| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 542, 20 January 2014
Welcome to this year's 3rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! When developing free and/or open source software there is often the question of how to pay the bills. Some projects, such as Parted Magic, charge a small fee for their software. Other projects may ask for donations or gain revenue through advertising. Whatever the method, large software projects need funding to maintain websites, feed the developers and distribute packages. One open source project currently feeling the financial pinch is OpenBSD, an operating system best known for its amazing security record. Learn about the project's latest challenge in our News section below. Also this week we look at changes coming to two of the Linux community's most popular distributions. Fedora is planning a new release schedule and the Ubuntu team is looking at new features to add to the upcoming April release. Any operating system is ultimately used to run applications and services. With that in mind our feature review this week examines a young web browser which offers flexibility, speed and a familiar interface. We will also get a rundown of Jesse Smith's favourite desktop applications and distributions from 2013. As usual, we cover the distribution announcements from the past week and look ahead to exciting new releases to come. We wish you all a splendid week and happy reading!
- Reviews: QupZilla - the little browser that can
- News: Fedora drops code names, Ubuntu gains MATE and torrent scope for 14.04, OpenBSD seeks funding, CentOS on desktops, installing Arch on Raspberry Pi
- Opinions: Best of the breed
- Statistics: OSDisc.com sales in 2012 and 2013
- Released last week: SystemRescueCd 4.0,0, Netrunner 13.12, Musix GNU+Linux 3.0
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 10.0, Ubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2
- New additions: Tanglu
- New distributions: Snowden Tribute, RusDeb, CrunchPwn
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
QupZilla - the little browser that can
Over a decade ago I was looking for a web browser that would better suit my needs. I was dual-booting Windows and Linux at the time and was hoping to find a web browser that would work well on both platforms. I was hoping for a browser that would be fast (my hardware at the time was modest), standards compliant and, if at all possible, I wanted a nice user interface. A friend introduced me to Opera, a web browser that has for years been known for its speed and cross-platform support. Opera was also one of the early adopters of document/page tabs and the software maintained a healthy security record. Since that first introduction I've used Opera almost non-stop as my primary window to the World Wide Web. Aside from a few experimental releases which introduced short-term stability problems, Opera has served me well. Granted, some websites turn away Opera users, withholding support and, sadly, Opera is a closed-source product. Still, despite those drawbacks I have maintained that Opera has been the best tool for the job, at least for me.
Unfortunately, I come here not to praise Opera, but to bury it. Early in 2013 the Opera team announced they were going in a new direction, switching from their Presto engine to WebKit. Since then, the once open-source friendly company has apparently stopped releasing updates for FreeBSD and GNU/Linux platforms. Whether this focus on other operating systems is a short-term or long-term situation, I feel as though the writing is on the wall: it is time for me to switch to another web browser. These days there is a large selection of browsers from which to choose. These vary from the very popular (Chromium and Firefox) to the more obscure (Konqueror and Midori). Many web browsers are now open-source software and many of the underlying rendering engines are shared. This all meant that, during my recent holiday, I had many options from which to choose while searching for Opera's replacement.
QupZilla 1.4.4 - browsing and exploring the application's main window
(full image size: 308kB, screen resolution 1366x710 pixels)
The more obvious choices were browsers with which I was already familiar. I have used Chromium and Firefox on an almost daily basis for testing purposes. I've never cared for Chromium's interface, I feel as though I'm wrestling with the application every time I open the Chromium browser, and so it was quickly crossed off my list. Likewise Konqueror was removed from the list early. It's a nice, light browser, but it does not seem to have the features and interface I want. Midori looked promising, but again seemed to trade off features for performance and I reluctantly passed on it. Firefox, for a while, appeared to be the clear winner. It is widely used, it is open source and has a multitude of add-ons which provide a great range of functionality. I had just two issues with Firefox. The first was performance. Firefox, while it has been getting better, always seems to lose when it comes to speed. It starts slowly on my systems and it doesn't load pages as quickly as its competition. My second issue was that it seems the last several releases of Firefox have been undergoing a slow transition with the user interface, becoming more and more like Chromium. As I mentioned above, the Chromium interface and I do not get along at all and so this migration of Firefox's gave me pause.
QupZilla 1.4.4 - inspecting web page elements
(full image size: 154kB, screen resolution 1366x710 pixels)
Still, Firefox looked like the best candidate until I remembered using a Qt-based web browser using the WebKit engine. During that review was the only time I remembered seeing QupZilla, but it made a positive impression on me at the time. I decided to give the browser another try to see if it would serve as my primary web browser. The QupZilla project's website gave me a good feeling. It has a clear layout, describes the project's browser without a lot of techno-speak and the browser has been ported to many operating systems. I downloaded the most recent version of the browser and was pleased to find the software supports importing bookmarks from other web browsers, including Firefox, Opera and Chrome. QupZilla sports an interface which is quite similar to Firefox's, but uses the Qt toolkit which, in my opinion, gives QupZilla a more native, natural look.
QupZilla 1.4.4 - adjusting browser settings
(full image size: 215kB, screen resolution 1366x710 pixels)
QupZilla 1.4.4 - the Speed Dial page
(full image size: 254kB, screen resolution 1366x710 pixels)
The one drawback to using QupZilla I have discovered is that the browser does not support the range of add-ons that other browsers, such as Firefox and Opera, can use. Apart from the built-in ad blocker and the Flash blocker, QupZilla users are somewhat at a loss for extensions that will enhance our browsing experience, help developers debug websites or manipulate the content of websites. Perhaps extensions will come to QupZilla in the future, but for now the browser focuses on being a fast, standards compliant application that does an excellent job of just browsing the web. For me, using QupZilla has been a bit like discovering Firefox 1.0, back when Firefox was focused on being light and fast and was ideal for people who just wanted to browse the web without plug-ins or niche features. QupZilla feels like that, fast, flexible and focused -- good at doing one thing. It has been a breath of fresh air and has made my web browsing a more enjoyable experience. Not many people seem to be talking about this web browser and I believe it deserves more attention than it gets.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora drops code names, Ubuntu gains MATE and torrent scope for 14.04, OpenBSD seeks funding, CentOS on desktops, installing Arch on Raspberry Pi
There were three releases of Fedora during the 2013 calendar year, bringing us a collection of unusual release code names including "Spherical Cow", "Schrödinger's Cat" and "Heisenbug". Going into 2014 it looks as though the pace of Fedora development will ease off a bit with the next release not expected until August. Red Hat employee Jaroslav Reznik posted on his blog: "What's the reason? As otherwise we would try to hit May time frame? Short answer: we want to give the opportunity to the teams that are smashed by release windmills to work on tooling. Especially as the Fedora Next proposal stands on more automation to be able to deliver more products. Especially for QA and release engineering."
The upcoming release of Fedora 21 will see an additional change, the new version will not have an accompanying code name. Josh Boyer explains: "The Fedora Board is terminating release names as they are currently fashioned following Fedora 20. The community as a whole or working groups can propose any reformation of a release naming process going forward if release names are desired. Any proposed process will need to allow sufficient time for Legal to review proposed names before they are chosen. This was discussed in the September 18 and September 26 Board meetings and
agreed to in the meeting on the 26th. The results are documented in the meeting minutes for those meetings, and in Board ticket 146."
* * * * *
When the Ubuntu distribution stopped shipping the polished GNOME 2 desktop as the project's default user interface in favour of Unity it upset many of Ubuntu's fans. Unity, with its relatively young age and heavier resource requirements, did not appeal to many people who appreciated the traditional GNOME 2 desktop. The upcoming release of Ubuntu 14.04 comes with good news for fans of GNOME 2. The MATE desktop, a fork of GNOME 2, will be available in Ubuntu's 14.04 software repositories. At the moment it appears as though 1.6.1 will be the version of MATE made available via Ubuntu's package manager.
Another useful feature coming to Ubuntu 14.04 is a search scope which will locate torrents from the Unity Dash. The search scope's author, David Callé, hopes being able to search for torrents from the desktop will help promote and spread Free Culture. "The main motivation behind the torrents scope was to embed Free Culture into the user experience, in the search engine of the OS. In that spirit, I am also pushing for the Jamendo scope (CC licensed music service) to become one of the default music sources. Callé went on to say that he plans to put filters in place which will allow users to shape their search results. "Since Ubuntu is used in a lot of schools and public administrations, my condition for it to be available by default is to have license filtering, to promote works using an open license and public domain content." Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu's founder, has expressed approval for the torrent search feature: "The tool is super-useful and it's perfectly justified to make it available by default. We use torrents for distributing Ubuntu itself. So please don't hold back!"
* * * * *
The OpenBSD project, best known for its amazing security record, is facing a financial crisis. The project maintains several build servers which, combined, create a large electrical bill (approximately $20,000 per year) for the OpenBSD project. In a recent mailing list post a call was put out for sponsors who may be able to help the OpenBSD team keep their severs running: "The OpenBSD project uses a lot of electricity for running the development and build machines. A number of logistical reasons prevents us from moving the machines to another location which might offer space/power for free, so let's not allow the conversation to go that way. We are looking for a Canadian company who will take on our electrical expenses - on their books, rather than on our books. We would be happiest to find someone who will do this on an annual recurring basis." Individuals who would like to help OpenBSD keep the lights on can visit the OpenBSD Foundation for information on donating to OpenBSD and its related projects such as OpenSSH.
In happier news, the OpenBSD operating system will soon be gaining a new security feature: signed packages. Package managers, such as Fedora's YUM and Debian's APT utilities, typically check downloaded software packages against a signature to verify the package has not been modified or corrupted. Having signed packages goes a long way toward making sure the software installed on the local operating system can be trusted. The new package verification utility, called signify, has a tiny footprint, allowing it to fit on small installation media. The developer's blog contains interesting notes on how signify works and the challenges to overcome in order to bring package signing to OpenBSD: "The first thing you need to start signing OS releases (besides the release itself) is a signing tool. Other projects use a variety of tools for this, but unfortunately none of them were invented here. signify is a small tool I wrote to fill that gap."
* * * * *
What is the best distribution release model for use as a desktop operating system? While some will prefer a rapidly-updating rolling-release distribution such as Arch Linux, others will be happier with an opposite extreme - a stable, well-tested product that is supported for many years with security updates only. ZDNet's Chris Clay explains why he has chosen the latter (in his case CentOS): "All of this combined make CentOS a very stable and manageable platform for any GNU/Linux desktop system. I've found it to be a very good platform because it still has GNOME 2.28 which I've found is greatly easier to use and more stable than GNOME 3.x. So I can provide the GNOME 2 interface yet get the newer versions of software on systems which is the perfect recipe for most users. So far, CentOS has provided great support, with more reliability and long-term support and it looks like I will be changing to it as my default desktop operating system."
The recent announcement about Red Hat and CentOS "joining forces" have left many CentOS users wondering what exactly will change. Last week we received a more insight into the deal from Karanbir Singh, the CentOS project leader, in this interview at Linux.com. As it stands now, it seems that the phrase "joining forces" simply means that CentOS developers have become paid employees of Red Hat, Inc., but other than that, not much will change: "I've never worked for a big open-source company before but I hope to bring that user perspective to Red Hat and what I'll take away is a large approach to user communities and hopefully manage that better. Otherwise, not much has changed. They sent me a phone and a laptop and that's how it's going to go. ... This is the first time there's a group of people professionally working on CentOS as a platform. How CentOS used to happen was some of us would go to work and then work another 40 hours a week on CentOS. You can't sustain 80 hours a week."
* * * * *
Most of the distributions released for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer, including the popular Raspbian, are based on Debian's armhf port. While these are all excellent and easy-to-install operating systems, they don't offer the same flexibility and power-user features as Arch Linux's specialist variant for the Raspberry Pi. The latest issue of The MagPi magazine explains the difference between Raspbian and Arch Linux and provides a nice walk-through installing the popular rolling-release distribution on the mini computer: "So what's the difference between Raspbian and Arch? The main difference is the package managers and the way updates are managed. Debian, and therefore Raspbian, are very strict on package updates. They have to go through testing, so the maintainers can be sure they are stable and work before releasing them to the regular users. Arch Linux is different in this respect, releasing updates as soon as possible. ... The other major difference between the two is that Raspbian comes completely ready, while Arch comes with the bare essentials, allowing users to pick what they want to install."
|Opinion (by Jesse Smith)
Best of the breed
Every so often I get asked for my opinion on what applications are best for a particular job. Quite often people coming into the open source community are aware there are options available to do the tasks they need performed, but the best choice is not always obvious. To further complicate things, if someone asks "What is the best application for performing task ABC?" or "Which distribution best suits my needs?" on a forum they will typically get twenty different answers from ten different people. This can be confusing to newcomers and therefore I would like to share some of my favourite open source software with you.
Web browsing: Let's start with web browsers. These are a key component of any modern desktop. After all, chances are you need a web browser to read this advice. As I mentioned in my feature review this week I have recently become a fan of QupZilla. However, for people looking for something that is more mainstream, widely supported, has lots of extensions and is standards compliant, I happily recommend Firefox. The Firefox browser is one of the world's most popular applications and its developers have worked hard to make it a quality application.
Productivity: I looked at several quality productivity suites over the past year, including Calligra, OpenOffice and Kingsoft. Each of these suites has its strengths. Calligra's applications have very flexible interfaces and perform quickly, Kingsoft handled proprietary document formats wonderfully and OpenOffice was a great all-purpose suite. However, I feel the crown must go to LibreOffice. The performance and document handling code have improved noticeably in the past few releases of LibreOffice and I have been happy both using and recommending this productivity suite.
Audio and video playing: When it comes to consuming music or video files there are a lot of options from which to choose. Three applications stand out in my mind. Personally, I am a huge fan of the Rhythmbox audio player. It is a fairly lightweight application that can be extended by plug-ins and does a nice job of just being a music player without getting weighted down with dozens of other features. However, I've had trouble getting Rhythmbox to run in some scenarios and it crashes a lot on some distributions. With this in mind, I recommend the Clementine audio player. Clementine also has a focused approach to playing music, it has a nice library manager and is great at being both stable and being resource-friendly. As far as playing videos goes, the VLC multimedia player tops my list. In part because VLC plays virtually every codec known to humankind, in part because of its friendly interface and partly because it is so flexible. VLC can play files, it can convert files between formats and it can steam media over a network connection. I find VLC so useful it's hard to imagine using anything else for playing video files.
E-mail: I have several e-mail accounts and they all seem to demand attention on a regular basis. The e-mail client I have found to be the most useful (and user-friendly) is Thunderbird. I generally find Thunderbird easy to configure, newcomers find the interface fairly familiar and the application can be extended using plug-ins to add calendars and other functionality. Another aspect of Thunderbird I like is how easy it is to port e-mail and settings from one computer to another. Simply copying the .thunderbird folder from one computer to another (even if the computers run different operating systems) transfers messages, settings and login credentials to the new machine. I have been using Thunderbird for about four years and it has been pleasant to use and reliable the whole way.
Password Manager: Most of us have many user accounts. We tend to use on-line banking, e-mail, support forums, on-line gaming and a host of other activities, all of which require passwords. After a while it becomes difficult to remember all of the username/password combinations, especially if we are being smart and using different passwords for each account. Oh, it would also be a good idea to use long, complex passwords to make it harder to guess our credentials. A password manager makes life easier by remembering passwords and usernames for us, we just need to remember one password, the one which unlocks the manager's vault of credentials. The best password manager I have found to date is KeePass. It is quite friendly, offers an array of features, such as generating passwords and temporarily copying passwords to the clipboard before wiping the clipboard. KeePass also lets us group password entries together in categories such as "Home", "Work", "Banking" and "Internet Forums" to help us stay organized.
Graphics and multimedia editing: Sometimes the world isn't how we would like it to be. When this happens we can either accept things as they are or we can edit them using handy open source software. For editing graphics I am a big fan of the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It is surprisingly powerful and can be extended through plug-ins. The GIMP's interface and name are unfortunate, but it is probably the best open source tool for working with photographs. For editing videos I highly recommend the OpenShot video editor. OpenShot has an interface which is easy to navigate, the software is stable (in my experience) and it supplies a number of useful effects. For editing sound files I like Audacity, which again has an easy interface to learn and offers a great deal of features.
Transferring files: I spend a lot of time moving files from point A to point B, or from point A to points X, Y and Z. To do this I use a number of tools. Filezilla is probably the software I use most. Filezilla is a flexible file transfer client which can handle a variety of transfer protocols such as FTP and SFTP. The interface looks similar to most two-paned (split) file managers and it has a nice queue that displays detailed progress information. I especially like that Filezilla will let us assign priorities to files queued for transfer. This allows us to queue a group of files and then move some of them to the top or bottom of the queue. We can also configure how many files to transfer in parallel and bookmark local and remote directories. When moving large files, such as Linux distribution ISOs, I like to use bittorrent. The bittorrent client I have found most useful (and flexible) is KTorrent. It comes with many options, offers encryption, has great queue management and can handle magnet links. It's a great all-in-one bittorrent solution.
Disc burning: For all of my optical disc burning needs I use K3b. The k3b software handles data discs, audio CDs, burning ISO images and copying discs. The application's default settings almost always work and K3b is flexible for those of us wanting to walk off the beaten path. We can verify data integrity, work with disc images and convert audio files. It is a great, powerful application.
GNU/Linux distribution: I use a different Linux distribution on one of my home machines every week. Most of them march into my life and back out again without a lot of complaints or fanfare. That being said, there are a few which have, of late, performed very well for me. Linux Mint has consistently worked beautifully for me and I highly recommend it to most people. The Kubuntu distribution has been, perhaps, my personal favourite for the past two years. The combination of Ubuntu's software repositories and features with a polished KDE desktop is a hard combination to beat in my eyes. The Ubuntu Server edition has performed very well for me on my home network and I recommend it to anyone looking for a efficient, powerful server distribution. All that being said, those are my preferences and others often feel differently. Lately, the distribution which I have used to successfully transition people from proprietary operating systems to Linux has been Peppermint OS. The combination of a low-resources, the attractive and lightweight LXDE desktop, modern software, great hardware support and friendly package management has really sold people on the distribution. The last three people I got hooked on Linux all opted for Peppermint and my hat is off to the distribution's developers.
What are some of your favourite applications or your favourite distribution? Let us know the comments section below.
|Statistics (by Ladislav Bodnar)
OSDisc.com sales in 2012 and 2013
Measuring the popularity of Linux distribution is not an easy task. While some data, such as our Page Hit Ranking (PHR) statistics, Google trends, online polls and download counts can give some indications as to what many users of free operating system prefer, each of these data sets has its flaws and larger than acceptable margin of error. To add to the mix of available statistics, here is another piece of information, this time from OSDisc.com. OSDisc.com is a popular online store selling CDs, DVDs and USB storage media with free operating systems. The site owners were kind enough to compile their sales data for the past two years and these are summarised below. The third column of each table represents the percentage of each distribution's share of the total number of sales made by OSDisc.com for the specified period.
As in 2012, Ubuntu maintained their top spot in online CD sales at OSDisc.com. However, the ever so popular Linux Mint is now just a whisker away from the leader and it now seem likely that it will overtake Canonical's flagship product in the near future. Confirming the shift in trends from our own page hit statistics, there has been a noticeable drop in the popularity of Fedora during the past year, while Debian GNU/Linux, which now occupies the second spot in our PHR statistics, saw a remarkable surge in online sales too. Predictably, Parted Magic, which went commercial in 2013, dropped out from the top 25, with users increasingly turning to GParted Live as a cost-free alternative. Other distributions no longer in top echelons of online sales include Arch Linux and Ultimate Edition which were replaced by PC-BSD and SimplyMEPIS. As always at OSDisc.com, the various utility and data rescue CD/DVD images, such as SystemRescueCd, Trinity Rescue Kit and Clonezilla Live, continue to sell well.
One last note: interest in Tails, a live CD with strong focus on privacy and anonymity on the Internet, surged dramatically during the last year which brought us revelations about a massive spying and privacy-encroaching scandal of a certain USA government agency....
|Released Last Week
MakuluLinux 4.0 "Enlightenment"
Jacque Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 4.0 "Enlightenment" edition, a Debian-based distribution and live CD featuring Enlightenment 0.17: "MakuluLinux is proud to announce the first release of our Enlightenment 17 build. Based on Debian's 'testing' branch and Linux kernel 3.12, it's fast, stable and it offers plenty eye candy. Sporting a traditional layout, lots of preloaded themes, wallpapers and applications. Users will find this build much easier to navigate than most Enlightenment builds out there. This started out as one of my least favorite builds, Enlightenment is very pretty, fast and lightweight on the surface, but it suffers from a lot of vicious bugs, specially with compatibility to integration of other desktop environments, the lack of root commands, a flawed dBUS system, a basic file manager, terminal and no descent menu management system...." Read the rest of the release announcement to find out more.
Clemens Toennies has announced the release of Netrunner 13.12, a Kubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring the KDE 4.11.2 desktop: "The Netrunner team is proud to release Netrunner 13.12 – 32-bit and 64-bit stable. New features: Kicker Menu (Super, Windows or Meta key to invoke); expanding taskbar (drag-and-drop support); sidebar panel (show and hide with F11 or mouse swipe); mouse swipes; new look and feel (desktop theme inspired by this idea); and of course all the usual updates of packages like KDE 4.11.2, Firefox 25, VLC 2.1.1, Skype 4.2 and many more. Note that after the feature freeze (beta), we do not upgrade to latest packages, but stabilize the versions available at that time. Updates are available as usual in the repositories." Here is the brief release announcement with a video demonstrating some of the new features.
Netrunner 13.12 - the default KDE desktop
(full image size: 452kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Clonezilla Live 2.2.1-25
Steven Shiau has announced the availability of a new stable release of Clonezilla Live, a Debian-based live CD designed primarily for disk cloning and backup: "Stable Clonezilla Live 2.2.1-25 released. This release includes major enhancements and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2014-01-13; Linux kernel has been updated to 3.12.6; Partclone has been updated to 0.2.69, bugs concerning Reiser4 and Btrfs have been fixed; Syslinux has been updated to 6.03-pre1, this should fix a boot issue on some machines, e.g. Acer Aspire One; the drbl package has been updated to 2.7.18 and Clonezilla has been updated to 3.9.10; the output of blkid is now saved in the image directory as blkid.list; added bcache-tools and chntpw...." Read the complete release announcement for a full changelog.
Musix GNU+Linux 3.0
Marcos Guglielmetti has announced the release of Musix GNU+Linux 3.0, a Debian-based distribution with a collection of software applications designed for musicians: "The development team of Musix GNU+Linux is proud to present version 3.0 stable. We didn't find serious bugs, so we corrected the known ones and we think this is a great release. For this version of the installable live DVD/USB stable we added some video editors like Kdenlive 0.9.6, Avidemux and Cinelerra, added French and Serbian language support, OpenOffice.org, solved some minor KDE desktop bugs. Musix 3.0 boots into LXDE by default, but you can choose the tailored KDE or IceWM desktops or the original Fluxbox and Openbox; os-probe was installed to detect other systems during HD installation. The Linux kernel 3.4.14-gnu-RT23 is 100% free as well as all software in Musix and it operates in real time for audio and music production." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots.
Musix GNU+Linux 3.0 - a distribution designed primarily for audio production
(full image size: 145kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
François Dupoux has released a major new update of SystemRescueCd, a Gentoo-based live CD with an extensive collection of tools for data rescue and disk management tasks. The project's changelog reports the following new features and improvements in SystemRescueCd 4.0.0: "Standard kernels - long-term supported Linux kernel 3.10.25 (rescue32 + rescue64); alternative Linux kernels: latest stable Linux kernel 3.12.7 (altker32 + altker64); updated X.Org graphical environment and drivers to X.Org Server 1.14.3; updated GParted to 0.17.0 (adds support for online resize); updated Btrfs utilities btrfs-progs 3.12; updated file system tools - e2fsprogs 1.42.8, xfsprogs, 3.1.11, xfsdump 3.1.3; updated Memtest86+ to version 5.01 (available in floppy disk boot images)...." Other package upgrades include man-pages 3.53, Midnight Commander 4.8.9, Python 3.3.2, Samba 3.6.20, udev 204 and xz 5.0.5.
BackBox Linux 3.13
Raffaele Forte has announced the release of BackBox Linux 3.13, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based specialist distribution designed for penetration testing and security assessment: "The BackBox team is pleased to announce the updated release of BackBox Linux, the version 3.13. This release includes features such as Linux kernel 3.13, EFI mode, anonymous mode and armhf Debian packages. What's new? Preinstalled Linux kernel 3.11; system improvements; upstream components; bug corrections; performance boost; improved Update menu; improved Forensic menu; predisposition to ARM architecture (armhf Debian packages); predisposition to BackBox Cloud platform; new and updated hacking tools. To upgrade from a previous version (BackBox Linux 3.09) follow these instructions." Read the rest of the release announcement which includes system requirements and upgrade instructions.
Manuel Kasper has announced the release of m0n0wall 1.8.1, a small FreeBSD-based operating system designed specifically for firewalls: "m0n0wall 1.8.1 released. In m0n0wall 1.8.1, the base system has been switched to FreeBSD 8.4 for better support of recent hardware, and there have been significant improvements, new features and bug fixes in many areas. Change log highlights: add scheduler (Croen) service with many different job types (enable and disable interface or shaper rule, Wake on LAN, reboot, reconnect WAN, execute command); improved IPv6 support, including IPsec, DHCPv6-PD, RDNSS and DNSSL and NDP info on the ARP diagnostic page; major overhaul of wireless LAN support, with some cards, it is now also possible to create multiple APs at the same time; DNS forwarder: add option to log DNS queries, add aliases (CNAMEs) and MXs; make rule moving and deletion on shaper rules page work like for firewall rules; initial support for USB modems...." Continue to the project's download page to read the full list of new features.
Linux Lite 1.0.8
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 1.0.8, a new version of the project's Ubuntu-based (12.04.3 LTS) desktop Linux distribution with Xfce: "The final release in the Linux Lite 1.0 LTS series is now available. In this release we bring you the first Linux Lite packages, Lite Software Center and Lite User Manager. There is a host of new features, including the 3.8 kernel from the Hardware Enablement Stack for better hardware support, new install scripts for webcams, a PAE kernel installer (32-bit) and a basic Games Pack installer. There is also now an option to add the Whisker Menu to the taskbar. This release also sneaks in at under CD size. A word about the offering of the 3.8 kernel. As this is the last build in the 1.0 LTS series, we wanted to offer people more hardware support. The 3.2 kernel is fairly old now, and Linux Lite 2.0 is bound to be sporting a very up-to-date kernel come release time circa May or June 2014." Here is the release announcement with a screenshot.
Nanni Bassetti has announced the release of CAINE 5.0, an Ubuntu-based distribution and live DVD containing a large number of tools designed for forensic analysis and penetration testing: "CAINE 5.0 'Blackhole' 64-bit - official CAINE GNU/Linux distro latest release. Changelog: Linux kernel 3.8; Based on Ubuntu 12.04.3 64-bit - UEFI and Secure Boot ready; CAINE 5.0 on pen drive can boot on UEFI, UEFI + Secure Boot, legacy BIOS, BIOS; CAINE 5.0 on DVD can boot on legacy BIOS and BIOS; SystemBack is the new installer; rbfstab is a utility that is activated during boot or when a device is plugged - it writes read-only entries to /etc/fstab so devices are safely mounted for forensic imaging/examination; mounter is a GUI mounting tool that sits in the system tray - left clicking the system tray drive icon activates a window where the user can select devices to mount or un-mount." Visit the project's home page to read the changelog and to view screenshots.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
DistroWatch database summary
- Snowden Tribute. Snowden Tribute is a Linux distribution designed for anonymous web surfing with Tor and Firefox. It runs live from a USB drive and runs a web browser only.
- RusDeb. RusDeb is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution made in Russia. It uses the MATE desktop and has a focus on performance and stability. The project's website is in Russian.
- CrunchPwn. CrunchPwn is a lightweight, Debian-based distribution designed to be used in penetration testing.
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 27 January 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.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Pentoo is a Gentoo-based Linux live CD with a selection of applications and tools designed to perform penetration testing.