| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 690, 5 December 2016
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The Fedora distribution is one of the more cutting edge Linux distributions. This Red Hat sponsored project is often seen as a testing ground for new technologies, many of which later arrive in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS. This week we begin with a look at Fedora 25 and talk about its new changes, including using Wayland as the default display technology in Fedora Workstation. In our News section we discuss Ubuntu's policy with regards to LTS upgrades and new hardware support. Plus we share package changes coming to SparkyLinux and talk about Haiku's push toward supporting EFI-enabled computers. In the Questions and Answers column we talk about trying to run Android applications on desktop computers and desktop applications on Android devices. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we again raise the topic of the look of the DistroWatch website, plus we go over some of the incremental improvements and features we have been working on behind the scenes. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (32MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Fedora 25 review
As someone who started their Linux experience with a Red Hat Linux retail box set and switched to Fedora after Red Hat transitioned to Red Hat Enterprise Linux as their commercial product, I have been using Fedora for a long, long time. The cumulative changes since the first Fedora release have been considerable, but the list of changes for Fedora 25 is really quite short. Basically, the key points in the change log are newer versions of all the packages, Wayland by default, and Fedora Media Writer as the method for creating installation media. Below, I focus on each of those new features as I detail my first week using the latest release of Fedora.
Supplanting Fedora Live USB Creator, Fedora Media Writer is the new method for creating Live USB sticks. On the Fedora project's download page it is this application that is the item presented to Windows and macOS users as the primary download instead of offering them the ISO directly. Fedora users are informed that they can use the dnf package manager to install Fedora Media Writer. The download page also contains a link to the 1.3GB ISO for the 64-bit Workstation edition.
Fedora 25 -- The Fedora Media Writer
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Because I use a lot of virtual machines, I opted to download the ISO directly to have it on hand, but I used Fedora Media Writer's "Custom Media" option to create my Live USB installation media. However, had I decided to do so, Fedora Media Writer could have downloaded and created install media for most of the available Fedora 25 or Fedora 24 variants. Fedora Workstation and Server are predominantly featured, but clicking the item with three dots, which says "Display additional Fedora flavors" on mouse over, reveals options for all the "Fedora Spins" with alternate desktop environments and the "Fedora Labs" specialized variants (e.g., the Fedora Robotics Suite). The Fedora Atomic Host images seem to be the only omission.
Creating my install media using Fedora Media Writer was a breeze. Most Live USB creation tools work just fine, but Fedora Media Writer provides an extra bit of polish to the process. It even works well with ISO files from other projects. I even successfully created a bootable USB installer for TrueOS using it, so Fedora Media Writer is not limited to just Linux ISOs.
Fedora 25 -- The GNOME Shell desktop
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Once I had my Live USB drive ready, I rebooted my computer and Fedora started up. Fedora's default GNOME desktop was ready to use in a short time and I was presented with the option to try Fedora as a live desktop or install Fedora. I went straight for the install option, which launched Fedora's Anaconda installer.
Anaconda provides all the options required to install Fedora, and it works well enough, but it is not without flaws. Some of these flaws are Anaconda issues, mostly minor bugs that already have bug reports filed against them, but some are Fedora specific. The Fedora specific issues are the things that are a bigger deal to me. The default size of the root partition is just too small for my usage, which is probably not that atypical. Once I install all of the packages I want (which includes all of the texlive packages), I end up with only enough space a few virtual machine images stored under /var/lib/libvirt before I max out the root partition. I always end up customizing my partition scheme because of this, but in this era of huge hard drives, I would love it if the automatically created root partition on my 500GB hard drive was 100GB instead of 50GB. My other issue is fairly minor, but the Fedora project really, really needs to update some of the informational banner advertisements that are displayed during installation. The Workstation product installs LibreOffice by default, so a banner telling the user to "install LibreOffice" if they want create documents is misleading and possibly confusing. What is worse is the same banners display when installing Fedora Server, where installing LibreOffice makes little sense. Fedora Server adds a banner about Cockpit to the items it displays, so there is room for customization, but some of the default banners need to be pulled from variants that they do not make sense in.
The Fedora 25 experience
I will be honest, Fedora 25 is a very boring release. Everything is newer, but there are not a lot of new features. The biggest change is the switch to Wayland as the default display server (which I cover in more detail below), but just about everything else is just a version number bump. GNOME is now version 3.22. Firefox 49 is what came on the ISO, but the update to Firefox 50 is already available. Evolution, also version 3.22, serves as the default e-mail client. LibreOffice 5.2 rounds out the major software included by default.
Fedora 25 -- The Software application manager
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Plenty of additional software is available in Fedora's repositories, and the main tool for installing additional programs is the Software application. Using Software to install and update packages is really easy and the program, while simple, does provide a nice selection of programs and a usable search feature. However, Software is focused on GUI applications, so installing some packages requires using dnf in a terminal. While this is not awful, Software and dnf do not have a shared history, so the command "dnf history" will not show any transactions made by Software.
What is really nice about Fedora 25 is just how many programming languages are well supported by the distribution with up-to-date releases. I was able to easily set up support for C, C++, D, Java, Node.js, Python, Perl, R, Ruby, and Rust, with Rust being a new addition in Fedora 25. While I was certainly excited to see Rust packages included, I was disappointed that GnuCOBOL does not seem to be packaged for Fedora anymore.
The Fedora 25 experience is not perfect, and could use a few enhancements here and there, but it is really nice. However, there are numerous minor issues, and almost all of them can be traced back to Wayland.
GNOME on Wayland
The most significant change in Fedora 25 is the use of Wayland as the default display server. This change has been long promised, but the implementation has been frequently pushed back. Fedora 25 now defaults to using Wayland and, while perfectly usable, it is not perfect. After using Fedora daily since release, I have yet to find any issues that completely disrupt my work-flow, or make doing something important impossible, but there are a handful of issues that I ran across all the time. The first thing most people will notice is that the Videos application does not display video when in the Activities overview, instead it displays a solid gray window. This is not a major issue, but it is a missing feature. Other things that I have noticed are the fact that Files displays an extra blank line at the bottom of its right-click context menu that does not appear under Xorg and that LibreOffice messes up when returning from full screen mode. Under Xorg, when LibreOffice exits full screen mode, it properly restores to the size it was before, but under Wayland it reduces to a small window and, while this small window can be resized, it will no longer correctly maximize to use the full screen; it leaves a small gap on the right side of the screen.
Fedora 25 -- The Activities overview
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Despite some minor issues, Wayland is usable enough for me that I feel comfortable using it for everyday usage. I even installed a few open source games and only had minor issues. SuperTuxKart worked wonderfully, but only gave me two different screen resolution options, while running under Xorg provided me with a third. The two options provided under Wayland were the native resolution for my display and a 4:3 mode with the proper height for my display, so the lack of a non-native resolution for my display is almost a non-issue. ScummVM had a issue with displaying a half-inch strip of the desktop when playing full screen, but that has already disappeared. Though I have no idea if that was a Wayland issue or some other random glitch. I am not a huge gamer, but every open source game that I tried worked in Fedora 25's Wayland session without complaint or major issue. Granted, I am using Intel graphics, so others may have a vastly different experience.
Even when dealing with the various Wayland oddities and issues, Fedora 25 is a great distribution. Everything is reasonably polished and the default software provides a functional desktop for those looking for a basic web browsing, e-mail, and word processing environment. The additional packages available can easily turn Fedora into an excellent development workstation customized for a developer's specific needs. If you are programming in most of the current major programming languages, Fedora provides you the tools to easily do so. Overall, I am very pleased using Fedora 25, but I am even more excited for future releases of Fedora as the various minor Wayland issues get cleaned up.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Ideapad 100-15IBD laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-5020U CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8723BE 802.11n Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 5500
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, SparkyLinux plans package changes, Haiku works toward EFI support
Leann Ogasawara has announced that the next point upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 will arrive in January of 2017. The new point upgrade (Ubuntu 16.04.2) will provide a new Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel. The HWE kernel features new hardware and driver support, enabling Ubuntu LTS releases to run on modern hardware. Ubuntu Desktop users will automatically be upgraded to the new HWE kernel with each point release while Ubuntu Server installations will default to a more conservative kernel without new hardware support or features. Server installations can switch from the conservative (GA) kernel to the HWE kernel if the administrator wishes. "As with previous point releases, we will deliver a newer Hardware Enablement kernel with the point release. This newer HWE kernel will be derived from the 16.10 Yakkety kernel (ie v4.8 based). There are some changes however that we wanted to make sure were communicated. The biggest change is that we are moving to what we refer to as a 'rolling HWE kernel' model. Essentially, consumers of an HWE kernel will automatically be upgraded to the next HWE kernel offered in subsequent point releases until reaching the final HWE kernel offered in 16.04.5. " Further details can be found in Ogasawara's mailing list post and in the Ubuntu wiki.
* * * * *
The SparkyLinux team has announced a number of changes to the project's website and distribution. The SparkyLinux website now supports HTTPS secure connections across all pages and there have also been a number of changes to the distribution's default packages and repositories: "The Pantheon desktop's repo is not available any more (for Debian Testing) so will be removed from APTus and Minimal ISO images. There is an unofficial repo for Debian Stable available somewhere, so if you need it, it's not hard to find it. SlimJet web browser landed in our repos, and I debianized the Palemoon web browser which is available in our repos too. The live system of the new ISO images still does not work well inside VirtualBox, but works fine inside VMware Workstation, in BIOS and EFI mode." A full list of changes can be found on the project's website.
* * * * *
The Haiku project develops an operating system which provides a responsive desktop environment in the tradition of BeOS. The Haiku developers have introduced a number of improvements in the past month. Some of these changes include automated e-mail account configuration for specific domains, better ncurses support in virtual terminals and fixes for playing HTML5 audio and video streams. In addition, the project is close to supporting computers with EFI enabled: "jessicah merged her branch with work on EFI support. This work was started by tqh, with the goal of making it possible to boot Haiku on EFI machines. While this is not working yet (the kernel crashes with memory access errors when started that way), it is now available in the main development tree for people to work on it." A longer list of changes can be found in the project's newsletter.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Running Android apps on a desktop Linux system
Using-the-same-apps-everywhere asks: Since Android is Linux, is it possible to load desktop Linux apps onto an Android phone? And can I do the reverse, installing Android apps on my Linux desktop?
DistroWatch answers: While Android and GNU/Linux desktop operating systems both run atop the Linux kernel, the part of these systems which is Linux relatively small. The Linux kernel is one component of hundreds (or even thousands) that make up a desktop or mobile operating system. Most of the parts which make up the Android operating system are different and incompatible with the parts which make up a desktop operating system such as Ubuntu or Fedora.
Some people like to point out that desktop systems like Ubuntu runs on Linux and Android runs on Linux, but the amount of shared technology between the two is fairly limited. A car and an airplane both have wheels, but we generally do not expect cars to fly or airplanes to get good gas mileage going to the grocery store and back.
That being said, there are some ways to share applications between the two platforms. For instance, if we want to run Android applications on a desktop computer, we can install Android-x86 in a virtual machine on our desktop. Android-x86 can run many applications in the Google Play Store, bringing them a bit indirectly to our desktop computer. Web applications can generally be run in any modern web browser, whether that browser is running on Android or on a Linux desktop system.
Though it is not straight forward to set up, some people have had luck getting Android apps to run inside the Chrome web browser. Taking this approach requires installing Chrome and then adding a special extension and then downloading and installing the Android app. Not all apps are going to work properly, but some people have reported limited success.
Getting GNU/Linux applications to run on Android is even more difficult. With the right tools you can sometimes get simple command line programs written for GNU/Linux to build and run on Android. However, Android does not have the X display software or the window managers usually available on desktop Linux systems. This effectively blocks desktop Linux applications from running on Android.
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Fir more questions and answers, visit our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Peppermint OS is a lightweight, Lubuntu-based Linux distribution. The Peppermint team has announced the release of an update (respin) to the project's version 7 installation media. The new media offers a update to the Linux kernel, fixes multimedia keyboard keys, includes better HP printer support through the hplip package and includes support for Bluetooth headsets. "Peppermint 7 Respin (Peppermint-7-20161129) Improvements: All updates to date (including the 4.4.0-47 kernel); Fixed multimedia keyboard function keys; Fixed browsing for smb network printers; Fix for Google Chrome keyring prompt; Added hplip for HP Printer support out of the box; Added pulseaudio-module-bluetooth for bluetooth headsets; Update manager will not prompt to upgrade to next 'Ubuntu LTS' version by default." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement. Peppermint OS downloads, signatures and checksum information can be found on the project's home page.
Peppermint 7-20161129 -- The default desktop environment
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Zentyal Server 5.0
José Antonio Calvo has announced the release of Zentyal Server 5.0, a major new version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution designed for small business servers. This is Zentyal's first build based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS: "The Zentyal development team is proud to announce Zentyal Server 5.0, a new release of the Zentyal open-source Linux small business server with Active Directory interoperability. Zentyal Server 5.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and it comes with the latest versions of all the integrated software. New features and improvements include: Samba 4.5.1 - the latest released version of Samba directly from upstream, without any custom patch by Zentyal, it comes with all the fixes in the Samba project since Samba 4.3, which are many, specially on the replication code; the Zentyal integration code has been rewritten to no longer need custom patches - this will result in more stability and maintainability; NSS/PAM is now managed with winbind instead of sssd, which is the recommended way...." See the release announcement and changelog for more information.
Simon Long has announced the release of Raspbian 2016-11-25, a security update of the Debian-based distribution for the Raspberry Pi single-board computers: "The more observant among you may have spotted that we've recently updated the Raspbian-with-PIXEL image. With any major release of the OS, we usually find a few small bugs and other issues as soon as the wider community starts using it, and so we gather up the fixes and produce a 1.1 release a few weeks later. We don't make a fuss about these bug fix releases, as there's no new functionality; these are just fixes to make things work as originally intended. However, in this case, we've made a couple of important changes. They won't be noticed by many users, but to those who do notice them and who will be affected by them, we should explain ourselves! What has changed? First, from now on SSH will be disabled by default on our images." Here is the full release announcement with an explanation of the changes made in this release.
Donald Stewart has announced the release of Mageia 5.1, an updated build of the distribution current stable branch. This unscheduled version was put together due to delays delivering the upcoming Mageia 6 which is currently in development. From the release announcement: "We are very pleased to announce the release of Mageia 5.1. This release is a respin of the Mageia 5 installation and live ISO images, based on the Mageia 5 repository and incorporating all updates to allow for an up-to-date installation without the need to install almost a year-and-a-half worth of updates. It is therefore recommended for new installations and upgrades from Mageia 4. If you are currently running Mageia 5 then there is no need to install Mageia 5.1 as it is the same as your system, provided that updates have been installed. Mageia 5.1 ships with many updated packages, including LibreOffice 4.4.7, Linux kernel 4.4.32, KDE4 4.14.5, GNOME 3.14.3 and countless other updates." See also the release notes for detailed technical information.
Mageia 5.1 -- Running the KDE desktop
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The SparkyLinux distribution is based on Debian and features many editions, providing many different desktop environments for its users. The project has announced the release of SparkyLinux 4.5 which features LibreOffice 5, version 4.8 of the Linux kernel and systemd 232. The Pantheon desktop environment has been removed in favour of the Deepin desktop and the Common Desktop Environment (CDE). "Changes between 4.4 and 4.5: Full system upgrade as of November 29, 2016; Linux kernel 4.8.7 as default (4.8.12-sparky available in Sparky 'unstable' repo); Firefox 45.5.0 ESR (Firefox 50.0.2 available in our repos); Icedove 45.4 (Thunderbird 45.5.1 available in our repos); LibreOffice 5.2.3-rc1; libc6 2.24, systemd 232-6, python 2.7.12 + 3.5.2, gcc 5.4.1 + 6.2.0; added two new desktops to be installed via the MinimalGUI/CLI and APTus - CDE (Common Desktop Environment), DDE (Deepin Desktop Environment); Pantheon desktop has been removed from the configuration" The release announcement has further details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
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 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. 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: 261
- Total data uploaded: 48.4TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New header bar appearance
Last week we ran a poll asking whether our readers would like to see DistroWatch switch to a more modern web theme. The majority of voters asked us to keep things the same and/or make minor improvements.
Last week we received some suggestions as to what a streamlined navigation/header bar at the top of the site might look like. This week we would like to know if you think this new look is an improvement over our current design.
New header bar suggestion
(full image size: 48kB, resolution: 1365x357 pixels)
You can see the results of our previous poll on the look of the DistroWatch website here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
New header bar appearance
|I like the new design: ||681 (41%)|
| I prefer the old/existing design: ||513 (31%)|
| No strong preference: ||466 (28%)|
Changes to the website
Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the design of the DistroWatch website and considering where we can make improvements. In last week's poll readers indicated a desire for things to stay largely the same, possibly with evolutionary changes rather than an entirely new design. Several readers sent in new design suggestions and we have been working on implementing a few things.
One change we have made is creating a mobile-friendly version of DistroWatch. The mobile version of the site is very similar in look and behaviour to the full desktop site. The navigation bar has been redesigned and the pages should be more streamlined (and load faster) than before. The fonts are larger and easier to see on small screens too, but otherwise the content and style are all the same. We will be making small tweaks to the mobile version of the site over time.
For people who want to leave the mobile site and get back to the full featured/desktop version, you can select the Full Website option from the Navigation menu at the top of the page. People on mobile devices who are not automatically redirected to the mobile site can click the Mobile Site link at the top of the page to see the more streamlined site.
Regarding the feedback we received last week, a few people mentioned the time it takes to scroll through the comments to get to the bottom. There is now a link at the top of the comments section to jump directly to the bottom of the comments. We plan to introduce additional links like this to make our various resources and past articles easier to find. Some people mentioned a desire for more variety in the style of articles and reviews and it is our hope aspiring writers will check out our Contributing page and send in their reviews, tutorials and commentaries.
Another feature we have put into place is the Security Advisories page. This page collects security advisories from multiple open source projects and presents them all in one location. The list of advisories can be filtered by distribution and by date. At the moment, we are tracking advisories from five projects: Debian, FreeBSD, Red Hat, SUSE Linux Enterprise and Ubuntu. We hope this new feature will help people keep up to date with security fixes and provide a way for readers to compare the security and response times of various projects. If there is another project whose security advisories you would like us to track, please e-mail us with a link to the project's security RSS feed.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Zephyr Linux. Zephyr Linux is a distribution with editions formed from two bases: Debian and Devuan. The project provides editions that feature the Fluxbox, JWM and Openbox window managers.
- SemiCode OS. SemiCode OS is a Linux Distribution made for programmers and web developers. It includes most popular programming languages, compilers and integrated development environments (IDEs).
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 December 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • RE:"Running Android apps on a desktop Linux system" (by LinuxNeckBeard on 2016-12-05 00:40:15 GMT from United States) |
maybe a compatibility layer could be built that allows users to run android apps on a x86 linux desktop or laptop, sort of like the way wine allow users to run windows apps on linux
2 • New header (by Pikolo on 2016-12-05 01:19:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
The new header is less functional, and thus worse. It might make sense on smaller screens, but on a typical 16:9 display, it's a waste of space. I'm voting no.
3 • new header bar appearance (by mi on 2016-12-05 01:21:30 GMT from Switzerland)
I like the new top bar. The flat logo also looks good (even though I'll miss the old familiar one!); yet, it became very inconspicuous, specially close to the contrast of the background with the top-bar.
4 • new header bar appearance (by mi on 2016-12-05 01:26:09 GMT from Switzerland)
and I agree with Pikolo on the functionality. I tend to like all the information/links already well spread out for quick look/click. But I also have to admit that my taste does not goes with the most of the people. The new design does make it look more modern!
5 • Header (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2016-12-05 01:41:18 GMT from United States)
No search? Not even a drop-down? Way too dumbed-down for me. Just sayin'.
6 • header bar (by a on 2016-12-05 01:42:39 GMT from France)
The current header works for me, but I don’t know if the new one will, so I voted to keep the old one. Unfortunately I’ve noticed a trend in the past few years: user interfaces and web sites are getting worse. So I’m cautious.
7 • Like the newer header bar. (by Roy on 2016-12-05 01:58:56 GMT from United States)
Newer header bar reminds me of a good magazine or newspaper. This is a good site and popular. In the words of Microsoft, "Where do you want to go from here?" The opinion poll and the comment section is an easy answer for me. Even with a large monitor some web browsers are large at the top. So the new header-bar might say lets eat desert first so to speak. And from reading comments before mine I might have that backwards.
8 • Like New Ones, Like Old Functionality (by BeGo on 2016-12-05 03:53:46 GMT from Indonesia)
Like the new design. Much more cleaner. :)
Should be shown to us where the old functionalities implemented. ;)
9 • Header design (by Romane on 2016-12-05 04:56:12 GMT from Australia)
I like the new header design, but wonder where the missing links from there will go. Use the search a lot, with its capacity to filter distributions based on various criteria, but that has gone from the new header.
Just a quick note re the ad in the section where we can make these comments. Don't mind an ad, but it pushes the title of the first input box way up high, so I usually end up reading the titles as being beneath the input box, then having to redo them when realise other way round. Perhaps the title of the first box can be pushed down somehow to live immediately above its child.
10 • new header (by peer on 2016-12-05 06:53:30 GMT from Netherlands)
During the week I always use the 'Comments' link in the header. This link has disappeared in the new header. Please put it also in the new header.
11 • Header bar (by DaveW on 2016-12-05 12:54:01 GMT from United States)
It is a cleaner and more attractive header; however, the missing links do make it more difficult to get to the needed information. Maybe they could be put into a drop-down menu? I would have to see the changes in action to really decide if I liked it.
12 • flat (by curious on 2016-12-05 13:02:30 GMT from Germany)
The new header bar is flat - no more 3d elements. That is "modern" or trendy or whatever you want to call it. But I like 3d, so I'm voting "no".
13 • Fedora 25 review (by Barnabyh on 2016-12-05 13:11:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks for the review. I like it when from time to time someone else writes a review, or guest review, and this was certainly very informative.
I might even try Fedora again, but with good old Xorg. Don't want no funny stuff ;).
14 • Fedora 25 first impressions (by Mark D on 2016-12-05 13:57:19 GMT from United Kingdom)
I've installed Fedora 25 under Qemu/KVM and it is working surprisingly quickly and smoothly for a VM. I don't understand (yet) how Wayland is different from Xorg, but it is working well for me so far.
15 • header bar (by wally olson on 2016-12-05 13:59:29 GMT from United States)
I am so sick of 'eye candy'. It has been the bane of more distros than I can count. Make it look good, BUT after first making it functional.
My desktop is not art, it's a workplace.
16 • New Design (by John on 2016-12-05 15:26:20 GMT from Canada)
As long as you don't lose any search functionality then I like the new layout. But being able to quickly find distros based on the various criteria you currently have is awesome and not something to discard
17 • Header design (by Mark A on 2016-12-05 15:39:46 GMT from United States)
I get that Distrowatch is moving towards accommodating mobile, which is the inevitable march of things these days. In making more mobile friendly design and creating ease of maintaining for both mobile and desktop for the website, I hope underlying functionality is not sacrificed. Linux and the other distros this site is devoted to are mainly for use of desktop users, not mobile. That is your audience. Please keep this in mind and proceed with caution.
18 • New header (by Jordan on 2016-12-05 15:53:13 GMT from United States)
Looks like the ad is what the site is about, then you notice "oh, yeah, it says 'distrowatch' over there on the left."
19 • Random Distribution Button (by Justin on 2016-12-05 16:29:07 GMT from United States)
I noticed that the "Random Distribution" button disappeared in the proposed new header. Will that feature still be included? More sites should have a feature like this to encourage discovery of new items. I use the button to learn about or find distributions that I've never heard of.
20 • "flat" (by Kragle on 2016-12-05 16:40:38 GMT from United States)
3D (on a 2D display) requires a little more processing than "flat". 2D is not "new" (it's very old) or "trendy", but it's likely corporate marketing departments have been told to push "flat", to save on resources. Perhaps only the affluent (and spendthrift) can afford 3D?
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many browsers facilitate basic font and color palette controls; some use this to improve readability or low-light visibility and reduce irritations.
And some people deliver art ...
21 • New Header Design (by LT on 2016-12-05 16:50:46 GMT from Canada)
I like the new header design, the old one was a little too big for my liking. On the old header some of the links on the right side should actually be placed in a footer bar not the header IMO. I think on the new header you should keep the Select Distribution drop down button though.
Just wondering what why you need two Sitemap links?
22 • New Design (by dragonmouth on 2016-12-05 16:56:51 GMT from United States)
New design - cleaner, prettier but much less useful. Definitely against it.
Old design - all the links that I might want to use are right there, I don't have to look for them through a maze of menus.
BTW - in the image of the new design "Site Map" link appears twice. Is that a mistake or by design?
23 • Fedora review (by John on 2016-12-05 17:31:45 GMT from United Kingdom)
I must say, reading a review of Fedora from someone who has only used Fedora since it was first created, is not really a very informative review. More of a fanboy rant. If Joshua had used other Linux distros he might discover that Fedora really isn't up to scratch, as Jesse Smith discovered in his review of a previous Fedora release.
24 • Mobile version of Distrowatch (by email@example.com on 2016-12-05 17:55:57 GMT from United States)
I just finished reading the latest edition of your weekly letter. I love the new mobile version. So much better on a mobile phone! Thank you
25 • Mobile version (by mn on 2016-12-05 18:15:10 GMT from United States)
The mobile version looks normal, but there is no way to open the comments page.
If you are changing the normal page to a modern one, have a same size black (or any other color) row as on the top and place all links to other pages on that row. Have a look at noobslab site for inspiration.
26 • Header (by Antony on 2016-12-05 18:19:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
I like the proposal for the new header - but I would definitely not like an ad to be more prominent that the DW logo itself.
27 • New Design (by Lucas on 2016-12-05 20:44:41 GMT from Brazil)
1. I am not related to DistroWatch, I do not work for them or anything. I suggested this design and sent it by email. They made the pool and now it's there.
2. There's no credit for me, and I don't want it. I did not made this header suggestion to grab any attention or for self-promotion. I made it for the linux community and I want to hear everyone's ideas on how I can make it better for new users who are used to a more modern and responsive design while trying to make the change comfortable for everyone who is used to DistroWatch as it is right now. Please do not contact me about DistroWatch, keep this discussion here! I'll keep watching it and trying to merge every opinion in my design.
The HTML version of this also contains an update for command line browsers: http://imgur.com/a/F5KG9
Of course it's just a prototype and I hated it myself. I made two versions of the markup, this one is a new, the other one keeps things exactly the same.
I'll try to make a more complete version, also adding a navigation bar below the header.
This might answer everyone's questions.
I am sorry, it was my mistake. I didn't noticed the extra "Site Map" link as I was more focused on designing the header and trying to keep DW's visual identity.
@LT Check this http://imgur.com/a/mrOL0 for the expanded search.
@Justin It can be placed in there.
@Jordan please check second image description on the album I linked above. If you load the current layout in a 1024px width screen you will have the same feeling.
@Pikolo My original idea was to 'compress' the content in the header depending on the screen width. In 1920px it can hold more content so this space will be used to make it look more like it is right now.
28 • New Design (by More Gee on 2016-12-05 21:13:50 GMT from United States)
An update to the pure HTML version for command line browsers. I'm in, now the wife can have more bandwidth and not get blamed for going over quota. That is the version we should be updating more often.
29 • New Header Bar Design (by cykodrone on 2016-12-05 22:24:21 GMT from Canada)
I like it, nice job, looks great. I'm very pleasantly surprised, honestly, I was expecting a dog's breakfast, shame on me. 8O
30 • cosign @ 2 & 18 (and others) (by mud on 2016-12-05 23:15:37 GMT from United States)
the take away i got from last week's comments was: fix what's not right (mobile and comments links, for example) and leave the rest alone... which made me happy.
the provided example this week of what you seem to want is prettier, but its useless and it focuses on an ad.
no one is here to be impressed by your 1337 design skillz... we are here for the meat of the site.
also, you may think that making your ads more visible and prominent will help, but it wont. the professionals who do use your ads already treat them as part of the resource of this site and the rest of us who dont are mostly partaking in the "free as in beer" part of freedom and not gonna buy. those of us in the "free as in speech" camp have already blocked what few scripts you are running now and wont appreciate your pretty new nested nav.
31 • @27 (by mud on 2016-12-05 23:20:26 GMT from United States)
no offense intended, Lucas... it does look great! i didnt see your comment earlier.
its great you have stepped up to try and help!
32 • Header (by Mitchell on 2016-12-06 00:26:49 GMT from United States)
Nice! Less is more. With search capabilities why do we need Everything cluttering up the space? Simple, clean and neat
33 • Enough ! Already ! (by RollMeAway on 2016-12-06 03:21:44 GMT from United States)
Numerous websites and forums exist for website design.
Please reset this one back to linux and BSD conversations!
34 • Fedora 25 (by fox on 2016-12-06 04:52:50 GMT from Canada)
Like Joshua, I was pretty impressed with how far Wayland has come, especially given the status of Mir in Ubuntu 16.10. I recently updated a Fedora 24 installation with the current version, and I couldn't find any major problems with Wayland on my Acer Aspire laptop, nor on an iMac where I installed Fedora 25 anew. One program that Joshua didn't mention that doesn't work on Wayland is gparted; it wouldn't even start up. But it runs fine on X. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. One thing I would like to see changed in Fedora Workstation is the default installation with LVM. This makes no sense to me for most potential users of Workstation, as opposed to users of Server. But overall, Fedora 25 seems like a nice upgrade over 24.
35 • Fedora 25 impressions so far (by far2fish on 2016-12-06 11:35:17 GMT from Denmark)
After rolling with Antergos for the past two years on my laptop at home, I installed Fedora 25 a few days after it's release. The primary motivation for getting back to Fedora is that I recently switched jobs, and have been using Fedora 23 on my work desktop. So it was a good moment to align my Linux usage both at home and at work. So I also reinstalled my work desktop with Fedora 25 too.
When I made the switch to a rolling release two years ago it was because I was tired of reinstalling or upgrading every 6 months, with the software tweaking and customizing that follow suit.
With the return to Fedora 25 I made sure to do all additional software installs, GUI tweaks, customizations and tweaks automated with Ansible. It took a few hours to write the playbook and perhaps half a day to improve the play, but the end result is that I can setup Fedora to my liking automatically in less than 10 minutes. In fact I haven't done anything manually post install. Ansible did everything.
Wayland has run rock solid so far. Fedora 25 supposedly also came with MP3 playback out of the box this time, butI have not tried it.
36 • New to waiting list (by joerufus on 2016-12-06 13:03:41 GMT from United States)
Surprised to see Zephyr Linux added to waiting list. Have used both Debian and Devuan for about a year and found them both excellent distributions. Very low memory usage on both the laptop and desktop. Overall just a great distro without a lot of bloat.
Wanted to thank the folks at DistroWatch for including it's users and participants with updating it current appearance. Honestly found it quite easy to navigate and the vanilla yellow is easy on the eyes. The website has a lot to offer covering many topics and bits and pieces of information. Q & A by Jessie Smith is always very informative with a lot of great insight into the Linux world of computing.
Whatever DW settles on, will be happy with their decision. As for one not complaining about what evidently was already very well thought out web site.
37 • Proposed Distrowatch layout change (by A. Nonymous on 2016-12-06 16:00:44 GMT from United States)
I strongly disagree with the proposed changes. Leave it just the way it is. This site is to provide information.You should not have to dig for it. The current layout makes the information easily accessible. Don't change it. Except for maybe the ugly "dirty yellow" color scheme. And don't bother dumbing it down to cater to mobile device users - they don't even know what F/LOSS is, and wouldn't care anyway.
P.S. - a good example to imitate is: https://archlinux.org: "Just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts".
38 • New Header Design (by sherman jerrold on 2016-12-06 20:38:49 GMT from United States)
Distrowatch is a vital and substantive source of Linux info. The current/old header has all those great text links at the top in a concise single location. I know some think it's 'new and cool' to spread things all over. However, I (and many other respondents) think keeping all the essential links in one place facilitates ease of navigation and reduces wasted time looking for or drilling down through layers and then sometimes having to redrill in another branch to find a specific topic of info. I value the great info, not a 'cool' look. AND the 'jump to bottom of comments' and 'security advisories' are very good ideas. A mobile site version is needed, even though I won't be using it. I hope you will remain focused on substance not style. Thanks.
39 • No new change (by Hello on 2016-12-06 21:01:36 GMT from United States)
I don't see a reason to change the header at all for the site, it looks nice as it is and it's stupid and mind blowing for companies to change things like logos, websites, etc. just to change them when things look good and work fine. It's unfortunate so many people like minimalism, it looks so immature and like a little kid made it (in my opinion), it's not mature looking or professional for a company or website and I don't think it makes a company or website look good at all. Maybe instead of introducing drastic change like I see you want to do like so many others with minimalism, we can have different themes so people who want the site how they want it to look can do that without a permanent change for everyone. I'd like the default look of the site and header how it looks now and if so many people like this minimalism crap (my opinion), have a option for that as a theme too with the minimalistic heading. Give people a choice instead of introducing drastic change that will alienate a lot of people.
40 • Android apps on Linux (by Blue Jay on 2016-12-07 03:36:11 GMT from United States)
There's a project called Shashlik ( www.shashlik.io ) that's aiming to allow Android apps to run natively on Linux.
There's also the efforts of VolksPC on their own Debian-based distro/software ( www.volkspc.org/unified-distribution ) that aims for seamless native Debian/Android app compatibility.
41 • open ports (by jmgomez_f on 2016-12-07 04:11:36 GMT from Philippines)
Has anyone ever checked if the live DVD or USB images have open ports before or during installations? I have noticed Rosa has a lot of open ports and even failed the ShieldsUp test at grc.com. So far it is the only Distro that I know of that has failed this test.
42 • @39 header change (by Jordan on 2016-12-07 17:53:36 GMT from United States)
Yes I agree. But to add that we distro hop, most of us. Even when the distro we're using is working fine and we're happy with it. ;)
43 • Running Android apps on a desktop Linux system (by Simon Wainscott-Plaistowe on 2016-12-08 18:45:03 GMT from New Zealand)
I was impressed by RemixOS ( www.jide.com/remixos-for-pc ) which is based on Android-x86
44 • Header (by Some Guy on 2016-12-09 05:19:33 GMT from France)
Sorry, but I'm not going to be happy until you reinstate the original DW girl in the the site header.
45 • Random distro (by Jesse on 2016-12-09 19:19:57 GMT from Canada)
@19: I have been thinking about swapping out the random button with a weekly featured distro to try to expose lesser known projects. It's not a sure thing at the moment, just an idea I'm playing with.
46 • Suggested "header" change (by eco2geek on 2016-12-09 21:13:07 GMT from United States)
My favorite part of the current "header" is the drop-down "Select Distribution" box/"Go" button combination. For some reason I like using that more than using a search box, and I'd hate to see it go away.
Also, I don't really care for the banner ad that takes up most of the space, but I do understand that you've got to pay the bills.
47 • Web interface changes ... in general. (by Greg Zeng on 2016-12-10 03:30:42 GMT from Australia)
Old-timers might prefer serif-fonts, 3D & adornments, on large desktop-only displays. As we are now having battery-powered, hand-held devices to use the Internet, the pioneering example of the Distrowatch changes are welcome.
Distrowatch audiences are very specialized upstream users of web interfaces. The principles in the design decisions here, also apply to the hundreds of Linux-BSD distributions. Perhaps the distribution reviewers might mention these remnants of the old times?
So many "alternatives" add ear & eye-candy, which might be OK for some Distribution creators, in an effort to be different from the established Distributions. My problem in my old age is the lack of easy adjustment for sight-impaired people. Installation & running of any operating system should allow very early access to clearer, simpler interface displays.
48 • fedora 25 (by k on 2016-12-11 19:43:52 GMT from United States)
thank you joshua and distrowatch for another educational and practical review, and
thank you very much fedora and wayland developers for an evolutionary leap.
Number of Comments: 48
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
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|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• 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|
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|• 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|
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|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
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|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
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|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
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|• 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|
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|• 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|
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kmLinux was a German Linux distribution intended for schools and other educational establishments. It was based on SUSE LINUX and was developed by the Association for Free Software and Education for the school authority of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.