| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 486, 10 December 2012
Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The latest version of Linux Mint has been making the rounds. Version 14 of the popular Linux distribution may not come with many new features, but it has been gaining popular attention. This week Jesse Smith takes Mint and the MATE desktop for a spin to see what makes these projects so appealing. The arrival of Secure Boot has been a concern for many with a number of websites providing workarounds and suggestions on how to avoid getting locked in by Secure Boot's restrictions. Dell has come up with a timely solution and we cover that in this week's News section. This week we will also look at the current status of the Haiku project and we will discuss a book which talks about how to deal with malfunctioning Linux servers. We are also pleased to bring you a list of distributions released over the past week and a collection of news, reviews and podcasts from Around the Web. Here, at DistroWatch, we wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (23MB) and MP3 (34MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 14 "MATE"
Linux Mint is a distribution which has gained popularity over the past few years, largely due, I suspect, to the developers' practical approach. Mint's Main edition is based on the Ubuntu distribution, with a number of additional tools and repositories thrown in. Another aspect of Mint which has made it popular recently is the way the developers have stuck to traditional desktop styles, avoiding GNOME Shell and Unity. In place of those next generation desktops, Mint supplies MATE (a continuation of GNOME 2) and Cinnamon (a traditional desktop based on GNOME 3's code base).
Installation and first impressions
Linux Mint's Main edition is offered in two flavours, MATE and Cinnamon, and both editions are available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The project further branches out by offering all of their builds in two separate spins. One spin has a full range of codecs and non-free software, the other contains libre software only. For my trial I decided to download the 32-bit build featuring the MATE desktop and the full range of non-free packages.
A quick glance over the release notes reveals that many of the changes for Linux Mint 14 are subtractive ones. With this release Mint now requires CPUs that feature PAE support, Moonlight has been removed over stability concerns and Mint no longer provides CD-sized images -- all downloads are larger than 700MB. Further, we are warned there are known performance issues with some Intel video cards and a workaround is provided for people who need Intel graphics support. All of this might raise the question why we would want to try Mint 14? The answer is newer software. Mint is based on the recent Ubuntu 12.10 release, with all of the package updates that implies, and upgrades have been made to both the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments.
Booting from the Linux Mint media brings up the MATE desktop which is laid out in the classic style. Icons for browsing the file system and launching the system installer sit on the desktop. The application menu is placed in the lower-left corner of the display and the task manager lies across the bottom of the screen. The background is brightly lit and features the distribution's name and version number.
Linux Mint, being based on the Ubuntu repositories, uses the same installer. It's a nice, graphical installer and we can get through it mostly by simply clicking the "Next" button several times. Should we wish to, we can manually partition our hard drive and format partitions using the ext2/3/4. Btrfs, ReiserFS, XFS or JFS file systems. The installer also supports directory encryption for added security. After completing the install we are prompted to reboot the machine. The Mint distribution, by default, does not display anything on the screen while it boots. This makes for a uniform experience while booting across all video cards, but it also means we face a blank screen for a while with no sense of progress before we reach the graphical login screen.
Logging into the MATE desktop we are greeted by a welcome wizard which provides several helpful links, most of which lead us to documentation, forums, release notes or other parts of the Mint project's website. Shortly after dismissing this welcome screen a notification icon appeared in the system tray letting me know updates for the distribution were available. At the time when I installed Mint there were over 100 updates waiting to be downloaded, totalling a little over 200 MB in total size. Clicking on the update notification icon launches the Mint update manager. The manager has a fairly simple layout, displaying a list of all available package updates. For each package in the list we are provided with its current version number, the version number of the updated package in the repositories and a safety rating. A rating number of "1" lets us know the updated package has been tested by the developers and is considered safe. A rating of "5" indicates the package is known to not be safe and shouldn't be downloaded. This rating system allows us to filter packages and only apply updates thought to be reasonably stable.
As previously mentioned, the MATE desktop gives us a classic style interface, with a plain 2-D environment and no widgets. It also responds like a scared rabbit. It's really nice to use a desktop which reacts quickly to input and I found the desktop very pleasant to use. This plain, classic style does not extend to the application menu. Here we find the Mint Menu, which is revision of the GNOME 2 menus. The Mint Menu is divided into three parts or panels: Applications, Places and System. I always find myself mentally shifting gears to use the Mint Menu after using other distributions, but I find the adjustment is a quick one and I find myself enjoying the compact nature of the menu. I also like that the developers have provided a search box at the bottom of the menu which makes it easy to find items if we don't know their specific location.
Linux Mint 14 - the Mint menu
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Software management and hardware support
The Control Centre, like the Mint Menu, also features a well considered interface. We're provided with configuration items divided into categories such as Personal, Network, Hardware, System and Other, making it easy to find what we need. The Control Centre allows us to manage the look & feel of the system, manage user accounts and backup jobs, change accessibility options and configure printers and other hardware. We can also manage network shares, apply updates, block untrusted domains and enable/disable services from this panel. I found most of the controls were pretty self explanatory and the various tools worked well.
Out of the box Linux Mint comes with a useful collection of software. We're given the Firefox web browser, the LibreOffice productivity suite, the Pidgin instant messenger and Thunderbird for e-mail. The multimedia section is well stocked with Banshee, Totem, MPlayer and VLC. These players come with a full range of popular media codecs. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is included, along with a document viewer. There are small applications for editing text, managing archives and performing calculations. By default Firefox comes with the Flash plugin, we have a copy of Java on the system and developers will find the GNU Compiler Collection installed for them. To help users get on-line the Network Manager program is installed and runs by default. In the background Mint ships with the Linux kernel, version 3.5.
Linux Mint 14 - running various applications
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To help users in adding additional software to the system Linux Mint comes with two graphical package managers. The first is the Synaptic package manager, which features a plain, no-nonsense interface. Synaptic allows users to search for software, filter search results and perform complex batches of actions on packages. The other graphical package manager is called Mint Install. This manager comes with a more modern looking interface where users navigate through categories of packages by way of labelled icons. Clicking on a software package brings up details on that item along with a screen shot of the program in action. Software can be added or removed with the click of a button. With Mint Install actions to be performed are queued and performed while we continue to use the package manager. Whichever package manager we choose, Mint provides us with access to all of the software in the Ubuntu repositories, plus some repositories specific to Mint. This gives us access to over 40,000 packages in total.
Linux Mint 14 - working with packages and settings
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I tried running the latest version of Linux Mint on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found that the distribution ran quickly and smoothly. My screen was set to its maximum resolution and sound worked out of the box. I also experimented with the distribution in a VirtualBox virtual machine and found the results to be similarly good. The MATE edition of Mint uses around 180MB of memory while sitting idle at the desktop, making for a fairly small footprint considering the range of functionality provided. The only hardware issue I ran into was with regards to the video card. Mint, as with its Ubuntu base, will not boot on this hardware unless the kernel is given the "nomodeset" parameter.
Fans of other distributions don't like it when I say this, but I feel that Linux Mint is one of the few Linux distributions dedicated exclusively to a stable, friendly end-user desktop experience. There are a lot of great distributions out there, but few really focus all of their energy on the modern, consumer desktop market. Ubuntu has a Desktop and a Server edition, Fedora is very experimental, Debian tries to be "universal", Mageia and openSUSE have good desktop editions, but are really general purpose distributions. I could go on, but while lots of distributions have a desktop spin and there are lots of "light" distros and lots of niche distros and lots of general purpose projects, Mint is one of the very few that really focuses on what the general consumer will want, ignoring things like server re-spins and experimental goodies. And I think this is why Mint has gained such popularity and why people continue to donate money to the project: it caters to what many people want in a very practical way.
That was my general impression of Linux Mint 14 (MATE edition), everything pretty much "just worked" and, more importantly, worked the way I expected it to. The desktop was responsive, the default applications were well chosen for their tasks, the software manager is flexible, friendly and fast. Mint comes with a full range of codecs and Flash out of the box. Mint includes a compiler and Java and some of the latest hardware support available to Linux users. The desktop environment is stable and doesn't require 3-D support. Using Mint is usually a positive experience for me and this time was no exception. A big part of that is I can install the distribution in less than half an hour and then just start using the operating system without hunting down codecs or fiddling with repositories or switching to "fallback mode". The graphical interface is clean and stays out of the way, the Control Centre is well organized and offers good deal of customization and the OS comes with a good collection of default software. I'm quite happy with this latest version of Mint.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Dell and Canonical offer a new ultrabook, Haiku nears its first stable release and Seth Brown talks about GNU utilities
Over the past several months we've been hearing rumours about a collaboration between Canonical and Dell. This past week we finally got to see what had been growing behind the curtain. Dell unveiled the XPS 13 Laptop, a 13-inch ultrabook which comes with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS pre-installed. The new offering, which is primarily aimed at developers, is the result of a good deal of effort on Dell's part to make sure their hardware was properly supported with open source drivers. Ars Technica has a review of the new Dell/Ubuntu ultrabook that covers all the details.
Back in October the latest stable version of Ubuntu was released and that version contained a feature which would send users' search results to various third parties, most notably Amazon. Though this search feature can be disabled it runs by default and this has led some privacy activists, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to raise complaints. Now Richard Stallman is weighing in on Canonical's decision to enable on-line searches by default, saying "What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, `free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu,' that's much less powerful than saying, `free software won't spy on you.'" He goes on to urge users of GNU/Linux distributions to avoid using or recommending Ubuntu until Canonical changes its stance regarding on-line searches.
Meanwhile, over on the Canonical blog, Cristian Parrino responded to criticism of the default on-line search behaviour of the Unity Dash by stating: "Its raison d’etre is to provide Ubuntu users the fastest, slickest way to find things right from their home environment -- independent of whether those "things" are on your machine, available online, free or commercial. The music and video lenses in the Dash have queried online sources since their introduction, and we will continue to expand our online sources over the next releases."
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Haiku, the spiritual continuation of BeOS, may be nearing a stable release ready for the general public. The project has been slowly maturing over the past decade and, in recent years, alpha builds have been making the rounds. In an article posted on LWN Bruce Byfield takes the pulse of the Haiku project and finds it in good health. In fact, Haiku developer Ryan Leavengood suggests we may see a general release sometime in 2013. "'There are some people who use Haiku daily and get by with it,' Leavengood said, but he immediately admitted that 'usually they are those who came from BeOS and really like the system.' What is required for the general release is not hardware drivers, as some might expect. Thanks to a compatibility layer, FreeBSD drivers can be easily recompiled to support Haiku. Nor, with the increasing popularity of web applications, are productivity applications the problem they were a decade ago."
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One of the great things about a GNU/Linux system is the large collection of data manipulation tools which come with it. These utilities are highly powerful and flexible, allowing users to manipulate large amounts of text and numbers. In an informative blog post Seth Brown goes over a handful of the more commonly used utilities available to Linux and BSD users. In his post he shows us how we can use freely available utilities to inspect, reshape, enumerate, describe and visualize data using a few simple command line tools. It's well worth a read if you're in the habit of processing large amounts of information.
For some time now it has been possible to run a good deal of software designed for Windows on Linux through WINE. Now there is a new project, called Darling, which attempts to provide Linux users with a method of running software built for OS X. Darling provides a layer of OS X compatibility on top of Linux which should allow Linux users to enjoy software written for OS X, even if the source code for those applications is not available. Right now the Darling project is in its early stages, but it does look promising.
|Book Review (by Jesse Smith)
Book Review: DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices
A lot of what we need to know about the book "DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices" is right there in the title. It's fairly obvious right from the start we are not dealing with a book on bicycle repair. As the title suggests, Kyle Rankin's book deals with identifying and fixing common problems that occur on Linux servers and it supplies a range of suggestions on how to best go about dealing with a malfunctioning server. That's just a very short, general outline though, so let's take a look at the book's contents.
DOTLSBP starts us off with a list of chapters and a brief rundown of their contents. I like this extended form of a table of contents as it makes for a handy reference if we want to jump right into the middle of a particular subject. For example, if I'm interested in resolving DNS issues I can flip through the first couple of pages in the book until I find the bold title "Chapter 6: Why Won't the Hostnames Resolve? Solving DNS Server Issues". Under this heading are sub-categories such as "DNS Client Troubleshooting" and "DNS Server Troubleshooting", both of which are further broken down into more specific parts.
Once we get through the list of contents and some opening notes we do not jump straight into fixing broken servers. Instead Mr Rankin spends a chapter discussing the best ways to go about approaching malfunctioning infrastructure. He points out that people often have the urge to jump straight into the guts of an issue, but when a service is down it's usually best to form a plan of attack. He makes a number of suggestions about how to best approach running tests on an issue and how to coordinate troubleshooting in a team environment. A lot of Mr Rankin's advice falls under the category of what I like to call "common sense in hindsight". Reading through his book I think most people will find themselves nodding their heads and thinking, "Of course it should be done that way," even if they haven't before used the techniques presented in the text.
For instance, the book suggests coordinating a troubleshooting effort in such a way as to keep the entire IT team up to date on what has been tried and how long a fix is likely to take. This prevents overlap of effort and avoids confusion. The book also makes the point that any changes to server infrastructure and configuration should be documented so everyone knows when things changed and in what way. Both of these points sound like common sense, but I'm sure anyone who has worked on an IT team has encountered fellow workers who see a problem and dive in without communicating the issue to anyone. Perhaps we've even been that lone wolf IT person, changing things without letting others know. Mr Rankin reminds us and this sort of behaviour isn't ideal in the big picture.
After covering the human side of server troubleshooting we get into the technical aspects of keeping our Linux servers healthy. DOTLSBP assumes a certain level of comfort with Linux distributions in general and the command line in particular. The book makes the assumption that we have a little Linux experience under our belts and that we probably know how to do things like edit a configuration file and install packages. In some cases the book assumes we can set up a service, such as a web server, but we might not have experience in troubleshooting problems when the service goes off-line. A few months ago I reviewed "The Linux Command Line" which gives us an introduction to the Linux system and command line interface. That book generally assumes everything is working properly.
What DOTLSBP does is pick up where that book leaves off. It explains what can go wrong, how to figure out why things went wrong and how to fix them. In this text the author covers slow systems due to high CPU or disk load, troubleshooting network problems, figuring out why DNS doesn't work, looking at the many ways e-mail can fail, common web server problems and working with databases. The book also goes into hardware related problems and explains how to handle a server not booting and recovering from disk errors. At the end of the book there is a chapter on investigating the failure of specific hardware components including memory, a server's power supply and temperature-related issues.
There are several things I like about this book. The first is the author's approach to solving problems. He regularly starts out with the most simple, likely explanation and moves up the chain of possibilities from there. Each step in his troubleshooting guide has a clear objective and either confirms or rules out a group of potential problems. His approach is likely to save the system administrator a good deal of time. I also like that for each step the author explains what he is doing and why. The text then includes examples, usually two, one showing what the computer will do if the service is working and another showing what we might see if the service is not working. For example, in the section on DNS we are shown two instances of running the nslookup command. The first yields positive results:
$ nslookup web1
And the other is where something has gone wrong:
$ nslookup web1
We then move on to exploring what to do if we are faced with the output from the second example.
;; connection timed out; no servers could be reached
The third aspect of this book I appreciate is the author's little side notes. So much of troubleshooting server problems, indeed any problem, is experience. There are always bits of trivia that a person won't find in a manual, little "gotchas" that a person learns to look for only after months or years of working in the field. Mr Rankin throws in a number of these tips, for instance he discusses how to find a balance between having enough web server processes to handle heavy traffic, yet avoid having your web server spawn too many processes, eating into your memory and forcing the server to use swap space, which greatly slows down the entire system. The author adds these tips in a casual manner, but they are pearls of wisdom which will probably save junior system administrators headaches in the future.
Of course, no text can cover all of the things which can go wrong with a server. There are so many programs, distributions and configurations out there that no book can cover them all. DOTLSBP focuses on the more common services and the more common operating system related issues. In doing so I feel Mr Rankin has done a good job of laying down not just specific troubleshooting steps for a specific group of services, which are indeed useful, but he has also created a blueprint for troubleshooting in general. This book not only gives the reader specific examples and possible fixes, but also sets up a pattern for troubleshooting problems not covered in the book and I feel this may be the greater achievement here.
It's great to know how to hunt down problems with the Apache web server, but it's even better to know how to approach network service problems in general and that is what DOTNSBP gives us, a set of guidelines for troubleshooting which can be applied to a wide variety of problems. As stated above, the text does assume we have some basic system administration skills, this isn't an introduction to Linux system administration, it is a guide for dealing with things when they go wrong and the book does its job very well. If you are starting out as a new system administrator or if you plan to set up a Linux server to play with at home, then I recommend getting a copy of DOTLSBP and reading it before something stops working. This book will save you a good deal of time.
Title: DevOps Troubleshooting: Linux Server Best Practices
Author: Kyle Rankin
Published by: Addison-Wesley Professional
Length: 235 pages
Available from: InformIT, Amazon.com
|Released Last Week
Jeff Rizzo has announced the release of NetBSD 5.2, an updated version of the project's legacy branch: "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce that version 5.2 of the NetBSD operating system is now available. NetBSD 5.2 is the second feature update of the NetBSD 5.0 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed critical for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. Users running NetBSD 5.0.3 or earlier are encouraged to upgrade to either NetBSD 5.2 or NetBSD 6.0, depending upon their specific requirements. Please note that all fixes in security/critical updates (i.e. NetBSD 5.0.2, 5.1.2, etc.) are cumulative, so the latest update contains all such fixes since the corresponding minor release. These fixes will also appear in future minor releases (i.e. NetBSD 5.3, etc.), together with other less-critical fixes and feature enhancements." See the brief release announcement and the detailed release notes for more information.
Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko"
Barry Kauler has announced the release of Puppy Linux 5.4 "Slacko" edition, a small and lightweight distribution with packages "borrowed" from the latest Slackware Linux release: "It's out! Slacko is one of our flagship puppies, built with the latest Woof from Slackware 14.0 binary packages. It is all-puppy right through, with the advantage of binary compatibility with Slackware 14.0 and access to the Slackware package repositories. Changes: significant improvements in using the Aufs layered file system; improved automatic detection and configuration of analog and 3G modems; Samba printing issues resolved; the X.Org wizard has improved detection and configuration options; many improvements and bug fixes for boot-up and shut-down scripts...." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
Bridge Linux 2012.12
Dalton Miller has announced the release of Bridge Linux 2012.12, an Arch-based desktop Linux distribution available in four separate desktop flavours with GNOME 3.6, KDE 4.9.3, LXDE and Xfce: "Announcing Bridge Linux 2012.12. This time all the editions are released at the same time, because doing them separately was a mess. Update overview: fixed the /etc/hosts file; switched to systemd; switched from ConsoleKit to Polkit; installer now changes the locale settings on the installed system based on selection at beginning of installation; added Russian, Italian, Czech, Spanish and Catalan translations; updated (U)EFI boot method; updated configuration options and only run mkinitcpio once; use xdg-user-dirs to create personal directories (documents, etc.) with proper icons; minor application changes." Here is the brief release announcement.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of ZevenOS 5.0, a Xubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the Xfce desktop environment and a BeOS-like desktop theme: "I am proud to announce the release of ZevenOS 5.0 and thank you all for funding this release. In this release we made the switch from our deskbar tool to the Xfce panel 'deskbar' mode which introduces many new features, like extensible plugin support and the ability to configure your desktop. This release is based on Xubuntu 12.10 and is compatible with the Ubuntu repositories; it brings in many changes, such as Linux kernel 3.5, X.Org 7.7 and PulseAudio 2.1. Changes: OpenShot 1.4.3 with YouTube upload support and a lot more features; AbiWord 2.9.2, the current edge of development; Audacity 2.0, Claws-Mail 3.8.1, Firefox 17, GIMP 2.8, Inkscape 0.48." Here is the brief release announcement with an embedded video.
ZevenOS 5.0 - a Linux distro for BeOS enthusiasts
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Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.12
Anke Boersma has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.12, the fourth update of the project's "Claire" series featuring the latest KDE desktop: "With this fourth and final 'Claire' release (a code name that followed the KDE SC 4.9 series and dedicated to the memory of Claire Lotion), the Chakra project team would like to make this final ISO announcement of the year, and also report on the state of the project. With this release we offer: KDE 4.9.4; Linux kernel 3.6.6 (3.0.43 optional); DVD image, including all locales and a nice selections of applications; Kapudan, Chakra's desktop greeter and all-round first setup tool; artwork theme called 'Dharma'; the latest GRUB 2.00, including graphical Dharma theme, Qt 4.8.4; enhancements to Chakra tools; updated systemd, kmod, mkinitcpio, file system, latest proprietary graphics drivers; the latest toolchain with GCC 4.7.2, updated libpng, libtiff and glew stack." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
A new version of Comfusion, a desktop Linux distribution that combines Ubuntu with LXDE and Compiz Fusion in order to deliver some of the best 3D desktop effects available anywhere, has been released: "Now available for download, the new version of Comfusion. New in this version: added full MATE desktop 1.4.2 (GNOME 2 desktop clone, seamlessly integrates with Compiz in Comfusion 4); added wbar with Token icons, individualized for each session; wbarconf, wbar configurator; TvenLinux, a script to view our online TV on Linux, also able to show programming; updated the Skype installer to install the latest version; Picapy, an excellent image manager for Picasa Web; Darktable, a free alternative to Adobe Lightroom for Comfusion 4; Launchy, a simple application launcher for Comfusion 4; Angry Bots, a shooter game with a new game engine Unity3D; added Apt-Fast, faster downloads; added Xscroll Overlays, a modern bar like in the latest Ubuntu." Here is the full release announcement.
ArchBang Linux 2012.12
Stan McLaren has announced the release of ArchBang Linux 2012.12, a new stable version of the project's lightweight desktop distribution based on Arch Linux: "ArchBang Linux 2012.12 is out in the wild. If you are already running ArchBang smoothly on your system then you don’t need to install the new release. This 2012.12 release is a full systemd version with our latest set of minimal packages and Openbox for the competent Linux user. A few changes for this release: Linux kernel 3.6.8; GnomishDark theme with Shakey-Stapler-Dark widget; updated Openbox menu; dbus-launch removed. ArchBang still plans to have four major releases per year. Due to upgrades and improvements to the Arch Linux system, ArchBang will continue to release unofficial test images between official releases to address changes and prevent excessive workarounds in installing and updating newly installed systems." Here is the brief release announcement
ArchBang Linux 2012.12 - Arch Linux combined with Openbox
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Toorox 11.2012 "GNOME"
Jörn Lindau has announced the release of Toorox 11.2012 "GNOME" edition, a Gentoo-based distribution and live DVD featuring the GNOME 3.6 desktop environment: "A new version of the GNOME edition is finished and is ready for download. It is based on the Linux kernel 3.5.7. This edition now provides support for 11 languages. It contains the latest GNOME 3.6.2, X.Org Server 1.12.4, Mesa 9.0.1, LibreOffice 220.127.116.11, GIMP 2.8.2, Wine 1.5.17 and the Chromium 24.0.1312.14 web browser. All packages have been updated. Toorox 11.2012 is available as 32-bit and 64-bit images and can be burnt on DVD, but you can also create an USB pen drive from the image file. The following applications have been tested successfully: Linux Live USB Creator and UNetbootin." Here is the brief release announcement.
Ferdinand Thommes has announced the final release of siduction 12.2.0, a desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's unstable branch and offering four separate editions with KDE, LXDE, Razor-qt and Xfce desktops: "We are very happy to present to you the final release of siduction 2012.2 - Riders on the Storm. Siduction is a full live distribution with an integrated installer, based on Debian's unstable branch, and we try to release snapshots quarterly. The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable from 2012-12-09. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom-patched version of the Linux kernel 3.6.9, accompanied by X.Org Server 1.12.4." Read the detailed release notes for a list of recent changes and bug fixes.
siduction 12.2.0 - an enhanced snapshot of Debian "unstable" with KDE
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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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November 2012 DistroWatch.com donation: LFTP|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the November 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is LFTP, an open-source FTP and HTTP client. It receives US$250.00 in cash.
Developed by Alexander V. Lukyanov, LFTP is described as a "sophisticated file transfer program with command line interface. It supports FTP, HTTP, FISH, SFTP, HTTPS and FTPS protocols. GNU Readline library is used for input." Additionally, "every operation in LFTP is reliable, that is, any non-fatal error is handled and the operation is retried automatically. So if downloading breaks, it will be restarted from that point automatically. Even if the FTP server does not support the REST command, LFTP will try to retrieve the file from the very beginning until the file is transferred completely. This is useful for dynamic IP machines which change their IP addresses quite often, and for sites with very bad Internet connectivity. If you exit LFTP when some jobs are not finished yet, LFTP will move itself to 'nohup' mode in the background. The same happens when you have a real modem hang-up or when you close an xterm." Many other interesting notes and features can be found on the project's description page.
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$33,685 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), LFTP ($250)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 December 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 • monthly donations (by Alessandro di Roma on 2012-12-10 09:30:18 GMT from Italy) |
Sometimes you can send some money to Remastersys, it allows to easily build your custom distro starting from any *buntu installation. After burning the DVD, your distro can be launched in live mode or installed on hard disk. The best of its category!
2 • Mint Mate (by silent on 2012-12-10 09:33:07 GMT from France)
Mint Mate is good. Mint is based on Ubuntu, so presumably Ubuntu is good as well, isn't it? Actually, it is quite easy to install the Mate Desktop (and Mint Menu) for Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora and some other distros (see http://wiki.mate-desktop.org/download), although for Arch Linux there are some conflicts with gnome packages.
3 • Regarding Ubuntu, spying and RTS's accusations (by Kevin A. on 2012-12-10 10:29:05 GMT from United States)
I thought that all this "spying" from from the program Zeitgeist, which is a GNOME 3 deal, and not Ubuntu's doing? And if that is the case, it is wrong to harass Ubuntu about all that, especially of "spying". It has been in Ubuntu's last two releases in the Settings menu, the icon for "Privacy" is there where Zeitgeist can be turned off or customised and I assume the Amazon debacle can easily be disabled there as well. Anyone agree here? In other words, perhas Stallman should give the GNOME developers some flak instead of Canonical.
4 • Linux Mint 14 MATE (by tdockery97 on 2012-12-10 10:49:50 GMT from United States)
Mint 14 MATE is a worthy successor to the traditional Gnome 2 desktop. A major factor in the success of Mint is the fact that the developers seek and consider user's input and needs during the development process, making the distro's popularity well deserved.
5 • Re: Regarding Ubuntu, spying and RTS's accusations (by Henrique Rodrigues on 2012-12-10 11:56:39 GMT from Portugal)
Zeitgeist's information is kept private, only you have access to it. Ubuntu's search, on the other hand, is shared with online retailers by default. Worse than that, although the queries are encrypted, a malicious users that is sniffing your network can easily get to your queries by looking at the non-encrypted data that results from your queries, like images. This is a known issue and Ubuntu has done nothing to mitigate it.
Zeitgeist and Ubuntu search are completely different beasts.
6 • Re: 3, Regarding Ubuntu, spying and RTS's accusations (by FipRadioFan on 2012-12-10 11:57:46 GMT from France)
> ... and I assume the Amazon debacle can easily be disabled there as well. Anyone agree here?
I don't agree. Being able to turn off a malicious software feature that's turned on by default isn't good enough as such opt-out strategies are clearly designed to keep lazy and ignorant users "in". I find this absolutely unacceptable.
This is what RMS says about this in his FSF blog:
Ubuntu allows users to switch the surveillance off. Clearly Canonical thinks that many Ubuntu users will leave this setting in the default state (on). And many may do so, because it doesn't occur to them to try to do anything about it. Thus, the existence of that switch does not make the surveillance feature ok.
7 • Linux Mint 14 (by PJTharsaile on 2012-12-10 12:11:11 GMT from Ireland)
I have used Ubuntu on and off for a few years, always on a second computer while still running Windows (7 now). For a few releases I have been waiting for Unity to get better. Lately I tried to install 12.10 on an Asus E45m-1m pro board. Even 2D graphics seemed slow so I tried and failed to get proprietary drivers working. I tried Mint just to see if it would feel any snappier (it did, more about which in a moment). I was pleasantly surprised by Cinnamon, by the software updater, by mintBackup and by the overall customisability--themes, apps etc.
I have decided to switch to Mint.
MATE never appealed to me and Cinnamon, from what I had read, was a work in progress. It seems very polished now.
As soon as I installed it (I am not suggesting a connection) I noticed that Ubuntu had slipped to nr 3 on the Distrowatch table. I know it's not a reliable indicator of popularity or of anything other than a certain buzz factor. I get that Unity will work someday on touchscreen devices but for now, for my desktop, is Mint. With Cinnamon on top. (Where did these names originate? A coffee shop?)
Mint used Gallium 0.4 on AMD, Ubuntu defaulted to VESA Wrestler (but switched to Gallium when Catalyst was uninstalled). It is a frustrating that the driver support for this v nice little board is so bad (I have bought a silent PSU and just want a silent always-on box that is economical to run). it's FIVE years since I bought a board (Abit F190-HD) on which I could run Windows with 1080p video using an on board graphics chip set.
Which reminds me that Canonical's compatible hardware database is a joke. The Mint Community version looks a lot better, but it too is a fraction of what it should be. Can't these things be brought together somehow? I know that Lenovo alone has sold a gazillion laptops with the AMD E45 chip set and I can't believe none of the buyers would like to run Linux.
Time for someone to launch a "Penguin Friendly" logo?
8 • @3 Ubuntu spying (by DavidEF on 2012-12-10 12:31:25 GMT from United States)
I'm not sure if you're right or not. I haven't bothered to research it. I agree the "privacy" issue of it has been way overblown. I don't think an "online resource" search mechanism automatically qualifies as "spyware". If it did, then there are much worse forms of "spyware" than that in almost every system! What it all comes down to is user choice. I agree that it should be opt-in rather than opt-out. It could be an install-time option, even. Different users will have different opinions and different "paranoia" levels. There's nothing wrong with that. That's why we have distros like Tails, all the way back to distros like Puppy which runs as root. There is always a trade-off between security, privacy, etc. and "user-friendliness". The more you have on one side, the less you get of the other.
I turned off "online resource" search simply because it got in my way. I've been using web browsers to search online resources and desktop search for searching my files and such for long enough that I've grown accustomed to doing it a certain way. The way the online search has been integrated into the system has not been helpful to me. So, I simply don't use it. However, I can believe that some will find it useful, and I don't see a problem with making it available.
OTOH, let me back up a little and say that we who are not so paranoid should nevertheless appreciate the ongoing diligence of those who are. People like RMS help guard our freedoms by alerting us to possible breaches. At the end of the day, I decide what goes on my machine, but to a degree I depend on others to help me discern whether something is safe for me or not. I don't have to be as diligent, if they do some of the work for me. I can apply their wisdom, or at least have it as a reference for making a more knowledgeable decision. I just have to remember how far down the scale they are, and take what they say with a grain of salt sometimes.
9 • Mint Mate (by MyNameDoesNotMatter on 2012-12-10 12:52:00 GMT from Switzerland)
Thanks a lot for the Mint 14 Mate review! I also appreciate Mint Mate, fot it is more user-friendly than Ubuntu. Especially Ubuntu's "Start menu" (dash) is very confusing. I've hoped that Ubuntu's developers will realise this, but instead, with version 12.10, they made the dash even more unclear with the inclusion of on-line (Amazon) search results.
10 • Mint 14 review (by DavidEF on 2012-12-10 12:57:11 GMT from United States)
I suppose it should be expected that MATE will be much different from Cinnamon, and the systems will function much differently as well. Also, different hardware almost assures a different experience (still? in 2012?) So, with that in mind, let me say that my testing of Mint 14 hasn't been quite as smooth as Jesse's
I had installed Mint 12 on my wife's laptop because she much prefers the traditional style desktop. I've used it some myself, but never got into it. On my laptop, I've had Ubuntu installed since I first bought the laptop 4 years ago. I upgraded to 12.10 and found a few glitches and regressions. The Gallium driver is unimpressive, and I had just a little bit of trouble installing the proprietary Nvidia driver, for instance. I've also had some ongoing system issues, like random pop-ups advising of "a system crash" that had happened. I knew my hard drive had been on the way out for a while, but 12.04 didn't have these issues, so I wasn't sure what was going on. Then, Mint 14 came out and I decided to try it. I installed the Cinnamon version, because I happen to like having some 3d effects on my desktop, and I thought the "traditional" look of Cinnamon might be a little more modern than the actual Gnome 2 fork called MATE.
Well, I don't see the "system crash" boxes popping up all the time any more, and the Gallium driver is still running in Mint and seems to be doing okay. But, all is not perfect. There are still some glitches here and there. Programs sometimes lock up or crash unexpectedly. Cinnamon in Mint 14 is very modern looking, but when I tried to change the desktop theme, the notification icons blew up to a huge size in the taskbar, so that only a portion of each icon was visible. (They were "cut off" by the taskbar, so the part that "hung off" the taskbar didn't show.)
So, I wonder if anyone else has used Mint 14 in either the MATE or Cinnamon version, or even tried both. I'd like to know if these issues are Cinnamon (or Gnome 3 base) specific, Mint specific (MATE and Cinnamon), Ubuntu inherited, or if my hardware is the problem. I've had issues with this laptop in the past. Some of the issues have been fixed so far, and some have been fixed in a release or two, then came back as regressions.
11 • Darling (by Chris on 2012-12-10 13:01:14 GMT from Australia)
Look forward to trying darling. I have recently tried Oracle Virtual Box - very good installation and works ok ..but. the let down with Virtual box is the shared folder, it apparently works with some operating systems. One way round this is to update patiently try to update the browser, I tried opera 8.54 instead, which enabled me to upload data into email or blog to then download into the installed operating system.
12 • Mint 14 (by kc1di on 2012-12-10 13:12:39 GMT from United States)
Thanks again Jesse for good review. I use both mint 13 & 14 here and prefer mate my self but then I don't do much fancy stuff. Just normal work and mate works great for me. For me this was one of the best upgrades ever. Now if I could only find a good webpage program Like kompozer that has been drop from Ubuntu and Mint because it's not being developed any longer. I've tried Blue Griffon but would prefer something that is supported by the distro.
anyway thanks for the review.
13 • Mint 14 (by Jordan on 2012-12-10 13:15:20 GMT from United States)
Just read the rather warm review of Mint 14. I always got rid of the Mints I've tried because of strange behaviors and crashes in the various menus. I use an HP Pavilian m7 for distros, with nice specs.
Wondering if the 64 bit version causes problems (this is a 64 bit machine).
Anyway, the 64 bit release of Vector Linux caused me to shy away from much more experimenting with distros (Zorin being a notable exception). That review did tempt me, though. ;)
14 • UNIX data manipulation (by hayden on 2012-12-10 13:29:24 GMT from United States)
For decades I have used |STAT which runs on Unix and DOS -- have not tried to get it working in Linux. Google "unixstat".
15 • @10 (by Raj on 2012-12-10 13:32:09 GMT from India)
"the notification icons blew up to a huge size in the taskbar"
The problem is with the one of theme setting,
to clear the problem
go to settings->panel->and tick use customized panel size and tick allow cinnamon to scale panel text and icons according to panel heights this restore the icons back to correct size
16 • packages? (by greg on 2012-12-10 13:55:51 GMT from Slovenia)
"This gives us access to over 40,000 packages in total."
Access to how many programes in repositories is that?
@ 12 wikipedia has a nice list of various editors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_HTML_editors
Blue fish is nice.
17 • Mint (by Arkanabar on 2012-12-10 14:09:11 GMT from United States)
I have some quibbles with Mint. MintUpdate won't install available kernel updates in the repositories. Neither does MintInstall, that I've ever found. And Synaptic is modified to not include the "Mark All Upgrades" button. It is primarily in Mint that I find myself opening a terminal by default to run updates.
18 • Mint 12 (by Willie on 2012-12-10 14:21:43 GMT from United States)
I'm using Mint 12 because it is the only supported version that I can still install from a CD. My hardware is pretty old and only has a cd and can't boot from a usb stick. Support ends in April 2013 so I don't know what I'm going to do. I may have to switch to a different distribution all together. I'm very happy with Mint but they seem to be cutting off a lot of people with the larger newer versions.
19 • Dell for the rest of us (by Leo on 2012-12-10 14:26:54 GMT from United States)
The developer ultrabook is great for hardcore professional coding, but I thought I'd point out other Dell lappies with Ubuntu (no MS tax, you can install other distros). Just go to Dell.com, choose the small business section in the front page, and then choose Laptops. You can filter by OS, and choose Linux. Right now, they have a 14inch and a 15 inch, starting at 1/5 of the the price of the ultrabook. I am thinking of getting one of these
I have bought, in the past, ubuntu laptops from dell, twice: a 9 inch netbook and a 13 inch ultra thin. In both cases, I've been very happy with the value i got, and with the customer support when I needed it (tip, don;t call them, just use the chat system).
I am not associated in any ways with Dell, but I think it is important that we buy Linux preinstalled hardware, to send the message that there is a market out there.
Hope this helps!
20 • #19 - Dell or Chromebook (by Andy Prough on 2012-12-10 15:00:03 GMT from United States)
I just got my first Chromebook, and I think it might be a better value in some cases than a Dell or other system pre-loaded with Ubuntu. The Chromebook runs a specialized version of Gentoo, and can be put into Dev mode for access to the Linux underbelly. Also, Ubuntu and other distros can be booted from a usb drive. For $249 its quite an interesting little piece of hardware.
21 • @15 Icons to taskbar, and oh yeah, printing! (by DavidEF on 2012-12-10 15:06:13 GMT from United States)
I did try that. It worked right away, but when I rebooted the next time, it had reverted back. I tried to set it again, and it didn't take at all that time. I'm not sure what happened. I tried different themes, and none of them fixed it, until I hit the button to revert everything to system defaults. I don't mind using the default theme. It is visually appealing, but I was trying out alternatives.
I was really just pre-testing the new Mint, to see if there was any reason to upgrade my wife's laptop, but I thought that if I liked it, I might keep it on mine too. It does seem marginally better than the default Ubuntu 12.10 experience, but since Ubuntu is what I'm used to, and I happen to like Unity and the dash, I may switch back.
Also, forgot to mention, Mint makes it difficult to install network printing, at least for me. My wife's laptop is the only one physically connected to the printer. I can't seem to get printing to work from my laptop. Hers is running Mint 12, and mine has had Ubuntu and Mint 14 on it. When our desktop computer that was running Ubuntu was the one physically connected to the printer, all was fine. But, the power supply went out on it, and I haven't replaced it, since we have laptops we can use. So, my wife is using the office desk to do her computing, and the printer is connected there.
I think I might just switch all of the computers back to Ubuntu, so we can get real stuff done. I've tried to like Mint, and there are some various improvements compared to Ubuntu, especially if you prefer traditional desktop computing. But, as I've said before, every OS is a compromise. There is no perfect OS (or distro) yet. Ubuntu currently fits my computing style better than any of the others. YMMV.
22 • Ubuntu and search (by Jesse on 2012-12-10 15:11:47 GMT from Canada)
Something I found this morning that struck me as interesting was a blog post by a Canonical developer. He claims all of RMS claims are "FUD" and alarmist. Though he doesn't refute any of the points raised. He goes on to say than any people who do not like the on-line search feature will find it "dead easy" to turn off. This is something we've been hearing a lot from Ubuntu's team, that it is so easy to disable on-line search. Fair enough. But if that is true, isn't the reverse also true? Couldn't the feature be opt-in and it would be, as the developer said, "dead easy" for people who want on-line search to enable it? Why not be secure and support privacy by default if the switch is so easy?
I think Canonical is aware many of their users will not know about how the feature works and will not know how to change it. And they are taking advantage of that fact.
23 • Linux Mint Kernel Updates (by jaycee on 2012-12-10 15:12:32 GMT from Australia)
It is possible to apply kernel updates in Linux Mint through mintUpdate - simply enable level 4 and 5 updates, and ensure the kernel packages are ticked for updating. :)
24 • MATE desktop? (by DavidEF on 2012-12-10 15:15:57 GMT from United States)
Has anyone else used the MATE desktop? Can you confirm that it is stable and smooth? If so, I might still upgrade my wife's laptop from Mint 12 to 14, with MATE. I think hers is using Cinnamon right now. Her laptop could benefit from the speed, stability and low resource usage Jesse talked about, as it is several years old, and no longer in its prime.
25 • Plop (by geezergeek on 2012-12-10 15:25:15 GMT from United States)
No.18 Willie you could use"Plop" it is a boot program that will boot from a CD and allow you to boot from a usb stick on computers that don't natively boot from usb.
Also as for Unity ,I just drag shortcuts from the dash to the desktop for the programs I use the most. Makes it more bearable.
26 • Mint (by rop on 2012-12-10 15:38:49 GMT from Spain)
Linux Mint developers have been able to create the perfect distro for linux newbies (LM is really user friendly), and for veterans who really missed the late Gnome 2.
I am a Debian user, but when my 80 yr old father asked me to reinstall Windows XP in his computer. what I did was to install this Linux Mint MATE. Now my father is really happy with the performance of his old computer. So thanks all the Mint team for your nice work
27 • More on Plop (by Geezergeek on 2012-12-10 16:00:11 GMT from United States)
Plop will also fit on a floppy disk . It also allows you to boot a distro from usb to Virtual Box
Very handy program:}
28 • Mate Desktop (by Almin on 2012-12-10 16:01:40 GMT from Germany)
I used Mate on Arch Linux and it is indeed stable. I didn't have any unexpected behaviour. It doesn't differ from good old Gnome 2. What is even more interesting about the screenshots is the nice default-theme that Linux Mint seems to have.
29 • Re: #20 (by Leo on 2012-12-10 16:04:40 GMT from United States)
(I typed an answer but it didn;t go through, I'll make it shorter this time)
Doesn't the whole process of booting to dev mode and then waiting for the confirmation that this is an unofficial OS make it slow and painful to dual boot? Thanks!
30 • @22 (by cflow on 2012-12-10 16:58:02 GMT from United States)
"Couldn't the feature be opt-in and it would be, as the developer said, "dead easy" for people who want on-line search to enable it? Why not be secure and support privacy by default if the switch is so easy?"
Somehow, I find this type of argument to just deflect Canonical's argument back at them, and I've seen this tactic used in many religious arguments. This means polarizing the entire conversation about the issues at hand, like this one on shopping lens: "You either _must_ be for privacy for turning it off, or against privacy by letting it stay."
The thing is, according to the company, they also anonymize the information they get from you. That is, no one will really know which computer's results out of millions out there is which, so no company can really figure out the results that a specific computer will host, unless there are real security breaches in the servers themselves. That's compared to _lots_ of search engines and other websites, which track your system _directly_ with cookies and other "spyware" without anyone knowing it. This might be what Canonical means by maintaining "privacy" upon its use.
"I think Canonical is aware many of their users will not know about how the feature works and will not know how to change it. And they are taking advantage of that fact."
Yet like you said, they said that they will make it "dead easy" to switch it off. You're now accusing them of making it hard for users to turn it off, just by obliviousness sake? That's now a pretty extreme view on pro-privacy. Now we should make Firefox never remember history, remove all tracking search engines, and warn about every single cookie entering the system by default - because many will never be able to turn them off otherwise from obliviousness. Whether or not that's a bad thing can be subjective too.
Now personally, I don't think Canonical will bow down to arguments against the lens being on by default, but I think there should be a compromise: while the lens is on by default, in the installer they can show the terms and conditions of the lens, and give users the option to control which engines should be on or not. This kind of choice might remove all the polarized arguments about privacy in the web, and void the "oblivious" factor you suggest.
31 • Ubuntu search (by Jesse on 2012-12-10 17:49:50 GMT from Canada)
>> "The thing is, according to the company, they also anonymize the information they get from you."
This is not, strictly speaking, true. When you type something into the Unity Dash your search is transmitted to Canonical's servers over a secure connection, they then forward your search terms (supposedly minus the IP address) to their partners. The Canonical server then sends the results back to your computer. Now here is the important part. Your computer then makes insecure connections to those partners and requests things like album cover art or book cover images. The third-party service (such as Amazon) now has your IP address and a pretty good idea of your search terms because they know what images you are downloading. For that matter so does anyone listening to your insecure network connection.
The third party can easily connect your IP address with your search terms and so can anyone else on your network. That is not at all anonymous.
>> "Yet like you said, they said that they will make it "dead easy" to switch it off. You're now accusing them of making it hard for users to turn it off, just by obliviousness sake?"
No, I'm saying I think they default the feature to being "on" because they know many people won't think about it. And I think they know most people would not enable the feature if it wasn't on by default. Their argument is that it is easy to switch the feature off, but why do they not accept the reverse must also then be true?
>> "Now we should make Firefox never remember history, remove all tracking search engines, and warn about every single cookie entering the system"
Firefox is a program which must be manually launched and is designed to communicate with remote sites. Users have no reason to expect Firefox searches to be limited to the local host. The Dash is built into the desktop and is primarily designed to search locally. Plus, I'd like to point out that European website do, by law, have to inform users when they use tracking cookies. So, yes, users are warned about cookies entering the system.
32 • Darling and Ubuntu spyware (by Itchy on 2012-12-10 18:41:41 GMT from Luxembourg)
1.- I think Darling is a great idea. Provided that MacOSX is based on Darwin and Darwin in BSD, I guess it should be easier to achieve good MacOSX emulation in Linux than it is with MS Windows. So, in principle, I would expect that Darling should be far less problematic than Wine.
2.- MS Windows + preinstalled Spyware = Malware; Apple + preinstalled Spyware = Malware; Linux + preinstalled Spyware = Malware. Ergo, Ubuntu is now malware.
33 • Ubuntu spyware? (by DavidEF on 2012-12-10 19:16:43 GMT from United States)
I don't believe Ubuntu's Dash feature is spyware any more than searching from a browser is spyware. It may be an unwanted and/or poorly implemented feature (ie crapware), but not spyware. I do agree it should be opt-in. RMS seems to believe that a one-time opt-in isn't good enough, and it should be manually selected by the user "IF" and "each time" the user wants the functionality. I don't go that far. A one-time opt-in at install time should suffice. I turned it off because it was interfering with my normal searches in Dash. It does seem half-baked. But to call it spyware is to say that its primary purpose is malicious. Some might believe that to be true. I don't
34 • @22 (by cflow on 2012-12-10 19:21:02 GMT from United States)
>>Your computer then makes insecure connections to those partners and requests things like album cover art or book cover images.
I found that as a confirmed bug ranked "high" in their bug tracker. Whether or not they will ever fix it, I don't know. But they called it a security issue. I didn't think this problem was intentionally enforce.
>>No, I'm saying I think they default the feature to being "on" because they know many people won't think about it. And I think they know most people would not enable the feature if it wasn't on by default. Their argument is that it is easy to switch the feature off, but why do they not accept the reverse must also then be true?
This goes back to my original point: You're only deflecting the argument back at Canonical, completely uncompromising on the idea that no matter what they'll do for it in 13.04, they _must_ turn off the feature that they believe is a huge part of the dash in the first place. That's not a good argument to really persuade them to do any measures to ease the pain.
Now, this is not to always agree that what Canonical is doing is correct. It is more to looking at the true issues that the lens can face - like that bug you mentioned - and make sure they are settled in a way that is both comfortable to both users and Canonical. Not that I shop much online myself...
35 • My definition of spyware (by John Dough on 2012-12-10 19:24:15 GMT from Canada)
any process or software that allows or sends data of ANY kind to a 3rd party without the user's knowledge or consent, period, regardless of content.
36 • Ubuntu is spyware, period. (by mz on 2012-12-10 20:52:19 GMT from United States)
I may not always agree with RMS, but he hit the nail on the head this time. If Canonical wanted to respect their users then the first thing they should have done was include a screen in their installer that displayed the following options & info:
"Would you like to help fund Ubuntu by receiving search ads in the Dash?
( ) Yes ( ) No thanks"
Of course the fact that looking for local data on your personal machine also means sending your searches everywhere is also a massive privacy violation. I also read somewhere that these searches are relatively trivial to track back to their source. If a person looks for a personal letter called 'cancer treatment.odt', could that information be valuable to someone working for a healthcare company who can still exclude people from coverage due to 'preexisting conditions'? That scenario may be very unlikely, but there are still huge numbers of ways in which sending out info about whats on _personal_ computers can violate privacy. This means the feature should also be separated from local searches. The fact is that Canonical made fairly weak efforts to shield the privacy of their users, and put privacy violations in unexpected places. The defaults are terrible, and despite whatever good Canonical did in the past, the fact is they are shoving your data out to the web by default.
The other thing that this reminds me of is what a piece of garbage Dash is as a GUI menu. It makes a lot of sense to create such a clunky menu if you want to force people to search by default. It's also rather insidious to get people accustomed to search by default for a few releases & then use that to shove ads in their face. I think they could have found other sources of revenue, I mean if Mint got search money from Yahoo & Duck Duck Go, couldn't Canonical have gotten Google? Given how easy it was for Mozilla to start a bidding war between MS & Google over their search box, I think that Canonical could have easily found a way to make search money with out exposing the nether regions of your PC to the world.
PS here is a link showing how hard GNOME 3 & Unity make it to open a program from a freaking GUI interface:
If that junky menu isn't designed to force you to search I don't know what is.
37 • Mint (by claudecat on 2012-12-10 21:07:08 GMT from United States)
Haven't tried Mint 14 yet, but will as soon as the KDE version is released. I find both MATE and Cinnamon pretty good (certainly usable) but not quite up to the standard set by previous Mint releases that used good old gnome2. That said, I've found Mint KDE to be better, but still not the greatest KDE implementation (I find some system settings reverting back to defaults randomly - double-click mousing and font sizes to be exact).
On the other hand, Kubuntu 14 is quite good - MUCH better than Ubuntu 12.10, and not saddled with the dreaded Amazon-search lens thing. I'm recommending Kubuntu now for linux newcomers - at least until I see improvement in Mint 14's KDE. It's a one-time thing to install restricted-extras, synaptic and vlc, which to me are the main benefits of Mint KDE.
A part of me wishes Mint would just default to KDE and end the confusion/fragmentation engendered by the gnome3 debacle. As valuable as MATE and especially Cinnamon are, I have doubts as to whether either will gain as much traction as KDE and Gnome 2 have/had. I prefer Xfce to either of these newer gnome flavors and would use it exclusively if not for KDE.
38 • @17: Arkanaber (by dragonmouth on 2012-12-10 21:42:40 GMT from United States)
If you don't mind using CLI, you can use "apt-get" to update/upgrade Mint.
Or you can install "smxi" (from smxi.org) and it will guide you through updates/upgrades, including kernels.
39 • RE:18 (by greg on 2012-12-10 21:49:24 GMT from United States)
Plopboot,as others say, is one way to install dvd sized distros, using a usb. Unetbootin is another way to go. If either of these ways don't work for you, say because of your computers RAM,or something else, then look at Distrowatch's "Distribution Category" for "Old Computers". Might I suggest VectorLinux if you are looking for a somewhat fully- featured distro. The others work great, also.
40 • @38 dragonmouth (by miks on 2012-12-10 22:25:25 GMT from United Kingdom)
"Or you can install "smxi" (from smxi.org) and it will guide you through updates/upgrades, including kernels."
Sorry dragonmouth, but smxi only supports true debian based distros - so Mint 14 is not supported - from the website:
smxi is an interactive script designed to help people maintain their systems. It supports Debian (Stable, Testing, and Sid) and true Debian based distros (such as, but not limited to, AntiX, Aptosid, Epidemic, Linux Mint Debian [LMDE], Mepis). It does not support Ubuntu based distros because there are too many differences between Debian and Ubuntu.
41 • Re: #20 (by Leo on 2012-12-10 22:53:59 GMT from United States)
Hi Andy! Is that the 11.6 inch Samsung ARM? I am considering that for my son, and I really like the ultra-thin, long battery life, no moving parts design. Definitely lovely hardware.
But I've been looking in youtube. Loading other OS's is a PITA. Not only it takes time to do the install because Google make it difficult. But also, loading dev mode in order to dual boot, forces you to wait a long time, and then click on a pop up that asks you to confirm that you understand you are loading a non-safe OS, right? Isn't that a PITA, as well?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!
42 • #29, #41 (by Andy Prough on 2012-12-11 01:05:43 GMT from United States)
Hi Leo, yes it's the new 11.6 inch Samsung Chromebook. Entering Dev mode is not that difficult, the instructions call for either a 30-second wait, or pressing ctrl-d to bypass the wait time.
The best way to run another distro would be dual booting from a USB drive - there are numerous instructions for this available. A specialized version of Debian is the one most often used.
The computer itself is incredibly light-weight and super fast. The Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Core 1.7 GHz CPU and the 16GB solid-state drive seem plenty poweful. The battery life claim is for 6.5 hours, but I haven't tried to run it out yet as I just got it a couple days ago.
If your sun likes Android phones, he's probably going to love this thing. Thousands of Android apps have now been ported for Chrome. I had been waiting for someone to come out with "Desktop Android", and I think this is it - probably better in a lot of ways. This version of Chromebook seems to be selling out quickly. I picked mine up at BestBuy on Sunday morning, and the guys at the pickup desk commented that the Chromebooks are just flying off the shelves.
43 • ubuntu spyware (by bob on 2012-12-11 02:21:47 GMT from United States)
Ubuntu has always been somewhat attacked by Linux users because of its link to a company. what is funny to me is that a lot of Linux operating systems are by nature "third party" and can be made by anyone with any motive. Sometimes using a Linux OS seems more scary to me then using a mainstream OS. Bottom line is no matter what OS or software you use, you are in some degree trusting that creator does indeed have good motives. Using the internet at all to begin with takes trust.
my advise is to take precaution when you can and just not worry about the rest : )
44 • Ubuntu spyware etc (by Chanath on 2012-12-11 07:40:59 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Amazon lives in the Unity launcher and in the /usr/share/applications. You can simply delete it, and if you want delete the Unbutu One too. Otherwise, there is another simple solution; install gnome-panel and uninstall all that's Unity.
45 • @43 (by greg on 2012-12-11 08:39:30 GMT from Slovenia)
"Linux operating systems ... can be made by anyone with any motive" - that is true, but because they are open anyone can have a look at the soruce and how they work. so malicious intents can be spotted by users/white hackers/community etc. while in closed system this is impossible. you don't know hwo is collecting data in MacOS for example and what kind of backdoors they added to the OS:
46 • @43 Dirt (by Itchy on 2012-12-11 08:40:27 GMT from Luxembourg)
There was an old chemistry professor who used to say, concerning cleaning glassware: That you cannot see the dirt, it does not necessarily mean it's clean; now, if you can see it, then it's dirty.
I am using Debian and I cannot tell for sure it is clean, even if I cannot see the dirt. The only dirt I see is the one I put there consciously and on purpose, such as Flash Player or the NVIDIA blobs.
If you are using Ubuntu, then you now it comes with preinstalled and preactivated dirt and therefore, for me, it is dirt.
But there is still a difference between free software and proprietary software. With free software it is easier to spot the dirt because it is open source and it is easier to remove it because it is free and so anyone can modify it and redistribute it (as it has been done, for instance, with Google Chrome, that comes full of dirt). We all now that MS Windows comes bundled with backdoors to spy on you and steal your info. Sometimes it takes many years for experts to identify the backdoors and they are impossible to remove. For instance, some W95 and W98 backdoors have only been found recently. OpenBSD came with a backdoor once and it was identified and removed. Many just chose another OS (because they could).
47 • AmazonOS: A classic example of why free software != open source (by alex on 2012-12-11 11:11:59 GMT from Australia)
I urge anyone who wants to use Ubuntu to use a fully free distribution such as Trisquel, which uses Ubuntu as a base and liberates it. You won't find any nasty spyware or proprietary firmware, which means you can compute in complete and utter freedom.
Be warned though, that unless you already use an Atheros wireless chip, you'll probably need to buy one from libre.thinkpenguin.com or elsewhere, as most wireless chips aren't compatible with free software. Also note that you won't be able to install adobe flash or any other non-free software; I recommend you see the Trisquel wiki, which offers some excellent libre alternatives to flash: https://trisquel.info/en/wiki/play-videos-without-using-flash
It might not sound easy making the change to a fully liberated OS, but since I've stopped playing proprietary games, I've found the transition to a 100% free GNU/Linux system really pleasant. Do give a libre distro like Trisquel a go!
48 • @43 and @45 and @46 (by DavidEF on 2012-12-11 12:09:03 GMT from United States)
@43 bob, I agree completely!
@45 greg, I think you're right, and that is why I still use Ubuntu. I turned off the "feature" because it didn't work for me. But, I'm not worried as long as we have people like RMS to cry foul at every little thing - keeps 'em honest, at least to a degree.
@46 Itchy, Dirt is dirt. If you see it as dirt, then you are one of the better informed linux users. You can understand that dirt can be washed off. If you want to use Ubuntu, the online resource search won't stop you. If you don't want to use Ubuntu, nothing can make you.
People make a big deal about things they don't like in a particular distro that they are NOT even using. I don't see any benefit to that. I ignore the ones I'm not interested in using and save my "care about" for those I am using or may want to use. I complain when something in Ubuntu isn't to my liking because I use it and want my experience to be as good as possible. But I don't care about Gentoo or Arch or Slackware, for instance, so nothing they do can bother me.
49 • @ 47 and others... (by Chanath on 2012-12-11 12:14:40 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Why the fear?
You are connected to some Internet provider, whatever wired or wireless box you are using, and that provider knows who you are and that provider can keep tabs on you, whether you like it or not.
You go searching in the net, every website keeps tabs on you. There is no way to hide. If you are so afraid, read the Tails website. And even with the Tor bundle, you are not safe, the way that you want to be.
The best way to keep your private documents safely is to do your work shutting out the Internet, save it to a removable hard disk, disconnect it and then connect to the Internet.
Whatever you guys say, Ubuntu is good, and if not for Ubuntu's drive, the Linux world would have been in the 90s. Redhat sold us disks, remember?
50 • @47 Alternatives (by DavidEF on 2012-12-11 13:57:04 GMT from United States)
I don't know if it's "free" in every sense, but for Youtube videos, I've just discovered Minitube, a desktop application to search and play the videos without flash. I suppose it works on the same principle as video downloaders, going to the Youtube server and fetching the original file for playback on your machine. What I like about it is that you don't have to put up with all the stupid ads that Youtube is filled with these days! It also supports playlists, and saving the videos to your PC.
51 • shills (by John Dough on 2012-12-11 13:58:13 GMT from Canada)
It would appear there are shills in the Linux world too, not just Windows. I find it suspicious when somebody defends a distro vehemently even though that distro is obviously breaking the core of idea(ls) of Linux set down by its creator and the majority of the community. There are opportunists in every walk of life, why would Linux be any different? The direction some distros are taking are the exact reasons why people leave Windows.
52 • Semplice (by eamonnb on 2012-12-11 14:09:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
Got to give a shout out to Semplice 3 rc released a few days ago. Never used it before and it is based on Debian Testing with firmware/codecs installed. Because of the discussions above I installed MATE and it is so light and smooth on the 8 year old p4 I'm running it on. I have done a lot of net installs of Debian to keep things light but for reasons I can't fathom Semplice seems to run a little better. Because it is based on Testing the applications are up to date too. I will be keeping an eye on it down the line.
53 • Shills vs RMS (by DavidEF on 2012-12-11 16:24:12 GMT from United States)
If you put all the "shills" on one side, and RMS and his kind on the other, the majority of the truth will be near the center. That's why I appreciate RMS, even though I'm not nearly as paranoid as he says I should be. If it weren't for him, and others like him, linux and other FOSS software either wouldn't exist, or would be indistinguishable from the proprietary alternatives.
Then again, I guess it would have to be said that if it weren't for the "shills", we might have a more repressive form of "freedom" than we currently enjoy. I'm free to use software that RMS would never allow me to use, if it were up to him entirely. It reminds me of a quote I have pinned up in my office "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." -- Thomas Paine
54 • @28 and @52 MATE desktop (by DavidEF on 2012-12-11 16:31:15 GMT from United States)
Well, that pretty much settles it. I'm gonna change the DE on my wife's laptop to MATE. If I can figure out how to have functional network printer sharing in Mint 14, I'll use that, since she is on Mint 12 now. I think I'll keep Mint 14 Cinnamon a little while longer on my laptop, in the interest of giving it a fair shot.
55 • Linux Mint (by Johannes on 2012-12-11 20:52:30 GMT from Germany)
Thank you for your review of Linux Mint - the only distro I can still recommend to friends and family because it will work and they won't get confused by the UI. Go donate!
56 • siduction sets incorrect system time (by Chris on 2012-12-11 21:22:29 GMT from United States)
I tried to register on the siduction forum, but an error occured when I clicked 'check entries'. So I couldn't use the forum.
A siduction install of 32 bit xfce sets incorrect system time - probably reads UTC somewhere instead of USA Pacific Time. What file would that be? It would probably solve the problem.
I have multiple linux installs on my computers and this time problem is carried over to them. No good.
57 • siduction time problem (by Chris on 2012-12-11 22:25:42 GMT from United States)
Well, I've found the file. It was in my distro index notebook.
I had the same problem with a previous siduction install.
The file is
58 • @#30 "be secure and support privacy by default" -- amen! (by wcanavesi on 2012-12-11 22:31:35 GMT from United States)
"opt out"? A too-common problem is that updates oh-so-conveniently fail to respect a user's earlier election to opt out, and silently reset to the default value (surreptitiously "opting the user back in").
Across various distros, including ubuntu, I've noticed the installed "music player" app (whatever default handler launches a clicked music file) is pre-configured to connect to the internet each time a song is played. The apparent rationale for such preconfiguration is "to enhance the user experience, by retrieving cover art, lyrics....". Whoa! Each time I play a song, the details of the event (timestamp, IP address, filename) are telegraphed to last.fm along with six (sometimes ten!) other "partner" sites?!? Not. Cool.
Partners? That's the way the remote sites are labeled, in the music app plugin descriptions. Partners of whom? Toward what end? Monetization? Partners of the music app developers? Partners of the package maintainers who choose which plugins to bundle, and which callouts are preconfigured "enabled" by default? Hmm, if "more is gooder" -- if user experience is reputedly "enhanced" by six default callouts -- those 8 other plugins which are bundled but NOT enabled by default... those represent PROSPECTIVE partners (who have not yet ponied up a fee, to be fed user playlist data)?!?
59 • @54 (by Chanath on 2012-12-11 23:05:54 GMT from Sri Lanka)
Well, Mint 14 was released with a baggage of bugs, didn't it?
There is nowhere for Cinnamon to develop itself, rather than adding numbers, right? More it gets the "development", more it get bugs. It should've stayed at the safer Cinnamon 14 of Maya.
The "development" means changing few lines of code and adding a few, but that won't help as the Gnome 3 is going in the development stages too fast. Already a Gnome 3.8 is coming up and another Gnome 3.10 is in the horizon, so the cinnamon development is not catching up. Maybe, it is time to say stop? You just can't go against the flow, can you?
Whilst it was just good old Gnome 2, there was a good time for Linux Mint, but as Ubuntu went the Unity way, and the Gnome devs changed to Gnome 3 and going at a breakneck speed of development, maybe its time to say quits and get on to the flow, or be left behind in the desktop environment livelihood.
60 • Re: 42 (@Andy) (by Leo on 2012-12-12 15:54:48 GMT from United States)
Many thanks, Andy! It seems like I'll have to get him the Acer C7, which is not as good, but the Samsung is almost impossible to get. I saw the Samsung available to buy online and pick up at a nearby store, and by the time I put it on the cart (Best Buy), it was out of stock, again. Oh well!
Many thanks for all the info!
61 • Comfusion (by fernbap on 2012-12-12 16:18:06 GMT from Portugal)
Comfusion was a pleasant surprise.
This is the first distro i found where i can find a LXDE desktop working with compiz + emerald out of the box.
Not only that, comfusion comes with MATE+compiz+emerald as well.
For the first time since the Gnome 3 calamity, i found a distro where MATE works with compiz and emerald. Almost as if the Gnome 3 calamity didn't ever happen.
The default desktop, LXDE, is very polished, light and fast. Turning compiz on doesn't have a significant impact on performance.
There are also a few nice custom scripts. A script called PostInstaller offers one click install for many applications covering most of what the user will ever need.
There are still a few quirks to sort out (don't try to use the workspace switchers panel applets with compiz on, for instance) although none being a real showstopper.
Comfusion comes with few and light applications, giving the user a user friendly script to complement with a huge choice of the most common applications for all kinds of tasks.
Based on Ubuntu LTS
Several desktops available: LXDE (the default one), MATE, Cinnamon (didn't try that one yet) and a couple of others
Based on Ubuntu LTS
Still a few quirks with compiz+emerald integration
Dialogs from the custom scripts are still in spanish
On the whole, i find comfusion's concept very promising. Clem should take a look at this distro (if he didn't already).
62 • @59 (by mandog on 2012-12-12 16:27:49 GMT from Peru)
Well, Mint 14 was released with a baggage of bugs, didn't it?
There is nowhere for Cinnamon to develop itself, rather than adding numbers, right? More it gets the "development", more it get bugs. It should've stayed at the safer Cinnamon 14 of Maya.
Well that is a load of utter rubbish cinnamon is progressing very well.
The "development" means changing few lines of code and adding a few, but that won't help as the Gnome 3 is going in the development stages too fast. Already a Gnome 3.8 is coming up and another Gnome 3.10 is in the horizon, so the cinnamon development is not catching up. Maybe, it is time to say stop? You just can't go against the flow, can you?
I think you need to think before you make these comments or make your own version then listen to others rubbish your work?
Whilst it was just good old Gnome 2, there was a good time for Linux Mint, but as Ubuntu went the Unity way, and the Gnome devs changed to Gnome 3 and going at a breakneck speed of development, maybe its time to say quits and get on to the flow, or be left behind in the desktop environment livelihood.
Mint has cinnamon and Mate as its main desktops both do a very good good job with the tools they have. stop trying to relive the past gnome2 to was out of date thats why it was replaced life moves on the world does not revolve around the odd few.
63 • Ubuntu Laptop (by thezebeanzmarkz on 2012-12-12 16:50:40 GMT from United Kingdom)
Why is it that you can get Ubuntu-preinstalled Dell laptops in the US, but not where I live in the UK? A search for Linux laptops on Dell's UK site reveals nothing.
Are there more Linux users in the US, thereby making it more worthwhile for Dell to make Ubuntu laptops? I'd be surprised if that were the case.
Perhaps I should have a shopping trip to America, where laptops would be cheaper than here anyway...
64 • @63 try System76 (by DavidEF on 2012-12-12 17:27:33 GMT from United States)
System76 ships to UK and they have a lot better selection. I've not bought from them, but if I were in the market for a new laptop, I would certainly consider them long before Dell.
65 • LOL! Yipe!!! (by Jordan on 2012-12-12 21:15:03 GMT from United States)
Updating my beloved VectorLinux now breaks java in various game sites (Pogo, etc). And a few other things.
The Windows 7 java works.. trying to figure out how to resolve this or find a distro that is fine with java working. I know I know about the vulnerabilities etc and but Vector worked before.. now I have to stick with Windows for those games (Pogo, etc.. oh, I said that ;)).
Those in the know wanna clue this linux lover in on how to just have fun out there in Pogo games? Pogo is non-responsive.. :(
66 • #65: Java (by Caitlyn Martin on 2012-12-12 22:03:21 GMT from United States)
SalixOS 14.0 Java works fine for what I do, but I don't do games of any sort. They use many of the same tools as Vector Linux (i.e. gslapt and slapt-get for package management) as well as some of their own so it should be an easy switch for you. Good luck!
67 • @65 Re:Java (by John Dough on 2012-12-12 22:30:51 GMT from Canada)
This is what I do...
You didn't say what browser you use, the above works mostly with Firefox, other browsers like Chrome will say it 'sees' it (in plugins settings) but it doesn't work (in my case anyway). I find more sites don't like the open source java, sad reality but true. I too am a Pogo user.
68 • Mint 14 (by Ralle Mikken on 2012-12-13 01:08:16 GMT from Norway)
Mint 14 MATE is faster, more stable, feels better and makes me feel more control over the underlying hardware than I did with Mint 13. At least on my machine. Been around since Red Hat 7.2, thats more than ten years. I'm a Debian-guy in my heart, and KDE3 was my favourite desktop, as long as it lasted. The Trinity-project didn't catch momentum, caused hickups on my different machines, and I switched to Gnome/Xfce/E17 for some years. Most of my machines have multiple users, and I've been tending to keep an E17-altenative for myself, and Gnome2 for the rest. With the last big Gnome2 distro (Debian Squeeze) beeing replaced next year, I'm glad someone has picked up the relay baton.
During 1 hour, I've installed from DVD, including resizing and repartitioning, configured users, checked that grub has picked up all my 4 boot partitons, and started fine-tuning the desktop of my main user. With only ONE glitch. The Mint Menu. It looks good, works good, and is a nice bridge between the old-type menu and the new way of dealing with theese things. But it sometimes hangs. One thing we oldtimers dont handle, that's menus that hangs, being main menus or application menus. Replacing this with the more gnomish "MATE"-menu gave peace in mind. Sorry to say this. Has to be frank. Otherwise, no memory leaks or problems of any kind.
In fact, I might give E17 away for Mate. Time will show! Untill further, I keep Bodhi on my netbook, but will consider a switch to Mint 14 (from Squeeze) on my work-stations. Nice work guys!!!
69 • #60 (by Andy Prough on 2012-12-13 02:08:51 GMT from United States)
Hi Leo - yes, I had the same situation, so I walked into the local BestBuy and the customer service folks ordered me one of the $249 Samsung Chromebooks. They had it in the store in about 2 days. I'm not sure why you can't order them online, but the sales guys at BestBuy did say they can't keep up with demand.
70 • @68 KDE (by greg on 2012-12-13 07:46:03 GMT from Slovenia)
I am checkign the pics and videos an i can not see that much difference in appearance between KDE3 and KDE4. Especially if you set the classic menu view in KDE 4. KDE 4 really looks like an enhanced 3
71 • desktop environments and @70 (by Hoos on 2012-12-13 09:20:05 GMT from Singapore)
I've used KDE 3 (old versions of Mepis and PCLinuxOS) and KDE4 (current Mepis and Kubuntu). I have no problem with both and I agree with post 70 that I don't find much of a difference, except that I prefer the classic Start menu style (that Mepis 11 thankfully uses ).
On the other hand, I also like Gnome2, XFCE, LXDE and even Openbox on Crunchbang. I tried Mate recently on the latest Mint, and it was fine as well.
Maybe I'm unfamiliar with the proper usage of Gnome 3, but putting aside the problem of the UI being awkward for desktops, what irks me is that you seem to need newer, powerful graphics cards just to use the DE.
My old graphics card may be able to handle the standard Compiz plugins without problem, but when I try various live distros, it can't seem to render Gnome3 or Cinnamon (nor Gnome Shell on AriOS 4.0 and Parsix 4.0 as well) properly. Menus and some objects just don't appear on the screen, meaning I don't even know where to click just to reboot the machine, go to Settings, or to run the terminal.
Don't they have an effective fallback position that kicks in when the flashy effects don't work? KDE4 may have some fancy effects if you want them, but it works fine when your graphics card doesn't have such capability. In fact, it lets you know if you try to activate them, and then reverts to the non-compositing setting.
72 • @36 Thank you for this (by John Dough on 2012-12-13 17:31:56 GMT from Canada)
and good point!
"PS here is a link showing how hard GNOME 3 & Unity make it to open a program from a freaking GUI interface:
If that junky menu isn't designed to force you to search I don't know what is."
73 • @71 (by Mac on 2012-12-13 18:01:36 GMT from United States)
I am a kde user and as far as I know they will all change to classic start menu style. As much switching around as I do kde is the only one that is my choice but it is not for everyone. And I turn off everything I can. Just use a plane desktop no frills and plane background. Don't like distractions from what I intend to do.
Have fun Mack
74 • @71 (by Mac on 2012-12-13 18:11:07 GMT from United States)
Try mepis 11.9.70 works well for me use it on my laptops.
75 • @37 Kubuntu 14 (by Marco on 2012-12-13 20:25:48 GMT from United States)
I agree regardless of the release, but you probably meant Kubuntu 12.04 (LTS), 12.10 (Current), or 13.04 (Development; running now on a live USB).
76 • @ 62 Mandog (by Chanath on 2012-12-13 22:56:52 GMT from Sri Lanka)
>Mint has cinnamon and Mate as its main desktops both do a very good good job with the tools they have. stop trying to relive the past gnome2 to was out of date thats why it was replaced life moves on the world does not revolve around the odd few.<
If you had read the post correctly, you might've noticed that I was saying about the rapid development of Gnome 3 and that it'd be very hard to keep up with it adapting another DE to it, not knowing exactly what the Gnome devs would come up next week, next month...
Cinnamon needs Gnome 3, and right now hovering between Gnome 3.4 and 3.6, and never catching up. Gnome 3.8 is around the corner and Gnome 3.10 is about a block away.
Oh, I'd use gnome 2 with an old distro, rather than using Mate, if I really want to use Gnome 2, buy not a lookalike. The old Gnome 2 had Compiz, eye-candy of every kind, while Cinnamon has nothing, except shadows. Many a youngster likes to have desktop cubes, wobbly windows etc which, by the way, KDE has as default!
KDE has everything, even the superb Dolphin, whilst Gnome 2 & 3 needs Compiz for animations, and Cinnamon doesn't have even that!
77 • @76 (by mandog on 2012-12-14 01:22:58 GMT from Peru)
I'll repeat it again, Mint has cinnamon and Mate as its main desktops both do a very good good job with the tools they have. That being Ubuntu as the base. You may not know what Gnome is up to but the devs of all the major distros do, and they do work closely together.
I suggest if you like KDE just use it and don't complain. I personally don't use KDE but I don't spend my life nitpicking. That is why linux gives you a choice? Not you WILL LIKE WHAT WE GIVE attitude of M.S and Apple where you don't have any choice.
By the way Mint is not my main choice of distro nor is cinnamon/mate
Dolphin is only superb if you happen to like it? Gnome3 only uses compiz as a stand alone, or in fallback mode. Cinnamon/gnome shell/Unity are aimed at productivity on a wide range of machines, not at spinning desktops that are just toys for boys to play with when they are bored with Ms/apple.
78 • What's The Best Linux To Use With My Google Nexus 7 Tablet...? (by Kevin Scribner on 2012-12-14 01:24:25 GMT from United States)
hi there --
so, i'm finally ready to abandon windows for good... it's been a long time coming, and i wouldn't be ready if it weren't for distrowatch, so thanks, guys...!!!
so, as i'm backing up all my personal data so i can wipe windows 7 starter edition off of my netbook [i'm running mint 13 alongside it] and dedicate the hard drive to linux, it suddenly occurs to me to wonder what i'm going to do about my tablet...?
i was planning to go to mint 14 MATE edition, but the question i have is: what's the best distribution to consider with regard to wanting to be able to sync / drag-&-drop media to and from my nexus...?
help with this issue will be deeply appreciated -- web searching the question didn't garner me much in the way of answers...
in parting, i'd like to say that a couple of years ago i knew absolutely nothing about linux, and due almost exclusively to religiously reading this sites materials, i know enough now to get around in crunchbang, mint, knoppix, slitaz and puppy... a little knowledge in the hands of a fool, and all of that -- thank you guys for helping make me a dangerous fool, indeed...!!!
79 • @75 (by claudecat on 2012-12-14 02:03:50 GMT from United States)
Indeed you are correct - I meant Kubuntu 12.10, which to me seems a slight improvement upon 12.04. Got my Mint/'buntus mixed up there :=} Kubuntu just seems to get better these days. Remember when it was the redheaded step-child of KDE distros? Maybe with Canonical, NOT being a sponsored version is a good thing.
80 • #78 (by Andy Prough on 2012-12-14 06:32:54 GMT from United States)
@khs - Couple of suggestions:
1. Mint 14 Mate is probably your best bet, or Mint 14 Cinnamon, in terms of quickly and easily syncing with a cable between the tablet and the netbook.
2.However, even easier is just to set up Google Drive on both the tablet and the netbook, and let Google do the syncing automagically through the cloud. It's super fast and you get a ton of space for free or for cheap. And then you can run whatever distro you want on the netbook, and don't have to worry about cable syncing.
3. For aesthetics - In terms of a super-fast, pleasing, and productive desktop environment, I prefer KDE Plasma on a netbook over any form or fork of Gnome (Gnome 3, Mate, Cinnamon, Unity). openSUSE has a very nice/fast implementation of KDE Plasma Netbook - you might give it a try. I've been booting my 4-yr-old eeePc from cold start to browsing the web in 9 to 12 seconds with KDE Plasma.
81 • @77 Mandog (by Chanath on 2012-12-14 08:15:54 GMT from Sri Lanka)
I am not going to argue with you on this matter, mandog, but I'd like to tell you that, it would be very hard to play catch up, when the Gnome devs are moving forward so fast.
I only mentioned KDE as an example, nothing else. Anyway, KDE has everything in eye-candy, whereas Gnome has to use Compiz to get at it. KDE is stand alone, while Gnome 3 + Compiz gives the results. Even, then Gnome 3 + Compiz doesn't have certain eye-candy that KDE has.
I am a Gnome user. Had always been. I look at KDE for good apps. I'd like to use Dolphin, but it pulls a lot of KDE stuff that I don't want. Anyway, we were talking about Mint with Cinnamon.
Cinnmoan, mandog, would have to play catch with the Gnome 3, and the Gome 3 devs. You say the major distro makers work with Gnome, maybe and maybe not. Whilst Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse etc are major distro makers, Mint is not. It only remixes Ubuntu releases adding certain packages from its repo. Nothing else.
BWhen it efore you get agitated, look in the Mint repo. Check the Cinnamon 1.4 for Maya and 1.6.7 for Nadia, and then take a decison to argue. Check the "weight" of both Cinnamon 1.4 and 1.6, get inside and see what had been changed and what lines had been added or changed. And, then check in the Mint forums and listen to the whining about the bugs Mint 14 had brought in, because of the hurry to release.
When, the work would go to adapt Raring into Mint 15, there'd be more problems, for Raring is quite different than Precise or Quantal, and also because Raring is not releasing Alphas and Betas. Not, yet at least, a Beta would come somewhere in March 2013. But, the Mint people can work with Raring daily to try to make the Mint 15, but Cannonical won't tell untill the last moment, what would be there. Gnome 3.8 is round the corner and 3.10 is a block away. So, trouble for Cinnamon 1.7 or 1.8 is brewing.
Anyway, Cinnamon has nothing to offer, which Compiz can give, and already giving.
82 • Mint 14 - great job (by Edoardo on 2012-12-14 11:37:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
I replaced Ubuntu 12.04 with Mint 14, Mate edition on 3netbooks (Acer Aspire One D260 with 2G RAM).
They are now snappier as the graphics card was not suited to Unity, and Unity 2D had limitations.
My users are now happier: have a more responsive system,
more recent set of packages, more screen space !
It's not a big deal that it looks a bit more traditional and less glitzy.
Wonderful Job, I also performed the same switch on two Virtual Machines.
Linux Mint deserved my donation!
83 • @79 (by Sam Graf on 2012-12-14 14:36:10 GMT from United States)
I have to agree with you about Kubuntu's progress. To be honest, in the not too distant past I had sworn off Kubuntu after several failed attempts to use it more than a couple of days. I was shocked at how many things crashed over and over again. I thought, how is it even possible that people use Kubuntu? Must be much hardier souls than me.
For various reasons I decided to give Kubuntu 12.04 a try (reluctant to try anything but an LTS release at the moment). I can't say it's been a crash-free experience, but after a week of cautious yet persistent exploration I'm actually shocked at how well things are working. It's been an incredibly positive experience in its own right, and a radical change from my past experiences. Maybe I grew a brain or something, but I suspect genuine improvement in Kubuntu has a lot to do with it. I've no plans at present to remove Kubuntu from the test machine.
Kudos to the Kubuntu and upstream teams for their hard work. I think it shows.
84 • @83 Re:Kubuntu improved (by John Dough on 2012-12-14 14:40:54 GMT from Canada)
My experience with Kubuntu mirrors yours and it is now my OS/distro of choice. I left Mint for Kubuntu.
85 • @83@84 (by Mac on 2012-12-14 15:29:24 GMT from United States)
Have used Kubuntu for desktop OS/distro of choice since 11.04 and have found no reason to change yet. But am looking forward to the openSuse 12.3 and will see.
Have fun Mack
86 • @ 80 (by Kevin Scribner on 2012-12-14 18:25:13 GMT from United States)
thank you, Andy, for your input...
i've used KDE, but not KDE Plasma, and i've always been more comfortable with GNOME 2 than anything else [or i'd probably use crunchbang]... enough good things are getting said about KDE these days that perhaps i'll give it another try...
as far as the tablet goes, i do use a number of cloud services to overcome the limitations of the tablet itself, storage-wise [i was, sadly, an early adopter, and have the 8GB Nexus 7 -- storage management is an active and painful task]: i'm currently using Google Drive, Asus Web Storage, DropBox, Ubuntu One and Box... hopefully, i'll be able to manage all of these under Mint 14, which is installing on my netbook as i type this...
where the tablet is concerned, i wonder if i'm doing something wrong...? when i plug the data cable into an USB port while running mint, nothing happens... nothing at all... the Nexus 7 doesn't show up as a drive nor a device, and the tablet interface doesn't give me the "you are connected as a media device" notification that i get when i plug it in under Windows... is there something i need to do, perhaps in the area of mounting [not something i've had all that much experience with -- most of the distributions i've used just recognize drives and such, give me an icon and open a file manager window]...?
since both the netbook and the Nexus have wifi, is there a way i can connect them wirelessly, once i install the b43 items i need to get my wifi card up and running...?
i do occasionally access a friend's desktop running Windows [and Ubuntu 10.04.4, through the magic of Wubi!], so i can keep everything backed up there, but i'd like to be able to do so on *my* computer, as well... answers and functional solutions, therefore, are deeply desired, but not impendingly crucial...
thanks again for chipping in, and i'll take a peek at KDE Plasma one day soon -- booting in single digit seconds is a strong sales pitch...!!! i've had good experiences with openSUSE in the past, so there's no deterrent there...
87 • @56 Siduction (by Mac on 2012-12-14 19:09:28 GMT from United States)
Aptosid if you watch the installer close it will not have that problem and I can't tell tell them apart when I get them set up the way I like. I use kde but the installer is the same I think. Have used the xfce before but liked kde for me.
Have fun Mack
88 • @86 Nexus MTP (by Uraki on 2012-12-14 21:57:50 GMT from United States)
Might help with Nexus 7 for Kevin. MTP is the issue, I believe
89 • #86 (by Andy Prough on 2012-12-14 22:39:17 GMT from United States)
@khs -- Since you are already using Google Drive and DropBox, I would recommend downloading their respective apps onto both the tablet and netbook. That way you'll have at least 10GB of storage between the two services where you can sync media files both online and in the cloud.
Make SURE you use the USB cable that came with your Nexus 7. I know that my Nook will NOT sync with a regular USB cable, even though it will fit in the port.
Also, if you can check to see if your USB ports are working correctly on the netbook, that would be a good idea.
90 • @88, @89 & Yayy, Mint 14...!!! (by Kevin Scribner on 2012-12-16 21:34:30 GMT from United States)
thanks, Andy & Uraki... the input is much appreciated...
Mint 14 is rocking on my netbok...!!!
i'll read that ubuntu nexus article as soon as possible, Uraki, and thanks for the pointer...
Andy: i do have the Google Drive and Dropbox apps installed on my Nexus, and will also get their apps for Mint, assuming such exist... likewise, ASUS Web Storage and Ubuntu One and Box... that's 23 GB of storage, which is mostly used up with ebooks, .pdf documents, pictures, video & music... the 8 GB Nexus really only has 5.92 GB of free storage when you unbox it... hopefully there'll be a 32 GB Nexus 7 in my near future, by the end of Winter if all goes according to my nefarious plans... then i'll just use the 8 GB for an e-reader and mp3 player...
in any case, i digress -- the USB ports all work just fine on the netbook, and i do use the cable that came with the Nexus 7 -- it happens to be the only USB to mini-USB cable i've got, which is a shame, as it's rather short and makes it hard to use the Nexus while it's charging, which is fairly often, even with JuiceDefender running... when i plug the Nexus 7 in under Mint 13 or 14, or under Ubuntu 10.04.4 on the desktop, nothing happens at all... i do catch trickle-charge, but that's it...
i can't say enough good things about Mint 14, though i do miss the desktop widgets... the only thing i had to do manually was to download and install the b43 wifi card firmware and installer... smooth sailing all the way thereafter... it sure is nice when it "just works..." and when the OS only sits on about 1/4th of the real estate that Windows 7 hogged up... :-D and it's awfully nice to use about 1/3rd of the RAM that Windows 7 required...
anyway... happy holiday, Linux people... :-)
Number of Comments: 90
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