| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 515, 8 July 2013
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The challenges of maintaining on-line privacy have been in the news a lot this past month. This week Jesse Smith reviews a Whonix, a project that strives to make it easy to maintain privacy while navigating the digital world. Also in this issue we will get a first look at Linux Deepin, a user-friendly distribution which features Chinese language support. In the spotlight this past week was the latest Fedora release. Fedora is a cutting-edge distribution and there are always exciting changes coming out of the project, be sure to check out some early impressions below. Speaking of exciting changes, with GTK+ 2 being abandoned in favour of newer technologies, what will become of desktop environments that rely on this once-popular toolkit? LXDE's developers are looking at some unexpected options and we will talk about their experiments and the future of LXDE in this week's News section. Software isn't the only thing that changes, hardware also has the ability to affect the open source landscape and, with that in mind, this week we hear from Marshall Mickusick as he discusses FreeBSD's plans for dealing with Secure Boot technology. Plus the Linux Mint project announced last week the popular minty distribution will be bundled with a new personal computer called the MintBox. Finally, good news for fans of the Raspberry Pi as five new distributions specially built for the popular mini computer have been added to the DistroWatch database. Happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Whonix and Linux Deepin
This week I want to dedicate some time to looking at projects which readers have requested I review. These two projects aren't related, their primary connection being both of their names showed up in my inbox.
* * * * *
First on the list is Whonix, an interesting experiment in privacy. The Whonix project isn't a GNU/Linux distribution in the usual sense. The project doesn't provide installation media, nor is it meant to be installed on physical hardware. The Whonix distribution is provided to us in two parts, both of which are meant to be imported and run as virtual machines using VirtualBox. The first virtual machine is a gateway and basically acts as a network router. This Gateway virtual machine forms a connection to the Tor network on one virtual network interface and, with a second interface, waits for incoming connections from another virtual machine.
The second virtual machine is a desktop workstation. This Workstation virtual machine opens a connection to the Gateway virtual machine. All network traffic from the Workstation virtual environment is transferred through the Gateway. What this does for us is insures that all network traffic leaving our Workstation must pass through the Gateway and therefore the Tor network. It should not be possible for an application to leak our location from our Workstation virtual machine directly to the rest of the world because, as far as the Workstation appliance is concerned, its only connection with the outside world is the Tor network. In theory, even if a malicious application gains administrative access in our Workstation virtual machine it will not be able to reveal our location. This gives us an extra layer of security between ourselves and the outside world. Were we to simply run Tor on our regular computer an application might bypass the Tor network and talk directly to another machine. Using Whonix we are protected from misbehaving programs.
Whonix's Gateway virtual machine is provided as a 430 MB download and the Workstation download is 1.3 GB in size. Both of these files can be imported directly into VirtualBox and, as part of the import, memory is automatically set aside and virtual disks are created for us. All we need to do is perform the import and then launch first the Gateway appliance and then the Workstation. The Gateway appliance starts up and we can watch it boot to a command line. We really don't need to do anything with the Gateway, it just sits there, quietly passing traffic back and forth and no configuration nor input is required from us. The Workstation appliance boots to the KDE desktop. The graphical environment is laid out in the traditional style and the desktop is littered with icons, most of them open the Firefox web browser and direct us to donation pages, documentation or information on staying safe on-line.
Whonix 0.5.6 - running the Workstation and Gateway virtual machines
(full image size: 476kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Digging through the Workstation's application menu we find the Firefox web browser, which is set up with Tor support and security-related extensions. Of note are the HTTPS Everywhere and NoScript extensions which attempt to keep our network connections secure and spy-free. Whonix also comes with the XChat IRC client, the VLC multimedia player and a document viewer. We have access to the Ark archive manager, a virtual calculator, and a text editor. Whonix also comes with the KGpg security key and encryption tool. We're given a meta-data removal tool which attempts to scrub identifying data from files. I was pleased to note the distribution comes with several accessibility utilities, including a virtual keyboard, a text-to-speech program and a screen magnifier. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
Whonix uses Debian GNU/Linux as its base and this gives us a good deal of flexibility. Since the Whonix appliance has a local (virtual) hard drive we are able to use the Apper or Synaptic package managers to install additional software packages. We're also able to install updates as provided by the Debian distribution. This allows us to both keep Whonix up to date with security patches and add software to the base system in order to carry out tasks not directly related to web browsing or sending private messages.
Going into my experiment with Whonix I had worried memory usage would be high. We are, after all, running two virtual machines simultaneously. I was pleased to find both virtual machines combined used approximately 1GB of memory in total, not bad when we consider the Workstation appliance runs a full featured KDE desktop. Debian is well known for its performance and I found it made a good base for Whonix. The system is responsive and the KDE desktop inside the appliance displayed nearly native performance.
While playing with Whonix I couldn't help but compare it against other privacy-focused distributions, such as Tails. Other distributions I've used that have focused on privacy and Tor have typically been live CDs rather than virtual machines and I feel there are strong arguments both for and against Whonix's approach. In the "pro" column I like that I can launch Whonix from my regular operating system without rebooting. Whonix is convenient in that the user doesn't need to reboot or burn CDs or download a new ISO each time security updates become available. Importing a VirtualBox image takes just a few mouse clicks and the user can download security updates from Debian. This approach also avoids hardware compatibility issues. VirtualBox gives Whonix a standard platform from which to work so as long as the host computer has enough memory (1GB of RAM, plus enough for the host operating system). The fact Whonix allows us to install additional software provides a strong argument in this project's favour when compared against live CDs.
On the other hand Whonix does have potential drawbacks. Should the Whonix virtual machine be compromised then it will continue to be compromised each time it is used since it has persistent storage. A user could get around this by destroying and re-importing the appliance on a regular basis, but this is something that must be done manually. With a live CD the operating system starts from a known (hopefully clean) condition and that allows us to wipe out any malicious infection with a reboot. The approach used by Whonix relies on the host operating system being clean. It doesn't matter how secure Whonix is if the host is infected with spyware because the host operating system doesn't route traffic through the Whonix Gateway. This means if the host operating system has a key logger or is talking to remote computers it may leak important information. Put another way, a computer is as secure as its weakest point and Whonix will only protect us if the host operating system can be trusted. When running a live CD geared toward privacy we have one less component in the chain of trust we need to consider.
What I feel it boils down to is Whonix is quite convenient and the distribution comes with many useful tools. Whonix makes on-line privacy easier and more accessible. It may not protect the user as completely as a dedicated privacy live CD, but it is certainly appealing for casual use. If you're in a situation where most of your work is done in the open, but there are a few things you do that you wish kept private, then Whonix is really an ideal tool.
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Linux Deepin 12.12
The second distribution I was asked to talk about is Deepin Linux. This is an Ubuntu-based distro that has three notable features which set it apart from its parent. The first feature is that Deepin has been set up to work with Chinese language support out of the box and the system supports Chinese character input. The distribution also has an English build for those of us who are unfamiliar with Chinese characters. (I only recognize about dozen traditional Chinese characters, including the symbols for "man" and "idiot", because everyone should be able to identify themselves when travelling abroad.) The second feature is a pair of custom media players. Deepin comes with a special audio player and a custom video player. This surprised me as there are several good multimedia players available for Linux distributions, but it seems the Deepin developers have designs of their own to share. The third feature which sets Deepin apart from Ubuntu is the desktop. Deepin uses a modified version of GNOME Shell and the Deepin desktop has a traditional look to it. This is in sharp contrast to Ubuntu's Unity desktop which features a mobile-like interface.
The download image for Linux Deepin is approximately 1.1 GB in size and booting from the disc brings us to a traditional desktop layout powered by GNOME. The application menu and task switcher are placed at the bottom of the display. On the desktop we find icons which open the distribution's package manager, launch the system installer and open the project's documentation. The application menu appears to be the same as the one used by GNOME Shell. It takes up most of the screen and allows us to search for applications by name or by category.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - the application menu
(full image size: 717kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Linux Deepin uses the Ubuntu graphical system installer. The installer walks us through partitioning the hard drive, confirming our time zone, confirming our keyboard's layout and creating a user account. It's a quick and fairly painless process. Unfortunately, upon rebooting the computer and attempting to load Deepin the operating system locked up. I tried booting the distribution several times using different boot options. In each case the system was unable to reach a point where I could attempt to login. This surprised me as Deepin's parent distribution works fairly well on this hardware. So, as it turned out, I was limited in my usage of Deepin and my observations were confined to the distribution's live disc.
Based on what I found on the live disc Linux Deepin ships with a useful collection of software, along with a few surprises. The Firefox and Chrome web browsers are included along with Adobe's Flash plugin. The Thunderbird e-mail client is installed for us as are Skype and Pidgin for VoIP and instant messaging, respectively. The custom audio and video players I mentioned earlier are installed for us along with a collection of popular multimedia codecs. LibreOffice is available as is another productivity suite called Kingsoft. The Kingsoft word processor and spreadsheet applications bear a strong resemblance to Microsoft Office, right down to the ribbon menu interface. I didn't get a chance to use Kingsoft's productivity software much during the week, but I hope to cover the suite in a future review. In the application menu we also find text editors, an archive manager and a control panel for adjusting the look and feel of the GNOME desktop. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.8.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - the distribution's audio and video players
(full image size: 618kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Linux Deepin uses a package manager which bears a strong resemblance to Ubuntu's Software Centre. This interface allows us to browse for software, searching for applications by name or by category. Applications are represented by icons and we can add or remove software with a single click. Actions being performed on packages are handled in the background while we continue to use the software manager. The package manager also handles software updates in a separate tab and, again, updates can be applied with a single click. The software manager is quite easy to use and worked well in the live environment. Packages are pulled from Deepin's repositories which appear to be copies of Ubuntu's software repositories, with a few extra packages added.
Though I wasn't able to get the locally installed version of Deepin to run I found the live disc worked fairly well with my hardware. I ran the distribution on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card). My screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and the distribution automatically set up a network connection via Network Manager. The GNOME desktop, which attempted to use 3-D visual effects was sluggish and it took a few seconds for windows to close or for the application menu to appear. Had the distribution run locally this probably could have been fixed with updated video drivers.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - browsing the distribution's documentation
(full image size: 709kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
For the most part I'm pretty happy with what the Linux Deepin project has managed to put together. Putting aside for a moment the hardware-specific problems I ran into the distribution appears to be doing a good job creating an environment that will be familiar to people coming from the Windows world. The menu system, the desktop layout, the custom multimedia applications and the Kingsoft productivity software all appear to be designed with a Windows-to-Linux migration in mind. The desktop is easy to navigate, the approach to package management is friendly and the distribution comes with a lot of useful software on the installation disc. The Deepin project takes Ubuntu, adds some special sauce and adds a more newcomer-friendly feel, making this distribution well worth a look, especially for people interested in trying Linux for the first time.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora 19 arrives, Linux Mint introduces an upgrade to MintBox and FreeBSD tackles Secure Boot
The big news from this past week was the release of Fedora 19, which bears the name "Schrödinger's Cat". Reviews quickly started appearing, most noting that Fedora 19 looks to be a relatively tame release for the cutting-edge distribution, with notable changes to the installer and systemd init technology. An article by Thorsten Leembuis sums up the latest version succinctly by saying: "The new Fedora does not have any major changes, much less any revolutionary ones, but the small and medium-sized changes certainly add up, including better support for new Radeon graphics cores, a spate of new systemd features and the move to MariaDB. An updated and very comprehensive collection of software makes Fedora one of the most cutting-edge distributions at the moment."
* * * * *
Last week we talked about libre hardware, libre software and the challenges users of open source operating systems face. Not many hardware companies currently go out of their way to support Linux (and other open source platforms) and finding computer equipment which is known to work with Linux can be difficult. The Linux Mint team has previously sought to offer a solution by way of their MintBox, a computer which comes with Linux Mint pre-installed. The Mint team blogged last week saying the MintBox is getting an upgrade. The MintBox 2 will be built by CompuLab and will ship with Linux Mint 15 "Olivia". Details on the new device, including specs and shipping costs, can be found on the Linux Mint website.
* * * * *
Last year we saw several Linux distributions, including Fedora and Ubuntu, tackle support for UEFI Secure Boot technology, the feature which prevents personal computers from loading operating systems and boot loaders that are not cryptographically signed. Now it is the FreeBSD project's turn to take on Secure Boot. FreeBSD developer Marshall Mickusick told IT Wire that the FreeBSD team would probably follow in the footsteps of cutting-edge Linux distributions. "Indeed we will likely take the Linux shim loader, put our own key in it, and then ask Microsoft to sign it. Since Microsoft will have already vetted the shim loader code, we hope that there will be little trouble getting them to sign our version for us." At the moment there isn't a firm time line for when FreeBSD will support Secure Boot technology.
* * * * *
Now that development work on the GTK+ (version 2) toolkit has ceased it has left some developers of desktop environments looking at alternatives. The LXDE developers in particular are examining possible replacements for the aging GTK+ 2 technology which has, up to this point, formed the backbone of the lightweight LXDE project. The developers have been looking at moving the low-resource desktop to either GTK+ 3 or the Qt framework. The result? "To be honest, migrating to Qt will cause mild elevation of memory usage compared to the old GTK+ 2 version. Don't jump to conclusions too soon. Migrating to GTK+ 3 also causes similar increase of resource usage. Since GTK+ 2 is no longer supported by its developer and is now being deprecated, porting to Qt is not a bad idea at the moment. Besides, the slightly higher memory usage is still acceptable for most of the existing old machines. The real resource usage may differ a lot among different Linux distros. For example, Ubuntu-based distros running LXDE tend to use more memory than Arch Linux-based ones. So more testing and real benchmarks are needed before making a conclusion on this."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Discovering processor capabilities
Learning-what-this-thing-can-do asks: How can I tell if my computer's processor is 32-bit or 64-bit and whether it supports features like PAE?
DistroWatch answers: Most personal computers made within the past ten years will have support for physical address extension (PAE) and will probably contain 64-bit x86 processors. Both technologies have become quite mainstream over the past decade. However, it is always good to be sure. When running a Linux distribution there are two sources of information you can use that will show everything you need to know about your computer's CPU. The first is the lscpu command. Opening a terminal and running lscpu will display the number of CPUs available on the machine, the architecture, vendor information, processor speed and cache size, among other pieces of data. When looking through the table of information lscpu displays the row which will tell us about the processor's architecture is the one which begins with the words "CPU op-mode". This line tells us which architectures the CPU can use and will tell us if the processor is capable of 64-bit operations. An easy way to quickly display this information is to run:
lscpu | grep op-mode
The other way to get a good deal of information about the CPU is to look in the file /proc/cpuinfo. This file contains all sorts of tid-bits and flags which indicate what kind of CPU we have and what it is capable of doing. To see all the information in its raw format run:
In this case we are specifically interested in whether the CPU has PAE support. To check we can run a command which will search through the CPU's supported features and check to see if "pae" is among those listed:
cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep pae
Should the above command display any output that indicates the processor has PAE support. If nothing is displayed when we run the above command that means PAE support is not available.
|Released Last Week
ALT Linux 7.0.0 "Centaurus", "Simply"
Ilya Mashkin has announced the release of ALT Linux 7.0 "Centaurus" and "Simply" editions. The "Centaurus" variant is a complete enterprise-class operating system featuring the MATE 1.6.0 desktop environment (even though the installation program calls it "GNOME"), while the "Simply" edition is an easy-to-use operating system customised for office workstations and home computers, and featuring the Xfce 4.10 desktop. Besides the usual i586 and x86_64 builds, the "Simply" edition is now also available for the Cubox (based on the Marvell Armada 510 processor) as well as the ARMv7 architecture. English, Russian and several other languages (depending on the edition) are supported. See the full release announcement (in Russian) for further information.
Robyn Bergeron has announced the availability of Fedora 19, the new stable version of the Red Hat-sponsored community distribution of Linux: "The Fedora Project is delighted to announce the release of Fedora 19. What's new? Developer's Assistant is a tool for new developers that helps you to get started on a code project by offering templates, samples, and toolchains for a variety of languages; 3D modelling and printing are supported with OpenSCAD, Skeinforge, SFACT, Printrun, RepetierHost, and other tool options; OpenShift Origin makes it easy for you to build your own Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) infrastructure; MariaDB offers a truly open MySQL implementation and is now the default MySQL option in Fedora...." Read the release announcement and check out the detailed release notes to learn more.
Chris Smart has announced the release of Korora 19, a Fedora-based desktop Linux distribution with a choice of GNOME or KDE desktops and with many user-friendly enhancements: "Well, the cat's out of the bag! We are pleased to announce that Korora 19 'Bruce' is now available for download, which for the first time ever coincides with the release of Fedora. Features: GNOME 3.8; KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.10; the Anaconda installer has support for many English locales. Of course this release comes with the usual Korora extras out of the box, such as: third party repositories (Chrome, RPMFusion, VirtualBox); full multimedia support including Adobe Flash plugin; Jockey device manager to handle drivers such as ATI and NVIDIA; Firefox as the default web browser (with integration theme for KDE); Firefox extensions enabled (Adblock Plus, DownThemAll, Flashblock, Xclear)...." Continue to the release announcement for more information and upgrade instructions.
OS4 OpenLinux 13.5
Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 OpenLinux 13.5, a user-friendly distribution based on Ubuntu and featuring a customised Xfce desktop environment: "Today we are pleased to announce the availability of the most advanced Linux-based operating system on the planet - OS4 OpenLinux 13.5. With this release we bring lots of enhancements and feature updates to the OS4 OpenLinux operating system. We have made several kernel enhancements that make the default kernel in OS4 OpenLinux that much faster and efficient. Also, many new hardware drivers are included that support more hardware, out of the box. Along with a new logo and an enhanced look and feel from our previous release, we have made OS4 OpenLinux one of the easiest to use operating systems that allows you to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. We have made some new changes in the application line-up." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Clemens Toennies has announced the final release of Netrunner 13.06, a desktop Linux distribution based on Kubuntu and showcasing the KDE 4.10.3 desktop and applications: "The 64-bit and 32-bit variants of Netrunner 13.06 are available for download. Features and changes: new Netrunner desktop containment (no cashew, hidden plus/minus overlays); improved KWin performance, so full transparency works on most lower-end machines; new Kate minimap scrollbar; automatically activated KWallet; hot corner in lower right; simplified system settings; removed WINE (due to increased irrelevance); ALSA instead of PulseAudio for best compatibility and performance (intel hda); Firefox with (working) Mozilla app store; Steam installer link included; usual KDE goodies - Homerun 1.0, Tomahawk 0.7." Here is the brief release announcement.
Netrunner 13.06 - a Kubuntu-based distribution with a custom KDE desktop
(full image size: 1,090kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Zorin OS 7 "Lite", "Educational Lite"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 7 "Lite" and "Educational Lite" editions, two Zorin OS variants based on Lubuntu and featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop environment: "The Zorin OS team is proud to release Zorin OS 7 Lite and Educational Lite, the latest evolution of the Zorin OS Lite series of operating systems, designed specifically for Windows users using old or low-powered hardware. This release is based on Lubuntu 13.04 and uses the LXDE desktop environment to provide one of the fastest and most feature-packed interfaces for low-specification machines. This new release includes newly updated software out-of-the-box, the introduction of new software and a new desktop theme. We also include our innovative Zorin Look Changer, Zorin Internet Browser Manager, Zorin OS Lite Extra Software and other programs from our earlier versions in Zorin OS 7 Lite and Educational Lite." Here is the brief release announcement.
Lucas Holt has announced the release of MidnightBSD 0.4, a FreeBSD-derived operating system with a goal to create an easy-to-use desktop environment with graphical ports management: "MidnightBSD 0.4 has been released. It includes many new features, but of particular interest is the new package management tool, mport. This release is a bit different from previous releases in that we plan to update packages during the support period for 0.4. Rather than upload packages and sit on them for the life of the release, you will be able to download updated packages for i386 and amd64 periodically. Due to this new feature, our initial package offering is smaller than we've done for previous releases as many things had to get migrated and updated. We plan to expand the packages available in the coming weeks. In addition to mport, we've imported a large number of features from FreeBSD 9.1." See the rest of the release notes for more details.
Legacy OS 2.1 "Gamer"
John Van Gaans has announced the release of Legacy OS 2.1 "Gamer" edition, a Puppy-based distribution designed for, you've guessed it, PC gaming enthusiasts: "Our best releases coming in 2013 starting with Legacy OS 2.1 Gamer available now. To start things off Legacy OS 2 Gamer has been released. Months of testing and searching the Internet for Pentium III compatible games has resulted in this release. From card games to 3D-type games like Prboom, the open-source release of the classic game Doom, this release will bring many hours of fun for families who can't afford Quad Core Gaming PCs and only have access to Pentium III and 4 PCs. Also included in this release is the Opera 12 web browser with Flash for excellent HTML 5 Internet browsing and the Amarok music player to manage your music collection. Pentium III PCs make great Jukeboxes when connected to a amplifier and a couple of speakers." Read the release information for further details and screenshots.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around The Web (by Jesse Smith)
- Latest reviews: Linux Mint 15, antiX 13.1 (in Croatian), Fedora 19 (in German), Fedora 19 (in French), Fedora 19, DoudouLinux 2.0, Fedora 19
- Latest podcasts: Frostcast 078 (ogg), Burning Circle 120 (mp3), Linux Outlaws 136 (ogg), SMLR 90 (ogg), Everyday Linux 101 (mp3), TLLTS 512 (ogg), Linux Basement 82 (mp3), Going Linux 213 (ogg)
- Latest newsletters: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter 323
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
New distributions added to database|
The Raspberry Pi mini computer has seen such as tremendous success among the technically-minded Linux users and, increasingly, among those who prefer a low-cost computer that would work as a single-purpose system, e.g. a media centre. The growing number of searches for related terms (e.g. "Raspberry" or "Raspbian") on DistroWatch were a clear indication that this site has been missing an important distribution category. Not any more. Since last weekend, DistroWatch lists five operating systems built specifically for the "Pi", while our search page now includes a "Raspberry Pi" category with several others. If we missed something please let us know.
* * * * *
- PiBang. PiBang Linux is a Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi mini-computer. It was inspired by CrunchBang Linux and it is based on Debian GNU/Linux and the Raspbian project. PiBang Linux provides a lightweight and configurable Openbox desktop user interface.
PiBang 20130411 - a Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with Openbox
(full image size: 1,075kB, screen resolution 1920x1080 pixels)
- Pidora. Pidora is a Linux software distribution for the Raspberry Pi computer. It contains software packages from the Fedora project compiled for the ARMv6 architecture used on the Raspberry Pi, packages which have been specifically written for or modified for the Raspberry Pi, and software provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for device access.
Pidora 18 - a Fedora-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with Xfce
(full image size: 1,714kB, screen resolution 1920x1080 pixels)
- Raspbian. Raspbian is a free operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux and optimised for the Raspberry Pi hardware (the armhf processor architecture). Raspbian comes with over 35,000 packages, or pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation on a Raspberry Pi. The initial build was completed in June of 2012, but the distribution continues to be active developed with an emphasis on improving the stability and performance of as many Debian packages as possible. Although Debian produces a distribution for the arm architecture, it is compatible only with versions later than the one used on the Raspberry Pi (ARMv7-A CPUs and higher vs the Raspberry Pi's ARMv6 CPU).
Raspbian 2013-05-25 - a Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with LXDE
(full image size: 84kB, screen resolution 1920x1080 pixels)
- Raspbmc. Raspbmc is a Debian-based minimal Linux distribution that brings the XBMC media centre software to a Raspberry Pi computer. This device has an excellent form factor and enough power to handle media playback, making it an ideal component in a low-cost HTPC (Home Theatre Personal Computer) setup, yet delivering the same XBMC experience that can be enjoyed on much more costly platforms.
Raspbmc 2013-05-14 - a Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with XBMC
(full image size: 340kB, screen resolution 1280x720 pixels)
- RISC OS Open. RISC OS is a computer operating system originally designed by Acorn Computers Ltd in Cambridge, England in 1987. RISC OS was specifically designed to run on the ARM chipset, which Acorn had designed concurrently for use in its new line of Archimedes personal computers. It takes its name from the RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture supported. Fast, compact and efficient, RISC OS is developed and tested by a loyal community of developers and users. RISC OS is not a version of Linux, nor is it in any way related to Windows, and it has a number of unique features and aspects to its design.
RISC OS Open 2013-03-20 (RC8) - an operating system developed for the Raspberry Pi and other ARM-based computers
(full image size: 830kB, screen resolution 1920x1080 pixels)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Mango Linux. Mango Linux is an openSUSE-based distribution for users whose work focuses on design and programming.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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1 • Nice Move (by wolf on 2013-07-08 09:17:47 GMT from Germany) |
Very nice move including that Pi thingy... I was wondering when this would happen. Many of us tried one I suppose... so finally Distrowatch covers it. Congrats
2 • kingsoft (by Pierre on 2013-07-08 10:58:30 GMT from Australia)
in the review of Deepin, - Kingsoft Office was mentioned,
& this seems to be a windows based program, although it also runs on Android & ios.
it doesn't seem to run too well using wine, - though.
3 • Kingsoft (by Jesse on 2013-07-08 11:23:08 GMT from Canada)
Re 2: Kingsoft's suite is a native Linux application and runs pretty well when run as a native app. I plan to cover it in more detail next week.
4 • Raspberry Pi OS reviews? (by DavidEF on 2013-07-08 11:23:50 GMT from United States)
Now that Raspberry Pi is covered in DistroWatch with 5 distros built specifically for it, I'd like to see some reviews of these operating systems, especially the Raspbmc (does it use Wayland?) and Risc OS. "RISC OS is not a version of Linux, nor is it in any way related to Windows, and it has a number of unique features and aspects to its design." - from the announcement above. I'd like to know how well these perform on the limited hardware of the Raspberry Pi.
5 • Whonix, privacy (by Jon Wright on 2013-07-08 11:32:06 GMT from Vietnam)
I read the summary and opened this edition of DW expecting to have to complain that Whonix _isnot_ a distro. So thanks Jesse for making that clear from the get-go. [I was amazed that Jemima Kiss in the Guardian called this project "the ultimate in internet armour, there’s even a complete secure operating system called Whonix" while not mentioning Qubes or Tails (and Jesse, you could have mentioned the former.).] And Jesse, you could have mentioned some of the background re Whonix - they seem to have an extensive wiki (should have mentioned) but for a project like this a little bit in the way of 'credentials' needs to be mentioned.
The conclusion reads "If you're in a situation where most of your work is done in the open, but there are a few things you do that you wish kept *private* ..." - may I ask in what sense is sending all your traffic thru Tor considered 'private'? Ever heard of exit nodes? I might have one, you might have one.
I skipped the intervening six paragraphs - I think a solution like this deserves much more proper coverage - if anything it shouldn't be treated like a review but as a topic in the Q&A section. If covered in the review then it should have been described alongside Qubes. And the necessary bases need to be covered - has DW covered Tor or general privacy issues lately?
6 • 64-bit capability of CPU (by greenpossum on 2013-07-08 11:33:29 GMT from Australia)
grep -w lm /proc/cpuinfo
If there is any output, i.e. the word lm appears for one or more cores, it's 64-bit capable.
7 • RISC OS (by Felix on 2013-07-08 11:53:51 GMT from Romania)
Wow, RISC OS lives? That's good news, even though it's not an especially open system. Good find!
8 • Thoughts on Linux Deepin (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-08 12:10:39 GMT from United States)
I've had Deepin 12.12 installed on a test partition since it was released and have found it to be the most locked down distribution I've tried to date. It looks nice, the custom applications work well and their software center is nice but I don't believe it's as good as the Ubuntu Software Center. The only thing I really have against the distribution is the lack of any kind of installed customization tools. For instance, there is no easy way to change the wallpaper or much else for that matter. The user manual in of no help in this regard. Earlier version of Deepin was very easy to customize and I believe the problems they have now is because of their new DE. You can download applications or tools to achieve customization but you shouldn't have to. I've been told in the forums that the desktop environment is new and custom made and will receive improvements in future releases. When asked in the forums about advance settings the response was what advance settings do you want and why. No straightforward answers. This distro will appeal to users that are new in using Linux but still needs some work to make it useable in my opinion. Future releases may make this a top notch distro but not at this time.
9 • Kingsoft Office/WPS for Linux (by Dave Postles on 2013-07-08 12:12:48 GMT from United Kingdom)
You can download debs or rpms or tar files at:
10 • Processor (by Bob Eiser on 2013-07-08 12:26:21 GMT from United States)
Here is a simple one! uname -m robert@bobmintbox ~ $ uname -m
robert@bobmintbox ~ $
11 • @10 (by Nobody on 2013-07-08 12:47:24 GMT from United States)
If you have a 32bit linux distro installed on a 64bit machine, your command will confuse a newbie into thinking they don't have a 64bit machine.
12 • Well, answered one of my questions (by DavidEF on 2013-07-08 13:03:27 GMT from United States)
From the Raspbmc website - "Q: Can I run a VNC server on Raspbmc?
A: No. VNC relies on the X11 window system, but Raspbmc’s XBMC implementation is rendered in the framebuffer only. Thus VNC cannot be used as there is no X-session available for connection."
So, now that opens a new question for me. What does running in framebuffer do? Is it better quality? performance? other? Would Wayland be a better alternative?
13 • RE4 For hobbyists, RPi is not a limited HW (by dbrion on 2013-07-08 13:19:06 GMT from France)
There are three uses of RPi :
a) teaching C and Python (a C compiler can work on a 128M RAM : one can verify it, before buying, with arm-qemu)
b) a slow (?) PC (but typing one or two pages -the main demand at Internet cafés- is not tha t ressource consuming.
c) an electronic component (the only shops I know who sell RPis are electronic oriented), sometimes cheaper than its 8 bits equivalent (but it is a matter of connectics : I hope RPis connectors will be and remain reliable). As robotics/electronics amateurs are not obliged to be software gurus, they are advised to install GNUlinux on their PCs to train themselves, and to add Rapsbian on the RPi ; then, if they need , they can do image recognition (no need for special HW), drive sevomechanisms and motors (a PC cannot directly; a Rpi -and many 8 bits microcontrollers - can )http://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=132137&start=80&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=
14 • UEFI (by octathlon on 2013-07-08 13:58:38 GMT from United States)
It deeply disturbs me that Linux and BSD projects must grovel before Microsoft to get their key signed to be allowed to install their OS. Why should MS have such power? There should be an independent entity to handle this.
15 • @13 Limited yes, but you're right, too! (by DavidEF on 2013-07-08 14:08:51 GMT from United States)
When I said Raspberry Pi had limited hardware, I meant the usual specs people look at in a computer - processing cores (one), processing speed (umm...choose from 700MHz to slightly more if you overclock), RAM (512 MB if you get Model B, 256 for Model A), HDD Capacity (NONE, use SD card for OS and storage, choose your size, but still very limited compared to what "real" HDD's and SSD's can offer), connections (several, some of which are not found on any PC's, but still missing several that ARE found on most PC's).
However, Raspberry Pi is extremely versatile, and can be useful for a lot more than most people can even imagine. The small size and low power requirements, along with those "other" connections (GPIO pins are most often talked about, but there are others as well) make the Raspberry Pi most probably the LEAST limited computer available, as far as the variety of ways it can be put to some use.
16 • UEFI? (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-08 14:15:39 GMT from United States)
I believe that you are talking about Secure Boot not UEFI.
17 • Secure Boot not from MS. (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-08 14:58:41 GMT from United States)
Furthermore just to knock this out of the way right now, (It's been talked about before), Secure Boot can be turned off completely or, custom mode entered and other keys added if so desired thus avoiding the need to deal with Microsoft. Although it does add extra steps to installing a Linux or BSD system it's not that difficult to deal with and Secure Boot is part of the UEFI specifications, not Microsoft's.
18 • Linux Reference Sites (by Bam on 2013-07-08 15:03:46 GMT from United States)
Hello all, I have listed some reference links below. Going to the links at least once a week, will answer basic questions concerning Secure Boot and UEFI, Kingsoft Office, ect. These site are helpful for newbies,hobbyist and of course us everyday users of Linux.
19 • secure boot (by jeferson on 2013-07-08 15:05:12 GMT from Brazil)
I agree with the 14 comment protest. We have the right to install what we want in these machines Suggestions? Do a total delete a pc with the windows 8, remove the hard drive with windows 8 or buy part by part and mount yourself a pc with those parts.
20 • @17 Secure Boot (by octathlon on 2013-07-08 15:13:10 GMT from United States)
In some cases Secure Boot CANNOT be turned off completely, and in other cases Secure Boot may be desired. In theses cases, an independent authority should be signing the key, NOT Microsoft. We shouldn't have to forgo the use of Secure Boot to avoid dealing with Microsoft.
21 • Whonix Persistence @ jesse (by William Barath on 2013-07-08 15:17:33 GMT from Canada)
Actually you have the option of turning on snapshots and then discarding the system state when you shut down and/or start up, so no, you do not have to discard and re-import the images manually.
22 • Raspberry Pi Asterisk PBX Distro (by Ronald Gibson on 2013-07-08 15:18:59 GMT from United States)
PBX In A Flash for the Raspberry Pi board.
After a while Distrowatch might need to add the BeagleBone Black board distros.
23 • RE14 : there are other cards than RPi (by dbrion on 2013-07-08 15:26:08 GMT from France)
I know BeagleBone (was expensive : now, the price difference w/r RPi accounts for excellent connectivity , -the clock difference, if it is meaningful, even within the same family of processors, can be neglected-),
PCduino (about same price; has connectics somewhat compatible with -mostly - 8 bits Arduino) can work in two modes:
* PC clone (main use of PCs , in my city, is text processing/printing : could be done on Apple IIe |CPM in the late 70s... 1000 times tinier than ARMs).
* electronic component (logical inputs/outputs, pulse generation : for servos; LED matrix driving; sophisticated robots), sometimes cheaper than their 8 bits equivalents (but slower, without image processing abilities).
One very ennoying drawback I see is that they have only one USB channel -PC have 2 AFAIK, for webcams not to interfere with mice, say...-
All these ARM based "PC clones" can run on Debian -other distributions maybe; I am sure for Debian, which makes things slightly more pleasant than compiling everything with buildroot (people buying exotic HW are happy if they see it works and do not have to wait for ca 1hr)
24 • Deepin Linux 12.12 (by Chanath on 2013-07-08 16:12:51 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I think its the cutest Ubuntu based distro I've seen up to today. It is also quite
responsive, and with all necessary apps in it. The wallpapers can be changed quite easily, System Settings>Personalization> Deepin> click "+" and add any wallpaper you want. I have still a little problem with changing keyboard layouts, and the devs are working on that, at least one in the forum said so. But, that's a mnor matter, as there are ways to get around it. I've used it since it was released, and Deepin had not given any problems at all.
Jesse, why don't you install it and give us a real review? This is what I consider as making a distro based on another, lot of theri own apps, customizations etc. The Elementary OS wants to make a different from Ubuntu distro and still struggling to release a stable one, while Deepin had made 2 already, Here are some thoughts about Deepin 12.12 http://www.linuxdeepin.com/forum/8/14302
25 • Asus Ubuntu laptop review (by penguinx64 on 2013-07-08 16:18:38 GMT from United States)
I got my Asus Ubuntu 11.6 inch laptop and had a few days to try it out. Here is my review. The initial setup for Ubuntu took about 15 minutes. Then, I tried to run the Update Manager, but there was an error message saying Flash Player was from an Untrusted Source. None of the other updates would run because of that. The factory Ubuntu 12.04 install seems to work just fine, except for the update problem. I don't really like the Ubuntu Unity interface, so I installed 64 bit Linux Mint 14 MATE along side Ubuntu. I prefer a more traditional desktop experience. Mint installed just fine and recognized all of the hardware with no hassle. The wifi adapter even worked first try. Haven't tried any other distros yet. Seems to work just fine for a $299 laptop. You can buy the same laptop with Windows 8 for about $80 more, but why pay the Windows Tax?
26 • @ 18 • Linux Reference Sites (by Chanath on 2013-07-08 16:25:07 GMT from Sri Lanka)
One site you must've forgotten; www.noobslab.com/
27 • @ 24 Deepin (by Rev_Don on 2013-07-08 16:51:50 GMT from United States)
Channath wrote "Jesse, why don't you install it and give us a real review? This is what I consider as making a distro based on another, lot of theri own apps, customizations etc."
Did you actually read the review Jesse did as the above comment of yours leads me to believe that you did not. The third paragraph of his review clearly states that
"Unfortunately, upon rebooting the computer and attempting to load Deepin the operating system locked up. I tried booting the distribution several times using different boot options. In each case the system was unable to reach a point where I could attempt to login. This surprised me as Deepin's parent distribution works fairly well on this hardware. So, as it turned out, I was limited in my usage of Deepin and my observations were confined to the distribution's live disc."
Sounds to me that he did indeed install Deepin and attempted to do as you suggested.
I will admit though, that once again (like in so many of the reviews he posts) it appears that there is some sort of hardware issue at play here as time and time again he runs into an issue on a bare metal install. While I haven't taken the time to do a precise count, it seems to me that at least half of the installs have major issues of one sort or another which leads me to believe it is hardware based. Unfortunately Jesse doesn't seem overly interested in working out these issues, or even post more in depth and precise hardware specs of the system he is using. How difficult would it be to post Intel E8500, Intel P45 chipset (or Gigabyte PE45-UD3P) mobo, 6 gig PC2-8500, HIS HD5670, Realtek RTL8168, etc instead of the generic "dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card" It's not like he would need to type it in each time. Type it up once, save it in a text file, then copy and past it into each review. Or one could setup a boilerplate document for reviews with that information already included. It would be so much more helpful and meaningful as it would permit others to assist in determining why he has so many problems installing various distros.
Just my 2 cents worth. Other peoples mileage may vary.
28 • @ 27 Rev Don (by Chanath on 2013-07-08 17:26:10 GMT from Sri Lanka)
No live disk review is worth its salt. If the distro didn't install, try it again and again, and/or download it again. This is nothing against Jesse's review, but your comments ReV Don.
Now, go back in time and read some coments; http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20130624&mode=67#comments
Once you go there, go down to comment # 20 okay?
29 • PAE (by Nick on 2013-07-08 17:31:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have a Pentium M 745A processor from 2006. This processor is one of the few recent ones that DOES NOT support PAE. However, using the method explained above by Jesse Smith, it says my processor DOES support PAE. This is incorrect, so there's something wrong with his method somewhere.
30 • @ 27 Rev Don (by Chanath on 2013-07-08 17:40:51 GMT from Sri Lanka)
My laptop is 4 years old, Core 2 duo 2.4 GHz, 2.8 GB ram, Intel video, Broadcom wireless and everything--Arch, Debian, Mageia, Open Suse, Sabayon, Zenwalk-- gets installed. Only, the last Fedora 19 didn't get installed as its installer didn't see the inside of my hard disk. I simply dropped it. F18 got installed.
I am wrtng from Deepn 12.12 and have installed GS and G-panel in it too.
31 • Deepin Problems and Secure Boot (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-08 17:53:22 GMT from United States)
@24, I tried that and I got no response. I may have a botch install. Thanks for the info and I'll reinstall to see if that's the problem.
@20, I haven't run into any that couldn't be turned off but that's just me. That could very well be the case and I just don't know about it. I do agree that MS shouldn't be the only ones signing the keys but like I've said, custom mode allows other keys to be added and that also works.
@19, You have the suggestions on how to install other operating systems. Changing the hard drive, deleting the operating system, will not work. Building a system with the parts you buy, as long as you know what you are buying, (a lot of new motherboards have the UEFI with Secure Boot), would work fine.
32 • PAE support (by Jesse on 2013-07-08 18:03:27 GMT from Canada)
>> "I have a Pentium M 745A processor from 2006. This processor is one of the few recent ones that DOES NOT support PAE. However, using the method explained above by Jesse Smith, it says my processor DOES support PAE. This is incorrect, so there's something wrong with his method somewhere."
I believe you are mistaken. Earlier versions of the Pentium M 745 did not have PAE support, those were released back around 2003-2004. However, revisions of the chipset that were sold in 2005-2006 did include PAE support. So if your chip really was sold to you in 2006 then it almost certainly does have PAE support, or at least it is reporting to the operating system that is can support PAE-enabled kernels. You may want to try installing a PAE-enabled kernel sometime to see what happens.
33 • @32 Jesse (by Nick on 2013-07-08 18:18:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
I bought the computer in 2006. The processor was made in 2004. I have tried booting Xubuntu 13.10 on it, and it refuses to boot.
The Pentium M 745A definitely DOESN'T support PAE (It has a 400MHz FSB - only the later ones with a 533MHz FSB support PAE), yet your method shows that it does.
34 • @32 Jesse (by Nick on 2013-07-08 18:20:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
I meant Xubuntu 13.04 - sorry.
35 • PAE (by Nick on 2013-07-08 18:39:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
Perhaps there's something funny about Pentiums M Processors.
I'd be interested to know whether other non-PAE Pentium Ms (any with a 400MHz front side bus) report wrongly that they support PAE.
36 • Whither LXDE? (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2013-07-08 19:22:29 GMT from United States)
If I were LXDE, I'd seriously consider going to Qt *and* merging with the Razor-Qt project. In my semi-annual pass at all the major Linux desktops, LXDE came out on the bottom, *below* OpenBox!
I don't see much of a future for stripped-down "desktops" like LXDE and IceWM. Either you use a tiling window manager like XMonad or you use a desktop like Cinnamon, MATE or the biggies - Unity, GNOME3/Classic or KDE. The big ones are all modular anyhow.
37 • @33,34 re: M 745A and PAE (by Pearson on 2013-07-08 20:31:24 GMT from United States)
According to the Intel page for this chip , that processor does support Physical Address Extensions (PAE). I wonder if perhaps there's some underlying supporting technology that prevents Xubuntu from recognizing it?
38 • @29,37 re:PAE (by Pearson on 2013-07-08 20:47:01 GMT from United States)
I'll add that *if* Jesse's steps are wrong for your processor, that would be a bug in the kernel, worth reporting. The /proc filesystem is populated by the Linux kernel at runtime.
39 • @37 Pearson (by Nick on 2013-07-08 20:50:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for your comment. But where on that page doses it say it supports PAE? I can't see it anywhere.
I'd be glad to be wrong, since I really don't want to retire my computer yet!
40 • @37 Pearson (by Nick on 2013-07-08 20:54:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
I yeah, I see it now, sorry. I must be wrong! I'll try out some other distros on it.
41 • PAE (by Bam on 2013-07-08 21:19:15 GMT from United States)
I have just finished reading the comments concerning PAE, they showed a lack of effort to research the issue by some. I am not going to re-plow old ground. Just to say this could have been easily solved by "googling" PAE. Or even going to Youtube.com. "I support windows,and use Linux to get work done."
42 • PAE (by Nick on 2013-07-08 21:24:51 GMT from United Kingdom)
The Intel website is wrong. I've looked at every Pentium M processor's page, and according to Intel, every single Pentium M Processor has PAE support.
This is clearly wrong, since it is well known that most Pentium Ms don't support PAE. Threads such as these wouldn't exist otherwise: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2113826 http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1975422
43 • @41 Bam (by Nick on 2013-07-08 21:38:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for your kind words.
FYI, I've been researching this issue sporadically for the past month.
It's not my fault, no one cares any more about Pentium M Processors.
44 • Whonix et al. (by Barnabyh on 2013-07-08 22:53:50 GMT from Germany)
Thanks for one of the more interesting weeklies. I've used Tor on and off over the last few years but will use projects like Tails and Whonix a lot more in the future.
Maybe even to the degree of using conventional distributions less, or only as a base for VB.
45 • Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)!!! (by Rapsod on 2013-07-08 23:00:12 GMT from Montenegro)
I am curious. Is it possible to have 64-bit processor and 32-bit north bridge? I am asking because I can install 64-bit OS on my old laptop. And processor does have PAE. And it is 64-bit.
46 • @36 LXDE + Razor-Qt merger (by impossiblescissors on 2013-07-09 04:37:52 GMT from United States)
The seeds for a merger of LXDE and Razor-Qt have been sewn already; The PCManFM file manager has been ported to Qt. The rest of LXDE can't be too far behind. Being a loosely-integrated collection of programs, LXDE could always save some time in porting to Qt by utilizing existing programs from Razor-Qt. Admittedly, Razor-Qt isn't near the maturity level of LXDE yet, so a lot of work remains to be done.
If sticking with GTK+2 much longer is not an option, it makes me wonder what MATE and Xfce are planning to do long-term. I always considered MATE a fallback option while the bugs were getting worked out of Cinnamon, but Xfce has won me over by striking the right balance between pleasing appearance and low memory + CPU demands. i certainly hope Xfce makes the port to GTK+3 soon!
47 • SecureBoot certification agency (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-09 05:29:52 GMT from United States)
Didn't Microsoft spin off Verisign for a layer-of-separation plausible-deniability? Of course, only Microsoft tools can be used to generate ... and many hardware makers count on MS for a community platform.
48 • Raspberry Pi (by Bill Savoie on 2013-07-09 05:34:32 GMT from United States)
I just bought a Raspberry Pi and I am waiting for the mail to arrive. I plan to power it with a 7 port USB hub, and I will add heat sinks to the cpu and gpu in the hope that it can run for years without needing a fan or getting too hot. After having 'normal computers' and doing many types of Linux, I look forward to again using vim and a soldering iron. Just like in the old days. Thanks for adding a new section dedicated to this branch of inexpensive technology, where once again, the more the merrier. The whole world will be a development team. Thanks again.
49 • Whonix as a VM vs TAILS as a live CD (by Michael on 2013-07-09 05:54:14 GMT from Australia)
Why not have the best of both worlds: the (relative) speed of an installed VM, a la Whonix, and the guaranteed clean environment of a live CD, a la TAILS?
Just download the TAILS (or Qubes) ISO and use your virtual environment to boot from it.
It's what I do...
50 • Whonix clean environment (by Gerald on 2013-07-09 09:13:48 GMT from Austria)
Please tell me if its a mistake, but you can also keep Whonix clean: you make a snapshot and return every time when start and close to that snapshot ... all changes are lost, also malware ... i am right? I created with this way a sandbox for secure browsing.
51 • Deepin (by forlin on 2013-07-09 13:38:56 GMT from Portugal)
Build a new distro from ground zero requires a massive amount of human resources, and in various instances it may imply reinventing the wheel. That's why most new distros are based on the good old and well established existing ones
That said, I suppose that a lot of added value must be integrated in derivative distros, to set them apart from the ones they are based on, in order to bring real appeal to the users. It should be much more about developing and designing work than just different wall papers, applications, and the like.
Deepin is a good example of right approach. Unfortunately, they're the exception rather than the rule.
52 • Whonix, Tails etc. (by Zorac on 2013-07-09 14:24:26 GMT from Canada)
I would like to have a mixture of Whonix and Tails. I prefer TAILS from a virtual environment but I do not want to change the screen resolution, add a keyboard layout, etc. every time I use it. And Tails does not have an install option or they let you on your own.
To expand the idea behind Whonix - I think bridging the first network interface of the Whonix Gateway to the interface of your physical machine and changing the IP settings of the later resembling the settings of Whonix-Workstation, will let you use Tor network from your physical host.
But I do not want to leave all my traffic to the mercy of Tor exit nodes.
Btw TAILS defaults every boot to the same exit node.
In two words - I want Tails but with an install option that would prevent changing settings on every boot.
53 • @ 51 (by Chanath on 2013-07-09 16:29:12 GMT from Sri Lanka)
The other guy, who does a good job of making a new distro based on an existing one is David Tavares of Pear OS. He kept on moving forward and used 3rd party apps, configured them for his distro. He is coming up with #8 of his creation.
54 • @30 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-09 23:48:47 GMT from Canada)
I just had a thought on your 'Fedora doesn't see my hard disk' problem - is your 'hard disk' by any chance an Intel firmware RAID-1 set? And are you using the live installer? If so, you'd be hitting https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=975649 . Booting with 'enforcing=0' or using the non-live installer would fix it.
55 • HDT - Hardware Detection Tool (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-10 08:30:41 GMT from United States)
I vaguely remember booting to an effective part of a syslinux-based toolset; sourceforge project, OS-independent, handy for Linux Point-Of-View hardware questions. Its ASCII-GUI reminded me of CP/M, DOS and AS/400 terminals.
56 • @54 Adam Williamson (by Chanath on 2013-07-10 09:50:23 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Thank you for remembering. Here is all about my hard disk; http://www.hdsentinel.com/storageinfo_details.php?lang=en&model=HITACHI%20HTS723216L9SA60
I tried to use the live installer. It showed 2 disks, sda (hard disk) and sdb (usb stick with F19 live), but nothing inside the sda. It had one free partition formatted to ext4. The laptop is Lenovo T400, where everything gets installed. Rgds!
57 • Re: #45 (by silent on 2013-07-10 11:40:28 GMT from France)
Yes, it is possible, eg. some motherboards with i945 chipsets.
58 • @ 54 Correction (by Chanath on 2013-07-10 14:28:54 GMT from Sri Lanka)
My comment has to be corrected. I had one partition formatted to ext4, I have written "It", instead of "I." Sorry.
59 • "Trivial" Distros (by Marco on 2013-07-10 16:53:21 GMT from United States)
One use case for derivatives not far removed from their upstream is for regular use as a live USB. Having the right set of software on a distro is nice. Some banking sites might block rekonq, so I use FF on Xubuntu; You Tube still works better with Flash, so I use OpenSUSE; Abiword might not open complex .DOCX files, so I use Kubuntu etc. So I have several distros on live USBs for different purposes. Once installed, I could load my own applications, but I frequently prefer a live USB.
So keep the derivatives coming!
60 • @ 59 Trivial Distros (by Rev_Don on 2013-07-11 01:20:19 GMT from United States)
Why not setup a Live USB with persistence and install the apps you use on it instead of a bunch of different distros to use a single app? Makes more sense to me.
61 • Sabayon 13.04 KDE (by Chanath on 2013-07-11 05:14:03 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Went back to my Sabayon 13.04 KDE installation for sometime. Even being KDE, Sabayon is pretty quick. Looked at the System Monitor and I find that it uses exactly 50% of the RAM, i.e, 1.4 GB of 2.8 GB memory and stays fixed at that, time to time moving up to 1.5 GB. It doesn't even touch the swap, which is 2.9GB.
Having large RAM is no use, if its not used for daily work. many other distros don't even go up to 1GB memory use. this must be making Sabayon a quick distro.
62 • @59,60 Trivial Distros (by DavidEF on 2013-07-11 13:20:51 GMT from United States)
While I have a lot more tolerance for "trivial" distros than some people, I have to agree with Rev_Don. Needing several different apps that do the same thing, because of compatibility issues, is not a good reason to have a bunch of derivative distros. Fortunately, there are plenty of better reasons that make derivative distros worth having around. Installing multiple apps in one distro makes a lot more sense than installing a distro for each app.
63 • @59,60,62 (by mcellius on 2013-07-11 16:32:25 GMT from United States)
I very much agree with Rev_Don and DavidEF. In fact, isn't that really part of the Linux philosophy, that you find and use the tools that work best to do the job? It's one of the best features of Linux! If you need a different tool than the off-the-rack distro you downloaded provides, you can add tools and make changes to get it just the way you want.
This works all the way up to desktop environments, I feel. Don't like one? Try another! Or set up your system so that you have several choices when you boot-up. Options and freedom of choice are what Linux is all about, isn't it? (Including, of course, the freedom to do what Marco does and just boot into different distros for each need; I would find that onerous, but if that's what he wants to do it's okay.) Of course, such freedom of choice is not what the Windows and Mac worlds are about, and for many of us is what we most dislike about them.
And yet I can't help but wonder where we'd be if instead of churning out hundreds of "trivial" distros, a lot of that talent were working on apps. Imagine if we had thousands more programmers cooperating to make Linux apps more powerful and capable; we'd have Windows struggling to keep up! (Yeah, I know it's more fun to be the boss of your own distro than one of many contributors to an app, but it's really what Linux needs.)
64 • @ 63 Talent (by Rev_Don on 2013-07-12 00:27:29 GMT from United States)
Better yet, working to stop all of the breakage Linux users run into with one updated app breaking another existing app. The apps don't necessarily need to get better, just less volatile towards each other. Other than that I totally agree with you.
65 • Keeping things uniformed. (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-12 12:08:35 GMT from United States)
It's been my experience that applications seem to have more breakage when you get them out of their ecosystem. Sometimes applications will be built for a certain version of a distro and things will be just fine. Trying to install packages made for one version into another distro version can cause breakage more often than not. Things are changing constantly and it can be hard for application maintainers to keep up with the differences. If I run into a "must have" application that is not in my distro repositories or in a third party repository that's catering to my distro and version, I try to compile it myself. Most of the time that works, sometimes it doesn't. It's just my opinion that it's not the derivative distros that hurts Linux adoption but that it's the problem with application development and distribution. It is my opinion that the developers of well made applications that are useful and important to the Linux ecosystem should in some way be compensated for their hard work and their vision. How this would be done? I'm not really sure what would be the best or proper way. The Humble Bundle system seems to work well. It's mostly for games and e-books now but I don't see why it couldn't be used for other type of applications. Anyway this is just my take or opinion on these matters and as such is to be taken with a grain of salt.
66 • Casualties of this system (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-12 18:08:28 GMT from United States)
What I find amazing is that developers will work tirelessly on an application and just be content to accept donations. Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of good people out there who donate to these good projects. There has been casualties. One of my favorites was K9COPY. One day we had it and the next day it was gone, and you can't fault the developer. And the same thing happened to a distro that is still active but nowhere used as much. SimplyMepis was a gem of a distro but Warren couldn't make a living keeping the distro going working full time. The community around SimplyMepis does most of the work now but here we are talking about applications. To keep up with technology these applications have to be always updated and taken care of. People need to be paid for their efforts. Remember that. The next time you download and install one of your favorite applications think about the developer and also everyone else that it takes to make these apps possible. If you can, make a little donation. This should not interfere with the free software movement in any way. No one needs to be a blood sucking leech.
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