| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 192, 5 March 2007
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This is the most enjoyable part of the year for those Linux users who enjoy testing the development releases of Linux distributions - Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu, SimplyMEPIS and PCLinuxOS all delivered brand new test builds last week and the first impressions of all them are highly positive. In the news section, a start-up project releases Ubuntu Muslim Edition, Sun Microsystems joins the Free Software Foundation, and Linux and open source software makes a serious impact on education. Finally, don't miss our commentary on the future of DistroWatch Weekly where you can have your say over the direction your favourite publication takes over the next few weeks. Happy reading!
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The future of DistroWatch Weekly
What you are reading at this very moment is the issue number 192 of DistroWatch Weekly. For the past 192 weeks (that's 3 years and 9 months) we have striven to deliver a weekly newsletter summarising the most interesting events in the world of Linux distributions and (later also) BSD operating systems in one compact publication, allowing everybody to keep up with what is happening in this exciting area of computer technology. Back in the days when the newsletter's first issue was published in June 2003, there weren't nearly as many Linux/BSD-oriented web sites as there are now. But with the growing number of writers who publish their experiences, reviews, opinions and news on a variety of blogs and web sites, we have to ask this question: is there still a need for a DistroWatch Weekly?
Several critical comments were expressed in a recent DistroWatch Weekly forum by readers who argued that the usefulness of this publication had been diminishing over the last few months. While not everybody agreed with that particular opinion, comments like these give an indication that perhaps we have been slacking a bit here lately and that there is room for improvement. After all, it doesn't make sense to create a half-baked publication, which few will bother to read; instead, I believe that we should deliver either a top-class newsletter that will be appreciated by the wider open source software user community -- or nothing at all.
The reason for this commentary is to ask for your input. Firstly, please tell us what you enjoy in DistroWatch Weekly and which sections you'd be happy to see dropped. Secondly, give us an indication of what you would like to see covered more often. Some readers have already suggested new sections, such as a tips and tricks corner or a feature explaining OSS terminology, but feel free to suggest anything else you'd want to read in future issues. No ideas are crazy enough to be dismissed without consideration, but bear in mind that they should be relevant to the general content of DistroWatch.com - that is open source distributions and operating systems.
Also remember that DistroWatch Weekly is a free publication that comes on a single page that carries very little advertising. When I started it, I was able to put the page together in less than one working day, but as the content increased in later years, I found myself spending more and more time writing. Nowadays it takes about 1.5 days to complete the task. This is, unfortunately, about as much as I am prepared to spend on it so unless I am able to find new volunteer writers, I don't see much scope for extending the publication with new sections - at least not without dropping some of the existing sections.
For those who are interested in numbers, DistroWatch Weekly is read by about 15,000 - 20,000 people every week.
So what are your expectations from the future issues of DistroWatch Weekly? Let's review what the current design offers and what some readers suggested as possible enhancements. When you've read through the following section, please comment below and indicate the top 3 sections or features that you (would) find most valuable as a reader. Also please state which section, if any, you'd be happy to see dropped.
Naturally, when I write "we", I really mean "I", since much of DistroWatch Weekly is written by myself. Some readers have asked for more articles by Robert Storey, whose quality contributions were always well received. Unfortunately, Robert has recently been very busy with other, more important things in his life and, unless he gets a new wave of writing inspiration, it isn't very likely that we'll see many more articles from him. Susan Linton has been helping out a bit recently, but she also struggles to find enough time for writing since she also maintains a popular web site. As such, it looks like most of the writing is still going to fall squarely on my shoulders :-(
- News summary. This is one section that could be removed from future issues. News happens fast on the Internet so many of the news snippets that make it to DistroWatch Weekly on Mondays are no longer hot. Also, there are several excellent Linux news sites, such as Tuxmachines.org (more community oriented) or Lxer.com (more business oriented) that cover pretty much everything interesting. On the other hand, maybe some readers appreciate the quick news summary every Monday, so if you'd like to see this section preserved, then let us know.
- Distribution reviews and overviews. This has been a fairly well-received part of DistroWatch Weekly, especially since we tend to cover less well-known distributions that don't often get reviewed elsewhere. Nowadays, however, all we can do is to write up a quick "first look", since a comprehensive review would take much longer to complete than any of us has the time for.
- Interviews with distribution developers. Again, this has been a reasonably popular feature, but unfortunately not all interviews come out well. Some developers can be too technical, while others, especially those who work on commercial projects, tend to add too much marketing drivel. But this is one area where you could help - if you have a favourite distro and would like to interview its developer(s), why not put together a series of questions and email it to us? You probably know more about that particular distribution than we do, so you are in a better position to ask the right questions.
- Tips and tricks. We ran occasional tips and tricks in the past. This section can easily be added if there is demand, but before we do, we need to know what kinds of tips and tricks you prefer. Command-line tips? Bash scripting tips? Or more like tips concerning window managers, or graphical applications? Would you welcome short tutorials about, say, GIMP? Or should we focus on less glamorous world of security and encryption?
- Terminology. Some readers suggested a section devoted to new technologies that suddenly invade our distributions. What is udev? What is a compositing window manager? Of course, these terms are well covered by Wikipedia, but if you would like to see them explained here as well, then let us know.
- Opinions and commentaries. Would you like to see more of these? If Mandriva makes a decision about their distribution, would you care to read what we think about it? These opinions are sometimes controversial and, of course, not everybody agrees with them, but they provide an excellent platform for further discussions where we can learn from each other.
- Any other suggestions?
So there you have it. Now it's up to you to let us (me) know what you expect from DistroWatch Weekly and what changes, if any, you would like to see implemented in the future. Please comment away.
New test builds from mainstream distributions, Ubuntu Muslim Edition, Kadischi, Linux in education
For the main Linux distribution, the beginning of March usually means one thing: an intense testing and debugging period prior to the final release of their products in the year's second quarter. The year 2007 is slightly different in that, for the first time in years, there will be no new SUSE Linux or openSUSE release. Last year it was Mandriva that skipped the second quarter rush, but the company has since returned to a 6-month release cycle and its Mandriva Linux 2007.1 testing process has reached a second beta late last week. In the meantime, Ubuntu has released its 5th alpha build, heading towards a beta scheduled for the 22nd March. The upcoming releases by both Mandriva and Ubuntu look more like stability updates, with Mandriva keeping the kernel and the base system intact from its previous version and Ubuntu dropping its much coveted 3D desktop features due to what they believe is lack of maturity of these new desktop technologies.
As such, it looks like the most interesting delivery of the upcoming release season will be coming from the Fedora project. The developers have recently extended their testing cycle by a whole month to include a fourth test release and the extent of the new features and improvements in Fedora 7 seems lengthier than those in Ubuntu or Mandriva. The merging of Core and Extras packages into one massive software repository, dramatic improvements in boot speeds as well as the yum package management system, and a new single-CD method of installing Fedora from a live CD are all excellent improvements. While some of these features have been available in other distributions, it's nice to see that the Fedora development team is willing to learn and adopt successful technologies developed elsewhere. That, combined with their own innovations, should guarantee a highly interesting Fedora 7 in May this year.
Which distribution release are you most looking forward to in the coming months? Please discuss below.
* * * * *
You could see it coming, right? Following the high-profile release of Ubuntu Christian Edition some six months ago, a similar distribution with software for the followers of Islamic teachings has been released under the name of Ubuntu Muslim Edition. The project is an attempt to deliver a complete Linux-based operating system supplemented by Islam study software (in Arabic and English) and by an innovative system tray utility that alerts the user to prayer times and automatically plays the appropriate prayer (the prayers are in the free Ogg-Vorbis format). The project's web site is available in English and French, while volunteers are sought to help translating its content into Arabic. This is a great project for not only Muslims, but also those who are interested in learning or reading the Koran.
Ubuntu Muslim Edition delivers a complete operating system complemented with a Koran study program.
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* * * * *
Had a few years ago somebody suggested that Sun Microsystems would one day join the Free Software Foundation (FSF), you would have probably laughed at the idea. Yet, it has become a reality. Last week Ars Technica reported that Sun has joined the likes of Google, Nokia, IBM, Cisco and Intel to become an official patron affiliate of the FSF: "Sun officially put an end to the flip-flopping last year, when the company finally released its Java programming language under the GPL. Sun representatives have also expressed interest in potentially dual-licensing OpenSolaris to make it available under the GPL as well as the company's own CDDL license. Now that Sun has liberated the source code of its two flagship products, it seems clear that the company is willing to practice what it preaches." Let's hope that this move will prompt other major software companies to re-evaluate their licensing and release more of their products under the General Public License.
* * * * *
Here is something for the more technically minded Linux users. Kadischi, a software program for creating a customised Fedora live CD, has been in development for more than a year and has now reached a stage where it can be employed to build a live CD image from an existing Fedora installation. But how does one go about it? Jon Benedict has written an easy-to-follow tutorial for the latest issue of Red Hat Magazine: "This tutorial assumes that Fedora Core 6 is already installed on a system with a graphical interface. There needs to be a software repository of between 3 GB and 5 GB as well as a build directory of approximately 2 GB (or 8 GB for a DVD build). The build process follows similar steps in building a system from CD. It uses Anaconda to detect hardware, and the same dialogs are used to make selections like packages and localization." Read more in How to build a live Fedora CD using Kadischi.
* * * * *
Finally, here is an excellent article for those involved in education. Entitled How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories, the author argues that the availability of open source software is making a huge and positive impact on education and cites examples of educational institutions that adopted open technologies: MIT provides just one of the 10 open source educational success stories detailed below. Open source and open access resources have changed how colleges, organizations, instructors, and prospective students use software, operating systems and online documents for educational purposes. And, in most cases, each success story also has served as a springboard to create more open source projects." Read the rest of the article here.
|Released Last Week
A new version of Mutagenix, a Slackware-based distribution and live CD, has been released: "Mutagenix 220.127.116.11-1 is released. Features: Slackware 11.0; rescue disc (142MB), KDE 3.5 (686MB); much improved module detection using libdiscover in initrd; simple Slackware-based installer; simple CD remastering; simple USB stick install; OpenOffice.org software suite; Limewire P2P; new 'nonet' boot argument to skip network configuration during boot; new 'lang=xx_XX' locale setting option to set keyboard and language at boot; new 'nomount' boot argument to skip mounting drives during boot; new ability to set init level (1,3,4) at boot; extremely clean and fast boot." Read the full changelog for more information about the new Mutagenix.
LinuxTLE 8.0, code name "Patong", has been released. LinuxTLE is a community project, developed in Thailand, with the goal of delivering a complete desktop Linux solution to the speakers of Thai. Unlike the distribution's previous versions, which were based on Fedora Core, LinuxTLE 8.0 is the project's first release that uses Ubuntu (version 6.10) as its base system. The new product comes with the Linux kernel 18.104.22.168, X.Org 7.1, GNOME 2.16, Firefox 2.0 (with Java and Flash plugins) and OpenOffice.org 2.0.4 with full support for Thai. On the localisation front it includes several Thai fonts, as well as LEXiTRON, a Thai - English dictionary (see screenshot). For more information please read the release announcement and release notes (all links in Thai only).
SystemRescueCd 0.3.3 has been released. From the changelog: "Updated the kernel to Linux 22.214.171.124 with Reiser4; updated ntfs3g to 1.0, GParted to 0.3.4, TestDisk to 6.6, Memtest+ boot disk to 1.70; updated the system (glibc 2.5, udev 104, ClamAV 0.90, mdadm 2.6); updated Oscar (French tool to backup computers); added option 'forcevesa', and changed DefaultDepth for X.Org; added Foremost (program to recover files); bc (calculator); fixed hang problems at boot time."
Heiko Zuerker has announced a new stable release of Devil-Linux, a flexible live CD distribution for firewalls, routers and servers: "I'm pleased to announce the 1.2.13 release of Devil-Linux. The main changes include the updated time zone information for the recent DST changes, a lot of program updates, addition of missing iptables modules and much more. Check the changelog for details." Here is the brief release announcement and the complete changelog.
Parsix GNU/Linux 0.85.1
Alan Baghumian has announced the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 0.85.1: "An updated version of Parsix GNU/Linux is available now. This version merges all published updates on the Parsix and Debian repositories since December 1, 2006 to Mar 1, 2007 into a rock solid collection and fixes all reported bugs. Highlights are: GNOME 2.16.3, 2.6.18 kernel with many extra patches and updated drivers, including CK performance patches, GNU IceWeasel 126.96.36.199, OpenOffice.org 2.0.4, improved installer system, xFarDic 0.8.4, updated documentation, many fixes and clean-ups. We have also added Armenian to the dozens of supported languages. If you didn't test Parsix GNU/Linux yet, it's the time to do so." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Foresight Linux 1.0.1
Ken VanDine has announced the release of Foresight Linux 1.0.1: "The Foresight Linux community is proud to release version 1.0.1 of Foresight Linux. Foresight Linux is a desktop linux system with the goal of providing a truly useful desktop system that is friendly for the novice user, as well as flexible for the power user. Many bugs were fixed, features were added, and the look and feel was improved. Many packages have been updated for this release. The more notable: GNOME 2.16.3, X.Org 7.2, Linux kernel 188.8.131.52, Firefox 184.108.40.206, OpenOffice.org 2.1.0, Mono 220.127.116.11, Tomboy 0.5.6, Beagle 0.2.16, F-spot 0.3.4, GIMP 2.13.4, Inkscape 0.45." Read the full release announcement for more information.
IPCop Firewall 1.4.14
IPCop Firewall has been updated to version 1.4.14: "IPCop v1.4.14 is released. As usual, this version can be installed as an update from previous v1.4.x versions or with a ready-to-go ISO or USB bootable images for a fresh install. Main changes are Squid 2.6.STABLE9, Snort 18.104.22.168, timezone2007c and works on VPN. There is the usual .gpg update to reach 1.4.14 level and a separate package for those not able to update to 1.4.14 before the US daylight saving time change occurring on March 11. This tz2007c package could be installed on any 1.4 version manually. It install only updated time zone files and zdump to control the effect." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
- Dreamlinux 2.2-beta3 (MMGL), the release announcement
- SimplyMEPIS 6.5-beta7, the press release
- Fedora 7-test2, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu 7.04-alpha5, the release announcement
- Mandriva Linux 2007.1-beta2, the release announcement
- ClarkConnect Gateway/Server 4.1-beta1, the release notes
- PCLinuxOS 2007-test3, the release announcement
- Grafpup Linux 2.0-alpha3, the release announcement
- Pioneer Linux StageCoach-beta1
- INSERT 1.3.9b
- GParted LiveCD 0.3.4-0
- GeeXboX 1.1-rc2
- 64Studio 1.2.0
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
February 2007 donation: sidux receives US$350|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com February 2007 donations is the sidux project (US$350.00).
Despite being a very young distribution (sidux split from KANOTIX just a few months ago), the overwhelming support among the DistroWatch Weekly readers last week suggests that sidux is on a right track. The project delivered its first stable release, version 2007-01, two weeks ago and it has also published a roadmap promising four stable release per year. It is clear that the idea of developing an installable live CD based on Debian's unstable branch (sid) has been well received in the Debian user community.
The first stable version of sidux was released two weeks ago.
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Shortly after making the donation, we received this email from Chris Hildebrandt: "In the name of the sidux Foundation, and all nice people involved in the sidux project I would like to very much thank you, the DistroWatch community and your sponsors for your generous donation! Thanks also for your initial trust and interest in sidux which helped us getting more public attention." The project has also published an announcement about the donation.
As always, the monthly donations programme is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and three online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org, OSDisc.com and TheLinuxShop.co.uk. The three CD/DVD vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to sidux.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme:
Since the launch of the Donations Programme in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$12,240 to various open source software projects.
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- ArtistX. ArtistX is a Debian-based bootable DVD containing many free multimedia software packages for audio, 2D and 3D graphics, and video production. The goal of this project is to showcase the variety of multimedia software available on the GNU/Linux platform and to enable creative individuals to accomplish their tasks with the help of Free Software. (Note: this distribution replaces OpenSourceLab's Mediainlinux, which is no longer in development and which used to be maintained by the current lead developer of ArtistX - Marco Ghirlanda.)
- Resulinux. Resulinux is a Brazilian desktop distribution and live CD based on Debian GNU/Linux. Among its unique characteristics are TexasFlood boot system, which dramatically shortens the operating system's boot time, and a software update utility called LiveUpdate.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Etoile Live CD. Etoile Live CD is an Ubuntu-based distribution showcasing Étoilé, a light-weight desktop environment derived from GNUstep.
- ETS LiveCD. ETS (Ethernet Test Suite) LiveCD is a collection of shell scripts built into a SLAX-based live CD that provide the means for testing Ethernet link performance.
- Ubuntu Muslim Edition. Ubuntu Muslim Edition is an unofficial variant of Ubuntu with out-of-the-box availability of a Koran study program and other Islamic software.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes our latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 March 2007. Until then,
|• Issue 555 (2014-04-21): Robolinux 7.4.2, Ubuntu release day stats, Debian security, Porteus update|
|• 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|
|Free Tech Guides
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