| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 486, 10 December 2012
Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The latest version of Linux Mint has been making the rounds. Version 14 of the popular Linux distribution may not come with many new features, but it has been gaining popular attention. This week Jesse Smith takes Mint and the MATE desktop for a spin to see what makes these projects so appealing. The arrival of Secure Boot has been a concern for many with a number of websites providing workarounds and suggestions on how to avoid getting locked in by Secure Boot's restrictions. Dell has come up with a timely solution and we cover that in this week's News section. This week we will also look at the current status of the Haiku project and we will discuss a book which talks about how to deal with malfunctioning Linux servers. We are also pleased to bring you a list of distributions released over the past week and a collection of news, reviews and podcasts from Around the Web. Here, at DistroWatch, we wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (23MB) and MP3 (34MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 14 "MATE"
Linux Mint is a distribution which has gained popularity over the past few years, largely due, I suspect, to the developers' practical approach. Mint's Main edition is based on the Ubuntu distribution, with a number of additional tools and repositories thrown in. Another aspect of Mint which has made it popular recently is the way the developers have stuck to traditional desktop styles, avoiding GNOME Shell and Unity. In place of those next generation desktops, Mint supplies MATE (a continuation of GNOME 2) and Cinnamon (a traditional desktop based on GNOME 3's code base).
Installation and first impressions
Linux Mint's Main edition is offered in two flavours, MATE and Cinnamon, and both editions are available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The project further branches out by offering all of their builds in two separate spins. One spin has a full range of codecs and non-free software, the other contains libre software only. For my trial I decided to download the 32-bit build featuring the MATE desktop and the full range of non-free packages.
A quick glance over the release notes reveals that many of the changes for Linux Mint 14 are subtractive ones. With this release Mint now requires CPUs that feature PAE support, Moonlight has been removed over stability concerns and Mint no longer provides CD-sized images -- all downloads are larger than 700MB. Further, we are warned there are known performance issues with some Intel video cards and a workaround is provided for people who need Intel graphics support. All of this might raise the question why we would want to try Mint 14? The answer is newer software. Mint is based on the recent Ubuntu 12.10 release, with all of the package updates that implies, and upgrades have been made to both the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments.
Booting from the Linux Mint media brings up the MATE desktop which is laid out in the classic style. Icons for browsing the file system and launching the system installer sit on the desktop. The application menu is placed in the lower-left corner of the display and the task manager lies across the bottom of the screen. The background is brightly lit and features the distribution's name and version number.
Linux Mint, being based on the Ubuntu repositories, uses the same installer. It's a nice, graphical installer and we can get through it mostly by simply clicking the "Next" button several times. Should we wish to, we can manually partition our hard drive and format partitions using the ext2/3/4. Btrfs, ReiserFS, XFS or JFS file systems. The installer also supports directory encryption for added security. After completing the install we are prompted to reboot the machine. The Mint distribution, by default, does not display anything on the screen while it boots. This makes for a uniform experience while booting across all video cards, but it also means we face a blank screen for a while with no sense of progress before we reach the graphical login screen.
Logging into the MATE desktop we are greeted by a welcome wizard which provides several helpful links, most of which lead us to documentation, forums, release notes or other parts of the Mint project's website. Shortly after dismissing this welcome screen a notification icon appeared in the system tray letting me know updates for the distribution were available. At the time when I installed Mint there were over 100 updates waiting to be downloaded, totalling a little over 200 MB in total size. Clicking on the update notification icon launches the Mint update manager. The manager has a fairly simple layout, displaying a list of all available package updates. For each package in the list we are provided with its current version number, the version number of the updated package in the repositories and a safety rating. A rating number of "1" lets us know the updated package has been tested by the developers and is considered safe. A rating of "5" indicates the package is known to not be safe and shouldn't be downloaded. This rating system allows us to filter packages and only apply updates thought to be reasonably stable.
As previously mentioned, the MATE desktop gives us a classic style interface, with a plain 2-D environment and no widgets. It also responds like a scared rabbit. It's really nice to use a desktop which reacts quickly to input and I found the desktop very pleasant to use. This plain, classic style does not extend to the application menu. Here we find the Mint Menu, which is revision of the GNOME 2 menus. The Mint Menu is divided into three parts or panels: Applications, Places and System. I always find myself mentally shifting gears to use the Mint Menu after using other distributions, but I find the adjustment is a quick one and I find myself enjoying the compact nature of the menu. I also like that the developers have provided a search box at the bottom of the menu which makes it easy to find items if we don't know their specific location.
Linux Mint 14 - the Mint menu
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Software management and hardware support
The Control Centre, like the Mint Menu, also features a well considered interface. We're provided with configuration items divided into categories such as Personal, Network, Hardware, System and Other, making it easy to find what we need. The Control Centre allows us to manage the look & feel of the system, manage user accounts and backup jobs, change accessibility options and configure printers and other hardware. We can also manage network shares, apply updates, block untrusted domains and enable/disable services from this panel. I found most of the controls were pretty self explanatory and the various tools worked well.
Out of the box Linux Mint comes with a useful collection of software. We're given the Firefox web browser, the LibreOffice productivity suite, the Pidgin instant messenger and Thunderbird for e-mail. The multimedia section is well stocked with Banshee, Totem, MPlayer and VLC. These players come with a full range of popular media codecs. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is included, along with a document viewer. There are small applications for editing text, managing archives and performing calculations. By default Firefox comes with the Flash plugin, we have a copy of Java on the system and developers will find the GNU Compiler Collection installed for them. To help users get on-line the Network Manager program is installed and runs by default. In the background Mint ships with the Linux kernel, version 3.5.
Linux Mint 14 - running various applications
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To help users in adding additional software to the system Linux Mint comes with two graphical package managers. The first is the Synaptic package manager, which features a plain, no-nonsense interface. Synaptic allows users to search for software, filter search results and perform complex batches of actions on packages. The other graphical package manager is called Mint Install. This manager comes with a more modern looking interface where users navigate through categories of packages by way of labelled icons. Clicking on a software package brings up details on that item along with a screen shot of the program in action. Software can be added or removed with the click of a button. With Mint Install actions to be performed are queued and performed while we continue to use the package manager. Whichever package manager we choose, Mint provides us with access to all of the software in the Ubuntu repositories, plus some repositories specific to Mint. This gives us access to over 40,000 packages in total.
Linux Mint 14 - working with packages and settings
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I tried running the latest version of Linux Mint on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found that the distribution ran quickly and smoothly. My screen was set to its maximum resolution and sound worked out of the box. I also experimented with the distribution in a VirtualBox virtual machine and found the results to be similarly good. The MATE edition of Mint uses around 180MB of memory while sitting idle at the desktop, making for a fairly small footprint considering the range of functionality provided. The only hardware issue I ran into was with regards to the video card. Mint, as with its Ubuntu base, will not boot on this hardware unless the kernel is given the "nomodeset" parameter.
Fans of other distributions don't like it when I say this, but I feel that Linux Mint is one of the few Linux distributions dedicated exclusively to a stable, friendly end-user desktop experience. There are a lot of great distributions out there, but few really focus all of their energy on the modern, consumer desktop market. Ubuntu has a Desktop and a Server edition, Fedora is very experimental, Debian tries to be "universal", Mageia and openSUSE have good desktop editions, but are really general purpose distributions. I could go on, but while lots of distributions have a desktop spin and there are lots of "light" distros and lots of niche distros and lots of general purpose projects, Mint is one of the very few that really focuses on what the general consumer will want, ignoring things like server re-spins and experimental goodies. And I think this is why Mint has gained such popularity and why people continue to donate money to the project: it caters to what many people want in a very practical way.
That was my general impression of Linux Mint 14 (MATE edition), everything pretty much "just worked" and, more importantly, worked the way I expected it to. The desktop was responsive, the default applications were well chosen for their tasks, the software manager is flexible, friendly and fast. Mint comes with a full range of codecs and Flash out of the box. Mint includes a compiler and Java and some of the latest hardware support available to Linux users. The desktop environment is stable and doesn't require 3-D support. Using Mint is usually a positive experience for me and this time was no exception. A big part of that is I can install the distribution in less than half an hour and then just start using the operating system without hunting down codecs or fiddling with repositories or switching to "fallback mode". The graphical interface is clean and stays out of the way, the Control Centre is well organized and offers good deal of customization and the OS comes with a good collection of default software. I'm quite happy with this latest version of Mint.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Dell and Canonical offer a new ultrabook, Haiku nears its first stable release and Seth Brown talks about GNU utilities
Over the past several months we've been hearing rumours about a collaboration between Canonical and Dell. This past week we finally got to see what had been growing behind the curtain. Dell unveiled the XPS 13 Laptop, a 13-inch ultrabook which comes with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS pre-installed. The new offering, which is primarily aimed at developers, is the result of a good deal of effort on Dell's part to make sure their hardware was properly supported with open source drivers. Ars Technica has a review of the new Dell/Ubuntu ultrabook that covers all the details.
Back in October the latest stable version of Ubuntu was released and that version contained a feature which would send users' search results to various third parties, most notably Amazon. Though this search feature can be disabled it runs by default and this has led some privacy activists, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to raise complaints. Now Richard Stallman is weighing in on Canonical's decision to enable on-line searches by default, saying "What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, `free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu,' that's much less powerful than saying, `free software won't spy on you.'" He goes on to urge users of GNU/Linux distributions to avoid using or recommending Ubuntu until Canonical changes its stance regarding on-line searches.
Meanwhile, over on the Canonical blog, Cristian Parrino responded to criticism of the default on-line search behaviour of the Unity Dash by stating: "Its raison d’etre is to provide Ubuntu users the fastest, slickest way to find things right from their home environment -- independent of whether those "things" are on your machine, available online, free or commercial. The music and video lenses in the Dash have queried online sources since their introduction, and we will continue to expand our online sources over the next releases."
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Haiku, the spiritual continuation of BeOS, may be nearing a stable release ready for the general public. The project has been slowly maturing over the past decade and, in recent years, alpha builds have been making the rounds. In an article posted on LWN Bruce Byfield takes the pulse of the Haiku project and finds it in good health. In fact, Haiku developer Ryan Leavengood suggests we may see a general release sometime in 2013. "'There are some people who use Haiku daily and get by with it,' Leavengood said, but he immediately admitted that 'usually they are those who came from BeOS and really like the system.' What is required for the general release is not hardware drivers, as some might expect. Thanks to a compatibility layer, FreeBSD drivers can be easily recompiled to support Haiku. Nor, with the increasing popularity of web applications, are productivity applications the problem they were a decade ago."
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One of the great things about a GNU/Linux system is the large collection of data manipulation tools which come with it. These utilities are highly powerful and flexible, allowing users to manipulate large amounts of text and numbers. In an informative blog post Seth Brown goes over a handful of the more commonly used utilities available to Linux and BSD users. In his post he shows us how we can use freely available utilities to inspect, reshape, enumerate, describe and visualize data using a few simple command line tools. It's well worth a read if you're in the habit of processing large amounts of information.
For some time now it has been possible to run a good deal of software designed for Windows on Linux through WINE. Now there is a new project, called Darling, which attempts to provide Linux users with a method of running software built for OS X. Darling provides a layer of OS X compatibility on top of Linux which should allow Linux users to enjoy software written for OS X, even if the source code for those applications is not available. Right now the Darling project is in its early stages, but it does look promising.
|Book Review (by Jesse Smith)
Book Review: DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices
A lot of what we need to know about the book "DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices" is right there in the title. It's fairly obvious right from the start we are not dealing with a book on bicycle repair. As the title suggests, Kyle Rankin's book deals with identifying and fixing common problems that occur on Linux servers and it supplies a range of suggestions on how to best go about dealing with a malfunctioning server. That's just a very short, general outline though, so let's take a look at the book's contents.
DOTLSBP starts us off with a list of chapters and a brief rundown of their contents. I like this extended form of a table of contents as it makes for a handy reference if we want to jump right into the middle of a particular subject. For example, if I'm interested in resolving DNS issues I can flip through the first couple of pages in the book until I find the bold title "Chapter 6: Why Won't the Hostnames Resolve? Solving DNS Server Issues". Under this heading are sub-categories such as "DNS Client Troubleshooting" and "DNS Server Troubleshooting", both of which are further broken down into more specific parts.
Once we get through the list of contents and some opening notes we do not jump straight into fixing broken servers. Instead Mr Rankin spends a chapter discussing the best ways to go about approaching malfunctioning infrastructure. He points out that people often have the urge to jump straight into the guts of an issue, but when a service is down it's usually best to form a plan of attack. He makes a number of suggestions about how to best approach running tests on an issue and how to coordinate troubleshooting in a team environment. A lot of Mr Rankin's advice falls under the category of what I like to call "common sense in hindsight". Reading through his book I think most people will find themselves nodding their heads and thinking, "Of course it should be done that way," even if they haven't before used the techniques presented in the text.
For instance, the book suggests coordinating a troubleshooting effort in such a way as to keep the entire IT team up to date on what has been tried and how long a fix is likely to take. This prevents overlap of effort and avoids confusion. The book also makes the point that any changes to server infrastructure and configuration should be documented so everyone knows when things changed and in what way. Both of these points sound like common sense, but I'm sure anyone who has worked on an IT team has encountered fellow workers who see a problem and dive in without communicating the issue to anyone. Perhaps we've even been that lone wolf IT person, changing things without letting others know. Mr Rankin reminds us and this sort of behaviour isn't ideal in the big picture.
After covering the human side of server troubleshooting we get into the technical aspects of keeping our Linux servers healthy. DOTLSBP assumes a certain level of comfort with Linux distributions in general and the command line in particular. The book makes the assumption that we have a little Linux experience under our belts and that we probably know how to do things like edit a configuration file and install packages. In some cases the book assumes we can set up a service, such as a web server, but we might not have experience in troubleshooting problems when the service goes off-line. A few months ago I reviewed "The Linux Command Line" which gives us an introduction to the Linux system and command line interface. That book generally assumes everything is working properly.
What DOTLSBP does is pick up where that book leaves off. It explains what can go wrong, how to figure out why things went wrong and how to fix them. In this text the author covers slow systems due to high CPU or disk load, troubleshooting network problems, figuring out why DNS doesn't work, looking at the many ways e-mail can fail, common web server problems and working with databases. The book also goes into hardware related problems and explains how to handle a server not booting and recovering from disk errors. At the end of the book there is a chapter on investigating the failure of specific hardware components including memory, a server's power supply and temperature-related issues.
There are several things I like about this book. The first is the author's approach to solving problems. He regularly starts out with the most simple, likely explanation and moves up the chain of possibilities from there. Each step in his troubleshooting guide has a clear objective and either confirms or rules out a group of potential problems. His approach is likely to save the system administrator a good deal of time. I also like that for each step the author explains what he is doing and why. The text then includes examples, usually two, one showing what the computer will do if the service is working and another showing what we might see if the service is not working. For example, in the section on DNS we are shown two instances of running the nslookup command. The first yields positive results:
$ nslookup web1
And the other is where something has gone wrong:
$ nslookup web1
We then move on to exploring what to do if we are faced with the output from the second example.
;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached
The third aspect of this book I appreciate is the author's little side notes. So much of troubleshooting server problems, indeed any problem, is experience. There are always bits of trivia that a person won't find in a manual, little "gotchas" that a person learns to look for only after months or years of working in the field. Mr Rankin throws in a number of these tips, for instance he discusses how to find a balance between having enough web server processes to handle heavy traffic, yet avoid having your web server spawn too many processes, eating into your memory and forcing the server to use swap space, which greatly slows down the entire system. The author adds these tips in a casual manner, but they are pearls of wisdom which will probably save junior system administrators headaches in the future.
Of course, no text can cover all of the things which can go wrong with a server. There are so many programs, distributions and configurations out there that no book can cover them all. DOTLSBP focuses on the more common services and the more common operating system related issues. In doing so I feel Mr Rankin has done a good job of laying down not just specific troubleshooting steps for a specific group of services, which are indeed useful, but he has also created a blueprint for troubleshooting in general. This book not only gives the reader specific examples and possible fixes, but also sets up a pattern for troubleshooting problems not covered in the book and I feel this may be the greater achievement here.
It's great to know how to hunt down problems with the Apache web server, but it's even better to know how to approach network service problems in general and that is what DOTNSBP gives us, a set of guidelines for troubleshooting which can be applied to a wide variety of problems. As stated above, the text does assume we have some basic system administration skills, this isn't an introduction to Linux system administration, it is a guide for dealing with things when they go wrong and the book does its job very well. If you are starting out as a new system administrator or if you plan to set up a Linux server to play with at home, then I recommend getting a copy of DOTLSBP and reading it before something stops working. This book will save you a good deal of time.
Title: DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices
Author: Kyle Rankin
Published by: Addison-Wesley Professional
Length: 235 pages
Available from: InformIT, Amazon.com
|Released Last Week
Jeff Rizzo has announced the release of NetBSD 5.2, an updated version of the project's legacy branch: "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that version 5.2 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD 5.2 is the second feature update of the NetBSD 5.0 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed critical for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. Users running NetBSD 5.0.3 or earlier are encouraged to upgrade to either NetBSD 5.2 or NetBSD 6.0, depending upon their specific requirements. Please note that all fixes in security/critical updates (i.e. NetBSD 5.0.2, 5.1.2, etc.) are cumulative, so the latest update contains all such fixes since the corresponding minor release. These fixes will also appear in future minor releases (i.e. NetBSD 5.3, etc.), together with other less-critical fixes and feature enhancements." See the brief release announcement and the detailed release notes for more information.
Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko"
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko" edition, a small and lightweight distribution with packages "borrowed" from the latest Slackware Linux release: "It's out! Slacko is one of our flagship puppies, built with the latest Woof from Slackware 14.0 binary packages. It is all-puppy right through, with the advantage of binary compatibility with Slackware 14.0 and access to the Slackware package repositories. Changes: significant improvements in using the Aufs layered file system; improved automatic detection and configuration of analog and 3G modems; Samba printing issues resolved; the X.Org wizard has improved detection and configuration options; many improvements and bug fixes for boot-up and shut-down scripts...." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Bridge Linux 2012.12
Dalton Miller has announced the release of Bridge Linux 2012.12, an Arch-based desktop Linux distribution available in four separate desktop flavours with GNOME 3.6, KDE 4.9.3, LXDE and Xfce: "Announcing Bridge Linux 2012.12. This time all the editions are released at the same time, because doing them separately was a mess. Update overview: fixed the /etc/hosts file; switched to systemd; switched from ConsoleKit to Polkit; installer now changes the locale settings on the installed system based on selection at beginning of installation; added Russian, Italian, Czech, Spanish and Catalan translations; updated (U)EFI boot method; updated configuration options and only run mkinitcpio once; use xdg-user-dirs to create personal directories (documents, etc.) with proper icons; minor application changes." Here is the brief release announcement.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 5.0, a Xubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the Xfce desktop environment and a BeOS-like desktop theme: "I am proud to announce the release of ZevenOS 5.0 and thank you all for funding this release. In this release we made the switch from our deskbar tool to the Xfce panel 'deskbar' mode which introduces many new features, like extensible plugin support and the ability to configure your desktop. This release is based on Xubuntu 12.10 and is compatible with the Ubuntu repositories; it brings in many changes, such as Linux kernel 3.5, X.Org 7.7 and PulseAudio 2.1. Changes: OpenShot 1.4.3 with YouTube upload support and a lot more features; AbiWord 2.9.2, the current edge of development; Audacity 2.0, Claws-Mail 3.8.1, Firefox 17, GIMP 2.8, Inkscape 0.48." Here is the brief release announcement with an embedded video.
ZevenOS 5.0 - a Linux distro for BeOS enthusiasts
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Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.12
Anke Boersma has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.12, the fourth update of the project's "Claire" series featuring the latest KDE desktop: "With this fourth and final 'Claire' release (a code name that followed the KDE SC 4.9 series and dedicated to the memory of Claire Lotion), the Chakra project team would like to make this final ISO announcement of the year, and also report on the state of the project. With this release we offer: KDE 4.9.4; Linux kernel 3.6.6 (3.0.43 optional); DVD image, including all locales and a nice selections of applications; Kapudan, Chakra's desktop greeter and all-round first setup tool; artwork theme called 'Dharma'; the latest GRUB 2.00, including graphical Dharma theme, Qt 4.8.4; enhancements to Chakra tools; updated systemd, kmod, mkinitcpio, file system, latest proprietary graphics drivers; the latest toolchain with GCC 4.7.2, updated libpng, libtiff and glew stack." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
A new version of Comfusion, a desktop Linux distribution that combines Ubuntu with LXDE and Compiz Fusion in order to deliver some of the best 3D desktop effects available anywhere, has been released: "Now available for download, the new version of Comfusion. New in this version: added full MATE desktop 1.4.2 (GNOME 2 desktop clone, seamlessly integrates with Compiz in Comfusion 4); added wbar with Token icons, individualized for each session; wbarconf, wbar configurator; TvenLinux, a script to view our online TV on Linux, also able to show programming; updated the Skype installer to install the latest version; Picapy, an excellent image manager for Picasa Web; Darktable, a free alternative to Adobe Lightroom for Comfusion 4; Launchy, a simple application launcher for Comfusion 4; Angry Bots, a shooter game with a new game engine Unity3D; added Apt-Fast, faster downloads; added Xscroll Overlays, a modern bar like in the latest Ubuntu." Here is the full release announcement.
ArchBang Linux 2012.12
Stan McLaren has announced the release of ArchBang Linux 2012.12, a new stable version of the project's lightweight desktop distribution based on Arch Linux: "ArchBang Linux 2012.12 is out in the wild. If you are already running ArchBang smoothly on your system then you don’t need to install the new release. This 2012.12 release is a full systemd version with our latest set of minimal packages and Openbox for the competent Linux user. A few changes for this release: Linux kernel 3.6.8; GnomishDark theme with Shakey-Stapler-Dark widget; updated Openbox menu; dbus-launch removed. ArchBang still plans to have four major releases per year. Due to upgrades and improvements to the Arch Linux system, ArchBang will continue to release unofficial test images between official releases to address changes and prevent excessive workarounds in installing and updating newly installed systems." Here is the brief release announcement
ArchBang Linux 2012.12 - Arch Linux combined with Openbox
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Toorox 11.2012 "GNOME"
Jörn Lindau has announced the release of Toorox 11.2012 "GNOME" edition, a Gentoo-based distribution and live DVD featuring the GNOME 3.6 desktop environment: "A new version of the GNOME edition is finished and is ready for download. It is based on the Linux kernel 3.5.7. This edition now provides support for 11 languages. It contains the latest GNOME 3.6.2, X.Org Server 1.12.4, Mesa 9.0.1, LibreOffice 22.214.171.124, GIMP 2.8.2, Wine 1.5.17 and the Chromium 24.0.1312.14 web browser. All packages have been updated. Toorox 11.2012 is available as 32-bit and 64-bit images and can be burnt on DVD, but you can also create an USB pen drive from the image file. The following applications have been tested successfully: Linux Live USB Creator and UNetbootin." Here is the brief release announcement.
Ferdinand Thommes has announced the final release of siduction 12.2.0, a desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's unstable branch and offering four separate editions with KDE, LXDE, Razor-qt and Xfce desktops: "We are very happy to present to you the final release of siduction 2012.2 - Riders on the Storm. Siduction is a full live distribution with an integrated installer, based on Debian's unstable branch, and we try to release snapshots quarterly. The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable from 2012-12-09. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom-patched version of the Linux kernel 3.6.9, accompanied by X.Org Server 1.12.4." Read the detailed release notes for a list of recent changes and bug fixes.
siduction 12.2.0 - an enhanced snapshot of Debian "unstable" with KDE
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around The Web
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November 2012 DistroWatch.com donation: LFTP|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the November 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is LFTP, an open-source FTP and HTTP client. It receives US$250.00 in cash.
Developed by Alexander V. Lukyanov, LFTP is described as a "sophisticated file transfer program with command line interface. It supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS and FTPS protocols. GNU Readline library is used for input." Additionally, "every operation in LFTP is reliable, that is, any non-fatal error is handled and the operation is retried automatically. So if downloading breaks, it will be restarted from that point automatically. Even if the FTP server does not support the REST command, LFTP will try to retrieve the file from the very beginning until the file is transferred completely. This is useful for dynamic IP machines which change their IP addresses quite often, and for sites with very bad Internet connectivity. If you exit LFTP when some jobs are not finished yet, LFTP will move itself to 'nohup' mode in the background. The same happens when you have a real modem hang-up or when you close an xterm." Many other interesting notes and features can be found on the project's description page.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$33,685 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 December 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Snowlinux was a set of Linux distributions based on Debian's latest stable release and featuring four different desktop environments - GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce. It aims to be user-friendly, incorporating many useful tweaks and carefully selected software applications. The project also develops a separate, Ubuntu-based edition featuring the MATE (a GNOME 2 fork) desktop.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Creating PDF/A documents on Linux|
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Tips and tricks: Check free disk space, wait for a process, command line spell-check, shutdown PC when CPU gets hot|
|Tips and tricks: Command line weather, ionice, rename files, video preview snapshot, calednar, ls colour settings|
|Tips and tricks: GRUB Customizer|
|Myths and misunderstandings: The spread of systemd and launchd|
|Tips and tricks: Copying columns of text, organizing files, creating torrents|
|Questions and answers: Preventing unwanted remote logins|
|Tips and tricks: Running openSUSE "Factory"|
|Questions and answers: Maintaining DNS Settings|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|