| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 525, 16 September 2013
Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Ubuntu has always presented itself as an operating system for end users, notably desktop and laptop computers, so it might have escaped the attention of many that the project also provides an excellent server variant. But what do you do if you are just starting up with Linux and would like to build a website running Ubuntu? Simple - get the third edition of The Official Ubuntu Server Book. Jesse Smith is happy with the publication, believing that it "takes some difficult subjects and boils them down nicely". Read his complete book review below. In the news section, FreeBSD launches the first alpha of version 10 with a surprising array of new features, OpenBSD prepares for the release of version 5.4, Linux Mint delivers a brand-new version of the excellent MintBox, and openSUSE unveils a new image for the Raspberry Pi mini computer. Also in this week's issue, a discussion about the alternatives to the Skype voice-over-IP service and instant messaging client and an intriguing interview with the leader of Manjaro Linux, a user-friendly fork or Arch Linux. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (13MB) and MP3 (29MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Book review: The Official Ubuntu Server Book (3rd edition)
Typically when I pick up an educational book on Linux it is with the hope of finding a text which will help introduce newcomers to the Linux desktop. On a few occasions I've found good books that explore more technical concerns, such as trouble-shooting Linux distributions when things go wrong or exploring the power of the command line. Not often do I flip through books dedicated to working with servers. Maintaining servers just isn't exciting work, or at least when things are going well it isn't very exciting. Server administrators prefer dull days over exciting ones and so the books dedicated to server maintenance tend not to be thrilling. However, for almost every rule there is an exception and I picked up a copy of The Official Ubuntu Server Book (cover pictured on the right) last week, mostly because of the author.
Kyle Rankin's name appeared on a text I reviewed last year called DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices. It is one of the best books I've read on dealing with computers that are malfunctioning and it was a surprisingly easy read considering the complex subject matter. With this in mind I had hoped Mr Rankin and his co-author, Mako Hill, would take the complicated process of properly managing a server running the Ubuntu operating system and present the material in a simple and easy to understand fashion. I am happy to report that is exactly what the authors did and the result is remarkable.
The first thing which stood out about The Official Ubuntu Server Book is that it doesn't assume we have much experience when we start reading the text. It would be helpful if we have used a Linux distribution before and readers will feel much more comfortable with the book if they have used a Linux command line at some point in the past. However, beyond this low level of experience, very little is assumed about the reader's abilities. We are not expected to have worked with servers in the past, nor are we expected to be masters of the command line or know where configuration files are located.
The book starts by giving us some background on GNU/Linux operating systems in general and then Ubuntu in particular. We are given a quick history of Ubuntu's Server edition. Then we are shown a step-by-step tutorial on installing Ubuntu Server and, again, our level of experience is assumed to be approximately that of someone who has managed to stumble through an installation of a Linux distribution sometime in the past. The text then spends a little time explaining the Linux command line, file permissions and some other operating system basics. From there we get into low level concepts such as the steps the operating system takes to boot and how to manage Ubuntu packages from the command line. In short, the first four chapters are there to give us some background information, get us up and running with a fresh installation and show us how to perform a few basic tasks from the command line. After that we get into the interesting server stuff.
Chapter Five is where a great deal of the action is and this chapter is probably what will make the book really worth while for most readers. This chapter explains how to install and configure several popular services. These include DNS, the Apache web server, secure shell (OpenSSH), database services, DHCP, file servers and a thin-client server. Setting up these services can be intimidating, especially for new administrators, but the book breaks down the steps, explains the configuration process and contains lots of examples. The text is clearly presented and makes the tasks seem much easier than most on-line tutorials (or even other textbooks) do.
After that the book explains basic security and talks about the various approaches to maintaining a secure server. What I particularly liked about the Security chapter is that the authors point out some of the pros and cons to various approaches. For instance, we are told how to automatically block unwanted remote login attempts and then we are told how this can blow up in our faces. At another point the text mentions a simple method for avoiding locking ourselves out of a remote server should we mis-configure the firewall. It is little tips like these that will save new administrators a great deal of time and heartache. After that the book gets into various backup methods, how to monitor servers and virtualization. There is also some overlap with the aforementioned DevOps book in that the text covers troubleshooting common problems and how to rescue or recover a server.
There are also some notes on issues to consider if the server appears to be compromised by outside attackers. Toward the end of the book the authors cover other resources (beside the book) where a troubled administrator can find help. At the end of the book we find several tips and shortcuts for server administration. These are typically short, one-line commands that an administrator might use over and over and, in doing so, save a great deal of time. These sorts of quick tips are things system administrators naturally start doing as they gain experience over the years and it is nice to see the authors passing along their hard-won wisdom to the readers.
Throughout the book we are given simple and clear explanations without expectation that we have past knowledge of server administration or even, in some cases, command line knowledge. In addition the book not only tells us how to set up services a certain way, but gives the reasoning behind the practices advocated. This gives administrators more than the blueprints for setting up a server, we are also given the building blocks for customizing the services and the ability to weigh certain choices. Some of these choices are more philosophical than technical, such as how to respond to an on-line attack or the level of access to give multiple administrators in a team environment.
If The Official Ubuntu Server Book has a fault, it is that (as the title implies) the book is entirely focused on recent releases of Ubuntu. Many of the steps and concepts presented are transferable to other Linux distributions, but some of the material is strictly related to Ubuntu and its family of community distributions. (The copy of the book I received comes with two discs, one for Ubuntu Server 12.04.2 and one for Ubuntu Server 13.04, both are 64-bit builds.) This does tie the reader pretty closely to Ubuntu (and perhaps Debian), but given how powerful and straight forward Ubuntu Server is to maintain, that may not be a bad thing.
All in all, I was very happy with the book. It takes some difficult subjects and boils them down nicely, giving the reader a way to quickly get services up and running. The miscellaneous tips provided are quite useful and will probably save readers a good deal of time over the course of a career. Server administration sometimes comes across as a dark art and it is nice to see a book which so thoroughly shines a light onto the subject. Whether you are studying to become a system administrator or just looking to set up a server at home to handle personal e-mail, I think this is a good text to get newcomers started.
* * * * *
- Title: The Official Ubuntu Server Book (Third Edition)
- Authors: Kyle Rankin & Benjamin Mako Hill
- Published by: Pearson Education, Inc 2014
- Pages: 600
- ISBN-10: 0-13-301753-2
- ISBN-13: 978-0-13-301753-3
- Available from: InformIT, Amazon.com and other bookstores.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
FreeBSD 10 with Clang and bhyve, OpenBSD 5.4, MintBox 2, openSUSE for Raspberry Pi, interview with Manjaro's Philip Müller
The FreeBSD project has been around for ages, so it might surprise some people that its upcoming version will only reach number ten. Still, that's a big number that might look like a significant release in some commercial quarters, but it's just "business as usual" in the FreeBSD land. Nevertheless, it's a major new release, so can we expect anything breathtaking? The answer is YES. The widely publicised switch of compilers from GCC to Clang/LLVM is astounding enough, but there are more surprises, including the developed-from-scratch BSD Hypervisor (bhyve): "bhyve, the 'BSD hypervisor' is a legacy-free hypervisor and virtual machine manager that is actively being developed on FreeBSD and leverages modern CPU features such as Extended Page Tables (EPT). What hardware does it run on? bhyve currently supports Intel processors with Extended Page Tables. Processor EPT compatibility can be determined at ark.intel.com but most Core i3, i5, i7 and related Xeon processors are supported. Presence of the "POPCNT" (POP Count) processor feature in dmesg(8) will also indicate EPT support. AMD SVN support arrived on August 22nd, 2013 with FreeBSD svn r254677 and requires testing." Certainly an exciting item for the fans of FreeBSD, but this news merely confirms that FreeBSD is just playing catch-up with Linux. Or is this assessment incorrect? We'd really appreciate to hear from FreeBSD gurus here.
* * * * *
Still in the BSD land, the developers of OpenBSD have published the release page of the upcoming OpenBSD 5.4 page which includes the usual changelog, the song and other useful information: "This is a partial list of new features and systems included in OpenBSD 5.4. For a comprehensive list, see the changelog leading to 5.4. New/extended platforms - OpenBSD/octeon, new platform for systems based on the Cavium Octeon MIPS-compatible processors, supported machines include Portwell CAM-0100, Ubiquiti Networks EdgeRouter LITE (no local storage); improved hardware support, including inteldrm(4) has been overhauled; support for Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) including support for additional output types such as DisplayPort; Sandy Bridge and newer parts which previously had only ShadowFB acceleration now have full hardware acceleration including use of the 3D rings; wsdisplay(4) now attaches to inteldrm(4) and providers a framebuffer console...." OpenBSD 5.4 will be released on 1 November 2013 and if you want it, please head over to the project's online store for pre-orders or wait for the FTP servers to provide the installation CD images.
* * * * *
Despite being in the 21st century, buying computers with a choice of operating systems is still hard and sometimes even impossible, so it's our pleasure to report the availability of MintBox 2, a sexy mini-computer that comes with the latest version of Linux Mint. Clement Lefebvre reports on the distribution's blog: "The MintBox 2 is now available and can be ordered from CompuLab. The MintBox 2 will also soon become available from Amazon.com and Amazon.de for US and European customers. MintBox 2 is a mini-computer which connects to TVs or computer monitors via HDMI or DisplayPort. It comes with 8 USB ports as well as in/out audio jacks, eSATA, Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth so you can connect it easily to any network or device. The unit feels very special and very unique. It's small, about the size of a router, so it fits behind your keyboard, your TV and it's easy to bring with you anywhere you go. It's extremely sturdy and completely silent. There is no plastic, the case is entirely made of solid die-cast iron and acts as a heat sink, so there are no fans inside of it. It boasts 4 times the processing power of the previous generation and comes with a 5 years warranty."
* * * * *
Good news for those who enjoy openSUSE and who own the Raspberry Pi board - since last week a new version of the distribution is available for the popular mini computer: "We got a new armv6-based image for the Raspberry Pi. This one is only 82 MB compressed, so pretty minimalistic. The exciting new thing is that this was created using an alternative image building automatism which I wrote from scratch in three hours this morning. This means that everyone can now easily build his own images the way he likes and even branch and submit requests for changes that are useful for others. The way to use this is simple. This pseudo-package does not easily build within OBS or osc alone because it needs root permissions for some of the steps (chroot, mknod, mount) which could only be 'workarounded' with User-Mode-Linux or patching osc. The build consists of three steps that can be seen in main.sh." If it all seems highly technical, it's because it is, but it's also nice to see that openSUSE is making an effort to offer another alternative for the little computer.
* * * * *
Finally, a link to an interview with Philip Müller, one of the leaders of Manjaro Linux: "Like a lot of people, I've been watching Manjaro rise in popularity (at least according to DistroWatch and Internet chatter). Manjaro, a fork of Arch Linux, is often divisive, one of those distros that people either love or hate, with not much in-between. Building upon Arch is a bold move, given that it's a philosophy as much as it's a distribution. Arch is deliberately complex in order to give users as much control as possible over their system. Manjaro's goal of simplifying Arch can be seen as compromising that philosophy. But given Manjaro's popularity, it's filling a need for users who want a simpler Arch implementation - even at the cost of control over their system. I played with Manjaro for a few weeks and ultimately, it wasn't for me. But after exploring the distro and researching it, I was curious about the project, so I reached out to the project leaders, who shared my questions with some other Manjaro team members."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Your-call-is-being-connected asks: I have been using Skype on Linux, but I don't like that it is a proprietary application. Are there any good open-source clients that do the same thing on Linux?
Distrowatch answers: There are a handful of software phones, with similar functionality to Skype, available on GNU/Linux platforms. Let's look at a few. There is Ekiga, formally known as GnomeMeeting. This application can make software-to-software calls, software-to-phone calls and supports video chat. Ekiga has a fairly simple interface and a good start-up wizard which helps new users set up an account. If you are fairly new to video chat clients and want friendly, graphical wizards that walk you through the steps of setting up everything, this is a good place to start.
Next on the list is Empathy. Empathy is a messaging client which supports text, voice and video communication over multiple protocols. It also handles file transfers on protocols which support the feature. Empathy is more of an instant messaging client which happens to support video chat than a Skype replacement and not geared toward making phone calls, but it is a flexible application and available in most distributions.
Linphone is strictly a VoIP client which can be used to either make direct calls to another VoIP client on the local network or Linphone can connect to users who use a third-party VoIP service. The Linphone software also has the ability to make calls to traditional telephones if the user's VoIP operator supports the feature. While Linphone may be one of the applications closest to mimicking Skype's behaviour, it is also probably the one application on this list that requires the most effort on the part of the user to get up and running. Users of Linphone will need to manually create an account with a VoIP provider in order to make calls to other VoIP users around the world.
Something to keep in mind is that while open source video and voice applications often play well together, proprietary applications usually do not work well with their open source counterparts. This means if you are connecting with someone else who uses open source software, you can probably use whichever conferencing software you want so long as it supports the right protocol. On the other hand, if your contacts are firmly set on using Skype, you may be stuck with running a proprietary client.
|Released Last Week
Manjaro Linux 0.8.7.1
Philip Müller has announced the release of an updated build of Manjaro Linux, version 0.8.7.1, an Arch-based distribution with a choice of Xfce or Openbox and now also complete with a useful 63-page beginner's guide: "On behalf of the Manjaro development team I'm happy to announce our updated stable release of Manjaro Linux 'Ascella'. The last two weeks we tweaked and enhanced our current stable release to make it even better. The live installer got simplified to make it even smoother to install Manjaro. Now we support optional Plymouth to be installed. Linux kernel 3.10 series is now used which gives you more hardware support than our last stable release. This release includes both update packs we released the past two weeks. Grammar issues and little changes make the welcome screen an even better introduction to Manjaro Linux." Here is the full release announcement. Download (MD5): manjaro-xfce-0.8.7.1-i686.iso (1,112MB), manjaro-openbox-0.8.7.1-i686.iso (686MB).
Bodhi Linux 2.4.0
Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 2.4.0, a minimalist and "enlightened" desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 12.04: "It has been close to six months since our last Bodhi Linux release - far too long! This is just our normal update release - meaning if you are already a Bodhi user and have been running your system updates then you already have all these additions running on your system. To cut right to the chase - you can find direct downloads of the ISO images on Source Forge here. You can obtain torrent downloads for the ISO images later today. Our 2.4.0 release features three ISO images to install from: 32-bit featuring a current PAE enabled kernel, 32-bit featuring a non-PAE kernel with older hardware support and 64- bit featuring a current kernel. This release features the Enlightenment 0.17.4 desktop, version 0.5.5 of the Midori web browser and the 3.8 Linux kernel. As always - our default theme selection is shaken up." See the release announcement for more information and news about the upcoming Bodhi Linux 3.0 release.
OS4 OpenLinux 14
Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 OpenLinux 14, an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution focused on ease of use: "Today we are announcing the new release of OS/4 OpenLinux 14. With this release we bring many new enhancements to the OS/4 line. OS/4 OpenLinux 14 is the result of a year's worth of beta testing and kernel enhancements, and has easily outnumbered the team's current record of 57 beta builds with 135 beta builds that we delivered to our beta testers. The results have been astounding. One of the things we try to improve on with our releases is the user experience. We want to deliver a system that is beautiful, intuitive and that is easy to use for our users so with that we made some improvements to the icon set, we went with the Radiance and Ambience themes for Xfce and we also introduced a bunch of new backgrounds so users can beautify their desktops any way they see fit." Continue to the release announcement to learn more about the release.
Stephan Raue has announced the release of OpenELEC 3.2.0, a new stable version of the specialist distribution for media centres: "OpenELEC 3.2.0 is the first stable release following OpenELEC 3.0 and is recommended for all new installations. Systems running OpenELEC 3.0 and 3.1 will automatically update to 3.2 if auto-update is enabled. Users who are still running OpenELEC 1.0 or 2.0 are encouraged to manually update to enjoy the many new features. Like OpenELEC 3.0, the 3.2 release is based upon XBMC Frodo (12.x) but 'under the hood' it includes many notable changes: many improvements, feature enhancements and bug fixes to XBMC Frodo including a number of backports from Gotham and speed improvements for RaspberryPi users; Linux kernel 3.10, bringing many new and updated drivers and improvements; Mesa 9.2; ALSA 1.0.27...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and screenshots.
Beyond Linux From Scratch 7.4
Bruce Dubbs has announced the release of Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) 7.4, a book that extends the Linux From Scratch (LFS) project with extra software. It provides step-by-step instructions for compiling open-source software and building a usable Linux system which includes X Window System, desktop environments (KDE 4.11, GNOME 3.8 and Xfce 4.10) and window managers, office applications, multimedia programs and server components. From the brief release announcement (as published on the lfs-announce mailing list): "After five years, the BLFS team is happy to present version 7.4 of Beyond Linux From Scratch. This version includes approximately 750 packages beyond the base Linux From Scratch version 7.4 book. Keeping up to date with released packages that are useful to users is a challenge. On average, three new packages are released every day, seven days a week. As of this writing, BLFS is current. The vast majority of packages in the book have been verified to work in an LFS 7.4 environment, however a few (26) packages have only been built and not tested primarily due to hardware constraints."
Tiny Core Linux 5.0
Tiny Core Linux 5.0 has been released. Tiny Core Linux is a minimalist, but highly modular and extensible Linux distribution with flwm as the default window manager. From the release announcement: "Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Tiny Core 5.0. Changelog: Linux kernel update to 3.8.10 with (U)EFI boot enabled; option to use vmlinuz + rootfs.gz + modules.gz or vmlinuz64 + rootfs.gz + modules64.gz (where boot loader permits); aterm, freetype, imlib2, jpeg and libpng factored out of Xlibs/Xprogs; glibc updated to 2.17 and recompiled against 3.8.x kernel headers; GCC updated to 4.7.2, recompiled against 3.8.x kernel headers and cloog, gmp, mpc, mpfr and ppl; e2fsprogs base libraries and applications updated to 1.42.7; util-linux base libraries and applications updated to 2.23.1; scm extensions have been dropped; fixed copy2fs bug with tc-load.... Note that due to factoring out and updating libpng, many extensions from the Tiny Core 4.x repository will not work with Tiny Core 5.0."
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.1, a free, open-source and customised distribution of FreeBSD tailored for use as a firewall and router: "I'm proud to announce the release of pfSense 2.1, and our new Gold subscription. The 2.1 book and our AutoConfigBackup service, available for years to support subscribers, are immediately available today to Gold subscribers. This release brings many new features, with the biggest change being IPv6 support in almost every portion of the system. There are also a number of bug fixes and touch-ups in general. Three FreeBSD security advisories are applicable to prior pfSense releases. These aren't remotely exploitable in and of themselves, but anyone who can execute arbitrary code on your firewall could use one or more of these to escalate privileges." See the detailed release announcement for a complete list of changes, new features, bug fixes and package updates.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Chitwanix OS. Chitwanix OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed in Nepal and providing support for the Nepali language.
- Huayra Linux. Huayra Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution of the government of Argentina designed for educational purposes.
- Ramone Linux. Ramone Linux is a do-it-yourself GNU/Linux distribution based on Linux From Scratch. It uses the RPM package manager and the default desktop environment is GNOME. KDE, Xfce and LXDE are also supported.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 23 September 2013. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Reader Comments - Jump to last comment
1 • Skype alternatives (by butsti on 2013-09-16 10:02:25 GMT from United States) |
2 • Skype alternatives (by Fence Post on 2013-09-16 10:32:19 GMT from Australia)
I am an idiot because I have never been able to understand how to get Ekiga to work. Certainly not as easy as Skype. Perhaps if Ekiga used less technical jargon fools like me could use it.
3 • Jitsi (by rich52 on 2013-09-16 10:35:49 GMT from United States)
Jitsi is another Skype alternative and supports Linux, Windows and Mac I believe. I got this 'tip' from the 'Linux Action Show' a very good video show on the Internet.
4 • Ubuntu Server (by Bam on 2013-09-16 10:55:18 GMT from United States)
Jesse thanks for a great review on an easy to read,in-depth book.
5 • skype 64 bit (by Joe on 2013-09-16 11:14:26 GMT from Mexico)
It is there a truly 64 bit Skype for Linux¿ or only there multiarch skype applications for Linux distros¿
6 • Skype/Manjaro (by Smellyman on 2013-09-16 11:30:36 GMT from Hong Kong)
WebRTC is well on the way to making skype and the like less and less needed. There are already a lot of good WebRTC projects. Very promising future.
Also, I run half machines on Arch and half on Manjaro. Hard for me to say which I like better. That being said I think Manjaro is doing a fantastic job and gets better with each release.
7 • Compelling reason to fix what isn't broken? (by brad on 2013-09-16 11:46:02 GMT from United States)
Anyone have a compelling reason to go from a working arch (via the fork of Antergos) install to a manjaro (does their hardware detection make it worth switching, instead of having lots of driver packages installed?)
8 • FreeBSD (by hadrons123 on 2013-09-16 12:27:34 GMT from India)
I have been trying every version of FreeBSD and I am yet to get full hardware support for Lenovo Y580. alx driver support has been not there for the last 18 months. I tried PCBSD 9.2 RC 2 and it looks slick but functionality-wise it has the same hardware support issues as FreeBSD.
9 • Ubuntu server (by Pearson on 2013-09-16 12:30:47 GMT from United States)
This looks like a good book. I wonder if there are other books as well written, for non-Ubuntu distros? I'm thinking Debian (this book *may* be applicable, but I'd be leery of Ubuntu "enhancements"), CentOS (likely a Red Hat book?), or Slackware.
10 • Ubuntu Server book (by DavidEF on 2013-09-16 14:11:34 GMT from United States)
I've been wanting to dabble in server stuff for a while. I thought about just a file server, but then my daughter's laptop is getting older by the minute, so I've also thought about setting hers up as a thin client, and our much newer, more powerful, 4-core desktop tower as a combination workstation/server. I also thought about a media streaming server. I don't really know, but this book would probably help me to figure it out. I might try to pick up a copy.
Funny of the day - the Mint Box 2 and the Raspberry Pi both being referred to as "mini-computer" while a standard ATX desktop tower is technically a "micro-computer" itself. I don't even know if real "mini-computers" are still around these days. Anybody know?
11 • RPi/PC-BSD (by Dave Postles on 2013-09-16 14:29:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
1 RPi as 'mini computer' - first time I've heard that; isn't single-board computer (and has a better acronym) more appropriate?
2 PC-BSD: I have no real hardware issues, but I dislike the difficulty of mounting usb drives and also the app cafe works inconsistently (I suppose that's a feedback matter for PC-BSD rather than this forum, really).
12 • Ramone Linux (by Dave Postles on 2013-09-16 14:30:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
Any comments about it? I'm intrigued.
13 • Debian number 2 (by rop75 on 2013-09-16 14:34:03 GMT from Spain)
One year ago Debian was 6th on the Distrowatch ranking, today I see that my favourite distro is number two... Great!
14 • Re #1, #2, #3, Skype alternatives (by Vuktoa on 2013-09-16 14:34:20 GMT from United States)
It is nice that there are alternatives. I tried all of the mentioned ones and used them at some point in the past. Problem is that people I would like to communicate with don't have them and are not subscribed to their SIP servers. Yes, you can use different servers, but you have to be techie to know how to configure them and how to route calls. Many of them don't work/exist on mobile phones and other devices/OSs (yes you can make them work, but again, you have to be techie). You can use dedicated SIP boxes (like I do), but again you have to be techie to configure them and maintain them.
I would even argue that application like Viber on Android has better chances of taking off (because of the community, easy way to install/find friends from existing contacts, works with cell phones), than any other computer only (and one OS) alternative that requires configuring to eventually make it work.
Mentioned open source alternatives suffer from the "patent" issues as well. Better protocols (like G.729) are patented, so they can not behave better than their closed source counterparts.
On the other hand, closed source applications, suffer from the privacy issues, unwanted network utilization, and sometime lack or have slow adoption of new features.
15 • @13 (by jaws222 on 2013-09-16 14:48:51 GMT from United States)
I can see why. I use several different Debian editions (Crunchbang, Parsix, SalineOS,SolusOS) and they are rock-solid. I rearely have issues. They just work!
16 • "Solid die-cast iron"? (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2013-09-16 14:51:25 GMT from Ecuador)
The mention here on the Mint Box being made of "solid die-cast iron" would seem to be a mistake. ;-) Their website says: "MintBox 2 is passively cooled by its die cast aluminium case".
17 • #13 Debian 4th 12 months ago! (by zykoda on 2013-09-16 15:02:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Last 12 months
1 Mint 3593>
2 Mageia 1947<
3 Ubuntu 1923=
4 Debian 1663>
5 Fedora 1469=
18 • Ubuntu Server (by Steve Lange on 2013-09-16 15:09:13 GMT from United States)
I have a very simple Home-based "SOHO" LAN. About two years ago, I set up a server on some convenient hardware--a 2003-vintage machine. I chose Ubuntu Server i386 version 10.04, which I upgraded to Server i386 version 12.04-LTS a while ago. While there have been some exceptions to this, I have generally found this installation to be highly serviceable and enjoyable as well as "thrifty". I have also rather easily become comfortable with the bash command line. High Marks, Ubuntu Team, Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical Software! The book reviewed by Jesse Smith sounds very interesting.
19 • Ubuntu server book (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-16 15:27:23 GMT from United States)
Nice review. It's made me want to pick up one of these books and put servers everywhere. Thanks again.
On the page hit ranking, well that's more for techies than anyone else. Debian is a fantastic base to build a distro on. I guess that you could even consider Debian a distro in its own right but I could never recommend it to anyone except as a server. It's not the best option for a desktop os. All the wonderful distros that have been built on Debian are better suited for that purpose. It's true that most of the Linux ecosystem could not exist without Debian so it's importance cannot be debated in the field and in the classroom.
20 • Ubuntu server book (by octathlon on 2013-09-16 15:57:53 GMT from United States)
Thanks for that book review. I will look into getting it. I imagine most of it will apply well for Debian too. I would be interested to find something like this for a BSD. I've played with setting up a home file server for backups a couple of times but wound up deciding it was easier to just plug in an external drive each time. If I found some other good uses for it though, it would be worth the effort to run one.
21 • @9 - book for Debian, etc. (by Ralph on 2013-09-16 17:38:58 GMT from Canada)
I'm recalling this from a year ago, so take it with a grain of salt, but there was a book on Debian available for pre-order at Amazon, slated to come out in early 2013 I believe -- I assumed this was to be concomitant with the release of Debian 7, Wheezy. I'm pretty sure the book I have in mind was supposed to be the second edition of Martin Krafft's *Debian System*. But now I see the book is no longer listed, though Krafft's first (2005) edition is. I'm not sure what happened. The Linux "Bible" series is generally pretty good, but they haven't done a Debian edition since Sarge (3.1). On the other hand "Bible" versions are available for *both* Red Hat and CentOS. Christopher Negus I believe has been the driving force behind these latter and seems to me a pretty good writer.
22 • @12 • Ramone Linux (by Dr.Saleem Khan on 2013-09-16 18:06:51 GMT from Pakistan)
Works well as desired , I am just having a small issue with yum but I sure it will be ok after the suggestions from Ramone Linux developer. So you need to try it and see how it works for you.
23 • @9, @21 - The Debian Administrator's Handbook (by Al on 2013-09-16 18:12:27 GMT from Canada)
Pretty good book.
24 • VoIP, Skype (by Al on 2013-09-16 18:24:43 GMT from Canada)
I've used VoIP extensively at home for several years and my experience has been that you should be prepared to set up your non-techie contacts if they are willing to give it a go. I tried it, spent too much time explainging things, debugging things and finally just accepted that for most people, a Skype account is ideal.
Setting up apps like Skype and Google's Gmail chat are extremely easy and about as complicated as most folk can take. Setting up a VoIP account with a service provider, then configuring a client are much too complicated for most, and learning that SIP addresses look like email addresses...well that's just over the top! Skype and Gmail chat are optimized to work very well without doing a thing to your firewall and QoS. I've found VoIP to be very sensitive to poor QoS (jitter, latency), and bad firewall setup can result in one-way audio, phones not ringing, etc.!
That said, I use Linphone because of it's very simple interface and low resource usage. Also works on most platforms/smartphones.
25 • Skype (by bam on 2013-09-16 18:47:37 GMT from United States)
At home I have options for video conferencing,ect.
On the road with my Android, Skype is the only way to go, right now.
Most people, self proclaimed,or hobbyist techie are excluded, use Skype.
Skype was in wide use before being brought by MS.
26 • BSD (by MZ on 2013-09-16 19:21:12 GMT from United States)
I've had some of the same hardware issues that others have mentioned with desktop versions of BSD, so I don't think it'll be a major competitor to Linux in the distro hopping world too soon, but in certain places it doesn't really need to 'catch up' either. As a firewall pfSense & BSD are great. They just sit there & work, while allowing you to add additional components as necessary. From what I've heard about FreeBSD fundraising, they've found a strong & growing niche market & are getting more support every year. I wish the BSD folks luck, & hope they keep growing.
27 • @13 • Debian number 2 (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-09-16 19:30:17 GMT from United States)
I would attribute that to multiple factors.
* Ubuntu - most of the time when a product is built on the foundation of another product, it comes with some sort of improvement or additional value. But in this case, Ubuntu just took a good product (Debian) and made it worse. Desktop (unity), spyware (Amazon lenses or whatever that is), and bad video performance for some people. I don't currently use it and haven't for a while, but everything I read these days about Ubuntu is negative.
* Systemd - Debian doesn't force you to use it. At least not yet....
And of course flexibility. With Debian you can make it into damn near anything - a modern desktop, a stable server, or something in between.
28 • Linphone? Skype? how about "Mumble" (by JJ on 2013-09-16 21:40:49 GMT from United States)
VoIP SIP client, encrypted.
You can optionally install the companion "murmur" server component. This enables P2P VoIP (without the need to login to a remote server and join a channel)
mumble package is available in debian repos & versions compiled for Windows and for Mac and for iOS
As for "teaching nontechie users to set it up", instructions are: 1) dl from sourceforge, 2) run the installer, 3) Launch the mumble app and fill in "server IP" + choose a username + password (optional, per the server admin)" and boom, you're connected.
29 • @13 & @27. (by Joe on 2013-09-17 03:55:22 GMT from Mexico)
good said.. Debian aught figure in DW ranking in first place always. Ubuntu is a debian maked prity but less efective, and Mint improve something at ubuntu.
30 • Debian vs Ubuntu (by MZ on 2013-09-17 05:39:57 GMT from United States)
Debian is awesome, and I've been using it in a backup desktop PC for a while now, but it's not necessarily perfect. I wouldn't use Ubuntu proper for anything at this point, but the base system does provide two good things: 1) more up to date software, and 2) a longer term support period on LTS versions. These are potentially big advantages for PC users and LTS server users, and there is no fiddling with switching to testing repos or anything like that for desktop users wanting newer software. Many other distros owe a lot to Debian, but there are reasons to use them instead.
31 • viop (by greg on 2013-09-17 07:22:40 GMT from Slovenia)
problem with alternative voip is not only configuration/ease of use and user adoption. the problem is also the price of phone calls. skype is really the chepaest for my need and coutrnies i call to.
i mean - if you don't need phone calls there are plenty of messangers available that will do video chat.
32 • Ubuntu vs Debian? (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-17 12:31:15 GMT from United States)
Wow, talk about nonsense. Ubuntu has made Debian worst? Where in the world did that come from? I didn't know there was a competition going on now. The Amazon lens? Easy to remove if it scares you. Online search is easy to disable too. Don't whine that it needs to be opt in instead of opt out. Those are things people already know before they even do an install so it's very silly complaining after the fact. Unity? Some people can't handle a modern desktop. There's no shame in that. There are many retro type desktops to fulfill your desires. I like KDE myself even tho it's not retro. Where do people get off saying that they are forced to use something? Nobody is forced to use a distro they don't like but I guarantee you that they will have a lot of bad things to say about a distro that they don't use. Doesn't make any sense does it. Ubuntu isn't made for people like Anonymous Coward. It's made for people who don't have the expertise or time to build a system using Debian, Arch, Gentoo, and so on. Why does there have to be a competition of any kind. I'm just happy to be able to have some choices. I know that it's human nature to compete but can't we all just get along. It takes a lot less energy.
33 • Truth in Advertising (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-09-17 15:19:03 GMT from United States)
Isn't Ubuntu 12.04 LTS only up for 5 years from 2012.04?
We're well past 2013.04; how is it so many derivatives still advertise a full 5 years of support? Will they extend support beyond Canonical's?
34 • @32/ yes spyware is bad (by MZ on 2013-09-17 16:26:26 GMT from United States)
We all realize that any true nerd knows about the lens & how to turn it off; however, newbies who don't do quite enough research and those who aren't technically minded and don't have things fully explained to them are getting screwed. Your arguments would be fine if every consumer was fully informed, but there isn't such a thing as a fully informed consumer in reality. I have lots of unanswered questions about the ethics of every company I buy from. For instance is there any guarantee that when I buy my clothes online from a U.S. manufacturer that they never egg someone into working unpaid overtime like the do at the iPad sweatshop in China? In reality there is little or no total assurance & I have to take some stuff on faith. Of course if a company you had some trust in betrays that trust, you should speak up and inform other potentially unaware consumers/users. I think calling people out on their BS whenever appropriate is the right thing to do; however, I'll admit that it can, unfortunately, be done in an inarticulate manor at times.
35 • Agree. (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-17 17:25:04 GMT from United States)
Yes I do agree that maybe newbies may not have enough information on the subject to make an informed decision. With that being said I've found most newbies don't mind the lens. A lot of them use it quite a bit. I mostly use KDE but on one of my laptops I have Ubuntu 13.04 installed but I have the online search disabled and the lens removed. My daughter who is a school teacher, loves Amazon. She loves the online search, and the Amazon lens. She has no fear like I do. I do feel that Canonical and Ubuntu are giving the general public what they want. More social integration. Maybe not what we want. More privacy. I have found a few that really liked Unity but wanted the online stuff disabled. Not many tho. To each their own. That's why it's so great that we have so many choices. This is only my opinion and as such means nothing. :)
36 • Internal inconsistencies in 32 (by dbrion on 2013-09-17 17:40:16 GMT from France)
" The Amazon lens? Easy to remove if it scares you. Online search is easy to disable too. Don't whine that it needs to be opt in instead of opt out. "
is not internally consistent with:
" Ubuntu isn't made for people like Anonymous Coward. It's made for people who don't have the expertise or time to build a system using Debian,"
(else, people/beginners would have the expertise to opt out Amazon lenses....)
What is funny is that a preinstalled Debian can be used by very computer-illiterate people (and, as long as there will be a confusion between
a) ease of use (having packages bug free is part of it)
b) ease of install (either the full GNUlinux or applications), no usable system can be hoped (that is not that bad) and a great intellectual crookery is going on.
37 • Okay?? (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-17 18:27:52 GMT from United States)
I believe that it is internally consistent. Maybe I could have expressed myself somewhat different. Anonymous Coward is intelligent and not a newbie. He seems the type who would build a system the way he wants it and not affected by any kind of FUD, real or imagined. Furthermore as much as it's been talked about it's very hard for me to believe that anyone who is using or wants to use Ubuntu doesn't know about the online search. You are mistaking if you believe that I think it should be opt out only. Anything like that should be opt in but that is a moot point. It is what it is and I stand by my opinion in comment 35. And it's my opinion that the danger is minimal. Seems that this discussion has gotten out of hand and I'm sorry for that.
38 • Debian / Ubuntu (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-09-18 00:40:22 GMT from United States)
It's not necessarily a competition.... but it is a choice. And maybe more people are considering Debian now than before. If that's true, I was listing some possible reasons. All conjecture though, as to whether or not Debian's popularity is growing and if it is, there may be as many reasons as there are users.
Some like Unity, and then many don't. Same with systemd. A lot of people who come to Linux are attracted by its traditionally no-nonsense reputation - none of the marketing gimmicks, inefficient flamboyance, and a one-size-fits-all approach. It seems that a new crop of hotshot developers backed by Redhat and Canonical have opted for a more heavy-handed approach. And that's fine, but some people will resist it - myself included.
Not to mention being treated as an unsuspecting revenue source at the expense of privacy. I'm not going to rant about that much, except to say it's certainly not limited to Ubuntu. I also don't subscribe to any google services and only search with google when all else fails, almost always for something work-related.
We're all getting screwed and hoodwinked to varying degrees by various entities, but I'll always fight it. And in the spirit of Constitution Day and in tribute to one of my heros - GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH! :)
39 • @35 - Do People Really LIke That Built-in Adware? (by Serge on 2013-09-18 02:15:12 GMT from United States)
LinuxMan, you and I must associate with some extremely different social circles, because I don't know of a single person who likes the integrated Amazon search. Most of the people I know using Ubuntu figured out how to turn it off themselves, but some had to ask for help. I felt embarrassed on a personal level, because I had been recommending Ubuntu as a newbie OS for years up to that.
Unfortunately, there is nothing else in the Linux ecosystem that I think is as newbie-friendly as Ubuntu. I've tried Linux Mint, Mageia, etc. They're fine for what Linux / Unix veterans like to call novices, which in the real world are considered intermediate-level users. True novices are the kind of computer people that can't figure out how to disable the Amazon search. And for those kind of people, I feel that Ubuntu is the only distribution I have tried that provides an adequate solution. However, I can't in good faith recommend spyware / adware. The end result is that I have stopped recommending Linux and have instead been advising people to stick with whatever they already use. Does that help explain some of the frustration people have with Canonical right now? (There are other reasons as well, but those are beyond the scope of this conversation.)
40 • @39 Anything else (by ange on 2013-09-18 07:11:44 GMT from Hungary)
Then recommend elementary os, it's just works, extremely well, it's newbie-friendly.
41 • ads (by greg on 2013-09-18 11:39:54 GMT from Slovenia)
displaying add in search results is not something new. it's been arround for quite some time. displayign adds on desktop searches is new. but if they are relevant and provide the user with something - then i guess some might agree with them.
42 • Adware (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-18 12:13:32 GMT from United States)
As far as the Amazon search goes, first off I consider it adware but not spyware for the simple reason that it's known about. Next let's just say that a few like it, some don't, but most don't care which is sad. A lot of the younger people I know are crazy about social networking and social circles, and social this and that. It does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Social media makes me nervous. Even my wife is hooked. When I am online I don't want to feel or be part of one big happy family. Sometimes at work I need to do research at different web sites and I don't really like seeing things that I have searched for 6 months ago popping up in ads today. That really is scary but some people thinks it cool. Anonymous Coward is correct when he states, "We're all getting screwed and hoodwinked to varying degrees by various entities" and I do think that is true. This is where choice plays in. No matter how frustrated we get we, for the time being, still have this choice.
43 • @39 PCLinuxOS (by amoeba on 2013-09-18 14:10:44 GMT from United States)
Have you tried the newest PCLinuxOS MATE? It is very user-freindly for the novice real-world persons (most of the users tend toward the older side of the spectrum, last I heard the average age was 55).
Love the features it provides and it runs quite well on the low-end hardware I have (currently running on 1.7 GHz single core Pentium Mobile, 1.5GB RAM Fujitsu Lifebook i rescued from trash).
44 • @43 (by jaws222 on 2013-09-18 15:27:22 GMT from United States)
Yes, PCLinuxOS is not bad once you figure out the Samba Server. I'm running the latest version right now on one of my partitions and like it very much.
45 • @39 (by jaws222 on 2013-09-18 15:32:30 GMT from United States)
I agree with you regarding the Amazon search. Personally I hate it. I googled how to disable it and it took me 5 minutes.
As far as Ubuntu vs Debian, sure Ubuntu is more user-friendly and imo a good way to lure people to the Linux world. I found out about Ubuntu because I got sick of Windows. Eventually, I discovered Linux MInt and further down the road after learning more about Linux, command line etc. I discovered Debian (which is my preferred OS) and am now learning about Arch. To each his own.
46 • @42 (by Serge on 2013-09-18 16:28:14 GMT from United States)
Before the NSA leaks, I never used the word "spyware" when describing the Amazon search lens, based on Canonical's explanation that only Canonical sees that user data and that only Canonical is responsible for fetching the ads from Amazon. The NSA stuff has made me paranoid. I also found Mark Shuttleworth's response to be arrogant and flippant when he said that critical users were being unreasonable for not trusting Canonical with their search queries when they already trust Canonical with root access to their system. Maybe I am going a bit overboard, I don't know. Nonetheless, adware isn't something that I approve of even when I trust that there's no spying involved. I know adware is common in Windows systems, but that doesn't make it alright.
As for the social media stuff, I'm of the generation that was exposed to Internet-based social interaction during high school and college. We didn't have Facebook, but we did have online forums and instant messaging clients. So I learned to enjoy being constantly connected to people electronically. However, I have struggled and been watching friends with rising careers struggle dearly to keep their professional lives quarantined from their personal lives. The idea of "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" is ridiculous. We all have something to hide. Whether or not we choose to hide it, and who we hide it from and who we share it with, is a matter of personal choice. And I see a world where that choice is becoming harder and harder to make due to the ubiquity of electronic social interaction. So while I don't think my unease is born of the same reasons as yours, overall I have to say that I too am uneasy with this stuff.
47 • @43 (by MZ on 2013-09-19 07:21:02 GMT from United States)
Having used PCLOS KDE as my main OS for a couple years now, I can say that it is a great system; however, there are just enough issues with it to make is closer to an intermediate user system than a top pick for the total newbie. The package manger alone is probably just enough to drop it out of contention. Synaptic is very solid, but the Mint software center is way more user friendly. Given the periodic blank desktop issue I have with Cinnamon, I'd have to give my vote for most newbie friendly setup to Mint Mate, but I don't know why others wouldn't do the same.
48 • @46 Canonical has root (by DavidEF on 2013-09-19 12:48:35 GMT from United States)
I had heard about the statement Mark Shuttleworth made about having root access, but it wasn't until just now, reading your post, that I understood its direct connection to search. I just realised that if they have root, then they already have all your search queries available if they were going to exploit you. In fact, they have every keystroke you ever make. By trusting them with root, you are trusting them with anything and everything you do on the computer. If you can trust them with all that, why should search queries be a problem? I don't think it's arrogant to point out that they have root. It's more like a big DUH-HUH with a side order of light banter, just for fun. I probably would have reacted in much the same way, if my daughter got mad that I have access to her bedroom. Sure, she has a right to a reasonable amount of privacy, but it would be ridiculous for her to insist that her bedroom is exclusively hers, because I have the whole house! She has to walk through my house to get to her room. I have root!
49 • @48 (by Serge on 2013-09-19 14:18:41 GMT from United States)
I don't agree that Mark Shuttleworth's response was appropriate. With family, presumably everyone loves each other, presumably everyone knows that everyone loves each other, presumably everyone is already watching out for each others' best interests (although certainly kids don't always realize this :), and anyway the whole thing is moot because your daughter is stuck with you regardless.
Those things are missing from our relationship with our software vendors. We choose who to trust with access to our system based on certain criteria. Some of the many things we might look at are: proven track record, our perception of that vendor's roadmap and future direction, and our perception of that vendor's values (of course a vendor can wax poetic about their values and principles till they are blue in the face, but in the end we still have to decide if we believe what they are saying or not).
Users of Ubuntu expressed concern over the direction that Canonical was taking Ubuntu. The way I see it is, it is as if people said, "Look, we really like Ubuntu, but this is scaring us. What can you tell us to set our minds at ease?" Mark Shuttleworth replied by, essentially, calling them silly. Now, it's not like Shuttleworth and Canonical's leadership completely refused to acknowledge their users' concerns. They did address the most serious concerns, that Ubuntu was being used to spy for Amazon, by explaining that Amazon does not have direct access to Ubuntu users' search queries. But then it's like they wrote off the other concerns as not significant enough. That's fair. It is impossible for a designer to cater to everyone's whims. But the "you already trust us with root" comment was completely unnecessary, and diminished my estimate of how much Mark Shuttleworth cares for his users' concerns and opinions. It's just that little extra "rubbing it in" that bothers me.
That's when I decided I didn't really want to trust root to Canonical again, and that's when I stopped recommending it to others as well. More recently, however, I find myself debating with my friends, most of whom are Ubuntu users, against Ubuntu and trying to get them to switch. For the longest time I simply didn't say anything. If anyone asked me, I would say, "I don't like that they put adware into their product and I don't want to use it or recommend it anymore, but people are free to make their own choices otherwise." More recently, however, I've grown upset over their decision to create Mir. I don't feel that Mir offers any compelling technical or ideological advantages over Wayland. Developers will have to either spend extra time writing programs for Mir and Wayland or they will have to choose which one they will support. Mir is forcing people to take sides. That is bad for the community, and from a technical and ideological perspective completely unnecessary. That's why I find myself explicitly taking sides rather than just being neutral about the whole thing.
50 • @49 (by mcellius on 2013-09-19 17:59:54 GMT from United States)
I was with you, Serge, on the privacy stuff regarding Ubuntu. I agree that Mark Shuttleworth's comments were inappropriate, although I attribute it to a poor choice of words more than any sort of "rubbing it in." I think he means well and does care about Ubuntu's users a great deal, but occasionally, like the rest of us, he doesn't adequately consider the real effect that his words will have. On the other hand, choosing to take such a remark as "rubbing it in" is also "rubbing it in," as if saying, "I know he didn't mean it that way, but I'm gonna try to make him pay for it, anyway." I think you probably know he wasn't meaning to "rub it in;" if not, then Mark probably needs to address public relations a bit better (and, if he does, some will hate him for that, too).
But I do very much disagree with what you say about Mir. If you feel the project was unnecessary, it's obvious that Canonical does not. They're investing resources into it and have explained several times why they think it's necessary. Obviously, you and everyone else has the right to disagree, but its their money so they get to use it as they think best.
However, the comment that it is divisive to the Linux community, or even to the Ubuntu community, seems wrong-headed. What about the divisiveness of having so many distros (it's in the hundreds!)? What about the divisiveness of having Kingsoft Office come out with a new program when we already have LibreOffice (and even Star Office)? This is Linux, and one of its great benefits is that we have choices, sometimes many of them. Someone sees a need and tries to fill it. Mir will either succeed or it will fail, but it's nice to see someone willing to address needs as they see them and then come up with the money to try to make their project succeed. In five or ten years, maybe everyone will be using Mir, or maybe just Ubuntu will be using it, or maybe nobody, but there's nothing wrong with them getting a fair shot at improving things. And if, as is part of the plan, it fixes problems and makes things run better on smartphones and tablets, hey, I'll cheer them on!
51 • It's all about Mir. (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-19 18:47:12 GMT from United States)
Cardinal Richelieu once wrote: If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
A lot of this goes on these days. It seems that no one can please everyone. So what's a person to do. Canonical does say that it needs Mir. I agree with them. People say that it will make it so hard on the developers. Well now we have Wayland and X. Won't that make it hard? I remember having to edit the xorg config file all the time. To get the proper screen resolution, to get the mouse to work properly, to get other things to work. Did this make it hard for developers? Maybe it made it hard for the end user. It'll be great to see X gone. It served its purpose well. Things are nowhere near as bad as they use to be 5 or 10 years ago, but it seems that more people complain now more then ever. Strange isn't it. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
52 • re 51 (by corneliu on 2013-09-19 21:18:59 GMT from Canada)
OK, let's assume Ubuntu is honest and the evil Linux community wants to hang Ubuntu without valid reason. Let's also assume that xorg is old and bad. My questions are:
Why can't Ubuntu join the modern Wayland effort and contribute to it instead of reinventing the wheel and wasting developer resources into creating a redundant X server? Why fragment the X server and make it even more difficult for the software developers and the hardware makers to support Linux? Is Wayland really so bad for Ubuntu that they can't use it? What makes Ubuntu so special that requires a different X server while Wayland suits everybody else in the Linux community?
53 • 52 continued (by corneliu on 2013-09-19 21:22:57 GMT from Canada)
And the same questions apply for Unity? Out of zillions of desktop environments, why couldn't Ubuntu pick one of them and contribute to it? What kind of functionality does Unity bring to the table that Gnome or KDE or any other desktop environment could not provide?
54 • @50 (by Serge on 2013-09-19 23:12:46 GMT from United States)
Well, I think you got me. I didn't take the time to phrase my thoughts correctly. What I should have written was that the statement felt like Mark Shuttleworth was patronizing his users. I was hoping for him to express a greater understanding of where the critics were coming from.
Now that I think about it, I may be taking it out of context. It's a one line quote. Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth did write a lot more than just one line in response to the criticism. That one line really stood out, though.
As for Mir: I don't think comparing Mir vs Wayland to distro vs distro is quite the same thing. The distros arise out a perception that certain needs are not being met by existing solutions. The various distros typically attempt to provide some combination of solutions that is unique in some way. Canonical has not expressed what it is that Mir is intended to provide that Wayland will not provide. Mir and Wayland have remarkably similar goals, and take similar approaches to solving the same problems. The most significant difference between the two is that Canonical is free to sell exclusive proprietary licenses to its partners (this is the business model under which MySQL AB operated, and it is how Oracle has been operating with MySQL since their acquisition of MySQL AB via the Sun purchase) while Wayland has decentralized copyright ownership and thus no one entity can sell Wayland proprietary licenses. Wayland is MIT/X11 licensed, so exclusive proprietary licenses are not necessary to make closed source derivatives of Wayland. Vendors are not free to do the same with Mir because Mir is GPL licensed. Canonical's "Contributor's License Agreement" explicitly grants Canonical the right to sell such exclusive licenses to all projects covered by this program, of which Mir is one.
If Canonical's only interest was in a display server that can be used by smatphone manufacturers, who famously desire the ability to close parts of the software stack running on their devices, Wayland would give that ability. What Canonical gains in Mir is a display server that only Canonical can grant proprietary licenses for. It doesn't mean that Canonical plans to "close" Mir. It just means that Canonical will have the ability to sell exclusive licenses to those who want to make proprietary derivatives of Mir.
And yes, it is Canonical's money and they are free to spend it developing whatever projects they want. But Canonical's flagship product, Ubuntu, is built out of almost entirely community parts. The parts written by Canonical (LightDM, Unity, Upstart, etc.) are just a fraction of what is Ubuntu. And I stand by my belief that Canonical's actions the the display server are hurting that same community. It is as if Canonical, in their efforts to monetize their products, has turned to actions that are hurting the very same community that is responsible for all of the parts that Canonical puts together to make Ubuntu.
Wayland was already there and being worked on when Canonical started the Mir project. Canonical, by backing out of Wayland support and starting Mir instead, knowingly created a competitor to Wayland.
As proof that there is a growing divide, just look at all the fighting that is taking place on websites and blogs over Mir and Wayland. In a way that fighting is kinda a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bloggers and outspoken devs said there would be a divide, and now they're making sure that comes true. But also look at Intel's decision to not maintain XMir compatibility in their driver (which presumably will also mean that Intel will not be maintaining straight Mir compatibility, either). Look at AMD's decision to maintain Wayland compatibility. I'm not condoning Intel's actions, but if there was no Mir, there wouldn't be this issue. As for AMD, I think their decision to not support Wayland is more borne out of trying to be wise with where they spend their limited development resources than out of politics as Intel's appears to have been (although, yes, Intel is AMD's competitor and Intel has invested in Wayland development), but at the same time it is rumored that AMD is still developing for Mir, so again, if there was no Mir, there wouldn't be that divide.
TL;DR: There is already damage being caused by the existence of two next-gen display servers; it is not evident what each offers that the other doesn't in technical terms; one of them came first and Mark Shuttleworth publicly committed Canonical to supporting it. That's why I believe that Canonical is responsible for the damage that is being caused by this competition, and the only entity that stands to gain from this is Canonical, and that in revenue, not in technical advantage.
55 • GPL (by Serge on 2013-09-19 23:16:02 GMT from United States)
Oh, I just wish to add one more thing: I'm not anti-GPL. In fact, come to think of it, Mir's "GPLness" is the one silver lining of this whole fiasco. But I don't think Canonical is using the GPL with Mir because Canonical believes in the GPL's ideals. I think Canonical chose the GPL because it allows them to corner the market on Mir proprietary licenses.
56 • Linux (by Jon Wright on 2013-09-20 01:20:30 GMT from Vietnam)
> "Things are nowhere near as bad as they use to be 5 or 10 years ago ..."
Actually, I'd say that 2008-9 was something of a sweet spot in the evolution of Linux. The future looked bright, many netbook buyers came on board and perhaps people complain because of the sense of anti-climax. Linux CAN be done right - just look at Maemo and Android and - ahem - Debian. A change of focus to mobile devices shouldn't require a wander in the desert for the best part of a decade - Google just rolled their sleeves up and got Android out the door.
57 • Ubuntu and Mir (by Mirix on 2013-09-20 12:40:35 GMT from Belgium)
1.- There were good reasons for Ubuntu being the most popular distro once. And there are good reasons for Ubuntu no longer being the most popular distro.
2.- There are good reasons for Debian's increasing popularity and for distros once based upon Ubuntu changing base to Debian.
3.- In there failed attempt to conquest the mobile market (they were late, they were slow and they were inefficient) Canonical is killing Ubuntu as a desktop distro.
4.- Fragmenting the display server landscape is one of the most stupid things the Linux community could have ever thought of. Hardware developers are not going to produce drivers for more than one DS.
5.- Maybe, Canonical wants to profit from their declining hegemony to force their own DS to the Linux "market" precisely in order to slow their decline.
6.- The fate of Mir will depend mostly on the will of RetHat, OpenSUSE, Debian and Mint to adopt it.
7.- My wild guess is that it will be yet one more of Canonical's failures... Time will tell.
58 • Why? (by LinuxMan on 2013-09-20 12:40:58 GMT from United States)
And you are asking me this why? First of all you are out of line by stating that I said the Linux community is evil, also I never said that x was bad. Talk about being honest! If you are going to make a comment made a true one. Have you ask Canonical these questions? If you had asked maybe you would have the answer. I'm not on the development team or the research team nor do I have any kind of affiliation with Canonical. You can read the same thing as I, or anyone else if you will just do it. As far as why they developed Unity? You ask why didn't they pick one of the other zillions of desktop environments and use it. Why was all these other desktop environments developed in the first place? Was it because people was not satisfied with what was available? Seems that way to me, or everybody would be using the same thing. That is the question asked of every one who develops a new desktop environment. How did the others answer or did you even ask them? I get it. You hate Canonical, Ubuntu, and Unity. Fine, that's your right, but it doesn't make me evil if I don't hate them.
59 • Mir (by Gustavo on 2013-09-20 16:07:30 GMT from Brazil)
Another reason behind Mir is the compatibilty with cell phones and tablets GPU closed source drivers. Wayland can't provide this. Without ARM devices support Ubuntu is doomed.
60 • Ubuntu @ 58 (by Mac on 2013-09-21 00:29:03 GMT from United States)
I like everything you had to said LinuxMan. Some people are never happy and as far as I know every noob here I have put Kubuntu on for them. And if the others don't agree I don't care. This place used to be a place for help now it is I like, I don't like. What a mess.
61 • "perhaps people complain because of the sense of anti-climax" (by Joe on 2013-09-21 21:01:16 GMT from United States)
"perhaps people complain because of the sense of anti-climax"
That's certainly a factor driving my (often grumbling) mindset.
Another is "sensing" that progress has stalled due to:
too much fragmentation (not enough devs in a given project, talent is spread too thin across too many, and incompatible, projects)
too much "making changes just for the sake of change"
(e.g. incremental changes to libgtk3 breaking themes and causing otther regressions)
62 • @ 17 Debian 6th in 2012, Debian 2nd in 2013 (by rop75 on 2013-09-21 21:55:34 GMT from Spain)
@ Zykoda: The way you calculate the position one year ago is wrong. Remember that the ranking shows the average hits per day during a period (so if you refresh it to show the last 12 months, the tanking does not show the position of a distro in the ranking in September of 2012, but how many clicks per day has that distro "got" during the last 12 months, and that includes the last 4 months - Debian popularity has started to grow since the release of Wheezy in May-). If you want to see waht was the Deban position one year ago the most accuate way (and it is not exact either) is to choose the option "year 2012" and you will see that during 2012 Debian was 6th with 700 hits per day less than Ubuntu.
Anyway i don't have anything against Ubuntu nor Canonical. In fact, i think Xubuntu is a fantastic distro
63 • SalentOS 12.04.3 (by Chanath on 2013-09-22 02:44:11 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Nice distro, works like a charm in my old Acer Aspire One 8.9". I mean both distros, Obubox and Razorqt. The razorqt even come with nice eye candy effects, the ones you see in Mint Cinnamon. And, the other Ubuntu+Openbox+Tint2 is quite snappy, Of course, both have some glitches, but they are minimal. Maybe its nice, if we use such distros and help the developer, showing glitches etc.
I remember, when Bodhi came in, it was a one man job, and had lot of criticism. Jeff stayed on with his niche, and became a well known distro in the Linux woorld today. I wish this developer Gabrielle the same and more. Try them, guys.
64 • Skype alternative? (by Somewhat Reticent on 2013-09-23 02:02:50 GMT from United States)
Mumble and Murmur going P2P?
Number of Comments: 64
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