| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 390, 31 January 2011
Welcome to this year's fifth issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The growing popularity of Arch Linux is reflected not only by the interest the distribution generates in online blogs and forums, but also by a growing number of derivatives that build on its solid foundations. One of them is Chakra GNU/Linux, a desktop-oriented live CD with KDE as the preferred desktop environment. Jesse Smith takes a recent version for a ride and discovers that it may still need some work before Chakra can be considered stable and mature. The feature story is followed by a brief news section that covers the much-publicised meeting of Linux distribution developers about a distro-agnostic application installer, gives links to several blog posts about the ongoing FUDCon, the Fedora developer conference, and presents a talk by the current Debian project leader who answers a question about why we should care about the world's largest Linux distribution project. Also in this issue, a quick tutorial about using chroot for a common task, the introduction of Turnkey Linux, and the regular sections about upcoming releases and new distributions. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1|
Despite receiving several requests for a Chakra Linux review, it took me a while to get motivated to write one, mostly due to the project's website. Oh, it's attractive enough and well laid out and there's a wiki and a forum. The site didn't appear to be missing anything, but two things raised warning flags right away. First, the website claims Chakra is alpha stage software and I usually like to wait until after a project drops the alpha/beta/rc designation before I try it. The other warning flag was raised upon reading the Frequently Asked Questions section of the site. (Or rather one of the FAQ sections, there's another in the Wiki.) There are just three questions and answers presented regarding the reason for Chakra's existence and its ease of use. Each of the answers strikes me as being unusually defensive. For instance, in response to a question about whether Chakra is user-friendly we're told that "in contrast to many other distributions, Chakra does not hide the system under some obscure 'administrative layer' (automated scripts, bloated front-ends, funky daemons etc)". The statement ends with: "However, newcomers to Chakra must expect to read and have a do-it-yourself approach to just about everything; anything less and they will be disappointed. We empower you, and you must learn to handle that :-)".
To be clear, I'm not specifically complaining about just the Chakra team, they happen to be one project in a line-up which seem to think it's a good idea to respond to their users in a passive-aggressive manner. Apparently users who don't like Chakra either don't read enough or can't handle being empowered. Really, I'd be much happier if they simply acknowledged their project is targeting more advanced users. Additionally the FAQ tells us that users of "tons of Gtk applications" won't find a good fit with Chakra because "Chakra is a GTK+-free distro", though we're not told why the project isn't GTK-friendly. There is one aspect of the project which intrigued me and that is Chakra claims to be a semi-rolling release distro. The idea seems to be the developers will provide a stable base (the kernel & X) and end-user applications will receive regular updates. This could be a good idea as it would allow users to keep peace with the latest and greatest without worrying about their underlying system breaking.
Moving on to the technology itself, Chakra is downloadable as a 686 MB ISO. We begin our experience of the live CD with a graphical boot menu where we can select our preferred language. From there we're given a variety of boot options, including booting graphically, booting graphically on older machines and booting into a terminal. Taking the default option brought me to a KDE 4.5 environment featuring a blue background and a dark panel. On the desktop is a collection of icons for viewing licenses, reading documentation, visiting the project's forum, launching the installer, seeing a list of installed packages and there's an icon labelled "passwords". I decided to start with the "passwords" icon in case I would need to perform authentication later. Upon clicking the icon my system froze. I rebooted and this time Chakra locked-up before it finished loading the desktop. Going back and trying different boot options didn't get me any further.
At this point I double-checked that my downloaded ISO and burned disc matched the checksum provided by the Chakra developers. The check confirmed my disc was good and, not willing to give up so soon, I moved from my desktop machine to my HP laptop and booted from the Chakra CD. Here things got off to a better start. Once I was back on Chakra's desktop I was able to open files to get the system's default passwords, get a list of available packages and launch the installer.
Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1 - the default desktop
(full image size: 678kB, resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Chakra's installer is, so far as I know, unique to the distribution and carries the name Tribe. It starts off with a welcome message and a warning that Chakra is still alpha software and that "it could eat your hamster". Such are the risks we reviewers take. We're then shown the project's release notes and we move from there to picking our time zone & language settings. Though the time zone & language screen looks much like it does in other graphical installers, with an interactive map of the world, Chakra's puts a little spin on the ball by trying to guess our preferred language based on the location we choose. From there we're invited to create user accounts on the system and it's possible to make several. Unfortunately if you accidentally hit the add button more times than necessary there doesn't seem to be any way to remove an account, nor will the installer let you proceed without filling in all the fields for all accounts. In my case this ended up providing me with an account for myself and one for Rex, my vulnerable hamster.
The partitioning section comes next and people familiar with the Ubuntu or Fedora installer will have no trouble tackling this screen. Though the layout is a bit different, Chakra's installer provides an intuitive interface for dividing up the hard disk and assigning mount points. Most popular Linux file systems are supported. From here the installer gives us a break while it performs the partitioning, formatting and installing. We next come to an unusual screen with four sections. These sections allow us to choose whether to install GRUB, customize the ramdisk, install packages and download software. I confirmed I wanted GRUB and went through the ramdisk process. The install section I thought was odd because the installer had just spent 15 minutes telling me it was installing things. But to play along I asked it to install VLC from its list of available desktop software. When it was done I noticed the installer's Next button was still greyed out, so I went to the Download section and asked it to grab Firefox. That finished and, still, the Next button was inactive.
Having gone through all the sections and unsure of how to proceed, I followed the advice on Chakra's website which tells us we should be "willing to read documentation". I went to the site's documentation section, found the part on installation and scrolled down to find there isn't anything in the documentation about this part of the installer. At the time of writing there's nothing on the ramdisk, GRUB, download or package installation; the document jumps from partitioning into first-boot. Discouraged, but not yet ready to give up, I rebooted and launched the installer again, hoping my previous dead-end had been bad luck. This time through I got passed the partitioning stage and waited while the installer carved up the disk and copied over its files. The program crashed at 81% completion, not making it to the four-in-one section I'd encountered before. At this point I gave up on installation and moved on to playing with the live disc.
Since everything included with Chakra needs to fit on a CD, a CD which features KDE, there's a fairly small supply of available software. There's a document viewer, image viewer, instant messenger client and the Kaffeine media player. There's a small backup tool for backing up your KDE configuration, an encryption tool, archive manager and text editor. There's a Chakra Bundle Manager, which on my live disc doesn't appear to do anything, and a partition manager. For web browsing we have access to Rekonq, a small KDE browser. There's no compiler, no Java and no Flash plugin.
The application menu additionally has an item called CInstall which functions as the distro's package manager. This is a separate entity from the Bundle Manager and fills the role we generally expect from graphical package managers. CInstall provides us with a window that is divided into three panes. On the left is an alphabetical list of software, in the upper-right is a description of whichever package we have highlighted. Down in the lower-right corner is a list of pending actions, such as installing, removing or upgrading. The program functions predictably allowing us to check boxes next to packages to install them and uncheck to remove the selected software. The only wrinkle in the experience was each operation required the root password. For example, let's say I try to install gnuchess, CInstall asks for the root password and then performs the installation. If I then decide to install flashplugin I'm prompted for the password again. Otherwise I found operating the package manager to be a smooth experience. Its looks are a bit crude, but the functionality is certainly there.
Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.1 - the package manager
(full image size: 119kB, resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Though I didn't manage to get Chakra running for more than a minute on my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) I had no stability problems, outside of the installer, on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). Performance was acceptable considering we're looking at a heavy desktop environment running from a live disc. My screen was set to a suitable resolution, audio worked out of the box and my touchpad was handled properly. Unfortunately my laptop's Intel wireless card was not detected.
Having tried Chakra I find myself in a bit of a reviewer's dilemma. The reason I tried Chakra was I had people telling me it was stable, despite the alpha branding, and that it was a wonderful fast, reliable, usable system. My experience was quite the opposite. Chakra failed to remain stable enough to launch applications, or sometimes even to finish booting, on my desktop machine. The installer either refused to complete or would crash, the Bundle application didn't work and the project lacked documentation in a key area. I was further put off by emoticons on the website and in my status messages. I realize these are hobbyists and Chakra isn't a professional distro, but I'm wary about handing my hard drive over to a product that writes messages akin to those found in the average Twitter feed. On the other hand, any criticism I can aim at Chakra can be swept aside with the project's "alpha" designation. The project plainly warns it's still in the early development stages and one should be prepared for bugs, crashes and hasmtericide. It's probably best to wait until Chakra is pronounced stable before giving it a try.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
openSUSE initiates a cross-disro application installer, Fedora developers gather at FUDCon, Debian talk at LCA
In the absence of any major announcements last week, perhaps the most interesting news story was about a "cross-distribution meeting on application installer", a collaborative conference that included developers from Debian GNU/Linux, Fedora, Mageia (a distribution set up by the former developers and contributors of Mandriva Linux), openSUSE and Ubuntu. Since we don't often see major distributions cooperating in this way, the conference was a fairly surprising move. Will we, one day, have a distro-agnostic website that would provide applications for easy installation? Izabel Valverde reports about the meeting: "Back in October, at the openSUSE Conference, several meetings and hallway discussions occurred on the topic of 'Installation of Applications' on openSUSE. As of today, we still have a very package-centric approach, while users usually do not think in terms of packages but in terms of applications: people want to use Firefox, LibreOffice or Frozen Bubble. We investigated the best way to approach this issue and come to a fast resolution. With several people from various distributions already working on some technologies that are related to this, we realized this could be a prime example of Collaboration Accross Borders."
* * * * *
FUDCon 2011, a three-day Fedora Users and Developers Conference, started in Tempe, USA last weekend. The first half of the conference covered some serious topics, such as Fedora's ARM port, cloud computing, the future of Fedora spins or a "sandboxed" X server, but it also included less formal gatherings in the form of a "FUDPub". Adam Williamson reports: "So far today I've been to Mo's awesome talk on using Inkscape - I think Mo is the only person who could possibly teach me to do anything good in graphics tools. I even made up a logo which you may or may not see pop up on this site when I'm on a network where I can actually get out to my web server. Followed that up with Maria 'tatica' Leandro's talk on photo editing with GIMP and other tools - really interesting to see her workflow and compare it with Mo's similar talk, and with the infinitely worse methods I use. Spot led a session where infrastructure team members pitched their ideas for the next big Fedora project and got feedback from the audience. All the ideas were pretty good and I wound up voting for all of them but one, which probably didn't help the team much, but hey." More blog posts from the conference by Christoph Wickert, Joerg Simon (with photos), Máirín Duffy and Mel Chua.
* * * * *
Another popular gathering of Linux developers took place last week in Brisbane, Australia. The annual Linux Conference Australia (LCA), which is often attended by well-known Linux personalities, was an occasion for current Debian Project Leader Stefano Zacchiroli to explain why people should care about Debian: "Zacchiroli outlined the uniqueness of Debian - it was a non-commercial distribution that was able to compete with other commercial distros, it was built collaboratively by experts and was the first major distribution to be developed exclusively in the spirit of the GNU project. Apart from this, Debian had two unique identifiers - its social contract (adopted in 1997) and its constitution (adopted in 1998), Zacchiroli said. 'The social contract ensures that the software is 100 percent free, that we give back every change to the upstream projects, that we don't hide problems and that our priorities are our users and free software,' he said. Debian was started in August 1993 and 17 years later it had around 30,000 packages, had done 11 releases, had 900 developers and 120 maintainers plus thousands of other contributors. "We have 12 ports and two non-Linux ports," Zacchiroli said. "And there are something like 120 derivatives based on Debian."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Getting-at-the-root-of-the-problem asks: What's a chroot and how do I use it?
DistroWatch answers: According to the chroot command's manual page, chroot is used to "run command or interactive shell with special root directory," which isn't a particularly helpful description. It might help if we envision the Linux file system as one large tree. At the base of the file system we have the root directory. Every part of the file system grows from there, so we can think of the /home directory as one branch and the /usr directory as another branch. Growing off of those are other directories, such as /home/bob and /home/susan. Branching further we might find /home/susan/Documents. All of these segments are attached to the directories above them, all the way back up to the root (/) directory. As far as the file system is concerned, there is nothing "above" the root directory.
The chroot command allows us to set up an environment where we treat a given directory as if it were the root, isolating that branch from the rest of the tree. Traditionally this has been used either to lock an untrusted program into an isolated part of the file system or to test complex systems without risk of harming the rest of the operating system. In recent years chroot environments have also been used to run 32-bit programs on 64-bit operating systems, keeping the 32-bit pieces separate. The difficult aspect of using chroot comes from the isolated directory needing to contain everything a user or program might need. Being cut off from the rest of the file system means users in a chroot environment don't have access to their regular collection of programs and documents. Copies of important files need to be recreated in the branch of the file system chroot will be using. This often includes a shell, system libraries and common commands.
If you'd like to see a chroot environment in action without having to do a lot of work up front, you can generally make use of a Linux live CD. Live CDs (and their ISO images) have a working operating system on them already, making them a good starting point. In the following example I'm mounting a Ubuntu CD image and accessing its live file system. First we create some mount points:
Next we mount the ISO image file:
mount -o loop ubuntu-10.04.iso livecd
In this step we access the compressed file system in the ISO and mount it under the "test-chroot" directory:
mount -t squashfs -o loop livecd/casper/filesystem.squashfs test-chroot
If we now look inside the test-chroot directory we will see a complete, working Linux file system. To lock ourselves inside that file system we can run:
We are now inside the chroot environment. Any commands we run will be trapped in the test-chroot directory. Commands such as rm, cp and apt-get are limited in their scope to our test-chroot branch and the directories below it. When we're done experimenting with our jail we can run "exit" to leave the chroot environment and return to normal. Once we're finished using chroot it would be a good idea to unmount the attached file systems:
As a security measure some network services will perform a chroot command on themselves, locking the program in its own safe corner of the file system. This behaviour is common in FTP servers as a way to protect the host computer in case the FTP program is somehow compromised. This self-containing action usually happens automatically and does not require assistance from the user.
Should you be interested in building your own chroot environment from scratch, I recommend reading through this document which includes tips on getting started.
|Released Last Week
Sabayon Linux 5.5
Fabio Erculiani has announced the release of Sabayon Linux 5.5, a Gentoo-based distribution and live DVD for the desktop: "Sabayon Linux 5.5 GNOME and KDE: stable release. Features: more than 1,000 updated packages and more than 100 bugs fixed; shipped with desktop-optimized Linux kernel 2.6.37 (Group Scheduling patch, TuxOnIce, Aufs 2.1) and glibc 2.11; cutting-edge X.Org graphics stack (Mesa 7.10, X.Org Server 1.9, 2.6.37 kernel, KMS-enabled, Gallium3D, best performance with OSS drivers); providing the best AMD/ATI and NVIDIA Linux desktop out-of-the-box experience; providing extra server-optimized, OpenVZ-enabled, VServer-enabled kernels in repositories; installable in 10 minutes; containing GNOME 2.32 and KDE 4.5.5 (KDE 4.6.0 will be available through updates)...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
TurnKey Linux 11.1
Liraz Siri has announced the release of TurnKey Linux 11.1, an Ubuntu-based set of highly specialised virtual appliances available as installation CD images or virtual images: "Part 1 of the TurnKey Linux 11 release is now officially out, including 45 new images based on Ubuntu 10.04.1. Part 1 mostly refreshes the existing roster of appliances in the library. In the upcoming part 2 we'll release the new appliances the community has been helping us develop over the last year. This will roughly double the size of the library. A handful of new appliances have also been squeezed in: Joomla 1.6, Magento, StatusNet, PrestaShop and vTiger CRM. This was mostly a side effect of the original (misguided) plan to do one big massive release with over 80 appliances." The detailed release announcement includes a list of changes since the release candidate and a few hints about future plans.
ArchBang Linux 2011.01
Willensky Aristide has announced the release of ArchBang Linux 2011.01, a lightweight distribution showcasing the Openbox window manager, based on Arch Linux. Some of the features of this release include: "Lighter than before; new look; login as root works after installation; still a text-based installer but fully functional; documentation included; source files available in the download section; coming with X.Org video drivers for maximum compatibility; we are taking advantage of Openbox's tiling window functions. Once you have installed ArchBang, if you want Thunar to detect all your partitions, install gvfs by typing in the terminal 'packer -S gvfs'." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot of the default desktop.
ArchBang Linux 2011.1 - a lightweight distribution with Openbox
(full image size: 1,562kB, resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3.2
An updated stable release of the Arch-based Chakra GNU/Linux, version 0.3.2, was released yesterday: "The Chakra development team is proud to announce our second point release of Chakra GNU/Linux 0.3 series, codenamed 'Ashoc'. This time we moved core-testing and platform-testing to our stable repositories and redesigned our testing repositories. Also X.Org got updated and fixed some known issues. Our tools got fixed and work even better than before. Due some issues with SourceForge we uploaded the images to our backup server. Feel free to mirror the images. What changed: Linux kernel 2.6.37 series; X.Org 7.6 stack with Mesa 7.10; X.Org Server 126.96.36.1991; updated X.Org drivers; KDE SC 4.5.5; updated Chakra tools; known bugs fixed in Tribe." For more information please see the release announcement.
Lucas Holt has announced the release of MidnightBSD 0.3, an operating system (forked from FreeBSD 6) with a goal of creating an easy-to-use desktop environment with graphical ports management and system configuration: "I'm happy to announce the availability of MidnightBSD 0.3. i386 ISO images are available on our FTP server and amd64 should be available in the next day or so. MidnightBSD 0.3 includes exciting new features such as support for ZFS, mDNSResponder for multicast DNS, libdispatch, AMD CPU temperature monitoring, updates to the Linux emulation layer and the OpenBSD sensors framework. This release includes a large merge from FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE. Several new scripts have been added to make it easier to manage the system. One of these is netwait in rc.d. It allows you to wait for a network interface to come up while booting to ensure network activity is ready." Read the detailed release notes for more information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Turnkey Linux. TurnKey Linux is an Ubuntu-based virtual appliance library that integrates some of the best open-source software into ready-to-use solutions. Each virtual appliance is optimised for ease of use and can be deployed in just a few minutes on bare metal, a virtual machine and in the cloud. The growing list of virtual appliances, each of which is available as a CD image or virtual machine image, include Bugzilla, Django, Drupal, File Server, Joomla, LAMP, Magento, Mantis, MediaWiki, MoinMoin, Moodle, MovableType, MySQL, Openbravo, phpBB, PostgreSQL, ProjectPier, Rails, Revision Control, StatusNet, Apache Tomcat, Torrent Server, Trac, TWiki, vtiger, WordPress, Zimra and others.
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Parabola GNU/Linux. Parabola GNU/Linux is a 100%-free flavour of Arch Linux. It is built on top of Linux-libre, a kernel without proprietary blobs and non-free firmware, and includes GNU IceCat, a libre fork of Mozilla Firefox that doesn't recommend non-libre add-ons.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 7 February 2011.
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.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
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Polar Bear Linux
Polar Bear Linux was a source-based GNU/Linux distribution derived from Linux From Scratch. All software packages are provided in the form of source code, which are compiled during installation. This has many advantages, as well as a major drawback in the time it takes to install the system (approximately 9 hours for a base system). Polar Bear Linux uses a simple package manager called Tarball Package Manager (TBPKG).