| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 413, 11 July 2011
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! CentOS, the most widely-used free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has finally announced the long-awaited release of version 6.0 - eight months after the upstream. Will this event mark the start of a new life of the project that many have written off in recent months, with timely updates and security patches? The CentOS release is the main topic of the news section which is followed by other interesting stories from the past week: the possible switch of Linux Mint "KDE" edition to the Debian base, the frank frustration expressed by the Sabayon Linux lead over some open-source projects, a link to an interview with Debian founder Ian Murdock, and a rather sinister story from one Linux distro's marketing department. The feature story of this week's issue is a quick look at Kubuntu 11.04 and the KDE desktop is also the topic of our interview with Boudewijn Rempt of Calligra Suite (a project that split from KOffice in December 2010). All this and more in this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly - happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Trying Kubuntu 11.04|
Earlier this year, in the wake of my Ubuntu review, several people suggested I try Kubuntu. I was repeatedly assured that while Ubuntu had some rough edges, the Kubuntu team had put together a first-class KDE release. I'm a trusting sort, so I decided to take the advice and downloaded Kubuntu 11.04.
Before we get into the review I want to talk a little about the relationship between Ubuntu and its close family members (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, etc). Some people see them as separate distributions, others say they're editions of Ubuntu -- one distribution with different package sets. I think the true nature of the Somethingbuntus lies in the middle. Kubuntu, Ubuntu and Lubuntu share repositories, but their designs are noticeably different. The differences are more than just slapping a different desktop environment on a common set of packages. The projects also have separate areas of focus. The main Ubuntu project seems to be big into tablet interfaces (Unity) right now and they're pushing the Ubuntu One services for all they're worth. Kubuntu is more focused on an integrated, consistent desktop environment and there is nary a mention of the cloud or One in Kubuntuland. We don't find a lot of overlap in the default applications either, but we'll get into that later.
The Kubuntu distribution fits on a CD and the download image is just under 700 MB. Booting from the live disc shows us a blue splash screen, followed by a window asking us if we'd like to try Kubuntu or install the operating system. I decided to jump straight into the installer, which walks us through the usual steps. The installer is easy to use and should appeal to Linux newcomers. The Kubuntu live CD ships with free software and doesn't include such add-ons as Flash or mp3 codecs. One of the first things the installer does is offer to download these extras, along with any available package updates. There are (at time of writing) over 150 updates, so unless you have plenty of time, I recommend skipping the updates.
Partitioning is very easy and the layout provided by the installer is simple, yet we're given a wide range of file systems from which to choose. Kubuntu supports ext2/3/4, ReiserFS, Btrfs, JFS, XFS and FAT. We're given the option of where to install the boot loader, though not installing one at all isn't an option. We provide the installer with our time zone and keyboard layout then create a user account. We're given the option of encrypting our home folder. Then we wait while the required files are copied to the local hard drive and, if we opted to download extras, packages are grabbed from the repositories. In my case the entire process took about forty minutes from power-on to finish, after which I was prompted to reboot the machine.
Kubuntu boots into a nice, clean graphical login screen and logging in presents us with a KDE 4.6 desktop. The background is soft blue and brings to mind a pond where water drops are falling and casting ripples across the surface. The desktop doesn't contain any icons, but does feature a folder view widget. At the bottom of the screen we find a task switcher, the application launcher (which displays using the Kickoff menu style) and the system tray. Something I noticed early on was the desktop environment was sluggish on both of my test machines. This turned out to be a result of all the bells & whistles being enabled. Once I'd turned off workspace edges, desktop effects and the indexing/search feature KDE became more responsive. From there on, performance was about on par with other KDE desktop distributions such as SimplyMEPIS and openSUSE.
Kubuntu 11.04 - KDE System Settings
(full image size: 227kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The distribution comes with a small selection of default software, but tries to cover a wide range of functionality. We're given LibreOffice 3.3.2, Kopete for instant messaging, a remote desktop app, KTorrent and an IRC client. The Rekonq web browser is available, as is a document viewer. The KDE Partition Manager is included, as are KPackageKit and the KDE System Settings panel. For multimedia we're given the Amarok music player and Dragon Player for videos. The K3b disc burner is included as are the usual collection of small apps for editing text files, adding numbers and handling archives. Popular extras like Flash, Java and codecs are not included by default, but can be selected at install time and are available through the package manager. Behind the scenes Kubuntu uses the 2.6.38 version of the Linux kernel.
Previously I've mentioned some small distributions like to maintain a light ISO image by including a menu item called "Firefox" which is actually an install script rather than the actual browser. This approach can be awkward for the end user if they're not expecting to go through the download/install process, but has the advantage of giving the user the most up to date version of the web browser. Kubuntu does this, sort of. They have a Firefox menu item which launches an installer, but it doesn't grab the latest version from the Mozilla website. Though the installer isn't entirely clear on where it is getting its packages from, it appears to be downloading from the Ubuntu repositories. This meant that I had to go through the non-standard install method and ended up with Firefox 4, thought version 5 was available on the Mozilla website. The whole process seems counter-intuitive, but it worked.
Kubuntu uses KPackageKit as its graphical package manager. In the past I've complained of KPackageKit's lack of stability and poor performance. This time around I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure if the Kubuntu developers have worked on the package manager or if bugs have been fixed upstream, but I found this release of KPackageKit to be enjoyable to use. The GUI is divided into three screens -- one for adding/removing software, one for updating software and the third contains basic configuration and source repository data. I found the interface to be responsive, there were no crashes this time around and the package manager handled everything I asked it to do. The interface, with its software categories (and sub-categories) and detailed descriptions of available software, is similar to Ubuntu's Software Centre, though KPackageKit fits naturally with the KDE environment. The GUI provides detailed information while it is working and I found it to be intuitive to use. KPackageKit lacks some of the advanced features of Synaptic, but the people who know of (and would use) such features will have no trouble installing the venerable package manager.
Kubuntu 11.04 - adding new software using KPackageKit
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A few paragraphs up I mentioned that Kubuntu includes the Rekonq web browser in the default install, favouring it over other popular choices like Firefox and Chromium. I hadn't used Rekonq before for any length of time and so I took this opportunity to test drive it. I was pleased to find Rekonq performed well. It has a fairly minimal interface and its layout reminds me of the Opera web browser, especially in the way it sets up "speed dial" bookmarks. The browser is light, quick and works with the Flash plugin. It may not have the same range of functionality and extensions found in other modern browsers, but Rekonq is a nice alternative for people who just want to browse the web.
Kubuntu 11.04 - using the Rekonq web browser
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I ran Kubuntu on two physical machines, a generic desktop (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). Kubuntu handled all of my hardware without any problems. Sound volume was set at a reasonable level, my screen resolution was likewise properly set and my Intel wireless card was detected and used without any work on my part. On both machines the desktop lagged a bit with the default settings, but disabling desktop effects and file indexing resulted in a smooth experience. I also installed Kubuntu in VirtualBox and found it worked well in the virtual environment. When running with various levels of RAM I found Kubuntu would operate well with 1 GB of memory or more, less than that caused the OS to become sluggish.
At the end of the week, I find myself in agreement with the people who told me that Kubuntu, in avoiding the innovation of Ubuntu, had created a solid desktop experience. For the most part, Kubuntu did very well during my trial. There were a few default packages (Amarok and the Firefox installer) I would have liked to have seen swapped out, and I would have preferred if all the KDE features and effects hadn't been enabled out of the box. However, those are minor issues and it took just a few minutes to adjust the system to my way of doing things. I like that the installer provides the option of installing free software only or including non-free add-ons. The KDE 4.6 interface gives a solid experience and, with the desktop effects turned off, performance was good. Despite my reservations, KPackageKit turned out to be capable of handling my requests quickly, intuitively and with a good level of feedback. All in all Kubuntu is a solid offering. It might not be quite as user-friendly as Mint or Mandriva, but it's not far behind and, with its package selection, will likely appeal to fans of KDE. It also provides a smooth transition for Ubuntu users who are looking for alternatives to Unity.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
CentOS announces long-awaited release, Mint "KDE" switches to Debian base, Sabayon leader vents his frustration, interview with Ian Murdock, marketing at ALT Linux
At long last, CentOS 6.0 arrived over the weekend. The developers of the most popular free Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) clone certainly took their time; exactly eight months have passed between the initial upstream release and CentOS 6.0. By contrast, Oracle released their own RHEL clone just three months after Red Hat, while the developers of Scientific Linux also took less than four months to deliver their own, enhanced RHEL variant. Furthermore, CentOS 6.0 arrives nearly two months after the release of the updated RHEL 6.1, which means that the just-released CentOS 6.0 still lags considerably behind the upstream. On the positive note, once the entire CentOS build infrastructure is in place, it should be much easier and faster to deliver any updated builds and the CentOS developers are now indeed promising a quick release of CentOS 6.1. Further good news awaits those who have been calling for a live edition (similar to what Scientific Linux has been providing for years): "Live CDs and live DVDs for i386 and x86_64 architectures will be released within the next few days. These will bring in the ability to directly install from the live media." All in all, it's better late than never and there is a general relief that the CentOS project hasn't folded under the pressure. Let's now wait and see how timely the project will be on delivering the security updates and updated DVD images.
CentOS 6.0 - the new version of the most popular RHEL clone is here at last
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Here is some interesting news for those who have been awaiting the Kubuntu-based "KDE" edition of Linux Mint 11.04. The sub-project's lead, Jamie "Boo" Birse, has announced that, due to various problems with the initial Kubuntu-based alpha release, he will restart the development with a Debian base instead. Here is the forum thread carrying the news: "News people! Good and bad as it turns out, due to all the Ubuntu problems I am swapping the base from Kubuntu to Debian. What does this mean? A bit more of a wait but it is DEBIAN! Hopefully this won't take too long as I have the packages built and the ISO build process is very similar." Predictably, the news was greeted with a variety of opinions. One reader summed up the situation with the following words: "I'm cautiously optimistic about this change. I like the idea of the rolling release, but hope that it doesn't affect the functionality I've been used to with Ubuntu-based KDE. I think for the long-term health of Mint as a whole this is a good move. Sure, part of the popularity has been being based on Ubuntu, but breaking away gives it a chance to be its own distro." Others disagreed strongly: "Please say you're joking. I've been looking forward to the new KDE release for a couple of months now. A switch to Debian for the base would be a deal breaker for me. I've tried Linux Mint Debian Edition and it's too buggy to consider using for my day-to-day work."
Even the Linux Mint developers acknowledge that their rolling-release "Debian" edition is more suitable for experienced Linux users who would know how to fix an occasional breakage. One interesting compromise between a fully rolling-release distro (e.g. Linux Mint "Debian" edition) and one with a fixed release schedule (the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint) is a system with well-tested upgrades which are only rolled out once a month. This is the idea behind the new "Linux Mint Debian Latest" repository. Clement Lefebvre explains the basics in Introducing Update Packs in Linux Mint Debian: "By changing your APT sources and replacing Debian Testing with the Linux Mint Debian Latest repository, you basically point to a Debian Testing that is frozen in time and updated once a month. By the time the next batch of updates becomes available to you, the Linux Mint team has had time to adjust packages in the Linux Mint repository and to document the information you need to go through a safe and easy update. To give you an example, GNOME 3 is just around the corner and coming to a Debian Testing repository near you. By pointing to the Linux Mint Debian Latest repository instead, you make sure you upgrade to it, after the Linux Mint team has tested the update and gathered precious information on it."
* * * * *
Following the large-scale changes in the default user interface of two highly popular Linux distributions (Ubuntu/Unity and Fedora/GNOME 3), many users have expressed frustrations over the need to change the established habits and to adapt to an interface that was mostly designed for touchscreens, rather than desktops or laptops. But it seems that it's not only the end users who are feeling the pain. Many distro developers and package maintainers also seem frustrated over the constant upstream changes. We have already reported about Slackware's KDE packaging headaches. Last week it was Fabio Erculiani, the founder of Sabayon Linux who insists that many open-source projects have gone crazy: "KDE 4, they planned to dominate the world with their outstanding ideas and they ended up having a crashy fishy desktop environment that is giving big headaches to downstream distributors at every minor release, with configuration, ABI, API changes, yeah. And we, as a distro, are, as usual, taking all the blame for things breaking so often." GNOME 3 isn't spared either: "Many people just want desktop icons which they can click, some sort of a taskbar and a system tray where the annoying shit is placed. It has been like that for 15 years, why do these bright minds called 'desktop environment developers' just pretend to know what users want? Can't you guys stop pretending to hold the whole knowledge and sit down with us, simple human beings?"
* * * * *
A quick trip down the memory lane. As Linux is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary, there might be some readers who weren't around when the free UNIX clone started attracting some distribution developers who thought they could create a complete operating system with applications for anybody to use. Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian GNU/Linux back in 1993, was one such visionary. Today, with Debian being one of the largest collaborative software project on the Internet and with thousands of developers and contributors, it's clearly a great success. Last week Joe Brockmeier interviewed the famous Linux personality for Linux.com: "Like Slackware, Debian was a reaction to low-quality Linux distributions (in particular, Softlanding Linux System or SLS). Murdock said that Debian's focus would be 'on providing a first-class product and not on profits or returns.' Linux was a long way from being a 'first-class product' in 1993. Murdock says that Linux 'was not that good from a technology perspective... I remember moving files between file systems, and large files would routinely cause kernel panics.' However, the quality of Linux was dwarfed by its potential and its immediate, and free, availability. 'I remember like everyone else, my motivation was to solve a problem that I had, I wanted a UNIX to run at home, I was in college and didn't have the money to buy SCO Unix or Coherent, even $99 was a bridge too far for me at the time.'"
* * * * *
Finally, a link to an intriguing story about ALT Linux, a fairly popular Russian distribution which started as a fork of Mandriva Linux and which has been around for over ten years. Eugeni Dodonov, a Brazil-based Mandriva Linux developer has written a blog post in which he published a photo of a poster displayed during an international free software conference held in Brazil. On the poster is a photograph of Vladimir Putin, the former president and current prime minister of Russia, with a text saying: "O Primeiro Ministro Russo, Vladimir Putin usa Linux. E você usa o que?" (This is in Portuguese, but I don't think the slogan needs translating). Does the assertion sound too good to be true? That's because it is. A nice try from the marketing department of ALT Linux, but, unfortunately, it has turned out to be a big lie: "As per an official ALT Linux response, those posters do not represent the truth and were done for marketing purpose only. No, in fact, neither Dmitry Medvedev nor Vladimir Putin use ALT Linux."
On a related note, Eugeni Dodonov is leaving Mandriva at the end of this month.
|Interviews (by Jesse Smith)
Interview with Boudewijn Rempt, Calligra Suite
In the world of open source software we often hear about LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org and whether one will emerge victorious as the new world champion of productivity suites or if they'll become best friends forever. One productivity suite we haven't heard much about, yet, is Calligra. From the project's website: "The Calligra Suite is a set of applications that allows you to easily complete your work. There are office applications, as well as Graphic applications. There is also a comprehensive set of plug-ins. The Calligra Suite is unique because not only does it consist of the normal word processor (Words) and spreadsheet (Tables) applications, but it also brings you Graphic applications as well." The Calligra project has grown out of KOffice and is working toward making a better, polished, lightweight office suite.
Last week I had a chance to chat with one of Calligra's developers, Boudewijn Rempt, and he kindly took the time to talk about the project.
* * * * *
DW: To start, could you tell us a little about yourself and what role you have in the Calligra project?
BR: Hi! I'm Boudewijn Rempt. I started working on Krita, the painting application in Calligra, in 2003 and I became the application maintainer in 2004. One thing led to another and, in 2007, I founded a company called KO GmbH which focuses on doing projects around Calligra.
DW: Why did the Calligra project come into existence? Is it a fork of KOffice, or is it replacing KOffice?
BR: It was the culmination of a long process. The KWord maintainer has always had problems working well together with other people. In 2008 he was asked to leave the KOffice project, but he returned later on, giving everyone the same kind of problems we had had with him previously. In 2010, we asked the KDE Community Working Group to help us resolve the problems. They couldn't really do anything for us though, and in the end there was nothing for it but to split up. All the KOffice developers went to the new project, leaving this person behind.
We prefer to call it a split, and not a fork, since Calligra is actually a suite of many applications, and every independent maintainer decided where to go: with Calligra, or stay with the KWord maintainer. So, Calligra contains a fork of KWord, and KOffice contains a fork of all the other applications.
But it's kind of not very productive to dwell on the past -- we're really looking forward now and working really hard on Calligra.
DW: Calligra seems to be in the early stages right now. When will we see a stable release and what features can we expect?
BR: Yes, early stages... We had to rewrite the complete text layout engine which is not only used in the word processor, but everywhere else. That was a huge undertaking, but very necessary. In the meantime, we're also working on the GUI for the desktop applications. The actual GUI had been neglected quite a bit while everyone was working on the office engine, but it should be much improved by the time we release Calligra 2.4 (or 3.0 -- we haven't quite decided on numbering yet).
We have a provisional release plan that aims to have a full release in December, a bit later than we originally wanted, but it's more important to make this release really good than to make it really early.
On the other hand, some applications, like Krita are definitely ready now. The 2.3.3 release was very solid, but we find most artists want the latest code from git and are compiling Krita themselves.
The feature set of 2.4 won't really differ from what we have now: the focus is on making everything work and work well. New, compared to the old KOffice, is the mind-mapping application, Braindump, and Flow, formerly Kivio, is back. Oh, and we'll release two mobile GUIs: Calligra Mobile and Calligra Active. The first is probably better for phones, the second for tablets. There will be a Windows version as well, by the way, of the Calligra desktop software.
DW: When people talk about open-source office suites, OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice tend to dominate the conversation. What features does Calligra have that make it an attractive alternative?
BR: Right now, it's mostly developers that find Calligra attractive. It's pretty lightweight, and very easy to adapt to different user interfaces, like Plasma Active or mobile phones. On Nokia's N900 phone there's a version of Calligra called FreOffice which is now being developed as Calligra Mobile. For end-users, individual applications might be very attractive, like Krita or Plan, which don't exist in other office suites. The main applications still lag behind LibreOffice, but the consistent and modern interaction design should be very attractive when we release the next version.
DW: I understand Calligra plans to support most of the big-name operating systems (Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, OS X). Are there challenges in getting Calligra to run on systems which don't usually include KDE?
BR: Not really... I mean, Calligra cannot run without KDE, but KDE has been ported pretty much everywhere, to all the systems you mention, as well as MeeGo, which is also an important target for us. So, we'll use the KDE platform, but the users won't actually notice that.
DW: Open source projects often appear to be competing against each other, rather than working together. Does Calligra work with other office suites to insure compatibility or reduce duplication of effort?
BR: Yes. We're involved in the ODF Technical Committee where Jos van den Oever for KDE and Thorsten Zachmann for Nokia participate in discussions on where the OpenDocument standard will go. There are regular "plugfests" where developers from various projects get together and test interoperability and compatibility.
DW: These days a common complaint, about any open-source office suite, revolves around the handling of proprietary file formats. How is Calligra doing with MS Office compatibility?
BR: Mainly thanks to the sponsorship by Nokia, the import capability is pretty good. The rendering engine might lag behind a bit, but the conversion quality is really good, for both the binary and the newer OOXML file formats. We don't have export yet -- we're searching for sponsors for that work!
DW: Can you tell us how many people are currently working on Calligra? How can volunteers help out?
It's difficult to say -- there were thirty-one people at the last developer sprint
in Berlin which is amazing. And not every contributor attended. I'd say there are more than forty people regularly involved.
Volunteers are still very welcome! The nice thing about Calligra is that the project as a whole has become much more welcoming than it used to be in the KOffice days. We've got eight Summer of Code students and quite a few KDE students, but it's not at all necessary to join a program like that -- if you want to hack, the best way is to join us on the mailing list or on IRC, get the git version compiled and dig in. But code is not the only thing, artwork, writing updates for the website, documentation -- there's always a lot to do, and it's almost always a lot of fun!
DW: Thanks very much and best of luck with Calligra.
|Released Last Week
Sabayon Linux 6 "Core"
Four new "core" editions of Sabayon Linux 6 were announced today; these are "SpinBase", "CoreCDX", "ServerBase" and "OpenVZ". They are built for more advanced Linux users who might wish to create their own custom systems. From the release announcement: "Directly from our server department, four new Sabayon releases officially thrown to the crowd. These releases all go under the 'Core' umbrella - they are not meant for beginners, hence the name. Features: bootable image suitable for a CD or USB thumb drive; shipped with desktop-optimized Linux kernel 2.6.39; ext4 file system as default, Btrfs, encrypted file system support; completely customizable system after install...."
Zorin OS 5 "Business"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 5 "Business" edition, an Ubuntu-based commercial distribution designed for small and medium-size businesses: "The Zorin OS team is proud to release Zorin OS 5 Business. Zorin OS 5 Business is a desktop operating system which provides all the tools needed to start and maintain a small/medium sized business out of the box. In here you will find a wealth of software, including accounting, bookkeeping, stock analysis, database, retail, word processing, spreadsheet and much more. Zorin OS 5 Business also includes our innovative Zorin Look Changer Premium, Zorin Internet Browser Manager, Zorin Background Plus and other programs from our earlier versions. Zorin OS 5 Business is available for a small donation of €7 for a download and €10 for a DVD." Here is the brief release announcement.
Linux Deepin 11.06
Linux Deepin is a popular and active Chinese community distribution based on Ubuntu and featuring the GNOME desktop and numerous usability improvements. With remarkable contributions from enthusiastic volunteers, Linux Deepin 11.06 has been released. It is based on Ubuntu 11.04 but still uses GNOME 2, and it features an independently developed Deepin Software Centre. The look and feel of this new version like default font size have been adjusted in response to the requests from the user community, and input methods for both Simplified and Traditional Chinese (Yong and ibus-chewing) are included with a pretty skin. LibreOffice is installed by default but a specialized office suite dedicated for Deepin from Evermore Software is available via Software Centre. Video and audio players are still GNOME MPlayer and DeaDBeeF, both with enhancements. Firefox 5 is the web browser but the email client is changed to Thunderbird to better work with GMail. Check the full release notes (in Chinese) with a few screenshots.
Linux Deepin 11.06 - an Ubuntu-based Chinese distribution with many user-friendly features
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Marco Ghirlanda has announced the release of ArtistX 1.1, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a large collection of applications designed for creative artists: "After many years of continuous development and ten versions, the ArtistX 1.1 multimedia studio on a DVD is finally here. It's an Ubuntu 11.04-based live DVD that turns a common computer into a full multimedia production studio. ArtistX 1.1 is created with the Remastersys software for live DVDs and includes the 2.6.38 Linux kernel, GNOME 2.32 and KDE 4.6, Compiz Fusion and about 2,500 free multimedia software packages, nearly everything that exists for the GNU/Linux operating system organized in the GNOME menu. Main features: based on Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' with all updates (from April 2011), Compiz for 3D desktop effects; most of GNU/Linux multimedia packages and the very easy Ubiquity installer." Visit the distribution's home page to read the release announcement and to learn more about the product.
ArtistX 1.1 - an Ubuntu-based multimedia studio
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Tony Sales has announced the release of Vinux 3.2.1, an Ubuntu-based distribution for designed for visually impaired users: "Vinux 3.2.1 is now available for download. The main difference between this and the recently released Vinux 3.2 is that by default it boots with PulseAudio running in 'user' mode rather than 'system' mode. This prevents PulseAudio from crashing at boot on a small number of sound cards, but it means that Speakup is not available from the live CD or immediately after installation. However, there are now two simple commands for switching PulseAudio from user to system mode in conjunction with a reboot of the machine. This version also includes an accessible Zenity front-end for UNetbootin which allows users to install Vinux to a USB pen drive with persistent storage. Visit the distribution's news page to read the full release announcement.
Scientific Linux 5.6 "Live"
Urs Beyerle has announced the release of live CD and live DVD variants of Scientific Linux 5.6: "About two weeks after the official release of Scientific Linux 5.6, the Scientific Linux live CD/DVD 5.6 can now be downloaded for 32-bit and 64-bit processors. Features: can be installed to local hard disk; runs from USB key; changes can be stored persistently on an external device; can be mounted over NFS (diskless client). Software: Linux kernel 2.6.18, OpenAFS client 1.4.14, X.Org 7.1, ALSA libraries 1.0.17, GNOME 2.16.0 (standard desktop), GIMP 2.2.13, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, Firefox 3.6.18, Thunderbird 188.8.131.52, KDE 3.5.4 (only on live DVD). Software added compared to standard Scientific Linux: FUSE NTFS-3G (read/write NTFS support), ntfsprogs, GParted.... Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Pinguy OS 11.04 "Ping-Eee"
Antoni Norman has announced the release of a special edition of Pinguy OS for netbooks, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a custom user interface, power-saving features, and extra WiFi drivers: "Pinguy has released Ping-Eee OS 11.04, an Ubuntu-based remaster especially designed for netbooks. It comes with Jupiter (which has Super Hybrid Engine support) and Granola to help with the power consumption and most applications from Pinguy OS: Docky, Nautilus Elementary, Firefox, Thunderbird, Skype, LibreOffice, Dropbox, Deluge, Empathy, VLC, Déjà Dup backup tool, Linux Mint Update Manager, WINE and more. There's also Clementine instead of Rhythmbox. Ping-Eee OS also comes with extra WiFi drivers for many devices which are not normally supported out of the box on other Linux distributions. Here is the full release announcement.
CentOS 6.0, a Linux distribution built from source RPM packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0, has been released: "We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of CentOS 6.0 for i386 and x86_64 architectures. CentOS 6.0 is based on the upstream release EL 6.0 and includes packages from all variants. All upstream repositories have been combined into one, to make it easier for end users to work with. There are no CD images being released with CentOS 6, however we have some CD variants in the pipeline. Since upstream has a 6.1 version already released, we will be using a Continuous Release repository for 6.0 to bring all 6.1 and post 6.1 security updates to all 6.0 users, till such time as CentOS 6.1 is released. Read the release announcement and release notes for detailed information and upgrade instructions.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Game Drift Linux. Game Drift Linux is an Ubuntu-based commercial distribution targeted at gamers. It supports more than 1,200 Windows games (via the CrossOver Linux layer) and features its own Game Store, allowing games to be installed with a single click of the mouse.
- Manjaro Linux. Manjaro Linux is a fast, lightweight and user-friendly distribution based on Arch Linux.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 July 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Full list of all issues|
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SymphonyOS was 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.