| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 547, 24 February 2014
Welcome to this year's 8th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Linux distributions are flexible and modular in nature, allowing them to squeeze into all sorts of interesting niches. Some distributions package as much software as possible, others remain lean, some focus on the desktop market while others operate best in the server room. This week we take a look at projects working in a variety of markets. We start off with Chakra, a distribution which brings cutting-edge software and fast performance to desktop systems. Then we turn our eyes to the Ubuntu community where Canonical is making progress in their march to bring Ubuntu to mobile devices. We also discuss how Canonical is handling user privacy and confusion around the company's licensing policies. Plus, we share updates on the OpenBSD project's fund-raising efforts. In our Questions and Answers column this week we cover a few simple ways to protect servers against brute-force password guessing attacks. We are happy to bring you news of distribution releases from the past week, plus we look forward to fun new developments to come. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com January 2014 donation is the QupZilla web browser project. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02
Chakra GNU/Linux is a Linux distribution I have enjoyed watching grow and develop over the years. Chakra rose from a Arch Linux foundation and took on two interesting characteristics. The first is that Chakra maintains a semi-rolling release style of package management. Basically the foundation of the distribution stays relatively static (and hopefully stable) while the end user applications roll forward, maintaining pace with the latest upstream versions. The second characteristic, and what makes Chakra stand out in my mind, is that the distribution tries to maintain a pure KDE/Qt environment. There are no GNOME/GTK+ packages in Chakra or even in the project's default software repositories. It is possible to add GTK-based software using an add-on repository and I will talk a bit about that later.
The latest release of Chakra GNU/Linux, version 2014.02, does not advertise many big changes, mostly the release announcement points to updated versions of software. Chakra ships with KDE 4.12 and version 3.12 of the Linux kernel. Small adjustments have been made to the project's system installer and initial configuration wizard, but we will get to those shortly. This release of Chakra is available as a single edition and I found only a 64-bit x86 build on the project's download page. The ISO I downloaded was approximately 1.8 GB in size.
Booting from Chakra's ISO brings up a boot menu offering a few choices. We can start a live desktop session (the default option), we can load the same live desktop session with non-free hardware drivers or we can launch a hardware detection utility. The hardware detection software brings up a simple menu system by which we can navigate information about our computer's hardware. Individual pieces of hardware are grouped in categories to make it easier to discover exactly what our computer has hidden inside its case. Taking the boot menu's live desktop offering quickly brings us to the KDE desktop. The interface is presented in a classic manner with the application menu, task switcher and system tray all placed at the bottom of the display. On the desktop we find a welcome widget which features two tabs. One tab contains informative notes on using Chakra and the project's design. Along the bottom of this widget we see links to the project's website, system installer and documentation. The second tab of the welcome widget displays project news and announcements. Speaking of the Chakra website, the project has a really nice wiki and starting guide for newcomers. This guide contains detailed information on installing and running Chakra, including tips for working with the system installer and package manager.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02 - the Tribe system installer
(full image size: 427kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Chakra's system installer is called Tribe and it is a graphical application which bears a passing resemblance to Kubuntu's installer. Tribe starts off by showing us the project's release notes and we are then asked to confirm our keyboard's layout. The installer then shows us a globe we can rotate and zoom in on in order to select our location. The installer then attempts to use the given location to determine our preferred language, a setting we can override if need be. Up next is a screen which handles disk partitioning and I grew concerned when the disk partitioning screen simply showed me a blank page with three buttons at the bottom. One button appeared to be a refresh button and another was labeled "Format". The third button was labeled "Advanced" and I clicked this one.
The Advanced button brought up a message saying no devices could be found. Now I knew I had a disk attached to the system, the Chakra hardware detection tool had correctly identified it moments earlier. I closed the installer and attempted to launch the KDE Partition Manager which also told me it couldn't find any devices with which to work. I then dropped to a command line and used the text-based program cfdisk to create a new partition layout and new partitions for me. Then, when I went back into the Tribe application, I found it was able to correctly detect my newly created partitions and I was able to use the installer to assign mount points to my partitions. We then have the chance to create user accounts, multiple accounts if we would like. I decided to create two. From there the installer asked if I would like to copy all of the Chakra packages from my installation media onto the local hard drive or, alternatively, I could selectively download categories of software from online repositories. The latter option may be slower, but it lets us start with only the software we want, producing a leaner install.
There did not appear to be any way to selectively install packages available on the local media. I decided to install everything from the local media. We are then shown a confirmation screen where our selected settings are shown to us and the installer waits for permission to proceed. Files are then copied to our local hard drive and, when the process is finished, we can optionally choose to customize the system's initial ramdisk and install the GRUB2 boot loader. The boot loader installs by default, which is good, most people will want this. The initial ramdisk customization is less likely to be used, but it allows us to provide device or network support to the operating system early in the boot process should we need it. With those steps completed Chakra's installer declared it was done and I rebooted the computer.
The first time we boot into Chakra the operating system proceeds directly to the KDE desktop environment and loads a configuration wizard. This wizard walks us through several steps, most of them relating to the look and feel of our graphical user interface. For instance, we are asked which popular folders we want placed in our home directory with possible options including Documents, Video and Music. We can tell KDE to use a single click or double-click of the mouse to open files and folders and we can choose whether our mouse is set up to be left- or right-handed. We can choose our preferred application menu layout, our favourite background, whether or not the keyboard's meta key should open the application menu and how often to check for software updates. We also get into system-wide settings such as whether to run printing and anti-virus services. The wizard is nicely laid out and each configuration step comes with a brief explanation of what we are doing. After we get to the last step we are dropped at our newly configured KDE desktop.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02 - the Welcome widget and default desktop theme
(full image size: 1,555kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Previously I mentioned creating two user accounts during the install process and it surprised me a little to discover Chakra automatically logged me in as the first of these two users. In fact at every boot the first user was automatically logged in despite having a password on the account. A quick trip to the KDE System Settings panel corrected this and future boot-ups brought me to a graphical login screen. Other things I soon noticed were that KDE had some basic visual effects enabled by default and the interface was surprisingly fast. I do not think I have experienced a KDE 4 installation which was as responsive and smooth as the one which Chakra ships. Even with file indexing and visual effects enabled, even when running in a virtual machine, Chakra's implementation of KDE was very responsive. What it was not was light on memory, using approximately 420 MB of RAM when sitting idle at the desktop.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02 comes with a collection of software which is mostly associated with the KDE desktop. I am of the opinion that functionality and practicality have been sacrificed in some cases in the name of KDE/Qt purity. Going through the application menu we find the Rekonq web browser, the Konversation IRC client, the KGet download manager and the Calligra productivity suite. We find the Okular document viewer, the k3b disc burning software, the Dragon Player multimedia player and the Amarok music player. There is an Amazon music downloading client, a partition manager and the KGpg encryption and key management software. The KDE System Settings panel is present, giving us the ability to configure, in detail, the look and feel of the user interface.
NetworkManager and the KPPP dial-up networking software are included to help us get online. There are some other small utilities which help us manage user accounts, discover information about our hardware, edit text files and work with file archives. The GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us and Chakra comes with popular multimedia codecs. There is no Flash support by default, but it can be added from the project's software repositories. One sub-category of the application menu contains links which open our web browser to the Chakra website. These links bring us directly to documentation, forums or the bug tracker, which is convenient. In the background Chakra comes with the Linux kernel, version 3.12.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02 - the KDE System Settings panel
(full image size: 512kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
While playing around with Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02 I noticed a few minor issues. One was that the Marble desktop globe application would not load, the software immediately crashed when I attempted to open it. I found that Chakra supported playing audio files, including mp3s, right out of the box. However, when I tried to open any video files the Dragon Player media player would open, play the video for a second or two and then crash. To get around this problem I installed the VLC multimedia player from Chakra's repositories and found VLC was able to play all of my video files without any problem.
The subject of installing software brings us to Oktopi, Chakra's graphical package manager. Oktopi acts as a graphical front-end to the Pacman command-line package manager and has a layout which reminds me of Synaptic. We are shown a simple list of available packages in alphabetical order and icons next to each package let us know its status (installed, available or upgradeable). We can search for software by name or description and we can filter software based on its status. We can use the package manager to create batches of actions (install, remove or upgrade). While a batch of actions is being processed, the package manager locks up and a terminal window opens, showing us Pacman's progress. Optionally, Oktopi can check the Chakra website for project news. By default there are no GTK+-based applications available to us in the software repositories. We can get GTK+-based software by editing Pacman's configuration file and enabling the project's Extra repository. From then on, programs built with GTK+ will show up in the package manager.
While using Oktopi I found the package manager generally worked well. It was fast and easy to navigate and search results were returned almost instantly. I did run into two quirks though. The first was that I had to enter my password every time I wanted to perform an action. Really, this wasn't a problem, but it did slow down the process of installing new software and it would be nice if the application would remember my credentials. The other issue was that Oktopi (and Pacman) would sometimes report my system was more up to date than the project's repositories. I double-checked the version numbers of some local packages, notably the members of the Calligra suite, and confirmed my local software had a higher version number than the software offered in the repositories. This caused some warnings from the package manager, but otherwise didn't result in any problems.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.02 - package management using Oktopi
(full image size: 424kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Earlier I mentioned that the Chakra project is one I have enjoyed watching grow and mature. The developers are certainly trying something unusual with their semi-rolling, KDE-focused distribution with its custom installer. The Chakra project ships cutting-edge software and has (for a Linux distribution) a tight focus, providing just a single, 64-bit edition of their operating system. Throughout my time with Chakra (both this week and in trials past) I found myself regularly flipping back and forth between thinking, "This is great!" and "Oh, wait, why is it doing that?" The Tribe system installer features a good example of this duality when it first shows us a beautiful globe set against a night sky where we can rotate and zoom to select our location and, then, a minute later, the partition manager couldn't find my hard drive.
The graphical package manager shipping with this release has a nice, simple approach and reminds me of the reliable Synaptic package manager. I was impressed with the package manager's speed and simplicity. But then I ran into a problem which confused me and, seemingly, the package manager too when it reported my copy of Chakra was more up to date than the project's software repositories. In a similar vein it was nice to have multimedia support out of the box, but I was frustrated when multiple video formats would cause the default media player to crash. As another example, I think it is great the system installer supports creating multiple users, but then why does Chakra automatically login one user account when we create multiple users? That seems like a potential security problem.
The short version of all this is Chakra has some nice features and it does some interesting things. I love how amazingly fast the project's build of KDE is on my hardware and I like that the project does some things a bit differently. I like that the team has put together an increasingly comprehensive collection of documentation. I especially appreciate that GTK-based software is no longer shipped in stand-alone bundles, but rather in an add-on repository, allowing the user to add software using a single package manager, rather than switching between different software managers. In short, I feel Chakra has made positive progress over the past year. The distribution still has rough edges, plenty of small, unpleasant surprises for the unwary user, but overall it is improving. The project is well worth a look if you are a fan of either Arch Linux or the KDE desktop.
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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)
Ubuntu improves privacy settings and announces mobile partners, Kubuntu clears up licensing concerns, OpenBSD raises funds
When Ubuntu introduced online search lenses in the Unity dash it caused a good deal of negative reactions from people who were worried about their privacy. While searches and results were passed through a server run by Canonical, the dash would load images from third-party product providers (such as Amazon) directly over an insecure connection. Many users complained about a local utility searching online and leaking personal information and both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation requested Canonical change the way Ubuntu's dash worked. Well, some change has come to the way the dash searches for content. The Open Sourcerer has a brief history of how the dash worked previously, people's concerns and how it works now. While not all concerns have been addressed -- the online search results are still enabled by default -- steps have been taken to secure search results and isolate the user's queries from third-party organizations. The end result, the blog states, is this: "Now when you search for socks, Amazon gets CDN requests for images from products.ubuntu.com. Your computer gets the images from products.ubuntu.com (over HTTPS rather than HTTP), it is now basically a reverse proxy for Amazon images, so that Amazon is now more convinced than ever that Canonical's server has got cold toes. As it happens, there is nothing wrong with your toes and you actually wanted to configure a socks proxy all along, and the shopping thing was a pointless overhead because when you want new socks the dash isn't where you dash to."
In other Ubuntu-related news, Canonical announced last week that they have formed partnerships with mobile device makers to ship Ubuntu-powered smart phones. "Canonical is working with these partners to ship the first Ubuntu devices on the latest hardware in 2014. Ubuntu has also received significant support from the world's biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year." At the moment, Canonical has two mobile partners, bq (in Spain) and Meizu (in China).
Finally, a note on Ubuntu's interface in the distribution's upcoming 14.04 release. Ubuntu's default desktop environment, Unity, will make it possible for users to select whether they have one global menu or application menus integrated into the program's window. Global menus simplify the interface somewhat and require less screen space, but can be troublesome for people with larger (or multiple) displays. Michael Deguzis writes, "Many users have long missed these traditional menus, some longing for their return. With criticism of Unity still heard throughout the halls of the Linux `town hall' it is promising to see some choice put back into the hands of the users."
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Back in December we discussed Linux Mint's relationship with Canonical and the on-going talks the two organizations were having with regards to licensing. At the time it was reported that Canonical wanted the Linux Mint project to agree to a license, one which might have required the Mint project to pay for the privilege of using Ubuntu binary packages. Since then Canonical has released a rather vague statement about the company's intellectual property rights. This was followed by a Ubuntu Community Council statement which, on the whole, failed to clear up the relationship between Ubuntu and its family of derivative distributions. The vague wording in both posts has lead to speculation as to Canonical's position on Ubuntu packages and licensing. Last week Jonathan Riddell decided to clear up matters and posted a blog with regards to Ubuntu, Kubuntu and licensing. He wrote: "So let me say clearly, no license is needed to make a derivative distribution of Kubuntu. All you need to do is remove obvious uses of the Kubuntu trademark. Any suggestion that somehow compiling the packages causes Canonical to own extra copyrights is nonsense. Any suggestion that there are unspecified trademarks that need a license is untrue."
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Back in January we reported the OpenBSD project was facing financial difficulty. The security-focused project was looking for donations to help keep the project (especially the OpenBSD build servers) running. It looks as though the open-source community and various companies that value OpenBSD have come to the project's aid. The OpenBSD Foundation reports they have received US$146,000 in donations so far in 2014, quite an increase over the approximately US$63,000 in revenue received in 2013. This is good news not only for fans of OpenBSD, but also for the many people who use tools which grew out of the OpenBSD project, such as the OpenSSH secure shell service.
On a more technical note, here is an update on the integration of GNOME 3 into OpenBSD by Antoine Jacoutot: "There is some more and more awareness in the GNOME community that at least two major BSDs (OpenBSD and FreeBSD) have people actively working to make GNOME a viable option for them and I think it can benefit all sides. As far as my little person is concerned, I am currently working on setting up a buildbot infrastructure with JHBuild to be able to run continuous builds of the GNOME HEAD repository (which the FreeBSD folks are doing already). "JHBuild is a tool used to build the whole GNOME desktop from the version control system". That will help us catch portability issues very early. It will also help OpenBSD fix some of its tools (I am looking at you libtool!). We spent the last couple of years pushing a maximum number of local patches upstream and as of today, most of then got accepted. But there is obviously still work to do. The upcoming most challenging task will certainly be to develop compatible APIs provided by systemd and that GNOME uses (timedated, localed, hostnamed and logind). Some parts are trivial, some others not as much."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Preventing unwanted remote logins
Locking-the-door asks: I would like to know how to limit the number of times a remote attacker can attempt to login to my Linux server before I lock out the user account for a given period of time. Why isn't blocking excessive login attempts a standard security feature for Linux distributions?
DistroWatch answers: There are a few ways to go about blocking attackers from logging in remotely when they are performing trial-and-error attempts at guessing your password. Perhaps the easiest way to stop these sorts of password guessing attacks is to use a service called DenyHosts. The DenyHosts service runs quietly in the background on your computer and detects when someone is repeatedly trying to login and failing due to an incorrect password. After a set number of login attempts (I believe the default is ten) the DenyHosts service temporarily blocks the attacker's IP address. This works against most drive-by attempts to access your computer.
Another tool you can use which will slow down attackers is to limit the number of times someone can connect to your secure shell service in a given amount of time. The filtering is done at the firewall level and typically limits the number of attempts a person can make to connect to your machine in a 30 second window. Doing this on distributions which package the ufw firewall is especially easy as it just requires typing two short lines:
ufw limit 22/tcp
Both of the above options are a little nicer than actually locking the user account because they block attack attempts without overly inconveniencing the legitimate user who may wish to login. Locking the user account itself means the real user cannot utilize their credentials anymore. Still, if you do wish to specifically ban an account after a certain number of login attempts you can do so using FailLog. Setting up this utility will temporarily ban a user if they fail to login properly.
As to why these security measures are not in place by default, there are a couple of reasons. One is that legitimate users are not perfect. We forget passwords, we fail to notice the caps lock is on, we change our password before the weekend and it slips our mind. I previously worked at a help desk and have fielded hundreds of calls from people who fumbled typing in their password enough times that they got locked out. Locked accounts are a hassle for users and it wastes the time of end-users and administrators alike. Another reason is a clever attacker may decide to effectively lock you out of your own server using what is called a denial of service attack. The attacker may not be able to guess your password, but they can prevent you from logging in if they simply keep guessing your password over and over. This can effectively lock administrators and users out of a server if the administrator is not careful about how they set up the blocking mechanism. Remember, not all attackers want to gain access to your server, some of them just want to inconvenience you and may use your own defenses to that end.
|Released Last Week
Bridge Linux 2014.02
Dalton Miller has announced the release of Bridge Linux 2014.02, an Arch-based Linux distribution with a choice of GNOME, KDE, LXDE and Xfce desktop environments: "Announcing Bridge Linux 2014.02. Not many changes, a few bug fixes and updates. Note: editing the GRUB configuration file may be required due to a bug where GRUB finds the wrong disk UUID. To fix this, run 'sudo blkid' and edit the new GRUB configuration file with the correct UUID from your partition. Update overview: bug fixes with locale switching in the installer; updates to the post-install script; fixed autologin issue on tty." Here is the brief release announcement. This release of Bridge Linux is built with GCC 4.8.2 on top of Linux kernel 3.12.9 and it includes GNOME 3.10, KDE 4.12.2, X.Org Server 1.15.0, Chromium 32.0.1700.107 and LibreOffice 4.1.4.
Univention Corporate Server 3.2-1
Univention has released an updated build of Univention Corporate Server 3.2, a Debian-based server distribution with a web-based management system for central administration of servers: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 3.2-1, the first point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS). It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 3.2-0 and comprises the following highlights: the Linux kernel package was updated to 3.10.26, besides many bug fixes this also improves hardware support; the Univention App Center was extended - beside several bug fixes, new interfaces are provided which improve the integration of third-party applications; Univention AD Takeover - the UCS solution for the automatic migration of an Active Directory domain to UCS - was improved further, it now also support the migration of AD domains operated in languages other than English or German...." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
John Martinson has announced the release of 7.4.1, an updated build of the project's user-friendly, Debian-based distribution with tightly integrated VirtualBox virtualisation software (for running another operating system in an application window as a "guest"). What's new in this release? "Robolinux now supports the newest version of VirtualBox, 4.3.6, which has webcam sharing and many new improvements; the Windows virtual machine installers have been completely re-written to support VirtualBox 4.3.6; all Robolinux versions prior to 7.4.1 do not work with the newest Robolinux virtual machine installers and Stealth VM software tools; completely new Stealth VM software tools have been released and may be downloaded after making a very small donation; several new Menu options and launchers have been added; all current updates have been added...." See the distribution's download page on SourceForge for further information.
Network Security Toolkit 20-5663
Ron Henderson has announced the availability of a major new release of Network Security Toolkit (NST), a Fedora-based live DVD with an extensive collection of open-source network security tools: "We are pleased to announce the latest NST release: NST 20 SVN:5650. This release is based on Fedora 20 using Linux kernel 3.12.10. Significant effort has been devoted to bringing this release on par with Fedora 20. Starting with NST 20, the MATE desktop is now the preferred desktop. Here are some of the highlights for this release: added a new drag zoom feature to the 'NST Ntopng IPv4 Hosts' application; integration of the MATE desktop and the LightDM GTK+ desktop login screen greeter; added a new NST WUI page for the network utility script - getipaddr; added a new 'Network Interface Renaming' mode to the NST script - nstnetcfg that creates predictable network interface names which will survive each system reboot...." See the complete release announcement for a full list of changes and new features.
GParted Live 0.18.0-1
Curtis Gedak has announced the release of GParted Live 0.18.0-1, an updated version of the Debian-based live CD with utilities for disk management and data rescue tasks: "The GParted team is proud to announce a new stable release of GParted Live. This live image contains GParted 0.18.0 which fixes a resize/move problem introduced in 0.16.2 that might set partition size smaller than ext2/3/4, NTFS, and ReiserFS file systems in certain situations. Other items of note include: based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2014-02-18; includes GParted 0.18.0. This version of GParted includes: prevent crash when creating new partition on disk with loop label; fix default partition table that can not handle larger than 2 terrabyte disks; add BitLocker disk encryption detection." Here is the brief release announcement.
Matthias Klumpp announced the release of Tanglu 1.0. Tanglu is a new Linux distribution, based on Debian's "Testing" branch, which attempts to bring a modern and cutting-edge operating system to the desktop: "We are happy to announce the release of Tanglu 1.0 (Aequorea Victoria) today. It has been an exciting development period where lots of new infrastructure was built and set up, new concepts and ideas have been discussed and implemented, new designs were created, texts were translated and blog posts were written. Lots of work went into making the Tanglu archive rebuildable. During this period, a small but very talented team has been formed. We found issues which affected Debian as well and these were reported, fixed or pending and we generally worked well together with Debian. Exploring systemd in Tanglu already yielded some hints which will help Debian with its own transition." See the release announcement and read the detailed release notes for more information, known issues and instructions for upgrading from Debian.
Tanglu 1.0 - the default KDE desktop
(full image size: 283kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Manjaro Linux 0.8.9
Phil Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.9, a new version of the project's Arch Linux-based distribution offering a choice of KDE and Xfce desktops, as well as a separate edition featuring the lightweight Openbox window manager: "With this release we provide three unique graphical desktops, optimized for your needs. There will be our flagship Xfce edition everybody knows Manjaro for, an updated KDE edition featuring Turbulence, our new tool to customize your Manjaro installation, and a redesigned Openbox edition to fit the needs of our vibrant community. Not to mention our usual community editions. The Manjaro team has grown a lot for this release, and we’re expanding our roots even further." Read the detailed release announcement to find out about all the new features and to see screenshots of the three desktops.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
January 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: QupZilla|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the January 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is QupZilla, an open-source web browser. The project receives US$250.00 in cash.
QupZilla describes itself as "a lightweight multi-platform web browser written in Qt Framework and using its web rendering core QtWebKit." It also comes with a number of interesting features: "QupZilla is using native widgets style on major Linux Desktop Environments. It is also using icons from the active desktop icon theme. If you find native themes too boring or have some problems with it, you can always switch to other themes. QupZilla unifies bookmarks, history and rss reader in one well-arranged window. No more multiple windows, QupZilla uses just one! With the integrated RSS reader, you can stay up to date with your favourite sites. QupZilla can also import bookmarks from other browsers." Visit the project's website to find out more. DistroWatch reviewed the QupZilla web browser.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and Bitcoins are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$38,415 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250)
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New distributions added to waiting list
- TalkingArch. TalkingArch is an Arch Linux-based operating system modified to include speech and Braille output for blind and visually impaired users.
- Linux Webstartup. Linux Webstartup is a desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu which uses the LXDE desktop. The project's website is in Italian.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 3 March 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)
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
LibreELEC is "just enough OS" to run the Kodi media centre. LibreELEC is a Linux distribution built to run Kodi on current and popular hardware. The project is an evolution of the OpenELEC project. LibreELEC software will be familiar to OpenELEC users. The distribution runs on x86 desktop computers, Raspberry Pi devices and ODroid and WeTek computers.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Recovering deleted files|
|Tips and tricks: File encryption and cloud backup|
|Tips and tricks: Copying columns of text, organizing files, creating torrents|
|Tips and tricks: Extracting package lists from various distributions|
|Tips and tricks: All about package signing|
|Questions and answers: Sharing files on home network|
|Tips and tricks: Play nicely, drop secure shell sessions cleanly, check init's name|
|Questions and answers: File systems for USB flash drives|
|Tips and tricks: Find common words in text, find high memory processs, cd short-cuts, pushd & popd, record desktop|
|Questions and answers: The number and diversity of Linux distributions|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|