| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 511, 10 June 2013
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The Linux Mint distribution is a desktop oriented project which has become quite popular in the past few years. The project's latest release of their Ubuntu-based edition introduces some new system utilities and polished versions of traditional desktop environments. Read Jesse Smith's review in this week's feature to get the details on Linux Mint 15. In this edition of DistroWatch Weekly we will hear from a number of developers as they discuss important technology in the world of open source software. First Stephen Gallagher talks about the new GNOME Classic desktop which will be featured in Fedora 19 and then Matt Ahrens takes the stage to talk about the history and future of the ZFS advanced file system. We will also bring you news of Ubuntu's new community portal and efforts by the MINIX development team to port many new software packages to the educational operating system. OpenBSD users and people interested in experimenting with the highly secure operating system will want to read this week's book review which covers "Absolute OpenBSD", a text that explains the inner workings of OpenBSD in a fun and educational manner. Also in this week's issue we bring you reviews, podcasts and newsletters from Around The Web and share with you the distribution releases of the past week. We wish you a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Linux Mint 15 "Olivia"
The Linux Mint distribution has gained a reputation over the years as a powerful and user friendly desktop operating system. The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and adds its own utilities, themes and customizations to create a distribution which is designed to perform most tasks out of the box. The Mint team has also pleased many people by adjusting their distribution to fix perceived problems with the underlying Ubuntu packages. Where Ubuntu tends to be experimental -- switching from using the GNOME desktop to introducing Unity and adding advertisements to the desktop -- Mint tends to walk a more conservative line. The Mint distribution maintains a classic style of desktop and tends to avoid revolutionary changes or eye-catching effects. The latest offering from the Mint team, version 15, was released in May and is based on the Ubuntu 13.04 repositories. Mint is offered in two basic flavours, one which comes with the Cinnamon desktop environment and the other ships with the MATE desktop. Both flavours can be downloaded either with or without third-party software which may be subject to non-free software licenses or patent laws. Each edition of Mint is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the download images are approximately 1GB in size. I decided to take the 32-bit MATE edition of Mint for a spin.
Looking over the release notes for Linux Mint 15, code named "Olivia", we find this is a fairly tame update to the Mint lineup. This release of Mint includes EFI boot support, the MATE desktop has been updated to version 1.6 and Cinnamon has been bumped to version 1.8. The login manager has gained some new features, including support for HTML 5 features, which means users will be able to make their login screen as ugly and interactive as they wish. The new Mint comes with two new utilities. The first is a Software Sources tool which replaces Ubuntu's repository configuration tool. Mint also adds a new application, called Driver Manager, which makes it easier to add new drivers and find hardware support in the distribution's repositories. The latest 32-bit build of Mint comes with a kernel which requires PAE support in the computer's CPU. While this won't be a problem for most users, people running older hardware without PAE support are advised to use Mint's most recent long term support release which will receive security updates for the next four years.
Linux Mint 15 -- The distribution's system installer
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Booting from the Mint disc quickly brings us to the MATE desktop. In the background we see the Linux Mint branding. Icons sit on the desktop, giving us access to the file browser and system installer. The application menu and task switcher sit at the bottom of the display. Mint uses the Ubuntu installer and I found it worked quite well. The installer confirms we have at least 6.3GB of free space available on the hard drive before we are allowed to proceed. From there we are quickly walked through partitioning the hard drive, confirming our time zone and our keyboard's layout. We are asked to create a user account and asked whether we would like to encrypt the files in our home directory. I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating: the built-in partition manager used by the Mint (and Ubuntu) system installer is really quite friendly and flexible. We can easily make use of Btrfs, XFS, JFS, ext2/3/4 or Reiser file systems and LVM layouts are available. For my trial with the distribution I opted to use a Btrfs volume.
Once the installer has finished copying its files to the local hard drive we are prompted to reboot the computer. Loading my local copy of Mint for the first time brought up an error message saying "sparse file not allowed" and the boot process stopped for several seconds. This error is related to Btrfs and also cropped up during my trial with Ubuntu 13.04. Simply waiting a few seconds gets us past this error message and on to the graphical login screen. The aforementioned login screen is decorated with a pretty blue sky and clouds. Signing in brings us back to the MATE desktop and a welcome window appears. This window contains links to the project's forums, documentation, hardware database and other key information resources where users can get assistance. Shortly after I had dismissed the welcome window an icon appeared in the lower-right corner of the screen letting me know security updates were available. Clicking on this icon brings up the mintUpdate application. The update app shows us a list of newly available packages waiting in the repositories. Next to each upgradeable package we see the version number of the package currently installed, the version available in the repositories and the package's size. We are also shown the package's safety rating, a number in the range of 1-5 which lets us know how likely the update is to disrupt the operating system's functionality. The same day Mint 15 was released I found 27 updates waiting to be installed, totaling 29MB in size. Both that first day and for the remainder of the week I found all updates downloaded and installed without any problems.
Linux Mint 15 -- Working with LibreOffice and image editing software
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Exploring the green and silver themed desktop I found MATE was quite responsive and the desktop feels both familiar and clean. MATE provides a traditional desktop environment and, after the initial welcome screen, the system generally stays out of our way. The distribution comes with a custom menu which organizes items into three categories. The menu contains locations, such as our home directory; system settings and applications. The application menu allows us to switch between viewing our favourite (or most commonly used) applications and showing all installed applications. The menu also comes with a search feature to help users locate programs. Digging through the menu we find a collection of popular software, including the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client and LibreOffice. We also find the Pidgin instant messaging client and the Transmission bittorrent client. We're provided with the Banshee audio player, the VLC multimedia player, the Totem video player and the Brasero disc burning software. I installed the build of Mint which comes with codecs and Flash and found these provided a complete multimedia experience with no work required on my part. We're given a PDF viewer and the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a small app for uploading files to remote computers. The MATE desktop comes with a central Control Centre which allows users to tweak most aspects of the graphical interface and access various administrative tools. In the toolbox we find a simple backup app, a domain blocker and a firewall configuration program. There are also utilities for managing system services, handling printers and working with user accounts. Two new programs have appeared in Mint, one for managing software sources and another one for dealing with drivers and I'll cover those later. Mint also comes with text editors, note taking apps, a calculator and archive manager. The system comes with Java installed and developers will find the GNU Compiler Collection available out of the box. By default Network Manager runs and helps us get on-line. For users who require dial-up networking there is a package on the system which installs the GNOME PPP dial-up software. I'm not sure why this package isn't installed by default, but GNOME PPP and its dependencies are available on the disk and can be installed if we need it. Behind the scenes I found the Linux kernel, version 3.8.
For the most part the applications which came with Mint worked well for me. The configuration tools all worked flawlessly and were user friendly. I had little reason to complain. The one exception to my smooth sailing came from using the file browser. Opening a folder which contained sound files and clicking on of these audio files would cause the file browser to crash. It would also, incidentally, cause the audio file to be played in the background without any visible player. This means the user is stuck listening to the entire sound file unless they know how to identify and kill the process playing the file.
Linux Mint 15 -- Browsing software in the repositories
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Mint comes with two graphical package managers. The first is called Software Manager and has a modern, icon-rich interface. Software Manager allows us to browse categories of software and takes an application-centric approach to locating packages. Clicking on a specific application brings up an information screen which shows us a detailed description of the package, user ratings, reviews and, for programs with graphical interfaces, a screen shot. Installing or removing software from the system is accomplished with the click of a button. Software Manager allows us to queue actions on packages and then continue to browse for other packages which makes for a nice, smooth experience. The other graphical front end for software management is Synaptic, the venerable package manager. Synaptic has a stronger focus on individual packages rather than programs and trades some user friendliness for speed. With Synaptic we can create batches of actions which will be all processed at once. I used both package managers and found they worked well. I didn't encounter any problems and both front ends worked quickly, giving me easy access to Mint's 41,000 software packages. The distribution pulls most of its packages from the Ubuntu repositories, but Mint also maintains its own repositories for the Mint-specific tools and proprietary software packages.
Earlier I mentioned a package for GNOME PPP is available on the system, but not actually installed. Accessing this dial-up software seemed like a good way to test Mint's new Software Sources utility. I launched the Software Sources program from the Control Centre and found it is nicely laid out. The program is basically separated into five sections. One screen handles our access to the main repositories and mirrors, the second lets us add or remove PPA repositories. The third screen allows us to add custom repositories to the system and the forth handles authentication keys. The final screen lets us launch repair or purge actions. I found access to locally stored packages could be enabled on the Additional Repository screen. From there I was able to open a package manager, refresh my repository data, search for GNOME PPP and add the package. It's important to manually refresh the repository data, otherwise the package manager will get confused and not be able to find the proper dependencies, as I discovered my first time through. The other new utility to be introduced in Mint 15 is the Driver Manager. This program is a small, simple application which simply shows us a list of drivers which may be of use to us. We can select the add-on driver we think will work best with our system and hit the Apply button at the bottom of the window. The Driver Manager does the rest, downloading and installing the driver for us. It appears to work well and I'm glad to see Mint introduce this tool after Ubuntu decided to awkwardly merge their own device driver manager into their repository configuration tool.
Linux Mint 15 -- Managing the firewall, drivers and repositories
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I ran Linux Mint on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8GHz CPU, 6GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found the distribution performed very well. Boot times were short, the desktop was responsive and tasks completed quickly. Sound worked out of the box, my screen was automatically set to its maximum resolution and the system was stable. I found Mint, when running the MATE desktop, required approximately 200MB of memory. I also tried running Mint in a virtual machine, provided by VirtualBox, and found the distribution performed quite well there too. Again, the desktop was responsive and the operating system functioned without any problems.
After a week with Mint 15 I have to say I'm happy with most aspects of this release. It's easy to install, comes with lots of useful software, has a huge repository of additional packages and is really easy to navigate. We're given a familiar, traditional desktop which performs well and there are plenty of user friendly configuration tools. For a modern desktop operating system Mint is fairly light on resources and a nice balance is struck between assisting users and staying out of the way. Aside from the file browser crash I mentioned earlier I really couldn't find anything about which to complain. I like the package manager, I like the Control Centre and Mint ships with applications which are popular rather than applications which adhere to a certain policy or match a particular toolkit. Mint installed quickly and then let me get straight to work (or play) without complications. Mint 15 is somewhat limited by their upstream's shortened nine month support cycle, but otherwise this is an excellent release and I'm happy with the latest version of Mint.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
A week with GNOME Classic, Ubuntu launches its community portal, MINIX expands its package repository
Stephen Gallagher is a software engineer who works at Red Hat. Curious about the new GNOME Classic desktop interface, Mr Gallagher decided to sit down with a copy of Fedora 19 Beta and try working with GNOME Classic for one week. Gallagher shares his experiences and opinions in a multi-part blog series entitled One Week With GNOME 3 Classic. Gallagher goes over bugs encountered, problems worked around and his general opinion of the Classic interface. Among his observations is one to which many users will probably relate: "Up there with the list of things that you don't really recognize until you think about it hard is the advantages of having the window selector in the lower taskbar. I realized that I have been unconsciously focusing my attention on that space when I switch back and forth between workspaces because they contain the set of information that I need to determine when to stop scrolling. In the standard GNOME Shell, if I have several windows/applications present on a workspace, I can only really determine which apps are there (if some are hidden) by going into the overlay mode before switching between workspaces." The multi-part series begins with this prologue post.
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In an effort to engage and coordinate information with Ubuntu users it was recently announced that the Ubuntu website will feature a community portal. The new Ubuntu Community website features documentation and links for developers, designers, translators, documentation writers and testers interested in working with the Ubuntu distribution. Jono Bacon, Ubuntu's Community Manager posted, "Together we have the opportunity to bring real technological freedom to every part of the world, across multiple devices and the cloud, and clothed in an elegant, beautiful, experience. It is a bold vision, but our greatest strength in Ubuntu is our community and together we can do this. Come and join us and be a part of bringing Ubuntu to the masses."
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ZFS is an advanced file system and volume manager which was originally developed by Sun Microsystems. The file system made its debut in Solaris and has slowly expanded to other operating systems, including FreeBSD, Linux and OS X. The podcast BSD Talk recently sat down with developer Matt Ahrens who was one of the original ZFS team members. In this interview Mr Ahrens talks about how ZFS came about, the early challenges of the project, aspects of ZFS's design and his current plans regarding the file system. Ahrens also talks about licensing conflicts which prevent ZFS from being merged into the Linux kernel, the roadblocks associated with relicensing the project and using ZFS in cross-platform situations. It's a candid and informative interview which will appeal to file system enthusiasts.
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The small MINIX operating system is probably best known for its role in education. The MINIX 3 project represents an effort to create a secure, fast operating system which uses an underlying microkernel. While typically not considered practical for desktop or heavy server usage, the operating system is interesting and is trying to become more useful for a wider audience. One of the ways the developers are doing this is building and importing packages from the NetBSD pkgsrc ports tree. A recent attempt to build binary packages from the pkgsrc tree showed that about 3,000 ports (a quarter of the ports tree) would compile without modification. This is good news for people who are interested in running MINIX for either educational or experimental use.
|Book Review: Absolute OpenBSD (by Jesse Smith)
Book review: Absolute OpenBSD (Second Edition)
OpenBSD 5.3 came out at the beginning of May, right on schedule. The latest version of the security-oriented operating system brought several improvements to the table, including better driver and processor support, bug fixes and security enhancements. All in all it looked like a positive and conservative step for the OpenBSD project. This is all great news for users of the operating system as the OpenBSD crowd tends to appreciate quiet, evolutionary steps. While great for the users and administrators who run OpenBSD, "driver improvements and security enhancements" doesn't make for exciting reviews as not a whole lot of changes have happened on the surface since we looked at OpenBSD last year. With that in mind, rather than focus on the latest release of OpenBSD, I'd like to share a resource which will help people who have an interest in OpenBSD get better acquainted with the operating system. Specifically, I'd like to share with you a book written by Michael W. Lucas called "Absolute OpenBSD".
There are two aspects of Mr Lucas' book which set it apart from most other instructive texts and, for that matter, from the other books I've reviewed here in the past. The first is Lucas has a sense of humour and that makes what would otherwise be a dry look at the nuts and bolts of an open source operating system a surprisingly fun journey. On the topic of system upgrades Lucas writes, "Sever upgrades can make even seasoned sysadmins wish that they had a simpler job, such as performing as a carnival sideshow, stuffing weasels into their trousers." On another page he points out that OpenBSD will allow you to set up any program to act as a window manager, "You can also enter a command that isn't a window manager, such as grep. If you do, OpenBSD will silently log you out. It won't say, `Please step away from the keyboard before I hurt you.' Not threatening you passes for user-friendly in OpenBSD." In both cases his jokes are funny because they come loaded with more than a kernel of truth.
The second characteristic of Lucas' book I greatly appreciated was that it doesn't really try to be a how-to text. In the past I've shared books I've enjoyed which talk about how to use the Ubuntu desktop or how to trouble-shoot a server or how to use the command line. Those books tend to take things one step at a time and walk us through processes. "Absolute OpenBSD" doesn't really come across as a how-to-use-this-technology book. While it does include tutorials and plenty of advice on how to administer OpenBSD, I didn't really get the feeling we were being shown how to use the operating system. Rather I believe Lucas was primarily concerned with showing us how OpenBSD works, how the pieces fit together. Last month I reviewed a book called "A Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors and Shell Programming" and we might think of that text as an instruction manual which teaches us how to drive a car, how to fill the gas tank and change the tyres. All very useful things to know how to do. "Absolute OpenBSD" does cover filling the gas tank and changing the tyres, but it spends a good deal of time under the hood. The chapters in "Absolute OpenBSD" cover things like how the engine works, what a spark plug is, why a battery goes dead and why we should never lick said battery. (In this example licking a battery is a direct parallel to reconfiguring the OpenBSD kernel.) Lucas is aware OpenBSD is a highly flexible operating system and the tasks we may perform with it are not necessarily the same ones he performs. Therefore he sets about explaining how all the pieces fit together, how the system works, what its key features are and he sprinkles in a good deal of advice about how to avoid common pitfalls. Actually, one of the first things Lucas does is acknowledge his book can't cover everything and we will need to seek outside help eventually. The first chapter is dedicated to introducing OpenBSD resources, documentation, mailing lists and other places where we can seek assistance.
After that we get into some more hands-on material such as how to install OpenBSD, how to partition our hard drives and checking to make sure our hardware is supported. There are chapters on securing the operating system, managing the OpenBSD firewall, performing upgrades and adjusting kernel-level settings. These are the more practical aspects of the book. Thrown into the mix are chapters containing more abstract information. For example, one chapter is dedicated to explaining the purpose and contents of every configuration file under the /etc directory. We're told how the system boots itself and which files are checked and in what order. We're told about different styles of attacks (and attackers) and how to protect ourselves. We're told how user accounts and account security features work and how to best handle sudo. There is a chapter on dealing with X and a section dedicated to what OpenSSH does and how we can make the most of secure shell, including a tutorial on locking down users' remote access. We're told about the OpenBSD ports tree, not just how to use it, but how ports work and why the ports tree has certain features. Lucas covers how to perform scheduled tasks and, more importantly, what sort of tasks we might wish to automate.
In a lot of ways reading "Absolute OpenBSD" reminds me of conversations I've had while sitting around a table with other IT people, trading little snippets of advice and horror stories. The book focuses less on the steps required to perform tasks and more on why we should (or should not) perform those tasks. It's less about guiding us down a single path and more of a crash course in (digital) jungle survival. "These are the plants you need to be able to recognize -- these ones are poison, those ones you can eat," the book seems to say. "These are the tools you should take with you and here is how to get the most out of your pocket knife." While the material is specifically focused on OpenBSD, a good deal of the concepts and advice are relevant to users of any UNIX or UNIX-like operating system. The instructions on using pkg_add to keep software up to date may be specific to OpenBSD, but scheduling package updates is universal. Using inetd to limit network connections from the outside world may be specific to a subset of UNIX-like systems, but limiting the flow of connections in general is important for any server admin. That's what I like about "Absolute OpenBSD", it covers the why at least as much as the how and that makes it a great instruction manual for any system administrator, not just OpenBSD admins. I certainly recommend the book for administrators, especially people interested in OpenBSD. Even if you don't read the entire text, be sure to check out the author's tips and asides that are featured on almost every page, they are heavy with wisdom from the trenches.
Title: Absolute OpenBSD (Second Edition)
Author: Michael W. Lucas © 2013
Publisher: No Starch Press
Length: 536 pages
Available from: No Starch Press and Amazon
|Released Last Week
Manjaro Linux 0.8.6
Philip Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.6, a set of Arch-based desktop Linux distributions: "We are happy to announce our stable release for June 2013 - Manjaro 0.8.6 - a set of installation media for Manjaro Linux. A lot of work went into our community editions. With respect to the official flavours, a more detailed list of the most significant general changes made are as follows: we fixed the installer bug we found in our Net edition image; we are using the Linux 3.9 series as our kernel; Openbox install media are smaller now; more mirrors are pre-configured; updates to Pamac and proprietary drivers for AMD and NVIDIA; Live Installer is translated to Arabic, Catalan, German, Greek, English, Spanish, Farsi, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak and Turkish." See the full release announcement for further details and screenshots.
Following three test builds, a new stable version of antiX, a lightweight Debian-based distribution designed for older and low-specification computers, is now out: "Ten months on from the release of antiX 12 series, we are pleased to announce the release of our antiX 13, code name 'Luddite'. What's new? 64-bit flavours; Iceweasel 22.0 browser, LibreOffice 4, improved boot times, particularly when running live; safer and faster shutdown, especially in live use; customised live boot menu; SpaceFM desktop integration; live remaster scripts improved; improvements to the antiX snapshot application; dynamic fstab when running live; XFS, JFS, ext2, Btrfs file systems available in installers; MuPDF, a very fast and light PDF reader, included; more options in meta installer; all ISO files built using antiX build scripts to enable consistency and freshness." Visit the project's news page to read the full release announcement.
Snowlinux 4 "MATE", "Cinnamon"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of Snowlinux 4 "MATE" and "Cinnamon" editions, both based on Ubuntu 13.04: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 4 'Frosty'. Snowlinux 4 'Frosty' is the latest release based upon Ubuntu 13.04. MATE 1.6, the default desktop environment, and Cinnamon 1.8 run perfectly. While MATE 1.6 was mostly improved technically, Cinnamon 1.8 was improved with an unified control center and an own screensaver. Snowlinux 4 'Frosty' uses the latest technologies and has an updated package base. New features: Linux kernel 3.8; MATE 1.6 and Cinnamon 1.8; Snowlinux Metal theme; Nemo 1.8; Caja 1.6; Firefox 21.0 and Thunderbird 17.0.5; Cinnamon control center and screensaver; Snowlinux Full HD backgrounds." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and system requirements.
Snowlinux 4 -- Default desktop
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AV Linux 6.0.1
Glen MacArthur has announced the release of AV Linux 6.0.1, an updated version of the Debian-based distribution with a collection of audio and video production software: "Out of the uncertainty of the successful AV Linux 6.0 release an unexpected 6.0.1 update has arrived. What began as a minor update to bring a few bug fixes and fresh releases of Ardour 3 and Kdenlive to the DVD image has ballooned into a major update encompassing many of the main applications and bringing the best of what is new and happening to Linux audio and video enthusiasts. Changelog: updated to Trulan's 18.104.22.168 Linux kernel with Yamaha THR10 patches and USB 2 audio clock switching patch; complete new 'Dozer' theme and graphics; two new menu sections for audio and video utilities...." Continue to the release announcement to read the complete changelog.
TurnKey Linux 12.1
Liraz Siri has announced the release of TurnKey Linux 12.1, a maintenance update of the project's Debian-based set of virtual appliances that attempt to integrate the best open-source software into highly specialised and ready-to-be-deployed solutions: "TurnKey Linux 12.1 is out and it's the first 64-bit maintenance release to be built with tkldev - TurnKey's shiny new open appliance build system in a box. With 64-bit support out the door, we've also pushed out a round of updates to the Hub so that users can finally deploy TurnKey on all instance sizes. Full details on the changes to the Hub below, but first I'd like to talk a little bit about tkldev, TurnKey's new open build system. tkldev will soon be released as a standalone appliance along with the full source code to all appliances in the TurnKey Linux roster, which we will be maintaining on TurnKey's GitHub page." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Glen Barber has announced the release of FreeBSD 8.4, the new production release of the project's legacy 8.x branch: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 8.4-RELEASE. This is the fifth release from the 8-STABLE branch which improves on the functionality of FreeBSD 8.3 and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights: GNOME version 2.32.1, KDE version 4.10.1; feature flags 5,000 version of the ZFS filesystem; support for all shipping LSI storage controllers. FreeBSD 8.4-RELEASE is now available for the amd64 and i386 architectures. Images for the pc98 architecture should be available within the next 24 hours. FreeBSD 8.4 can be installed from bootable ISO images or over the network." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop.Fresh"
Konstantin Kochereshkin has announced the availability of an updated build of ROSA 2012 "Desktop.Fresh" edition, a desktop-oriented Linux distribution with a highly customised and enhanced KDE 4.10.3 desktop: "ROSA is glad to announce a new release of its distribution for the Linux community - ROSA Desktop Fresh R1. ROSA Desktop Fresh R1 is a new distribution based on the ROSA Fresh platform. The 'R' series is targeted at advanced users and enthusiasts who will appreciate rich functionality and freshness of distribution components without serious loss of quality. This series is developed by ROSA with significant help of community. Users of ROSA Desktop Fresh 2012 are able to update their systems to ROSA Desktop Fresh R1 using official update mechanisms. The new version has a set of important new features: Windows Azure and Hyper-V support; Steam support; font smoothing has been improved significantly...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full list of improvements.
Point Linux 13.04.1
Peter Ryzhenkov has announced the release of Point Linux 13.04.1, an updated version of the project's Debian-based distribution featuring the MATE 1.4 desktop: "Point Linux 13.04.1 is out. While Point Linux 13.04.1 is a minor bug-fix release and it generally has the same specifications as Point Linux 13.04, it also offers some improvements: LibreOffice 4.0.3; Firefox 21.0; stable Debian 'Wheezy' packages; Debian repository moved to cdn.debian.net; Point Linux repository moved to cdn.pointlinux.org; FTP CLI utility added; MATE 1.6 migration simplified; installer downloads and installs iBus and input method packages when CJK languages are detected; installer removes VirtualBox guest additions in target system when VirtualBox is not detected; installer creates /media/cdrom and /media/usb folders in target system...." See the release announcement for more information.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around The Web
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DistroWatch database summary|
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 June 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 • Linux Mint Olivia (by Ghostwheel on 2013-06-10 09:09:02 GMT from United States) |
"...which means users will be able to make their login screen as ugly and interactive as they wish"
Not happy with that one, huh?
2 • Thank-you for warning that Olivia (by Willie Green on 2013-06-10 11:56:11 GMT from United States)
demands PAE support early in the review.
Although my older P4 CPU supposedly provides this, I've experienced nothing but unsatisfactory graphics performance when using the onboard Intel video with PAE kernels.
I don't know why I can't simply choose between a PAE or non-PAE kernel during installation when my system apparently meets the required specifications, but right now I consider it to be a show-stopper with no reason to read any further.
3 • Linux Mint Olivia (by ezyclie on 2013-06-10 12:35:01 GMT from Singapore)
Whats wrong with "which means users will be able to make their login screen as ugly and interactive as they wish"
Do you think all users doesn't have creativity huh?
4 • Mint 15 - a few questions (by DavidEF on 2013-06-10 13:45:43 GMT from United States)
In the past, while testing various versions of Linux Mint, and trying hard to like it, I've had some problems. I'd like to know if those issues have been resolved in the latest iteration.
The real biggie is printer sharing. All the versions of Mint I've tried have failed to make printer configuration simple and easy, with sharing over my LAN network. Some versions flat-out refused to share the printer. When I did get sharing, it was extremely difficult to do and it still didn't work consistently. Ubuntu makes it easy, so it must be a change in Mint that makes it hard. Has it been fixed?
Next on the list is stability. Ubuntu is NOT known to be super-stable, but I've always found Mint to be worse on ALL of my hardware. That's a desktop and three laptops. I've tried Mint on all of them. Ubuntu is much more stable, which is really bad considering the numerous glitches I encounter there daily. Has Mint 15 improved significantly? Don't answer if you've never had stability concerns with Mint. It won't help.
Also, there is the package management system. I'd prefer to be able to update via Synaptic, but alas, it is forbidden. I don't really like the Mint Software Updater. It hides updates with a risk factor above three by default, and if you don't know that, you may miss out on an update you'd like to get. Then it acts like an over-protectant mother when you figure it out and decide to show all the updates, and actually -gasp- install those really risky ones, like a kernel update. As you can tell, I'm not impressed. Anyway, is this even so much as streamlined any in the latest version? Any improvement in ease of use here or anything like that? Or is it the same as it has been in previous versions?
Well, there are other things, but I can't remember them all right now. Help me out. I'd really like to use Mint on a couple of my older computers, because it is a little lighter on resources. But I haven't been able to do it yet.
5 • Mint not too stable (by Caprica on 2013-06-10 13:51:45 GMT from United States)
No More Ubuntu respins!
Aren't there enough already? Just off the top of my head, I can think of ubuntu christian edition, easy peasy, ubuntu "ultimate" edition, MoonOS, Mythbuntu, WattOS, OS4, Linux Mint (plus all of its community editions), and there are plenty more on distro watch just waiting to be added to the list! What the hells the difference? New backgrounds, a copy of the quran? Different themes? Its pretty damned annoying when ubuntu comes out with a release, because then all you see on Distrowatch is seperate new release entries for every single ubuntu respin there is. Sure! Lets change up some themes and add some applications that are no doubt readily available in their apt repos already and make an iso and call it a distribution! Enough already!
6 • Olivia PAE (by Pierre on 2013-06-10 13:53:49 GMT from Australia)
got Olivia to install on both a PAE & a nonPAE system.
- it worked quite well, on both PCs.
Mint 14 pae wouldn't install on the nonPAE system, - but Mint 15 did.
- the Mint_team has changed something, to enable that.
7 • Mint 15 (by Hmm on 2013-06-10 15:14:46 GMT from United States)
What is the difference between Snowlinux and Mint?
If they would have a text installer I can use it on systems with less that 1gb of ram.
I thought I had a PAE issue with my intel video equipped systems but it turned out it was shared RAM and video diver problem in LXDE (Bodhi) that has still not been resolved. It would install just fine but the update utility and new Bodhi software menu would bring in the problems.
I finally got Lubuntu on it with a text based installer. Mint LMDE and Snow with LXDE used to both work great on this system. But the above mentioed printer network support and some network connectivity on the live CD kept me from re-installing the latest versions.
When software runs on 200mb of RAM why does it require a installer that needs over 768mb of ram? Why can't it use swap?
8 • Number of Ubuntu Respins (by wolf on 2013-06-10 15:32:07 GMT from Germany)
I would second that, would it be possible to vote in the comments section, maybe we could vote for next distro to be tested.... But then again that could lead to desaster as well....
just my 2 cents, now I'm broke
9 • mint libreoffice (by jf. on 2013-06-10 15:38:46 GMT from Argentina)
didn't know Loffice uses faenza icons by default, looks fine
10 • Distros to review (by Jesse on 2013-06-10 16:00:03 GMT from Canada)
@8: "would it be possible to vote in the comments section, maybe we could vote for next distro to be tested"
The distributions which end up on my "to review" list have always come from three sources, in the following prioritized order:
1. Major releases, such as Fedora, openSUSE, Slackware and Ubuntu
2. Review requests e-mailed to me
3. Misc distributions which catch my eye.
If I get enough requests to review a particular distribution it'll go on the list. If no requests come in then, after the major releases are covered, any remaining slots go to whatever happens to cross my path. Anyone who wants to "vote" for a distro to get reviewed can simply e-mail their suggestion to me.
11 • Distros and Respins (by David McCann on 2013-06-10 17:36:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
@5 and 8
A respin is a custom installation disk for a distro, built with the contents of that distro's repository. Hanthana and Korora are Fedora respins, Ultimate Edition and Lubuntu are Ubuntu respins.
Mint is not an Ubuntu respin because it has things that Ubuntu doesn't. Try running USB speakers in Ubuntu, for example. Even the live disk is different: on both my computers, Ubuntu can only be installed from the non-live alternative disk but the live DVD of Mint runs perfectly.
12 • RE 12 (by dbrion on 2013-06-10 18:00:53 GMT from France)
Well, Fedora and CentOS have non official repositories: This does not make a CentOs using an unofficial repo to add some package a seperate distribution?
Fedora offers the opportunity to get software didicated to electronics, robotics, many other things (not only desktops!) http://alt.fedoraproject.org/pub/alt/nightly-composes/
Some Mageia/Fedora have liveCD/DVD which can be used to install... and Mageia (IIRC) and Fedora offer a choice between -among others - KDE, Gnome, LXDE, XFCE without considering tit makes a differnt distribution out of them..
13 • Re-11 (by caprica on 2013-06-10 18:14:49 GMT from United States)
Mint is a Ubuntu respin,built with the contents of the Ubuntu repository and with Ubuntu as it's base. USB speakers run fine on 12.04.
First paragraph of review:
"The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and adds its own utilities, themes and customizations to create a distribution which is designed to perform most tasks out of the box."
Ubuntu as base, packages and repositories are used. =re-spin.
14 • What's a derivative and what isn't? (by Charles on 2013-06-10 18:42:41 GMT from United States)
@5 How far do you really want to go with that request? PSLinuxOS, Rosa and Mageia all derive from Mandrake, which in turn derives from Red Hat. Fedora also comes from Red Hat. Lots of other distros come from Debian. The fact is that the vast majority of distros have their origins in some other distro. When a new distro is born, it's hard to predict whether it will eventually become a fully mature disrto in its own right (link Mint and Mageia). I think dostrowatch would be a pretty boring place if you whittle down to just ranking Debian vs. FreeBDS every week. :P
15 • thoughts on Mint (by MZ on 2013-06-10 18:48:22 GMT from United States)
I upgraded my new laptop to Mint 15 within a day of the final release & have been enjoying it quite a bit. I have to disagree with Jesse on the eye catching effects and potential attractiveness of the login manager. If you run Cinnamon 1.8 there are plenty of eye catching, yet subtle, visual effect to be had with Mint. Also if you try the 'Clouds (WebGL)' login theme from the login preferences you get what should be a very nice dose of attractive & eye catching effects on your login screen; however, on my laptop the effect is a little jumpy & causes my CPU to start to really chug for some reason. The laptop has a quad core i7, so it should have more than enough power to run a login screen without running the fan heavy, maybe it's a minor hardware issue? I'll admit that I didn't like any of the other HTML login themes nearly as much as the default, non webGL, clouds theme, but I like the choice & would like the clouds WebGL theme if it ran more smoothly & quietly on my hardware. Anyway, I like Cinnamon 1.8 & it's subtle yet eye catching effects a lot. It's almost as good as recent versions of KDE. The Mint folks have made a very nice modern desktop using Gnome 3 parts.
The software is GPL, your supposed to be able to take it apart & do what you want with it. Now, because it's hard to keep track of it all, choice is a bad thing? Perhaps some of the projects aren't all that useful to you or me, but I hardly think it's worth complaining about getting another free desktop option. Hopefully those who work on the projects that don't last too long will contribute to other versions of Linux. Of course the projects that do last, like Mint, generally start contributing back to the community. It may start with small things, but in the case of Mint it eventually became an entire new desktop in the form of Cinnamon. Let the developers spend their time however they want, it's their time & choice is a good thing.
16 • RE 14 (by dbrion on 2013-06-10 19:00:26 GMT from France)
"Fedora also comes from Red Hat. "
No: it is used by(and gets support from) by RH to test unstable softwares ***befores** Red Hat decides it might be interesting for their clients ... The chronology you hint is therefore absurd... 5Red Hat can rather be considered as a stable, fully debugged derivative of Fedora....
OH, BTW : one can find cinnamon in Fedora19 repositories.... (one can find calligra, too : but calligra was never claimed to be a distribution)...
17 • Derivatives reviews (by Hugo Masse on 2013-06-10 19:13:03 GMT from Mexico)
You could also adopt a different format for the reviews; a showdown, for instance. I can think of four Debian respins with Mate as their DE, including the #1 in distrowatch's list (you know who) and newcomers (Point Linux). Or Crunchbang vs Archbang, things like that.
The thing is, if you only reviews at request or the major distros, you'd be shutting the door to new options, and there may be a good one there, waiting to be discovered. Look at ROSA or Mageia, fairly recent and with a lot of acceptance, at least in the DW hit parade.
18 • Reviews (by Jesse on 2013-06-10 22:25:16 GMT from Canada)
>> "The thing is, if you only reviews at request or the major distros, you'd be shutting the door to new options, and there may be a good one there, waiting to be discovered. Look at ROSA or Mageia, fairly recent and with a lot of acceptance"
it's interesting you mention those two distributions specially. I'm pretty sure we have reviewed every release of Mageia that has come out so far and I just installed ROSA yesterday. It'll probably get reviewed by the end of the month. Further, I find the requests I get are usually for the more obscure projects. Sometimes people ask me to review stuff I haven't heard of before, so requests keep things fresh.
19 • @ 11 (by wolf on 2013-06-10 23:09:41 GMT from Germany)
"Try running USB speakers in Ubuntu, for example. Even the live disk is different: on both my computers, Ubuntu can only be installed from the non-live alternative disk but the live DVD of Mint runs perfectly."
And you found that out because DW (Jesse) wrote that in his reviews????
The reason for me seconding #5 request for less respins (Ubuntui or other) is just accounted to the fact that any given year only has 52 (53) Mondays so reviewing all those respins of major Distros just limts the number of obscure Distros I haven't got the guts nor the Linux knowledge to test myself.
I think the priorization Jesse told us should be changed cause trying out the major releases nowadays is foolproof and can be done by anyone (yes even by myself) No need to hold my hand
Now I want my 2 cents back
20 • Ubuntu respins (by Chanath on 2013-06-10 23:10:03 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Looking at respins of Ubuntu, some like Linux Mint is okay as it adds some new apps, new features etc to Ubuntu. But still Mint is a respin as any user of Ubuntu can install the "new" apps/features etc in Ubuntu.
But, if you take distros such as Zorin OS7, it is not even a respin, but distro with old apps and new Ubuntu base. For example, this Zorin OS 7 is built on 2011 ppa--Awn dock 0.4.1. The next version of the Awn dock, i.e, 0.4.2 had never been done. This 2013 and we had gone far from Ubuntu Oneiric. Using a 2011 ppa and calling the distro as "modern" is just a joke.
At least Mint devs make new apps, such as Cinnamon, which is already in 1.8, and would be developed further, nd not adding 2 year old app and calling it modern,
21 • @11 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-06-10 23:49:20 GMT from Canada)
"Mint is not an Ubuntu respin because it has things that Ubuntu doesn't. Try running USB speakers in Ubuntu, for example."
Eh? snd-usb-audio is just a part of the upstream kernel, perfectly standard module. All non-neolithic distros ought to include it.
22 • @14 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-06-10 23:52:39 GMT from Canada)
Well, there's an obvious distinction at the point where a distro starts maintaining all its packages itself.
Ubuntu is still clearly a Debian sid derivative, because maintenance of packages hasn't diverged: lots of Ubuntu packages are still just rebuilds of Debian sid packages, with or without minor changes. (This is not, of course, a bad thing). Mandriva clearly stopped being an RH derivative many years ago, when it stopped just adding to and twiddling the RH package set and started actually maintaining all its packages itself. At this point MDV's packages have a completely divergent history from RH's.
I don't actually know whether Mint has starting maintaining its packages independently of Ubuntu yet (or whether it actually intends to), though ISTR there's an 'alternative' Mint that derives directly from Debian rather than from Ubuntu. But if it hasn't, then the two builds of Mint are clearly Ubuntu and Debian derivatives, respectively. Again, not saying this is bad in any way, but it's a clear and simple distinction that can be drawn between two types of distro.
23 • Getting tired of all that "too many Ubuntu respins" nonsense. (by fernbap on 2013-06-11 00:43:45 GMT from Portugal)
After all, any competent mechanic would be able to make an Audi out of a Volkswagen. After all, the most important parts are common.
I know, they have different "desktops", but any competent mechanic is able to change them. Just acquire the parts you need and start assembling.
The point is, 99% of the population wouldn't be able to do it, and would prefer to buy a ready-made Audi.
What must be really getting in your skin is the fact that what you don't want to admit is that if there are so many Ubuntu respins, perhaps it is that Ubuntu is a good base to build upon?
Centos and Scientific Linux aren't even respins, they are clones of RHEL. They shouldn't be at Distrowatch, should they?
Fedora is just RHEL unstable. It shouldn't be at DW, according to your criteria.
The ONLY criteria that should be applied is: is a distro usefull or not? Would some people be interested in using it?
BTW Hugo Masse made a great point: DW review should include, if possible, comparative reviews made on several distros with the same objectives in mind. For instance, which would be the best distro to use in a low end desktop hardware.
I know that making comparative reviews would increase your workload a lot, Jesse, but i think this is what the typical DW visitor would need. So many distros to chose from may look like too much a challenge to the Linux newbie.
24 • @ 23 Fernbap (by Chanath on 2013-06-11 01:17:48 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Intersting comparison, Audi and Volkswagen. Both are good cars. There are lot of "respins" of both Audi and Volkswagen. There are even rallies. Whether it is Audi or Volkswagen, both are Ubuntu here. Without it, you juts can't respin it.
It would be interesting to see a review of Zorin OS7, as it is not like Mint or Pinguy or any other respin of Ubuntu, but one with old, undeveloped, unmaintained "main" application--Awn dock. It is installed through an old ppa. It also has a buggy Gnomenu, which had been renamed as Zorinmenu. If you look at Zorin OS4 and Zorin OS7, the only difference you see is the Ubuntu base, the Awn dock and the Gnomenu is the same, only with some colour changes.
25 • #5 Ubuntu respins (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-11 01:23:57 GMT from Vietnam)
> "I can think of ubuntu christian edition, easy peasy, ubuntu "ultimate" edition, MoonOS, Mythbuntu, WattOS, OS4, Linux Mint (plus all of its community editions) ..."
Odd that these distros should be on your mind as Distrowatch isn't exactly inundated with news/reviews from these projects. And as far as I know the term 'Community Edition' hasn't been used by Linux Mint for some time. Mint is more than just Ubuntu with added themes/applications - even more so with the last half-dozen releases where Ubuntu have been concentrating more on inculcating us on their vision of the future than on shipping a finished product. Your argument had more traction back in 2009/2010.
26 • 24 - continuation (by Chanath on 2013-06-11 01:36:13 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Zorin OS7 says it is based on Gnome-shell, but it is not. Mutter , libmutter is not there. This distro is based on Metacity, which is still a very good WM, but why not say so? Lot of users would like the Gnome 2 attitude.
27 • Mr. Gallagher (by forlin on 2013-06-11 01:53:35 GMT from Portugal)
Gnome3 - For windows that are present at each workplace, there are easy to install extensions that place them at the top bar.
28 • Vw, Audi, 2013, 2012 ... (respins, derivatives) are all the same (by gregzeng on 2013-06-11 06:09:57 GMT from Australia)
Love the earlier comments, claiming the variations can easily be turned into any other variation. They seem to be saying that the creators of every distro is an ego-publisher, who's creativity can be easily done or undone by the commentator.
I'm stuck on Zorin 6.3, because it cannot be made into any other earlier nor later versions of Zorin. One commentator here claimed that Awn could be added or removed from any Linux distro, but I did not find this possible with Zorin.
Commentators - please don't tell us that W95, W98, ... W7, W8 are all respins etc. I'm interested in differences, such as the contradictory experiences of Mint in different environments. Like some others here, I'm puzzled as to why & how Mint is so favored, because it is not all all to my liking.
29 • Another way of looking at "distro" vs. "respin" (by eco2geek on 2013-06-11 06:28:12 GMT from United States)
Using Linux Mint as an example, yes, it uses Ubuntu as a base. But not only does it maintain its own packages for Cinnamon and MATE, it also has created a bunch of utilities of its own, that you won't find in Ubuntu. Things such as "mintbackup," "mintmenu," "mintsources," "mintupdate," and so on.
In other words, it's gone beyond merely changing the look 'n' feel of Ubuntu, to producing new window managers and new utilities. That's why it's a distro in its own right.
(The line between "distro" and "respin" isn't exactly black and white.)
30 • Distro reviews and Respins (by Vivek on 2013-06-11 07:18:53 GMT from India)
On the topic of distro reviews, it's also a good idea to follow up on reviews that were aborted or were not positive. It's been done before, recently, with Manjaro, and with Bodhi. So I'm still waiting for the promised review of aLinux. It'll be nice to see a small follow-up paragraph on Kanotix review too from some time back, just to mention if they've corrected their installer.
With spins (and respins), there're a couple of closely related words you may be looking for. First there's 'remix', which is somewhat derogatory, with small wallpaper changes and different applications. The word 'spin' itself is dignified, and the RHEL-related projects Fedora and Scientific both use that as part of official terminology. Then there's 'fork', which is what Ubuntu does off Debian, starting over every 6 months.
The review of Absolute OpenBSD is excellent. I always look forward to the book reviews, people don't mention this, but I'm sure it's much appreciated.
31 • Re: 23; Re: 10, point 1 (by Vivek on 2013-06-11 07:45:28 GMT from India)
Mint's position seems to me simply because Lefebvre's such a street-smart fellow. If the fabled year of the Linux desktop arrives, maybe 5 years from now, it'll be Mint which'll be on most desktops. Nobody else cares enough to follow up. Then there's the general fascination with Ubuntu, and the fact that it's at the top of the PHR itself brings extra clicks out of curiosity.
The policy of reviewing major releases seems excessive to me. There're 11 distros on the Major Distributions page, some 15-20 releases per year. Using comparative reviews would save a few issues I think. The review of LMDE from a few weeks back could've been combined with today's review for example. The autumn release of PClinuxOS could skipped because it's unlikely to have novelty value, unlike to recent 64 bit release. I'm not recommending anything, just my opinion.
32 • Re:28 sorry (by Vivek on 2013-06-11 07:47:52 GMT from India)
The previous comment was in in response to gregzeng in 28. Apologies.
33 • @28/ an x-type or a real Jag (by MZ on 2013-06-11 07:51:18 GMT from United States)
What's not to like about Mint if Ubuntu is an acceptable base? If you look at the other modern Gtk 3 based desktops you get a very strange smart phone like thing trying to be a desktop. It's like a Jag X-type compared to a real Jaguar. The X-type was a high quality machine, & I think Gnome 3 is a stable desktop, but it totally changes & dilutes the brand. The X-type was built from an economy car body & parts with all wheel drive and some other nice bits added on to spruce things up. It tossed out a long history of performance & luxury vehicles while attempting to give an acceptable substitute with the same old badge, sort of like how Gnome & Unity tried to do away with the traditional desktop.
When I first used Gnome I found I could add stuff to it & change things in ways that suited me, but now all of sudden the Gnome & Unity makers know where I must put all my panels? Why don't you build on what you have by giving me the same options and more features on your new desktop, and not demanding that your users do things the new way or go elsewhere? Build on what's good about the brand and make it better, don't try to make a smart phone a desktop unless it's wanted. I suppose VW is somehow able to sell people on Audi, and they do have some merit in terms of performance; however, I was never that impressed by any VW to begin with, and I'm certainly no dying to make my desktop into a smart phone.
I think Mint takes what's wrong with Ubuntu & makes it right. Don't like where the panel is? Change the Cinnamon settings. Prefer a quick & simple GUI menu over search with a bad graphical option added on? It's there already, and can be changed to something else if you want. I can also add a Unity style dock into Mint on any side of the screen if I so desire, but the Unity folks know better than me so no moving things around out of the box. I don't see what's not to like about Mint, it gives me sane familiar defaults and seems to respect me as a user and my preferences to a degree that Gnome & Unity don't. Mint & Cinnamon follow the spirit that the free desktop previously had, before things went nuts.
34 • @10 - Whonix (by David on 2013-06-11 07:55:19 GMT from Israel)
In the light of NSA activity, I'm going to email Jesse with a request to review Whonix (http://sourceforge.net/p/whonix/wiki/Home/)
If Jesse gets enough such requests, it could help all of us paranoiacs and the security conscious.
35 • Whonix? (by Dave Postles on 2013-06-11 08:28:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
@34 It looks to be in alpha stage. Is it superior to Tails?
36 • Mint not just a re-spin (by Chris on 2013-06-11 08:37:15 GMT from United States)
While I too get annoyed with the plethora of Ubuntu re-spins that simply employ new themes and wallpapers, I have to compliment the Linux Mint community for going above and beyond that. Linux Mint is clear about the fact that it forked from Ubuntu long ago (somewhere around Edgy Eft). That it still uses Ubuntu's repositories is non-consequential to that fact. The mint community does a great job of taking Ubuntu's packages and forming an entirely new distribution using its own unique tools and applications to create a user experience that goes beyond what Ubuntu offers as default. I take issue with other so called distributions that attempt to piggy back on Mint, like SnowLinux for example, that are clearly re-spins of Mint that do little other than add their own themes and artwork. When I attempted to ask the SnowLinux community what their distribution brought to the party beyond a new theme my comment was immediately deleted. That was a clear message to me that the answer is nothing!!
37 • RE 36 (non consequences) and about comparative reviews (by dbrion on 2013-06-11 09:07:19 GMT from France)
"That it still uses Ubuntu's repositories is non-consequential to that fact. "
Do you have figures (not slogans, not credos : just facts) : are the packages taken patched? To which extend ? (CentOS /SL patch RH, just to remove the brands ... and more, if needed .... and proudly -and fairly- claim they are clones)...
About comparative reviews : Jesse alreasy compared Debian RAM greedines w/r to UBUlinux greediness. It is an intesting point, and took him some days .
Now, if I have some hardware (limited) and know my needs, I can compare two -or more- distributions **for me**. In the general case, teher exists , say, 100 distributions -> about 2500 comparative revews (and GNUlinuxen do not release every ten years), with a lot of criteria -I bet my criteria are not the same as someone who is interested in music -I am deaf-, say-
38 • typo in 37 (by dbrion on 2013-06-11 09:22:44 GMT from France)
(ie 20 years, if one makes a comparative review per day on the basis of 100 distributions)
39 • Distro ? Respin ? Why so much hate ? (by Kazlu on 2013-06-11 09:43:00 GMT from France)
I totally agree with #23 fernbap and #36 Chris. I don't have the impression that the point of Linux Mint is to be an "independant all grown up distribution" (the terms "independant" and "distribution" are not compatible by the way, see below), but an "easy to use out of the box OS". It's source code independance ratio is irrelevant. Respin or not, that's not the point : it aims at building something that could perfectly been done in Ubuntu, but with some knowledge beginners do not have. Even more than that : the simple fact that Mint proposes a particular update method, incompatible with Ubuntu's way of doing it, with its own software tools and phiposophy, demonstrates the fact that there is something more in Mint that "Ubuntu with a different desktop". Ubuntu and Mint are very close when it comes to capabilities, functionnality, but the way of doing stuff with each is just different.
Like #29 eco2geek says, "The line between "distro" and "respin" isn't exactly black and white.". At first, Mint was indeed a simple Ubuntu respin, with different software installed by default and a differently configured desktop. Little by little, Mint got more specific features, like it's own DE or specific tools that offer something different from Ubuntu. Now I think it can be considered a distro, without arguing on when it transformed from respin into distro, that has no interest.
Besides, why "distribution" should be a title that has to be "earned" ? A distrubution is made with software taken here and there, sometimes independant, sometines from other projects, eventually with some home made pieces, mix em and TADAAAAM you have a distribution, thank you L/FOSS ! Mint fits this definition, just like Ubuntu or many, many other ones. Is there a single one that could be called an independant operating system instead of "just a GNU/Linux distribution" ? And would that be better ?
As far as reviews are concerned, do specific "distro vs distro" tests would probably be out of what is intended. I see these reviews like just the first steps and impressions on a distro, not a complete and measured technical check-up. But Internet is full of such :) Eventually, the conclusion could include a reference to a close distribution, in the case of Mint since Ubuntu has been reviewed not long ago a comparrison of impressions seems relevant. But that's up to Jesse to decide what should be in these reviews :) I have actually waited this one, I do not have enough time to test it myself right now, but I wanted to, so that helps me !
40 • Whonix, NSA (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-11 09:45:30 GMT from Vietnam)
@34: In light of recent NSA publicity the best course would be to avoid Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.
Re Whonix, in principle it works by using two virtual machines, one of them a dedicated Tor gateway, and I'm sure the NSA know about a few undocumented features in VirtualBox. And do any of us want to spend the rest of our lives pushing requests through Tor? But perhaps it could be evaluated alongside Qubes and others. Jesse reviewed Tails not so long ago.
41 • 36, Mint not just a re-spin (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-11 10:11:05 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Linux Mint is clear about the fact that it forked from Ubuntu long ago (somewhere around Edgy Eft)."
Linux Mint wait for each release of Ubuntu and fork from that.
42 • Mint/Distro Re-spin (by kc1di` on 2013-06-11 10:22:35 GMT from United States)
@#39 Well written. If Mint were not a well laid out easy to use OS then it just would not be consistently at the top of the hit's list. simple. Who cares in the end if it's a re-spin I care if it works for me and mint time and time again has. alas the 3.8 kernel and WL drivers just don't work on my Lappy so am staying with 14 for the moment. Cheers!
43 • RE 42 (by dbrion on 2013-06-11 10:53:40 GMT from France)
"Who cares in the end if it's a re-spin"
Every fan boy who is unable to tell which proportion comes from upstream, which proportion comes from UBU linux and which proportion was added by the bleesings of Mint...
"if it works for me "
Oh, there re tenths of "distributions" -whatever the definition- which "work for me".... but I would ashamed if I claimed they are interesting for other people and if I presented their working for me as a rational way of convincing any other one...
"alas ..." well : a Fedora beta with a 3.9 kernel might work better **for** .... if your "alas" is linked with kernel numerology (and knowing who writes/ patches what might be a convenient way to avoid such "alases")
BTW : a distribution can be defined with users support / help to understand/fix flaws (nothing to do with origins : with this respect, one can imagine a clone might be found "better" than the original-), though I seldom needed -through careful choice and reading - such help.
44 • @33 MZ (by DavidEF on 2013-06-11 11:31:26 GMT from United States)
"I don't see what's not to like about Mint"
Obviously, then, you haven't read my post #4 above. Help me out here. I'd like to like Mint. It does have a lot going for it. But, it doesn't work as well as Ubuntu for me. Tell me how to fix my issues, then I'll agree that Mint is great and useful.
P.S. @ all those people that say Mint is just a respin of Ubuntu and doesn't deserve to be called a Distro in its own right. I disagree, based on several real facts, and my opinion of those facts. Mint has tools, utilities, and DE's that Ubuntu doesn't have. Mint also has bugs, glitches, and gotchas that Ubuntu doesn't have. It is probably about as different as it could be without completely forking away and never looking back. Actually, it may be just on the edge of that possibility now, waiting for Clement to make the call. I challenge anyone to take Ubuntu, and with only Ubuntu repositories, make anything near a Linux Mint. It really can't be done.
45 • 44 (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-11 11:42:31 GMT from Vietnam)
> "It is probably about as different as it could be without completely forking away and never looking back. Actually, it may be just on the edge of that possibility now, waiting for Clement to make the call."
So Ubuntu refresh themselves from Sid every six months but Mint are going to keep that Sid-based mess and try to run with it? This latest release or the last LTS? Obviously this cannot happen. Perhaps you're suggesting that Mint will put all their energies into the Debian edition - which would be a different evolution entirely.
> "I challenge anyone to take Ubuntu, and with only Ubuntu repositories, make anything near a Linux Mint. It really can't be done."
Of course it can be done - Mint did it. (and they don't 'only' use Ubuntu repositories.)
46 • Ubuntu respins (by Chanath on 2013-06-11 12:46:29 GMT from Sri Lanka)
This "Ubuntu respins" is quite an agitating theme for most of us. The Linux world is full of apps, fonts, icons, themes etc, and lot of them are in and around Ubuntu repos and Launchpad ppas.
You take Ubuntu Saucy for example, and install Gnome-shell into it and add any kind of extensions you like, you have Ubuntu with Unity and GS. Now, if you want to experience KDE, you just install the Kubuntu desktop, and now you have 3. You can also add Lubuntu, Xubuntu, E17 and whatever DE/WM you like. Which other distro/OS gives you that?
You want Cinnamon or Mate, No problem. There are ppas, or you can just add the necessary repos to your sources list and get them. You can even have new or old Slingshot as the app launcher. You can have any panel you want. You can make your own "respin", and all of us do that. We never ever use the "vanilla" Ubuntu, we change the fonts, icons, wallpapaer, cursor etc.
Saucy is just pre-alpha, but I don't have any problems.
47 • Developments, really? (by Varlam on 2013-06-11 14:33:12 GMT from Georgia)
Allured by uber-positive reviews of zealous enthusiasts of different Linux distros I constantly end up cursing myself for time and energy wasted on installing, tweaking, frustrating, and removing would-be great distros on my ProBook 4520s (i3, 3Gb RAM). Everything was so simple before 2011 when Gnome made weird decision to switch to gtk3. Since then my Linux became mostly buggy, incomplete, extremely resource-hungry and toyish/amateurish. No pride at all. I am still on Ubuntu 10.04 with a kernel backported from Natty. Please, do stop somewhere and think more on stabilizing/optimizing systems and developing great apps rather than shooting half-backed products in wild. P.S. Please don't kill Ubuntu 10.04.
48 • Rain of Angry Comments (by Marcos Jacoby on 2013-06-11 15:51:36 GMT from Brazil)
It seems that many users / readers of distrowatch.com embroiled in a brawl for being offended on their preferences.
I'm looking for a recently distro so far that could go with gnome 2 and the one that was found is StartOS unfortunately besides being Chinese, has its own packaging system.
Other distros still using Gnome 2 has based on old Ubuntu or Debian and versions of Gnome 2 of the official repository, which means they are using an already outdated repository, especially if the base is Ubuntu.
And in the recent versions, all of then use Gome3 and if you try an upgrade version the system package Manager try to update all the system, include Gnome 2 and and this causes a mess in the system.
Let no one tell me about MATE, Cinnamon, etc. because I've used and use various combinations of them.
What pleases me even more is to use MATE with FVWM as window manager. It is very fast even. The bad is missing the FVWM themes not only stylish graphics, but also a simpler mechanism to install.
The problem is that my wife got used very Gnome2 and finds it difficult to use other DE or WM. Okay she can find with MATE, but you can not bear the settings for Gnome 2 to MATE because MATE uses different names to avoid confusion.
Then we're good at a point where there is new hardware that is not supported on older distros that are exactly the support that has Gnome2.
Pretty soon maybe I'll have to do a respin. I'm thinking about getting a base Debian Sid and install a Gnome 2 and then try to customize, but I have to find a way to stop all updates that affect Gnome2.
And this is the central point of discussion: How the distros to become dependent on Gnome due to be an almost direct link between gtk and Gnome itself.
I think even that is something to discuss: The fact gtk be strongly mixed with Gnome itself, almost forcing anyone to use GTK having to install Gnome in your system, even if not completely, which is something even worse . If it means having to DE I install everything. Thus, Gnome shortly will be present in all distros simply because just as the environment GTK is progressing by leaps and bounds since tk and Qt seem to have stopped in time, it forces us to have Gnome distros compatible.
And look, I'm a fan of the Gnome environment. But this way you are forcing a choice indirectly. It's like having to install all Windows libraries for running software developed in Windows environment but which will be run on OSX, Linux, BSD and so on..
And then a lot of crowd say "It's a respin of Debian Sid!". I do not care! And that's what people have to know. What matters is that you know what to have done and has made many people thankful for that. Whatever If is a fork, spin or remix!
49 • Knowing your onions (by David McCann on 2013-06-11 16:53:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'm fascinated by the level of knowledge (!) in the discussion of distros and respins.
"Ubuntu is based on Sid." Really?
"You can make your own Mint from the Ubuntu repository." Well Mate is there, but because it's been copied from Mint by a user, not because it's been properly tested by Canonical.
"CentOS is just Red Hat." Well, it's compiled from the same source code, but I believe that some of that code is customised by Red Hat before compilation. The time lag between Red Hat and CentOS releases shows how much work they need to put in. And then there are the extra drivers added.
50 • Linux Mint Is A Distro (by Serge on 2013-06-11 17:05:45 GMT from United States)
Ok, so, can we get back to basics for a sec? There is no such thing as the "Linux OS", or at least not as far as most people define the term OS. Installing several components of the GNU project on top of the Linux kernel will bring you closer, but neither project distributes the two combined.
Therefore you the end user is left integrating the components together. If that's too much trouble for you, then you can turn to a 3rd party distributor that has done the job of integrating all of the various components for you. That's why it's called a "distribution".
You pick them based on how much you like how they go about integrating the various components together. And you CAN turn any distro into any other distro by replacing the various parts. Just don't expect to do it through the distro's package manager.
I think that we're left with two conflicting definitions for the word "distribution". One definition is, "Is the Project A end-product different from the Project B end-product?" If the answer is yes, then we should call them different distros. The problem with that approach is that clones are disqualified even if they distribute the parts themselves using their own infrastructure. So hence the other definition, the one that goes, "Does Project A distribute the pieces themselves, or do they merely link to Project B's infrastructure?"
Just about every distribution listed here, not just Linux Mint but even the official *buntus, can qualify as a distribution by the second definition, as they all add pieces that the distribution they are linking to does not. The real problem with the second definition is that it is TOO inclusive, as now mirrors and such qualify as their own distributions. Another problem that I don't know the answer to is where to categorize projects that distribute nothing but build scripts and let upstream source code repos be responsible for delivering the actual software.
But that's irrelevant. My point is, by either definition, Linux Mint is a distribution.
@45: Just what's so messy about Debian sid?
51 • @49, Re: Ubuntu & Debian sid (by Serge on 2013-06-11 17:09:35 GMT from United States)
Yes, it is. Back in 2011, I saw a statistic showing that approximately 92% of the packages in Ubuntu were directly pulled from Debian sid. That number might have gone down a bit since then, as Canonical does package newer versions of packages they consider critical to certain parts of their user base, such as for example the Apache web server, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's still above 90%, or at least close to it.
52 • @49 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-06-11 17:55:03 GMT from Canada)
""Ubuntu is based on Sid." Really?"
It's right there in the post title (Debian 'unstable' is sid).
""CentOS is just Red Hat." Well, it's compiled from the same source code, but I believe that some of that code is customised by Red Hat before compilation."
Nope, you believe wrong. The entire source of RHEL is publicly available, and CentOS is explicitly a project to take the RHEL source and rebuild it to provide something as close as possible to RHEL. http://ftp.redhat.com/pub/redhat/linux/enterprise/6Server/en/os/SRPMS/ is RHEL 6 (Server); knock yourself out. Those are not the unmodified upstream source tarballs, but the exact SRPMs from which RHEL is built. As it says right at http://wiki.centos.org/ : "CentOS is an Enterprise Linux distribution based on a rebuild of the freely available sources from Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The rebuild process strives to remove encumbered trademarked images and make other minimal changes as to the binary update network, but should generally perform identically to the upstream's product"
53 • Rain of Angry Comments II - The GNU Strikes Back (by Marcos Jacoby on 2013-06-11 19:25:40 GMT from Brazil)
I agree with Serge when he post:
"There is no such thing as the "Linux OS", or at least not as far as most people define the term OS. Installing several components of the GNU project on top of the Linux kernel will bring you closer, but neither project distributes the two combined."
This brings back the discussion started with the statements of Richard Stallmann.
It isn't Linux OS. It's GNU / Linux OS.
So right away we can at least say that Linux is a variant of the GNU system with another kernel.
This should not even offend or harm anyone because it is only the observation of a truism.
What we call the Linux OS is actually composed of:
1-GNU Operating System
2-Linux kernel originally developed by Linus Torvalds
3-libraries and third party applications made on this basis
4-scripts and applications developed by users / communities for specific purposes
If we are critical and we look for this model, Ubuntu, Mint and many others have all these components. Therefore, everyone is a variant compared to the original GNU system. And is not that what makes them be better or worse in relation to others.
So, somehow this discussion is useless.
Especially because exist LFS (Linux From Scratch) distributions which are also variants of the GNU system, including the Linux kernel and all other items, but not descended from any "distro" (Debian, Red Hat, Slackware, etc ...) and not really mean they are "better" or more "pure" than others.
As I said, this discussion is useless and point to nothing.
54 • @53 - Disagree (by Serge on 2013-06-11 20:01:35 GMT from United States)
I completely agree with you when you assert that the distros are made up of largely the same parts. I feel like you are suggesting that the distros are more alike than they are different, and in that I am with you 100%.
However, when you write, "As I said, this discussion is useless and point to nothing," I get the impression that you're almost saying that the work done by the distributions is not that significant (let me apologize now if I have misunderstood you). Fact is, integrating together all of these components that are made by separate groups, most of whom have their own release cycles and development models, is not an easy task. The upstream developers certainly don't want their work to break the work of others, but ultimately, making everything fit together is not their primary concern.
Even when the work of integration has been done by someone else, just getting everything to build correctly can be an effort, which as I understand it is part of the reason why CentOS releases lag so far behind RHEL releases. I appreciate the effort that the distribution maintainers put in to doing this work for us.
Once again, I hope I have not taken your comments out of context and apologize if I have.
55 • @31 Vivek (by MiRa on 2013-06-11 20:36:32 GMT from Spain)
"The review of LMDE from a few weeks back could've been combined with today's review for example."
Totally agree. And also could be done with K/L/X//.../ubuntu.
Twice a year taking all these separately... Uuhhh!... This is really troll.
It would be enough twice a year a comparative between all them. Let's say four Mondays.
Maybe it night be done reviews about DEs and WMs when released new versions. But such review should be done testing them on different distros (not different *buntus ;D ), with different packaging.
Yes, I know, it certainly should take a lot of time and work...
Just an idea.
56 • 50 • Linux Mint Is A Distro - Serge (by Chanath on 2013-06-11 22:08:51 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Okay, Serge, Linux Mint is a distribution, but tell us whether Zorin OS, for example, is an operating system or not.
57 • 52 • Adam Williamson (by Chanath on 2013-06-11 22:18:50 GMT from Sri Lanka)
""Ubuntu is based on Sid." Really?" Yes, really.
Well, I've been telling here that using Ubuntu is like using a bleeding edge distro. And, if you are using Saucy at this moment, you are really into bleeding edge apps. Just not only with Unity, but with all the flavours, Gnome shell, KDE, LXDE, XFCE
58 • disk operating system watch. (by Rohan on 2013-06-11 22:47:00 GMT from Australia)
59 • OS & distribution (by MZ on 2013-06-11 23:05:44 GMT from United States)
I've got to say I don't see how any particular version of Linux could be any less an operation system than Windows. Windows, any Linux Distro, and Mac OS X all do the same basic things in terms of making your hardware useable. Anything that runs your PC & lets you do useful stuff is more or less an 'Operating System', the real question is if any version of GNU/Linux, aka 'desktop Linux', could be considered an independent OS. I think 'Android/Linux' and 'GNU/Linux' probably qualify as two separate families of operating systems; however, I don't think any particular version of desktop Linux would qualify as an independent OS. Each version of desktop Linux is a distribution of the same OS family. Every working distro is an OS, just not an independent OS. Of course some aspects of this question are better left a computer science major rather than some group of Linux geeks in a comment thread. That being said if it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck, its a freaking duck, just not a whole new species of duck.
60 • respins (by imnotrich on 2013-06-11 23:10:52 GMT from Mexico)
If a distro lacks the ability to network wirelessly (like all of the top 10) oob, and struggles with video who cares what it's called or what the desktop looks like!
61 • @56 (by Serge on 2013-06-11 23:32:13 GMT from United States)
Ok, fine, maybe I went a bit overboard :)
But IMO every distro should be called an OS, so there's my direct answer to your question.
62 • @60 (by mandog on 2013-06-11 23:42:14 GMT from Peru)
You are very unlucky or run odd hardware I never have any problems with Linux.
I do with win 7 as it won't network to my 2 laptops windows to windows, it won't keep the settings
I also have to edit the registry to find the dvd writer on install this is on a 2012 system, a common problem on win seven forums, as is the window manager crashing.
63 • Mageia 3 kde is truly Unique. (by RollMeAway on 2013-06-12 02:39:06 GMT from United States)
Oddly, I have not read a single revue of Mageia mention this:
Mageia 3 installed from a live kde CD, installs WITHOUT akonadi/nepomuk!
When installed from the DVD, you get the full works, including those two.
What really makes Mageia 3 unique is the fact you can remove or install akonadi & nepomuk much like any other sub kde application.
Try to remove adonadi on any other distribution. It will remove kde!
Three cheers for Mageia!
Lets hope other distros can follow their lead.
64 • Classification of Linux systems (& Android) (by gregzeng on 2013-06-12 06:29:03 GMT from Australia)
@59 "if it looks like a duck & quacks like a duck"
When the English discovered our Australian platypus (hairy, duck-feet, duck-bill), it did not look like a duck. So it was a FAKE, according to the experts of the day. Science then was so primitive. So is the classification of Linux systems.
Academically, information science is one of my side interests. However it has much to say on this week's Dw topics:
"Is Mint just ego-publishing, or are they are unique productions of some type?".
Distrowatch, Wikipedia, etc ... all attempt to 'tidy' the Linux map, often disagreeing in many major & minor areas. Many amateurs (in information sciences) here seem lost: 'meaningless'. Historically, it is like the evolution of the classification of plants, animals and the atomic elements - with so much uninformed bickering.
Information science is evolving, so I am waiting for time when the elephants in the room are allowed to be classified into the Linux environment. This includes my smartphone. My main operating systems now are Debian-derivatives with kernel 3.9.5-030905, and Google's Android (kernel 3.0.13).
Distrowatch, etc seems unable to monitor the largest operating system on the planet (Android), judging by numbers of individual end-users. So these commentary sections still are 'primitive', historically speaking.
65 • @ 48 - Marcos (by greg on 2013-06-12 06:58:26 GMT from Slovenia)
"And look, I'm a fan of the Gnome environment. But this way you are forcing a choice indirectly. It's like having to install all Windows libraries for running software developed in Windows environment but which will be run on OSX, Linux, BSD and so on.."
I am not a fan of anything and will use everythign that get's the job done.
but if you ever isntalled a GTK or QT based programme in widnows then you would knwo that this is exactly what it happens. Kde4win - i install installed skrooge - which is if i am not mistaking about 12 MB big in linux. it pulled KDE/qt dependencies and in windows it's about 300 MB. oh well. similar case with Gimp et. all
66 • re #60 the hopelessness of Linux (by gnomic on 2013-06-12 07:00:54 GMT from New Zealand)
Please do Distrowatch readers and yourself a favour and get a new laptop known to work with Linux - hey even a second hand one would be OK, for example just about any ThinkPad. Think how much better you will feel when you no longer have to rant about how Linux doesn't work. Or get a usb wifi stick that works well with Linux as I seem to recall suggesting in the past. Go on, you know you want to. And be a curmudgeon no more.
67 • @4 DavidEF Mint 15 Questions (by Oliver on 2013-06-12 07:15:11 GMT from Germany)
Can't comment on the printer sharing thing.
Stability is (much) better than with previous releases, at least for me. If I was to look for something more stable than Ubuntu I would rather consider Debian or some enterprise distribution clone though.
The Mint Updater can be configured (via Edit->Preferences) in what updates to show and what to include in automatic updates. I find it very sensible to use safe defaults and let the user decide if he likes to take any risks.
As far as I know Mint does not change the package system from Ubuntu's (from Debian's). So you can use Synaptic to do upgrades. Switch to "Status" view and select "installed packages which can be upgraded". You can upgrade each package separately or all at once. In addition there are no hints / nannying about any risks, so you are entirely on your own. Of course you can also use apt-get from a terminal.
If you are looking for a low resource distribution for older computers why not try Ubuntu with another desktop (XFCE)?
68 • @ 64 (by MZ on 2013-06-12 07:32:36 GMT from United States)
So they didn't mistake it for a duck? How does that prove anything? This website focuses primarily on open source desktops & closely related things that generally run on x86 (aka desktop) CPUs. DW also looks a little at servers and appliance type OSs, but those are in the same basic family as desktop versions of Linux & BSD. Android is likely the single most important Linux based OS in the world, but that doesn't mean that it is within the scope of the website. Droid is actually irrelevant on the desktop & will be for the foreseeable future. If you wanted to know where Google Chrome OS is on DW I might actually agree with you, but DW isn't about smart phones at all, nor would I want it to be. If your interested in Droid look for a website about smart phones & gadgets, don't ask DW to totally alter its focus because Linux is on phones in addition to PCs now.
69 • 63 • Mageia 3 kde is truly Unique - RollMeAway (by Chanath on 2013-06-12 07:58:17 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Yes, Mageia 3 KDE is unique!
It doesn't have Akonadi/Nepomuk and also it doesn't have Rekong, Caligra etc. It is integrated with Libre Office which we all use.
But, it has its little problems. Its installer doesn't see other Linux installations, but sees non-existent MS Windows installation and even place that in the menu list--I don't have MS Windows in my laptop. When you try to add other Linuxes through the GUI, it doesn't get it correctly. You have to do that manually in the Terminal.
To be that user friendly, it should get this problem out of it. Other than that, Mageia 3 KDE is just lovely! Mageia 3 Gnome also is quite different than other GS distros, quite smooth.
70 • Android (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-12 08:30:59 GMT from Vietnam)
Android, as most of us know it, can't be considered a 'distro', that's why it's not listed here. I wonder however if android-x86.org can be considered such? (ah, I just looked - I think android-x86 and live-android are on the waiting list.)
71 • Android, #68 (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-12 08:35:13 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Android is likely the single most important Linux based OS in the world"
Is anybody running Apache or Nginx on Android yet? It can't be anywhere near the most important OS in the world.
72 • 68 • @ 64 (by MZ (by meanpt on 2013-06-12 09:31:23 GMT from Portugal)
Your x86 argument runs against you. I do run an android 4 version in my 2 and a half years old notebook (which happens to have a touch screen). More and more x86 devices, in many form factors including those so called hybrids, are expected to run android until the end of this year. Even ubuntu expects to have something like that running both in the desktop and portable devices, whatever the underneath processor technology. In fact, it is under the DW site's scope to grasp and evaluate those mobile or not so mobile OS's that closely mimic the essential features provided on, at least, a laptop, including the openness of the OS, multitasking, security, applications available and their ability to deal with their laptop equivalent work and so on. Trying to ignore the new, is as bad or even worst than ignore the old.
73 • 72 (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-12 12:02:53 GMT from Vietnam)
> "In fact, it is under the DW site's scope to grasp and evaluate those mobile or not so mobile OS's that ..."
From what I can gather, a 'distro' is a Unix-like distribution that is intended to be deployed on your average 'computer' - not something limited to a niche hacking/modding community. I don't think processor architecture or device form-factor matter - expect to see distros targetting the raspi, for example. (BTW, best OS I ever used was Maemo.)
74 • Based on your review... (by PG` on 2013-06-12 12:48:15 GMT from United States)
Okay, Jesse, I installed Mint in a spare partition to try it out. Just so you know, There were two quirks.
1.) When I chose "Something Else" from the partition options, then chose which partition to change, I was given the option to cancel before the changes would be "irrevocably" written to disk. Curiously, as an experiment, I chose cancel but the changes appeared to be made anyway. I didn't try revert. I moved on.
2.) I also decided to try the BTRFS file system. I installed the boot loader into the spare partition rather overwrite the primary MBR. The result? All the King's Men and the King's Horse couldn't recognize the new BTRFS formatted MINT partition. Seems to be a GRUB problem. Rather than try to sort it all out (copying MINT'S Grub entry into a custom entry), I opted to re-install MINT with EXT4.
75 • 72 (by Jon Wright (by meanpt on 2013-06-12 13:54:26 GMT from Portugal)
That's my view too, but I have a special sympathy and hopes for webOS, meego plasma active and bodhi :)
76 • Re: 68 Classifiability (by Vivek on 2013-06-12 13:57:13 GMT from India)
It shouldn't be hard to classify Android among the Linux distributions if you put your mind to it. Didn't Android merge with the Linux kernel at 3.3? You would have to examine the commercial clauses in the GPL, because that's where the connection lies. I don't think it has anything to do with the GNU tools. There are a number of distros in this site which come without most or all of the GNU tools. The Turnkey project is one that comes to mind. There're many such utterly minimalistic distros in the main listing and in the waiting list as well, maybe one of them actually based on Android. You really want classification through it all.
Android is not listed here only because it'd bring in trolls with all kinds of opinions on the commercial software world. Ladislav Bodnar would not be bothered with such things, atleast not at this point.
77 • Where do I download Droid? (by MZ on 2013-06-12 14:03:15 GMT from United States)
If you want to convince me that Android is the same as the OSs covered on DW, then show me where I can download it for my PC. I would be interested to try Droid if it's working on non-touch devices, at least if it's easier to install than Slackware & Gentoo. Is an actual project website for desktop Droid available? I could be wrong but I don't think so.
78 • 77 (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-12 14:17:05 GMT from Vietnam)
See #70 - android-x86.org
79 • Could qualify -maybe (by MZ on 2013-06-12 14:50:56 GMT from United States)
Well, that might make the cut, if the distro makers follow whatever process DW has. In fact upon checking DW I found that it was submitted to be on the DW page rankings 'on 2010-01-16':
I don't know the process, but that could get on DW. I might try it on my laptop sometime soon just to see how well it works.
80 • nginx on android (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-06-12 14:53:41 GMT from United States)
on ARMv5, found. The challenge of doing something with one hand tied behind your back (limited libc, NDK) may be irresistible for some.
81 • Funny distro names (by MZ on 2013-06-12 15:03:57 GMT from United States)
My 3 favorite names from the submitted distro list:
Terrible Linux (submitted on 2012-02-23)
Because we haven't done enough to turn users off of desktop Linux.
Cylon Linux (submitted on 2012-12-01)
Because we need to find a way to power our future robot overlords.
LSD Linux (submitted on 2013-02-15)
Because certain hippies will best enjoy Linux during a drug induced hallucination.
82 • @81 Funny distro names (by Cork on 2013-06-12 15:23:34 GMT from United States)
"Voted Best Post in this long, dismal thread"
83 • Re: 77, Droid download (by Vivek on 2013-06-12 16:29:20 GMT from India)
Robert Storey mentions the availability of an Android image for the ODROID-X (from the manufacturer itself) in his review here:
If I recall, I've seen an image somewhere for the RPi, and these are not touch PCs. I do know that the the usual Linux problems of privileges, security updates, sofware updates, all apply to Android.
84 • Rain of Angry Comments III - The Return of The GNU (by Marcos Jacoby on 2013-06-12 16:53:04 GMT from Brazil)
Sorry for my poor english but what I meant when I say that this spat does not lead anywhere. I'm not referring to the work of developers, but our friends here posting in this topic.
What I wanted to show is that there is a mixture such that the GTK libraries are in need of libraries in principle linked to the Gnome environment, and the same applies to the environment Qt and KDE. I start from the assumption that they are things that should not mix.
Incidentally, if we assume the concept of repositories, the DE and WM should be have a separate repository and can be installed / removed without interfering with the existing facility, which is not particularly as regards distributions in Gnome.
I just illustrated a situation I do not even know it is possible, but let's say it was. In this case you end up installing libraries and other files that have more routines for DE or WM than actually required to perform the tasks as they will run or another OS or another DE or WM.
What I insist on is that it should have a clear division between GTK and Gnome, KDE and QT libraries and so on. So you can run GTK applications in a KDE environment without having to download almost a Gnome environment and vice versa.
85 • @ 83 (by Chanath on 2013-06-12 16:55:40 GMT from Sri Lanka)
If you want Android for PC, check here; http://www.android-x86.org/download
86 • Some things... (by DavidEF on 2013-06-12 17:09:11 GMT from United States)
@45 Jon Wright
>> "I challenge anyone to take Ubuntu, and with only Ubuntu repositories, make anything near a Linux Mint. It really can't be done."
>Of course it can be done - Mint did it. (and they don't 'only' use Ubuntu repositories.)
You do know you contradicted yourself there, yes? My challenge still stands, as well my assertion that Linux Mint is a distro in its own right.
Thanks for the help. I thought I had looked at the "Status" view, and couldn't figure out how to easily select all the upgradable packages. Maybe next time I try Mint, I will look at that again. But yes, they did change Synaptic. In other distros, including Ubuntu, it has a button to select all available updates, right at the top of the window, with no need to switch to another view. After clicking there, and making whatever other changes you like, you click "Apply" and everything happens in one swing. With Mint, I was forced to use two different applications to get it all done, if I happened to want updates and new install/remove actions, both. I know I could use apt command-line tools, but I prefer gui tools, and Synaptic is a great gui tool for installing, removing, and updating software.
The Mint Updater does its job, but is not very discoverable. It not only doesn't install all updates by default, it purposefully hides some of them. The ability to configure it doesn't change the fact that I just find it a pain to use, and even more so, because I HAVE TO use it, if I want to update my software with a gui tool.
Glad to hear stability is improved in the latest version. I'm not currently looking for something MORE stable than Ubuntu, I was just surprised that Mint was LESS stable than Ubuntu, in my experience. And not just in the last version I've tried. It has ALWAYS been more buggy, and less stable for my hardware than Ubuntu, which I find strange.
87 • @77 Android download - MZ (by Chanath on 2013-06-12 17:18:16 GMT from Sri Lanka)
You can read about downloading Android 4.2 here; http://www.webupd8.org/2013/02/new-android-x86-42-test-build-based-on.html
It'd lead you to other links too.
88 • @82 & 84 (by MZ on 2013-06-12 17:31:14 GMT from United States)
There are too many strange disto names on the submitted list to count.
I don't know how much of KDE I have on Mint 15, but I do have lots of KDE apps on Cinnamon. They don't seem too much more resource hungry than Gtk apps on Cinnamon do. The Rekonq browser for instance is actually a lighter on memory than Firefox by about 40 MB, while K3b is about 20 Mb heavier than the Brasero disk burner. If you have a modern system with 2+ Gb or RAM I doubt you'd notice any difference in performance mixing apps with different toolkits, but YMMV.
89 • Qt & Gtk apps (by MZ on 2013-06-12 18:16:18 GMT from United States)
After double checking, I remember that VLC both uses Qt and is in Mint by default. On my system it also uses less RAM than Totem/Videos, I'd say using Qt apps doesn't necessarily consume any more memory than Gtk ones on a Gtk desktop, and the needed back end components are likely on your system already. I might guess that a few things in KDE like Amarok gain a little extra functionality with a full KDE setup, because I think some KDE searck functions are somewhat integrated into Amarok, but it & everything else should run just fine on any desktop. I certainly don't need Kwin in order to get Qt stuff up & running because Qt is cross platform by design. Use whatever suits you, the differences should be minimal as long as the theme looks right.
90 • One-per-centers: STAY TRUE. Keep the young ones away! (by gregzeng on 2013-06-12 21:04:26 GMT from Australia)
The above url is one example of how a silly smartphone operating system (Android on a Nexus One) is still doing scientific experiments for the past three years.
@71, @73, etc: if you want to see how crazy fanboys attack Android journalists and other messengers, read the comments to the New Jersey student who gave me the url above:
"5 True Facts about Android!"
They attack the messenger for being black. You might want to mention that he is the age of your grand kids, or that he's still at school. Ignore the fact that at least 300,000 individuals follow his every Internet production. Ignore his scholarship, his IT credentials, the lack of corporate teams around him, etc.
@76: "Android is not listed here only because it'd bring in trolls"
The young black messenger mentioned here agrees with you.
... shows that 73% of Android users are young men (2012), and 60% less than 34 years old. Worse still, the Android mascot comes from a children's game (1990 Atari game).
The SECOND biggest user-group of Linux devices are the mobile phone people. If you ever examine Distrowatch closely, you will see that THE BIGGEST user group are the embedded devices: cars, refrigerators, cleaning / maintenance machines of every kind, buildings, audio-visual & other gadgetry, etc.
From Distrowatch's target audience, I can now understand the short tempers and misunderstandings here, According Moore's Law, we can see desk and room bound computers becoming handheld. As Dell, HP, Apple, Microsoft are showing, we are now starting the post-PC part of Moore's observations.
But these industry and planet wide concerns seem to be beyond the understanding and interests of the true one-per-centers who have been following this site in the past.
91 • @ 72 (by MiRa on 2013-06-12 21:59:52 GMT from Spain)
"Trying to ignore the new, is as bad or even worst than ignore the old."
OK. Just remember that the new is not equal with good, better.
In fact, many times is equal with bad, worst.
But many people are anxious for the new just for the fact it's something new.
92 • 86, Linux Mint (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-13 01:19:24 GMT from Vietnam)
I didn't realise you were emphasizing the Linux Mint repositories. I still can't fathom your point - there was no context in your post or the one you were replying to (#44, #33). Why would you suddenly issue a challenge to make something on a par with Linux Mint using *only* Ubuntu repositories?
93 • @77 • Where do I download Droid? by MZ & trolling... (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 01:20:17 GMT from Sri Lanka)
"Where do I download Droid?" that was what MZ asked in #77, so I told him where he can download the .iso images. (#85 &87) He should look in there and the problem is over for this thread. But, he keeps on going about it, without reading what's relevant.
In #76 Vivek says that "Android is not listed here only because it'd bring in trolls." That is true.
If someone asks a question, and gets the answer, then either the comment should be about the answer, and not about other matters.
MZ, if you want to download Android for PCs, then go here; http://www.android-x86.org/download, if you want to know about how to install and why & where, go here; http://www.webupd8.org/2013/02/new-android-x86-42-test-build-based-on.html
94 • The Only TRUTH (by Charles on 2013-06-13 01:31:33 GMT from Mexico)
@5@13, You are wrong, LM is not only Ubuntu repos, is many more., ¿In Ubuntu you can install Cinnamon, mate, apps from repos? LM take care of users with no upgrade kernels, no online upgrade and more faulty Ubuntu things. LM in first was a respin, but actually is many more.
@48, you can install CentOS 6, with Gnome 2 Fully supported until 2017 y partial supported until 2020.
95 • Desktop preferences are based upon experience. (by RollMeAway on 2013-06-13 02:06:11 GMT from United States)
If you have spent years using computers with a taskbar on the bottom, that is what you will be comfortable with.
If you spend most of your time using a smart phone or tablet poking at icons on the screen to run an application, that is what you will be comfortable with on a desktop.
It appears the new breed of developer fall into this category.
If your experience is with apple computers, you will want a taskbar at the top of your screen.
If you are an old style developer, you don't want no stinkin' gui, give you a terminal.
If you use only one computer, you can adapt to most any desktop configuration.
I use about a dozen different computers through a typical day.
I find it a wast of time to have to pause and think, now how do I close a window on this desktop. I tend to configure my desktop interfaces to be as much alike as possible, regardless of the underling operating system.
So, the most successful desktop environment should logically be one that allows each user to configure for their personal preferences.
My experience says that is KDE and e17. All others have some configuration options missing.
Right now my preference is a kde installation (plus other apps I use) and e17 for the desktop interface. Maximum configuration options.
96 • @93 (by MZ on 2013-06-13 03:34:01 GMT from United States)
I only said that the distro must follow the DW process, how is that a troll? Perhaps I missed a comment about where to get it & looked at another? Also you seem to be commenting about something further up the thread than my last Droid comment. Seems as if we both missed something, there are a lot of comments after all. Try not to read too much negativity into the words of others, you'll be less stressed & live longer.
97 • @96 MZ (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 03:55:40 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Could you explain what you mean by the DW process? Why should any distro "must" follow the said DW process? A developer makes his/her distro whatever way s/he likes it, and if s/he wants writes to the DW, and if the DW considers it as good enough according to certain criteria--that's the DW's right--it announces it.
By the way, its always nice to read the coments, especially that concerns your own comment. You wanted to download Android, so have you done that? I had Android quite a long time ago, the 4.0 stable one, played with it, and enough for me.
Android for PC is usually without Ethernet connection, but you can find one with that too in the 2nd link.
98 • @96 MZ (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 04:07:04 GMT from Sri Lanka)
In # 88 you wrote the following; "I don't know how much of KDE I have on Mint 15, but I do have lots of KDE apps on Cinnamon."
The Linux Mint 15 KDE had not yet been released. You can, of course, install KDE/Kubuntu desktop on Mint 15, but that's another story.
99 • 98 (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-13 05:15:09 GMT from Vietnam)
^ If you install something like Akregator it pulls in a lot of KDE libraries. If you install several such apps you'll have a not inconsiderable amount 'of KDE'. That's how I understand it. Let's not throw accusations of trolling around.
100 • @95 • Desktop preferences are based upon experience (by gregzeng on 2013-06-13 06:13:07 GMT from Australia)
If you are the old-guard one-per-center, the staus quo (Tea-Party conservatism) is true. All strangers (99%) - KEEP AWAY!
In humanity terms, we have Canonical Unity's sense of ergonomics, which is the truest yet to emerge in Linux. Canonical knows that the mass market are the missing 99%. So they have the major operational icons on the LEFT, and at the TOP.
They also recognize that the "MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE". The 99%-ers are now into hand-held computers, so finger-touch screens & voice-inputs are replacing the mouse, trackball (which I usually use), and the keyboard. They need to follow Google's Android now: all task-bars need intellihide, flexibility, variable touching, from all five surfaces.
Canonical did abandon desktop users with Unity, but they kept heir contacts with X, K, L, .... -buntus. So we desktop users still have other operating systems to use.
Your amateur venture's into private ergonomics is heavily researched in usabilty centers everywhere on this planet (Microsoft, etc). Already academic publications exist, but that is beyond my comments here. Thank you for highlighting the poverty of lay understanding of ergonomics.
101 • Complain, complain, complain... (by Glen Wilson on 2013-06-13 07:10:09 GMT from United States)
I think Jesse is doing just fine with Distrowatch as it is. He's doing his own thing, and he's doing it well. He's open to comments and responds to suggestions, but in the end this website is an extension of his own style and tastes and (I suppose) those of a few colleagues. Some of this talk reminds me of friends who married a certain distinct individual and immediately set about trying to change them into someone else.
You can only do so much on one website, and Jesse covers an awful lot of ground.
I could make similar comments about Lefebvre and his Mint project.
One technical comment in passing...
To the guy who finds Linux Mint to be unstable on three different computers: What are you trying to do? Generate a warp bubble? I have been using various Linux distros since it was a major achievement to get a mouse pointer up on the screen, and I can't imagine an operating system more stable than these Debian-based distros. Even when I fiddle so much that I break the system, it's relatively easy to get it back up, and I've never lost data in the process. Speaking specifically about Mint, it has always done exactly what it was designed to do with no muss or fuss.
102 • @86 DavidEF (by Oliver on 2013-06-13 07:19:22 GMT from Germany)
So Synaptic in Mint is different than the Ubuntu one? I did not notice that and I used Ubuntu until Unity came along.
Regarding the update via Synaptic: Now that I looked at it, the upgradable packages list seems only to be there when there are upgrades available. That is probably bad discoverability.
Ubuntu is not the most stable system which might be OK for a mostly desktop focused distribution. Mint takes Ubuntu and puts their own changes on top. And they are desktop only. I would be greatly surprised if the result would be more stable.
In fact I am kind of impressed that it works as good as it does on my machines. But I do not use printer sharing for example...
103 • 101 (by Jon Wright on 2013-06-13 07:29:46 GMT from Vietnam)
^ Jesse's assistant (name at bottom of page) is also doing a terrific job.
> "To the guy who finds Linux Mint to be unstable on three different computers"
We get the whole spectrum here - another claims "I never have any problems with Linux". Remember wifi connectivity is not a sure thing, no matter how many computers you try - for at least six months in 2009 hardly a distro on the planet could connect to a bog-standard WPA2 network because of a regression in a key library.
104 • @102 Ubuntu & Mint unstable (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 08:49:43 GMT from Sri Lanka)
If Ubuntu is being made from Sid, then it is automatically in the unstable area, but that doesn't mean Ubuntu devs are sending out unstable, untested apps. So, today's fixed Raring is still with Sid.
I use Ubuntu Saucy, and don't have any problems yet. I use, Ubuntu with Unity & Gnome shell, and also with Linux kernel 3.10 RC5. I also use Kubuntu & Xubuntu, both Saucy. Everyone of them are updated & upgraded everyday. All work quite smoothly. Unity, GS & KDE are quite exciting to use, while Xubuntu is boring.
Now, Mint 15's base is Raring, so its stability depends on Raring's stability, and also of Mint's own apps' stability. Here, Ubuntu Raring has a better chance in surviving in stability, than Mint, as Mint has to be quite sure of the stability of their own apps, which is an additional trouble.
Anyway, I haven't found Mint instable yet, but I don't like Cinnamon & Mate. Too old fashioned.
KDE is also somewhat old-fashioned, but has quite nice ideas--plasma desktop, plasma netbook, Kubuntu Active. Gnome-shell & Unity are superb, and evolving all the time. Right now, I have trouble in choosing between GS & Unity, so I have one Saucy with both. I also have Mageia 3 GS and Mageia 3 KDE, so I am in good company.
105 • @92 Jon Wright and @102 Oliver (by DavidEF on 2013-06-13 13:51:00 GMT from United States)
The context of my comment about Mint was the ongoing "conversation" taking place above about whether certain distros have a right to be called "Distros" or whether they should be treated as no-name derivatives. Mint was specifically named by several as an example on both sides. I was throwing in my two cents. The challenge was there to emphasize that Mint is not just a respin of Ubuntu, and that a respin could never end up looking like Mint because there would be huge chunks missing compared to what Mint is. Mint includes a lot of good as well as bad changes that are not in the Ubuntu repositories. My comment about Mint being at the edge of a fork was for the benefit of the "conversation" and is only my opinion. They are different enough already that a fork wouldn't be much more different, is basically what I meant.
Thanks again. I'm really not trying to argue with you. I think we're just missing each other's point. You said - "Mint takes Ubuntu and puts their own changes on top. And they are desktop only. I would be greatly surprised if the result would be more stable." However, I look at it very differently. I'm surprised Clement takes a complete operating system and makes all the changes that he does make, without it ending up at least as stable as the original. After all, MATE is based off the old Gnome 2, and should be getting only better. And Cinnamon is built off the Gnome 3 and should be at least as stable as Unity, which is also Gnome 3 based. I do tolerate some fluctuations, but Mint is just really bad sometimes in some ways that Ubuntu isn't as bad.
I'm not holding Ubuntu up as THE standard for stability, just as MY personal limit of instability, so to speak. If his goal is to make a better Ubuntu, he is failing in some major ways, and succeeding in others. Printer sharing is a real necessity at my house, for instance. His Mint utilities, however, are great and would be a welcome addition to any of my computers. That is, except the update tool.
I wouldn't dare try to change his vision, but if he were to ask me, I'd say he should stop making so many changes to the Ubuntu base, and use his time more to make the few changes better and more stable. I see so much potential there, and I would personally use it on some of my machines, if it were at least as usable as Ubuntu. In the past, it hasn't been. Maybe Mint 15 is better.
106 • @105 DavidEF (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 15:20:11 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Please check here. http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Olivia and see what "upstream" applications had been changed to make Mint 15 better? Above that, you could see what is the "main" repository of Mint 15. It starts with Cinnamon 1.8.8+olivia and ends with xfce4-xfapplet-plugin, nothing to do with "making Ubuntu better", but making a distro with certain additional applications.
107 • @ #104 by Chanath (by Pierre on 2013-06-13 16:45:11 GMT from Germany)
KDE, once again, is not old fashioned, it just does not change things for the desktop that already worked good to perfect since the last decades and concentrates on improving this already good experience even more.
Better than to try to reinvent the wheel by developing one interface to fit it all which can't work as we see. You end up with a smartphone/tablet app-menu filling your whole home-cinema-sized screen... ugly and unusable - at least in my opinion.
And if you name Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook, please all it Plasma Active and Plasma One, too, and don't mix it up with Kubuntu, which in fact is not a DE but a distro.
Back to topic: In my opinion the KDE devs are doing it right. Developing highly customized DEs to have the best fit for each use case by still keeping them highly customizable.
I don't like to be said by my DE which way to work. I want my DE to work the way I work and therefore work for me and not the other way round.
108 • @107 Pierre (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 17:33:12 GMT from Sri Lanka)
"I don't like to be said by my DE which way to work. I want my DE to work the way I work and therefore work for me and not the other way round."
No, you'll have to learn the DE of your choice, and get yourself acclimatised to it, the same way you got used to Gnome or KDE3. I don't get used to XFCE, even though it looks like Gnome2, but I am quite used to KDE4. I won't get used to Mate, even though I liked Gnome2--I can't stand the new app names.
Unity & GS3? Oh yes, I got used to them. KDE Plasma netbook DE is a real beauty. Anyway, after KDE 4.11, we are aagain in for a new KDE. By that time, Unity & GS3 (or 4) would be evolved to new heights.
If one cannot get used to new DEs, its better to work through the Terminal.
109 • @97 (by MZ on 2013-06-13 18:02:20 GMT from United States)
The Disto is on the waiting list, so it was submitted & entered whatever 'process' of review DW has. Once DW criteria are met, it is officially ranked by DW. Don't ask me for the details, I only read the thing & run by big keyboard about my thoughts every now & then. If I do try Droid it may be awhile, I want all the hardware I have to stay as it is for at least a few weeks. I'll defiantly be playing with other distros sometime this summer though.
110 • @ #108 • by Chanath (by Pierre on 2013-06-13 18:23:16 GMT from Germany)
Only because I cannot get used to (for at least myself) unusable newish DEs that try to bring my smartphone to the desktop just to be able to claim they have a unique and unified DE will no't force me to use a terminal only.
There are wonderful window manager out there, i.e. i3, just to name the one I am using at day to day work.
And even if I use more common and real DEs like KDE and Xfce (like on the PC at my office) I can perfectly deal with them both because they don't force me to deal with hugh menues that are lacking a lot of usability on the desktop in particular and even are lacking the possibility to customize anything without the need for 3rd party patches and extensions in common.
It's only my point of view, but in terms of desktop usability Unity and Gnome Shell have failed almost totally. And even on tablets I'd prefer KDE's Plasma Active instead of Gnome Shell or Unity. It's the big problem they have to do compromises, it means to do everything, but nothing completely right because you always have to fit more than one use case. You have to go some way in between, not left, not right and as undefined as this way is the resulting product.
Just my two cents.
111 • @105 DavidEF (by Oliver on 2013-06-13 20:59:49 GMT from Germany)
I have not looked at the Mint Tools yet. But I think they are just a bunch of python programs.
The site given by Chanath (http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Olivia) has the packages for the tools. Maybe they can be installed on Ubuntu also (Olivia -> 13.04). I would try this in VM first...
Best regards, Oliver
112 • mint 15 (by ubuntuergeek1 on 2013-06-13 22:45:26 GMT from United States)
i put mint on a system setup this way
amd a4 5300 +biostar a55md2 mobo +320 hdd + 8gb 1866 running at 1600 mhz
it fix like there mint to be together .
lubuntu 13.04 would not work no sound control . windows 7 no internet access . with mint everything worked .
plays sauerbraten /cube 2 with ease .
thank you for your work !
113 • @111 Oliver (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 23:43:23 GMT from Sri Lanka)
If you take Mint 14 Nadia and change the Ubuntu sources to Raring, and to Mint sources to Olivia, update and upgrade it, install Cinnamon, what would you get? Mint 15 Olivia.
If you take Raring and add Mint Olivia repos, update & install Cinnamon, you get Ubuntu-Mint-Olivia without the ugly MDM, and the restricting Mintupdate...
If you take Ubuntu Saucy and add Mint repo Olivia, install Cinnamon, what do you get? "Mint Olivia plus."
In Mint at least, you get few changes added to the original Mint Cinnamon apps so, now we have Cinnamon 1.8.8, but not all are changed to 1.8.8, as they are universal for Maya, Nadia or Olivia.
But, in distros like Zorin OS 7, you don't even get that, you get the same old "special" apps, that this distro had when its base was Oneiric. The only real change is the Ubuntu Raring base.
114 • @ 110 Pierre (by Chanath on 2013-06-13 23:58:49 GMT from Sri Lanka)
"It's only my point of view, but in terms of desktop usability Unity and Gnome Shell have failed almost totally." you say.
To prove that, you have to use Unity & GS on daily basis for couple of months.
I don't say that XFCE had failed, but it is just boring. The same goes for Cinnamon, it is good, but boring. Unity, GS & KDE Plasma netbook are superb. I cannot get Kubuntu Plasma Active running yet, but that doesn't say it is good or bad, until I use it for a while. From my experience with KDE Plasma netbook, I would say that Plasma Active must be good, actually very good.
Cinnamon in Mint 15 is just a menu, but integrated with other "specialized" apps of Mint, so it cannot be installed without them. Once installed in Ubuntu Raring or Saucy, there is way to get rid of those Mint special apps and use Nautilus etc, just delete them from your system manually. If I think that Cinnamon menu is attractive as Unity's Dash, or Gnome-shell's Dash, or old or new Slingshot, or Gnomenu, I'd just do that.
But, Cinnamon as a menu is not attractive.
115 • @114 /failed desktops (by MZ on 2013-06-14 07:57:40 GMT from United States)
I think you could objectively call Windows 8 a failure, maybe not a total failure as a desktop for those that are willing to spend the necessary time relearning everything, but it is at very least a failure in the market due to bad sales. Gnome 3 has a similar learning curve issue. This is made worse by the fact that a user of open source desktops has far more choice than most Windows users are aware of having. If most users are going to switch to something else after trying it for a few hours, then it's failed on some level. When I switched from Windows to Linux I didn't want to relearn everything under the sun, but I did like added features like virtual desktops. If keeping the same functionality & adding features weren't attractive to many users then Ubuntu of something with Gnome 3 would be on the top of the DW rankings and not Mint.
I feel like both Cinnamon & KDE are my desktop, and they allow me to do what I want with my PC. I for one like the main menu of Cinnamon, which lets be get to any program on my system with just a click, a little mouse movement & scrolling & a second click. I can use the search function too, but if I want to use my GUI as a GUI I can get things done 10 times faster in Cinnamon. If speed is an objective indicator of ease of use of a GUI, then Cinnamon is far better than click intensive mouse hunting of Gnome 3 or Unity. Cinnamon if far more than just a menu though, and version 1.8 of Cinnamon has added fine grain controls over power user features like hot corners & is adding other features while Gnome is striping features away. I know you like Gnome 3, but by trying to change everything Gnome became a very niche desktop. If you like it great, but most will probably get frustrated with it & use something else. I'll probably try Gnome 3 again eventually, but I'm not impressed by how things have turned out so far.
116 • @ #114 • by Chanath (by Pierre on 2013-06-14 08:17:45 GMT from Germany)
A menu has not to be attractive - I don't wanna take it on a date - but convenient, handy and effective. Nothing else. On my main configuration using i3 I don't even have a 'menu' like you know it but dmenu for starting apps. Fast, effective, handy and convenient in any way and this way very very attractive in my eyes.
KDE's menu is good as well. And under Xfce I tend to start apps with Alt+F2 or I already have quickstart buttons ready a short move of the mouse and one click away - no need for a menu. Alt+F2 is a nice way to start apps under KDE, too, by the way.
And except of starting apps, which occurs mostly after starting the PC and by changing tasks, you are in no need for a menu and for these few times you need it, it does not have to be the most beautiful and attractive thing on earth. But maybe I am just too practical. Maybe because I grew up and need to get work done on the PC and am not running it because of nice eyecandy.
And know what? You call Xfce boring, so if you call it boring to be stable and highly useable and customizable, than yeah! I like it boring! 'Cause it's only boring if you don't know what to do with it. If you are a little willing you can turn it into a real beauty. Gnome shell - no matter with or without addons and such - stays statically common and a lot more boring than any customized WM or DE.
And worst: you have more work for most tasks than with a good configured WM or other DE.
And I say it, because I tried Cinnamon, Gnome Shell and Unity each for 3 months when I had no pressure to get work done fast. You can get used to it in some way, but this does not change the fact that they slow down you working speed.
117 • Some addition (by Pierre on 2013-06-14 08:31:33 GMT from Germany)
Rereading my post I found the reader could find it a little rude which was not intended.
If you like Gnome 3 (with shell) or Unity and you get your work done with it the best, fastest and easiest way it's great for you.
For me they failed it many ways and stand in my way. This has nothing to do with me not willing to give any DE or WM a fair chance but with the fact that it is not able to fit my needs.
Everyone has his or her own way of working and simply seems Gnome/Unity and I are not compatible with each other. ;)
118 • @115 MZ (by Chanath on 2013-06-14 09:28:01 GMT from Sri Lanka)
"I think you could objectively call Windows 8 a failure..." you say...
I don't use Windows 8, so I can't say anything about that. The last I used Windows 7 was about 1 & 1/2 years ago or so.
Learning curve is not a big problem, we all went to school and learnt a lot too. You buy a new "smartphone" and you start learning, don't you? Every time, you see a new mobile, you feel like buying it, or at least trying, right?
I like new DEs. Moblin/Meego was very nice, too bad that no one is making it any more for desktops/laptops. Rosa's menu/dash is nice too, but the old Slingshot launcher is better and easier. If you don't use Ubuntu Saucy, you won't be knowing how good Unity with Smart Scopes. GS 3.8.2 is in the Ubuntu repos, and if you want you can use GS 3.9.2 too. Unity has "hot corners" too.
Cinnamon, like Gnomenu, if I can use it without any "additions", I'd use it, but when you can easily install the old Slingshot menu with real category and search abilities, I'd rather not have any menu at all.
How about using Unity for few weeks and then discuss the matter, about which DE is good or bad?
119 • @116 Piere (by Chanath on 2013-06-14 09:35:16 GMT from Sri Lanka)
XFCE is boring.
Of course, XFCE panel can be adjusted quite nicely, but the XFCE menu is not usable--it doesn't have a search ability.
There is a very nice Xubuntu based distro by a young Frenchman called Voyager. He had made it useful. He had added the old Slingshot launcher too, to make searching easy. That distro is not boring.
120 • @ #119 • by Chanath (by Pierre on 2013-06-14 13:17:04 GMT from Germany)
Well, I already said, what I think about the fact you find Xfce boring. So I have no idea what to do with your repeated mentioning of that.
But in fact the Xfce menu is usable although I admit that it's archaic, out of date and no fun to use and it gets even lesser fun the more apps you have installed. But one menu does not make a DE. So I'd like to see you judge DEs by more than just the menu.
121 • Unity, Gnome 3 (by fernbap on 2013-06-14 13:28:18 GMT from Portugal)
Android has been very successful in mobile phones and tablets.
But let's suppose that a major distro, say, Fedora, decides to adopt Android as its flagship DE, and tell us that Android is the unified DE for the future.
Of course, many would say that Android is "cutting edge", others would say that those who don't like it are just reaccionary, too much attached to old systems.
But the majority would say that adopting Android as the standard desktop is just a stupid, silly idea, regardless of how many bells and wistles Fedora would develop for it, and call it "Android Shell", or something as silly.
122 • @108 & @113 Nothing personal, Chanath (by Hugo Masse on 2013-06-14 14:09:28 GMT from Mexico)
Chanath (108), first you say:
" ...you'll have to learn the DE of your choice, and get yourself acclimatised to it"
which sounds very sensible, and then, on the same paragraph, you say:
"I won't get used to Mate, even though I liked Gnome2--I can't stand the new app names."
What?! You loved Gnome2 but are sure will never love MATE because they had to change the package names in order to avoid conflict and system breakdown in case someone decided to have gnome and Mate in the same install? Couldn't this renaming be part of the acclimatisation you were talking about? OK Spanish is my mother tongue, fair enough.
Anyway, this is just an example of many remarkable comments in this week's thread: people installing, say, LM and then trying their best to defeat the distro's know-how (e.g. the updating process) and then complaining that it didn't work for them. Of course you can point to a newer source, as suggested in 113 (nothing personal Chanath) but then don't expect to have a smooth experience. Or you can get the Arch installer (or a copy of the LFS manual) and choose every single aspect of your install but then, whom would you blame? Listen to Chanath, get acclimatised and then complain.
As for me, LM has always been nice to me, but then again, I've only used it in one netbook and I don't even need to print. Maybe when I get a newer PC things will change (hopefully not). When I was n00bier, I really appreciated the "just-Python-tools" like Mint's ImageWriter: now I use the dd command in a terminal to hop on to a new distro. Will I ever be able to successfully install Arch?
Jesse, Ladislav, Bruce: Don't ever stop bringing distros to our attention and please, let Android be discussed elsewhere: I love speed-typing away, not swiping the screen... "sudo apt-get install let-linux-rule-forever"
123 • @122 Hugo Masse (by Chanath on 2013-06-14 14:43:58 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Chanath (108), first you say:
" ...you'll have to learn the DE of your choice, and get yourself acclimatised to it"
which sounds very sensible, and then, on the same paragraph, you say:
"I won't get used to Mate, even though I liked Gnome2--I can't stand the new app names."
The DE of your choice is the keyword.
124 • @ Chanarth (by MZ on 2013-06-14 14:57:42 GMT from United States)
Why should I get used to an interface I think is awkward when I have a choice? As stated in # 122, you admit to having made DE choices on things as arbitrary as the name of desktop components, but I should live with one of them for a few weeks to be sure that's it's as bad as I think it is? It doesn't make any sense to make such arbitrary decisions & then encourage others to put in extra effort to do things your way.
125 • @ #123 by Chanath and #122 by Hugo Masse (by Pierre on 2013-06-14 15:01:30 GMT from Germany)
Seems Gnome2 had once been your choice. The point is that renaming apps nevertheless seems to be already enough for you not being able to acclimatise yourself to Mate but expect others to use and get acclimatised to DEs that are not compatible with one's working habits so that you expect others to completely fall over with the way of working others got used to although for you renamed apps are already enough to deny a whole DE you once liked. So there definitly is a missmatch between what you expect of others and what you expect from yourself.
126 • @ 120 Pierre (by Chanath on 2013-06-14 15:15:54 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I am writing to you from Voyager 13.04, which I had upgraded to Saucy. This young Frenchman had done a really nice Xubuntu based distro, and what he had included in it and how he had tuned it is just amazing! It appears that he has lot of love for Linux and Xubuntu, and has the energy--maybe youth--to tweak Xubuntu to such levels. The XFCE menu is there, but I am not looking at it, as he had included the old Slingshot, which is a marvelous tool for searching and launching apps.
The user can easily move to one of the 4 desktops, and there are 4 dots to show in which one, the user is at the moment. I am using Voyager, not XFCE in a way. There is another distro that uses part of XFCE, the panel, that is Solus OS.
By the way, the Gnome panel works quite well with Ubuntu Saucy, just like in the Gnome2 mode. Well, someone might say, why not Mate then? Mate is not Gnome2. It may look like it, but it is not. i don't know how to explain this, but it is only my opinion.
Linux distros had come a long way, and the Linux DEs are of real beauty today. More the better! Its a pleasure to see how Open Source is evolving. More new ideas, new DEs, WMs the better! I hope you guys won't fight GS or Unity, learn them, discuss with the developers. Who wants to go back to Windows 3 or 95 days?
127 • @125 Hugo Masse (by Chanath on 2013-06-14 15:28:59 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Linux is my choice.
I used Gnome 2 and KDE. I liked when Gnome 2 evolved into 3. I also liked KDE 3 evolved into 4.
Tried Mate few times, but it doesn't work for me. I still have the Gnome-panel, if I want that in Ubuntu saucy. I actually have it installed. Until the Gnome-panel is available in Gnome, I don't need Mate.
128 • PAE kernels - Just a suggestion (by Pinkeye on 2013-06-14 16:42:25 GMT from Czech Republic)
Hanging around LQ have left me with impression that some people with older hardware have problems with x86-PAE kernels in distros (as in "it don't work at all"). Maybe it would be useful to mention the PAE / nonPAE kernel version on the distro pages (perhaps as different architectures?), so they don't have to download pointlessly or wait for your review.
129 • Quick Mint replacement (by ange on 2013-06-14 21:15:54 GMT from Hungary)
Mint is boring. Elementary will be good if somebody press the release button. I don't know the reason behind waiting.
Maybe too much integration disintegrate the whole thing. I think that stable wingpanel+plank+gala+slingshot is enough to release the os. In fact is enough to build a minimalist distro on gnome3 base, because gala is the best wm now, it's fast simple and attractive, better than mutter. And wingpanel is good enough to give slingshot shortcut, a clock (partially from gnome/unity) and other indicator plugins. Plank is usable in itself, slingshot is maybe not well polished but it can be a good start point - much better than unity's with childhead sized icons.
Of course DanRabbit gave us good design base with elementary icon set and gtk theme. But metacity theme is needs some modification because the window buttons seems too small sometimes.
That's all. I hope it's coming, or creating a pantheon-desktop package with 13.04/13.10 compatibility. Or packages for Debian 7. Yes it could be nice.
130 • How many lightweight distros are there? (by Ben Myers on 2013-06-14 21:16:35 GMT from United States)
So you've released your latest distro. It is lightweight. It integrates GNOME version such-and-such and is built on Debian version such-and-such or is built on Ubuntu. So what? Lightweight is a buzzword. What does it mean, anyway? And all Linux distros have some base elements they incorporate.
Hey, get out there and sell. Tell me what it is that sets your distro apart from the hundreds on this web site. Tell me why I'd want to use it. Selling, even a free distro, is not a dirty word.
The specialized distros like FreeNAS, Clonezilla and Parted Magic I can really dig. They do something very specific and useful. Many of the others are faces in a crowd... Ben Myers
Number of Comments: 130
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