| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 512, 17 June 2013
Welcome to this year's 24th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The term "free software" is a concept that tends to be ignored by the majority of Linux distributions, and by extension, the majority of users. And yet, without the Free Software Foundation and its software licensing the Linux community would be a lot poorer than it is. Trisquel GNU/Linux is one of the very few exceptions as it strictly adheres to the FSF guidelines when it comes to shipping free software only; Jesse Smith reviews the project's latest version, 6.0, in this week's featured article. In the news section, Red Hat reveals its intention to default to the GNOME "Classic" mode in the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 release, Debian announces the first security and bug-fix update to "Wheezy", and Mageia releases new installation images to correct an embarrassing bug. Also in this week's issue, a user shares his experiences with migrating from Linux to FreeBSD, a first look at Wayland as shipped by RebeccaBlackOS, and a plethora of new distribution submissions to keep our distro-hoppers busy. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the May 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is the DOSBox project which receives US$250.00 in cash. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (21MB) and MP3 (39MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Living free with Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0
I think most of us can agree open source provides an attractive approach to software development. Letting developers share code, letting security auditors examine application code and letting users see and modify the code behind the software they use has a wide range of benefits. The open source philosophy is one of the many benefits to using GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems and it allows anyone with the appropriate skills to contribute. Some people take this appreciation for free and open source software to an exclusive level, allowing software to run on their computers only if the software is licensed under an open source license. While this open source only approach has the benefit of allowing users and developers to audit and modify every aspect of the operating system it also presents certain restrictions in functionality. Some proprietary applications do not have open source equivalents, or, in other cases, open source solutions have not yet caught up with commercial ventures in terms of features. It goes to show there is a balance to be struck between convenience and philosophical purity.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) maintains a list of operating systems which conform to a strict free software only policy. It is a short list. One of the more popular entries on this list of completely free operating systems is Trisquel GNU/Linux. The project is dedicated to providing users with a truly free (as in speech) operating system and the developers have taken pains to make their distribution as user friendly as possible. The Trisquel project takes Ubuntu long term support releases, strips out non-free elements and adds in free software alternatives for proprietary components. Trisquel 6.0 is the latest release from the project and is based on the Ubuntu 12.04 software repositories. Trisquel comes in two flavours, the main edition comes with the GNOME 3 desktop environment and there is a Mini edition which comes with the lighter LXDE desktop. Both flavours are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to download the Mini edition, the installation image for which is 456 MB in size.
Booting from the Trisquel disc brings up a boot menu which asks us to select either English or Spanish as our preferred language. We can also take the opportunity to set other boot options, such as video or driver settings. Plus we can decide whether to load the distribution's live desktop environment or launch Trisquel's graphical installer. I tried the live environment and found it brought up a LXDE desktop. At the bottom of the display we find the application menu and task switcher. I poked around at the applications and found things appeared to be working well enough and so launched the distribution's system installer. Trisquel, being based on the Ubuntu distribution, uses a slightly modified version of the Ubuntu installer. The steps are the same, walking us through partitioning the hard disk, confirming our time zone and keyboard layout and creating a user account. The one difference I noted is that Trisquel does not allow the user to install third-party software which may be restricted by proprietary licenses. The installer worked quickly and I found it was easy and intuitive to use. The disk partitioning screen is especially straight forward and I suspect newcomers will be able to navigate the system installer without any problems.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0 - the default LXDE desktop
(full image size: 1,377kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Once the installation has completed we are prompted to reboot the computer. Loading the Trisquel distribution quickly brings us to a graphical login screen. Signing in brings us back to the LXDE desktop. The background is a peaceful, star-filled sky. Upon logging in I did not encounter any welcome screen nor notice of available updates. The LXDE interface simply presents us with a clean workspace and gets out of the way. I found the graphical interface to be very responsive and the distribution loaded applications quickly. LXDE comes with a handful of configuration apps which assist us in customizing the interface, allowing us to rearrange the desktop to suit our preferences.
I found hardware support to be a mixed experience with Trisquel. I tried running the distribution on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and in a virtual machine. I found sound worked out of the box and the distribution was responsive. However, my Intel wireless card was not supported. The Intel card in my laptop requires non-free firmware which is not supplied by Trisquel and not available in the distribution's repositories. At first my screen's resolution was not used to its fullest and I had to play around with X's configuration to make use of my machine's maximum resolution. In the virtual machine Trisquel performed quite well. With hardware virtualized Trisquel didn't have any unsupported components with which to contend and the distribution performed tasks quickly. I found the distribution was quite conservative when it came to resource usage. Logging into the LXDE desktop only required 75 MB of memory.
Given that Trisquel GNU/Linux does not ship non-free drivers, pieces of software which are often required to support 3-D graphical environments, I was surprised to note Trisquel's main edition ships with GNOME 3. The modern GNOME desktop utilizes 3-D technology and not having drivers which support 3-D effects will prevent GNOME Shell from working. On closer inspection I found Trisquel ships with GNOME 3.4 which includes a fallback mode. This means people who use Trisquel and have hardware that is not capable of supplying 3-D effects with free drivers can still use the main edition. I am curious as to the developers' plans for future releases as GNOME has dropped fallback mode from the latest version of GNOME. Perhaps users will be advised to simply use the Mini edition as I did during my trial.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0 - package management with Synaptic
(full image size: 223kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The Trisquel GNU/Linux distribution comes with two graphical package managers, both of which act as front ends to the APT package handling system. The first front end I tried was labeled "Add/Remove Applications" and the software took an application-centric approach to handling software. The program has a nice, simple layout with categories of software displayed in a column down the left side of the window and specific applications shown on the right. Or at least that is the idea, when I tried to search for packages or filter applications by category the program was not able to show me any results. This caused me to turn to the other package management front end, Synaptic. The Synaptic program is tried and true, fast and reliable. The Synaptic front end takes a package-centric approach and may be a little intimidating to newcomers, but it works well once the user has a feel for it. When I first installed Trisquel I found 97 package updates were waiting to be installed and these upgrades were approximately 50MB in size. This seems quite reasonable and I believe it indicates the Trisquel developers have been rolling updates from the Ubuntu repositories into their download images. It's an extra step I appreciate as it reduces the flow of updates post-install.
The Mini edition of Trisquel GNU/Linux comes with a small collection of software. In the application menu we find the Midori web browser, the Pidgin instant messaging client and the Sylpheed e-mail client. The Transmission BitTorrent software is included along with the AbiWord word processor and a PDF reader. The GNOME PPP dial-up software is included alongside the Network Manager network configuration software. The GNOME MPlayer multimedia player is included and codecs for playing most popular video and audio formats are installed on the system. The small mtPaint drawing program is included in the application menu and we also find disc burning software. I found a virtual calculator, a text editor and archive manager in the application menu. There is no compiler on the system and no Java support. The proprietary version of Flash is not installed, but the open source Gnash player is included for displaying Flash content on web pages. Behind the scenes Trisquel runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.2. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say Trisquel uses a custom version of the Linux kernel with the non-free pieces removed.
I think distributions which subscribe to a free software only approach are interesting philosophically, but I see them as a double-edged sword. When a completely free distribution, such as Trisquel, performs well it showcases just how powerful and capable open source operating systems can be. On the other hand, when they run into problems it doesn't reflect well on open source projects in general. Whenever I hear about GNU enthusiasts passing out Trisquel discs at events I feel a knot of conflicting emotions. On the one hand I'm always happy to see open source software presented to the world, but I'm also afraid that people unfamiliar with Linux distributions will try Trisquel and think all Linux distributions are crippled by similar restrictions. Not that Trisquel has a lot of problems, but there were a few which stood out during my time with the distribution.
Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0 - browsing the web
(full image size: 448kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The first problem I had with Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0 was hardware related and entirely expected. I knew going into my experiment that my Intel wireless card required non-free firmware and so it wasn't a surprise when the device didn't work. It was inconvenient, as Trisquel doesn't have any non-free repositories to help me deal with the issue, but it was something I could work around. Not being able to play Flash content on web pages surprised me. A few weeks ago, when I was running Debian, I found Gnash worked fairly well for me, certainly well enough to enjoy YouTube videos. However, while running Trisquel, I was unable to get Gnash to play any Flash content on any website. Perhaps it is a configuration issue, perhaps it was the version of Gnash being used, but in any case Trisquel's alternative to Adobe's Flash player didn't work for me. Finally, the first graphical package manager I tried to use was unable to find any packages, either on the system or in the repositories. Luckily users can fall back to using Synaptic, which worked wonderfully, but the initial introduction to package management was not pleasant.
Despite the issues listed above, I don't want to scare people off from trying Trisquel. Of the distributions to appear on the FSF's list of completely free operating systems Trisquel is probably the most friendly and the most complete. The project offers users a pleasant installer, good performance and a lot of useful open source software via the repositories. I felt the combination of the free software base with LXDE was a good match and I was able to browse the web, work and generally get stuff done. I am happy to report that, for the most part, I was able to get through the week, being productive, with a 100% free software operating system. People who are interested in sticking firmly to the free software philosophy will probably have the best experience possible with Trisquel. The project may not be one I'd recommend to newcomers who just want their computers to work straight out of the box, but Trisquel is doing quite well, especially if your hardware is supported by open source drivers and open firmware.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
RHEL 7 to default to GNOME "Classic", Debian and Mageia release updates, migrating from Linux to FreeBSD
With the upcoming release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7, the attention of many Linux websites has started to turn towards the event that will affect a good deal of enterprise Linux users, not to mention the bottom line of the world's largest Linux company. So when can we expect the final release of RHEL 7? There is no official roadmap, but according to this interview with Denise Dumas, director of software engineering at Red Hat, Inc, RHEL 7 will based on Fedora 19 (due for release on 2 July) and it will incorporate many improvements in the areas of virtualisation and storage: "There's been a ton of work done in virtualization and storage. You'll see a lot of it reflected in the storage road maps. A lot of what we've done you'll see reflected in 6.5 as well. In 6.5, we've done a lot with parallel NFS. We did some performance improvements with the Fuse support -- we've focused a lot on tuning and hardening. We did some work with LVM. There are improvements to the thin provisioning support, upgrade rollback and scalable snapshots. For RHEL 7, we've got multiple file systems. We're looking at more improvements to Btrfs -- we're doing a lot of testing with that. We'll be supporting ext4, XFS and Btrfs in addition to ext2 and ext3, but we're looking to make XFS the new default for boot, for root and for user data predictions."
The same article also talks about GNOME Classic mode as the default desktop user interface. This has created quite a stir in the Linux user community; Red Hat has always been an influential sponsor of the GNOME project, but it now seems that the controversial GNOME 3 desktop is being sidelined even by the project's staunchest supporter! Denise Dumas explains: "We introduced a classic mode to Fedora 19 which, if you're comfortable with GNOME 2, you're going to find a no-brainer. We think that people who are accustomed to GNOME 2 will use the classic mode until they're ready to experiment with modern mode. Classic mode is going to be the default for RHEL 7, and we're in the final stages now. We're tweaking it and having people experiment with it. The last thing we want to do is disrupt our customers' workflows. I think it has been hard for the GNOME guys, because they really, really love the modern mode, because that's where their hearts are. But they've done a great job putting together the classic mode for us, and I think it's going to keep people working on RHEL 5, 6 and 7 who don't want to retrain their fingers each time they switch operating systems -- I think the classic mode is going to be really helpful for them." There is a long and interesting discussion about this topic at Linux Weekly News.
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The Debian project has announced the release of Debian GNU/Linux 7.1. This represents a change in version numbering as the corresponding first update for the Debian 6 series was 6.0.1. Nevertheless, the seemingly more significant number increment makes no difference in terms of what has been updated - Debian 7.1 is still just a security and critical bug-fix update and it does not include any package upgrades or new features. And while new ISO images have been released, the majority of users running Debian GNU/Linux 7 will upgrade using the usual tools - APT or aptitude. From the release announcement: "The Debian project is pleased to announce the first update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (code name 'Wheezy'). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 7 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away 7 CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated." APT, Cyrus, DHCP, LibreOffice, Linux kernel, Octave, PHP and X.Org are among the packages affected by the bug-fix updates.
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Also updated recently were the installation CD and DVD images of Mageia 3. The reason? A bug in the installer that would upgrade the system to "Cauldron" (Mageia's development branch) rather than install updates from the stable repository (that's only if the user chooses to run the optional package upgrade process during installation). Anne Nicolas explains: "Despite the care we take to test ISO images for new versions of Mageia, we missed a potentially huge bug. It concerns the ISO images using the classical installer. If the user chooses to add online media at the beginning of the installation, it will result in the system being updated to 'Cauldron', the development version of Mageia. This was due to the initial ISO images including a partial mis-identification, referring to the development version (and not the official one). The updated media pointed to Mageia 'Cauldron' and not to the Mageia 3 repositories. Please note that users who choose to add online media only at the end of the installation will not be affected by this problem. While the new ISO images were being prepared and tested, a temporary fix was applied on our infrastructure to automatically redirect to the Mageia 3 media. Thus only users of 'Cauldron' were affected and should therefore explicitly install the media for 'Cauldron'."
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Have you ever considered migrating from Linux to FreeBSDi on your servers and even desktops? If so, this article by Nilesh Govindrajan could be of help. Besides describing his experiences with the switch, the author also lists some of the reasons one might consider the move, notably dramatic improvements in terms of system performance: "While playing with my VPS, I found a major difference between Linux and FreeBSD - performance and memory usage. The performance was nearly the same as Linux, only slightly better. Memory usage improvement, however, was drastic. FreeBSD is just too good at managing memory. My server used to consume over 1 GB of memory while running PHP, MySQL and nginx. Now, it doesn't even touch 500 MB! It's always less than 500 MB. Everything is exactly the same, configuration, etc, only the operating system has changed. After the VPS trial, I started moving my stuff from the Gentoo VPS to the new system. I ran it for testing for a few days, and it continued to amaze me. FreeBSD's official slogan is 'The Power to Serve' - so much truth in that! And I ended up with migrating my other VPS systems to FreeBSD as well."
|Technology Previews (by Jesse Smith)
Wayland and RebeccaBlackOS
Over the past year the Wayland project has been gaining steam. The project offers a simplified display protocol which means Wayland has the potential to offer display technology that is smaller, faster and easier to maintain than the existing X software used in most Linux distributions. The Wayland protocol, and the Weston implementation of said protocol, has been slowly gathering momentum. Some toolkits, such as Qt and GTK+, are now committed to supporting Wayland as well as X. This may be good news for Linux users as a mature implementation of Wayland should mean smoother graphics, better multi-display support and faster on-screen drawing.
While a mature version of Wayland may still be a year or more in the future, curious minds can explore the technology now. One developer stepped forward last month and released a live disc called RebeccaBlackOS. This disc contains a version of the Kubuntu distribution that runs the KDE desktop using Wayland technology to display the graphical environment. Applications originally designed to work with X can still be run seamlessly on the Wayland-powered desktop using a compatibility system called XWayland.
RebeccaBlackOS 2013-05-24 - running Firefox and reading usage tips
(full image size: 366kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The download image for RebeccaBlackOS is approximately 1.7 GB in size. Booting from the disc brings up a boot menu which asks us to either boot Kubuntu with the default settings or with a video frame buffer set to a specific display resolution. From there we are brought to a graphical desktop powered by the Weston implementation of Wayland. The desktop is mostly blank with a row of quick-launch icons arranged at the top of the screen. The icon in the upper-left corner of the screen brings up the KDE application menu and other icons launch virtual terminals, bring up a help screen with short-cut keys, open Network Manager or launch a web browser. Browsing through the application menu we find it populated with the usual collection of KDE programs, Firefox and some demo programs developed specifically for Wayland. I found launching traditional X applications such as Firefox or the KDE System Settings panel worked well, as did the various Wayland demo apps included in the distribution.
In fact, the remarkable thing about this demo disc is that while the interface looks quite a bit different from most Linux desktops, and some components look disjointed or out of place, everything included in the distribution appears to work. We can launch applications from the menu, switch between open programs, move, re-size and rotate windows. Most actions happened quickly and smoothly, though many actions (such as mouse clicks on icons) have a notable lack of visual feedback. I had expected an early demo of Wayland to contain more bugs or unstable programs, but the experience is stable, if alien. Alien in that the desktop appears upside down compared to KDE's normal orientation, alien in that clicking on icons doesn't produce any visual feedback, alien in that the application menu freely floats around the screen and doesn't close when it loses focus. Another example of unexpected behaviour is windows can be maximized, but cannot be minimized as, at this time, there is no task switcher. These characteristics highlight some of the differences between running KDE on Weston verses X.
Another family of differences appear when we go to use the window controls. Often times windows don't have a close button and we need to right-click somewhere within the window (not on the title bar, but within the window proper) to see the option to close the application. Another foreign aspect is that short-cut keys tend to involve the Meta key instead of the Alt key. For example, switching to a different window involves pressing Meta+Tab instead of Alt+Tab. Rotating a window, an interesting visual effect, is accomplished by holding the Meta key and right clicking on a window. These sorts of difference are minor on their own, but it does take a while to unlearn old habits and newcomers should be prepared to spend a few days fumbling around until they get into the flow of the new interface.
RebeccaBlackOS 2013-05-24 - virtual keyboard and application menu
(full image size:560kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
One of the benefits to running on the Wayland protocol instead of the traditional X display server is supposed to be the shedding of legacy code. Wayland offers a fresh start, so running Weston should result in a smaller memory footprint when compared to running X. This appears to be the case. Running KDE on top of Kubuntu and using X typically results in approximately 200-230MB of RAM being consumed. While I was running this modified version of Kubuntu with the Weston display server I found the distribution (while running from the live disc) used about 130 MB of RAM. That's 35% less memory being consumed. Now, perhaps more memory will be required once a task switcher is added and some eye candy is thrown into the mix, but considering the functionality already present I was happy to see how small a footprint KDE on Weston has.
When I first started playing around with the Weston-powered version of KDE I was momentarily taken aback by the many little differences, especially in the appearance and layout of controls. However, an hour into the experience I was starting to feel more or less at home. Adjusting to KDE on Weston really isn't a greater shift in thinking than moving between LXDE and the Haiku desktop or GNOME Shell and Xfce. There is a period of adjustment, a relearning of habits and some windows display slightly different controls depending on whether they represent native Weston programs or traditional X programs.
Still, once we make the mental shift the KDE desktop running on top of Weston is surprisingly functional considering how little beta testing the technology has received. There are certainly months of more work required to smooth things out and integrate existing programs and desktop environments with Weston, but the framework is in place. I wouldn't sit most users down in front of this interface and expect them to work with it, but for people who are curious or who want to ride the cutting edge or who are flexible in their work flow Weston could probably be used on a day to day basis. I wouldn't expect to see Weston become the default yet, not this year, but quite possibly in 2014. By then I wouldn't be surprised to see it pop up in the feature lists of many desktop distributions.
|Released Last Week
Zorin OS 7
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 7, a major new release of the Ubuntu-derived distribution designed for new Linux converts and featuring a custom desktop user interface based on GNOME Shell: "The Zorin OS team is proud to finally release the Zorin OS 7 Core and Ultimate, the latest version of our operating system designed for Linux newcomers. Zorin OS 7 brings about a plethora of changes and improvements such as a wide array of updated software, the Linux kernel version 3.8, the introduction of new software (Pidgin replacing Empathy and Steam in Zorin OS 7 Ultimate) and an enormous design overhaul. We have given the brand a facelift with our new logo. In addition to this, Zorin OS itself includes a brand new desktop theme. Zorin OS 7 is based on Ubuntu 13.04." Read the rest of the release announcement for a brief overview of the release.
Zorin OS 7 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with a customised GNOME 3 desktop
(full image size: 961kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Stephen Ewen has announced the release of UberStudent 3.0, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution for learning and teaching academic success at the higher education and advanced secondary levels: "I'm very pleased to announce the release of UberStudent 3.0. 32-bit and 64-bit Xfce editions are ready for download and installation. Version 3.0 is a major leap forward for UberStudent. It is in many ways a dividing line between itself and prior editions in terms of both stability and features. The singular most important reason for this is the UberStudent repository. It represents months and months of work. Updates and any needed fixes will be quick and seamless. You can browse the whole repository, but the better way to get an idea of what they contain is to just install UberStudent and experience it." See the release announcement for more details.
UberStudent 3.0 - an Ubuntu-based distribution for students and teachers
(full image size: 368kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Peppermint OS Four
Kendall Weaver has announced the release of Peppermint OS Four, a lightweight and easy-to-use desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 13.04: "Welcome back to the new and improved Peppermint web site and welcome to the next iteration of our operating system: Peppermint Four. We are seriously excited about this release and we hope you are as ecstatic as all of us on Team Peppermint. Make sure to download a bunch of copies and give them to friends and family; they will thank you, for sure. Peppermint Four is based on the Ubuntu 13.04 code base and uses the LXDE desktop environment, but now with Xfwm4 instead of Openbox as the window manager. Other new features in this release are that we've included some example games by default including Entanglement and First Person Tetris. We've also added some metapackages for popular tasks such as graphic arts and photography to the Featured section of the Software Manager." Read the full release announcement for further information and useful links.
Peppermint OS Four - a lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu 13.04
(full image size: 870kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Window Maker Live 2013-06-05
Window Maker Live is a Debian-based Linux distribution that integrates the Window Maker window manager with well-known open-source components in an attractive graphical user interface. A new version was released and announced earlier today: "Window Maker Live 2013-06-05. What is new since the last release? Both Firefox and Thunderbird are not pre-installed any more into the static Squashfs of the live system. Instead, the upstream archives are now shipped separately on the ISO image within the top level 'custom' folder. These archives are then automatically unpacked at runtime of the live session or during installation to disk. This not only enables users to easily replace the contained English-language Mozilla applications with different language versions, but also allows for updating these release versions with newer ones." Read the rest of the release announcement for more features and known issues.
Window Maker Live 2013-06-05 - a Debian-based live distribution showcasing the Window Maker window manager
(full image size: 112kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Parted Magic 2013_06_14, 2013_06_15
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2013_06_14, the latest stable version of the project's specialist live CD designed for disk management and data rescue tasks: "Another month of solid development is complete, it's time to release Parted Magic with a new look and a growing number improvements. After what seems like a good part of 5 years, Parted Magic has a new desktop wallpaper! Colin Skees put together the Steampunk/Tron theme for us and I have to say it is really cool. We came up with 2 sizes and probe for screen resolution, so it looks good on most machines. A lot of work went into Parted Magic Mount. It now auto refreshes and supports device mapper, smart phones, cameras, and Kindles. Most of the little quirks have been worked out and we honestly believe it is becoming one of the best GUI mount utilities available. Clonezilla has been updated to 3.3.40, drbl to 2.3.28, and partclone 0.2.61." Visit the project's news page to read the full release announcement.
Parted Magic 2013_06_14 - featuring (among other things) a new desktop wallpaper
(full image size: 781kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
May 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: DOSBox|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the May 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is DOSBox, a DOS emulator. It receives US$250.00 in cash.
What exactly is DOSBox? The project's information page explains: "DOSBox is a DOS emulator that uses the SDL library which makes DOSBox very easy to port to different platforms. DOSBox has already been ported to many different platforms, such as Windows, BeOS, Linux and OS X. DOSBox also emulates CPU 286/386 real mode and protected mode, XMS and EMS directory file systems, Tandy, Hercules, CGA, EGA, VGA, VESA graphics, Sound Blaster and Gravis Ultra sound cards for excellent sound compatibility with older games. You can 're-live' the good old days with the help of DOSBox, it can run plenty of the old classics that don't run on your new computer." In other words, DOSBox can run old MS-DOS software on modern computers which would not work otherwise, because of incompatibilities between the older software and modern hardware and operating systems. It is especially intended for use with old PC games. The excellent Wiki pages provide further information and tutorials.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards and Bitcoins are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$35,525 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250)
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New distributions added to waiting list
- KXStudio. KXStudio is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with a collection of applications, artwork and plugins targeted at audio and video production.
- OpenSXCE. OpenSXCE is an enterprise-class OpenSolaris-based server and desktop-oriented operating system. OpenSXCE runs primarily on Intel CPU-compatible and Sun UltraSPARC sun4u/sun4v-compatible 32-bit and 64-bit computers. Both GNOME and IceWM are provided.
- Piumalinux. Piumalinux is an Italian Ubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring the MATE desktop environment. The project's website is in Italian.
- Raspberry Digital Signage. Raspberry Digital Signage is an operating system designed for digital signage installations on Raspberry Pi microcomputer. It is a "browser operating system" based on Linux Raspbian which features full HTML 5 support (Firefox or Chrome view) - it displays a full-screen view with locked navigation. It also features wired and wireless networking and proxy settings, on-screen keyboard, force reload of pages and scheduled halt.
- SphinUX OS. SphinUX OS, a project of the SphinUX Free Technology Community in Alexandria, Egypt, is a general-purpose desktop operating system based on the Egyptian LSX kernel architecture, using KDE as the default desktop environment, and released under the GPL 3.0.
- Viperr GNU/Linux. Viperr GNU/Linux is a French Linux distribution, a lightweight Fedora remix with Openbox as the default desktop user interface. The project's website is in French.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 24 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
NixOS is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution that aims to improve the state of the art in system configuration management. In NixOS, the entire operating system, including the kernel, applications, system packages and configuration files, are built by the Nix package manager. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other; as a result there are no /bin, /sbin, /lib or /usr directories and all packages are kept in /nix/store instead. Other innovative features of NixOS include reliable upgrades, rollbacks, reproducible system configurations, source-based model with binaries, and multi-user package management. Although NixOS started as a research project, it is now a functional and usable operating system that includes hardware detection, KDE as the default desktop, and systemd for managing system services.