| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 539, 23 December 2013
Welcome to this year's final issue of DistroWatch Weekly! In the process of designing a distribution a lot of questions need to be answered. Some of these questions will concern the issues of stability versus cutting-edge software, which desktop environment to use as the default, whether features or efficiency is more important and so on. This week we take a look at Centrych OS, a distribution designed to take the middle road on issues, finding a balance between contending views. Read Jesse Smith's review below to find out how this middle-of-the-road philosophy works for Centrych OS. This past week saw a new release from the Fedora Project and we talk about new features presented by the Red Hat-sponsored distribution. In other news we talk about automated bug reporting coming to Kubuntu and exciting new document support coming to ownCloud. In this week's Questions and Answers column we discuss making multi-disc archives and how to deal with large amounts of data spread across several discs. As usual, we will talk about the many interesting launches of the past week and look forward to upcoming scheduled releases to come. Next week DistroWatch Weekly will be on holiday, but we will return on January 6th and we hope you will join us again then. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (17MB) and MP3 (38MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Taking the middle road with Centrych OS 12.04.3
Centrych OS is an Ubuntu-based project which is developed with the philosophy that the best solution is a middle ground between two contending views. Take, for example, the problem as to whether a distribution should ship with modern, cutting-edge software or with conservative, tried-and-true software. Some people will value the stability and familiarity of older packages while others will value new features. As another example, consider desktop environments. Some people enjoy the appearance, flexible and power of KDE. Others prefer a desktop environment which uses fewer resources, a desktop that is light and responsive, such as Xfce.
Centrych OS is put together with the idea that everyone can enjoy the best of both worlds. We can have a stable core operating system while running brand new desktop applications, giving us both reliability (where it counts) and new features (in applications where they will be noticed). Centrych ships with the Xfce desktop, but the default theme and layout make the interface look and act as though we were running KDE. This gives the user a great deal of flexibility and a nice, traditional desktop interface while reducing resource usage. I decided to take the latest release of Centrych, version 12.04.3, for a spin to see how this philosophy of moderation would work. Centrych's most recent release is built upon Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. The project is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the ISO available for download is 1.3GB in size. Apart from the design goals listed above, Centrych ships with a Linux kernel optimized for desktop use and the project enables TRIM support for solid state drives which should improve disk access times over the life time of the drive.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - running Firefox and a virtual terminal
(full image size: 286kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Booting from Centrych's live disc brings us to an Xfce desktop which is themed to look similar to KDE. The desktop is laid out in a classic fashion with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed along the bottom of the display. Icons sit on the desktop, inviting us to launch the system installer or browse the local file system. The application menu is arranged in a way which resembles a cross between the modern KDE menu and a classic menu-tree. All in all, the menu feels backward, with categories of software placed on the right and individual applications in those categories placed on the left. The desktop features a few visual effects, though nothing particularly flashy.
Centrych OS ships with a modified version of Kubuntu's system installer. The installer runs us through the usual steps of selecting our preferred language, partitioning the hard disk, confirming our time zone and creating a user account. Centrych's installer differs from Kubuntu's by adding a few extra screens which give the user an unusual amount of control over low-level options. For instance, one screen asks us what sort of computer we will be using (desktop, laptop or virtual machine). Based on our selection the installer will recommend certain kernel configurations. We have the ability to override these recommendations. Some of the options we can choose from include running a kernel with PAE support, the BFS process scheduler, an alternative I/O scheduler and we can choose whether to enable dynamic kernel ticks.
There are other options presented to us, such as whether to enable SSD support, whether to place our /tmp folder in RAM and there are a few swap/cache optimizations. We can also choose whether to make use of mount options such as noatime. All of this seems strangely detailed (and probably confusing for most users) and it stands out in a big way. Even distributions aimed at experienced users such as Slackware don't encourage this level of customization and it feels out of place when compared against the otherwise novice-friendly approach taken by Centrych. One thing I do appreciate about the installer is it allows us to choose whether to use a root account for system administration or we can assign sudo rights to regular user accounts. Once the installer has finished asking questions and copying its files we are prompted to reboot the machine.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - default application menu and KDE's System Settings panel
(full image size: 449kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Launching Centrych OS from the local hard drive we are brought to a graphical login screen. Here we have the ability to login to one of two desktop session types. The first is the default session which is essentially Xfce mimicking the KDE desktop (as we saw on the live disc). The second session option presents Xfce looking like, well, like Xfce does on most distributions. Specifically, I believe this second session is modeled after Xubuntu's default user interface. Aside from logging in to confirm the second interface worked, I spent most of my time using the default, KDE-style interface. Logging in I found Centrych provides a few desktop effects by default, nothing too distracting, mostly just some colour highlights around the application windows. Shortly after logging in I noticed an icon on the system tray indicating software updates were available for the system and this is where I ran into my one serious bug with the distribution.
At first things went well enough. Clicking the update notification icon brought up a window which gave a summary of the available updates and a button I could click to start the upgrade process. Clicking the button caused the update manager to lock-up and its progress bar indicated it was "waiting". After several minutes I canceled the upgrade process, then tried opening the update manager again. Once more the update manager got stuck "waiting". I rebooted the computer and tried once more, this time I was told some packages could be downloaded, but not all. I accepted this partial upgrade, but then, when the update finished, I was told no more packages were available. This seemed suspect as a partial upgrade should have left some software still in the queue. Eventually I found myself on the command line, trouble-shooting a corrupt package database. After some fiddling with APT and then the underlying dpkg utility I found myself with a working update manager and package management tools. I'm not sure if this problem with package management was just bad luck or something specific to Centrych. It is very rare that I have trouble with APT-based package management (this is probably the third time in over eight years) so it was certainly unexpected.
Centrych comes with a collection of popular software. Digging through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser (with Flash enabled), the Thunderbird e-mail client and the LibreOffice productivity suite. The Kopete instant messaging software is included alongside the Quassel IRC client. The Audex audio CD ripper is installed for us as is the k3b disc burning software. Centrych comes with the Clementine music player, the VLC multimedia player and a full range of media codecs. We are given a screen-capture video recorder, a web cam utility called Kamoso, a document viewer and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. The distribution comes with two settings panels, the KDE System Settings centre and Xfce's settings panel. I found making use of these control centres worked during a session, but sometimes configuration options seemed to be forgotten between sessions. Centrych comes with a third-party driver manager and the Zim desktop wiki software. The distribution ships with a helpful manual which covers basic desktop usage. There are a few administration tools too, including utilities for working with printers, user accounts, the system clock and the computer's firewall. Centrych ships with Java, the GNU Compiler Collection and, in the background, the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - the project's documentation
(full image size: 261kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I tried running Centrych OS in two environments, on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel wireless card and Intel video card) and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. In the virtual machine I found Centrych ran unusually slow. The distribution took over a minute to boot and any actions taken on the desktop (launching applications, opening menus, etc) were met with several seconds of delay. On physical hardware Centrych performed better, though I still encountered periodic lag, typically when launching applications. This lack of performance surprised me as typically Ubuntu-based distributions perform fairly well in these same environments. When running on the laptop, the distribution detected and made use of all of my hardware without any problems. Wireless networking, the built-in webcam and my display were all handled well. The distribution has a memory footprint of approximately 165MB when logged into the desktop. The memory usage might be considered very good for KDE or quite poor for Xfce, depending on whether you are a glass is half-empty or half-full sort of person.
Centrych OS 12.04.3 - package management and Xfce's settings panel
(full image size: 541kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Centrych OS comes with two graphical package managers. The first is Synaptic, a tried-and-true software manager which allows users to create batches of actions to perform on packages. Synaptic takes a package-oriented approach, letting users deal with the gritty details of software management. Synaptic, while it does not have a particularly friendly interface, does work quickly and gets the job done without fuss. The other package manager is the heavier, slower and more user-friendly Ubuntu Software Centre. The Software Centre presents us with colourful icons, screenshots, detailed information and one-click installs of software. The Software Centre also allows us to continue browsing the software archives while items are being downloaded, installed or removed in the background. Apart from the trouble I had early on when attempting to apply updates, I encountered no problems while using either of these two package managers.
I usually appreciate the philosophy of moderation, of finding a working middle ground and so I was cautiously optimistic going into this review. Unfortunately, for me, Centrych delivered an experience which felt awkward. On paper the design looks good -- modern desktop software on a proven core, powerful desktop features carried by lightweight technology -- and yet what was meant to be a combination of strengths came across as cumbersome. I felt like I was dealing with KDE's weight while limited to Xfce's technology. I felt like I was dealing with bleeding-edge stability on top of an aging core. The menu seemed cluttered with utilities from both the Xfce and KDE projects with no clear indication of which tool was the right one for the job.
In short, what started as a good approach on paper felt to me to be a sort of Frankenstein's monster of operating systems. Yes, it does carry modern software on a tested kernel and, yes, Centrych does feature a sort of KDE-style user interface using Xfce's lighter technology. But the weaknesses of both approaches stand out just as much as the strengths of both approaches. The distribution did not feel unified to me. Perhaps, in fairness, this is because I am accustomed to using Xfce and KDE separately. Perhaps it is because I'm used to either all shiny new technology or conservative software versions and having these combinations goes against my habits. Maybe it is my habits alone which makes Centrych feel awkward. Still, I feel as though this approach, while an attractive idea, needs more polish before I am comfortable recommending it.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora 20 arrives, Kubuntu gets automated crash reporting, collaborative document editing comes to ownCloud, Enlightenment 0.18
The Fedora project launched its third release of 2013 last week. Fedora 20, which carries the code name "Heisenbug", carries a collection of cutting-edge software and several positive new developments. The latest Fedora release ships with GNOME 3.10, KDE 4.11 and an upgraded Network Manager that will make it easier to get on-line using a command-line interface. Other highlights include using the systemd journal in place of traditional logging utilities and improved support for ARM devices. A full list of changes and features can be found in the release notes.
Fedora 20 - GNOME Shell's Activity menu
(full image size: 860kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
One pleasing aspect of a Fedora release is the instant availability of many specialist Fedora "spins". One of them, a variant that includes software for scientific computing and appropriately named Fedora Scientific, was also released last week: "Fedora 20 is now released, which also means the newest release of Fedora Scientific along with other spins are also available. The notable additions in this release are: Sage, along with Sage notebook; SymPy, the Python library for symbolic mathematics; the Python 3 versions for scipy, numpy, matplotlib libraries and IPython (including IPython notebook); Commons math, a Java library for numerical computing." Fedora Scientific ships with the KDE desktop and includes many popular applications and libraries, including "the GNU Scientific library, the SciPy libraries, tools like Octave and xfig to typesetting tools like Kile and graphics programs such as Inkscape."
* * * * *
Applications crash, it is an unfortunate fact of life. All too often the steps required to report a bug are time consuming and inconvenient, especially for new users. In an effort to make reporting bugs to developers easier so that software can get fixed faster, some distributions include an application which will automatically report bugs when an application crashes. According to The World According to Harald blog, it looks as though Kubuntu will soon introduce automated crash reporting, sending bug reports to the project's developers when something goes wrong. The blog features a series of screen shots with the caption, "Next in Kubuntu: Allowing you to give us viable information on a crash even if you don't feel like reporting a lengthy bug report over at bugs.kde.org."
* * * * *
Typically, up until now, when people wanted to collaboratively edit Open Document Format (ODF) documents they needed a third-party tool like Google Docs or an expensive proprietary technology. Now, with the launch of ownCloud 6, it is possible to collaboratively edit ODF word processing documents using a private server. The founder of ownCloud, Frank Karlitschek, writes, "This feature is implemented in an app called "ownCloud Documents" and will be part of ownCloud 6. People can view and edit their ODF text documents directly in the browser, inside your ownCloud. Another cool thing is that you can invite users from the same ownCloud to work collaboratively on the same document with you. Or you can send invitation links by email to people outside your server to collaborate with you on the document. Several people can navigate in the same document with different cursors at the same time and you can see the changes that are done by the different users in different colors." This new development makes it easy to share and work on documents with a team while using free and open source software that is available at no cost.
* * * * *
Following one year after the release of Enlightenment 0.17, the development team behind this highly customizable window manager announced the availability of Enlightenment 0.18. The latest version of the lightweight graphical interface features better systemd support, several bug fixes which should prevent crashes, Wayland display server support and improved compositing. The release announcement contains more details and download links for people wishing to try out Enlightenment for themselves. There is also a list of changes in point form for people wishing to see the more technical details behind the work done since the 0.17 release.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Dividing an archive across multiple discs
Burning-files-to-disc asks: I haven't found a DVD burning program that can automatically burn and split, for example, a 20 GB directory across five DVDs. How can I spread large archives across multiple discs?
DistroWatch answers: I am not certain if any graphical applications for disc burning on Linux will handle spreading archives automatically across multiple discs. Juggling files of varying sizes and placing them into multi-part archives can be a complex process. It's hard for the burning software to know how to divide files, especially if one of the source files is larger than the destination. For this reason it may be easier to divide the archive into DVD-sized pieces prior to beginning the burning process. Creating a multi-disc archive and restoring it is a six step process.
First we want to create an archive of all our files to be burned to disc. This can be done with any graphical archive utility, or we can make use of the tar command line tool:
tar czf large-archive.tar.gz SourceDirectory1 SourceDirectory2 SourceDirectory3
Our next step is to break this one massive archive into disc-sized pieces. We can do this using the split command:
split -b 4G large-archive.tar.gz archive
The split command will create multiple files which will be named archiveaa, archiveab, archiveac and so on. We can then burn these files to a series of DVDs using any disc burning software. Once we have our files stored on multiple DVDs we can copy the archive files from the discs onto another computer, storing each archive file in the same directory. To get back all of our files we first need to combine the individual files into one giant archive. The cat command does this for us:
cat archiveaa archiveab archiveac > new-large-archive.tar.gz
Finally, we unpack the large archive file, restoring our data:
tar xzf new-large-archive.tar.gz
All of this being said, rather than trying to manually squeeze files onto DVDs or creating separate archive files like this, I would suggest backing up/transferring data in another manner. These days USB thumb drives are inexpensive and have a fairly large storage capacity. External hard drives are also fairly inexpensive for the amount of data they can hold and, in the long run, both will probably provide a less expensive (and less cumbersome) method of storing data.
|Released Last Week
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Quirky 6.0, a minimalist distribution (and a fork of Puppy Linux) that attempts to explore new avenues and implement unusual ideas: "Quirky is my fun project to explore new ideas for Linux. I started Quirky Linux in 2009 as a venue to explore new concepts, and I am continuing this. Quirky 6 is the 6.x version series, with a raft of new ideas that I want to try out. It has turned out well, I like it and use Quirky as my every-day Linux distribution. In a nutshell, Quirky 6 is intended to be as small as possible (hence compiled from source in T2), very fast, very simple, and optimised to run on Flash memory media. I also aimed for simplicity, and Quirky is arguably simpler to use than Puppy Linux. There are other extended ideas that are in the pipeline. Quirky 6.0 is deployed as a compressed image for an 8 GB Flash drive." Read the release notes for more information.
José Antonio Calvo has announced the release of Zentyal 3.3, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution for small business servers: "The Zentyal development team proudly announces the release of Zentyal Server 3.3, a new version of the Linux alternative to Windows Small Business Server and Microsoft Exchange Server. The most significant benefit it introduces is the option to configure Zentyal as a native Microsoft Exchange replacement. Thanks to the OpenChange integration, it is possible to configure Zentyal Server as an on-premise Microsoft Exchange Server replacement with only two clicks and assign users the most common Microsoft Exchange services just as easily. Users can access these services through a web interface, or continue to use Microsoft Outlook clients as usual without having to install any additional software or plug-in on their computers." Read the full press release for more details and a brief feature list.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 23.0, an updated stable version of the Debian-based distribution with Firefox as the only application and designed primarily for web kiosks: "This 23.0 release is probably our last snapshot for 2013, one that should help turn your PCs into web kiosks or web digital signs. What's new? Linux 3.10 kernel for increased hardware compatibility; Firefox 26 and Flash updates; a change to make installed version upgrades and downgrades more bandwidth efficient; when using a non-English locale, accept language headers are properly set so for some web applications, pages will be automatically in your language. Some of these changes were previously announced on the mailing list, so thanks to all who helped test this release. Please download the latest release and we would love to hear from you." Here is the brief release announcement.
Fedora 20, code-named "Heisenbug" and dedicated to well-known Fedora contributor Seth Vidal who passed away in July, has been released: "We can say with great certainty the Fedora Project is pleased to announce the release of Fedora 20 ('Heisenbug'), which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Fedora Project. Fedora 20 comes with GNOME 3.10, which has several new applications and features that will please GNOME lovers. This release includes a new music application, a new maps application, a revamp for the system status menu, and Zimbra support in Evolution. In keeping with Fedora's commitment to innovation, the Fedora community has been pushing to make ARM a primary architecture." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
SparkyLinux 3.2 "E17", "MATE", "CLI"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.2 "E17", "MATE" and "CLI" editions, a set of Debian-based distributions with Enlightenment, MATE or command-line only user interfaces: "SparkyLinux 3.2 'Annagerman' Enlightenment, MATE & CLI is out. The new live/install media of SparkyLinux 3.2 E17, MATE and CLI feature: Linux kernel 3.11.10; all packages have been upgraded from Debian's testing repositories as of 2013-12-15; MATE 1.6; Enlightenment 0.17.3; PCManFM 1.1.2 (E17 desktop); added support for installing 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems; added the 32-bit WINE package on 64-bit systems; added the cURL package – it's a missing dependency for PlayOnLinux; sparky-aptus has been updated up to version 0.1.6 – added new option 'Fix Broken DPKG'." Here is the brief release announcement.
openSUSE 13.1 "Education Li-f-e"
Lars Vogdt has announced the release of openSUSE 13.1 "Education Li-f-e" edition, an openSUSE flavour designed specifically for schools and other educational institutions: "openSUSE Education community is proud to bring you openSUSE Education Li-f-e. It is based on the recently released openSUSE 13.1 with all the official online updates applied. We have put together a nice set of tools for everyone, including teachers, students, parents and IT administrators. It covers quite a lot of territory: from chemistry, mathematics to astronomy and geography. Whether you are into software development or just someone looking for a Linux distribution that comes with everything working out of the box, your search ends here. Let's briefly go through some of the thing you may find in this release." Continue to the release announcement to learn more.
Cecil Watson has announced the release of LinHES 8.1, an Arch-based distribution for set-top boxes featuring the MythTV home entertainment application: "The LinHES Dev team is pleased to announce the release of LinHES R8.1. This builds upon R8.0 and is the first LinHES release using MythTV 0.27. Special notes: because MythTV is not compatible with older versions, all installs should be updated at the same time; If a system is not updated it will not be able to communicate with the other systems until after it is updated. Special upgrade notes: for people with remote frontends or slave backends the order of upgrade matters - first upgrade the master backend then slave backends, finally remote frontends may be upgraded; it is not possible to update to this release with versions older than R8.0. Changes: MythTV 0.27 with fixes; removal of classic local website. New stuff: Xymon alerts will appear on the console as well as via OSD; new default LinHES theme." Read the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Sabayon Linux 14.01
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 14.01, a Gentoo-based distribution with a choice several popular desktop environments: "Sabayon 14.01 is a modern and easy-to-use Linux distribution based on Gentoo, following an extreme, yet reliable, rolling-release model. This is a monthly release generated, tested and published to mirrors by our build servers containing the latest and greatest collection of software available in the Entropy repositories. Linux Kernel 3.12.5 with BFQ iosched, updated external ZFS file system support, GNOME 3.10.3, KDE 4.11.4, Xfce 4.10, LibreOffice 4.1.3, UEFI SecureBoot support for 64-bit images (with bundled UEFI shell), systemd as default init system, a greatly improved version of the Entropy package manager supporting concurrent activities...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Sabayon Linux 14.01 - the KDE desktop variant
(full image size: 482kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
ClearOS 6.5.0 "Community"
Peter Baldwin has announced the release of ClearOS 6.5.0 "Community" edition, a CentOS-based distribution for cloud-connected servers and gateways designed for homes, hobbyists and small organisations: "ClearOS Community 6.5.0 is now available. Along with the usual round of bug fixes and enhancements, the 6.5.0 release introduces QoS, marketplace enhancements, a network detail report, an administrators application, official Amazon EC2 support, a software RAID manager, a network map tool, UPnP support, an updated web server application, as well as new reporting features. Under the hood, some changes were made to support OwnCloud as well as web-based applications (Tiki Wiki, WordPress, Joomla, etc.). For businesses and organizations, ClearOS Professional 6.5.0 also includes: network map for business; Samba 4 and Samba Directory (beta)." See the release announcement and release notes for further information and upgrade instructions.
Yann Le Doaré has announced the release of LinuxConsole 2.0, a major new version of the project's Linux distribution designed primarily for game consoles: "LinuxConsole 2.0 is ready. Features: fast boot; should run on old and new video cards (Intel, NVIDIA, ATI); live CD and live USB; can be installed as a dual-boot system with Windows. Games list: OpenTTD, Tux Paint, 2H4U, BZFlag, Cultivation, ETR, Neverball, XMoto, Frozen Bubble, Danger from the deep, Do'SSi Zo'la, fooBillard, Freecraft, Supertuxkart, Teeworlds. What is new: LinuxConsole is now built from Dibab; the code has been rewritten from scratch; it is very simple to build it, you don't need root access; you can install DEB packages, all binaries are built, but there is great compatibility with the Debian ones. What is inside: BusyBox 1.21.1, Linux kernel 3.12.5, Mesa 9.1.6, X.Org 1.14.3, NetworkManager 0.9.8.6, LXDE (git release), Firefox 26.0 (with a tool that downloads it from Internet)." Here is the brief release announcement.
Jordan Hubbard has announced the release of FreeNAS 9.2.0, a FreeBSD-based operating system that enables the users to build networked storage: "After one early beta and two release candidates, it gives us great pleasure to announce the full and final release of FreeNAS 9.2.0. As implied from the series of pre-releases, this release has benefitted substantially from a great deal of public testing as well as several months of 'living on' testing we ourselves have done on a wide variety of hardware. This is, without a doubt, the best release of FreeNAS yet. Since 9.1.1 was released, we have fixed 268 bugs in the bug tracker, as well as countless others that were found and fixed independently of the bug tracking system. We have also made a number of enhancements to the UI and generally done our best to bring more polish to the FreeNAS system, both in usability and performance." Continue to the release announcement to find out more.
Linux Mint 16 "KDE", "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the final release of Linux Mint 16 "KDE" and "Xfce" editions: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 16 'Petra' KDE. KDE is a vibrant, innovative, advanced, modern looking and full-featured desktop environment. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of KDE 4.11. ... The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 16 'Petra' Xfce. Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. This edition features all the improvements from the latest Linux Mint release on top of an Xfce 4.10 desktop." For additional information, screenshots and feature lists please visit the following links: KDE edition announcement, KDE edition what's new, Xfce edition announcement, Xfce edition what's new.
Distribution Release: IPFire 2.13 Core 74
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13 Core 74, an updated version of the Linux-based, security-hardened distribution for firewalls: "IPFire 2.13 Core Update 74 released. It comes with a bunch of minor updates and fixes some minor bugs. Update to Squid 3.3.11. The latest maintenance update of the Squid web proxy package has been applied. The maximum number of file descriptors has again been increased to 1,048,576 and the issue which made it was impossible for the Squid daemon to set the desired configuration value has been fixed. The OpenVPN package has been updated to version 2.3.2. strongSwan, the package responsible for IPsec VPN connections, has been updated to version 5.1.1. The HTTPS key and certificate that are used for communicating with our IPFire web user interface has been increased to 4,096 bits. This follows the general advice by various authorities. New installations will automatically generate a longer key." Read the release announcement for further details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
DistroWatch database summary|
* * * * *
This is the last issue of DistroWatch Weekly in 2013. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 6 January 2013. To all our faithful readers we'd like to wish you happy end-of-the-year holidays and see you all in 2014!
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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|Reader Comments - Jump to last comment
1 • Mint 16 and flashplugin (by Fred on 2013-12-23 10:20:25 GMT from France) |
About Linux Mint and flash plugin never updated (see comments last week).
Just have a look at the following screeshots:
especially the update manager screenshots:
Seems people at Mint are taking comments really seriously, as "mint-flash-plugin" is now updated.
Hope it will be updated in the future as well.
2 • splitiing (by hawaii on 2013-12-23 10:44:58 GMT from Poland)
Also tar have an --multi-volume option :-)
3 • Centrych (by Mike on 2013-12-23 11:23:44 GMT from United States)
Runs with none of the problems Distrowatch found on my iMac desktop and MacBook Pro laptop. Running Xfce I have the look of KDE without the overhead. It's also good to have the latest versions of apps I use.
4 • @1 mint16 (by mandog on 2013-12-23 13:10:48 GMT from Peru)
How can it be updated when its abandoned 2 years ago by Adobe all it gets is security patches, you mistook the installer for the flash plugin, the installer is not anything to do with the flash plugin its just a easy way to install flash thats all.
5 • @4 flash update (by Kazlu on 2013-12-23 14:24:02 GMT from France)
Fred was right. If you look at the picture in his second link you will see the first update provided by the update manager is mint-flashplugin-11, updated from version 188.8.131.520 to version 184.108.40.2062. A security patch is still an update (although not a major update of course) and that's the kind of updates that had been questionned last week in the comments.
6 • @4 (by silent on 2013-12-23 15:56:17 GMT from Hungary)
Actually, the latest version (11.9.900.170) is available with Chrome (Pepper-based Flash Player) for Windows, OSX and Linux.
7 • Fedora and wired network (by David Smith on 2013-12-23 15:57:51 GMT from Canada)
After installing Fedora 19 alongside XP, latest Ubuntu and OpenSUSE in a multiboot configuration, I discovered an interesting 'feature' of recent Fedoras: they don't talk to "cheap routers" (as someone on Fedora Forums kindly explained - http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=293967).
Fortunately I also have a "cheap" wifi network, which Fedora deigned to recognize (oh hell, all my gear is "cheap"), so Fedora is still usable without some crazy reconfiguration required in order to hit the network at all.
Still, the latest Ubuntu, and OpenSUSE releases worked with my "cheap router" out of the box.
Remember kids: Ubuntu and Opensuse - cheap. Fedora: not cheap.
8 • @7 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-12-23 16:54:08 GMT from Canada)
Well, c'mon, it's a *forum*. One guy noted an issue he'd seen with incorrect DHCP server configurations on home - 'cheapo' - routers. There's no particular indication that's actually your problem, but once you posted that it was working with a static IP, interest in the thread is going to drop; people usually figure someone's happy once things are working.
All anyone could conclude with any certainty from the data in the thread is that Fedora properly sends out a DHCP request but, for some reason, never gets a response. Any diagnosis beyond that point, including the thing about 'authoritative' in the DHCP server config, is a guess.
9 • @Adam (by David Smith on 2013-12-23 17:09:12 GMT from Canada)
Fedora is actually my favourite distro (I've been using it since fc7), and I consider it mostly rock steady, so this was an unpleasant surprise to say the least (I had no networking issues on the same hardware with fc15, 16, 17 and 18). I tried the static ip trick, and that worked until the next reboot. Networking is a fairly basic requirement for it to fail so egregiously.
10 • Fedora 20 (by Ron on 2013-12-23 17:47:46 GMT from United States)
I have been using Fedora 20 JAM/KDE Spin since the last part of the beta test. It works very well and no issue moving to the final release. I would love to see an article here about the Fedora Spins in general. Maybe an article with a paragraph for each spin or something like that.
Fedora 20, of course, comes with Gnome 3.
The Fedora Spins Are:
I love how they do this compared to other Distro's. Simply as Spins without names, such as, Kedora, Xedora or whatever. Since it is all Open Source then you still get distros that are based on Fedora that are not spins.
The more I use Fedora and learn about Red Hat, the more respect I have for them. Trust me when I say that, these days that is a rare thing for me to say especially about a big company.
11 • Sabayon 14.01, Cinnamon & Mint (by Chanath on 2013-12-23 18:59:48 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Interesting mention of Cinnamon 2.0 & Mint 16 on the Sabayon 14.01 release announcement;
"Together with the GNOME 3.10 bump, we kicked out Cinnamon 2.0, which has been available in our repositories before Linux Mint (ihihi hi there!) made a new ISO. Enjoy Cinnamon with a cup of hot chocolate (unless you live in Australia, in that case well, enjoy Summer)."
Such love for Cinnamon and Mint!
12 • @ 7 and 9 (by namby on 2013-12-23 20:26:15 GMT from United States)
Claiming that Fedora doesn't support "cheapo" routers is a massive oversimplification and a large misreading of that thread. You are being alarmist for the sake of doing so.
If you really liekd Fedora you would learn what the issue is an aim to be helpful as opposed to spreading outright lies because YOU don't understand networking enough to make an informed opinion.
13 • @9 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-12-23 20:31:34 GMT from Canada)
Like I said it's impossible to tell with the information provided so far, but I'd be surprised if there was something really broken in Fedora. (For a start, I haven't seen any other reports of straight up DHCP failure on a simple wired ethernet connection yet, and I don't have any such issues on four F20 machines). We're not doing anything magical or particularly different from any other distro or Fedora release for a simple wired ethernet connection: we run dhclient and ask the router for an IP address. You can see that's happening from the log - the DHCPREQUESTs are sent.
It seems like there must be _something_ odd happening somewhere in your case, but I can't see any way to figure out what from the info provided so far. It'd be useful to know at least if an F20 or F19 live image booted on the same system works, for instance.
14 • Fedora & 'cheap' routers (by Anonymous Coward on 2013-12-23 22:36:46 GMT from United States)
Saying a particular Linux flavor selectively ignores "cheap" routers is a pretty ridiculous statement.
Yeah, I'm sure someone is maintaining a list of "cheap" routers so they can be manually and deliberately "disabled."
15 • @14 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-12-24 00:03:28 GMT from Canada)
If you read the linked forum thread, that's not really what happened - someone offered up a pet theory that some 'cheapo' routers don't declare themselves to be 'authoritative' DHCP servers and that this is the cause of this user's problem. There are two obvious points at which that theory would need testing: does his router actually not advertise itself as 'authoritative', and is that actually the cause of this problem. Until then it's just a theory.
16 • I don't know, Fedora 20 Router Problems (by Ron on 2013-12-24 00:59:04 GMT from United States)
I think this argument is a good one about Fedora not being able to connect to the internet and work with certain routers, especially the cheap ones. I tried and tried to get Fedora 20 to work with my old, cheap router that is made of wood, linked a picture to it below, but I just wouldn't work.
17 • Centrych OS, as shipped (by steve on 2013-12-24 01:12:19 GMT from United States)
Although I don't usually pay much attention to which desktop theme(s) a distro includes, the default Centurytech OS themse immediately seemed "awkward" due to the presence of so much padding, so much wasted space in the program window toolbars etc. On a 768px tall widescreen, the toolbar portion of each app window filled a third of the screen height, and I caught myself muttering "What were they thinking...?"
18 • Fedora 20 (by MiRa on 2013-12-24 02:28:28 GMT from Spain)
Still missing apps like Skype, Opera, Jitsi, Flash Player... ?
If so, still remain useless distro (for me)...
19 • Fedora 20 (by Chanath on 2013-12-24 03:17:26 GMT from Sri Lanka)
There had been such hype for Fedora and against Ubuntu here for sometime, so I decided to download and install Fedora 20 Gnome Edition. I had a problem with Fedora 19, Kororaa etc in getting them installed, but this time Fedora installation was very good. I am using it at least for 6-7 hours since it was released. There are no problems of installing any app I wanted, plugins etc. The Gnome 3.10.x integration in Fedora is very good, actually excellent. My router is ZTE, which is a very cheap one--I paid 8 USD for that, new of course. I mentioned about router, as some guys are complaining. Still, my main distro is Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr in the testing mode, to which I added Gnome 3.10.x.
I don't find lot of difference in Fedora and Ubuntu, except that Ubuntu has everything included, and installing non-free apps is just a line in the Terminal, or few clicks in Synaptic. Fedora 20 does not have a Software Manager, one can always install Yumex, but using the Terminal is very easy. Mind you, Ubuntu 14.04 is still in testing, but no hitches yet.
20 • sabayon (by Reuben on 2013-12-24 06:26:20 GMT from United States)
Summary says that sabayon improved the package manger? Is it that much better? Is the default setting still to install a bunch of packages without prompting the user with a list of packages to be installed?
I thought it was a nice system, but equo just turned me off.
21 • Linux Mint XFCE, KDE editions and LMDE (by Chanath on 2013-12-24 11:50:07 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Its been quite while since Kubuntu, Xubuntu 13.10 were released, and now we are told that there are two new Mint releases, XFCE and KDE editions. The question is do we really need them or Mint needs them to keep the fanbois going.
If one takes Mint 15 Olivia XFCE and KDE editions, and replace the repos from 13.04 to 13.10 and Olivia to Petra, and update and upgrade, what would you get?
This are not community editions as in PCLOS. This is just more or a less one man show. And, its all about donations. Google as a search engine is taken off as Google won't pay Mint Linux any money.
If Cinnamon is such a great DE/Overlay/Menu or whatever, why go into redoing already excellent Kubuntu and Xubuntu, to make Mint XFCE and KDE?
What's so interesting between Olivia XFCE and Petra XFCE? The same look, and maybe a wee bit of extra apps. Voyager does a superb Xubuntu remix, and it comes just few weeks after the release of Xubuntu. Netrunner does the same thing with Kubuntu. for example. Have a look here, if you guys want; http://packages.linuxmint.com/list.php?release=Petra
22 • ExTix 14 (by Chanath on 2013-12-24 12:19:01 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Here is someone, who is doing really excellent work with an Ubuntu release. (He does such work with the other OSs too) He doesn't take a released distro and add and subtract apps, but re-do lot of things.
In his own words; "After removing Unity I have installed Gnome 3.10 and Gnome Classic 3.10 (a perfect replacement for Cinnamon)."
Now, you can use Ubuntu in a USB stick; "You can then even run ExTiX from the USB stick and save all your system changes on the stick. I.e. you will enjoy persistence! "
He gives credit where it should be: "The scripts are quite ingenious. Unfortunately, it is not me who have created them. I found the scripts on Kanotix website."
And, the truth; "Ubuntu 13.10 and ExTiX 14 is different only in principle to the terms of program content. A general truth: If an original system can run on a particular computer an "Exton remaster" of the same original system can run on the same computer. I never change a Linux system for the worse in terms of auto configuration and hardware detection, etc. It happens that I replace the original kernel, but always to a "better" one with even more native support for various hardware etc."
Everyone who, remasters Ubuntu does certain things to make it different and better, but most go on to say, they are making a completely ne operating system. He doesn't, but he had done so. His own words; "After installation to hard drive ExTiX 14 otherwise will behave exactly as any other Ubuntu system."
And, that's the spirit! And, real work. And, you can carry your Ubuntu Gnome in your USB stick with persistence.
23 • @21 and also a bit @22 (by Kazlu on 2013-12-24 13:33:40 GMT from France)
You seem to think Xubuntu 13.10 and Linux Mint 16 Xfce are the same OS. That is not the case. I am surprised you think so since you are always the first saying that before saying anything about a distro, you have to try it at least. However, since one doesn't necesserily see the difference between the two when trying it live (except for the background, theme and other visual settings of course), you may have missed it. The differences comes after a few days of use and especially when upgrade time comes.
Indeed, Linux Mint was not originally born with the goal of providing another DE (Mint came before Unity appeared and used GNOME at that time, just like Ubuntu). Mint devs think Ubuntu (as well as Debian for a couple of things) does some things wrong, and I'm not talking about the DE. Mint adopted a different management of updates favouring system stability over patching again and again. This policy has pros and cons, that's why some people will prefer using Ubuntu whereas other will prefer using Linux Mint. Also, Mint disabled Ubuntu upgrade utility and suggest another method of upgrade consisting of backing up data and installed software list (with the help of MintUpdate), doing a fresh install of the new release and then restore data and reinstall software based on previously backed up list. Again, this method has pros and cons, thus it has lovers and haters. These are the main differences, they are functionnal ones. You can add different non-free driver management and a couple of other tools Mint offers, but the main difference (when the DE is the same, like Xfce here) is the update and upgrade management.
Linux Mint devs do not pretend it is a completely different system from Ubuntu. They say they are Ubuntu based, they don't hide it. Still, Linux Mint Xfce is not Xubuntu and exists because of its advantages.
And you're right: Linux Mint 15 Xfce and Linux Mint 16 Xfce are very similar. You have a couple of new things but the main differences are probably... the ones from the Ubuntu code base. Like a new kernel, which means better support for recent hardware. So, very few new things in Mint. And that's precisely the point: as much stability as possible in the user experience, minimum change to remain productive. Pros, cons, lovers, haters.
I was seduced by Mint arguments and tried Mint 13 a while ago. But I was disappointed with the results after a distro upgrade since I had to do a lot by hand to restore everything and I forgot to do some. I expected the upgrade process to be very easy and simple, so that I could recommand it to a newbie. Disappointed, so I got back to Xubuntu. Still, Linux Mint Xfce HAS a point and I hope it will continue to exist, because it is right for other people than me.
24 • Fedora 20 (by Dave Postles on 2013-12-24 13:45:42 GMT from United Kingdom)
FWIW, I've installed Fedora 20 with XFCE. I've had no problem with the router. It just detected and installed dynamic connection via ethernet (powerplug system to a years-old router supplied by my ISP, Zen).
I've downloaded QGIS, R, clamtk, gretl, libreoffice, by using the cli - no issues.
I have to say that I really do not like the way that KDE and Gnome have gone. For me, they just take up too much screen real estate. I like a minimalist DE.
The other aspect which I like about Fedora (as opposed to, say, Ubuntu and derivatives) is a separate root password. It just seems to give more security.
I'm still not convinced that the installer for the distro is easy enough for newbies. I would think that having to specify diskspace recovery before it will install will cause some trepidation.
25 • A sheep in a wolf's clothing... (by vt on 2013-12-24 13:55:02 GMT from United States)
"Centrych ships with the Xfce desktop, but the default theme and layout make the interface look and act as though we were running KDE. This gives the user a great deal of flexibility and a nice, traditional desktop interface while reducing resource usage. "
I'm not seeing how the latter follows from the former. Just because XFCE was made to "look like" KDE, how does it follow that this "gives the user a great deal of flexibility"? -- any more so than if XFCE had been made to *look like* Unity, or Gnome Shell, or Enlightenment? It's still XFCE, regardless of what it's been made to look like, with all the benefits and limitations of every other XFCE-based distro. Centrych, to judge by your article, is just dolled up XFCE with a smattering of "Kubuntu" components -- if that? Now, if they had been using KWIN instead of XFWM4, maybe the DE might more truly be a blend of the two?
26 • Exton from Sweden, who makes many distros and a bit @ Kazlu (by Chanath on 2013-12-24 14:48:17 GMT from Sri Lanka)
This person, Exton from Sweden is an extraordinary person. Even, though he announces in DW only an Ubuntu system, he creates other distributions from Arch, Crux, Debian, Gentoo, OpenSuse, Puppy, Slackware, and also a Super Rescue System and a 6-OS Multiboot. He had 66 distribution in June 2011(!), and now creates only 13.
The interesting fact is he is the only person, who had created a Live system from Crux, and also from Debian Jesse. This Debian Jesse is also can be carried in a USB stick, with persistence.
All kinds of DEs are used in his various distros from various OSs; Gnome, Gnome-Classic, Mate, E17, KDE, LXDE etc, and all has the latest Linux kernel, redone by him.
There is one button, you won't find in his Web site; "Donate!"
Download and see for yourself.
>You seem to think Xubuntu 13.10 and Linux Mint 16 Xfce are the same OS.<
No I don't think so. I think Mint XFCE is inferior to Xubuntu, and very much inferior to Voyager, which just few weeks after Xubuntu 13.10 was released, and Voyager doesn't hide that its a respin. Mint usually hides the repos in /etc/apt/sources.list.d, so guys won't use sed to change repos. You cannot install Skype in Mint 64 bits.
So many weeks, but is there any special changes in both XFCE or KDE spins, that a normal user can do for himself?
No one does distros like Exton, so try them. You might even feel how Crux works, or Debian Jesse works in a USB stick with persistence. Have a go, and you won't be unhappy.
27 • @ Chanarth (by M.Z. on 2013-12-24 17:23:47 GMT from United States)
Why does Mint version x exist? Well why does any open source project exist? I'm especially confounded by the continued existence on Gnome 3, because using it doesn't cause me any sensation that I couldn't get by smacking myself in the head with a hammer repeatedly, and it just seems to get worse with each new version. That being said you claim to like it, and more importantly people with the know how are willing to put the time in to make it, so I guess it should exist. It really doesn't matter what you or I think, if the people that know how to make things happen put it the time a new project is born and can continue as long as those making it see a point. Personally I think there are many first rate tools in Mint, such as their PPA and software sources tools. Can you name any distro with GUI software tools half as good as Mint? As far as I'm concerned Mint has more than proven its worth, and any extra version is just icing on the cake, and I think I might really like KDE flavored icing.
28 • Centrych (by Jack Radigan on 2013-12-24 17:58:39 GMT from United States)
First, thanks for taking the time to review Centrych.
You're the third review I've received and the first to comment on the extra installer panels. Point taken on presenting too much information to users who are new to Linux.
As for your lock-up when updating. Would appreciate some details on this, you're the first who's ever commented of a problem here, which is troubling since I've not made any modifications to the Ubuntu update-manager package.
I do agree that it's puzzling that a partial upgrade can show no packages remaining after it completes, but that's the nature of APT package dependencies, which can and do change as a result of installing replacement packages.
I can't explain your performance issues, especially with VirtualBox. Both of the other reviews were videos and both were done in VirtualBox as well. I know that you're famously reserved regarding the exact make and model of your systems, but without those details, or the configuration you chose for the install there's little to add on this issue.
Not sure why the choice of utilities seems confusing to you. The whole point of Centrych is being able to run either GNOME/GTK or KDE/Qt applications without the risk of system instability. Moreover, there's very little duplication in the utilities installed in the system, so I don't understand the basis for your confusion.
While I was a bit disappointed in the "Frankenstein" remark, I have to take the good with the bad. Overall, I thought you did a fair job reviewing Centrych and I appreciate that.
Seasons greetings to all.
29 • Perfectly happy... (by Linadian on 2013-12-24 18:17:52 GMT from Canada)
...with my Debian Wheezy KDE Standard (kde-standard) fake/hardware dual SSD Raid 0 install (this fix works https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/SataRaid ), left the *buntu drama, creep towards proprietary and spyware in my rear view mirror, like somebody opened a window on a sunny and breezy spring morning, lol. ;-D
30 • my first daily linux installation! (by mgo on 2013-12-24 19:17:06 GMT from United States)
After years of messing with dozens of different distros....I've finally found one I like; Cinnamon 64bit. Running on a ThinkPad W500. 4 gig of RAM. It's fast, stable, and I successfully installed all the apps needed for daily usage. The machine runs cooler than on Windows, and the video looks terrific. A winner at last. This is a viable alternative to Windows. I can now run this computer in its native high resolution with scalable fonts and good crystal clear visibility. Yep....Linux just keeps getting better year after year!
31 • Fedora and "cheap" routers (by coolpup on 2013-12-24 19:50:59 GMT from Canada)
What you need is a sturdier extension cord and it'll work like a charm. :P
32 • Fedora 20 (by Alan Campbell on 2013-12-24 21:41:06 GMT from Australia)
@Chanath "I don't find lot of difference in Fedora and Ubuntu".
If security is important to you, then there is a huge difference between Fedora and Ubuntu. Fedora, and its derivatives, are more focused on security out of the box. SELinux is enabled by default, which limits the amount of damage that can occur in the event of an attack. And overall, the policies used by Fedora, such as requiring passwords for mounting volumes, or not having Ubuntu's practice of 'sudo' available to users, although making it less friendly to recent Windows converts, make Fedora the more secure distro by default.
Not to mention technologies like systemd etc, that haven't made it into buntus ...yet.
33 • #22 Chanath - "original system" and "Frankenstein" Centrich (by MiRa on 2013-12-24 22:30:29 GMT from Spain)
"A general truth: If an original system can run on a particular computer an "Exton remaster" of the same original system..."
LOOOL!!!... Since when this Linux Windows is "original"?
Original is Debian.
...And Slackware... and Red Hat... and Arch... and Gentoo... and MINIX...
Few months ago a commenter gave an exact definition of this "original: Bastardized Debian.
Well, I pretty agree with this definition. :) I think this mixture is a bit of nonsense. On a hand the Xfce DE points to a lightweight system but on the other hand the system is heavy due to KDE implementation. Yes, I saw a combination of LXDE+OpenBox (e.g. PCLinuxOS' LXDE - nice and rock solid) which, in fact is an excellent approach. But this one... Hmmm... Maybe it would be better the vice-versa: KDE desktop with light (Gtk2) apps used in Xfce (and LXDE)...
34 • @33 Re: Lindows, lol (by Linadian on 2013-12-24 23:49:54 GMT from Canada)
Remember this?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Corp._v._Lindows.com,_Inc.
"the windowing technique had already been implemented by Xerox and Apple many years before"
35 • @26 (by :wq on 2013-12-25 01:17:02 GMT from United States)
"You cannot install Skype in Mint 64 bits."
36 • "sudo" practice (by Ika on 2013-12-25 03:33:50 GMT from Spain)
#32 Alan Campbell: "... not having Ubuntu's practice of 'sudo' available to users...".
Another distro not using "sudo" is PCLinuxOS.
I can not understand the use of this command. Never used it.
Why not su->password?
Reading each week's comments I realized a very strange thing:
- People claiming the use of a "strong" password but using the "sudo" command!!!
They are not lazy to type a long password when entering the session (or opening an encrypted file) but, yes, too lazy to type it in a terminal, hence employing "sudo"!!!
Or distros which forces to set a password but allowing "sudo"!!! (a good example is Sabayon forcing to create a minimum 6 characters one! openSUSE is another one).
Isn't it stupid?!?! ;D
BTW, shouldn't be setting or not a password a free choice?
37 • @26 -- distros "based on Debian jessie" (by steve on 2013-12-25 03:38:27 GMT from United States)
FYI, jessie is the current "Debian testing". Each of the following distros offers a jessie-based release:
antiX, Epidemic Linux, Finnix, Grml, Kali Linux, LinEx, MakuluLinux, Pardus Linux, Parsix Linux, PureOS, SolydXK, SparkyLinux, Swecha, Webconverger, WindowMaker Live
38 • @18 (by :wq on 2013-12-25 06:26:44 GMT from United States)
If you mean "missing" as in they are absent from the default Fedora install and repos, then yes, they are missing. Proprietary (excepting binary firmware) and legally encumbered software isn't provided by the Fedora Project. If you mean "missing" as in they cannot be found, that is not the case.
You can add third party repos yourself- https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Third_party_repositories
Skype- You can install "lpf-skype" from the RPM Fusion nonfree repo (http://rpmfusion.org/Configuration), which can then be used to install (and update) Skype (you can read about lpf from http://leamasblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/getting-spotify-and-skype-into-fedora/), or you can install the RPM file from the Skype website. If you would prefer to add a repo for Skype, you can add the Russian Fedora nonfree repository (see: http://russianfedora.ru/repository).
Opera- If you would prefer to add a repo for Opera, you can add the Russian Fedora nonfree repo previously mentioned or the beduine.de repository (see: http://www.beduine.de/?page_id=260), otherwise you can install the RPM file from Opera Software ASA's website.
Jitsi- You can install the RPM from jitsi.org. There are three personal repos for it listed at http://software.opensuse.org/package/jitsi, but all three have yet to be updated from Fedora 19. Perhaps at some point in the future Jitsi will be added to RPM Fusion- https://bugzilla.rpmfusion.org/show_bug.cgi?id=2363.
Flash Player- go to Adobe's Flash Player download page, select "YUM for Linux (YUM)" and follow the prompts. This will set up Adobe's repository, from which you can install flash-plugin. Or, working from the command line, you can follow the directions at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Flash. The Russian Fedora nonfree repo also carries Adobe Flash Player.
You can use a utility to aid in adding proprietary software, such one of the following:
PostInstallerF - http://sourceforge.net/projects/postinstaller/
Fedora Utils - http://satya164.github.io/fedorautils/
easyLife - http://easylifeproject.org/
Autoten - http://autoten.co.uk/
You can use a Fedora remix which includes packages and repos the Fedora Project does not ship, in which case I would probably recommend Korora (which comes in KDE & GNOME flavors), which also includes the Pharlap driver-management utility (https://kororaproject.org/introducing-pharlap-our-new-driver-manager-replacement-for-jockey/). For people who want a Fedora base with a #! feel, there is Viperr (http://viperr.org/indexen.html). In addition to what are already listed at DistroWatch.com, there are also a few remixes listed at https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Remix#What_Fedora_remixes_are_available.3F. Fedora remix releases usually trail Fedora Project releases by a few weeks, which isn't any different than most remixes of other distributions in that regard.
If you don't feel that Fedora or any of its spins or remixes is a good fit for you, that is okay too. Linux is bigger than any one distribution, and there are a lot of options out there.
39 • You cannot install Skype in Mint 64 bits @26 (by Angry Pict on 2013-12-25 10:03:21 GMT from United States)
Aye, you can install and run Skype easily...even for a noob.
I thought something had changed recently based on your comment, but I just used it this morning and still working fine. Countless pointers on how to do it out there if you can't figure it out yourself.
40 • @ Ika from Spain, sudo (by Angel on 2013-12-25 11:08:14 GMT from Philippines)
"They are not lazy to type a long password when entering the session (or opening an encrypted file) but, yes, too lazy to type it in a terminal, hence employing "sudo!!!"
Either you are confused, or I am. Every time I use the "sudo" command, I am prompted for a password.
41 • sudo/password (by Dave Postles on 2013-12-25 12:57:33 GMT from United Kingdom)
@40 The question is which password - your user password or the root password? Requiring the root password - different from a user password - provides more security, IMHO.
42 • sudo/password (by coolpup on 2013-12-25 14:47:29 GMT from Canada)
Because with Ubuntu, Mint, and all their offshoots other than Centrych, there is no provision to set up root during the installation. sudo lets one do most things root can do while being the user they logged in as. It would appear that some think the average user might FUBAR their setup.
43 • @40 dudo/password (by Angel on 2013-12-25 16:56:16 GMT from Philippines)
For my use at home, I don't see how having a root password enhances my security, and I enjoy the convenience. In any case, for anyone concerned about it, it is trivial enough and a matter of a minute or two to add a root password and remove one's user account from admin group. Result: no sudo.
44 • sudo/password (by Alan Campbell on 2013-12-25 19:15:25 GMT from Australia)
@43 " I don't see how having a root password enhances my security... "
Most people give friends or family access to their computers from time to time. If you supply them your login password, they too have the ability to add a root password and remove your user account from the admin group.
45 • @44: Ubuntu and security (by eco2geek on 2013-12-25 21:51:18 GMT from United States)
With Ubuntu, and its derivatives (Kubuntu, Edubuntu, etc.) you can enable a guest account that allows friends and family to log in with limited permissions, and everything they do gets wiped when they log out. There's no need to give anyone your password.
As far as the "root vs. sudo" argument goes, Ubuntu has an exhaustive account of why it chose to go the sudo route, here:
Read it and make up your own mind.
You can easily enable root in Ubuntu by creating a password for it; i.e. running "sudo passwd root" in a terminal
Although Ubuntu doesn't use SELinux, it does come with AppArmor installed by default (which openSUSE also uses):
What else did you mention? Although many distros won't let you mount file systems without authenticating (IIRC Fedora asks for an "administrator" password, not a root password), after installation, most people have the file systems they use automatically mounted from /etc/fstab anyway.
46 • @44 sudo/password (by Angel on 2013-12-25 23:38:40 GMT from Philippines)
I think you are grasping at straws. If I'm going to let malicious people I can't trust log in to my account, what's the point of having a password, or any security at all? Sudo or not, what's to prevent them from wiping my user data or causing other kind of mayhem that needs no root privileges? Heck, what prevents them from just pulling out my hard drive or stealing my computer?
I really don't care about sudo or no sudo. My way is my way, and not everyone's way. It is provided, not mandatory. For me, I like it, use it, and provide non-admin accounts should anyone need to use my PCs. My wife and I run a PC repair business in the Philippines, where old PC's abound. We run Linux on our own machines, but our work is mostly on Windows PCs. With the expiration of XP, we suggest to customers a switch to Linux, with some success. Telling average users coming from XP that they will need a second password and log in and out just to perform simple administrative tasks would mean no success at all.
47 • sudo/password (by Alan Campbell on 2013-12-26 03:05:56 GMT from Australia)
@45 "you can enable a guest account that allows friends and family to log in with limited permissions"
- A few years back I was actually a particularly happy Ubuntu user. That was until I encountered a bug which caused such an unforgivable security issue for me, that I was forced to search for a more secure alternative.
At the time, I was keeping a database of sensitive customer information on an encrypted partition. The pc was used not only as a business workstation, but also served a dual-purpose by providing Internet access to family members. It was around the time of 10.04 that this system was in place, and I was working with the customer information which was un-encrypted and mounted on the desktop. I locked the screen, so that another family member could log into their own account, ( a non-administrative account), only to find that the un-encrypted customer information was mounted on that account's desktop as well, and was fully accessible with read/write privileges.
This behaviour was repeatable with 10.04, and from memory 10.10 as well. Someone recommended to me that CentOS or Fedora was a more secure alternative. I took their advice and have never encountered this behaviour in either Fedora or CentOS since leaving Ubuntu.
I read the RootSudo page you linked to, and perhaps my comments were somewhat unjustified. Although, out of curiosity, I just installed 13.10 in a VirtualBox and I see that the first user account is given administrative privileges by default, which is not the case with annaconda where a selection is required to make this so. I appreciate that this does not change the use of su or sudo, but nonetheless Ubuntu permits the install of software with the users password, where Fedora does not, unless elevated privileges have been specifically given.
48 • Guests (by Rev_Don on 2013-12-26 04:00:26 GMT from United States)
Sudo - Su, it doesn't matter to me. NO ONE uses my computers but me. PERIOD. If someone visits I have an old Pentium 4 Centos box that I have just for those occasions that they can use. If they mess it up (which would be difficult as they aren't given ANY passwords at all) I just re-image it with Clonezilla. Nu muss, no fuss.
49 • @32 @36 @47 (by Adam Williamson on 2013-12-26 07:12:32 GMT from Canada)
There isn't anything insecure about sudo, it's a perfectly reasonable mechanism. In fact, if you do a stock install of Fedora GNOME, you'll get a user who can 'sudo' - this is how the GNOME initial setup tool creates user accounts. If you create a user account during installation or post-install with any other desktop, you can choose whether to make it an 'administrator' account or not, an admin account being one that can sudo (and is considered an admin by PolicyKit, which has various effects on various policies but broadly means the user can usually run root actions by entering their own password).
I run my systems with the root account locked and an 'admin' user account, FWIW.
I don't know the details of 47's encryption case, but generally speaking, something that's encrypted is either 'locked' or 'open' - it can't be unencrypted for one user but still encrypted for another, that's not really how most forms of encryption work. Depending on the exact mechanism you're using, regular permissions can still prevent a different user from accessing the contents, of course.
It's nice of you to be kind about Fedora (Alan) but I don't think your criticism of Ubuntu in this field is necessarily justified, as far as I know they have perfectly competent security processes and a sensible default security posture. We do think SELinux is a good feature of Fedora, of course, and it certainly has been shown to mitigate various real-world attacks.
50 • The Ultimate Security (by LinuxMan on 2013-12-26 15:56:15 GMT from United States)
Well I was going to mention a few things about sudo vs. su and the whole root and user account thing but it seems that Adam, eco2geek, and even Angel has covered the security question quite well. The ultimate security of course is the user or owner of the system in question. Very weak passwords, systems not being updated, not paying attention to your security practices, no guest accounts, and the list goes on and on. These are things that can cause way more harm then weather to use sudo or su. Good security starts with the user/owner of the systems. Without good practices the os or distro really doesn't matter.
51 • @47 - What Adam said :-) (by eco2geek on 2013-12-26 18:12:56 GMT from United States)
Beyond that, I don't know how encryption plays into it, but the "mount" command allows for pretty good control over who gets permission to do what with mounted filesystems. Depending on how they're mounted, one user can have full access to a filesystem, while another user has no permission to even see what's in the filesystem.
So I guess my first question would be, did you mount the filesystem by hand and explicitly specify what could be done to it and by whom, or did you, say, click to mount it in a file manager and let Ubuntu use default settings?
(Not meaning to cause any hard feelings here, BTW.)
52 • @ eco2geek and Adam (by Alan Campbell on 2013-12-26 20:44:09 GMT from Australia)
Thanks for the comments guys. I do appreciate the feedback and corrections when I clearly have been holding some misconceptions.
The file system in question was a mounted Truecrypt volume, and from my experience using this software, the mounted volume is usually only visible to the account under which it was mounted.
At the time, (now around 4 years ago) I recall checking this under a previous version of Ubuntu, and found that the mounted container was not visible to other users. Also, as previously mentioned, I had no such issue with CentOS or Fedora.
It seems to me this was a bug with the permissions policy in that particular version of Ubuntu.
53 • @ eco2geek (by Alan Campbell on 2013-12-26 21:26:34 GMT from Australia)
BTW, I normally specify mount points in fstab, and control file permissions. In this case mounting and controlling permissions would normally be handled by the file manager and system policies. If this was a business machine with 50 employees logged in, then one person could unknowingly provide access to sensitive data to every employee in the building.
54 • @53 - There's not much to gain... (by eco2geek on 2013-12-26 23:24:36 GMT from United States)
...about arguing about "fault" here, as, in order to determine whether this was "Ubuntu's fault" or "Truecrypt's fault" or even "your fault" we'd have to go back in time and look at the details. Since we can't do that, there's not much to gain in arguing about it.
I would, however, question why you blame Ubuntu for what sounds like an issue with Truecrypt (which I have no experience with, but I know it uses a GUI front end for accessing encrypted volumes).
I would mainly question why you let other people use your computer, leaving the volume mounted, in your absence, in the first place, whether the computer was locked or unlocked, if the data was so sensitive. That's not Ubuntu's fault.
55 • Re: There's not much to gain (by Alan Campbell on 2013-12-27 00:54:17 GMT from Australia)
I agree, there is nothing to gain from this conversation. It simply lead in this direction as I endeavoured to explain my experiences, and why I left Ubuntu for Fedora. There really is no point complaining about a bug from 4 years ago.
The same software worked on other distros, and even on other versions of Ubuntu, so not sure how you could blame the software. My fault? To be honest, I can't rule that out.
As for letting other ppl use your computer, aren't Linux-based OS's designed to be multi-user systems?
Anyway, given the nature of these leading edge distros, I don't mean to be too critical of bugs, or Ubuntu. This just happened to be a security issue I couldn't live with.
56 • @31 (by Ron on 2013-12-27 02:07:31 GMT from United States)
I just got back home from the Holidays and checked the comments here. I am Glad someone got that post of mine, lol. But in all seriousness I never had an issue at all with Fedora and connecting to the internet, Actually I don't think I have ever had any issues with any distros and connecting to the internet. Well back in the winmodem days I did. But thankfully those days are behind us and I pray they will never return.
57 • Wired nw now works in FC19 -- with addition of host name (by David Smith on 2013-12-27 14:02:21 GMT from Canada)
I 'accidentally' (through trial-and-error, that is) got Fedora 19 wired networking up, by specifying a host name in /etc/hosts (I haven't tested yet whether this will work with a dhcp-assigned ip, for now I've left it with the fixed ip).
For those who failed to grasp the distinction, I deliberately installed the 6mo-old release Fedora 19 and not the newest version (20), hoping to avoid this sort of snafu.
As a long-time user (though not one afflicted by blind loyalty), I appreciate all the wonderful qualities of Fedora, but made my original post as a warning to recent converts to Linux that they might want to avoid it, for a more trouble-free initiation.
58 • Sudo kerfuffle (by Linadian on 2013-12-27 19:48:29 GMT from Canada)
I was designed to make the average noob less intimidated or confused by root, the only problem is, most people pick a really stupid/easy password to guess. That could be a problem for a business, if somebody wanted in bad enough with a password cracker, but probably not as easily cracked as it would be running that monopoly OS (aka Swiss cheese OS). Mark got his following, now his next phase is going proprietary, sudo weak spot or not.
59 • fanboys (by Hugo on 2013-12-27 19:51:12 GMT from Mexico)
While some people label others as "fanboys" (e.g. Chanath @21) if they show preference for a distro other than their favourite, others think it's allright to use a distro that works right out of the box.
Ah, dedoimedo must be the biggest -buntu fanboy of all. Isn't that sexist? shouldn't we say 'fanpeople'?
You're right, sometimes I distrohop to less polished distros, just to brush up my incipient skills. Mint and Crunchbang are boringly well made.
Happy new year to y'all!
60 • Debian minimal: for your every need! (by now the tree is dead on 2013-12-27 21:33:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
Why argue about Ubuntu at all?
Just install Debian minimal and build up from there making your own desktop!
Google for 'Debian minimal install' for helpful hints.
And don't use Ubuntu repos.
61 • Being a fan isn't bad. (by LinuxMan on 2013-12-27 22:52:49 GMT from United States)
Just because someone likes something that isn't boring doesn't make them a fanboy. Just because someone doesn't want to have to work days to get their distro to work doesn't make them or their distro boring. Most all distros have their fans. Fedora, the Mints, Debian, the BSD's, and all the nerdy ones. I've worked with these computer thingies since the early 80's and let me tell you, I've see a lot of crap. Ah, dedoimedo's list wasn't that far off. Of course a lot of people will argue about the list and that's fine. Everyone has their favorites and everyone has their own goals they want to achieve. It has been a good year and next year will be even better. Most of all I'm really thankful that I can use any distro I choose and that I'm not locked in to any operating system. That's what it's all about.
It's fun building your own Debian system the way you want it. Furthermore the Ubuntu repos and Debian repos don't really mix so that is good advice to anyone wanting to build a Debian system. For those who don't have the time to spend or ones who don't really want to build a system, we have a lot of ready made, easy to install and use systems, Ubuntu, the Mints, the PCLOS, the Susie's, and many, many more are available. I grantee all these will keep you happy for years to come. Does it get any better then this?
Happy New Year everyone.
62 • @60 Completely agree, fahgeddahboud Debuntu, lol (by Linadian on 2013-12-28 02:36:19 GMT from Canada)
I stole the Debuntu thing, thought it was pretty funny yet very true, would have been interesting to see what dog's breakfast the *buntus would have been if based on something else, lucky for Mark Debian exists. I digress, what I meant to say was you are absolutely right, that is exactly what I did, minimal base Debian system with kde-standard on top, sorry, not a huge fan of the 'new' Gnome. I came from Kubuntu LTS no less, and my Debian 7.3 install is actually running BETTER with NO bugs or hiccups, I poop you not!
All that being said, the *buntus make decent training wheels for noobs, but eventually, like me, they will feel like they are using a free (for now) WinDOHS with Linux under the hood, they will want to branch out and run REAL Linux us. ;-D
Can't wait for the Mir time-bomb, interesting times indeed.
63 • Won't happen! (by LinuxMan on 2013-12-28 09:33:09 GMT from United States)
You're a pistol. Real Linux? lol. If you knew any of the history of Mark then you know the development that Mark did on Debian. Anyway that's neither here or there. By the way, what is WinDOHS and what is REAL Linux? You're being silly again. REAL Linux is run on a headless system, not with KDE. I'm also afraid that you will be disappointed when Mir doesn't blow up. It is needed for what it is going to be used for and there's no reason to think it won't work. Stop trying to chase people away from using LInux by telling them they have to put everything together themselves to have a working system. We both know that's not true. If you want to terrify them, put them on a BSD system and don't make any plans. Have a nice weekend. :)
64 • Debain Wheezy (by GNUday on 2013-12-29 17:02:37 GMT from Canada)
I am finding Debian with only KDE installed (no Gnome) to be more stable and bug free than Kubuntu 12.04 LTS. Runs like a charm.
65 • Simplicity linux (by Neal on 2013-12-30 21:23:37 GMT from United States)
So, any comments on Simplicity 14.1 Linux? Is it stable and secure enough for daily use? I have been sampling it for a day or two and really like it for being a beta release.
Anybody else have anything to say about simplicity?
66 • 2014 (pardon my Gregorian calendar bias) (by :wq on 2013-12-31 19:53:04 GMT from United States)
Does anyone have any open source-related predictions for 2014? Or any open source-related New Year's resolutions, such as to donate to any software projects?
67 • @66 (by jaws222 on 2013-12-31 20:02:00 GMT from United States)
1. Linux Mint will break free from Ubuntu and become an Independent distro.
2. Manjaro Linux will take the Linux world by storm and be one of the top 3 distros
3. Ubuntu will further distance themselves from the rest of the Linux community.
4. Crunchbang will continue to be the hands-down best Debian distro.
5. Linux will attract more Windows users following the death of XP.
68 • @66 (and 65) (by Jordan Samuels on 2013-12-31 22:45:32 GMT from United States)
1. Linux Mint will break free from Ubuntu and become an Independent distro.
"Independent" as in no more Debian influence/core?
2. Manjaro Linux will take the Linux world by storm and be one of the top 3 distros.
I love that notion, and I wonder why it's thought that it might not already be "one of the top 3 distros. Certainly that designation has nothing to do with the Distrowatch page hit numbers.
3. Ubuntu will further distance themselves from the rest of the Linux community.
See remark in response to #1.
4. Crunchbang will continue to be the hands-down best Debian distro.
Not on my machine. It went *crunch* then *BANG* when I tried to use it on a flash drive (Sandisk 3.0 Extreme, 32 GB). Tried again.. won't obey persistence as laid down by various software aimed at that goal. PCLOS does, in any flavor, as do Puppy, Extix and the few others I've enjoyed experimenting with.
5. Linux will attract more Windows users following the death of XP.
I am not convinced of that, now that the touchscreen laptops with W8 are flooding the retail outlets. Bill Gates is Satan.
69 • @66 2014 Predictions-donations (by GNUday on 2014-01-01 00:48:21 GMT from Canada)
1. Linux Mint, hmm, that subject is a bag of angry cats, lol, don't get me wrong, love Mint but because it has MS (as in Mark S., pah ha) under the hood, I won't use it, I run Debian now, aside from that, Mark is cheesed Clem is "using" the *buntu servers, if anything, I doubt Clem will give up the comfy bosom of *buntu, his solution will be setup his own mirror repo server farm so Mark won't cry anymore.
2. Manjaro looks and runs great, was going to use it full-time but it has approximately half the packages Debian does (some of us are too lazy to compile, etc), other than that, I can see it flourishing, at least solid top ten spot.
3. Ubuntu, hmm, another bag of angry cats, lol, the 'direction' they are headed is why I abandoned Kubuntu, getting out now while the gettin' is good, Debian just turned 20 years old in August, they aren't changing much or going anywhere soon, there is no MS (Mark again, lol) at the helm, I think long-term and so do the others flocking back to Debian.
4. I hear good things about Crunchbang but I have a fairly powerful machine, I don't need a 'skinny' or 'minimal' OS, I like 'pretty' and totally functional, the more bells and whistles, the better, now if I had an aging laptop...
5. XP refugees, hmm, it will add some but 7 is still around and supported, 7 is the last outpost of a former 'normal' Windows land so a lot will migrate to 7 and give a 8 a pass, wishful thinking but we are all too familiar with that scene.
As for donations, yes, I do, occasionally, when I can afford it, to projects that prove useful to me and have longevity, if I use something for a long time relatively problem free, they get money.
70 • Predictions statements, somewhat. (by LinuxMan on 2014-01-02 13:54:37 GMT from United States)
1. Linux Mint will break free from Ubuntu and become an Independent distro.
Possible but Linux Mint will go where the money is at. If the bottom line can be increased by doing so then they will. It really is as simple as that.
2. Manjaro Linux will take the Linux world by storm and be one of the top 3 distros
Not important. Being at the top is not a pleasant place to be and Manjaro has almost been there. There is no correlation between being at the top and being good. At least not in the eyes of the "Linux world."
3. Ubuntu will further distance themselves from the rest of the Linux community.
I'm not really sure of the context of this statement. Which Linux community are you talking about. There are different sub-species of Linux communities. There are some they would want to distance themselves from and some they would want to embrace.
4. Crunchbang will continue to be the hands-down best Debian distro.
Compared to what? It's true that for old hardware Crunchband is good and I have installed it on old hardware. In my opinion it is very good for what it is but it is not the best Debian based distro.
5. Linux will attract more Windows users following the death of XP.
Why? Most will move to Windows 7. The only reason Windows users would make a move toward LInux would be for some more security and privacy. Unless a distro can be plug and play and easy to deal with and also loaded to the hilt with social media applications then Windows users will not give them a second look.
It seems to me that the some of the different Linux communities have lost the notion of what the general public wants a computer for. I'm also sure that some of these communities don't care what the general public wants but they have their opinions on what they need. Unless the Linux communities can come to grips with modern computer users and what they use a computing device for then all these different distros are really irrelevant. Linux users want choice. Windows users want Facebook, twitter, Google +, and one click access to the world.
71 • @68 @69 @70 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-02 15:05:25 GMT from United States)
Great comments guys.
Most of what I posted were not really predictions, more like things I'd like to see (1,2 &5).
Crunchbang being the hands-down best Debian distro (4) is more of an opinion.
I was a bit ambiguous on the Ubuntu thing (3). They seem to more concerned with this "convergence" thing, getting a phone out and pushing the "Mir" thing.
72 • Re: 67 (by Rev_Don on 2014-01-02 16:06:34 GMT from United States)
1. Linux Mint will break free from Ubuntu and become an Independent distro.
2. Manjaro Linux will take the Linux world by storm and be one of the top 3 distros
Who cares. As LinuxMan stated, being at the top of some arbitrary list doesn't mean that you are any good. Look at MS Word. It's a terrible word processor (about 10% as capable as WordPerfect) but it's the most used.
3. Ubuntu will further distance themselves from the rest of the Linux community.
That's for sure. Unfortunately not in a good way.
4. Crunchbang will continue to be the hands-down best Debian distro.
Hardly. It's fine for older systems or for those users who are so out of touch with reality that their main concern is how few resources and little ram an OS needs. In the real world the quality of an OS is determined by it's ease of use, ability to get the job done, and overall stability. CB may have the last one down, but it sorely lacks on the first two on any computer built within the last 4 or 5 years that has a dual core processor. Sorry, but there are much better Debian distros out there like SolydX or K, Point, and even Mint Debian Edition among others. CB is a niche distro at best, much like Puppy, but a bit more well rounded.
5. Linux will attract more Windows users following the death of XP.
It had it's best chance, but Canonical dropped the ball on this by not having a current and fairly up to date LONG TERM SUPPORT version ready to go right now. By stubbornly sticking to their 24 month cycle between LTS releases instead of moving up 13.10 to an LTS release, or at least extending the support for it to 18 months (like interim releases prior to 12.04 had) to 2 years the stood a good chance of picking up a significant portion of these users. But what person new to Linux is going to want to install a Short Term Interim Release only to have to install a new one a few months later to get a fairly up to date LTS version? I don't know of many who want to do that and I certainly don't want to be the one to do it for all of them around here..
And while there might be better solutions for them than one of the 'Buntus or their derivatives, to a lot of these users Linux is Ubuntu, Ubuntu is Linux and that is all there is. They know nothing of Manjaro, Fedora, Mint, OpenSUSE, etc. It's a shame in that Canonical knew several years ago when support for XP will end and has done absolutely nothing to prepare for it. I don't know if any of the other distros took that information into consideration, but Debian and OpenSUSE have released an LTS recently, and it looks like CentOS (and probably Stella) will have one out soon enough to move in. But they do not have the name recognition that Ubuntu has to these users.
LinuxMan was right on this one for the most part in that a significant amount of them only care about can they do what they want to do. Some of them (and I'm dealing with a couple of them now) that won't switch to Linux because of Internet Explorer. As far as they are concerned, that is the ONLY way to do their online banking, Facebook, etc. No amount of explaining is able to get them to understand that there are viable alternatives. It's IE or nothing for them.
73 • @72 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-02 16:19:26 GMT from United States)
"1. Linux Mint will break free from Ubuntu and become an Independent distro. Highly unlikely. "
Yeah, it probably won't but I'd be curious to see the outcome. I look at other "Independents" like Fedora, Mageia, OpenSUSE & PCLinuxOS and they seem to be quite successful. The Ubuntu 6-month release cycle is horrible IMO and I'd like it if Mint could get away from that.
74 • @72 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-02 16:30:34 GMT from United States)
"4. Crunchbang will continue to be the hands-down best Debian distro.
Hardly. It's fine for older systems or for those users who are so out of touch with reality that their main concern is how few resources and little ram an OS needs. In the real world the quality of an OS is determined by it's ease of use, ability to get the job done, and overall stability. CB may have the last one down, but it sorely lacks on the first two on any computer built within the last 4 or 5 years that has a dual core processor. Sorry, but there are much better Debian distros out there like SolydX or K, Point, and even Mint Debian Edition among others. CB is a niche distro at best, much like Puppy, but a bit more well rounded."
I like Crunchbang because it just works. I've been using it since squeeze and have NEVER had a problem.
I've been using Point (Mate) for about a month now and it is awesome! As far as testing distros Sparky seems good, I have to look into Solydx k. I wasn't a big fan of the LMDE, but that was 2 years ago. I may have to revisit.
75 • Re: 72 (by Rev_Don on 2014-01-02 17:42:19 GMT from United States)
My main problem with CrunchBang is it's desktop experience (or lack thereof). Too much right clicking and way too annoying and wasted time looking for an open space on the desktop to right click to get anything done. Give me a REAL Start menu any day, even a lightweight one like LXDE or XFCE.
I'm running an i7-2600K (4 cores + hyperthreading) at 4.5GHz, 16 gigs of ram, and an HD6870 VIDEO CARD so I don't need to scrimp. I can run any desktop I want and have all of the eye candy and not break a sweat. Even my secondary systems have quad core cpus (a Q9550 and a Q6600) and 4gigs of ram.Ultralight distros are just a waste of resources to me.
I could install Mate, Cinnamon, XFCE, or any other DE on CrunchBang, but why bother when there are other Debian Distros that already come that way that are just as well rounded, stable, and work just as well ready for me to utilize.
But hey, if it works for you then fine. That's why there are so many choices of distros with different DE's based on Debian (and others) that one should be able to find one that suits their needs, likes, and hardware. I just prefer something that utilizes what I have better.
76 • @75 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-02 18:17:08 GMT from United States)
"My main problem with CrunchBang is it's desktop experience (or lack thereof). Too much right clicking and way too annoying and wasted time looking for an open space on the desktop to right click to get anything done. Give me a REAL Start menu any day, even a lightweight one like LXDE or XFCE."
You can customize that menu to death. I move things around and delete stuff I rarely use. But XFCE and LXDE are great DE's too. No argument there.
As far as running CB, I have a version on an old laptop but also run a Desktop version with a quad core and 8GB of RAM. Unfortunately, I need to run Windows so I have Windows 7 in Virtualbox and it is lightning fast on there when I give it half the RAM. I've run Virtualbox on Mint but it's not as fast as CB.
77 • CrunchBang as a VM Host (by LinuxMan on 2014-01-02 18:44:40 GMT from United States)
I recently set up a CrunchBang system to be used as a host for a Windows VM. The person needed something to run his plc programing software on and wanted some better security then what he presently has. For something like that I believe that CrunchBand using Virtualbox is hard to beat.
78 • Font Rendering (by Neil on 2014-01-03 01:38:01 GMT from United States)
I have tried Debian, Crunchbang, SolydX,K, Point, etc., as well as, Mint, Xubuntu, Kubuntu and eventually return to Ubuntu because of font rendering. In my experience Ubuntu displays text most clearly. I do not know why.
79 • @78 Re: Font rendering (by GNUday on 2014-01-03 18:08:32 GMT from Canada)
No matter what distro you try/use, you have to play around with the settings, I hear your pain, for some reason a lot of distros fail to properly set this up, or maybe it's left 'weak' on purpose for those with aging hardware.
Most of the time I find enabling anti-aliasing and selecting 'slight' and/or checking forcing fonts to 96DPI or higher, the 'standard' 72DPI goes back decades to the 80s! It was a 'standard' created and set by Apple.
Ubuntu has spyware, if you want a professional grade and truly solid and functional one time install (pre-tested and pre-configured updates/upgrades), go with SolydX or SolydK.
80 • What is spyware? (by LinuxMan on 2014-01-03 19:58:33 GMT from United States)
I've heard countless people say that Ubuntu has spyware. I'm a little bit confused as to what definition people are giving spyware. In the old days spyware was a program put on a person's computer in order to spy on his activities. He had no knowledge of the program or what it was doing. Ubuntu has nothing like that. Everyone knows about the search scopes and so on. It's very easy to disable. That's it in a nutshell. Spyware? I don't think so unless there's something there we all don't know about and chances are that if we don't know about it, you don't either......but we could be wrong.
BTW, good advice on the fonts problem.
81 • Ububu diss-Unity (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-03 21:13:06 GMT from United States)
Hey, it was just a classic MS brain-f***; would have been an acceptable (optional, of course) toolset (just like an initial search engine) - for shopping only - but power-pushed geeks often push-back passive-aggressively.
Even spies may be accepted - when they serve the customer too, openly.
82 • Re: Ubuntu spyware (by GNUday on 2014-01-04 02:45:49 GMT from Canada)
No, not everybody knows or knew about the "search scopes", maybe those knowledgeable in the Linux community itself knew about it, but people new to Linux and migrating to Linux most often try Ubuntu first because of its popularized branding, that being said, the advertising demographic statistics mining bot was on by default, without prior consent or permission from the user (purposely hidden), which is basically what MS has been doing for years, the last place one would expect to find such behaviour is in a Linux distro. Now if upon first boot a popup asked you if you don't mind Ubuntu making some advertising/marketing statistics mining dollars, would you like to leave it on or disable it, that would be different.
Since when is it anybody's' business what I search on my own local machine, what files of mine I search for on my machine are not the business of a data mining bot.
Search and watch the video of Richard Stallman speaking about this, also research the true meaning of GNU, Ubuntu is no longer 'free' as in 'freedom' software, that's why I no longer use it or its derivatives.
According to the Linux and other FOSS licenses, one can make money off them, in the form of support, etc, not using it as a tool to data mine without the users consent.
There is no fudging FOSS licenses or bending or playing fast and loose with them, they are actual legal binding contracts.
83 • Ububu diss-Unity Lens/'scopes (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-04 16:48:49 GMT from United States)
Yes, MS's classic brain-f*** was pushing these out before they were ready without proper fanfare/marketing. Not ready includes applying them to non-shopping searches.
All-or-none extremism in licensing doesn't help. A few people make a little money sometimes, despite licenses that completely deny developers direct compensation for their work, but it effectively undermines them. What's needed is a robust community market/platform, not a freeloader's fantasy.
No fudging? What about the AnthraX Linux kernels?
84 • Ubuntu & AnthraX (by :wq on 2014-01-04 21:23:18 GMT from United States)
Not speaking specifically about Canonical, but in a wider context, I think it's a disturbing trend that use of or broader reliance on an entity is taken as an implication of full and knowledgeable consent and lack of expectation of privacy with regard to it, whether this involves companies, governments, or other gatekeepers, particularly as more personal data becomes untethered from a person's immediate sphere of control/oversight as an aspect of modern life and as dictated by the blurring of operational luxury and necessity. It has the potential to leave people rather exposed, albeit often ignorantly so, somewhat like "The Emperor's New Clothes". It's not sound to expect that companies (or other gatekeepers) inherently know what's best for their consumers, that they will self-regulate, and that they won't be tempted to over-extend their domain. It's all innocuous, until it's not, and then it's too late.
While I am not wholly familiar with the AnthraX situation, from what I have read, Chad Goodman seems to be trying to protect the authorship of his work (and there appears to be some personal history there fueling the issue), he's just going about it the wrong way. I don't see a 1:1 correlation between the AnthraX kernel and Unity lenses/scopes discussions.
85 • 84:wq (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-05 09:00:54 GMT from United States)
Sadly human shortcomings occur in Freed-Software communities just as they do elsewhere. As noted, extremism in licenses doesn't help, but rising above certainly does. I applaud Mr. Goodman's professionalism in the face of the seedy side of the developer community, as well as his perceptive understanding of the GPL.
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