| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 551, 24 March 2014
Welcome to this year's 12th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Linux distributions are becoming more sophisticated, adopting more powerful tools and growing in market share. This expansion in capability and userbase results in more software companies moving to support Linux and more hardware companies providing device drivers. This week we focus on the expansion of Linux distributions, new markets, opportunities opening to Linux users and powerful technologies available to Linux administrators. In the News section this week we follow Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth's call for an end to proprietary firmware. We also discuss game retailer GOG's decision to support Linux, openSUSE's plans for their next major release and Debian's tentative plan to extend support for Debian Squeeze. In our Tips and Tricks column, Jesse Smith talks about the advantages of advanced file systems and gives a tutorial on using Logical Volume Management. In our feature this week we cover Linux Mint Debian Edition, a rolling release platform which mixes the power of Debian with the convenience of Linux Mint. Read on to find out how the Debian Edition of Mint compares to the Ubuntu-based flavours Mint offers. Plus we cover last week's distribution releases and look ahead to new developers to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403
The Linux Mint distribution has become one of the most popular desktop distributions available. The project has a few official editions and a handful of community editions, most of which are based on the Ubuntu operating system or a member of the Ubuntu family. Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a branch of the Mint project which combines Mint's popular and convenient utilities with Debian packages. LMDE uses Debian Testing as a base and adds a nice, graphical installer and a number of useful administrative tools. According to the Mint website, LMDE offers two benefits over Mint's Ubuntu-based editions. The first is that Debian's base requires fewer resources, making for a lighter, faster desktop system. The second benefit is LMDE is a rolling release distribution which means packages are constantly upgraded, removing the need to re-install or upgrade the operating system -- the operating system does not hit an end-of-life, it is continuously supported. LMDE does have some drawbacks though. The project's website mentions that LMDE is not as user friendly as the Ubuntu-based editions of Mint and LMDE users will not be able to make use of Ubuntu's PPA repositories or other Ubuntu-specific technologies.
The latest version of LMDE is available in two editions, MATE and Cinnamon. Both editions are available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. I opted to try the MATE edition and found the provided ISO file was 1.3GB in size. Booting from the installation media brings us to the MATE desktop. The user interface is arranged in the traditional style with an application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. Icons sit on the desktop, providing access to the file system and system installer. The application menu uses a custom layout that matches other Mint editions. The Mint menu is arranged in a way which combines file locations and popular applications (by default) while allowing us to click a button in order to browse all available desktop applications in a classic manner.
Jumping into the LMDE graphical installer we are asked to provide our preferred language and then select our time zone from a map of the world. We then confirm our keyboard's layout. Next we are asked to create a user account for ourselves and assign our computer a hostname. The following screen features disk partitioning. By default the Mint installer will suggest a partition layout for us and this layout should work for most people. Should we wish to customize our partitions clicking a button will launch the friendly GParted partition editor. Once GParted has been closed we can assign mount points to our partitions by either double-clicking on them or right-clicking a partition. The final page of the system installer asks if we would like to install the GRUB boot loader and, if so, where. The system installer then quickly copied its files to my local drive and prompted me to reboot the computer.
Booting into LMDE the first time brings us to a graphical login screen. The background is green and, on my systems, looked to be slowly falling, like an emerald waterfall. Logging in brings up a welcome screen which offers us links to the project's forums, documentation, known issues page, hardware database, tutorials and the donation page. Dismissing this welcome screen returns us to the MATE desktop. On the day I installed LMDE the project's main package repository went off-line. Following the steps provided on Mint's blog I switched to a fast package repository in my region before attempting to install or upgrade any software.
Linux Mint Debian 201403 -- Adjusting repositories and desktop settings
(full image size: 190kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Shortly after I switched software repositories a notification appeared in my system tray letting me know software updates were available. Clicking the notification icon brought up a graphical update manager which listed the possible updates. There were just six small packages waiting and these all appeared to download and install without any problems. Once they finished downloading I clicked on the update manager's Update Pack button to see if I was using the latest available group of packages. This caused the update manager to freeze and I had to force it to close. I tried a couple more times over the next few days to check for update packs and each time the update manager froze.
Soon into my experiment with LMDE I noticed my "?" key was not working properly. Instead of a forward slash or a question mark the key was producing an accented "e" on my screen. I had seen this before and went to change the keyboard layout in the MATE desktop settings. Attempting to open the keyboard layout app caused the configuration app's window to freeze as it was opening. I found the Appearance app, also a MATE configuration tool, would lock-up upon opening. Rebooting the operating system and approaching these configuration apps from Mint's Control Centre fixed the problem. I was then able to change my keyboard's layout from French to US. During the installation I'm quite sure I opted for the standard US keyboard to begin with, but I have run into similar layout issues with other distributions and I believe the problem stems from the installer using my location (time zone) in Canada to (incorrectly) guess my keyboard's layout.
Another problem I ran into while using LMDE was that a variety of actions would cause an endless stream of file manager windows to open, quickly filling the display. Sometimes this endless flow of file manager windows would appear while I was saving a file in an application, other times the windows would start appearing if I tried to open the Caja file manager. A few times the endless stream of windows began spawning when I tried to play a music file. Anything and, seemingly, nothing would cause the screen to fill up with file manager windows. Trying to close them didn't work and killing all the Caja processes did not work either, more windows would continue to appear. I also found logging out of my account and logging in again would just resume the spawning of new windows. The only (temporary) fix I found was to reboot the computer. Even wiping all of my user's configuration files did not fix the glitch. Eventually this regular stream of infinite windows appearing on my display caused me to put aside LMDE, but not before exploring the distribution a bit more.
Linux Mint Debian 201403 -- Various desktop applications
(full image size: 328kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
LMDE comes with a useful collection of desktop software. Poking through the application menu I found the Firefox web browser, the VLC multimedia player, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Pidgin messaging software. The distribution also ships with the Transmission bittorrent client, the XChat IRC client, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and LibreOffice. LMDE ships with a document viewer, the Totem video player, the Banshee audio player and the Brasero disc burning software. Further exploring the application menu we find a system monitor, a whole collection of desktop configuration applications for MATE, an archive manager, virtual calculator and text editor. The Network Manager software assists us in getting on-line. There are several administrative tools too, such as a services manager, a network configuration utility, a printer manager, a website blocker and a backup app. LMDE ships with the GNU Compiler Collection, Flash support, Java and popular multimedia codecs. Under the hood I found the Linux kernel, version 3.11.
Should we wish to download additional software LMDE provides two graphical package managers. The first is Synaptic, a classic package manager that allows us to browse lists of software and create batches of actions to perform. Synaptic generally works quickly, but has a technical style which may be intimidating to new users. The second package manager, mintInstall, provides a nice, friendly interface where we browse through categories of software. Clicking an application's icon brings up detailed information on the package along with a screen shot, a single-click Install button and reviews from other users. The mintInstall application allows us to queue software for installation or removal and then continue to browse for further software packages while our software downloads in the background. And there are many software packages from which to choose with over 40,000 items in the combined Debian and Mint repositories. Early on I experienced some trouble with LMDE's package managers. The first time I tried to install software I was informed there was a problem with the underlying dpkg package manager. Resolving this issue eventually required a trip to the command line where I found dpkg needed to be run with the "--configure -a" parameters before I could install, add or upgrade any software. Once dpkg had been sorted out, further package installations and removals went smoothly.
Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 -- Managing software packages with mintInstall
(full image size: 1.1MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I tried running LMDE in two environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a physical desktop machine. In both environments LMDE detected all of my hardware, automatically set up a network connection and set my display to its maximum resolution. Audio worked out of the box and the MATE desktop was very responsive. LMDE used more memory than most other distributions shipping with the MATE interface; I found LMDE required 290MB of RAM to login to the default desktop environment.
After a few days with LMDE I came to the conclusion that the distribution does live up to its description. The Mint website says LMDE may have some rough edges and be less convenient for users when compared against the Ubuntu-based editions of Mint. I agree. The LMDE experience is quite similar to Linux Mint's main edition on the surface, but there were various problems present which I do not recall experiencing when running Mint's other editions. Some of these problems were minor, like my keyboard mapping defaulting to French or the MATE desktop configuration apps locking up. Others were a bit more serious such as when I had to drop to a command line interface to fix an issue with the package manager. The file manager window spawning an endless supply of new windows was also most unwelcome. All in all, LMDE may provide the convenience of a rolling release distribution and the power of Mint's many utilities, but I also found it came with some nasty surprises which, eventually, made me abandon it as a desktop solution. Individually the bugs I encountered were not show stoppers, most of them were minor, but they added up. In short, I suspect most users will be better served using Mint's Ubuntu-based, long term support edition.
* * * * *
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 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Shuttleworth calls for an end to proprietary firmware, GOG to offer Linux support, openSUSE plans 13.2 release, Debian considers extended support for Squeeze and the election for Debian's new Project Leader begins
In a blog post last week Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu distribution, called for an end to proprietary firmware. Proprietary firmware, he argues, is likely to be buggy, insecure and may even be maliciously used against the computer's owner. "In ye olden days, a manufacturer would ship Windows, which could not be changed, and they wanted to innovate on the motherboard, so they used firmware to present a standard interface for things like power management to a platform that could not modified to accommodate their innovation. Today, that same manufacturer can innovate on the hardware and publish a patch for Linux to express that innovation -- and Linux is almost certainly the platform that matters." Shuttleworth goes on to say that the Linux kernel is the place to deliver software innovation and solutions and urges developers to avoid proprietary firmware, especially firmware containing executable code.
* * * * *
GOG is a popular website for purchasing DRM-free games, particularly older games. To date the GOG website has offered games for the Windows and OS X platforms only and has avoided calls asking them to offer products for Linux users. That is about to change. In an announcement GOG made it known they will soon be selling DRM-free games for Linux Mint and Ubuntu users. "We're initially going to be launching our Linux support on GOG.com with the full GOG.com treatment for Ubuntu and Mint. That means that right now we're hammering away at testing games on a variety of configurations, training up our teams on Linux-speak, and generally getting geared up for a big kick-off in the fall with at least 100 Linux games ready for you to play. This is, of course, going to include games that we sell which already have Linux clients, but we'll also be bringing Linux gamers a variety of classics that are, for the first time, officially supported and maintained by a storefront like ours."
* * * * *
In an announcement which may bring on feelings of déjà vu, the openSUSE project has reported, for the second time in two months, that their rsync server is off-line. The openSUSE website reports, "As the hardware is located in the data center of our sponsor IP Exchange, we apologize for the delay it will take to fix the problem: we just need a field worker at the location who has the appropriate permissions and skills. During the downtime (and maybe also a good tip afterward), please check ... for the closest mirror nearby your location that also offers rsync for you."
In happier news, the openSUSE project is planning their next release, version 13.2, which will probably arrive in November 2014. "Our normal 8-month release cycle would warrant a release in July, but the openSUSE team has proposed to change the schedule due to the work they are doing on our tooling and infrastructure. In the discussions on our mailing list it became clear a November release has much support." One of the primary features planned for openSUSE's 13.2 release is the inclusion of the advanced file system, Btrfs, as the distribution's default. The next version of openSUSE will likely also feature early KDE 5 support and Wayland display server packages.
* * * * *
Good news for fans of Debian Squeeze may follow a recent meeting of the Debian Security Team. One of the items the Debian Security Team discussed was the possibility of making Debian Squeeze a long term support release, extending the supported life span of Debian's 6.0 branch. "It needs to be pointed out that for this effort to be sustainable actual contributions by interested parties are required. Squeeze-LTS is not something that will magically fall from the sky. If you're dependent/interested in extended security support you should make an effort to contribute, either by contributing on your own or by paying a Debian developer/consultant to contribute for you. The security team itself is driving the effort, not doing it." The Debian Security Team is not yet certain if there are enough people interested in long term support for Squeeze and interested parties should contact the group.
In other Debian news, the venerable open source project kicked off the election race for Debian's next Project Leader. There are just two candidates in this year's election, current Project Leader Lucas Nussbaum and challenger Neil McGovern. The two candidates will be putting forward their positions and answering questions on the Debian-Vote mailing list from now until March 30th. Voting will commence on March 31st and run for two weeks. Both candidates have put forward ideas on ways to improve Debian. Some ideas that have been suggested include improving the project's security, porting Debian to more mobile devices and introducing support for personal package archives (PPA).
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Advanced File Systems and Logical Volume Management
On occasion I have written about advanced file systems and some of the benefits technologies such as Btrfs and ZFS provide. One form of advanced and flexible storage technology I tend to skip over is Logical Volume Management (LVM), which is commonly used in Linux distributions. What is LVM, why do people use it and how does it work? These are questions I have received recently and I would like to tackle all of those questions here, together.
First, before we talk about the advantages of a technology like LVM, it is important to understand the limitations of standard file systems so we can appreciate what LVM improves. With traditional file systems we divide a hard disk into partitions. Each of these partitions is then assigned a mount point. This means we may have one partition for our root file system, another for our home directory and maybe a third for the /var directory. The one-to-one arrangement of one partition to one file system branch makes it fairly easy to visualize how standard file systems work. Where traditional file systems are limited is in their flexibility. Imagine we have a 100GB hard drive and we divide it into three parts, assigning 10GB for our root partition, 10GB for /var and the remaining 80GB is used for our /home file system. That seems fine for now, but what if we find out later that 10GB is not big enough for our /var file system? We could shrink our /home partition (if it is not full) and expand /var, but that requires taking our machine off-line. We could buy a new hard disk and make a /var partition there and then erase the existing /var, but again that requires taking the system off-line and resizing operations are awkward and time consuming. Basically, the big problems with traditional file systems are they are not fluid, resizing them is awkward and they have a strict one-to-one relationship with the underlying partitions. To get around these limitations we can use LVM.
The hardest part about learning to use LVM is the jargon involved. With LVM there are three terms which get thrown around a lot and it is important to understand them. The first term is physical volume. A physical volume is another way of saying a hard drive or a partition. The second term is volume group. A volume group is simply a collection of physical volumes. Let's say we have three hard drives (A, B and C), if we link drives A and B together we can consider them a volume group. Another hard drive, such a C, could be made into a separate volume group consisting of a single physical volume. The third term is logical volume. A logical volume is basically a file system which exists inside a volume group. If this is difficult to visualize I find it helps to think about cookies.
Traditional file systems are like baking cookies. We scoop out some raw dough onto a pan. Each cookie is physically separate from all other cookies. Once we put the pan in the oven the cookies harden and come out of the oven as fixed-sized individual snacks. A cookie and a traditional file system are both of a fixed size, separate from all other cookies or partitions. They cannot be merged once made and resizing them is difficult. If you make eight cookies and ten friends come to visit you cannot simply make each cookie smaller, freeing up dough for the extra two guests. Likewise, if six people arrive you cannot dynamically erase two cookies and make the remaining six cookies bigger to satisfy your guests. Now, let's re-imagine cookie baking with LVM. With LVM what we do is take all of the cookie dough and spread it onto the pan as one big block. We put the block of dough in the oven and, when it comes out, we have a solid sheet, a giant cookie that we can then carve into as many pieces of any size we wish. It doesn't matter how many people show up now, because we can dynamically carve the block of cookie so each person gets a fair share. LVM lets us group all of our storage devices (cookie dough) into one big block so that we can carve up the block into separate, dynamic file systems.
By now you are probably enlightened (or hungry) and ready for an example. For the purposes of this tutorial I am going to say I have two hard drives (sda and sdb). I will also assume we have our distribution's LVM packages installed. First I am going to create a LVM-compatible partition on sda. This partition will be called sda1. To do this I launch cfdisk or another partition manager and create a partition which takes up the entire drive. I set the partition type to be Linux-LVM, which is numerically identified by the code 8E.
Our next step is to mark our device, sda1, as being a physical volume which can be used by LVM.
Now we have a physical volume and we want to use it to create a volume group. We can create a volume group called datapool using the following command:
vgcreate datapool /dev/sda1
Now that we have a volume group consisting of one partition, sda1, we can divide the group into separate file systems or logical volumes. Here we create a logical volume called myhome and make it 50GB in size.
lvcreate -n myhome -L 50g datapool
Now we have a virtual partition, or logical volume, called myhome. The next thing we need to do is format it with a file system. In this example we use the ext3 file system to format myhome. Remember, the logical volume myhome exists within the volume group datapool.
Finally, we get to mount the logical volume and start making use of it. Here we create a new mount point, called Data, and attach our new logical volume to the Data directory.
Were we to run the df command right now we should see a 50GB file system mounted under the Data directory. This is great, but earlier we talked about resizing and how dynamic LVM can be. What if we want to make the logical volume myhome larger? We can do that by extending the logical volume and then resizing its file system. Here we grow the myhome volume by 100GB.
mount /dev/datapool/myhome Data
lvextend -L +100g datapool/myhome
We do not even need to take the file system off-line or reboot or anything of that nature. Simply running these commands expands the logical volume and the file system on it. We now have a 150GB storage pool under the Data directory.
At the moment we just have one device, sda1, in our volume group. What if we run out of space and want to add a new hard drive to our storage pool? In that case the steps are similar to creating the volume group in the first place. We create a partition on our second disk, sdb, and make it of type Linux-LVM. We then mark the new device as a physical volume.
Next we add the new device to our volume group.
vgextend datapool /dev/sdb1
This gives us a whole new device in our volume group which we can then assign to a logical volume. We can either create a new logical volume and assign it its own mount point or we could add the new storage to our existing myhome logical volume using the lvextend command. If at any point we would like to see a list of physical volumes, volume groups or our logical volumes we can run special list commands to display the existing groups and their sizes. The commands pvs, vgs, and lvs list the existing physical volumes, volume groups and logical volumes, respectively.
A word of warning about using LVM: It is a powerful and flexible technology which can be very useful in situations where data storage requires change. This makes LVM especially useful on servers where data can grow quickly and, sometimes, in unpredictable ways. However, there is a potential problem with using LVM and that is if one physical storage device fails we can lose all of the data stored in the volume group. For instance, if I have drives A, B and C in a volume group and drive C fails, I may have just lost all of my data stored in the entire volume group. For this reason it is very important to make regular backups of data stored on a volume group as files may be stretched across any or all devices inside the group.
|Released Last Week
SparkyLinux 3.3 "MATE", "Xfce", "Base"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.3 "MATE", "Xfce", and the newly introduced "Base" (Openbox) editions, a set of Debian-based distributions featuring various lightweight desktop user interfaces: "SparkyLinux 3.3 'Annagerman' MATE, Xfce, and Base is out. New ISO images of SparkyLinux provide updates and some improvements. All packages upgraded from Debian testing repositories as of 2014/03/16. This is the end of Sparky Ultra and CLI Editions. Instead of them, there is a new 'Base' Edition which is a combination of Ultra and CLI. Sparky Base Edition is targeted to people who want to build their own desktop on the top of Debian testing base. Compared to the CLI Edition, Sparky 'Base' works in graphical mode so it will be much easier to install and configure additional applications than before. Sparky Base is very light and its size is about 600 MB. The 'new' installer is recommended for a hard drive installation." Check the release announcement for further details.
José Antonio Calvo has announced the release of Zentyal 3.4, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution for small and medium businesses: "Zentyal development team is proud to announce the release of Zentyal 3.4, a new Zentyal Server Community Edition. Zentyal Server is the open source alternative to Windows Small Business Server, including native replacements to Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server. Among all the changes Zentyal 3.4 introduces, we would like to put the focus on: High Availability for Unified Threat Management (UTM) and Gateway; Outlook Anywhere support; New restyled Zentyal webmail UI; Out of Office support for OpenChange. Core Changes: New base distribution: Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy; Removal of Apache instance for Zentyal; Administration Improved system of bug reports; Improved management of exceptions...." Read the official announcement for more details such as upgrading instructions and the lengthy changelog.
Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) 0.23, a security upgrade of the Debian-based distribution and live CD pre-configured for anonymous web browsing, has been released: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 0.23, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible: this release fixes numerous security issues. Security fixes: Upgrade the web browser to 24.4.0esr-0+tails1~bpo60+1 (Firefox 24.4.0esr + Iceweasel patches + Torbrowser patches). Major new features: Spoof the network interfaces' MAC address by default - It can be disabled in Tails Greeter; Rework the way to configure how Tor connects to the network by using bridges, proxies and restrictive firewalls - This option can be set from Tails Greeter, and replaces the old experimental 'bridge mode' feature...." Read the full release announcement with links to changelog, known issues, and calendar/roadmap.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 24.0, a new stable version of the Debian-based distribution designed primarily for web kiosks with Firefox as the only user application: "It has been 3 months since the Webconverger 23 release which has been a fine stable release. Now it's time to upgrade for Live users for security reasons and a couple of new features mainly driven by Firefox. Detailed changes between 23.0 and 24.0: Firefox 28; MP4 video playing support, so you can use an MP4 video now to attract patrons to your service when idle; Flash security updates, though do try HTML video instead, so we can deprecate Flash; Linux kernel 3.12, a longterm stable kernel; New filter= API which complements our new (yet to be launched) filter.webconverger.com service for fine grained blacklisting (think OpenDNS, but cheaper). For install users of 23.0, the upgrade delta is about 178M, when automatically upgrading...." Read the full release announcement.
Euan Thoms has announced the release of Kwheezy 1.5, which is a Debian-based distribution with a pre-configured KDE desktop, designed for general-purpose desktop computing: "Version 1.5 is now available from the download page. This release improves the installer, ships Debian updates, changes and adds some new software. Changes in version 1.5: Improved installer - add boot flag to root partition, try to fix progress bar not updating; New App 'Kwheezy Connector' will easily setup mounted WebDAV and SFTP connections; Updated to Debian 7.4; Default font changed to Deja Vu Sans; Google Earth updated to version 7...." Here is the brief release announcement with upgrade notes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- LaciOS. The LaciOS project is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian's Testing repositories. The distribution strives to be an easy to use desktop operating system.
- CruxEX. CruxEX is a CRUX-based distribution which ships with the LXDE graphical user interface.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 31 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)
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)
|• 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Free Tech Guides
NEW! Cloud Management and Security
FREE FOR LIMITED TIME! Written by an expert with over 15 years’ experience in the field, this FREE 239-page eBook establishes the foundations of Cloud computing, building an in-depth and diverse understanding of the technologies behind it.
|Free Tech Guides
NEW! Cloud Management and Security
FREE FOR LIMITED TIME! Written by an expert with over 15 years’ experience in the field, this FREE 239-page eBook establishes the foundations of Cloud computing, building an in-depth and diverse understanding of the technologies behind it.