| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 623, 17 August 2015
Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
One of the most important freedoms open source software gives its users is the ability to change the course of software development. When the original author of an application, desktop or distribution no longer wishes to continue their work its users are empowered to continue the project. When a project takes a turn its users do not like, they can fork the project and push it in a direction that better suits their needs. This past week we witnessed the freedom and flexibility open source offers. First, Canonical released the source code for their now discontinued Ubuntu One file synchronization and storage service. Then the Bodhi Linux distribution unveiled the project's first release of Moksha, a fork of the Enlightenment desktop. We also saw Gentoo strive to make their Portage tree more open to the developer community while Fedora developers debated which web browsers to include in their repositories. Before we dive into the details of those stories, we take a look at VectorLinux, a branch of the Slackware family that offers users stability and performance. In our Questions and Answers column we quickly cover cloud-based distributions, OpenDNS's sale to Cisco and website encryption. In our Torrent Corner we share the distributions we are seeding and then we provide a list of distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we ask whether you dual boot. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring a different direction with VectorLinux 7.1
Often times, when we look out over the sea of Linux distributions, we see a lot of Debian based projects, dozens of Ubuntu spins and a healthy collection of Fedora derivatives. It seems to me that distributions based on Slackware are sighted less and less these days. Maybe Slackware's traditional style just does not appeal to new distribution creators or maybe the distribution's conservative nature has become a liability in today's environment of fast paced development. Whatever the reason, VectorLinux 7.1 (a Slackware derivative) was launched back in June and I, hungry for a taste of Slackware, happily added it to my list of projects to review.
According to the VectorLinux website, the distribution has three key goals: "Speed, performance, stability -- these are attributes that set VectorLinux apart in the crowded field of Linux distributions. The creators of VectorLinux had a single credo: keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be."
The VectorLinux distribution (hereafter simply referred to as Vector) is offered in one edition that is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The download for the 64-bit ISO is 720MB in size. Booting from the Vector disc brings up a prompt where we are told we can supply boot parameters to the kernel. Taking the default settings (by simply pressing Enter) launches a graphical environment and opens Vector's graphical system installer. If we move our mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen a window manager panel appears along with an application menu. Browsing the application menu we can find disk partitioning utilities, some system tools and a copy of the game Tetris. The Tetris option offers a nice way to pass the time while the installer is working.
VectorLinux 7.1 -- The Xfce desktop and application menu
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Vector's system installer begins by asking if we would like Vector to take over our entire disk, in which case the installer will try to automatically partition our hard drive. Alternatively, we can take the "Advanced" option and partition the hard drive ourselves. Taking the Advanced option launches the GParted partition manager. GParted offers a nice interface that makes dividing up our disk fairly easy. I found ext2/3/4, JFS, XFS and Reiserfs partitions are supported. Once we have finished managing our partitions and have closed GParted, Vector's installer gives us the opportunity to assign mount points to our partitions. The system installer next asks if we would like to install a desktop environment with the sole option being the Xfce desktop. We are then asked to create a user account for ourselves and select our time zone from a list. The following screen asks if we would like to install a boot loader on our hard drive and Vector supports both the Lilo and GRUB boot loaders. The installer then copies its files (while we can indulge in Tetris) and, when it is finished, the installer prompts us to reboot the computer.
When we boot our new copy of Vector we are brought to a dark graphical login screen. Since we did not create a password for the root account during the installation process, I first tried (and failed) to login to the root account. Apparently it is inaccessible from the login screen by default. I later found out we can sign into to our user account and use the su command to switch to the root user account (without requiring a password). We can then set a password on the root account and sign into the root user's account from the graphical login screen. This is an unusual way to handle the root account and it makes me a bit wary not having the root user protected by a password when the system first comes on-line.
Usually I avoid logging into a desktop environment as the root user, but I tried it once this past week just to see if Vector would allow me to do so. Once a password has been set on the root account, we can indeed sign into the Xfce desktop as the root user. The desktop is presented quite differently to root compared to how it looks to other users. When signed into Xfce as root the desktop has a panel at the top of the screen, the application menu is placed in the upper-left corner and the wallpaper is bright. When signed into Xfce as a regular user the desktop's panel is placed at the bottom of the screen, the application menu is positioned in the lower-left corner of the screen and the wallpaper is dark.
One thing that becomes obvious right away is that Vector uses large fonts and large icons. I like this as I feel some distributions reduce font size too far, perhaps in an effort to save space. Vector makes things easy to read and easy to find. Curiously enough, I found when I opened new application windows, the windows themselves tended to be quite small. This meant I usually had to resize each window I opened in order to see its information and controls. The large font and small windows made for an unusual combination, but one I grew to like.
VectorLinux 7.1 -- Xfce desktop settings
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I tried running Vector in two test environments. When running in a VirtualBox virtual machine, the distribution performed well. The system booted quickly, the desktop was responsive and everything worked as expected. I found Vector did not automatically integrate with VirtualBox, and VirtualBox add-ons were not available in the project's repositories. I had to add VirtualBox guest additions manually. When running on physical hardware Vector performed well. The distribution worked quickly, all my hardware was properly detected and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. The distribution required approximately 220-240MB of memory to login to the Xfce desktop and, with the default packages installed, used about 4GB of hard drive space.
Vector ships with a useful collection of desktop software. Looking through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser (with Flash support), the HexChat IRC software, the Pidgin messaging software, the Claws Mail e-mail application and the gFTP file transfer utility. The Network Manager utility helps us get on-line. A PDF document viewer is available to us along with the GNU Image Manipulation Program and the Geeqie simple image viewer. The Geany IDE application is installed for us along with the AbiWord and Gnumeric productivity applications. The Orage calendar program is installed for us along with the J-Pilot personal organizer. The distribution further provides us with the Exaile audio player, GNOME MPlayer, SMPlayer, the Grip audio CD ripper and the Brasero disc burning application. Vector ships with multimedia codecs, enabling us to play media files out of the box. Vector offers users a range of configuration tools to customize the Xfce desktop, a calculator app, a text editor, a file archive manager and the Thunar file manager. We can also find such utilities as a bulk file rename program, processor monitors, a printer manager and a simple firewall configuration tool. Vector ships with the GNU Compiler Collection, the SysV init software and version 3.18 of the Linux kernel. By default, Vector runs a number of network services, including NFS shares, a time server and the Internet Printing Protocol (ipp). By default there is no firewall in place to protect these services.
VectorLinux 7.1 -- Enabling the firewall
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All of the software Vector provided worked well for me. I feel the developers have found a nice balance between offering rich functionality and providing applications which perform quickly and efficiently. There were times when I wanted alternative applications (or additional software) and in those instances I turned to Vector's graphical package manager, Gslapt.
The Gslapt application is a simple graphical package manager that is divided into two basic parts. Near the top of the window we find a simple list of software available to us in the Vector repositories. This list is sorted alphabetically and we can filter the packages listed by using a search box placed at the top of the package list. We can mark packages for installation or removal by clicking a box next to each package's name. At the bottom of the window we find an information box. In this box we can see information related to the selected package, including technical data, a brief description of the software and the package's dependencies. Gslapt has a very simple interface and it relies on us knowing (roughly) the name of the software we wish to install, but it performs its tasks quickly and I encountered no problems with Gslapt during my trial. For people who prefer to manage packages from the command line, Vector provides us with slapt-get. The slapt-get program works quite a bit like Debian's APT tools, but slapt-get places all the package handling functionality into one tool rather than using multiple separate utilities.
VectorLinux 7.1 -- The Gslapt package manager
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The distribution pulls software packages from Vector's own repositories. During the week I used Vector I checked for software upgrades periodically and the package manager never reported any available upgrades were available. This may be, in part, because Vector provides a fairly small selection of software. According to slapt-get there are just 3,037 packages available to us, a relatively small number when compared next to the repositories of Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu.
During my time with Vector most components of the operating system worked well. I generally found Vector performed quickly and with a minimal amount of fuss or distractions. The one notable exception to this rule came about a few days into my trial. Upon logging in a notification appeared on my desktop telling me my network cable was unplugged. I checked and confirmed that while the network cable was connected, my computer had no working network connection. Attempting to re-establish a connection caused vague error messages relating to Network Manager to be displayed. I went into my network settings and swapped out my automated (DHCP) settings for a manually supplied IP address and gateway settings. My network connection was established and I was able to get back to browsing the web and checking e-mail. I found this regression strange as it happened in the middle of the week and without any network settings or packages changing prior to the dropped connection. I also checked other machines on the LAN and found my Vector box was the only one to lose its network connection.
VectorLinux 7.1 -- Running Firefox and Gnumeric
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When evaluating a distribution I like to keep in mind not only how well the distribution is working for me, but also how well the distribution is fulfilling its mission. According to the Vector website the distribution strives to provide performance and stability in a small package. I feel Vector excels at delivering these characteristics. The Vector distribution is fairly small (by modern standards), the distribution offers good performance and was generally stable. The Xfce desktop usually stays out of the way and the distribution offers a good collection of software for performing day to day tasks.
My one serious concern with Vector is how the distribution approaches security. I was not comfortable with the root account not being locked or password protected by default. It is up to the administrator to lock down the root account once the distribution has been installed. I would also have preferred that Vector either not run network services or enable a firewall to protect these services. I am of the opinion network ports should not be open to the public by default.
Vector is not as feature rich or as beginner friendly as most of the mainstream distributions and there are not nearly as many packages in Vector's software repositories. But I do not think competing for the most packages or delivering the shiniest, most feature-rich experience is what Vector's developers want to do. Vector offers a relatively low-resource, responsive distribution that can function as either a server or as a desktop platform. The distribution may not have all the bells and whistles of some other distributions, but what Vector does provide is a fast, stable platform that will run on most desktop computers made this century. Vector offers a desktop experience with minimal frills, a good deal of functionality and the tools most people look for in a desktop operating system.
Vector comes across as a solid, dependable, traditional Linux distribution. It's a fairly minimal platform that I found easy to use. The distribution may appear a bit dated (visually), but Vector provides a good deal of useful desktop software, works well and has a friendly installer. I think this distribution would be well suited for rescuing older computers from the trash heap or for giving an older computer a performance boost.
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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)
Canonical open sources Ubuntu One, Moksha Desktop makes its debut in Bodhi Linux, Gentoo's Portage tree moves to git and Fedora developers discuss Chromium
It has been over a year since Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu distribution, announced they would be shutting down the Ubuntu One file synchronization service. At the time, Canonical promised to release the source code to their then-proprietary file synchronization and storage service. The company has finally followed through and Canonical is now in the process of releasing the code for their Ubuntu One service in stages. In an announcement last week, Canonical provided the first pieces of their source code and licensing details. "Today, we're happy to be open sourcing the biggest piece of our Ubuntu One file syncing service. The code we're releasing is the server side of what desktop clients connected to when syncing local or remote changes. This is code where most of the innovation and hard work went throughout the years, where we faced most of the scaling challenges and the basis on which other components were built upon. We have released it under a AGPLv3 license and hoping it's useful for developers to read through, fork into their own projects or pick out useful bits and pieces. You can get the source code here." Hopefully, the Ubuntu One source code will encourage more competition and solutions in the realm of open source file synchronization and backup services.
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Frustrated by problems with recent versions of the Enlightenment desktop, Bodhi Linux's lead developer, Jeff Hoogland, decided to side-step E19 and create a stable fork of an earlier release of Enlightenment, E17. "After coming back with a breath of fresh air at the start of 2015, I put aside my personal thoughts about E19 and pushed out the Bodhi 3.0.0 release that uses E19 as its `default' desktop today. However, we did not just offer the E19 desktop, our `Legacy' image targeted at old computers still used the E17 desktop. The reason for this is because E19 was no longer as lightweight and it performed very poorly on older hardware. On top of the performance issues, E19 did not allow for me personally to have the same workflow I enjoyed under E17 due to features it no longer had. Because of this I had changed to using the E17 on all of my Bodhi 3 computers -- even my high end ones. This got me to thinking how many of our existing Bodhi users felt the same way, so I opened a discussion about it on our user forums. I found many felt similar to how I did. So that left only one question: What was to be done about it? After much reflection, I came to the same conclusion others had before me that lead to the creation of the MATE and Trinity desktops -- fork it." The new fork is called Moksha Desktop and is included in the newly released Bodhi Linux 3.1.0. Moksha Desktop strives to offer the stability and performance of E17 while backporting some useful features from newer versions of the Enlightenment desktop.
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In an effort to make working on the Gentoo package repository (better known as the Portage tree) easier, the Gentoo team has migrated their work from a CVS repository to git. The git software facilitates distributed development (which is common in open source projects) and is a popular replacement for older tools like CVS and Subversion. A notice of the migration from CVS to git was announced on the Gentoo website last week: "The repository can be checked out from git.gentoo.org and is available via our git web interface. For users of our package repository, nothing changes: Updates continue to be available via the established mechanisms (rsync, webrsync, snapshots). Options to fetch the package tree via git are to be announced later. The migration facilitates the process of new contributors getting involved as proxy maintainers and eventually developers. Alternate places for users to submit pull requests, such as GitHub, can be expected in the future."
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There is a lively debate in progress on the Fedora mailing lists regarding the default web browser to use in the KDE spin of the Fedora distribution. The KDE spin of Fedora tries to maintain KDE/Qt software purity, but this has become difficult when it comes to web browsers as there are relatively few full featured, well maintained web browsers based on the Qt software libraries. All of this raises the question of which web browser the KDE spin of Fedora should use. Firefox is a popular choice, but it is not a Qt-based application. Chromium is another popular choice, but is not included in Fedora's official repositories for a number of reasons. This has lead Gerald Cox to suggest Chromium should be included in Fedora's software repositories. "Things have also changed over the years, and Chrome/Chromium's popularity has continued to grow and is now packaged in Ubuntu, Debian and SUSE. Firefox has exceptions mainly because it is deemed `too popular' to keep out of the distribution. I think it is obvious to everyone that Chrome/Chromium is at least as popular as Firefox. I realize we have our guidelines and we're not Debian, SUSE or Ubuntu, and that's a good thing. But, if we're making exceptions for Firefox because of its popularity shouldn't we do the same for Chromium?"
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Rapid fire questions and answers
Interested-in-cloud-distributions asks: As the world is constantly changing I am wondering if/when there would be any entries for cloud based distributions (e.g. Amazon Linux AMI) on DistroWatch?
DistroWatch answers: Whether to include distributions which are tied to a particular platform or not is an interesting question. We are sometimes asked if we will include Linux distributions that are either tied to a particular platform (like Raspbian) or that are designed with mobile devices in mind (Android) or that are tied to a cloud provider (Amazon Linux). Generally speaking, if I can download the distribution and try it out on one of my computers or in a virtual machine, I am open to including it. Cloud-based systems, particularly ones tied to a specific company, pose two problems.
First, people need to pay to access the distribution. This in itself is not a deal breaker, we cover Red Hat and SUSE releases and they are commercial distributions. But the second problem is one cannot simply download a cloud-based distribution, try it out and maybe take a screen shot. These two characteristics, when combined, make me unenthusiastic about including cloud-based distributions in our coverage. I'm not saying it will never happen, but it's unlikely, unless Amazon either releases a demo ISO people can download and try, or they offer a free version users can demo with limited resources on Amazon's servers.
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Interested-in-DNS asks: How does Cisco buying OpenDNS affect Linux and open source?
DistroWatch answers: The short answer is Cisco buying OpenDNS will have zero affect on Linux or open source.
There are plenty of freely available DNS servers out there. OpenDNS is not particularly special in what it does and open source development is not tied to OpenDNS in any way. Some people might decide to switch to another DNS provider like Comodo Secure DNS or Google Public DNS, but Linux development will not be affected.
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Wanting-to-encrypt-everything asks: When Let's Encrypt becomes available will DistroWatch support HTTPS?
DistroWatch answers: It is possible, even likely, DistroWatch will offer an encrypted connection (HTTPS) option in the future. However, it's not near the top of the priority list at the moment. Mostly because DistroWatch does not deal with any sensitive information. We don't make visitors sign in, so there are no passwords, and we don't collect credit card numbers. All the information on this website is publicly available data, just collected in one organized location. Even our commenting system does not require people to sign in or share any identifying information. There is not really any immediate advantage to having encryption enabled on a website where all information is public.
That being said, some people like the idea of encrypting all their network connections to everything which, if nothing else, makes privacy and encryption more common, more normal. Treating privacy and encryption as the default is a concept I, personally, like. Which is why I have been experimenting with Let's Encrypt. At the moment, it's not ready for public use, but I plan to keep checking back and trying out Let's Encrypt on test servers to see how well it works. Hopefully by this time next year it will be a suitable option.
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: 99
- Total downloads completed: 47,971
- Total data uploaded: 10.3TB
|Released Last Week
Baruwa Enterprise Edition 6.7
The developers of Baruwa Enterprise Edition (also called BaruwaOS), a commercial distribution created from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code, have announced the release of Baruwa Enterprise Edition 6.7. BaruwaOS offers users a number of security features designed to protect e-mail and networks from malicious software and spam. The latest edition introduces improved scanning features and protections against data along with several other features and bug fixes. "Today we are issuing update -- BaruwaOS 6.7, this update tracks the upstream OS release 6.7. Packages updated in the upstream have been rolled into BaruwaOS 6.7. The release also includes Baruwa package release 2.0.9. This is an Enhancement and Bugfix release and contains the following changes: Implemented local scanner settings cache to allow the scanner to continue scanning mail while the backend or database server is not available. Added dynamically generated trusted_networks spamassassin configuration built from the relays added under organizations. This will ensure relayed messages are not checked on DNSBL's. Improving outbound functionality. Made improvements to yum plugin to run only when managed packages are changed. Implemented file system based data loss prevention which could happen when SQLite database is locked for writing. Spec and module updated to ensure proper permissions on restoredb directory. Added functionality to prevent duplicates being restored from backup db." A full list of changes and links to the upstream release notes can be found in Baruwa's release announcement.
The developers of Tails, a security oriented Linux distribution designed to keep users anonymous while they are on-line, have released a new version. Tails 1.5 features a number of updates and new security features. The Tor Browser will no longer connect to servers on the local network, AppArmor profiles have been altered to better improve security and the network should now be disabled if MAC address spoofing fails. "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.5, is out. This release fixes numerous security issues and all users must upgrade as soon as possible. New features: Disable access to the local network in the Tor Browser. You should now use the Unsafe Browser to access the local network. Upgrades and changes: Install Tor Browser 5.0 (based on Firefox 38esr). Install a 32-bit GRUB EFI boot loader. Tails should now start on some tablets with Intel Bay Trail processors among others. Let the user know when Tails Installer has rejected a device because it is too small. There are numerous other changes that might not be apparent in the daily operation of a typical user. Technical details of all the changes are listed in the Changelog." further information can be found in the release announcement and in the known issues document.
Tails 1.5 -- Exploring the application menu
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Bodhi Linux 3.1.0
Jeff Hoogland has announced the launch of Bodhi Linux 3.1.0. The new release of Bodhi Linux is significant because it is the first release to feature the Moksha Desktop. "This release is a bigger deal for the Bodhi team than our previous update releases have been in the past. The reason for this is because this release is the first to use the Moksha Desktop which we have forked from E17. Because it is built on the rock solid foundation that E17 provides, even this first release of the Moksha Desktop is stable and is something I feel comfortable using in a production environment. Existing Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 users will not be automatically moved to Moksha via system updates. Folks who want to move from their current Enlightenment desktop to Moksha can do so by following the directions here." Further information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Bodhi Linux 3.1.0 -- Running the Moksha desktop environment
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Kali Linux 2.0
The developers of Kali Linux, a forensics and security distribution based on Debian, have released Kali Linux 2.0. One of the big changes in the latest version of Kali is that the distribution has shifted to a rolling release model. "One of the biggest moves we've taken to keep Kali 2.0 up-to-date in a global, continuous manner, is transforming Kali into a rolling distribution. What this means is that we are pulling our packages continuously from Debian Testing (after making sure that all packages are installable) -- essentially upgrading the Kali core system, while allowing us to take advantage of newer Debian packages as they roll out. This move is where our choice in Debian as a base system really pays off -- we get to enjoy the stability of Debian, while still remaining on the cutting edge." The new release of Kali Linux is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds as well ARM builds. Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
Univention Corporate Server 4.0-3
The developers of Univention Corporate Server (UCS), an enterprise-class server distribution based on Debian, have announced an update to the UCS 4.0 series. The new release, which carries the version number 4.0-3, ships with a number of important features and enhancements. " The mail server Dovecot has been integrated as standard IMAP/POP3 server into UCS and offers an alternative to the still available Cyrus IMAP server. More information is available in this blog article. The compatibility to Active Directory has been improved with the Samba update to 4.2.3. This includes, among others, improvements in the DRS replication and the printer driver handling. In addition, the join of Huawai storage systems in the Active Directory domain provided by UCS is now also possible. Several enhancements in design and usability of the Univention Management Console have been implemented. For example, it is now possible to use the forward and back buttons of the web browser. This allows a simpler and faster navigation in the management interface. LDAP filters can now be defined for LDAP policies. That means the LDAP policy applies only to the objects that match the LDAP filter. This makes it possible to use LDAP policies in an easy and generic way especially in large environments. The Linux kernel has been updated to the latest stable version of the 3.16 long term kernel. This includes several security updates as well as new and updated drivers for a better hardware support." Further details and upgrade instructions are included in the company's release notes.
Robolinux 8.1 "MATE"
The developers of Robolinux, a desktop distribution based on Debian, have announced the release of a new edition of Robolinux featuring the MATE desktop environment. The new release, Robolinux 8.1 "MATE", requires less memory than Robolinux's Cinnamon edition. "Robolinux is very pleased and excited to announce its brand new lightning fast Robolinux `Mate Raptor' V8.1 LTS 2020 OS which is based on the rock solid Debian 8 stable source code with the 3.16 Linux kernel. It uses 210MB less RAM than our Cinnamon version. Custom scripts can be added to the Caja file Manager to speed up your productivity. It has far better graphics quality, boots up and runs much faster than our Debian 7 versions and is also compatible with newer hardware, drivers and most notably the Intel Haswell chipset. The Robolinux `Mate Raptor' user interface is extremely fast, quite beautiful and very easy to use. A tremendous amount of time and effort went into optimizing and tweaking Robolinux `Mate Raptor' v8.1 so that Linux Beginners and Advanced Users will be very pleased." Further information is available on the project's website.
Glen Barber has announced the availability of a new FreeBSD release. The new version, FreeBSD 10.2, is the third release in the 10.x series and offers a number of improvements. Some of the key changes include updated compatibility for Linux applications, ZFS improvements and new versions of the GNOME and KDE desktops. "This is the third release of the stable/10 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 10.1-RELEASE and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights: The resolvconf utility has been updated to version 3.7.0, with improvements to protect DNS privacy. The ntp suite has been updated to version 4.2.8p3. A new rc script, growfs, has been added, which will resize the root file system on boot if the /firstboot file exists. The Linux compatibility version has been updated to support CentOS 6 ports. The DRM code has been updated to match Linux version 3.8.13, allowing running multiple X servers simultaneously. Several enhancements and updates for improved FreeBSD/ARM support. Several ZFS performance and reliability improvements. GNOME has been updated to version 3.14.2. KDE has been updated to version 4.14.3." More information is available in the release announcement and the detailed release notes. Errata notes have also been provided.
The developers of KaOS, a rolling release Linux distribution that focuses on providing up to date KDE desktop software, have announced the availability of a new snapshot. The new ISO snapshot, KaOS 2015.08, offers users the chance to run Plasma 5 in a Wayland session and the distribution has almost fully transitioned from Qt 4 to Qt 5. "KaOS is also approaching a completed switch from Qt 4 to Qt 5 only. This ISO has only one application left that depends on Qt 4, hplip, The repositories have about a dozen left that still need Qt 4. Most notable major updates over the last two months are the Xorg 1.17 stack, Glib2 2.44.2 stack, Qt 5.50, GCC 4.9.3, Linux 4.1.5 and Systemd 224. This ISO KaOS uses the systemd provided systemd-boot for UEFI installs, Gummiboot is depreciated. As for the desktop this ISO brings all the latest of Plasma 5 (Frameworks 5.13.0, Plasma 5.4RC) and KDE Applications 15.07.90. All build on Qt 5.5.0. Plasma-volume-control is now part of the Plasma 5 group, renamed to Plasma-pa (for sound plasmoid). Many more applications are now fully ported to Qt5/Frameworks 5, examples of the recent ports are Megaglest, Tellico, KMahjongg, lmms, smb4k, qmmp, Basket and Lyx." The Calamares system installer and the Octopi package manager have also received enhancements. Please see the release announcement and release notes for further details.
KaOS 2015.08 -- Running the KDE desktop
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Linux Mangaka Koe
The developers of Linux Mangaka have released a new version of their Manga and Anime focused distribution. The new release, which is based on Kubuntu 14.04, features the KDE 4 desktop environment. "After the success releasing Nyu with a lot of passion, we decided to start creating Koe witch reached the final stage yesterday! Koe is based on Kubuntu 14.04 with vanilla KDE 4.13.3 core libs containing Manga drawing, viewing, Anime playback and as well subtitle programs out-of-the-box. We beg for your patience at booting, the system has no boot-logo (to look more intuitive with the KDE desktop), but positively it ships some customization to fit the way as a complete beautiful operating system made just for you! Note: We may release an update until end year with a correction at the missed installer `quit' message (it does not affect the installation) and application menu mouse hover closing. " The above information and a screen shot can be found in the release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Many of us run multiple operating systems on our computers, either because we need features exclusive to separate operating systems or because it's fun and interesting to experiment with multiple options. This week we would like to know whether you dual boot multiple operating systems on your primary computer.
In particularly, we're curious as to whether you dual boot multiple open source operating systems or if you switch between proprietary systems and open source distributions. Many people who mostly use Linux also switch back to Windows for gaming or work. Other people use a proprietary system most of the time, but are dipping their toes into the ocean of open source. Let us know what is on your hard disk partitions in the comments.
You can see the results of last week's poll on Adobe Flash here.
|I boot an open source OS exclusively: ||846 (31%)|
| I boot a proprietary OS exclusively: ||115 (4%)|
| I dual-boot multiple open source OSes: ||415 (15%)|
| I dual-boot open and proprietary systems: ||1333 (49%)|
| I dual-boot proprietary systems: ||18 (1%)|
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 24 August 2015. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
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