| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 408, 6 June 2011
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This week we start with a detailed review of Fedora 15, the latest version of the widely-used Linux distribution and the first major one to introduce its users to the radically-redesigned GNOME desktop. Has the GNOME 3 revolution arrived too early for most desktop computer users or is it the beginning the most exciting evolution in desktop computing? Read on to find out what we think. The feature article is then followed by the regular news section which presents the inaugural stable release of Mageia and compares it with Mandriva Linux from which it was forked, summarises some common criticisms of Ubuntu's latest version before providing a quick feature list of the project's upcoming release, and recounts a current dilemma of Slackware developers who are considering the removal of the KDE desktop from the distribution. Also in this issue, a quick Questions and Answers section that deals with file permissions, and the usual sections, including a list of new distributions submitted to DistroWatch last week. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com May 2011 donation is the RIPLinuX project, the producer of the highly useful data and file recovery live CD. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Trying on a Fedora that gives a new look|
The Fedora Project, always looking to push the technology frontier, has released Fedora 15. Looking over the release notes for the latest version of the Red Hat-sponsored distribution shows that the developers have been aggressive in adopting new features over the past development cycle. Some highlights from the release announcement include the inclusion of the new GNOME 3 desktop environment and a new dynamic firewall tool, which is available in the repository but was considered too experimental to include on the installation media. The systemd session manager makes an appearance and, if the hype is to be believed, it will offer a new way to get the operating system up and running quickly. This release comes with LibreOffice and some security improvements, such as the removal of most setuid permissions and stronger compression of the install media. This last feature is immediately obvious as the download ISO for the Fedora GNOME live disc is under 600 MB in size.
Installation and first impressions
I started my journey into Fedora country with my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). Booting from the live disc proceeded normally, showing me a graphical screen with the Fedora logo before loading the GNOME 3 environment. This release features a soft blue background with a lot of vertical lines and an image of two blue birds. Personally this look isn't to my taste, but to each their own. The new GNOME is fairly sparse, there aren't any icons nor is there a task switcher at the bottom of the screen. At the top-left corner we find a button labelled "Activities", there's a clock positioned at the top-centre and we find a system tray over in the upper-right corner. The Activities button takes the place of the old Applications menu and clicking it alters the screen somewhat. With the Activities button activated a quick-launch bar appears on the left side of the screen, and any open windows are shown in the middle of the screen as miniature versions of themselves. Near the top of the screen two buttons ("Windows" and "Applications") appear. Clicking the Applications button brings up large icons for installed programs and displays a series of categories (such as we'd usually find in the application menu) down the right side of the screen. Clicking on a category filters down the icons. In the upper-right corner of the screen we find a search box and typing key words will also help us filter the application icons we're shown. We'll come back to GNOME later, but right now let's move on to the installer.
The Fedora installer can be found on the Activities quick-launch bar and launching it takes us down a familiar road. The installer hasn't changed much in the past couple of releases and, for the most part, I think that's good. Fedora's installer walks us through selecting our keyboard layout, setting the time zone and creating a root password. We're then taken to the partitioning screen and I think Fedora has one of the better layouts for partitioning. I find the partitioning screen intuitive and the layout gives us a good visual indication of how the disk is divided. Fedora supports regular partitions, LVM and RAID systems and supports encryption on its partitions. Most partitions can be made to use any of the ext2/3/4 file systems or XFS. According to the release notes Btrfs is available on the project's DVD, but not on the live discs. I think it's also important to note that when installing Fedora from a live disc the root file system must be formatted with the ext4 file system.
Our last task, after carving up the disk, is to set any options for GRUB and then the installer goes to work copying files. The install went quickly on my laptop, but then when I went to reboot I noticed that the GNOME environment doesn't appear to have a restart/shut down button. There's a logoff button on the user's account menu, but no power option. According to this bug report, the GNOME developers expect people to log out and access the shutdown option from the login page or learn to hold down the ALT key while accessing the account menu to make the shutdown option appear -- a move which has generated a lot of "Where is the shutdown option?" questions on forums.
Fedora 15 - web browsing and backups
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Booting into my local install of Fedora 15 for the first time brought up the first-run wizard. We're shown license information, asked to create a regular user account and set the system clock. We're also given the opportunity to send a hardware (Smolt) profile to the Fedora project. With those steps completed, I was brought to a GNOME login screen. Though GNOME has gone through a big change, the login screen is much the same as before with the user/password prompt in the middle of the screen and option buttons at the top. Once I got logged in I decided to make some minor adjustments. The default theme features a lot of white/bright-grey and I wanted something less washed out and some new wallpaper to match.
Desktop and applications
Unlike its predecessor, GNOME 3 doesn't feature a System menu, just an Activities button so I decided to start there. Since under GNOME 2 the application I wanted was called "Appearance", I decided to make use of the new GNOME search box. Well, the keyword "appearance" didn't yield any results, nor did "look", "feel" or "theme". The term "system" got some results, but not what I wanted. Searching for "settings" gave me a "System Settings" icon and I took it. (Later I found a System Settings link on the user menu when I went to logout, so it's not hard to find again, once one knows where to look.) The System Settings tool is basically a control panel, similar to the one found in Ubuntu or the KDE settings panel. Here I found a way to change the background, but I couldn't find anything for adjusting the theme, fonts or colours. Deciding to change course a bit, I turned to the buffet of applications.
Fedora 15 - application menu
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Fedora comes with a fairly standard supply of software, including Firefox 4, the Transmission BitTorrent client, the Empathy instant messaging program, and Evolution for e-mail. There's a document viewer, Shotwell for dealing with image files, a CD ripper, disc burner and Cheese, the webcam tool. We're provided with a few games, the Rhythmbox music player and a movie player. We're given the handy backup tool Déjà Dup, and the Orca screen reader. Fedora has a good supply of administration tools and there are applications included to manage user accounts, set up the firewall, configure network connections and trouble-shoot SELinux. I didn't run into any SELinux problems, so I can't comment on how well the trouble-shooter works, but the rest of the system configuration tools functioned smoothly and I found them straightforward to use. Though the distro comes with multimedia programs, codecs for playing popular video formats and MP3 files were not included, nor were Flash, Java or the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). Underneath it all we find the Linux kernel, version 2.6.38.
Managing software packages and updates on Fedora 15 was, at first, a trying experience. Upon logging in for the first time I noticed that no update notification was displayed in the system tray and so I turned to the application menu to perform a manual check. The first quirk I imagine will catch novice users is that there is one utility called "Software Update" and another called "Software Updates". The latter allows users to set automatic checks for available updates and, optionally, have Fedora install those new packages. The "Software Update" tool is a program which allows the user to manually check for updates and install the ones they want. Or it would if it had been able to download package information. The first time I ran the Software Update tool it froze while trying to download information from the repositories. I closed the application, did some other tasks and came back to it. It froze again. Turning to the command-line YUM package manager I was able to download repository information in a few seconds and download the available 84 updates. Delta update packages are enabled by default, allowing us to download only the pieces of updates we need. During my trial I found that this reduced my download sizes by about 60-70%. Later in the week, after using YUM, I found that the Software Update program worked smoothly and I was happy to find that more information had been added to the interface, keeping the user in the loop as to what is happening while updates are applied.
The graphical Add/Remove Software program (or gpk-application, if you prefer), was a mixed experience. After confirming that the YUM command-line tool worked, I turned to the GUI interface and performed a few searches for packages and installed them. Things went smoothly. I then decided to click on some of the available pre-defined software categories to see what administration tools and office applications were available. Clicking on any category brought up a message "No results were found". But searching for packages by name continued to work. I performed a manual refresh of the repository information and, from then on, filtering software by categories worked.
Fedora 15 - package manager
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After trying Fedora 14 last year I made some complaints about the update GUI and the package manager front-end and I'm happy to see that progress has been made on both applications. Despite my early problems, I found that both GUIs have improved. They may still be slower than their counterparts in the Ubuntu distribution, but progress has been made to make them smoother and more intuitive.
Fedora 15 did a good job of detecting and using my hardware. When running on the laptop my screen was set to a good resolution, GNOME 3 effects worked, audio worked out of the box and my Intel wireless card worked without any problems. My touchpad worked and scrolling was enabled, but detecting taps as clicks was turned off by default. Things went smoothly on my desktop test box too with my NVIDIA video card working well with GNOME 3 and audio functioning out of the box. When running in a virtual machine, where 3D effect were not available, I found that the GNOME environment would smoothly fall back to using a GNOME 2.x style interface and the system ran smoothly with 512 MB of RAM. One quirk I kept running into was, often, upon logging in, I'd see a notice telling me that gvfs (GNOME's virtual file system) had encountered an error, followed by a warning saying that my hard drive had failed a health check. Closer examination of the drives didn't turn up any issues. The people who put on the Linux Action Show ran into the same warning and also didn't find any errors on their hard drive so it's apparently not just my equipment that triggers this behaviour.
The GNOME 3 desktop
Regarding GNOME 3, the flagship feature of this release, we all have our own workflows and style preferences, so opinions will differ. Personally, I was put off by the design of the new interface. The code quality appears to be good and the environment was stable on my machines, so I think the developers' decision last year to push the 3.0 release back six months was a good move. However, the style of the desktop didn't suit me at all. Mostly I think this is because of the extra movement required to get to items. For instance, under GNOME 2 launching an administration tool on my laptop required moving the mouse a few hundred pixels and two clicks. To do the same under GNOME 3 requires moving the mouse over 2,000 pixels and four clicks (or a move to the keyboard to type search terms). The minimize button is something I use frequently and it's not available under the new environment. Right-clicking on the desktop and task-switcher entries no longer works. Basically, even once I knew where things were, most tasks took twice as much effort to perform compared to the GNOME 2 way of doing things.
The application search function usually works, but sometimes seems overly picky. As an example, searching for "console" doesn't return anything, but "terminal" does. A search for "package" doesn't return any results, but "software" and "install" do. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, but it does mean that the user needs to learn new habits. I find the display changes when bringing up the Activities menu and the dynamic appearance of panels more distracting than helpful. One thing I admit I didn't like at first, but found it growing on me later, was the manner in which GNOME 3 handles workspaces. At first I thought it was weird that I could only have one more virtual desktop than applications open, especially after getting used to KDE's Activities. However, I did learn to appreciate the way applications could easily be moved between workspaces and the workspaces themselves could be reordered.
The new GNOME environment feels like it was heavily influenced by smart phone displays where screens are small and people can touch/click various places on the screen quickly. If I were using a touch-screen tablet, I think GNOME 3 would be a good fit because my fingers could reach various parts of the screen quickly and it would be easy to touch the large icons, but for a mouse/keyboard arrangement on a screen larger than eight inches I don't see the appeal. Using the new GNOME is a bit like going to a nice restaurant where the waiter brings just a plate and a single spoon instead of an array of forks, spoons and knives. Technically, yes, it avoids the question of "which fork do I use for this dish?" and, yes, it makes the table less cluttered, but it's awkward being forced to eat one's salad and steak with a soup spoon.
Fedora 15 - GNOME's Activities View
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As quite often happens with Fedora releases, I think version 15 is great in some respects and falls behind in others. Take, for instance, YUM -- it's probably faster than it has ever been and I was quite impressed with the command-line program, but the GUI front-ends still lag behind their counterparts in performance. This release handled my hardware really well and comes with some interesting technology previews -- whether you are a fan of GNOME 3 or not, I think we can agree it's nice to see a distribution offering it for people to try and, on cards/drivers which don't support 3-D effects, the display "falls back" nicely to the classic theme. I think it's good that the developers have managed to increase compression on the live disc without negatively impacting performance, but I wonder why they didn't use the opportunity to add more software as there is about an extra 100 MB of space available on the CD.
The installer continues to be solid and the installations on both machines went faster this time than I think they have in the past couple of releases. At the same time I think it's a shame that Fedora continues to be one of the few distros not to support non-default file systems during the install from live media. They're also one of the few freedom-focused distributions not to include MP3 or Flash/Gnash support. It seems more and more that Fedora is interested solely on being a test bed for technology and not the "operating system for everyday use" the project's website declares it to be. And if that's what you're looking for, a distro from which to test drive new technology, then Fedora is a good option. But for regular, general-purpose use, I found Fedora 15 to be lacking in features and consistency.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Mageia versus Mandriva, Ubuntu's "sins", Slackware's KDE headaches
Ever since the first release of Mandrake Linux 5.1, this popular distribution, later renamed to Mandriva Linux, has been through so many major highs and lows that its continued existence is nothing short of a miracle. Last week's release of Mageia 1 is an indication of this enormous resilience that has brought us so many great releases. Although Mandriva Linux is certainly alive and kicking, right now Mageia seems to be a more genuine "Mandriva" than Mandriva itself, a distribution built largely by the same well-known team, now united under an umbrella of a non-profit organisation. Mandriva, on the other hand, has started to diverge dramatically from its roots, especially now that much of the code is written by new developers mostly located in St Petersburg. That's not necessarily a bad thing, so it will be interesting to witness the duel between these two distributions in their quests to retain users (in case of Mandriva) and gain converts (in Mageia's case). Right now Mageia holds the upper hand as it has a stable release available for download and it even provides an upgrade path from Mandriva Linux 2010. Moreover, the Mandriva developers have yet to announce the new release date for its upcoming version 2011 after missing the original target by some margin. Once it arrives, it should be exciting to compare the two releases.
So what's new in Mageia's inaugural version, in relation to Mandriva 2010? Not all that much really, says Pascal Terjan on his personal blog, as the project's main goal to-date was to set up the infrastructure and deliver a stable release: "Given the amount of work to get everything in place, don't expect much bleeding-edge stuff in version 1. No GNOME 3, no switch to systemd... The goal was to have all the infrastructure and teams set up, and have a strong basis for a great version 2, and I think the result is quite nice!" The author also provides some interesting statistics and comparisons with the current state of Mandriva Linux: "Then the massive work: importing RPM packages, fixing them as quite a few did not build, and cleaning them. The result is 7,389 source packages (Mandriva has 12,390, Fedora has 10,283) and Mageia 2 will probably have much more as only packages needed/requested by packagers and early testers were included. More than the number of packages, the interesting data is that they all got built recently, and there are 0 broken dependencies or orphan binary packages! For comparison Mandriva currently has 4,059 source RPM packages that are older than six months, 1,065 binary packages without matching source, and 4,756 binary packages with broken dependencies."
Mageia 1 - the inaugural release of the community fork of Mandriva Linux
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Several weeks after the release of "Natty Narwhal", debates over Ubuntu's recent changes rage on. Howard Fosdick from OSNews has taken the time to put together an interesting article entitled "The Sins of Ubuntu", analysing many of the common criticisms of Canonical's flagship product: "One obvious response to anyone who criticizes Ubuntu is to say to them: why don't you just run another operating system? There are so many competing Linux and BSD distros out there. True. But there is a larger issue here. Ubuntu's great popularity means that it represents Linux to many people. It's the distro vendors pre-install. It's the distro the mainstream media always review. It's the one distro everybody's tried. It's been ranked #1 in DistroWatch's yearly popularity ratings for the past six years. Fair or not, Ubuntu reflects on the Linux community as a whole. How well Ubuntu meets criticisms matters even to Linux users who don't use it. So what are common Ubuntu criticisms? Here are those I often hear...."
With the release of the initial alpha build of "Oneiric Oncelot", many Ubuntu users are turning their attention to the distribution's next stable release and its planned features. Michael Larabel has a nice summary of these in "The Key Features For Ubuntu 11.10": "Here are the key areas to be worked on during the Ubuntu 11.10 development cycle: integrate GNOME 3.2 / GTK+ 3, Unity will continue to be the default, but GNOME 3/GTK+ 3 will be available from the universe repository; Unity 2D as the default desktop fall-back, the Qt-powered Unity 2D desktop will be used (rather than classic GNOME) in cases where the system's drivers / hardware don't support a 3D-accelerated Unity desktop; LightDM will be the default log-in display manager / greeter, it will replace GDM in Ubuntu and also KDM in Kubuntu; simple back-up support via Déjà Dup; better tools to create localized versions of Ubuntu for different regions; updating the Gwibber user-interface; further compress the live CD space as it's approaching the 700 MB limit and there's still new packages that need to be squeezed in (e.g. Qt for Unity 2D); Mozilla Thunderbird as the default e-mail client, GNOME's Evolution mail client will be ditched; adapting to the more rapid release cycle of Mozilla Firefox."
* * * * *
GNOME is not the only desktop environment that continuously introduces radical changes; it seems that KDE also makes it hard for some distributions to adapt to the rapid pace of evolution in the popular desktop environment. The latest one, affecting Slackware developers, is the decision to split up some of the bigger KDE packages into several smaller ones. Eric Hameleers reports about the dilemma, even suggesting a possible removal of KDE from future releases of Slackware Linux: "The new KDE series 4.7.x proves to be a bigger challenge for Slackware. We saw that the 4.6. series moved away from HAL and instead requires udisks/upower (which was the reason for sticking with 4.5.5 in Slackware 13.37). The KDE developers have now finalized their move from CVS to GIT as the source control and version management system. The result is less than optimally arranged for packagers. The old 'monolithic' source tarballs are now being split into many additional tarballs for individual applications. This means that we have to rewrite our scripts and possibly add a lot of packages. After talking to Pat Volkerding, I announced on the KDE packager mailing list that we are considering the same solution as was chosen for GNOME in the past: remove KDE from Slackware if it proves to become a maintenance burden. I can not yet say anything final about this. For the time being, I have decided not to create Slackware packages for KDE 4.7.x."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Restricting commands to specific users
Locked-down asks: How can I restrict commands so regular users can't run them?
DistroWatch answers: One thing to consider if you're planning on keeping your users from running commands that are normally available to everyone on the system is that users can usually run anything they can download to their home directories or to /tmp. So if you're trying to secure the operating system, you might first want to block executing programs in those locations.
Whenever I hear of someone trying to lock down their security, especially restricting users who already have local accounts on the system, I automatically think of SELinux. The Fedora Project has some good documentation on using SELinux and I recommend the chapter on Confining Users.
Another possible solution is changing the file permissions on the commands themselves. It's important to be careful when doing this as you could accidentally take away access to something you need, but let's look at an example. First we look at the existing permissions on a program file:
ls -l /usr/bin/yelp
Notice the "rwxr-x-r-x" at the beginning of the line. This means the owner of the file (the root user in this case) can read, write to or execute the file. People in the "root" group can read and execute the file, but not write to it and the same applies to everyone else on the system. The trailing "r-x" means everyone can read and execute this file. We can take away that ability for people, other than those in the root group, to execute yelp by running chmod as the system administrator:
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 266556 2010-05-01 07:56 /usr/bin/yelp
chmod o-rx /usr/bin/yelp
The above command removes the ability for most users, those who are not root or in the root group, to read or execute the file. Trying to run "yelp" will result in the error "Permission denied". But what if you want to let some people access the yelp command and not others? Create a new group and place people you want to have access to the command in that group. In this case we'll create a new group called "special":
Then we add existing users, susan and bob, to the special group:
adduser susan special
Finally, we change the ownership of the yelp command so the root user still owns the file, but people in the special group can run it:
adduser bob special
chown root:special /usr/bin/yelp
Now let's look at the yelp command again:
ls -l /usr/bin/yelp
The root user and people in the special group (susan and bob, in our example) can read and execute the yelp program, but other, regular, users cannot. Again, while this can be useful in some situations, it's important not to restrict too many programs or you might block access to important functionality.
-rwxr-x--- 1 root special 266556 2010-05-01 07:56 /usr/bin/yelp
|Released Last Week
Kororaa Linux 14
Chris Smart has announced the release of Kororaa Linux 14, a Fedora-based distribution with extra applications and user-friendly touches, available in KDE and GNOME variants: "Kororaa 14 ('Nemo') final been released for download, in 32-bit and 64-bit variants with KDE and GNOME. This version is recommended for all new installs; however, existing beta 6 users need not reinstall. Given that there were no major bugs in beta 6, this month's update brings the first final release. Work will now begin on a beta 15 Fedora remix. New features: update to KDE 4.6.3. Bug fixes: nothing noteworthy. We'd love to hear your feedback on the forums, so download it today! Here is the brief release announcement.
Kororaa Linux 14 - a Fedora-based desktop distribution
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Oracle Linux 6.1
Oracle Corporation has announced the release of Oracle Linux 6.1, a distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1: "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 6.1 for x86 (32-bit) and x86_64 (64-bit) architectures. Oracle Linux 6.1 ships with two sets of kernel packages: Unbreakable Enterprise kernel installed and booted by default, and Red Hat compatible kernel installed by default. Oracle Linux 6.1 includes both a 32-bit and a 64-bit Unbreakable Enterprise kernel. By default, both the Unbreakable Enterprise kernel and the Red Hat compatible kernel are installed. Unbreakable Enterprise kernel shipped in this update has following driver updates: updated tg3 to version 3.113; updated bnx2 driver and firmware to version 2.1.6; added support for bnx2fc (version 1.0.2).... See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Clemens Toennies has announced the release of Netrunner 3.1, a Kubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution and live DVD with a customised KDE desktop and integrated GTK+ applications: "We updated Netrunner 'Chromatic' with a maintenance release to 3.1. Changes from version 3.0 include: updated KDE from 4.6 to 4.6.1; updated Firefox from 3.5 to Firefox 4; replaced the default KDM theme with a customized one; fixed the plasma-netbook mode to the default plasma-desktop; changed the desktop theme to a transparent one. Netrunner comes with VLC media player and extended codec support for many proprietary formats such as MP3, QuickTime, WMV, DivX, Xvid. Version 3.1 comes pre-installed with Linux kernel 2.6.35, Firefox 4.0 with Java 1.6 and Flash 10.1 plugins, WINE 1.3.12, Audacious, OpenOffice.org 3.2.2.... Here is the brief release announcement.
Netrunner 3 - a Kubuntu-based desktop distribution
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Version 1 of Mageia, a Linux distribution built and maintained by many former developers and contributors to Mandriva Linux, has been released: "We are the Mageia community, and today we are happy to tell everyone that our first release, Mageia 1, is out and available for download. Mageia began in September 2010 as a fork of Mandriva Linux. It is supported by a not-for-profit organisation, governed by a body of recognized and elected contributors, and made by 100+ people around the world. Our work adds to the excellent work of the wider Linux and free software community. We aim to bring one of the best, most stable, reliable and enjoyable experience and platform we can make; for a regular user, a developer, or a business. Read the release announcement and release notes for more information.
Legacy OS 2
John Van Gaans has announced the release of Legacy OS 2, a Puppy-based distribution for older computers: "After 9 months of development, today sees the release of Legacy OS 2. With this release comes a host of improvements over Legacy OS. The focus was to look at all aspects of Legacy OS and make improvements. We started by looking at the default desktop and the GTK+ and KDE themes it used. It was decided to create a pleasant neutral look to tie all the included applications together. A desktop environment that was easy on the eye and usable every day. The look had to be usable for those who want or need to use Legacy OS 2 as their main operating system. While the GTK+ and KDE themes share common elements, there are differences by design. You'll only find one window manager (IceWM), One IceWM, GTK+ and KDE theme. The goal was to keep it as simple as possible. We didn't want to confuse new users with multiple options. Next was the look and feel of the applications." Read the full release announcement for further information about the release, list of the main packages included, as well as download links.
Legacy OS 2 - a Puppy-based distribution for older computers
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Thierry Nuttens has announced the release of NuTyX Pakxe, a highly customisable French Linux distribution designed for intermediate and advanced Linux users. This is the project's fifth stable release, but the first one which includes support for 64-bit architectures. All packages have been compiled with GCC 4.6.0 and against glibc 2.13, and the entire backend which builds binary packages has been re-worked to better identify the dependencies and to build high quality packages ready for installation. Desktop environments include KDE 4.6.3 and Xfce 4.8, but GNOME is no longer available due to lack of a package maintainer (volunteers are welcome). Visit the distribution's home page to read the detailed release announcement (in French).
NuTyX Pakxe - a French rolling-release distribution
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Linux Caixa Mágica 16
Linux Caixa Mágica 16, a new stable version of the Portuguese desktop Linux distribution, has been released. This is the project's first version based on Ubuntu (previous releases were based on openSUSE and later on Mandriva) and it comes in separate live media with GNOME and KDE desktops. Other new features and applications of the release include Firefox 4.0.1, LibreOffice 3.3.2, Caixa Mágica software centre, Shotwell photo management program, Banshee media player, automatic detection of proprietary firmware, new package management formant and system, and simplified system installer. Read the release announcement (in Portuguese) for further information and links to documentation files.
Linux Caixa Mágica 16 - a Portuguese distribution based on Ubuntu
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François Dupoux released an updated build of SystemRescueCd, a Gentoo-based live CD with a collection of utilities for data rescue and disk management tasks. Version 2.2.0 comes with a long list of updated packages: "Updated standard kernels to Linux 22.214.171.124 (rescuecd + rescue64); updated alternative kernels to Linux 126.96.36.199 (altker32 + altker64); updated 'Offline NT Password & Registry Editor' ('ntpasswd' boot entry); updated NTFS-3G to 2011.4.12 (driver that provides read-write access to NTFS); updated Python from 2.6 to 2.7; updated Gentoo Portage to 2.1.9; updated GParted to 0.8.1; updated Samba to 3.4.12; Updated Perl to 5.12.3; added xfce4-session package (new menu entry to leave Xfce)." Read the full SystemRescueCd changelog for more information.
Zorin OS 5
Artyom Zorin announced the release of Zorin OS 5, an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution: "The Zorin OS team are proud to release Zorin OS 5 'Core' and 'Ultimate' which bring a lot of new and enhanced features to Zorin OS, our operating system designed specifically for Windows users. This release uses the GNOME 2.X classic environment instead of Ubuntu's Unity shell. We have included new features such as an installer welcome video, a new theme and updated artwork, simplified application names, updated software and many program changes to improve and simplify the user experience. We also include our innovative Zorin Look Changer, Zorin Internet Browser Manager, Zorin Background Plus (Premium versions only) and other programs from our earlier versions. Both Zorin OS 5 Core and Ultimate versions are available in 32-it and 64-bit editions. Zorin OS 5 'Lite', 'Educational', 'Business', 'Multimedia' and 'Gaming' editions will be released over the next few weeks." Here is the brief release announcement.
Zorin OS 5 - an Ubuntu-based distribution for Windows users
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
- Pardus Linux 2011.1-beta, the release announcement
- SliTaz GNU/Linux Cooking-20110531, the release announcement
- Mandriva Linux 2011-beta3, the release announcement
- openSUSE 12.1-milestone1, the release announcement
- Scientific Linux 6.1-alpha1, the release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu 11.10-alpha1, the release announcement
- FreeNAS 8.0.1-beta1, the release announcement
- Salix OS 13.37-beta1 (KDE)
- ALT Linux 6.0.0-20110531
- Ylmf OS 4.0
- Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.04-r1-rc2
- RIPLinuX 12.8, 12.9, 13.0, 13.1
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
May 2011 DistroWatch.com donation: RIPLinuX|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the May 2011 DistroWatch.com donation is the RIPLinuX project, a specialist Linux distribution containing a collection of utilities for system and file recovery. It receives US$300.00 in cash.
RIPLinuX, which started originally as R.I.P. (an acronym for "Recovery Is Possible"), is a utility CD that serves as a tool to recover data from crashed hard disks. It ships with many popular file recovery utilities, such as TestDisk (to recover deleted partitions), PhotoRec (to recover deleted files), fdisk, cfdisk, parted, GParted (partition management), ntfsprogs (to resize, backup/restore, schedule a CHKDSK at Windows boot-up), GNU ddrescue (to recover data from failed media). The project's website is one of the least "flashy" of all Linux distributions, but the product certainly has a power to put smiles back on users' faces after failed hard disks and other heart-stopping computing disasters.
RIPLinuX 13.1 - a simple Fluxbox desktop with a well-organised menu hierarchy
(full image size: 43kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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$28,080 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), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
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, 13 June 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
SymphonyOS is a Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring a custom-built desktop environment called "Mezzo". Written in Perl and Gtk2::Webkit, Mezzo uses the lightweight but highly configurable FVWM window manager to create an unusual and eye-catching desktop user interface with focus on simplicity and usability.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Tips and tricks: Nix package manager on alternative Linux distributions|
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|Questions and answers: Recovering open files, starting a new Linux distro|
|Tips and tricks: Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections|
|Tips and tricks: Running Mandriva "Cooker"|
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|Questions and answers: Getting software to work across distributions|
|Questions and answers: Differences in popularity|
|Questions and answers: The best "base" distribution|
|Tips and tricks: Using GRUB with XFS|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|