| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 347, 29 March 2010
Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! As the first components of the brand new GNOME 2.30 start to filter through to the project's mirror servers, we are happy to bring you the latest round-up of news and features from the world of free operating systems. This week's lead story is a first-look review of Igelle, an interesting new distribution built from scratch, which includes a brief interview with its creator. In the news section, Oracle makes drastic changes to Solaris licensing, OpenSolaris 2010.03 gets delayed due to show-stopper bugs, Fedora project leader announces resignation, Ubuntu founder explains the reasons behind some of the user interface changes, and Linux Mint development team hints at some of the upcoming new features in the popular distribution. Also in this week's issue, a question and answers section that focuses on complete removal of data from hard disks and a new distribution built from ground up - Cronos Linux. All this and more in this issue of DistroWatch Weekly - happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
An introduction to Igelle 1.0
Igelle is a young distribution which first appeared with its 0.6 release about a year ago. In February of this year the Igelle developers announced the availability of version 1.0, calling it "the world's most flexible operating system." Intrigued at what appeared to be a unique and fresh approach to Linux, I decided to give the distribution a test drive. Before diving into the distro itself, I had a chance to chat with development team lead Markku Kero.
* * * * *
DW: Igelle claims to be the world's most flexible operating system, running on desktops, servers and mobile devices. Could you tell us how you designed Igelle to be flexible?
MK: When we talk about Igelle being flexible, we usually talk primarily of two things: (1) The ability to run on (and be optimized for) a variety of processors, architectures and hardware, and (2) its ability to be customized and configured to fulfil different usage scenarios and feature requirements. These were taken as design objectives from the very beginning, so we ended up with a design that is completely cross-compiled and that can be compiled with a completely customized software package selection, where each package can be configured in a way that suits the current requirement. This design allows us to look at and compile the entire operating system, composed of hundreds of components, as a single unit that we can manage and configure to a certain shape, and therefore allows us to build the same thing to act as a desktop system for the latest Intel computers, as a purpose-built embedded system for a very small ARM or MIPS board, or anything in between.
DW: According to the product's website, Igelle doesn't use KDE or GNOME but a new technology called Esther. Could you tell us why the developers chose Esther?
MK: Esther was custom-developed just for the purpose of being the Igelle desktop. We did look at all the existing desktops, including KDE and GNOME, as well as LXDE and Xfce, and there are many really cool things in all of them. But since Igelle is unique in what it aims to do and be, none of them were really a perfect fit. Esther's purpose and vision is to provide the same familiar experience across all the targeted devices from desktops, laptops through netbooks to tablets, mobile devices and phones. Of course we are not yet completely done with all that, so expect to see more exciting things in the upcoming versions of Esther.
This doesn't of course mean that Esther is an island of it's own. We share a lot in common with, especially, GNOME, LXDE and Xfce, not the least of which is the GTK+ toolkit. Through that, for example, many apps that are called GNOME-something, that are really GTK+ applications, are well at home in the Esther desktop. And we even include in the default desktop of Igelle many common apps and utilities that are included in either GNOME, LXDE and/or Xfce. But it's mixed and matched in a way that suits the purpose and philosophy of Igelle.
DW: How does Igelle handle packages and updates? Does it have its own package manager?
MK: Igelle's software management philosophy is quite different from what people may be used to with traditional Linux distributions. First of all, Igelle itself is installed as a read-only Squashfs file system that in itself is not modified at all before or after installation. So when adding additional applications, and when removing them, they too are installed as read-only file system images that are copied to a certain folder on the storage drive. This makes software management really fun and easy; it involves just copying the application file (we use the extension .sjapp) to the /apps directory on the hard drive; and uninstalling includes removing this file.
We have also included an easy-to-use compiler tool within Igelle that allows anyone to make their own sjapp application packages. This is, of course, a sort of a technical task, but does not require the user to be deeply technical and experienced with details of making and using build systems. So we're sort of trying to lower the bar to compiling software from source code and helping more people to make their own favourite packages. I also hope that this will help people to be able to keep up to the latest versions of their favourite applications, something that has been a little bit of a challenge with Linux distributions in the past. There is documentation on the Igelle web site for using sjapp to make your own packages so that those who are interested in this can get started.
So yes, Igelle has its own software that manages all these things. It can be considered the Igelle "package manager", although probably "application manager" is a term that hits closer to what it is.
DW: Igelle is a fairly new project. Now that 1.0 is complete, what does the team have planned for the future?
MK: We are just getting started. What we made available for download is Igelle DSV, the graphical desktop, version 1.0.0 for Intel-compatible PC computers. This is just one small dot on the entire matrix of the Igelle vision, which is to run everywhere, and to do everything, to put it shortly. So we'll be expanding from this, first of all to the different architectures like ARM, MIPS and PowerPC, as we have also described on the web site. At the same time we will be moving to the different scenarios, like servers, embedded systems, and mobile devices. The feedback we've received clearly confirms our own opinions in that the mobile version has proven very interesting for many. So we will definitely be coming up with something unique and exciting in this specific field.
DW: Does Igelle work with the open-source community and how can volunteers help?
MK: We are, of course, by the very nature of Igelle very deeply rooted in the open-source community, and it is very critical for us to work efficiently and productively in and with the community. I hope that we will be able to help the community on our side, as I have already seen how passionately the community has been helping Igelle in the past weeks already.
As for the ways to help, there are many. Simply working on any of the upstream projects is, in itself, already helping Igelle. But on a more Igelle-specific note, we have lately very much appreciated those who have provided their feedback on their testing Igelle on specific hardware. There have been many interesting findings we could have never seen ourselves. So just downloading, running and using Igelle and providing feedback is already a great help. This will be even more exciting as we continue to go into the complicated realm of mobile and hand-held hardware.
For those who are inclined to do development, making and compiling more applications is a great way to help. We have a decent repository of popular software available now, and we will continue to add and update more programs there through our efforts, but obviously we will need all the help we can get, since this is such a great, never-ending task. Ideally it would be great if the upstream developers themselves would make sjapp installers that we could just link to in the Igelle repository.
We will also be formalizing the open source components that we ourselves have started as actual projects so that those developers who have their interest in those things can also properly work on the code. And yet another thing that I already wish to thank some people for is for helping others in the forums. This is something that helps not only Igelle but the people using it. Taking this to the next level, providing tutorials, documentation and other helpful advice would really be helpful to everyone.
DW: As I understand it, Igelle is owned by Job and Esther Technologies. Since the operating system is free to download, how does the company hope to profit from Igelle?
Igelle DSV, the graphical desktop for personal computers, is free to download, and we really have no ambitions of making any money out of that. It's something we do for and together with the community, and honestly I just hope that people would enjoy it and that it would bring something good to their lives. We will be launching other editions, however, that will not be free to download, and we will be working with our customers to produce solutions that are optimized for their specific needs and hardware requirements. We'll provide the ability for our clients to be able to choose their hardware, and to map their requirements themselves, rather than having the software dictate it for them. Obviously we will also be providing support, trainings and a full array of professional services for all of our products. Please see our web site
for more info about these things.
DW: Where can users of Igelle's Desktop edition go to get the source code for the GPL components of the system?
The source packages for the core system (what's found on the Igelle DSV CD) open-source components are found here
. These are patched sources, so they include any modifications that were made in order to build them. So even if the file name may match with the original source tarball from upstream, the contents may not. But if you compare, you'll notice we are really not heavy on patching, the focus is mostly on changes that make the build work.
Then the source packages for the add-on applications (those that are installable through the "add and remove applications" tool) are here
. These are unpatched sources, and the build rules and any patches are in their parent directory. This includes the sjs files, so for those who wish to build their own packages, the sjs files here will probably serve as good examples.
DW: Thank you very much for taking the time to stop and talk about Igelle and your team's vision.
* * * * *
Igelle 1.0.0 "DSV" - the first impressions
(full image size: 595kB, screen resolution 1154x768 pixels)
My journey into the world of Igelle started out smoothly enough. Booting off the CD gave me a quick look at the Igelle banner and then deposited me at a desktop. The desktop icons are bright, inviting and well labelled; the wallpaper has a tasteful and professional look. The icons point to documentation, the system's web browser, the "Add or Remove Applications" program, and there are shortcuts to items called "All Applications" and "My Documents". There's a menu bar running along the top of the desktop and an OS X-style launch bar at the bottom. The launcher contains buttons for common tasks, some of which are also displayed on the desktop.
On the launcher, we find a calculator, text editor, image viewer, video player, personal organizer, task manager and settings manager. The bar at the top of the desktop displays the system's clock, a button for configuring desktop effects, a compact list of open windows and a menu. The menu is short and directs the user to their files, settings, applications and the system's documentation. There's also a button for turning off the machine. When running from the CD a welcome screen is displayed, providing a little information about the live environment and offering links to further information. The welcome screen also includes a link to launch the system installer.
The installer itself is very compact. It displays a screen asking if the user would like to hand over the entire disk to Igelle, manually partition the disk or install the operating system to an existing partition. Opting to configure partitions manually launches GParted. Once a partition has been selected for the system, the installer copies its files over. At first that appears to be it, but once the user reboots the system, a first-run program requests the user provide further information. After a hostname, time zone and user account have been set up, the system reboots again.
Igelle 1.0.0 "DSV" - surfing the web and getting help
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Post-install, the first thing I noticed was that the system automatically logs in to the desktop at boot time. This doesn't appear to be an option so much as designed behaviour, which occurs regardless of how many user accounts have been created and whether or not they have passwords. Which, in my mind, makes the passwords redundant. It is possible to change which user is automatically logged in, but I have yet to find a method of making users login manually. Regular user accounts have almost complete control over their environment and application management and have the ability to use sudo to accomplish privileged tasks.
One characteristic of Igelle that took me a while to get used to is that it doesn't have an application menu in the traditional sense. Instead, it has an application container. Selecting the "All Applications" icon on the desktop brings up a window filled with program launchers. Along the top of the window are categories, allowing the user to filter the displayed programs. Out of the box, Igelle has applications for burning discs, playing video files, getting organized, text editing, browsing the web, managing archives and viewing documents. There are also tools for creating user accounts, changing the system's appearance and setting up printers.
I was hoping to be able to drag these launchers from the container to the desktop or to the launch bar, but they remained stuck in place. For users who want to access the power of the command line, there is a virtual terminal. The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is installed, as are tools for building Igelle packages. The distribution does not come with popular media codecs or with Flash; those need to be downloaded and installed separately and there are tutorials for performing these tasks on Igelle's forum.
Igelle's application manager is an amazingly simple and user-friendly program that initially offers the user two options: add new programs to the system or remove programs from the system. Choosing to add new applications takes the user to a screen where they are shown an alphabetical list of all the available software in Igelle's repository. Each package is given a brief description, explaining in straightforward terms what the software does. Clicking the item's download link opens a separate window with a progress bar showing how much of the file has been retrieved. While the download is in progress, the user is able to return to the list and select other items.
The modular approach allows for great flexibility and avoids dependency issues. At the moment Igelle offers a small (but wide-ranging) collection of programs. Though there are less than a hundred items in the repository, I found office software, multimedia programs, image manipulation apps, WINE, an e-mail client and the Firefox web browser. Removing software is almost an identical process to adding it. A list of installed applications is displayed to the user and items can be removed by clicking a button and confirming the action. Each installed package is a single file in the /apps directory and software can alternatively be removed from the system by deleting this file.
Igelle 1.0.0 "DSV" - managing applications
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During my time with Igelle I ran the operating system on a generic desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). To see how the system ran with fewer resources, I ran it in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In each of these environments, there were a few problems. On the desktop box, Igelle first booted up to a desktop which was filled with bright colours - a visual static, if you will. Checking on the forums, it appears this is an issue with the NVIDIA driver (a problem one or two other distributions have as well) and it's possible to work around the issue by booting Igelle with the "failsafe" option. Doing this gave me a normal desktop and I was able to use my computer without further problems.
Sound worked properly and my network connection was detected. My laptop's video card was handled well, as was its audio system, but my Intel wireless card wasn't detected, nor was my Novatel mobile modem picked up. Adding to the list of problems, my touchpad worked, but refused to handle taps as button clicks. Given these problems, I was pleased to find that suspend/resume worked on my laptop. Running Igelle in a virtual environment held two surprises for me. The first was that Igelle requires the system to support PAE; machines which do not won't boot. Fortunately, this is an option in VirtualBox and I was able to enable PAE and proceed without further difficulties. My second surprise was that Igelle was able to run quickly and smoothly, with desktop effects enabled, in a virtual environment with less than 512 MB of memory. Rarely did Igelle use more than 400 MB of memory (including cache) and the installed system used a little less than 800 MB of disk space.
Igelle 1.0.0 "DSV" - exploring the desktop
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Perhaps my biggest concern when running Igelle was with security. While there are no network services running, reducing remote threats, there's very little protection provided locally. The default account logs in automatically, there's no encryption on the file system and applications can be added (or removed) without privilege escalation. These points lead me to believe the developers envision Igelle as a single-user operating system. And while on the topic of security, I didn't find any method for updating installed packages, short of manually checking for new versions in the application manager. Hopefully, these items will be different in the Server edition.
During the week I spent with Igelle I had the chance to read through the distro's forum and get some feedback from other Igelle users. One common trend I found was that users were finding a lot of things missing from the distribution. Parts of the desktop environment aren't flexible, there are too few applications in the repository and Flash and some codecs aren't installed by default were items brought up. Something I might not have realized, if it wasn't for Mr Kero comments above, is that these are much the same complaints many Linux users have against Apple products, particularly the new iPad.
Open source enthusiasts are typically interested in having every aspect of their operating system configurable; we want to be able to re-theme, remove and re-compile everything to suit our personal style (Which partially explains the torrent of new distributions we've seen over the years). We want flexibility, security and options - options above all else. To be paranoid (or not), to have three different text editors and to have our toaster compile its own custom kernel while it makes us breakfast. And many of us forget that the rest of the world, the majority even, do not care about such things. The rest of the world wishes for fast, easy-to-use computers which behave in a predictable fashion and perform a few specific tasks beautifully.
I think that is the audience Igelle is targeting: not the type of people who run Debian, Gentoo and Fedora, but the sort of people who enjoy technology like OS X, iPods and iPads. People who want to find a balance between the simplicity of a dedicated appliance and the power provided by Linux. In short, it looks like Igelle has the potential to make the netbook/tablet/mobile device market a very interesting place in the coming year.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Solaris no longer free, OpenSolaris 2010.03 delays, Fedora leadership change, Ubuntu user interface musings, new features in Mint 9
Solaris is no longer free to use. That's a message that has been slowly filtering through to technology media and which is likely to create much more stir in the coming days. A once extremely popular server operating system, the Solaris deployment figures had been in a steady decline for some time (due to availability of free Linux and BSD systems) until Sun Microsystems decided to make it available free for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, under the CDDL licence. That was back in 2006. However, the recent acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle brought some interesting changes to Solaris licensing: "Your right to use Solaris acquired as a download is limited to a trial of 90 days, unless you acquire a service contract for the downloaded software." According to this report at CIO, "customers who don't purchase support for hardware systems aren't allowed to obtain maintenance releases, patches, telephone assistance, or any other technical support services." The news has already started making rounds on some Solaris mailing lists, often resulting in heated debates among the members of the groups; while some are outraged by the sudden change, others understand the business point of view and Oracle's desire to monetise their recent investment. Either way, we are likely to hear much more on the subject in the next few weeks.
* * * * *
Solaris isn't the only product affected by the above-mentioned change of ownership. OpenSolaris, whose new stable version was expected to arrive last week, is another operating system that is presently riding the waves of uncertainty - now also due to further release delays: "OpenSolaris 2010.03 was supposed to have been released earlier this month (in fact, originally it was supposed to be known as OpenSolaris 2010.02 and released in February, but then it slipped to early March). However, March is coming to an end and there still is no sign of OpenSolaris 2010.03." According to this post on the OpenSolaris mailing list, the delay is purely technical: "The OpenSolaris 2010.03 release was suppose to contain final 'show stopper' patches from b134-b136 in which engineering has to close out the public build release for snv_b136 (not done as of today, ON current=b135)." As always with these kinds of delays, the complete lack of communication from the project leaders is what seems to irritate the users most. All in all, this wasn't a good week for Solaris and OpenSolaris. Will these events bring a new round of desertions from the once dominant UNIX system?
* * * * *
Paul Frields, the Fedora Project Leader since January 2008 when he took over from Max Spevack, has announced his intention to pass on the leadership reins to a new chief: "I've been the Fedora Project Leader for a little over two years now, and now that we're rocketing (sorry!) toward my fifth release in that role, I'm interested in branching out into other ways of championing free and open source software at Red Hat. Before I do that, I want to smoothly pass on the role of Fedora Project Leader, and make sure the next FPL can not only be fully successful, but continue to build on a process of growth and change for the future." Frields continues: "It's important that Fedora always be able to make opportunities for fresh and energetic leadership that will help take our project, and the distribution we make, to the next level of achievement. Regardless of what I'm doing next at Red Hat, part of my job early on will be to give as much assistance as possible to the next FPL, just as Max Spevack did for me, allowing that person to successfully take over this position, and continue leading Fedora into the future."
* * * * *
The somewhat unusual user interface changes in the upcoming release of Ubuntu continue to generate opinions in online forums and blogs. Last week, project founder Mark Shuttleworth posted a few thoughts regarding these changes on his personal blog: "One of the driving mantras for us is 'less is more'. I want us to 'clean up, simplify, streamline, focus' the user experience work that we lead. The idea is to recognize the cost of every bit of chrome, every gradient or animation or line or detail or option or GConf setting. It turns out that all of those extras add some value, but they also add clutter. There's a real cost to them - in attention, in space, in code, in QA. So we're looking for things to strip out, as much (or more) as things to put in. ... It's not hard to get people enthusiastic about the idea that less is more. However, it's quite hard to get people to agree on which bits can be less. It turns out that one person's clutter is another person's most useful and valued feature."
* * * * *
Finally, something for the fans of Linux Mint and especially those who cannot wait for each new release of this increasingly popular distribution. Last week, Clement Lefebvre published an overview of new features in Linux Mint 9: "USB-Creator will be added to the default software selection; apturl will be added to the system; in memory of Husse, a new fortune database gathering his best quotes will be added to the pool of random messages that appear when you open a terminal; you can now edit items directly from the menu - if you want to change the name, the icon, the description or even the command for a particular application, just right-click on it and select 'Edit Properties'; if your graphics card allows it (you need compositing for this to work), you can change the transparency of the menu; there are two new context menu item to let you easily add shortcuts to the panel or the desktop...." There is a lot more, so click on the above link to get a more detailed list, together with a few intriguing screenshots.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Wiping hard disks
Concluding-with-a-clean-slate asks: How do I completely wipe my hard disk without physically destroying the disk? I want to sell it.
DistroWatch answers: There are a lot of tools out there for wiping hard drives and erasing files. Most of them easy to use and offered free of charge. It would be difficult to give a complete list, so I'll mention two of my favourites here. Generally people will want to run these commands from a live CD so that they aren't trying to use the same disk they're erasing.
The first erasing tool I recommend is "shred" because it comes pre-installed on many distributions and live CDs. The shred command over-writes files with random data and then, optionally, over-writes the files again with zeros. Shred can work on individual files and, additionally, on entire hard drives. For example, my main drive is called "sda", so to erase it I could run the following from a live CD:
shred -vfz /dev/sda
which will replace my files with random numbers and then fill the drive with zeros. By default, shred makes three passes in which it replaces the data on the disk. For people who want to be a bit more thorough, shred can be made to make more passes with the "-n" option. The following command makes twenty passes on the drive:
shred -vfz -n 20 /dev/sda
The other method I use, which, in effect, is a more manual approach, is to run the "dd" command. The dd program moves data from one place to another and doesn't worry about where the bytes are coming from or where they're going. As an example, the following command over-writes the drive with random data:
dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sda bs=1M
If you then want to replace all those random bytes with zeros, you can do so with:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M
The appeal to dd is it comes included with almost every Linux/BSD/UNIX operating system, making it readily available with almost all installations and live CDs. Many other disk wiping tools need to be downloaded and installed separately, though do the job just as well.
|Released Last Week
Trisquel GNU/Linux 3.5
Rubén Rodríguez Pérez has announced the release of Trisquel GNU/Linux 3.5, a completely "libre" distribution (as defined by the Free Software Foundation) based on Ubuntu: "Trisquel GNU/Linux 3.5, code name 'Awen', is ready. This release is a fully free Ubuntu 9.10 derivative that includes extra software, better multimedia support, more translations and faster configuration. For this release we used ext4 for the root file system and XFS for the home one, to have a balance between speed and usability. Some important features include a much faster boot process and the ability to encrypt the home directory. All packages were updated, including: Linux-libre kernel 2.6.31, X.Org 7.4, GNOME 2.28, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, a Mozilla-based web browser 3.5." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 3.5 - a 100% "libre" Ubuntu-based distribution
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FreeBSD 7.3, the latest update of the project's older, legacy series, has been released: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 7.3-RELEASE. This is the fourth release from the 7-STABLE branch which improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 7.2 and introduces a few new features. There will be one more release from this branch to allow future improvements to be made available in the 7-STABLE branch but at this point most developers are focused on 8-STABLE. Some of the highlights: ZFS updated to version 13; new boot loader gptzfsboot supports GPT and ZFS; hwpmc enhancements; new mfiutil and mptutil tools for widely-used RAID controllers; NULL pointer vulnerability mitigation; BIND updated to 9.4-ESV; GNOME updated to 2.28.2, KDE to 4.3.5 and Perl to 5.10." See the release announcement and release notes for a complete list of new features.
Clonezilla Live 1.2.4-28
Steven Shiau has announced the availability of a new version of Clonezilla Live, a Debian-based live CD containing free disk-cloning software: "This release of Clonezilla Live (1.2.4-28) includes major enhancements, bug fixes, and language translation updates: new file system support - UFS of FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD, it has been tested successfully for imaging FreeBSD 8.0, OpenBSD 4.6 and NetBSD 5.0.2; new file system support - VMFS of VMware ESX; i686 kernel is available in this release, so multi-core CPUs are supported; xz/lzip compression, and parallel compression, pxz and plzip, were added, you can choose "-z5", "-z5p", "-z6" or "-z6p" in the expert mode; if your machine has multi-core CPU, please use the i686 version of Clonezilla live then the -z5p and -z6p options are available in the expert mode; now both syslinux and isolinux are included in Clonezilla Live ISO image and ZIP file." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details and a list of bug fixes.
Anil Gulecha has announced the release of NexentaStor 3.0, an OpenSolaris-based storage appliance with a web-based administration interface: "On behalf of the NexentaStor team, I'm happy to announce the release of NexentaStor Community edition 3.0. This release is the result of the community efforts of Nexenta partners and users. With the addition of many new features, NexentaStor CE is the most complete, and feature-rich gratis unified storage solution today. This is a major NexentaStor release, with many new features, improved hardware support, and many bug fixes. Quick summary of features: ZFS additions - deduplication (based on OpenSolaris b134); free for up to 12 TB of used storage; Community edition supports easy upgrades; many new features in the easy-to-use management interface; integrated search." Read the release announcement and visit the project's web site for further information.
Sabayon Linux 5.2
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 5.2, a Gentoo-based desktop Linux distribution with GNOME/KDE and with a custom (binary) package manager: "The best, refined blend of GNU/Linux, coming with bleeding edge edges, is eventually here. Say hello to Sabayon Five-point-Twoh, available in both GNOME and KDE editions. Dedicated to those who like cutting-edge stability, out-of-the-box experience, outstanding desktop performance and beauty. You will find outstanding amount of new applications and features, like XBMC 9.11, KDE 4.4.1, GNOME 2.28. Features: based on new GCC 4.4.1 and glibc 2.10; shipped with desktop-optimized Linux kernel 2.6.33; installable in 10 minutes; faster boot time and lightweight default system...." Read the rest of the release announcement for additional details.
Sabayon Linux 5.2 - refreshing new artwork complements the cutting-edge features
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Kevin Thompson has announced the release of Element 1.1, an Ubuntu-based distribution for home theatre or media-centre personal computers: "We are pleased to announce the release of Element 1.1, which is available immediately for free download. This is the first service pack for the Element 1 series operating system; it includes several requested features, general package upgrades, upstream bug fixes, and visual enhancements to our themes. Notable additions in this release include: Element 'Glassy' default theme is a little quicker now and uses fewer pixmaps, it also includes new scrollbars; Jockey-Gtk 'Hardware Driver' utility has replaced EnvyNG as the default means for managing proprietary video and device drivers; over-scanning on NVIDIA cards is much easier; Gigolo remote file system browser has been added...." Here is the full release announcement.
SliTaz GNU/Linux 3.0
Christophe Lincoln has announced the release of SliTaz GNU/Linux 3.0, a minimalist (but extensible) and fast desktop Linux distribution with Openbox as the default window manager: "The SliTaz team is proud to announce the release of the SliTaz GNU/Linux 3.0 operating system. It's simpler, faster, customizable, mightier and yet incredibly tiny. The new SliTaz stable version is now out after one year of development. The core desktop provides a full-featured desktop powered by X.Org 7.4, Openbox, LXDE components and home-made tools. It lets you easily connect to the Internet to surf the web with the Midori web browser, listen to music or manage your pictures. The default core system fits into a 30 MB ISO image and live CD flavors start at 8 MB. This stable version has been built by a new toolchain including GCC 4.4.1 and uses the Linux kernel 220.127.116.11." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
SliTaz GNU/Linux - this major new update comes after one year of development
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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
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- AVLinux. AVLinux is a multimedia-oriented live DVD based on Debian's testing branch. Besides applications for many common computer tasks, the distribution also features a full complement of the best FOSS multimedia programs available, allowing users to enjoy multi-track audio recording and mixing, video capturing, editing and converting, and DVD authoring and creation. It uses the lightweight LXDE desktop.
- ArchBang. ArchBang is lightweight distribution and live CD that combines Arch Linux with the Openbox window manager. The latest version also includes a graphical system installer.
ArchBang 2.0 RC1 - an Arch-based live CD with Openbox
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- Cronos Linux. Cronos Linux is a new Linux distribution and live DVD built from ground up. It is focused on performance and security, and contains many popular applications, including full video codec support, development tools, and audio drivers.
Cronos Linux 1.0 - a new distro built from scratch
(full image size: 634kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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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, 5 April 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
NixOS is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution that aims to improve the state of the art in system configuration management. In NixOS, the entire operating system, including the kernel, applications, system packages and configuration files, are built by the Nix package manager. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other; as a result there are no /bin, /sbin, /lib or /usr directories and all packages are kept in /nix/store instead. Other innovative features of NixOS include reliable upgrades, rollbacks, reproducible system configurations, source-based model with binaries, and multi-user package management. Although NixOS started as a research project, it is now a functional and usable operating system that includes hardware detection, KDE as the default desktop, and systemd for managing system services.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Flash EOL|
|Myths and misunderstandings: ZFS|
|Questions and answers: Benefits and drawbacks of using completely free operating systems|
|Tips and tricks: Command line weather, ionice, rename files, video preview snapshot, calednar, ls colour settings|
|Tips and tricks: Verifying ISO images|
|Myths and misunderstandings: The massive memory myth|
|Questions and answers: Converting audio formats|
|Questions and answers: Was openSUSE just purchased?|
|Tips and tricks: Find common words in text, find high memory processs, cd short-cuts, pushd & popd, record desktop|
|Questions and answers: Security self-service|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|