| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 417, 8 August 2011
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Ever since Slackware dropped GNOME from its official repository, third-party GNOME packages, some more up-to-date than others, started competing for the attention of Slackware users and fans. But it wasn't until recently that a dedicated Slackware-based distribution with GNOME appeared on the market. Jesse Smith takes the latest release of Linvo GNU/Linux for a spin to discover whether GNOME and Slackware can be once again united in a happy alliance. In the news section, a Linux user is excited to discover a perfect portable distribution for gamers, TuxRadar proceeds with a scientific evaluation to discover the best Linux distribution of the year, and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD developers make dramatic progress towards greater usability of their distribution. Also in this issue, a link to an article discussing RAW image processing with the recently-released Digikam 2.0 and a Tips and Tricks section which offers a solution to a fairly common bug on Xubuntu and other distributions featuring the latest Xfce desktop. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Here's looking at Linvo, kid|
The Linvo GNU/Linux project describes itself as an independent effort, but with some packages pulled from various other projects -- namely Slackware, Arch Linux and some Slack-based repositories. What drew me to try Linvo, version 2010.12.6, wasn't the flashy art of the website (though it has a certain appeal), rather I was attracted to the promise of atomic updates.
On most modern systems we get used to the idea that packages are updated a certain way and new versions of a package over-write old ones. This is the usual order of things. The drawback to this approach is that if the update is interrupted (perhaps due to electrical failure) or if the new version of the package is broken, we find ourselves in a bad position. The desktop environment might stop working (as recently happened to me) or the OS may fail to boot. One solution to this problem is atomic updates. This approach usually works by letting us have different versions of a package on the system at the same time, thus avoiding over-writing a working configuration and making roll-backs easy. Linvo promises atomic updates and the ability to have multiple users with different versions of packages installed at the same time. This should allow one person to run Firefox 3.6 while another runs Firefox 5, for example.
The distribution comes as a 737 MB download. The website suggests it's possible to create a custom live disc using modules, but I found the modules page to be blank and simply downloaded the default ISO. Booting off the DVD quickly brings us to a GNOME 2.32 desktop featuring a bright space-themed wallpaper. The menu bar sits at the top of the screen and our task switcher sits at the bottom. On the desktop are icons for browsing the file system, opening a link to the project's website and launching the installer.
Linvo GNU/Linux 2010.12 - browsing the web with Chromium
(full image size: 402kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Right away the installer lets us know we need to manually partition the hard drive using a different application. The GParted program is provided to make this process fairly straight forward. With partitioning out of the way the installer takes us through five steps, which we can perform in the order of our choosing. We need to set the current time, choose our locale and select a partition on which to install Linvo. There's a screen for creating a regular user account and setting the root password. The final screen gets us to pick whether we want to perform a core (bare bones) install, a basic (medium) install, or if we want to install all the available packages. I opted for the full, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach. Livno's files copied over quickly and, when the process was complete, I rebooted.
The Linvo distribution uses GRUB Legacy (version 0.97) and, unlike most distributions, does not boot into a default menu choice automatically. This means if the computer is remotely restarted the operating system won't load, something to keep in mind if you plan to work on Linvo from afar.
Booting into the local install of Linvo brings us to a graphical login screen. There's a menu button in the bottom-left corner of the screen which gives us the option of selecting a session, a language and configuring the login manager. During my tests taking the configuration option didn't do anything. When selecting a session there are several options to choose from, over a dozen in fact, but I found taking anything other than the GNOME desktop didn't work, resulting in my user being punted back to the login screen.
When we first login an icon appears in the top-right corner of the desktop letting us know software updates are available. Package handling is done using GSlapt, a graphical package manager with a layout similar to Synaptic. GSlapt lets us search for packages by name and by status (installed, not installed, upgradable), but doesn't allows us to search by category. This makes it easy to apply updates and to find software with which we're familiar, but makes finding new software a bit more challenging. I found GSlapt worked well for me and I encountered no problems using it. Looking at the sources list for GSlapt we find most packages come from Slackware (or Slackware-oriented projects) and that Linvo pulls from Slackware-13.37 repositories.
Linvo GNU/Linux 2010.12 - managing packages with GSlapt
(full image size: 393kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The Linvo project provides their own application manager to access Linvo-specific modules. Unfortunately every time I tried to launch this custom package manager it would give me a "Not found" error, apparently indicating the application couldn't locate modules on the project's server. Without the special package manager (and the atomic updates it promises), Linvo basically presents itself as a GNOME edition of Slackware.
By default, Linvo's application menu comes with a good selection of desktop software. We're provided with the Chromium web browser (version 12), OpenOffice 3.2, Skype, the Empathy chat client, the Gwibber microblogger program and Dropbox. The Transmission BitTorrent client is included, as is an e-book reader and the Evolution e-mail application. We're provided with a disc burner, the Cheese webcam tool, the PiTiVi video editor and Rhythmbox music player. There's an application for recording videos of the desktop, the GIMP and Shotwell. For viewing movies, Totem is included. The System menu has the full range of GNOME configuration tools, along with a few surprises. For instance, Linvo includes a touch screen calibration program. We're additionally treated to the GParted partition editor, a system monitor and a graphical firewall configuration program.
Linvo comes with codecs for playing MP3 files and most popular video formats. The Chromium browser includes a Flash plugin and, in the background, the Linux kernel (version 2.6.36) keeps things running smoothly.
Linvo GNU/Linux 2010.12 - running OpenOffice.org
(full image size: 393kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
I ran Linvo on two machines, a desktop box (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). Linvo handled the desktop machine well and everything worked out of the box. On my laptop most things worked. My desktop was set to an appropriate resolution, audio worked and the touchpad operated as expected. My only complaint was with my Intel wireless card as it seems Linvo does not include the firmware to operate the wireless device. On both machines boot times were good and desktop performance was better than average.
For the most part Linvo worked well and it includes a few packages not commonly seen. For example, it's one of the few distributions I've tried recently that still uses GRUB Legacy. It may be the only distro I've used that includes a touch screen calibration tool, which was interesting to see. On the other hand, there were some bugs. For instance, the ace up Linvo's sleeve was supposed to be the special package manager, which did not work for me. The version of Chromium which ships in Linvo has a weird bug where it kept reporting it wasn't the default browser and asked me to confirm if it should be. Since Chromium is the default and, at install time, the only browser, it seemed odd it would keep nagging me about this whenever it was launched. The prompt can be turned off, but it shouldn't appear in the first place.
The distribution has a good selection of software out of the box, additional packages are available through GSlapt and most things work. I think Linvo does well for such a small project. It doesn't have anything to make it really stand out from the crowd, but Linvo makes for a solid desktop distro. The project basically provides us with a copy of Slackware featuring a point-n-click installer and a nice GNOME desktop. Since the Slackware project itself doesn't include GNOME packages, and with some people looking for a way to stay with GNOME 2, Linvo does offer some appeal.
Since I got into the Linvo trial to try out their atomic updates, I'd like to talk some more on the subject. Though I haven't had a chance to install it yet there is another project out there with a surprisingly similar objective to Linvo. This other project is called NixOS. NixOS is a small distribution built on top of the Nix package manager, which is designed to make updates atomic and to insure the operating system is always in a usable state. As with Linvo's stated goals, NixOS is said to support multiple users installing different versions of software. Nix also has a roll-back feature. The result is supposed to be a system without global program directories (/usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, etc), instead each version of each package gets its own directory. NixOS is a research project and isn't targeted at home or business users. However, for people who are interested in trying out something different you can learn more from the project's website.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Portable gaming with linuX-gamers Live, TuxRadar's best distro award, improvements in Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, RAW image processing with openSUSE and Digikam 2.0
Linux is often considered a poor platform for gaming, especially when compared to some of the operating systems that enjoy much more attention from game publishers. Nevertheless, Linux also offers something its competitors will never be able to reproduce: a complete live environment with a good selection of popular games. This live DVD is called linuX-gamers Live. Justin Popa provides an enthusiastic first look at this distribution in "live.linuX-gamers.net: Linux games for the portable person": "I felt like a 12-year-old again. The distro comes in two editions: Lite and Big... guess which one I went for. The Big edition has, as you've probably guessed it, more games. Booting went off without a hitch (and was quite fast). It even detected the two soundcards I have connected to the laptop (internal and USB) and asked me which one I would like to use. It also asked about the keyboard layout. The games ran well for the most part, the very graphically intense ones hiccuped up a bit but I am guessing that it has something to do with the graphics drivers. To mention a few of the games, you get: OpenLieroX, TuxRacer, SuperTuxKart, Secret Mario Chronicles, Teeworlds, World of Goo and many many others."
linuX-gamers Live 0.9.7 - an Arch-based live DVD containing dozens of games
(full image size: 191kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
So what is the best Linux distribution of 2011? If we ask ten Linux users we'll probably get ten different answers, but TuxRadar, a website closely associated with the Linux Format magazine has analysed (scientifically) a few of the big releases of the year. And the winner? It may surprise some, but it's Debian GNU/Linux: "Debian makes a good case for best all-round distro. In some ways it is still practically neolithic, and installing it could certainly be made a bit easier, which is a shame because it gives people who have difficulty with that step a bad impression of the system as a whole. Also, it pretty much expects a constant network connection, and may not be quite so suitable in its vanilla form for netbooks or off-line installs. However, package management and flexibility are all top notch, and there is a wide and active community here that provides support, documentation, packages and plenty of opinions too. It certainly won't suit everyone, but if you have never tried it, it should be top of your TO DO list." Ubuntu walked away with a silver medal, while Fedora finished third with a following summary: "Cutting edge with more than a bit of flair, Fedora is just about spot on in a lot of areas."
Our recent review of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD attracted some interest in the "geekier" circles of the free software world, and while it's an interesting project, it certainly isn't for everybody. However, with some dramatic recent improvements, perhaps the next stable release of the distribution will see a spike in its market share. Robert Millan reports: "Debian GNU/kFreeBSD was first released with 'Squeeze' last February. The 'technology preview' label indicated, among other things, that it had a number of limitations when compared with what users would expect: missing features, incomplete functionality, etc. But it has seen many noteworthy improvements since then. Here are some that I would like to mention: graphical installer support; userland support for FreeBSD jails and encrypting disk partitions; FUSE support is now provided by fuse4bsd; it is now possible to mount the NFS file systems; kFreeBSD has seen a number of updates - compiler has been upgraded to GCC 4.6, new kernel (from FreeBSD 8.2) now available." Perhaps most importantly, support for wireless networks is enabled and backported to Debian GNU/kFreeBSD 6.0: "Wireless support, which was disabled in 'Squeeze' due to a bug in ifconfig, has now been enabled, then backported to 'Squeeze' after it was reported to be functional."
* * * * *
Digikam 2.0, a major new version of the popular photo organiser for KDE, was released recently. openSUSE and KDE user Sven Burmeister takes a look at one neglected aspect of the tool - RAW image processing. Have things improved in Digikam 2.0? "The beauty of RAW images is that you can do a lot of things and fine-tuning until the image fits your expectations; yet a beginners' expectation is simply to get a picture that looks the same or better than the JPG preview they see in Digikam. Thus defaults should provide exactly that as a starting point for further processing. Other RAW image processing applications like darktable do this by providing base curves for your camera that put some vibrancy and colour into the dark and dull RAW data and hence motivate the user to get deeper into the possibilities of RAW image processing. Digikam currently does not provide that feature. However, with a little work one can get there."
|Tips and Tricks (by Robert Storey)
Why, a child of five could understand this. Fetch me a child of five. (Groucho Marx)
* * * * *
The Linux desktop is, if nothing else, diverse. Whether or not this is a good thing can be debated, but if there ever was an operating system contest for the most desktop diversity, then Linux is a slam dunk winner. Mac OS X and Windows users are offered various lame "themes" that allow one to change fonts, borders, colors and wallpaper, but Linux comes equipped with the tools to turn the whole desktop universe on its head.
Alas, for all their efforts, developers keen on creating the perfect desktop interface seldom receive much gratitude. In the past week, Linus Torvalds made headlines by proclaiming his extreme displeasure with the state of GNOME 3.0. A former happy GNOME 2.x user, Linus has now moved to Xfce. He made no mention of Unity, but that probably has something to do with the fact that Linus runs Fedora. Were he to dabble in Ubuntu, I imagine that the folks at Canonical would be getting an earful right now. Similarly, much blood was shed during the prolonged upgrade from KDE 3 to 4. The war for the hearts and minds of Linux desktop users continues - indeed, it is escalating.
Since I've more-or-less settled into the Ubuntu tribe, you might be forgiven for thinking that I would have some strong heartfelt opinions about Unity. However, I'm embarrassed to say that beyond admiring at a few screenshots produced by others, I've never even looked at the Unity desktop. Fortunately, I have a good excuse - during installation of Ubuntu 11.04, a message flashed saying that I didn't have the graphical hardware to enjoy the full 3D experience - thus, I was automatically defaulted to GNOME 'Classic'.
GNOME 2.x has been around for a while and is reasonably well-polished. However, GNOME developers have made it known that they intend to deprecate 2.x in favor of 3.x. Furthermore, my hardware is kind of minimal, so this time around I decided to go with the relatively lightweight tried-and-trusted Xubuntu. Indeed, ever since the Unity debacle began, I've been recommending Xubuntu to Linux newbies, confident that the simple interface and rock-solid stability wouldn't let them down. And now I'm having to eat my words.
Et tu, Xfce?
Having recently converted my wife from Windows to Xubuntu - a major coup, by the way - I was a little disheartened when she started shrieking about how Firefox suddenly became "unusable." At first I thought she was mistaken and had simply gotten confused by her former Windows XP brainwashing, but I soon realized that she was correct. Firefox was open in a window that was strangely lacking borders. Normally you can drag a window with the mouse by using the top border, but since there were no borders, the only way to drag Firefox out of the way was with ALT-LeftMouse. And it wasn't only Firefox that "looked weird" - all applications were affected. Worse, drop-down menus were unusable, which meant I couldn't do much of anything short of using the command-line interface in a terminal. In short, the desktop was totally FUBAR.
Xubuntu 11.04 - fubared
(full image size: 95kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I first attempted a reboot, though I didn't expect that to help, and it didn't. I then logged out and logged back in after selecting the pure Xfce interface (somewhat different from the Xubuntu-desktop, which is customized for Ubuntu). The problem remained. I theorized that the problem just might be Xfce, so as a last-ditch effort, I opened a terminal and via the command line installed FVWM (the oldest and possibly most stable Linux window manager). I then logged out, logged back in after choosing FVWM as my desktop. And everything worked fine, other than the fact that FVWM looks rather retro by today's standards.
Over my years of Linux usage, I have seen desktops get messed up due to misconfiguration problems, usually caused by a buggy application. In such cases, the one sure-fire cure is to nuke the user's hidden dot files which hold all the configuration information. This comes at some cost, since it means (among other things) that our intrepid user will lose his/her browser settings, including the bookmarks file. But without further ado, I applied this drastic cure to my wife's computer. For illustration purposes, I'm user "geek" and my wife is user "tigerlady" (the names have been changed to protect the innocent). Thus I applied the cure as follows. I log in as user "geek", open a terminal, and...
...then log out, and log back in as "tigerlady". Now, Xubuntu looks good again.
rm -fr .[a-zA-Z0-9]*
Xubuntu 11.04 - normal
(full image size: 253kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
As if all this wasn't embarrassing enough, the same problem appeared on my own netbook computer two days later. Since my wife never uses my netbook, I couldn't blame her. I decided to report the bug, and in short order received a courteous reply from a developer at Canonical. His (abbreviated) message to me:
"Thanks for reporting this bug and any supporting documentation. Since this bug has enough information provided for a developer to begin work, I'm going to mark it as confirmed and let them handle it from here. This is an issue in Xfce 4.8, and has been reproduced many times by users. Normally, simply restarting xfwm4 resolves this issue. Thanks for taking the time to make Ubuntu better! WORKAROUND: hit Alt+F2, type "xfwm4 &" without qoutes, hit Enter"
Out of chaos, comes enlightenment
Canonical's suggested workaround sounds less drastic than my own, so I'd recommend it to anyone in need of a quick fix. However, neither workaround leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling, since the problem can recur at any time without warning. I decided to move my wife to Lubuntu for now, at least until the bug is fixed. Xubuntu users can make the change by installing the package "lubuntu-desktop." For myself, I've moved to Enlightenment 17, something I'd wanted to try anyway after hearing glowing reports from enthusiastic Bodhi Linux users. As for those of you living in the non-Ubuntu universe, I'd be interested to know if you've encountered problems with the latest Xfce interface.
|Released Last Week
Oracle Linux 5.7
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 5.7, an enterprise Linux distribution based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7: "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux Release 5 Update 7 for x86 (32-bit) and x86_64 (64-bit) architectures. Oracle Linux 5.7 ships with following three sets of kernel packages: Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel kernel-uek 2.6.32-200.13.1 (installed and booted by default), Red Hat-compatible kernel 2.6.18-274.el5 (installed by default) and Red Hat-compatible kernel with bug fixes added by Oracle 2.6.18-218.104.22.168.1.el5 (can only be installed manually). This update includes the following kernel/driver changes: Fix put_nfs_open_context() NULL pointer panic; fix SCSI hotplug and rescan race; fix filp_close() race; fix missing aio_complete() in end_io...." Read the rest of the release announcement and release notes for a full list of bug fixes.
TurnKey Linux 11.2
Liraz Siri has announced the release of Turnkey Linux 11.2, an Ubuntu-based set of highly specialised virtual appliances which integrate some of the best open-source software into ready-to-use solutions: "We just updated the website and the TurnKey Hub with the new TurnKey 11.2 maintenance release, which includes: TurnKey Hub support for micro instances, Amazon's free tier and cloud servers backed by persistent network-attached storage volumes (AKA EBS-backed instances); built-in support for TurnKey's new dynamic DNS service; the latest security updates. We've added support for micro instances (613 MB RAM), Amazon EC2's smallest cloud server type which costs less than US$15/month if you run a server 24x7." Read the release announcement and see the virtual appliances page for further information.
Ultimate Edition 3.0 "Lite"
Ultimate Edition "Lite" is a Lubuntu-based distribution featuring the LXDE desktop environment. Version 3.0 was released today: "Well, ladies and gents, we now have Ultimate Edition 3.0 Lite. Ultimate Edition Lite was built off Lubuntu; it is intended to be run on low-resource computers, such as netbooks. Ultimate Edition Lite contains only the bare minimum, a browser, a music player and a few other tools. The desktop environment is LXDE / Openbox which has a look similar to Windows XP. This release, being as large as it was to begin with, did not leave me much to work with to keep its CD size. Unfortunately I was unable to pre-install the updates for you as I was in Ultimate Edition 2.8 Lite. I have enhanced the wireless support since this release is intended for notebooks." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Marc Poirette has announced the release of PureOS 4.0, a desktop-oriented live CD (with GNOME), based on Debian's "testing" branch: "PureOS is five years old and the 4.0 version is available. You can now choose your language (and keyboard) from the boot menu. Main features: Linux kernel 22.214.171.124 with Squashfs 4.0 and xz (LZMA 2), GNOME 2.30 with Docky. Office: LibreOffice 3.3.3 - Calc, Draw, Impress and Writer. Internet: Iceweasel 5.0 ('sid' repository) with Gnash, Icedove 3.1, NetworkManager, Transmission, FileZilla. Multimedia: Songbird 1.9.3, VLC, Brasero. Graphics: GIMP, Evince, Eye of GNOME. System: GParted, smxi/sgfxi scripts, scripts and Nautilus actions for modules management - activate, debs2lzm, debs2lzm-file, dir2lzm, lzm2dir and find2lzm." Read the rest of the release announcement for notes about the supported locales and artwork credits.
Pure OS 4.0 - a desktop distribution based on Debian's "testing" branch
(full image size: 545kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Zorin OS 5 "Educational Lite"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 5 "Educational Lite" edition, an Ubuntu-based distribution for schools with LXDE as the desktop environment: "The Zorin OS team is proud to release Zorin OS 5 Educational Lite, the lightweight version of our educational operating system designed for Windows users using old and low-specification computers. This new version of Zorin OS Lite is based on Zorin OS 5 Lite and uses the LXDE desktop environment, which brings new and updated packages. Zorin OS 5 Educational Lite includes dozens of educational programs for primary, secondary and tertiary education students. We have also included our other exclusive programs such as our Zorin Look Changer and Internet Browser Manager." Here is the brief release announcement.
Pinguy OS 10.04.3
Antoni Norman has announced the release of Pinguy OS 10.04.3, the third update of the Ubuntu-based desktop distribution with long-term support: "I am proud to announce the release of Pinguy OS 10.04.3 LTS, the third maintenance update to Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS release. This release includes installation DVDs for the i386 and amd64 architectures. Numerous updates have been integrated and updated installation media have been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. This will be the final point release for 10.04. Linux kernel 2.6.32, LibreOffice 3.3.2, Firefox 5.0, Flash 10.3, Java 6u26, VLC 1.1.7. VirtualBox 4.1, Wine 1.2.3." Here is the release announcement as published on the distribution's user forum.
Klaus Knopper has announced the release of KNOPPIX 6.7, a new version of the Debian-based live CD and DVD with LXDE as the default desktop, accompanied by a special edition for visually impaired users: "During the past days, version 6.7 of KNOPPIX has found its way to the mirrors and is now available as DVD and CD image, including the blind-friendly ADRIANE edition." What's new? "Updated from Debian 'Squeeze' with the usual picks from Debian 'testing' and 'unstable'; uses Linux kernel 126.96.36.199 and X.Org 7.6 for supporting most current computer hardware; experimental free Nouveau graphics modules supporting NVIDIA cards, acellerated graphics via kernel mode settings (KMS); LibreOffice 3.3.3; Chromium 12.0.742.112 web browser; optional 64-bit kernel via 'knoppix64' boot option...." Read the detailed release notes for additional information.
KNOPPIX 6.7 - a new version of the famous live CD by Klaus Knopper
(full image size: 1,353kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Vine Linux 6.0
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of Vine Linux 6.0, a new version of the oldest Japanese community distribution. The new release is built on top of a Linux kernel 2.6.35 and includes glibc 2.11.1, GCC 4.4.5, X.Org Server 1.10.2, GNOME 2.32.2 and Firefox 5.0. From the release notes: "This is Vine Linux version 6 release. Since this is not a commercial version (Vine Linux CR), non-free applications and fonts are not included on the CD/DVD. Instead of proprietary ATOX X, Wnn7, Wnn8, VJE Japanese inputs and Ricoh, Dynacomware fonts, this FTP edition contains Anthy and free TrueType fonts. Vine Linux 6 has following features (highlights): reform the software collection, stability and look & feel improvements; newer hardware support; new user-friendly tools." The release announcement and the detailed release notes (both links in Japanese) provide more information.
Vine Linux 6.0 - a major new update to the popular Japanese community distro
(full image size: 189kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Tiny Core Linux 3.8
Robert Shingledecker has announced the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.8, an updated release of the the project's small (but extensible) desktop Linux distribution: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the release of Tiny Core Linux 3.8. Final change Log: updated AppsAudit dependencies menu grouping and added 'Fetch Missing Dependencies'; updated AppsAudit - updated error reporting and now reports stale extensions; updated AppsBrowser - clear Search & Provides field upon results; updated wallpaper - improved GUI, now with a single window; updated screenshot to display file name created upon completion; updated mnttool - added a refresh button; updated wbarconf - support for no initial .wbar; updated BusyBox - 1.18.5, new depmod applet and audit of required applets...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full changelog.
* * * * *
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
- NodeZero Linux. NodeZero Linux is and Ubuntu-based distribution designed as a complete system which can also be used for penetration testing. NodeZero uses Ubuntu repositories and it comes with around 300 tools for penetration testing.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 August 2011.
Jesse Smith, Ladislav Bodnar and Robert Storey
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Elive, or Enlightenment live CD, is a Debian-based desktop Linux distribution and live CD featuring the Enlightenment window manager. Besides being pre-configured and ready for daily desktop use, it also includes "Elpanel" - a control centre for easy system and desktop administration.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Tips and tricks: Shell switching, battery charge, getting the system's IP address and dealing with stubborn processes|
|Questions and answers: Open source licences|
|Questions and answers: LibreOffice versus OpenOffice.org|
|Questions and answers: Display log files in reverse order|
|Tips and tricks: Advanced file systems, network traffic, running a script at login/logout|
|Tips and tricks: Nix package manager on alternative Linux distributions|
|Questions and answers: Handling magnet links in Linux|
|Questions and answers: TRIM on solid state drives (SSD)|
|Myths and misunderstandings: ZFS|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|