| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 431, 14 November 2011
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Red Hat's Fedora is without doubt one of the most influential and innovative Linux distributions on the market. Unfortunately, its reputation for not having a clear desktop strategy while strictly providing free and patent-unencumbered software in its repositories makes many desktop users shy away from this exciting operating system. Is the just-released version 16 more conducive to easy and trouble-free desktop computing? Read our first-look review to see what we think. In the news section, openSUSE prepares for the release of version 12.1 later this week, Ubuntu's Unity desktop receives more criticism from Linux media, and Linux Mint keeps impressing the journalists and bloggers around the Internet. Also in this issue, a link to an excellent interview with Fedora Project Leader Jarred Smith, more links to articles about two interesting alternative operating system options (FreeBSD and Solaris), a quick Questions and Answers section with tips for converting audio formats, and an introduction to Commodore OS Vision, a new Linux distribution that re-creates that classic Commodore look accompanied by effects and features found in any modern desktop operating system. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora turns sweet 16|
As the release date for Fedora 16 approached I found myself debating which edition to review. Both front-line editions, GNOME and KDE, would have their interesting points and their drawbacks. Caught between the two I put the question to you, the readers, and let the choice be settled by a vote. The responses came in quickly with a 3:1 ratio in favour of the GNOME edition. Some people asked for both, as I had done with the Ubuntu/Kubuntu release, but sadly I did not have time to review both editions this time around. In fact, this is more of a "first impressions" look at Fedora 16 than a full-bodied review as less than a week has passed between release day and this article being posted.
Before installing the latest copy of Fedora I recommend reading the release notes as there are some important tidbits in there. For example? GPT disk labels, which (in my case anyway) means an extra partition needs to be created on the hard drive at install time. Fedora has replaced the GRUB boot loader with GRUB 2, init scripts have been converted over from SysVInit to systemd and user ID numbers are now higher. A lot of low-level stuff is changing and it's going to be interesting to see how that turns out -- after all, systemd is supposed to be fast and the transition to GRUB 2 was rocky for some users on other distributions so there are compatibility issues to consider. Enough speculation! I burned the 605 MB ISO image to a CD and got down to work.
Booting from the live CD brings us to a GNOME 3 desktop. At the top of the screen are a menu button, clock and system tray. The wallpaper is a blue/gray scene which appears to show a jet-powered submarine tracking a school of fish near the ocean floor. We can investigate the GNOME desktop in detail later, for now let's look at the installer.
I've talked about the Anaconda installer before and not much has changed in the past few years. The graphical installer walks us through selecting our keyboard layout, selecting a hostname for the machine and setting the time zone. We're asked to create a password for the root account and then we get into partitioning. The last step is to answer whether we want to install a boot loader (GRUB 2 in this case) and where it should be installed. As usual the screens offer a simple description of what is required of us and most users should be able to navigate through with little problem. That being said, in recent years some cracks have appeared in Anaconda which suggest to me that the old girl isn't getting the attention she deserves. For instance, the partitioning section: it's powerful, giving us the option of using RAID, LVM or plain partitions. We can enable file system encryption with a single click and the layout is clean. It's one of the best partitioning screens I've seen in the Linux community.
However, this is also where we see some problems. For example, Fedora is still one of the only Linux distributions which do not allow the user to select the file system of their root partition. If we're manually partitioning and we don't create a small partition to handle GPT labels we get an odd error message saying we need to create a place for stage1 without any further explanation. (This is why it's a good idea to read the release notes before beginning an install.) A third issue with the partitioning screen is that the installer will move partition layouts around, seemingly at random. I found that if I created a few partitions and then deleted one, the rest would get shuffled into a different order. My last complaint wasn't a bug, just an annoyance. At the end of the install process Anaconda copies files to the local machine and we see a progress bar march across the screen. When it reached the end my machine sat and did nothing... for about fifteen minutes. I'd assumed the installer had frozen and was about to reboot when a window popped up saying the boot loader was being installed, which took about another five minutes. Again, not a bug, it's just slow and the progress bar is out of sync with what's happening behind the scenes.
Desktop and applications
The first time we boot into Fedora we're passed over to a first-run wizard which asks us to read the distribution's license, set the current system time and create a new user account. We're also given the option of authenticating users via other means, such as network-wide logins. The last step in the first-run wizard asks if we'd like to submit a hardware profile to the Fedora team. From there we're presented with a graphical login screen.
Fedora 16 - the Activities menu
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When we log in we're brought to the GNOME 3.2 Shell. This environment presents us with a relatively empty desktop featuring a menu and system tray bar at the top of the display. Clicking on the button, labeled "Activities", brings up a large menu with quick-launch buttons to the left of the screen and a grid of mini preview windows. Clicking on one of these windows snaps us back to the desktop and brings the selected window to the front. When the Activities menu is displayed we're also shown virtual workspaces over to the right side of the screen. At the top of the Activities menu there's a button for switching from a view of preview windows to showing available applications.
Applications can be filtered based on their category by clicking icons on the right-hand side of the screen. We can also search for items by typing a name or description into a text box near the top of the display. The Activities menu appears to have replaced the traditional task switcher, which, I find, makes switching between windows, and seeing which windows are open, a slower process. If you've tried GNOME Shell before you're probably aware the environment does not include minimize or maximize buttons on window title bars. It's still possible to manage windows, but it has become a more roundabout process.
Back to the Activities menu, let's take a look at what applications are installed. Firefox 7 is included, as are the Empathy messenger client and the Evolution email program. The Transmission BitTorrent client is included along with the Cheese webcam tool. There's a document viewer, the Shotwell photo manager, a CD ripper and a disc burner. There's a small collection of GNOME games, the Orca screen reader and a virtual on-screen keyboard utility. Rhythmbox is included, as is the Totem multimedia player. Despite having these multimedia programs installed, Fedora does not come with codecs for handling video formats or MP3s. Moving on down the menu we find a text editor, calculator, archive manager and a simple backup utility. There is an automated bug reporter, which will keep track of crashed programs and assist the user in submitting bug reports.
GNOME 3 comes with a relatively small collection of tools for changing the look and feel of the desktop, it's apparently assumed the Shell is one-size-fits-all. Where Fedora stands out from the crowd is with its administrative programs. There's a SELinux trouble-shooter, a slick user account manager, a printer configuration tool and a firewall utility. I found it interesting to note that most network services, aside from SMTP, are disabled on Fedora and the firewall is enabled. However, the firewall does leave port 22 (usually reserved for secure shell) open even though secure shell is not running. Digging deeper into the list of available software I found neither Java nor Flash included. The free Flash alternative, Gnash, is available in the repositories, but is not installed by default. There aren't any developer tools, such as GCC, installed either. For some reason the developers seem to be unwilling to use the extra 95 MB of space on the live CD. In the background we find the 3.1 version of the Linux kernel.
Fedora 16 - running various applications
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Applications one might expect to find in a Linux distribution, such as multimedia codecs, aren't included in Fedora's repositories. To access these extras we can turn to the RPMFusion project. This project maintains repositories of software packages which, for one reason or another, are not eligible to be included in Fedora. Adding these repositories is as easy and clicking on a link on the RPMFusion website and refreshing the package manager. Doing this gives the user access to multimedia codecs, Flash and other items which may fall under patent or license restrictions. Even with these extra repositories installed (I enabled RPMFusion's free and non-free repositories), acquiring the proper codecs was still a manual process. I experimented with opening Totem and Rhythmbox and asking them to open multimedia files. Rhythmbox would simply display an error if asked to play MP3s. The Totem movie player would offer to search the repositories for codecs. Performing a search, even with non-free repositories added to the system, returned no results and codecs had to be found and installed manually.
On the subject of repositories, handling software packages got off to a rough start. Shortly after logging in I launched the update manager. It informed me that it was checking for updates, a progress bar appeared and crawled along to about its halfway point and stalled. After several minutes with no activity I closed the window and tried opening the Add/Remove Software application. This program too informed me that it was downloading group and package information. Then it too stalled and failed to respond. I found that dropping to a terminal and using the YUM command line program allowed me to update repository information and download updates. I was also able to add and remove applications.
However, returning once more to the graphical package manager resulted in the GUI freezing. I've only had a few days to use it, but so far I've found that any software management needs to be done via the command line. On day three of my trial I returned to the update application and asked it to install available updates. This it did and, upon completion, it popped up a dialog box to inform me all updates were successfully installed. I clicked OK, at which point the dialog popped-up again, and again, and again... Eventually the graphical update app closed or crashed. Fortunately, as far as command line programs go, YUM is quite good and I find its syntax intuitive and its output helpful.
While trying Fedora I ran the distribution on two physical machines, a desktop box (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). I also installed Fedora in a VirtualBox virtual machine. I was pleased to find that Fedora properly detected all of my hardware. Screen resolution was set to reasonable level and audio worked out of the box. I found that my touchpad didn't registered taps as clicks, but this was easily enabled through the configuration tools. My Intel wireless card was picked up without any problems. On the physical machines logging into my account would automatically bring up the GNOME Shell. Desktop responsiveness was about average while using the Shell. When logging into my account in the virtual environment Fedora would display a message saying that "GNOME 3 Failed to Load" and GNOME would start in fallback mode, which is fairly similar to a GNOME 2.x environment. Running in fallback mode I found that the desktop's performance was about on par with a standard GNOME 2 environment.
Systemd and GNOME Shell
There are two features included in Fedora I'd like to spend some time addressing. The first is systemd, the new init technology. Honestly, if it hadn't been mentioned in the release notes I probably wouldn't have noticed the init scripts had been converted. From the end user's point of view it doesn't seem to matter and I think that's a good sign. Getting the system up and running is important and this year we've seen Fedora transition from one init system to another seamlessly. That's the good news. The bad news is that, on my hardware at least, there doesn't appear to be any improvement in boot times. The Linux Mint "Debian" and Ubuntu releases, which I reviewed last month, went from boot menu to login screen faster, so I suspect that either more work is left to be done on systemd or the developers aren't getting the results they expected.
The second thing I'd like to address is GNOME 3, or more specifically, GNOME Shell. About six months ago I tried the initial GNOME 3 release (also on Fedora) and found it to be over simplified -- that is, simplified to the point where it took me noticeably longer to perform most tasks. At the time I had hoped the GNOME developers would listen to feedback and improve some of the limitations in the interface. Unfortunately this has not happened. The user still needs to jump through hoops to perform simple tasks. Turning off or rebooting the computer requires we hold down the ALT key while accessing the user menu. Opening a new application involves moving to the top-left of the screen, bringing up the menu and moving to the right side to filter down options or scrolling through pages of icons.
Paging between virtual desktops also requires moving back and forth across the entire screen. There's no taskbar so switching between windows involves either ALT-Tabbing through windows or another trip to the menu and back across the screen to the proper virtual desktop. Technically it all works, the code appears to be solid, but the design isn't suitable for laptop or desktop machines. It appears to be exclusively targeting tablets where the user would have their thumbs near the left and right sides of the interface. It's the only reason I can think of for making users constantly click items on the far side of the screen from where they were last working.
Fedora 16 - the GNOME 3 fallback mode
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Whenever a discussion about new desktop environments comes up there are always those who claim that people who don't like GNOME or Unity or KDE 4 are simply unwilling to change. I don't think that's the case here. I typically use a different desktop environment every week and usually find the transition to be smooth. I was able to get into the flow of KDE 4 after a few days, despite its rough edges. Unity, which I covered a few weeks ago, has its problems, but I found it easy to explore and its items are well placed. After half an hour I found myself getting along with Unity -- perhaps not to the point of liking Unity, but I was okay with using it for the week. However, GNOME Shell's design I find too inflexible and, to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time, it requires learning a list of shortcuts, which flies in the very face of having an explorable graphical interface. Thankfully it's possible to force GNOME 3 to use fallback mode, which makes using Fedora less work.
At this point I've only been using Fedora for about four days and some change, and I've been surprised at just how poor the experience has been. Anaconda, while still a descent installer, is losing ground to the competition and its slow performance and cryptic error messages aren't helping. Two weeks ago I was running Sabayon 7, which also uses Anaconda, and there the experience was noticeably better. The installation went faster and I was able to select my preferred root file system. If it works so well on Sabayon then why are these issues appearing in Fedora? GNOME Shell hasn't improved in the past six months and, at this point, I think it's fair to say from the responses (or lack of) we've seen from the developers that this is the way it's going to stay. GNOME Shell may be fine for touch screens and users who only want one window open at a time, but it's too cumbersome for desktop/laptop use.
Moving on, the graphical package manager usually stalls when I open it and when it does manage to finish starting up it's sluggish. Combine all this with Fedora's small collection of software and the requirement to add third-party repositories, such as RPMFusion, to get what most distributions consider normal functionality and I'm left with little choice but to recommend skipping this release. I've spent too much time this week fighting with the package manager, fighting with the desktop environment and hunting down software via the command line so I can use my computers; I'm looking forward to putting Fedora 16 behind me.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Interview with Fedora's Jarred Smith, openSUSE 12.1 feature round-up, Unity frustrations and Mint's rise, FreeBSD and Solaris as alternatives to Linux
The release of Fedora 16 was by far the biggest Linux event of the week. Using the occasion ThinkDigit's Nash David contacted Jarred Smith, the Fedora project leader, to ask him a few questions about the new release and upcoming plans. Asked about competition between popular Linux distributions, Smith views it as a healthy situation that gives users more freedom: "I don't see Ubuntu as the enemy out there. Ubuntu really has the same goal as us out there, and that is to use free software and make the world a better place. And so, Ubuntu, Fedora and many of the other distros out there are more like brothers and sisters rather than competitors. We can divide our own share of the pie, but, quite honestly, we're all interested in the rest of the pie than what we have as our share. I think it's very healthy to have different distributions, different preferences and different options. It gives people freedom! You know there is some healthy competition between Fedora, Ubuntu, openSUSE and some other distros, but instead of it being as Fedora vs Ubuntu vs openSUSE, it should be Fedora and the other distros vs the rest of the world. That's how we view it."
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Another week and another major release; this time by openSUSE. The project's latest and greatest, version 12.1, has been hitting the download mirrors since Saturday and chances are that some of you are already running it on your computers, even though it will only be formally announced on Wednesday, 16 November. Jos Poortvliet, the openSUSE community manager, has published a few of his first impressions of the new release: "I myself have upgraded my laptop to openSUSE 12.1 RC2 now and I got to see the new Plasma Desktop. Overall, the difference between Tumbleweed and 12.1 are minimal. As expected, considering Tumbleweed (openSUSE's cool rolling release repository) was a hair away from 12.1, the biggest differences are probably artwork and of course Plasma 4.7 instead of 4.6..." There is a lot more though, including GNOME 3.2 as well as the latest Xfce and LXDE desktops, the new KolorManager with Oyranos colour management tools, Apper replacing PackageKit for software management, introduction of Google's Chromium 16, Fedora's systemd and Google's new programming language, Go. That's just a fraction of what's new in openSUSE 12.1, so check out the detailed release notes for further information, highlights and screenshots.
openSUSE 12.1 - the KDE edition with KDE 4.7.2
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Rarely a week goes by, it seems, without an author from a major publication feeling a need to vent his frustration with Ubuntu's default desktop. Last week it was the turn of ExtremeTech's Jason Kennedy who found the Unity user interface unsuitable for desktop computers: "Ubuntu took away most of the customization controls Linux users had grown accustomed to; one of the main reasons to use Linux at all over Microsoft or Apple. I was clicking where I wasn't used to clicking, and finding myself using the search functionality over shortcuts, which added steps and interrupted the flow of working. To me an operating system should be invisible; something that gets out of your way so you can do what you're supposed to be doing." Like many others, the author has realised that Unity is designed for touchscreens rather than the traditional computer monitors: "Suddenly it all clicked: Unity was the beta of a touch interface. In that form factor, it will probably work wonderfully. But I can't help but feel like Canonical misled its users. Unity isn't a user-willed push; it's a way for Ubuntu to branch into what's hot -- the mobile market. Business-wise, it's a secure move. As a user, though, I feel cheated, fooled. Disappointed."
* * * * *
Linux Mint's ascent to the top of DistroWatch's page hit ranking statistics has generated quite some interest in Linux media worldwide. Slashdot's "Linux Mint: the New Ubuntu?" generated over 600 comments, while Austria's Der Standard newspaper also noticed the change (article in German). Other publications reporting about Mint's rise included BeginLinux, Habrahabr (in Russian), Fayerwayer (in Spanish), Hungarian UNIX Portal (in Hungarian), Unixmen, Tecnoblog (in Portuguese), The Register, Osarena (in Greek), Xinmin (in Chinese), IDG (in Swedish), PYSN Noticias (in Spanish) and many other blogs and websites. But perhaps the most interesting among them was the post by the editor-in-chief of Brazil's largest Linux portal, BR-Linux.org. In "Ubuntu deixa o primeiro lugar no ranking do DistroWatch" (article in Portuguese), Augusto Campos writes: "My Ubuntu-using years are coming to an end. I'm obviously no longer the target user and I have an impression that the distribution has taken a conscious decision to serve a much larger audience, but to which I do not belong." The author feels that he is not alone in this assessment: "In the last 10 days, two teachers of my friends approached me for advice on Ubuntu alternatives to migrate their school's computer laboratories to - they simply felt that Ubuntu was no longer adequate."
* * * * *
Tired of the current wave of Linux distro wars? Then perhaps you should switch to something different. InfoWorld's Paul Venezia notes that FreeBSD is a free, fast, stable, feature-rich operating system and if you've never looked into it before, you should: "There used to be a saying -- at least I've said it many times -- that my workstations run Linux, my servers run FreeBSD. Sure, it's quicker to build a Linux box, do a 'yum install x y z' and toss it out into the wild as a fully functional server, but the extra time required to really get a FreeBSD box tuned will come back in spades through performance and stability metrics. You'll get more out of the hardware, be that virtual or physical, than you will on a generic Linux binary installation. (Note: yes, you can use pkg_add to add binary packages à la .deb and .rpm, but where's the fun in that?) ... Sadly, though, I don't expect to see FreeBSD making significant inroads against Linux or Windows. Aside from being UNIX-like, it's a very different beast from, say, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Linux administrators who have never touched a BSD box will find themselves in what may appear to be a fun-house-mirror OS where things are not quite as they seem; it can be frustrating to grok the concepts behind things like /etc/rc.conf and the ports collection."
* * * * *
And if not FreeBSD, why not the brand-new Solaris 11? It's apparently free to download and use for non-commercial purposes, plus it comes with a large number of interesting features, even on the desktop. Calum Benson, Interaction Designer in the Oracle Solaris desktop team, presents what's new on the Solaris 11 desktop: "Much has been written today about the enterprise and cloud features of Oracle Solaris 11, which was launched today, but what's new for those of us who just like to have the robustness and security of Solaris on our desktop machines? Here are a few of the Solaris 11 desktop highlights: GNOME 2.30 - the most stable version of GNOME ever released, and has many improvements over GNOME 2.6 as found in Solaris 10; updated Firefox 6.0.2 and Thunderbird 6.0.2; Compiz - Solaris 11 uses this compositing window manager by default, enhancing the desktop experience with judicious use of customizable effects such as translucency, drop shadows and transition animations; package manager - IPS is the new package management system in Solaris 11, and it has a full-featured GUI that allows you to quickly browse and install new packages, or perform a live update of your entire OS in a couple of clicks, safe in the knowledge that it can be rolled back to a previous version just as quickly in the event of any problems."
Oracle Solaris 11 - the first major release in nearly seven years
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|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Converting audio formats
A-rolling-audio-format-gathers-no-moss asks: How can I easily convert audio files (e.g. MP3 to OGG format)? Also, how can I take a video file and extract the audio?
DistroWatch answers: For converting from one audio format to another the easiest way to go is probably with the soundKonverter application. It supports converting multiple files from one format to another and can handle OGG, MP3, WMA and several other audio formats. It comes with sane defaults and a straightforward graphical interface, so for audio conversion I would start there. For people who might not want to go down the KDE road, there is a similar GNOME project, SoundConverter. Command line junkies will probably want to take a look at either the SoX program, which can convert, mix, play and concatenate audio files, or the ffmpeg program.
Let's look at two quick examples. Here we use SoX to convert audio from .wav to .ogg:
sox oldfile.wav newfile.ogg
And here we convert a file from .mp3 to .ogg:
ffmpeg -i original.mp3 newfile.ogg
Extracting sound from a video file is a different procedure. For that the easiest tool I've stumbled across is probably PiTiVi. Typically PiTiVi is used as a video editor, but it allows users to import just about any audio or video clip and export it to just about any other format. This includes importing a video and outputting the audio track. PiTiVi has a nice interface and an intuitive drag-n-drop method for moving around tracks. Once again, for fans of the command line, the FFmpeg program can handle pulling the audio track from a video clip. A simple example would be:
ffmpeg -i videofile.mp4 soundtrack.mp3
People attempting to make use of PiTiVi, soundKonverter or SoundConverter should be aware these applications use underlying software like GStreamer, MPlayer and FFmpeg to do their work. When trying to manipulate certain formats you may find that you need additional packages not included in your operating system by default, likely due to patent restrictions. If you find that a program won't handle your multimedia files with its default configuration, check to see if FFmpeg, MPlayer and GStreamer are available in your distribution's repositories.
|Released Last Week
Andrew Wyatt has announced the release of Fuduntu 14.12, an updated version of the project's desktop Linux distribution recently forked from Fedora: "Today I would like to announce that we are officially forked. This means that we are now a self-contained, self-hosted distribution. Fuduntu is now built from Fuduntu repositories, and we only pull from Fuduntu repositories by default. I am also pleased to announce the early release of Fuduntu 14.12 to commemorate our anniversary. Fuduntu 14.12 is our first release media built from Fuduntu repositories without any external dependencies. Major changes in this release: Linux kernel 3.0.7, X.Org Server 1.11.1, Flash 11, Remmina is now the default remote access software replacing Vinagre. As always, Fuduntu 14.12 includes a roll-up of all package changes since 14.11." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details and upgrade instructions.
Fedora 16, the latest version of the popular community Linux distribution sponsored by Red Hat, has been released: "The Fedora Project is pleased to announce the release of Fedora 16 'Verne'. As always, Fedora continues to develop and integrate the latest free and open source software. The following are major features for Fedora 16: enhanced cloud support including Aeolus Conductor, Condor Cloud, HekaFS, OpenStack and pacemaker-cloud; KDE Plasma workspaces 4.7 and GNOME 3.2; a number of core system improvements including GRUB 2 and the removal of HAL; an updated libvirtd, trusted boot, guest inspection, virtual lock manager and a pvops-based kernel for Xen all improve virtualization support." See the release announcement and release notes for a detailed list of new features and other relevant information.
Oracle Solaris 11
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Solaris 11, a UNIX operating system originally developed by Sun Microsystems and known for its scalability and innovative enterprise features: "Oracle today announced availability of Oracle Solaris 11, the first Cloud OS. Oracle Solaris 11 is designed to meet the security, performance and scalability requirements of cloud-based deployments allowing customers to run their most demanding enterprise applications in private, hybrid, or public clouds. As the first fully virtualized operating system (OS), Oracle Solaris 11 provides comprehensive, built-in virtualization capabilities for OS, network and storage resources. Oracle Solaris 11 offers comprehensive management across the entire infrastructure - operating system, physical hardware, networking and storage, as well as the virtualization layer." See the press release and read the detailed release notes to learn more.
Sabayon Linux 7 "Experimental"
Fabio Erculiani has announced the availability of three experimental editions of Sabayon Linux 7, containing the LXDE desktop environment, Enlightenment 17 and the Awesome window manager: "Directly from our 'Breaking Stuff' department, three new Sabayon 7 releases have seen the light. These releases all go under the 'Experimental' umbrella: 'LXDE' is a minimal, CD-sized flavour geared towards low-end computers, shipping the LXDE desktop environment; 'E17' is a minimal, CD-sized flavour made for people wanting to showcase the magic of Enlightenment 17; 'Awesome' window manager flavour. Features: latest and greatest package updates from repositories; Linux kernel 3.1...." Here is the brief release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Commodore OS Vision. Commodore OS Vision is a 64-bit Linux distribution, based on Linux Mint, created for Commodore enthusiasts purchasing Commodore USA hardware, such as Commodore 64, VIC series and the upcoming high-performance line of Amiga computers. These are essentially restore disks for pre-installed Commodore systems. Commodore OS Vision uses the classic GNOME 2 interface and features extensive Compiz/Emerald desktop effects. It includes dozens of games of all genres (FPS, Racing, Retro etc), the Firefox and Chromium web browsers, LibreOffice, Scribus, GIMP, Blender, OpenShot and Cinellera, advanced software development tools and languages, sound editing through Ardour and Audacity, and music composition programs such as the Linux MultiMedia Studio. It has a classic Commodore slant with a selection of applications reminiscent of their classic Amiga counterparts.
Commodore OS Vision 1.0 Beta - a Linux Mint-based distribution with a retro look and unusual effects
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- Pear OS. Pear OS is a French Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution. Some of its features include ease-of-use, custom user interface with a Mac OS X-style dockbar, and out-of-the-box support for many popular multimedia codecs. Pear OS is available for 64-bit computers only.
Pear OS 2.5 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with a custom GNOME user interface
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Kuine Linux. Kuine Linux is a family of Debian-based distributions, with each of which meeting one specific goal. Ideal for emulating an appliance or to instantiate a virtual machine to meet a very specific need, such as a database server or CRM or CMS.
- OpenMediaVault. OpenMediaVault is a network attached storage (NAS) solution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It contains services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, rsync, BitTorrent client and many more. Thanks to the modular design of the framework it can be enhanced via plugins. OpenMediaVault is primarily designed to be used in home environments or small home offices.
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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, 21 November 2011.
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 |
White Box Enterprise Linux
What was the goal for White Box Linux? To provide an unencumbered RPM-based Linux distribution that retains enough compatibility with Red Hat Linux to allow easy upgrades and to retain compatibility with their errata SRPMs. Being based off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3.0 means that a machine should be able to avoid the upgrade treadmill until October 2008 since RHEL promises errata availability for 5 years from date of initial release. Or more briefly, to fill the gap between Fedora and RHEL. Why was White Box Linux created? Its initial creation was sponsored by the Beauregard Parish Public Library in DeRidder, USA out of self interest. We have several servers and over 50 workstations running Red Hat Linux and were left high and dry by Red Hat's recent shift in business plan. Our choices were a difficult migration to another distribution or paying Red Hat an annual fee greater than the amortized value of our hardware. So we chose a third path, made possible by the power of open source.... White Box Linux.