| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 378, 1 November 2010
Welcome to this year's 44th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! During the past week Fedora developers have completed their fourteenth stable release and have given the green light for its ceremonious launch on 2nd of November. We cover the decision process, which was later followed by Jesse Keating's stepping down as the release engineering lead - read more about these events in the news section below. Other topics covered in today's issue of DistroWatch Weekly include a first look at the newbie-friendly Pinguy OS 10.04, Ubuntu's decision to switch its default user interface to Unity, Debian's announcement about the first beta build of the Debian installer for "Squeeze", information about some of the more interesting changes in the upcoming version of Pardus Linux, and an explanation about the command line and why it is such an integral part of Linux and other UNIX-like operating systems. Finally, we are happy to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com October 2010 donation is the Geany text editor and IDE for programmers. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Introducing Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS|
Pinguy OS is a project which attempts to take the Ubuntu distribution and make it more attractive and easier to use. The distribution targets home users who are not yet familiar with Linux and tries to provide everything an inexperienced (Linux) computer user will need right out of the box. In the words of the project's creator: "What I am trying to do is to have an operating system that works and acts like a pre-configured OS - like the ones you get when buying a new computer." To learn more about the story behind Pinguy OS, I chatted with Antoni Norman, the developer behind this new distribution.
* * * * *
DW: What plans do you have for future versions of Pinguy OS? Are you planning new features?
DW: Will you been matching your releases with Ubuntu's schedule? That is, one release every six months, or will you be releasing on an independent schedule?
At the moment we have a beta version
of a post install application for Pinguy OS. This will make it so people will be able to configure Pinguy OS to the way they want it easily.
AN: We will, but it will be a few months after Canonical releases Ubuntu. As there are always a few bugs that are found that I like to fix before releasing Pinguy OS. Plus some of the tweaks and enhancements I make need to be redone to work with the new versions.
DW: From your project's website it sounds like you have the same goals as Linux Mint and some other Ubuntu-based systems. What makes Pinguy stand out from the crowd?
DW: Pinguy uses an OS X theme on the desktop. Are you targeting Mac users? Or do you feel OS X provides your ideal desktop experience?
I have a page that explains the goals of Pinguy OS here
AN: Pinguy OS uses the best elements from all desktop environments. I wanted to have a desktop that was very clean-looking and modern, that was also very intuitive. I believe that using dockbars, the Mint menu and the Elementary theme archives these goals.
DW: Quite a few of the APT sources are Personal Package Archives (PPA). What made you decide to pull software from PPAs instead of the LTS repositories?
AN: Some of the applications that are included in Pinguy OS are not in the Ubuntu repositories so I had to add PPAs. I was thinking about having my own repository, but after a while I decided not to, as all I would be doing is pulling the DEBs from the project's PPA and hosting them on my server. The PPAs that are being used are from the project's team PPA. So this is the best way to have up-to-date stable applications.
DW: There's a lot of work that goes into making a distribution. Do you have help? Is the project open to volunteers who would like to assist?
AN: At the moment it's just me that works on Pinguy OS full time, but I do have volunteers who help with bug reporting and running the forum. The project is open to anyone who wants to help. The best way for others to help is to post in the forum ways you can help the project.
* * * * *
The Pinguy OS comes in 32-bit and 64-bit flavours and is based off Ubuntu's 10.04 long-term support release. The download image weighs in at a solid 1.3 GB and I grabbed the 32-bit edition for my experiment. While I was waiting for my download to complete, I took a look around Pinguy's website. The project is young, having been founded earlier this year and so the website is still a bit thin. Oh, it's well laid out and I like the style of the page, but there isn't a lot of documentation yet. The site mostly provides links to other locations and a description of the project's goals. The links take us to the project's Facebook page, to their online store, to a donation page, a sponsorship page, to a place where we can purchase the DVD (for those who don't want to download and burn their own copy) and to a forum. The forum is a bit light in traffic at the moment, but that's to be expected with a newer distro. The important thing is there are people visiting the forum and answering questions. The focus of the website leans more toward the financial side of things than most open source projects. That in itself is fine, there is nothing wrong with encouraging people to donate to a free operating system, but hopefully we'll see more documentation as the project matures.
At any rate, the download finished, I burned the DVD and started my new adventure. The DVD's boot menu is essentially Ubuntu's and carries the same options of booting into the live desktop environment, starting the graphical installer or launching a text installer. I chose to explore the live mode and the system quickly brought me to a GNOME desktop with a strong OS X theme. At the top of the screen we find the application menu, a short menu bar, the system tray and system monitors. Down the left side are short-cuts to folders and down the right-hand side is a large status panel with information on CPU, memory, networking and disk usage. Along the bottom of the screen is a quick-launch bar equipped with popular open source software. The background is a pleasant and fairly subtle image featuring rich blues. Once I confirmed that the system was running smoothly, I kicked off the graphical installer.
Pinguy's installer is, for our purposes, the Ubuntu installer. It walked me through selecting a preferred language, time zone and keyboard layout. The user is then asked to set up partitions, which I found to be a straightforward process. The installer asks for a user account to be created and a password to be set and then goes on to work copying the required files to the local hard drive. The whole process is fairly quick and painless. Upon rebooting, Pinguy OS presented me with a graphical login screen.
Pinguy OS 10.04 - the system installer
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Though Pinguy OS is a direct descendant of Ubuntu, it's more than just a different theme and some additional software packages. The project also borrows from other distributions, the most obvious being Mint. For example, the application menu is taken from Mint, as is the update software tool. One of the first things I noticed when I logged in to my fresh install was the update notification icon which showed my system as being completely up to date. I clicked on the icon and asked it to refresh to double-check and, a few seconds later, was assured my system was completely patched. Manually opening a terminal, running "sudo apt-get update" and then asking the update utility to refresh again presented me with a list of over one hundred available updates. From that point on, I had no issues with package management. Pinguy uses Synaptic, resting on top of APT, and the process of obtaining and removing packages went smoothly. Pinguy also comes equipped with the Ubuntu Software Centre, a package manager which trades out complexity for clear categories and icons, making obtaining software more novice-friendly.
Though come to think of it, most novice computer users aren't likely to need additional software. The list of applications which come pre-installed with Pinguy is impressive. In the menu we find Firefox 3.6.10 with a large collection of add-ons, such as Adblock and Download Helper. We have OpenOffice.org, Thunderbird, a BitTorrent client, a music player, VLC, MPlayer, disc burners and a DVD ripper. Additionally we have DeVeDe for creating our own video DVDs, Dropbox, a backup tool, a few instant messenger clients, a micro-blogging client, a phone manager and an iPod manager. Rounding out the selection are Skype, Java, GParted and the Ubuntu One service. Since Pinguy uses GNOME for the default interface, there is a group of applications for adjusting the appearance and behaviour of the desktop. I found that Pinguy OS comes with software to play most multimedia files, including videos and MP3s. Flash is also pre-installed and works with Firefox. I was surprised to find that the system comes with VirtualBox too, considering the project's concentration on new-comers.
Pinguy OS 10.04 - the application menu
(full image size: 394kB, resolution 1366x768 pixels)
The Ubuntu family of distributions handles my hardware very well and Pinguy is no exception. All of my HP laptop's hardware (2 GHz dual-core CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) was detected and properly configured. My wireless card connected without any problems, screen resolution was set to a reasonable level and my audio worked out of the box. The touchpad properly handled scrolling and taps as mouse clicks. On my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) Pinguy also performed smoothly. Though start-up times were noticeably longer on the desktop, video, sound and networking performed well. I found desktop effects, and therefore some of the more distracting interface features, were disabled on the desktop machine. I suspect this is from using an open source driver with my NVIDIA card, rather than the company's closed-source offering. During tests in a virtual environment, Pinguy would boot and run with 512 MB of RAM, though performance was a little sluggish. When running with 1 GB of RAM or more, I found performance to be very good.
Security was a mixed bag on Pinguy. The only network service running by default was Samba. Personally, I'd rather it wasn't, but it will be helpful for people on heterogeneous networks. Also by default, there is no firewall configured. There is a graphical firewall program included in the application menu for people who want to put the protection in place. As I mentioned before, the update notification didn't work for me when I first booted the system, but once I did a manual refresh I had a steady stream of updated packages. Pinguy OS pulls software from a long list of sources, including the Ubuntu mirrors and a handful of PPAs. I'm a bit divided on this arrangement as I think using a PPA can be a helpful way to keep up to date, but following several strikes me as a security concern. Anyone can create a PPA and offer up custom packages and using these chips away at the implied security of having a vetted repository, such as Ubuntu provides.
Judging a graphical user interface is a subjective thing and I hesitate to come down on Pinguy for their choice. However, I do have three complaints in this regard. As I see it, when a project wants to make their interface friendly to newcomers there are two ways of accomplishing that goal. The first is to make a clean and simple interface and attempt to make it as intuitive as possible -- an alien, but easy-to-learn environment. A second approach is to rip off another interface the users will recognize. Zenwalk takes the former option, AUSTRUMI offers both options and Pinguy OS is firmly planted in the latter. The interface follows in OS X's footsteps and whether you enjoy the experience will depend on how you view OS X's interface. Personally, I don't think this is the way to go. It's one thing to make new users feel at home, but I think Pinguy takes things too far in trying to be like OS X, adopting some of that product's more unhelpful features.
My other complaint is that the default interface is quite busy. There are status monitors at the top of the screen, there's a large status panel down the right side and there's a flashy launchbar at the bottom. These items are regularly updating and I found it distracting. It didn't help that clicking on the right-side status panel wouldn't let me move nor remove it. Eventually I killed the offending process to remove the distraction. My final gripe is with the application menu. Whether the user likes the Mint-style menu or not aside, I found the menu items inconsistent. Some programs are listed in the menu using their name and others their description. It's fairly easy for a new user to figure out what "Phone Manager" does or what "Remove orphaned packages" will do, but someone who is new to Linux might be lost when presented with applications labelled "Pinta", "Gnome Do" and "Ubuntu Tweak".
Pinguy OS 10.04 with an adjusted look
(full image size: 413kB, resolution 1366x768 pixels)
In the end, I think Pinguy OS has a good concept, but at this stage it needs some polish in the implementation. The idea of taking Ubuntu and adding popular software and giving the system a familiar interface is a good one (it has served the Mint community well). However, the approach feels unfocused. Including popular codecs and software for a wide range of activities is a good plan, but in Pinguy's case it makes the menu feel cluttered. Sometimes unnecessarily. For instance, why do I have five image viewers/editors, but no GIMP? If the distro is targeting newcomers then why include VirtualBox? For that matter, I find it odd that the system includes three graphical package managers. Likewise, there are two CPU usage monitors on the desktop, two network monitors and two clocks. All four sides of the desktop covered with panels which will cover up windows when they are moved into the same space. It feels crowded visually and takes up a noticeable amount of resources. I feel Pinguy OS would benefit from looking at Zenwalk and following the clean and integrated one-app-per-task approach and avoid making users choose between three different video players.
Granted, this is early in the project's development and it's not reasonable to expect perfection the first time. And to Mr Norman's credit, this initial release does achieve its goal of giving the user almost all of the software they need straight out of the box without requiring additional configuration. I'm hoping we see a new version of Pinguy down the line which combines the large selection of pre-installed software with a less busy interface.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora approves release 14, Ubuntu switches to Unity for desktop, Debian releases first beta of installer, Pardus package manager updates
Yes, it's the long-awaited Fedora release week. As Adam Williamson reports on his blog, version 14 of the popular, Red Hat-sponsored distribution will be officially released as scheduled - on Tuesday, 2 November: "So we just got done signing off on the gold images for Fedora 14. I'm amazingly proud of the whole little release management group -- development (especially Anaconda team, who were awesome), release engineering, and QA teams: we had an unbelievably smooth ride through the final validation testing stage. Unprecedented in the annals of Fedora history, we span one publicly-announced test compose (TC) build (there were five unannounced ones, but they were just to test small fixes which we needed an image compose to verify) and exactly one release candidate (RC) build, which was the build signed off as Gold today. We have never needed just one candidate build to get a release right before." The Fedora mirrors are being populated as we write this so get your download tools ready - the official announcement should go live tomorrow (Tuesday) at 15:00 GMT.
Fedora 14 - confirmed for release on Tuesday, 2 November
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In a related news, Jesse Keating, the leader of the Fedora release engineering team, has announced that he will step down from the duty after the release of Fedora 14: "Starting after the release of Fedora 14, I will be stepping down as the lead release engineer for Fedora. I will be taking the knowledge and lessons learned from our migration of CVS to git and applying it internally at Red Hat to migrate our internal package source control to git as well. The number of packages and contributors is smaller, but the environment is far more complex, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. We have estimated that it could take up to a year or longer to complete the task. During that time, Dennis Gilmore will be stepping in to lead the Fedora release engineering team. Dennis has been involved with Fedora for just about as long as I have, if not longer and will be able to fill the role perhaps even better than I could. I won't be far away from the project, and I will continue to support and improve things such as fedpkg development and necessary changes for our compose tools such as pungi. I'm always just an email or IRC ping (with data) away."
* * * * *
Ubuntu is no stranger to making radical decisions regarding desktop user interfaces and this tendency was witnessed once again last week. As announced during the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, USA, the next release of Ubuntu will default to Unity desktop (first used in the Netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10) instead of the new GNOME 3.0 Shell. Jono Bacon reports: "Mark Shuttleworth just announced at the Ubuntu Developer Summit that we will be shipping the Unity environment in the Ubuntu desktop edition. Unity is the environment we shipped on the Ubuntu Netbook edition for the first time in Ubuntu 10.10, and users and OEMs have been enjoying the experience. It is an environment that is inspired by great design, touch, and a strong and integrated experience." However, not everybody is excited by the change. Michael Larabel of Phoronix observes the discontent over the decision on his website's forums: "There isn't anyone that's actually happy to see Unity coming to the Ubuntu desktop rather than the GNOME 3.0 Shell. Many users have already tried the current Unity desktop used by Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition and there are just lots of complaints." Still, there are those who are pleased with the change: "All in all, I think this is great news for the future of Linux and all the involved parties. As the default desktop environment changes, we will see the adoption rate but I expect it to be quite large in the Ubuntu community."
* * * * *
Those following the Debian development process were greeted last week with the availability of the first beta release of the Debian installer for "Squeeze", Debian's upcoming new stable release. This has been the standard procedure with all recent Debian versions, signalling that the release process is nearing its "sprint" stage. From Otavio Salvador's post on the debian-devel-announce mailing list: "The Debian Installer team is pleased to announce the first beta release of the installer for Debian GNU/Linux 'Squeeze'. Improvements in this release of the installer: auto-selection of kernel for PlayStation 3; recovery partitions for Microsoft Windows are properly detected; Linux kernel updated to 2.6.32; GNU Parted updated to 2.2; support for new platforms has been added - Marvell GuruPlug, Marvell OpenRD-Ultimate, HP t5325 Thin Client (partial support); hardware-specific Debian packages are installed automatically using discover-pkginstall from the discover package; localization - added Kannada, Persian and Telugu languages (Asturian and Kazakh were added in alpha 1, and Estonian was reactivated in alpha 1)...." A word of caution for those who expect a swift arrival of Debian "Squeeze" - during the Debian "Lenny" release process it took the project nearly 11 months to arrive from beta 1 of the Debian installer to the final version of Debian "Lenny"...
* * * * *
Another project busy preparing for a new release is Pardus Linux, an independent distribution that has received excellent reviews for its last two stable releases. The upcoming version will be 2011, and while there is no official release schedule yet, it's clear that the developers are working on many interesting additions and a much improved package manager. Gökmen Göksel reports on his blog: "I was busy with Pardus 2011 for a while (we released Pardus 2011 Beta last week), where I couldn’t find a chance to write about development process. You will see great improvements in the upcoming release; Pardus 2011 will be shipped with KDE 4.5.2 and a whole bunch of our management tools which are written in Python, PyQt and PyKDE. I guess the package-manager will be the most noteworthy one in all. ... The most significant change is the new interface where you may see that there are tabs similar to Rekonq and Chromium. Package manager doesn’t have anything to offer in file menu but settings, so this menu-less aspect works better for our needs and it saves space, which is getting more and more important for netbooks and other small-screen devices." The above link includes a number of screenshots to illustrate the concepts.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Linux and the command line
It's-a-gooey-world asks: Why does Linux rely so much on the command line? Every time I see solutions posted on forums they use the command line. It makes Linux look outdated and scary.
DistroWatch answers: It's true that a lot of people (myself included) use the command line to run tests and perform fixes. And I suppose it can look scary to someone who is new to the scene. Some UNIX commands are pretty cryptic. That being said, I don't think it's fair to single out Linux for this characteristic. Generally I don't like to compare Linux to other operating systems, preferring to let it stand on its own qualities, but in this case I think it's important to point out that other popular operating systems use the command line too for trouble-shooting and administration. Most users can get by doing day-to-day tasks using the graphical interface, but when something goes wrong it's often helpful to use the command line. Some system administrative tasks, such as scheduling jobs or creating login scripts, require command-line knowledge on any operating system.
My point is that when things are working well and a person is performing common actions (web browsing, listening to music, checking e-mail) they can exclusively use graphical tools, whether they're using Linux or another operating system. I have friends who use Linux and don't touch the command line. But when problems arise, the command line is often a good way to get things done. It's when those problems spring up that people turn to support forums for help and we see command-line suggestions.
It's probably true to say that Linux gurus will turn to the command line more often than support people on other operating systems and I think there are two reasons for that. The first is that GNU/Linux distributions have a great collection of powerful command-line tools. It's possible to gather a large amount of data with a few commands and, often, fix things with a few more key strokes. The other reason is fragmentation. There are hundreds of Linux distributions and a lot of variation as to what is installed and where items are placed. Diversity is a wonderful thing, but it can be a nightmare for a support person.
Let's take, as an example, a simple task: removing a user account from the system. Were I to tell a person how to do this via their graphical interface, I'd have to know what desktop environment they're using, in some cases which version was installed, and whether the correct user management tool was available. Or I could walk the user through opening a command line and typing:
The latter is usually easier, especially in a text medium such as a web forum. Lots of commands the user can simply copy and paste into their terminal. What it all boils down to is that providing command-line instructions on a forum is usually faster and easier than asking a bunch of additional questions and posting answers with screenshots. It's not that things must be done that way, but it is convenient.
|Released Last Week
Ryan Finnie has announced the release of Finnix 100, a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian's testing branch: "Finnix 100 comes over a year since its previous release, Finnix 93.0, and introduces a new version scheme, with future versions incrementing numerically. Finnix 100 includes updated upstream Debian software and Linux kernel 2.6.32. The finnix-thumbdrive utility has been removed in favor of UNetbootin, which can take a Finnix ISO and extract it to a bootable USB drive without needing to boot Finnix first. PowerPC support has been officially dropped, though future PowerPC releases may be made on a one-off basis. The last PowerPC release, Finnix 93.0, will continue to be distributed through finnix.org and should continue to be useful for some time." Read the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Valtteri Halla has announced the release of MeeGo 1.1, a Linux distribution designed for mobile computing with a custom user interface: "Today we are announcing the project release of MeeGo 1.1. It provides a solid baseline for device vendors and developers to start creating software for various device categories on Intel Atom and ARM 7 architectures. The 1.1 Core OS provides a complete set of enabling technologies for mobile computing. The MeeGo stack contains Linux Kernel 2.6.35, X.org server 1.9.0, Web Runtime, Qt 4.7, and Qt Mobility 1.0.2, supporting the contacts, location, messaging, multimedia, and sensor and service frameworks. It also includes a number of leading-edge components, such as the oFono telephony stack, the ConnMan connection manager, the Tracker data indexer...." Read the release announcement and release notes for additional information.
MeeGo 1.1 - a Linux distribution optimised for netbooks and other mobile devices
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DragonFly BSD 2.8
Matthew Dillon has announced the availability of DragonFly BSD 2.8. The release has a version number of 2.8.2 after an earlier set of ISO images numbered 2.8.1 and 2.8.1A were withdrawn due to a critical bug. The new DragonFly BSD comes as a small installation CD image or as a bootable USB image with a graphical desktop (FVWM). From the announcement: "The DragonFly 2.8 release is here! Big-ticket items: a cryptsetup compatible cryptographic device mapper target was written for DragonFly; Packet Filter (pf) was updated to a version based upon OpenBSD 4.2; FreeBSD's WiFi (802.11) network stack has been ported; the multiprocessor work that has been ongoing in DragonFly is beginning to bear fruit - the MPLOCK has been pushed back significantly." Read the detailed release notes for more information and upgrade instructions.
DragonFly BSD 2.8 comes with a redesigned default desktop interface on its GUI edition
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Salix OS 13.1.2 "KDE"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix OS 13.1.2 "KDE" edition, a Slackware-based installation and live CD optimised for desktop use: "The Salix team is proud to announce the very first official release of Salix KDE edition. A collection of three KDE CD images are immediately available to our users, including 32-bit and 64-bit installation images as well as a live image that can be burned to a CD or used with a USB drive. Salix KDE includes the elegant KDE 4.4.3 accompanied by a very rich collection of KDE-centric software, all in the size of a CD image. The Konqueror web browser, KMail and KTorrent are the main networking applications included in this release, followed by Akregator, an RSS reader for KDE, Kopete, the KDE instant messenger and more. Wicd is used for setting up your wired or wireless networking connections." The release announcement has more details.
Salix OS 13.1.2 "KDE" - a Slackware-based distribution featuring KDE 4.4.3
(full image size: 579kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
October 2010 DistroWatch.com donation: Geany|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the October 2010 DistroWatch.com donation is Geany, a multi-platform text editor for programmers. It receives €210.00 in cash.
According to the project's website, "Geany is a text editor using the GTK+ toolkit with basic features of an integrated development environment (IDE). It was developed to provide a small and fast IDE, which has only a few dependencies from other packages. Another goal was to be as independent as possible from a special desktop environment like KDE or GNOME - Geany only requires the GTK+ runtime libraries. Some basic features of Geany: syntax highlighting; code folding; symbol name auto-completion; construct completion/snippets; auto-closing of XML and HTML tags; call tips; many supported file types including C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal; symbol lists; code navigation; build system to compile and execute code; simple project management; plugin interface." For more information please read the project's about page and check out the FAQs.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$25,910 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 November 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Salix KDE (by meanpt on 2010-11-01 11:43:18 GMT from Portugal) |
The first kde 4.4.-whatever.number..may.goes.here I'm able to use. Thanks. Oh ... i preferred to have the old start menu ... anyway ...
2 • geany (by Bashir on 2010-11-01 12:20:32 GMT from United States)
I love geany. It is my text editor of choice when dealing with large amounts of text.
I use it a lot for latex documents and c++ code (ide's are for suckers)
3 • GIMP vs Photoshop (by Linux VS Rest of world on 2010-11-01 12:41:35 GMT from India)
Everybody talking about Linux but they forget that its superior software makes its no. 1 innovative OS around the world. Now GIMP is better than Photoshop CS5 in any department,we can make heart winning graphics through this software , its easy, it takes small memory, smaller,faster and can run in any OS.
Example of GIMP created graphic can be founds here
its pure work of GIMP. My request to open source user avoid using Photoshop
4 • Unity I/F (by Erik on 2010-11-01 13:02:39 GMT from United States)
Do people really like Gnome Shell that much?
It's not like Ubuntu is removing metacity and Gnome Shell from the repositories.
5 • RE 4 - Unity I/F (by Gremnon on 2010-11-01 13:23:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
Have you ever tried the Gnome Shell? No matter what system I try it on, it comes accross as slow, ugly and horrible to use. If this is what Gnome wants to feed us next, I won't have any qualms about quitting it. Give me good old Gnome 2.x any time.
Unity might be better, but I haven't looked at it yet. So no views for or against from me just yet.
That said, if KDE wasn't such a bloated overweight hog, I'd use the 4.x series. As it is, even the most powerful system I've tried it on just stumbles to a halt trying to run it.
So it looks like back to an XFCE or Openbox session for me when the Gnome Shell comes out.
6 • GNOME users shouldn't complain (by Leo on 2010-11-01 13:25:13 GMT from United States)
When Mark S decided to use GNOME as the desktop for Ubuntu, KDE was (of course in my opinion) a more popular, more polished, and technically more advanced DE. Ubuntu put GNOME back into a leading position, because of its focus on ease of use, which made it by far the most popular distro.
But Ubuntu's goal is not to make GNOME the preferred DE. It really is to make computers easier to use. These days, users are moving closer and closer to the cloud, so it makes sense for Ubuntu to pick a more "appliance oriented" environment. We really need some simple shell, stable API's, and allow folks to write "apps for Linux", the way they do it for the incredibly popular android.
KDE4 has provided something like this for a while with Plasma and the Widget, but I think Plasma is probably too KDE centric. A desktop-agnostic API would be better.
7 • Ubuntu Unity (by rich on 2010-11-01 13:41:40 GMT from United States)
I'm rather excited about the new Ubuntu Gnome Unity shell. I like the structured shell concept better than Gnomes interface.It does lack much refinement (10.10 netbook) and there are area's in it that can really make it shine if developed to it's full potential. Change can be good. Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 is a poor example of what it could be until it is fully matured and developed.
8 • @ 3 (by Anonymous on 2010-11-01 13:58:14 GMT from United States)
Nice troll, but next time try keeping your argument based in reality. The Gnu Image Manipulation Program does not support all of the features of Photoshop 6, a ten year old version of Adobe's image editing software, let alone the features available in CS5.
The only "feature" of The Gnu Image Manipulation Program better than CS5, is the price, but, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for.
9 • ref: 1 • Salix KDE: kde classic menu (by prf on 2010-11-01 14:27:13 GMT from Netherlands)
Right-click on 'the big K' and select 'Switch to classic menu style' should give you 'yea olde K-menu'. And: no: no 'cryptic command-line command' needed ;-)
10 • @8 gimp v photoshop (by mandog on 2010-11-01 14:37:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
Please remind us what the features were, if you actually know them.
Not defending the gimp as I use CS5 as well and to be honest they both have strengths and CS5 has a lot of faults as well, and the cost is astrophysical if you only edit photos. the gimp is now very easy to use or am I used to using it. On the other hand I now struggle with photo-shop strange as I went to collage to become a pro photographer and used photo-shop 7 exclusively for years perhaps I need to go back to the industry standard photoshop7?..
11 • RE 3 (by Ron on 2010-11-01 14:50:36 GMT from United States)
I took a look at your pictures, and although nice, they are not photographs. No, they're more like cartoons or "funny papers". I do not think you can consider this as proof that GIMP is better than Photoshop CS5.
12 • GIMP (by Jesse on 2010-11-01 15:13:47 GMT from Canada)
I use the GNU Image Manipulation Program on a regular basis and enjoy its abilities, especially with a few extensions added. For the amateur stuff I do, it's a great tool. But I don't think it's on the same level as Photoshop. For one thing, while I'm familiar with the interface, I don't find it intuitive at all. Which isn't helped by the changes made to the UI on a regular basis, rendering many tutorials out of date. And some of the tools/filters are similar to PS, but not as polished, resulting in more work for the user.
13 • Ubuntu+Unity (by Ron on 2010-11-01 15:24:03 GMT from United States)
For those that don't like the changes in Ubuntu, let me just say one word....
14 • Waiting for Fedora 14... (by Freddy Hatter on 2010-11-01 16:04:47 GMT from United States)
I'm a long time Ubuntu user, but after realizing that Maverick is much slower when compared to Lucid, I'm looking forward to trying Fedora 14.
In trying to cater to the new user, Maverick has added either too much overhead or some libraries were not carefully updated. Copying large data between partitions, I uncovered that Maverick is up to 45% slower than Lucid!
Once I have Fedora 14 installed, I can make a better comparison.
15 • @ 13 (by Anonymous on 2010-11-01 16:04:59 GMT from United States)
I think most users who love what ease of use Ubuntu has will likely pick Linux Mint, or perhaps some Ubuntu clone that keeps more of the free software attitude that Ubuntu has, rather than go to Debian. Debian is probably the best around for the experienced Linux user, on the other hand most who are new or seeking ease of use will go to Mint, PCLOS, or something similar.
16 • OpenBSD (by RobertD on 2010-11-01 16:23:59 GMT from United States)
Are you all blind?? The big news here is the release of OpenBSD 4.8!!
17 • Debian (by Shawn on 2010-11-01 16:42:54 GMT from United States)
Thumbs up to Ron regarding the Debian comment! I find myself eventually going there in the near future but was always reluctant to use Debian due to how "outdated" most of the packages are compared to other distributions.
As for the main article itself, I suppose this Ubuntu spin-off has some merit, but I'm not so sure we need another Ubuntu derivative in the Linux community. I even wrote an article on my site regarding the fragmentation of Linux as a whole and reasons why it's no wonder a new user to Linux has no clue to go to. (The article is here if you want to read it: http://solonux.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54:administrator&catid=34:linux)
It's a shame Linspire/Freespire is no more and Xandros isn't doing much for commercial desktop Linux anymore. Guess it's time for another revolution in the Linux community.
18 • Geany (by JakeL on 2010-11-01 16:50:29 GMT from United States)
Congrats to Geany! I use it everyday, so I am glad to see this donation :)
19 • Geany deserves the donation (by Dan on 2010-11-01 18:45:16 GMT from United States)
It's a very good program. I suspect the money will be better used focused on one application, than an entire distro, in any case.
In regards to Gnome Shell, hopefully the devs aren't full of themselves like the KDE team is, and listen to users, and fix that mess.
20 • Re. 5 (by Anonymous on 2010-11-01 18:49:40 GMT from United States)
"That said, if KDE wasn't such a bloated overweight hog, I'd use the 4.x series. As it is, even the most powerful system I've tried it on just stumbles to a halt trying to run it."
I'll be the first to admit, I've slammed KDE4 several times in the past based on bloat, bugs and poor performance. But really, what kind of system did you run it on? Here's my breakdown from my own experiences:
256MB RAM: Don't even try. Completely unusable and slow. Unstable, crashes frequently. Sometimes fails to even load the desktop.
384MB RAM: Not recommended, though it does run halfway decently in virtual machines with plenty of swap. Usable, but don't expect to be able to do a whole lot of multitasking without plenty of swapping and the slowdowns that come with it.
512MB RAM: Tolerable performance, but could certainly be better. Alright for light usage, not many running programs. Again, swapping is a problem, but not as bad.
1GB RAM: Quite acceptable, actually, but still feels like it could be faster after a little while once the inevitable swapping kicks in from running programs and system updates. KDE4 itself takes up to around half of the system's memory, leaving half available for other applications. I bet an extra gig stick of memory would have KDE and all the programs I would normally run flying.
Really, when I think about it, decent performance with 512MB RAM is quite impressive. The major disappointment is the fact that it runs sluggishly or like absolute shit on anything less than 512MB (or 384MB) RAM. Windows XP is, what, over ten years old--and even that doesn't run at its best unless it's given 512MB RAM. The major difference is, WinXP actually *will* run tolerably down to about 256MB, assuming you barely install anything (including drivers... yes, I've noticed some slowdowns just after installing Creative and nVidia drivers even).
IMO, KDE4 finally started getting decent around 4.3... before that it pretty much sucked. Many of its bugs and annoyances have been fixed, and on modern hardware the desktop runs pretty well. That makes it quite a decent desktop for users of such machines. It certainly can't compete with KDE3, GNOME2, and the various lightweight window managers with 384MB or lower, though. But for modern hardware and today's typical amounts of memory, it really is becoming a worthwhile competitor.
21 • KDE4, bloat and SalixOS (by Ralph on 2010-11-01 19:27:13 GMT from Canada)
@ 20, 5 - You may be interested to know that a "full" install of the new release of Salix64 13.1.2 with KDE4 uses only a quarter of a Gig of RAM without any applications open. This is the 64-bit version. When I installed the release candidate of the 32-bit version from the live CD it was using only 180 MB, so my guess is that the final 32-bit version uses somewhat less than the 64-bit version as well. I have yet to put Salix KDE through its full paces, but so far it's been working well.
22 • @9 • ref: 1 • Salix KDE: kde classic menu (by prf (by meanpt on 2010-11-01 19:57:50 GMT from Portugal)
Oh, many thanks :)
23 • Re:OpenBSD (by O.B on 2010-11-01 19:58:09 GMT from United States)
@16 • OpenBSD
One of the best distribution on distrowatch.
24 • Just a few thoughts... (by Annoyamouse on 2010-11-01 20:21:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
First of all, I think Distrowatch is a truly GREAT website!
I wondering though whether Ladislav could mabe put some more search fields & info points for each disro, showing its development cycle & type: I.e. LTS/release/snapshot etc at every X months and whether the distro is non-rolling, semi-rolling or rolling?
Also, I thought searching by disro package manager and package types might be a good addition? And a distro info point giving repo size might be good too. :-)
One last thought: might a more welcoming quote or a quote by Linus (or some other FOSS figure) be better for nervous newbies than the current Mark Twain quote which could put a nervous newbie off commenting -- or worse feel the community isn't friendly?
Obviously these are just my own thoughts and its not my website, but since you have a comment box I thought I might share them. After-all, whether it's source code or ideas, it seems to me that the freedom to share and improve these is what FOSS is all about. :-)
25 • KDE (5,20) (by Jesse on 2010-11-01 20:37:00 GMT from Canada)
I agree with most of what was said in post 20 regarding KDE. And I would like to add that your experience with KDE will depend a lot on which distro you're running. For instance, I found running Mandriva 2010 with KDE was really slow if I gave it anything less than 1GB of memory. But I was able to run a stable KDE desktop on openSUSE with 256MB of memory. Granted, performance was slow with just 256MB, but it would work. If I remember correctly, Nimble X would run KDE with 512MB of RAM and performance was quite good.
I don't think it's so much a matter of KDE being stable or buggy, trim or bloated, but how it's built and packaged.
26 • @That said, if KDE wasn't such a bloated overweight hog, I'd use the 4.x series. (by meanpt on 2010-11-01 20:41:48 GMT from Portugal)
:) ... the Salix OS KDE 4 is the only KDE I can use ... with 460 MB of RAM ... I'm not telling it to use it, I see you use Ubuntu which is already heavy, but to have the feeling of a KDE working and not dragging :) ... if unconfortable with installations involving lilo, just give it a spin in your virtualbox :)
27 • linux usage again (by Tom on 2010-11-01 20:43:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
I just got this link from a comment in ZDnet
I still feel that the 4% figure is more likely.
I liked your points but i think there is an amazing amount of work done in DW already. Also i quite like the Mark Twain quote especially when i trip up on it. I think that after reading some of the comments a noob just sees the quote as a humorous warning and suggests that there is not much moderation here. We are all different tho, luckily ;)
28 • @That said, if KDE wasn't such a bloated overweight hog, I'd use the 4.x series. (by meanpt on 2010-11-01 20:47:14 GMT from Portugal)
Comment deleted (duplicate post).
29 • Command Line Fears (by Ambleston Dack on 2010-11-01 20:48:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Linux isn't the only OS where any serious works needs the command line. With 25 years of supporting Windows, you'd be surprised how often I have had to use the command line to fix issues with it. On the occasions I have had to pay MS to sort out issues, all their techs use the command line. Even the mighty OSX has a command line for serious troubleshooting, so it's not just Linux.
30 • reviews should mention bugs (by Anonymous on 2010-11-01 20:53:10 GMT from United States)
Jesse's reviews, as well as Caitlyn's, are consistently the best. Informative and easy to read. I especially like the attention given to security. However...
Dissatisfaction about distro because it includes programs with overlapping capabilities deserves one sentence. Going on and on and listing the software is too much. It has the same stench as the reviews criticizing the desktop theme. It is pure personal bias and, while it deserves to be stated, it doesn't rate elaboration.
As good as Jesse's reviews are, there is a need for more information about bugs. I can easily delete software or change wallpaper, but fixing bugs can be a bummer.
Some (most?) Ubuntu-based distros installs on ext4 write to the drive every couple seconds - Not good for SSDs. Does Pinguy do that? All distros have problems. One very popular distro will not do 3D on PCs that use Intel Integrated HD graphics (GPU is on the CPU). Another doesn't allow unprivileged users to connect and disconnect from the network (it has the tool but the tool doesn't work). These are much more important to know about than the default wallpaper.
A clue about problems can be found by reading forums. That is what I wish that reviewers would do - spend an hour in the distro forum (in the case of Pinguy, a visit to Ubuntu would be appropriate), check their own installation to determine that the problems are real, and let everybody know about real problems.
31 • Command line fears (by fernbap on 2010-11-01 21:08:39 GMT from Portugal)
Although i find the article well balanced and rational, the Linux command line is just a strawman created by MS to scare people away from Linux.
I think it should me more important to expose that strawman for what it is, rather than give a rational answer.
All OSes have command line, and although the user interface may be varied, the command line, as correctly pointed out, is the common ground for all linux installs. Same as the argument for including VI or the reason why all MS-DOS versions included edlin, format or fdisk.
Noone is forcing anyone to use the command line, but if you want to be a systems administrator, you better use it. Same for windows, same for OSX, same for DOS.
Linux command line, however, is very powerful, and not using it is just not using all that linux has to offer.
32 • F14 (by zygmunt on 2010-11-01 21:22:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
Usual display resolution workaround required to get 1280x1024
cvt 1280 1024 60
xrandr --newmode "1280x1024_60.00" 109.00 1280 1368 1496 1712 1024 1027 1034 1063 -hsync +vsync
xrandr --addmode VGA-0 "1280x1024_60.00"
xrandr --output VGA-0 --mode "1280x1024_60.00"
Otherwise seems to steam ahead after initial display dilly-dally.
Totem DVB-T broken on my system, but ME-TV works instead!
Looks a competent RC1/gold with a few updates!
33 • @30 (by cba on 2010-11-01 21:58:31 GMT from Germany)
Concentrating on bugs in distro reviews is a very dangerous thing, because the distro might work flawlessly on more than 90% of all other hardware.
Only one example: I own hardware with a NVidia graphics chip (Geforce4MX 440 onboard on a NForce2 chipset) which (at the moment) does not work on any newer distribution that comes with the nouveau driver as standard driver for NVidia graphics chips. But I know that an old and very similar Geforce4MX 420 AGP card works flawlessly with nouveau.
The problem is the reaction of many readers and the distros themselves: They will criticize you in a "strange" way: "Why for heaven's sake did you test our fantastic distro on such a piece of strange and old hardware? You should have known this beforehand and we believe that you actually did. No distro can cover all hardware that has been manufactured since the beginning of the computer age."
I assume that Distrowatch wants to avoid this.
34 • KDE 4? (by Anonymous on 2010-11-01 22:45:46 GMT from Italy)
I don't have performance problems, as my slowest computer has 3GB RAM and a Core 2 Duo T8300.
However, it is the implementation which really makes the difference for me: my favourite are the PCLinuxOS and the Mandriva one.
Having said that, after KDE 3.5, Gnome has become my favourite DE.
I suppose that happened to many users, we moved to Gnome (see most polls).
35 • @16 OpenBSD (by PCBSDuser on 2010-11-01 23:08:34 GMT from Canada)
I agree, the new release is incredible. I mean, the song has no lyrics! And I'm not just talking about the webpage. I played it, and it's an instrumental! No sarcasm, no feuds, no nothing. Just very laid back and mellowed out. The edge has gone. I fear for this project.
36 • KDE 4.5 (by ricksamericaincafe on 2010-11-01 23:40:31 GMT from United States)
Running it now on openSUSE 11.3 EduLIFE and loving it. With 3GB RAM there is zero lag and minimal system resource usage. Plus, it`s the best-looking desktop out there besides E17 and AfterStep, IMO.
37 • Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS (by Tom Horn on 2010-11-02 00:02:19 GMT from United States)
I enjoyed Jesse Smith's discussion with Mr. Norman, the Pinguy OS developer, and his follow up review and critique of the OS itself. What he found on installing and running Pinguy OS matches my own two days with it on a test machine. Basically a worthwhile concept, as worthwhile as a startup 'Buntu re-spin can be, but needs serious refocusing on what really matters and what doesn't. It will be interesting to see what comes next as this project goes forward. If it lightens its load and tightens its focus Pinguy OS may one day be what was envisioned for it at its birth. Time alone will tell.
38 • openBSD (by Mike on 2010-11-02 00:16:03 GMT from United States)
Jesse, Ladislav, and Caitlyn,
Just one reader who would love to see an indepth review of the new 4.8 release of openBSD. From a server and desktop point of view. Keep up the great work as usual.
39 • OpenBSD great, but not a "distribution" (by chris on 2010-11-02 00:21:49 GMT from United States)
OpenBSD is not just another distribution. It's UNIX and as such is an OS in its own right.
40 • Reviews (by Jesse on 2010-11-02 00:44:54 GMT from Canada)
>> "Concentrating on bugs in distro reviews is a very dangerous thing, because the distro might work flawlessly on more than 90% of all other hardware."
The poster, cba, hits the nail nicely on the head here. When I'm reviewing a distribution, I'm sharing my impressions and experiences. So if I encounter a bug, I'll talk about it. If my experience is bug free, then I don't mention bugs. Generally I will browse through the project's forum and see if any big bugs show up and try to recreate them on my machine. But if I can't recreate/verify the problem, I'm not going to talk about it.
Which is why, in response to comment 30, I didn't mention many bugs in PinguyOS, because I didn't encounter them. There was the odd update manager behavior at first, but otherwise Pinguy was pretty solid and I didn't run into any serious bugs. I think that's impressive for a first release.
To be fair, yes, I griped about the interface more than perhaps it deserved. It's a subjective thing and maybe I should have left it alone. But Pinguy does sport one of the few desktop interfaces I've run into recently that really annoyed me. Most distros (almost all) I am happy to leave with their default themes and settings, but this was not one of them.
41 • Re: #5 Gnome 3, Ubuntu (by silent on 2010-11-02 01:13:57 GMT from Hungary)
The Gnome Shell is under heavy construction at the moment, it is too early to form an opinion about the speed and eye-candy. The git version allows everyone to see it taking shape day by day. If one doesn't like the concept of the Gnome Shell, Gnome 3 can be used without it anyway. On the other hand, with some development (including Compiz), Unity can be also a good choice for netbooks and tablets.
42 • CLI (by Sanmik on 2010-11-02 01:48:09 GMT from United States)
I've been stretching my almost 70-year-old brain for the past two years having fun with dozens of distros. The consistent obstacle to my full enjoyment has been not the command line itself, but the documentation.
This is an example of something that threw me a year or so ago: a direction is given to "uncomment line xxx". WTH? To understand I would need an additional line something like "which is done by deleting the # at the beginning of the line". Oh, now I get it.
I run across something like this in, honestly, 90% of documentation I want to understand. I don't need a GUI, I need CLI instructions that I can translate into action using the brain that I have on hand.
43 • RE: Pinguy Uh, Jesse... (by ricksamericaincafe on 2010-11-02 01:56:14 GMT from United States)
That "large status panel" is called a Conky. C-O-N-K-Y. LOL.
44 • Re: #39 (by Mike on 2010-11-02 02:10:31 GMT from United States)
Actually if you want to get specific openBSD is not Unix but Unix-like.
Yes its not a distribution but the releases are tracked on Distrowatch and I hope it is reviewed here.
45 • OpenBSD and BSD in general... (by Verndog on 2010-11-02 02:55:29 GMT from United States)
After seeing the latest offering of OpenBSD, and not knowing a lot about BSD, I decided to google BSD, and have spent the last hour or two reading various articles and blogs on the subject.
For one, SELinux and BSD security are at odds, to be sure. Approaching the same subject from way different angles. A long read with comments regarding the two found here: http://kerneltrap.org/OpenBSD/SELinux_vs_OpenBSDs_Default_Security
Also one doesn't have to go far in order to discover Theo's free speech attitude...and to think Linus called Theo's difficult. Talk about the kettle calling the pot black!
At any rate, one thing of interest is the booting process differences between Linux and BSD. I never gave it much thought, but the Linux kernel is always compressed and it takes time to uncompress it and boot. Whereas BSD comes fully uncompressed and from what I read, BSD boots and shuts down much faster.
Here is an interesting read and a small live, albeit FreeBSD, BSD distro called MaheshaBSD: http://www.freebsd.nfo.sk/maheshaeng.htm
Lots of interesting reading inside that link.
46 • unusual, but continuing from last week... (by Wil Barath on 2010-11-02 03:52:48 GMT from Canada)
I don't normally carry convos from prev. week but these were left with open questions that I think deserve answers:
Jesse: you choose the questions to respond to, so they are part of your statement. Maybe you were not aware that by repeatedly questioning the future of the .project and offering ideas of how it might survive even if Oracle abandoned it, you were agreeing with the original statement and insinuating that this would be the case, or that the readership might take the whole article that way. There's no shame in that. Maybe you will post again, (with a different name?) ;-) Do you see what I mean?
RE: menus in FVWM95, fluxbox, openbox, and even the "xdg-menu"-based menu popups, they are never completely populated.
All the tools for generating default menus are flawed, and this is one of the most shameful aspects of the state of the Linux Desktop. No package maintainer should consider a desktop app "release quality" without first guaranteeing that their app shows up sensibly categorized (or at least present!) in the distro's default desktop environment. SuSE has one of the best track records in this department. Debian and its derivatives have the worst. Some of the Debian derivatives give the appearance of respectable menu management by setting up very good installation defaults and then apparently praying/hoping that users will not install any more apps...
47 • Geany, donation of the month (by Wil Barath on 2010-11-02 05:12:24 GMT from Canada)
I'm happy to see this donation go to Geany. I'd love to see more people using Geany. It's a great lightweight alternative to Eclipse, and it's the next-best-thing Gnome can offer to KDE's Kate.
I use Geany sometimes when I'm in a pinch, but I have to avoid it generally because it relies of gvfs for its network-transparency and unfortunately gvfs clobbers the permissions and ownership of remote files. I can't live with that behaviour. I tried contacting Red Hat, but their maintainer doesn't respond. The code itself says literally "don't care" about the permissions of the target file. Maybe because they can't guarantee it for all VFS targets so they just don't try. :(
48 • PinguyOS (by RollMeAway on 2010-11-02 05:16:49 GMT from United States)
Been playing with an installation for several days now. It definately is not for new users. Firefox has several dozen addons, really clutters up the menus. After deleting about half, which were totally useless to me, I have quite a few left to investigate later.
I'm overwhelmed by the variety of apps installed. Many, I have no clue what they are. Those also will be interestiing to check out.
The one, most frustrating thing, for me, is that all the application windows are missing the menu bar. That is the "File Edit View ....Tools Help" items.
The only app that has these items is Firefox! I have web searched for clues. Seems most think compiz or Docky is the problem. So far I haven't found a way to restore the menu items.
Conky is better looking than most other distros I've seen using it.
I hate having to edit a text file to configure it. Too cryptic, and error prone for me.
Conky also takes up far too much screen space. Gkrellm2 with the "invisible" theme is my addiction.
So, if you are comfortable with Gnome, and like to checkout new applications,
This distro will be interesting to you.
49 • OpenBSD default security vs SELinux, etc (by Ralph on 2010-11-02 05:21:10 GMT from Canada)
@45 - interesting link given by 45. For an alternative point of view you might want to look at http://allthatiswrong.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-insecurity-of-openbsd/
The author argues that the security of OpenBSD is largely mythical and an extended access control framework (not necessarily SELinux) is needed for a secure system.
50 • PinguyOS Continued... (by RollMeAway on 2010-11-02 05:34:07 GMT from United States)
Solution for missing menu items in application windows.
The "Global Menu Applet" to the right of the Mint menu on panel.
Right click it, select Preferences
and check the box for "Show local menu in window"
Baffeled why anyone would want to uncheck this.
51 • @48 RollMeAway (by Tom on 2010-11-02 07:57:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
I seem to remember that the config file lets you change the size of the whole conky thing. Also removing some of the indicators that you don't always need can be helpful in reducing the overall size? Sorry i cant remember how to edit the text-file either but when i got into it i found it good fun. It is a bit quirky imo.
Regards from Tom :)
52 • IT's a shame (by musty on 2010-11-02 08:33:31 GMT from France)
IT S A SHAME, there is a review of Fedora 14 on "itwold.com" that use the beta version (fedora14_beta : from 24.9.2010) without saying that this is a beta and suggests that it is a final version. This review refers to many bugs in Fedora. All of those bugs have been corrected since 14.10.2010. (Watch the commentary by Adam Williamson) It 's not very professional.
Alpha and Beta are for finding bugs and the finale for you and me to use everyday
53 • @46 Wil Barath, back-up plans (by Tom on 2010-11-02 08:53:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
Having a back-up plan or backing up data does not mean you predict the original will fail. Many times when i HAVE backed up a system nothing has gone wrong ever. However, i tend to find that when i have no back-up the system often seems to fail.
While Oracle is blocking any updates to OpenOffice it seems sensible to get LibreOffice which is getting updated. This hopefully does not mean you HAVE to get rid of OpenOffice. If you don't have space to keep both on your system then just choose one, perhaps stick with OOo if that is easier for you.
The important thing is to know whether there is a replacement or fork for whichever OpenSource project you are relying on Oracle for. Most of the larger projects have been forked but VirtualBox hasn't. Luckily VirtualBox is one of the very few OpenSource projects that Oracle are allowing updates for but they might stop any day and then make future VirtualBox proprietary.
We do not know what Oracle are likely to do but Jesse would have been remiss if he didn't point out that committing yourself to VirtualBox now might lead to problems in the future. He did NOT say that the four horsemen of the apocalypse would sweep the earth nor did he state that Oracle would or wouldn't do anything in particular. In programming there is often an equivalent of the BASIC line
IF a=0 THEN set b=1
and this is roughly what Jesse said. People have interpreted that as Jesse saying that a will =0 all the time. Each time he refuted that and pointed out that he only said "IF" people took that as further confirmation that he was guaranteeing that a=0
54 • meaning of "distro" (by Tom on 2010-11-02 09:42:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
Distro was specifically meant to mean a "distribution" of LINUX. So anything based on a different kernel is not (strictly speaking) a "distro" but this is a very pedantic point.
Debian have had releases based on the HURD (or is it herd?) kernel instead of the Linux one, should we ignore those and not count them as distros? It is still OpenSource and meets almost everything we think of as qualifying it as a distro but it is not a distro by the strict, pedantic definition. Should we make a new word?
BSD uses a different kernel and is not fully GPL'd but does use other copyleft licences. A slightly different ethos from linux distros but still very similar.
Should we redefine "distro" as meaning any OS based on a unix-like kernel? Linux is a re-write of the unix kernel just as bsd's kernel and the gnu people's hurd (herd?) kernel. This would make Apple's OS just another distro but a proprietary one. Is RedHat proprietary just because they charge people for using it? (No, i think it is still OpenSource as the code can be modified i think)
Some people have tried to argue that Windows is a distro although they then can't agree on whether Xp is a different distro or different 'release' from Win7, Vista etc.
My own opinion is that distro seems to mean a Free OS (not necessarily free in price). If we simply say that
distro = operating system
then we have a redundant term and lost a useful distinction. Mostly nowadays people seem to mean any Free OS and most of those are unix-based by some amazing coincidence.
55 • I'm not selling it, but still on Salix ... (by meanpt on 2010-11-02 09:43:09 GMT from Portugal)
... did I mention it's a fast booter? .... even faster than the XFCE version, in my tight virtual environment?
56 • updates ... or update on OO.org (by meanpt on 2010-11-02 09:45:50 GMT from Portugal)
... don't know if they (oracle) is stopping the updates but there is already a 3.3.RC3 released.
57 • 56 updates for OOo (by Tom on 2010-11-02 10:15:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ahh, interesting. So Oracle have only stopped the developers they don't pay?
58 • @54 definitions (by Tom on 2010-11-02 10:19:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
Unix-based implies the kernel is the unix kernel but i mostly meant kernels (and sometimes packages) that have been developed from unix or even re-writes of unix. I am not completely clear about this.
59 • Meego 1.1 (by Harry Barracuda on 2010-11-02 10:28:12 GMT from Bahrain)
Meego 1.0 supported my wifi adapter OOTB. 1.1 doesn't. Some upgrade. In the bin you go.
60 • El Puffiachi (by RobertD on 2010-11-02 11:35:25 GMT from United States)
Yeah, your right, no lyrics. Wait! Mozart, no lyrics, he will probably never amount to anything. Please!!!
You completely contradict yourself....what the what!
61 • Meego 1.1 - too soon to recommend. (by mechanic on 2010-11-02 12:05:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
I really like the different interface Meego are working with, although there are some minor niggles when trying to copy and paste between applications. Meego seem to be very focussed on portable devices and in-car entertainment machines, the netbook application seems to be very much the second cousin, although from the forum numbers there are many netbook users of Meego.
The real issue with version 1.1 is that there is no upgrade path from 1.0! There has been a post of a laborious procedure for this on the forums, with several warnings about frying the installation and 'better to do a clean install' messages. In 2010 we expect a clean upgrade to be possible using the software management application, not some cobbled together ideas on a forum for this routine operation! Worse that this, the attitude of the Meego people who have commented on this is 'it was not in the requirements/bugs list so we havent provided such a feature' - this really sucks, the management of the project clearly needs sorting out.
Avoid for the time being.
62 • Mobile platforms (by Tom on 2010-11-02 12:22:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
We really can't expect much from this area at the moment. It still is quite new. I like Harry's attitude; try it, doesn't work, bin it & move on. Eventually arriving at a platform where; try it, it works, love it.
With MeeGo is there space for a separate /home partition? That would normally be my preferred route even on a desktop distro because it allows a clean upgrade without losing any features while still giving access to the existing, working system (hopefully)?
63 • 57 • 56 updates for OOo (by Tom (by meanpt on 2010-11-02 12:31:28 GMT from Portugal)
... :) ... oh ... I heard through the grapevine (a nice song, by the way) that developers will be paid after adhering to the new culture, e.g. letting their beard grow to look like their boss :)
64 • Re: 39 • OpenBSD great, but not a "distribution" (by Ariszló on 2010-11-02 12:43:46 GMT from Hungary)
Yes, it is a distribution. The D in BSD stands for distribution.
65 • Unity... (by smartjak on 2010-11-02 17:45:56 GMT from United States)
For God's sake! You don't like what Ubuntu is doing with it's up coming release? Go to Debian. Hands down, bar none, the best damned OS of all time. Even beats the hell out of Slackware. Slackware, Ugh!
66 • @54 (by Wil Barath on 2010-11-02 18:33:35 GMT from Canada)
Granted, Tom, but that doesn't have much to do with what I was responding to.
If you want to go off on a tangent, Jesse also used the Java suit as support of his argument that Oracle are doing bad things and therefore should not be trusted. Sun started the suit, not Oracle.
The suit is to maintain open standards, keep Java systems compatible so that software can interoperate and remain portable. Google is bastardizing the standard, and I think they have a legal right to do so so the suit will most likely fail. I think the suit was more intended to promote consumer awareness of how Google's actions are contrary to public interests.
I think Oracle maintaining the suit is in the best interest everyone except, perhaps, Google.
67 • Fedora 14 (by Anonymous on 2010-11-02 22:18:08 GMT from United States)
I just install Fedora 14, and now using it with Firefox. I have to find a Chrome install for F14. Firefox is very slow.
Also need to disable SELinux. And yes I know about its use, but it has never been able to get out of its own way. I wasn't booted up for even 1 minute before SELinux started complaining. Here is a good link that has referances to other links that has one of the SELinux authors telling us how we should make it compliant. Way to much work.
I know the security cops will come running with their red lights blazing. In the end, it is my machine afterall.
I just want to see how the latest Fedora offering works, and not be bogged down with SELinux.
68 • @54 (oops, last one was @ 53 LOL!) (by Wil Barath on 2010-11-03 01:31:35 GMT from Canada)
My understanding is that "Distro" is a pet-name for Distribution, and as such Sarge is a different Distro than Etch, KUbuntu 10.10 is a different Distro than Ubuntu 10.10. So if we are being pedantic, an RC release is in fact a different "Distro" than the final release unless they are binary-identical and given the same name.
However DistroWatch is about watching about what the Distibution Producers are doing, and the Distribution Lists are actually lists of those Distibution Producers. If we look at "Distro" as meaning "Release Team" then maybe Debian/HURD doesn't qualify, but then calling KUbuntu a "Distro" is way, way out of line because it's just Ubuntu with specific meta-package installed, rolled into an official release, and as such it's less of a "Distro" than a security update release.
The real distinction is in Ladislav's hands, but I think most of the readers consider anything rolled up into a bootable ISO image a "Distro".
69 • reviews should mention bugs (by Number30 on 2010-11-03 06:30:49 GMT from United States)
A review that makes a general recommendation in favor of using a distro should also include brief but specific mention of material bugs that were encountered. If the hardware is typical enough to recommend the distro, then it is typical enough that the bugs should be reported.
From #33, in opposition to #30: "Concentrating on bugs in distro reviews is a very dangerous thing, because the distro might work flawlessly on more than 90% of all other hardware."
In spite of his comment on #33... "cba, hits the nail nicely on the head here."... Jesse in #40 appears to generally agree about reporting bugs...
"If I encounter a bug, I'll report it... I will browse through the project's forum and see if any big bugs show up and try to recreate them on my machine. But if I can't recreate/verify the problem, I'm not going to talk about it."
... which seems to agree with #30...
"spend an hour in the distro forum... check their own installation to determine that the problems are real, and let everybody know about real problems."
In the U.S. he'd make a fantastic politician... differentiating himself, being articulate and professional, all the while supporting both sides at once!
So, how does #33 hit the nail on the head in opposing #30? You make three extensions to the suggestion in #30...
- discussion is limited to hardware-dependent bugs only.
- the review is assumed to be done on old equipment.
- a request to "mention bugs" is turned into a proposal to shift emphasis/concentration.
Hmm. Emphasizing bugs would be a bummer. But the rest - still I don't see it. If you are wielding the hammer, I don't want to be the one holding the nail! In most cases, except in unusual and specific situations, if the review makes a general recommendation, then verified material bugs should be mentioned.
My experience with various recent distros has been problem after problem that was not reported in other reviews. Too many reviews are simply advertisements. Too many other reviews emphasize appearance. What a waste of time.
Taking your comment out of context, I agree with this: "The problem is the reaction of many readers and the distros themselves". Yes, I've seen Caitlyn Martin subjected to unreasonable treatment in this forum for telling it like it is.
It is encouraging that a distribution has no material bugs! At least on this particular hardware :) Apologies to Jesse for assuming anything else. I see that it is 2.6.32. Old at birth. Still, Congrats to Pinguy!
70 • @69 - Hardware (by forlin on 2010-11-03 10:32:40 from Portugal)
One good point about Caitlyn & Jesse reviews is that both use more than one machine on their reviews, usually, being one of them a laptop. Its a representative mix of what people out there is using. Although a plain desktop without many fancy hardware peripherals, will work OK with most of the more popular distros, the same may no happen with all laptops. I'd like yet to mention a little annoyance (for me) witch is the lack of support (oftb) from many light distros, to the 3G usb modems. Light distros are a perfect companion for the laptop netbooks, These, combined with a 3G modem, allows its utilization at many places in the outdoors. Unfortunately I can only remember two light distros that support the 3g modems: Peppermint and Lubuntu (and maybe, the Lxde Mint). It would be nice, for a broad choice, if Puppy and some of the Slackware derivatives, would also support them.
71 • Linux and the command line (by Ashbrook on 2010-11-03 12:26:38 GMT from United Kingdom)
"It makes Linux look outdated and scary." - Not as scary as "regedit"!
72 • Java Suit (by rec9140 on 2010-11-03 14:35:04 GMT from United States)
" think Oracle maintaining the suit is in the best interest everyone except, perhaps, Google"
Wow... couldn't DISAGREE more strongly!
oracle is now squarely in the anti-christ triumvirate with ms! No thanks on any thing from them...
google is most certainly not "do[ing] no evil" either, but v. the other 3, I'll take them any day!
Java (J2SE) was put into the open world, google chose to implement around the J2ME (which is licensed) with their Android system... oh well too bad so sad cry me a river.. no $$$ for you Sun/oracle....it was an end run around a BS tactic to get paid... That was clearly a "scheme" from the start at Sun...Some one implemented around it oh well! I hope the forth coming book from the Sun guy really lays all the cards on the table and tells its straight "We shopped Sun with a 'Sue.....' in re java" tag on it! Its pretty clear they did... so admit it! Oh.. wait that may be actionable... even better!
Just look at the exodus out of oracle... none of the Linux community want anything to do with them, and good riddance.
I for one am doing my part...
LibreOffice is being used instead of that other software. Most of the big distros have already picked LibreOffice over the other, and the next release cycle will see LO take over... open what? bye bye larry!
Java dev is on hold
MySQL looks to be headed to the heap, so either Maria or postgres (ugh!) depends on the paths some other things take.
We only use VMWare for virtualization, so no loss there.
PS: Heres a hot tip larry..theres some really great sailing off the coast of Somalia maybe you should check in to it!
73 • @72 and linux...linux (by forlin on 2010-11-03 16:12:09 GMT from Portugal)
anything that has the name "Linux" in it, that happen to arise a strong attention from the masses to that "Linux thing" name, will be crunched!!!
74 • @72 and linux...linux (by forlin on 2010-11-03 16:16:09 GMT from Portugal)
anything that has the name "Linux" in it, that happen to arise a strong attention from the masses to that "Linux thing" name, will be crunched!!!
ps: Is it just me or is it there some problem with the comments? They use to be seen after pressing the "submit comment" button, but it seems that today it's taking a while, until they're published.
75 • please mods, clear @74 (by forlin on 2010-11-03 16:17:22 GMT from Portugal)
no comments :)
76 • An Early Read on Fedora 14 (by trotter1985 on 2010-11-03 18:03:49 GMT from United States)
I've now installed Fedora 14 on four different machines, ranging from a
T-410 laptop to a serious workstation with 24 GB of ram. All installations went
on smoothly and the initial round of updates also went fine.
1. Graphics seem to be doing well, even with NVidia cards. I'll probably install the NVidia driver, but the basic performance is good.
2. Fonts also seem to be better than earlier Fedora releases. Easy to toggle the display options. Mine seems to be optimal with slight or medium hinting options under the subpixel smoothing tab.
3. Really easy to install mp3 players and other media players. Libdvdcss didn't go on from Livna. Had to get it from ATrpms, but this was easy.
4. Entire installation cycle was around two hours, including some 130GB data. Compare that with 6 hours for Windows 7.
1. SELinux interfered with Dropbox, Adobe Reader and Maple (mathematics software). It was easy to do command line alterations to allow these tools to function ... but newbies would most likely be frustrated. I have a fourth problem with DAC and this one I don't yet know how to resolve.
2. VM workstation doesn't work - modules can't be built. Ubuntu 10.10 had the same problem and a workaround will certainly surface soon. Annoying though.
All in all, I'm very happy with these installations and think I'll stay with this setup. I might find a few more hiccups ... but for now, it's a keeper.
77 • Fedora 14 - Two Quick Follow Up Comments (by trotter1985 on 2010-11-03 19:06:02 GMT from United States)
Needless to say, the fix for VM workstation was aleady posted on the Fedora Forum site. Download a patch and a script ... and all is fine.
Also, instructions for installing NVidia drivers were on the Forum site and the difference is clear. An edit to /etc/X11/xorg.conf is required. Like most, I prefer open source but don't turn away from closed source when it's clearly better.
78 • @67 (by Adam Williamson on 2010-11-03 19:20:27 GMT from Canada)
"I know the security cops will come running with their red lights blazing. In the end, it is my machine afterall."
The point of SELinux is to keep it that way. =)
(To take a real world example...that kernel remote root vuln everyone was panicking about last week? Can't be exploited if you have the stock Fedora / RHEL SELinux configuration in place, even if you're running a vulnerable kernel. https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=645305#c1)
79 • RE: #68 (by Anonymous on 2010-11-03 19:54:38 GMT from Italy)
"My understanding is that "Distro" is a pet-name for Distribution, and as such Sarge is a different Distro than Etch, KUbuntu 10.10 is a different Distro than Ubuntu 10.10"
That is not my understanding of "Distro", nor I have ever seen a "Distro" defined that way. For me Sarge and Etch are Debian *releases*.
Debian, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Fedora (and so on) are different distributions.
I don't know if the word "Distribution" applies to the BSDs and in which way. Maybe (only maybe) FreeBSD and OpenBSD are different distribution? I would imagine that "Distribution" applies to varieties of operating systems with the same kernel.
80 • New article (shameless self-promotion) (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-03 20:30:56 GMT from United States)
I have a new how-to article posted on O'Reilly Broadcast about how to get Drupal and Apache with mod_security to work together properly on Red Hat/CentOS/Scientific Linux servers. See: http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2010/11/getting-drupal-and-mod-securit.html
81 • #78 SELinux (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-03 20:32:39 GMT from United States)
As usual, Adam Williamson is 100% right about this. Sadly, many users, including many big corporate users, ignore really simple security steps until it bites them really hard you know where.
82 • SELinux (by Jesse on 2010-11-03 21:11:35 GMT from Canada)
I appreciate what SELinux does, but I completely sympathize with people who turn it off. It's often annoying and can break functionality. Yes, it is a powerful security tool and yes it is great when it works, but sometimes it is a huge popping-up pain. Security does need to be balanced with functionality and going too far either way leads to problems.
That being said, I've been playing with the new Fedora release and I have yet to run into any SELInux-related issues so far. It's been much smoother than the last couple of releases.
83 • @78 (by cba on 2010-11-03 21:20:43 GMT from Germany)
But if a 3rd party printer or graphics driver or Google Earth cannot be used on a home desktop as a result of a SELinux "problem", you'll have to reckon with a high probability that SELinux will be disabled.
Is SELinux really necessary on the home desktop of a linux distro that is still supported with updates?
Slackware (I am still using Slackware 11.0 on one very old computer) for example comes without SELinux or AppArmor and does not even enable a firewall by default.
But would you say that a still supported Slackware is unsafe without SELinux and without a firewall?
In my opinion, the answer with regard to a "normal" (almost no server services enabled; an unpatched cups might be a problem under certain circumstances) home desktop, is rather "No".
84 • Great CLI Synopsis (by daemox on 2010-11-03 21:21:43 GMT from United States)
I really enjoyed the Q&A section in this weeks issue. It is a great approach to this seemingly common misconception.
85 • Fedora 14 (by Landor on 2010-11-04 00:13:17 GMT from Canada)
I downloaded the RC1 before it went gold and although I found no problems with it in overall functionality, I did find it slow in comparison to Fedora 12. I chalked that up to a year's worth of development in pretty well all applications which tend to need more resources.
I decided to download it again on the release day. Yes, I know it's the same image as it had went gold. I was surprised to see it performing better on my netbook than the RC1 had, and this was before updates. I take that as either a bad download in some way, or a burn, which although hasn't happened much with me, it's not uncommon either. Whatever the problem, it's a lot better. I should go back to checking my images before I burn them, to at least rule that out. :)
I did have an instant SELinux alert as already has been noted here. I didn't bother with it until I did the updates, and low and behold there was no longer an issue. Updates, even with a new release, or especially with a new release, are critical before judging a system you've installed.
I'm not a user of proprietary software and the like, so it was just a few initial applications from Fedora's own repositories that got me on my way. I do updates and installations from the command line with yum, as I find the whole process faster. First on the agenda (and even before I did updates) was to install yum-plugin-fastestmirror. I consider that plugin should already come installed, it's a shame it doesn't. One odd thing I did notice was when I installed Amsn it pulled in packages that were labeled from Fedora 12 and 13 (it pays to do package installations from the command line, you get to see things like that). It doesn't matter to me, as long as it works, just something I noticed.
I'll voice an old gripe though, and it's been gone since Fedora Core 2 or 3, is gconf-editor is missing. Now, I know Adam, you've talked about size, language files, etc. But you can't tell me gconf-editor would have driven the size of the iso over the cd mark. :) I just don't understand why something so small would be excluded that's an integral part of configuring Gnome, especially since Gnome is Fedora's flagship DE. I really don't like icons on my desktop and installing gconf-editor along with all the other stuff I want in one shot is the easiest solution to getting rid of them, but it feels bothersome that I would have to. :)
I tried the RC1 of KDE and it actually performed better on my netbook (not using the netbook interface) than Gnome had for the RC1. I was actually overjoyed and thought I'd finally return to KDE until I watched KDE do something that made me shake my head. I sat there and watched things load in the tray well after the desktop had been up. This was installed too, not running live. It reminded me too much of Windows and I knew every time I booted my netbook and saw that, I'd dislike it. So KDE wasn't going back on the netbook. Shame too.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this release and find it a pleasure to use thus far. I've kept Fedora 12 on the main (first partitions) until I get a better feel of how this release is doing, but I don't see any issues with it at all.
Congratulations to the Fedora Team and Community, a great install all the way around in my opinion.
Only thing I need to do still is install a libre kernel, but that'll be when it replaces 12. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
86 • Early SELinux Problems in Fedora 14 Already Corrected (by trotter1985 on 2010-11-04 13:09:14 GMT from United States)
I did a fifth install of Fedora 14 on a home workstation, but the
setup was almost identical to office setups. Already the Fedora team
has fixed the SELinux problems I had spotted on day one. Adobe
Reader, Dropbox and Maple all worked fine right from the start.
That's pretty quick response if you ask me.
87 • KDE4.4+ and things... (by davemc on 2010-11-04 15:05:35 GMT from United States)
Its funny that as I sifted through the comments this week I noticed at the top a couple commentators reiterating the same misinformation about KDE resource usage that never seems to die, no matter that KDE 4.5 runs quite well in 256MB of RAM in most packaging formats - Kubuntu included, which is the where I ran my testing today for RAM/Swap usage in light - medium - heavy loads. On a system that has 384M KDE4.5 idles at 192MB with zero swap (with all unneeded services disabled or removed, like bluetooth, etc.). With low usage (1 - 2 app's at most running) app's like Firefox were fairly slow to load/render on sites like Youtube, and Hulu and heavy swap was used at times. However, when switching to Rekonq the latency issues went away almost completely and RAM/SWAP usage dropped to minimal. I was surprised how well Rekonq handled flash/java heavy sites. Rekonq is really a fantastic Chrome like (Webkit based, KDE integrated) browser that is still in early development but I can see why Kubuntu Maverick switched to this as default. Surprise, surprise, I noticed the same tendency when using app's like VLC vs. Dragon. RAM usage skyrocketed to unbearable levels when attempting to play media files with VLC while Dragon or mplayer via cli handled them with very little overhead. The system also seemed to run in to quite alot of trouble when lots of Plasma Widgets were used. Overall though, Kubuntu Maverick (aka KDE4.5) ran reasonably well on a system with very low RAM.
Ubuntu switching to Unity is very interesting, and they are NOT doing it because they don't like GNOME 3, or at least, that is not their sole reason. I think they are doing it for licensing disputes and they want full control of the project. I bet they will take it Open Core. That is not to say that they have evil intentions, but Open Core is a trap. Unity is a very nice concept with loads of potential, but unless its fully open source via GPLv3, I would be very wary of the bait and switch.
88 • @87 • KDE4.4+ and things... (by davemc (by meanpt on 2010-11-04 16:40:23 GMT from Portugal)
.. right ... Salix KDE idles at 120 MB ... no latency at all ... and this, in a VBox vm machine with guest additions added ... more or less 60% of the basic Kubuntu toll ...
89 • CLI (by jake on 2010-11-05 05:28:15 GMT from United States)
Users don't need to know the command-line anymore (for the most part).
However, and IMO, System Administrators do.
This aging laptop, running Slackware 13.1, has a "dumb terminal" hung off one of the ports on its docking station. A couple months ago, the console crashed. Both the built-in screen & keyboard/trackpad *and* the second, larger screen & USB keyboard/trackball were non-functional. But I was still able to login to the system using the serial terminal, and fix the problem, without rebooting.
Granted, for most home users, the answer to the above scenario is "reboot and see if it fixes the problem, if it doesn't reinstall" (thanks, Microsoft!) ... but when in charge of more important systems, that is not a valid solution.
Likewise, booting a Mac into single-user mode to reset a password (or fix another "can't boot the system properly" problem) requires the commandline.
I won't go into Microsoft's dreadful so-called "recovery console", but again, that is the commandline.
Simple reality is that if you don't grok the commandline, you're a user, not an admin. Note that I don't see this as a bad thing, per se ... Most drivers don't know how to fix their automobiles. On the other hand, folks with a clue as to how cars work under the hood can almost always troubleshoot any problems well enough to get the vehicle home. I know which camp I'm in ...
 For small values of "fix" ... I couldn't figure out exactly what went wrong in the hour I gave myself ... but the system came back up without rebooting (the kernel itself didn't crash), with no data loss, and I haven't seen the problem before or since. Probably a stray cosmic ray. Or operator error ;-)
 Usually, I'd bird-dog it until I found the problem ... but I only had an hour to kill at lunch, and had work to do after that.
90 • Request distro help for older hardaware (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 08:45:53 GMT from India)
I'm visiting my retired parents nowadays. Long story short, I could finally convince them to give linux a shot, after being burnt endlessly by the local software vendor, his unlicensed XP copy, and data losses.
I'd like suggestions for a distro that
1) runs well on this hardware-
Pentium 3, 730 MHz processor, 512 MB RAM, Realtek RTL8139 family network driver.
2) is lightweight and would not crawl. Don't need fluff. I'm thinking XFCE desktop and Slackware based distros but open to suggestions. But I've had problems with SalixOS and Realtek driver in the past... is that situation improved now?
3) runs the following software well, and preferably has them on the installation CD.
b) A good, problem free photo viewer and management software. A problem free photo resizer software, preferably with batch mode. They should be easy to use for lay users.
c) A good pdf viewer
many thanks. Looking forward to suggestions. I've probably got just one shot at this :-) so I;m trying to get it right the first time.
91 • contd from #90 ... (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 08:54:41 GMT from India)
Forgot to add one more requirement.
4) Should have good, problem-free detection for wired network with the Realtek RTL8139 card. This is important as I can't expect them (or even myself!) to troubleshoot driver issues.
Icing on the cake would be good display resolution, and small things like good scrolling on browsers. Hope I'm able to revive this Compaq Presario 5000 PC.
92 • 90&91 for 512Mb ram (by Tom on 2010-11-05 11:13:17 GMT from United Kingdom)
My suggestion for any install on 'new' (=untested by you in linux) hardware would be to have a fair few LiveCds to try on the machine as "test-drives". You would probably test-drive a car, why not an OS?
Also why not keep the existing Windows and just do this as a dual-boot (or multi-boot) so that all the old data is still around and still possible to go back into Windows for familiarity. Just installing a distro as a dual-boot often helps clear up Windows problems. The Windows boot-loader often fails so many people install a linux one even on Windows-only systems.
While trying out LiveCds you should be able to find one with gparted (or qtparted) that will help you set-up partitions to make it easy to try out a few (re)installs without losing data or settings.
If you can retain Windows and can also back-it-up onto external then i would set out partitions like this
sda2 Primary, 5-8Gb ext3 for /
sda3 Primary, 1Gb (=2xRam), linux-swap
sda1 Primary, most of drive, existing Windows just shrunk and moved a bit
sda4 Extended Partition
. sda5 Logical, 10Gb ext4 or ext3 for /home
. sda6 Logical, 6Gb ext3 for experimenting, trying out other distros and eventually for testing new releases BEFORE upgrading just in case something regresses or goes wrong in a new release on that hardware.
Note that sda1 will keep its name even tho it has been resized and moved with other partitions added in front. Read/writes are faster at the front of a drive and that really only matters for the OS and possibly the Swap but not for data&settings which are usually cached anyway. It is the / and swap that gives the machine the perceived responsiveness. On SSDs everywhere is fast but it sounds like they have Sata or older IDE drives.
If you can't back-up the Windows then don't move it! Just shrinking it to make space at the end of the drive rather than at the beginning is a little safer so go with that and put the linux partitions after Windows.
It does take a long time to resize and move a Windows partition and ideally you would defrag and "disk clean up" the partition from inside Windows before starting. If you are going to just delete the Windows partition it doesn't need defragging or anything and so this part all goes a LOT faster but may well lead to many regrets. I would keep the existing Windows however broken it is just for a few months until you can make sure there isn't something hidden away in there or something that may be recoverable through linux power.
I went for large partition sizes because i assume you will be trying an Ubuntu or Mint install as they are usually the best for noob linux users (users not techies!). Ubuntu does tend to be a lot heavier than most distros but it starts from a better starting point with OpenOffice/LibreOffice already and tons of stuff they might not ever need but is reassuring to have around until you really get into the linux advantages of streamlining systems for actual use rather than what the user claims to use. Medibuntu to sort multimedia if you do go for the hard-drive install
I think if the Ubuntu LiveCd is not satisfactory then try the other top names such as Mandriva, OpenSuse. You don't really need to think about extreme distros because the hardware sounds plenty good enough for almost anything. The LiveCd trials are just to check in case there is an incompatibility issue with one of the families. While those sorts of things might be easy to fix it is often even easier just to use a different distro that does happen to work. Ubuntu, Knoppix & Wolvix 1.1.0 seem to cover the greatest range of hardware but i wouldn't install either of those last 2 onto hard-drive for a normal user.
Good luck and happy hunting from
93 • re:92 (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 11:41:24 GMT from India)
thanks for a lot of info. I don't intend to setup this system as a dual boot anymore for the following reasons-
1. The local vendor installed an unlicensed XP copy on which updates don't run, so even more insecure.
2. Parents inevitably succeed in installing viruses on this XP machine even after I installed Avira antivirus.
3. Esteemed local vendor idiotically wiped all the data before installing XP. So, there is no data to save anymore. And yes, I'm pissed.
4. Personal reason- Want to break this local vendor + XP stranglehold on naive customers (namely, my folks) and save them money, time and data in the process.
5. Personal reason- Wean my folks from Windows. Goodbye Windows, I hope, forever. Good riddance.
I have some experience with installing distros on this particular hardware, although, not the latest releases. Ubuntu has not behaved well on this machine. Salix OS was responsive and appealing but did not recognize the network card. KDE-based distros, eg Opensuse, have been quite slow on this machine in the past.
But you are right about trying a few LiveCDs. I'm thinking of starting with-
1) Zenwalk 6.4 Live
2) Vector 6.0 Standard Gold ( can't find torrent for this )
DWW readers, please suggest modifications/ additions to the list, but please see #90, 91 for the system specs and end requirements.
94 • #90 (by Gustavo on 2010-11-05 11:41:44 GMT from Brazil)
I would sugest Zenwalk or Xubuntu 10.04. Change the panels to look like MS Windows (located at bottom etc).
95 • RE:87 What makes you think so? (by Eddie on 2010-11-05 13:11:05 GMT from United States)
"Ubuntu switching to Unity is very interesting, and they are NOT doing it because they don't like GNOME 3, or at least, that is not their sole reason. I think they are doing it for licensing disputes and they want full control of the project. I bet they will take it Open Core. That is not to say that they have evil intentions, but Open Core is a trap. Unity is a very nice concept with loads of potential, but unless its fully open source via GPLv3, I would be very wary of the bait and switch."
They are doing it because Gnome 3 is a mess and has lost direction it seems. Unity has a bright future. As as the rest goes, the Open Core trap is just not there. It is stated as a trap by people who believe every line of software code should be open sourced under the GPL and anything else is just evil. I don't see it. It's not going to be secretly be slid in on people. People should not be extremest. Extremes are harmful in any form. They will stifle innovation and neither will work to benefit the computing world in general. MS is an extreme and RMS is an extreme. Are either one evil? That depends on your definition of evil and how it affects you. Only a foolish person will base their actions on assumptions instead of facts. That is what the FSF is doing or maybe I should say that is what Kuhn is doing. He doesn't know who to fight anymore.
96 • Distro for older machine (by Jesse on 2010-11-05 14:17:08 GMT from Canada)
I would suggest trying out either Zenwalk or the LXDE edition of Mint. Either should run with the resources you mentioned and will have OpenOffice, etc. For batch jobs on image files, I recommend the Dave Batch Plugin for GIMP. I've found it fairly easy to use.
97 • re:94, 96 (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 14:31:07 GMT from India)
Thanks Gustavo, Jesse. So, you guys agree that Zenwalk is an option to try. I'll add LXDE Mint to the list too. Gustavo, my hardware has not liked Ubuntu in the past, so I'll push Xubuntu below Mint. Any other ideas? I appreciate them guys (and girls).
98 • First Unity, now Replace Xorg with Wayland (by Waylon Jennings on 2010-11-05 14:42:25 GMT from United States)
Interesting read. While much of the Linux world is in a funk, Ubuntu takes the lead.
99 • Wayland and stuff... (by davemc on 2010-11-05 14:48:50 GMT from United States)
#95 - "Anyone who trades liberty for security, deserves neither liberty nor security." - Ben Franklin
"Open Core is a trap" - Pamela Jones, Groklaw, commentary on Oracle vs. Google.
Open Core is absolutely a trap built and baited for unwary Developers. The existence of an Open Core project does not in and of itself imply that the trap will be sprung, or that the host even intends to spring it at any time, but the potential is always there and the threat is very much real. The project could be hosted in a fully open environment with no funny strings attached as most of the most wildly successful Open Source projects are, but some are not.
Wayland vice X. Interesting times we live in. I have to admit though that it is nice to see Ubuntu moving in its own direction. At least now there wont be any whining and crying about their contributions to the GNOME project :P
100 • #90: Lightweight distros (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-05 14:56:38 GMT from United States)
Let me start by saying I would not recommend Xubuntu or any other *buntu. Xubuntu has a lot of points in its favor but lightness is not one of them.
The problem with Realtek drivers is not distro-specific but rather that the drivers for Linux just plain are horrible across the board. There are different cards in the RTL8139 family that actually require different drivers. Your results will depend on which model you actually have. My fear would be that there really may not be a distro that will do a good job with your specific card out of the box . I did some searching and read about problems with these cards under Linux Mint, Fedora, Red Hat/CentOS and Mandriva as well. The solution always comes down to downloading the driver and installing and configuring it by hand at the command line. If you can post the specific model I can probably point you to the right driver and how-to for your card.
The good news is that while you probably are looking at a very manual, under-the-hood process for getting the RTL8139 NIC going it should just work once the correct driver is installed and configured and it should keep on working at least until you upgrade the kernel. At that point all you would have to do is copy the driver to the appropriate folder for the newer kernel. My advice here would be to go with a distro that only does kernel upgrades for significant security issues. Slackware and its derivatives fit the bill in this area and also in terms of being very lightweight.
Having said all of that, and having read your requirements, I recommend:
1. Vector Linux Standard 6.0. Plan on upgrading to 7.0 once it is released since 6.0 is getting a bit long in the tooth. Once 7.0 is in place you are probably good for 18 months to 2 years :)
2. SalixOS 13.1.1. If I'm right about the Realtek driver issues you will be able to work around them exactly the same way you will have to in any other distro.
3. Absolute Linux 13.1.6. The only potential negative here is that it uses IceWM rather than Xfce. IceWM is a bit primitive by today's standards but the distro is fast and has a reasonably good software selection, though probably not quite as good as the first two I listed.
Both Vector Linux and SalixOS have large and friendly communities so getting help in the forum is you run into problems is almost certainly going to be quick and easy. Absolute Forums don't have a lot of activity but the developer is very accessible.
Finally, Zenwalk does meet your requirements but I have one concern with that distro: security patches aren't always as timely as they should be. With SalixOS or (normally*) Vector Linux they are prompt and the update process is pretty much as easy as Ubuntu or Fedora: click on the icon that pops up on the taskbar and click Yes and it all goes automagically.
*I say normally with Vector Linux because they are having problems with their repo. They may even have to move it to a new host. Recent security-related updates (like Firefox 3.6.12) are there but inaccessible until that problem gets sorted.
Anyway, I hope this helps.
101 • @ 90/Moss (by #15 on 2010-11-05 15:15:44 GMT from United States)
I would put Mint and other Ubuntu based distros near the bottom too, although Mint might have been fixed to work better on your hardware there is really no telling for sure. I think almost any of the easy to use XFCE or LXDE based distros would probably work for you though. I've been using PCLOS for a while now and like it a lot. It has both XFCE and LXDE versions available, although they did chug pretty slowly on an ancient machine of mine with a lot less power than you have. If you have a high speed connection to handle the rolling updates it's very easy to install once and keep going. OpenOffice only takes a couple of clicks to install, and I guess you should check the photo viewer by live CD to see if it or anything in the repos will work for you.
In fact I'd check out what kinds of photo viewer software are best for you since that seems like the biggest possible software stumbling block you have. Then you can find a few distros that either come with what you want of have it in their repos and test a few of them on your hardware. All the other things you mention usually get handled by most distros I've tried before with out issue, and you seemed to have emphasized what was important to you by going into such detail about photo viewers. Hope that helps.
102 • re:100 (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 15:31:56 GMT from India)
Hi Caitlyn, yes it helps and helps a lot. Thanks for such a detailed reply and for checking up the issue with the particular Realtek driver. I already have Zenwalk latest and Vector on top of my list of distros to try- so getting a thumbs up for them is nice. I think we are going to be alright with some delay in security updates, as long as my folks are saved from malware attacks which are mostly targeted at windows systems anyway.
I remember setting up Salix 13.0 dual boot on this machine and it did suffer from the Realtek problem. But now I'm prepared to install the driver by hand after your take on the state of affairs with that Realtek chipset. Shall report back within a couple of days on this comments section if I'm in need of pointers of where to download the drivers from. Your offer of help in this regard is much appreciated.
Meantime, any more suggestions from ye friendlies on the distros to try (please see posts 90, 91 for my h/w and s/w requirements)?
103 • re:101 (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 15:47:32 GMT from India)
Hi 101, appreciate your recommendations and thoughts. Ubuntu based distros were already teetering at the precipice for me, and ur little push means I'm going to give Ubuntu a pass. But I'll keep Mint in the list to see how it runs.
The Photo Software issue is of an entirely different one, really. I'm hoping to find a really simple, even dumbed-down, but stable and easy-to-use photo viewer that my parents can use to view the photos they occasionally receive or upload. They won't edit anything, and all they would need to send others their photos is a batch resizer that will quickly resize photos for web or email. That's all.
That said, you are right, I'll spend some time checking what photo software is out there that suits us.
Keep the helpful ideas flowing (posts 90, 91 for details on requirements, please)
104 • #103: Photo viewer (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-05 15:56:03 GMT from United States)
flphoto may well fit the bill for you. It's very lightweight and has the level of functionality you are looking for. It's in the Vector Linux Extras repository. SalixOS doesn't have it yet but I expect that will change in time as I may ho ahead and submit my package after making it meet SaixOS standards.
105 • Couple more questions (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-05 15:58:04 GMT from India)
Vector Linux Standard Gold- Isn't there a torrent available?
Salix OS- does it come with multimedia codecs, libraries and flash?
106 • @98 (by Adam Williamson on 2010-11-05 16:12:20 GMT from Canada)
sigh. Why do people have to write this kind of stupid crap? Why does it have to be oppositional? Why do you assume the 'Linux world' is 'in a funk'?
Wayland's nice, and it's a good idea to look at using it widely, as Canonical are doing. Sure. Just say that, and leave it at that.
(You know Wayland is written by a guy who works for Intel (Moblin and Meego) and used to work for Red Hat (RHEL and Fedora), right? Just checking.)
107 • @83 (by Adam Williamson on 2010-11-05 16:21:26 GMT from Canada)
It's one of those things where OBVIOUSLY it's not necessary right up until it is. So it's OBVIOUSLY not necessary until you install sshd with a crappy user password. Or it's OBVIOUSLY not necessary until you install some UPnP media server which turns out to have a giant gaping security hole in it. Y'know? I don't like to say it's not necessary when you never know what idea they're going to come up with next. =)
108 • RE:Opinions are not FACTS (by Eddie on 2010-11-05 17:35:29 GMT from United States)
Still on go. I'm not really interested in the Oracle vs. Google battle and as far as opinions goes one person's opinion really doesn't mean more than any other opinion I've read. I really hate it when people try to spread FUD without anything to go on. Fear seems to be a big part of the open source community which I've been a part of for over 7 years. It always amazes me how people can make such dire predictions and talk about something that may happen and then turn around and say in the same breath, "that doesn't mean it will happen." With that kind of double talk it's no wonder that the general public looks at the open source community with skepticism. Dave I do respect your views on FOSS and how you feel about software freedom but I hold different opinions about some things that are as strong as yours. This includes not spreading fears without facts. We do have facts but it's the interpretation of those facts that I differ with. So we're just beating a dead horse now.
What is a fact is that Gnome 3 and Gnome shell are a mess that's not even really usable. Unity and Wayland are innovative and nothing to fear. That's where your software freedom choice comes into play. You can use what makes you feel good.
(By the way, Ben Franklin wasn't talking about software.) ;)
109 • @108 (by Adam Williamson on 2010-11-05 17:52:34 GMT from Canada)
"What is a fact is that Gnome 3 and Gnome shell are a mess that's not even really usable. Unity and Wayland are innovative and nothing to fear."
No, that's not a fact. That's your opinion, just what you're criticising the other poster for.
110 • problem lxde (by Anonymous on 2010-11-05 17:54:53 GMT from Germany)
All LXDE distributions can not keep the monitor settings.
In lxde is a special program called: monitor settings, but it does not work really right, after a reboot all new settings are gone. it does not save the monitor settings.
how to change this problem. angry now.
111 • Photo viewer (by Alias on 2010-11-05 19:41:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Moss, How about Picasa?
Oh, and Zenwalk is a nice distro. Smooth and well-behaved.
112 • #83, #107: Firewall, SELinux (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-05 23:49:18 GMT from )
@cba: Slackware has a firewall built in as does every other Linux distribution. The only thing Slackware lacks is a GUI tool to make it easy for newcomers to configure a basic, sensible ruleset for iptables. Is it safe to run without a firewall? Let me put it this way: I would NEVER do it under any circumstances. First, it's there in the kernel and it isn't rocket science to do a basic configuration. Why on earth would anyone just leave their system wide open when they can configure it once and be done with it? Most of the time for a home user it's just set it and forget it. Most Slackware users are more than sophisticated enough in their Linux knowledge to do this easily. Better safe than sorry IMNSHO.
You need to remember that a recent vintage home desktop has as much or more horsepower than the server of just a few years ago. Add a constant broadband connection and a typical home desktop becomes a very inviting target. Whether it's stealing financial information, hijacking a system or using someone else's storage a Linux system which is left insecure by choice is not that much harder to take over than an unsecured Windows system.
There was a DWW regular who has since been banned by Ladislav who insisted all security is "poppycock" and said that his deliberately insecure system running as root all the time has "never been hacked". How on earth does he know that? Does he check his systems for root kits regularly? Does he use one of the available tools to check the integrity of system files? If someone came in and stole data to steal his identity would he even know? Would it leave a trace at all? Would the typical home user really know how to determine if they ever had an intrusion? The bottom line it is just plain easier to do security 101 exactly once and then keep up on patches/updates, a process that is very automated in most distros.
SELinux is a slightly different case. It is more complex and does take a bit more sophistication. It also adds just a little overhead, something you would likely never notice on a modern system but which might well make a difference on very old or limited hardware. I think if you do everything else in terms of basic security you could make a case that you have a reasonably secure system without it. There is no doubt that Adam Williamson is absolutely right that you have a more secure system with it enabled with a very basic configuration, even in permissive mode. He is also spot on in pointing out that as software becomes more sophisticated and varied there are simply more unintended vulnerabilities. Attackers have also become more sophisticated in their methods. What was good enough 10 years ago is woefully inadequate today.
I was under the opinion for a long time that the security bits Slackware leaves out to keep things "simple" (at least for the developers) were generally not needed on a typical home system. I'm beginning to change my mind on that. I never thought I would see an instance where PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) would be of interest to the home user. I always thought of it as a way to manage multiple authentication methods commonly only used in large enterprises. Then I saw this article about using USB keys for authentication: http://linuxconfig.org/linux-authentication-login-with-usb-device. I could see where that could be of much wider interest, even to some geeky home users with multiple systems. Suddenly PAM on a home system makes more sense. SELinux, also left out in Slackware, is another example of something I used to think of as enterprise security and which I now think is a good idea on pretty much any system with reasonable horsepower.
Slackware is always conservative about what it includes and on a number of levels that's really fine. In the case of security, and in the case of Patrick Volkerding's assertion that he just plain won't include PAM, I am beginning to think that Slackware is really getting to be behind the times. Some Slackware derivatives, notable Zenwalk, do implement PAM. I expect SELinux will also start showing up in some derivatives soon.
113 • Light distros for old hardware (by fernbap on 2010-11-06 00:31:16 GMT from Portugal)
I have installed Mint LXDE in several old machines, that were revived by it.
Recently i installed it on a AMD Duron 1200, which is not so different from your hardware, with 512 MB RAM.
Besides working perfectly, it is actually faster than XP on the same machine, specially regarding multimedia.
The LXDE desktop is the one where windows XP users feel more at ease, at least according to my experience, so it is a natural choice.
Mint LXDE is a natural choice because it comes with pretty much everything that the normal user needs, including Gimp that ubuntu discarded, OO and VLC, amongst other well known applications.
114 • SELinux (by Jesse on 2010-11-06 01:07:18 GMT from Canada)
I just want to add something to what Ms Martin was saying about SELinux. Specifically this part: "There is no doubt that Adam Williamson is absolutely right that you have a more secure system with it enabled with a very basic configuration, even in permissive mode."
Permissive mode means that SELinux does not enforce any of its policies, it just logs instances of users or processes doing things SELinux thinks they shouldn't be doing. This is handy for testing out your configuration and can tell you about security breaches if you check the logs. There is a good manual which covers SELinux here: http://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/Fedora/13/html/Security-Enhanced_Linux/
In regards to the firewall, you might be thinking, "I'm not running any services, so why do I need a firewall?" Good question. But, on the flip side, since the firewall comes build into Linux, why wouldn't you run it? It's one of those little things that you can set once and forget about and doesn't really cost you anything.
115 • #114: SELinux (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-06 02:06:46 GMT from United States)
@Jesse: First, while I appreciate your respectfulness, please feel free to call me Caitlyn or Cait. Ms. Martin seem s a bit formal for this forum :)
Re: you clarification, my comment which you quoted immediately followed a paragraph asking how people know they have or have not been hacked. Permissive mode SELinux answers that question :)
Every running Linux system is running *some* services. They may not be vulnerable ones but there is no such thing as a Linux system running no services.
116 • replies (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-06 06:11:22 GMT from India)
re:104, Hi again, Caitlyn, checked out website for flphoto- it looks good to me. Shall try to find in repositories once I install distros.
re:111, thanks Alias, Picasa is a good idea- shall check repositories. Thanks for a thumbs up on Zenwalk, I'll see how it installs on this hardware.
re:113, hi fernbap, you are the second one to endorse Mint LXDE after #96, so I take it as a good sign, and shall now download Mint LXDE next if I can find the torrent for it. Talking of torrents, I couldn't find a seeded torrent for Vector Linux, and the network in my part of the world is too erratic to download a big file, so for Vector I'll try with a download manager and se how it goes. If Mint LXDE is as responsive as XP on my hardware, that'll be sweet.
I can't thank DWW posters enough for their most generous suggestions to help me out.
(description of h/w and s/w in posts #90 and #91)
117 • distros for older hardware (by Tom on 2010-11-06 10:07:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
Slackware-based distros such as Vector Linux, SalixOS & Zenwalk are quite extreme and very light-weight. I think the hardware described could handle something a lot heavier.
If Ubuntu didn't work then other Debian family members might also have trouble. So, it's worth trying Mint's LxDE edition but don't hold your breath on it working. If it does then you are well set-up for multimedia of course. The main exception in the Debian family is Debian itself which is much smaller and lighter than the rest in its family.
Personally i would try Caitlyn's suggestions first because i think she pays more attention to specifics about the hardware you quoted.
Regards from Tom :)
118 • Router firewall (by Len on 2010-11-06 10:47:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
I feel a bit silly asking this, but Is there a need for a firewall additional to the one provided by a NAT router?
119 • My previous (119) post (by Len on 2010-11-06 10:50:34 GMT from United Kingdom)
Sorry....as in firewall enabled in Linux as well as having router firewall.
120 • distros for older hardware (by meanpt on 2010-11-06 11:00:41 GMT from Portugal)
For such an old hardware, I wouldn't go beyond any (u)buntu 8.0.4 distro - and Debris came to my mind here. Unfortunately, they lack backports for the most latest releases of software, not to mention new released applications. Moreover, the long term support is reaching it's end. The zenwalkers are fine but to broaden the scope of the software available, I would go for a debian. So, why not anti-x? It can be gorgeous (check it here: http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Image:Icewm.jpg) and is usually fast (take this word in relative terms and in the context of ...) on low ram resources as well as on any low speed cpu. But if the option sought is a LTS buntu solution, why not start with the fastest I know, peppermint one LXDE respin, and install the applications needed? Of course, there is also the hardware problem ... which may be common to any distro so, ... why not shortlist the otptions to two or three, try them and choose the one that suits better the ... "grown-up babies" users?
121 • Firewalls (by Jesse on 2010-11-06 13:08:35 GMT from Canada)
>> "Every running Linux system is running *some* services. They may not be vulnerable ones but there is no such thing as a Linux system running no services."
I agree. The argument that no network services are running is often brought up as an explanation as to why Ubuntu doesn't turn on the firewall. Personally, I'd like to see a firewall in place anyway.
In theory, it probably seems over-kill to put up a firewall on your Linux PC if you're already behind a router's firewall. However, I do recommend turning on the Linux firewall for two reasons. The first is, having a firewall in place on your Linux box won't hurt anything. So why not have that turned on? And people rarely pay attention to their routers. Routers need to be locked down and occasionally updated with new firmware/security patches. Most people don't keep a close eye on their routers the same way they do their PCs and it means the first line of defense might have holes in it.
122 • Routers/Firewalls (by Len on 2010-11-06 15:55:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks Jesse (121).
Will do as you have advised and enable Linux firewall as well.
123 • @120 (by fernbap on 2010-11-06 16:45:04 GMT from Portugal)
"But if the option sought is a LTS buntu solution, why not start with the fastest I know, peppermint one LXDE respin, and install the applications needed?"
I can think of several reasons, but one important scenario is someone that comes to you and asks you for something to replace a broken XP on an old hardware. Also, you have to take into account that not all users have decent internet connections.
So, you can give them a CD that already does all he needs from the live CD, so that he can check it has all he needs without having to rely on the internet and defeat what he can think would be a scary learning process.
Give him something that works, from the start, and includes everything he needs. He can try it and be convinced that is what he needs. Then, he will install it.
I know a lot of windows users that reject Ubuntu because it doesn't play MP3s from the live CD. If you give them Mint instead, their experience will be completely different.
124 • #118/121: Firewalls (by Caitlyn Martin on 2010-11-06 17:28:23 GMT from United States)
@Len: I think Jesse's answer in #121 is spot-on. Also, I don't know your level of knowledge but iptables is far more sophisticated and configurable than what comes in most low end, consumer DSL/cable routers. I'm not saying you need that sophistication, but if you do it's nice to have it there.
In general, the more layers of security you have the more protection you have. I was reminded of that over the past two weeks as I ended up doing yet another cleanup after a security incident. Granted, what I am describing are web servers, not a home system. A home system has far less exposure. Having said that, the revised configuration now includes a firewall, a load balancer with "Intrusion Protection", and then a web application firewall on each of the Linux boxes. That's what it took to stop the problems involved with sophisticated hackers targeting one of my customers deliberately.
Both the router firewall and the one on your Linux box are set it and forget it. You configure them exactly once in most cases and you are good to go. How much is a little extra piece of mind worth? A few minutes of your time? That's all it takes. Firewalls are like insurance policies: you never want to use them but most people are glad they have them just in case.
125 • more replies (by Anony Moss on 2010-11-06 17:32:42 GMT from India)
Re:117 Thanks Tom, one reason I don't want to install vanilla debian and other non-multmedia-enabled distros is that (for me) installing codecs and libs takes a lot of effort. It has never worked just right for me earlier whenever I have tried to do this. I'd rather run something that gets basic multimedia right out of the box.
Also, I doubt whether my box can handle much heavier stuff, the box originally came with 64MB RAM, and I've replaced the original stick with 2 sticks of 256x2 MB of generic memory. The disk rpm speed is 4400. The processor is 733MHz which probably is decent enough. The graphics is integrated intel.
Re:120 Hi meanpt, appreciate your advice. I'll give debian a pass for the aforementioned reason. I'll try Antix if this system can't handle XFCE or LXDE (I think it can) Peppermint sounds good if it comes with multimedia enabled. The 'grown up babies' have thrown in their towel with the latest Windows misadventure and are willing to go along with whatever new thing is setup for them.
Re:123 Hi fernbap, agree with many of your observations. The thing is I can do all that, but don't have too much time to spend on downloading stuff from my slow network. My main goal on this machine is to check a distro for hardware detection, software (in #91) that works, acceptable gui responsiveness when using applications, and multimedia that works.
Your example of distros that don't play mp3 is spot on. Many a time, I've tried to set up multimedia and not one time have I succeeded fully ( maybe, its just me ). I've tried one-click installs in OpenSuse, didn't work; tried to install from repository and there are enough conflicts in libraries and players to make it a harrowing experience for someone who does not have aeons to fiddle with setting up multimedia. Caveat, my troubles have been mostly related to OpenSuse regarding this, can't speak for other distros.
126 • Firewalls (by Anonymous on 2010-11-06 19:15:27 GMT from United States)
Does the Linux firewall (iptables,etc) do strict application filtering?
Can it be setup to allow only one certain browser access to the network and stop all others?
Can this ever be done as a stand-alone firewall box?
Simply allowing or not allowing a port leaves a big hole for other apps to use.
Anything can use an open port 80, but if port 80 is only open for the system lynx command, the hole is much smaller. And when I say system lynx, I do mean /usr/bin/lynx not /home/user/lynx, etc.
Sound like this would need a mix of Sel-Linux and Firewall.
Has anybody already done this?
Thanks in advance...
127 • Firewalls (by Jesse on 2010-11-06 20:18:24 GMT from Canada)
If you're thinking of preventing certain apps from accessing the net, I suppose SELinux would do the job. Though an easier solution might be to simply not install the unwanted application(s). You might want to read this article, including the first couple of comments for more info.
128 • Firewalls (by Anonymous on 2010-11-06 21:45:14 GMT from United States)
Actually I mean only letting certain apps access the net.
Back in Debian Woody, on a fresh install, the first time I would run MC (midnight commander), it would hang untill I plugged in my network cable. (phoning home?).
Also on some versions of Qcad, the help would access the net, if I stopped it then anytime I used any other QT based app I would also see net access from QT app, untill it was satisfied (allowed access,and not necessarily me using the same QT app).
Needless to say I am very cautious of QT anymore and usually don't install any QT apps.(my own loss)
MC in Lenny is much better behaved, as much as I use it, even as watched from remote machine's installed Wireshark, it just works unless I direct it to the net.(Just how I want it to work,no phoning home.)
Yes these net accesses are quite benign,harmless but since I didn't ask for them, I simply don't want them to happen at all.
For me a real firewall would only allow that app which is allowed and only for as much as it needs to function. So in the meantime I don't use a firewall but I do pay attention to when and what sort of packets move to and from the net, which most people probably couldn't care less about.
Thanks for listening to my paranoia.....
129 • pinguy E17 remix (by forlin on 2010-11-07 03:51:20 GMT from Portugal)
Jeff Hoogland, who is a Pinguy forum moderator, announced last month, in the Pinguy Forum, (Pinguy OS Forum › General › Off Topic › Linux/OpenSource
E17 Pinguy Remix), the release of an E17 Pinguy Remix.
It looks like an experimental project on which he has been working since a while, and is actually at version number 005.
A few more details can be found at Jeff's Blog @jeffhoogland.blogspot.com/2010/10/ubuntu-1004-e17
As there are many Enlightenment desktop appreciators out there, but not so many recent releases based on it, I wonder if there's someone who noticed this Pinguy release and could give us a feed back on it.
130 • #128 apps phoning home (by Anonymous on 2010-11-07 13:51:20 GMT from Canada)
I feel that I need to know a lot more about this.i.e. how to be aware of it and how to control it. (perhaps I need a computer science degree!)
As 128 says
"Yes these net accesses are(MAY BE) quite benign,harmless but since I didn't ask for them, I simply don't want them to happen at all".(my addition and emphasis)
Years ago I read a story by Cherryh (Chanur series) in which the space ship had a separate computer system for connecting to the shore and which "suicided" every time it was shut down.
Perhaps we need something similar?
Any review of an app should have a statement as to whether the app in question does, or does not, phone home on its own.
131 • @107,112 (by cba on 2010-11-07 16:48:35 GMT from Germany)
Thank you very much for your answers.
When I wrote my posting I had a typical hardware setup in mind which is very common here in Germany:
Your computer is located behind a DSL router with its own Linux kernel and its own firewall which is configured via a appropriate webbrowser interface and the options are explained in a little manual, with a few options. This system works independent from the Linux which has been installed behind the router.
There are many distros that are released without a configured firewall, e.g. Slackware, Debian and even Ubuntu. If the user knows what to do, it is o.k. to do this and configure a firewall, of course. But a "normal" Ubuntu newbie would not even notice that and whether newbies are able to configure a firewall properly, well, I doubt this. But according to your answers this might be a security problem. OpenSuse and Fedora release with configured and "active" firewalls.
Maybe Slackware was the wrong example. The question would rather be if e.g. a standard Fedora 13 installation with all recent updates, but with SELinux disabled, would be less secure than the very same Fedora 13 installation with all recent updates, but with SELinux enforced, all located behind this router.
And after reading your answers I assume that the answer is yes.
Maybe it is time to learn SELinux, even as a home user.
132 • @129 pinguy E17 (by RollMeAway on 2010-11-07 19:40:39 GMT from United States)
Since the beta release of the E17 libraries around Oct. 4th, I have been immersed in every distro that offers E17. Sadly most all are after thoughts. I have written off Elive for personal reasons. All the E17 distro release I've checked out were very out dated.
Pinguy E17 is the most current I could find. Jeff plans to release 006 next Tuesday:11/09.
Anyone with even a casual interest in E17 should definitely give it a try.
I have installed E17 on gentoo using the enlightenment overlay, and also on arch linux.
Both of these offer the latest svn versions of E17, but require some effort to install.
Pinguy E17 offers a bootable live CD.
I am amazed by the degree of control E17 offers now. Everything can be customized
through the Settings Panel.
A real winner for me is the ability to have windows remember their size and location.
Just right click on the window heading, select 'more' then 'remember'. Another panel
pops with many options. Fantastic. Something I have been missing in all light weight
desktops. No editing text files to configure a gui.
133 • @98 Wayland (by cba on 2010-11-07 19:55:31 GMT from Germany)
There could be a little problem with NVidia's proprietary graphics driver support for Wayland.
NVidia was asked about Wayland support in their forums and this is the answer from NVidia's Aaron Plattner:
"We have no plans to support Wayland."
134 • PCLinuxOS E17 @129 (by E17man on 2010-11-07 20:09:32 GMT from United States)
You should check out the latest masterpiece from Texstar and associates.
135 • @10 _ Gimp vs. Photoshop _ by ManDog (by Tom Horn on 2010-11-07 20:53:40 GMT from United States)
"..CS5 has a lot of faults as well, and the cost is astrophysical if you only edit photos. the gimp is now very easy to use or am I used to using it. On the other hand I now struggle with photo-shop strange as I went to collage to become a pro photographer and used photo-shop 7 exclusively for years perhaps I need to go back to the industry standard photoshop7?.."
For one all I use is Photoshop 7, running it in Wine on my Mint desktop. I grew up working with Photoshop, beginning with v3 on an old Mac, and have no real interest in running anything else. Photoshop 7 installs in Wine and works perfectly in Linux. Since it is and always well be the photo editor of choice for the professional, there's really no reason to run Gimp, good as it may be..
136 • RE: 135 (by Landor on 2010-11-07 22:13:26 GMT from Canada)
While I can respect that it is your opinion that Photoshop is the editor of choice for the professional, I can't agree that your opinion holds true in the real world.
In fact, I can point you to many true professionals in the FOSS world that only use GIMP instead of Photoshop. They may not be the majority, but in essence, GIMP is the editor of choice for the professional, in their regard.
Keep your stick on the ice...
137 • E17 on Sabayon (by Ralph on 2010-11-07 22:21:36 GMT from Canada)
@132 - perhaps you have overlooked the E17 release of Sabayon that just came out a few days ago?
138 • @129+132 OMG - pinguy E17 (by forlin on 2010-11-07 22:26:51 GMT from Portugal)
What a wonderful desktop environment !!!! Absolutely different from those Gnome, Kde, Xfce and Lxde most of us are used to.
Im using the live distro, at this moment, but Im going to install it right now.
RollMeAway is totally right. The current E17 looks fantastic.
Dont know yet if there are some glitches, but definitely Pinguy + E17 combo, deserves a try.
Im Curious if Meanpt will test it at his virtual machine, and tell us, as usual, what its performance looks like.
139 • @ 134 • PCLinuxOS E17 (by forlin on 2010-11-08 00:34:06 GMT from Portugal)
Hi E17man. I had a look at the link in your comment, and the PCLinuxOS E17 does also looks gorgeous. Of course, it was also made after the beta release of the E17 libraries, around Oct. 4th as RollMeAway mentioned.
There is a huge difference on the desktop look, between the PCLinuxOS and the Pinguy Enlightenment versions. That gives a good idea about how much versatile and custumizable the E17 is.
I would definitely like to try the PCLinuxOS, E17 version too, but I need to find out, in advance, if the installer has the NetworkManager 0.8 as the default networking tool, because for my modem, it's the only one it can access the net with.
Before the E17-Pinguy, I downloaded the E17 Sabayon. Unfortunately, for me, contrarily to what they stated at its release announcement, it does not have the NetworkManager 0.8, so, in part, it was an unnecessary waste of time.
140 • E17 status (by RollMeAway on 2010-11-08 01:55:22 GMT from United States)
E17 has been at version 16.999 for a long long time. The gauge seems to be the "Changeset" listed here:
Changeset was 53226 on 2010/8/10, four days after releasing as beta.
Changeset is 54283 today.
1. gentoo is at Changeset 54280
2. arch is 54054
3. pinguyE17 was 53083 for 002 on 10/9. Don't know current.
pclinux 2010.11 full and light do not list Changeset, but are dated 20100930.
sabayon is 49898 , very plain unappealing
I believe E17 developers are in very high gear now. Spurred on by the potential to be used
on portable devices. Their future could be very bright:
Samsung Electronics is a heavy sponsor now.
Find the current Changeset for your version of E17 via Menu/Enlightenment/About (except pclinux).
141 • @139 pclinux E17 (by RollMeAway on 2010-11-08 01:58:54 GMT from United States)
Networkmanager for pclinux E17 is version 0.8-2pclos2010.
The artwork is very nice, even if E17 is an older version.
142 • @139 pclinux E17 (by RollMeAway on 2010-11-08 02:12:10 GMT from United States)
Networkmanager is NOT installed with the live CDs.
It is in the repos.
May be of no help if your network don't work!
143 • pclinux E17 (by E17man on 2010-11-08 02:17:12 GMT from United States)
The libraries in E17 PCLinuxOS were taken from svn before the official announcement so they are the latest beta libraries.
144 • @ 140/141/142 - E17-Enlightenment (by forlin on 2010-11-08 07:04:51 GMT from Portugal)
Thanks a lot RollMeAway, for your valuable information. I very much agree with you about the E17 potential and excellent perspectives for a near future. The level of customization is outstanding, going up to each of the smallest details of the desktop. They also need to succeed on creating lots of appealing gadgets for both mobile devices and PCs, and I'm sure they will.
Before today, my previous contact with Enlightenment was last year, with MoonOS. Its owner is a great art designer and applied its art skills to the distro, making it a very beautiful one. Now, comparing Enlightenment from that time, to the current versions, is like the difference from day to night.
The Changeset for the version 005 of the E17Pinguy, is 53884. It's dated 25 October, at the listing you linked. Its true that they are really going at full steam. Looking at the release listing, its clear that they're working 24 hours per day. Certainly, involving teams at different geographic places. Although I didn't spend too much time with the Sabayon remix, I agree that it's much less refined than the Pinguy one, and that's easily explained because they are producing impressive amounts of work and little differences in the date of each version may correspond to lots of new items between them.
Regarding PCLinuxOS, its a pity that they don't have the Netmorkmanager in the CD. I would really like to try it too. But it's OK. For now, I'm really enjoying and having lots of fun playing and exploring the E17Penguy.
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