| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 516, 15 July 2013
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! For Red Hat, the recent release of Fedora 19 represented a very important milestone. Not only would this version form the basis of the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, it was also the second stable Fedora release featuring the drastically revamped Anaconda system installer that received so much bashing when it was first unveiled in version 18. So how did the new release fare in our test? Read Jesse Smith's review below to find out. In the news section, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth gives several strong arguments in favour of switching to the distribution's own display server, Fedora loses a well-known and prominent developer in a tragic bicycle accident, and FOSS Force presents a beginners' guide to Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 that should help anyone install and configure this popular distribution. Also in this issue, an overview of the lightweight and simplistic CrunchBang Linux, a first-look review of Kingsoft Office productivity suite for Linux, and information about the annual update of the packages tracked on this site's distribution pages. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the June 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is awesome, a configurable and extensible window manager for developers and power users. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (24MB) and MP3 (35MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Review of Fedora 19 "KDE" edition
The latest offering from the Fedora Project, Fedora 19, was released on July 2nd. The new version carried the code name "Schrödinger's Cat" which seems appropriate. Fedora, being a cutting-edge distribution, is an unpredictable beast and one never knows, prior to installing it, if the release is going to bring joy or heartache. Looking through the release notes for Fedora 19 I got the impression this version was to be a fairly small evolution from Fedora 18, which was released earlier this year. The release notes highlight such desktop features as the inclusion of GNOME 3.8, KDE 4.10, LibreOffice 4.0 and packages for the MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments. Less obvious changes include improved boot times and enhancements to the systemd init software. The release notes also mention that users who run logical volume management (LVM) file systems will be able to take advantage of file system snapshots. These snapshots will be taken by the yum software manager during updates to allow administrators the ability to rollback to previous package versions. We're also told yum now has delta-update capability built in directly and enabled by default. This means the package manager only downloads changes to software packages rather than downloading the entire package again.
Fedora 19 is available in several editions, including GNOME, KDE, Xfce and LXDE. There are also various community spins which focus on security, games and other specialties. These editions are all available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. For people running more exotic hardware the Fedora Project maintains several "secondary architectures". I opted to download the 32-bit build of the KDE edition, the ISO for which is approximately 840MB in size.
Booting from the Fedora disc quickly brought up a KDE desktop featuring a pleasant blue background. The application menu and task switcher sit at the bottom of the screen and, on the desktop, we find an icon for launching the system installer. When Fedora 18 came out it introduced a new style of graphical installer and Fedora 19 has carried on with this new approach. The new installer takes a hub-based approach to navigation rather than the common linear style. Once we tell the installer which language we want to use we're brought to a screen where we can choose to enter modules which will let us set the current date & time, change our keyboard layout or partition the local hard drive. We can enter these modules in the order of our choosing. Most of these steps are fairly standard, but the partitioning screen has undergone a change and the new style is one I found quite jarring, mostly due to a lack of helpful on-screen cues.
First we are asked to highlight a disk (or disks) to work on. Then we are taken to a screen where we can opt to use LVM, Btrfs volumes or traditional partitions. From there we are taken to a screen where we can add or remove partitions and change the file systems and the mount points of partitions. I found this screen odd in that it didn't appear to be possible to change the size of a partition, I had to delete and add new partitions if I wanted to adjust sizes, even if my partitions hadn't been written to the disk yet. There is also a regression in that the interface doesn't give us hints as to how big a partition can be, we have to manually enter a given size and hope it fits. The whole process just felt roundabout and slightly awkward, in part I believe because some screens put the "Done" / "Continue" button at the top of the window and other screens place it at the bottom. This makes navigation somewhat inconsistent. Eventually I got through to the next hub where, while the installer copies files in the background, we can set a password on the root account and, optionally, create a regular user account for ourselves. The installer soon finished copying files to my local drive and I was able to reboot the machine and start using the new Fedora. I was pleased to note the new version of Fedora doesn't require us to go through a first-run wizard when we start using the distribution, all of the configuration steps are now included in the modules of the system installer, speeding up the installation process.
Fedora 19 - the system installer
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Desktop and package management
Upon booting Fedora I was brought to a graphical login screen. Signing in brings up the KDE interface and icons for browsing the file system sit on the desktop. Shortly after logging in a notification appeared in the system tray letting me know package updates were available. Clicking on the update icon didn't open an application to handle the updates as I had expected. Instead a widget, which remains fixed to the system tray, appears, listing the available updates. Few details on the available packages are shown and no indication of the size of the downloads is mentioned. We can check off which updates we want (or don't want) and click a button to download the new packages. I have mixed feelings about this approach to handling updates. Using the system tray widget insures the update process stays out of the way, it's compact, but it also means we don't have a lot of information with which to work. I suspect that, given enough time, I will come to appreciate this approach as it means having one less window to deal with on the desktop.
For users who prefer to get more information regarding available software updates the distribution's package manager, Apper, has a module dedicated to dealing with updates. Apper provides more detailed information and a more traditional interface. The Apper application doesn't just handle updates, it also allows us to add and remove software packages. Apper has a nice, open interface where categories of software are represented by colourful icons. We can browse through these categories or search for items by name. Clicking on a package brings up more details on the selected software and packages can be queued for installation with a mouse click. Once we have found all of the items we wish to install the queued items are handled all in one batch. Most of the time Apper worked really well for me. The few exceptions were when the PackageKit process would lock the package database. Typically PackageKit would eventually finish running on its own and free the database to allow me to use it. Only once did I have to manually stop PackageKit in order to apply software updates.
Fedora 19 - package management with Apper
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Also on the subject of updates, during the week I was running Fedora over 130 updates were made available in the distribution's repositories. These packages were downloaded using yum's delta-rpm feature. This means when we download updates we only need to download the changed portion of a given package, not the entire package. This cuts back on bandwidth usage a great deal, often reducing the size of a download by 50 - 80%.
Software and repositories
The KDE edition of Fedora comes with a collection of software capable of performing most common tasks. We're given the Konqueror web browser, the Konversation instant messaging client, the KMail e-mail client and the KTorrent BitTorrent client. The Blogilo blogging software is available as is the Calligra productivity suite. The distribution supplies a handful of multimedia applications including the Amarok music player, the Dragon Player for viewing videos, the K3b disc burner and the KsCD audio disc player. The distribution does not include popular multimedia codecs, nor Flash. These features aren't available in the project's repositories either, but can be acquired from third-party software repositories, such as RPMFusion. Fedora comes with the Marble virtual globe, a hardware browser, a few small games and an e-mail server. Users can also make use of a virtual calculator, text editors and an archive manager. We are additionally provided with two applications for managing security keys and encrypting files. The distribution provides a few administrative tools as well, including one for configuring the firewall, a users and groups manager and an app for enabling/disabling system services. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.9.
Since Fedora doesn't offer several popular software packages, including certain codecs, Flash and VirtualBox, I spent some time adding third-party repositories to the system. These are generally easy enough to find and adding a repository to Fedora 19 is typically as simple as clicking a link on a website. I noticed that whenever I tried to add a new repository the package manager would process the request and then report it had failed to complete the procedure. However, upon checking, the additional repository had always been successfully added to my system, indicating the error message was unnecessarily pessimistic.
One utility which I feel deserves special mention is the firewall configuration tool. Fedora's firewall utility has been going through some changes in the past couple of releases. These changes, at first, make the firewall configuration app appear a little more complex, but the application does feature an important concept. Namely, network zones. When we set up network connections we can choose to assign the connection to a zone. These zones are typically given names such as "public", "work" or "home". We can then create separate firewall rules for each zone. For example, perhaps we want to leave a secure shell service open when we are at home, but not while we are at work. The new firewall tool allows us to assign completely different rules to different networks and these rules are applied automatically when we connect to a new network. I think laptop users will appreciate having separate zones as it will make switching networks less of a security concern.
Fedora 19 - KDE System Settings and Fedora's firewall utility
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I ran Fedora 19 on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found the distribution performed very well. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and Network Manager automatically brought me on-line. I found the KDE 4.10 desktop to be responsive, both with and without visual effects enabled. Fedora 19 felt faster to boot than the previous version, which was a nice bonus. I also ran Fedora in a virtual machine, powered by VirtualBox, and found the distribution performed equally well in the virtual environment. Typically I found Fedora, when running the KDE desktop, would use around 250 - 310 MB of RAM. It seemed to vary a bit at each login, but memory usage always fell within the aforementioned range.
While Fedora generally performed smoothly and quickly during my trial, there were some rough spots during the week. Most of these were minor, such as Amarok refusing to launch after an update. (Later in the week Amarok started working again, either due to another update or perhaps it sorted itself out after a reboot.) There was also the minor case of the name "Schrödinger" not displaying properly, notably on the boot menu, probably caused by the inclusion of non-ASCII characters in the text. The one big issue I ran into was that, when I started using Fedora, the distribution was running on Linux kernel version 3.9.5 and running quite well. When the kernel was updated to version 3.9.8 the system would no longer boot. Reverting back to the original 3.9.5 kernel served to work around the problem.
Generally speaking the latest release of Fedora worked well for me. The distribution ran smoothly on my hardware (updated kernel aside), I like what the developers have done with the firewall configuration application, the system was responsive and it showcases lots of cutting-edge software. Package management worked better for me this time around than it had in the past couple of releases and, once I get used to it, I think the new update widget will be a welcome addition. The one area where I feel Fedora struggles is with the installation and initial configuration. The new system installer seems to be working a little faster than it did in Fedora 18, but it still feels awkward and the disk partitioning module feels like it took a step backward.
The KDE edition of Fedora ships KDE-oriented software, but skips many popular applications (such has Firefox) in order to maintain, I suppose, KDE-purity. This, along with the lack of several popular packages in the repositories means the user will spend more time than usual hunting down third-party software. Once everything is up and running Fedora 19 makes for a decent desktop and development platform and I think this version ran faster and smoother for me than any version of the distribution has in the past few years. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this release, despite its occasional rough edges.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu's Shuttleworth defends Mir, Fedora loses developer in tragic accident, Debian 7 newbie guide, CrunchBang for beginners
Ubuntu's decision to develop its own display server called Mir has not been welcomed in all quarters. Far from it. The fragmentation of resources, possible hardware incompatibilities and the continued "Apple-isation" of Linux by Canonical have been cited as the main reasons for the displeasure. But Mark Shuttleworth, the founder and benevolent dictator of Ubuntu is well aware of the backlash. Last week he wrote an explanatory blog post defending the company's decision to switch to Mir: "We take a lot of flack for every decision we make in Ubuntu, because so many people are affected. But I remind the team - failure to act when action is needed is as much a failure as taking the wrong kind of action might be. We have a responsibility to our users to explore difficult territory. Many difficult choices in the past are the bedrock of our usefulness to a very wide audience today. Building a graphics stack is not a decision made lightly - it's not an afternoon's hacking. The decision was taken based on a careful consideration of technical factors. We need a graphics stack that works reliably across a very wide range of hardware, that performs predictably, that provides a consistent quality of user experience on many different desktop environments."
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A devastating piece of news hit the Linux developer community early last week. Seth Vidal, a well-known Fedora developer and the creator of the yum package management utility, was killed in a bicycle accident in his native United States. The H Open reports: "Seth Vidal, long-time member of the Fedora community and lead developer of yum, was killed in a hit-and-run bicycle accident on Monday. Robyn Bergeron spoke for the Fedora Project and community, saying: 'He was a gifted speaker, a brilliant thinker, a clever wit, a humble and genuinely funny person, and a good friend' and that the community owed 'an enormous debt of gratitude to Seth's dedication to Fedora and other free software projects, his commitment to community values, and his passion for excellence in his work.' As well as creating yum, Vidal had helped maintain the Fedora project's infrastructure and helped create the original Fedora Extras system, and had contributed to the CentOS project." For more on Seth Vidal and his work please read these Fedora Planet posts by Konstantin Ryabitsev, Greg DeKoenigsberg, Robyn Bergeron and Tom Callaway.
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Debian GNU/Linux is often viewed as a distribution designed for more advanced Linux users, with much less emphasis on user-friendly features than on versatility and support for less common processor architectures. That said, with a bit of home work even a less experienced Linux user should be able to perform a successful installation and initial configuration. Not convinced? Then try this brand-new Newbies Guide to Debian 7 by FOSS Force's Gustav Fridell: "First of all you need an installation image (ISO file) which you can download from Debian.org. I recommend the small network install image. After downloading the file, copy it to a blank CD, DVD or USB memory stick. If you´re installing to a VirtualBox you're ready to continue to the next step. However, if you're installing directly to your hard drive as a native installation, you should connect to the Internet using an Ethernet cable since not all WiFi cards are supported. For example, I have an Intel WiFi card for which there are no drivers included in the Debian installation media, so they need to be downloaded manually later. If you already have another operating system installed you can keep it, but be sure you have enough room to add Debian and a swap partition." The second part of the guide, entitled Getting Your New Debian 7 'Wheezy' Box up to Speed, is now also available.
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One of the more interesting lightweight distributions available on the market today is CrunchBang Linux, a rather spartan but highly customisable Debian-based project featuring the Openbox window manager. But should you consider this distribution as your main desktop? Yes, say Larry Cafiero, a devout CrunchBang user, who even argues that it is a great distro for beginners: "The learning curve to adapt from a desktop environment to a window manager like Openbox is minimal; in fact, the hardest thing about using a window manager like Openbox is going back to a desktop environment and wondering at first why your right-click actions aren't doing what they're supposed to do. But aside from that -- and backed by a well-stocked forum full of answers and staffed by helpful folks -- new users would have no problems getting up to speed with CrunchBang. In fact, not only is CrunchBang a good distro to use on a daily basis, it's fairly educational without setting out to be. Let me explain: I started using CrunchBang after being a Linux user for five years, but I've learned more in a year using CrunchBang than in the previous five using Fedora, Xubuntu and my first distro, Debian. The reason is that to get CrunchBang the way I want it, I have to do things I wouldn't normally do in the other distros, and it has forced me to learn how things work under the hood."
CrunchBang Linux 11 - simple, lightweight and efficient
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|Application Reviews (by Jesse Smith)
Initial impressions of Kingsoft Office alpha 10 for Linux
Kingsoft's productivity suite has been around for a while, but it has only been fairly recently that the developers decided to bring their office software to the Linux community. The suite, which is available from the project's community website, includes three applications: a word processor, a slide show application and a spreadsheet program. Some people may be wondering why we need another productivity suite, especially one which isn't available under a copyleft license. The Kingsoft website provides three answers. The first is that Kingsoft is a relatively light office suite. Kingsoft comes with just three programs, the ones people are most likely to use and it doesn't bother with databases, drawing or project organizing. It's small and it's fast. The second reason is Kingsoft's applications are designed to look familiar to users of other productivity suites, it's a chameleon. We can change Kingsoft's theme so the applications resemble Microsoft Office or LibreOffice. Finally, Kingsoft is cross-platform and can be run on a variety of operating systems. The combination of these three features means a new user should be able to install Kingsoft almost anywhere and immediately start working with the suite using the same commands and layout they have used in the past.
The Kingsoft suite is approximately 150 MB in size and can be downloaded in Debian, RPM or tar archive formats. Launching one of the applications (Writer, Spreadsheet or Presentation) brings up a “Home” screen where we are shown project news and links to document templates. There are also links to the project's social media sites and documentation. In the upper-right corner of the screen a balloon appears letting us know we can click a button to change the program's theme. Kingsoft applications support three themes, one which resembles Microsoft Office 2007, another which looks like LibreOffice and a third which mimics Metro style applications. With the possible exception of the Calligra suite, I think this is the first time I've seen productivity applications act in such a flexible manner and I quite like it. Another interesting feature of Kingsoft's is tabs. Each of the three applications support documents in tabs, which allows for quick switching between projects.
Kingsoft Presentation alpha 10 - the home screen
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Since collaboration is very important in a productivity suite one of my primary concerns was the range of file formats Kingsoft would support. Documents can be saved as either Kingsoft's files or in Microsoft Office formats. Or so we are told. As it turns out documents saved with either filter create identical files, Kingsoft documents are Microsoft Office documents, just with a different file extension. When going to save a file I noticed on the save file screen there is an option for encrypting the document. I tried using encryption on a few files and the feature worked, not only with Kingsoft applications, but encrypted documents can also be opened by LibreOffice. The reverse, however, is not true. Documents created in LibreOffice using the Open Document format cannot be opened by Kingsoft applications.
I decided to use Kingsoft's suite for a week, attempting to use the Writer and Spreadsheet programs exclusively for work I needed to accomplish. The suite includes all the usual features one expects from office software, such as spell check, inserting images and tables, formatting, print preview and exporting files to PDF format. For the most part my time with Kingsoft was productive, stable and wonderfully uneventful. The one aspect which stood out during this time, above all else, was that the transition to Kingsoft was virtually seamless. Anyone who typically uses LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office will probably feel immediately at home. The controls, the available layouts and the style of the whole suite are remarkably familiar. So much so that I didn't have to think about anything I was doing, I was able to sit down and just start typing, entering formulas and numbers and everything worked exactly as I expected it to. The level of parity, with regards to features and layout, with both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office is uncanny. The only time I ran into a problem was when I tried to open documents which had been stored using Open Document formats. In those cases I was able to use LibreOffice to convert the existing document and Kingsoft could take over from there. Since most of the people I do business with use the same proprietary formats used by Kingsoft I had no trouble working with documents sent to me.
At the time of writing I haven't had a chance to test Kingsoft's productivity suite on other platforms, but according to the project's website the software is supported on Windows, Android, iOS and now GNU/Linux. I can't comment on how the suite works on those other platforms, but it runs quickly on my Linux desktop and both looks and acts like a native application. As I said before, the transition was nearly seamless in every respect. It didn't hurt my feelings either that Kingsoft was fairly light on resources. Running the word processor, for example, only used around 6 0MB of memory compared to LibreOffice's approximately 160 MB. Kingsoft was also faster to load which, while a minor point, is still nice to see.
Kingsoft Spreadsheets alpha 10 - working with charts
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During most of my trial I felt as though Kingsoft had managed to merge a lot of the perks of other productivity suites into their product. It has the light footprint and flexible interface of Calligra. It has the cross-platform support of LibreOffice and the ability to perform most of the tasks we might expect from Microsoft Office. The two areas where I felt Kingsoft's software didn't hold up in comparison were in the number of supported file formats. I've become spoiled by LibreOffice's wide range of supported document formats and Kingsoft only has support for a narrow band of proprietary files. The other drawback is Kingsoft is currently limited to a word processor, a spreadsheet application and a slide show program. These are the key components of a productivity suite, the ones most people will use, but Kingsoft lacks the drawing tools and database software available in other suites.
Perhaps I haven't been using Kingsoft's suite long enough to make a truly fair evaluation, but I suspect if the developers manage to add Open Document support I would feel comfortable switching to using it as my day-to-day productivity suite. As it stands, even lacking a wide variety of supported document filters, I'm impressed with what I have seen so far.
|Released Last Week
SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP3
Yesterday SUSE released the third service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 "Desktop" and "Server" editions, a set of commercial enterprise-class distributions for desktops and servers: "SUSE today announced the general availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack 3. This latest service pack brings additional industry-standard hardware support and open source features and enhancements to SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, the most interoperable platform for mission-critical computing - across physical, virtual and cloud environments. With Service Pack 3, customers can achieve better workload performance in a more scalable, secure and cost-effective manner. Service Pack 3 gives customers more scale-up and scale-out options to run their mission-critical workloads with support for new hardware, features and enhancements." Read the press release and check out the detailed released notes (desktop, server) for more information. 60-day evaluation editions are available for free download (after registration) from download.novell.com.
Clonezilla Live 2.1.2-20
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.1.2-20, a new stable build of the project's specialist live CD designed for disk cloning tasks: "This release of Clonezilla live (2.1.2-20) includes major enhancements and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2013-07-03; Linux kernel was updated to 3.9.8; Partclone was updated to 0.2.66, a better disk cache mechanism was used; the drbl package was updated to 2.4.18 and Clonezilla was updated to 3.5.1; the disk size info will be shown when selecting the images during restoring; a summary of ocs-chkimg will be shown after image is checked; syslinux was updated to 5.01...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a list of bug fixes.
PFire 2.13 Core 70
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13 Core 70, the latest stable release from the project developing open-source software solutions for routers and firewalls: "Today, the IPFire development team released the 70th Core update for IPFire 2. This update comes with a new kernel and some minor enhancements. Another kernel update to Linux 3.2.48 fixes various smaller bugs. In addition to that, we switched back to the official in-tree drivers for Realtek r81xx-based network adapters. The e1000e and igb kernel modules which control Intel Ethernet adapters have been updated as well. IPFire brings some data for wireless networks which basically contains information about which frequencies may be used in which countries. This database has been updated and covers more places in the world." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Linux Mint 15 "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 15 "Xfce" edition: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 15 'Olivia' Xfce. The highlight of this edition is the lightweight Xfce 4.10 desktop. Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. It embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that provide the full functionality one can expect of a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick among the available packages to create the optimal personal working environment. The default menu used in this edition is Whisker which features quick access to your favorite applications, categories, system shortcuts, recent documents and recently used applications." Read the release announcement and visit the what's new page for further information, screenshots and system requirements.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
June 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: awesome|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the June 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is awesome, a configurable and extensible window manager for X. It receives €220.00 in cash.
Although probably not the most widely used window manager, awesome has been included in many popular distributions, such as Arch Linux, Debian GNU/Linux and Fedora as well as Frugalware Linux and Grml. It is mostly designed for developers and power users. Quoting from the project's website: "awesome is a highly configurable, next-generation framework window manager for X. It is very fast, extensible and licensed under the GNU GPLv2 license. It is primarily targeted at power users, developers and any people dealing with every day computing tasks and who want to have fine-grained control on theirs graphical environment. A window manager is probably one of the most used software in your day-to-day tasks, with your web browser, mail reader and text editor. Power users and programmers have a big range of choice between several tools for these day-to-day tasks. Some are heavily extensible and configurable; awesome tries to complete these tools with what we miss: an extensible, highly configurable window manager."
Julien Danjou, a Debian developer and the founder of Awesome, has sent a brief thank-you message to DistroWatch.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards and Bitcoins are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$35,825 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300)
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Annual package database update
Earlier this month DistroWatch has updated its database of tracked packages, based on the suggestions of readers throughout the year. The following new packages have been added to the database: awesome, CMake, IBus, LLVM, MariaDB, Razor-qt and TigerVNC. If there is another software package that you think should be included in the DistroWatch package-tracking database please let us know.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Helal Linux. Helal Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution with a goal of providing a modern a stable operating system with pre-configured system settings, supporting both Arabic-speaking and Muslim users.
- MaadsTrack. MaadsTrack is a specialist distribution with tools for penetration testing and ethical hacking. Made in Pakistan by Maads Security.
- nuOS. nuOS is a FreeBSD-based operating systems that aims to be easy to use, secure, well-integrated, robust, fast. It also offers advanced functionality and is as backward-compatible as possible.
- SmoothSec. SmoothSec is a Debian-based distribution featuring tools for intrusion detection and prevention. It includes the latest version of Snorby, Snort, Suricata, PulledPork and Pigsty. An easy setup process allows to deploy a complete system within minutes, even for security beginners with minimal Linux experience.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 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 • Kingsoft (by Romane on 2013-07-15 09:30:15 GMT from Australia) |
I tried Kingsoft last week after it had been mentioned in the review. Well, let's say, I tried. Running Debian testing. Kingsoft refused to run. Not even the usual bouncing cursor :(
2 • Donation (by uz64 on 2013-07-15 09:48:15 GMT from United States)
Awesome! Okay, that was pretty dumb. But the timing of this donation is kind of ironic, because it was only a couple weeks ago that I started considering a plain window manager and leaving KDE behind, hoping to get it working well enough to not have to return. I also took that opportunity to try to learn tiling window managers, pretty much all of them--yes, the Awesome WM also--and consider switching to one of them.
I will admit, Awesome wasn't my final choice, but it seemed pretty nice from what I could tell. Early on in my search and research of tiling window managers I read about a window manager called i3, which intrigued me and I tried it... and long story short, that one stole the spotlight from all the others I tried. I'm using it right now and it's excellent. Had to do a fresh OS install a few days ago and used KDE again briefly while getting everything set back up again, and it was weird... I actually wanted back into i3. KDE's stacking WM no longer seemed to do it for me, it already felt weird after only a couple weeks. And I have always been heavily visual/mouse-oriented and have got extremely used to stacking window managers (I've toyed around with all three *boxes, IceWM, JWM... you name it).
Anyway... nice to see some support of/donations to a tiling window manager.
3 • Fedora 19 (by Chanath on 2013-07-15 10:15:33 GMT from Sri Lanka)
"The new version carried the code name "Schrödinger's Cat" which seems appropriate. Fedora, being a cutting-edge distribution, is an unpredictable beast and one never knows, prior to installing it, if the release is going to bring joy or heartache."
The new installer didn't see the partitions of my hard disk. It simply saw it as one disk, but nothing inside. I even had a clean formatted to ext4 partition, but had no chance of getting it installed. the strange thing is that Fedora 18 gets easily installed. Tried to install it few times and then dropped F19. It was a headache from the beginning. this never ever happens with an Ubuntu and its dervatives. Arch, Gentoo, Mandriva, Slackware based distros get installed too.
4 • fedora 19 (by Antony on 2013-07-15 10:59:11 GMT from United Kingdom)
Apart from the (half-baked?) installer, I am impressed with f19 so far.
Not had any update issues and now on kernel 3.9.9.
Sorry to hear about Seth Vidal.
5 • kingsoft thingie (by meanpt on 2013-07-15 11:10:19 GMT from Portugal)
Externally, Kingsoft office has working relationships with companies who provide products and services to our customers on our behalf. It is therefore sometimes necessary to provide these companies with information about our customers so that they can: ... blah blah blah".
This is like trying to mix oil and water.
6 • Seth Vidal (by fritz on 2013-07-15 11:18:37 GMT from United States)
My thoughts and prayers to Eunice, family, and friends. May a spark in this life make him a flame in the next. My deepest condolences. ~fritz
7 • Kingsoft (by Wine Curmudgeon on 2013-07-15 12:32:49 GMT from United States)
Meanpt has a very good point, especially since it's Chinese software.
Which is disappointing, since Kingsoft reminds me of the good old days of Abiword and Gnumeric -- small footprint, quick to load, and very responsive.
8 • Fedora KDE, and Crunchbang (by TomG on 2013-07-15 12:35:21 GMT from United States)
I personally love the fact that Fedora KDE only ships with KDE applications. It's not Fedora's primary release, so there's no need to include things like Firefox or the GIMP. KDE has been my favorite desktop for a long time.
Also, I've been using Crunchbang Linux full time at home for over 3 months, on an old machine with 1.5 gigabytes of RAM and it's just great. I think it's an excellent distribution. If using Openbox is awkward, you can install Xfce or LXDE and still maintain a fairly lightweight distro.
9 • CrunchBang / Ubuntu 12.04.3 shifted (by LAZA on 2013-07-15 12:48:04 GMT from Germany)
I tried some years ago #! on my secondary machine, but GUI worked GUI not cause of the NVIDIA graphics card (i think, it was a Quadro?)...
Playing around with it in an virtual machine it is a lot of fun, very fast and responsible, and also like the black design. :-)
Ubuntu 12.04.3 seems for me shifted for one week, in the release schedule it is now August 22rd.
Xubuntu is still my first choice on my primary machine: a lot of programs and possiblities. But with Wayland and/or Mir and some other (false) choices it may or not loose a lot of users... - nowadays are a lot of good distributions out there!
10 • Mint-xfce (by Joe on 2013-07-15 13:16:57 GMT from Mexico)
Wiskers menu is the best election for linuxmint xfce, it is as pritty as the kde menu and preserves the speed and very low consume of resourses. I am very happy, for me is the best flauvor of linux mint
11 • Wayland and/or Mir (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-15 13:21:29 GMT from United States)
@9: Mir is coming along nicely. There will be an x fallback mode in case anything gives Mir problems. It's my opinion that most distributions will be going with Wayland before long and x will fade into the sunset. It's been fun, but after all it is old technology. Ubuntu won't be losing any more users because of Mir or really much of anything else. The reason I say that is because of Unity and Amazon. Anybody that is going to jump ship has already done it when Canonical adopted Unity for Ubuntu or because of the Amazon search. I like Unity and I disabled online search so I don't have any problems with their choices. If you are still using Ubuntu at this time chances are you will still use Ubuntu after Mir, which in my opinion will be a better option then Wayland or x. Anyway most users of Ubuntu will not notice the change in the graphics stack except for improvements.
Forget what I just said about Ubuntu above. I just noticed that you said Xubuntu is still your first choice. Sorry about that. Anyway I believe Kubuntu is going with Wayland but I don't know about Xubuntu. I'm still of the opinion that both Wayland and Mir, when they get refined, will be a great improvement over x.
On the subject of Seth Vidal I couldn't have said it any better then fritz at comment #6.
12 • Seth Vidal (by Zybersun on 2013-07-15 13:55:30 GMT from United States)
I am very sorry to hear of Seth Vidal's death.
For the record I am annoyed with idiot drivers. I ride my bicycle often and at times very far from town to town. I am so sick of drivers that scream, "get out of the road,' when it is the legal place to ride in my area. I am sick of drivers driving by inches from me. I am very, very sick of the most common excuse after a vehicle hits a cyclist, "Ooops, I didn't see him/her."
So here are my thoughts on this. Cyclists... Carry a big stick, metal bar, mace, something. And the next time someone screams, gets close, etc. You start screaming back and if they stop and get in your face, drop their a!&. Note to drivers. If you can't see a bicycle with a human on it. Maybe you should not be allowed to drive, for that matter maybe you should just stay home and make sure not to breed at all. We have enough idiots as it is, don't add more.
13 • Kingsoft (by Pierre on 2013-07-15 14:10:03 GMT from Australia)
Even as a Alpha - it seems to update on a regular basis.
It'll be interesting to see it as Beta release, though.
- But Jesse still found it useful, though.
14 • Grammar police (by Sam on 2013-07-15 14:10:08 GMT from United States)
Comment deleted (for corrections please use email).
15 • F19 (by Smidge on 2013-07-15 14:34:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
Would've like to offer some more tangible comments but this installer is a disaster. None of the subterfuges for HD conditioning learned through pain and anguish over several decades enabled me to achieve a working version. Once, I achieved an 100% install before it crashed, but only once.
Working from the liveCD confirmed Jesse's appraisal that this is a mere minor upgrade, albeit competent enough.
16 • Seth Vidal (by bewbies on 2013-07-15 14:39:13 GMT from United States)
Just wanted to post an R.I.P. to Mr. Seth Vidal. My condolences to his family & friends.
17 • @ #2 (by Pierre on 2013-07-15 14:42:51 GMT from Germany)
Awesome to see another one got addicted to i3! :D
I am using it on top of KDE, too. And I made my way from awesome to i3, too. Awesome is awesome indeed, but it did not totally convince me.
I startet searching for more tiling window managers to test then and finally found i3 and got addicted, fall in love... call it, what you want, it does not change the fact that I don't want to go without it anymore.
I experience, too, that the tiling concept of KDE and other DEs feels like a poor approach to add tiling to a standard window manager.
Work simply floats on i3 for me.
Nice to see a more polished release again. Seems the rpm based distro like openSUSE, too, are finally making it's way to more polished releases again. Since 12.1 and finally since the stunning 12.2 release openSUSE is my first choice again....
... besides #!, which runs on my (more than 5 years old IBM ThinkPad) laptop.
It's polished, it's stable, delivering a up-to-date Firefox nevertheless and is great with OpenBox already. And it's quite easy to install i3, too. ^^
18 • Crunchbang easy to set up like Chromebook (by dave on 2013-07-15 14:45:13 GMT from United States)
It's easy to set up Crunchbang to mimic ChromeOS. My wife thinks my laptop is a Chromebook......she doesn't know it's Crunchbang. Looks just like her Chromebook.
19 • @18 Crunchbang easy to set up like Chromebook (by Chanath on 2013-07-15 15:46:38 GMT from Sri Lanka)
How do you setup Crunchbang to mimic ChromeOS? interesting to know how you did that.
20 • Kingsoft on Android (by Felix on 2013-07-15 15:54:59 GMT from Romania)
I first heard of Kingsoft Office when I bought an Android tablet a few months ago and found it preinstalled. Which is very useful because of all the idiots who do all their work in an office suite, with or without a good reason. On Android, Kingsoft struck me as light and very intuitive. Importantly, it can act as a PDF reader, which spares me from installing yet another application.
But on Linux, I really don't see why I would ever bother with a proprietary piece of software I have no reason to trust.
21 • Kingsoft (by Fox on 2013-07-15 16:31:51 GMT from Canada)
My biggest problem with LibreOffice continues to be mistakes in translating .doc and .docx files. It does not do well with tables and figures, nor with numbered lines. If Kingsoft does a better translation, I would go to it in a minute, proprietary or not. This would allow me to do most of my work on Linux.
22 • Kingsoft (by CedarCreek on 2013-07-15 16:42:18 GMT from United States)
"Documents created in LibreOffice using the Open Document format cannot be opened by Kingsoft applications."
If that's what it takes to be a "lightweight" application, I may just pass. Where are the savings in resources if I have to keep LibreOffice installed so as to translate my files to a format Kingsoft is willing to read? The days of not opening non-proprietary document formats should be long gone. If OpenDocument format was a step forward, Kingsoft must be a step backward.
23 • Mint 15 XFCE (by capricornus on 2013-07-15 17:38:02 GMT from Belgium)
Since a while, I try out every light weigt distro on Oracle VM VirtualBox. All the pupies misbehave in recognizing screen resolution, especially when dual displays have to be handled. Debian and especially Mint 15 XFCE behave not only well, but fast, faster then the other related distro's. Using Win7 with only 2 or 4 GB memory and dual core CPU's, every second counts. Once I thought " 9 is mine" and now it becomes " 15 is lean".
24 • 30 Window Managers in 30 Days (by noX on 2013-07-15 19:07:39 GMT from Germany)
If you'd like to try WMs to see if they fit your needs, don't miss this experiment over at the Crunchbang forum:
It covers 30 stacking and tiling WMs, complete with tons of tips on installation and configuration, screenshots, etc.
My favorite of the lot is Scrotwm, although I liked i3 a lot, too.
The experiment was done on Crunchbang, of course.
25 • Crunchbang (by octathlon on 2013-07-15 19:10:32 GMT from United States)
Crunchbang is running great on my netbook (on a 4GB SD drive with 512 MB RAM). The only thing I didn't like was that GIMP was included in the default install, but fortunately it managed to all fit on the SD and I could remove GIMP afterward.
26 • Fedora 19's installer (by Scott Dowdle on 2013-07-15 20:07:34 GMT from United States)
When I first saw the partitioning section of the new installer (Fedora 18 alpha, beta, etc) I though it was horrible... because I was so used to the previous installer. Then I did a zillion installs... and I read the instructions on the screen... and I played with it... and I got used to it... and it is fine. It has continuously been improving and is better in Fedora 19. One thing it does in Fedora 19 that it didn't let you do in Fedora 18, is to reclaim the entire disk rather than having to reclaim all partitions individually.
Why several people report issues here is beyond me. If they indeed have reproducable issues where are the bug reports to go along with them? If you don't want get involved with bug reporting and improving the system, I'm guessing Fedora isn't the distro for you anyway.
27 • Crunchbang + Debian (by upinvermont on 2013-07-15 20:22:37 GMT from United States)
Crunchbang is great; but the Debian base can be a dud on the wrong system. The saying has it that Debian is rock solid. Well, so are Debian's bugs. I recently installed Crunchbang on a newer system and while I loved the Crunchbang DE, I removed it because of Debian. I found myself looking up bugs that had been solved by other distros two or three years ago. And when I asked about the problems on the #! forum, I was told I should consult the Debian forum. Not worth the effort. I still use #! on an older system though, and love it.
28 • Fedora review (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-15 20:47:58 GMT from Canada)
Thanks for the review, Jesse, here's some nitpicks :)
"Then we are taken to a screen where we can opt to use LVM, Btrfs volumes or traditional partitions."
This is only in fact the case if you pick "custom partitioning". If you already have enough disk space to install and choose to install into that space, you're simply returned to the hub. If you choose the "reclaim space" option, you get a simple screen which just lets you delete or resize volumes for an automated installation into the freed-up space. The "custom partitioning" interface is not intended for all users to see, in fact, the design is that the majority of users will use the non-custom option.
"I found this screen odd in that it didn't appear to be possible to change the size of a partition, I had to delete and add new partitions if I wanted to adjust sizes, even if my partitions hadn't been written to the disk yet."
The size is one of the attributes of the volume shown on the right-hand side of the screen, both for existing and to-be-created volumes (note: I keep saying volumes rather than partitions because you can create LVM and btrfs volumes from this screen, not just partitions). You should be able to change it there.
"There is also a regression in that the interface doesn't give us hints as to how big a partition can be, we have to manually enter a given size and hope it fits."
If you enter no size, or a size larger than the available space for the new volume, the installer will simply make it as big as it can possibly be. We could perhaps explain this better, though, people seem to assume the installer will be dumber than it actually is. =)
"in part I believe because some screens put the "Done" / "Continue" button at the top of the window and other screens place it at the bottom."
This is theoretically consistent if you understand the design - basically, it's buttons that complete a hub that are at top-left - but it's complicated in the partitioning spoke because the 'completing the spoke' process is massively elongated. Partitioning is just a giant PITA to work into a consistent design, to be honest :/
"I was pleased to note the new version of Fedora doesn't require us to go through a first-run wizard when we start using the distribution, all of the configuration steps are now included in the modules of the system installer, speeding up the installation process."
Just to expand on this, you will in fact still see a first time wizard for all graphical installs if you don't create a user during installation, and you will see one on GNOME installs whether you create a user during install or not. Both of those are different from the previous 'firstboot' tool, though.
"We can check off which updates we want (or don't want) and click a button to download the new packages. I have mixed feelings about this approach to handling updates."
There is a full update viewer available from Apper too, IIRC. I think there's some button in one of the notifications that opens it, even.
"Once everything is up and running Fedora 19 makes for a decent desktop and development platform and I think this version ran faster and smoother for me than any version of the distribution has in the past few years. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this release, despite its occasional rough edges."
Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks again for the review.
29 • @15 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-15 20:51:58 GMT from Canada)
Well, think about it. You write:
'Would've like to offer some more tangible comments but this installer is a disaster. None of the subterfuges for HD conditioning learned through pain and anguish over several decades enabled me to achieve a working version.'
That doesn't sound like you actually *like* typical partitioning interfaces, right? That's why we wrote one which is different. The fact that it's different is why 'subterfuges...learned over several decades' aren't necessarily helping you: we're trying to write a better partitioner that doesn't require you to learn subterfuges through pain and anguish.
Of course, we're not perfect, and it's entirely possible you've hit some bug or limitation and it genuinely isn't good for you. But at least consider approaching it with an open mind, rather than assuming it's just like other existing partition UIs, and read the docs...
30 • hard drive partitioning (by ezsit on 2013-07-15 21:50:30 GMT from United States)
"we're trying to write a better partitioner that doesn't require you to learn subterfuges through pain and anguish"
Gparted and cfdisk have been around for many years, work reliably, and require no learning of subterfuges through pain and anguish. I really hate when programmers rework procedures unnecessarily. How hard is it to understand disk partitioning? Really? It is not rocket science.
I have never had a situation where cfdisk did something "wrong." Gparted works great for those who demand a GUI. Am I missing something in assuming no further "advances" were necessary in the realm of partitioning software?
31 • Annual package database update- Trinity DE (by Elcaset on 2013-07-15 22:06:13 GMT from United States)
Please add Trinity Desktop Environment to the package list. Thanks very much.
32 • Fedora 19 installer (by Paraquat on 2013-07-16 00:59:55 GMT from Sweden)
About a month ago, I tried the Fedora 19 beta. Not sure if the installer has been improved in the final release, but in the beta it was horrible. The problem was the partitioning - it gave me no useful clues as to where it would be installing. I didn't complete the installation as I didn't want to risk nuking my existing Debian partition.
I've installed Fedora in the past with the old Anaconda program, and had no complaints. This definitely is a regression, and I don't know what the developers were thinking. Remember that old saying about "Don't fix it if it ain't broke."
33 • @30 (by Vukota on 2013-07-16 04:08:57 GMT from United States)
"Gparted and cfdisk have been around for many years, work reliably, and require no learning of subterfuges through pain and anguish. I really hate when programmers rework procedures unnecessarily. How hard is it to understand disk partitioning? Really? It is not rocket science. "
Ha, no rocket science? Maybe if you do it every day on the same new hardware and in a same way. Look around how many times people messed up partitions, booting of the other OSes, etc. Have you ever used LVM, snapshots, etc.? On how many different computers/appliances have you worked on? You got a be kidding when you say it is not a "rocket science". I've done it many many times on many many different systems and setups, and I can tell you, every time I am doing it (on a different setup, than the one I've done), I am scared what the end result will be, because there were times when things went wrong and I was sweating to get the system in a usable state and without loss of data. Did you ever had a backup fail on you? If not, you didn't do many of them. Maybe it is because as you say, underlying software is changing, bugs, and default values are changing, but it is a "rocket science"!!! You can enforce standard if you work in a big company and doing this in a standardized way, but then you should not be scared to embrace new and better ways of doing things, because if it is today new, tomorrow it will be standardized, and as long as you did it in a standard way, nobody after you (or even you) will have problems to maintain the system after you.
34 • F19 (by Smidge on 2013-07-16 07:03:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
re. no.29. Afraid you've got the wrong end of the stick, ol' buddy. No.30 has almost got it right, but is probably too young to remember the 'pain and anguish' that accompanied MFM and RLL drives, 'real' low level partitioning and their stepper motor issues?! Even so, they were streets ahead of the technology for prepping the HD that Mr. Williamson seeks (pun intended) to introduce. Sorry, I'm a long-term fan of what RH has been doing in respect of Fedora, but, sadly, on this one you've got it completely wrong - if only because I can guarantee that it'll scare off the 'otherOS' refugee children and frighten the hosses. Then again, readers of the hidden agendae of strategic alliances and under-the-counter agreements, not to mention murmurings amongst eg US Dept. of Justice and EU legislators, might begin to wonder whether protection dollaria might have been passed to make an unusable partitioner? [I bet Ladislav will want to remove that last comment!] No, no, I'm having anoth er dose of paranoia.
Back to those nice distros that allow use of Gparted and old aged DOS users who are quite happy with cfdisk as advocated by No.30, which merely requires typing a few letters on the line rather than the inane clicking and shuffling of pictures on the page; what price progress?!
35 • @30 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-16 07:11:46 GMT from Canada)
Go build me an LVM, software RAID or btrfs volume set with gparted. I'll wait.
36 • @32 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-16 07:12:59 GMT from Canada)
"The problem was the partitioning - it gave me no useful clues as to where it would be installing"
If you use a non-custom path, it only installs into unpartitioned space. If you use the custom path, it displays a full summary of every action it will take and what mount point each partition will have in the installed system when you complete the custom partitioning plan.
37 • @34 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-16 07:14:04 GMT from Canada)
I've read your post three times and cannot find even a smidgen of sense concealed within. Could you provide me with the secret decoder ring?
38 • Fedora 19 and partitioning (by Pierre on 2013-07-16 07:37:53 GMT from Germany)
I read the 'partitioning is a desaster' after Fedora 18 was released and read it now again after Fedora 19 got released.
Honestly, I accept that most are first a little unsure or worried of the new Fedora installer, because it is a little unusal in it's design compared to most other common installers.
But because I could not believe that the installation process in general and the partitioning in particular could be so hard that so many fail at that part of the install, I just fired VirtualBox up and tried it myself.
And I got through without much hassles. As expected I was not as confident as I am by installing openSUSE or Debian because not much changed their in the last years but with a little interest and an open mind it was no problem to get it up and running.
You always can argue about design and concepts but just because you are not able to understand the underlaying structure only because it does something different you should not judge about something the way some people do.
And one very important and ignored fact Adam Williamson mentioned on post #35: 'Go build me an LVM, software RAID or btrfs volume set with gparted. I'll wait.'
The partitioner of Fedora and of openSUSE, too, is able to set up LVM, RAID and Btrfs volumes - most common partitioner most people name here a better alternative is not even able to read these configurations properly, not to mention the inability to set them up.
39 • FC19 Electronic Lab (by dbrion on 2013-07-16 07:56:05 GMT from France)
FC19 made huge progress w/r FC18 (it was impossible to install -i.e copying from a local CD to a local disk after partitioning a local disk - without an IT connection, for registration's "needs")
The remaining glitches (validating in every corner, for some logic) do not last a long time, as installation is fast, though it requires some care.
I installed FC EL19, and was very satisfied with the list of interesting softwares they ship. However, they choose a DE (Gnome), which is rather meant for "smart""phones" than for PCs, and is very unpleasant to use (I will try to put LXDE when I have some time); there is a huge difference between a somewhat unpleasant installation, which lasts 15 minutes with success, and every day use of (otherwise) good applications....
40 • @ #39 (by Pierre on 2013-07-16 08:50:13 GMT from Germany)
That the installation and configuration succeeds ist the most important fact.
Fedora does not only ship Gnome as DE but most of the common other DE's as spins, too. So if Gnome is not to your liking, just pick the KDE, LXDE, Xfce or any other spin.
And it's more important to me that the system is polished and stable after the installation. If everything is fine with the installed OS I don't care about the installation process anymore.
41 • F19 (by fernbap on 2013-07-16 08:59:52 GMT from Portugal)
F19 worked on my PC. F18 didn't, so i guess something was done right. In fact, the performance was at least as good as the best distros i've tried. Kudos for that.
Installed the KDE version on disk.
The installer is a TERRIFYING experience to anyone with more than one partition in the HD. Seriously, guys, you need to do something about that. I was very close to giving up installing, The only reason i didn't give up was the fact that i had already read the comments here at DW.
Then, after the install completed (it was fairly fast), and rebooted, THEN most of the work is still to be done in order to make it actually be any useful, but that is Fedora's idiosyncracy.
Personally, i didn't like most of the KDE apps, because they are.... KDE. Sorry, but that's me.
I even thought of trying the gnome 3 version. But no, that would be too much.
Anyway, F19 seemed to work fine.
42 • RE 40 No Desktop Environment (s)hopping (by dbrion on 2013-07-16 09:00:38 GMT from France)
Well, I wonot try 4....40 De to get something usable: a DE can be very "polished" .... and unusable (it is a pity if they have interesting applications; 15 minutes install. , even uncomfortable is shorter than months of potential use).
I ***already** wrote I would try LXDE -and know KDE is too "smart""phon" like to be usable.
43 • @ #41 and #42 (by Pierre on 2013-07-16 11:44:55 GMT from Germany)
If you don't like most of what KDE has in store for you, why you install it? There are so many other options out there: Xfce, LXDE, Mate ...
I don't see the point for your complaints. If you don't like something you'll have to move on trying other choices.
May it be LXDE or anything else - I don't care. At least no-one said it had to be dozens.
And honestly: KDE is too smartphone like? Where you found anything smartphone like in normal KDE and if you did not switch - maybe accidently - to the Plasma One or Plasma Active environments?
44 • Smartphones? (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-16 12:15:52 GMT from United States)
What amazes me here is that some people consider it very difficult to use a smartphone. A smartphone is not hard to use at all. Young children have no problems it seems. I don't own one, so I'm just talking from what I've seen. A computer desktop environment is whatever you want to put on it. If you don't like one kind then don't use it and use another. It really is that simple. Don't try to make it into such a big deal, because it's not. Saying a desktop environment is totally wrong because it looks, as they say, smartphone like, if just find if that's the way you feel. It doesn't make it correct however.
45 • @KDE & Kingsoft (by greg on 2013-07-16 12:27:36 GMT from Slovenia)
Both reviews above (Fedora and Kingsoft) have KDE user interface. And all pictures in the review look more like Windows interface than any known smartphone. In fact if you check the pictures above - this is not how smartphones look slike.
So how do complicated .docx files fare in Kingsoft office. There are some test docx files on internet. I tried them in LO 3.5 - it was a disaster, but 4.x handled them nicely. Is Kingsoft for linux free? Do they plan to have free and pro version? if it digests MS files nicely, then it might be better alternative than having MS office installed in wine.
46 • Are modern DE usable on PCs (RE 40,42...) (by dbrion on 2013-07-16 13:18:06 GMT from France)
One should use a "smart" "phone" ... to phone -let's us call it ... a foot...and a desktop to type text, write/debug programs -and circuits- , read som docs, have different DE opened (like old KDE/ old Gnome did) (let us call it ... a wheel: I have nothing against feet, but, for long distance, wheels seem somewhat better and much more comfortable...)
"just pick the KDE, LXDE, Xfce or any other spin." (your post 40)
"At least no-one said it had to be dozens. " (your post 42)
No, it is not dozens -just to be consistent- , it is 5 -at least- and I am afraid it would be -at least 4 errors, whether they are smartphone like -to be kind- or nothing -but "polished" - like...
47 • @38 Fedora 19 Installer (by Oliver on 2013-07-16 13:24:55 GMT from Germany)
After all these discussions I had to try the Fedora 19 installation too. I used a VM with two hard disk and a custom partition scheme. While the installer is certainly quite different than any other I know (mostly SUSE, Mint, Ubuntu) it worked fine for me and I am writing this from the new Fedora 19 system.
But still some little things were peculiar:
The installer showed me that it was set to a US keyboard, which was nice. But when I tried to change the keyboard layout it did not let me. I could set the layout for the system to be installed without problem though. But even after I deleted the original US layout it showed up on first boot along with my layout of choice. I had to delete it again.
When I set the root password I was informed that it was weak and that I had to press "Done" twice but it accepted it with a single click. Same for the user password, but here really two presses were required :->.
Best regards, Oliver
48 • @ #46 (by Pierre on 2013-07-16 14:26:05 GMT from Germany)
Really can't see any real reason for your DE bashing.
I can work with all of them without any problem. Non of them are my first choice because I prefer my custom configuration of i3 over all of them.
But please, do us all a favour, stop complaining if you don't make use out of so much choice you have....
49 • Kingsoft (by Dave Postles on 2013-07-16 14:34:35 GMT from United Kingdom)
There's no 64-bit version, which leaves it behind, IMHO.
50 • No LVM/luks-crypts 2 hdd problems here (by b064r7 on 2013-07-16 14:48:27 GMT from United States)
I'm still a complete tux n00b here, but I had no problems with configuring this Fedora install on my desktop replacement (asus G73jh). At some point in your search for the perfect flavor of penguin ice cream, you need to try some Arch. Even if you don't like it and move on to other flavors you will learn everything you need to about setting up LVMs & encryption via the CLI. The Fedora installer was smart to realize that I already had an LVM for my two drives configured so it asked to use that. Granted I'm probably jaded towards expert partitioner since I cut my teeth originally on SUSE products and I've been told that Anaconda is using the same to partition with (albeit a less button-y/option-y version).
51 • @50 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-16 15:52:06 GMT from Canada)
"Granted I'm probably jaded towards expert partitioner since I cut my teeth originally on SUSE products and I've been told that Anaconda is using the same to partition with (albeit a less button-y/option-y version)."
There's no relationship between the UIs that I'm aware of. Anaconda uses libparted on the back end for actual partitioning operations (other libraries/commands for filesystem creation, volumes etc, of course). That might be what you're thinking of?
52 • #35 GPartEd (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-16 16:51:12 GMT from United States)
Did you review current capabilities before commenting?
53 • Keyboard layout @47 and DE (by dbrion on 2013-07-16 17:10:08 GMT from France)
Well, I had no issues with keyboard layout : once it was selected (and it was nice to be able to test it) as an option deduced from language -it is classical-, it remained consistent....
There is nothing of a showstopper in the installer (one month ago, this installer was unable to install at password typing : they made huge progress)
The main issue remains the DE : I had used LXDE beta, and it was the most somewhat satisfying... Other DE, though FC19 El..Lab ships really interesting applications, are of little use, not comfortable enough (4 years ago, Gnome was very comfortable, many screens -one per topic, say :XP never offered it); now, it is very difficult to launch an application except ... from command line "okular toto.pdf ": this means the Gnome DE is useless for me....(and I played with it for 2 days: I wonot play with KDE, etc, etc.. "so much choice" ... likely to be translated into "so much a waste of time")
54 • F19 installer (by Smidge on 2013-07-16 17:57:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
53: "nothing of a showstopper" - oh yes there is! One expects a level of nay-saying when one is critical on the Fora, but this one is, for me, a different level in show-stopping . Normally, I have no problems with new and unfamiliar technologies having worked with computers since 1964. The F19 installer continually crashed during simple installation to custom partitions set up using its internal features. On the single occasion it reached (just) 100%, then it crashed before I could leave it, never mind reboot and complete any additional procedures. This is unacceptable, for me, and for anyone else having such (frequent, in my experience) issues. Furthermore, been a user of RH since inception when most experimenters were failing to get any installation by any means.
55 • @53 Keyboard and DE (by Oliver on 2013-07-16 19:00:13 GMT from Germany)
Well, even though I use a foreign keyboard I still use US language settings. That is probably a rare use case.
The DE is hardly Fedora specific. I installed the Gnome version and the DE did look like Gnome on SUSE or Ubuntu. I installed another desktop I liked more and it worked out of the box.
Best regards, Oliver
56 • "so much a waste of time"? (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-16 19:02:06 GMT from United States)
"so much a waste of time", what does that mean? I'm not quite sure what you are talking about. Many screens? You can have all the screens you want. Are you talking about virtual desktops? You can have all those you want. Can only open applications using the command line? Why are you so lost? Won't play with KDE? Then you can't say anything bad about it because you wouldn't know what you were talking about. It sounds to me like you are refusing to learn anything new or try anything different. I'm sorry but unless you are willing to progress with an open mind then we can't help you. Good luck with whatever you're trying to do.
57 • #35 (by jaws222 on 2013-07-16 19:04:47 GMT from United States)
I know thisis not ideal, but if you have virtualbox install F19 in there and take notes. I have yet to check out 19, but I put 17&18 in Vbox before I tried it on a "real" partition. I do wish they went back to Anaconda or simplified the install like Ubuntu.
58 • 37 • @34 (by Ron on 2013-07-16 19:15:34 GMT from United States)
'I've read your post three times and cannot find even a smidgen of sense concealed within. Could you provide me with the secret decoder ring?"
It must be he is using a 'One Time Pad' for the comments - look it up ;>))
59 • @52 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-16 21:36:42 GMT from Canada)
Sure. Someone in one of these threads a few weeks ago said why doesn't Fedora just use the Ubuntu/Mint installer, it's great. So I tried it. It uses gparted for partitioning. It couldn't even successfully delete an existing Fedora LVM install, never mind create a new layout.
60 • @54 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-16 21:39:20 GMT from Canada)
Well, as you can see from all the commenters and reviewers who had successful F19 installs, that clearly doesn't happen to everyone. It's bad that it happened to you, but you have to bear in mind that the number of different system and user configurations out there for PCs is effectively infinite: no-one has ever shipped nor will ever ship an OS that works perfectly on all of them. There will _always_ be bugs. Sometimes you'll be the person who runs into a really bad one, and life sucks.
Did you file a report for the crash? If so, can you let me know the URL? Thanks.
61 • @ 60 F19 Adam W (by Chanath on 2013-07-17 00:56:52 GMT from Sri Lanka)
You remember, I sent you the details of my hard disk last week? I tried 32 & 64 bit, but the installer didn't see the inside of my hard disk, so I just cannot install F19. You just cannot install a distro, when the installer doesn't see the hard disk. In the live session, the file manager sees all the partitions of the hard disk, meaning the installer is having a major problem.
62 • RE 54 Maybe FC19 is beginners-friendly (by dbrion on 2013-07-17 05:30:27 GMT from France)
As I had to try a pair of (highly unsatisfying) DE, I always managed, though it not at all my favorite hobby, to have everyone installed where I wanted (an external USB stick) without any glitch.... That makes FC19 snaky installer rather beginner-friendly (I install once a year since 2003: I like having something usable and then ... use it).
Are you sure you did not try late betas (version of 22nd, june could not be installed) and did your CDs/DVDs have a checksum?
It is a pity they have fixed their boa installer -and it is usable-, they ship interesting applications and their DEs are so unpleasant (5 seconds to find an application in huge icons: I preferrde launching from a terminal)... and very ironical to see I am considered as a FC19 hater (48, etc..) and a FC19 fanboy (54)...
BTW I am not looking, nor begging for help (RE 56): I have a working -and usable- FC17 and know, from early betas (unless they broke it) that FC19 can be used with LXDE.... ANd launching apps from a terminal is faster (and can be useful to catch error message, or to understand weird things).
63 • @59 - gPartEd, LVM and Fedora (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-17 07:09:18 GMT from United States)
And yet gPartEd uses RedHat's LVM2 ... interesting fail.
64 • @ #61 (by Pierre on 2013-07-17 07:16:45 GMT from Germany)
As you can see many others do not experience such problems. So it's for you like for Smidge, disappointing you experience such problems but this does not make it a major problem in general.
Nevertheless, I guess the new installer ist - after only two releases - still a part that is a work in progress. And all who are new to it will have to get used to it. When it becomes more settled we will see a lot less complaints, I am sure.
65 • @ #63 (by Pierre on 2013-07-17 07:24:16 GMT from Germany)
You are the first to mention this. I checked it and have to correct my claim gparted/parted magic were not able to deal with LVM or Btrfs. Indeed it is able since the end of 2012. It gained the ability shortly after I used it the last time, so it seems I just missed that.
But I could not find the fact that it's a (repackaged) Rat Hat's LVM2. Where did you read this?
66 • @62, I agree somewhat. (by LinuxMan on 2013-07-17 11:35:43 GMT from United States)
dbrion said, "ANd launching apps from a terminal is faster (and can be useful to catch error message, or to understand weird things)."
I fully agree with this statement, but what you said was, " it is very difficult to launch an application except ... from command line". Those are two different things or it seems that way to me. Anyway I just wanted to understand your problem in case someone could help, but it seems you can take care of yourself so I won't bother you again. Thanks for the exchange.
67 • @65 by Pierre from Germany - reference chain gPartEd to RedHat's LVM2 (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-17 13:35:27 GMT from United States)
I read it on the internet (!) - specifically GPartEd's web page detailing features links to the LVM2 project at sourceware, which in turn links to redhat ... and fedora.
68 • @ #62 (by Pierre on 2013-07-17 15:10:14 GMT from Germany)
So why, if you alrady made up your mind with LXDE as one of the few usable, are you still complaining?
What ever, launching apps from terminal sounds even more disturbing than a fullscreen menu that is searchable.
For reading error messages the launching out of a terminal might be useful, but if you just want a prompt to start an app you could simply hit Alt+F2 as the most common keyboard shortcut in most of the DEs and you get a prompt for launching apps or run other commands (where no output is needed).
A good replacement for the most common run dialogs: dmenu.
69 • RE 68 Stating real facts is not complaining. (by dbrion on 2013-07-17 15:48:47 GMT from France)
Does saying DE are mostly unusable (gnome shell crashing; more than 5 seconds to launch an app : distro claim they can start in 15 seconds....) translate into complaining?
It s just plain -but sad- facts.... and I already found a temporary -efficient, on short term- workaround....
I answered LinuxMan,-real men read manuals- . who thaught I was begging for help (and, BTW, I have known for **years** magical shortcuts ALT Fx ... which, alas, hide the other texts one is reading : I need to see (and forget) some docs to program/debug... ALT F2 does not work......). opening a terminal and launching keeps the other texts visible and usable....
70 • @61 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-17 18:17:12 GMT from Canada)
Yeah, I saw, but that doesn't match the one bug I know about where the disk shows as not detected. I've no idea what's going on in your case - odd bug. If you can file a bug and attach /tmp/*.log from the installer environment we might be able to figure it out. Thanks.
71 • @67 @65 @63 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-17 18:19:36 GMT from Canada)
I suppose it might be that there's something broken in the Mint installer environment that screws with gparted's handling of LVM, then - I didn't try it outside of that attempt. I still don't think it handles software RAID or btrfs containers, though.
LVM is an RH-originated project, yup, though I think it has maintainers from outside of RH too now.
72 • Launching from terminal (by Barnabyh on 2013-07-17 20:46:22 GMT from Germany)
is indeed a great way to launch an application get feedback. It usually points you into the direction of a problem if there is one.
When I tried to start Evolution from the sidebar/dock in F19 Gnome nothing happened and I got a notification that there is 'a problem'. Trying from cli did not only launch Evolution but obviously fixed something so that now it's starting every time from icon.
You can read the little write-up if you want when you click on my handle.
73 • The Hidden Gem in Fedora 19 (18 as well) (by Todd Dixon on 2013-07-17 20:52:43 GMT from United States)
I wish I could relate to installation issues people seem to have with Fedora's new installer. In F18, I remember getting scolded a couple of times by the new installer when what I thought was right didn't seem appropriate to the installer and I got a warning sign to do it again. I chalked it up to a new experience.
The real gem in Fedora that I used for F19 is the Fedup tool. The upgrade process was unbelievably painless. Every repository and file cleanly replaced and upgraded while I continued on with my work on F18. When everything had been downloaded, the system told me it was ready to reboot, I rebooted, and viola' --F19.
I've been a Fedora user for a while, but it has never been easier to upgrade and I won't need to deal with the installer again unless I want to :) ).
74 • Fedora's Installer (by cflow on 2013-07-17 22:57:49 GMT from United States)
I did an install of Fedora LXDE. I'm sorry - It is still not very intuitive.
When I mean "intuitive", I mean that I can look at the installer, and learn right away how to use it on my computer - no documentation required. I can easily do this with the ubiquity installer and get my computer up and running, ever since my start in the Linux world. Now, my critique:
- I accidentally forgot to configure my time zone, as once I set the language and keyboard layout, It sent me to the main screen. It told me that partitioning was the important thing I needed to do. So I ignored everything else that the installer ignored, and I"skipped" configuring the timezone. Embarrassingly, I had to use the command line to reconfigure it later.
- When I visualize partitions, I think of blocks of disk space set to certain types of classes, like "swap," "/", and file system types. When the partitioner starts, It visualizes little about how the partitioning setup will look like before or even after fedora gets installed. The scheme is all about buttons, numbers, and words. While Fedora 19 did do better to say when partitioning begins than the last version (which I freaked out last time) I still think Ubiquity's visual approach is way more intuitive.
Now, as for saying " I can't do "X" with Ubiquity (like automatically use lvm), that is completely different from being intuitive - that is "functionality" - the ability to perform something. I'll bet all Ubiquity devs would really need to do is put a checkbox that says "use X setup", and automatically be easier to do the setup than Anaconda
-just my opinion.
75 • @74 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-18 00:40:09 GMT from Canada)
"When I mean "intuitive", I mean that I can look at the installer, and learn right away how to use it on my computer - no documentation required. I can easily do this with the ubiquity installer and get my computer up and running, ever since my start in the Linux world."
Well, the difference is that anaconda is a lot more capable than Ubiquity. The Ubi devs wouldn't dispute that, either. The two are designed for different purposes. Ubiquity is a very simple wizard installer which you're mostly expected to just follow from step to step making simple choices. Anaconda is far more complex, because it's required to cover a whole bunch of different functionality that Ubiquity does not.
The more complex and functional your software, the harder it is to make it 'intuitive'. I doubt anyone would expect, say, an office suite to be entirely 'intuitive': I don't think anyone ever learned to use mail merge or pivot tables without reading some instructions.
The expectation that a piece of software as complex as anaconda can be entirely 'intuitive' is the problem, basically.
76 • @74 redux (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-18 00:41:56 GMT from Canada)
"So I ignored everything else that the installer ignored, and I"skipped" configuring the timezone. Embarrassingly, I had to use the command line to reconfigure it later."
Why? There's a perfectly good GUI for it in GNOME, and system-config-date for other desktops.
"When I visualize partitions, I think of blocks of disk space set to certain types of classes, like "swap," "/", and file system types."
The problem with that is it's a very limited conception. You can't sensibly represent logical volumes in that way, or multi-disk spanning volumes, for instance. If you want to write a very simplified partitioning tool and you feel you can rely on your users to understand the basic mechanics of how hard disk partitions work, sure, that approach works. Otherwise, it doesn't.
77 • @74 • Fedora's Installer - cflow (by Chanath on 2013-07-18 01:57:17 GMT from Sri Lanka)
You know, the simple Arch installer is much easier than these full-screen graphical installers. Talking about graphical installers, the easiest is the Ubuntu installer.
78 • Installer GUI design (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-07-18 02:12:29 GMT from United States)
Methinks our resident apologist doth protest too much.
The goal of a GUI is to communicate visually, to be intuitive. Take constructive criticism back to the team, and show gratitude. Insisting it couldn't possibly done better is arrogance; let your clientele make that case for you.
Your team's hard work is appreciated, and has been complimented. Don't let graceless pride diminish the glow.
And when the trolls bait you, and you feel a tidal surge, move Away From The Keyboard, until your mind settles.
79 • best tiling window manager? (version 2.0 of #79!) (by Alessandro di Roma on 2013-07-18 07:54:15 GMT from Italy)
best tiling window manager? (by Alessandro di Roma on 2013-07-18 07:46:15 GMT from Italy)
I see a lot of interest about tiling window managers, well, the best one for me is xfce + X-tile.
I use Xubuntu 12.04 LTS.
I installed X-tile 2.5 from Xubuntu's repository via Synaptic. If you don't find the a 2.5 (or more) version then download it from http://www.giuspen.com/x-tile.
I added to my top panel a launcher button with command "x-tile g" via Applications Menu -> Settings -> Panel -> Panel 0 -> Items -> "+".
I added a keyboard shortcut "<Primary><Alt>g" with command "x-tile g" via Applications Menu -> Settings -> Keyboard -> Application Shortcuts -> "+ Add". "<Primary><Alt>g" simply means "<Ctrl><Alt>g".
So I can tile my desktop when I want, by mouse or by keyboard.
You can choose whether to tile together all your windows in any workspace, or only the windows in the current one, toggling the Applications Menu -> Accessories -> x-tile -> Edit -> Preferences -> Only Current Workspace flag.
That's all! If you don't use xfce, X-tile works on any other X desktop environment: gnome, kde, lxde… Try it!
80 • @ #79 (by Pierre on 2013-07-18 09:43:19 GMT from Germany)
Interesting hint indeed. Guess I will ask for a permission to install i3 and x-tile on my pc at work.
Nevertheless I would prefer i3. It's basically because the tiling concept is unbeatable in my eyes.
Changing the virtual workspace on the left monitor does not change the virtual workspace on the right tmonitor, switching between windows works a lot easier and faster by keyboard and some other things that matter to me.
Additionally Xfce and other DEs already have some tiling features integrated. But this does not fully satisfy me either. So x-tile and the already integrated tiling features are nice and ok, but I prefer i3 over these concepts that lack mentioned abilities.
81 • RE 78 : According to Lapalisse, the goal of an installer is to install (by dbrion on 2013-07-18 10:43:49 GMT from France)
The goal of an installer is to ... install reliably (and, if things are messed,*not* to install, keeping PCs as they were).
With respect to this objective, FC19 boa is perfect....
Being unintuitive is a matter of 15 minutes care (or training with Vbox/vmplayer); therefore, one can forgive having validations in every corner -at least, if they do not add corners in next version, for some weird logic)
There is a thing which puzzles me: can one install through rpms exta software (on /opt, say) with a live CD/DVD and test them, then decide to install? what will be copied (the LiveCd version of the rpm data base, or the new version -if it is possible to create a new version?-)
82 • @81 (by Barnabyh on 2013-07-18 12:05:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
The live image will be copied to your hd. What you want would need remastering.
83 • GOOD OLE' DAYS (by RobertD on 2013-07-18 12:07:13 GMT from United States)
I am going to take a lot of flack for saying this but I have never cared before: All but two of the top ten Distros are for newbs that need their hands held during the installation process. Some may say that is a good thing and I guess you don't need to be a mechanic to drive a car.
But what happened to Linux? I remember when Gentoo, Debian, Slackware, Crux, Sorcerer and SuSe were in the top ten. Yeah, those were the good old days.
The members of my local Linux group no longer talk about improving code but more on the merits of why Mint is better than Ubuntu.
Anyway, I still personally run Slackware, OpenBSD, Gentoo on my systems but can appreciate the beauty of choice. And in the end I guess that is what Linux is about.
84 • @82 - Barnabyh (by Chanath on 2013-07-18 16:37:34 GMT from Sri Lanka)
"The live image will be copied to your hd."
Barnabyh, can you tell me how to do that, I mean, to install F19 without using the installer? I have a strange problem; the F19 installer simply don't see any partition inside the hard disk. This has never happened to me before. I'd like to install F19, but can't. Your help would be appreciated!
85 • re: 75-76 (by cflow on 2013-07-18 17:01:04 GMT from United States)
You say that Intuition must be sacrificed in order to make an installer "more capable" - or I should I say, "add more functionality" to the installer.
I completely disagree.
Ubiquity succeeds in that a beginner can easily set up a basic "default" installation next to other installations. This is by the way the installer is designed - step-by-step instructions, much like an install wizard like you say. For advanced needs, there is a manual partitioning tool - and in those steps, that may be where Ubiquity lacks the capabilities you might suggest.
But in Anaconda, they literally broke the intuitive "step-by-step" and visualization of the install process apart just for certain "capabilities" that while Fedora may believe as important, many basic users - like me - don't quite need to use all the time. Basically, this is making life more difficult for beginners that want a basic fedora installation for the entire sake of advanced features. I don't believe this is right.
Note that the Ubiquity installer is adding support for LVM. Once all the capabilities are completed, I bet I'll have an easier time setting up this feature in Ubiquity than in Anaconda, as the foundations in Ubiquity are more intuitive.
86 • @84 by Chanath (by Barnabyh on 2013-07-18 19:51:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Sorry to disappoint you Chanath, by this I meant that with a live image the installer literally copies system files to the hard drive, it is not a 'real' installation.
Have you tried downloading the DVD and installing from that? I remembered that with openSUSE this is the recommended method and made quite a difference.
87 • Fedora 19 Jam Spin (KDE) (by Zybersun on 2013-07-18 20:33:50 GMT from United States)
I have Fedora 19 Jam (KDE) installed. I am bouncing back and fourth between that and Mint 15. Honestly the only problem I have had with it was my own fault. I changed the wrong thing in the /etc/selinux/config file, a real dumb@#! mistake, and had to boot the livecd, mount the drive and correct the mistake. I use lvm/encryption on all my os installs so it took a little more to fix it, very little. Other than that it runs very well. The installer itself could use some work but I have no doubt it will get better over the next couple of releases. It is already a little better than it was in 18. I am patient and have no doubt things will only get better.
88 • @78 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-18 22:16:35 GMT from Canada)
"The goal of a GUI is to communicate visually, to be intuitive."
Those are two entirely different things, but you concatenate them as if they were the same. They are not. It is not a requirement of a GUI that it be intuitive.
"Take constructive criticism back to the team, and show gratitude."
I do, and have done consistently. Where do you think a lot of the f19 changes came from?
"Insisting it couldn't possibly done better is arrogance;"
I have not done this. What I find arrogant is commenters who spend five minutes using something and five minutes thinking about it and come to the 'obvious' conclusion that it's terrible and could easily be made better, when I've spent months with the people who are working extremely hard to make it work as well as possible, and know that it absolutely is not anywhere close to being that 'obvious'.
Constructive and _specific_ criticism is fine, but 'obviously the partitioner should just be a hard disk schematic!' really isn't constructive criticism. It's kind of a dumb thing to say: do you really think a team of a dozen people, working on an installer for two+ years, never once thought of doing it that way? Doesn't it cross people's minds that maybe they _actually thought about that_ and have good reasons for not doing it that way? I can't help but wonder. I do deplore the 'instant expert' tendency.
"let your clientele make that case for you."
I'm not sure what this means.
89 • @85 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-07-18 22:18:16 GMT from Canada)
"But in Anaconda, they literally broke the intuitive "step-by-step" and visualization of the install process apart just for certain "capabilities" that while Fedora may believe as important, many basic users - like me - don't quite need to use all the time. "
Well, no, we really didn't. If you don't use custom partitioning, then disk selection and partitioning _is_ a very simple step by step operation. You pick the disks to use, then you either say you're happy to install into free space, or you pick which partitions you want to delete or shrink to free up more space. And that's it, the entire partitioning process. It is not complicated.
90 • @ 86 Barnabyh (by Chanath on 2013-07-18 23:18:34 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Thanks for the reply. I wish there is another method of installing a distro through the terminal. This is one distro, I won't have installed. I am not a Fedora user, but I like to work with it for some weeks at least. There was a Fedora, which stayed with me for quite a while, I think it was F15. This particular installer won't allow F19 to be installed in my laptop, simply by not seeing the hard disk. Have a good day!
91 • @75 Adam Williamson (by Ika on 2013-07-18 23:40:13 GMT from Spain)
"The more complex and functional your software, the harder it is to make it 'intuitive'."
I doubt anyone would expect, say, an office suite to be entirely 'intuitive' "
Comparing an installer with an office suite?!... Is like comparing a microwave with a Cadillac...
Why adding a couple of features should mean complicate the things?
There is no excuse in not providing a clean and intuitive GUI for a bit more complex process.
92 • @89 (by cflow on 2013-07-19 00:08:28 GMT from United States)
"Well, no, we really didn't. If you don't use custom partitioning, then disk selection and partitioning _is_ a very simple step by step operation. You pick the disks to use, then you either say you're happy to install into free space, or you pick which partitions you want to delete or shrink to free up more space. And that's it, the entire partitioning process. It is not complicated."
The partitioning process isn't the whole installer. I meant that for some reason it turned from a sequential, step-by-step installer to one that has no major order of how to install the system - a hub-like one as described in the review - and it's not as intuitive as a step-by-step one.
Like I said, I accidentally skipped the step of configuring the time zone during the install because of the lack of sequence and notification that it needed to be done. And remember, the spin was LXDE - the desktop doesn't have a gui for configuring the time zone outside the installer. At the time, searching in yum extender didn't help be find any gui tool that worked either, including the one you suggest so I learned to change it with the terminal.
I still think Ubiquity is way better in design - The first time I saw it, I easily did a successful install. I've rarely seen a review that seriously criticized the design of Ubiquity. But I've seen many that have on this new Anaconda installer.
If you haven't yet, I seriously suggest asking the ElementaryOS designers and other GUI designers what they think about Anaconda - and actually start debating about what a good gui means. It's more of an art than you think it is.
93 • @92 cflow (by Ika on 2013-07-19 00:29:38 GMT from Spain)
That's the point sr. Williamson is not understanding!... (LOOOL!...)
What's so difficult to understand? A simple (though not simplistic) design and just add/link to it the two or three features (and a step more for a feature if necessary) and that's all.
Is it so difficult? Don't think so...
But what I think is someone must justify his work (and money) and changes are made just for doing something new, not necessary better. In this case - worst.
94 • @76 (by ezsit on 2013-07-19 00:39:06 GMT from United States)
""When I visualize partitions, I think of blocks of disk space set to certain types of classes, like "swap," "/", and file system types."
The problem with that is it's a very limited conception. You can't sensibly represent logical volumes in that way, or multi-disk spanning volumes, for instance. "
Logical volumes are pretty simple and setup is no more difficult than primary partitions. Multi-disk spanning volumes are not the usual preference for people who are confused by traditional partitioning schemes. If a user wants to use a multi-disk spanning volume structure, that user (1) should know why they desire such a setup and (2) how to set that structure up. If the user can not answer both questions, they should stick to traditional partitioning schemes.
Also, in any production environment the /boot filesystem should be placed on a simple primary partition formatted with ext3. Doing something flashier is only asking for trouble later in life.
95 • Fedora installer (by fernbap on 2013-07-19 11:19:31 GMT from Portugal)
"I have not done this. What I find arrogant is commenters who spend five minutes using something and five minutes thinking about it and come to the 'obvious' conclusion that it's terrible and could easily be made better, when I've spent months ..."
You understand your argument is pointless, do you?
Microsoft spent years making decisions on what Windows 8 would be, and noone likes it.
The old beaten argument "developers know better" was proven wrong many times, regardless of the developpers opinion.
I know Fedora is not focused on user friendliness. However, defending that something that is not user friendly regardless of the users opinion is arrogant.
It doesn't matter how many months were spent on doing it.
96 • @ #93 by Ika (by Pierre on 2013-07-19 14:09:16 GMT from Germany)
Once again a comment by you I cannot agree with.
The decision to rewrite Anaconda with a new design was made to replace the old and aging one with something that is capable to deal with the innovations of the past few years and to deliver a better experience.
In my opinion it's obvious that the needs of handhelds as well as desktops and other devices were integrated into the design and concept.
It necessarily had to be something completely new. And only because you are not able to recognize the value of this new design does not make it the worst one ever.
So defending it is not this 'must justify his work' you call it. If you are pleased with what you achieved by hard work and someone is talking billshit about it, you would propably react the same way like, for example, Adam reacts now.
97 • Boa, snakes and Anaconda... (by dbrion on 2013-07-19 15:08:22 GMT from France)
Having an installer which does not install anything if there is something wrong is not a bad idea, in the long term (ex: one needs passwords : if passwords are not/cannot be -this was a bug of FC19 boa in june, quickly fixed...- enterered, why should one detroy / format partitions?).
And being careful for 15 minutes is not that terrible.... (I wish they had good ideas for DEs, too, as they are meant to be used for years)
98 • 92 • @89 (by cflow on 2013-07-19 00:08:28 GMT from United States) (by Finalzone on 2013-07-19 21:22:09 GMT from Canada)
The partitioning process isn't the whole installer. I meant that for some reason it turned from a sequential, step-by-step installer to one that has no major order of how to install the system - a hub-like one as described in the review - and it's not as intuitive as a step-by-step one.
In this case, you talk about familiarity rather than intuition because Anaconda hub is different than Ubiquity.
Like I said, I accidentally skipped the step of configuring the time zone during the install because of the lack of sequence and notification that it needed to be done. And remember, the spin was LXDE - the desktop doesn't have a gui for configuring the time zone outside the installer. At the time, searching in yum extender didn't help be find any gui tool that worked either, including the one you suggest so I learned to change it with the terminal.
What you describe is your condition of using Ubiquity and expection of Anaconda hub to behave the same way. The case of LXDE spin lacking a time zone setting is specific to that spin so you should submit a bug report against the maintainer, nothing to do with the installer. Spins like Gnome, Mate, KDE are unafffected to that problem you encountered.You accidental skip of timezone in the installer is your own fault.
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