| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 501, 1 April 2013
Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! We'll start with first look reviews of the recently-released KANOTIX 2013, a Debian-based distribution with excellent hardware support and a large number of applications on its live DVD, and GhostBSD 3.0, a FreeBSD-based operating system for desktop computing with multiple desktops and window managers to suit several tastes. In the news section, openSUSE offers a new rescue CD variant for its 12.3 version, Debian Project Leader candidates present their visions of the world's largest Linux distribution, Haiku starts work on improving its package management system, and Oracle Linux lures new customers by providing advantages over other enterprise Linux systems. Also in this issue, links to resources offering help in the domain of computer forensics and related tasks and news about a much-needed update of the DistroWatch distribution database. Finally, we are happy to announce that the recipient of the March 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is the GhostBSD project. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (18MB) and MP3 (32MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First looks at KANOTIX 2013 and GhostBSD 3.0
This week I would like to quickly shine a light on two projects which generally don't get a lot of attention, but I find them interesting nonetheless. The first project on my list this week is KANOTIX, a live DVD which is designed to showcase the latest and greatest products in the open source community. KANOTIX is based on the Debian project and is generally used as a demo disc to show off new software. In addition the KANOTIX disc can be used to recover software from damaged systems or assist in the removal of malware. The latest KANOTIX release features modern versions of WINE, the Valve Steam client, LibreOffice 4.0, the Linux kernel (version 3.8) and Iceweasel 19. The live disc is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds, plus there is a two-architectures-in-one download which combines both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to download the 32-bit build of KANOTIX which is 1.3 GB in size.
Booting from the KANOTIX disc brings up a GRUB 2 boot menu and lets us load the distribution using either German or English as the system's language. From there we are brought to a KDE4 desktop. The application menu and task switcher rest at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find an icon for launching the distribution's IRC client which automatically connects us with the project's chat room. This direct link to live help provides us with a convenient way to get assistance.
Though KANOTIX is typically used as a live disc rather than a locally installed operating system the project does provide a graphical system installer. I tried running the installer and found it starts us off by asking us to run a partition manager. Three partition managers (GParted, cfdisk and fdisk) can be launched from within the installer. I found attempting to launch the graphical utility, GParted, would cause the partition manager to immediately crash, however both console based utilities (fdisk and cfdisk) ran without any problems. Once we have divided up the disk we are asked to select one of our local partitions to use as a location for KANOTIX's root file system. I tried running the installer three times, dividing up the hard disk in different ways, but the KANOTIX installer was never able to detect my partitions and I was therefore unable to assign mount points. This prevented me from completing an installation and the remainder of my time with KANOTIX was spent running the distribution from the live DVD.
KANOTIX 2013 - applications and settings
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KANOTIX uses KDE 4.8 for its desktop environment. By default desktop effects are enabled and search indexing is turned off. The interface is pleasantly lacking in applications and notifications which might demand attention. This makes for a clean, responsive and attractive user interface. Tucked away in the distribution's menu we find a goldmine of software, most of it recent releases. We're given the Iceweasel web browser and Icedove e-mail client. The Skype voice over IP software is included as is the Pidgin instant messenger client. LibreOffice is included in the application menu as are a PDF viewer and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. We're further given the K3b disc burning software, the VLC multimedia application, the Amarok music player and the Kaffine media player. To accompany these multimedia programs the operating system includes popular media codecs and Flash.
A small collection of games is included in the menu along with the Steam gaming portal. There are control panels for managing ATI and NVIDIA video drivers, a graphical user account manager and the GParted partition utility. The Midnight Commander file manager is included on the disc and we also find a collection of small apps for editing text and handling file archives. The WINE compatibility layer is included, allowing us to run many Windows applications and Java is available on the disc. KANOTIX comes with the KDE user documentation along with command line manual pages. Network Manager is provided to help us get on-line and the system runs on top of the Linux kernel, version 3.8.
The KANOTIX distribution will allow users to install additional software using the Synaptic graphical package manager. Software packages are pulled in from a variety of sources, most notably the Debian project's repositories. The KANOTIX project also maintains its own repositories for custom packages and Synaptic will download updates to the Steam client from the Steam Powered package repository. This gives us access to well over 30,000 packages and adds to the long list of roles KANOTIX can be used to demo.
Despite my inability to get KANOTIX installed locally on my computer I still have to say I like what the distribution is doing. It's a really good demo disc with modern hardware support, cutting-edge software, a massive supply of packages from the Debian repositories and a wide range of functionality, including Flash, Steam and WINE. The user interface is attractive and quick to respond. All of these features combined make KANOTIX a good platform for demonstrating the power of a Linux-based operating system.
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The GhostBSD project provides a desktop-oriented approach to running the FreeBSD operating system. GhostBSD takes the FreeBSD base, adds a graphical installer and ships with various graphical interfaces pre-configured for our use. The latest release of GhostBSD, version 3.0, comes in three flavours -- GNOME, Openbox and LXDE. Each build is available in 32-bit and 64-bit architectures and rests atop the FreeBSD 9.1 operating system. Each flavour comes with a number of improvements over previous GhostBSD releases including ZFS upgrades, easier wireless network configuration and improved Intel and NVIDIA video card support. I opted to try the LXDE edition of GhostBSD and the download image was 695 MB in size.
Booting from the GhostBSD media quickly brings up a desktop environment supplied by LXDE with scenic wallpaper. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu, task switcher and system tray. On the desktop is a single icon for launching the project's installer. The graphical desktop is quite light on resources and I found it to be very responsive. There aren't any notifications or desktop effects enabled in the LXDE edition of GhostBSD which gives us a fast, clean environment in which to work.
GhostBSD 3.0 - system installer and virtual terminal
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The GhostBSD system installer is a graphical application with a simple, yet attractive, layout. We are asked for our preferred language and we are then asked to confirm our keyboard layout. Next the installer asks us to select our time zone from a list. The following screen gives us a few partitioning options, including manually setting up partitions for GhostBSD or letting the operating system take over one of our local hard disks. With that done we are asked to provide a password for the root account and create a regular user account for ourselves. The installer then displays a summary of actions it will take in case we'd like to change our minds. Once we confirm our choices the installer starts copying files to our hard drive. This was as far as I got. I ran the installer several times with various partition layouts. I found that after the installer had copied about 2GB of data to the hard drive it would run into a problem, report it was unable to continue and exit. I tried running the installer both in a virtual machine and on physical equipment and encountered the same issue in both environments. As a result my time with GhostBSD, as with KANOTIX, was limited to running the operating system from live media.
The GhostBSD live media comes with a small collection of useful software. We are provided with the Firefox web browser, the Pidgin instant messaging client and the XChat IRC client. The Transmission bittorrent client is included on the disc too. The application menu features the AbiWord and Gnumeric productivity applications alongside a PDF viewer. GhostBSD comes with a video player, the LXMusic audio player and an image viewer. We also find a text editor, an archive manager and an optical disc burner in the application menu. One application which sets GhostBSD apart from most other BSD projects is the inclusion of a graphical package manager. This package manager is divided into two tabs, one which shows installed software and the second tab shows software available in the FreeBSD ports collection. Using this graphical front-end we can add and remove software from our system using a fairly simple interface. The organization of the ports collection may take some getting used to as the ports tree categorizes software a bit differently than we typically see in the Linux community, but much of the same software is available.
GhostBSD 3.0 - desktop applications and virtual keyboard
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Despite the drawback of not being able to install GhostBSD to a local drive I'm glad to see this project is still in active development. The BSD family of operating systems has a great deal to offer in both design and technology, however there aren't many beginner-friendly avenues by which to approach the BSD projects. GhostBSD, with its multiple desktop editions and its ability to fit on a single CD, is perhaps the easiest BSD project to simply pick up and try. The operating system is light, it comes with a handful of useful applications and the project's lead developer, Eric Turgeon, responds to emails from users in a quick and friendly manner. My experience prevents me from forming an opinion as to how well GhostBSD holds up to long term use, but as a demo disc it is a great way to introduce people to FreeBSD.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
DistroWatch database changes, openSUSE Rescue-CD, visions of DPL candidates, Haiku package management, Oracle Linux advantages
Over the years DistroWatch has emerged as the premier database of free operating systems on the Internet. It started as a simple site covering just 12 Linux distributions, but as the time progressed and Linux became more popular, we have seen a rapid proliferation of derivative Linux distributions. As a result this site's database has swollen to a whopping 746 free operating systems and is growing every week! Clearly, this is unsustainable. It's great to have a choice, but imagine walking into an ice cream shop that offers 746 ice cream flavours! Even the biggest ice cream parlours offer perhaps 25 different ice creams - anything more than that would be just plain costly and inefficient for the owners of the business. As a result, we have decided to cut down on the number of distributions tracked in our database - from the current 746 to just 25. That's right, starting today, all superfluous distributions will be removed and no longer tracked - these include anything below number 25 in our page hit ranking statistics, such as Fuduntu, Kubuntu, Gentoo Linux, PC-BSD or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. These distributions are clearly not very popular, so why bother? We hope the DistroWatch readers will appreciate the streamlined way of choosing the best free operating system, but if some of you have any objections, feel free to comment below.
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With the release of openSUSE 12.3 last month, some savvy downloaders might have noticed a new "Rescue-CD" ISO image available in the distribution's repository. So what exactly is the openSUSE Rescue-CD? This blog post, entitled "What is the openSUSE 12.3 Rescue CD?" gives an excellent insight: "Although I've been an openSUSE user for a few years now, I haven't tried the brand spanking openSUSE 12.3, which looks to be one of the better releases of the SUSE team. The openSUSE 12.3 Rescue CD, released along with the KDE, DVD, and GNOME editions, is not designed to be installed but rather to run as a live CD or live USB for use with workstations or home desktops for repairing or recovering data. Although the openSUSE 12.3 Rescue CD doesn't have the reputation of easy-to-use specialized rescue live CDs such as SystemRescueCd, Clonezilla, or even KNOPPIX (which has had a long history of being the Swiss army knife of Linux distributions), there are advantages in using openSUSE over other recovery live CDs. I myself have used KNOPPIX for more than half a decade for accessing files from Windows and Linux systems, saving Linux distributions, and fixing GRUB. However, considering that my systems run openSUSE, having an openSUSE recovery system seems like a no-brainer."
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As the annual DPL (Debian Project Leader) elections get closer, it is interesting to question the status and the direction of the world's largest community software project as viewed by the potential candidates. Last week bits.debian.org ran a series of interviews with the three DPL candidates (Moray Allan, Lucas Nussbaum and Gergely Nagy) who were asked to present themselves and their visions for the project. So what do the three candidates think are the biggest challenges ahead of the distribution? Moray Allan: "I think the biggest challenges are for free software in general. End-users are moving to more closed hardware -- will our software be able to run on the phones and tablets people are shifting towards? At the same time, end-users and server users are moving to 'the cloud', and often depending more heavily on non-free infrastructure outside their own control." Lucas Nussbaum: "I often have the impression that the project is losing momentum, positive energy, and slowing down. It feels like we are living on the benefits of the past. A lot of very cool things happen in the Debian ecosystem, but very often outside the Debian project (in derivative distributions)." Gergely Nagy: "The biggest challenge is growing up, to become more than a group of computer geeks creating an amazing distribution. To become a community of a wide variety of people, where both computer geeks and art geeks feel equally at home."
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Haiku, the free operating system that emerged as the successor of BeOS, has been growing rapidly in recent years. Still, the project has a long way to go, especially technically, as documented by this blog post on Haiku package management: "Last Friday Oliver and I met up to discuss the state of things and how we intend to proceed. The run-time support for package management in Haiku (in the package management branch, of course) is in pretty good shape already. With the system itself and all the third-party software living in packages the system boots and is fully functional. So first of all we're going to focus on the package building side of things. ATM all third-party packages are just repackaged versions of the ZIP files Haiku used before. Back in 2011 I started to extend haikuporter to produce actual packages instead of ZIP files and update the BEP files (build recipes) for some fundamental tools accordingly. My first task, now, is to continue updating BEP files until at least all the packages needed for building packages can be built this way. Then I will have enough packages to complete the work on libsolv and the dependency solving."
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As far as enterprise Linux goes Oracle Linux is sometimes a little misunderstood (maybe even mistrusted) as a possible solution for medium-size companies and data centres. Last week Monica Kumar, a young senior director at the company, has shed some light on the Oracle Linux releases in this article entitled "Q&A About the Latest Oracle Linux Releases". Why is Oracle Linux better than the distribution it's derived from -- Red Hat Enterprise Linux? "Oracle Linux including the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is developed to provide high performance and stability for mission-critical applications. Users benefit from the innovations and improvements occurring in the mainline Linux community, which we deliver rapidly with Oracle Linux. In addition, Oracle Linux is the most well-tested distribution for enterprise workloads, especially Oracle workloads. We conduct over 100,000 hours/day of testing at Oracle using Oracle Linux. Additionally, support of Oracle's Engineered Systems plus the enterprise application knowledge that we have, is unmatched by our competitors. The technical support we provide with Oracle Linux also includes important bug fixes that Red Hat may choose not to release. For our customers, these fixes are critical and it is one of the many reasons they choose Oracle Linux."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Resources for learning about computer forensics
Sifting-through-the-wreckage asks: I've been seeing forensic distributions being announced or updated recently. At work I've installed SIFT Linux from the SANS Institute. I'm far from an expert but it looks interesting. What are some good, modern, resources for learning about computer forensics? Why do many of the forensic distributions seem to favor running in a virtual machine?
DistroWatch answers: There are a lot of good resources and books out there to help people get started in the art of retrieving and analyzing digital data. In fact there are so many resources out there it can be difficult to know where to begin. My recommendation for getting started would be to visit the CERT Forensics website. There you will find papers and podcasts introducing forensic concepts, a repository of utilities for Fedora and CentOS users and training resources. It's a good first-step portal into the world of digital forensic investigation. Should you be interested in finding a book which will introduce the technical side of digital forensics (as opposed to the legal side of the business) then you may want to read Digital Forensics with Open Source Tools which covers the use of forensic tools which can be used to investigate both Windows and Linux-based operating systems.
As to why forensic distributions might recommend running their software in a virtual machine I believe there are three reasons for favoring that approach as opposed to running the tools directly on physical hardware. The first is that running in a virtual machine adds a layer of security. People who work in forensics tend to be security conscious and running software inside a virtual environment places one extra barrier between potential attackers and the host operating system. A second reason is consistency. Once you've set up a virtual machine you can take a snapshot of that machine and save it, treating the snapshot as a known state. You can be fairly certain the snapshot is not compromised and that it is working properly. We can then make copies of the virtual machine or restore the snapshot if we need to get back to that pristine condition. It's much easier to verify the condition of a virtual machine than it is to verify the condition of a operating system which is installed on physical hardware. It's also faster to restore a virtual machine back to its pristine condition than it is to restore an operating system installed on physical hardware. The third reason is focus. When a utility has been shown to work in a virtual environment, such as VirtualBox, the authors of the utility don't have to worry about additional hardware support. They can focus on improving the utility without wondering if their product will work on other hardware. Encouraging people to run their utility in a virtual machine can reduce the amount of time they need to send trouble shooting hardware related problems.
|Released Last Week
ZevenOS 3.0 "Neptune"
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 3.0 "Neptune" edition, a Debian-based desktop Linux distribution for 64-bit computer systems with a customised KDE as the default desktop: "The Neptune team is proud to announce the release of Neptune 3.0 'Brotkasten'. This release features the Linux kernel 3.8.4 and is exclusively meant to run on 64-bit CPUs. We switched the Debian base from 'Testing' to 'Wheezy' to provide a more stable and better experience. The KDE Plasma Desktop ships with version 4.10.1. Chromium was updated to version 25, Icedove to version 10.0.12, GIMP 2.8.2, Kdenlive 0.9.4, Amarok 2.7, VLC 2.0.5. We ship the latest and greatest multimedia codecs pre-installed as well as the Flash Player. For wireless diagnosis we ship Wireshark, Aircrack-ng and kismon." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details, screenshots and changelog.
Pardus Linux 2013
Pardus Linux 2013 has been released. This is the first stable release of the "new" Debian-based Pardus Linux with GNOME and KDE desktops, currently available in Turkish only. From the release announcement: "Pardus 2013 Corporate is released and available in four flavors. GNOME (x86, amd64) and KDE (x86, amd64). Currently the distribution is only available in Turkish, but this situation will change in the future. Pardus 2013 has many new features inside out. First and most important, Pardus is now based on Debian 'Wheezy' and built using tools provided by the debian-live project. Other features include but not limited to: installable live images for peaceful exploration; integrated and simplified installer for easy installation; Firefox 17esr and Thunderbird 17esr for stable internet experience; complete multimedia tools for hassle-free multimedia experience."
Pardus Linux 2013 - a Turkish Debian-based distribution with GNOME or KDE
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SparkyLinux 2.1 "GameOver"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 2.1 "GameOver" edition, a Debian-based distribution with a customised LXDE desktop and a good collection of games: "Brand new, two-egged SparkyLinux 2.1 'GameOver' is out. It's the second, special edition of SparkyLinux 'GameOver' released for Easter 2013. It has been directly built on SparkyLinux 2.1 'Eris' and Debian 'Wheezy'. All packages have been synchronized with the Debian testing repository as of 2013-03-24. I made a few big changes so the system features: Linux kernel 3.2 i386 for old PCs and Linux kernel 3.8-liquorix (option) i686-pae for modern PCs designed for multimedia and gaming; glibc has been updated up to 2.17 from the experimental repository; Iceweasel, VLC, Leafpad, Pidgin, Transmission, XChat...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more info and screenshot.
Scientific Linux 6.4
Pat Riehecky has announced the release of Scientific Linux 6.4, a distribution built from source package for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 and enhanced with software suitable for use in scientific and academic environments: "Scientific Linux 6.4 is officially released. The OpenAFS kernel module package has changed - with SL 6.0 we started packaging the OpenAFS client's kernel module according to the guidelines from TUV's Driver Update Program. Due to unanticipated changes with the 6.3 kernel, we've had to revisit the process. With the 6.4 release, we modified the packaging to provide a dedicated build of the module for each minor SL release, instead of one kernel module (kmod) for all SL6 kernels. Since the EL kernel ABI is supposed to be kept stable within a minor release, this should avoid the problems some SL users experienced." Read the rest of the release announcement for other important notes.
Bodhi Linux 2.3.0
Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 2.3.0, a new version of the Ubuntu-based distribution with the latest Enlightenment window manager: "After almost exactly three months since our Bodhi 2.2.0 release the Bodhi team and I are happy to announce the next update release for our 2.x.y series - Bodhi Linux 2.3.0. Again because this is a minor update release people who are already using our 2.x.y branch can simply upgrade to this release via their package manager. As with our 2.2.0 release there are three disc downloads for this version: 32-bit featuring a current PAE enabled kernel, 32-bit featuring a non-PAE kernel with older hardware support, 64-bit featuring a current kernel. Software wise we see the following updates with this release: Linux Kernel 3.8, Enlightenment 0.17.1, Midori 0.4.9, Terminology 0.3.0, eCcess system tool, Ubiquity 2.12." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
March 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: GhostBSD|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the March 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is GhostBSD, a FreeBSD-based operating system with a desktop focus. It receives C$350.00 in cash.
A brainchild of Eric Turgeon, GhostBSD is a relatively new project, with the first stable release, version 1.0, only arriving on the scene some three years ago. As such, it is a niche operating systems, perhaps hoping to attract users who are somewhat fed up with the rapid (and sometimes controversial) development in the world of Linux and who are seeking an alternative to the other desktop FreeBSD - the well-established PC-BSD. GhostBSD is also one of the very few operating systems that still ship the good-old GNOME 2 (as well providing separate edition with the LXDE desktop and another with the Openbox window manager). Another indication of the project's underachievement is its inability to raise funds - while, for example, Linux Mint generates monthly donation and sponsorship income that exceeds or is close to a 5-digit figure, the GhostBSD project has managed to raise just C$91.17 in the first three months of this year. But all projects have to start somewhere and hopefully we'll see a better future for one of the few FreeBSD-based operating systems that target desktop computing. For more information about GhostBSD please visit the project's about page.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards and Bitcoins are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$34,975 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340)
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New distributions added to waiting list
- RŌNIN. RŌNIN is a Linux security distribution (based on Lubuntu) that provides a platform for training and conducting professional data forensics, penetration testing and incident response.
- VelsaOS. VelsaOS is a UNIX-like clone of MikeOS written in Assembly Programming Language.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 April 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • DistroWatch database changes (by gio on 2013-04-01 09:16:10 GMT from Austria) |
25 Distros in the ranking list is way to much - why not reduce to 4 or 1 ?
2 • DistroWatch database changes? (by Björn on 2013-04-01 09:22:32 GMT from Sweden)
That was good! I almost forgot what date it is.
3 • Distrowatch Database Reduction (by Sekter on 2013-04-01 09:25:51 GMT from United States)
OMG! Cutting the list down from 746 to just 25 is a bit extreme, don't you think?!? There are several excellent distros between 25 and 100 on your current list. Just because a distro is not as popular as some others doesn't mean it doesn't have any worth. Wouldn't it be more reasonable and fair to keep it at 100? Certainly that would be far more manageable than 746 and still allow the rest of us to keep track of some other very worthwhile distributions.
4 • DistroWatch database changes (by musty on 2013-04-01 09:32:38 GMT from France)
In my opinion it is necessary to remove all these distros that are useless and add a great one : windows 8. With its revolutionary desktop and colored tiles ....
Ah! it is April 1st after all .....
5 • reducing the distro listing database (by meanpt on 2013-04-01 09:43:34 GMT from Portugal)
You couldn't have come with a better april's fool ... well, whatver suits you, that reference to kubuntu always brings nasty feelings :)
6 • DistroWatch database changes (by Fencemeister717 on 2013-04-01 09:44:12 GMT from United States)
Sounds like some kind of April Fools joke to me. I do believe that would piss off hundreds of developers and fans of those 746 flavors. Just sayin'
7 • Distrowatch Database Reduction (by Sekter on 2013-04-01 09:47:48 GMT from United States)
P.S. Distrowatch has been one of my all-time favorite websites over the years. I visit it frequently and really value the service it has been providing with its distribution listing, tracking, links and reviews. You have created and maintained an extremely valuable resource for many of us. I sincerely hope you do not take the extreme measures you have proposed. This would be as disappointing and depressing as Ubuntu's fork to Unity, Windows 8 (not to mention Windows!) going with a tablet interface on a desktop, etc. Please, please don't throw any babies out with the bathwater!
8 • Is DistroWatch a popularity contest? (by Alan D on 2013-04-01 09:52:58 GMT from United States)
Limiting the coverage of DistroWatch to the most popular 25 distros: this changes the game entirely. Usign Gentoo as an example, it has been able to thrive BECAUSE the developers do not care about winning popularity contests. Even though the newsletter and docs have fallen by the wayside, developers continue the important work of maintenance. To be a useful information source, DW needs to keep it's eye on the pulse of even unpopular distros.
Beyond the possibility that I would "vote with my feet," DW now becomes something less than a hub for information about all linux distros, or even the most important ones. Other possibilities should be explored:
- how much data is kept for each distro?
- which fields present the greatest burden to archive?
- what is the best measure, if any, of the importance of a distro? Activity WITHIN the distro would be a better indicator, but will actually require some effort to quantify.
Self fulfilling epithet?: It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. (Mark Twain)
9 • april db (by zykoda on 2013-04-01 09:55:19 GMT from United Kingdom)
Add MS, Apple, Google & Android and track just the top 5?
10 • Distrowatch Database (by dwatcher on 2013-04-01 10:01:10 GMT from New Zealand)
Relax ladies, its most likely a Aprils 1st joke. I doubt they would abandon distros like Gentoo. As Linus said, 'calm down, say ooooooooooo'
11 • Database Reduction Revisited (by SSofS on 2013-04-01 10:05:27 GMT from United States)
Reducing the database sounds like a good idea. Its already a headache trying to figure out which distro is right for you out of hundreds. I'm not saying only have a hand full of distros in the database, but weed out the number to at least a hundred, maybe just seventy-five. I am serious about this. Now for an Aprils Foots joke. Here it is. Get it? I don't have any April Fools joke, and that is the joke! As long as you are looking, you are falling for it since it doesn't exist! Gotcha!I was serious, though about the database reduction, of course. Cut it down below one hundred.
12 • GhostBSD (by joji on 2013-04-01 10:12:52 GMT from Belgium)
Thank you for review.
"The GhostBSD project has two primary goals - security and usability"
Have some questions about "usability". My Wireless network is not recognized. Mounting an ext4 linux partition is not possible. Mounting an ext2 linux partition is only possible as Read Only. It's a pity.
Agree the choice of programs is not bad. And it looks nice ...
13 • GhostBSD (by mechanic on 2013-04-01 10:12:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
I thought giving GhostBSD an award was the April Fool joke! Seriously, Eric T. is doing a fine job but needs more people to support the project. As it is, on my machine I even had to hand tailor the xorg.config file to get X up. And FreeBSD - the packaging/ports situation for version 9.1 has taken far too long to resolve.
Stay well clear.
14 • DW database (by Spatch on 2013-04-01 10:14:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
Presently consulting my ladyfriend, Avril Premiere about your proposed changes. Notwithstanding, PHR provides a permanent 1.4 (US: 4.1) date with destiny when one sees such travesties as Mageia listing at No.2 or 3. Who's foolin' who?!
15 • Reducing the Database (by tdockery97 on 2013-04-01 10:31:20 GMT from United States)
As usual, DistroWatch carries one of the top April 1 items online. It's nice that even the lesser distros can at least claim to be in the top 746.
16 • DW Database Changes (by PaperTiger on 2013-04-01 10:34:21 GMT from Antigua and Barbuda)
Remember, as part of the top 25 distros, we MUST include DOS and Winblows 3.1.... and for the pièce de résistance, let us ensure that we cook the numbers in such a way that LinuxMint just happens to fall outside of the top 25..... :D Happy April 1!!! :D
17 • April Fools! Woo-Hoo! (by DavidEF on 2013-04-01 10:48:48 GMT from United States)
That was an awesome April Fools' Day message! The really funny part is, there will be some people who think it actually is a good idea to cut it down to "25 flavours". In fact, I've seen people seriously suggest fewer than that! I'm sure glad we have wiser souls in charge here!
Happy April 1st!
@15 "It's nice that even the lesser distros can at least claim to be in the top 746." - I can hear it now "I'm number 746, oops, a new one is born, I'm number 747, oops..."
18 • 25 distributions... (by darren stewart on 2013-04-01 10:48:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
The website and editors are wrong. The websites interest comes from the diversity its shown. I person drop in to see what is new in the distro's. If you stop covering new things, then whats the point. Trust me, I can go find info on the top 25 easily. I don't need you for this.
I believe you should have at least the top 100.
Anyway, thats my input
19 • DW database changes (by Omari on 2013-04-01 11:47:37 GMT from United States)
You only had 746 distributions? I thought there were that many Ubuntu derivations.
20 • Distrowatch changes (by Robert on 2013-04-01 11:49:49 GMT from Germany)
"These distributions are clearly not very popular, so why bother?...."
For example RedHat is not popular?! Your database just shows how many users click on names "on your website".Distrowatch is not the world of linux... But you can change it cuz we know which distro works right. I think for Ladislav just Ubuntu and some derivations are enough.
21 • Just a few (by Troy Banther on 2013-04-01 12:00:42 GMT from United States)
Just whittle it down to one distribution. Debian GNU/Linux. ;-}
22 • DistroWatch Weekly (by dragonmouth on 2013-04-01 12:09:12 GMT from United States)
Is anything in this week's DW Weekly on the level? Or is everything a joke?
23 • 25 distro limit. (by js on 2013-04-01 12:35:35 GMT from Australia)
Don't limit it to 25. Just get rid of anything that runs unity or Gnome 3.
24 • 746 distros (by GM on 2013-04-01 12:48:33 GMT from Greece)
Actually, I'd love to develop the 747th distro. Needless to say I'd call it Jumbo Jet Linux, and hope noone would mind the use of the name ;).
25 • DTAUMAD Notice (by fewt on 2013-04-01 12:49:01 GMT from United States)
My name is Andrew Wyatt and I am the Founder of Fuduntu. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) made a joke containing a reference to at least one product owned by my company.
The original ARTICLE, to which we found extremely funny, can be found at:
This letter is official notification under Section 640(k) of the Digital Trololo Act (”DTAUMAD”), and I seek the addition of more comedic material to your servers, beginning April 1 2014. I also request that you immediately joke about this notice, inform your guests of their duty to laugh at the material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of material that implies they don't "get it".
Please also be advised that the internet requires you, as the joke provider, to hee and to haw over this notice upon receiving this notice.
I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that the joke is being laughed at appropriately. Under penalty of failed trololo I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the product(s) involved.
Should you wish to discuss this with me please feel free to reply.
26 • OpenSUSE Xfce Live Rescue CD (by cba on 2013-04-01 12:57:10 GMT from Germany)
It is a pity that this Xfce Rescue CD comes without an installer, because openSUSE provides only official KDE4 and Gnome3 live install media.
But you only have to install the yast2-live-installer package during your Live CD session for installing this CD as "normal openSUSE" to your hard disk, this pulls in dependencies of only around 25 MB of software packages. After that, the Live-Installer is available from the “Miscellaneous” section in Yast, also in text mode via yast2-ncurses. So a hard disk install from this Xfce CD is possible and it costs only a few additional MB on this ~ 550MB Live CD.
This Xfce Live CD is also not available in SuseStudio, so it is not possible to fix this missing installer bug the easy way. This is indeed a bug for people who wish to use another desktop than KDE4 or Gnome3. It is far better to download an 550 to 600 MB Live CD than a huge 4,4GB DVD image if you want to use Xfce, LXDE or E17 as your main openSUSE desktop. And the needed Live CD is there, but it is called Rescue CD and does not allow a hard disk install at the moment.
27 • April Fool's Day (by Bewbies on 2013-04-01 13:00:45 GMT from United States)
I immediately laughed at Distrowatch's suggestion at the Top 25 list today. It might go over some people's heads that it's a joke in honor of April Fool's Day. Nonetheless, it was a clever one. Thanks for the chuckle. :)
28 • distros that don't work (by Jamie LaRue on 2013-04-01 13:07:53 GMT from United States)
OK, I got it. On the other hand, you lead with TWO distros that cannot be installed to computers. I suppose that it's true: you can demonstrate something to somebody kind of how Linux works. But should you demonstrate something that if they LIKE it, DOESN'T work as an install?
So hmm. Maybe a little whittling down isn't a BAD idea.
29 • Database changes (by FormerDistroHopper on 2013-04-01 13:15:48 GMT from Germany)
Nice April 1st. Kubuntu, Gentoo, Redhat "clearly unpopular" was the thing that reminded me what date it is. At least you haven't lost your sense of humour over all the hard work. Maybe the next distrowatch.com donation should go to distrowatch.com.
30 • Happy All Fools Day! (by TransformHumanity on 2013-04-01 13:31:27 GMT from India)
Ha ha ha!
31 • Hahaha! (by Black7 on 2013-04-01 13:42:51 GMT from United States)
This sounded WAY too inflammatory to be real,... then I remembered the date today. Haha! Nice one!
32 • April 1 (by greenpossum on 2013-04-01 13:46:12 GMT from Australia)
The problem with April 1 jokes is that with timezones, netizens who start this day earlier have already been sensitised to the hoaxes so they don't make much impact; in fact here it's already April 2. Unlike Earth Hour where you can have a series of events as the clock reaches 2030 in each timezone.
So perhaps we should get WWW.org to promulgate an April Fools' 24-hours which would be the same all over the globe. Oh well, that's my lame attempt at an April 1 joke, oops, I mean an April 2 joke.
33 • Distro monitoring (by Giorgos V on 2013-04-01 13:47:50 GMT from Greece)
Personaly ai prefer this site because i can find allmost all the linux distro. This is your power...that i can try ANY distro.
Don't turn off monitoring please.
34 • @28 (by greenpossum on 2013-04-01 13:51:19 GMT from Australia)
Well, nowhere is it written that a distro has to install to hard disk. That spurious requirement would exclude lots of useful distros like SystemRescueCD, Knoppix, and so forth. But if a distro is advertised to run live and also offer an install to HD, that would simply be a bug.
35 • @26 openSUSE rescue CD (by greenpossum on 2013-04-01 13:56:27 GMT from Australia)
That's what the Net Install ISO is for. You can use as starting point to pull down the mix of packages you want.
36 • Database Changes (by Josh on 2013-04-01 14:07:14 GMT from United States)
I'm going to miss being able to get a quick idea of what these less popular distros are about--high profile packages included, release history, etc. I've yet to find another resource that provides a simple table with that information for so many distros.
Surely that information can't be taking up all that much space, and I see no harm in requiring the community at large to contribute such information so as to take the load off of the site administrators. If a distro is not updated in N months, mark it as stale; if a distro is stale for M months, archive it and disallow further modifications. Manage this stuff with cronjobs. Easy enough, no?
37 • @35 (by cba on 2013-04-01 14:11:42 GMT from Germany)
The Netinstall.iso does not contain a functional desktop and is not suitable if you have three or four computers in your house you want to install openSUSE to.
38 • Wakeup Call (by RacerX29er on 2013-04-01 14:13:31 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the calendar reminder. Nicely done.
39 • database change... (by virt-man on 2013-04-01 14:14:29 GMT from United States)
lol... thats too funny... i love you distrowatch, and i visit this website multiple times a day ... i would be a shame if you were seriously considering doing this transition, but with it being april 1st, we will just have to wait and see, wont we :)
40 • aprill fool (by Tonny on 2013-04-01 15:09:31 GMT from Indonesia)
Haha.. Good one. Almost fooled :)
41 • Re: DTAUMAD Notice (by tdockery97 on 2013-04-01 15:21:34 GMT from United States)
Loved the response Andrew. :)
42 • April Fools (by Trevor on 2013-04-01 15:27:03 GMT from United States)
Me and my fellow workers at the IT help desk got a good laugh out of this, and then agreed that instead you should have posted a major announcement about switching to tracking just Windows distributions.
43 • DistroWatch database changes (by Kevin on 2013-04-01 15:27:43 GMT from United States)
How about you just remove all the distrolets (most often Ubuntu-based)? That would cut down the list but still keep independents such as Gentoo and whatnot.
44 • Here's an actual good idea... make it 50distros + weblinks? (by Brad on 2013-04-01 15:53:35 GMT from United States)
Just keep the top 50 the way it looks NOW.. and from 51-xxx just have a click'able link that takes you to their homepage.. just a thought.. i'm sure that'll cut down on work/traffic, etc..
45 • HOUSEKEEPING NEEDED (by Fabio on 2013-04-01 15:56:01 GMT from United States)
it's obviously an April Fools joke, however there is a point here: too many buntus!!! remaster a distro from Ubuntu, add gimp and call it GIMPUNTU it's not a distro, I'm sorry..
SO YES, CLEAN UP!!!
46 • Good April 1st joke, but it is a serious problem (by WildCard on 2013-04-01 16:25:02 GMT from United States)
First of all, I get that going for 746 to 25 distros is an April 1st joke. But I also think it identifies a common problem for getting new people to try Linux: which distro do they start with? A lot of times, that answer will be based on their hardware. I would love to see some kind of app where the user can answer some specific questions about their system (memory, CPU type and speed, graphics, etc) and get a list of recommended Linux distros to try that should work on their hardware. I have an older laptop (pre-PAE CPU, 512 MB) so it is hard to find distros that will run on it (even most Puppy distros require a PAE-compatible processor). I know such an app would be hard to maintain, but it would be a good starting point for newcomers, or people like myself trying to keep older hardware going.
47 • Watching the distros (by David McCann on 2013-04-01 16:29:10 GMT from United Kingdom)
Oops! I actually got taken in for all of 30 seconds! People who don't have April Fools' Day (Latin America?) must have been really shocked.
But it got me thinking as to what could and could not be profitably dropped from a list of Linuxes.
3 best outside the top hundred: Doudou, SalineOS, Swift
3 most pointless in the top 25: Arch, OS4, Ubuntu
48 • GhostBSD (by Frank Edwards on 2013-04-01 16:31:36 GMT from United States)
Looking at the GhostBSD website, there are so many grammatical errors and misspellings it is absolutely laughable. At first, I thought, perhaps that the developers were non-native English speakers, but that doesn't seem to be the case either.
It really makes the entire project look amateurish. At least run your stuff through some application that has a *basic* spellchecker before publishing it for general consumption.
No wonder the installer doesn't work.
The project lead and "lead developer" lists his occupation as working at Kent Building Supplies as a loader/picker, which I also find amusing. An Operating System being developed by a warehouse worker who can't spell or have basic command of english grammar.
Sure, that's exactly what I want to trust my systems with O.o
49 • Database changes (by FormerDistroHopper on 2013-04-01 16:49:53 GMT from Germany)
As we're at it, why not permanently ban all distros in the top 100 so the other distros got a better chance? The top 100 are already known well enough, right..
50 • Distro ranking (by tuxtest on 2013-04-01 16:56:55 GMT from Canada)
Too bad this is a joke of April 1. Good joke But !
It was a good idea to reduce the number of Distro. * Just Baby Buntu mostly useless and harmful to me * reduce by 30% the number of distro in the database. I think you should consider this avenue. It would also be possible to describe the derived distro without put in your ranking.
Review GhostBSD ! Well I have a same expérience with installeur.
The problem is that with BSD wifi support is poor. The mounting partition in ext4 is absent. auto mount, unmount the USB flash drive is problematic. They have a lot of work up to do just to be a level of basic functions in comparaison at Linux system.
best regard at all.
Besides the support material! Ouff they are still far behind.
51 • Re: Frank Edwards (by jigoku on 2013-04-01 17:01:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
I believe the lead developer's native language isn't english. Having said that, why does it matter what somebody's occupation is? Who ever said a project leader has to be sitting in a full time Computing/IT job???
I think you'll find most open-source developers write software and organize projects in their spare time as opposed to being involved in software full-time.
But hey, rather than moaning and judging others like a spoiled child, why not offer some help and suggest to them what you think could be improved. If you find it laughable and amusing, maybe you should post what you do for a living and what you have achieved in your spare time.
52 • GhostBSD (by Jesse on 2013-04-01 17:07:14 GMT from Canada)
>> "At first, I thought, perhaps that the developers were non-native English speakers, but that doesn't seem to be the case either."
I spoke with Eric Turgeon when GhostBSD first came out and, if I recall correctly, his native language is French. I'm not certain, but I think the web developer for the project, Mr Toussaint is also French. Lots of open source projects are developed by people who don't use English as a first language and rely on rough translations to cater to others. Considering post 48 also contains spelling and grammar mistakes I would be careful about throwing stones.
>> "The project lead and "lead developer" lists his occupation as working at Kent Building Supplies as a loader/picker, which I also find amusing.
How is that amusing? One's day job doesn't affect their abilities. Einstein worked as a patent clerk. GhostBSD certainly isn't perfect, but there is an unfortunate lack of high quality FreeBSD live discs available. I'm happy to see someone take the lead on this.
53 • Back to Ubuntu (by Joey on 2013-04-01 17:18:55 GMT from Canada)
I took a break from Ubuntu to check out Fedora for a year or so. It was nice to make the change. However, I then started using Windows 8, which looks BEAUTIFUL - but it is the least intuitive operating system I've used in years. Between the two interfaces and logout/shutdown buttons sometimes on the upper right, sometimes on lower right, I kept clicking the wrong things and looking in the wrong places to do what I wanted. Now I'm using Ubuntu 12.10 and it is very nearly the perfect operating system.
Thanks to Distrowatch for providing reviews and updates and helping distrohoppers scratch that itch! Now I've found something I think I'll stick with for a while, but I'll still read about the others. (By the way, I was expecting the worst with Unity after reading the comments here every week for so long, but it must have come a long way - I'm loving it.)
54 • Distrowatch database changes (by Nuno Trindade on 2013-04-01 17:38:23 GMT from Europe)
55 • Database destruction?? (by nameless on 2013-04-01 18:11:27 GMT from United States)
I would have suggested you start by dropping the discontinued distros. I can understand trimming that. You might also not keep full data on anything below the top 50 or 100, or change the criteria for moving from the waiting list to the database (I would wait for them to send you information about a second release, at minimum -- this would disqualify Stella, Madbox, and Rebellin, for starters), or limit the package information to recent releases or only the default 52 packages or both. I come to DW because it is the premier distro release news portal. If you limit yourself to the top 25 distros, the usefulness of the site will be SEVERELY curtailed....
Oh. Never mind. I'll just cop to demonstrating the latter part of your posting advice.
56 • DistroWatch database changes (by Miguel Angel Da Vila on 2013-04-01 18:21:43 GMT from Mexico)
Unless this article is the result of April's fools and although the issue has a logic undeniable, since keeping many distributions creates confusion and misinformation, very important item hidden in the article, especially because many of them are repetitive featured with some customization (*buntuSomething), then be abandoned. It remains unfinished business, distrowatch.com is an invaluable source of information and reference for finding high value specialized distributions, although with few reports of popularity, as FreeNAS, Clonezilla and Parted Magic.
Then, "April fools" apart, distrowatch.com could be more selective and maintain a selected list (already there as Top Ten Distributions, but is secondary), based on criteria beyound a popularity rank.
57 • @ 48 • GhostBSD you are so wrong (by mandog on 2013-04-01 18:30:51 GMT from Peru)
Eric Turgeon Project leader at GhostBSD, New Brunswick, Canada
He works At Kent Building Supplies In Canada And Is French speaking,
So a French Canadian is put down for his bad English,
He Says in his blog english translation is now been passed to A English speaking person, As it has been a problem in the past.
If that is a problem may I suggest you learn French then come back and comment.
It is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. (Mark Twain)
58 • Distro Database (by radrick on 2013-04-01 18:36:30 GMT from Canada)
I think this is a April Fool's joke!
I do recognize that over 700 distros is a lot, but 25? This would just make way for somebody else to become the premier website for Linux info. instead of Distrowatch.
If the reduction is really necessary may be 50 would be a better number.
59 • That's right, starting today, all superfluous distributions will be removed ... (by Luca Marcante on 2013-04-01 19:16:51 GMT from Italy)
According to me 'wrong .... I recommend instead of creating dellacartelle mothers with all the sottoradici derived Linux .... example ... Debian-Ubuntu-Lubuntu-kubuntu-caine-etc etc
I made the Idea?
60 • All those distros and window managers (by Ben Myers on 2013-04-01 19:36:13 GMT from United States)
I can best classify myself as a casual Linux user, setting up and using occasional systems and using various live distros for testing. I have a different perspective than most of you. I keep asking why Linux has not achieved a greater desktop market share, despite its rich and varied collection of great software applications. One answer is the brainwashing of the general public done by the Microsoft hegemon. The other answer is a question: Which Linux distro and which window manager? To put it differently, there are way too many general purpose Linux distros. It's like the Tower of Babel. Until that changes or something else in the world software ecosystem becomes very different, Linux is destined to be a marginal player on the desktop.
Go ahead and flame me, but that's the reality... Ben
61 • database (by forlin on 2013-04-01 19:37:48 GMT from Portugal)
If you are planning some change for next year, maybe you could place in the first page 100 distros from the waiting list. Just to try to pull some rabbits out of the hat.
62 • 746 (by Ron on 2013-04-01 20:08:42 GMT from United States)
"this site's database has swollen to a whopping 746 free operating systems and is growing every week! Clearly, this is unsustainable"
What's the sense of having a database that has trouble handling 746 entries?
There's a great one out there called DBASE III. Give it a try!
63 • Database of distros. (by Chas on 2013-04-01 20:24:31 GMT from United States)
While I agree that it may be time to cut down the size of the total distros tracked at DistroWatch, I wish there were some way to track a small list of distros who's main function is repair/recovery/cloning etc. I think there is sufficient interest in that area to warrant it.
64 • Database and a side commnet (by DonM on 2013-04-01 20:32:50 GMT from United States)
As to your database cutdown, I agree with the premise, but think 25 is to severe. I would opt for perhaps 50. Looking for one I can live with I've installed and rejected well over 30 in just the last six months.
As a side comment, I wish your reviews would always at least mention supported mail readers for a distro. I favor Evolution as much for it's calendar as it's mail function, and it's rarely mentioned as to whether it's even supported or not. And who of us can live without some E-Mail funtion.
65 • Database changes (by Mel D. on 2013-04-01 20:39:52 GMT from United States)
Several of my favorite distributions are ranked well after 25. Many special purpose distros are also in this category.
66 • Because the list of active distributions isn't crowded enough (by :wq on 2013-04-01 21:34:19 GMT from United States)
BU Linux (http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=bulinux), SymphonyOS (http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=Symphony), AnNyung Linux (http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=annyung), and Truva Linux (http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=truva) are showing some signs of life on their respective websites; with ongoing development and some with relatively new releases (within the last year).
67 • @ 55 (by :wq on 2013-04-01 21:49:37 GMT from United States)
I like discontinued distros remaining for historical record (as well as old "news and updates" and past DWW issues). And some of those discontinued distros are only 'mostly dead'. There's a big difference between 'mostly dead' and 'all dead'.
68 • But seriously folks ... (by John C. Gage on 2013-04-01 22:18:19 GMT from United States)
I have to hand it to DistroWatch. A lot of people don't understand how much is involved. But, it is very hard to have so many listings and keep up on them all. Kudos DistroWatch. Keep it going!
69 • distros tracked (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-04-01 22:36:18 GMT from United States)
To be fair, there are probably some non-western countries where April Fool's Day isn't a well-known custom.
As for the rest of this week's content, aside from the "down to 25" part, it's hard to tell which articles are jokes and which aren't.
- the advantage of Oracle Linux: that is a joke right?
- Ghost (or any other) BSD.... ?
- Haiku : "Then I will have enough packages to complete the work on libsolv and the dependency solving." Okey-dokey
70 • HAHA!! Thanks Distrowatch for making me laugh this morning! (by Vic on 2013-04-01 23:48:27 GMT from Canada)
Beautifully played April 1st joke in the news for this week. You had me for the first couple sentences until I started thinking about what I was reading in light of today's date. Brightened my otherwise dull Monday morning. Which of course you guys do quite well each Monday morning anyways. Thanks, and a Happy Belated 500th +1 issue, glad you guys are here!
Quick question, I don't have time to find a more suitable forum to ask it in. Has anyone here replaced a 32-bit distro with a fresh install of the identical 64-bit distro set up exactly the same and been able to reuse the existing home partition, tweaked user accounts/settings and all, with out issues? I'm pressed for time and I would like to switch someone up to 64-bit Xubuntu LTS from the 32-bit version without the changing the user experience on their end. If it ends up too much of a PITA to pull off quickly I'm not going to bother until I can put more time into it.
Thanks Distrowatch team for all your work, and to all commenters who help enrich the read with open dialogue, and lastly to anyone who responds to my question.
71 • @26 OpenSUSE Rescue CD (by RayRay on 2013-04-02 01:52:11 GMT from United States)
Loading the OpenSUSE installer is easy to use. Once your live session is up you can open a terminal as su do
zypper install yast2-live-installer.
or you can open the software installer and search for yast2-live-installer, and install it.
I installed it on an old pentium III, it's a very basic configuration but you can add on just what you really need. I have a nice looking desktop with little effort and no unecessary programs.
72 • @26 Live Installer (by RayRay on 2013-04-02 01:58:44 GMT from United States)
Sorry I didn't read your whole post . I was playing around with the server install to use either XFCE or E17 but with the Rescue CD is much easier.
73 • Please keep monitoring PC-BSD (by Graham Todd on 2013-04-02 10:36:32 GMT from Anonymous Proxy)
I note that you are going to exclude some distributions from future monitoring, and one distribution is PC-BSD. Please keep it in your monitoring.
I do appreciate that monitoring so many distributions may be an onerous task, but there are few BSD distributions, and PC-BSD is the one that BSD Magazine uses for its examples, so not knowing anything about it and where to get it it is a real problem.
BSD in general has a much lower profile than Linux, so cutting ANY BSD distributions rather than Linux would be a less-than-welcome step, even if it has fewer hits on your site.
So please do NOT cut PC-BSD.
74 • DistroWatch database changes (by Leo on 2013-04-02 12:21:11 GMT from United States)
"Red Hat Enterprise Linux" is not popular enough to be included into ranking?
You must be kidding me!! It is the most popular commercial Linux distribution. Shrinking the database by factor of 30 from 746 to 25 entries is silly.
May I offer a compromise -- limit it to 100 most popular distributions.
75 • Ranking page (by Russ Delo on 2013-04-02 15:02:57 GMT from United States)
Are you going to still have a list of all active distributions with the change to tracking just the top 25 distributions?
76 • You guys are bad at this (by Nate on 2013-04-02 16:46:55 GMT from United States)
Look at the statement. Look at the date. Now look back at the statement. You're welcome.
77 • Database changes (by Ika on 2013-04-02 17:37:27 GMT from Spain)
I agree it have to be made a “clean-up”. Too many entries, a lot of (re)spins not offering nothing but cosmetics, much of them non-functional and useless.
In my opinion, this is good. Why should Jesse (or anybody else) spend/loose precious time in vain?
Nevertheless. only 25 entries?!... This isn’t enough at all!...
Maybe 50 at least... Andthe remaining ones in a separate table in no special order as alphabetically. And linked to their homepage.
Though, here may be raised some questions:
- How will be done the refreshing of this Top 25 (or 50)?
- What about not desktop oriented distros,as servers, forensic, safety?...
- What about releases that are not distros, as rescue, partition etc?
More: the top 25 (or 50) should include ALL:
- Independents. All of them - big or small ones. As small as a distros are, it have to stay in top. For instance MINIX, Haiku, or the recently announced Kolibri deserves more a place in this top, much more, than, say, the big danger sudo based U (together with his satelites).
These distros, as small as they are, are doing something new, personal, innovative..
- Forks that became independents (Fuduntu, PCLOS, Mageia...).
- “Based on” that can be quoted as “distributions” because they have at least their own repositories, like Sabayon for instance.
Now, one thousand entries (or two, three thousands) is not a big deal for a DB. So, if a clean-up have to be made, than it should be done carefully IMHO.
78 • @72; openSUSE Xfce Rescue Live CD (by cba on 2013-04-02 18:07:48 GMT from Germany)
In my opinion, the best thing with this Xfce Live CD is that the theme is "right", everything is in place artwork-wise. There are no icons missing, Xfce looks like being born as "natural" openSUSE desktop, nothing looks unprofessional. If you try to achieve this e.g. via SuseStudio by starting with the JeOS or the no-gui server template, you need a long, long time before Xfce looks like being usable - with strong focus on the used theme, icons and artwork. Repairing this initial bad look is a horrible thing to do and very time-consuming.
Moreover, with this Xfce Live CD udisks and Xfce session-managing works out of the box. If you try to build an Xfce Live CD by means of SuseStudio it is possible to "forget" e.g. udisks and logging-out of Xfce provides a nasty error, because session managing does not work as expected.
Maybe - in the near future - I would like to punish and tantalize myself and then I will try to clone this Xfce Live CD program package for program package into SuseStudio, by hand if necessary. Hopefully there might be another way to accomplish this.
79 • RE: DistroWatch database changes... Tracking only top 25 distro's (by Disapointed on 2013-04-02 22:13:26 GMT from United States)
No more distro tracking?! Just the top 25?!!!
Let me see if I understand this correctly. This web site named "distro WATCH" will no longer watch any more distros other than the top 25?
I understand the idiocy with some fly-by-night distros that seem to be glued together in someone's garage/basement or even distro's like GhostBSD which won't even install (which I found to be problematic even with #2 ranked Mageia). But is that any reason to stop "watching" distro's that are actively supported?
Whenever DW finds a pathetic distro that seems to be someone's half baked idea (like the infamous Satanic Ubuntu), or even a distro that won't work then I would agree to drop them especially if there's no support. But to stop tracking good supported distros like OpenELEC, Pinguy, MEPIS, or even Solaris seems to be a very foolish move simply because they might not make that top 25 list in popularity -- or might not even be free. Forget also JoliOS, Macpup or even SUSE too, right? I say, wrong! Please reconsider and at least track anything that makes DW's front page top 100 list. After all, they're "popular" for a reason.
80 • um... (by :wq on 2013-04-02 22:55:48 GMT from United States)
Just to reiterate what comment #76 was trying to point out- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools'_Day
81 • Please do the top 100, not the top 25. (by J on 2013-04-03 03:11:28 GMT from United States)
Please limit the list of distributions to the top 100. The top 25 is _WAY_ too short.
82 • Top 25 distributions? (by Thomas Mueller on 2013-04-03 04:51:44 GMT from United States)
I gather this was an April Fools' joke, but how would you determine which are the top 25 distros now, and then again tomorrow and in the future? Page Hit Rankings are not constant over time. If this were for real, I would surely stop visiting distrowatch.com ; it would be useless to me! Some of the distributions, even if not the most popular, have special purposes such as a favorable environment for building packages from source (such as FreeBSD ports and NetBSD pkgsrc,), or booting from CD/DVD or USB stick for system rescue, or working on old computers, or maybe helping with Wi-Fi, etc.; good to see how different distros do things such as building from source even if T2, Source Mage, Lunar and Sorcerer are not among the most popular. Then the Page Hit Rankings only tell about who accessed the distrowatch.com page and not about visits to the OS's or distro's own web site, hence only a *very* rough indicator of relative popularity.
83 • Fornesic distributions (by Pearson on 2013-04-03 17:30:28 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the info on Forensics in Linux. I think this could be useful for anyone trying to track down problems, not just for legal reasons.
84 • Ubuntu 12.04... (by Chanath on 2013-04-03 21:59:46 GMT from Sri Lanka)
After getting rid of the sidebar of Unity, and with only the dash working, and additionally introducing Slingshot old & new, and making quite a few clones of Ubuntu, I simply lost interest in distro hopping, and even making new clones of Ubuntu. I had cloned from major flavours of Linux OSs, now the interest is gone. Its not a big deal to take Ubuntu 12.04...and make Zorin OS 6, or Mint 14 or Pinguy or Elementary OS. The newer Ubuntus don't work well with its own base, Compiz, still the best is 12.04...
Right now, I am awaiting Ikey's Solus OS 2 final, rather than Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
85 • April Fool's Joke? (by Don Granger on 2013-04-03 22:00:41 GMT from United States)
My jaw dropped when I read your lead story about cutting back the number of distros monitored by DistroWatch to 25. This would probably mean the sure quick demise of many smaller distro projects, as the exposure on your site provides an easy way to review and try new distributions.
If DistroWatch doesn't perform this function, who will?
Say it ain't so. Say it's just a bad dream or an April Fool's Joke.
86 • Database Changes (by GR on 2013-04-03 22:29:28 GMT from Canada)
I, for one, applaud the effort that has put into this endeavor over the years, but as you so rightly conclude, over 700 distros to track is way to much. I see much wisdom in your decision and I hope all your other readers will as well. Thank you for years of hard work; I hope you will enjoy the extra time this may bring you.
PS I love the Twain Quote
87 • Only 25 flavour of ice cream and Linux? (by Bill Lee on 2013-04-04 01:24:48 GMT from Canada)
518 flavours here, including durian (sealed, kept separate)
88 • Distibutions Watched (by H Annen on 2013-04-04 03:38:44 GMT from United States)
I appreciate why you feel it is necessary to reduce the number of watched/reported distros. However, what provisions have been made to allow the 'top 25' list to change? Are you going to keep the same 25 distros even if one has become so unpopular that it really isn't in the top 25 of available distros? Probably not, so how are you going to decide when to add/remove a distro from the list of 25? Monthly/Quarterly polling? Just something to think about.
89 • Bodhi linux (by Chanath on 2013-04-04 03:56:08 GMT from Sri Lanka)
What's remarkable in Bodhi Linux is its minimalism and its responsiveness. I don't fancy E17--not very easy on the eyes--but, I can very easily make a fast distro out of it with Gnome classic, and even add Slingshot New or Old to it, then add the apps I need, and get a very nice respin.
90 • @89 E17 not very easy on the eyes (by meanpt on 2013-04-04 10:57:07 GMT from Portugal)
Why do you say that? I'm sure that's not because of the DE font's size, right?
91 • @90 E17 not easy on the eyes. (by Chanath on 2013-04-04 12:14:23 GMT from Sri Lanka)
No, it is not because of the font size, as fonts can be made bigger. My eyes get tired with E17 and I cannot pinpoint the problem, but after a while it becomes a problem. Bodhi Linux is a very good minimalist distro to make anything out of it. I like the way Jeff had stripped Ubuntu.
92 • GhostBSD (by Dave Postles on 2013-04-04 18:32:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
It was fine in its previous incarnations, but obviously there are a few bugs in the upgrading. The previous artwork was rather fine too, although I replaced it with my own wallpaper, as I tend to do. Cairo-dock also worked well in the earlier versions. I hope that the team persists.
93 • cut down the number of distributions tracked by your database (by Mohammed on 2013-04-04 19:38:18 GMT from India)
Sir there are many distributions that are not popular but they are very helpful in certain tasks like gentoo it provides latest software, Kaali its a distribution known for its security.
I would suggest you to rank all the active distributions.
94 • Really? (by Phil on 2013-04-05 07:02:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'm just stunned that so many people fell for this April Fool's joke and despite there being some clear references to it in the comments people still are! I didn't realise that this wasn't "celebrated" everywhere and seems to be way over the heads of some posters.
I love DW by the way!
95 • 746 to just 25 (by rititi on 2013-04-05 11:47:08 GMT from France)
i know i'm late but it's just an april fool?
96 • Yes, it is an April Fool joke (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-04-05 17:40:13 GMT from United States)
Mostly. As always, such a joke must start with a grain of truth ... and like feline predators, some love to bat a subject about. And others (especially trolls) like to simulate the credulous.
97 • Linux market share = 1.17 % ?? (by gregzeng on 2013-04-06 02:11:17 GMT from Australia)
This topic is much discussed here, especially regarding Dw stats. Just now reading:
Operating System Market Share
which was pointed from: http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/05/googles-blink-engine-hints-at-more-streamlined-chrome/ - discussion about Google's Blink fork, and the affects on web browsers, developers & indirectly, Linux designers (Webkit, KHTML, etc).
98 • remove distros (by imnotrich on 2013-04-06 21:59:48 GMT from Mexico)
I know there's a bit of April Fools joke going on...but I'm kinda serious.
Why don't we delete all distros from the list that have poor wireless support?
That would eliminate all the supposed favorites like Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, Puppy. But what we'd have left are a list of distros that actually have their priorities straight.
99 • Re: #98 Remove Distros (by tdockery97 on 2013-04-06 22:48:14 GMT from United States)
I guess ALL distros should be removed then. There is not a distro in existence that there isn't at least someone who has had trouble with wireless. It all depends on your individual situation. I've never had wireless problems with any of those you mentioned. We should be grateful that there is enough variety for everyone to find one that works for them.
100 • Distro List (by mousegun on 2013-04-06 23:59:20 GMT from United States)
=================[ S H R E E K ! ]=================
oh. it's a joke. never mind.
101 • Wikipedia entry for Distrowatch outdated now. (by gregzeng on 2013-04-07 03:19:26 GMT from Australia)
Wikipedia is having a outflow of editors, including myself. Their governance IMO discourages volunteer experts who are not strugging in the sheltered workshops called "education institution".
Distrowatch: "This article relies on references to primary sources. Please add references to secondary or tertiary sources. (May 2010)"
The sample graphic is 4 years old, so nothing has changed in 4 years?
"DistroWatch is a website which provides news, popularity rankings, and other general information" ... so this comment section, the newsletters, podcast listing do not exist?
The last edit to their entry was 6 mths ago. If you know someone who has not been attacked by Wikipedia management, perhaps you might entice them to update the Distrowatch entry.
102 • KDE ... rubbish, to be eliminated ?? (by gregzeng on 2013-04-07 11:34:15 GMT from Australia)
Wikipedia - "KWIN"
"The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines for products and services. Please help to establish notability by adding reliable, secondary sources about the topic. If notability cannot be established, the article is likely to be merged, redirected, or deleted.
Find sources: "KWin" – news · books · scholar · JSTOR · free images (September 2012)"
So many big name Linux distros seem to be unreliable, un-"notable", according to the administrators of Wikipedia. Are they foreseeing the death of Distrowatch and its users? I hope not. I'm so fatigued - getting threatening emails from them: the "EXPERTS" on everything: dead, alive, half-dead and half-alive.
103 • Argh. (by Julian on 2013-04-07 13:36:41 GMT from United States)
You got me.
104 • 99 (by Imnotrich on 2013-04-07 23:43:27 GMT from Mexico)
You've never had a wireless problem with any of the distros I mentioned? Pray tell, what card are you using? I want to buy it! Or one like it. Realtek and Atheros do NOT work well with them. More accurately they just don't work at all.
I would agree we are lucky to have so many distros to choose from. What frustrates me is that I have to burn hundreds of CDs to find one that works with my common hardware...and I am still looking.
105 • RE: Wireless and distros (by rubberhose cryptography on 2013-04-08 02:44:44 GMT from United States)
"What frustrates me is that I have to burn hundreds of CDs to find one that works with my common hardware"
So you've never heard of LiveUSB and/or using VMs?
Cry me a river and give me 50% of the toll profits, Little John!
If LiveUSB and VMs didn't exist, the cost of blank CD/DVD media is at an all time low. There's also rewritable discs, too.
Welcome to the future of IT. Where have you been? :P
106 • (by The SIX fingered MAN! on 2013-04-08 04:26:19 GMT from Sweden)
@Imnotrich on 2013-04-07 23:43:27 GMT from Mexico:
You can spot many anti-linux, pro-microsoft shills by how stupid they post.
I don't believe you in the # of CDs you claim to burn, may as well just buy a brick wall and slam your head against it. However, let's say you're really telling us the truth. Why don't you turn your CD burning into a business? You're obviously skilled in burning Linux CDs, buy one of those machines which burn dozens upon dozens of discs per minute(s) and help spread Linux.
Or, you could just change your story because I don't believe it.
Number of Comments: 106
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
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