| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 466, 23 July 2012
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It has been a busy and exciting time in the open source community. This past week we heard that Valve is moving forward with their plans to bring mainstream gaming to Linux, PC-BSD rolled out an interesting new jail feature and there was talk of Fedora getting the Unity desktop. Perhaps best of all, Dell is talking about increasing their support for machines with Linux pre-installed. You can get all the details on these stories and more in our News section. Also in this issue we touch on how Ubuntu plans to support older hardware once secure boot gets rolled out later this year and Jesse Smith takes the latest release of Fuduntu, a rolling release distribution originally forked from Fedora, for a spin. Find out how the Fuduntu project is doing now that it has cut ties with its parent distro. Plus we will look at all the distributions released over the past week and bring you a list of upcoming versions. Last, but not least, be sure to check out the new distributions submitted to our waiting list because you never know where the next useful project will come from. From all of us here at DistroWatch, we wish you a pleasant week and happy reading!
- Reviews: An independent Fuduntu 2012.3
- News: Linux in PC-BSD jails, Fedora gains Unity, custom Debian images for Raspberry Pi, gaming coming to Linux users
- Questions and answers: Getting older machines to boot once secure boot becomes standard
- Released last week: Linux Mint 13 "Xfce", Arch Linux 2012.07.15, Linux Deepin 12.06
- New distributions: AEROS, Airinux, Alien Section OS, LPinguy, Mandragora Linux, RayOS, webLinux OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (28MB) and MP3 (25MB) formats
Join us at irc.freenode.net #distrowatch
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
An independent Fuduntu 2012.3
In the past when I have played with the Fuduntu distribution it has generally been for a short time. Fuduntu started as an independent re-spin of the Fedora distribution, adding multimedia support and tweaking the base distro to extend battery life. This relationship between the two projects has caused me to look upon Fuduntu as more of re-spin of Fedora rather than a full fledged distribution. However, in the time since I last downloaded Fuduntu the project has forked away from its Fedora base, begun maintaining its own packages and assumed a rolling release approach to software management. Given this change, this donning of a new identity, I decided it was time to give Fuduntu a full length review.
As I just mentioned, Fuduntu aims to provide a complete multimedia experience out of the box and attempts to woo laptop users with promises of better battery life. It also tries to be user friendly and efficient. Fuduntu provides one edition which comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The ISO image we download to acquire the distribution is approximately 930MB in size and features the GNOME 2 desktop environment. Booting from the live DVD brings us straight to the classic GNOME desktop where we find the application menu at the top of the screen and an OS X style application launcher at the bottom of the display. The wallpaper is dark and features the Fuduntu logo.
Fuduntu uses the Anaconda installer, the same one used by its parent distribution. The graphical installer walks us through the steps of selecting a keyboard layout, setting our hostname and confirming our time zone. We then create a password for the root account and get into disk partitioning. Anaconda supports a lot of options, including disk encryption, LVM and RAID systems. We can choose between ext2, ext3, ext4 and XFS file systems. There are a few restrictions when dealing with partitions, specifically Fuduntu requires a BIOS Boot partition be created, which only takes a few megabytes of space. Additionally, we must format the partition holding the root file system with the ext4 file system. The last screen of the installer asks us if we need a boot loader and, if so, where it should be installed. (Fuduntu uses GRUB 2 as its boot loader.) Anaconda copies its files over to the local disk and we are then prompted to reboot the machine.
The first time we boot into Fuduntu a configuration wizard appears and walks us through a quick series of screens. The first screen displays licensing information and, following that, we're asked to create a regular user account for ourselves. The third page gets us to either set the current date & time or enable network time synchronization. With these steps completed the wizard closes and we are handed over to a graphical login screen.
Fuduntu 2012.3 - exploring the desktop
(full image size: 234kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
The distribution comes with a fairly simple graphical interface for applying security updates. As is usually the case, launching the update manager displays a list of new packages available in the repositories. We can check (or uncheck) which items we want and the update manager takes care of the rest, downloading and installing the most recent packages. Fuduntu is a rolling release project which means updates are likely to be frequent, though during my week with the distribution I certainly didn't feel overwhelmed by the number of packages awaiting my attention. One thing I did find odd about the update manager was the first time it finished installing updated packages it displayed a message letting me know all pending changes had been applied, quickly followed by a warning that all activities had been cancelled, then another pop-up appeared saying all selected packages had been updated. This seemed an odd series of messages to see in quick succession and I went back to confirm my system was up to date. The YUM package manager assured me I was up to date with the repositories and I did not see any similar conflicting messages as the week went on.
One aspect I very much appreciate about the Fedora distribution is its ability to use delta updates to make small changes to installed software. This makes for much smaller downloads when applying updates and delta update use, in my experience, a mere 20%-50% of the bandwidth required by regular updates. Fuduntu comes with the delta update plugin enabled, but the project does not appear to make use of the feature.
Fuduntu 2012.3 - getting software updates
(full image size: 204kB, screen resolution 1024x768 pixels)
Adding or removing software from the operating system is handled, appropriately enough, by an application called "Add/Remove Software". The graphical front-end to YUM pulls available software from Fuduntu and Dropbox repositories and features a fairly simple, attractive layout. Software categories are clearly displayed down the left side of the window and lists of packages are displayed on the right with a brief description. Users can search for specific software bundles using key words instead of categories if they wish. I found the package manager and I did not get along well. Partly because the interface was a bit sluggish on my system and, when performing searches, I sometimes wondered if the manger had failed to find results or if it was merely still searching. I also found most of the category filters (the icons displayed down the left side of the window) wouldn't work. Any attempt to filter software would result in zero matches found for that category. As a result of these problems I performed most of my package management using the YUM command line utility.
Looking in Fuduntu's application menu we find a number of popular applications and a few surprises. The distro comes with the Chromium web browser, Dropbox and the Pidgin messenger client. Shotwell is included for managing photos and we also find a disc burner, a text editor, an archive manager and a calculator app. For playing media files we're given the Banshee audio player and the VLC multimedia player. The default install comes with Deja Dup for performing backups, Shutter for taking screen shots and the Jupiter display control app. Tomboy notes is available out of the box as are Flash and most popular media codecs. Fuduntu comes with a wide array of configuration and administration programs, including helpful (and easy to use) utilities for managing the firewall, user authentication, system services and network connections. Speaking of network connections, Fuduntu uses Network Manager to get us connected to the rest of the Internet.
There are several applications for altering the look and feel of the desktop, including a program which switches the OS X style dock into a GNOME style panel (and back again). I didn't find Java or WINE in the default install, but Fuduntu does come with the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). In an unusual move the developers have opted not to place an office suite or e-mail client in the default install and, instead, have provided links to Google Docs and Google Mail in the application menu. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.4. My general impression of the software installed from the DVD was that the distribution comes with a lot of tools for adjusting the environment, but not many applications to be used in said environment. Instead we're given an uncluttered application menu and we can add things as we need them from the repositories.
Fuduntu 2012.3 - adjusting system settings
(full image size: 295kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I ran Fuduntu on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel graphics, Intel wireless). The distribution performed smoothly, the desktop was responsive (above average, even) and all of my hardware was detected automatically. Wireless networks were detected, my audio volume was set to a medium level and my screen was set to a reasonable resolution. I found my touchpad was less sensitive under Fuduntu than with most other distributions, but it was easy enough to adjust this in the Preferences menu. Running the distribution in a virtual machine also went smoothly and I was impressed with how quickly GNOME 2 responded, a nice treat after some of the heavier projects I've been reviewing lately. The classic desktop uses about 150 MB of RAM when we first login, pleasantly light compared to most other full featured desktop environments.
As Fuduntu originally grew out of the Fedora distribution I found most of the time I was comparing my experiences from this week with my past experiences with Fedora. For better or worse the two are connected in my mind. In some ways I feel Fuduntu is on the right track. The distro supports multimedia in the default installation, they have stayed with GNOME 2 rather than adopting the heavier GNOME 3 which makes for a responsive system, even on low-end video cards. One week isn't really enough time to evaluate the rolling release nature of the distro, but I do like the idea of being able to run a Fedora-like operating system without the requirement of upgrading to a new release once a year. So Fuduntu, in its independence, does bring good characteristics to the table.
However, there is a flip side. In the past when I ran into problems with Fuduntu I tended to shrug them off as problems with the parent distribution. Malfunctioning package managers and issues with the installer which existed in both systems I could write off as upstream problems. With this release Fuduntu is standing on its own feet and, being independent, the project isn't benefiting from improvements in Fedora. For example, in my most recent review of Fedora I noted various fixes to the Anaconda installer. Fuduntu is on an older version of Anaconda and still has GPT and file system related problems. A few packages available in Fedora aren't present in the Fuduntu repositories and the last time I used Fedora it seemed improvements had been made to the package manager, but the graphical front-end shipping with Fuduntu is still on an older and, frankly, terribly flaky version.
It may not be nice to say so, but I found I was enjoying Fuduntu more when it was taking Fedora and tweaking the distribution to be more novice-friendly and more desktop oriented. In separating themselves from upstream the Fuduntu developers have also apparently cut themselves off from improvements introduced in Fedora. Perhaps the development team felt they had to sever the connection to maintain a classic GNOME interface, but in doing so I wonder if they might have sacrificed too much. Fuduntu isn't doing badly, but I think I would have been happier if either more applications had been included in the default install or a different package manager had been used. As it was, Fuduntu provided a good platform, but getting it up and running with all the software I wanted took longer than expected.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Linux in PC-BSD jails, Fedora gains Unity, custom Debian images for the Raspberry Pi and gaming coming to Linux users
The term might strike fear into the hearts of some Linux users, but PC-BSD's new Linux Jail feature is designed to help, not capture, Linux users. The PC-BSD operating system, like its parent, FreeBSD, has long had the ability to run services in a fenced off portion of the system called a jail. These jails offer an extra layer of security, keeping compromised services and user accounts away from the rest of the operating system. Starting with PC-BSD 9.1, administrators will be able to use a graphical utility to create jails and install Linux inside them. (Debian and Gentoo are currently supported.) The jailed Linux installation can then be snapshot, rolled back and otherwise treated like an extension of the host PC-BSD system. Curious people who don't want to wait for the final release can test drive the new jail feature using PC-BSD's latest Beta.
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The Unity Linux project came about with the intention "to create a core distribution from which other branch distributions are built". You might think of Unity as being a smaller cousin to the Debian project in that respect, a base of many packages from which developers can build their visions. Well, the Unity project is making some changes. This past week the team behind Unity Linux announced they would be shifting their code base from the troubled Mandriva project to ROSA. This move was made because the Unity team feels there "is no Mandriva release in sight right now."
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Up to this point the Unity desktop environment (not to be confused with the previously mentioned Unity Linux distribution) has been used almost exclusively by people running Ubuntu. This is about to change as a group of developers have ported the Unity desktop to the Fedora distribution. This in itself would be interesting enough, but what really stands out about this porting effort is the method of getting Unity packages to Fedora users. The developers working on the port are using the build servers of a third distribution, openSUSE, to create and host their software packages. It may be that by the time Fedora 18 arrives users will have the option of a Unity spin.
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Many people out there have been thrilled with the tiny Raspberry Pi computer. The educational device has found its way into the homes and hearts of developers and classrooms. With all this attention it makes sense custom distribution spins have appeared, optimized to work on the Pi. The Raspbian project provides just such a re-spin which takes Debian and customizes it to work with the little Pi computer. Raspbian, which now carries an official recommendation from the Raspberry Pi project, provides better hardware support and improved speed when compared to running plain Debian on the Pi's limited hardware. The new Raspbian image can be downloaded from the Raspberry Pi's website.
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Over the past five years Dell has had an ongoing, though rough, relationship with Ubuntu. Dell, one of the world's largest personal computer providers, has varied their Linux strategy, sometimes offering laptop models in the United States, other times in the United Kingdom and often next to a banner recommending Windows. Dell's new Sputnik project aims to get Ubuntu and Dell back together in a way which will appeal to Linux users. Sputnik in an effort to "develop a laptop for developers working on mobile and web apps. It is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Dell's XPS13 laptop" which should be available later this year. At the moment exact pricing and availability are vague, however interested users can keep an eye on the Dell Community website as more information is sure to be provided in over the next two months.
Gaming is one area where Linux users often feel left out. While there are many quality games available for Linux, people wishing to run big-name titles often have to use Wine or dual-boot in order to get their entertainment. Valve, the company behind the popular Steam service, may soon change the way mainstream publishers approach Linux. On their newly created blog, Steam'd Penguins, Valve writes: "Our mission is to strengthen the gaming scene on Linux, both for players and developers. This includes Linux ports of Steam and Valve games, as well as partner games. We are also investigating open source initiatives that could benefit the community and game developers." Right now efforts are focused on getting the Steam client working on Ubuntu, though once a port is ready it should be easy to get Steam running on other Linux distributions. Valve has been a big player in the gaming industry in recent years and it will be interesting to see where their initiative leads.
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Linus Torvalds, founder and benevolent dictator of the Linux kernel, announced the availability of a new kernel release this past weekend. The new kernel version, 3.5, features a number of important improvements including meta-data checksumming for the ext4 file system which should improve file system integrity, improvements to the "secure computing" sandbox for better security; and several tweaks to networking, which should improve reliability and performance. Perhaps the most interesting new feature is the introduction of Android-style aggressive suspend which would allow the operating system to put the machine to sleep when nothing important is happening. Readers interested in all the details of the Linux 3.5 release can check out the full change log.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Getting older machines to boot once secure boot becomes standard
Getting the boot asks: If Canonical drops GRUB 2, how will older PC's without UEFI be dealt with? Not at all?
DistroWatch answers: A few weeks back Canonical decided, on legal advice from the Software Freedom Law Center, to adopt the efilinux boot loader for use on new computers which support secure boot technology. This move should allow Ubuntu to boot on computers which implement the secure boot feature without requiring Canonical or OEMs to give up their signing keys. This news resulted in a lot of talk about Ubuntu dropping its current boot loader, GRUB 2, and there is some concern the efilinux boot loader will not be able to do everything GRUB 2 did, like work on computers which have pre-EFI BIOSs.
Well, as it turns out, efilinux does not work on older computers. As its name implies, efilinux is designed to work on modern, EFI-enabled machines only. Matt Fleming, efilinux's author and a member of Intel's Open Source Technology Center, had this to say: "efilinux is not compatible with BIOS machines, it is only designed to work with EFI hardware. I certainly don't speak on behalf of Canonical or Ubuntu, but as far as I understood their plans, they will only be deploying efilinux for EFI installs and will continue to use GRUB 2 for BIOS machines." Ubuntu developer Steve Langasek also suggested Canonical intends to keep GRUB 2 around for machines which do not require secure boot support. In a post to the Ubuntu development list Mr Langasek wrote, "We hope that we'll also be able to make the first stage loader detect whether Secure Boot is enabled and otherwise chain to GRUB 2."
I contacted Canonical to confirm their strategy with regards to older computers and, at time of writing, have not received a reply. Also this week I downloaded the latest development snapshot of Ubuntu 12.10 and found it would install and utilize GRUB 2 on machines which do not support EFI features. It seems people running older hardware have nothing to worry about with regards to Ubuntu's boot loader.
|Released Last Week
Sophos UTM 9
Angelo Comazzetto has announced the release of Sophos UTM 9, a network security solution previously known as Astaro Security Gateway and now called Sophos Unified Threat Management: "UTM 9 is a major new version that offers over 60 new features and abilities. We now offer the ability to manage antivirus and device control on your desktops with the same finesse that has made our RED branch office product and integrated wireless management offerings so popular. There is a new captive portal system, allowing you to create wireless hotspots for guests in your company, hotels, coffee shops, or other public places. The Antivirus system has been bolstered with the addition of Sophos' enterprise-class scanner, while UTM 9 remains one of the only products to offer dual scanning engines in parallel to give you extra security and choice. We yet again lead the way with a totally new HTML5 VPN system that is a true clientless system for accessing desktops and servers remotely." Read the full release announcement and the 15-page release notes.
Linux Deepin 12.06
Linux Deepin, one of the most active community distributions in China, today released its version 12.06 that was originally scheduled for the end of last month. This project employs a half-year release cycle and is highly attractive to Chinese university students. The desktop environment in this release is Deepin GNOME Shell, which is the GNOME Shell adapted to the way users prefer to manage the desktop. Three extensions for Hide Message Tray, Kimpanel, and Panel Settings are introduced for better GUI experience. This release incorporates a number of device drivers, particularly for printers. More fonts were included and thus CJK rendering is better supported. This release can even be installed by running a special DeepWin.exe in a Windows operating system. Featured applications are Deepin Music Player, Deepin Media Player, and Deepin Software Center. Read the complete release announcement (in Chinese).
SystemRescueCd 2.8.1, a Gentoo-based live CD with specialist utilities for data rescue and disk management tasks, has been released. From the changelog: "Updated standard kernels to Long-Term-Supported linux-3.2.23 (rescuecd + rescue64); updated alternative kernels to latest stable: linux-3.4.5 (altker32 + altker64); updated X.Org graphical environment and drivers to xorg-server-1.12.3; updated Grub2 bootloader to 2.00 (grub-0.97-r12 is also provided); updated Super-Grub2-Disk to version 2.00-beta1 (based on GRUB-2.00); updated lvm2 to 2.02.93, e2fsprogs to 1.42.4; updated GParted to 0.13.0, partclone to 0.2.49; removed Ranish floppy disk image; added spacefm-0.7.8 file manager."
After four beta versions and one release candidate, FreeNAS 8.2.0 is available for download, which is a free, open-source, Network-Attached Storage (NAS) operating system based on FreeBSD. From the release announcement: "The FreeNAS development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of FreeNAS 8.2.0-RELEASE. FreeNAS 8.2.0-RELEASE is the first release on new branch of code that incorporates tighter integration between the ZFS command line and the FreeNAS GUI. This release also features the ability to run arbitrary services and interact with them through the FreeNAS GUI in a FreeBSD jail. This jail allows a wide range of third party software to be run on top of FreeNAS, using the PBI format from PC-BSD or FreeBSD packages or ports, as well as official FreeNAS plugins. Additional features include: support for iSCSI target reload; GUI support for SAS and FC multipath hardware; WebShell accessible from the FreeNAS web interface; ZFS scrubs are configurable from the GUI; a newer web toolkit is used in the GUI, enabling use of mobile browsers...." Read the press release, the release notes, and an important update to 8.2.0-RELEASE-p1.
Linux Mint 13 "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the availability of the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 13, codename Maya. From the what's new page: "The highlight of this edition is the latest Xfce 4.10 desktop, which features the following improvements: online documentation; application finder; multiple rows and deskbar mode in the panel; actions plugin; MIME type editor; single-click operation, automated background image cycling and thumbnail rendering on the desktop; edge-tiling in the window manager. In the past, the xfapplet plugin made it possible for Xfce users to run GNOME applets within the Xfce panel. After talking to the MATE and Xfce developers, we updated this plugin and it now supports MATE applets. Among the many MATE applets that can now run in Xfce, mintMenu is probably the most popular. Improvements were made to mintMenu so that it could support Thunar, the Xfce Settings Manager and other aspects of the Xfce desktop...." See the release announcement including upgrade instructions, and check the release notes for known issues.
Arch Linux 2012.07.15
Pierre Schmitz has announced the release of Arch Linux 2012.07.15 "netinstall" CD image. Since Arch Linux is a strictly rolling-release distribution, this release merely provides an updated system installer and it does not represent a new Arch Linux "version" in the traditional sense of the word. From the announcement: "New CD images containing a current Arch Linux snapshot have been released. Most notable change is that AIF (the Arch Installation Framework) is no longer included but instead some simple install scripts are provided to aid in the installation process. This means that a menu driven installer is no longer available and we rely more on documentation to guide new users. Instead of six different images we only provide a single one which can be booted into an i686 and x86_64 live system to install Arch Linux over the network."
openmamba GNU/Linux 188.8.131.52
Silvan Calarco has announced the release of openmamba GNU/Linux 184.108.40.206, an updated version of the project's independently developed distribution featuring the KDE desktop and using the RPM package management format: "The openmamba maintainer is happy to announce the immediate availability of the milestone2 220.127.116.11 release of the openmamba distribution. Features: KDE-based live desktop system for standard personal computers (Intel x86 compatible hardware); top applications include LibreOffice, Chromium, Amarok, Kaffeine, WINE, GIMP, Kopete, Audacity and K3b; 3D graphical desktop support with open and proprietary drivers; automatic hardware detection and configuration; NTFS read and write support using NTFS-3G; fixed disk installation interface." Read the rest of the release announcement for a detailed description of the product and system requirements."
openmamba GNU/Linux 18.104.22.168 - a desktop distribution featuring KDE 4.7.4
(full image size: 422kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- AEROS. AEROS is a hybrid distribution of AROS and Linux (at the moment Debian 6.0 is used) available for ARM and x86 systems.
- Airinux. Unique because it looks complicated MATE converted into easy with GNOME 2 view. Airinux is a derivative of Ubuntu, that supports all the services from Ubuntu. Airinux comes from Indonesia.
- Alien Section OS. Alien Section OS is an Openbox operating system based on Crunchbang/Debian, Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
- Cinnarch. An elegant desktop as Cinnamon running over an Arch Linux flavoured distribution.
- LPinguy. (Light Pinguy) 12.04 is based on Ubuntu 12.04. LPinguy has both preconfigured GNOME Classic and Enlightenment desktop.
- Mandragora Linux. A hardened Linux desktop for use in Digital Forensics-Incident Response (DFIR) and Vulnerability Assessments. Mandragora leverages AppArmor security profiles and auditing, LXC Container Sandboxing (Arkose) and Tor and I2P for enhanced privacy. Mandragora is built upon Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and uses the GNOME3 Classic desktop environment.
- RayOS. RayOS is a desktop Linux distribution that is fully optimized to work perfectly with the Atomic mini PC.
- webLinux OS. webLinux OS is a modern cloud setup, designed to run on old or new hardware.
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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, 30 July 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • DSL (by greg on 2012-07-23 10:30:14 GMT from Slovenia) |
An interesting piece of news is that DSL might get a reboot. Author is planning some changes to it. And hopefully an update. DSL is really interesting solution for older mashcines but it's a bit old and since it wasn't updated possibly also insecure.
2 • Arch Linux Installer (by linuxuser on 2012-07-23 10:58:56 GMT from Greece)
It's a surprise for me that the beautiful and stable installer of Arch Linux is no longer present in the 2012.07.15 "netinstall" CD image. I hope that the nice installer will be back in a future snapshot release.
3 • No menu installer for Arch? (by Willie Green on 2012-07-23 11:06:47 GMT from United States)
Let's make Arch even more difficult to install.
Maybe one of these days you can become Gentoo or Linux from Scratch.
4 • DSL (by Neal on 2012-07-23 12:13:54 GMT from United States)
Though there is no mention of a return of DSL here, I did see that on the new forum on the DSL site.....A welcome back is in order! About time something non Ubuntu or debian based....And geared for older machines....not everyone is using an i5 or higher.
5 • Re No menu installer for Arch (by Scott on 2012-07-23 12:16:08 GMT from United States)
As I understand it, sad to say, despite Arch's current popularity, there was no one to maintain the current installation menu framework, so it's been dropped for the moment. There's an excellent chance, with their active community, that someone will now pick it up. Or, maybe not, maybe like the old Gentoo, it will just rely upon its documentation. Either way, for the more experienced user, it's not horribly difficult, just a bit more time consuming, and, from what I've seen of Arch over the years, there's a good chance that it will be improved as time goes on.
The general impression I get from the forums is that the ones in charge don't care too much about Arch losing popularity. This has benefits to those who like what it is--one sees other distributions working so hard to please the newcomer that they start getting in the way of the more experienced.
6 • Re No menu installer for Arch (by Willie Green on 2012-07-23 12:32:28 GMT from United States)
Well I certainly hope somebody in their community updates the installer.
They better understand that a menu installer isn't just a convenience for the uninitiated. More experienced users don't like wasting any more time on an installation than they have to either.
7 • review (by Fewt on 2012-07-23 13:05:33 GMT from United States)
Jesse - thanks for the review! We do know that packagekit is junk, a member of my team is actively working on changes to yumex to replace the Add / Remove software component.
We are also looking for volunteers to help clean up our comps metadata and do some of the other similar work around the project if anyone is interested. :)
We do have lots of improvements that aren't in Fedora though - like GNOME 2.
8 • Arch linux (by Leon on 2012-07-23 13:31:45 GMT from France)
Why did Arch release this "distribution release?"
If it is that popular, why can't they maintain a simple installer. is Arch becoming Gentoo or are we going back to 1990?
9 • Opensuse (by Kailash on 2012-07-23 13:42:10 GMT from India)
Any idea why OpenSuse is not present in list of expected release? It used to be there a while back.
10 • DSL back? (by Barnabyh on 2012-07-23 13:54:51 GMT from United Kingdom)
That would indeed be welcome. I always found it to fit my needs better than Tinycore or SliTaz, and the latest Puppy Slacko update is unstable, at least here.
Short of customizing Arch to this extent, and that's a lot of work in comparison, DSL would be the best.
11 • Linux Installations (by Mike Adams on 2012-07-23 14:26:47 GMT from United States)
My greatest concern about 95% of the Linux distributions I've looked at (and I've looked at quite a few) is the fact the installers for them rarely take into account the fact that many users are either unschooled in hard drive partitioning lingo and procedures or just a bit timid in making changes to their hard drives. What most people need is an installer that handles everything yet still gives the hard-core users the opportunity to express their inner need to control everything. So far, the only installation programs I've encountered that do that are Ubuntu and Linux Mint. They are easy to use, and they're great for the non-technical folks out there (like me). The other distributions would do well to follow their example. If they had, I might be using some of them right now.
12 • Arch & older machines (by OldTimer2 on 2012-07-23 14:37:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Arch is a great operating system, but they tend to give out the wrong vibes, making things harder isn't the way to make Linux universal.
A simple installer like the one in AntiX, MEPIS or even PClinuxOS is the smart way to go, if you want more Linux users and greater appeal, wearing a hair shirt is not.
Arch is great for older machines, but doesn't help itself by not widening its appeal.
13 • Fuduntu (by Sam on 2012-07-23 14:47:49 GMT from United States)
A while ago I spent some time dual-booting Fuduntu and Kororaa Linux (back when both were spiraling away from their Fedora parent). I found Fuduntu a much more stripped-down, bare metal version of Fedora with some "ease of use" added - namely multimedia codecs. Fuduntu was my first encounter iwth the Jupiter power management system, so maybe I'm giving the distro too much credit for innovation as later I was able to install Jupiter on both Ubuntu and Mint.
I stopped using Fuduntu after a few hours - the developers didn't design this distro with me or any researcher in mind. As a GIS user, I found they not only didn't include ANY GIS software in their repositories, they didn't include many of the necessary base components for GIS and scientific computing that have been part of the Fedora/Red Hat ecosystem.
Not sure who they're aiming for, but it is obviously a subsegment of the Fedora/Red Hat kind of user.
14 • @2,3,5,6,8,12 Arch installer (by mandog on 2012-07-23 15:09:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
So if you have a problem with the scripts then make a shiny new one or maintain the old one. While the devs do a very good job in maintaining Arch Linux, they don't get paid and its a rolling release so if you are competent that means you only install once ever. Even a new machine only needs dd to transfer, they don't see the installer as a problem or even a opstickle, If you can install Arch Linux you can in theory maintain your own setup or cheat and install Archbang.
15 • Fuduntu (by claudecat on 2012-07-23 15:16:22 GMT from United States)
Seems to me that Fuduntu's target audience is netbook and low-power laptop users along with those that like gnome2 but want reasonably up to date packages otherwise.. This distro excels at power management - the jupiter app is not merely for display control and is something that sets Fuduntu apart from others (the app was written by fewt after all).
Also worth mentioning is the quality and responsiveness of the forum - I've requested packages and they appear in testing literally within hours. It may not cater to everyone's needs, but for what it does, Fuduntu is unique and serves its purpose well.
16 • Fuduntu (by RayRay on 2012-07-23 15:23:40 GMT from United States)
Fuduntu shouldn't be compared with Fedora, perhaps they should just change the name and avoid the confusion.
It looks great and works well for a newer distro. Eventually they may have to get away from Gnome 2 but as long as they have the osx type of panel to launch they won't have much of a problem using Gnome 3.
Jesse I know you love Fedora but it's a distro that is pretty buggy and not newbie friendly. Fuduntu would not have been necessary if Fedora were more than a test bed for Red Hat.
About openSuse, I hope that the delay is because they are releasing a rock solid release and not releasing something that is really not ready. There last release was very good and they have one of the best deployments of KDE4.
DSL is incredible I hope that it really comes back.
17 • Re: Arch Linux Installer (by pouar on 2012-07-23 15:31:57 GMT from United States)
@2,3,5,6,8,12,14 just use dhclient to setup the network connection then download the ArchLinux Installation Framework with pacman.
you could also read this
18 • Getting the boot (by Emery on 2012-07-23 15:35:53 GMT from United States)
Funny, but whenever somebody tells me I "have nothing to worry about", that's when I REALLY start worrying.
19 • Fuduntu (by David McCann on 2012-07-23 15:42:08 GMT from United Kingdom)
The striking point about Fuduntu for me is their caution. Rolling release can so often mean software versions that seem to have escaped rather than have been released, while new distros often seem to try to include more software than they have the time to check. The Fuduntu repository is small but perfectly formed: this is for users, not hackers.
Why Sam should expect it to provide for scientific computing, I can't imagine. When you see a distro that defaults to Google Docs for word-processing, that should tell you that it's for home users.
Getting the packages listed under categories is a matter of some patient volunteer labeling each one! In the meantime, there's a classified listing on the web-site.
One legacy from Fedora (apart from Anaconda and lumbering old gpk) is the excellent set of configuration tools. Compare system-config-services to Ubuntu's BUM, for example.
I have no connection to the Fuduntu team; I'm just a reviewer who gave it 9/10 and recommended it for non-geek home users, especially with laptops.
20 • Re 19 (by bert barten on 2012-07-23 16:08:07 GMT from Netherlands)
I agree to david. I have installed Fuduntu a week ago. Before that I tried Windows 8 preview, but got all the time errors. Then I decided tot use Fuduntu. Last year I tried it also, but got several errors. As a distrohopper I try regularly other distro's. See my blog:
In this week that I use Fuduntu I haven't any problems. Everything works well and I continue it for a while till the moment that I have to hop to an other distro. I read recently about Voyager Os a candidate for my next blog.
21 • Steam (by Dan on 2012-07-23 16:08:44 GMT from Canada)
I think it's excellent news that Steam is attempting to move into the Linux world. I've never supported Steam in the past, but now I'll definitely support them for supporting Linux users. A welcome treat, and hopefully a sign of things to come.
22 • Fuduntu (by Alexander Krebsson on 2012-07-23 16:25:58 GMT from United States)
I also found Fuduntu a pleasure to use, except it is quite possible to freeze up my old dual core Gateway laptop (2 gigs ram) just by using a web browser with lots of tabs open. The same laptop is more stable running LinuxMint in contrast. I am not a power user really. I primarily use my laptop for web and multimedia and some remote desktop work.
23 • Re: 19 (by Sam on 2012-07-23 17:26:18 GMT from United States)
"Why Sam should expect it to provide for scientific computing, I can't imagine. When you see a distro that defaults to Google Docs for word-processing, that should tell you that it's for home users."
Why would I think that? On the ultra-newbie friendly Ubuntu I can apt-get install gis-workstation gis-statistics r-cran gretl pspp and get a pretty decent set of research applications. Nobody designed Ubuntu for the geospatial science noob, but the ability to simply add software is a trademark of Linux.
Is Fuduntu designed for the casual home user, probably. But why drop core components of Gnome that make it dependency hell to try installing something as basic as the Gnome Scientific Libraries?
24 • RE:State of Arch, Fuduntu and such. (by Eddie on 2012-07-23 17:58:03 GMT from United States)
Arch: The people who develop Arch really don't care if it's popular or not. Saying they don't have anyone who can maintain the installer is plain bull. They don't feel they need one. There was never a lot of work put into the installer anyway. They just want their Gentoo type crowd and want to keep their computer nerd status. Someone said that even experienced linux users have better things to do than to muddle through an install process, and that is correct. Saying that you will only have to install once because it's a rolling release is just ridiculous to say the least and a lie for the most part. Rolling releases are not immune to problems and breakages. We should not be sad for Arch Linux in any way because they are right where they want to be. I have installed the last release of Arch and while it is a good distro the walled garden approach they take will not fare well in the long run.
Fuduntu: There's not a lot to say about Fuduntu. I do agree with another commenter that mentioned they needed a name change. I've never really liked the name and I never really understood why they could not come up with a better one. Anyway they are aimed at the lower powered systems. They could do well in the Linux community. Soon tho they will have to go with something other than Gnome 2. After all that is like beating a dead horse. Several other projects have done the same thing. That is getting away from Gnome 2 and have not gone to Gnome 3 or any other high demanding environment. I wish them the best of luck.
25 • Sam @23 (by Fewt on 2012-07-23 18:01:31 GMT from United States)
Sam, we haven't dropped it, we have simply never carried it. When we forked, we decided that we would only carry what the core team needed plus common requests from the community. We maintain many of the things that were requested, within reason of course. We don't have the resources the other big distributions do so we only carry things that are actively used and have an active maintainer.
You can install those packages on Ubuntu because Canonical has 200 people actively working on the distribution on payroll and thousands of others in the community actively working on their product as well.
Chances are there is at least one maintainer for all of those software packages you need over at Ubuntu.
Our entire team is only ~12 members strong, and only half of us are active at any given point in time. An even smaller subset focuses on package maintenance. We can handle the current package set just fine, but when you expect something like 'gis-workstation gis-statistics r-cran gretl pspp' you probably aren't taking into consideration all of those packages dependencies which could range from 1-2 to 30. All of which would have to go under active maintenance for those 5 requested packages to be "maintained" properly.
All of those packages also have deeper requirements, storage; replication; etc. Usually not a big deal, but some packages are quite large and when you have 40,000 people downloading them for an update it can use quite a bit of bandwidth.
If we had the bottomless pocketbook of a billionaire to throw at us we could do a lot more, but we don't currently have one of those available at Fuduntu. haha! :)
26 • arch installer (by hm on 2012-07-23 20:10:42 GMT from Germany)
the arch menu-installer is gone for the moment and as a consequence, when installing arch, you have to understand what is going on "behind" that installer.
Anybody who is willing NOT to understand what is going on behind the installer will find (in the arch forum and not very prominently) a tutorial that works very much like that gone-away installer.
27 • @8 (by Dave on 2012-07-23 20:53:08 GMT from United States)
Quite simply, they made a new release snapshot because one was needed to incorporate major systems changes that have happened since the last snapshot which would complicate or possibly prevent installation entirely using old media. At the very least the user would be doing two or three major upgrades almost immediately after install which require manual intervention. Such is the price of staying very close to the bleeding edge.
As for the installer, it's unfortunate no one has the interest to maintain it. Maybe someone will step up and write a better one or step into the old maintainer's shoes. Maybe they won't, it won't be a dealbreaker for the core audience regardless and as some have noticed Arch most definitely is not trying to be Ubuntu.
28 • Fuduntu (by Jesse on 2012-07-23 20:53:14 GMT from Canada)
Since you're answering questions I wonder if you would take a moment to comment on Fuduntu's choice to use Google Docs and Google Mail in place of a local e-mail client and LibreOffice in the default install? Was this something the Fuduntu community voted on, or was it a move to save space on the DVD?
I'm really happy to hear your team is looking at YumEx, it's a package tool I think more RPM-based distros should use. Never figured out why Fedora didn't adopt it years ago.
29 • @28 (by Fewt on 2012-07-23 21:13:31 GMT from United States)
Hi Jesse, I held a survey a few months after starting the project and replacing the mail client with GMail was one of the things that received a lot of votes. Since I was already doing that type of work, it made sense to use the same sort of Chromium app for Google Docs also. I don't personally use them myself, but a side benefit is that it helps shrink the media some. Especially since we don't ship LibreOffice by default.
Now that it has shifted to Google Drive I'll probably have to re-evaluate Docs, but my ideal goal is to keep the media under 1GB so I don't know what I'll do there yet.
I agree that YumEx is a great tool, it needs some work, but one of the developers on the team has taken up the challenge. :)
30 • Steam (by WoodCAT on 2012-07-23 21:16:01 GMT from Canada)
Great news about Valve getting more involved with linux. I'd love to have Steam client on my Linux computers. I got many games from steam over the years [few more this summer sale ;-)) ] It's the only reason I still keep windows around.
Here is a link to Valve Linux Team blog
31 • Arch Install Scripts are easier to use than you think (by Matin C. on 2012-07-23 21:37:19 GMT from Argentina)
Hey, what's up with all the fuss about Arch and it's new installation system? Did you tried it? I'm sure that no one from all the people complaining about this haven't installed any Arch using AIS yet.
While the new way may seem harder than previous with AIF, it's really a piece of cake, even more, the new way to install Arch let you:
1. install the base system
2. configure it
3. install additional packages, desktop environments and so on so by the time you make your FIRST boot you have your system up and running!
Come on, Arch is one of the _easiest_ power distros out there...
32 • Fuduntu (by Caveira on 2012-07-24 00:46:35 GMT from Brazil)
I've recently made the switch from SL 6 to fuduntu 2012.3 and I must say the project is fantastic.
I was looking for a rpm based distro with easy multimedia and desktop apps, while my scientific stuff would be compiled from source. Fuduntu provided both: the integration of chromium is good, AWN dock is awesome, codecs are there (fluendo!), and the repos give everything needed to compile all stuff I needed - GSL, Fltk, OpenMP, etc. I've also put gnome office, and for the rest, the wiki is simply great. I've also noted that their development rules result in a very stable environment - the copies I am running in my laptop and virtualized are rock solid.
In other words, at the end of the day, I get a modern system with the latest multimedia and desktop stuff AND my scientific programs get recent gcc, kennel and stability. I hope the project continues to progress and also hope to help at that!
Keep the good work fewt! Congrats!
33 • Fuduntu name change (by RollMeAway on 2012-07-24 03:57:24 GMT from United States)
Seems like a natural.
There are far too many *untu , and there is NO relation, misleading to some?
34 • Arch Install Scripts (by Bandi on 2012-07-24 04:39:34 GMT from Romania)
The Arch Install Scripts are indeed easy to use, it reminded me of installing crux or gentoo, though i had some problems with booting after install. Arch mounted twice the wrong boot partition, but it worked out fine in the end. Control over your system, thats what i like by installing arch linux.
35 • Arch Install Scripts are easy for long time Archers, not for newcomers (by ZukrutP on 2012-07-24 05:23:03 GMT from Portugal)
I started with UNIX in 1982 and was a sysadmin until retirement. Yes, i am old.
I gave a try installing the new Arch in Virtualbox, trying to put the skin of a newcomer to ARCH.
If he is coming wiling to learn, forget it, he must already have learned. The Arch scripts page says:
To install Arch Linux on your system requires knowledge and application of a few skills on Linux. The list itself is not comprehensive but it gives an idea.
1. Working knowledge of shell, e.g. bash
2. Configuring network in shell.
3. Working knowledge on utilities like fdisk, mkfs, nano/vi/vim, chroot, locale-gen, passwd, etc.
4. The pacman mirrorlist.
5. Basic knowledge about /etc/fstab.
6. The purpose of running mkinitcpio.
7. Configuring GRUB/Syslinux.
Sure. With my beginners skin, first step: Keyboard layout
It says: available keymap files can be found in /usr/share/kbd/keymaps/
He goes there and sees:
amiga/ atari/ i386/ include/ mac/ sun/ ppc@
Follows disk partitioning. Go here:
and so on.
With this approach, Arch will with no doubt scare the so despised noobs away.
But we all were noobs back in time.
And without noobs coming in, there will be no new generation.
If things remain in this state, I am afraid Archlinux will dwindle. Which is a pity because it is a wonderful distribution.
Hardened Archers fail to see any problems here, I suppose because for them all the configurations, vim, fdisk, mkinitcpio meanwhile are obvious for them.
In 6 months we will see.
36 • RE: 6 - 8 - 10 - 11 - 35 (by Landor on 2012-07-24 05:59:06 GMT from Canada)
Experienced users don't want to waste time, so they need a GUI? Funny. Gentoo's a bit more in depth and I can basically go through a Gentoo install on the command line like a rocket. Are you an experienced user? You don't know the process by heart?
How in the world could Arch ever become Gentoo with its current structure? Seriously.
I never thought too much about TinyCore, and SliTaz is ok, but not to my liking. I'm with you on DSL. I've love to see it return, great little distribution. Too bad it's not Libre. Maybe one of the guys here that are complaining about Arch will show their expertise one day and make us a Libre DSL. :)
If two (Ubuntu and Mint) are 5%, then you've looked at 38. Anyway, My biggest concern is that the 5% make it too easy for people. If a person isn't schooled in partitioning 'lingo' and procedures, or are a bit timid about making changes to their hard drives, then they should stick with whatever they're using already and overcome those two failings, or just forget about it completely. They're already getting it for nothing pretty well, not even any really participation, just they like it. So what else, it's gotta be spoon fed to them too?
Eddie, you're right, but not completely. Rolling release distributions 'can' require a reinstall. One time I was in the Gentoo IRC and just scopin' things out (you would not believe what you learn in there more than you would pretty well most any other distribution, most) when this guy rolls in and is talking about all the crap he has to do to update his system, and was looking for a quick and easy way to do it. For some reason he let about 8 months slide by and Gentoo had made major changes to their system and he had to really do a lot if he wanted to keep his original install. In the end he just reinstalled new. But he had been running Gentoo for 7 years, and had done a stage 1 install I do believe. That's a long time for a rolling release, and if he wanted to actually work for it, he didn't have reinstall.
"With this approach, Arch will with no doubt scare the so despised noobs away."
Keep your stick on the ice...
37 • RE: 35 (by Landor on 2012-07-24 06:17:50 GMT from Canada)
I forgot one thing.
"In 6 months we will see."
The dreaded doomsday. I don't know how many times I've seen stuff like this. I guess it never gets old. There were people in here years ago predicting the demise of Gentoo, and I just snorted and laughed when I typed that.
Keep your stick on the ice...
38 • The death of Arch? I don't think so. (by Anonymous Coward on 2012-07-24 10:44:27 GMT from Spain)
If things remain in this state, I am afraid Archlinux will dwindle. Which is a pity because it is a wonderful distribution.
Hardened Archers fail to see any problems here, I suppose because for them all the configurations, vim, fdisk, mkinitcpio meanwhile are obvious for them.
In 6 months we will see.
Many users of hardcore distributions come from newbie-friendly distributions. It took me less than a year to start with Ubuntu (big fail) and move to Debian (good but not for my liking anymore) and then jump to Slackware. I can see that an experienced Linux user won't have trouble migrating from *buntu to a hard distro if he wants and reads the documentation.
I don't think a distribution is obligated to be easy to use or something. When someone decides to install a given distribution, it is supposed that he has investigated and he knows what he is getting. I think Arch competitors are the distributions which are considered "hardcore", nor the distributions that claim (often without a base) to be easy to use or install... Knowing Arch is not aimed at the newbie public, is easier to understand their decisions. I don't use Arch, nor I plan to. However, I must say you should not blame them if they take a "wallen garden" position. Experienced users will work the install out if they want, an newer users were surely better served by other distributions anyway.
For that matter, I would like to add that I don't mind if a given distribution takes an elitist stand, has unfriendly forums, keeps newbies away etc. There are a lot of distributions for newbies, but not so many for hardcore users. If they think that keeping a distribution "geek only" has advantages (and it has), let them do it and try something else if you don't like it. Don't try to turn the few hardcore distributions that are left into another *buntu clone.
39 • @35 • Arch Install Scripts (by mandog on 2012-07-24 11:13:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
Arch Linux targets and accommodates competent GNU/Linux users by giving them complete control and responsibility over the system.
Arch Linux users fully manage the system on their own. The system itself will offer little assistance, except for a simple set of maintenance tools that are designed to perfectly relay the user's commands to the system. Arch developers do not expend energy re-inventing GUI system tools; Arch is founded upon sensible design and excellent documentation.
This user-centric design necessarily implies a certain "do-it-yourself" approach to using the Arch distribution. Rather than pursuing assistance or requesting a new feature to be implemented by developers, Arch Linux users have a tendency to solve problems themselves and share the results with the community and development team – a "do first, then ask" philosophy. This is especially true for user-contributed packages found in the Arch User Repository – the official Arch Linux repository for community-maintained packages.
40 • Arch Linux for all of us (by Alex on 2012-07-24 11:41:28 GMT from Czech Republic)
We, the users, not the geek have a very good chance to own an Arch Linux distribution by downloading an excellent distro Bridge Linux with all the DEs, Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, LXDE, XFCE. Isn't the world good?
41 • @38 (by greg on 2012-07-24 12:19:14 GMT from Slovenia)
I on the other hand don't like to lose much time dealing with OS. i mostly use programmes found in certain os to do my work and for leisure activities. All this time OS runs in background operating with the system. i prefer if the OS is not seen and heard. and as long as i can run the type programmes i want to run i do not care what os is running underneath them. Be it linux, windows or whatever else.
42 • 39 (by mandog on 2012-07-24 12:34:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
That was taken from the Arch way
People should read about so called geekish distros, "which they are not in any way I know I'm old I'm Dyslexic so I have to read Wiki's many times" before attempting a failed install its as simple as that. Remember Arch does not break its self you break it nobody forces you to install what is above your own abilities nor does it give you the right to be judge and jury if you are not competent.
43 • Arch and install (by Scott on 2012-07-24 13:36:01 GMT from United States)
Well, I just gave it a try. If you're familiar with fdisk, (or probably cfdisk, didn't try it with that), it should be pretty easy. You boot, run the fdisk command and partition, then moutn your partitions. After that, you just run the scripts. The beginners' guide makes it pretty clear, though I wasn't quite clear where to configure networking for first boot. (However, rc.conf still works.)
For me, Arch has always been a good thing to quickly throw on when I need a minimal system. The lack of an install menu, I now see, isn't really going to change that. I do understand one of the earlier comments, that even the experienced user doesn't want to spend too much time on an install, but it really takes little more time than the old style installation. It makes fewer decisions for the user, and as has been said, isn't too worried about setting the bar low for the newcomer. It was started as a one person thing by a developer who had his own idea about what he wanted, and grew. So, I would guess that if it did lose popularity, and I don't really think it will, the people who still use it would be fine with that.
44 • Unity for Fedora -- and openSUSE please? (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2012-07-24 14:32:33 GMT from Ecuador)
Great news about Unity for Fedora. I personally hope that once the team figures out how to de-couple Unity from its Ubuntu-specific underpinnings and puts it in RPM format, this could theoretically be used to generate packages for other distros. Specifically, I'd like to see Unity available for my preferred distro, openSUSE.
45 • Mate (suggestion for the Fuduntu team?) and Arch (by John on 2012-07-24 14:32:48 GMT from Europe)
I have never considered Fuduntu before but might give it a quick try, although I doubt I will ditch my current distro for it. I'm currently using Linux Mint 13 Mate and it's the best install I have had in a long time. I have played with and actually like Gnome Shell, Unity and Cinnamon and would happily any of them - if they weren't so sluggish on my (admittedly not up to date) hardware. Mate has proven to be a godsend, fully featured but also lightening quick.
Perhaps the Funduntu team should consider it for future releases.
I might have to try Arch again too. I last used it probably about 3 years ago and found the install easy (following the guides), and ended up with a lightweight/fast system that met my needs. The only thing that has stopped me is that I am finding it increasingly hard to justify spending time tweaking an install when distributions like Mint do what I need out of the box - even though I do enjoy the process.
46 • Re: 18, Secure Boot (by Apostrophe on 2012-07-24 14:38:45 GMT from France)
> Funny, but whenever somebody tells me I "have nothing
> to worry about", that's when I REALLY start worrying.
Indeed. It looks like Microsoft's infamous scheme to monopolize access to standard hardware has already found supporters among the handful of large, commercial GNU/Linux distributions. Why am I not surprised to find Red Hat, Fedora and Ubuntu to be the first to collaborate with Microsoft on the issue? But I wonder what will happen in a few years time, when there will be no more PC hardware that runs anything other than Windows without Microsoft's permission? I'm sure this won't make much of a difference for the kernel crowd and for most of the upstream projects. They will continue to toil away and do what they're doing, no matter what. But what will happen to large non-commercial distributions like Debian, Slackware, Mageia, Arch, Gentoo etc? What will happen to the hundreds of small, independent projects, when there's no more hardware for them to run on? A lot has been written and said and there's a lot of noise around the whole issue. But so far I have never (not once!) heard any reassuring answer to all these questions. You are right, we really should be worried.
47 • Re: 45, "from Europe" (by Apostrophe on 2012-07-24 15:35:43 GMT from France)
I'm sorry this is completely off-topic, John. But seeing that your post came "from Europe" I am interested to know what one has to do to be so wonderfully vague about one's location. I'd like to do the same :-)
48 • Re: 47 (by John on 2012-07-24 15:45:37 GMT from Europe)
Good question. I don't know - I'm in the UK. I believe one of my posts on a previous dww said I was in the United States (but I was still in the UK) so I guess my ISP must be upto something dodgy. :)
49 • All this talk of Arch installs made easy (by Dan on 2012-07-24 16:34:38 GMT from Canada)
Arch wants you to get used to the idea of reading & learning. Seriously, even a pacman -Syu comes with some needed reading half the time, and those that don't read are bound to end up with a somewhat broken install. It's better to get used to this idea straight from the install as opposed to later. Noobs are welcome, but only if they are willing to dig a little.
50 • Arch, Secure Boot (by Arkanabar on 2012-07-24 16:36:17 GMT from United States)
Folks really need to understand that when Arch says their way is "simple," that simple != easy. In the kitchen, a wooden spoon is simple. A Kitchenaid stand mixer is easy. Arch's configuration is a lot like Slackware's package management, in that in both cases the sysadmin cedes no control to code. No code is the simplest code.
I appreciate that Arch is what it is, a group with a very particular vision of what they want a linux distro to be that builds their distro to match their vision. It reminds me a bit of the mindset of the Eastern Orthodox. Don't ask them to be something they aren't.
Microsoft is now targeting ARM devices for secure boot lock-in more than desktops. Since these smaller, more mobile devices will likely outnumber desktops in the near future (if they don't already) this locked-in dominance will help them maintain control over the consumer's computing/internet experience in the coming decade.
51 • Arc, the reluctant distro (by Charles on 2012-07-24 17:09:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
Arch is a reluctant distro, the devs are uncomfortable with their distro's popularity. The developers, annoyed with being harassed by their users have taken to using private development forums which I think is a bit silly, however it is their distro and they will do as they see fit as they seem to keen to tell us at every given opportunity.
I also see Aaron Griffin is still the lead developer having not been seen for about 2 years, with nobody wanting to take responsibility.
Maybe this is why they are struggling for maintainers, how about a rolling release binary based distro that embraces their users instead of sighing loudly at them?
52 • secure boot on ARM (by Julian on 2012-07-24 17:27:35 GMT from United States)
it may be that microsoft is targeting ARM devices for secure boot, but microsoft has very little control over that market. That market belongs to iPad, iPhone, and Android. (Mind you, i won't be surprised to see google/apple/amazon lock down their hardware some, too)
53 • The Secure Boot Shenanigan (by Woody Oaks on 2012-07-24 18:13:26 GMT from United States)
The gambit seems to depend on motherboards being controlled by UEFI in lieu of BIOS, so a very real question is the degree to which the UEFI Project people will submit to vassalage under Microsoft's thumb. (Consider Nokia's recent fate.) Is the UEFI code Open Source? Can it be forked, and if not can it be reverse-engineered? Can BIOS itself or some sort of pseudo-BIOS be swapped-in in its stead? Coreboot code is only now being written for K6 architectures, so it might be too distant a dream. My own conclusion from the little I know is that some serious email exchanges need to be made with the UEFI people right now before this monster's egg hatches.
54 • Re: 52, secure boot on ARM (by Apostrophe on 2012-07-24 18:32:15 GMT from France)
> Mind you, i won't be surprised to see google/apple/amazon
> lock down their hardware some, too
I wouldn't be surprised either. But it is one thing, when people enter such a jail voluntarily out of stupidity, ignorance or conformism and it is another thing, when an entire hardware architecture is locked down under the pretense of "security", especially when those entrusted with the administration and the distribution of the keys have proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted in such matters.
I think, there are strong arguments in favor of a "Unified Extensible Firmware Interface". But the administration, the coordination and the distribution of the keys should be left to an uninvolved party, ideally an international non-profit organization, that is unbiased, transparent in its actions and, for a change, not located in the US or in Europe. How about South-America or Asia?
55 • @John #45 (by Fewt on 2012-07-24 18:33:18 GMT from United States)
John, We looked at using MATE but decided against it some time ago. When I re-evaluated our GNOME 2 / desktop direction a few weeks ago I decided that I would likely fork GNOME 2 and we would maintain that fork ourselves. We are already pretty deep into GNOME 2 maintenance having patched a lot of things that the GNOME team left broken when they abandoned it, so heading down this path seems like the right direction for us.
56 • ARM ROM (by Woody Oaks on 2012-07-24 18:56:26 GMT from United States)
While the ROM chips of a desktop can be swapped or even flashed in place such modifications of tablets, phones, and other small devices might not be so easy or even practical, so Balmer's scheme holds a special promise (for him) in that market. Tablets and such will soon be ubiquitous in hospitals and warehouses and on retail and manufacturing floors where they will serve as thin clients in radio contact with their in-house servers, but Microsoft's software is too inefficient for use on a small client (e.g., Lumia's 500M of RAM) and a poor challenger to UNIX for any serious server. Thus Microsoft's kludge has no good place in the ARM market at all, and its possible success with this Secure Boot Scam would definitely not be good for ARM at all.
57 • fewt @55 (by fernbap on 2012-07-24 20:08:13 GMT from Portugal)
" I decided that I would likely fork GNOME 2 and we would maintain that fork ourselves"
Kudos to you!
The first person here that i think is having the right attitude towards Gnome.
Mate is not really a gnome 2 fork, it is more a clone. A version of gnome 2 able to run alongside gnome 3. Who wants that? You either want Gnome 3 or Gnome 2, noone would want both.
Let's stick to the real thing instead.
58 • @Fewt #55 (by John on 2012-07-24 20:36:16 GMT from United Kingdom)
Fewt, That's fair enough. Personally I don't mind whether I'm using Mate or Gnome 2, so long as it works and is supported, but I like the sound of the work you are doing with Gnome 2.
I wish you luck with your fork and with the distribution in general. I'm downloading the ISO as I write this to give it a spin. :)
59 • Mate and Gnome (by Jesse on 2012-07-24 20:53:09 GMT from Canada)
>> "Mate is not really a gnome 2 fork, it is more a clone."
Mate is the very definition of a fork. A fork is what happens when you take a project's code, make a copy of it and then make changes to your copy of the original code. A clone is what happens when you start a new project from scratch and design it to work like another project. Some people think of Linux as being a UNIX clone, for example. Mate is a fork of the Gnome 2 code with the libraries renamed so it can run on machines which have Gnome 3 installed. This can be quite handy, especially for distributions like Mint where people might want both Cinnamon (based on Gnome 3's code) and Mate (based on Gnome 2's code).
60 • @59 (by Fewt on 2012-07-24 21:38:06 GMT from United States)
Jesse is exactly right, MATE is a fork. Our reasons for not using MATE don't have anything to do with the MATE project itself. They are based around what's best for our project and that our planned changes may not be easily managed as patches to another upstream project.
61 • Arch and loss of AIF (by Sam Snead on 2012-07-24 21:42:54 GMT from United States)
I just installed Arch without AIF, using the new scripting. Not an issue.
What I do have an issue with, is the attitude on the Arch forums, from moderators and some posters.
These guys must be ex-moderators from Freebsd. Talk about bad attitudes! I am pretty disgusted by their frequent, if not constant, flippant, rude, unsympathetic, impatient, and generally unwelcoming and unfriendly attitudes. And, worst of all: UNPROFESSIONAL. Now I know they are dealing with many who dont' RTFM, or worse. But still, moderators essentially represent the public face of the distro, and I hate to see it.
Otherwise, Arch is fun, but requires attention to detail, and an appetite for troubleshooting and digital adventure.
62 • Learn it or Leave it (by Fred on 2012-07-24 22:12:39 GMT from United States)
@61 Thanks for your comments. I am 73 and for years used what Landor calls the :kiddy disros" e.g. 'buntus, 'mints. I have tried 4 times to install Arch and failed. I am just an average guy who enjoys linux over windows. So many comments this week can easily be seen as unfriendly to anyone who does not have the skills to deal with the likes of Arch, Gentoo, Slackware. Perhaps many of those commenters are geeks or those who have had training. I continue to read distrowatch each week Despite occasional noob negativity.
63 • @59, @60 (by fernbap on 2012-07-24 22:45:59 GMT from Portugal)
I understand your views, but i find a bit odd watching the emergence of a few distros offering MATE alone (btw, Mint Cinnamon and Mint MATE are 2 different install mediae).
And i ask: why on earth? Isn't Gnome 2 around? MATE working on its own without Gnome 3 doesn't make much sense, does it?
64 • Mate (by Jesse on 2012-07-24 23:54:20 GMT from Canada)
>> "(btw, Mint Cinnamon and Mint MATE are 2 different install mediae).
Yes, but you can easily install both environments and experiment with both, as I did in my last review of Mint. Some people like to explore their desktop options without performing a fresh install.
>> "And i ask: why on earth? Isn't Gnome 2 around? MATE working on its own without Gnome 3 doesn't make much sense, does it?"
Gnome 2 was disconnected by its developers. They have dropped it. If you want a desktop with the same style and functionality of Gnome 2 and you also want security updates and bug fixes then Mate is the best option. Some distributions, like Red Hat, will continue to maintain Gnome 2 in their own repositories for years, but if you are putting out a _new_ release there is no point in shipping a dead desktop. That's why projects are adopting Mate, it's an actively maintained branch of the Gnome 2 code.
Perhaps try turning the question around, why would a distribution ship Gnome 2, which is no longer maintained, when there is Mate, which does the same thing and has active developers?
65 • Re: #61, 62 - Arch (by Anon on 2012-07-25 00:09:42 GMT from Norway)
Sam Snead wrote: "I am pretty disgusted by their frequent, if not constant, flippant, rude, unsympathetic, impatient, and generally unwelcoming and unfriendly attitudes. And, worst of all: UNPROFESSIONAL."
Ain't that the truth. As a longtime Arch user I find it totally unforgivable to have what I consider one of the finest Linux distros being fronted by people with such despicable attitudes. Of course, they don't understand how they come across or they would have done something about it.
Fred wrote: " I have tried 4 times to install Arch and failed."
Try again! I spent quite a while myself before I finally got Arch to boot the first time. I had a second computer with the detailed installation/configuration instructions on the screen during the process. I guess you could also print out the document(s). It is not complicated, but does require attention to detail... Have at it, and good luck!
66 • @64 (by fernbap on 2012-07-25 00:27:56 GMT from Portugal)
"Perhaps try turning the question around, why would a distribution ship Gnome 2, which is no longer maintained, when there is Mate, which does the same thing and has active developers?"
1. one more reason to fork gnome 2
2. because MATE and Gnome 2 are not the same thing. Gnome 2 users are used to a lot of things MATE doesn't offer, including compiz. MATE has still a long way to go before it becomes "the same thing".
67 • @61, 65 (by Charles on 2012-07-25 00:29:03 GMT from United Kingdom)
I think a lot of people feel the same, there are no other distros that are binary based, build from the ground up and rolling release so if you want this feature set you use Arch and basically put up with or stand off from the community, just stay well clear of #archlinux-offtopic
The Arch devs have made it clear that you won't be nurtured, and if you don't contribute they don't care for you, catch 22, who wants to be a part of that? We don't want to know you if you don't contribute but to contribute you have to put up with the infamous "snobbery".
If it wasn't for already established Arch users such as Dave Reisner plucked from within their community to become devs I don't know what they would do.
68 • Mate desktop (by Jesse on 2012-07-25 01:37:07 GMT from Canada)
>> "1. one more reason to fork gnome 2
2. because MATE and Gnome 2 are not the same thing. "
As Fewt and I have been trying to explain, the Mate desktop _is_ a fork of Gnome 2. They are doing exactly what you suggest they do. If you feel there are pieces missing or things which haven't been addressed yet then you should report a bug and let the Mate developers know. They have a number of ways you can leave them feedback: http://mate-desktop.org/support/
Forking a project as massive as Gnome 2 takes time, it's a work in progress. Just because they haven't got everything working 100% yet doesn't mean it's not a fork, it means they have a lot of work to do. Remember even the Gnome developers, the people who wrote Gnome 2, claimed it was impossible to maintain their codebase. Mate has a smaller team so it's going to take time before they have everything working exactly the way they want.
69 • Enjoying "hard" distros (by leon on 2012-07-25 04:40:45 GMT from Netherlands)
If you want to enjoy Gentoo, you can have Calculate or Sabayon. If you want to enjoy Arch, you can have Bridge Linux, Archbang or CTKArch and they become Arch installations, when you install them. Some people have been good enough to give us not so geeky people these "hard" operating systems. So, there is no problem in getting these "hard" OSs, right?
70 • @68 (by fernbap on 2012-07-25 04:59:47 GMT from Portugal)
" If you feel there are pieces missing or things which haven't been addressed yet"
That is not the point. The point is desktop integration and inclusion of third party software that expects the file manager to be named nautilus and the window manager to be named metacity.
There is also all the work made by Ubuntu on Gnome 2, that MATE would have to completely rewrite to make it work on MATE.
So, MATE is basically a quick fix of the vanilla Gnome so that it may work with gnome 3. However, Making all things that are already working fine on Gnome 2 also work fine and integrated on MATE is a HUGE task, that i don't believe will be ever finished.
If you simply get Gnome 2 and continue developping it, which is basically what fewt wants to do, all that work is already done. You don't have to rewrite ANYTHING in order for it to work fine.
MATE is going backwards. I prever to move forward.
71 • Microsoft's Secure Boot requirements and ARM (by DavidEF on 2012-07-25 17:45:18 GMT from United States)
First, we all know Microsoft will close any and all markets to competitors in any way they can. That is their track record, and the only reliable/predictable thing about them. So, what does that mean? Well, the OEM's that wish to play Microsoft's game will play by Microsoft's rules. But, it is obvious to some that it's no fun and very bad for business to play by Microsoft's rules. They simply won't seek certification for their hardware. It isn't necessary anyway, because they can still install Windows without it.
What I'm hoping will happen is that the majority of hardware that uses ARM processors will NOT be certified, and will NOT be locked down, because they don't have to be! Besides the fact that most ARM devices run some other OS than Windows anyway, there is also no need for those who do want to sell ARM hardware with Windows to certify it for Windows. In the real world, users don't even care about Microsoft certification.
To me, what this means is that we may still have plenty of choices in hardware, possibly even more than we have today. Microsoft only has a desktop monopoly. They've clearly shown time and time again that they cannot succeed outside of their monopoly zone. I believe that if they were to somehow lose monopoly status on the desktop today, they'd never be able to get it back. They apparently feel the same way. That is the only logical explanation for their Secure Boot restrictions. It is a last ditch effort to maintain and extend their monopoly. The problem for them is that the conditions that allowed them to become a monopoly years ago no longer exist, at least not in the right mixture. They need to get a new imagination and be creative if they are to make it in this new computing world.
Remember - ARM doesn't need Windows, but Windows needs ARM. Unless manufacturers are unbelievably stupid, we really shouldn't have much to worry about. Oh wait...
72 • MS kludge for a MS problem (by Woody Oaks on 2012-07-25 18:54:23 GMT from United States)
Just how many UNIX boxes, with appropriate SELinux and ClamAV protection, have been compromised by malware in the past year - or past two years - or past three years? Does anyone know? Seriously, folks, post some data here if you know of any. Is Secure Boot anything more than just another of Microsoft's attempts to ameliorate those previous problems which its previous amelioration attempts caused?
Could it be that the greatest virtue of Microsoft's Windows System is that it is not as bad as it used to be, and that is a great way to sell software like the Windows 1.1 repair of Windows 1.0 which didn't work at all?
73 • Re: 71, Microsoft's Secure Boot ... (by Apostrophe on 2012-07-25 19:10:43 GMT from France)
Excellent comment, Dave. Let's hope things will play out that way. It would also be interesting and potentially useful to know, what the scattered, unorganized zoo of small, independent GNU/Linux projects thinks about such issues. A survey of these projects might bring results that could provide some sort of leverage with hardware manufacturers.
74 • Comprised (by Jesse on 2012-07-25 21:20:43 GMT from Canada)
>> "Just how many UNIX boxes, with appropriate SELinux and ClamAV protection, have been compromised by malware in the past year - or past two years - or past three years? Does anyone know?"
There have been reports on this if you search around a little. I don't have any specific numbers on world-wide compromises, but I can say that I often see Linux servers (and the odd desktop) that has been compromised. Off the top of my head I can think of about half a dozen infected Linux boxes I've been asked to clean up in the past year. If memory serves the desktops were all Fedora installs (with SELinux running) and the servers were all CentOS. That's just my personal experience though.
75 • Re: 44, Unity for Fedora -- and openSUSE please? (by Albert on 2012-07-26 02:38:20 GMT from Netherlands)
Have you tried http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/GNOME:/Ayatana/12.1/ ?
76 • wpa_gui - some config required? (by gnomic on 2012-07-26 11:07:37 GMT from New Zealand)
Of late have struck a couple of live CDs that offer up wpa_gui as the only means of gaining wireless access. This means that the user has to set up wpa_supplicant.conf as root before wpa_gui can be of any use? Just wondering whether anybody has been through this loop and can give me the gen without having to read the fine manual. Don't recall wpa_gui just working out of the box, unlike ceni, wicd, and NetworkManager for example.
77 • Compromised Linux Boxes? Uhh...none! (by DavidEF on 2012-07-26 12:33:53 GMT from United States)
I've seen dozens of infected Windows boxes. I've never seen a compromised Linux box, unless you count the distance between keyboard and chair. No, wait, I've not really seen problems there either, although I've heard it *can* happen.
78 • RE: 34 - 40 - 55 - 62 -65 - 76 (by Landor on 2012-07-26 16:46:43 GMT from Canada)
Arch selected the wrong boot partition twice, then was fine? I gotta ask, how did it do that, then magically fix itself? A distribution going through the boot process doesn't go to itself, wait, maybe I'll just pick this one this time, and then when it doesn't work moves on to another one. You tell it what to boot from and if you didn't know what you were doing it doesn't know what it's doing in turn.
You learned a lot from that too I guess, no? Learn how to download an ISO, burn it, boot it up, 'play' with the live system. Isn't the world good?
I wouldn't get too excited if I were you, fernbap. He states that he's maintaining GNOME 2, not developing it. Sounds very limited to me. The GNOME developers worked on it for, well, some of them since the start, I'm sure when they say the codebase has issues they know what they're talking about. I wouldn't be expecting too much other than being able to be packaged/installed and possibly some very minor other things from them with GNOME 2. Nor would I expect that for years to come either is my guess. Also, if I read correctly some things have already been excluded on being 'maintained' (ie: in reply to Sam I do believe).
Possibly an explanation of what 'maintaining' it means would be in order.
Facts are facts though Fred, if someone doesn't have the skills then they shouldn't be doing something. I can list a billion things that people shouldn't do for a billions reasons. If they want to keep doing it though, and no directly negative consequence other than to themselves, then by all means. That doesn't mean anything should be made easy just for them, or that they have rights so every distribution should suck up to them because they lack what others do not. People seem to forge the natural order of the world. A prime example is #34.
I don't see those distributions being named Gentoo or Arch, so tell me, by your logic,
how do you enjoy them?
I've been known to not have wireless automatically setup on some of my systems. All I do regardless of what I'm using is drop to the console and bring it up manually. It should be that simple for whatever you're using. I know you're looking for an automatic solution, and I have no doubt you already know my solution too. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
79 • @78 (by fernbap on 2012-07-26 17:21:10 GMT from Portugal)
"The GNOME developers worked on it for, well, some of them since the start, I'm sure when they say the codebase has issues they know what they're talking about"
Sure, but those "issues" are also inherited by MATE.
My point is, MATE still has a lot to go until it offers a desktop as polished and integrated as, say, that of Ubuntu 8.04.
So, we can say that MATE took us back for at least more than 4 years.
However, if we pick Gnome as is, we are not looking 4 years into the past. We are looking at present.
By "mantaining" i mean keep it working, and that is all. Also, if you consider the basic KISS principle, "if it works, don't fix it", the myth that only software that is continuously being developed is good comes crumbling down.
80 • A first for me, I agree with openbsd's Theo De Raadt ! (by RollMeAway on 2012-07-27 01:12:47 GMT from United States)
UEFI "secure boot" :
I never thought I would see the day when a linux distro would include a microsoft KEY embedded in the kernel.
Is hell covered in ice now?
81 • RE: 80 (by Landor on 2012-07-27 02:32:08 GMT from Canada)
I've said for some time that Fedora and Red Hat are nothing but trouble. They only worry about freedoms and rights from a financial/corporate point of view. Meaning, when they need to protect their collective asses, then freedom's good. When it's gonna cost them money, who cares.
I've also said the same thing about Ubuntu. It's been obvious from the onset that Canonical is out to make money only. The whole community thing was a scam. People talk about Unity being the killer and such, what a joke. Prior to Unity long term community supporters were leaving the project prior to all that because Canonical started stiffing the community large.
This isn't surprising in the least. I wouldn't recommend either of the two to my worst enemy.
Though I'd recommend another OS to a lot of undeserving newbs. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
82 • @80 (by othedeadrat on 2012-07-27 15:31:36 GMT from United States)
actually, most of de raadt's rants/comments should be taken more seriously, his intentions are good, and he holds himself and project to a very high standard. many times, he is taken out of context. his points are valid.
83 • arch linux and newbies (by Julian on 2012-07-27 22:20:39 GMT from United States)
"Arch Linux targets and accommodates competent GNU/Linux users by giving them complete control and responsibility over the system"
Arch linux may intend to target them, but Arch (and Debian, Slackware, and other distros that are loved by experienced Linux folks and ignored by new folks) is also a target of people who make derivative distros. Perfect! you can have plain arch, or you can have 'already ready to go' arch derivative.
84 • @83, "easy" Arch derivatives (by TobiSGD on 2012-07-27 22:50:13 GMT from Germany)
" you can have plain arch, or you can have 'already ready to go' arch derivative."
Sounds nice, but has a significant problem. The normal way to install Arch is (at least if you are new to Arch) by following the beginners guide, so that you can learn in this process how Arch works and how you can configure it. The problem with distros like Archbang is that they completely omit this step. This leads to newbies installing Arch and being totally clueless what to do if Arch breaks, which, due to its rolling release nature, can and will happen.
Those derivatives are fine for people that know Arch and want to have an easy to deploy system, but actually make things harder for people that do not know Arch in the long run.
Let X break for whatever reason and those newbies don't know at all what to do and where to look for reasons of the breakage, just because they haven't learned the basic things that you should know about the system.
85 • AntiX 12 rc2 (by Eduardo on 2012-07-28 00:32:13 GMT from Chile)
testing AntiX 12 rc2 in live mode all works well but installing is very different. After installing in spanish language, passwords does not works and all the process go to trash. What a frustration!
86 • #85 (by anticapitalista on 2012-07-28 10:56:28 GMT from Greece)
Eduardo, the problem is with the slim login manager. It is basic and really only recognises 'standard' characters. So you can boot antiX-rc2, at boot/menu Press F2 for Spanish and when you install make sure the username and passwords use 'standard' characters eg qwe username works in Spanish, but ñ probably will not.
87 • @84 - Arch derivatives (by subg on 2012-07-29 07:58:55 GMT from Canada)
"...derivatives are fine for people that know Arch and want to have an easy to deploy system, but actually make things harder for people that do not know Arch in the long run..."
I'm not sure that's a significant issue. Any new user with limited understanding who runs into problems will try the derivative's resources first, and those who need to will end up referred to the Arch pages anyway.
In some ways qualifying Arch as a distribution for only advanced users is misleading - the Arch documentation is almost a cookbook it's so good, so it isn't hard to troubleshoot and stay running. Fiddly, yes, but not difficult or advanced if you follow the instructions.
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