| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 516, 15 July 2013
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! For Red Hat, the recent release of Fedora 19 represented a very important milestone. Not only would this version form the basis of the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, it was also the second stable Fedora release featuring the drastically revamped Anaconda system installer that received so much bashing when it was first unveiled in version 18. So how did the new release fare in our test? Read Jesse Smith's review below to find out. In the news section, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth gives several strong arguments in favour of switching to the distribution's own display server, Fedora loses a well-known and prominent developer in a tragic bicycle accident, and FOSS Force presents a beginners' guide to Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 that should help anyone install and configure this popular distribution. Also in this issue, an overview of the lightweight and simplistic CrunchBang Linux, a first-look review of Kingsoft Office productivity suite for Linux, and information about the annual update of the packages tracked on this site's distribution pages. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the June 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is awesome, a configurable and extensible window manager for developers and power users. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (24MB) and MP3 (35MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Review of Fedora 19 "KDE" edition
The latest offering from the Fedora Project, Fedora 19, was released on July 2nd. The new version carried the code name "Schrödinger's Cat" which seems appropriate. Fedora, being a cutting-edge distribution, is an unpredictable beast and one never knows, prior to installing it, if the release is going to bring joy or heartache. Looking through the release notes for Fedora 19 I got the impression this version was to be a fairly small evolution from Fedora 18, which was released earlier this year. The release notes highlight such desktop features as the inclusion of GNOME 3.8, KDE 4.10, LibreOffice 4.0 and packages for the MATE and Cinnamon desktop environments. Less obvious changes include improved boot times and enhancements to the systemd init software. The release notes also mention that users who run logical volume management (LVM) file systems will be able to take advantage of file system snapshots. These snapshots will be taken by the yum software manager during updates to allow administrators the ability to rollback to previous package versions. We're also told yum now has delta-update capability built in directly and enabled by default. This means the package manager only downloads changes to software packages rather than downloading the entire package again.
Fedora 19 is available in several editions, including GNOME, KDE, Xfce and LXDE. There are also various community spins which focus on security, games and other specialties. These editions are all available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. For people running more exotic hardware the Fedora Project maintains several "secondary architectures". I opted to download the 32-bit build of the KDE edition, the ISO for which is approximately 840MB in size.
Booting from the Fedora disc quickly brought up a KDE desktop featuring a pleasant blue background. The application menu and task switcher sit at the bottom of the screen and, on the desktop, we find an icon for launching the system installer. When Fedora 18 came out it introduced a new style of graphical installer and Fedora 19 has carried on with this new approach. The new installer takes a hub-based approach to navigation rather than the common linear style. Once we tell the installer which language we want to use we're brought to a screen where we can choose to enter modules which will let us set the current date & time, change our keyboard layout or partition the local hard drive. We can enter these modules in the order of our choosing. Most of these steps are fairly standard, but the partitioning screen has undergone a change and the new style is one I found quite jarring, mostly due to a lack of helpful on-screen cues.
First we are asked to highlight a disk (or disks) to work on. Then we are taken to a screen where we can opt to use LVM, Btrfs volumes or traditional partitions. From there we are taken to a screen where we can add or remove partitions and change the file systems and the mount points of partitions. I found this screen odd in that it didn't appear to be possible to change the size of a partition, I had to delete and add new partitions if I wanted to adjust sizes, even if my partitions hadn't been written to the disk yet. There is also a regression in that the interface doesn't give us hints as to how big a partition can be, we have to manually enter a given size and hope it fits. The whole process just felt roundabout and slightly awkward, in part I believe because some screens put the "Done" / "Continue" button at the top of the window and other screens place it at the bottom. This makes navigation somewhat inconsistent. Eventually I got through to the next hub where, while the installer copies files in the background, we can set a password on the root account and, optionally, create a regular user account for ourselves. The installer soon finished copying files to my local drive and I was able to reboot the machine and start using the new Fedora. I was pleased to note the new version of Fedora doesn't require us to go through a first-run wizard when we start using the distribution, all of the configuration steps are now included in the modules of the system installer, speeding up the installation process.
Fedora 19 - the system installer
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Desktop and package management
Upon booting Fedora I was brought to a graphical login screen. Signing in brings up the KDE interface and icons for browsing the file system sit on the desktop. Shortly after logging in a notification appeared in the system tray letting me know package updates were available. Clicking on the update icon didn't open an application to handle the updates as I had expected. Instead a widget, which remains fixed to the system tray, appears, listing the available updates. Few details on the available packages are shown and no indication of the size of the downloads is mentioned. We can check off which updates we want (or don't want) and click a button to download the new packages. I have mixed feelings about this approach to handling updates. Using the system tray widget insures the update process stays out of the way, it's compact, but it also means we don't have a lot of information with which to work. I suspect that, given enough time, I will come to appreciate this approach as it means having one less window to deal with on the desktop.
For users who prefer to get more information regarding available software updates the distribution's package manager, Apper, has a module dedicated to dealing with updates. Apper provides more detailed information and a more traditional interface. The Apper application doesn't just handle updates, it also allows us to add and remove software packages. Apper has a nice, open interface where categories of software are represented by colourful icons. We can browse through these categories or search for items by name. Clicking on a package brings up more details on the selected software and packages can be queued for installation with a mouse click. Once we have found all of the items we wish to install the queued items are handled all in one batch. Most of the time Apper worked really well for me. The few exceptions were when the PackageKit process would lock the package database. Typically PackageKit would eventually finish running on its own and free the database to allow me to use it. Only once did I have to manually stop PackageKit in order to apply software updates.
Fedora 19 - package management with Apper
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Also on the subject of updates, during the week I was running Fedora over 130 updates were made available in the distribution's repositories. These packages were downloaded using yum's delta-rpm feature. This means when we download updates we only need to download the changed portion of a given package, not the entire package. This cuts back on bandwidth usage a great deal, often reducing the size of a download by 50 - 80%.
Software and repositories
The KDE edition of Fedora comes with a collection of software capable of performing most common tasks. We're given the Konqueror web browser, the Konversation instant messaging client, the KMail e-mail client and the KTorrent BitTorrent client. The Blogilo blogging software is available as is the Calligra productivity suite. The distribution supplies a handful of multimedia applications including the Amarok music player, the Dragon Player for viewing videos, the K3b disc burner and the KsCD audio disc player. The distribution does not include popular multimedia codecs, nor Flash. These features aren't available in the project's repositories either, but can be acquired from third-party software repositories, such as RPMFusion. Fedora comes with the Marble virtual globe, a hardware browser, a few small games and an e-mail server. Users can also make use of a virtual calculator, text editors and an archive manager. We are additionally provided with two applications for managing security keys and encrypting files. The distribution provides a few administrative tools as well, including one for configuring the firewall, a users and groups manager and an app for enabling/disabling system services. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.9.
Since Fedora doesn't offer several popular software packages, including certain codecs, Flash and VirtualBox, I spent some time adding third-party repositories to the system. These are generally easy enough to find and adding a repository to Fedora 19 is typically as simple as clicking a link on a website. I noticed that whenever I tried to add a new repository the package manager would process the request and then report it had failed to complete the procedure. However, upon checking, the additional repository had always been successfully added to my system, indicating the error message was unnecessarily pessimistic.
One utility which I feel deserves special mention is the firewall configuration tool. Fedora's firewall utility has been going through some changes in the past couple of releases. These changes, at first, make the firewall configuration app appear a little more complex, but the application does feature an important concept. Namely, network zones. When we set up network connections we can choose to assign the connection to a zone. These zones are typically given names such as "public", "work" or "home". We can then create separate firewall rules for each zone. For example, perhaps we want to leave a secure shell service open when we are at home, but not while we are at work. The new firewall tool allows us to assign completely different rules to different networks and these rules are applied automatically when we connect to a new network. I think laptop users will appreciate having separate zones as it will make switching networks less of a security concern.
Fedora 19 - KDE System Settings and Fedora's firewall utility
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I ran Fedora 19 on a desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and found the distribution performed very well. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and Network Manager automatically brought me on-line. I found the KDE 4.10 desktop to be responsive, both with and without visual effects enabled. Fedora 19 felt faster to boot than the previous version, which was a nice bonus. I also ran Fedora in a virtual machine, powered by VirtualBox, and found the distribution performed equally well in the virtual environment. Typically I found Fedora, when running the KDE desktop, would use around 250 - 310 MB of RAM. It seemed to vary a bit at each login, but memory usage always fell within the aforementioned range.
While Fedora generally performed smoothly and quickly during my trial, there were some rough spots during the week. Most of these were minor, such as Amarok refusing to launch after an update. (Later in the week Amarok started working again, either due to another update or perhaps it sorted itself out after a reboot.) There was also the minor case of the name "Schrödinger" not displaying properly, notably on the boot menu, probably caused by the inclusion of non-ASCII characters in the text. The one big issue I ran into was that, when I started using Fedora, the distribution was running on Linux kernel version 3.9.5 and running quite well. When the kernel was updated to version 3.9.8 the system would no longer boot. Reverting back to the original 3.9.5 kernel served to work around the problem.
Generally speaking the latest release of Fedora worked well for me. The distribution ran smoothly on my hardware (updated kernel aside), I like what the developers have done with the firewall configuration application, the system was responsive and it showcases lots of cutting-edge software. Package management worked better for me this time around than it had in the past couple of releases and, once I get used to it, I think the new update widget will be a welcome addition. The one area where I feel Fedora struggles is with the installation and initial configuration. The new system installer seems to be working a little faster than it did in Fedora 18, but it still feels awkward and the disk partitioning module feels like it took a step backward.
The KDE edition of Fedora ships KDE-oriented software, but skips many popular applications (such has Firefox) in order to maintain, I suppose, KDE-purity. This, along with the lack of several popular packages in the repositories means the user will spend more time than usual hunting down third-party software. Once everything is up and running Fedora 19 makes for a decent desktop and development platform and I think this version ran faster and smoother for me than any version of the distribution has in the past few years. Overall, I'm pretty happy with this release, despite its occasional rough edges.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Ubuntu's Shuttleworth defends Mir, Fedora loses developer in tragic accident, Debian 7 newbie guide, CrunchBang for beginners
Ubuntu's decision to develop its own display server called Mir has not been welcomed in all quarters. Far from it. The fragmentation of resources, possible hardware incompatibilities and the continued "Apple-isation" of Linux by Canonical have been cited as the main reasons for the displeasure. But Mark Shuttleworth, the founder and benevolent dictator of Ubuntu is well aware of the backlash. Last week he wrote an explanatory blog post defending the company's decision to switch to Mir: "We take a lot of flack for every decision we make in Ubuntu, because so many people are affected. But I remind the team - failure to act when action is needed is as much a failure as taking the wrong kind of action might be. We have a responsibility to our users to explore difficult territory. Many difficult choices in the past are the bedrock of our usefulness to a very wide audience today. Building a graphics stack is not a decision made lightly - it's not an afternoon's hacking. The decision was taken based on a careful consideration of technical factors. We need a graphics stack that works reliably across a very wide range of hardware, that performs predictably, that provides a consistent quality of user experience on many different desktop environments."
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A devastating piece of news hit the Linux developer community early last week. Seth Vidal, a well-known Fedora developer and the creator of the yum package management utility, was killed in a bicycle accident in his native United States. The H Open reports: "Seth Vidal, long-time member of the Fedora community and lead developer of yum, was killed in a hit-and-run bicycle accident on Monday. Robyn Bergeron spoke for the Fedora Project and community, saying: 'He was a gifted speaker, a brilliant thinker, a clever wit, a humble and genuinely funny person, and a good friend' and that the community owed 'an enormous debt of gratitude to Seth's dedication to Fedora and other free software projects, his commitment to community values, and his passion for excellence in his work.' As well as creating yum, Vidal had helped maintain the Fedora project's infrastructure and helped create the original Fedora Extras system, and had contributed to the CentOS project." For more on Seth Vidal and his work please read these Fedora Planet posts by Konstantin Ryabitsev, Greg DeKoenigsberg, Robyn Bergeron and Tom Callaway.
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Debian GNU/Linux is often viewed as a distribution designed for more advanced Linux users, with much less emphasis on user-friendly features than on versatility and support for less common processor architectures. That said, with a bit of home work even a less experienced Linux user should be able to perform a successful installation and initial configuration. Not convinced? Then try this brand-new Newbies Guide to Debian 7 by FOSS Force's Gustav Fridell: "First of all you need an installation image (ISO file) which you can download from Debian.org. I recommend the small network install image. After downloading the file, copy it to a blank CD, DVD or USB memory stick. If you´re installing to a VirtualBox you're ready to continue to the next step. However, if you're installing directly to your hard drive as a native installation, you should connect to the Internet using an Ethernet cable since not all WiFi cards are supported. For example, I have an Intel WiFi card for which there are no drivers included in the Debian installation media, so they need to be downloaded manually later. If you already have another operating system installed you can keep it, but be sure you have enough room to add Debian and a swap partition." The second part of the guide, entitled Getting Your New Debian 7 'Wheezy' Box up to Speed, is now also available.
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One of the more interesting lightweight distributions available on the market today is CrunchBang Linux, a rather spartan but highly customisable Debian-based project featuring the Openbox window manager. But should you consider this distribution as your main desktop? Yes, say Larry Cafiero, a devout CrunchBang user, who even argues that it is a great distro for beginners: "The learning curve to adapt from a desktop environment to a window manager like Openbox is minimal; in fact, the hardest thing about using a window manager like Openbox is going back to a desktop environment and wondering at first why your right-click actions aren't doing what they're supposed to do. But aside from that -- and backed by a well-stocked forum full of answers and staffed by helpful folks -- new users would have no problems getting up to speed with CrunchBang. In fact, not only is CrunchBang a good distro to use on a daily basis, it's fairly educational without setting out to be. Let me explain: I started using CrunchBang after being a Linux user for five years, but I've learned more in a year using CrunchBang than in the previous five using Fedora, Xubuntu and my first distro, Debian. The reason is that to get CrunchBang the way I want it, I have to do things I wouldn't normally do in the other distros, and it has forced me to learn how things work under the hood."
CrunchBang Linux 11 - simple, lightweight and efficient
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|Application Reviews (by Jesse Smith)
Initial impressions of Kingsoft Office alpha 10 for Linux
Kingsoft's productivity suite has been around for a while, but it has only been fairly recently that the developers decided to bring their office software to the Linux community. The suite, which is available from the project's community website, includes three applications: a word processor, a slide show application and a spreadsheet program. Some people may be wondering why we need another productivity suite, especially one which isn't available under a copyleft license. The Kingsoft website provides three answers. The first is that Kingsoft is a relatively light office suite. Kingsoft comes with just three programs, the ones people are most likely to use and it doesn't bother with databases, drawing or project organizing. It's small and it's fast. The second reason is Kingsoft's applications are designed to look familiar to users of other productivity suites, it's a chameleon. We can change Kingsoft's theme so the applications resemble Microsoft Office or LibreOffice. Finally, Kingsoft is cross-platform and can be run on a variety of operating systems. The combination of these three features means a new user should be able to install Kingsoft almost anywhere and immediately start working with the suite using the same commands and layout they have used in the past.
The Kingsoft suite is approximately 150 MB in size and can be downloaded in Debian, RPM or tar archive formats. Launching one of the applications (Writer, Spreadsheet or Presentation) brings up a “Home” screen where we are shown project news and links to document templates. There are also links to the project's social media sites and documentation. In the upper-right corner of the screen a balloon appears letting us know we can click a button to change the program's theme. Kingsoft applications support three themes, one which resembles Microsoft Office 2007, another which looks like LibreOffice and a third which mimics Metro style applications. With the possible exception of the Calligra suite, I think this is the first time I've seen productivity applications act in such a flexible manner and I quite like it. Another interesting feature of Kingsoft's is tabs. Each of the three applications support documents in tabs, which allows for quick switching between projects.
Kingsoft Presentation alpha 10 - the home screen
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Since collaboration is very important in a productivity suite one of my primary concerns was the range of file formats Kingsoft would support. Documents can be saved as either Kingsoft's files or in Microsoft Office formats. Or so we are told. As it turns out documents saved with either filter create identical files, Kingsoft documents are Microsoft Office documents, just with a different file extension. When going to save a file I noticed on the save file screen there is an option for encrypting the document. I tried using encryption on a few files and the feature worked, not only with Kingsoft applications, but encrypted documents can also be opened by LibreOffice. The reverse, however, is not true. Documents created in LibreOffice using the Open Document format cannot be opened by Kingsoft applications.
I decided to use Kingsoft's suite for a week, attempting to use the Writer and Spreadsheet programs exclusively for work I needed to accomplish. The suite includes all the usual features one expects from office software, such as spell check, inserting images and tables, formatting, print preview and exporting files to PDF format. For the most part my time with Kingsoft was productive, stable and wonderfully uneventful. The one aspect which stood out during this time, above all else, was that the transition to Kingsoft was virtually seamless. Anyone who typically uses LibreOffice, OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office will probably feel immediately at home. The controls, the available layouts and the style of the whole suite are remarkably familiar. So much so that I didn't have to think about anything I was doing, I was able to sit down and just start typing, entering formulas and numbers and everything worked exactly as I expected it to. The level of parity, with regards to features and layout, with both LibreOffice and Microsoft Office is uncanny. The only time I ran into a problem was when I tried to open documents which had been stored using Open Document formats. In those cases I was able to use LibreOffice to convert the existing document and Kingsoft could take over from there. Since most of the people I do business with use the same proprietary formats used by Kingsoft I had no trouble working with documents sent to me.
At the time of writing I haven't had a chance to test Kingsoft's productivity suite on other platforms, but according to the project's website the software is supported on Windows, Android, iOS and now GNU/Linux. I can't comment on how the suite works on those other platforms, but it runs quickly on my Linux desktop and both looks and acts like a native application. As I said before, the transition was nearly seamless in every respect. It didn't hurt my feelings either that Kingsoft was fairly light on resources. Running the word processor, for example, only used around 6 0MB of memory compared to LibreOffice's approximately 160 MB. Kingsoft was also faster to load which, while a minor point, is still nice to see.
Kingsoft Spreadsheets alpha 10 - working with charts
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During most of my trial I felt as though Kingsoft had managed to merge a lot of the perks of other productivity suites into their product. It has the light footprint and flexible interface of Calligra. It has the cross-platform support of LibreOffice and the ability to perform most of the tasks we might expect from Microsoft Office. The two areas where I felt Kingsoft's software didn't hold up in comparison were in the number of supported file formats. I've become spoiled by LibreOffice's wide range of supported document formats and Kingsoft only has support for a narrow band of proprietary files. The other drawback is Kingsoft is currently limited to a word processor, a spreadsheet application and a slide show program. These are the key components of a productivity suite, the ones most people will use, but Kingsoft lacks the drawing tools and database software available in other suites.
Perhaps I haven't been using Kingsoft's suite long enough to make a truly fair evaluation, but I suspect if the developers manage to add Open Document support I would feel comfortable switching to using it as my day-to-day productivity suite. As it stands, even lacking a wide variety of supported document filters, I'm impressed with what I have seen so far.
|Released Last Week
SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP3
Yesterday SUSE released the third service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 "Desktop" and "Server" editions, a set of commercial enterprise-class distributions for desktops and servers: "SUSE today announced the general availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack 3. This latest service pack brings additional industry-standard hardware support and open source features and enhancements to SUSE Linux Enterprise 11, the most interoperable platform for mission-critical computing - across physical, virtual and cloud environments. With Service Pack 3, customers can achieve better workload performance in a more scalable, secure and cost-effective manner. Service Pack 3 gives customers more scale-up and scale-out options to run their mission-critical workloads with support for new hardware, features and enhancements." Read the press release and check out the detailed released notes (desktop, server) for more information. 60-day evaluation editions are available for free download (after registration) from download.novell.com.
Clonezilla Live 2.1.2-20
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.1.2-20, a new stable build of the project's specialist live CD designed for disk cloning tasks: "This release of Clonezilla live (2.1.2-20) includes major enhancements and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2013-07-03; Linux kernel was updated to 3.9.8; Partclone was updated to 0.2.66, a better disk cache mechanism was used; the drbl package was updated to 2.4.18 and Clonezilla was updated to 3.5.1; the disk size info will be shown when selecting the images during restoring; a summary of ocs-chkimg will be shown after image is checked; syslinux was updated to 5.01...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a list of bug fixes.
PFire 2.13 Core 70
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.13 Core 70, the latest stable release from the project developing open-source software solutions for routers and firewalls: "Today, the IPFire development team released the 70th Core update for IPFire 2. This update comes with a new kernel and some minor enhancements. Another kernel update to Linux 3.2.48 fixes various smaller bugs. In addition to that, we switched back to the official in-tree drivers for Realtek r81xx-based network adapters. The e1000e and igb kernel modules which control Intel Ethernet adapters have been updated as well. IPFire brings some data for wireless networks which basically contains information about which frequencies may be used in which countries. This database has been updated and covers more places in the world." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information.
Linux Mint 15 "Xfce"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 15 "Xfce" edition: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 15 'Olivia' Xfce. The highlight of this edition is the lightweight Xfce 4.10 desktop. Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment which aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. It embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that provide the full functionality one can expect of a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick among the available packages to create the optimal personal working environment. The default menu used in this edition is Whisker which features quick access to your favorite applications, categories, system shortcuts, recent documents and recently used applications." Read the release announcement and visit the what's new page for further information, screenshots and system requirements.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
June 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: awesome|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the June 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is awesome, a configurable and extensible window manager for X. It receives €220.00 in cash.
Although probably not the most widely used window manager, awesome has been included in many popular distributions, such as Arch Linux, Debian GNU/Linux and Fedora as well as Frugalware Linux and Grml. It is mostly designed for developers and power users. Quoting from the project's website: "awesome is a highly configurable, next-generation framework window manager for X. It is very fast, extensible and licensed under the GNU GPLv2 license. It is primarily targeted at power users, developers and any people dealing with every day computing tasks and who want to have fine-grained control on theirs graphical environment. A window manager is probably one of the most used software in your day-to-day tasks, with your web browser, mail reader and text editor. Power users and programmers have a big range of choice between several tools for these day-to-day tasks. Some are heavily extensible and configurable; awesome tries to complete these tools with what we miss: an extensible, highly configurable window manager."
Julien Danjou, a Debian developer and the founder of Awesome, has sent a brief thank-you message to DistroWatch.
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, credit cards and Bitcoins 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$35,825 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), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300)
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Annual package database update
Earlier this month DistroWatch has updated its database of tracked packages, based on the suggestions of readers throughout the year. The following new packages have been added to the database: awesome, CMake, IBus, LLVM, MariaDB, Razor-qt and TigerVNC. If there is another software package that you think should be included in the DistroWatch package-tracking database please let us know.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Helal Linux. Helal Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution with a goal of providing a modern a stable operating system with pre-configured system settings, supporting both Arabic-speaking and Muslim users.
- MaadsTrack. MaadsTrack is a specialist distribution with tools for penetration testing and ethical hacking. Made in Pakistan by Maads Security.
- nuOS. nuOS is a FreeBSD-based operating systems that aims to be easy to use, secure, well-integrated, robust, fast. It also offers advanced functionality and is as backward-compatible as possible.
- SmoothSec. SmoothSec is a Debian-based distribution featuring tools for intrusion detection and prevention. It includes the latest version of Snorby, Snort, Suricata, PulledPork and Pigsty. An easy setup process allows to deploy a complete system within minutes, even for security beginners with minimal Linux experience.
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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, 22 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
OpenLab GNU/Linux was an easy-to-use Slackware-based distribution featuring innovative and user-oriented design. Developed in South Africa since 2001, the product takes shape in the form of an installable live CD. It also includes OLAD (OpenLab ADministration tool) and many other innovations ranging from backend systems, such as the hyperdrive suite which simplifies the handling of removable media, to user-level enhancements, such as the highly integrated desktop theme complemented by the award-winning Nuvola icon set.