| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 446, 5 March 2012
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Despite a regular release cycle and relative seniority on the Linux distribution timeline, Frugalware Linux won't be on the radar of too many Linux users. The reason? Perhaps it's the nature of the project which is content with mundane development without making too much effort in the way of attracting potential users with unique, exciting features. Jesse Smith takes the distribution's latest live CD for a quick spin and reports about his findings in this week's feature article. In the news section, Raspberry Pi launches its $25 ARM computer amid unexpectedly high-demand from technology enthusiasts, openSUSE continues to provide the rolling-release Tumbleweed repository for a more cutting-edge experience, and Linux Mint's Debian edition receives a large number of updates in its switch to the GNOME 3 desktop. Also in this issue, an introduction to FreeNAS as an excellent home solution for sharing data across the network, and a Question and Answers section which deals with Adobe's recent decision to discontinue the development of Flash for Linux. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the February 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is the ImageMagick project. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
A look at Frugalware Linux 1.6|
The Frugalware Linux distribution is one I've never used before, yet I've visited their website many times. In fact, one might say I've been to the website a disproportionate number of times. Whenever a Frugalware release is announced I zip over to the website, read through the announcement, check the documentation... and then go do something else. I don't have any philosophical or personal issue with the distribution and its team, no, my lack of motivation has boiled down to two things:
- The project's documentation suggests that if a person wants to perform a full install without requiring a network connection we should install from the DVD images. There are five 32-bit ISOs. Now, depending on who you ask and what their installation requirements were some people will tell you that a person just needs the first DVD, or maybe the first two DVDs, the answer varies. But the documentation isn't clear on what's on these discs or how many of them are needed and, frankly, that's a large potential download just to test-drive a distribution. And if one wants to test their hardware before committing to an install, the live CD is a separate download. Further, it is not clear as to whether the live CD can be used to install a base distro upon which we can install more software.
- Frugalware's description of itself, according the website and documentation, is: "Frugalware is a general purpose Linux distribution, designed for intermediate users." That's it, that's the entire reason given for why a person would want to use this distribution. Frugalware may be the greatest invention of the history of software, but if so they're playing it cool. Slackware has a more exciting project description.
That being said, a few people did write in after Frugalware Linux 1.6 was released and asked if I'd take a look at the distribution and when readers are interested that's enough motivation for me. As I mentioned above, Frugalware does provide a live CD and I decided even if I didn't get the full five DVD experience, I could at least share a taste of what Frugalware is like.
The Frugalware Linux live CD is provided as a 490 MB CD image. Burning this image to a disc and booting from it brings us to an Xfce desktop environment with a pleasant blue background. On the desktop we find icons for navigating the file system and launching the system installer. The application menu and task switcher are positioned at the top of the screen. In the top-right corner of the display an icon appeared indicating network status and I was surprised to find the icon showed I was not connected. Opening a terminal I tried to ping a server and found the live CD doesn't include the ping command. Nor does it include the FTP command-line client, nor telnet. Deciding to change gears I clicked the icon for launching the distro's web browser. A prompt came up asking which browser I would like to make my default, though only one browser, Midori, is listed as available. Once the browser launched I found that I was, in fact, connected to the network, despite the status presented by the network icon.
Frugalware Linux 1.6 - installer and Xfce desktop
(full image size: 164kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Trying to launch the Frugalware installer brings up a prompt for the root user's password. I tried an empty password without success and then went back to the project's website and went through the documentation. So far as I can tell, the documentation makes no mention of a password. After a series of guesses I finally landed on the right one (it's "fwlive" in case anyone plans to follow in my footsteps) and the installer launched. The Frugalware installer is a graphical application which bears a passing resemblance to the Anaconda installer used by Fedora and Sabayon. Our first step is to choose our preferred language and then to select a keyboard layout. Next the installer tries to locate software packages which will be installed to the hard drive. No packages were found on the live CD, so the installer offered to download all of the packages from the net and it allows us to choose which mirrors to use. Now, unfortunately, here my journey in installing Frugalware came to a halt. While my Internet connection is fairly quick it is not stable and net-install type downloads aren't at all practical. At this point I had the option of downloading one (or more) additional DVD images or working from the live environment. So far in my experiment I had found Frugalware to be running surprisingly fast from the CD and so I decided to continue using the live environment already available to me.
I ran Frugalware on two physical machines and, while running from the CD doesn't give quite the same picture as running a native install, the two experiences are often very similar. On my desktop machine (2.5 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, NVIDIA video card) I found the distribution correctly set up my screen resolution, boot times were short and performance on the desktop was quite good. There were two quirks, one being that my sound volume was set very low and the other was the fonts didn't look right. They sometimes appeared to have multicoloured backgrounds, as if they were designed to be viewed with 3-D glasses. When running on the laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card) I found the experience to be better. My Intel wireless card worked out of the box and my screen was set to a good resolution. Fonts were displayed smaller than usual, but they displayed clearly and Xfce provides a tool for adjusting font size. Once again I found audio was turned down to its lowest setting. Performance was quite fast and the distro was quick to boot.
Since I've mentioned speed I'd like to add that when booting into the live CD we're given the choice of running the distribution from RAM or running it normally from the disc. On both machines I was running Frugalware from the disc, not RAM, which I think makes its native-install level of performance all the more impressive.
The Frugalware Linux live CD comes with a collection of useful applications. We're given the Midori web browser, the Pidgin instant messenger client and Thunderbird for e-mail. The Transmission BitTorrent client is included, along with the XChat IRC client. To help us handle network connections Frugalware provides the wicd network manager. We're given the Xfburn disc authoring utility, the Parole media player and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Gnumeric and AbiWord are included in the "Office" sub-menu, along with the Orage calendar and a PDF viewer. For developers the Glade interface designer is installed. We're also given a text editor, an archive manager and the full array of Xfce configuration tools. When browsing the web we have access to a Flash player and a full range of multimedia codecs are installed. I found there is a "Help" entry on the application menu, though it points to documentation files which are not available. I didn't find a compiler nor Java installed and the usual man(ual) pages are not available. In the background version 3.1 of the Linux kernel keeps things running.
Frugalware Linux 1.6 - running various applications
(full image size: 129kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
The package manager which comes with Frugalware, GFpm, resembles the Synaptic package manager. Down the left side of the application's window we find a list of software categories. Over on the right we see specific packages and, at the bottom of the window, we see a complete description of the highlighted package. At the top of the window are buttons for syncing our repository data with the remote servers and applying changes. There are a few oddities which set GFpm (Graphical Frugalware package manager) apart from its peers. For one, the software categories are different from what we usually see. Rather than "Internet", "Development" and "Multimedia" we see sections called "apps", "apps-extra", "devel", "devel-core", "base", "base-extra"... There are a few dozen entries so it may take some time to get used to the different names. Fortunately, if a user knows the name of the specific package they want they can search for it using a text box near the bottom of the window. Another oddity is there doesn't appear to be any way to upgrade packages using the graphical interface. For updating software the user must turn to the command line package manager, pacman.
Frugalware Linux 1.6 - managing software packages
(full image size: 141kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Using Frugalware Linux feels a little like going into a hall of mirrors, you know the ones where the mirrors are warped or turned a certain way to distort the image? Frugalware is certainly a Linux distribution and contains many of the usual components found in a Linux distribution, but most of these components are slightly different than one might expect. Not being able to perform a regular install from the live CD would be one example, the semi-familiar package manager is another. Some of the applications provided, at least on the live media, are the same ones I'd expect to find on many other distributions, but others, like Parole, are less common. Other things struck me as odd too, like the pages and pages of helpful documentation which don't (so far as I can tell) include the default root password or explain what's on the five DVDs. Or the fact the live CD can only perform net-installs but doesn't include the popular ping network testing tool. Nor are common programs like FTP, man or wget available on the CD.
It may sound as though I'm nit-picking and trying to find fault, but that's not what I'm attempting to do. I don't think the choices and quirks in Frugalware are wrong, just strange. I spent a couple of days playing around with the live disc and doing so was pleasant enough as it certainly makes for a responsive environment. However during that time I often ran into characteristics or defaults which seemed out of sync with the rest of the Linux world. I guess what I'm working toward is if you're sick of the Ubuntu re-spins, Debian-based distros and the Fedora remakes and you want a fresh, fast and different approach, then Frugalware offers a solution. There may be a period of adjustment at first, but I have a feeling if you get into the groove of using Frugalware you'll enjoy it. Expect a few rough edges, bookmark the documentation and prepare to look at the Linux world through a slightly different, occasionally scratched, lens.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Launch of Raspberry Pi, openSUSE's Tumbleweed, upcoming changes in Mint's "Debian" edition, practical FreeNAS
The top news of the past week had to be the launch of Raspberry Pi, a US$25 single-board mini-computer featuring an ARM11 processor. Disappointingly, the excitement didn't last long as all available boards were reportedly sold out within an hour of the launch, and the manufacturer, a UK-based non-profit organisation, is currently only accepting contact details from potential customers. Despite being a very low-specification hardware unit (it comes with a mere 256 MB of RAM), the Raspberry Pie computer has generated interest that clearly surpassed the manufacturer's wildest expectations: "The first indication of that demand came when the two companies also had the first batch of 10,000 Raspberry Pi Model B boards available for sale at 6am GMT; their web sites were almost immediately swamped by buyers for the devices. Farnell sold out their allocation in less than an hour despite patchy web site availability and started taking pre-orders, while RS Components' web site now appears to only be taking registrations of interest for the Model B version of the device, priced at £21.60 + VAT. It is reported that RS will start selling the board at the end of the week." As for operating system support, the Raspberry Pi download page currently offers two options: ARM editions of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 and Arch Linux.
* * * * *
Rolling-release distributions are a big hit among certain types of users, especially those who prefer the adventure of running cutting-edge software over stability and dependability of their systems. One often overlooked option for being on the forefront of Linux software development is openSUSE's Tumbleweed, which promises to deliver the latest and greatest to the end users, but not before some thorough testing. J.A. Watson shares his experiences of running Tumbleweed: "Tumbleweed was announced with or shortly after their 11.4 release. I was a bit sceptical at the time, because of my experience with other rolling distributions, but I set up one of my netbooks to track the Tumbleweed repositories, and the results have been quite good. Updates come through in very good time, and the overall system stability and reliability don't seem to have suffered. To give just one small example, digiKam (my favorite photo management package) is on release 2.2 in the standard openSUSE distribution (which is still quite good compared to most other major distributions), but it is already up to 2.5 in Tumbleweed. There is a brief description on the Tumbleweed portal page, along with instructions on how to change an installed 12.1 (or 11.4) system to the Tumbleweed repositories."
* * * * *
Another noteworthy article from the pen of the same author as the one above concerns Linux Mint, or more precisely, the distribution's highly-rated "Debian" edition. Apparently, big changes are on the way: "There's good news for many, and perhaps bad news for a few, coming for Linux Mint 'Debian' edition. This has been one of my favorite distributions since it was first released, because it seems to me that it stars from the Debian GNU/Linux base and then adds all of the goodness of Linux Mint, without passing through Ubuntu on the way. Of particular significance are things like the latest Linux kernel (their current distribution includes 3.0, the update is to 3.2), X.Org Server (1.10.4) and such. Well, the good news is that there is a huge update on the way, currently being tested via the incoming repositories, which basically catches Mint 'Debian' up to where Mint 12 is today, especially with regard to GNOME 3 and Cinnamon. That also makes it bad news for a few people who have been using Mint 'Debian' as a sort of GNOME 2 'refuge' while most other distributions have been moving to GNOME 3." The author also notes that "when this upgrade is complete, it will be running standard GNOME 3. Cinnamon is not automatically included in the upgrade, so if you want it you will need to install it after the upgrade has finished."
* * * * *
Finally, a quick link to an excellent article about FreeNAS, a specialist FreeBSD-based operating system that can extremely handy and versatile in certain networking situations. Greg King explains the details in "An Introduction to FreeNAS - The Do-It-Yourself NAS OS": I stream music from the WHS 2011 box to my Squeezeboxes (also on the network). I stream videos from one of the Synology boxes to my Boxee, HTPC, PS3 and Xbox and backup to the other. My ESXi environment shares storage on one of the NAS boxes as well. With this much going on, it helps to have networked storage. Without the Synology devices, my network would be more complex. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but it's true. Think about it, NAS makes file sharing data across among multiple devices on a network very easy; even by adding another device into the mix, things are simpler with shared storage. With FreeNAS, you have the versatility and convenience of NAS, with the ability to choose the capacity, form factor and hardware. Concerning storage, you are limited only by the SATA ports available in your machine or by physical space in your chassis."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Gone-in-a-flash asks: I've been hearing about Adobe dropping Flash support on Linux. Can you comment on (and maybe recommend) alternatives?
DistroWatch answers: In case you missed the headlines last week, Adobe released a statement about changing their support for Flash on Linux. This quickly resulted in comments springing up all over the place. Some headlines I spotted were "Adobe Makes Flash on GNU/Linux Chrome-Only", "Flash Player for Linux becomes Pepper-only" and "No more Adobe Flash for Linux directly". Which makes the situation sound more dire than it is. What Adobe posted on their website is that they are moving toward a Flash implementation on Linux which uses one API, called Pepper, for communication between their Flash plugin and the web browser. At this time Google's Chrome is the only web browser running on Linux which supports this new plugin API. To give other browsers a chance to implement Pepper and to give users a chance to find alternatives, Adobe has declared they will continue to support the current implementation of Flash, version 11.x, on Linux for the next five years. In other words, the current version of Flash on Linux will stop receiving security updates around the same time Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 does.
Assuming you're not already running Chrome and getting the new versions of Flash, then what alternatives are available? Well, you could continue to use the current branch of Flash for the next five years, or at least until other Linux-friendly browsers support the Pepper API. Mozilla has said they're not interested in adopting Pepper at this time, but they may change their minds if there is demand for the feature. Over the next five years the Gnash project (an open source implementation of Flash) is going to mature. It's already good enough to fill in for Flash on many websites and it is likely to improve with time. People looking for another Flash alternative might also try the Lightspark project which is similar to Gnash, but with a different focus. I'm of the opinion both Lightspark and Gnash aren't ready yet to replace Flash on all websites, but they're close and improving with each release.
Adobe seems to be making a good move here. They're focusing their development resources on one API, they're keeping the Linux community informed and they're giving open source browsers five years in which to adopt the new API. Or, looking at it another way, they are giving users five years to experiment with on-line multimedia alternatives like Gnash and HTML 5.
|Released Last Week
Ron Ropp has announced the release of wattOS R5, a lightweight, Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a clean and simple user interface in a customised LXDE desktop: "wattOS R5 is based on Ubuntu 11.10 and the latest updates from the repositories. Changes of applications from R4 to R5: updated to Linux kernel 3.0; new music player - changed to Audacious with plugin for music stream searching; changed to SMPlayer for video player; removed native mail client; installed new graphics editing program Pinta; installed new power management utilities; changed from Chromium to the Midori web browser with Flash support included; added better webcam support with Cheese; lots of other small tweaks and improvements, including ACPI, powertop, psensor; changed from wicd to NetworkManager along with the notifications; added the software update manager; added the language support tools.... See the full release announcement for additional information.
Network Security Toolkit 2.16.0
Paul Blankenbaker has announced the release of Network Security Toolkit (NST) 2.16.0, a Fedora based live DVD providing easy access to a large number of open-source network security applications: "We are pleased to announce the latest NST release - version 2.16.0. This release is based on Fedora 16 using Linux kernel 3.2.7. Here are some of the highlights for this release: major enhancements to the network interface bandwidth monitor application including a threshold pause feature with bandwidth rate state notifications; developed a new NST WUI ARP Scan AJAX application which uses the arp-scan network tool; integrated w3af (Web Application Attack and Audit Framework) into the NST distribution for searching and exploiting web application vulnerabilities; added the netsniff-ng high performance Linux network analyzer and networking toolkit.... Read the release announcement for a complete list of enhancements.
SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP2
The second service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, a commercial enterprise-class Linux distribution for desktops and servers, has been released: "SUSE today announced the general availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack 2 (SP2). Notable features include an updated Linux kernel, enhanced file system support, and expanded virtualization capabilities. 3.0 Linux kernel: SP2 includes scheduler and memory management optimizations, support for transparent huge pages and per-CPU network load balancing. SP2 supports the latest Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron processors, and exploits new hardware RAS features like CPU and memory offlining. Btrfs: SP2 is the first Linux platform to offer commercial Btrfs file system support. Snapper, a unique tool that's integrated with YaST and Zypper, uses the copy-on-write and snapshot capabilities of Btrfs to help administrators audit and roll-back system configuration changes." Read the SUSE press release for further information.
Thomas Veerman has announced the release of MINIX 3.2.0, a free and open-source operating system based on a tiny microkernel architecture: "We are pleased to announce the release of MINIX 3.2.0 today. It is a major upgrade from 3.1.8, being much more NetBSD-like than any previous version. With pkgsrc, the BSD compiler (Clang/LLVM), and the NetBSD C library, it will be much easier to port software to MINIX 3. Other changes include using ELF as the executable format, an asynchronous VFS, /proc file system, FUSE, and much more. Major Features: Clang is the default compiler (GCC is also supported); NetBSD C library; ELF is the default executable format; asynchronous, multi-threaded virtual file system (VFS) server; experimental SMP support; FUSE support; NetBSD password file format; NetBSD bootloader; smaller boot images (using gzip)...." See the release page on the MINIX wiki for a full list of changes and new features.
Josh Paetzel has announced the release of FreeNAS 8.0.4, the latest update of the project's FreeBSD-based operating system which provides free Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services: "FreeNAS 8.0.4-RELEASE is now available for immediate download. Changes since 8.0.3-RELEASE: update ataidle from 2.6 to 2.72 based on maintainer's recommendation due to interoperability with 2.6 and certain chipsets; fix the inadyn port so that it works on i386; fix a regression for DHCP users where /etc/resolv.conf would be nulled out if DNS servers weren't specified in the GUI; disable AIO by default and change the default AIO read / write size to 4 kB; add in logic to start lockd and mountd when NFS is enabled so that FreeNAS doesn't need to be manually prodded to start the services, or rebooted in order for the services to become effective." Read the detailed release notes for a complete list of changes and fixes.
Plop Linux 4.2.0
Elmar Hanlhofer has announced the release of Plop Linux 4.2.0, a utility live CD or DVD (with Fluxbox and GNOME 3) designed to rescue data from a damaged system, backup and restore operating systems, and automate common tasks: "Plop Linux 4.2.0 released. Changelog: a lot of software updates; support for blind people (brltty, Orca) + preconfigured GNOME version 3.3.91; new developer release + separated X.Org and GNOME archives; documentation completely reorganized and updated; example - live editions as NAS server, media server, printer server; example - Plop Linux Developer edition as base distribution, compile programs; boot scripts updated; new network boot options - TFTP, FTP, HTTP ISO boot ISO from network; locale environments updated; full zoneinfo directory added; PXE configuration simplified; sqfs changed to etc.tgz." See the detailed changelog for further information.
Plop Linux 4.2.0 - a useful utility distribution with rescue, backup and restore tools
(full image size: 176kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
BackTrack 5 R2
The second revision of BackTrack 5, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of tools for penetration testing and ethical hacking, has been released: "After months of development, bug fixes, upgrades, and the addition of 42 new tools, we are happy to announce that the full release of BackTrack 5 R2 available for download now. Running our custom-built 3.2.6 kernel with the best wireless support available, this is our fastest and best release of BackTrack yet. In the past few weeks, we have had a flood of submissions to our BackTrack Redmine tracker with submissions for many new tools and dozens of packages that needed to be updated and this has helped to make this one of the strongest releases we've ever had." Here is the full release announcement.
Linux From Scratch 7.1
Bruce Dubbs has announced the release of an updated version of Linux From Scratch (LFS), version 7.1. Linux From Scratch is a book of instructions on how to compile a base Linux system from scratch, either from an existing Linux installation or a Linux live CD. It is intended primarily as an educational exercise for those wishing to get an understanding about how a Linux system works under the hood. From the release announcement on the project's news page: "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of LFS Version 7.1. It is an incremental release with updates from LFS 7.0 to 20 packages as well as fixes to boot scripts and text throughout the book." Updated packages in this release include Linux kernel 3.2.6, GCC 4.6.2, udev 181, e2fsprogs 1.42, zlib 1.2.6, Binutils 2.22, Coreutils 8.15 and Automake 1.11.3.
Linux Deepin 11.12.1
Linux Deepin, one of the most active community distributions from China, released its version 11.12.1 on the leap day as an upgrade from its New Year release. Deepin GNOME Shell now supports 3D effects and a so-called output device chooser for sound. Deepin Software Center is upgraded to version 2.1.2 where user experience has been greatly improved with a lot of bug fixes and even added support of Hebrew. The new Deepin-Scrot 2.0 now allows rudimentary image processing like text input on the screenshots taken. Documentation is also upgraded where FAQs are added and English edition is included. Other changes include Linux kernel 3.0.0-16, Firefox 10.0.2, Thunderbird 10.0.2, and LibreOffice 3.4. Check the complete release notes (in Chinese) for more, with hint on online upgrade and even a link to video presentations.
Oracle Linux 5.8
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 5.8, the latest update in the 5.x series of the distribution built from source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8: "Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux Release 5 Update 8 for x86 (32-bit) and x86_64 (64-bit) architectures. Oracle Linux 5.8 ships with following three sets of kernel packages: Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (kernel-uek-2.6.32); Red Hat compatible kernel (kernel-2.6.18); Red Hat compatible kernel with bug fixes added by Oracle (kernel-2.6.18). This update includes the following kernel/driver changes: fix _put_nfs_open_context() NULL pointer panic; fix SCSI hotplug and rescan race; fix filp_close() race; fix missing aio_complete() in end_io; check to see if hypervisor supports memory reservation change...." Read the release announcement and release notes for a full list of changes, bug fixes and other details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
- Fedora 17-alpha, the release announcement
- ClearOS 6.2-beta3, release announcement
- Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Edubuntu and Ubuntu Studio, 12.04-beta1, release announcement
- TurnKey Linux 12.0-rc, release announcement
- Unity Linux 2012-alpha1, release announcement
- SliTaz GNU/Linux 4.0-rc2, release announcement
- Parted Magic 2012_2_27
- Clonezilla LiveCD 1.2.12-24
- Salix OS 13.37-rc1 (Live KDE)
- GParted Live 0.12.0-2
- Zorin OS 6-rc (Lite)
- Tiny Core Linux 4.3.1 and 4.4-rc2
- Zenwalk Linux 7.2-beta (Live)
- Zentyal 2.2-2
- FreeNAS 8.2.0-BETA1
- Skolelinux 6.0.4-rc3
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
February 2012 DistroWatch.com donation: ImageMagick|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the February 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is ImageMagick, an open-source software suite designed to manipulate bitmap images. It receives US$350.00 in cash.
ImageMagick has a very long history, dating back to the project's tentative start in 1999. Its fast and continuous development has ensured that this software package, included by default in just about every Linux distribution and BSD operating system, is mature and versatile, with a long list of features: "ImageMagick is a software suite to create, edit, compose, or convert bitmap images. It can read and write images in a variety of formats (over 100) including DPX, EXR, GIF, JPEG, JPEG-2000, PDF, PhotoCD, PNG, Postscript, SVG, and TIFF. Use ImageMagick to resize, flip, mirror, rotate, distort, shear and transform images, adjust image colors, apply various special effects, or draw text, lines, polygons, ellipses and Bézier curves." ImageMagick's home page has an example list of supported capabilities and even links to a couple of books devoted to the useful utility.
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$30,890 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), ImageMagick ($350)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Kepler OS. Kepler OS is an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution. The project's website is in Italian.
- Nosonja Linux. Nosonja Linux is a beginner-friendly, rolling-release desktop distribution based on Arch Linux. It uses Xfce as the preferred desktop environment.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 12 March 2012.
Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
HandyLinux was a French distribution designed for novice Linux users. It was based on the latest stable version of Debian GNU/Linux and it uses the Xfce desktop environment. The main feature of the distribution was a custom start menu with applications and Internet bookmarks grouped in tabs. HandyLinux integrates the latest versions of the Chromium web browser, LibreOffice office suite, Skype conferencing and messaging client, VLC video player and other popular applications with the stable Debian base.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Questions and answers: Distributions with support for even older hardware|
|Questions and answers: In search of "better" applications|
|Myths and misunderstandings: The spread of systemd and launchd|
|Questions and answers: Sending commands to multiple servers|
|Tips and tricks: Advanced file systems, network traffic, running a script at login/logout|
|Tips and tricks: Extracting package lists from various distributions|
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Questions and answers: Using native applications, a note on OpenSSH|
|Tips and tricks: Advanced file systems, network traffic, running a script at login/logout|
|Questions and answers: Differences in popularity|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|