| 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
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1 • Red Hat (by Dan on 2011-03-07 11:17:00 GMT from United States) |
Red Hat still has the source code available, so it won't affect CentOs or Scientific. Oracle will have to hire some real coders, though. No more reading out of a flip book when people call customer support.
2 • openSUSE 11.4 (by Stuart on 2011-03-07 12:01:17 GMT from United Kingdom)
The upcoming openSUSE looks like an excellent release. They put a lot of attention into shipping a nice KDE environment.
3 • Quick question on OpenSuse (by Anony Moss on 2011-03-07 12:40:52 GMT from India)
Does it still include Mono by default?
I like OpenSuse a lot, but after the MS-sponsored fund bought Novell, I want to be Mono free.
No hate mongering here. Just a question to see if it is for me.
4 • Red Hat Kernel and @1 (by Don Sanderson on 2011-03-07 13:10:12 GMT from United States)
Can someone briefly explain why the kernel distribution change will affect Oracle and not Cent or Scientific?
Is it strictly from a support standpoint?
If so why can't Oracle simply build their own kernel with patches they do understand? (Hence the coders?)
Sorry if this is a dumb question but I'm not a 'kernel guy'.
I usually just use 'distro supplied' kernels.
5 • Openshot (by meanpt on 2011-03-07 13:11:07 GMT from Portugal)
This was a good donation choice.
6 • The review (by Barnabyh on 2011-03-07 13:27:44 GMT from Germany)
Thanks for the article, always good to see someone else's perspective. I never encountered the errors you were writing about with packer, knowing ArchBang is Arch I used pacman from the start. No issues there apart from looking up a few commands on the wiki.
I'm curious about the formatting issue. As well as upgrading from an older one I also installed the February release, and both went with the xfs specified by me.
ArchBang is still stable here after 6 months of rolling and with no breakage. Only had to recompile the wireless driver 2x after each major kernel upgrade. Perfect.
7 • Porteus (by Barnabyh on 2011-03-07 13:32:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Oh yeah, and good to see that the Slax remix has gone more formal, as it means it is here to stay. With distros like these and spring ahead the future looks good. ;)
8 • @4 Red Hat (by Dan on 2011-03-07 13:39:03 GMT from United States)
Currently, Oracle just ships Red Hat but rebranded as Oracle, with some tweaks of their own. Up until this announcement, Red Hat sent out detailed notes with every patch, so that pretty much anyone could just look at them and know exactly what's going on. Oracle took advantage of this. Now Oracle will need to have real coders look over each change to figure out exactly what is different. In the end, it may end up making Oracle a stronger product, since they will have their own people actually looking at everything.
9 • Kernel and ArchBang (by Jesse on 2011-03-07 13:48:06 GMT from Canada)
Projects like CentOS will simply take Red Hat's kernel "as is" and place it into their distribution, because CentOS wants to be binary compatible with RHEL. Oracle will be facing two issues. The first is they probably add their own special patches to the Red Hat kernel. Changing the way the RHEL kernel is packaged will mean a few extra steps for Oracle in the future to get their custom patches applied. It's not a big deal, it'll just be one or two extra steps they'll have to go through. From a support stand point this may mean Oracle can't just use Red Hat's documentation and may have to work out their own kernel docs. Changing the way Red Hat's kernel is packaged is more a speed bump for companies like Oracle than a barrier.
You're right, if I'd been more familiar with pacman from the start I would probably have been okay. Unfortunately I ended up following the ArchBang documentation instead which caused a few issues. Regarding the formating issue, I attempted to use ext3 on both my test machines. Post-install both my hard drives were mounted as ext4. A minor issue as they're in the same family, but still a concern.
10 • @8 and @9 (by Don Sanderson on 2011-03-07 14:14:17 GMT from United States)
Thanks, that's pretty much what I thought.
More a bump than mountain.
@Dan, good point about making Oracle stronger.
11 • Red Hat/Oracle (by ZKorvezir on 2011-03-07 14:34:18 GMT from Macedonia)
This will not have big impact on Oracle Linux either, because Oracle Linux 6 is now available with Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel as the default kernel. Yes you can still use original Red Hat kernel but Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel is default one. Maybe this is the reason for Red Hat decision.
12 • GPL: the letter and the spirit (by Leo on 2011-03-07 15:00:22 GMT from United States)
The recent abuse from Oracle (nicely sidelined by RedHat) is not new. We've seen in the recent times Open Source projects being abused. Some crook in Amazon is selling a rebranded Blender:
The community will probably need to find a way to fight this sort of crap, either via licensing or trademark enforcement. I am not sure what's the best way.
13 • @12 (by Anonymous on 2011-03-07 15:34:10 GMT from United States)
This smells of a possible double standard.
From the 3dmagixpro website:
'Delivered in a Professional 700 megabytes CD (one-click install) with Full Source Code and License. You Don't Have to Meddle With Huge Downloads.'
Why is it that when some other company rebrands a product for sale (with full source code) which is allowed per GPL it is a "scam" but when Canonical changes the affiliate code in Banshee, it is "OK because the GPL allows it"?
14 • @3 Mono in openSUSE (by cba on 2011-03-07 15:35:32 GMT from Germany)
The KDE4 default installation in openSUSE 11.3 does not contain any mono software because it is completely useless there.
However, if you choose to install Gnome, mono is included in the default install. If you wish to install Gnome without mono you have to blacklist "mono-core" by clicking on "Software" in the Yast summary ("Installation settings"), searching for it and then choosing the so-called "taboo - never install" feature for "mono-core" by right-clicking with the mouse right before the installation starts (I do this check every time I install openSUSE).
Moreover, if you like the classic Gnome2 look you have to uninstall most openSUSE-branded Packages and install the corresponding upstream-branded ones which are available in the oss-repo, something which can be easily done after the installation.
15 • @ the Red Hat story (by meh on 2011-03-07 15:59:52 GMT from United States)
If Ladislav had done his diligence about the Red Hat "Obfuscation" story he would have found this* story on the register and mentioned that it was all about the support contracts for RHEL that both Novell and Oracle sell.
16 • Re: 13 (by Leo on 2011-03-07 16:00:10 GMT from United States)
Wow, that's some bold statement there. I didn't mention Ubuntu, so I am not sure what you are talking about.
But I don't see yours as a valid comparison. Ubuntu adds a great deal of value to the Free Software ecosystem. The fact that some hard core elitists who think only low level kernel development matters, and that GUI's are for punks, doesn't really affect the fact that Ubuntu contributes on higher level, more end-user oriented projects.This is why there are SO many distributions based on it:
17 • Ubuntu scrollbar redesign (by Wouter on 2011-03-07 16:10:29 GMT from Finland)
The Ubuntu scrollbar redesign seems like a good idea – it even looks good. I tend to hide scrollbars in terminal windows anyway, since it's "pointless" to click scrollbars with a mouse in a program designed for keyboard use. As long they can still be hit with a clumsy trackpad, human interaction will be just fine. For once a recent GUI decision that makes sense...
18 • @14 (by Anony Moss on 2011-03-07 17:18:01 GMT from India)
Thanks, cba, a very informative reply. My primary interest is in their KDE release, so that's all good. Last time, the Live CD was very responsive, hope they are continuing that good work.
Regarding gnome, does Yast summary in LiveCD allow this, or is it only a DVD feature? I'm very glad they allow the choice.
every1 have a good week.
19 • Tips & Tricks Subject (by Dblmtn on 2011-03-07 17:29:14 GMT from United States)
As of this morning, approximately 18% of visitors to Distrowatch are using a distribution that is "Unknown 0r Unspecified". Perhaps you could school the developers of distibutions as to how they can make their work become "known" to Distrowatch.
20 • SUSE (by john on 2011-03-07 17:40:49 GMT from United States)
I couln't find suse releas schedule
21 • Unity desktop (by Anjum on 2011-03-07 18:00:28 GMT from United States)
Is it just me or that the Unity uncannily resembles the OS X interface ?
22 • @18 (by cba on 2011-03-07 18:14:32 GMT from Germany)
No, the Live CD does not allow this, because it is one big image file with default settings which is copied to the hard disk.
This "DVD feature" of software selection before installation is available with the DVD and with the network installation CD. Both media also allow the installation from a DVD copy on the hard disk for faster installation.
23 • Fatter Scroll bars (by Clicktician on 2011-03-07 18:32:01 GMT from United States)
I made myself some chubby GTK scroll bars on my touch screen ( Linux Mint ) with a couple of config lines. They are custom-matched to my chubby fingers. I suppose the size and appearance of scroll bars is more of a big deal on operating systems that fail to offer users the luxury of choice that each of us enjoys.
24 • Unknown (by Jesse on 2011-03-07 18:32:08 GMT from Canada)
>> "Perhaps you could school the developers of distibutions as to how they can make their work become "known" to Distrowatch."
I'm sure most developers know this already and just aren't interested. DW detects the distro of our visitors by your browser user agent string. That is, the text your browser sends to each website to identify itself. If you want to see what is in your string, open a new tab and type "about:" into the address bar of your browser. Typically you can change your agent string in your browser's configuration by typing "about:config" into your address bar.
Distributions that want to broadcast their identity put their name in the user agent string. Other distros leave packages in their vanilla state and don't send specific ID.
25 • Kanotix Hell (by jomlinux on 2011-03-07 19:23:07 GMT from Malaysia)
Kanotix the distro is good. I just wondering why Kanotix developer using codename 'hellfire'. Why not Kanotix Heaven ?
26 • Unknown (by Dblmtn on 2011-03-07 19:26:14 GMT from United States)
I'm sure most developers know this already and just aren't interested. DW detects the distro of our visitors by your browser user agent string. That is, the text your browser sends to each website to identify itself.
Does this mean that the browser I use determines if my distro is tabulated as a visit to Distrowatch? IE: installing a browser that isn't in the distro repository means my visit is "unknown"?
27 • Porteus review (by Ed on 2011-03-07 19:39:47 GMT from United States)
I ran across this review of Porteus just the other day
...and I just want to add some glowing admiration to Tomas M for a great little distro like Slax.
28 • Pardus forum (by Neal on 2011-03-07 20:10:24 GMT from United States)
Has anyone been able to join the Pardus world forum? I've e-mailed the admin several times and no reply....Is this a flaw with such a "polished" distro? I have a couple of simple questions to ask but since its independent, how do you get help elsewhere?
29 • Distrowatch access (and other stuff) (by eco2geek on 2011-03-07 20:27:28 GMT from United States)
Has anyone else been having difficulty accessing distrowatch.com recently? I'm on Comcast cable, and I've been having to go to the mirrors ("distrowatch.serve-you.net" or "distrowatch.gdsw.at") for the past week.
@25: I don't know, but I hope he calls his next release "Damnation", so I can say I've used both hellfire and damnation.
@28: Keep trying - the admin got back to me the day after I asked.
30 • Ref#20 (by Verndog on 2011-03-07 21:07:51 GMT from United States)
Sometimes. Never knew about the alternatives. Trouble posting at times. Maybe locations.
31 • kademar - I'm impressed (by uz64 on 2011-03-07 21:31:11 GMT from United States)
I played with the previous version of kademar not too long ago and the appearance of the boot screen and other artwork bugged me (looked so nice, yet bright white text on a bright blue and white background makes it... I'll just say, difficult to see, and ruins first impressions), but it seemed very promising.
I messed around a bit with the new kademar DVD, version 4.9.5. It boots very quickly--impressively fast--to a screen asking whether to start either KDE3 or KDE4. The new version was a must-try when I found out that it contains not only KDE4, but also KDE3. Nice--that's something I wish more distros would do. You know, just for choice--and maybe nostalgia and older computers, as well as those who want speed *and* functionality. :)
I did get a couple error/crash messages on boot of the live CD and after installation though. Not sure if increasing the RAM would help (set to 384MB, the minimum I've been able to get KDE4 to run adequately, without crashing, unfortunately), but Akonadi still crashed when loading KDE3. Also, both KDE3 and KDE4 are installed, which is not a major problem--but it would be great if the installer allowed you to select between installing KDE3, KDE4, or both. The installer also gets right to business installing in the background after you tell it to wipe the selected partitions, allowing you to continue through the install questions while it works and it adjusts the settings of the installed system later. Very cool.
Overall, despite some minor problems, this distro is pretty nice.
32 • Browser (by Jesse on 2011-03-07 21:37:13 GMT from Canada)
>> "Does this mean that the browser I use determines if my distro is tabulated as a visit to Distrowatch? IE: installing a browser that isn't in the distro repository means my visit is "unknown"?"
Basically, yes. For example I get Firefox from my distro's repository, and it includes the name of my distro in the agent string. However, when I use Opera (which I got directly from the Opera web site) it doesn't include my distro's name. You can, if you like, change your user agent string so it includes the name of your distribution.
33 • Arch Package Signing (by Jonathan Vasquez on 2011-03-07 21:39:04 GMT from United States)
I definitely agree with you on Arch's lack of package signing. I read IG's package signing blog post a few weeks ago. Arch was actually my main distro and I was starting to get into it by contributing more to the Wiki and making PKGBUILDs (like Gentoo eBuilds), then I stopped because of this lack of security.
34 • Thanks Jesse (by Dblmtn on 2011-03-07 21:53:48 GMT from United States)
>>Basically, yes. For example I get Firefox from my distro's repository, and it includes the name of my distro in the agent string. However, when I use Opera (which I got directly from the Opera web site) it doesn't include my distro's name. You can, if you like, change your user agent string so it includes the name of your distribution.
Thanks for taking the time to explain this. I had begun to suspect that something like this was going on. (I use Opera, also) Seamonkey is about to become my browser of choice, though.
35 • Novell FUD (by Joseph on 2011-03-07 22:20:25 GMT from United States)
"I like OpenSuse a lot, but after the MS-sponsored fund bought Novell, I want to be Mono free."
An MS-sponsored fund did not buy Novell. A consortium that involved MS bought some patents from Novell that had nothing to do with Linux. Attachmate bought Novell proper. Some blogs invented a conspiracy theory by suggesting (even openly admitting that they had no evidence of this whatsoever) that Microsoft secretly (while being a publicly traded company) gave Attachmate the money to buy Novell so they could destroy it. I believe paranoia runs deep in the open source community.
My problem with openSUSE 11.4 is that it looks like there are still some major bugs in the final release candidate. Apparently GPU acceleration will not work with certain AMD-based notebook graphics chips. Some laptops even fail to boot at all. I wish they'd taken a bit more of a "it'll be released when it's done" approach. 11.3 shipped with the documentation not finished and appArmor simply not working. With both Ubuntu and Gnome going Charlie Sheen lately now is the chance for openSUSE to pick up a lot of converts. Releasing distros with major bugs isn't going to help.
36 • Thanks, Ed (by DarkDuck on 2011-03-07 22:24:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks Ed for mentioning my post...
"The other day" is just today, because post was pubished on the 6th of March, late in the evening, almost at midnight GMT. 8-)
I think Tomas M gave way to many SLAX-based Live distros. Whole concept of SLAX is simply genius!
37 • RE: Red Hat story and DistroWatch.com access (by ladislav on 2011-03-08 00:16:11 GMT from Taiwan)
If Ladislav had done his diligence about the Red Hat "Obfuscation" story
RE 15: And if you had actually read the news item before posting here, you would have noticed that it linked to the exact same article as your post.
RE 29: If anyone has a problem accessing distrowatch.com please send me an email (my address is mentioned at the bottom of every page, even on mirrors) with you IP address so that I can look through the logs and fix the problem.
38 • opensuse 11.4 (by BrandonSniadajewski on 2011-03-08 00:31:49 GMT from United States)
I did an in-place upgrade of openSUSE from 11.3 to 11.4 gnome RC2 yesterday, and it looks good. I am still waiting for all the repositories to come on-line, but so far it's working
39 • Arch has security issues? (by brad on 2011-03-08 00:37:20 GMT from United States)
seriously? it's bleeding edge, for the most part (and I'm kinda a noob) unadulterated packages.. in tar.gz format.. arent other distros that spin their "own" packages more apt to be inscure , buggy, and more unstable, fast etc as Arch?
40 • @ 35 paranoia runs deep in the open source community (by That Dude on 2011-03-08 00:50:01 GMT from United States)
Have you seen what MS is doing to Nokia, plus the back handed way of messing with google's video format, I think the paranoia is reasonable.
My little plea to open source friendly companies, never never never hire an executive from MS or from any company that is hostile toward the open source.
41 • @39 (by Rick on 2011-03-08 00:59:42 GMT from United States)
The fact that Arch does not sign their packages should be a major red flag. Who can say that a package that they put in their repositories hasn't been tampered with after the fact.
42 • Security (by Jesse on 2011-03-08 01:16:53 GMT from Canada)
>> "seriously? it's bleeding edge, for the most part (and I'm kinda a noob) unadulterated packages.. in tar.gz format.. arent other distros that spin their "own" packages more apt to be inscure , buggy, and more unstable, fast etc as Arch?"
In short, no. Being on the bleeding edge doesn't mean your packages are more secure, stable or fast. Sometimes it might, if the upstream project is strongly focused on security and bug fixes. Staying on the bleeding edge with OpenSSH, for example, is probably safe. But mostly of the time distros apply security patches and bug fixes on top of packages they've found to be stable. So while Arch may have new features sooner, you're likely to have more stable, more secure packages with distributions that patch older versions.
The issue I brought up with signing packages isn't related to how old a package is, but how it gets securely from point A to point B. Package signing means you know who created a package and you know (in theory) it hasn't been tapered with. Unsigned packages mean that anyone can come along after a package has been built and hijack it, replacing it with malware, before it gets to your machine and you won't know the difference. Arch has dozens of mirrors and any one of them getting compromised means hundreds of users could end up with infected machines without knowing it. For that manner, unsigned packages are vulnerable to man in the middle attacks.
One of the big security points of most Linux distros is having known "safe" repositories so people aren't downloading untrusted packages. Arch doesn't have that yet.
43 • @42.. got a list of distros that have "safe" repos? (by brad on 2011-03-08 02:05:51 GMT from United States)
and anyone read on these comments or any forums regarding "arch"'s bleeding edge/lack of signage (thank you making that clear to me, as I said I'm new) causing major malware issues/security issues with it?
just wondering, this is an interesting discussion to me.. coming from pclinuxos,ubuntu,mint,mepis to arch.. and thinking it's amazing.. am I that "wrong" or should I even be actually "worried" in the real world regarding the average linux user using arch?
44 • Arch security (by Jesse on 2011-03-08 02:22:00 GMT from Canada)
If you're wondering if talking about package signing if going to cause people to suddenly try to hack Arch, I don't think so. Most people in the Arch community have known for months or years that pacman doesn't have package signing. It isn't a secret and the Arch developers have been pretty open about it and their views.
Are you wrong about Arch? Should you be worried? I think that depends on your priorities. Each person needs to decide for themselves how much priority to give to security, features, stability, ease of use, etc. If you like Arch and you like being on the cutting edge and you don't mind pacman not having signed packages then I'd say Arch is for you. It carries a little bit of risk, but no distro is completely secure.
45 • Arch & PCLinuxOS Security (by Stan on 2011-03-08 03:51:24 GMT from United States)
Most of the distributions you mention have package signing, as they are descended from the major distributions that have the infrastructure in place (Debian and Ubuntu in your list, though Fedora or OpenSUSE-derived distributions would likely keep the package signing of the parent also).
Gentoo is somewhere in the middle; they have no ebuild signatures, but you get the repository information (ebuilds) from a completely different server than the packages themselves (source code), so it would be harder to mount an attack than if you were depending on just one source. And furthermore, the ebuilds have the checksums of the source tarballs in them, so any ebuild attack would have to manually patch the vanilla source. Still, it is less secure than signing would be.
The lack of signing usually comes up in minor, independent distributions that don't prioritize security. Note that some minor, independent distros do take security seriously, though, so don't take it as a knock on them; Slackware packages are signed for instance.
The only popular distributions that I know of that go without signing are Arch, Gentoo (though more secure than Arch though as said above), and PCLinuxOS. For proof that PCLinuxOS packages are unsigned, despite that RPM has the capability for it:
$ rpm -K bash-4.1.7-3.fc14.x86_64.rpm
bash-4.1.7-3.fc14.x86_64.rpm: rsa sha1 (md5) pgp md5 OK
$ rpm -K bash-4.1-3pclos2010.i586.rpm
bash-4.1-3pclos2010.i586.rpm: sha1 md5 OK
Note the "pgp" signature in the Fedora package, and the lack thereof in the PCLinuxOS package. So PCLinuxOS is on the same level as Arch.
I personally am willing to use Arch and PCLinuxOS, though not for sensitive activities such as online banking. One tip: to be slightly safer, use Tier 1 mirrors of Arch, as there are fewer potentially compromised servers the packages must pass through. For a list of mirrors and their tiers, see http://www.archlinux.org/mirrors/
46 • Archbang - packer (by silent on 2011-03-08 04:02:58 GMT from Hungary)
"Packer" is just a bash wrapper for pacman and the Arch User Repository (AUR). "Packer" itself is a package in AUR, which contains officially unsupported build scripts created by the community. Pacman searches only in the repositories added in /etc/pacman.conf, but it does not search AUR. "Packer" searches in the repositories added in /etc/pacman.conf and also in AUR, that is why it provides much more search results than pacman. Similarly to package managers in other distributions one has to refresh the package list first with 'packer -SY' or 'pacman -Sy' (equivalent to 'apt-get update' in Debian/Ubuntu). I think that it is a complete waste of time trying to use any command line package manager without carefully reading the man pages first. A short wiki page for packer: https://github.com/bruenig/packer/wiki/
47 • @35 (by Anony Moss on 2011-03-08 06:24:39 GMT from India)
Ok, I was the one who made that statement, and thanks for the correction.
The MS-sponsored fund did not buy Novell. But an MS-led consortium did buy a pool of 882 Novell patents. What patents, that information was not released then. What is the share holding pattern of CPTN Holdings LLC? That information was not publicly available either.
If more facts have come to light on the two points above, please furnish links. We'll all be glad to see that the fund-acquired patents don't pertain to linux. Reassurances of executives not admissable, however.
There's no FUD being created- each person has the right to know and then to decide if a certain product is for her/ him. KDE version of Suse is Mono free in this case, and I'll take it out for a spin, like I have done its last 2 releases.
On another note, I think the distros are hyped too much. The real deal are the distro components- how's the latest kernel, the latest desktop environment, the latest Xorg, etc. That's where the real progress of linux ecosystem shows.
48 • Re: 32 Browser (by hobbitland on 2011-03-08 09:06:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hi, I use Firefox 4.0b12 from the official site rather tah Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS's Firefox. This will be counted as unknown OS. In fact all the systems I maintains does the same.
49 • Sabayon Enlightenment spin tryout (by gnomic on 2011-03-08 09:08:46 GMT from New Zealand)
Gave the recently released Sabayon E17 spin a whirl. Or at least I tried. Offered it up to a couple of laptops (Dell D610 w/Mobility Radeon X300 and CPQ Presario V2000 w/Radeon XPRESS 200M. They booted into darkness, kernel modesetting madness presumably. Quick stab at safe mode no better. Oddly enough it did run on a CPQ Armada E500 P3 at 600MHz with a 16 meg Rage Mobility and 320MB RAM, and I was able to browse the web for an hour or so without Midori crashing. An addititional problem was struggling to use NetworkManager as yet again nm-applet which actually allows the user to access NM was not visible. How bizarre. After some fooling around I was able to network via wifi, but I can't imagine many will want to try this at home as I didn't seem to be able to reproduce my steps on a second run. So kinda quirky but OK if you can actually get it to work.
50 • Canonical (by eric on 2011-03-08 18:16:40 GMT from United States)
I was skeptical of Canonical's "good intentions" for a long time. Their recent actions, especially with Banshee, confirm my skepticism.
Let's be honest, Canonical is a corporation. They exist to turn a profit. The promise-breaking and proprietary Ubuntu One is a prime example, costing a fee to use anything above 2 GB of storage. Banshee is an even better example, taking the funds from GNOME and diverting them to Canonical, despite waves of protest.
Just because the GPL allows this, doesn't mean it isn't unethical.
Someone on a forum mentioned that Ubuntu users have the option of compiling Banshee from source. I would argue that most Ubuntu users do not have the basic understanding of GNU/Linux to do this. Furthermore, Canonical makes obtaining this understanding difficult on purpose.
51 • @50: Banshee and Novell (by cba on 2011-03-08 18:55:39 GMT from Germany)
One thought that should be mentioned:
Who sponsored and sponsors the development of Banshee in the first place?
It is Novell, not Canonical.
Did Novell (and openSUSE) ever want a part of the Banshee's team amazon-plugin revenue which will be sent 100% to the Gnome Foundation?
See e.g. http://omgsuse.com/category/tags/banshee
52 • not to change the subject, but... (by imnotrich on 2011-03-08 19:02:18 GMT from Mexico)
has anyone actually been able to find the "live" squeeze cd?
rumor all over the web says there is a live version available for download/testing purposes, but nobody seems to have a url that works (and it's not found at debian.org either).
many distros have live cd's in part to give people an opportunity to test hardware compatibility, before committing to an install. considering the changes squeeze has brought, a live cd would be brilliant...if one exists.
53 • RE: 52 (by LinuxFreak on 2011-03-08 19:12:05 GMT from Germany)
Just follow this official link: http://live.debian.net/archive/images/6.0.0/ and download your favorite flavor...
54 • @52 (by Don Sanderson on 2011-03-08 19:13:40 GMT from United States)
I've had little luck with the Gnome CD, lots of bugs and the install from desktop went horribly.
I installed from the net-install CD instead, perfect.
55 • Canonical, ethics (by fernbap on 2011-03-08 19:20:06 GMT from Portugal)
"The promise-breaking and proprietary Ubuntu One is a prime example, costing a fee to use anything above 2 GB of storage"
Promise-breaking? What promess did Canonical break?
"Just because the GPL allows this, doesn't mean it isn't unethical."
Now, this is a more serious accusation.
Let's take a look at Dropbox or Skype, shall we? They are free closed source products that most people use.
Noone is accusing Skype or Dropbox of being unethical. They both offer a service for free, and offer other services for a fee as well. They are corporations, they want to make money out of the services they offer, and they do.
What is the difference between these 2 products and Ubuntu One. For starters, Ubuntu One is open source. As to the product being ethical or not, it is more ethical than Skype or Dropbox, because it is open source and anyone can check for enclosed spyware or other dubious stuff.
In conclusion, it looks like you think Ubuntu One is unethical just because it comes from Canonical.
56 • RE: 55 (by Landor on 2011-03-08 20:16:09 GMT from Canada)
You'd be correct except for one thing, you're wrong.
Ubuntu One is not Open Source Software, or at least some if, like the server software.
No, he's correct, Ubuntu plays by its own rules, and supports Open Source only when it suits them to. Launchpad, it's login, etc, come to mind. If you want to know what I mean by those two, Google will surely explain it a lot quicker for you than I could.
Keep your stick on the ice...
57 • Ubuntu One (by Jesse on 2011-03-08 21:51:21 GMT from Canada)
Ubuntu's One client is open source, the server that's closed source. They're not breaking any promises. Ubuntu is still free (in cost and in openness).
I think the post complaining "costing a fee to use anything above 2 GB of storage" is a bit silly. What, a company is supposed to give us all unlimited storage for free? Should the CEO personally visit all our homes and give us candy too?
Likewise complaining that Canonical is only giving 25% of its music sales to Gnome is a bit strange. Gnome is getting funding without having to do anything extra. I can't see anything wrong with that.
Canonical is a business and there isn't anything wrong with them trying to make a little money from what they do. They provide a free distro, a small amount of free storage and they're funding upstream projects. It's hard to beat a deal like that.
58 • Archbang & other Arch Clones (by Saleem Khan on 2011-03-09 02:33:18 GMT from Pakistan)
I just simply do not understand that why do we ever need all these Arch clones when native/parent arch is simple, easy to configure and use???
Get life , get Arch . that`s all.
59 • OpenSUSE 11.4 (by Sly on 2011-03-09 03:50:40 GMT from United States)
The official release is tomorrow, and I can't wait!! Suse may be a little boring, but it's a solid distro.
60 • re #53 and #54 (by imnotrich on 2011-03-09 04:01:48 GMT from Mexico)
Thanks for the links, but the only gnome I could find was a 1.1g dvd not a cd.
I downloaded the dvd anyway - took all afternoon.
Seems to me that Debian especially but all distros should be able to get hardware support and basic stuff such as a desktop environment onto a regular old cd, rather than waste 75% of a dvd's capacity. But then I don't want to reopen a conversation we've had multiple times before in this forum.
61 • Sabayon E17 spin (by win2linconvert on 2011-03-09 05:46:51 GMT from United States)
Just a day or so ago, I took the new Sabayon E17 spin for a spin. I only tryed it on one machine, a Dimension 4400 (2GHz, 1G DDR2100, GeForce2MX/MX400 32MB). I was unimpressed. Maybe it's because I'm used to all the eye candy in Ultimate Edition, but I found Sabayon E17 spin to be... well... boring. I'm just an end user and not a tech guru like some of you guys and/or gals, so maybe I'm just not "enlightened" enough to appreciate the distro as much as I otherwise might be. Well, that's my two cents... I mean, contribution this week. Enjoyed.
62 • Fedora 15 Alpha 1 and Gnome Shell (by tdockery97 on 2011-03-09 07:04:50 GMT from United States)
Has anyone else tried the Fedora 15 Alpha 1 using the Gnome 3 Shell? So far I have found it to be pretty good for a first Alpha release. And I'm beginning to think that the Gnome Shell is not quite the boogeyman that some have been ranting about. After a very short period of familiarization I'm finding that it isn't any more difficult to get around in than good old Gnome 2.32.
63 Thx Meanpt & others :) (by Tom on 2011-03-09 09:50:48 GMT from United Kingdom)
Hi :) A few weeks ago i asked if anyone knew what distros would be good to try on an EeePc and got several good answers.
I can't remember everyone that helped but i remember meanpt being qutie swift with a good answer. Sadly i don't track this forum as much as i used to so i didn't notice the person i was asking for saying thanks but i just thought i should say thanks myself now. It is very much appreciated that when i have questions people here are quick to help.
It is great to see another multimedia project get the prize from DW. We need the gaming industry and multimedia projects to really get on-board gnu&linux so OpenShot is invaluable.
Please email me offlist if you expect a reply but this is just to say thanks to all in DW and in the Reader's Comments.
Thanks and regards from Tom :)
64 • about that imminent Gnome 3 (by gnomic on 2011-03-09 10:03:22 GMT from New Zealand)
Finally got around to running the Gnome 3 tryout mentioned on DW some weeks back.
Have to admit to a certain degree of paranoia here along the lines of what was the problem they were trying to fix and how did they come up with this answer? (anyone remember sundry KDE4 public betas ;-)
On a Celeron 1.7 512MB RAM and some obscure integrated Trident Cyberblade video it said sorry you are not able to participate in this experience. Fell back to some less wonderful Gnome 3.
Worked on a Duron 900 with 1.5GHz RAM and a GeForce FX5200 w/128 vram. After a while I was like, yeah well just maybe. Still not completely down with it but hey, you can't stop progress . . . .
65 • @60 Debian Live images (by Don Sanderson on 2011-03-09 11:39:04 GMT from United States)
Debian live CD/DVD images are what are known as 'isohybrid' images.
This means they are suitable for booting from CD/DVD, USB or Virtual Machines, all from the one image file.
Apparently many people asked for this image format.
This of course also makes them larger.
I agree with you that Debian, of all distros, should have a smaller, lighter CD image available for older hardware.
What I consider 'older hardware' probably doesn't even HAVE a DVD drive or USB boot. :-)
I think the larger images put a lot of people off and prevent some from even trying distros that weigh in over 700MB.
If distros like Ubuntu, Fedora and PCLinuxOS can have CD images, Debian surely can too.
I was even more annoyed at how problematic the D-Live images were, especially the desktop installers.
I would love to see "ISO-Size" as a search filter here on DW and other sites.
If I'm looking for something 'small and light' for older hardware it would be a great help.
66 • debian live - cd size isos (by gnomic on 2011-03-09 12:39:50 GMT from New Zealand)
There are of course a couple of Debian 6 live images which fit on a CD, 'standard' and 'rescue'. No gui included alas, afaict. Prior to this latest release debian-live was CD size. Perhaps someone from the project can explain the rationale for the bulge.
This message comes to you from a live CD of 428 MB called Galpon Minino based on Debian 5.0.4. Made in Galicia. Running quite nicely via wifi on this P3 600 MHz w/320 RAM with the Epiphany browser. It has an English boot option but setxkbmap us could be helpful to avert keyboard anomalies.
Mother distribution: Debian Lenny
Minimal requirements: 64Mb RAM, 1,5Gb HD, 200Mhz CPU
Optimal requirements: 128Mb RAM, 4Gb HD, 600Mhz CPU
minino@minino:~$ uname -a
Linux minino 2.6.26-2-686 #1 SMP Wed Feb 10 08:59:21 UTC 2010 i686 GNU/Linux
minino@minino:~$ cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.26-2-686 (Debian 2.6.26-21lenny3) (firstname.lastname@example.org) (gcc version 4.1.3 20080704 (prerelease) (Debian 4.1.2-25)) #1 SMP Wed Feb 10 08:59:21 UTC 2010
67 • Pardus forum (by Neal on 2011-03-09 14:43:57 GMT from United States)
Four days and three different e-mail addresses later I still can't join the Pardus world forum......I'd say this is a flaw.
68 • Parent Distributions give birth offspring (by RobertD on 2011-03-09 14:59:08 GMT from United States)
I consistently see comments on DWW asking (and I paraphrase) "why so many distrobutions based on Ubuntu, on Arch, on Slackware, etc, etc". We have all heard imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
Does the world need another re-spin of Ubuntu using an exotic window manager? I say yes, it does.
When we discourage creativity and ones desire to create we take away many of mans greatest achievements; The ability to think beyond surviving, the ability to create art, the ability to manifest dreams into reality.
So don't ask why another Ubuntu, Arch, Slackware distro, but ask, why not more? It seems to me many a man/woman on here have been discouraged to created and that's a shame.
69 • [...]creation (RobertD #68) (by zykoda on 2011-03-09 17:51:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
There are differences amongst creation, procreation and recreation which go to serve many purposes in multiple scenarios! I don't think creativity is a major problem but lifetime, maintenance, adaption, serviceability, stability, vulnerability, standardization, compatibility and persistence can be, (to name a few salient features).
70 • Creation or Evolution (by RobertD on 2011-03-09 18:58:39 GMT from United States)
I am lead to believe from you comments that you expect all distros to be used in a production enviroment that require such listed assets - "maintenance, adaption, serviceability, stability, vulnerability, standardization, compatibility and persistence "
I think your missing the point; most are created as a personal hobby or as one mans/womans vision as to what a distro should look/act like...this is called art.
So once again we have the desire to create, then more importantly, share.
71 • Is TrueBSD still being developed? (by uz64 on 2011-03-09 19:12:38 GMT from United States)
Because it looks pretty dead to me, based on the date of its last release and its official forums...
72 • When do distros qualify as still 'active'? (by LinuxFreak on 2011-03-09 20:30:55 GMT from Germany)
@71: you've got a point there. There are a few posts from Februaray 2011, but only in the Russian-speaking part of the forum.
@Jesse: When do distros qualify as 'still active'? I'd say it's about time to flag some of the distros that have received no updates for, say, two years or so as 'dormant', if not even 'discontinued'. It's rather unlikely that the maintainers will any time soon catch up on all the changes the distros they derive from have since undergone. What do you think? It would make it easier for newbees, too, to base their choice of a distro on the 'active' status in the search form. I'd even propose a new status flag, 'newly added', so that a potential user knows that he can expect a few rough edges that will be smoothened out as development goes on, or even that the distro will be discontinued after just a few releases due to lack of time, funding, interest etc. of its developers as opposed to the long-established and more polished distros. Would be ever so true of e. g. the Linux Mint 'Debian' edition when compared to Linux Mint 'Gnome'. If you want me to, I could lend you a hand at looking through the list of distros figuring out which of the ones flagged 'active' have not received updates in a long time and which ones were newly added in the last two years or so. Of course, I would take into consideration if a distro was based on a LTS version, or if it was a rolling release like Arch. If their repositories were up to date or compatible with upstream, long intervals between new releases would of course be okay.
73 • Active distros (by Jesse on 2011-03-09 21:32:04 GMT from Canada)
I really don't have anything to do with the DistroWatch databases, waiting lists and such. I just submit articles to DistroWatch. Ladislav is the person you'd want to contact regarding what projects are listed as active. His e-mail address is listed at the bottom of the page.
74 • fish in a barrel (by shady on 2011-03-10 06:41:33 GMT from United States)
New OpenSuse, Fedora Alpha Gnome 3 meltdown reactions (fedora people RSS has been on fire lately), first Gentoo live dvd in over a year, live Scientific Linux (the new CentOS??). Looks like next weeks DWW writes itself!
75 • #67 Pardus forum (by DShelbyD on 2011-03-10 22:13:14 GMT from United States)
Neal, are you referring to http://worldforum-pardus-linux.nl/index.php as the forum you wish to join? If so the moderator's e-mail is linked at the top of that page at the end of the line that begins "News:"
If you are referring to the Turkish forum, I couldn't get to first base there. Even the English forum is surrounded by Turkish language links and instructions. I couldn't figure it out until I had Chromium to translate the page. I tried to register, then the acceptance e-mail with a link to confirm arrived too late.
YMMV, but I was able successfully to register on worldforum, whose moderator responded in about 2 days.
76 • #75 typo (by DShelbyD on 2011-03-10 22:14:34 GMT from United States)
Sorry, it's http://worldforum.pardus-linux.nl/index.php
77 • #67, 75, 76: Pardus fora (by Caitlyn Martin on 2011-03-11 14:34:52 GMT from United States)
I've found the Pardus Worldforum to be extremely friendly and helpful. Please do give it another try. I don't know what sort of a glitch you ran into, Neal, but I expect that's what it was. I can't imagine they would block you from joining without explanation.
The "official" Pardus English forum is another matter. I couldn't join that, either. Have you looked at it, though? No traffic in over a year, almost no activity as all. The Pardus English speaking community is all over on the Worldforum.
78 • Pardus forum (by Neal on 2011-03-11 14:45:30 GMT from United States)
I received an e-mail from the moderator yesterday PM.....Its all good now....sorry for the up-Roar....no pun intended. I feel bad so if the mods want to delete my previous posts....feel free.
Pardus kicks serious bumbee. Best KDE out there. Very high quality distro done with pride.
79 • Ubuntu One (by Landor on 2011-03-11 14:54:59 GMT from Canada)
For those of you that don't understand about Ubuntu One, this is basically it in a nutshell.
Ubuntu/Canonical offer the Ubuntu One Client for free and it is GPL code. What they don't do is offer the server software that the client "has to have" in order to connect/function as GPL, it's very closed source. I stated that earlier.
So in essence this makes Ubuntu One's Client being GPL'd as usual as any other closed source/proprietary piece of software. The reason being is because you can only connect to their closed source servers with it. Completely and utterly locked in to its proprietary back-end.
Some might tell you, well, Ubuntu/Canonical needs to make money. They're right, they're a business, they do need and want to make money, but that has nothing at all to do with the fact that the server is closed source, which at present makes the client useless for connecting to anything else. In fact, it proves that Ubuntu/Canonical want money so bad they're willing to operate just like other closed source operating systems do to generate that cash flow. If not, the server software would be open too.
Another note here, for those of you that might say, well, they offer 2 gigabytes of free space. Every company that does this that has an online storage business, Dropbox as an example. Some have even more than 2 gigabytes. It's a teaser that they use to draw you in to make more money off you. So really, talking about what they offer for free is a bit redundant, but I do understand a lot of people really don't have an understand of how business functions, especially within this community. I've seen many times where someone needed to have it explained here.
When it comes down to it, Shuttleworth knows exactly what to close and what to open, when he chooses, for profit. Ubuntu One/its server are one of those, and one relies so much on the other that one being closed means the other is too.
For those that don't mind Mono you can take a look at SparkleShare instead. It lets you setup your own server, none of this storing your personal stuff on the "cloud crap". It's not released yet but will be a GNU/Mono version. Here's the site: http://www.sparkleshare.org/
One last thing, think for yourselves, investigate, don't be misinformed and don't believe a big name distribution has your best interests at heart just because they or someone else says they do. Check it out for yourselves. Writers in this community aren't always the professional experienced gurus they're believed to be. That's why it's important to think for yourself.
Keep your stick on the ice...
80 • Ubuntu One (by Jesse on 2011-03-11 16:14:08 GMT from Canada)
>> "So in essence this makes Ubuntu One's Client being GPL'd as usual as any other closed source/proprietary piece of software. The reason being is because you can only connect to their closed source servers with it. Completely and utterly locked in to its proprietary back-end."
I don't think you understand what lock-in means.The client side being open source means anyone who wants to can write their own implementation of a One server based off the protocol used in the client. Or re-write parts of the client to work with a completely different type of server app. I don't think it would be difficult to alter Ubuntu One (client) to use a secure shell server, as an example. Anyone can copy their data from the One server and move it to a different location. This is the opposite of a lock-in situation.
You mentioned Mono last week and again this week. I asked previously why it is you think it's bad. Unless I missed it, I don't think you replied. If you have time, please drop me an e-mail, I'd be interested in hearing your views.
81 • User Agent String (by Dblmtn on 2011-03-11 17:09:58 GMT from United States)
Looks like our discussion about the browser user agent string, caught the attention of the Arch users. I've noticed an uptick to the number of Arch "visitors" to Distrowatch.
82 • re 80 - Mono (by corneliu on 2011-03-11 19:58:48 GMT from Canada)
Mono is not covered entirely by Microsoft's promise not to sue Mono users. Basically Microsoft promised not to sue only those who use the ECMA part of Mono. Microsoft reserves the right to sue those Mono users who use the non-ECMA part of Mono.
A long time ago Miguel de Icaza promised that we would split Mono into two parts: the ECMA part and the non-ECMA part. He promised that because he wanted to address the users' concern about eventual lawsuits.
But he never delivered. He never provided that split. Maybe because it is impossible to have a working ECMA Mono implementation? Maybe because he is a lier and a lowlife?
So right now any Mono user is in danger of being sued by Microsoft.
But this whole lawsuit stuff should not be the main concern. The main concern should be the fact that Linux users and developers should not encourage technologies that come from companies that are known to be sworn enemies of Linux.
What does C# do that C++ or Python or Java or whatever can't do?
Why was Tomboy written in C#? Was there no other choice? Why encourage Microsoft crap in our environment?
Is it too much to ask for a Microsoft free environment?
Many distros install Mono by default. Why? I may be wrong but I think Fedora is the only major distro that does not install Mono by default and I commend them for doing that.
83 • OpenSuse 11.4 (by meanpt on 2011-03-11 20:10:11 GMT from Portugal)
Been testing the 64 architecture in a VBox vm with 1 gb of RAM. Despite recognizing slower bootings than ubuntu's, it seems to run faster on any thing you throw in, plus there are no gazaillions of jerky updates waiting for the post installation and feels rock solid, user friendly and, above all, a carefully finished and professional product for anyone's computer. This time, opensuse impressed me.
84 • Mono (by Jesse on 2011-03-11 20:21:37 GMT from Canada)
>> "So right now any Mono user is in danger of being sued by Microsoft."
That's not how software patents work. If Microsoft was foolish enough to try to reduce the .NET community and decided to sue people it would be targeting distributors and developers who were infringing on its patents, not end-users. For that matter they'd be limited to suing people distributing Mono in areas where the court recognized software patents. People developing for .NET/Mono and end-users would be entirely safe.
>> "What does C# do that C++ or Python or Java or whatever can't do?
Why was Tomboy written in C#? Was there no other choice? Why encourage Microsoft crap in our environment?"
I think it's strange you suggest we use Java instead of C#. After all, Java is in the middle of a patent/copyright battle right now (Oracle vs Google) and Mono is not. Why do you think we should use Java but reject Mono?
85 • re 84 (by corneliu on 2011-03-11 21:30:59 GMT from Canada)
I didn't suggest Java, it was just an example in my enumeration. I used to like Java, not any more since Oracle takeover. However, Oracle's lawsuit is not relevant because Oracle promised not to sue those who use the official Java. They sue those who use the alternative JVM implementation from Apache. Which sucks. Oracle should go to Hell. They can take Microsoft with them in the process.
One of the few differences between Java and Mono, an important one nevertheless, is that Java had been designed to be cross-platform and Sun (now Oracle) encouraged anyone to use Java on any platform. On the other hand .Net had been designed to run only on Microsoft's platforms and Microsoft made it clear by refusing to promise patent coverage for Mono users, that they could in fact sue then if they like to.
I think we should not use Java either. Native is always best (Qt in KDE, Gtk in Gnome, LXDE, etc.)
86 • 85 continued (by corneliu on 2011-03-11 21:37:01 GMT from Canada)
typo: "they could in fact sue then if they like to." should read "they could in fact sue them if they like to."
Now if you want to compare, Mono is to .Net exactly what Apache's Harmony is to Java, an unauthorised implementation.
87 • development (by Jesse on 2011-03-11 23:13:32 GMT from Canada)
>> "Sun (now Oracle) encouraged anyone to use Java on any platform. On the other hand .Net had been designed to run only on Microsoft's platforms and Microsoft made it clear by refusing to promise patent coverage for Mono users, that they could in fact sue then if they like to.
I think we should not use Java either. Native is always best (Qt in KDE, Gtk in Gnome, LXDE, etc.)"
I'm afraid you're mixing operating systems with desktop environments. You're comparing Java running on Windows and Linux, etc with desktop environments (Gnome, KDE). The Qt and GTK libraries are cross-platform. The KDE and Gnome desktops just happen to be built using those libraries.
>> "Microsoft made it clear by refusing to promise patent coverage for Mono users, that they could in fact sue then if they like to."
How do you think they would do that? Even if they wanted to sue people where software patents were enforced, how would Microsoft know who is using Mono? They don't control Mono, Mono apps don't phone home to Microsoft. There's nothing tracking Mono users. It would be like if we all stopped using open source PDF readers for fear of being sued by Adboe, it doesn't make any sense.
88 • bios with no Cd boot! (by Tom on 2011-03-11 23:30:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
A friend, Ken Springer, has a number of old machines that wont allow him to boot from Cd. Very old machines with tiny specs for Ram and cpu. Is there a way of installing linux without booting from Cd? Also it seems that even Puppy might be tooo large & heavy so would better options be Slackware and Arch? Any other ideas? I think there is a way to get a floppy to boot a Cd? Would that be called "chain-loading"?
I think the plan is to use Opera as a web-browser because it includes an email client but i wonder if Claws or something alonside a different web-browser might be easier to squeeze in. AbiWord and Gnumeric are parts of the smallest office suite aren't they?
I think once things are that small it's time to say goodbye to them as it would take too much time to get something working and more recent systems are available very cheaply in bulk even from ebay.
Regards from Tom :)
89 • Re: #83. Opensuse 11.4 (by Sly on 2011-03-12 01:22:25 GMT from United States)
I agree with you "meanpt". OpenSuse 11.4 is an excellent release. The team did a very good job putting it together. The best one since 11.0. I am the opinions of others. Hopefully Jessie will perform a review of it soon.
90 • re 87 (by corneliu on 2011-03-12 02:19:33 GMT from Canada)
>>"I'm afraid you're mixing operating systems with desktop environments."
Don't be afraid because I am not mixing it up. I know what an operating system is and I know what a desktop environment is. I just wanted to be more specific, because even if Qt and Gtk are cross platform they should not be mixed for two reasons:
1. Qt applications look really bad in Gnome and Gtk applications look just as bad in KDE.
2. By running only Qt or only Gtk applications one can reduce the memory usage. Why load both Qt and Gtk in memory when that is not necessary if one uses either Qt or Gtk but not both?
And Microsoft knows who uses Mono. You want an obvious example? How about any Linux distro that ships with Mono?
If Oracle can sue Google over Dalvik (which is actually a modified Harmony) and Microsoft can very well sue Mono users just the same.
91 • 90 continued (by corneliu on 2011-03-12 02:26:10 GMT from Canada)
I made a mistake, my last sentence should read:
If Oracle can sue Google over Dalvik (which is actually a modified Harmony) then Microsoft can very well sue Mono users just the same.
And this is my last post on Mono. I think subjects like Microsoft, Windows, Mono, Silverlight, Apple, Iphone and anything that is alien to Linux should not be discussed here. I answered your question because it is the second time you asked it and I couldn't hold it anymore. I really hope this concludes our discussion on Mono.
92 • RE: 91 (by Landor on 2011-03-12 02:59:09 GMT from Canada)
"I think subjects like Microsoft, Windows, Mono, Silverlight, Apple, Iphone and anything that is alien to Linux should not be discussed here."
I applaud this. I'll take it one step further and say that I think subjects that are of a personal nature for a person should not be discussed, or tread upon here. It's obvious when people have beliefs at opposite ends, and most likely more obvious that either of the two will not change their minds. To want to get the other person to discuss an issue you know you have an opposing view on, and that you're more than positive you have no reason to change your mind, is circumspect to say the least.
I will answer your comment to me though Jesse, part of it.
Twice this week on this topic you've failed to read what I've said. I usually don't paint myself into a corner by not knowing what I'm discussing. Here's where I made a very distinct point that you must have skimmed over:
"They're right, they're a business, they do need and want to make money, but that has nothing at all to do with the fact that the server is closed source, which at present makes the client useless for connecting to anything else."
I made it quite clear that "which at present makes the client useless" for connecting to anything else. Why is it useless for connecting to anything else? It's easy, because there is nothing else. You can say if, may, could, would, should, might, can, and it won't mean crap because it's not until it does. So right now by virtue of the server being closed so Ubuntu one is just as closed because it's utterly useless as I said without it "at present". Which isn't negated by any unknown future just because it makes us feel good to say, "Golly-gee Beav! Someone could write a patch so it can connect to some server and do all kinds of coolie-neato things". Nobody has written an implementation, period. Ifs are simply crap until something becomes a reality. Then the person gets to thank their lucky stars and hop around singing the "I told you so song".
Right now, Ubuntu One is just as closed, fact. I'll even go out on a limb and make an opinion into fact, Canonical/Ubuntu like that it's useless without the closed source server, Landor's fact!
You jumped on the Mono topic this week and I had to shake my head. This community is split over the issue, and before that's misconstrued and people start trying to say Landor, you can't know how much each side has, a split can mean any percentage. I was simply pointing out that it uses Mono for those that may not want to use it, my personal opinion had absolutely nothing to do with it.
But if you want to discuss something this week Jesse, I say we stay away from personal issues and let's discuss something about the reviews and such. I have a good topic, your wireless chipset that you've hidden so well everyone probably believes it's so proprietary it makes Microsoft Windows look like it's GPL'd....lol I know I do.
Keep your stick on the ice...
93 • re $88 tiny and still smaller (by gnomic on 2011-03-12 10:36:55 GMT from New Zealand)
Back in the day I used software called Smart Boot Manager on a floppy to get machines that didn't know how to boot from CDROM to do that thing. Think it's still around.
Opera you say? Haven't checked the minimum specs but at a guess I'd say you'd be struggling under a 500 MHz PIII and 256 MB RAM, and even that would be a struggle.
Those distros that might work on slow old antiques? Debris, antiX, minino, slitaz, come to mind though even some of these may be i686 only now. As ever the CPU speed is not too crucial unless you want to do something computationally intensive (such as Flash) but you can never have too much RAM.
I fear you will not be doing anything much on the web below PIII level unless you want to use lynx and mutt.
94 • Re 88 Plop bootmanager on floppy (by Jan on 2011-03-12 12:02:04 GMT from Netherlands)
You can use the PLOP bootmanager from a bootable floppy (or CD), see http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanagerdl.html
I use it sometimes for booting from an USB, it's perfect.
Even if your PC can boot from a USB, booting with the aid of PLOP can increase the booting speed from an USB.
95 • re #88 old and slow (by gnomic on 2011-03-12 14:10:12 GMT from New Zealand)
Had to bail out early before as the battery on the laptop was running out and it won't see the charger - yes, it's a Dell, but that's another story . . . .
In essence you can't get a quart from a pint pot. That's to say you can't run a recent browser on a 486 with 32 MB of RAM, though once my web interface was thus using Netscape via a dialup modem.
On the other hand you could probably still run Linux with a fairly current kernel on a Pentium machine and use it as a typewriter capable of printing, and perhaps even playing mp3s and audio CDs.
There are various text mode browsers around that will display graphics, elinks I think and w3m. Have a look at grml linux which has a selection along these lines.
This seems a good article about chainloading and the like.
Rumour has it that Linux can be installed over a network by various means.
96 • Wireless (by Jesse on 2011-03-12 15:22:24 GMT from Canada)
>> "I have a good topic, your wireless chipset that you've hidden so well everyone probably believes it's so proprietary it makes Microsoft Windows look like it's GPL'd....lol I know I do."
There's nothing hidden about it, I'm more than happy to discuss the hardware I use for testing. What would you like to know about it? I've actually been planning to do a short article featuring all the questions I've been asked about the wireless card, so feel free to e-mail me with any questions and I'll happily add them to the list.
97 • Wireless (by Landor on 2011-03-12 16:55:24 GMT from Canada)
Now that's quite odd. I've noticed you ignore queries about your wireless on more than one occasion, there's been at least two from gnomic I do believe. I find it funny though that even though I brought it up yet again you still make so to fail to mention the chipset. Is it working for MI-5, Scotland Yard, CSIS, NSA, CIA, etc, etc, and needs to keep a 'low profile'?
I don't really care one way or the other personally. I only use wireless chipsets with FLOSS drivers exclusively. Furthermore, 'I really only buy systems with devices that are FLOSS supported'. I just find it somewhat telling you're avoiding it, in relation to other comments you've made, and it's worth a smile when you ignore or refuse to answer yet again.
Keep your stick on the ice...
98 • Time to switch to Xfce, Gnome has jumped the shark (by Duhnonymous on 2011-03-13 04:45:02 GMT from United States)
I pretty much predicted this about five years ago, but the people running Gnome have gone fully insane.
That post has the stink of desperation all over it. Dave Neary scrambles to blame everyone but Gnome themselves for problems they cause, blaming FreeDesktop.org for their inability to follow standards, blaming KDE and Canonical for their failure to build community trust, blaming "difficult" people for their failure to lead projects properly, blaming "closed door" conversations for their own failure to communicate properly, blaming other organizations for their own failure to provide working collaborative tools. They have resorted to name-calling and backstabbing.
I think they've proven what they've "learned" at Gnome recently. They get their precious egos bruised when someone codes to standards better and faster than they do, and they throw a fit, stamp their feet and whine like babies. Gnome itself, from bottom to top, radiates this philosophy of Gnome-centric tyranny and arrogance. Their smug, sneering developers hold themselves as higher than the rest of lowly peons, and their commands are never to be questioned. They have made that absolutely clear with their patronizing, defensive, utterly ignorant remarks.
Meanwhile, Xfce just keeps getting better and better. I highly suggest switching right now. You don't see this kind of hair-pulling and drama. Xfce just plain works, and it does it extremely well.
99 • Strange top 10 listings (by Joe Explorer on 2011-03-13 05:26:39 GMT from Canada)
I was just exploring different top ten distros and found a support irregularity. How can it be that pclinuxos is in/near the top 10 all the time but their irc channel only has like 20 people on it in total?
Something does not add up here. All the other distros have hundreds and thousands of irc users.
Maybe just an observation, not sure.
100 • @98 (by KevinC on 2011-03-13 05:31:13 GMT from United States)
While I really like Gnome (in its current state), and KDE 4 is finally growing on me, I have to, reluctantly, agree. I am using CrunchBang Statler 64bit XFCE, & it is really, really nice--one of my top 5 distros. I haven't emailed Jesse yet, but this is one distro you should keep on your radar. I must admit--as a caveat--an infinity for Debian and Debian-based distros (tho I like Fedora 14 Gnome and Pardus quite a bit). The Openbox variant is cool as well, but I just can't be buggered by editing a semi-arcane text file every time I add a new app. Guess I've just grown lazy in me old age. ;>)
101 • @99 (by Dblmtn on 2011-03-13 13:48:17 GMT from United States)
Playing with Linux distros is my hobby. I don't know about others, but WITH MY HARDWARE, PCLinuxOS just works. I have not had a need to get help from the IRC channel. Sadly, I can't say the same of other distros.
102 • @88 (by M'enfin!?! on 2011-03-13 15:02:30 GMT from Canada)
Hi Tom, I know it isn't Linux but for those really old machines your friend could try out Menuet OS @ http://menuetos.net, full OS that fits on a diskette, it's written in assembly so it's light and quick. I tried it years ago and was very impressed, your message made me think of it again. Good luck with it.
103 • @99 - pclos (by Andy Axnot on 2011-03-13 17:37:08 GMT from United States)
I've been using PCLinuxOS for five or six years now and I've never gone to IRC. The forum, however, is very, very busy.
Not so busy with problems, but busy with conversations about BEMs and zombies coming for our coffee and bacon. And the women, too, while they're at it. :-)
104 • Typo...#100 (by KevinC on 2011-03-13 19:09:13 GMT from United States)
Infinity should say affinity....sry should not post when sleepy and under influence of ambien... ;>)
105 • Re #60, #65, and #66 where's my live squeeze cd? (by imnotrich on 2011-03-13 21:41:47 GMT from Mexico)
Thanks for the links, unfortunately the "live" dvd I downloaded there (1.1g) is buggy and not bootable.
In Virtual box I get an error that says it's not bootable.
On my desktop (nvidia video card) and my laptop (ati video card) the live dvd boots part way, then the screen goes blank and never recovers.
So I'm a bit annoyed, since dvd's cost $1 each and cd's less than 10cents. If I have to throw something in the garbage the cheaper the better.
I want to test Squeeze with my hardware without having to install it. A live cd with a desktop would be perfect for that.
No point in installing Squeeze if it doesn't support basic stuff like video. I spent far too many hours getting my Lenny how I want it, to simply erase Lenny for an "experiment." If that experiment fails, then I'm faced with repeating the Lenny install headaches or...(gasp) Ubuntu!
I don't care about purity. There's nothing obscure (old or new) about my hardware, and I don't think it's unreasonable that I want my hardware to work with the least bit of hassle.
Dear Debian, Please fix your kernel so it supports our hardware! If you want to make a pure version too for tinkering and experimenting, that's great - but most users don't want that. They just want an OS that works.
106 • RE: 105 (by Landor on 2011-03-13 22:44:06 GMT from Canada)
Just works is subjective, and you're repeating terms other people do in this community just for the sake of repeating them.
If cost is something important to you, why throw anything away? Why haven't you invested in some form of a USB storage device, and/or rewritable media? I personally would never blame a project unless I knew one billion percent for sure that it was the cause of the problems with the ISO image. Did you check the media? Did you check the iso? Did you retry a burn? Rewritable media comes in handy for those steps.
Purity, or freedom? You seem to be mislabeling things there.
I have an Operating System that works, it's Debian Squeeze 6.0. If I recall correctly you always seem to have some major problem with an install. Maybe something other than a Linux Kernel based Operating System would be better for you?
Just because you have choices doesn't mean Debian has to cater to the ones yours. The good thing about having a choice is you can exercise it, as Debian does.
Keep your stick on the ice...
107 • re #105 live Debian not booting into X (by gnomic on 2011-03-14 03:52:55 GMT from New Zealand)
Hmmm, maybe if you don't want purity, you don't want Debian? Perhaps the Linux Mint Debian Edition might be more your thing?
I haven't tried the Debian 6 live CD yet aside from the base cd with no gui. I see there are a couple of boot options to do with X - noxautoconfig, and xdebconf. What you describe sounds like the symptoms of kernel modesetting madness. Did you try for a console with CTRL+ALT+F2 to 6? Possible the system has booted but X is playing up. The other day I struck a distro where X didn't seem to be starting, but for some strange reason on hitting CTRL+ALT+F1 the gui suddenly appeared from nowhere.
108 • @99 PCLinuxOS and the IRC (by Crow on 2011-03-14 05:26:35 GMT from Mexico)
Some are saying in the forums that we should be more in the IRC but it is not happening, forums on the other hand...
For many of us PCLinuxOS just works and spend much of the time chatting and not fighting with the OS, people are really friendly. At times someone break his/her system and in minutes there are several users trying to help.
As Andy Axnot says coffee and bacon are important there ;-)
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