| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 349, 12 April 2010
Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The constantly evolving development branches of major distributions are a double-edge sword: on one hand, they offer the very latest applications and technologies, but on the other, they tend to break in the most inopportune moments. The sidux project, which aims to stabilise Debian "sid" and release it as a well-tested, yet cutting-edge distro, could be a great compromise between the typical geek's two conflicting desires. Read on for our first-look review of sidux 2009-04 and a brief interview with the distribution's lead developers. In the news section, the Arch Linux release engineering team updates the ISO images release process, Gentoo announces the launch of a new cooperative Wiki project, TuxRadar presents a comprehensive group test of today's most prominent lightweight distributions, and North Korea is rumoured to have developed its own Linux-based operating system. Also in this issue, news about an interesting multi-boot live DVD containing 11 mini-distributions and a brief look at some of today's gaming options on Linux. Happy reading!
- Reviews: Trying on sidux
- News: Arch's new release process, Gentoo Wiki, group test of lightweight distributions, EmErgE's live DVD with 15 distributions, North Korea's Red Star Linux
- Questions and answers: Games for Linux
- Released last week: DragonFly BSD 2.6.1, Calculate Linux 10.4, MOPSLinux 7.0
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 10.10 release schedule, Fedora 13 Beta
- New distributions: Metamorphose Linux, Itis Linux, Netlive, QubesOS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (30MB) and MP3 (32MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Trying on sidux
The sidux distribution is one which has been on my to-review list for a while. It's a small project which makes a bold effort to take Debian's Unstable repository and turn it into a functioning day-to-day operating system. Prior to trying out this ambitious distro, I had a chance to chat with two of the project's developers, Ferdinand Thommes and Chris Hildebrandt.
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DW: Is it always a lower-case "s" in "sidux"?
FT: Yes, it's always a lower-case "s". Most magazines ignore the trademark and just follow their routines where distributions start with an upper-case character and that at the start of a sentence you always have an upper-case character too. I mostly gave up fighting that.
DW: sidux is based on Debian's "sid" repository. What changes or additions do you make to produce sidux?
CH: From a technical point of view, the most important changes are our release and ISO build system (pyfll), our installer and our kernels. The sidux kernels are not Debian kernel-based, but vanilla kernels with a long list of patches in order to get most recent hardware support, balanced with stability. We have developed and do provide several of our own tools and applications, e.g. Ceni - our replacement for NetworkManager. And of course we include our own artwork and documentation (manuals).
FT: As Debian "unstable" does not get released by Debian, firstly we needed an installer. It's graphical, easy to use and basic. Installation into full usable system is fast, usually 2-10 minutes, depending on hardware. We also offer a nice and easy tool to set up LAN and wireless networks called "ceni" (configure e/n/i). A lot of work went into the init scripts to make sidux as responsive as it is. Our own very recent kernel (220.127.116.11-10 right now) completes the picture. Other than that and the release art it's mostly pure Debian. We use Debian "unstable" packages as they come unless some core package is broken. In that case we will offer a fixed package in our sidux repository until Debian offers a fixed package (the patch goes upstream of course). So, if I had to guess, I would say sidux is 98% pure Debian.
DW: Who is your target audience? People who like the cutting edge, people with older hardware, developers?
sidux is basically targeted at anyone. But, as it's based on "unstable", potential users will have to have the will and time to dig into how Linux/Debian works a little deeper. That will warrant a nice rolling release experience and at the same time the user learns a bit about the inner workings. The latter can't really be bad if you consider that nowadays everybody has sensitive data on their hard disks and too many people share it with the world unwillingly by staying ignorant to the security issues that today's world of computing brings along. Not every user wants to learn about his system or has the time to do so. Those are usually turned off by sidux after a few days where, on the other hand, real noobs adopt to it quite easily due to our support facilities that will pamper them through the obstacles.
We are rather focussed on new hardware as our kernels are always very current and offer good hardware detection. Older hardware runs fine with sidux Xfce or with LXDE as the desktop environment. In-depth information can be found in the release notes
CH: All people who want to use Linux are welcome at sidux. We seem to attract mostly people who need support for recent hardware, those who search for performance and those who want the most recent versions of applications and tools. While we optimize sidux for modern hardware, sidux does a good job on older hardware too (if the initial hardware requirements are met). sidux users are not easy to target, you will find developers and server administrators, people who work with music or graphical arts, teachers, scientists, but also the "average" Linux users, and even many Linux beginners.
However, we are not targeting those who are not willing to read up a few lines, those who are not willing to learn something new, and those who expect to be spoon-fed.
DW: Debian's "sid" repository is, by name, unstable. Does that cause problems for you?
FT: Well, it's not as unstable as it might sound (given that we provide good support and watch Debian/incoming closely to catch problems before the user base gets hit). We see the term "unstable" more in the sense of constantly changing.
CH: It does produce a serious work load to our volunteer testers and our development and team. We strive to get fixes done via bug reports and patches to the responsible Debian maintainer and/or upstream authors, and - with serious breakages - sometimes place temporary fixed packages in our own repository. For our users the result is an almost always stable Debian "sid". For the remaining issues help is provided 24/7 via our IRC channels and our forums. Those who have used "stable" distributions before often tell us that sidux is more stable for them than anything else.
DW: What does sidux bring to the Linux community that users can't find in other distributions?
CH: Latest applications, latest hardware support, 100% Debian compatibility, direct access to developers, free community support at highest technical level, a real FOSS community distro without any business or sponsor deciding things.
FT: sidux is one of the fastest and most cutting-edge distros out there. But we don't follow the cutting-edge approach as "it's gotta be latest and greatest", stability comes first.
DW: Does your work flow back into Debian?
FT: Debian had a hard time accepting us for a while, (what is sidux good for?) It took quite a bit of work from our side to get to terms. Things have been easing up a lot during the past year. Lots of bug reports and patches go upstream, we share booths at Linux fairs. I am just now organising a mini-debconf for this year's LinuxTag conference in Berlin. sidux's own packages will move into Debian where that makes sense.
CH: Definitely, we do work very closely together with Debian maintainers and developers. Actually, our main goal is always to get problematic Debian packages fixed in Debian. We have no interest in duplicating Debian, just to improve it.
DW: Do you have any comments or messages for our readers? Any thoughts you'd like to share about sidux or the open source community?
FT: There are so many distros out there as DistroWatch splendidly shows us every day. Take a look at what sidux has to offer. sidux is brought to you by the developers and the community. It would not work without the community that gives support 24/7 on the forum and in IRC, translates the manual into, at the moment, 16 languages, works on art and many other things.
CH: Open source is possible and successful because of those who decide to help. While additional hackers are always needed, you will find that there is work for virtually everyone. You can help supporting others, translating, creating art work, testing and bug reporting, managing sub projects, communicating with upstream projects, presenting us at conventions - welcome aboard!
* * * * *
sidux 2009-04 - the welcoming screen
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The sidux web site is an interesting study in red, black and white. It's a fairly plain layout with a menu down the left side for navigation. Visitors are able to read recent news, visit the project's Wiki, browse the forum and read the distro's manual. The distribution comes in three flavours:
For the purposes of my experiment, I chose to download the Xfce edition.
- KDE full - equipped with KDE, a full range of applications and 16 languages
- KDE lite - also a KDE desktop, but with fewer software packages
- Xfce - a complete Xfce desktop
The sidux live CD opens with a red-themed boot menu which has a collection of menus along the bottom of the screen. Users are able to select their preferred language, keyboard layout and kernel arguments prior to booting. After booting, sidux quickly starts an Xfce session and opens a window showing the system's release notes. The desktop is dotted with icons for browsing the file system, launching an IRC client and opening the project's manual. The IRC client automatically connects to the project's chat room where people can get help and exchange ideas.
sidux 2009-04 - disk partitioning
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The installer is an interesting creation and deserves more than a passing mention. Like most installers, it guides the user through a series of screens gathering information on the disk layout, user accounts, the time zone and how the bootloader should be configured. What stands out is that the installer's screens are arranged as tabs and the user can jump back and forth through in the installer screens in any order. Most aspects of the installer are friendly and straightforward, though I think having the main installer window disappear when the windows for the partition editor or time zone selector appear may be unsettling to newcomers. One aspect I appreciated was that the installer asks if the user would like to have the secure shell server run post-install. Once all questions have been answered, the installer copies about 1.6 GB of software to the hard drive, at which point the user can reboot the system. Up to this point everything had gone smoothly, or so I thought.
The first time I booted my local installation of sidux, the boot process came to an early halt and told me the partition housing my root (/) directory had to be manually checked. I ran fsck on the partition, rebooted and encountered no problems on the next start-up. This pattern of events occurred on both of my machines.
The 1.6 GB of software fills out the application menu fairly well. sidux (Xfce edition) comes with the Iceweasel web browser, BitTorrent client, GParted, a calendar, and tools for viewing and scanning images. It also includes AbiWord and Gnumeric for office work. Additionally we find a multimedia player, file browser, file archiver, calculator, disc burner and Xfce's Application Finder. There are also several tools for changing settings, such as the desktop appearance, managing printers and just about every other aspect of the system. The sidux distribution comes equipped to play MP3 files and common video formats, but not Flash. Something I did not find in the application menu was a graphical front-end to the package manager.
sidux uses the APT family of programs for managing software and I had no trouble installing, removing and updating packages from the command line. While the distribution has its own repositories, the big attraction here is Debian's collection of software. The package manager provides over 28,000 items for users to choose from. The sidux manual has some interesting comments on keeping packages up to date which is a must-read for people who aren't already familiar with Debian's command-line package managing tools and rolling releases.
sidux 2009-04 - browsing for and editing documents
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While test driving sidux, I ran the operating system on a generic desktop (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM and NVIDIA video card), my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM and Intel video card) and a VirtualBox virtual machine. I found sidux did an excellent job of handling the desktop's hardware -- video, sound and networking all worked as expected. Things started out well on my laptop too, with my sound, video and touchpad all working without problems. Unfortunately, sidux wasn't able to make use of my Intel wireless card, nor did it make use of my Novatel mobile modem. Performance on both machines was very good and I found sidux able to function smoothly in the virtual environment with 256 MB of memory. The operating system was able to properly suspend and resume my laptop, even when running from the CD, which was a nice bonus.
Security in sidux didn't leave me much to complain about. The system asked me to create a root password and a non-root account at install time and the system doesn't turn on any network services, unless asked to do so. Regular user accounts are locked down, preventing others from reading the user's files, though the root account isn't similarly closed to the curious. Being directly connected with Debian "sid", the distribution gets regular updates.
sidux 2009-04 - managing software packages and my schedule
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Having played with sidux for a week, I find that it's an interesting operating system and brings a special collection of characteristics to the table, some of which almost seem contradictions. For one, the Xfce edition is very light of resources, a trait generally found in distributions targeting older hardware. But sidux isn't looking back, it's looking ahead, it's cutting edge, designed with the newest hardware in mind. The operating system itself doesn't do much hand-holding (such as one might expect from Mandriva or Ubuntu), but sidux does have some excellent documentation and, from what I've seen thus far, a polite and friendly community. The distro is based on Debian, but has a flavour, a character, of its own. I wouldn't recommend sidux to new-comers to the Linux scene, but for people who want to keep up with the latest and greatest without any extra fluff in their faces, sidux seems like a good fit.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Arch's new release process, Gentoo Wiki, group test of lightweight distributions, EmErgE's live DVD with 15 distributions, North Korea's Red Star Linux
The release engineering (releng) team of Arch Linux, an increasingly popular rolling-release distribution, has announced changes to its stable release process. In future, new installation CD images will be made available from the project's build server for public testing and bug reporting. Once all show-stopper bugs are dealt with, a new official release will be announced: "Due to time constraints, we have decided to make a slight alteration in the release process. We (releng) build testing images and publish them on the build server. Releng does only minimal testing; we will rely on the community to try them out and report back to us. Bugs should go to the bug tracker under the release engineering project. Once there is enough feedback, and there are no relevant known bugs any more, then we can do a new official release." The latest available testing images can be downloaded from build.archlinux.org/isos/, with a changelog available in the same directory. A list of known issues is published here.
* * * * *
The Gentoo Linux project has announced the launch of a Gentoo Wiki "After the mostly positive feedback on the recent Wiki discussion, we have now gone ahead, formed a preliminary team consisting of both users and developers, and put up a project page. All constructive feedback on this new project is welcome. We'd also like to invite any users and developers, who are willing to help to make this a success, to join us. At this point we are especially looking for people who can help with: the initial setup and configuration of a MediaWiki instance; the design of a custom Gentoo theme for MediaWiki (including graphics and CSS); the internal organization of the Wiki; moderation." The Gentoo Wiki is not yet available to the public, but some additional information, including the project's goals, can be found on the Gentoo Wiki Project page: "The Gentoo Wiki Project is responsible for the creation and maintenance of a wiki for general use by both developers and users of Gentoo. The goal of the Gentoo Wiki is to provide an accessible web-based service for easy collaboration on various documents relating to the development and use of the Gentoo distribution and for related community needs."
* * * * *
Light and fast Linux distributions seem to be in constant demand among the DistroWatch readers. Last week, TuxRadar published a detailed comparative review of several lightweight distributions, including Damn Small Linux, CrunchBang Linux, Lubuntu, Puppy Linux, SliTaz GNU/Linux, Tiny Core Linux, Unity Linux and VectorLinux. The winner? SliTaz. From the article: "We were looking for a distro to work painlessly in a cramped hardware environment. Honourable mentions must go to DSL and Tiny Core at this point, which have clambered into the territory of the minuscule. It's amazing how usable a system can be that takes up less space on your drive than your holiday pictures. Puppy Linux and Unity were both easy to use, although the latter was a bit more polished (and bigger). There can be only one winner in the context of our group test, and it should be SliTaz. It's fast, easy on memory, and comes with a considered selection of apps. Not being able to install new software easily apart from stuff in the SliTaz package format is one of the few drawbacks, but for a fast, lightweight desktop it's hard to beat."
* * * * *
Pro-Linux.de, an excellent German web site dedicated to Linux news and reviews, reports about an interesting multi-boot live DVD called "EmErgE's MultiISO LiveDVD", containing 11 Linux distributions. The selection is geared towards small and specialist products that don't take too much space. The list includes BackTrack, GeeXBoX, Damn Small Linux, Clonezilla Live, Damn Vulnerable Linux, Trinity Rescue Kit, Tiny Core Linux, Helix, Puppy Linux, Byzantine OS and Pentoo Linux. Also on the boot menu are "Offline NT Password & Registry Editor", BKO (boot.kernel.org), FreeDOS and DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) for securely wiping hard disk contents. Currently, the product is only available as a live DVD, but according to the article, the community behind the project is working on a live USB edition. If you understand German, you can read the brief article here. Quick download links: MultiISO-2.0-final.iso (4,443MB, torrent).
The EmErgE's MultiISO live DVD allows booting into 15 different Linux distributions.
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* * * * *
Finally, a link to an article about a rumoured existence of a Linux distribution being developed in North Korea. Like with everything in the Hermit Kingdom, details are sketchy and speculations are ripe, but BBC has put together a story on the subject, based on a report by a Russian student studying in the country. The distribution is called "Red Star Linux": "The Red Star operating system uses a popular Korean folk song as its start-up music and numbers years using a calendar which starts counting from the birth of state founder Kim Il-sung, making 2010 the 99th year. It is Linux-based but is heavily influenced by Microsoft with versions of the software giant's Office programmes, including several familiar games. It runs only in the Korean language and takes 15 minutes to install, reports said. It has games, an e-mail system known as Pigeon and a Mozilla's Firefox Internet browser - which has the North Korean government web site as a home page." The Register also covers the story with its usual tongue-in-cheek writing style: "Red Star Linux was devised in 2002 and is still 'not entirely stable' the reviewer said - but what can you expect from QA process where you're shot for questioning the Dear Leader's command line?"
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Games for Linux
Here-for-a-good-time asks: Why is there such a lack of games for Linux?
DistroWatch answers: There are lots of games for Linux, many of them of very good quality. And I'm not just saying that in defense of my own attempts at writing games for Tuxers. The Linux OS is a time waster's paradise and not only for people who think it's fun to compile their own software. A quick search turns up over a thousand game packages in the Ubuntu repositories alone, with quite a variety. Anything from text-based adventure games, to board games, to flight simulators, to racing games, to side-scrollers, to first-person shooters can be found for Linux. Take a peek at live.linux-gamers.net, a project which packs games into a Linux-based live DVD.
But perhaps the question is more about popular commercial games than games in general. Most new titles for consoles, for example, aren't likely to have Linux ports. The lack of effort being put into Linux ports of popular new titles is a simple matter of economics. There's a lot of debate over how many Linux users there are, but let's assume for a moment that Linux makes up around 10% of the desktop/notebook market. And, for the sake of debate, what if we assume that all of those 10% don't dual-boot, nor own another computer, and none have a gaming console. We're obviously into make-believe land here, but let's pretend. Of that 10%, let's assume that a full half of them are gamers and, for that matter, none of them violate copyright (remember, this is make-believe). That would mean a commercial game for Linux would be targeting, at best, 5% of the desktop market.
Once you subtract the members of the community who claim that all software should be free (as in gratis), people who can't afford big-name titles and the folks who use open-source software only, you're looking at a pretty small target, even in our single-booting-gamer-heavy-no-piracy-make-believe world. Those aren't attractive numbers for commercial game developers and from here it gets worse. There are a lot of distributions. Each with their own quirks, library and kernel versions and package types. If you look at the current top ten distributions on DistroWatch's PHR list there are four different package formats represented. All of this requires a wider range of skills in developing and packaging, plus more time spent testing. What it boils down to is that that's a lot of resources to spend targeting less than 5% of the market. Granted, game studios could statically compile their software and write their own installer to work across all distributions, but there's still a questionable cost-to-benefit ratio.
If you'd like to encourage game studios to develop for Linux, I recommend supporting projects such as World of Goo and other indie efforts. Perhaps contact Indie-Fund and tell them you'd like to see a specific Linux or cross-platform category where people could donate to Linux-friendly projects. When studios see money flowing into Linux games, development will increase in that area.
|Released Last Week
DragonFly BSD 2.6.1
Matthew Dillon has announced the release of DragonFly BSD 2.6.1, a BSD operating system originally forked from the FreeBSD 4.x code base: "The DragonFly 2.6 release is here! Three release options are now available for 32-bit: our bare-bones CD ISO image, a bare-bones bootable USB disk-key image (minimum 1G USB stick needed), and a GUI bootable USB disk-key image with a full X environment. The GUI USB image replaces the DVD ISO image we had in the previous release, to work around issues with DVDs simply being too slow to boot an X environment from. Two release options are available for 64-bit: our bare-bones CD ISO image and our bare-bones bootable USB disk-key image. The 64-bit release is now fully supported." Read the full release announcement which includes a complete list of changes and improvements.
Calculate Linux 10.4
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 10.4, a Gentoo-based distribution set for desktops and servers: "Calculate Linux 10.4 released. Features: out-of-the-box client-server solution for small and medium businesses; 100% compatible with Gentoo; interactive system build and configuration process allows to make changes in the distribution; can be installed on USB Flash drive or USB hard disk. Main changes: added new Calculate Linux Desktop with GNOME desktop environment; added 'cl-passwd' that allows to change user's domain password in CDS authentication facility; reduced system's footprint...." Here is the full release announcement.
Calculate Linux 10.4 - a Gentoo-based family of Linux distributions for various purposes
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Salix OS 13.0 "Live"
Salix OS is a lightweight, Slackware-based distribution with Xfce. The project's first live CD edition was released yesterday: "After a few months of development we are pleased to release the final version of Salix Live 13.0 (32-bit). It faithfully replicates Salix 13.0.2 from which it adopts its full choice of application (Xfce, Firefox, the full OpenOffice.org suite, GIMP, Exaile, etc.). Salix Live offers a complete working desktop which can be used in a completely nomadic but customizable environment. The 'Persistence Wizard' will enable to easily preserve any work and modifications. Alternatively, Salix Live can be used as a fully-fledged demo of Salix OS that can easily be installed with the help of our brand new graphical installer." For further information please see the release announcement.
MOPSLinux 7.0, a Slackware-based desktop Linux distribution with a custom package management tool, has been released. According to the release announcement (in Russian), this is a major upgrade and a very different system from the earlier version 6.2.2. Some of the notable changes include: a completely rewritten system installer; a much more powerful and complete package management utility; availability of several desktop environments for selection; availability of several installation modes; first release with support for 64-bit systems. Major components: Linux kernel 18.104.22.168, X.Org Server 1.7.6, KDE 4.4.2, Xfce 4.7.0-git, Openbox 3.4.11, LXDE 0.5.0, OpenOffice.org 3.2.0, Firefox 3.6.2.
MOPSLinux 7.0 - a Slackware-based distribution with an advance package manager and powerful system installer
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François Dupoux has released SystemRescueCd 1.5.2, a Gentoo-based live CD containing tools for data rescue and disk management tasks. What's new? Enabled framebuffer console to fix extended VGA modes; moved modules to embedded kernel initramfs to reduce memory requirement; use LZMA compression instead of gzip for initramfs.igz to save space; updated alternative kernels to 2.6.33.02 (altker32 + altker64); updated standard kernels to 22.214.171.124 (rescuecd + rescue64); fixed the 'dostartx' option that startx X.Org automatically; fixed the X.Org auto-configuration script used by "wizard"; the default isolinux boot screen is now based on a menu; updated Squashfs to version 4.0 with LZMA compression." The complete changelog can be found on the project's Changes page.
Parted Magic 4.10
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 4.10, a live utility medium designed for hard disk partitioning and data rescue tasks: Parted Magic 4.10 updates grep to 2.6.3, BusyBox to 1.16.1, SimpleBurn to 1.5.0, sshfs-fuse to 2.2, Linux kernel to 126.96.36.199. There are a few new programs as well: EncFS 1.5.2, GEncFS 1.0.0, GSSHFS 1.0.0, RLog 1.4, UNetbootin 429 and emelFM 0.6.0. Parted is patched with updates from Ubuntu to reverse a decision to use a BLKRRPART instead of the BLKPG ioctls that worked. GPicView doesn't segfault any more. FAT32 file systems now mounts as UTF8 by default. Many enhancements were made to the handling of SCSI device at boot. Creating bookmarks with Chromium no longer crashes the program." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
The Ubuntu project has published a development roadmap leading towards the release of version 10.10 (code name "Maverick Meerkat") of the Ubuntu family of distributions in October 2010. The development will kick off in early May, with the first alpha scheduled for release on 3 June 2010. This will be followed by three more alpha builds, one beta and one release candidate before the final release on 28 October 2010. For more information please see the Maverick Release Schedule page on Ubuntu Wiki.
* * * * *
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 19 April 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 188.8.131.52, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Full list of all issues|
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|Random Distribution |
Refracta is a Linux distribution based on Devuan GNU+Linux (a systemd-free fork of Debian), designed primarily for home computer users and also for use as a system rescue and recovery disk. It provides a simple and familiar layout using the Xfce desktop. Other desktop environments and additional software packages are available from the Devuan package repository. Besides providing a Linux distribution on a live CD, the project also develops useful tools, such as refractainstaller, refractasnapshot and refracta2usb which allow users to customize the installation and create custom live CD or live USB images.