| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 338, 25 January 2010
Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Have you ever bought a commercial distribution? While the vast majority of Linux-based operating systems can be had for free, there are a small number of commercial projects that sell their enhanced editions, usually targeting newcomers to the Linux world. Today's feature article takes a look at one such project - Italy's Hymera, a Debian-based distribution with an array of user-friendly features. In the news section, testers report vast improvements in Ubuntu 10.04 boot times, Lubuntu developers release a new alpha build for public testing, Slackware Linux gets a rare but well-deserved media exposure, and an article questions some of the claims made by OpenBSD with regards to security. Also in this issue, Qimo 4 Kids prepares for a launch of a brand new version while the Question and Answer section looks at running Linux on Apple hardware. Finally, distro hoppers rejoice - eight new distributions were submitted to DistroWatch last week alone; see the New Distributions section below. Happy reading!
- Feature: Hymera and commercial Linux
- News: Booting Ubuntu in 15 seconds, Lubuntu update, Slackware articles round-up, insecurity of OpenBSD, Qimo 4 Kids 2.0
- Questions and answers: Linux on Apple hardware
- Released last week: Tiny Core Linux 2.8, Càtix 1.6
- New additions: DigAnTel, Element
- New distributions: Alpine Linux, Gosalia, LFU, MCL, simpleLinux, stali, ÜberStudent, Ubuntu Electronics Remix
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (44MB) and MP3 (44MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Hymera and commercial Linux
For almost as long as there has been a Linux operating system, there have been companies trying to sell it. At the best of times, this is a tricky move. After all, as we know, Linux distributions are offered up by the dozens completely free of cost. In a lot of areas, open source advocates will burn CDs and DVDs and hand them out without charge. Looking at that sort of market, a market saturated with offerings of products gratis, it must take an optimistic mind to envision making a profit. Yet some have that vision, and a rare few turn it into a reality.
Red Hat is probably the best example of a company which has managed to get into the Linux game and survive. In fact, not only have they survived, but their business model of selling support for enterprise-level products has paid off well. Some other companies, like Novell, have tried to follow this approach, though none have done so well, as Red Hat has. But that's in the enterprise market, what about Joe & Jane User sitting at home? Attempts have been made to sell to that market too, in various forms. Take a look at mobile devices, where Android is making waves, and the TiVo, which has invaded dens around the world -- both products are bringing Linux to the masses, whether people know it or not. The flexibility and stability of the Linux kernel has made it ideal for dedicated equipment, causing its adoption into all sorts of arenas. (I'm not likely to forget the first time I received a support request from a user who had installed a Linux application on his router.) Yet, these are cases of Linux working in the background, largely out of sight. There have also been experiments in selling desktop Linux systems to home users, though will less success.
Xandros and Linspire both attempted to woo new Linux clients by marketing themselves as friendly to Windows users. Though, in the process, they seem to have alienated much of the Linux community and gained the attention of Microsoft's lawyers (Linspire, formerly Lindows, was sued over their choice of name). Neither distribution has had a new release in over two years and both appear to be discontinued (I tried to get in touch with Xandros to see if they would like to make a statement concerning their distributions, Xandros Desktop and Freespire, but as of time of writing, no reply has been forthcoming.) Mandriva has, through thick and thin, attempted to make selling desktop Linux a profitable venture and after many missteps and some scary financial times, they seem to be pulling through. Their survival may be due to the Mandriva team being willing to give away their product to those who want it and, at the same time, sell a similar commercial product. It may also be that Mandriva offers such a wide range of products as to be attractive in many markets. The iMagic team, though fairly new to the scene, has also been trying to make a go of selling a desktop Linux system. While they have a solid product, the lack of physical media or gratis edition in their product line doesn't bode well for their future.
The truth of the matter is, while some distributions can make money, or at least cover their costs, by selling physical media and accepting donations (Linux Mint brought in nearly US$30,000 in donations in 2009), selling a Linux desktop generally doesn't pay well. Nor does a commercial desktop sit well with some members of the free software community, who feel their software should be free of charge as well as libre. And, while I have nothing against someone trying to make a living selling open source software, I too find myself drawn to distributions which are created by the community, for the community. So it was with some surprise I found myself putting down a little of my hard earned cash for a copy of Hymera. Or, rather, trying to put down a little of my hard earned cash.
Hymera is a distribution which hails from Italy and their web site offers pages in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish. The English translation is pretty good and there are just a few places where I noticed odd phrases. Their slogan, for example, is "Easy, Funny and Safe" and it is hard to tell if, in this case, "funny" is intentional. I like to think it is. The entire web site has a professional appearance. Information is easy to find and the menus are arranged in a way which make sense. On the Hymera site, they offer a number of flavours of their distribution. These products include their Open edition, which can be downloaded free of charge; there's the Desktop edition, which is similar to Open, but comes with a printed manual and technical support; and the on-line store includes USB drives with Hymera and boxed versions of their operating system. At some point, I found myself looking at the selection of products and thinking, "I want one of those." It was here I ran into a small problem: I'm Canadian.
Actually, the fact I'm Canadian usually isn't a problem, but Canada uses postal codes (zip codes to some readers) which include both letters and numbers. Apparently, this is somewhat uncommon in other parts of the world and Hymera's web site wouldn't accept a postal code with letters. I contacted the company and asked about this. Shortly after, I received an e-mail asking me to try again; the site had been updated. I did and found my postal code was accepted, but my province was not. Again, Canadians have provinces rather than states and the system wasn't familiar with the regions of Canada. Another e-mail query from me resulted in another quick reply and I was asked to try once more. The third time was the charm and my purchase went through. At first, this may seem like an embarrassing glitch, but it shows that the customer service team at Hymera is paying attention and willing to quickly correct problems as they come up. In my experience, this hasn't always been the case with commercial Linux distributions.
Fast forward a few days and I had a boxed copy of Hymera in my hand. The DVD case, which resembles a regular movie case, is covered with the distribution's logo, slogan and a list of features offered by the operating system. All in all, it's attractive and likely to be appealing to customers. I find it interesting to compare the feature list and powerful product image that is presented on the Hymera case as opposed to the functional look of the OpenSolaris disc envelope or Ubuntu's friendly, philosophical container. However, my policy is to avoid judging DVDs by their covers and so I set about trying Hymera on my test systems. My test machines were my trusty generic desktop (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM) and my LG laptop (1.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM). To see how the distribution would function with fewer resources, I also ran it in a virtual machine with 512 MB of RAM. The Hymera box claims that the operating system requires a 700 MHz processor, 4 GB of disk space and 256 MB of RAM to run properly. As both of my machines met these requirements, I popped in the DVD.
System installation and first boot
Right away, Hymera's graphical installer starts up. The installation software, which defaulted to English, is attractive and very simple. Whether the simplicity is welcome or not probably depends on the beholder. The process kicks off by asking the user to accept a basic license agreement. With this out of the way, a network name is selected for the machine. The installer then moves on to disk partitioning, offering to automatically set up partitions or allow the user to manage things. A variety of file systems are supported, including ext4, ext3, ext2, ReiserFS, XFS and FAT. If the user tries to continue with the installation without first creating a swap partition, the software pops up a friendly notice explaining why a swap partition can be useful. Though the partition manager has an unusual layout, its easy to use and I had no problems deleting old partitions and creating new ones. With my disk set up the way I wanted, the installer copied Hymera's packages to the hard drive. There doesn't seem to be any option to pick and choose which packages are copied and I ended up with a full 3 GB of software. The entire copy procedure took just over five minutes on my desktop and a little under ten minutes on my laptop. The last step in the process is setting a password for the root user and creating a non-root account. Like everything else in the installer, some tips are provided to the user, explaining what's going on and why. The installer then reboots the system.
Hymera Evolution - the installation screen
(full image size: 329kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
One glitch came up when I installed Hymera in a Virtual Box virtual machine. During my first boot up, I saw the usual graphical splash screen and the progress bar. After the splash screen, but before the login page, I received an error saying a problem had occurred with X. Checking the X configuration file showed that Hymera had detected the video card as being a "vboxvideo" card and assigned a "vboxvideo" driver for it. As this module couldn't be found, the X session terminated. Changing the driver to the proper setting and restarting X fixed the problem. Also related to video, I found that Hymera set my screen resolution to a medium level. Most other distributions I've tested recently have tried to configure screen resolution as high as possible and I'm not sure if this was a quirk of my machines or if Hymera takes a lower setting on purpose.
Hymera starts up with an attractive, graphical boot screen with a progress bar along the bottom. With the boot process complete, the boot image fades out and is replaced by a login screen. The login screen looks fairly standard, with a box for typing the username and password near the top and various buttons below, which allow the user to select session types, switch languages and perform actions such as rebooting or shutting down the machine. Logging in brought me to the most beautifully crafted GNOME desktop I've yet to see. The blue-themed patterns, icons and layout have an enticing, professional look. The desktop has icons for a web browser (which is a re-branded Firefox), e-mail client, and links to the user's home folder and trash. On the taskbar are the usual application menu, volume control, network status indicator and clock. There are also short-cuts to an application which will search for files, and a screenlets control. Screenlets, for those not familiar with the term, are desktop widgets, or plasmoids if you're a KDE user. Hymera comes with a collection of screenlets to monitor the system's CPU, disk usage, local weather and there are some which are just for fun.
Hymera Evolution - first impression of the desktop
(full image size: 731kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Applications, hardware and security
The application menu of Hymera is filled with a wide range of software. There is the usual collection of small, useful programs, such as a calculator, text editor and archive manager. The distro also comes with the usual collection of popular GNOME games to pass the time. Additionally, in the application menu we find a music player, a video player, a webcam utility, CD ripper, CD/DVD burner and GIMP. OpenOffice.org 3.1 is installed and includes support for MS Office 2007 document formats. I was surprised to find a copy of Adobe Reader 8 in the Office section, usually some other PDF viewer is used, but Reader works well enough. The Internet category contains a re-branded Firefox 3.5, BitTorrent client, Skype, an e-mail client, a terminal server client, and instant messaging software. Hymera also has tools to change preferences, enable or disable system services, manage user accounts, install package updates and handle drivers. One program I hadn't seen pre-installed before is Cairo-dock. This program creates an OS X-style taskbar and launcher along the bottom of the desktop. The effect is actually pretty good, if the regular taskbar is moved to the top of the screen. The application menu doesn't contain any development tools, nor was I able to find a firewall manager - those need to be installed from the repositories. What do not need to be installed are media codecs and Flash. These are set up on the system at install time and make visiting YouTube, playing movies and listening to music no-hassle ventures.
When I first started using Hymera, I expected to run into menus written in Italian or to boot up to find my keyboard layout wasn't recognized. For the most part, my locale was not an issue. My keyboard was properly detected and text was displayed in clear English. Though there were a few exceptions I found to this rule. The iMobile application, a program which is unique to Hymera, displayed text in Italian. Adobe Reader also displayed text and menus in Italian and some parts of the Cairo-dock program were Italian, while others parts were displayed in English.
Otherwise, my hardware was handled well. Removable media, such as CDs and digital cameras are easy with Hymera. New media gets a corresponding icon when it's attached and I had no problems accessing or managing devices. My sound worked without any tinkering and my network connection was enabled at start-up. Hymera was able to detect and use my laptop's Intel wireless card without any special work being done and my Novatel mobile USB modem was detected, though not configured.
Hymera uses the Synaptic package manager, a graphical tool which is probably familiar to anyone who has used Debian, or one of its off-shoots. When Synaptic first runs, it displays a helpful message about how the package manager works and then gets out of the way. Hymera has its own repositories, which currently contain over 24,000 software packages. Chances are, if you're looking for an open source application, it's in the repository. I was able to install new packages, remove unwanted items and run updates without any problems. Under the Synaptic front-end there is the popular apt-get tool for people who prefer the command line way of doing things. The distribution is based on Debian and that shows up most obviously in package management. The performance of the desktop also displays its Debian roots; the system is quick to respond and generally used less than 500 MB of memory.
There are some aspects of Hymera which are secure and others where improvement could be made. The installer makes sure the root account is password protected and that a regular, non-root, account is created. On the other hand, the installer does not offer to encrypt partitions, which would be useful for laptop owners. Logging into a desktop as root causes the background to turn red as a warning against carelessness. While most network services, such as web and secure shell are disabled, NFS and Samba are running by default. No shares or regular user accounts are set up to be shared through Samba, which makes me wonder why the service is running at all. Local users are able to see the contents of other users' home directories, including the files of the root user. I understand leaving user directories open to facilitate sharing files, but the root account should, in my opinion, be locked down.
Hymera Evolution - Cairo-dock in operation
(full image size: 999kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Going into this review I was curious to see if Hymera would bring anything new to the community. More specifically, does this distribution provide anything special which would make it worth purchasing? One thing I will say for Hymera is that it doesn't fall into the trap some commercial distributions before it have: it doesn't try to be Windows. Previous ventures by Xandros and Linspire, in particular, stand out as brands which took a Linux base and tried to make it look and feel as much like Windows as possible. I suppose this was to entice customers away from Microsoft and into the open source community. The problem with this approach is a lot of Linux users don't like Microsoft products and aren't likely to recommend or support products which tart themselves up to look like the closed-source giant. Up until recently, I would have said that Red Hat, MEPIS and Mandriva are the only commercial desktop distributions which have stayed firmly inside the Linux camp (Novell signed a patent agreement with Microsoft in 2006 in an effort to make their products more compatible with the closed-source giant). For richer or poorer, they are out to sell a better Linux product for Linux users. Hymera is following those performances and, for being new to the scene, not doing badly at it. They offer Samba shares and Adobe Reader for Windows users and, for that matter, the optional Cairo-dock for OS X fans. But, by and large, this is a product for people who want Linux. Hymera has also followed in Mandriva's footsteps by providing a free edition of their product alongside a for-purchase edition. Hymera sells physical media copies too, as opposed to iMagic, which currently provides neither physical media, nor an open circulation edition. To top it off, Hymera sells technical support for multiple languages.
Is it worth buying? As always, that question can only be answered by the customer. I would say that a person who is interested in a very newcomer-friendly Linux system, who wants all the codecs, Flash and various add-ons working out of the box would be well advised to take a look at Hymera. More experienced Linux users, who feel comfortable configuring their systems and searching for packages probably won't find new value here.
Hymera is a new member of the Linux community, having made their first release just six months ago. Being new, there are still areas where they can expand and improve. For instance, I'd like to see the installer offer more features, such as partition encryption, configuration options for the bootloader and package selection. I'm sure these options could be offered under an "Advanced" section so as not to confuse less experienced users. The Hymera website says they have an upcoming server edition and I'm looking forward to seeing what they put together. It would also be nice to have a Hymera live CD for people who want to test drive the distro without installing. As for day-to-day experiences with the operating system, it's a solid offering. The system is stable, with the eye candy resting on a firm Debian base. My only other wish would be for the GNU Compiler Collection to be added to the default install for people who like to tinker; there's already 3 GB of data on the DVD, a few more packages won't hurt.
On the positive side of things, Hymera is newbie-friendly, has a great, polished desktop and lots of software and codecs right out of the box. Aside from the installer, the system is flexible and the large collection of software (both on the DVD and in the repositories) is a great asset. From my experience thus far, Hymera isn't as strong an offering (commercially or technically) as Mandriva, but I'm hoping that we'll see more of Hymera in 2010.
Personally, something else I'd like to see is more free distributions offering commercial options. Partly to appeal to home users who would like to purchase physical media directly from their favourite projects and partly in the hope of generating more revenue, and jobs, in the open source community. Mostly, I would like to see more distributions offering a for-sale version to appeal to the business community. At various times over the past ten years, I've been in a position where I can suggest open source solutions and managers typically don't like to hear terms such as "community supported" or "free of charge". Even small companies seem to prefer "value-added support" and "competitive pricing" when they're reviewing options. Sometimes I wonder how many copies of Clonezilla or FreeNAS I could have helped sell if those projects offered Purchase buttons on their websites and promised to respond to all (paying) customer queries within 24 hours. I'm not suggesting free software projects get rid of their gratis products, but rather that they expand to offer a commercial option, even if it's identical to the free edition, with a client ID number thrown in. A lot of people believe the old saying "You get what you pay for" and I think the open source community should consider that.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Booting Ubuntu in 15 seconds, Lubuntu update, Slackware articles round-up, insecurity of OpenBSD, Qimo 4 Kids 2.0
With the recent second alpha release of Ubuntu 10.04, many users have started experimenting with the development code of what promises to be yet another highly-anticipated Ubuntu version. Although these are still early days, there are already some unexpected surprises, such as 15-second boot time found in the latest alpha build: "On ChannelWeb, Ed Moltzen tried out the second alpha and reports that Ubuntu boots in only 15 seconds, compared to an already estimable 20 seconds for the initial alpha release. By comparison, tested on the same PC, Windows 7 came in at a surprisingly respectable 30 seconds (which is no doubt much faster than Vista would have fared), even beating out Fedora 12 (37 seconds), but still twice as slow as Ubuntu. Moltzen's system is based on an Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 clocked at 2.80 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM. Canonical's goal for Ubuntu is a 10-second start-up time, said Moltzen." The article also comments on the news that Ubuntu is considering a possibility to offer some of the often requested proprietary applications as part of its operating system.
In the meantime, it seems that the developers of Lubuntu, a still-unofficial Ubuntu variant featuring the lightweight, but modern LXDE desktop, are a step closer to releasing their inaugural version at the same time as Ubuntu 10.04. Last weekend, the availability of the second alpha build of Lubuntu 10.04 was announced on the project's mailing list: "The second alpha of Lubuntu is now available for testing. There aren't many changes between alpha 1 and alpha 2, don't expect big surprises. The next release (alpha 3), which will be released after the feature freeze, will be more interesting. Features: LXDE packages up-to-date; LXDM; the new PCMan File Manager for testing (type "pcmanfm2" in a terminal); many wallpapers and start icons to be able to switch easily and to test the result; first customization with a splash screen; installable with Ubiquity. Known bug: alpha 2 may not boot on VirtualBox in Ubuntu 9.10." Interested testers can download the CD image from here: lubuntu-lucid-alpha2.iso (362MB).
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Slackware Linux tends to be overlooked in favour of more mainstream distributions by most online media, but last week was an exception as several publications decided to give the oldest surviving Linux distro project a closer look. In "Slackware Linux - less is more", IT PRO writes: "Slackware doesn't have a picturesque, simple-choice, resource-hogging GUI installer, but for all that, many would argue that Slackware is just as easy to install, that the installer has more clarity than most, is more flexible, and that it is easier to customise a Slackware installation for the precise requirements of more advanced users and system administrators." Slackstuff.com has joined the chorus of positive Slackware coverage in "Ode to Slackware": "Slackware is just right for a back-end system administrator who wants a server that is up and stable in 15 minutes or a simple, fast workstation with the install of the default KDE desktop or Fluxbox window manager." Finally, on a more technical note, MakeTechEasier explains how to install and run Slackware 13: "The philosophy behind Slackware is to keep the system as UNIX-like as possible. There's not a lot of automatic configuration and you won't find many bells and whistles, but you'd be hard set to find a more stable and mature distribution."
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OpenBSD is considered one of the most secure operating systems on the market, with all its code scrutinised for potential flaws and vulnerabilities. Or at least that's what the developers like to tell us. But can we really trust it? In an article entitled "The insecurity of OpenBSD", a blogger raises some doubts and highlights some of the possible problems with OpenBSD: "An argument often made by proponents of OpenBSD is the extensive code auditing performed on the base system to make sure no vulnerabilities are present. The goal is to produce quality code as most vulnerabilities are caused by errors in the source code. This is a noble approach, and it has worked well for the OpenBSD project, with the base system having considerably fewer vulnerabilities than many other operating systems. Used as an indicator to gauge the security of OpenBSD however, it is worthless. The reason being is that as soon as a service is enabled or software from the ports tree installed, it is no longer the default install and the possibility of introduced vulnerabilities is equal to any other platform." A well-researched and referenced article that exposes some of the claims made by OpenBSD proponents. It is followed by over 100 comments which are also worth reading.
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Still on the subject of BSD-based operating systems, here is an interesting interview with Josh Paetzel, the director of IT at iXsystems (the company which sponsors the developments of PC-BSD and FreeNAS): "iXsystems directly funds the development of PC-BSD. We employ Kris Moore, the lead developer of PC-BSD. iXsystems also contributes the hardware that the PC-BSD infrastructure runs on, as well as the space, power, bandwidth, and administration that those machines require. Our marketing department works to promote PC-BSD visibility, with boxed sets of PC-BSD available through retail outlets, such as Microcenter and Fry's, and arranging for PC-BSD to be represented at trade shows with speakers, demonstrations, and promotional materials. PC-BSD reciprocates by providing iXsystems with a viable FreeBSD based desktop operating system, as well as a community of testers and volunteers using PC-BSD as a desktop operating system on a wide variety of hardware." The upcoming release of PC-BSD 8.0 is in final stages of development, with the completed version expected shortly.
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We conclude the news section with a quick update on Qimo 4 Kids, an Ubuntu-based distribution designed for very young children. According to the project's web site, the developers have started working on version 2.0 and here are some of the highlights expected to appear in the next release: "Qimo has a brand new friend, an adorable little polar bear girl named Illa (pronounced ee-lah, it is Inuit for "friend"). Illa will be the focus of a whole new theme for girls, featuring shades of pink and purple, to match the boyish-blues of the existing Qimo theme. She's also sure to appear in a new set of Tux Paint stamps, so your little ones can create their own Arctic artwork featuring our loveable pals. While we're on the topic of new themes, Qimo 2.0 will not longer limit the theme to the 'qimo' user account. Instead a Qimo session will be selectable at the login screen, just like GNOME, KDE and Xfce are today. That means you can create individual accounts for each of your children, or start using the Qimo session with an existing user."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Linux on Apple hardware
An-Apple-polishing-penguin asks: Could you talk a bit about running Linux on the Apple platform?
DistroWatch answers: There are quite a few reasons you might consider running Linux on your Mac (or MacBook) hardware. Perhaps your Mac is about to become unsupported, or maybe you prefer the Linux operating system over OS X. Maybe you just feel experimental. Perhaps you want to turn your Mac into a server without a graphical interface chewing up CPU cycles. Whatever your reason, Linux running on a Mac is an interesting idea and one that usually works well because Macs don't have exotic hardware combinations. There's not a lot of guesswork when it comes to figuring out which video card or sound card you're going to be dealing with.
Last summer, I configured some MacBooks to dual-boot with Linux and there are some tips I'm happy to share with anyone who is considering doing the same.
Once the operating system is installed, running Linux on a Mac is pretty much like running Linux anywhere else. Does anyone here have tales of running Linux on their Mac to share?
- Backup your data. Whether you're planning to dual-boot or go 100% Linux, backup your data first.
- Grab a live CD of the distro you plan to use and test drive it on the Mac. Make sure the distro will boot and that all your hardware works.
- If you're planning to dual-boot OS X and Linux, I highly recommend using a third-party disk partitioning tool, not one of the one which comes with OS X. I've tried using Apple's disk partitioning tools a number of times and they have never worked properly for me. On Intel Macs (or Mactels), I've found GParted LiveCD to be very useful.
- There is a great step-by-step guide to installing Linux on a Mactel located here. This tutorial is written for Ubuntu users, but it has some good tips regardless of which distribution you decide to use. I advise reading the whole thing before embarking on your iLinux adventure and paying special attention to the section on rEFIt.
- If you want to talk with other people who have installed Linux on their Mac machines, check out Linux on your Apple Mac. The site has news and tutorials for people migrating their Macs to Linux. It also has a forum for people who want to swap stories, get help and share their knowledge with other iLinuxers. It's a good resource, covering a wide selection of distributions.
|Released Last Week
Càtix 1.5, 1.6
Càtix is a Debian-based distribution and live DVD with complete support for the Catalan language. The project has announced two new releases - Càtix 1.5 is the last Càtix featuring the KDE 3 desktop while Càtix 1.6 is the distribution's first version that defaults to KDE 4 (version 4.3.4). The GNOME desktop is also available for selection from the boot menu. The KDE desktop and applications represent the only difference between the two versions; the rest of the system is based on Debian's unstable branch with many of the latest applications included on the DVDs. Both releases use Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, glibc 2.10.2, GCC 4.4.2 and X.Org Server 188.8.131.522. Read the complete release announcement (in Catalan) for further information.
Càtix 1.6 - a Debian-based distribution for Catalan speakers
(full image size: 1,617kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Tiny Core Linux 2.8
Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 2.8, the world's smallest graphical distribution: "Tiny Core Linux 2.8 is now posted. The theme for this release is to have a single directory for extensions and dependencies. This greatly improves systems resources by having a single copy of dependencies and it also greatly improves flexibility in 'moving' applications present upon boot, dependency auditing, and both batch and selective updating. Change log: updated FLTK to 1.1.10; updated FLWM with more traditional close button layout; updated appbrowser to support new onboot.lst and extension support structure; updated appsaudit - new menu section OnBoot to support maintenance of onboot.lst; updated and reorganized cpanel, added 'OnDemand', 'TCE Update', 'USB Install', 'Run Command', 'Xkill', and 'Xvesa Setup'...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a more detailed list of changes.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Alpine Linux. Alpine Linux is a hardened Linux distribution based on uClibc and BusyBox. The project started as a fork of LEAF, a single-floppy distribution, but expanded to include additional software packages and security features, including DansGuardian, Samba, a complete build-from source environment, 2.6.x Linux kernel support, stack-smashing support from GCC, PAX kernel security, and better package manager, with dependencies, upgrade paths and pre- and post-install scripts.
- Gosalia. Gosalia is an Ubuntu-based distribution designed with ease-of-use in mind and targeting non-technical computer users.
- LFU. LFU (Learn Free with Ubuntu) is an Ubuntu-based distribution with extra educational applications from different knowledge fields.
- MCL. MCL (Matt's Cool Linux) is an Ubuntu-based distribution with a cleaner user interface and useful additional applications, such as Krusader.
- simpleLinux. simpleLinux is a Slax-based mini-distribution. It features Xfce and KDE desktops, fast boot, a variety of performance enhancements, and support for popular media formats.
- stali. stali (sta[tic] li[nux]) is a new Linux distribution based on a hand-selected collection of the best tools for each task, with each tool being statically linked (including some X clients). It also targets binary size reduction through the avoidance of glibc and other GNU libraries where possible.
- ÜberStudent. ÜberStudent is an Ubuntu-based distribution for higher education and emerging-generation high school students who wish to learn to excel at the tasks and habits of top students and researchers, and anyone who can benefit from easy-to-use yet powerful computing. Like Ubuntu, ÜberStudent is a complete operating system with programs for everyday computing tasks, but it also comes with an additional core of expertly configured programs and many user-friendly extras, designed to increase the chances of an academic success.
- Ubuntu Electronics Remix. Ubuntu Electronics Remix (UER) is an Ubuntu derivative with electronics software included. The aim of the project is to make using Ubuntu for electronics as easy as possible.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 February 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Qomo Linux (formerly Everest Linux) was a Chinese distribution developed by Red Flag Linux and managed as a community project (in a fashion similar to Red Hat's Fedora or Novell's openSUSE). Its main features are user-friendly desktop, excellent hardware detection, full support for simplified Chinese, and a 6-month release cycle.