| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 395, 7 March 2011
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It's the openSUSE release week as the Novell-sponsored project makes the final preparations for publishing the version 11.4 of the popular Linux distribution. What's new in the release? Follow the series of articles presented by the openSUSE news team to find out. Also in the news section, Red Hat admits "obfuscating" the kernel source code in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 to make it harder for third-parties to undercut its business model, while Mark Shuttleworth explains the situation around the conflict with Banshee (and the Linux user community) over affiliate payments. This week's feature story is a first-look review of ArchBang 2011, a lightweight Arch-based distribution, while the Tips & Tricks section offers a quick tutorial on using the Secure Shell (SSH) to log in to a remote computer and transfer files. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the February 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the OpenShot video editor project. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
ArchBang Linux 2011 - coming in with a bang|
ArchBang Linux is one of eighteen active distributions based on Arch Linux. While I must admit I haven't heard anything about half of its peers, I have been receiving review requests for ArchBang, a project which provides users with Arch, plus an Openbox environment on a live CD.
Installation and first impressions
The ISO for ArchBang's live disc weighs in at approximately 530 MB and, after showing us a boot menu, it boots into an Openbox environment in under a minute. The default desktop is dark, the background mostly black. A task switcher sits at the bottom of the screen and a Conky panel displays resource usage information to the right-hand side of the display. Right-clicking on the desktop brings up a menu that allows us to launch applications (including the installer), change settings or logout/shutdown.
The system installer is composed of text-based menus and lets the user decide which actions to perform and in which order, as opposed to taking a linear approach. I suppose this is done to give more flexibility, but since most people will have to perform the same five steps in the same order each time it might be over-kill. Most of the installer is fairly straightforward and, when it doubt, we can take defaults. First we set our time zone and the current date & time. The second step is to partition the local hard drive. We can do this manually or walk through a guided process.
The guided version asks us what size our /boot, swap, root and /home partitions should be in megabytes. We then get to choose what file system to use for our root and /home partitions from a list that includes ReiserFS, XFS, JFS and ext2/3/4. Next up we install the base system, a process that took about ten minutes for me, three of which were spent waiting while the installer was setting up the ALSA sound system. The forth step involves creating a root password and setting up a regular user account. The last step in the process is confirming we want to install the GRUB boot loader and, optionally, tweaking its configuration. On my machines the entire process took about fifteen minutes from start to finish.
Post-install, the system boots quickly, dropping us at a grey graphical login screen. There doesn't appear to be any shutdown button, leaving us with the sole option of which window manager or desktop environment to choose. Though the menu lets us select between Xfce, IceWM, WindowMaker and Blackbox, they all result in the system logging in to the same environment.
ArchBang Linux 2011.02 - the distro's documentation
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Software and package management
The distribution doesn't exactly cram a lot of software onto the live disc, but the developers have covered the basics. ArchBang comes with Chromium 8, the Transmission BitTorrent client, the MPlayer multimedia application, AbiWord and Gnumeric. It also comes with the Foxit PDF viewer, the GIMP and a disk manager. We find the usual small applications for editing text and managing file archives. There are some configuration tools to adjust the look & feel of Openbox. Behind the scenes we find a Flash plugin and codecs for playing common media formats, including MP3s. The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is also installed for us. One set of items I didn't find were the OpenSSH client applications, which are included in most distributions. With the default install no network services are run and all of this software sits on top of the 2.6.37 Linux kernel and takes up approximately 1.7 GB of disk space.
The ArchBang website doesn't have much content yet. The front page contains project news, there is a small downloads page and a support forum. At the time of writing the project's Wiki has two pages, one which lists desktop shortcut keys and another that lists the steps the installer will perform without any details or suggestions on how to get through those steps. The project also has a bug tracker which looks like it hasn't yet been used much. Perhaps the most useful link on the ArchBang site points to its parent's website where we find quite a lot of documentation, information on updated packages and a forum with heavier traffic. I got the impression ArchBang's website is designed to be more of a layer on top of Arch's site, in a similar fashion to the way ArchBang itself is the icing on Arch's cake.
ArchBang Linux 2011.02 - browsing the web
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Package management got off to a rocky start. To be fair it has been over a year since I last used the package managers available in ArchBang and they're not utilities I've ever used on a regular basis, so I'm willing to shoulder some of the blame for the rough beginning. I started by reading the documentation file provided in my home directory which covers adding, removing and upgrading software using a program called "packer". The first example shows us how to install Firefox. Following the example I was told no "firefox" package could be found. Performing a search, as laid out by the documentation, turned up several pages worth of software that somehow matched the keyword "firefox". I chose one and ran the install command, only to be told some dependencies couldn't be found.
I tried again with another package, also to be told dependencies were missing. As this point I assumed, based off my experience with other package tools, that I must be missing package information and opened up packer's manual page. It covered adding, removing, searching for and upgrading all packages, but nothing on just updating my repository information. The documentation file does suggest further reading for people who are coming from other distros and the link provided leads to Arch's thorough guide to package management and I was able to find what I needed there.
From that point handling software got better, but I wouldn't say it was smooth, not yet. For example, I got Firefox installed, but it refused to run due to dependency issues. (Most software I installed did run without any problems, it's just unfortunate the example given in the manual resulted in a non-functioning install.) Quite often searching for software, at first, resulted in several pages of results, many of which didn't appear to have anything to do with what I was seeking. After a few of these experiences I learned to add more search parameters, narrowing down my matches to just a handful. I also learned to stop using packer and switched exclusively to the pacman package manager, which greatly improved my search results. (Searching for a package with packer would usually return over 100 results, where pacman would return fewer than a dozen for the same search.) Once I got up and running I found pacman to be a good, and surprisingly fast, utility.
Even though I came to respect pacman, ArchBang did present me with further package-related problems. Its base, Arch, is a rolling-release distribution and this means that the operating system is always changing. Sometimes this works well, providing users with up-to-date software, other times things break. The Arch documentation states that "as a rolling-release distribution, updating your Arch Linux system is not always as straightforward as with other fixed-release distributions. Furthermore, pacman is not a "fire-and-forget" package manager. As a result, properly maintaining an Arch Linux system with pacman tends to confuse new users (as recurring forum discussions would indicate)".
I got a taste of the potential problems one can encounter when I performed an upgrade which included Chromium and the web browser immediately stopped working. The pacman documentation also warns against blindly upgrading packages without first reading any warnings, which raises a concern I have with ArchBang. One of the shortcut keys listed on the desktop launches an upgrade process which checks for updates and then installs them all without confirming the action with the user. Since the parent distro warns against this sort of behaviour, I think it's not a good feature to prominently display on the desktop.
ArchBang Linux 2011.02 - launching office applications
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Hardware support and performance
ArchBang did fairly well with the hardware on my test machines. On my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) the screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and my touchpad was recognized and handled taps as mouse clicks. I did find the scroll function on my touchpad jumpy, causing the things I was adjusting to fly to their min/max values much faster than expected. My Intel wireless card was not detected. On my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) all my hardware worked without any configuration required. On both machines performance was good, slightly above average. When running in a virtual environment I found ArchBang continued to work well and could login to the graphical environment with as little as 128 MB of memory. Performance with this low resource level was still good, assuming no large applications were launched.
On a day-to-day basis ArchBang functioned well. I was able to perform the tasks I wanted and generally found the system to be stable, quick and capable. Due to the small install disc, I made the occasional trip to the repositories and, at time of writing, I've been able to find everything I needed through the package manager. The rate of updates may be a concern for users not accustomed to rolling releases -- three weeks after the latest ArchBang ISO release there were 150 MB worth of upgrades available and, while I was using the distro, almost every day brought new software updates.
Conclusions and recommendations
The ArchBang project seems to be trying to lower the bar for people who would like to use Arch, but who are put off by the thought of all the reading, installing and configuring involved. ArchBang allows users to jump-start their way into Arch and I feel that the project accomplishes that well. As a bonus the distro also supplies the community with a light live CD which boots quite quickly. Though the project's CD isn't large, the distro installs a good collection of software to cover common tasks out of the box. However, ArchBang does have its share of rough edges. My biggest concern was with the thin documentation. There is very little on getting the system up and running and I felt the brief section on package management should have focused on pacman, rather than packer. Even if the documentation simply had links to Arch's Wiki in the form of "To create users accounts, read this. To learn about installing software, go here," I think it would be an improvement.
There were some technical concerns too, for example the installer ignored my file system preference and made my /home and root partitions ext4. The login screen offers several different sessions, but logging in always brings us to the same environment and I ran into missing software dependencies twice in my week with the distribution. I'm also a bit concerned with pacman's lack of support for package signing and, for that matter, the Arch developers' disinterest in implementing package signing. It's a security feature largely taken for granted on the big-name distributions and not having it leaves ArchBang users open to various compromising attacks.
If you want to try Arch Linux in a live environment and/or get up and running in a hurry, then ArchBang will do that for you. I definitely recommend reading the Arch documentation first, if you haven't already done so. It's a valuable resource that should not be ignored. There are some details I think the ArchBang developers should iron out, but they've made a good beginning toward creating a more accessible Arch Linux.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
openSUSE 11.4 feature articles, Red Hat's kernel source "obfuscation", new scrollbars in Ubuntu 11.04
This is the openSUSE release week, a much anticipated event on many Linux users' calendars. To ease the anxiety among the more impatient ones the openSUSE news team has published a series of stories describing the features in the soon-to-be-released version 11.4. One of the articles is called openSUSE 11.4 and KDE, which summarises the main changes between KDE 4.4 (found in openSUSE 11.3) and the new KDE 4.6: "The Plasma Desktop Workspace, which is openSUSE's default graphical desktop, introduces several new features. First up is a more intuitive and smarter power management UI and a new Bluetooth stack which makes it easier to share files or use features of other Bluetooth devices such as headsets and mice . Plasma also introduces many improvements to the innovative ‘Activities' management. Activities allow users to associate applications with tasks which can be saved, stopped and resumed at any time. For those with less screen estate to spend, the Plasma Netbook Workspace offers an experience more optimized for small screens. " Other articles in this series include GNOME on openSUSE 11.4 and openSUSE 11.4 Will Be First To Roll Out With LibreOffice.
openSUSE 11.4 - the project's first new release in nine months
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One of the more interesting topics discussed on many Linux websites last week was about Red Hat's new method of "obfuscating" the kernel source code in the recently released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6. Jonathan Corbet of Linux Weekly News has confirmed that Red Hat's patches are now included in the kernel, rather than shipped separately: "Red Hat is making things harder by shipping its RHEL 6 kernel source as one big tarball, without breaking out the patches. Your editor has downloaded the 2.6.32-71.14.1.el6 source package and verified that this is the case. One of the key points behind the RPM and Debian package formats is that source is shipped in its upstream form, with patches shipped separately and applied at build time. Red Hat has always followed this convention; the failure to do so with the RHEL 6 kernel is a new and discouraging change of behavior." Red Hat has responded to these accusations with a press release in which the company confirms the change: "To speak bluntly, the competitive landscape has changed. Our competitors in the Enterprise Linux market have changed their commercial approach from building and competing on their own customized Linux distributions, to one where they directly approach our customers offering to support RHEL." While Red Hat does not mention the competitors directly, many analysts, including Cade Metz writing for Channel Register speculate that Oracle and its Oracle Linux, a distribution built from Red Hat's source packages, is the main reason behind the "obfuscation" policy.
* * * * *
Besides Red Hat, Canonical was another company forced to make a response to accusations over its practices. As has been widely reported, Canonical's alleged insistence on diverting a large part of the affiliate payments generated by the Banshee music player from GNOME to itself came under heavy criticism. As a result Mark Shuttleworth published a long response entitled "Mistakes made, lessons learned, a principle clarified and upheld": "We also made a mistake, I believe, as this blew up in private conversations, when a well-meaning person presented a choice to the Banshee developers, who then of course made a choice. But our position isn't at all what was communicated. Our position is that we'll deliver the best overall experience to users, we'll derive services revenue from that, and we'll share it with upstream where we can attribute it efficiently. It wasn't in the mandate of that person to offer a choice outside of that framework, but it was an honest mistake." However, Shuttleworth still believes that the revenue-sharing model presented by Canonical to Banshee is in the best interest of all parties, including the users: "The offer stands for Banshee developers to take up if they'd like, and use as they'd like. If they don't want it, we'll put it to good use."
The above wasn't the only piece published on Mark Shuttleworth's blog last week. A separate item, called Ayatana overlay scrollbars: something truly Natty, is an interesting article about -- reinventing the scrollbar: "A wit said of Google Wave that 'if your project depends on reinventing scrollbars, you are doing something wrong.' But occasionally, just occasionally, one gets to do exactly that. Under the Ayatana banner, we’ve been on a mission to make the desktop have less chrome and more content. The goal is to help people immerse themselves in their stuff, without being burdened with large amounts of widgetry which isn’t relevant to the thing they are trying to concentrate on. And when it comes to widgetry, there are few things left which take up more space than scrollbars. For example, I spend plenty of time in a full screen terminal, and it’s lovely to see how clean that experience is on Natty today, but that scrollbar on the right seems heavy and outdated. We took inspiration from mobile devices, and started exploring the idea of making scrollbars be more symbolic, and less physical." Click on the above link to see the new Ubuntu scrollbars in action.
Finally, one more link to Mark Shuttleworth's blog: the code name of Ubuntu 11.10 is "Oneiric Ocelot".
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Using the Secure Shell
Secure shell, specially the OpenSSH implementation of secure shell, is an important and valuable tool. This holds true largely because of the security it provides us for common tasks, but also because OpenSSH is so portable, enabling it to function on most modern operating systems. OpenSSH was originally forked from OSSH and developed for the OpenBSD operating system. Since its début in 1999, OpenSSH has been ported to Linux, to other BSD projects and to proprietary operating systems. Chances are if you're reading this from an open source operating system you have an OpenSSH component installed.
What's so important about OpenSSH? It used to be most network services sent their data in plain-text, completely open for anyone to read. While this was fast and convenient (and easy to debug) it wasn't secure. Logging into a remote machine meant sending usernames and passwords over the lines without hiding them in any way and transferring files in the open made it fairly easy to intercept them. OpenSSH encrypts its traffic, preventing people from listening in and gathering your login credentials or copies of any files you're sending over the network.
All of this may sound a bit abstract so I'd like to share a handful of examples of how OpenSSH can be used to communicate with a remote machine. In the following examples I'll be communicating with a remote server named "harold". For these examples to work the remote machine, harold, must be running the OpenSSH server and be able to accept connections on port 22.
Perhaps the most common usage of OpenSSH is logging into a remote machine to run command-line programs. System administrators often perform updates, check logs and change configurations this way. To do this we run
The above example is secure shell invoked in its most simple form. Should we be connecting to a server where our username is different than our username on the local machine we can use the "-l" option. For example, if we wish to login to the remote machine as the user "susan" we would run
ssh -l susan harold
In both cases presented above we will be prompted for a password and then given a terminal prompt on harold. When we are finished working on the remote server we can run "exit" to return to working on our local machine.
Another common usage of OpenSSH is the transfer of files between computers. There are two ways to do this. The first is to set up an interactive connection to the remote machine using the sftp command. A sftp session works much the same way as plain FTP, providing an interactive experience, but sftp encrypts the traffic between the machines, including our password. To start a secure file transfer session we use
Alternatively, if we have a different username on the remote host, we can use
When using sftp we terminate the secure session using the "quit" command. If you're not familiar with using command line file transfer programs, there are graphical clients, such as gFTP or Filezilla, that make the process more intuitive. Another way to transfer files is with the secure copy command, scp. The scp command works much the same way as the "cp" command line program, but with the ability to work over a network. In the following example we copy a file, test_file.txt, to our home directory on harold.
scp test_file.txt harold:test_file.txt
As with ssh and sftp we can send data to the remote machine as another user:
scp test_file.txt susan@harold:test_file.txt
In other instances we may wish to copy files to a remote directory besides our home. In those cases we can specify the directory we want to use after the server name. This example copies our text file to our Work directory on the remote computer:
scp test_file.txt harold:/home/jesse/Work/
The scp command works the other way too, allowing us to copy remote files to our local machine. In this example we copy a text file from harold and save it in our current working directory.
scp harold:test_file.txt local_copy.txt
Sometimes administrators find themselves wanting to perform the same commands on multiple remote machines. There is a handy tool called ClusterSSH which will connect to several remote servers and send commands we type once to each machine. Bill Childers has a good tutorial on setting up and using ClusterSSH. I recommend reading it if you find yourself managing multiple machines.
* * * * *
As a follow-up to last week's Q&A concerning web browsers and security, Rahul Sundaram kindly sent in a link to a tutorial on running Firefox in a sandbox. The tutorial shows us how we can run an isolated web browser without requiring a separate user account or virtual machine. Thanks, Rahul, for sharing this with us.
|Released Last Week
Andrew Gillis has announced the release of VortexBox 1.8, a Fedora-based distribution that turns an unused computer into an easy-to-use music server or jukebox: "We are pleased to announce the release of VortexBox 1.8. In the last release we added DVD movie ripping; now we made it better. VortexBox now identifies the DVD and names it accordingly. VortexBox can also create an MP4 mirror of your DVD with a Windows Media Center XML file. This works great for viewing movies in Windows Media Center. You can now select the length the DVD tracks you want ripped. This is great for TV show DVDs where you want to rip all the tracks greater then a certain length. We have also added the latest version of SqueezeBox Server (7.5.3) and a bunch of other fixes and upgrades." Here is the brief release announcement.
Maximilian Gerhard has announced the release of KANOTIX 2011-03, a Debian-based distribution and live DVD with the KDE desktop: "The new KANOTIX version called 'Hellfire' is ready. KANOTIX 'Hellfire' is based on Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 'Squeeze', it contains the latest Debian stable branch with all the latest security updates. In addition, KANOTIX 'Hellfire' provides useful extras and updated packages. This includes Linux kernel 2.6.38-rc6 (Ubuntu, recompiled), KDE SC 4.4.5 with new KANOTIX branding, Amarok 2.4.0, LibreOffice 3.3.1, GRUB 2 bootloader, KDE Network Manager (replaces wicd), Pidgin 2.7.10, NTFS-3G 2011.1.15, Wine 1.3.14 (per Ubuntu 'Lucid' PPA), Iceweasel 3.5.16, Icedove 3.0.11, Kano's scripts for installing NVIDIA or ATI graphics driver, as well as FlashPlayer plugin." More details in the release announcement.
KANOTIX 2011-03 - the project's first release based on Debian "Squeeze"
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kademar Linux 4.9.5
Adonay Sanz Alsina has announced the release of kademar Linux 4.9.5, a Catalan distribution and live DVD with a choice of KDE 3 and KDE 4 desktops and a recent Linux kernel patched for performance. Based on the recently-released Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, the new kademar delivers vast improvements in speed and performance, and brings many updated software applications. Some of the features include: Linux kernel 2.6.37 with the 200-line desktop performance patch; a choice between KDE 3.5.10 and 4.5.5 desktop environment; compressed caching in RAM with the compcache technology; Duck Duck Go as the default search engine; Wine 1.2.2 as the latest stable version of the compatibility layer for Windows programs and games for Linux; new graphical desktop theme.... Read the rest of the release announcement (in Catalan) for further details.
kademar Linux 4.9.5 - a Debian-based live DVD for Catalan speakers
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Scientific Linux 6.0
Troy Dawson has announced the final release of Scientific Linux 6.0, a distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, but with extra software for use in academic environments. "Scientific Linux 6.0 has been released for both the i386 and x86_64 architectures." Some of the changes and features in this release include "The final release only has the same packages that were originally released by upstream vendor, all security and bug-fix errata are in their respective repositories; we have reduced the number of extra packages we put in Scientific Linux 6; there is no 'contrib' repository; we have added several packages to Scientific Linux that are not found anywhere in the upstream release, including IceWM, OpenAFS, Revisor, Live USB Creator, YUM auto-update, external YUM repositories..." Read the brief release announcement and the detailed release notes for more information.
Scientific Linux 6.0 - a distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6
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Sabayon Linux 5.5 "E17", "LXDE", "Xfce"
Fabio Erculiani has announced the availability of five new editions of Sabayon Linux 5.5 - "Xfce", "LXDE", "E17", "ServerBase" and "OpenVZ": "We are happy to announce the immediate availability of E17, Xfce, LXDE, SpinBase/OpenVZ, ServerBase Sabayon Linux 5.5 spins built on top of Sabayon SpinBase ISO images. The E17 stable-releases-are-for-n00bs desktop environment, the well-known Xfce and LXDE environments, the SpinBase + OpenVZ template ready to be used in server deployments, and, last but not least, ServerBase, a very minimal Sabayon release with a server-optimized Linux kernel." Read the rest of the release announcement for details about each of these spins.
Linux From Scratch 6.8
Bruce Dubbs has announced the release of Linux From Scratch (LFS), version 6.8. More of an educational project than a Linux distribution in a traditional sense of the word, Linux From Scratch is a book of step-by-step instructions on how to build a minimalist Linux-based operating system from scratch - either by using an existing Linux installation or from a live CD. Version 6.8 brings new versions of the Linux kernel, GNU software and most other packages that make up the base system. From the release announcement: "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of Linux From Scratch (LFS) version 6.8. This release includes numerous changes to LFS 6.7 (including updates to Linux kernel 2.6.37, GCC 4.5.2, glibc 2.13) and security fixes. It also includes editorial work on the explanatory material throughout the book, improving both the clarity and accuracy of the text."
Peppermint OS Ice-10012010
Kendall Weaver has announced the release of an updated respin of Peppermint OS Ice, a lightweight, Ubuntu-based distribution with integrated cloud technologies: "We are proud to announce the availability of Peppermint Ice 20110302, which is the latest respin of our Ice release. This version offers a fully updated system as of March 2nd, 2011 and it comes with some bug fixes and new features: like in Peppermint One, we have removed the hardware abstraction layer from this release in order to obtain better performance; the LFFL repository has been added to the default sources list in order to offer more current versions of more applications; some region specific SSBs, such as Hulu and Pandora, have been removed from the default installation, but can easily be added back by using the Ice application." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
- Mandriva Linux 2011-alpha2, the release announcement
- FreeNAS 8.0-rc2, the release announcement
- pfSense 2.0-rc1, the release announcement
- Kororaa 14-beta3, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Mythbuntu? 11.04-alpha3, the release announcement
- Zenwalk Linux 7.0-rc3, the release announcement
- Clonezilla Live 1.2.8-8
- Canaima GNU/Linux 3.0-vc2
- Karoshi 7.0.2
- GParted Live 0.8.0-3
- VectorLinux Linux 7.0-beta1.8
- AUSTRUMI 2.3.0
- Scientific Linux 6.0-rc (Live)
- Devil-Linux 1.4.2
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
February 2011 DistroWatch.com donation: OpenShot|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the February 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the OpenShot project, an open-source video editor for Linux, built with Python, GTK+, and the MLT Framework. It receives US$300.00 in cash.
The OpenShot project was started in August 2008 by Jonathan Thomas, with the objective to provide a stable, free, and easy-to-use video editor. Some of its features include: "support for many video, audio, and image formats (based on FFmpeg); GNOME integration (drag and drop support); multiple tracks; clip resizing, trimming, snapping, and cutting; video transitions with real-time previews; compositing, image overlays, watermarks; 3D animated titles; title templates, title creation, subtitles; SVG friendly to create and include titles and credits; scrolling motion pand image sequences; drag and drop timeline; frame stepping, key-mappings...." See the project's features page for further details. Screenshots illustrating some of them are available here.
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$27,230 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), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- Porteus. Porteus is a fast, portable and modular live CD/USB medium based on Slackware Linux. The distribution started as a community remix of Slax, another Slackware-based live CD (which is no longer actively maintained), with KDE 3 as the default desktop for the i486 edition and a stripped-down KDE 4 as the desktop environment for the x86_64 flavour. The lightweight LXDE is available as an alternative desktop environment.
Porteus 0.9 - a Slackware-based live CD with a choice of KDE 3, KDE 4 and LXDE desktops
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* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 14 March 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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 the 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 the 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, the 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 the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• 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.
|Random Distribution |
Slax is a minimalist desktop live CD based on Debian's "stable" branch. It boots into a simple desktop using the Fluxbox window manager which offers a small collection of applications, including the Chromium web browser, a text editor and a calculator. Prior to version 9.x, Slax was a Slackware-based live CD featuring the KDE desktop and a wide collection of pre-installed software for daily use together with useful recovery tools for system administrators.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Advocating Linux and free software|
|Questions and answers: Linux versus Android and webOS|
|Tips and tricks: Digital cameras, mobile phones and music players under Linux|
|Questions and answers: Why is Debian "out-of-date"?|
|Myths and misunderstandings: Linux Mint's security record|
|Tips and tricks: Creating a SOCKS proxy for web browsing|
|Tips and tricks: Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections|
|Questions and answers: Anbox, ZFS on root, init software for Linux Mint Debian Edition 3, Debian's many kernels|
|Tips and tricks: Copying columns of text, organizing files, creating torrents|
|Tips and tricks: Reverting to older kernel under Ubuntu|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|