| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 540, 6 January 2014
Welcome to this year's first issue of DistroWatch Weekly! We are pleased to kick off the new year with a fresh series of reviews which focus on home and small office servers. This week follow along as Jesse Smith takes two server distributions, Superb Mini Server and SME Server, for a trial run and reports on his experience. Also in this edition of DistroWatch Weekly we will be talking about how to deal with multi-part archives and accessing files on network shares. In our News section we talk about the Ubuntu GNOME team's plans for migrating from X to a new display server, the young Hawaii desktop environment and the Maui operating system that acts as Hawaii's test platform. Plus we link to an interesting interview with Gentoo developer Sergey Popov where he talks about being a team lead and some of the challenges the project faces. Finally, we are happy to announce that the recipient of the December 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is Linux Voice, a brand-new Linux magazine to be launched shortly by four former editors of Linux Format. We wish you all a wonderful new year and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Server showdown (part 1)
A month ago I suggested the idea of doing a series of reviews which would focus on server distributions which would function in a home or small office environment. Typically I focus on desktop distributions, but every so often it is nice to try something different and I think most of us can benefit from running a small server. Having a server in the home (or small office) is a great way to enabled fast and easy backups of our data, it is a convenient and inexpensive way to run a web server and it enables us to synchronize our files without requiring a third-party service provider.
When I raised the idea and asked for feedback I had originally thought I would end up test driving the traditional Linux server distributions. Perhaps I am showing my age, but I had assumed people would want to run Debian GNU/Linux, CentOS, Slackware Linux or FreeBSD on their home servers. Each of these projects produces a rock-solid operating system with low resource requirements, making them ideal for low-end hardware or heavy workloads. I considered throwing in Ubuntu's Server edition due to its growing popularity, or perhaps OpenBSD as it features a very clean design. However, when the feedback started rolling in (and I got more feedback on this idea than for anything else I've done before) I quickly found readers wanted a different set of distributions to be reviewed. Superb Mini Server (SMS) easily got the most votes, followed by SME Server and openSUSE. Zentyal and ClearOS followed the leaders. It may interest readers to know that Ubuntu Server and Slackware Linux did not get any votes. CentOS, Scientific Linux and Debian only got one apiece.
What further surprised me was that several people who wrote in requested server-focused reviews of distributions which are typically either seen as desktop distributions or as cutting-edge (unstable) projects. For example, Linux Mint, Fedora and Mageia each received votes. A selection of BSD projects - FreeBSD, OpenBSD, PC-BSD and DragonFly BSD - each got a vote or two. I learned a few things from the e-mails I received. One is that people looking for reviews of home servers seem to be interested in ease of use and nice, graphical interfaces more than performance. It also seems that traditional server distributions are less appealing than people being able to run network services on their existing desktop/laptop computers. Given the results of the votes I received I decided to drop my original line-up of distributions and review the following projects from the point of view of setting up a home server: SMS, SME Server, openSUSE and Zentyal. This week we will start with SMS and SME Server.
Over the past month I've also had a chance to expand the points upon which each distribution will be evaluated. Based on my original plans and, taking into account the requests sent in, I will be judging distributions based on the following criteria: Availability and support of advanced file systems (Btrfs or ZFS) in the default install or default repositories; project documentation; ease of installation; ease of maintaining or upgrading the operating system; length of support for each release; performance; stability; number and complexity of steps required to enable services. Each distribution in this trial was run inside VirtualBox using bridged networking to make services available on the local network. Each virtual machine was set up to use a single CPU, 1 GB of RAM and a virtual hard drive. During the trials I set up each distribution to perform three services: act as a backup server, allowing files to be copied to a dedicated user account via OpenSSH; act as a Wordpress blog server using Apache, PHP and MySQL; and enable the sharing of files over the local network using Samba.
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Superb Mini Server 2.0.6
First, let's look at Superb Mini Server (SMS). The latest version of SMS is a distribution based on Slackware Linux 14.0 which can be administrated through a Webmin web-based interface. This allows for easy remote administration. The distribution is available as either an installation CD or as a live CD. I decided to work with the installation CD and found the download ISO for SMS is approximately 700 MB in size.
Booting from the installation disc brings us to a command line interface. We are warned up front we will need to manually partition the computer's hard drive prior to running the SMS system installer. The live environment includes the fdisk and cfdisk command line partitioning utilities. The SMS distribution, being based on Slackware, uses the Slackware system installer. The installer features a text menu interface and, while it is fairly streamlined, there are several steps. We are asked to select a root and a swap partition, a file system to use for our root partition and one of several available kernels. We are walked through configuring our network connection and then we are asked which services we would like to run.
SMS comes with many network services pre-configured for us and we can choose the ones we like from a long list. Most of the network services are enabled by default. Next, we are asked to select our time zone from a list and set a password on the administrator account. The first time I ran through the installer I noticed SMS offered the advanced Btr file system as an option and decided to use that as my root file system. Once the installer completed copying its files to my hard drive I restarted the virtual machine and found the system wouldn't boot. In fact, the boot loader (LILO) appeared to be missing. I started the installation process over from scratch, this time using the ext3 file system on my root partition. This time LILO installed properly and SMS was able to boot.
The locally installed version of SMS boots to a command line interface. For the most part we do not need to use the command line, most of the distribution's functionality is presented through a Webmin web interface which can be accessed via any web browser on the network. The Webmin interface can be located on network port 10,000. So, for example, my server named "adam" could be accessed by pointing my web browser to the address https://adam:10000. The Webmin interface isn't particularly pretty, but it is functional and easy to navigate. Webmin allows us to manage most aspects of the SMS operating system and its services. We can configure and enable/disable a long list of network services, manipulate user accounts, work with scheduled tasks, install new software and see running processes. It is a fairly extensive control panel and the web interface means we can access this collection of utilities from anywhere on the network. Should we wish to do so we can enable OpenSSH and use secure shell to access the operating system's command line, again, from anywhere on the network.
Superb Mini Server 2.0.6 - configuring the Apache HTTP web server
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The SMS project provides some documentation located on their website. The documentation is mostly in short form and, while many topics are covered, the information is typically terse. The provided notes come across as more of a quick reference guide rather than full bodied documentation. Still, it should be enough to get us started.
As I mentioned before, SMS runs most of its network services by default. These services include the OpenSSH secure shell server, Samba for sharing files over the network, there is a web server running by default and there is a phpMyAdmin service running to help us manage databases. This means most of the services I wanted to run on my virtual server were already enabled and pre-configured for me. The only thing I had to download and install manually was Wordpress and, even then, the phpMyAdmin panel came in handy when getting Wordpress configured. All in all I was impressed with the amount of functionality available out of the box. One surprise feature I enjoyed finding enabled on SMS was TorrentFlux. TorrentFlux provides users with a friendly web-based portal where we can download torrents. New torrents can be queued and enabled through the web interface and, when the torrent is done downloading, it becomes available in a pre-configured Samba share and can be accessed from anywhere. This makes it very easy to use SMS as a torrent upload/download appliance.
Superb Mini Server 2.0.6 - running TorrentFlux
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Package management, including downloading software updates, I found was easiest to do on SMS's command line. The distribution features the slapt-get command line package management utility which makes it fairly easy to download new packages, apply software updates and remove unwanted packages. The slapt-get software also makes searching the package repositories fairly straight forward. Since SMS is based on Slackware I suspect SMS releases will be supported (effectively, if not officially) for as long as the underlying Slackware release. This is a bit of good news and bad news. On the positive side, Slackware has a well-deserved reputation for stability and it is possible (if not straight forward) to upgrade from one release to the next. The down side to this is Slackware doesn't have a firm release schedule and so ongoing support and life cycles may vary. It also means the upgrade path from one release to the next will require some cryptic command-line work which will put off less experienced users.
While running SMS in a virtual machine my one serious complaint was with the operating system's performance. The distribution typically used around 30% of my host's CPU while sitting idle. Processor usage would often spike up to 100% when performing any action, even minor tasks. This meant my host's processor was typically overworked (and running hot) while I played with SMS. The distribution tended to be sluggish in the virtual machine too. Installing SMS took nearly an hour and booting the distribution to its text console took over three minutes. The distribution used approximately 370 MB of RAM while sitting idle and an installation which did not include any graphical utilities required 2 GB of hard disk space.
In general, I would say SMS is for people who are fairly experienced when it comes to Linux. The installer isn't all that novice-friendly and administrators will have to use the command line from time to time. The documentation is helpful, but terse and most package management will require command line knowledge. On the plus side, SMS comes with the very friendly and powerful Webmin administration interface. This interface lets us control and configure services is a way that is fairly intuitive and there are lots of options. The distribution was stable during my trial and, given its Slackware base, would probably always remain stable. I liked that so many network services were available right from the start and everything was pre-configured for us, so there is very little to do once the installer finishes copying its files. SMS strikes an unusual balance. Setting up and maintaining the underlying operating system requires some experience (and patience) while managing the end-user services is surprisingly easy.
- Advanced file systems (Btrfs/ZFS): 2
- Documentation: 3
- Ease of installation: 2
- Ease of maintaining/upgrading: 3
- Length of support for each release: 3
- Performance: 2
- Stability: 5
- Steps required to enable services: 4
* * * * *
SME Server 8.0
SME Server is a distribution targeted at small and medium business environments. The distribution sports a web interface for server management and also features a text-based administration console for local configuration. The project's latest stable release uses CentOS 5.8 as a base. CentOS 5.x is starting to show its age at this point and future SME Server versions are expected to switch to CentOS 6.x. The SME Server is available as a 653MB download. The project features a wiki with documentation for users and administrators. I found the available notes to be useful, though a bit terse. The documentation appears to be a quick reference guide, designed to augment the documentation supplied by CentOS, rather than act as a complete guide.
Booting from the SME Server installation disc brings up a series of text-based menus. We are asked if we would like to check the integrity of our installation media and then asked to choose a preferred language and confirm our keyboard's layout. We are then asked to select our time zone from a list. From there the system installer asks for permission to format and take over our entire hard drive. This approach, taking over the entire drive, seems to be the only way SME Server works and so I let the distribution have complete control over its virtual machine. The installer formats the local drive with the ext3 file system and then copies its packages from the installation media to the hard drive.
We are then asked to reboot the computer and, once again, a text-based wizard appears and guides us through configuring our server. We are asked to set a password on the root account and create a name for our server. We are then asked to manually input the static IP address our server will use (using a dynamic address does not appear to be an option). In addition we are asked to provide the server's netmask and tell the wizard whether the server will be used as a stand-alone server or as an Internet gateway for other machines. We can optionally enable DHCP and DNS services to be used by the other machines on our network. With those steps completed we are brought to a text console where we can login.
From the text console we can login as either "root" or as the "admin" user, both accounts use the same password we set up during the installation process. Logging in as the "admin" user brings up the text-based administration console. This console is a bit limited in its functionality. We can use it to check the uptime of the server, confirm our network connection is active, view the project's license and perform backups to a USB drive. We can also shutdown or reboot the operating system from this console. Given the small feature set of the text console we are more likely to make use of the distribution's web-based administration console. This web-based interface can be accessed by pointing a web browser to our server and adding the suffix "/server-manager".
For example, to access my server, named "brutus", I connected to the URL https://brutus/server-manager. I quickly discovered that the web-based interface does not work with the Opera web browser. It does, however, work with Firefox. The web interface gives us the ability to set up user accounts on the server, enable (and configure) secure shell access and change our network configuration. We can also work with the distribution's anti-virus software, enable port forwarding, configure e-mail and enable disk quotas for our users. I found the web interface to be fairly user friendly and pleasant to look at. However, unlike the SMS web interface, SME Server does not provide a nice way for us to enable and configure additional services. To add more services and set them up it seems we need to secure shell our way into the server and work from the command line.
SME Server 8.0 - web administration interface
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Looking at SME Server's default configuration it seems most services are not enabled or not configured by default. For example, both Samba and secure shell are installed for us. However, OpenSSH is not running by default and Samba does not have any shares configured by default. I found OpenSSH can be enabled and configured through the web interface, but I had to configure Samba manually to enable file sharing over the network. Additional software and services can be added to the distribution using the YUM command line package manager. YUM has a simple syntax and I found it worked quickly when I wanted to download software updates or install new packages. Digging through the distribution's repositories I was not able to find any support for Btrfs or ZFS, nor was I able to find a package for Wordpress and I ended up installing the blogging software manually from the upstream project.
As SME Server is based on the CentOS 5.x series the distribution should continue to receive support (if unofficially) through to 2017. After that I suspect, based on the documentation I could find, upgrading to a new version of SME will require a fresh installation. The distribution does come with a backup/restore option to assist us in upgrades and recovery. Both the text- and web-based administration tools feature an option to backup our files and configuration. The installer features a restore option, allowing us to set up a new server with the same settings and files as the original.
I found SME Server's performance while running in the virtual machine to be quite good, certainly better than SMS. While SME was working, serving up files or downloading upgrades, for example, the distribution used approximately 30% of my host computer's CPU. While sitting idle SME Server only used about 10% of the host's processing power. The distribution responded quickly and ran smoothly. The installation took less than half an hour and boot times were under two minutes. I did not experience any stability issues with SME Server during my trial. SME Server required approximately 1.6 GB of disk space for a fresh installation and the operating system used about 310 MB of RAM when running its default services. The only time I noticed any lag from the distribution was shortly after the initial installation was completed. SME Server ran the YUM package manager to refresh its package repository information and FreshClam was run at the same time to update the anti-virus definition database. Both these tasks finished after a few minutes.
In general I found SME Server to be fairly easy to get up and running. Aside from the steps for configuring the network, most of the installation is pretty much automated and fast. The problem I found with SME Server was that, once the distribution had been installed, it was fairly bare bones. Adding new services and doing any sort of configuration work always seemed to bring me back to the command line. There was not a lot of documentation to assist, at least not from the project's own website, and some nice features such as Btrfs were missing. I do like that SME Server is based on CentOS and has a backup/restore feature as it means the project has a long life cycle and upgrades should be fairly painless.
- Advanced file systems (Btrfs/ZFS): 0
- Documentation: 3
- Ease of installation: 3
- Ease of maintaining/upgrading: 3
- Length of support for each release: 4
- Performance: 4
- Stability: 5
- Steps required to enable services: 2
* * * * *
I started my series on home and small business servers with these two distributions because I suspected they would be fairly similar, making for an easy comparison. However, while both projects feature a conservative base (Slackware Linux and CentOS) and while both projects feature command line interfaces and web administration consoles, the two projects are oddly dissimilar. Where SMS has a somewhat lengthy and flexible system installer, SME Server has a streamlined and rigid installer. The SMS distribution has a wonderfully rich and friendly web interface where SME has a more focused web interface that didn't work with my primary web browser. The SMS distribution comes with lots of services enabled by default and they are mostly configured to work out of the box.
The SME Server project supplies a more locked-down distribution where we need to manually enable services. This means SME is probably more secure by default, but it also results in more work for the administrator. In the VirtualBox virtual machine I found SME Server used a lot less CPU resources than SMS, though I suspect, had I been running both distributions on physical hardware, this gap would have closed or even been reversed. Neither distribution supplied Btrfs or ZFS support out of the box, though SMS does offer Btrfs utilities should we wish to add additional disks and try formating them with Btrfs. Unfortunately it seems Btrfs cannot be safely configured at install time. Both distributions sit on stable bases, though I feel SME features a nicer upgrade path with its backup/restore feature and its several years of upstream support.
After playing with both distributions I have to say both have strengths and weaknesses. I probably wouldn't fall over myself recommending either of them to most home users as both distributions require a bit of technical knowledge to set up and configure. If pressed I believe SMS may be the better option for most home users. While its installation process is a bit more involved, the extensive web interface and many pre-installed services make SMS more pleasant to run.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu GNOME's display server roadmap, new release of Hawaii desktop, interview with Gentoo developer Sergey Popov
With the arrival of new display servers such as Wayland and Mir, planned for later this year, there have been questions as to which distributions will adopt which technology. The Ubuntu GNOME team is the latest to lay out their roadmap for adopting a new display server. Their answer indicates they are in no rush to move away from the traditional X display technology: "The whole MIR vs Wayland thing is entirely irrelevant for now. Ubuntu 14.04 is using X and it is not going to just disappear overnight! Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 will likely continue using X, even if Ubuntu switches to Mir. At some point in the distant future we will probably switch to Wayland, but right now its not even close to being ready."
* * * * *
The Maui project is an open source, Linux-based operating system which acts as a platform for the development of the Hawaii desktop. Hawaii is a modern desktop environment, based on the Qt toolkit, the same toolkit used to develop the popular KDE desktop. Maui uses several modern technologies including systemd, Wayland and QtQuick in an effort to create a flexible, unified, high-performance user interface. Version 0.20 of the Hawaii desktop was released on December 27. People interested in experimenting with Hawaii can download the source code. Alternatively, users of Arch Linux can download and install pre-built Hawaii packages.
* * * * *
The recently-launched Gentoo Monthly Newsletter is a great source of technical information regarding ongoing developments, bug tracking and security. It is also a great way to get to know members of the talented Gentoo development team. The latest newsletter features a chat with Sergey Popov, a developer and team leader in the Gentoo community. Popov talks about his background, his entry into open source, the challenges of maintaining multiple architectures and how to become part of the Gentoo team. To people who are considering working on Gentoo Popov says, "Learn the developer documentation. Do not be scared of the quizzes. Improve your skills. Last one is a constant process, you can not relax when you become a Gentoo developer - it's just the beginning for your future progress."
|Statistics (by Ladislav Bodnar)
DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics in 2012 and 2013
Although far from being a reliable method for determining distribution usage, the DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistic is perhaps an indicator of trends and shifts in the world of free operating system, at least among the visitors of this website. So as always this time of the year, we once again take a brief look at the movers and shakers of the distro world in the annual comparison table. Who was up and who was down during the past twelve months?
Unsurprisingly, Linux Mint gets the top spot for the third year running. The popular Ubuntu-based distribution keeps going from strength to strength, as confirmed by a long list of positive reviews after each new release. The project's quality control is also becoming legendary. In the interest of sharing and openness, it would be fantastic if they were willing to publish a detailed guide on steps performed during their QA process - this would certainly benefit many other distribution projects and, by extension, us, the users. Still, there will be challenges in the coming months and years, stemming primarily from the shifting focus and dramatic changes planned for the future releases of Ubuntu. It will be interesting to see how the project will cope with these while trying to satisfy the ever growing user base. But, for now at least, Mint looks great and we hope it continues marching along its successful path for many more years to come!
Which distributions were most noticed in 2013? The winner here is clearly Manjaro Linux. Climbing from a lowly 52nd spot in 2012 to the 8th in 2013 is a remarkable effort, likely brought about by the excellent idea of combining a well-tested and stable Arch Linux base (with its rolling-release development model) with a few user-friendly enhancements that seem to appeal to many users. The simple and low-fat CrunchBang Linux also continues its well-deserved march towards the higher echelons of the table, while elementary OS, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a OS X-style desktop interface has received much praise in the Linux media. Other distributions making the top 25 for the first time include the new SparkyLinux and the lightweight Linux Lite, together with Kali Linux, a specialist distribution designed for penetration testing and computer forensics. Interestingly, Kubuntu has regained quite a bit of popularity during the past year when it returned to the top 25 for the first time since 2010.
And the losers? For the very first time in the history of DistroWatch, Gentoo Linux is not in the top 25. Some of the readers might remember that, back in the Daniel Robbins era, it was a darling of distro users, finishing at number three in 2002 and always in the top ten until 2007. But as the Linux user base increased, many less technical adopters were likely attracted by more user-friendly distributions, leaving the highly technical nature of the compile-everything-from-source distro behind. Also falling out from the top 25 last year were Ultimate Edition, Chakra GNU/Linux and ROSA. It's worth noting that two successful distributions that found themselves in the top 25 in 2012 were surprisingly discontinued in 2013 - these were SolusOS and Fuduntu.
As always, the disclaimer. The DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics shouldn't be taken too seriously - they are a fun way of looking at what's hot and what's not among this site's visitors, but they almost certainly do not reflect install base or distribution quality.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
More multi-part archives and network shares
Making-divided-archives asks: Your column [on multi-part archives] had great information on dividing files across multiple DVDs. Someone posted in the comments section that tar has the -M (--multi-volume) capability, but the man page does not explain how to use the -M switch. Can you provide a few examples with more detail?
DistroWatch answers: The tar command does indeed include an option for dividing an archive. into multiple pieces. The tar command has traditionally worked with tape archives and so the program's manner of dividing archives into multiple parts may seem strange at first if you are accustomed to working with regular files. The tar command, when passed the --multi-volume (or -M) parameter, will try to write its archive to a file (or device) until it runs out of room. Then tar will stop and wait for the signal to proceed. Using the --tape-length (or -L) parameter we can specify the exact size of the destination device or file.
There are two reasons it is often easier to create one giant archive and then use the split command to divide the archive into manageable chunks rather than using the tar command's built in splitter. The first is that tar, by default, assumes all parts of the archive should be written to the same file or device, for example /dev/tape. Telling tar to use different file names requires a little additional work on our part. We either need to babysit the archiving process and specify a new name for each piece of the archive, or we need to work out the total size of the archive in advance and specify names for each part on the command line. The second reason we might not want to use tar is, when dealing with multi-part archives, tar cannot compress the data. This means more storage space will be used than if we were to compress one archive and divide it later into different pieces.
Here is an example where we divide one large directory, containing 6 GB of data, into two archives that may be burned to DVDs. Each archive file will be 4 GB in size or smaller. In practice, this will give us two archive files, one which is 4 GB in size and one that is approximately 2 GB in size:
tar c --tape-length=4G --file=archive1.tar --file=archive2.tar one-large-directory
Now, if we do not know how large the source data is and therefore do not know how many smaller archive files we will need to create, we can run an interactive process where we manually input the name of each archive piece. For example:
tar c --tape-length=4G --file=archive1.tar one-large-directory
Note in the above example the tar command stops and asks us what to do when it finishes working on the first small archive file. Pressing "y" here will over-write the first archive1.tar file with a new file of the same name. Instead I type "n archive2.tar" to begin writing the second part of the archive. This avoids over-writing the first archive segment and we end up with two files, archive1.tar and archive2.tar.
Prepare volume #2 for `archive1.tar' and hit return: n archive2.tar
To restore our original data from the multi-part archive we can run the following tar command:
tar x --multi-volume --file=archive1.tar --file=archive2.tar
This will extract the combined contents of the two archive files we made in the above step. This will re-create one-large-directory with our 6 GB of data.
* * * * *
Reaching-for-the-file asks:I use the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) quite a bit on my installation of Linux Mint "KDE" edition. Using the GIMP's open file dialog I am unable to browse my local NAS (a Buffalo box running Samba). I can open a file on the NAS using Dolphin, which is my current workaround. When I searched on-line for this same problem it seems to be well known that GTK+/GNOME apps cannot or will not work with SMB as well as KDE/Qt apps can. I also came across a "hack" called KGtk which will patch GTK+ apps to use the KDE file browser, but I cannot get it to work on my system. Has anyone forked GIMP so that it can use SMB?
DistroWatch answers: Over the years any number of people have suggested a fork of the GIMP. Some have desired a different user interface, some wanted a different toolkit to be used and some simply did not like the name. However, for better or worse, I am not aware of any successful forks of the GIMP project, including better support for network shares or not. What I would suggest doing, in this case, is tackling the problem from the other direction. Rather than trying to make GIMP (or a similar image editor) work with the network share, perhaps it would be better to make the network share work with all of your desktop applications.
Linux distributions have the convenient feature of being able to treat a remote network share as though it were a local directory on your hard drive. This can be done when you login by running the smbmount or mount commands. Let us assume that you have a remote storage box, such as a NAS, on the network and this remote machine is called remote-computer. Let us also assume you would like to access a remote share, called sharename, and you want to make those files available via your /mnt/local-directory path. You can do that a few ways via the command line:
smbmount //remote-computer/sharename /mnt/local-directory
mount -t cifs -o username=susan //remote-computer/sharename /mnt/local-directory
These lines can be placed in a script and run when you login, giving you access to remote files as though they were stored locally, placed in /mnt/local-directory. Applications running on your desktop should not care whether the file is on a remote share or saved locally, using this method the files all appear to be part of the same file system.
|Released During Last Two Weeks
Arne Exton has announced the release of ExTiX 14, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a customised GNOME 3.10 desktop environment: "News about ExTiX 14. The ExTiX ISO image is now a hybrid image which means that it can very easily be transferred (copied) to a USB pen drive. You can then even run ExTiX from the USB stick and save all your system changes on the stick. You will enjoy persistence. I've found two scripts which make the installation to USB very simple. Another big improvement is that ExTiX 14 can run from RAM. Use boot alternative 2 (Copy to RAM). When the system has booted up you can remove the disc (DVD) or USB stick. You'll need at least 2 GB RAM to run ExTiX that way. ExTiX is now more stable than ever. All packages have been upgraded to the latest version by 2013-12-23." Visit the distribution's home page to read the full release announcement.
Parsix GNU/Linux 5.0r1
Alan Baghumian has announced the availability of the first update build of Parsix GNU/Linux 5.0, a desktop Linux distribution with GNOME 3.8 based on Debian's "stable" branch: "We are proud to announce that an updated version of Parsix GNU/Linux 5.0, code name 'Lombardo', is available now. Parsix GNU/Linux 5.0 ships with GNOME 3.8.3 desktop environment and Linux 3.8.13 kernel built on top of a rock solid Debian 'Wheezy' (7.0) platform. This version has been synchronized with Debian repositories as of December 21, 2013 and contains additional bug fixes and updates released to the Parsix repositories. We are actively working on Parsix GNU/Linux 6.0, code name 'Trev', and we are hoping to release a testing version within the next week or two. Happy release!" Read the brief release announcement and visit the more detailed release notes page for further details.
SparkyLinux 3.2 "GameOver"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.2 "GameOver" edition, a Debian-based distributions for gamers: "SparkyLinux 3.2 'GameOver' is out. It has been built on top of SparkyLinux 3.2 'Annagerman' and it's fully compatible with Debian 'Jessie'. SparkyLinux 'GameOver' is a special edition of our distro targeted at game players. 'GameOver' 3.2 offers: access to games compiled for the Linux platform; access to 'popular' and 'modern' games via Steam and Desura platforms; access to many games created for MS Windows platform via WINE and PlayOnLinux; access to 'old' games created for machines via emulators What's under the hood of GameOver 3.2: Linux kernel 3.11.10; all packages upgraded from Debian's testing repositories as of 2013-12-22; LXDE 0.5.5, Openbox 3.5.2, PCManFM 1.1.2 and a few important applications; 3rd party applications - Steam, Desura and Dropbox clients; WINE 1.4.1 and PlayOnLinux 4.2.1...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
ROSA 2012-R2 "Desktop Fresh LXDE"
Alexander Kazancev has announced the release of ROSA 2012 R2 "Desktop Fresh LXDE" edition, an updated build of the project's lightweight distribution for the desktop: "The ROSA company presents a new update pack in the 'R' lineup — the ROSA Desktop Fresh R2 LXDE. The ROSA Desktop Fresh R2 LXDE is based on the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment and the ROSA Desktop Fresh R2 code base. This LXDE edition meets all the criteria for being simple and beautiful - the simplicity of the GUI brings the maximum work speed. The desktop is based on the GTK+ 2 framework, but some of the components use the most recent GTK+ 3 and GNOME 3 updates. The ROSA Desktop Fresh R2 LXDE features: all recent code and packages updates available by 24 December 2013; the LXDE base components have been updated to their latest stable versions: PCManFM 1.1.2, LXPanel 0.6.1...." Here is the complete release announcement.
On the last day of 2013, Ferdinand Thommes announced the release of siduction 13.2.0, a Linux distribution based on Debian's "Unstable" branch. This release has taken a step into the possible future of Debian and implemented systemd as the new init system. From the release announcement: "We are very happy to present to you the final release of siduction 2013.2 - December. Since the release of the RC we have ironed out some nasty bugs with language-packs, Unicode handling in the installer and stabilization within systemd. We believe, that there is no release-critical bug left, so here we go. siduction 2013.2 - December is shipped with 5 desktop environments: KDE SC, XFCE, LXDE, Razor-Qt and GNOME, all in 32- and 64-bit variants. The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, which also goes by the name of Sid, from 2013-12-30. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 3.12, accompanied by X-Server 1.14.5-1."
The first release announcement of the new year has been published by Barry Kauler who presents the new Quirky 6.1. Quirky is a minimalist distribution (and a fork of Puppy Linux) that attempts to explore new avenues and implement unusual ideas. From the release announcement: "Quirky 6.0 started the ball rolling with the feature set proposed for the 6.x series, now 6.1 adds the comprehensive upgrade, downgrade, rollback and recovery mechanisms. In essence, these are in three sections: rigorous handling of package uninstallation, such that the system can never be broken; system snapshots, with history, allowing recovery to any earlier state; simple version upgrade, with service packs." Compared to Quirky 6.0 the package set remains the same except the Linux kernel which has been upgraded to version 3.12.6. Here are the release notes which explain the new features in some details and provide installation and upgrade instructions.
AV Linux 6.0.2
Glen MacArthur has announced the release of AV Linux 6.0.2, a new build of the project's Debian-based distribution with a large collection of audio and video production software: "This new 6.0.2 version contains significant changes including a complete new customized Xfce 4.10 desktop environment, the 'pipelight' browser plugin giving access to DRM Silverlight content (i.e. Netflix) through your web browser, embarrassingly copious amounts of great LV2 audio plugins, updated FFADO drivers, additional handy Nautilus scripts, exfat-fuse support, MTP smartphone and tablet support, updated and improved documentation, LibreOffice 4.1, and the very best multimedia content creation applications all updated, tested and provided ready to use. Enjoy the latest Ardour, Mixbus (demo), linuxDSP (demos), Qtractor, Carla, DISTRHO plugins, X42 plugins and much more." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and a screenshot of the default desktop.
Parted Magic 2014_01_04
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2014_01_04, a new version of the project's commercial distribution with specialist tools for disk management and data rescue tasks: "This version of Parted Magic updates many programs, introduces a few news one, and adds a new module system. The most notable program updates include Linux kernel 3.12.6, ClamTK 5.01, File Roller 3.10.0, Mozilla Firefox 26.0, and GParted 0.17.0. A few programs where added. These include: Gpointing Device Settings, Rdiff Backup, Wimlib, PCRegEdit and a ton of new Perl modules for the ClamTK upgrade. We have come up with a new module system that drastically reduces the amount of RAM needed to use extra programs. The new module system works exactly like the old system. You simply place our new .sqfm packages into the pmagic/pmodules folder and they merge into the existing RAM disk without using the extra RAM needed in the uncompressed form." Visit the project's news page to read the full release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
December 2013 DistroWatch.com donation: Linux Voice|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the December 2013 DistroWatch.com donation is Linux Voice, a Linux magazine launched recently by former editors of Linux Format - Graham Morrison, Andrew Gregory, Mike Saunders and Ben Everard. The project receives £300.00 in cash.
The new (print and digital) magazine was announced on 17 November and, as seems to be the norm these days, crowd-funding was deemed the best way to get the project off the ground. The target of £90,000 was reached within a month of the campaign and the final figure raised at the deadline was a very pleasant £127,603! Certainly not a bad achievement, defying many sceptics who found the idea of a new print magazine in the Internet era an outdated concept. And as a matter of fact, the magazine has already reached 2,000 subscribers: "We already have over 2,000 subscribers thanks to the Indiegogo campaign, but we're just getting started. We've opened a new online Linux Voice shop where you can buy print or digital subscriptions – the first issue is planned for February. Thanks again for supporting us. If you have any questions, just drop us a line in the comments!" Visit LinuxVoice.com to learn about the concept, watch promotional videos or buy a subscription.
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, Yandex Money 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$37,915 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), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
DistroWatch database summary
- Chapeau Linux. Chapeau Linux is a Fedora-based distribution which includes Flash, BluRay support, Steam and PlayOnLinux in the default installation.
- DMDc. DMDc is a Debian-based distribution featuring the MATE desktop environment.
- Gajj. Gajj is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu and Linux Mint which features a lot of software provided in the default install.
- JustBrowsing. JustBrowsing is a live CD which provides a simplified user experience by running a web browser as the operating system's only application. Firefox and Chrome web browsers are available.
- Parrot Security OS. Parrot Security OS is an operating system designed to perform security and penetration tests, forensic analysis or to act in anonimity.
- XStreamOS. XStreamOS is a desktop and server distribution built upon the Illumos kernel and utilizing the ZFS advanced file system.
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 January 2014. 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
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Remote network mounting at login? (by dbrion on 2014-01-06 10:25:51 GMT from France) |
"This" (mounting remote networking share) " can be done
___when you login___
by running the smbmount or mount commands." (tips and tricks):
But, if you connect USB devices, filesystem images on a file, etc.... , they can be mounted
___at any time___ (not only at login ) "sudo mount xxxx" .
Is this mounting at login specific to remote networks?
Or is it an error?
2 • network shares (by abpabp on 2014-01-06 10:26:28 GMT from United States)
Xubuntu seems not to support either method of mounting at least with windows shares
also it seems smbmount is not included in Ubuntu and its derivatives has anyone here found a way of doing this in said distro;s ?
3 • Parted Magic (by Far Traveler on 2014-01-06 10:35:53 GMT from United States)
When did it go commercial and why?
4 • Parted Magic (by Chris Whelan on 2014-01-06 12:02:06 GMT from United Kingdom)
@ No 3
Parted Magic has not been a free download since August 2013. It has a sole developer, and was partially donation-funded, but the developer and his wife lost their jobs. Consequently, the small charge gives him an income, and he has more time for development.
In my opinion, it's a very small price to pay for such a useful collection of utilities. In fact, I've just purchased the newest release and recommend to others.
5 • re: #3, #4 - Wonder how that works? (by brad on 2014-01-06 12:08:54 GMT from United States)
I mean is it like windows, that "version" (newest) gets updates for so long, then you pay for a new version? Or do you pay this one time and get a code etc to get the new versions.. since we all know many Linux distros update frequently?
6 • Parted Magic Donations (by DWW_reader on 2014-01-06 12:30:45 GMT from Luxembourg)
The money earned by Parted Magic is also a benefit for other open source projects:
7 • Siduction (by Paraquat on 2014-01-06 12:54:16 GMT from Taiwan)
One of my New Year's resolutions was to download and install Siduction. But now I see the announcement that they've incorporated Systemd into it as the default init system. Well, that's not welcome news (for me), and for now I'll pass.
I have several reasons for saying that, a big one being that Debian developers have not yet decided that they will go with Systemd. There is much heated discussion at present between going with Systemd, or with Ubuntu's Upstart in future releases. Some users would rather leave the init system as it is, while others are lobbying for Gentoo's OpenRC. I have made up my mind which is best, but I am leery of the complexity of Systemd. Anyway, I think I'll wait for Debian's developers to decide and not jump the gun.
So I guess if I want to try Debian Unstable, I'll just download it and not bother with the Siduction spin.
8 • server review (by David Smith on 2014-01-06 13:43:03 GMT from Canada)
Have to say I'm as surprised as Jesse by the reader selections for review. I going to go out on a limb here and guess a) it was not a particularly large sample, and b) preponderance of linux/server n00bs who were seduced by the names "Suburb Mini" and "SME". Without commenting on the quality of the reviewed server distros (neither of which I've tried), I think it's important for folks to understand the importance of the organization behind your platform of choice. The larger distros (e.g. RHEL-based Cent-OS and Scientific, and Ubuntu) that are in fact the choice of most experienced admins (going by installed numbers), are generally going to have much better support and documentation -- things which are make-or-break in the world o' distro's more so than, say, a beguiling name -- and you are better off investing your time learning one of these, which are far more likely to still be around a few years hence. Furthermore you will gain a more marketable skill set (and overall 'cred'), if that is at all a consideration.
9 • XStreamOS (by Dave Postles on 2014-01-06 13:57:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
It looks v. interesting on the Sourceforge webpage. I'm downloading it now to try. Does anyone have any comments about it?
10 • samba mounts (by dolphin_oracle on 2014-01-06 14:25:04 GMT from United States)
you should be able to mount your share anytime, not just at boot.
AntiX (debian based) uses a custom connectshares script that allows mounting of network shares anytime. Its utilizes the mount command to perform the connection. In my mind, having your share mounted this way is a boon, because the system simply treats the mounted share as just another directory. and mounted this way, the shares are accessible from any interface.
virtual filesystems (gvfs, etc...) make us forget how to do these things sometimes.
11 • @8 server review (by David Smith) (by greg on 2014-01-06 14:50:23 GMT from Slovenia)
it was not server review it was HOME server review and it is not surprising that people voted an easy to use solution for small companies/home. something anyone with little bit of IT knowledge could configure. something with sane defaults etc... GUI makes OS easy to use. just look at the number of people on iOS and android. my 2 yo can use those. not so much debian as he doesn't know how to read&write...
so yes, us home users like things that are simple to setup (clickign 4 times next is easy) and do what they are ment to and are stable (no crashes etc). its the same reason why Ubuntu & Mint are popular choice for beginners (i mean just compare Ubuntu and Debian upgrade process...).
12 • @8 David Smith: (by dragonmouth on 2014-01-06 15:17:43 GMT from United States)
You sound just like a Windows user who does not want to try Linux because there is no "organization" or "comapny" to provide support. :-)
You and I both know that support does not need to wear a corporate logo. In fact support from individuals may be better and more in-depth than that from corporations since corporate support tends to take cook-book or a Chinese menu approach.
13 • @12 : Are Chinese menus that bad? (by dbrion on 2014-01-06 15:21:16 GMT from France)
Do Centos/Scientific servers take cook-book/Chinese menu approaches?
14 • Re: 1 (by hobbitland on 2014-01-06 15:38:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
You can also mount securely using "sshfs"
sshfs user@hostname:/path -o reconnect mountpoint
15 • RE (by :wq on 2014-01-06 15:51:31 GMT from United States)
@5 "...is it like windows, that "version" (newest) gets updates for so long, then you pay for a new version? Or do you pay this one time and get a code etc to get the new versions.."
$4.99 USD for the current version (for use "on any number of computers"). $49.99 USD for a one-year subscription.
@7 "Some users would rather leave the init system as it is..."
I think that is the least likely outcome.
@8 "Have to say I'm as surprised as Jesse by the reader selections for review."
I mistakenly assumed Debian, CentOS, Ubuntu, and Slackware were shoo-ins since Jesse had already mentioned them in DWW #537, so I didn't bother affirming any of those selections, as I took them for granted. That being said, light being shed on (with the exception of openSUSE) lesser-reviewed distributions isn't necessarily a bad thing. I realize that Jesse doesn't have time to review server-oriented distributions en masse, and he has to make a judgment call as to which ones to spotlight.
As per your initial findings, how does it compare to other Illumos-based distributions that have a similar focus, such as OI, OpenSXCE, and Tribblix?
16 • Home Linux computer and Home Server arrives in a box...ready to go. (by Stephen Douglas on 2014-01-06 16:04:10 GMT from United States)
I am non technical. I just want things to work. I would be tempted to buy a complete system that arrived in a box. Take it out and connect it all together. The software has already been configured for the home server to be a part of the network. Something like that might sell. That is how I tend to look at it. I am 71 yrs old and no longer want to work with a lot of detail technical knowledge in setting up a system because later on I will have forgotten most of it by the time I have to upgrade the system. Best of all wouldn't be nice to have a Linux tech living in my building. So, you might think I am a candidate for something like Dropbox, but I do not like the idea of someone else holding my data. I hope in the future the home network with server becomes standard appliance.
17 • sms boot (by notsure on 2014-01-06 16:09:39 GMT from United States)
I dunno, but i think a /boot partition of say 128mb formatted as ext2 would have allowed for the sms to boot. i don't use btrfs, just guessing.
18 • ZFS, Btrfs and webmin (by Scott Dowdle on 2014-01-06 17:01:04 GMT from United States)
To the best of my knowledge LILO doesn't understand Btrfs so I'm guessing that's why it failed to boot with Btrfs as the / filesystem. Maybe having a separate /boot that isn't Btrfs would have made it work?!?
Regarding ZFS on Linux goes... to the best of my knowledge... you won't find any distro that ships it. The obvious reason is that ZFS' license conflicts with the GPL and they can't be distributed together without license violation. What everyone who uses ZFS on Linux does is follow the instructions on the zfsonlinux.org site. They have pre-built packages for a number of distributions and it is fairly easy to get going.
Btrfs is mostly a function of the kernel version and of course the btrfs-progs a distro provides. For any of the more advanced features of Btrfs (RAID, compression, etc) a 3.9 or newer kernel is recommended... and that would leave out a number of distributions. OpenSUSE and SLES stand out I believe because they offer a wrapper that encapsulates the snapshot feature named snapper... but I don't think they recommend using Btrfs RAID in production.
Regarding Webmin... while it is nice that some distros (like SMS) ship with it by default, it can usually be added fairly easily after the fact by those who want it from packages provided by the webmin.com website.
19 • @8 (by Thom on 2014-01-06 17:03:31 GMT from Sweden)
You do make some very valid points and you are of course right -within the context of your arguments - whether other posters agree or not.
That said, I think you forget one important issue: The readers of DW are the ones whose voices should be heard. If the flock wants to see the less well known server distros, then give them the less well known server distros. Those that bothered to let their views be known get to influence the outcome.
Besides, those big famous server distros are sure to get loads of editorial coverage in the mainstream media and the attention of publishers, so it would make good sense for DW to feature those smaller, less public servers - particularly if the readers want it.
20 • SolydK (by GNUday on 2014-01-06 17:09:08 GMT from Canada)
I was using KDE+Debian testing but I found it way too much work and hassle (and somewhat buggy), I just wanted a clean, pretty and functional system without hours of fix/configure web searches, I found SolydK using the DW distro search (NOT Ubuntu, based on Debian, Desktop, KDE, etc) and up popped this beautiful distro among others. There are complaints it's not that pretty out of the box (flashy custom wallpaper), but who doesn't know how to right click a desktop and change the wallpaper?! Go in to system settings and turn on some GUI candy. It's aimed at a wide audience, which is good because this distro is ready for 'prime-time' IMHO. I will be definitely making a financial donation as encouragement to keep the distro active and maintain support.
Just a heads up, as with most Debian based distros, the proprietary video chip driver blob was somewhat buggy, this distro works great out of the box with nouveau so I switched back to nouveau, see their forum (Newbie Questions) for howto.
21 • @20 • SolydK (by Hollandhook on 2014-01-06 17:31:32 GMT from Mexico)
Yes, I think so, too. The distro started out in the Linux Mint community. The guy who developed what became SolydK and SolydX, who was known as Schoelje back then, did great work with it from the beginning.
22 • ZFS on Linux (by Jesse on 2014-01-06 17:46:58 GMT from Canada)
>> "Regarding ZFS on Linux goes... to the best of my knowledge... you won't find any distro that ships it. "
Zentyal has ZFS support in the default repositories.
>> "The obvious reason is that ZFS' license conflicts with the GPL and they can't be distributed together without license violation. "
That is not correct. The ZFS cannot be merged with a GPL project, such as the kernel. There is nothing preventing ZFS from being shipped as a module or being present in the repositories so long as it is shipped as a separate package. In a similar fashion, there is nothing preventing Linux distributions from shipping with proprietary blobs or applications, so long as those components are not merged with GPLed software. This is a common misunderstanding of how the software licensing works.
23 • DMDc (by Ray on 2014-01-06 18:29:50 GMT from United States)
For those of us who liked gnome 2, I must say I am happy to see more distro's adopting the MATE desktop environment. I will be testing DMDc on a vbox later :)
24 • @23 DMDc (by Rev_Don on 2014-01-06 18:32:32 GMT from United States)
You got that right. I'm hoping to find somewhere to download it (por internet connection and low bandwidth cap here)..
25 • @ 18, 22 -- ZFS on Linux (by Ralph on 2014-01-06 18:39:59 GMT from Canada)
Does not Sabayon also have ZFS support in its repos?
26 • @23 @24 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-06 18:40:11 GMT from United States)
If you like MATE try Point LInux. Even Compiz works like it did back in the day oln Gnome2. The distro is really fast too.
27 • home server distro reviews (by Pearson on 2014-01-06 19:42:41 GMT from United States)
I'm actually looking forward to this series of "unexpected" distros for home and small office servers. I don't know if the votes reflect a shift in what users are looking for, or a reflection of voters "assuming" the main servers would already be there. But, this will be a different take and so useful and interesting. Given today's technology, I can understand wanting a more "hands off" approach to small servers.
I was kinda surprised at the results of SMS. For some reason, I guess because it's derived from Slackware, I didn't expect the CPU usage to be as high.
28 • server reviews @12 (by David Smith on 2014-01-06 19:58:08 GMT from Canada)
No, I have been using linux and running linux servers for about ten years, and during that time I have tried a number of obscure distros. The importance is not in the company (or organization) -provided support (which is usually irrelevant, unless you're paying for it), but the installed base of users that makes for an active community who have probably encountered every bug, every problematic piece of hardware and made every mistake in the book.
That's the real value in sticking with one of the large distros. As Jesse can well attest, the smaller distros have a tendency of falling by the wayside, as developers move on to other projects or commitments, leaving the user base orphaned as far as further updates and compatibility with new hardware and software.
If you're going to go to the trouble of getting one of these things up and running, you might as well learn it on something that's built solid, is well-tested, and is going to be around for a while.
29 • Home Server (by More Gee on 2014-01-06 21:03:40 GMT from United States)
I use SMS and I agree with #16 the command line stops me not because I can't do it but the commands are used so rarely that you never get them all right the first time in the correct sequence when you install. One parm wrong and you have to start over. How hard is to provide a batch file that runs through the steps and lets you bypass a mail server install for instance. Even Puppy will give you a batch file to help you with the command line. This goes for Arch as well, I don't know how many times I've accidentally entered a Ubuntu or Debian command parameter and had to start over. I'm also seeing a lot of limited shell dropping on boot just because it can't get to the internet and doesn't bother to prompt me for it.
I use SMS at home currently running on 4gb Microdrive in a IDE tray (bit tight). The data and web page is on a SATA drive and does get slow when more than one computer is using the webmin and the LAMP server. The other issue is that webmin requires Java for some functions and webpages created with Bluefish also need Java. I also still haven't got Wordpress and the system databases to run on SATA data drive. I 'm worried manually move the databases will break Webmin and Phpmyadmin. Other than that I'm very happy with SMS. Also when you upgrade SMS you can restore your settings from a Backup, so you don't have to get everything back the way it was again.
BTW #8 is not a representative of a Distrowatch reader. It should not take this long to create a server let alone a Home server, I've got better things to do.
30 • @22 Thanks for the correction (by Scott Dowdle on 2014-01-06 21:05:31 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the correction. I'm still confused though. If just having zfs support in separate packages makes it all ok... does that mean that one is free to ship it with a distro, pre-installed and enabled by default?
If not, what exactly are the limitations?
31 • ZFS (by Jesse on 2014-01-06 22:32:39 GMT from Canada)
>> "If just having zfs support in separate packages makes it all ok... does that mean that one is free to ship it with a distro, pre-installed and enabled by default?"
Yes, that is right. ZFS's license prevents the code from being merged in with a GPL'ed project, but you can bundle ZFS modules or ZFS-FUSE with a distribution. So you can't, for example, get the ZFS code commited to the mainline Linux kernel, but you can build Linux modules from the ZFS code and ship them alongside the kernel binary (in a separate package). The ZFS on Linux project has some good information on licensing if you'd like to explore the topic further.
32 • systemd (by Jeff on 2014-01-06 23:41:47 GMT from United States)
At this point if forced to choose, I would prefer systemd over upstart in Debian, if those were to be the only options.
I find myself worried by the number of Canonical employees on the committee, what are they likely to choose knowing where their paycheck comes from ?
The copyrights and developer agreement with upstart could cause Debian to become a subsidiary of Canonical.
I guess I am just hoping for something better to come along in time.
33 • EEE - MS pump and dump (by MS pump and dump on 2014-01-07 03:49:21 GMT from United States)
"The copyrights and developer agreement with upstart could cause Debian to become a subsidiary of Canonical."
Then MS buys Canonical.
34 • ZFS and distros (by Scott Dowdle on 2014-01-07 05:01:18 GMT from United States)
@31 - Jesse, again... thanks for the clarification. I had actually read the info on the zfsonlinux.org website but had misunderstood it. So I guess the reason the vast majority of Linux distros have not adopted those ZFS packages is because they don't want to, not because they can't. Or perhaps more distros will begin to pick them up over time.
All distros ship a variety of free software... using a lot of different licenses under which I'm sure ZFS' CDDL would be welcome. Some distros also ship non-free software. Most don't ship proprietary drivers that taint the kernel. zfs is free software that taints the kernel. I guess that is why some distros don't ship it? Oddly most distros seem to have the zfs-fuse stuff. What is different about the two that makes one more popular in distros than the other? It certainly isn't your responsibility to explain this to me... but it is very confusing.
I don't envy your task of comparing a lot of server distros but I do appreciate your efforts. Keep up the good work.
35 • Re: Maui project (by silent on 2014-01-07 11:28:22 GMT from France)
After reading the article here I installed Hawaii from the third party binary repository for Arch Linux on a PC with integrated Intel video card. At first glance the desktop is clean, the swordfish file manager looks nice. The built in menu is strange, the applications are shown in a grid with several pages in an apparently random order without categories. Within few minutes after starting the desktop environment, the mouse pointer has simply disappeared.Once I managed the start the QupZilla browser, but most of the time it has crashed immediately. For me Hawaii was an interesting technology preview. On the other hand, I cannot but agree to the statement at the project site that "it's not currently considered as stable as other operating systems".
36 • Virtualization (by sasha on 2014-01-07 13:43:42 GMT from Finland)
If possible, I'd like to read more about your experiences of using other virtual machine software (VMWare Player, etc.) for testing some of the distros. I've been using VirtualBox for 3 years and like it, but it frequently crashes so I've stopped using it...
37 • ZFS and ZFS-FUSE (by Jesse on 2014-01-07 15:14:50 GMT from Canada)
>> "Oddly most distros seem to have the zfs-fuse stuff. What is different about the two that makes one more popular in distros than the other?"
I think the big difference is that a ZFS kernel module may need to be upgraded at the same time as the kernel. Since the module and the kernel itself are two different packages this could, potentially, result in breakage. Have you ever had a video driver break due to a kernel upgrade? Distributions shipping a ZFS face the same potential problem. It requires some QA to make sure ZFS modules continue to work across upgrades.
Another reason is a lot of people misunderstand the licensing issue and don't want to touch ZFS as a result.
ZFS-FUSE avoids upgrade problems by living in userspace. This makes the driver slightly slower, but it nicely side-steps compatibility problems and further avoids any licensing concerns.
38 • tarring large archives (with pipes, split and a cat) (by dbrion on 2014-01-07 16:48:56 GMT from France)
I used another solution for large archives -I did not know tar could divide archives : split can divide -is meantt for that and can be fed with stdin) :
tar cvfz --to-stdout <directory_to_save> | split --bytes=4000M #(IIRC)
(assumes there are no files beginning with x -default option of split) where one saves; to restore:
cat x* | tar xvfz - # "-" is the name of tar's standard input.
39 • re: back to the future, err, past. (by CAI ENG on 2014-01-07 17:57:50 GMT from United States)
"Given the results of the votes I received I decided to drop my original line-up of distributions and review the following projects from the point of view of setting up a home server: SMS, SME Server, openSUSE and Zentyal."
My opinion on this subject may very well be at variance with the majority of readers, if so, please ignore my comment. No need to argue.
I disagree with the choices selected, and would sound a note of caution about relying upon "messages", or "email". I approve the original idea of testing Debian versus FreeBSD, and any other distros, as desired (Slackware, Suse come to mind)
I don't personally use any of those OS, (I prefer CrunchBang and Lubuntu) but I am thinking about converting my entire network to Linux. What is crucial, from my perspective, is simplicity of installation. I don't seek to fumble about for two months, unable to even change the font size, let alone connect a dozen devices, to communicate with one another...
In my experience, with XP, a single mouse click solves the problems. Each computer can read from any other. Each computer can send data to or from any other device. Simple, Easy. With, or without, internet connected. That's what I need.
But, now, with Linux/Unix, problem is (no intention to offend the various religions) we are moving back to the days when the top person of the congregation walked about burning incense, thinking that they were thereby removing bad humors, and promoting good health, physical and spiritual.
Linux, ever faithful to the unix ancestor, demands lots of keyboard attention, i.e. waving lots of incense about. I dislike incense, and I especially dislike typing, not simply because I am clumsy and arthritic, but also, because I am not that clever, and have trouble understanding some of the concepts, often unwritten, and unintuitive, which the keyboard types assume, incorrectly, everyone knows.
I was eagerly awaiting this review of servers from DistroWatch, because, in my opinion, this is THE topic for the linux world this year, as XP moves to the burial ground later this spring. XP may have a LOT of faults, but simplicity of use, and intuitive user interface do not number among them. There are literally millions of XP orphans out there, as poorly educated as am I.
As a starting point, I would urge Jesse to elaborate on the distinction between SMS and Slackware. Since SMS is based on Slackware, how is it different from the parent distribution, in terms of setting up a home/Small office network? Which kinds of information about the hardware is required from SMS, versus Slackware, (keeping in mind, that with XP, the user is obliged to enter NOTHING at all....) What we need, really, is a chart, showing for each distro tested, the precise data which the user must furnish, so that we can see at a glance, which distro will best serve our needs, i.e. the one that figures out the "default" setting, by itself, without requiring a rocket scientist to configure.
40 • DMDc, Zorin 8, XP (by fernbap on 2014-01-07 19:26:24 GMT from Portugal)
I think most of XP users won't even notice that it is "dead". They will just keep using it as usual, until that computer gets out of service. Some of them will think that it is finally the time to get a new computer, which will com with 7 or 8 pre-installed.
Very few will try ways to extend their old computer's lives, by using something out of the MS universe. Those are the ones to be catered by Linux, and the current trends are not helping at all. Linux will be too "alien" for them ant they will even have trouble with support for older hardware that was meanwhile dropped frokm the Linux kernel.
Zorin: Perhaps the ONLY reason for its existence is to provide windows users with something familiar and pretty enough to convince them to give it a try, and once you try linux you will realise how much better it is.
Zorin 8 fails, imho, because it doesn't look either familiar or pretty (sorry. I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder).
DMDc: The good
It is nice to see a MATE distro with a "modern" look, full of eye candy. DMDc shows clearly what i said all along: there is nothing Gnome 3 offers that can't be covered better by MATE+Compiz.
It is nice to finally see a distro that presente SMPlayer as the default video player, something that i would like to see for long.
It presents a modern kernel and modern apps on top of Debian stable. A winning combination.
The default desktop is not for everyone's taste. I find it too crowded and with redundant functionalities. The underuse of the panel is only justificed by the inclusion of a bar that is too crowded.
I didn't manage to install Wine. I believe this is an issue that will eventually be fixed (i hope), but so far no good.
It is considerably heavier on resources than Point Linux which presents a much more conventional look and feel. I just hope that, for now on, MATE distros divert from the default layout, as it is seriously outdated, making the distro look old.
41 • ZFS on Linux con't (by Ralph on 2014-01-07 20:00:33 GMT from Canada)
Maybe another reason ZFS support is not found in the default repos of many distros is that it has only recently been declared stable. Besides, the zfsonlinux.org site already has repos that are tailor-made for *some* specific distros. There is a ppa specific to Ubuntu. (Also, Btrfs is a competitor to ZFS and some distros (e.g. OpenSuse) might want to through their weight behind it instead.)
A critical difference with ZFS on Linux is using ZFS as a root filesystem vs merely loading the kernel module that will allow you to create, mount, read, and write to ZFS hardware storage devices on a machine that has a root filesystem other than ZFS. The former involves about 3 pages of command-line work to get going in Ubuntu, while the latter is simply a matter of adding the repo and installing the appropriate package. If you allow the kernel to be upgraded on a distro with a root ZFS filesystem there exists the possibility of toasting your *entire* system. However if something nasty happens to the ZFS module on a, say, ext4 system, I suspect the worst that can happen is that your ZFS data is inaccessible, which is admittedly bad enough, even if temporary.
42 • Home servers (by Barnabyh on 2014-01-07 20:58:28 GMT from United States)
Tried ClearOS a few weeks ago, very nice but limited web admin console. Would choose SMs again any day if I needed a home server, or a Slackware install and just adding webmin from SlackBuilds and the few services and programs that are actually needed - much lighter.
43 • The Distrowatch List (by Peter Besenbruch on 2014-01-07 22:07:37 GMT from Romania)
It's sad to see the decline of Gentoo, and interesting to see Debian leapfrog Fedora, OpenSUSE, and Mageia to attain third place. I'm not entirely sure why, as Debian Wheezy was released May 2013 with roughly the same software versions as Ubuntu 12.04. We're talking cutting edge and splashy, just what you need for the Distrowatch page hit rankings. ;)
44 • A comparison? (by cobra on 2014-01-07 22:31:41 GMT from United States)
Been doing some searching on a curiosity I have and have found a lot of geekspeak but no answer.
How does the windows and illumos kernel compare to the Linux kernel as in a number that gives me a guide to go by.
Like say the linux kernel 3.8 version. How do the other kernels compare? Using a linux number like 3.2 or 3.4. Something like that.
45 • @44 (by byku on 2014-01-07 23:59:30 GMT from Poland)
Some info is here (comparison features, probably a bit outdated):
illumos is fork of Solaris.
46 • @39 CAI ENG (by dragonmouth on 2014-01-08 00:38:08 GMT from United States)
After you use Linux for the same amount of time as you have used XP, you will find Linux as easy, or even easier, to use as XP. The first day you ever used Windows did you solve all problems with just one click, or did it take you some time to learn that? Every O/S becomes simple to use once you get beyond the learning curve.
47 • I love the page hit rankings, it's entertaining (by GNUday on 2014-01-08 03:28:17 GMT from Canada)
I know they are not to be taken too seriously but it gives the distro builders incentive to put out something decent, otherwise we would be stuck in 90s like uber-geek land, lol. I have an idea for another 'benchmark', have a monetary donations rank too, the best distros attract the most money, but that too can be easily fudged like fanbois stacking the page hits deck. ;-D
48 • @ 39 • re: back to the future, err, past. (by CAI ENG) (by greg on 2014-01-08 07:05:06 GMT from Slovenia)
you want somehting you dont' have to configure, yet you want to go pure Debian? are you kidding? everything needs to be configured there. samba share? create and change config file so and so. drivers? install this package that package maybe even compile etc.
the distros mentioned here are what you are actually after. they come with easy to use user iterfaces. Zentyal is ubuntu based but has a GUI to administer the server. a few clicks and you amy have it set up for you. ClearOS is again centOS based with a nice webgui for administering it. what is going to be tested in the reviews is also ease of use etc. and as you can see reviews show certain difference between these home servers distros. you can see their web interfaces in review.
as for winxp - yes it's only a click or two. but it's only a command or two for the malware to mess it all up. ;-)
i am hoping the selection here will give us some overview over server user interfaces and these are aimed at home users that dont' want to or have the time to create it all from scratch. but ofcourse with some reading you can easilly do centOS or Debian +webmin and just be done with it.
49 • avlinux 6.02 (by linuxdog on 2014-01-08 08:50:59 GMT from United States)
I have the previous version running on another machine so i risked death and put avlinux 6.02 on my wife's Hp Touchsmart. Everything is fine, except my wireless which sees points of access but i am unable to log on to the one i have the password. cat 5 fixed that, and when we get home changing to a usb wireless will help. I can't say that I know everything about the new avlinux but what I do know is that is sees all 4 cpus, and runs very fast. I have no complaint with something I have only put a small amount of time. I do know how to do what I want for the most part and 6.02 is a very nice distro. You could not ask for a nicer person than Glen for someone to put together a audio video based linux. Thanks Glen for the upgrade!
My second choice (which for years was my first choice) is PC Linux Os.
50 • Re: AV Linux (by GNUday on 2014-01-08 13:30:12 GMT from Canada)
Only in i386? No DVD editing/authoring tools by default? Seriously? The maintainers should drop the 'V' from the name.
51 • XStreamOS (by Dave Postles on 2014-01-08 14:51:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
Bearing in mind that it's still in beta, it's quite a nice development. It's nice to have a somewhat better fledged recursion of Sun's Solaris. The installation is text-based, but not demanding. The installation takes a long time, but I find that with all Unix-based OSs. The first boot was slow, no doubt because of some additional configuration. It detected my eth0 automatically - no need to fiddle with network connections. The default is a Gnome 2 desktop with a nice panel at the top and Cairo dock at the bottom. The basic applications software is installed by default: GIMP; all LibreOffice (incl. Base); vlc; FileZilla; Firefox; Thunderbird; Emacs (which I usually have to download and install); and gedit. File manager is PCMan. I haven't tried the package manager yet. There isn't much in the way of GUI configuration tools. I noticed from Sourceforge that there have been 372 downloads this week. Six users have given it 5 stars. I wouldn't be that generous, but I shall use it for a while and see what happens. I have a lingering feeling of obligation to the former Sun - it was so helpful to the community. Overall, I think that XStreamOS looks very encouraging and I look forward to more iterations.
[Legacy Toshiba Satellite C660D 64-bit with 6Gb RAM - I usually get my kit from PCSpecialist or Novatech, but I inherited this PC and use it for experimenting].
52 • SME (by aasche on 2014-01-08 14:55:13 GMT from Germany)
>but I had to configure Samba manually to enable file sharing over the network
Interesting... never tried this. Maybe you missed the concept how shares are managed within SME:
1. Create users/groups as required
2. Create iBays (=shares) and set privileges
That's all :)
53 • server/page hit rankings (by U on 2014-01-08 18:49:01 GMT from Netherlands)
Anny and i mean Anny Linux distro or pure kernel can be configured as a server, just add a few packages and your up and running.
As for page hit rankings on distrowatch, this means nothing its based on wath????
I thing politically correct egg $$.
54 • @51 XStreamOS (by Anonymous Coward on 2014-01-09 02:47:08 GMT from United States)
Thanks for posting some info about XStreamOS. I saw that you had no problem with your ethernet connection.... have you tested wireless? I may give it a shot but am always leary of these new projects, because they tend to have horrible hardware support for laptops, which is all I have at home.
55 • RedHat Partnerships (by trotter1985 on 2014-01-09 03:40:22 GMT from United States)
Apologies that this is coming from a Windows 8.1 box ...
but I just read that RedHat and CentOS have announced
a partnership. Here at Georgia Tech, we run a customized
version of RedHat, spiced with some tools from PUIAS (now
Springdale), so this is big news for us. My question is whether anyone has heard of partnerships/potential partnerships
for other clones. CentOS is not of much use for
people like me who need a fully functional desktop Linux.
Over the years, I've installed dozens and dozens of
distributions, but keep coming back to the mainstream
RedHat, Fedora, Ubuntu and openSUSE. Regardless,
it would be *major* news if one of the RedHat clones
came into full partnership with RedHat, while on the
side helping you to install multimedia, codecs, non-free
software, etc. Oh joy!!
56 • @55 (by :wq on 2014-01-09 04:11:18 GMT from United States)
"My question is whether anyone has heard of partnerships/potential partnerships
for other clones . . . it would be *major* news if one of the RedHat clones came into full partnership with RedHat, while on the side helping you to install multimedia, codecs, non-free software, etc."
No, just CentOS. What you're seeking might be achievable via the proposed CentOS "variants" (https://www.centos.org/variants/ & http://community.redhat.com/centos-faq/#_centos_and_variants), though I kind of doubt it for proprietary or legally encumbered software.
57 • Parted Magic - good luck but I won't be paying for it (by qwerty on 2014-01-09 05:10:51 GMT from Netherlands)
"4 • Parted Magic"
Why do I need to pay for something which is solved by either using System Rescue CD, Ultimate Boot CD, or rolling my own?
58 • 55, 57 (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-09 07:48:13 GMT from United States)
55: You're from Ga.Tech, and haven't checked out the Stella remix by Nux?
Isn't LinuxTracker.org right nearby?
57: You don't _need_ to pay for a Slackware-based toolset like Exton Defender, but if you want a dedicated distro with a dedicated developer - and can tolerate a forum with an arch attitude - then look over the included toolset. Or, like you say, roll your own.
59 • 58 (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-01-09 07:50:08 GMT from United States)
Ambiguity not intended ... Arne's mellow.
60 • @48 (by CAI ENG on 2014-01-09 08:36:37 GMT from United States)
Thank you Greg, very helpful, I did not know about webmin:
It would be interesting to learn, then, whether webmin running on Debian vs BSD vs Centos is (a) faster in execution; (b) easier to install & configure.
What one needs here, is a comparison, made by someone who is fluent, of the time needed to setup a SOHO network of say, three machines and a printer, (as a simple illustration) with webmin, versus the traditional keyboard, and then transfer times of a ten gigabyte file from one system to the other two. Obviously, such a comparison, conducted by someone like me, who has no concept of the distinction between a DNS server and PERL, (for example), would be meaningless. But, someone like you, or Jesse, could perform such a three way test, and offer some actual performance data, instead of mere platitudes..."With Debian, the network installed by keyboard in 37 minutes on all three machines, vs. 26 minutes using webmin. Those times were three minutes shorter with Centos, and three minutes longer with BSD.", or something comparable....."The same task with XP required 14 minutes, with 8.1 six minutes 40 seconds." or something comparable...."The three files transferred in two minutes ten seconds under BSD, four minutes forty seconds under Debian, and thirteen minutes with 32 bit XP, 1min ten seconds running 8.1, on three machines with H87 Haswell motherboards and 3GHz core i5 cpus with 8 GB RAM."
That's the sort of information, if conducted by someone who could setup a network by keyboard in his/her sleep, that will propel Linux, and DistroWatch, to the head of the class...
61 • @60 & speed (by greg on 2014-01-09 11:50:53 GMT from Slovenia)
i think file transfer speeds don't have much to do with OS but more with hardware. and linux are often used as internet servers so you can be sure file transfer differences are really not bit if any at all.
as for setup time i think this is ease of use and it is important to get a general idea in review how things are done (which is what happens here in reviews usually). is installing an applicaiton as easy as 3 words in command line or does it require you to go through 10 manual pages, setting up config files etc. is most stuff preinstalled and just needs to be enabled with a click (perhaps even already enabled) or is extra configuration necessary.
some easy servers are found at TurnKeyLinux. you basically just extract the file to disk and you have for example a joomla server running.
GUI in linux is basically just executing comand line parameters. it's interpretation of commands in a way that is easier to understand for some people. and most of described features are plug and play in these easy to use server distros such as the ones being reviewed now.
CLI offers more commands/flexibility that these GUI interfaces but requires a deeper knowledge of the OS and CLI interface..
62 • Server (by Ben furstenwerth on 2014-01-09 12:46:03 GMT from United States)
After years of working with Linux servers ( ubuntu Debian opensuse centos) I found the ease and joy of turnkey Linux! If you want a nice lamp server just install virtualbox , VMware or other virtualization software and install the turnkey lamp appliance. Turnkey is using Debian wheezy. I set the vm to bridged mode so it can act as a standalone server. Plus if you must have a ui it comes with webmin, shell in a box, and all services for that appliance installed. Clone the vm and you have a full backup! I use sftp in my host file manager for file transfer. So there is a full ssh server already running!
I'm glad I learned and used the way I did at first, but this is a piece of cake. Oh and there are many turnkey server types besides lamp.
63 • @53 re: page hit counter (by Tom on 2014-01-09 16:05:16 GMT from United Kingdom)
The page hit counter, surprisingly, counts the number of times pages such as
get clicked on by anyone.
Since those pages list many useful website's pages, such as the downloads page, other articles, forums, official homepage and many more then people sometimes use the DW pages rather than doing a blind google-search (or duck-duck-go or whatever). Also those pages have stats and information about the version numbers of fairly crucial packages included by default. So if you are on a distro-hopping spree or researching into which ones have Kate or whatever then they can be incredibly useful pages.
So, the page hit counter indicates "interest or curiousity about" each distro rather than being a precise measure of installs or such. Money doesn't enter into it.
64 • @53 re: page hit counter (by Tom on 2014-01-09 16:19:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
As an example i sometimes try to help out on a User Support mailing list for an "upstream" project (ie such as Mozilla, Gimp, LibreOffice/OpenOffice, or other programs) and today just popped in here to find out where the support forums are for a specific distro.
The user ran into a problem on 1 specific distro that doesn't exist on other platforms so it made sense for them to report the problem in the distros own mailing list/forums/bug-tracker and rather than googling it and potentially getting it wrong i just used the DW "back pages" to give them the correct info.
So today that distro got 1 hit from me. I keep meaning to try that particular distro but somehow never get around to it and keep using the one i'm currently using or do a little hopping at random rather than an organised hopping session.
The whole counting thing is meant to be as automated as possible with little or no human intervention at all. It would actually be more difficult to maintain it if money was a factor. Decisions would have to be made and accuracy checked blah, blah, all tooo boring!
65 • XStreamOS (by Dave Postles on 2014-01-09 19:56:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
@51 I mainly use ethernet over a powerline. I do have a Belkin wireless dual-band mobile router which converts ethernet to wireless signal. XStreamOS will not automatically detect it and there is no GUI network configuration, although wireshark is one of the default applications. Sorry that I can't help any further.
66 • @65 XStreamOS (by Anonymous Coward on 2014-01-10 04:19:45 GMT from United States)
Thanks man, fair enough.
I'm not surprised it doesn't detect your wireless card. I don't have a problem configuring the wireless without a GUI, that's easy enough. But I suspect that for many wireless cards, the problem is deeper than just a lack of GUI tools - it's probably a lack of support in the Illumos kernel.
I'll definitely keep an eye out for future reviews though.
67 • Page Hit Rankings (by Charles Burge on 2014-01-10 19:16:42 GMT from United States)
I think another story that continues from last year is the death spiral that Mandriva finds itself in. It went from #10 at year-end 2011 to #29 last year to #42 this year. Frequent visitors to this site probably know how Mandriva shot itself in the foot with infighting among the team and then mass defections to the Mageia project. I'm a little saddened by that since Mandrake 7.1 was my introduction to Linux. I've read before on this site opinions that resources are too thinly spread out among too many projects. As this point, I think it would make sense for the Mandriva folks to divest themselves of their resources and throw their support behind either Mageia or ROSA.
68 • @67 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-10 20:25:19 GMT from United States)
PCLinuxOS also forked from Mandriva. I guess when Mageia formed it hit Mandriva even harder. I have a copy of PCLinuxOS on one of my partitions and use it from time-to-time. It's a pretty good distro, not one of my favorites but not too bad.
69 • RE:67 (by Landor on 2014-01-10 23:42:37 GMT from Canada)
So because some pseudo numbers on a website that are only based on page clicks in some fashion or another you believe Mandriva is going to spiral out of existence?
Mandrake/Mandriva has had problems pretty well since its inception and is still around in some form, yet the almighty PHR shows it's going to be gone. WoW!
It reminds me of the Gentoo hater that couldn't use it properly so attacked it here regularly. I think in 2007 it was predict without question that it would no longer exist within a year.
Internet Prophecy. We can all sleep better at night thanks to it.
Keep your stick on the ice...
70 • Home and Small Office Server evaluation (by DaveLoper on 2014-01-10 23:45:00 GMT from United States)
It was interesting to see your surprise that so many non-traditional Linux distributions were voted to be part of the Server Showdown for Home and Small Office. I'm not surprised at all by the votes, why? Because when you set up a Home Server, it needs to be as useful for the competent Linux administrator as it does for the users in the environment. As an admin, I need my wife to be just as able to whitelist a website for my kids as I am. This means that all the typical distributions like OpenSUSE, CentOS, Debian and Ubuntu are off the list. Why? Because it's not useful to my missus and when she wants to get to a blocked website, the last thing I want to do is to drop everything at work and manage another live environment.
This is why I think your criteria for your test is wrong. Instead of thinking how this is useful to an already competent linux admin that can get services running on any FLOSS box, why not look at it through Missus-o-vision.
My wife could care less about advanced filesystems or being able to access files via OpenSSH. What she does care about is being able to stop children from viewing porn, accessing her files with a mapped network drive, organizing her photos, accessing her data remotely when we are traveling, using our server to watch her movies and stop pop-up adds. Moreover, I need to be able to have HER do these admin tasks without breaking the stuff that I know doesn't or should need touching (admin privilege separation).
Small offices need the same thing, they need turnkey platforms that don't require them to have a full-time admin on hand or on call. They need to be able to add users, printers, email accounts and they need reports. They also need to have the secretary do some of this stuff and not have her breaking the VPN configuration. This is what is really important for these environments.
Two things as a side note, first in defense of SME. SME does have the ability to enable sharing within their interface. They do it through a central storage mechanism (called i-Bays or information bays) that is NOT in the Samba control. Like ClearOS, they do this so that they can specify storage and then turn on different protocols that show that storage. Make your samba shares here.
Second, I was saddened that you didn't include ClearOS on the list of servers that you are going to test. I find this sad because of the 4 systems that were voted in that are smalloffice/home-centric, ClearOS is more widely used. For example, ClearOS is currently 51 on distrowatch (6 month average). Compared to SME@129, SMS@153, and Zentyal@81.
71 • Debian Testing (by Hugo Masse on 2014-01-12 20:15:10 GMT from Mexico)
I see some discussion about Debian Testing derivatives. You should really try out SparkyLinux 3.2. It's almost vanilla Debian with a handful of very useful tools: LM's Disk Drive Manager (that has just upgraded my kernel to one with PAE support), and a series of APT scripts to backup app settings, documents and even create an ISO image of your current install. Of course, you could do all that from bash (and, in my case, a manual to guide me) but here's just a few clicks away. My favourite flavour: MATE.
72 • @71 (by jaws222 on 2014-01-12 20:39:11 GMT from United States)
SparkyLinux is pretty good. I installed Makulu XFCE version in Virtualbox the other day and that one is also nice. It has the whisker menu which is really polished.
Number of Comments: 72
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|• Issue 1030 (2023-07-31): Solus 4.4, Linux Mint 21.2, Debian introduces RISC-V support, Ubuntu patches custom kernel bugs, FreeBSD imports OpenSSL 3|
|• Issue 1029 (2023-07-24): Running Murena on the Fairphone 4, Flatpak vs Snap sandboxing technologies, Redox OS plans to borrow Linux drivers to expand hardware support, Debian updates Bookworm media|
|• Issue 1028 (2023-07-17): KDE Connect; Oracle, SUSE, and AlmaLinux repsond to Red Hat's source code policy change, KaOS issues media fix, Slackware turns 30; security and immutable distributions|
|• Issue 1027 (2023-07-10): Crystal Linux 2023-03-16, StartOS (embassyOS 0.3.4.2), changing options on a mounted filesystem, Murena launches Fairphone 4 in North America, Fedora debates telemetry for desktop team|
|• Issue 1026 (2023-07-03): Kumander Linux 1.0, Red Hat changing its approach to sharing source code, TrueNAS offers SMB Multichannel, Zorin OS introduces upgrade utility|
|• Issue 1025 (2023-06-26): KaOS with Plasma 6, information which can leak from desktop environments, Red Hat closes door on sharing RHEL source code, SUSE introduces new security features|
|• Issue 1024 (2023-06-19): Debian 12, a safer way to use dd, Debian releases GNU/Hurd 2023, Ubuntu 22.10 nears its end of life, FreeBSD turns 30|
|• Issue 1023 (2023-06-12): openSUSE 15.5 Leap, the differences between independent distributions, openSUSE lengthens Leap life, Murena offers new phone for North America|
|• Issue 1022 (2023-06-05): GetFreeOS 2023.05.01, Slint 15.0-3, Liya N4Si, cleaning up crowded directories, Ubuntu plans Snap-based variant, Red Hat dropping LireOffice RPM packages|
|• Issue 1021 (2023-05-29): rlxos GNU/Linux, colours in command line output, an overview of Void's unique features, how to use awk, Microsoft publishes a Linux distro|
|• Issue 1020 (2023-05-22): UBports 20.04, finding another machine's IP address, finding distros with a specific kernel, Debian prepares for Bookworm|
|• Issue 1019 (2023-05-15): Rhino Linux (Beta), checking which applications reply on a package, NethServer reborn, System76 improving application responsiveness|
|• Issue 1018 (2023-05-08): Fedora 38, finding relevant manual pages, merging audio files, Fedora plans new immutable edition, Mint works to fix Secure Boot issues|
|• Issue 1017 (2023-05-01): Xubuntu 23.04, Debian elects Project Leaders and updates media, systemd to speed up restarts, Guix System offering ground-up source builds, where package managers install files|
|• Issue 1016 (2023-04-24): Qubes OS 4.1.2, tracking bandwidth usage, Solus resuming development, FreeBSD publishes status report, KaOS offers preview of Plasma 6|
|• Issue 1015 (2023-04-17): Manjaro Linux 22.0, Trisquel GNU/Linux 11.0, Arch Linux powering PINE64 tablets, Ubuntu offering live patching on HWE kernels, gaining compression on ex4|
|• Issue 1014 (2023-04-10): Quick looks at carbonOS, LibreELEC, and Kodi, Mint polishes themes, Fedora rolls out more encryption plans, elementary OS improves sideloading experience|
|• Issue 1013 (2023-04-03): Alpine Linux 3.17.2, printing manual pages, Ubuntu Cinnamon becomes official flavour, Endeavour OS plans for new installer, HardenedBSD plans for outage|
|• Issue 1012 (2023-03-27): siduction 22.1.1, protecting privacy from proprietary applications, GNOME team shares new features, Canonical updates Ubuntu 20.04, politics and the Linux kernel|
|• Issue 1011 (2023-03-20): Serpent OS, Security Onion 2.3, Gentoo Live, replacing the scp utility, openSUSE sees surge in downloads, Debian runs elction with one candidate|
|• Issue 1010 (2023-03-13): blendOS 2023.01.26, keeping track of which files a package installs, improved network widget coming to elementary OS, Vanilla OS changes its base distro|
|• Issue 1009 (2023-03-06): Nemo Mobile and the PinePhone, matching the performance of one distro on another, Linux Mint adds performance boosts and security, custom Ubuntu and Debian builds through Cubic|
|• Issue 1008 (2023-02-27): elementary OS 7.0, the benefits of boot environments, Purism offers lapdock for Librem 5, Ubuntu community flavours directed to drop Flatpak support for Snap|
|• Issue 1007 (2023-02-20): helloSystem 0.8.0, underrated distributions, Solus team working to repair their website, SUSE testing Micro edition, Canonical publishes real-time edition of Ubuntu 22.04|
|• Issue 1006 (2023-02-13): Playing music with UBports on a PinePhone, quick command line and shell scripting questions, Fedora expands third-party software support, Vanilla OS adds Nix package support|
|• Issue 1005 (2023-02-06): NuTyX 22.12.0 running CDE, user identification numbers, Pop!_OS shares COSMIC progress, Mint makes keyboard and mouse options more accessible|
|• Issue 1004 (2023-01-30): OpenMandriva ROME, checking the health of a disk, Debian adopting OpenSnitch, FreeBSD publishes status report|
|• Issue 1003 (2023-01-23): risiOS 37, mixing package types, Fedora seeks installer feedback, Sparky offers easier persistence with USB writer|
|• Issue 1002 (2023-01-16): Vanilla OS 22.10, Nobara Project 37, verifying torrent downloads, Haiku improvements, HAMMER2 being ports to NetBSD|
|• Issue 1001 (2023-01-09): Arch Linux, Ubuntu tests new system installer, porting KDE software to OpenBSD, verifying files copied properly|
|• Issue 1000 (2023-01-02): Our favourite projects of all time, Fedora trying out unified kernel images and trying to speed up shutdowns, Slackware tests new kernel, detecting what is taking up disk space|
|• Issue 999 (2022-12-19): Favourite distributions of 2022, Fedora plans Budgie spin, UBports releasing security patches for 16.04, Haiku working on new ports|
|• Issue 998 (2022-12-12): OpenBSD 7.2, Asahi Linux enages video hardware acceleration on Apple ARM computers, Manjaro drops proprietary codecs from Mesa package|
|• Issue 997 (2022-12-05): CachyOS 221023 and AgarimOS, working with filenames which contain special characters, elementary OS team fixes delta updates, new features coming to Xfce|
|• Issue 996 (2022-11-28): Void 20221001, remotely shutting down a machine, complex aliases, Fedora tests new web-based installer, Refox OS running on real hardware|
|• Issue 995 (2022-11-21): Fedora 37, swap files vs swap partitions, Unity running on Arch, UBports seeks testers, Murena adds support for more devices|
|• Issue 994 (2022-11-14): Redcore Linux 2201, changing the terminal font size, Fedora plans Phosh spin, openSUSE publishes on-line manual pages, disabling Snap auto-updates|
|• Issue 993 (2022-11-07): Static Linux, working with just a kernel, Mint streamlines Flatpak management, updates coming to elementary OS|
|• Issue 992 (2022-10-31): Lubuntu 22.10, setting permissions on home directories, Linux may drop i486, Fedora delays next version for OpenSSL bug|
|• Issue 991 (2022-10-24): XeroLinux 2022.09, learning who ran sudo, exploring firewall tools, Rolling Rhino Remix gets a fresh start, Fedora plans to revamp live media|
|• Issue 990 (2022-10-17): ravynOS 0.4.0, Lion Linux 3.0, accessing low numbered network ports, Pop!_OS makes progress on COSMIC, Murena launches new phone|
|• Issue 989 (2022-10-10): Ubuntu Unity, kernel bug causes issues with Intel cards, Canonical offers free Ubuntu Pro subscriptions, customizing the command line prompt|
|• Issue 988 (2022-10-03): SpiralLinux 11.220628, finding distros for older equipment and other purposes, SUSE begins releasing ALP prototypes, Debian votes on non-free firmware in installer|
|• Issue 987 (2022-09-26): openSUSE's MicroOS, converting people to using Linux, pfSense updates base system and PHP, Python 2 dropped from Arch|
|• Issue 986 (2022-09-19): Porteus 5.0, remotely wiping a hard drive, a new software centre for Ubuntu, Proxmox offers offline updates|
|• Full list of all issues|
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View our range including the highly anticipated StarFighter. Available with coreboot open-source firmware and a choice of Ubuntu, elementary, Manjaro and more. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.