| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 573, 25 August 2014
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Many of us got into Linux and other open-source operating systems, in part at least, because we are interested in how our computers work. What goes on under the hood, how do all of these software packages fit together, how is software made and how can we use these operating systems to improve our lives? These are all important questions and this curiosity many of us have is the focus of this week's DistroWatch Weekly. In our News section we talk about how a distribution is packaged, patched and maintained, using Kubuntu as an example. We also talk about how to use FreeBSD to act as a VPN gateway on the local network, securing our Internet traffic. Plus we wish happy birthday to Debian, one of the world's oldest and most successful distributions. In honour of Debian's birthday, our feature review this week examines SolydXK, a Debian-based distribution that offers many flavours and builds. SolydXK has its roots in the Linux Mint community and we will see how it compares against Linux Mint Debian Edition. In our Question and Answer section this week we talk about trust and how we can verify that a binary package has not been compromised during the build process. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to exciting developments to come. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (30MB) and MP3 (33MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of SolydXK 201407
The SolydXK project has its roots in the Linux Mint Debian Edition distribution. According to SolydXK's website, "there were two distributions which I liked very much: Linux Mint KDE and Linux Mint "Debian" edition (LMDE). There were once rumours that the two would merge, but unfortunately that didn't happen. So, I decided to make my own distribution. First as a tutorial in the forum, but later it became known as 'The unofficial LMDE KDE'. When Linux Mint dropped their LMDE Xfce edition, I started that one from scratch and 'The unofficial LMDE Xfce' was born." So what is SolydXK now? "SolydX and SolydK are Debian based distributions with the Xfce and KDE desktops. SolydXK aims to be simple to use, providing an environment that is both stable and secure. SolydXK is an open-source alternative for small businesses, non-profit organizations and home users."
The SolydXK project divides its focus into two main parts. On the one hand we have the Business edition which is available in Xfce and KDE flavours. There is also a "Back Office" flavour of the Business edition that features more business oriented options. The Business edition of SolydXK is based on Debian's Stable branch and ships with the SysV init system. The Home edition of SolydXK is offered in two flavours (Xfce and KDE) and is based on Debian's Testing branch. The Home edition of the distribution ships with the systemd init technology. Each flavour of SolydXK is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds.
I decided to try the Home edition of SolydXK and downloaded the 64-bit build of the Xfce image. This image file is approximately 1.3GB in size. Booting from the distribution's live media brought me to a Xfce desktop environment that was themed to look surprisingly like a KDE 4 desktop. The application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. The default wallpaper features the SolydXK branding and, on the desktop, we find icons for browsing the file system and launching the project's system installer.
SolydXK's graphical system installer appears to be a derivative of the Linux Mint "Debian" edition installer. This installer walks us through a series of screens where we select our preferred language from a list, pick our time zone from a map of the world and confirm our keyboard's layout. We are asked to create a user name for ourselves and set a password on our new account. Next, the system installer will offer to partition out hard disk for us. We can take this guided option which defaults to using the ext4 file system for our root partition and creating a small swap partition. Alternatively we can launch the GParted partition manager using a button in the system installer and divide up the disk however we wish.
We are then given a few configuration options. These options ask whether we wish to install a boot loader along with SolydXK, whether we wish to see a graphical boot screen when we start SolydXK and whether we wish the distribution to include multimedia support out of the box. Once we have checked boxes indicating which options we want to enable we are shown a confirmation screen where our previous selections are displayed. Once we confirm the configuration is correct the system installer copies its files to the local drive and, when it is finished, we are asked to reboot the computer.
Booting SolydXK brings us to a graphical login screen. Signing into the account we created during the installation process brings us back to the Xfce desktop. Upon logging in the first time a welcome screen appears. This welcome screen mostly offers to open our web browser to key pages of the project's website. The welcome screen can take us to the SolydXK user support forum, the contribution and donation pages, the partnership page or to a collection of tutorials for newcomers to the distribution. The welcome screen can also launch the distribution's Device Driver Manager, a graphical application which helps us identify which pieces of our hardware can benefit from third-party drivers. The Device Driver Manager can then download new kernels or drivers and install them for us.
SolydXK 201407 - reviewing software updates and release notes
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Shortly after logging in an icon appeared in the system tray indicating software updates were available. Clicking this icon brings up the distribution's software updater. The updater has a simple interface which shows us a list of waiting software updates. We cannot select which items we wish to install, we can choose only to install waiting updates or not. On the day I installed SolydXK there were 16 new packages available, totalling about 3MB in size. The update manager downloaded these items and installed them without any problems. The update manager does have a few additional features. Using the software updater we can select which repositories we wish to use, how often to check for updates and we can freeze selected packages at a specific version. SolydXK releases quarterly update packages and detailed release notes on these packages can be be found in the update manager.
Digging into SolydXK's application menu we find lots of useful desktop software. The Firefox web browser is included and, if we chose to install third-party multimedia support at install time, Adobe's Flash plugin is available too. The Thunderbird e-mail client is included in the application menu along with the Pidgin messaging software, the Transmission bittorrent application and the XChat IRC client. SolydXK ships with the AbiWord word processor and the Gnumeric spreadsheet software. We are also given the Orage calendar software, a PDF viewer and a dictionary application. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is installed for us along with an image viewer and the Shotwell photo organizer. The distribution supplies us with the VLC multimedia player, the Exaile audio player and the Xfburn disc burning software. I found these multimedia applications supported a wide range of media formats and played all the media files I threw at them.
The application menu further includes a bulk file renaming utility, a graphical configuration tools for managing the firewall and the LuckyBackup software. The Clam anti-virus software is included for us along with applications for managing printers, creating Samba shares and working with system services via the systemd software. There is an application for managing user accounts and Network Manager is present to help us get on-line. SolydXK ships with Java, the GNU Compiler Collection and an e-mail server is running in the background. Behind the scenes the distribution ships with the Linux kernel, version 3.14.
SolydXK 201407 - running LuckyBackup
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I feel two of the applications which ship with SolydXK deserve special mention. The first is LuckyBackup which, as the name implies, helps the user create backups of their documents. LuckyBackup is interesting because, by default, it offers us a pretty easy set of choices. We choose a directory of files to backup and a location where we wish to place copies of those files. LuckyBackup then synchronizes our files from the source location to the destination. Where LuckyBackup gets its power is in the levels of configuration it allows. We can choose to configure our backup further, excluding certain directories or types of files, we can choose to backup our files to a directory inside the source directory and there are all sorts of filtering and tweaking options we can adjust. This makes LuckyBackup a surprisingly powerful application which is also, with its default settings, easy to work with for simple tasks. I like the balance struck with this application.
The other application I felt deserved a mention was the system services management program. This application acts as a graphical front end to systemd and I felt it lacked polish. The names of services are not easily recognizable. Further, there are three status fields and these are not particularly intuitive. For example, it took me a minute to figure out the difference between the "active state" and the "unit state" of services. This was further complicated in that the status fields do not update when we enable or disable a service. When I disabled a service or started a service its status would not change until I had clicked on another item and then come back to click on the changed item again. I was further frustrated by the fact that the application does not prompt for administrator permissions when it is launched from the application menu. This means we need to manually run the service manager from the command line if we want to start/stop services.
SolydXK 201407 - desktop settings and various applications
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SolydXK uses the Synaptic graphical package manager to handle adding or removing software. The Synaptic package manager shows us a simple list of available software, presented in alphabetical order. The package manager allows us to queue packages for installation or removal by clicking a checkbox next to each item. Using Synaptic we can create batches of actions we wish to perform, filter available packages by their status or search for items by name. Synaptic processes actions to be performed in batches, locking the interface while it works. I found Synaptic was not a pretty package manager, it can take a little while to get comfortable with the application, but it does work quickly and functioned for me without any issues. SolydXK is based on Debian, but it pulls software from its own repositories which appear to be copies of Debian Testing with some additional distribution-specific additions such as the Firefox web browser.
I tried running SolydXK in two environments, on a physical desktop machine and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both cases I found SolydXK ran smoothly. The distribution detected and properly utilized all of my desktop's hardware. When run in VirtualBox the distribution detected its environment and loaded the VirtualBox guest modules to provide a better experience. In both environments the distribution booted quickly, the desktop interface, powered by Xfce 4.10, was responsive and devoid of any clutter or distracting visual effects. The distribution required approximately 230MB of RAM when signed into the graphical environment.
SolydXK 201407 - firewall and anti-virus software
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The hardest part of getting started with SolydXK, for me at any rate, was picking the edition I wanted to try. There is quite a tree of options (Business vs Home edition, Xfce vs KDE, 32-bit vs 64-bit). I mention this mostly because I suspect my experiences with the distribution will not match the experiences of others and a large part of that may be the great range of options available even before we get to the system installer. That being said, I think SolydXK makes the range of choices available an asset. It can be a little overwhelming at first, but I like that the project offers a little something for just about everyone, ranging from small businesses to home users to people with lower-end equipment to people who want all sorts of features.
Once SolydXK was installed I felt as though I was running a copy of Debian with a few extra application and conveniences. The distribution was fast, stable and using the operating system was fairly straight forward. The distribution ships with a good collection of useful software and users have access to a huge collection of software packages in the repositories. On the other hand I feel as though SolydXK suffers from some small issues, many of which the distribution shares with its Debian base. For example, while Synaptic is a capable package manager, it feels a bit dated and I found myself missing more modern package managers such as Linux Mint's Software Manager or the Ubuntu Software Centre with their nicely presented interfaces, categories and ratings.
Other aspects of the Xfce edition of SolydXK presented this same sense of being capable, but not particularly attractive. The services manager, the update manager, application menu and default productivity software generally offered the desired functionality, but in a skin that felt several years out of date. This is not just a matter of one desktop theme verses another, but involves the placement of controls and the behaviour of these controls. I found this presentation interesting as Linux Mint Debian Edition has the same base and shares some similar tools, but where Mint carries the look and feel of a modern operating system, SolydXK's Xfce edition presents a more conservative style. Many may find this classic style appealing, even preferable, but I found it made SolydXK feel slightly out of date.
Otherwise, apart from the service manager, all the tools which shipped with the distribution worked very well. The operating system presented a good combination of power, performance and stability. SolydXK provides the power and performance of Debian while adding in some conveniences, such as a nicer system installer, more useful desktop applications in the default installation and I found the distribution had a pleasant lack of surprises. As I mentioned before, SolydXK has a lot of different editions and I will probably revisit the project again in the near future to try another flavour to compare and contrast last week's experiences. And I think the fact I look forward to installing SolydXK again is a good indication of my overall feelings for the distribution. SolydXK may have a few minor rough edges, but on the whole the project did a great job of providing a useful, appealing user experience.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Kubuntu plans changes to infrastructure, building VPN gateway with FreeBSD, Ubuntu MATE to become official Ubuntu flavour, what is Raspbian, Debian turns 21
Building a Linux distribution is a huge undertaking. It requires packaging thousands of pieces of software, building these packages, testing them and making sure all the components work together. On top of that there are bug fixes, backports and tracking feedback. There is a post on the KDE blog by Jonathan Riddell which talks about the work that goes into building and maintaining the Kubuntu distribution. Riddell also talks about changes coming to Kubuntu's infrastructure and invites feedback from the community. "At Kubuntu we've never shared infrastructure with Debian despite having 99% the same packaging. This is because Ubuntu to an extent defines itself as being the technical awesomeness of Debian with smoother processes. But for some time Debian has used Git while we've used the slower Bzr (it was an early plan to make Ubuntu take over the world of distributed revision control with Bzr but then Git came along and turned out to be much faster even if harder to get your head around) and they've also moved to team maintainership so at last we're planning shared repositories. That'll mean many changes in our scripts but should remove much of the headache of merges each cycle. There's also a proposal to move our packaging to daily builds so we won't have to spend a lot of time updating packaging at every release."
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Would you like to be able to make sure all the traffic leaving your home network is encrypted? Privacy is a serious concern these days and encrypting the data being transmitted to and from your home can help maintain a level of privacy when on-line. The Network Filter blog has a detailed tutorial on how to route all network traffic through a VPN gateway using the FreeBSD operating system. "I already linked before to many articles showing evidences about global automated privacy violation, automatic recording of everything we do online, as well as our phones, just in case it would be needed for "national interest". We are assumed criminals by default. You have to actively retain your privacy, or it will fade away by itself. In my last article, Defend Your Network And Privacy: VPN Gateway With OpenBSD, I explained how to build a home gateway to encrypt all of your outgoing traffic with OpenBSD. Now I come back with the same, but with FreeBSD 10 this time. There are many advantages in both OpenBSD and FreeBSD, I love both operating systems."
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Those readers who enjoy Ubuntu but prefer the more traditional desktop layout of GNOME 2 will be pleased to learn that Ubuntu MATE is on the path to become the latest addition to the family of official Ubuntu flavours. The ./themukt website reports: "Martin Wimpress updated the current development status of Ubuntu MATE in the distro's blog today. In addition to the regular update, he has confirmed that the MATE variant is going to be recognized as an official Ubuntu flavor. Rejoice, MATE lovers! The MATE desktop environment is a continuation of the GNOME 2 desktop environment for those who don't like the bells and whistles of GNOME 3 but loved the simplicity and productivity GNOME 2. The MATE team requested the Ubuntu Technical Board for an official flavor status recently and the board is supportive of the proposal. Martin also confirmed that there are no known show stoppers right now and things look good for an August 28th release of Ubuntu MATE beta 1."
Ubuntu MATE 14.10 Alpha 2 - the return of the "classic" interface
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Raspbian has emerged as the most popular general-purpose Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer. But what exactly is Raspbian? The Linux User magazine has published a useful article explaining Raspbian and why it has become a de-facto "default" distribution for Raspberry Pi: "It's mostly down to luck and good timing, really. A couple of years ago there was a Fedora spin that was being touted as the official Raspberry Pi distro, however there were some major problems with it. The project that became Raspbian ended up being chosen as a preferred distro around that time and the community really latched onto it. Since then, all the major Raspberry Pi Foundation announcements regarding software have involved Raspbian and pretty much all shared community projects are done on Raspbian, which is why we do a lot of our projects on it as well."
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Finally, we are happy to report that last week the Debian project turned 21 years old. On August 16 the following message appeared on Debian's website, "Today is Debian's 21st anniversary. Plenty of cities are celebrating Debian Day. If you are not close to any of those cities, there's still time for you to organize a little celebration! Happy 21st birthday Debian!" Debian is not only a respected distribution, especially popular in the server market, but it is also the basis for other well known distributions such as Linux Mint, Ubuntu and Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi. Happy birthday, Debian!
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Trusting binary packages
Establishing-trusts asks: People in the open-source world are mostly a little bit more aware of security issues. Many of us are worried about the spying activities done by NSA, GHCQ and others. We could see (and some people even suspected this even over 15 years ago) that products from Microsoft and Apple aren't really safe and agencies like NSA can force US-companies at any time to build back doors for them into their software and operating systems. Such secret extra access probably hides inside services from Google, Facebook, Amazon as well. American companies don't seem to have real choice of denying such requests from US-secret agencies.
But this would also mean that companies like Red Hat are affected from this problem too. So I ask: can we still trust the binary packages from Red Hat? Who guarantees us that their compiled code doesn't bare secret installations from NSA and others? Who has got the time to compare all the source code from Red Hat with the resulting binaries they deliver with their distro and products?
Furthermore we then have to question the reliability of the binary packages from Fedora as well. What do you think about this? Is it a worthwhile topic for further investigations or an article on this issue for you?
DistroWatch answers: First of all I want to repeat what I said a few weeks ago and point out that idle speculation and rumours do more harm than good. We can wildly speculate on whether one operating system or another is compromised for one reason or another, but without some form of evidence there is not any reason to point fingers and label a project or company as suspect. I believe a small dose of paranoia is helpful when it comes to matters of security, but wildly pointing fingers at organizations and declaring them compromised (or likely compromised) is not helping anyone. As I wrote before, most governments spy on people (both foreign and domestic) and singling out one operating system because it is based in America, China, Russia or the United Kingdom smacks of tribalism.
For that matter, why focus on Red Hat? There are lots of open-source operating systems developed in the United States of America and a huge portion of the GNU userland tools and the Linux kernel itself are maintained by people living in the USA. Personally, were I interested in compromising computer systems, I would be much more likely to try to sneak code into the Linux kernel or the GNU compiler and take over all Linux-based operating systems (including Android) than I would be to focus directly on one distribution, even one as popular as Red Hat's.
But let's get back to the root of the matter. How can one verify whether the packages they are running are untainted, truly representing the source code that is publicly available? That can be tricky. The first thing we need to do is figure out what we can trust. At some point we need to decide whether we trust the hardware we are running on, the kernel and the compiler. If we are running tests in a virtual machine, can we trust that it is giving us good results? Without an initial starting point of trust somewhere it is not possible to verify anything.
Let us assume, for sake of argument, that we trust the source code of all open-source projects. We may not trust the binary packages provided by distributions, but let's pretend we trust the source code. To verify a distribution's packages are clean we would need to build all of our tools from scratch (or find an existing binary we trust). We would then need to try to build and configure our compiling tools to match exactly the build environments used by organizations like Red Hat or Fedora. Then we could download the source RPM packages from the distribution's repository. Then we would have to build each tool ourselves and compare the output with the binary package provided by the distribution. This is a lot of work. In fact, it is basically rebuilding someone else's distribution from scratch.
The problem is, minor differences in just about any part of the build process can throw off the results. Over on the KDE blog, there is a post by Jos van den Oever where the author talks about trying to verify binary packages from Debian, Fedora and openSUSE. The results were not positive. "A cherished characteristic of computers is their deterministic behaviour: software gives the same result for the same input. This makes it possible, in theory, to build binary packages from source packages that are bit for bit identical to the published binary packages. In practice however, building a binary package results in a different file each time. This is mostly due to timestamps stored in the builds. In packages built on openSUSE and Fedora differences are seen that are harder to explain. They may be due to any number of differences in the build environment. If these can be eliminated, the builds will be more predictable. Binary package would need to contain a description of the environment in which they were built."
In short, I am afraid the answer to the question "Who has got the time to compare all the source code from Red Hat with the resulting binaries they deliver with their distro and products?" is very few of us have the time, few have the skills necessary and, even if one does have the skill and time to perform these tests, the results are not necessarily conclusive. When searching for misbehaving software you are probably better off setting up a network with a variety of operating systems. Then monitor the network to see if any unexpected traffic appears. Having different operating systems from different sources makes it more likely you can spot a misbehaving software packages when they send or receive packets.
|Released Last Week
Bill Reynolds has announced the release of PCLinuxOS 2014.08, the latest update of the project's "KDE", "FullMonty", "MiniMe", "LXDE" and "MATE" editions. Released on 12 August, it was formally announced earlier today: "All official ISO images were updated on 2014-08-12 and are available for direct download or via torrent. Features: Linux kernel 3.15.9 for maximum desktop performance; full KDE 4.13.3 desktop; updated desktop theme; X.Org Server 1.14.6; MESA 10.2.5; NVIDIA and ATI fglrx driver support; multimedia playback support for many popular formats; addlocale allows you to convert PCLinuxOS into over 60 languages; LibreOffice manager can install LibreOffice supporting over 100 languages..."
Anke Boersma has announced the release of KaOS 2014.08, a desktop Linux distribution featuring the just-released KDE 4.14 desktop: "With KDE releasing the new major version, KDE 4.14.0, offering primarily improvements and bug fixes, KaOS is happy to be able to present you a new ISO image with KDE 4.14.0 the same day it is released. KDE Applications 4.14 is not about lots of 'new and improved stuff'. As with KaOS, many KDE developers are focused on the Next Experience (Plasma 5) or porting to KDE Frameworks (based on Qt 5). Mostly, the 4.14 release is needed by aspects of the workflow. This release offers more software stability, with little emphasis on new and less-proven stuff. For KaOS, a new major KDE is not the biggest news on this ISO, that part goes to the all new installer." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and screenshots.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
July 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: OpenStreetMap|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the July 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is OpenStreetMap, a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. It receives US$350.00 in cash.
For those unfamiliar with the concept behind the project, Wikipedia has a nice description of OpenStreetMap: "Created by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004, it was inspired by the success of Wikipedia and the preponderance of proprietary map data in the UK and elsewhere. Since then, it has grown to over 1.6 million registered users, who can collect data using manual survey, GPS devices, aerial photography, and other free sources. This crowd-sourced data is then made available under the Open Database License. The site is supported by the OpenStreetMap Foundation, a non-profit organization registered in the United Kingdom." See also the project's About page for further information.
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$40,475 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), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350)
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New distributions added to database
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 September 2014. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
DesktopBSD was an operating system based on FreeBSD and the FreeSBIE live CD. Its main goal was to provide a desktop operating system that was easy to use, but still has all the functionality and power of BSD. In the long term, DesktopBSD wants to build an operating system that meets most requirements desktop users have, like installing software, configuring power management or sharing an internet connection.