| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 334, 21 December 2009
Welcome to the final issue of DistroWatch Weekly in 2009! It is fascinating to see how Linux is used in real-world situations, where it often proves to be an outstanding solution at very little cost. This week's feature article presents SheevaPlug, a $99 mini-computer not much larger than an electric plug. Inside it, there is an ARM-based processor, some RAM, and a Flash storage device - just enough for a creative geek to set it up as a low-cost MythTV server with Debian GNU/Linux. Read on to find out more about this unusual system. In the news section, Mark Shuttleworth announces that he will step down as the CEO of Canonical early next year, Mandriva announces a new edition of its Linux operating system that boots in less than 10 seconds, Omega releases a Fedora remix that includes multimedia codecs and other conveniences not shipped in Fedora itself, and Linux Mint has good news for those who prefer the project's fast and lightweight edition with Fluxbox. Also not to be missed, a link to an interview with openSUSE community manager Joe Brockmeier and a look at the current state of Linux Standard Base. As always, happy reading and see you all in 2010!
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|Feature Story (by Patrick Van Oosterwijck)
SheevaPlug - a Debian home server in a wall-wart
Personally I have always been interested in unusual hardware. Coming from a background in electronics, I tend to find "standard" computer hardware rather boring and always like to experiment with stuff that is off the beaten path. So I was thrilled when I found out about the Linux-powered Marvell SheevaPlug and ordered one right away from GlobalScale Technologies for only US$99. My intended project was replacing my ageing and power-hungry home server with this tiny, power-saving device.
The SheevaPlug (pictured on the left) is an ARM-based computer with a 1.2 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and 512 MB of Flash memory, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a USB host connector, all rolled into the tiny form factor of a wall-wart power adapter. It is offered as a development kit in the hope that developers will find cool things to do with it and jump start a new concept called "plug computing". Since its introduction, several web sites have sprung up that provide valuable information to get it up and running for a variety of applications.
Installing Linux on a device like this is nothing like the standard pop-in-a-CD-and-go install process we are accustomed to when installing Linux on a normal PC. For one thing, there is no local user interface in the form of a monitor and keyboard. There is also no CD drive, and the device has no BIOS, instead it has a powerful open-source boot-loader called U-Boot that is quite famous in embedded systems circles.
The SheevaPlug comes with a stripped-down Ubuntu already pre-installed on the Flash drive and, for many uses as a standard file or web server, this may be just fine. But I use my home server as a MythTV backend, and I was surprised to find that the pre-installed Ubuntu does not have any kernel modules installed. This caused my USB TV tuner not to be recognized. I might have been able to hack in the right modules, but since I was going to add an external USB hard drive to store network backups and recorded TV shows anyway, I decided to leave the Ubuntu installation on the Flash drive alone and install a Debian system on the USB hard drive instead.
In case someone would like to install a fresh Ubuntu, it is worth noting that the ARM edition of Ubuntu 9.10 is not compatible with the SheevaPlug processor. Ubuntu 9.10 uses the ARMv6+VFP instruction set, while the SheevaPlug processor can only handle ARMv5 instructions. As far as I know, every other distro with an ARM branch should work though, as does Ubuntu 9.04.
A quick note on running a MythTV backend on the SheevaPlug. While the SheevaPlug has a processor that is quite capable of handling many server-related workloads, it is missing a floating point unit which causes media encoding performance to be pretty poor. In my setup, I only receive over-the-air HDTV, and the incoming MPEG2 stream can be dumped straight to the hard drive without requiring extra encoding. If you were to try to make MythTV on a SheevaPlug record analog TV though, the results would likely be very poor, since the SheevaPlug doesn't have the muscle to handle the required encoding in real time. As always, use the right tool for the task. In my case, not requiring additional encoding, the SheevaPlug handles the backend tasks for both playback of recorded shows and live TV playback with time-shifting just fine.
After I had already started this project, I found out that there are different ways to install Debian on the SheevaPlug that are probably easier than what I did, but since I didn't use them, I can't comment on them here. Instead I followed the manual bootstrapping procedure described here which is probably harder, but worked well for me nonetheless. The initial step needs to be performed on a different machine that is already running Debian. I didn't follow the procedure to the letter but made some changes to customize my system. For one thing, instead of Debian "unstable", I decided to install Debian "testing". It has a kernel that is recent enough to support my TV tuner (an ATI TV Wonder 600 USB, well supported under Linux), and it is more stable than Debian's "unstable" branch.
I customized /etc/hostname, /etc/network/interfaces and /etc/fstab to fit my network and system. I decided to partition the USB hard drive to have an ext3 system partition, a 1 GB swap partition and use the rest of the drive as a JFS file system that would hold network storage, backups and MythTV recordings. I chose the lesser known JFS file system because it deals well with the large files generated by MythTV and it is well know to be light on CPU usage, a marked advantage for a low-end system like this one. I decided to skip some of the read-only-root recommendations listed in the procedure since I was not using a Flash storage device but a real hard drive.
With my hard drive now set up with the first stage of the bootstrap system, it was time to hook it up to the SheevaPlug and give it a spin. Since I needed to hook up both a USB hard drive and a USB tuner, I had to add an external USB hub to split the one USB connection on the SheevaPlug into four. I do wish the manufacturer would have included a USB hub in the SheevaPlug hardware so more than just one USB connector would be available, but alas, an external hub does the trick.
The SheevaPlug has no connection for a screen, instead the initial console is accessed through a separate USB device connection that provides a virtual serial port. In fact, two virtual serial ports are provided through this connection: one provides JTAG connectivity for very low-level debugging, the other one provides a serial console at 115,200 bps. On a Linux system, these virtual serial ports can be accessed as /dev/ttyUSBx devices, and the serial console ends up being the second device. An inconvenience is that these devices only appear after the SheevaPlug is powered up, so you have to be fast in making your serial terminal connection once the devices appear to be able to stop the automatic bootloader in time.
The SheevaPlug (white) on top of an external USB hard drive (black) and a TV tuner plugged into a USB hub
(full image size: 1,063kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
After changing the bootloader parameters according to the directions in the procedure, I booted and reached a Bash prompt where I could run the second stage of the bootstrap process and the remaining setup. Besides the regular Debian package sources, I also added the debian-multimedia.org repository and was pleasantly surprised how well stocked their ARM repository is. Debian proper has an excellent reputation when it comes to supporting different architectures, but I hadn't expected this to extend to third-party repositories. A MythTV package for ARM was readily available, saving me the lengthy compile-cycle I had been expecting.
Still, I wasn't able to escape compiling entirely. I ran into trouble getting the USB tuner to work, although it is supposed to work just fine under Linux. The kernel always failed to load the firmware, although I had added it according to the instructions, and the kernel could find the file just fine, but then would error out trying to add a duplicate device node. Plugging the tuner in to my netbook running sidux, it worked just fine out of the box. This had me stumped for a while, but eventually I traced the problem down to a difference in how the Debian ARM and x86 kernels are configured. The ARM kernel has an option set to have the I2C device file system compiled into the kernel, while this is a module in the x86 kernel. The USB tuner uses components that connect to each other using the I2C bus, and both the I2C device file system and the TV tuner driver were trying to create device nodes for these components. I solved the issue by having APT download the kernel sources, copying the standard kernel configuration from the /boot directory, changing this troublesome option and recompiling the kernel.
I finished my system by using apt-get to install SSH, Samba, SWAT, MySQL, MythTV, rsync and probably some other stuff I forgot. How to set all these up is beyond the scope of this article and works pretty much the same as on any other Debian system, so plenty of information is available. The only thing that is unusual and that may confuse people is how to run mythtv-setup, since this is a Qt program and the SheevaPlug has no native GUI interface. The answer is that you can use ssh -X <hostname> to log in to the SheevaPlug with port forwarding, and then when you run mythtv-setup, the user interface will be exported to the machine you're logging in from.
MythTV playing IceAge 2
(full image size: 1,046kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
This write-up was intended as a very high-level review of my experience setting up this unusual system, and is by no means a step-by-step walkthrough. There is plenty of detailed information available online on websites such as plugcomputer.org and computingplugs.com that can prove invaluable to get things working on the SheevaPlug. As remarked before, the system is sold as a developer's kit and setting it up is definitely not for the faint of heart or for those who avoid the terminal like the plague. In the end, I had a lot of fun getting this to work and the system is working beautifully. I learned a lot in the process and am amazed yet again at how flexible Debian is as an operating system for just about any computer, even embedded systems like this one.
* * * * *
About the author. Patrick Van Oosterwijck is an embedded software developer who in his professional life spends most of his days designing embedded systems and writing software for micro-controllers, usually on bare-metal devices without operating systems. His interest in Linux started about six years ago and since then he has experimented with everything from SuSE and Ubuntu to Gentoo and Buildroot. The last couple of years he has worked on several projects that apply Linux to embedded systems running on x86, Blackfin and ARM processors.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Management changes at Canonical, Mandriva "InstantOn" and "Moblin" editions, Omega Fedora Remix with media codecs, Linux Mint "Fluxbox", interview with openSUSE's Joe Brockmeier
Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, has announced his resignation from the position of CEO of Canonical, effective March 2010: "From March next year, I'll focus my Canonical energy on product design, partnerships and customers. Those are the areas that I enjoy most and also the areas where I can best shape the impact we have on open source and the technology market. I'm able to do this because Jane Silber, who has been COO at Canonical virtually from the beginning, will take on the job of CEO." The new CEO, Jane Silber (pictured on the right), has been with the company for over five years. A brief interview on Canonical blogs tells us more about her background: "I am currently Chief Operating Officer and Director of Online Services. I joined Canonical in 2004, and since then have been closely involved in the establishment and management of most Canonical functions. I have a technical background and started my career as a software developer, and have since held engineering and senior management positions at companies as diverse as a health and wellness promotion start-up, a large technology and manufacturing company in Japan, and the US defence contractor General Dynamics. I am American, and came to the UK in 2002 to complete an MBA at Oxford."
* * * * *
The developers and community contributors of Mandriva seem to have been rather busy recently, with two new products announced last week. The first of them is called "Mandriva InstantOn", an operating system for netbooks and other mobile devices with boot times of "less than 10 seconds": "Mandriva is proud to announce its brand new environment for mobile devices - Mandriva InstantOn. Mandriva InstantOn comes from OEM specific developments and is available now from our online store, from only €9.90€ (US$14.90). Dump it on a CD or USB key, install in a few clicks and you are ready to use it. InstantOn ideally fits to mobile devices such as netbooks, laptops and MIDs. It can connect to Internet everywhere using a very easy and efficient network manager." Mandriva InstantOn includes the usual application for the Internet, such as Mozilla Firefox (with Flash and Java plugins), Mozilla Thunderbird, Skype and Pidgin, and it requires just 256 MB of memory and 1.4 GB of disk space. The second Mandriva product announced last week is a community initiative, an experimental Mandriva Moblin live CD, which is available for free download: "Thomas Lottmann is providing experimental Mandriva-based Moblin live CD images. Theses images are provided in order to help testing Mandriva Moblin implementation."
* * * * *
The Fedora distribution, as a proponent of free software, doesn't ship with any proprietary components or patent-encumbered media codecs. Although it isn't difficult to add these extras post-install from third-party repositories, for those who would prefer an even easier option, there is Omega Fedora Remix: "Omega is a completely free and open source Linux-based operating system and a Fedora remix suitable for desktop and laptop users. It is an installable live image (1.3 GB) for regular PC (i686 architecture) systems. It has all the features of Fedora and a number of additional software, including multimedia players and codecs enabled by default. Omega plays any multimedia content (including MP3) or commercial DVDs out of the box. Features: simple and effective GNOME desktop environment; plays MP3 and all your multimedia content; OpenOffice.org office suite; extra utilities and games; xine and MPlayer frontends; includes the latest updates. Omega is 100% compatible with Fedora, only including packages from Fedora, RPM Fusion and Livna software repositories." The live DVD image is available for download from here: Omega-12-i686-Live.iso (1,230MB, SHA256).
* * * * *
Good news for the fans of lighter variants of Linux Mint - the Fluxbox community edition has been resurrected and the first development build of the upcoming version 8 should be available shortly: "The Fluxbox community edition produced releases for Linux Mint 5 'Elyssa' and Linux Mint 6 'Felicia' and it became quite popular among Linux Mint users. But in 2009, due to personal circumstances Shane Joe Lazar, the maintainer of this edition, had to focus his attention elsewhere and so the Fluxbox CE was discontinued. During the release cycle for Linux Mint 7 'Gloria', no Fluxbox edition was released. Kendall Weaver recently stepped up from the community and worked on a new Fluxbox edition of Linux Mint. We had a conversation and I got the opportunity to test his preliminary ISOs. Today, I'm happy to welcome him within the development team as the new maintainer of the Fluxbox Community Edition. His vision of the Fluxbox edition is a bit different and he's interested in replacing some of the most popular software in order to make it even lighter. He's already started to interact with the community on the forums and he will be getting the help and support of the development team.".
* * * * *
Finally, a brief extract from an interview with Joe Brockmeier, the openSUSE community manager, as published last week at H Open: "Q: You have said that openSUSE 11.2 is not necessarily suited to new users but is more attuned to the needs of developers with a degree of experience. Why is this so and what kind of functionalities would an experienced software engineer new to SUSE recognise that would let them know they are working with a more sophisticated product? A: I would say it's not necessarily suited to all new users and is very well attuned to needs of developers. What many openSUSE users come back for again and again is the well-integrated selection of development environments and tools on openSUSE. Whether a developer is working with C/C++, Java, Mono/.NET, Python, Ruby, PHP, or whatever - openSUSE is up-to-date with a solid stack of development tools." The well-known openSUSE personality also predicts some interesting developments in the new year, especially in the mobile devices arena: "I think 2010 is going to be crucial for Linux on client devices. To be honest, I don't see it making huge inroads to the 'traditional' consumer desktop, but I do see big changes coming on the netbook, thin client and mobile devices. Linux and open platforms have an opportunity to rule the roost here."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
LSB - does it matter?
Wondering-about-standards asks: LSB, does it matter? Does it help? Do all the major distros adhere?
DistroWatch answers: The Linux Standard Base (I'm assuming that's what you mean by LSB) is an effort by the Linux Foundation and a number of distributions. The idea behind the Linux Standard Base is that there are a lot of Linux distributions and a lot of differences between most of them. This situation makes it difficult for software developers to create applications which will run on all the various Linux systems. The Linux Standard Base (LSB) lays down some guidelines to help make distributions more compatible with each other. The hope is that a common base will make things easier for application developers and make the Linux operating system a more inviting platform.
In theory, this is a good idea. As an end-user, I often find myself frustrated because an application will run fine on my distro, version X, but not on version Y. Or, perhaps, another application will work on distro A, but not on distro B. It's also frustrating, as a developer, discovering the many incompatibilities between various distributions and all the little patches or tweaks required to get software working on multiple flavours of Linux. And those quirks don't begin to address the many different package managers and package formats. The LSB tries to smooth out those wrinkles.
But in practice, does it really make a difference? If we look at this list of compliant distributions or this list, both maintained by the Linux Standard Base, we'll see a few interesting things. Some of the big players (Mandriva, Novell, Red Hat and Ubuntu) are on the list. Other big names (Debian, Fedora and Slackware) are not. It's also obvious that either the lists are well out of date or just about all the distributions have dropped LSB in the past two years. I suspect the former. It's also curious to note that despite the lack of certain big names on the lists, the LSB web site claims, "Luckily all major distribution vendors are certified to the LSB." I suppose it depends on how you define "major" and "vendor".
Does LSB help? According to the information at the bottom of this page, a total of four companies have certified their applications through LSB in the past eight years. I'd say the answer is pretty clear: LSB is a good idea, but there doesn't seem to be an effort to engage the community. There hasn't been a strong effort to get their message out there or keep their site up to date. Sadly, this idea seems to be fading away faster than it is gaining support.
|Released Last Week
Untangle Gateway 7.1
Untangle Gateway 7.1 has been released. Untangle is a Debian-based network gateway with pluggable modules for network applications like spam blocking, web filtering, anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, VPN, SSL VPN and firewall. From the release announcement: "We are pleased to announce broad availability of our latest version, Untangle 7.1, which includes a host of new features and improvements: hierarchical policy management - managing multiple policies is now much more productive, with much less task repetition; automated sessions ending - sessions are now automatically ended is the user's policy changes at a point in time; safe search - Esoft web filter can now enforce safe search for popular search engines, such as Google; password override - administrators can now allow for block pages to be bypassed using a password...."
Absolute Linux 13.0.5
Paul Sherman has released Absolute Linux 13.0.5, an updated version of the Slackware-based distribution featuring the lightweight IceWM window manager: "Absolute Linux 13.0.5 released. Monthly minor release cycle? Primarily security updates (kernel, GIMP, Firefox, BIND, etc.). Also removed Brasero (CD burning) as it is too dependent upon GNOME and switched to a simpler Xfburn. It has a few Xfce-related dependencies but these are small and they also allow easier development for users if they want to use the libraries. You may also notice that wxGTK libraries are in the base install, used by the CHM help viewer and also support Audacity, now compiled and sitting on CD2 in the multimedia folder." Visit the project's home page to read the release announcement.
kademar Linux 4.9.1
Adonay Sanz Alsina has announced the release of kademar Linux 4.9.1, a Debian-based desktop distribution and live CD/DVD with support for the Catalan language and some custom configuration tools. Some of the changes in this version include: major improvements in the PulseAudio sound server; ext4 as the default file system; NetworkManager applet replaced by wicd; new CADI module for configuring multimedia keyboards; Linux kernel 22.214.171.124 compiled for the i686 architecture and with NVIDIA proprietary kernel module version 185.18.36; system installer improvements with initial support for GRUB 2 bootloader, a console-mode installation option, various improvements in graphical interface and corrections in the Catalan-language translations. Read the full release announcement (in Spanish) for additional notes.
Tiny Core Linux 2.7
Robert Shingledecker has released of Tiny Core Linux 2.7, a minimalist Linux distribution in only 10 megabytes: "Tiny Core Linux 2.7 is now posted. The theme for 2.7 is to make Tiny Core and Micro Core easier to use by promoting a single extension installation method (mount) while still supporting copy into file system. Change log: updated appbrowser - single 'Install' button and renamed 'Download Only' to 'OnDemand'; updated appsaudit - new menu option 'Install Options' to maintain copy2fs.flg and copy2fs.lst; new ondemand - create flwm right-click menu shortcuts to load and start applications from /tce/optional - tune your system for much faster boot times; updated tce-load - dropped l, m, lm, ml testing, ldconfig always called; stripped more libraries for smaller size, now at 10.1 MB...." for additional details please see the full changelog.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0r1
Alan Baghumian has announced the availability of the first revision of Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0, a desktop distribution and live CD based on Debian's testing branch: "The first update of Parsix GNU/Linux 3.0 is available for immediate download. This version merges all security and bug-fix updates. Also, a bug in installer that prevented detection of other installed operating systems has been fixed. Parsix 3.0 brings a vast amount of new features, like GNOME 2.26.3, brand new kernel based on Linux 126.96.36.199 with extra patches and drivers, updated installer that supports separate /home partition, ext4 file system and GRUB 2. In other news, Parsix 3.5 repositories are up and running and all community users are welcome to start testing and using it. The final release is planned for March 2010." Here is the brief release announcement.
Parted Magic 4.7
Patrick Verner has released Parted Magic 4.7, a small live CD with a collection of hard disk partitioning, hardware testing and data rescue tools. What's new? "Parted Magic 4.7 adds and removes some programs and fixes a few bugs. Key changes: Partclone 0.1.9 was added again despite Clonezilla being removed, people still wanted to use it from the command line; Xfburn and libburnia are replaced by SimpleBurn and cdrtools; LXMusic 0.4.0 was added with a very limited xmms2 build; util-linux is replaced by util-linux-ng; Firefox is replaced by Google Chrome (official beta version); Linux kernel is updated to 188.8.131.52 with Squashfs and LZMA compression; a mistake in the kernel configuration was fixed and Broadcom wireless drivers work again; some major problems were fixed in the wireless scripts; lsof 4.78, workman 1.3.4, hddtemp 0.3-beta15 were added." The full release announcement can be found on the project's home page.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Jolicloud. Jolicloud is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution for netbooks. It is geared towards extreme user-friendliness so that any computer user can install it with just one click. Besides the standard ISO image, the distribution is also provided as a Windows executable file which can resize an existing Windows partition and install Jolicloud as an alternative operating system. Other Jolicloud features include heavy orientation towards web application and services, online backup option, web-based software installation interface, inclusion of proprietary hardware drivers and non-free media codecs, and extensive social networking features.
Jolicloud Pre-Beta - a user-friendly, Ubuntu-based distribution for the cloud computing era
(full image size: 62kB, screen resolution 1024x600 pixels)
- Masonux. Masonux is an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop environment. As such, it is suitable for computers with as little as 256 MB of memory. While in its default state it only contains a base system and a few popular applications, Masonux is fully compatible with Ubuntu and additional software can be easily installed from Ubuntu repositories using the standard package management tools.
Masonux 9.10 Beta 2 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with LXDE
(full image size: 1,055kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- NeDiO. NeDiO (NeDi on OpenBSD) is a highly optimised OpenBSD CD image providing everything to install a self-contained NeDi appliance. At mere 85 MB, it includes an SSL web server with PHP (used by the frontend), MySQL and Perl (for the backend).
- Viper OS. Viper OS is a desktop Linux distribution - a remastered build of Ubuntu with a new wallpaper and dark GNOME theme.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This is the last issue of DistroWatch Weekly in 2009. To all our faithful readers, the DistroWatch Weekly team wishes you peaceful end-of-the-year holidays and a very happy and prosperous new year. See you again on Monday, 4 January 2010!
Ladislav Bodnar, Jesse Smith, Caitlyn Martin and Susan Linton
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
iBox was a highly customised and flexible live CD based on Gentoo Linux. Thanks to glc (the Chinese branch of gentoo portage), iBox provides an all-round Chinese (simplified) desktop environment using GNOME with almost all pre-configured popular software. The main feature of iBox was the auto-detection and auto-configuration of hardware, especially with the mkxorgconf script to help create the configuration file for Xorg. Last but not least, iBox can rebuild itself through ibox-builder from a Gentoo box.