| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 442, 6 February 2012
Welcome to this year's 6th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Dreamlinux may be one of the more overlooked distributions on the market, but the attractive design of its default Xfce desktop has been appreciated by many loyal users over the years. But how does the recently released version 5 stack up against other popular desktop choices available today? Jesse Smith investigates what is perhaps Brazil's prettiest Linux distro in a first-look review. In the news section, Red Hat extends official support of its enterprise Linux products from seven to ten years, PCLinuxOS founder hands over development of the distribution while taking a leave of absence, and Linux Mint continues to promote Cinnamon as a GNOME Shell alternative for change-averse users. Also in this issue, a fresh perspective on Cannonical's claim over the Ubuntu user base and a plethora of new distribution options, including an OpenIndiana-based Illumian with a Debian touch and a CentOS remix with a desktop focus. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com January 2012 donation is the GnuPG project. Happy reading!
- Reviews: I dream of Linux - Dreamlinux 5
- News: Red Hat introduces 10-year support, Texstar takes leave of absence, Mint banks on Cinnamon
- Questions and answers: Revisiting Ubuntu market share numbers
- Released last week: Linux Mint 12 "KDE", PCLinuxOS 2012.2, DEFT Linux 7, KahelOS 020212
- Upcoming releases: Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.02, Frugalware Linux 1.6, openSUSE 12.2 Milestone 1
- Donations: GnuPG receives €260.00
- New distributions: Brasa OS, Byzantium Linux, Illumian, Linux Ogigia, RebeccaBlackOS, SolusOS, Stella
- Reader comments
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
I dream of Linux - Dreamlinux 5|
Dreamlinux is a distribution which was seemingly asleep for a few years. Back in early 2009 the team released version 3.5 of their distro and then we didn't see another release until January 2012. Now, with version 5 available, it is once again time to take a look at this dreamy distribution.
Dreamlinux is based on Debian's 'Testing' branch. Unlike many projects these days, Dreamlinux keeps downloading simple by providing a single edition, a one-size-fits-all 32-bit build. The DVD image is approximately 965 MB in size and is available via direct download and via BitTorrent. Booting off the DVD brings up a graphical login screen where the default username and password are displayed so we can login. The Debian derivative comes with the Xfce desktop and the environment has been given a slightly OS X styled interface. Along the top of the screen we find the menu bar and task switcher. At the bottom we see a long launch bar filled with colourful and (when clicked) bouncy icons. Something I immediately noticed about the launch bar is that it doesn't display the name of an icon when we hover the mouse over it. This made the first several minutes of launching programs very much like the proverbial box of chocolates. On the desktop we find icons for opening the install guide and launching the installer.
Dreamlinux 5 - browsing the web
(full image size: 729kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The Dreamlinux installer is unusual in that it is a graphical installer, but all of the steps are presented on one page. The installer's window expands downward rather than having us proceed through pages. There aren't many steps and I found the approach worked well. At first we're asked if we need to set up partitions and, if the answer is affirmative, the GParted disk partitioning tool is opened for us. Once we're done with GParted we select which partition to use for the root file system. We're also given the option of placing our home directories on a separate partition. We have the option of installing a boot loader and, from there, the installer copies its files to the local drive. A few times it appeared as though the installer had stalled, but eventually it completed its steps and then I rebooted.
Once the machine reboots we're bought back to the Dreamlinux desktop and presented with another dialog box. This one asks us to set a hostname for the computer, create a user account and set a password for the root user. With those steps completed the computer reboots once more and we're brought to a graphical login page.
The distribution comes with a small, yet well-rounded, collection of software. We're given the Chromium web browser, the Foxit PDF reader, the GNU Image Manipulation Project, the Imagination slide show maker and Inkscape. We're also provided with the Orage calendar app, Planmaker (a spreadsheet application), MPlayer for multimedia, Shotwell for handling photos and a disc burner/ripper. There are also copies of SoftMaker Presentation and TextMaker (a word processing program). I hadn't used the SoftMaker office suite before and I found it to be similar to using OpenOffice.org, but with regular requests for registration. Also in the application menu we find a file manager, archive manager, calculator, GParted and the Synaptic package manager. The full range of Xfce configuration tools are included. Java is present, as is the GCC. When browsing the web we have a Flash plugin provided and, behind the scenes, we're running version 3.1 of the Linux kernel.
Dreamlinux comes with a few other small utilities which can be found in the application menu. These are generally terminal tools which can be launched from the GUI. One, for example, attempts to perform a Debian dist-upgrade. Another launches the Midnight Commander text-based file manager. Since I brought this up during my look at VectorLinux I think it's only fair I bring it up again here. If developers want to present a program like Midnight Commander to users (either by placing it in the application menu or mentioning it whenever a terminal window is opened) I think it's important they make sure the terminal they use to open the program doesn't use conflicting short-cut keys.
Dreamlinux 5 - browsing files and using the media player
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I ran Dreamlinux on two machines, a desktop box (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) and my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card). On the desktop computer all my hardware was detected and utilized out of the box. Performance was good and the desktop was responsive. On my laptop I found things worked well. Again, everything functioned, including my Intel wireless card. I found my laptop's touchpad wouldn't treat taps as clicks under the default configuration, but otherwise everything performed as expected.
Software management on Dreamlinux is handled by the Synaptic package manager. The old, yet trusty, application allows us to search for software, install, remove and upgrade packages. Usually Synaptic lets users manage repositories, but I found whenever I tried to do this on Dreamlinux Synaptic would tell me that changes had occurred and I would have to reload my repository information. This message continued to appear after the package information had been refreshed. Fans of the command line can make use of the apt-get family of tools. Being based on Debian, Dreamlinux has a large collection of software, over 35,000 packages are available in the repositories. The one thing I missed with regards to packages was any sort of available updates notification. The user is expected to update repository information and manually check for updates.
Dreamlinux 5 - running office software and upgrading packages
(full image size: 101kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
At this point I've only been using Dreamlinux for a few days and so this is really just a first-look review. I don't think I can fairly judge the distribution's performance one way or the other. That being said, my impression so far is of a distro which presents a nice design, but which I feel needs to polish the implementation further in order to see the benefits of that design. There are a number of little differences in Dreamlinux which stand out - it has an unusual installer, a different method of organizing the application menu, a slight variation on the bottom launch panel. And, while all of these design differences take some getting used to, I found they had good ideas behind them, they just needed some more work. For example, the application menu could probably benefit from either a little restructuring or renaming items to reflect task rather than application name. The launch panel should probably display the name of a program when the mouse moves over it, otherwise the user is playing icon roulette by clicking on unfamiliar pictures.
I liked the everything on one page approach to the installer, but I wasn't crazy about having to reboot an extra time to complete the setup. Synaptic is a good package manager and Debian provides a good base, but I missed having update notifications. And I found it strange that the developers went with the software they did. Why use Foxit when there are so many good open source PDF viewers? Why use SoftMaker office software rather than a more common suite like OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice? Given my brief exposure to the included software I found it worked much the same, but being greeted with requests for registration isn't something I welcome in an open-source operating system. In short, Dreamlinux supported my hardware well and comes with Debian's large repository of software, but it could use a 5.1 release to round out the interface and add a different office suite.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Red Hat introduces 10-year support, Texstar takes leave of absence, Mint banks on Cinnamon
Over the years Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) has become, by far, the most widely deployed enterprise Linux distribution. Pushing the support limits to the extreme, the company has now decided to extend the life cycle of RHEL versions 5 and 6 from seven to ten years: "Today Red Hat is pleased to announce that it has extended the life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, 6 and future releases from seven to 10 years, effective immediately. This announcement is in response to the widespread adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 since its introduction in 2007, and the increasing rate of adoption of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 since its launch in 2010. During the life cycle of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, customers take advantage of a multitude of benefits, including feature enhancements, critical bug and security fixes, as well as award-winning support from Red Hat's Global Support Services team." As the announcement emphasises, "the result of the extended life cycle is that customers will enjoy all of the benefits of their subscription over a longer period of time." With this new development, the official support for RHEL 5 will end in March 2017, while RHEL 6 will be reach end of life in November 2020.
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Bill Reynolds, aka Texstar, the overworked founder of PCLinuxOS, has been a well-known force in the open-source community for well over a decade - first packaging software for Mandrake Linux, then working on his own distribution. Unfortunately, the endless and thankless task of a distro maintainer has taken a toll on Texstar's health. Posting a brief message on the project's user forum, he explains, in his typical jargon-like writing, that he is about to take a "leave from the project for medical reasons": Making some changes around here. The Dr. says no more PCLinuxOS for me for a while cuz I've been doing way too much and ran out of gogo juice. Sooo I'm turning over lots of duties to others. Neal and Old-Polack will be taking care of business and others in the community will be stepping up to handle packaging, ISO's and other goodies. Please be patient until everyone can get up to speed on things ok? I'll continue dropping in on the forum from time to time, and helping the team if they have questions or need advise, but for now I'll be leaving the day to day management of PCLinuxOS to Neal, Old-Polack, and the rest of the team. Please treat them all with the kindness and respect you've always shown me. I'd appreciate it. Thanks a lot! Tex."
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Cinnamon, a fork of GNOME Shell initiated by the developers of Linux Mint and designed to bring back the GNOME 2 look & feel to the GNOME 3 desktop, has been attracting much interest from users who find it hard to change their desktop usage habits. ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols takes a look at the new software in "Mint's Cinnamon: The Future of the Linux Desktop?" "There are also some bugs in Cinnamon. For example, the Pidgin icon disappears from time to time. A more noticeable example is that I couldn't add some applications to 'Favorites' from within the menu or by using the dconf-editor. Curiously, I could add them to the Desktop or Panel. This is a known problem, and it has already been fixed in the source code. I also see display quirks such as oddly overlapping windows from time to time. What concerned me the most though is that some applications, the Evolution e-mail client and LibreOffice would sometime freeze up under Cinnamon. I can forgive a lot, but having my e-mail and word processor lock up on me is close to unforgivable. It doesn't happen very often at all, but even once a day or so is really vexing. Still, these are very early days for Cinnamon, so I'm willing to give this desktop a good solid B."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Revisiting Ubuntu market share numbers
About-those-numbers asks: In DistroWatch Weekly number 434 of the 5th of December 2011 (Lies and Statistics), Jesse Smith interviewed Gerry Carr, Director of Communications at Canonical. Here is the excerpt that took my attention: "I was able to get firmer numbers from Ubuntu and the results were interesting. In early 2010, around the time Ubuntu 10.04 was released, Ubuntu had an estimated install base of 12 million users. About a year ago, after the launch of Ubuntu 10.10, it was estimated there were 16 million users. Now, in the wake of version 11.10, Ubuntu has an estimated 20 million users. Gerry Carr, Director of Communications at Canonical, says these figures come from a variety of places: 'It's a combination of things -- active connections to our security servers being one of the most prominent. We also get other connection data, we look at downloads and a small number of other checks, So it's robust.' Mr Carr also informed me that over one million Ubuntu One accounts have been created since the service launched."
When I read that, I thought how, on earth, after such a hectic year as 2011, could Ubuntu increase its user base by 25% (from version 10.10 to 11.10)? I first thought it was just a marketing boast. Then, I realized that, maybe, there could be another explanation to this miracle. Here it is. I am an average Linux Mint 12 user. Reading the above quoted paragraph, I realized that, maybe, I was also counted as a Ubuntu user by Canonical because my computer also connects to the Ubuntu security server under my own IP. This also was probably true for all Ubuntu derivative users, either official or non-official derivatives like Linux Mint. If we take this into account, the suspected 25% increase looks credible. And, after all, why would they take out the Linux Mint numbers? They are true users registered to their systems. What would be their advantage not to do it?
DistroWatch answers: I suspect you're right as far as Mint installations being counted as Ubuntu machines. In the past I've stated that Linux Mint qualifies as a separate entity, a separate distribution, not just another Ubuntu edition. And I think the moves we've seen by the Mint team to make their own desktop environment and spread their Minty layer over a Debian base confirm that point. However, that being said, Mint (and other Ubuntu-based projects) do use Ubuntu's repositories, they use the same packages, they are binary compatible. This means that one machine contacting the Ubuntu repositories to grab update information is probably going to appear much the same as any other machine contacting the repositories.
In short, I do think Canonical's numbers do include some (maybe all) of Ubuntu's children, and why wouldn't they? Does it really matter if you installed an operating system branded as Mint or Kubuntu or Peppermint if your machine is running and downloading packages built and provided by Canonical? It becomes more of a philosophical question rather than a technical one. If you install Mint's Main edition and remove the Mint-specific repositories, are you then running Ubuntu? If you install Ubuntu and add the Mint repositories, are you running Mint? Is there any reason why Canonical shouldn't count Ubuntu-based distributions as Ubuntu machines, since they do provide most of the support and repository infrastructure for those spin-off distributions? For that matter, could Canonical separate Ubuntu installs from the derivatives based on the information sent to the servers hosting the repositories? Vincent Vermeulen, a moderator on the Linux Mint forums, did some checking and this is what he had to say on the subject.
"I've had a chat with the other mods about this. First, there are at least 60 other Ubuntu derivatives using these repositories. And considering that, is it even incorrect if Canonical is counting all the users using the Ubuntu repositories? But let's leave that to others to consider. I've tested [the apt-get user agent string] on a Linux Mint 12 live session. Running sudo ngrep -eq tcp and port 80 to snoop on outgoing traffic. Then I did a sudo apt-get update. And I see the following GET request going to the security servers of Ubuntu: GET /ubuntu/dists/oneiric-security/InRelease HTTP/1.1..Host: security.ubuntu.com..Connection: keep-alive..Cache-Control: max-age=0..User-Agent: Debian APT-HTTP/1.3 (0.8.16~exp5ubuntu13).... The version of the apt package installed is being sent, and this is indeed the package from Ubuntu. I imagine this is no different for any of the other Ubuntu derivatives. Now, what this actually means and how it is being used over at Canonical, no clue."
I contacted Canonical to see if they could shed some light on the matter. At the time of writing I have not received an answer.
The original question suggests that 2011 was a hectic year, which I suspect is a reference to the introduction of the Unity desktop environment. And I won't deny that Unity is a dividing issue. However, I don't think it's nearly as widely disliked as its vocal opponents make it out to be. Partly because whenever any change happens in any operating system there are people who don't like it and claim it's terrible. I remember when KDE 4 was held up as the end of the KDE project and when Red Hat discontinuing their free distribution in favour of Fedora was a signal that the company was sinking. Rarely does the hype live up to reality. And I think that's reflected in the numbers. Let's say Ubuntu + Kubuntu + Lubuntu + Xubuntu + Mint + all the other dozens of Ubuntu-based derivatives which use the Ubuntu repositories make up about 20 million users. According to the installation stats on the repositories Unity is installed on over 12% of those machines, and it has only been available for two releases, neither of which was an LTS release. Considering that Unity is only offered as the default desktop on the main Ubuntu distro and considering that it has been out for less than a year, it has gained a respectable following.
|Released Last Week
Clonezilla Live 1.2.12-10
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 1.2.12-10, a new stable version of the project's utility live CD designed for disk cloning tasks: "This release of Clonezilla Live (1.2.12-10) includes major enhancements and major bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2012-01-27; the Linux kernel was updated to 3.2.1-2; PartClone was updated to version 0.2.45; Syslinux was updated to 4.0.5; a better mechanism was implemented in ocs-update-syslinux - 'syslinux -i' will be run only when the files to be updated are found on the system; a better mechanism was implemented to keep the MS Windows boot reserved partition size when option '-k1' is chosen; a better mechanism to deal with UFS partitions in a GPT table when saving FreeBSD 9.0...." Read the rest of the release announcement which includes a full changelog.
Endian Firewall 2.5.1
Endian Firewall 2.5.1, an updated version of the Red Hat-based firewall distribution, has been released: "An update for Endian Firewall Community to version 2.5.1 is now available. This release introduces a number of new features. Connectivity - support for most modern UMTS/3G USB dongles. By adding new drivers Endian Firewall 2.5 now supports most modern UMTS/3G dongles. Once plugged in they appear as serial devices and can be configured by choosing Analog/UMTS modem as uplink type. System - performance improvements. The whole system start-up procedure has been rewritten. Endian's new jobs engine decreases the start-up by 50 percent. Additionally major improvements have been made in memory usage. A fully configured system's memory footprint has been reduced by more than 200 MB." See the full release announcement for additional information and a complete list of new features.
DEFT Linux 7
Stefano Fratepietro has announced the release of DEFT Linux 7, an Ubuntu-based distribution and live DVD containing a collection of tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis: "The DEFT team is pleased to announce the release of the stable version of DEFT Linux 7, a toolkit able to perform computer, mobile and network forensics, incident response and cyber intelligence. DEFT 7 comprises of a GNU/Linux-based system optimized for computer forensics and cyber intelligence activities, installable or able to run in live mode, and DART (Digital Advanced Response Toolkit), a graphical user interface that handles the execution of incident response. Main features: based on Lubuntu 11.10; installable distro; Linux kernel 3.0, USB 3 ready; Libewf 20100226, Afflib 3.6.14, TSK 3.2.3, Autopsy 2.24, Digital Forensic Framework 1.2, PTK Forensic 1.0.5 DEFT edition...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full list of included utilities.
DEFT Linux 7 - an Ubuntu respin with tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis
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Anthony Nordquist has announced the release of SalineOS 1.6, a Debian-based distribution and live DVD featuring the Xfce desktop: "SalineOS 1.6 images are now available for download. This brings SalineOS in line with the recent 6.0.4 release from Debian GNU/Linux. New in this release is a set of Thunar custom actions and scripts to greatly increase the functionality of the Thunar file manager. These include: open a directory as root, open a root terminal here, mark as executable, run an MD5SUM, convert stupid image formats (NGG, MDF) to standard ISO images, a simple disk usage utility, mount/unmount an ISO, convert to ODT, Export to PDF, search for files or folders using Catfish, rotate resize scale and convert image files, write an ISO or IMG file to a USB key and edit a text file as root. You can get all these custom actions on any previous release of SalineOS by running a command in a root terminal." The release announcement.
IPFire 2.11 Core 56
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.11 Core 56, a new stable release of the project's specialist distribution for firewalls: "Today, we are releasing Core Update 56 for IPFire 2.11. It is a minor bug-fix and security update. The most exciting new feature can be found in the pre-installed images that automatically scale up the partitions at first boot. If you use a 8 GB SD card, you install the 2 GB image and it will grow the partition sizes to use all space that is available on that SD card. Note: The minimum required size of Flash media has changed from 1 GB to 2 GB. This is because the / partition was too small for installing bigger add-ons. An update of OpenSSL to version 0.9.8t fixes a security flaw that could be exploited in a denial of service attack." Continue to the release announcement for a list of bug fixes.
Tails 0.10.1, an updated version of the Debian-based live CD designed for anonymous Internet surfing, has been released: "The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails), version 0.10.1, is out. This is a bug-fix release mainly aimed at fixing serious bugs and security issues. All users must upgrade as soon as possible. Notable user-visible changes include: make Startpage the default web search engine, Scroogle does not look reliable enough these days; upgrade WhisperBack to 1.5.1 (update link to bug reporting documentation); update MAT to 0.2.2 (fixes a critical bug in the GUI); upgrade Linux kernel to 3.2.1; time synchronization - serious rework that should fix most, if not all, of the infamous time-sync bugs some Tails users have experienced recently; make htpdate more resilient by using three server pools, and allowing some failure ratio...." See the release announcement for a full changelog.
Bill Reynolds has announced the release of PCLinuxOS 2012.02, the latest stable update of the project's mainstream distribution. There are no major new features as the Linux kernel remains at version 220.127.116.11 and the KDE desktop at 4.6.5. From the release announcement: "PCLinuxOS KDE and KDE-MiniME 2012.02 are now available for download. These are 32-bit quarterly update ISO images which can also be installed on 64-bit computers. Features: Linux kernel 18.104.22.168bfs kernel for maximum desktop performance; full KDE 4.6.5 desktop; NVIDIA and ATI fglrx drivers support; multimedia playback support for many popular formats; wireless support for many network devices; printer support for many local and networked printer devices; Addlocale allows you to convert PCLinuxOS into over 60 languages.... See also the download page for a list of main applications and system requirements.
Linux Mint 12 "KDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 12 "KDE" edition: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 12 KDE. Linux Mint 12 KDE comes with updated software and brings refinements and new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use. This edition comes with the latest and recently released KDE 4.7.4. This is the first release of Linux Mint using Hybrid ISO images. Traditionally, tools such as 'Startup Disk Creator' or 'UNetbootin' were needed to install Linux Mint via USB. With hybrid images, you can simply use the 'dd' command or a graphical front-end to make a bootable USB stick with no efforts which acts exactly like a live DVD. Consult the release announcement and the what's new page for more information and system requirements.
Salix OS 13.37 "Live Xfce"
Cyrille Pontvieux has announced the release of Salix OS 13.37 "Live Xfce" edition, a Slackware-based live CD featuring the latest Xfce desktop: "The Live team is proud to present the final release of Salix OS Live Xfce 13.37. After some months developing, testing and improving a lot of little details, this version is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants. It will serve as a base for all other editions of Salix Live, namely KDE, LXDE and Fluxbox. This version is build using SaLT (Salix Live Technology), a new system of live tools for Slackware-based distributions, developed in-house, to build live CDs in a more dynamic fashion with very little modifications from the host system. This includes the same applications and packages as the regular Salix OS Xfce 13.37. Read the rest of the release announcement for a full changelog.
Meric Mara has announced the release of KahelOS 020212, a desktop Linux distribution and live DVD featuring the GNOME 3 desktop and based on Arch Linux: "Following the release of KahelOS 111111 last November is today's launch of KahelOS 020212. KahelOS 020212 improves on what the earlier installer can offer. It caters to advance Linux users who wish to have the freedom in the first step of installing an operating system, i.e. a manual partitioning system which also has the ability to resize (stretch and shrink) both NTFS and Linux partitions. Graphically, this enhanced installer is still GUI-friendly plus the automatic 'dual boot with Windows' option is an added feature for those who are technology neutral. Fresh features: updated Bluefish to 2.2.1, Dia to 0.97.2, Evolution to 3.2.3, Filezilla to 3.5.3.... Read the rest of the release announcement for a full changelog.
KahelOS 020212 - an Arch-based distro with GNOME 3
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Clemens Toennies has announced the release of Netrunner 4.1, the latest update of the project's Kubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the KDE 4.7.4 desktop - now also available in a 64-bit variant: "Accompanying the release of Netrunner 64-bit edition, we today release version 4.1 for 32-bit systems with the following changes compared to 4.0: switched to hybrid ISO images; Linux kernel 3.0, KDE 4.7.4 (latest stable); Muon 1.2.95; kde-gtk-config module for easy GTK+ 2/3 configuration under KDE; several bug fixes, including system freezes during automatic update. Since 4.0 had a critical bug related to the automatic package updating, we suggest that users of 4.0 manually upgrade to 4.1. Here is the brief release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
January 2012 DistroWatch.com donation: GnuPG|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the January 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is GnuPG, the GNU project's complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard The project receives €260.00 in cash.
Although GnuPG is perhaps a more low-profile open-source project than those developing visible end-user applications, it is nevertheless included in just about every Linux distribution and other free operating system. In other words, all of us use it, often without realising it. From the project's website: "GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories. GnuPG itself is a command-line tool without any graphical stuff. It is the real crypto engine which can be used directly from a command prompt, from shell scripts or by other programs. Therefore it can be considered as a back-end for other applications. However, even when used on the command line it provides all functionality needed - this includes an interactive menu system. The set of commands of this tool will always be a superset of those provided by any front-ends." Here is GnuPG's features page if you'd like to learn more.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$30,540 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350)
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Brasa OS. Brasa OS is a Brazilian desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's stable branch. The project's website is in Portuguese.
- Byzantium Linux. Byzantium Linux is a live distribution of Linux designed to fulfil a crucial role in the evolution of the Internet. That role is a rapidly deployable ad-hoc wireless mesh network which can augment or replace the current telecommunications infrastructure in the event that it is knocked offline (for example, due to a natural disaster) or rendered untrustworthy (widespread surveillance or disconnection by hostile entities).
- Illumian. Illumian is an operating system that combines the Illumos (OpenIndiana) kernel with Debian GNU/Linux software and packaging utilities.
- Linux Ogigia. Linux Ogigia is an Italian distribution based on Puppy Linux. The project's website is in Italian.
- RebeccaBlackOS. RebeccaBlackOS is an Ubuntu remix dedicated to Rebecca Black, American pop singer and dancer. Besides a custom theme, the live CD also offers an opportunity to try out the Wayland display server.
- SolusOS. SolusOS is a lightweight Debian-based desktop Linux distribution with integrated multimedia software and functionality.
SolusOS 043 - a Debian-based desktop distribution with GNOME 2
(full image size: 562kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
- Stella. Stella is a remix of CentOS with a desktop focus. It is available as installable live media and contains standard CentOS software, the GNOME 2 desktop and some multimedia and desktop additions.
Stella 6.2 Test 12 - a CentOS-based desktop distribution with GNOME 2
(full image size: 467kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 February 2012.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 22.214.171.124, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Black Lab Linux
Black Lab Linux (formerly OS4 OpenLinux) is a user-friendly, commercial desktop and server Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Some of its most interesting features include support for popular browser plugins, addition of packages for multimedia production, content creation and software development, and an innovative desktop layout based on GNOME Shell. Separate editions with KDE and Xfce desktops are also available. The company behind the distribution also sells a desktop mini-system with Black Lab Linux pre-installed.