| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 546, 17 February 2014
Welcome to this year's 7th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Many open-source projects benefit from sponsorship and corporate backing. Sometimes money goes toward paying the developers, other times it keeps the project's servers running and sometimes funds go toward promoting the project to the community. These days a lot of the effort which goes into popular Linux and BSD projects is backed by companies and this week we touch on some of these funded projects. First up we have a review of PC-BSD, a desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD and backed by iXsystems. Next we talk about sub-projects Debian hopes to tackle this year with the help of Google's Summer of Code. We also note the reported demise of China's Red Flag Linux, talk about Ubuntu's efforts to simplify application development and usage across multiple form factors, and report on a community effort to bring Enlightenment 0.18 to Slackware Linux. Plus we talk about a comprehensive and practical guide to Red Hat's Enterprise Linux and related projects, such as Fedora and CentOS. Finally, we also present two rather unusual distributions - Android-x86, a well-engineered effort to port Google's Android mobile operating system to standard desktop computers, and NixOS, a research project and distribution that rethinks the way software packages are installed, upgraded and managed. We wish you all a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
PC-BSD 10.0 - desktop BSD for the masses?
The PC-BSD project produces a desktop oriented operating system which uses FreeBSD as a technology base. The PC-BSD team takes the latest release of FreeBSD, adds a nice, graphical installer, several convenient utilities and several pre-configured desktop environments. The result is one of the few flavours of BSD to be designed with desktop use as a primary focus. The most recent release of PC-BSD, version 10.0, includes a number of new features and is based upon FreeBSD 10.0. Some of the new items in the latest version include a more flexible backup utility, a wider range of hardware support and a text-based installer.
A few new desktop environments have been made available to PC-BSD users, including Cinnamon and GNOME 3. The GNOME 2 desktop has been replaced by its own fork, the MATE desktop. The PC-BSD system installer can now adjust more file system settings at install time, allowing the administrator to choose settings which are best suited to their environment. For example, we can tell the installer we will be placing PC-BSD on a solid state drive and the installer will disable features such as access time stamps which write frequently to the disk and reduce performance. As usual, PC-BSD features PBI packages and tools to build these packages. A PBI package is a bundle of software which, typically, includes an application and all of that application's dependencies. This allows users to transfer PBIs between machines or install PBIs when off-line without worrying about missing dependencies, all of the application's requirements are stored inside the PBI bundle.
Download and installation
This version of PC-BSD is available in just one edition, greatly narrowing the available selection of downloads compared to previous releases. The current release is available as a 3.6 GB image which can be transferred to either DVDs or USB thumb drives. The latest version of PC-BSD runs on 64-bit x86 machines only. People wishing to work with a 32-bit FreeBSD base and PC-BSD tools can install FreeBSD and add the PC-BSD specific utilities through the ports and packages system. Booting from the installation media brings up a graphical menu where we can launch the graphical system installer or the project's text installer. I opted to use the graphical installer for my trial.
The PC-BSD system installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language. Down at the bottom of the screen are a handful of icons and clicking these ever-present icons lets us access some key information. One icon allows us to configure our keyboard, another displays helpful tips on navigating the current screen of the installer. A third icon brings up an on-screen keyboard and a fourth opens a window where we can configure our network connection. The final icon brings up a page which shows us which pieces of our hardware PC-BSD can identify. Each item is marked with a check or "x" to indicate whether the hardware is working properly with the available drivers. Moving on through the installer we are asked whether we wish to set up PC-BSD as a desktop system or as a server. We have a third option which is to restore a backup of a previous PC-BSD installation. I opted to take the desktop option. We are then given the chance to customize which software packages are installed.
Most of these packages are desktop environments. For instance we can choose to install one or any of the following: KDE, MATE, LXDE and Xfce. There are also developer tools which can be installed, extra drivers and unsupported graphical interfaces such as Window Manager, Ratpoison and Openbox. Next, the installer walks us through partitioning the hard drive. PC-BSD appears to be hardwired to use ZFS as its file system as I did not find any other file system options. ZFS is quite flexible and we can specify whether we wish to enable mirroring, RAID, data compression and SSD optimizations. All of this may seem overwhelming to newcomers and, when in doubt, the defaults offered are suitable. After we configure ZFS the installer copies its files to the local hard drive and, when it is finished, we are prompted to reboot the computer.
PC-BSD 10.0 - the LXDE desktop and application menu
(full image size: 905kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The first time we boot into PC-BSD a graphical wizard appears and offers to help us select a proper video driver and resolution for our display. We can then test various driver/resolution combinations and see which one works best for us. We are then asked to give our computer a hostname, set a password for our root account and create a regular user account. We have the option of enabling encryption on the regular user's files. With these steps completed we are presented with a graphical login screen. When we first login to our account a welcome screen appears and offers a few tips on using PC-BSD. Specifically we are shown where to access tools to get us on-line, where to go to configure data backups, where we can go to install new software and, finally, we are presented with links to the PC-BSD project's website and documentation. The welcome screen is a nice, short introduction to the project and it gave me places to start looking at features.
Before I get to PC-BSD's long list of features I would like to talk about how it ran on my test equipment. I ran PC-BSD on a desktop machine and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. VirtualBox had a little trouble with PC-BSD. In my case VirtualBox defaulted to 32-bit support and I had to tell the software PC-BSD was a 64-bit operating system. Then PC-BSD would not boot unless VirtualBox was set to support IO APIC. Once installed I could not get PC-BSD to use my display's full resolution within VirtualBox, despite the fact driver support for VirtualBox had been installed. Finally, PC-BSD constantly used 100% of my host system's CPU, whether the guest operating system was idling below 5% usage or pegged at 100%. This made running PC-BSD in the virtual environment unpractical as it made the host system sluggish and the processor run hot. I checked to see if FreeBSD would also gobble up 100% of the host's processor and found that it did not, that characteristic was unique to PC-BSD. The operating system performed better on physical hardware, using less CPU, gaining a better display resolution and generally performing smoothly. I ran PC-BSD with the lightweight LXDE user interface and found the system required approximately 120 MB of RAM. This seems to be on par with most Linux-based systems which ship with LXDE.
PC-BSD 10.0 - AppCafe and Control Panel
(full image size: 459kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Software and package management
Shortly after logging in I noticed an icon in the system tray which indicated software updates were available. Clicking on the icon brought up the PC-BSD update manager. This utility kept indicating it was checking for software updates, but never displayed any. The update application appeared to be stuck waiting for something. Going into the system's control panel and opening the software update utility allowed me to check for updates. PC-BSD actually comes with a few update utilities: a package manager which shows available package upgrades and a three-in-one panel which displays PBI updates, port/package updates and updates for the underlying operating system. While it may seem a little confusing at first to consider there are three categories of software on PC-BSD (the operating system itself, PBI stand-alone packages and more traditional third-party software packages), I found this three-in-one tool worked well and allowed me to acquire all available upgrades.
Another icon which caught my attention from its place on the desktop was the link to PC-BSD's Handbook. The project's Handbook is a user guide that spans over 300 pages. The PDF document provides detailed instructions on using the operating system. The steps shown are generally easy to follow and are accompanied by screen shots and links to further information. I found this to be a great resource. Unfortunately the PDF viewer which came with the LXDE desktop had trouble displaying some of the images embedded in the document, but the text was still very useful.
Another icon we find sitting on the desktop opens AppCafe. The PC-BSD AppCafe is a package manager which handles the installation, updating and removal of PBI packages. The interface is quite friendly and allows us to browse through categories of software and perform searches for applications. Clicking on a software package will bring up a more detailed description and a list of related software. Items can be queued for installation with a single click. Once an application has been installed we can mark it to be automatically updated if we wish. I found the AppCafe very easy to navigate and I feel this latest version is faster than previous versions of the package manager. I will say though that people who make use of PBI packages should be aware that these software bundles can be quite large. The PBI for Firefox is approximately 390 MB, for example.
This makes downloading large applications a time consuming process, a process which will hopefully be helped in the near future by a new method of building PBI bundles. People wishing to make use of smaller software packages that are installed using on-the-spot dependency resolution, can use the pkg command line package manager. The pkg package manager worked well for me. It's small, fast and the desktop software I installed with pkg worked well. Oddly enough pkg comes with two configuration files, one which connects it to FreeBSD software repositories and another which connects to PC-BSD repositories. I suspect the latter is the default source for software packages.
PC-BSD 10.0 - configuring backups with Life Preserver
(full image size: 319kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
New features and utilities
Perhaps my favourite feature of PC-BSD is Life Preserver. Life Preserver is a backup tool which helps us easily schedule automated backups of our files. Life Preserver takes file system snapshots of our data at regular intervals (we can adjust the length of these intervals) and can optionally transfers backups to another computer on the network, assuming that computer is running a secure shell service. Life Preserver can be set up with a few clicks and worked well for me. Once the utility has created snapshots of our data we can use a built-in file browser and a time slider to view existing snapshots. While we can see files included in existing snapshots, I was unable to restore any files or directories using the Life Preserver file browser. I was able, however, to browse the local directories where snapshots are stored using another file manager and manually copy files out of existing snapshots, thus restoring my data.
One more feature I feel deserves a nod is the Warden. On FreeBSD there are lightweight containers, called jails, which act like low-resource virtual machines. These containers are ideal for running network services as an exploit which corrupts the jail will not take over the rest of the operating system. PC-BSD extends this concept with the Warden. The Warden is a graphical user interface which manages, creates and destroys jails. A jail may be a regular, minimal FreeBSD system or, alternatively, PC-BSD offers jails that come with minimal Gentoo or Debian systems built into them. This allows us, in theory, to run a GNU/Linux operating system within a container on PC-BSD. In practice I found that while the FreeBSD style jail worked very well, I was not able to get the Linux distribution jails to run. Still, the jail is a powerful tool and is further augmented by PC-BSD's ability to take snapshots of jails, creating restore points for us should the jail need to be rescued.
PC-BSD 10.0 - updating all software and working with jails
(full image size: 169kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
By default PC-BSD does not appear to ship with many end-user desktop applications. The project provides a great selection of system administration tools and several desktop environments, but leaves us with a fairly bare application menu. At least that was my experience with the LXDE-centric install I performed. PC-BSD ships with some basic graphical tools, including a text editor, archive manager, multimedia player and PDF viewer. I found multimedia codecs were available right from the start and, when I installed Firefox, Flash support was included. While the application menu might be relatively empty, lots of software is available through the AppCafe and the pkg software manager.
Generally speaking I was happy with this release of PC-BSD. The project always has interesting tools to showcase and some concepts which I find appealing. I quite like that PC-BSD supplies both dependency-proof PBI bundles alongside smaller, interdependent packages. Having the Warden available makes for easy management of jails and I really like the ZFS-based utilities, especially Life Preserver. The system installer worked quite well for me and I found that it offered reasonable defaults, which probably makes PC-BSD the easiest BSD flavour to install I have encountered to date.
While the operating system did not run smoothly in a virtual machine for me, it did perform reasonably well on my desktop computer. In fact, given PC-BSD's 64-bit only nature and powerful admin tools, I suspect this project is aimed almost exclusively at high-end desktop and laptop systems and is probably not developed with virtual machines or low-end equipment in mind. And I think it may be that PC-BSD's one serious weak spot is hardware. The project's FreeBSD base does not have quite the range of supported hardware some other operating systems have and I suspect this will be the one stumbling block for people looking to try PC-BSD. Otherwise the array of administration tools, the easy package management, clear documentation and the central control panel make PC-BSD 10.0 a very enticing desktop operating system and I recommend giving it a try.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Red Flag closes doors, Ubuntu switches to systemd, Debian prepares for Summer of Code, SlackE18 releases Enlightenment packages for Slackware, KDE welcomes new designers
Red Flag Linux, one of the oldest and better-known Asian Linux distributions, has reportedly closed down. According to this article published last week by Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, the Beijing-based company formally terminated all the employment contracts last Monday: "The situation for Red Flag had deteriorated so much that the company could not even meet water and electricity payments on its Haidian district building in December. Red Flag's 150 employees, who have not been paid since April last year, are now trying to claim a combined sum of about 15 million yuan (HK$19 million) from the company's largest shareholder, the Software Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences." See also this TechWeb article (in Chinese) which includes a photo of a notice posted on the company's entrance door. If these reports are confirmed and Red Flag does indeed close down, its Linux distribution won't be the only victim; Asianux, an international cooperation project led by Red Flag, as well as Qomo Linux, Red Flag's community distro, will surely bite the dust as well.
* * * * *
Red Flag's apparent inability to produce a competitive and profitable Linux product contrasts sharply with the world's most successful Linux company - the USA-based Red Hat, Inc. Launched just a few years earlier than its Chinese counterpart, the enterprise with headquarters in Raleigh now has revenues exceeding one billion US dollars and over 6,000 employees around the globe. So how is it possible that, of the two companies offering similar products and services, one strives while the other fails? "Why There Will Never Be Another Red Hat", an article by TechCrunch's Peter Levine, attempts to provide some clues: "Red Hat is a fantastic company, and a pioneer in successfully commercializing open source. However, beyond Red Hat the effort has largely been a failure from a business standpoint. Consider that the 'support' model has been around for 20 years, and other than Red Hat there are no public standalone companies that have been able to offer an alternative to their proprietary counterpart. When you compare the market cap and revenue of Red Hat to Microsoft or Amazon or Oracle, even Red Hat starts to look like a lukewarm success. The overwhelming success of Linux is disproportionate to the performance of Red Hat."
* * * * *
Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu distribution, has been pushing the idea of "convergence". Convergence, in this case, meaning applications and user interfaces should be familiar and consistent across multiple devices and platforms, whether these devices are desktop computers, notebooks or mobile phones. One aspect of Canonical's planned convergence is that application developers should be able to create applications which use the same code across all Ubuntu devices. This would remove the need for a developer to write one application for the desktop and another app for mobile devices, greatly reducing the amount of work required to support multiple platforms. Jono Bacon has a video demonstrating an application running on three different devices, all powered by the same underlying code.
Other changes are coming soon to Ubuntu. Last week we reported on Debian's vote to switch from its classic init system to the newer systemd technology. The Ubuntu distribution is built upon Debian technology and this raised the question as to whether Ubuntu would continue using its own Upstart init technology or switch to systemd in order to keep in line with Debian. In a blog post Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu's founder, declared Ubuntu will stay close to Debian and adopt systemd: "Upstart has served Ubuntu extremely well -- it gave us a great competitive advantage at a time when things became very dynamic in the kernel, it's been very stable (it is after all the init used in both Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and has set a high standard for Canonical-lead software quality of which I am proud. Nevertheless, the decision is for systemd, and given that Ubuntu is quite centrally a member of the Debian family, that's a decision we support. I will ask members of the Ubuntu community to help to implement this decision efficiently, bringing systemd into both Debian and Ubuntu safely and expeditiously." The Ubuntu distribution will likely transition to systemd after the 14.04 long-term support release in April.
* * * * *
Each year Google picks a group of open-source projects and students to sponsor. The Google program, called the Summer of Code, is a great way for students to get hands-on experience with real-world projects. It is also a good way for open-source projects to develop new features and engage future developers. The Debian GNU/Linux distribution is already getting ready to work with students and the Debian team is putting together potential projects which may benefit Debian users and coders. Many of the proposed summer projects deal with the Clang compiler and associated libraries or error detection, indicating the Debian team wants to build an even more robust, adaptable distribution.
* * * * *
In terms of officially supported software, Slackware Linux is a comparatively small distribution, preferring to leave any non-essential (and troublesome) software to the community to provide any relevant packages. One of such communities is Jerome Pinot's SlackE which builds binary packages of the Enlightenment window manager for Slackware Linux. The project has recently launched its latest version - SlackE18: "After several months of maturing, I'm finally publishing my E18 packages for Slackware Linux. You will find the EFL 1.8.5, elementary 1.8.4 and Enlightenment 0.18.3. Most of the modules are broken and have been removed but I added a few EFL-related applications. E18 is not much than an upgrade to E17. But on the packaging side, many things have changed. The biggest part is the merge of all the EFL in one build system, the change in theme and configuration files and a lot of breakages in modules." The Enlightenment 0.18.3 packages for the i486, x86_64 and even arm editions of Slackware Linux are available from the project's SourceForge page. The installation instructions are here.
* * * * *
The KDE desktop environment is quite a feat of open-source development. The highly flexible interface allows users to configure the desktop interface to better suits their needs, making KDE popular among people who like to adjust their user interface to match their workflows. However, one of KDE's drawbacks is that its default look and the layout of some of its core applications are not always appealing to end-users. Making a better default user experience is one of the things the new KDE Visual Design Group plans to address. "KDE has a history of gathering some of the best and the brightest developers creating stunning works of engineering and programming, but visually we were lacking," reports the project's website. The team plans to "help refine visuals and interface in cooperation with developers, interface designers and the KDE marketing team." The open-source community often focuses on code rather than design and project member Jens Reuterbery suggests the bar for contributions should be lower for designers: "We want to bridge the divide between designers and developers within KDE, make the community effort structured and easy to participate for designers." Artists and designers who wish to contribute to the project are encouraged to visit the Visual Design Group's forum.
|Book Review (by Jesse Smith)
Book review: A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (7th Edition) by Mark G. Sobell
There are thousands of pieces to a modern operating system. Any given server or workstation might have hundreds of configuration files, thousands of binary applications, dozens of log files and a seemingly endless list of features, security components and scripts. It is a lot to take in and it is easy for someone new to system administration to feel overwhelmed. I am happy to report that for users and administrators of Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) machines there is help. I recently had a chance to pick up (with some straining in my arm muscles) Mark Sobell's extensive "A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (7th Edition)". With a title this long you might not be surprised to learn that the tome is over 1,400 pages in length and covers just about everything you ever wanted to know (or perhaps hadn't even thought to wonder) about Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora and related distributions such as CentOS.
What immediately stands out about this "practical guide" is that it is amazingly detailed. In fact, about the first 50 pages are dedicated to explaining what the book is about and the many subjects which will be covered. After that, the next few sections of the book talk about the history of GNU/Linux and then there is a chapter on things to do, check or consider before beginning an installation of Fedora or RHEL. Mr Sobell leaves no stoned unturned, walking us step-by-step through installing a Fedora/RHEL system, working with software packages, the layout of the file system, what a command line is.... The list goes on. This book begins with virtually no assumptions about our knowledge and eases us into working with the command line, writing shell scripts, configuring network services, trouble-shooting problems, working with file sharing and even programming in Python is covered.
Chances are if you ever wanted to do anything with a Linux distribution, this book covers how to do it, in detail, with helpful tips on things to try or things not to do. The book also features URLs to places on-line where we can find further documentation should we need it. Want to know how to configure Network Manager to use a static IP address? See page 641. Would you like to know everything you need to do to set up and customize a web server? Then flip to page 931, there is an entire chapter dedicated to the task. Would you like to know how to create command line short-cuts? Then see page 394. Chances are if you have questions about Linux-based operating systems, using them or configuring them, the answer is in this book.
Besides Sobell's thorough coverage of all things Linux, what really stood out about the book was that it feels like a college textbook. The material is typically presented in progressive order and, at the end of each chapter, there are exercises for people who would like to test their knowledge. Personally, I like this style, perhaps because it feels familiar, or possibly because the exercises at the end of each section got me thinking on the best ways to approach problems. I appreciated that the book wasn't just tossing out information and moving on, but actually getting the reader to consider the material covered and how to make use of new knowledge. I also like the tips included in most chapters. Throughout the book, especially early on, the text has little asides with tips relevant to the topic being discussed. For example, there is a section on working with the FTP protocol and an accompanying tip explains why FTP is considered insecure and in which situations we may want to use it. These short asides give depth to the text, serving as words of wisdom to readers. In a way the bulk of the book shows us what we can do and the additional tips tell us why we might want to (or not want to) do those things.
Reading through the book I found most of it, probably in excess of 90%, applicable to the majority of Linux distributions and, for that matter, much of the material covered will be practical for BSD users too. Only a few parts of the book are specific to Red Hat's family of distributions and most of these deal with either package management or working with systemd to manipulate background services. The rest of the text, particularly those dealing with command line utilities and scripting, are pretty much universal. For this reason I feel the book will be useful not just to Red Hat and Fedora users, but to the wider Linux community as a whole.
If I had to complain about any aspect of the text, I might say that some subjects are, in my opinion, given more focus than other, more interesting ones. However, interest in particular topics is subjective and I am sure there are people out there grateful for the detail in which pattern matching on the command line is presented. I also questioned the order in which some subjects are presented. As an example, working with secure shell and secure file transfers are touched on before plain FTP. There isn't anything wrong with this approach, exactly, but I suspect readers might find working with plain FTP followed by the more complex SFTP easier than the reverse. However, people are free to read chapters in any order, so there is nothing preventing readers from tackling the material in the order of their choosing.
Which, actually, brings me to one final aspect of the book I very much enjoyed, specifically that it reads in places like a web document. That is to say, the book is full of references (links) to other parts of the book which cover topics in more detail. As an example, the chapter on working with file system directories mentions the special character "~" which is used as a short-cut to our home directory. The text mentions that more information on the "~" symbol and how it works can be found in a later chapter, on page 407. These references, internal to the book itself, appear throughout the text and it makes chasing down the details of topics easier without letting the flow of text get bogged down with unnecessary details.
All in all, Sobell tackles a massive subject, the vast details of a Linux operating system, and manages to keep the material clear, interesting and engaging. At times the book is, by necessity, a dry read -- we are talking about the inner workings of an operating system which can be abstract and complex. Still, I like how the material is presented, I found Sobell's style to be smooth and the material is amazingly detailed and, as the title suggests, practical. If you want to know how to get the most out of your Red Hat, Fedora or CentOS system, then this one of the best texts available, in my opinion.
* * * * *
- Title: A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (7th Edition)
- Author: Mark G. Sobell
- Publisher: Prentice Hall
- ISBN: 0-13-347743-6
- Length: 1,416 pages
- Available from: InformIT, Amazon and other bookstores.
|Released Last Week
Jacque Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 5.0, a major new release of the Debian-based desktop distribution featuring the Xfce desktop environment: "MakuluLinux Xfce 5.0, built on a strong Debian base, offers users not only stability and speed, but now also provides a much more effective modern animated desktop environment. Pre-compiled with hundreds of themes and wallpapers, users can really take full advantage of configuring their desktop to their liking. Dual menus now allow users to either click bottom left of the desktop to make use of the familiar whisker menu or click bottom right and make use of the fancy mouse-driven slingshot launcher. MakuluLinux Xfce 5.0 is also the first release to show off the newly revamped Makulu Installer. Based on Debian 'Testing' and PAE-enabled Linux kernel 3.12. Major software changes: GIMP replaced by MyPaint 1.1; WINE 1.4.1 replaced by WINE 1.6.x...." Read the rest of the release announcement for detailed information and release notes.
MakuluLinux 5.0 - the default Xfce desktop
(full image size: 1,313kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Zenwalk Linux 7.4
Jean-Philippe Guillemin has announced the release of Zenwalk Linux 7.4. This is the project's first stable release since October 2012 and an important update of the Slackware-based desktop Linux distribution with the latest development build of the Xfce desktop. From the release announcement: "The Xfce desktop environment has been updated version 4.12 git, providing a good overview of the upcoming 4.12 final. This intermediate version has been fully tested during four months and the result can already be considered very stable (a few components of the Xfce 4.10 have been kept for stability). Several applications of previous Zenwalk releases have been replaced - MPlayer is now the multimedia player (instead of Totem), LXDM is the display manager (instead of GDM), Xfburn is the CD/DVD burner (instead of Brasero), Geeqie is now the image viewer. As usual most packages have been updated: LibreOffice 4.1.3, GIMP 2.8.10, Firefox 27.0, Thunderbird 24.3.0, Linux kernel 3.10.25 with performance tweaks."
Ahmad Haris has announced the release of BlankOn 9.0. BlankOn is a modern Indonesian Linux distribution with GNOME 3 and a custom desktop shell called "Manokwari", based on Debian's "Testing" branch. New features of the release include: various improvements to the Manokwari desktop; contextual dynamic desktop that changes depending on activities performed; LibreOffice 4.1.4 office suite; a complete set of graphics and multimedia applications, including gThumb, GIMP, Inkscape and VLC; a new application centre called Warsi for intuitive installation of additional software packages; Geo.BlankOn, a digital cooperation platform to develop cluster software and provide geospatial data (e.g. traffic congestion, flood spots or tourist information) to support a variety of computer systems; introduction of Maleo a development tool for creating HTML 5 applications for deployment on desktop computers and mobile devices; Linux kernel 3.12.9; Chromium 31 web browser.... Read the complete release announcement (in Indonesian) for more information and screenshots.
BlankOn 9.0 - an Indonesian distribution based on Debian's "Testing" branch
(full image size: 655kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
- Android-x86. Android-x86 is an unofficial initiative to port Google's Android mobile operating system to run on devices powered by Intel and AMD x86 processors, rather than RISC-based ARM chips. The project began as a series of patches to the Android source code to enable Android to run on various netbooks and ultra-mobile PCs, particularly the ASUS Eee PC.
Android-x86 4.4 RC1 - for those who'd like to run Google's Android on their PCs
(full image size: 1,522kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
- NixOS. NixOS is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution that aims to improve the state of the art in system configuration management. In NixOS, the entire operating system, including the kernel, applications, system packages and configuration files, are built by the Nix package manager. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other; a as result there are no /bin, /sbin, /lib or /usr directories and all packages are kept in /nix/store instead. Other innovative features of NixOS include reliable upgrades, rollbacks, reproducible system configurations, source-based model with binaries, and multi-user package management. Although NixOS is a research project, it is a functional and usable operating system that includes hardware detection, KDE as the default desktop, and systemd for managing system services.
NixOS 13.10 - a distribution with a custom package manager and many unique features
(full image size: 265kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- ArchAssault. The ArchAssault Project is an Arch Linux derivative for penetration testers and security professionals.
- ArchBSD. ArchBSD is a lightweight and flexible BSD® distribution that tries to keep the technical aspects of the operating system simple.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 24 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)
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)
1 • PCBSD&KDE& Android (by greg on 2014-02-17 11:28:07 GMT from Slovenia) |
they have some interesting solutions that i would like to see in linux as well. i wonder why they haven't appeared yet.their code is open and free, right?
virtualisation - i wonder what the issue was. the hardware virtualisation was enabled, right? i think i might try it at home on windows PC just to see what happens.
too bad for the hardware support. i've read their user guide and system seems easy to control.
KDE - i think the kicker menu is kind of strange. there is classic, btu lately i saw homerun kicker which seems really well done. it's a ncie combination between classic and modern. haven't tried it yet though.
It's good to see Android X86 added to the list. makes it easy to follow what is happening with distributions all in one place here on distrowatch. i still have to try it, haven't found the time to get to it yet but already downloaded it. though there is no google play i believe in this x86 version. but i could be wrong...
2 • SystemD, Red Flag (by Paraquat on 2014-02-17 11:51:35 GMT from Taiwan)
Certainly the biggest and most surprising news of the week was Ubuntu's announcement that they are abandoning Upstart for SystemD. Although I don't have any strongly held opinions about which one is better, it probably is necessary to find some sort of standard because that will make life easier for developers. I realize that there are still a few holdouts - Slackware which is sticking with sysvinit, and Gentoo which offers OpenRC. But for the most part, the war is over, and SystemD won. I have yet to try it, but look forward to seeing if it can really boot up as fast as claimed.
Also, sorry to see that Red Flag bit the dust. Not that I used it, but I was hoping that China would find a way to ditch Microsoft - if they could do it, other nations might be more inspired to do the same. Sadly, there are precious few countries in the world where Linux on the desktop is even well-known by the public, let alone dominant. Sad.
3 • PCBSD 10 (by Michael F. on 2014-02-17 13:19:10 GMT from Germany)
Generally I'm happy with the new release, but
- there should be some fixes regarding the old problem, namely to install the bootloader correctly.
- Grub2 is working, but makes system startup very slow, and
- choosing to install the bsd bootloader ends up in an unbootable system.
4 • Tech Buyers Love To Be Dominated (by Joncr on 2014-02-17 13:28:26 GMT from United States)
On Red Hat: I think it is in the nature of technology that its markets will often be dominated by one ot two vendors who survive from among an initial, early, flowering of many vendors. We saw this a century ago in the automobile business. We've seen it in the aircraft industry. The market dominance of these vendors allows them to create de facto standards that only entrench their position. Smaller vendors and most consumers are happy to ignore the dominance so long as the de facto standards deliver profit and convenience. (The same phenomenon is seen in the dominance of businesses like Google and Facebook.)
Red Hat sells into the segment of the market that is probably least affected by the de facto standards created by Microsoft's dominance.
Ubuntu and systemd: Seemed certain to me Ubuntu would adopt it if Debian did. Why take on all the hassle and effort of adding systemd-to-upstart conversion to every release? *Users* should judge all this based on new capabilities it delivers to us, if any.
5 • Red Hat & Red Flag (by JSL on 2014-02-17 14:33:35 GMT from United States)
I do not think the Red Hat business model is bad or particularly difficult to execute. The problem with any business model is understanding its limits and strengths. Currently there are several different OS models used in the marketplace; OS bundled with vendor's equipment (Apple), standalone commercial OS (MS), OS as service (Red Hat), and OS as marketing tool (Google with Android/Chrome). Each model is vulnerable to different market forces such as people opting to not buy Apple products, deciding your OS is garbage (MS and Red Hat), OEM's refusing to install your OS (MS and Google).
As Joner noted, in mature markets there are relatively few dominant companies that as long as they deliver products the customer will at least tolerate they will do well. What should not be overlooked is if one the dominant companies ignores its customers often a relatively minor player will start to grow and replace it. MS missteps with W8 and XP upgrades provide an opportunity for someone take a significant share of the OS market place.
6 • PC-BSD 10 & slitaz-cooking.iso (by tester testing on 2014-02-17 15:53:05 GMT from United States)
PC-BSD resets my hwclock to localtime. Every linux distro keeps it in UTC. Slackware is polite enough to ask. Localtime is weird. There's system software to deal with that, but it doesn't work if you bypass it. Systems move, especially laptops. When that happens you should just change TZ. Resetting the hwclock is a PITA.
Slitaz-cooking.iso won't boot under qemu-I tried several options. Complains about no rootfs. Did they test it under qemu?
7 • PC-BSD (by Dave Postles on 2014-02-17 16:51:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hurray. It recognizes usb drives and puts an icon on the desktop to open them.
8 • android-x86 (by pfyearwood on 2014-02-17 17:40:50 GMT from United States)
I have tried Android-X86 several times in the past. The major complaint I had was solved with 4.4. You can now dual boot, at least I can with my Gateway LT40. So, now I have the choice of Android or Windows 8.1 Enterprise Eval. Next, I'll try it with a Linux/GNU distro. Will update this report later. To all those snowbound, It's almost March.
9 • Red Flag, Qomo, & Asianux + NixOS (by :wq on 2014-02-17 19:17:27 GMT from United States)
I noticed that Qomo's website was down last week. While I haven't really followed it, on the most recent occasion I was able to access Qomo's forum, I saw some people accusing Red Flag of abandoning Qomo. I think they felt Red Flag was no longer interested in Qomo; I guess the truth turns out to be that Red Flag was floundering. Asianux was already in maintenance mode prior to this announcement, IMO. Beyond Red Flag Software Co, Ltd (which wasn't basing its recent products on Asianux anyway), Miracle Linux Corporation (still majority owned by Oracle?), Hancom, Inc, VietSoftware, Inc (whose website is currently down, though their Asianux specific-site, www.asianux.vn, is still up), and Enterprise Technology (Pvt) Ltd are/were all invested in Asianux to some degree. Of these, Miracle Linux seems to be the most interested in continuing to beat the Asianux drum. That being said, Asianux's website (www.asianux.com) has gone from being accessible, to inaccessible, and back to being accessible over the last year. If curiosity compels you to download Asianux, you're better off getting it from Hancom (http://tsn.hancom.com/index.php?m=downiso&a=list), as downloading (anything other than source) from Asianux's servers requires authentication, and Miracle Linux requires you to register in order to download an evaluation version from their website. Also, access to Asianux binary updates requires a service contract.
The best distro originating out of China is (IMO) Linux Deepin. Red Flag and Qomo are no big losses (again, IMO), and Red Flag inWise was an update attempt too little, too late.
I'm glad to see NixOS moved from the waiting list to the database. How about a review (if nothing more pressing is on the docket)?
10 • clarification, PHR envy, TechCrunch article (by :wq on 2014-02-18 00:51:42 GMT from United States)
RE: 9 "Access" was a poor word choice on my part. Without a support contract, you can still download Asianux updates from https://tsn.miraclelinux.com/tsn_local/index.php?m=errata&a=published, but that can make for a PITA.
Both Ubuntu Kylin and Linux Deepin are engaged in what I feel is a slightly disingenuous act in how they've worded their DistroWatch link descriptions. On Ubuntu Kylin's download page it reads, "Click here to check Ubuntu Kylin's ranking in DistroWatch", which links to Ubuntu Kylin's page at DistroWatch. On Linux Deepin's homepage it reads, "Click here to view our popularity", which links to Linux Deepin's page at DistroWatch. They should really read, 'Click here to increase Ubuntu Kylin's PHR at DistroWatch' and 'Click here to raise our [Linux Deepin's] PHR at Distrowatch', respectively, rather using language like "check" and "view" that belies their intent. This appears to be a recent development for both (this month?); maybe it's an indication of jockeying between them. Regardless, I wish they would amend their hyperlink text to something more general like 'See our entry at DistroWatch', and leave "ranking" and "popularity" out of it. But perhaps I'm being too suspicious.
RE: "Why There Will Never Be Another RedHat: The Economics Of Open Source"
Levine says "...the [Red Hat] business model simply does not enable adequate funding of ongoing investments. The consequence of the model is minimal product differentiation resulting in limited pricing power and corresponding lack of revenue. As shown below, the open source support model generates a fraction of the revenue of other licensing models. For that reason it’s nearly impossible to properly invest in product development, support, or sales the way that companies like Microsoft or Oracle or Amazon can."
I find this interesting, because among Linux-related companies, I think Red Hat unequivocally makes a mark in terms of contribution of developer hours and/or funding. Oracle has a much larger market cap than Red Hat, but Oracle's product development/support/sales is also spread out over more areas. A similar comparison could be made to Microsoft, etc. Subsequently, those companies also have greater overheads. Red Hat isn't doomed, it just needs to operate leaner and in less of an ADHD-way than companies with deeper pockets like Microsoft, which can slap cash bandages on inefficiency boo-boos.
Second, does the open-source community tolerate true differentiation well? I'm not talking about UX tweaks here so much as stark underlying technological differences. How many times have accusations like 'NIH syndrome', 'not the Unix way', etc been batted around? Whereas Windows users may represent a community of consumers (and to a lesser extent contributors), I think (GNU/)Linux users and developers as a whole tend to be viewed as 'the community', as opposed to the users and developers of a specific distribution's fiefdom, and walled gardens are often frowned upon.
Levine: "It’s not to say we won’t see another Red Hat, but the odds are long and the path is littered with the corpses of companies that have tried the support model."
Isn't that the truth.
11 • BSD (by James LaRue on 2014-02-18 01:10:28 GMT from United States)
I admit that I'm a dilettante, not an expert. But I wonder if one of you good people can give me a succinct summary of why (other than hobbyist reasons, which I *do* get) someone would choose BSD over Linux. The GNU/user space, I gather, is roughly the same. BSD has a reputation or security, but my Linux installations have been secure enough for a user (not a server deployment, developer or programmer). BSD has less hardware savvy. Is there ANY reason to prefer it to Linux?
12 • @11 (by :wq on 2014-02-18 02:15:01 GMT from United States)
If Linux is everything you want, there is no reason you should prefer a BSD.
"BSD for Linux Users" (http://www.over-yonder.net/~fullermd/rants/bsd4linux/) is dated and makes the point of stating that it isn't a "Why you should use BSD" pitch, yet I think it some of what it covers might encourage consideration.
Allan Jude's take: http://youtu.be/HiGHABTDp3U?t=1h9m15s
The less controversial bullets from §4.7 of "Explaining BSD" (http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/explaining-bsd/comparing-bsd-and-linux.html): "The BSD license may be more attractive than the GPL." (<- i.e. for some, not all, people/organizations) "BSD can execute most Linux binaries, while Linux can not execute BSD binaries. Many BSD implementations can also execute binaries from other UNIX like systems. As a result, BSD may present an easier migration route from other systems than Linux would."
13 • NixOS (by GNUday on 2014-02-18 02:39:58 GMT from Canada)
That's a very interesting looking project, out of the box thinking (no pun intended) and innovative. How old are the rpm and deb models now? At least over two decades each? It's about time somebody shook things up a bit.
14 • @11 (by JR on 2014-02-18 04:29:08 GMT from Brazil)
@11 - ZFS? and... it's BSD, it just lack hardware support and desktop focus, give it time....
@13 - I think it's not just about that. it's the whole packaging infrastructure...... (or instalation?)
15 • Android x86 screen resolution (by Pumpino on 2014-02-18 05:26:05 GMT from Australia)
Does anyone know how to change the screen resolution in Android x86? I added it to my grub2 entry in Arch and it boots fine, but no amount of specifying the desired screen resolution will work. I've tried adding "vga=866" and "vga=0x0366" to the kernel line, as well as these lines to the grub file. My resolution is 1366x768, but changing it to more standard resolutions fails to result in any change also. It's useless without a higher resolution.
16 • 15) screen resolution (by EarlyBird on 2014-02-18 06:23:16 GMT from Canada)
15) Screen resolution:
I don't know about doing this on Android, but here's how I solved the problem in Linux (on the off chance this may be applicable or helpful):
The problem starts on first booting. Newest kernels include "kernel mode setting". During bootup, monitor is detected, and kernel part of video driver (kms) switches to highest monitor resolution resulting in user myopia, a visit to the optometrist, burnned out eyeballs, Passing the nomodeset argument to the kernel via bootup manager (lilo, grub, or whatever) results in black or frozen screen (usually with Nvidia and Intel video chipsets).
Solution, leave vga=normal line in the boot manager, but append (or pass the argument to the kernel) by adding the following:
so if you want 1024 by 768, the line would be:
and of course leave the vga=normal line in the boot manager (as opposed to the previous line which was appended.
Since I work a lot at the command line, the LAST thing I want is for the monitor booting up at maximum resolution. Now text and curses based programs like Midnight Commander are usable again.
Still one problem. When booting into X, One is STILL at the maximum resolution. KDE and XFCE have "display" options in the settings where one can choose one's preferred resolution and refresh rate. Haven't figured out where the mode settings are stored, and how to transfer them into my prefererred window managers (Fluxbox, Openbox, etc.). When using them, the settings from KDE or XFCE are lost, and one is stuck again at maximum resolution.
Xorg -configure will provide a minimal working configuration, but that's it. It USED to provide options to pick your graphics card, and cycle through options like, zoom (virtual screen mode), resolution(s), and more. In "simplifying things, they have utterly destroyed it's utility. Have searched all over the place (including Xorg site), but no simple drop-in replacement for the old-style behaviour. Funny, I never see younger users bouncing back and forth between commandline and X anymore. Having virtual screens and being able to change resolutions at the flip of a keystroke (CTRL-ALT+ or -).
Anyway, assuming that Android is similar to Linux, hope this helps; and if anyone can shed light on fixing things under X, that would be appreciated.
Note, even if you don't use X and STAY at the commandline, this can be a problem. Example: Finnix 109 - a commandline ONLY rescue distro. During bootup, it immediately switches to the infernal kernel setting thingy and switches to maximum resolution. There IS no X in this distro! WHY would you invoke mode switching? And it is a "live distro", so I guess I'd have to edit as above and remaster the ISO, but as a default behaviour, it defies logic.
17 • @13 (by greg on 2014-02-18 08:40:15 GMT from Slovenia)
aside from nixOS another thing that might be intresting to look at is GoboLinux 015 once it gets out of alpha and beta. and see how this compared for example with PBI in PC BSD.
offtopic: dissapointed they do not have an official torrent. i believe torrent is a must for when one downloads such large files. especially OS where little error during download can have huge impact on OS stability or even basic functions. there are posts of people downloading it 3 or 4 times before getting a good image.
18 • (16) Sorting video (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-02-18 18:30:33 GMT from United States)
Isn't modesetting for GPU (hardware) acceleration, not (software) driver, or for passing parameters to X, or a display device?
(For geeks, it's fun when Life gets complicated.)
19 • security (by de on 2014-02-18 18:58:56 GMT from United States)
I have enjoyed coming to distrowatch for perhaps 8 years and most of what I have learned about linux came from first visiting this page. I felt much more secure running linux. Today I walked away from my machine for an hour or so to do other things and I passed by my machine, which was booted from a puppy linux mem stick. (I like it for backing up downloaded tutorial/educational files), sitting there with the wired connection to the internet, and the hard drive light blinking about like I would see, if I were downloading a large iso- lights blinking continously, mostly on. The browser was theoretically not open. I doubt I am important enough or do the type of things that would make the NSA interested in me. I have lost confidence in some other distributions recently, also. Is the hacking or NSA back-dooring getting that bad, or am I too paranoid?
20 • Maybe not. (by Garon on 2014-02-18 19:56:41 GMT from United States)
Chances are you have nothing to worry about with Puppy even tho you are running as root. Now if it was a large corporate distro, like perhaps Redhat, you could possibly have reason to worry. Redhat is just an example, but you see my point.
21 • @11 BSDs vs Linux (by Oko on 2014-02-18 21:27:46 GMT from United States)
I am an avid OpenBSD user but I use in my day job besides OpenBSD also FreeBSD and RedHat. This is an attempt to give you a brief summary of things where BSDs IMHO have an edge over enterprise Linux.
5. Superior network stack
6. Firewall (IPtables are joke comparing to PF or even NPF).
7. Hammer, ZFS and WAPBL are far superior than any existing Linux file system (Btrfs doesn't exist yet)
10. Many serious applications like Unbound, NSD or even IPv6 are firstly developed for BSDs.
11. DTrace on FreeBSD arguably developed for Solaris
13. Quality control in general (I can't emphasizes this enough)
14. Great little specialty distros like PFSense or FreeNAS
15. Business friendly license.
Advantages of Linux
1. Parallel computing
3. Scientific computing in general
4. Commercial support
5. Commercial applications like MATLAB or Oracle Java
6. Better IPMI support
8. Better support for crappy hardware
9. Bigger ecosystem
10. Much easier to find competent Linux admins than BSD admins
11. You have a legal entity which you can sue if things go wrong.
12. Enormous commercial resources and entities behind the Linux.
To quote Dennis Ritchie: "UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity". As we know GNU stands for GNU not Unix!
As a final note since this site is primarily desktop oriented I will say OS X (which is not BSD but Mach kernel+FreeBSD userland with Linux-isms+Aqua) in the hands of semi competent Unix guy (majority of MAC users do not belong to that group) beats the crap out of Linux or for that matter Windows desktop any day or night. For the record my desktops run OpenBSD.
PCBSD is a fine desktop operating system for people willing to read little bit and has many advantages and some disadvantages over Ubuntu for example. Any other vanilla BSDs are generally not usable on the desktop or otherwise without professional support by a general public.
22 • Red Flag Linux (by Toran on 2014-02-19 00:45:42 GMT from Belgium)
Just been reading here RFL is finished. It is known however that China is choosing for Ubuntu Kylin. So no need to worry...
23 • PCBSD 10 (by TransformHumanity on 2014-02-19 03:55:07 GMT from India)
@3 I chose pcbsd bootloader and "lost" my partitions; I have to hand write the grub entries to be able to boot the linuxes again.
The system was not rendered unbootable but boots into pcbsd directly ignoring the linux distros.
24 • Red Flag (by Meh on 2014-02-19 04:55:38 GMT from United States)
Obviously Red Flag needed to sell security updates to be profitable, like Red Hat.
25 • #23 (by zykoda on 2014-02-19 09:37:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
I had a similar "feature" some years ago which I resolved by making BSD the last (4 max) primary partition on a msdos partitioned device. BSD slices and msdos partitions can cause problems. Not sure how BSD would play in GPT, LVM, RAID... scenarios with GRUB, syslinux, GRUB2...etc. There looks enough material for a whole conference.
26 • @21 (by byku on 2014-02-19 09:54:08 GMT from Poland)
I'm user of Linux and BSD (especially i like DragonflyBSD, mostly because i'm former Amiga user and developer of Dragonfly is former developer of Amiga and he wants merge some flavour of Amiga with his BSD fork).
- we have: 15. Business friendly license (BSD).
comparing to (Linux):
- 4. Commercial support
- 5. Commercial applications like MATLAB or Oracle Java
- 12. Enormous commercial resources and entities behind the Linux.
What stop business to add those Linux points to BSD ecosystem?
27 • @26 (by Oko on 2014-02-19 18:39:42 GMT from United States)
That is a very difficult question to answer and am certainly not in position to offer any plausible explanation. I can speculate only. For example there is too much money and work thrown into the Linux that redoing some of that stuff just to be BSD based is economically unacceptable. Unfortunately business decisions are in many instances not technologically based. One of stellar examples is Google discussion to use Linux as oppose to NetBSD as a base for their Android OS. IIRC there are lengthy discussion amount NetBSD developers circa 2005 who were very confident that NetBSD fortunes would completely change once NetBSD was used by Google for Android OS. At that time it was clear from technological point of view that NetBSD was light years ahead of Linux for such kind applications.
28 • @26 (by :wq on 2014-02-19 21:23:52 GMT from United States)
BSD licenses encourage the inclusion of BSD-licensed code more so than the inclusion of BSD operating systems. That is to say that use of BSD-licensed code and support for BSD operating systems don't necessarily go hand in hand. A company may use BSD-licensed code for licensing reasons (but it's not all about the license, if it weren't quality code, it wouldn't be used regardless of the license), but not support BSDs (or even the company's code upstreams) for business reasons (shortsighted or not).
Why has it taken many commercial vendors years to support Linux (particularly the home user segment)? Vendors often don't want to support smaller market segments (unless they feel they can grow and leverage those). Also, some may perceive certain segments as hostile territory for proprietary and/or commercial software.
To some degree, the fact that FreeBSD and NetBSD can run a great number of Linux binaries may discourage some from directly targeting the BSDs. And companies generally don't want to support extra operating systems unless there is a perceived clear, significant benefit to them to do so. I'm sure some vendors who support Linux have probably decided that they have the open-source marketplace covered. Just as for some people Linux = Ubuntu, for others open-source OS = Linux.
Businesses often operate out of inertia. One of the key forces that affect this inertia is consumer demand. But how does one grow smaller market segments to a size where they garner widespread attention without vendor support, and how does one attract vendors to support smaller market segments when they don't yet have widespread attention or sizable user bases? Buzz and mind share really do have an effect, and those can trump the actual merits. Consumer demand, both reasoned and inane alike, ultimately carries the day.
29 • Linux vs BSD (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2014-02-20 07:24:53 GMT from Belgium)
I use Linux because I am a scientist. And, as @21 rightly pointed out, Linux is the OS of choice for
"3. Scientific computing in general"
Besides, there is also hardware support. FreeBSD does not support my printers, for instance. Of course, being a BSD user, I would have purchased supported printers. But mines are very good, conveniently priced and provide drivers as deb packages.
One additional consideration regarding licensing. All right, BSD licenses are more business friendly than GLP licenses. But why? What does this mean? It means that anyone is allowed to steal the code and give nothing in return. Apple picked up what they needed from BSD and closed the source as they pleased. A relatively similar thing happened to OpenSolaris.
BSD-kind of licences allow spurious interested to take advantage from the work of the community without giving anything in return. It is therefore good for them. Now, IMHO, the interest of the community are better protected with a GPL-kind of license, which forces you to give the modified code back to the community.
Now, if you prefer working for the big corporations for free, please, be my guest.
30 • Other Redhats re Commercial Viability (by GregNOIBN on 2014-02-20 19:37:35 GMT from United States)
Concerning the economic viability of Linux service(s) companies such as RedHat, Suse, Canonical, etc., there are additional factors (not expressed) that promote the longevity of the business model used by the aforementioned firms.
Those factors are:
> VLC (very low cost) contributors network . . . the kernel support project, the NGO non-profit organizations (Linux Foundation, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, etc.) and thousands of commercial entities that want to avoid vendor lock-in and promote maximum flexibility.
> Zero Cost contributors network. Ten's of thousands system developers, engineers, admins doing the work/project "on their own dime" because of interest, philosophy, expertise growth etc.
> Millions of "in-place" critical support hardware systems & devices that rely on the linux/unix - - how many Cray's and other top-end systems use MS or Apple based OS's?
Linux is now like a massive grouping of trains running on a huge track network - it has a momentum of it's own, is still growing, and will require more Suse's, Canonicals and RedHats. Saas, Paas, Naas (and so on) will be supplemental to internal networks and hardware environments imho.
31 • So, in a nutshell (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-02-20 19:59:33 GMT from United States)
BSD gives source away for free, and allows conversion to proprietary
GPL gives development away for free
proprietary gives full control to (whatever "owns") developers
and none of the above inherently generates a free (and robust) market.
32 • @27, 28, 29, 30, 31 (by byku on 2014-02-20 20:28:58 GMT from Poland)
Thx for opinions. Sometimes i see licence wars on forums or portals (especialy GPL versus BSD). I myself don't have problem with licences. If i use GPL code i release my work as GPL (the same for others licences).
Recently Linus have said that licences, CLAs and etc. are like "a relict of medieval times". Linux is now like snowball (or perpetuum mobile).
33 • BSD (by Dave Postles on 2014-02-20 20:39:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
Solid, secure, slow! I'm using PC-BSD right now on desktop and one laptop, basically because I want ZFS. It has the desktop which I want (XFCE with Openbox - as do the best Linux distros). It has the applications which I want (including R, gretl, QGIS and clamtk - as do most Linux distros). The recognition of USB drives is still a bit buggy. I have HP printers and HPLIP is in the packages in AppCafe (but no different from most Linux distros); it even detected automatically my old HP LaserJet 5M which is on an ethernet network (powerline). 10 seems to me to be a big improvement. I guess I use it for ZFS.
34 • @byku (RE: Amiga) (by :wq on 2014-02-21 06:39:30 GMT from United States)
Have you tried AROS, or a distribution thereof, if only for reasons of nostalgia?
35 • @34 (by byku on 2014-02-21 09:05:51 GMT from Poland)
I'm using: Linux, BSD, Haiku and AROS (i'm waiting for native port for RPi) because i like those OSes and yes there is some sentiment it this:
1) Tripos ("console part" of AmigaOS) have some similarites to UNIX (so to Linux and BSD too)
2) Dragonfly, Haiku, AROS had been influenced by AmigaOS (especialy AROS)
3) Some of my Amiga friends now are using/developing on BSD, Linux.
4) And Fred Fish (Fish Disks - Amiga FLOSS movement ;), BeOS, GNU Debuger)
36 • LTS Ponderable (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-02-22 04:30:49 GMT from United States)
Do most LTS updates drop support for more and more LTS hardware?
Have a great weekend!
37 • 18) re passing parameters (by EarlyBird on 2014-02-22 06:36:56 GMT from Canada)
18) re GPU acceleration: I am no expert in this. My answer to 15 was an explanation of how I resolved problem on MY system in hope it might help solve his problem.
IF I understand things correctly, when you pass a parameter via your bootloader, it is being passed to the kernel as a kernel argument, and not directly to X. In this case, Xorg is written in a more modular form than the older Xfree, and part of that structure is now directly integrated into the kernel; hence the need to pass the parameter as a kernel parameter.
After replying to 15, I went back to the Xorg site, and found some info on probing mode lines buried in the FAQ, but no clear cut way to restore old behaviour, or any automated linux ready tool.
Not being a "gamer" have not been paying much attention to the MIR/Wayland developments. Hope the video landscape will be settled soon.
If I am wrong in any of this, hopefully someone will provide corrections and an explanation.
38 • Another good reason to run Linux or *-BSD (by GNUday on 2014-02-22 14:28:53 GMT from Canada)
With all the government spying going on globally, who needs the built-in watermarks and back-doors of that corporate monopoly OS, just sayin'.
39 • Have a great weekend! (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-02-23 18:50:02 GMT from United States)
15 vga=ask or uvesa? maybe search android-x86.org
21 Imagine Mach_microkernel with FreeBSD-userland+Linux'isms+Aqua
35 Consider ZevenOS-Neptune, a BeOS-style Debian spin
38 Watermarks: users looking for someone to blame when it goes bad
... Back-doors: users who need remote support
... most would happily switch to a robust free-market platform.
Number of Comments: 39
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Issue 661 (2016-05-16): FreeBSD 10.3, OpenMandriva adopts Clang, Debian adds ZFS packages, PCLinuxOS drops 32-bit and comparing CentOS with RHEL|
|• Issue 660 (2016-05-09): Ubuntu MATE 16.04, Mint's xapps, FreeBSD Quarterly Report, Debian updates 32-bit support, addressing GPL violations|
|• Issue 659 (2016-05-02): Ubuntu 16.04, compiling custom kernels, Cinnamon 3.0, Sabayon launches ARM build, Devuan ships Beta release|
|• Issue 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
|• Issue 656 (2016-04-11): Qubes OS 3.1, Whonix offers bug bounties, Puppy's family tree, setting up disk partitions and running bash on Windows|
|• Issue 655 (2016-04-04): Parsix 8.5, Sabayon's Community repository, Red Hat offers free subscriptions, Ubuntu tablets, command line tips|
|• Issue 654 (2016-03-28): PCLinuxOS 2016.03, Using signatures to create a web of trust, Arch Linux rolls out Pacman update, GuixSD packages GNOME|
|• Issue 653 (2016-03-21): Antergos 2016.02.21, Debian prepares for election, a Unix-like OS written in Rust, watching Netflix on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 652 (2016-03-14): ReactOS 0.4.0, Debian swaps Iceweasel for Firefox, Fedora moving forward with Wayland, Verifying ISO files|
|• Issue 651 (2016-03-07): Korora 23, Linux Mint improves security, Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 3 computers, trying different file systems|
|• Issue 650 (2016-02-29): Haiku in 2016, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, 30 years of MINIX, Fedora plans Atomic Workstation|
|• Issue 649 (2016-02-22): Zorin OS 11, openSUSE launches new editions, Linux Mint website compromised, sandboxing applications using Firejail|
|• Issue 648 (2016-02-15): XStream Desktop 153, Raspbian unveils OpenGL feature, free hardware, Ikey Doherty talks desktop design|
|• Issue 647 (2016-02-08): Tails 2.0, KDE project launches Neon, Manjaro unveils ARM support, FreeBSD's quarterly report|
|• Issue 646 (2016-02-01): deepin 15, Mint plans X-Apps, FreeBSD to support boot environments, logging into the desktop as root|
|• Issue 645 (2016-01-25): Linux Mint 17.3 "Xfce", Chromixium changes its name, Ubuntu tablets coming soon, Linux vs BSD comparision|
|• Issue 644 (2016-01-18): Kwort 4.3, Sabayon tests ARM images, Slackware adopts PulseAudio, running Linux without GNU software|
|• Issue 643 (2016-01-11): Solus 1.0, Mint provide upgrade path to 17.3, Fedora developers work on stability, running the LXQt desktop|
|• Issue 642 (2016-01-04): paldo GNU/Linux, vetting distro repositories, Fedora plans to adopt GCC 6, Ian Murdock passes|
|• Issue 641 (2015-12-21): Arch Linux, Qubes OS to ship on Librem laptops, ALT offers start kit images, the spread of systemd and launchd|
|• Issue 640 (2015-12-14): Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11, removing meta-data from files, Ubuntu to remove on-line dash searches|
|• Issue 639 (2015-12-07): OpenBSD 5.8, openSUSE gathers Summer of Code proposals, running WINE on a live disc, Enlightenment adds Wayland support|
|• Issue 638 (2015-11-30): Qubes OS 3.0, KaOS with Plasma, NetBSD 7.0, Fedora seeks Wayland testers, scheduling tasks|
|• Issue 637 (2015-11-23): NixOS 15.09, Antergos introduces ZFS support, MINIX shares new features, copying an OS to a new computer|
|• Issue 636 (2015-11-16): openSUSE 42.1, Fedora uses Wayland by default, Debian replaces live CD project, Steam consoles launch|
|• Issue 635 (2015-11-09): Fedora 23, Cinnamon 2.8 released, a Fedora KDE packager quits, Red Hat signs deal with Microsoft|
|• Issue 634 (2015-11-02): Ubuntu 15.10, Chakra upgrades to Plasma 5, OpenMandriva plans new editions, MINIX plans conference|
|• Issue 633 (2015-10-26): GhostBSD 10.1, Bodhi Linux to get new settings panel, Fedora 23 delayed, creating live image of existing OS|
|• Issue 632 (2015-10-19): Linux Lite 2.6, 32-bit build of CentOS, OpenBSD turns 20, Bodhi Linux releases AppPack|
|• Issue 631 (2015-10-12): Parsix 8.0, Manjaro seeks new artwork, sending commands to multiple servers, Debian drops LSB support|
|• Issue 630 (2015-10-05): Android-x86 4.4-r3, Ubuntu's new installer, Raspbian defaults to GUI interface, cleaning out dot files|
|• Issue 629 (2015-09-28): Open source desktops and touch interfaces, locking down user accounts, OpenMandriva opens gaming documentation|
|• Issue 628 (2015-09-21): Neptune 4.4, changes to pfSense, Pinguy OS releases updated ISO images, accessing hard disk images|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Free Tech Guides
NEW! Java Design Patterns
NEW! Delve into the world of Java Design Patterns with this compact guide that introduces design patterns for the Java programming language.
FREE 183-page Guide