| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 439, 16 January 2012
Welcome to this year's third issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Kororaa Linux is a relatively little-known project whose goal is to deliver a better end-user experience on top of a standard Fedora build. Jesse Smith takes the latest version for a spin to find out whether the small group of Kororaa developers have been able to really improve on its parent. In the news section, FreeBSD's Ken Smith explains the delay between the release of ISO images and the official announcement, Canonical extends long-term support to Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu 12.04, Jonathan Carter takes a look at the latest release of Ubuntu's Unity desktop, and Debian GNU/Linux becomes the most widely-used and fastest growing web hosting platform. Also in this issue, two interesting interviews with openSUSE's Frédéric Crozat and Debian's Steve McIntyre and a link to an excellent overview of Linux Mint, currently the darling of the desktop Linux world. Finally, if you are concerned about the possible effects of the controversial SOPA legislation in the USA on open-source software development, the Questions and Answers section explains the situation in plain English. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at Kororaa Linux 16|
Regular readers may recall that toward the end of 2011 I reviewed Fedora 16, the latest release from the Red Hat-sponsored project. Fedora's latest did have some points in its favour -- great hardware support, a smooth transition to systemd and an installer which, while having some issues, is still better than most Linux installers available. But I'm sorry to say that I also found several issues with the release: none of the graphical package managers were useful, Fedora shipped with the notorious plain GNOME Shell as the default desktop environment, the default install comes with a small selection of software and adding non-free repositories is a manual process. All in all the experience had its frustrations and so it was with cautious optimism I approached Kororaa Linux 16. Kororaa is based on Fedora and adds various extras and makes tweaks to the underlying system in much the same way Linux Mint makes adjustments to Ubuntu.
According to the Kororaa Linux website some of the modifications made to vanilla Fedora are the addition of extra repositories, third-party driver support through Jockey, and a full array of useful software is included in the default install. The distribution is available in two flavours, KDE and GNOME, and each edition is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. When I did the review of Fedora I tried the default GNOME desktop and some readers requested a similar look at the KDE edition. For that reason I opted to download the 32-bit KDE edition of Kororaa Linux 16. The live DVD doubles as installation media and its image file is approximately 1.6 GB in size.
Booting off the live DVD takes us to the KDE desktop. On the desktop are icons for bringing up KDE's help files, launching the installer and opening the project's README file. The README document mostly focuses on how to install non-free drivers and where to find help and additional documentation. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu, the task switcher and the system tray.
Kororaa Linux 16 - browsing the web with Firefox
(full image size: 668kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I won't go into much detail where the installer is concerned as I didn't find anything to set it apart from Fedora's. It walks us through setting the keyboard layout, creating a hostname, and selecting our time zone. We have several partitioning options, including the manual creation of normal partitions, LVM, RAID and encryption. We can also choose to let the installer work out the layouts for us automatically. The installer's last step is to install a boot loader (GRUB 2) to the location of our choosing. Like the upstream project, Kororaa may require a small BIOS partition to be in place, a feature which hasn't become common in other distributions yet.
The first time we boot Kororaa Linux from the hard drive we're presented with a series of screens. We are asked to confirm the license conditions, set the current time & date and create a regular user account. We also have the option of submitting a Smolt hardware profile upstream. Sending the profile is entirely optional, but I recommend doing so as it gives developers an idea of what hardware needs to be supported in the Linux community. Logging into KDE for the first time my initial impression was that while the desktop is fairly clean and uncluttered it was also a bit sluggish. Disabling desktop indexing brings KDE back to normal performance. I was happy to note that disabling indexing didn't result in the system popping up warnings as I encountered when last reviewing Kubuntu.
Let's take a look at package management next. Kororaa Linux has taken a positive step, in my opinion, by providing Yum Extender as the default package manager front-end. Yum Extender, while a touch on the slow side, has a nice interface and provides the usual collection of filters and features we can expect from a modern package manager. We can search for packages by name, filter items by installation status, view detailed output, manage repositories and perform add, remove and upgrade actions. Once Kororaa had been installed I opened Yum Extender to upgrade all available packages and found there were over 250 items waiting to be installed. Fortunately Yum Extender has a "select all" button and it dutifully slogged through each available update. There is another package manager front-end, called Apper, which is available through the KDE System Settings panel. This interface would start up and stall. After several minutes with no sign of progress or life I'd give up and terminate the Apper application.
Kororaa Linux 16 - applying updates with Yum Extender
(full image size: 493kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Which brings me to another issue I had regarding packages. Sometimes one application (YUM, Yum Extender or Apper) would kick off an action and either fail or get interrupted or would complete and close down and the PackageKit process would remain running in the background, gobbling CPU and refusing to let any further actions to be performed on software packages. Killing the PackageKit process would cause it to respawn, effectively preventing the administrator from managing software on the system. Managing software on Kororaa wasn't all bad. The YUM command line program works quite well and quickly. It's especially good at performing updates, downloading delta RPMs instead of complete packages. This can save the user up to 90% bandwidth in some cases. And, as I mentioned above, I had no serious complaints when using Yum Extender.
One more item while I'm on the subject of updates. When I upgraded Kororaa's kernel from 3.1.5 to 3.1.6 my systems refused to boot. Switching back to the previous kernel, which was kept during the upgrade, restored working order. I checked for bug reports of this issue, but it appears no one else hasencountered the same problem, so it may be a quirk with my specific equipment.
The Kororaa distribution comes with a great pile of software. Glancing through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser, KMail, KTorrent and the messenger programs Kopete and Konversation. (You may be noticing a theme involving the letter "K".) The KPPP dialer is included, as are Amarok, the KAudioCreator CD ripper, the K3b disc burner, the Choqok micro-blogger client and Linphone for VoIP. The Handbrake DVD ripper is included, along with the VLC multimedia player, Audacity and the Kdenlive video editor. LibreOffice is available in the menu as are the GIMP, a PDF viewer, an image viewer, Inkscape and the digiKam digital camera utility. A sampling of KDE games is featured, as is the KRename utility for renaming groups of files. The KDE Info Center is in the menu, as is the System Settings control panel for managing the look and feel of the desktop.
For protecting our privacy we're given KGpg and Kleopatra. There's a text-to-speech program, a drop-down virtual terminal (which I very much enjoyed using), an archive manager, text editor and calculator. Kororaa includes the upstream system configuration tools. These programs make it easy to manage user accounts, configure the firewall (which is enabled by default), we can enable/disable services, work with SELinux and change the date & time. In the background we find version 3.1 of the Linux kernel and the GCC. Flash isn't installed by default, but it's easy to grab from the package manager. OpenJDK is installed to provide us with a Java implementation. Looking further we find that Firefox is armed with useful extensions such as AdBlock and DownloadThemAll.
Kororaa Linux 16 - adjusting system settings
(full image size: 477kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I tried running Kororaa Linux on the same computers I used when testing Fedora. One was a generic desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card), the other was my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). As with its parent, Kororaa properly detected and configured all of my hardware without any problems. My Intel wireless card worked out of the box and found local wireless networks without any input from me. The distribution, while running KDE and associated services, used just under 300 MB of RAM and, after running the system in a virtual environment, I would recommend having more than 512 MB of memory available for the operating system.
Running Kororaa Linux it's easy to see where Chris Smart, the project's founder, has improved upon the upstream distribution. Kororaa comes with a great supply of software and, with the additional repositories configured, it makes adding more packages easy with no need to manually enable third-party repositories. When one factors in the codecs, useful default applications and the Jockey tool for fetching third-party drivers the Fedora test bed becomes more appealing to end-users. I didn't try the GNOME edition, but Mr Smart tells me it comes with GNOME Tweak and extensions (similar to Mint's GNOME Extensions), which should make transitioning from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3 a smooth experience. That being said, some of the issues I had with Fedora remain in Kororaa. Specifically package management is still awkward. Having Yum Extender was an improvement over upstream's front-end, but it's still quite slow. The Apper update app didn't work for me and PackageKit would sometimes lock-up and put a halt to any software transactions. Fortunately one can usually fall back to the YUM command line program to get things done.
Nitpicking aside, Kororaa Linux is definitely a step forward. The software available and the relative ease of getting it is nice, the default applications provided are the ones people are actually likely to use and the extensions for the GNOME edition should make using GNOME Shell a much more pleasant experience. If I may borrow a phrase from Mint's fans, Kororaa is Fedora done right. There is still work to be done, but Kororaa has got a good start on making Fedora into a system appealing to desktop users. When corresponding with Chris Smart he wrote something which I feel nicely sums up my own feelings on Kororaa and I'd like to share it with you: "There's so much more to do, but I'm getting there slowly. I think what I've come up with in a year is pretty decent, but it's still a long way to go. Hopefully people see the potential in Kororaa and over time the community can grow. It's getting there."
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
FreeBSD 9.0 update, testing Unity 5.0, new features in Fedora 17, interviews with Debian's Steve McIntyre and openSUSE's Frédéric Crozat, Linux Mint overview
FreeBSD 9.0 was finally announced late last week. Many DistroWatch readers noticed that the 9.0 ISO images had been made available long (a week or so) before the official announcement went out. The reason for this unusual delay was a late bug discovered after the first set of ISO images had been sent to the FTP servers. Ken Smith explains: "Lots of you noticed that the 9.0-RELEASE ISO and 'memstick' images appeared on the FTP sites a while ago. But as pointed out this release turned out to be an example of why the 'official policy' is that it's not truly released until the announcement email gets sent out. I had not tested using sysinstall(8) to install pre-built packages from the DVD during my initial testing since we're sorta moving away from sysinstall(8). I had just tested installing the pre-built packages using pkg_add(8). Someone noticed sysinstall(8) misbehaved before I got the images put up on BitTorrent and the fix was simply adding one file to the DVD image that the new build infrastructure omitted since bsdinstall(8) doesn't use it. So I went ahead with replacing the DVD images on the FTP site. That's also why we waited longer than normal between the images appearing on the FTP sites and the announcement - we gave extra time to try and make sure the updated images got to all the FTP mirrors. Sorry about the screw-up." So for those who emailed last week to say that FreeBSD 9.0 was "released", here is a quick reminder: nothing is released until it's announced!
On a related note, NetBSD 5.1.1 ISO images appeared on the project's FTP server on January 4th, but nearly two weeks later the new release has still not been announced. In fact, the project's home page still promotes version 5.1 as the latest stable NetBSD. Another screw-up or just plain absent-mindedness?
* * * * *
As announced previously, Ubuntu's upcoming release, version 12.04, will be a so-called LTS release, which means that both the desktop and server editions will be supported with security updates for five years. Last week we also learnt that besides Ubuntu, three other Canonical products, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu, will also benefit from long-term support. The H Open in "Ubuntu variants to get 12.04 LTS releases": "The Ubuntu Technical Board has approved three separate proposals which will see Long-Term Support (LTS) editions of the KDE-based Kubuntu, Xfce-based Xubuntu and education-oriented Edubuntu appear alongside Ubuntu 12.04 LTS when it is released in April. The Kubuntu LTS proposal is the second LTS release of the KDE-based variant, the first having been Kubuntu 10.04 LTS. The developers plan to have a five-year support cycle following Canonical's October revision of its desktop LTS plans. The Kubuntu developers say that a 12.04 LTS edition, which would include the stable and mature Qt 4 and KDE 4, should be well-timed, as later in the year Qt 5 will arrive and KDE Frameworks 5 will begin development. The Edubuntu proposal is similar, and tracks the Kubuntu proposal as many of the packages that are not in Ubuntu but are in Edubuntu, are managed by the Kubuntu developers."
The Unity desktop has been subjected to many an unflattering review in tech media since the release of Ubuntu 11.10, so it's with nervous anticipation that many Ubuntu fans await a (hopefully) much-improved desktop experience in "Precise Pangolin", Ubuntu's next version, currently in alpha stages of development. And indeed, the just-released Unity 5.0 seems to have addressed some of the criticism. Edubuntu's Jonathan Carter has given Unity another go: "Yesterday I installed Unity 5.0 and I was pleasantly surprised by some of its new features. I can set the panel background colour. By default, the Unity panel adapts itself to match the wallpaper colour. This doesn't always work out, and with certain background colours it looks really horrible with the icons on it. I set mine to a none-harsh, dark grey and can now see my icons without any desire to fork out my eyes. I can set the launcher panel to be ever present. I have plenty of horizontal screen space and I find it annoying not having a window list present on my display. When I have to hover my mouse to the left edge and wait a few hundred milliseconds before I even see the list of open applications and where they are positioned, it just annoys me. Having them always on-screen is just so much easier. It's fast and more stable. Unity 5.0 is noticeably more snappy than it's predecessors. It also feels less buggy." For information on how to install Unity 5.0 on Ubuntu 11.10 please see this article (with a video and screenshots) by Muktware.
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Fedora has a reputation of being one of the most innovative Linux distributions on the market. As such, many Linux users like to keep an eye on the features page for the distro's upcoming release in order to see what exciting things are likely to be included (not only) in the next stable Fedora. Michael Larabel has summarised the latest in "Fedora 17 Has More Features: GIMP 2.8, GCC 4.7, oVirt, Etc": "The 'Beefy Miracle' already has a beefy list of possible changes like maybe the Btrfs file system by default, multi-touch advancements, GNOME Shell software rendering, and many other features, but now there's even more. At the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) meeting on Monday (9 January), several more Fedora 17 features were approved. Here's the features that were just approved to be part of the Beefy Miracle: Erland R15 language support; GCC 4.7 as the default compiler; GHC 7.4 update; GIMP 2.8 image application and its plethora of changes; the GNOME 3.4 package set as the default desktop environment and replacing GNOME 3.2 as found in Fedora 16; Lohit Unicode 6.0 support, which is for Indian scripts (Assamese/Bengali, Devanagari, Gujarati, Kannada, Oriya, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu) with improved fonts too; the Linux kernel in Fedora 17 will now enable the LIO target sub-system for iSCSI and FCoE (Fibre Channel over Ethernet) support." Fedora 17 is currently scheduled for release on 8 May 2012.
* * * * *
Which do you think is the most popular Linux distribution deployed on web servers? If your answer is Debian GNU/Linux, then you are correct - that's based on the latest W3Tech's report: Debian is now used by 9.6% of all websites (up from 8.9% one year ago, and 8% two years ago), which is equivalent to 29.4% of all Linux-based sites. It is also the fastest growing operating system at the moment: every day 54 of the top 1 million sites switch to Debian. This growth comes primarily from websites that are starting to use Linux, because we see in the technology change report that many sites subsequently switch from Debian to the Ubuntu distribution (which is based on Debian). Debian gains market share from all other Linux distributions, mostly from CentOS, openSuSE and Fedora. Debian is a little bit less popular amongst high-traffic sites, but 8.5% of the top 1,000 sites is still very strong. If we look at which web servers run on Debian boxes, we see that Nginx and Lighttpd servers very often run on top of Debian (almost 60%), however Apache still is by far the most popular web server when we look at all Debian servers. An overwhelming majority of all Linux servers use PHP as server-side language, and Debian is no exception." The website you happen to be reading at this moment is just one of the many out there powered by the world's largest Linux distribution ;-)
Still on the subject of Debian GNU/Linux, here is a link to an interview with Steve McIntyre, a former Debian Project Leader and current Debian-CD maintainer: "Q: What are your plans for Debian 'Wheezy'? A: There are three main tracks here. Obviously, I'm interested in seeing armhf release with 'Wheezy'. We've just been added to 'Testing' last weekend, so that's going well. We've got over 90% of the archive built now, and we're mopping up the remaining issues. I'm the primary maintainer of cdrkit at this point, but I'd prefer to have it go away. Xorriso and the associated software in libisoburn is almost capable of replacing all the ageing cdrtools-derived software that we have in Debian, The only missing feature that I'm aware of is creating the HFS hybrid file systems that we use for installations on Mac OS X systems. I've been talking with the upstream folks about this for some time already, and I'm hoping we can finish this soon enough that we can get it into Wheezy. Finally, I've got the ever-growing wish list of things for Debian-CD. We've got the beginnings of an automated test suite that Martín Ferrari has written, but it needs integrating and improving. I want to help get regular weekly, daily and release Debian Live builds running on the main CD build machine. There's work needed if we want to make good installation media for the new multi-arch world, too. The Emdebian people are asking for help making CD images."
* * * * *
And speaking of interesting interviews, here is a link to another one -- only this time the interviewee is a (former Mandriva and current) openSUSE developer. From "People of openSUSE: Frédéric Crozat": My name is Frédéric Crozat, I'm 36 and I live in Paris (France). I'm working for SUSE for a little more than a year, with focus on various topics such as SUSE MeeGo, GNOME 3 live image, LXC (Linux Containers) and more recently, systemd. Before that, I worked for ten years at MandrakeSoft and Mandriva, taking care of GNOME. From 2002 to 2011, I was part of GNOME Release Team, making sure GNOME was released on time and with all those nice features. I've been interested in computer since I was a kid (first computer was a MSX Canon V20). The first 'big program' (on a PC 8086 with 10 MB hard disk, if I remember correctly) I wrote was a billing program for my mum (she owns a bookstore), when I was in 7th grade (first in Quick Basic), then I rewrote it in Turbo Pascal when I learned Pascal in 2nd grade and later, I even rewrote it in Object Oriented Pascal (because I bought Borland Pascal 6 or 7, shipped with huge printed user manual which included object-oriented stuff) when I was in college. And my mum used this program (on the same computer) until she closed her shop seven years ago."
* * * * *
Finally, a link to a well-written and comprehensive overview of possibly the fastest-growing desktop Linux distribution - Linux Mint. So what is the reason for the project's success? As Richard Hillesley argues in "HealthCheck: Linux Mint", it's the developers' focus on usability: [Clement] Lefebvre's aim is clear. 'There's a new generation of desktops out there', he has written, 'including GNOME Shell and Unity. These desktops are shiny, they look good and they're slowly gaining popularity. They're based on new and exciting technologies but they also come with a cost... they're re-inventing the way we use our computers. It's neither right or wrong of course, but it will only appeal to a certain category of users... and there are a lot of people out there, myself included, who aren't convinced the traditional desktops were bad and who are concerned about not having a choice as more and more people switch towards these new technologies. With Cinnamon we're jumping on these new technologies and we're able to provide something that looks as modern as Unity and Shell, without reinventing the wheel when it comes to user experience.' Mint began as an experiment, and happened upon a niche in the market where people were looking for an easy way to install codecs, and became popular as a result."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
SOPA and open-source software
Wondering-about-blacklists asks: Does SOPA pose a threat to open-source software?
DistroWatch answers: In case you haven't been following in the news in North America, SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. It's an act currently making its way through the American government and it has caused a great deal of debate and concern, especially in tech circles. There are several aspects to the could-be law, but the main points are that if the act is passed it would allow the legal arm of the government to order the removal of DNS records of sites thought to enable piracy. It would also allow the government to order the removal of websites from search engine results and it would cause websites hosting user-generated content to police that content. Removing a website's DNS records and stripping it from search engine results would, effectively, remove the website from the Internet as far as most users are concerned.
While this act is localized to the United States of America, the effects are likely to be felt around the world if it passes. Your website might not be within the borders of the United States of America, but search engines like Google and Bing do have to answer to American law. A website selling items or services in Europe may rely on Americans being able to find their website. The possible effects of this bill have raised a lot of concerns and there are rumours that websites like Google, Facebook and Amazon may take steps to encourage their users to oppose the act.
Now, back to the question of whether SOPA is a threat to open-source software. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think SOPA is going to have any direct influence on open source in general. The act is concerned with piracy, with shutting down copyright violations. Open source software operates within the realm of copyright law, but doesn't lend itself to violations, at least not through normal use and copying. In fact free licenses like the GPL support copying works, support legally spreading intellectual property. It follows that open-source projects in general will not find themselves under attack if the act passes. While open source in general may not be at risk I suspect, should this act pass, specific projects may come under fire. There are quite a few open-source BitTorrent clients, along with other peer-to-peer programs out there. Likewise, browser plugins which allow a person to easily download content embedded on a web page may be pressured by SOPA. These tools have perfectly legitimate uses, but, like any useful tool, they can be misused. Those cases of misuse may draw the eye of the law and it is hard to tell just how aggressively the law will be used in the event SOPA passes.
To learn more about SOPA, please visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation's website. Thy have more information on the act and they can help put you get in touch with your local representative if you live in the United States.
|Released Last Week
Andrew Wyatt has announced the release of Fuduntu 2012.1, a new quarterly update of the distribution that was forked from Fedora last year: "The Fuduntu quarterly installation ISO image (2012.1) is now available for immediate download. This release marks a shift in release numbering. Going forward, Fuduntu releases will be numbered as follows: Year.Release. As we are a rolling release distribution with quarterly snapshots, you should expect four roll-up releases this year. We do not define a specific release date, we release when we believe it is ready which may happen at any time after the beginning of each quarter. Package updates in this release: Linux Kernel 3.1.6, Chromium 16, Adobe Flash Player 18.104.22.168. Many new packages are available in the repository including Xfce 4.8, LibreOffice 3.4.3, and Firefox and Thunderbird 9." Read the full release announcement for a more detailed description of the changes.
Ricardo López has announced the release of Asturix 4, an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution with a custom desktop environment and many usability improvements: "The team is proud to announce the immediate availability of Asturix 4. Some of its features: a new desktop experience, we have developed a new desktop environment to improve usability and productivity, and to help you stay focused; the biggest color palette in the world by default - we signed a partnership with GiveLifeCS so you can enjoy more than 5,000 colors while using GIMP, Inkscape or another design application; previews - now you don't have to open LibreOffice to preview a document, hit space on any file, with any extension and preview it; integrated social and microblogging networks, such as Twitter, Facebook or Identi.ca; Asturix Bridge lets you add, remove and execute web applications as native applications; Chromium web browser, LibreOffice, GIMP, Clementine, VLC...." Here is the full release announcement with a screenshot.
Asturix 4 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with a custom desktop
(full image size: 886kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Astaro Security Gateway 8.3
Angelo Comazzetto has announced the release of Astaro Security Gateway 8.3, a specialist distribution for firewall and gateways: "I am pleased to announce that we have released Astaro Security Gateway (ASG) 8.300 via our Up2Date distribution network. The main features of this release are Amazon Machine Images of Astaro Security Gateway (along with Astaro Command Center), an integrated connector for the Amazon Private Cloud (VPC), ASG Site-to-Site VPN Tunnels using our RED protocol, support for our Wireless AP50 product, and BGP4 routing support. In addition, we have added numerous tweaks, dozens of stability improvements and increased the performance of many features. This release will solidify your ASG 8 installation and give you the best Astaro experience yet." Read the rest of the release announcement which includes detailed information about all the new features.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 11.0, a web browser-only specialist distribution for Internet kiosks. The new version comes with updated Linux kernel version 3.1.8, Firefox 9.0.1, and several minor security-related tweaks. From the release notes: "I'm very proud to announce Webconverger 11, with the following improvements: Firefox 9; ability to change browser chrome options at boot time; quieter boots; several enhancements on the Firefox Webconverger extension; security tweaks to make the control script harder to override; new logo and site design; networking interface naming bug spotted and fixed. Do have a look at our new public statistics site, detailing Webconverger usage. New users please download Webconverger and test out if it's a good public kiosk solution for your community. We have a friendly support group if you have any questions."
The FreeBSD Engineering Team has announced the release of FreeBSD 9.0, a major new version of the BSD operating featuring a brand-new system installer: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE. This is the first release from the stable/9 branch, which improves on stable/8 and adds many new features. Some of the highlights: a new installer, bsdinstall(8) has been added and is the installer used by the ISO images provided as part of this release; the Fast file system now supports softupdates journaling; ZFS updated to version 28; updated ATA/SATA drivers support AHCI, moved into updated CAM framework; Highly Available Storage (HAST) framework; kernel support for Capsicum Capability Mode, an experimental set of features for sandboxing support; user-level DTrace...." Read the release announcement for highlights and the release notes for a detailed description of new features.
Kris Moore has announced the release of PC-BSD 9.0, a desktop-oriented distribution based on the latest stable FreeBSD: "The PC-BSD development team and iXsystems are pleased to announce the immediate availability of PC-BSD version 9.0. Based upon FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE, this is also the first PC-BSD which offers users a variety of desktop environments to chose from, such as KDE, GNOME, Xfce, LXDE and more. Also available are pre-built VirtualBox / VMware images with integrated guest tools for rapid virtual system deployment, and native support for installing directly to OS X BootCamp partitions. Highlights: improved PBI system, allows library sharing, binary diff updating, custom repositories, digital signing; support for 'freebsd-update' via the System Update GUI; new Control Panel...." Here is the full release announcement.
Marco Ghirlanda has announced the release of ArtistX 1.2, an Ubuntu-based distribution designed for musicians and other artists, and featuring a large collection of multimedia and graphics software: "After nearly ten years of development and more than ten versions, the ArtistX 1.2 multimedia studio on a DVD is finally here. It's an Ubuntu 11.10-based live DVD that turns a common computer into a full multimedia production studio. ArtistX 1.2 is created with the Relinux 'successor of Remastersys' software for live DVDs and includes the 3.0.0-15 Linux kernel, GNOME 3 and KDE 4.7 and about 2,500 free multimedia software packages, nearly everything that exists for the GNU/Linux operating system organized in the GNOME menu. Main features: based on Ubuntu 11.10 'Oneiric Ocelot' without Unity with all updates (from October 2011); most of GNU/Linux multimedia packages and the very easy Ubiquity installer. The password for sudo and installation is blank (just press 'Enter')." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
ArtistX 1.2 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with 2,500 multimedia software packages
(full image size: 829kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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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
- Bachata Linux. Bachata Linux is a minimal Debian-based Linux system with fully functional Bash shell (with GNU Coreutils, not BusyBox), TCP/IP networking with DHCP client and APT setup to be able to install any package from the Debian repositories. The installation media is 68 MB, needs no Internet connection and the installation is really quick. The installed system will use 160 MB disk space. (As a comparison, Debian 6.0 "netinst" media is 191 MB, takes long time to install and will use at least 330 MB disk space after installation.)
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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, 23 January 2012.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Refracta is a Linux distribution based on Devuan GNU+Linux (a systemd-free fork of Debian), designed primarily for home computer users and also for use as a system rescue and recovery disk. It provides a simple and familiar layout using the Xfce desktop. Other desktop environments and additional software packages are available from the Devuan package repository. Besides providing a Linux distribution on a live CD, the project also develops useful tools, such as refractainstaller, refractasnapshot and refracta2usb which allow users to customize the installation and create custom live CD or live USB images.