| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 564, 23 June 2014
Welcome to this year's 25th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Diversity and open source go hand-in-hand. The developers and users of open source software have a wide combination of needs, jobs and tastes, leading to a software ecosystem as varied as the people involved in its creation. This week we celebrate open source diversity, starting with two reviews of very different projects. We examine Antergos, a cutting edge Linux distribution, and Q4OS, a highly conservative distribution. In our Questions and Answers column this week we talk about setting up live DVDs and USB thumb drives with multiple test distributions, perfect for distro-hoppers. We also saw diversity in the news last week. On the one hand, conservative and stable Debian received long term support for its ageing Squeeze branch. On the other end of the spectrum, the Fedora project is looking at adopting a new package manager and Ubuntu is rolling out testing images for its new Unity 8 desktop environment. Get all the details on these happenings below. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to fun new developments to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Antergos, formally called Cinnarch, is a distribution derived from Arch Linux. In fact, Antergos claims to be compatible with the Arch Linux software repositories. The project, which carries the cute motto "Ready to KISS", supports a range of desktop environments, all of which are available at install time from the project's installation media. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and comes in just one edition. The download for Antergos is approximately 740 MB in size.
Booting from the Antergos media brings up the GNOME Shell desktop environment. On the desktop we are presented with a window which enables us to launch the distribution's system installer or close the window to experiment with the live environment. Jumping straight into the distribution's graphical system installer we find that the Antergos installer looks a lot like Ubuntu's system installer, though with navigation buttons placed at the top of the window instead of the bottom. We are walked through selecting our preferred language, choosing our country/location and choosing our time zone from a map of the world. Next we are asked to select our keyboard's layout from a list.
The following screen asks us to select our preferred desktop environment. Available desktops include Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, MATE, Openbox and Xfce. There is also an option to skip installing any desktop environment and use a text console only. Unfortunately users are limited to installing just one desktop environment, we cannot select multiple desktops from the installer. Next we are given the choice of manually partitioning our hard drive or using a guided option. We can give the guided partition creation utility hints, such as asking it to create LVM volumes, use encryption or set aside a separate partition for our /home directory. The next screen asks us to create a user account and then the installer begins to copy its files to our local disk.
Antergos 2014.05.26 - the system installer
(full image size: 269kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
I attempted to install Antergos five times, using various options and drive layouts. Each time the installer locked up and failed to complete its tasks. Once the installer froze on the screen where we can choose our time zone and the other four times the installer locked up during the final step of the installer. Installation progress always stopped at the same point with the status message, "Updating community database (30%)". While the installer was frozen the rest of the desktop environment continued to work. I found that if I tried to update the distribution's pacman software database I would end up with error messages saying the file antergos.db could not be retrieved from the server mirrors.antergos.com. I suspect this is part of why the system installer consistently locked up. Oddly enough I could ping this remote server. In fact, if I opened a web browser I could visit the mirrors.antergos.com server and manually download the antergos.db file, which raises the question of why the package manager failed to perform the same task.
Sadly, the malfunctioning system installer brought my time with Antergos to a quick conclusion and I decided to spend some time this week looking at other, niche projects. One of these off-the-beaten-track projects was Q4OS.
* * * * *
The Q4OS project is, in a lot of ways, the polar opposite of Antergos. Where Antergos offers cutting-edge software, a modern desktop environment and a rolling-release platform, Q4OS ships with older packages, maintains a slow release cycle and features a classic desktop environment. The Q4OS website describes the distribution as a "desktop operating system designed to offer [a] classic style user interface, simple accessories and to serve stable API for complex third party applications. [The] system is also very useful for virtual cloud environments due to its very low hardware requirements." Q4OS uses the Debian Stable distribution as its base and ships one edition featuring the Trinity desktop environment. The Q4OS distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the download image is about 330 MB in size.
Booting from the Q4OS media brings up a menu asking if we would like to perform a regular install or run a fully automated system installer. I went with the regular installer and was presented with a series of text-based menus. The installer walks us through selecting our preferred language, our location and creating a regular user account. When it comes to partitioning the hard drive we can ask the partition manager to divide the disk for us or we can manually partition the hard drive. The partition manager supports LVM, ext2/3/4, Btrfs, JFS and XFS formats. The system installer copies its files to our hard drive and then we reboot the computer.
The Q4OS distribution boots to a graphical login screen. I tried running Q4OS in a VirtualBox environment and on physical hardware. When we login to our account while the distribution is running inside VirtualBox a window opens and offers to download and set up optimized VirtualBox drivers which will improve our experience. Assuming we agree to download the drivers, an installation wizard opens and shows download and installation progress. When the new VirtualBox module has finished installing the wizard offers to log us out so that the display server can be restarted and we can take advantage of improved screen resolution. The installation and following logout went smoothly and, when I logged in again, my VirtualBox window was resized to match my display's resolution. I was pleasantly surprised by this as I have never seen a Linux distribution offer to optimize a VirtualBox session before. Some distributions include the required modules by default, but most do not and it would be nice if those which do not include VirtualBox support by default followed the example set by Q4OS.
Q4OS 0.5.11 - the Trinity desktop environment
(full image size: 104kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Another notification which popped up the first time I logged in warned me that Q4OS is beta software and may not be entirely stable. However, during my time with Q4OS I did not run into any stability issues. The distribution ran quickly and smoothly. The operating system performed well, with virtually no delay between the time I tried to open a new application or menu and the time when the action was completed. Q4OS runs the Trinity (KDE 3.5) desktop which is light on memory by modern standards, using just 70MB of RAM, and there are no visual effects enabled. The default theme has a Windows 2000 style to it, combined with classic KDE icons. The overall appearance of the desktop looks a touch dated, but not overly so. The interface is entirely functional and I had no trouble navigating or transitioning from a modern desktop environment to Trinity.
The Q4OS distribution ships with a small collection of software. We are given the Konqueror web browser and file manager, there are a few system administrator tools for working with user accounts and desktop settings. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line and the distribution comes with some documentation, including manual pages. There is no multimedia support available by default, but we can find additional packages in the Debian Stable repositories. The GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us and, in the background, we find the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
I did not find any graphical package manager in Q4OS's default installation, but we can use the apt-get command line utility. The apt-get program connects us to the Debian Stable repositories and gives us access to a large collection of software. I found that when I first installed Q4OS the package manager was locked and I had to locate and remove a lock file before I was able to update or install new software packages.
Early on I enjoyed using the Trinity control panel for adjusting the look and feel of the desktop. The Trinity desktop is quite flexible and the configuration tools are easy to navigate. In fact, the entire distribution is a good combination of classic utilities with high performance and stability. The only problem I ran into while playing with Q4OS was that, once I installed some Xfce applications, several of the Trinity configuration modules no longer worked, reporting they could not find the Xfce panel software. Otherwise, my brief time with Q4OS was a smooth and generally pleasant experience.
I was not sure how Trinity (KDE 3.5) would hold up after so long. I had not used a member of the KDE 3.5 family since 2008 and I had concerns about how I would slip back into an old mode of working after six years of KDE 4, Unity and other modern interfaces. I am happy to report the Trinity desktop has held up well. While it may look slightly dated, the Trinity interface behaves much the same way Xfce, LXQt or KDE 4 (without widgets) behave. All in all, my impression of Q4OS is that is reminds me of running plain Debian with the Xfce or LXDE desktop -- lightweight, fast and stable. There are not many applications in the default installation, but additional software can be installed at a later time, making Q4OS a small and stable platform.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Debian "Squeeze" enters long term support status, Ubuntu tests Unity 8 desktop builds, Fedora considers new package manager, CentOS battles with version numbers
Starting June 16, Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" (also referred to as "oldstable") entered into long-term support status. Normally, at this point in Debian Squeeze's life cycle the distribution would no longer be receiving support, but a new team, operating separately from the official Debian security team, has taken over support for the ageing Debian release: "Official security support for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 (code name "Squeeze") has ended on 31 May 2014. However long term support for the distribution is going to be extended until February 2016, i.e. five years after the initial release. Squeeze-LTS will not be handled by the Debian security team, but by a separate group of volunteers and companies interested in making it a success (with some overlap in people involved)." Companies or individuals benefiting from Squeeze's extended support are encouraged to participate in the Debian LTS program.
Speaking about Debian, last week's news about the distribution's switch back to the good-old glibc (from the abandoned eglibc) has caught the eye of the development community. Aurelien Jarno explains: "Five years ago Debian and most derivatives switched from the standard GNU C Library (glibc) to the Embedded glibc (eglibc). Debian is now about to take the reverse way, switching back to glibc as eglibc is now a dead project, the last release being the 2.19 one. At the time of writing the glibc package has been uploaded to experimental and sits in the NEW queue. The eglibc package is dead for a good reason: the glibc development has changed a lot in the recent years, due to two major events: Ulrich Drepper leaving Red Hat and the glibc development, and the glibc steering committee self-dissolving. This has resulted in a much more friendly development based on team work with good cooperation. The development is now based on peer review, which results in less buggy code (humans do make mistakes). It has also resulted in things that were clearly impossible before, like using the same repository for all architectures, and even getting rid of the ports/ directory."
* * * * *
Following the release of Ubuntu 14.04 the distribution's development team has begun work on a branch of Ubuntu which will feature Mir and the Unity 8 desktop environment. To enabled developers and users to test the new environment the Ubuntu team has started publishing daily snapshots of Ubuntu with the Unity 8 desktop: "The goal is to ramp up the quality of the Unity 8 desktop, without destabilizing our current environment. For that we are going to keep a Unity 7 image and add a new one for Unity 8 on the desktop, that new ISO should become the default one by 16.04." People wishing to try out the latest Mir and Unity 8 environment can download test images from the Ubuntu mirrors.
* * * * *
The DNF package manager is a fork of the YUM, the default package manager in distributions such as Fedora and CentOS. The DNF project has been progressing over the past few years and discussion is currently underway on the Fedora mailing lists as to whether DNF should replace YUM in Fedora 22: "DNF was forked from YUM in January 2012 and available for experimenting in Fedora since release 18. The project is now fully capable of replacing YUM in new Fedora installations. We want DNF to become the new default packaging tool in Fedora 22." There is also the interesting question of what to call the new package manager when it reaches Fedora. Should the fork be called DNF or YUM? At the moment, it appears likely the DNF fork will be renamed YUM to maintain backward compatibility with earlier Fedora releases and system administration scripts.
Would you like to be able to use Fedora as a development platform for Android applications? If so, read on. Last week, Ryan Lerch published an excellent article on doing just that (and more) - in ten minutes: "Android is one of the most popular mobile operating systems (and it is based on the Linux kernel too.) However, diving into developing apps for Android can appear to be a bit daunting at first. The following how-to runs you through the basics of setting up an Android development environment on your Fedora machine. The basic workflow is to download the Android SDK, use the SDK to generate a quick first “hello world” application, then test out that application with either a physical Android device or the Android emulator." Hands-on instructions for setting up an Android development environment on Fedora are in the linked story.
* * * * *
For most distributions, choosing a version number is probably the least worrying aspect of the project. But sometimes things get in the way, people get strange ideas and conflicts arise - and the unsuspecting victim of these situations is the poor old version number. As LWN discovers in "What's in a (CentOS) version number?", CentOS is the latest victim of this bizarre phenomenon: "Traditionally, CentOS releases have used the same version number as the RHEL release they are based on; CentOS 6.5 is a rebuild of the RHEL 6.5 release, for example. The CentOS developers now want to change to a scheme where the major number matches the RHEL major number, but the minor number is generated from the release date. So, if the CentOS version of RHEL 7.0 were to come out in July 2014, it might have a version number like 7.1407. Derivative releases from CentOS special interest groups (SIGs) would have an additional, SIG-specific tag appended to that number. To the CentOS developers, this change offers a number of advantages. The close tie with RHEL version numbers, it is claimed, can confuse users into believing that a release is supported with security updates when it is not."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Multiple distributions on a DVD or USB thumb drive
Packing-them-in-tight asks: A general thought to pass around please, hopefully it might provoke someone who knows how to do it ... to do it! Most of the distros come as ISOs, needing to be written to a CD/DVD to become bootable. However, now that DVDs are so prevalent, cheap and readable on almost any hardware, surely a better idea is to provide distros in a form which would let them be written to a folder structure of some sort on a DVD -- to keep them isolated from each other -- and an option added to a general boot menu to permit the given DVD to boot whichever distro the user selects.
Extending that idea further, USB devices would be an even better choice. I can suggest a very simple way to be able to load a variable number of distros to a given DVD. For example, each ISO goes into a folder simply numbered from say /ISO1 to /ISO99 as necessary and the boot software would search for such folders, provide a list and load and boot the ISO chosen. That way a DVD could be updated with additional distros until there is no room left on the DVD. What do you think?
DistroWatch answers: What you are describing, putting multiple operating systems on a single live DVD/USB, has been done. There are a number of projects which allow users to run a variety of Linux distributions all from one CD/DVD/USB drive. A quick search turned up a few different methods for creating a multi-boot disc.
First, there is the command line utility MultiCD which requires a little Linux command line knowledge to get working, but gives a great deal of flexibility. For people who prefer a point-n-click option, there is YUMI. The YUMI application is cross-platform (working on both Linux and Windows) and provides a nice graphical interface. You might also look at SARDU which provides a graphical interface and walks the user through creating a multi-boot live disc or USB drive. Any of the above utilities will provide a fairly straight forward approach to placing multiple operating systems on one portable medium.
|Released Last Week
Rémi Verschelde has announced the release of Mageia 4.1, an unscheduled maintenance update that fixes a number of security issues and corrects an upstream syslinux bug: "While most of the world is turned towards Brazil to enjoy the World Cup, Mageia has been preparing its own major worldwide event: Mageia 4.1 has been released! If you were not expecting it, you might wonder what this unannounced 4.1 version is. It is a maintenance release for Mageia 4 which contains all security and bug-fix updates that were issued since the release in February 2014. In particular, the Mageia 4 ISO images were affected by an upstream syslinux bug which prevented installation using a burned DVD on some older hardware. Among the updated packages you will find the Linux kernel (version 3.12.21), various drivers for your hardware, and updated software." Here is the full release announcement.
Clemens Toennies has announced the release of Netrunner 14, a Kubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring a customised KDE 4.13 desktop and five years of security support: "The Netrunner team today released Netrunner 14 'Frontier' – 32-bit and 64-bit editions. The release follows Kubuntu's support cycle, giving it a full 5 year support life via the backport repositories. Release notes: long-term support; Firefox instant start (on machines with more than 2 GB of RAM); KDE Dreamdesktop for animated backgrounds; Baloo superseding Nepomuk; single-click activated by default; new default theme; Veromix audio applet; the latest package updates available in the repositories, e.g. KDE 4.13.1, Firefox 30, VLC 2.1.4, Skype 4.3, Muon Discover 2.2 and many more." Read the full release announcement which includes a video demonstrating the animated wallpapers feature.
Netrunner 14 - the default KDE desktop
(full image size: 1,264kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
MakuluLinux 6.0 "KDE"
Jacque Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 6.0 "KDE" edition, a Debian-based desktop distribution shipping with the very latest KDE desktop: "The long-awaited update to the KDE edition is now over, Stability, speed and beauty is what drives this edition. Based on KDE 4.13.1 and Linux kernel 3.14.x PAE, now also fully supporting systemd. Complete overhaul of themes in the new edition, far more consistent transparency in borders, panels, widgets, pop-up menus. Background theme now uses the same standard theme the rest of Makulu editions use, therefore you have this beautiful dark charcoal look. Please note that anyone wanting to change the theme need to change it for both user and root. Plenty of widgets, themes, styles and colours have been added to this edition allowing the user to customise the look easily to his own preference and taste with plenty choices at his finger tips." Read the complete release announcement for more details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- n00bix. n00bix is a Debian-based distribution which ships with non-free firmware, systemd and the Enlightenment graphical user interface.
- Zentoo. Zentoo is a source-based distribution derived from Gentoo. Zentoo targets server deployments on 64-bit x86 platforms.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 30 June 2014. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
1 • Multiboot USB - one more candidate (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-06-23 08:06:25 GMT from United States) |
Sourceforge project multibootusb demonstrates use of one version of syslinux to boot a distro built with another version. [Linux or Windows]
2 • Antergos (by Andreas on 2014-06-23 12:30:05 GMT from Germany)
Huh, I installed Antergos yesterday and didn't have problems with it.
3 • @2 • Antergos (by mandog on 2014-06-23 12:48:01 GMT from Peru)
Sounds like the arch repros were resyncing when jesse was trying to install.
4 • Antergos (by Tom on 2014-06-23 12:51:18 GMT from Germany)
Sounds like Antergos is a moody beast with some people. Sadly, I cannot even get the live CD to boot - it simply gets ignored
5 • Antergos (by Thomas on 2014-06-23 12:58:29 GMT from United States)
I can get Antergos to finish it's install fine, but I can't get it to boot. I installed it successfully in VirtualBox, so I guess it's a hardware problem or a problem dual booting Windows 8.
6 • Antergos (by Bretzel on 2014-06-23 13:06:32 GMT from Canada)
I also did intall the latest Antergos "spin" (May 2014) and I did not have problems, excepted for the timezone - but I guess it was backgound duties related to (internet ?) data queries...
My only problems with (all)linux since one of the (not so) genius at kernel modules admin decided to remove the r8168 driver module to be replaced by the r8169 module which don`t works at all for my internal-mb ehternet card. I have to play magician-guru -> manually install the module: disable/blacklist r8169 on the bootloader options ; boot the installer/live; access the (previously downloaded correct version) package file and install it....start dhcpcd to get connected to the net.
Not every one may have the same patience to do what I do.
7 • Distros and Microsoft Surface3 (by Michael Leones on 2014-06-23 13:10:40 GMT from United States)
I would love to see Debian working on Surface 3. Great hardware
8 • @1 @5 (by jaws222 on 2014-06-23 13:16:11 GMT from United States)
I've installed the latest Antergos in Virtualbox and to a partition using a live cd without issue. However, I did try unetbootin from a usb without luck. Later I read that Antergos does not work using unetbootin. It was the i686 version, did not try the 64-bit yet.
9 • Unetbootin - vintage dd (by Fairly Reticent on 2014-06-23 13:32:27 GMT from United States)
Vintage versions of Unetbootin used the "dd" approach - low-level hardware dump of a disc image (likely destroying whatever partitioning and/or file-system) that didn't need to handle any file-system other than cdrom-ISO.
10 • Various points and questions (by cykodrone on 2014-06-23 14:34:48 GMT from Canada)
Nice to see Trinity is alive and well (Q4OS).
Putting the panel at the top of the screen was and is not a good idea (any DE or distro), it's like an extremely tall person in a low ceiling room having to arch their back and neck, the top of the screen is precious real estate, silly for a panel to occupy, the first thing I do is move it to the bottom.
No longer care what Ubuntu or Canonical is up to.
Very glad Fedora is tuning YUM(ex), it's slow and confusing, and refreshes way too much unnecessarily.
Lots of distros have moved to date style versions, welcome to the club CentOS.
Love the Netrunner wallpaper but why are the 'desktop' sample pics always in a 4:1 format? This is 2014, most people own a 16:9 monitor by now, let the 4:1 owners use the horizontal scroll bar in their browsers, lol.
11 • of two hats (by :wq on 2014-06-23 17:38:44 GMT from United States)
I always viewed "DNF" as a temporary name while the fork was a tech preview. DNF should be renamed YUM. While it has been available since Fedora 18, with it becoming the default in Fedora 22, I'm sure some issues will crop up once it is has benefited from a larger user base. "Did Not Finish" has already been bandied about by some, the last thing the Fedora Project needs is for that moniker to catch on in response to any potential transitional hiccups. DNF (the name, at least) seems like a self-inflicted wound waiting to happen.
The CentOS version numbering scheme seems more like a minor protect-the-brand move (the brand being RHEL) than anything the CentOS SIGs are in dire need of (particularly if the SIGs are going to use a "-$TAG" naming element for their releases). This may be a completely unintentional impression the CentOS devs are giving, but I do think the change opens the door to that interpretation. Thankfully there isn't yet a note on the CentOS home page reading "we recommend RHEL instead". I would actually prefer just a timestamp-based numbering scheme over a RHEL version+timestamp numbering scheme if a change is pushed through, although I'd infinitely prefer CentOS keep their current version numbering scheme, and add a disclaimer about not offering AUS, EUS, and ELS updates if they feel such a disclaimer is warranted. I don't think the proposed versioning system clarifies that any better. Meanwhile Oracle Linux, Scientific Linux & Fermi Linux, and Springdale Linux will stay in version numbering lockstep with RHEL.
12 • Screens (by Peter Besenbruch on 2014-06-23 18:03:19 GMT from Switzerland)
"...why are the 'desktop' sample pics always in a 4:1 format? This is 2014, most people own a 16:9 monitor by now, let the 4:1 owners use the horizontal scroll bar in their browsers, lol."
Somebody's a bit math challenged. ;)
On a more serious note, I suspect the reviewer has a 4:3 screen, and that's why we have 4:3 screenshots (this message sent from my 1280x1024 screen).
I don't much like 16:9 screen ratios, although I can work with them. 16:10 displays are another matter. I find they can both accommodate programs with top tool bars, and two page, side by side displays.
13 • @12 Ratio correction (by cykodrone on 2014-06-23 20:31:27 GMT from Canada)
Thank you, you are correct, my aging brain is a little fuzzy today, lol. But I still wonder... ;)
14 • CentOS Versioning (by Justus on 2014-06-23 21:12:07 GMT from United States)
I'm not particularly fond of the proposed version number change. To me, the version of RHEL that a particular release is based on is far more relevant than the release date.
If it really is that important, there's no reason why you can't do both (IE, 6.5.1407).
15 • An easy way to make multiboot SD-card for ARM (by K.U. on 2014-06-23 23:30:30 GMT from Finland)
A very easy way to create a multiboot SD-card for Raspberry pi and devices with an Allwinner (=Boxchip) A10 processor is Berryboot, see http://www.berryboot.com/
Berryboot is special in that it has an easy to use Linux installer and menu based bootloader combined in the same program. In addition, users of A10 based devices can also enjoy an Android app to install Berryboot to an SD-card. Actually, I found Berryboot so practical that in my opinion some of its ideas should be copied even to x86.
16 • Antergos installation (by Peter on 2014-06-24 00:04:43 GMT from United States)
I tried to install the last release of Antergos on my hdd and after almost installing it hung indefinitely. Finally when I forced a reboot, not only did it not boot, but it overwrote the MBR even thought I told it not to. When I used superGrubDisk to try to get my quad-boot system back in shape it wasn't recognizing the linux installs. I eventually was able to boot into one of them and reinstall grub, but the Antergos experience brought me back to my early days of using linux when hosing my whole system, or being scared I'd hosed it, was not uncommon. Until Antergos gets its installation act together, I recommend Manjaro or Bridge Linux.
17 • RE: Multiple distributions on a DVD or USB thumb drive (by jmichael2497 on 2014-06-24 00:35:51 GMT from United States)
thanks to some versatile script tricks and grub, i find using easy2boot with a usb flash drive fairly easy. just prep a drive, copy iso files to it, the main caveat is having to run a utility to make sure the iso is continguous and not broken in chunks.
boot and it will autogenerate a menu, pretty handy for quick use and testing live distros. just needs a custom script if you want persistent storage files. i've used it for trying out multiple puppy distros on a single 1g flash drive, currently have mx-14 and Porteus on it.
windows users can setup the flash drive a bit more easily with the rmprepusb tool, but really just needs a flash drive with grub, as instructed on their site.
18 • RE: Multiple distributions on a DVD or USB thumb drive (by jmichael2497 on 2014-06-24 00:37:46 GMT from United States)
uh... that was my first time commenting, just realized i shouldn't have put the url where i did... i am not affiliated with http://www.easy2boot.com/ but i just like using it, so just to be clear i'm not claiming any of its awesomeness for my own.
19 • Top 7 days Distrowatch rating Linux OS's (by santiago g ronquillo on 2014-06-24 06:01:07 GMT from United States)
Top 7 days DistroLinux rating Linux OS's didn't install correctly until Zorin 8 did..many ones with USB boot able sticks and burning DVD ISO's can't install correctly with drivers problems like e.g Puppy Linux wasn't detect notebook tablet drivers and moreover I reading reviews of Nvidia don't work with all's OS's etc.. in short, like OS/2 all installations made me having just one at time for surf comfortable and learning how Zorin Linux programs works..on i386 x86_64 replacing windows until now with good replaced it.
20 • MultiSystem & MultiBootUSB (by Simon Plaistowe on 2014-06-24 06:32:41 GMT from )
To boot multiple distros on a USB drive, MultiBootUSB (multibootusb.org) is my favourite for simplicity, also MultiSystem (http://sourceforge.net/projects/multisystem/) is worth a try if you want more "bells & whistles".
21 • Debian LTS (by jymm on 2014-06-24 12:05:29 GMT from United States)
Does anyone know if we will have to enable new repositories for the Squeeze LTS support?
22 • Multiboot software: +1 for Easy2Boot (by Neitsab on 2014-06-24 14:54:59 GMT from France)
After a couple of months fiddling with various sotfwares to create a multiboot USB device, I finally settled on Easy2Boot for its simplicity and extendibility. Another major argument IMO is that it doesn't overwrite the distro-specific boot menu, like Multisystem or other syslinux-based installers do.
After setting up the USB drive the first time, one just has to copy ISO files over to the appropriate folder and... that's all. No need to use a specific software/interface, no need to wait for an update to have a new ISO supported... It globally JUST WORKS with most payload files. I couldn't believe it, but it's true, multiboot USB made KISS-simple.
After trying in vain to have it work with ext(4) file system and stalling on the dreaded "File is not contiguous" error systematically, I switched to just using FAT32 on my 64 GB USB 3.0 key and it works without a hitch. Never complains, just works.
The new website (http://www.easy2boot.com/) is not that easy to navigate, so GNU/Linux drive preparation tutorial can be found here --> http://www.rmprepusb.com/tutorials/114
Important note: the author explicitly states that "Easy2Boot is 'open source' - it consists of plain text batch files and open source grub4dos utilities - there is no proprietary software in Easy2Boot."
Kudos to the author
23 • Antergos Installer (by cc_INC on 2014-06-24 15:03:47 GMT from Netherlands)
I thought I was the only one who had the issue with the installer.
I tried numerous times with the same result: installer crashed on me.
Too bad, I was really looking forward to giving this distro a run.
24 • Antegros Installer - FIX! (by Larry G on 2014-06-24 19:11:29 GMT from United States)
There's a problem with the Antegros installer using the graphical installer method. They know about it (it will be fixed in their ISO), in the meantime here's a link to the forum article where a solution/workaround exists:
25 • @21debian_lts (by gee7 on 2014-06-24 20:30:43 GMT from United States)
Yes, you need to enable new repositories, for details see:
This amounts to:
for binary and source packages add these lines:
deb http://http.debian.net/debian/ squeeze-lts main contrib non-free
deb-src http://http.debian.net/debian/ squeeze-lts main contrib non-free
and then doing:
# apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
I have yet to do this myself as my Squeeze is on another computer and I have been busy on this one this week. A job for the weekend.
26 • @10 Panel on top (by Kazlu on 2014-06-25 09:42:20 GMT from France)
I agree with you when you say that a panel on top when you already have a window decoration, various menus and a path bar, that eats a lot of your vertical space and lets little for displaying content. But other people may think differently. To me, setting the panel on the bottom does not solve the problem on 16:9 or 16:10 screens: although it's more comfortable to my eye, it still eats vertical space where it's too scarce. That's why I put it to the left: less screen space eaten, even if I enlarge it a bit. Not a problem with 4:3 screens, there you have enough vertical but not much horizontal space so I usually leave it in the bottom.
That being said, what Unity does is very interesting in terms of screen occupation, since when a window is maximized the top panel, the window decoration and the menus are merged. Too bad it is a bloated and spying controversial desktop, that does not make it worth it...
27 • @26 Panel location (by cykodrone on 2014-06-25 12:51:15 GMT from Canada)
You make some very good points, it's nice to read other opinions about the subject. I like your 'to the left' idea, I may even try it. Reminds of that Beyonce song, "To the left To the left To the left To the left". :D
28 • Panel Location. (by Garon on 2014-06-25 17:38:24 GMT from United States)
@26 and 27,
I agree when you talk about panel locations and monitor screen size. My wife uses a 4:3 and her panel works fine on the bottom. I use a 16:9 and my launch panel in on the left side. Yes on several of my systems I use Ubuntu with Unity which I consider a superior desktop environment to many others but that is just personal taste. I still wonder what people are talking about when they say spyware. I've not been able to find any. It is a mystery. Also the term bloat is really useless now. You ask ten different people what bloat means and you'll get 10 different answers. I believe anything with the Cinnamon DE is bloated but it has been a while since I've used it so it may be better now. I'm typing this on a Debian system using Openbox. It's not bloated but does lack some functionally tho. To each his own, and it is nice to be able to use so many different distros with different desktop environments. I can handle everything except maybe Metro. ;)
29 • Antegors Live run and Installation (by Mech for i on 2014-06-25 21:08:21 GMT from Hong Kong)
Hmm, this is kind of frustrating. I was pretty happy with its former versions when it was still Cinnarch , work decent and well enough, but it seems something got broken along the line. This version we have right now, well I have numerous problem have it running live and even after I've managed to finally install it ( that is after 8 tries ) it fails to run straight. So I guess I am not the only one suffering.
For now, if I want my Arch based ; I would just stick with Manjaro
30 • Antergos (by Bernhard on 2014-06-25 21:45:41 GMT from Germany)
Jesse, you should defintely give it a try (again) and install Antergos. As a former "rolling-release-skeptic" who had some bad experiences with Manjaro (from one day to another my brother printer stopped working) I'm currently very pleased with that distro.
Just try the following steps as mentioned in the Antergos-Forum (http://forum.antergos.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1846):
1. After live system boots and Cnchi installer appears, exit the installer.
2. Press Alt+F2
3. Input " cnchi-dev "
4. Press enter
5. Wait 1-5 minutes while the script updates. The installer will automatically launch once the update has completed.
Give it a try!
31 • @28 Ubuntu Unity Spyware (by Rev_Don on 2014-06-26 01:05:27 GMT from United States)
I find it incredulous that you can claim to not know about, or understand about the well known and well documented Spyware in later releases of Ubuntu with Unity. Admittedly, it is only in Ubuntu 12.10 and later that have it, but it is most definitely there. It's part of the Search function where all searches (even searches to the local hard drive) are sent over the internet to (and thru) Canonical. That's why you get moronic results from Amazon, etc. when you try to search for a file that is on your computer. You can turn it off, but it should be shipped as Opt-In instead of Opt-Out. That's what the Spyware is all about.
You can easily find out more information about it via a simple search on the Internet via your favorite search engine using "Ubuntu Unity Spyware" which is why I find it so incredulous that you wonder what people are talking about. It would only take about 10 seconds on a slow connection to find results that doucment it, and 5 to 10 minutes at best to actually read the information (less time than it took me to type this post)..
32 • A link for 28, lol (by cykodrone on 2014-06-26 03:32:41 GMT from Canada)
I highlighted Rev_Don's quote and right-clicked...Search DuckDuckGo...
33 • @30 (by jaws222 on 2014-06-26 04:14:49 GMT from United States)
"Jesse, you should definitely give it a try (again) and install Antergos"
I agree. Like I stated earlier I installed the i686 version and it runs like a dream. The PacmanXG is really sweet.
34 • Antergos Installation (by DipTheBeak on 2014-06-26 11:13:43 GMT from United States)
Hi Jesse. Thanks for trying Antergos. Sorry to hear you had a difficult time. :( As others have already stated, yes please do try to install again. According to your specs on your rig (nice!), my 7 installs of Antergos were on rigs with very, very "similar" specs.
For me, I have used the ext4, btrfs (This one still buggy, needs more cooking.) and xfs file systems. The DEs, were: GNOME 3/Shell, KDE and Xfce. Normally for me, out of a habit, once I reach the Live CD/DVD environment, I close installer, by choosing "try first", mainly to setup the wireless and check the sound, and what not. Oh, by the way, on all the installs I used a DVDRW, not USB...yet.
Currently, typing this post from an Xfce install of Antergos. YMMV
Everyone have a good day. :)
35 • @31 and 32 Same old nonsense. (by Garon on 2014-06-26 17:59:18 GMT from United States)
It should be opt-in instead of opt-out. Yes, yes we all know that Rev. That is going to change also with Unity 8. I'm sure that you've read that but still the FUD continues. I'll tell you again how I interpret the term SPYWARE. If I know about it then it is not spyware in the sense of being a covert operation. I have a choice weather to participate or not. If a person is so thick that they cannot turn it off or claim they don't know how to or claims to not know that it's there then I really feel sorry for the poor chap. People like RMS will not accept anything less than 100% complete free software so their opinion on the matter is irrelevant. There are only a very few distros they would even touch. I know exactly what you and cykrdrone are talking about and my definition of spyware does not fit yours. Do you say that the search engines of LinuxMint is not spyware? Are you saying that it is just fine for Yahoo! and DuckDuckGo to share revenue with the LinuxMInt team when users click on certain links in those search engines? Of course its okay. It helps to fund the project and it's the users choice. Not everyone feels that way tho. Some even call it SPYWARE. Come on people. If you really looked up the definition of spyware and could see the damage that REAL spyware does then you would know that these search engine trackers and monitors are nothing that really need to be worried about or preached about. At least we have control of these little trackers and it's our choice what we want to do with them.
36 • Re: 35 Spyware. (by Rev_Don on 2014-06-26 20:31:02 GMT from United States)
Not FUD, but the truth. Sure it can be turned off, but it never should have been turned on by default in the first place. That isn't open to debate, but a plain hard fact. I'm not an idiot who doesn't know how to.
As for whether it's actually Spyware or not, IMNSHO it is only because a search of my LOCAL drive still goes thru Canonical. That fits the definition of Spyware in my book.
Comparing that to DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Google, or other search engines doing INTERNET searches is comparing Apples to Oranges. I expect a Search Engine that is searching the Internet to share certain information and don't have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is performing what should be a LOCAL search of MY PERSONAL COMPUTER to go thru some third party on the internet. That is the problem, and it's a HUGE one.
37 • @35 You completely miss the point (by cykodrone on 2014-06-26 20:39:26 GMT from Canada)
Sneaky 'opt out' of a data mining searches is unacceptable, we are not just talking internet searches here, that includes LOCAL machine searches being transmitted. Really?!. You are assuming every user of Ubuntu is at your skill level when Canonical's whole agenda all along is n00b user friendly out-of-the-box, drawing in converts from other OSes. I won't use Ubuntu for the same reason I never turn on package data on my Android, the second I do, a ton of 'built in' "spyware" (including uninstallable, unstoppable F-book, among others, designated a 'system process', and yes, I know about rooting, there's an issue of warranty and contract, I made my carrier aware of the legal ramifications of FOURTH party spyware, none of which I agreed to or was told would be on the phone when I bought it). So your fluffy justifications are a poor parallel.
38 • Multiple distributions on a DVD or USB thumb drive and UEFI (by Ben Myers on 2014-06-27 04:24:13 GMT from United States)
For the most part, I have used YUMI to pack multiple ISOs on a single flash stick. It seems to work just fine, except that when you get to "more secure" UEFI systems, you have to fritter around with BIOS settings, turning off UEFI and using the legacy BIOS option. Of course, the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface makes the computer more secure for Microsoft and its wonderful Windows, not for those of us who use computers. Anybody got an UEFI antidote to add to a flash stick?
39 • Yes it is still spyware (by M.Z. on 2014-06-27 08:35:24 GMT from United States)
I've looked high and low on the official Ubuntu website & never found anything going into any detail about how revenue is generated through the Ubuntu search function. The simple check I did of their website near the last release indicates that the Ubuntu folks are not entirely upfront with users about data being sent out over the internet. Given that lack of upfront information and what #37 said about targeting less aware/noob users, Ubuntu definitely is spyware. All comparisons with web searches are apples to oranges because search engines are by definition a web based service and most users don't expect privacy from them. On the other hand things done directly within the interface of the OS are not expected to be sent out over the internet, and in the Unity Dash that is exactly what happens.
Sending data about users over the internet without their consent/knowledge is a good definition of spyware, and Ubuntu easily meets this definition for the vast majority of potential users who aren't informed. I'll admit that all forms of Linux lend themselves to a more savvy user base because they are generally installed directly by the user; however, that doesn't mean that every user will know about the spyware, as it can easily be missed through lack of research. Ubuntu did a massive disservice to the privacy of users when it designed & implemented the search functions in the Unity desktop. I will always associate Ubuntu with spyware because spyware is what they pushed out to their users. I hope they change their ways soon, but Ubuntu has a lot of work to do if they want people in the know who care about privacy to ever trust them again or recommend their product.
40 • Ubuntu, spyware, Canonical, etc (by gregzeng on 2014-06-27 09:49:40 GMT from Australia)
So much hostility & mistrust about Ubuntu on the internet, which is creating a bad reputation for so many other Ubuntu-related products. The bad reputation, I think, is about Canonical's Ubuntu Unity distributions, only. Not the other non-Canonical products.
Canonical's poor reputation should not include independently managed products. These other products are managed by communities, individuals, organizations - with no legal obligations to Ubuntu, other than the open source licence demands.
On the "spyware" allegations, critics are avoiding the "spyware" on so many internet browsers, on all operating systems, produced by all sorts of individuals and organizations. Some of these internet browsers are "disguised" as operating system file managers. Often these spyware gadgets will direct your input to a foreign 3rd party, such as a site default-favored by the creator of the spyware.
Even Firefox-type internet browsers will post your inputs to Yahoo, etc ... unless you deliberately change to coder's defaults.
41 • Spyware - common functions? (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-06-27 14:30:28 GMT from United States)
"... internet browsers will post your inputs ..."
DNS (default report to ISP's choice, usually Google)
"Block reported sites" (default report to Google)
certificate validation (default report to Verisign)
browser health/crash report (default to browser distributors)
42 • Spyware (by Jeff on 2014-06-27 16:50:13 GMT from United States)
Where I see the problem is that there should not be an internet search using a search engine to look for files or applications on my computer.
Search engines are mostly revenue driven and as such they track and record users activities.
If I want a text document in my home partition why should my computer look on Amazon ?
There is also the simple fact that it is much less efficient and much slower, which is not the impression that should be given to new Linux users.
Ubuntu is marketed to new Linux users, do we really want them to think it is slower than and thus inferior to commercial OSes ?
There are some who want to keep the user base of Linux small like a private club, but that will not encourage hardware manufacturers to consider Linux compatibility in their designs.
43 • @ jaws222 unetbootin being unusable is a known issue (by RJA on 2014-06-27 19:30:57 GMT from United States)
Also problematic with Ubuntu, all the boot loader does is display "Boot error" when I used unetbootin.
44 • "Boot Error" (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-06-28 15:45:23 GMT from United States)
I usually encounter that when a buggy BIOS mis-recognizes a drive. If-I-Remember-Correctly, it helps to put an MBR on the drive, and sometimes a second partition (however small). RMprepUSB has some educational material on that topic.
(I find such hardware manufacturer pranks aggravating.)
45 • The dreaded "Boot error" bug occurs with traditional BIOS, too (by RJA on 2014-06-29 03:19:14 GMT from United States)
And a traditional BIOS don't require those tiny partitions to boot.
46 • "Boot Error" (by Somewhat Reticent on 2014-06-29 10:46:24 GMT from United States)
Yes, bugs are traditional in BIOS. Hardware vendors love pranks. It's part of the popular proprietary mindset.
47 • @46 BIOS problems (by cykodrone on 2014-06-29 18:08:27 GMT from Canada)
Gee that's funny because I never have any problems with Gigabyte boards, I keep my BIOS(es) updated to the latest stable version, I purposely avoid the betas. I switched from Asus boards years ago because of poor quality components on their boards (dying USB ports, etc), and I found their BIOS software to be of poor quality and buggy. I stay away from other cheap brands like Microstar (MSI), etc, too (the one time I did buy an MSI, it reeked of chemicals when I took it out of the box, after installing the board the computer fans blew the smell in to the room, I hoped the smell would stop but it didn't). Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, then sent it back, lol.
48 • @47 BIOS problems (by RJA on 2014-06-29 19:18:47 GMT from United States)
I never really had a problem with the BIOS on Asus motherboards.
(At least not like Soyo back in 2001, where it would freeze at stock clocks)
49 • RoboLinux 7.5.4 a Disappointment (by Ben Myers on 2014-06-30 03:36:11 GMT from United States)
I wanted to repurpose an IBM Thinkpad T43 recently removed from service, so I installed the x86 version of RoboLinux 7.5.4.
Disappointment #1: The install did not automatically recognize the vanilla Intel 2915 802.11b/g wifi card.
Disappointment #2: I tried to install the driver for the 2915, got bumped to the command line where sudo wanted my username's password. It would not accept the password, so no-go with sudo and the 2915.
Disappointment #3: I tried to report the 2915 problem on the RoboLinux discussion forum, but I was not authorized to do so, and nothing there told me what I have to do to become authorized.
Now, I have mucho years of experience in the computer biz, and if I can't easily and simply get RoboLinux up and running on hardware that it supports fully, how on earth can they expect a BEGINNER to do so.
In summary, and sadly, RoboLinux no-go.
Number of Comments: 49
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|• Issue 644 (2016-01-18): Kwort 4.3, Sabayon tests ARM images, Slackware adopts PulseAudio, running Linux without GNU software|
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|• Issue 642 (2016-01-04): paldo GNU/Linux, vetting distro repositories, Fedora plans to adopt GCC 6, Ian Murdock passes|
|• Issue 641 (2015-12-21): Arch Linux, Qubes OS to ship on Librem laptops, ALT offers start kit images, the spread of systemd and launchd|
|• Issue 640 (2015-12-14): Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11, removing meta-data from files, Ubuntu to remove on-line dash searches|
|• Issue 639 (2015-12-07): OpenBSD 5.8, openSUSE gathers Summer of Code proposals, running WINE on a live disc, Enlightenment adds Wayland support|
|• Issue 638 (2015-11-30): Qubes OS 3.0, KaOS with Plasma, NetBSD 7.0, Fedora seeks Wayland testers, scheduling tasks|
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|• Issue 636 (2015-11-16): openSUSE 42.1, Fedora uses Wayland by default, Debian replaces live CD project, Steam consoles launch|
|• Issue 635 (2015-11-09): Fedora 23, Cinnamon 2.8 released, a Fedora KDE packager quits, Red Hat signs deal with Microsoft|
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