| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 475, 24 September 2012
Welcome to this year's 39th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! PCLinuxOS has long been a favourite distribution among users seeking a familiar desktop environment and out-of-the box support for popular hardware, media formats and browser plugins. Recently the project founder's health issues have slowed down the development of the distro, but the community seems strong enough to carry on in the absence of their great leader. Jesse Smith takes a look at latest of the quarterly PCLinuxOS updates and the project's KDE desktop implementation in this week's feature story. In the news section, Ubuntu integrates Amazon shopping with the Unity desktop amid renewed scepticism of its users, openSUSE project leader Andreas Jaeger revels in the increasing community involvement that helps building the popular distribution, and SolusOS founder Ikey Doherty explains the upcoming switch from Debian's package management format to Pardus' PiSi. Also in this issue, a quick look at ownCloud, one of the growing numbers of online storage services providing universal file access through a web-based interface. All this and more, including the usual sections, in this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (35MB) and MP3 (31MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at PCLinuxOS 2012.08
The PCLinuxOS distribution is an interesting creation. The project, originally based on the Mandriva distribution, is now an independent project with its own base, its own packages and its own vision. The project provides a rolling release distro which tries to balance being modern with being stable. It also attempts to balance modern software with a familiar look & feel. Finally, and perhaps most unusually, PCLinuxOS uses RPM software packages, but manages them with the APT package management utilities. It is a unique creation and all the more welcome in a world full of simple re-spins.
Officially, the PCLinuxOS project provides two KDE editions of their distribution. One is the full sized edition with a wide range of software and there is a "MiniMe" edition of the KDE spin with less software. There are community spins too, providing LXDE and Xfce desktops, but I decided to focus on the main KDE edition. The ISO for PCLinuxOS' main 32-bit KDE build is 1.3GB in size and the MiniMe edition weighs in at approximately 500 MB.
Booting from the PCLinuxOS media brings up a menu asking if we would like to try the graphical live environment, boot into a safe mode version of the graphical environment or boot into a text console. Taking the full graphical option brings us to a KDE desktop featuring a grey background. Icons sit on the desktop giving us access to the file system and the system installer. There are also icons for bringing up the login information for the root account and the default user account. Two additional icons exist for opening the operating system's Network Centre (useful for getting us on-line) and a Help document which takes us through installing PCLinuxOS step by step. KDE is laid out in the classic style with the application menu sitting in the lower-left corner of the screen. A few quick-launch buttons are arrayed along the bottom of the display next to the task switcher. The application menu itself is also displayed in the classic style rather than KDE's more recent Application Launcher layout.
The process of installing PCLinuxOS is effectively divided into two parts. From the live media we are able to launch the first part which walks us through partitioning. The distribution's partitioning manager is really well thought out. It offers both guided and manual partitioning options and the manual partitioning is quite easy. Users are provided with a visual representation of their disk and we can create, resize or remove partitions using a simple point-n-click interface. A wide range of file systems are supported by PCLinuxOS, including ext3, ext4, ReiserFS, JFS and XFS. LVM and RAID configurations are also supported, as is encryption. Experienced users have the option of triggering the partitioner's Expert mode for more options, including the ability to mount and format specific partitions. Once we have finished dividing up the disk, the installer copies its files to our hard drive. Next we are asked which boot loader we would like to install and we are able to select between GRUB (graphical mode), GRUB (text mode) and LILO. I was pleasantly surprised to find PCLinuxOS uses GRUB Legacy rather than the more complex GRUB 2. Once a boot loader has been selected and our boot menu choices have been confirmed we are prompted to reboot.
The second part of the installation process comes when we boot into PCLinuxOS for the first time. A graphical configuration wizard appears and walks us through a number of steps, including selecting our time zone and either setting the system clock or using a network time server. We are asked to create a password for the root account and then set up a regular user account. With these steps completed we are turned over to a grey graphical login screen. Signing in to our newly created account brings us back to the same KDE desktop with its traditional layout. I was pleased to find desktop effects and file indexing are turned off by default, resulting in a very responsive environment.
Shortly after logging in a message dialog appeared suggesting that it is a good idea to perform package upgrades about once every two weeks. Detailed instructions are provided on where to find the graphical package manager (Synaptic) and which buttons to push to make sure the system is brought up to date. I think this set of instructions is a good idea, especially in light of the fact that PCLinuxOS does not appear to have any form of automated update notification. When I closed the information dialog a web page opened providing more details on how to use Synaptic, a handy guide for people unfamiliar with the venerable package manager.
PCLinuxOS 2012.08 - managing software packages
(full image size: 178kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Following the advice of the information box, I decided to launch Synaptic, the distribution's package manager and default tool for software updates. The distribution had not been out for long when I began my trial and I faced a mere 31 available updates, totaling 71MB in size. These updates all downloaded and installed without any problems. PCLinuxOS comes with a good deal of software out of the box, so there were not many items I wished to install through Synaptic. However, for the sake of experimenting, I downloaded and removed a few items. All transactions with Synaptic worked flawlessly and quickly. The software categories used for filtering search results are nicely laid out and the Synaptic front-end makes managing both software and repositories easy. Speaking of the repositories, those used by PCLinuxOS may be slightly smaller than those of other major distributions, but they have all the big-name titles one would expect to find in a Linux distribution. In total there are approximately 13,300 software packages in the PCLinuxOS repositories.
Looking in the application menu we find software has been arranged a little differently than we might expect. The application menu in KDE is often arranged into categories such as Multimedia, Internet, Office, etc. On PCLinuxOS we find similar headings, Audio, Video, Internet, Office... and we also find categories such as File Tools, Documentation and Archiving. There are also more sub-menus under these categories. These sub-categories are necessary in order to organize all of the software which comes pre-installed as a default installation holds about 5GB of software. Luckily, not only is the application menu finely divided, but most launchers in the menu include the name of the application to be loaded and a brief description, making finding the right tool easier for newcomers.
Some of that software includes Firefox for web browsing, the Filezilla FTP client and Dropbox for backups and sharing. The Choqok micro-blogging client is available as is the KGet download utility. Konqueror is available as a second web browser and the Kopete instant messenger is included. To get us on-line the KPPP dial-up client is included and we can also get on-line using the Network Centre (also known as draknetcenter). The KTorrent BitTorrent client is available to us as are Skype, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the XChat IRC software. Team Viewer is included as well, providing us with collaboration and remote desktop control software. For users with 3G mobile modems a tool called Umtsmon is available in the menu.
PCLinuxOS 2012.08 - finding help using the documentation portal
(full image size: 372kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Moving on, we find the LibreOffice suite is installed for us as are the GNU Image Manipulation Program, Inkscape and the KolourPaint app. The Okular document viewer is in the default install along with the digiKam camera utility. In the multimedia sections of the menu we find the Clementine music player, an audio converter and a CD player. The Imagination DVD slide show maker is included as is the k9copy DVD backup software. Kamerka is installed to help us manage webcams and the VLC multimedia player is available. PCLinuxOS comes with popular media codecs and the Adobe Flash player. A handful of small KDE games are included in the distribution and we also find the Marble desktop globe, KMyMoney and the k3b disc burning software.
Both KDE-specific and PCLinuxOS documentation are available as are the KRename file renamer, the Midnight Commander file manager and the KInfoCentre for helping us explore our hardware. The VirtualBox virtual machine is installed for us as are the usual small apps for editing text files, managing archives and crunching numbers. For configuring the look and feel of the desktop environment the KDE System Settings panel is included. Digging a little deeper we find Java is installed as is the GNU Compiler Collection. The OpenSSH secure shell service is running and I was pleased to discover it blocks attempts to login as the root user by default. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
Probably the most attractive aspect of the PCLinuxOS distribution is the Control Centre. This collection of tools gives the user control over nearly every aspect of their operating system. The Control Centre is presented via an attractive graphical interface where users can browse through categories of tools and pick clearly labeled utilities. Through the Control Centre we are able to manage network services such as secure shell, FTP and a web server. We can set up Samba shares, change the system time, make adjustments to our network connections and authentication methods. We can use the Control Centre to create, edit and destroy user accounts, configure the video card, manage printers and scanners and adjust our keyboard layout.
The distribution supports UPS devices and these can be handled through the Control Centre too. We can set up the firewall, enable (or disable) auto-login for our account and tweak the display manager. There is an advanced, fine-grained security tool, similar to Fedora's SELinux manager, though I find PCLinuxOS makes setting up security rules a little easier than most other distributions. About the only thing the Control Centre does not cover is software management. As mentioned before, software is handled by the stand alone application Synaptic. All of these tools I've mentioned are nicely laid out and easy to use. Other distributions would certainly benefit from adopting a similar control panel.
PCLinuxOS 2012.08 - the distribution's Control Centre
(full image size: 316kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I found that PCLinuxOS 2012.08 handled my hardware fairly well. I ran the distribution on my HP laptop (dual-core 2GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel video and Intel wireless cards). Audio worked out of the box, wireless networks were picked up automatically and connecting to them was made easy. The distro comes with some excellent configuration tools and this extends to network management. Performance was top notch, especially for a KDE distribution. The KDE desktop can be heavy, but PCLinuxOS' configuration allows for a responsive interface. When logging in and sitting idle at the desktop the operating system used approximately 240MB of RAM. One of the few complaints I had was with my screen resolution, PCLinuxOS set up my screen with a medium resolution. This wasn't hard to correct, a quick trip to the KDE settings panel increased the resolution and the issue was fixed. The other minor issue I ran into was that when running from the live media PCLinuxOS wouldn't power down completely, stopping just short of powering off the laptop. When the distribution was installed on the local hard drive this problem with shutting down no longer presented itself.
After playing with this latest release of PCLinuxOS I want to say that it contains perhaps the best implementation of KDE I have seen to date. That is not to say it is the best overall KDE distribution available, there are several strong distributions in this camp, but if we narrow our focus to just examining how the desktop is set up, I think PCLinuxOS probably has the best approach at the moment. The KDE4 desktop is configured so that it has a friendly, familiar classic look. Further, most of the extra bells and whistles are disabled out of the box. This makes for an unusually responsive KDE desktop out of the box. Users can, should they wish to do so, turn these features on with minimal effort. Widgets, effects, activities and desktop indexing are just a few clicks away, but PCLinuxOS wisely leaves them off by default.
I welcomed this approach as it meant I could install the distribution and get straight to work. I hardly had to tweak, disable or change anything in order to feel at home and I appreciate that. In a similar vein, it was nice to have so much software available out of the box. For people who want to build up from a smaller base, there is the MiniMe edition, but for someone who wants to have everything installed and ready to go, the main edition is excellent. Even little touches like the fonts being nice and clear and a size readable by people with less than 20/20 vision shows an attention to detail and it is these little things which make the difference between a good distribution and a great one.
There were a few small issues I ran into while using PCLinuxOS, such as the video resolution mentioned above. My other concern wasn't with a bug, but rather a matter of taste. PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution and, as such, it is likely to receive frequent updates. However, the system does not appear to have any way to notify the user when updates become available. Instead the OS pops up a message suggesting updates be applied a few times a month. This is okay, but I think most people would benefit from a subtle reminder so that updates are not forgotten. On a similar note, the Synaptic package manager is reliable and fast, but it looks a bit dated next to more modern package managers. I wouldn't mind seeing a second, more modern looking software manager included.
In general I was very happy with PCLinuxOS 2012.08. The system does a good job of being both configurable and easy to use. It's modern and, for the duration of my trial, stable. The graphical environment is polished, the system installer is very friendly, the full-sized edition comes with lots of useful software and the OS ran like a scared rabbit. I didn't run into any serious problems, making 2012.08 my favourite release of PCLinuxOS to date.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu's Amazon search feature, the inner workings of openSUSE, new package management for SolusOS
In the absence of more interesting distro news, the spotlight was once again on Ubuntu and its latest controversial feature: the integration of Amazon search results with the Unity desktop. The result was predictable - another online boxing match between the distribution's hard-core supporters and the switching-to-mint-this-instant folks. "Amazon shopping results have been integrated into the Unity Dash of Ubuntu 12.10. The feature comes a day after news that Ubuntu were adding Amazon and Ubuntu One Music web-apps as default items on Unity launcher," writes Joey Sneddon for OMG! Ubuntu! Project founder Mark Shuttleworth was quick to defend the move. Blogging for the first time in 3.5 months, he was keen to point out that Amazon search results are NOT advertisements: "We're not putting ads in Ubuntu. We're integrating online scope results into the home lens of the dash. This is to enable you to hit 'Super' and then ask for anything you like, and over time, with all of the fantastic search scopes that people are creating, we should be able to give you the right answer. These are not ads because they are not paid placement, they are straightforward Amazon search results for your search." More interesting reactions by Jono Bacon, Benjamin Kerensa, Martin Owens and Philip Newborough, as well as discussions on Slashdot and OSNews.
* * * * *
Did you know that Ubuntu was partially responsible for the birth of openSUSE, a community Linux distribution launched after the acquisition of SUSE Linux by Novell in 2003? At least that's what openSUSE project manager Andreas Jaeger told ITWire last week: "Andreas Jaeger (pictured above), the project manager for openSUSE, says that the appearance of Canonical's Ubuntu on the scene in October 2004 was a factor in spurring the creation of openSUSE. Jaeger, who is in Orlando to attend the annual SUSECON, told ITWire that the aim of setting up openSUSE was to engage the community in the development process. He has been involved in openSUSE right from day one. There are a number of employees of SUSE who are involved in the openSUSE project; there are also many outsiders who play a vital role. Jaeger says the project has a six-member board plus a chairman, with the latter being appointed by SUSE. The direction that the project takes is entirely determined by the project itself. "The chairman has veto power, but so far has never had to exercise it," he said. "And I hope this never happens." At the beginning there were about 10 to 15 people who decided how the project would be run, according to Jaeger. But they were not dedicated to this task alone. Later a dedicated openSUSE booster team, made up of 15 employees of SUSE, became active."
* * * * *
As a relatively new distribution, SolusOS seems to have found an excellent middle way between stability and cutting-edge features. Based on Debian's stable but (now) fairly outdated branch, the distro has been able to attract users by integrating newer version of key software packages with its parent's rock-solid base system. But what are the projects plans for the future? Reacting to murmurs about possible dramatic changes in the upcoming release, SolusOS founder Ikey Doherty has published a a word from the boss post where he hints at some interesting transformations: SolusOS 2 will no longer be using straight-up Debian as the base of the distribution. I believe, personally, that it is in the best interest of the project if we're in control of every aspect of the distribution, which means controlling the flood gates. The intention is to move to the PiSi package management system (as seen in Pardus) and establish a new clean base. Why PiSi? Currently we use the .deb format and apt-get/dpkg for our package management. However, given the sensitive needs for our particular packages, it would seem best that we could use a package system most appropriate to our needs. PiSi supports delta packages out of the box. This means that you only download the changed part of the packages as opposed to an entirely new package, vastly reducing bandwidth usage and server resource consumption. It has an extraordinarily elegant yet simple package format, making the creation of packages incredibly easy for myself, contributors and the future SolusOS community repository."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
The weather inside -- a quick introduction to ownCloud
It wasn't that long ago that the only time we heard the term "cloud" in reference to computers was on network diagrams. The "cloud" was that vague, undefined area outside of the local network, the technological equivalent to "here be monsters". Strange then that the term for those undefined, uncontrolled "other" parts has become such a buzz word in recent years. People are falling over themselves to get their data and applications into the cloud and out of their hands. Companies are, likewise, lining up their on-line services and stamping the word "cloud" on the package.
Of course, a side effect of syncing private files with cloud storage is that the files are no longer private (unless they are first encrypted). Plus, relying on cloud services run by corporations means putting a certain amount of trust in those entities, taking a leap of faith that our account will still be there tomorrow. To combat the loss of privacy and control a new, paradoxical term has arisen: private cloud. It seems people no longer want to set up boring old file servers in their homes to backup and synchronize their data, they want their own "cloud". These private clouds are generally set up on small home servers and accessed through a web interface and/or via a custom application.
One implementation of a private cloud is ownCloud, a project designed to let us synchronize our files, contacts, photos and calendar through a small server. The ownCloud server software has fairly light requirements and should be able to run on any Linux distribution or BSD operating system which can host the Apache web browser and a database. I decided to give ownCloud a try and chose to install it in a virtual machine running Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS. I was using ownCloud version 3.0.0. A newer version of the source code is available from the ownCloud project, but has not appeared in the Ubuntu repository.
The nice thing about installing ownCloud, at least on Ubuntu, is that it's very straightforward. I simply installed the "owncloud" package on my server, it gathered together its dependencies, including the Apache web browser and MySQL and the necessary services were automatically started. Once the ownCloud package had been installed I opened a web browser and pointed it at my server, adding "owncloud" to the end of the URL, like this: "http://myvirtualserver/owncloud". Installing the software might be a little more complex on other platforms and there is a nice guide which should be helpful to users putting together the pieces themselves.
ownCloud 3.0.0 - web interface login page
(full image size: 48kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Pointing my web browser at the server brought up a page where I was asked to create a user account and point ownCloud to the local database which had just been created. This done we're brought to the main ownCloud interface. The page is essentially divided into two parts. Down the left of the screen we find two menus. The top menu helps us navigate our data and the lower menu allows us to configure ownCloud, create new user accounts and adjust our account's information and password. The rest of the screen is dedicated to displaying specific files, settings and other bits of data depending on which menu item we have selected. From here I was able to create a new, non-admin account with a few clicks, login as that user and upload a couple of files.
Something I immediately appreciated about ownCloud's file browser is that it acts a lot like a trimmed down local file browser. We can drag and drop files into folders, hover the mouse over the files to get clearly defined options, such as enabling sharing, deleting and downloading the file to our computer. Down the left side of the screen are tabs for changing our view to ownCloud's music library, photo gallery and calendar. Audio and image files are automatically detected and linked to the appropriate tab. This means if we upload our music collection it will appear under the music tab, organized into albums and with any track information the software can find.
One drawback of using the web interface is that file uploads are limited in size to 2MB. To get around this we need to install one of the ownCloud client packages. Client software exists for Linux, OS X and Windows (plus source code is available) and I found that there are pre-built packages for several Linux distributions. Once the client is installed, running the software displays an icon in the system tray. Clicking on the tray icon will let us set up a connection to the ownCloud server, see the status of our connection and add connections to additional ownCloud instances. Setting up a connection is quite straight forward and it results in a folder being created under our home directory called "ownCloud". Any files copied into this location are automatically uploaded to the server for us and any files on the server are automatically downloaded to our local drive.
ownCloud 3.0.0 - forming a connection with the client application
(full image size: 26kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Getting back to the web interface for a moment, I found the simple music player to be nicely laid out and straight forward. The display shows available tracks down the right side of the window and the current play list down the left. Clicking on a song in the library adds it to the play list, clicking the little "x" next to a song in the play list removes it. The player itself and its play/skip/pause buttons are Flash based, requiring the client's browser to have a Flash plugin.
One of the more useful aspects of cloud storage is the ability to share files with other people. Using the ownCloud file browser we can click on an item and opt to share it with other users. In fact, ownCloud allows for a fairly fine-grained control. We can choose to share files with other specific user accounts or groups of users. This is handy if we are in a small office and want to share a file with the Designer team, but not with anyone else. The only draw back I found to ownCloud's sharing controls is that if I share a file with the group "Team" and a new user account is created and made part of "Team", the new person cannot see the shared file. The new member of "Team" must be manually added to the people who can see the shared file.
From the point of view of resource usage, ownCloud is fairly light. After uploading a bunch of files I found that, while browsing these files through the web interface, ownCloud generally used from 10MB to 15MB of memory. Likewise, the Linux client only used around 10MB of RAM on my system. Performance was quit snappy and was really only limited by my network's speed.
ownCloud 3.0.0 - managing our calendar
(full image size: 67kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I have to say my first impressions of ownCloud have been good, mostly because of how easy it is to get installed and running. The process is pretty much a case of install the package, create a name and password for the admin account and ownCloud takes care of the rest. The Linux desktop client is a bit rough, it works well enough, but I noticed little things that seem to be missing. For example the system tray icon isn't always visible and the status panel doesn't tell us when files are being synchronized. On the server side the user interface is quite good, it's easy to use and the way ownCloud automatically detects music and images and links them to their respective categories is nice. The basic functionality of viewing files, listening to music and managing the calendar all worked well for me.
Really, I just found a few problems with the web interface of ownCloud. One was that when I opted to share files with a group of users, new users coming into that group would not be able to see the file. I had to either manually add that specific user or un-share the file and re-share it to the group again. Not a big deal in a very small office or in a home, but with several users and a lot of files it would cause problems. The other issue was some features, like the sharing screen, did not work properly in Opera, but did in Firefox. I'm not sure how much of the problem is Opera's fault and how much is ownCloud's. These few issues aside, ownCloud performed well. It's light on memory, it's easy to configure, it works quickly and makes both sharing and organizing files easy. It's a good, straight forward solution for home users who want to share files between family and friends.
|Released Last Week
Superb Mini Server 2.0.0
Superb Mini Server (SMS) 2.0.0, a major new version of the Slackware-based server distribution, has been released: "Superb Mini Server version 2.0.0 released (Linux kernel 3.2.29). SMS 2.0.0 core is based on Slackware 'current' which means that Slackware packages are compatible with SMS as long as they are not dependant on Qt 4 as SMS uses qQt 3. SMS packages are not compatible with Slackware though. Once more we choose Apache HTTPD 2.2.23 and PHP 5.3.17 as our default web server for greater stability and compatibility with all web applications. Apache httpd 2.4.3 and PHP 5.4.7 are available under testing. Major changes include switch to OpenSSL 1.0.x and GnuTLS 3.x. For our print server we move to CUPS 1.6.1, so you may need to modify settings in your already installed printers with new Gutenprint drivers." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
An updated release of Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System), a Debian-based live DVD with a strong focus on Internet privacy, is ready for download: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 0.13, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible. Notable user-visible changes include: use white-list principle of least privilege approach for local services; allow to modify language and layout in the 'Advanced options' screen of the greeter; enable four workspaces in the Windows XP camouflage; Claws Mail now saves local and POP emails in its dot-directory by default; add support for wireless regulation; hide the TailsData partition in desktop applications; Tor upgrade to 0.2.2.39; upgrade Iceweasel to 10.0.7esr; upgrade Linux kernel to 3.2.23; upgrade I2P to version 0.9.1; install GNOME System Monitor; upgrade WhisperBack to 1.6 with many UI improvements and new translations...." Here is the full release announcement.
Snowlinux 3 "E17"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of Snowlinux 3 "E17" edition, a Debian-based distribution featuring the latest Enlightenment 17 desktop: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 3 E17. Today is a very important day for Snowlinux. It is getting a new project with the latest E17 build desktop environment. Snowlinux 3 E17 is based upon Debian 7.0 'Wheezy' and is powered by the Linux 3.5 kernel. We're using DuckDuckGo as the default search engine. It has Firefox 14.0.1, Thunderbird 14, AbiWord, Shotwell, Audacious and GNOME MPlayer installed by default. New features: desktop profiles (SnowOSX, Snowlinux Classic, Snowlinux GNOME 2); live installer; Snowlinux LightDM theme; Plymouth; Neptune E17 theme and Faenza icons; terminal colors; Linux non-free firmware...." See the release announcement for more information, system requirements and screenshot.
GeeXboX 3.0, a free and open-source Linux media centre distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers, has been released: "A shiny new GeeXboX release has arrived. GeeXboX 3.0 is a major upgrade that integrates XBMC 11 'Eden' and adds the long-requested PVR functionality. This means that you can finally use GeeXboX to watch and record live TV. In addition to our usual x86 ISO images, this release is also available for several embedded platforms, with working Full HD video and graphics acceleration for most of them. New features: XBMC Media Center 11 'Eden' frontend; PVR support for DVB Digital TV to watch and record live TV; improved remote control support; support for Full HD videos on PandaBoard and Cubox; improved hard disk installation; installation support for (U)EFI systems; installation support for SSDs." Read the complete release announcement for information on supported platforms and other details.
GeeXboX 3.0 - a distribution of Linux for media centres
(full image size: 958kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Manjaro Linux 0.8.1
Roland Singer has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.1, an Arch-based Linux distribution featuring the latest Xfce desktop: "Exactly one month after we released our first beta of Manjaro Linux, here is our first point-release in our 0.8 series. Most people criticized that Manjaro wasted to much RAM. We replaced LightDM with LXDM, specially patched to have a better theme support. Of course we needed a nice Manjaro theme for LXDM. The only problem is that there are no LXDM themes available. So I sat down last night with a cup of coffee and started coding. To have a nice login interface I wanted to add a transparent black background to the login area. This required some patching in the LXDM greeter. I am really happy with the result and I hope you like the new LXDM Manjaro theme." Read the release announcement for a list of enhancements in this version.
Marco Ghirlanda has announced the release of ArtistX 1.3, an Ubuntu-based live DVD packed with free software for creating audio, video and graphics media files: "After nearly ten years of development and more than ten versions, the ArtistX 1.3 multimedia studio on a DVD is finally here. It's an Ubuntu 12.04-based live DVD that turns a common computer into a full multimedia production studio. ArtistX 1.3 includes the 3.2 Linux kernel, GNOME 3 and KDE 4.8 and about 2,500 free multimedia software packages, nearly everything that exists for the GNU/Linux operating system organized in the GNOME menu. Main features: based on Ubuntu 12.04 without Unity and with all updates (from April 2012); most of GNU/Linux multimedia packages and the very easy Ubiquity installer. A partial list of software included in the DVD: graphic software - GIMP, Inkscape, Nip2, Krita, Synfig, Rawstudio, Skencil, Hugin, Blender, Wings3D, K3D...." Visit the distribution's home page to read the brief release announcement.
ArtistX 1.3 - an Ubuntu-based live DVD with software for creative work
(full image size: 333kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Cr OS Linux. Cr OS Linux is an openSUSE-based distribution built around the revolutionary Google Chromium browser
- HackShark Linux. HackShark Linux is a Linux distributions designed for penetration testing. It includes crime investigation, analysis and monitoring tools, specially developed for crime investigators and law enforcement organisations.
- Unity Dark. Unity Dark is a respin of Zorin Linux with a new wallpaper collection, extra applications, tons of new icons and window themes, all pre-loaded and ready out of the box.
- Whonix. Whonix is an anonymous general-purpose operating system based on Virtual Box, Ubuntu and Tor. By design, IP and DNS leaks are impossible. Not even malware with root rights can find out the user's real IP/location.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 October 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Gentoox was an adaptation of the popular Linux distribution called Gentoo. It was compiled from Stage 1 with full optimisations to run on a Microsoft Xbox games console. Software or hardware mods are required.