| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 296, 30 March 2009
Welcome to this year's 13th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! After last week's interview with Tiny Core's Robert Shingledecker, the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly takes a first look at the world's smallest desktop Linux distribution. Can a 10 MB distro be turned and tweaked into a powerful desktop replacement? Read on to find out. In the news, PCLinuxOS has seen developers leave the popular distribution over internal conflicts due to issues around the latest release. This has also caused ripples as TinyMe decides to move away from PCLinuxOS as their base. In the meanwhile, the administrator of a PCLinuxOS community web site has announced that he will no longer be involved with PCLinuxOS and will instead work on a new distribution called Unity. In other news, OpenSolaris posts major improvements to their package management system, Fedora calls for testing the open-source Nouveau driver, and the founder of Qimo 4 Kids explains the purpose of the young distribution designed for children. All this and more in this issue of DistroWatch Weekly - happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (30MB) and MP3 (23MB) formats (many thanks to Sonny Chauvin)
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
Review of Tiny Core Linux 1.2 and 1.3 RC2
Normally I judge a distribution on what it claims to achieve as set out in the project's goals. Tiny Core Linux is a mini distro, but founder Robert Shingledecker claims it's not just designed for use on older hardware. The distro sets up a small, clean base running completely in memory which the user can then customise by adding extra packages (also called extensions). The system can use two types of packages, either standard compressed tarballs (TCE) which are extracted over the live system, or compressed ROM files (TCZ) which are loopback-mounted. It is designed to run as a live CD (with the potential to install to hard drive, but still run in RAM) and has the ability to save data and packages to a hard drive upon shut-down. When the computer is later booted back up, it can restore data and applications to the live environment. Can it be used as a decent desktop replacement? I sought to find out.
'Installation' is a bit of a misnomer as Tiny Core doesn't really 'install' to your hard drive. Instead, it has four modes of operation. The first mode (Cloud/Internet) basically is just a live environment, where both the core system and all applications are running and stored in system memory (RAM), which is the default. Then there are three different methods for using Tiny Core from a hard drive. The first two are examples of what is called a Persistent Personal Repository (PPR), essentially a local repository for the install files, which will be loaded on boot. You simply specify a partition on a hard drive for Tiny Core to store any packages you install, which will then be loaded each time you boot. The first PPR uses TCE packages (which are extracted over your RAM system), while the second uses TCZ (which are loopback-mounted to save RAM). The final method is called Persistent Personal Installation (PPI), which is more like a conventional Linux install. The packages you have installed are actually extracted and written out to disk, rather than having the install files loaded on boot. In each variation, the core system remains running entirely in RAM.
I chose to use the PPR/TCE method to begin with and downloaded both the current stable 1.2 release, as well as the recent 1.3rc2 version. I could have run Tiny Core from the live CD; however, I wanted to be able to test operations using the optical drive, so I 'installed' it to the hard drive instead. The installation process is relatively simple for someone with some technical knowledge - you just copy the kernel and initial RAM disk to a drive and add a GRUB entry. While an extremely simple concept, it can be tricky as it's done manually. Fortunately, there are some instructions on how to do it. I plugged in a spare 40 GB IDE hard drive into the computer, which is an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ with 1 GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9600 AGP video card, NVIDIA nForce 2 chipset mainboard. From within the booted Tiny Core environment of the live CD I installed GRUB via the package manager, partitioned and formatted the hard drive, mounted it, as well as the CD, and created a boot/grub/ directory on the mounted device. Next, I copied over the GRUB application from the live environment to the drive, copied the kernel and initramfs from the CD, created a GRUB configuration file (adding tce=hda1 to my kernel line to enable the PPR) and installed the boot loader to the hard drive's master boot record. Simple! :-) Now all I had to do was take out the CD and reboot. Now Tiny Core could boot freshly from my drive, rather than the CD. Excellent.
Using the system
The system boots up very quickly without any custom applications running, taking 15 seconds and using 30 MB of memory. During boot-up, Tiny Core detects your hard drive partitions and automatically populates /etc/fstab with entries for them. It scans your partitions to see if you have a PPR and if so, loads any applications stored there. It then checks for a tarball of your home directory and restores that too. It loads Xvesa rather than a full blown X server such as X.Org, but it is possible to configure this if you like (although it will take some manual configuration to enable it). Finally, the system automatically logs you into an environment running Joe's Window Manager (JWM), which is very light and quick. It has multiple desktops, as well as the ability to layer application windows. There is also an OS X-like quick launch bar at the bottom, courtesy of wbar (yes, it does the whole magnification thing). There is a terminal and various BusyBox commands at your disposal. Apart from that, the default applications selection is pretty slim, and it's meant to be that way!
Tiny Core boot process
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I had added the boot option tce=hda1 to my kernel line in the GRUB menu.lst file to enable the PPR/TCE. This means that any programs which I install will be stored locally and then automatically re-loaded on boot. Tiny Core uses a simple package manager, which lists all available applications. There is a simple search feature which lists any results. Simply select the package and hit the Install Selected button. This will download the package and any required dependencies, store the packages on the local drive and then install them into the live environment which is always running in RAM. As far as I can tell, there is no complex database keeping track of what you have installed, it's just a simple 'extract into root' process. To remove what you have installed, you simply need to delete the tarball from your PPR partition and reboot (assuming you are using a PPR).
Tiny Core package manager
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By default, the system is configured to use Open Sound System (OSS) version 4 for sound, which can be enabled through the entry in the application menu. You can easily install ALSA, but I found that the configuration for my sound card was lost after each reboot and required re-running the command sudo alsaconf. Presumably this is because the changes to the configuration files are not saved on shut-down, so the original settings are restored on boot-up and it remains unconfigured. The first application I wanted to get working was a web browser. Searching for firefox returned minefield, a non-official version of Mozilla's Firefox built from source. This worked very well and I was able to install various addons like Download status, Adblock Plus, Flashblock, Firebug and Greasemonkey. There is a package for Flash player 9, which is actually a script to download the player directly from Adobe and install the player. This worked well and I was able to watch YouTube without any hassle. Currently the latest version of Firefox is 3.0.8, but Tiny Core only offers 3.0.4. I'd be more comfortable if this was the most recent browser, as security issues are most likely to come from the Internet through the browser. However, this is part of the beauty of the Tiny Core ideology - every boot results in the system being completely refreshed! If the computer was indeed compromised and changes were made to the system (live environment), they would be lost on next boot. Pretty neat, huh?
Once I had a web browser, I wanted to install packages for other everyday usage. Firstly, I wanted to get a graphical file manager and settled on ROX-Filer. The system did not have VLC, so I installed MPlayer to handle video and audio. As instructed by the package manager, I manually downloaded the codecs package from mplayerhq.hu and extracted it to the respective directory. I downloaded some movies in different formats and, to my pleasure, most played successfully. Optical burning was handled by KDE's brilliant K3b application, while OpenOffice.org 2.3.1 handled my documents and GIMP was there for my image manipulation requirements. I was also able to install other essentials, Git and Vim, while rsync was included in the base environment. I did have a few issues with missing libraries, like GTK+ which was a dependency of Vim, libglade was needed by ROX-Filer and Gitk was missing Wish. It was not hard to fix, but it would be good if the package manager would more strictly enforce required dependencies (or rather, the package maintainer correctly specify them). The package selection itself does appear rather limited, with most of the applications on offer being reasonably old versions. Even though there are some great applications, there often appears to be only one choice for each task. K3b for burning, MPlayer for video, Firefox for browsing, etc. It would be good if there were more, which I'm sure will happen over time as more developers get involved in the project. Tiny Core does provide source code to all the packages included in the system, as well as a build toolchain (including the compiletc extension) to create your own packages.
With a wider range of more recent software and the ability to easily tweak the boot process, I think Tiny Core could be a killer distribution, even for beginners. Presently the main stumbling block is the limited range of packages and lack of complete suites of software. Perhaps also an easy way of enabling and disabling software from the PPR. If I install a package for temporary use, I don't necessarily want it to always be loaded, but I may not want to delete it either. A list of all programs in the PPR, where you could disable them if desired would be a great addition. Taking this a step further, this should work for dependencies too. If I remove K3b, how do I know what dependencies should also go? Even if I delete K3b, the dependencies are still going to be loaded on boot which seems like a waste of resources and makes the system feel less clean. I have discovered that there is currently a way to install applications temporarily, by clicking the Download Only button within the package manager. This package is then placed in the tce/optional directory on your hard drive which will not be automatically loaded on boot. To load it within your live environment, select File -> Install Optional from the package manager's menu. If the system does become too cluttered (after installing lots of packages you no longer need) Tiny Core has an ability to boot to a clean system without loading any packages, by adding the base boot option to the kernel line. This will bypass the loading of any extensions which will then allow you to set up the system afresh using File -> Install Local from the package manager. These current features appear to be a decent compromise for now, and I'm informed that the ability to remove packages is currently in the works.
Tiny Core comes with a control panel which lets you configure certain aspects of your system, including network (there is no GUI for wireless, but wireless-tools and wpa_supplicant packages exist), set your background, and various others, like a mounting tool to mount your devices and turn on a few essential services, including SSH, Cron and DHCP client. It would be great if there was a section to start and stop all detected services, rather than just being limited to a few. Still, it's a neat little tool which helps you easily configure those on offer.
Tiny Core control panel
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The distro also includes a few tools for configuring your system, accessible through the desktop menu. These include tools to configure the Xvesa resolution and colour depth, a graphical kill program, synchronise the clock with an Internet server, set up Tiny Core terminal server, encrypt home files, add executables to the local boot script and more. While very simple, these tools are a welcome addition to the desktop and help to make life a that little bit easier.
Tiny Core system tools
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Using PPR/TCE with all these applications loaded, the system now uses over a gigabyte of RAM and takes 35 seconds to load. Quite a considerable difference, but still not slow. Plus, once the system has loaded, everything is in RAM and lightning fast! On top of this, it feels like I have a fresh system every time I boot, which is nice. I can really see why Shingledecker likes this way of computing. If you are using the fourth method, where packages are actually extracted onto disk rather than into RAM, then you will not have the issue of a slower boot as there are no packages to extract. Likewise, if you use the third method (PPR/TCZ) the packages are loaded on boot, but quickly mounted as loopback rather than extracted into RAM. This means they are loaded when needed, saving precious resources and time. For me, if you are going to use this distribution as your default desktop, go the TCZ route as it seems to provide the best balance between speed and Tiny Core features.
I have to admit that I never really saw the point of these mini distributions in the past where you had to use a cut-down set of applications which made life harder. Sure, they were small, but in a time when computers are really fast and powerful, who cares about little tiny systems that can't do everything out of the box? Well I never liked big bloated systems either and I'm a fan of simplicity. My time using Tiny Core has really opened my eyes to a completely different way of computing, and I love it. It's not a crippled tiny system with hopeless applications, but rather an excellent framework which you can then build into anything you want. The packages on offer are on the old side, however, and there is a limited range of software available. To me, this seems like the only thing holding Tiny Core back and is something that I'm sure will change over time. After having used Tiny Core for a short time, it does appear to have everything I need to work with out of the box. I can't wait to see what else I can discover.
Tiny Core custom desktop
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Developers quit PCLinuxOS to start Unity Linux, OpenSolaris package management improvements, Fedora tests Nouveau driver, interview with founder of Qimo 4 Kids|
Internal issues have rocked the world of PCLinuxOS, with numerous developers quitting the project. The issues appear to have started when project lead, Bill Reynolds (Texstar), took a year-long break from running the distribution and left the distro's primary system administrator, Solis, in charge. Without input from the project founder, development of PCLinuxOS 2009 by the community continued but just before release, Solis halted it so that Reynolds could overview it. The release was then delayed two weeks while it was finalised. It appears that many developers were not happy with the way this was handled and have consequently left the project.
Writing on her blog, Solis explains: "He [Reynolds] left me in charge of his 'baby' while he was on hiatus... The only problem was the 'boys'. They didn't realize the trust that the big jefe had placed in me as he handed me the keys to his 'Kingdom'. He not only handed over all the keys, but made me admin over all he had. Why couldn't they just accept his trust in me, instead of going 'behind closed doors' to plan what direction they were headed in next? It all boiled down to me stopping the release of this year's offering until 'the man' had a chance to look it over. He wasn't totally happy, and it took almost two weeks to get it in suitable shape for release. In the meantime they stomped out the door, and took a lot of people with them based on lies." The project has now started the task of "opening up to the community whereas before everything was done or controlled by a small group. Tasks are being divided up into sections, and teams are being assembled so this very thing cannot happen again (hopefully)," writes Solis.
JMiahMan, former admin of the PCLinuxOS hardware database and developer of EeePCLinuxOS, voiced his dismay at the announcement: "Not hearing from Texstar for more than a year, development [by the community] continued, then the moment before release passwords were changed on servers and suddenly Texstar is back and now not only halting the release, but saying all the hard work the community did for a year wasn't good enough. That's leadership suicide." More information is sure to come to light as former developers switch to other projects.
* * * * *
The issues within PCLinuxOS have rippled across other distributions which are derived from it. TinyMe, a PCLinuxOS based distribution for older hardware, has decided to break away from the their parent distro due to irreconcilable differences: "I and many others who have packaged and/or developed for PCLinuxOS are leaving the dev team due to disagreement with individuals within it. This action was taken with no ill will intended toward PCLinuxOS and Texstar. A compromise was attempted but not achieved. I'd like to thank all the PCLinuxOS community members for their support and all TinyMe community members for their constant enthusiasm, supportive comments, and continued support/use of the distribution." According to project lead, KDulcimer, the next release will not use the official PCLinuxOS repositories and, as such, an upgrade from previous versions may not be possible. As yet it is unclear whether the project will base itself off another existing distribution, or build their own base from scratch. Either way, the project aims to continue on developing: "As it is now, TinyMe will continue development with even more vigor than in past releases," writes KDulcimer. Other derivatives which are expected to re-base and leave PCLinuxOS are, EeePCLinuxOS, Granular, PCe17OS, PCFluxboxOS, Producer Edition (previously PELinuxOS) and Tinyflux.
In related news, Derrick Devine, former administrator of the community project site MyPCLinuxOS, recently handed over control of the project and announced work on a new Linux distribution, called Unity, with many of the other former PCLinuxOS developers: "What it will be is a new Linux distribution that takes an incremental approach to desktop Linux. It will provide a central core and use the mklivecd scripts that PCLinuxOS uses and it will provide a base from which to build just about any desktop you want out there." Currently the distro is being developed behind closed doors, but more information should come to light soon. Either way, it is clear that no animosity exists on the side of former PCLinuxOS developers, who remain grateful to the distribution for everything they have been able to achieve over the years. Derrick continues: "You won't hear us say anything bad about PCLinuxOS, its leadership, or the direction it is going. We are very proud to have been members of the PCLinuxOS community... some of us for almost six years. Nothing can take away our gratitude."
* * * * *
The way in which Sun Microsystems has turned their closed-source Solaris operating system into an open source distribution has been quite impressive. Each new release brings something new and exciting, such as ZFS snapshot support built right into GNOME, as with OpenSolaris 2008.11. The next version is set for release in June this year and one particular area of major work is the package management system. While OpenSolaris has already incorporated decent package management, the developers have been busy implementing new features. Michal Pryc writes on his blog about two such improvements - speed and remote searching. Using Sun's DTrace technology, some bottlenecks in the start-up performance were identified but it was the introduction of caching which has made the biggest improvement. John Rice blogs about some nice new features, start page and web install.
By default, opening the "start page gives us a way to point you at useful online resources, to find the latest packages, help and support. Just click on links in the Start Page to launch the page in Firefox. The start page is also something that can be updated and the system will check for updates daily as its refreshing the IPS image catalog on the system, falling back to the default installed page if no updates are available. For instance, when an interesting new repository is available, we could point you to it from here." This leads to web install, which is a way to automatically add and configure online repositories, similar to openSUSE's one-click install. Further improvements are planned for releases down the road: "We also plan to add auto discovery feature for new repository publishers, whereby repository managers can list related URLs of other repositories that might be of interest to a user. Using the Update Manager Notifier process we will check for these updates and give users the option to add them, again using the Web Install," Rice concludes.
* * * * *
The upcoming release of Fedora 11 will ship with many new features, including the 2.6.29 kernel. This will allow for more video cards with support for kernel-based mode setting to be enabled, which will provide a flicker-free boot process, thanks to Plymouth. Using such a system allows the splash screen to contain fancy animations and means that the computer does not need to change video modes when switching between the console and X server. The result? A nice, clean and flicker-free boot process. Currently Fedora ships with the nv driver (which is developed by NVIDIA) for such video cards, but with this upcoming release will switch to the open-source, community-developed Nouveau driver: "Users should have a more responsive desktop, due to more operations being accelerated on the GPU. GeForce 8/9 users will gain XVIDEO support out of the box. People on earlier chipsets will gain proper multi-monitor support." The Nouveau driver is now reaching a point where it is more useful than the nv driver and even provides 3D support for some cards, while the latter does not.
Recently, the new driver was merged into Rawhide (Fedora's testing branch) and therefore made available to the entire Fedora community. Because this is a major shift, March 26th was set aside as a day devoted to testing the new driver. Users were asked to upgrade their system to Rawhide, configure it to use the driver and then run a suite of tests. Reporting the results required a bug entry to be lodged in Fedora's bug tracker, along with the computer's Smolt profile (a method of gathering and recording your system's hardware). The results are then posted to the Wiki entry and, from a quick glance, it appears most cards are working correctly. Due for release in just two more months, with the help of the community, Fedora will hopefully make a successful switch to Nouveau. From there perhaps other distributions will follow suit. There is no doubt that kernel-based mode setting is the future, and the more cards which support it the better!
Phoronix has also tested the Nouveau driver and found that "oh yes, it works! Nouveau kernel mode-setting should work in Fedora 11 for those using the GeForce 8 series hardware or newer. KMS support for the older NVIDIA hardware should come later on. One problem we ran into though was with the GeForce 8600GT and using a 30-inch Samsung SyncMaster 305T LCD, the Fedora live CD had mode-set to 1280 x 800 instead of the 2560 x 1600 for this dual-link DVI monitor. We ran into this problem with and without kernel mode-setting."
* * * * *
Qimo 4 Kids is a Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu, but aimed squarely at the younger generation. The distro comes pre-installed with various open-source educational programs for children three years and above. Built on the Xfce desktop environment, the interface has been tweaked to reflect the intended audience with a simple launch bar at the bottom. The distro caters for children up to twelve years, so it also includes more complex applications for when they need some more challenges. The latest version comes as an installable live CD, runs on a 400 MHz computer and requires 256 MB of memory. Unlike Edubuntu, Qimo is designed to run as a standalone machine for younger children, rather than across a classroom network.
Technical website has published an interview with Michelle Hall of Qimo about the project: "We selected a mascot that is child-appealing; he's friendly, and likeable, but not so engaging that a child can not tune him out in favor of the games. Additionally, we've stripped out any and all administrative privileges from the child's user account. While this may not make the computer any more child-friendly per se, it takes away some of the apprehension of the parent, and so the child gets more of a chance to actually use a computer." The distribution is also used by the team to reuse old equipment for needy children. "Additionally, any and all developers are encouraged to join us on our campaign to get computers into the hands of needy children. We run a small grass-roots charity, QuinnCo Inc., that recycles computers, loads them with Qimo, and places them with children within our community in Lakeland."
Qimo 4 Kids 1.0 - a distribution for children aged between 3 and 12 years.
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|Released Last Week
SUSE Linux Enterprise 11
Novell has announced the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Server 11: "Novell today announced the availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, the operating system designed for the next-generation data center. The platform contains major enhancements to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Desktop and delivers two new extensions - SUSE Linux Enterprise Mono Extension, the only product that enables customers to run fully supported Microsoft .NET-based applications on Linux, and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, a clustering product that ensures uptime for mission-critical applications while slashing the cost of ownership for high availability." Here is the full press release. For detailed information about new features and enhancements please consult the release notes, prepared separately for SLED 11 and SLES 11.
Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 - a desktop distribution for the enterprise
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Scientific Linux 5.3 "Live CD/DVD"
Urs Beyerle has announced the release of the live edition of Scientific Linux 5.3: "Just one week after releasing Scientific Linux 5.3, I'm pleased to say that Scientific Linux Live CD/DVD 5.3 has been released for i386 and x86_64 architectures. Features: live CD/DVD can be installed to local hard disk; live CD runs from USB key; changes can be stored persistently on an external device; live CD can be mounted over NFS (diskless client). Software: Linux kernel 2.6.18, OpenAFS client 1.4.7, X.Org 7.1, 3D desktop with Compiz and AIGLX, ALSA sound libraries 1.0.17, GNOME 2.16.0 (standard desktop), IceWM 1.2.37, GIMP 2.2.13, OpenOffice.org 2.3.0, Firefox 3.0, KDE 3.5.4 (only on live DVD). Software added compared to standard Scientific Linux: NTFS-3G, ntfsprogs, GParted...." Read the release announcement for more information.
Puppy Linux 4.2
Warren Willson has announced the release of Puppy Linux 4.2, a fast, user-friendly desktop distribution in 100 megabytes: "Both the 'Standard' and 'Retro' editions of Puppy Linux 4.2 are now available. Puppy 4.2 is the first official version of Puppy Linux without Barry Kauler making the final choices. Features: many tastes catered for with a choice of window managers, either IceWM or JWM, with extra themes, including Clearlooks GTK+ theme engine; optimized SeaMonkey web browser with MonkeyMenu extension; efficient management with Puppy Control Panel; elegant, graphical GRUB boot loader using gfx-boot; stay informed with Pwidgets running desktop programs; audiophiles will be pleased with AlsaPlayer and Pmusic for audio entertainment using the latest audio codecs for .flac, .ogg and .mp3 files; access to Internet radio using streamtuner...." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Puppy Linux 4.2 - the first official release built under a new community management
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* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
- Jibbed 5-rc3, the release announcement
- Resulinx 3.0-test1, the release announcement (in Portuguese)
- Moblin 2-alpha2, the release announcement
- Musix GNU/Linux 2.0-alpha1, the release announcement
- Elive 1.9.24, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Mythbuntu 9.04-beta, the release announcement
- trixbox 2.8-beta, the release announcement
- PC-BSD 7.1-RC1, the release announcement
- Absolute Linux 12.2.3
- PC/OS 8.4 (OpenServer)
- g:Mini 3.0-rc1
- Easy Peasy 1.1-rc2
- Big Linux 5.0-alpha1
- Clonezilla Live 1.2.1-50
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Zeroshell. Zeroshell is a small Linux distribution for servers and embedded devices with the aim to provide network services. It is available in the form of live CD or compact Flash image and it can be configured using a web browser. The main features of Zeroshell include: load balancing and failover of multiple Internet connections, UMTS/HSDPA connections by using 3G modems, RADIUS server for providing secure authentication and automatic management of encryption keys to wireless networks, captive portal to support web login, and many others.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Noys. Noys is a new Fedora-based distribution aimed at web developers.
- Unity Linux. Project Unity, created by some of the former PCLinuxOS developers, aims at providing a common core system and a community-oriented development model. It will mostly be based on Mandriva, though other RPM-based distribution could also provide some technologies. The core of Unity Linux will have no desktop environment.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 6 April 2009.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Element was an Ubuntu-based distribution for home theatre or media-centre personal computers featuring a ten-foot user interface and designed to be connected to a HDTV for a digital media and Internet experience within the comforts of a living room or entertainment area. Element comes pre-loaded with dozens of applications that will allow listening to, viewing, and managing music, videos, photos, and Internet media.