Web Site News
July 2005 donation: The GNOME Foundation receives US$425|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of our July 2005 donation is the GNOME Foundation. As one of the two main desktop environments on Linux and UNIX, GNOME is certainly a project worth supporting. It has come a long way since a few years ago and has matured into a clean and stable desktop with superb support for dozens of languages and writing systems. GNOME is the default desktop on some of the most popular distributions out there, including Fedora Core, Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu Linux. It also ships with Mandriva Linux, SUSE LINUX and a number of other distributions.
As always, our donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and LinuxCD.org, which contributes US$50 every month. LinuxCD.org is an online store selling low-cost Linux/BSD CDs - they have the largest selection, inclusive of all the latest releases, and they offer the lowest prices. Next time you need to order your favourite Linux or BSD CDs, get them from LinuxCD.org.
This is the PayPal receipt for our donation:
This email confirms that you have paid GNOME Foundation $425.00 USD using PayPal.
Transaction ID: 12469669PN090980G
Total: $425.00 USD
Item/Product Name: Sponsor level donation ($250.00 - $999.99)
Item/Product Number: 104
Message: This is a donation by DistroWatch.com as part of our programme to support open source projects. Keep up the good work!
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Since the launch of the DistroWatch Donations Programme in March 2004, we have donated a total of US$4,655 to various Free Software projects.
New distribution additions
- Klax. Klax Live-CD is a Linux live CD based on Slackware Linux and SLAX. Its primary goal is to showcase the latest KDE desktop environment and related applications, such as KOffice, on a live CD for demonstration purposes.
- Musix GNU+Linux. Musix GNU+Linux is a KNOPPIX-based live and installation CD with a large collection of free audio software.
New on the waiting list
- GentooTH Live CD/USB Linux. GentooTH is a Ukrainian live CD based on Gentoo Linux.
- IOSN Live CD. IOSN Live CD is a bootable CD that boots into a usable and fully featured Linux desktop. In addition to standard FOSS productivity and multimedia applications, it is bundled with a "User Guide to Using the Linux Desktop" in print and multimedia formats as well as several IOSN Free/Open Source Software primers.
DistroWatch database summary
By the time you read this issue of DistroWatch Weekly I will be more than likely enjoying myself on a white sandy beach of an Indian Ocean island. That's right, folks, it's time to take a break! DistroWatch has been a full-time occupation for me and most of you will probably agree that I've done a decent job and deserve a little holiday every once in a while ;-). The site will, however, continue to function as normal - the news will be published by Dr Zhu, while the August 8 issue of DistroWatch Weekly will be written by Adam Doxtater of the Mad Penguin fame.
That's all for this week. We hope you've enjoyed this issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
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|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
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|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
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|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
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|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
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|• Issue 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
|• Issue 656 (2016-04-11): Qubes OS 3.1, Whonix offers bug bounties, Puppy's family tree, setting up disk partitions and running bash on Windows|
|• Issue 655 (2016-04-04): Parsix 8.5, Sabayon's Community repository, Red Hat offers free subscriptions, Ubuntu tablets, command line tips|
|• Issue 654 (2016-03-28): PCLinuxOS 2016.03, Using signatures to create a web of trust, Arch Linux rolls out Pacman update, GuixSD packages GNOME|
|• Issue 653 (2016-03-21): Antergos 2016.02.21, Debian prepares for election, a Unix-like OS written in Rust, watching Netflix on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 652 (2016-03-14): ReactOS 0.4.0, Debian swaps Iceweasel for Firefox, Fedora moving forward with Wayland, Verifying ISO files|
|• Issue 651 (2016-03-07): Korora 23, Linux Mint improves security, Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 3 computers, trying different file systems|
|• Issue 650 (2016-02-29): Haiku in 2016, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, 30 years of MINIX, Fedora plans Atomic Workstation|
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|• Issue 648 (2016-02-15): XStream Desktop 153, Raspbian unveils OpenGL feature, free hardware, Ikey Doherty talks desktop design|
|• Issue 647 (2016-02-08): Tails 2.0, KDE project launches Neon, Manjaro unveils ARM support, FreeBSD's quarterly report|
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|• Issue 645 (2016-01-25): Linux Mint 17.3 "Xfce", Chromixium changes its name, Ubuntu tablets coming soon, Linux vs BSD comparision|
|• Issue 644 (2016-01-18): Kwort 4.3, Sabayon tests ARM images, Slackware adopts PulseAudio, running Linux without GNU software|
|• Issue 643 (2016-01-11): Solus 1.0, Mint provide upgrade path to 17.3, Fedora developers work on stability, running the LXQt desktop|
|• Issue 642 (2016-01-04): paldo GNU/Linux, vetting distro repositories, Fedora plans to adopt GCC 6, Ian Murdock passes|
|• Issue 641 (2015-12-21): Arch Linux, Qubes OS to ship on Librem laptops, ALT offers start kit images, the spread of systemd and launchd|
|• Issue 640 (2015-12-14): Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11, removing meta-data from files, Ubuntu to remove on-line dash searches|
|• Issue 639 (2015-12-07): OpenBSD 5.8, openSUSE gathers Summer of Code proposals, running WINE on a live disc, Enlightenment adds Wayland support|
|• Issue 638 (2015-11-30): Qubes OS 3.0, KaOS with Plasma, NetBSD 7.0, Fedora seeks Wayland testers, scheduling tasks|
|• Issue 637 (2015-11-23): NixOS 15.09, Antergos introduces ZFS support, MINIX shares new features, copying an OS to a new computer|
|• Full list of all issues|