| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 363, 19 July 2010
Welcome to this year's 29th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! For many projects, this is a slow point in the year. However, there is still important work being done in various corners of the open source community. The latest version of openSUSE, 11.3, came out this week, as did Zencafe and Netrunner. In the news section we examine the pros and cons of two virtualization technologies, talk about getting Debian ready for its next release and the future of OpenSolaris. (Does it have one?) We also look at a young operating system, BareMetal OS, which is gaining momentum. In our feature this week we take a look at the latest offering from the Zenwalk project and chat with project leader Jean-Philippe Guillemin. Rounding out this week's issue, we talk about file permissions on Linux and how to get more fine-grained access control. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Taking a Walk on the Zen Side of Life
The Zenwalk team recently released version 6.4 of their operating system. The project's website, which is presented in an attractive combination of blue and white, offers four editions of the distro:
- Standard -- a plain installation disc, featuring the Xfce desktop
- Core -- a bare bones install disc without any desktop apps
- Live -- similar to Standard, but with a live desktop environment
- GNOME -- replaces Xfce with the GNOME desktop.
The site contains a pile of useful documentation, including a getting started guide, user manual, wiki, a forum and contact information should you need to reach the development team. The main site is offered in six different languages, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
Before downloading the Standard edition, I got in touch with the project's founder, Jean-Philippe Guillemin.
* * * * *
DW: I'd like to start off learning a little bit about your background. When did you first get involved with Linux and why did you create Zenwalk?
JP: I was born in the East of France in 1972, but I grew up in Africa until 8. Then I came back to France. From 8 to 11 I was passionate about electronic components and radio transmitters, I began programming electronic calculators and small Basic computers when I was 12, a young geek. I started playing guitar at 14. I did my high schooling at the University of Nantes with good results and decided to try playing music professionally in 1995~1996.
I first heard about Linux in 1996 when a friend told me that he had just installed a cool free Unix OS. In 1996 I was full time musician and I wasn't toying with computers much, so I didn't look more thoroughly. When it was clear that playing music was not enough to live, I searched and quickly found a job in the network and computer security area in 1997. I installed Linux for the first time in 1998~1999 as a development platform, I don't remember exactly, but the fact is that I haven't used any other OS than Linux since then. In 2004 I felt that creating a Slackware derivative Linux distribution was a good way to learn more about Linux and I shared the result. I called it "Minislack". I wanted a development environment that would be simple and complete so that I could easily install it on any computer. From the beginning, the goals were already "one application per task", "performance" and "rationality". In 2005 several contributors joined me to help support and improve the project. Now 90% of the tasks are handled by the main development team and packages contributors. I wouldn't be able to take care of everything myself anymore.
DW: This new release, 6.4, seems to have a focus on improving speed. You have the BFS scheduler, for example. What else can Zenwalk users look forward to?
JP: Each time I find some cool and exciting new feature to enhance the performance or improve usability, I test it, and if it seems reliable then I offer it to testers in the "snapshot" repository. I really want Zenwalk to provide something different and I especially enjoy when great developers like Kon Colivas fight against well established common opinions about what's right and what's wrong for Linux. I guess that I'm a kind of a rebel.
BFS is really great, in fact this little, yet important, piece of software is designed like Zenwalk: no nonsense, no bloat, just effectiveness. With it I have noticed better low-latency behaviour of my multi-track studio (Ardour), and also lower compile time: Zenwalk 6.4 should fly on the more modern hardwares, and run smoothly on old computers.
Apart of this, Zenwalk 6.4 provides a lot of enhancements at system level, while staying stable in terms of applications (users don't want to change their web browser and multimedia player for each release). Mainly, 6.4 provides Kernel 220.127.116.11, UDEV 151, which is really a big evolution in hotplug detection and the first step toward HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) deprecation in the future. We also provide Xorg 7.5, Openoffice 3.2.0, and the brand new XFCE 4.6.2.
DW: Zenwalk was originally based on Slackware. Do you still base releases off Slackware, or has Zenwalk separated to be a more independent distro?
JP: From Zenwalk 5.0, we started to fork seriously away from Slackware and some of the differences where very good improvements (for example: more flexible and faster init scripts, system tools). Anyway, slowly loosing package compatibility wasn't a good thing. Thus, reinventing the wheel when Pat already does a great job on base packages (like Xorg) is a waste of time. So we decided to revert this tendency in the 6.x branch and we began to adopt more Slackware packages that have been replaced by Zenwalk builds in the 5.x branch. We can now focus on real value-added features like performance, desktop, system tools, internationalization... As a result, Zenwalk 6.4 is Slackware compatible: you can install Zenwalk packages from our repository, or install Slackware packages as long as they are up to date.
DW: The distribution's website and documentation are well polished and put together compared to many other open source projects. Was this a design goal, or the result of having certain people on the team?
JP: It's entirely the work of contributors, and is part of the project design: making Zenwalk not only technically appealing for advanced users but also easy to start with for Linux newcomers. I thank you for noticing this as I think it's very important. Yet we need more manpower to maintain this documentation, in several locales, especially since some active contributors left us to found their own project.
DW: Zenwalk has a standard (Xfce) edition and a GNOME edition. Will we also see a KDE edition?
JP: If things go as expected, yes. Packaging of KDE is already done, and the maintainer will mostly have to polish the desktop so that it follows the Zenwalk guidelines (it's supposed to look very close to the official Zenwalk XFCE desktop).
DW: Could you tell our readers a little about the Zenwalk User Repository and how many packages are currently available?
JP: Well, at the moment the Zenwalk repository contains 2,800 packages covering most needs from development, multimedia, music recording, gaming, to office work, but Slackware packages can also be used, so the Zenwalk user should find everything he could expect from a modern GNU/Linux system.
One thing that I would like to point out here is that the Zenwalk ISO distribution is a "designed" system with carefully chosen applications and APIs -> "a fast core system + the GTK toolkit + a set of well integrated applications".
When a user installs Zenwalk and then, for example, doesn't find his usual media player of choice out of the box (ie: mplayer), we often get harsh comments on the forum, although our repository provides all kinds of media players and other applications.
It should be clear that when we select an application for the Zenwalk ISO, it doesn't mean that it's the best of its category: it means that it integrates well with the system (should be GTK based, fast, easy to use, still supported and reliable). Many good applications are not included in the ISO but we love them as well, and they are available from our repository along with their dependencies.
DW: What would you like to add to future versions of Zenwalk? Does the project have any long-term goals?
JP: Of course. The roadmap is simple: change nothing to the Desktop look and feel, and support 64 bits processors. This could happen in the 8.x branch. The 7.x branch will focus on the HAL to UDEV migration, and introduction of XFCE 4.8. This said, prior to migrating to 64 bits we will have to find a solution to make the support of two architectures possible and consistent.
DW: Zenwalk appears to be targeting older machines, I believe you support i486? Could you talk a bit about the hardware you focus on?
JP: Zenwalk is targeting modern hardware and provides latest versions of modern applications like Openoffice or Icecat (Firefox), but as you noticed, Zenwalk is optimized for i686 CPU and remains compatible with i486, so it can run on old hardware as well.
Note that the "march" compiler parameter varies according to the type of machine that can use the package: some applications are built for i686 because they wouldn't run at all on a i486 CPU, especially real-time music applications.
As far as I know, one could find more "Jurassic-computing" focused systems, ideal for very old computers, but this kind of Linux distribution lacks mainstream applications needed for modern Internet or multimedia experience. Zenwalk is close to these "tiny-Linux" specialized systems in terms of responsiveness on older machines, but still provides the same level of modernity as fat Debian or Red Hat based systems...
DW: Is there anything else you would like to add, about open source in general or Zenwalk specifically? Any message for our readers?
Yes! Actually I'm only in charge of global design, Desktop, system tools development and kernel related stuff, most parts of Zenwalk's packaging and project coordination is done by the Zenwalk team driven by Frederic Boulet, our project manager.
The GNU/Linux user base is growing thanks to the work of benevolent developers and information sites like DistroWatch. As a result user relationship and questions are evolving and tend to become less technical, so we need more contributors to support the growing amount of questions, and keep on providing friendly support on
* * * * *
I'd like to thank Monsieur Guillemin for taking the time to talk about Zenwalk.
Booting from the Zenwalk disc, the user is presented with a curses-based display, which presents five options. The user can select their preferred keymaping, partition their hard drive, run the installer, have the system do an install on auto-pilot or exit the menu and drop to a simple shell. To get started, I ran the partitioner, which turns out to be cfdisk. With my disk carved up the way I wanted it, I launched the regular installer. The install process begins by asking the user to select a partition to use for swap space and which partition should be used to hold the operating system. The installer then inquires as to which file system the user would like to use for the root partition -- ext2, ext3, ext4, ReiserFS and XFS are supported. For newcomers, a brief explanation is provided next to each FS option. The user is asked to select where their source files are located (the default is the Zenwalk CD) and packages are copied to the hard drive. The process is fairly quick and the installer keeps the user informed on what's going on the whole time. Once all the required software has been copied over, the user is given the option to install a boot loader (LILO, in this case). We then get into some more nitty-gritty options, such as what the screen resolution should be, if any specific kernel parameters should be used and where to place the boot loader. All of this would probably be a bit much for newcomers, but sane defaults are provided throughout.
Upon the system's first boot-up, the user is shown a copy of the GPL license, asked to pick their preferred language and set an administrator password. The first-boot program then allows the user to create and configure additional non-root accounts. This is all done within a curses-based environment.
With all the setup steps complete, Zenwalk turns the user over to a graphical login screen. Signing into the desktop provides the user with an attractive, one might even say beautiful, Xfce desktop environment. There is a thin task bar across the top of the screen, providing an application menu, clock and logout button. The bottom of the screen features a quick-launch bar with icons for kicking off the web browser, mail client, media player, desktop settings, console, volume control and file browser. There are a few icons on the desktop for navigating the local file system and for visiting the Zenwalk website. The interface is fast, impressively responsive and the Xfce components feel well integrated.
The application menu comes with an excellent array of software when one takes into consideration the ISO download is 540MB. The menu includes popular software, such as Firefox (renamed Icecat), Thunderbird (renamed Icedove), OpenOffice, a multimedia player, CD player, disc burner, calendar app and the GIMP. Additionally, we find the usual collection of apps, such as a text editor, calculator, archive manager, file browser, and document viewer. Zenwalk also comes with Pidgin for instant messaging, gFTP for transferring files, a bittorrent client and network browsers to find secure shell and VNC services. Most of these are fairly standard across distributions and so it was interesting, to me, to see what else was packed into the 540MB image. Of note were the Firestarter firewall manager; Geany, an intuitive compiler IDE; and Gigolo, a network tool which connects users to different types of shares, such as SSH, Samba and FTP. Zenwalk comes with Grsync out of the box, a graphical front-end to rsync. The GUI app allows people unfamiliar with the ins and outs of rsync to backup their data with a few mouse clicks. In most cases Grsync provides the proper defaults, taking the guess work out of backups. Behind the scenes, Zenwalk comes with the GNU Compiler Collection, version 4.4.3, a Flash plugin for the web browser and codecs to play popular music and video formats. The Zenwalk distribution takes the approach of trying to use one application per task, which means a lot of functionality is provided yet the menu remains pleasantly uncluttered.
Changing settings and editing documents.
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Hardware support from Zenwalk was fairly standard as far as which devices were automatically detected. My generic desktop machine (2.5GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM, NVIDIA graphics card) operated with no problems. Screen resolution was properly set and audio worked out of the box. My HP laptop (dual-core 2GHz CPU, 3GB of RAM, Intel video card) didn't get along quite as well. While video and audio also worked without any issues, I found that neither my Intel wireless card nor my Novatel mobile modem was handled out of the box. During my test drive with the distribution I ran Zenwalk in a VirtualBox virtual machine with varying amounts of RAM to see how the system would perform. The system ran and was very fast with 512MB of memory. Reducing the available RAM to 256MB caused the system to slow down and use swap space for some tasks, such as web browsing or document editing, but performance was still acceptable. One problem I ran into while running in the virtual environment was that during my first boot, post-install, X didn't handle the virtual video card. However, I was able to edit the xorg.conf file to get up and running. Once VirtualBox's guest additions were installed, X was able to run smoothly with its defaults. It's nice to see the xorg.conf file included. Since advances in X have made it unnecessary to have a configuration file in many cases, most distros don't ship with one anymore. Distro-hopping as much as I do I find quite a few cases where X doesn't work properly and a configuration file is required. When this happens, it's nice to have a config file in place, even if it's just a framework where the options are commented out. It's something I'd like to see more projects provide, perhaps with a name like /etc/X11/xorg.conf.failsafe. Another nice touch was that Zenwalk mounts partitions with the noatime option, which prevents the system from writing access times back to the disk every time a file is read. It's a small thing, but a welcome feature, especially on my laptop.
Testing the Geany IDE
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Zenwalk uses the Netpkg package manager. Netpkg has the same features as other mainstream package managers, but the layout is just different enough I feel it deserves some mention. At the top of the Netpkg screen is a drop-down list of available repository mirrors. There are quite a few to choose from. Selecting a mirror and hitting the refresh button causes the list of available packages to update. In the middle of the screen is a list of package categories, which can be expanded to show the individual software components. Over to the right is a set of filters, allowing the user to tell the manager to show installed software, available software, software that has been installed and has updates waiting, or orphaned packages. Directly below the filters is a search box for finding specific software items by name. The bottom of the window holds a status and information area that shows details on selected packages and a progress report on any actions taking place. I think manually selecting a repository and changing filters might be a bit strange for new users, but otherwise I had no complaints. The software runs smoothly, provides information in an easy to follow format and I encountered no problems installing, removing or updating packages. For people who like to work from the command line, Netpkg can be run from a command prompt too and operates in much the same way as Aptitude or YUM.
I didn't have many complaints when it came to Zenwalk's security. The install process sets a password for the administrator and allows the user to create additional, unprivileged accounts. I did have two concerns. While I was using the distro the repositories were populated with updates, but there didn't seem to be any notification for the user when security updates were available. I've been spoiled recently by systems which automatically check for me. My other concern is Zenwalk runs a secure shell service by default, which allows remote root logins. Preventing root from remotely logging into a machine is a policy I'd like to see more distributions adopt.
Zen Package Management
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An aspect of the Linux community I enjoy is the wide variety of styles. Not just differing desktop environments, package managers and architectures, but the way in which these options combine together to give a certain feeling or to fill a niche. Take, for example, Slackware. Slackware is sort of the vanilla flavour of the Linux world, simple, fast and stable. We've got more exciting distributions, like Fedora, which are always trying new things and sticking to FOSS principles. Off in another direction, we have projects like Mandriva which try to be as easy to use as possible. And while I sometimes shake my head at the announcement of yet another Ubuntu-based distro designed for cat lovers, I am in favour of anything which adds a new flavour to the Linux buffet. Which brings me to Zenwalk. This distribution may be the fastest Linux operating system I've used which wasn't a mini-distro. The developers have done an outstanding job at balancing functionality, of which it has a lot, with performance, which is top-notch. They also do a fine job of trading off between ease of use and appealing to more advanced users. Occasionally I felt Zenwalk veered a little too far toward advanced territory, such as when I was running the installer or setting up the package manager to use different repositories, but for day-to-day use, the experience was balanced and smooth. As far as the feel of the system is concerned, Zenwalk may be the most Linux operating system I've used. It's professional without being commercial, it's fast without sacrificing form, it attempts to provide one pre-installed application per task, and in doing so covers a wider range of functionality than some other, heavier distros. While it may not be quite the fastest, have the most packages or be the most user-friendly distro available, it scores well in each category. This probably isn't an ideal first distribution for a Linux novice, but it would make a great second (and possibly last) distro.
Backing up and securing the system.
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|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Virtualization Comparisons, the Future of OpenSolaris, Squashing Debian Bugs
Virtualization is a big topic in the computer industry. It has been pushed as a method to lower energy costs, save physical space in the server room, test operating systems and add a layer of security. But which virtualization technology is right for your environment? There are several choices out there and it can be difficult to figure out which is the best fit for your needs. To help us navigate the often complex topic, Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier offers his thoughts in a piece called
"KVM or Xen? Choosing a Virtualization Platform".
* * * * *
The open source community has been waiting a long time for a new version of OpenSolaris. The latest release was due to arrive back in February and, despite the occasional rumour, we don't seem to be any closer to an official release. And it seems the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) is tired of waiting. According to this blog post, the OGB is giving Oracle one more chance to step up to the plate. If Oracle does not respond, the OGB will hand over control of the OpenSolaris project to Oracle, effectively washing their hands of the situation.
* * * * *
With all the buzz around cloud computing, have you ever felt that you wanted a cloud of your own? We hear a lot about cloud computing these days and it seems Red Hat is getting into the game. The open source giant is now offering
consulting services for organizations interested in learning about and setting up their own cloud infrastructure.
* * * * *
Fixing bugs doesn't have to be just more tedious work, it can also be a fun social activity. That's why Debian developers had a
bug squashing party in Munich this past weekend. The event brings Debian closer to wiping out the remaining
release critical bugs, moving the project closer to its next stable release. The Debian team has a long-standing policy of releasing when the code is ready rather than sticking to a specific schedule and it is good to see the developers are dedicated to putting together a polished system.
* * * * *
Every so often it's nice to see different approaches in the open source community. The BareMetal OS is just such a fresh approach.
BareMetal is a very small 64-bit operating system designed with high performance, embedded applications and education in mind. It's written entirely in Assembly and is offered under the BSD license. If you are interested in OS internals or want to learn more about 64-bit Assembly, BareMetal is worth studying.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Fine-grained file permissions
Assigning-access asks: A colleague of mine claims Linux doesn't have the same fine-grained file permissions as his favourite operating system (you know the one). Is there a way to extend beyond the regular owner/group/other permissions to be more flexible?
First, for those people not familiar with traditional file system permissions on Linux, the concept is fairly simple. Each file (directory) is assigned a set of three permissions which determine what the owner of the file can do with the file, what people in a given group can do with the file and what everyone else can do with the file. Each category is further broken into three items indicating whether a person can read the file, change it or execute it. It's easier to understand if you see an example. If you open a command line and run the command
you'll see a list of files. The first column will probably look like this
The first item is a regular file and the first group of four symbols shows the owner of the file can read and write to the file. The second group of three symbols indicates the file can be read by people in the file's group. And the final section says anyone else who isn't the owner or in the file's group can also read the file. The second line in this example starts with a "d", which tells us it is a directory. Again, following the displayed letters, we can see the owner can read, write and enter the directory. People in the directory's group (and everyone else) can read from the directory and enter it, but cannot alter its contents.
You can get a more complete explanation here.
In environments where there are a few different categories of users and each category needs to have a different level of access, we need to find ways of making use of the basic file permissions. One way to do that is to create new groups of users on the system. For instance, we can have an "accounting" group. To set this up, we login as root and run
We can then assign people to that group. In my example, we want to make the user "susan" a member of the "accounting" group. To do this, we run
Our "accounting" group should be the last entry in the file. It will look something like this
To add Susan to this group we append her name to the line so that it looks like this:
and then save the file. So now we have a group and a person is a member of that group. To make sure a file is assigned to the accounting group, we then run
chgrp accounting mydata
where "mydata" is a file on our system. To make sure the accounting group then has the ability to read and edit the file, but anyone outside the group can only read the file, we could assign the following permissions
chmod 664 mydata
The file "mydata" will then show up in a directory listing like this:
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root accounting 1024 2010-07-12 15:30 mydata
With this done, we can add as many people as we want to the accounting group, granting them access. We can then create a new group for each category of users, so we might end up with an "hr" group, an "it" group, and so on.
I like this approach to handling file access because it uses traditional file permissions and works well across distributions and file systems.
Another approach, which gives more flexibility, is Access Control Lists. ACL is a method of offering fine-grained control over files. The functionality exists in more recent kernels (the 2.6.x family) and works across most Linux file systems, including ext2/3/4, ReiserFS and XFS. The file system to be worked on needs to be mounted with the "acl" flag. This can be done by adding "acl" to the proper line in /etc/fstab. For example
/dev/sda2 /home ext3 acl,rw 0 0
The above line enables ACL features on our /home partition. We should then re-mount the partition:
mount -v -o remount /home
Using our previous example, where we want Susan to have access to the "mydata" file, we could grant her permission to read and edit the file using
setfacl -m u:susan:rw- mydata
We can give the entire accounting group the same access using
setfacl -m g:accounting:rw- mydata
And we can assign read-only access to the HR group with
setfacl -m g:hr:r-- mydata
To confirm the proper permissions are in place, we can then use the getfacl command to see what permissions are attached to the file
Though the ACL approach has more requirements (newer kernel, mount flags and the ACL package must be installed) it offers additional power to the administrator. The ACL rules can handle long lists of specific users and groups (not just one owner and one group), allowing the administrator to fine-tune permissions for any number of use-cases.
|Released Last Week
Zencafe GNU/Linux 2.2
Zencafe GNU/Linux is a Slackware and Zenwalk-based distribution designed specifically for deployment in Internet cafés. The project's latest release, version 2.2, was announced earlier today: "This Zencafe version uses the latest Zenwalk Linux distribution and kernel 18.104.22.168. Mainly designed for use in Internet cafés, Zencafe is polished and easy enough to be operated even by a non-technical user. With the included auto-recovery and Internet café management software, Zencafe is the first Linux solution that is suitable for use in Internet cafés. Software included: Linux kernel 22.214.171.124, OpenOffice.org 3.2.1, Mozilla Firefox, Pidgin and Gyachi (instant messengers), Mkahawa Internet café management software, auto-recovery and kiosk mode protection. What's new? Simple installation process, user-friendly keyboard shortcuts, additional applications..." You can read the full release
T2 SDE 8.9
Rene Rebe has announced the release of T2 SDE 8.0, a distribution build kit designed for advanced Linux users who wish to build custom distributions: "After years of development we are proud to announce the availability of the new T2 stable release, version 8.0. This release received updates across the board, while a major working target was to further improve cross compilation, and all official ISO images are now fully cross-built. Over 10,000 Subversion revisions indicate the magnitude of the release, with over 200 new packages, new features and various other improvements and fixes. User visible changes: GCC 4.5.0, glibc 2.11.2, X.Org 7.5, preliminary support for LLVM/clang and MinGW/Win32." You can read the full announcement on the project's website.
The long wait is over; some eight months after the release of the previous stable version, openSUSE 11.3 is now officially available: "The openSUSE project is pleased to announce the release of the latest incarnation of openSUSE, with support for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. openSUSE 11.3 is packed with new features and updates including SpiderOak to synchronize your files across the Internet for free, Rosegarden for free editing of your audio files, improved indexing with Tracker, and updates to Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Among these many new features, openSUSE also provides support for netbooks and the Btrfs file system support. Users can expect to see improved hardware support with the 2.6.34 Linux kernel and updated graphics drivers. And support for the next generation of interactive computing for touchscreens like the HP TouchSmart." You can read the full announcement here.
The openSUSE 11.3 Desktop
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Jason Melton has announced the release of Netrunner 2, a beginner-friendly, Ubuntu-based desktop distribution and live DVD with a carefully tuned KDE 4 desktop and integrated GNOME applications: "Today we released the official Netrunner 2 'Blacklight' CD image. Features: switched from GNOME to KDE; aims to be Ubuntu, GNOME and GTK+ compatible; includes GNOME applications like Nautilus and Synaptic; includes Firefox 3.6.3, installed web browser plugins (Java, Flash), VLC 1.1 (media player with codecs), OpenOffice.org software suite 3.2, Thunderbird (email client), WINE 1.42, GIMP (paint program), Audacious (Winamp-like music player), Pidgin, Vuze (file-sharing program). All on top of a fine-tuned and easily customizable KDE 4.4 desktop environment." You can read the announcement
openSUSE 11.3 Edu Li-f-e
Following the recent release of openSUSE 11.3, the project's education team has now released its "Edu Li-f-e" edition, a specialist distribution for schools and other educational environments: "The openSUSE Education team is thrilled to announce the availability of openSUSE Edu: Linux for Education (Li-f-e). The aim of this DVD is to provide complete education and development resources for parents, students, teachers as well as IT admins running labs at educational institutes. It comes bundled with a wealth of software carefully selected to meet every need. Educational software covering a wide range of subjects such as IT, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy and electronics catering to students right from pre-school to research. If you are a developer or a student wanting to learn programming on Linux platform, there is everything you can hope for in one place: Java, C, C++, Perl, Python, LAMP stack, databases, IDEs, the list goes on." You can read the
full announcement here.
SuperGamer Supreme 2
Darin VanCoevering has announced the release of SuperGamer Supreme 2, a dual-layer DVD packed with games and other day-to-day software applications: "SuperGamer is a games-oriented Linux desktop operating system. It has all the normal Linux desktop applications such as the Firefox browser and OpenOffice.org, but also has a great many native Linux games added, as well as some demo editions of proprietary games. This SuperGamer Supreme 2 version will work on both 32-bit and 64-bit PCs and fills a full live dual-layer DVD. It includes support for Ethernet, wireless, and dial-up Internet connections. It can run in live mode directly from the DVD and can be optionally installed to a hard drive. I also included the latest NVIDIA and ATI drivers. A few key components are Linux kernel 126.96.36.199, Azureus, Audacity, GParted, Limewire, GIMP, K9copy...."
The rest of the release announcement is here.
Linux Mint 9 "LXDE"
Linux Mint 9 "LXDE" edition, featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop and designed for older computers with limited resources, has been released: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 9 LXDE. Based on Lubuntu 10.04, Linux kernel 2.6.32, Openbox 3.4.10, LXSession 0.4.3, and X.Org Server 1.7.5, Linux Mint 9 LXDE features a complete desktop computing experience while being easy on system resource usage thus making it suitable for older hardware and situations where speed is a crucial factor. Featured improvements in this release: LXDM, improved PCManFM2 file manager, VLC installed by default, 30,000 applications catalogued and reviewable both online and in the new software manager, brand new incremental backup tool for both data and software selection, three years support."
You can read the full announcement here.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
New distributions added to waiting list
- Uberstudent: Uberstudent ("uber" meaning "productive" in Latin) is an Ubuntu-based distribution on a DVD designed for learning and teaching academic computing at the higher education and advanced secondary levels.
The Uberstudent desktop.
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- Chameleon OS. Light-weight linux operating system with changeable skins.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 26 July 2010.
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Good Morning... (by DigitalVampire on 2010-07-19 12:14:42 GMT from United States) |
Very nice DWW. Also, great to hear something coming from the OpenSolaris Camp. I have to be honest though. I'm not to sure if we'll see another OpenSolaris release. Which bums me out. :(
2 • Peppermint OS Ice & Jollicloud (by webtechy on 2010-07-19 12:33:45 GMT from United States)
Besides Linux Mint LXDE, there were new releases of other netbook OSes that are becoming even more popular:
3 • Zenwalk (by 1369ic on 2010-07-19 12:56:00 GMT from United States)
Might have to give Zenwalk another run. It was my main system for quite a while, because Slackware was sticking with the 2.4 kernels and I needed 2.6 for hardware support. I really liked that it was so close to Slackware, but as a desktop user I didn't have to spend a lot of time figuring out what bits were meant for servers and so on.
I slowly migrated back to Slackware once Slack went to the 2.6 kernels. I used to try new releases regularly on a spare machine, but was never sufficiently tempted to go back. Those were the 5 series, and after reading this I need to give the 6 series of releases another look.
That said, Slack has really progressed of late, and will be hard to displace.
4 • Zenwalk, Mint LXDE @2 (by fernbap on 2010-07-19 13:26:14 GMT from Portugal)
Great review of one of my favorite distros!
Zenwalk surely deserves to be recognized as a real nice fast and lightweight distro, simple and to the point.
Comparing Mint 9 LXDE with netbook OSes is just not getting the point. Mint is and always was a user friendly general purpose distro, and Mint LXDE is no exception. The web centric distros like peppermint or jolicloud are netbook oriented, Mint is not.
I have Mint 9 LXDE installed since the RC, and it runs just great on my 10 year old ASUS laptop.
LXDE is becoming increasingly popular, and rightly so, because it shows how you can have a complete desktop that just works, is fast and light, without all the bells and whistles that are mostly eye candy. PCmanFM is a fantastic file browser, incredibly fast.
For productivity, though, i still use gnome. My box can handle it easily.
5 • General comment on linux distributions (by Ivan Makale on 2010-07-19 13:40:18 GMT from United States)
I use Linux at home and appreciate it, just I'd like to say that what is more needed to spread the use of Linux, in my opinion, is an improvement in hardware support. There is no need for a new linux distro every day, there are probably already too many of them. I'd like if efforts were concentrated not on creating different distributions but on solving practical problems for users like support for webcams, scanners, Internet keys, printers... These are the problems that typically discourage users from switching to Linux (or BSD). I know that hardware vendors give Windows drivers and not Linux drivers with the products, nonetheless I think that should be the direction where to concentrate efforts.
6 • Footnote on Zenwalk (by Jesse on 2010-07-19 13:43:47 GMT from Canada)
A little footnote about Zenwalk. After I finished the review J-P Guillemin got in touch with me and asked about my experience with the distro. He showed an interest in improving things and making the system better for new comers, even after he knew my review had been submitted. It was a pleasant surprise as I don't often see that kind of interest in getting feedback from developers.
7 • Fat Debian... (by smartjak on 2010-07-19 13:54:10 GMT from United States)
I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you! That Jean-Philippe Guillemin had the gall to call my beloved Debian fat!
8 • Another footnote on Zenwalk Linux 6.4 "Core"... (by Aurel Serban on 2010-07-19 14:48:55 GMT from Romania)
I've installed the new version of Zenwalk 6.4 "Core" and...surprise: the distro comes with qbittorrent who needs as dependence boost 1.41 while Netpkg installs...boost 1.42 ! What's
going on ?!.. Thank you !
9 • @5 (by Dan on 2010-07-19 14:55:45 GMT from United States)
Many people feel this way. Unfortunately, Linux devs tend to work on the latest, coolest programs, and often let older, non-sexy programs sit.
10 • Zenwalk (by Dan on 2010-07-19 14:57:37 GMT from United States)
I think Zenwalk is a great distro, and I used it for over a year from 08-09. Maybe I should give it another try.
Have they made a USB installer for it? I know it didn't have one a couple years ago.
11 • New Unity based distro (by Anonymous on 2010-07-19 15:25:50 GMT from United States)
You seem to have missed going into any depth about what looks to be a very innovative and interesting distro. That ChameleonOS thing looks like a really neat concept. Sort of like having Firefox Personas for your desktop, which would be a lot easier than installing Gnome or KDE from repositories especially on the slow/old hardware the distro targets. Perhaps if it matures a little you could look do a piece on it? Anyhow, nice to see Unity meeting their goal of creating spin off distros.
12 • RE:Hardware Support is Not Bad (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-07-19 16:00:34 GMT from United States)
Hardware support has always been an issue with Linux but I don't see much of a problem anymore. Today most everything just works and that has been mostly my experience so I can't speak for others. Sometimes drivers are an issue but there isn't anything we can do about that especially when everything is so closed up. As far as too many distros, that will always be debated. It's just the nature of the beast known as the GPL and there will be no end to the many distros. Some of us believe that is a good thing and some don't. Oh well.
BareMetal does look interesting. It's been awhile since I messed with Assembly. Will check it out.
13 • @8 Zenwalk (by kran on 2010-07-19 17:52:19 GMT from Greece)
What's going on is that a great part of the software that is available in the Zenwalk repositories is broken. I haven't tried all of them, but the ones I've tried are a complete mess. You'll find software that has been compiled using older library versions than the ones that are available more often than not and as a result the software doesn't even run. I guess that when they say that they are offering 2800 packages, that doesn't mean that all those packages actually work. What's even worse is that Zenwalk is broken by design. Once a new version is out, if you're still on the previous version, don't even think of touching the package manager, anything you do will result to breaking your system. The repositories are automatically moved in the new version and there is no warning at all that you need to (actually required to) do the equivalent of a dist-upgrade. Which might even break netpkg itself and you'll be left stranded with a reinstall being the only option. All that only because you wanted to install a single package from the repositories. I've been burned by that behaviour more than once and I now know not to trust Zenwalk. Search the Zenwalk forums and you'll find many similar cases.
To make matters even worse, only the very latest release is supposed to be supported, but even then support doesn't seem to mean much. Security upgrades never happen. Take for example firefox (or iceweasel/icecat, whatever they call it). The version you get for Zenwalk 6.4 is still 3.6.3 and it will never be upgraded in the lifetime of Zenwalk 6.4, whatever the security implications. A fact that has not been addressed at all by this week's review and is a very important reason for me to not ever touch Zenwalk again. It might be nice for trying out for a couple of days, but nothing I would consider installing in my PCs.
14 • Debian not fat (by Claus Futtrup on 2010-07-19 18:13:33 GMT from Denmark)
In the interview with the founder of Zenwalk, the print says "but still provides the same level of modernity as fat Debian or Red Hat based systems." ... it was not meant per se that Debian is a fat (as in bloated) system. Sorry about that one. Instead we can only assume what was actually meant. Personally I think the comment was directed towards many of the derived _Desktop_ distros, where some of them can appear more or less bloated, aka the term "fat" was used here.
Sorry! I cross my fingers and hope the appology is well taken here. Please accept.
15 • Zen Kernel (by Diego on 2010-07-19 18:46:21 GMT from Mexico)
When I read the title of the feature article I initially thought that it was covering the Zen Kernel : http://zen-kernel.org/about
Perhaps a future article could cover it? Ive been running it quite happily on my two primary laptops work & home with great results...
16 • @13 Zenwalk (by Aurel Serban on 2010-07-19 19:02:11 GMT from Romania)
Many thanks kran ! I checked also many packages and the situation is the same: the Zenwalk is broken by design as you wrote. Thank you once again for your important reasons that make me to leave this distro and to try Slackware. All the best from Romania !
17 • @16 (by Claus Futtrup on 2010-07-19 20:24:38 GMT from Denmark)
Don't you think it is a little bit unfair to complain about incompatibility for Zenwalk "extra" package repository, since all packages are named in a way it can easily be identified what version the package was made for ...
18 • Zenwalk Review (by Landor on 2010-07-19 20:37:02 GMT from Canada)
I have one question about the review. You made the comment, "Zenwalk may be the most Linux operating system I've used", what does that mean exactly?
I'm not nit-picking the review either, I'm truly curious as to what that means.
Keep your stick on the ice...
19 • Zenwalk Review (by Jesse on 2010-07-19 21:01:11 GMT from Canada)
>> I have one question about the review. You made the comment, "Zenwalk may be the most Linux operating system I've used", what does that mean exactly?
Honestly, it's a bit difficult to explain. The best way I can think of to expand on that is... Well, have you ever read a poem or watched a play and thought, "That's very Shakespearean"? Or maybe looked at a painting and thought, "It reminds me of Picasso"? While I was using Zenwalk, I felt the way the system was set up, the feel, the performance... in a lot of ways it embodied the way I think of Linux. Maybe not even on a conscious level.
It might be due in a small way to my first Linux experience also being a Slack-based system. It could also be the speed, the multiple choices of package mirrors, the wide range of pre-installed software and text installer just say "that's Linux" to me.
20 • RE: 19 (by Landor on 2010-07-19 21:14:09 GMT from Canada)
I understand exactly. I used to be into cars extremely heavy. When I put my hand on the shifter of a car I had been building or someone else's (standard transmission) and I could literally feel the raw torque through it, it felt like a real car. I couldn't explain to someone what a real car meant, but to me that's what it meant.
Oh no, wait, does that mean I just wrote a kind of/sort of Linux Car analogy? lol Oh the shame..lol :)
Another what to put it (and I've always felt this way about Gentoo because of my past experience with having a CLUE: Command Line User Experience..lol), it's like sitting in your favourite chair, when you're there, it feels how a chair should, and as if you're "home".
Thank you for explaining it.
Keep your stick on the ice...
21 • Chameleon OS (by mdawkins on 2010-07-19 21:20:59 GMT from United States)
I have simple been floored by this remaster. It is a ton of fun to play with and even customize for yourself. This will be one of those projects to watch.
22 • Zenwalk and mobile modems (by forlin on 2010-07-19 22:00:53 GMT from Portugal)
I have learned from various Jesse reviews that when hes Novatel mobile modem cannot be handled by a distro out of the box, my Vodafone Huawey will not too. It happens with all distros who opt to use wicd. I'm desperate to install a Slackware based distro, but all them use wicd wich is a show stop for me. And I feel it's unfair, as being many of those distros, light weight and good for netboxes, the portability of this devices get compromised in case its owners cannot access the net from (almost) everywhere, with a mobile broadband.
23 • Re. #12 Hardware Support Not Bad.... (by Frustrated on 2010-07-19 22:37:15 GMT from Canada)
Much as I use and love Linux, hardware support continues to be a major problem. The single most important application that I use and most of my friends depend on relate to working with images: Scanning and printing. Around here, that usually means dependence on Canon products. Go into just about any computer store around here, small corner store, or "Big Box" store; it's all Canon. As readers here are probably aware, Canon has to be one of the most Linux UNFRIENDLY manufacturers out there. For the moment, I keep a "censored"os partition on a backup machine (don't want to "contaminate" my perfectly working Linux workstation), but it would be nice to be able to finally blow way that other brain dead os once and for all.
Scanner support is handled by sane, and support and updates for dedicated flatbed scanners seems to occur at painfully slow pace. If one wants good quality scans from affordable commodity hardware, there appears to a choice of only 2 suppliers: Canon (usually unsupported) and Epson perfection series (impossible to find locally - ordering online not an option here). HP scanners ARE available locally, but not the ones supported by Sane/Linux. Also, online reviews indicate inferior scan results, dynamic range, etc. compared to Canon and Epson. Actually, this is a little suprising - I thought HP was the inventor or at least original supplier of flatbed scanners.
Now I know the sane developers probably have limited manpower and funds available, but what does the community do in the case of a company like Canon? They have a track record of ignoring protest campaigns, mass letters, etc. Maybe having a nice juicy government contract depending on Linux support?
There are other examples. Take nvidia for example. Still closed source. Really can't understand why this is necessary in this day and age. Consider the dirty tricks printer manufactures pulled in the past. For example, Lexmark and HP using embedded chips to prevent consumers from using affordable cartridge supply alternatives. Since that was not an OS issue, there was a successful class action suit. I think it fell under some anti-combines legislation? Look at Camera manufacturers. Certainly don't have to bring up Sony and unwanted rootkits, and playstation issues. But consider now that the firmware in Panasonic (amongst other camera manufacturers) checks an embedded chip in the lithium battery to make certain you don't use someone else's battery. The Panasonic battery is a special order $50 or $60 ($cdn) item at most local retailers. A superior quality alternative is available online for $20, and an equivalent for $16, but without that chip, they camera will choke. Further questioning turned up that most camera manufacturers have gotten into the act, and gotten around government action (as happened in the printer replacement cartridge situation) by claiming a "safety issue" when all they need to do is "qualify" a number of independent suppliers.
What I propose as a solution: Our own independent country of Linux-Land where EVERYTHING would be open (music, hardware design, air, etc), eveything would run on wind/solar/ etc. politicians and lawyers would be burned at the stake (another source of alternative energy....), umm this has turned into a "rant" Sorry (one can dream though)......
24 • RE: 23/Hardware/My Thoughts - Link in comment #2 (by Landor on 2010-07-19 23:44:25 GMT from Canada)
I agree with you that printer support and scanner support can be abysmal in Linux. That was the same with web cameras not long ago. But also too, as Eddie stated, you can't do anything in regard to a specific product if a manufacturer isn't willing to open up their drivers.
There's a key point there too. You can't do anything about a specific product/manufacturer. You can choose to do some investigation and buy products that do work. I had a web camera that worked in Windows before I returned to Linux and didn't with Linux. Was I going to dual-boot, back and forth for the sake of a web camera? No. I bit the bullet and purchased one that actually worked flawlessly in Linux. I had a printer (that bit the dust thankfully) that was a pain to setup in Linux (a Brother that other people have said here are so easy to get going in Linux, right). When it finally stopped working I replaced it with a Samsung Laser, ML-2240. Not at all a high-end printer by any means, but it works, and I bought it from one of those Big Box stores here in Canada, cheap too. Investigate the products (reviews and such) that are currently in your local stores (all brands) and also do some actual research online to find which ones work with Linux and which do not. If all else fails, plug in a dot-matrix, they still work flawlessly in Linux with CUPS. :) Seriously though, and I don't mean this as rude, put some effort into it and don't buy crap that doesn't work with Linux. That's the only way manufacturers will ever change, when enough do the same.
As a lot of you already know I can't stand catch-phrases and crap. People look really stupid saying them. Just explain the facts and don't sound like you're a used car salesman or a politician.
I skimmed the link in comment #2 about Peppermint. I had to laugh when I got to the end. This is why:
" All we can say is that Peppermint is fast. Peppermint Ice is stupid fast.”
But I thought they were saying Peppermint was stupid fast? Now I know where their forum members/users got the term from, which they just regurgitate for the rest of the community to gag and choke on.
Keep your stick on the ice...
25 • No command line needed for advanced permissions (by Chris on 2010-07-20 00:09:47 GMT from United States)
I'm not sure why these tutorials seem to always choose the command line route when there are perfectly good, easily accessible GUI ways of doing the same thing. While traditionally, tools to manage file ACL entries have been setfacl and getfacl, those command-line tools may be off-putting and some people may be uncomfortable using them.
If these so called experts expect John Q. Public to adopt Linux, then the surrest way to scare him off is to make him think the only way to do things is by typing cryptic commands at the command line. To jump into the 21st century and do things the graphical way, here's all you need to do:
Open your package manager and search keyword "acl" Install the access control lists tools and utilities (installs libraries and headers.) In Gnome, also install Eiciel. In KDE, everything needed is built into KDE 4.
Open /etc/fstab as root and edit the lines for your Linux partitions (that you want advanced permissions) to look like this: (note: acl added to attributes)
Partition Mount Point Filesystem Attributes
/dev/sda1 / ext4 user_xattr,noatime,acl 1 1
/dev/sda3 /home ext4 user_xattr,noatime,acl 1 2
Save the file and reboot the system.
In Gnome, Eiciel integrates into Nautilus file manager and allows you to visually edit file ACL entries in the exact same way you could in Windows NT and later. You can easily add and remove users and groups who will be granted permissions through the graphical interface.
In KDE 4, you now have an 'Advanced Permissions' tab that allows advanced ACL editing by simply right-clicking a file or folder. Viola! Easy!
26 • @23: about a Linux-Land (by forlin on 2010-07-20 00:12:51 GMT from Portugal)
I appreciated the post and the problems posed by "Frustrated" on 2010-07-19 22:37:15. Hes proposal about "Our own independent country of Linux-Land" made me wonder if someone sometime has though about creating a large social network, made by, drove by and to be used by Open Source followers and lovers, all around the world. Something similar to Facebook or Tweeter, where we all could socialize, unite efforts to achieve objectives, lobbying, attract new users, ... well you name it.
What do you think about it people?
Just too much utopia?
27 • RE: 5 (by clarkimus on 2010-07-20 00:17:17 GMT from United States)
Linux also needs more publishers writing/porting games and apps to Linux. I have to support multiple Windows PCs for friends and family. I'd move them to Ubuntu in a heartbeat, except they would not be able to play their games, or they wouldn't be able to use iTunes. If one or two casual game companies, such as BigFish or PopCap, started porting games to Linux, we could see more casual users migrating away from Windows. Wine is not the answer, unless installing and running a program on Wine becomes as easy and as predictable as installing one on Windows.
28 • @25- Irony (by Mr Wiffle on 2010-07-20 00:23:11 GMT from United States)
Kinda funny you go from: "If these so called experts expect John Q. Public to adopt Linux, then the surrest way to scare him off is to make him think the only way to do things is by typing cryptic commands at the command line."
Open /etc/fstab as root and edit the lines for your Linux partitions (that you want advanced permissions) to look like this: (note: acl added to attributes)
Partition Mount Point Filesystem Attributes
/dev/sda1 / ext4 user_xattr,noatime,acl 1 1
/dev/sda3 /home ext4 user_xattr,noatime,acl 1 2
Save the file and reboot the system.
If JQP is too dense to copy and paste from a tutorial (until it sinks in)- JQP shouldn't be using linux. The CLI is used because it is much faster than explaining the steps in a gui most of the time.
29 • RE: Irony, by Mr Wiffle (by Chris on 2010-07-20 00:29:54 GMT from United States)
Mr. Wiffle, you're right in pointing out the irony of editing a file to enable Access Control Lists for Linux. You'd think this behavior would be the default but that's another post. Editing a single file once is still a lot easier for people wrap their minds around than entering myriad of commands accurately and in the correct syntax (presumably from memory) into a Terminal. While you might think this is faster, I think it's laziness on the part of "experts" to take this route. Sure, it's easier for THEM; what about the rest of us?
30 • RE RE Irony =) (by Mr Wiffle on 2010-07-20 00:49:12 GMT from United States)
So, you propose a gui for every task we need to get done? Distros are already becoming severely bloated- imagine the speed hit we'd take to implement that.
It's not just about faster, or easier for the "teacher"- it's also about accuracy.
Copy and Paste should be a newcomer's best friend. It is absolutely idiot-proof.
To edit said file, would you have the newbie log into X as root?
If not, he is going to run up against the feared terminal to edit the file.
I'm not looking for a flame war. There are newcomer-friendly distros that try to shield the user from the terminal as much as possible.
31 • RE: 30 (by Chris on 2010-07-20 01:21:33 GMT from United States)
Okay, so copy and paste is the newcomer's best friend. How do you suppose one copies and pastes? From a graphical application like a Web page perhaps? Hmm, why even give the newcomer that luxury. Why not have them forgo X entirely and just use Lynx to view web pages and Vi to edit files? You're not making a lot of sense. We're living in a graphical world. Makers of Smartphones are starting to "get it" and Linux developers need to get it too. People don't want to enter commands. They want to point, click; or better, touch and feel. Before you lambaste me for being a Windows weenie or newbie let me inform you that I've been using Linux for almost a decade now and I used to be a programmer. I merely want to see widespread adoption of Linux because I think it's a helluva operating system. I don't think the way to user adoption is through the command line. Sorry.
32 • Chris, Flame on? (by Mr Wiffle on 2010-07-20 01:32:39 GMT from United States)
I never questioned your credentials for two reasons. It's irrelevant to the topic and I just don't care.
Almost every walk-through a newcomer will run across is going to be mainly centered around the cli. The least you could do is concede that these types of tutorials will achieve the desired effect with minimal resources wasted. Do you really want to take screenshots of every step you go through to achieve a desired outcome?
Let's just agree to disagree. You can stick to your bloated system and I'll continue to keep mine on a diet. In my post @29, I conceded that there are distros that will be better for the user more comfortable with a gui. And that's fine. Sorry if you are upset.
33 • How to ACL (by Jesse on 2010-07-20 01:51:23 GMT from Canada)
When I wrote the tutorial on ACL, I did so using the command-line approach for three reasons.
1. Almost all the people who need ACL are admins in network environments. Those people should be comfortable using a command line. Your typical home user doesn't need ACL, and shouldn't have to worry about it.
2. To enable ACL, you need to edit fstab. That's a scary, cryptic file. If someone can handle figuring out which partition is theirs and putting the correct keyword in the right place, they can probably handle the command line.
3. A problem tutorial writers run into when dealing with Linux is the diversity of software. Do you write the tutorial for KDE users or GNOME users? Which version? KDE4 or KDE3, GNOME 2 or the new GNOME 3? What about Xfce? Does LXDE offer the same tools? My point being that the writer either has to write seven different versions of the same thing (and still risk leaving someone out) or write it out once using the command line approach.
From the command line may not be the easiest way, but it should work across distributions and regardless of desktop environment.
34 • RE: 33 (by Landor on 2010-07-20 03:55:21 GMT from Canada)
That's where I tend to agree with the commenter. Your own reply shows just how fractured Linux is. That doesn't bode well for any type of mass adoption unless a standard format is decided upon to make things a one-step function that is exactly how it's done right across the board for every major Linux Distribution.
Let's be honest with one another, aspects of the community fight and argue continually over the must mundane and minute things surrounding it, never agreeing to one specific idea/way to do things. Singular adoption of a desktop, configuration/admin tools(etc, etc,), as a standard will never happen. If it does, well, I'll go back to using BSD..lol :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
35 • RE: ACL comment 33 (by Mike on 2010-07-20 04:45:34 GMT from Canada)
Well said Jesse. Especially point number three. I've found that especially when trying to get certain things working on somebody else's highly modified system, it's faster and easier (for me) to just open up a terminal. There's nothing at all wrong with using a GUI, in fact I spend most of my time nowadays using one, but CLI just can't be beat for some things.
As always I enjoyed reading this week, am looking forward to next weeks articles. Cheers,
36 • @17 (by Aurel Serban on 2010-07-20 05:30:08 GMT from Romania)
Sorry but I've used from the very beginning only the "current" mirrors as it's recommended by the Zenwalk Home page and by the Zenwalk forums' admins. All the best from Romania, Aurel.
37 • Offline installer of opensuse 11.3 and ubuntu 10.04 (by Sanjay on 2010-07-20 06:23:54 GMT from India)
Now you can enjoy ubuntu and opensuse offline installer to install all multimedia codecs on your Pc with out internet read more at
38 • Lin-X (by Lin-X on 2010-07-20 06:42:28 GMT from United States)
Lin-X Version 2 coming soon!
39 • ZenWalk: Openbox and virtual experiences (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 07:17:06 GMT from Portugal)
Jesse, we at DistroWatch we know there is too the Openbox edition.
By the way, on my VBox it runs fast with 256 MB and works with hangs with 128 MB of RAM. Maybe the default partitioning and and my host machine's i686 processor are the reason :).
What I didn't like: to have the guest additions installation being reported as correctly done while the graphics module simply doesn't work: having reported the problem in the forum when the world cup started and so far didn't have an answer of whatsoever - for me, the forum support is poor.
But ... this is a hell of a fast running linux, alright. I don't use it more because of the mentioned graphics module installation. I saw you tweaked the Xorg.conf file. Any link about that? Thanks.
40 • Re: 33 (by jake on 2010-07-20 08:08:07 GMT from United States)
"or write it out once using the command line approach."
DING! DING! DING! We have a winnah!
Apple OSX users take note: "sudo" is the un*x command line. Deal with it.
Likewise various Debian clones ... And Microsoft provides command line tools for it's OS (not that most Windows so-called Admins know what "batch files" are, nor how to use them to interact with the registry & the rest of the swamp from Redmond ...)
41 • Debian's fatness ... yes, of course ... (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 09:21:48 GMT from Portugal)
I did two netinstalls of Debian's lenny, one with the Gnome and the other with the XFCE, to get what I hoped to be slimmer but full desktops debians and ended up with (for me) useless OS's, as it revealed to be, believe it or not, even more sluggish than Ubuntu for the same resources provided. When I tested ZenŴalk I thought the label XFCE was there only for some components and marketing ... cause the thing was flying as an openboxed lxde ... then I went for the Gnome ... almost the same thing ... an I was convinced something was made differently. On the other hand, the openbox edition of the ZW's didn't bring me an improved running speed over teh XFCE ... and it remains to be reevaluated once the heavier apps are brought to the game.
42 • Lin-X (by david on 2010-07-20 09:30:47 GMT from United States)
@38 Cant't Wait!
43 • Attention Everyone! Lets Tell Oracle enoughs enough! (by OpenSolaris Lover on 2010-07-20 09:45:31 GMT from United States)
In Response to the horrible news about the OpenSoloaris Governing Board:
Hello Fellow OpenSource Community Members!, Lets Join Together To Tell Oracle enoughs enough! , Oracle has been a disaster for open source , trashing and wrecking everything sun had built! They seem to believe they can just take all this great open source work and kill it off for their proprietary selfish needs. using it and not giving back!
I Hope you will join us in having a very stern, angry (But not disrespectful)
word with them!
1.) Please Join us in telling them we want OpenSolaris to live and they need to make a response and release the next version within 30 days.
2.) Tell them they cannot kill off opensource projects and communities.
If they continue to do so we will boycott them!
To Join This Action
Go Here: http://www.oracle.com/us/corporate/contact/index.html
And Contact them with this message!
Email Them @: email@example.com
Please Email Them (Or Call Them With this stern word and let them know we aren't going to take this anymore!)
Thanks For Your Time and I Hope You Join This Effort with us! :)
-Keep OpenSolaris Alive Effort!
44 • 19 • Zenwalk Review (by Jesse (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 09:50:02 GMT from Portugal)
:) I understand what you're saying. I have that feeling anytime I identify a "two fifty sixer". Those are things that run happily within 256 MB of ram in my virtual environment. I'm posting from another one, Unity 2010.1 in seamless mode ... and ... well, they are also those I choose to prank some friends ... without their permission, I download and install virtual box, copy the vdi from a pen I'm carrying, set the ram to 256 MB and ... put them working in seamless mode ... with ffox opened ... in the next day I have calls claiming to undo something on their computers ... of course I decline having any responsibility on whatsoever problem they have in their computers but usually end with an agreement to have a look at it provided the dinner is fine and the wine exquisite ... :) ... They usually agree to let the VBox and the distro installed :):)):):) ...
45 • Xorg (by Jesse on 2010-07-20 11:42:53 GMT from Canada)
>> I saw you tweaked the Xorg.conf file. Any link about that? Thanks.
If I remember correctly, all I did was change the video driver in the xorg.conf file to "vesa". Saved and restarted X. Then I installed the VBOX add-ons and was able to revert the X config back to its defaults. Once the add-ons were in place, X worked without any problems under the default config.
46 • RE:23, I Do Understand (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-07-20 12:02:12 GMT from United States)
Sooner or later hardware manufacturers will have to start paying a little attention to Linux distros. When? I really have no idea when. All we can do at this time is to take Landor's advice and buy products that work well using Linux. I know that's not always possible tho. I've been trying to do that for years and maybe that's why I don't really have any hardware issues. Also whenever I upgrade someone's system or replace someone's defective hardware I try to use something that is Linux friendly when possible. That's really the only action we can take right now.
But I do like your solution.
"What I propose as a solution: Our own independent country of Linux-Land where EVERYTHING would be open (music, hardware design, air, etc), eveything would run on wind/solar/ etc. politicians and lawyers would be burned at the stake (another source of alternative energy....), umm this has turned into a "rant" Sorry (one can dream though)......"
47 • @24 (by Patrick on 2010-07-20 14:27:09 GMT from United States)
"""I agree with you that printer support and scanner support can be abysmal in Linux. That was the same with web cameras not long ago."""
Funny that this was brought up just now I'm running into this issue with webcams. I just bought a Logitech C905 webcam for a project I am working on. I wanted a webcam with autofocus because I need to have a sharp image when items are close to the camera (the project involves bar code scanning using ZBar). So I did my research, found out this camera works well in Linux and is advertised to have autofocus and got one. Tried it yesterday only to find out the autofocus isn't working. After some deeper digging it seems the autofocus is controlled, not by the unit itself, but by the driver... in Windows. Sigh. Seems that now the problem of Winmodems has largely disappeared, we're going to be stuck with Winwebcams?
I found some info suggesting libwebcam and associated tools from www.quickcamteam.net could offer a solution, but everything I find on autofocus is vague and I haven't gotten anything to work yet. Most people who report success with this camera don't even mention autofocus, and that is kind of understandable since the image is perfectly fine at normal "webcamming" distances, so for most uses it seems no autofocus is necessary. Only for my project it is. Either way, a simple project has turned into a major ordeal because of something so stupid. Anyone know of a webcam that has built-in autofocus that works under Linux?
48 • 45 • Xorg (by Jesse (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 15:08:20 GMT from Portugal)
Thanks for your reply. I found the driver was already correctly set to "vesa" in the section "Device" since the installation. Despite that, I'm having the wrong display. I'm going to play with the layout modes and see what happens.
49 • Microsoft hardware marketing for Linux (by Cuda on 2010-07-20 17:54:22 GMT from Canada)
I was at the store today looking for a new mouse and while browsing, something on the Microsoft mice packaging caught my eye. They had the typical Windows and Mac logos to designate the compatibility to those platforms, but beside those two they also had a roundish, spiralish logo with the word 'Universal' printed underneath.
To the average mouse shopping person, there are only two systems to buy for, Windows and Mac. Why put the extra 'Universal' on the packaging. It made me think this is Microsoft's way of trying to capture the extra non-Windows/Mac market without arousing curiosity, naming names and letting the general public know that there are indeed other operating systems out there.
I imagine if some customer in the same situation, towing along a young child as curious as my granddaughter, the child would instantly hone in on the cuddly penguin, question it and want it (regardless of the package contents), possibly opening new doors for her and her parent.
P.S. I know that MS meant Debian when they chose 'Universal' :-)
50 • 47 Autofocus webcams (by Cuda on 2010-07-20 18:06:38 GMT from Canada)
IP camera? They seem to have more smarts built in. Some of them can be purchased as circuit boards and sensor so you can build your own enclosure. The ones I browsed supported all kinds of net protocols, streaming, snapshots, etc. I don't recall what the focus range was, but I assume they would have some sort of autofocus mechanism.
51 • @41 Debian fatness (by Cuda on 2010-07-20 18:48:45 GMT from Canada)
It is possible that for your hardware there are issues in the Debian kernel or configuration that are underutilizing your specific hardware. This type of issue is common in all distros.
There are not many people who will claim that Debian is fatter and more sluggish than Ubuntu! Regardless of how you install (netinstall, usb, CD, etc.), a full gnome install of Debian is smaller in size, has fewer default services enabled (system-wide and Gnome), and uses less memory than a standard Ubuntu install. Those are facts that not even the most diehard Ubuntu fanboy can deny.
You didn't indicate if you tried a minimal install, although one might assume that since you did a net install, that's what your goal was. A minimal Debian install typically involves installing the core system, unchecking all other components (including Desktop and 'standard system') and rebooting to a commandline. Installing a minimal Gnome desktop system can be accomplished by apt-getting xserver-xorg-core, gnome-core and gdm. From that base you can build it up as bloated or minimal as you please. There are many tutorials available. My advice is to avoid the metapackages such as 'gnome' which bring in everything including the kitchen sink, and disabling recommended packages - instead reviewing recommended and suggested packages case by case.
52 • RE: 47 (by Landor on 2010-07-20 19:15:08 GMT from Canada)
Other than "standard" functionality anything along the lines of autofocus, zoom, pan, tilt, etc doesn't work with my camera. Also, my understanding is that for a lot of functions to work the app you're using must be able to specifically control the functions, either automatically or manually through controls.
Oh, I should say, I have a Quickcam Pro 9000. It's nice, so is the one you bought too. You spent the money for something very decent. Shame it doesn't work for you too. The Carl Zeiss is an added bonus.
If you find out any more info (I've looked a lot) that points to making auto-focus/zoom, or even face tracking work, let us know.
Keep your stick on the ice...
53 • 51 • @41 Debian fatness (by Cuda (by manpt on 2010-07-20 20:36:57 GMT from Portugal)
"There are many tutorials available. My advice is to avoid the metapackages such as 'gnome' which bring in everything including the kitchen sink, and disabling recommended packages - instead reviewing recommended and suggested packages case by case"
Lol ... I liked the "kitchen sink" and I'm still loughing ... :):):):)
Fine. Lets work. I downloaded the netinstall iso. On the first run I only chose the standard system. After rebooting I aptitude'd the LXDE ... ehhh ... well, I believe it was the metapackage, rebooted and no desktop was available, no even by calling startx at the prompt. Thought to install xdm or gdm and see what would happen but preferred to install gnome. So I did it in a second installation. That's were the fatness came from. Third run and installation, the XFCE, same result.
Meaning, a link pointing to one of those netinstall slimlined installations, preferrebly with Openbox/lxde would be welcomed, Of course, any slimlined gnome or xfce would be very welcomed too.
54 • Debian with Xfce - speedy (by Barnabyh on 2010-07-20 22:46:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
Months ago I installed Debian Lenny from the Xfce CD -since prior to the last release they're doing cd's for all three major desktops, it's not the dark ages any more, which to me is more or less akin to the trilogy Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu- and then upgraded to testing.
It was anything but fat, almost Zenwalk-like in speed. I don't know but what you state sounds strange. Hope you can work it out.
Btw, I think there's a Debian LXDE image as well, but you'll have to search a bit.
55 • Debian Lxde CD install (by Barnabyh on 2010-07-20 22:53:19 GMT from United Kingdom)
Wait, they're both on the same cd. Xfce or lxde - you choose at the menu.
56 • @55 • Debian Lxde CD install (by Barnabyh (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 23:07:55 GMT from Portugal)
"Wait, they're both on the same cd. Xfce or lxde - you choose at the menu."
Going to test it. Thanks.
57 • skinny debian - re #53 (by gnomic on 2010-07-20 23:11:29 GMT from New Zealand)
Hmmm, was going to suggest you check refracta, a slimmish Debian version with Enlightenment as window manager. However it seems to have gone into hiding since a few days ago, did have a little site on ibiblio, but the content has vanished. Maybe it means the maker is plotting another release. Just one man's project for his own amusement, but has some merit. See
58 • The "Ice" thing to cool the pepper (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 23:16:17 GMT from Portugal)
... of all the buntus tested, this is the fastest, even faster than Lubuntu. Can't see much use for the Ice applications but the base is good enough for anything else. Well done. Now, lets get to the InstantPepper :):):) ... light and fast booting ... :)
59 • fast downloaders (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 23:20:21 GMT from Portugal)
... any sugestions for multi-threaded fast downloaders for debians/buntus and mandrivas, not attached to any specific desktop? ... it happens the DownThemAll FF extension have not been ported to Chromium ...
60 • @57 • skinny debian - re #53 (by gnomic (by meanpt on 2010-07-20 23:27:04 GMT from Portugal)
... a faster E17? :) ... will have to see it to believe it ... lets see how refracta returns, if it will return, from the nowhere limbo :)
61 • RE: 60 (by Landor on 2010-07-21 02:53:37 GMT from Canada)
I did a minimal then core install of KDE tonight using with VirtualBox. I didn't setup a swap file (so it has no swap at all)and actually got it down to 64 mb of ram where I found Konqueror was lagging too much for my tastes. With 96 mb of ram Konqueror and KDE 3.5 in general just flies. I need to dig out my old system and see what I got Gentoo down to for ram usage for KDE 3.5. The only problem there is it's not as basic as this install. I might play with this and see if I can get it to be a bit more responsive at 64 mb.
I just thought I'd add in my two cents on the topic. I should also say I am using a quad-core for the host, though only 1 cpu enabled for the guest.
62 • addition to #61 (by Landor on 2010-07-21 02:55:54 GMT from Canada)
I should have stated that I was using Debian, a netinstall, and that I posted the last comment (as well as this) with the install at 96 mb of ram set. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
63 • @53 & 56 Xfce on Debian (by Cuda on 2010-07-21 03:17:20 GMT from Canada)
Perhaps you also need to install the hdparm package and tweak it for your hard drive. I don't think it's installed by default in Debian, unlike Ubuntu, which from my recollection does.
I'm also an Xfce convert from Gnome. It's a good balance of style and performance and definitely much leaner and faster. I tried LXDE too, but it felt a little too rough around the edges for my liking. My desktop system is a dual core Atom and it is capable of handling a Gnome desktop, but Xfce really shines on it.
If I recall, after the base install, added xserver-xorg-core, alsa-base, nodm (it's meant for kiosks, signage pc's, etc - no multiuser lgoin screen, but it's lightning fast compared to gdm or kdm), removed cron (kept anacron). One of the things about Debian I don't like is they include the exim MTA which I think is unnecessary for a typical desktop. Removed. I also removed all but the Intel xorg display driver because I'm not planning on upgrading beyond integrated graphics.
Xfce packages, I think I just chose xfwm4, xfdesktop4, xfce4-utils, xfce4-terminal, xfce4-session, xfce4-panel, xfce4-settings, xfprint4, xfce4-powermanager, xfce4-notifyd, thunar, xscreensaver & some of the nice thunar and panel plugins.
And the lightweight apps.... mousepad, squeeze, galculator, abiword, gnumeric, claws-mail, chromium-browser, vlc, gtkam, gftp, evince-gtk, eog, linphone, transmission-gtk. I try to avoid apps with gnome dependencies and use the gtk versions instead.
64 • Mint 9 LXDE - laptop sleep pretty well go (by gnomic on 2010-07-21 05:13:04 GMT from New Zealand)
Ran Mint 9 lxde version on a ThinkPad Z60m. Deep breath and closed the lid on a live session. It came up with the gui still living. In fact it accomplished this feat 3 or 4 times over 24 hours with long sessions in the browser and interruptions to the network connection. Finally the system began to degrade with the usual squashfs errors showing up in dmesg, but amazingly the existing X apps kept on running. However new apps couldn't be opened on cli or in the gui. Trying to run lxterminal resulted in /usr/bin/mint-fortune : line 31 : 6817 Broken pipe /usr/games/fortune 6818 Bus error (core dumped) | $command -f $ cow. Overall a pretty good result as this was a torture test for a live cd. Had to power cycle finally.
65 • peppermint ice (by forlin on 2010-07-21 06:00:13 GMT from Portugal)
I liked the Peppermint one review Jesse has made a few weeks ago. By the time, I had it already installed and could recognize Jesse work was a true and fair view of what Peppermint gives to the user, witch in resume is ease of use, web centric applications and a good feet for light or old computers, with an excellent h/w detection.
With Peppermint Ice the developers have raised the bar on those features, and were able to achieve an impressive integration of the internet with the desktop environment.
In my opinion it's a Linux o/s that I would highly recommend to all who appreciate those characteristics.
And it's also true what the developers say about its speed: Peppermint is stupid fast (of course, "stupid" in this sense is an intensifier, like "helluva" and others).
Probably the fastest complete o/s with a DE out there.
66 • Zenwalk Wiki (by Toolz on 2010-07-21 06:03:21 GMT from India)
Suitably encouraged, I thought about giving Zenwalk a try. Noticing that Unetbootin doesn't list Zenwalk 6.4 as supported I searched for more info. I was encouraged by the existence of a page at wiki.zenwalk.org ... but less encouraged when the guide consisted of "This Account Has Been Suspended" and a redirect to Bluehost.
67 • @65 Peppermint Ice (by sirkit77 on 2010-07-21 06:40:01 GMT from United States)
Yes, it is. More users are coming to realize this as time goes by.
68 • 62 • addition to #61 (by meanpt on 2010-07-21 07:25:34 GMT from Portugal)
:):):) ... Landor, what was left from that kde 3.5 after that strip down? ...
69 • 63 • @53 & 56 Xfce on Debian (by Cuda (by meanpt on 2010-07-21 07:33:20 GMT from Portugal)
"I'm also an Xfce convert from Gnome. It's a good balance of style and performance and definitely much leaner and faster".
:) ... you should see the zenwalk gnome performing within 256 MB of ram. ... Paldo also provides a good working gnome for these resources :)
:) ... and i'll try your striped xfce and see what happens :)
70 • 66 • Zenwalk Wiki (by Toolz) ... and more problems longing into forums (by meanpt on 2010-07-21 08:56:03 GMT from Portugal)
:( ... I experienced a likely situation when tried yesterday to login to the forum where I already have a user account and was told on the first login attempt I already had "too many attempts" ... it sucks ... alright ... seems the site maintenance and managing team isn't complying with their responsibilities ... or maybe ZenWalk doesn't need more users looking for help or reporting problems ... bad dog ... bad dog ...
71 • still on ice (but not the stick :) ) (by meanpt on 2010-07-21 09:21:09 GMT from Portugal)
:) ... still testing the ... well ... fastest 10.04 buntu so far ... and making a sense for the cloudy applications ... currently running IcedMint (forget the Pepper) with 350 MB of RAM and being able to use office applications in the cloud, meaning work is possible, while if I had to use the full fledged installed applications for that my local system workability could be compromised for not having enough resources for it. The Chromium browser that usually matches well the light distro's capabilities (on Unity I gave up of midori for Chromium) feels specially well suited to work with Ice. :) ... what a hot Ice ...
72 • @52 - Webcam progress (by Patrick on 2010-07-21 14:47:39 GMT from United States)
"""If you find out any more info (I've looked a lot) that points to making auto-focus/zoom, or even face tracking work, let us know."""
I did some more experimenting last night. Downloaded and compiled libwebcam and uvcdynctrl from quickcamteam.net. It took some effort to get it compiled (finding/getting uvcvideo.h turned out to be ridiculously hard). It didn't work at first, "uvcdynctrl -c" did not list any focus control, even after a reboot. Turns out I needed to do "sudo uvcdynctrl -i /etc/udev/data/046d/logitech.xml" manually to make it pick up the extra controls, and voila, focus was available! Manual focus only, it seems for autofocus you'd need a daemon or program to analyze the sharpness of the incoming video and adjust the focus setting for you.
Out of curiosity, I installed the thing on my wife's Windows PC. There it had autofocus alright, but it seems pretty much worthless. It is very slow, and for some reason, it seemed to be capable of focusing on objects close to the camera, but anything farther than 3 feet was always blurry. I turned autofocus off and used manual focus. And guess what: it was not possible to manually set focus to make far away objects sharp... and I could do it in Linux just fine! Seems the hardware is capable, but there's some bug in their Windows software.
I would think that if you get libwebcam and uvcdynctrl going on your system you should be able to use pan/tilt/zoom/focus manually on your webcam. I did all my testing with "uvcdynctrl -s xxx yyy" commands, I don't know if there is any GUI software in Linux that allows to control these things with sliders or provides autofocus or face tracking.
73 • @72 (by Patrick on 2010-07-21 15:13:24 GMT from United States)
Forgot to add this link with some useful info on how to install the necessary software and how to use the uvcdynctrl program.
74 • RE: 68 - 72 (by Landor on 2010-07-21 20:37:59 GMT from Canada)
I did pretty well what I usually do with a netinstall from Debian, basically the same as CUDA does as well. All I did was install xserver-xorg-core, xorg, kde-core, kdm (I like kdm :) ), alsa-base, alsa-utils. That was after a minimal install without desktop or standard checked. I also do the same with no suggested or recommended packages. It's pretty well the only way to get a straight minimalistic install without any extras and go from there. I did notice a bit of lag later on (but only very slight, but still taking into consideration I'm running the guest on a fairly modern quad-core) with only 96 mb of ram. So I didn't try to tweak it down to 64 mb. I might even increase it to 128 mb and see how well it does over time given its minor lag at 96. I might even put this on my netbook again (in a virtual machine) and see how well it does with 128 mb on actual lower-end processor.
I never looked at uvcdynctrl. Does it have a video display of the cam, or only just the functions? I ask because as I've said, I always understood that while a camera is in use anything outside of the application using it cannot make any changes to it, or is this where libwebcam comes into play?
Thanks for the information Patrick, it's greatly appreciated. One of the last minor issues I've had with Linux that looks like it will be fixed. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
75 • @70 (by Claus Futtrup on 2010-07-22 07:34:57 GMT from Denmark)
I'm sorry to hear about the problem with the Zenwalk support forum. This is not a problem we've heard about ... if you're still interested in logging in, please contact e.g. Vincent Kergonna. All contact info is available on our web-site:
We sure could need another hand.
76 • Regarding Ubuntu et.al. (by sirkit77 on 2010-07-22 08:39:39 GMT from United States)
First, let me say I`m honestly not trying to start a flame war, this is a well-meaning question from a Linux newbie so please try and treat it as such. I`ve noticed that every time the word Ubuntu is spoken it`s accompanied by unspoken, (and spoken), derision, as in "Not another Ubuntu clone", etc. I understand it`s more popular with the masses than the venerable distro it came from, Debian. But isn`t it still Linux? Why all the animosity? Isn`t there a valid reason for it`s popularity? Does the saying, "All boats rise with the tide", not apply here and why? Just wondering. Can I please get some well-reasoned answers here?
77 • last comment #76 (by Barnabyh on 2010-07-22 11:00:33 GMT from Germany)
Personally I think it is just the sheer amount of distros based on it with often little to distinguish. You get this sort of reaction from people when overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.
78 • Ubuntu (by Jesse on 2010-07-22 11:35:01 GMT from Canada)
I think there are a few reasons for people turning away from Ubuntu and its derivatives. One is the old phrase, "Familiarity breeds contempt." If you hear about something non-stop, after while you get tired of it. Lots of people say the same thing about music played on radio stations. "I used to like that song, but it got so much air time I got sick of it."
As Barnabyh pointed out, some Ubuntu clones don't bring anything new to the table. Some just have one release, which doesn't add anything new, and then it disappears. Which means there's a lot of noise to signal; among Ubuntu spin-offs. Some children of Ubuntu are great, but you have to dig for them among a sea of re-spins.
And a few Linuxers don't like anything which is popular. We see this every few years. Right now Ubuntu is getting flack for being popular, before that PCLinuxOS, Mandrake.... Whomever is at the top of the Linux hill will get the focus of complaints.
79 • re#77 (by hab on 2010-07-22 11:37:40 GMT from Canada)
I think the answer to that question is rooted more in human psychology than computer science,
As a long time linux user the answer to the question is as puzzling to me as it is to you!
80 • re:#77 (by herrod on 2010-07-22 13:17:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
I think some of it also has to do with the basic Linux and FOSS philosophy around communities of development. Right now, Ubuntu is a good 'product' but Shuttleworth is starting to make decisions on his own, with or without community support... Canonical is starting to appear like an Apple wannabe in some people's eyes (not necessarily mine).
Although Distrowatch is essentially a resource for distro-hopping, I get the feeling that many on this forum stopped hopping a while ago and are just 'hanging out' here, without particularly being interested in each and every new distro that comes along. I might be wrong though...
81 • Package tracking (by max on 2010-07-22 14:41:13 GMT from Brazil)
With the recent move to KMS, maybe you should start tracking the distro's video driver versions...
i.e xf86-video-intel, radeon, via and noveau
For example, I went here: http://intellinuxgraphics.org/
And wanted to know which distros might be using the latest driver, but such info is not available in your package lists...
82 • RE:You man be correct. (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-07-22 14:59:07 GMT from United States)
@80, I believe that you are probably correct when you state that you believe most people here are not distro hoppers any longer. We will still try out new distros and the new releases of old favorites but most have settled on their main distro already.
"Canonical is starting to appear like an Apple wannabe in some people's eyes (not necessarily mine)."
I think at this time nobody in their right minds would want to be an Apple product. Of course it does help the duck tape market.:)
83 • Regarding Ubuntu et.al.cont. (by sirkit77 on 2010-07-22 16:35:05 GMT from United States)
Thank you all. They were all pretty much what I thought,exactly, lol. I agree completely. I`m always looking for something different, which leads into distro-hopping. I still do, being new but I have my fave, Peppermint Ice, always installed. I`m currently checking out UberStudent and loving it, discovered here at DWW. I check here everyday for new distros, packages and the comments. Again, thank you all.
84 • Uber (by Thom on 2010-07-22 16:58:26 GMT from Denmark)
Actually, uber- is from German, meaning 'over' (comparable to English super- or extra-'). The word 'productive', on the other hand is of Latin origin.
85 • Mandriva lose yet another developer! (by Anonymous on 2010-07-22 17:33:22 GMT from United States)
Mandriva lose yet another developer!
86 • RE:85, By His Own Hand? (by Eddie Wilson on 2010-07-22 18:49:11 GMT from United States)
Sounds like he's been there since the beginning. Did he leave on his own in order to move on to bigger and better things? I wish him well no matter what. And I'm still rooting for Mandriva to pull it out and do well. I just wish I knew who the secret investors are.
87 • Re: #84 (by DShelbyD on 2010-07-22 18:55:39 GMT from United States)
The Latin word for the noun "productivity" is "ubertas," whereas the Latin for the adjective "productive" is "fecundus" (and two other f-words, so to speak). To make sure I bore you with detail, my Latin dictionary gives "fertile," "plentiful," and "rich" as meanings of the preposition "uber."
The web site for UberStudent claims the Latin meaning for their distro -- a surprise to me, as I, like you (I think), expected the German meaning, as if to imply "over-achiever."
Speaking of over-achievers, that's enough out of me! I think I've removed all doubt, Mr. Twain.
88 • RE: 85/86 (by Landor on 2010-07-22 19:53:46 GMT from Canada)
I think this one reply to his post says quite a bit about the state of things there:
"We joined at the same time - I know what all those changes mean to
somebody who saw the good times of Mandrakesoft.
Thanks for your excellent work, your dedication, and all the best for
1000 sons and all the camels in the world!
German translator & community monkey"
It sounds like Mandriva is going through a lot of changes. I don't blame them for doing it at all (whatever the "it" is). I can understand being nostalgic and pumping your arm, saying, "Gee Whiz, the good ole days of Mandrakesoft were something and these aren't anything like them". The reality is though that those days were never any good financially for the company, not in the long run. If they had been the company would have never had a financial issue, then, or now. So to compare them to today while the company is trying to make changes to make it financially independent is completely wrong.
Keep your stick on the ice...
89 • @ 76 - Ubuntu et.al. (by forlin on 2010-07-23 06:19:35 GMT from Portugal)
"Why all the animosity?"
Another good question would be: why (besides that perceived animosity), are there so many *buntu derivatives? It's true that many doesn't have nothing new, but others bring innovation and added value.
Now, why doesn't people use other well established distros to apply their creativity and innovation, in the same quantity as they use Ubuntu?
Or why not select a target audience, put together the best of a few unique distro features, tune it for one or two specific architectures and go ahead with this kind of hybrid distro experiment? A beat like Peppermint is doing, but with a broader core basis.
An example: a tweaked kernel, the best installer, the best user config gui's a light DE, attractive art work, and then .... the most difficult option: what package manager and what repositories? And because this is really the most difficult approach I think people choose buntu because it provides the most easy solution.
90 • @ 89 (by herrod on 2010-07-23 07:38:01 GMT from United Kingdom)
It is true that Ubuntu must seem like a good choice to base a distro off because it has:
1. Large repositories of up to date packages
2. Uses the .deb system so is compatible with even more packages from Debian and other 3rd party repos
3. Can be easily remastered using for example, remastersys
4. Has a GUI installer
5. Is known to boot on a wide range of hardware
However, adding together the best bits of distros sounds like a fairly tricky job as you might want to bring together packages from a .deb distro, an .rpm distro, utilities written in C, python, ruby etc... all with potentially differently organised file systems and scripts... It would be great if someone could do it though...
91 • UberStudent (by sirkit77 on 2010-07-23 16:07:28 GMT from United States)
Not to beat a dead horse, but Peppermint Ice and UberStudent are both based on Ubuntu, and therefore Debian, and both distros are as different as night and day. Yet I`m loving both. UberStudent is a van full of college students compared to Peppermint`s Porsche, yet it`s hella fun! How about a review, Jesse?
92 • RE: Why (by Landor on 2010-07-23 22:07:31 GMT from Canada)
It really has nothing to do with animosity. It has to do with actual usefulness, then longevity as others have stated. You'll read in this section (as well as other sites) from time to time, someone post a (valid) comment that most of these remixes would be better suited as an installable meta package/PPA.
Not unlike others, I've watched as a ton of distributions flew by without even a passing glance by the majority, while the top distributions stay the same. The reason for this is a term people like to throw around, innovation, or lack there of.
Innovation is more a perception than anything in my personal opinion. So, in my perception of innovation, most of these new distributions don't qualify, thus their usefulness (again in my opinion only) is questionable at best. One of the few distributions that I've seen come down the pipe in the last few years that I'd call innovative is NimbleX. The developer did three things that qualify it for being innovation. First, he stripped it down and made it an amazingly small live cd with KDE (3.5 series). Second, he made it extremely responsive with a small resource footprint. Third, he created a web-based iso build system. That for me was the best of the three. Just one guy, from his home and an idea. With a ton of constraints, be it time due to work or life, or finances. That's innovation and something to sit up and take notice about. At least in my opinion.
We as a community would be better suited if a lot of these developers with ideas took a look around and used existing distributions as a benchmark for the usefulness of their ideas and possibly found a distribution that they could work hand-in-hand with instead that would benefit from A) their added help and B), their ideas.
As far as I know, the wheel hasn't changed its original shape since its inception.
Keep your stick on the ice...
93 • 92 • RE: Why (by Landor (by meanpt on 2010-07-24 00:04:33 GMT from Portugal)
... maybe it's Linus' turn to innovate a bit more :)
94 • Re: 92 (by jake on 2010-07-24 03:47:34 GMT from United States)
Actually, Landor, the wheel went from short & long (the log) to tall & thin (better leverage & lower rolling resistance).
Personally, my issues with the *buntus is that they are shovel-ware ... and as a result have all the same problems as some commercial options, and for the same reasons.
But that's me. Frankly, with the exception of folks I have to support, I don't care what any individual uses. It's unimportant to me. And in my experience, the louder the testimonials, the less likely any given OS is to hold any value for me & mine.
95 • system requirements (by david on 2010-07-24 17:21:04 GMT from United States)
I would like to suggest that the site add system requirements and installed size to the info on each release.
96 • Re: 95 system requirements (by sirkit77 on 2010-07-24 17:23:24 GMT from United States)
I second that! Very good point, sir.
97 • RE: 93 - 94 (by Landor on 2010-07-24 21:33:07 GMT from Canada)
To keep with the wheel analogy, I think for as long as he's involved in the kernel, Linux is bolted to the corporate hub that's spinning the wheel known as the Linux Kernel. Thus, it's "almost" (but not) similar to wearing blinders, he'll only see a specific direction.
To further that though. Linus may have created the kernel which was innovative in itself, but that's only one small component (albeit an extremely important one). I think a lot of the true innovators were the people that first took the kernel, the GNU Userland, and other components and just kept building on top of it all. I also think Linux would have been far better off creating and maintaining his own userland. Yes, that would have been a phenomenal amount of work, and most likely delayed the whole process quite a bit, but it's a far better system when it's all built around core components that the developer actually controls.
You're discussing the use of logs, which were considered rollers and not truly a wheel. I'm also with the school of thought that the wheel was in use as a tool quite some time before it was used for any type of transportation.
You hit a key point with some of my issues about some distributions, "the louder the testimonials". That's another key reason why people don't think much of variants. Yes, the fact that they're actually loud about it is one, but that's not truly it. That one day, in the not too far off future you'll see that either they left said distribution and are now waving a new banner around, or the distribution itself never lived up to what "they" said it would be.
There's also the other side of the being loud too. The nay-sayers. There was commenter here a couple (few?) years back that always went on and on about Gentoo. He was supposedly a Gentoo user, or was, and that he predicted it was going to be dead, blah, blah, blah. Gentoo's still plugging along and it seems he's disappeared. Which is another issue that a lot of distributions just can't meet, longevity, especially in the face of adverse circumstances. A couple that have are Gentoo and Mandriva and should be applauded for having the rare ability to do something that most others can't, survive under not so perfect circumstances.
Ok, long winded spiel done. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
98 • puppy website - where gone? (by gnomic on 2010-07-25 01:01:10 GMT from New Zealand)
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
That's all I can get from puppylinux.org for the last 48 hours or so. Anyone know what this means? One surmises blackhat activity or a server meltdown. Plain old puppylinux.org in the browser seems to direct to http://puppylinux.org/main/index.php?file=Overview%20and%20Getting%20Started.htm but content never appears.
99 • Puppy Linux (by Anonymous on 2010-07-25 02:03:31 GMT from United States)
The website comes up for me.
100 • Wheels within wheels ... (by jake on 2010-07-25 06:54:14 GMT from United States)
The loud commentary isn't my issue ... Folks are folks, and they have opinions. I'm cool with that. Don't get me wrong, I check out most new releases, on stand alone modern hardware no less. But I make up my own mind ... My point is that over the last decade or so, the louder the fanbois, the less likely me & mine will find that particular distro useful. It's a flag, no more & no less.
"You're discussing the use of logs, which were considered rollers and not truly a wheel."
The concept's the same. Pare down the center of the log, and you get an axle separating the rolling-stock. Mount the axle in blocks, and you no longer need to manually move the logs rear-to-front when moving. Figure out what spokes are, and further reduce the weight the motive traction has to haul. Add bushings at both ends of the axle, and the rolling-stock can turn more easily in corners. Band the rolling-stock with something durable like iron & get a little longevity. Add springs, and the ride is a little easier. Add in an axle-housing that supports the weight of the chassis, and you have durability. Swap out the iron bands for rubber, and the comfort level increases. I could go on (ball bearings, camber, caster, unsprung weight, etc), but I'll spare you. All are part of what could loosely be called "wheel technology".
101 • Re: "the wheel" (by sirkit77 on 2010-07-25 07:34:31 GMT from United States)
"Mommy, Mommy, those people won`t stop talking!"
Number of Comments: 101
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