| 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • GNOME 3 Fallback mode (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2012-11-12 09:12:28 GMT from United States) |
It's really too bad you didn't get a chance to review Linux Mint 14 before going to press. I've got it and it's beautiful. I figure GNOME 3 fallback mode won't be missed as long as MATE and Cinnamon keep going strong. Snow Linux has the right idea - GNOME, MATE and Cinnamon.
2 • Zenwalk 7.2 (by Fencemeister717 on 2012-11-12 10:33:26 GMT from United States)
Strange but while installing Zenwalk 7.2 Standard I experienced exactly none of the issues you experienced. The only difference in the process is that, like most distros I tinker with I used the entire disk for the install. I did however share a few frustrating moments finding the "extra" packages in the repository. They are there. after selecting a repository you need to go back up to the menu bar and click and reupdate each time. Packages must be installed one at a time. After each is installed, you must manually go back to where you left off on the list, by default once the list refreshes, it takes you back to the top of the page. The process is rather fast, even for my P4 512ram Cow box. The other difference between your experience and mine is that my Verizon dsl was connected automatically. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and favor its performance, particularly streaming sports events on the "4-Letter network". While Zenwalk 7.2 would not be in the top 10 list of distros for new users, I do recommend everyone else to give it a spin, who knows, you just may find it's speed makes it worthwhile enough for that old hard drive you have laying around.
3 • Thanks, Fedora and VMs (by musty on 2012-11-12 10:41:48 GMT from France)
Thank you for this great issue and for the test of Zenwalk.
For Fedora, it is better to wait until the bugs are resolved than to release a distro not ready as some do ..;-).
Another thing, there was a distro before called VMKnoppix to manage VMs in liveCD or liveDVD. is there any equivalent today?
4 • RE:2 (by greg on 2012-11-12 11:07:27 GMT from United States)
I agree with Fencemeister717. I had no trouble with the install version. Zenwalk 7.2 worked great out-of-the-box, for my old computer. I did move along, since I customize continually.
5 • @1 gnome fallback mode (by mandog on 2012-11-12 12:44:50 GMT from Peru)
Well I'm using gnome 3.6.1 and fallback mode is still part of Gnome. Perhaps this is specific to Mint as it uses Muffin not Mutter as the window manager so Mutter will not be installed by default.
6 • @1 gnome fallback mode (by mandog on 2012-11-12 12:49:50 GMT from Peru)
My mistake I missed the bit about being dropped for version 3.8 sorry for that
7 • Gnome fallback (by silent on 2012-11-12 13:09:09 GMT from Europe)
I was looking for the latest trends regarding the popularity of desktop environments. I have found lots of opinions, and some limited and contradicting statistics. As a user of gnome-fallback I have been officially considered "nearly nobody" by gnome developers. I should admit they may be just right about that. So gnome-fallback should be dropped. But frankly, without reliable marketing research data, is their intuition good enough to tell how many users they have dropped or recruited so far with gnome-shell and what should they do to get the targeted 20% market-share by 2020?
8 • @7 Gnome fallback (by PePa on 2012-11-12 13:18:23 GMT from Netherlands)
I agree that there are probably more Gnome fallback users than the Gnome project realizes, and furthermore, mostly for the ux and not because they can't use the Gnome3 shell for video driver reasons.
@1 I will miss fallback, because I just don't like the look and ux of Cinnamon, and I also prefer fallback over Gnome2/Mate.
9 • Gnome fallback mode dropped (by jaycee on 2012-11-12 13:34:39 GMT from Australia)
It's a shame Gnome fallback mode was dropped. If there weren't the resources, they could've always decided to instead drop Gnome Shell...
10 • Re: Zalman ZM-VE300 (by Jon Homan on 2012-11-12 13:42:18 GMT from Europe)
I have the Zalman ZM-VE200 which is the eSATA/USB2 version with the same functionality. The 'proprietary file system' is only required for the virtual CD-ROM support, and has to be the first partition. Mine has two partitions, one FAT32 to contain bootable iso file, the other is ext3 for data.Since you were given the device specifically as an alternative to USB booting, it is disappointing that you didn't review how it functioned in this regard. I find it an excellent alternative to burning DVDs or fiddling about with USB sticks (since I never have 100% with this depending on the distro).
11 • Zalman (by Jesse on 2012-11-12 13:52:56 GMT from Canada)
>> "he 'proprietary file system' is only required for the virtual CD-ROM support, "
This was not my experience. The device wouldn't allow connection to any Linux file systems, whether used for boot or browsing.
>> " it is disappointing that you didn't review how it functioned in this regard. "
Because it wouldn't read my partitions. I can't review something that doesn't work.
12 • FreeBSD - Clang (by Wolfgang on 2012-11-12 13:54:06 GMT from United States)
I am not an expert or developer, I am just a FreeBSD user and I try to build ports with Clang. Yest, it is fast but applications run slower than built with GCC
13 • "Even though I couldn't see the password prompt..." (by os2user on 2012-11-12 15:23:47 GMT from United States)
By WHAT divine process did you even try that? -- Rhetorical.
More of what's wrong with Unix / Linux: easy for gurus to install / tweak, but absolutely beyond less than fanatical competence. I'm not going to spend the years where I could even make a guess that the password prompt is hidden. Heck, I don't even want passwords at all!
Similarly, I've had MANY Linux versions just freeze up during install, NO CLUE as to why. It's a big part of why I no longer bother with Linux except some wistful longing for geegaws.
Listen, Linux types, installation above all should be automatic and near certain to get to a working system. You're only preparing the disk and copying some files (perhaps unpacking, but straightforward). You can assume standard Intel PC hardware for text or GUI basics and don't need to do special drivers until later.
And surely a major thing to assume is that user does not want passwords in any form. That cherished Unix tradition just sucks rocks to normal people.
By the way, PCLinuxOS of 2007 can install itself without muss or fuss while you're online with it browsing the web. I thought that was the coming standard, but even PCLinux messed up much in GUI and reliabilty since -- mostly unnecessary changes, NOT improvements -- and simply ruined later versions.
14 • gnome3 fallback mode (by walter_j on 2012-11-12 15:47:15 GMT from Canada)
What will be the impact on DEs that may use the fallback mode? Does Mate, Cinnamon and Xfce use it? If so - what a mess. If not, Gnome3 takes another stumbling step to obscurity.
15 • Passwords (by coss_michael on 2012-11-12 16:57:58 GMT from United States)
> And surely a major thing to assume is that user does not want passwords in any form.
> That cherished Unix tradition just sucks rocks to normal people.
I'm relatively new to Linux, but I've been using computers and networks since the early 80's, and passwords have always been a basic part of using a computer. If you've ever worked for the government or a serious business, passwords are essential to protecting important and often secure data. It's no headache at all to sign in once it becomes habit.
Assuming users don't want a password is like assuming anyone who wants to drive your car can just get in and drive off.
16 • Indeed add CMOV as well as PAE/NON-PAE (by ChiJoan on 2012-11-12 17:15:28 GMT from United States)
Since many like to re-purpose older computers for themselves and others. That old Win-98 or Win 3.11/DOS computer, you keep for legacy programs or hardware can still be useful, just disconnect the hard drive and try some Linux Live CDs, etc.
Shame about Fall-Back mode, too, since LXDE is one of my new favorites.
On another note, Bodhi Linux could use more mirrors for their updates to auto-link to, since a server has finally died. It's so much easier with my PcLinuxOS, since there are so many mirrors to choose from. Just hope others out there can help them out, since it's pretty fast on an AMD Sempron computer.
Joan in Reno
17 • zalman 300/200 (by dom on 2012-11-12 17:25:00 GMT from France)
I just read about this comments, i use the zalman since a fews months and tryed a lot of distributions, windows reconize this drive easily, and this is true, it is not compatible with linux, you have to format in ext3 but then zalman display does reconize it, absurd, anyway, i loved this zalman ,but it s a pity that fews days ago the display just died complitly, a not very long healthy boy!
18 • passwords (by dom on 2012-11-12 17:33:25 GMT from France)
Interestings diferents points of views, thats humanity,but please,dont depraciate views!
i am also a little beat ennoy with this pass all the time , specialy with ubuntu, when i installed it i gave a password, but i might have miss something , not talking about the pass after booting that ok but pass requiry for everythigs, install, changes,this and that! ect... is there a way to stop that?
19 • zalman (by TheSim on 2012-11-12 18:50:06 GMT from Italy)
fat32 for all? simply switch the firmware, you can also use iso bigger than 4 gb simply by splitting it... the only thing missing from the zm200 is the read only switch, it can read also floppy image...
20 • zenwalk (by FSFer on 2012-11-12 20:30:16 GMT from United States)
Used zenwalk for a while I think in 2008. Was rock solid and fast on some older hardware. About time to take it for another spin. Thanks for the review.
21 • Zenwalk 7.2 (by Barnabyh on 2012-11-12 21:42:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
Had a similar experience with the first log in. After rebooting it hung at the splash, did nothing. I then pulled the plug, booted again, and it brought me to the final setup steps. No problem after that but it seemed familiar, probably encountered this before in a previous Zenwalk version.
22 • Zenwalk review, questions (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-11-12 22:53:10 GMT from United States)
I've had similar experiences to what Jesse and Barnabyh (#24) saw with previous versions. I ran intio issues during install or went through some steps that were invisible. Once installed the older versions worked well and were rather light and fast.
1. Are the Zenwalk devs pushing security patches promptly yet?
2. Do you still need to add the development repo for the next version to get security updates?
Those were the issues that bothered me most in the past.
23 • @14 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2012-11-13 00:27:41 GMT from United States)
No, the DE's you mention will not be affected. MATE is a fork (more of a continuation of a sort) of the GNOME 2 series. Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME 3 Shell to more closely mimic a traditional environment, and XFCE is completely different DE alltogether.
24 • OmniBoot Is Great (by OnoSendai on 2012-11-13 02:40:23 GMT from United States)
I keep a disk around with it and it has rescued me more than once. Not only can you install many distributions from it, like Mint, Salix and Zenwalk, it also has many rescue tools including several options to repair boot managers. It's like the Swiss Army distro!
25 • Password (by Ika on 2012-11-13 03:01:08 GMT from Spain)
#13-”And surely a major thing to assume is that user does not want passwords in any form.”
#15-” If you've ever worked for the government or a serious business, passwords are essential to protecting important and often secure data. [...]
Assuming users don't want a password is like assuming anyone who wants to drive your car can just get in and drive off.”
Two diferent points of view. Both correct.
Being in a work environment it's obvious that not using a password is foolish. Though, in my home machine I agree with os2user; WTF need a password since in my house nobody have acces without my, or my wife's, permission? I am both user and administrator. Though it's not a big deal typing the password, personaly I find it a little bit molest doing this every time want to do something that requires admin privileges.
That's also one of the resons I like PCLinuxOS too.
26 • Desktops and passwords (by Jesse on 2012-11-13 03:39:17 GMT from Canada)
>> No, the DE's you mention will not be affected. MATE is a fork (more of a continuation of a sort) of the GNOME 2 series. Cinnamon is a fork of GNOME 3 Shell to more closely mimic a traditional environment, and XFCE is completely different DE alltogether."
That's not what the GNOME people are saying. It looks as though there is overlap between GNOME fallback and other GTK+ desktops, including Xfce and Unity. In the news section there is a link to the discussion and a bug report with details.
Regarding passwords, most people want them, but if you're one of the folks who don't, why not just not use them? Some installers, like Ubuntu's allow you set up logging in without a password. If you are using a different distro then once your machine is set up you can always remove the password from your account. Nothing is forcing you to use passwords for your Linux accounts.
27 • (13) progress indicator required in UI (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2012-11-13 05:45:56 GMT from United States)
"Similarly, I've had MANY Linux versions just freeze up during install, NO CLUE as to why. " I suggest it may have been the lack of a progress indicator, a critical UI design gem discovered by Disney while designing Mickey Mouse cartoons. Without it, (or some other fair warning) a viewer may be unaware anything is happening. This is common when testing distro installation on legacy hardware.
It's not easy for the knowledgeable to fully appreciate the point of view of the newbie.
As for the invisible password prompt, the clue may have flashed by just before shutdown on a prior attempt.
28 • 25 • Password (by Ika (by greg on 2012-11-13 08:21:19 GMT from Slovenia)
WTF need a password since in my house nobody have acces without my, or my wife's, permission?
is the computer connected to internet? if so, then billions of other devices have potential access to your computer.
the user password doesn't encrypt the data (you can easilly read it with live disk).it.:
1. defines the user of the maschine on a mashcine shared between users and can load their personal settings and tweaks. sicen linux has server origins it is used on servers to give users limited access.
2. and most importantly it prevents infections (one of many security layers).
for example you accidentally download a malware or it is somehow transmited to your disk (if you are connected to internet). now the malware can not run unless you allow it to by typing in your password. no fact no malicious script can simply execute itself unless you give it access. when you type in the password you are telling the computer that it is you - the user - running the script/programme that could have an affect on the whole system. it is a good layer and that is why windows adopted this method and why it is encouraged in newer version of that OS.
as for typing the user password on the startup in kubuntu you just tick a box and there it is ---> autologin
29 • zalman (by dimitrij on 2012-11-13 10:31:43 GMT from Slovenia)
Once I tried changing heads/cylinders on an usb stick, to resemble those of a zip drive. The bios got fooled and booted just fine from this flash-based zip drive :)
That was years ago though, but might still work on some older hardware.
30 • Passwords (by alternative opinion on 2012-11-13 11:17:08 GMT from Finland)
I used openSUSE Tumbleweed for a while and noticed it did not ask for my password when checking and installing updates. Ubuntu and Linux Mint do ask. I think openSUSE has the right idea there. There's always critical security bugs in Flash and some other things so why not let users install updates without asking for password. Aren't the official repos pretty trustworthy anyway? Yes or no prompt should be enough.
31 • @30 (by Brnadon Sniadajewski on 2012-11-13 12:58:21 GMT from United States)
In Kubuntu, using Muon, you only need to enter the password upon instaling updates but not for checking them. That seems to be a reasonable compromise. The official repos may be pretty trustworthy, but the PPA's not do much.
32 • Zenwalk 7.2 Review and "strange bugs" (by Slacked and Confused on 2012-11-13 13:01:17 GMT from Canada)
It may be a week before I can clear up a backup PC to give Zenwalk 7.2 a tryout. Did use Zenwalk 7.1 for a while, and encountered something strange that probably applies to Zenwalk 7.2 as well.
I do a lot of work at the commandline. Using Midnight Commander, I noticed using F3 on a pdf file did not open it, but resulted in an error. Thought it might be something like a missing plugin, but could find nothing in the Zenwalk forums, or in the Midnight Commander website documentation.
Then I noticed that when compiling software, I had to specify the full path to access whatever program might be compiled. Aha, a path problem! Being Slackware based, there is no default profile in the users directory, but software should be available systemwide via the path line in /etc/profile. Looking at the contents of Zenwalks's /etc/profile, it appeared to have the same path line as Slackware. So why can I compile a program in Slackware, and it just works, and in Zenwalk, I have to specify the full path? And with Midnight Commander not opening pdfs at the commandline, it might not just be a path problem.
Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Could be something glaringly obvious that I am just overlooking?
33 • @9, 14, 23 Gnome Fallback (by DavidEF on 2012-11-13 13:56:16 GMT from United States)
I agree with jaycee (post #9). Drop Gnome Shell NOT Fallback! Those Gnome devs are getting more outta touch by the minute, it seems!
As for the effect on other DE's, yes it will affect some of them. The paragraph above mentions some that rely on "components" of the Fallback mode. That means, even if it is a different DE, if it is using some of those "components" it will be affected by this change, in a negative way.
All the more reason for Gnome 3 itself to be completely deprecated by the distros. It is increasingly becoming the poster child for "what people DON'T want" in a DE.
34 • Passwords (by notsure on 2012-11-13 15:19:17 GMT from United States)
I wouldn't recommend not having a password, but hey, it's your system:
su - ### root login shell, you HAVE to be root for the -d option
## Make user USER passwordless, it'll work for root too.
passwd -d USER
35 • Priorities (by GrzegorzW on 2012-11-13 15:45:39 GMT from Poland)
I can agree with Jesse that X priorities settings may not affect overall system performance that much on modern hardware, but there is certainly a general performance issue with Linux and its Desktops, which does matter because of bigger power consumption and shorter run-time on battery.
I do my professional work on Win7 system and then do some home computing on Kubuntu 12.10 run on the same (powerfull) Dell Laptop. While doing my job on Windows laptop is ussually cold and silent, while on Linux/KDE gets heated and is more lound - and it is despite fact that I usually run more aps to do my job. Looking at task manager while system is idle avarage CPU usage on Windows is about 1-2% while on KDE it is 3-15% (X itself takes 3% in avarage, KNotify another 2% etc.). O checked Unity amd it is not much better. I also have to admit that I'm not using any Gadgets/Widgets in any of those systems and have antyvirus only on Windows system.
So there is certaily a lot of space to improve for Linux/X/DE/distro developers, and this is one of the areas where Linux is crearly behind competitors.
36 • RE: 33 Gnome Fallback (by Ron on 2012-11-13 22:04:54 GMT from United States)
'It is increasingly becoming the poster child for "what people DON'T want" in a DE."
I could not agree more.
When contemplating a new distribution of Linux, I instantly pass up any that specify Gnome3.
37 • Re: 35 Priorities (by Ron on 2012-11-13 22:09:44 GMT from United States)
"While doing my job on Windows laptop is ussually cold and silent, while on Linux/KDE gets heated and is more lound"
In my case, my notebook has a fan so heating is not a great concern for me. However when I use Windows, my personal heating increases as I encounter hobbled Windows applications.
38 • Gnome Fallback (by Erik on 2012-11-13 23:15:04 GMT from United States)
"...maintaining fallback mode alongside GNOME Shell has been taxing..."
They were actually still making updates to fallback?
39 • GNOME Shell & RE: 22 (by Landor on 2012-11-14 00:45:52 GMT from Canada)
As with anything it's the dissatisfied that are always the most vocal. The people that are happy are usually complacent and just go about their business, so to speak.
I've found nothing wrong with using the GNOME Shell. I actually really enjoyed it as well. The only reason I don't use it now is that I switched to using my laptop as my main system some time ago and did not install Debian Testing or Unstable on it. I'm currently using the development build of gNewSense 3 with the GNOME 2 series desktop environment. Oh,that DE is fairly buggy in its own right, let me tell you.
The people who can't accept the change are all the former/still users of another operating system, period. They're the most outspoken of it.
Something from last week.
You used your review from a couple years ago as evidence that you are not a fan of openSUSE/SUSE. That's actually a faulty premise. Two years ago is a long time, and you yourself have stated that you are now working with SUSE on an Enterprise level. I'd say that with your current comments on the 12.2 release and the factors I've mentioned could easily make you a biased fan. :)
Keep your stick on the ice...
40 • GNOME, KDE, and Razor-Qt (by Jeffersonia on 2012-11-14 02:30:40 GMT from United States)
I have used them all.
I still stick with GNOME 3, however I am missing the simplicity of Gome-3.
KDE: Excepted years ago (KDE3 the), with Suse, I find KDE to be slow, dysfunctional, and bloated... I have tried it many times though.
At this time, KDE may be a good library (like Gnome for the excellent XFCE), but may never be a good Windows framework.
As a matter of facts, K3B for example is a great application... and run well under GNOME :-)
I guess the team is made of good programmers, albeit overreaching project management. Please simplify, you will do well !
Razor-Qt may very well be the most promising Linux windows manager, but updates and progresses seem slow.
With some luck, this will gather momentum & support: I do like what I see there.
41 • #40 (by zykoda on 2012-11-14 08:46:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
"I still stick with GNOME 3, however I am missing the simplicity of Gome-3."
42 • @39 (by GrzegorzW on 2012-11-14 13:07:05 GMT from Poland)
"The people who can't accept the change are all the former/still users of another operating system, period".
... Like Linux Thorvalds who was one of the first who strongly criticized Gnome shell and afaik eventually switched to XFCE.
I can't find link now, but I've read some quite neurtal review that e.g. listed number of mouse clicks to perform basic actions in Gnome 3 vs. Gnome 2 and it was like 3-4 clicks v.s 2 in favor of Gnome 2, so there are good reasons to dislike Gnome shell, and it is not just matter of taste and habbits.
However I don't say that Gnome shell or Unity is all bad.
My children use Unity and are quite hapy with it!
But if you run 1, 2 or 3 applications at the time or have 15 windows and few instancies of the same application - it makes big difference. Trying to manage windows in second case using Gmone 3 or Unity is a nightmare, but as I said not everybody uses computer in this way.
I like KDE project approach. They created 3 different desktops: for traditional (big screen) desktops/laptops, for netbooks (small screens) and for tablets (touchscreens) still having common libraries and most of the code shared.
Moreover - you can install and use netbook or touchscreen like interface on regular desktop if you like, but the point is that you are not enforced to do so.
@40 - yes KDE may be considerated to be bloated (see my prevoius post - #35) but nobody said it is intended for low-end hardware - there are different DE for this. On my 8GB, 8 cores laptop I don't really care and it is no slow at all.
But I cannot agree it is disfunctional - please give some examples.
43 • @39 People who can't accept change? (by DavidEF on 2012-11-14 13:36:02 GMT from United States)
Landor - "The people who can't accept the change are all the former/still users of another operating system, period."
Well, that narrows the field down a bit! Thanks for shining the light on THAT group for us! But, you fail to recognize that there are a GREATER NUMBER of users who DON'T have a problem with change, or at least are not adamantly opposed to change when it is in a good direction, who still don't like Gnome 3. I am one of them. In fact, I like Unity, but Gnome 3 seems to be counter-intuitive to me.
I do agree with you that Gnome 2 had bugs of its own. But, all-in-all, I'd agree with others who find it is still better than Gnome 3 Shell. Of course, where would we be without choice? You have yours, I have mine. Make the choice that suits you. But, there is no need to try to insult those who've made different choices.
44 • Campaign (by Gustavo on 2012-11-14 13:40:36 GMT from Brazil)
I'm starting a campaign inspired by some Frank Zappa's records. It's called Shut up and go Xfce.
45 • #42 Gnome3 (by silent on 2012-11-14 14:35:22 GMT from Europe)
If you have a problem with too many windows, Shellshape is a useful dynamic window tiling extension for Gnome3, of course KDE has its own as well. Altogether, after installing 12 user extensions - each with its own concepts - gnome-shell is usable, but a bit untidy, even the icons are scattered randomly at the top bar. The concept of integrated messaging with only unofficial half-support for skype is yet again a bit messy. The compositing WM (mutter) is just a bit too demanding for my integrated Intel GMA4500; in that respect KDE is much better as I can switch off compositing. The lack of configuration options is strange even as compared to a minimal WM like jwm. Why are extensions needed for autohiding the top panel or moving the systray to the top, or for creating quicklaunch icons on the panel? And most of them has to be adjusted at each new release because of sudden upstream modifications. By the way, I presume that MS Windows users also accept changes.
46 • @39 (by Mac on 2012-11-14 14:39:39 GMT from United States)
Ms Martin was just trying to help me get started with suse. She took the time, and I think that was nice of her. And i don't care if she is a fan or not. But it does seem that my hardware, third party loaded and habits don't jive with suse 12.2 but will try 12.3 on next alfa.
Have fun Mack
47 • RE: 42 - 43 - 45 (by Landor on 2012-11-14 17:27:16 GMT from Canada)
I can't believe after all this time people still try to quote Linus Torvalds to me, or use him as an example. He's not a specialist in GUI design, nor has he studied the Psychology wrapped around it, which in case you didn't know there actually is such a field of study. He designs a kernel, that's it. His opinion on anything else has no more bearing than anyone else.
Mouse clicks? Have you tried keyboard shortcuts? Please don't tell me that keyboards shortcuts are archaic either. People use keyboard shortcuts extensively day in and day out in a plethora of applications on the desktop.
When a person starts to compare things in a specific manner they should only compare them based on their strengths and weaknesses 'by design' in a review of two products. To do otherwise shows little other than the fact that the person didn't understand what they were working with. :)
It only seems to be counter-intuitive? You're not sure if it is or not? Have you tried all manner of using it that's available to you?
I haven't insulted anyone, nor was it my intent, unlike say, 47. All I have done is pointed out that those that are users of another operating system were the ones that were the most vocal. Over the years I have seen and experienced enough in this community to be able to say that without pause. It's not intended as insult at all. I honestly find it odd that it's been taken out of context in that manner.
I was reading your comment and instantly stopped half way when you spoke of Skype, a proprietary product. You truly don't expect integration of a a proprietary/closed source application by a FLOSS project by which GNOME is, do you?
I'm aware of CM's reply to you, but it doesn't change my comment on it. :) Just like the smiley I typed out to you, there was one at the end of my comment in 39 to CM. :)
For a community that's supposed to be so forward thinking, it really should be a bit more tolerant of others views and less prone to jumping to conclusions and perceived slights that do no exist.
Keep your stick on the ice...
48 • @39 (by Mac on 2012-11-14 17:34:25 GMT from United States)
As with anything it's the dissatisfied that are always the most vocal. The people that are happy are usually complacent and just go about their business, so to speak.
I was taught in a trade school that a happy customer will tell abt 3 people and unhappy customer tell everyone that will listen.
Have fun Mack
49 • @40 (by Gnobuddy on 2012-11-14 20:29:58 GMT from United States)
KDE: Excepted years ago (KDE3 the), with Suse, I find KDE to be slow, dysfunctional, and bloated...
I agree, KDE 4.x is slow, dysfunctional and bloated. Current incarnations of Gnome are slow, even more dysfunctional, and bloated. Unity? Horrid beyond belief, slow beyond belief, dysfunctional beyond belief. XFCE? Surprisingly slow and bloated. LXDE? Reasonably nimble and lightweight, but the native apps are so limited.
For me KDE 3.5 was the high point of the desktop computer experience, including every version of Windows and Mac operating systems, and every competing Linux desktop I've tried.
Fortunately, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Thanks to the Trinity Desktop Environment, I still run KDE 3.5, albeit under a different name. My main machine now runs Trinity Desktop Environment on top of a base Lubuntu 12.04 install.
This combination lets me still have all the goodness of KDE 3.5, plus a modern kernel and OS under it for improved security, hardware support, and whatnot.
50 • @47 Yep, seems... (by DavidEF on 2012-11-14 22:06:34 GMT from United States)
I've not used it enough to give it a proper review. So, "seems" is about as accurate as I can get. Unlike some people, I try to be upfront about my level of knowledge on any given subject. I have an "almost" opinion of Gnome 3 Shell. Kinda like Barack Obama is "almost" president of the USA again. It "seems" that he will be, but the decision isn't exactly final, yet. My opinion of Gnome 3 Shell is not yet complete, because I don't use it on a daily basis. I'm happy using Unity for now.
As for the "perceived slights that do no exist.", I suppose only you know whether you intend to insult anyone or not. I am not easy to offend, and not much worried about anything you might say to me or about me. However, some would definitely consider your comment that they "are all the former/still users of another operating system, period." simply because they can't stand Gnome 3 Shell as an insult in any variety of ways.
51 • openSUSE (by Mac on 2012-11-14 23:13:47 GMT from United States)
I am not going to say anything bad about anything again! I now have it up and running the way I want it. Next time I gona have to tell myself the short is in the chair. A lot of good people do a lot of work on these distro's. I read here that it messed up a mbr for someone else, it will not if you get it right. I have it on /dev/sdb2 and everything is fine. Booting with a third party loader. Windows 7 and partition one have to be compatible with wife's work.
Have fun Mack
52 • #39 SUSE and bias (by Caitlyn Maritn on 2012-11-15 00:05:05 GMT from United States)
@Landor: Working with SLES and SLED in the enterprise has definitely strengthened a bias of mine. It has made me more pro Red Hat/Scientific Linux/CentOS than ever before. SLE is the only enterprise distro that changes major core components during the lifecycle of a major release, including the kernel. They migrated from 2.6.31 in SLES 11 SP1 to 3.0.10 in SLES 11 SP3. That broke compatibility with a number of apps, especially proprietary apps. Like it or not, in the enterprise either highly specialized apps or apps that scale upwards better than the FOSS equivalents (i.e.: an Oracle database), are simply necessary to run the business.
RHEL and the free clones of RHEL stick with a kernel version throughout the life of a major release, adding security patches and backporting for additional hardware support. Canonical releases new kernels for their LTS Server releases but continues to support the older versions to maintain compatibility, including security patches.
Once upon a time Novell handled the kernel and other core components the same way Red Hat does. The decision to simply treat a "service pack" as if it was an entirely new release really is problematic for enterprise customers and is the reason, at this point, I would generally recommend RHEL over SLES or SLED.
Having said all of that, openSUSE for home users is an entirely different matter. It is more comparable to Fedora or the six month releases of Ubuntu and it's expected to be leading edge. In general I've found they have a much better track record than Ubuintu in terms of bugs, both at release time and in terms of fixing bugs during a release life cycle. In fairness, Fedora has also done a much better job with recent releases. I think not sticking to a rigid release date and only releasing when ready probably makes all the difference in the world.
53 • #52- Correction (by Caitlyn Maritn on 2012-11-15 00:06:44 GMT from United States)
In the first paragraph, the current version of SLES and SLED is 11 SP2. There is no SP3 yet. ALso, the change in the kernel version applies to both SLES and SLED.
54 • 39, 47, 48 (by hurtPC on 2012-11-15 04:10:51 GMT from Australia)
"it's the dissatisfied that are always the most vocal...a happy customer will tell abt 3 people and unhappy customer tell everyone that will listen...a community should be a bit more tolerant of others views and less prone to jumping to conclusions and perceived slights "
All seem prevalent in the computer industry generally. After all, such problems are what drive spammers, trolls and hackers to do their attacks. Linux people can't get along and produce a unified system; and now there are calls for the BSD community to try to develop a unified system. That probably won't work either. It's a shame computer people can't all get along really. It's definitely holding back progress in alternative OS's.
55 • #54: Unified system? Thankfully, no. (by Caitlyn Maritn on 2012-11-15 04:26:12 GMT from United States)
@hurtPC: Calls for a "unified system" and claims that not having one is "definitely holding back process" generally come from people who are used to a proprietary software model and really, truly fail to understand the strengths of the FOSS model.
Windows and MacOS are unified because a single corporation defines what they are in a top-down, hierarchical business model. FOSS operating systems are bottom up. They are grass roots affairs where people are free to do as they please rather than follow the dictates of a given corporation. The benefits of this are a plethora of specialized, highly refined, loosely related operating systems. In Linux this covers the gamut from Android for mobile devices to Red Hat and SUSE for corporate data centers and desktops to Alpine Linus for routers and similar devices to a variety of desktop-centric distributions. There are single purpose distributions like Clonezilla for imaging. None of that would be possible with a unified system (read: proprietary model). What you claim is holding back FOSS is actually it's greatest single strength.
56 • #47 Gnome messaging (by silent on 2012-11-15 11:48:05 GMT from Europe)
No, I really don't expect any integration of skype in gnome. For me the proprietary client works when I need it. I apologize if my statement was not clear, unfortunately English is not my mother tongue. I simply described my experience about the unofficial skype support in the integrated messaging system.
57 • Unification\\\\\\Coordination (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2012-11-15 18:52:45 GMT from United States)
Microsoft has acknowledged Linux is potentially an emerging challenge, as recent polished distros have shown.
While I'm sure those who appreciate the benefits of Freed Software resent world domination by a global monopoly's operating system, surely many will, however grudgingly, admit it provides a less complex and more rewarding (in the short term) platform for development and distribution of apps, libraries, and repositories (however inferior). Refusal to coordinate, a common temptation for nerds, costs the entire community dearly. Dependency resolution apps barely scratch the tip of this iceberg, which, while not a trivial nut to crack, would surely be well worth it.
Likewise the extremist FUD of 'FLOSS vs Proprietary' prevents development of a viable and vital fully Freed market for Software and Related Services. Why must copyright (or patent) law, and thus proprietary licensing, have no provision for inheritance, or for failure to provide social benefits expected from such privilege? Who will rise above extremist dualism, and pioneer a vibrant New World Market?
DonationWare? KickStarts? Eggs wobble and bulge; fetuses kick. Tremble, ye mighty! Plot and scheme, O Irresponsible Corporation! Foment discord; finance sabotage, encourage extremism. For if they hatch and unite, ye may be undone! Or at least no longer dominant.
Sorry. Got carried away ... ;-D
58 • Unification (by DavidEF on 2012-11-15 22:15:48 GMT from United States)
Well said. "One Ring to rule them all" is the proprietary software model. Although we in the FLOSS world could use some more unification in spirit (understatement of the year, I'm sure), we don't need to take away choice in the pursuit of the "One OS" that "everyone" should be using.
It seems* people have bought into the idea that the only way linux would be worth using is if we have big name apps, and the only way to get big name apps is to narrow down our choices - to unify the distros.
* "seems" - see post #50 above for more information about my use of this word. And something about a stick on ice...
59 • Gnome Fallback mode (by Barry on 2012-11-16 10:19:57 GMT from United States)
I have the perfect Gnome3 fall back mode. I use Centos 6.3 with Gnome2 - A super stable plain, but usable Desktop. The best I have seen yet from Linux
Gnome 3 has damaged Linux seriously and those that have fallen for the idea that it's the future of the Linux desktop get what they deserve - Windows.
60 • Unification no, but... (by Ika on 2012-11-16 13:53:21 GMT from Spain)
Diversity is good and it's the normal way for a correct and fairy development of all things.
>>"One Ring to rule them all" is the proprietary software mode<< Ok, it's true.
Nevertheless, not offering a common variant is equal saying “You have to use ours in our way” that brings us to the same point but in a different way. It is in itself a restriction.
I'm sure you've heard this phrase: “Diversity in unity and unity in diversity”.
What I mean is: what if altogether, apart of theirs own characteristics, would be able and willing offer a common, for instance, managing of packages as a user option?
OTOH, existing such an option, many software developers will offer Linux support too.
How many people (of us) are forced to use Windows because some favorite o needed programs are written only for Windows (or Mac), neither have a Linux equivalent?
61 • False choices? (by Sam Graf on 2012-11-16 16:13:31 GMT from United States)
The halcyon days of the personal computer were filled with choice provided by industry. Everything from the Coleco Adam to the IBM PC family and clones. The TRS-80 Model 1 and the Commodore and Atari hardware and software cluttering my basement today are now-silent witnesses to the pure-ish adventure of those days. And no "evil emprire" brought the adventure to an end.
It was more pratical stuff, decisions made by ordinary people who wanted to use computers productively and efficiently that made the clunky IBM PC AT and its heirs conquerors over the alternatives. These people made choices not fundamentally different from a preference for RHEL of SLES/D. It was a grass roots movement that opted out of choice and concentrated whatever innovation that could still be mustered into one path.
The myth of David FOSS versus Goliath Microsoft/Apple/et al is inspiring and not entirely pointless, for the freedom to compute is enormously powerful. But as choices, these are likely as false as the Atari versus Commodore choice of old was. Or as false as the little Apple versus the big IBM was. And so on, through several iterations. We've thoroughly been there, thoroughly done that. It's probably not going to end up differently today if (since?) the script (unification of code versus unification in spirit, whatever that might mean in practice) is fundamentally the same. Or so it seems to me.
62 • The unifying factor (by DavidEF on 2012-11-16 16:26:29 GMT from United States)
We already have an underlying unification. We have a linux kernel with GNU tools. Almost every linux distro in existence uses GNU tools. I'd say that's unification enough for software developers to have no excuse. I am not a coder, but I can follow instructions to compile an application. Plus, we have packagers all over the place that would be willing to re-package a useful program into the format that their distro can install and use.
Developers don't have to target Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse, etc. individually. They can give us a way to compile or use their software in linux, and we can expand on that if we think it's useful to do so. Remember, there have always been applications for Windows or Mac that were not ported to the other (or to linux). Developers have their own reasons for this. The situation has improved drastically in recent years, but it has not been completely done away with, so linux is not being snubbed by developers because of a lack of unification.
In fact, there are some very well-written and useful applications that are available on linux and not on Windows or Mac and others that started on linux and later ported to Windows and Mac.
As I said before, we could use a little more "unification in spirit" and some cooperation among developers, packagers, maintainers, and users where appropriate. But, we don't need to insist that distros offer any common features, package formats, or software management interfaces. I can already exercise choice by using the distro that has what I want, or make one myself, if I have the time and talent to do so. Developers can already write applications for linux in a way that will be useful to the majority of users.
63 • Elementary OS (by DavidEF on 2012-11-16 16:41:04 GMT from United States)
Has anyone here used the new beta of Elementary OS? I read the official release announcement on their website. They claim to have added several of their own innovations to the Ubuntu base. If so, it is not just "another Ubuntu remix". Is it any good? I haven't had a chance to try it yet.
64 • Unification (by Jesse on 2012-11-16 17:42:05 GMT from Canada)
>> "We have a linux kernel with GNU tools. Almost every linux distro in existence uses GNU tools. I'd say that's unification enough for software developers to have no excuse. I am not a coder,"
That last part is quite telling. I am a coder and getting applications to work across multiple Linux distributions, especially complex apps, is a royal pain. Almost every major distro comes with different versions of different libraries, some of which are not compatible. Even little things like the version of GCC used can be the difference between a program running smoothly and crashing. This wouldn't be so bad, except each distro is a moving target. I often see issues where a program will work on Fedora X, but not Fedora X+1, or something will run on Ubuntu, but not Debian. It's not always an obvious thing like a package not compiling, sometimes software will build, but not run properly due to a different configuration or behaviour on the host OS.
One of Linux's greatest strengths is its diversity, no question. However, the lack of unity in that diversity, as an above poster pointed out, is a serious problem. As a developer I would love to see better standardization/coordination between the major distributions.
65 • @63 (by cflow on 2012-11-16 19:52:26 GMT from United States)
I am trying elementaryOS as you speak. :) I should tell you - it is almost a gtk+3 equivalent to an LXDE-using distro - only utterly beautiful. What I mean is that like LXDE, their "pantheon" desktop environment it is a completely different from the gnome shell - it just uses gtk+3 libraries. All the the components are completely modular - the panel, window manager, dock, system applets, and other programs can easily be switched out, much like you can do with the components of lxde. It also supposedly uses less ram than the other gtk3 desktop out there, and adds more performance. I have observed a little more performance compared to the gnome shell, fallback, unity, and kde - although I'm not sure how it fares against gtk+2 DE's.
The one major theme, however, is that this distro has extremely strict interface guidelines for it's applications. This part I consider a double-edged sword in the distro. For one thing, the apps are very well united and streamlined, and the aesthetics make elementary very wonderful to use. However, it ends up reinventing many apps, and they lack some features and functionality at the start - and they will always have to catch up with the features of mainstream apps - firefox vs. midori, and their music app "noise" vs. audacious or VLC, for example.
Note that there's still bugs - mostly in some of their apps. But for a beta release, I've had few other issues, once I switched those apps out. Put a minimize button by defualt, and I'd like it even more
66 • @64 Unification and @65 Elementary OS (by DavidEF on 2012-11-16 21:56:25 GMT from United States)
Well, then, I stand corrected. Thanks for setting me straight on that. As you said "That last part is quite telling." I'm obviously not a coder, and therefore everyone is free to ignore my opinion on the subject, or as you did, correct it.
Thanks for the info on Elementary OS. Maybe I will try it out.
67 • Austrumi 2.6.0 (by greg on 2012-11-18 14:24:57 GMT from United States)
Has anyone had any luck installing the new Austrumi 2.6.0. to a hard drive? I really like the themed desktops. I've gotten past the language change in the live cd, but after an install, it just won't boot up.
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