| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 482, 12 November 2012
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! One of the things which makes open source software so interesting is the constant stream of changes which flow through the community. People are always working on something new or something better in order to bring about their ideal vision of modern computing. With that in mind, this issue of DistroWatch Weekly is dedicated to changes, small projects and interesting tools. In our feature review this week Jesse Smith takes the Zenwalk Linux distribution for a spin and reports on his findings. In our Questions and Answers section we talk about optimizing the priorities of system daemons and a potentially useful tool designed to assist in recovering data from hard drives. In the news this past week the Fedora developers decided to push back the release of Fedora 18 until 2013 and the FreeBSD team announced they have officially switched to using Clang as their default compiler. We also talk about a powerful system administration tool designed to let its users boot any OS from any media and we look at the unexpected new supporters of the Linux Foundation. As always we bring you all the distribution releases of the past week, look forward to upcoming releases and bring you news from all Around the Web. We here at DistroWatch wish you a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (22MB) and MP3 (31MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Zenwalk Linux 7.2 (in its various forms)
The Zenwalk Linux distribution is one which I've always respected for its design philosophy. The project aims to be light, straight forward to use and the default installation comes with one program per task. This means that while the application menu is full, there isn't much overlap in functionality. Zenwalk is based on Slackware and attempts to remain compatible with its parent distribution. Version 7.2 of Zenwalk came out recently and I decided to download the Live edition of the distribution.
The Live edition of Zenwalk Linux is available as a 922 MB ISO image. Booting from the live media we're asked to select our preferred language from a list and then the operating system boots to a graphical environment. Our desktop is the light and powerful Xfce with a dark grey background. On the desktop we find a few icons for browsing the file system and there are two documents. Of these two PDF documents, one contains instructions on how to create and customize a live Zenwalk disc and the other provides instructions for getting the Live edition of Zenwalk to install on a local hard drive. At the top of the screen we find an application menu and task switcher. Down at the bottom of the display there is a quick-launch bar with a few programs and another button for accessing the application menu.
Zenwalk Linux 7.2 - the live desktop and application menu
(full image size: 303kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
While it is possible to install Zenwalk Linux from the live environment, the process is a bit roundabout and requires us to do work up front. For instance, to run the installer we first have to reboot the system and set a root password via the kernel parameters. Also, prior to running the install script, we need to manually partition the hard drive, which can be done using the graphic Disk Utility application. Once these steps are completed running the install script kicks off an automated process. The only question we have to answer is whether we want to install the LILO boot loader along with Zenwalk.
Having such an automated process might sound nice, but it carries some drawbacks. Installing Zenwalk Linux in this fashion basically means we have the live environment on our hard drive. The root password is still whatever we set for the live media and we are still automatically logged in as the default non-admin user. At times I found running from the local install of Zenwalk wouldn't allow me to access the package manager and I got some strange error messages regarding writing to parts of the file system. In the face of these drawbacks I decided that if I was going to run Zenwalk for more than one day I had better download and install the Standard edition of 7.2 rather than press on with the Live edition.
The Standard edition of Zenwalk Linux is provided as a 680 MB download. Booting from the media takes us directly into the text-based installer. This installer is very much in line with Slackware's installer, though I feel Zenwalk's is a bit more streamlined and skips over some of the more nit-picky options. The series of text screens in the installer gets us to select our keyboard layout, create partitions using cfdisk and then the software performs the necessary format & install. Zenwalk also has an automated installer which can take over an entire disk if we would rather take an automated approach. While the installer is copying files to the local disk we get to see a short description of each package being installed, though no overall progress is shown, making it hard to estimate how long the entire process will take. After the required files are copied to our hard drive the installer sets up the LILO boot loader, giving us the chance to set any special boot parameters.
This is where I encountered my first strange bug while using Zenwalk Linux 7.2. Upon booting I was shown a graphical splash screen and I waited to be brought to the login screen. And waited. And waited. Since no hard drive or network activity was in the works I tried switching to a virtual terminal, but nothing happened. Assuming the machine had locked up I hit the power button and, as the laptop began its shutdown process a text box appeared in the middle of the screen requesting I set a root password. It was only there a second before the system halted, but it was long enough. The next time I booted I again got the graphical splash screen and, when all hard drive activity had ceased, I typed a password once, pressed Enter and then put in the password again. Even though I couldn't see the password prompt on the screen the system apparently accepted the password and applied it to the root account because a few seconds later I was brought to a graphical login screen where I could login using the password I had just set.
Now, with my install completed and working, I went about creating a regular user account and then logged in with my non-root user. The desktop of the Standard edition of Zenwalk Linux looks just like the Live desktop. The only important distinction seemed to be that the Live edition uses the wicd program to get on-line and the Standard edition uses Network Manager. Which brings me to another quirk of Zenwalk's. For some reason Network Manager wouldn't automatically connect to my local network, even when I was using a wired connection. Further, Network Manager wouldn't let me connect to the Internet with my non-root account. I had to logout, login as root, set up a globally accessible connection and then return to my normal user account in order to get on-line.
Once I was on-line I decided it would be a good idea to grab security updates for the distribution and here I ran into my third significant issue with Zenwalk Linux. The graphical package manager which comes with the distribution, Netpkg, has a fairly simple, basic layout. It lets us select our repository from a drop-down list, refresh our package database and filter packages based on their status. While not a pretty package manager, it contains all the important parts. What I found frustrating was that some repositories didn't respond and this would leave Netpkg hanging while displaying a message saying it was loading repository data. Repositories which did work provided me with updated packages, which were smoothly downloaded and applied, but there was a notable lack of additional software. Searches for VLC, MPlayer, various graphic and office software and games all turned up zero matches. I'm not certain if this lack of results was an issue with Netpkg, or a gap in the repositories, but it limited the flexibility of the distribution quite a lot during my trial. Still, Zenwalk comes with a good deal of functionality out of the box, so let's focus on what it does have.
Zenwalk Linux 7.2 - the Netpkg package manager
(full image size: 163kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
In the application menu we find the Firefox web browser, the Pidgin instant messenger program and the Thunderbird e-mail client. The Transmission BitTorrent client is included along with the gFTP file transfer program. LibreOffice is included for us as are a document viewer, calendar program and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. In the multimedia section we find the Totem video player, a CD player application and the Brasero disc burner. In the background Zenwalk supplies codecs for playing popular audio and video formats and we're supplied with the Adobe Flash plugin. The Geany editor is included for programming and note taking. There is a huge selection of small applications, many of which are there to assist in configuring the desktop. We also find a simple text editor, an archive manager and a file syncing utility. There are also programs for managing user accounts, configuring network connections, enabling start-up services and getting information on the system's hardware. Zenwalk comes with Java and the GNU Compiler Collection and I found, by default, the operating system runs a secure shell for remote access. Behind the scenes we find the Linux kernel, version 3.4.8, running things.
I ran both the Live edition and the Standard edition of Zenwalk Linux on my HP laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel wireless and Intel video cards). I also ran Zenwalk's Standard edition in a virtual machine for comparison. I was pleased to note Zenwalk detected all of my hardware, my screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and I was able to connect with wireless networks. In the VirtualBox virtual environment I found the system also performed well and I had no serious hardware related problems. There was an odd quirk in that when running in VirtualBox Zenwalk's desktop wallpaper wouldn't display, so my desktop was always a blank black surface. It's not a big deal, but I believe this is the first time I've seen a distribution do this in a virtual machine. Zenwalk's performance was quite good and I was happy to find memory usage was very low. When sitting idle at the Xfce desktop Zenwalk used only 85 MB of RAM.
Zenwalk Linux 7.2 - running various applications
(full image size: 132kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
My experience with Zenwalk Linux this time around was a strange one with some good high points, but too many low points. The size and performance of the distribution are great, the Xfce desktop is nicely laid out and I really like the one-application-per-task philosophy. On the other hand, my issue with the system seeming to lock up while waiting at an invisible password prompt was strange to say the least. Likewise I found it strange Network Manager wouldn't connect to a wired network automatically and, further, wouldn't let a regular user set up the connection. Netpkg worked really well sometimes, but other times would just hang trying to sync with repositories and I rarely found what I was looking for in those repositories. Twice I had Zenwalk lock up on me, requiring a hard reboot be performed -- not a common occurrence in my experience with reviewing Linux distributions. If I had to apply one word to this version of Zenwalk I would use "unfinished". The design is still good and I like the clean Slackware base and elegant default software selection. I just feel there were too many problems with this release, small issues which by themselves weren't significant, but together caused a lot of frustration.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD moves to Clang, Fedora slips release date, OmniBoot gains new features, Linux Foundation receives unexpected support
During the past few years the FreeBSD developers have been experimenting with the Clang compiler, trying to make sure their operating system (and as many software ports as possible) will work with the liberally licensed compiler. The switch has now been thrown and future releases of FreeBSD will default to using Clang as the C/C++ compiler. There are a number of reasons for this move toward Clang from the GNU Compiler Collection. One is the speed of the Clang compiler, another reason is the underlying design and, in part, the license comes into play. People interested in exploring the differences between the two compilers, including benchmarks of both in action, can visit the Clang comparison page.
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The Fedora distribution typically ships a new release about once every six months. While small delays are common with such a tight schedule, usually the Red Hat sponsored project is only held back a week or two. Fedora 18 will become an exception as blocking bugs in its installer and installation upgrader will delay the distribution's upcoming version until January 2013. At present, the developers plan to get a final Beta release out at the end of November with a final release of Fedora 18 scheduled for January 8th. Information on the blocking issues can be found on the Fedora developers' mailing list.
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OmniBoot is a multi-OS boot manager with related tools which are designed to assist system administrators in booting into just about any OS from almost any media. OmniBoot supports booting from CDs/DVDs, USB drives, hard drives and over the network. Version 0.5 of OmniBoot was released this past week and this new release allows its users to set up live network boot (PXE) servers featuring OmniBoot. Other computers on the local network can then boot from these live PXE servers and have access to the full array of OmniBoot features, which reside on the machine acting as the server. To learn more about OmniBoot's latest version, please read the release announcement.
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Some people in the open source community have the impression that Linux development happens outside of the influence of corporations and that Linux somehow represents a David-like stance against multinational tech Goliaths. The truth of the matter is, despite different development philosophies, Linux and businesses are usually partners. This past week brought us high profile examples of tech giants standing hand-in-hand with Linux developers. First it was announced HP had become a platinum member of the Linux Foundation, giving HP a seat on the Foundation's board of directors. Next, word came out that Microsoft had become a sponsor of the Linux Foundation's LinuxCon event in Europe. Finally, NVIDIA announced the company had been working with Valve Software to greatly improve the performance of the NVIDIA video drivers for Linux. The improvements made to the NVIDIA graphics driver are said to double the frame rate on select cards running on the Linux operating system. This announcement from the hardware manufacturer arrived the same day as Valve's beta release of Steam for Linux, a positive step for fans of both gaming and Linux.
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Since the arrival of the GNOME 3 desktop the project's developers have been debating when (and if) to drop support for fallback mode, the environment which loads when 3-D support isn't available. This fallback mode is useful for people with lower-end video cards, users experiencing driver issues and people running GNOME in a virtual machine. However, maintaining fallback mode alongside GNOME Shell has been taxing and the GNOME developers have finally decided to axe fallback mode. The change is expected to take place with the release of GNOME 3.8, the next stable release of the desktop environment. What is interesting about this change is it has the potential to affect other desktop environments, not just GNOME and its users. The GNOME developers point out that Unity, LXDE and Xfce make use of components related to fallback mode and those technologies may have to adjust to the change, or maintain patches to keep the fallback functionality.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Priorities and external drives
Desktop-should-have-first-priority asks: I am noticing not a whole bunch of distributions take the care to optimize scheduling policies and priorities. And maybe aren't that aware of performance differences. Do you know of any distro that has a long experience with optimizing X server and the desktop and has everything worked out? For instance, having daemons at idle priority and X at realtime?
DistroWatch answers: Off the top of my head, no, I can't think of any distributions which fine tune the priority of the daemons and X system in order to provide better desktop performance. Mostly, I suspect, because the majority of modern desktop systems will spend a lot of their time idling (or nearly idling) which means there is very little competition for CPU resources. On a machine where the CPU is 90% inactive, you probably won't see much difference in performance by adjusting scheduling priority.
That being said, if you decide you want to run a Linux desktop with X and the various daemons reprioritized, you can do this yourself with any GNU/Linux distro. For example, to increase the priority of the X system you could put the following command in a start-up script:
renice -n -10 $(pgrep X)
The pgrep command will find the X process and the renice command will adjust the X server's priority. Likewise, you can reduce the priority of other tasks by running commands such as:
renice -n 10 $(pgrep daemon-name)
Remember that when using the renice command higher numbers indicate a less important priority and lower (negative) numbers indicate a higher priority. Putting a few of these renice commands in a script will allow you to adjust the priorities of your daemons and experiment with different settings.
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I'd like to change topics now and talk about a piece of hardware which was recently brought to my attention. Earlier this year I mentioned in a review that one of my machines didn't support booting from a USB thumb drive and several people wrote in to suggest workarounds. The Plop boot manager was mentioned frequently and with a great deal of praise. One suggestion, which took me by surprise, came from Stephen Mclaughlin who you may know as the man behind such popular podcasts as Linux For The Rest Of Us, Droid-Nation and Linux Basix, Steve kindly mailed me a device called the Zalman ZM-VE300. I quite often have people offer me software for reviews, but this may be the first time I've been mailed hardware to test and I appreciate the time and money Steve donated in doing this. (Steve doesn't work for Zalman, he is just interested in the concept of the device.)
What the ZM-VE300 is supposed to do is allow users to attach a SATA hard drive to the device and plug it into their computer via a USB cable. The device can then pretend to be a CD/DVD drive in the hopes of tricking the host computer into allowing us to boot from the external drive. The ZM-VE300 is also supposed to let us attach a hard drive to a running PC and browse the files on the external drive. This is convenient if we have a (formally) internal hard drive from which we want to recover data. We attach it as an external drive and browse it with a minimum amount of effort.
The drawback, I quickly found, is the Zalman doesn't appear to recognize Linux partitions. On the product's website it mentions support for Linux-based operating systems, but doesn't list supported file systems. When I took a working hard drive, formatted with ext3, out of a Linux box and attached it to another computer using the ZM-VE300, the Zalman's LCD display indicated it couldn't read from the drive. I have yet to test the Zalman against a drive out of a Windows machine, but it seems as though the device only works when coupled with proprietary file systems. I mentioned the Zalman to other Linux users and they confirmed they had a ZM-VE300 and had to format their external drive with NTFS in order to gain compatibility. As such I'm afraid its usefulness will be limited for Linux users. The Zalman may still be useful for helping people recover data from their NTFS-formatted drives, but it won't be helpful when dealing with drives formatted with open source file systems.
|Released Last Week
Snowlinux 3 "MATE", "Cinnamon & GNOME"
Lars Torben Kremer has announced the release of two new editions of Snowlinux 3 featuring the MATE, Cinnamon and GNOME 3 (fallback mode) desktop interfaces: "The team is proud to announce the release of Snowlinux 3 'White' MATE & Cinnamon & GNOME. Snowlinux 3 'White' is based upon Ubuntu 12.10. The default desktop environment is MATE 1.4. Also Cinnamon 1.6 is available besides the GNOME 3.6 Fallback mode. Our own menu, called snowMount, and a mount tool, called snowMount, has been added. Nemo 1.0.9, a fork of Nautilus 3.4, is used as the default file manager. The release uses Linux 3.5 and it comes along with Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, Shotwell and Banshee." Read the release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 15.1, a minor update of the project's specialist Debian-based distribution for web kiosks featuring the latest Firefox web browser: "Webconverger 15.1. Our new automatic upgrade feature released in version 15 works well. Git-FS has helped us develop, debug and test better, and deliver to you an experience that improves every day. Just like the web does. Install users don't have to do anything to get these new features. Live users should download 15.1 and ideally switch to the install version by installing it to your hard drive. What's new: new hosts= feature for simple Internet blacklist and whitelist filtering; font hinting for smoother page rendering; faster browser boot times; feature and security updates to Fir.efox to 16.0.2; security update to Adobe Flash player 220.127.116.11; various updates to the underlying Progress Linux system." Read the complete release notes for further information.
Superb Mini Server 2.0.1
Superb Mini Server (SMS) 2.0.1, a minor update of the Slackware-based server distribution, is now available: "Superb Mini Server version 2.0.1 released. This minor release upgrades the Linux kernel to version 3.2.33, upgrades server packages to latest stable versions and introduces smsconfig, a powerful script for managing services, resetting passwords and performing various tasks. New packages in this release are qpdf - a dependency of cups-filters, lightsquid - a light and fast Squid report generator, and php-suhosin - a PHP security extension (disabled by default). New packages in the 'extra' ISO image are php_suhosin, a PHP built with suhosin-patch, rutorrent - another web front-end to rTorrent, and OpenSSH built with PAM support. A 'pasture' directory has been added, with packages often required by third-party applications." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
openSUSE 12.2 "ARM"
Jos Poortvliet has announced the release of openSUSE 12.2 "ARM" edition, an openSUSE build designed for BeagleBoard, Panda Board and other ARM-based boards devices: "As was promised last week, the openSUSE ARM team has released openSUSE 12.2 for the ARM architecture. Almost all of the usual openSUSE distribution (more than 5000 packages) builds and runs on all the ARM hardware it has been tested on. Initiated at the openSUSE Conference in 2011 in Nürnberg, the openSUSE ARM team has managed to bring one of the most important Linux distributions to the ARM architecture in a little over a year. At this point, the team is confident openSUSE 12.2 can be installed and used on the following devices: BeagleBoard (xM), Panda Board, Versatile Express (QEMU), chroot. Four more devices are supported as a 'best effort." Here is the brief release announcement. For download links and installation instructions please read the openSUSE on your ARM board page on the project's Wiki.
An updated build of SystemRescueCd, version 3.1.1, is out. What's new? "Standard kernels is long-term supported Linux 3.2.33 (rescuecd + rescue64); alternative kernels updated to latest stable 3.6.6 (altker32 + altker64); re-introduced support for Reiser4 file system in the alternative kernels; fixed the 'rootpass=' boot option by updating USE flags for shadow; fixed bugs in the installation scripts for USB sticks; updated NetworkManager to 0.9.6.4; updated btrfs-progs utilities to recent upstream version; updated e2fsprogs to 1.42.5, GParted to 0.14.0, linux-firmware 20120924, tcpdump 4.3.0, Coreutils 8.16, util-linux 2.21.2, dd-rescue 1.28, Midori 0.4.7, X.Org Server 1.12.4, ClamAV 0.97.6, SpaceFM 0.7.10; added zerofree 1.0.1 (a utility to zero out all free space on a file system); the 'docache' boot option must also cache the boot and EFI directories; fixed bugs in the installation scripts for USB sticks." Here is the full changelog.
Alpine Linux 2.5.0
The Alpine Linux development team has announced the release of Alpine Linux 2.5.0, a community-developed operating system designed for x86 routers, firewalls, VPNs, VoIP boxes and servers: "We are pleased to announce Alpine Linux version 2.5. Since version 2.4, among the various bug fixes, several packages have been upgraded: Linux kernel upgraded to 3.6.6 with the grsecurity patch; Asterisk 11.0.1; Xen 4.2 Dom0 support; Freeswitch 1.2.0; PostgreSQL 9.2.1; Ruby 1.9.3; libvirt 1.0. Some of the updated packages available from the HTTP repositories are: X.Org Server 1.13, Mesa 9 and much more. The full lists of changes can be found in the git log and bug tracker." Here is the brief release announcement.
Zorin OS 6.1
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 6.1, an updated build of the project's Ubuntu-based, user-friendly Linux distribution designed for newcomers to the popular open-source operating system: "The Zorin OS team is pleased to announce the release of Zorin OS 6.1 Core, our operating system designed for Windows users and those who are dissatisfied with the Unity and GNOME Shell offerings. Zorin OS 6.1 Core builds on top of our popular previous release of Zorin OS 6 Core with newly updated software and a newer kernel. As Zorin OS 6.1 is based on Ubuntu 12.04 it is an LTS (Long-Term Support) release, provided with 5 years of security updates. Users who already have Zorin OS 6 Core installed do not need to get Zorin OS 6.1 Core as all the aforementioned updates and improvements in 6.1 can be applied by installing the latest updates from the Update Manager." Here is the brief release announcement.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.2
Carl Duff has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.2, an Arch-based Linux distribution provided in four different desktop flavours (Xfce 4.10, KDE 4.9.2, GNOME 3.4.2 and Cinnamon 1.6.4): "Manjaro Linux 0.8.2 has been released. The culmination of substantial refinements and exciting new developments, Manjaro 0.8.2 is the most polished, feature-rich and accessible release yet. Just a few of the new features provided includes support for Steam gaming, automatic desktop notifications for new system updates, and -- developed exclusively for Manjaro -- a user-friendly graphical interface to easily manage and maintain the system. Experienced users can also take advantage of support for new features, including the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), B-Tree File System (btrfs)...." Read the release announcement for further details.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.2 - the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 455kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around the Web
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October 2012 DistroWatch.com donation: nginx|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the October 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is nginx, an open-source, cross-platform web, mail and reverse proxy server. It receives US$250.00 in cash.
The nginx server is a relatively young project, but it has been steadily gaining users, especially those who seek a more lightweight alternative to Apache. Developed by Igor Sysoev, nginx is described as "an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server. For a long time, it has been running on many heavily loaded Russian sites including Yandex, Mail.Ru, VKontakte, and Rambler. According to Netcraft nginx served or proxied 11.48% busiest sites in August 2012. The sources and documentation are distributed under the 2-clause BSD-like license. Basic HTTP server features: serving static and index files, autoindexing; open file descriptor cache; accelerated reverse proxying with caching; simple load balancing and fault tolerance; accelerated support with caching of FastCGI, uwsgi, SCGI, and memcached servers; simple load balancing and fault tolerance; modular architecture; filters include gzipping, byte ranges, chunked responses, XSLT, SSI, and image transformation filter; multiple SSI inclusions within a single page can be processed in parallel if they are handled by proxied or FastCGI servers; SSL and TLS SNI support." Visit the project's about page to learn more.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$33,435 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250)
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Moniz. The Moniz Project was created to provide a re-spin based on openSUSE that supports full localisation for Portugal and Spain by default (also offering the traditional International English) with the MATE desktop environment, a fork of GNOME 2. In addition the Moniz Project aims to improve the boot code/initrd and optimise the system/user space for pure desktop deployments and provide a few enhancements that could be interesting for users.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 19 November 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
White Box Enterprise Linux
What was the goal for White Box Linux? To provide an unencumbered RPM-based Linux distribution that retains enough compatibility with Red Hat Linux to allow easy upgrades and to retain compatibility with their errata SRPMs. Being based off of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3.0 means that a machine should be able to avoid the upgrade treadmill until October 2008 since RHEL promises errata availability for 5 years from date of initial release. Or more briefly, to fill the gap between Fedora and RHEL. Why was White Box Linux created? Its initial creation was sponsored by the Beauregard Parish Public Library in DeRidder, USA out of self interest. We have several servers and over 50 workstations running Red Hat Linux and were left high and dry by Red Hat's recent shift in business plan. Our choices were a difficult migration to another distribution or paying Red Hat an annual fee greater than the amortized value of our hardware. So we chose a third path, made possible by the power of open source.... White Box Linux.