| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 515, 8 July 2013
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The challenges of maintaining on-line privacy have been in the news a lot this past month. This week Jesse Smith reviews a Whonix, a project that strives to make it easy to maintain privacy while navigating the digital world. Also in this issue we will get a first look at Linux Deepin, a user-friendly distribution which features Chinese language support. In the spotlight this past week was the latest Fedora release. Fedora is a cutting-edge distribution and there are always exciting changes coming out of the project, be sure to check out some early impressions below. Speaking of exciting changes, with GTK+ 2 being abandoned in favour of newer technologies, what will become of desktop environments that rely on this once-popular toolkit? LXDE's developers are looking at some unexpected options and we will talk about their experiments and the future of LXDE in this week's News section. Software isn't the only thing that changes, hardware also has the ability to affect the open source landscape and, with that in mind, this week we hear from Marshall Mickusick as he discusses FreeBSD's plans for dealing with Secure Boot technology. Plus the Linux Mint project announced last week the popular minty distribution will be bundled with a new personal computer called the MintBox. Finally, good news for fans of the Raspberry Pi as five new distributions specially built for the popular mini computer have been added to the DistroWatch database. Happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Whonix and Linux Deepin
This week I want to dedicate some time to looking at projects which readers have requested I review. These two projects aren't related, their primary connection being both of their names showed up in my inbox.
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First on the list is Whonix, an interesting experiment in privacy. The Whonix project isn't a GNU/Linux distribution in the usual sense. The project doesn't provide installation media, nor is it meant to be installed on physical hardware. The Whonix distribution is provided to us in two parts, both of which are meant to be imported and run as virtual machines using VirtualBox. The first virtual machine is a gateway and basically acts as a network router. This Gateway virtual machine forms a connection to the Tor network on one virtual network interface and, with a second interface, waits for incoming connections from another virtual machine.
The second virtual machine is a desktop workstation. This Workstation virtual machine opens a connection to the Gateway virtual machine. All network traffic from the Workstation virtual environment is transferred through the Gateway. What this does for us is insures that all network traffic leaving our Workstation must pass through the Gateway and therefore the Tor network. It should not be possible for an application to leak our location from our Workstation virtual machine directly to the rest of the world because, as far as the Workstation appliance is concerned, its only connection with the outside world is the Tor network. In theory, even if a malicious application gains administrative access in our Workstation virtual machine it will not be able to reveal our location. This gives us an extra layer of security between ourselves and the outside world. Were we to simply run Tor on our regular computer an application might bypass the Tor network and talk directly to another machine. Using Whonix we are protected from misbehaving programs.
Whonix's Gateway virtual machine is provided as a 430 MB download and the Workstation download is 1.3 GB in size. Both of these files can be imported directly into VirtualBox and, as part of the import, memory is automatically set aside and virtual disks are created for us. All we need to do is perform the import and then launch first the Gateway appliance and then the Workstation. The Gateway appliance starts up and we can watch it boot to a command line. We really don't need to do anything with the Gateway, it just sits there, quietly passing traffic back and forth and no configuration nor input is required from us. The Workstation appliance boots to the KDE desktop. The graphical environment is laid out in the traditional style and the desktop is littered with icons, most of them open the Firefox web browser and direct us to donation pages, documentation or information on staying safe on-line.
Whonix 0.5.6 - running the Workstation and Gateway virtual machines
(full image size: 476kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Digging through the Workstation's application menu we find the Firefox web browser, which is set up with Tor support and security-related extensions. Of note are the HTTPS Everywhere and NoScript extensions which attempt to keep our network connections secure and spy-free. Whonix also comes with the XChat IRC client, the VLC multimedia player and a document viewer. We have access to the Ark archive manager, a virtual calculator, and a text editor. Whonix also comes with the KGpg security key and encryption tool. We're given a meta-data removal tool which attempts to scrub identifying data from files. I was pleased to note the distribution comes with several accessibility utilities, including a virtual keyboard, a text-to-speech program and a screen magnifier. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.2.
Whonix uses Debian GNU/Linux as its base and this gives us a good deal of flexibility. Since the Whonix appliance has a local (virtual) hard drive we are able to use the Apper or Synaptic package managers to install additional software packages. We're also able to install updates as provided by the Debian distribution. This allows us to both keep Whonix up to date with security patches and add software to the base system in order to carry out tasks not directly related to web browsing or sending private messages.
Going into my experiment with Whonix I had worried memory usage would be high. We are, after all, running two virtual machines simultaneously. I was pleased to find both virtual machines combined used approximately 1GB of memory in total, not bad when we consider the Workstation appliance runs a full featured KDE desktop. Debian is well known for its performance and I found it made a good base for Whonix. The system is responsive and the KDE desktop inside the appliance displayed nearly native performance.
While playing with Whonix I couldn't help but compare it against other privacy-focused distributions, such as Tails. Other distributions I've used that have focused on privacy and Tor have typically been live CDs rather than virtual machines and I feel there are strong arguments both for and against Whonix's approach. In the "pro" column I like that I can launch Whonix from my regular operating system without rebooting. Whonix is convenient in that the user doesn't need to reboot or burn CDs or download a new ISO each time security updates become available. Importing a VirtualBox image takes just a few mouse clicks and the user can download security updates from Debian. This approach also avoids hardware compatibility issues. VirtualBox gives Whonix a standard platform from which to work so as long as the host computer has enough memory (1GB of RAM, plus enough for the host operating system). The fact Whonix allows us to install additional software provides a strong argument in this project's favour when compared against live CDs.
On the other hand Whonix does have potential drawbacks. Should the Whonix virtual machine be compromised then it will continue to be compromised each time it is used since it has persistent storage. A user could get around this by destroying and re-importing the appliance on a regular basis, but this is something that must be done manually. With a live CD the operating system starts from a known (hopefully clean) condition and that allows us to wipe out any malicious infection with a reboot. The approach used by Whonix relies on the host operating system being clean. It doesn't matter how secure Whonix is if the host is infected with spyware because the host operating system doesn't route traffic through the Whonix Gateway. This means if the host operating system has a key logger or is talking to remote computers it may leak important information. Put another way, a computer is as secure as its weakest point and Whonix will only protect us if the host operating system can be trusted. When running a live CD geared toward privacy we have one less component in the chain of trust we need to consider.
What I feel it boils down to is Whonix is quite convenient and the distribution comes with many useful tools. Whonix makes on-line privacy easier and more accessible. It may not protect the user as completely as a dedicated privacy live CD, but it is certainly appealing for casual use. If you're in a situation where most of your work is done in the open, but there are a few things you do that you wish kept private, then Whonix is really an ideal tool.
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Linux Deepin 12.12
The second distribution I was asked to talk about is Deepin Linux. This is an Ubuntu-based distro that has three notable features which set it apart from its parent. The first feature is that Deepin has been set up to work with Chinese language support out of the box and the system supports Chinese character input. The distribution also has an English build for those of us who are unfamiliar with Chinese characters. (I only recognize about dozen traditional Chinese characters, including the symbols for "man" and "idiot", because everyone should be able to identify themselves when travelling abroad.) The second feature is a pair of custom media players. Deepin comes with a special audio player and a custom video player. This surprised me as there are several good multimedia players available for Linux distributions, but it seems the Deepin developers have designs of their own to share. The third feature which sets Deepin apart from Ubuntu is the desktop. Deepin uses a modified version of GNOME Shell and the Deepin desktop has a traditional look to it. This is in sharp contrast to Ubuntu's Unity desktop which features a mobile-like interface.
The download image for Linux Deepin is approximately 1.1 GB in size and booting from the disc brings us to a traditional desktop layout powered by GNOME. The application menu and task switcher are placed at the bottom of the display. On the desktop we find icons which open the distribution's package manager, launch the system installer and open the project's documentation. The application menu appears to be the same as the one used by GNOME Shell. It takes up most of the screen and allows us to search for applications by name or by category.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - the application menu
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Linux Deepin uses the Ubuntu graphical system installer. The installer walks us through partitioning the hard drive, confirming our time zone, confirming our keyboard's layout and creating a user account. It's a quick and fairly painless process. Unfortunately, upon rebooting the computer and attempting to load Deepin the operating system locked up. I tried booting the distribution several times using different boot options. In each case the system was unable to reach a point where I could attempt to login. This surprised me as Deepin's parent distribution works fairly well on this hardware. So, as it turned out, I was limited in my usage of Deepin and my observations were confined to the distribution's live disc.
Based on what I found on the live disc Linux Deepin ships with a useful collection of software, along with a few surprises. The Firefox and Chrome web browsers are included along with Adobe's Flash plugin. The Thunderbird e-mail client is installed for us as are Skype and Pidgin for VoIP and instant messaging, respectively. The custom audio and video players I mentioned earlier are installed for us along with a collection of popular multimedia codecs. LibreOffice is available as is another productivity suite called Kingsoft. The Kingsoft word processor and spreadsheet applications bear a strong resemblance to Microsoft Office, right down to the ribbon menu interface. I didn't get a chance to use Kingsoft's productivity software much during the week, but I hope to cover the suite in a future review. In the application menu we also find text editors, an archive manager and a control panel for adjusting the look and feel of the GNOME desktop. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.8.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - the distribution's audio and video players
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Linux Deepin uses a package manager which bears a strong resemblance to Ubuntu's Software Centre. This interface allows us to browse for software, searching for applications by name or by category. Applications are represented by icons and we can add or remove software with a single click. Actions being performed on packages are handled in the background while we continue to use the software manager. The package manager also handles software updates in a separate tab and, again, updates can be applied with a single click. The software manager is quite easy to use and worked well in the live environment. Packages are pulled from Deepin's repositories which appear to be copies of Ubuntu's software repositories, with a few extra packages added.
Though I wasn't able to get the locally installed version of Deepin to run I found the live disc worked fairly well with my hardware. I ran the distribution on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card). My screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and the distribution automatically set up a network connection via Network Manager. The GNOME desktop, which attempted to use 3-D visual effects was sluggish and it took a few seconds for windows to close or for the application menu to appear. Had the distribution run locally this probably could have been fixed with updated video drivers.
Linux Deepin 12.12 - browsing the distribution's documentation
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For the most part I'm pretty happy with what the Linux Deepin project has managed to put together. Putting aside for a moment the hardware-specific problems I ran into the distribution appears to be doing a good job creating an environment that will be familiar to people coming from the Windows world. The menu system, the desktop layout, the custom multimedia applications and the Kingsoft productivity software all appear to be designed with a Windows-to-Linux migration in mind. The desktop is easy to navigate, the approach to package management is friendly and the distribution comes with a lot of useful software on the installation disc. The Deepin project takes Ubuntu, adds some special sauce and adds a more newcomer-friendly feel, making this distribution well worth a look, especially for people interested in trying Linux for the first time.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora 19 arrives, Linux Mint introduces an upgrade to MintBox and FreeBSD tackles Secure Boot
The big news from this past week was the release of Fedora 19, which bears the name "Schrödinger's Cat". Reviews quickly started appearing, most noting that Fedora 19 looks to be a relatively tame release for the cutting-edge distribution, with notable changes to the installer and systemd init technology. An article by Thorsten Leembuis sums up the latest version succinctly by saying: "The new Fedora does not have any major changes, much less any revolutionary ones, but the small and medium-sized changes certainly add up, including better support for new Radeon graphics cores, a spate of new systemd features and the move to MariaDB. An updated and very comprehensive collection of software makes Fedora one of the most cutting-edge distributions at the moment."
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Last week we talked about libre hardware, libre software and the challenges users of open source operating systems face. Not many hardware companies currently go out of their way to support Linux (and other open source platforms) and finding computer equipment which is known to work with Linux can be difficult. The Linux Mint team has previously sought to offer a solution by way of their MintBox, a computer which comes with Linux Mint pre-installed. The Mint team blogged last week saying the MintBox is getting an upgrade. The MintBox 2 will be built by CompuLab and will ship with Linux Mint 15 "Olivia". Details on the new device, including specs and shipping costs, can be found on the Linux Mint website.
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Last year we saw several Linux distributions, including Fedora and Ubuntu, tackle support for UEFI Secure Boot technology, the feature which prevents personal computers from loading operating systems and boot loaders that are not cryptographically signed. Now it is the FreeBSD project's turn to take on Secure Boot. FreeBSD developer Marshall Mickusick told IT Wire that the FreeBSD team would probably follow in the footsteps of cutting-edge Linux distributions. "Indeed we will likely take the Linux shim loader, put our own key in it, and then ask Microsoft to sign it. Since Microsoft will have already vetted the shim loader code, we hope that there will be little trouble getting them to sign our version for us." At the moment there isn't a firm time line for when FreeBSD will support Secure Boot technology.
* * * * *
Now that development work on the GTK+ (version 2) toolkit has ceased it has left some developers of desktop environments looking at alternatives. The LXDE developers in particular are examining possible replacements for the aging GTK+ 2 technology which has, up to this point, formed the backbone of the lightweight LXDE project. The developers have been looking at moving the low-resource desktop to either GTK+ 3 or the Qt framework. The result? "To be honest, migrating to Qt will cause mild elevation of memory usage compared to the old GTK+ 2 version. Don't jump to conclusions too soon. Migrating to GTK+ 3 also causes similar increase of resource usage. Since GTK+ 2 is no longer supported by its developer and is now being deprecated, porting to Qt is not a bad idea at the moment. Besides, the slightly higher memory usage is still acceptable for most of the existing old machines. The real resource usage may differ a lot among different Linux distros. For example, Ubuntu-based distros running LXDE tend to use more memory than Arch Linux-based ones. So more testing and real benchmarks are needed before making a conclusion on this."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Discovering processor capabilities
Learning-what-this-thing-can-do asks: How can I tell if my computer's processor is 32-bit or 64-bit and whether it supports features like PAE?
DistroWatch answers: Most personal computers made within the past ten years will have support for physical address extension (PAE) and will probably contain 64-bit x86 processors. Both technologies have become quite mainstream over the past decade. However, it is always good to be sure. When running a Linux distribution there are two sources of information you can use that will show everything you need to know about your computer's CPU. The first is the lscpu command. Opening a terminal and running lscpu will display the number of CPUs available on the machine, the architecture, vendor information, processor speed and cache size, among other pieces of data. When looking through the table of information lscpu displays the row which will tell us about the processor's architecture is the one which begins with the words "CPU op-mode". This line tells us which architectures the CPU can use and will tell us if the processor is capable of 64-bit operations. An easy way to quickly display this information is to run:
lscpu | grep op-mode
The other way to get a good deal of information about the CPU is to look in the file /proc/cpuinfo. This file contains all sorts of tid-bits and flags which indicate what kind of CPU we have and what it is capable of doing. To see all the information in its raw format run:
In this case we are specifically interested in whether the CPU has PAE support. To check we can run a command which will search through the CPU's supported features and check to see if "pae" is among those listed:
cat /proc/cpuinfo | grep pae
Should the above command display any output that indicates the processor has PAE support. If nothing is displayed when we run the above command that means PAE support is not available.
|Released Last Week
ALT Linux 7.0.0 "Centaurus", "Simply"
Ilya Mashkin has announced the release of ALT Linux 7.0 "Centaurus" and "Simply" editions. The "Centaurus" variant is a complete enterprise-class operating system featuring the MATE 1.6.0 desktop environment (even though the installation program calls it "GNOME"), while the "Simply" edition is an easy-to-use operating system customised for office workstations and home computers, and featuring the Xfce 4.10 desktop. Besides the usual i586 and x86_64 builds, the "Simply" edition is now also available for the Cubox (based on the Marvell Armada 510 processor) as well as the ARMv7 architecture. English, Russian and several other languages (depending on the edition) are supported. See the full release announcement (in Russian) for further information.
Robyn Bergeron has announced the availability of Fedora 19, the new stable version of the Red Hat-sponsored community distribution of Linux: "The Fedora Project is delighted to announce the release of Fedora 19. What's new? Developer's Assistant is a tool for new developers that helps you to get started on a code project by offering templates, samples, and toolchains for a variety of languages; 3D modelling and printing are supported with OpenSCAD, Skeinforge, SFACT, Printrun, RepetierHost, and other tool options; OpenShift Origin makes it easy for you to build your own Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) infrastructure; MariaDB offers a truly open MySQL implementation and is now the default MySQL option in Fedora...." Read the release announcement and check out the detailed release notes to learn more.
Chris Smart has announced the release of Korora 19, a Fedora-based desktop Linux distribution with a choice of GNOME or KDE desktops and with many user-friendly enhancements: "Well, the cat's out of the bag! We are pleased to announce that Korora 19 'Bruce' is now available for download, which for the first time ever coincides with the release of Fedora. Features: GNOME 3.8; KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.10; the Anaconda installer has support for many English locales. Of course this release comes with the usual Korora extras out of the box, such as: third party repositories (Chrome, RPMFusion, VirtualBox); full multimedia support including Adobe Flash plugin; Jockey device manager to handle drivers such as ATI and NVIDIA; Firefox as the default web browser (with integration theme for KDE); Firefox extensions enabled (Adblock Plus, DownThemAll, Flashblock, Xclear)...." Continue to the release announcement for more information and upgrade instructions.
OS4 OpenLinux 13.5
Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 OpenLinux 13.5, a user-friendly distribution based on Ubuntu and featuring a customised Xfce desktop environment: "Today we are pleased to announce the availability of the most advanced Linux-based operating system on the planet - OS4 OpenLinux 13.5. With this release we bring lots of enhancements and feature updates to the OS4 OpenLinux operating system. We have made several kernel enhancements that make the default kernel in OS4 OpenLinux that much faster and efficient. Also, many new hardware drivers are included that support more hardware, out of the box. Along with a new logo and an enhanced look and feel from our previous release, we have made OS4 OpenLinux one of the easiest to use operating systems that allows you to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. We have made some new changes in the application line-up." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Clemens Toennies has announced the final release of Netrunner 13.06, a desktop Linux distribution based on Kubuntu and showcasing the KDE 4.10.3 desktop and applications: "The 64-bit and 32-bit variants of Netrunner 13.06 are available for download. Features and changes: new Netrunner desktop containment (no cashew, hidden plus/minus overlays); improved KWin performance, so full transparency works on most lower-end machines; new Kate minimap scrollbar; automatically activated KWallet; hot corner in lower right; simplified system settings; removed WINE (due to increased irrelevance); ALSA instead of PulseAudio for best compatibility and performance (intel hda); Firefox with (working) Mozilla app store; Steam installer link included; usual KDE goodies - Homerun 1.0, Tomahawk 0.7." Here is the brief release announcement.
Netrunner 13.06 - a Kubuntu-based distribution with a custom KDE desktop
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Zorin OS 7 "Lite", "Educational Lite"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS 7 "Lite" and "Educational Lite" editions, two Zorin OS variants based on Lubuntu and featuring the lightweight LXDE desktop environment: "The Zorin OS team is proud to release Zorin OS 7 Lite and Educational Lite, the latest evolution of the Zorin OS Lite series of operating systems, designed specifically for Windows users using old or low-powered hardware. This release is based on Lubuntu 13.04 and uses the LXDE desktop environment to provide one of the fastest and most feature-packed interfaces for low-specification machines. This new release includes newly updated software out-of-the-box, the introduction of new software and a new desktop theme. We also include our innovative Zorin Look Changer, Zorin Internet Browser Manager, Zorin OS Lite Extra Software and other programs from our earlier versions in Zorin OS 7 Lite and Educational Lite." Here is the brief release announcement.
Lucas Holt has announced the release of MidnightBSD 0.4, a FreeBSD-derived operating system with a goal to create an easy-to-use desktop environment with graphical ports management: "MidnightBSD 0.4 has been released. It includes many new features, but of particular interest is the new package management tool, mport. This release is a bit different from previous releases in that we plan to update packages during the support period for 0.4. Rather than upload packages and sit on them for the life of the release, you will be able to download updated packages for i386 and amd64 periodically. Due to this new feature, our initial package offering is smaller than we've done for previous releases as many things had to get migrated and updated. We plan to expand the packages available in the coming weeks. In addition to mport, we've imported a large number of features from FreeBSD 9.1." See the rest of the release notes for more details.
Legacy OS 2.1 "Gamer"
John Van Gaans has announced the release of Legacy OS 2.1 "Gamer" edition, a Puppy-based distribution designed for, you've guessed it, PC gaming enthusiasts: "Our best releases coming in 2013 starting with Legacy OS 2.1 Gamer available now. To start things off Legacy OS 2 Gamer has been released. Months of testing and searching the Internet for Pentium III compatible games has resulted in this release. From card games to 3D-type games like Prboom, the open-source release of the classic game Doom, this release will bring many hours of fun for families who can't afford Quad Core Gaming PCs and only have access to Pentium III and 4 PCs. Also included in this release is the Opera 12 web browser with Flash for excellent HTML 5 Internet browsing and the Amarok music player to manage your music collection. Pentium III PCs make great Jukeboxes when connected to a amplifier and a couple of speakers." Read the release information for further details and screenshots.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|Around The Web (by Jesse Smith)
- Latest reviews: Linux Mint 15, antiX 13.1 (in Croatian), Fedora 19 (in German), Fedora 19 (in French), Fedora 19, DoudouLinux 2.0, Fedora 19
- Latest podcasts: Frostcast 078 (ogg), Burning Circle 120 (mp3), Linux Outlaws 136 (ogg), SMLR 90 (ogg), Everyday Linux 101 (mp3), TLLTS 512 (ogg), Linux Basement 82 (mp3), Going Linux 213 (ogg)
- Latest newsletters: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter 323
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
New distributions added to database|
The Raspberry Pi mini computer has seen such as tremendous success among the technically-minded Linux users and, increasingly, among those who prefer a low-cost computer that would work as a single-purpose system, e.g. a media centre. The growing number of searches for related terms (e.g. "Raspberry" or "Raspbian") on DistroWatch were a clear indication that this site has been missing an important distribution category. Not any more. Since last weekend, DistroWatch lists five operating systems built specifically for the "Pi", while our search page now includes a "Raspberry Pi" category with several others. If we missed something please let us know.
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- PiBang. PiBang Linux is a Linux distribution for the Raspberry Pi mini-computer. It was inspired by CrunchBang Linux and it is based on Debian GNU/Linux and the Raspbian project. PiBang Linux provides a lightweight and configurable Openbox desktop user interface.
PiBang 20130411 - a Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with Openbox
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- Pidora. Pidora is a Linux software distribution for the Raspberry Pi computer. It contains software packages from the Fedora project compiled for the ARMv6 architecture used on the Raspberry Pi, packages which have been specifically written for or modified for the Raspberry Pi, and software provided by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for device access.
Pidora 18 - a Fedora-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with Xfce
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- Raspbian. Raspbian is a free operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux and optimised for the Raspberry Pi hardware (the armhf processor architecture). Raspbian comes with over 35,000 packages, or pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation on a Raspberry Pi. The initial build was completed in June of 2012, but the distribution continues to be active developed with an emphasis on improving the stability and performance of as many Debian packages as possible. Although Debian produces a distribution for the arm architecture, it is compatible only with versions later than the one used on the Raspberry Pi (ARMv7-A CPUs and higher vs the Raspberry Pi's ARMv6 CPU).
Raspbian 2013-05-25 - a Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with LXDE
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- Raspbmc. Raspbmc is a Debian-based minimal Linux distribution that brings the XBMC media centre software to a Raspberry Pi computer. This device has an excellent form factor and enough power to handle media playback, making it an ideal component in a low-cost HTPC (Home Theatre Personal Computer) setup, yet delivering the same XBMC experience that can be enjoyed on much more costly platforms.
Raspbmc 2013-05-14 - a Debian-based distribution for Raspberry Pi with XBMC
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- RISC OS Open. RISC OS is a computer operating system originally designed by Acorn Computers Ltd in Cambridge, England in 1987. RISC OS was specifically designed to run on the ARM chipset, which Acorn had designed concurrently for use in its new line of Archimedes personal computers. It takes its name from the RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture supported. Fast, compact and efficient, RISC OS is developed and tested by a loyal community of developers and users. RISC OS is not a version of Linux, nor is it in any way related to Windows, and it has a number of unique features and aspects to its design.
RISC OS Open 2013-03-20 (RC8) - an operating system developed for the Raspberry Pi and other ARM-based computers
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* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Mango Linux. Mango Linux is an openSUSE-based distribution for users whose work focuses on design and programming.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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BackBox Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed to perform penetration tests and security assessments. It is designed to be fast and easy to use. It provides a minimal yet complete desktop environment, thanks to its own software repositories, which are always updated to the latest stable versions of the most often used and best-known ethical hacking tools.