| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 513, 24 June 2013
Welcome to this year's 25th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! ROSA is a Russian Linux distribution project which purchased many of Mandriva's assets in 2012 and which now develops a Linux distribution, originally forked from Mandriva, under its own brand name. One of its edition is called "Desktop Fresh", a name that indicates a stable base with a regularly renewed top layer, a somewhat experimental variant with shorter support terms than what those of the company's enterprise-class editions. Jesse Smith takes a look at the distribution's latest stable release, version 2012 R1, in today's feature article. In the news section, PC-BSD announces the drop of the i386 architecture from future development, CentOS resurrects the Xen hypervisor in the new Xen4CentOS6 special release, and Mageia's Anne Nicolas looks forward towards Mageia 4 in an interview that covers a wide range of topics. Also in this issue, an interesting comparison of two popular Puppy Linux flavours, a Question and Answers session dealing with command-line shells, and an introduction to OpenMandriva, a new community distribution that attempts to recreate the former glory of Mandriva Linux. Happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop Fresh"
The ROSA distribution is a fork of Mandriva and one of the project's editions is called "Desktop Fresh". This branch of the ROSA project "is targeted at advanced users and enthusiasts who will appreciate rich functionality and freshness of distribution components without serious loss of quality." Or, put another way, ROSA Fresh tries to deliver up to date packages combined with user friendly technology, much of it developed by Mandriva with some new features added by the ROSA team. The new release of Fresh includes a few interesting features, including support for the Steam game portal as well as Azure and Hyper-V support. This version comes with the KDE 4.10 desktop and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The install image for ROSA Desktop Fresh is 1.5 GB in size and does double duty as a live DVD.
Booting from the disc brings up a menu asking if we would like to launch the ROSA live environment or run the distribution's system installer. There is a third option which is to boot from the local hard drive and I was surprised to find booting from the local drive is the default option. This actually makes a good deal of sense as it means if we install the distribution and forget to eject the disc (or USB thumb drive) that we will still boot into the local installation of ROSA. Opting to run the live desktop brings us to a series of screens asking us to read the distribution's license agreement, set our time zone and confirm our keyboard's layout. From there we are brought to the KDE desktop. The theme is bright and the background is a nice, light blue. At the bottom of the display we find the application menu, some quick-launch icons and the task switcher. One of the first things I did was seek out the system installer and attempt to launch it. When I clicked on the system installer icon a pop-up appeared which simply said "password invalid" and the installer closed. Given this reception I decided to reboot the machine and try running the system installer from the live disc's boot menu.
At first the installer walks us through the same configuration screens we saw when running the live environment. We select our preferred language, confirm we've read the license agreement and confirm our time zone. Then we are asked to partition the hard disk. The installer's partition manager is quite friendly and will either automate the partitioning process or allow us to manually divide up the disk. The manual option is pretty straight forward and supports most Linux file systems, plus RAID and LVM setups. The partition manager also supports encryption of file systems, though it doesn't appear to allow the encryption of the root file system. The installer copies the distribution's files to the hard drive and then asks us where the GRUB2 boot loader should be installed. This screen doesn't give us much in the way of choices as the only location I could select for the boot loader was the disk's MBR and it did not appear to be possible to skip the installation of GRUB.
For the most part I quite liked the installer as it is straight forward and fairly intuitive. My only serious complaint came about when I clicked on the installer's Help button. It appears the system installer's documentation is not on the disc and must be downloaded from ROSA's repositories. This is likely to pose problems for people who don't have a network connection or who connect to password-protected networks. At any rate, the help files downloaded and were displayed in the background, behind the installer's window. As there doesn't appear to be any way to switch between windows or minimize the installer's window this means most of the documentation's window is hidden by the installer and, therefore, not very helpful.
After GRUB 2 is installed we are prompted to reboot the system and ROSA launches a first-run wizard. The wizard asks us to set a password for the root account and create a regular user account. We are also asked to give our computer a name and then we are shown a list of network services which may be enabled. The list of services includes OpenSSH, Samba, OpenVPN and the CUPS printing service. Once we have toggled the services on/off the wizard closes and we are presented with a graphical login screen.
ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop Fresh" - the Application menu
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One of the first aspects of ROSA to catch my eye was the application menu. The standard KDE menu has been replaced with a custom, full screen menu that resembles the Unity Dash or GNOME Shell's menu. The ROSA menu is divided into three sections. On the first screen we see icons for recently used applications and folder locations. The second screen is dedicated to showing us the icons of installed programs. The third screen is called TimeFrame and is disabled by default. Enabling TimeFrame reveals that this third screen shows us indexed files in our home directory. Files can be filtered based on their type and the date they were created. Oddly enough I found that while applications could be searched for by typing a name or description, the same could not be said for documents. If I clicked over to the TimeFrame screen there was no way to locate files based on their name. This minor inconvenience aside I found I liked the ROSA menu, perhaps more so than Unity's Dash or GNOME Shell. I felt ROSA's menu was faster to draw itself and respond to input. I also found the menu worked well whether I was using the mouse or the keyboard which meant, whichever one I was using, I didn't have to switch to get the full benefit of the menu's features.
Another interesting design choice, one which sets ROSA apart from its parent distribution, is the way the developers handled system settings. Mandriva, and many other distributions which ship with the KDE desktop, tend to separate settings into two categories and, in fact, two different control panels. Settings related to a particular user or to the KDE environment are usually handled through the KDE System Settings panel. Utilities relating to the rest of the operating system such as user accounts, package management and the firewall are handled through separate applications or a different control centre. ROSA has merged the two, placing the system administration controls inside the KDE System Settings panel which means users have a one-stop, searchable location for all configuration options.
Some other projects, typically GNOME- or Unity-focused distributions, have made similar attempts and I like having one panel for all settings as opposed to the divided approach used by Mandriva. The system admin tools which come with ROSA are all quite user friendly and easy to navigate. They allow us to manage most aspect of the system, handle services, create user accounts, manage the firewall and manipulate software packages. There are also parental controls and printer management thrown into the mix. Most of these configuration modules worked well for me, the one exception being the distribution's graphical package manager.
ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop Fresh" - system and desktop settings
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On the surface the ROSA graphical package manager looks promising. It has a clean, simple layout with categories of software down the left side of the window. Over on the right we see lists of software available in the selected category. Near the top of the window we find a drop-down box which lets us filter software. By default we are shown only graphical desktop applications, but we can adjust the filter to show all available packages, all updates or just security updates. Users can click on a checkbox next to a package's name to mark the package for installation or removal.
So far, so good. Where I ran into problems was the distribution's repositories would frequently get out of sync with the package data stored on my system. This meant that if I opened the package manager and selected a program, say the Deja-dup backup utility, the package manager would tell me the package had dependencies which couldn't be resolved. Other times I'd search for all available updates and be told none were available, but upon closing the package manager there would be an icon sitting in the system tray informing me security updates were, in fact, available. Manually refreshing my repository information corrected these problems. Another minor annoyance I ran into with regards to packages was that newly installed programs wouldn't show up in the application menu. Once a program had been installed I had to log out and log in back into my account in order to see the freshly installed program's icon in the application menu.
A moment ago I mentioned the user is notified of security updates via an icon in the system tray. Clicking on this icon brings up a window which lists updated packages in the repositories which can be installed. We can select which items we want to download and then let the update app go to work. I found that during my trial the update program worked quickly and I encountered no problems from applying all available updates provided over the course of the week.
While I was using ROSA I noticed an icon in the system tray which looked like a tiny cloud. Clicking this icon brought up a window asking if I would like to sign in to something called ROSA 2Safe or register an account. Clicking the register button opened my web browser and displayed a page which explained some of the features of 2Safe. Apparently 2Safe is a cloud storage service, similar to Dropbox or Ubuntu One. I attempted to create an account, however each time I tried to register an account I was met with error messages and I eventually gave in trying to sign up for 2Safe.
ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop Fresh" - filtering software packages
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ROSA comes with a collection of popular applications. We're given the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client and LibreOffice. The K3b disc burning software is included along with the Amarok music player, the ROSA Media Player and a document viewer. It ships with popular multimedia codecs and the Adobe Flash player. The Kopete instant messenger client is installed for us as is the KTorrent BitTorrent client. Network Manager is available to help us get us on-line and the KPPP dial-up networking software is provided out of the box. The YouMagic software phone is installed for us along with a system monitor, GParted and a collection of small games. I found an archive manager, text editor and virtual calculator in the application menu and the GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us. The distribution comes with the KDE System Settings panel and a full range of user friendly system configuration tools. Behind the scenes we find the Linux kernel, version 3.8.
I tried running ROSA on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox. I found it ran in the virtual environment with no problems. Sound worked out of the box, my desktop was set to its maximum resolution and performance was better than I would usually expect from a distribution running KDE with indexing and visual effects enabled. When I tried to run it on my physical hardware, however, the distribution was not able to boot. This limited my experiment as I was confined to running the distribution in a virtual machine only. I found the distro used slightly more memory than most distributions I've run up to this point and logging into the KDE desktop required approximately 325 MB of memory.
Running ROSA this past week was my first experience with an edition of ROSA and the experience was frequently frustrating. Not because it is a bad distribution, quite the opposite. Rather ROSA has some wonderfully welcome features and great design concepts and it includes several features I am happy to see. The problem is that while this release includes some great utilities and designs they often fall short due to bugs or a lack of polish. Put another way, I was often impressed with the design of ROSA and regularly let down by the implementation. As an example, the system installer used by ROSA is quite easy to use and should be pretty painless, even for novice users. On the other hand, ROSA refused to run on my desktop computer. I'm glad to see other distributions besides Ubuntu get into the cloud storage and services game, it's nice to have competition in this area, but I was unable to register an account.
The application menu felt well designed to me. I found I liked ROSA's full-screen desktop menu and navigating it felt more intuitive to me than using either Unity's Dash or GNOME Shell. As an added bonus ROSA's menu works smoothly without 3-D video support. However, ROSA's application menu didn't update when I installed new applications unless I logged out and then back in and some apps didn't show up at all. In addition I found it odd that users cannot use the TimeFrame screen of the menu to search for files by name, but we can search by type and the time a file was created. I love that ROSA combines the KDE System Settings panel with Mandriva's Control Centre and I think this is a great idea. ... There is no down side here, this approach was well executed and I am happy to see a KDE-focused Linux distribution realize most users will be more comfortable dealing with one control panel rather than two.
The impression I've received from ROSA is that they, like Canonical, are trying to develop a full product line based on Linux. They have a supported desktop offering, an experimental desktop, a server edition and cloud services. ROSA has put together an elegant desktop solution that is attractive and easy to use. Unfortunately this release has several rough edges at the moment, but I am really looking forward to trying ROSA again in about a year. If they can smooth out some of the features and improve upon this design they will have a desktop platform that is hard to beat.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
PC-BSD discards i386 architecture, CentOS resurrects Xen hypervisor, Puppy "Slacko" and "Precise" comparison, interview with Mageia's Anne Nicolas
PC-BSD, a desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD, has been through some interesting changes recently, including a switch to a rolling-release development model. Still, the installation images need to be periodically updated and the good news is that it is likely to happen within a week or two. Kris Moore, the project's founder and lead developer, has published an interesting update that also suggests a drop of the i386 architecture from the future development roadmap: "In addition to re-focusing on solely on ZFS as our default file system, we have had to take a look at the feasibility of continuing with the i386 builds. As many of you know, ZFS is a 21st century operating system that doesn't play nicely with the legacy i386 kernel / versions of FreeBSD. In addition, over the past couple years, more and more of time-consuming issues we've encountered have been only on i386, partly due to the fact that most FreeBSD developers have already moved on to 64-bit systems and also due to the quickly shrinking number of users / systems that still run i386. In order to make PC-BSD and TrueOS secure, stable and timely, we've decided to drop the i386 builds going forward, and instead focus on a single 64-bit architecture. This means that the next editions of rolling-release and 9.2 onward will be 64-bit only."
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Some interesting news regarding Xen, a virtualisation platform that was originally included in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x series, but replaced in the distribution's current release by KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine). It might come as a surprise to some that CentOS, the most popular of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones, is attempting to resurrect Xen in the form of a special Xen4CentOS6 release. Karanbir Singh explains: "The Xen4CentOS6 project is a collaborative effort between the Xen Project, the Citrix Xen development teams, the CentOS Project team, GoDaddy Cloud operations group and RackSpace Hosting to package, deliver and maintain a stable Xen hypervisor and its related tooling for CentOS 6, enabling CentOS 6/x86_64 to be used as a dom0, base platform to host Xen in paravirt and fullvirt deployment roles. We have tried to ensure that existing tooling that users have in production written again xm/xend will continue to work, while also adding support for the newer xenlight (xl) layers. Most libvirt functions also continue to work on Xen4CentOS6 as they did on Xen3 CentOS 5, enabling users to easily migrate their infrastructure over from CentOS 5 to 6. A second primary principle we are working against is to build and deliver a Linux kernel based on the 3.4 LTS release, stabilised via testing, with enhanced Xen support as recommended by the Xen development team."
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The enormous versatility of Puppy Linux has resulted in a variety of editions that are compatible with packages and package repositories of major distributions, such as Ubuntu or Slackware Linux. But it has also created a confusion. Which of the many Puppy editions is best for my needs? Dedoimedo's Igor Ljubuncic attempts an interesting comparison between the Slackware-based "Slacko" and the Ubuntu-based "Precise" editions: "My musical wittiness knows no limits. Anyhow, today, I'd like to review, not one, but two flavors of Puppy Linux, the quintessential live distro of them all. Finding the right version of this fine little beastling can be tricky, especially figuring out the little differences between Precise and Slackware builds, PAE and non-PAE kernels and more than 4 GB thingie, as well as the importance of Quirky, Racy, and Wary, you then reach the finest level of granularity, which only refers to the version numbers, of which there are quite a few. Last but not the least, you are faced with the official site, mirrors and outdated sites, which can further complicate your decision what you are about to do right now. If you ignore all these details, and just follow my link above, then you can find the latest version 5.6 based on Precise kernel, as well as version 5.5 based on Slackware. And this is what we do here. A double review, in one article."
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Finally, a link to an interview with Anne Nicolas, a former Director of Engineering at Mandriva and current Mageia board member: "Q: Mageia 3 is now out. Do you feel relieved? A: Well releasing a new version is always a big stress for everybody. This time the list of release-critical bugs was huge due to the big moves we made. When we speak about release-critical bugs we speak about bugs that cannot be fixed through further updates. It deals mainly with install media and all their components but also with all the upgrade process. While we knew it could happen, we just faced a bottleneck in our development and packaging process for all the Mageia specific tools like installer, MCC, rescue system... Very few people do have a global knowledge for it as it's a huge piece of software. About 317,000 code lines for all these tools in 2 or 3 brains only :). We are working at the moment to find a solution and have a development team focused on it." The interview also covers the improvements in Mageia 3, marketing issues, planning for the next version, and a number of other topics.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
All about shells
In-search-of-a-new-way asks: Is there a benefit to using one command line shell over another? Why might someone want to change their default shell?
DistroWatch answers: There are reasons to choose one shell over another, though I suspect to a lot of people it will not matter which shell they are using. People who use the command line to simply move files or launch simple programs won't notice much difference between shells. Usually the differences come to light when writing scripts or making use of more exotic shell functions. At that point choosing a shell largely comes down to personal preference.
As an example, when I first started using Linux I already had experience with the C programming language. Two of the commonly used shells, csh and tcsh, use a somewhat C-like syntax in scripts. This made tcsh a good match for me when I first started working with Linux. Over time I noticed most distributions defaulted to the bash shell and, since many other administrators were writing scripts using bash, it made sense for me to put effort into learning how to use bash too. Personally I can't say I currently have a preference for one or the other.
I've seen some people post benchmarks on forums demonstrating that one command line shell is faster than others at performing certain tasks. This is an interesting academic exercise, but since people rarely use shell scripts where performance is a serious factor I don't recommend choosing one's shell based on performance benchmarks. In the end, the shell is going to spend 99.9% of its time waiting for the user to type something, so syntax and style will carry greater weight than raw speed.
When in doubt, I would stick with the default shell provided by your operating system. That makes life easier when you need help or when you want to swap command line tips with other users or members of your distribution's community. I've also run into a few cases were an application assumed the user's shell was the system's default and produced unexpected behaviour when the default shell wasn't in use. If you're feeling experimental, then by all means, install a few shells and try them. Chances are you will find one that acts in a manner which feel intuitive or which has a syntax you find easier to read compared with the others.
A word of warning with regards to changing the default shell. It is not a good idea to change the root user's (or primary user's) shell. Some utilities may make assumptions about which shell the root account will use. In addition, if something goes serious wrong on the system you may find your custom shell is not on the same partition as your root file system. This is why the default shell is traditionally stored in the /bin directory as opposed to another location, such as /usr/bin, which might be mounted from a different location. If your system can't mount the partition where your shell's executable is stored then it becomes more difficult to begin repairs. Long story short: don't change the root user's shell.
|Released Last Week
Bridge Linux 2013.06
Dalton Miller has announced the availability of Bridge Linux 2013.06, an Arch-based Linux distribution available in four separate flavours (with Xfce, GNOME, KDE and LXDE desktops) and now also featuring Pacaur, a simple and powerful package management wrapper for Arch Linux packages: "Announcing Bridge Linux 2013.06. This update was mostly just a re-package, but there were a few changes still. Update overview: switched from Packer to Pacaur (don't worry, it's aliased in ~/.bashrc for a while); removed LXMed due to Java dependency; switched to official font packages, no more recompiling the AUR version." Here is the brief release announcement.
Bridge Linux 2013.06 - the default Xfce desktop
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Arjen Balfoort has announced the release of SolydXK 201306, an updated version of the project's desktop Linux distribution with Xfce (SolydX) or KDE (SolydK) based on Debian's "testing" branch: "The new SolydXK ISO images include the latest updates from June's Update Pack. Changes: thanks to forum users the following applications are now localized into Spanish, Catalán, German and Dutch - Device Driver Manager (DDM), Debian Plymouth Manager, LightDM Manager, Software Manager, Welcome Screen; the Steam installer has been removed, and Steam installed, thus leaving out a step to install Steam before you can start playing; Blueman has been removed, it showed in the system stray even if you didn't have Bluetooth running; Java has been upgraded to the latest version...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more changes.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 20.0, a new version of the Debian-based distribution designed solely for Internet browsing and for using web-based applications (e.g. Google Docs): "Please download Webconverger 20, our stable update release, featuring: Firefox 21 updates and Flash security updates; a dist-upgrade, based on Progress Linux 2.0; an a bit of a diet, 441 MB to 357 MB, saving about 60 MB by removing files you won't need; wide scrollbars options for touch screen deployments; tweaks to force viewing PDFs inline; customer configurations are now fetched over SSL. If you are using the recommended Install version of Webconverger, you should seamlessly upgrade incrementally day by day as Webconverger is updated. In other words, an installed Webconverger is maintenance free." Read the full release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Linux Deepin 12.12
Li Hong Wu has announced the release of Linux Deepin 12.12, an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution featuring the Deepin desktop environment (based on GNOME Shell) and available in English and Chinese (simplified and traditional) variants: "Yes, the long wait is finally over and a new stable and awesome release of Linux Deepin, version 12.12, is ready for you. After a year of hard work, we are happy to bring you a free operating system with the unique Deepin touch - stable, easy and elegant. Linux Deepin 12.12 features a brand-new desktop environment, called DDE or Deepin Desktop Environment, an enhanced Deepin Software Center, as well as DMusic, DPlayer and DSnapshot." Read the full release announcement to find out more about the Deepin desktop environment and other features, and to view screenshots.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - an Ubuntu-based distribution from China
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Caixa Mágica 20
Flavio Moringa has announced the release of Linux Caixa Mágica 12.12, a new version of the Portuguese project's Ubuntu-based distribution with GNOME 3 optimised for home and office deployment and enhanced with various tweaks and extra software for use in Portugal: "Linux Caixa Mágica 20 is now available for download. You can get it from our Linux Caixa Mágica download page by selecting the version from the drop-down menu. This new version brings updates to all packages, new installation options (like LVM support), latest hardware support, and global performance improvements among many other things. For the main software packages you have Linux kernel 3.8, GNOME 3.6.3, LibreOffice 4.0.2, Firefox 21, Chromium 25.0.1364.160, LibreOffice full manual (Portuguese only) and much more...." Read the release announcement (the Portuguese version is available here) for more information.
Caixa Mágica 20 - an Ubuntu-based distribution from Portugal
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And updated build of antiX, a lightweight Debian-based distribution designed for older and low-specification computers, has been released: "The antiX team is pleased to announce the first update of antiX 13 (code name 'Luddite'), based on Debian 'Wheezy'. This update includes those made upstream in Debian 'Wheezy' and various bug fixes specific to antiX: 64-bit kernel recompiled so non-free drivers will build in 'Wheezy'; 64-bit alert message when booting 32-bit ISO image fixed; 'ghost' window fix in IceWM; GUI installer should write correct GRUB entries for any other installed OS; GUI installer should set correct keyboard; more options to enable and disable services at boot; added cdw and Calcurse to IceWM menu; fixed missing icons from IceWM menu; Gufw firewall configuration fixed...." See the project's news page to read the rest of the changelog.
Slackel KDE-4.10.4 "Live"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel KDE-4.10.4 "Live" edition, a Slackware-based live DVD featuring the latest KDE desktop: "Slackel KDE-4.10.4 Live has been released. A collection of two KDE live ISO images that can be burned to a DVD or used with a USB drive are immediately available. The Slackel live DVD images include the Linux kernel. Slackel KDE-4.10.4 Live includes the 'Current' tree of Slackware and KDE 4.10.4 accompanied by a very rich collection of KDE-centric software. Firefox 21.0, KMail, KTorrent, Akregator, Kopete... In the multimedia section VLC 2.0.6, Clementine 1.1.1, K3b 2.0.2 are included. The Salix codecs installer application can be used to quickly and easily install patent-encumbered codecs to your system. Calligra Words, Calligra Stage, Calligra Tables are the main office applications present." Here is the full release announcement.
ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop Fresh LXDE"
Ekaterina Lopukhova has announced the release of ROSA 2012 R1 "Desktop Fresh LXDE" edition, a lightweight Linux distribution for the desktop: "ROSA is glad to announce a further expansion of ROSA Desktop Fresh R1 distribution series - an update of its distribution based on lightweight desktop environment, LXDE. This distribution uses the same code base as the recently-released ROSA Desktop Fresh R1. The main difference is a tendency to be minimalistic while preserving flexibility and usability. The new version includes only really necessary software and is built with the 'the easier the faster' principle in mind - high work speed is achieved at the expense of simple interface and absence of effects. The release is based on the time-proved GTK+ 2 framework, though some components are using the latest developments from GTK+ 3 and GNOME 3." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
IPFire 2.13 Core 69
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13 Core 69, a new stable version of the project's specialist Linux distribution for firewalls and routers: "Today, the IPFire development team released the 69th Core update for IPFire 2. This update comes with a new kernel and some minor enhancements. The Linux kernel has been updated to address several security issues and other bugs. The kernel is based on Linux 3.2.46 and comes with a newer wireless stack from kernel 3.8.3. Some wireless hardware has got better support in term of stability and we have added some more drivers for several networking hardware like USB Ethernet adaptors and so on. The install disk has got a new bootloader where you now can install other versions of IPFire as well. There are also some diagnostic tools and other installation options available." Here is the full release announcement.
PCLinuxOS 2013.06 "LXDE", "Full Monty"
Bill Reynolds has announced the release of PCLinuxOS 2013.06 "LXDE" edition: "PCLinuxOS LXDE 2013.06 is now available for 64-bit, as well as 32-bit systems. Features: Linux kernel 3.4.49 for maximum desktop performance; full LXDE desktop; NVIDIA and ATI fglrx driver support; multimedia playback support for many popular formats; wireless support for many network devices; printer support for many local and networked printer devices; addlocale allows you to convert PCLinuxOS into over 60 languages; LibreOfficeManager can install LibreOffice supporting over 100 languages; MyLiveCD allows you to take a snapshot of your installation and burn it to a live CD or DVD...." Read the rest of the release notes for highlighted applications, hardware requirements and screenshots.
Calculate Linux 13.6
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 13.6, an updated release of the Gentoo-based distribution for desktops (with KDE or Xfce), servers and media centres: "Calculate Linux 13.6 has been released to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the project. Main changes and fixes: desktop systems now boot up several times faster, thanks to scheduling optimization for start-up services and parallel boot-up; encryption of home directories is now supported; in CLDX, multiple users can login to one client; LightDM now comes as the default display manager in CLDX; Xarchiver was replaced with File Roller; better support of multimedia keyboards; software update - Linux kernel 3.9.6, KDE 4.10.4, LibreOffice 4.0.4, Chromium 28.0.1500.45." The release announcement.
Zorin OS 7 "Educational"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 7 "Educational" edition, a 32-bit only, Ubuntu-based distribution focusing on the needs of educational institutions: "The Zorin OS team has released the Educational, Business, Multimedia and Gaming editions of Zorin OS 7. Zorin OS 7 brings about a plethora of changes and improvements such as a wide array of updated software, the Linux Kernel version 3.8, the introduction of new software and an enormous design overhaul. The Zorin Look Changer is integrated into Zorin OS 7, which allows users to choose between the Windows 7, XP and GNOME 2 graphical interfaces in the Educational edition. As always, Zorin OS 7 uses the Zorin Desktop environment with Zorin Menu for unparalleled customization and ease-of-use. Zorin OS 7 is based on Ubuntu 13.04." Here is the brief release announcement.
Linux Lite 1.0.6
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 1.0.6, a lightweight desktop Linux distribution with Xfce, based on Ubuntu 12.04: "Linux Lite 1.0.6 final released. This is our most feature-packed release to date. We've relied heavily on feedback from the community to help guide the development of Linux Lite 1.0.6. New features include easier networking setup between Linux Lite and Windows or other Linux operating systems, a system report tool to help troubleshoot problems, support for scanners, Bluetooth and a brand-new login screen. The Help and Support Manual is our most comprehensive to date and is available both offline and online. Changelog: Firefox 21.0, Linux kernel 3.2-pae; added 'Drives' shortcut to home folder; added Show Desktop button; added support for iDevices; added right click 'Open as Administrator' to Thunar; replaced wicd with NetworkManager...." Here is the brief release announcement.
Linux Lite 1.0.6 - an Ubuntu-based distribution with Xfce
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Rogue Class Linux. Rogue Class Linux is a Slackware-based toy Linux distribution for playing games and reading books. It has a streamlined installer and it supports joystick controls in most of the programs. The distribution favours turn-based games, such as puzzles and rogue-like games.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 1 July 2013. 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)
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 126.96.36.199, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
TalkingArch is a re-spin of the Arch Linux live ISO image, modified to include speech and Braille output for blind and visually-impaired users. Arch Linux is designed to be simple, lightweight and flexible. TalkingArch retains all the features of the Arch Linux live image, but adds speech and Braille packages to make it possible for blind and visually impaired users to install Arch Linux eyes-free.