| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 514, 1 July 2013
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Peppermint OS is an interesting distribution that combines the light nature of Lubuntu with user-friendly additions from Linux Mint, and it even adds a handful of cloud-released features. The recently-released version Four is the culmination of the project's three years of hard work; DistroWatch's Jesse Smith takes a look at the achievements. In the news section, Fedora developers give "Schrödinger's Cat" a green light for release on Tuesday and Ubuntu continues to integrate the Mir display server into the upcoming release of its flagship distribution, although Kubuntu and Lubuntu leaders resist the switch. Also in this issue, a brief roundup of Mandriva forks and their current states, an interview with ThinkPenguin's Christopher Waid about "libre" hardware, and the usual regular sections, including an introduction to a useful Lubuntu-based distribution called LXLE. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (21MB) and MP3 (38MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at Peppermint OS Four
Peppermint OS is a project based on Lubuntu with sprinklings of Linux Mint tossed into the mix. The Peppermint project attempts to create a user friendly, fast and lightweight distribution. The project is focused on bringing web applications and services to the desktop without relying exclusively on Internet connectivity for basic functions. This makes Peppermint a bit of a hybrid, mixing the traditional desktop platform with cloud services. While Peppermint ships with a minimalist collection of packages and a LXDE desktop the project offers several software bundles to allow users to build a fully featured operating system using the Peppermint base. The latest release of Peppermint, version 4, is based on Lubuntu 13.04 and is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds.
The Peppermint OS ISO image is approximately 590 MB in size. Booting from this media we are presented with a menu asking if we would like to run Peppermint's live desktop from the disc, install the distribution or check the integrity of the media. I decided to try the live environment first and the distribution quickly brought me to a LXDE desktop. The background was a pepperminty red and the application menu and task switcher sat at the bottom of the display. On the desktop was a single icon for launching the system installer. After confirming the system was running smoothly I launched the installer. One of the first pages of the installer asks if we would like to add third-party software (such as Flash) and whether we want to fetch security updates during installation. I opted to grab third-party software and tried to proceed to the next page.
At this point the installer locked up and would neither proceed, nor quit. I rebooted the machine and chose to launch the system installer directly from Peppermint's boot menu. Once again I tried to fetch updates and third-party software during the installation and, again, the installer froze. The third time I booted from the Peppermint disc I decided to run the installer without downloading any addition packages. This time the installer proceeded smoothly. Peppermint uses the Ubuntu system installer and it does a nice job of walking us through disk partitioning, confirming our time zone and creating a user account. The installer completed its work quickly and, upon rebooting the computer, I was brought to a simple graphical login screen powered by Peppermint.
Peppermint OS Four - system installer and default desktop
(full image size: 416kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Back at the LXDE desktop again one of the first things to catch my attention was that Peppermint ships with a few desktop visual effects turned on. Nothing flashy, just little things like shadowing windows that are not active. It gives the desktop a more dynamic appearance. A minute later a notification appeared letting me know software updates were available in the project's repositories. Peppermint uses a small, graphical application for managing updates. It's a simple tool which shows us a list of packages which can be downloaded. We select which ones we want from the list (the default is to download them all) and then the updater goes to work. The first day I ran Peppermint there were approximately 40 MB of updates waiting and only a few more trickled in during the week. I found the updates downloaded and installed cleanly and I ran into no problems during the week. One thing I did find interesting was that Flash was one of the available updates and, as previously mentioned, I hadn't opted to download Flash or codecs during my successful installation of Peppermint. A quick check showed that Flash and multimedia codecs were installed on the system by default, whether we specifically ask for them or not.
Peppermint OS Four comes with two graphical package managers, Synaptic and Software Manager. The former is a fast, venerable package manager which encourages us to deal with software on the individual package level and allows us to manipulate packages in batches. Software Manager has more of a web interface feel to it. We navigate applications using big, bright icons and clicking on a program brings up a detailed description of the software. We can see screen shots of the software and read user reviews on applications. Installing or removing a program is initiated by a single click and actions are processed in the background while we continue to use Software Manager. Both graphical front ends worked well for me and they provide users with a remarkable 40,000 packages.
One feature I was happy to find is that Software Manager gives us access to Peppermint bundles. These bundles are meta packages of software that allow us to grab several popular applications with a single click. For instance, one of the bundles, Office, contains LibreOffice and document manipulation software. There is an Entertainment bundle for games and educational programs and there is a Development bundle with software creation utilities and libraries. There are additional bundles, each with a particular theme. These bundles are a small matter, but I like that they exist. It shows that while the developers try to maintain a small distro with a small ISO they are supportive of users building more complex desktop systems and are making the process easier for people.
Peppermint OS Four - two package managers
(full image size: 270kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
While Peppermint OS Four comes with a fairly small collection of software by default we do start off with a handful of useful tools. In the application menu we find the Chromium web browser, the Transmission BitTorrent client, the XChat IRC client and the Dropbox file synchronization tool. We're given a document viewer, a GNOME front end to MPlayer, a text editor and an archive manager. Peppermint comes with a file manager, virtual calculator and a utility for adding and removing user accounts. There are links to web-based services, including Google Drive, Google Calendar, a simple image editor and several games. There are also links to Peppermint's user manual and user forum. To help us get on-line Network Manager is provided. In addition the distribution comes with Flash, popular multimedia codecs and the GNU Compiler Collection. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.8. All of these programs worked well for me and I encountered no problems with the included software (and on-line services) during the week.
I'd like to mention two Peppermint OS features called Site Specific Browsers (SSBs) and Ice. An SSB basically allows the user to open a web-based application on their desktop and treat it like a locally installed program. An SSB is a little like a web browser tab, but without all of the web browser's controls and menus, making for a cleaner, less cluttered interface. This gives the illusion the web app is really just another application running on the desktop. Ice is a utility which allows us to create new SSBs and integrate them into Peppermint's application menu. We provide Ice with a web app's address and give it a nickname. The website's icon then appears in the application menu and we can launch it the same way we would any other application. If you have a fast Internet connection the combination of Ice and SSBs makes remote services look and act almost like local services, just with a slightly longer load time.
I ran Peppermint on a laptop machine (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox. I found the distribution ran smoothly on the laptop. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and wireless networking functioned without any problems. The distribution booted quickly and performance was excellent. The LXDE desktop, even with visual effects enabled, was light and responsive. The lightweight distribution only used approximately 100 MB of RAM while sitting idle at the desktop. While running Peppermint inside VirtualBox I had the same experience, everything ran smoothly and quickly. It felt good to find a distribution which is both light on resources and also looks good. Many projects trade eye candy and user friendly tools for performance and I like that Peppermint manages to provide both.
Peppermint OS Four - web applications and local programs working side-by-side
(full image size: 245kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
It's not easy to sell me on the idea of a web-focused or hybrid operating system. I tend to resist hitching my work flow to cloud-based solutions for three reasons. The first is reliability. The region in which I live is not known for its network stability and it is not uncommon to be knocked off-line. As a result anything considered important doesn't get stored remotely. The second issue is performance. There are many scenarios in which cloud computing and remote storage make sense, but a desktop application usually isn't one of them. Launching and running a web app on the desktop is almost always going to be slower than running local applications. The final reason is control. Cloud-based applications are ideal for system administrators because it allows for software to be patched in one central location and updates don't have to be applied to every workstation. The flip side to that is if I, as a user, prefer version 2 of a program over 3 then staying with version 2 isn't usually an option when using web apps. But it is an option when running local programs, we have that control and flexibility when working with locally installed software.
I mention my resistance to cloud solutions because I want to be clear that, going into this review, I was biased against what Peppermint was trying to do. Mixing local apps with web apps and putting them more or less on equal footing does not appeal to me. That being said, while Peppermint didn't sell me on cloud-based solutions, I am impressed with the work the developers have done. Peppermint is a very responsive, lightweight distribution which loads and runs quickly. The LXDE interface provides a good mixture of features and performance and Peppermint has a nice, clean feel to it. It's fairly easy to get Peppermint up and running, I like having two package managers, one friendly manager for new users and Synaptic for performance and flexibility. The desktop configuration tools are simple and straight forward. The Ice utility is helpful and makes setting up menu short-cuts to web-based solutions easy. I may not be on board with moving my work flow to the cloud, but for people interested in moving in that direction Peppermint is certainly the best cloud-focused platform I've used to date.
I feel it is also worth acknowledging that Peppermint doesn't need to be set up as a web-focused operating system. The distribution's small footprint and its software bundles make it easy to set up Peppermint to be used as a desktop/laptop operating system. I would imagine it would be ideal for low-resource equipment which might otherwise be facing retirement. That's what I really like about Peppermint, it might be a gateway to the cloud, but it isn't really reliant on the cloud the way some new operating systems are. This is a strong point in Peppermint's favour when compared with other cloud-focused solutions.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Green light for Fedora 19, Kubuntu and Lubuntu display server decisions, Ubuntu's Mir plans, Mandriva forks roundup
Good news for those users who are eagerly awaiting the brand-new release of Fedora 19. After so many disappointments of delayed Fedora final releases, this time it's a "go": "At the Fedora 19 final go/no-go meeting that just occurred, it was agreed to go with the Fedora 19 by Fedora QA, development, release engineering and FPM. Fedora 19 will be publicly available on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Thank you everyone for heroic effort on this release!" For those wishing to upgrade from Fedora 18, be aware of the distribution's well publicised switch from MySQL to MariaDB. Fedora Infrastructure Lead Kevin Fenzi shares his upgrade experience: "After rebooting I was hard pressed to find any problems, but finally did manage to find one: all my MySQL-using applications were no longer able to connect to the database. Digging into logs showed me that it was a password format change between the old Fedora 18 MySQL and new Fedora 19 MariaDB. I simply had to go in and set the passwords for those users again and it updated to the new hash setup and started working. Not sure if this is something that could be fixed in a MariaDB update or noted in release notes, but it's easy enough to fix up. So far that's it. Everything else is working just fine, no problems at all. I think Fedora 19 is going to be a very good release, hope everyone enjoys it."
Fedora 19 - the default GNOME desktop
(full image size: 1,477kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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The Ubuntu project's (yet another) controversial decision, the incorporation of the Mir display server into the main distribution, has incited a small rebellion within several of the official Ubuntu derivatives. First it was Kubuntu's Jonathan Riddell who announced last week that Kubuntu won't be switching to Mir or XMir: "A few months ago Canonical announced their new graphics system for Ubuntu, Mir. It's a shame the Linux desktop market hasn't taken off as we all hoped at the turn of the millennium and they feel the need to follow a more Apple or Android style of approach making an OS which works in isolation rather than as part of a community development method. Here at Kubuntu we still want to work as part of the community development, taking the fine software from KDE and other upstream projects and putting it on computers worldwide. So when Ubuntu desktop gets switched to Mir we won't be following. We'll be staying with X on the images for our 13.10 release now in development and the 14.04 LTS release next year. After that we hope to switch to Wayland which is what KDE and every other Linux distro hopes to do." Similarly, Lubuntu's Julien Lavergne has also distanced himself from Mir, at least for the next two stable releases.
* * * * *
In the meantime, the Ubuntu developers continue to work on the integration of Mir as the default graphics subsystem in Ubuntu 13.10. Last week Community Manager Jono Bacon clarified the distribution's Mir plans: "As many of you are probably aware, we are working on the Mir display server that is designed to provide a fast, efficient, and extensible display server across phone, tablet, desktop, and TV. Our ultimate goal is a fully converged Unity 8 running on top of Mir ready for the next LTS time frame, and in 13.10 we plan on making our first step in that direction. For 13.10 we plan on delivering Mir by default in Ubuntu Desktop with XMir (an implementation of X running on Mir) and our current Unity 7 code base (the same Unity code base that is currently in the 'Saucy' development release). This will be enabled for graphics hardware with Open Source drivers supported by Mir (primarily Intel, Nouveau and Radeon). For binary graphics drivers (e.g. many NVIDIA and ATI cards) that don't support Mir yet, we will fallback to the normal X server that we usually ship. This will mean that all users are well served in Ubuntu 13.10 and everyone will get the standard Unity 7 experience with feature parity with X (e.g. multi-monitor support). This fallback will be removed for Ubuntu 14.04."
* * * * *
Mandriva Linux, once the most popular desktop Linux distribution by some distance, has probably disappeared from most users' hard disks in recent years. Still, many of the project's open-source by-products, such as the Mandriva Control Centre, the urpmi package manager or the msec security utility, continue to live in other distributions that were recently forked or derived from Mandriva. But which of them would the best replacement? Datamation's Matt Hartley has written a brief comparative review of Mageia, PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva to help Mandriva fans decide. The conclusion? "In this article I shared some history about Mandriva and the forked distributions inspired by it. After understanding a bit more about these Mandriva forks, I then explained the differences between these distros by comparing the benefits of PCLinuxOS's rolling release model and how Mageia has the mainline Mandriva-style upgrade approach. The big takeaway is that the two distributions worth checking out are quite different despite both being descended from Mandriva. I remain convinced that for those seeking stability, PCLinuxOS is where it's at and those who want a more cutting edge experience will be happy with Mageia. I remain unclear as to where OpenMandriva will fit into all of this. After all, it's brand new, and unless it offers something drastically different from Mageia, I honestly don't see why anyone is going to bother with it."
|Interview (by Jesse Smith)
Libre hardware for libre software
Following my review of Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0 two weeks ago there were several comments posted with regards to finding suitable hardware for free software operating systems. It can be difficult to find hardware that will work without relying on non-free drivers or binary blobs. Even if a distribution certifies a particular model of computer that doesn't guarantee the equipment is supported by free drivers. A desktop that has been certified to work may still rely on proprietary drivers. To make matters more complicated the same model of laptop can ship with different network or video cards. This makes it difficult to know what equipment will not only work with Linux, but will also continue to work following a kernel upgrade.
Over the years a few companies have stepped forward to offer solutions. System76, for instance, has made a business out of bundling equipment with the Ubuntu operating system. Which is great if you like Ubuntu, but what if we want something that is devoted strictly to free software, regardless of which operating system we are running? In that case ThinkPenguin has us covered. The ThinkPenguin website states: "Our products are freedom-compatible, meaning they will work with just about any free software operating system. This is made possible by selling products with free software compatible chipsets. Free software is a set of principles that ensure end-users retain full control over their computer. Free software can be used, studied, and modified without restriction." The founder and CEO of ThinkPenguin, Christopher Waid, kindly agreed to talk with us about how ThinkPenguin got started, free software and the challenges facing people questing for solutions which respect their rights.
* * * * *
DW: To start, would you please share how ThinkPenguin came about? What was the company's genesis?
The story starts off with an internship I did for a desktop distribution in 2005. This distribution was trying to bring desktop GNU/Linux to the masses. While working for them I realized that it had no chance of success without there being a complete solution for consumers. While the distribution itself largely worked well, the lack of hardware support was a major problem. The first bad idea the company implemented to solve this problem was to include every possible driver and create a hardware database that users could use to purchase compatible hardware. One of the problems with this approach is that proprietary drivers and compatibility layers don't work. While things often appear to work at first, they inevitably break. With every update there is a significant chance of failure. All it takes for the hardware to stop working is for the company supporting it to stop. This most often happens when a product is discontinued and given how often hardware manufacturers discontinue hardware it creates a nightmare scenario for most users.
Keeping it simple that means a user who purchases a "Linux compatible" device from a hardware database is taking a risk that their device will 1. not work from the start or 2. may not work in the next release. With releases for most distributions ranging from six months to two years it becomes a financially unfeasible solution for most people as they would be forced to purchase a new computer/component as often as every six months.
Now there are other problems with hardware databases for other reasons. These impact users of 100% free distributions like Trisquel and Parabola
GNU/Linux too. Model numbers that identify a piece of hardware don't necessarily match a specific set of components or chipset(s). That means that a model which shipped and worked yesterday might not actually be the same product that is shipping today. A different product means it may not have support for free software or it may not have support for GNU/Linux, period.
In 2007/2008 I graduated with a Computer Science degree and had to make a decision. That decision was to take a job at a company my gut said would ultimately fail (I had predicted 6 - 12 months) or start a company where I might have the opportunity to fix the underlying problems. I chose the latter and that's how ThinkPenguin got started.
DW: As I understand it ThinkPenguin doesn't only sell hardware which works with Linux, but also takes care to make sure the hardware can be used with the Linux-libre kernel which contains no binary blobs. Does this have a large impact on which hardware you can run, or are binary blobs only required for a small number of devices?
Binary blobs and proprietary software are everywhere. The problems created by binary blobs and proprietary software are the leading reasons people seek us out. They've come to the same conclusion we have and most of these users are not on a 100% free distribution or even aware of what free software is or means. They're on distributions which include lots of proprietary components. While in theory they should have better hardware support the reality is that it creates more headaches than it's worth. There is one thing I'd like to see from the community. More demand for GNU/Linux distributions to remove these components and find better solutions to the problems. Whether it's non-free Java, Flash, or a driver issue we need to start thinking bigger.
Let's develop companies to replace the major sites that rely on these components. The more people who refuse to use them the harder it gets for companies who don't care about GNU/Linux or free software. I'm not going to tell anybody they can't install non-free software although I will encourage them to avoid it at all costs. I'm not perfect, ThinkPenguin isn't perfect, and neither is any free software advocate. All systems today ship with at least some non-free pieces. Fortunately there has been some progress made in getting rid of the binary blobs in major distributions. Debian
's latest release does not ship with binary blobs and I believe openSUSE
doesn't either. Even though neither distribution meets the Free Software Foundation guidelines these actions are still highly commendable.
DW: I understand ThinkPenguin sponsors the Trisquel project. Do you ship systems with Trisquel pre-installed on your computers?
For better or worse most users are not ready to completely ditch non-free software. They're just getting into GNU/Linux and are dependent on some non-free components. They may not have the money or the time to replace hardware that is hostile to users' freedoms. This prevents us from defaulting to a completely free distribution such as Trisquel on the main site. However, we do encourage sites advocating free software to link to libre.thinkpenguin.com
as this site will not show compatibility or support information for distributions that include non-free software. If you are on a distribution which includes non-free software we would also suggest removing such components. You may find that you're not as dependent on them as you thought. Trisquel receives 25% of the profits through this URL too.
The reason we contribute significantly to Trisquel is because it is one of the few 100% free distributions that are relatively easy to use. We also work with other distributions and projects that are centered around free software although not necessarily compliant with strict Free Software Foundation's standards. There are a lot of distributions developing 100% free software for example that include third party non-free components.
DW: Some hardware makers don't provide open-source drivers or even specifications for driver developers to use. Have you had any success getting hardware makers to open up their documentation or contribute free drivers?
Absolutely. There had been no modern free software friendly USB N adapters until recently. Thanks to the cooperation of the free software community, Atheros and others we were able to release two new USB N adapters
DW: Why do you think some hardware makers still do not support Linux? Is it simply a market share issue or are they afraid of losing a competitive edge, or is it an inertia problem?
CW: Proper support for GNU/Linux takes a lot of work that many companies aren't willing to commit to a change in their business strategies. They see GNU/Linux merely as a feature on their marketing checklist. More companies and projects need to add software freedom to their list of requirements for the situation to change. Companies need to see "supporting" GNU/Linux as being more than just a public relations stunt. Right now there are a number of companies who release some code for certain components. Unfortunately they continue to fail at coming up with a real solution to the problem. They do things like wrap binary components inside a free driver. That's not acceptable. It's not good enough.
DW: Is there anything the community can do to help to encourage device markers to support open source operating systems?
Users need to demand free software compatibility and not just ask for Linux or "open source". This tells companies they can get away with pulling a public relations stunt. And we don't want that. We want real change. Real support. Hardware and software that really work. Demand Respect Your Freedom certification
. This ensures that 100% of the code is released and that there will be no problems getting support down the line. Even after the product is discontinued the community can continue to develop and support it.
DW: ThinkPenguin is based in the USA, do you ship internationally?
CW: We are based out of the United States (New Jersey) with some operations in the UK. Customers can purchase most of the items in our catalog from either our UK warehouse or the United States. We ship laptops and desktops from the United States internationally via DHL and USPS Express Mail (depending on the destination).
DW: At the moment your products appear to be focused on the desktop/laptop market. Are there any plans to get into the server, mobile or NAS business?
CW: We are committed to fixing issues that hold people back from adopting GNU/Linux on the desktop and laptop.
Our thanks to Mr Waid for his time and ongoing work in bringing libre solutions to the world.
|Released Last Week
Dalton Miller has announced the availability of Bridge Linux 2013.06, an Arch-based Linux distribution available in four separate flavours (with Xfce, GNOME, KDE and LXDE desktops) and now also featuring Pacaur, a simple and powerful package management wrapper for Arch Linux packages: "Announcing Bridge Linux 2013.06. This update was mostly just a re-package, but there were a few changes still. Update overview: switched from Packer to Pacaur (don't worry, it's aliased in ~/.bashrc for a while); removed LXMed due to Java dependency; switched to official font packages, no more recompiling the AUR version." Here is the brief release announcement.
Dick MacInnis has announced the release of DreamStudio 12.04.3, the latest update of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of applications for music production, video editing and graphics design: "We're proud to announce the official release of DreamStudio Unity 12.04.3. Now with over 100,000 downloads, our latest release makes this the best open source software suite for graphics, audio, and especially video editing. Here are some of the latest features: the long-awaited Lightworks for Linux beta is included in a special 64-bit installation ISO image; CinePaint 1.0; Ardour 3.2 includes not only MIDI recording, editing, and plugins, but also a new video track; Cinelerra 4.4 - the original professional-grade editing and compositing software for Linux; SlowMoVideo 0.3 - the latest version of this excellent software no longer requires NVIDIA hardware and makes incredibly fluid videos...." Continue to the full release announcement for more features.
Klaus Knopper has announced the release of KNOPPIX 7.2.0, a new version of the Debian-based live CD/DVD with LXDE as the default desktop. What's new? "Version 7.2.0 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian stable ('Wheezy') and newer desktop packages from Debian testing ('Jessie') and Debian unstable. It uses the Linux kernel 3.9.6 and X.Org 7.7 (X.Org Server 1.12.4) for supporting current computer hardware; optional 64-bit kernel via the 'knoppix64' boot option, supporting systems with more than 4 GB of RAM and chroot to 64-bit installations for system rescue tasks; LibreOffice 4.0.3, GIMP 2.8, Chromium 27.0.1453.110 and Iceweasel 21.0 with AdBlock Plus 2.2.4 and NoScript 188.8.131.52; LXDE (default) with the PCManFM 1.1 file manager, KDE 4.8.4, GNOME 3.4.2; WINE 1.5 for integration of Windows-based programs; VirtualBox 4.2.10...." Read the detailed release notes for more information.
KNOPPIX 7.2.0 - a brand-new release of the Debian-based live CD/DVD with LXDE as the default desktop
(full image size: 1,054kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Eric Turgeon has announced the release of GhostBSD 3.1, an updated version of the project's desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD, with a choice of GNOME 2, LXDE and Openbox desktop user interfaces: "GhostBSD 3.1 is now available. This release is a respin of 3.0, including many bug fixes. GhostBSD 3.1 does not include any updated package or new features; it only fixes issues that some users have found. Changes: update FreeBSD 9.1 to FreeBSD 9.1-p4; improvements in the X.Org auto-configuration; the NVIDIA drivers have bean removed to fix issues with older cards; numerous bug fixes to GhostBSD-related utilities; Openbox and LXDE amd64 ISO images fit on CD again; the package manager and pkg_add are functional again." Here is the brief release announcement.
Jean-Michel Philippe has announced the release of DoudouLinux 2.0, a major new release of the project's Debian-based distribution designed for children between 2 - 12 years of age: "We are very pleased to announce the release of DoudouLinux 2.0, with many long-awaited new features. Now you can discover for yourself, all the great new features of this major version of DoudouLinux. We believe this is an important release: all of the advanced activities have been deeply redesigned; the DoudouLinux graphic design has been replaced with a less 'baby-looking' environment; better Internet experience thanks to new user privacy tools; easier localization (new tools to set language, keyboard layout, date, time and time zone); around 30 new applications to draw, learn music, have fun; now available in 43 languages instead of 28 formerly; a totally new, real installer to install DoudouLinux on dedicated computers." Read the release announcement and visit the what's new page to find out more.
DoudouLinux 2.0 - an Ubuntu-based distribution from small children
(full image size: 299kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Sonar GNU/Linux. Sonar GNU/Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution with pre-configured accessibility software. It is designed for users with disabilities that might affect their interaction with personal computers.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 July 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 • Ubuntu / Mir and gpu graphics (by Andrew Yeomans on 2013-07-01 09:22:09 GMT from United Kingdom) |
Jono Bacon also said: "We are working with GPU vendors and partners to provide the required driver support and are confident to have this in place for 14.04." so hopefully there will be support for Nvidia and ATI. Wonder if this will extend to the older cards - I've had some issues with those and the more recent Ubuntu releases.
Jono also says "All desktops run competently in XMir." so hopefully we'll keep seeing the other desktop flavours.
2 • Peppermint (by Wine Curmudgeon on 2013-07-01 10:05:17 GMT from United States)
Exactly the same problems with Peppermint on the install. You aren't alone.
3 • OpenSuse, Mint (by Bob on 2013-07-01 10:33:22 GMT from Austria)
oSuse stopped support for 12.1 and their latest version doesn't like my hardware. Although I would have preferred not to switch, I gave Mint Debian Edition (Mate) a try. No glitches so far - I guess their Distrowatch ranking is well deserved.
Now, if someone already has had the time to play with ALL of Mint's editions, I'd be thankful for some feedback or recommendations. Cheers.
4 • DoudouLinux (by greg on 2013-07-01 12:04:46 GMT from Slovenia)
DoudouLinux is a good idea and execution. However the problem as with other distros are lack of any good kids games. i mean there were better kids games made in Spectrum that i find in linux. what happened to this genre of games and educational programmes? all this computing power we have today and games look worse than they did in the 80's...
5 • Respect Your Freedom certification (by Magic Banana on 2013-07-01 12:48:08 GMT from Brazil)
The FSF has just awarded a second "Respect Your Freedom certification" to ThinkPenguin: https://www.fsf.org/news/a-second-fsf-certified-device-from-thinkpenguin-long-range-usb-wifi-adapter-with-atheros-chip
Big up to Chris! We need more and more hardware vendors like ThinkPenguin. For that, we users caring about their software freedoms up to the firmware.
6 • ThinkPenguin (by greg on 2013-07-01 12:51:02 GMT from Slovenia)
well i've checked their prices and i am not rich enough to buy free hardware.
i've found similar HP build, only with radeon HD, partially aluminium built (thogh plastic hinges), SEL preinstalled for about 300 EUR cheaper.
7 • @ 5 • Respect Your Freedom certification (by Chanath on 2013-07-01 13:06:28 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I'd award myself the "Respect Your Freedom certification" for being free enough to use any distro I like. I am sure none of the members of FSF use anything with any proprietary anything, not even a simple mobile phone...
8 • Mint Varieties review please (by Timo on 2013-07-01 13:13:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
in comment #3, Bob has a great idea.
I'd love a compare/contrast review between the most popular distro here on Distrowatch - the Mint variations, especially covering the individual strengths and weaknesses, memory footprint, install size. I've been thinking of a long-term trial of Mint for a few years now but I'm unsure what variety and don't want to waste weeks on a variant that will not suit me.
9 • RE: 7 FSF and mobile phones (by ladislav on 2013-07-01 13:18:53 GMT from Taiwan)
Actually Richard Stallman has been quite vocal agains using mobile phones. Quoting from his LifeStyle page:
"I see that cellular phones are very convenient. I would have got one, if not for certain reprehensible things about them."
More here: http://stallman.org/rms-lifestyle.html
10 • Linux games for all to review (by Bam on 2013-07-01 13:25:36 GMT from United States)
Here are some educational games for kids, and a link to review other Linux software.
GCompris- Educational games for small children
Childsplay- Suite of educational games for young children
KDE Education Project Educational applications from the official KDE 4 release
TuxMathMath -game for kids with Tux
Tux Typing -Educational Typing Tutor Game Starring Tux, the Linux Penguin
Omnitux - Interactive geometry software
Dr. Geo-Educational oriented interactive geometry
I have installed and have tried GCompris andChildsplay on over 30 laptops.
I can only speak on Ubuntu; they are in the Software Center for review.
11 • ThinkPenguin (by octathlon on 2013-07-01 14:15:56 GMT from United States)
First, I like what Thinkpenguin is doing and support their goals. I looked at their website after the Trisquel review, but they provide very little info on the specs and nothing about available options. Couldn't even find size of hard drive included. They might increase sales if they improve on that. I looked for an NAS as well, but the answer in the interview sounds like they don't intend to offer that.
12 • Reply to #'s 3 and 8 (by Chris on 2013-07-01 14:28:19 GMT from United States)
Youtube has a lot of videos on the different flavors of Mint. Or try running them in a virtual machine. There's no better experience than playing with it for your self.
13 • Mint versions Re @Bob #3 (by Hugo Masse on 2013-07-01 14:31:20 GMT from Mexico)
Great decision you made. I gather your equipment is not exactly brand new, so LMDE is a good choice. If you are not pressed to get the newest version of everything, you're good there. As you know, Linux Mint releases Update Pack 3 or 4 times a year so you may find that what has been released in Debian will take some time to get to your desktop. What you get in return is absolute stability.
For veteran equipment, LM 13 is also a good choice, since it's LTS and you don't need to worry about lack of support for the next 4 years. Personally, I like both Cinnamon and MATE. The former has transparencies and many other modern niceties and rumour has it that it will no longer depend on Gnome 3 quite soon. I also enjoy MATE, it's like a time machine as it allows you to configure things like you used to do in Gnome 2. KDE doesn't agree with my vintage equipment very much and for some reason there has never been much love between me and Xfce.
I also vote in favour of the Mint versions review.
14 • peppermint (by Peer on 2013-07-01 14:43:03 GMT from Netherlands)
I use Peppermint 3 on my EEEpc. It is fast and responsive. My first experience was with Peppermint 1. I tried several other OS's but I always returned to Peppermint.
For me it is simply a good os.
15 • ThinkPenguin (by Magic Banana on 2013-07-01 14:57:05 GMT from Brazil)
@6: AMD cards do not provide any 3D acceleration unless you accept proprietary firmware (what you should not if you value your freedoms). You will also probably have the Wifi connection not working with Linux-libre (hence 100% free operating system such as Trisquel) if you pick a random computer that is not sold by ThinkPenguin.
@7: ThinkPenguin hardware works with *any* GNU/Linux distribution. It will probably keep on working because the software to run it is free. You need not fear problems once the manufacturer stops selling the device you bought (what usually happens after a few months).
@11: You have not looked enough. Just click on any computer model ThinkPenguin sells (desktop or laptop) and you can then choose the processor you would like (all the one ThinkPenguin propose do not raise any "trusted computing" problem, vPro and the likes), the amount of RAM, of HDD (or SSD), whether you prefer a matte or brilliant screen, additional peripherals, etc.
16 • Pepermint (by Gee on 2013-07-01 15:07:41 GMT from United States)
Had a very similar experience with Peppermint and also Bodhi. But if you manually install the non free on Bodhi you get a panic on login. Bodhi blames it on a non-PAE motherboard. I've tried them both on a PIII (with PAE) a 478 chipset P4 and 900 mhz EEEE. They all have Lubuntu running happily on them.
17 • Thinkpenguin and "Free" stuff (by DavidEF on 2013-07-01 16:02:53 GMT from United States)
@6 greg - I'm with you 100% there. ThinkPenguin stuff is way too pricey. Just now, after reading your post, I compared a brand new build at ThinkPenguin with a search for similar specs at Ebay. For a brand new computer, you will pay twice the price at ThinkPenguin. I picked hardware specs that are common on modern laptops, but not high end at all. Zareason and System76 are also overpriced. What is the deal here? This doesn't make sense at all.
@7 Chanath, can I get one of those too? I'll use what works for me. There are some people that think Proprietary == Evil. I don't think that is necessarily the case every time. Sometimes it is just too much of a liability to give an unknown enduser unfettered control over their software and/or hardware.
18 • @11 octathlon (by DavidEF on 2013-07-01 16:10:47 GMT from United States)
ThinkPenguin does actually give you some options on how your system is built. As Magic Banana said, you can click on the laptop series you want to build, then the next screen gives you lots of drop-down option lists. However, they still don't give you *ALL* the info you might want to know before purchasing. As for the NAS solution, I suppose you're probably right. They are focused on desktop computing. There are other options though. You could build one yourself, I guess. Or maybe someone on here knows of a place they can recommend to you.
19 • @ 17 • Thinkpenguin and "Free" stuff DavidEF (by Chanath on 2013-07-01 16:15:01 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Whether a program is open source or not, it was worked on by someone, spending his/her free time. If s/he gives it away to be hacked on, that becomes open source, and that would be his/her right to give away. If someone doesn't want to give his/her work as open source, but woul dgive it free, then s/he is being good to us, so it is not evil.
Some people are vegetarians, but wear leather shoes.
20 • YIKES! (by Nick on 2013-07-01 17:31:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Some of thinkpenguin's prices are ridiculous!
Their "Wireless G USB Adaptor" costs $44.00. You can get a new one with the same chipset (Realtek RTL8187B) from an amazon third party seller for $8.01.
21 • Linux Market Share? (by Paul Salmon on 2013-07-01 18:05:06 GMT from United States)
I see conflicting statistics for Linux market share. According to W3 Schools, Linux has 4.9% market share:
But Netmarketshare says Linux only has 1.28% market share:
How can this be? Netmarketshare says Linux market share is 75% less than what W3 schools reports. Is it because of innacurate reporting? Or is it because Microsoft is giving payola to Netmarketshare as part of a conspiracy against Linux?
22 • @3 OpenSuse, Mint (by Vukota on 2013-07-01 18:48:26 GMT from United States)
Would you mind listing what kind of hardware you had issues with latest OpenSuse. I recently upgraded two old systems and only had issues with nvidia (required boot in rescue mode and nvidia driver post installation) and Flash (didn't support older CPUs and required manual downgrade to 10.3).
23 • Decent prices compared to Mac (by MZ on 2013-07-01 19:00:19 GMT from United States)
I think the real problem with prices for Linux hardware vendors comes from quick comparisons to the cheapest available Windows system with similar hardware. If you look on newegg, or probably most similar online PC & Mac sellers, you'll probably see that the prices from the bigger independent Linux PC makers are generally good compared to a Mac. If I spec out a 15.6 inch think penguin machine to be similar to a 2012 15.4" MacBook Pro I can get the same processor, RAM, HDD size, & an upgraded battery for $511 less. The down side is the screen & graphics chipset aren't as nice, but you're saving over $500. You can make a similar comparison between a ZaReason Vertix 530 & a new MacBook Pro with 'retina display' from newegg. You can get an identical graphics chipset, processor, etc., with a little less display resolution & less battery life for $623 less.
Apple can demand a high price based on name recognition, while Linux hardware retailers have to price above some comparable Windows machines because they can't buy in as much volume as the big PC makers. Personally I think the trade off that you take with someone like ZaReason are perfectly reasonable & I bought one of their Strata laptops. I think it's a good vale compared to a Mac, & it better fits my values.
24 • Datamation Mandriva forks roundup (by :wq on 2013-07-01 19:57:41 GMT from United States)
I understand the general governance structure of the OpenMandriva Association. However, there seems to be an awful lot of overlap between ROSA Desktop, Moondrake GNU/Linux and OpenMandriva as distributions. As a distribution, Unity Linux at least seems to have some distinctiveness to it, but at this point, what really sets OpenMandriva or Moondrake apart from ROSA Desktop (again, as distributions)? And if, in time, Mandriva SA ends up releasing its own (Cooker-based, not Cauldron-based) spin, what will set that apart? Not that it matters all that much, as there are a multitude of distros based on Ubuntu which bring nothing different to the table from their parent, and the Linux world seems to tolerate that extra clutter, but still, I can't help but question. Before a remnant of Mandriva (circa 2011) can really be seen as an alternative to past forks Mageia and PCLinuxOS, I think there must first be a paring down, from three very similar faces (ROSA, OpenMandriva, Moondrake), to one.
25 • Peppermint Installer Freezing (by SciFiDude79 on 2013-07-01 21:51:22 GMT from United States)
I'm a global moderator on the Peppermint forums and we've been discussing your problem with Ubiquity freezing during installation after selecting "3rd party software." I've been unable to reproduce this issue. I don't normally select this option, but I grabbed my Peppermint Four installation disc to see what would happen if I did.
I did several tests, including a regular hardware install, both with the network interface configured and without. Both times, it continued on to the next screen, either where you want to install the OS, or to the network configuration screen. I also tried twice on virtual machines using VirtualBox (the version in the Ubuntu 13.04 repositories that Peppermint Four uses.) Both with and without the network connection active, it continued as it should after selecting that option in the installer. By the way, all of this was done on a slow 1 GHz dual core laptop.
So, I don't know what to tell you there. My best guess is that something in your hardware configuration is causing the freeze, because that option also installs drivers. Also, it would be helpful to know if you're running 32-bit or 64-bit, I have the 64-bit .iso. It would be helpful if you would come by the forums and open a thread on this issue and maybe we can get to the bottom of this, if for no other reason than to tell others what not to do if they have this problem.
26 • @25 Peppermint (by Rev_Don on 2013-07-01 22:47:17 GMT from United States)
Considering the number of problems I've seen him have with other distros on that same machine over the past several months (as well as his desktop that he doesn't seem to be using at present) I tend to agree with you that there is some sort of hardware issue on his end. I really wish he would be more forthcoming about the actual hardware specs in detail (instead of his generic dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card which tells us very little of importance) as that might provide some insight as to what is going on. By not providing more details on his hardware it calls into question the validity of the reviews performed on it.
27 • Hostilities, jealousies and competitiveness: distro creators (by gregzeng on 2013-07-02 01:02:45 GMT from Australia)
Most distro reviewers have standard, unmodified as-new hardware, so rarely experience problems with distro installations. This week's review used the main standard process for a 'buntu distro. Because it not a Canonical endorsed disro, it offered variations from the 'norm': add-ons and unusual modifications.
The KDE 'buntus have a crazier installer, with sequence changes and wrongly sensing where my ISP is based by several hundred Kms. Both 'buntu installers do a far better job sensing hardware, especially my multiple drives and several partitions on these drives - than EVERY other distro installer.
Only the two 'buntu installers label the drives available in a way consistent to the usual Linux partition software, gparted. None of the Linux installers are as crazy and insensitive as those from Microsoft.
The above insights on distro installation needs better publicity to the hundreds of Linux distro creators. The hostilities, jealousies and competitiveness between the distro creators is very damaging to Linux IMHO. So many creative people seem thrilled at re-inventing the wheel, which in this case is - the procedures for installing Linux.
28 • RTL8187B? (by Magic Banana on 2013-07-02 01:41:01 GMT from Brazil)
@20: it is nowhere written it is the RTL8187B chipset... and a same model sometimes switch from a chipset to another. It is not rare. ThinkPenguin, on the other hand, guarantees that the hardware you get from them perfectly works with Linux-libre (hence with the 100% free GNU/Linux distributions such as Trisquel).
29 • Libre hardware for libre software, and printers (by Thomas Mueller on 2013-07-02 04:33:58 GMT from United States)
I would like to see a printer (Brother? Canon?), preferably laser multifunction/all-in-one, that does not require a proprietary plugin such as the HP LaserJet M1212nf MFP does. This has stopped me from being able to setup this printer under FreeBSD with ports, and NetBSD with pkgsrc so far, I have still to try with FreeBSD + Wine + MS-Windows drivers, and Linux (Gentoo?). One problem porting open-source Linux-native software to other (quasi-)Unix OSes is assumptions on file system structure that are not valid for the BSDs. The .ppd file in hplip package was not recognized; I don't know if that would be any better with Linux.
Regarding wrong assumptions on file-system structure, this also causes the System Rescue CD script to install to USB stick to be unworkable on FreeBSD. Certain files or directories are not there.
30 • Why So Expensive (by Serge on 2013-07-02 04:53:46 GMT from United States)
ThinkPenguin et al. are very low volume compared to mainstream merchants. Bigger merchants can sell products with less mark-up because they push enough volume to still make money. A company that does not sell that many units cannot survive off the same kind of mark-up.
When I buy a niche product, I expect to be paying a premium. Well, the same goes for products from niche merchants, too. Even when the actual components inside are commodity-grade.
Off-topic a little, but...
@23: Well, there's more to an electronics product than the specs of the little computer chips inside it. It's true that Apple is well-known for favoring products they can sell with high profit per unit, but I think ultimately their products are fairly priced. I think of it as a luxury car: there's more to it than just the engine, right? The leather trim, the way the rear view mirror feels when you try to adjust it, that kind of stuff. Personally, I've never owned an Apple product, but I understand the appeal, and don't think it's all about the brand image.
31 • Freed/Libre driver/firmware - there must be something better (by Fairly Reticent on 2013-07-02 04:57:19 GMT from United States)
Checking comments from online sellers may reveal good, bad, and ugly details about hardware listed as supported by freed/libre software, such as "out of stock", "device bricks easily", no entry since 2010/11/12, "just as bad under Windows", "only/worst model in product line". That doesn't sound like robust manufacturer support.
I suggest that price is less important than reliability and functionality, and warranty is most important. In the current tight economy, customers are becoming front-line product testers.
I appreciate tight control over anything proprietary or nosy; I prefer it.
I appreciate that the extreme of proprietary licensing is suicidal in the long term, but the extremism of demanding completely donated software licensing sabotages development and support as well. Platform-pioneering projects point in a more productive direction, and may one day render both proprietary and "libre" business models obsolete.
32 • @21 - Linux Market Share (by Serge on 2013-07-02 04:58:36 GMT from United States)
It's very hard to calculate any operating system's market share, and it's practically impossible to calculate the market share of operating systems like Linux that are typically installed by end-users rather than manufacturers. Netmarketshare and W3 Schools are only guessing. They base their estimates on trying to guess what operating system web site visitors are using, but first, it's not always possible to figure out what a visitor's operating system is, and second, they're not measuring visits to the same locations. In other words, they are using different techniques for their estimates, and that's why they are showing different numbers.
33 • @30 /fair price != value (by MZ on 2013-07-02 06:03:55 GMT from United States)
I'd agree that Apple is fair priced, but that doesn't mean it's a good value. Both Apple & luxury/sports cars are about equal parts brand image and features. If you look at a Ferrari & a 5.8 Mustang Cobra you can easily see that brand image plays into appeal. A typical Ferrari costs over $200,000, and is extremely capable in terms of handling, breaking, top speed, acceleration, & so on. Of course you could get a supercharged 662 HP Mustang for well under half the price of a typical Ferrari, & it would accelerate like a bat out of hell & go around 200 MPH for a top speed. The handling would be good, but the breaks will start to overheat & lose some power after a few hard laps, but hey it's a lot cheaper right? In terms of value the Mustang wins hands down every time; however, to most people the Ferrari still has much more appeal due to both exclusivity & image. The brand really means something to a lot of people, & I like the Ferrari brand as well, even if I think the value is horrible and would, if I ever had the money, buy a lot of other expensive cars like the 5.8 Mustang before I got a Ferrari.
Branding & image are everything to a lot of companies and the same is true of Apple. The added features like leather interiors are what creates a luxury car and what builds the brand, & with Apple its display resolution & other stuff. These things often add some sort of real functionality, but it is also often a look & feel that is used to differentiate & build a premium brand. After all, why would Apple go to the moronic length of attempting to patent the rounded edge if substance was all that mattered? Those who manage high end brands wisely will keep adding new & unique features to try to differentiate themselves, although some brands start to slip & just use looks & name to skate by. Apple may continue to do a good job of cultivating their brand for a long time to come & I think that is as important as anything else they do, but the brand means nothing to me so what they try to do looks as much like an image game as anything else. Of course if you know about the sweatshop conditions that things are built under & are aware of anti-competitive behavior your image of a company tends to change.
34 • TAILS distro (by Sanza on 2013-07-02 06:14:40 GMT from Russia)
I like the idea behind this distro, but I would like to have a version without The GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus, Audacity, PiTiVi. Couldn't OpenOffice stuff be replaced by Abiword and Gnumeric and other lightweight programs?
Also a remastering option would be nice too.
35 • reply (by greg on 2013-07-02 06:41:05 GMT from Slovenia)
15 • ThinkPenguin (by Magic Banana)
I know about AMD "issue". and in understand. Though i found i3 build with intel GPU for same price and i5 build for a little bit more. but that's the the point. the point is that such "freedom" Thing Penguin offers costs a lot. furthermore i bet they do not have any laptops with finger print reader security and such extras other have, so would it be right to say that with freedom also comes lower/older tech?
17 • Thinkpenguin and "Free" stuff (by DavidEF)
I belive the issue is volume. They do not have high enough volume to be able to offer lower price as HP can.
Also Zareason and System 76 - haven't owned one myself, however people often say they are well built. which can't be said for all HP's or Lenovos. They would often throw out cheaply build mashcine then peopel ocmplain of quality and then they would put out another model which is better built. so quality of these 500-800 eur mashcines is not consistent. while people claim System 76 delivers it always for example (again have not owned any myself or did any reviews and such to be able to confirm this). anyway, this could also help explain a bit higher price.
36 • Mir (by ange on 2013-07-02 07:40:17 GMT from Hungary)
Mir is not about speeding up things and eliminate Xorg's bottleneck. It's Canonical's next bad decision after creating own modern ui called Unity because personal conflicts between Gnome team and Shuttleworth. Tyranny is not always good for us. It's time to port Ubuntu based derivants for Debian or Fedora base!
37 • @33 - Value Is In The Eye Of The Beholder (by Serge on 2013-07-02 07:51:01 GMT from United States)
People associate different values with different factors depending on their own personal preference and specific use cases. In the Ferrari vs Mustang example, someone might consider break endurance to be very valuable, right? Likewise, I know a few people who consider a feature that allows them to trip over their laptop power cable without sending their laptop crashing to the floor to be very valuable.
I'm with you, though, on just how these kind of "upscale" features are what is used to build that brand image in the first place. I know owners of Apple products who were seduced by the brand itself. But I also know owners of Apple products who never cared about the Apple brand one bit.
Some people buy Apple for the brand, but some people buy Apple because they value the features.
38 • Freedom vs. A few boxes more per year (by Magic Banana on 2013-07-02 11:52:35 GMT from Brazil)
@35: As you write, only big vendors can afford little prices. By buying from freedom-respecting vendors, one supports the manufacturers that make hardware that work with Linux-libre, i.e., with free software only. With a higher demand, the offer for such hardware will grow as well and their prices will decrease. By accepting the use of proprietary drivers/firmware (because the device costs a few boxes less), the problem they raise (the users' essential freedoms are denied) is, instead, growing day after day.
Besides, I am not really note sure ThinkPenguin is that more expensive. Very cheap devices usually are of poor quality and must be changed more frequently.
39 • RE:Mir, let's wait and see.l (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-02 12:14:33 GMT from United States)
@36, LOL... You are joking, right? Just because you don't like Canonical or Unity doesn't mean that Canonical has made a bad decision. You need to do a little research on why Mir is being developed before you start making unfounded statements. Thinking anything else is just ridiculous and irrelevant. Nobody is being forced to use anything and that's the way it should be so there is no tyranny. Why do people always want to start condemning things before they even see how they work out? I'm not saying that it's good or bad and that's because I don't know yet. Can't we just wait and see what happens?
40 • Think Pemguin and Libre stuff (by Hoos on 2013-07-02 12:39:19 GMT from Singapore)
@37 - Exactly - different people value a particular thing or idea or principle differently. I am not a 100%-Libre Linux user but I respect those who are.
I'm not comfortable with people mocking their ideals or being dismissive of developers/companies who put together all-libre software/hardware. They are willing to stand by their beliefs even if it costs them, in money terms.
A recent Distrowatch issue was full of such comments and it really turned me off.
41 • Peppermint (by Nimbus on 2013-07-02 13:17:43 GMT from United States)
"The latest release of Peppermint, version 4, is based on Lubuntu 13.04"
In my opinion, basing anything on a distribution with a lifecycle as short as those from Canonical is silly. By the time you get it out the door, it will be unsupported.
At least LXLE chose an LTS version to base their work on.
42 • Mir (by ange on 2013-07-02 13:24:46 GMT from Hungary)
@39 "Thinking anything else is just ridiculous and irrelevant."
43 • @ 39 LinuxMan, Mir & Unity Next (by Chanath on 2013-07-02 13:58:10 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I wonder, what the distros of Ubuntu base are going to do, when Unity Next and Mir comes in? Oaky, they can still make distros of Ubuntu 13.10, because when Mir won't work, it'd fallback to X. Mir looks nice, with open windows staying put, not like in X. I have Unity Next installed too. Not all the apps work yet--still in development--, but that kind of DE is something I was looking forward to have. Well, Android came up with that first, Chromebook (or Chrome OS) does the same thing. Its easy, even in a desktop/laptop. Something to look forward in the near future. Once, such DEs come in, there won't be any going back. The Android users--mobile & touch etc--don't even know they are using Linux!
44 • @40 - Those Who Value Freedom (by Serge on 2013-07-02 14:35:19 GMT from United States)
I'm not a 100% free user either, but I agree with you about respecting those who insist on a 100% free solution. FSF / GNU / rms extremism is the reason why we have the FOSS choices that we do today. I get very disappointed whenever I see Linux users mocking the ideologies that are responsible for them having the freedoms they enjoy.
45 • mandriva disappearing from pcs (by jeferson on 2013-07-02 15:18:08 GMT from Brazil)
I strongly disagree with mandriva disappearing on the computers. If it was disappeared, then how these servers which distribute the mandriva 2012 developments (BERNIE LOMAX, TENACIOUS UNDERDOG) are still available to the public? Not to mention the supposedly new name MOONDRAKE in 64bit only. At least it leaves a legacy before if for some motive disappears. SERVERS AVAILABLE ARE :
46 • @21 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-02 15:56:36 GMT from Canada)
Different sampling methods. In particular, w3schools just measures its own traffic, and it's generally thought that traffic to a site like w3schools will be slightly skewed due to its user base. There are various other sources of usage statistics available, and w3schools is always the one that ranks Linux highest.
47 • Is today FC19 birth? (by dbrion on 2013-07-02 18:29:46 GMT from France)
Last week, I enjoyed reading a post of someone who tried successfully FC19 : I had some issues with the beta , though I found it usable and installed , and greater issues with the 22th june nightly spins (the snake installer worked almost fine, but it was impossible to set admin and user password ... and it therefore stopped installing -that was not that fine..- : there was another version a week later, but I preferred to wait 4 days more : it was (is?) a pity, as their live DVDs spins are very interesting : one can find (a little more than ) everything an electronic hobbyist may want, waiting to be installed).
48 • @47 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-02 19:41:03 GMT from Canada)
Yes, F19 came out today.
The nightly builds are not always an accurate reflection of Fedora status, especially during release freezes. We do a lot of the freeze exception work through a side repo which is pulled into the TC/RC builds but not the nightlies.
49 • @ 37 / features (by MZ on 2013-07-02 22:07:50 GMT from United States)
Yes that's what I was getting at. Of course some things like racing grade breaks are rarely if ever used by most car owners. I may go up north to the race track at Daytona on occasion, but I'm never the one doing laps around the track. By the same token, super high display resolution is nice, but does it really add any practical value to me personally? No, I can get by fine with out it & still feel good about my decision. In the case of my car, I do fine with my 4 cylinder Chevy, & I consider the 34 MPG fuel economy a feature that I can feel good about given the state of the environment. I also feel good about the OS on my ZaReason laptop, which both supports open source and comes with tons of available free as in beer software from the Mint/Ubuntu repos. Both the car & the laptop make saving money & doing what I consider the right thing very easy, even if the features aren't as nice as with some other products.
50 • Nightlies, pre, alpha, beta, rc, unstable, ... (by gregzeng on 2013-07-03 00:59:00 GMT from Australia)
@47, @48 In most productions, the point-naming system was an indication of stability. Stable used to be a whole number, followed by one decimal point. Even then, version 1.0 was highly suspect.
Linux upset this status quo by releasing so many mature products with a new version system "0.x.x.xx"
with poor indication on the stability or maturity. Hence the use of words, instead of numbers. The Kubuntu Alpha that I installed a few days ago is as reliable as any Kubuntu I have ever tried in the last several years. It auto-updates (with my permission), plus allows my own updates easily to any stable or unstable items. Best of all, every update I have tried seems to be reversible so far.
Removing both numerical and word-naming for software releases is now so unreliable, that it seems that the only unreliable releases are the daily updates.
51 • @ 48 • Adam Williamson Fedora 19 (by Chanath on 2013-07-03 02:08:52 GMT from Sri Lanka)
The new Fedora installer doesn't see the partitions of the hard disk. In the live session F19 looks nice, but if it cannot be installed, it would be a problem. Is there another way to install it?
52 • @51 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-03 04:44:16 GMT from Canada)
I've run several thousand live installs of F19, and it certainly sees the partitions of my hard disk. I can try and help you if you can provide a more useful report of the problem. Please describe *exactly* what you tried to do and *exactly* what happened, not what you _think_ the installer did.
53 • @ 52 Fedora 19 (by Chanath on 2013-07-03 06:39:08 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Burnt the iso to a usb stick. Used dd for burning it. Live iso worked well, booted up quite fast. Chose the live session, then clicked on install to hard disk. This is the Gnome edition. Installer came up, found all except the install media. Clicked on that and got 2 disks to chose, hard disk sda and usb stick sdb, but it didn't see any partitions inside the sda for me to choose a partition to install F19. I had a free partition formatted to ext4. It wanted to take on the whole sda, or part of it, if I choose an amount, but would erase the whole sda harddisk. My laptop is Lenovo T400, and everything gets installed in it. F18 was there once too. If there is a text version to install it, I'd try that, or I'd try to upgrade from F18. By the way, earlier F19 beta 1 (and Korora too), both Gnome & KDE didn't get installed too--the installer didn't even show up.
54 • @53 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-03 07:02:11 GMT from Canada)
If you want to specify a set of existing partitions as the target for an install you need to use custom partitioning mode (which should be one of the options you were presented with). The non-custom path (which we refer to as 'guided') is set up around installing into unpartitioned space: it requires that you either have sufficient unpartitioned space already, or requires you to delete or shrink existing partitions to provide some.
I'd like to make that workflow a tad more clear, but once you get the idea it makes sense.
So if you're happy with letting Fedora create its own partitions, just blow away the empty ones you provided for it and it'll auto-partition into the empty space. If you want to control the layout precisely, use the custom partitioning mode, find the partitions you pre-created in the tree view on the left hand side, select each one and enter a 'mount point' for it on the right hand side. You'll have to check the 'format' checkbox for at least the partition you set as / , I believe.
When you complete custom partitioning, it should print a summary of the actions it's going to take, so you can be sure it's going to do what you expect it to do. It won't actually *commit* any partitioning operation (or any other irreversible step) until you hit the Begin Installation button on the hub.
55 • @54 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-03 07:03:58 GMT from Canada)
Just to make sure something from @54 is entirely clear: if you use the non-custom workflow, Fedora will not delete or touch in any way any partitions except those you *explicitly choose* to delete or shrink in the 'Reclaim Space' dialog. It will perform those actions and then install into whatever unpartitioned space is available following the deletions/shrinks.
56 • @ 55 Adam W (by Chanath on 2013-07-03 07:21:43 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I never use guided installation. It is always custom or use existing partitions. I'd always check twice, before I commit that partition to be used for installation. F19 simply doesn't want to be installed. It sees sda as one whole partition, but not anything inside it. I put other ub sticks too to check up, and the F19 installer sees all those usb sticks, but nothing inside the sda hard disk. I have Ubuntu Saucy, Mageia, Calculate, Rosa etc, so it could be a fluke.
57 • re #11 Thinkpenguin website (by octathlon on 2013-07-03 13:51:58 GMT from United States)
My apologies. I was browsing on a tablet computer and for some reason it did not display the left column with the dropdown options, it only showed the text in the right hand column. I have now looked at it on a "real" computer and found the information.
58 • @56 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-03 15:13:37 GMT from Canada)
So you're selecting 'sda' as a target disk (make *sure* you're selecting it, see https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Common_F19_bugs#checkmark-disk-select ...) and going into custom partitioning, and on the left hand side of custom you don't see any partitions? That certainly sounds strange. If you don't mind, could you file a bug and attach the .log files from /tmp ?
59 • Peppermint (by Edoardo on 2013-07-03 15:40:43 GMT from Italy)
Got the same isuue on my Asus X53S laptop
60 • Inexpensive Linux Laptops (by penguinx64 on 2013-07-03 16:28:24 GMT from United States)
I've been looking for an inexpensive Linux laptop. I agree with the other posters that Linux laptops by System 76 and ZaReason are priced a bit high. I found an Asus 11.6 inch laptop that comes with Ubuntu, model X201E-DH01. It sells for about $300. I just ordered it today and will post my review when it arrives. I hear it comes with Ubuntu 10.04 and has some wifi problems. If you upgrade to 12.04 it's supposed to fix this problem. I'll give it a try, but I'll probably install Linux Mint 15 MATE instead. I've ordered Linux laptops from Dell in the past. They are usually priced under $500, but now the only one available is the Inspiron 13z developers edition for $1400. Ouch!
61 • RE:43, It should be me. (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-03 18:02:39 GMT from United States)
I should be the one apologizing. I must learn to control my passions more. I've often jumped the gun myself also. It's our human nature I guess. The future will be interesting.
62 • HW info for #22. Thanks for feedback to others. (by Bob on 2013-07-03 21:07:30 GMT from Austria)
Thank you for all your Mint feedbacks to post #3,
@22: You are right, my HW is not state of the art. (Samsung R5600 and Vaio "don't remember model", both Core 2 Duo, Nvidia, 4 & 2 GB RAM). According to some post read during the past weeks it seems that the latest OpenSuse version did not just disagree with my hardware. Still thinking to give them another chance as soon as 13.1 is ready.
63 • FOSS Force GPL Poll ... interesting (by gregzeng on 2013-07-03 23:59:33 GMT from Australia)
Looking forward to the week that Distrowatch can run its own polls.
Which of the following best describes your thoughts about the GPL?
It represents a deeper philosophy that can be used as a guide in all areas of
life. - 70% ( 56 votes )
It's a business model that can be employed in other areas of the economy. - 16% ( 13 votes )
Other - 6% ( 5 votes )
It represents a dangerous attempt to introduce communist ideas into Western corporate thought. - 5% ( 4 votes )
It's a business model that can be applied to copyrighted material only. - 3% ( 2 votes )
It's a business model that can be applied to software only. - 0% ( 0 votes )
Total Answers 80
Total Votes 80
64 • @#3, Mint KDE LTS (by Elcaset on 2013-07-04 00:20:48 GMT from United States)
@#3, Mint KDE LTS is my favorite version of Mint. I've been using it for several years.
65 • @63 FOSS Force article "What’s Your Take on the GPL?" (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-04 01:40:49 GMT from United States)
The article discussing this topic is at
(My entry, like those of the thoughtful minority, falls under "Other")
I suggest Distrowatch is doing well with its current focus.
66 • Peppermint, Fedora... (by MiRa on 2013-07-04 02:15:28 GMT from Spain)
Sounds interesting. But... is a *buntu... and I'm reticent to infect my machines with this big sudo virus that never should appear in the GNU/Linux world. Better Windows than *bu...
If so smart and skilled, why the developers aren't taking directly Debian as base?
I gave it a try in live mode and looks quite good, video card and wifi connection - OK, faster boot time... Wonder if there are Skype, jitsi, Opera for example available to install.
Will try an installation to see how it'll work...
67 • @66 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-04 04:37:34 GMT from Canada)
I've no idea what jitsi is, but you can install Skype and Opera from upstream on Fedora. I don't know if there are repos that include them.
68 • @60 Inexpensive Linux Laptops (by Peter Besenbruch on 2013-07-04 08:06:28 GMT from United States)
"I've been looking for an inexpensive Linux laptop. I agree with the other posters that Linux laptops by System 76 and ZaReason are priced a bit high. I found an Asus 11.6 inch laptop that comes with Ubuntu, model X201E-DH01. It sells for about $300. I just ordered it today and will post my review when it arrives. I hear it comes with Ubuntu 10.04 and has some wifi problems. If you upgrade to 12.04 it's supposed to fix this problem."
I purchased and set up three of the Asus machines. They come with Ubuntu 12.04. For a while, the advice was to upgrade to 12.10 to fix the wireless (now I assume you update to 13.04).
A couple of comments: With the 3.2.40 kernel on Ubuntu 12.04, my wireless issues went away. Debian Wheezy (with kernel 3.2.41) has no issues with Wireless. Kernel version 3.9 has also hit Debian backports.
The formatting of the hard drive is a bit strange. Roughly 100G is dedicated to an unmounted, NTFS partition. Unity and XFCE do not play nice together. You get power management issues if you run XFCE. Ubuntu doesn't hibernate by default. Hibernation, if activated, should work fine. It certainly does with Debian.
One machine developed wireless connection issues that I traced to a loose antenna wire.
This is an OK machine the way Asus set it up. It's a very good machine, if you install Debian.
From a hardware perspective, you can change out the wireless card (an Atheros 9k device). Wireless runs without additional firmware. Bluetooth requires the firmware-atheros package. You can also exchange the 320G hard drive for another 7mm thick drive. The CPU is an Intel Celeron running at 1.1gHz. It's somewhat faster than your basic netbook CPU. If you run VirtualBox, the Celeron is about 5x faster.
The screen is 1366x768 and driven by an Intel graphics 2000 chipset (we're talking Sandy Bridge here). The touchpad is one of those buttonless models. Not my favorite. The Keyboard doesn't bounce, or flex. The Webcam is 1.3mpixel. Sound is surprisingly good. You get 4G of RAM. It's not replaceable, or upgradable. Ports include a USB3, 2 USB2 , VGA and HDMI, SDCard, and Ethernet. There is also a combo headphone/microphone plug.
The battery specs suck, but I still get over 4 hours. The battery, like so much else on this machine, is not replaceable.
That's what you get for $300 (including shipping). The Linux boutique vendors cannot touch this price, but good luck finding something this low spec from them. Low spec, or not, the Asus will easily handle HD streaming video. Just don't try a lot of gaming.
69 • 67 • @66 (by Adam Williamson) (by MiRa on 2013-07-04 09:01:00 GMT from Spain)
As there is no Yahoo Messenger for Linux I'm using Jitsi to comunicate with my Yahoo contacts (it handle not only Yahoo but a few more VoIP clients).. PCLinuxOS have this in their repos.
Why Fedora cannot have Opera and Skype in it's repos? :(
70 • RE 56 : FC and sda partitions (by dbrion on 2013-07-04 11:24:20 GMT from France)
Well, I am rather glad to have some good news about FC19 (BTW, they can be very stringent w/r non free software; there is already much more software than an individual can need).
I never had issues, as far as I could test, with partition recognition (from a live CD -for LXDE- or DVD (for FC Electronic Lab) one can open a terminal and type "sudo fdisk -l"; then, at install, there were no incosistencies with the partitions they had recognised -and, AFAIK, I had some idea of /dev/sda structure!)
71 • jitsi (by gre on 2013-07-04 12:31:19 GMT from Slovenia)
hee i will give that a shot.
otherwise Gyachee Improved has best compatibility with Yahoo. make sure you install the right one.
Skype and Opera are proprietary and closed source programmes.
72 • RE:66, Very strange statement. (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-04 15:10:49 GMT from United States)
Statement from MiRa, "But... is a *buntu... and I'm reticent to infect my machines with this big sudo virus that never should appear in the GNU/Linux world."
Very strange statement coming from someone who seems to be hooked on closed source proprietary programs. Not logical. Very strange indeed.
73 • If you need help understanding how to install Fedora... (by eco2geek on 2013-07-04 17:16:10 GMT from United States)
For anyone having trouble understanding Fedora's installer, go to Korora's website and watch their installation video:
It will walk you through a Fedora installation. (And, I must say, Chris Smart's accent is lovely and the background music is soothing. :-) Highly recommended for those installing Fedora for the first time.
(Korora is a Fedora-based live DVD that includes a bunch of software that a default Fedora live DVD doesn't, for various legal and space-related reasons. Otherwise, it seems to stick pretty close to its Fedora roots.)
74 • @72 LinuxMan (by MiRa on 2013-07-04 19:00:10 GMT from Spain)
For me - repeat: for me - free software means free of cost, gratis.
If someone produces software and is bringing it out in the market allowing it to be used freely (free of cost, gratis) without any restriction or cost I don't care if is free or closed source.
Speaking about Opera and Skype (but there are many other software, apps in this situation) these are offered freely, free of cost, without any restriction. So, I don't understand why can't be included in Fedora for example.
As for "free" alternatives, can someone tell me what alternative is available to comunicate with my familiars and friends who have Skype accounts?
So, the "freedom" is very restrictive!... :D
75 • @73 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-04 20:12:23 GMT from Canada)
Good idea. There is also the installation guide, which is very well written:
but some people just seem to be allergic to documentation :(
76 • @69 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-04 20:13:27 GMT from Canada)
"Why Fedora cannot have Opera and Skype in it's repos? :("
77 • @72 @66 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-04 20:17:55 GMT from Canada)
Oh, and MiRa, I'd agree with @66: I don't see what you think is wrong with sudo. sudo is a perfectly good piece of code, widely used outside of Ubuntu. It's not Ubuntu-specific and there's nothing evil about it.
"As for "free" alternatives, can someone tell me what alternative is available to comunicate with my familiars and friends who have Skype accounts?"
Why not use a F/OSS peer-to-peer technology, which will be open to more people, and less likely to be subject to interception?
78 • c72.re.c66 "Very strange statement"; c74 "free" (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-04 22:52:11 GMT from United States)
72 Humor is often misunderstood, especially dry sarcasm delivered straight.
74 Many are glad when the first fix is free ...
Number of Comments: 78
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|• Issue 578 (2014-09-29): Calculate 14, Debian's default desktop, Shellshock vulnerability, practical Tiny Core|
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