| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 502, 8 April 2013
Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Much of the spotlight this week fell on Ubuntu and Ubuntu derivatives as Canonical released a beta for the upcoming launch of Ubuntu 13.04. Ubuntu is frequently a source of experimental changes and controversy and the latest beta will provide insight into the direction Canonical is taking their popular distribution. This week we will hear the opinion of Matt Harley as he compares the upcoming Ubuntu release against the latest version of openSUSE and discusses which may serve its users better. Jesse Smith will be comparing two other technologies, specifically the Btrfs and ZFS advanced file systems. Read on to find out which file systems is better suited to your storage needs. We will also be taking a look at Linux Mint's Debian Edition, a popular distribution with a semi-rolling release approach to package management. How does the Debian Edition of Linux Mint compare with the project's other editions? Open source projects are constantly evolving and this week we hear from the FreeBSD Foundation as they search for new ideas on how to improve the powerful FreeBSD operating system. We also talk about a company which is switching to Linux and taking open source into the final frontier. Later in this issue we will cover the releases, podcasts and newsletters of the past week and look ahead to exciting new releases to come. We wish you all a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring Linux Mint's "Debian" edition
Linux Mint is a project which is probably best known for taking the Ubuntu distribution and altering the graphical interface in order to appeal to desktop users. Mint combines traditional desktop environments with a collection of convenient end-user utilities to create a distribution which is beginner friendly. While most of Mint's editions are based upon the Ubuntu distribution there is a branch of the Mint project which combines Mint's practical desktop approach with a Debian GNU/Linux base. This Debian-based flavour of Mint uses software packages from Debian's Testing branch. To counter the potential stability problems caused by using a rolling release repository the Mint team maintains a series of upgrade packs which are tested prior to being released to the community. This places a safety valve between possible software regressions and the community of Mint users.
Linux Mint's "Debian" edition is offered in two desktop flavours, MATE and Cinnamon, and both offerings are available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The download images for each build are approximately 1.2GB in size. Some of the highlights of the latest release include an updated graphical installer, newer versions of most packages and a device driver manager. The device driver manager attempts to detect hardware which may not be supported by default and assists users in downloading the software required to support their hardware. The Mint website makes it clear that while Mint's Debian Edition looks and behaves in a similar fashion to Mint's Main Edition there are some important differences. The Debian-based and the Ubuntu-based flavours are not binary compatible with each other and the Debian branch of the project does not include support for EFI or Secure Boot technology.
I opted to download the 32-bit build of the MATE edition. Booting from the Mint disc brings up the MATE desktop with Mint's branding in the background. Icons sit on the desktop for navigating the file system and launching the system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find the application menu and the task switcher. The application menu is displayed using Mint's custom menu layout. This menu gives us an all-in-one approach to exploring the MATE environment as applications, system tools and file system places are all displayed together in the single menu. At the bottom of the menu is a search box which lets us locate menu items by name. I always find adjusting to the way the Mint menu works takes a while as the menu system is presented in a slightly different way from other application menus. However, once I get used to it, I find the Mint menu is convenient and pleasant to navigate.
Linux Mint 201303 "Debian" - the application menu and installer
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The system installer for Linux Mint's Debian edition is a graphical application. The installer is a custom application developed by the Mint team and it appears to be designed to look similar to Ubuntu's installer. We are walked through selecting our preferred language and then asked to select our time zone from a map of the world. We confirm our keyboard layout and there is a text box on the keyboard mapping screen to let us test our configuration. The next screen asks us to create a user account. Partitioning the hard drive is handled by GParted which can be launched from within the Mint installer. Once we have divided up the hard disk we can assign mount points to our partitions. We then have the option of installing the GRUB boot loader and we can specify the boot loader's location. The installer pauses to show us a summary of actions it will take and we are asked to confirm the settings we have provided. The installer then copies files to the local drive and, when it is finished, it offers to reboot the machine for us. The installer is fairly novice-friendly and I didn't encounter any problems while using it. I'm hoping other Debian-based distributions consider adopting Mint's installer. There are a lot of Debian derivative projects out there and many of them lack a nice, graphical installer.
Upon booting the locally installed copy of Linux Mint we are brought to a graphical login screen. The first time we sign in we are shown a welcome screen. This welcome window contains many links which will open a web browser and connect us with key parts of the Mint website. We can use the welcome screen to quickly reach the project's forum, documentation, the community website and the hardware database, among other pages. Shortly after logging in an icon appeared in the system tray letting me know software updates were available for the system. Clicking this icon opens the Mint update application. The update app shows us a list of packages which can be upgraded. The information shown includes the package's name, the package's size, the version we currently have installed and the latest version available in the repositories. Throughout the week I installed several updates and encountered no problems with the upgrade process.
Linux Mint comes with a useful collection of popular applications. Browsing through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Pidgin instant messenger software and the XChat IRC chat client. The Transmission bittorrent client is installed for us along with a PDF viewer, the LibreOffice suite and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. The Brasero disc burner is installed for us as is the Banshee audio player and the Totem video player. Mint comes with several administration utilities which assist us in configuring the firewall, adding or removing user accounts, managing printers and creating backups. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. There is a useful little app for uploading files via a drag-n-drop interface which will copy files to remote FTP or secure shell servers. There is an application for profiling the system, getting hardware information and running benchmarks. There are small apps for editing text files, working with archives and taking notes. Mint Debian Edition comes with the GNU Compiler Collection, the Flash web browser plugin and codecs for playing popular multimedia formats. Under it all sits the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
Linux Mint 201303 "Debian" - Control Center
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One application which I feel deserves special mention is the Device Driver Manager. This program attempts to detect hardware on our system which may not be well supported by our existing kernel or drivers. The Manager will assist us in detecting wireless cards, video cards and our CPU and offer to fetch packages which may give us better hardware support. For instance, the 32-bit build of Mint Debian Edition can use one of two kernels. The first is designed to work with 486-compatible machines and has no PAE or multicore support. The other is a 686-compatible kernel with both PAE and SMP support. I found the 486 version of the kernel was installed by default, but the Device Driver Manager properly detected that my CPU could work with the 686 version of the kernel and benefit from its additional features. With a button click the manager downloaded and installed the more appropriate kernel. I like this approach as it means Mint is taking the safer, more conservative option by default while making it easy for users to upgrade to a kernel which better fits their needs.
Linux Mint 201303 "Debian" - Device Driver Manager
(full image size: 192kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
The distribution comes with two graphical package managers. The first is Mint Install, a modern-looking application which allows users to browse categories of software navigating via a web-like interface. Applications are presented in lists and are displayed with their user-supplied rating. Clicking on a package brings up a screen which shows a detailed description of the package, a screen shot and user reviews. Software packages can be installed or removed with the click of a button and the user can continue to browse for additional software while Mint Install processes requests in the background. I found Mint Install to be a responsive and easy to use package manager. The second package manager is Synaptic, which will appeal to the more traditional crowd. Synaptic is a no nonsense package manager which allows users to create batch jobs of actions to be performed. The interface is a bit more complex while giving a more package-oriented view of the system compared with Mint Install's application-centric view of the operating system. I used both graphical front-ends and found they both performed well and I encountered no problems while using either one.
Linux Mint 201303 "Debian" - software management
(full image size: 234kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I tried running Linux Mint on two machines, my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card). I found Mint ran well on the laptop. Boot times were short, my screen was set to its maximum resolution and wireless networking worked out of the box. Sound worked and the desktop was very responsive. On the other hand, Mint's Debian Edition refused to boot on my desktop machine, an issue I wasn't able to resolve. In addition to these two test environments I ran Mint inside VirtualBox and found the distribution worked well in the virtual machine. In the virtual environment Mint still had short boot times, the desktop was quick to respond and I encountered no problems. Memory usage was generally low, typically between 160 MB and 190 MB when logged into the MATE desktop.
Running Linux Mint's "Debian" edition was a very pleasant experience for me. While the distribution wouldn't run on my desktop machine, it performed flawlessly on the laptop. The MATE desktop which ships with Mint is fast, polished and easy to navigate. Package management is both intuitive and quick and the various Mint configuration utilities make administering a Mint desktop quite easy. A good deal of software is included out of the box and there is a huge repository of Debian packages available along with some third-party software provided by the Mint team. Having a distribution based on Debian's Testing repository gives the user a relatively stable rolling release experience with the added benefit of having major upgrades vetted by the Mint team.
All in all Mint's Debian branch offers a pleasant experience with a friendly graphical installer, useful tools and lots of software all in a convenient package. The one detractor Mint's Debian Edition may have is, oddly enough, Mint's own Main Edition. While the Debian branch of Mint is a fine distribution its technology base prevents users from having access to certain helpful features available in other Mint editions. For example Mint's Debian Edition isn't able to use Ubuntu PPAs, it is missing some third-party software packages built for Ubuntu, and One storage & store support is missing. It would also appear as though the kernel which ships with Mint's Debian Edition doesn't have all the hardware support available in the Main Edition. These features tend to be edge cases and many people will probably get along fine without them, but I still suspect the strongest competitors to Mint Debian Edition are Mint's other flavours.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu vs openSUSE, the FreeBSD Foundation calls for project ideas, PC-BSD rolling-release update, Linux prepares for blastoff
The diversity of the Linux ecosystem gives birth to a lot of speculation and debate as to which distribution is the best and, more importantly, best for what purpose. Matt Harley recently set out to compare two popular distributions, openSUSE and Ubuntu, and explore what makes these two distributions attractive to different types of users. He discusses user friendliness, configuration, hardware support and software management among other points. He suggests: "For newer users, Ubuntu is still the best distribution choice overall. There's less stuff to get lost with, discovering new software is easier, and keeping the system in good working order is a no-brainer." Fans of openSUSE will appreciate his closing comment: "If you're an advanced user, you'll want openSUSE. For anyone who has a firm understanding of how the Linux desktop works, wants to get things done quickly and wants a ton of GUI control over their desktop, openSUSE is the distribution you will want to use. I can't state this enough."
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Many open source projects are made up of volunteers, people who work on software in their spare time for fun, out of curiosity or in order to improve the tools they use on a daily basis. The FreeBSD Foundation would like to give developers the opportunity to work on the FreeBSD operating system for all of those reasons and, possibly, get paid for their work. The Foundation is currently accepting proposals for projects which would be of benefit to the FreeBSD community. Development projects which are accepted by the Foundation will be able to receive funding in order to compensate developers for their time and expenses. Proposals will be accepted through to April 26, 2013 and accepted submissions will be announced on May 17, 2013.
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The PC-BSDi project has recently adopted an optional rolling-release approach to package management for users who wish to keep up-to-date with the latest available open-source software. This new rolling-release approach introduces binary package management to PC-BSD which works much the same way as binary package management on most Linux distributions. As PC-BSD is completely compatible with FreeBSD and TrueOS this means that users of all three projects will be able to make use of the new package repositories. The PC-BSD blog reports: "This package repository is frequently updated, usually bi-weekly, with the latest and greatest from the FreeBSD ports tree. We will be using this repository for the PC-BSD rolling release edition, but it can also be used anywhere else you need packages on a PC-BSD or FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE system. This can include FreeBSD, TrueOS, PC-BSD, Jails and more. Getting setup to use this new repository is easy, and only requires minimal configuration." For instructions on how to access the new repositories on FreeBSD, PC-BSD and TrueOS visit the PC-BSD wiki.
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Linux based operating systems have achieved great success in many markets. The open-source kernel powers operating systems running on millions servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Now Linux will be voyaging into a new frontier: space. United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor which is involved with operations on the International Space Station (ISS), is migrating many of their key systems from Windows to Linux. This migration to open source includes the world's first "robonaut", a humanoid robot which will assist astronauts on the space station with mundane or dangerous tasks. The robot, named R2: "can be manipulated by onboard astronauts with ground controllers commanding it into position and performing operations. The Linux training from the Linux Foundation will help NASA developers ensure that R2 can be a productive addition to the ISS." This move not only expands Linux's influence out of this world, but will also provide feedback to the community as Linux distributions get tested in a new and challenging environment. It is an exciting new chapter in Linux use and development.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Comparing file systems -- ZFS and Btrfs
Looking-for-a-new-file-system asks: With ZFS support on Linux reaching a new milestone which is the better choice for Linux users, Btrfs or ZFS? Why might I choose one over the other?
DistroWatch answers: A good deal of what separates the two file systems, Btrfs and ZFS, has less to do with technical merit and more to do with communities and licensing. I suspect many people make their decision as to which file system technology to use based on which community they are in rather than the benefits of using one advanced file system or the other. Which isn't to say the choice is entirely political, but rather different communities will have better (or worse) support for one technology or the other.
ZFS first appeared in OpenSolaris back in 2005 and was licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). This fairly liberal licensing allowed ZFS technology to spread from OpenSolaris to FreeBSD, OS X, PC-BSD, FreeNAS, NetBSD, OpenIndiana and other liberally licensed operating systems. The technology has had seven years to mature, developers have had time to shake out the bugs and just about anywhere you go in the Solaris/BSD communities you can find ZFS support and documentation. However, ZFS support hasn't gained as much of a foothold in Linux circles because the CDDL, under which ZFS is licensed, isn't entirely compatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL) which is used by the Linux kernel. This means the source code for ZFS cannot be merged with the Linux kernel and distributed. Instead Linux distributions need to find another way to support ZFS, either using add-on kernel modules (as supplied by the ZFS on Linux project) or they can supply a ZFS userspace driver. Neither solution is ideal and it tends to make Linux administrators uneasy about adopting ZFS.
Btrfs, on the other hand, was developed specifically to work with Linux and is licensed under the GNU General Public License. Both the origin of Btrfs and its license suggest it is unlikely to see wide spread usage outside of the Linux communities. At the same time the fact that Btrfs was designed to work specifically with the Linux kernel meant that it could be adopted into the Linux source code early on in its development and lots of people have been able to work on Btrfs without worrying about changes to the kernel's interfaces which might cause incompatibilities. Having Btrfs built into the kernel makes it a more attractive file system for Linux distributions which means we are more likely to find support for Btrfs in Linux installers and in the documentation of various distributions. One of the few drawbacks to adopting Btrfs on Linux at this stage is Btrfs is still fairly young. The technology was introduced into the Linux kernel in 2009 and the code is still under "heavy development", which means it's risky to use Btrfs on production systems. Choosing to use either ZFS or Btrfs on Linux carries a small amount of risk as ZFS is rarely given official support by distributions and Btrfs is still developing fast enough so most distributions aren't ready to treat it as a first-class file system.
On the technical side of things both Btrfs and ZFS have a good deal in common. They both allow administrators to manage huge amounts of data spread out across multiple storage devices. Both file systems allow for snapshots, restores and transferring the complex file system to another machine. For many people the features offered by either file system will be suitable. There are some differences which may tip the balance in favour of one technology or the other. For instance Btrfs is compatible with the ext4 family of file systems. This means we can convert an ext4 file system to Btrfs and then convert Btrfs back to ext4. This makes it easy to experiment with Btrfs or grow a Btrfs implementation out of an existing Linux installation. As mentioned earlier ZFS has gained widespread usage on other platforms and administrators should be able to export ZFS pools from other operating systems to Linux or from Linux to another operating system, which can be convenient. Btrfs has a really nice "diff" feature which allows users to compare the contents of a file as it currently exists against the contents of a previous version of the file. This is especially ideal for developers as they can track changes to code or documentation using the file system's snapshots. In my opinion the ZFS command line utilities have a nicer syntax and I find the manual pages easier to read.
I think the issue of which technology to use comes down to this question: Do you want to use a file system which has been around long enough to become stable and work consistently across multiple operating systems, or do you want a younger technology which is specific to Linux and will likely receive support from your distribution? Personally I would recommend trying both file systems on a test machine, load them up with data, make snapshots, perform restores, intentionally attempt to corrupt the data and then try to rescue the file system. See which technology you feel is best suited to your situation.
|Released Last Week
Slackel 3.0 "Openbox"
Less than two weeks since the release of 2.0, the developers of Slackel, a lightweight Slackware-based distribution, have announced the release of version 3.0: "Slackel 3.0 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware Linux and Salix OS. This is an update release. Changes are: Linux kernel 3.4.8 and lots of updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. Slackel 3.0 Openbox includes the Midori 0.4.9 web browser, Claws-Mail 3.8.1, Transmission, SpaceFM, OpenJRE 7u9, Rhino, Icedtea-web, Pidgin, gFTP, wicd. AbiWord, Gnumeric and ePDFviewer office applications are included. Whaawmp is the default movie player, Exaile 3.3.0 is the application to use for managing your music collection, Asunder CD ripper, Brasero for writing CD/DVDs and more. In the graphics section Viewnior 1.3, GIMP 2.8.4 and Scrot the snapshot utility." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot.
Patrick d'Emmabuntüs has announced the availability of an updated version of Emmabuntüs, a Xubuntu-based distribution with the Xfce desktop and a large number of pre-installed applications: "The Collective Emmabuntüs is pleased to announce the availability of the third maintenance release of Emmabuntüs 2 1.04 based on Xubuntu 12.04.2. This distribution was designed to facilitate the refurbishing of computers given to humanitarian organizations, especially Emmaüs communities (where the name comes from), and to promote the discovery of Linux by beginners, but also to extend the life of the equipment and to reduce waste caused by over-consumption of raw materials. This update is delivered to improve the use of Emmabuntüs 2 in digital public spaces, and in organizations using Emmabuntüs." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Pear Linux 7
David Tavares has announced the release of Pear Linux 7, a highly customised Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution with GNOME 3.6: "Pear Linux 7 is available. You will find in this version: Linux kernel 3.5, LibreOffice 4.0.1, Pear OS software center, MyPear 4, Pear Cleaner 2.1; based on Ubuntu 12.10 without Unity and the GNOME panel; new Pear Linux Shell (7.0) based on Wingpanel and plank; new Pear Linux and icon theme, splash and login screen; new desktop notifications with notification center; new Pear OS software center; new mission control; new virtual desktop switcher; based on Linux kernel 3.5, but you kernels 3.7.10 and 3.8.5 are available in the repository; CleanMyPear - a cleaning system...." See the full release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Pear Linux 7 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with a custom GNOME 3 desktop user interface
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Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 13.4, an updated release of the user-friendly, Xubuntu-based Linux distribution: "Today we are pleased to announce the release of OS4 OpenDesktop 13.4. With this releases we bring in a lot of updates as well as some new functionality to enhance one of the most popular Linux distributions around. OS4 OpenDesktop 13.4 comes in a 32-bit release as well as 64-bit release. Since the 32-bit release is still somewhat popular we decided to keep producing the 32-bit release. With this release we bring in over 200 updates to applications and as well as the core system. With this release we include: Linux kernel 3.2 which provides new drivers as well as stability enhancements to the kernel; Firefox 20.0; Thunderbird 17.0.4; Google Maps replacing Nokia Maps...." 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
|Around The Web (by Jesse Smith)
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|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Random distribution button, new news filtering option, questions about Pisi Linux and Ubuntu GNOME|
Just a couple of notes about some of the recent changes on DistroWatch.com. Firstly, as many correctly concluded (although some did not), last week's news about removing most of the distributions from the DistroWatch database was indeed an April Fool's joke.
Secondly, many of you have noticed a new addition to the site's navigation bar - a "Random Distribution" button. This was requested by Ryan, a devote DistroWatch reader and distro hopper: "I love to go on DistroWatch to find new distros to use in VirtualBox and to put on old computers, but I have one problem. Well, it's not very much a problem, but it's something I wish there was. I wish there was a button you could press to take you to a random active distribution, because I get very lost in there sometimes.". The new button does exactly that - it will take you to a random active distribution's page on DistroWatch. So far the "toy" has been very popular - it received over 32,000 clicks in the first five days of its existence!
Another addition to the front page is an option to display news about stable distribution releases ONLY (i.e. hide all news items that deal with development, alphas, betas, release candidate, milestones, etc.). This is useful when you are researching a popular distribution or want to look up information about an older release - now you don't need to wade through dozens of development news items to find what you are looking for. Just choose "Release: Stable" from the drop-down box in the News Filtering Options rectangle (just above the first news item on the main page).
We have removed Pisi Linux from DistroWatch. This is a distribution that intends to succeed the "old" Pardus Linux (when it was an independent distribution with its own package management called "Pisi", rather than the current Debian-based variant). Unfortunately, we have found the project still rather immature at this stage - it has changed name three times already and the communication with the distribution developers have been rather unpleasant, with many conflicting requests and confusing emails. Also, the project's SourceForge page continues to claim that "as of 2013-03-14, this project is no longer under active development," which has been denied by the project's official website. All in all, adding Pisi Linux to DistroWatch so early was perhaps a little premature so we would like to give it a bit more time to mature and settle down. We'll revisit the decision in the future once things start to improve - until that happens we are sorry to say that you won't see any announcements on DistroWatch. If you are interested in this project please visit their official English-language website for news and information.
Finally, an answer to questions by a number of readers who wanted to know why the new Ubuntu GNOME (an official Ubuntu subproject featuring GNOME Shell, rather than Unity as the default user interface) had not been added to DistroWatch. The reason is that, unlike other Ubuntu subprojects, including the recently-added UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu GNOME doesn't have its own project infrastructure (web site, logo, support options, etc.). On DistroWatch, such a distro is considered an "edition" of its parent, rather than a distribution in its own right. Yes, it's an arbitrary rule, but we had to draw a line somewhere because periodically there are calls to list even editions (e.g. Linux Mint "Debian" edition and many others) as separate distributions. As always, there will be opposing views on this issue and since it's not possible to please everybody, we'll have a-distro-must-have-its-website rule. Good news for those who wish to see Ubuntu GNOME listed as a "distribution" (and bad news for those who don't) - the project's leaders tell us that they are planning to set up their own website in the near future.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- MakuluLinux. MakuluLinux is a custom Linux Mint remix which features multiple desktop environments, multimedia codecs, WINE's compatibility layer and Steam.
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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, 15 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.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Linux Mint (by MI Vinas on 2013-04-08 09:15:36 GMT from United States) |
IMHO clearly the best Distro out thanks for the review. Have not tried the Debian edition, just may now. Although it's hard to beat the main edition that "just works"...(oh lord Mac slogans I so apologize!)
2 • Pisi (by Ariszló on 2013-04-08 09:31:38 GMT from Hungary)
Quoting from the Pisi blog:
Some people also notice that Pisi Linux has gone from Distrowatch. The reason is that some people, with toddler behavior who are trying to destroy the project, love to contact Distrowatch under the name of the Pisi Linux project. This has also caused confusion at Distrowatch, and therefore Distrowatch has decided to pass back Linux Pisi into place when it is 'grow up'. But do not worry, all kittens have to grow up :) All we ask is a little patience ...
3 • Stable distribution releases only (by Alexandru on 2013-04-08 09:35:19 GMT from Romania)
The possibility to list only stable releases in the news sections is VERY welcome for me. Unfortunately, I have some issues with it:
1. Filtering out development releases removes also DistroWatch weekly from the news, which is not good in my opinion.
2. After trying this option, I was unable to add any comment in Reader Comments section at all, even after setting "All Releases" back.
I hope these issues will be addressed.
4 • Mint (Cinnamon) not best for gaming. (by morgan on 2013-04-08 09:53:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Benchmarking games on various DE's has shown that gnome3/cinnamon to be the worst in fps of all the desktop environments.
You will get higher framerates with KDE,LXDE,E17.
With KDE you simply need to enable 'suspend desktop effects for full screen apps' - now KDE with give you full speed games.
Unity you can download ccsm (compiz settings manager) and enable undirect fullscreen windows and also get full speed - i.e
Its madness that KDE doesn't ship with 'suspend desktop effects for full screen apps' by default but apparantly some poxy drivers have issues, (KDE should make it automatically do this for nvidia users imo..) but at least that's solved just by the click of one button. So Ubuntu/Mint (i.e the most popular desktop distros) out the box will be below par for gaming
5 • RE: 2 Pisi (by ladislav on 2013-04-08 10:40:08 GMT from Taiwan)
That just adds another sinister dimension to the whole project. In 12+ years of DW I don't recall any "toddler behaviour" that would try to sabotage a project in this way. Another reason to give Pisi more time to mature and sort out the issues.
6 • ZFS vs btrfs (by Omari on 2013-04-08 11:25:56 GMT from United States)
Great explanation! My conclusion is that if you are a Linux user pondering ZFS vs btrfs your two best choices are: 1) go use a BSD and get the power of ZFS, or 2) stick with Linux and cobble together a solution using existing technologies like LVM. Neither ZFS nor Btrfs on Linux seems like much of an option.
7 • Btrfs and ZFS (by Pierre on 2013-04-08 11:40:17 GMT from Germany)
Both filesystems have their advantages and drawbacks.
Personally I would never run ZFS on Linux because of the little support it has by most of the Linux distributions and their communities.
And although ZFS is more mature I would recommend to try and run it under systems that heavily support ZFS and include it in their kernel, like the BSD- and illumos-based systems.
Currently I am acutally using Btrfs as my main file system under openSUSE 12.3 and haven't encountered any problems until today.
I much enjoy the features it brings. OpenSUSE has by far the best integration of Btrfs into the operating system. Snapshots are done when updates are done, giving an extra layer of security and the possibility to easily roll back the system to a previous state.
Additionally openSUSE's snapper tool helps a lot with making and managing snapshots, reviewing changes and even rolling back single files.
For me there is absolutely no reason for a ZFS adventure on Linux, although I would not like to miss the very mature and feature rich ZFS on the BSDs and illumos-based systems.
Greetings from Germany.
8 • Btrfs and ZFS (by DavidEF on 2013-04-08 12:58:16 GMT from United States)
Great to know that there are not very many real differences between the two, and it mostly comes down to which OS you're using. Now, how about a simple, layman explanation for what use a normal user would have for these advanced file systems. Is there a huge benefit of either of these over ext4 for example to a regular user? Or, are the benefits mainly for system administrators with huge server installations?
9 • the random distribution button (by Hugo Masse on 2013-04-08 13:39:28 GMT from Mexico)
I just wanted to congratulate you for the random distribution button, it's fantastic! I think it should actually read "distrohoppers paradise" or something like that, but it wouldn't be fair for first time visitors.
10 • News Filter+ (by zykoda on 2013-04-08 14:04:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'd vote for LTS (3+ years or RRs).
11 • Random distro? (by FormerDistroHopper on 2013-04-08 14:12:12 GMT from Germany)
A "Random Distro" button? With my luck, i'll get an ISO of a specialized console distro with tools for analyzing the sex life of fire ants, last updated in 2009, based on Cross-Linux-From-Scratch with a handbook in Chinese plus one in traditional Japanese, available for both Alpha and Sparc...
12 • Linux on Space Station (by octathlon on 2013-04-08 14:13:40 GMT from United States)
Great news about Linux on the ISS. The linked article is a good read. I'm always surprised when I hear about another case where critical systems have been running on Windows all this time. =:-O
13 • Btrfs and ZFS (re @ #8) (by Pierre on 2013-04-08 15:39:02 GMT from Germany)
As I wrote Btrfs has many nice features where the normal user with a single PC can benefit from as well as the administrator with huge server installations.
The question is how good solutions are integrated indistributions that are able to help the user to benefit from Btrfs and it's great advantages. Although it is not very complicated to do snapshots, diff comparisons on snapshots or to revert to a snapshot if you are familiar with the use of command line tools and not shy to get your hands dirty, it definitly needs a lot of time to become used to.
At the moment I only know of openSUSE's snapper that makes it a little more easier and delivers a GUI to such features.
Nevertheless I would still recommend to stay with ext4 until Btrfs becomes more mature and delivers kernel based fs check tools with it - especially on productive systems and despite the fact that I am already using it on my workstation.
That's the small drawback when you are using something that is still under heavy development - alhtough I find especially this a little frustrating regarding that it is under development since 2007, which means that the fs has had already more than 5 years to become mature and still isn't in every point.
14 • RE: 2 • Pisi by Ariszló (by FooFighter on 2013-04-08 16:11:09 GMT from United States)
So the PISI devs are basically saying they were framed by non-friendly people and they didn't send "unpleasant" things to the Distrowatch maintainers? The blog indicates there were many bad feelings with the former Pardus distro when the PISI tried to use the Pardus name in the past so they gave up and called it PISI after the package manager.
15 • LMDE (by David McCann on 2013-04-08 17:54:50 GMT from United Kingdom)
The new installer still needs a little work. It doesn't offer encryption (unlike Ubiquity in the ordinary Mint), only uses ext4, and occasionally crashes. If you get a crash, try rebooting in failsafe mode.
The software is excellent, though, and of course the Debian repo is much bigger than the Ubuntu one.
The man who wrote "For newer users, Ubuntu is still the best distribution choice overall." has obviously never tried Mint. Or Fuduntu, PCLinuxOS, Mepis, etc, etc.
16 • Mint's installer (by Ika on 2013-04-08 18:16:10 GMT from Spain)
" I'm hoping other Debian-based distributions consider adopting Mint's installer. There are a lot of Debian derivative projects out there and many of them lack a nice, graphical installer."
Yeah, Debian itself might consider adopting it. ;D
17 • re @ #16 - Mint Installer (by Pierre on 2013-04-08 19:06:29 GMT from Germany)
The Mint and the Debian installer are very different from one another - and for a good reason because they follow completely different design concepts.
The Mint installer ist aimed at being novice friendly, easy to deal with and is meant to simply copy over the disk image onto hard drive, as well as set up the presets and configure a bootloader.
It is a clean design, very simple and easy but as well by design very limited in options. It is good in copying over the system, adjust some very basic things for delivering a basic system everyone will be able to deal with.
On the other hand there is the Debian installer, which does not only offer a GUI for installing the system with basic configurations, but also an ncurses based text installer which works exactly the same like the GUI.
This limits your possibilities in design, nevertheless the Debian installer ist very flexible, you have a lot of choices, it's rock solid and does a great job in giving you many choices and possibilities which the Mint installer will never be able to dream of.
So I don't think Debian should change the installer because it would not be able to satisfy more professional needs.
Both installers do exactly what they are supposed to do but aim at completely different userbasis and usecases.
Mint's installer for example has never been able or been designed to meet the needs of server installs etc.
A Debian with a Mint installer would be a castrated one and therefore no Debian anymore. So what I want to say: Just always keep in mind what a piece of software was designed for.
18 • LMDE (by FSFer on 2013-04-08 19:10:04 GMT from United States)
The problem with LMDE doesn't become apparent until are running for some months, ie the update packs only are released every few months. Therefore to get timely updates, you have to change repos to the standard testing ( or sid) negating the proposed advantage of the update packs.
19 • Jesse's desktop (by Andy Prough on 2013-04-08 19:41:16 GMT from United States)
Jesse - you noted in DWW #500 that the same desktop did not work with openSUSE. Now, with Mint Debian not working, I'm wondering if you've got some kind of a hardware problem? I've got to wonder about that Radeon graphics card you are using - I've had much more luck since I started running Intel or Nvidia on my Linux rigs.
Otherwise, I liked this review. I'm glad that Mint seems to be building an effective Control Center with some very useful tools. One thing I miss when I try distros other than SUSE/openSUSE is the YAST2 Control Center. Mint could gain a lot of converts simply by continuing to evolve their admin tools.
20 • Hardware (by Jesse on 2013-04-08 20:34:19 GMT from Canada)
>> "Jesse - you noted in DWW #500 that the same desktop did not work with openSUSE. Now, with Mint Debian not working, I'm wondering if you've got some kind of a hardware problem?"
Since I use the same desktop almost every day with one Linux distribution or another I think it would be more accurate to say some distributions have a hardware support problem. A few years back when I first started using my laptop with its Intel wireless card many people raised the same question. Some distributions worked with it, but many wouldn't detect the card. Now, a few years later, every distribution I throw at it seems to work on this laptop. The laptop hasn't changed, but support has grown much better. I suspect the same will be true of the desktop machine. Right now some distributions aren't booting on it, but as time goes by support for my hardware will likely trickle down to them. The hardware works just fine when paired with distributions with proper support.
21 • LMDE (by Sam on 2013-04-08 21:14:14 GMT from United States)
Another plus for LMDE versus Ubuntu or even Mint 14 is LMDE's support for all the Python and Perl libraries necessary to run several scientific programs including Grass, QGIS and R. On Ubuntu many R packages conflict with Ubuntu's maintained Perl libraries and QGIS installs on Ubuntu with broken support for the python library necessary to add/manage extensions.
22 • LMDE (by mz on 2013-04-08 23:10:45 GMT from United States)
After rolling off of a working kernel on LMDE update pack 5 to a bad one on update pack 6, I just used the Device Driver Manager to switch to a 686 based kernel. It works great so far, but rolling onto a bad kernel was a little disappointing. At lest now it'll default to a working system. LMDE is still good, but I like PCLOS better overall for a rolling release type system.
I stopped booting into vista a long time ago & have no regrets, but I did leave it there. Leaving an old copy of Windows on your system is probably the preferred option for most, even if you never use it like me you might need some Windows software sometime.
23 • Btrfs and ZFS (by Oko on 2013-04-08 23:15:20 GMT from United States)
The main difference between ZFS and Btrfs is that one exists (ZFS) and the another one doesn't! The second difference is that ZFS requires Solaris kernel or at least ability of the host operating system to run paravirtualized Solaris kernel while the second one requires Linux kernel. The third difference is that a FreeBSD developer who lives on the another side of Atlantic and doesn't know too much about U.S. legal system thought that CDDL meant Free so he wrote the code which enables FreeBSD to run paravirtualized Solaris kernel. However, we who live on this side Atlantic know that CDDL is not free so we pay to run Solaris when we need ZFS and need not to switch our operating system just to use cryptography with ZFS. Btrfs is not going to have the same luck as there are too few developers of FreeBSD left who are not running OS X and have any need to hack FreeBSD as they can install Linux in the VirtualBox just as FreeBSD on their beloved MAC.
Finally, it is too bad that Jesse was consumed by getting latest KDE working and his wireless card recognized by DragonFly BSD while writing a review for this flavor of BSD as he would have discovered another fully functional, free, and open source journaling file system called Hammer which doesn't require 32 GB of RAM like ZFS and could actually be used even on his laptop. Ahh so long another day in the search for that perfect distro which will run the latest KDE, recognize that broadcom crap and win printer.
24 • LMDE / 32 bit vs 64 bit (by kernelpanic! on 2013-04-08 23:17:52 GMT from Germany)
I personally prefer LMDE over the .buntu-based versions because of the phantastic feature of rolling release package handling. just tired of eternal new installations => install once and forget. plus you have 3 choices: 1.safest: stay with default mint repos, 2. testing: my choice, 3. unstable: if you want bleeding edge and are not afraid to play with occasional breakages.
this combined with about 40000 packages ... what more could I ask for?
25 • LMDE died on me (by mz on 2013-04-08 23:30:02 GMT from United States)
Odd, it seems like LMDE wants to roll over & die after the second boot with the 686 kernel. I think it may have done the same thing when I installed update pack 6. I was hoping the new Device Driver Manager would fix it without further tweaking. Very disappointing.
26 • "We have removed Pisi Linux from DistroWatch." (by Lumberjack on 2013-04-09 09:57:34 GMT from Sweden)
Not to take away, ( http://www.pardus-anka.org/en/ ) is create confusion about leadership in the project. Poor organization of leadership has probably created an unsustainable project. Not to appoint a leader or someone who takes on a leadership role in the project is a disaster. Someone who is responsible for all contacts with the media/DistroWatch. Being kicked out of "DistroWatch" because of bad behavior equals a dead project. It's probably a likely fate for the project Pisi Linux.
27 • Passwords (by MervPatrick on 2013-04-09 11:37:43 GMT from Australia)
As an ardent Linux Fan mainly Linux Mint and Ubuntu i am in a quandary as to why we have to have these annoying passwords for everything least little thing we do. Now as a single (sole) user in my household i think it is totally unnecessary.
Oh i can just see the Linux diehards crying into their Lentil soup at the very idea of not having passwords, but could we not have a choice at the installation point as to whether we want to use passwords or not. just a thought as it drives me crazy.
28 • Why the new Ubuntu GNOME had not been added to DistroWatch (by ange on 2013-04-09 14:01:02 GMT from Hungary)
Because it's lighter, faster, more usable than the Unity version, but Unity can steal all points from this derivant. Funny.
29 • re @ #27 - Passwords (by Pierre on 2013-04-09 17:11:53 GMT from Germany)
We all are in heavy need for not only passwords, but save passwords. This is simply a matter of security.
But actually you don't have to set a user password when creating a new one, only the root user has to get a password.
In the KDE wallet - if you use it - you can configure it to never close an open wallet and so you need to only type your password once.
Non the less I really recommend to simply see passwords as a must have. The few seconds you need to type it in are worth the effort.
30 • Passwords are a nuisance (by Herbert Thornton on 2013-04-09 17:18:56 GMT from Canada)
MervPatrick dislikes having to use passwords. I hadn't given the idea much thought, but having read his proposal that we should be given a choice, right from the start, to use passwords or not, I agree with him completely. For all my purposes, passwords are completely unnecessary. My own favorite Linux is Peppermint3 - so much so that every time I've tried something else, I always come back to it - but I would like it even better without a silly password. Peppermint is already better than any Windows or Mac program, so how about it, Peppermint?
31 • Passwords (by Pearson on 2013-04-09 19:58:53 GMT from United States)
We have this discussion here at DWW every so often (monthly?). There are some intelligent people who agree with the idea of disabling passwords (or running as root). My concern is that it's not at all obvious the manner of things that can be compromised without a password. Even if it's offered as an opt-in option, the first time someone had their identity stolen, the "Linux is insecure" headline would be all over the place.
If you *really* hate passwords, then there are ways in many distros to set the password to an empty string (effective no password) or just on letter. I certainly do *not* recommend this!
32 • 27 passwords (by mandog on 2013-04-09 21:24:42 GMT from Peru)
I can't believe your comment or logic
What made windows so insecure the lack of security ie not using a password
So you want the same thing with Linux Well just login as xxxx BUT DON'T come here complaining when all has gone wrong?
Or go back to windows and get yourself a nice big root virus
Linux is about security security means you use a password now that is not hard is it.
33 • Passwords (by Ika on 2013-04-10 08:04:34 GMT from Spain)
I agree with @27. It should be an opt-in. If we’re speaking about freedom and highly claiming it, then let the user have plenty of freedom in his decisions.
Let’s see: say I’m setting passwords everywhere I can - root, user(s), boot, drives, partitions, every app/program, and whatever can be encrypted, and creating very “secure” ones (LOL! - 20-30 characters each password) -, this is useful just to prevent intrusion on a PHYSICAL access in a machine.
Once accessing a internet site/page (video, audio, news, social, whatever you like), opening a P2P client, a mail, etc..., what kind of protection is offering a password?
”Or go back to windows and get yourself a nice big root virus”
Is a password acting like an antivirus? Or like a firewall?
So, @32, I don’t understand your aggressive reply. Either in Windows can be used passwords as in Linux if someone want/need so.
34 • @ 33 • Passwords (by greg on 2013-04-10 08:39:44 GMT from Slovenia)
"what kind of protection is offering a password?"
if you donwload a malware it would need to know your password in order to access system files or to be able to run itself. without it it can not run. it doesn't magically protect your mashcine. but it's a security layer. the more layers you have the more difficulty to get infected or have the system compromised.
35 • passwords and security (by david on 2013-04-10 09:28:52 GMT from United Kingdom)
@34 - there is no such thing as security. There is either secure or not secure. Even if it is thought that there is 99% secure then that means the system is not secure. Its one of those black and white issues no grey. People say a lot about security by passwords and questions but really this only makes it difficult to get in - security by difficulty if you will. But not secure.
36 • @34 greg (by Ika on 2013-04-10 10:24:18 GMT from Spain)
"if you donwload a malware..."
Suposing you are downloading a picture. a video, a book etc.
How do you know if your download is or contain a malware?
Don't tell me: "Use trusted sites." This is very relative.
37 • security (by Brandon Sniadajewkski on 2013-04-10 11:50:53 GMT from United States)
There is a delicate balance between security and usability. By going off what david said; the only secure machine is one that's turned off, but it's not quite usable until it's turned on, then it's not secure, until... well you get the picture. Passwords, security updates, anti-malware, etc. are all reasonable measures to prevent someone else from compromising your machine while still giving you the ability to use your machine for what you want/need to do.
38 • Pisi Linux (by Murat on 2013-04-10 12:02:00 GMT from Belgium)
About Pisi Linux
It's one thing to remove Pisi Linux from Distrowatch (DW), it is an entirely different thing to accuse the project of being "immature", the communications being "unpleasant" and "disrespectful" (while there is only ONE email made to DW in reality).
Blindly believing anyone who claims to be a Pisi Linux team member is not what we expected from DW.
Only ONE Pisi Linux member contacted DW only ONCE (email: http://forum.pisilinuxworld.org/index.php?topic=82.msg282#msg282).
So, of which 'communications' are we talking here exactly? Who made which requests to DW?
Someone impersonated to be a Pisi Linux member and DW believed this person without even questioning their statements, disregarding every attempt by Pisi Linux to clarify this matter.
No one has the right to throw mud at this project.
The Pisi Linux project is not chaotic. Everything about Pisi Linux is open and transparent. Pisi Linux team members are listed on their Github page at https://github.com/pisilinux?tab=members. Pisi Linux' official websites are: www.pisilinux.org and www.pisilinuxworld.org (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pisi Linux community
39 • #15 Ubuntu - Mint (by Rev_Don on 2013-04-10 14:47:03 GMT from United States)
>>> The man who wrote "For newer users, Ubuntu is still the best distribution choice overall." has obviously never tried Mint. Or Fuduntu, PCLinuxOS, Mepis, etc, etc.<<<
Matt Hartley wrote that, and having followed him for quite some time I can assure you that he has tried Mint, and more than likely all of the distros you mentioned. You are taking his comment out of context in that he was specifically comparing Ubuntu to OpenSuse. In that defined context he feels that Ubuntu is the better choice for new users, and most knowledgeable users would more than likely agree. The complete article can be found at http://www.datamation.com/open-source/opensuse-and-ubuntu-compared.html
In a more general context he would probably be referring to Ubuntu in a broader sense including it's various derivatives and distros based on it (Mint, Pinguy, Xubuntu, etc.). I can't speak for him, but if asked I'm positive that is what he would say. At least that is the way he has come across on various pod casts and posts that I have seen/heard of his.
There are numerous ways to contact him and I'm sure that he would be more than willing to clarify that statement for you.
40 • The Pisi Linux project. (by Lumberjack on 2013-04-10 14:53:48 GMT from Sweden)
A sad story, ("Murat Özen"). How can it be so wrong? You must obviously be educational with information to DW. DistroWatch failed to perform a simple check of the facts and truth. I must apologize for my conclusions in the previous comment about Pisi Linux. I think DistroWatch will give Pisi Linux project a comprehensive excuse for a hasty action.
In my country, you are innocent until proved guilty.
41 • zfs vs. btrfs (by mj@ on 2013-04-10 19:50:13 GMT from United States)
I had the same question a few days ago, and did a Google search "zfs vs btrfs"... first entry in the search results was this link:
Which lists by topic specific areas where ZFS has advantages over BTRFS in both design concepts (tree structure) and implementation. I found this article very informative.
Also, the ZFSonLinux project announced on March 28th, 2013:
"Today the ZFS on Linux project reached an important milestone with the official 0.6.1 release! Over two years of use by real users has convinced us ZoL is ready for wide scale deployment on everything from desktops to super computers. " the article went on to list new repositories for Fedora, Debian, etc....
Hope this helps :-) --marc
42 • malware (by Dave Postles on 2013-04-10 20:21:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
If the malware is known, then you can check your downloads with Clamtk. If it's new, of course, then there may not be a signature for that one. If you want higher security, you can run LPS with no hard disk.
43 • 27 passwords (by Serge on 2013-04-10 23:44:12 GMT from United States)
Other options include using sudo to perform administrative tasks. It is possible to configure sudo to be invokable without entering root's password. The time before sudo requires root's password again is also adjustable. I've never tried this, but I remember reading about a configuration that enables sudo password state to carry over across multiple virtual terminals and pseudo terminals, meaning that if you type in root's password for sudo on one tty / pty, you won't need to on the others.
Another approach is to use Kerberos. You can set up true "single sign-on" (SSO), where you type your password once and never again until next time you boot your computer. Furthermore, using the keytab file in lieu of passwords makes it possible to get Kerberos to initialize the user without the user having to enter the password even a single time.
But setting up Kerberos isn't something for novices. That's one of several security areas (another major one that comes to mind being native access control / hierarchal permissions for files and directories, without the use of ACLs) that Windows kills Linux in. Windows has had built-in Kerberos support since Win 2k, and Kerberos is MIT / Unix technology originally! I really think that good, hassle-free Kerberos support in a default install is an area that the big distros seriously need to focus on.
44 • @36 passwords (by greg on 2013-04-11 06:53:42 GMT from Slovenia)
@34 greg (by Ika on 2013-04-10 10:24:18 GMT from Spain)
"if you donwload a malware..."
Suposing you are downloading a picture. a video, a book etc.
How do you know if your download is or contain a malware?
Don't tell me: "Use trusted sites." This is very relative.
45 • Passwords (by Herbert Thornton on 2013-04-11 17:07:07 GMT from Canada)
There seems to be a good deal of heat generated over having passwords. But isn't the most important question - do you record on your computer, personal information that a hacker can steal and use to cause you serious financial loss?
So long as you NEVER entrust things of that sort on your computer, why bother with passwords?
If you suspect that malware has got into your computer - e.g. your computer is malfunctioning - why not just format the hard drive and re-install your o/s?*
*I concede that if you are using Windows, re-installing is not always be possible - Microsoft have put such unreasonable limits on doing it.
46 • the only secure machine... (by imnotrich on 2013-04-12 01:58:34 GMT from Mexico)
Leaving a computer turned off is not "secure" unless the bios "wake on lan" feature has been disabled.
Also helpful if you never connect to the internet, never use removeable media and install nothing.
47 • @45 Passwords (by greg on 2013-04-12 07:01:43 GMT from Slovenia)
Unfortunatelly it is not that easy. for example i have digital signatures on my computer. sure i could move them to USB key. but i do not think this is the biggest issue. since even if you stole them you would still need my password to use them.
problem each persons computer stores plenty of personal data. often we do not even realise what things are stored there that would help others steal our identity. aside from theft of personal data there are other types of malware we should be worried about - such as hijacking computer to attach other computers. installing keylogger so that everytime you type a password or credit card number that info is transmitted to thieves, to the more mundane malware that corrupts your data (e.g. family photos, work documents, videos...). reinstalling the OS doesn't even always help. if the malware installed a rootkit reinstalling the OS won't solve the issue. let's not even start about special targeted malware (such as for example stuxnet) that attacks, steals and damages corporate data.
which is why the OS needs various security layers to make it as difficult as possible for these kind of events to occur. password is just one of the layers.
windows also has similar password settings as linux nowadays. the issue are it's default settings (no password & root access) that just invite malware and also some security holes that they take their time to patch (if they patch them at all).
48 • Throwing my bits in...AKA "RE: Passwords" (by DavidEF on 2013-04-12 14:54:55 GMT from United States)
I believe in using passwords, and making them as "hard to guess" as they are "easy to remember." I think a balance is definitely called for. For giggles, here is a XKCD webcomic about the issue of "secure passwords" and remembering versus guessing:
However, I agree that passwords, just like everything else in the system, should be easy to configure, and choosing "Yes" or "No" at install time is alright by me. I will always choose "Yes", of course, but why shouldn't someone get to choose "No"? Then again, isn't this a moot point, because some distros do, in fact give you this choice in the installer? I'd never advocate that ALL distros "should" do this, or anything else, because then again, choice becomes limited. There are even distros that choose to run as root with no password, by default. See, something for everyone! Are we happy now?
49 • Layers, too... (by DavidEF on 2013-04-12 15:01:27 GMT from United States)
Oh, forgot to mention this: I think the idea of passwords being one of several security layers is a perfect analogy, and lets BOTH sides be right! From one side, there is the view that the more layers, the better, so using passwords (strong ones!) makes sense. From the other side, it can be said that choice allows us to use the layers we want and not use the ones we don't want. I'm pretty sure this is the approach that Puppy linux takes. When I'm in bed, sometimes I want only a sheet, sometimes a sheet and blanket, sometimes no covering at all (who turned off the A/C anyway?). If we believe in choice, then it makes sense to let people do with their own computer what they wish.
50 • Passwords (by Rev_Don on 2013-04-12 16:49:17 GMT from United States)
If you are so bound and determined to run without passwords and your distro of choice isn't giving you that option then use a little common sense and use a single letter password and quite bellyaching about it. It's not worth the aggravation to get all worked up about something so simple.
51 • Passwords Yet Another Rebuttal (by Sarcastic Security Enthusiast on 2013-04-13 16:48:50 GMT from United States)
A Secure Computer has: a fully encrypted hard drive with truecrypt hidden OS option
A Secure Computer has: the shadow/sam file stored on an encrypted usb drive
A Secure Computer has: a yubikey* to log into your account
A Secure Computer is: left powered down when not in use
A Secure Computer has: an unplugged network cable at least 1 metre from the computer, chopped into 27 different pieces and network ports on computer are sealed
A Secure Computer has: has only 2 read port, no card readers, no firewire or all (but two usbs) sealed with concrete or epoxy, like your network ports
A Secure Computer has: no CD/DVD drive
A Secure Computer has: Loads of anti-forensics software, scripts and hacks installed and set up to run on boot
A Secure Computer has: the case welded shut
A Secure Computer is: locked in the most secure safe money can buy and guarded by mercenaries or your own private army
A Secure Computer has: A 100Kt nuclear fail safe in case anyone gets past your army/mercs and gets near the safe
A Secure Computer is: otherwise useless
(was going to add an emp to this but with the NUCLEAR fail safe device that should effectively destroy the data)
*this is actually a good idea 1 yubikey can used for many accounts local and internet. http://www.yubico.com/
It is true that there is no totally secure computer anywhere because security (cyber and physical) isn't an absolute state but an ongoing process. You need to use as many layers of security as you deem necessary. Not even Secure Shell (ssh) is totally secure but it is still widely used. Basically as soon as there is a new security measure taken, you can be sure there is somebody somewhere trying to break, crack, or bypass it in some way, shape or form.
Think of an old style scale with two plates balanced on either side. Security on one side and Convenience on the other. No matter which side you pick to improve the other will drop. As others have said it's a delicate balance. See AT&T and Auernheimer, AT&T thought they'd save people the huge hassle of typing in their email address when setting up a new ipad on the AT&T server by getting them to register it and all it took was some thought and a script to get all of these email addresses. More convenience usually means less security. More security usually means less convenience
Passwords in Any Windows System ARE A JOKE!! Don't believe me? Go watch a few seasons of Hak5 and check out this link http://www.piotrbania.com/all/kon-boot/ (yea I know requires physical access) Kon also works a good deal of Linux systems to.
Another really good security tip is CHANGE as many DEFAULTS as you can. Settings, Ports, Passwords (router, etc..)
btw I don't personally use the following:
Use an OFFLINE password manager and set all your passwords from this site https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm but don't use these to log into a local account it sucks trying to type in 63 characters only to mess up and have to try again. This way you'd only have to remember two or three really strong passwords, Account logins, Master password for your password manager, and any disk encryption
@50 +1, best advice for MervPatrick!
another method is picking an easy to remember password like love, sex or god. WHATEVER you pick "love" "a" or "mervpatrick" make sure you use it everywhere you login, facebook, gmail etc.. so you only have to remember 1 password. Don't be afraid to post your password on fb, twitter, email it to your friends so if you forget your friends can remind you. And it's too bad Richard Stallman's password hack doesn't still work, "press the enter key twice" that's really easy to remember
52 • Passwords (by Terence on 2013-04-14 02:03:47 GMT from United States)
I am not responsible for having come up with the following, though I follow the format for my own passwords.
A password should be divided into three components. The first component is a "base word" that is used in every password. For our example, let us use the word "mother." The second component is an identifier associated with a specific site or function you need the password for. In the case of Facebook, you could use the word "face" or even "facebook." The final component is a series of characters such as the !, $, or *. You want to use at least 12 of these same characters in a row.
So using the above example, your Facebook login could be "motherface************" which is very easy to remember, very secure (as a hacker does not know your passwords length nor does he know which common words you are using), and a great password to use.
Obviously you will want to create your own variation on this format to add a bit of security. You can use uppercase letters where you see fit, as well as leetspeak by replacing letters with numbers. It is a great system to use.
53 • @52 (by Sarcastic Security Enthusiast on 2013-04-14 02:54:07 GMT from Canada)
Eerily like my own system, yet different in ways. I use a three part system as well
1. I use a base word with substitutions for some special characters
2. Then an identifier for local, internet, etc...
3. Finally I pick a word to remind about the service then encrypt it in my head with a key code that I can write down on piece of paper. As long as you never speak the base or reminder word aloud your password should be pretty safe unless someone can get good clear video of you typing it in.
what it sounds like in your head:
base i reminder (i for internet)
what it would look like:
B@s3id!g2u3M4 (13 characters)
all you have to do is change the words make a cyptro scheme you could also memorize it and destroy the paper copy if ur super aluminium foil hat paranoid
in my pervious post i had tagged the post with but i closed them like html and messed everything up and added line breaks. So my bad. Inspect the element if you want some minor lolz
54 • For a secure password, I use ... (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-04-14 17:51:29 GMT from United States)
... wait, why would I post it here? Do I have "stupid" stenciled on my forehead!?
(Isn't copper mesh easier to mold to your preferred hat/stocking-cap shape? Of course, for proper operation it should be grounded, say with fine-stranded copper wire to your sole ... ;-)
Number of Comments: 54
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|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Linux From Scratch
Linux From Scratch (LFS) is a project that provides you with the steps necessary to build your own custom Linux system. There are a lot of reasons why somebody would want to install an LFS system. The question most people raise is "why go through all the hassle of manually installing a Linux system from scratch when you can just download an existing distribution like Debian or Redhat". That is a valid question which I hope to answer for you. The most important reason for LFS's existence is teaching people how a Linux system works internally. Building an LFS system teaches you about all that makes Linux tick, how things work together, and depend on each other. And most importantly, how to customize it to your own taste and needs.