| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 543, 27 January 2014
Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! There are a lot of Linux distributions out there, hundreds of them, filling just about every niche of personal and corporate computing in existence. But who makes these distributions and why? What motivates them to create? This week contributor Tomasz Niedzielski sits down with the creator of Bridge Linux, Dalton Miller, to find out how his Arch-based distribution came into existence. In this week's feature review Jesse Smith takes the latest release of the Korora distribution for a spin and reports on his findings. How does the latest version of Korora perform and how does it compare to its parent, Fedora? Read on to find out. This past week was a fun one for fans of servers and modern desktop systems alike. The Ubuntu team announced they will include GNOME 3.10 in their software repositories for their next release and the FreeBSD project celebrated the launch of FreeBSD 10.0. Be sure to check out the News section for further details. Also this week Valve gives back to Debian and Carla Schroder raises the question of which Linux distribution is the most beautiful and offers an enlightened answer. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to exciting new launches to come. We wish you all a great week and happy reading!
- Reviews: First impressions of Korora 20
- News: FreeBSD 10.0 launches, Fedora debates DNF, Ubuntu upgrades GNOME, Valve gives Debian developers games, ZFS rescue CD, Bodhi Linux in media
- Interviews: Bridge Linux, its founder and genesis
- Released last week: FreeBSD 10.0, Tiny Core Linux 5.2, Semplice Linux 6
- Upcoming releases: Zorin OS 8, Mageia 4, OpenMandriva 2014.0 Alpha
- New distributions: Gigastrand OS, Oikyo Linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (36MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Korora 20
The Korora distribution is a Fedora-based project which tries to make the underlying Fedora operating system easier for new users to set up and operate. The Fedora distribution has a strict policy when it comes to licensing and this results in a distribution which does not support much in the way of multimedia, Flash and other proprietary (or questionably licensed) software. Korora takes the latest Fedora release, adds multimedia support and configures a number of third-party software sources (such as Google's Chrome repository, Oracle's VirtualBox repository and RPMFusion's third-party repositories). All of this hopefully results in an operating system which will "just work" for most users and provide easy-to-access software for everyone without requiring additional set up time.
The latest Korora release features some cutting edge software including GNOME 3.10 and KDE 4.11. Browsing the release notes we find Korora 20 comes with some new features too. There is a new application installer for GNOME users, a new Network Manager applet for KDE fans and a virtual machine manager which supports easy snapshots. There are three new desktop spins for this release (MATE, Cinnamon and Xfce) in addition to the existing GNOME and KDE flavours. Each edition is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. This release features a new third-party driver manager called Pharlap which replaces Jockey. I opted to try the MATE edition of Korora, the download for which was 1.6 GB in size.
Booting from the Korora media brings up to the MATE desktop. A welcome screen appears giving us links to documentation, release notes and the system installer. Dismissing the welcome screen reveals a traditional desktop interface with icons for browsing the file system and launching the installer sitting on a neutral blue background. The interface's menus sit at the top of the screen next to a system tray and the task switcher rests at the bottom of the display. As everything appeared to be working normally I launched Korora's graphical system installer.
Korora 20 - the welcome screen with information links
(full image size: 902kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Korora makes use of Fedora's new graphical installer. The application uses a hub-based navigation system that allows us to go through most of the configuration steps in the order of our choosing. We are asked to select our preferred language from a list, we confirm our time zone and, if we wish, we can confirm our keyboard's layout. Partitioning with the Korora system installer is a strange process. We are first asked to select which disks (or special devices) we want to use in the installation. This step struck me as unusual as highlighting a device isn't enough to insure it is used, we also need to make sure the device has a check displayed next to it. The installer asks if we wish to use LVM volumes, Btrfs volumes or traditional disk partitions.
From there we can choose to use guided/automated partitioning or manual partitioning. The partitioning screen uses an odd combination of hyperlinks and buttons and I found it was not always clear what I could/should interact with and what was merely text. I eventually went with the automated installation option and asked for Btrfs volumes to be used. The installer set up a few partitions for me, a /boot area formatted with ext4, a swap partition and separate root (/) and /home volumes formated with Btrfs. Next we are brought to a second hub screen where we can set a password on the root account and create a regular user account. From there we wait while files are copied from the live media to the local hard drive.
There are a few aspects of the installer which bothered me, apart from the unusually complex partitioning screen. One is that navigation isn't consistent. Sometimes we proceed to the next screen by clicking a button at the bottom-right of the screen, other times the button is in the upper-left. When putting in a password on our account (or the root account) a password the installer deems too weak results in the user needing to click a button to apply settings multiple times. (A warning about the password displays at the bottom of the window while the button to proceed is at the top of the display.) I also noticed that, at a couple of points, the installer appeared to hang for a few minutes while transitioning between screens. Leaving the system alone for a few minutes caused the installer to sort itself out and proceed. The process wasn't all bad. The hub style of the installer is starting to grow on me as it means the installer can work on copying files while we do other things, saving time.
Korora 20 - MATE's application menu and Firefox's extensions
(full image size: 633kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
After the install completes, launching Korora brings us to a graphical login screen. Signing in returns us to the MATE 1.6.1 desktop and the project's welcome screen appears the first time we sign in. The first time I logged in I noticed there was no active network connection. Clicking the Network Manager icon in the system tray allows us to connect to any available networks. The MATE interface I found to be fairly pleasant. There are few notifications or pop-ups (after we dismiss the welcome screen), the environment is responsive and MATE remained stable during my trial. I tried running Korora on a laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and found everything worked smoothly. My desktop was set to its maximum resolution and networking worked once it was enabled via Network Manager. I also tried running Korora in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In the virtual environment Korora was a bit sluggish, certainly usable, but there was noticeable lag when operating on the MATE desktop. The distribution used approximately 160 MB of RAM when logged into MATE, a fairly light footprint for a modern graphical interface.
Korora comes with quite a bit of software, about 5.8 GB of packages in total. We are given the Firefox web browser with support for Flash and an extension for blocking unwanted advertisements. The project ships with the Deluge bittorrent client, the Filezilla file transfer application, the Gwibber micro-blogging software and the TigerVNC remote management software. We find the Ekiga software phone in the application menu along with LibreOffice, the Claws Mail e-mail application and an e-book reader. The Graphics sub-menu is populated with Inkscape, the Shotwell photo manager, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a document viewer. We find the Audacity audio editor installed for us along with the VLC multimedia player and the Rhythmbox music player. Korora ships with the HandBrake media converter and the OpenShot video editor.
Digging through the application menu we find a virtual keyboard, an archive manager, a virtual calculator and a text editor. Korora ships with the SELinux access management software and a policy generation tool which makes point-n-click creation of SELinux rules possible. We are given an ownCloud file synchronization client, Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. Korora comes with a full range of multimedia codecs for playing video and audio files. The distribution also ships with some great system administration tools, including a firewall configuration app, a user account manager, a system services manager and a printer configuration utility. In addition there is a handy Samba network share configuration tool. The MATE desktop comes with a full range of configuration apps for changing the look and feel of the user interface. Under the hood Korora runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.12.
Korora 20 - the distribution's system administration utilities
(full image size: 678kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
For the most part, navigating the Korora menu and the distribution's applications went well. The software generally worked for me, the applications are all nicely modern and I found the combination of the cutting-edge software with the classic MATE desktop to be a pleasant mix. I found just a few minor issues. One is that some programs in the application menu are labeled using a description of what they do, "Power Management", "Users and Groups", "Eye of MATE Image Viewer" while others are labeled only with the program's name, for example, "Pharlap", "systemadm" and "FBReader". I don't mind locating programs based on their name only, but newcomers to the Linux scene might find themselves opening programs in a trial-and-error approach.
The other thing I noticed was, shortly after installing Korora, I tried to launch the Pharlap driver manager to see if my experience could be improved by using alternative hardware drivers. Clicking the menu item labeled "Pharlap" didn't accomplish anything, no window opened and no error message was displayed. Switching to a command line and running Pharlap resulted in some error messages seemingly related to missing repository information and the Pharlap program shutting down. Going on a hunch, I used the distribution's package manager to download package repository information and applied all waiting software upgrades. Following this I found Pharlap worked. The driver manager didn't find any alternative hardware drivers for me to use, which surprised me as I had expected to find some on this equipment. Still, my experience with the operating system was generally good so I cannot fault the lack of additional driver options.
On the subject of software management, Korora ships with the YUM command line package manager and its graphical front-end, Yum Extender. Working with the command line tool was a positive experience for me. YUM works fairly quickly, shows lots of human-readable output and has an intuitive syntax. Running Yum Extender was somewhat less pleasant, which surprised me as I've generally been a fan of Yum Extender in the past. On my systems, actions such as loading Yum Extender and performing searches for software were unusually slow. Even switching between viewing installed software or available packages took a long time. I also found any attempt to access Yum Extender's transaction history would cause the graphical package manager to lock-up and I needed to terminate the application. All that being said, Yum Extender does have its perks. Like YUM itself, Yum Extender shows lots of useful information and I find the program's controls easy to navigate. During my time with Korora I had to download several hundred megabytes of software updates and I found Yum Extender handled the load easily.
Korora 20 - the settings panel and the Yum Extender package manager
(full image size: 327kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
One final observation I made while working with YUM was that I could not install the Apache web server using YUM, either via the command line utility or through Yum Extender. Any attempt to install the httpd package failed with an error indicating there was a problem with the pre-install script. All other software transactions went smoothly so I suspect there is something specifically wrong with the httpd software as it is packaged.
I feel as though there are places where Korora and, by extension, the underlying Fedora distribution, could be improved. The system installer is an obvious place to start as it is part of the distribution's important first impression. The new Fedora installer still comes across as unusually slow and the interface feels uncoordinated. I think this latest version was better than the previous two, but the installer could still use some polish. The Pharlap device driver utility worked for me after a while, but it would have been nice if, when it didn't work, it had displayed an error message on the desktop letting me know why it was not working. As for package management, YUM worked well for me, but Yum Extender was really slow and stopped working whenever I clicked the program's History button. I feel bad as I am one of the people who pushed for Korora to adopt Yum Extender and, now that it is here, I admit I was wrong. Yum Extender is not an ideal package management solution; I think the Korora project needs to find a better front end for software management.
Still, most of my time with Korora proved to be a pleasant experience. The distribution's MATE edition is stable, it performs fairly well and it comes with a lot of useful software out of the box. The distribution stays pretty close to the cutting edge and appears to do so without a loss of stability, at least not in the underlying operating system. Typically my biggest complaint that comes from using Fedora is it takes a while to set up the Fedora distribution as a full featured desktop system. With Korora that work is done for us and it means we can perform an installation and get straight to working or playing without pausing to set up additional repositories and adding codecs, Flash and other items. In that sense Korora is certainly a success as it takes the general purpose base of Fedora and turns it into a cutting edge desktop operating system.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
FreeBSD 10.0 launches, Fedora debates DNF, Ubuntu upgrades GNOME, Valve gives Debian developers games, ZFS rescue CD, Bodhi Linux in media
Last week brought exciting news for fans of server operating systems as FreeBSD 10.0 was officially announced. The FreeBSD project is usually known for being conservative, but the 10.0 release contains several important advancements. Among the significant changes are a move from the GNU Compiler Collection to the Clang compiler and a switch from FreeBSD's make utility to NetBSD's bmake. This release drops FreeBSD's traditional binary package management utilities in favour of pkg (sometimes referred to as pkgng), adds TRIM support for solid state drives running under ZFS and adds LZ4 compression to ZFS. As a bonus, this is the first version of FreeBSD to offer support for the Raspberry Pi mini computer.
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One of the possible changes that await the Fedora users in the near future is a switch to a new package manager called DNF. Although the change is likely to be smooth (it looks like DNF might even be renamed to YUM, with a syntax identical to the current package manager), the technical issue behind the new utility are currently undergoing serious debates. LWN's Jake Edge summarises the issues and complaints in "DNF and Yum in Fedora": "Harald Reindl noted an announcement from DNF project lead Aleš Kozumplík that invited Fedora users to start trying out DNF in place of Yum. Reindl is concerned that various important Yum features are getting left by the wayside and that DNF will replace Yum without being ready. In another post, he likened it to the GRUB2 and systemd transitions, which were done before those components were ready, he said. In particular, Reindl believes that the kernel package should be treated specially, as it is in Yum, rather than treated like any other package, as DNF does." Read also the lively discussion that follows the article for some more insight.
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Back in December we mentioned that Ubuntu developers were forking the GNOME control panel in an effort to allow them to continue offering a wider range of features without being stuck on older versions of GNOME packages. This work by the Canonical team has paid off as new GNOME desktop packages can (and have) been imported into the Ubuntu repositories. The next release of Ubuntu, version 14.04, is expected to ship with GNOME 3.10 packages. This not only benefits Ubuntu users who like the GNOME desktop, it will also allow Ubuntu-based projects, such as Ubuntu GNOME, to offer upgraded versions of the GNOME interface.
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The Valve company has been hard at work recently developing a Linux-based platform for gaming. The new Steam gaming console is powered by a Debian-based operating system, giving Valve a great deal of flexibility and performance. In a gesture of appreciation to the Debian development community Valve is offering Debian developers free games, a lot of free games. Neil McGovern posted the following to a Debian development list: "Valve are keen to contribute back to the community, and I'm discussing a couple of ways that they may be able to do that. Immediately though, they've offered a free subscription to any Debian Developer which provides access to all past and future Valve produced games!"
Still on the subject of Debian GNU/Linux, here is something for advanced users who prefer a powerful file system, such as ZFS. Last week Debian developer John Goerzen announced the availability a Debian rescue CD with specialist tools for repairing the ZFS file system in case of trouble: "Before I build a system, I always want to make sure I can repair it. So I started with the Debian live rescue image, and added the zfsonlinux.org repository to it, along with some key packages to enable the ZFS kernel modules, GRUB support, and initramfs support. The resulting image is described, and can be downloaded from, my ZFS rescue disc wiki page, which also has a link to my source tree on github. In future blog posts in the series, I will describe the process of converting existing Debian installations to use ZFS, of getting them to boot from ZFS, some bugs I encountered along the way, and some surprising performance regressions in ZFS compared to ext4 and Btrfs."
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As the calendar turns from December to January it is common for people to ponder which Linux distribution best fits a particular niche. The Ubuntu family typically stands near the top of the "best of" lists for desktop systems while Red Hat dominates in server and enterprise environments. Carla Schroder adds a few extra categories to her list of favourite Linux distributions, adding the entries such as "best fighting the man distro" (an award which goes to Tails) and "most beautiful distro" (which goes to Bodhi Linux). Schroder writes: "This is an easy choice: Bodhi Linux. Bodhi Linux uses the Enlightenment window manager, which has always occupied a unique niche. The team has done a great job of taming Enlightenment and giving users a beautiful, ready-to-use implementation. Bodhi Linux is based on Ubuntu LTS and takes a minimalist approach: minimum system requirements are 300+ MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM, and 2.5 GB hard drive space, and it installs with a bare minimum set of packages. Then you make it your own. Sharing artwork is a big part of the Bodhi community, with something for everyone."
The above article wasn't the only one that talked about the Ubuntu-based distribution with Enlightenment last week. Tech Republic's Jack Wallen seems equally impressed with the unusual desktop interface in "Bodhi Linux could easily become a desktop distribution contender, even though he also has a few suggestions for improvement: "When you complete the installation of Bodhi and log into the desktop, you're presented with simple wizard to set up Enlightenment. This needs to go away. Yes, it's awesome that Enlightenment can be configured more than probably any other desktop interface. I was weaned on such window managers, but for users not accustomed to such configurations, this can be an issue. And since everything about Enlightenment is drastically different than any other window manager ever used by the average person, much of this is going to be confusing at best. With that in mind, it would be smart of Bodhi to eliminate this step in the process. Instead, it needs to have a default configuration, one that both shows off the incredible power and flexibility of Enlightenment, yet makes the whole of the environment easy for new users."
|Interview (by Tomasz Niedzielski)
Bridge Linux, its founder and genesis
On the 17th of November 2013, Bridge Linux became a two-year old. This operating system is an Arch-based distro, developed by an American, Dalton Miller. Miller, who is the leader of the Bridge distro, gave a short interview in which he tells us about his history and the beginning of Bridge Linux.
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DistroWatch: Tell something about yourself. What do you do in life for work or study?
Dalton Miller: I'm currently working as a developer, much of the work revolves around mobile applications. I learn new things every day, so in a way the studying goes with the work.
DW: Tell us about your first computer? Did it have Linux installed? When did you start using Linux? How did it happen?
DM: I've been using computers for a while, but when I started experimenting more it was on a Dell Inspiron 1501 that came with Windows Vista. My first distro was Ubuntu 8.04, if I'm remembering correctly. My dad had heard about it and told me. Soon after I installed it I compiled and installed Beryl for the 3D effects, that was pretty difficult knowing nothing about Linux or programming. I learned afterwards that the project had been merged into Compiz, which was much easier to install at the time.
DW: When did you experience Arch Linux for the first time? Why did you choose it as a base of your distro?
DM: When I became dissatisfied with Ubuntu around the 11.04 release with Unity, I started looking for another distro. I used Xubuntu for a bit until the performance became terrible with one of the 11.xx releases. Arch was the only one I could find that did what I wanted it to, but it was pretty hard to install the first time even with the documentation, I gave up the first time I tried to install it.
DW: How did it happen that you decided to make own distro? When was its first release?
DM: Arch was great, but pretty hard to install for someone who was new. I looked for a way to install it easier, and, finding none, I started working on Bridge Linux. The public unveiling of Bridge Linux was on November 17, 2011 and it came with a stock Xfce desktop.
Bridge Linux 2013.06 - the default Xfce desktop
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DW: Did you take any inspiration from existing distros? If so, which?
DM: Inspiration at the time was mostly Ubuntu pre-Unity/Xubuntu since that's what I had been used to. I designed the Xfce desktop based on my own personal desktop configuration. The early core came from ArchBang source, modified for Xfce.
DW: Why did you name it Bridge Linux? Did you think about any other names?
DM: I'm not really good at naming things. The name Bridge might have come from an old post on the Arch forums, but I'm not positive. I can't remember any of the other names I thought about.
DW: Did you expect that it would gain any popularity? When did you start to believe it would become popular?
DM: I thought it would catch on as an easy way to install Arch since at the time there wasn't one. The realization that it was catching on was the first release after being added to DistroWatch.
DW: What are your expectations about Bridge Linux in the future?
DM: I expect Bridge to continue on the path it's on now: an easy way to install Arch for those who aren't very experienced or don't have the time.
DW: And the plans for your distro?
DM: The plan is to keep going in the direction we're going. Stay Arch-compatible, stay simple, and stay easy.
DW: Are you the only developer of Bridge Linux now? Do you try to get anybody to help you?
DM: Yes, I'm the only developer. Recently, I've added two moderators to the forums, ludvick and sqlpython, who help out a ton. And nothing would ever get fixed without our members who are willing to run test releases and give feedback.
DW: Are you afraid it may die one day, if there isn't a person to continue your job?
DM: I think there will always be somebody who wants to carry on the project. If something happens where I can't continue work on it, the build profiles will be handed over to somebody who can.
DW: Does it take a long time to prepare a release of Bridge Linux? Which are the biggest problems in creating a release?
Small incremental releases don't take long, maybe a couple weeks. Larger steps can take a good amount of time, sometimes months as we're currently experiencing. The largest problems I have are with updates to the archiso
system, an error with that becomes digging through git logs looking for changes to fix it.
DW: What about the Bridge Linux community? Is it big in your opinion?
DM: The Bridge Linux community is a great bunch of people who love to help. It might not be very big, but it's quality over quantity.
DW: Thank you very much for your time and we wish you all the best with your work on Bridge Linux.
|Released Last Week
Endian Firewall 3.0
Endian has announced the immediate availability of Endian Firewall 3.0, a new "bleeding-edge" release of the Linux-based distribution designed for firewalls and routers: "Finally the Endian Firewall Community 3.0 has reached its final stage. This release includes the following changes: HTTPS filtering; SMTP proxy - domain management and SMTP delivery status notification configuration; OpenVPN - support for TUN mode, connections page for VPN users; user management and authentication - user management for OpenVPN, integrated certificate authority, external certificate authority support, user password and certificate management (two-factor authentication); logging and reporting - live network traffic monitoring (powered by ntopng), system status graphs are not lost at every reboot, images for SMTP mail statistics graphs...." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Following a long development process, FreeBSD 10.0, the latest stable version of the popular UNIX-like operating system, has been released: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE. This is the first release of the stable/10 branch. Some of the highlights: GCC is no longer installed by default on architectures where clang(1) is the default compiler; unbound has been imported to the base system as the local caching DNS resolver; BIND has been removed from the base system; make(1) has been replaced with NetBSD's bmake(1); pkg(7) is now the default package management utility; pkg_add(1), pkg_delete(1) and related tools have been removed; major enhancements in virtualization...." See the release announcement and release notes for a detailed list of changes.
Tiny Core Linux 5.2
Tiny Core Linux 5.2, the latest stable build of the distribution that prides itself to be as small and light as technically possible, has been released: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Core 5.2: Change log: rebuildfstab - do not replace fstab entries for a device that does not have 'Added by TC' on the line; init - increase the default inode count; ondemand - don't list extensions under subdirs in onboot maintenance; ldd - add wildcard to support both x86 and x86_64; BusyBox updated to 1.21.1 plus wget patches and split suid/nosuid for better security; ldd - added quotes for binaries with spaces in their names; /etc/services - modified to suit rpcbind rather than portmap; tc-functions - removed the getpasswd stars to allow backspace to work. Notes: rootfs64.gz available for corepure64; a new nfs-utils extension has been issued to work with Tiny Core Linux 5.2." Here is the brief release announcement.
Tiny Core Linux 5.2 - the live desktop environment
(full image size: 60kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Arjen Balfoort has announced the release of SolydXK 201401, the latest version of the project's set of desktop Linux distributions with a choice of Xfce (SolydX) or KDE (SolydK) desktops, both based on Debian's "testing" branch: "New ISO images include the latest update pack: KDE has been updated to version 4.12.1; LibreOffice has been updated to version 4.1.4; Firefox has been updated to version 26.0 and Thunderbird to version 24.2.0; these community packages were added to the community repository - grub-customizer, kdeconnect, plasma-mediacenter, xfce-theme-manager, xfwm4compositeeditor. The 'Business' editions will follow later." Other interesting package updates include FreeType 2.5.2, GCC 4.8.2, Linux kernel 3.11.10, NVIDIA driver 319.76, OpenSSH 6.4p1 and VLC 2.1.2. Read the brief release announcement here.
Semplice Linux 6
Eugenio Paolantonio has announced the release of Semplice Linux 6, a lightweight GNU/Linux distribution with Openbox, based on Debian's "unstable" branch: "It's our pleasure to announce the release of Semplice Linux 6, code-named 'Stairway to Heaven'. This release brings many important performance-related changes, such as systemd as the default init system, a new desktop-optimized kernel and compressed memory. Also, we have rewritten our menu builder. With this release, the central part of the system, the menu, is faster than ever. Other noteworthy changes are the support to window snapping and an easy-to-use tool to add launchers to the panel. The Semplice live system cointains: Openbox 3.5.2, Linux kernel 3.12.7; Chromium web browser 31.0.1650.63, Exaile 3.3.2 and GNOME MPlayer 1.0.8, Abiword 2.9.2 and Gnumeric 1.12.9, Pidgin Internet messenger 2.10.7...." Read the release announcement and release notes for further information.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
DistroWatch database summary
- Gigastrand OS. Gigastrand OS is a general-purpose desktop operating system which draws inspiration from Linux Mint.
- Oikyo Linux. Oikyo Linux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that comes with three desktop environments (Unity, KDE and GNOME) on the installation media.
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 3 February 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)
1 • Korora 20 (by Justinian on 2014-01-27 11:23:53 GMT from Philippines) |
Same experience as Jesse with the Cinnamon flavor of Korora 20. Will make do with it since Mint does not display on my Llano desktop after installation.
2 • Korora (by Terence on 2014-01-27 12:31:02 GMT from United States)
I like to distro hop (though I have slowed in recent weeks) and in the end, I like Fedora and I love Korora, so that is what I typically call home. Currently using Cinnamon because I like how you can install new themes. Korora just works on my ThinkPad E520 with no hardware problems at all.
Still not a huge fan of SELinux, because when I try to import OpenVPN configurations, I get nothing but problems.
In all honesty, I am ready to ditch (conventional) Linux for a Chromebook. I am waging an internal war, because psychologically I want the simplicity of a Chromebook, but the privacy of nothing with Google's name attached.
3 • PearOS shutdown (by Thomas on 2014-01-27 13:27:48 GMT from Netherlands)
I'm surprised to not see this mentioned at all.
It happens that niche distros go south, but selling out like this looks terrible.
You can't provide a distro with a cloud service and then shut it down on 10 days notice.
4 • @3 small distros (by greg on 2014-01-27 13:54:49 GMT from Slovenia)
well that's the problme with these small distros. they can be nice, warm and fuzzy, but they can also stop existing just like that. now imagine having a ocmpany with 10.000 desktop mashicnes whose OS suddenly stops being supported. no time to test new one etc. support is just suddenly dropped. no wonder companies tend to deal with a bit better finnacially backed companies that have been arroudn for a while...
5 • @3 & 4 re: small distros (by mark on 2014-01-27 14:24:27 GMT from United States)
Forking a new distro from one of the bigger distros (Debian, Red Hat, etc) is relatively easy compared to the effort that goes into maintaining the fork and hosting it. I appreciate the zeal of the people who fork these distros, but without funding and a compelling reason to exist, most will end up closing up shop within a few years of when they started.
6 • @4,5 re: small distros (by Thomas on 2014-01-27 15:00:19 GMT from Netherlands)
That he decided to stop working on it is not what I'm upset about.
As you said, it takes a lot of work to keep maintaining such a project.
We saw it with SolusOS too, the project leader bit off more than he could chew and decided: you know what, this is going nowhere, I'll stop.
That sucked, but it's fine, it happens. Valiant effort on a compelling project, not all projects will succeed.
PearOS' shutdown feels different, though. No transparency whatsoever with regard to what's going on and then just suddenly nuke the project, that's not cool.
It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
7 • @3,@4,@5,@6 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-27 15:13:15 GMT from United States)
Interesting thought here regarding Pear
8 • Uber Student (by Carling on 2014-01-27 17:07:03 GMT from United States)
I love promoting Linux education distribution, Over the passed couple of weeks I have been trying to get on Uberstudent website, It seems to have gone off line for some unknown reason, I would like to know if this is another Linux distribution that's hit the dust. It would be a great pity if it has, it was one of the best Linux education distribution, Do any of you know anything about it.
9 • Korora (by fernbap on 2014-01-27 17:15:44 GMT from Portugal)
tried Korora, and, while giving a pleasant live experience, it suffers from the same issues i had withe Fedora.
This time the experience was good enough for me to decide to install it, so, after passing through that horrendous fedora installer, it installed. Then i rebooted and it didn't boot, saying that he couldn't find the partition where it was installed (???). Perhaps because i installed it on sda15?
So, for me any fedora based distro is a no go...
10 • @8 Uberstudent (by Rev_Don on 2014-01-27 17:16:18 GMT from United States)
According to their Facebook page there is a problem with the host who doesn't appear to be returning calls or responding the e-mails.
11 • @9 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-27 17:26:07 GMT from United States)
I feel your pain. I installed Korora twice and both times after updates it crashed and failed to recognize my password when I tried to get back in after restart. I even tried recovery and no joy. I had a similar issue with F20 where I couldn't change clock settings. I could boot in fine but the clock settings gave me authentication errors.
12 • FreeBSD... (by Vukota on 2014-01-27 18:03:35 GMT from United States)
Another good DWW. Interesting stuff about FreeBSD 10.0. To me, changes looks radical, maybe it deserves a whole review?
13 • @3,6 (by :wq on 2014-01-27 19:11:08 GMT from United States)
"Its future is now in hands of a company who wants to remain anonymous for the moment. The concept has pleased them it and now wants to continue and improve the system for their own products. I can not give a name but it is a very large company well known..."
The closure/purchase annoucement reads like Pear OS was sold to Emperor Palpatine. It certainly creates more questions than answers.
"Pear Cloud users must recover their files on Pear Cloud servers. In 10 days (january 31), the files will be deleted and the server will be offline."
I hope no (former) Pear Cloud users' files were lost due to the short notice, but, IMO, data loss is a better fate than having the stewardship of that data turned over to an unknown entity.
14 • PearOS (by Bill on 2014-01-27 19:56:01 GMT from United States)
These guys say that PearOS will continue as ClementineOS..
15 • @14 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-27 19:59:19 GMT from United States)
That's strange. I love Clementine as a media player. I wonder what the OS will be like. Interesting,
16 • Clementine OS (by :wq on 2014-01-27 20:08:01 GMT from United States)
http://clementineos.hj.cx/ is down at the moment.
Yes we are aware that are site is currently down we are working hard with are hosting company to get issue resolved quickly."
"John Paul Wohlschied
Until then, anyone who wants to contribute to the project can submit their info here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16bm_m0Y0MQGqllYR3k-VDif1U4fiS82QK5oF6-827UA/viewform"
17 • flash in the pan (by :wq on 2014-01-27 20:28:52 GMT from United States)
Perhaps I'm being a pessimist, but I would be a little surprised if the Clementine OS project survives longer than the Cloverleaf Linux project did.
18 • @9 Advanced partition tables (by Scott Dowdle on 2014-01-27 20:47:37 GMT from United States)
I have sort of been collecting complex partition table listings lately. Would you consider sharing yours? Just do an fdisk -l /dev/sda > sda-parts.txt and email i tto me. email@example.com
I've found a number of cases where users have really convoluted partition tables where start and stop sectors are out of order, partitions are out of order, etc. Basically I've seen twisted partition tables and agreed, the Fedora installer doesn't like them. I'm not saying your partition table is twisted, but I'd like to take a look at it if you don't mind. A better alternative would be a screenshot of gparted viewing your disk.
Thanks in advance for any consideration.
19 • PearOS (by byku on 2014-01-27 22:14:40 GMT from Poland)
Maybe we will hear something about PearOS after 8.IV? Maybe there is an OEM which wants to catch some XP users. There is still time to polish it a bit ;)
20 • yumex woes (by Mike on 2014-01-28 00:47:40 GMT from United States)
Jesse's difficulty with yumex sounds suspiciously like the recurring Fedora issue I have, namely the devs inability to tame the evil packagekit daemon. No matter how I tuned it, the daemon was locking the yum database for long periods. Attempting to uninstall packagekit revealed bizarre co-dependencies on gdm (!) and other packages that I can't recall. Immediately showed Fedora the door!
Ironically yumex works smoothly for me on the latest version of CentOS - no packagekit, no problem!
21 • The Fedora Installer (by Paraquat on 2014-01-28 03:26:25 GMT from Taiwan)
Like Jesse, I just don't get this new "improved" Fedora installer. The old installer, Anaconda, was great. Then the developers decided that it needed to be rewritten starting with Fedora 18, and despite the scathing criticism that has followed, they've just dug in their heels, put their fingers in their ears, and refuse to believe that they screwed up. When you try to engage them in a discussion on how they could fix the issues (like the very confusing partitioning scheme), they just insist that their dumb users don't understand the greatness of the new installer, and no, they aren't going to fix it.
22 • re 21 Fedora installer (by corneliu on 2014-01-28 03:43:46 GMT from Canada)
I don't like the new partitioner in the installer. However, some of the problems stem from the file systems and their limitations. So some problems are not Fedora's fault, they come from upstream. Anyway, the partitioner has a lot of room for improvement.
When I installed the latest Fedora I decided to go back to ext4 instead of btrfs. With ext4 I had a much better partitioning experience. Also ext4 seems to be noticeably faster on my Intel SSD than btrfs. And since I don't need all the fancy features of btrfs (like time line), ext4 is exactly what I need.
23 • Pear OS going pear shaped (by Simon on 2014-01-28 06:42:54 GMT from New Zealand)
Notice that he says he looks forward to returning to the scene of "open source"; not "free software". Lends weight to Stallman's argument that the difference is important. Free software involves values, and projects that share these values tend to have community governance so that users can't be shafted by greedy developers.
24 • Free and Freed (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-28 07:39:08 GMT from United States)
Doesn't Freed Software also require developers donate their services?
Or all developers just leeches, inflating the value of their contributions in their own minds, like ... never mind.
25 • [Fruit]OS! (by zykoda on 2014-01-28 11:05:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
Free advertisements can't be worthless! What next? Tangerunix? Adam's provocative nibble at the trademark?
26 • Pear is now clementine (by Wolf on 2014-01-28 17:26:31 GMT from Germany)
Yeah it's true it says so on the HP
Looks exactly like pearos HP and even links to pearos.com or so
Who knows something about the guy or guys behind clementine?
27 • @26 (by :wq on 2014-01-28 19:48:01 GMT from United States)
Clementine OS has received more attention than it merits at this point, so this is an apology in advance for further contributing to that. From what I can tell, there won't be a release until after Ubuntu 14.04 is released, if the project lasts that long. I could be mistaken, but I believe it's primarily driven by one person, who appears to have no significant previous experience. Quoting from that person's Google+ About info: "Employment- Clementine OS Linux Operating System Company, 2014 - present", and YouTube About info: "I do Linux distribution reviews and Ubuntu/tutorials".
28 • @ 7 "Interesting thought " (by forlin on 2014-01-28 20:38:11 GMT from Portugal)
Pear's announcement: "Its future is now in the hands of a company who wants to remain anonymous for the moment. The concept has pleased them, and [they] now want to continue and improve the system for their own products."
There's only one company that could benefit on developing Pear for its own products, at least in its domestic market: LENOVO !!!
29 • Clementine OS (by Rev_Don on 2014-01-29 03:12:25 GMT from United States)
Based on his Google+ page and his Youtube channel it would appear that the developer is a 14 -15 year old kid. Doesn't sound very promising.
30 • Clementine OS and music player (by Ronald Buckman on 2014-01-29 04:59:20 GMT from United States)
With the name Clementine OS, the Clementine music player will probably have to be included in order to avoid possible legal action from the Clementine music player developers. Clementine's music player is a very good player, but the iso will need to have the qt libraries needed to run it. Would be no problem if its going to be a DVD iso. Not, that I would want to install Clementine OS, I'm happy with Ubuntu Christian Edition and Ubuntu GNOME Trusty alpha. The only Linux distribution that I know of which has the same name as some software that doesn't include the named software is Unity Linux which was founded before the Unity desktop shell.
31 • @ 28 "Interesting thought " (by forlin (by Chanath on 2014-01-30 07:24:09 GMT from Poland)
>Pear's announcement: "Its future is now in the hands of a company who wants to remain anonymous for the moment. The concept has pleased them, and [they] now want to continue and improve the system for their own products."<
David got what he wanted; a company to buy it off him, pay for his future etc. The whole idea was to make an easy distro that would bring in money, just like Zorin OS, with available, but not used by other distros apps, few of one's own apps, which would help the user, on a most used base, Ubuntu. Its not a problem to "create" a Pear OS or Zorin OS with available apps.
The "old" Slingshot launcher and "new" other apps from eOS, few from Mint repos, some from Gnome and you have Pear OS.
Anyway, David had achieved what he wanted; a buyer for his distro and well paid future. Good luck to him. I liked his work. While, the others talked, David did his work.
32 • Korora's/Qubes' installation and package management (by fructosefree on 2014-01-30 10:38:45 GMT from Australia)
Don't like the Fedora-based installation and package management in Korora 20, Jesse? You could try reviewing Qubes.
Their Release 2, Beta 3 is out now and very stable and able for production use according to the Beta 2 review at www.rationallyparanoid.com/articles/qubes.html.
It has its own installer (non-Fedora). I would like to see how well the updates go in the TemplateVM, and your rating of package management system to install what you want for each separate AppVM which uses 400MB each.
Qubes separates the Networking, Online Banking, App, Template and Firewall VMs so if one insecurely goes down the others stay put. The host dom0 is separate from everything and the keyboard is separate from the monitor in Virtual Machines.
You can also Virtualize MS Windows; and other OS under it but with QVM. I wonder if anyone has any comments on how flexible this is to say run private/secure OS like Tails/OpenBSD from an ISO and install Tails to a USB key and have QVM detect the Tails VM from that USB key manually with a shortcut to the desktop. Or have OpenBSD install to the HDD virutally and be detected the same way.
33 • Yum Extender Korora 20 (by Maik on 2014-01-30 14:34:21 GMT from Belgium)
I have been running Korora 20 Xfce ever since the Beta came out and never had any problems with Yum Extender, after clicking on the History button.....
It might be a bit slower but it never stopped working and still does it's job as should.
34 • Korora/PC-BSD (by Dave Postles on 2014-01-30 15:00:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
Korora has been working fine for me - PCSpecialist small-form factor desktop with 8Gb RAM with powerline ethernet.
My complaint is that I can't download an iso of PC-BSD without the connection going down and not receiving the full 3.6Gb. I haven't tried 10 then, but does it still have the same difficulty in automatically mounting a USB drive?
35 • @30 (by JMiahMan on 2014-01-30 20:24:34 GMT from United States)
@ 30 no Clementine audio player will not need to be included. They are two different things... ie. a Music player and an OS, so I doubt any "legal" action could be taken. Also last I knew Clementine didn't have much of a legal team and even if they did it takes quite a bit of resources to even threaten legal action. I doubt it even matters. You're kind of reaching here..
36 • @36 (by Ronald Buckman on 2014-01-30 22:15:23 GMT from United States)
I looked at the web site of the Clementine music player and I did not see any trademark notice. Therefore, Clementine OS is free to use the Clementine name without the permission of the leaders of the Clementine music player and do not have to include the Clementine music player. Although, IMHO the Clementine music player should be included due to the expectation of users.
37 • pear os8 (by cl1 on 2014-01-31 08:19:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
Can still download pear os8 torrents at
to see what the fuss is about
38 • Fruit Electronics (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-31 08:32:33 GMT from United States)
Looks like the 'Clementine OS' website issue is resolved.
39 • Korora or Fedora Installer (by Old Goat on 2014-02-01 19:17:05 GMT from United States)
I have never been able to install either unless I let the application do it's own partitioning. I have never been able to install it where I want it, with only an ext3 file system.
I don't want it to take over my hard drive. It's my hard drive and not theirs.
I would like to read detailed instructions on how to install with multiple partitions already being used on the hard drive. Format a partition so it is vacant and then install on that partition.
40 • @38 RE: Fruit Electronics - Clementine OS Website (by Rev_Don on 2014-02-02 02:56:01 GMT from United States)
"Looks like the 'Clementine OS' website issue is resolved."
Not really. It still isn't working up here in NE Wisconsin. Numerous computers, operating systems, browsers, locations, and providers and http://clementineos.hj.cx/ still won't open.
41 • 40 Is NE WI cut off? (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-02-02 09:26:39 GMT from United States)
From much of the global internet?
http://downforme.org/ http://www.isup.me/ http://www.downforeveryone.com/ http://doj.me/ http://www.websitenotworking.com/ ... http://2008foreveryoneorjustme.com/
Number of Comments: 41
|• Issue 581 (2014-10-20): SparkyLinux 3.5, Fedora's graphics stack, Debian and systemd, OpenBSD 5.6|
|• Issue 580 (2014-10-13): Rolling releases, Arch as best distro, GNOME on Wayland, MINIX 3.3.0|
|• Issue 579 (2014-10-06): PC-BSD 10.0.3, Debian's Jessie freeze, setting up home server|
|• Issue 578 (2014-09-29): Calculate 14, Debian's default desktop, Shellshock vulnerability, practical Tiny Core|
|• Issue 577 (2014-09-22): SymphonyOS 14.1, FreeBSD drops pkg_add, MINIX on ARM, GNU screen|
|• Issue 576 (2014-09-15): PCLinuxOS 2014.08, Mint's documentation, Debian's hardware database, CDE|
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|• Issue 572 (2014-08-18): ZFSguru 10.1, Fedora's Flock, beta installer for "Jessie", Ubuntu Core, rolling releases|
|• Issue 571 (2014-08-11): HandyLinux 1.6, LMDE update, default desktop in "Jessie", running out of disk space|
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|• Issue 568 (2014-07-21): Antergos 2014.06.24, Mint based on Debian stable, upgrading CentOS, BinaryTides|
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|• Issue 553 (2014-04-07): Puppy 5.7 "Slacko", end of Ubuntu One, file encryption with GPG|
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|• Issue 549 (2014-03-10): ClearOS 6.5 and UCS 3.2, Gentoo interview, Ubuntu app contest, Into the Core|
|• Issue 548 (2014-03-03): Review of Mageia 4, FreeBSD console driver, filtering web content, Pitivi fundraiser|
|• Issue 547 (2014-02-24): Chakra 2014.02, Ubuntu privacy, preventing unwanted remote logins|
|• Issue 546 (2014-02-17): Review of PC-BSD 10.0, Red Flag closure, Ubuntu and systemd, SlackE18, Fedora book review|
|• Issue 545 (2014-02-10): Impressions of FreeBSD 10.0, Debian votes systemd, Ubuntu file manager, server security|
|• Issue 544 (2014-02-03): Netrunner 13.12, openSUSE future, Ubuntu Touch in emulator, running commands in multiple places|
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|• Issue 541 (2014-01-13): openSUSE 13.1 and Zentyal 3.3, CentOS joins Red Hat, Bodhi on Chromebooks|
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