| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 523, 2 September 2013
Welcome to this year's 35th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The OpenIndiana project, forked from OpenSolaris after it had been abandoned by Oracle, has seemingly been in steady decline for the last couple of years. Nevertheless, its development continues and even though the progress is slow, new pre-release versions regularly appear on the project's download servers. Jesse Smith evaluates the recently-released version 151a8 in this week's feature article. In the news section, openSUSE announces "Evergreen", a special release with three years of security support, while the GNOME project, concerned about the growing online surveillance by governments and their secret agencies, switches its default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo. Also in this issue, a useful Question and Answers section detailing how to run applications entirely from memory, and an introduction to SmartOS, an OpenIndiana-based operating system for servers. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the August 2013 DistroWatch.com donation goes to the Tor project. Happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (15MB) and MP3 (25MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at OpenIndiana 151a pre-stable 8
The OpenIndiana project is a continuation of the OpenSolaris family and a close relative of Oracle's Solaris operating system. OpenIndiana is a community project which takes the illumos core and kernel technology and shapes it into an open source, general purpose operating system. The latest release to come out of OpenIndiana is a development release and, while I usually don't like to look at pre-stable releases, OpenIndiana releases infrequently enough I'm always interested in seeing what the team is doing. The current release, 151a8 looks to fairly tame, with mostly low-level updates to distinguish it from previous versions.
System installation and first impressions
The download ISO for OpenIndiana 151a8 is approximately 840 MB in size. Booting from the media displays a GRUB Legacy boot loader with various boot options, allowing us to start the system's live environment in a range of modes. Booting the system first brings up two text menus, the first which asks us to select our keyboard layout and the second text menu asks us to pick a language from the list of supported choices. From there the graphical desktop environment loads and presents us with GNOME 2.30. The environment's application and system menus sit at the top of the display. At the bottom of the screen we find the task switcher. On the desktop we find icons for browsing the file system, launching the system installer and opening the GParted and Device Driver applications. I'll come back to the Device Driver utility in a moment. First, I want to acknowledge that the wallpaper for the default GNOME desktop is bright green. It looks like a lime and the sun had a child together and spread it across my screen and it is not easy on the eyes. This default choice seems all the more unusual as there is a nice, soft-blue wallpaper with the project's branding on it available on the installation media.
The Device Driver application is an interesting program. Running the utility brings up a window which shows us a list of the hardware on our system. Network cards, audio devices, memory and storage devices are shown. Any items which the operating system does not know how to use, or does not have drivers for, are highlighted. This allows us to quickly see if any of our hardware will not work with OpenIndiana. I really like this feature as it takes the trial and guess work out of finding out whether our hardware is a good fit with the operating system. Most open source projects do not have such a straight forward, easily accessible utility for checking the status of device drivers and I think this is a great feature. The only other project I can think of which provides an easy way to see if our hardware is properly supported is PC-BSD.
OpenIndiana 151a8 - the system installer
(full image size: 872kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
OpenIndiana's system installer is a graphical application which has a simple and attractive interface. Though at first it may not seem friendly. When I first launched the installer it popped up a message saying a configuration couldn't be loaded. However, once this ominous error message was dismissed the installer worked without any problems. We are asked whether we want OpenIndiana to take over our entire hard disk or use a given partition. Only one file system, labeled "Solaris2", is available. Once we have selected a partition to use we are asked to select our time zone from a map of the world. Then we tell the installer which language we prefer to use. The following screen gets us to set a root password and create a regular user account. The final screen shows a list of actions the system installer will perform and asks us for confirmation that these actions are okay. After that the installer copies its files to the local drive and, about twenty minutes later, we are asked to reboot the system.
Booting into OpenIndiana brings us to a nice, blue graphical login screen. Signing into our user account brings us back to the GNOME 2 desktop with its bright green wallpaper. Once I got signed in and started exploring, a few things became apparent. One is that we're not notified of software updates in the repositories, it seems we need to check manually. Another is that when new user accounts are created, logging into those accounts prompts the user for their preferred language and desktop environment, allowing each user to customize their environment a little up front. Another interesting feature of OpenIndiana is the root account's password expires immediately following the installation, which means to access any of the administration tools we must first login as root and change the password.
One final thing I noticed about OpenIndiana's interface is that it largely stays out of the way. There are, at times, notifications, but these are fairly subtle. The desktop feels clean, I really like the icon themes and there are useful tools easily identified and accessible from the desktop. We can quickly get to accessibility tools through the task bar or launch the package manager or see if we are on-line by visiting GNOME's top bar. Often the difference between a pleasant user experience and a poor one is in the little details and I feel the OpenIndiana desktop provides a good balance of information and lack of distractions.
OpenIndiana 151a8 - various applications and accessibility options
(full image size: 545kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Software and package management
The OpenIndiana operating system comes with a small, but useful, collection of desktop software. We are given the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Pidgin instant messenger software. There are document viewers and image viewers and the GParted partitioning tool. I found the Rhythmbox audio player, the Totem video player, a CD ripper and two disc burners. There is an archive manager, text editor and calculator. OpenIndiana comes with a few accessibility tools, including a virtual keyboard and screen reader. There are several administrative tools, including a firewall configuration tool, a graphical package manager, a network configuration app and a utility for managing users & groups. The application for managing user accounts was the only one which did not work properly for me, launching the Users & Groups utility would cause the application to immediately freeze.
The other applications all worked as expected. The operating system additionally comes with the GNOME 2 configuration tools which give us a good deal of flexibility with regards to the look and feel of the interface. Digging a little deeper I found OpenIndiana does not come with popular multimedia codecs and they do not appear to be in the repositories either. Nor did I find Flash (or, alternatively, Gnash). There is no compiler installed by default, but the GNU Compiler Collection is available through the software repositories. I found did find that Java was installed for us. I did some digging through the software repositories and found they were fairly sparse when compared next to most Linux distributions. There didn't appear to be any productivity suite and there were limited multimedia apps.
OpenIndiana 151a8 - package management
(full image size: 501kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The graphical package manager which comes with OpenIndiana is called, simply enough, Package Manager. This application shows us a list of software categories down the left side of the window and a list of packages in the selected category on the right. The layout and style make the package manager resemble Synaptic, a popular Linux package manager. Browsing through the available software, we mark off as many packages as we want for installation or removal. Then the package manager processes our queued actions all at once. The graphical package manager will also handle software updates, all the user needs to do is click the update button and the application handles the rest for us. I found the package manager to be a touch slow, but it worked well enough and I encountered no problems using it. In addition to the main package manager I also found a small app dedicated to checking for and installing software updates. This small app also worked well, letting me select which updates I wanted to download and the rest of the process was automated.
Special features and utilities
OpenIndiana comes with a few interesting features. One of them is Time Slider. What Time Slider does is allow us to set up periodic snapshots of the operating system. Once a snapshot has been created we can open the file manager and use a sliding bar to browse backward in time to see previous versions of files. This is quite handy if we want to see changes made to a file or if we accidentally delete a file we needed. The Time Slider allows us to pop backward in time to snapshots of the file and recover our data. OpenIndiana basically takes file system snapshots and makes them easy (and fairly intuitive) to the end user. The part of the Time Slider feature I like best is that it is built directly into the system's file manager, it isn't a separate tool. This makes file recovery a fairly seamless process and I feel this gives OpenIndiana an edge over other open source operating systems that feature file system snapshots.
OpenIndiana 151a8 - system configuration tools
(full image size: 489kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
A nice feature related to Time Slider is the ability to boot previous versions or snapshots of our operating system. I found that once I had made configuration changes or updates to OpenIndiana a new menu entry would be added to the GRUB boot loader. This means that if the operating system no longer boots we can simply restart the machine and select an older snapshot of OpenIndiana from the boot menu. I actually found myself using this feature a few times during my time with OpenIndiana. The operating system refused to boot a couple of times after I applied updates or made a configuration change and being able to simply reboot the machine and select "Backup-1" from the boot menu took all of the hassle out of the recovery process.
I tried running OpenIndiana on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6 GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both environments I found OpenIndiana performed well. All of my desktop's hardware was properly detected and utilized and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. Both sound and networking worked out of the box. I was pleased to find that OpenIndiana worked very well when running inside VirtualBox. Again, my full screen resolution was detected and I encountered no problems. I did find that OpenIndiana ran a touch slowly in the virtual environment and was slow to boot, taking a few minutes to reach the login screen. According to OpenIndiana's "top" application, the operating was making use of approximately 900 MB of memory while sitting at the GNOME desktop.
OpenIndiana 151a8 - the Device Driver utility
(full image size: 741kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I was a little sad by the end of my week with OpenIndiana. When I used OpenSolaris four or five years ago I thought the open source project, backed by Sun, was fairly impressive. It had ZFS and snapshots, it had a polished-looking modern desktop and some solid administrative tools. It also had the Device Driver application I mentioned earlier. In a lot of ways it felt like a solid, advanced operating system and I hoped that, with minor improvements (and performance enhancements), it would soon be a suitable desktop operating system I could use on a day-to-day basis. I feel that dream is fading. Running OpenIndiana today feels much the same as running OpenSolaris five years ago, the tools are mostly the same, the desktop is the same. The software included is starting to show its age and I don't feel any truly significant features have been introduced in the past few years. I'm sure the developers behind the project are doing a good job of hunting down bugs and keeping drivers current, and that is great. Still, I feel as though OpenIndiana is treading water, not progressing in any meaningful way.
Meanwhile, projects like FreeBSD have ZFS and snapshots, PC-BSD has a device driver compatibility tool and Linux is slowly adopting Btrfs. Plus, Linux distributions are generally getting faster and adopting more user-friendly tools. Other operating systems have maintained their momentum and largely caught up with the neat features OpenIndiana can offer. The OpenIndiana project is still interesting, but I find it is mostly attractive now (from my point of view) for its historical significance and design, not for the features or power it can provide as compared to other operating systems. OpenIndiana is still an impressive feat of engineering, but one which is slowly being surpassed.
|Miscellaneous News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
openSUSE development process and its "Evergreen" release, GNOME switches to DuckDuckGo
The development process of a large independent distribution is a complex and thankless task, often performed by just a handful of individuals whose names we don't even get to hear much. So how is all that great upstream software combined into one easy-to-install system? In case of openSUSE it all happens in the "Factory" development tree which, in time, gets frozen, branched, built, tested and released to our enjoyment. This article, entitled "The openSUSE release process", explains it in some detail: "To get openSUSE out is a lot of work. We already shared part of what we are doing to keep Factory rolling. But as you can guess, there is much more to it. But let’s pretend it is a simple three-step process. Once we release openSUSE, we immediately start working on the next version: a never ending story. First thing that happens during a new release cycle is 'coolo' announcing the road map. This is the schedule of the release and important checkpoints that we have to reach on our way. After the release Factory (our development version) is not frozen anymore and people can start submitting new stuff. Usually they go crazy and submit a lot of bleeding edge and experimental packages and quite some parts of Factory will get broken. Now comes the time for keeping Factory rolling."
In recent years openSUSE has been somewhat sidelined by the mainstream tech media which tends to focus on the two top Linux projects - Red Hat/Fedora and Ubuntu. Perhaps that's the reason why some of the project's developers re-opened the discussion on the distribution's long-term goals. One of the proposals, as covered recently by LWN's Changes brewing for openSUSE?, is "breaking the distribution up into 'components', each of which has a clearly defined set of dependencies. Multiple versions of a component might be supported at any given time, and the other components' teams would decide when to switch to a new version of a component it is dependent on. That way a change to a dependency wouldn't immediately be able to break any packages dependent on it as there would be no forced upgrade (at least until distribution release time neared)." The idea doesn't seem to have enough support, however. So for now, the only tangible change emerging from all this talk is Evergreen (some sort of an LTS, or long-term support release, if you are coming from Ubuntu): "The openSUSE Evergreen has just announced that the upcoming openSUSE 13.1 will be the next Evergreen release. This means that the Evergreen team will continue to provide openSUSE 13.1 with with security updates and important bug fixes after the usual 18 month maintenance cycle until it has had a total life time of at least three years."
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Concerned about privacy and worried about increasing online surveillance, the GNOME project has switched its default search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo. Claudio Saavedra explains the reasons in more detail: "Today, we have switched the default search engine in web from Google to DuckDuckGo. This change might come up as a surprise, but there are a handful of reasons why this actually makes sense. Privacy: the GNOME project has decided, since that enlightening keynote by Jacob Appelbaum in GUADEC 2012, to make an extra effort towards ensuring users' privacy, and we, the web developers, believe we need to align with this goal. Using Google's search engine by default is counterproductive to this effect, unfortunately. I assume I don't need to go into details on the many ways in which Google tracks what their users do. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, does not collect or share personal information. Cooperation: it has been some time now since we were first contacted by DuckDuckGo regarding the possibility to partner with them in order to share a percentage of the revenue that they make from the traffic originated on their search engine links, should DuckDuckGo become Web's default search engine."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Forcing applications to run from RAM
Keeping-it-fast asks: I wonder if there is any way to keep some particular software entirely in RAM (memory) so that it starts within the blink of an eye? This particularly regards gedit, which is great, but it needs too long to start from my slow drive. Starting gedit takes much time even after I started and closed gedit one time, which should - to my mind - not happen as, once used, a program may stay in RAM if space is available there. So how can I make gedit stay entirely in RAM on my Debian system? In the same direction, you may have an idea how to keep all of the software running on a small Debian file server in RAM so that the system hard drive may switch off when nobody accesses a file from the server for an hour or so.
DistroWatch answers: There are a few ways to keep files and programs in the system's RAM for fast access and load times. Perhaps the most simple solution is to use the preload service. The preload program runs in the background and monitors the applications you use. Once preload has an idea of the software you access most often it will attempt to load these applications into memory and keep them there. According to preload's author, the preload daemon has the ability to improve load times from 25% to 50%. The preload service takes a while to learn your habits, but after a few days you should notice an improvement in your application load times. One of the aspects of preload I enjoy is that the service can be configured to limit the amount of RAM it uses. This allows us to determine how much memory the service should use as compared with the total amount of memory on our system. The preload configuration file is well documented and the service comes with a useful manual page.
Another way to keep items in memory, whether they are data files, libraries or applications, is to transfer the files into a RAM or tmp file system. What tmp and RAM file systems do is basically map a portion of your RAM so that it can be treated as though it were just another directory on your hard drive. Any data copied into this special directory will exist in RAM, not on your hard disk. Such an arrangement is especially useful if you have a lot of data you wish you read quickly, but do not plan to write new data. Usually these memory file systems are not used for storing changing data as a system crash or shutdown will cause the data to disappear from memory and it will not be automatically copied or backed up to the hard disk.
What I like about mapping a memory file system is that, while it takes a little more work up front, it allows us to select exactly what we want stored in memory. We can copy any applications, libraries or data files into RAM when the system starts up and those items will remain in memory until we unmount the directory or until the system powers off. It's a very flexible, customized approach to keeping data in memory for quick access. For a step-by-step guide to setting up ramfs or tmpfs directories (and for notes on the differences between the two memory file systems) I recommend this tutorial on Think Geek Stuff. The post takes us through the process of creating these memory file systems and talks about the pros and cons of using memory mapped data.
One thing to keep in mind if you are looking to keep applications or data files in RAM is that if your system has a small amount of memory available to it you may be hurting yourself in the long run by loading more items into RAM. Should you find yourself with a lot of data loaded in memory and the system suddenly needs to load new things into RAM it may force the system to juggle your reserved items and the data the system suddenly finds it needs. You could run into a situation where things are being juggled in and out of memory and the disk is being used more than before. This shouldn't be a problem if your system has lots of RAM which is not normally being used, but it may be a problem if your desktop or file server is already using most of its available RAM.
|Released Last Week
Clonezilla Live 2.1.2-43
Steven Shiau has released a new stable build of Clonezilla Live, version 2.1.2-43, a specialist Debian-based live CD designed for disk cloning and backup tasks: "This release of Clonezilla live (2.1.2-43) includes major enhancements and bug fixes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2013-08-19); Linux kernel has been updated to 3.10.7; the drbl package has been updated to 2.4.28 and Clonezilla 3.5.17; syslinux has been updated to 5.10, gdisk to 0.8.7; SD card device (/dev/mmcblk0) cloning or imaging is supported; the ocs-expand-mbr-pt program will keep Linux swap partition size; the EFI-imgs/ directory on the live CD/USB has been moved under to EFI/; a 'sec=ntlm' option has been added in prep-ocsroot...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full list of enhancements and bug fixes.
Jordan Hubbard has announced the release of FreeNAS 9.1.1, an open-source storage platform based on FreeBSD: "The FreeNAS development team is delighted to announce the general release of FreeNAS 9.1.1. This release offers small, but significant, improvements to FreeNAS 9.1.0. A number of cosmetic issues, user interface tracebacks and outright bugs (such as 32-bit plugins not working) have been addressed since 9.1 was released. A few features that were known to be broken, such as AIO in Samba 3 or IPv6 in plugin jails, were also disabled to avoid people shooting their feet off. Finally, a number of important ZFS stability fixes were also picked up from the TrueOS repo during the creation of 9.1.1-RELEASE. Thank you for all your participation and assistance during the 9.1.1 beta and release candidate process, this release benefited significantly from your suggestions and bug reports!" Here is the brief release announcement with a link to a full changelog.
Zorin OS 6.4
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of Zorin OS "Core" and "Ultimate" editions, an updated version of the Ubuntu-based distribution optimised for recent converts from Windows: "The Zorin OS Team is pleased to announce the release of Zorin OS 6.4 Core and Ultimate, our operating system designed for new Linux users. Zorin OS 6.4 builds on top of our popular previous release of Zorin OS 6.3 with newly updated software, a newer kernel out of the box and bug fixes. As Zorin OS 6.4 is based on Ubuntu 12.04 it is an LTS (long-term support) release, provided with software updates until April 2017. Users who already have installed earlier versions of the Zorin OS 6 series of operating systems can update their system using the Update Manager to avail of the aforementioned updates and improvements in 6.4. We hope that you will enjoy using Zorin OS!" Here is the short release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
August 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: Tor|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the August 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is the Tor project which provides software tools and maintains a network infrastructure for increased anonymity on the Internet. It receives US$350.00 in cash.
With recent revelations of unprecedented online surveillance by many governments and their various secret agencies, the question of online anonymity has started to gain prominence among the public in a number of countries. As a result, many people have turned to Tor which is probably the best-known project that develops tools and maintains infrastructure that attempts to preserve what little is left from our anonymity while using the Internet. From the project's home page: "Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis." The project's home page also explains its raison d'être: "Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. Tor works with many of your existing applications, including web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote login, and other applications based on the TCP protocol." A much longer explanation, including a brief history, can be found on this About Tor page.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, 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$36,455 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), Tor ($350)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
- SmartOS. SmartOS is an open-source UNIX-like operating system based on illumos, a community fork of OpenSolaris. It features four technologies - ZFS (a combined file system and logical volume manager), DTrace (a dynamic tracing framework for troubleshooting kernel and application problems), Zones (a lightweight virtualisation solution) and KVM (a full virtualisation solution for running a variety of guest operating systems, including Linux, Windows, BSD and Plan9). SmartOS is designed to be particularly suitable for building clouds and generating appliances.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 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)
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 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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ZerahStar Zesktop was a research and development project of ZerahStar, a Singapore-based Linux company. Its goal was to achieve a totally automated computing system that was capable of maintaining and fixing itself without any need for human intervention. Other possible features would include a highly portable and virus-free environment. Zesktop was still a project and concept under development; currently, only a simple, Gentoo-based live desktop CD exists.