| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 422, 12 September 2011
Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Parsix GNU/Linux might not be the most widely-used among the many Debian-based desktop distributions, but its user forums are reasonably active, with lead developer Alan Baghumian never far away to answer any questions and concerns. Jesse Smith has taken the project's latest release, version 3.7, for a test drive to see whether its custom GNOME 2.32 desktop can compete with other similar projects on the market. In the news section, OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt opens pre-orders for version 5.0 while urging loyal fans to continue sponsoring the project, openSUSE launches a beta testing process for its upcoming release, Ubuntu board member makes a wide-ranging proposal to radically rethink the distribution's release process, and Debian developer Enrico Zini talks about his beginnings with the project and his current work. Also in this issue, a range of useful command-line tips and tricks for manipulating multimedia files and introduction to the Debian-based Proxmox, an open-source virtualization platform for running virtual appliances and virtual machines. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A taste of Parsix|
My grandparents used to keep a candy dish on their coffee table. Sometimes I would pick a candy and it would taste exactly the way I'd expect it to. Red ones would be cherry flavoured, green ones would be apple or mint. Sometimes though a candy's appearance would be misleading and instead of cherry flavour I'd get cinnamon. I bring this up because my experience with Parsix GNU/Linux was like that, not what I was expecting based on first impressions.
My first glance at the Parsix website showed a project with a clean, pleasant layout. The site is easy to navigate and manages to present an attractive design without clutter. The Parsix distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit editions and the DVD ISO files are a little under 1 GB in size. For my trial with Parsix, version 3.7, I opted to download the 32-bit edition.
Parsix is based on Debian GNU/Linux, specifically the Testing branch of Debian. That being said, Parsix users don't feed directly off the Debian repositories. The project maintains its own software repositories, allowing the developers to review packages and provide updates independently of upstream. We'll talk more about packages later.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7 - trying out applications
(full image size: 478kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Booting off the Parsix DVD brings up a GNOME 2 desktop, featuring a menu bar across the top of the screen and a task switcher along the bottom. There are a few icons on the desktop for browsing the file system and launching the system installer. Compiz Fusion is running, though with most eye candy features disabled by default. The background is a colourful image of space and the windows feature brown borders, bringing to mind themes of Ubuntu past.
The system installer is a fairly simple beast and it didn't promote confidence. The graphical installer begins by warning users that it is still under development and might not be reliable. Then we're told we need to manually create a 3 GB (or larger) partition on which to install Parsix and create swap space. GParted is then launched and we're left to divide up the disk ourselves. Post-partitioning we're given the choice of performing an upgrade from a previous Parsix install or we can perform a clean install of the current version. We're asked where we'd like to install Parsix and what file system we'd like to use on the root partition -- the ext3, ext4, JFS and ReiserFS file systems are supported. We then go through a series of prompts which ask us for our name, username and password and we're asked to set an administrator password. The last two steps are to set a hostname and choose where to install the boot loader. The installer has a simple format and generally prompts us to type in one response per screen. In the end my install completed cleanly and I was able to boot into my local copy of Parsix.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7 - changing the settings
(full image size: 592kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
My first impression of Parsix was that it sticks close to its Debian roots. The desktop is light and responsive, features are generally left off by default and the workspace is uncluttered. The desktop feels pleasantly calm in contrast to some other modern desktops. Not that the system is bare, there's a wide variety of software available in the default install. Featured in the application menu we find the Iceweasel web browser, version 5, the Transmission BitTorrent client, XChat and Empathy. There's a dial-up network app, FTP client and the Firestarter firewall configuration utility. OpenOffice.org 3.2.1 is included, as is Evolution and Gwibber. The Grisbi accounting program is available along with a selection of GNOME games. There's a disc burner, a CD ripper and the VLC media player.
There are two dictionary tools, one of which displays definitions in a language I don't recognize (perhaps Farsi?). The htop and System Monitor programs are included, as is VirtualBox. We also find GParted in the menu and configuration tools for handling the network, printing, background services and user accounts. There's an app for managing Windows wireless drivers and a security editor for disabling GNOME features. For media lovers Parsix plays most video and audio formats out of the box. The Flash web browser plugin is included as is Java. For developers the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is installed and Parsix comes with the 2.6.37 version of the Linux kernel. (Being based on Debian Testing, the version numbers of packages may advance with time.)
Managing software on Parsix is pretty straightforward. There's an update application which should be familiar to Ubuntu and Fedora users. Available updates are displayed in a list and users can check or un-check which items to install. It's a smooth process and the update app is well laid out. For adding and removing applications Parsix includes the Synaptic package manager. The venerable program does a good job of showing us what packages are available and makes it easy to install or remove software from the system. I'm not crazy about Synaptic's interface, but I can't fault its ability to perform its function.
Parsix GNU/Linux 3.7 - checking for updates
(full image size: 366kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Parsix managed the hardware of both of my test machines very well. I ran the distribution on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) and a generic desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card). All of my hardware was properly detected and utilized. Wireless networking was available with a single click, audio was set at a medium level and my desktop was set to the maximum possible resolution. By default Parsix disables taps as clicks on touchpads, but the option to enable this feature is available (and easy to find) through the mouse configuration app. When running in a virtual environment I found Parsix could boot and run with 128 MB of RAM, though performance started to slowly drop off when memory was set below 512 MB.
When I first fired up the live DVD my impression of Parsix was that of yet another Debian derivative and, to make matters worse, one with an out-dated Ubuntu theme -- not the most flattering of first impressions. The installer didn't exactly do anything to improve my view. However, post-install, Parsix really delivered. It's responsive, it's very light on resources and it comes bundled with a wide array of good applications. The developers have generally stuck to one application per task and it gives the user a lot of functionality without over-stuffing the menu. The distribution has its own repositories so, while it is based on Debian's Testing branch, Parsix users have a small buffer between themselves and upstream. The Debian repository is included in the APT source list, but is commented out by default, so users wishing to get closer to the upstream project need only to uncomment the entry.
Parsix does a good job of polishing up Debian Testing for end users without gumming up the system with extras. Hardware, codecs and Flash all worked right from the start and I encountered no series problems with the distribution. Though the installer is still in development, the rest of the distro is about as close as we can get to "just works". Parsix provides a good modern desktop experience without frills or fuss and my week with the distro was pleasantly uneventful.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
OpenBSD opens 5.0 pre-orders, openSUSE switches to beta testing, Ubuntu board leader suggests monthly release process, interview with Debian's Enrico Zini
The upcoming release of OpenBSD 5.0, scheduled for 1 November 2011, is starting to take shape, with the new OpenBSD 5.0 page now live with all the glory technical details. As the tradition dictates, a new song was also unveiled last week, while the pre-orders page is now ready for our patronage as well. This financial support is particularly important for the free software project which makes its flagship product available as a gratis download. Theo de Raadt, the OpenBSD founder and project leader makes this clear in a message on the openbsd-misc mailing list: "Please keep in mind that donations and CD, T-shirt and poster sales, done twice a year, are crucial to the continuation of the project. It may seem strange to keep selling such out-dated types of items and expecting it to keep the project afloat, but so it goes. As collector items they do pay expenses around here. Besides donations done along with a CD or T-shirt purchase, there are a few other options for donations and described here. Thanks for continuing to let us make OpenBSD." The good news for those who order the official CD sets is that they usually arrive several weeks before the formal release and before the new ISO images show up on the project's FTP server.
* * * * *
Another free software project busily finalising its forthcoming release is openSUSE. A slight modification to the development process was announced last week - instead of milestone 6, the next development snapshot will be named "beta" - in order to attract more testers. Jos Poortvliet explains: "Starting about six weeks after the first release, six monthly milestones followed by two release candidates are published for testing. From the sixth milestone onwards only major, critical and blocker bug fixes are allowed and localization testing commences. Most other projects refer to this stage as 'beta testing' and the release team of openSUSE has decided to follow this naming from now on. Release team coordinator Stephan Kulow notes: 'The sixth milestone has sometimes gotten less testing than it deserved. We want to ensure the quality and stability of openSUSE and give users the best experience as possible. We need help from the wider community to find and fix the bugs in this release and this beta is the perfect opportunity to help out!'" The beta release of openSUSE 12.1 is scheduled to arrive on 22 September 2011.
* * * * *
In these days of continuous software development that takes place over the Internet, a fixed-schedule production of free operating systems is increasingly viewed as an outdated concept. The latest project that has stirred the discussion boards with an idea of more frequent releases is Ubuntu. Or to put it more precisely, Scott James Remnant, the Ubuntu technical board leader, has written a long blog post attempting to justify a monthly release mechanism for the Ubuntu distribution: "My proposal is a radical change to the Ubuntu release process, but surprisingly it would take very little technical effort to implement because all the pieces are already there including the work on performing automated functional and verification tests. I believe it solves the problem of landing unstable features before they're ready, because it almost entirely removes releases as a thing. As a developer you simply work in a PPA until you'll pass review, and land a stable feature that can replace what was there before. It solves the need for occasional stabilization and bug-fixing releases because the main series is always stable and can receive bug-fixes easily separate to any development work going on." Read also the 100+ comments that follow the above-mentioned blog post, then head for this Slashdot post for more interesting opinions on the subject.
* * * * *
Finally, a quick link to an interview with Debian GNU/Linux developer Enrico Zini: "Q: If you could spend all your time on Debian, what would you work on? A: If I could spend all my time on Debian, I would do a lot of software development: I love doing software development, but most of my development energy is spent on my paid work. I guess I would start my 'all your time in Debian' by taking better care of the things that I'm already doing, and by promoting them better so that I wouldn't end up being the only person maintaining them. After that, however, I reckon that I do have a tendency of noticing new, interesting problems in need(?) of a solution, and I guess I would end up wildly experimenting new ideas in Debian much like a mad Victorian scientist. Which reminds me that I most definitely need minions! Where can I find minions?" Read the rest of the interview to find out more about Enrico Zini's involvement with the New Maintainer process and about his plans and ideas for the upcoming release of Debian GNU/Linux, code name "Wheezy".
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Working with media files on command line
Occasionally I get into discussions about the role of the command line and whether it still has a place in modern operating systems. Some people are put off by short, cryptic commands and prefer the ability to explore an interface and I can't deny that's a great strength of GUIs. A properly designed graphical interface doesn't require memorization or detailed manual pages, a good design and detailed tool tips will go a long way. But my introduction to computers, and to most operating systems, has been by way of command lines and they hold a special place in my heart. Which brings me to this week's topic. A little while ago someone claimed command lines weren't up to the challenge of dealing with media. After all, we can't watch movies or edit images on the command line, right?
Well, the truth is, we can. It may not be pretty, it may not be intuitive, but the command line can be used to deal with audio, image and video formats. Here are some quick tips for working with media and with files on the Linux command line.
Let's cover watching video files first. Media players like MPlayer and VLC allow us to select different types of output, this includes converting the image we see into motion picture ASCII art. You can see the effect by running either of these commands:
mplayer -vo aa MovieName.avi
That's for the black and white version. We can also watch our text-based movies in colour:
vlc MovieName.avi -V aa
mplayer -vo caca MovieName.avi
This isn't going to make for a smooth, pleasant viewing experience. These commands are mostly for the "because we can" crowd.
vlc MovieName.avi -V caca
This next command is helpful for learning more about photos. Image files often contain extra pieces of data, such as when they were taken, what software has been used to edit them, what camera took the picture, whether or not a flash was used, etc. We can access this information using the exif command:
Likewise we can get information out of music files. The popular MP3 format includes data tags letting us know the genre, track number, song title, year of recording and other tid-bits. We can access these data using the mp3info command:
The mp3info command can also be used to modify existing tags. The easiest way to do so is with the interactive (-i) parameter. Running in interactive mode will bring up the track's information in a form and we can move between the fields and edit them.
mp3info -i music_file.mp3
The next item we'll look at isn't directly related to media files, but it is a function I find come in handy quite often. The following command searches through the current directory (and all sub-directories) and removes the spaces from file names.
find . -name "* *" -print | ( while read a; do b=$(echo $a | sed 's/ //g') ; mv -i "$a" "$b" ; done )
In the above example the find command locates all files with spaces in their names. We then assign the original name to the variable "a". We use the sed command to remove spaces from name "a" and assign the result (the file name without spaces) to variable "b". At the end of the line the move command (mv) renames each file. The "-i" flag after the mv command insures we don't over-write any existing files during the renaming process.
Many of us now have digital cameras and, if you're like me, the photos you get off the camera are usually larger than you need. Especially if you plan on e-mailing a dozen of them to family or friends. If you have a photo you'd like to resize, there is a suite of tools called ImageMagick which can help. Here we use the convert program (a part of the ImageMagick suite) to make an image's dimensions smaller by 50%.
convert original.jpg -resize 50% -quality 95 smaller.jpg
We can also go the other way and blow up an image, doubling its width and height.
convert original.jpg -resize 200% -quality 95 bigger.jpg
Besides resizing images, we can also rotate them. In the following example we rotate an image 30 degrees, then rotate it 90 degrees.
convert ships.jpg -rotate 30 tilt-ships.jpg
The above examples work well for one image, but what if we need to process a thousand images? For that we need a loop.
convert ships.jpg -background none -rotate 90 turn-ships.jpg
for i in *.jpg; do b=new-$(echo $i); convert "$i" -resize 50% -quality 100 -background none -rotate 90 "$b"; done
The above command looks for all the JPEG images in the current directory. It then resizes each image so its dimensions are half their original sizes. The resized version of the image is then saved with a new file name. For instance, if the original was called "family_photo1.jpg" then the new image will be "new-family_photo1.jpg". The above example also rotates each image 90 degrees, a useful option if you've been shooting photos with your camera turned on its side.
Next up we can use the convert command to make a banner. The banner will be an image file containing text. The following command makes a banner with the text "Happy Birthday" on it.
convert -background white -fill blue -font Courier -pointsize 32 label:'Happy Birthday' banner.jpg
Useful, but what if we want to make a sign using the contents of a text file? Then we can replace our label parameter that used quotes with the @ sign, followed by a filename. The following takes the contents of the message.txt file and places it in an image called banner.gif:
convert -background white -fill black -font Courier -pointsize 12 label:@message.txt banner.gif
There is a lot we can do with a line of text at the command prompt. The above are a few simple examples I have found useful when dealing with various types of media.
|Released Last Week
ArchBang Linux 2011.09
Willensky Aristide has announced the release of ArchBang Linux 2011.09, a lightweight desktop distribution featuring the Openbox window manager, based on Arch Linux: "ArchBang Linux 2011.09 is out in the wild! If you already have ArchBang running smoothly on your system, you don't need to get this release. Changes: Latest Linux kernel 3.0.4; new look with some wallpapers made by fans included; paccheck added; gucharmap added; ALSA replaced by OSS, tint2 replaced by ADeskBar; Xfburn replaced by Graveman; ARandR replaced by LXRandR; Foxit Reader replaced by Zathura; Volume Icon replaced by ossxmix; Gcalctool replaced by galculator; removed xcompmgr, tintwizard, gsimplecal, Aufs, HAL, DMENU, GKSu, nouveau drivers. Have fun and report bugs in the official bug thread!" Here is the complete release announcement.
Andrew Gillis has announced the release of VortexBox Linux 1.10, a Fedora-based distribution designed to turn an old computer into a music server: "It has been a while since we released a new version of VortexBox and there are a lot of small fixes and tweaks in this new version. There are the usual updates such as a new Linux kernel and SqueezeBox server 7.6.1. There are also a lot of small updates such as increased UPnP player support. VortexBox now supports the latest Samsung TVs and the BeoSound 5 from Bang & Olufsen. We added a lot of user-requested features such as a one click restore button in the USB backup manager. We also added faster MP3 mirroring at the request of VortexBox users. This version has been tested with new products from Sonos and Logitech, including the new Play:3, to ensure these devices are fully supported. VortexBox 1.10 supports the new VortexBox Orbiter, a fanless player that automatically finds your VortexBox." The release announcement.
Bodhi Linux 1.2.0
Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 1.2.0, an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the latest development build of the Enlightenment 17 desktop: "20,000 forum posts and over 100,000 downloads later the Bodhi team and I are proud to announce our second point release - Bodhi Linux 1.2.0. Current Bodhi users can easily update their system to this latest release. This release is largely for keeping packages up to date, so the following are the core system packages that have been updated for this release: Linux kernel 3.0, Enlightenment built from SVN on 2011-09-06, Midori 0.4.0. There is more to this release than just packages though. Our document team has been working furiously to improve our documentation, both on our Wiki and our locally installed pages. Our recently published 'Bodhi Guide to Enlightenment' is also now stored locally for offline use in the Midori web browser." See the full release announcement for more information.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Proxmox. Proxmox is a commercial company offering specialised products based on Debian GNU/Linux, notably Proxmox Virtual Environment and Proxmox Mail Gateway. Proxmox Virtual Environment is an open-source virtualization platform for running virtual appliances and virtual machines. Proxmox Mail Gateway is a mail gateway with anti-spam and anti-virus features. The products are offered as free downloads with paid-for support and subscription options.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 19 September 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Parsix (by Solo on 2011-09-12 10:23:17 GMT from United Kingdom) |
Many years since this one last tested, but liked it then. As a non-Gnome user, could Jesse offer any advice on how alternative desktops run on it. Should be possible to run Xfce/LXDE for example, but are they already packaged? Might be useful in future if testers could provide this kind of info in reviews - save a lot of folks a lot of time!
2 • New OpenIndiana release this week! (by Jepp on 2011-09-12 10:50:20 GMT from Denmark)
You are missing the news that a new OpenIndiana release is scheduled to come out on Wednesday. It contains a lot of improvements which is covered in the following blog post: http://alasdairrr.tumblr.com/post/10055702323/oi-151a-due
3 • Alt desktops (by Jesse on 2011-09-12 11:21:24 GMT from Canada)
>> "As a non-Gnome user, could Jesse offer any advice on how alternative desktops run on it. Should be possible to run Xfce/LXDE for example, but are they already packaged?"
Parsix has, I think, all of the packages from Debian Testing in their repositories. This includes alternative desktops, such as LXDE, Xfce and KDE. As I pointed out in the review, if something is missing, Parsix can pull packages down from Debian's Testing branch so there is no shortage of software, including desktops.
4 • Parsix (by mazidul on 2011-09-12 12:13:17 GMT from Malaysia)
Hi Jesse, you have missing one point. Parsix installer offer upgrade from old version to new version. I like Parsix with basic Gnome without mono, elementry, pluseaudio.
5 • Media files on the CLI (by cliner on 2011-09-12 12:55:37 GMT from United States)
A shorter command to remove spaces in file names (in the current directory in this case):
for i in ./*; do mv "$i" `echo $i | tr ' ' '_'`; done
A function to convert images:
for i in ./*.jpg ; do convert $i -resize $1 $1/$i ; done
$ cam2m 800x600
will create a directory called 800x600 in the current one, resize all images to 800x600 and put them in 800x600/ preserving original names.
6 • Installer and scripts (by Jesse on 2011-09-12 13:14:44 GMT from Canada)
>> "Hi Jesse, you have missing one point. Parsix installer offer upgrade from old version to new version. "
I covered that in the review when I said:
"Post-partitioning we're given the choice of performing an upgrade from a previous Parsix install or we can perform a clean install of the current version."
Thanks for showing another way to perform these tasks. That is one thing I like about the command line, different ways of tackling problems.
7 • Thanks guys (by sargon on 2011-09-12 13:27:44 GMT from United States)
Yet another useful weekly brief.
thanks also Jepp for the heads-up on OI;
I was intrigued enough to try 'BlackBox' from week 36 new releases, and was rather impressed;
Stay well and keep up the fine work!
8 • Parsix (by Solo on 2011-09-12 13:38:56 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thanks, Jesse. The CD .iso s are available, too. Great news for your southern neighbours in the stix on DUN !
9 • Desktop Environments (by Deeon on 2011-09-12 14:39:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
Lately, its hard to find a laptop less than with Intel i3 processor, so why should people want DEs that work for older comps? KDE works quite well with so much processor power.
10 • Re: Desktop Environments (by Caleuche on 2011-09-12 15:02:48 GMT from United States)
- Some people don't have the budget for a brand-new computer
- Some people are using netbooks
- Some people are ecologically minded, and prefer to use a computer until it stops working
- Some people prefer to stick with hardware that they know is reliable, even if it's "obsolete"
Also you have institutions that may be stuck with older hardware for various reasons, and need up-to-date applications.
11 • Re: Re: Desktop Environments (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2011-09-12 15:51:24 GMT from Belgium)
- Some people use the computer for working (yep, no kidding) and when you use resource-intensive applications or you do heavy number-crunching, you need every bit of your RAM memory and every hertz of your CPUs and GPUs to be available for the calculations rather than being wasted in funny desktop effects, applets, etc.
12 • Re: Desktop Environments (by Ralph on 2011-09-12 15:58:41 GMT from United States)
It's amazing that something so obvious needs so be restated. There's lots of older equipment that is perfectly useful and functional. What's more amazing is that anyone is producing a desktop environment that isn't capable of functioning without graphic hardware acceleration.
13 • Parsix & DE s (by Solo on 2011-09-12 16:08:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
Should've mentioned:- the CD s are CLI only; ideal for giving some of Jesse's tips, above, a spin. Don't believe that Deeon's view accurately reflects opinions in my country. Most would probably concur with Caleuche? A Propos Parsix, it is sometimes worrying that distro language selection is limited to 'US'. Of course we can manage with Mr Websters' version, but it's all a bit chicken-and-egg!
14 • Re: Desktop Environments (by davecs on 2011-09-12 16:16:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
The beauty of Linux is that you can choose from many desktop environments, or, of course, none - just a text screen. I would recommend PCLinuxOS LXDE edition because:
1 - It's fast - both because of the lightweight environment, and the bfs scheduler in the kernel.
2 - You can make it look fairly decent without 3D effects, adding a package to make Qt windows impersonate GTK.
3 - Stuff like gnome-power-manager and acme can be added without significant gnome overheads, which makes it ideal for laptops and netbooks.
On my netbook, I've got it looking rather like KDE3, but without any significant bloat.
15 • Command Line stuff (by pearson on 2011-09-12 16:17:15 GMT from United States)
Thanks for reminding folks about the power of the command line.
The imagemagick commands you provide can be very useful for making thumbnails and adding watermarks, I've done both.
Also, once i messed up and scanned in a bunch of pictures in too high of a resolution. My computer at the time had so little RAM and vidio RAM that it would take 10 minutes to open 1 picture. So, I logged out of X and used ImageMagick from the command line to resize the pictures to something smaller. They were suddenly usable again.
Another advantage of command line utilities is automation (not necessarily something a typical home user would want). If it has a command line, then it can be put into a cron job or started by a mail filter, etc.
16 • Re: Desktop Environments (by Gustavo on 2011-09-12 16:32:52 GMT from Brazil)
- even on a powerful CPU a fast desktop will always be faster than other desktops.
17 • Re: Desktop Environments (by temperage on 2011-09-12 17:01:33 GMT from United States)
Here is another one to add under "Ecologically minded"
- Being able to use a low watt computer. For example if you are running Debian on a 1.2Ghz 5Watt GuruPlug or 720 MHz 2Watt BeagleBoard, you would not want to even try the latest-greatest GUI's. You will want something that gets the job done, plus you are saving on electricity.
18 • Typo in Parsix review (by AliasMarlowe on 2011-09-12 17:25:53 GMT from Finland)
I think the "gnsbi" package you refer to should actually be "grisbi".
19 • Grisbi (by Jesse on 2011-09-12 17:37:06 GMT from Canada)
Yes, you are correct. In my application list there is a typo. The proper spelling appears in the screen shot above. Sorry about that.
Did anyone else read the proposed Ubuntu release piece and think it sounds like this guy wants to introduce stable, testing and unstable branches of Ubuntu?
20 • exif (by Xiao-Long Chen on 2011-09-12 17:45:17 GMT from United States)
I just wanted to let you know that on some distributions, the command "exif" is called "exiv" or "exiv2" (with a 'v').
21 • @Desktop Environments (by Gnobuddy on 2011-09-12 18:05:46 GMT from United States)
- even on a powerful CPU a fast desktop will always be faster than other desktops.
Precisely. An extra second of lag time on every mouse-click adds up to hours of wasted time every week waiting for your laggy desktop. Not only is your life being wasted waiting for windows to render and pixels to flash, the user experience is less pleasant too. Some of us find laggy software really annoying.
Laggy software is one of those things that are more acceptable to people who've grown up disconnected from the real world and immersed in the digital one. When you take a step, toss a pebble, or snap a twig, the object reacts with no perceptible lag to the forces you apply. People pay premium prices for sports cars which respond to driver inputs with less lag than your typical family sedan. Only in the fake digital world do things respond seconds after you attempt to manipulate them.
I still run the KDE 3.5.x desktop on my most powerful computers, via the Trinity Project. IMO KDE 3.5.10 is and was the best PC desktop I've used, on any operating system. Current versions of Gnome and KDE are miles behind in every way except bling, flash, and glitter, which are useless to me.
22 • OpenSuse Beta Milestone (by Bob on 2011-09-12 18:10:01 GMT from Austria)
Regardless whether they'll call it Beta or Milestone 6, my last hope for a useful future distro hangs during booting and shows me a blinking text cursor. Reset is the only solution but this does not leave me a clue what's wrong with the live CD ...
23 • @22 (by Gnobuddy on 2011-09-12 18:48:09 GMT from United States)
I have not had good experiences with OpenSUSE in recent years, either. Back in the days when it was just SUSE it used to be horribly slow, but rock solid. Lately whenever I've tried it, it's been much faster, but quite flaky.
I gotta ask, why is OpenSUSE your last hope for a future distro? None of the others works for you? (Ubuntu minimal + Trinity Desktop Project is what I've been using since the KDE 4.x and Gnome 3.x disasters were unleashed on us Linux users.)
Trinity Desktop is a fork/continuation of the old KDE 3.5.x desktop:
24 • Ubuntu, as a home (by Bill on 2011-09-12 19:10:51 GMT from United States)
I have been using Ubuntu since it began. It has been consistently useable and has looked like a well-managed house, with no more furnishings than necessary, and the space to add more, if need be. The decor was simple, elegant, its logo even memorializes the connectedness of all humans.
I feel disconnected now. No, not angry, not cheated, nothing so dramatic. I just no longer have an interest in the house that is being built to be the new Ubuntu.
My complaints are similar to others I've read, but my impression -- using the metaphor of the dwelling -- is this: Ubuntu now looks like a kitschy old apartment that smells of burnt toast, and has stained potholders hanging at the most visible locations. No wallpaper goes well with potholders.
"Under the hood," to mix a the metaphor, I'm sure it will be a Porsche. But, as it stands now, I'll be switching to XFCE, because this year's Ubuntu is a dreadful Volkswagen hippie van.
In a manner of speaking.
Having written all that, I want you to know I absolutely love DistroWatch, I think Linux should win a Nobel Peace Prize, and, yes, my XFCE will be "my" Ubuntu.
P.S.: As for the well-worn Twain admonition, glaring at one as one writes a comment, intended, I'm sure, to evoke caution, I find it ironic that, if Twain had taken his own advice, we'd never have been able to read his wise and funny stuff.
25 • Ubuntu fast release. (by Anonymous Coward on 2011-09-12 20:15:31 GMT from Spain)
Did anyone else read the proposed Ubuntu release piece and think it sounds like this guy wants to introduce stable, testing and unstable branches of Ubuntu?
I was not going to talk about this, because I could have been regarded as a troll, but since you ask...
I think Canonical has no resources to make short cycle releases. It has almost no resources to do proper seven months releases properly, so imagine what would happen if they tried to do weird things.
If they did adopted this model, it would be more because of marketing reasons than because of technical reasons.
26 • Bodhi & Enlightenment (by Leo on 2011-09-12 20:36:30 GMT from United States)
Over the weekend, I test-drove the latest Bodhi. I was in the search for an ultra light, bare bones, but slick and functional distro for my dying eeepc-701. What a great surprise!
There are profiles and themes to make customization a snap. It looks great, works great, and uses very little in terms of resources. So, for the first time in about 5 years, one of my computers will run something else than Kubuntu. And this is my eeepc.
Cons? It’s still a small (one person?) development effort. No 64 bit. The shutdown process writes garbage on the screen. It is not as intuitive or slick as KDE-4 IMHO. But it doesn’t have undesired (by me) technologies such as akonadi and nepomuk in KDE, so it is a balancing act. Overall, I still prefer KDE/Kubuntu except in limited hardware. But I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point I switch to an Enlightenment distro
As an aside, I think Bodhi Linux would benefit enormously from inclusion in Ubuntu. Some sort of Ebuntu. With Ebuntu-core, Ebuntu-desktop and other standard metapackages
Anyways, great work, Jeff + Bodhi + Enlightenment teams. And thank you so much for the outstanding work!
27 • Ubuntu Monthly release (by nemo on 2011-09-12 20:39:09 GMT from United States)
You can get a daily build right now so what's the big deal?
If the cook wants to cook daily, monthly, or whatever, let him cook.
Whether the freeloader wants to eat or not doesn't matter.
28 • re. 26 (by Solo on 2011-09-12 21:03:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
...but Bodhi now has an ARM .img and that's where the future lies!
29 • Does FreeBSD 9.0 BETA 2 have texlive? (by bsduser on 2011-09-12 22:26:02 GMT from United States)
Anyone know if FreeBSD 9.0 BETA 2 have texlive?
if it does not, then we can conclude that teteX still is the king :)
Thanks if know the answer.
30 • Ubuntu Monthly Release (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2011-09-12 23:09:32 GMT from United States)
Something like a monthly cycle might work well for variants like Kubuntu (what I use). Since KDE SC is cuurntly on a 6-month cycle (where a new KDE release comes 2 months prior to the next Kubuntu) with monthly bug-fix releases in between; it would make perfect sense for them (and any of the thousand derivatives out there).
31 • TexLive on FreeBSD (by Jesse on 2011-09-12 23:22:41 GMT from Canada)
>> "Anyone know if FreeBSD 9.0 BETA 2 have texlive?"
Officially I don't think texlive is in FreeBSD's port tree. However, there is a freebsd-texlive project. They have instructions for installing ports and packages of texlive here: http://code.google.com/p/freebsd-texlive/ and http://code.google.com/p/freebsd-texlive/wiki/Installing
32 • Re. 26/Bodhi (by Jeff Hoogland on 2011-09-13 00:54:33 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the kind words! The longer you use something the more "intuitive" it becomes.
Just as a note though, while I am the main driving developer for Bodhi we have a number of people on our team: http://bodhilinux.com/team.php
33 • @31 (by bsduser on 2011-09-13 02:01:30 GMT from United States)
I knew about that project by Romain T. He has done an exceptional job. According to the google texlive code page, the texlive port is now in official FreeBSD ports. I use 8.2 version, and have installed texlive from DVD successfully. Still some things don't work as well as they should like xdvi; complains that it is missing some #%#$#$#.so file. If I use teTeX, it works fine, but there are many files that are not present. I have read somewhere that an official texlive port was coming and was hoping that it was true. I will download BETA-2 and see if it* is there and report back. Thanks Jesse for answering.
34 • Intel VGA Driver (by azzorcist on 2011-09-13 03:36:10 GMT from Indonesia)
@ Mr. Jesse: You seem to always do well with your Intel graphic card while I always stuck with the black screen problem. May I know what you did? Any configurations? Btw, mine is 4500MHD.
35 • Interview with Parsix developer (by eco2geek on 2011-09-13 05:56:15 GMT from United States)
You may be interested in revisiting DWW from January 23, 2006, in which Parsix's Iranian developer, Alan Baghumian, was interviewed:
36 • @23 (by Bob on 2011-09-13 08:05:20 GMT from Austria)
Thanks for your suggestions. I was referring to openSuse more or less jokingly as my "last hope" because up to now I've had mostly positive experience with it. The selection of user repositories is great and openSuse never broke after updates as opposed to Arch, Mandriva, etc.
I don't like where Gnome and/or Ubuntu are heading. Kubuntu is inferior to Ubuntu. Xubuntu works but I don't like it too much. Lubuntu will need some more time. Fedora never worked properly on my hardware. From all other distros I've tried Pardus seems to be the most polished one. But a government sponsored distro which defaults to turkish language makes me somewhat uneasy.
Good to see you using the term "KDE4/Gnome3 disaster" because that's exactly what it is ...
37 • about Bodhi (by meanpt on 2011-09-13 09:17:30 GMT from Portugal)
My congratulation to Bodhi and the team, through jeff hoogland, the main developer and founder.
Bodhi is more than just a buntu. It's a LTS with mainstream and not so main stream applications backported to 10.04.
It installs applications from an online "software center", using one of the two browsers assigned to that task - firefox or midori, refreshing the repositories before any installation.
Bodhi is more than a "just works" distro: it just works really fast, with system's resources prioritized for applications.
Bodhi looks great. Period.
38 • spinning Enlightenment (by gnomic on 2011-09-13 10:02:40 GMT from New Zealand)
For those who might condescend to use Puppy or one of its derivative versions and are also crazy enough to use Enlightenment there is Dpup Exprimo.
OK I was joking about Enlightenment, it maybe seems to be near stable enough to be taken semi-seriously. (Call me sceptical, but there was the phase of some years when development seemed close to inert, and I found out what the term segv means . . . .).
Did I forget to mention the Macpup?
39 • Intel card (by Jesse on 2011-09-13 12:07:40 GMT from Canada)
>> "Mr. Jesse: You seem to always do well with your Intel graphic card while I always stuck with the black screen problem. May I know what you did? Any configurations?"
Honestly I don't do anything special to get the card to work. My laptop just has an Intel card which works well with Linux. Next week's Q&A will probably deal with Intel cards. It might be helpful for you.
40 • Re: 39 Intel Card (by Leo on 2011-09-13 12:57:47 GMT from United States)
Same here. I have 1 laptop (dell) and 2 netbooks (1 dell, one asus) with Intel graphics. They have all been running Ubuntu for ages. There was one release a couple years back with poor acceleration, but a workaround was posted, and that was about it.
41 • More on Bodhi (by Leo on 2011-09-13 15:03:15 GMT from United States)
@32: Thanks Jeff for the info, it is indeed a growing team
@28: ARM is obviously great for embedded. But multicore 64 bit is widespread now for laptops, servers and desktops. In particular, 64 bit builds will make things even faster
@37, meanpt: I didn't realize about the web apps. I will try that. I agree it looks beautiful (KDE4 has an edge IMHO, but this is a very relative statement)
@38, gnomic: I had the same feeling. I think Enlightenment takes a bit of elbow grease to set up. Bodhi does a great job, give it a swirl!
42 • RE: Ubuntu release cycle. (by Eddie on 2011-09-13 16:08:55 GMT from United States)
This is more like a rolling release program then anything else. Resources will be no problem because this release program will free up resources. It could work well. With Unity not being a disaster like some people think this could very well push a Linux distro more into the mainstream.
43 • Ubuntu & Working with media files on command line (by Vukota on 2011-09-14 02:42:03 GMT from United States)
One of the reasons why I didn't like much Ubuntu in the past was because it was not stable/polished enough. If they switch to rolling releases, I'll stay away from it 100%, unless I need live DVD which I do not expect to upgrade.
About media files, its easy to manipulate images and there are good GUI apps (as well), but manipulating movies, that is hard and lot of GUI (and even command line) applications are sluggish at best. So my next suggestion would be to expand this part of the topic, like
- rotating movie
- resizing movie (bytes, quality, bit rate, width, height, adding or removing black bars)
- cutting particular part of the movie
- changing brightness of the part of the movie
- synchronizing sound and video in the movie
44 • Re: Re: Desktop Environments (by Vukota on 2011-09-14 02:56:19 GMT from United States)
I agree with poster #1 and am very interested in every distro if they have polished good looking/working light weight desktop environment. I usually never skip to try it, but usually always get disappointed. Last pleasant surprise for me was PCLinuxOS LXDE.
This is usually more important for a live DVD/CD/USB, and older or less powerful hardware. But whatever today is new, tomorrow will be old, so today or tomorrow everyone will be interested more in this (unless you can afford yourself to throw money away or are lucky that someone else can do it for you).
45 • bodhi, archbang, etc (by Julian on 2011-09-14 03:43:48 GMT from United States)
Love that bodhi and archbang are getting a lot of attention. They bring exciting new things to the linux world in a way that the new "standard" desktops for fedora/ubuntu do not.
Having used bodhi and archbang, each as my main distro for a number of weeks, I am convinced that they bring new technological possibilities to us.
We linux fans like shiny new things, but ultimately we also want the OS to just do its thing (run apps) and get out of the way -- so i'm not surprised at the so-so reactions to gnome3 & Unity, while people are having a lot of fun (maybe not getting a lot of work done yet) on bodhi, archbang, and the like.
long live free choice.
46 • Ubuntu release (by Shaśvatthḥ on 2011-09-14 18:20:42 GMT from India)
Yes Jesse, seems like he is proposing the Debian style of development. Though, from the article its hard to figure out, if proposed release process is emphasizing more about code maturity or about better development of new features (ubuntu specific tools).
In case of whole release, IMHO effectiveness of such process has to be proved by some "pilot project". Success of the same process in Debian is because of its "release when ready" approach. In Ubuntu's "mostly paid" development and short release time (and thus development time) it might not work-out with the same success of Debian.
However, if such process is incorporated for new feature (tools) development then it could show better results. May be new features/tools can be developed separately (something like alioth facility in Debian) and then can be incorporated in the main release. That way developers get needed time, testing and better cooperation from the community.
47 • Debian style release system. (by Eddie on 2011-09-14 18:59:53 GMT from United States)
After reading a little more on the matter it does seem more like adopting a Debian release style system. It has worked great for Debian and with the resources of Canonical it could very well work if done properly. I can't make any judgments until we see how it works out, if it really happens.
48 • OpenIndiana (by Geekboula on 2011-09-14 21:26:34 GMT from Canada)
Great news Openindiana is out ! Work perfectly on my netbook Acer with only basic hardware AMD graphic card x1280 2go ram This version 151 is more fast and reactive of 148
But LiveCD doesn't boot on my Desktop Quadcore AMD motherb chipset 790FX
Good Job team OpenIndiana !
49 • booting OpenIndiana (by Ralph on 2011-09-14 22:31:30 GMT from Canada)
@48 - did you use the live DVD for installation on your netbook Acer or some other method?
50 • Openindiana (by Geekboula on 2011-09-15 00:36:46 GMT from Canada)
Yes I use a LiveDVD for the Netbook 11.6 screen size.
51 • Bodhi/Enlightenment (by wolfizzi on 2011-09-15 06:32:36 GMT from United States)
A few years ago, I also had some buggy problems with E-17, even though I thought it looked really cool. After trying Bodhi, I can verify that it is much closer to stable now. Bodhi has gone to the trouble to configure E-17 the way you would if you had the time. Enlightenment is truly amazing in that it is beautiful, yet still lightning fast. If you want a fast distro that is infinitely configurable and can do eye candy without a major slowdown, you owe it to yourself to try Bodhi. And please, read the "Bodhi guide to Enlightenment" on the DVD version or on the website, so you get an idea of how to use Enlightenment. E-17 is a little different than you are used to, so educate yourself and your mileage will improve dramatically.
52 • @23 openSUSE/KDE 3.5.x (by cba on 2011-09-15 19:17:44 GMT from Germany)
There is a good news for KDE3 users:
H-online reports that in openSUSE 12.1 KDE 3.5 will once again be a part of the openSUSE main-OSS repo as a result of the dedicated work of various KDE3 community developers.
According to the packages that can be found in the openSUSE Factory repo, this KDE3 seems to be a more "classic" KDE 3.5.10 desktop based on qt-3.3.8b.
"In the desktop area, openSUSE users are in for a nostalgic treat: various enthusiasts from the developer community have joined forces to prepare KDE 3 packages for version 12.1 of the distribution. (...)"
53 • #29, 31 (by bsduser on 2011-09-16 01:38:49 GMT from United States)
As a followup I have successfully installed 9.0-BETA 2 amd64. I report that texlive is not* in FreeBSD ports tree as was/is documented on code - freebsd-texlive google page. TeTeX is the king and remains the tex distro. It is like this in slackware as well. One can install from texlive dvd the full scheme but some things might* not work xdvi did not in my case last time I tried complained about some missing *.so file. My best guess is to install both and use the path trick as regular user to use TeXLive in case I need it and install it from DVD. Might just try to see how I can fool the system and try to incoroporate the tree from romain google-freebsd-texlive page?
If there are any FreeBSD 9.0 BETA 2 users out there, X is not working just get a screen with colors no mouse nada zilch zero :( have installed xorg + xfce. Is xfce broken, or it just does not work?
Thanks for distrowatch. I appreciate the help.
54 • Lightweight desktop - Debian, of course! (by fernbap on 2011-09-16 23:58:35 GMT from Portugal)
What i'm currently using is Debian XFCE.
Installed Debian 6 from the install DVD, with XFCE.
Changed the repos to wheezy and sid
dist-upgrade gave me a XFCE desktop with the latest versions, working in around 100 MB ram.
Light, very fast.
55 • Re:53 (by Oko on 2011-09-19 03:07:08 GMT from United States)
teTeX is dead since 2005. You can check with Thomas Eckhardt if you do not trust me. There has been several attempts to port TeXLive since 2001 to FreeBSD but all have been successfully prevented by Hiroki Sato currently one of the core members. As somebody whose livelihood depends in part on using TeX I can attest that was one of the main reason for me personally to switch from FreeBSD to OpenBSD in 2007. Since then I have found very many other reasons never to look back. FreeBSD has nothing to offer to a savvy Unix user on the desktop and even less to 99.99% other so called "computer users". It is just enough to see pictures of FreeBSD developers with their new shiny Apple MacBook Pros from recent BSDcons to understand why. Speaking of OS X the recent switch from IPFW to PF is the best testament what industry thinks about FreeBSD. By the way, the version of PF that ships with OS X is far more up to date than the one that will be shipped with FreeBSD 9.0.
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