| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 363, 19 July 2010
Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! For many projects, this is a slow point in the year. However, there is still important work being done in various corners of the open source community. The latest version of openSUSE, 11.3, came out this week, as did Zencafe and Netrunner. In the news section we examine the pros and cons of two virtualization technologies, talk about getting Debian ready for its next release and the future of OpenSolaris. (Does it have one?) We also look at a young operating system, BareMetal OS, which is gaining momentum. In our feature this week we take a look at the latest offering from the Zenwalk project and chat with project leader Jean-Philippe Guillemin. Rounding out this week's issue, we talk about file permissions on Linux and how to get more fine-grained access control. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Taking a Walk on the Zen Side of Life
The Zenwalk team recently released version 6.4 of their operating system. The project's website, which is presented in an attractive combination of blue and white, offers four editions of the distro:
- Standard -- a plain installation disc, featuring the Xfce desktop
- Core -- a bare bones install disc without any desktop apps
- Live -- similar to Standard, but with a live desktop environment
- GNOME -- replaces Xfce with the GNOME desktop.
The site contains a pile of useful documentation, including a getting started guide, user manual, wiki, a forum and contact information should you need to reach the development team. The main site is offered in six different languages, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
Before downloading the Standard edition, I got in touch with the project's founder, Jean-Philippe Guillemin.
* * * * *
DW: I'd like to start off learning a little bit about your background. When did you first get involved with Linux and why did you create Zenwalk?
JP: I was born in the East of France in 1972, but I grew up in Africa until 8. Then I came back to France. From 8 to 11 I was passionate about electronic components and radio transmitters, I began programming electronic calculators and small Basic computers when I was 12, a young geek. I started playing guitar at 14. I did my high schooling at the University of Nantes with good results and decided to try playing music professionally in 1995~1996.
I first heard about Linux in 1996 when a friend told me that he had just installed a cool free Unix OS. In 1996 I was full time musician and I wasn't toying with computers much, so I didn't look more thoroughly. When it was clear that playing music was not enough to live, I searched and quickly found a job in the network and computer security area in 1997. I installed Linux for the first time in 1998~1999 as a development platform, I don't remember exactly, but the fact is that I haven't used any other OS than Linux since then. In 2004 I felt that creating a Slackware derivative Linux distribution was a good way to learn more about Linux and I shared the result. I called it "Minislack". I wanted a development environment that would be simple and complete so that I could easily install it on any computer. From the beginning, the goals were already "one application per task", "performance" and "rationality". In 2005 several contributors joined me to help support and improve the project. Now 90% of the tasks are handled by the main development team and packages contributors. I wouldn't be able to take care of everything myself anymore.
DW: This new release, 6.4, seems to have a focus on improving speed. You have the BFS scheduler, for example. What else can Zenwalk users look forward to?
JP: Each time I find some cool and exciting new feature to enhance the performance or improve usability, I test it, and if it seems reliable then I offer it to testers in the "snapshot" repository. I really want Zenwalk to provide something different and I especially enjoy when great developers like Kon Colivas fight against well established common opinions about what's right and what's wrong for Linux. I guess that I'm a kind of a rebel.
BFS is really great, in fact this little, yet important, piece of software is designed like Zenwalk: no nonsense, no bloat, just effectiveness. With it I have noticed better low-latency behaviour of my multi-track studio (Ardour), and also lower compile time: Zenwalk 6.4 should fly on the more modern hardwares, and run smoothly on old computers.
Apart of this, Zenwalk 6.4 provides a lot of enhancements at system level, while staying stable in terms of applications (users don't want to change their web browser and multimedia player for each release). Mainly, 6.4 provides Kernel 18.104.22.168, UDEV 151, which is really a big evolution in hotplug detection and the first step toward HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) deprecation in the future. We also provide Xorg 7.5, Openoffice 3.2.0, and the brand new XFCE 4.6.2.
DW: Zenwalk was originally based on Slackware. Do you still base releases off Slackware, or has Zenwalk separated to be a more independent distro?
JP: From Zenwalk 5.0, we started to fork seriously away from Slackware and some of the differences where very good improvements (for example: more flexible and faster init scripts, system tools). Anyway, slowly loosing package compatibility wasn't a good thing. Thus, reinventing the wheel when Pat already does a great job on base packages (like Xorg) is a waste of time. So we decided to revert this tendency in the 6.x branch and we began to adopt more Slackware packages that have been replaced by Zenwalk builds in the 5.x branch. We can now focus on real value-added features like performance, desktop, system tools, internationalization... As a result, Zenwalk 6.4 is Slackware compatible: you can install Zenwalk packages from our repository, or install Slackware packages as long as they are up to date.
DW: The distribution's website and documentation are well polished and put together compared to many other open source projects. Was this a design goal, or the result of having certain people on the team?
JP: It's entirely the work of contributors, and is part of the project design: making Zenwalk not only technically appealing for advanced users but also easy to start with for Linux newcomers. I thank you for noticing this as I think it's very important. Yet we need more manpower to maintain this documentation, in several locales, especially since some active contributors left us to found their own project.
DW: Zenwalk has a standard (Xfce) edition and a GNOME edition. Will we also see a KDE edition?
JP: If things go as expected, yes. Packaging of KDE is already done, and the maintainer will mostly have to polish the desktop so that it follows the Zenwalk guidelines (it's supposed to look very close to the official Zenwalk XFCE desktop).
DW: Could you tell our readers a little about the Zenwalk User Repository and how many packages are currently available?
JP: Well, at the moment the Zenwalk repository contains 2,800 packages covering most needs from development, multimedia, music recording, gaming, to office work, but Slackware packages can also be used, so the Zenwalk user should find everything he could expect from a modern GNU/Linux system.
One thing that I would like to point out here is that the Zenwalk ISO distribution is a "designed" system with carefully chosen applications and APIs -> "a fast core system + the GTK toolkit + a set of well integrated applications".
When a user installs Zenwalk and then, for example, doesn't find his usual media player of choice out of the box (ie: mplayer), we often get harsh comments on the forum, although our repository provides all kinds of media players and other applications.
It should be clear that when we select an application for the Zenwalk ISO, it doesn't mean that it's the best of its category: it means that it integrates well with the system (should be GTK based, fast, easy to use, still supported and reliable). Many good applications are not included in the ISO but we love them as well, and they are available from our repository along with their dependencies.
DW: What would you like to add to future versions of Zenwalk? Does the project have any long-term goals?
JP: Of course. The roadmap is simple: change nothing to the Desktop look and feel, and support 64 bits processors. This could happen in the 8.x branch. The 7.x branch will focus on the HAL to UDEV migration, and introduction of XFCE 4.8. This said, prior to migrating to 64 bits we will have to find a solution to make the support of two architectures possible and consistent.
DW: Zenwalk appears to be targeting older machines, I believe you support i486? Could you talk a bit about the hardware you focus on?
JP: Zenwalk is targeting modern hardware and provides latest versions of modern applications like Openoffice or Icecat (Firefox), but as you noticed, Zenwalk is optimized for i686 CPU and remains compatible with i486, so it can run on old hardware as well.
Note that the "march" compiler parameter varies according to the type of machine that can use the package: some applications are built for i686 because they wouldn't run at all on a i486 CPU, especially real-time music applications.
As far as I know, one could find more "Jurassic-computing" focused systems, ideal for very old computers, but this kind of Linux distribution lacks mainstream applications needed for modern Internet or multimedia experience. Zenwalk is close to these "tiny-Linux" specialized systems in terms of responsiveness on older machines, but still provides the same level of modernity as fat Debian or Red Hat based systems...
DW: Is there anything else you would like to add, about open source in general or Zenwalk specifically? Any message for our readers?
Yes! Actually I'm only in charge of global design, Desktop, system tools development and kernel related stuff, most parts of Zenwalk's packaging and project coordination is done by the Zenwalk team driven by Frederic Boulet, our project manager.
The GNU/Linux user base is growing thanks to the work of benevolent developers and information sites like DistroWatch. As a result user relationship and questions are evolving and tend to become less technical, so we need more contributors to support the growing amount of questions, and keep on providing friendly support on
* * * * *
I'd like to thank Monsieur Guillemin for taking the time to talk about Zenwalk.
Booting from the Zenwalk disc, the user is presented with a curses-based display, which presents five options. The user can select their preferred keymaping, partition their hard drive, run the installer, have the system do an install on auto-pilot or exit the menu and drop to a simple shell. To get started, I ran the partitioner, which turns out to be cfdisk. With my disk carved up the way I wanted it, I launched the regular installer. The install process begins by asking the user to select a partition to use for swap space and which partition should be used to hold the operating system. The installer then inquires as to which file system the user would like to use for the root partition -- ext2, ext3, ext4, ReiserFS and XFS are supported. For newcomers, a brief explanation is provided next to each FS option. The user is asked to select where their source files are located (the default is the Zenwalk CD) and packages are copied to the hard drive. The process is fairly quick and the installer keeps the user informed on what's going on the whole time. Once all the required software has been copied over, the user is given the option to install a boot loader (LILO, in this case). We then get into some more nitty-gritty options, such as what the screen resolution should be, if any specific kernel parameters should be used and where to place the boot loader. All of this would probably be a bit much for newcomers, but sane defaults are provided throughout.
Upon the system's first boot-up, the user is shown a copy of the GPL license, asked to pick their preferred language and set an administrator password. The first-boot program then allows the user to create and configure additional non-root accounts. This is all done within a curses-based environment.
With all the setup steps complete, Zenwalk turns the user over to a graphical login screen. Signing into the desktop provides the user with an attractive, one might even say beautiful, Xfce desktop environment. There is a thin task bar across the top of the screen, providing an application menu, clock and logout button. The bottom of the screen features a quick-launch bar with icons for kicking off the web browser, mail client, media player, desktop settings, console, volume control and file browser. There are a few icons on the desktop for navigating the local file system and for visiting the Zenwalk website. The interface is fast, impressively responsive and the Xfce components feel well integrated.
The application menu comes with an excellent array of software when one takes into consideration the ISO download is 540MB. The menu includes popular software, such as Firefox (renamed Icecat), Thunderbird (renamed Icedove), OpenOffice, a multimedia player, CD player, disc burner, calendar app and the GIMP. Additionally, we find the usual collection of apps, such as a text editor, calculator, archive manager, file browser, and document viewer. Zenwalk also comes with Pidgin for instant messaging, gFTP for transferring files, a bittorrent client and network browsers to find secure shell and VNC services. Most of these are fairly standard across distributions and so it was interesting, to me, to see what else was packed into the 540MB image. Of note were the Firestarter firewall manager; Geany, an intuitive compiler IDE; and Gigolo, a network tool which connects users to different types of shares, such as SSH, Samba and FTP. Zenwalk comes with Grsync out of the box, a graphical front-end to rsync. The GUI app allows people unfamiliar with the ins and outs of rsync to backup their data with a few mouse clicks. In most cases Grsync provides the proper defaults, taking the guess work out of backups. Behind the scenes, Zenwalk comes with the GNU Compiler Collection, version 4.4.3, a Flash plugin for the web browser and codecs to play popular music and video formats. The Zenwalk distribution takes the approach of trying to use one application per task, which means a lot of functionality is provided yet the menu remains pleasantly uncluttered.
Changing settings and editing documents.
(full image size: 210KiB, resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Hardware support from Zenwalk was fairly standard as far as which devices were automatically detected. My generic desktop machine (2.5GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM, NVIDIA graphics card) operated with no problems. Screen resolution was properly set and audio worked out of the box. My HP laptop (dual-core 2GHz CPU, 3GB of RAM, Intel video card) didn't get along quite as well. While video and audio also worked without any issues, I found that neither my Intel wireless card nor my Novatel mobile modem was handled out of the box. During my test drive with the distribution I ran Zenwalk in a VirtualBox virtual machine with varying amounts of RAM to see how the system would perform. The system ran and was very fast with 512MB of memory. Reducing the available RAM to 256MB caused the system to slow down and use swap space for some tasks, such as web browsing or document editing, but performance was still acceptable. One problem I ran into while running in the virtual environment was that during my first boot, post-install, X didn't handle the virtual video card. However, I was able to edit the xorg.conf file to get up and running. Once VirtualBox's guest additions were installed, X was able to run smoothly with its defaults. It's nice to see the xorg.conf file included. Since advances in X have made it unnecessary to have a configuration file in many cases, most distros don't ship with one anymore. Distro-hopping as much as I do I find quite a few cases where X doesn't work properly and a configuration file is required. When this happens, it's nice to have a config file in place, even if it's just a framework where the options are commented out. It's something I'd like to see more projects provide, perhaps with a name like /etc/X11/xorg.conf.failsafe. Another nice touch was that Zenwalk mounts partitions with the noatime option, which prevents the system from writing access times back to the disk every time a file is read. It's a small thing, but a welcome feature, especially on my laptop.
Testing the Geany IDE
(full image size: 135KiB, resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Zenwalk uses the Netpkg package manager. Netpkg has the same features as other mainstream package managers, but the layout is just different enough I feel it deserves some mention. At the top of the Netpkg screen is a drop-down list of available repository mirrors. There are quite a few to choose from. Selecting a mirror and hitting the refresh button causes the list of available packages to update. In the middle of the screen is a list of package categories, which can be expanded to show the individual software components. Over to the right is a set of filters, allowing the user to tell the manager to show installed software, available software, software that has been installed and has updates waiting, or orphaned packages. Directly below the filters is a search box for finding specific software items by name. The bottom of the window holds a status and information area that shows details on selected packages and a progress report on any actions taking place. I think manually selecting a repository and changing filters might be a bit strange for new users, but otherwise I had no complaints. The software runs smoothly, provides information in an easy to follow format and I encountered no problems installing, removing or updating packages. For people who like to work from the command line, Netpkg can be run from a command prompt too and operates in much the same way as Aptitude or YUM.
I didn't have many complaints when it came to Zenwalk's security. The install process sets a password for the administrator and allows the user to create additional, unprivileged accounts. I did have two concerns. While I was using the distro the repositories were populated with updates, but there didn't seem to be any notification for the user when security updates were available. I've been spoiled recently by systems which automatically check for me. My other concern is Zenwalk runs a secure shell service by default, which allows remote root logins. Preventing root from remotely logging into a machine is a policy I'd like to see more distributions adopt.
Zen Package Management
(full image size: 263KiB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
An aspect of the Linux community I enjoy is the wide variety of styles. Not just differing desktop environments, package managers and architectures, but the way in which these options combine together to give a certain feeling or to fill a niche. Take, for example, Slackware. Slackware is sort of the vanilla flavour of the Linux world, simple, fast and stable. We've got more exciting distributions, like Fedora, which are always trying new things and sticking to FOSS principles. Off in another direction, we have projects like Mandriva which try to be as easy to use as possible. And while I sometimes shake my head at the announcement of yet another Ubuntu-based distro designed for cat lovers, I am in favour of anything which adds a new flavour to the Linux buffet. Which brings me to Zenwalk. This distribution may be the fastest Linux operating system I've used which wasn't a mini-distro. The developers have done an outstanding job at balancing functionality, of which it has a lot, with performance, which is top-notch. They also do a fine job of trading off between ease of use and appealing to more advanced users. Occasionally I felt Zenwalk veered a little too far toward advanced territory, such as when I was running the installer or setting up the package manager to use different repositories, but for day-to-day use, the experience was balanced and smooth. As far as the feel of the system is concerned, Zenwalk may be the most Linux operating system I've used. It's professional without being commercial, it's fast without sacrificing form, it attempts to provide one pre-installed application per task, and in doing so covers a wider range of functionality than some other, heavier distros. While it may not be quite the fastest, have the most packages or be the most user-friendly distro available, it scores well in each category. This probably isn't an ideal first distribution for a Linux novice, but it would make a great second (and possibly last) distro.
Backing up and securing the system.
(full image size: 350KiB, resolution 1024x768 pixels)
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Virtualization Comparisons, the Future of OpenSolaris, Squashing Debian Bugs
Virtualization is a big topic in the computer industry. It has been pushed as a method to lower energy costs, save physical space in the server room, test operating systems and add a layer of security. But which virtualization technology is right for your environment? There are several choices out there and it can be difficult to figure out which is the best fit for your needs. To help us navigate the often complex topic, Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier offers his thoughts in a piece called
"KVM or Xen? Choosing a Virtualization Platform".
* * * * *
The open source community has been waiting a long time for a new version of OpenSolaris. The latest release was due to arrive back in February and, despite the occasional rumour, we don't seem to be any closer to an official release. And it seems the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) is tired of waiting. According to this blog post, the OGB is giving Oracle one more chance to step up to the plate. If Oracle does not respond, the OGB will hand over control of the OpenSolaris project to Oracle, effectively washing their hands of the situation.
* * * * *
With all the buzz around cloud computing, have you ever felt that you wanted a cloud of your own? We hear a lot about cloud computing these days and it seems Red Hat is getting into the game. The open source giant is now offering
consulting services for organizations interested in learning about and setting up their own cloud infrastructure.
* * * * *
Fixing bugs doesn't have to be just more tedious work, it can also be a fun social activity. That's why Debian developers had a
bug squashing party in Munich this past weekend. The event brings Debian closer to wiping out the remaining
release critical bugs, moving the project closer to its next stable release. The Debian team has a long-standing policy of releasing when the code is ready rather than sticking to a specific schedule and it is good to see the developers are dedicated to putting together a polished system.
* * * * *
Every so often it's nice to see different approaches in the open source community. The BareMetal OS is just such a fresh approach.
BareMetal is a very small 64-bit operating system designed with high performance, embedded applications and education in mind. It's written entirely in Assembly and is offered under the BSD license. If you are interested in OS internals or want to learn more about 64-bit Assembly, BareMetal is worth studying.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Fine-grained file permissions
Assigning-access asks: A colleague of mine claims Linux doesn't have the same fine-grained file permissions as his favourite operating system (you know the one). Is there a way to extend beyond the regular owner/group/other permissions to be more flexible?
First, for those people not familiar with traditional file system permissions on Linux, the concept is fairly simple. Each file (directory) is assigned a set of three permissions which determine what the owner of the file can do with the file, what people in a given group can do with the file and what everyone else can do with the file. Each category is further broken into three items indicating whether a person can read the file, change it or execute it. It's easier to understand if you see an example. If you open a command line and run the command
you'll see a list of files. The first column will probably look like this
The first item is a regular file and the first group of four symbols shows the owner of the file can read and write to the file. The second group of three symbols indicates the file can be read by people in the file's group. And the final section says anyone else who isn't the owner or in the file's group can also read the file. The second line in this example starts with a "d", which tells us it is a directory. Again, following the displayed letters, we can see the owner can read, write and enter the directory. People in the directory's group (and everyone else) can read from the directory and enter it, but cannot alter its contents.
You can get a more complete explanation here.
In environments where there are a few different categories of users and each category needs to have a different level of access, we need to find ways of making use of the basic file permissions. One way to do that is to create new groups of users on the system. For instance, we can have an "accounting" group. To set this up, we login as root and run
We can then assign people to that group. In my example, we want to make the user "susan" a member of the "accounting" group. To do this, we run
Our "accounting" group should be the last entry in the file. It will look something like this
To add Susan to this group we append her name to the line so that it looks like this:
and then save the file. So now we have a group and a person is a member of that group. To make sure a file is assigned to the accounting group, we then run
chgrp accounting mydata
where "mydata" is a file on our system. To make sure the accounting group then has the ability to read and edit the file, but anyone outside the group can only read the file, we could assign the following permissions
chmod 664 mydata
The file "mydata" will then show up in a directory listing like this:
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root accounting 1024 2010-07-12 15:30 mydata
With this done, we can add as many people as we want to the accounting group, granting them access. We can then create a new group for each category of users, so we might end up with an "hr" group, an "it" group, and so on.
I like this approach to handling file access because it uses traditional file permissions and works well across distributions and file systems.
Another approach, which gives more flexibility, is Access Control Lists. ACL is a method of offering fine-grained control over files. The functionality exists in more recent kernels (the 2.6.x family) and works across most Linux file systems, including ext2/3/4, ReiserFS and XFS. The file system to be worked on needs to be mounted with the "acl" flag. This can be done by adding "acl" to the proper line in /etc/fstab. For example
/dev/sda2 /home ext3 acl,rw 0 0
The above line enables ACL features on our /home partition. We should then re-mount the partition:
mount -v -o remount /home
Using our previous example, where we want Susan to have access to the "mydata" file, we could grant her permission to read and edit the file using
setfacl -m u:susan:rw- mydata
We can give the entire accounting group the same access using
setfacl -m g:accounting:rw- mydata
And we can assign read-only access to the HR group with
setfacl -m g:hr:r-- mydata
To confirm the proper permissions are in place, we can then use the getfacl command to see what permissions are attached to the file
Though the ACL approach has more requirements (newer kernel, mount flags and the ACL package must be installed) it offers additional power to the administrator. The ACL rules can handle long lists of specific users and groups (not just one owner and one group), allowing the administrator to fine-tune permissions for any number of use-cases.
|Released Last Week
Zencafe GNU/Linux 2.2
Zencafe GNU/Linux is a Slackware and Zenwalk-based distribution designed specifically for deployment in Internet cafés. The project's latest release, version 2.2, was announced earlier today: "This Zencafe version uses the latest Zenwalk Linux distribution and kernel 22.214.171.124. Mainly designed for use in Internet cafés, Zencafe is polished and easy enough to be operated even by a non-technical user. With the included auto-recovery and Internet café management software, Zencafe is the first Linux solution that is suitable for use in Internet cafés. Software included: Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, OpenOffice.org 3.2.1, Mozilla Firefox, Pidgin and Gyachi (instant messengers), Mkahawa Internet café management software, auto-recovery and kiosk mode protection. What's new? Simple installation process, user-friendly keyboard shortcuts, additional applications..." You can read the full release
T2 SDE 8.9
Rene Rebe has announced the release of T2 SDE 8.0, a distribution build kit designed for advanced Linux users who wish to build custom distributions: "After years of development we are proud to announce the availability of the new T2 stable release, version 8.0. This release received updates across the board, while a major working target was to further improve cross compilation, and all official ISO images are now fully cross-built. Over 10,000 Subversion revisions indicate the magnitude of the release, with over 200 new packages, new features and various other improvements and fixes. User visible changes: GCC 4.5.0, glibc 2.11.2, X.Org 7.5, preliminary support for LLVM/clang and MinGW/Win32." You can read the full announcement on the project's website.
The long wait is over; some eight months after the release of the previous stable version, openSUSE 11.3 is now officially available: "The openSUSE project is pleased to announce the release of the latest incarnation of openSUSE, with support for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. openSUSE 11.3 is packed with new features and updates including SpiderOak to synchronize your files across the Internet for free, Rosegarden for free editing of your audio files, improved indexing with Tracker, and updates to Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Among these many new features, openSUSE also provides support for netbooks and the Btrfs file system support. Users can expect to see improved hardware support with the 2.6.34 Linux kernel and updated graphics drivers. And support for the next generation of interactive computing for touchscreens like the HP TouchSmart." You can read the full announcement here.
The openSUSE 11.3 Desktop
(full file size: 511KB, resolution: 800x600 pixels)
Jason Melton has announced the release of Netrunner 2, a beginner-friendly, Ubuntu-based desktop distribution and live DVD with a carefully tuned KDE 4 desktop and integrated GNOME applications: "Today we released the official Netrunner 2 'Blacklight' CD image. Features: switched from GNOME to KDE; aims to be Ubuntu, GNOME and GTK+ compatible; includes GNOME applications like Nautilus and Synaptic; includes Firefox 3.6.3, installed web browser plugins (Java, Flash), VLC 1.1 (media player with codecs), OpenOffice.org software suite 3.2, Thunderbird (email client), WINE 1.42, GIMP (paint program), Audacious (Winamp-like music player), Pidgin, Vuze (file-sharing program). All on top of a fine-tuned and easily customizable KDE 4.4 desktop environment." You can read the announcement
openSUSE 11.3 Edu Li-f-e
Following the recent release of openSUSE 11.3, the project's education team has now released its "Edu Li-f-e" edition, a specialist distribution for schools and other educational environments: "The openSUSE Education team is thrilled to announce the availability of openSUSE Edu: Linux for Education (Li-f-e). The aim of this DVD is to provide complete education and development resources for parents, students, teachers as well as IT admins running labs at educational institutes. It comes bundled with a wealth of software carefully selected to meet every need. Educational software covering a wide range of subjects such as IT, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy and electronics catering to students right from pre-school to research. If you are a developer or a student wanting to learn programming on Linux platform, there is everything you can hope for in one place: Java, C, C++, Perl, Python, LAMP stack, databases, IDEs, the list goes on." You can read the
full announcement here.
SuperGamer Supreme 2
Darin VanCoevering has announced the release of SuperGamer Supreme 2, a dual-layer DVD packed with games and other day-to-day software applications: "SuperGamer is a games-oriented Linux desktop operating system. It has all the normal Linux desktop applications such as the Firefox browser and OpenOffice.org, but also has a great many native Linux games added, as well as some demo editions of proprietary games. This SuperGamer Supreme 2 version will work on both 32-bit and 64-bit PCs and fills a full live dual-layer DVD. It includes support for Ethernet, wireless, and dial-up Internet connections. It can run in live mode directly from the DVD and can be optionally installed to a hard drive. I also included the latest NVIDIA and ATI drivers. A few key components are Linux kernel 188.8.131.52, Azureus, Audacity, GParted, Limewire, GIMP, K9copy...."
The rest of the release announcement is here.
Linux Mint 9 "LXDE"
Linux Mint 9 "LXDE" edition, featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop and designed for older computers with limited resources, has been released: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 9 LXDE. Based on Lubuntu 10.04, Linux kernel 2.6.32, Openbox 3.4.10, LXSession 0.4.3, and X.Org Server 1.7.5, Linux Mint 9 LXDE features a complete desktop computing experience while being easy on system resource usage thus making it suitable for older hardware and situations where speed is a crucial factor. Featured improvements in this release: LXDM, improved PCManFM2 file manager, VLC installed by default, 30,000 applications catalogued and reviewable both online and in the new software manager, brand new incremental backup tool for both data and software selection, three years support."
You can read the full announcement here.
* * * * *
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
- Uberstudent: Uberstudent ("uber" meaning "productive" in Latin) is an Ubuntu-based distribution on a DVD designed for learning and teaching academic computing at the higher education and advanced secondary levels.
The Uberstudent desktop.
(full image size: 269KB, resolution: 1028x1024 pixels)
- Chameleon OS. Light-weight linux operating system with changeable skins.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 26 July 2010.
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|• 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|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Full list of all issues|