| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 496, 25 February 2013
Welcome to this year's 8th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Chakra GNU/Linux is, without doubt, one of the best KDE-centric distributions available today. Always up-to-date and, unlike many other projects these days, focusing strictly on one desktop only, Chakra has matured to the point that it can be recommended to even a novice Linux user. So is the distribution's latest release featuring the brand-new KDE 4.10 the best ever? Read below Jesse Smith's detailed review to find out. In the news section, Ubuntu leader responds to concerns and criticisms over the distribution's privacy (or lack thereof) issues, Mageia finally fixes a long-standing kernel upgrade bug, PC-BSD rolls out its first-ever release with a rolling-release update model, and FreeBSD developer compares FreeNAS with NAS4Free in search for a perfect BSD-based Network-Attached Storage (NAS) solution. Also in this issue, a link to a Linux distro guide by The Register, a review of "The Book of GIMP" from No Starch Press, and the usual regular sections including a summary of last week's distribution releases. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (27MB) and MP3 (45MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Review of Chakra GNU/Linux 2013.02
Chakra GNU/Linux is a Linux distribution with a focus on desktop computing. Originally based on Arch Linux, Chakra has forked away and now maintains its own packages and repositories. There are two things which set Chakra apart from most other Linux distributions. The first is that Chakra attempts to provide a pure KDE/Qt environment. While most distributions feature libraries for many toolkits and desktop environments, Chakra keeps an exclusive focus on KDE. Applications which rely on toolkits other than Qt can be installed as an application bundle. These bundles are large packages which contain all of the application's dependencies and these bundles can be isolated from the rest of the software on the system. This means if we want to run programs such as Firefox or Filezilla we need to download those software bundles through a separate package manager. The second feature which sets Chakra apart is that the base of the distribution stays relatively stable while end-user applications receive regular updates. This, in theory, gives us a stable base which shouldn't break while providing us with the latest versions of desktop applications. Chakra may be considered a semi-rolling release with this mixed approach to updates.
It hasn't been all that long since I last covered Chakra GNU/Linux and I didn't really expect many changes in the distribution itself. My main reason for trying the new Chakra release was to test drive some of the software which comes with it. Specifically I wanted to try KDE 4.10 which boasts several speed improvements and a complete re-write of the desktop indexing feature. I also wanted to try MariaDB, which is a drop-in replacement for MySQL that attempts to create a more open version of the MySQL database software.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2013.02 - the welcome widget and documentation
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Installation and first impressions
The Chakra GNU/Linux distribution is available as a 1.6 GB download. I found the distribution is available only in a single edition and the only supported architecture is 64-bit x86. Booting from the supplied image brings us to the KDE desktop interface. On the desktop is a welcome widget which provides links to documentation, release notes and links to the project's website. The welcome widget will also let us launch the distribution's graphical system installer. Chakra's installer has improved rapidly and the latest version feels polished and the interface is pleasant. Down the left side of the window we are shown the steps the installer will go through. On the right we are shown instructions and asked questions. The installer begins by showing us the project's release notes and then we are asked to confirm our keyboard layout. Next we are shown a map of the world and asked to click on our location. Doing this causes the installer to guess at our time zone and preferred language.
We can override the guesses if the installer's assumptions are wrong. The following screen asks us to set a password for the root account and we are given the option to create user accounts, as many as we want. I found that all users created at this time using the installer are granted admin access to the system via the "sudo" command. This means regular accounts, ones which will not require admin access, should be created after the installation is finished. Arranging partitions is handled by the KDE Partition Manager, which allows us to create standard partitions and most traditional file systems are supported. Once we have divided up the disk the installer resumes control and asks us to assign mount points. By default the installer does not format partitions (which is good as it avoids accidentally erasing data) and the installer reminds us that formatting the root partition is recommended. From there the installer copies its files to the hard drive and we can take a break.
Once Chakra's files have been installed locally we are given a chance to customize the installation. We can choose whether to install the GRUB2 boot loader, add support for external devices at boot time (the default configuration should work fine for most people) and we can opt to download software bundles. We will talk about bundles more in a bit, but for now I decided to download the Firefox bundle. Once Firefox downloaded and I indicated I didn't require additional bundles the installer announced it was finished and I was asked to reboot the system.
Chakra GNU/Linux boots to a plain, grey graphical login screen. Signing into my account I was greeted by a graphical wizard which offers to run us through some customization steps. For example, we are asked which common folders we would like to have included in our home directory (Documents, Downloads, Videos, Music and Images are available). The next page asks whether we want to single-click or double-click to open files and folders and whether we use our mouse left-handed or right-handed. This option to change the mouse's behaviour is an interesting accessibility convenience which I do not believe I've ever seen done during the initial login before and I think it's a nice touch, especially for left-handed people. The follow page asks which desktop theme we would like to use and previews of each theme are displayed, this lets us start with the best look for us. We're also asked if we would like to set up our desktop to act like a folder (the way KDE3 worked) or we can use the modern Plasma style of desktop (which is KDE4's default).
Moving further into the configuration wizard we are asked which style of application menu we want, and we can choose between Kickoff, Classic, Lancelot and Homerun, each of which comes with a preview so we know what we are getting into. Then we can choose which of the available wallpapers to use. It was after selecting my favourite wallpaper that I found the configuration steps went from pleasantly convenient to unusually detailed and counter-productive. For example, we are asked whether we want to add a profile picture to our user account, then how frequently the system should check for updates (with the default set to every 15 minutes). Another screen asks if the CUPS printer management software should be enabled and if we want to enable Bluetooth support at boot time. Another page offers to enable the firewall and/or install Clam anti-virus software. These steps strike me as things which new users shouldn't have to consider and it really pads out the time required to get from the login screen to a working desktop environment. At the end the wizard offers to show us guides and manuals for working with Chakra in general and KDE in particular and then the wizard disappears, leaving us at our newly customized desktop.
My first impression of the Chakra desktop was that it was very responsive. KDE provided a polished interface which performed very well. Desktop effects and indexing were enabled by default and I found these features didn't have any negative impact on the system's performance. On the desktop I found an icon for launching Firefox (the bundle which I had downloaded at install time). All of the settings I had selected during the configuration steps mentioned above were correctly applied and so I started with the desktop environment arranged the way I wanted it and I didn't need to dig into the KDE System Settings panel to change anything.
Shortly after logging in a notification appeared in the lower-right corner of my screen letting me know software updates were available in the repositories. This message was accompanied by a command I could run in a virtual terminal to upgrade the system. Chakra, like its parent, uses the pacman package manager to handle updates along with installing and removing software. At the time of writing the Chakra developers are working on a graphical package manager, but for now users need to transition to the command line to manage software packages. Or at least packages which can be found in the main repositories. Apart from the regular software repositories, Chakra also provides a small collection of bundles.
A bundle is a piece of software which is packaged with its dependencies, making for a large, self-contained download. These bundles are handled by a graphical application which has a very simple interface. The bundle manager shows us a list of available bundles in alphabetical order. Clicking a button next to a bundle's name causes it to download and install. Once the bundle is installed, its entry moves to the top of the manager's list and we can either remove or launch the bundle with the click of a button. A bundle which has been installed on the system places its launcher icon in our application menu. The bundles provided are usually applications created with the GTK+ software and include such popular titles as Firefox, Filezilla, GIMP and Chromium. These bundles are kept up to date and I found the latest version of each application was usually available. The only problem I encountered while using the bundle manager was that attempting to launch a newly installed program would cause the manager to crash. This was especially unfortunate if a download was in progress as the download would have to be restarted, the bundle manager does not support resuming downloads if it is interrupted.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2013.02 - adjusting settings and installing bundles
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Chakra GNU/Linux comes with a large collection of software, most of which fits into the distribution's KDE/Qt focus. For example, the web browser we are given is Rekonq, Calligra is the default office suite, in the application menu's Development sub-section we find Qt Designer. The Okular document viewer is included, along with KPPP for dial-up networking and Network Manager for high-speed connections. The Marble desktop globe software is included as are several links to key parts of the Chakra project's website. The Amarok audio player and the Dragon video player are included. The k3b disc burner software is installed for us and Kdenlive is provided for editing video files. The KDE System Settings control panel is available to us, along with the Kinfocentre which provides information on our system and its hardware. The KDE Partition Manager is installed for us as is the KUser account manager. A program called miniBackup lets us make copies of our settings, program configurations and security keys. We're provided with the Yakuake drop-down virtual terminal, the KGpg encryption software, a text editor and archive manager. The KDE help files are installed for us and there is a convenient "find files" utility. Popular multimedia codecs are supplied for us and the GNU Compiler Collection is installed on the system. I found the Rekonq web browser wouldn't work with websites requiring Flash, however when I installed the Firefox bundle I found it automatically enabled Flash support. Behind the scenes Chakra comes with the Linux kernel, version 3.7.
Hardware and system configuration
I ran Chakra GNU/Linux on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found the distribution worked very well on this hardware. Boot times were brief and the desktop was responsive. I found sound worked out of the box and my display was set to its maximum resolution. I also tried running Chakra in a VirtualBox virtual machine and found the same excellent performance in the virtual environment. Chakra uses more RAM than most distributions I've tried as logging into the desktop used around 410MB of memory. Two of the larger memory users were a database process (the database appears to be used for the Akonadi service) and systemd, the young init technology slowly making its way through the Linux ecosystem. I'd never bothered to compare systemd's resource usage against other init systems prior to this week, but I had the opportunity while using Chakra. I found systemd running on Chakra used approximately 50% more memory than Upstart running on Ubuntu.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2013.02 - running various desktop applications
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Earlier I mentioned the main reason I downloaded the latest release of Chakra was to get first-hand experience with KDE 4.10 and MariaDB. Let's look at KDE first. Right away I noticed a speed improvement with KDE 4.10 compared to the 4.8 and 4.9 releases. Bringing up menus and launching applications felt faster. Usually the first thing I do when trying a new KDE-centric distribution is disable file indexing as I find it has a serious impact on performance. However, this time I left file indexing turned on and KDE was still faster than ever. The same goes for enabling desktop effects. I have lower-end video cards in my personal machines and enabling desktop effects tends to make for a sluggish environment. Not so in this case, I spent the entire week with effects enabled and indexing turned on and found the desktop was more responsive than KDE 4.8 had been with these features disabled. Maybe it was the theme I was using, but I felt the graphics look sharper on Chakra 2013.02 than I've experienced in previous releases. I didn't experience any KDE-related bugs during the week I was using Chakra. In short, I'm very impressed with the latest KDE release.
MariaDB is a more subtle change as it is background software. I didn't have a chance to do any benchmarks to compare it against MySQL, however I can confirm MariaDB provides a good drop-in replacement. I copied a MySQL database from another machine and created a user account in MariaDB to see how it would work. MariaDB worked exactly like MySQL. In fact, without the MariaDB name displayed in some of the configuration files I probably wouldn't have known I wasn't using the MySQL brand. I would say the transition from one database to the other by the Chakra developers has been a success.
For the most part I was happy with this release of Chakra. The distribution was stable, it played well with my hardware and the collection of modern software -- especially the KDE desktop -- was welcome. The distribution includes a lot of functionality out of the box and I like the organization of the distribution's application menu. The installer has improved a lot over the past few years, becoming more stable and more attractive. I felt the installer was user friendly and the steps were clear. The one complaint I have about the installer is with regards to the disk partitioning section. Switching to a different application to handle partitions makes for a break in the flow and I hope the developers find a way to integrate disk partitioning in future releases. My only other concern was with regards to software management. I know the Chakra team is currently developing a graphical package manager, but for now they have stuck users with pacman, which is one of the less user-friendly package managers. It works and it is fast, but the command line syntax and output are not appealing, especially when compared next to software such as YUM. The Bundle manager is straight forward enough to use, but it wasn't stable. In short, Chakra is fast, modern and pleasant to look at, but it really needs a beginner friendly package manager.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu on privacy, Mageia's kernel bug, PC-BSD's first rolling-release image, FreeNAS vs NAS4Free, The Register's Linux distro guide
Ever since the inclusion of the infamous Amazon lens into Ubuntu 12.10 desktop, the project's decision makers has been on the receiving end of criticism from privacy advocates. The good news is that Ubuntu leaders seem to be listening. The question is, are they also willing to address the problem? Muktware's Swapnil Bhartiya summarises some of the recent exchanges in "Mark Shuttleworth Addresses Ubuntu Privacy Issues: Is It Enough?" "Ubuntu faced stiff criticism from bodies like EFF and FSF over the data leak and privacy concern due to the way Dash handles local searches. When Canonical did not respond to suggestions from EFF, Richard Stallman, the creator of free software movement, went ahead and called Ubuntu a spyware for not respecting user's privacy and sending user data to its servers by default. There is some confusion, but the fact is no one (including Richard Stallman) has any problem with Canonical gathering user data and displaying ads when local searches are conducted. The problem is with the way it has been implemented. The feature is turned on by default and users did not even know (they were never informed) that their search queries were being sent to, and stored at, Canonical's servers which are further shared with its partners."
* * * * *
The Mageia developers have recently announced a rather lengthy delay in the development of the upcoming version 3; this in order to give themselves a bit more time to fix the remaining bugs. One of them, a kernel upgrade error which has been plaguing some users of the distribution's current stable version, seems to have been finally squashed. The Inquirer's Egan Orion reports in "Mageia Linux has fixed its kernel upgrade process": "Last autumn I encountered and wrote about a serious glitch in a software maintenance upgrade distributed by Mageia, the popular fork of Mandriva Linux that I've had installed on my desktop PC for about a year. Now the Mageia distribution has permanently resolved that problem. At the time it was a somewhat disconcerting experience, since Linux software maintenance upgrades are relatively frequent events that most often proceed quietly once authorised, and they never fail. Well, almost never. I was able to recover the system without too much difficulty however, so I wrote about how to fix the problem in order to help other Mageia users that also might have encountered the same upgrade error. Recovering from that problem was relatively easy once I had booted another Linux system."
* * * * *
The intention of PC-BSD developers to switch to a rolling-release development model is moving full steam ahead. Last week the first testing images of the "new" PC-BSD appeared on the project's download servers, with additional explanatory notes from Kris Moore, the project leader: "These are the first images built of PC-BSD Rolling Release, based upon FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE, which use PKGNG as the backend for keeping your desktop and base-system packages up to date. You are welcome to download and give them a spin if you want to help us beta-test them. They include updated packages from about 2 weeks ago, which includes KDE 4.9.5 among others. Our build server is still finishing up building the entire package repository and I hope to have all 20k pkgng packages online in another week or so, with weekly updates after that. The weekly updates will include all the latest PC-BSD / TrueOS utilities, so you can expect to see much more frequent bug fixes and enhancements. For users running on the original PC-BSD / TrueOS 9.1 release, I also have an online system update in the works; this update will convert your existing install to PKGNG and allow you to start tracking the rolling release."
* * * * *
For those looking for a solid Network-Attached Storage (NAS) solution based on FreeBSD, the choice comes down to two projects - FreeNAS and NAS4Free. So which of the two is better? Well-known FreeBSD developer Ivan Voras offers some insight in a blog post entitled "FreeNAS vs NAS4Free": "I've (finally) tried both FreeNAS and NAS4Free and I'd like to share some thoughts and experiences. Both of these are 'NAS-in-a-box' products intended to be installed on computers with a large number of drives, which they will export to the world in a variety of protocols. Both are based on FreeBSD, both fully support ZFS and they even share a common history." And the conclusion? "Ordinarily, I would recommend NAS4Free since it uses a newer kernel and has all the basic functionality that FreeNAS does, but for me, FreeNAS with its older kernel is simply more stable. Adding to this, it has a better user interface and a cleaner design (using SQLite for its database, yay!). But it also has the annoying slow USB access and is much harder to 'customize' with additional packages (zabbix-client, in my case... I simply gave up and set up basic SNMP monitoring), so... I can't really say for sure. FreeNAS seems a better choice, kind of."
* * * * *
Finally, a link to a yet-another-distro-guide, this time courtesy of The Register's Scott Gilbertson. From "Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow": "While I suggest actually installing a big-name distro to start with, that doesn't mean you shouldn't feel free to experiment with distros of all shapes and sizes. In fact, just because you've settled on one distro for a while doesn't mean you can't jump ship whenever you want. Just install VirtualBox and try out any distro that catches your eye in a virtual machine. If you find one you like better than your current choice - install it. It's that simple. So how do you find the right distro for you? First off you need to figure out what's important to you. Do you want something where everything works out of the box or are you looking for something where you can customise every detail of the user interface? Do you want only free software or are you okay with proprietary drivers and non-free apps like Adobe Flash? Figure out what your priorities are and then see how each distro addresses them. In my experience there are three good indicators of how well a distro will suit the Linux newcomer switching from Windows."
|Book Reviews (by Jesse Smith)
The Book of GIMP
The GNU Image Manipulation Program, affectionately referred to as the GIMP, is a desktop application for, as the name suggests, working with images. The GIMP is often held up as the quintessential open source program, whether it is being praised or critiqued. Some people like to point out the GIMP's interface is complex, intimidating to new users and poses a steep learning curve. Fans of the program point out the GIMP is incredibly powerful and flexible, allowing it to be used for almost any task involving one or more images. I, myself, am a regular user of the GIMP and have it open several times a week for various reasons. That being said, I am in no way an expert at using the program. My level of expertise with the GIMP can easily be classified as "casual novice". Quite often I use the program simply to re-size images, crop off unwanted parts or improve a photograph's contrast. On rare occasions I'll dig into effects and filters to amuse myself or to remove red eye from pictures. This just scratches the surface of what the GIMP can do. I'm very much a casual user where the GIMP is concerned and, for that matter, a casual photographer. I've often wanted to explore the GIMP's power further, but never felt I had the time or enough motivation to do so. That was before I picked up a copy of The Book of GIMP: A Complete Guide To Nearly Everything.
The authors behind The Book of GIMP, Olivier Lecarme and Karine Delvare, are professionals. Specifically speaking, Lecarme is a professor of computer science and Delvare is a web development consultant. Between the two of them they know their computers and their images and that becomes immediately apparent when we open their book. If you have tried other books which guide the reader through using an application, especially an open source application, you've probably become familiar with the long introduction. Typically the author explains what the program is and who the intended audience is and what open source is and what Linux is. Not so with The Book of GIMP. The authors of this text assume we have a general idea of what we are doing and why we are here and they intend to get straight to business! Right away the authors set about tackling the GIMP's most controversial aspect: its interface. We're told about opening files, saving files, the application's tool box, what the various parts of the window show us and what the controls are. All parts of the GIMP are laid bare. This is a great way to start as the GIMP has many controls and exploring all the components up front lets the authors demystify the complex user interface.
What happens next is a whirlwind of short tutorials, advice and explanations. Generally I found the authors fall into a pattern where we are shown an image, then the authors explore ways to touch up, alter or otherwise improve the image. Along the way we are shown snapshots of the image as each tool or effect is applied until we arrive at a final, polished product. At first we start off with simple tasks, such as re-sizing a photograph or cropping the edges off an image. Later, as we progress, we get into removing objects from an image, correcting red eye, replacing backgrounds, correcting colour, improving alignment and dealing with perspective, along with a thousand other concepts. While each topic is covered clearly the authors do not linger on specific concepts. There is a lot of functionality to cover when dealing with the GIMP and as such the tutorials are short and direct. Should we wish to explore a specific tool to discover the many things we can do with it we can do that on our own time, the authors are more interested in getting us (and our images) straight from Point A to Point B.
Due to the large number of topics, which tend to be presented and then left as we move on to something else, I suspect most readers will want to follow along and treat each section of the book as a lesson. I recommend reading one sub-chapter through, then finding a similar image to the one shown in the book and going through the same steps. Simply sitting down and trying to read an entire chapter is likely to leave the reader feeling bombarded with new ideas and it's easier to retain the steps required to use a tool if we practice along with the text. I also found the authors seem to assume we either have some experience working with cameras or with other image manipulation software, such as Photoshop. Some of the terms and lessons talk about colour distribution, perspective and light. Occasionally the ideas mentioned were outside my realm of experience as I am a complete amateur when it comes to taking and altering photographs. The authors always present the tools they are using clearly, but the reasons for using those specific tools on a specific image may be lost to those not trained in the art of photography.
The Book of GIMP is divided into three sections. The first deals with tutorials, lessons and the steps we might use to alter images, design logos and create animations. I think of this as the "doing" section of the book. The second section is essentially a reference guide to the GIMP's many parts. Virtually every function, filter and tool available in the GIMP is listed in this section, which makes it handy if we want a refresher on how to do something mentioned in the first section. For example, if I want to be reminded how the Clone tool works, I can open the table of contents, find Part II -> Tools -> The Clone Tool: Page 348. On page 348 I find a complete description of the Clone tool and its close relatives the Heal and Perspective Clone tools. Along with the description of what the tool is and how to use it there are also examples (with screen shots) which show us how to properly use the Clone mechanism. I call this section the "toolbox" of the book. The third and final section of The Book of GIMP is a series of appendices which cover miscellaneous pieces of information which don't necessarily fit into the category of using the GIMP. For example, the authors explain how to install GIMP on Linux (several popular distributions are covered), Windows and Mac OS X. Creating and running batch processes on multiple images is discussed and we are also introduced to some interesting information on vision and optical illusions, just to round out our education. This last section may not be relevant to many readers, but I think it is certainly interesting and worth reading just for the trivia included.
Usually I don't have reason to comment on the appearance of a book, but in this case I think it is relevant. The Book of GIMP contains many images, some are stock images for the tutorials and others are screen shots. These images, by necessity, are printed in colour. What I found interesting is the text of the book is also in colour. The chapter titles are done in red, the sub-chapter headers are printed in blue and the diagrams are done in primary colours. The body of the text is done in standard black. This use of colour, combined with dual-column text on each page (as one might see used for the text of a play) makes the book easy on the eyes. I found my vision naturally flowed from point to point and having short rows of text makes it easier, I think, to glance away to an example image and then quickly return to our position in the instructions. The Book of GIMP is an instructional book which practically implements its own advice and I believe this speaks well for the authors' authority.
The Book of GIMP strikes me as being an excellent introduction to the GIMP and, to an extent, image processing (and pre-processing) in general. I suspect the book is aimed at people who already have a little experience working with images, perhaps professionally. People who have experience working with Photoshop and are looking to switch to open source software will enjoy this book. People who want to learn more about processing images and are looking for an application which is free to use will get a lot out of this book too. The Book of GIMP really provides an education, not only showing us how to use a given set of tools (provided by the GIMP), but the book also covers why we might want to use these tools and which ones to use to our greatest advantage. I found instructions in this book which will speed up my own casual work and I learned what many of the mysterious tools in the GIMP's utility box do. The book's tag line, "A Complete Guide To Nearly Everything," may sound lofty, but the Book of GIMP really does deliver. We cover everything from the application's interface to photo processing concepts to applying filters to writing our own GIMP plugins. Anything you ever wanted to know about using the GIMP (and more) is included in these pages.
- Title: The Book of GIMP
- Authors: Olivier Lecarme and Karine Delvare © 2013
- Published by: No Starch Press
- Pages: 676
- ISBN-10: 1-59327-383-5
- ISBN-13: 978-1-59327-383-5
- Available from: No Starch Press, Amazon.com and others
|Released Last Week
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13, a major new update of the project's specialist distribution for firewalls: "Today is the day on which we officially release IPFire 2.13. We are very proud to have a brand-new milestone release with a lot of exciting, new features. The list of changes, enhancements, and fixes is endless, but we would like you to pay special attention to the following features which we're the most excited about. The most important components of the base system have been updated to include a brand-new kernel based on the Linux 3.2 release. With that, IPFire now supports more hardware than ever before and many of the hardware problems from the past should be gone. The most basic system libraries have been replaced as well, giving us great performance and fixing some general security issues." Here is the full release announcement.
Jay Flood has announced the release of Porteus 2.0, a Slackware-based live CD with a choice of KDE 4, LXDE, Razor-qt and Xfce desktops: "The Porteus community is excited to announce that Porteus 2.0 final is now available for immediate download. This is the first stable release of our Standard and Xfce editions based on Slackware Linux 14.0. Here are some of the major changes between version 1.2 and version 2.0: Linux kernel upgraded to version 3.7.8; Razor-qt replaced Trinity as the desktop environment for the 32-bit standard edition; all desktops were upgraded to their latest stable versions - KDE 4.9.5, Razor-qt 0.5.2, Xfce 4.10 (Thunar upgraded to 1.6.2), LXDE (latest components except for PCManFM), Firefox upgraded to version 18.0.2; Porteus package manager now resolves all dependencies such as Python and Perl...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Porteus 2.0 - a Slackware-based live CD
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Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4
Red Hat, Inc. has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.4, the latest update of the company's enterprise-class operating system: "Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced general availability of the next minor release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4. It has been optimized for performance, stability and flexibility, and designed to help organizations manage their workloads across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Red Hat Enterprise Linux introduces several new components that help enterprises meet these core business objectives. Red Hat has collaborated with its partners and the upstream community on the parallel Network File System (pNFS) industry standard." See the press release and read the detailed release notes for more information.
Thomas Veerman has announced the release of MINIX 3.2.1, an updated version of the UNIX-like operating system based on a microkernel architecture: "The MINIX team is proud to announce the latest MINIX release, named 3.2.1, a year after the previous release, 3.2.0. 3.2.1 boasts significantly more polish again in terms of base-system expansion and cleanup, in areas such as userland utilities, libraries, the build system, but also drivers and kernel improvements, various performance improvements, and more. A detailed list: support for dynamically linked executables, also build shared versions of base system libraries; remove the use of Intel segments altogether, giving a performance boost while context switching; full new clean updated NetBSD build system import...." Read the rest of the release notes for a detailed list of changes and new features.
Ikey Doherty has announced the release of SolusOS 1.3, a new maintenance update of the project's Debian-based desktop Linux distribution with GNOME 2: "The SolusOS team is pleased to announce the release of SolusOS 1.3 'Eveline'. This is strictly a maintenance release, and includes base system adjustments and updates not present in the 1.2 release. This release is available in the following architectures: x86, x86 with PAE, amd64. What's new? Between the 1.2 release and this release, there have been over 300 MB in package updates. This ISO image is fully up to date and includes (but is not limited to) the following software versions: Firefox 18.0.2 (19.0 will be provided when released), Thunderbird 17.0, Linux kernel 3.3.6, GNOME 2.30, sudo 1.8.5, ufw 0.31, SolusCC 1.3. The GConf defaults were totally redone, removing the duplicate Cardapio issue. Firefox is now the default web browser." Read the complete release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Gabriele Martina has announced the release of SalentOS 12.04.2, an updated build of the project's Ubuntu-based lightweight Linux distribution with a choice of Openbox or Razor-qt desktop user interfaces: "With great pleasure I announce the release of SalentOS 12.04.2, UbuBox and Razor-qt editions. After about four months of work here are the new ISO images with these main features: fixed GTK+ 3 application crashes with Openbox; revised software, removed Sylpheed and added Thunderbird; Razor-qt 0.5.2 with related bug fixes (Razor-qt SalentOS); new wallpapers and Openbox themes; upgraded adeskbar to 0.5.1; improved Samba support; Sakis3g packaged and installed; minor bug fixes and all Ubuntu updates." Here is the brief release announcement (with a screenshot of the Openbox edition) in Italian and English.
SalentOS 12.04.2 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with Openbox or Razor-qt
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Superb Mini Server 2.0.3
Superb Mini Server (SMS) 2.0.3, an updated build of the Slackware-based distribution for servers, has been released: "Superb Mini Server version 2.0.3 released (Linux kernel 3.4.33). It's that time again, this release feature the latest long-term support kernel 3.4.33, along with the latest stable releases of server packages, such as Postfix 2.10.0, Samba 4.0.3, Dovecot 2.1.15, MySQL 5.5.30, PHP 5.3.22. New packages in this release are: Heimdal, a Kerberos 5 implementation; Avahi, a Zeroconf implementation; libdaemon moved from /extra/avahi to main distribution; ConsoleKit, Polkit and libatasmart to fully support udisks; cifs-utils which split from the Samba package; elilo, an EFI linux bootloader (the installer doesn't have support for elilo); xhost, a server access control program for X. New packages on the extra ISO image are MariaDB, a drop-in replacement for MySQL and a built of CUPS with PAM support. SMS 2.0.3 features by default the long awaited Samba 4." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- Point Linux. Point Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that aims to combine the power of Debian GNU/Linux with the productivity of MATE, the GNOME 2 desktop environment fork. Point Linux provides an easy-to-set-up-and-use distribution for users looking for a fast, stable and predictable desktop.
- SolydXK. SolydX and SolydK are Debian-based distributions with the Xfce and KDE desktops. SolydXK aims to be simple to use, providing an environment that is both stable and secure. SolydXK is an open-source alternative for small businesses, non-profit organisations and home users.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 March 2013. 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)
1 • Installer Taking Too Long (by ShadowJack on 2013-02-25 10:02:08 GMT from United States) |
Actually, I don't mind spending a few extra minutes customizing a distro while installing. I'll just have to do it later anyway, this way it's ready to go.
2 • Point Linux - hanging in the balance (by cycle_mycle on 2013-02-25 10:52:53 GMT from Philippines)
I am running Point Linux on usb and loving it immensely, the problem is that it's staying on the usb and won't boot to the installation kernel. I wonder if anyone else has encountered this.
3 • GIMP (by Rick on 2013-02-25 10:58:05 GMT from United States)
Actually, my transformation from nervous novice to ambitious artisan using GIMP was made possible by the abundance of video tutorials available on YouTube. I've no doubt the book reviewed above is probably chocked full of good information, but for me, I fall into the catagory of "Monkey see, monkey do".
4 • PC-BSD-rolling-release (by Pingo on 2013-02-25 14:07:33 GMT from United States)
What is a problem? The problem is because PC-BSD-rolling-release using outdated FreeBSD ports and drivers.
5 • chakra review (by mandog on 2013-02-25 14:54:03 GMT from Peru)
I think the review was good in some ways, but misses the point in others Chakra is a fine distro. A good attempt to Keep KDE and GTK apps separate, This can lead to a very heavy system. the number of GTK apps substantially outnumber KDE.
Pacman is one of the best package managers there is, simple to use warns you of conflicts, errors tells you of additional dependencies. gives warnings of package changes,etc,etc. it takes secs to get pacman in the terminal. unlike a package manager. That goes even for the Likes of Ubuntu, package managers are only good if you don't know what you are looking for.
6 • Chakra (by octathlon on 2013-02-25 15:09:36 GMT from United States)
It seems odd that some of those items, like Clam anti-virus and CUPS, would be configured in a user-level wizard instead of at the system-level.
7 • Chakra 5, 6 (by Arkanabar on 2013-02-25 15:21:49 GMT from United States)
mandog: Jesse is talking about a software manager for people who don't know what they want or need, and would never think to read pacman's documentation before jumping in.
octathlon: The first run wizard, Kapudan, is taken from the source code of Kaptan, one of the distinguishing apps of Pardus. It is very much meant to be a first-run wizard, and I suspect (though Jesse didn't say so) that it requires root authority, especially on subsequent invocations.
8 • Chakra review (by abveritas on 2013-02-25 16:39:35 GMT from United States)
On behalf of the Chakra-Project team, I'd like to thank the reviewer for this thorough review.
All issues that we know need to be worked on were found, plus a few more minor usability issues we did not think of were pointed out, and will be corrected asap.
That flash does not work on installed browsers, but does on bundled browsers is something we've tried to make clear for a while (flash is gtk2 depending, thus does not come installed, but all bundled browsers do include a flash version). Any suggestion to make that more clear are appreciated.
9 • MS Signing Secure Boot Keys (by Marco on 2013-02-25 17:29:54 GMT from United States)
I appreciate that Adam Williamson posts here, and I wonder if he could provide a RHEL (unofficial, not PR-speak) perspective on the whole blow up:
As a non-technical Kubuntu user, I cannot tell the difference between Red Hat's and Ubuntu's approaches, and I am concerned that consumers will end up (1) settling for that kind of solution on consumer-grade HW, or (2) paying a premium for business-class hardware or (3) paying a premium for smaller vendors who target Linux users.
10 • Feature Story (by Anders on 2013-02-25 18:06:09 GMT from Sweden)
I love to read the feature story, but I find that the installation procedure get way to much attention, about 50% of each story. Please keep that part shorter and give more focus to the usuage part.
Kind regards, Anders
11 • Chakra review (by Pierre on 2013-02-25 18:26:55 GMT from Germany)
I have used all or at least most of the common major and minor distributions each for quite some time already. (Including Fedora, Arch, Charka, openSUSE, Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, Salix, SolusOS, Snowlinux and many more...)
And I don't know if it is kind of a personal view and due to personal taste and preferences that I have to disagree on the opinion that YUM is easier or has a more appealing output. I even see it the other way round and additionally I want to point out that pacman is much faster and responsive than is YUM.
To have a real competitor that in fact is equivalent to pacman I would prefer to name openSUSE's zypper, which's output is even a little more appealing than any other in my opinion. And compared to Debian's apt there is no package manager out there that can beat it in terms of 'cryptic output', so I find pacman very pleasant to use. ;)
But Jesse is right with concluding that Chakra needs a nice GUI package manager, but as is said it is already in development and I have no doubt that it will become as excellent as the installer. Which is - if you ask me - one of the best besides the openSUSE installer YaST.
Just my two cents.
Greetings from Germany.
12 • Ubuntu (by AberBlast on 2013-02-25 18:46:04 GMT from Canada)
Why would any sane person continue to use Ubuntu (or its many clones) when it spies on your searches (and potentially much more), sneakily sends personal data back to Canonical's servers, and shares that data with "grateful" corporations for whatever nefarious purposes? Not to mention floods you with adverts?
Why are people so stupid? Shuttleworth always has been in this for the (long-term) money, not to be concerned about his victims' well-being. It's time Shuttleworth was treated like the charlatan he truly is, rather than a "saviour".
13 • @12: Ubuntu Spyware (by Marco on 2013-02-25 19:26:10 GMT from United States)
To my knowledge, only the main version of Ubuntu with Unity has the shopping lens (opt-out). The Favours (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc.) do not. The derivatives (like Mint) do not either.
14 • @12 Ubuntu (by octathlon on 2013-02-25 19:35:26 GMT from United States)
@12 AberBlast: Several reasons. The "spyware" is part of the Unity DE, and was introduced in version 12.10. Many people such as myself, who like and have been using Ubuntu, are using the earlier 12.04 LTS and/or a different desktop than Unity, so we have not been exposed to the issue (so far).
A good thing about the GPL is that code in distros are transparent. There are many people who keep an eye on what goes on, and report any issues to the rest of us. We can then decide for ourselves how we will respond (disable the offending "feature" or switch to another distro or desktop).
15 • Chakra review useless (by RollMeAway on 2013-02-25 19:57:32 GMT from United States)
Those of us NOT running 64 bit machines (I don't think I am alone) find such reviews a total waste of time.
Maybe a small flag up front: "64 bit ONLY" would ease our frustration.
16 • @ #15 (by Pierre on 2013-02-25 20:09:55 GMT from Germany)
Reviewing a 64-bit only distro is not useless or a waste of time only because you or some others do not have 64-bit machines.
Most computers are 64-bit nowadays and it's a question which users you target. Only because you and 32-bit only users are not the distro's target it still is usefull to a lot of other people. It's all about selfishness and being stubborn and loving to complain about everything and has nothing to do with frustration.
Chakra is not for you, so what? Just get over it!
17 • @16 (by Microlinux on 2013-02-25 20:47:21 GMT from France)
I'd say roughly 80% of my client's PCs here in South France are still 32-bit.
18 • @16 (by FSFer on 2013-02-25 21:15:44 GMT from United States)
I think he wanted a note at the top of the review so he wouldn't waste time reading something that is not applicable, not that the review shouldn't be done.
19 • @15, 18 (by champted on 2013-02-25 22:41:55 GMT from United States)
The reviewer noted at the beginning of the third paragraph of a 15-paragraph review that it was 64-bit only. How much closer to "up front" does the desired notation need to be? If I had wanted to skip the rest of the review, I would have only had to read two paragraphs plus one sentence, which, when I timed it out, took 40 whole seconds, and I'm a slow reader. Is 40 seconds out of one's life a "total waste of time" and a cause of "frustration"? If it is, I think a little chilling out might be in order.
As it is, only one of the 8 computers I use regularly is 64-bit, but I read the entire review because I wanted to see what Jesse had to say about KDE 4.10. Personally, I thought the review was worth reading just to find out that it seems to work better than 4.8. Thankx, Jesse!
20 • Point Linux (by Terence on 2013-02-25 23:14:58 GMT from China)
Where is their list of checksums?
21 • Point Linux (by greg on 2013-02-25 23:23:26 GMT from United States)
I just tried installing Point Linux by CD. It's rather nostalgic. It uses the command-line install. It installs most basics including gparted, but what it doesn't install (namely memtest86+),also impresses me (that amounts to grub menu clutter for me, since I NEVER use it and always remove it). The desktop background is nice. It uses the gnome2 look alike, and Cairo dock works well after adding that. Very nice job. I think it's a keeper so far.
22 • Point Linux (by cycle_mycle on 2013-02-26 02:47:16 GMT from Philippines)
@20 go to http://pointlinux.org/download.html and click "Show direct download links".
23 • That's a distro guide? (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-02-26 05:25:17 GMT from United States)
Frankly, I'd recommend starting with try-before-you-buy live, on multiboot flash, remixes or spins one degree removed from major root distros. They're usually more considerate of neophytes, less likely to obfuscate, dev-speak, or blow them off with ReadTheFullManual (w/o Chapter'nVerse, or when there is none) or GoFish'n(Giggle) in dePile that's For'Em.
I might even suggest trying UBuyToo, the Shopping-OS for sharing your acquisitive longings with that ubiquitous commerce engine called the WorldWideMarket, facilitating convergence between sellers of WhatYouWant and your shopping account.
For any and all other research, I'd suggest a completely separate OS, preferably one that respects user security and privacy by design.
24 • Chakra review useless TO ME (by RollMeAway on 2013-02-26 05:44:42 GMT from United States)
Sorry I left out the "to me" part.
I find the move by distrowatch to only talk about 64-bit frustrating (trying to be nice).
The move a few weeks ago, for all release announcements, to only list the 64-bit releases, unless i686 is all the distro offers, is quite upsetting.
With this new emphasis by distrowatch, I'm sure more distros like Chakra, will drop support of i686. Chain reaction.
Imagine if your favorite distro site started reviewing and announcing only distros for powerpc or ARM processors. Likely most folks would find another site to read?
25 • @24 (by rayyu on 2013-02-26 08:21:45 GMT from Philippines)
Chakra dropped i686 maybe before Claire came out, the reason being they felt that they could create a better distro by just focusing on one architecture and optimizing everything for that.
Chakra is a unique distro in that it has a good sense of focus: Arch + KDE + 64 bit, rather than trying to do it all.
Many distributions do not have that kind of hyperfocus, for better and for worse. But I'm also *sure* that no one is rushing to drop i686; it's hardly been phased out.
The Chakra review may have been useless to you, but your first comments were in no way polite or nice. It's not even reasonable; Jesse mention it was 64-bit only VERY early on in the review.
True, Distrowatch would do better do curate a broader range of release announcements. I don't remember them ever saying that they'd only announce for 64-bit though--when did this happen? Must've missed the announcement if there was one.
26 • KDE & 64 bit (by mz on 2013-02-26 08:39:35 GMT from United States)
I for one am always happy to hear about improvements in KDE, which will be coming to both 32 and 64 bit machines near you soon. The only down side to hearing about new & improved versions of KDE is the possible waiting for PCLOS to bring the new stuff into the repos, but such is the price of stability. Some distros that want to be cutting edge and modern will be 64 bit only, but they are no less interesting to learn about; unless you have the time to make every review you read an excuse to try something new on your 32 bit hardware. I don't have that much time, but it's fun to try something new every once in a while. If I do get a chance to run something new I'll try that 64 bit PCLOS RC, but until then I'm happy to hear about the new KDE.
27 • Mint, all versions (by Torben Caroc on 2013-02-26 09:01:06 GMT from Denmark)
During the last 5-6 years I have always used Mint. Different releases, but always well working. Equipped with relevant programs and easy to find and load extra programs. Finally with a pleasant look and logic handling. Thanks a lot !
28 • Mr Shuttleworth (by Eats Wombats on 2013-02-26 11:08:50 GMT from Ireland)
I was mildly annoyed by Ubuntu's move to share search information and disabled it. However, the dyspepsia and intemperance it I has inspired is, I think, a little over the top. Mr Shuttleworth has done more to make Linux a success than most. We would all be poorer if he had retired or did so now or if Canonical folded. I switched to Mint because I didn't like Unity, however I expect to like it very much on my next phone. I don't begrudge Canonical a chance to become commercially viable.
As it happens, the first thing I searched for when I realised that the search included Amazon results was for some music I have been trying to buy for years and would gladly pay for (old albums I no longer have and which I have bits of -- discovered via file sharing when I explored it some years ago, precisely because I had no alternative).
An option to enable a broader search each time would be better. I would be ok too with Canonical being an intermediary and aggregating data. But being subject to surveillance 24x7... No thanks. That's "no thanks" not "Oh no, it's the anti-Christ!"
29 • RE: Ubuntu on privacy (by Uncle Sam on 2013-02-26 11:49:54 GMT from United States)
How does anyone know these security concerns are exclusively a problem for Canonical? Why are we focusing on a relatively small problem?
With actual computer crimes being committed against private American business and other entities (like you or me) by Chinese military and other entities sympathetic to the Chinese, how can anyone be sure the very Linux Kernel or some other app hasn't been compromised? When was the last time anyone (including Linus) took a look at it?!
Personally, I love playing with new distros from time to time. But if I see something originating from China I don't even bother with it. Therefore, I think it's time Distrowatch started ranking distros according to a some kind of threat level and do it according to geographical / political criteria. At the very least, a filter to exclude distros written in hostile areas of the world might be included in Distrowatch's search feature. I don't know about anyone else but I'm pretty sure I don't want to even look at a distro from North Korea, Iran, Syria or even Pakistan - let alone China! I'm really not that concerned about Canonical any more.
30 • @24, 32/64 bit (by TobiSGD on 2013-02-26 12:13:31 GMT from Germany)
"With this new emphasis by distrowatch, I'm sure more distros like Chakra, will drop support of i686. Chain reaction."
If a distro phases out i686 because the news on Distrowatch don't mention them anymore then there is something seriously wrong with your distro, not Distrowatch.
A healthy distro would discuss such a move with its users and not base it on the habits of one third party site.
31 • @25 Links to 64-bit only (by Jon Wright on 2013-02-26 13:13:44 GMT from Vietnam)
> "I don't remember them ever saying that they'd only announce for 64-bit though--when did this happen? Must've missed the announcement if there was one."
I think the announcement was made in the first DW Weekly of 2013.
32 • '64-bit ISO Links only' DW 2013 policy (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-02-26 14:19:58 GMT from United States)
That refers to iso links in release announcements, yes. And no, it does not refer to the announcements themselves, reviews, or discussion - just iso links, and freeing up iso storage space.
33 • @ 25 (by abveritas on 2013-02-26 14:34:53 GMT from United States)
"Chakra is a unique distro in that it has a good sense of focus: Arch + KDE + 64 bit, rather than trying to do it all. "
Chakra is NOT Arch + KDE. It forked from Arch 3 years ago, and since has all it's packages in it's own repo's, complete different goals then Arch, different packaging standards, etc.
34 • ... and what is this (KDE 4.10) Kademar 5 beta1? ... is it Arch or Debian based? (by meanpt on 2013-02-26 15:29:41 GMT from Portugal)
From Catalonia with ... KDE 4.10, the beta already feels very polished, the installer seems to work fine and the out of the box experience is good. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing distro, as the developpers claim in the DW page and in their homepage, that it's based on Debian/Knoppix, but has an Arch kernel and when apt-get update is ran in a console, the repository checks the status of AUR repositories (hu?). In the end, the KDE 4.10 experience is smooth, the Aper package front-end works for whatever underlying package manager they use, and automatic updates are executed automatically executed.Intriguing, indeed.
35 • CHAKRA (by Carlos on 2013-02-26 15:37:12 GMT from Mexico)
Chakra is the best KDE distro around here, beats Kubuntu, Opensuse, etc.
Is fast, stable, responsive, installer is great.
But, I recommend only for KDE centric users, because bundle packages system is not polished, gtk apps in any times fail.
I386 Users: stick with PCLOS, is the best for you.
36 • @ #29 (by Pierre on 2013-02-26 15:45:04 GMT from Germany)
Lovely... I just waited for such a neurotic and paranoid comment.
Sure, no one can guarantee that any software is not compromised, but this is the case for any software and not only Chinese or other open source projects.
It's sad to see political or geographical related discrimination even here and in open source movements and from open source users.
We then are not far from evaluating the trustworthiness of distros by the skin color or ethnical group the developers belong to.
Sad to see this happen even at free and open source projects and their users.
37 • #34....Kademar (by pmulax on 2013-02-26 16:07:10 GMT from Spain)
Yes, after ver 4.9.5 the Kademar team rebased on Arch, so it's now a OOTB KDE Arch with a pendrive installer (with persistence), auto grafic driver selection on boot (with propiteiry drivers included), it uses Zram for lower ram machines, and comes packed with a wide range of apps, all in spanish, catalonian and english. It's nimble and polished, an excellent Arch based distro I recommend anyone to try.
38 • Chakra and Ubuntu (by DavidEF on 2013-02-26 16:44:17 GMT from United States)
I enjoyed the Chakra review. I may even try Chakra because of it. I disagree with RollMeAway, (posts #15, #24) about the 64-bit-only review being useless. I have two 32-bit computers and two 64-bit computers in my home. I learned some things about the current state of FOSS technology that may be useful for BOTH architectures, just like champted said in post #19 above.
I have been an Ubuntu user for years. In fact, it was the first distro I could get installed on my desktop! I had tried a couple others, but couldn't get them to work. The latest version, 12.10 is somewhat unstable on my machines. I tried the latest Mint, based on Ubuntu 12.10, and it was WORSE! In fact, Mint has issues on my hardware that Ubuntu doesn't have. I don't know if my experience is unique, but it leaves me wondering how anyone could favor Mint over Ubuntu. I had it installed for a couple months on my laptop, and it is still installed on my wife's laptop, only because I haven't had the time to change it yet. We've tried both the Cinnamon and MATE desktops.
Anyway, I've never been a fan of the KDE desktop, even though I use KDE-centric applications a lot (k3b is THE killer app!). I've not had hard feelings toward them, just liked Gnome better. But, this review really makes me want to try Chakra. I'm ready for some stability in computing. I'm just a little hesitant because of the lack of a graphical Package Manager. I use Synaptic so much, I don't want to think about doing without it! To me, even the so-called "modern" Software Managers are a pain, and command-line package management is a nightmare!
I suppose I will stay with Ubuntu, but maybe go back to 12.04 for now. I actually like the Unity Shell. I didn't care for the Amazon lens, but not for privacy or security reasons. I just think it litters the screen too much when I'm searching for files and programs on my own computer. Maybe that will be fixed in a later version. And, to answer the question posed by AberBlast (post #12), I use Ubuntu because out of all the distros I've tried, and occasionally continue to try, it does the most of what I want, with the least glitches, gotchas, and other headaches, the most reliably, dependably, and predictably. Finally, as a long-time Ubuntu user, and at the same time, distro-hopper (four computers in my home currently), I can say with confidence that the bulk of post #12 is FUD.
39 • @37 on Kademar - Arch based KDE 4.10 (by meanpt on 2013-02-26 17:01:18 GMT from Portugal)
Thanks for the confimation. This is a good distro and a good KDE implementation. I hope they will enjoy more visibility, enlarge the community and provide a clear communication channel to report problems and bugs that may occur.
40 • @ #29 (by :wq on 2013-02-26 20:06:08 GMT from United States)
Comment #36 is spot on. Additionally, some people have voiced distrust with regard to governmentally funded/developed distributions like Lightweight Portable Security or Pardus (not the forthcoming community-based Anka, but the TÜBİTAK version), or commercial/commercially-backed distributions like RHEL, SUSE Linux Enterprise, or Ubuntu. There is no shortage of conspiracy theories in the world, but I prefer my OSS without them. I'm not at all saying distribution makers are perfect actors devoid of self-interests, but if you really think they are out to get you, then don't use those distributions; get an abacus instead.
PS AriOS, Parsix, and Linux Deepin (IMO) are certainly decent distributions on parity with (or better than) most other distributions listed on DistroWatch.
41 • @40 (by mandog on 2013-02-26 21:59:18 GMT from Peru)
I'll certainly agree with the Parsix comment one off the finest distros,
42 • Is it paranoia when they _are_ out to get you? (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-02-26 23:15:18 GMT from United States)
Any repository could be hacked and used for an attack. Trust and verify.
Even a standard update can include a bug. Perhaps updating should include making a backup copy - and moving that copy off-system.
43 • @33 (by rayyu on 2013-02-26 23:19:20 GMT from Philippines)
I'm aware of that. Chakra is a fork of Arch linux, but their website sums up their distribution pretty well: a distribution for intermediate level users who like Arch, KDE, and KISS.
However, I wasn't clear. It was an error to say that Chakra IS Arch when it no longer is, but in a way--Chakra is still very similar to Arch.
44 • @29 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-02-27 01:13:53 GMT from Canada)
"how can anyone be sure the very Linux Kernel or some other app hasn't been compromised? When was the last time anyone (including Linus) took a look at it?!"
I took a look at it yesterday. Don't worry, it's fine.
(seriously, I need to start compiling an archive of Idiotic Internet Comments. No...no, wait, I don't have the storage...)
45 • @ #44 (by Pierre on 2013-02-27 01:39:20 GMT from Germany)
Wonderful comment. I should print it and pin it to my wall. xD Thanks for the fun at this late hour. ;)
46 • P.S. (by Pierre on 2013-02-27 01:43:03 GMT from Germany)
I am no fan of this facebook hype, but damn, this time I am really sad there is no Like-button here. :D
47 • @9 (this week's secure boot kerfuffle) (by Adam Williamson on 2013-02-27 02:26:39 GMT from Canada)
I am not qualified to give you a take on the technical specifics (and neither are 99.9% of the internet commenters currently giving you their take in loud and strenuous terms), but I can give you a kind of meta-take, which is that it is to a degree a storm in a teacup.
Linus blows up and yells very loud at people from time to time. It's a personal attribute. The kernel community is mostly happy to put up with it because it's a pretty small trade off for the upsides of having a Linus. I find it kind of unfortunate, though, especially when general news sites report it in generally-approving terms, because it seems to lead some people to believe that in order to be a really effective leader of a collaborative project, you have to act kind of like a ranting shouty asshole.
In fact Linus is an incredibly effective leader of a collaborative project *despite* the fact he occasionally acts like a ranting shouty asshole, not *because* of it. If you're not an effective collaborative project leader, starting to shout at people about what complete idiots they're being is unlikely to improve your record.
So anyway - the fact that Linus went off at someone is not always an indicator that the topic at hand is a particularly significant one, or that the person is an idiot, or even that Linus is right (though often he is, or at least it's one of those cases where there isn't clearly a 'right' or 'wrong' and Linus' position is as strong as anyone's).
This is kind of one of those situations. There would be a practical benefit to having the kernel do what Howells proposed it do, for *some* use cases. As I very vaguely understand it, it would allow distributions and third-party vendors to collaborate on the signing of major out-of-tree modules for SB purposes. There are arguments against doing it, too - it involves adding some complexity to a fairly core bit of the kernel which is only (currently) useful in a very specific context. Even if you strip away the more foaming-at-the-mouth stuff in some of the off-LKML discussion about how hideously evil Secure Boot is, there's a reasonable case that it doesn't really make sense to bend over too far backwards in the kernel just to accommodate SB (if you burn away the yelling, this is more or less the point Linus is making with his talk about fellating Microsoft - not that SB is evil exactly, but that it's not worth going to a lot of effort to accommodate it in the kernel core).
In the end, it'll get discussed on the technical merits, and eventually it'll either be pulled or definitely rejected. If it's rejected, then signing out-of-tree modules will be somewhat more inconvenient for distributors and third parties. It'll still happen, somehow - it'll just be a bit more overhead. The general audience will rapidly lose interest and will just remember that Linus yelled at someone and isn't Linus awesome?, which is what always happens when Linus yells at someone (viz the last Linus-shouting-at-someone kerfuffle, which kicked off that whole ridiculous eudev thing).
The degree to which the difference between the two possible outcomes will be visible to most everyday end-user Linux users is 'very, very little', I suspect.
48 • Chinese hackers... :D (by FormerDistroHopper on 2013-02-27 02:51:48 GMT from Germany)
"Uncle Sam" trying to seed paranoia amongst tech-savvy users? Hahaha, nice but utterly futile try... please elaborate to anyone here how the kernel (or anything Linux) shall have been compromised in any way by hackers.. and even if so, without legions of people, users, developers & companies immediately noticing...
Free, open-source systems like Linux deal with security, not government fairytales...
49 • Mint (by bob.buzz on 2013-02-27 03:36:43 GMT from Kuwait)
I totally agree eith #28:
"I switched to Mint because I didn't like Unity"
I'm using Mint with MATE right now, and I love it!
50 • @40 and 41 - Parsix (by Hoos on 2013-02-27 08:56:22 GMT from Singapore)
Re: I'll certainly agree with the Parsix comment one off the finest distros,"
I agree as well. Parsix 3 "Raoul" was stable and amazingly fast compared to other Debian and/or Gnome 2 (Debian or otherwise) systems on my PC.
Unfortunately, Parsix 4 has now moved to Gnome 3 shell, which I can't run on my old computer and graphics card.
51 • @48 (by greg on 2013-02-27 09:11:08 GMT from Slovenia)
That's easy. modify the distributions kernel to fit your "evil" plans and not release the source code of it.
i think the distro from North Korea is called Red Star or something like that. not sure if it is distributed outside of NK.
52 • Chakra package manager (by pictonic on 2013-02-27 09:20:06 GMT from United Kingdom)
I can't agree that pacman needs replacing. It is the simplest and most efficient package manager I have encountered.
I've used synaptic (the best of the GUI), portage, apt, aptitude(confusing), zypper(hard to set up), yum (confusing GUI), zypper, Kpackage.
A GUI introduces a new 'language' and meanings are often not obvious. I prefer the priciple of occam's razor. Enough is enough.
53 • commentor #47 is really spot on. (by rayyu on 2013-02-27 11:16:33 GMT from Philippines)
Linus's personality does not take away from his ability to maintain the kernel.
And iirc I don't think he's the type to just be an asshole for absolutely no reason--he's not going to randomly blow up at one of the maintainers or something. And tbh I really don't think he's a bad person =)
Try, the Linux world in general could do with some Occam's Razor, even though it is basically the living antithesis of that concept =)
It certainly suffers from too much everything, imho, but package managers are objective after all.
Some people are point-and-click types, some are keyboard ninjas, and some are both. Personally I'm not a fan of pacman, apt, or synaptic. Never used yum. So far the ones I've really liked are sorcery, Rigo, and the TCL App Browser (and its cli version).
See, there's room for both of us =D So hopefully not TOO much Occam's Razor =D
And also, it's very interesting to see what the Chakra team will come up with. Their distribution is among the few very interesting ones to me. I like their sense of aesthetics, so I'm excited to see what their package manager will look like.
54 • RE 10 (usability is more application oriented than distr. specific) (by dbrion on 2013-02-27 11:43:50 GMT from France)
"I love to read the feature story, but I find that the installation procedure get way to much attention, about 50% of each story. Please keep that part shorter and give more focus to the usuage part."
I am not that interested in installation issues, too, but :
* I am glad some very competent people try to install before I do, making me, through their reports, to shun away from unpleasant installations when I am in a distro (s)hopping mood.
* usability issues cannot be dealt in (quasi) real time, and are likely to be application specific (not distribution specific). To detect a bug in some applications, it may take weeks -some took years, in computation intensive softwres- . Is it the weekly "feature story" role?
55 • @52 Package Manager "language" (by DavidEF on 2013-02-27 15:33:17 GMT from United States)
If, like me, most of the users of said distro already "speak the language" of the GUI Package Manager, then suddenly it makes much more sense to have a GUI Package Manager, in order to make the lives of the users more comfortable, else they find a different distro. I don't keep around any distro that doesn't have a GUI Package Manager that is easy for me to use. Maybe, just maybe, a lot of other users have the same mindset.
56 • #35 Carlos from Mexico (by Mika on 2013-02-27 18:37:32 GMT from Spain)
"I386 Users: stick with PCLOS, is the best for you."
You might give a try to the 64 bit version. Though is a RC1 it seems to be quite stable, more than a lot of "finals" ones.
57 • #38 DavidEF (by Ika on 2013-02-27 18:53:14 GMT from Spain)
" I'm ready for some stability in computing. I'm just a little hesitant because of the lack of a graphical Package Manager. I use Synaptic so much, I don't want to think about doing without it! "
Then you too might try PCLinuxOS. It accomplish with all your desires. :D
58 • #47: Something I don't do often (by Caitlyn Martin on 2013-02-27 19:58:50 GMT from United States)
I'm going to do something I rarely if ever do. I'm going to disagree sharply with Adam Williamson. I don't believe for a minute that this is a tempest in a teapot or a minor issue. Why not? Almost all the major vendor consumer systems out there and a large percentage of business systems as well comply with Microsoft standards for secure boot. If hibernation doesn't work properly on most new laptops running Linux a lot of people, both consumers and IT decision makers, will be frustrated. Some will undoubtedly flee Linux right back to Windows, which is precisely what Microsoft wants. Similarly, if kexec breaks standards and keys are revoked that's serious as well. I understand where Linus is coming from and in principle he is absolutely spot on. In practice yes, there are workarounds, but some are fairly painful to implement and they may not fully address the issues.
Make no mistake: UEFI Secure Boot is all about vendor lock in. I've been accused of spreading FUD for saying just that for the last year. Does anyone remember Jesse's DWW article descibing what disabling Secure Boot on his new system was like? Yeah, me too, and it wasn't pretty. Now we have a situation where Microsoft is the only one issuing keys and Linus is potentially giving them a big fat reason to revoke the keys and lock Linux users out. Brilliant.
Dislaimer: I am not a kernel hacker and I am not at the technical level to understand 100% of the implications here. Having said that, I understand enough to see real consequences here.
Oh, and no, I'm not going to comment on Linus' management style. That's really irrelevant to the technical issues and potential consequences of the decision take so far.
59 • @ #55 (by Pierre on 2013-02-27 20:34:34 GMT from Germany)
Actually I have a different mindset when it comes to package managers.
I prefer the command line tool over the GUI alternative for many reasons. So I decide to even change a distro if the command line tool is not comfortable. I don't care much about the GUI tools, although it is nice to have them.
This is one of the reasons why I have never been fully happy and satisfied with Debian. Although apt is stable, mature and quite feature rich, it has a quite cryptic output. I find openSUSE's zypper and Arch's pacman to have a lot more pleasant and appealing output.
So this is a reason why I prefer openSUSE and Arch over Debian and Debian based distros. Although aspecially Debian is a very nice server os.
Just my two cents again.
Greetings from Germany.
60 • @58 (by Tony Brijeski on 2013-02-27 23:57:12 GMT from Canada)
If you or anyone else thinks that Microsoft won't revoke the keys even if Linus and Linux bows down to them I think you would be mistaken. They have a long history of not really playing nice with anyone else and it is understandable as they are a business entity and they have a responsibility to their shareholders to make sure they stay profitable.
I don't personally agree with this but I understand why they do what they do.
I don't think UEFI is going away. I see it more like a hardware lock in like Apple uses.
I'm not sure what the future will be like for Linux regarding UEFI but I truly hope Microsoft and UEFI don't ruin the Hardware platform that Linux mainly runs on.
It might just be time to get behind some of the Hardware vendors that are trying to produce Linux ready hardware.
If folks like Linux then it makes sense to try to support Linux Hardware vendors instead of buying the cheaper MS only hardware.
I am going to try to keep my current hardware running as long as I can since I don't have to even worry about UEFI with it. When I am ready to make a hardware purchase I will seriously make every effort to buy something Linux Focused.
61 • @58 (by Tony brijeski on 2013-02-27 23:59:10 GMT from Canada)
My apologies for misspelling your name Caitlyn. I realized it as I was clicking on Submit.
62 • @58 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-02-28 06:04:26 GMT from Canada)
Well, I'm afraid we'll have to continue to disagree ;). On a couple of things.
One, either way this shakes out, no-one's going to be revoking any keys as a result.
Two, SB is not about vendor lock-in. It just isn't.
"Does anyone remember Jesse's DWW article descibing what disabling Secure Boot on his new system was like? Yeah, me too, and it wasn't pretty."
That's because, as mjg has been explaining for years, deep familiarity with a crack pipe is apparently a pre-requisite for becoming a firmware engineer. Firmwares are, broadly speaking, awful. Firmware interfaces, doubly so. This isn't an inevitable consequence of SB or Microsoft's fault. It just appears to be a universal law. Doing *anything* in a computer firmware UI is usually painful, incomprehensible and unnecessarily dangerous; why should disabling SB be an exception? mumblegrumble...first against the wall when the revolution comes...mumblegrumble...
It's not like the specs are hidden, or something. You can go read both the UEFI spec and Microsoft's certification requirements for Windows 8. They're both public. The Windows certification requirements say 'it must be possible to disable SB', basically. How to implement that is left entirely up to the implementer. There's no reason it should be anything more complex than an on/off switch, but then there's no reason for *most* of what firmware engineers do. Except for the crack pipe.
63 • @58 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-02-28 06:08:45 GMT from Canada)
Ignoring my flippancy, here is Matt giving a miraculously coherent account of the whole thing and its practical consequences:
64 • #62 SB (by silent on 2013-02-28 10:25:55 GMT from France)
So, is SB about security?
That said, Torvalds doesn't think Microsoft's spin on Windows 8 UEFI secure boot is really going to do for security. "The real problem, I feel, is that clever hackers will bypass the whole key issue either by getting a key of their own (how many of those private keys have stayed really private again? Oh, that's right, pretty much none of them) or they'll just take advantage of security bugs in signed software to bypass it without a key at all." Torvalds concluded, "Signing is a tool in the tool-box, but it's not solving all the security problems, and while I think some people are a bit too concerned about it, it's true that it can be mis-used."
65 • Linux on a flash drive - any recommendations? (by gnomic on 2013-02-28 12:10:12 GMT from New Zealand)
Just been trying to get Linux on a flash drive. Oh dear. Knoppix - fail. Parsix - fail. Toorox utter fail - why include a script which announces success but appears to do nothing at all??? Perhaps the problem is between chair and keyboard, anybody found a distro with flash drive installer which is more or less foolproof? Two or three years since I messed with this, and I had the impression it was pretty well sorted now but seemingly not.
66 • @65 • Linux on a flash drive (by mandog on 2013-02-28 12:32:21 GMT from Peru)
You need something like image writer on most distros Mint has it, as does Parsix,
manjaro, Suse, and windows They all basically DD the image,I personaly have 100% success Using suse image writer on my arch rig.
67 • @65 Fool-proof USB linux (by DavidEF on 2013-02-28 12:41:29 GMT from United States)
Not long after you make something fool-proof, the universe births a better fool. I can't remember the exact quote, but there is basically the truth of it.
However, for a very easy USB linux pendrive, though not entirely fool-proof, use the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator. I think they still include that in the latest version. There is also the Puppy Universal Installer included in the Puppy linux distribution. It can install Puppy linux almost ANYWHERE, hence the name. There are other similar tools, that are more general, and can make a live-usb linux pendrive from any of the major distros, and most of the minor ones. Try Pendrivelinux - http://www.pendrivelinux.com/
68 • RE 65 (by dbrion on 2013-02-28 14:06:02 GMT from France)
Fedora (at least from FC13 up to version 18 : did not install version 19) and mageia (at least up to version 2: never test betas) can install very comfortably on a pendrive(one just has to be carefull to specify the right "disk" -and it must be here!- and right place for grub) or (it is the same thing) on an USB rotating external disk (is faster, if one wants to use their package management -thus writing!- and cheaper per G.)
69 • @64 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-02-28 16:14:34 GMT from Canada)
"clever hackers getting a key" is the entire point of the revocation mechanism. You can pick theoretical holes in just about *any* security mechanism; security is very hard. This doesn't mean security mechanisms aren't security mechanisms. As Linux says, "it's a tool in the toolbox".
70 • @65 - Linux on flash drive (by Uncle Slacky on 2013-02-28 16:45:20 GMT from France)
Try Unetbootin: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
71 • Security Mechanisms (by DavidEF on 2013-02-28 17:22:07 GMT from United States)
Imagine buying a house in which the locks on the doors could not be changed by you, the owner, only by the original builder, and of course, you can't simply change doors either, because your home will only fit doors made by this builder. You're stuck with what you got, unless the builder says otherwise. Now, imagine some person figures out how to get copies of your keys, giving them access to your home, and all your belongings. Now, you have to go back to the builder of the home, and pay them to install new doors, with new locks, and give you the new keys, that hopefully nobody has a copy of but you...uhhh...and the builder...and anyone else the builder gives or sells them to!
Are those door locks considered "Security Mechanisms"? Well, yes, they are! Is there any sane reason for them to be manufactured and installed, other than for the guaranteed continual financial well-being of that one particular home builder? Nope, not at all! Their primary purpose for existing is to make money for that home builder. The primary purpose for Microsoft's mandating Secure Boot technology be implemented the way it is, is for Microsoft to make money.
A chastity belt can be called a security mechanism too. But, imagine if a government mandated that all citizens would have to wear chastity belts from birth, and the government was the only one who controlled the keys. Who benefits?
72 • OS to flash, without breaking existing file-system or wasting space (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-02-28 17:56:03 GMT from United States)
Imagewriter, unetbootin, and other 'dd'-based tools 'dump' an iso onto a flash drive, and overwrite the existing filesystem on that device/partition. Assuming the drive is already formatted, why not simply unpack the iso to a new folder, use syslinux to make it bootable? The only other piece to the puzzle would be adapting the boot configuration file(s). Wouldn't this facilitate live try-before-you-buy testing, multibooting, persistence and customization?
73 • @72 - Unetbootin uses existing format (by Uncle Slacky on 2013-02-28 21:57:00 GMT from France)
Unetbootin isn't "dd" based, it uses the existing (FAT) filesystem, so doesn't destroy any existing data on the stick.
74 • Honest question related to the SB discussion (by Pearson on 2013-02-28 22:06:25 GMT from United States)
Suppose someone puts out a malicious distro or kernel module using the secure key for Linux. Does that mean the key will then be revoked?
This is based on a fuzzy (mis)understanding of the keys. I'm presuming that there will be one key for Linux, and somehow all the other distros will get it.
75 • @71 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-03-01 00:09:00 GMT from Canada)
...except that with Secure Boot you can in fact substitute your own locks for Microsoft's at any time. Other than that, your argument is great.
76 • @74 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-03-01 00:11:29 GMT from Canada)
You really, _really_ should read up on mjg59's blog. But basically: there is no 'secure key for Linux'. There are already many 'keys for Linux'. There's one for Fedora 18. There's one for Ubuntu 12.10. If a key ever does have to be revoked, it will affect the specific product that key was signed with, not 'Linux'.
77 • @72 • OS to flash, without breaking existing file-system (by mandog on 2013-03-01 00:14:51 GMT from Peru)
you can reformat your stick with Gparted Yes the world has Moved on so they are still usable in fat32 Windows also will reformat them.
78 • @73 - Unetbootin - true, doesn't reformat (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-03-01 09:18:21 GMT from United States)
It unpacks an ISO to a folder, uses syslinux to make bootable, politely asks before a file is overwritten, creates a boot folder with several tools, etc. Good for one distro on a stick, right?
79 • Linux on a flash drive continued (by gnomic on 2013-03-01 09:28:04 GMT from New Zealand)
Thanks for various suggestions following my previous post. Achieved partial success with Linux Mint 14.1 Cinnamon - this installed on an 8 gig drive and boots on a eeePC, which was a main object of the exercise. Oddly enough however, it does not boot on two laptops, a Toshiba and a Compaq. So the quest must continue. It seems SUSE is now intended to be booted from USB for live session use, so perhaps I'll give that a run when 12.3 appears. Will also try Fedora.
80 • Re: #76 Secure Boot (by silent on 2013-03-01 09:42:02 GMT from France)
There can be a secure key for Linux and also keys for specific distros:
"There are two points to consider here: firstly we don't have a key: if you look at shim and my PreBootloader, they're actually signed with the *same* key. That means that there's no real distro-specific key to blacklist."
Anyway, a logical target for an attack is the key update process itself.
"After these databases have been added, and after final firmware validation and testing, the OEM locks the firmware from editing, except for updates that are signed with the correct key or updates by a physically present user who is using firmware menus, and then generates a platform key (PK). The PK can be used to sign updates to the KEK or to turn off Secure Boot."
81 • unetbootin vs install (70,73,74,77,79) (by dbrion on 2013-03-01 09:54:20 GMT from France)
Well, unetbootin will give you the functions of a liveCD, nothing more, nothing less (if it works). If you want an extra application, things get more complicated.... as you cannot write on a live CD/DVD.
BTW unetbootin does not always work (with some recent Fedora, it did not create something bootable), maybe it is a matter of version numerology.....
**Installing** on a stick as if it were a disk allows to add new applications.
The risk of loosing data can be worked around with .... another USB stick (they are cheap) and a HUB (one can boot from Stick->USBHUB->PC, this is almost necessary anyways if one plays with many USB hardware)
82 • @80 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-03-01 13:56:06 GMT from Canada)
I'm not sure that's strictly right. I think the 'generic' versions of shim and LF bootloader - which don't trust anything innately, but allow you to choose to trust whatever you like - are signed with the same key, but distro-specific builds of shim - which trust a distro key innately - are signed separately. But I'll have to check.
83 • Re 81 Unetbootin (by pmulax on 2013-03-01 15:13:44 GMT from Spain)
Unetbootin gives you something more over a CD: persistence, at least with the @buntu distros. A few other distros save changes, though their methods vary slightly (Puppy, Slax, Kademar,Suse, etc). I find this quite usefull in a carry-around pendrive where I have my working documents and a whol OS to edit them on most PC's.
84 • Well, is there a race fetween unetbootin and classical installs. (by dbrion on 2013-03-01 15:27:01 GMT from France)
Have you tried installing a package with an unetbootin'ed live CD/DVD?
and persistence can be achieved ... with a second US stick (unless they become very expensive, and one forgets to mark them).
If you need swap files (are somehow useful to hibernate), how can live CD /DVD/their images do?
BTW : I often used unetbootin (there are tricks to install packages, anyway.... but they are tricky) ... but prefer to shun it in favor of a classical install -and cascading two softwares (unetbootin + a distribution) is less reliable than having just one -Oh, just the one which was felt useful!- installed.
85 • Distros and (re)spins (by Ika on 2013-03-01 16:07:28 GMT from Spain)
Well..., speaking about "distributions":
- Distribution Release: OS4 13.3
- Distribution Release: aLinux 15.0
- Development Release: openSUSE 12.3 RC2
- Distribution Release: SalentOS 12.04.2...
- Distribution Release: Zorin OS 6.2 "Core", "Ultimate".
Which of them is really a distro and which is a (re)spin? :D
Should it be better, here in DW (and not only here), to be made a classification between these two categories?
Nothing against spins, but I think it would be better just for a better and more exhaustive information.
86 • @gnomic from NZ (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-03-01 18:13:57 GMT from United States)
I recommend YUMI from PenDriveLinux, Rufus by akeo (Pete Batard), LiLi aka LinuxLive USB, and the SourceForge (GrUB4dOS) project MultiBootISO. Of course, you've been at this for years, and likely already know how hardware vendors can make life challenging.
I suggest some refugees from proprietary vendor lock-in are reluctant to be just as locked-into just one distro; thus I prefer multiboot methods.
87 • SparkeyLinux (by Learning Linux on 2013-03-01 19:02:22 GMT from United States)
In the Sparky Linux review in DWW #495 Jesse Smith stated "There are plenty of other low-resource, Debian-based distributions providing multimedia out of the box and some of them have been around long enough to work out the quirks with which SparkyLinux is wrestling."
Could you expand on that statement and list which ones you are referring too? I've searching for a GOOD Debian based distro for quite some time with little success. Being saddled with a slow internet connection up here in the Frozen Tundra makes downloading a lot of different distros willy-nilly to try is difficult at best. Any advice on which one (or ones) to concentrate on would be much appreciated.
88 • @ 88 - Debian and multimedia (by Ralph on 2013-03-01 20:08:05 GMT from Canada)
This does not answer your question, but just to let you know that Debian itself is claiming vastly improved mutlimedia support for their upcoming release "Wheezy". They make it sound like you no longer need to rely on Marillat's repos. (I'm not sure about the details, but it is my understanding that, traditionally, although you could get say, MPlayer, from the standard Debian repos, the package would be partially crippled due to legal concerns.)
89 • @87 - Debian-based distros with multimedia (by Uncle Slacky on 2013-03-02 16:09:24 GMT from France)
SolusOS is the first one which comes to mind, also Mint LMDE and Swift Linux.
90 • re #86 and linux from usb stick (by gnomic on 2013-03-03 02:17:00 GMT from New Zealand)
Thanks for the mention of various live linux on usb installers, I'll have a look. I was rather hoping for a solution within Linux. Otherwise I'll have to find the laptop with Windows XP and see if I can remember the password ;-\/ There are still more Linux installers to try of course, haven't really looked into Puppy as yet but their installer has usually seemed reliable in the past, and I have high hopes for the latest Porteus. Project on hold at the moment while I hunt about for cheap USB sticks.
91 • #90 proprietary OS may not be needed (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-03-03 05:41:28 GMT from United States)
If there's sufficient RAM to boot from, the GrUB4dOS-based SourceForge Project MultiBootUSB lists many Linux distro/package-system files. If not, there's Wine, PlayOn, VirtualBox, etc.
[This e-address will self-destruct in 06 days]
92 • Secure boot, Microsoft and Skype (by imnotrich on 2013-03-03 23:09:46 GMT from Mexico)
Any PC sold that prevents me from installing the operating system of my choice is defective and if I (accidentally) bought one, it'd go back to the store that same week for a full refund. No restocking BS.
But the obvious bottom line is Microsoft is trying to lock out the competition with the UEFI and secure boot garbage.
Simultaneously, Microsoft's war on Linux has resulted dropping support for a Linux version and most noticeably Microsoft no longer allows a 64 bit version of Skype for Linux to be downloaded.
So we should not be surprised by such tactics, and be ready for combat! Economically, through the courts, whatever is legal and non violent of course but Microsoft needs to be cut off at the knees.
Number of Comments: 92
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