| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 357, 7 June 2010
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It was a busy week with a plethora of new releases (of mostly smaller distributions) to delight any serious distro tester. Hopefully, we'll be able to cover many of these products in upcoming issues, but today we'll turn our attention to a new version of an old favourite - Yoper Linux 2010. Now available as a set of installable live CDs with KDE 3, KDE 4, LXDE and Xfce desktops, does the new version deliver on its promise to be one of the speediest distributions around? Read on to find out. In the news section, openSUSE developers work on a new product strategy for future releases, Robby Workman introduces Slackware Linux 13.1 and its features, and Ubuntu streamlines the Firefox support model. Also not to be missed, an interesting interview with Ian Weller, a winner of the 2010 Fedora scholarship award. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the May 2010 DistroWatch.com donation is the FileZilla project. Happy reading!
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Taking a look at Yoper 2010
Yoper, which is short hand for Your Operating System, is a project aimed at providing users with a fast, up-to-date distribution. The project's web site mentions that the distro also tries to give users top-line hardware detection and support. The Yoper distro is independently developed, meaning that it's not based off another Linux distribution. While I was writing this review, the project's web site was alternatively on line and off again. I suspect this may be related to traffic due to their recent release. When the site was on line, there was a good supply of information about the distro, recent releases and a support forum. The site displays in either English or German.
The Yoper live CD boots into a curses-based menu which provides the user with the options to boot into the live environment, install the distro to the local drive or reboot the machine. Taking the live option brings the user to a bright KDE 4.4 desktop with no icons and a pleasant blue background. The user is logged in under a non-root account and administrator tasks, such as mounting volumes or installing software, can be performed via the "sudo" command. I encountered only one problem when using the live CD environment (more on that later) and rebooted to try the installer.
The Yoper installer was probably the first indication that the distribution is aimed at people with some prior Linux experience and shouldn't be considered novice-friendly. After displaying the license agreement and offering to perform a media check, it asked me to partition the hard drive. This is done using the cfdisk program, a useful partitioner with a primitive interface. Once partitioning is complete, the user is asked to select which partition will be the "system" partition (/). The user can then, optionally, select a partition to be mounted as /home and, again optionally, select a swap partition. The user is asked which file system should be used and is shown a menu containing popular choices, such as the ext family and XFS. The last two steps are to select which bootloader (if any) should be installed, GRUB or LILO, and then the user is asked to confirm their settings. All of this will be easy enough for someone with some experience installing Linux under their belt, but the combination of curses interface and technical questions will likely put off less advanced users. Really, my only complaint about the installer was that there's no option to return to a previous screen. Moving to the next screen is a one-way trip.
After the installer finishes copying over its files, the system reboots and the user is asked to create a root password. The next step is to pick a time zone from a series of text screens and then create a non-root account. The whole process is a bit strange in that it occasionally switches between interfaces. We start with a curses installer, move to a graphical boot menu, set passwords in a text environment, create a new user in a curses environment, select a time zone via a plain text menu and end up with a graphical login screen. It's quite a trip, but the bottom line is that we do eventually reach a login screen.
Yoper's application menu is piled high with software, including Firefox 3.6, KOffice 2.1, an image viewer, document viewer, blogging client and KMail. We also find a video player, audio player, the K3b disc burner and both VNC and SSH network browsers. The distro is equipped with GParted, Java, Flash and a collection of popular multimedia codecs for playing MP3 files and videos. There are the usual text editors, calculator and address book. One pleasant surprise was the Kleopatra certificate and encryption tool, encouraging users to protect their data right out of the box. Yoper additionally comes with the GNU Compiler Collection pre-installed, making life a little easier for developers and people who like to build their own software. For the most part I found the applications provided by Yoper worked well and the only problem I ran into was with Java. Attempting to run any Java program, even just running Java to check the version number, would cause the virtual machine to crash with a class exception error.
Yoper 2010 - media player and certificate manager
(full image size: 331kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
As mentioned previously, I ran into one issue with the live CD. During my test drive of Yoper, I ran the distribution on two physical machines, one generic desktop PC (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). I also tried running Yoper in a virtual machine to see how it would fair with less memory. On both physical machines, I found that Yoper would refuse to boot with the default settings. Turning off ACPI from the boot menu allowed both machines to boot, but prevented them from shutting down properly. Otherwise, I encountered no hardware issues on my desktop machine. My screen was set to its maximum resolution and sound worked without any configuration. My laptop didn't come through quite as well. Its screen resolution was placed at a reasonable setting, and my touchpad worked as expected without any issues. Sound worked, though unlike my desktop, it was muted at start-up. My Intel wireless card was not picked up, nor was my Novatel mobile modem properly detected. Combined with the ACPI issue, this made my laptop a poor match with Yoper.
While the web site claims that Yoper is for people who are "looking for a little bit of extra speed", I didn't find the default desktop to be noticeably faster or slower than other modern KDE systems. To be fair, the Yoper project does offer other desktop environments, such as Xfce, which may be more competitive, and I haven't tried those editions yet. I also found that the default KDE setup takes more memory than other KDE 4-centric distros I'd tried recently. When running in a virtual machine, I found Yoper needed about 1 GB of memory to function smoothly, or at least 512 MB with some swap space to run at all.
Yoper 2010 - staying organized
(full image size: 403kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The Yoper distribution uses Smart as its package manager. The command-line interface for Smart is fairly similar to that of other package managers, such as YUM or APT. While using the command-line interface, I was able to easily find, install and remove the distro's RPM packages. I found using the graphical front-end for Smart a bit less pleasant. The default layout for the package manager GUI displays a list of software categories. The user is able to click on a category to expand it and show the packages which fit into that category. Performing a search for a specific package name likewise provides a list of categories which contain packages with matching names.
My issue with Yoper's graphical front-end to package management is the number of categories listed. There are dozens and dozens of categories and some of them have very similar names. For instance, it's not immediately obvious what the difference between "System/daemon" and "System/daemons" is, or "Network/filetransfer" as opposed to "Network/file transfer" (note the space). It seems that each package appears in only one category, so selecting the correct category can be time consuming. A search for "kernel" returns five categories, only one of which contains binary kernels and drivers.
Yoper 2010 - smart package management
(full image size: 313kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Speaking of the kernel, the developers, perhaps in an effort to offer better performance across a wide range of situations, have provided a number of pre-compiled kernels. There's the vanilla, general-purpose kernel package and kernels with PAE support. There are also kernels with the alternative scheduler, BFS, and kernels with both BFS and support for PAE. Also, Yoper is a rolling-release distro, making the project's releases more snapshots of the repository than a base point from which security patches may be applied. While this means that Yoper users will be able to receive the latest software as the developers add it to the repository, it also means that they will need to be careful not to introduce version incompatibilities to their systems.
The security practices of Yoper didn't leave much to complain about, at first. The distribution runs off the live CD as a non-root user, the first-boot procedure sets passwords and creates a regular (non-root) account. From what I've seen via the package manager so far, the project provides regular updates. The big thing, which caught me by surprise, is that I found my regular user could become root via su without using a password. My root account had a password and it was required for logging in from the welcome screen, but my user could become the administrator simply by typing "su". A little poking around led me to discover the so-called regular account created during the setup process was granted special privileges, but accounts created post-setup were not. This may not be immediately apparent to people setting up their machines because the first account created acts like a regular user (unable to delete system folders, install packages or create users, etc) on its own, until the user runs su or sudo, At which point the user becomes root without requiring a password. This strikes me as a large oversight or a very unusual design.
I went into this review hoping for good hardware support and great performance, as advertised on the Yoper web site and found neither. The installer works, though it's a bit crude and the graphical package manager is one of the least friendly I've encountered. Despite the issues I ran into, ranging from web site availability to getting Java working, there are some things I feel the project is doing right. For instance, Yoper offers modern kernels in various flavours, covering a wide range of use cases. There's a good selection of software pre-installed which will probably appeal mostly to developers and system administrators. The project seems to be doing a good job of balancing a rolling release with stability too. All in all, I think the project could use some polish, but it's got some good points in its favour, especially if you like to tinker.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
openSUSE strategy meeting, interview with Slackware's Robby Workman, Ubuntu's new Firefox support model
In recent years openSUSE's popularity has seemingly fallen behind Ubuntu and Fedora which have emerged as the leading Linux distributions available today. Is there anything that can reverse this trend? Last week, the openSUSE developers concluded a strategy meeting which attempted to summarise the strengths and weaknesses of the distribution while estimating future changes in computer usage: "Beside of the usual meeting things (introduction, ground rules, goals of the meeting) we wrapped up the stuff we did over the last months during our weekly IRC meetings. So we concentrated on our users, the strength and weakness openSUSE has, the competition we face and our expectations for future changes in the way we use computers. When building a strategy, you acknowledge that you can't be the best everywhere, you can't be everything to everybody, if you want to be successful, so you need to choose your focus -- the already existing strength might be a good start to focus on." Some of the ideas that came up during the strategy meeting are being turned into concrete proposals which openSUSE promises to present to the public later this week: "We ended up having 3 possible strategies which should be worked out to our community in smaller groups during this week and be published on June 8 for further discussion."
* * * * *
Slackware Linux is often perceived as a one-man distribution built largely by Patrick Volkerding. But going through the project's changelog it's hard not to note the presence of many active contributors who help with compiling packages or fixing bugs. One of the names that show up rather often is Robby Workman, a long-term Slackware developer who is probably Patrick's right hand in the distribution's hierarchy at the moment. Last week, the Slack World web site published an interview with Robby who introduces the recently released Slackware 13.1 and talks about other popular topics, such as the ever present "no dependency resolution feature" of Slackware Linux: "I happen to think that complaints of 'missing dependency hell' are rooted in expecting Slackware to work like $other_distro, and those individuals should just use $other_distro instead. Ultimately, I don't recall ever having any real problems with missing dependencies, and before anyone brings the 'but you're an advanced user' argument to the table, I have to point out that I've not always been an advanced user -- I was a brand new Linux user in 2004, and I started with Slackware; even then, I don't recall experiencing anything remotely similar to a 'missing dependency hell.' IMHO, that is because I didn't approach my Slackware experience expecting it to do things that it wasn't designed to do; instead, I learned how Slackware works and used it that way."
* * * * *
The Ubuntu developers have announced changes in their support model for Mozilla Firefox. Up until now, new minor versions of the popular browser were made available as part of the distribution's update procedure, but once Mozilla's official support for an older version ends, the Ubuntu developers have to back-port any security fixes to an older version of the browser themselves. This cumbersome procedure is about to end. In future, all supported Ubuntu releases will receive the latest Firefox versions as these become available: "Firefox 3.0 (and XULRunner 1.9) are now unsupported by Mozilla. Rather than back-porting security fixes to these now, we are moving to a support model where we will be introducing major new upstream versions in stable releases. The reason for this is the support periods from Mozilla are gradually becoming shorter, and it will be more and more difficult for us to maintain our current support model in the future. Next week, Mozilla will release Firefox 3.6.4 as a minor update to the 3.6 series. This will be rolled out to Lucid, Hardy, Jaunty and Karmic (along with XULRunner 220.127.116.11)."
Still on the subject of Ubuntu, a reader has emailed to tell us about an open source friendly hardware vendor based in Sydney, Australia, which sells computers pre-installed with Ubuntu: "I thought I'd pass this your way as I've seen it crop up in the comments section of the Distrowatch Weekly - there's a company (I'm not associated with this company, by the way) that's offering not only Ubuntu 10.04 as an option on all of their machines, but also an Ubuntu gaming pack that consists of some FOSS games (namely Nexuiz, Warsow and Battle for Wesnoth). These are listed side by side with Windows 7 + close-sourced games so it's cool to see Ubuntu in the mix. The link: pcg4m3r.com. I'm all for supporting any company that support Linux and especially Linux gaming -- I don't suppose you're able to mention this in the DWW?" Sure we are. So if you live in Australia and have a need for a new Linux computer, why not consider giving the pcg4m3r guys some business?
|Interviews (by Jesse Smith)
Chatting with Ian Weller
In case you haven't heard of Ian Weller (pictured on the right) before, please allow me to introduce him. Ian is this year's winner of the 2010 Fedora scholarship. The scholarship program is set up to recognize college and university students (or soon-to-be students) who have contributed to open source software in general and the Fedora Project in particular. Ian has been working with Fedora for the past two years, designing, packaging and working with the Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE). He's a part of the new generation who not only understands the importance of using open-source software, but is also dedicated to working with, and giving back to, the community. I had a chance to exchange e-mails with Ian and find out how he got involved with Fedora.
DW: Let's start with a little background on yourself. Where did you grow up, and how did you first become interested in Linux?
IW: I grew up (mostly) in Salina, Kansas, USA. (For those people who don't know anything about Kansas, it's about 90 miles north of Wichita.) The reason I became interested in Linux was two-fold, and both of those reasons came from two different people. The first told me of the existence of a free (as in price) operating system, which came in handy when I wanted to build a computer. The second taught me about free software, in terms of freedom, and introduced me to the GPL. At this time I was on the family iMac (which is now proudly entering its tenth year of service) and I needed to expand.
DW: What caused you to select Fedora as your desktop OS?
IW: Both friends explained above had used Red Hat-based systems before, so I think Fedora was a no-brainer. (It was also a no-brainer since both of these guys would be able to help me get started with it and start understanding Linux. I had a bit of help already by spending about 95 per cent of my time on Mac OS in a Bash shell.)
DW: As I understand it, you first started working with the Fedora Project by packaging software for Fedora. And then you started taking on other tasks. Could you tell us a little about your initiation into the project? What was the process for becoming a contributor?
IW: Yeah, I started out with packaging. I like concrete things that can be picked apart and understood, and packaging seemed to match this ideal for the most part. A lot of people within Fedora laugh at me when I tell them about this because I undoubtedly picked one of the hardest sub-projects to join. This was also pre-FAS2, so signing up to be a Fedora contributor required that you knew how to generate both an SSH key and a GPG key (as opposed to the 1-click process to sign the Contributor License Agreement we have now). I picked a way through with a fairly high bar of participation and then proceeded to work on lowering that bar.
DW: You have also taken part in the Professors' Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE). Could you explain what that is and what your role was?
IW: POSSE is a project sponsored by Red Hat where we teach computer science professors how to teach open-source software. It's a lot better of an experience as a student when you join a large code base like Fedora or Mozilla and can say, "I did that." (Mozilla especially, because you can hack on a small feature that makes its way into a browser that almost everybody knows about.) I think professors realize this, too. So we help them understand the open-source process.
DW: It must be quite thrilling to be awarded this scholarship. Where are you going to university and what will you be studying?
IW: I'll be going to the University of Kansas, studying computer science. My college selection process was somewhat influenced by my peers within Fedora. Some of them told me they wanted to see me go to a university like Oregon State or Seneca (Toronto) where open source is a huge part of the computer science curriculum. Others told me they wanted me to go to places that seem open-source friendly and push them over that edge. I think KU is part of that last group -- they teach programming languages that are fairly standard in open source (C++ and Java) and are generally Linux friendly.
The key is learning something new, and I know only enough C and Java to get by. (I can only write Java in an IDE because I don't understand the language at all.) I already know about open source, I already know about Linux -- it's time to round out what I know.
DW: You've done work with packages and with the Fedora Project's Wiki. Are there other challenges you'd like to take on, either in the Fedora Project or in the open source community in general?
IW: One thing we're missing is updated brand guidelines. We have some usage guidelines for the Fedora logo (a trademark managed by Red Hat), but we're missing guidelines for all of the other bits you've probably seen around -- the four foundations artwork, the FUDCon logo, etc. That's one of my goals for this summer specifically.
People who read this might also have seen my work surrounding statistics within the Fedora Project. This is extremely fun -- I love being asked a question and being able to turn around in 45 minutes with a dataset that supports a wider question (such as "do we need to require a contributor to be in Fedora for a certain amount of time before they become an ambassador").
There's also mw, which is an attempt to abstract MediaWiki Wikis into version control systems like SVN and Git. It's a hack to let you use an interface more friendly to yours truly (the terminal) to work on Wikis. It has very few features other than that alone, and people are already using it just because they hate using a browser to edit a Wiki. Enough so that they've run into bugs and have been writing patches. Some serious problems have been fixed without my lifting a finger -- open source is friggin' great.
DW: What is one thing you'd like to see improve in the Linux community? Hardware support, more cross-distro collaboration, something else?
People are jerks sometimes. I can barely read the devel [mailing] list any more without wanting to punch somebody for being inconsiderate or making an ass out of themselves. Before people say something, they need to stop and think what it's like to be in someone else's shoes for a moment. I know, it's a concept we all learned in kindergarten, but sometimes it needs a little bit of re-learning. A lot of people are turned off from a lot of communities because of the people in them. (xkcd.com/438
comes to mind.)
DW: Ian, thank you very much and best of luck at the U of K.
|Released Last Week
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5
Alan Baghumian has announced the release of Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5, a desktop-oriented distribution based on Debian's testing branch: "We are proud to announce that the final Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5r0 ISO images are available for immediate download. This release provides a stable computing platform for your daily uses and tasks. Package repositories are synchronized with Debian testing repositories as of April 7, 2010. Frankie ISO images will not fit on CD and a DVD is required to burn them. These images are compiled using Squashfs 4.0 with LZMA compression and for the first time GRUB 2 is used as default live DVD boot loader. The kernel build system has been modified and improved vastly to produce better kernel packages. Our brand new Linux 18.104.22.168 kernel with improved configuration is patched using the latest TuxOnIce suspension / hibernation and Kon Kolivas's BFS patches." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.5 - a desktop distribution based on Debian's testing branch
(full image size: 1,296kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
François Dupoux has announced the release of SystemRescueCd 1.5.5, a Gentoo-based live CD with tools for data recovery and disk partitioning tasks: "SystemRescueCd 1.5.5 comes with new installers for Linux and Windows that make it easy to install SystemRescueCd on a removable device. In other words it will be possible to just download the ISO image and run the installer. They come with up-to-date copies of the programs required during the installation so that it works even on system where recent versions of these tools are not installed. If you are running Linux on your computer, you just have to execute the script called 'usb_inst.sh' which is stored at the root of the CD-ROM ISO image." Other changes: "updated standard kernels to 22.214.171.124 and alternative kernels to 126.96.36.199; updated NTFS-3G to 2010.5.16...." See the release announcement and changelog for further details.
Tony Sales has announced the release of Vinux 3.0, an Ubuntu-based distribution designed for blind and visually impaired computer users: "On behalf of the whole Vinux community I am happy to announce the 3rd release of Vinux - Linux for the visually impaired, based on Ubuntu 10.04. This version of Vinux provides three screen-readers, two full-screen magnifiers, dynamic font-size and colour-theme changing as well as support for USB Braille displays. Vinux is now available both as an installable live CD and as a DEB package which will automatically convert an existing Ubuntu installation into an accessible Vinux system. In addition, we now have our own Vinux package repository (from which you can install our customised packages with APT or Synaptic) and a dedicated Vinux IRC channel." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
Jay Klepacs has announced the release of aLinux 14.0, a desktop distribution and live CD featuring the KDE 3 desktop. What's new in this release? "aLinux now uses a graphical installer; tons of bug fixes and many system init script updates to make the boot process quicker; RPM Manager now defaults to LZMA compressed archives aka XZ; while we fully transition to LZMA which is fully supported as of aLinux 14.0 there are still a few GZIP remnants that might not work as they once did, like in earlier Midnight Commanders; system - X.Org 7.5, KDE 3.5.10, KOffice 1.6.3, Linux kernel 2.6.34, GNOME 2.14.3, Perl 5.10.0, glibc 2.5, GCC 4.1.2, PHP 5.2.0 and MySQL 5.0.33; by default aLinux on X Window / KDE can view most common and not so common Unicode, UTF-8, ISO-10646 font/glyph locales in applications such as Konqueror, Firefox, SeaMonkey, GVim, Kedit, Konsole." Here is the brief release announcement.
aLinux 14.0 - one of the few distributions that has stayed with KDE 3
(full image size: 608kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Untangle Gateway 7.3
Untangle, a Debian-based network gateway with pluggable modules for network applications, has been updated to version 7.3: "We are pleased to announce general availability of Untangle 7.3. Our latest version has many feature enhancements and fixes. It also includes the capability to completely 'white-label' Untangle for OEM purposes. Enhanced download and upgrade UI progress meter - when Untangle applications are downloaded or when future upgrades occur, Untangle server will now display more details about the download / upgrade as it happens. Platform enhancements - our commitment to support different kinds of hardware and network interface cards (NICs) continues unabated, we now have much broader support for practically all Intel NICs and select Broadcomm cards. With this release we have also made performance improvements in Untangle to consume less memory." Read the rest of the release notes for a complete list of changes.
Pardus Linux 2009.2
Onur Küçük has announced the release of Pardus Linux 2009.2: "The second update release of the Pardus 2009 family, Pardus Linux 2009.2 is released. The newest member of the Pardus 2009 series comes with advanced driver support, enhanced desktop environment and updated versions of packages in our repositories, providing enhanced stability, performance and easily installable environment with thousands of open-source software. One of the highlights of the new release is the latest stable KDE, version 4.4.4, and Qt 4.6.2, coming with many bug fixes, new netbook mode and new features of the Plasma system. Firefox 3.6.3 to safely browse the Internet, GIMP 2.6.8 for graphical work, the OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 office suite and programming systems like Python 2.6.5 are only a few of the updated packages of the new release." Read the complete release announcement and release notes for further details.
Salix OS 13.1
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix OS 13.1, a Slackware-based distribution with Xfce as the preferred desktop: "Salix 13.1 has been released. Available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, Salix 13.1 is fully backwards compatible with Slackware 13.1. Salix 13.1 is built on top of a Slackware 13.1 base and offers a streamlined Xfce desktop environment with selected applications following the 'one application per task' philosophy. Salix 13.1, can be installed using three different installation modes: 'core', 'basic' and 'full'. The 'full' installation mode installs all software that is included in the ISO images. Mozilla Firefox and Claws-Mail are the applications chosen for your web browsing and email needs, accompanied by the Pidgin instant messaging client, the Transmission torrent client and the wicd wired and wireless network manager. A complete OpenOffice.org suite is provided for all your office work." Read the rest of the release announcement to learn more about the features of this release.
Salix OS 13.1 - a Slackware-based desktop distribution with many user-friendly enhancements
(full image size: 570kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Andrew Gillis has announced the release of VortexBox 1.4, a Fedora-based Linux distribution for music servers and jukeboxes: We are pleased to announce the release of VortexBox 1.4. Continuing with our goal to make VortexBox the universal server for any media player we have added full DLNA support to VortexBox. DLNA is the future of media sharing and many players such as PS3, Windows 7 Media Player, and Samsung televisions support DLNA. Now you can easily serve your music and video files to all these devices. We have also added Bliss to the VortexBox web GUI. Bliss can find cover art for even the most obscure albums. As usual there are also many other fixes and updates requested by the VortexBox community." Here is the brief release announcement.
Ylmf OS 3.0
Ylmf OS is a new Ubuntu-based distribution from China with the GNOME desktop tweaked to resemble Microsoft Windows XP. Version 3.0 was released early this week based on Ubuntu 10.04, with the major components being Linux kernel 2.6.32-22.33, X.Org Server 1.7.6, GCC 4.4.3, and GNOME 2.30.0. It allows for a live CD mode, and one can log in with username "ylmfos" and an empty password. The live CD employs Squashfs LZMA, which combines one of the best compression algorithms, LZMA, and one of the best compressed file systems available nowadays, Squashfs, so as to include as much software as possible. Ylmf OS 3.0 also supports several approaches for installation. It includes a number of classical Linux applications for both newbies and veterans, and supports Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and English. Here is the full release announcement (in Chinese) with screenshots.
Ylmf OS 3.0 - a Chinese Ubuntu-based distribution with a Windows XP-like user interface
(full image size: 566kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Quirky 1.2, a fast, minimalist desktop Linux distribution with many characteristics of Puppy Linux, but built with a different toolkit: "Quirky 1.2. This continues bug fixing of 1.0/1.1, but also many packages are upgraded and new packages and ideas incorporated. In particular, a wider range of video/audio formats are supported, which is the main reason the live CD image file is a little bigger. There is now a very small HTML viewer for displaying local help files - this has basic CSS support. Release notes: many utilities and small applications upgraded; multimedia packages upgraded; many bug fixes; simple local-help HTML viewer with libgtkhtml. This release is supposed to play just about any audio/video file, DVD, embedded or streaming media, but not yet WebM/VP8 - I am targeting that for Quirky 1.3." Read the complete release announcement to find out more about the latest release of Quirky.
Sabayon Linux 5.3
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 5.3, a Gentoo-based distribution for the desktop with custom package management and many cutting-edge features: "The best, refined blend of GNU/Linux, coming with bleeding edge edges is eventually here - say hello to Sabayon 5.3, available in both GNOME and KDE editions. Features: based on the new GCC 4.4 and glibc 2.10; shipped with a desktop-optimized Linux kernel 2.6.34; provides extra server-optimized and OpenVZ-enabled kernels in repositories; installable in 10 minutes; fast boot time and lightweight default system; official Btrfs file system support; features X.Org 7.5 and up-to-date open-source, NVIDIA, AMD video drivers; contains GNOME 2.28 (with GNOME Shell) and KDE 4.4.3...." Read the rest of the release notes for a full list of changes.
Ultimate Edition 2.7
Glenn Cady has announced the release of Ultimate Edition 2.7, an Ubuntu-based distribution on a DVD with several desktop environments and extra software packages: "Ultimate Edition 2.7 was built off Ultimate Edition 2.6 (Ubuntu 10.04). Major difference being that it has been fully updated and has the following environments, user selectable at the login screen: KDE, Xfce, GNOME, LXDE, Openbox. I am not going to do a huge write up on this operating system, I am sure it will be downloaded more then Ultimate Edition 2.6 was. I have said in the past, I am not a KDE man, it looks too much like that 'other OS' I will return to Ultimate Edition 2.6. That does not mean our users are not interested in exploring and using these environments. I have included a Conky script I wrote that will generate as per each computer. This script will be in your home folder when installed (your choice to run it or not)." Here is the brief release announcement for a full list of changes.
Ultimate Edition 2.7 - an Ubuntu remix on a DVD
(full image size: 1,176kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
May 2010 DistroWatch.com donation: FileZilla receives US$300.00|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the May 2010 DistroWatch.com donation is FileZilla, an FTP client. It receives US$300.00 in cash.
FileZilla offers an intuitive, easy-to-use graphical interface for transferring files using the FTP, FTPS and SFTP protocols. Some of its most interesting features include: "Cross-platform - runs on Windows, Linux, BSD and Mac OS X; IPv6 support; available in many languages; supports resume and transfer of large files; tabbed user interface; powerful site manager and transfer queue; bookmarks; drag & drop support; configurable transfer speed limits; file name filters; directory comparison; network configuration wizard; remote file editing; keep-alive; HTTP/1.1, SOCKS5 and FTP-Proxy support; logging to file; synchronized directory browsing; remote file search." For further information please see the project's feature page.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$24,478 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- SECmic. SECmic is a Kubuntu-based security distribution containing over 200 pre-installed security-oriented applications.
- TasOS Linux. TasOS Linux is an Ubuntu remix with a modified set of applications which include Avidemux, Bluefish, GIMP, Inkscape, Ubuntu Tweak, VLC and WINE.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 14 June 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
m0n0wall was a project aimed at creating a complete, embedded firewall software package that, when used together with an embedded PC, provides all the important features of commercial firewall boxes (including ease of use) at a fraction of the price (free software). m0n0wall was based on a bare-bones version of FreeBSD, along with a web server (thttpd), PHP and a few other utilities. The entire system configuration was stored in one single XML text file to keep things transparent. m0n0wall was probably the first UNIX system that has its boot-time configuration done with PHP, rather than the usual shell scripts, and that has the entire system configuration stored in XML format.