| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 298, 13 April 2009
Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Recently the latest version of perhaps the world's most friendly BSD distribution was released. PC-BSD 7.1 is based off FreeBSD and we take a first look at this interesting operating system. In the news, Novell's openSUSE Build Service, recently added to the Linux Foundation's Developer Network, gains support for the ARM processor, Moblin sets its sight on a 2-second boot, Fedora re-issues 64-bit images of its recent beta release of version 11, FreeBSD hits 20,000 packages in its ports directory, Debian announces the final results of the project leader elections, and Kubuntu releases a KDE 3 remix of its 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope beta. Finally, don't miss the first episode of "Ubunchu!" the world's first open source manga featuring Ubuntu Linux. Happy reading!
- Review: First look at PC-BSD 7.1
- News: Linux Foundation to include openSUSE Build Service, Moblin aims for 2-second boot, Fedora 11 64-bit beta re-issued, FreeBSD hits 20,000 ports, new Debian leader announced, Kubuntu prepares KDE 3 images, Ubunchu! manga
- Released last week: Linux Mint 6 "Fluxbox" and "KDE", PC-BSD 7.1
- Upcoming releases: Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0, Ubuntu 9.04 RC
- New additions: Baltix GNU/Linux, Canaima GNU/Linux, Toorox
- New distributions: TurnKey Linux, ayuOS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (28MB) and MP3 (21MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
First look at PC-BSD 7.1
It's fair to say that while I'm a free software guy, I'm not a BSD guy. Like many, I've done the odd install here or there, used a BSD-based appliance for one task or another, but it's never been on my mind when it comes to the desktop. There are a few reasons for this, primarily it's because I've been using Linux for so long and it does everything I need. I also do much of my work via the command line and am comfortable with the way Linux lays things out and am used to the GNU utilities that Linux distros provide. I've also often thought of BSD as playing catch-up (rightly or wrongly) and also for other pragmatic reasons like having to deal with different partitions layouts and dual booting hassles. In the past, I have even loaded the installer and then given up when it got to partitioning. Strange for a person like me, but I just never had the motivation to pursue it further. Still, I saw this new release of PC-BSD 7.1 "Galileo" and, having read somewhere that this was to BSD what Ubuntu was to Linux (I assume they mean "things working out of the box" and "ease of use"), I thought I'd give it a try. As I said, I'm not an expert in this area, so be nice. Here goes.
PC-BSD has been around for over three years now and is based on FreeBSD. Its goal is to provide an easy-to-install-and-use desktop-focused operating system: "PC-BSD is a free operating system with ease of use in mind. Like any modern system, you can listen to your favorite music, watch your movies, work with office documents and install your favorite applications with a setup wizard at a click." FreeBSD is a free and open source UNIX variant which includes both the kernel and user land, while Linux is a kernel with the GNU user land. While they are both based on UNIX and POSIX standards, they are quite different internally. On the outside, however, Galileo includes the latest version of KDE 4.2.2 and X.Org 7.4. It also uses the same free software as many Linux distributions and, as such, will look and behave similarly.
First, I thought I would install PC-BSD 7.1 under a trusty VirtualBox instance, so I kicked it up and booted the ISO image. The initial boot screen presented me with several options, including an option to enable ZFS - the open source (but GPL-incompatible) file system from Sun Microsystems. The BSD license permits the mixing of proprietary and open source software, regardless of the license, which means ZFS can be included (although it is considered experimental). The menu warns that 1 GB of memory is the minimum requirement for ZFS; however, the installer later suggests a 64-bit CPU and 4 GB of RAM. ZFS is quite resource intensive due to several important functions it performs, such as software RAID (if configured) and checksums on all data to avoid corruption. Unfortunately, the VirtualBox image just didn't have enough grunt and so I switched back to the default, UFS2+ file system, which worked fine. After a successful install under VirtualBox, I then decided to try it on real hardware and see how it performed. I burned the 64-bit image and booted it on an Intel 3 GHz Core2 machine with 8 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT video card and 300 GB SATA drive.
PC-BSD - ZFS memory warning
(full image size: 11kB, screen resolution: 720x400 pixels)
The installer loads and I was pleased to see that it has a built-in image verification step, which ensures that the installer is not corrupt. It does add to the boot time, but if you're quick enough, you can skip it. Once the image is ready, it configures the X server and loads the graphical installer, which I confess looks quite nice (if I'm not mistaken, it appears to be using Qt 4). The install process is quite straightforward, and very simple. It does not really have documentation or help, but does have some Quick Tips to help when needed. First, the installer allows the user to select a language from a selection of 44, choose a keyboard layout and model, then set the time zone. On the initial screen, there is also a checkbox on whether to submit anonymous statistics to BSDstats.org. Because BSD can ship proprietary software, there are three licenses that all users must agree to. First is the PC-BSD license itself, which basically states that the operating system comes with no warranty. Then there is the Intel license for firmware and the NVIDIA driver license, both of which set restrictions on what the user can and can't do. While Linux distributions are moving away from EULAs altogether, it's a pity PC-BSD can't follow the same route. The inclusion of non-free software obviously prevents it from doing so.
PC-BSD - installer initial screen
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Next, the user must select the kind of install and method. There are three options to set, each with two possibilities. I chose a Fresh install as it was a new system, chose the Desktop Edition over the server offering, and finally selected to Install from CD/DVD/USB instead of the network as I had downloaded the DVD.
PC-BSD - installer type of install
(full image size: 86kB, screen resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
The next screen was where I set the root password and created my local user. I turned off Auto-Login User as I prefer to manually log in myself. The default shell on offer was csh but I was able to select bash from the drop down. From here I proceeded to the partitioner, which listed my hard drive and partitions and asked what file system I wanted to use. I told it to automatically partition using the entire disk and I enabled ZFS, which it then warned would require a 64-bit processor and 4 GB RAM. By default, it created a 200 MB /boot partition using the UFS2 file system, 512 MB swap space and used the remaining 280 GB for / using ZFS. Editing these partitions was trivial, with the options to resize using a slider and to add and remove each partition. Unfortunately I could see no way to select or change a file system.
PC-BSD - installer partitioner
(full image size: 86kB, screen resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Finally, I had to select what components I wanted the installer to include. This was a simple menu presenting software such as Amarok, GIMP, K3b, Firefox, OpenOffice.org and VLC, all of which I added. There were others which I left out, but I did included the Ports Tree as I knew that this was what would let me install more programs at a later stage. After making my package selection, I simply clicked to continue to proceed with the installation.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the installer. The process is very simple and doesn't need to be complex as it already provides everything required to perform an install. Really there are just five steps to installing the system. I did try to install PC-BSD on an AMD Athlon 2600+ system, but the installer wouldn't complete the boot process, getting stuck and presenting the error, "acd0: FAILURE - INQUIRY ILLEGAL REQUEST asc=0x24 ascq=0x00". I assumed this had something to do with the image and thought it might have been a bad burn. The same error appears on the 64-bit version however, which then continues to load correctly. I'm assuming the system may not be compatible?
PC-BSD - performing the install
(full image size: 129kB, screen resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Using the system
The first thing you notice when booting PC-BSD is the complete lack of a fancy boot screen, similar to a console-only Linux boot process. Later on I did find an option to enable the splash screen which I did, but it didn't seem to change anything on a reboot. The first time the system boots, it will configure the X server and present the logon screen. It successfully detected my graphics card and suggested the nv driver, but only at a resolution of 1024x768. I was able to increase the resolution successfully, but I was surprised that the NVIDIA driver was not included by default. The latest version of KDE really is very good. It's pleasing to the eye, very pleasant to use and quite responsive. KDE 4 has certainly come a long way since the 4.0 release! The PC-BSD implementation appears to be quite vanilla, although the splash loading screen and the K-menu do use some custom icons. The desktop wallpaper is the default and apart from the shortcuts in the desktop widget to the PC-BSD web site, you wouldn't know you were using BSD! The distro includes a full range of software applications, including all the expected KDE pieces. I could not find a single, central PC-BSD-specific control panel, but the KDE Control Centre appears to provide most of the functionality users would need. I was able to perform tasks like enabling my Australian locale and British English dictionary without hassle. Overall, the system felt quite complete and the only issue I had was Akonadi crashing on first log in.
PC-BSD - default KDE 4.2.2 desktop
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The documentation team has done a great job at compiling a decent amount of information for PC-BSD. The desktop widget has a link to the Quick Guide, which goes into a lot of detail about the distro and how to use it. I went searching here for some information on how to get the NVIDIA driver working for my video card, but all that's mentioned is that it's included by default. On a Linux system I would know how to fix this in no time at all, but under BSD I've no idea. Because the kernel doesn't work that way, there are no module commands to check what's loaded, nothing to force loading, no modules directory, I can't seem to find whether it's already installed and I've no idea how to install it. I had hoped it would be included by default (after all I did agree to the license!), but the graphical configuration tool for X.Org just doesn't list the module. Interestingly, the 32-bit install under VirtualBox does list the NVIDIA driver as an option. Maybe it's a 64-bit thing? Of course all this is probably just my lack of familiarity with the system and the BSD way of doing things. So I can't really blame the distro for my own lack of understanding. This does, however, bring me to some other frustrations I had. Things which I'm used to under Linux just don't exist, like various information under /proc and the /sys interface.
It appears that there are three different types of packages you can use on PC-BSD. Push Button Installers, ports, and their package manager toolkit, pkg. The package manager let you do things like install and remove packages and although I'm no expert, it would be a stretch to compare it to something as powerful as APT for Debian. As far as I can tell, there is no way to search for packages except from the FreeBSD ports web site. Then, once you know the name, you can install something like so, pkg_add -r vim. It's not lightning fast but it does work, with the package being installed to /PCBSD/local/bin/vim. The good news is that most of the tools I need for every day are all included in the ports, so it's not too hard to get a system with all the software you need.
Rather than focusing on the ports system from FreeBSD to install and remove software (although it is still available), PC-BSD instead uses what they call Push Button Installer (PBI) files. Unlike Linux, where applications link to external libraries, a PBI is installed into its own directory (under /Programs/) and includes all the libraries and dependencies it requires. This way, a package should never break due to library upgrades as it only ever points to its own. This is similar to how applications for Windows and OS X work, and means installing a program in PC-BSD should be as simple as installing on those other platforms, once you have the file. PC-BSD has a web site dedicated to PBI files, where users can search for and download programs that they want. I'm not convinced myself, but it is an interesting concept and one of the main features that sets this distro apart from others.
PC-BSD - the package updater
(full image size: 450kB, screen resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I've a little bit of experience with Arch and Gentoo Linux which have ports-based package management systems, so I wanted to try the ports system and see how it worked. I consulted the documentation, which said to browse to "Settings > Administration > PC-BSD System", put in the root password, click the "Tasks" tab and select "Fetch Ports". This section must not have been updated to suit KDE 4 as none of those menus exist. I did, however, find it under "Launcher > Computer > System Settings > System Manager". This downloaded a snapshot of the ports tree which was installed to /usr/ports/. Once this was done, it was simply a matter of browsing to the package I wanted and running "make install clean". I tried this with the sysutils/htop package, which automatically pulled in some dependencies, but then failed to compile due to it missing the m4 package. Installing this using pkg and re-running the build command worked correctly. Success! Similarly, the command make deinstall removes the program from the system. It is not as automated or powerful as Gentoo's Portage, but it is simple and effective. With FreeBSD's ports including over 20,000 packages, you're sure to find whatever it is you want!
The system has a graphical update tool which showed three available bug fixes, as well as newer versions of Amarok, Firefox, GIMP and OpenOffice.org (which was an upgrade from version 2.4 to 3.0.1!). It appears to be a two-step process, presumably as the applications are part of the internal pkg system, whereas the others are PBI installs. I selected all the updates and it proceeded to download and install the system updates and programs without any hassles (pending a reboot).
Using the system, I noticed that sometimes it was not very quick to respond and paused from time to time, usually when performing multiple tasks. For example, when downloading the updates (which were only going at 100 kB/s) it took a long time for Firefox itself to open and then it failed to load any page I went to. Hitting refresh a few times eventually solved the problem (I could still ping, though). I wonder whether it's something to do with network package prioritisation. Clicking on the close button sometimes took up to 5 seconds to respond, as did things like switching between menus in the launcher and tabs in Konsole. Once I had htop installed, I noticed that clicking and dragging a window around would use up to 85% of my CPU, which was caused mostly by X.Org. I also noticed that two processes of kded4 were constantly using lots of resources. In general htop would constantly jump around the place with mostly kernel usage, even when the computer was sitting idle which I found rather strange. Perhaps it's something to do with ZFS.
PC-BSD - htop showing processes
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Overall this install of PC-BSD was a very pleasant experience, and much more advanced that I thought it would be. For me though, because I'm so used to the Linux way of doing things, I feel like I'm a little crippled on BSD, like on OS X. That's not to say that I couldn't learn how BSD works, but it would mean investing time in doing so. I can't really find any compelling reason to switch, except perhaps if I wanted to expand my skill set. For others however, I think that BSD (and PC-BSD in particular) would make a fine choice, especially if you like the idea of PBI installs. Overall, it's fair to say that I have been very impressed by PC-BSD and can see how for many it would be an excellent desktop environment. Well worth investigating further.
Linux Foundation to include openSUSE Build Service, Moblin aims for 2-second boot, Fedora 11 64-bit beta re-issued, FreeBSD hits 20,000 ports, new Debian leader announced, Kubuntu prepares KDE 3 images, Ubunchu! manga
Novell's openSUSE Build Service is a free and open source platform which allows developers to build packages for all major Linux distributions. The latest version of openSUSE was the first version built entirely using the service. In an acknowledgement of its usefulness to the wider Linux community, the Linux Foundation has announced that it will be adding the service to the Linux Developer Network (LDN). Amanda McPherson, from the Linux Foundation: This is part of our ongoing mission to provide not only information, but real tools for Linux developers to empower them and make deploying applications on multiple Linux distributions as painless as possible.. The article continues: "The Linux Foundation will be providing an interface to the openSUSE Build Service via the Linux Developer Network site, so that developers can create packages for all major Linux distributions via LDN. The build service enables developers to create packages for CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Mandriva, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu, in addition to openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise." Will we see the online build service become a major player in the creation of software for Linux, as Novell hopes? Plenty of software projects are using it already and now that ARM processors are supported, it might even make a splash in the embedded and MID markets.
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While Intel has recently given up control of Moblin to the Linux Foundation, the project is expected to remain highly active in the community. At the recent Linux Collaboration Summit it was revealed that Intel has plans for a 2-second boot for the platform, which it hopes will make it attractive in the automotive industry. News of Moblin's impressive 5-second boot sent waves of excitement around the free software world and it looks to be repeated if this new target can be achieved. This faster boot time still includes loading the entire software stack, making it all the more impressive. While some distributions 'cheat' by allowing services to load in parallel, Intel's Imhad Sousou states that this approach is not a real answer, saying that "parallelised bloat is still bloat." Although Moblin is still currently using the Xfce desktop, this has always been a temporary measure while they develop their own revolutionary user interface. Moblin continues to make impressive technological leaps which has seen several distributions adopt it as the base of their own operating systems, including Ubuntu's upcoming MID edition and the recently released xPUD 0.8.9.
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With 'Leonidas' fast approaching, the Fedora community has been hard at work releasing the first beta. The new release brings some promising updates, including the latest version of KDE, Linux kernel 2.6.29 and the much anticipated kernel-based mode setting for a flicker-free boot. The release of the 64-bit beta was not as smooth as it could have been, though, with Jesse Keating having to re-issue the images: "Due to some staging issues, I've had to re-issue a few of the ISOs for Fedora 11 Beta. The F11-Beta-x86_64-Live-KDE.iso has been re-issued both in torrent and on the mirrors. This was accidentally composed with 32-bit packages instead of 64-bit packages. The source ISOs have been re-issued on torrent only. An older set were first issued there. The CHECKSUM on the mirrors was wrong as well for these ISOs and has been updated. No other changes are being made at this time." A few days later, the same developer also announced the availability of a set of "snapshot 1" images for Fedora 11, available for download via BitTorrent.
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Often silently working in the back ground, the FreeBSD project has just surpassed twenty thousand packages in its ports tree. The ports system in FreeBSD is a method for users to install applications to their system from source code: "Each 'port' listed here contains any patches necessary to make the original application source code compile and run on FreeBSD. Installing an application is as simple as downloading the port, unpacking it and typing make in the port directory. However, the most convenient (and common) method is to download the framework for the entire list of ports by installing the entire ports hierarchy at FreeBSD installation time, and then have thousands of applications right at your finger tips. Each port's Makefile automatically fetches the application source code, either from a local disk, CD-ROM or via FTP, unpacks it on your system, applies the patches, and compiles. If all went well, a simple make install will install the application and register it with the package system." For comparison, the latest stable version of Debian GNU/Linux, the largest Linux distribution, "only" contains 12,540 source packages.
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The results of the recent Debian leader elections are in, and the winner is once again Steven McIntyre. Kurt Roeckx, the Debian Project Secretary, posted the results to developers mailing list, with links to the results and tally. There is also a graph representing data and statistics about ballots received and acknowledgements sent periodically during the voting period. Although not yet updated, the elections page should soon post the result. Steve McIntyre's new term as project leader will start on April 17th, 2009. Although initially Steven said he was not interested in the position this year, later he decided that he couldn't let Stefano Zacchiroli go unchallenged for the position. It appears the Debian community has put their faith in McIntyre to once again steer the world's largest open source project towards the future. Both Etch and Lenny releases have been a success, but will the project continue on their tried and true path, or become more adventurous to complete with other distributions like Ubuntu?
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After backlash from the community when KDE 3.x was ditched for the 8.10 Intrepid Ibex release of Kubuntu in favour of the under-cooked KDE 4, the Kubuntu team has made a KDE 3 beta remix version for the upcoming Jaunty release. The web site reads: "A semi-official remix of Jaunty Jackalope has been created with only KDE 3.5 installed, for the convenience of users who are not quite ready to take the jump to KDE 4.x. The main focus of this remix is to keep the mature, stable, and familiar KDE 3.5 desktop environment available for easy installation and use. Along the way, various bugs have been fixed, and small enhancements added." While other distributions have dropped KDE 3 completely and with version 4.2.2 so well received, is Kubuntu taking a step backwards or just playing it safe? It's worth noting that the official Kubuntu release will continue to use KDE 4.
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Finally, even if you are a fan of both Japanese manga and the world's most popular desktop Linux distribution, merging the two might never have crossed your mind. But it has for Hiroshi Seo, the author of the new free and open source manga, called Ubunchu!. The first chapter was released in Japanese on the 4th April, but now there is an English translation available: "Ubunchu! is a Japanese manga series featuring Ubuntu Linux. Three school students in a system administration club are getting into Ubuntu!" Where will this adventure go? Only time will tell! It's great to see free software users putting their skills to good use. Have you read the first chapter? Let us know what you think!
|Released Last Week
Clonezilla Live 1.2.1-53
Steven Shiau has released a new stable version of Clonezilla Live, a Debian-based live CD designed to clone hard disks and hard disk partitions: "Clonezilla Live 1.2.1-53 (stable) released. This is a bug-fix release with a few improvements. Changes: based on Debian 'Lenny' repository on 2009-04-06; language files were updated; merged the revised language file en_US; options -j2 and -j3 were merged to be a single parameter -j2; now '-g auto' option will run grub-install only when the GRUB configuration partition is on the restored partitions list; ocs-live-dev will use tar instead of zip when recovery file is larger than 2 GB; the prompt to use space key to mark the selection was added to checklist dialog; live-initramfs was patched to work on network booting with 2 or more NICs in the client...." Read the complete release announcement for a more detailed list of updates and bug fixes.
Linux Mint 6 "Fluxbox"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 6 "Fluxbox" edition, a lightweight variant of the popular Ubuntu-based distribution: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 Fluxbox Community edition. Linux Mint Fluxbox Community edition is based on Xubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex', Linux kernel 2.6.27, Fluxbox 1.0.0 and X.Org 7.4. Included is an all-new menu system, Mint-FM2, Slim as a display manager, live CD features that should make it easier to install on low-end machines, 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 much more minty goodness." Read the rest of the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Linux Mint 6 "KDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 6 "KDE" edition: "On behalf of the team I am thrilled to announce the release of Linux Mint 6 KDE. Based on Kubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex', Linux kernel 2.6.27, KDE 4.2.0 and X.Org 7.4, Linux Mint 6 'Felicia' KDE Community edition 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 a lot of other improvements. Linux Mint now uses its own LSB information and no longer identifies itself to applications as Ubuntu. This can potentially break compatibility with some third-party tools. Meta packages were introduced within the repositories to reflect the default selection of packages for the various Linux Mint editions. The artwork now also comes as a package." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Tomáš Matějíček has released Slax 6.1.0, a Slackware-based desktop live CD featuring the latest KDE 3.5 desktop. From the changelog: "This should be the last Slax 6.x, no more new features will be added to Slax 6.x, only bug fixes. Changes: added fake XDM to 002-xorg, so it will start Fluxbox if KDE is not present - this is mainly useful if you use 'build slax' and you only include Slax Core and Slax X.Org; upgraded to Slackware 'current' as of the latest changes before KDE 4 packages were added; added new wallpaper; fixed many Fluxbox-related bugs in order to make 'Slax X.Org' partly independent; now you can see (even in Fluxbox) accurate (preferred) screen resolution and it plays a start-up sound too."
Slax 6.1.0 - the last 6.x release of the popular Slackware-based live CD
(full image size: 596kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Kwort Linux 2.4.1
David Cortarello has announced the release of Kwort Linux 2.4.1 a Slackware-based distribution with a custom package manager and other system administration utilities: "I'm happy to announce that Kwort 2.4.1 final is here! This version took a year to develop and provides many changes from the 2.4 release, including a new, more cleaned-up base system, whole new tool chain, new configuration tools and lots of new things. New features: Kwort's init system has evolved keeping its simplicity but providing some new features; Linux kernel 184.108.40.206 - a lot of hardware support was included; the new version of kpkg include several new features and the adoption of multi-mirror support; Kwort user manager provides a simple way to create and remove users with a new interface; Kwort network manager allows to configure the network and manage DNS; Xfce 4.6.0...." Read the complete release announcement for additional information.
Kwort Linux 2.4.1 - a Slackware-based desktop distribution with Xfce and custom package management system
(full image size: 155kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Kris Moore has announced the release of PC-BSD 7.1, a desktop operating system based on FreeBSD 7.1: "iXsystems announced today the release of PC-BSD version 7.1. PC-BSD 7.1 is built upon the FreeBSD 7.1-STABLE operating system. It includes updated versions of KDE (4.2.2) and X.Org (7.4). The latest version of KDE includes new window effects, screen savers, and better 3D acceleration. PC-BSD 7.1 also features many improvements and bug fixes that enhance PC-BSD's general ease of use: the new KDE 4 printer applet enables users to easily add and manage printers and print jobs; the Add / Remove Programs tool and the Update Manager have been consolidated into Software & Updates; the Updater Tray has been modified into a small tray-only applet; FreeBSD ports and packages can now be created by using the runports command...." Read the press release, release notes and changelog for more details.
Untangle Gateway 6.1.0
Andrew Fife has announced the release of Untangle Gateway 6.1.0, a specialist Debian-based distribution for firewalls and gateways: "Here at Untangle we are extremely pleased to announce that version 6.1 is now available for download. The highlight of the release is our new application, Commtouch Spam Booster, but there are several other significant upgrades and enhancements as well. Commtouch Spam Booster adds extra premium filters to spam blocker, claiming the detection rates of over 98% of spam while still maintaining industry's highest accuracy rates. The Untangle Platform also got a major upgrade; the biggest change was upgrading the kernel 2.6.26 and the installer, which is overall a nicer 'Welcome to Untangle' experience for newbies installing their first box. Additional enhancements: improvements to spam blocker and web filter; bug fixes." Read the full release announcement and changelog for further details.
Epidemic GNU/Linux 3.0
Renata Heleno has announced the release of Epidemic GNU/Linux 3.0, a Brazilian desktop distribution based on Debian's testing branch and featuring KDE 4. This is a major new release with the following enhancements: introduction of KDE 4.2.1 as the default desktop; integration of KDE's system settings into Epidemic's control panel; various improvements to Easy Channel, the distribution's graphical package installation tool; improved network configuration utility, Enetwork, with support for software modems; Ependrive, a new tool that allows users to save or discard changes made during a live USB drive session; a redesigned Einstaller with new functions, such as the ability to create a live USB media or an option to keep or discard changes made during the live DVD session. Please visit the distribution's home page (in Portuguese) to read the release announcement and to view some screenshots.
Epidemic GNU/Linux 3.0 - a Brazilian desktop distribution with a number of user-friendly utilities
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Tiny Core Linux 1.3
Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 1.3, a minimalist desktop Linux distribution with JWM as the default window manager: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 1.3. Changelog: updated BusyBox to 1.13.3; pcmciautils to 015, aterm to 1.00.01; updated appbrowser to display .info, .list, and .dep files; added optional support for UUID and LABELS; added automatic modprobing for module extensions; added 25-tc.rules (better support USB printers, scanners and DVB sticks); improved device checking for restore; improved xsetup to better support framebuffer; improved support of persistent opt when sharing with an existing /opt directory; update to tce-load on handling tcz mounts; improved handling of start-up scripts on boot and upon load; added USB 2 button mouse choice; fixed a bug when trying to run tce-load from non X CLI...." Here is the full changelog.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0
Alan Baghumian has sent out an update on the upcoming release of Parsix GNU/Linux, version 3.0: "The next major release of Parsix GNU/Linux, code name 'Kev', is planned to be release in the middle of August 2009. Kev will ship with GNOME 2.26, Linux kernel 2.6.29 and lots of new and exciting features, including USB installer, NetworkManager as the default networking interface, GFXBoot, FastBoot, TuxOnIce 3.0, etc. The initial Kev repositories will be created after Viola repository clean-up in early May 2009." For more information please read the full announcement.
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Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Baltix GNU/Linux. Baltix GNU/Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution designed primarily for Lithuanian and Latvian speakers, as well as other users from Europe's Baltic region. Besides standard software found in an Ubuntu release, Baltix also includes a variety of educational programs, games, vector graphic and diagram drawing software, WINE integration for running Windows applications, office clipart, and internationalisation features for the supported languages.
Baltix GNU/Linux 3.8.1 - an Ubuntu-based distribution supporting Baltic languages
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- Canaima GNU/Linux. Canaima GNU/Linux is a Venezuelan desktop distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It is primarily designed as a solution for the computers of National Public Administration in accordance with the presidential decree number 3.390 about the use of free technologies in National Public Administration in the country.
Canaima GNU/Linux 2.0 - Venezuela switches to free software
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- Toorox. Toorox is an i686-optimised, Gentoo-based live DVD which boots into a KDE desktop using KNOPPIX hardware auto-detection and auto-configuration technologies. It is a useful tool for backing up data, browsing the Internet anonymously, or taking a first look at the capabilities of Linux. The live DVD can be installed to a hard disk with the help of a simple graphical installer.
Toorox 03.2009 - a Gentoo-based distribution with KDE 4
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* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- TurnKey Linux. TurnKey Linux is an open source project that develops a range of highly specialised software appliances (packaged as live CDs) for a variety of purposes. TurnKey Linux is based on Ubuntu.
- ayuOS. ayuOS is an Indonesian Linux distribution based on PCLinuxOS. The project's web site is in Indonesian.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
And this concludes the latest issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 20 April 2009.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Debian Edu/Skolelinux is the Debian-edu project's Custom Debian Distribution (CDD) in development. It is aiming to provide an out-of-the-box localised environment tailored for schools and universities. The out-of-the-box environment comes with 75 applications aimed at schools, as well as 15 network services pre-configured for a school environment. The simple, three-question installation requires minimal technical knowledge. Skolelinux is Debian, which means, among other things, that there are no license costs or worries, and that upgrade and maintenance of the software can be done over the Internet with the power of Debian's apt-get. The core goals of Skolelinux are localisation and ease of system administration.