| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 612, 1 June 2015
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
An important aspect of the free and open source community is the liberty each person experiences. Through free and open source software, developers have the right to express themselves in their work and users gain the right to choose what software best suits their needs. Of course, each of us has our own opinions and own points of view and, in such a liberal climate, conflict is bound to happen. This week we tackle some controversial subjects in the open source community and the approaches different people are taking to solve problems. We begin with a topic that gets discussed a lot and continues to raise questions: systemd. This week Robert Storey introduces us to Manjaro OpenRC, a branch of the Manjaro distribution which has replaced the systemd init software with OpenRC. Read on to find out how Manjaro OpenRC performs. In our Questions and Answers column we further discuss systemd, how popular (or unpopular) it is in the Debian community and what happened to the Debian fork named Devuan. In our News section we discuss the Fedora Project's latest release, talk about Linux emulation on FreeBSD and share a status report on Lumina, a cross-platform desktop environment that avoids depending on specific services. We also talk about the recent conflict between the Ubuntu Community Council and the Kubuntu community and say farewell to the Mandriva distribution. In our Torrent Corner we share the torrents we are seeding. Plus we share a list of the distributions released last week. The Opinion Poll in this issue talks about rolling release distributions vs fixed releases and we hope you will share your thoughts on the subject with us. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Robert Storey)
Manjaro OpenRC 0.8.13 - reinventing init without systemd
Everything that can be invented has been invented.
- Charles Duell, Commissioner of US Patent Office, 1899
It would be an understatement to say that systemd's introduction as the
dominant init system for modern Linux distros has stirred controversy.
Both opponents and supporters of this new way of doing things have tended to get rather excited - to put it mildly - whenever the topic of systemd comes up on various tech blogs and forums. Defending one's choice of init systems from critics has become a sort of moral obligation, if not a way of life. Take the "wrong" side of the argument on your favourite tech forum, and you can expect a deluge of heated comments, frequently containing accusations of "troll" and even nastier descriptive words not suitable for publication.
I suppose it's natural for geeks to get emotional about their operating
system. In fact, if you've seen the 2013 movie Her,
it's predicted that in the near future not only will we be able to love
our own personal operating system, but also have sex with it. Indeed, I
think we're already there, to judge by the way people have become
attached to their mobile handsets.
Figure 1: Linux users get emotional about systemd
The Great Search Begins
After many months of debate, things are starting to
finally calm down now, and I see no reason to reignite the civil war.
The pros and cons of systemd have been discussed ad
nauseum on this and other forums, and by now most geeks have
already formed their opinion on the issue. So let there be peace. It's
time to bury the hatchet (and by that I
don't mean burying it in your opponent's skull). Vive et
vivat - Latin for "live and let live."
As things currently stand, if you're in the pro-systemd camp, you'll be
spoiled for choice since most of the major distros have made the
move. On the other hand, folks in the non-systemd camp have a
relatively lean menu, but that may be changing. Up until now, the
solution for non-systemd geeks has been to simply stick with what they've got and avoid making any upgrades. That strategy has worked pretty well, but it's got limited shelf life. Increasingly, non-systemd folks still running last year's software are starting to feel like passengers on the Titanic. Unless you're planning to disconnect your computer from the Internet, the need for security updates becomes unavoidable. Ignore all those update warnings for too long, and you risk sinking the whole ship.
Fortunately, the market for up-to-date non-systemd OS's has not gone unnoticed. Among the choices currently available are PCLinuxOS, Slackware, Void and all the BSDs. Gentoo has made systemd optional, offering the OpenRC init system as an alternative.
I have tried all of the above, but for one reason or another found the
experience not totally satisfying. PCLinuxOS came very close to meeting
my everyday needs, but lacked a few packages that I depend on for my work.
Slackware remains my number one choice as a server OS, but its collection of desktop software is rather slim. On the other hand, source-based Gentoo has just about everything I could ever want in life, but the installation requires a great deal of time to compile (and recompile during updates) - I just don't have that much patience. PC-BSD proved to be a very capable desktop OS, but it lacked a few needed drivers for my hardware. Void Linux is very fast and undergoing rapid development, but to me felt unpolished - I will keep an eye on it for the future.
And then there is Manjaro OpenRC, a recent side project of mainstream Manjaro (which is systemd-based). Manjaro OpenRC recognized all my hardware immediately, and contains all the software packages I require. Indeed, the software collection is so large that it rivals Ubuntu's and Debian's. A nice little fringe benefit is fast performance. As a result, it is
now my preferred operating system on both my laptop and desktop machines. Indeed, it works so well that I've considered sending a thank you note to the systemd developers for inspiring me to switch distros.
Manjaro OpenRC is mostly systemd free - it uses ConsoleKit2 instead of
logind, and eudev instead of systemd-udev. However, it bundles some of
the systemd libraries in a eudev-systemdcompat package, mostly due to
how Arch packages systemd
Manjaro Linux is based on Arch, and was already popular even before the
developers started offering an OpenRC edition. It currently ranks
number 10 on the DistroWatch hit list. It is possible to take a systemd
Manjaro installation and covert it to
OpenRC, but most people will just find it easier to download the OpenRC
edition and install it directly. I downloaded Manjaro Xfce
0.8.13-openrc from here. For announcements about future releases, and to receive support, check out this section of the Manjaro forum.
Like its Arch predecessor, Manjaro is a rather geeky distro that
doesn't hold your hand. Manjaro boots up as a live CD, presenting an attractive Xfce interface. However, there is no Install icon on the desktop -
you'll find it under Menu--> System--> Install Manjaro Linux. The
OpenRC installer is text-mode based, running inside a terminal window (systemd-based Manjaro has a GUI installer). The most confusing part of the whole
operation comes in the beginning, when you have to partition your hard
drive. You're actually better off leaving the installation program and
clicking Menu--> System--> GParted. Complete all your
partitioning and formatting in nice user-friendly GParted, and only
then resume with the text-mode installation program.
These days one can choose between either an MBR or GPT partitioning scheme, plus adding more complexity with virtualization, if you're so inclined. I chose to keep things simple: MBR partitions, no virtualization. I won't give a blow-by-blow replay of the whole installation procedure, but Linux veterans should find it straightforward enough. Probably the biggest decision one has to make is where to set up the boot loader/manager. Again, I stuck with tradition and put GRUB2 into the MBR. Fans of the GPT partitioning scheme might want to look into Rod Smith's rEFInd boot
manager - his excellent web site will tell you more than you ever
wanted to know about partitions and booting.
The Morning After
Like everything else in Manjaro, the installer does its job quickly. If
all goes as planned, one reboot later should bring you to a graphical
login screen. Upon logging in, you should be seeing the grey-coloured
(but nonetheless good-looking) Manjaro Xfce desktop.
Figure 2: The Manjaro Desktop
To see which init system you are running, in a terminal type:
The command should respond with "init." If it responds with "systemd,"
you've installed the wrong version of Manjaro.
Once you're through admiring your newly installed desktop, it's time to
perform a few administrative chores. Like its Arch ancestor, Manjaro
the pacman package manager. Coming from the
Debian/Ubuntu universe, I was mainly familiar with
apt-everything, so I had to spend some time learning
the new dispensation. Fortunately, the pacman man page ("man
pacman") provides a decent primer. Even better, check out the Manjaro
wiki. You can also take advantage of the excellent Arch
wiki to familiarize yourself with pacman and other Arch traits,
most of which are highly relevant to Manjaro.
To get online, click Menu--> Internet--> Wicd to get
connected. With that accomplished, your first housekeeping task should
be to update everything. You can accomplish that by typing in a
sudo pacman -Syu
This can take some time. Afterwards, a reboot would be in order.
Manjaro uses a rolling release development model, so updates are
Your next priority should be setting up a firewall. Simplest and
most effective is ufw, so try this:
sudo pacman -S ufw-openrc
sudo ufw enable
sudo rc-update add ufw default
The first command above installs ufw. Next command enables it, and last
ensures that ufw will start on reboot.
Other very useful pacman commands worth memorizing include:
pacman -Ss search-string (search for "search-string" in package
pacman -Si package-name (give info about package "package-name")
sudo pacman -S package-name (install package "package-name")
sudo pacman -R package-name (remove package "package-name")
Hardcore geeks may think that GUIs are for wimps, but most desktop
users will find it useful to install the package octopi. This
provides a nice warm-and-fuzzy graphical interface for
many pacman functions. You may also want to familiarize yourself with
the command-line yaourt (visit
"man yaourt"), another
front-end for pacman.
For more pacman commands, check out the Manjaro
wiki page. For more details on configuring OpenRC services, visit
OpenRC wiki page.
Tips, Tricks and Hints - Printing
Setting up my HP-DeskJet printer/scanner proved to be a little
tricky. One thing I learned: do not install package
manjaro-printer because it includes gutenprint, which messes up
everything. If you accidentally install gutenprint, uninstall it. What
worked for me:
sudo pacman -S cups-openrc
sudo rc-service cupsd start
run "rc-update add cupsd default"
The developers have informed me that in the next release, cupsd will be
pacman -S hplip
pacman -S sane-openrc
If you don't have an HP printer, then Menu-->
System--> Print Settings is your friend.
Tips, Tricks and Hints - Sound
Manjaro OpenRC uses ALSA by default, and my attempt to watch videos
in silent movies. I finally got sound working by installing
Use pavucontrol to set up the output. One bug (still not resolved) is
that in order to use my headphones, I first have to unplug and then
replug them in to "wake up" the headphone port. That problem doesn't
apply to the speakers.
Another bug bit me, but only on my laptop. On that machine I simply had
no sound at all, and pavucontrol reported only "dummy output," which
means that my sound card was not visible. I was finally able to fix
that with this command:
sudo chmod 777 -R /dev/snd
This appears to be a "permissions error," but I'm not sure why it
occurred on only one machine. Fortunately, the fix is easy.
Tips, Tricks and Hints - Automount
By default Manjaro-OpenRC does not automount removable drives (usb,
etc). Thunar (the file manager) requires package
"thunar-volman" to enable automounting.
sudo pacman -S thunar-volman
Open Thunar, click on:
Edit--> Preferences--> Advanced--> Volume_Management-->
check - Mount removable drives when hot-plugged
check - Mount removable media when inserted (optional)
Another note from developers: thunar-volman will be installed by
default in the next release.
Tips, Tricks and Hints - Tweaking BASH
The following is not really necessary, but it's something I do on every
distro I install...
If you work at the command line, it's rather important to know which
directory you are in, lest you accidentally delete, move or copy the
wrong file. This can be done by customizing the command line prompt.
Another good thing to do is to protect a file from being accidentally
overwritten ("clobbered") by a command (you can override this with the
>| redirection operator). Finally, you may want to set
the key map so that ctrl-alt-backspace will break out of X and send you
back to the login prompt.
Best way to set up the above is for individual users to create (or
edit) a hidden .bashrc and .bash_profile file in the user's home
directory. The following content in .bashrc will do the job:
alias rm='rm -i'
alias cp='cp -i'
alias mv='mv -i'
set -o noclobber
/usr/bin/setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp
Even root can do this by placing the above .bashrc and .bash_profile
content in /root.
Tips, Tricks and Hints - Magic keys
An old geeky trick that has been somewhat forgotten is the use of
"magic keys" to safely reboot or shut down a misbehaving machine. Back
in MS-DOS days, ctrl-alt-del did the job, but for Linux you need to
hold down the alt-SysRq keys and then type the sequence "reisub" (to
reboot) or "reisuo" (to shut down).
You can find a good discussion about magic SysRq keys here on
Manjaro and most other distros now disable magic keys by default, but
it's easy (if not intuitive) to reactivate this feature. Add (or edit)
a line in file /etc/sysctl.d/100-manjaro.conf to say:
# Enable the Magic SysRq key
kernel.sysrq = 1
Alternately, you could create a new file in this same directory with
the above content. One suggested name: /etc/sysctl.d/99-sysctl.conf.
Tips, Tricks and Hints - Google Earth
I love Google Earth and use it in my work, but it's really a pain to
install on most Linux distros, especially 64-bit systems. This is not
the fault of Linux, but rather Google, because their developers for
some strange reason seem to think that Linux is still a 32-bit
operating system. And since Google Earth is not open source, Linux developers cannot fix the problem. (Hey Google, if you're reading this, how about coughing up a 64-bit version?)
Fortunately, some distros make it relatively easy to work around this
problem. Manjaro does not have a Google Earth package, but there is one
in the AUR
Repository), and I was able to install it on Manjaro with the yaourt command:
yaourt -a google-earth
You will be prompted to choose either Google Earth 6 or Google Earth
7. I highly suggest you go with version 6, which requires way fewer
packages and is known to be far more stable. Despite a few dire
warnings that flashed on my screen, the installation went well and I
was able to
start the program by typing "google-earth6" at the command line. The
only weird thing is that I had some strange fonts that looked like
was solved with another Arch package, installed thus:
yaourt -a ttf-ms-fonts
After doing that, perform a reboot so that the new fonts will take
Manjaro-OpenRC boots fast, runs fast, is stable as the Rock of
Gibraltar, and boasts an enormous software collection. There are some
usually hard-to-find treasures hidden in
the Manjaro repositories, such as Aegisub,
and Gprename. Indeed, I
even found one great program that is missing
from every other distro's repository (Kompozer,
which I use for web
Furthermore, it's even possible to install additional programs from the
The icing on the cake is the
impressive documentation maintained by both Manjaro and Arch.
Far too much blood has been shed fighting the systemd civil war, and
Manjaro should be lauded for taking a neutral
approach. Offering both a systemd and OpenRC edition, the Manjaro
developers are giving their users a chance to choose for themselves
which init system they would like to run. This mature attitude should
be admired and copied, helping to unite all geeks in a new spirit of
mutual understanding and
respect. No doubt this will lead to enlightenment and world peace, or
at the very least, fewer flame wars.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora 22 released, Ubuntu's Community Council attempts to oust Kubuntu's lead developer, details on the Lumina desktop, FreeBSD gains 64-bit Linux emulation and Mandriva closes its doors
Fedora 22 was released last week and the latest version of the Red Hat sponsored project brought with it a number of new and interesting features. Fedora now uses the DNF package manager by default rather than YUM. Though the two package managers are quite similar users may notice slight differences, hopefully the most significant will be a speed-up in package transactions. The ARM spins of Fedora now have their own home on the Fedora website. In addition, there have been a number of improvements made to GNOME notifications and the Server edition's Cockpit software. Fedora's Project Leader, Matthew Miller, wrote, "Every Fedora release has its own character. If this release had a human analogue, it'd be Fedora 21 after it'd been to college, landed a good job, and kept its New Year's Resolution to go to the gym on a regular basis. What we're saying is that Fedora 22 has built on the foundation we laid with Fedora 21 and the work to create distinct editions of Fedora focused on the desktop, server, and cloud (respectively). It's not radically different, but there are a fair amount of new features coupled with features we've already introduced but have improved for Fedora 22." More information on Fedora 22 can be found in the project's release announcement and release notes.
Shortly after Fedora 22 launched, a post appeared on the GNOME website which explains why a lot of packages available in Fedora's repositories may not show up in Fedora Workstation's software manager. "Quite a few people are going to be installing Fedora 22 in the coming days, searching for things in the software centre and not finding what they want. This is because some applications still don't ship AppData files, which have become compulsory for this release. So far, over 53% of applications shipped in Fedora ship the required software centre metadata, up from the original 12% in Fedora 21. If you don't like this, you can either use dnf to install the package on the command line, or set gsettings set org.gnome.software require-appdata false."
* * * * *
In an unprecedented move, the Ubuntu Community Council has demanded that Kubuntu's lead developer, Jonathan Riddell, vacate all leadership roles, including his position on Kubuntu's Community Council. In an e-mail to Kubuntu's own Council, an Ubuntu Community Council member wrote, "At this time we have sent an email to Jonathan requesting that he step aside from all positions of leadership in the Ubuntu Community for at least 12 months. This request will require him to step aside from leadership in Kubuntu as well." The notice came as a complete surprise to both Riddell and the rest of the Kubuntu Community Council. Scott Kitterman, one of Kubuntu's Council members has posted the back and forth e-mail communications between Ubuntu's representatives and Kubuntu's. The Kubuntu team, so far, has been unable to learn on what grounds Ubuntu has attempted to dismiss their leader and has expressed concern over the future of the Kubuntu project. Since the notice from the Ubuntu Community Council was delivered, the Kubuntu team has met and voted to keep Jonathan Riddell in his leadership positions. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu's founder, offered his opinion on the matter, writing, "It is therefore not a question of whether or not you accept the CC request to step down. This is a statement from the CC that we no longer recognize [Jonathan Riddell] as the leader of the Kubuntu community." If keeping track of who everyone is and how this fits together seems confusing, this blog gives a good summary of the parties and actions involved.
* * * * *
The developers of the PC-BSD operating system have been working on the new Lumina desktop environment for several months now. The new desktop offers a responsive, lightweight interface that avoids many of the dependencies required to run other, heavier desktop environments. In particular, Lumina is attractive to BSD users as the desktop does not depend on any Linux-specific software. Ken Moore, Lumina's primary developer, recently gave a status update and outline of what Lumina is and what makes it different. "[Lumina is] designed on PC-BSD, specifically for the BSD community at large (although it is easily ported to any OS, including Linux distros) and does not require any of the commonly-used desktop implementation frameworks (DBUS, policykit, consolekit, systemd, HALD, etc..)" Moore reports Lumina has been ported to FreeBSD, Dragonfly BSD, OpenBSD, Debian's GNU/kFreeBSD and Debian GNU/Linux. Further details can be found in Ken Moore's blog post.
* * * * *
The FreeBSD operating system has, for several years, had the ability to run 32-bit x86 executable files that were originally compiled to run on GNU/Linux distributions. Though Linux closed-source executables are rare, this compatibility layer has allowed FreeBSD users to run some Linux software without requiring access to the program's source code. The FreeBSD project is in the process of expanding their emulation capabilities and have introduced 64-bit x86 emulation for Linux binary files. The BSD Now podcast summary offers the following details: "For those who might be unfamiliar, FreeBSD has an emulation layer to run Linux-only binaries (as rare as they may be). The most common use case is for desktop users - enabling them to run proprietary applications like Adobe Flash or Skype. Similar systems can also be found in NetBSD and OpenBSD (though disabled by default on the latter). However, until now, it's only supported binaries compiled for the i386 architecture. This new update, already committed to -CURRENT, will open some new possibilities that weren't previously possible."
* * * * *
Rumours have been circulating for a while now that the Mandriva organization was being liquidated. Unfortunately, it appears that there is truth to these comments that Mandriva is no longer functioning and its assets are being liquidated (document in French). At the time of writing the distribution's website is off-line. Mandriva, formally Mandrake Linux, was one of the early beginner friendly distributions and many Linux users got their first taste of Linux from Mandriva. The silver lining to this story is that Mandriva lives on in various community projects. Distributions such as Mageia and OpenMandriva carry on the tradition of making newcomer friendly operating systems with the same convenient system administration tools.
Following the news that Mandriva had shut its doors, the OpenMandriva team posted a fond farewell message on their blog. "Mandrake was the first distribution to make a free operating system available which could be installed and configured by anyone who could use a keyboard and a mouse. When many of us first came to the Linux world, there were two types of distro, the ones that gave you headaches as soon as you put the CD in the slot, and then there was Mandrake. The vision of its founder, Gael Duval, created an operating system which undoubtedly allowed many, many people access to modern technology and in doing so added greatly to the strength of the free software community. We do and will do our very best to continue to hold and carry their crown - for you."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Debian, Devuan and systemd
Where-are-the-alternatives asks: Leading up to Debian "Jessie" I heard all kinds of comments about forking Debian or making a new distro free from systemd. What happened to those projects? Why didn't Debian fork, did people just give up?
DistroWatch answers: There was talk of forking Debian, or at least creating a separate spin of Debian which would be very similar to vanilla Debian, but with systemd removed in favour of SysV init. The systemd-free fork of Debian is called Devuan and, based on the activity on the project's mailing list, I think people are still working on it. Time will tell whether Devuan will make a stable release and be successful or not.
Though not many people talked about it in this context, the Linux Mint project released a new version of Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) recently. Though LMDE, version 2, is based on Debian 8 "Jessie", it does not use systemd as its default init software. I do not think LMDE should be considered a fork of Debian, but it does offer a desktop solution that is Debian-based without systemd.
What I suspect happened with regards to forking Debian was, roughly, this: people followed the path of least resistance where systemd was concerned. People who wanted to use systemd simply upgraded their operating systems and started running it. People who did not wish to run systemd probably decided to take one of the following paths:
Any of the above options would be a lot less work than forking a distribution and releasing it to the public. The people who decided they did not like systemd probably either learned to live with it, migrate or simply decided to keep their existing operating system.
- Did not upgrade their distribution
- Upgraded and then removed any unwanted software/services
- Switched to a different operating system or distribution
- Learned to adapt to the new software
I was curious as to just how popular systemd is in the Debian community. Are the people who were upset by systemd still there, are they removing systemd and installing something else? Debian has a service the project calls Popularity Contest. The service, which is opt-in, keeps track of what software people install on their Debian computers. While not everyone submits package statistics to the Debian project, the Popularity Contest data can give us a rough idea of what software Debian users are running. Here is what the init software statistics looked like about a month after Debian 8 "Jessie" was released. The sample size is a total of 52,582 Debian "Jessie" installations.
||% of total installs
As the above chart shows, there is some overlap with people installing multiple init packages. However, for people running Debian "Jessie", it appears though most are content to stay with the default configuration. I was also curious to see what portion of the Debian community was using the latest release of Stable and how many were using something else. It's hard to get an exact breakdown of numbers since Debian basically tracks the popularity of packages in Stable and the popularity across all versions, combined. All versions presumably being Old-Stable, Stable, Testing and Unstable.
According to the numbers I found, 186,461 machines had submitted Popularity Contest data on their packages. 52,582 (28%) of those installations were running Debian Stable. All the other branches of Debian combined made up 133,879 (72%) of the installations. There are probably lots more installations that do not submit package statistics, but this is what we have to work with. Of the 133,879 installations running branches of Debian other than Stable, here is the division of init software.
||% of total installs
As you can see in the above chart, SysV init is still widely popular in branches of Debian other than the latest Stable release. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a breakdown of statistics for each branch of Debian, but I did find this chart (see the bottom of the page) which indicates there are approximately 22,000 installations of Debian 6 "Squeeze" submitting Popularity Contest data, another 94,000 installations of Debian 7 "Wheezy" and about 7,000 computers running either Testing or the Unstable branch. Those numbers combined come up just shy of the 133,879 installations of non-Stable Debian mentioned above.
Since the Popularity Contest numbers suggest there are more than twice the number of installations of Debian 6 and Debian 7 than there are installations of Debian 8 (and newer), that leads me to believe a large portion of the Debian community sees no need to upgrade their operating system. Put another way, systemd is not a concern for a majority of the community, at least not yet, because they are happy to continue running older versions of Debian. In short, there is little need of a fork since most people are already running systems that work for them.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 64
- Total downloads completed: 38,693
- Total data uploaded: 7.1TB
|Released Last Week
Kai Hendry has announced the availability of Webconverger 30.0, a major new update of the specialist Linux distribution made for web kiosks. This is the project's first release that is based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.0. From the release announcement: "Webconverger 30 release. As announced on Twitter earlier this month, we achieved a significant technical accomplishment for Debian-based derivatives doing the dreaded dist-upgrade. A seamless upgrade. No config changes. No hoop jumping. No sweat. If you are running the install version that upgrades itself, you will now be based on Debian 'Jessie'. The new major release of the underlying open Debian platform for Firefox that will be the basis for Webconverger for the next 3 years. So we skipped version 29 and 30 marks the fact that we are on Debian 'Jessie' 8.0. Hopefully the only difference you will notice is that this new release should run a bit better on newer hardware. There is an unfortunate caveat that if you are using an i486 kernel-based Webconverger, your upgrade will not go smoothly. We noticed that most people using the i486 kernel were doing so mistakenly and we've asked the very few people that are affected to please simply re-install with any version since 25."
The Fedora Project has launched a new version of the Fedora distribution. The new release, version 22, offers users three separate product lines, each tailored to a specific environment. These three product branches are called Workstation (for desktop use and developers), Server (for traditional server deployments) and Cloud (a minimal image for quick deployments). "We are proud to announce the official release of Fedora 22, the community-driven and community-built operating system now available in Cloud, Server, and Workstation editions. Fedora 22 has built on the foundation we laid with Fedora 21 and the work to create distinct editions of Fedora focused on the desktop, server and cloud. It's not radically different, but there are a fair amount of new features coupled with features we've already introduced but have improved for Fedora 22." The new Workstation release introduces more flexible firewall technology for developers while the Server edition offers XFS as the default file system and a central management console called Cockpit. Fedora Cloud allows administrators to perform atomic upgrades and rollback package updates for the entire system. See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Fedora 22 -- Running GNOME Shell
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
GParted Live 0.22.0-2
Curtis Gedak has announced the availability of GParted Live 0.22.0-2, a Debian-based live disc which provides a graphical environment that facilitates disk management. This release offers an updated Linux kernel (4.0.2), improved UEFI boot support and has been tested (and confirmed to work) on a range of Intel, ATI and NVIDIA video cards. "The GParted team is proud to announce a new stable release of GParted Live. This release has been enhanced to enable booting on UEFI computers when the image is directly copied to boot media using the dd command. Items of note include: Uses "isohybrid --uefi" to make dd iso file work for UEFI computers; Based on the Debian Sid repository(as of 2015-May-22; Linux kernel updated to 4.0.2. This release of GParted Live has been successfully tested on VirtualBox, VMware, BIOS, UEFI, and physical computers with AMD/ATI, NVIDIA, and Intel graphics." The release announcement and changelog contain full details.
Alpine Linux 3.2.0
Natanael Copa has announced the release of Alpine Linux 3.2.0, a security-oriented distribution built from scratch and designed primarily for server deployments (and with some desktop packages available from the project's online repositories): "We are pleased to announce Alpine Linux 3.2.0, the first release in the 3.2 stable series. This release is built with musl libc and is not compatible with 2.x and earlier, so special care needs to be taken when upgrading. Please refer to the documentation for information on how to perform the upgrade. Some of the new features are: Linux kernel 3.18; GCC 4.9.2 / musl 1.1.9 + fortify; MariaDB 5.5 replaces MySQL; Postfix 3.0; Lua 5.3 support; Ruby 2.2; Xen 4.5; Samba 4.2; MATE desktop 1.10; LibreOffice 4.4; Qt 5.4; Kodi (previously known as XBMC) 14.2. Some of the desktop applications that got upgraded and are available for 3.2: Xfce 4.12; X.Org Server 1.17; Firefox 38; Evince 3.16; virt-manager 1.2; VLC 2.2; Inkscape 0.91; Audacity 2.1." Here is the full release announcement with commit statistics.
ALT Linux 7.0.5
Andrey Cherepanov has announced the release of ALT Linux 7.0.5, a set of Linux distributions that include the "Centaurus", "KDesktop" and "Schools Suite" variants, as well as "Simply Linux" (for the home/office desktop). "Centaurus", shipping with the MATE 1.6.0 desktop environment, is the project's default edition. From the release announcement: "ALT Linux Ltd announces the availability of updated Seventh Platform distribution releases. Changes within this release: updated software, closing known vulnerabilities as of 2015-05-22; updated time zones; System Control Center is now able to join Active Directory; live CDs gained RW partition support during UEFI boot as well; online repositories will always be configured, not just when found; Linux kernel 3.14.41, MESA 10.0.5, Firefox 31.6.0." ALT Linux 7.0.5 is available as a set of installation or live DVD images, supporting Russian (default), English and several other languages.
IPFire 2.17 Core Update 90
The IPFire team has announced the release of IPFire 2.17 Core Update 90. The new release offers a number of security enhancements, including the use of GeoIP filtering and the disabling of vulnerable security protocols. The project's kernel and system services have also been updated and patched against known vulnerabilities. "Attackers originate from all sorts of places in the world. Often huge networks of bots scan the entire Internet for services that are publicly accessible and possible to exploit. With GeoIP-based blocking it is possible to mitigate many of those scans to take off the load of the firewall engine and to secure those publicly accessible services. With GeoIP-based firewall rules it is possible to filter incoming and outgoing traffic related on their source or desired destination countries." Further details are available in the project's release announcement.
Tiny Core Linux 6.3
Only three weeks have passed since the 6.2 version, but the developers of Tiny Core Linux have released another update - Tiny Core Linux 6.3, the latest stable build of the minimalist Linux distribution built from scratch: "Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 6.3. Changelog for 6.3: tce-load - exit if fromwhere doesn't exist; tc-config - nfs4 patch from gerald_clark; tce-load - separate the listing and handling loops, patch from aswjh; tce-audit - fix adding missing extensions to tce_lst; tce-setup - move extension loop to tce-load, 4% speedup in CorePlus tce-setup time from aswjh; tce-load - simplification by aswjh; tce-load - simplify app_exists by aswjh; tce-load - the -t TCEDIR patch from aswjh. Note also that Xvesa/Xfbdev included in TinyCore and CorePlus and the Xfbdev in TinyCorePure64 have been updated to the latest repository version." Here is the brief release announcement.
Ronald Ropp has announced the release of a new version of wattOS Linux. The wattOS project develops a lightweight distribution, based on Ubuntu, which attempts to be energy efficient while providing users with a responsive desktop interface. The new version of wattOS, called Release 9, is available in two editions, LXDE and Microwatt. "The wattOS team is pleased to announce the release of the newest version of wattOS - Release 9 - (also known as R9). We have made the switch back to Ubuntu as the upstream distro and built the latest version from 14.04 LTS for long term support and stability. We have simplified things this time around with wattOS and are only releasing two types of desktops. Previously having the extra desktop versions created additional work. This time we are more focused and have released only two desktop versions. The LXDE version will look very familiar to most people who have used wattOS and LXDE, but the Microwatt version is much different in that it is based on i3 window manager. We have added some additional resources and information about this in the forum and the new wiki being built out. Additionally there is a 20 minute video we have put together outlining the basics of working with i3 and wattOS." Details on wattOS R9 can be found on the project's front page and in the release notes.
wattOS R9 -- Running the LXDE interface
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Peppermint OS Six
Mark Greaves, lead developer of the Peppermint OS distribution, has announced a new release of the Ubuntu-based distribution. Peppermint OS Six offers users an updated Linux kernel (version 3.16), the VLC multimedia player and the Nemo file manager. "Peppermint is excited to announce the launch of our latest operating system Peppermint Six in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions. The downloads are live now via our standard download links and are also available for purchase on pre-installed LiveUSB sticks from our shop. Breaking from our usual strategy of annually basing on Ubuntu '.04' releases, Peppermint Six stays with the 14.04 code base but moves to the 3.16 kernel and updated graphics stack via the LTS enablement stack. Other major changes include moving to the Nemo file manager with a new wallpaper manager, VLC as the new `one app to play them all' media player, and changes to the terminal, power-manager, search tool, and screenlock. Amongst a plethora of other smaller changes and additions, you'll find our new gtk/Xfwm4 theme 'Peppermix', and as requested by our users the addition of a brand new dark theme 'Peppermix-Dark'. Again due to user feedback update-manager has been replaced with MintUpdate but with the same settings as update-manager, so the bottom panel update shield makes a comeback. Peppermint continues to be a light, nimble, and very customizable OS that makes minimal software choices for you, using web apps wherever possible out of the box but in no way limiting your ability to install software locally like any other distro." More information is available in the release announcement and in the project's release notes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Fixed releases vs rolling releases
Some of us like to keep up with the latest open source software available. Often the best way to get a steady flow of new software is by running a rolling release distribution. Rolling releases are designed to be installed once and upgraded perpetually, never becoming obsolete. Other people might prefer to install fresh images every six months or so. Projects such as Ubuntu and Fedora offer users stable, yet modern installation images every six months. However, there are also those of us who like to stick with tried and true software, older, conservative distributions that have earned reputations for stability. In this week's poll we would like to know which approach you prefer? Do you like to ride the cutting edge, update frequently or stick with more conservative update plans? Perhaps you take one approach for your desktop machine and another for your servers? Let us know which type of distribution (rolling, fixed or semi-rolling) you prefer or chime in with your thoughts in the comments section.
You can see the results of last week's poll on desktop environments here.
April 2015 DistroWatch.com donation: Kodi
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the April 2015 DistroWatch.com donation is Kodi (formerly XBMC). The project receives US$300.00 in cash.
The Kodi project provides users with an open source, cross-platform multimedia centre. "Kodi™ (formerly known as XBMC™) is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media centre for playing videos, music, pictures, games, and more. Kodi runs on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the Internet."
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 crypto currencies 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$43,525 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), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350), Kodi ($300)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Beastix. Beastix is a GNU/Linux operating system that is designed to act like a BSD operating system. Beastix ships with its source code installed on the operating system for easy access and modification.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 June 2015. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Robert Storey (feature story)
- 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Issue 682 (2016-10-10): KDE neon 20160915, Android-x86 6.0, Fedora warns of update bug, HandyLinux drops English translation, LXQt benchmarks|
|• Issue 681 (2016-10-03): OpenBSD 6.0, DragonFly BSD to support LibreSSL in ports, systemd denial of service bug, upgraded Mintbox Mini|
|• Issue 680 (2016-09-26): Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0, blocking applications at the firewall, Lenovo controversy, Ubuntu running on the Nextcloud Box|
|• Issue 679 (2016-09-19): OpenMandriva 3.0, 32-bit vs 64-bit performance, openSUSE updates, KaOS unveils first run wizard|
|• Issue 678 (2016-09-12): Apricity 07.2016, Mageia adopts DNF, KDE neon to use Wayland, FreeBSD updates Linux compatibility, creating cron jobs|
|• Issue 677 (2016-09-05): Peppermint OS 7, Manjaro updates leadership, TrueOS becomes rolling release, organizing files, creating torrents|
|• Issue 676 (2016-08-29): Korora 24, Fedora 25 to use Wayland by default, Linux turns 25, PC-BSD becomes TrueOS, finding software licensing information|
|• Issue 675 (2016-08-22): Gentoo LiveDVD "Choice Edition", moreutils, Ubuntu improves terminal convergence, MATE packaged for Openindiana, FreeBSD improves video support|
|• Issue 674 (2016-08-15): Zenwalk Linux 8.0, Ubuntu phone follow-up, Lubuntu transitioning to LXQt, Steam running on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 673 (2016-08-03): noop linux and EasyNAS, Debian's GnuPG switch, Fedora "Flock", using "nice"|
|• Issue 672 (2016-08-01): Ubuntu Phone 15.04, Solus embraces rolling release model, interview with Jane Silber, FreeBSD Quarterly Report|
|• Issue 671 (2016-07-25): Slackware 14.2, Point Linux 3.2, OpenBSD disables usermount, KaOS releases significant changes, Fedora 22 reaches end of life.|
|• Issue 670 (2016-07-18): Linux Lite 3.0, Bodhi team plans 4.0.0, pfSense changes licensing, running software across distributions, Linux Mint upgrade path|
|• Issue 669 (2016-07-11): Linux Mint 18, proving a system is secure, LibreSSL in FreeBSD, Ubuntu plans phasing out 32-bit, pfSense status report|
|• Issue 668 (2016-07-04): Fedora 24, Linux Mint plans for 18.1, FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD improve their file systems, comparing Flatpak, Snap and AppImage|
|• Issue 667 (2016-06-27): GeckoLinux 421, Fedora supports Flatpak, Solus unveils new features, running GNU/Linux on tablets|
|• Issue 666 (2016-06-20): Comparing more live update methods, Ubuntu's snap packages, Antergos drops 32-bit media, GeckoLinux unveils Rolling edition, learning Linux resources|
|• Issue 665 (2016-06-13): BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen, Fedora 24 delayed, NetBSD grows in size, Clonezilla questions|
|• Issue 664 (2016-06-06): Sabayon 16.05, Debian updates install media, the cost of free software, Qubes explains secure build process|
|• Issue 663 (2016-05-30): Comparing live update methods, Ubuntu MATE's progress, distros debate systemd change, DistroWatch turns 15|
|• Issue 662 (2016-05-23): Clonezilla Live, new Fedora community repository, DragonFlyBSD runs Wayland, a live edition of Slackware and kernel components|
|• Issue 661 (2016-05-16): FreeBSD 10.3, OpenMandriva adopts Clang, Debian adds ZFS packages, PCLinuxOS drops 32-bit and comparing CentOS with RHEL|
|• Issue 660 (2016-05-09): Ubuntu MATE 16.04, Mint's xapps, FreeBSD Quarterly Report, Debian updates 32-bit support, addressing GPL violations|
|• Issue 659 (2016-05-02): Ubuntu 16.04, compiling custom kernels, Cinnamon 3.0, Sabayon launches ARM build, Devuan ships Beta release|
|• Issue 658 (2016-04-25): Kali Linux 2016.1, elementary OS 0.3.2, Debian elects Project Leader, Fedora 24 feature preview, Nard reaches 1.0|
|• Issue 657 (2016-04-18): Redox, Linux Mint improves update manager, planned Fedora 24 features, Ubuntu 16.04 getting Snappy packages|
|• Issue 656 (2016-04-11): Qubes OS 3.1, Whonix offers bug bounties, Puppy's family tree, setting up disk partitions and running bash on Windows|
|• Issue 655 (2016-04-04): Parsix 8.5, Sabayon's Community repository, Red Hat offers free subscriptions, Ubuntu tablets, command line tips|
|• Issue 654 (2016-03-28): PCLinuxOS 2016.03, Using signatures to create a web of trust, Arch Linux rolls out Pacman update, GuixSD packages GNOME|
|• Issue 653 (2016-03-21): Antergos 2016.02.21, Debian prepares for election, a Unix-like OS written in Rust, watching Netflix on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 652 (2016-03-14): ReactOS 0.4.0, Debian swaps Iceweasel for Firefox, Fedora moving forward with Wayland, Verifying ISO files|
|• Issue 651 (2016-03-07): Korora 23, Linux Mint improves security, Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 3 computers, trying different file systems|
|• Issue 650 (2016-02-29): Haiku in 2016, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, 30 years of MINIX, Fedora plans Atomic Workstation|
|• Issue 649 (2016-02-22): Zorin OS 11, openSUSE launches new editions, Linux Mint website compromised, sandboxing applications using Firejail|
|• Issue 648 (2016-02-15): XStream Desktop 153, Raspbian unveils OpenGL feature, free hardware, Ikey Doherty talks desktop design|
|• Full list of all issues|
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