| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 530, 21 October 2013
Welcome to this year's 42nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This past week news feeds in the Linux ecosystem were flooded with reports of Ubuntu, Ubuntu spins and reviews of Ubuntu in its many flavours. This week we bring you early reports of Ubuntu's 13.10 release and some first impressions. Ubuntu is, of course, based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and this week we reflect some of Ubuntu's spotlight onto Debian. Lucas Nussbaum, current Debian Project Leader, recently gave an interview to Frostcast and we link to that discussion below. This week we also feature a review of a Debian-based distribution, Kwheezy. Read on to learn Jesse Smith's views of this young distribution which mixes Debian's stable branch with a full-featured KDE desktop. Also in this edition of DistroWatch Weekly we discuss keeping up with security patches on enterprise-focused Linux distributions, announce the new releases of the past week and look forward to exciting new distribution releases to come. We wish you all a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Introducing Kwheezy 1.2
Kwheezy is a Debian-based distribution which combines Debian's latest stable release with a live disc, a nice graphical system installer and the KDE desktop. The project attempts to provide users with a stable operating system that will run KDE and provide most desired functionality directly out of the box. The concept certainly appeals to me. I like Debian in general, but I find it takes a while to get it set up the way I like. The idea of having all of the features I desire ready to go combined with Debian's stable base and the KDE desktop certainly appealed to me. I downloaded a copy of the project's live disc which was approximately 3.6 GB in size.
Booting off the live disc brings up a window asking us to confirm our keyboard's layout. Once we have made our selection the window is replaced with the KDE desktop. The application menu, system tray and task switcher sit at the bottom of the screen. Over on the left is an icon for the system installer and to the right of the display is a panel which gives constant updates on CPU, network and memory statistics. As the distribution appeared to be running smoothly I immediately launched the system installer which is a graphical application. At first we are asked if we would like to be guided through partitioning the disk with help from the installer or if we would like to manually divide our hard disk. Choosing the manual option, I found, launches the KDE Partition Manager. The Partition Manager is a fairly friendly program to use and I found it worked well for me.
When we finish dividing up the disk the installer tries to guess which disk partitions we would like to use for our root file system, the /home directory and swap space. We can override the guesses the installer makes. The installer also asks where we would like to install the distribution's boot loader. After that we are asked to select our time zone from a list. The following screen gets us to set passwords for the root account and an "Administrator". Typically with Linux distributions the terms "administrator" and "root" are used interchangeably, but with Kwheezy the first regular user account to be created is labeled "Administrator". Once we have set passwords on both accounts we are asked to provide a hostname for our computer and then the installer copies its files to the local drive.
When we reboot the computer and login to Kwheezy for the first time, a few things immediately stand out. One is that, upon logging in, we are greeted by a series of pop-up windows which ask us to select the proper driver for our video card. We are also asked to confirm which language the system should use and we are asked if we would like to change language settings for KDE or LibreOffice. These pop-ups are not the only eye-catching elements. Desktop visual effects are enabled, some of the icons in the system tray are animated and there are regular system statistic updates from the Conky status panel on the right. I also noted the default mouse pointer is red, rather than the usual black or white. The icons on the desktop which open applications to display hardware information, KDE's settings, the package manager, user account manager and other system configuration utilities, are larger than usual, giving the desktop an almost cartoon-like appearance. The application menu, by contrast, is presented in the classic layout with smaller icons and text.
Kwheezy 1.2 - the Apper package manager
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Shortly after I logged into the KDE interface a notification appeared in the corner of the screen letting me know software updates were available in the distribution's package repositories. Clicking on the notification didn't accomplish anything and so I launched the Apper package manager using its desktop icon. Apper is a friendly package manager with a simple interface that features bright, clearly labeled icons. Clicking one icon brings up a list of available package updates and another click will download these waiting items. Apper also handles installing and removing software packages, allowing us to browse through software by category, search for software by name and create batches of actions to execute. When Apper first arrived in distributions I was skeptical of it and ran into occasional stability issues, but I am pleased to say the version of Appear which comes with Kwheezy was rock solid for me and worked quickly.
Kwheezy 1.2 - running various desktop applications
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The Kwheezy distribution comes with a lot of applications, ranging from quite common ones to less popular niche software. We are provided with the Firefox web browser and the Adobe Flash plugin. The Thunderbird e-mail client is installed for us, as are the LibreOffice and Calligra productivity suites. The KMail e-mail application is included as is the Rekonq web browser. A Qt-based graphical front end for the Transmission bittorrent software is in the application menu as are a VNC client, the TeamViewer software and the Jitsi voice over IP software. Kwheezy also comes with the Google Earth map software, the Marble desktop globe, the GNU Texmacs editor and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. In the Multimedia sub-menu I found the k3b disc burner, the VLC multimedia player, MPlayer, WinFF for transcoding media and the KsCD audio disc player. Kwheezy comes with a small collection of KDE-themed games, the Steam gaming platform software and the PlayOnLinux utility which helps us install Windows software on Linux. In the same vein the WINE Windows compatibility software is available.
The distribution comes with many small utilities for managing the system and its appearance. Some of these tools include the KDE System Settings panel, a batch file renamer and the Midnight Commander file manager. I found a text editor, calculator and archive manager on the system. There are also accessibility tools which will magnify the screen and read text from the screen. Java is installed on the system and I found Kwheezy runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.2. In the background I found the distribution runs a mail server, a web server and the OpenSSH secure shell. I was surprised to find a web server running on a desktop-oriented distribution as there does not appear to be any direct use for it. There are not any sites or documentation provided by this web service, just a default web page which reads "It Works!". Personally I feel running these network services are more of a security concern than a benefit to most users.
I ran Kwheezy on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and in a virtual machine courtesy of VirtualBox. I found the distribution ran very well, both on my physical hardware and in the virtual machine. My display was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and I encountered no stability issues. The distribution was quick to boot and typically remained responsive while I was using it. Debian is well known for its excellent performance and that strength was evident, even while all of KDE's features were enabled. The distribution is heavier on memory than most. Even with visual effects turned off, file indexing disabled and extras like the Conky statistics panel disabled Kwheezy still used 260 MB of RAM, just sitting at the desktop. With everything enabled, as it was out of the box, the system uses slightly more memory, making Kwheezy one of the heavier distributions I have run. I also noticed that the distribution requires 12 GB of hard drive space for all of its software. This space requirement is about three to four times larger than most mainstream distributions.
Kwheezy 1.2 - changing system settings and adding third-party software
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My overall impression of Kwheezy thus far has been that the distribution does a nice job of making it easy to get up and running with a desktop installation of Debian. I really like the KDE desktop and I like Debian's conservative nature and this makes the concept of an easy to install KDE edition of Debian very appealing. I found the graphical installer worked well and I think it will appeal to newcomers more so than the vanilla Debian installer. There were two points of design where I felt Kwheezy and I were not on the same page. The first is that Kwheezy includes a lot of software. Not just one application for each task, but often several applications per task. This may be convenient as it means we may never need to install any additional software -- all of our multimedia, development, graphic editing and word processing needs are met out of the box -- but the huge collection of software makes Kwheezy quite heavy. The distribution takes up approximately 12GB of space and the menu feels overly cluttered with all of the available tools. I feel this may be off putting to users (it was for me) as it takes that much longer to find want I want. This is not just a matter of bloat, it is also a security concern as Kwheezy ships with several network services, including a web server, running out of the box.
The second issue I had with Kwheezy is that its interface is busy. Debian, plain Debian, has a very low-key graphical interface. When we run Debian we do not see any welcome screen, very few pop-ups and the distribution tends to lack visual effects. Even the icons and wallpaper which come with Debian are, well, bland. I like this as Debian does not draw my attention away from the task at hand. Kwheezy, by contrast, has a very active interface. There are regular updates, flashing icons in the system tray, bright colours everywhere and we are greeted with several pop-ups when we login for the first time. Over the first day or so I found myself taking breaks to hunt down these features and disable them, slowly turning off visual effects, turning off file indexing, confirming settings and generally trying to get the interface to calm down.
Once the interface was pleasantly bland and once the additional services had been disabled, I found I slowly grew to like Kwheezy. The combination of the KDE desktop with a lot of useful software and Debian's rock solid base is a winning formula. I certainly liked the Kwheezy installer and the basic concept behind its design. I would have enjoyed my time with the distribution a good deal more if it had a quieter interface and fewer features enabled out of the box. I feel a calmer desktop would be more in line with Debian's design. In the end, I came around to enjoying Kwheezy, but only after I convinced the desktop to stop distracting me from my work.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Initial impressions of Ubuntu 13.10, Interview with Debian Project Leader, Zenwalk's future
This past week saw the release of Ubuntu 13.10 and Ubuntu's many community spins. Ubuntu is one of the most widely used Linux distributions and this insures many people will look over and explore the latest release of Canonical's operating system. ZDNet has an early review of Ubuntu 13.10 which covers the interface, changes since the previous release, some notes on Unity and Ubuntu's on-line search. The first-impressions review is generally positive, coming to the conclusion, "While Unity isn't quite to my personal taste, Shuttleworth has been successful in making a Linux desktop that anyone can use. Don't believe me? Download Saucy Salamander and see for yourself."
* * * * *
Debian GNU/Linux is a massive open-source project and, perhaps more significantly, a large community of developers, users, organizers and artists. The project, unlike most open-source projects, functions as a democracy where the Debian Project Leader is elected by popular vote. Lucas Nussbaum currently has the honour of holding the Debian leadership position. It is an important job and Nussbaum's work is felt throughout the open-source community. Frostcast featured a podcast last week in which they interviewed Lucas Nussbaum. The interview gives listeners insight into the giant open-source project and the man who helps keep the project on track.
* * * * *
In years past when a user wanted a light-weight, powerful distribution that was designed to be clean, fast and stable, Zenwalk Linux was an obvious choice. The project, which is based on the venerable, rock-solid Slackware Linux, was once a highly popular choice for people who wanted the stability and performance of Slackware combined with a quick installation process. However, in recent years the Zenwalk project has fallen out of favour. The project seems to be falling behind in terms of features, currently lacking a 64-bit variant and user-friendly package management. The All Things Linux blog discusses Zenwalk, its glory days and its possible future: "A couple of people must still be using Zenwalk. I still don't really understand how such a promising light weight distro could fall so deep, but I hope it will pick up again. Surviving is not good enough, that's what it's doing right now. A good start would be better testing for the next release as QA seems to have slipped." Are you a current or former Zenwalk user? Let us know what you think of the project in the comments section.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Keeping up with the vulnerabilities
Keeping-updated asks: I would like your insight on an issue I am having with server distributions (Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise) and their free derivatives concerning their handling of package security updates. Understandably, they do not upgrade server packages, such as PHP and Apache, to the very latest releases since there may be backward incompatible issues (PHP 5.3 to 5.4 to 5.5 or Apache 2.2 to 2.4). This will break business applications that have not been migrated to run under a different version from what came with the distribution at install time. Hence, the server distributions are good for long term stability.
However, at the same time they pride themselves in security which would imply that the current major version of packages would be kept up to its latest minor version. This does not seem to be the case. Despite PHP's warnings of major security issues being fixed in the minor backward compatible versions and recommendations that hosts should immediately upgrade to avoid breaches, server distributions still have ancient insecure versions (SUSE with 5.3.17 and Red Hat with 5.3.3 while security and bug fix updates from PHP are all the way to 5.3.27).
Consequently, in order for me to feel safe about running a host I am forced to use third-party unofficial mirrors which causes instabilities and (potentially) more security issues since they may not be maintained by dedicated experts who develop the distribution and their servers are not controlled by the parent distribution. But that is the risk I have to take if I do not want to run blatantly insecure and bug-prone versions. How do they get away with such a contradiction?
DistroWatch answers: There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with enterprise level distributions and packages which may be patched during the life cycle of the distribution. First, major distributions back-port bug fixes from recent software releases into their older packages. This means you may appear to be running an insecure old version of a package, but in reality companies like Red Hat and SUSE may include security fixes without bumping the version number. Do not base your security practices on the version number of a package, it is not a useful metric. Instead check the package's change log and the distribution's security advisories.
Both SUSE and Red Hat maintain security advisory trackers which are publicly readable. These trackers provide useful information with regards to known vulnerabilities and comments made to bug trackers and they typically include workarounds or information as to which package version contains a fix for the vulnerability.
Second, avoiding older software that is properly vetted by a company like Red Hat in favour of a third-party repository is highly unrecommended. You are basically trading back-ported, tested security updates from a trusted vendor in exchange for unvetted, untrusted versions of packages which are likely to break functionality. This would be a disservice to your users and to yourself.
Third, if you know for certain the package you are using is insecure and that the enterprise vendor is not releasing an update to deal with the issue then you are better off downloading a patch or updated version of the software from the upstream project and compiling it yourself. This removes the risk presented by using a third-party binary repository.
|Released Last Week
Rebellin Linux 2.0
Utkarsh Sevekar has announced the release of Rebellin Linux 2.0, a Debian-based commercial distribution showcasing a highly customised GNOME 3 desktop: "It gives us immense pleasure to announce the latest Rebellin Linux release - Synergy v2.0. Rebellin is a modern, efficient, stable, general-purpose Linux distribution. Our goal is to bring top-notch, personal, unlimited email support to our customers at an affordable price. And here is v2.00 at your service. Rebellin Synergy is based on Debian 'Wheezy' with backports. Here's a quick peek at the benefits of using Rebellin Synergy v2.00: top-notch, unlimited email support that lasts for the lifetime of the product - included in the price; ease and fluidity of GNOME Shell coupled with the superbly efficient design of Gnome 2.x - see your productivity go straight up; Synergy is designed with practicality in mind - built with a no-nonsense approach from start to finish, you get a product that's practical and extremely resource-friendly...." Read the full release announcement for further information.
Rebellin Linux 2.0 - a Debian-based distribution with a customised GNOME 3 desktop
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Vine Linux 6.2
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of Vine Linux 6.2, a general-purpose Japanese Linux distribution with GNOME 2.30 as the default desktop environment: "Vine Linux 6.2 (Haut Bailly). This is Vine Linux version 6 release. Since this is not a commercial version (Vine Linux CR), non-free applications and fonts are not included on the CD/DVD. Instead of proprietary ATOX X/Wnn7/Wnn8/VJE Japanese inputs and Ricoh/Dynacomware fonts, this FTP edition contains Anthy and free TrueType fonts. Vine Linux 6.2 has following features (highlights): update the software collection; update Linux kernel to 3.4.65 (latest LTS kernel); bundle newer software - Firefox 24, Thunderbird 24, LibreOffice 4.1; stability improvements; look and feel improvements; newer hardware support; new user-friendly tools." Read the release announcement (in Japanese) and see also the brief release notes (in English) for further information.
Slackel 5.0 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 5.0 "Openbox" edition, a lightweight desktop Linux distribution with Openbox based on Slackware's "Current" branch: "Slackel 5.0 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware Linux and Salix. Includes Linux kernel 3.10.16 and latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. The ncurses installer includes the option to install LILO or GRUB boot loader. After installation users can use the grubconfig utility to re-install GRUB or to change the boot loader from LILO to GRUB. Users can also use update-grub to update GRUB menus any time they upgrade their kernel or install other Linux distribution. The os-prober tool is used to probe for other operating systems and to update GRUB menus. Slackel 5.0 Openbox includes the Midori 0.5.5 web browser, Claws-Mail 3.9.2, Transmission, SpaceFM, OpenJRE 7u40, Rhino, icedtea-web, Pidgin 2.10.7, gFTP 2.0.19, wicd. AbiWord 2.8.6, Gnumeric 1.12.2 and ePDFviewer office applications are included." The release announcement is accompanied by a screenshot.
Welcome to the Ubuntu 13.10 release day. The first in the line-up is Ubuntu itself, Canonical's flagship product and one the world's top desktop Linux distributions - now also available for the 64-bit ARM architecture: "Canonical today announces the availability of Ubuntu 13.10 for desktop and smartphone. Ubuntu's first true mobile release delivers the streamlined core OS and mobile user interface that pave the way for full device convergence and create a unique platform for modern computing. Canonical is working with partners to bring Ubuntu smartphone devices to market in 2014. The desktop version of Ubuntu 13.10 reflects much of that progress, with scopes that organise home, apps, music, video content, lower device memory and graphics requirements and substantial improvements in battery and memory efficiency." Read the press release and the more technical release notes further information.
Ubuntu 13.10 - on the path to "convergence"
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Ubuntu Studio 13.10
Howard Chan has announced the release of Ubuntu Studio 13.10, an Ubuntu sub-project providing a full range of multimedia content creation applications for audio, graphics, video, photography and publishing: "The Ubuntu Studio team proudly announces the immediate release of Ubuntu Studio 13.10. This exciting release incorporates the new features listed below: a new menu structure which works on any desktop environment; a new package named ubuntustudio-installer, which allows any person to install our metapackages and can fit into any desktop environment; instead of a settings menu, we have fitted in a new Settings Manager, with all settings in one place; when you are in the GRUB menu, the boot item for Ubuntu Studio will show 'Ubuntu Studio' instead of 'Ubuntu'; the latest low-latency kernel will be always the default boot item in the GRUB boot loader; the XFCE session in the LightDM is removed to avoid any confusion with the Ubuntu Studio session...." Continue to the release announcement and release notes to learn more.
Pasi Lallinaho has announced the release of Xubuntu 13.10, an official flavour of the Ubuntu operating system with Xfce - a stable, light and configurable desktop environment: "The Xubuntu team is delighted to announce the release of Xubuntu 13.10! Some of the highlights for Xubuntu 13.10 include: a new version of xfce4-settings has been uploaded, bringing amongst other things a new dialog to set up your displays; a tool for changing your theme colors easily, gtk-theme-config, has been added to the default installation; new wallpaper; new releases of our GTK+ themes (with GTK+ 3.10 support) as well as the LightDM greeter, fixing many visual bugs; updated documentation. Known problems: indicator sound no longer functions with Xfce indicator plugin; gmusicbrowser's albuminfo plugin is deactivated by default and causes the app to hang if enabled...." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Jonathan Riddell has announced the release of Kubuntu 13.10, an Ubuntu variant featuring the latest KDE desktop environment: "Welcome to Kubuntu 13.10, a brand-new version with the latest KDE software to enjoy. Highlights: a new versions of KDE's Software Compilation 4.11 is featured in Kubuntu 13.10, adding faster Nepomuk indexing, Kontact improvements such as a new theme editor for e-mails, and preparing the ground for future developments using Wayland and Qt 5; Muon Discover - a friendly new way to discover and install applications; User Manager - a simpler way to manage your system users; wireless setup in installer; KDE Telepathy with better text editing and improved notifications; the new Network Manager applet gives a simpler UI for connecting to a range of network types; for a summary of the OS installed use the new About System page in System Settings...." See the full release announcement for more details, screenshots, known issues and information about the new Kubuntu shop.
Stéphane Graber has announced the release of Edubuntu 13.10, a flavour of Ubuntu designed for educational and non-profit environments: "The Edubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Edubuntu 13.10 (code name 'Saucy Salamander'). This release will be supported for 9 months, it is intended for enthusiasts and users who would like to try out the latest and greatest software. If you're installing Edubuntu in an organisation such as a school, university or non-profit, we suggest you deploy Edubuntu 12.04 LTS (long-term support), which is supported until April 2017 for both servers and desktops. What's New? Edubuntu 13.10 is mostly a refresh on Edubuntu 13.04 without any significant change to the package selection. Notable updates: Unity 7.1.2, LibreOffice 4.1.2, Firefox 24.0, Thunderbird 24.0, Linux kernel 3.11, Upstart 1.10, Python 3.3.2." Here is the brief release announcement.
Jack Yu has announced the release of UbuntuKylin 13.10, an official variant of Ubuntu (with Unity) designed for users in China and providing a customised Chinese user experience: "We are glad to announce the release of UbuntuKylin 13.10. In this release, the Linux kernel has been updated to 3.11. We have added more useful applications, such as Youker Assistant, KuaiPan client, fcitx-qimpanel, Unity China video scope, Unity China photo scope and UbuntuKylin wallpapers. Besides, Chinese calendar, Indicator China Weather, Unity China music scope and WPS for UbuntuKylin have been updated. New features: system customization - provides new GRUB selection, slideshow and boot animation; Youker Assistant provides a simple but powerful way for users to use and manage their systems; Unity China video scope - shows Chinese video results searched from Youku service on Dash...." See the release announcement (in Chinese) and release notes (in English, with screenshots) for more details.
UbuntuKylin 13.10 - a distribution designed and optimised for users in China
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Mario Behling has announced the release of Lubuntu 13.10, a lightweight variant of Ubuntu that provides the minimalist LXDE desktop and a selection of light applications: "Julien Lavergne has released Lubuntu 13.10. Features: based on the lightweight LXDE desktop environment; PCManFM - a fast and lightweight file manager; Openbox -a fast and extensible default windows manager of LXDE; LightDM using a simple GTK+ greeter; Firefox as the new web browser for Lubuntu 13.10; based on Ubuntu 13.10. Improvements since Lubuntu 13.04: new version of PCManFM and libfm (1.1.0) including a built-in search utility; artwork improvements, including new wallpapers, community wallpapers and new icons; removed Catfish since PCManFM has its own search utility; fixed a very old bug causing GNOME MPlayer to crash with some CPUs; several fixes for the GPicView image viewer." Read the rest of the release announcement for system requirements and known issues.
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10
Ali Jawad has announced the release of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10, the project's second release as an official Ubuntu flavour featuring the GNOME 3 desktop with GNOME Shell: "The Ubuntu GNOME team is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10. Ubuntu GNOME aims to bring a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience to Ubuntu. Keeping in coordination with the Ubuntu Desktop team, we have decided to stay with GNOME 3.8 for the 13.10 release. Features: most of GNOME 3.8 is now included; many artwork improvements including new boot loader theme, Plymouth theme, wallpapers, installer slideshow and completed branding with our new logo; the new GNOME Classic session is included, to try it choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen; Ubuntu Online Accounts is no longer included by default." See the release announcement and release notes for more information.
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 - Ubuntu with a standard GNOME 3 desktop and GNOME Shell
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Simplicity Linux 13.10
David Purse has announced the release of Simplicity Linux 13.10, a new version of the project's Puppy-based distribution for desktops and netbooks, featuring the LXDE desktop environment: "We are proud to announce that Simplicity Linux 13.10 is now available for download. From today you can download Obsidian, Netbook and Desktop. Media and X will be available in a few days, as we're still not 100% happy with them. Simplicity Linux 13.10 is based on Upup 184.108.40.206 which in turn is based on Puppy Linux. Desktop has the biggest change this release cycle. We have now brought back OnLive; improvements in WINE and video drivers mean that OnLive works better than it did in the past. We know it's not Steam, but with OnLive if you have a decent Internet connection, at least you don't have to worry about big downloads, you can just get on with gaming. Desktop also has Dropbox integrated into it, so you can sync your files and get them on any device with a browser." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Simplicity Linux 13.10 - a Puppy-based distribution with a customised LXDE desktop
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Johnny Hughes has announced the release of CentOS 5.10, an updated build of the project's distribution built from source code of the recently-released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.10: "We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of CentOS 5.10 for the i386 and x86_64 architectures. New features: MySQL versions 5.1 and 5.5 are now available, MySQL 5.1 is only provided for assisting in upgrading MySQL 5.0 databases to MySQL 5.5 and it should not be used in production environments; there will be no more security updates for the 5.0 and 5.1 versions of MySQL; a new package, gcc-libraries, consisting of libraries libatomic and libitm, is now available - these libraries provide support for certain atomic operations and transactional memory; the HP cciss RAID driver has been updated to the latest version...." See the release announcement and especially the release notes for a detailed list of changes and known issues.
Cecil Watson has released version 8.0 of LinHES (which stands for "Linux Home Entertainment System"), an Arch-based Linux distribution centred around MythTV. The biggest change of the release is the switch to the x86_64 architecture. From the release notes: "With this release of LinHES several things have changed. The main thing to note is that with this release, LinHES will support 64-bit processors only. This change, along with a partition layout change means that an in-place upgrade of an existing system is not possible. All installs of R8 should be treated as new installs, with the option to import the old recordings, if desired. R8 uses the same version of MythTV as R7, so importing the old recordings should be very straightforward." Other notable changes include: "old NVIDIA drivers have been dropped; Fbsplash has been replaced with Plymouth; GRUB 2 has replaced GRUB; Fluxbox has been replaced by Enlightenment as the default window manager...."
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- LoC-OS Linux. LoC-OS Linux is a re-spin of Ubuntu featuring lots of useful software in the default installation.
- Audiophile Linux. Audiophile Linux is an operating system optimised for high-quality digital audio reproduction featuring a real-time kernel.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 October 2013. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Flash Linux was a customised Linux distribution designed to be run directly off a USB key or other (similar) forms of bootable flash memory. It should work within the constraints of 256MB of (flash) memory although larger devices may also be used. Flash Linux was based on Gentoo Linux and new versions and bugfixes should track the stable Gentoo tree. Whereas Gentoo was a source distribution, Flash Linux was a binary-only distribution.