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1 • Updates crashing (by richjack on 2012-09-03 09:50:38 GMT from United Kingdom) |
In this and last week's review, 2 different distributions with different bases crashed in Jesse's tests when attempting to install updates using the default software update 'tool'.
The only way around this was to revert to the command line - not very user friendly. Also this seemed the only way to obtain the Delta packages - something I presume a newcomer to Fedora wouldn't necessarily know about..?
Can anyone else replicate this behaviour as it seems quite a show stopper to me or is there a problem with the reviewer's hardware?
Since Linux now appears to need updating as frequently as Windows, perhaps it should get it's act together and only push out Critical OS and browser updates and not point updates to productivity software by default... Or even leave the browser to update itself, that's how MS users update Firefox and Chrome.
2 • @1 (by John on 2012-09-03 10:02:11 GMT from Europe)
I don't know the reason for the crashes, but given the different bases of the system I would assume it is coincidence.
I would also say that my Ubuntu 12.04 desktop does update a lot more frequently than my Windows 7 laptop but that's okay, because the updates on the Ubuntu system are less intrusive. This is the important point for me.
The windows updates happen when the system shuts down, which I don't necessarily want: I might be closing it down because my power source is about to get interrupted or the plane I'm sitting on is about to take off (I don't take my laptop on flights with me... just an example). The Ubuntu system makes me aware the updates are there but does not nag, gives me the choice, and then rarely requires a restart.
Having all the software updates in one go and not having to manage the updates separately for each application, including the browser, is one of the big selling points of Linux distributions for me and, I believe, many others.
3 • Misc news (by Nikos on 2012-09-03 11:48:58 GMT from Greece)
Misc news says "Ubuntu releases pure GNOME 3 remix" but thats not true. Ubuntu releases just Ubuntu, not Kubuntu, not Xubuntu, not Edubuntu, not Gnomebuntu.
4 • A distro with decent rate of updates (by Felix on 2012-09-03 12:07:39 GMT from Romania)
Yeah, even Debian Stable updates like crazy nowadays. I even had it self-destruct on me with an update, something I didn't think they would ever allow to happen.
Luckily, I found a distribution that does it right. It's called Salix OS (a Slackware derivative) and it makes an excellent job of blending rock-solid stability for the core components with cutting-edge user-facing software. For example, v. 13.37 runs kernel 2.6.37, and keeps it locked in the package manager! On the other hand, Firefox 15 was available in the repo two days after the official announcement from Mozilla...
It took me a while to get used to only getting an updated package or three every couple of weeks, and never having to worry that one of them will make my system unusable. But now I'm happy.
5 • @4, Salix (by TobiSGD on 2012-09-03 12:14:25 GMT from Germany)
"For example, v. 13.37 runs kernel 2.6.37, and keeps it locked in the package manager!"
There is no lock for the kernel in the package manager. On Salix, like on Slackware, the user is in charge for keeping the kernel in the needed state. The 2.6.37 in Salix/Slackware has not got any security updates since the release of the OS, it is up to you to follow security mailing lists and decide if a security hole applies to your use case and if you have to patch or upgrade to a different kernel.
On Debian, the patching is done by the maintainers for you. So basically you have given up your security (on kernel base) completely for the advantage of not being bothered by maintainers that do the work for you.
Doesn't sound like a good tradeoff to me.
6 • Re: 5, Salix (by Che on 2012-09-03 13:30:15 GMT from Anonymous Proxy)
> Doesn't sound like a good tradeoff to me.
True. But where does that leave the hundreds of smaller distributions that don't have the manpower or the server capacity to make kernel patches and security updates available on a daily basis?
7 • @6, Salix and other small distributions (by TobiSGD on 2012-09-03 14:27:46 GMT from Germany)
"But where does that leave the hundreds of smaller distributions that don't have the manpower or the server capacity to make kernel patches and security updates available on a daily basis?"
They have exactly three options:
1. Choose a base that has the manpower to patch kernels and maintain packages and use their packages.
2. Let the user do the work (like Salix or Slackware).
3. Stop your distro because you can't maintain it.
May sound harsh, but what worth is your distro if you can't keep it secure and you don't have users knowledgeable enough to apply patches themselves?
8 • Troubling updates (by Jesse on 2012-09-03 14:56:20 GMT from Canada)
>> "In this and last week's review, 2 different distributions with different bases crashed in Jesse's tests when attempting to install updates using the default software update 'tool'. The only way around this was to revert to the command line - not very user friendly."
>> "I don't know the reason for the crashes, but given the different bases of the system I would assume it is coincidence."
I'm not sure about the trouble updating Mint, but I was also wondering at the cause after my trouble with Kororaa. I did another round of install/update and watched the system status. I found the upgrade process was using all of the available memory and easting into swap space right before it crashed. I suspect the problem was there were so many updates that the upgrade process ran out of memory while performing delta-patching and installing. Both Kororaa and Mint had a huge pile of updated packages waiting (it was almost like downloading an entire distribution again) and I don't think the package tools are designed with that kind of heavy lifting in mind. That's speculation on my part, but it might explain why the first giant batch of updates failed while later (smaller) upgrades succeeded.
9 • Bash errors (by PePa on 2012-09-03 15:46:27 GMT from Netherlands)
Quite a few syntax errors in Jesse's useful piece on scheduling suspend & wake-up. Here is the first script as I have it now:
# This script puts the system under sleep mode for <minutes> minutes
if [[ $# -ne 1 ]] || [[ $1 < 1 ]]; then
echo "usage: $0 <minutes>"
echo "where <minutes> is the number of minutes to be put asleep"
declare -i minutes=$1
echo $(date -d "$minutes minutes" +%s) >/sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm
10 • xubuntu 12.04.1 reviews versus mint 13 reviews (by jack on 2012-09-03 15:49:29 GMT from Canada)
Just googled and found only one "hands on" xubuntu 12.04.1 review:
compared to many for Mint 13
11 • Updates in Fedora and Kororaa (by David McCann on 2012-09-03 15:54:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
If you only want security updates, then
yum install yum-security
will give you the power to screen the rest out by using the command
yum --security update
Most of the updates for Fedora are 'enhancements' and fixes for bugs you've probably never noticed, turning it into something close to a rolling release.
12 • @5, about Salix (by Felix on 2012-09-03 16:12:55 GMT from Romania)
Um, I just checked again and yes, the kernel and other packages are excluded from updates at the package manager level.
And I'll take a system that's maybe marginally vulnerable to a theoretical exploit if the firewall fails over one that *frickin' stops working on me due to normal operation*. And I realize maintaining a distro must be hard work, and I'm not paying for this, blah blah blah, but I really need to rely on my tools. After trying half a dozen modern distributions and having every single one pull the aforementioned trick on me, my priorities became very clear. Yours are different? Great. Linux gives us the choice.
13 • Syntax (by Jesse on 2012-09-03 16:19:05 GMT from Canada)
>> "Quite a few syntax errors in Jesse's useful piece on scheduling suspend & wake-up."
I think you may be confusing "syntax error" with "style preference". Both scripts are working examples I tested on my machines before copy/pasting into the article.
14 • @12, Salix (by TobiSGD on 2012-09-03 17:02:07 GMT from Germany)
" Um, I just checked again and yes, the kernel and other packages are excluded from updates at the package manager level."
Don't know for sure for Salix, but on Slackware those blacklisted packages are the kernel and aaa_elflibs. I actually don't know why the kernel is blacklisted, it never gets updates (and it wouldn't make sense to update it when it is blacklisted by default).
"After trying half a dozen modern distributions and having every single one pull the aforementioned trick on me, my priorities became very clear. Yours are different? Great. Linux gives us the choice."
Never said that Salix is a bad choice (I use it occasionally for deploying fire-and-forget systems, normally I am a Slackware user), I just wanted to point out that the fixed kernel in Salix (and Slackware) also has a downside.
Other than that I agree with you: A stable version of the distro of my choice should get only security updates and version upgrades only when there is no other choice (like Firefox upgrades that in the same time bring security fixes with them).
15 • Bash syntax (by PePa on 2012-09-03 17:04:58 GMT from Netherlands)
Maybe it's the way the scripts get mangled by posting, but you don't have a semicolon before 'then', you use dollar-sign + curly-brackets (should be: round-bracket). Sorry for my tone then, I thought you couldn't have tested this at all.
16 • Lost in translation (by Jesse on 2012-09-03 17:18:55 GMT from Canada)
>> "Maybe it's the way the scripts get mangled by posting, but you don't have a semicolon before 'then', you use dollar-sign + curly-brackets "
You are correct, something did change in translation between writing the script and the posting here. In my original script the "then" keywords are all on their own line, avoiding the need for semi-colons. I think the "curl bracket" issue is due to the font. I copy and pasted the script shown above into a text editor locally and the braces appear properly. A full version of the script in plain text format and with additional safety checks can be found here: http://ubuntuone.com/4eHKq8CGTeQi1BAd459xt2
17 • GNOMEbuntu (by Baltazar on 2012-09-03 17:24:36 GMT from Puerto Rico)
What a killer name... I bet many will die trying to pronounce it.
Why not call it Gubuntu! Get it GNOME Ubuntu, Gubuntu! Simple and it keeps with the tradition... and Ubuntu keeps its Unity, as in (U)buntu...
Or is Gubuntu an insult in that language?
... err... ok...
Well... am not to interested on the Buntus or any sudoer distro for that matter, but damn choking names...
I know it is hard to come up with clever names at times...
18 • GNOMEbuntu... (by Baltazar on 2012-09-03 17:47:14 GMT from Puerto Rico)
Oh... and when I say tradition I mean about the naming:
Wubuntu (microsoft's version, of Ubuntu... oh wait, thats 8...)
Aubuntu (when Steve Jobs returns as a zombie)
.... ... ok ok, you get it now...
19 • RE: 14 Updates (by Ron on 2012-09-03 18:48:53 GMT from United States)
"After trying half a dozen modern distributions and having every single one pull the aforementioned trick on me, my priorities became very clear. Yours are different? Great. Linux gives us the choice."
I only had this happen once to me and it was on Arch Linux. After spending many hours getting the system up and running nicely (and this was easily accomplished by following the instructions from Arch Linux), a few months later a simple update rendered the entire system dead dead dead.
Other than that, on the several Linux OS, over several years, I never had any problem with updates, I just click on yes and all is well. Lucky perhaps?
On each of the above, it seems that I could choose to update or not with a nice list of each update file by just unchecking a box. I guess this is heresy for command line aficionados, but what is the complaint if one can choose to update or not?
20 • @19, Updates (by TobiSGD on 2012-09-03 19:27:28 GMT from Germany)
"On each of the above, it seems that I could choose to update or not with a nice list of each update file by just unchecking a box. I guess this is heresy for command line aficionados, but what is the complaint if one can choose to update or not?"
Why should that be heresy? On Slackware I am able to do exactly that on the command-line with its native package manager, slackpkg. And before slackpkg existed one just went through the /patches directory and decided which one to install and which one not.
But basically, I never had any problems with updating on Debian Stable and Slackware, just when I was running a mix of Debian Sid and Experimental I had the occasional breakage (as expected).
21 • Sooooo many distros.. (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-03 20:01:27 GMT from Germany)
@19: yes, i had toubles with Arch also, not just once.
After almost 17 years of distro hopping, Gentoo, Xubuntu and Debian are the only ones that i'm considering at all meanwhile. Debian-stable for stress-free servers/console-based installations, Gentoo for virtually anything else, and if someday Gentoo would somehow get worse/unstable/discontinued, i'd use Xubuntu.
My distro hopping adventure is virtually over. Occasionally i take a quick peek into some new distro, but it's highly unlikely that any new distro would convince me to abandon ship. This would require a truly revolutionary distro. Currenty i can see none. Most distros are installation schemes with a different desktop background or window title font and a different basic set of softwares but nothing more..
22 • Kororaa (by Sam on 2012-09-03 20:23:37 GMT from United States)
While I do most Linux stuff on Mint 13 MATE, I keep a partition for testing out KDE rpm distorts until the day my first love SuSE loses some pounds, finds a distro counselor, and stops being so buggy on me. I had a brief fling with Kororaa as I thought she didn't have as many issues as Fedora (well Fedora releases ever since that magical summer of Fedora 10). Worked well at first despite, like Jesse, having to yum my way around that borked apper. Then, one day, she just refused to get out of bed, refused to boot. I may try Kororaa again, next release, but for now I have to put up with the 1990s era, amateurish graphics of Mageia 2.
23 • KDE games slower on recent Distros... (by ChiJoan on 2012-09-03 21:05:29 GMT from United States)
On most of my towers I use LXDE, but only with the last upgrades on PcLinuxOS or fresh installs with Mint Mate and LXDE, Zorin and maybe others, I noticed Kshisen is too slow to enjoy. It's still fast on my Kubuntu/Gnome 10.04, and it was fast on Kubuntu 11.04, but I'm updating over 400 packages, then I'll see if it slows down.
Any ideas why it's become so slow?
Joan in Reno
24 • Update problems for distros based on other ones... (by cflow on 2012-09-03 22:23:58 GMT from United States)
I find this a very interesting topic, as this might be the major curse of basing your own linux distribution off of others: You want the security and bug fix updates, but if you want to innovate and add features upon the host distro, these updates might conflict heavily with your "innovations." So what can happen to a small distribution is that to keep stability, there's a conflict between fighting the upstream updates just to supply your work, or to withhold parts of the work and show little difference between the host. I'll bet a LOT of Ubuntu and Debian based distros have suffered from this.
I say this because Ikey has gotten annoyed with Debian updates with SolusOS - to a point that for his next release, he's thinking of no longer using Debian's package manager, and instead use Pardus's PiSi package manager:
Of course the consequences is that SolusOS would become independent of Debian - but at least it would gives its developers more control of its own destiny...
25 • RE: 15, 16 Bash syntax errors (by ladislav on 2012-09-03 23:41:39 GMT from Taiwan)
The syntax errors were my fault. Sorry about that - they are fixed now.
26 • Update problems and package management (by K.U. on 2012-09-03 23:44:11 GMT from Finland)
Updating problems and dependency hell are good reasons why we need a better package management. There exist Nix (in NixOs), Zero Install, PBI (in PC-BSD) and PortableLinuxApps. The first two of these have dependency management without dependency conflicts. In contrast to the widely used package management systems like Apt, updating one piece of software doesn’t trigger large system wide updates with Zero Install (I am not sure how is that about Nix).
27 • Better package management (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-04 00:17:17 GMT from Germany)
@26: yes, good package management is paramount. IMHO, the package management system/software is the heart, the core that defines an entire distribution. The rest is not much more than a software selection & configuration scheme/profile.
Future approaches to package maintenance will probably combine several methods, such as portage, nix, pbi and/or other ideas into one unified system. When that's done, the number of distros might well shrink big time in the future, as the rest is essentially about the installation profile, i.e., one big config file that describes which software packages to install and how to configure them in a certain overall system installation.
Once that stage is reached, this will reduce the worldwide amount of work for package maintenance big time and things will become more unified, more stable and more bleeding edge, all at the same time, while still leaving everyone with the same wide choice about what to use and how.
28 • Update Problems and Package Management (by Bruce Fowler on 2012-09-04 00:18:39 GMT from United States)
What we lack is something like "restore points" in Windows, where you can revert to a "known good state." If there were an assured way to back out changes that did not meet expectations, updating would be a less stressful activity. With the extra disk space on most computers today, this should be an easy option.
I've only been hosed a couple of times, but my response has been a change of distro, and the perpetrator being put on my "black list" for a few releases.
29 • "restore points" (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-04 00:22:14 GMT from Germany)
@28: LVM snapshots, btrfs, zfs and other stuff provide solutions. Oldschool backups with tar/dar/squashfs before doing a system upgrade also do the trick. With some distros like Gentoo, downgrading packages is a piece of cake already..
30 • Modernizing packaging (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2012-09-04 00:22:17 GMT from United States)
A good change management toolset would be a big improvement.
31 • Snapshots and restore points (by Jesse on 2012-09-04 00:35:23 GMT from Canada)
The technology to have restore points and safer dependency resolution is certainly available. I think the problem is these tools haven't been automated (or semi-automated) into Linux package management. The user shouldn't have to manually create a snapshot and perform the upgrade and then drop to the command line to roll back a package. This is something which should be built into the upgrade manager.
Combined with something like PBI would make package management and cross-distro packaging much easier.
32 • shapshots... (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-04 01:05:30 GMT from Germany)
@31: yes, cross-distro-packaging is something i'm eagerly waiting for. FreeBSD users are quietly laughing at Linux users because of this Linux-specific problem, but afterall, the Ports system doesn't make me a believer either. Again, Gentoo beats that by far. But it still doesn't solve the overall dependency problem.
33 • Package management, GUI (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2012-09-04 01:44:49 GMT from United States)
Which GUI package management tool sensibly sets up a post-update restart and terminates itself when an update will affect one of its running processes?
34 • Another vote for Gentoo (by Chris on 2012-09-04 03:17:37 GMT from Australia)
I've only been a Linux user for about 8 weeks.
In that time I trialled _many_ distros to discover the truths about each. I agree with the many comments about Gentoo. Sane packaging of up to date software. Professional responsible attitude to system design/maintenance & superior tools compared to other distro's. Very good documentation.
Rapidly got really tired of 'kitchen sink' distro's (Ubuntu) & irresponsible distro dev's who bork your system on a whim (Arch).
If your're in a hurry, Sabayon, if you have time Gentoo pure.
35 • @ 34 - bork your system on a whim (by claudecat on 2012-09-04 04:41:29 GMT from United States)
"irresponsible distro dev's who bork your system on a whim (Arch)."
That's really not fair. The Arch user is expected to keep up with changes via the home page or forum *before* updating. I'm guessing you got stung by the recent change to /lib being a symlink (for which there was ample warning and detailed documentation) - if not, I stand preemptively corrected. Point is, large scale borkage is virtually impossible if one is armed with the information that Arch makes available.
I do agree that Gentoo is a fine distro, though I'd argue that Arch's documentation is more up to date.
36 • @4, 5, 12, etc: Some clarity re: Salix and updated kernels (by eco2geek on 2012-09-04 04:42:59 GMT from United States)
(I'm not taking a position on this, just trying to clear things up.)
Might as well mention Vector Linux, another Slackware-based distro Both Salix and Vector use GSlapt as their graphical package manager. It's a front end for slapt-get.
Both distros exclude kernel and kernel-related packages in GSlapt (Edit > Preferences > Excludes tab).
But, with both distros, even if those packages weren't "excluded" in GSlapt (which means that GSlapt will never update them automatically unless they're removed from the "excludes" list), kernel updates for both distros aren't available in the main repositories they use.
Vector has updated kernels, and there's a forum post on how to install them here:
Likewise, Salix has updated kernels, and there's a forum post on how to install them here:
The point is that you have to take steps to update your kernel in both distros, over and above changing GSlapt's default settings.
37 • @34 bork your system on a whim (by mandog on 2012-09-04 09:02:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
Since when did Gentoo become the most stable on the planet
And since when did Arch not tell you "arch does not break your system you do" its in the documentation read and you won't get problems. Gentoo is a great distro if you do not do anything on it, 5hrs to compile Firefox, 24hrs to do a major update. And you still have to read the Wiki so it does not break. All distros support remastering even windows advises to make backup discs, the main reason for windows breakages is malware restore can reinstall the malware.
38 • @ it's bad stability is something works and then stops working on update- (by meagain on 2012-09-04 10:02:34 GMT from Slovenia)
it seems to me that mostly these bugs affect the desktop (and it's users).
i think the problem indeed lies in the way the packages are handled. for example i instaleld 12.04, sound worked nicely. 2 o3 months later sound is not wokring porpperl yanymore. bugs have been filed but no one i solving them. in short if someone just fixed security in the first kernel and then only update software and not drivers then everyhting owuld work as it should. they should also porbably abandon this shared libraries. while it's cool, it all make things msaller it is sometimes getting ridiculous. just yesterday i wanted to test the cam in cheese and along with webcam app it wanted to install brasero disk burner and nautilus. seriously?
windows uses same kernel, it patches it for security issues and you can freely update only programmes (if you want them to be updated), it's abit more difficult to do this in linux. even locking packages sometimes doensn't prevent the upgrade.
at least if they release new kernel and people report some major bugs at least have the descency to fix them. instead they are sometimes not even assigned.
39 • Linux Mint (by Barry Schinnerer on 2012-09-04 11:18:12 GMT from United States)
Before I say anything I would like to say that never could I write one line of code, so to me anybody creating any OS is awesome. That said, I have spent the last 7-10 years farting around with many Linux systems and have come to love the Gnome 2 desktop. To me it symbolizes what Linux stands for - FREEDOM. I believe that Gnome 3 takes the Microsoft Windows approach, that is the user is a moron, and does not need to have any freedom with the OS. In some cases that is partially true, some people do not want to play with their OS - I get that.
But thankfully there still are alternatives to Gnome 3. I use Linux Mint 9 LTS and it can do just about anything I need. (I do not do games and if you have to do games have at MS Windows). Having tried just about all Distro's out there and having tried them many many times I can say with great certainty that Mint 9 LTS is the best and is still the embodiment of Linux - FREEDOM.
40 • PBI and other methods of packaging. (by Anonymous Coward on 2012-09-04 11:52:57 GMT from Spain)
The problem with "miracle packages" which do have no dependencies and such, like PBI, is that they include the app you want and tons of libraries self-contained. The advantage is no dependency installs. The disadvantage is lots of duplicated components everywhere in the system, resource and performance problems etc (please, correct me if I am wrong with PBI inclusion system).
The problem with different packages are not the package formats. It is trivial to turn a Debian package into a Slackware package and the other way around. Or, for that matter, compile from source and make most packages. The problem is that every distribution is patched, tailored, tweaked and modified so their apps often need custom patches to work on the given distribution, thus a "generic" package made for all the distributions is not possible because distributions need custom solutions.
41 • Correction (by Anonymous Coward on 2012-09-04 11:56:09 GMT from Spain)
It seems PBI is not guilty of bloat, as it is based on the Ports system according to Wikipedia.
42 • PBI packages (by Jesse on 2012-09-04 13:37:03 GMT from Canada)
>> "The problem with "miracle packages" which do have no dependencies and such, like PBI, is that they include the app you want and tons of libraries self-contained. The advantage is no dependency installs. The disadvantage is lots of duplicated components everywhere in the system, resource and performance problems etc (please, correct me if I am wrong with PBI inclusion system)."
With PBI packages, at least the latest version of the format, duplication is removed. Basically when a PBI package is installed the system looks at what libraries are included inside the PBI file. Unique libraries are installed on the system and duplicates are discarded. This means if you have a dozen applications which all use the same version of, say GTK+, then the system maintains just one copy. This approach gives the user the best of both worlds, self-contained programs which will not break when the system is updated and virtually no bloat. It an approach I would love to see adopted by Linux distributions.
43 • compile times on Gentoo.. (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-04 15:26:37 GMT from Germany)
@37: on my box, firefox compiles in 10 minutes... (overclocked i5), that's why i've re-discovered Gentoo which used to be annoying in the past but is meanwhile pure fun, kinda renaissance for me :P
44 • Updates and more (by LLO on 2012-09-04 21:20:55 GMT from Hungary)
As so many other occasions, some very important items have surfaced. Updating of packages is a basic issue for all of us. But updating as it is being practiced a mixed blessing because corrections and new features are mixed in the same update, i. e., the corrections correct past errors and new features likely contain new errors that results in a perpetual self-generating cycle. Obviously, the two features should be separated.
The other issue is the handling of shared components and libraries. Fast track items like development of browsers, independent long term projects, and no-one-asked-for developments may generate a lot of new components that also should work with other applications that share the “same” components, but who makes sure that really will do so. Most likely the involved parties should. Projects—on the other hand--like computer language interpreters/compilers, scientific and math programs/applications hardly have the resources to keep up with all or any sort of changes. Some of them were written for a special occasion and likely will never be updated, others do not care about the latest fashion. What to do with them?! Steer clear of them as most Linux distribution have done sadly. Or, include all the supporting libraries, utilities and environment in a package that they could be used unchanged as long one wishes to do so.
The imbalance in efforts between the formal presentation and the value of an application should be reevaluated. It seems that there is an overwhelming interest on forcing upon us the latest, many times questionable, trends. Whereas fundamental issues have never been resolved. For instance, you got a new distribution. Take it on a spin of a live test run. You like to see whether your printer has a driver, whether you can use you scanner, tablet, e.t.c. . In Windows to find the devices is no brainier, but in many Linux systems it is a nightmare. Some rescue systems do not support printing at all. Other systems call recording, saving and displaying printing also. You may need a separate program to recognize the printer, an other to configure it, and a third to operate it. So if you find finally how the hell to configure it, the system asks for a password, and you question never get answered. This may tell us that there is no meaning to argue about GNOME 2, 3 or 4, if Linux does not even have a decent menu system. What it really needs a back to basics review, and occasionally the developers should unplug there ears, too.
45 • @40 PBI and other methods of packaging (by K.U. on 2012-09-05 00:08:16 GMT from Finland)
This describes Klik (no more available) better than later developments:
The apps at http://portablelinuxapps.org/ are largely self-contained c o m p r e s s e d images. Since decompression is faster than reading from hard disk on most systems, this has a speed advantage in addition to saving space (item 5, page 3 in AppImageKit documentation). Quite large number of distributions are supported (item 3 in the same page). The drawback is obvious: this doesn't mean all.
The apps work as follows: download the compressed image, give it executing rights, run.
PortableLinuxApps is the successor of Klik with the same head developer, pronobo. Most Klik apps were made automatically from Debian packages with no human control - that is no more the case with PortableLinuxApps (the drawback being much smaller number of apps available for PortableLinuxApps than that was for Klik). Making new apps with AppDirAssistant an AppImageAssistant is easy, see the videos: http://portablelinuxapps.org/development. While PortableLinuxApps duplicates the libs in AppImages it removes the need for duplicated work for packaging. But more people to are needed to do more apps for PortableLinuxApps. Would this suit for Jesse? Zero Install is also welcoming developers.
Zero Install and Nix share their libs. In addition Zero Install knows the libs available in the base system (question 10 in the FAQ: http://www.0install.net/faq.html). (This feature has come quite recently to Zero Install -- it is improving all the time even though there is still plenty of room for improvement).
46 • Packaging (by Jesse on 2012-09-05 01:14:07 GMT from Canada)
The technology to make a unified, run anywhere Linux applications exists. That's not the problem. The problem is the lack of adoption. There are probably a dozen different "solutions" to the Linux packaging problem which, ironically, was the problem to begin with. This is an issue which requires collaboration across all the major distributions. Collaboration and support and documentation.And the solution needs to fit in with the existing package managers. That isn't likely to happen.
I'm not sure if you explored the Portable Linux Apps website much, but the packages provided there are A) no longer available (download links are broken) and B) out of date. Again, not a technology problem so much as a lack of anyone adopting it. Likewise, the 0install approach is not really realistic. Again, because it doesn't integrate with existing packaging systems and because it expects users to drop to the command line to install software they find on-line.
What Linux desperately needs (from a third-party developer point of view) is one package format which will work for shared and static software and which will work with the distribution's existing packaging tools. Sadly, getting any cooperation for such a system is close to impossible. Getting open source developers to agree on something like this is harder than herding cats. The FreeBSD/PC-BSD developers have an advantage there in that there is basically one FreeBSD and advances like PBI are rolled back into the FreeBSD base rather than branching off to create new projects.
47 • Gnome Install (by Glenn Condrey on 2012-09-05 02:12:53 GMT from United States)
A linux that just works?
I installed the Gnome version of Kororaa. I was NOT asked to create a user...altho I was asked to install a password and a hostname.
In short...I cannot log in.
I see the option NOT LISTED? and you can enter a user name in there....but again during the Gnome install, I was not asked to create a username.
I don't want to have to go back and download Fedora or another derivative....help?
48 • Login (by Glenn Condrey on 2012-09-05 02:26:48 GMT from United States)
Okie dokie.....I solved it.
At the login screen, I pressed Ctrl,Alt, and F4 at the same time.
This opened up a terminal. I was able to log in as the root user...and start the graphical display.
From there...I went to Users....and created a user account for myself...along with password.
Shouldn't be this much of a runaround though.
49 • Packaging (by PJS on 2012-09-05 02:35:31 GMT from United States)
I can understand the Slackware, Gentoo and roll-it-yourself users wanting absolute control over what packages get updated. Security may be an issue. But kernel updates and system stability aren't, for those of us who run, say, Ubuntu with the GRUB boot loaderr. If there are problems with a kernel update, you just select an earlier one from the boot menu. I can only remember having to do that once or twice in the past 5 years.
50 • 48 login ? (by Anonymous Coward on 2012-09-05 03:31:59 GMT from Australia)
Well this is the basic Terminal Login (that all new Nix/Linux users should know), before there is/was any GUI ? At least the runaround works ?
51 • Login (by Glenn Condrey on 2012-09-05 03:51:07 GMT from United States)
I've installed linux for years...from a gui login...so i have never had to go in like I did to create a user account from the terminal.
Using this distro further has become a deal killer for me.
I have a HP laptop, with the Beats Audio bass speaker...and when i first installed Kororaa, there was no sound installed whatsoever.
The bass speaker doesn't work at all. Having used Ubuntu before this...I know it is possible to edit the alsa-conf file to make it work....only there WAS NO also-conf file in /etc/modprobe.d/ folder.
If Ubuntu 12.04 hadn't updated its fricking kernel (which I had patched after install so VMWare would work) I wouldn't be going thru all this now. (I deled the patch...and then tried to reinstall for the updated kernel to no avail)
Back to Debian Mint I guess.
52 • "irresponsible distro dev's who bork your system on a whim (Arch)." (by Myra on 2012-09-05 05:25:01 GMT from United States)
Having used Arch for some time, I would disagree with this statement. As pointed out by claudecat, Arch users are expected to follow both the archgeneral and archdev-public mailing lists and keep themselves apprised of upcoming changes. They are also urged to follow the Arch news feed. They are also cautioned about using the testing repos.
I can't think of a time in recent memory anything was broken because of an irresponsibe dev. Even with the move of lib to /usr/lib there was a lot of posting on the ml's and the news feed. There were a couple of hitches but both were either quickly fixed or a work around provided. The only breakage, that I remember, was someone using pacman --force to complete the update.
Even though I don't agree with the move to systemd, I'll take Arch anyday over any other distro.
53 • Observations (by richjack on 2012-09-05 08:27:11 GMT from United Kingdom)
I've been reading with interest how this packaging debate has taken shape since my first post (#1). It is amazing to see so much agreement and yet so much fragmentation by the upstream projects...
I have very little time these days to experiment with Linux, but I like to keep up with the changes. Unfortunately a lot of the changes now mean that the hardware that I used to use at home for testing Linux now rarely works with modern distros.
In my working life I am currently preparing deployment solutions for Windows 7. The MS recommended philosophy is for clean OS installs every time and apps installed separately or at least pre-staged. Most Linux distros are what would be called 'fat' images as they contain the OS and apps as a snapshot at one point in time. I personally would welcome a distro that installs the OS only, updated it with security patches at install time (not post-install) and then offered a choice of additional apps to install straight from the repos. That way I would know I was getting what I wanted, that it was up to date and that each new install was clean. Should make maintaining ISOs easier too. Yet nobody does it (that I know of)!
I also use portable apps (for windows) a lot at work to get around corporate install policies! There are loads of great apps, many of which have Linux versions or came from Linux in the first place - it's a shame the Linux project doesn't have enough supporters or packagers. Just think, you could have all your apps on a separate partition and use them on any number of disro installs...
54 • @53 - Minimal install (by Uncle Slacky on 2012-09-05 10:31:56 GMT from France)
Bodhi Minux comes close to what you are looking for - based on Ubuntu, the only apps that are installed alongside the OS are a browser (Midori), text editor (Leafpad) and Synaptic.
55 • only the OS at install... (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-05 10:33:31 GMT from Germany)
@53: it is possible, for example, to install *buntu from an alternate install cd, choose "nothing" in the software selection, so only the ubuntu-minimal and ubuntu-standard metapackages are installed, then run "apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-desktop" (or xubuntu-desktop on Xubuntu and so on), but that not just installs a rather basic xfce desktop, but you also have to fiddle with some extra settings, like writing policykit rules for being able to shut down the computer via menu as non-root user, etc...
Can't stop praising gentoo there. The base system is slim (42 packages + dependencies for a total of about ~150 packages which is pretty small), and when i install xfce-meta, everything important works out of the box (polkit etc.) and the system is still clean & not bloated at all. Any additional software is chosen by me, myself and i.
56 • Bodhi (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-05 10:43:18 GMT from Germany)
@54: ...but i don't want either Midori or Leafpad installed on my box... bloat alert! :D
Ok, joke aside, Bodhi seems to be the only recent distro focusing on the Enlightenment desktop, which might take a little while to get used to, but is a very nice alternative to all these other desktops. Maybe it's just "too different" from other desktops for many ppl to even consider? I dunno...
57 • Enlightenment (by Jordan on 2012-09-05 17:11:15 GMT from United States)
@56 thanks for the reminder about that desktop. I wish my memory was better (the one in my skull, not the one in my laptop) but wasn't it Sabayon a while back that offered Enlightenment as a choice?
Whichever distro it was, I recall sitting and waiting a long time between clicks, and also hoping that it became polished and evolved enough to go mainstream and compete with KDE and Gnome. I know it's out there, but like somebody else mentioned, don't have time to do a lot of experimenting etc.
58 • More tips to perfect personal ubuntu based system (by mimimimimimimi on 2012-09-05 18:19:49 GMT from Hungary)
After some googleing I found this article about not installing recommended packages:
And if somebody have constant internet access, can install minimal commandline system with mini.iso (dd-ed on a pendrive). Keep in mind that wireless config created in /etc/network/interfaces, so after install networkmanager or other gui to config wifi, remove/edit that file, comment out the primary network interface to make configurable.
59 • slim xubuntu (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-05 18:46:55 GMT from Germany)
@58: ...and don't forget to configure the ubuntu update manager the same way (no recommends), otherwise all those "avoided" packages will creep in later with new upgrades..
...and like i said, it takes a bit more initial work to get everything running smooth, and you have too keep your eyes open about what's new but never installed on your machine because you turned off the recommends... but the installation size without recommends is of course much, much smaller.
60 • slim Xubuntu: addendum (by FormerDistroHopper on 2012-09-05 19:09:15 GMT from Germany)
@58: and in case you don't already know, the "debfoster" utility is great to keep the bloat out of your little garden. Configure "UseRecommends = no" in /etc/debfoster.conf aswell.
Each time you run debfoster, it will ask about all manually installed top-level packages and if you want to keep them. Press "p" to purge (together with all no-longer required dependencies). Very useful utility i could not live without on Debian/*buntu...
When you run debfoster for the very first time, it will ask a few extra questions because the ubuntu-alternate default install already installed recommended packages of the "ubuntu-standard" metapackage. Decide yourself what you want to keep from these packages, and when you run debfoster next time, your "old" answers are stored in a "keepers" list in /var/lib/debfoster/keepers, so you won't be asked again..
61 • @46 Zero Install and PortableLinuxApps problems and possible solutions (by K.U. on 2012-09-05 21:06:34 GMT from Finland)
Packaging and some possible solutions to existing problems in Zero Install and PortableLinuxApps
> Likewise, the 0install approach is not really realistic.
> Again, because it doesn't integrate with existing packaging
> systems and because it expects users to drop to the
> command line to install software they find on-line.”
That’s only for some part true: One can just drag and drop or copy & paste an app feed address from a web page to Zero Install to get the app, see the 4 minute video at the Zero Install home page. Therefore using command line isn't necessary. In addition Zero Install is at least partially integrated with existing packaging systems, see http://www.0install.net/distribution-integration.html
However, it would be nice if Zero Install were integrated also by providing a possibility to install all other package formats via their graphical interface (and possibly transforming the packages to the Zero Install format at the same time) -- or alternatively if other package managers provided Zero Install too. Let’s hope someone hears.
Sadly, that’s true that there aren’t too many up-to-date apps at the PortableLinuxApps web site. In addition they have chosen wrong by providing widely used software that everyone does already have. They should provide special purpose software instead to gain popularity. They should also provide a list of available apps ordered by their age.
But it is no ways obligatory to provide one’s software at their website. Luckily, one can distribute ones apps made by their technology anywhere one thinks they get the best visibility. Then it wouldn’t harm if the PortableLinuxApps web site disappeared one day. Therefore it should be appealing to make one’s software available in the PortableLinuxApps format.
(It is also possible to create self-installing bundles for distribution on CD, etc. using the Zero Install technology. Then users do not need to have Zero Install installed at one’s computer, see the 0export tool).
62 • Kiwi Linux (by Sven on 2012-09-06 12:57:47 GMT from Italy)
At least someone is being honest!
"Besides the usplash theme and some changes to the installer slideshow the appearance is 100% Ubuntu. No point in spending time on custom wallpapers let alone entire themes and invalidating the hard work that went into the Ubuntu looks in the past few years just to gain some gratuitous differentiation. Besides, users tend to change their wallpapers."
63 • Updating (by Alex on 2012-09-06 13:21:19 GMT from Italy)
This updating is a change of few lines, or part of a line in something named as code, which the coder had forgotten or thought otherwise. Hope you guys would like to read what some coders write in the text file. Check any at random, and you don't really have to be a coder to understand what the "coder" had thought.
The best thing is not to allow daily updating. Once a week, if you really find your "distro" not working as you want, you could update through a package manager, but after carefully checking through every offered "update." I've found that sometimes it i smuch better not to update for months!
64 • re #57 enlightenment, #62 kiwi linux (by gnomic on 2012-09-06 13:40:49 GMT from New Zealand)
#57 While mentioning Puppy Linux makes some people froth at the mouth, there is a version using Enlightenment which seems stable enough, Macpup by name. The Snowlinux people are cooking up a version, and lurking out there somewhere is the slightly infamous Elive.
#62 Haven't been able to get Kiwi Linux to boot despite correct checksum for downloaded iso. Complaints about decompression errors. Anyone had any luck? Perhaps faulty media or misbehaving writer, though it has usually been reliable till now.
65 • @63, Updating and Ubuntu Christian Edition (by TobiSGD on 2012-09-06 14:49:31 GMT from Germany)
@63: "I've found that sometimes it i smuch better not to update for months!"
You are right, the best updating practice is not to update unless you find a bug. This way it is also easier for script kiddies and other malicious guys to rely on the security holes in your software, since they remain unpatched.
Seriously, not updating is an option that often is seen by Windows users with pirated OS copies, it shouldn't be part of the mindset of a educated Linux user.
Ubuntu Christian Edition: Is this an official supported edition of Ubuntu or why are they allowed to have the "Ubuntu" in their name?
66 • Qubes OS (by Koroshiya Itchy on 2012-09-06 19:31:00 GMT from Slovakia)
It would be great having a in-depth review of Qubes OS. I mean not the usual "my hardware was recognised and I liked the collection of software and the DE was nice". I think this distro really deserves something better, for it is one of the truly innovative Linux distros (maybe the only one) I have learnt about in the last years.
67 • PortableLinuxApps files at sourcefoge (by K.U. on 2012-09-06 21:43:18 GMT from Finland)
Here are some portable apps:
One of the three apps that I tested worked in my non-supported distro (3DChess)
68 • Kiwi and Descent (by bill on 2012-09-06 22:51:32 GMT from United States)
#64 I have the same issue with Kiwi and also with Descent 3. I am using DVD+RW but will try USB drive
69 • @66 Qubes OS (by Pearson on 2012-09-07 16:23:20 GMT from United States)
From the Qubes FAQ: "When do you anticipate the production quality version to be ready? Fall 2011."
Sounds like it might be out of date?
70 • @69: correction (by Pears on 2012-09-07 17:10:37 GMT from United States)
Well, I obviously can't read. Quebes version 1.0 was released September 6, 2012. I think I'll go sleep for a week or two.
71 • @ 70 -QubesOS (by Ralph on 2012-09-07 18:11:06 GMT from Canada)
No, you *can* read. The intention was to have Qubes production ready a year ago, but the release took longer than anticipated. The FAQ just needs updating.
72 • snapshots and restore points (by Falschparker on 2012-09-07 19:36:18 GMT from Germany)
@28, 29, 31
Maybe Foresight Linux has something like this:
"Foresight uses conary, that makes it different from all other Linux distributions out there. Rolling updates and easy to rollback system to a earlier stage."
73 • Search for distro by video card compatibility? (by Glenn on 2012-09-08 21:14:58 GMT from United States)
One of the issues I've run across is that even the distros aimed at "old computers" seem to use the video card drivers for the newest video cards. While that may work for a desktop computer able to swap to a newer video card, we laptop users are usually stuck with whatever video card came from the factory.
How can I search to find a current, active Linux OS targeted at older hardware _with_ an older video card (in my case the Geforce4 4200 Go)? In my case, the only video card driver that seems to work is the nvidia-96 driver that is as yet not ABI compatible with xorg-xserver 11 or 12.
74 • Foresight or Hindsight? (by CredulousSkeptic on 2012-09-08 21:46:36 GMT from United States)
[@72]Gnome and Xfce from 2011/12, Ldxe still coming, Kde obsolete - maybe rolling systems don't need to start out so up-to-date? But rollback seems like common sense - wisdom - maybe it's more fun to live dangerously? Of course, a tiny mistake in syntax could send your computer back to the dark ages ... if it has enough memory to hold it all. I've never been comfortable with wholesale system sweeps ("updateall"). But does it Keep It Short & Simple? Is support robust and responsive? Why hasn't everyone else grabbed Conary?
[@73]Amen! Isn't that why video card makers contribute driver updates that obsolete their older products? Or are distros that claim to aim at "legacy" pcs simply refusing to do both x32 and x64?
75 • @73 Search for distro (by RollMeAway on 2012-09-09 00:33:16 GMT from United States)
The first heading on the distrowatch search page is for "Package searches".
Selecting nvidia and 96 yields nothing. However, selecting xorg-server and 1.10 lists most.
Unfortunately, most of those listed used 1.10 on older releases. Clearly, not useful.
I suggest you simply look at the distrowatch page for any potential distro, and scroll to the bottom of the package list, to check the xorg-server version.
PclinuxOS and debian stable are two that still use =< 1.10 xorg.
While I appreciate the effort of those developing the "nouveau" drivers, I have had nothing but bad experiences using them on older cards. Everything from freeze to garbage on the lower half of screen.
Installing and keeping an older distro version may soon be the only choice.
76 • re #73 those old video cards and a 'current' distro (by gnomic on 2012-09-09 10:59:47 GMT from New Zealand)
"How can I search to find a current, active Linux OS targeted at older hardware _with_ an older video card (in my case the Geforce4 4200 Go)?"
To be brutally frank, you probably can't find a current and active Linux distro meeting your specs. What is this 'older hardware' of which you speak? Chuck it out and get something made yesterday (or perhaps six months ago to give Linux time to get it working). Are you some kind of Luddite?
I'm afraid the older hardware thing seems to be fading somewhat. You could have a look at antiX which afaik still has this mission as a primary objective. Or LegacyOS, a Puppy spin. Perhaps SliTaz, Solus, Absolute, DamnSmall?
The problem here is that 'current' thing. Increasingly it seems that the 2gig RAM C2D machine is the new 512 RAM Pentium M or even heaven help us PIII that used to work a few years back on the web. As always, it depends what you want to do with your computer. Streaming video in a recent browser while rendering a complex fractal image is just not going to happen on old gear. Computer as typewriter while listening to an audio file or running a simple game on the side may.
77 • @73: For the last time: A new Nvidia-96.43 release (by cba on 2012-09-09 16:45:08 GMT from Germany)
This situation has changed now.
So e.g. Ubuntu 12.04 works with such old Geforce4 cards again, until 2017, in full "3D".
I assume that there were too many Ubuntu user protests in the Nvidia forums. It is far more better to end the support of such still used Nvidia cards this very user-friendly and very constructive way.
78 • Nvidia-96.43 release (by cba (by RollMeAway on 2012-09-09 18:07:38 GMT from United States)
Great find cba. The release date shows 09/04/2012.
The README section for "Minimum Software Requirements" does state:
X.Org* 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12 Xorg -version
Anyone using such drivers, be sure to "lock" the xorg-server version to <=1.12.
If you don't, a future system upgrade might install 1.13+ and break your video again.
79 • The new Nvidia 96.43 (by Glenn on 2012-09-09 23:30:47 GMT from United States)
@74 through 78: Thanks for the input. I just hate to put a fully-functional laptop with 2 Gb RAM & 120 Gb HDD out to pasture just because the video card is an antique. The machine works perfectly well as a web browser, LibreOffice workstation and general purpose "typewriter".
@77: I had heard that assertion on Launchpad, but Google and Googlubuntu were unable to provide links to the driver. Thank you for the links.
80 • xorg-server tutorial (by Fred on 2012-09-09 23:41:48 GMT from United States)
#77,#78 Thanks for the very helpful information, I use nvidia 96 with ubuntu 10.04. I am not skilled in knowing how to install nvidia 96 in, say, ubuntu 12.04 and how to "lock" the xorg-server to<=1.12.
Any suggestions as the where I might find help? Thanks.
81 • install nvidia-96 and "lock" xorg-server version (by RollMeAway on 2012-09-10 01:12:46 GMT from United States)
There are multiple ways of installing the nvidia driver. I believe most *buntu distros use a package called "jockey", which appears in the menus as "Additional Drivers".
You can also use nvidia's documentation and install outside of the distros package manager.
In a debian (*buntu) distro read this link:
I currently use this method:
Add the following 6 lines to the file: /etc/apt/preferences
Pin: version 1.12*
Pin: version 1.12*
Note you may have to create the "preferences" file.
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Ubuntu Christian Edition
Ubuntu Christian Edition was a free, open source operating system geared towards Christians. It was based on the popular Ubuntu. Along with the standard Ubuntu applications, Ubuntu Christian Edition includes the best available Christian software. The latest release contains GnomeSword, a top of the line Bible study program for Linux based on the Sword Project. There are several modules installed with GnomeSword including Bibles, Commentaries, and Dictionaries. Ubuntu Christian Edition also includes fully integrated web content parental controls powered by Dansguardian. A graphical tool to adjust the parental control settings has also been developed specifically for Ubuntu Christian Edition. The goal of Ubuntu Christian Edition was not to bring Christianity to Linux but to bring Linux to Christians.