| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 167, 4 September 2006
Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Following a new release of Gentoo Linux last week, another popular "geek" project is likely to announce a major new version this week. Slackware Linux, the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution, has been through no fewer than four release candidates, so the final version can't be far away. Also expected later this week - GNOME 2.16. In other news, Linspire scraps the annual fee for its software repository, Ubuntu contributors keep enhancing their favourite distribution with extra software, services and even a new start-up script, and the NetBSD world is rocked by accusations of mismanagement by one of the project's founders. We also have the pleasure to announce that DistroWatch has once again been voted one of the "Top 101" web sites by PC Magazine and that the August 2006 donation of US$350 goes to the Puppy Linux project. Happy reading!
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Linspire frees Click 'N Run, Ubuntu updates, NetBSD troubles, Tinkerbell Linux
Linspire, a San Diego-based Linux distribution maker, announced last week that it would do away with the annual fees for its Click 'N Run service, a web-based front-end for installing extra software applications on both Linspire and Freespire. This follows the company's recent inaugural release of Freespire 1.0, a community maintained free distribution with emphasis on usability and convenience, predominantly designed for novice Linux users. The announcement means that all Linspire and Freespire users will now have access to a vast repository of Debian packages through a convenient web-based utility.
Kevin Carmony, the CEO of Linspire, justified the move in a forum post by arguing that "for every basic CNR subscriber we have, we get 3 Gold subscribers. The added benefits of support, discounts on the commercial products, etc., will continue to be a strong motivation for many of you to subscribe to this premium service." The easy availability of software packages, he believes, should also attract more new users to Freespire.
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Is Ubuntu the perfect Linux distribution? Although many will probably answer the above question affirmatively, there are those users who find the lack of many useful but proprietary components unacceptable in a modern operating system. For those, a newly published article entitled Common Customisations examines the current status of the various third-party tools providing the "missing pieces", such as multimedia codecs, patent-encumbered packages, non-distributable and proprietary applications, and other software that make our daily computing lives easier. The article examines the value of existing scripts, such as Easy Ubuntu or Automatix, discusses other possibilities of extending Ubuntu, and invites users to provide a feedback on the subject. Worth a read if you want to understand the challenges and possible solutions to a highly complex issue.
While on the subject of Ubuntu, some of the more technical Linux users might have heard about the new way of starting up their favourite distribution. Instead of using the age-old "sysvinit" to start various services during the system boot, the Ubuntu developers have been working on a new system called "upstart". Ubuntu Fridge has published an article on the subject, describing the differences between the two systems in layman's language and explaining the motivation behind the move. Although the work is largely driven by a desire to simplify the boot process, rather than to increase the boot speed, many users are likely to notice faster boot times when using "upstart". The new technology is scheduled to be included in Ubuntu 6.10 "Edgy Eft", scheduled for release at the end of October.
And still on the subject of Ubuntu, a new way of generating custom, Ubuntu-based live CDs are now available through a project called Reconstructor. This graphical application, written in Python, is designed to help users to re-create a new Ubuntu live CD with customised GNOME settings, new splash screens, unique themes, additional software packages and other aspects of the popular distribution. Reconstructor is released under the General Public License and is available from the project's download page, complete with an 11-page user manual in PDF format.
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The BSD world was rocked by a major controversy last week. In an open letter to the netbsd-users mailing list, Charles M. Hannum, one of the four founders of NetBSD, has expressed his doubts about the future of the popular, multi-arch operating system: "The NetBSD Project has stagnated to the point of irrelevance. It has gotten to the point that being associated with the project is often more of a liability than an asset." The strong words were then followed by accusations that the project has been run by an ineffective board of directors, lacking vision and ignoring user and customer needs: "This is the result of a coup that took place in 2000-2001, in which The NetBSD Foundation was taken over by a fraudulent change of the board of directors." The misery of NetBSD was compounded by further bad press when the writer of the above letter, together with seven more NetBSD developers, were told to leave the project due to their unwillingness to sign a new agreement.
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Packt Publishing has published an interview with Gerard Beekmans, the founder of Linux From Scratch (LFS). When answering a question about how this excellent educational project started, the founder of LFS replied: "After trying out a few distributions I couldn't settle on any one pre-packed system to fit my needs. I also didn't get the feeling I was learning everything I could learn about how Linux works, especially behind the scenes. That's how the LFS project started. I was putting together a Linux system from scratch as an attempt to figure out how things worked. I wrote down the steps I took to get such a system up and running, thinking that there are probably other people out there who would be interested in it." Find out more on why every hard-core Linux geek should build at least one Linux system from scratch!
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Interested in Linux-based diskless terminals and terminal servers? If so, we have some good news for you. The Malta-based 2X Software has announced that it will open source the code behind its successful NX-based terminal servers for Linux: "2X today announced the release of 2X TerminalServer for Linux, an open source terminal server for Linux, which enables users to run a Linux desktop and Linux / Windows applications over any type of connection." The reason? "If Linux is going to happen on the desktop, it will require a terminal server approach such as that of 2X Terminal Server for Linux. Only with the more advanced thin client approach, will Linux be able to outdo Windows fat clients in a company's network." More details about the product and its benefits can be found in this press release.
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As KDE celebrates its 10th birthday, here is something for the more nostalgic among us - the first press release announcing the start of a new desktop for UNIX called "Kool Desktop Environment": "The idea is to create a GUI for an ENDUSER. Somebody who wants to browse the web with Linux, write some letters and play some nice games." Additional technical details about the new desktop emerge further down the announcement: "Since a few weeks a really great new widget library is available free in source and price for free software development. The stuff is called 'Qt' and is really a revolution in programming X." The announcement, written by Matthias Ettrich, is concluded with: "I admit the whole thing sounds a bit like fantasy. But it is very serious from my side. Everybody I'm talking to in the net would LOVE a somewhat cleaner desktop. Qt is the chance to realize this. So let us join our rare spare time and just do it!"
10 years later, with KDE being one of the two main desktop environments on Linux, BSD and other UNIX operating systems, it is clear that dreams do sometimes come true. All we need is hard-working leaders with vision, perseverance, and motivation to get things done! Happy birthday, KDE!
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Finally, a new and exciting distribution was born last week. Unlike the hundreds already listed on DistroWatch, the new Tinkerbell Linux is developed by none other than Paris Hilton, a popular American sex idol. Explaining the motivation behind her entry into the open source world, the 25-year old socialite had this to say about her new-found hobby: "I think The Open Source Movement is, like, really hot. I've been dabbling with coding for ages, but it's taken me some time to find the courage to release it. As you know, I'm a shy and modest person, and wasn't sure if it was good enough for the strict standards of the coding community." As for the technical side of things, "Tinkerbell Linux is based on Slutware Linux and will be distributed on Paris Hilton's next music CD entitled 'Crontab for Love.'" For more details about the new, titillating Linux distro please read the formal press release.
Our take: watch this space! Ubuntu's days at the top of our page hit ranking statistics will be over in record time as the new Tinkerbell Linux will take the world by storm. This is also exactly what the Linux world needed to displace that other operating system from computer users' desktops! Great, great news!
|Released Last Week
Berry Linux 0.73
Yuichiro Nakada has announced a new release of Berry Linux, version 0.73. The latest release is based on kernel 220.127.116.11 SMP, with ndev/udev and bootsplash patches. Most of the base components come from Fedora Core 5, but the more visible software packages have been upgraded to newer versions; these include KDE 3.5.4, GIMP 2.2.12, xine 0.9.4, digiKam 0.8.2, Firefox 18.104.22.168 and Thunderbird 22.214.171.124 (both English and Japanese editions of the Mozilla products are included), and WINE 0.9.19. The project's own Rasp-UI window manager has been updated to version 0.04, while several new Japanese fonts have been added (YOzFont, Aoyagikouzan, Gyosho, Decoration). Read the project's changelog for a complete list of changes.
StartCom Enterprise Linux 3.0.6
Eddy Nigg has released an updated version of StartCom Enterprise Linux 3 series: "The legendary StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-3 is the first updated distribution release after the summer break, out of a series of update releases scheduled for the coming month. The release of AS-3.0.6 (Maccabee) features about 300 updated packages. Since the last release of the AS-3 series, the popular Ethereal network sniffing tool was forked to a new project called Wireshark. This change is reflected in this release, but also the newest Firefox and Thunderbird packages are included again." Read the rest of the press release for further information.
Gibraltar Firewall 2.4.1
A new stable version of the Debian-based Gibraltar Firewall has been released: "The new version v2.4 from Gibraltar is available. Gibraltar v2.4 comes with many new features and now also available pre-installed on several reliable hardware platforms. The new Gibraltar Security Gateways are offered with different performance data for network sizes up to several hundred computers. Due to permanent product enhancements during the last years, Gibraltar has been evolved from a pure Firewall to a powerful and reliable UTM appliance (universal threat management)." Read the full release announcement and check out the changelog for a full list of changes and new features.
Johnny Hughes has announced the availability of a fourth update to CentOS 4 series, a Linux distribution built from source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4: "The CentOS development team is pleased to announce the release of CentOS 4.4 for i386 and x86_64. This release corresponds to the upstream vendor U4 release together with updates through August 26th, 2006. The Live CD edition (1 CD-ROM) is available for i386. Major changes for this version are: Mozilla has been replaced by SeaMonkey, Ethereal has been replaced by Wireshark. Firefox and Thunderbird have moved to 1.5.x versions, OpenOffice.org has moved from to the 1.1.5 version." For more information please see the release announcement and release notes.
Fedora Core 5 Live CD/DVD
Robert Jensen has announced the availability of a new set of Fedora Core live CDs and DVDs. Called "Live-Spins" and created with a tool called Kadischi, the new Fedora live CD/DVD images allow users to test the distribution without having to install it to their hard disks. Fedora Unity has released the Live-Spins for both the current stable version (Fedora Core 5) and the latest development build (Fedora Core 6 Test 2). More information can be found in the release announcement.
Gentoo Linux 2006.1
Gentoo Linux 2006.1 has been released: "The Gentoo Release Engineering team proudly announces the release of Gentoo Linux 2006.1, the second release of the year. The 2006.1 release features many highlights that improve upon 2006.0. The AMD64, HPPA, x86, 32- and 64-bit PowerPC releases are built with and include GCC 4.1, a great improvement over version 3.4 used for 2006.0. Also included are the GNU C library version 2.4 and Gentoo's baselayout 1.12.1, with improved system start-up scripts. Alpha, x86 and AMD64 also feature a new profile layout, with separate sub-profiles for desktop and server systems." Read the rest of the press release for more details.
Debian GNU/Linux 3.1r3
Joey Schulze has announced the availability of a third revision of the stable Debian GNU/Linux 3.1, code name 'sarge': "The Debian project has updated the stable distribution Debian GNU/Linux 3.1. This update mainly adds security updates to the stable release, along with a few corrections to serious problems." Besides a large number of security updates and bug-fixes to glibc, GRUB, Perl and other packages, the Debian installer and several base packages were also updated. For more information please see the official release announcement and changelog. As always, the Debian stable revisions are normally applied with the apt-get package management tool. The updated stable branch, labelled as 3.1r3, is available from the project's main server or various mirrors around the world.
ZenLive Linux 2.8
A new version of ZenLive Linux, a subproject the Slackware-based Zenwalk Linux, is out: "It's official, ZenLive 2.8 has been released! This is a major version release based on the latest stable release of Zenwalk Linux, version 2.8. In addition, the latest versions of Zenwalk's net-based package management system, 'netpkg', which now allows software downloading from multiple repositories, system-tools and xdialog have been upgraded. A few new games have been added. All of your favorite Zenwalk applications are here as well so you'll feel right at home. Zenwalk 2.8 is a live CD powerhouse complete with wireless networking support, multimedia, office and gaming software, as well as international fonts and DVD codecs." Visit the project's home page to read the complete release announcement.
Ubuntu Christian Edition 1.2
Version 1.2 of Ubuntu Christian Edition (Ubuntu CE) has been released: "We have just released Ubuntu Christian Edition v1.2! We have added the GnuCash financial management software as well as the very popular Ubuntu customization tool, Automatix. There also some smaller additions such as new Daily Bible Verse feature and a new GDM to make the look and feel of Ubuntu CE more consistent. One of the major accomplishments with this release is the introduction of the Ubuntu CE Installer. With it users are able to easily install even more great Christian and Educational software." Find more details in the release announcement.
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Development and unannounced releases
- VLOS 1.3-beta3, the release announcement
- Vine Linux 4.0-beta1, the release announcement
- Mandriva Linux 2007-beta3, the press release
- Frugalware Linux 0.5-rc2, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu, 6.10-alpha2, the release announcement
- Elive 0.5-beta3.4, the changelog
- Slackware Linux 11.0-rc4, the changelog
- Wolvix 1.0.5-beta "Cub", the release announcement
- Kalango Linux 3.3-rc1
- ClarkConnect Gateway/Server 4.0-rc1
- Kurumin Linux 6.1-rc2
- PUD GNU/Linux 0.4.6.4
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The openSUSE project has announced the details about its upcoming release - openSUSE 10.2. After the fourth alpha build expected on 7 September, the developers will add one more alpha, two betas and one release candidate before the final release on 7 December 2006. Besides the usual software updates, openSUSE 10.2 promises to add new WLAN and Intel 3D graphics drivers, include Wink for creating video tutorials and, if Google agrees, provide the Linux edition of GoogleEarth. YaST will come with an ability to add third-party software repositories and other enhancements. Find more information in this mailing list post and on the project's roadmap page.
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Vine Linux 4.0
The Vine Linux project has announced details about the upcoming release of Vine Linux 4.0, the project's first major release in two years. According to ITPro (article in Japanese), Vine Linux 4.0 will be ship with kernel 2.6, and will include GNOME 2.14, as well as Anthy and SCIM Japanese input method editors. As usual, editions for the i386 and PowerPC architectures will be developed simultaneously, with the release candidate appearing roughly two weeks before the final release. Once the development of Vine Linux 4.0 is completed, work on a new update, version 4.1, will start with an expected release date in January 2007.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch one of "Top 101 web sites"|
It is always nice to see that our work on DistroWatch is appreciated by the open source software community, but it feels even better when a general computing magazine recommends our web site to its readers. In its annual Top 101 Web Sites survey, PC Magazine has once again included DistroWatch as one of the top computing web sites on the Internet: "Looking for your daily Linux fix? DistroWatch keeps you up to date on all the latest news about release announcements of Linux distributions. The site also has reviews, articles, and interviews with Linux developers." Let's hope that each visitor's "daily Linux fix" will turn into a life-long happy love affair with Free Software!
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August 2006 donation: Puppy Linux US$350.00
We are pleased to announce that the DistroWatch August 2006 donation has been awarded to Puppy Linux (US$350.00). Few open source software projects have been nominated for a donation as many times as Puppy Linux, so it only seems natural to reward its creator, Barry Kauler, for endless hours of hard work. The pride of Australia, Puppy Linux has truly became a unique and original distribution, targeting mainly older computers, but also appealing to those users who enjoy small and fast operating systems with a great selection of applications and a good community of users. Besides Puppy Linux itself, a number of Puppy derivatives have also been born over the last few months; these include Grafpup Linux, Hacao Linux (site in Vietnamese) and MeanPup (formerly Mean Puppy).
We received an email from Barry Kauler shortly after sending the donation: "When I first saw the email, I thought, 'ah, Ladislav has ordered a CD'. Then I saw what it was... man, I never expected to get a big donation like that! It will not be spent on pizzas and coke -- I'm always in need of new hardware for testing purposes so that's where it's going."
As always, the monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch, which allocates 10% of its advertising revenue, and three online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxISO.co.uk and LinuxCD.org and OSDisc.com. The three CD/DVD vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to Puppy Linux.
This is the PayPal receipt for the donation to Puppy Linux:
This email confirms that you have paid Barry D Kauler $350.00 USD using PayPal.
Transaction ID: 2TA35895BD7248440
Item Price: $350.00 USD
Total: $350.00 USD
Item/Product Name: Donation to Puppy Linux project
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$9,650 to various open source software projects.
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Several readers have emailed us to let us know that Linspire has launched what can only be classified as an attempt to tamper with our page hit ranking statistics by trying to artificially inflate the page hit ranking figures for its new community distribution - Freespire. Upon investigation, it turned out that both linspire.com and nvu.com had been deceivingly redirecting visitors to the Freespire page on DistroWatch and that the default home page of Firefox in the latest build of Freespire had also been set to the same page. As a result, Linspire has become the largest referrer of DistroWatch.com this month and the company has been responsible for a considerable number of extra hits on the Freespire page at DistroWatch.
Although the redirections continued for several days, the Freespire page hit counter was unaffected. As always, excessive and deliberately misleading links to DistroWatch by distributions are considered illegal and a script was promptly set up to prevent the counter from incrementing in cases where the visitors were referred by linspire.com or nvu.com.
For more information (and a rather heated debate) please see also this thread on the Freespire forum.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Linux Mint. Linux Mint is a GNU/Linux distribution which is based on Kubuntu. Its purpose is to offer a customised version of Kubuntu which features improved artwork, up-to-date packages and support for restricted multimedia formats. Linux Mint comes as a single live CD which provides a graphical installer.
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DistroWatch database summary
And that concludes our latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next issue will be published on Monday, 11 September 2006. Until then,
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|• Issue 629 (2015-09-28): Open source desktops and touch interfaces, locking down user accounts, OpenMandriva opens gaming documentation|
|• Issue 628 (2015-09-21): Neptune 4.4, changes to pfSense, Pinguy OS releases updated ISO images, accessing hard disk images|
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|• Issue 626 (2015-09-07): Status of Wayland and Mir, Cinnamon improvements, an OpenBSD hypervisor, HAMMER2 gets deduplication|
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|• Issue 622 (2015-08-10): antiX 15, Fedora tests kdbus, Debian tracks UEFI issues, word processors for the CLI|
|• Issue 621 (2015-08-03): Point Linux 3.0, Debian drops Sparc, Fedora package stats, VirtualBox 5.0|
|• Issue 620 (2015-07-27): Debian GNU/Hurd 2015, Linux Bible, Ubuntu MATE gets new Welcome app, Telegram on Fedora, Plasma Mobile|
|• Issue 619 (2015-07-20): SolydXK 201506, Tanglu's new bug tracker, FSF and Canonical negotiate licensing, Haiku unveils new init system|
|• Issue 618 (2015-07-13): Semplice Linux 7, openSUSE derivatives, Debian adopts GCC 5, Docker ported to FreeBSD|
|• Issue 617 (2015-07-06): Alpine linux 3.2.0, Fedora on MIPS CPUs, Solus offers daily builds, Ubuntu migrating to Snappy|
|• Issue 616 (2015-06-29): MidnightBSD 0.6, openSUSE's "42", encryption added to the ext4 file system, FreeBSD on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 615 (2015-06-22): Raspbian 2015, Fedora works around Intel driver issue, openSUSE adopts GCC 5, frozen desktop while copying files|
|• Issue 614 (2015-06-15): Chromixium OS 1.0, Debian 8.1 released, OpenBSD running in the cloud, sudo myths|
|• Issue 613 (2015-06-08): Fedora 22, Cinnamon 2.6 released, FreeBSD's history, working around Secure Boot|
|• Issue 612 (2015-06-01): Manjaro OpenRC, Debian, Devuan and systemd, Fedora 22 released, Mandriva closes its doors|
|• Issue 611 (2015-05-25): Kubuntu 15.04, openSUSE adopts Plasma 5, Ubuntu's Snappy, words from Debian's Neil McGovern|
|• Issue 610 (2015-05-18): NethServer 6.6, interview with Neil McGovern, CentOS supports AArach64, Foresight discontinued|
|• Issue 609 (2015-05-11): OpenIndiana 2015.03, LXLE 14.04, PC-BSD Current, creating ISO images, Ask A Leader with Peter Ganten|
|• Issue 608 (2015-05-04): Debian 8.0, Bodhi forks Enlightenment, new Debian GNU/Hurd release, distribution release frequency|
|• Issue 607 (2015-04-27): Ubuntu 15.04, Chapeau 21, Debian 8.0 features, Fedora 22 Beta details|
|• Issue 606 (2015-04-20): Linux Mint 2 "LMDE", Matthew Miller, Debian's new Project Leader, Evolve OS name change|
|• Issue 605 (2015-04-13): SuperX 3.0, HAMMER2 features, Linux 4.0, Vince Pooley, Google Code closing|
|• Issue 604 (2015-04-06): Void 20150221, Haiku's commercial partners, Debian release date, Tumbleweed features|
|• Issue 603 (2015-03-30): Tails 1.3, LibreOffice Online, Linux Firewalls book review, Kubuntu with Plasma 5|
|• Issue 602 (2015-03-23): Bodhi Linux 3.0.0, distro popularity, OpenBSD's new web server, GNU Manifesto turns 30|
|• Issue 601 (2015-03-16): Ubuntu MATE 14.10, modern distros for old hardware, AppArmor in Debian, Fedora 22 Alpha|
|• Issue 600 (2015-03-09): Korora 21, distro diversity, Ubuntu gets systemd, PC-BSD security features|
|• Issue 599 (2015-03-02): Sabayon 15.02, creating good passwords, new YaST modules, LMDE preview
|• Issue 598 (2015-02-23): Netrunner 14.1, Vivaldi web browser, Debian election, Cinnamon improvements|
|• Issue 597 (2015-02-16): MakuluLinux MCDE 2.0, Ubuntu phones launch, m0n0wall ceases development, live Linux updates|
|• Issue 596 (2015-02-09): ArchBSD 2014.09.04, encrypted e-mail, Fedora upgrade stats, FreeBSD's support policy|
|• Issue 595 (2015-02-02): ExTiX 15.1, Destroying encrypted data, openSUSE election, OSDisc statistics|
|• Issue 594 (2015-01-26): KaOS 2014.12, Commercial distros, Snappy Ubuntu, PackageKit fixes|
|• Issue 593 (2015-01-19): ReactOS 0.3.17, Unity on Mir, Bluetooth support, openSUSE election|
|• Issue 592 (2015-01-12): Mint 17.1, load averages, binary logs, GNOME Software|
|• Issue 591 (2015-01-05): Manjaro 0.8.11, systemd, Devuan, Torrent Corner|
|• Issue 590 (2014-12-22): Fedora 21, Ubuntu phone, expanding ZFS storage, Able2Extract|
|• Issue 589 (2014-12-15): Parsix 7.0, Ubuntu "Snappy", PC-BSD upgrades, How Linux Works|
|• Issue 588 (2014-12-08): PC-BSD 10.2, rolling-release Ubuntu GNOME, Bitrig, systemd|
|• Issue 587 (2014-12-01): Trisquel 7.0, Kubuntu 14.10 "Plasma5", FreeBSD on 64-bit ARM, Jolla and UbuTab|
|• Issue 586 (2014-11-24): Scientific Linux 7.0, Debian and systemd, Ubuntu MATE, application-level firewalls|
|• Issue 585 (2014-11-17): openSUSE 13.2, PC-BSD's "roles", MATE + Compiz on Mint, cleaning package cache|
|• Issue 584 (2014-11-10): OpenMandriva 2014.1, Debian freeze, trickle, systemd and boot times|
|• Issue 583 (2014-11-03): Ubuntu 14.10, ownCloud, Kylin interview, The Book of PF, Elive's commercial ways|
|• Issue 582 (2014-10-27): GhostBSD 4.0, Tumbleweed and Factory merge, systemd and fork of Debian|
|• Issue 581 (2014-10-20): SparkyLinux 3.5, Fedora's graphics stack, Debian and systemd, OpenBSD 5.6|
|• Issue 580 (2014-10-13): Rolling releases, Arch as best distro, GNOME on Wayland, MINIX 3.3.0|
|• Full list of all issues|
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