| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 208, 25 June 2007
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! A Linux distribution is not just a CD image we download from the Internet; for many of us the social part of a project, such as any interactive communication channels, are equally important. In this week's feature story, Mark South examines how one or two poisonous individuals can spoil the experience for many other users. In the news section, we take a look at the importance of the various language-specific distributions on the market, examine the new features in Ubuntu 7.10, introduce a new YaST module for creating custom live CDs, and link to a story featuring the PCLinuxOS Control Center. Finally, don't miss the excellent article written by Linux Weekly News on the subject of backporting newer software and patches into a stable distribution. Happy reading!
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One year with Puppy Linux (by Mark South)
The sad tale of how the hope and excitement of a promising distro turned to fear and loathing in Linux land.
Most distro reviews focus on installing and using one release of a recent distro. But when people decide to stick with a distro, or abandon it after a longer period of use, the reasons are more to do with the entire distro experience, which includes the distro technology, its package management, the size and reliability of its package repositories, the ease and speed with which bugs are reported and fixed, the quality of the documentation, and the social experience of being part of the distro's community, as exemplified by its forum and IRC channels. Here I relate my personal experiences with Puppy Linux over the course of approximately one year.
* * * * *
I hated Puppy Linux the first time I saw it on my screen. Well, why was it on my screen in the fist place, you may very reasonably ask? The time was early 2005, and I had been spending some of my spare time searching out and testing small Linux distros for use on older computers. Where I live in Switzerland, there are numerous home users (including many of my friends and neighbours) still running Windows 98 on modest hardware, and finding a Linux distro that they could easily convert to seemed like a worthwhile use of the aforementioned spare time. Also, I had recently become acquainted with Knoppix, which had impressed me with the power and potential of live CDs. I had also already tried Damn Small Linux (DSL), which (in spite of its appallingly naff name) had been interestingly usable on my already-ancient Toshiba portable from the mid-1990's, although it would only run in live mode on that machine, and simply refused to install at all.
So when I looked back through the distro release announcements on DistroWatch and observed that Puppy 0.9.7 was less than 60 MB to download, I didn't have to think very hard about giving it a try. Naturally, I was expecting it to be something like DSL. I was totally disappointed. The display was stuck at a clunky-looking and somewhat flickery 800x600 (even though my display would do 1280x1024), and there seemed to be no way to get onto the net without using a dial-up modem. To clinch matters, there was a freaking SEAGULL on my desktop! If the seagull hadn't clinched things already (and pretty much everyone who's ever lived by the sea knows what I'm talking about :-), things were made even worse by the fact that after I removed the Puppy CD and rebooted, there was a file called PUP001 that had been written to my hard disk's first partition entirely without my permission. I promptly tossed the Puppy CD into the round file and resolved never to allow any kind of Puppy near my beloved computers ever again.
Well, it turns out that even the strongest resolutions don't always stand up well against everyday human curiosity. Fast-forward the clock ahead to early 2006. It was now about a year since I had first tried Puppy. It was a new calendar year and I was inclined to forgive and forget, especially since Puppy's version number had passed the magical milestone of 1.0 in the meantime. The release announcement promised that 1.08 was full of new stuff, and besides that there didn't seem to have been any fun new live CDs released in the past couple of weeks, so what hardcore distro junkie could resist? So I downloaded the ISO and burned that fateful CD.
I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Well, that's an understatement. I was impressed. And even that's an understatement. I was delighted to see how far Puppy had come during the course of the year for which I had left it entirely out of consideration. The new live CD booted smoothly and ran quickly. After answering a few start-up questions about mouse and keyboard, the system was up and running. There was a simple wizard interface to set up the network, and another to set the desktop resolution to 1024x768, correct for the machine I was using. There was also quite a useful choice of software available in the menus. The window manager and general graphical design were still pretty basic and really quite ugly (and that blasted seagull was still lurking around somewhere!), but looking beyond that to the actual functionality of the system gave me a strong sense that Puppy had entered onto an interesting trajectory that could, in time, make it a really important and useful distro.
When this Puppy started up, it brought up a web page in a modest browser, namely Dillo (sadly now deceased, and deeply missed by many small and light distros). The page contained a selection of links that directed the user to the Puppy home page (informative), the project's documentation Wiki (thin), and the main user forum for Puppy. Now, I had always tended to stay away from forums of all kinds because of the high levels of flaming and social ignorance that they often contain. But, what the hang, I had already broken a resolution by just booting the CD. So over to the forum I went. I lurked for a few days while I picked up useful tips and tricks on how to get the best results from Puppy. At the same time, I was experimenting with a new capability that had appeared in Puppy 1.08, which was the ability to use a multi-session CD and have the session saved back to the live CD in place of needing to save to a hard disk or a USB key. Neat as the multi-session CD idea was, there turned out to be several complications in getting it to work properly, so I registered on the forum and began asking my questions. The responses I received were generally very helpful and so I persisted (although I never actually did get the multi-session CD to work until after Puppy 2.0 came out).
As I hung about in the forum learning the quirks and strengths of Puppy, I began to notice that many of the questions being posted by other Puppy newbies were about things to which I knew the answers, so I began getting involved with helping others to get better results from their Puppies. I saw this as giving back to the community a fair share of some of the help that I had already received. Besides, the more I used Puppy, the more I came to appreciate its almost unique mix of small size, efficient use of resources, compatibility with a wide range of hardware, and genuinely useful range of built-in applications, and the more I became an enthusiast and a dedicated supporter of the Puppy project.
So when Barry announced that he was beginning work on a redesigned Puppy, to be designated as Puppy 2.0 and based on the 2.6 kernel series, I eagerly joined the alpha testing programme, downloading and trying out each new alpha as it was released. The pace of development was exciting, with a new alpha being released almost every week or so. The mood in the forum was intense and highly competitive. Every participant wanted to be the first to get their test reports in, and to be the one to flush out the most bugs, especially because the earliest test reports were the most likely to be the ones to be acted upon. If you waited 24 hours to download and run an alpha of Puppy 2.0 you may as well not have bothered, someone else would already have been there ahead of you.
Finally, after what seemed like an age, but was, in reality, only a few weeks of test programme, Barry released Puppy 2.0. It was fantastic. Here was a 60 MB ISO image that could be downloaded in a few minutes, burned to a CD in a few more, and booted up and running in another five minutes after that. There were wizards to set up Ethernet, wireless, sound, printing, and so on, and they all worked pretty well. The running system could be installed to the hard disk or a USB key, or you could simply run from the live CD and when you chose to shut the system down, it would ask you whether you wanted to save the settings to a save file on the hard disk, a USB key, or even the CD itself (if you had burned the CD as multi-session). While the system was running, it fitted entirely into memory, so long as the machine it was running on had at least 128 MB of RAM. This meant that the newest Puppy ran respectably quickly as a live CD on systems that would have struggled to run heavier distros, even if they had been installed on the hard disk.
Puppy Linux 2.16 - a minimalist Linux distribution designed to work great even on modest hardware
(full image size: 206kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
By now I was thoroughly convinced of the potential for Puppy to be a near-universal solution for revitalising numerous computers that had become too old and too slow to be able to run either "redmondware", or even the majority of other Linux distros. I had become an enthusiastic advocate of Puppy, deliberately promoting Puppy to other Linux users, to my everyday acquaintances, and to the DistroWatch readership. For example, I was one of the first to nominate Puppy for the monthly DistroWatch award, which was eventually given to Barry in late 2006.
During this phase I had developed, thanks to the intensive alpha testing phases, quite a lot of experience in making Puppy run on a variety of hardware. I had even managed to make it run on a 133 MHz Pentium with 40 MB RAM, which was not as simple a task as one could have hoped, and which involved a certain amount of preliminary trickery with Smart Boot Manager and a TOMSRTBT floppy! By this stage, instead of mainly asking my own questions, I was mainly answering questions in the forum, especially those related to getting Puppy to boot, run, and install. And here is where I committed my first major mistake.
It all started innocently enough. A new user on the forum posted a question about booting Puppy, saying that the boot was hanging at the message "looking for puppy on hdc...." When I first saw the thread, one of the forum moderators had already replied, saying that the D was probably a bad burn, and they should burn a fresh one and try again. However, I knew better, being quite familiar with that message from one of my own testbed machines. So I replied as well, saying that in cases like this, it was worth trying booting with "ide=nodma" to turn DMA access off. This did actually turn out to be the solution to the problem, so at first I was filled with that pleasant feeling that one gets when one has been able to help someone else by leveraging one's own store of experience, at very little cost to oneself. I was so wrong.
With hindsight, I realise that I should have expected what followed, but hindsight wasn't available to me at the time. Shortly after this episode, my posts began vanishing from the forum. I would post a reply to a thread, see it in the thread, and a few minutes or hours later it would be gone. Posts to inquire if there was anything wrong with the forum were met by responses that said "the posts don't always go through if you make a mistake while sending them, or if you refresh the page too soon, etc, etc." It isn't only the private detectives among my readership who have already deduced that these explanations were coming from the same moderator with whom I had had the temerity to disagree on a technical matter. When I complained to the forum owner about my posts being randomly deleted, he asked me to show him proof. Which I couldn't easily do, since a vanished post doesn't look like much! I did begin quietly asking around among other forum users, and was even more dismayed to discover that I was not the only victim, and that several other people were having their posts silently deleted.
The records show how much cheerleading I did for Puppy, and the positive results for the project. In October 2006, Barry received an award from DistroWatch, which he used to support the various hosting efforts being managed by himself and others in the Puppy community.
Around this time, under the huge load caused by numerous newcomers interested in Puppy, the Puppy forum began to go down (or, more frequently, simply slow down so far as to time out on every request) almost routinely. There was no unified strategy that the community chose to implement. Different groups reacted differently. Barry himself stopped visiting the main forum and set up his own forum, for Puppy developers only. Astonished as I was at this turn of events, I suggested that Puppy, like many other popular distros, should have its own forum at LinuxQuestions.org. Bary gave his agreement in principle, and so I went off and conducted the necessary negotiations with Jeremy at LQ.org. This included getting links to LQ.org from the Puppy site, as well as setting up several other Puppy regulars with special accounts at LQ.org. The main forum was eventually moved to a better server and the problems decreased in severity, but the LQ forum was an invaluable backup during the long phase during which Puppy had no effective forum of its own.
Barry continued making changes and enhancements to Puppy through all of these tribulations. Occasionally he asked for suggestions. I particularly asked for support of RTL818x wireless drivers, which were eventually included (although I never did get any of my Realtek wireless cards to work with Puppy, alas). Along with several others on the main forum, I also requested that the Swiss keyboard map should be built in to Puppy - the Swiss keymap is different from both the German and French keymaps - but this never happened. The only result of my request was that one of the forum moderators told me that I should edit my Xkbdlayout in xorg.conf. This rather missed my point. I didn't want only to use a Swiss keymap myself, I wanted to be able to distribute Puppy to my friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and business associates. They all use Swiss keyboards here in Switzerland, so without a Swiss keymap there was no point in me promoting Puppy to my potential Linux market.
At this point, any reader is wondering something along the following lines: "Puppy has included some neat tools for remastering the live CD, why not just include a Swiss keymap file and build a new ISO for distributing in Switzerland?" Obviously, that was my first thought. And here is where my enthusiasm for Puppy took another blow. Once I considered distributing a remastered Puppy, the first step was to read carefully through the licence on Puppy. It was not a pleasant surprise to realise that Puppy was under a purely proprietary licence! It's easy to fall into the habit of considering the GPL to be a relatively unimportant part of a Linux distro's attributes, until the absence of the GPL stops one from distributing one's changes. Instead, in this case, I would have needed explicit written permission from Barry to distribute a remastered Puppy. I obviously wasn't the only one who felt restricted by the licence, because about this time there were a couple of other people agitating for Barry to open the licence, including Nathan Fisher, who distributes Grafpup, a derivative of Puppy. Barry did eventually announce on his developer blog (in response to a direct question from me) that he had changed the licence on his proprietary components to the LGPL. By the time that had happened, though, my relationship with Puppy had already taken a fatal turn.
My posts, as well as those of others, were continuing to vanish, while the forum moderators (whose posts never vanished spontaneously, strangely enough) continued to deny all knowledge. A new thread in the forum was begun by someone with the title "Suggestions for Forum Improvement", and I posted a suggestion, with a note at the end asking anyone who saw my post to quote it before it vanished. The next thing, my post was moved to a different section of the forum, under "Totally Off-Topic Conversations"! Some other forum members complained in the original thread. Their posts were also re-filed as off topic. It got rapidly worse. I received a message from the forum owner, quoting my request that others quote my posts before they were deleted. He said "I don't know what you are trying to do" and issued me with a banning order. I would have thought it was obvious that I was trying to avoid having my posts vanish with no trace....
Well, I still kind of like Puppy the distro, but I no longer run Puppy at all. Linux isn't just about the distro. It's about the community that one learns from and shares with, it's the ability and freedom to take a distro as a base and change it for one's own needs. It's about being valuable and respected based on one's own contribution, not just sucking up to forum moderators, even when they are wrong. I'm still somewhat sad that all the fun and potential of Puppy was eventually flushed away by the sum total of the bad experiences. But the year I spent with Puppy not only taught me a little bit about Linux, but it taught me a lot about people, and it taught me that choosing a Linux distro is about a lot more than reading package lists.
Localised distributions, Gutsy Gibbon features, product-creator module for YaST, PCLinuxOS Control Center, backporting kernel patches
While most of the major distributions are currently taking a well-deserved break from recent release sprints, many of the smaller projects are busy finalising their own new versions. This is particularly true of the various country- or language-specific distributions on the market. As an example, last week we saw new stable releases from NepaLinux, a distribution designed exclusively for deployment in Nepali-speaking environments, and Hacao Linux, a project delivering a desktop Linux solution for Vietnam.
Although these releases might not be of great interest to the majority of DistroWatch readers, they are nevertheless a very important part of the world-wide Linux ecosystem. Not only they provide a free operating system that anybody can obtain at no cost, they also do an enormous amount of translation and localisation work while, at the same time, creating small centres of Linux-related activities in their particular spheres of influence. Sure, NepaLinux or Hacao Linux are unlikely to ever challenge the dominance of Ubuntu or openSUSE on our desktops, but the selfless contribution of these developers, often working in adverse conditions of low and expensive bandwidth, deserve our admiration. This is free software world at its best!
NepaLinux 2.0 - a Debian-based distribution made in Nepal
(full image size: 499kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
One of the talking points of the Linux community during the past week was the announcement covering the new features in Gutsy, the next stable version of Ubuntu. What can we expect from version 7.10, scheduled for release in October this year? Besides the usual package updates, such as kernel 2.6.22, X.Org 7.3, GNOME 2.20 and KDE 3.5.7, the new release is aiming to also include packages for the second release candidate of KDE 4.0 and to be one of the first distributions providing the newly merged Compiz/Beryl 3D desktop features. A new Ubuntu mobile edition, designed for the handheld and embedded market, should also be available at the same time as the main release. Several smaller improvements are also being implemented in the distribution's server edition. For a full list of ideas that are being considered for Ubuntu 7.10, please see this announcement on the Ubuntu developers' mailing list.
* * * * *
In recent years, as many projects provide easy-to-use tools, it has become increasingly easy to create custom Linux distributions or remaster the existing ones. The latest project that joins this trend is openSUSE, with a tool called "product-creator": "Jiří Suchomel has created a YaST module that makes generating KIWI images a breeze. As mentioned earlier, you can choose to create Xen and other virtual machine images too." The module is in an early development stage, but once it works as advertised, it should become an integral part of all new openSUSE releases. For more information and screenshots please see Make your own distro, in easy steps.
* * * * *
PCLinuxOS has been gaining much attention on DistroWatch in recent weeks, but what makes the project so successful and different from the rest? It's the PCLinuxOS Control Center, of course! That's according to this article by Linux-Blog.org: "I really like the PCLinuxOS Control Center and its ultimate control of system administration items. If you like configuring things by hand, you can do so as well - the Control Center will read the same configuration files that you'll alter. It's handy for new and seasoned users, it's something that can automate repetitive tasks you may do. It gives you an alternative to manually editing configuration files." The author gives examples of using the PCLinuxOS Control Center in real-life situations, such as when enabling file sharing, configuring networking, printing and other hardware, modifying the various options of the boot process or setting up remote desktop access. Read the full article here.
* * * * *
We have previously discussed the subject of "backporting" software, i.e. providing newer versions of popular packages to a current stable distribution. In theory, this is a good way of keeping reasonably up-to-date with the fast-evolving open source software world. However, backporting newer versions of a package (or patching an existing version of a package with code from a newer version) can be risky - it can introduce new bugs or even render the user's system unstable. Jonathan Corbett from Linux Weekly News has written an excellent article on the subject. It examines the evolution of the Linux kernel in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and its several new patches that have been introduced into the kernel since the initial release: "The end result is that, while running uname -r on a RHEL4 system will yield '2.6.9', what Red Hat is shipping is a far cry from the original 2.6.9 kernel, and, more to the point, it is far removed from the kernel shipped with RHEL4 when it first became available. This enterprise kernel is not quite as stable as one might have thought." Read the rest of the story here.
|Released Last Week
Following a short beta test, MoLinux 3.0 has been released. MoLinux is an Ubuntu-based Spanish Linux distribution developed by the government of Castilla la Mancha and designed for deployment in government offices and educational institutions around the region. The main features of the release are: based on Ubuntu 7.04 with kernel 2.6.20 and GNOME 2.18; improvements in hardware detection; migration assistant for data and configuration settings from other operating systems; addition of a system restore option in case of file system corruption; improved translation into Spanish; OpenOffice.org 2.2.0; Firefox 2.0.4.... Please see the distribution's home page (in Spanish) to read the full release announcement.
MoLinux 3.0 - a Spanish distribution based on Ubuntu
(full image size: 1,947kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
White Box Enterprise Linux 4 Respin 2
John Morris has announced the release of White Box Enterprise Linux 4 Respin 2, a distribution built from the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4: "White Box Enterprise Linux 4 Respin 2 is now available for download. This covers Update 5 from upstream plus a few errata released since. The recent OpenOffice.org and OpenOffice.org 2 updates are included. The previous policy of skipping every other Update from upstream is being reconsidered in light of the year gap it has caused. Every quarter was a bit often for me to respin, annually seems a mite too far in the other direction." Here is the brief release announcement.
Mandriva Corporate Desktop 4.0
Mandriva has announced the release of Mandriva Corporate Desktop 4.0: "Mandriva is proud to announce the release of Corporate Desktop 4.0, the brand new version of its enterprise-dedicated work station." Some of the product's key features include: "Directory administration and integration: a new tool to set KDE user rights from an LDAP directory; mobility: simplified configuration of secure remote access and simplified configuration of 3G data cards; security: support for data encryption, high security authentication, secure connections and an interactive firewall; ergonomics: a completely new design for the desktop and integration of the latest 3D technologies." Find more details in press release and on the distribution's product pages.
NepaLinux is a Debian-based distribution localised into Nepali and targeted at general desktop systems of private users, government organisations and schools in Nepal. NepaLinux 2.0 was released earlier this week: "Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya released the localized Linux distribution, NepaLinux 2.0. NepaLinux 2.0 comes up with additional choices to the end-users in the sense that it offers two different localized working desktop environments - GNOME and KDE. NepaLinux 2.0 package comprises of two CDs, with GNOME bundled on one and KDE on the other. Features of NepaLinux 2.0: Linux kernel 2.6.18; localized and updated GNOME 2.14; localized KDE 3.5.5; localized OpenOffice.org 2.2 with upgraded Nepali spell checker; localized SeaMonkey suite; XKB and SCIM input systems...." Read the full release announcement for further details.
Hacao Linux 2.16
Nguyen Quang Truong has announced the release of Hacao Linux 2.16, a Vietnamese desktop distribution based on Puppy Linux. The key features of the new release include: new Vista graphical user interface; auto-detection of local and wireless networks; printing support with CUPS; Hacao.Office 2.20 (office application suite); Java installer; Skype Internet telephony client; GIMP image editor; ability to install Windows applications with Wine and WineXS; video chat with Yahoo; support for watching Vietnamese TV online (20 channels); more software localised into Vietnamese. Please read the full release announcement (in Vietnamese) for more information.
Tuquito is a Debian-based, easy-to-use desktop Linux distribution developed in Argentina and localised into Spanish. An updated version 2.0r5 was announced yesterday; it features the following new characteristics: Beryl 3D desktop is enabled by default for NVIDIA and Intel graphics cards; Firefox 2.0 with many new add-ons; Linux kernel 2.6.21; updates to important libraries and components, including glibc and GCC; K3b 1.0; support for several new webcams; automatic network detection and configuration. Please read the brief release announcement (in Spanish) for further information.
Yann Le Doaré has announced a new release of LinuxConsole, an independently-developed, modular Linux live CD designed for (not only) older computers: "LinuxConsole 1.0.2007. This official release brings lots of new features: NTFS-3G - no more limitation when using NTFS partitions; 18.104.22.168 kernel; X.Org 7.2 (Games3D ISO); GNOME 2.18 and GParted (CD ISO); Busybox 1.4.2; lcinstall.exe updated to avoid losing 'config.sys'; eject CD when used in live CD mode; many system tools added; Evolution updated to 2.10, Firefox to 22.214.171.124.... Many tests have been successfully done: old computers (16 MB RAM), new computers (serial ATA and 3D drivers), booting from CD, hard disk, floppy, network, and installing from MS Windows 98, 2000, XP and empty disks." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
* * * * *
Development and unannounced releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Alt Linux 4.0
Russia's Alt Linux project has published a release plan of the upcoming Alt Linux 4.0. Six different editions are planned; the first of them, the "Server" edition, is expected this month, while the final one, the general purpose "Master" edition, is scheduled for release in the second half of September. For further details please see the project's roadmap page (in Russian).
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Translations of Top Ten Distributions page|
Many thanks to V. Mark Lehký who have translated the Top Ten Distributions page into Czech. The story is now available in 10 languages: Czech, Dutch, English, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish. Translations to other languages are most welcome - if you'd like to help, please email your work to distro at distrowatch dot com (preferably in plain text format using UTF-8 encoding).
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 2 July 2007. Until then,
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 126.96.36.199, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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White Box Enterprise Linux
What was the goal for White Box Linux? To provide an unencumbered RPM-based Linux distribution that retains enough compatibility with Red Hat Linux to allow easy upgrades and to retain compatibility with their errata SRPMs. Being based off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3.0 means that a machine should be able to avoid the upgrade treadmill until October 2008 since RHEL promises errata availability for 5 years from date of initial release. Or more briefly, to fill the gap between Fedora and RHEL. Why was White Box Linux created? Its initial creation was sponsored by the Beauregard Parish Public Library in DeRidder, USA out of self interest. We have several servers and over 50 workstations running Red Hat Linux and were left high and dry by Red Hat's recent shift in business plan. Our choices were a difficult migration to another distribution or paying Red Hat an annual fee greater than the amortized value of our hardware. So we chose a third path, made possible by the power of open source.... White Box Linux.