| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 695, 16 January 2017
Welcome to this year's 3rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
People are always on the lookout for an improved computing experience. Some of us want our computers to make things easier for us, others want better performance, some of us crave stability and there are people who long to try out new features. This week we touch on each of these categories, beginning with a newcomer friendly distribution called Zorin OS. The Zorin project creates a distribution which is designed to make former Windows users feel at home and we explore Zorin OS 12 in our Feature Story. In the News section we talk about the Peppermint OS team fixing a bug in their system installer and Debian releasing new installation media along with driver changes coming to Fedora 26. Plus we discuss work going into making Unity 7 a better performing desktop on low-end video cards. Finally, we round out the News with a look back on distributions in 2016, courtesy of the Everyday Linux User website. Meanwhile, in our Questions and Answers column, we look ahead to developments and advancements coming in 2017. Plus we share the releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. Speaking of torrents, our Opinion Poll opens a discussion on which bittorrent client our readers like to use. In addition, we are happy to welcome Subgraph OS and Fatdog64 Linux to our database. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Reviews: Zorin OS 12 "Core"
- News: Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian releases new installation media, Fedora changes Intel video driver, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Everyday Linux User reviews distros of 2016
- Questions and answers: Exciting things coming in 2017
- Released last week: Parted Magic 2017_01_08, AryaLinux 2017, Ultimate Edition 5.1
- Torrent corner: BlankOn, Raspbian, Ultimate Edition
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 16.04.2
- Opinion poll: Favourite torrent client
- DistroWatch.com donation: Armbian
- New additions: Subgraph OS, Fatdog64 Linux
- New distributions: SharkLinux, Liri OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (57MB) and MP3 (38MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Zorin OS 12 "Core"
Zorin OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. The Zorin distribution is designed to be beginner friendly and is geared toward providing a familiar desktop environment for people who are transitioning to Linux from Windows. Zorin ships with the WINE compatibility software which allows the distribution to run many applications built for Windows.
The latest version, Zorin OS 12, is (at the time of writing) available in two editions: Core and Ultimate. The Core edition can be downloaded for free and ships with lots of useful open source applications, the WINE compatibility software and a somewhat Windows-like desktop theme. The Ultimate edition costs 15 Euros, offers additional games, desktop layouts and technical support. Both editions of Zorin 12 ship with GNOME Shell and GNOME's Universal Search bar. This search bar can be accessed by pressing the meta key and, through the search bar, we can look up time zone information, weather reports, available software in Zorin's repositories and solve simple math problems.
Further, Zorin 12 ships with interactive notifications, which is one of my favourite features in Ubuntu's Unity 8 desktop. Zorin ships with a high contrast theme by default and the distribution has replaced the Zorin Theme Changer and Zorin Look Changer utilities with one unified application called Zorin Appearance. The distribution now uses GNOME Software as the graphical software front-end for package management and I will talk more about these changes later.
Zorin 12 Core is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the ISO we download is 1.5GB in size. Booting from this downloaded image launches a graphical environment. A window appears and asks if we would like to try Zorin's live desktop environment or launch the project's system installer. We can select our preferred language at this time from a list of languages on the left side of the window. At the bottom of the window is a link to the project's release notes and clicking this link opens a web browser to display the on-line document.
Something I found odd was that when I clicked the link to display Zorin's release notes, the web browser worked. It opened as expected and brought up the desired information. However, when I opted to try exploring Zorin's live desktop environment, I found the one application which did not launch was the Chromium web browser. When attempting to open the browser from the application menu, nothing would happen. When trying to launch Chromium from a virtual terminal, the terminal would hang, neither opening the browser nor returning me to a command prompt and no errors were displayed.
Zorin OS 12 -- The Zorin application menu
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Zorin uses the Ubiquity system installer, a graphical application which it inherits from Ubuntu. Ubiquity begins by asking if we would like to download software updates while the installation is in progress. We are also given the option of downloading third-party software packages, such as Flash, wi-fi drivers and multimedia codecs. I stuck with the defaults, ignoring software updates and installing the third-party items. Next we are asked if we would like to have the installer set up disk partitions for us or if we would like to manually divide up our disk. I like Ubiquity's partition manager, I find it easy to navigate with just a few clicks and I like how Ubiquity shows us a graphical representation of our partitions. The installer supports working with a wide range of file systems, including Btrfs, ZFS, JFS, LVM volumes and ext2/3/4. Next, the installer gets us to confirm our time zone and asks us to select our keyboard layout from a list. The last step in the installation process gets us to create a user account for ourselves and we have the option of setting up encryption on our user's home directory. Once the installation completes we can restart the computer and Zorin boots to a graphical login screen.
Signing into our account brings up the GNOME desktop. At the bottom of the screen we find an application menu, a few quick-launch buttons and the system tray. The application menu and desktop layout have a Windows-like quality in their positioning and organization, though the colour theme is distinct to Zorin.
Zorin OS 12 -- The settings panel
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I experimented with Zorin in two test environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a physical desktop computer. When running on the desktop machine, I ran into two problems. The first came when using the live disc. When selecting to try the distribution's live desktop environment from the greeter window, I was dropped to a text console and shown a login prompt. I was able to sign into a user account with the user name zorin without a password. From there, I could run the startx command to access the GNOME-powered desktop environment. I am uncertain as to why the live disc was unable to perform this transition to the live desktop automatically.
Once Zorin was up and running I ran into a couple of instances, in both test environments, where the desktop would no longer respond to mouse clicks or keyboard input. I could move the mouse around the screen, but the system gave no response to keyboard or mouse button presses. The only way I could find to restore the system to working order was a soft reset.
When running in VirtualBox, I found Zorin automatically integrated with the virtual environment, allowing me to make use of my screen's full display resolution. The GNOME desktop was a little sluggish at times when running in VirtualBox, but was snappy when running on the physical desktop computer. In either environment, Zorin tended to use about 800MB of memory when signed into GNOME.
One final word on hardware: I have an HP OfficeJet 6600 printer which I can connect to over wi-fi. Using Zorin's settings panel, I was able to connect to the printer using the device's IP address. Zorin supplies many printer drivers and some of them are similar to the 6600, but there were no exact driver matches for my printer. Most other desktop distributions I have used recently have had drivers specific to the 6600 model.
Earlier I mentioned one of Zorin's features is an advanced search bar which can be used to do all sorts things, from simple math problems to checking the weather to looking for available software. In the desktop's settings panel there is a configuration module which allows us to toggle on/off specific features of the search bar. This means we can use it specifically to find software in the repositories or the current time in a given city and we can disable the features we do not want.
Zorin OS 12 -- Performing a search
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I experimented with the search bar quite a bit and, while the concept is good, the implementation is still very rough. For example, searching for software only returns desktop applications, not any/all packages. This kind of makes sense, but not all desktop software returns results either, even when a specific name is provided. For example, searching for "gnumeric", the name of a spreadsheet application, does not return any usable results, but searching for "gwenview" does return a link to the desired image viewer. When we do get the result we wanted, clicking the displayed entry opens the software manager and gives us the option of installing the package.
When looking for time zones, the search bar only recognizes city names in the United States. Searches for Toronto or London do not return anything. Oddly enough, some American cities do not return results either. Searching for "Seattle" worked, but searching for "New York" did not return any useful results.
I was pleased with the search bar's calculator functionality. Typing in problems such as "6 + 9 =" produces accurate results and the calculator function can handle slightly more complicated math questions such as "87 + (87 * 0.15) =". The search bar can also find and run installed desktop applications.
After a while I realized I had not received any notice as to whether there were security updates available for Zorin. I found there are three ways to check for and install available software updates. One is to launch the Software Updater utility from the application menu. This graphical program checks for updates, presents them in a simple list format and waits for our confirmation the new packages can be installed. This is probably the most straight forward method. A second way is to open a terminal and use the underlying APT utilities to grab software updates. The third method is to launch the GNOME Software graphical software manager. GNOME Software has three tabs, one for browsing available applications, one for listing and removing installed programs and one for checking for updates. New updates are listed in the third tab and can be installed with a button click. Zorin pulls in software from the Ubuntu 16.04 repositories. The first day I was running Zorin, there were a little over a dozen updates available, 104MB in size.
The GNOME Software tab which shows available software begins by showing us popular and recommended applications at the top of the page. Toward the bottom of the window we find a list of software categories. Clicking on a category brings up a list of sub-categories on the left and specific applications on the right. For example, if we selected the Office category, we could then select Spreadsheet as our sub-category and LibreOffice Calc will be displayed as an available application. Clicking on a specific desktop application brings up a full page description of the software with screen shots. We can click a button to install the selected item.
Zorin OS 12 -- GNOME Software
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Digging through Zorin's application menu we find a fairly standard collection of open source applications. The Chromium web browser is present, along with the Empathy messaging software, the Geary e-mail client and LibreOffice. There is a calendar application and an address book. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is available along with a scanner utility and the Brasero disc burning software. I found the Cheese webcam manager, the PiTiVi video editor application, the Rhythmbox audio player and the Videos (Totem) video player. Zorin gives us the option of installing media codecs at install time and I was able to play all the media formats in my collection. Zorin ships with an application for managing third-party drivers, a file archive manager and a utility for performing backups. An on-line account manager helps us integrate our local account with on-line services like Google. Zorin provides us with a few small games, a clock application, calculator, text editor and a desktop maps application. The distribution ships with WINE for running Windows applications and the PlayOnLinux utility which helps users install Windows applications. In addition, there is a utility to help us make use of Windows wireless drivers. Network Manager is present to help us connect to the Internet. In the background, I found the GNU Compiler Collection, systemd 229 and version 4.4.0 of the Linux kernel.
One tool I was eager to try was the new Zorin Appearance application. The Appearance application helps the user adjust the layout of the desktop, change the colour theme and adjust fonts. We can change the position, size and look of the desktop's panel too. Zorin Appearance offers a fair degree of functionality with an interface I found easy to navigate. I like the layout of the new Appearance application and I found it worked as expected.
Zorin OS 12 -- The Zorin Appearance application
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One of the few disappointments I experienced with Zorin was trying to get Flash working in any web browser. At install time I had opted to install codecs, Flash and third-party drivers. When I launched Chromium and visited websites featuring Flash content, the plugin was missing. I checked the GNOME Software package manager and Flash was not listed. Instead I installed Firefox to see if a different browser would make a difference and Firefox was also unable to display Flash content. Later, I installed Flash via the APT command line package manager. I actually tried two different versions of Adobe's Flash along with the Gnash free software implementation. None of the three plugins worked in either browser. When using Firefox I found the Flash plugin would display a list of missing dependency files, but not a useful error message.
Zorin OS 12 -- Running Firefox and LibreOffice
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Another problem I faced was GNOME Shell tended to run into problems. Sometimes a pop-up would appear to report GNOME Shell had encountered a problem. Other times the desktop would simply stop responding to input from the mouse and keyboard, but continue to display the desktop. A third issue I ran into is, after an application window had been closed, the program's icon would remain on the panel as if the application were still running. I could click the icon to re-launch the application, so it wasn't simply a matter of the display not refreshing, the button was still interactive. Usually the icon for the closed application would disappear within a minute, clearing the space on the desktop's panel.
A few weeks back I mentioned when I was running openSUSE I spent more time than I would have liked disabling audio notifications. Zorin also plays notifications often, but I like how easy it is to disable notification sounds through Zorin's settings panel as all notifications can be muted at once.
One of the configuration modules in the settings panel helps the user create and manage user accounts. I noticed the first time I created a new account, after I supplied a new user name and password, the "Add" button to create the account was not active. With some experimenting I found the "Add" button would only activate after I had supplied a complex password (with letters, numbers and symbols) or if I chose to provide no password at all.
The PlayOnLinux software worked fairly well for me and I was able to use it to install a few free Windows applications. These tended to install and run properly. I think PlayOnLinux will be a big help to people transitioning from Microsoft's operating system as it makes setting up and configuring WINE to work with Windows applications much easier.
Zorin OS 12 -- Using PlayOnLinux to install Windows applications
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I like what Zorin is trying to do - making Linux more accessible for people transitioning from Windows. The general design of the distribution, from the system installer to desktop theme, should make it relatively easy for new users to settle into Linux. The WINE and PlayOnLinux software helps a lot with setting up applications which would otherwise only work on Windows and I think this is a nice touch.
While I appreciated the design of Zorin OS 12, there were a few issues I ran into. One was that for some reason Flash did not work properly out of the box on my system and attempts to install Flash (while successful in getting the plugin recognized by my browsers) ultimately failed to properly display Flash content. A second problem I had was that, in both test environments, GNOME Shell tended to either stop responding or display crash reports. This was frustrating for me and I suspect it would be similarly off putting to newcomers.
A third thing which concerned me, though I do not think it could be considered a bug, was the lack of notifications about available security updates when I logged in. Windows users tend to either assume updates happen automatically (which does not appear to be the case on Zorin) or they are accustomed to seeing a notification telling them whether the system is up to date in the system tray. I think having a similar status indicator on Zorin would be helpful for newcomers.
All in all, I like the concepts and look of Zorin. I like the work done to create and polish Zorin Appearance, I think it's a well put together configuration tool. There were a few rough patches in my experience, but I suspect those will get sorted out in future updates.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Fedora changing Intel video driver, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Everyday Linux User reviews distros of 2016
The Peppermint OS team has discovered a bug in the system installer of version 7 of the Peppermint distribution. The bug can cause the system installer to crash when certain keyboard and language settings are selected during the install process. "Team Peppermint have discovered a bug in the 16.04 version of APT (1.2.15) which causes the installer to crash with certain locale/keyboard combinations during installation of Peppermint 7 Respin. As this could result in an unbootable system for a small number of users we've taken down the Peppermint 7 Respin ISOs whilst a fix is applied. For those already trying to install the Peppermint 7 Respin and getting a crash during the install process, there is a workaround here." A fix has been applied and new ISO images have been published which correct the issue.
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The Debian project has announced the availability of new installation media for Debian 8 "Jessie". The new media, labelled Debian 8.7, is not a new version of the distribution, but presents users with up to date media for fresh installs. The project's website states: "The Debian project is pleased to announce the seventh update of its stable distribution Debian 8 (codename Jessie). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old Jessie CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated."
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Hans de Geode has announced the Fedora distribution will be making changes to its Xorg driver for Intel CPUs, starting with the upcoming release of Fedora 26. "A while back Debian had switched to using the modesetting Xorg driver rather then the Intel Xorg driver for Intel GPUs. There are several good reasons for this, rather then repeating them I'm just going to point to the Debian announcement. This mail is to let all Fedora users know that starting with Fedora 26/Rawhide as of today, we are making the same change. Note that the xorg-x11-drv-intel package has already been carrying a Fedora patch to not bind to the GPU on Skylake or newer, even before Debian announced this, this just makes the same change for older Intel GPUs." People who are using the default Wayland session on Fedora Workstation will not be affected by this change as the adjustment only affects people using the Xorg display server.
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The Ubuntu team has been working to improve the performance of the Unity 7 desktop environment. Unity uses visual effects which cause the desktop to perform sluggishly on low-end video cards and in virtual machines. "Unity 7 has had a low graphics mode for a long time now but recently we've decided to improve it because it was reported to be slow in very old GPUs and machines that use software rendering like VMs in the cloud. That slow performance was kind of expected. Most visual effects that are widely used in the modern desktop environments due to the performance of the modern high end GPUs, can slow down the desktop to the point that it becomes unusable in software rendering." Improvements to Unity's low graphics mode have greatly improved the desktop's performance and Ubuntu users will soon be able to toggle low graphics mode on/off through the desktop's setting's panel. This blog post explains how to enable the low graphics mode and features a video showing the feature in action.
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Finally, last week the Everyday Linux User site posted an article containing short reviews of the top ten Linux distributions, according to our page hit ranking. The article quickly touches on the strengths and weaknesses of Linux Mint, Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Manjaro Linux, Fedora, Zorin OS, elementary OS, CentOS and Arch Linux. The reviews explore each distribution from the point of view of a desktop user looking for a system which is easy to set up and use.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Exciting things coming in 2017
Looking-ahead asks: What new or exciting developments are you looking forward to in 2017? Any new distributions on the horizon that we should know about?
Jesse Smith answers: This year I am less excited about brand new technologies and happier about young technologies which I suspect will mature and/or become mainstream in 2017. Both Wayland and Mir/Unity 8 have been slowly maturing over the past few years. Wayland recently became the default display software in Fedora and I suspect Wayland will be more widely adopted in other cutting-edge distributions. Efforts to port Wayland to FreeBSD have also been making progress, so I think we will see more use of Wayland by the end of 2017. Likewise, Unity 8 on Mir has been improving. I think that Ubuntu 17.10 or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will attempt to use Unity 8 as the distribution's default desktop environment. As someone who enjoys Unity 8 on mobile devices, I'm hopeful about the interface's future on desktop computers.
On a similar note, I suspect both Flatpak and Snap packages will mature and start to be adopted by more projects. I don't think either technology is going to replace standard Linux-style packages any time soon, but I think they might be popular as an alternative to backports and PPAs.
This past year or so there have been a few distributions which have made security a top priority. Qubes OS, for example, isolates groups of tasks or processes from each other. Subgraph OS is another distribution which focuses on security and it also uses Tor for anonymous Internet access. I think both of these projects, and other distributions which prioritize security and anonymity, will be interesting to watch.
As a general rule, I usually do not focus on hardware or get enthusiastic about new devices, but I have some thoughts on Linux and various devices. For example, last month we talked about efforts to improve printing support on IPP Everywhere and Apple AirPrint printers and I am hoping this expands the range of printers that work with Linux distributions. I noticed the Canadian branch of NewEgg has started using Linux/SteamOS as an operating system quick filter for desktop computers and I hope this means we will see more Steam boxes and gaming rigs with Linux pre-installed. In recent years we have seen a lot more games ported to Linux, partly thanks to GOG and Steam and I'm looking forward to seeing more gaming titles on Linux.
For me personally, 2016 was the year I switched from Android to using a phone running Ubuntu Touch. I'm quite happy with the platform and I think it is unfortunate no companies are selling phones bundled with Ubuntu at the moment. It would be nice to see more Ubuntu-powered phones in 2017. If no new phones are coming, then hopefully efforts to port Ubuntu to more devices will be successful.
I have been using ZFS for several years now, but support for the file system has been unenthusiastic in the Linux community until recently. I suspect, now that Debian and Ubuntu are offering ZFS support, we will see more projects, particularly Linux-based NAS distributions, providing ZFS as a built-in option.
How about you? What new developments or features are you looking forward to in 2017? Please leave us a comment with your ideas.
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For more questions and answers, visit our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Parted Magic 2017_01_08
Parted Magic is a live CD/DVD Linux distribution for working with disk partitions and rescuing data. The latest version of the commercial distribution is Parted Magic 2017_01_08 and has been updated to use Xorg Server 1.19.0 and the kernel has been upgraded to Linux 4.9.1 with various video card fixes. The distribution now ships with support for working with ZFS volumes thanks to the ZFS on Linux kernel modules. "This version of Parted Magic comes with Xorg Server 1.19.0 and the latest open source drivers. The kernel has been updated to Linux 4.9.1 with many video card fixes. We also added a few programs and made a few minor nitpicks most people didn’t even notice. I thought the 2016_10_18 release was going to be a problem because of all the updates. It was actually the best release ever and Parted Magic 2017_01_08 builds on that. Parted Magic now ships with ZFS on Linux kernel drivers! Yay! Added Programs: grub-customizer-5.0.6, x11vnc-0.9.13, fslint-2.44, zerofree-1.0.4, spl-solaris-0.7.0-git12172016, zfs-on-linux-0.7.0-git12172016, and bleachbit-1.12." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement. The latest version of Parted Magic can be purchased for US$9.00 from the project's Downloads page.
Ultimate Edition 5.1
A new version of Ultimate Edition is out and ready for download. Version 5.1 is still based on Ubuntu 16.04, but it comes with the KDE Plasma desktop and, as usual, plenty of customisations and eye candy: "Ultimate Edition 5.1 was built from the Ubuntu 16.04 'Xenial Xerus' tree using a combination of Tmosb (TheeMahn's Operating System Builder) and work by hand. Tmosb is also included in this release (1.9.7), allowing you to do the same. Tmosb 1.9.8 has also been uploaded allowing you to build up to Zesty over 3,000 operating systems. This release is a long-term supported (LTS) release, supported until the year 2019. It is most certainly worthy of the Ultimate Edition title. I hate KDE. No news there, but I believe I spent a ton of time refining it to make our users happy. Did I mention I hate KDE? Looks too much like that other operating system." See the release announcement for more information.
Chandrakant Singh has announced the launch of AryaLinux 2017. The AryaLinux distribution is source-based and uses ports style of package management. The project's front page announcement reads: "AryaLinux 2017 released with package updates and a new set of scripts to assist you in building from scratch. This is a 64 bit only release and would remain like this going forward. Complete support in the build scripts for KDE plasma environment and GNOME desktop environment has been provided in this release. Amongst the few things that missed out this release are the graphical front-end to alps. This would be released as a package in due course of time." With this release, the 32-bit installation media for AryaLinux has been dropped in favour of 64-bit images. A list of changes and the version numbers of key packages can be found in the project's release notes for AryaLinux 2017.
AryaLinux 2017 -- Running the MATE desktop
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Barry Kauler has announced the availability of an update to Quirky, a sister distribution to the lightweight Puppy Linux project. The new release, Quirky 8.1.6, updates the project's 8.1.x series and is compatible with binary packages built for Ubuntu 16.04. "Quirky Linux 8.1.6 x86_64 is codenamed "Xerus" and is built using the woofQ Quirky Linux build system, with the help of Ubuntu 16.04 binary packages. Thus, Xerus has compatibility with all of the Ubuntu repositories. The Linux kernel is version 4.4.40 and SeaMonkey is upgraded to version 2.46. Quirky is a fork of Puppy Linux, and is mainly differentiated by being a "full installation" only, with special snapshot and recovery features, and Service Pack upgrades." The release announcement and release notes for Quirky 8.1.6 offer further details and a list of known issues. "There are some known issues: 1. There is Bluetooth support, but it needs work. 2. SeaMonkey has a few problems. It is stuck on DuckDuckGo for starters. 3. CLI VLC only. A full GUI video player needs to be installed."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not 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: 276
- Total data uploaded: 52.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Favourite torrent client
Bittorrent is a commonly used method of moving large files or archives around the Internet. Bittorrent enables people who have downloaded parts of a file to share it with others. The peer-to-peer nature of bittorrent takes the load off the original distributor and helps speed up more popular downloads. These characteristics make bittorrent a good option for open source projects that wish to distribute installation media.
This week we would like to know, from those of you who use bittorrent, what is your preferred bittorrent program? Do you use popular desktop bittorrent clients such as Transmission and KTorrent, or are you more inclined to use a command line client such as rTorrent? If we missed your torrent software in the list, please let us know about it in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on CPU architectures here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Favourite torrent client
|ABC: ||5 (0%)|
| Deluge: ||308 (14%)|
| FrostWire: ||18 (1%)|
| KTorrent: ||189 (8%)|
| qBittorrent: ||509 (23%)|
| rTorrent: ||69 (3%)|
| Transmission: ||989 (44%)|
| Other: ||141 (6%)|
January 2017 DistroWatch.com donation: Armbian
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the January 2017 DistroWatch.com donation is Armbian. The project receives US$308.00 in cash.
Armbian is a lightweight distribution based on Debian or Ubuntu for ARM computer boards. The distribution is compiled from scratch and helps users create a custom distribution for their single-board, ARM powered devices.
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 made 147 donations for a total of US$46,689 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), Devuan ($300), hdparm ($350), HardenedBSD ($400), TestDisk ($450)
- 2016: KeePass ($400), Slackware Live Edition ($406), Devil-Linux ($400), FFmpeg ($300), UBports ($300)
- 2017: Armbian ($308)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
Subgraph OS is a Debian-based Linux distribution which provides several security, anonymous web browsing and hardening features. Subgraph OS uses a hardened Linux kernel, application firewall to block specific executables from accessing the network and forces all Internet traffic through the Tor network. The distribution's file manager features tools to remove meta-data from files and integrates with the OnionShare file sharing application. The Icedove e-mail client is set up to automatically work with Enigmail for encrypting e-mails.
Subgraph OS 2016.12.30 -- The Activities menu
(full image size: 433kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Fatdog64 Linux is a small, desktop, 64-bit Linux distribution. Originally created as a derivative of Puppy Linux with additional applications, Fatdog64 has grown to become an independent, Linux distribution while still keeping the style of Puppy Linux.
Fatdog64 Linux -- Browsing the application menu
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- SharkLinux. SharkLinux is built on Ubuntu Xenial and uses MATE as the default desktop. The distribution ships with a full range of desktop software, including multimedia support out of the box.
- Liri OS. Liri OS is a Linux distribution which has grown out of the merger between the Hawaii distribution and Papyros project.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 23 January 2017. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 1, value: US$2.77)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• 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|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system is called Debian. Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel. Linux is a completely free piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide. Of course, the thing that people want is application software: programs to help them get what they want to do done, from editing documents to running a business to playing games to writing more software. Debian comes with over 50,000 packages (precompiled software that is bundled up in a nice format for easy installation on your machine) - all of it free. It's a bit like a tower. At the base is the kernel. On top of that are all the basic tools. Next is all the software that you run on the computer. At the top of the tower is Debian -- carefully organizing and fitting everything so it all works together.