| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 459, 4 June 2012
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The Fedora distribution won most of the headlines this past week with the release of the cutting-edge Fedora 17. The project has been hard at work improving SELinux, updating GNOME Shell and adding new features under the hood. Be sure to check out the News section to learn more about the release and unofficial plans on how the project will handle secure boot when consumer computers start shipping with that feature later
this year. We will also hear some initial impressions of the mini-computer called the Raspberry Pi and updates
from the Oracle vs Google Android trial. Also in this week's edition, Jesse Smith takes Mageia 2 for a spin and reports on his findings. Does the community-based project live up to the quality of its Mandriva
linage? This week we also look at the pros and cons of compiling packages from their source code in our Questions and Answers section. And, as usual, we bring you a list of distributions released last week and
look forward to scheduled releases to come later this year. We here at DistroWatch wish you a pleasant week and happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Mageia 2
Mageia began its life not so long ago by being a community fork of the Mandriva Linux distribution. The future of Mandriva, as a company, has been in question for years prompting several developers and users to push for an independent, community-oriented distro. The first release of Mageia, version 1, got off to a fairly good start. It didn't vary much technologically from Mandriva and felt a bit like a test run, as though the developers were making sure all the proper infrastructure was in place.
This May Mageia returned with version 2 and it looks as though the community has filled in any missing gaps. The distribution is available in many different editions. There's a DVD edition, GNOME and KDE editions, 32-bit and 64-bit builds and live CDs featuring a variety of language packs. In total I counted about 20 different download options, not including the torrent files. This variety is very much in line with the Mandriva tradition and may be, in my opinion, the biggest hurdle to trying out Mageia as the array of options is likely to be overwhelming to new users. However, the release notes are well laid out and detailed which will hopefully level out the experience for newcomers. I decided to try the 32-bit KDE edition of Mageia in the form of a live CD.
Booting from the live CD brings up a menu asking if we'd like to try the live environment or launch the system installer. I opted to try the live environment and, a few minutes later, was shown a series of option screens where I was asked to provide my preferred language, accept the distribution's license, choose my time zone and confirm my keyboard layout. Shortly after entering my information I was shown a blue-themed classic desktop environment. An application menu, quick-launch icons and task switcher sat at the bottom of the screen. Along the left side of the display were icons for browsing the file system, launching the installer and visiting Mageia's website. The application menu, as it turns out, is presented in the classic fashion and I found it to be both compact and easy to navigate.
Mageia's installer provides us with a graphical interface and takes us through a series of screens which are fairly simple in layout. The disk partitioning section comes first and we can either instruct the installer to use the existing layout as it wishes or proceed with manual partitioning. I thought it was a nice touch that the installer recommends we backup existing files before continuing with the installation. Manual partitioning I found to be nicely arranged. At the top of the window we're shown a visual representation of our disk. Clicking on parts of the diagram or various action buttons allows us to create, format, delete and resize sections of the disk. Supported file systems include ext3, ext4, ReiserFS, JFS, XFS and NTFS. We can also make use of LVM layouts and RAID configurations. The installer also supports partition encryption. Yet, with all of these options, the developers have managed to keep the layout uncluttered and one action tends to flow seamlessly into the next. After setting up our partitions we're given the option to remove unused hardware support and extra localization files to free up disk space. Then we wait while the installer copies the files it needs to our local disk. When it is finished we're asked if we would like to install the GRUB boot loader or the LILO boot loader and we can set the location where we'd like the boot loader installed. We also have the option of editing the boot options the installer detects for us. Then the installer advises us to reboot the machine.
What I especially appreciate about the Mageia installer is each screen is simple. We are typically asked one straight forward question and offered reasonable defaults. For more experienced users almost every screen has an "Advanced" button which brings up more options. The approach makes for a clean design while allowing for more fine-tuned installations.
Mageia 2 -- System installer
(full image size: 267kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The first time we boot our local copy of Mageia the distribution downloads a series of files. The notice that a download was in progress went by quickly and no explanation was given -- I suspect the system was downloading repository information. Then a first-run wizard appears, asking us to set a root password and to create a regular user account. With our account created we're handed over to a graphical login screen. The login screen allows us to login as our regular user and also provides the option to login as a guest user. The guest account requires no password and wipes out any changes made to the account when the user logs out, leaving the account in a pristine state. Not only is this feature useful for when friends wish to borrow our computer, but the guest account can be managed (and deleted) just like any other user account via the system's control centre. The login screen also offers us the option of logging into either a KDE desktop or into IceWM, a useful fall-back option for lower-resource machines or to rescue the system if a problem develops with KDE.
Exploring the application menu we find Mageia comes with Firefox and Konqueror for web browsing, the LibreOffice suite and a document viewer in the default installation. We also find the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a system monitor and the Drake Network Centre (draknetcenter) for managing network connections. In the Multimedia section we find the Amarok music player, the KsCD audio CD player and the Dragon video player. The application menu includes the usual small apps such as a text editor, calculator and archive manager. The system comes with the KDE System Settings panel and a system control centre. The application menu also features a copy of the KDE documentation. While using the distribution I found some multimedia codecs were installed by default, mp3 files could be played on a fresh install for instance. Some video files would play, but generally opening a video file brought up a dialog box saying the proper codec could not be found and gave the option of searching the repositories for the proper software. With the default (free) repositories enabled these searches could not locate the required codecs. To get the required package the user must manually enable the extra (non-free) repositories. Adding the repositories is fairly easy to do, but I feel it's something the search software should offer to do for us automatically. Offering to search free repositories we know do not include the required packages isn't helpful in itself. The default install from a live CD doesn't include Flash, nor Java, nor a compiler, though each of these things may be installed from the repositories. Mageia ships with the 3.3 version of the Linux kernel and it is one of the few distributions shipping with up to date software which still installs the Legacy version of the GRUB boot loader.
The Mageia package manager presents us with a fairly simple graphical interface. Down the left side of the window we see application categories and, down the right side, we see a list of software in the selected category. Packages are displayed with a name and description and items can be added or removed from the system by checking a box. Actions we want to perform are queued together and run in batches. One nice feature of the package manager is it provides a collection of easy to understand filters. Software can be displayed by type (meta package, GUI application, all applications, updates) and by status (installed or available). I found the package manager to be quick to respond and, like most utilities in Mageia, straight forward to use. There is a secondary graphical package manager in Mageia called Apper. Apper feels less structured, presenting all categories and items in one large pane in the manager's window. Though Apper worked well for me and also provided clear software categories, I found the structure of the main package manager more appealing.
Mageia 2 -- Managing software packages
(full image size: 278kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
I ran into some problems when it came to updating software on the system. Shortly after installing Mageia I went to the control centre and launched the update manager. It informed me there were no updates available at the time. I went into the package manager and refreshed the repository information. Again, both the main package manager and the update manager reported no updates were available, a claim they maintained during the course of the entire week. However, when I went into the Apper package manager and clicked the Updates icon it informed me there were over a dozen packages waiting to be updated. Apper downloaded and installed the updates without any problems. This pattern continued as the week went on where updates would appear in Apper only.
The Mageia control centre is probably the most distinct feature of the distribution. It provides an excellent way to configure most aspects of the operating system and does so in a way which should be either familiar, or at least easy to learn, for new users. The control centre is broken into several sections including software management, hardware, booting, security and the general system. Opening one of these sections presents us with labeled icons which launch specific modules, much the same way the KDE System Settings panel works. Through the Mageia control centre we can handle adding and removing software, timing checks for updates and enabling or disabling 3D visual effects. We can set up printers and scanners, connect to UPS devices to monitor the available power, configure our keyboard and mouse and adjust network settings. We can also set up proxies and virtual private networks. We can adjust our login authentication, enable or disable system services and manage user accounts (including the guest account). There is a module for importing documents and settings from a Windows partition, another for viewing and searching through log files. We find modules for creating NFS and Samba shares, a module to manage disk partitions and a firewall utility. There is a section for enabling website filtering and parental controls, a module for configuring the boot loader and a tool for enabling more fine-gained system-wide security. Though fine-tuned security models like SELinux and AppArmor can be intimidating to new users, Mageia comes with preset profiles which are easy to understand and enable. Some optional security profiles include "standard", "netbook" & "webserver" and each comes with an explanation to help users get started.
I did run into a few problems when working with the control centre. For instance, when trying to launch a module called "snapshots", presumably a backup tool, the module instantly crashed and offered to send a bug report. This happened each time I tried to access the snapshot module. Another utility which didn't appear to work as expected was the parental control for blocking access to specific applications. For example, I installed Kate and blocked my user from having access to the text editor. If I opened a virtual terminal and tried to launch Kate I'd get an access denied error and the application wouldn't show up in my path. However, if I went to the application menu and simply clicked on the Kate icon, the editor would open. Apparently there is a hole there which hasn't yet been plugged. These two bugs, and the issue of the missing package updates aside, I found things in the control centre worked as expected and I found all of the tools easy to use.
Mageia 2 -- System and desktop settings
(full image size: 392kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
I tried running Mageia on two test machines, my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3GB of RAM, Intel video card) and a desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card). On both machines Mageia ran well. The desktop was responsive, even with effects turned on. The operating system correctly detected and utilized my laptop's Intel wireless card and I encountered no hardware compatibility issues. I did note that Mageia is a bit slower to boot than some other modern Linux distros, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. However, once up and running Mageia performed well. Running the KDE desktop without any applications open typically used around 220MB of RAM. I also ran Mageia in a VirtualBox virtual machine and found the experience to be nearly identical to running on physical hardware. Though desktop responsiveness did suffer in the virtual environment if visual effects were enabled.
Going into this review one of my internal questions was whether the community around Mageia had managed to introduce a significant amount of documentation and infrastructure to the project. Mageia, after all, having come from Mandriva was bound to contain the same useful, polished technology, the same excellent control panel and up to date desktop environments, but what about the project's website, its support? If we were to look strictly at the wiki and the documentation provided there we would soon see there is still work to be done. The release notes are quite good, but instructions and how-tos are in short supply. The flip side to this is Mageia's active forum community. We might assume from this situation support is less likely to come from the top down, but rather from users helping each other. As for the distribution itself, its quality is, for the most part, well above average. The CD is a bit light on software (there doesn't appear to be any default e-mail client, for example), but most of the basics are present. The control panel is easily the nicest and (nearly) the most complete in the Linux ecosystem, its only real rival being the very powerful, but notably less novice-friendly, YaST from the openSUSE project.
I did run into some minor issues while using Mageia, the snapshot utility and the main software update utility being the notable areas of concern, but mostly my time with Mageia was smooth, pleasant, largely complete and welcoming. I write "welcoming" because Mageia's greatest strength may not be its technical merits (though those are good), but in its design. The Mageia developers have produced one of the nicest feeling distributions I have experienced in a while. The Mageia developers really appear to understand the reasoning that just because a feature is available that doesn't mean it should be enabled by default.
Take, for example, the desktop. It's a modern KDE 4.8 desktop, yet windows don't change shape or size when they bump into the top of the screen, there are no desktop widgets and the few effects which are enabled by default are minor. The application menu is presented in the classic style and is cleanly laid out, without clutter or redundancy. Even little things like the way the virtual terminal is a plain white on black with no transparency nor flashing cursor are a nice change from what I've experienced recently. The theme is interesting without being distracting and the Mageia developers have provided GRUB Legacy for a boot loader, making managing the boot options less complicated for the user. All in all, the distribution provides a modern environment in which to work with all the modern conveniences, but with most of the frills turned off by default and it makes for a quiet, productive workspace. I found I enjoyed the combination of having a lot of options, but having them turned off at the beginning as opposed to many other environments where the options either do not exist, or they do exist and every bell and whistle is enabled.
Despite a few bugs, most of which I hope will be fixed in the coming months, I found Mageia to be solid, useful and novice-friendly. The team's infrastructure appears to be in place and working well. Once the wiki gets padded out with additional documentation I suspect Mageia will float to the top of my recommendation list.
Fedora updates, preparing for secure boot, Debian on Raspberry Pi
The big news from this past week was the release of Fedora 17, from the open source community distribution sponsored by Red Hat. The popular Linux distribution, code named "Beefy Miracle", was presented to the
world with the Fedora team's usual sense of humour: "At the heat of a thousand hot dog cookers, the seventeenth release of Fedora shall be forged by contributors the world over, and it will be known as: Beefy Miracle. The mustard shall indicate progress. For six months, participants in the Fedora Project shall freely contribute to the release of the distribution, in the spirit of the Four Foundations -- Freedom, Friends, Features, and First -- and moreover, they shall relish in Fun, as a community without Fun would be like a day without sunshine..." The latest release includes the latest GNOME desktop, version 3.4, easy access for users hot plugging external media, quick-n-easy multi-seat support and many bug fixes and updates.
Alongside the release of Fedora's "Beefy Miracle" the project's community is looking at changing the
way names, themes and version numbers will be applied to future Fedora releases. Some proposals include
separating names from the theming and artwork, no longer forcing a relationship between the previous release name and the next version's name and coming up with a more descriptive naming scheme.
Later this year we will see consumer desktop and laptop computers shipping with secure boot enabled
by default. This new technology, while it provides a useful defense against some forms of malware, also
poses a hurdle to users wishing to install open source operating systems. Matthew Garrett, an employee at
Red Hat, blogged last week about some of the plans being looked at to make sure Fedora 18 is able to run in
secure environments. His well written and detailed blog post, entitled "Implementing UEFI Secure Boot in Fedora",
outlines the challenges and potential benefits from the various approaches under consideration.
* * * * *
For months the tech sector and hobbyist websites have been buzzing with news about the
Raspberry Pi, a small, US$25 computer. The tiny computer, about the size of a credit card, features an ARM processor, a USB port, HDMI video and an ethernet port.
The creators of the Raspberry Pi hope it will be used primarily as an educational tool, but its ability to run Linux distributions, such as Debian GNU/Linux, makes it a very flexible platform. Last week Thom Holwerda
posted his first impressions of the Pi. His impression of running Debian on the Raspberry? "I came away impressed. X and LXDE were slow, but everything seemed to work just fine, and that alone turned a big smile on my face."
* * * * *
The Software Freedom Conservancy announced last week a new series of projects designed to
uphold the rights of free and open source software developers, users and distributors. Occasionally open source code gets used in a project or product with the best of intentions, however some
organizations slip up and fail to obey all of the requirements of their license. In an effort to
make sure the rights of developers and users are being upheld one of the Conservancy's new projects is the
"GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers. This new project is comprised of copyright holders in the Linux kernel who have contributed to Linux under its license, the GPLv2. These seven copyright holders have formally asked Conservancy to engage in compliance efforts for their copyrights in the Linux kernel." Once again we hear from Matthew Garrett, one of seven kernel developers to support this new project: "For some time, many Linux kernel copyright holders have offered our moral support to the BusyBox enforcement efforts through Conservancy, but didn't have the ability to formalize that support. I'm glad to put my copyrights forward for this new initiative, and welcome any Linux kernel copyright holders who wish to join us to reach out to Conservancy..."
* * * * *
Some more good news for fans of Android, the mobile operating system based on the Linux kernel: the APIs used in the Android platform have been found to not be subject to copyright. According to
Ars Technica Judge Alsup compared APIs and source code to a library, declaring, "...the Java and Android libraries are organized in the same basic way but all of the chapters in Android have been written with implementations different from Java but solving the same problems and providing the same functions." This all but concludes the Android case in favour of Google.
It is reported Oracle plans to appeal the decision.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Improving software performance
Is there a noticeable advantage to the average user to justify spending some time compiling from scratch? What extra control do I have that would be different from what the developer compiling the app already incorporates for me (what do they assume about me I might like to change during compilation)? Is it worth the time and effort (other than gaining some knowledge of the inner workings of Linux)?
It's been my experience that no, compiling software from scratch usually does not present a noticeable advantage for average users. There are a lot of qualifiers in that statement I feel I should explain. Let's back up a bit.
When someone else is putting together packages for a software repository the software is generally compiled with a wide range of CPU architectures in mind. They are targeting the lowest common denominator. This means the package is likely to run on a wide range of processors, but it also means potential short-cuts aren't taken. It's also possible certain compiler optimizations might not be taken, either to insure functionality across many processors or to avoid uncovering bugs in the code itself. When we compile our own software we have the option of taking all the short-cuts and optimizations specific to our processor. This lets us focus on what our CPU can do for us, rather than taking the lowest common denominator. In case this seems a bit abstract, imagine you have an old calculator that can only add, subtract, multiply and divide. You want to find out what 2 to the 4th power is. On the old calculator you type in
2 X 2 X 2 X 2 =
Now let's swap out our old calculator for a new one which can handle exponents and we can type
2 ^ 4 =
Either way we end up with the same answer, but the second way takes fewer steps. When we compile our own code, we can make sure of all the features and short-cuts are used instead of going the round about safe way that will work on all processors.
All of this sounds great, so why not compile everything to match our CPU? Sadly, as the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Compiling software takes time. For small packages it might take a minute or two, for larger packages it can take several hours. Even if we're using a ports system or our distribution's package manager to make sure dependencies are handled for us, compiling significantly large software takes a long time. It takes time, it takes (electrical) energy and it occupies our CPU when we might want it for other things (unless we schedule our compiling to happen when we're not around). Then, once our software has been compiled and installed, the results can be a bit underwhelming.
Many of the programs we use day-to-day do not run flat out, but rather have other bottlenecks for performance. A word processor, for example, spends almost all of its time waiting for us to type. A web browser spends a good deal of its time waiting for network traffic. Further, most of us will not notice if our music player uses 10% less memory than it did before. In most cases the CPU is not what slows down our software, it's the network or the hard drive or even us. There are cases when optimizations are useful, even important. Massive websites, such as Google and Facebook, are probably happy to compile their software to get a 5% boost in performance because they're dealing with millions of users at a time. Gamers may find compiling their favourite titles provides better performance. People who find themselves converting large libraries of multimedia from one format to another will likely see a benefit to compiling. Likewise people using very low-spec hardware might want to compile their software to squeeze more functionality into a limited environment. However, for most of us, most of the time, we won't see a noticeable difference between a custom compiled application and a generic package from a distribution's repository.
What I'm coming around to is rather than deciding to compile all of our applications from scratch in an effort to boost performance, we would be better off looking at each application on its own and asking "what is slowing its performance?" What can we do to speed up this process? For instance, rather than spending hours recompiling our web browser, we might simply switch off pre-fetching or block Flash content. Applications slowed by disk performance might benefit more from running on a different file system instead of being recompiled. There is a time and a place for building from scratch, but we should make sure the main barrier to performance is the CPU before we choose to compile our own software with custom settings.
|Released Last Week
Caixa Mágica 18
Caixa Mágica 18, a Portuguese Linux distribution for desktops and servers based on Ubuntu, has been released. Caixa Mágica 18 is a long-term support release which guarantees that it will receive security updates for the period of five years. Four different editions - GNOME, KDE, LXDE and "servidor" - are available. The major software packages included in this release are GNOME 3.4.1, KDE 4.8.2, LibreOffice 3.5.2, Linux kernel 3.2, as well as a new Portuguese citizen card software program. Additionally, the project now offers a new web-based utility for one-click installation of software applications. See the release
announcement (in Portuguese) for more information.
Robyn Bergeron has announced the release of Fedora 17, the latest stable version of the Red Hat-sponsored community distribution of Linux: "The 'Beefy Miracle' hath arrived. We believe this is the beefiest release ever - chock full of features to customize your experience to your tastes. On the desktop, GNOME 3.4 introduces new search capabilities in the activities overview, improved themes, and enhancements to the Documents and Contacts applications. A new application, GNOME-boxes, provides easy access to virtual machines. Additionally, GIMP 2.8 brings new improvements, such as single-window mode, layer groups, and on-canvas editing." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Fedora 17 -- GNOME Shell environment
(full image size: 672kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Michael Prokop has announced the release of Grml 2012.05, a Debian-based live CD designed for system administrators and users of text tools: "We just released Grml 2012.05 'Ponyhof'. Thanks for all the feedback we received for our 2011.12 release, we took it serious and hope that everyone finds 2012.05 such a wonderful release as we consider it to be. There were some changes between 2012.05-rc1 and the new stable release. The most important ones are: update to Linux kernel 3.3.7; added sysstat (and imvirt-helper was pulled in as dependency); fixed GRUB 2, iPXE and MirOS bsd4grml boot options for 64-bit ISO images; added wallpaper; fixed language boot option for the grml-small flavour." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Klaus Knopper has announced the release of KNOPPIX 7.0.1, a major new update to the project's Debian-based live DVD consisting of a representative collection of GNU/Linux software and automatic hardware detection: "Version 7.0.1 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian stable and newer desktop packages from Debian testing and Debian unstable. It includes: Linux kernel 3.3.7 and X.Org 7.6 (core 126.96.36.1992); optional 64-bit kernel via the 'knoppix64' boot option supporting systems with more than 4 GB of RAM and chroot to 64-bit installations for system rescue tasks; LibreOffice 3.5.3; Chromium 18.0.1025.168 and Firefox/Iceweasel 10.0 web browsers; LXDE (default), KDE 4.7.4 (boot option 'knoppix desktop=kde'), GNOME 3.4 (boot option 'knoppix desktop=gnome')." Read the rest of the release notes for further
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 1.2.12-60, a new stable version of the specialist Debian-based live CD with free disk cloning software: "This release of Clonezilla live (1.2.12-60) includes major enhancements and minor bug fixes. Enhancements and changes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2012-05-25; Linux kernel was updated to 3.2.18; the drbl package was updated to 1.12.9 and Clonezilla was to 2.5.36; Partclone was updated to 0.2.48; Gdisk was updated to 0.8.4; Allowing to enter command-line prompt to create partition table when blank destination disk is found in restoreparts mode; the vlan package was added; vmfs5 file systems support was enabled again..." The release announcement has all the details.
Parted Magic 2012_05_30
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2012_05_30, a utility live CD designed primarily for disk management and data rescue tasks: "Minor bug fix release with some added programs and updates. SpaceFM was updated to 0.7.7 and now uses udevil for device mounting. pyNeighborhood 0.5.4, Shorewall 4.4.27, Shorewall6 188.8.131.52, gptsync 0.14 and udevil 0.2.4 were added. Coreutils 8.17, File 5.11, LFTP 4.3.6, MB 1.1.11, OpenSSH 6.0p1, OpenSSL 0.9.8x, rdesktop 1.7.1, SSHFS FUSE 2.4, UNetbootin 575, zerofree 1.0.2, ClamAV 0.97.4, e2fsprogs 1.42.3, FUSE 2.9.0, rsync 3.0.9, cifs-utils 5.4, keyutils 1.5.5, krb5 1.7.1, cURL 7.25.0, Libidn 1.25, OpenLDAP client 2.4.31, and SpaceFM 0.7.7 were updated. The Download Java program has been completely rewritten and works more reliably now. Work on a GUI for Shorewall has started." Visit the project's news page to read the release announcement.
VectorLinux 7.0 "SOHO"
Robert Lange has announced the release of VectorLinux 7.0 "SOHO" edition, a Slackware-based distribution with KDE optimised for business and office use: "The final release of VectorLinux 7.0 SOHO is now available. This release is built on the 7.0 GOLD release featuring the recently released KDE 4.8.3 desktop experience. VectorLinux is the fastest Linux desktop in its class bar none. We have spared no expense to bring the KDE 4 desktop to the Linux community in a unique fashion that is best tried to see KDE 4 at its most awesome potential. With the custom artwork, visual tweaks and a little Vector magic, behold SOHO as you have never seen it before. DVD playback, audio and video codecs, multimedia and Java plugins are installed and working out of the box." See the release announcement for more information.
VectorLinux 7.0 -- Desktop
(full image size: 503kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Ikey Doherty has announced the release of SolusOS 1.1, a desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's stable branch but with a newer kernel and up-to-date software packages: "The SolusOS team is pleased to announce the release of SolusOS 1.1. This release brings greater hardware support and newer application versions, as well as support for hybrid GPUs, such as the NVIDIA Optimus. A new 3.3.6 kernel is at its core with the BFS patch, alongside the GNOME 2.30 desktop environment. Many new application versions are present. Brief overview of software versions: Firefox 12.0, Thunderbird 12.0.1, LibreOffice 3.5.4, OpenShot 1.4.2, VLC 2.0.1.... The 1.1 series, although based on the 'Eveline' repositories, is to be maintained separately from the 1.0 series." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
ZevenOS 2.5 "Neptune"
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 2.5 "Neptune" edition, a Debian-based distribution with a choice of KDE, LXDE and Enlightenment desktops and a number of wireless network diagnostic tools: "The Neptune team is proud to announce the release of ZevnOS 'Neptune' 2.5. This release comes with Linux kernel 3.3.4 with lots of patches and drivers. As usual and for the last time we ship two official variants - 'full' edition with KDE 4.8.3 and 'minimal' edition with LXDE and Enlightenment 17. The full edition comes with Chromium 18, Icedove 10, GIMP 2.8, Kdenlive 0.9.2, Amarok 2.6, VLC 2.0.1 and many more updates. We ship with the latest and greatest multimedia codecs pre-installed. For wireless diagnosis we ship Wireshark, Aircrack-ng and Kismon." Here is the full
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 June 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
|• Issue 537 (2013-12-09): OpenMandriva 2013.0, Gentoo developer interview, project Neon, Linux Mint and security|
|• Issue 536 (2013-12-02): Impressions of openSUSE 13.1, Ubuntu Touch, FreeBSD 10 delay, troubleshooting OS lock-ups|
|• Issue 535 (2013-11-25): GhostBSD 3.5, Debian and MATE, Ubuntu 14.04 features, security updates|
|• Issue 534 (2013-11-18): Review of OpenBSD 5.4, Fedora on ARM, menu names vs command-line names|
|• Issue 533 (2013-11-11): Point Linux 2.2, Pisi update, Debian and Xfce, Bruno Cornec interview|
|• Issue 532 (2013-11-04): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.10, Debian's init, FreeBSD's PKG-NG, Linux on ARM|
|• Issue 531 (2013-10-28): PC-BSD 9.2, openSUSE testing, nftables, upgrade pros and cons|
|• Issue 530 (2013-10-21): Kwheezy 1.2, DPL interview, Zenwalk's future, keeping up with vulnerabilities|
|• Issue 529 (2013-10-14): Ubuntu's Mir, dmesg and photorec tips, Tiny Tiny RSS|
|• Issue 528 (2013-10-07): Semplice 5, Haiku package management, Klaus Knopper interview, making custom distro|
|• Issue 527 (2013-09-30): Tiny Core Linux 5.0, SteamOS, moving operating system to new computer|
|• Issue 526 (2013-09-23): Look at ArchBang 2013.09.01, BSD Now, kernel stats, command-line tips|
|• Issue 525 (2013-09-16): The Official Ubuntu Server Book, FreeBSD 10 and OpenBSD 5.4, Skype alternatives|
|• Issue 524 (2013-09-09): Look at LXLE 12.04.3, Ubuntu's new package format, Secure Boot and dual-booting|
|• Issue 523 (2013-09-02): OpenIndiana 151a8, openSUSE "Evergreen", GNOME and DuckDuckGo, running apps from RAM|
|• Issue 522 (2013-08-26): Look at gNewSense 3.0, Ubuntu Edge fundraising failure, exploring GPL|
|• Issue 521 (2013-08-19): Review of Korora 19, Fedora considers return to "Core", Haiku package management|
|• Issue 520 (2013-08-12): Salix OS 14.0.1 "KDE", Xubuntu experiments with XMir, managing passwords with KeePass|
|• Issue 519 (2013-08-05): Review of Porteus 2.0, Kubuntu lays out plans for Wayland adoption, adjusting system swappiness|
|• Issue 518 (2013-07-29): MidnightBSD 0.4, Razor-qt, Ubuntu Edge, mounting infected drives|
|• Issue 517 (2013-07-22): Zorin OS 7 "Lite", Slackware turns 20, UbuntuForums compromise, Raspbian as home server, Tor|
|• Issue 516 (2013-07-15): Review of Fedora 19 "KDE", Shuttleworth on Mir, Seth Vidal, Kingsoft Office for Linux|
|• Issue 515 (2013-07-08): Whonix 0.5.6 and Deepin 12.12, MintBox, processor capabilities, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 514 (2013-07-01): Peppermint Four, Mir, Mandriva forks, ThinkPenguin on libre hardware|
|• Issue 513 (2013-06-24): Look at ROSA, PC-BSD updates, Xen4CentOS6, Slacko vs Precise, Mageia interview, shells|
|• Issue 512 (2013-06-17): Trisquel 6.0, RHEL 7 with GNOME Classic, from Linux to FreeBSD, first look at Wayland|
|• Issue 511 (2013-06-10): Mint 15 impressions, GNOME Classic, Ubuntu Community portal, Absolute OpenBSD|
|• Issue 510 (2013-06-03): Impressions of aptosid 2013-01, Wayland comes to Raspberry Pi, maintaining DNS settings|
|• Issue 509 (2013-05-27): Mageia 3, Debian GNU/Hurd, RebeccaBlackOS with Wayland, ports|
|• Issue 508 (2013-05-20): Review of Debian 7.0, interviews with Clement Lefebvre and Gaël Duval, scripting with xdotool|
|• Issue 507 (2013-05-13): Impressions of Calculate Linux, 13.4, Ubuntu's portable packages, mintDrivers|
|• Issue 506 (2013-05-06): Ubuntu and Kubuntu 13.04, Debian "Wheezy", Slackware on systemd, distros for Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 505 (2013-04-29): First look at PCLinuxOS 2013.04, Saucy Salamander, Remastersys and System Imager, Linux containers|
|• Issue 504 (2013-04-22): Look at Bodhi 2.3.0, Ubuntu 13.04 features, building OpenBSD ports, opening large files|
|• Issue 503 (2013-04-15): CentOS versus Scientific Linux, PCLinuxOS 64, Lucas Nussbaum, ZFS/Btrfs versus ext4|
|• Issue 502 (2013-04-08): Look at Mint 201303 "Debian", Ubuntu versus openSUSE, comparing ZFS and Btrfs file systems|
|• Issue 501 (2013-04-01): KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0, openSUSE Rescue-CD, Haiku package management, computer forensics|
|• Issue 500 (2013-03-25): Look at openSUSE 12.3, Ubuntu release changes, Debian backports, growing divide|
|• Issue 499 (2013-03-18): MINIX 3.2.1, openSUSE 12.3 on desktop, Ubuntu GNOME and UbuntuKylin, distros for musicians, KolibriOS|
|• Issue 498 (2013-03-11): Sabayon Linux 11, Ubuntu's Mir, Linux malware|
|• Issue 497 (2013-03-04): Rebellin Linux 1.00 "Adrenaline", rolling-release Ubuntu, Arch vs spin-offs, justification and diversity|
|• Issue 496 (2013-02-25): Review of Chakra 2013.02, The Book of GIMP, Ubuntu and privacy, FreeNAS vs NAS4Free|
|• Issue 495 (2013-02-18): SparkyLinux 2.1 "Ultra", Fedora 19 schedule, Xubuntu on DVD, cloud privacy|
|• Issue 494 (2013-02-11): FreeBSD 9.1, web server stats, Anaconda, rolling-release PC-BSD, fixing broken packages in Arch|
|• Issue 493 (2013-02-04): UberStudent 2.0, OmniBoot 1.0, MariaDB, Enlightenment 0.17|
|• Issue 492 (2013-01-28): Fedora 18 review, systemd, Kali Linux, Ubuntu Unleashed|
|• Issue 491 (2013-01-21): Fuduntu 2013.1, Fedora 18 desktop choices, Consort, accessing encrypted drive|
|• Issue 490 (2013-01-14): Look at Manjaro Linux 0.8.3, openSUSE on Chromebook, Able2Extract 8.0|
|• Issue 489 (2013-01-07): PC-BSD 9.1, Arch spin-offs, rolling-releases, year-end PHR stats, removing applications|
|• Full list of all issues|