| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 503, 15 April 2013
Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! One interesting open-source software phenomenon is the availability of source code for all applications. For commercial Linux companies, like Red Hat, this has interesting implications, such as the possibility to be "cloned" by third parties. Over the years CentOS and Scientific Linux have emerged as the most popular free (as in "gratis") rebuilds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Today's feature story is an overview and comparison of the two projects' most recent releases, both based on RHEL 6.4. In the news section, the PCLinuxOS developers release their first-ever variant for 64-bit computer systems, Lucas Nussbaum is elected as the new Debian Project Leader, Ubuntu readies the upcoming release with a host of new features but with shorter support, and Fedora delays the alpha release of version 19 over two installer bugs. Also in this issue, the developers of Cinnarch ponder their distro's future - without the much-loved Cinnamon desktop user interface. Finally, in a follow-up to our last week's article on ZFS and Btrfs file systems, a reader wants to know how the two compare with the more established Linux file system - the ext4. We wish you all a great Monday and, as always, happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Bring in the clones - CentOS and Scientific Linux
In March 2013 two projects, CentOS and Scientific Linux, released updates to their respective distributions. Both projects provide clones of Enterprise Linux free of cost. As such both projects are important to the Linux ecosystem as they provide a means for users to take advantage of stable, high quality software without the high cost associated with enterprise quality products. While both projects released clones of Enterprise Linux 6.4 and while both projects maintain binary compatibility with their upstream software provider, these projects do carry subtle differences. They may be binary compatible with each other, but each project takes a slightly different approach in their presentation and configuration. With this in mind I would like to talk about what it is like to set up both CentOS and Scientific Linux.
Website & focus
Let's examine CentOS first. The CentOS team released version 6.4 of their distribution on March 9, 2013. The website indicates their distribution is designed to be binary compatible with their upstream vendor and very few changes are made to the upstream packages. Artwork and branding from upstream is swapped out for CentOS specific images and text, a few minor configuration changes are introduced, but otherwise CentOS maintains high fidelity with upstream. The project maintains detailed release notes and serves up both 32-bit and 64-bit builds of the CentOS distribution. The distribution is available in three editions. There is a minimal install ISO (300 MB), a net-install option (189MB) and a torrent file which will enable users to download two "Everything" DVDs which contain all of the distribution's packages. Some of the project's mirrors (though not all) additionally supply copies of the "Everything" ISO images directly for users who do not wish to download via BitTorrent. I opted to download the first of the two "Everything" DVDs as only the first disc is required for performing an installation. I find that I like the CentOS website, it's clean, easy to navigate and provides plenty of documentation along with helpful user forums.
Where CentOS seems intent on maintaining a distribution as close to upstream as possible, Scientific Linux has a slightly different mission statement. While still compatible with upstream, Scientific has an additional mission which is to provide a common base distribution that can be used between multiple scientific laboratories. This allows different labs to start with a common platform and build tools on top of the distribution and these tools can then be shared with other labs. Scientific Linux 6.4 was released on March 28, 2013. The distribution is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The download flavours include an installation DVD (3.4GB), a rescue & net-install CD (159MB) and two "Everything" DVD images which total 4.6GB in size. Previous releases of Scientific included a live disc but at the time of writing a live disc for 6.4 has not been uploaded to the project's mirrors. Again, as with CentOS, I opted to download the first of the two "Everything" DVD images for my trial. The Scientific website strikes me as being less complete compared with the CentOS website. The project provides downloads and documentation, but doesn't have a community forum and feels more like a jumping off point to other sites and documentation rather than a one-stop location for all our distribution needs.
Installation & Initial Impressions
Both Scientific Linux and CentOS use the Anaconda graphical installer. After offering to perform a media check against our installation disc to confirm our download wasn't corrupted, the venerable installer walks us through selecting our time zone, placing a password on the root user's account and partitioning the hard drive. I like Anaconda's partition manager which has a fairly straight forward interface and allows users to work with LVM volumes, RAID configurations and regular partitions. We also have the ability to enable encryption to protect our partitions. Not many file systems are supported -- we are limited to using ext2, ext3 and ext4 -- and Btrfs has not yet made an appearance in Enterprise Linux. The last screen of the installer asks us to select a role for our operating system. Available roles include Desktop, Minimum Desktop, Web Server, Virtual Host, Software Developer Workstation, Web Developer Work Station and Minimum. One of the few differences between the two distributions is the Scientific installer defaults us to the Desktop role while CentOS defaults to the Minimum role. In both cases I decided to run with the defaults offered to see where they would take me. Both distributions allow us to further customize which packages will be installed, which gives us additional flexibility. One option the Scientific installer gives us, which is not offered by the CentOS installer, is the ability to enable third-party software repositories during the initial install process. These third-party repositories contain multimedia codecs, Flash and other items not available in the base distribution.
After the installer copies its files to the local drive the system is rebooted. Since I had opted to perform a Minimal install, CentOS simply booted to a text prompt where I could login as the root user. No network connection was enabled, no user accounts other than root were created. The standard GNU command line utilities were installed, but manual pages for these commands were not. A mail server and secure shell are running in the background, but otherwise the operating system takes a hands-off approach. There is no compiler, no Java, just some info pages. This makes the system very light, requiring a bare 50MB of RAM to run.
Scientific Linux 6.4 - managing software packages on the GNOME desktop
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Scientific Linux, which I had set up to fulfill the Desktop role at install time, gave a very different experience the first time I booted the operating system. We are greeted by a first run wizard which asks us to create a regular user account and set the system's clock. We are then brought to a graphical login screen. Logging in brings us to a GNOME 2 desktop. The application menu sits at the top of the screen and the task switcher is placed at the bottom. The interface has a nice, low-key theme. When I first logged in an icon appeared in the upper-right corner of the screen letting me know I was not connected to the network. Clicking this icon brings up the Network Manager applet which assists us in enabling a network connection.
When set up with the default Desktop role Scientific Linux comes with a nice collection of popular applications to accompany the GNOME desktop. We are presented with the Firefox web browser, the Pidgin instant messaging client and the Evolution e-mail client. The LibreOffice productivity suite is installed. Scientific comes with an audio CD ripper, the Brasero disc burner, the Cheese webcam utility, the Totem video player and the Rhythmbox audio player. Scientific does not come with multimedia codecs, but if we enabled third-party repositories at install time the system will hunt down the necessary codecs for us when we attempt to play media files. Scientific comes with an archive manager, calculator, note taking apps and a wide range of desktop configuration tools for changing the look & feel of GNOME. Additionally we find a system monitor app and a software update utility. There are several administrative tools included for managing software packages, handling printer configurations, managing the firewall and creating user accounts. Links to the project's documentation and release notes are included in the application menu. As with CentOS, Scientific runs a secure shell and mail server in the background and both distributions run on the Linux kernel, version 2.6.32.
Running Scientific Linux was quite a pleasant experience. The GNOME 2 environment was very responsive and I found the various applications all worked well. I really like the administrative tools which ship with Enterprise Linux as they make configuring the system straight forward. I did run into a few minor problems. When running Scientific I found the PackageKit process would sometimes lock the package database, blocking the user from installing or updating software on the system. Killing the PackageKit process would correct the problem and the issue only cropped up intermittently. Another curious bug I ran into involved Flash support. I found there were two builds of the Flash plugin in the third-party repositories linked to by Scientific. One of these plugins was built for 686 machines and the other for 386. By default the 686 build of Flash would be installed, but this build could not be detected by the Firefox web browser. Forcing the package manager to install the 386 build of Flash resolved the issue as Firefox was able to use this copy of Flash.
CentOS 6.4 - running the KDE desktop and adjusting settings
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Further on the topic of package management I found the graphical package manager was sluggish while it performed searches and installations. This was in contrast to the graphical update utility and the YUM command line package manager, both of which performed tasks very quickly. In fact YUM came in quite handy when I was running CentOS. Since I had installed CentOS with a bare minimum of packages this meant I ended up downloading quite a lot of software through the week. YUM has a nice feature which will let the package manager grab organized groups of packages. This means we can install all of X and its libraries or KDE or GNOME by installing one of these groups. On Debian derived distributions the APT package manager allows for a similar function using meta-packages where one meta package will draw in multiple additional packages as dependencies, but I find YUM's approach feels more tidy and I think it's more clear to the user what is happening when we ask YUM to grab a group of software packages. I certainly appreciated YUM by the end of the week as I used it to add the KDE desktop and development tools to the base CentOS install. The packages all installed cleanly and I ran into no problems.
Thoughts & Comparison
What I find interesting about these two distributions is that, despite their common source code and their similar goals, the two projects maintain slightly different emphases. As a result, when we run through the installation of both distributions, taking all of the default options, we end up with quite different results. Of course we can manipulate packages and add repositories to get both distributions back in line with each other, but the fact remains these two projects maintain slightly different areas of focus. Scientific Linux provides a default configuration which is suited to desktop users and, with very little effort on our part, we can enable multimedia support, browser plugins and have a great home or small office desktop system. Taking all of the defaults in the CentOS system installer results in a simple server configuration with secure shell enabled and not much else. We can install desktop environments and hunt down third-party repositories, but it's a longer hike to get CentOS to a state where home desktop users will be comfortable. The CentOS team appears to be more interested in server deployments and situations where a clean operating system is more important than features.
Both projects provide an enterprise class operating system and both will supply security updates for several years. These projects are very similar, but their mildly different focus makes CentOS appear more appealing to server work while Scientific is a little more desktop-friendly. Both distributions are fast, conservative and flexible. At first glance either distribution might look as though it is showing its age; the software included in Enterprise Linux is a few years old now. As it turned out I didn't run into any situations where I was missing features, the software which ships with CentOS and Scientific is quite capable. In fact, sometimes the age of the software worked in favour of the distributions. GNOME 2 is certainly faster and carries fewer problems than a modern GNOME Shell and the older version of Anaconda in Enterprise Linux 6.4 doesn't suffer from the interface problems of some newer installers. Both of these clones are light on resources, powerful and can be tailored to just about any task.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
64-bit PCLinuxOS, Debian Project Leader elections, Ubuntu 13.04 features, Fedora 19 delay, Cinnarch dilemma
It took much longer than many would have liked, but it's finally here. A variant of PCLinuxOS for 64-bit computer systems was finally unleashed on the unsuspecting public last week: "PCLinuxOS 64-bit KDE desktop - first release. The 64-bit KDE desktop is a popular, multi-platform desktop environment for your 64-bit computer and a great Windows OS replacement. Features: Linux kernel 3.2.18-pclos2.bfs for maximum desktop performance; full KDE 4.10.1 desktop; NVIDIA and ATI fglrx driver support; multimedia playback support for many popular formats; wireless support for many network devices; printer support for many local and networked printer devices; Addlocale allows you to convert PCLinuxOS into over 60 languages; LibreOffice already installed; LibreOffice Manager can install LibreOffice supporting over 100 languages; MyLiveCD allows you to take a snapshot of your installation and burn it to a live CD/DVD; PCLinuxOS-liveusb - allows you to install PCLinuxOS on a USB key disk." Download from one of the project's FTP/HTTP mirrors.
PCLinuxOS 2013.04 - the first official 64-bit edition
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As of yesterday (Sunday), the Debian project has a new leader (DPL). Lucas Nussbaum, a Debian developer and assistant professor at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy, France, defeated both Moray Allan and Gergely Nagy to claim the post. According to Lucas Nussbaum's personal page his work in Debian is mostly in Quality Assurance while he also maintains some Ruby packages. On the professional front the new Debian Project Leader tells us about his work on his university's profile page: "My research activities focus on experimentation for the evaluation of distributed systems in the context of high-performance computing, cloud and grid computing and peer-to-peer systems. Specifically, I focus on emulation (through work on the Distem emulator), and on real-scale (in situ) experiments, mainly on the Grid'5000 test bed." If you are interested in the finer details on this year's voting please visit the Debian Project Leader Elections 2013 page on Debian.org. The new term for the project leader will start this Wednesday, 17th of April 2013.
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Just ten days to go before the brand-new Ubuntu release, code named "Raring Ringtail", will show up on the shelves of your favourite free software retailer. As is always the case, articles describing the many new features of the most innovative desktop Linux distribution's upcoming release have mushroomed all over the Internet. "The Var Guy" Christopher Tozzi reports about what's new and what's not in Ubuntu 13.04: "So what's actually new in Ubuntu 13.04? In many ways, it's not the software itself, but the development cycle, the tools available for installing Ubuntu and Canonical's broader vision that are in the midst of the greatest change as this release rolls around. Ubuntu developers have announced, after a lengthy debate that began earlier this spring, that non-long-term support (LTS) releases of the operating system will receive official support only for nine months, instead of the eighteen Canonical previously provided. That will make the LTS versions of Ubuntu, which come out once every two years, even more important than the other releases." On a more technical note, see also the "Seven Subtle Unity Changes You Might Not Notice in 13.04" by Joey-Elijah Sneddon.
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The alpha release of Fedora 19 has been delayed by a week. Yes, that's not a particularly interesting piece of news, since delays are a standard feature of Fedora releases. Still, it's always educational to read about the reasons. Adam Williamson sheds some light on the latest issues (which, luckily, are not particularly serious): "Fedora 19 happenings": "What's holding up Fedora 19 Alpha is two bugs in UEFI installation, and that's it. (Note for the haters: none of the bugs has anything to do with Secure Boot). The installer is in fine shape, except for an issue in the custom partitioning screen which we'll try and slip a fix in for. All the code that was meant to be written by now is actually written, it's all working pretty well, and most of the functionality of the installer is pretty solid. There have been a ton of UI improvements since Fedora 18 based on both online feedback and real-world usability testing and observation, as well. So it sucks that we had to slip, but it's a much different situation from Fedora 18, and it's been a lot lower stress - we're not running around trying to keep tabs on 15 bugs and 5 features that aren't written yet, right now we're really just waiting on upstream review of a patch for the last UEFI issue."
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is was an exciting desktop Linux distribution that combined Arch Linux with the Cinnamon (a fork of GNOME Shell developed by Linux Mint) desktop user interface. Unfortunately, Cinnamon has seemingly fallen behind the times as it is (at the time of writing) no longer compatible with the latest GNOME release. This has resulted in a dilemma with the Cinnarch developers who have now decided to drop Cinnamon altogether and possibly rename the distribution: "While Cinnamon is a great user interface and we've had a lot of fun implementing it, it's become too much a burden to maintain/update going forward. We'd like to remain faithful and compatible to our parent distro, Arch Linux, and further support of Cinnamon would strain that by causing incompatibilities/hacks in the entirety of the GNOME packageset. It is almost impossible to maintain software developed by Linux Mint in a rolling release as we are. They're one year behind with upstream code. Arch Linux is going to have GNOME 3.8 and Cinnamon is not compatible with it. The Cinnamon team still has to migrate some of their tools to fully work with Gnome 3.6. That said, we've decided that in order to deliver the most stable, best out-of-the-box user experience possible, that we'll now be using GNOME as our default desktop environment going forward."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Advantages and benefits of ZFS and Btrfs over ext4
Why-go-advanced asks: How about a simple, layman explanation for what use a normal user would have for advanced file systems. Is there a huge benefit of either of these (Btrfs and ZFS) over ext4 for a regular user?
DistroWatch answers: Yes, there are certainly many advantages for regular users who are interested in switching from a traditional file system such as ext4 and moving to either Btrfs or ZFS. I'm going to focus mostly on ZFS here as it is the technology I've used the most and therefore I'm more familiar with it, but much of what I say about ZFS will be applicable to Btrfs as well.
The first and perhaps most obvious advantage is the ease of setting up these advanced file systems. When you install Linux on a traditional file system or when you add a new partition to an existing installation, what are the steps? We have to create a partition, we need to format that partition and then we need to assign the partition a mount point, probably by adding an entry to our system's fstab file. If we are lucky our distribution's installer will take care of a lot of this for us, but we still need to divide up the hard disk, select the size of the new partition, format it and select its mount point. ZFS makes this wonderfully easy. Adding ZFS storage space (called a pool) to our operating system is often a one step event. We tell ZFS to take over a hard disk (or an existing partition) and it takes care of the formating and mounting. We don't have to format anything, in many cases we don't need to partition anything, ZFS just takes care of it for us. Recently I added a ZFS storage pool to one of my systems and the command was simply this:
zpool create Data /dev/sdb
Given this command ZFS created a new storage pool using the second hard disk on my machine, handled any formatting it might need, created a new directory called /Data and mounted the new storage space under my new Data directory. When I rebooted the machine the new storage space was automatically mounted and available for me. It's very convenient this way.
In addition to being easy to set up, advanced file systems are quite flexible. Once we have created an ext4 partition we are pretty much stuck with it as it is with a given size. But with ZFS I can easily add additional disks to a given storage pool, which dynamically grows the available storage space. Let's say I have several users on my machine who are all using my storage space mounted under /Data. I want to grow the space without taking the system off-line for a long period of time and I don't really want to have to copy all of the data from an existing disk or partition to a new disk. I can do this easily with ZFS by plugging in a new disk and running:
zpool add Data /dev/sdc
The storage pool has now expanded to use all of the new drive and all of its space is available under the existing mount point, /Data.
Another big advantage to using Btrfs and ZFS is the ability to make snapshots. At any given moment we can create a copy of the existing file system and set it aside. These snapshots occur instantly and do not use up additional disk space until the contents of the snapshot differ from the current contents of the file system. This does two things for us. First, it makes it very cheap and easy to maintain multiple versions of data, configuration files and applications. Prior to any application upgrade I can make a snapshot of the operating system. Once a day I can snapshot all of the documents my users have in their home folders. Later I can restore the file system back to a known good state. Alternatively I can browse through existing snapshots of the file system and restore a single file or directory. This is very handy if we have accidentally erased a file or a file has become corrupted. This reduces our reliance on external backups. Keeping backups is still important as it guards against hardware failure, but when we run advanced file systems accidentally deleting a file is easy to reverse and doesn't send us digging through archives.
Btrfs and ZFS are both designed with extremely large amounts of data in mind. This means we can grow storage pools to virtually any size and store massively large files in these file systems. In addition both storage technologies attempt to use space efficiently. Both file systems support compression of data to squeeze as much information as possible onto our disks. Further ZFS has (and Btrfs is developing) a concept called deduplication. This basically means that multiple files which contain the same data only need to be stored in one place. Let's imagine we somehow ended up with three copies of a 1GB file on our hard drive. Usually this would mean all three copies take up a total of 3GB of space. With deduplication all three copies can be treated as one file which is simply visible in three different places. Therefore the three identical 1GB files require just 1GB of storage space.
Though probably only of interest to administrators there are some more nice features. ZFS in particular makes it very easy to create mirrored disk configurations. This basically means that any data placed on one disk is also placed on a second disk. Should one disk fail, our information is safe on the second disk. Systems which make use of mirroring or RAID configurations can get an added bonus from ZFS, namely data integrity. It is possible for files to become corrupted over time and ZFS tries to guard against this by maintaining checksums (a digital fingerprint) of our data. When a file's data no longer matches its fingerprint, ZFS will automatically try to find a second copy of our file on a mirrored disk and use that second copy. The corrupted copy of our file is then overwritten by the good copy, preserving our data against corruption.
Getting back to the original question, is there a "huge benefit" to using Btrfs or ZFS over a file system such as ext4? Perhaps not one single big reason that will drive people to migrate, but there are several small benefits to using ZFS or Btrfs. Many of these benefits will appeal to system administrators and people who have massive amounts of data, but snapshots and the ease of adding additional storage space do make these advanced file systems appealing to home users too. Perhaps the question could be turned around. Given the many benefits of running Btrfs and ZFS is there any reason for people to still use ext4? The only perk to using ext4 of which I am aware is that ext4, under heavy load, will probably read from and write to a hard disk faster than Btrfs and ZFS can. Still, most of us don't require raw speed as much as we need data integrity and the ability to browse backward in time to earlier snapshots of our data. This is why I believe it makes sense to try (and possibly migrate to) one of the more advanced file systems. I have been using ZFS on Linux during the past year at home and have found it to be a welcome and reliable tool.
|Released Last Week
Bill Reynolds has announced the release of PCLinuxOS 2013.04, an updated version of the project's rolling-release desktop Linux distribution featuring the latest KDE: "PCLinuxOS KDE, MiniME, and FullMonty 2013.04 are now available for download. These are 32-bit quarterly update ISO images which can also be installed on 64-bit computers. With respect to the previous KDE editions these ISO images have the following changes and additions: KDE 4.10.1; Linux kernel 3.2.18; the latest full set of NVIDIA drivers; PCLOS410 theme; Qt update notifier. KDE 2013.04 has all the additions from MiniME and was built to provide a general-purpose KDE desktop computing environment. The DVD includes popular tools for office, audio, video, graphics, and Internet applications as well as additional drivers and tools to set up your hardware." See the full release announcement for further information and a screenshot.
Lee Ward has announced the release of Fuduntu 2013.2, a user-friendly, rolling-release distribution with the RPM package management system and the classic GNOME 2 desktop: "The Fuduntu team is proud to announce the second quarterly release of 2013, Fuduntu 2013.2. This release comes with many improvements, including many bug fixes, new features and applications. As usual, existing Fuduntu users have already rolled into 2013.2. As Fuduntu has grown, so has the default install. To help those who may want a lighter install, especially for netbooks, we now include a light edition. Users of the Fuduntu Lite will notice several programs that are normally installed by default, including LibreOffice, GIMP, and Thunderbird, are not installed. Included in 2013.2: Linux kernel 3.8.3, GIMP 2.8.4, Thunderbird 17.0.4, Firefox 19.0.2, Chromium 25.0.1364.172 and LibreOffice 4.0.1." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Fuduntu 2013.2 - an updated release featuring GNOME 2.32
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Tails 0.17.2, another minor update of the Debian-based live DVD with focus on user's privacy and anonymity on the Internet, is out: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 0.17.2, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible. Changes: upgrade to Iceweasel 17.0.5; stop displaying obsolete context menu entries ('Open Tor URL' and friends); hardware support; update Linux kernel to 3.2.41; temporarily drop the Rendition display driver. Bug fixes: use more reliable OpenPGP key servers; keep udisks users (GNOME Disk Utility, tails-persistence-setup) from resetting the system partition's attributes when manipulating the partition table. Minor improvements: disable NoScript's HTM L5 media click-to-play for better user experience. Localization: many updated and new translations all over the place. The next Tails release (0.18) is scheduled for May 16." See the complete release announcement for further information.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 19.1, a single-purpose Debian-based distribution designed for Internet-only web kiosks and featuring the Firefox web browser: "Webconverger 19.1 release. Webconverger 19 brings you in terms of effort put in: printing support completely overhauled with a new printer API; restored NVIDIA WebGL acceleration using driver version 313.30; new support API which allows customers to send us their complete (non-browsing) logs for study to; raft of package upgrades; new prefs API, to override Firefox preferences, typically used for omitting print headers; Firefox 20 updates and Flash security updates; tweaks to our Firefox kiosk extension (version 45); printing properly provisioned. Thanks to a government client, who needs to print off Ricoh printers, we have greatly improved our printing offering." See the full release announcement for further details.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 "Cinnamon"
Philip Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 "Cinnamon" edition, an Arch Linux-based distribution with GNOME 3 and Cinnamon as the core user interface: "We are happy to release our final Manjaro Cinnamon community edition to the public. See this release as our last gift to this amazing GNOME fork, as we have to drop the support for Cinnamon in the near future. We can not maintain this edition anymore since upstream is dropping Cinnamon due incompatibility with GNOME 3.8. We worked hard to make this release the best Manjaro experience featuring Cinnamon 1.7 and GNOME 3.6. You will find all the goodies you expect from a desktop based on Cinnamon: Nemo 1.7.2, Cinnamon 1.7.3, Cinnamon Control Center 1.7.2. The following changes have been made since 0.8.4: graphical installer; Manjaro settings manager...." Read the detailed release announcement for more information and screenshots.
ClearOS 6.4.0 "Community"
Peter Baldwin has announced the release of ClearOS 6.4.0 "Community" edition, a cloud-connected server, network and gateway operating system designed for homes, hobbyists and small organisations: "ClearOS Community 6.4.0 is now available. Along with the usual round of bug fixes and enhancements, this release introduces a new reports engine, a storage manager, an anti-malware file scanner, RADIUS, a basic POP/IMAP server, and mail retrieval. What's next? After a bumpy start with ClearOS 6, we are now happy with the stability and maturity of the version. Version 6 required a major overhaul under the hood, but it provided ClearOS with a modern and secure web application platform. So what's currently in the pipeline? A beta release of the new QoS engine; Samba 4 and Samba Directory preview; The ibVPN application...." See the release announcement and release notes for more details and upgrade notes.
Foresight Linux 2.5.3
Tomas Forsman has announced the release of Foresight Linux 2.5.3, a rolling-release desktop Linux distribution with Conary package management and a choice of GNOME 2, LXDE and Xfce desktops: "Announcing Foresight Linux 2.5.3. Foresight is a Linux distribution for your desktop that features a rolling-release schedule that always keeps your desktop up to date; a revolutionary package manager, Conary; the latest GNOME 2, LXDE and Xfce desktop environment and an innovative set of excellent, up-to-date software applications. Foresight also includes the polished and refined long-term support 3.4 Linux kernel. If new and shiny is more your thing, you will be pleased to learn that the newly-minted Linux kernel 3.8 is currently undergoing shakedown tests and is slated to become available in the coming weeks." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Pardus Linux 2013 "Community"
Following the release of the "Corporate" edition last month, the Pardus development team has now also released the "Community" flavour of Pardus Linux 2013 (or "1.0" as it is called in the announcement). Available in both Turkish and English, the "new" Pardus is a desktop-oriented distribution based on Debian's "testing" branch. From the release announcement: "We are doing a stable and useful Linux called Pardus Community edition 1.0. We are sure you'll enjoy the many improvements. We have done our best in terms of stability and security that you have come to expect. Pardus Community edition 1.0 is now based on Debian 'Wheezy' and built using tools provided by the debian-live project. Easy to install and use. And also all drivers are included. All images boot as live CDs but they can be installed on your computer with the included installer."
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5
Philip Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.5, a user-friendly distribution with Xfce or Openbox, based on Arch Linux: "We are happy to announce the release of Manjaro 0.8.5. We worked hard to make this release the best Manjaro experience featuring Openbox 3.5.0 and Xfce 4.10. A graphical installer got added and a Manjaro settings manager handling user accounts, keyboard layouts and locales and translation packages is also included. Pamac got enhanced and is now translated to several languages. Following changes are made since Manjaro 0.8.4: LXDM/Slim as display manager; Linux 3.8.5 as our kernel; systemd 198; X.Org Server 1.14.0; proprietary driver support for AMD and NVIDIA graphic cards; additional multimedia support, applications and access to the AUR have been pre-installed." Read the complete release announcement for more details.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.5 - an updated release featuring the latest Xfce desktop
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Network Security Toolkit 18-4509
Ron Henderson has announced the availability of a major new release of Network Security Toolkit (NST), a specialist Fedora-based live DVD featuring a collection of open-source network security applications: "We are pleased to announce the latest NST release - 'NST 18 SVN:4509'. This release is based on Fedora 18 using Linux kernel 3.8.6. This is the most robust and stable release of NST to date. Significant effort has been devoted to integrate systemd service control support with all network services applications, thus providing enhanced management and flexibility when using the NST WUI. Here are some of the highlights for this release: created a more friendly and intuitive user experience when booting NST Live and performing a hard disk installation; added a new NST script, nstipconf, which provides management to easily setup IPv4 address and stealth network configurations...." Continue to the full release announcement if you'd like to find out more about the product.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
New distributions added to database|
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Mnix. Mnix is a free, simple and fast i686 GNU/Linux distribution aimed at experienced users. All Mnix scripts, package build scripts and the Mtpkg package manager are licensed through the GNU General Public License version 3.
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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, 22 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)
1 • RHEL Clones (by Dave Postles on 2013-04-15 09:31:30 GMT from United Kingdom) |
It would have been useful to consider Springfield (PUIAS) too, IMHO. It is usually first out of the box with the cloning.
2 • ZFS (by kc1di on 2013-04-15 10:05:58 GMT from United States)
Thank you for the nice article on ZFS file system it's the best description i've seen so far.
3 • Opinions to Improve the truly ranking (by Joselo on 2013-04-15 11:38:03 GMT from Mexico)
Congratulations and thanks...Distrowatch the most popular linux site... A truly linux reference.
well, I was thinking for several years that the ranking of ubuntu is subvaluated, because you ought include all the flavors and desktops of ubuntu to determinate the truly ranking.
I am not talking about its derivates distributions like Mint, Pear, Zorin,etc.
I am talking about kubuntu, lubuntu,xubuntu, and in the future ubuntu gnome.
Please, think a moment, when you determinevthe ranking of Mint, you are considerating all its flavors like ldmd, kde, cinnamon, mate, xfce.
So you are not impartial in your database and ubuntu all times was been the first ranking place in linux world.
Please take my opinion in consideration. Truly Yours..
4 • Cinnarch (by Phil Mulley on 2013-04-15 11:43:52 GMT from United Kingdom)
I would be interested to hear people's opinions on the news coming out of the Cinnarch distro. I have read quite a few pieces attacking their move away from Cinnamon and suggesting that they could avoid this by working on some extra packages to get over the issues surrounding cinnamon being based on an earlier version of Gnome. It would certainly seem to me that at very least they should change their distro name. It would be a shame not to have a dedicated distro that used an Arch base with a Cinnamon desktop: perhaps someone else will take up the mantle. I have played around with Cinnarch in the past and found it to be a very nice distro: I did not stick with it because it was a bit buggy: but that its not a fair critique since it was early on in their development cycle. Are there other distros which bring an up to date Gnome front end to Arch and would this be a good basis for a distro: or do people think they should stick with Cinnamon?
5 • CentOS/SL (by JR on 2013-04-15 11:49:23 GMT from United States)
I'm confused. Why are you surprised you had very different installation experiences when for CentOS you chose Minimal Install (and then seemed to be complaining about just _how_ minimal it was), and for SL you chose Desktop?
If you had chosen "Desktop" for both installs, the installation experience would have been much more similar.
6 • Centos and SL (by musty on 2013-04-15 12:02:50 GMT from France)
Thank you for reviewing these two very good distros..
CentOS is indeed very server oriented. When I started to rent some VPS, I was Impress by the minimum size, the so few memory required and the reliability of CentOS. (Some of running VPS have only 128MB and have occupied disk between 500MB and 700MB, with LAMP serving 5000 visitors /month.
For desktop there are few attempts (like Stella 6.3) for CentOS to make it user friendly but it is easy to pimp yours by adding some repository ...
7 • SL & CentOS (by spoovy on 2013-04-15 12:18:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
You missed one major difference between the two. (IIRC) SL supplies security patches for all point releases over the whole ten year support period, while CentOS (like TUV) only patches the latest point release, forcing you to upgrade each time. A big difference when you're running critical infrastructure.
8 • Aclarations to my previos comment (by Joselo on 2013-04-15 12:20:50 GMT from Mexico)
I commentd bthat ubuntu all times was had the top most ranking...
I like to say that I am not a fan of ubuntu since Unity time. I have several years trying all the ubuntu releases, but Unity is so slow, difficult to use and buggy that all times I decided to uninstall ubuntu.
I use Fuduntu (red hat derivated), in my opinion Fuduntu is like the old clasic ubuntu, with gnome 2, strong, confiable, modern, easy to learn and use, simple (kiss), fully, with support and big comunity, pritty, and it is a rollig distribution. Its father (red hat) is one of the most strong (maybe the most solid) pionners of linux.
So...Fuduntu is like Ubuntu before Unity...
9 • fuduntu (by Vince on 2013-04-15 13:09:41 GMT from United States)
Fuduntu is fine distro, well worth a try. However, if you choose to install it don't install the nVidia drivers. You can't log in afterward!
10 • 4 • Cinnarch (by mandog on 2013-04-15 13:11:54 GMT from Peru)
You don't really expect Arch Linux, Cinararch, Manjaro, to support old code for the sake of Mint Linux inability to maintain Cinnamon. I don't know if cinnamon can survive unless development is not stepped up. Will it be compatible with Fedora, Open Suse, Somebody spoke of this here a few months ago now I'm inclined to agree with them mint has a almost impossible task ahead if want to share cinnamon with others. Cinnarch on the other hand should of seen this coming before they started development.
11 • Cinnarch (by ezyclie on 2013-04-15 13:19:06 GMT from Singapore)
Cinnarch should use MATE instead of Cinnamon
12 • ZFS and Btrfs vs ext4, etc... (by DavidEF on 2013-04-15 13:42:31 GMT from United States)
Thanks, Jesse, for the insightful Q & A about the advantages of advanced file systems over older (traditional?) file systems used for Linux and her FOSS systems. That's exactly what I was looking for! The ability to add storage to a pool so easily is probably what will compel me to switch soon.
I've read that ext4 can be upgraded to btrfs. Can an ext4-formatted drive be simply added to a pool, and automatically upgraded to btrfs? Also, if I have a hard drive with ext4 that already includes data, can I add it to a pool without losing the data?
13 • Cinnamon (by DavidEF on 2013-04-15 14:02:12 GMT from United States)
I think Cinnamon is an okay shell for Gnome 3, but not awesome. I've used it, and it is buggy. Also, it attempts to fill a need that isn't there, IMHO. Mate or "the real Gnome 2" are what people wanted. Cinnamon, being based on Gnome 3, requires hardware accelleration, which some people still don't have. So, an interface that looks like Gnome 2, but weighs like Gnome 3, is not going to please many people for very long. Gnome 3 Shell is getting better (or so I've heard), so who needs Cinnamon?
It's a shame that both Canonical and the Gnome team dropped their respective versions of fallback mode, instead of improving them. An interface that looks modern, and is light on resource requirements, is really the best of both worlds. I've read that the Gnome 2 base was a monstrosity, and "really needed to be replaced". But, if the Mate team can figure out how to get the gnome team's old base cleaned up, and also make some incremental improvements to make it look a little more modern, they will have a product to be proud of. Unfortunately, it isn't to that point yet, but I believe that is their goal.
14 • Btrfs (by Jesse on 2013-04-15 14:32:47 GMT from Canada)
>> "I've read that ext4 can be upgraded to btrfs. Can an ext4-formatted drive be simply added to a pool, and automatically upgraded to btrfs? Also, if I have a hard drive with ext4 that already includes data, can I add it to a pool without losing the data?"
I'm pretty sure the answer to both of your questions is "no". You could convert your ext4 partition to Btrfs, but I don't think there is a command to convert the file system from ext4 to Btrfs and then merge it with an existing Btrfs pool. Even if there is technically a command to do this I would not recommend trying it as there is a lot going on in such a process. You would be much better off backing up your data, creating a Btrfs pool with all of your available partitions and then copying data to the pool from your backup. Converting and merging multiple file systems on the fly would be asking for Murphy's law to strike.
15 • Ubuntu Rankings (by Ismail Arslangiray on 2013-04-15 14:37:40 GMT from United States)
Joselo made a very good point.
16 • @14 Btrfs (by DavidEF on 2013-04-15 14:55:44 GMT from United States)
"Converting and merging multiple file systems on the fly would be asking for Murphy's law to strike." -- Thought so!
17 • Ubuntu flavors (by wolf on 2013-04-15 14:59:30 GMT from Germany)
I'll second Joselo as I was asking myself that same damn question. It doesn't seem fair to count the different Ubuntus differently. So please sum them up an voila at least your database counts 3 Distros less
No April fools joke
18 • Scientific community forum (by bill max on 2013-04-15 15:45:35 GMT from United States)
Jesse, try http://scientificlinuxforum.org/ and then please correct your review.
19 • CentOS and Scientific (by Jesse on 2013-04-15 16:09:21 GMT from Canada)
>> "I'm confused. Why are you surprised you had very different installation experiences when for CentOS you chose Minimal Install (and then seemed to be complaining about just _how_ minimal it was), and for SL you chose Desktop?"
Now I'm confused. Why did you think I was at all surprised by the differences between the two? I thought it was interesting the two distribution provided different defaults and the point of my review was to explore those differences. Nowhere in the review do I express surprise nor do I complain about the minimal environment provided by CentOS. I think you may be reading a good deal of tone/emotion into an article which was not intended.
>> "Jesse, try http://scientificlinuxforum.org/ and then please correct your review."
What part of the review would that be? I don't see anything on this third-party community forum which would indicate a problem with the review.
20 • @17, etc (by sam graf on 2013-04-15 16:11:41 GMT from United States)
It's Canonical that sliced up the Ubuntu pie through sanctioned derivatives, not DistroWatch. I think the current system accurately reflects Canonical's choices.
On the other hand, if the goal is to tidy up the database in a fair way, there's no need to quibble over the Ubuntu family. Instead, let's count anything that ultimately builds on the hard work of the Debian community as Debian...that's a whole bunch of distros less. :)
21 • @8 Ubuntu (by mandogj on 2013-04-15 16:15:29 GMT from Peru)
You can't do that All the ubuntu flavours have there own home page Xbuntu etc
are not even called Ubuntu now are they, if they did that then all the debian clones would be grouped together all the Red hat clones, all so then it would end up split into rpm/debian etc not very interesting, Kubuntu is also like Mint its not part of Ubuntu any more
22 • CentOS, Scientific Linux, and Springdale !inux (by David McCann on 2013-04-15 16:20:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
The fact that the CentOS Anaconda defaults to a minimal install doesn't mean that it's really intended for servers (although it is the most popular distro on web servers). If you want to set up a server, you'd obviously choose one of the 3 server installations (basic, web, database)!
The real difference is that CentOS is designed for its community, which is large and varied. Scientific Linus is designed for CERN and Fermilab, Springdale for Princeton University; they very kindly let the rest of us use them, but they aren't actually thinking of us when they make decisions.
23 • @8 & 9 - Fuduntu (by Uncle Slacky on 2013-04-15 16:38:51 GMT from France)
Fuduntu is indeed excellent, however they announced today that it is going to reach EoL in September: http://www.fuduntu.org/blog/2013/04/15/fuduntu-team-meeting-held-on-april-14-2013/
24 • @21: Kubuntu is an official Flavour, Mint is not. (by Marco on 2013-04-15 17:16:02 GMT from United States)
> Kubuntu is also like Mint its not part of Ubuntu any more.
While the Kubuntu developers are no longer funded by Canonical, Kubuntu, like all the recognized flavors, shares the *buntu infrastructure, release cadence, etc.
Mint is a derivative.
25 • DW Ranking (by JJ Black on 2013-04-15 18:25:04 GMT from United States)
I think the setup is fine as it stands. If DW had to list every flavor of Ubuntu, then they would have to that for ALL distros listed. Zorin for instance, also makes Zorin Lite, and some other distros cover the major desktops (KDE, Xfce, Gnome), so that would create one more listing for each version.
Bottom line, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Most Linux users are savvy enough to know how to find the one they want. ;)
26 • When is a derivative not a derivative? (by Charles Burge on 2013-04-15 18:53:53 GMT from United States)
Before we quibble more about tracking or not tracking derivatives, I think we need to define exactly what that term means. As we've seen already, that could prove to be a very difficult task. If you go back far enough in time, you could argue that MOST of the distros tracked here are derivatives. For example, Mageia is a fork of Mandriva, which in turn was derived from Red Hat. In many cases we've got derivatives which are more popular than their own parents, and in some cases the parents don't even exist anymore. It seems to me that a derivative often becomes a distro in its own right as it matures over time, but pinning down an exact cut-off point that we could all agree on might be next to impossible.
27 • linux (by jack on 2013-04-15 19:19:53 GMT from Canada)
I just visited the local branch of Chapters (a Canadian chain bookstore)
5 or 6years ago I used to find about half a dozen books on Linux: today there were just 2--one on Ubuntu and one on Linux development.
However there were 5 or more on Android development
The future may be a "smartphone/computer" which,at home , slips into a dock/keyboard and becomes a desktop running android/ubuntu.
28 • About Ubuntu's Ranking (by emariz on 2013-04-15 19:21:12 GMT from Argentina)
Not that I cared about the ranking, but I found important to note that it was Canonical who decided to differentiate between the different desktop environments over the same base system, and thus created different names, logotypes, websites, communities, etc. Moreover, currently, Kubuntu and Xubuntu are not even "official" versions of Ubuntu, but community-managed projects. The different Ubuntu "flavours" must be ranked separately.
29 • @25 (by dbrion on 2013-04-15 19:31:00 GMT from France)
Is the ratio : linux books / traditional PC books constant (that would make your assumption about the influence of "smart""phones" valid)?
There is something I found amazing : 6 years ago, hobby electronics had "only" support with Windows; now, things seem to changeradically : very popular projects such as arduino http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage are better supported on GNUlinuxAFAIK -I tested on FC17 with great satisfaction , and on some XPs- )
30 • ZFS, CentOS/Scientific (by Candide on 2013-04-15 19:47:08 GMT from Sweden)
Jesse: Your article on BTRFS and ZFS was very interesting. But you kind of left us hanging with your last sentence:
I have been using ZFS on Linux during the past year at home and have found it to be a welcome and reliable tool.
I'm sure you are aware of the legal issue clouding ZFS on Linux, which is mainly why BTRFS is being developed. And as a result, almost no distros come with ZFS compiled into the kernel. You can run ZFS via FUSE, but that involves a performance hit. Or you can try to roll your own kernel. So I'm curious Jesse, about just how you got ZFS onto your system. It would make a good "part II" for your article if you could tell us how to do this.
CentOS & Scientific: Good distros, I'm sure, based on Red Hat. The only thing that has kind of scared me away from Red Hat and it's immediate "clones" is the horror of the USA's software patent system. The legal minefield makes it awfully hard for developers in the USA to do anything without an army of lawyers sitting by their side. To make a vanilla Red Hat installation acceptable for everyday desktop use, you have to add in a bunch of repositories located in Europe, Asia or elsewhere. This, perhaps more than anything else, has given the Ubuntu-based distros an advantage. Freed from the oppressive litigation insanity that any software company faces in America, I think Red Hat would be totally awesome. We can thank mainly Microsoft and Apple for making Linux more-or-less illegal in the USA.
31 • @ 13 (by mz on 2013-04-15 21:18:34 GMT from United States)
@13/ Gnome Shell
I've used Gnome Shell, & there really isn't any fixing that monster without a heavy redesign of the sort that Cinnamon provides. Even recent versions of Gnome 3 still have a very weak level of customization compared to other DEs, and defaults that will confound most users. Cinnamon is a vast improvement for nearly anyone; however, that being said I'd rather use KDE. Of course if you have some preference for Gtk, or more likely your distro of choice has been heavily Gtk for some time, then Cinnamon is a good modern DE with some neat stuff not found in MATE.
32 • re: 19 (by bill max on 2013-04-15 22:02:45 GMT from United States)
Jesse, I aplogize for a very brusk comment. I was interupted here and didn't get my message completed. My bad. I meant to say 'update'. I also reread your review and found that you did indeed mention the way to find lilnks to the forum. I was initially suprised that you claimed there is NO forum but hadn't reecognized the setting you laid for that statement. Speaking of settings: consider please, that Scientific Linux is put together by a small team of a funded multi-site, multinational organization. Given the size of the team and the size of the job, I feel it is very good of them to make their SL available to the public and can understand why they cannot participate in a public forum. That is the reason the scientificlinuxforum is offficially unofficial. Also being a funded organization explains why SL's announced endofsupport date is sometimes less than Red Hat or CENT.
Given the nature of most distributions of linux it is easy to overlook the circimstances under which SL exists as 22 puts it so well. I than them for including us to enjoy their efforts and I thank you Jesse, for your reveiws. You do good work.
33 • T.A.I.L.S. downloads almost unusable (by Glenn on 2013-04-15 22:09:35 GMT from United States)
The bandwidth for a download of TAILS is so poor that I can't even get 25 Kb/s. My download manager tells me that it will take almost 12 hours to download the iso. This isn't practical if these poor speeds persist. Speedtest says my download speed is >1Mb/s, so I don't think it is my end that is causing it...Maybe TAILS should consider making a zsync update available if they can't get better bandwidth.
34 • DW rankings (by FactChecker on 2013-04-15 23:38:12 GMT from United States)
I can't help but wish people would quit fussing over DW's PHR.
Independent research makes it clear that even among the "big 5" distros, DW's rankings are no better than a random guess, statistically speaking.
35 • RE: 33 (by Landor on 2013-04-16 00:53:28 GMT from Canada)
I usually (haven't for the latest release) obtain Tails via torrents and then distribute it until it's at least 5:1, sometimes more.
I've never had an issue with obtaining it at such a slow speed via that method either. Also though, Speedtest is really only there for curiousity's sake. It has nothing to do with the real world route your connection to the downloadable file would take.
If you do obtain it via torrents, do share in return. It's just one of the ways I give back to this community every day. The lion's share of my bandwidth, thus a fair percentage of my real monthly bill.
Keep your stick on the ice...
36 • TOTAL BUNTU-BASED: 14,777 (by gregzeng on 2013-04-16 03:34:29 GMT from Australia)
@3, @17: I'll second THIRD this.
"It doesn't seem fair to count the different Ubuntus differently."
If Distrowatch dared accept reality, it will lose its reason for existence.
In popular use, there is just one Linux distro: "The Ubuntus".
Ubuntu, + K, X, L.
Mint (not LMDE), Zorin, Snowlinux, Bodhi, OS4, Pear, Lite, Ultimate, Peppermint, DreamStudio, LuninuX, elementary, ZevenOS, Ubuntu Studio, BackBox, Pinguy, UberStudent, Netrunner, Deepin, wattOS, Commodore, Joli OS, Super OS, Trisquel, Swift, ... (of D-w's 'top 100').
TOTAL BUNTU-BASED: 14,777
If we include Debian-based distros, it would include all of the above brandnames and more.
The Official U-community at various times, has been anti-Kubuntu, anti-Xubuntu and only recently accepted Lubuntu (Lubuntu has now met its 'standards').
The publicity frightened officials exclude distros which are buntu-based. So end-users must explain how or why these buntu-shells are sometimes (not always) better.
37 • RE: 33 & 35 (by El Condor on 2013-04-16 04:20:56 GMT from Romania)
Usually I obtain Tails(or anything else) via an excellent tool: aria2c with HTTP/FTP option -x5 (see aria2c man pages). e.g. for the last release of Tails: aria2c -x5 http://dl.amnesia.boum.org/tails/stable/tails-i386-0.17.2/tails-i386-0.17.2.iso will take about 2 minutes!
38 • Congrats to PCLinuxOS for its 64 bit version (by Osoloco on 2013-04-16 05:54:41 GMT from Ecuador)
It was long awaited and expected! Congrats for the achievement, I know it took a large effort and a great deal of work to accomplish it.
I hope it doesn't arrive too late. I my case I went for Sabayon 64, so far so good. Anyway I'll give PCLinuxOS a try in the hope it will honour the 32 bit excellent reputation and performance.
39 • @#23 - Fuduntu (by hoos on 2013-04-16 06:29:56 GMT from Singapore)
Oh man. Now I'm sad. Fuduntu is a great little distro, usable, stable, good-looking, pretty up to date, rolling release, works on my old machine. While I have a few other distros I use regularly, this is one of my favourites.
40 • Springdale (by Dave Postles on 2013-04-16 10:53:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
@22 No doubt you are right, but the PUIAS people (as they were then) very kindly compiled stuff and put it in their repository for me and willingly gave advice.
41 • Fuduntu (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2013-04-16 11:57:12 GMT from United States)
Just the first casualty of systemd? (not Simple, not Short ...)
42 • @36 Ubuntu world domination? (by DavidEF on 2013-04-16 13:18:01 GMT from United States)
I get what you're saying, and I agree with some of your logic. But, I don't think your conclusions are entirely valid.
-- In popular use, there is just one Linux distro: "The Ubuntus".
I don't think so. In MY HOUSE, that statement is true, but in the rest of the world, there are many fine distros that are as different from Ubuntu as night and day, in use daily, at someone else's house, or business, or school, or government agency. And SOME of those distros are quite popular.
43 • CinnArch & Gnome3 (by Fencemeister717 on 2013-04-16 14:37:21 GMT from United States)
As despised as Gnome3 is, they'd be better off with a counterfeit Gnome2 clone based on LXDE or Openbox. Even if the differences prove to be radical, at least the distro's survival rate would go up. As it stands, to voluntarily become a Gnome3 desktop distro equates to a form of self-destruction. Just my opinion anyway...
44 • @43 Cinnamon flavor? (by DavidEF on 2013-04-16 15:05:29 GMT from United States)
Maybe someone could come up with a theme file that at least keeps the look of Cinnamon, for Gnome 3 desktops. I don't know if that is feasible. Maybe you're right, and a Gnome2-look theme on LXDE would work better. I still fail to see the current aim or purpose of Cinnamon, so I can't really imagine what a "replacement" should be like. Are there any Cinnamon users here that can tell us what's so special about it? And I mean that in all sincerity. I'd really like to know.
45 • @44 cinnamon (by octathlon on 2013-04-16 15:39:36 GMT from United States)
I've been using Cinnamon on my Ubuntu install because it seems to be the closest thing to the pre-Unity 10.04 LTS desktop, which IMO was Ubuntu's peak, plus the Cinnamon Menu improves on that interface. I am open to suggestions for a better solution if you have any.
46 • @45 Cinnamon replacement (by DavidEF on 2013-04-16 19:53:51 GMT from United States)
I really don't know what would "replace" Cinnamon, since I don't know what's special about it that people like. I know there is XFCE, and LXDE, which aim to be lightweight. There is MATE, which aims to be a continuation of the old Gnome 2 base with some improvements. I don't think any of those require hardware accelleration, like Gnome 3, Unity, and Cinnamon all do. If you liked the old Ubuntu (pre-unity) the best, MATE would probably be closest to that, because Gnome 2 is what Ubuntu always used.
47 • MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome 3, Unity, LXDE, XFCE (by DavidEF on 2013-04-16 19:59:12 GMT from United States)
I've used all of these DE's and found them all to be buggy, ranging from slightly-more-than-somewhat (LXDE, XFCE) all the way up to almost unusable (Cinnamon, Gnome 3, and the version of Unity that shipped in Ubuntu 12.10).
48 • @44 Cinnamon flavor? (by mandog on 2013-04-16 21:06:59 GMT from Peru)
gnome extensions do just that and more, One click install.
@36 Your logic fails at the 1st hurdle Ubuntu is based on snapshots of Debian Sid, So your proposal Would mean LUMP ALL THE DEBIANS together, No more Ubuntus that would be great as I don't use Ubuntu.
@ 31 Gnome Shell is no monster its a top class modern desktop I've just been using Gnome 2 on PC,BSD Its out of date yesterdays needs not todays.
49 • MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome 2 & 3, Unity, LXDE, XFCE (by mcellius on 2013-04-16 22:09:33 GMT from United States)
@47: David: I agree. I've tried all of those desktops and have found good things as well as bad things about them all. I found Cinnamon somewhat more usable than you did, I think, but not especially appealing or compelling; like you, I don't see the point of it. Gnome 3 seemed usable but not for anyone with a normal human mind. ;) Unity with 12.10 wasn't bad for me, either, although the version in the 13.04 beta has seemed great. MATE was pretty good, but just seemed old-fashioned. I guess everyone has preferences.
As for the DW popularity numbers, I find them rather humorous. It is clear, especially after reading other sites, that users of some distros depend on those numbers for credibility, like "This distro is great, which is why it's so popular." Or even, "This distro is better than that one because it's more popular." Silly, but it's pretty clear there are deliberate attempts to manipulate the numbers, which just makes them useless. (I'm not sure that the creators of distros do that, but some of their fanbois do.)
50 • @41 - systemd casualty (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-04-16 23:40:32 GMT from United States)
I was thinking the exact same thing.
Poettering is probably dancing with effeminate joy right now.
51 • Main (by Fred on 2013-04-17 05:31:32 GMT from United States)
If the World is to embrace Linux, and leave Windows alone, then we have to get our act together, and determine what the main distro is. It makes me so mad when someone develops another distro. We have too many as it is, and it is extremely unlikely that any new distros will so something differently that the others haven't incorporated or tried, yet. Some of us have already determined what the main distro is. I am not here to pick, I am here to point out that we need to decide which is the main one. So far, it looks like Ubuntu. I don't like that selection given its unity interface, but that is apparently where we are aimed at the moment. Personally, i think Linux Mint should be chosen.
52 • @51 • Main by Fred (by greg on 2013-04-17 08:11:57 GMT from Slovenia)
wrong. how will you fit Ubuntu on Raspberry? it doesn't fit. So a new distribution Raspbian was made.
Same goes for TV boxes. why stick ubuntu on them? OYu dont' need all that stuff in TV box. what you need is XBML or OpenELEC.
and what about inflight entertainment on airplane? surely they do not need openoffice and gimp, and server stuff. so they make their own linux distro. the list goes on. it's the advantage not a flaw of linux.
now if we talk about which distribution has best (well i mean most developed) support for desktop for companies/businesses and consumers - there are 3 main ones Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise, (maybe Oracle). There are other distibutions with support but probably not on such large scale as those.
53 • Main Distros and what we should be doing. (by Linux Lover on 2013-04-17 12:28:30 GMT from United States)
@52, Not really. I would imagine that he is talking about desktop Linux distros. As far as people leaving MS Windows alone, that is not what developers of a distro should be trying to do. Linux has its place and it's not the takeover of the desktop. Distros that try to do that and not branch out to other uses of their code will fail. Distributions like Arch, Gentoo, CentOS, Redhat, Fedora and the likes are not going to cater to the general public. You either have the enterprise editions, the specialist distros, the distros with the selfish attitude of "it's my way or the highway", with is fine for them, and distros trying to cater to the general computer user. Most people here do not fit into the category of the general desktop or laptop computer user. It amazes me that a lot of them believe they do. They have certain ways of doing things and it's burnt into their memory. Some have opinions that are just flat out wrong and opinions can be wrong or worthless when they are stated as fact but the facts don't support the opinions. There is too much infighting, too much chest thumping, too much fanboyism, too much self made stress. What people need to do is "Put the fun back into computing", and that will not happen as long as there is so much hate in this ecosystem. Enjoy the diversity of this ecosystem and remember that when you start looking down on others is when you lose your balance and start falling.
54 • @49 mcellius (by DavidEF on 2013-04-17 13:56:36 GMT from United States)
I have very tight tolerances when it comes to usability. Some DE's which are quite usable from a more objective measure, I find to be quite unusable from my subjective POV. Also, ten bugs in a DE I'm normally comfortable with using are more tolerable than one or two bugs in an unfamiliar DE and ten bugs that strike once a week are more tolerable than one bug that strikes once an hour.
All that to say this: I'm not knocking any DE. I think people should use what they like and not complain about the others, or put them down. I just wanted to make that clear for anyone who read my post (#47), because I didn't really word it well.
55 • Re: Main Distro and what we should be doing (by Rev_Don on 2013-04-17 15:27:56 GMT from United States)
@51 It isn't the lack of a Main Distro that is holding back. It's the rushed time frame for putting out new releases and not supported existing releases enough. If Linux wants to become more mainstream it needs to stop putting the majority of it's efforts into the 6 month new release cycle nonsense and instead put it where it would do the most good. Fix the problems that have existed for years instead of carrying them over into the next rushed released because there wasn't time to fix them in time for the rushed release.
Also, fox the compatibility issues with the repositories. Do NOT allow a new addition to a repo to break an existing program/library. Sorry, but that can NOT happen EVER.
Next, make sure that ALL existing releases of a distro that are supported actually are. This nonsense that distros that are more than 6 months old can't run the latest versions of programs is nonsense and needs to stop.
I need STABILITY first and foremost, something that is difficult to achieve in any reasonably up to date distro of Linux, especially if I need an up to date version of a specific program. I don't want to spend a bunch of time installing, configuring, and getting used to a new distro release only to have to go thru it all over again in 6 months just to keep current. I need to actually USE my computer, not play with it. There are a lot of other people in the world who feel the same way about it. In fact, the vast majority of computer users need and want it as well. As long as Linux is stuck in this "Rush out a new release as quickly as possible even though it has a ton of problems and isn't ready because we need to push out the latest gimmick and fad" mentality it will never be taken seriously for anything but servers and specialized applications.
56 • Gnome 3 (by mz on 2013-04-17 16:33:24 GMT from United States)
I'll admit that it is a matter of opinion as to how bad Gnome 3 is, or what adjective properly describes it, but Gnome 3 aka 'Gnome Shell' has been an epic fail on some level. If the design wasn't at very least highly questionable there wouldn't be 3 desktops trying to give users an acceptable alternative. I don't think Ubuntu Unity does a great job in this regard but it's better than Gnome 3, and Mate relies on the same old bits as Gnome 2. Cinnamon seems like the best of the three, but the point is everyone seems to want to fix whats wrong with Gnome 3. I don't know what the new releases of Gnome have to do with the old version that you seem to be familiar with, but that's because when version 3 came out & they started officially calling it 'Gnome Shell' it became a completely alien environment that threw out everything that came before. I suppose that the new DE is still based on Gtk software and is still called 'Gnome', but that's all I can see in common between Gnome 2 & Gnome Shell.
57 • @56 (by Patrick on 2013-04-17 17:13:35 GMT from United States)
"""Gnome 3 aka 'Gnome Shell' has been an epic fail on some level. If the design wasn't at very least highly questionable there wouldn't be 3 desktops trying to give users an acceptable alternative."""
Huh? Since when is that a viable reason to call anything an epic fail? There are always people trying to keep old, abandoned software alive. KDE4 is an epic fail because the Trinity project is trying to keep KDE3 alive? GNOME2 was an epic fail, because there were the KDE, Xfce, LXDE, Openbox, Enlightenment, etc alternatives?
There are many people perfectly happy with Gnome Shell. So you don't like it. Fine, I don't care. But I wish you and all other Gnome 3 haters would stop pretending like you represent all Linux users.
58 • @ 57 (by mz on 2013-04-17 18:04:21 GMT from United States)
The least you could say is that both Ubuntu and Mint independently decided to drop Gnome after version 3 came out, and they were the two biggest Gnome based versions of Linux up to that point. When your two biggest groups of users abandon you because of your design decisions, then you've screwed up royally. In both situations the replacement DE used the same exact toolkit as Gnome 3, meaning there were very different motivating factors in creating Unity & Cinnamon compared to the competition between DEs with different toolkits like Gnome 2, KDE, and Enlightenment. Both Unity and Cinnamon are also in the same rough weight class as Gnome 3 as well, meaning they were created for different reasons than XFCE & LXDE were when older versions of Gnome were out. These differences point to the fundamental changes in the interface of Gnome 3 when compared to Gnome 2.
I never claimed to represent everyone, just myself, but I think most users don't like Gnome 3. It seems like a very boutique DE made for those who want their desktop to act like a touchscreen. That's fine if you like it, but the diminishing number big name Gnome based distros & the market response to Windows 8 indicate there may be a problem with the 'touch like' PC model. I'm actually glad that someone in the Linux world created such a DE before Windows 8 came out, but it shouldn't have been done by such a major player. I really don't think a radical new DE that can't be reconfigured as easily as it's predecessor was a smart move on the part of the Gnome folks. If you like it I'm glad you found your strange little nirvana in the world of Linux computing, but I think there was a better way to introduce the radical departure that Gnome Shell represents. If Gnome Shell had come out on one of the smaller Linux DEs then it would have been an interesting attempt at remaking the desktop, but coming from one of the top two players in the Linux DE world, I think it was a bad move. But like I said it's just my opinion, and one that's similar to more than a few of the commentators I've read.
59 • @58 (by Patrick on 2013-04-17 18:31:44 GMT from United States)
Ubuntu actually decided to go its own way before Gnome 3 was even released. Same thing as they're doing with Wayland and Mir now. They just don't know how to play nice with upstream projects over which they don't have direct control. This says more about Ubuntu than it does about Gnome.
You are right about Mint. Cinnamon came out of a desire to preserve the old Gnome2 style on a Gnome 3 base. I still wonder about its future now Gnome has their new Classic mode in 3.8, and considering how far Cinnamon has fallen behind. It may end up just being a stopgap in the transition to Gnome 3. Gnome 3 may work well with touch or not, I wouldn't know. All I know is that it works great with mouse and keyboard.
Ubuntu also has its proper Gnome version back now. It's starting to look like the whole Gnome 3 uproar is turning out to be nothing more than the storm in a glass of water that the KDE4 uproar was. I don't think many users have problems with how KDE4 turned out anymore. In the end, these things usually come down to impatience and premature incorporation in "production" distros.
60 • Gnome & Cinnamon (by Phil Mulley on 2013-04-17 19:19:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
Lots of interesting comments this week.
"Epic fail" may be going too far but as many other people have mentioned there does not seem to be a lot of love going for Gnome 3. One major reason for this could be that Gnome 2 was just so popular: it was very hard to follow. I don't think linux has to replace Windows : in fact they can just leave windows to self implode judging by Windows 8: I don't think that having too many distros or desktops is an issue either. A good proportion of the linux user base is going to use the OS on PCs and laptops rather than on phones/touchscreens/tablets so the tablet paradigm does little for them. If Ubuntu thinks this is the future (and most figures I have seen seem to back this up to be fair) then good on them: but I'll not be using Unity in a hurry! Personally I like the rolling release model and I think it answers many of the issues surrounding 6 month release cycles and support: and these days I tend to veer towards LXDE or OpenBox : largely because all my computers are so old!
61 • @59 (by mz on 2013-04-17 19:24:03 GMT from United States)
I think Gnome made it's intentions clear long enough beforehand that the design of Gnome Shell was a major factor in the creation of Unity, but I could be wrong. I do know that there was always a fallback mode built into Gnome 3, but I can't speak to how much better the new replacement versions are than the original fallback. I don't really think Gnome 3 is touch capable yet, but it incorporates certain design features that I think mimic smart phones. It's cool if you & others like that style of interface, but I don't think it works well for me or a majority of users. I could be wrong & things might go a lot better for Gnome in the future, but I have my doubts. If I could sum up my opinion in one reference it might be something like this:
'nice job jumping that shark Fonzi, I sure hope someone else enjoyed it more than me.'
62 • Gnome Shell (by Bill on 2013-04-17 22:49:23 GMT from United States)
I've seen enough bantering back and forth about Gnome Shell, or Gnome 3, and I have to agree that it is a matter of personal choice or taste. For me, trying Gnome 3 was an absolutely horrible experience, so much so that I put my money where my mouth was. First I wrote the Gnome 3 developers and was ignored completely. Next, I made it my business to try Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, KDE and Solus. Finally, I donated funds to all of the above (not KDE as I don't use it. Everyone thanked me for contributing and I have to say that Clement at Mint was one of the nicest people to respond. Yesterday I gave Gnome 3 another look just to see if they had made any progress. In my experience, for my taste, it's still a piece of crap. I will never use Gnome 3 as long as there is an alternative. The only thing worse (and not by much) is Windows 8. No, it may not be an epic fail, but it sure is to me, and there are many others.
63 • Gnome 3 (by DonM on 2013-04-17 23:14:07 GMT from United States)
Seems everyone hates Gnome3, but I'd like to point out that it is the ONLY DE at the moment that fully supports Evolution. I guess that mail/calendar app has fallen out of favor with everyone but me. Sabayon comes closest to supporting it, but it doesn't do much in the way of printer support. And in modifying Gnome 3 (like Cinnamon and others), they've destroyed the Evolution support.
64 • @60 (by fernbap on 2013-04-17 23:14:15 GMT from Portugal)
" I don't think many users have problems with how KDE4 turned out anymore."
All i can say is regarding my own experience: KDE4 killed KDE for me. I was happy with KDE3, and abandoned KDE for good never to come back.
I believe the same thing is happening to many gnome2 users. They went away never to come back. Regardless of how good gnome3 is going to be, the harm was already done.
We are lucky to have MATE being actively developed (by Mint, among others). Not all was lost.
65 • 63 • Gnome 3 (by mandog on 2013-04-18 00:19:00 GMT from Peru)
No not everybody hates Gnome3 just the same few people repeating themselves week in week out, Probably the same people that complain about any change in life,
IT seems Clem has taken note and is releasing a updated Cinnamon with patches for Gnome 3.8 so that will please a lot of people, Not that I use it but I do have a soft spot for Linux Mint.
66 • GNOME splinters (by :wq on 2013-04-18 01:45:36 GMT from United States)
Don't forget to add the Consort Desktop fork of GNOME 3 fallback mode into the mix.
67 • Distro essentials - please. (by gregzeng on 2013-04-18 04:03:41 GMT from Australia)
Many interesting comments this week so far.
They ignore the existence of E17 desktop environment, as best showcased in Bodhi (a 'buntu', but very fast and very bare, so Bodhi metapackages are needed).
E17 still needs noob-friendliness, since it demands much anti-GUI RTFM.
So, my opinions is a need for:
1) Auto-sense; 2) USB-flashdrive install; 3) Friendly GUI setups, with multi-boot/ multi-drive menus; 4) Popular multi-distro apps & add-ons.
1) Installer must autosense hardware and previous installation environments before trying to install any distro itself. The Buntu installer seems to do this better than others (but the KDE-version of this puts my server in the wrong time-region).
This 'impossible' task explains the existence of sunset distros (older, simpler hardware). These noob-dinosoar distros deny the existence of: ext4, USB3, flashdrives, SSDs, multiple displays, wireless peripherals, ntfs partitions, ...
2) Distro must be installable from a USB-flash drive.
- faster, more compact, more hardware-stable than the traditional CD or DVD.
Unetbootin is the preferred installer onto a USB flash-drive in both the Windows & Linux operating systems, but so many Distrowatch-listed brands fail this essential requirement (some of them 'secretly').
3) Friendly GUI setups, with multi-boot/ multi-drive menus, with easy partition setup, common naming, sizing, & recognition.
So many distros fail this test. They have the M$-arrogance that the whole (first) drive seen by the installer will be totally devoted to the new operating system, using strange terms that are generally unknown to users of other operating systems.
ATM I'm stuck with Zorin since it handles my multi-booting, multi-drive system almost perfectly. Hundreds of other Linux distros have failed to handle my multi-boot, multi-drive system. I'll explain the method later on my personal website (gregzeng.com).
4) Allow popular apps and add-ons, or supersets of these addons.
Most Linux distros allow this to happen, usually (but not always) including Firefox, Chrome (or Chromium), a notepad-clone, and a simple file manager. Personally I use Opera browser.
In taskbar handlers there is much disagreement, since these have always been available in mature systems as add-ons to most desktop or tablet (including smartphones) environments. Personally I prefer Docky, but Zorin forces (anti-GUI) AWN onto me.
To deny the existence of these independent taskbars, Apple, Canonical, Microsoft, etc have super-operating systems - trying to destroy these these third party apps & add-ons, by creating as many incompatibilities as passible. Mozilla & Google might be seen as trying to topple the chief 'god' from the throne as well.
68 • Preferred usb-flash installer (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2013-04-18 16:22:40 GMT from United States)
Unetbootin has updated to using unpack-and-syslinux instead of dd-and-destroy-partition/filesystem, so now it's just not "simple" enough to be "preferred" by those who refuse to play well with others. There's a project on sourceforge named multibootusb that aspires to do better.
For the many who use both Windows and Linux, YUMI and grub2win are try-before-you-buy and work-well-with-others tools worthy of note.
69 • Gnome Classic or Gnome Fallback (by Roy H Huddleston on 2013-04-18 22:15:20 GMT from United States)
Thanks to the Debian alternate installer version of Lubuntu you can switch between the two. One would think that they are both the same until you run the PPA for Gnome 3.8 for Gnome Classic and the Gnome Fallback with Gnome 3.6 with not using a PPA. But then neither one of these two options is actually Gnome 2. :)
70 • Springdale, Gnome 3 (by subg on 2013-04-19 00:13:25 GMT from Canada)
@1 - Yes, Springdale (PUIAS) is at least as good as the clones tested. Nary a crash, never falls behind the point updates, lots of apps, solid.
@63, 65 - And Gnome 3 is just fine - smooth, efficient, lots of features, dependable; and that's with a vanilla install on a rolling-release paldoOS, Used daily.
Each to his/her own...
71 • Preferred usb-flash installer (by gregzeng on 2013-04-19 01:45:08 GMT from Australia)
@68 Thank you, but Jesse & many others are very confused.
The devs on these installers are refusing to tell the truth, since that would expose the weakness in their personal installers.
The buntu repositories has Unetbootin, which also exists in MS Windows. One other Debian-based uses a more awkward installer, not available in Windows. The web site "alternativeto.com" lists 17 others besides Unetbootin (the top favored installer, 182). YUMI, WinSetupFromUSB, RMPrepUSB, MultiSystem seem discreditted installers for reasons unknown to me.
Windows itself has as freeware: Universal USB Installer (59), WinToFlash (27), LinuxLive USB Creator (28), Rufus (12), SARDU (12), XBoot (6), WINToBootic, LiveUSB Install, WinUSB Maker, FlashBoot, (2 each), plus Tuxboot, EasyBoot, & Flash boot builder.
Three (3) of the 18 installes are said be be usable in Linux, but I have yet to research these claims; Linux as we know is not app friendly, since it broken into at least two incompatible groups: RPM & DEB, messing up efforts from Crossover, WINE and other third parties.
72 • buntus versus Mint (by zykoda on 2013-04-19 14:20:52 GMT from United Kingdom)
If one should plot all the HPDs for *buntus (that will include some duplicates) throughout 2002 to 2013 (yearly basis) then, at present, they are neck and neck. This is just an "interesting" data logging exercise using the figures from Distrowatch HPD. Some buntu versions included are no longer available. Mint "took off" in 2010 for "some reason"? One can verify the figures oneself with a little manipulation. I use a procedure to extract selected distro groups then PlotDrop them.
73 • @72 (by mz on 2013-04-19 15:22:23 GMT from United States)
Mint taking off in 2010 & 2011 goes back to the whole Gnome 3 & Unity thing that we've been going back & forth about. Gnome 3 & Unity were slated for release in April 2011, and interest in other options began to pick up several months before that. I think that Mint declared several months early that they would stay with Gnome 2 when Gnome 3 & Unity were initially released. That made them an appealing option for those who wanted to stay on the Ubuntu base & release schedule while not switching to a totally different DE. Users started looking around a lot more & considering their options before the new desktops came out, and Mint was the most popular thing to check over here on DW.
74 • Re 22: CentOS & Scientific Linux (by hobbitland on 2013-04-19 18:09:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
At work we use mainly CentOS 6.x for desktop and Scientific Linux 6.x for our super duper compute clusters in our offices.
A few OpenSuSE desktops. Slowly, we are changing the OpenSuSE to CentOS. SuSE was great but since the folk to SLES and OpenSUSE we found OpenSuSE to be not as good now. I found SL 6.x had problems with on desktops like fonts.
All our desktops are CentOS 5.x/6.x, RHEL 6.x or OpenSuSE. The OpenSuSE are always less stable so we are mopving people to CentOS 6.x
At home we use Ubuntu 12.04 with Gnome 3 fallback. I'm almost certainly goint o Xubuntu 14.04 with some customization.
75 • 72 • buntus versus Mint (by gregzeng on 2013-04-20 02:48:36 GMT from Australia)
zykoda" "Some buntu versions included are no longer available". Hooray. Since 2002, many distros have dropped off the Distrowatch top 100, not just the buntus. Good UNBIASED observation, Noob.
Personally, I'd like the OpenSuse or PCLOS distros to move to the desktop successfully, since I lost my Linux virginity to these distros. But every other Linux distro, except the buntus, fails (@67):
1) Auto-sense; 2) USB-flashdrive install; 3) Friendly GUI setups, with multi-boot/ multi-drive menus; 4) Popular multi-distro apps & add-ons."
@68 "Fossilizing Dinosaur" claims the buntu dominance of Linux is insignificant, since Unetbootin is not worthwhile, or whatever. If you have only biased, unsourced, stupid opinions: "shut [up] and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt". I;m getting tired of upset children (conservatives) claiming that the world was better decades ago, and nothing has changed.
76 • Claims? (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2013-04-20 05:16:52 GMT from United States)
Vent if you must, but you'll catch more with a little honey than with all that piss and vinegar. And do not twist others' words, please.
77 • @ #67 - distro essentials (by Pierre on 2013-04-20 08:30:00 GMT from Germany)
I can't see any point where these essentials are not met by nearly all distros. It's just that you fail to handle them correctly.
Unetbootin is no standard tool that every distro has to deal with. The command line tool 'dd' is able to bring any distro image to a usb stick. You just need to know how and it is most likely that even the documentation of your distro of choice will offer a HowTo on that.
As always not everyone prefers a GUI for configuration.
Conf file enable you to simply copy over your wisely put together configuration to any other system. This is, why I prefer conf files over GUIs where I would end up klicking the same choiced for each of my machines over and over again.
And honestly, I don't want to waste time to do a configuration I did at least once before all over again.
The existence of E17 is neither ignored nor does it need become more noob friendly. It simply has to become stable first!
Additionally E17 is lacking features even over Xfce, what I prefer for a lightweight desktop environment.
Nevertheless, as long as performance is not negatively influenced by the DE I would prefer KDE over any other - but that is personal preference and anyone should make his or her own choice here.
openSUSE offers all the common DEs and I appreciate the choice a lot. And they have my preferred window manager in the repos as well: i3
Not to forget about their great GUI for configurations. So why Zorin and not openSUSE if you prefer a GUI configuration over others? It would IMO be the best choice here.
Greetings from Germany
78 • Re: 77: "dd" vs "unetbootin" (by hobbitland on 2013-04-20 10:23:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
I use "unetbootin" for putting remastered Ubuntu 12.04.2 with Gnome 3 fallback on USB disk.
A major problem with "dd" is you waste all the reminding space on a USB stick. I want to put more stuff on my USB stick like portable Windows apps etc.
You can also boot multiple kernels with multiple boot options using unetbootin. Just edit the syslinux.cfg file. Cannot do that with "dd".
79 • @ #78 - dd vs. unetbootin (by Pierre on 2013-04-20 11:30:42 GMT from Germany)
That's true. But I did not say unetbootin wouldn't have advantages over the dd method. Nevertheless I don't care for that because of multiple reasons.
First of all I have a whole bunch of usb sticks flying around at home. But I do prefer to use one stick for one task anyway - e.g. one for portable windows apps, one for documents to share, one for booting from into live systems and others to deliver installation media.
So this feature of unetbootin is of no use for me. Plus many of the operating systems I like or use are not compatible with unetbootin. And dd's benefit is, I can use it on every unix like os, because it's a standard command line tool.
But everyone has his/her preferences and if someone needs or wants unetbootin's features, it is sad if a distribution he/she likes does not support it.
Apart from this. for me and for most people supporting unetbootin is no feature that is essential. This is all I wanted to point out. Only because it is the preference of one does not turn it into an essentially needed feature of every linux/unix os.
Greetings from Germany
80 • Re: 79 "dd" is more dangereous (by hobbitland on 2013-04-20 16:08:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
I think "dd" is more dangerous. Easy to zap the wrong device by mistake and no progress indicator like "unetbootin".
Just tried my remastered Ubuntu 12.04.2 using "dd". It did not boot on a system with Secure Boot UEFI enabled. However, it does boot on same system using "unetbootin". All my USB sticks are big and I don't want to waste the reminding space on a 4GB or 8GB stick.
Actually, I have stopped trying lots of distros and if I want to see what fedora looks like I use VirtualBox to try. Ubuntu defaults are rubbish but its the easiest to remaster and supports secure boot. Just remove the stuff you don't like and add what you like.
81 • gnome 3 etc (by imnotrich on 2013-04-20 20:01:43 GMT from Mexico)
Not everyone hates gnome 3 (aka Unity aka Windows 8, blecch!).
Some of us deeply despise it (them).
My first experience with Linux was KDE roughly 13 years ago. Confusing it was, so I switched to standard gnome type distros like Debian, Ubuntu and also Puppy which isn't gnome exactly but similar.
Occasional experiments with more recent KDE versions have not been joyful, but far from the counter-intuitive monstrosities known as gnome3, Unity and Windows 8. I don't use a touch screen because only toys have touch screens plus I don't like trying to read my computer screen through skin oil, ick! Even this gnome "classic" is mostly garbage.
No gnome, it's not up to you to tell me what programs I can use to open files based on the file extension. That is for me to decide. And yet it's one of many functionality stolen from users with recent versions of gnome. Why?
Maybe for some it's a fear of change, but for me I'm not impressed by new flashy stuff that is so riddled with bugs and counter-intuitive that you need to hire Dr. Edward Teller as a tutor.
82 • Gnome Shell (by lang on 2013-04-21 13:09:32 GMT from Hungary)
What's wrong with Gnome Shell? It's stable, fast, light, expandable via plugins, elegant with Satyajit's Elegant theme. :)
Unnecessary things in Gnome Shell: Evolution, Google apps, social integration.
83 • @ 82 (by mz on 2013-04-21 22:28:41 GMT from United States)
Well since someone asked again, there is a lot that's been stripped out of Gnome since version 3, aka Gnome Shell, came out. They still don't have freaking minimize & maximize buttons for crying out loud. Nautilus is being removed from Mint & Ubuntu because the newer versions are striping out even more functionality. I mean are Linux user so feeble that when presented with an option to change how they're viewing files they breakdown in tears or something? Oh and why is it that the the app launcher thing they replaced the menu with makes me send my mouse far & wide across the screen to launch a simple program? Also remember the Gnome folks were the ones who initially thought that only leet geeks who knew their special key combination would want to power down their computer from the desktop. Anyone who thought that way was starting from a very strange place that was likely to offend many. A decent rant on the subject can be found here:
If you like it that's cool, but Gnome 3 is not what most would call intuitive for the average PC user. For someone who started out on Linux with Mint 6 & Gnome 2, I can say I've been genuinely shocked by the bizarre design choices in Gnome 3. Gnome has gone from very mainstream to very niche in a surprisingly short amount of time. Gnome could have added features to version 3 with a clean design that built on what good things they already had. Instead they tried to reinvent the wheel by making a bunch of bold & daring design choices based what some thought was the hip new design philosophy of the touch era. I'm sure some like what they've done, but I think they took a lot of stupid risks that haven't led to more user satisfaction overall.
I'd definitely call Gnome 3 the spiritual predecessor of Windows 8. Both were market leaders in their respective fields, & both sought to be bold & different from everything that came on the desktop before. I think the fact that Win 8 has tanked worse than Vista in the market is an indication of how well the new touch style design philosophy actually serves users. But again try it & use what you like; however, some of us do fell a bit let down by what's become of Gnome.
84 • @83 (by Bill on 2013-04-21 22:46:05 GMT from United States)
Actually, I finally found a good use for Gnome 3 on my desktop.
The DVD I burned with Gnome 3 is resting comfortably as a coaster under my cup of coffee. :)
85 • @ 84 (by mz on 2013-04-21 22:49:34 GMT from United States)
That's a superb plan B. ;)
86 • @ 83/84/85 (by tdockery97 on 2013-04-22 04:51:48 GMT from United States)
They had a superbly illogical reason for making Gnome 3 the way they did...so that it would be difficult for users to ruin the Gnome "brand recognition" with unauthorized customizations.
87 • Menus...and Ubuntu (by Chanath on 2013-04-22 06:46:37 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I found that it is quite easy to get rid of Unity and add Slingshot Old and New to Ubuntu, have panel at the bottom, from Gmone 2, or Gnome-classic or maybe even Mate or Lxpanel. I also found it is quite easy to use only the Gnome-Pie. wonder someone would make a distro, Ubuntu based or not, only with the Gnome-pie.
88 • @83 (by lang on 2013-04-22 07:58:58 GMT from Hungary)
I set the right click on titlebar to minimize window. Doubleclick maximize it. I only need the close button. With gnome-tweak-tool you can put all titlebar buttons if you need. I like that running apps appeared when moving mouse to top left corner and there is a quick launch bar. Without a click. Or with pressing Win button. It's fast.
It's not perfect, the chat integration is awfully wrong, messages popups at the right side of bottom and disappears but the conversation is appearing at the center of bottom. So I disabled social integration with an extension.
And I must stay on versio 3.6 because extensions not ready for 3.8 yet. It's like Firefox with the extensions, after every update you will lost some extensions. The "Chrome way" of extension handlig is much better, because the extension api is not changing basically.
I hope the base will not change in Gnome anymore and the next releases remains compatible with current extensions. Maybe in Gnome 4 we get stable extension api... Don't know.
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|• Issue 580 (2014-10-13): Rolling releases, Arch as best distro, GNOME on Wayland, MINIX 3.3.0|
|• Issue 579 (2014-10-06): PC-BSD 10.0.3, Debian's Jessie freeze, setting up home server|
|• Issue 578 (2014-09-29): Calculate 14, Debian's default desktop, Shellshock vulnerability, practical Tiny Core|
|• Issue 577 (2014-09-22): SymphonyOS 14.1, FreeBSD drops pkg_add, MINIX on ARM, GNU screen|
|• Issue 576 (2014-09-15): PCLinuxOS 2014.08, Mint's documentation, Debian's hardware database, CDE|
|• Issue 575 (2014-09-08): Porteus 3.0.1, Fedora's blivet-gui, Red Hat's Docker, systemd|
|• Issue 574 (2014-09-01): Ubuntu Kylin 14.04, Haiku and Linux kernel, Wayland support, Lumina, Bash completion|
|• Issue 573 (2014-08-25): SolydXK 201407, VPN gateway with FreeBSD, Ubuntu MATE, Raspbian, trusting binary packages|
|• Issue 572 (2014-08-18): ZFSguru 10.1, Fedora's Flock, beta installer for "Jessie", Ubuntu Core, rolling releases|
|• Issue 571 (2014-08-11): HandyLinux 1.6, LMDE update, default desktop in "Jessie", running out of disk space|
|• Issue 570 (2014-08-04): Neptune 4, Kubuntu's KDE Plasma 5, FreeBSD and UEFI, Linux servers|
|• Issue 569 (2014-07-28): Deepin 2014, Ask Fedora, Gentoo and LibreSSL, encrypted package downloads|
|• Issue 568 (2014-07-21): Antergos 2014.06.24, Mint based on Debian stable, upgrading CentOS, BinaryTides|
|• Issue 567 (2014-07-14): Manjaro 0.8.10, PC-BSD jails, Debian and glibc, Fedora's DNF, Xiki and Opera 24|
|• Issue 566 (2014-07-07): LXLE 14.04, OpenBSD's SimpleDE, openSUSE artwork, home security basics|
|• Issue 565 (2014-06-30): Chakra 2014.05, Fedora on BeagleBone, Matthew Miller interview, e-book readers|
|• Issue 564 (2014-06-23): Antergos 2014.05.26 and Q4OS 0.5.11, Debian LTS and glibc, Fedora DNF|
|• Issue 563 (2014-06-16): Mint 17, CentOS 7 pre-release, Debian MATE, accessing encrypted content|
|• Issue 562 (2014-06-09): GoboLinux 015, Gentoo interview, Fedora leader change, climagic tricks|
|• Issue 561 (2014-06-02): OpenMandriva 2014.0, Debian GNU/Hurd, Lubuntu and LXQt, Final Term, TrueCrypt|
|• Issue 560 (2014-05-26): KaOS 2014.04, Wayland and KDE 5 on Fedora, distros with commercial support, DenyHosts|
|• Issue 559 (2014-05-19): VortexBox 2.3, LTS-only Linux Mint, FreeBSD 11 ambitions, KDE 5 beta|
|• Issue 558 (2014-05-12): RHEL 7 Workstation impressions, LXQt and Lumina, Haiku interview|
|• Issue 557 (2014-05-05): Xubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 14.10 roadmap, Fedora Workstation, ownCloud|
|• Issue 556 (2014-04-28): Ubuntu 14.04, LibreSSL, Lumina desktop, Deepin interview|
|• Issue 555 (2014-04-21): Robolinux 7.4.2, Ubuntu release day stats, Debian security, Porteus update|
|• Issue 554 (2014-04-14): Review of FreeNAS, OpenSSL bug, Fedora.next, Robolinux Stealth VM, measuring memory|
|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
|• Issue 552 (2014-03-31): Tanglu 1.0, Ubuntu GNOME LTS, SliTaz for ARM|
|• Issue 551 (2014-03-24): Linux Mint "Debian" 201403, call for end to proprietary firmware, LVM|
|• Issue 550 (2014-03-17): Review of NixOS 13.10, Lubuntu seeking feedback, Android-x86 4.4-rc1 impressions|
|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
|• Issue 543 (2014-01-27): Review of Korora 20, FreeBSD 10.0, DNF, ZFS rescue CD, Bridge Linux interview|
|• Issue 542 (2014-01-20): QupZilla, Ubuntu with MATE, Arch on Raspberry Pi, best applications|
|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
|• Issue 540 (2014-01-06): SMS 2.0.6 and SME Server 8.0, Hawaii desktop, PHR statistics 2013, more on multi-part archives|
|• Full list of all issues|