| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 530, 21 October 2013
Welcome to this year's 42nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! This past week news feeds in the Linux ecosystem were flooded with reports of Ubuntu, Ubuntu spins and reviews of Ubuntu in its many flavours. This week we bring you early reports of Ubuntu's 13.10 release and some first impressions. Ubuntu is, of course, based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and this week we reflect some of Ubuntu's spotlight onto Debian. Lucas Nussbaum, current Debian Project Leader, recently gave an interview to Frostcast and we link to that discussion below. This week we also feature a review of a Debian-based distribution, Kwheezy. Read on to learn Jesse Smith's views of this young distribution which mixes Debian's stable branch with a full-featured KDE desktop. Also in this edition of DistroWatch Weekly we discuss keeping up with security patches on enterprise-focused Linux distributions, announce the new releases of the past week and look forward to exciting new distribution releases to come. We wish you all a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Introducing Kwheezy 1.2
Kwheezy is a Debian-based distribution which combines Debian's latest stable release with a live disc, a nice graphical system installer and the KDE desktop. The project attempts to provide users with a stable operating system that will run KDE and provide most desired functionality directly out of the box. The concept certainly appeals to me. I like Debian in general, but I find it takes a while to get it set up the way I like. The idea of having all of the features I desire ready to go combined with Debian's stable base and the KDE desktop certainly appealed to me. I downloaded a copy of the project's live disc which was approximately 3.6 GB in size.
Booting off the live disc brings up a window asking us to confirm our keyboard's layout. Once we have made our selection the window is replaced with the KDE desktop. The application menu, system tray and task switcher sit at the bottom of the screen. Over on the left is an icon for the system installer and to the right of the display is a panel which gives constant updates on CPU, network and memory statistics. As the distribution appeared to be running smoothly I immediately launched the system installer which is a graphical application. At first we are asked if we would like to be guided through partitioning the disk with help from the installer or if we would like to manually divide our hard disk. Choosing the manual option, I found, launches the KDE Partition Manager. The Partition Manager is a fairly friendly program to use and I found it worked well for me.
When we finish dividing up the disk the installer tries to guess which disk partitions we would like to use for our root file system, the /home directory and swap space. We can override the guesses the installer makes. The installer also asks where we would like to install the distribution's boot loader. After that we are asked to select our time zone from a list. The following screen gets us to set passwords for the root account and an "Administrator". Typically with Linux distributions the terms "administrator" and "root" are used interchangeably, but with Kwheezy the first regular user account to be created is labeled "Administrator". Once we have set passwords on both accounts we are asked to provide a hostname for our computer and then the installer copies its files to the local drive.
When we reboot the computer and login to Kwheezy for the first time, a few things immediately stand out. One is that, upon logging in, we are greeted by a series of pop-up windows which ask us to select the proper driver for our video card. We are also asked to confirm which language the system should use and we are asked if we would like to change language settings for KDE or LibreOffice. These pop-ups are not the only eye-catching elements. Desktop visual effects are enabled, some of the icons in the system tray are animated and there are regular system statistic updates from the Conky status panel on the right. I also noted the default mouse pointer is red, rather than the usual black or white. The icons on the desktop which open applications to display hardware information, KDE's settings, the package manager, user account manager and other system configuration utilities, are larger than usual, giving the desktop an almost cartoon-like appearance. The application menu, by contrast, is presented in the classic layout with smaller icons and text.
Kwheezy 1.2 - the Apper package manager
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Shortly after I logged into the KDE interface a notification appeared in the corner of the screen letting me know software updates were available in the distribution's package repositories. Clicking on the notification didn't accomplish anything and so I launched the Apper package manager using its desktop icon. Apper is a friendly package manager with a simple interface that features bright, clearly labeled icons. Clicking one icon brings up a list of available package updates and another click will download these waiting items. Apper also handles installing and removing software packages, allowing us to browse through software by category, search for software by name and create batches of actions to execute. When Apper first arrived in distributions I was skeptical of it and ran into occasional stability issues, but I am pleased to say the version of Appear which comes with Kwheezy was rock solid for me and worked quickly.
Kwheezy 1.2 - running various desktop applications
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The Kwheezy distribution comes with a lot of applications, ranging from quite common ones to less popular niche software. We are provided with the Firefox web browser and the Adobe Flash plugin. The Thunderbird e-mail client is installed for us, as are the LibreOffice and Calligra productivity suites. The KMail e-mail application is included as is the Rekonq web browser. A Qt-based graphical front end for the Transmission bittorrent software is in the application menu as are a VNC client, the TeamViewer software and the Jitsi voice over IP software. Kwheezy also comes with the Google Earth map software, the Marble desktop globe, the GNU Texmacs editor and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. In the Multimedia sub-menu I found the k3b disc burner, the VLC multimedia player, MPlayer, WinFF for transcoding media and the KsCD audio disc player. Kwheezy comes with a small collection of KDE-themed games, the Steam gaming platform software and the PlayOnLinux utility which helps us install Windows software on Linux. In the same vein the WINE Windows compatibility software is available.
The distribution comes with many small utilities for managing the system and its appearance. Some of these tools include the KDE System Settings panel, a batch file renamer and the Midnight Commander file manager. I found a text editor, calculator and archive manager on the system. There are also accessibility tools which will magnify the screen and read text from the screen. Java is installed on the system and I found Kwheezy runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.2. In the background I found the distribution runs a mail server, a web server and the OpenSSH secure shell. I was surprised to find a web server running on a desktop-oriented distribution as there does not appear to be any direct use for it. There are not any sites or documentation provided by this web service, just a default web page which reads "It Works!". Personally I feel running these network services are more of a security concern than a benefit to most users.
I ran Kwheezy on my desktop machine (dual-core 2.8 GHz CPU, 6GB of RAM, Radeon video card, Realtek network card) and in a virtual machine courtesy of VirtualBox. I found the distribution ran very well, both on my physical hardware and in the virtual machine. My display was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and I encountered no stability issues. The distribution was quick to boot and typically remained responsive while I was using it. Debian is well known for its excellent performance and that strength was evident, even while all of KDE's features were enabled. The distribution is heavier on memory than most. Even with visual effects turned off, file indexing disabled and extras like the Conky statistics panel disabled Kwheezy still used 260 MB of RAM, just sitting at the desktop. With everything enabled, as it was out of the box, the system uses slightly more memory, making Kwheezy one of the heavier distributions I have run. I also noticed that the distribution requires 12 GB of hard drive space for all of its software. This space requirement is about three to four times larger than most mainstream distributions.
Kwheezy 1.2 - changing system settings and adding third-party software
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My overall impression of Kwheezy thus far has been that the distribution does a nice job of making it easy to get up and running with a desktop installation of Debian. I really like the KDE desktop and I like Debian's conservative nature and this makes the concept of an easy to install KDE edition of Debian very appealing. I found the graphical installer worked well and I think it will appeal to newcomers more so than the vanilla Debian installer. There were two points of design where I felt Kwheezy and I were not on the same page. The first is that Kwheezy includes a lot of software. Not just one application for each task, but often several applications per task. This may be convenient as it means we may never need to install any additional software -- all of our multimedia, development, graphic editing and word processing needs are met out of the box -- but the huge collection of software makes Kwheezy quite heavy. The distribution takes up approximately 12GB of space and the menu feels overly cluttered with all of the available tools. I feel this may be off putting to users (it was for me) as it takes that much longer to find want I want. This is not just a matter of bloat, it is also a security concern as Kwheezy ships with several network services, including a web server, running out of the box.
The second issue I had with Kwheezy is that its interface is busy. Debian, plain Debian, has a very low-key graphical interface. When we run Debian we do not see any welcome screen, very few pop-ups and the distribution tends to lack visual effects. Even the icons and wallpaper which come with Debian are, well, bland. I like this as Debian does not draw my attention away from the task at hand. Kwheezy, by contrast, has a very active interface. There are regular updates, flashing icons in the system tray, bright colours everywhere and we are greeted with several pop-ups when we login for the first time. Over the first day or so I found myself taking breaks to hunt down these features and disable them, slowly turning off visual effects, turning off file indexing, confirming settings and generally trying to get the interface to calm down.
Once the interface was pleasantly bland and once the additional services had been disabled, I found I slowly grew to like Kwheezy. The combination of the KDE desktop with a lot of useful software and Debian's rock solid base is a winning formula. I certainly liked the Kwheezy installer and the basic concept behind its design. I would have enjoyed my time with the distribution a good deal more if it had a quieter interface and fewer features enabled out of the box. I feel a calmer desktop would be more in line with Debian's design. In the end, I came around to enjoying Kwheezy, but only after I convinced the desktop to stop distracting me from my work.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Initial impressions of Ubuntu 13.10, Interview with Debian Project Leader, Zenwalk's future
This past week saw the release of Ubuntu 13.10 and Ubuntu's many community spins. Ubuntu is one of the most widely used Linux distributions and this insures many people will look over and explore the latest release of Canonical's operating system. ZDNet has an early review of Ubuntu 13.10 which covers the interface, changes since the previous release, some notes on Unity and Ubuntu's on-line search. The first-impressions review is generally positive, coming to the conclusion, "While Unity isn't quite to my personal taste, Shuttleworth has been successful in making a Linux desktop that anyone can use. Don't believe me? Download Saucy Salamander and see for yourself."
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Debian GNU/Linux is a massive open-source project and, perhaps more significantly, a large community of developers, users, organizers and artists. The project, unlike most open-source projects, functions as a democracy where the Debian Project Leader is elected by popular vote. Lucas Nussbaum currently has the honour of holding the Debian leadership position. It is an important job and Nussbaum's work is felt throughout the open-source community. Frostcast featured a podcast last week in which they interviewed Lucas Nussbaum. The interview gives listeners insight into the giant open-source project and the man who helps keep the project on track.
* * * * *
In years past when a user wanted a light-weight, powerful distribution that was designed to be clean, fast and stable, Zenwalk Linux was an obvious choice. The project, which is based on the venerable, rock-solid Slackware Linux, was once a highly popular choice for people who wanted the stability and performance of Slackware combined with a quick installation process. However, in recent years the Zenwalk project has fallen out of favour. The project seems to be falling behind in terms of features, currently lacking a 64-bit variant and user-friendly package management. The All Things Linux blog discusses Zenwalk, its glory days and its possible future: "A couple of people must still be using Zenwalk. I still don't really understand how such a promising light weight distro could fall so deep, but I hope it will pick up again. Surviving is not good enough, that's what it's doing right now. A good start would be better testing for the next release as QA seems to have slipped." Are you a current or former Zenwalk user? Let us know what you think of the project in the comments section.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Keeping up with the vulnerabilities
Keeping-updated asks: I would like your insight on an issue I am having with server distributions (Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise) and their free derivatives concerning their handling of package security updates. Understandably, they do not upgrade server packages, such as PHP and Apache, to the very latest releases since there may be backward incompatible issues (PHP 5.3 to 5.4 to 5.5 or Apache 2.2 to 2.4). This will break business applications that have not been migrated to run under a different version from what came with the distribution at install time. Hence, the server distributions are good for long term stability.
However, at the same time they pride themselves in security which would imply that the current major version of packages would be kept up to its latest minor version. This does not seem to be the case. Despite PHP's warnings of major security issues being fixed in the minor backward compatible versions and recommendations that hosts should immediately upgrade to avoid breaches, server distributions still have ancient insecure versions (SUSE with 5.3.17 and Red Hat with 5.3.3 while security and bug fix updates from PHP are all the way to 5.3.27).
Consequently, in order for me to feel safe about running a host I am forced to use third-party unofficial mirrors which causes instabilities and (potentially) more security issues since they may not be maintained by dedicated experts who develop the distribution and their servers are not controlled by the parent distribution. But that is the risk I have to take if I do not want to run blatantly insecure and bug-prone versions. How do they get away with such a contradiction?
DistroWatch answers: There are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with enterprise level distributions and packages which may be patched during the life cycle of the distribution. First, major distributions back-port bug fixes from recent software releases into their older packages. This means you may appear to be running an insecure old version of a package, but in reality companies like Red Hat and SUSE may include security fixes without bumping the version number. Do not base your security practices on the version number of a package, it is not a useful metric. Instead check the package's change log and the distribution's security advisories.
Both SUSE and Red Hat maintain security advisory trackers which are publicly readable. These trackers provide useful information with regards to known vulnerabilities and comments made to bug trackers and they typically include workarounds or information as to which package version contains a fix for the vulnerability.
Second, avoiding older software that is properly vetted by a company like Red Hat in favour of a third-party repository is highly unrecommended. You are basically trading back-ported, tested security updates from a trusted vendor in exchange for unvetted, untrusted versions of packages which are likely to break functionality. This would be a disservice to your users and to yourself.
Third, if you know for certain the package you are using is insecure and that the enterprise vendor is not releasing an update to deal with the issue then you are better off downloading a patch or updated version of the software from the upstream project and compiling it yourself. This removes the risk presented by using a third-party binary repository.
|Released Last Week
Rebellin Linux 2.0
Utkarsh Sevekar has announced the release of Rebellin Linux 2.0, a Debian-based commercial distribution showcasing a highly customised GNOME 3 desktop: "It gives us immense pleasure to announce the latest Rebellin Linux release - Synergy v2.0. Rebellin is a modern, efficient, stable, general-purpose Linux distribution. Our goal is to bring top-notch, personal, unlimited email support to our customers at an affordable price. And here is v2.00 at your service. Rebellin Synergy is based on Debian 'Wheezy' with backports. Here's a quick peek at the benefits of using Rebellin Synergy v2.00: top-notch, unlimited email support that lasts for the lifetime of the product - included in the price; ease and fluidity of GNOME Shell coupled with the superbly efficient design of Gnome 2.x - see your productivity go straight up; Synergy is designed with practicality in mind - built with a no-nonsense approach from start to finish, you get a product that's practical and extremely resource-friendly...." Read the full release announcement for further information.
Rebellin Linux 2.0 - a Debian-based distribution with a customised GNOME 3 desktop
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Vine Linux 6.2
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of Vine Linux 6.2, a general-purpose Japanese Linux distribution with GNOME 2.30 as the default desktop environment: "Vine Linux 6.2 (Haut Bailly). This is Vine Linux version 6 release. Since this is not a commercial version (Vine Linux CR), non-free applications and fonts are not included on the CD/DVD. Instead of proprietary ATOX X/Wnn7/Wnn8/VJE Japanese inputs and Ricoh/Dynacomware fonts, this FTP edition contains Anthy and free TrueType fonts. Vine Linux 6.2 has following features (highlights): update the software collection; update Linux kernel to 3.4.65 (latest LTS kernel); bundle newer software - Firefox 24, Thunderbird 24, LibreOffice 4.1; stability improvements; look and feel improvements; newer hardware support; new user-friendly tools." Read the release announcement (in Japanese) and see also the brief release notes (in English) for further information.
Slackel 5.0 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 5.0 "Openbox" edition, a lightweight desktop Linux distribution with Openbox based on Slackware's "Current" branch: "Slackel 5.0 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware Linux and Salix. Includes Linux kernel 3.10.16 and latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. The ncurses installer includes the option to install LILO or GRUB boot loader. After installation users can use the grubconfig utility to re-install GRUB or to change the boot loader from LILO to GRUB. Users can also use update-grub to update GRUB menus any time they upgrade their kernel or install other Linux distribution. The os-prober tool is used to probe for other operating systems and to update GRUB menus. Slackel 5.0 Openbox includes the Midori 0.5.5 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." The release announcement is accompanied by a screenshot.
Welcome to the Ubuntu 13.10 release day. The first in the line-up is Ubuntu itself, Canonical's flagship product and one the world's top desktop Linux distributions - now also available for the 64-bit ARM architecture: "Canonical today announces the availability of Ubuntu 13.10 for desktop and smartphone. Ubuntu's first true mobile release delivers the streamlined core OS and mobile user interface that pave the way for full device convergence and create a unique platform for modern computing. Canonical is working with partners to bring Ubuntu smartphone devices to market in 2014. The desktop version of Ubuntu 13.10 reflects much of that progress, with scopes that organise home, apps, music, video content, lower device memory and graphics requirements and substantial improvements in battery and memory efficiency." Read the press release and the more technical release notes further information.
Ubuntu 13.10 - on the path to "convergence"
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Ubuntu Studio 13.10
Howard Chan has announced the release of Ubuntu Studio 13.10, an Ubuntu sub-project providing a full range of multimedia content creation applications for audio, graphics, video, photography and publishing: "The Ubuntu Studio team proudly announces the immediate release of Ubuntu Studio 13.10. This exciting release incorporates the new features listed below: a new menu structure which works on any desktop environment; a new package named ubuntustudio-installer, which allows any person to install our metapackages and can fit into any desktop environment; instead of a settings menu, we have fitted in a new Settings Manager, with all settings in one place; when you are in the GRUB menu, the boot item for Ubuntu Studio will show 'Ubuntu Studio' instead of 'Ubuntu'; the latest low-latency kernel will be always the default boot item in the GRUB boot loader; the XFCE session in the LightDM is removed to avoid any confusion with the Ubuntu Studio session...." Continue to the release announcement and release notes to learn more.
Pasi Lallinaho has announced the release of Xubuntu 13.10, an official flavour of the Ubuntu operating system with Xfce - a stable, light and configurable desktop environment: "The Xubuntu team is delighted to announce the release of Xubuntu 13.10! Some of the highlights for Xubuntu 13.10 include: a new version of xfce4-settings has been uploaded, bringing amongst other things a new dialog to set up your displays; a tool for changing your theme colors easily, gtk-theme-config, has been added to the default installation; new wallpaper; new releases of our GTK+ themes (with GTK+ 3.10 support) as well as the LightDM greeter, fixing many visual bugs; updated documentation. Known problems: indicator sound no longer functions with Xfce indicator plugin; gmusicbrowser's albuminfo plugin is deactivated by default and causes the app to hang if enabled...." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Jonathan Riddell has announced the release of Kubuntu 13.10, an Ubuntu variant featuring the latest KDE desktop environment: "Welcome to Kubuntu 13.10, a brand-new version with the latest KDE software to enjoy. Highlights: a new versions of KDE's Software Compilation 4.11 is featured in Kubuntu 13.10, adding faster Nepomuk indexing, Kontact improvements such as a new theme editor for e-mails, and preparing the ground for future developments using Wayland and Qt 5; Muon Discover - a friendly new way to discover and install applications; User Manager - a simpler way to manage your system users; wireless setup in installer; KDE Telepathy with better text editing and improved notifications; the new Network Manager applet gives a simpler UI for connecting to a range of network types; for a summary of the OS installed use the new About System page in System Settings...." See the full release announcement for more details, screenshots, known issues and information about the new Kubuntu shop.
Stéphane Graber has announced the release of Edubuntu 13.10, a flavour of Ubuntu designed for educational and non-profit environments: "The Edubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Edubuntu 13.10 (code name 'Saucy Salamander'). This release will be supported for 9 months, it is intended for enthusiasts and users who would like to try out the latest and greatest software. If you're installing Edubuntu in an organisation such as a school, university or non-profit, we suggest you deploy Edubuntu 12.04 LTS (long-term support), which is supported until April 2017 for both servers and desktops. What's New? Edubuntu 13.10 is mostly a refresh on Edubuntu 13.04 without any significant change to the package selection. Notable updates: Unity 7.1.2, LibreOffice 4.1.2, Firefox 24.0, Thunderbird 24.0, Linux kernel 3.11, Upstart 1.10, Python 3.3.2." Here is the brief release announcement.
Jack Yu has announced the release of UbuntuKylin 13.10, an official variant of Ubuntu (with Unity) designed for users in China and providing a customised Chinese user experience: "We are glad to announce the release of UbuntuKylin 13.10. In this release, the Linux kernel has been updated to 3.11. We have added more useful applications, such as Youker Assistant, KuaiPan client, fcitx-qimpanel, Unity China video scope, Unity China photo scope and UbuntuKylin wallpapers. Besides, Chinese calendar, Indicator China Weather, Unity China music scope and WPS for UbuntuKylin have been updated. New features: system customization - provides new GRUB selection, slideshow and boot animation; Youker Assistant provides a simple but powerful way for users to use and manage their systems; Unity China video scope - shows Chinese video results searched from Youku service on Dash...." See the release announcement (in Chinese) and release notes (in English, with screenshots) for more details.
UbuntuKylin 13.10 - a distribution designed and optimised for users in China
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Mario Behling has announced the release of Lubuntu 13.10, a lightweight variant of Ubuntu that provides the minimalist LXDE desktop and a selection of light applications: "Julien Lavergne has released Lubuntu 13.10. Features: based on the lightweight LXDE desktop environment; PCManFM - a fast and lightweight file manager; Openbox -a fast and extensible default windows manager of LXDE; LightDM using a simple GTK+ greeter; Firefox as the new web browser for Lubuntu 13.10; based on Ubuntu 13.10. Improvements since Lubuntu 13.04: new version of PCManFM and libfm (1.1.0) including a built-in search utility; artwork improvements, including new wallpapers, community wallpapers and new icons; removed Catfish since PCManFM has its own search utility; fixed a very old bug causing GNOME MPlayer to crash with some CPUs; several fixes for the GPicView image viewer." Read the rest of the release announcement for system requirements and known issues.
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10
Ali Jawad has announced the release of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10, the project's second release as an official Ubuntu flavour featuring the GNOME 3 desktop with GNOME Shell: "The Ubuntu GNOME team is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 13.10. Ubuntu GNOME aims to bring a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience to Ubuntu. Keeping in coordination with the Ubuntu Desktop team, we have decided to stay with GNOME 3.8 for the 13.10 release. Features: most of GNOME 3.8 is now included; many artwork improvements including new boot loader theme, Plymouth theme, wallpapers, installer slideshow and completed branding with our new logo; the new GNOME Classic session is included, to try it choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen; Ubuntu Online Accounts is no longer included by default." See the release announcement and release notes for more information.
Ubuntu GNOME 13.10 - Ubuntu with a standard GNOME 3 desktop and GNOME Shell
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Simplicity Linux 13.10
David Purse has announced the release of Simplicity Linux 13.10, a new version of the project's Puppy-based distribution for desktops and netbooks, featuring the LXDE desktop environment: "We are proud to announce that Simplicity Linux 13.10 is now available for download. From today you can download Obsidian, Netbook and Desktop. Media and X will be available in a few days, as we're still not 100% happy with them. Simplicity Linux 13.10 is based on Upup 126.96.36.199 which in turn is based on Puppy Linux. Desktop has the biggest change this release cycle. We have now brought back OnLive; improvements in WINE and video drivers mean that OnLive works better than it did in the past. We know it's not Steam, but with OnLive if you have a decent Internet connection, at least you don't have to worry about big downloads, you can just get on with gaming. Desktop also has Dropbox integrated into it, so you can sync your files and get them on any device with a browser." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Simplicity Linux 13.10 - a Puppy-based distribution with a customised LXDE desktop
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Johnny Hughes has announced the release of CentOS 5.10, an updated build of the project's distribution built from source code of the recently-released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.10: "We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of CentOS 5.10 for the i386 and x86_64 architectures. New features: MySQL versions 5.1 and 5.5 are now available, MySQL 5.1 is only provided for assisting in upgrading MySQL 5.0 databases to MySQL 5.5 and it should not be used in production environments; there will be no more security updates for the 5.0 and 5.1 versions of MySQL; a new package, gcc-libraries, consisting of libraries libatomic and libitm, is now available - these libraries provide support for certain atomic operations and transactional memory; the HP cciss RAID driver has been updated to the latest version...." See the release announcement and especially the release notes for a detailed list of changes and known issues.
Cecil Watson has released version 8.0 of LinHES (which stands for "Linux Home Entertainment System"), an Arch-based Linux distribution centred around MythTV. The biggest change of the release is the switch to the x86_64 architecture. From the release notes: "With this release of LinHES several things have changed. The main thing to note is that with this release, LinHES will support 64-bit processors only. This change, along with a partition layout change means that an in-place upgrade of an existing system is not possible. All installs of R8 should be treated as new installs, with the option to import the old recordings, if desired. R8 uses the same version of MythTV as R7, so importing the old recordings should be very straightforward." Other notable changes include: "old NVIDIA drivers have been dropped; Fbsplash has been replaced with Plymouth; GRUB 2 has replaced GRUB; Fluxbox has been replaced by Enlightenment as the default window manager...."
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- LoC-OS Linux. LoC-OS Linux is a re-spin of Ubuntu featuring lots of useful software in the default installation.
- Audiophile Linux. Audiophile Linux is an operating system optimised for high-quality digital audio reproduction featuring a real-time kernel.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 October 2013. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
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|Random Distribution |
SliTaz GNU/Linux is a mini distribution and live CD designed to run speedily on hardware with 256 MB of RAM. SliTaz uses BusyBox, a recent Linux kernel and GNU software. It boots with Syslinux and provides more than 200 Linux commands, the lighttpd web server, SQLite database, rescue tools, IRC client, SSH client and server powered by Dropbear, X window system, JWM (Joe's Window Manager), gFTP, Geany IDE, Mozilla Firefox, AlsaPlayer, GParted, a sound file editor and more. The SliTaz ISO image fits on a less than 30 MB media and takes just 80 MB of hard disk space.