| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 383, 6 December 2010
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The feature story of this week's issue is a first-look review of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 from a point of view of businesses wishing to deploy a Linux desktop with many years of security support. Is Red Hat's latest and greatest as solid, dependable and easy-to-maintain as the excellent 5.x series? Read on to find out. In the news section, CentOS developers find themselves under pressure to release a version based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Linux Magazine announces a special, 10-year anniversary release of KNOPPIX, Ubuntu comes under increasing criticism over its Unity desktop, and openSUSE announces Tumbleweed, a rolling-release repository of stable software packages. Also in this issue, a Q&A section that explains the reasons why Debian sometimes feels "out-of-date" and compares package update handling on Linux and FreeBSD. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com November 2010 donation is the Mageia project. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Desktop edition|
Red Hat may be one of the few companies in the world that really get open source. Red Hat builds its products on open source, is very liberal with its source code and actively supports important projects with developer hours. On top of that, Red Hat has proved to be profitable in a market where commercial offerings usually struggle to break even. For years the Red Hat brand was widely viewed as "the Linux", rather than "a Linux" distribution. Even Hollywood recognizes the name. It's been nearly four years since the last major Enterprise Linux release (5.0) came out and I've been curious to see what Red Hat has been quietly working on these past several months. To that end, I got in touch with my local account manager who kindly set me up with a copy of RHEL 6 (Desktop Edition).
The data on the install DVD takes up approximately 2.8 GB of space and boots into a simple boot menu that offers the user the options to install RHEL, rescue the system or boot from the local disk. Taking the installation option brings up a screen asking if we would like to perform a media check to insure the disc is uncorrupted. Once the check passes, the Red Hat graphical installer, Anaconda, loads and begins the usual series of questions. We're asked to supply our preferred language, keyboard layout and to provide a hostname. Anaconda asks for the local time zone and a root password before moving on to partitioning. I found the partition manager to be both intuitive and flexible, allowing us to work with regular partitions, LVM and RAID configurations. The list of supported Linux partitions is limited to the ext family (ext2, ext3, ext4) with no sign of XFS or Btrfs.
Encrypting any of these partitions is as straight forward as putting a check in the appropriate box. Once the drive is divided up we're given the option to tweak the boot loader settings and then we move on to package selection. There are three different pre-configured bundles on the package screen (Desktop, Minimal Desktop and Minimal). I selected the Desktop bundle and then accepted the option to further customize the selection, adding a few packages and the KDE desktop. I found it interesting that GNOME is not listed by name, but is in the package list as "General Purpose Desktop". Additionally, the package screen allows us to add third-party repositories, but I put that aside for the moment. All that is left for the installer to do is copy over the requested software to the local drive and then we can reboot.
Upon rebooting I discovered that, if the DVD is left in the drive, selecting "Boot from local drive" from the boot menu results in an error, apparently the disc has trouble handing control over to the installed boot loader. Removing my DVD caused my freshly installed system to boot normally and I was passed on to the first-run Setup Agent. This wizard walks us through the Red Hat license agreement, creating a regular user account and setting the date & time. With this all done, we're presented with a graphical login screen. Signing in brings us to a GNOME (2.28) desktop with the menu bar along the top of the screen. A task switcher sits at the bottom of the display and a few navigation icons are displayed on the desktop. The background reminds me of a sunset viewed through a streaked windscreen. Up in top-right corner of the screen is a network status icon which indicated to me that I was off-line. Clicking the icon and selecting my network interface enabled the connection. A quick check of the Network Manager settings showed that my wired connection was set to not automatically connect, which is a bit unusual for Linux distributions.
RHEL comes with the usual collection of popular open-source software. The application menu contains Firefox (3.6.9), OpenOffice.org 3.2, Evolution, Pidgin, a CD ripper, disc burner, webcam app, a video player, a music player and system monitor. Though multimedia players are provided, most popular codecs are not supported out of the box. Nor do we find Flash (or Gnash) on the system. Further these items don't appear in the repository. I had hoped to find these additions in RPMFusion, but that repository and Fedora's Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux don't support Enterprise Linux 6 at time of writing. Also in the application menu there's a bug reporting program, the GIMP and a document viewer. We also find an archive app, calculator and text editor. The GNOME desktop comes with its regular array of configuration tools for adjusting the look & feel of the desktop. Under the Administration menu are Red Hat's handy management programs for working with user accounts, configuring services, setting up printers, tweaking the firewall and dealing with packages.
Also included in the menu are Red Hat's release notes. These notes are surprisingly detailed compared to most other distributions and the notes frequently refer to other manual pages on Red Hat's website. As an example, when reading about storage and the Logical Volume Manager there is a link to further Red Hat documentation on the subject, which goes into deeper detail. Underneath it all, we find the Linux kernel, version 2.6.32. Though old news to many community distributions, 2.6.32 carries improvements over the 2.6.18 kernel found in Enterprise Linux 5.0 such as the Completely Fair Scheduler. Users who work in mixed operating system environments will no doubt be happy to learn that Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 includes the ability to easily authenticate against Active Directory. And, further simplifying the entry into mixed networks, the Evolution e-mail program comes equipped to talk with both Exchange servers and GroupWise accounts.
RHEL 6 - working with the bug reporting application
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By default Red Hat uses the GNOME desktop, however KDE 4.3 is also included on the DVD. I logged into KDE a few times and found the experience to be well balanced against GNOME. Sometimes installing multiple desktop environments on a distribution will result in full and poorly organized menus, but Enterprise Linux handled the duality well. KDE's menus were laid out in the same fashion as GNOME's and I found performance to be similar under both environments. This made switching between the two as seamless as possible. The sole feature I didn't find while logged into KDE was a graphical package manager.
Before getting into package management on RHEL, the administrator is first required to register the system with the Red Hat Network. It's important to perform this registration, otherwise the system will not receive security updates. Of course we can only register as many systems as we have subscriptions. If we want to move our installation from one machine to another then we'll have to login to the Red Hat Network and remove the old entry. Registration is performed via a GUI app that asks the user for their RHN login information and a nickname for the machine. The whole process takes just a few seconds. Once registration is completed, packages can be installed or upgraded using YUM from the command line, or through Add/Remove Software (gpk-application) if the administrator prefers a graphical interface. There's a software update tool which will place a subtle notification of available updates on the menu bar and walk the user through applying those updates.
On a default installation the distribution runs the secure shell and Sendmail network services. A firewall is in place, blocking most incoming connections, the exception being connections to secure shell. I found that secure shell accepts root logins out of the box, but (unlike RHEL's close relation, Fedora) remote users are not allowed to shutdown the system unless they have administrator privileges. The SELinux technology is installed and enabled right out of the box, though there aren't any GUI configuration tools in the application menu. Programs to manage SELinux can be added later via the package repositories.
RHEL 6 - adding packages and configuring services
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During my trial I found RHEL handled my hardware well. I ran the distribution on two physical machines, a generic desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) and all of my hardware was picked up and worked fairly well. I didn't perform any benchmarks, but I found that the operating system was a little more responsive on the desktop machine. I also tried RHEL in a VirtualBox virtual environment and found it worked well there too. The operating system doesn't integrate with VirtualBox, meaning the guest OS would capture the mouse and didn't automatically pick up my host's screen resolution. While using VirtualBox I tried running Enterprise Linux with lower memory resources. I found the system would run smoothly doing most day-to-day tasks with 512 MB of RAM. When attempting to run with 256 MB of RAM Anaconda refused to attempt an install. However, if installed with a higher amount of RAM the distro would later boot and operate with just 256 MB of RAM (logged into either GNOME or KDE). Though it would work, trying to run with such limited resources caused the machine to rely on swap and performance degraded. This release of RHEL supports fingerprint readers and smart cards for account authentication. I don't have either of these items on my machines, so I was unable to test the features. Nonetheless, it was good to see the alternative login methods offered.
There are some who say Red Hat isn't interested in the desktop market and I don't think that's true, not entirely. Red Hat has shown itself to be uninterested in the consumer home desktop market and with good reason. There isn't much money to be made from home users. Most of them are either content with their proprietary solutions or are tech-savvy enough to hunt down free alternatives -- a lesson several commercial Linux vendors have learned the hard way. What Red Hat does focus on is the enterprise desktop market, a field where their combination of conservative packages, excellent documentation and support is desired. It occurs to me that Red Hat doesn't have much competition in this arena. Ubuntu's long term support release almost fits the bill, but Ubuntu is a much more dynamic platform than Enterprise Linux, a trait not often valued in the business ecosystem. Ubuntu's three years of support also fall short of Red Hat's (up to) ten years. Novell has their SUSE Linux Enterprise product, but with Novell's future in the balance their distribution becomes less attractive. In fact, right now, I think Red Hat's closest enterprise desktop competitor is CentOS, which offers the same technology without the cost/support that comes with it.
RHEL 6 - documentation introducing the new release
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After a week of running Red Hat's latest offering there are some aspects I've really enjoyed. For instance, I think the product is a good mixture of modern and tried-and-true. Nothing here is cutting edge, but the included software is new enough for me to get work done without any problems. Following that line of thought, the stability has been top-notch and I have yet to experience a system or application crash. The documentation is well laid out and the administrative programs are excellent. The Red Hat Network is a great asset and can be useful for monitoring machines. In some ways the RHN is proactive. For instance, one day during my trail I lost my Internet connection during a storm and, the next day, I received an e-mail letting me know one of my machines hadn't checked in during the past twenty-four hours. A helpful thing to know if you're maintaining a large network of machines.
Anaconda continues to be one of the best installers in the Linux community, combining flexibility with ease of use. It looks like Red Hat has done some work with their fonts since the 5.x series and I found reading text on this release to be easier on the eyes. Though I didn't encounter any bugs while running RHEL, there were a few items which bothered me. The graphical package manager is sluggish and performing tasks with it feels like trying to run though water. Fortunately it's not a problem shared by the command line package manager, YUM. My other complaint is concerning the lack of multimedia and Flash support. Some might argue these are technologies better suited to home users, but I have yet to work in an office which doesn't occasionally make use of Flash or videos for training and presentations. It's a gap I'm hoping will be filled by RPMFusion in the near future.
Now that I have spent some time with RHEL 6 I have to say that, over-all, it's a good release. It's solid, polished and comes backed by a great support infrastructure. Home users may be put off by the smaller repository, older packages or, for that matter, the price tag. Businesses though, Red Hat's target customers, should be very happy with this release.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
CentOS 6, ten years of KNOPPIX, Ubuntu Unity coverage, openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling-release repository
With the recent release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6, many eyes of the Linux community have turned to distributions that "clone" the popular commercial product into a freely available alternative. Among them CentOS is the most widely-used by far. So when will CentOS 6 arrive? According to this article at Linux.com by Brian Proffitt, it could happen before the end of this year: "For the CentOS developers and users, Christmas Day may bring more than the usual presents under the tree. If past experience holds, it should take the CentOS development and QA teams about 45 days from the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 to get CentOS 6 ready for release... which puts the projected release date on December 25." Unfortunately, the story turned out to be pure speculation. CentOS developer Russ Herold in "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it": "That writer went to press with a piece that expresses a date not of any formal CentOS origin or estimate. His words, his choice, his opinion, and nothing more. Here is a statement which is perhaps more accurate: CentOS really doesn't do pre-release interviews as to release dates and process, other than what anyone may read in and infer from the 'centos-devel' mailing list. Any CentOS 6 series will ship when it is ready and will be available when it is announced." So there you have it....
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Good news for the fans of the KNOPPIX live DVD: the most recent issue of Linux Magazine includes a cover DVD with KNOPPIX 6.4, a brand-new version of the popular live distro: "KNOPPIX 6.4 - the popular KNOPPIX is the quintessential Live troubleshooting tool for admins, developers, and desktop Linux users. The latest release, which includes more than 3,000 packages and improved support for NVIDIA graphics cards, is currently available only through this magazine under an exclusive arrangement with KNOPPIX creator Klaus Knopper." The KNOPPIX website has a few more details about the release: "Linux Magazine presents the 10-year anniversary of KNOPPIX, version 6.4.2, in its publication. Shortly before Christmas, the new release will also appear on the public mirrors (we are still working on the miniaturized CD and the ADRIANE edition). This time, due to the anniversary, non-free or otherwise non-distributable software (such as Flash) has been banned from the magazine DVD, but of course it is possible to install such software later. Also, this edition is again more 'experimental', and contains a lot of software from the current Debian testing and unstable pools, Linux kernel 2.6.36 and the new nouveau graphics modules." For those who can't wait for the public release of KNOPPIX 6.4 the latest issue of Linux Magazine is available here.
KNOPPIX 6.4 - a 10-year anniversary release
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In terms of visual appearance, the next release of Ubuntu will mark a significant departure from the established Linux desktops as we know it. But is a completely new user interface such a great idea? Judging by opinions expressed on a number of popular Linux blogs recently, the new Ubuntu Unity desktop is coming under increasing criticism from many users. As an example, Dedoimedo gives it 2.5 points out of 10 in "Unity - What is it good for?": "I think Unity might work on netbooks, mobile and ultra-mobile devices, but it's not ready for the mainstream desktop governed by the vast majority of clueless, conservative users." Phoronix in "The State Of Unity In Ubuntu" seems to agree: "In 'Maverick' the Unity experience is very disappointing and using its netbook interface was far slower than just using the GNOME or KDE desktop." ZDNet comes to a similar conclusion in "Why I don't recommend Ubuntu, for now": "Ubuntu Netbook edition is cramped, slow and unconfigurable, and I don't think it should have been released in that state. There has been a vast amount of talk about Unity, the new desktop for Ubuntu, and the fact that it is due to be shipped with 11.04 Narly Narwhal. The potential problem is, will this move obscure the cadence, design and quality which Shuttleworth is so passionate about?" Of course, these are still very early days of the desktop that will ship with Ubuntu 11.04, so things will certainly change. But as Unity stands now, it's hard to find any users who are impressed by it.
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How does a well-established distribution gain instant attention by users and media? Well, these days, it seems, it's sufficient to mention the words "rolling release" and the community will do the rest. After a week when Ubuntu hinted (and then denied) a possible move to a rolling-release style update mechanism, it was the turn of openSUSE to pull a similar trick last week. OStatic reports in openSUSE to Offer a Rolling Release Repo: "Greg Kroah-Hartman, openSUSE kernel developer, described openSUSE Tumbleweed as, 'a repository that is a rolling updated version of openSUSE containing the latest stable versions of packages for people to use.' In a post to the opensuse-project mailing list Kroah-Hartman offered further information in the form of a Q & A. The first question tried to distinguish between Factory and the proposed Tumbleweed. Factory is much like Mandriva's Cooker, in that it contains many bleeding-edge and potentially unstable packages. Tumbleweed would offer packages that have been declared stable and found to work properly. As to which packages should be included, K-H explained that would primarily be up to developers and maintainer of any given package. He added that this project would particularly help with major projects whose release do not coincide with openSUSE release such as GNOME 3.0, which may be released, for example, one month after an openSUSE release."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Why is Debian "out-of-date"?
With Debian "Squeeze" marching on its way toward a final release, the Debian project has been increasingly in the spotlight and on people's minds. This in turn raises the commonly asked question: why is Debian so slow-moving and out of date?
The thing to keep in mind when talking about Debian is the amazing size and scope of the project - it's vast. Debian isn't just a kernel and some operating system tools, the project includes approximately 36,000 packages, about sixty languages and twelve architectures. And that's just their GNU/Linux branch, Debian also has a sub-project dedicated to running the GNU tools on top of the FreeBSD kernel. These points in themselves probably make Debian the world's largest Linux/FreeBSD distribution, but what makes it even more impressive is that Debian provides a consistent environment using the same applications across each of these architectures. So if you have a mobile device running Debian's GNU/Linux ARM edition it should function much the same as the i386 edition on your home desktop or the SPARC edition running on your server.
To put all this into context, the Debian developers need to patch, build and test approximately 430,000 packages. It's a lot of work, even if you just want to push something out the door. But the Debian developers don't just rush a release out to the public to meet a deadline, they want their stable repository to live up to its name. Once a freeze has been announced there is a long (generally a few month's time) process of stomping on bugs and re-building and re-testing packages. Which means, yes, the Linux kernel in Debian's stable repository will be a year old by the time "Squeeze" is released. But people who run Debian stable aren't looking for the latest and shiniest, they're looking for rock-solid and dependable. People who install "Squeeze" will be using a kernel (and application set) which has been under scrutiny for months. It implies a certain reliability which is nice to have when you're the sysadmin they call if the server goes down.
Its huge size, flexibility and stability are what makes Debian such a great parent and grandparent distribution. Without it, many of the more cutting-edge (and novice-friendly) distributions wouldn't have a foundation on which to build.
While I'm on the topic of packages and their version numbers there is something else I'd like to mention. In Linux community there is an on-going debate about release schedules and practices. Some people prefer to have rapid release cycles, about once every six months. Others want a rolling release with a steady stream of small updates, insuring they remain on the cutting edge. Of course, as I just mentioned, there are those who want a stable release with only security updates. Recently there has been talk from the Ubuntu quarter of trying to find a solution that will fit somewhere in the middle where developers will be able to stay on the cutting edge while maintaining a stable base platform -- perhaps as an extension to their current PPA system.
What I find strange about all of these Linux distributions taking so many different approaches to the stable versus current question is that the BSDs have had a good solution in place for over a decade. For example, the FreeBSD team released FreeBSD 8.0 about a year ago and the follow-up, 8.1, around six months ago. Their base system remains stable and reliable while their ports collection contains up to date end-user packages. At the time of writing the latest version of VLC (1.1.5), the latest stable release of Firefox (3.6.12) and multiple versions of OpenOffice.org (including the stable release 3.2.1 and the development version 3.4.20101122) are available in the ports collection. This means that FreeBSD users are able to enjoy the latest and greatest desktop applications while maintaining a solid base system. It's an approach largely avoided in the Linux community and I have to wonder why. Technically it's possible to perform this sort of separation between the base system and application packages on a Linux box, but it's not an approach one generally sees. Certainly the package managers aren't set up in such a way as to encourage a conservative base and a cutting-edge software repository. I'm hoping we'll see this change soon so we can stop wasting time on the rolling versus stable issue and move forward to more interesting challenges. Should Ubuntu manage to turn their PPA system into a full-scale packages collection it might lead the rest of the Linux community into a better way of handling software.
|Released Last Week
Vine Linux 5.2
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of Vine Linux 5.2, a Japanese general-purpose community distribution. This is mostly a security and errata update of the free distribution which does not contain any proprietary components, non-free applications or non-free fonts. Some of the more interesting changes include: miscellaneous package version updates (Firefox 3.5.15, Pidgin 2.7.5, Sylpheed 3.0.2, Thunderbird 3.1.6); improved video card support for various Intel, NVIDIA and ATI cards; system installer fixes, including improved detection of FAT file systems, support for SD cards and Firewire controllers, and better detection of wireless network cards; updated list of APT mirrors; the DVD edition now includes the Vine Linux manual. Read the release announcement (in Japanese) and release notes for more details about the new version of Vine Linux.
Superb Mini Server 1.5.4
Superb Mini Server (SMS) version 1.5.4, a Slackware-based mini-distribution for small servers, has been released: "Superb Mini Server version 1.5.4 released (Linux kernel 18.104.22.168). This release brings new kernel and glibc so you need to put your machine in single-user mode in order to upgrade from previous versions of SMS. New packages include gdk-pixbuf2, ca-certificates, slacktrack, libmpc, libnl, libelf and mcelog. In SMS.Native.CD-Extra added httpd_vm, a version of httpd compiled for virtualmin with --with-suexec-docroot=/home and Ruby 1.8.7 for compatibility issues with many Ruby on Rails applications. Also on SMS64 added 64-bit packages for Asterisk, util-linux-ng with full PAM support and Postfix with vda patch which already existed in SMS." The release announcement includes a changelog of updated packages.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
November 2010 DistroWatch.com donation: Mageia|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the November 2010 DistroWatch.com donation is the Mageia project, a new Linux distribution set up by former Mandriva employees and volunteer contributors. It receives €350.00 in cash.
The Mageia project was created on 18 September when the project published the following statement on the project's new web site: "As you may have heard, the future of the Mandriva Linux distribution is unclear. Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA any more and we don't think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project. Many things have happened in the past 12 years. Some were very nice: the Mandriva Linux community is quite large, motivated and experienced, the distribution remains one of the most popular and an award-winning product, easy to use and innovative. Some other events did have some really bad consequences that made people not so confident in the viability of their favourite distribution. People working on it just do not want to be dependent on the economic fluctuations and erratic, unexplained strategic moves of the company." The result of this uncertainty was Mageia, a fork of Mandriva Linux and a non-profit organisation which is getting closer to its first release expected early in the new year. For more information please see the Mageia Values page. For updates and the current status the project's official blog is a good place to keep an eye on.
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$26,380 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), Mageia ($470)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
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New distributions added to waiting list
- LibreWRT. LibreWRT is a GNU/Linux "libre" distribution for computers with minimal resources, such as the Ben NanoNote, ath9k-based WiFi routers, and other hardware that respects software freedom.
- Newtoos. Newtoos is a lightweight, Lubuntu-based distribution built by the creators of Greenie Linux. Meaning "New To Open Source", it is primarily aimed at new Linux converts who prefer a more familiar user interface and applications (VLC, OpenOffice.org, Skype etc). Newtoos also serves for testing new ideas and for deployment on older PCs.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 December 2010.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed to perform penetration tests and security assessments. It is designed to be fast and easy to use. It provides a minimal yet complete desktop environment, thanks to its own software repositories, which are always updated to the latest stable versions of the most often used and best-known ethical hacking tools.