| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 470, 20 August 2012
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Browsing the Internet while preserving one's privacy and anonymity is becoming increasingly hard in today's online world. Luckily, with Linux and free software there are still some options that allow users to stay incognito in hostile environments. One of the projects providing an easy live CD with extensive privacy protection features is the Gentoo-based Liberté Linux; Jesse Smith takes a first look at the distribution's latest release in this week's feature article. In the news section, Arch Linux developers battle with resistance to change after switching to systemd, Damn Small Linux announces return to active development after four years of dormancy, NetBSD introduces automated system rebuilds and package upgrades, and Debian GNU/Linux celebrates its 19th birthday. Also in this week's issue, a look at the current situation in the trouble Mandriva Linux project and an update on Secure Boot from BSD's perspective. Finally, we introduce Saluki Linux, a Puppy-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Liberté Linux - a secure way to communicate?
The Internet can be a scary place sometimes. It's full of people of questionable taste, extremists, spies and people who use proprietary operating systems. When faced with such a dangerous mix of humanity it seems reasonable that we might want to keep our communications private. Privacy on the Internet generally involves three things:
With these thoughts in mind there are some Linux distributions out there which attempt to keep what we say and do on-line private, not always an easy task as the Internet was designed with the sharing of information in mind, not hiding it. Still, some projects take on the task, one of them being Liberté Linux. The Liberté distribution was released "with the primary purpose of enabling anyone to communicate safely and covertly in hostile environments. Whether you are a privacy advocate, a dissident, or a sleeper agent, you are equally likely to find Liberté Linux useful as a mission-critical communication aid." Liberté Linux 2012.2 comes in three editions: a compressed binary image, a virtual machine image and a live CD image. I opted to try the live CD which is 208 MB in size.
- Hiding what we are saying
- Hiding to whom we are talking
- Avoiding application finger prints, such as browser identities and cookies.
Some of Liberté's advertised features include a hardened Linux kernel for added security, Internet access performed almost entirely through Tor and the use of encryption. Further, Liberté claims to use randomized MAC addresses and uniform HTTP headers to make requests harder to identify and fingerprint. While I was browsing the Liberté website I noticed I kept getting warning messages that the site was identified with an improper security certificate. Admittedly this was not a great first impression, both from a usability and from a security standpoint, but I still held high hopes for the distribution.
Liberté Linux 2012.2 - website and project summary
(full image size: 121kB, screen resolution 798x602 pixels)
When we first boot off the live CD we're shown a menu which allows us to select between loading Liberté Linux in its regular desktop mode and booting into a safe graphics mode. We can also launch a hardware detection tool which may be useful if we're unsure what sort of equipment we are using. Taking the default choice brings us to a LXDE desktop, though booting may take a few minutes as the entire Liberté disc is loaded into RAM, assuming enough memory is available. While this makes for a slow start, it does mean the distribution is very responsive once it has finished loading. From a performance standpoint it is just like running a locally installed operating system. The graphical interface we're given (LXDE running on top of Openbox) is laid out in the traditional fashion. At the bottom of the display we find the application menu, the task switcher and the system tray. We're set up with three virtual workspaces that are decorated with a background featuring a shadowy government man and the wallpaper instantly brought to mind old episodes of the X-Files.
While playing with Liberté Linux I ran the distribution on physical hardware and in a virtual machine and I found, when running in the virtual environment, Liberté would detect it was not running on real hardware and display a message saying so on the desktop. This lets users know they might not be as in control of their machine as they might think. When I ran Liberté on physical hardware, my HP laptop with a dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM and Intel cards for video and wireless, I found things worked smoothly. The distribution picked up local wireless networks, sound was turned down while still being available, the interface was responsive and LXDE stays out of the way. In fact, the light desktop environment is sparse enough that it can run using only 100MB of memory. My screen was set to a reasonable resolution, leaving me with only one glitch: my trackpad mouse was all over the place. Sometimes the mouse moved too much, sometimes not enough and often times any mouse movement would transfer me to another workspace making navigating the interface difficult with the pointer.
Peering through the application menu we find a small collection of useful utilities. There's the Claws e-mail client, the Epiphany web browser, the Pidgin messenger client, the XChat IRC client and the gFTP file transfer app. We also find software for handling documents including AbiWord, Gnumeric, an e-book reader and a PDF document viewer. The Totem movie player is available along with an archive manager, text editor and calculator. There's a virtual keyboard and the GNU Privacy Assistant is available for security key management. There is also a custom application called Cables which is supposed to allow users to transfer secure messages using an e-mail client interface. To help us connect to the Internet we're provided with Network Manager. Attempting to play multimedia files revealed that codecs for popular media formats are provided for us. Flash is not included, but users should be able to see on-line videos using HTML5. In the background version 3.2 of the Linux kernel keeps things running for us. The kernel is a special build which borrows from Gentoo's hardened kernel project. I also noticed no manual pages are installed on the distribution, leaving users to fend for themselves.
When we first connect to a network the Tor software comes into play, connecting us to the anonymizing network nodes and our wireless network card is assigned a random MAC address. It is possible to randomize Ethernet cards too, but it is not done automatically and I found when attempting to do so my connection would be dropped and I would have to manually re-connect using Network Manager. A moment ago I mentioned Liberté comes with the Epiphany web browser and, in fact, there are two menu entries for it. One entry is the "unsafe" version of the browser which connects directly to the local network. This option is provided to make sure we can authenticate against local equipment. However, once we are on-line and we are hooked into the Tor network this "unsafe" browser no longer works and all web browsing must be performed using the regular, Tor-enabled version of Epiphany. Browsing the web over the Tor network trades performance for some level of privacy. Thus using Epiphany tends to be a touch on the slow side, but it works well and I ran into no problems using the browser.
I did, however, encounter a few problems when trying to use other pieces of software in Liberté's arsenal. When attempting to use either Pidgin or XChat I could not get the applications to connect to chat networks. I also found that using Cables for secure communications requires the software be installed on a writeable medium and it will not work from the live CD. Lastly, the distribution does not provide a way to add new software to the distribution, even temporarily as many live CDs do, and this somewhat limits what can be done with it. For example, if I want to take screen shots or scan network ports or acquire different encryption software, then I'm out of luck with Liberté.
Liberté Linux 2012.2 - warnings and restrictions on the live CD
(full image size: 76kB, screen resolution 806x601 pixels)
There are several aspects of Liberté Linux I like. The hardened kernel, for example, the hardware support and having Tor enabled from the start. Randomizing MAC addresses for wireless cards is a nice touch too. All of these characteristics point to a team which is both focused on security and interested in making it accessible to people who don't necessarily have the technical knowledge (or perhaps the time) to lock down their regular distributions. Too often security and privacy are afterthoughts and it's good to see developers taking the time to properly address things like proxies, security keys and messaging systems with privacy marked as a high priority. However, my experience thus far with the live CD edition of Liberté has not been stellar. It's not easy to produce secure software which is also easy to use and, unfortunately, we see that on the CD. Not being able to use the Cables communication software from the live disc I can sort of understand though I do think it's too bad the developers don't allow people to use the software from the live CD and then allow us to transfer persistent files to another medium.
During my trial other messaging systems (Pidgin and XChat) wouldn't work, which effectively limited my communication to what I could do with the web browser. Speaking of the web browser, here Liberté makes a tricky choice. Namely when the user wishes to do something insecure, should the system let them, warn them or prevent the risky move? Liberté prevents the user from using the unsafe browser option (the Epiphany setup which does not utilize Tor) once we are connected to the network. In truly hostile environments this is probably a good way to go, but during my trial (safely performed at home) it was an unwelcome design choice. Another unwelcome choice was the inability to add more software to the live environment. Most Linux live discs allow the user to temporarily load software from the repositories into memory, Liberté does not. As a result the potential functionality of the distro is limited somewhat.
At this point in time Liberté Linux is a fairly young project so I believe it can be forgiven some rough edges. Right now it provides secure web browsing out of the box and good basic functionality, easy security key management and, on writeable media, secure communications. For now it seems to have a few lingering bugs to work out, but I can see this project could easily become a very useful privacy tool, not only for IT professionals, but for the population at large.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Arch switches to systemd, Damn Small Linux gets resurrected, NetBSD introduces sysupgrade, Mandriva launches foundation, Debian celebrates 19th birthday
As Linux evolves and new technologies take over from established ones, some users are starting to wonder whether these changes are really necessary. It is the turn of Arch Linux, a distribution built on the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle that is becoming to experience the pain. But as Allan McRae argues in "Are We Removing What Defines Arch Linux?", the modern innovations are here to be embraced, not shunned: "I think it is plainly obvious that systemd will become the primary system initialization method for Arch Linux in the not-too-distant future (not that this has been formally decided, so take that statement as unofficial). Having not used systemd at all, I really can not comment directly on if it is any good or not. But what do we lose by moving to systemd in Arch? I have seen the following criticisms: Users are being forced to use systemd. This argument really does not hold water. How many initialization systems are currently in use on Arch systems? Just the one currently 'forced' on you." Jason Ryan has more on the same topic in "Trolling Arch Linux".
* * * * *
Damn Small Linux is back! Probably one of the very first Linux distribution projects trying to create a super small, yet usable operating system that could run fast in full graphics on any system, it became dormant once Robert Shingledecker left the project to create Tiny Core Linux. But John Andrews is now back with a new development build of Damn Small Linux, four years after its last stable release. PCAdvisor's Jon Gold writes in "Damn Small Linux getting a big update": "The developer of Damn Small Linux, a distribution designed to work on older and less powerful hardware, has released his first new version of the software in four years. The distro weighs in at a shade over 50 MB, in keeping with its mission to be one of the most lightweight, simple operating systems out there. According to DistroWatch, Damn Small Linux still has a reasonably functional desktop, including basic multimedia support, productivity programs and web functionality. 'Because all the applications are small and light it makes a very good choice for older hardware,' the website says."
* * * * *
It looks like NetBSD is finally joining the world of automatic system building and upgrading - by introducing sysbuild and sysupgrade into the project's pkgsrc framework. Julio Merino explains on NetBSD blogs: "If you are like me and do not like repeating manual tasks over and over again, you probably have written custom scripts to rebuild NetBSD from source and to upgrade your NetBSD installation to a new build. I have had such scripts for years, but they have always been very rudimentary, inflexible and unreliable. What's more: every NetBSD machine I have today has its own custom versions of these scripts, often with little incompatible tweaks to accommodate every installation. I was now facing the time to rebuild my NetBSD development box (because its VM disk is running out of space), and the thought of having to reconfigure my environment to perform periodic NetBSD builds, and to have to continue using my deficient custom upgrade script gave me the energy to sit down and write decent versions of these two tools. The results of such efforts are sysbuild and sysupgrade, and their goal is to trivialize rebuilds and upgrades."
* * * * *
The Mandriva Linux distribution might have been saved from an imminent collapse, but its current status still doesn't inspire much confidence. The promised two alpha builds of version 2012 are way behind schedule while Mageia, a team composed primarily of former Mandriva developers and contributors, is seemingly winning the hearts and minds of the former Mandriva community. Still, Simon Phipps, writing for Computerworld UK, believes that Mandriva is on the right track: "What's going to change? Quite a bit. First of all, Mandriva plans to start a new Mandriva Linux Foundation so that the technology has a new, independent home, coupled to but broadly independent from the fate of Mandriva the company. Driven by a community-based workgroup and with open conversations, this is a crucial step to re-establishing the trust squandered by the previous management of the company in their attempts to secure control. Even more significantly, Mandriva is facing up to the reality of the Mageia fork. Recognising that a 'one size fits all' approach isn't going to work, Croset and his team have decided to rework Mandriva's products on the upstream technologies that make the most sense on a case-by-case basis. "
* * * * *
One Linux distribution that doesn't need to worry about its survival is Debian GNU/Linux. Launched by one Ian Murdock back in 1993 and surrounded, at the time, by much scepticism about its chances to survive as an Internet-only software collaboration project, Debian GNU/Linux has just celebrated its 19th birthday: "Debian, one of the oldest actively maintained GNU/Linux distributions, turns 19 today. Project founder Ian Murdock originally announced the project on 16 August 1993 when he released the first version of the distribution. Looking back at that email, a surprising number of Murdock's initial goals for the project are still reflected in Debian today, despite the fact that the distribution has gone through regular leadership changes since Murdock left the project in 1996. Debian users and developers will be celebrating the distribution's birthday with parties taking place all over the world. As has become a tradition for 'Debian Day', many community members will also bake Debian cakes to bring to the celebrations."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Secure Boot and BSD
A few weeks ago OpenBSD's lead developer, Theo de Raadt, commented on the upcoming launch of secure boot technology. He had some rather strong words for the technology and for those in the Linux community who plan to support it. At the time Mr de Raadt said he had no plans regarding secure boot technology, so it seems fairly safe to assume, for the time being, OpenBSD will not run on machines with secure boot enabled. Fair enough, but this got me thinking. Most of the coverage of secure boot has focused on how it will affect Linux users and, in some cases, how it might hamper Windows users looking to upgrade their hardware (or downgrade their OS). We've heard very little out of the BSD camps.
I attempted to contact some NetBSD community members, however I haven't heard back at the time of writing. A quick search of their mailing list didn't turn up any plans concerning secure boot. This leads me to suspect NetBSD will be following the same wait-and-see path as OpenBSD.
The FreeBSD project, on the other hand, is making plans to address secure boot technology. Work is being done to provide a boot loader which can work with EFI systems. Projects which are based upon FreeBSD, such as GhostBSD and PC-BSD, would automatically benefit from this work. However, supporting EFI itself isn't so much of a problem as dealing with security keys. As Kris Moore, lead developer on the PC-BSD project stated, "The secure keys thing, that is a bigger deal, since potentially it makes us unable to dual-boot with Windows 8. The issue is that if we make changes do our boot-loader, or compile it from source (as we do), then we would have to re-sign it each time to make it bootable. This means you have to have our signature loaded somewhere in your EFI BIOS, which may be a pain to do." In essence, even if FreeBSD (and derived systems) support secure boot it will probably still be up to the individual users to add the appropriate keys to their machines if they wish to make use of the secure boot feature.
|Released Last Week
BackTrack 5 R3
Offensive Security has released BackTrack 5 R3, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution with a collection of security and forensics tools: "The time has come to refresh our security tool arsenal - BackTrack 5 R3 has been released. R3 focuses on bug fixes as well as the addition of over 60 new tools – several of which were released in BlackHat and Defcon 2012. A whole new tool category was populated - 'Physical Exploitation', which now includes tools such as the Arduino IDE and libraries, as well as the Kautilya Teensy payload collection. Together with our usual KDE and GNOME, 32/64-bit ISO images, we have released a single VMware Image (GNOME, 32-bit)." Here is the full release announcement.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 14, a Debian-based speciality distribution designed for web kiosks: "We have been hard at work and 14.0 marks several major enhancements: new i686 kernel, which should show better performance on multi-core hardware; NVIDIA 302.17 support via Bumblebee and VirtualGL for easing deployment; Mozilla Firefox 14.0.1, using the official distribution; 'noclean' API option for deployments where the default clean slate is not desirable (e.g. Granny's bungalow); 'swarp' API for mouse positioning; critical Flash update 220.127.116.11; better XRandR screen handling; time synchronization doesn't alter the BIOS clock; logging tweaks to increase signal over noise; better lock down." Read the full release announcement which includes related links and credits.
AV Linux 6.0
Glen MacArthur has announced the release of AV Linux 6.0, a Debian-based distribution geared towards media production: "After a very turbulent development period AV Linux 6.0 is finally here. This will be the final release of AV Linux for a variety of reasons however don't stop reading at the word 'final', this is a state-of-the-art release that culminates over 5 versions and 5 years of experience and refinement into the best release to date. Changelog: update to Linux kernel 3.0.36; update to X.Org from 'Squeeze' backports; cleaned up and improved boot with dependency-based booting; allow all users access to X server; rolled Qt stack back to clean 'Squeeze' version to solve breakages from Qt 4.8; new Control Panel; move to Nautilus file manager; added new Hydrogen drum kits; added Nitrogen...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full changelog and screenshots.
AV Linux 6.0 - a Debian-based specialist distro for audio and video production
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The BlankOn development team has announced the release of BlankOn 8.0, a Debian-based Indonesian distribution featuring the GNOME 3 desktop with a custom desktop shell called "Manokwari". Built with HTML 5 and CSS 3, Manokwari is an evolution from the project's earlier shell called "BlankOn Panel"; it features a standard panel with a number of common applets, as well as a comprehensive menu system for quick access to applications and utilities. Other features of this release include a new DVD edition with extra software (a CD edition is also available), support for six languages used in Indonesia, Stardict dictionary, the Chromium web browser version 21, and an online package repository developed specifically for BlankOn. See the full press release (in Indonesian) for further information.
BlankOn 8.0 - a Debian-based distribution from Indonesia
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Ikey Doherty has announced the release of SolusOS 1.2, a beginner-friendly desktop Linux distribution based on the latest stable release of Debian GNU/Linux: "The SolusOS team is pleased to announce the release of SolusOS 1.2. This is a maintenance release for the 'Eveline' 1.x series. This release brings many fixes and updates to SolusOS 1, including better printer, GPU and Bluetooth support. Brief overview of software versions Firefox 14.0.1, Thunderbird 14.0, LibreOffice 3.6.0, Linux kernel 3.3.6, iptables 1.4.8, ufw 0.31.1, hplip 3.12, GNOME 2.30. Many new applications are available in the software repository. The main reason for an updated ISO image is so that users do not have to download hundreds of megabytes in updates for a new install of 'Eveline'." Here is the full release announcement.
ROSA 2012 RP 1
Konstantin Kochereshkin has announced the release of an updated build of ROSA 2012, a Mandriva-based Linux distribution. Labelled as RP (Release Pack) 1, this is largely a bug-fix release with a handful of package updates. From the release announcement: "Today we are announcing the first update pack for the ROSA 'Marathon' 2012 release (Release Pack 1). The Release Pack 1 includes all LTS updates and bug fixes available at the moment: users can now avoid some graphical cards issues which prevented booting into live mode or into initial installation by using safe mode; Firefox was updated to the latest LTS version 10.0.4 and the default Yandex search issue was fixed; Linux kernel was updated to 3.0.38; KDE updated to 4.8.3...."
Calculate Linux 12.0.2
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the availability of a bug-fix release of Calculate Linux 12, version 12.0.2, a Gentoo-based distribution: "Calculate Linux 12.0.2 released. Here's the first update of Calculate Linux 12.0. Main changes and bug fixes: passing the root password has been modified; installation on LVM has been fixed; GRUB 2 settings have been fixed; Clt templates are now overlaid correctly; D-Bus now auto-starts as it should; no more lags when installing packages; Smaller ISO images; we have included KDE 4.9.0, Chromium 21.0.1180.57, LibreOffice 3.6.0 and Calculate Utilities 3.0.1 into the release." See the release announcement which includes a 5-minute video about installing Calculate Linux to a hard disk.
Johnny Lee has announced the release of Macpup 529, a distribution featuring the Enlightenment 17 desktop and based on Puppy Linux: "Prit and I are proud to announce the release of Macpup 529,our newest Enlightenment 17 Macpup. Macpup 529 is based on 'Precise' Puppy 5.2.60, an official 'Woof' build of puppy Linux that is binary-compatible with Ubuntu 'Precise' packages. It contains all the applications from 'Precise' Puppy with the addition of Firefox 14.0.1. Macpup 529 also includes the Enlightenment E17 window manager. The EFL libraries version 1.2.0 and E17 version 71440 where compiled and installed from source. To keep your CPU cool and your fan quiet use the CPU Frequency Scaling Tool. The first time you run Macpup, the system will be running totally in RAM." Here is the release announcement as published on the distribution's user forum.
OS4 1.0 "OpenDesktop"
Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 1.0 "OpenDesktop" edition, a Xubuntu-based distribution targeting legacy 32-bit hardware, ultrabooks and netbooks: "Today we are proud to announce the general availability of OS4 OpenDesktop 1.0. OS4 OpenDesktop is a 32-bit offering that runs on all legacy 32-bit hardware as well as the newer ultrabooks and netbooks. With this release we focus on mobility and cloud computing. Along with this release the system comes with Audacious, Totem, and Google Chrome. Some of the web applications that come bundled with the system are: Angry Birds, Pandora, Netflix, Flixter, GMail and offline GMail, Google Drive, eBuddy, Weather Channel, Google Books, Google Music, Google Calendar, New York Times, Hotmail and WebCam toy. All multimedia codecs are supported as is DVD playback." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Snowlinux 3 "Xfce"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of Snowlinux 3 "Xfce" edition, a desktop Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 6.0: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 3 'Crystal' Xfce. Due to drastic changes with GNOME 3 and Unity, Xfce is growing up more and more. Xfce is quite similar to GNOME 2 and offers an alternative for all former GNOME 2 users. This is one of the reasons why Snowlinux Xfce got so many new features and improvements. It should not lack any features and functions which are available in the main edition. We are trying to let Xfce act like GNOME 2 and to offer an alternative for all former GNOME 2 users. New features: DuckDuckGo, Firefox 14.0.1, Thunderbird 14, Xfce 4.8, Linux kernel 3.2...." Here is the full release announcement with a screenshot.
Frugalware Linux 1.7
Frugalware Linux 1.7, the latest version of the general-purpose distribution designed for intermediate Linux users, has been released: "The Frugalware developer team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware Linux 1.7, our seventeenth stable release. No new features have been added since 1.7rc2, but 157 changes have been made to fix minor bugs. Here are the most important changes since 1.6: updated packages - Linux kernel 3.4.8, X.Org Server 1.12.3, GNOME 3.4, KDE SC 4.9, LibreOffice 3.5.4, Mozilla Firefox 14.0.1; slocate was removed and replaced by mlocate; Catalyst has dropped support for all ATI Radeon HD hardware before the 5000 series; cpupower has replaced all CPU scaling daemons; all packages that still used SysVInit have been converted to use systemd; GRUB 0.x has been replaced by GRUB 2...." The release announcement.
Frugalware Linux 1.7 - the project's seventeenth stable release
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* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Annual package list update|
A little later than usual, we have finally refreshed the list of tracked packages as presented on each distribution's page. Based on reader's feedback and development in the free software world throughout the past 12 months, the following new packages have been added to the list:
The following packages have been removed from the list: Apache (the 1.3 series), Epiphany (GNOME's web browser), Sun JRE, Lzip, MailScanner, openvas-client, QCad, SquirrelMail and Xen.
- BusyBox - a program that combines many common UNIX utilities into a single small executable
- Cacti - a complete network graphing solution
- Calligra (replaces KOffice) - an integrated office suite based on the KDE libraries
- Clementine - a multi-platform music player
- FreeCAD - a general purpose parametric 3D modeller for CAD
- kmod (replaces module-init-tools) - a set of programs for loading, inserting, and removing kernel modules
- KMyMoney - a personal finance manager for KDE
- MATE - a traditional desktop environment forked from GNOME 2
- nginx - an HTTP and reverse proxy server
- PCManFM - an extremely fast and lightweight file manager
- PiTiVi - a free and open-source video editor for Linux
- systemd - a system and service manager for Linux
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- INX. INX is a minimalist, console-only Ubuntu-based live CD. The goal is to create a tool to learn more about the command line.
- Trinacria Linux. Trinacria Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution designed to celebrate and promote the Italian island of Sicily. Trinacria is the ancient name of Sicily and some of the distribution's dialogs use a Sicilian dialect. The project's website is in Italian.
- YunoHost. YunoHost is a fully-automated personal server distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. By default it provides pre-configured mail, instant messaging and web servers, with a web application portal to access and add services through a web browser.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 27 August 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
DRBL (Diskless Remote Boot in Linux) is server software to boot and operate remote desktop clients. The DRBL software allows client machines to run as stateless, thin-client style computers which are managed by the DRBL server. DRBL Live is a Debian-based, live disc distribution of the DRBL server software which can be run from a USB drive or CD/DVD. It includes a desktop environment to assist users in configuring the server.