| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 431, 14 November 2011
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Red Hat's Fedora is without doubt one of the most influential and innovative Linux distributions on the market. Unfortunately, its reputation for not having a clear desktop strategy while strictly providing free and patent-unencumbered software in its repositories makes many desktop users shy away from this exciting operating system. Is the just-released version 16 more conducive to easy and trouble-free desktop computing? Read our first-look review to see what we think. In the news section, openSUSE prepares for the release of version 12.1 later this week, Ubuntu's Unity desktop receives more criticism from Linux media, and Linux Mint keeps impressing the journalists and bloggers around the Internet. Also in this issue, a link to an excellent interview with Fedora Project Leader Jarred Smith, more links to articles about two interesting alternative operating system options (FreeBSD and Solaris), a quick Questions and Answers section with tips for converting audio formats, and an introduction to Commodore OS Vision, a new Linux distribution that re-creates that classic Commodore look accompanied by effects and features found in any modern desktop operating system. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (25MB) and MP3 (35MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora turns sweet 16|
As the release date for Fedora 16 approached I found myself debating which edition to review. Both front-line editions, GNOME and KDE, would have their interesting points and their drawbacks. Caught between the two I put the question to you, the readers, and let the choice be settled by a vote. The responses came in quickly with a 3:1 ratio in favour of the GNOME edition. Some people asked for both, as I had done with the Ubuntu/Kubuntu release, but sadly I did not have time to review both editions this time around. In fact, this is more of a "first impressions" look at Fedora 16 than a full-bodied review as less than a week has passed between release day and this article being posted.
Before installing the latest copy of Fedora I recommend reading the release notes as there are some important tidbits in there. For example? GPT disk labels, which (in my case anyway) means an extra partition needs to be created on the hard drive at install time. Fedora has replaced the GRUB boot loader with GRUB 2, init scripts have been converted over from SysVInit to systemd and user ID numbers are now higher. A lot of low-level stuff is changing and it's going to be interesting to see how that turns out -- after all, systemd is supposed to be fast and the transition to GRUB 2 was rocky for some users on other distributions so there are compatibility issues to consider. Enough speculation! I burned the 605 MB ISO image to a CD and got down to work.
Booting from the live CD brings us to a GNOME 3 desktop. At the top of the screen are a menu button, clock and system tray. The wallpaper is a blue/gray scene which appears to show a jet-powered submarine tracking a school of fish near the ocean floor. We can investigate the GNOME desktop in detail later, for now let's look at the installer.
I've talked about the Anaconda installer before and not much has changed in the past few years. The graphical installer walks us through selecting our keyboard layout, selecting a hostname for the machine and setting the time zone. We're asked to create a password for the root account and then we get into partitioning. The last step is to answer whether we want to install a boot loader (GRUB 2 in this case) and where it should be installed. As usual the screens offer a simple description of what is required of us and most users should be able to navigate through with little problem. That being said, in recent years some cracks have appeared in Anaconda which suggest to me that the old girl isn't getting the attention she deserves. For instance, the partitioning section: it's powerful, giving us the option of using RAID, LVM or plain partitions. We can enable file system encryption with a single click and the layout is clean. It's one of the best partitioning screens I've seen in the Linux community.
However, this is also where we see some problems. For example, Fedora is still one of the only Linux distributions which do not allow the user to select the file system of their root partition. If we're manually partitioning and we don't create a small partition to handle GPT labels we get an odd error message saying we need to create a place for stage1 without any further explanation. (This is why it's a good idea to read the release notes before beginning an install.) A third issue with the partitioning screen is that the installer will move partition layouts around, seemingly at random. I found that if I created a few partitions and then deleted one, the rest would get shuffled into a different order. My last complaint wasn't a bug, just an annoyance. At the end of the install process Anaconda copies files to the local machine and we see a progress bar march across the screen. When it reached the end my machine sat and did nothing... for about fifteen minutes. I'd assumed the installer had frozen and was about to reboot when a window popped up saying the boot loader was being installed, which took about another five minutes. Again, not a bug, it's just slow and the progress bar is out of sync with what's happening behind the scenes.
Desktop and applications
The first time we boot into Fedora we're passed over to a first-run wizard which asks us to read the distribution's license, set the current system time and create a new user account. We're also given the option of authenticating users via other means, such as network-wide logins. The last step in the first-run wizard asks if we'd like to submit a hardware profile to the Fedora team. From there we're presented with a graphical login screen.
Fedora 16 - the Activities menu
(full image size: 715kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
When we log in we're brought to the GNOME 3.2 Shell. This environment presents us with a relatively empty desktop featuring a menu and system tray bar at the top of the display. Clicking on the button, labeled "Activities", brings up a large menu with quick-launch buttons to the left of the screen and a grid of mini preview windows. Clicking on one of these windows snaps us back to the desktop and brings the selected window to the front. When the Activities menu is displayed we're also shown virtual workspaces over to the right side of the screen. At the top of the Activities menu there's a button for switching from a view of preview windows to showing available applications.
Applications can be filtered based on their category by clicking icons on the right-hand side of the screen. We can also search for items by typing a name or description into a text box near the top of the display. The Activities menu appears to have replaced the traditional task switcher, which, I find, makes switching between windows, and seeing which windows are open, a slower process. If you've tried GNOME Shell before you're probably aware the environment does not include minimize or maximize buttons on window title bars. It's still possible to manage windows, but it has become a more roundabout process.
Back to the Activities menu, let's take a look at what applications are installed. Firefox 7 is included, as are the Empathy messenger client and the Evolution email program. The Transmission BitTorrent client is included along with the Cheese webcam tool. There's a document viewer, the Shotwell photo manager, a CD ripper and a disc burner. There's a small collection of GNOME games, the Orca screen reader and a virtual on-screen keyboard utility. Rhythmbox is included, as is the Totem multimedia player. Despite having these multimedia programs installed, Fedora does not come with codecs for handling video formats or MP3s. Moving on down the menu we find a text editor, calculator, archive manager and a simple backup utility. There is an automated bug reporter, which will keep track of crashed programs and assist the user in submitting bug reports.
GNOME 3 comes with a relatively small collection of tools for changing the look and feel of the desktop, it's apparently assumed the Shell is one-size-fits-all. Where Fedora stands out from the crowd is with its administrative programs. There's a SELinux trouble-shooter, a slick user account manager, a printer configuration tool and a firewall utility. I found it interesting to note that most network services, aside from SMTP, are disabled on Fedora and the firewall is enabled. However, the firewall does leave port 22 (usually reserved for secure shell) open even though secure shell is not running. Digging deeper into the list of available software I found neither Java nor Flash included. The free Flash alternative, Gnash, is available in the repositories, but is not installed by default. There aren't any developer tools, such as GCC, installed either. For some reason the developers seem to be unwilling to use the extra 95 MB of space on the live CD. In the background we find the 3.1 version of the Linux kernel.
Fedora 16 - running various applications
(full image size: 161kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Applications one might expect to find in a Linux distribution, such as multimedia codecs, aren't included in Fedora's repositories. To access these extras we can turn to the RPMFusion project. This project maintains repositories of software packages which, for one reason or another, are not eligible to be included in Fedora. Adding these repositories is as easy and clicking on a link on the RPMFusion website and refreshing the package manager. Doing this gives the user access to multimedia codecs, Flash and other items which may fall under patent or license restrictions. Even with these extra repositories installed (I enabled RPMFusion's free and non-free repositories), acquiring the proper codecs was still a manual process. I experimented with opening Totem and Rhythmbox and asking them to open multimedia files. Rhythmbox would simply display an error if asked to play MP3s. The Totem movie player would offer to search the repositories for codecs. Performing a search, even with non-free repositories added to the system, returned no results and codecs had to be found and installed manually.
On the subject of repositories, handling software packages got off to a rough start. Shortly after logging in I launched the update manager. It informed me that it was checking for updates, a progress bar appeared and crawled along to about its halfway point and stalled. After several minutes with no activity I closed the window and tried opening the Add/Remove Software application. This program too informed me that it was downloading group and package information. Then it too stalled and failed to respond. I found that dropping to a terminal and using the YUM command line program allowed me to update repository information and download updates. I was also able to add and remove applications.
However, returning once more to the graphical package manager resulted in the GUI freezing. I've only had a few days to use it, but so far I've found that any software management needs to be done via the command line. On day three of my trial I returned to the update application and asked it to install available updates. This it did and, upon completion, it popped up a dialog box to inform me all updates were successfully installed. I clicked OK, at which point the dialog popped-up again, and again, and again... Eventually the graphical update app closed or crashed. Fortunately, as far as command line programs go, YUM is quite good and I find its syntax intuitive and its output helpful.
While trying Fedora I ran the distribution on two physical 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). I also installed Fedora in a VirtualBox virtual machine. I was pleased to find that Fedora properly detected all of my hardware. Screen resolution was set to reasonable level and audio worked out of the box. I found that my touchpad didn't registered taps as clicks, but this was easily enabled through the configuration tools. My Intel wireless card was picked up without any problems. On the physical machines logging into my account would automatically bring up the GNOME Shell. Desktop responsiveness was about average while using the Shell. When logging into my account in the virtual environment Fedora would display a message saying that "GNOME 3 Failed to Load" and GNOME would start in fallback mode, which is fairly similar to a GNOME 2.x environment. Running in fallback mode I found that the desktop's performance was about on par with a standard GNOME 2 environment.
Systemd and GNOME Shell
There are two features included in Fedora I'd like to spend some time addressing. The first is systemd, the new init technology. Honestly, if it hadn't been mentioned in the release notes I probably wouldn't have noticed the init scripts had been converted. From the end user's point of view it doesn't seem to matter and I think that's a good sign. Getting the system up and running is important and this year we've seen Fedora transition from one init system to another seamlessly. That's the good news. The bad news is that, on my hardware at least, there doesn't appear to be any improvement in boot times. The Linux Mint "Debian" and Ubuntu releases, which I reviewed last month, went from boot menu to login screen faster, so I suspect that either more work is left to be done on systemd or the developers aren't getting the results they expected.
The second thing I'd like to address is GNOME 3, or more specifically, GNOME Shell. About six months ago I tried the initial GNOME 3 release (also on Fedora) and found it to be over simplified -- that is, simplified to the point where it took me noticeably longer to perform most tasks. At the time I had hoped the GNOME developers would listen to feedback and improve some of the limitations in the interface. Unfortunately this has not happened. The user still needs to jump through hoops to perform simple tasks. Turning off or rebooting the computer requires we hold down the ALT key while accessing the user menu. Opening a new application involves moving to the top-left of the screen, bringing up the menu and moving to the right side to filter down options or scrolling through pages of icons.
Paging between virtual desktops also requires moving back and forth across the entire screen. There's no taskbar so switching between windows involves either ALT-Tabbing through windows or another trip to the menu and back across the screen to the proper virtual desktop. Technically it all works, the code appears to be solid, but the design isn't suitable for laptop or desktop machines. It appears to be exclusively targeting tablets where the user would have their thumbs near the left and right sides of the interface. It's the only reason I can think of for making users constantly click items on the far side of the screen from where they were last working.
Fedora 16 - the GNOME 3 fallback mode
(full image size: 535kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Whenever a discussion about new desktop environments comes up there are always those who claim that people who don't like GNOME or Unity or KDE 4 are simply unwilling to change. I don't think that's the case here. I typically use a different desktop environment every week and usually find the transition to be smooth. I was able to get into the flow of KDE 4 after a few days, despite its rough edges. Unity, which I covered a few weeks ago, has its problems, but I found it easy to explore and its items are well placed. After half an hour I found myself getting along with Unity -- perhaps not to the point of liking Unity, but I was okay with using it for the week. However, GNOME Shell's design I find too inflexible and, to get anything done in a reasonable amount of time, it requires learning a list of shortcuts, which flies in the very face of having an explorable graphical interface. Thankfully it's possible to force GNOME 3 to use fallback mode, which makes using Fedora less work.
At this point I've only been using Fedora for about four days and some change, and I've been surprised at just how poor the experience has been. Anaconda, while still a descent installer, is losing ground to the competition and its slow performance and cryptic error messages aren't helping. Two weeks ago I was running Sabayon 7, which also uses Anaconda, and there the experience was noticeably better. The installation went faster and I was able to select my preferred root file system. If it works so well on Sabayon then why are these issues appearing in Fedora? GNOME Shell hasn't improved in the past six months and, at this point, I think it's fair to say from the responses (or lack of) we've seen from the developers that this is the way it's going to stay. GNOME Shell may be fine for touch screens and users who only want one window open at a time, but it's too cumbersome for desktop/laptop use.
Moving on, the graphical package manager usually stalls when I open it and when it does manage to finish starting up it's sluggish. Combine all this with Fedora's small collection of software and the requirement to add third-party repositories, such as RPMFusion, to get what most distributions consider normal functionality and I'm left with little choice but to recommend skipping this release. I've spent too much time this week fighting with the package manager, fighting with the desktop environment and hunting down software via the command line so I can use my computers; I'm looking forward to putting Fedora 16 behind me.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Interview with Fedora's Jarred Smith, openSUSE 12.1 feature round-up, Unity frustrations and Mint's rise, FreeBSD and Solaris as alternatives to Linux
The release of Fedora 16 was by far the biggest Linux event of the week. Using the occasion ThinkDigit's Nash David contacted Jarred Smith, the Fedora project leader, to ask him a few questions about the new release and upcoming plans. Asked about competition between popular Linux distributions, Smith views it as a healthy situation that gives users more freedom: "I don't see Ubuntu as the enemy out there. Ubuntu really has the same goal as us out there, and that is to use free software and make the world a better place. And so, Ubuntu, Fedora and many of the other distros out there are more like brothers and sisters rather than competitors. We can divide our own share of the pie, but, quite honestly, we're all interested in the rest of the pie than what we have as our share. I think it's very healthy to have different distributions, different preferences and different options. It gives people freedom! You know there is some healthy competition between Fedora, Ubuntu, openSUSE and some other distros, but instead of it being as Fedora vs Ubuntu vs openSUSE, it should be Fedora and the other distros vs the rest of the world. That's how we view it."
* * * * *
Another week and another major release; this time by openSUSE. The project's latest and greatest, version 12.1, has been hitting the download mirrors since Saturday and chances are that some of you are already running it on your computers, even though it will only be formally announced on Wednesday, 16 November. Jos Poortvliet, the openSUSE community manager, has published a few of his first impressions of the new release: "I myself have upgraded my laptop to openSUSE 12.1 RC2 now and I got to see the new Plasma Desktop. Overall, the difference between Tumbleweed and 12.1 are minimal. As expected, considering Tumbleweed (openSUSE's cool rolling release repository) was a hair away from 12.1, the biggest differences are probably artwork and of course Plasma 4.7 instead of 4.6..." There is a lot more though, including GNOME 3.2 as well as the latest Xfce and LXDE desktops, the new KolorManager with Oyranos colour management tools, Apper replacing PackageKit for software management, introduction of Google's Chromium 16, Fedora's systemd and Google's new programming language, Go. That's just a fraction of what's new in openSUSE 12.1, so check out the detailed release notes for further information, highlights and screenshots.
openSUSE 12.1 - the KDE edition with KDE 4.7.2
(full image size: 479kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Rarely a week goes by, it seems, without an author from a major publication feeling a need to vent his frustration with Ubuntu's default desktop. Last week it was the turn of ExtremeTech's Jason Kennedy who found the Unity user interface unsuitable for desktop computers: "Ubuntu took away most of the customization controls Linux users had grown accustomed to; one of the main reasons to use Linux at all over Microsoft or Apple. I was clicking where I wasn't used to clicking, and finding myself using the search functionality over shortcuts, which added steps and interrupted the flow of working. To me an operating system should be invisible; something that gets out of your way so you can do what you're supposed to be doing." Like many others, the author has realised that Unity is designed for touchscreens rather than the traditional computer monitors: "Suddenly it all clicked: Unity was the beta of a touch interface. In that form factor, it will probably work wonderfully. But I can't help but feel like Canonical misled its users. Unity isn't a user-willed push; it's a way for Ubuntu to branch into what's hot -- the mobile market. Business-wise, it's a secure move. As a user, though, I feel cheated, fooled. Disappointed."
* * * * *
Linux Mint's ascent to the top of DistroWatch's page hit ranking statistics has generated quite some interest in Linux media worldwide. Slashdot's "Linux Mint: the New Ubuntu?" generated over 600 comments, while Austria's Der Standard newspaper also noticed the change (article in German). Other publications reporting about Mint's rise included BeginLinux, Habrahabr (in Russian), Fayerwayer (in Spanish), Hungarian UNIX Portal (in Hungarian), Unixmen, Tecnoblog (in Portuguese), The Register, Osarena (in Greek), Xinmin (in Chinese), IDG (in Swedish), PYSN Noticias (in Spanish) and many other blogs and websites. But perhaps the most interesting among them was the post by the editor-in-chief of Brazil's largest Linux portal, BR-Linux.org. In "Ubuntu deixa o primeiro lugar no ranking do DistroWatch" (article in Portuguese), Augusto Campos writes: "My Ubuntu-using years are coming to an end. I'm obviously no longer the target user and I have an impression that the distribution has taken a conscious decision to serve a much larger audience, but to which I do not belong." The author feels that he is not alone in this assessment: "In the last 10 days, two teachers of my friends approached me for advice on Ubuntu alternatives to migrate their school's computer laboratories to - they simply felt that Ubuntu was no longer adequate."
* * * * *
Tired of the current wave of Linux distro wars? Then perhaps you should switch to something different. InfoWorld's Paul Venezia notes that FreeBSD is a free, fast, stable, feature-rich operating system and if you've never looked into it before, you should: "There used to be a saying -- at least I've said it many times -- that my workstations run Linux, my servers run FreeBSD. Sure, it's quicker to build a Linux box, do a 'yum install x y z' and toss it out into the wild as a fully functional server, but the extra time required to really get a FreeBSD box tuned will come back in spades through performance and stability metrics. You'll get more out of the hardware, be that virtual or physical, than you will on a generic Linux binary installation. (Note: yes, you can use pkg_add to add binary packages à la .deb and .rpm, but where's the fun in that?) ... Sadly, though, I don't expect to see FreeBSD making significant inroads against Linux or Windows. Aside from being UNIX-like, it's a very different beast from, say, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Linux administrators who have never touched a BSD box will find themselves in what may appear to be a fun-house-mirror OS where things are not quite as they seem; it can be frustrating to grok the concepts behind things like /etc/rc.conf and the ports collection."
* * * * *
And if not FreeBSD, why not the brand-new Solaris 11? It's apparently free to download and use for non-commercial purposes, plus it comes with a large number of interesting features, even on the desktop. Calum Benson, Interaction Designer in the Oracle Solaris desktop team, presents what's new on the Solaris 11 desktop: "Much has been written today about the enterprise and cloud features of Oracle Solaris 11, which was launched today, but what's new for those of us who just like to have the robustness and security of Solaris on our desktop machines? Here are a few of the Solaris 11 desktop highlights: GNOME 2.30 - the most stable version of GNOME ever released, and has many improvements over GNOME 2.6 as found in Solaris 10; updated Firefox 6.0.2 and Thunderbird 6.0.2; Compiz - Solaris 11 uses this compositing window manager by default, enhancing the desktop experience with judicious use of customizable effects such as translucency, drop shadows and transition animations; package manager - IPS is the new package management system in Solaris 11, and it has a full-featured GUI that allows you to quickly browse and install new packages, or perform a live update of your entire OS in a couple of clicks, safe in the knowledge that it can be rolled back to a previous version just as quickly in the event of any problems."
Oracle Solaris 11 - the first major release in nearly seven years
(full image size: 669kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Converting audio formats
A-rolling-audio-format-gathers-no-moss asks: How can I easily convert audio files (e.g. MP3 to OGG format)? Also, how can I take a video file and extract the audio?
DistroWatch answers: For converting from one audio format to another the easiest way to go is probably with the soundKonverter application. It supports converting multiple files from one format to another and can handle OGG, MP3, WMA and several other audio formats. It comes with sane defaults and a straightforward graphical interface, so for audio conversion I would start there. For people who might not want to go down the KDE road, there is a similar GNOME project, SoundConverter. Command line junkies will probably want to take a look at either the SoX program, which can convert, mix, play and concatenate audio files, or the ffmpeg program.
Let's look at two quick examples. Here we use SoX to convert audio from .wav to .ogg:
sox oldfile.wav newfile.ogg
And here we convert a file from .mp3 to .ogg:
ffmpeg -i original.mp3 newfile.ogg
Extracting sound from a video file is a different procedure. For that the easiest tool I've stumbled across is probably PiTiVi. Typically PiTiVi is used as a video editor, but it allows users to import just about any audio or video clip and export it to just about any other format. This includes importing a video and outputting the audio track. PiTiVi has a nice interface and an intuitive drag-n-drop method for moving around tracks. Once again, for fans of the command line, the FFmpeg program can handle pulling the audio track from a video clip. A simple example would be:
ffmpeg -i videofile.mp4 soundtrack.mp3
People attempting to make use of PiTiVi, soundKonverter or SoundConverter should be aware these applications use underlying software like GStreamer, MPlayer and FFmpeg to do their work. When trying to manipulate certain formats you may find that you need additional packages not included in your operating system by default, likely due to patent restrictions. If you find that a program won't handle your multimedia files with its default configuration, check to see if FFmpeg, MPlayer and GStreamer are available in your distribution's repositories.
|Released Last Week
Andrew Wyatt has announced the release of Fuduntu 14.12, an updated version of the project's desktop Linux distribution recently forked from Fedora: "Today I would like to announce that we are officially forked. This means that we are now a self-contained, self-hosted distribution. Fuduntu is now built from Fuduntu repositories, and we only pull from Fuduntu repositories by default. I am also pleased to announce the early release of Fuduntu 14.12 to commemorate our anniversary. Fuduntu 14.12 is our first release media built from Fuduntu repositories without any external dependencies. Major changes in this release: Linux kernel 3.0.7, X.Org Server 1.11.1, Flash 11, Remmina is now the default remote access software replacing Vinagre. As always, Fuduntu 14.12 includes a roll-up of all package changes since 14.11." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details and upgrade instructions.
Fedora 16, the latest version of the popular community Linux distribution sponsored by Red Hat, has been released: "The Fedora Project is pleased to announce the release of Fedora 16 'Verne'. As always, Fedora continues to develop and integrate the latest free and open source software. The following are major features for Fedora 16: enhanced cloud support including Aeolus Conductor, Condor Cloud, HekaFS, OpenStack and pacemaker-cloud; KDE Plasma workspaces 4.7 and GNOME 3.2; a number of core system improvements including GRUB 2 and the removal of HAL; an updated libvirtd, trusted boot, guest inspection, virtual lock manager and a pvops-based kernel for Xen all improve virtualization support." See the release announcement and release notes for a detailed list of new features and other relevant information.
Oracle Solaris 11
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Solaris 11, a UNIX operating system originally developed by Sun Microsystems and known for its scalability and innovative enterprise features: "Oracle today announced availability of Oracle Solaris 11, the first Cloud OS. Oracle Solaris 11 is designed to meet the security, performance and scalability requirements of cloud-based deployments allowing customers to run their most demanding enterprise applications in private, hybrid, or public clouds. As the first fully virtualized operating system (OS), Oracle Solaris 11 provides comprehensive, built-in virtualization capabilities for OS, network and storage resources. Oracle Solaris 11 offers comprehensive management across the entire infrastructure - operating system, physical hardware, networking and storage, as well as the virtualization layer." See the press release and read the detailed release notes to learn more.
Sabayon Linux 7 "Experimental"
Fabio Erculiani has announced the availability of three experimental editions of Sabayon Linux 7, containing the LXDE desktop environment, Enlightenment 17 and the Awesome window manager: "Directly from our 'Breaking Stuff' department, three new Sabayon 7 releases have seen the light. These releases all go under the 'Experimental' umbrella: 'LXDE' is a minimal, CD-sized flavour geared towards low-end computers, shipping the LXDE desktop environment; 'E17' is a minimal, CD-sized flavour made for people wanting to showcase the magic of Enlightenment 17; 'Awesome' window manager flavour. Features: latest and greatest package updates from repositories; Linux kernel 3.1...." Here is the brief release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database
- Commodore OS Vision. Commodore OS Vision is a 64-bit Linux distribution, based on Linux Mint, created for Commodore enthusiasts purchasing Commodore USA hardware, such as Commodore 64, VIC series and the upcoming high-performance line of Amiga computers. These are essentially restore disks for pre-installed Commodore systems. Commodore OS Vision uses the classic GNOME 2 interface and features extensive Compiz/Emerald desktop effects. It includes dozens of games of all genres (FPS, Racing, Retro etc), the Firefox and Chromium web browsers, LibreOffice, Scribus, GIMP, Blender, OpenShot and Cinellera, advanced software development tools and languages, sound editing through Ardour and Audacity, and music composition programs such as the Linux MultiMedia Studio. It has a classic Commodore slant with a selection of applications reminiscent of their classic Amiga counterparts.
Commodore OS Vision 1.0 Beta - a Linux Mint-based distribution with a retro look and unusual effects
(full image size: 979kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
- Pear OS. Pear OS is a French Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution. Some of its features include ease-of-use, custom user interface with a Mac OS X-style dockbar, and out-of-the-box support for many popular multimedia codecs. Pear OS is available for 64-bit computers only.
Pear OS 2.5 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with a custom GNOME user interface
(full image size: 1,453kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Kuine Linux. Kuine Linux is a family of Debian-based distributions, with each of which meeting one specific goal. Ideal for emulating an appliance or to instantiate a virtual machine to meet a very specific need, such as a database server or CRM or CMS.
- OpenMediaVault. OpenMediaVault is a network attached storage (NAS) solution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It contains services like SSH, (S)FTP, SMB/CIFS, DAAP media server, rsync, BitTorrent client and many more. Thanks to the modular design of the framework it can be enhanced via plugins. OpenMediaVault is primarily designed to be used in home environments or small home offices.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 21 November 2011.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the 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 a 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 a 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 the 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 the 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 the 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, the 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 the 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|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Discreete Linux (formerly Ubuntu Privacy Remix or UPR) is a modified live DVD based on Debian. Its goal is to provide a completely isolated working environment where private data can be dealt with safely and to protect data against unsolicited access. Networking is intentionally disabled and the live CD is not installable to hard disk.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Remotely running desktop applications|
|Tips and tricks: Command line tips - using ffmpeg, awk and renice|
|Tips and tricks: Digital cameras, mobile phones and music players under Linux|
|Questions and answers: Separate /home partition and dual booting performance|
|Tips and tricks: Advanced file systems, network traffic, running a script at login/logout|
|Questions and answers: Cross-distro software ports|
|Questions and answers: ARM devices, tablets and Linux distributions|
|Questions and answers: Distributions for audio recording, multi-distro disk layout|
|Questions and answers: Anbox, ZFS on root, init software for Linux Mint Debian Edition 3, Debian's many kernels|
|Questions and answers: Multimedia support and patents|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|