| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 292, 2 March 2009
Welcome to this year's 9th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Last week saw the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.0, a Debian-based desktop Linux distribution designed for both personal and business purposes. We take the live CD for a spin to see what it has to offer. In the news this past week, openSUSE develops Debian-like distribution upgrade functionality to their package manager, Red Hat looks set for a comeback to the desktop arena as it announces virtualisation plans that will centre on KVM technology, and Novell signs a virtualisation agreement with VMware over support for their products. Also in the news, the Linux Starter Kit from Linux Format magazine has been released for free and we link to interviews with lead developers of Linux Mint and Kongoni. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the DistroWatch.com February 2009 donation goes to Wolvix GNU/Linux, a Slackware-based desktop distribution and live CD. Happy reading!
- First look: SimplyMEPIS 8.0
- News: openSUSE gets system upgrade ability, Red Hat returns to the desktop, Novell signs with VMware, Arch drops ATI's Catalyst driver, interviews with Linux Mint and Kongoni developers, Linux Starter Kit
- Released last week: Linux Mint 6 "Xfce", Dreamlinux 3.5
- Upcoming releases: Mandriva Linux 2009.1 RC1
- Donations: Wolvix GNU/Linux receives US$200
- New additions: Estrella Roja, Maryan Linux
- New distributions: dvd::rip Cluster live CD, Elementary OS, GUARA Linux OS, Hag GNU/Linux, Qimo 4 Kids
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (19MB) formats (many thanks to Russ Wenner)
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
First look at SimplyMEPIS 8.0
I have been intrigued by MEPIS Linux ever since I first heard about it, but never actually got around to trying it. The distro was founded by Warren Woodford in late 2002 after he had tried several distributions of Linux, but found that they all fell short of his vision for how a Linux desktop should work. Inspired by his experience as a NeXT developer, Warren decided to try his hand at creating a Linux distribution that 'just worked'. The first version of MEPIS Linux was released to the public in May 2003. MEPIS is derived from Debian, one of the oldest and most stable distributions, with this latest version being based on the recent Lenny release. According to the website, "SimplyMEPIS just works! It is pre-configured for simplicity and ease of use, even for beginners." So, this distro is aimed at beginners and claims to be easy to use. What does it have to offer?
Live CD and environment
Although MEPIS is effectively a commercial Linux distribution, it does also release a freely available community edition in the form of the SimplyMEPIS live CD. This is what I downloaded and booted on my Dell Latitude X1 laptop computer (Intel Pentium M 1.10GHz CPU, Intel 915 video, Intel 2200BG wireless, Broadcom BCM5751 network, 1.25 GB memory). The first thing I noticed was the very nice GRUB menu and boot screen. There were plenty of options in the menu, but I think some should be moved out into a sub menu instead. If you are aiming your distribution towards beginners, then in my opinion there should be only two entries; the default which automatically detects the video settings and a basic option designed to work on everything. To illustrate what I mean, the default entry on this live CD is Default, but then there are also options for Alternate (try if Default fails), VESA (alternate display driver or for virtual machine), Failsafe (minimum options, small display), 60Hz (for digital monitors), and 75Hz which warns: "CAREFUL! May damage digital monitors." Why make it complicated? The inclusion of Memtest is always a good idea, but it's a pity there is no option to verify the contents of the CD.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - live CD GRUB menu
(full image size: 157kB, screen resolution: 800x600 pixels)
The live CD booted straight to a nice looking KDE desktop manager and presented two users to log in as, either demo or root. Unfortunately the system does not automatically log the user in and the password is not made clear. I guessed that the password is the same as user name, but why not just keep it simple and auto log in as the unprivileged user? If you're aiming this at beginners, especially those coming from Windows, they will not be used to putting in passwords. I'm not advocating this for the installed system, but for a live CD where they didn't ever set the password anywhere, how are they going to know what to enter?
On my system, all the hardware was correctly detected. This included the video card and resolution with 3D support, sound, network, wireless, CPU speed stepping, power management, touchpad with scrolling and Bluetooth (although I couldn't find any user space applications for this). Unfortunately the multimedia keys did not work. When I closed the lid, my laptop successfully suspended to RAM and resumed, which was nice. Unfortunately suspend to disk did not work. On the desktop sits an icon for the user manual, which is quite well written and comprehensive. The usual KDE applications are all there, including Amarok and K3b, but of surprise to me was OpenOffice.org version 3.0. Nice work! Debian and even Ubuntu's latest release ship the older 2.4 release. OpenOffice.org was also themed to use KDE style icons, which also makes for cleaner system integration.
A found a few annoying interface issues, which should perhaps be addressed. When my network cable was plugged in I could see the icon in the system tray showing the connection. Great. When I unplugged it however, the icon disappears completely. Getting it to stay was a simple matter of changing the configuration, but would be nice if this remained by default. Also, you can't configure the network from this icon, that's fair enough because it's just a monitoring program, but these days most other distributions let you configure the network this way via NetworkManager. By default, MEPIS uses their static configuration system over the automated NetworkManager, although the system can be configured to use it. While a few years ago it would have been brilliant, the MEPIS network management tool is a bit clunky for 2009.
I configured my wireless using it and then received a message saying: "The configuration has been updated. It should take effect if you restart the active Interface, but with some cards it maybe be necessary to reboot." This is not very helpful for a beginner. I can hear them say: "How do I restart an active interface? I've no idea. I do know how to reboot my computer though, I guess Linux is just like Windows after all." At the very least the system could offer to restart the network for the user. Nevertheless, I restarted the network myself and saw the system trying to get an address on my wireless network. Unfortunately, this never worked because it was still associated to some another random network. In my opinion, this is just not up to scratch when compared to other modern distributions.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - network configuration tool
(full image size: 53kB, screen resolution: 700x564 pixels)
So how did NetworkManager go then? Using the MEPIS network assistant I set the network to 'Automatic'. Once again I received a message telling me that I should reboot and that after doing so I may need to start the NetworkManager program from the Kmenu. Instead of rebooting, I just kicked up the NetworkManager program which loaded and sat in the system tray. I unplugged my wired connection and NetworkManager disabled the network. I right-clicked on the icon, saw my wireless network, selected it, typed in my passphrase and I was connected. Now this is more like it! Once switching to NetworkManager, the system works really well and it really should be the default. Now that I was online I loaded Firefox which, like OpenOffice.org, was using a KDE icon theme, albeit one different to the rest of the KDE system. The browser defaulted to the Mozilla development information page and I'd like to see it go somewhere useful like Google, or some kind of local page about MEPIS. Perhaps the brilliant user manual?
I noticed that by default there was no pager in the task bar - the applet which lets you switch between virtual desktops. I initially thought this was quite good, they want to keep it simple for beginners and most people aren't used to such a concept. However clicking on a program title bar I noticed they still had four virtual desktops enabled, so when I sent Firefox to desktop number two I had no way of getting it back! Either disable the other virtual desktops, or include the pager in the taskbar.
The system comes with KDE 3.5.10 by default so I kicked up the file manager, Konqueror, and tried to browse my local Samba network. It didn't work, saying that it could not find any workgroups on the local network and suggested a firewall might be blocking this. Connecting directly to a server with smb://[ip-address] did work however. I kicked up a terminal and as root ran the command iptables -L. OK, so they've enabled a firewall by default which is good to see, but not if it's going to block important local traffic! It took me quite a while to find the firewall management tool, which I found sitting under Kmenu, Applications, Browse All, Applications, System, Security, Guarddog Firewall. Looks like the Applications category has doubled up somehow. The tool appears quite powerful and the interface will probably suit those coming from a Windows background (of course there's always the iptables command if you prefer). Speaking of which, MEPIS does not include Wine by default which means beginners will not be able to install their basic Windows software out of the box. Whether this is a good thing I'm not sure, but I can see beginners getting frustrated either way.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - firewall configuration tool
(full image size: 53kB, screen resolution: 700x564 pixels)
This brings me to another point, in MEPIS the everyday user is not in the Sudoers file and all system changes require the root password. Personally (and I'm sure many will disagree) I prefer handling this by disabling the root account and allowing appropriate users to administer the system with their own password via sudo. On a system which might have multiple users, it is nice to not have to give out the root password, but still let users run certain administrative tasks. You also get the additional security benefit of having the root account explicitly disabled.
As for the feel of the desktop, it is very clean, uncluttered and works very well. Actually, it's probably one of the nicest KDE 3.5 desktops I have encountered. I have not extensively tested MEPIS over time, but I did perform most of the tasks that I consider a new user would want to do. On my laptop, I connected my Canon IXUS digital camera but nothing happened. The camera did not switch over to 'PC mode' unlike when I plug it into my desktop. I was however, able to add the camera and successfully download the images using Digikam, KDE's photo manager. Likewise, plugging my SD card into the internal reader prompted no response from the computer and I was unable to see how to mount this using KDE. The kernel did see it however and I was able to manually mount the device on the command line. The same problem occurred for my USB memory stick and my iRiver media player. The kernel sees them just fine, but KDE doesn't know about them at all. Hmm... Obviously this is not very user friendly and can't be right. I booted MEPIS on another desktop computer, which worked as I expected with full KDE feedback. So this must have been a strange glitch on my laptop. The good news is, MP3 music files play out of the box, as did Flash content on sites such as YouTube, and Windows movie video files. My iPod also worked correctly with the Amarok media player. MEPIS appears to have a pretty good media support out of the box.
If you're using some hardware that requires a proprietary driver (such as ATI or NVIDIA video cards or NDISwrapper for wireless), MEPIS has some tools that can automatically configure these for you. One such tool is their X-Windows Assistant, which is available under the System, MEPIS category in Kmenu. This tool lets you configure things such as font DPI, type of mouse or touchpad, monitor specifications and then install and enable either the NVIDIA or ATI drivers. On an AMD64 box with an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT card, I used this tool to automatically download, install and configure the proprietary driver, which worked a treat. While it's not quite as simple as Ubuntu's Jockey program, which automatically detects that your hardware requires such a driver and prompts the end user, it's certainly a step in the right direction as far as ease of use is concerned.
Being based on Debian, MEPIS inherits their powerful package management which makes the installation and removal of packages a snap. Unlike Ubuntu, which builds all their own packages from source using Debian tools, MEPIS uses the official Debian Lenny tree alongside their own. Essentially, you are getting a customised, specialised and 'more-up-to-date' Debian system. The system comes with a graphical package manager to perform these tasks, or you can use the standard commands on the console.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - installer EULA license agreement
(full image size: 91kB, screen resolution: 806x527 pixels)
The installer itself is quite simple and easy to follow. There is a help section on the left explaining each step, which should make it easier for beginners to complete the process successfully, although I saw no explanation of what 'hda' is. It does not use a built-in partitioner, but calls the GParted application to load externally which works very well. There are only options to use a root partition (/), swap and /home (but that's all most users need). Once you select these partitions, the installer formats and begins the installation. Next, it prompts to select the boot method, for which I chose to install GRUB to the master boot record. Interestingly, there was an option to disable the use of an initial RAM disk. If you take this off, the kernel must have drivers built in so that it can read your drive(s) to boot. I didn't test this, but I wonder why they give the option.
After this you get the chance to disable unwanted boot services, including Bluetooth, CUPS printing, dial up with PPP and the firewall. After this, the installer asks for a computer name and network to belong to, keyboard and language details, whether set the clock to use GMT or not, create a local user account and set the root password. As a side note, there was no option to set the time or zone of the computer, which meant the clock was wrong pre and post install. Setting the time zone to Sydney, Australia under KDE however fixed this, but it would be good to be able to set this in the installer. Finally, the computer is ready to reboot into your new MEPIS install. Overall, the installer is quite simple and effective.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - installer
(full image size: 42kB, screen resolution: 806x527 pixels)
Perhaps it was just some glitch on my test machine that stopped external devices from working under KDE (perhaps D-Bus or HAL didn't start properly). If not, then some fundamental things seem to be broken in this MEPIS 8.0 release, but I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. Either way, I'm not convinced that the built-in network configurator is the way to go. It would be much better to switch that over to NetworkManager by default, which actually works very well and is more user-centric. Aside from these things I've raised, overall the system works quite nicely and is pretty quick and responsive. It's also very pleasing to the eye, although there are no 3D desktop effects installed by default.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 comes with a good selection of applications, including KDE-themed Firefox and OpenOffice.org. It inherits all the greatness of Debian (which means experienced users can get in and configure things the way they like) and then adds some extra tools to assist not-so-experienced users configure important things like the network and 3rd party drivers. The package management system will be rock solid and I was able to update the system without any fuss. The multimedia support is very good as everything seems to just work out of the box. This distribution has the potential to be a very easy-to-use desktop for first time users, but I think some more work needs to be done before they get there. Nevertheless the distro is very solid and I highly recommend giving it a shot.
SimplyMEPIS 8.0 - default KDE desktop
(full image size: 258kB, screen resolution: 1280x768 pixels)
openSUSE gets system upgrade ability, Red Hat returns to the desktop, Novell signs with VMware, Arch drops ATI's Catalyst driver, interviews with Linux Mint and Kongoni developers, Linux Starter Kit|
Package management is one of the most fundamental components of a Linux distribution (although some still do not include one). The openSUSE distribution uses RPM packages with their own manager called Zypper, which is very powerful and a huge improvement over many others. While it does a great job at managing packages for a particular release, one feature lacking is the ability to upgrade between releases. This has been a feature of Debian's package management system for many years and finally it will make its debut in the upcoming 11.2 release of openSUSE. Described as a "Debian-like dist-upgrade live system full version upgrade," the entry on the feature tracking system says: "With the 11.2 cycle, we want to offer users the ability to perform a live system upgrade in the manner of Debian's dist-upgrade. For the purpose of this cycle, we want to support dist-upgrade from the previous version (11.1) only, as this is a sufficiently complicated problem as is. From the user's view, the difference is between being able to update the system incrementally within the given version or service pack running, to being able to migrate with a system command ("zypper dup" or similar) to a higher version altogether." The ability to forever upgrade between releases should be a welcome addition to the popular distribution.
* * * * *
Is Red Hat making a comeback to the desktop? Early in 2008 they released a statement saying that "we have no plans to create a traditional desktop product for the consumer market in the foreseeable future." However later in the year they acquired Qumranet, which gave them control of the KVM virtualisation technology. Last week they announced an interoperability deal with Microsoft, while this week they have confirmed that KVM will form the base of their virtualisation strategy. Part of the new line-up will include a virtualisation manager for desktops, explained as "a new management system for virtual desktops that will deliver industry-leading VDI cost-performance for both Linux and Windows desktops, based on Qumranet's SolidICE and using SPICE remote rendering technology." While existing Red Hat Enterprise products can be used as a desktop, most of the new features are found only in Fedora, the community distribution which they sponsor and which has recently hit one million users. If Red Hat is moving back into the desktop arena, then we should see many more of these features make it into the official products. Interestingly, Fedora already has over 50 new features approved for the upcoming 11 release, which in some cases is double the number from previous versions.
* * * * *
It seems everyone is jumping on the virtualisation bandwagon, with deals being done left, front and centre. In 2008 Novell announced support for their products under the VMware Ready Program and last week announced further collaboration to "help independent software vendors (ISVs) build fully supported SUSE Linux Enterprise-based virtual appliances." Novell also announced a "broad collaboration agreement with VMware to deliver SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as a fully-supported and optimised guest operating system running on VMware ESX, the industry-leading hypervisor. The two companies have signed a cooperative support agreement that enables Novell to provide enhanced support for customers running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a guest on VMware ESX." The first ISV to bring such an appliance to market is Zmanda, who will produce an out-of-the-box product using their backup software, Amanda. With Red Hat backing KVM, Citrix going all Xen, Microsoft providing Hyper-V and Novell working with VMware, virtualisation is going to be one hot arena in the coming years!
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 - a "sneak preview" released publicly last week
(full image size: 593kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
In related news, openSUSE community manager Joe Brockmeier has posted an address regarding the recent layoffs at Novell, and what it means for the openSUSE community: "Novell has recently laid off less than 100 employees. Some of the reports have greatly exaggerated the numbers, but again -- the number of people laid off is less than 100. So, how does this impact the openSUSE Project? Obviously, there will be an impact, but Novell remains committed to openSUSE. We will work on opening the project further and improving the infrastructure to allow all contributors to participate as fully as possible in openSUSE. We will continue to open our planning and decision making processes. We are going to concentrate on our strengths and focus on the areas most important to our community."
* * * * *
Since being bought by AMD in 2006, we were promised improved Linux drivers for ATI video cards. Recently AMD released a second batch of information on their hardware to the open source community, which helps to feed into the radeonhd driver, but their closed source proprietary driver still remains, well, closed. The driver has always been second rate, but now it has gotten to the point that Arch Linux developers have decided to dump it all together. Developer Eduardo Romero writes: "The ATI Catalyst drivers are in a pitiful state and AMD is doing close to nothing to improve the situation, they just take Linux as a joke. At least, that is the impression one gets when NVIDIA releases great drivers for Linux." He and Andreas Radke have decided to drop the driver out of the supported package trees and have pushed it back onto the community to maintain. They are instead going to concentrate on the free and open source radeonhd driver: "The radeonhd driver, which is in extra, shows some promise." After many years, the battle for open source graphics drivers is still ongoing.
* * * * *
Linux Mint is one of the most popular distributions which, like many others, is based on Ubuntu. Currently sitting at the number three spot on the DistroWatch main page it is bested only by its parent and openSUSE. From the About page: "Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a more complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback, Java and other components. It also adds a custom desktop and menus, several unique configuration tools, and a web-based package installation interface. Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu software repositories." Linux Magazine Italia has conducted an interview with maintainer Clement Lefebvre, of which a translation has appeared on his blog. If the idea of Linux Mint interests you then take a look, where Clement discusses how he got into free software, what Linux Mint is, why it is based on Ubuntu, and much more!
* * * * *
In last week's issue we introduced Kongoni, a new Slackware-based desktop Linux distribution and live CD out of Africa. The distribution comes with KDE 4 and uses a BSD-style architecture with a ports tree package management system. From their website: "Kongoni is the Shona word for a Gnu (also known as a Wildebeest) the animal which inspired the name of the GNU operating system. The name represents the spirit and history of Kongoni, a GNU/Linux operating system of African origin. Kongoni is a desktop oriented operating system with a strong belief in being truly free software. This means that Kongoni will neither include nor ship any software not under a license approved by the free software foundation." As a part of their '5 Questions Interview Series', free software site OpenSource Release Feed has conducted an interview with Kongoni's lead developer, A.J. Venter. In the interview he explains his background and how Kongoni came about, what sets it apart, how users can get involved, his thoughts on developing free software and more.
* * * * *
For those new to Linux and free software, it can be a daunting experience learning how to install and use it. While there are lots of good resources available online and commercial books to buy, the Linux Format Magazine guys over at TuxRadar have released their 130-page Linux Starter Pack on making the move to Linux, centred on Ubuntu, as a free PDF download: "New to the wonderful world of Linux? Looking for an easy way to get started? Download our complete 130-page guide and get to grips with the OS in hours rather than weeks or months. We show you how to install Linux onto your PC, navigate around the desktop, master the most popular Linux programs and fix any problems that may arise." Previously the Ubuntu Pocket Guide and Reference was released as a free download. It is great to see such high quality content freely available, and hopefully we will see the emergence of similar products for other distributions.
* * * * *
Finally, something for those readers who like the idea of using FreeBSD on their desktops and are proud to display their operating system preference: - an excellent collection of FreeBSD wallpapers for every taste.
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 6 "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 6 "Xfce" edition: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 Xfce Community edition. Based on Xubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex', Linux kernel 2.6.27, Xfce 4.4.2 and X.Org 7.4, Linux Mint 6 'Xfce' comes with a brand new software manager, FTP support in mintUpload, proxy support and history of updates in mintUpdate, mint4win (a Linux Mint installer for Microsoft Windows), and many other improvements. The Linux Mint 'Xfce' Community edition comes with the Xfce desktop and provides most of the functionality found in the main edition while taking fewer resources. This edition is ideally suited to laptop users with 512 MB of RAM or less as it represents a very nice compromise between a full-featured desktop and a fast and light operating system." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Parted Magic 3.7
Patrick Verner has released another bug-fix update to Parted Magic 3.x series, a live CD with a collection of hard disk management utilities: "This is a bug-fix release for the 3.x series of Parted Magic. The package installer had a scripting error that wouldn't allow more than one package to be installed. Added /mnt/local so G4L works. Jason added some fixes and features to the wipe and mount scripts. The code for booting ISOs directly using GRUB4DOS was merged back in after the last round of major changes. The code for forcing devices at boot with uuid= and label= was also merged back in. The "unnamed window" problem fixed in Conky. Web links in GTK+ applications about dialogs launch now. Added Xfce files so help in Screenshooter works. List of updated packages: Linux kernel 220.127.116.11, Coreutils 7.1, Firefox 3.0.6, FireFTP 1.0.4." Here is the complete release announcement.
Caos Linux 1.0.8
Greg Kurtzer has announced the release of Caos Linux 1.0.8, a high-performance distribution designed primarily for high performance computation (HPC), servers, and custom appliances: "The Caos team of developers and contributors from Infiscale are proud to announce the public release of Caos Linux NSA 1.0.8, an updated release to the NSA-1.0 tree. The NSA 1.0 release identifies the stabilization and validation of the core operating system, fully tested on some of the world's fastest public and private systems and architectures. And now with NSA 1.0.8, you get bleeding-edge security updates, the new 2.6.28 kernel, updated packages such as OFED 1.4 and GCC 4.3.3, a streamlined Sidekick system configuration toolkit, the latest Perceus 1.5 cluster management software, and Abstractual, Infiscale's cloud virtualization solution." Here is the brief release announcement.
Astaro Security Gateway 7.4
Astaro has announced the release of Astaro Security Gateway 7.4, a commercial firewall and gateway distribution featuring a web-based system administration utility: "After a hugely successful BETA program spanning several months and including thousands of comments and feedback, Astaro is proud to today release our version 7.400, making it generally available for all Astaro Security, Mail, and Web Gateway products. This release brings new features which will enhance the functionality and capabilities of your AxG installation. Most notable are the introduction of full WAN link balancing, HTTPS filtering, site-to-site SSL VPN, and Cisco IPSec client support, along with dozens of other exciting new features." Read the remainder of the press release for a more detailed list of new features and improvements.
Roberto J. Dohnert has announced the release of PC/OS 2009v2, a Xubuntu-based distribution providing an easy-to-use, simplified user interface and out-of-the-box support for popular media codecs: "Today we are happy to announce the general availability of PC/OS 2009v2. The new release also introduces the new PC/OS WebStation 1.0. PC/OS OpenDesktop 2009v2 and PC/OS OpenWorkstation 2009v2 have been fully tested and are ready for broad consumer adoption. Changes include a slightly tweaked user interface and updated packages, and all important security updates. Some of the updated packages are Opera 9.63, Skype 2.0 and VLC 0.9.8." Read the brief release announcement for more details.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 1.1, an Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution with focus on providing an easy-to-use system with BeOS-like user interface and support for older hardware: "We are proud to announce the brand new ZevenOS 1.1. It includes many new and updated features. We switched the base system to Ubuntu 8.10, including Linux kernel 2.6.27 and X.Org 7.4. That results in many new drivers and better netbook support. We updated our applications, MAGI 2 and Deskbar, to get a better user experience. Deskbar now includes a task switcher and MAGI 2 has MeCoI integrated. All in all, the system is much more reliable and still offers the best BeOS experience in the Linux world." Here is the brief release announcement.
ZevenOS 1.1 - now based on Ubuntu 8.10 "Intrepid Ibex"
(full image size: 1,173kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
A new version of Dreamlinux, a modular desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 5.0, has been released: "The Dreamlinux team is pleased to announce the release of Dreamlinux 3.5. The default edition is Xfce with a GNOME edition also available. This release concentrates on portability, with special attention paid to out-of-the-box wireless drivers, netbook and laptop installs, and USB pen drive installs. Dreamlinux builds on the now stable Debian 'Lenny' base, with a host of custom scripts and applications to make everything from installation to getting on the Internet a breeze. Dreamlinux's famous remaster tools are included, as is an OEM installer and the ability to install directly from an ISO and/or Flexiboost directory structure. Main features: Linux kernel 18.104.22.168, new init script in initrd written in Lua, new icons, redesigned stock icons, new default GTK+ theme." Read the complete release announcement for further details.
Dreamlinux 3.5 - a Debian-based distribution with a Mac OS X-like desktop
(full image size: 2,088kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
François Dupoux has announced the availability of an updated release of SystemRescueCd, a live CD containing a variety of hard disk management and utilities. From the changelog: "Updated the standard kernels to Linux 22.214.171.124 with Reiser4fs and ext4; updated the alternative kernels to Linux 126.96.36.199 with Reiser4fs and ext4; updated NTFS-3G to version 2009.2.1; updated FSArchiver to 0.4.3 (file system backup and deployment tool); updated the speakup driver to version 3.0.3; fixed problems with the function keys in Midnight Commander in terminal; added crossdev to make it easier to compile 64-bit programs or kernels; added LXDE Terminal and Xarchiver (graphical file archiver); added Xfburn 0.4.0 (simple CD/DVD burning software, still in development); Updated GParted to 0.4.3.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
February 2009 donation: Wolvix GNU/Linux receives US$200.00|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the February 2009 DistroWatch.com donation is Wolvix GNU/Linux, a Slackware-based desktop distribution and live CD.
According to the project's web site, Wolvix features "the Xfce desktop environment and a comprehensive selection of development, graphics, multimedia, network and office applications. It's mainly targeted at home users and strives to provide a balance between everyday computing tasks, creativity, work and enjoyment. By default, Wolvix only includes GTK+ applications. Though it is fast and has a low memory footprint, it's not specifically developed for old computers, as it features modern software, but it should perform well on systems which are not the latest and greatest." To learn more about Wolvix GNU/Linux, check out the project's About Wolvix page. The current stable release is the somewhat dated Wolvix 1.1.0, but the project is actively working on the upcoming version 2.0, with development builds available for public testing.
As always, this monthly donations program is a joint initiative between DistroWatch and two online shops selling low-cost CDs and DVDs with Linux, BSD and other open source software - LinuxCD.org and OSDisc.com. These vendors contributed US$50.00 each towards this month's donation to Wolvix GNU/Linux.
Here is the list of projects that received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the program (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$20,233 to various open source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NdisWrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and SabayonLinux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200).
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 March 2009.
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• 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 188.8.131.52, 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu or Linux Mint pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Neptune is a GNU/Linux distribution for desktops. It is based on Debian's Stable branch, except for a newer kernel, some drivers and newer versions of popular applications, such as LibreOffice. It also ships with the latest version of the KDE desktop. The distribution's main goals are to provide a good-looking general-purpose desktop with pre-configured multimedia playback and to offer an easy-to-use USB installer with a persistence option.