| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 60, 02 August 2004
Welcome to this year's 30th edition of DistroWatch Weekly. So now on to the news below.
Is The Linux Kernel Too Bloated?
Back in January, 1992 when Linus Torvalds released Linux kernel 0.11, I wasn't able to run it. My workhorse machine at that time was a Toshiba T1000 laptop which came with MS-DOS 2.11 (in firmware). At that time, the "steep" hardware requirements for Linux were as follows:
Circa 1995, I acquired a Toshiba Libretto CT50 with a big 75 MHz Pentium processor, 16 MB RAM and 800 MB hard drive. It came with Windows 95 which crashed several times daily, but ran MS-DOS fine, and I actually managed to install Slackware on it. The Libretto was a fun toy, but I recently sold it to a collector because, quite frankly, I'm not into owning museum pieces.
- 386 or 486 Intel processor with AT-bus
- IDE hard disk (no SCSI support)
- 1.44 MB floppy disk drive
- 2 MB RAM; 4 MB recommended to use gcc compiler
- Any Hercules, CGA, EGA, VGA video card
Nevertheless, there are still plenty of people out there who do own museum pieces and would love to run Linux on them, but not necessarily with a 7-year-old kernel. The fact is that the Linux kernel has grown by leaps in bounds, both in capabilities and its demand for memory. Though the desktop machine I now own is a mainframe compared to the T1000, it doesn't feel much faster given how hardware-hungry a modern Linux distro is.
Enter Linux-Tiny. The name would suggest that this is another minimalist distro along the lines of Damn Small Linux, but that is in fact not the case. Linux-Tiny is not a distro, but actually a reduced-sized 2.6 Linux kernel. Matt Mackall, the brains behind the project, sees Linux-Tiny as an ideal kernel for embedded, handheld, legacy and other small devices.
Mackall describes the relentless bloat of the Linux kernel as "death by a thousand cuts". In other words, there was no single big cataclysm that caused the kernel to balloon, but rather a zillion little things - a driver here, a feature there. In order to trim the fat, Mackall had to reverse the process, yanking out legacy drivers, reducing stack size, and ripping out new memory-hungry features such as sysfs. He reports, "My test configuration with support for a text console, IDE disks, the Ext2 filesystem, TCP/IP and a PCI-based network card results in a 363K compressed kernel image." Other experimenters have shrunk the Linux-Tiny kernel image even smaller (191K), but at the cost of ripping out some very useful features.
Of course, not all the bloat in a modern Linux distro is in the kernel - the user-space, if anything, contains even more blubber. Nevertheless, Mr. Mackall may be on to something. Right now, Linux-Tiny is still an experiment, but sooner or later I expect to see a real live distro using the Linux-Tiny kernel. Aside from being able to run it on ancient hardware, it will be interesting to see how fast it performs. One question that DistroWatch readers might want to ask themselves - Do we really need all the bloat in the present kernel and user-space?
FreeBSD Handbook (3rd Edition) Splits into Two
One of the most useful online references for free OS enthusiasts is the FreeBSD Handbook. As the name implies, it's geared for FreeBSD users, but there is so much good general information packed in there that it makes interesting reading for users of the other BSDs. Many Linux users find it useful as well simply for its clear explanations of networking principals. What makes it all the more remarkable is that it was written by volunteers and can be downloaded for free in various formats from here. Dead-tree copies (not free) can be ordered from FreeBSD Mall.
Though frequently updated, there have been only two major editions of the Handbook since it was first published. Now the third edition is almost ready to roll. Because the Handbook has grown to enormous size, a decision has been made to split the tome into two separate volumes, a User Guide and an Administrator Handbook. There is a precedent for doing so, as several years ago chapters were moved out of the FreeBSD Handbook to create a Developers Handbook.
FreeBSD Handbook, Vol. 1, User Guide
Work on the User Guide has already been completed, and the team is now concentrating on getting the Administrator Handbook into print. With some luck, we might see it in time for the upcoming FreeBSD 5.3 release, but that is not yet certain.
FreeBSD "committers" (as the developers are called) have stated that there will be a code freeze of 5.3 on August 15, and everyone expects that a first release candidate will be available shortly thereafter. FreeBSD users are speculating that 5.3-RELEASE will be available sometime around early October. A joint roll-out of 5.3 plus the Administrator Handbook would make a nice October surprise.
FVWM - Still Alive and Well
This week NewsForge featured an article by Rob Reilly entitled Four Alternative Linux Window Managers. The window managers tested were AfterStep, Enlightenment, IceWM and FVWM. Rob indicated that FVWM was his favorite.
I found the story interesting for a number of reasons, but mainly because I am also a FVWM user. We FVWM fans are definitely an endangered species - indeed, I was beginning to think that I was the only one left. It wasn't always so, as FVWM used to be the default window manager on most Linux distros. Indeed, the first time I used X Windows was on Red Hat 5.2 (circa 1998) and FVWM2 was the only option. That, of course, has changed, with Red Hat now pushing Gnome and many others plugging KDE. However, both Gnome and KDE are "Swiss army knives" offering every feature but an electric drink mixer, which incurs a heavy performance penalty.
Not everyone has been happy with the growing feature creep of Gnome and KDE, and over the past couple of years we've seen a proliferation of alternative lightweight speedy window managers. Pretenders to the throne include WindowMaker, Blackbox, IceWM and XFce, just to name a few.
But why did everyone abandon FVWM? In a word, because the default FVWM desktop is ugly. However, this is misleading because FVWM is one of the most configurable window managers around - you can customize it to make your desktop look spectacular. Unfortunately, doing so has always been a complicated task involving the editing of numerous cryptic ASCII files. The good news is that the situation has changed dramatically in the past year with the release of "FVWM Themes" (in the above-mentioned NewsForge article, the author failed to point this out).
I don't know of any distro that includes FVWM Themes, so you have to download it - you'll find the source tarball here. Before you can compile this package, plain old ugly FVWM needs to be installed. Some distros (not many) do come with FVWM, but if yours doesn't you can grab the source tarball from the FVWM website. After you compiled and installed the FVWM Themes package, make it your default window manager by including a hidden file .xinitrc in your home directory with this content:
The FVWM desktop is simple. The usual way to open an app is to open an Xterm and launch the app from there by typing its name. If you maximize an apps, it will occupy the full screen (that is, no menu bar on the bottom of the screen). This is a feature I particularly like - I find that screen clutter distracts me from the task at hand, so if I'm running Emacs I don't want to see anything but Emacs. The uncluttered maximized screen is especially appreciated when I use my laptop (because of the small screen).
There is a pager in the lower-right corner of the screen - this lets you switch between nine different desktops. The pager will often be hidden when you've got a maximized window open, so you'll need to drag the window out of the way (or else minimize it) to reach the pager. Most window managers (KDE, for example) allow you to drag windows with Alt-mouse, but in FVWM you use Ctrl-Alt-mouse. Once you get used to the concept of a pager, it's almost impossible to go back to using a single desktop. Typically, I have five or six apps open at the same time, each one on a separate desktop. The lower left portion of the screen lists the open windows - just click on one to move to it instantly.
FVWM Themes - Default Desktop
The first time you start FVWM Themes, you'll be presented with the Default theme. Click with the left mouse button and you'll be presented with a menu - one of the items is "Theme Management", and you'll find eight themes to choose from. You can also combine parts and pieces of each theme to create your own customized desktop. It's all pretty intuitive, and definitely a big step up from old-style FVWM.
FVWM is not for everyone. Especially if you're coming to Linux (or *BSD) directly from Windows or the Mac, you might find the lack of bells and whistles to be disconcerting. However, if you cherish speed, stability, and multiple desktops (populated with maxi-sized windows), FVWM is hard to beat.
SPF - Embrace and Extend?
Richard M. Stallman, otherwise known as RMS, touched off a small fire-storm when he made a post to the IETF mailing list, which was soon transformed into a Slashdot story. The subject of the message was "Sender-ID and free software". The interesting part of it all - at least for me - was that I'd never heard of SenderID. So I went off to investigate, and found it all to be quite a fascinating tale.
Before you can understand SenderID, you need to know about SPF. The chief promoter of SPF (Sender Policy Framework) is Meng Weng Wong (age 28), a native of Singapore but now residing in the USA. Meng is the founder of Pobox.com, an email forwarding service. Meng did not actually invent SPF, but rather forked it from two other open source projects (RMX and DMP). He was further assisted by SPF co-author Mark Lentczner. If you'd like to know a little bit more about the history of SPF and see a photo of Meng, you can look here. There is also this interesting interview with Meng (published June 29).
The essential purpose of SPF is to make it easy to detect address-spoofing, which is a common spammer's trick. If one could detect address-spoofing with a high degree of accuracy, it would be possible to create spam filters that would delete all such mail. Thus, SPF protects both the mail receiver and the mail sender. With a proper mail filter, the receiver can delete (without reading) spam with forged domain names. And SPF protects the mail sender too, because firstname.lastname@example.org does not want everybody thinking that he sells sex toys when in fact his only job is running a children's day-care center. Of course, stopping address-spoofing wouldn't stop all spam, but it would put a sizable dent in it.
Address-spoofing is currently difficult to detect because SMTP (the primary service for sending mail around the Internet) does not support this feature. SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) was invented in the 1980s and - in the opinion of many - is outdated and inadequate for the needs of the modern Internet. Indeed, some have suggested that it should be scrapped entirely and replaced with something else. Unfortunately, that would require a lot of cooperation from a lot of people. SMTP is an integral part of MTAs (mail transfer agents) - that is, mail server software such as Sendmail, Postfix and Microsoft Exchange Server. In order to replace SMTP, everybody would have to first agree on a new standard, and then replace their MTAs all at the same time. Anything less than 100% compliance would break the world's email system.
This is where SPF can help. SPF is an additional protocol that can co-exist with SMTP. It doesn't seek to replace SMTP. In order to use SPF, a system administrator must install a patch to the mail server's MTA - patches are available here. Currently, there are patches for Sendmail, Postfix, Exim, Courier, Qmail and MS Exchange Server. If SPF catches on, developers may incorporate this feature in the future, thus eliminating the need to patch.
Aside from having the requisite software installed, the other major infrastructure requirement is to persuade domain name registrars to support it. All domains already publish email (MX) records to tell the world which machines receive mail for the domain. SPF works by domains publishing "reverse MX" records to tell the world which machines send mail from the domain. Those "reverse MX" records are easy to publish: one line in DNS (domain name service) is all it takes.
So if SPF is so useful and easy to implement, why isn't everybody using it? In fact, it is catching on quickly - more and more domains sign up everyday. Sooner or later, critical mass should be reached and SPF will become an accepted standard.
Unfortunately, SPF isn't the only game in town. A competing standard named CallerID was introduced by (surprise) Microsoft. Less surprisingly, free software advocates (as well as many commercial ISPs) are very leery of CallerID since it is encumbered by Microsoft's software patents. For that reason, it has not gained wide acceptance. However, the marketplace is now thoroughly confused - everyone who understands the issue would like to see a single standard emerge.
For this reason, an attempt is now being made to merge SPF with CallerID, producing a new standard called SenderID. However, this can only work if Microsoft freely licenses all the relevant patents without restrictions. Even better would be if Microsoft donates its patents to the public domain (don't hold your breath). Members of the SPF team have been negotiating with Microsoft lawyers for over a month, and have received an offer for a "royalty-free license". However, Microsoft has imposed some other terms that - unlike any of the open source licenses - requires anyone who implements or deploys SenderID to specifically notify Microsoft of this intention as well as grant Microsoft permission to publish their name and address. This proposal is unlikely to fly, and Microsoft has been asked to come up with an unrestricted license. The situation is still under discussion, and Microsoft is supposed to present its new proposal later today (Monday, 2 August).
While all this is happening, the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) has formed a group to create a standard SPF (or SenderID). The group is called MARID (MTA Authorization Records in DNS). IETF is a standards-setting body, so if it approves SenderID, this could be very influential. Which is what worries Richard M. Stallman - that IETF will approve a standard encumbered with unacceptable terms. And there is still plenty of paranoia surrounding the fact that nobody is even sure what patents Microsoft holds. Could we later discover a "submarine patent" - that is, one which is hidden, but unexpectedly "torpedoes" us when we least expect it? Microsoft did something like this recently with a patent on their FAT filesystem. And they are still furiously filing more patent applications. To be fair to Microsoft, they are not the only ones playing the patent game. On the other hand, Microsoft has been vigorously lobbying (via the Business Software Alliance) to legalize software patents in Europe. More than a few people are convinced that software patents pose the greatest danger to free software.
Of course, the SPF folks are not stupid, and are not likely to agree to a bad licensing deal. And the reality of submarine patents has caught Meng's attention - he is, in fact, considering taking out a defensive patent on SPF for one simple reason - to prevent someone else from getting the patent and then suing for infringement. If SPF is patented, it could then be declared public domain - it's just a pity that one needs a team of lawyers to release a simple email standard. Had this been the case 25 years ago, we would probably not have email today.
So that's where it stands. The SPF developers seem to feel that it's possible to get a good licensing agreement from Microsoft. Many others (and not just RMS) are sceptical. Which should provide a fertile ground of discussion for DistroWatch readers this week. Is Richard Stallman right to be so paranoid? And can Microsoft be trusted?
Be so subtle that you are invisible.
Be so mysterious that you are intangible.
Then you will control your rival's fate.
-- Sun Tzu, in The Art of War (500 BC)
|Released Last Week
Feather Linux 0.5.5
Feather Linux 0.5.5 has been released. From the changelog: "Added an RSS reader (written specifically for Feather and available here;
changed dpkg-get so that more of Feather is loaded into RAM; added
localhalt.sh, a script in which to place commands which will be
executed on shutdown or reboot; added button to emelfm to allow easy
integration of packages using fpkg; added option to select PCMCIA on
boot for HD installs; updated Flash plugin script to version 7; updated
Opera script to version 7.53; made AbiWord script more economical - now
only downloads 7MB...." Download: feather-0.5.5.iso (61.8MB).
OnebaseGo 2.1 has been released: "The
Onebase Linux Project is pleased to announce a new updated version of
OnebaseGo LiveCD (2.1). It features OLM 3.0.6 with German locale
support, Kernel 2.6.7, and comes with 5 popular desktops - KDE-3.2.3
(Themed like MacOS X), GNOME 2.6.2 (Themed like Windows XP), IceWM
desktop manager, XFCE 4.0.6 desktop suite and Fluxbox Lightweight
desktop 0.9.9 - all in 1 LiveCD." Read the announcement and check out the screenshots here. Download: OnebaseGo-2.1.iso (620MB).
is a bootable business card size live CD based on Slackware Linux with
initialisation scripts borrowed from the Blin project. From the changelog: "added
Opera; removed xchat, micq, sylpheed, links-hacked; added Yahoo!
mesenger Gyach; added chess program xboard:phalanx; removed myServer
added xweb; added CUPS; added mtr(traceroute); added frontend installer
to HDD(alfa); updated gnumeric, abiword, nmap, lame; updated
kernel(2.6.7); added ReiserFS support." Download: austrumi-0.8.7.iso (50.3MB).
YES Linux 2.0.10
YES Corporation would like to announce the release of YES Linux 2.0.10 for immediate downloading: "The
major changes are: addition: YES Administration available from /admin;
updates: fixed cbq (bandwidth limiting); java-wrapper; renamed
/intro.yes -> /intro; renamed /admin.yes -> /admin; ssh ports are
now open in firewall by default; by default sshd configuration is more
secure, Root not allowed to login by default; made yes-intro,
yes-admin, and yes-kernel more modular using apache 2 fragments; moved
yes-kernel to non standard port 7017." The complete announcement. Download: yes-2.0.10.iso (493MB).
"Bug Hunter" 07/2004A has been released as a bugfix version of 07/2004: "It
has Firebox back, dvd+rw-tools downgraded so that k3b works again (to
write DVD) and slight improvements. The ipw2100 and ndiswrapper driver
was updated too. This time there are 2 iso images available. The 2nd
one is for systems who can not boot with GRUB in no-emulation mode." Read the release note here. More info available both in English and in German. Download: KANOTIX-BUG-HUNTER-07-2004-A.iso (703MB).
Puppy Linux 0.9.2
Puppy Linux 0.9.2 has been released. New features found in the release notes
include a "Greyboard" that several users can share over a network,
"Axel" download accelerator with a GUI frontend, Turma joined by
another text search program "reXgrep" which is a GUI frontend to grep,
"xhost" and GUI frontend "Gxhost" (which is useful in conjunction with
the aforementioned "Greyboard"), GUI network utility "Sockspy" that
monitors TCP conversation for debugging conections, "Gtksamba" the GUI
program for Samba configuration, "ntfsresize" for experts only, and
much more. Download: cd-puppy.iso (49.0MB).
Damn Small Linux 0.7.3
Damn Small Linux 0.7.3 has been released: "This
release boots directly into an enhanced X desktop at 1024x768x32 and
the mouse is auto-detected when the default video mode is used. New
boot time options were implemented along with the ability to mount and
umount the .ci extensions via the myDSL button. cardmgr was updated to
3.2.2, nfs-common was removed from startup, a .wgetrc was added, and
permissions on /dev/cdrom were corrected to let users play audio CDs." The changelog. Download: dsl-0.7.3.iso (47.6MB).
Xandros Desktop 2.5
Xandros Corporation has released Xandros Desktop 2.5: "Xandros,
the leading developer of easy-to-use Linux solutions, today announced
the release of version 2.5 of the Xandros Desktop OS. Maintaining its
strong user focus and compatibility with legacy systems, Xandros
Desktop 2.5 now offers an upgraded CrossOver Office 3.0.1, supporting
Lotus Notes 6.5.1, Microsoft Project 2000/2002, and Microsoft Outlook
XP. Current Xandros Desktop OS users can perform a single-click upgrade
of CrossOver Office with Xandros Networks." The full press release. Xandros Desktop 2.5 comes in two editions - Business (US$129) or Deluxe (US$89), both of which can be ordered from the company's online store. Existing customers qualify for special upgrade pricing.
Gentoo Linux 2004.2
Today marks the release of Gentoo Linux 2004.2 for the AMD64, HPPA, SPARC and X86 architectures! "The
Gentoo Linux Release Engineering project has worked hard to improve key
problem areas identified in the 2004.1 release. These areas of
improvement include, but are not limited to: LiveCD compatibility with
Dell server-class machines; LiveCD compatibility with SMP machines; x86
laptop PCMCIA support; Wireless (802.11a/b/g) capabilties; SATA
support. Detailed information for Gentoo Linux 2004.2, such as Release
Notes and md5sums, can be found at the 2004.2 information page Gentoo Linux 2004.2 can be downloaded from any one of our official download mirrors, as well as from our new BitTorrent system." Here also the livecd (605MB).
KANOTIX "Bug Hunter" 07/2004 has been released: "This
is a Linux Live CD based on KNOPPIX technology using mostly pure
Debian/sid. Specification: Kernel 2.6.6; ACPI and DMA enabled by
default (can be disabled with acpi=off respectively nodma); i586
optimization - not for use with older CPUs; 128MB RAM required, 256MB
RAM recommended; AVM Fritz!Card DSL support; Eagle USB DSL support; KDE
3.2.3; OpenOffice.org 1.1.2; Captive 1.1.5; ALSA 1.0.5a; GRUB boot
loader for CD start - ideal for rescue in command line mode;
Memtest86+...." Read the full release notes for more details. Download: KANOTIX-BUG-HUNTER-07-2004.iso (701MB).
Lormalinux 5 has been released on schedule: "Linux
Gaming has never been better than this! Based on Fedora Core 2 and
optimized for i686 architecture, Lormalinux 5 comes with the
selectively chosen packages perfected for your classroom, home and
office workstations... Version 5 provides a very simple installation
process eliminating the "much-to-know-details" by following the default
installation. Its kernel and packages are updated to the latest stable
versions." Download: lormalinux5-final.iso (699MB).
Development and unannounced releases
|Web Site News
Linux On The Road
A message appeared in my inbox, reproduced below (slightly edited to protect the innocent)....
I am in Slovakia (Kosice). This is also the only
place where I found an Internet cafe with a Linux machine, believe it
or not. Can't help with the news page, mainly because I am
trying to enjoy my holiday, but also because I am still battling with
connecting (a friend's) machine to the Internet. For some peculiar
reason, I can connect with Linux, but not with Windows! It would seem
that Slovakia is a Linux paradise!
DistroWatch database summary
- Number of Linux distributions in the database: 315
- Number of BSD distributions in the database: 7
- Number of discontinued distributions: 32
- Number of distributions on the waiting list: 84
|Tips, Tricks and Hints
This week's featured open source program is Eliza, the "psychoanalyst". It (she?) has a long, proud history and you've probably encountered it (or its descendents) some place or other. Eliza was one of the first artificial intelligence (AI) programs. It was written in the mid-1960s by Professor Joseph Weisenbaum of MIT. The name Eliza was borrowed from the flower selling girl in the (now nearly-forgotten) musical My Fair Lady. In the play, Eliza pretended to be a lot more than she really was.
To the uninitiated, Artificial Intelligence is magic stuff. Thanks to AI, you can "talk" to a computer and it gives you the impression that you're talking to a real person who can understand and reply. This has long been the stuff of science fiction (the talking computer HAL in the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was one of the earliest incarnations). Despite the "magic", AI programs are not all that difficult to create. Basically, all that most AI programs do is some syntactic shuffling of words, creating questions according to your responses. Descendents of Eliza code are found all over in Internet as bots or chatbots, typically used on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and in MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons).
Eliza was originally written in Lisp, a language geared for creating artificial intelligence applications. Eliza has since been ported to many other languages, and you can download a simple Perl version (Chatbot-Eliza-1.04.tar.gz) from here. Unpack the tarball in your home directory and cd into ~/Chatbot-Eliza-1.0. You don't actually have to compile anything to run a simple session, just type "./simple" and you can begin:
Welcome to your therapy session.
Your therapist's name is Liz.
Liz: Is something troubling you?
you: Well, I've been tired lately.
Liz: Do you say you've been tired lately
for some special reason?
you: Yes, that's just the way I feel.
Liz: Please tell me some more about this.
you: I don't sleep well at night. Maybe
you can prescribe some sleeping pills?
Liz: Do you wish to be able to sleep well
you: Absolutely. Doesn't everybody?
Liz: Who, for example?
If you unpacked the tarball, you can look in file README for more explicit instructions on how to install the Perl module and what you can do with it. You can, for example, set up two chatbots and have them talk to each other. I've been told that there is a schizophrenic chatbot named Perry that is a great compliment to Eliza, but I haven't been able to find it.
As it turns out, if you are running Linux or one of the BSDs, you probably already have an embedded version of Eliza that you didn't know about. As mentioned above, Eliza was originally written in Lisp, and one of the most prominent Lisp programs still in common use today is Emacs. I've noticed that the Emacs version of Eliza seems better than the Perl version - I'm not sure if this has anything to do with Lisp.
Although ostensibly just an editor, Emacs is packed with features that really have little to do with editing. You can use Emacs to browse the web (text-mode only), check your email, and possibly wash your socks. Everything that it does, it doesn't necessarily do easily or intuitively, but you really don't need to understand Emacs if you just want to play with its psychoanalytic abilities.
To start Emacs, choose it from a menu (should be buried in there someplace), or else on the command line type "emacs". Then, to start Eliza, hit Alt-x (M-x in Emacs parlance) and type "doctor", then hit enter. Here's a little session I had with the "doctor" recently:
I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems. Each time
you are finished talking, type RET twice.
Hi Doc, it's nice to meet you.
How do you do? What brings you to see me?
Well, I've been feeling tired and run down. Actually, kind of
Are you depressed often?
Well, yeah. I think it's overwork.
Why do you say yeah you think it's overwork?
Well, I spend about 18 hours a day in front of the computer. My
girlfriend says that she's a computer widow.
You have your mind on computers, it seems.
Yeah, all the time. I can't help it. I guess I'm addicted.
Earlier you said you felt depressed?
Yes. I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. Maybe I need a change in my life.
Maybe your plans have something to do with this.
You could be on to something there. I've been considering making a
trip to eastern Europe. To get away from it all.
What makes you believe that?
Well, I've been doing the same thing for years and years. Sitting in
front of the computer. Writing. Sure, it's been rewarding at times,
but I see my life slipping away.
Is it because you see your life slipping away that you came to me?
That's putting it blunt. But yeah, I think you've hit the nail on the head.
Does it bother you that yeah you think I have hit the nail on the
Bothered? No. You're a psychoanalyst. Isn't that what you do?
When did you first know that what I do?
Well, some geek told me about you. I figured I really needed your help.
You mentioned that you felt depressed?
Right. And bored. Maybe I should do something totally
different. That's why I was thinking about this trip to Europe.
Is the fact that you were thinking about this trip to Europe the real
Well, maybe I'm just trying to escape. It's either take a trip, or
If you are really suicidal, you might want to contact the Samaritans
via E-mail: email@example.com or, at your option, anonymous E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org . Or find a Befrienders crisis center at
http://www.befrienders.org/ . I would appreciate it if you would
Oh, I wasn't really that serious. Just a passing thought.
Does the fact that serious just a passing thought explain anything
Well, I don't sleep well. Maybe I need some sleeping pills?
Do you use pills often?
No. Well, yes. Vitamin pills.
Have you been addicted to pills?
No, but I'm addicted to caffeine. Geeks drink a lot of it, you know.
Have you been sure you are addicted to caffeine geeks drink a lot of
it I know?
What the hell are you talking about?
Perhaps you could watch your tongue!
I recently introduced my brother to Eliza. As it happens, my brother is a medical technologist at a major public hospital. After experimenting with Eliza, he said he thought that it could replace the entire Psychiatry Department. I don't know if that's true, but for harried DistroWatch website maintainers, it could be just the ticket.
That's all for this week.
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
eZeY (formerly Open Xange, before Xange and Vixta) is an easy-to-use, Fedora-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the KDE desktop.