| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 522, 26 August 2013
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Software freedom is an important aspect of the GNU/Linux community. The concept and practice of sharing source code and taking steps to make sure the code remains available for people to use, modify and redistribute is a key part of what makes the Linux ecosystem work. Free software isn't just a development model, it is also a philosophy which conveys rights to the individual users of the software. This week we focus on software freedom, first by looking at a GNU/Linux distribution which is sponsored by the Free Software Foundation. The project, called gNewSense, provides highly valued software freedom, but how does it stand up to less-free distributions with regards to functionality? Read Jesse Smith's review to find out. We will also be talking about the Parted Magic project's decision to start charging for downloads, the reaction of the Parted Magic community and what the GNU General Public License has to say about cases such as these. In other news, Canonical is finalising plans to ship the Mir display server in Ubuntu 13.10 and the Ubuntu Edge crowd source project has reached its conclusion. Plus there is interesting news coming to the surface about why some USB devices disconnect unexpectedly from Linux machines. We also cover the releases of the past week and look forward to distribution releases to come in the future. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Freedom and gNewSense 3.0
The gNewSense distribution is derived from the Debian GNU/Linux project. The goal of gNewSense is to provide a completely free software distribution, one which contains no binary blobs or proprietary software. The distribution not only sticks to the strict guidelines of software freedom, as laid out by the Free Software Foundation, it is also sponsored by the FSF. The latest release of gNewSense, version 3.0, comes with a conservative line up of software, including the GNOME 2.30 desktop. In fact, it looks as though the only desktop spin of gNewSense comes with GNOME 2 and this edition is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The download image for the distribution is approximately 1.1 GB in size.
Booting from the gNewSense disc brings up a menu which allows us to either launch the distribution's live desktop environment or run the distribution's system installer. The installer is available in four possible modes: graphical installer, graphical expert installer, text installer and expert text installer. Opting to start the live environment brings us to the GNOME desktop. The environment is fairly simply decorated with application and system menus at the top of the display. The task switcher sits at the bottom of the screen. Icons for launching the graphical system installer and browsing the file system sit on the desktop. The environment's wallpaper is a soft and pleasing (to my eye) blue.
Launching the graphical installer, either from the live desktop or from the disc's boot menu runs what appears to be a mostly-unmodified copy of the Debian system installer. This graphical installer walks us through confirming our current location, our preferred language and keyboard layout. We're asked to set a hostname, create a password for the root account and then create a regular user account. Next comes disk partitioning and I find the Debian installer, while flexible, feels a bit clumsy when it comes to navigating all of the disk options. Guided partitioning is available for users who would rather not get into the gritty details of carving up the hard disk. The installer supports a small range of file system types, including ext2/3/4, JFS and XFS. After the disk has been partitioned we are asked if the installer should set up the GRUB 2 boot loader on our drive. Once these steps have been completed, and the appropriate files have been copied to our hard drive, the system can be rebooted.
gNewSense 3.0 - playing games and browsing information
(full image size: 154kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Booting into gNewSense brings us to a simple graphical login screen. From there signing into our account brings us back to the simply decorated GNOME 2 desktop with its soft, blue background. Upon signing in there are no pop-ups, welcome screens or other notifications. We are simply handed the graphical interface and turned loose. On my machines there did not appear to be any visual effects enabled, which may have accounted for GNOME's surprisingly responsive nature. Glancing through the application menu I found the distribution came with a strong collection of software, though many of the version numbers of these applications are showing their age. GNOME comes with its Epiphany web browser and the Iceweasel (Firefox) web browser, version 3.5, is included. I found the Gnash free software implementation of Flash is installed for us and it worked on most of the websites I browsed, including YouTube. The Empathy instant messaging client is installed alongside the Ekiga software phone. The OpenOffice.org 3 productivity suite is installed for us as is the Evolution e-mail and calendar software.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is included in the distribution as is the Inkscape image editing application. The Cheese webcam utility is installed as are the Totem video player and an audio CD ripper. The Brasero disc burner is also included. I found gNewSense ships with multimedia codecs for playing most popular media formats, including MP3 audio files. The distribution features a few accessibility tools, including an on-screen keyboard and a text-to-speech screen reader. We're also given a text editor, archive manager, a few games and a virtual calculator. Looking in the System menu we find administrative tools for managing users and groups, a utility for enabling/disabling system services, a printer manager and network configuration app. GNOME comes with several small apps for configuring the look and feel of the desktop and I found these worked well. In the background I found Java support, provided by GNU's GIJ software, and we are given a copy of the GNU Compiler Collection. Under the hood gNewSense runs on the Linux kernel, version 2.6.32.
The gNewSense project maintains its own software repositories, which appear to be copies of Debian's package repositories, but with the non-free elements removed. This gives us a large selection of software and I suspect most users will find everything they need in gNewSense's repositories. To access all of this software we are given the Synaptic graphical package manager. Synaptic, like much of the gNewSense distribution as a whole, may not be pretty, but it is certainly effective. Synaptic takes a package-oriented approach to software, allowing us to browse individual packages and hunt for items by name or description. Synaptic allows us to create batches of actions to perform on multiple packages and processes these batches all at once. While the package manager is working it gives us detailed information on what it is doing, useful if we need to debug issues later. I used Synaptic for adding software and checking for updated packages and found the application worked flawlessly.
gNewSense 3.0 - managing software packages with Synaptic
(full image size: 114kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
I had the opportunity to run gNewSense on two physical machines and in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox. First I tried the distribution on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 4 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card). I found gNewSense booted quickly, ran smoothly and my desktop was set to its maximum resolution. The one problem I had when running gNewSense on the laptop was with the wireless network card. The Intel card in my laptop requires non-free firmware and, as the distribution does not ship non-free components, I was unable to get on-line without physically connecting a network cable. Next up I tried gNewSense 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 beautifully. Again, gNewSense ran quickly, all of my hardware was properly detected and my display was set to its maximum resolution.
I was quite pleased with the distribution's showing on the desktop machine. In the VirtualBox virtual machine I found gNewSense didn't seem to be at home. Perhaps it was just due to a lack of VirtualBox modules being included in the distribution. Whatever the cause I found gNewSense ran slowly in the virtual environment and the screen resolution was quite low (800x600 pixels). This discouraged me from using the distribution in the virtual environment as I much preferred running it natively on the desktop box. On each machine the distribution used approximately 100MB of RAM when logged into the GNOME 2 environment. Considering the amount of power and customization GNOME 2 provides I was quite happy with the small memory footprint. Usually I would have to use a tiny desktop environment, such as LXDE, to get such lean performance out of a graphical desktop.
gNewSense 3.0 - GNOME settings and Iceweasel web browser
(full image size: 148kB, screen resolution 1366x768 pixels)
Generally speaking, I was happy with gNewSense 3.0. Being based on Debian, the distribution can be counted on to provide both stability and amazing performance. The distribution is lean, fast and uncluttered. The flip side to this is gNewSense's system installer and default package management tools are geared more toward experienced users and will probably provide a steep learning curve to novice Linux users. Not much is automated and there is a minimum of hand holding. The main feature of gNewSense, the lack of proprietary software, is also a double-edged blade. On the one hand, it means the entire operating system can be audited, modified and redistributed. This is great from the perspective of software freedom. The fact that the distribution can play most multimedia formats and handled Flash content fairly well is a testament of the power of free and open source software. The one problem I ran into with gNewSense's software policy was with regards to my wireless network card. Most distributions ship with the non-free Intel firmware, but gNewSense doesn't include it and this means the distribution isn't a good fit with my laptop. It is, on the other hard, a great match with my desktop system.
Finally, I want to acknowledge that gNewSense is pretty conservative in its software selection. OpenOffice.org 3, the 2.6.32 Linux kernel and GNOME 2.30 are all getting long in the tooth. Some people will appreciate this conservative (ie stable) approach, while others may feel the distribution is out of date. I personally felt that the software provided was up to the tasks I wanted to perform. The distribution doesn't have the latest shiny offerings, but I think it performs well enough. In fact, given its tiny memory footprint, it may be well suited to older hardware and be able to provide performance which would usually require a distribution with less functionality.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Updates on Mir display server, Ubuntu Edge fails to gain funding, common problem with USB devices may have solution
Jono Bacon, the Ubuntu community manager at Canonical, has posted some updates regarding Canonical's plans for the Mir display server technology. The new display server, which Canonical hopes to deploy on desktops, laptops, phones and tablets, has generated a lot of interest over the past few months. Some Ubuntu-based projects are moving to adopt the new technology, others are avoiding it in favour of the competing Wayland display protocol. Mr Bacon writes: "Our goal has been clear that in Ubuntu 13.10 we will include Mir by default for cards that support it and fall back to X for cards that don't (primarily those that require proprietary graphics drivers). In 14.04 we will deploy Mir but not provide the X fallback mode, and we are in active discussions with GPU manufacturers for them to support Mir in their drivers." While Mir is still under heavily development and therefore not yet ready for day-to-day usage, people interested in trying Mir can find packages for the display server in the Ubuntu 13.10 software repositories.
Kevin Gunn, who leads the Display Server team at Canonical, has some further updates which dig more into the technical nature of Mir. Gunn's status update covers Mir/Unity support, driver support, multi-monitor successes & problems and fallback support using X. Gunn also lays out some details as to what features and bug fixes are in the works and should be complete before Mir lands in the next Ubuntu long term support release.
Canonical is always experimenting, whether it is with display servers, desktop environments or phones. A month ago Canonical launched an Indiegogo fund raising project in an attempt to fund development of an Ubuntu-powered phone. While the funds came in fast at first, they eventually trickled to a halt. The Ubuntu Edge project managed to pull in approximately $12.8 million dollars of the required $32 million, which means backers will be refunded and Ubuntu fans will have to wait for mobile carriers to ship devices powered by Ubuntu. Not all experiments yield positive results, but it looks as thought Canonical has successfully tested the waters and are now aware just how much of the mobile market is interested in running Ubuntu on hand held devices.
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Do you have USB devices which regularly disconnect when they are plugged into your Linux-powered computer? If so it may not be a fault of the device as some people have long thought. Sarah Sharp, who has been working on USB drivers in the Linux kernel for eight years and who was at the forefront of bringing USB 3.0 support to the kernel, has made an interesting discovery. Namely, it seems that the core USB system does not give USB devices long enough to wake up which can cause disconnects. "If the USB core attempts to access those ports while the device is still coming out of resume, such as issuing transfers to the device, or resetting the port, the device will disconnect, or transfer errors will occur. This causes the USB core to mark the device as disconnected." No doubt we will soon see a fix for this issue arriving in future kernel updates.
|Opinion (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring the GNU General Public License
The GNU General Public License is an important document in the open source community, especially in the realm of Linux distributions. Much of the software we use on a regular basis, including the Linux kernel itself and most of our command line tools, are distributed under the General Public License (GPL). The GPL and the software freedoms it represents are key to the success of many free and open source software projects. Software freedom and the licenses which help enforce it are cornerstones in the GNU/Linux community and often used to entice users away from proprietary operating systems. The GNU GPL is frequently (almost continually) discussed on technology forums, free & open source websites and development mailing lists. With all this discussion, one thing becomes quite clear: relatively few people have read and understood the GPL.
This lack of understanding can be quite frustrating for free and open source software advocates as it makes having a reasonable discussion of the merits (or limitations) of the license difficult. A vocal portion of the open source community will talk at length about the license, praising it or tearing it apart, based on their (incorrect) assumptions. This has lead to further misunderstanding and, in some cases, a good deal of distress for developers. Take Patrick Verner, the lead developer of Parted Magic, as an example. In an effort to help make ends meet, Mr Verner recently started charging a small fee for direct downloads of Parted Magic, a project distributed under the GPL. Despite there being other avenues to acquire the Parted Magic software, the response was, Verner reported, unpleasant. "People are going nuts saying Parted Magic is no longer free software. People can still redistribute it under the terms of the GPL. Nothing has changed." Verner commented. He went on to say: "Some the forum posts said stuff about hacking my website and beating me up because my address is on-line."
These unfortunate comments seem to stem from a common misunderstanding, namely that software freedom requires that software be made available without cost. Such is not true and there is nothing in the GNU GPL which prevents charging for software. In fact the GNU website states that charging money for software licensed under the GPL is allowed. This is why software freedom advocates often quip that they are in favour of "free as in freedom, not free as in beer".
Another common misunderstanding with regards to the General Public License is that anyone modifying the source code of a program must then give back their changes to the original project. While this may be in the spirit of the GPL, it is not one of the requirements of the license. Individuals and companies can modify software licensed under the GPL all they want without sharing their changes. The GPL, after all, only covers software distribution. This is why companies, such as Google, can create their own GNU/Linux distributions and use them within the company and not share their modifications. So long as the company doesn't distribute their software outside of the organization there is no requirement for them to share their source code.
Speaking of the source code, there is a good deal of confusion about when a distributor must release their source code if their program is licensed under the GPL. Many people mistakenly believe a GPLed program must be accompanied with source code, freely available to anyone who wants it. This is not the case. When someone distributes software under the GPL they must comply with one of the three following options:
While most free software developers go with the first options, which is very polite and accommodating, developers are well within their rights to simply provide a written offer to provide their source code at cost. Or, in the case of non-commercial usage, people sharing programs can refer to upstream providers of the source code.
- Accompany [the program] with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code.
- Accompany [the program] with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third-party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code.
- Accompany [the program] with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code.
There is a lot of passion surrounding the GPL and the license includes some unusual concepts with regards to software distribution. This combination makes for a situation ripe with misunderstanding and heated debate. It is my hope that both proponents and detractors of the license will take the time to read this important document. The GPL is a useful and philosophically interesting license and I think we would all be better off if people took the time to better understand it.
|Released Last Week
OS4 OpenLinux 13.7
Roberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 OpenLinux 13.7 and also OS4 4.1.4 "Enterprise" edition: "Today we are pleased to announce the release of OS4 OpenLinux 13.7 and OS4 Enterprise Linux 4.1.4. OS4 OpenLinux 13.7 is our updated KDE release that we provide for users. With OS4 OpenLinux 13.7 we have created a best of breed KDE desktop based system and the fastest KDE live image available. With that we also updated the OS4 OpenLinux core system with all applicable kernel bug fixes and updated kernel with new drivers and speed improvements. OS4 Enterprise Linux has undergone some major changes here. OS4 Enterprise Linux will be KDE-based for the rest of its life cycle. Xfce is still available via the custom image service. The DWM tiling window manager is still installed via default." Read the full release announcement for detailed information regarding both releases.
LXLE is a respin of Lubuntu aiming at a fast and capable desktop for ageing computers. Version 12.04.3 has just been unleashed: "LXLE Paradigm goes final with 12.04.3 update. 'Paradigm' is a tentative attempt to create four different desktop paradigms for users to choose from once they start up their aging computers when using LXLE. LXLE paradigm is not an attempt to completely mimic other desktops features and functions but to provide a desktop scheme that is familiar to all different types of computer users whether you are comfortable with Linux, Mac or Windows operating system. Currently the paradigms available at start-up are, Gnome 2 (G2), Windows (XP), Mac (OSX) and Ubuntu's Unity. Each desktop can be entered and/or used at anytime, and you can switch back and forth at will." Follow the complete release announcement for more information including nearly thirty screenshots.
LXLE 12.04.3 - a Lubuntu-based distribution for older computers
(full image size: 1,338kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Proxmox 3.1 "Virtual Environment"
Martin Maurer has announced the release of Proxmox 3.1 "Virtual Environment" edition, a Debian-based distribution offering a complete server virtualization management solution based on KVM and containers: "We just released Proxmox VE 3.1, introducing great new features and services. We included SPICE, GlusterFS storage plugin and the ability to apply updates via GUI. As an additional service for our commercial subscribers, we introduce the Proxmox VE Enterprise Repository. This is the default and recommended repository for production servers. To access the Enterprise Repository, each Proxmox VE Server needs a valid Subscription Key. There is no change in licensing (AGPL v3), also packages for non-subscribers are still available. Changelog: pve-kernel-2.6.32-23-pve (2.6.32-109) - update to vzkernel-2.6.32-042stab079.5.src.rpm, remove fix-ipoib-add-missing-lock.patch (now upstream), include Highpoint 2710 RAID driver...." Check the release announcement, release notes, upgrading instructions, and the Download page for detailed information including download links.
NetBSD 6.1.1 today was announced as the first security/bugfix update of the NetBSD 6.1 release branch: "It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons. Please note that all fixes in the prior security/bugfix updates (NetBSD 6.0.1 and 6.0.2), as well as those in 6.1, are also in 6.1.1. See the release map graph on the NetBSD website for a visual representation of the relationship between releases. Complete source and binaries for NetBSD 6.1.1 are available for download at many sites around the world. We encourage users who wish to install via ISO or USB disk images to download via BitTorrent by using the torrent files supplied in the images area." Read the release announcement and the release notes for full information.
Antergos (previously known as Cinnarch) is an Arch based distribution that previously focused on the Cinnamon desktop but now provides multiple choices on desktop environments. Antergos 2013.08.20 has been released: "We are glad to announce the release of Antergos 2013.08.20 with a lot of improvements in the installation process for you to enjoy your system from the start. This new release comes after several months' working mostly on our graphical installer Cnchi and on Remendo. Openbox has been included as an option to be installed along with GNOME, Cinnamon, Xfce, Razor-qt or Base. You will end up with a lightweight desktop, while having up to date software. The software included with Openbox was chosen to be in the line of the Openbox spirit." Read the release announcement for detailed information.
Antergos 2013.08.20 - the default GNOME 3 desktop
(full image size: 208kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Arjen Balfoort has announced the release of SolydXK 201308, the latest update 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 the August update pack. Some things are changed, and some are new. Here's a short list: the default start menu has been replaced by the Whisker menu, this menu has a built-in search function, and you can easily change your favorite programs list; the wicd network manager has been replaced by NetworkManager, NetworkManager supports mobile broadband by default; KDE has been upgraded to version 4.10.5; the Zurmo CRM software has been upgraded to version 2.0.21; for those who'd like to try them all, we've released a SolydXK Multi DVD, the DVD consists of all five distributions." Here is the full release announcement.
Johnny Lee has announced the release of Macpup 550, a Puppy Linux-based distribution featuring a customised Enlightenment 17 desktop: "Prit and I are proud to announce the release of Macpup 550, our newest E17 Macpup. It is based on Precise Puppy 5.5.0, an official Woof build of Puppy Linux that is binary-compatible with Ubuntu 'Precise' packages. Macpup 550 contains all the applications from Precise Puppy with the addition of Firefox 21. It also includes the Enlightenment 0.17 window manager. The EFL libraries version 1.7.5 and E17 version 0.17 were compiled and installed from source. To keep your CPU cool and your fan quiet use the CPU Frequency Scaling Tool; Menu, Applications, System, CPU frequency Scaling Tool. The first time you run Macpup the system will be running totally in RAM, click on htop on the ibar to check working space left in RAM." Continue to the release announcement for further information and acknowledgements.
Macpup 550 - a Puppy-based distro with Enlightenment
(full image size: 829kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Endian Firewall 2.5.2
Version 2.5.2 of Endian Firewall, a specialist distribution designed for firewalls and routers, has been released: "After a long time, we are ready to announce the Endian Firewall Community 2.5.2 release. This release is mainly a bug-fix one. A list of the main changes: antivirus - ClamAV has been updated to the most recent version to make sure signature updates will continue to work; anti-spyware - lists are now being provided by PhishTank instead of Malware Domains, this not only results in more sites being recognized correctly but also allows us to show an information page with a link to PhishTank's description of the malicious website instead of displaying an empty page; hardware support - support for various hardware devices has been added, including support for USB modems as well as drivers for network interface cards and hard disk controllers." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Stéphane Graber has announced the release of Ubuntu 12.04.3, an updated set of live and installation images incorporating all security and bug-fix updates since April 2012 when Ubuntu 12.04 was first released. This is a version with an LTS (long-term support) feature, providing security fixes until 2017. From the release announcement: "The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS (Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core products, as well as other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support. As with 12.04.2, 12.04.3 contains an updated kernel and X stack for new installations on x86 architectures." See also the release notes for link to a change summary and product overview.
Slackel 4.0 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 4.0 "Openbox" edition, a lightweight Slackware-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager: "Slackel 4.0 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware Linux and Salix OS. Includes the Linux kernel 3.10.9 and lots of updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. Slackel 4.0 Openbox includes the Midori 0.5.0 web browser, Claws-Mail 3.9.2, Transmission, SpaceFM, OpenJRE 7u40, Rhino, IcedTea-Web, Pidgin 2.10.7, gFTP 2.0.19, wicd. AbiWord 2.8.6, Gnumeric 1.12.2 and ePDFViewer office applications are included. Whaaw! Media Player is the default movie player, Exaile 3.3.0 is the application to use for managing your music collection, Asunder CD ripper, Bracero for writing CD/DVDs and more. In the graphics section Viewnior 1.3, GIMP 2.8.6 and Scrot the snapshot utility." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot.
Volker Theile has announced the release of OpenMediaVault 0.5, a major update of the project's Network-Attached Storage (NAS) solution based on Debian GNU/Linux: "Today I am proud to release OpenMediaVault 0.5 (Sardaukar) after a long time of development. The following changes and new features have been implemented: complete refactoring of the backend, the main processing unit/engine has been relocated into a forking daemon process; IPv6 support; upgrade WebGUI to Sencha ExtJS 4.2.x; add new panel in the 'System - Network' section to configure Zeroconf/Service Discovery; add option to enable AIO support for SMB/CIFS, AIO is enabled by default; do not execute a file system check during boot on USB devices; add ability to enable/disable scheduled S.M.A.R.T. tests; add ability to initiate a S.M.A.R.T. test via WebGUI; display an information dialog after RAID has been created...." Read the full release announcement for more information and upgrade instructions.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.7
Philip Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.7, an Arch-based distribution and live CD with a choice of Xfce or Openbox desktop user interfaces: "on behalf of the Manjaro development team I'm happy to announce our new stable release of Manjaro Linux 'Ascella'. A special 'thank you' goes to Arnt who joined our team. His work, Octopi 0.2.0, gets introduces with the Openbox edition. This new front-end for pamac makes it really simple to keep your boxes up-to-date. With the additional support for Yaourt the whole AUR repository extends the official Manjaro repositories. With a new welcome screen we ease up the introduction to Manjaro Linux. Important information and links to our forum, wiki and documentation plus buttons to start our graphical and text installers give you an amazing entry to this distro. Features: Linux kernel: 3.4.59 LTS, X.Org 1.14.2, Firefox 22.0.1, Thunderbird 17.0.8, VLC 2.0.8a...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more new features and screenshots.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.7 - the default Xfce desktop interface with the Whisker menu
(full image size: 551kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
July 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: DVDStyler|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the July 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is DVDStyler, a free DVD authoring application for creating professional-looking DVDs. It receives €200.00 in cash.
Quoting the project's own description, DVDStyler is "a cross-platform free DVD authoring application for the creation of professional-looking DVDs. It allows not only burning of video files on DVD that can be played practically on any standalone DVD player, but also creation of individually designed DVD menus. It is open-source software and is completely free." Released under the General Public License (GPL), the program offers a large number of useful features, such as: "create and burn DVD video with interactive menus; design your own DVD menu or select one from the list of ready to use menu templates; create photo slideshow; add multiple subtitle and audio tracks; support of AVI, MOV, MP4, MPEG, OGG, WMV and other file formats; support of MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, MP2, MP3, AC-3 and other audio and video formats...." DVDStyler has been included in the repositories of many popular distributions, including Arch Linux, Mageia, PCLinuxOS and Gentoo Linux, but curiously it is still absent from most Debian and Fedora-based distributions.
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$36,105 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), DVDStyler ($280)
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New distributions added to waiting list
- BlackArch Linux. BlackArch Linux is a lightweight expansion of Arch Linux with tools for penetration testing.
- EdgeBSD. The primary goal of EdgeBSD is to provide an ambitious environment for working as a bigger community together on the NetBSD Project. This will be achieved thanks to a more modern development infrastructure, while taking a more aggressive stance on integrating and enabling features.
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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, 2 September 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 22.214.171.124, 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 |
Haiku is an open-source operating system, currently in development, that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the Be Operating System (BeOS), Haiku aims to become a fast, efficient, simple to use, easy to learn and yet very powerful system for computer users of all levels. The key highlights that distinguish Haiku from other operating systems include: specific focus on personal computing, custom kernel designed for responsiveness, fully threaded design for great efficiency with multi-processor/core CPUs, rich object-oriented API for faster development, database-like file system (BFS) with support for indexed metadata, and unified, cohesive interface.