| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 556, 28 April 2014
Welcome to this year's 17th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! A lot has been happening in the open source community lately. A little over a week ago Canonical launched Ubuntu 14.04 and a deluge of community projects has been following in Ubuntu's footsteps. This week our feature is a review of Canonical's desktop distribution. Read on to find out how one of the most popular Linux distributions performed in our tests. This past month the technology community has been abuzz with talk about security and a vulnerability in the OpenSSL library. This week we discuss two projects which have been created to deal with bugs in OpenSSL and other critical open source projects. Red Hat announced a new product branch which will ship with the upcoming Enterprise Linux 7 and we share the details in our news section. Last week PC-BSD announced that its team is working on a new desktop environment which will natively support the FreeBSD-based operating system while the FreeBSD team released their quarterly report, detailing developments of the past three months. Also in this issue, read our exclusive interview with Wang Yong, the project leader at Deepin which is rapidly emerging as the most interesting Linux distribution and free software project in China, and join the discussion about alternative technologies for people looking for replacements to discontinued services, such as Ubuntu One. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the March 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is the GNU MediaGoblin project. We wish you all a great week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Ubuntu 14.04
On April 17 we saw the release of the latest version of Canonical's popular Ubuntu operating system. Along with the Ubuntu distribution itself (in its many forms and editions) there were several community editions released at the same time. These community spins draw from the same software repositories while offering different desktop environments or a focus on a specific function. This week I would like to share my first impressions of Ubuntu and, next week, I will be discussing the Xubuntu community distribution.
Looking over the release notes we see several new and interesting changes. The distribution now features improved ARM support and includes ARM multiplatform support where one kernel can be loaded on multiple ARM platforms. The default input/output scheduler has been changed from CFQ to Deadline and there is more fine-grained AppArmor support for people who need mandatory access controls. Improvements have been added to Linux containers. The distribution still ships with the Upstart init system, though a switch to systemd is planned for future releases. On the desktop, Unity search scopes can be filtered from within the dash and application menus can be made to appear inside application windows, rather than having them pinned to the top of the screen. This version of Ubuntu features several software upgrades, including LibreOffice 4.2 and version 3.13 of the Linux kernel. Ubuntu 14.04 is a long term support release and will feature five years of security updates and support.
Ubuntu 14.04 - the default Unity desktop and release notes
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Installation and first impressions
The latest version of Ubuntu is available in several editions, including Desktop and Server flavours and a few architectures are supported, including ARM, 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x86. I opted to download the 32-bit Desktop edition of the operating system. The ISO for this edition is 970 MB in size. Booting from the ISO brings up a graphical window where we are asked if we would like to try the distribution's live desktop environment from the disc or begin an installation. This screen also allows us to select our preferred language and open a link to Ubuntu's release notes.
I opted to jump straight into the graphical system installer. The first page of the installer asks if we would like to download security updates during the installation and whether we would also like to acquire third-party multimedia support. This third-party support will allow us to play Flash content and multimedia formats, such as mp3 audio files. The next page of the installer asks us how we would like to approach partitioning. We can erase our entire hard drive and install Ubuntu, we can set up LVM volumes, use available free space on the disk or choose to manually partition the drive. I tried both the automated installation and manual partitioning. Ubuntu's installer features very smooth and intuitive partitioning management. It also supports a wide variety of file systems, including ext2/3/4, Btrfs, JFS and XFS. I experimented with ext4 and Btrfs, both of which worked smoothly during my week with Ubuntu. Once we divide up the hard disk we are asked to confirm our time zone and our keyboard's layout. The last page of the installer asks us to create a user account and we are given the option of encrypting our personal directories.
Once the installation completes the computer reboots and brings us to a graphical login screen. From this screen we can sign in with our regular user account or we can login under a guest account. The guest account features no password and is wiped clean after each use. Ubuntu ships with Unity as its default desktop environment. Unity is arranged with the application menu (called the dash) in the upper-left corner of the screen. Quick-launch buttons and the icons for focusing windows are displayed down the left side of the screen. The menu bar for desktop applications and the desktop's notification centre are displayed along the top of the screen. Something which has bothered me about the last three releases of Ubuntu has been that the Unity desktop tended to be slow. On physical hardware with default hardware drivers the desktop would be uncomfortably sluggish, in a virtual machine Unity would be downright glacier. One of the first things I noticed about Unity when I installed Ubuntu 14.04 was that performance has greatly improved. When running in a VirtualBox environment I found Unity had fairly good performance. At times the dash could be sluggish while searches were being performed, but otherwise Unity was responsive. When running on physical hardware, even with the default open source drivers installed, Unity was quite snappy and the graphical environment remained responsive.
Ubuntu 14.04 - the Unity dash
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Software and package updates
Poking around the system I found that the Unity dash has undergone some changes. The dash still shows on-line search results by default, but this feature can be disabled in the settings panel. The dash is divided into several scopes. These scopes allow us to search for applications, music, videos and the content of social media accounts. What I like about the various scopes is it is possible to filter the results. For instance, in the application scope we can filter search results so we see just locally installed software or software available in the Ubuntu software repositories. We can also filter applications by category so we only see office or multimedia programs. The dash feels more responsive in this release than it has in the past, especially once on-line searches have been disabled.
Shortly after installing Ubuntu I launched the distribution's update manager. This compact application displays a summary of available package updates. On launch day a mere 21 MB of new packages were available. These updates downloaded and were applied to the system without any problems. Future updates likewise applied without any issues. Also on the topic of managing packages, Ubuntu comes with a graphical package manager called Software Centre. The Software Centre application allows us to browse categories of software in a pleasant, intuitive interface. Clicking on a package allows us to install (or remove) the package or we can bring up a screen with more detailed information on the software. The information page typically includes a description of the software package, a screen shot and reviews from other users. When we select a package for installation or removal the action is processed in the background while we continue to browse other packages. When we install new desktop software its icon is added to the Unity launch bar. This version of Software Centre feels faster than previous versions, certainly faster than the version of Software Centre which shipped with Ubuntu's previous long term support release.
Ubuntu 14.04 - package management with the Software Centre
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Ubuntu comes with a useful collection of software in the default installation. We are given the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Transmission bittorrent client and the Empathy messaging software. The LibreOffice productivity suite is installed for us along with a document viewer and the Shotwell photo manager. There are a few small games, the Totem video player and the Rhythmbox audio player. The Brasero disc burning software is included along with the Cheese webcam manager, a text editor, an archive manager and a calculator app. Ubuntu ships with a simple backup utility and a hardware test suite. Network Manager is provided to help us connect to the Internet. I found the GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us and, in the background, Ubuntu ships with the Linux kernel, version 3.13. At install time we have the option of adding third-party multimedia support, including Adobe Flash and a range of multimedia codecs. Should we decide not to acquire these codecs at install time, the system will offer to install the necessary codecs whenever we attempt to play unsupported media formats. I tried this on-demand style of playing multimedia formats and found Ubuntu properly located and installed the required codecs for me.
Most of the software which ships with Ubuntu 14.04 worked well for me, but a few items did not. There is an application called "Browser" in the Internet category of software. Whenever I attempted to launch this software it immediately crashed. A few days after I started using Ubuntu an update for this package was made available and, after the update, the Browser software still crashed when I tried to launch it. The Empathy application claims to support several communications networks, including Facebook. I tried to tie Empathy to Facebook to see if it would notify me of incoming messages, but Empathy reported it was unable to access my on-line information. I also noticed the Totem video player tended to crash fairly frequently. I installed the VLC multimedia player to take the place of Totem and found VLC to be a stable and suitable replacement. Speaking of software crashes, whenever an application crashed a window would appear on the desktop and offer to send an error report and, optionally, to re-launch the application. I think this is a nice feature and I hope that the automated bug reports will help developers find and fix problems.
I tried running the latest Ubuntu release on a desktop computer and inside a VirtualBox virtual machine. I found that most times I signed into Unity within the virtual environment I would typically be greeted by a crashing application or service. Once this initial crash had been dealt with (and a report filed) the rest of the experience would be smooth. The dash was sometimes sluggish when performing searches, but otherwise the Unity environment was responsive. When signing into Unity on physical hardware I encountered no problems and the graphical environment was quick to respond. When I first started playing with Ubuntu inside VirtualBox I found the screen resolution was very low (640x480 pixels). Upgrading my host's copy of VirtualBox from version 4.2 to 4.3 and adding VirtualBox's guest add-ons fixed the resolution issue. I also found I couldn't take screen shots of Unity when I was running in the virtual environment, but resolution and screen shots worked flawlessly on physical hardware. In either test environment Ubuntu and the Unity desktop used approximately 390MB of memory, more than I would usually expect from other graphical desktop environments.
Ubuntu 14.04 - settings and alternative hardware drivers
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Conclusions and recommendations
In the past, when Ubuntu introduced its HUD, a method of finding menu items by typing the name of a function rather than browsing through the application's menu, some people felt it was distracting. Personally, I tend not to notice the HUD at all, if not invoked it simply doesn't appear. In the past, my only complaint about the HUD was that it seemed to work for small applications where it was already easy to find the functionality I wanted in a program. Larger applications, such as LibreOffice, seemed to not support the HUD's type-to-find functionality. I am happy to report this has changed. LibreOffice now works with the HUD, making it much easier to find program options. The HUD supports not only GTK applications, but also works with KDE programs such as Konsole. People do not need to use the HUD, it only appears when its short-cut key is pressed, but for those of us who know what we want to do, but not where the function is located in a nested menu, the HUD is a nice feature to have. Another change, one I feel is a loss for Ubuntu users, is the removal of Ubuntu One. The Ubuntu One service allowed users to synchronize files between machines through Canonical's file storage servers. The One service has been discontinued, leaving users to search for other means of keeping their files in sync across multiple devices.
Some people, myself included, often feel migrating to Unity from another desktop environment is a jarring experience. In my case I believe most of my issues with Unity come from twenty years of habit. I am accustomed to having window control buttons on the right-hand side of a window, not the left. I am accustomed to having the application menu at the bottom of the screen, not the top. These little differences mean I regularly find myself moving my mouse pointer in the wrong direction as habit is causing me to move to the wrong part of the screen. It tends to take around a week for me to break this habit.
In order to get a fresh perspective on Unity I asked someone who had never used it before to sit down and try the controversial desktop environment. This person had mostly used Windows and had spent a little time with LXDE and Android, but had not used any other GNU/Linux-based desktops. Their first reaction was, "It's upside down," referring to the application menu and system tray being at the top of the screen. However, in short order they had launched some programs, found the settings panel and the Logout button and discovered how to install software through the Software Centre. All of this was without prompting or help. After five minutes they declared Unity attractive and easy to use. Oddly enough they did not use (or even notice) the Unity dash, thinking the button for opening the dash was part of the background decoration. Once I showed them the basics of how the dash worked, they said it seemed easy enough to utilize and soon felt at home with the dash interface.
When I first sat down and started playing with the latest version of Ubuntu I was a touch wary. Though the installation had completed flawlessly, my early experiences with using Unity in a virtual environment were met with low resolution and some software crashes. However, once I upgraded VirtualBox to its latest release and started using Ubuntu on physical hardware I found the experience was quite pleasant. This version of Ubuntu seems much more responsive than previous versions. The dash feels more polished and flexible, the Software Centre performed faster and everything felt like it fit together well. There is a polish to the latest version of Unity which was, I feel, missing before.
Despite a few application crashes, most notably with Totem, most of my experiences with Ubuntu 14.04 were positive. This feels like a faster, more flexible version of Unity and there are lots of modern software packages in the repositories. I do miss Ubuntu One and I would prefer Ubuntu ship with on-line dash searches disabled by default. However, I will admit there are plenty of other on-line file synchronization services out there and it is easy enough to disabled on-line searches for those of us concerned about privacy. Unity is heavier than most other desktops, such as Xfce, MATE or LXDE and so I probably wouldn't recommend Ubuntu for people using older hardware. For people with fairly modern systems though, capable of 3-D video support, I think Ubuntu 14.04 is a really good desktop system. I think it is easy enough to discover that it will appeal to newcomers and it is probably powerful enough (and configurable enough) to appeal to more experienced users.
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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 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 CPU
- 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)
OpenBSD's LibreSSL, Core Infrastructure Initiative, Red Hat's Atomic Host, PC-BSD and GhostBSD desktop updates, FreeBSD sums up recent developments, Debian removes SPARC from "Jessie"
Last week we reported that a group of OpenBSD developers had started work on cleaning up the OpenSSL cryptography library. OpenSSL has come under a lot of scrutiny following the revelation of the Heartbleed bug. The OpenBSD developers have decided to take things one step further by forking the OpenSSL code base and creating a new, stripped down cryptography library. The new project has been named LibreSSL and features a smaller code base, with much cross-platform compatibility code being removed. The developers behind the LibreSSL fork say they will work on making the new library work on multiple operating systems (not just OpenBSD) if they gain enough funding.
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The OpenBSD team is not the only group to seek a solution to problems in critical open source projects. Many big name technology companies, including IBM, Intel, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have joined with The Linux Foundation to form the Core Infrastructure Initiative. The Initiative will work to identify open source projects which are used in critical infrastructure. Those projects may then receive additional funding, developer support or code audits to improve code quality and remove potential security flaws. According to The Linux Foundation's website: "The first project under consideration to receive funds from the Initiative will be OpenSSL, which could receive fellowship funding for key developers as well as other resources to assist the project in improving its security, enabling outside reviews, and improving responsiveness to patch requests." As with the OpenBSD team, the Core Infrastructure Initiative is also accepting donations to assist in their work.
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Last week Red Hat announced their release candidate for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7. The release candidate is available in a few different editions, including Client, Server and Workstation flavours. Along with the announcement for the release candidate there was another bit of interesting news: "Red Hat plans to introduce Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host as a new addition to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux family. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host couples the flexible, lightweight and modular capabilities of Linux Containers with the reliability and security of Red Hat Enterprise Linux in a reduced image size that will enable easy movement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux-certified applications across bare metal systems, virtual machines and private and public clouds." This is good news for system administrators and developers who want to be able to develop, test and deploy software in a lightweight container where the configuration of the environment is known and consistent. More on Red Hat's software container technology can be found on the company's website.
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The latest weekly update from the PC-BSD project contained an interesting bit of trivia. A post on the PC-BSD blog announced a new desktop environment that is being developed specifically for the PC-BSD operating system: "There is an early alpha version of the Lumina desktop environment that has been committed to ports/packages. Lumina is a lightweight, stable, fast-running desktop environment that has been developed by Ken Moore specifically for PC-BSD. Currently it builds and runs, but lacks many other features as it is still in very early development." The new desktop environment uses Fluxbox as the default window manager and the rest of the environment is put together using the Qt toolkit. Further information on Lumina can be found in a separate blog post.
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Perhaps as a reaction to the above development, the developers of the "other" desktop BSD project, GhostBSD, have also made a radical rethink of the their desktop environment strategy. Going forward, MATE will be the sole supported desktop in GhostBSD: "When I started this project, GhostBSD was about having the best GNOME desktop experience. GNOME 3 had not seen any ports yet, because it was basically made for GNU/Linux. I had made a critical decision lately with the rest of the team to abandon all desktops in favour of MATE, which is the most suitable solution for GhostBSD as a workstation. The MATE desktop environment is the continuation of GNOME 2 desktop environment with huge improvements. MATE has been one of the most interesting projects since GNOME switched to a new desktop design." This announcement won't come as a surprise to those who have been testing the current alpha series of GhostBSD 4.0 where MATE is already the only available desktop.
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The first three months of 2014 were a busy time for the FreeBSD project and its developers. The venerable server operating system gained numerous features in a variety of areas, including ARM architecture support, virtualization, driver improvements and Linux compatibility: "The first quarter of 2014 was, again, a hectic and productive time for FreeBSD. The Ports team released their landmark first quarterly stable branch. FreeBSD continues to grow on the ARM architecture, now running on an ARM-based ChromeBook. SMP is now possible on multi-core ARM systems...." The quarterly report also mentions initial support for booting on UEFI-enabled computers.
* * * * *
Finally, a quick note for those who run Debian GNU/Linux on the SPARC machines: this architecture has been removed from "Jessie", Debian's current "testing" branch and might also be dropped from "unstable". Philipp Kern explains the reasons in this mailing list post: "As of tonight, there is no more SPARC in testing. The main reasons were lack of porter commitments, problems with the toolchain and continued stability issues with our machines. The fate of SPARC in unstable has not been decided yet. It might get removed unless people commit to working on it. Discussion about this should take place on #745938. SPARC support was officially introduced in a released version of Debian with Slink (2.1) back in March 1999 and was featured in eight releases."
|Interviews (by Zhu Wen Tao)
Interview with Deepin project leader Wang Yong
In July 2013 DistroWatch reviewed Linux Deepin 12.12. This distribution was also mentioned in the news section of DistroWatch Weekly in early 2012. In this issue of DistroWatch Weekly we'll take a closer look at the Deepin project. In the middle of this month, the Deepin development team announced the initial alpha build of Deepin 2014, which will soon become a major release of the desktop-oriented distribution. DistroWatch contributor Dr. Zhu Wen Tao took this opportunity and contacted the Deepin team. With the assistance of Li Hong Wu (李洪武), the project leader Wang Yong (王勇) accepted the interview from DistroWatch, in which he tells the readers about some interesting stories behind what is possibly the most popular Linux distribution in China at the moment.
* * * * *
DistroWatch: Could you first tell us something about yourself? For example, what is your role in the Deepin project?
DW: The project changed its name in late November 2009, right? We have noticed significant changes in the naming/numbering style of recent releases, for example, from "Hiweed Linux 2.0" released in 2008, to "Linux Deepin 12.12" released in middle 2013, to the very recent "Linux Deepin 2013", to the upcoming "Deepin 2014". Can you explain the motivation behind these changes?
We then slightly changed the project's name again, this time to Deepin, for the most recent development release, as we've noticed that many Chinese people don't know how to pronounce the word "Linux" correctly; actually, we shortened the name for easier communication. Our intention is just to make the name easier to spread. Note that the project hasn't changed its open-source nature; the whole distribution is strictly licensed under GPLv3.
The "numbering" style for Deepin's releases correlates much with its release cycle. Initially, Hiweed Linux employed an incremental version number. Then, as to the Linux Deepin project, we replaced Hiweed's version style with Ubuntu's, so we had versions like 9.12, 10.06, 10.12, 11.06, and so on, which imply new releases of our distribution in June and December every year. This release cycle/numbering worked fine at first, but proved unsuitable in the last two years.
DW: So what are the new features in the upcoming Deepin 2014? Do you have a detailed release schedule, or a rough release plan?
The new Deepin Control Center (the successor of the previous Deepin System Settings) is designed with QML. The layout for all options has been rearranged. We aspire to ensure simplicity while offering the most customization options possible. Deepin Media Player 3.0 comes with a fancier interface and provides more options, like those for subtitle settings. Deepin Translator is a lightweight translation tool utilizing OCR technologies; it is possibly the first application on Linux to translate words captured on the computer screen, even from images! We would like its interactive experience to be as simple as Deepin Screenshot, which is an extremely easy screen capture tool shipped with Deepin by default.
DW: What is the relationship between Deepin and other distribution like Ubuntu or Debian GNU/Linux? For what kind of users Deepin might be a more preferred choice?
DW: Another question more or less related to Ubuntu: Are there any "long-term support" policies or plans with existent or upcoming releases of Deepin?
DW: An anecdote we would like to share with you is that as early as in 2010, when Deepin was a Chinese desktop distribution, the DistroWatch team received an enquiry from United States asking whether the project offered an English edition. Now, four years later, it is reported that Deepin 2014 will support as many as 15 languages, which sounds quite inviting for international users. Deepin recently has also set up many download mirrors world-wide. So could you tell us more details about Deepin's efforts on internationalization?
We are doing localization on Transifex, an excellent localization platform. Many Deepin fans have volunteered to help with the translations. For example, our Spanish translation team completed the localization within one week, and we were amazed at such efficiency. Translation is now merged automatically from Transifex to our GitHub repositories on a daily basis.
We know that many universities and companies around the world have kindly mirrored some of the most popular Linux distributions. Therefore, we first did a research on the mirrors for distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, and ArchLinux, and then mailed identified mirror maintainers one by one. They turned out to be friendly and generous. Some even set up a Deepin mirror for us upon the day they received our request.
DW: Currently how many people are there in the Deepin development team? Are they purely technical engineers doing programming and testing work?
DW: Red Flag Linux, once upon a time a well-known Linux distribution from China, recently closed doors, presumably due to financial obstacles. Can you tell us something about the daily operation of the Deepin project? Is there any commercial side to Deepin?
DW: What about the Deepin user community? Do you have any estimation on the user scale, based on, say, statistics on downloads or forum access?
DW: Thank you very much for your time and we wish all the best to Deepin!
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Services come and go
This month we have seen a couple of useful services reach their end of life. Canonical announced the closure of their Ubuntu One file synchronization and storage service. Dyn.com likewise announced the end of their free dynamic DNS services. Both of these free services were quite useful, especially for people on the go as dynamic DNS allows for easy access to one's home network from afar and Ubuntu One does a nice job of synchronizing files across multiple devices. However, useful or not, it is in the nature of technology to change. In the past few weeks several people have asked what products out there might best replace Ubuntu One and Dyn.com and here are my suggestions.
For each type of service, dynamic DNS and on-line file storage, I have narrowed my suggestions down to two options. One option which is free/open and may require more technical expertise to implement. The second option will be less open, but probably easier for most people to get set up.
Under the category of dynamic DNS, I recommend FreeDNS. As the name implies, FreeDNS costs no money (though the project accepts donations) and the website has a very open approach. With FreeDNS we do not need any special client software to keep our dynamic IP address tied to our hostname, FreeDNS supplies example shell scripts and cron jobs to help us keep our domain up to date. Further, FreeDNS offers free (and fast) technical support and the service is run on FreeBSD.
My second suggestion to people looking for dynamic DNS services is No-IP. No-IP offers free dynamic DNS services and further offers several paid services, including domain name registration and hosted e-mail solutions. Our domain name can be updated with our dynamic IP address using the INADYN client, which is open source and available in the software repositories of many Linux distributions.
For remote file storage and data synchronization, I like ownCloud. The ownCloud server software allows anyone with a spare machine to host their own cloud-style file storage service. This means there is no reliance on a third-party service provider and our data is as private as we wish to make it. The ownCloud software runs on most platforms and is very flexible. Some distributions even package ownCloud, making it very easy to set up. Apart from the ownCloud server software, there are also desktop and mobile clients available for accessing data stored on ownCloud servers. All of this software is available at no cost and the server software (and some clients) are open source. I find ownCloud is an excellent solution for people who need to support multiple platforms and who wish to have full control over their data.
Dropbox is another cloud file storage and synchronization solution. Dropbox is designed to be simple and convenient, taking the management of cloud storage out of our hands. Dropbox offers a small amount of on-line storage free of charge with the ability to purchase additional storage as it is required. Client applications are available for most major desktop and mobile platforms and there are pre-built clients for a few Linux distributions.
|Released Last Week
Arne Exton has announced the release of ExTiX 14.1, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a customised GNOME 3.10 desktop environment: "ExTiX 14.1 64-bit is based on Ubuntu 14.04. The original system includes the Unity desktop. After removing Unity I have installed GNOME 3.10 and GNOME Classic 3.10 (a perfect replacement for Cinnamon). The system language is English. The ExTiX ISO image is now a hybrid image, which means that it can be very easily transferred to a USB pen drive. You can then run ExTiX from the USB stick and save all your system changes on the stick. Another big improvement is that ExTiX 14.1 can run from RAM. Use boot option 3 (Copy to RAM). When the system has booted up you can remove the disc or the USB stick. You'll need at least 2 GB of RAM to run ExTiX that way." Read the rest of the release announcement as published on the project's home page.
Parsix GNU/Linux 6.0
Alan Baghumian has announced the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 6.0, a distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 and featuring the GNOME 3.10 desktop: "We are happy to announce the immediate availability of Parsix GNU/Linux, 6.0r0 code name Trev. This version ships with GNOME Shell 3.10.3, and Linux 3.12.17 kernel built on top of rock solid Debian Wheezy (7.0) platform. All base packages have been synchronized with Debian 'Wheezy' repositories as of April 17, 2014. This version comes with a systemd-based live boot mode. Highlights: X.Org 7.7, GRUB 2, GNU Iceweasel (Firefox) 28.0, GParted 0.12.1, Empathy 3.10.1, LibreOffice 3.5.4, VirtualBox 4.3.10 and a brand new kernel based on Linux 3.12.17 with TuxOnIce 3.3, BFS and other extra patches. The live DVD has been compressed using Squashfs and xz." Read the release announcement and release notes for detailed information about the new release.
Voyager Live 14.04
Rodolphe Bachelart has announced the release of Voyager Live 14.04, a Xubuntu-based distribution with a customised Xfce 4.11 desktop and a large number of usability improvements designed for power users and multimedia fans. Some of the new features of this release include: new light and dark themes, as well as a new icon set; Bluetooth and print services are now disabled by default; workspace switch by mouse action; Impulse screenlets for music integrated in panel; tightly integrated and automated music application trio - Clementine, Covergloobus and Impulse; detachable SMTube for viewing YouTube videos; a panel applet for graphical measurement of Internet traffic; a modified Whisker menu with additional configuration options... There are many more improvements as documented in the detailed release announcement (in French) with screenshots. Although the project's website is in French only, the live DVD image boots, by default, into an English user interface.
Voyager Live 14.04 - the default Xfce desktop
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
March 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: MediaGoblin|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the March 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is MediaGoblin, a free software media publishing platform. The project receives US$350.00 in cash.
The recommendation for this donation has come from the developers of the PiTiVi video editor, who drew our attention to this GNU project. But what exactly is MediaGoblin? Wikipedia gives a good description: "GNU MediaGoblin is a free, decentralized web platform (server software) for hosting and sharing many forms of digital media. It strives to provide an extensible, federated, and freedom-respectful software alternative to major media publishing services such as Flickr, deviantArt, and YouTube."
The project's own documentation gives us a bit of history behind MediaGoblin: "In 2008, a number of free software developers and activists gathered at the FSF to attempt to answer the question: 'What should software freedom look like on the participatory web?' Their answer, the Franklin Street Statement has lead to the development of autonomo.us community, and free software projects including Identi.ca and Libre.fm. Identi.ca and Libre.fm address the need for micro-blogging and music sharing services and software that respect users’ freedom and autonomy. GNU MediaGoblin emerges from this milieu to create a platform for us to share photos, video and other media in an environment that respects our freedom and independence. In the future MediaGoblin will provide tools to facilitate collaboration on media projects." Visit the project's tour page to learn about MediaGoblin in more graphical detail.
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$39,135 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), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 5 May 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.
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1 • GhostBSD and MATE (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2014-04-28 09:54:43 GMT from Belgium) |
I like to see how GhostBSD and other former Gnome2-based project are converging towards MATE.
In my opinion, MATE is the way to go.
I have been a happy Gnome2 user for many a year. I also like KDE3, but finally I settled on Gnome2.
KDE4 is good-looking but far too bloated. The same goes for Cinnamon.
In my humble opinion, Unity, Gnome3 and Windows8 in a professional workstation are just plain nonsense. I see how the companies behind those projects can profit from having a familiar look-and-feel in both touchscreen and non-touchscreen devices, but I do not see how I will profit from that. I prefer having an environment which has been optimised for the touchscreen in the smartphone and an environment which has been optimised for the workstation in the workstation. It is as simple as that.
Gnome2 was just perfect. When the Gnome project fell into the dark side I started using Xfce, which is great, but a bit of a Frankenstein. At that time, MATE was not mature enough.
Now it is. I have been using it for a few months now and I think is a keep. Essentially it is the old good Gnome2 refurbished. Yes, it lacks some functionality but most of it is already there. Regarding Gnome3 integration, I honestly do not care.
My point is: MATE is still a very small project but it is already usable, stable and loyal to the Gnome2 concept. Right now it is uses even less resources than Gnome2 or Xfce!
If we support it, it will grow bigger and better.
2 • LibreSSL can already be built and run on platforms other than OpenBSD (by Eric on 2014-04-28 10:30:41 GMT from Canada)
To people interested in LibreSSL check out https://github.com/busterb/libressl a few quick commands and you have a local copy of LibreSSL built and ready to test in ./apps/openssl, have fun!
3 • Mate (by arnold on 2014-04-28 10:52:56 GMT from United States)
As in #1, I too like and use Mate. However, I have found Fedora20 Mate to work extremely well. Especially since I finally figured out how to install it. The installer for Fedora leaves much to be desired.
4 • Ubuntu review (by Wine Curmudgeon on 2014-04-28 11:07:56 GMT from United States)
Spot on as always, jesse. I've never understood the venom for Unity. It's not like this is Windows, where you have to use what Microsoft gives you. And, in an irony that not enough people appreciate, Unity is what Windows 8 should have been.
5 • Ubuntu (by kc1di on 2014-04-28 12:01:23 GMT from United States)
I have to say that Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has brought me back to Ubuntu for the first time in a long time, can't say I liked unity much before this release but as Jesse says it's seems faster and more responsive now.
I've tried a lot of DE. My wife took a liking to unity right away and switched completely from windows about 1 year ago.
Good review :)
6 • Re: Unity (by cykodrone on 2014-04-28 12:22:28 GMT from Canada)
It's fine on a swipe-able device, but on a PC (Jesse: "In my case I believe most of my issues with Unity come from twenty years of habit") it's a Carpal Tunnel inducing circus on the eyes, a GUI that likes to fling and fly things around on the screen becomes annoying and taxing on the brain and eyes, especially for those who spend a lot of time on a PC. New doesn't always mean better. Sometimes I wonder if it was a conspiracy to make PC users feel obsolete and make us run out to buy a swipe-able device (I have an Android smartphone). Aside from the eye circus, the increased amount of mouse cursor travel and clicks to get things done was a step BACKWARDS, what were they thinking? I'm curious as to why nobody thought to put a device auto detect or option in the installer, i.e. "The installer has detected a PC install, would you like normal desktop GUI behaviour?"
7 • @6 Re:Unity (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2014-04-28 12:47:58 GMT from Belgium)
Not offering an alternative DE is not a matter of thoughtlessness. It is a premeditate business strategy. They have been trying to sell Ubuntu as a smartphone OS for years. One of the main arguments they have to convince hardware manufacturers and distributors is "look, there are X million users who are already familiar with the Unity look-and fell".
That is why they tried to "force" Unity into the desktop market first.
And that is why they have been telling anyone who believes that Unity is not so good for the desktop that we are wrong and that the problem is that we are a bunch square-minded people who are reluctant to progress and innovation.
8 • Another UbuntuOne alternative (by Roger Mialkowski on 2014-04-28 13:20:32 GMT from United States)
In light of the discontinuation of UbuntuOne, I have installed SpiderOak on my Linux Mint laptop. Pretty decent GUI and they offer free space (2GB or so). They claim to have Zero Knowledge of user data. Just sharing what I know. Please chime in with other cloud-based alternatives.
9 • Unity (by angelbea3 on 2014-04-28 13:41:17 GMT from )
I have been using Ubuntu for the last 10 yrs. I use Linux and Ubuntu in particular to get work done.
10 • @7 re:Unity (by Rocky on 2014-04-28 13:50:16 GMT from Ireland)
Surely xubuntu and lubuntu are alternative DE's easily obtainable ?
11 • UbuntuOne alternatives (by Barnabyh on 2014-04-28 13:57:36 GMT from Germany)
There is also a service called Box.com which gives users up to 50 GB free space but no desktop client on Linux and obviously I have no idea as to the privacy and security of the service but it should be fine IMO to store/back up your config files, holiday snaps, music collection and anything else not incriminating.
Then there is Barracuda's Copy with the copy agent for desktop use, pretty similar to Dropbox. https://techlib.barracuda.com/copy/desktopsystems.
They give you up to 20 GB of storage, new free accounts get 15 GB and one can get 5 GB more with a referral link, see here: http://alien.slackbook.org/blog/barracudas-copy-cloud-storage/. As always, depending on what you use it for, one may also want to encrypt files before uploading.
Google Drive might be another option, particularly for Gnome Shell users due to the integration.
12 • Lumina / desktop environments (by Markus on 2014-04-28 14:42:56 GMT from Switzerland)
Cinnamon, Enlightenment, Étoilé, GNOME, KDE, Lumina, LXDE, MATE, Pantheon, Razor-qt, ROX, Sugar, Trinity, Unity, Xfce, ...
It's great to have choices but aren't there too many?
13 • Choice (by anticapitalista on 2014-04-28 15:13:46 GMT from Greece)
Lee, Levis, Wrangler, Calvin Klein, G-Star, Miss Sixty, Diesel, Gap, Pepe
It's great to have choices but aren't there too many?
14 • @12 (by cflow on 2014-04-28 15:35:02 GMT from United States)
A totally understand what you mean. In Linux, I say there are way too many desktop environments, and the time it takes to develop and package them could have been used to create a DE that could be even better than all of them combined, as well as give more time to create innovative and stable features.
However, the developers keep arguing about the features that should be in a desktop, to a point that they exclude other features that are desirable to others. For instance, KDE developers want all the options in the world, and prevents the ability to remove many of them from the desktop that minimalists don't want. GNOME developers believe in a minimalistic feature set, to a point that they break backwards compatability of their components to discourage over-featured apps that others want. This control of the "desktop experience" is why so many desktop environments exist.
Lumina, on the other hand, looks like it has a legitimate reason to exist: a desktop built to work, function, and package correctly for PC-BSD - as opposed to the others of which are made for Linux OS's. If you read the blog post from PC-BSD, many issues are existing when porting these desktops built for Linux to their OS. Thus making a simple one that's truly integrated into the BSD architecture could really help if the upstream DE's get harder to package (system-d dependencies in GNOME, for instance).
15 • UbuntuOne (by Bill on 2014-04-28 15:53:53 GMT from United States)
I was a long-term user of UbuntuOne, but a couple months ago I replaced UbuntuOne with a Raspberry Pi running ownCloud.
My Pi is currently handling 6.5GB of data in a few thousand files that I sync with three computers. My Raspbian/owncloud/USB hard drive/Pi/ combination has been completely reliable to date.
This was my first experience building and configuring a server. There are any number of tutorials on using ownCloud with a Pi on the web, and I did not find it particularly difficult to do. No, it's not as simple as just installing and using UbuntuOne, and I did have to buy the Pi and USB disk so it isn't free. However, my ownCloud service works for me, and it works reliably, plus nobody but me is looking at my files.
Performance has not been an issue for me. The ownCloud/Pi combo is as fast - or faster - at syncing the normal day-to-day changes to my files as UbuntuOne was. Of course, if you throw a new 4GB directory tree at ownCloud and the Pi it will take a while (a few hours) to 'swallow' that. I did this when I first set up the server. The Pi/ownCloud combo managed to deal with this without problem, so I'm happy. BTW, it managed to upload that 4GB directory tree into my other clients relatively quickly.
It works for me.
16 • Too many choices? (by fernbap on 2014-04-28 16:16:07 GMT from Portugal)
You are getting it wrong. There are: windows, OSX.
Linux/BSD: all the rest.
Linux/BSD is not an OS, it is everything outside those first 2.
(ok, i know i am exagerating a tiny little bit...)
17 • PcLinuxOS 4-2014 has been released... (by ChiJoan on 2014-04-28 18:03:48 GMT from United States)
Started downloading last night, anyone try them yet? Sometimes Ubuntu-based Distros hiccup on dual-CPU workstation or server motherboards.
Joan in Reno
18 • @8: Alternatives to Ubuntu One (by eselma on 2014-04-28 18:29:13 GMT from Spain)
If you want an alternative to Ubuntu One as safe (zero knowledge) as Spideroak, try Wuala. In Europe, it is faster than SO and yes, is multiplataform being a Java application (my only complaint). Highly configurable and with a free (as in beer) account, not sure if 2 or 5 GB.
19 • Unity is actually light (by Leo on 2014-04-28 18:29:41 GMT from United States)
I use Kubuntu on a very fast system (overclocked i5 Haswell on an SSD). Boot time is 18 to 20 seconds to a full desktop autologin (measured with a script that records the time right after being able to launch a terminal after login). I tested Unity (installed the metapackage): it does the same in 10 seconds. In terms of functionality, I prefer the Plasma desktop. But I really didn’t feel like it was slower/heavier than XFCE. It is probably, actually, lighter. And it will get much better with Unity 8/Qt. I might switch at that point :)
20 • MATE desktop environment. (by Andre Gompel on 2014-04-28 18:48:53 GMT from United States)
Linux like most interactive OS'es need a good console support, along with a clean simple GUI. I do agree that KDE developers got carried away: too bloated.
Like most of the MATE supporters, I do regret that GNOME which was good is not GNOME anymore, so I welcome MATE, that I have used for a long time now.
However, I MATE 1.6 that I use on Fedora 20, is still quite buggy, and needs work.
Hopefully MATE 1.8 just released will bring many bug fixes, and continue in the right direction, of MATE.
Wondering though, why every Linux Desktop needs a new "control panel" (sorry!)
Why need for a new editor? a New users manager, etc...
About MATE 1.8, unless it is a simple update, a procedure to upgrade from 1.6 to say 1.8 is much needed.
Razor-qt seems to go in the right direction, but its development pace is way too slow.
With time some of its best components could make it into MATE, etc...
21 • Ubuntu (by Gee on 2014-04-28 19:17:31 GMT from United States)
I've been getting internet connectivity problems with Ubuntu 14.04.
It thinks the wired internet is wifi. It says it is connected but is not usable. It is also hard to get working with two network cards or fixed IP address. I have tried Lubuntu the most and it seems to hate SiS ethernet the worst. Updated Lubuntu and the latest Mint lmde, lxle also have the same issue.
22 • Unity FUD? Still? (by DavidEF on 2014-04-28 19:18:30 GMT from United States)
@6 I find Unity perfectly usable on my desktop and laptop screens, none of which are swipe-able. Jesse's test subject also seemingly found it easy to navigate. If it really seems jumpy to you, perhaps you have a (biological?) hardware issue. No, seriously, maybe there is something wrong there. Not your fault, of course, but not technically Canonical's fault either.
@7 Thanks for putting the word "force" into quotes, cause we all know that EVERY Linux distro comes with a default DE (or WM) choice. Therefore, EVERY Linux distro is in some way exerting "force" on its users, who, by the way, always have at least the freedom to choose NOT to use that distro. And, in many cases, as it is with Ubuntu, they even have an EASY way of changing from the default if needed/wanted. As for your final statement, I'd like to see your source for that. Uh-huh, thought so. We don't need no stinkin' FUD!
23 • @20 A simple answer (by DavidEF on 2014-04-28 19:32:07 GMT from United States)
"Wondering though, why every Linux Desktop needs a new "control panel" (sorry!)
Why need for a new editor? a New users manager, etc..."
Here's the best answer I think there can be. Are you ready? The reason is that THAT is what we are ALL ABOUT! Yep, really, the freedom to make a new software "because I want to" to scratch your own itch, and then share it with the world to see what they think of it, in the hopes that someone else will find it useful. That is what this whole thing is about. We're not Microsoft. We're not Apple. We're us, just us, and that's the way it is cause that's the way we like it!
And the idea is that the most useful software will continue to be used and improved upon, while the others collect dust and eventually die. Survival of the fittest doesn't actually work in nature, but it does (ideally) in software! Let's not echo the sentiments of the too-many-choices crowd. They just don't understand that CHOICE IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!
24 • @ 22 Unity FUD (by cykodrone on 2014-04-28 19:54:26 GMT from Canada)
There is no FUD, each to their own, and there is nothing wrong with me or my machine, or the thousands of other people that don't care for Unity either. FYI, "Jesse's test subject" found things to be "upside down". I'll admit I've been 'trained' and brainwashed by my former proprietary OS, but if you read my post carefully, you would have noticed I own an Android phone and I am quite comfortable in its GUI, but of course my phone has a swipe screen and there's no mouse attached to it.
25 • @8 (by :wq on 2014-04-28 20:03:33 GMT from United States)
Somewhat related (larger scope than just file hosting services)- http://userdatamanifesto.org/
26 • Ubuntu (by César on 2014-04-28 20:08:04 GMT from Chile)
I tried Ubuntu 14.04, is a very ungry beast!!!! Only 680 Mb RAM!!! in "idle", nothing running, only the desktop, Unity again...but, in the other side, the system runs fine, nice, pretty colors, recognize every hardware present (Epson XP-201, ATI drivers, sound, etc.). I never like the software center present in Ubuntu, automatically install Synaptic and aptitude.
In few words, with a great quantity of RAM, 14.04 runs fine.
Greetings from Santiago, Chile.
27 • @10 Alternative DE's (by cykodrone on 2014-04-28 22:04:20 GMT from Canada)
I did give the new Xubuntu 14.04 LTS (I'm a former KDE lover now in love with Xfce) a live unetbootin test drive the other night, I had a look in the repository, I must say there is a huge amount of packages (44 or 45Gs I believe, a lot of development packages for that huge search engine's phone OS), but what struck me was seeing a lot of corporate names associated with bad press (privacy violation issues, NSA friendly, etc), I felt like I needed a shower afterwards. Not only that, the software center is like a garish carnival atmosphere billboard, "Recommended For You" for example, personally for me, I'm way past my OS holding my hand at every turn/click, that's part of the reason I left Win---s, I hated the hand holding. Debian Stable Xfce is solid as a rock, and no shower required, it might be a bit dated but it will never let you down, the *buntus make good 'training wheels' IMHO.
28 • Deepin (by Platypus on 2014-04-29 02:59:41 GMT from Australia)
I've been a user of Deepin since 2012. The 2013 version is excellent. I have downloaded the Alpha Deeping 2014 but I am not sure I like its new direction. They have gone with a dock and active/live corners to bring ups settings and apps (this feature I like). They have defaulted to Chrome and Kingsoft Office this has been at the expense of Firefox and Libre Office respectively.
People who are fans of the new style of desktop will enjoy Deepin. I have to admire the amazing efforts of the developers with all their Deepin exclusive apps. It is well worth a look for people wanting a change.
29 • LibreSSL and Too Many Desktop Environments (by woodsb02 on 2014-04-29 11:46:35 GMT from Australia)
I am for standardisation in the *nix free software world - the way it has always been for so many years.
1. I am a little disappointed that the PC-BSD guys have had to create the Lumina desktop, but I am on their side and understand why they are doing it. What disappoints me is that developers of GNOME, KDE and XFCE are more and more moving away from developing for the broader *nix world, and starting to write code that uses Linux specifics. Its really a shame when these awesome projects no longer support MAJOR open source operating systems like FreeBSD without massive porting/customisation efforts. I think the art of pan-Unix development is being lost.
2. I love that the already very busy OpenBSD development team has stepped up to the plate to help right some of the wrongs in OpenSSL. This is a community service they are providing to the entire world (much like OpenSSH). My only hope is that the OpenSSL team reviews their work, agrees it is superior (or provides input to make it so), and stands down announcing LibreSSL as the major replacement for the free software world. I really think it is a waste if we have to teams developing software to do the same thing. This can only happen if other project adopt LibreSSL as the replacement.... I actually hope the Core Infrastructure Initiative redirects their funding the LibreSSL to promote this.
30 • @29 LibreSSL (by Kazlu on 2014-04-29 13:33:39 GMT from France)
So you're blaming KDE, GNOME and Xfce for making it difficult to port software to BSD, but you emphasize the LibreSSL move that is basically a fork that is intended to work only in OpenBSD in the first place? OpenSSL is a dependancy for a lot of packages and you're in favor of a move consisting of dropping it because it has revealed ONE flaw? Nothing guarantees that LibreSSL will be superior, especially if people working on it work only towards OpenBSD. What would be more reasonable, and feasable, and I hope it will be possible, is that OpenSSL devs keep in touch with LibreSSL progress, hoping it will not be completely different, and watch for potential corrections that could be ported to OpenSSL.
I do not welcome very warmly OpenBDS's move. They do whatever they want, and sure that's not their responsibility to fix OpenSSL for everyone (they probably wouldn't have the manpower to do this anyway), but this attitude of "okay, if that's the way of things, we will fork it and make our own version just for us, feel free to use it" reminds me greatly of... Ubuntu's attitude (Unity, Mir, Upstart until recently...) that has been so much criticized. I don't see why they should be treated differently. I won't say it is necessarily a bad move, but I fear duplication of projects brings again more incompatibilities.
The Core Infrastructure Initiative sounds like good news, since that money could help everyone... Well, as long as lobbying does not get too much in line, considering the names associated with it...
31 • Unity and desktop environments (by Jeff McGrew on 2014-04-29 14:35:20 GMT from United States)
I have given Unity a chance for the last 3 years. I was hanging on because Ubuntu was suppose to be doing the great things for Linux. In may ways it did. Today I realized that I am not leaving Ubuntu, but rather Ubuntu left me many years ago. I wondered why it came with only one destop interface. I found out why. It does not play well with other interfaces. I tried Cinnamon and KDE with Ubuntu 13, but updates played havoc with these desktops causing Cinnamon to be unusable, and causing strange affects in KDE. But that was not all. Unity desktop had become unveiwable with strange, replicating windows shapes, and just an interface that no longer worked.Only the KDE desktop had functionality. Yes I tried the forums and any attempts to fix, reload, unload the errors just did not work or made it worse. At Ubuntu 14 I had High hopes. Things were suppose to be fixed and a fall back mode was suppose to be available. There was no fall back mode.Mate was nowhere to be found in the Software manager. I looked for Mate, Desktop, and environment. No Joy. And finding programs in the dash was beyond frustrating. The dash does not really show you all the programs on your system. I realized I had spent 20 minutes trying to find a program that should have been in the system path. I used the filters and sources and trying searching for 20 different text versions trying to get a listing from what would have been in System, or Utilities. I only saw a fraction of what should have been list there. I like on a classic menu system that I can find my program in less then 3 clicks, in less then 3 inches, in less then 3 seconds as compared to the 10-20 clicks, transversing the full screen width multiple times, and taking 10-20 minutes to find a slightly less common program. That is not progress. Unity does not play well with other desktops, and makes computing more frustrating. Today I realized that Ubuntu left me many years ago. Good bye Unity, I'm sorry for wasting my time on pursuing you. Is it too much to ask for a strong distro that just works out of the box, without having to add and fix things just to use it?
32 • @14/23 and others (by Jan-Ole on 2014-04-29 16:30:23 GMT from France)
I agree that it's nice to have choices. The problem though is that desktop Linux is missing 10 % polish to be a true competitor to Windows and especially OS X. I believe that this goal could easily be achieved if effort and time would be collected for fewer projects.
33 • @32 (by jaws222 on 2014-04-29 17:05:47 GMT from United States)
"I agree that it's nice to have choices. The problem though is that desktop Linux is missing 10 % polish to be a true competitor to Windows and especially OS X"
I'd have to diasagree. I keep it really simple with Openbox, but then again that would drive Windows and Mac users crazy. But with XFCE and LXDE you have two simple, lightweight and highly customizable DE's.
34 • Linux/BSDs/Win/OSX (by Dave Postles on 2014-04-29 17:09:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
There are plenty of Linux distros out there as polished as OSX. After all, OSX is simply a BSD tarted up, but limited to its own hardware (and with several lacunae because of limited codecs and flash compatibility). Windows is a bloody mess, with no continuity. still instability, and who wants to have constantly to defrag because MS can't be bothered to produce a journalled file system? The choice with Linux is to have a highly polished DE or to go with something basic but light. With OSX and Win, you have no choice, and in the case of the former, no choice of hardware - and that's without addressing the absurd cost (e.g. I can buy 64-bit kit with 8Gb RAM to my spec from PCSpecialist and install any Linux or BSD for well under £400).
35 • @31 (by jaws222 on 2014-04-29 17:20:03 GMT from United States)
You should try Cubuntu. You have Unity but also Cinammon and the Gnome 2 desktop. They actually did a few interesting things with the Gnome 2 DE.
36 • @30 (by woodsb02 on 2014-04-29 17:46:57 GMT from Australia)
LibreSSL will be available for all operating systems in time (and in fact can already be compiled on others as per post #2). The OpenBSD team report that the code was a mess and that a fork was the only way the fix it up - this will not be a backwards compatible effort that OpenSSL can pick up on.... they have already removed 90,000 lines of code! This is a good article: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/04/openssl-code-beyond-repair-claims-creator-of-libressl-fork/
So much for not having the man power....
37 • @31 & 35 (by cykodrone on 2014-04-29 19:07:15 GMT from Canada)
@35 Hah! That's cool, thanks for that, I love exploring new distros.
@31 The English Cubuntu page: http://cubuntu.fr/?q=node/27
38 • Unity & Stuff (by M.Z. on 2014-04-29 20:30:31 GMT from United States)
That is very similar to my experience with Unity. I generally default to using the GUI menu, and the one in the Unity Dash is an unholy mess. Gnome is moving the same direction & it looks like the recent release has the 'feature' of letting you click a bunch more times to get stuff done instead of just hovering over a category. I'm starting to wonder if all the UI designers working on Gnome 3 & Unity are on hallucinogens. Why the hell is it better to do something in 30 clicks instead of 3 all of a sudden? Its not better its just piss poor design.
I'd also point out that I've had the same issues with Unity dumping crap like omni menus into other DE's that I've had installed on the same system. If it still happens, then this of course proves that the default DE matters a lot when it doesn't play nice with others. All this 'just install another DE from the repos' talk doesn't necessarily work in practice, and it really doesn't work when some Ubuntu update kills whatever settings were allowing different DE's to live together relative peacefully. Then you have to reinstall or move to a different distro just because you made the mistake of thinking Unity could play nice with others.
I'd agree with most of your sentiments, but it is worth double checking your facts about windows before making a claim. For instance you might want to check the wikipedia page on NTFS before complaining about lack of journaling:
I'm not sure how much this alters the need to defrag drives relative to other journaling file systems or the old FAT file systems MS once used, but you can't claim that it isn't there.
39 • SSL (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-04-29 21:28:29 GMT from United States)
So ... many affluent influential organizations will gather at the Core Initiative and be very important while working to identify who to bribe, infiltrate and audit for opportunities to maintain and extend their influence and affluence.
Many will be impressed: some into service, others simply extorted.
Meanwhile elitist vow-of-poverty monks develop LibreSSL under a Canadian non-profit (can't afford to be a charity), cleaning and sorting through decades' accumulated discards, claiming the moral high ground while refusing to work with others.
Is this the inevitable result of licensing extremes, or just a side-effect?
Even I can recognize the lack of a community-wide robust market platform.
40 • @38 Unity (by kc1di on 2014-04-29 21:31:14 GMT from United States)
you can install a little applet called classic-menu-indicator from
here: http://www.enqlu.com/2014/03/how-to-install-classic-menu-indicator.html Which will give you classic look menu in the top panel, works pretty good here.
41 • @29 (Re: DEs) (by :wq on 2014-04-29 21:34:37 GMT from United States)
Who is the onus on to do the work given limited manpower? Is it a DE project's responsibility, the BSDs responsibility, etc? For example (http://www.xfce.org/about/news/?post=1295136000 & http://gezeiten.org/post/2011/01/Xfce-4.8-on-BSD-flavors), when Xfce 4.8 was released, the Xfce project expressed their "disagreement with the recent 'Linux-only' developments in the open source ecosystem, especially with regards to the utilities [the Xfce project] need[s] in desktop environments." Should the Xfce project, given its own finite resources, be blamed for making hard choices that they clearly were not content with?
I don't think the BSD projects can keep up in bridging the distance at the rate it is growing between Linux and BSD (nor do they necessarily want to travel, or be dragged, down that road). I have no desire for the BSDs to languish, but I don't think anyone can deny that the Linux ecosystem as a whole currently has more coders at its disposal, and that this ecosystem moves at its own speed, even if other Unix-like ecosystems don't want to or can't match that speed, and, to some degree, projects that once tried to cater to many Unix-like systems have adopted Linuxisms either due to perceived necessity or out of the desire for feature advancement.
While the affair seems unfortunate, I think PC-BSD's Lumina is probably not a bad idea given an uncertain future with regard to compatibility issues, and I can't help but wonder how long MATE will remain viable for GhostBSD as MATE continues to develop.
42 • @34, Dave, defragmentation (by filesystem on 2014-04-29 21:43:43 GMT from Germany)
Dave, journaling and defragmentation are different. EXT2 on Linux or UFS/FFS on BSD for example are both without journals and auto-defragment, because that ist their natural behaviour.
nothing to do with journaling.
43 • @40 - Unity (by M.Z. on 2014-04-29 23:15:40 GMT from United States)
Why bother? It seems like people who use Ubuntu keep coming up with ways to put lipstick on a pig, while the Canonical folks rarely do more than minor fixes. The folks who make Unity should have designed some flexibility in to begin with, that way the user would have a relatively complete and reliable desktop right from the start rather than using hacked together community solutions. Why not just use a better desktop from the start? There is also the fact that Unity is effectively spyware, and while Canonical says they will change the default behaviour it hasn't happened yet. Ubuntu may have done a lot of good things for desktop Linux in the past, but at least for now their OS is still fundamentally bad for users and no amount of tweaking or added tools will change the fact that the defaults are bad. If you care about your privacy and the privacy of users in general then you shouldn't use Unity, and if you don't like the default behaviour why not use a disto with better defaults?
44 • @39 (by Sam Graf on 2014-04-30 00:12:03 GMT from United States)
I don't know that it's inevitable, but it's not a side effect. It was predictable. By the time the "Spruce Goose" could prove itself it no longer mattered.
Open source advocates often claim the moral high ground even when disagreeing about the morals themselves. It's unhealthy to spend lots of time in an echo chamber.
45 • Unity (by Simon on 2014-04-30 03:33:32 GMT from New Zealand)
@ #6: Amen.
Whereas smartphones and tablets are getting plenty of use, those of us who spend long periods of time computing nearly all do it on larger more comfortable desktops, or at least laptops, on which the Unity interface is a big step backwards. As so often these days, GNU/Linux blindly stumbles along behind whatever Microsoft is doing rather than doing things properly and taking Microsoft's market share. I provide IT assistance in higher education and nearly everyone I speak with, students and staff alike, dislikes Windows 8 and would happily use an alternative if it had a sensible interface. Sadly, the only GNU/Linux distribution that comes close to being a viable alternative to mainstream operating systems for non-technical users (because it aims to "just work" and enjoys hefty commercial support and a large enough user base to support decent amounts of up-to-date documentation and so on) has followed Microsoft's example of taking a steaming dump on desktop users in favor of the mobile market, so all these millions of frustrated Windows 8 users who might flock to a mature, sensible Linux desktop are instead faced with the same ever-changing fashion-addicted eye-candy-focused rubbish that they have to put up with in Windows.
46 • Unity (by Kazlu on 2014-04-30 12:57:12 GMT from France)
I see a fundamental difference between Unity and the Windows 8 UI. While the latter is indeed designed for touch screens, the former is not. It is designed for desktops. Indeed, when relying on the mouse, it is terrible. That's because it has been designed to be used mostly with the keyboard, more than with the mouse. The dash and the HUD menus reflect exactly that. So yes, Unity is designed for the desktop, it's just that it uses a different balance of use between mouse and keyboard compared to more traditional UIs. It requires changing habits to be productive, but that does not make it bad by design.
Still, a lot of people think Unity is designed for touch screens and stick with the mouse to use it. Why? Has Canonical failed in the communication field, presenting its UI the wrong way? I don't know. Unity is certainly far from perfect and deserves criticism, like other UIs, but it seems to me that many of its critics are dishonest.
Personnally I stopped Using Unity for performance reasons. I did not have the occasion to try 14.04 yet but if performance has improved, I should try it again. Well, if I can use it without being spied of course.
47 • @36 LibreSSL (by Kazlu on 2014-04-30 12:57:43 GMT from France)
Thanks for the intel. However, as I understand things, until now they have only removed useless code, particularly code dedicated to compatibility with outdated systems. So that's normal it still compiles and works elsewhere. That may change with time, but I can't blame them for something that may happen or not, so I'll just wait and see. I just hope that the code will be thought to be adaptable to other systems (even if not actually adapted, a task that could be done by others later) and not too much OpenBSD specific.
About the motivations, I am not surprised that a founder of LibreSSL considers that OpenSSL is a mess... I am not qualified to judge that, but I wonder how many of the OpenSSL devs consider it to be a mess. If OpenSSL code is indeed a mess, a fork can be a good thing, like the one we saw with MATE that has well evolved from a GNOME 2 base, a code that GNOME team considered too complicated to maintain. I am still concerned about compatibility and potential migration problems, should LibreSSL become more widely used because of advantages over OpenSSL. However I have to tint my concern since my last post: I absolutely don't know if compatibility is relevant. If OpenSSL and LibreSSL are and will be only tools used to apply a standardized protocol (SSL), then there should be no problem and competition and choice will be a good thing. OpenSSL and LibreSSL can coexist and simply be dependancies for different programs. If OpenSSL needs to talk with another OpenSSL partner, then we might have a problem.
48 • How much is believeable? (by Garon on 2014-04-30 14:30:04 GMT from United States)
Wow, I'm really surprised that some computers didn't blow up like a bomb when Ubuntu with Unity was installed. With some of the comments here it seems like that was what has happened. I call a lot of it not only FUD but downright BULL. Unity may not work on all platforms but I damn well guarantee you that all these other magic distros won't either. Also it seems some of these critics are trying to use the Unity excuse to cover their own shortcomings where computer systems are concerned. It's very easy to see through that charade.(see #31) I've installed Unity on several different system and have had more success then failure. Don't get me wrong, there has been a small amount of failures and furthermore no desktop environment is perfect, but I seem to agree with #46. I believe that too much dishonesty is involved. DavidEF was spot on with his assessment of the situation. If you don't like the way something works or how it looks just say so. Don't say it's because it's defective, broken, and useless. That would be lying.
49 • bug 14 04 (by ze on 2014-04-30 16:35:56 GMT from Brazil)
Have just installed it. Disabling not working in 14.04 inside unity tweak. Everything OFF but no disabling... Any options? Or will remove OS bc of that.
50 • above (by ze on 2014-04-30 17:20:58 GMT from Brazil)
disabling windows snapping i mean...
51 • Ubuntu One alternative (by moonwalker on 2014-04-30 17:32:21 GMT from United States)
I had nothing but problems with syncing through ownCloud, especially if file collections are big. I've head much more success with Seafile - it's a dual-licensed solution that can be used as subscription and installed on your own server. It syncs for me effortlessly multiple gigabytes of files of all sizes, from couple kilobytes to multiple gigabytes, across multiple machines.
52 • @46 RE:Mouse (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2014-04-30 19:20:37 GMT from Belgium)
Do you like to use the keyboard? There are plenty of keyboard-centric WMs which do not need 500 MG and 3D acceleration to run.
If keyboard shortcuts are the way to go, please, cut the bloat.
53 • @45 • Unity (by Ron on 2014-04-30 22:30:41 GMT from United States)
"so all these millions of frustrated Windows 8 users who might flock to a mature, sensible Linux desktop are instead faced with the same ever-changing fashion-addicted eye-candy-focused rubbish that they have to put up with in Windows."
If those millions knew, they could use Xubuntu, like I do. I have been using 12.04 for a while on three different machines and am quite happy to report little to no trouble.
As far as the eye-candy-focused rubbish remark, it sends me back to memories of old as I recall Pinball Machines. As a younger (much younger by the way) person, I could never see the value of someone spending endless time beating and banging at the corners of a wooden hulk with eye-candy-focused rubbish as the reward. I always just figured those people, for better or worse were somehow different than me. I suppose the modern day version would be the slot machine at casinos.
It would seem that that my opinion remains unchanged today. Some, and alas, many it seems, really like the razzle-dazzle for its own sake! Finger flippers of the world are not satisfied with just the hand held gadget, no, they must infuse it into their very being.
I am anxiously awaiting the review of Xubuntu to see the comparison with Ubuntu.
54 • @53 Unity (by mcellius on 2014-05-01 00:07:26 GMT from United States)
You're exactly right, Ron. It makes sense to use the desktop you prefer, whatever it is. That we all have different preferences makes sense, too.
What doesn't make sense is to nurture those preferences into hatred and use ridiculous and over-the-top language (e.g. saying someone "has followed Microsoft's example of taking a steaming dump on desktop users", as in @45). Such an emotional response is not logical or even reasonable. Isn't it possible to say something like, "I tried Unity and didn't much like it, but I've been very happy with" - take your pick: XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, KDE, Gnome3, etc. etc. etc.
I used to be active with OS/2 back in the day, and there were a few other users who employed a similar style: they HATED everything that wasn't OS/2, and ended up making all OS/2 users look bad. They were abusive towards others, even towards other OS/2 users who happened to disagree with them. In the end it became clear they were only interested in themselves. They didn't really care about OS/2 at all.
I hope potential Linux users don't wander into Distrowatch and read the comments. They'll leave with the impression that a lot of Linux users are wackoo nuts, the sort of people they don't want to associate with. "Join up with those nutcases? Fat chance!" They won't just decide against Ubuntu - the most frequent target of these haters - but against all of Linux.
55 • @54 Unity (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2014-05-01 07:37:23 GMT from Belgium)
Calling "haters" to those you don't agree with is just a form of bullying as any other. What you are saying is "do not dare to speak your mind or I'll call you names to make you feel bad about yourself and your opinions".
Here there was a quite rational and objective debate. Some pinpointed what they perceive as being Unity's (and similar DE) disadvantages on the desktop. Now the question is: what the advantages are? How is it better?
Change is good when it represents an improvement. Show me the improvement because I cannot see it.
56 • The improvement (by M.Z. on 2014-05-01 08:12:59 GMT from United States)
It's obvious isn't it? A more keyboard based UI = more searches, which = more opportunities for spyware to generate more revenue. What did you think the improvements were supposed to benefit the user?
Yes it's cynical, but also true. When I started using Linux a few years ago I felt like all this open source stuff was a beautiful thing, but then the big kid on the Linux desktop started getting weird just as the Gnome team began to go completely nuts. Then things got even worse, & Ubuntu who were leaders in this desktop Linux thing turned the # 1 version of the OS I liked into something that made me extremely cynical. From my perspective the question isn't why is there so much venom for Ubuntu, it's why do people keep using this piece of spyware garbage? Perhaps if people are vocal enough Canonical will follow through on their word & fix the default behaviour on the next release, but then again they went & made me awful cynical, so until I see the change I have my doubts.
57 • @55 Unity (by mcellius on 2014-05-01 09:41:30 GMT from United States)
No, I am not saying anyone shouldn't speak their mind. Far from it. However, the reasoned discourse you now say you like is not what the haters are doing (and is the reason they deserve to be called haters). What's "quite rational and objective" about saying someone ""has followed Microsoft's example of taking a steaming dump on desktop users"? Or to say they're trying to "force" unity onto users? (Last I knew, any users are free to use whatever DE or even distro they like.) Untrue hyperbole does little to illustrate "rational and objective" debate.
58 • Hating Unity (by fernbap on 2014-05-01 13:09:09 GMT from Portugal)
I think that the main reason for much of the heated discourse is the arguments used by the Unity apologists.
"A more keyboard base UI"? Really?
Virtually EVERY DE has the capacity to create and use as many keyboard shortcuts as you like.
Remember Gnome Do? Try it. Many loved it, most never used it. Most also never used the keyboard shortcuts they could use in those DEs.
There is a reason why. Because people don't like to use them. Unity presented nothing new. Dash is just a more sophisticated Gnome Do.
There is a huge difference, though. Gnome Do, as well as keyboard shortcuts were optional. Most never used them (except for ctrl-alt-bkspc, probably).
On Unity, you are almost forced to use them because the UI doesn't give you the choice. A choice that most users didn't like and use.
I don't like Unity, although i think it is usable. Much more usable than Gnome 3.
59 • Unity, Gnome 3, Windows 8 (by computergeek97308 on 2014-05-01 13:45:36 GMT from United States)
Did you ever think you'd see a day when the UI trash heap would include Linux DE's in the same breath as a piece of basura from Microsoft? How very sad. When pesky facts get in the way it's not FUD. FUD is a brand of mystery meat products in Mexico.
I'm sorry but you can't have the "same" interface on different devices with different screen sizes intended for different tasks. It's not logical, especially when users are blocked/limited by the DE as to how much customization, if any, they can do.
I'm moderately pleased with xfce but it's not perfect either, yesterday the pulldown menus disappeared from my file manager windows and I can't for the life of me figure out how to get them back. Googleing and forum-ing I can see I'm not the only person with this issue but none of the solutions I've been able to find fix the problem.
I used to think choice was great, but when none of the choices are great what's the point?
60 • bigger problem (by essential on 2014-05-01 17:12:37 GMT from Austria)
The main reason for starting a project and making a company is to make more money then you invested in it. Some peoples may like to support such companies by using their distros. But in the linux world we still have the choice. I dont know for how long, but is still ok.
A bigger problem in Europe today is the hardware. If you wont to buy a new notebook, you are forced to pay about 70 Euro for an os, you will never use.
61 • @60 Custom notebook (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2014-05-01 19:38:46 GMT from Belgium)
There are quite a few online shops right now in Europe which allow you to customise your notebook or desktop PC to your heart's (and pocket's) content.
Only a few offer preinstalled Linux, but many offer OS-free computers. I will not name any not to make publicity, but if you are a German-speaking fellow you are lucky because most of those shops are in Germany (or the UK).
62 • @59 (by :wq on 2014-05-02 00:33:01 GMT from United States)
Are you using Thunar? If yes, is it the menu bar or the drop down menus themselves that aren't visible? If the issue is Thunar's menu bar, have you tried pressing Ctrl+M when Thunar is the active window? If the issue is related to the drop down menus, have you tried several different themes to see if it is possibly a theme issue? If you've already ruled out the above, disregard my questions.
63 • Real Truth's (by Charles on 2014-05-02 00:34:32 GMT from Mexico)
@31, Multiple DE's (Desktop Environments like KDE, GNOME, etc.):
Did you follow the golden rule? Everyone who wants to try different DE's in a single GNU/Linux System, has to follow for a pleasant experience:
Golden Rule # 1. A user account for each type of DE.
Explanation: All types of DE, share some user/X configuration files, if you use a single user account for multiple DE's, you will have a mix of "capricious" configurations.
I've been using multiple DE's for a long time, and both Debian and Ubuntu are perfect to try other DE's, but of course, Arch GNU / Linux is the best choice for their configurability, document and availability of virtually all DE's.
Long ago, I came to have a single system Arch with Gnome, Kde, Cinnamon and Unity, working very well.
@32, OEM's are the answer.
How many Desktop Hardware cames with GNU/Linux preinstalled?
80 - 90% of people who use a computer are not technical, and they love the convenience, most of them did not want to know the type of operating system they are buying, they just work. Most do not know how to format / reinstall Windows, much less install a Distribution.
While Windows is the only option on the market, things will not change (Mac is no option, since it is very expensive and inaccessible for most potential buyers).
Android is no better system than Ubuntu, the difference (success) is that Google achieved good negotiations with manufacturers of smartphones, has invested heavily in marketing hype, and was first offered as a third option in most shops along with ios and WP.
@45, "As so often these days, GNU/Linux blindly stumbles along behind whatever Microsoft is doing... "
NO, you are wrong, comparing Ubuntu vs Windows, the new "touch paradigma" date releases in desktops are:
Unity, April 2011 (Ubuntu 11.04)
Metro, October 2012 (Windows 8)
Who is/copy behind who?
What you did not know newbie, Windows is always behind GNU/Linux.
If you do not believe me, investigate, why the compiz project was dissolved? Who hired some ex-developers of the project? What relates Compiz (developed first), Aero (developed later)?
What came first, Sudo or UAC?
And much more.
64 • @53 (by jaws222 on 2014-05-02 13:51:11 GMT from United States)
"If those millions knew, they could use Xubuntu, like I do. I have been using 12.04 for a while on three different machines and am quite happy to report little to no trouble."
Agreed! Or even Lubuntu for that matter. XFCE & LXDE are two great DE's and not complicated at all. They may not be as flashy but they are practical and work well.
I'm a big Debian guy, but I'd suggest to people who do want to forgo WIN 8 & Ubuntu to try a Ubuntu derivative called LXLE. They include 4 easy-to-use DE's that mimic OSX, WIN XP, Lubuntu and their version of Unity. It's really reliable and a good system. They currently have one based on 12.04 which has support until 2017, but I'm sure they'll do one based on 14.04 soon.
65 • For those who don't know... (by DavidEF on 2014-05-02 14:50:56 GMT from United States)
FUD = Fear, Unbelief, Doubt
Any post designed to give no better information than "Don't use THAT! It SUX!" is not a valid post, it is only FUD. If you have something more to say, you are welcome to say it. But just saying something is garbage, or spyware, or a steaming pile, etc. just because YOU DON'T LIKE IT is pure FUD, no matter how you try to defend yourself.
Oh yeah, by the way, I had a revelation this morning. I was thinking about the often heard complaint of "I have to move my mouse ALL THE WAY across the screen!" and it came to me: the difference between moving your mouse a couple inches and moving it across the whole desktop is minimal, because of mouse pointer acceleration, which has been around for at least a couple decades by now. I tested it on my desktop. To move the mouse about three inches took a movement of 1/2 inch. To move the mouse all the way across my desktop took 1 1/2 inches. That is a difference of ONE INCH! Get over yourselves, guys, it ain't that bad!
66 • @65 Correcting myself (by DavidEF on 2014-05-02 15:14:59 GMT from United States)
Sorry, I put the wrong word for the "U" in FUD
Anyway, the point is the same. I just wanted to get the words right. Another point about the mouse pointer acceleration - it's configurable, so if your desktop resolution is higher than mine, you can still benefit from it just the same.
And, I failed to mention also that I'm talking about FUD concerning Unity, although that is probably obvious. I get it that people don't like Unity. I'd hazard a guess that there are MORE people who don't like XFCE or LXDE. Yes, I said MORE, and I believe it to be true. But that is only my opinion, and I will not complain about those DE's existing just because I don't like or use them.
And that is the point. Just as mcellius said in posts #54 and #57, not liking a DE doesn't make you a "hater" but spewing venom and refusing to speak respectfully and reasonably with others about the subject does. There is just no excuse for that sort of behavior. Freedom of choice doesn't mean you have the right to accuse, demean, or belittle others who make a different choice than you.
67 • It IS spyware (by M.Z. on 2014-05-02 16:50:17 GMT from United States)
Haven't you actually read up on why Ubuntu us spyware? It's a fact that is widely agreed upon by many privacy advocates & FOSS advocates. The guy from MIT who created the GPL free software licence that Linux uses, along with the compilers on the system, the command-line tools, and the free software foundation, says Ubuntu is spyware. Look up Richard Stallman/RMS on Youtube talking about Ubuntu. RMS may be a bit of blow hard on occasion & a bit extreme in his advocacy for his version of truly free software, but he is spot on about Ubuntu.
Any default behaviour that becomes active without you consent or intervention and tells the outside world about your private behaviour on your PC is a form of spyware, period. The Ubuntu team developed a desktop in Unity that is heavily keyboard & search driven, & they default to sending information about what you type in their 'Dash' to Amazon & others who give them money in return. How is that anything other than Spyware? That's the definition of spyware! Now this could all be changed and made above board by simply asking the user if they want to turn the feature on and support Ubuntu, but they never made Ubuntu ask. So far the Ubuntu team have mostly given lip service to fixing the issue, and if apologists & apathetic users get their way nothing will change & the benefits of free software will lose their meaning. Get informed & get vocal, or else Linux may become as bad as the walled gardens of Apple & MS.
68 • Spyware (by DavidEF on 2014-05-02 17:55:30 GMT from United States)
Everyone may also agree that the pieces of paper in my pocket are "money" but that doesn't make it so. It just means that there is widespread ignorance.
Even though the search feature may not be implemented in the most security conscious way, it IS right there for all the world to see, and it CAN be easily disabled through a GUI privacy settings dialog which is accessible through the same GUI interface as the rest of the standard system settings! Calling that spyware is like saying Mark Shuttleworth is a purple lizard, because there is a picture of one on the default desktop wallpaper!
Sure, it is a "feature" that most people don't want, but let's not get too emotional over it just yet. Real spies never tell you that they are collecting information on you, and they certainly don't divulge where they put the recording device! Just ask Microsoft. Oh wait...
69 • 67 • It IS spyware (by M.Z. on 2014-05-02 16:50:17 GMT from United States) @65/6 (by Ron on 2014-05-02 18:47:33 GMT from United States)
"Get informed & get vocal, or else Linux may become as bad as the walled gardens of Apple & MS."
Absolutely, small losses of openness have a way of building up slowly, silently, deceptively, until like the Congress, we wake up one day and realize that corruption has overtaken the system. Once a foothold is established, its nearly impossible to go back. Now why would you allow Ubuntu to snatch your privates? Whats in it for you? Whats in it for Ubuntu. OOmp no hate here, just common sense.
70 • Still Spyware (by M.Z. on 2014-05-02 19:58:13 GMT from United States)
OK, sure Ubuntu is somewhat open about their their spyware activity, but unless you pay close attention to what is going on you may well miss it. If a user relies on advice from apologists who don't care about their own privacy & assumes that it's good & respects them because 'this guy I know who uses Linux says it's good', then they are being hosed for the benefit of Canonical. You can deny global warming or the status of Ubuntu as spyware, but that doesn't change the 97% scientific consensus on climate or the fact the default behaviour of Ubuntu is bad for your privacy & it doesn't ask for your permission.
If Canonical aren't 100% open and honest to begin with & don't ask the user before turning the feature on then they have simply built a desktop that comes preinstalled with one of the drive-by downloads that affects windows. Saying to change the settings after the fact is like asking the user to run a malware scanner in windows & let go of the fact that their system was made to do something against their privacy because 'those kids that made the spyware are really nice & just trying to make a buck'. The spyware features are a legitimate problem & a legitimate complaint made by many thoughtful & caring users & no amount of denials will make current versions of Ubuntu anything other than bad for user privacy.
71 • @67 (by Sam Graf on 2014-05-02 22:27:10 GMT from United States)
If everyone agrees that the pieces of paper in your pocket are money then they are money. Everyone agreeing makes it so.
Your point has nothing to do with the definition of "money" but with something more subjective yet considerably short of hyperbole like "Mark Shuttleworth is a purple lizard."
Let's agree for the sake of discussion that "spyware" is too strong a word. Where does that leave us? Is the "feature" now OK?
Precision definition of terms won't move the discussion forward if the root problem or one of the core problems with Ubuntu's "feature" is a sense of betrayal.
At the same time, I get confused about freedom when I try to follow these types of conversations. Whose freedom? Freedom from what? Freedom to do what?
Canonical is possibly not as free as the users of its products because if they exercise the same level of freedom they betrayal; users of Canonical's products are probably not free to use "walled garden" products, else they betray "the cause"; "walled gardens" are free to contribute to open source products and people are free to use those contributions...
The complexity of it all is pretty bad and sometimes doesn't seem like freedom at all. Or maybe I'm just not smart enough to get it.
72 • Adjusting my tinfoil hat (by cykodrone on 2014-05-03 00:53:45 GMT from Canada)
So now that a 'backdoor' is established in Ubuntu and some people are OK with it (scary), how will we know for sure one day the NSA might approach Canonical? Maybe they already have, maybe they don't need to, all the NSA needs to do is monitor traffic between your machine and "Amazon". *applies second layer to tinfoil hat*
73 • Honesty is golden, advertising is not (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-05-03 03:52:33 GMT from United States)
Defaults at install serve the interests of the OS provider.
A "power user", one who wishes to retain/enhance their own power, will review "advanced" settings and configurations, and validate behavior.
Trust and verify.
Using a browser (& OS) developed by corporate interests on a network designed for sharing information (originally militarily-significant research) is likely to require such significant self-discipline.
74 • I like Unity (by mchlbk on 2014-05-03 20:20:32 GMT from Denmark)
To my surprise I actually liked Unity the last time I tried it (U12.04). Sure it was a little different but I found it intuitive and easy on the eyes. Going back to XFCE was actually harder than going from XFCE to Unity.
I'd gladly use it on a daily basis but as my machines primarily run Debian Stable Unity is not an option.
75 • When one size fits part (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-05-04 20:03:10 GMT from United States)
Imagine a multi-boot system: Ubuntu Ultimate Unity for shopping with Amazon and Netflix; Tails EFF-Tor for private research and communication, AVLinux for jammin' and splicin' ...
76 • less than 100% open about Unity (by M.Z. on 2014-05-04 20:42:26 GMT from United States)
I went & checked the Ubuntu website to look for mentions of the 'feature' that sends info about you to financial partners of Canonical, but I really didn't see an direct mention. The only time they discuss money that I can see is a simple reply to the question of 'Why is it free?', & all they say is 'It's open source'. There was an opportunity right there to discuss how they make some of their money & how ads help keep the lights on; however, the makers of Ubuntu were less than completely upfront about that & instead chose to emphasize only the open source aspect of their OS. There is enough information out there that any long search will uncover info about the so called 'feature' embedded in the Dash search function; however, one could also easily assume that their computer is all theirs & not think that info was being sent directly from their OS to advertisers.
I see no reason to conclude that this feature is anything other than spyware when Ubuntu is used by the non power users that are a big part of the target audience for Ubuntu. You can't both design an OS meant to be so easy that anyone can use it & simultaneously claim that all Ubuntu users are power users so there is no reason not to send info to advertisers. That's a blatant contradiction because non power users are obviously targeted by Ubuntu, & these users by definition don't know everything about the OS they use. This is a big part of what I was try to say @68. I don't really care if you like Unity, but the way Canonical treats users has earned them vocal criticism for as long as the spyware behaviour remains in their distro. Ubuntu is spyware & everyone who cares about their privacy should say so until the behaviour is changed.
Number of Comments: 76
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|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
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|• 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|
|• 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.|
|• Full list of all issues|
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