| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 548, 3 March 2014
Welcome to this year's 9th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! The Mandriva distribution and its many forks, including Mageia, have long been regarded as user-friendly distributions that are often recommended for newcomers to the Linux community. This week Jesse Smith takes the latest release of Mageia, version 4, for a spin and reports on his findings. On the subject of releases, the Fedora project has typically maintained a steady release cycle of about six months. However, the Fedora team is looking at adjusting their development cycle to better fit the needs of the developers and testers involved with the project. Get more information on Fedora's plans in our News section. Also in the news this week FreeBSD and Debian have something in common, a new console driver which makes use of kernel mode setting. Debian is also pushing into new territory as a developer works to get Debian working on OpenRISC. Plus we share benchmarks of memory usage for various graphical user interfaces. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss filtering unwanted web content and how to best prevent users from seeing things we would rather they not see. As usual we share release announcements from the past week and look ahead to exciting new developments to come. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the February 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is the Pitivi project. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Mageia 4 - is the spell broken?
Mageia is a community fork of the Mandriva Linux distribution. Mageia, as a project, has a focus on being transparent in its processes and open to community members who wish to contribute. The latest release of Mageia, version 4, comes with a collection of modern software. The distribution boasts KDE 4.11, GNOME 3.10 and the 3.12 release of the Linux kernel. The project's release notes also mention the availability of the LXDE, Xfce, Razor-Qt and MATE desktop environments. The release notes point out Mageia ships with systemd as the default init system and GRUB Legacy as the default boot loader. One of the big changes between Mageia 4 and its predecessors is that many of the administrative utilities in Mageia 4 have been ported from GTK+ version 2 to GTK+ version 3. The project's notes also mention a new welcome wizard that has been added to the distribution.
Mageia is available in several different flavours, including live DVDs featuring many software packages and live CDs which focus on either the KDE or GNOME desktops. There is a net-install disc that is quite small, under 100MB in size. Each flavour is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. I opted to download the 32-bit build of Mageia's KDE live CD, the ISO for which is 650MB in size. While downloading the distribution I read over the Mageia errata notes as they cover many potential problems and workarounds.
Booting from the live media brings up a menu asking if we would like to try running the distribution's live desktop environment from the disc or launch the project's system installer. Regardless of which option we take we are then shown a series of graphical screens where we are asked to confirm our preferred language, accept the project's license agreement, and select our time zone from a list. From there, assuming we took the live option, we are brought to the KDE desktop. On the other hand, if we take the system installer option, we are then brought to a disk partitioning utility. The disk partitioning screen is fairly well laid out. The partitioning tool supports a wide range of file systems, allowing us to choose between ext3, ext4, Btrfs, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS, LVM volumes and RAID configurations. File system encryption is available for protecting our privacy.
We are then asked if we would like to remove hardware drivers which are not in use and then the installer goes to work copying its files. Once the files have been copied to our local hard drive we are asked which boot loader we would like to use, with the default being GRUB Legacy. Other boot loaders, specifically GRUB2 and LILO, are available. The project's errata notes point out that the default boot loader will not work with Btrfs volumes and using GRUB Legacy with Btrfs will require a separate /boot partition. After the boot loader successfully installs we can reboot the computer to try out Mageia.
Mageia 4 - Apper package manager and Network Center
(full image size: 313kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The first time I booted Mageia it started downloading files, or at least it attempted to. My first install of the distribution did not appear to have a good network connection or could not find the server hosting its files and the download never made any progress. I tried clicking the Cancel button next to the download's progress bar and nothing happened. As the download did not move forward and I could not stop it I ended up forcing a reboot of the operating system. The second time I booted into Mageia I was brought to a configuration wizard which asked me to configure the network, create a user account and provide a password for the root account. Once those steps were completed I was brought to a graphical login screen. The second time I installed Mageia this past week the operating system was able to find the remote files it wanted and these slowly downloaded. After the files finished downloading I was walked through the same configuration screens mentioned above and deposited at the graphical login page.
I found it interesting to note that while the first time I booted into Mageia I was brought to a graphical login screen, while future boots logged me directly into one of the three user accounts on the system. It seems that after the first login Mageia enabled auto-login on its own initiative. The auto-login feature can be disabled either through the KDE System Settings panel or the Mageia Control Center. The first time we login to Mageia a welcome widget appears on the screen. The widget contains multiple pages and includes links to the project's documentation, wiki, errata, forums and issue tracker. Some of the widget's pages are dedicated to package management and, in fact, there is a mini package manager built into the widget, allowing us to download popular software items such as Flash support and multimedia codecs. The first time I installed Mageia there were no software repositories enabled on the system and so selecting any packages from the widget's list would result in an error when the widget attempted to download the items I wanted. We can follow links in the welcome widget to the Mageia repository manager and enable remote repositories, then attempt to download the applications we want again.
Once I was finished with the welcome widget I turned my attention to the KDE desktop. The interface is laid out in a traditional manner with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the display. The application menu also has a classic look, featuring software categories and nested sub-menus. By default visual effects are enabled, adding bright window borders and transparency to the interface. I found KDE ran slowly in both my test environments, even with visual effects disabled. This surprised me as recent KDE releases have typically performed well on my equipment. The sluggish interface this week was in sharp contract to my experiences last week with Chakra where KDE performed very quickly.
Performance was not my primary concern though, the task switcher was. By default, the Mageia task switcher would temporarily restore windows if I happened to move my mouse over the window's button on the task switcher. This meant that if I was moving the mouse along the bottom of a window or if I slid the mouse down to get it out of the way of my typing or if I accidentally bumped the mouse, my active window would disappear and I would be shown one or more other application windows in rapid succession. It was, to say the least, a jarring experience. I disabled the default task switcher and replaced it with a classic task switcher widget that lacked this annoying behaviour, only to find launch buttons on the latter widget did not work.
Some time after logging in an icon appeared in the system tray letting me know software updates were available. Clicking on the notification icon brought up a simple graphical application which showed a list of available software updates. These packages could be selected or unselected and clicking on a specific package displayed information on the highlighted item. The day I installed Mageia there were 51 software updates waiting, though I didn't see any indication of the total size of the available updates. All the updates installed on my system without any problems.
Further on the topic of software packages, Mageia comes with two graphical package managers. The first one is Apper, an application which takes a simplified approach to package management. Typically Apper shows us colourful items representing categories of software and we browse through these to find the programs we want. Unfortunately for me any time I clicked on a category of software or told Apper to check for software updates the application locked-up and failed to respond to further input. This quickly brought my time with Apper to a close. The second package manager is accessible through Mageia's Control Center. This package manager is divided into two panes, one which shows categories of software and another which shows individual packages listed in alphabetical order. One nice feature of this package manager is the way it allows us to easily filter software based on its type (such as graphical applications, meta-packages or security updates) and a package's status.
For the most part this package manager worked well for me. I was able to search for and install items I wanted. The one issue I ran into was that I couldn't find a copy of LibreOffice in the repositories. I could find the Calligra suite, Gnumeric and AbiWord, but searches for "office", "libreoffice" and "openoffice" returned no valuable results. Even with all Mageia's repositories enabled, package filters turned off and after refreshing my package information there was no entry for LibreOffice, despite the project's release notes mentioning it as a feature.
Mageia 4 - KDE System Settings and Mageia Control Center
(full image size: 408kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Mageia's KDE edition comes with a modest collection of software. We are given the Firefox and Konqueror web browsers. The distribution ships with Network Center to help us get on-line and KPPP for working with dial-up networking. The distribution offers the Okular document viewer, the Amarok music player and a download client for accessing music acquired through Amazon's services. We are given the GNU Image Manipulation Program, an archive manager, virtual calculator and a text editor. Mageia runs a secure shell service and ships with the Linux kernel, version 3.12. However, perhaps the most interesting software included with the operating system is the Mageia Control Center. This central control panel provides an easy-to-navigate collection of configuration modules.
These modules allow us to configure repositories, add and remove software, manage system services, work with user accounts and customize the firewall. We can also create and access network shares. The Control Center features some parental controls too which allow the administrator to block certain websites or applications and the administrator can filter content. I played with the parental filter a little and found it took some adjusting to get it to block the content I had in mind, the filter seems to be a bit erratic in its selection of what is appropriate and what is not. Overall the Control Center works well and is probably one of the easiest open source configuration panels to navigate.
I tried running Mageia on a physical desktop machine and in a virtual environment powered by VirtualBox. In both cases, even with visual effects disabled, I found the distribution performed slowly. The system was usable, but there was always a bit of lag between user input and a visual response. The operating system used approximately 275MB of RAM in my test environments. The system was generally stable, though with the occasional crash, typically from the window manager. The distribution properly detected all of my desktop machine's hardware, setting up a network connection automatically and properly setting my display's resolution.
Mageia 4 - the graphical login screen
(full image size: 153kB, screen resolution 800x600 pixels)
I have to say, having played with Mageia 4 for the past week, that I was disappointed by this release. It may be telling that this past week marked one of the few occasions I have run checksums on a distribution's installation media multiple times, suspecting corruption. I have long been a fan of Mandriva and its family of distributions, such as Mageia, and this latest version just did not feel like it was ready for release. Most of the time it barely felt like it was ready for beta testing. The system installer worked well enough, getting things set up and all the proper files in place and I suspect it will work well for most people (assuming the user doesn't have a machine with UEFI enabled).
However, once the live disc was removed and I was dealing with my local copy of Mageia it felt as though one thing after another went wrong. Having the system lock up on the initial boot on one of my systems didn't get things off to a good start. Having auto-login enabled the second time (though not the first time) I loaded Mageia did not endear the distribution to me either. In the past I have praised distributions for including a welcome wizard and I was happy to see the welcome widget in Mageia's list of new features. However, the project's welcome wizard is cluttered, spread across multiple pages and is likely to cause more confusion for new users than comfort.
In the past I have thought of Mageia as a great distribution for showcasing KDE and this release has changed my mind in that regard. KDE gave poor performance in both of my test environments where, just last week, Chakra's KDE desktop had performed so well. The task switcher in Mageia's KDE edition drove me slightly mad until I managed to replace it with a tamer (though somewhat broken) alternative. The window manager crashed a handful of times and some of the font choices seemed selected to give me headaches. The Mageia Control Center, for the most part, worked well for me and is still a highlight of the distribution. That being said, the main package manager's inability to find LibreOffice and the parental filter's questionable performance put a black mark on the Control Center's usually fantastic user experience.
For that matter, having Apper lock up every time I wanted to browse software packages or check for updates did not fill me with good feelings. There were some highlights to this release. The distribution's Control Center is still one of the more user friendly configuration panels available and Mageia comes with a great collection of documentation and a pretty friendly system installer. Even with these positive aspects I felt like I was battling a slow and buggy system throughout the week and it is my hope the developers can get Mageia back on the rails for version 5.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
- Test equipment: HP Pavilon p6 Series
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
* * * * *
On a more personal note, a year or so back I was working on a blog which featured reviews of open source games. Gaming is often seen as a weak link in the open source chain and I set out to showcase some of the community's finer games. Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties, I had to put aside the gaming reviews for a while. Now, I am happy to report my gaming blog, Blowing Up Bits, is back. If you are interested in gaming on Linux and BSD I hope you will visit the new website.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD and Debian introduce new console driver, Fedora plans upcoming release schedule, graphical interfaces benchmarked, Debian ported to new architecture
The creation of a new text console driver may not seem very exciting and, if all goes well, the experience for the user sitting at the terminal won't seem all that different. Still, the FreeBSD developers feel that a new console driver is required for a few reasons. The new, improved console will feature Unicode support and make better use of graphics modes. In itself this incremental move forward is not all that spectacular for FreeBSD users. What does make this development more interesting is that the feature is likely to land in Debian's FreeBSD port before it arrives in FreeBSD itself. The Thoughts of Undetermined Usefulness blog has details on the new console driver along with some comments on the driver making its way into Debian: "Ironically, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is in a bit more of a hurry to deploy Newcons than FreeBSD is. The reason for this is that Newcons is practically a requirement for using the new KMS drivers. While FreeBSD Ports, in order to ensure a smooth transition, preserve support for UMS (User Mode Setting) in their X11/DRI userland. Debian supports many kernels and (contrary to some ill claims I heard) gives priority to new features on Debian GNU/Linux port, which is the one with most users and developers. In this case, it means KMS is the only option when it comes to X11/DRI userland in Debian. Anyway, we've been making some nice progress." The new, improved console technology is expected to debut in FreeBSD 11.0 and is available in Debian's FreeBSD port in the Experimental repository.
* * * * *
The Fedora distribution has typically maintained a release cycle of approximately six months. This rapid cycle of development and testing has worked fairly well for the project in the past, but now the Red Hat-sponsored distribution is looking to make some changes and that means the development cycle needs to be stretched out a bit. So when is the next Fedora release going to hit download mirrors? It will be sometime after August, but exactly when Fedora 21 will arrive is still under discussion. Stephen Gallagher posted to the Fedora development mailing list last Monday asking for feedback on how long Fedora 21 would take to piece together: "In the previous round of discussion, we agreed that we would have a [Fedora] 21 release no sooner than August, to guarantee at least that amount of time for QA and Rel Eng projects. Now it's time to fill in the details and make the time-line specific."
* * * * *
Having spare memory which is not currently in use on our computers is a good thing. Memory that is not currently in use by a program can be utilized by the system's kernel for caching data it might need later, reducing the number of times the operating system accesses the hard disk and speeding up the system's overall performance. One way to make sure our operating system needs less memory is to use a lighter interface. The Layer 3 Networking Blog has a three-part series on lightweight window managers and desktop environments in which the author describes each environment and provides both screen shots and memory usage for each interface. The blog also includes a nice bar graph where each environment's memory usage is plotted. From a comparison of each interface's memory footprint TinyWM is the clear winner, using just 0.2MB of memory while KDE is at the far end of the scale, using 201 MB of RAM.
* * * * *
We talk a lot about open source software on DistroWatch, but we rarely discuss open hardware. The OpenRISC project aims to create a truly free and open source platform using open hardware and open software. Linux distributions, with their incredible flexibility, are already being ported to OpenRISC. As one Debian developer reports: "My evil master plan was to make a Debian port, and today I'm a happy hacker indeed!" Below is a link to a screencast of me installing Debian for OpenRISC, installing Python via apt-get (which you shouldn't do in or1ksim, it takes ages! (but it works!)) and running a small Python script." The developer in question, Christian Svensson, invites other enthusiasts wishing to try running Debian on OpenRISC to contact him on IRC.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Blocking, filtering and logging web content
Building-a-better-filter asks: One feature I need to explore further is the ability to block encrypted Google. It returns encrypted search results (HTTPS) that cannot be blocked with the "out of the box" Dansgardian content filter.
Filtering results is the primary motive. My two sons, 13 and 16, are quite inquisitive. I am always adding exception sites to the content filter. My networking kung-fu is not as good as it should be, but I'm getting better because my 16 year old challenges me frequently. His new PlayStation 4 (PS4) asks that port 443 be forwarded, and the PS4 has a built in web browser, although not a very good one. If you search for crud, you get cruddy results links. If the links connect to a cruddy website that is also encrypted, no filtering occurs at all. I know that most search engines offer encrypted and unencrypted channels, but that can be changed by the user in the browser configuration.
I know it's not possible to block all crud for a determined user, but it's nice to be able to at least make it difficult. I'm looking into the reasons why 443 is needed on the Play Station.
DistroWatch answers: I think there are three aspects of this problem to consider. First, let us look at what options you have for blocking content. You have a filter already which searches for keywords, so I assume all of your Internet traffic is passing through a server you control. This allows you to take a few approaches and, with this sort of situation, a layered approach is usually best. The first thing you might consider doing is either blocking websites you do not want your children to access or, alternatively, white-list servers they may access and block everything else. This can be done using your distribution's firewall.
Presumably your children use the PS4 mostly for gaming or watching movies and do not typically use its web browser for researching school projects or other sanctioned pastimes. This means you can probably block virtually all traffic coming out of the PS4 to any website and only allow a few key sites the machine needs to function. This will take some trial and error, but probably provide the best results in the long run. If you try to filter or block only unwanted websites and allow everything else you will end up in an ongoing escalation. First you might block Google, then you will soon need to block other search engines, then your children will discover web proxies and the list will go on. Better, in this case, to block everything and make exceptions for specific (allowed) sites.
The second thing I would suggest looking into is logging traffic, especially DNS-related traffic. One of my instructors in college pointed out that it is often easier to monitor than it is to defend. Given that it is unlikely your children are going to find "crud" by accident, I recommend shifting from a blocking approach and instead setting up monitoring tools. Log DNS and server IPs visited from inside your network. Let the children know the Internet is open for them to browse, but that they are to police themselves. Then check the logs every so often to see if they are behaving. A determined teen with time on their hands will always find a way around a block, but it is harder (not impossible certainly, but harder) to hide what they are doing if you are logging a list of sites/pages visited. You could probably do this simply by running Wireshark on your router/firewall and filtering for the DNS service port.
Finally, consider that this is primarily not a technical situation, but a social one. Chances are your children, especially the 16-year old, have more time on their hands and more technically-minded peers than you do. If they want to find something on-line they probably will. Perhaps at your house using encryption and a web proxy, perhaps at a friend's house where things aren't locked down. I may be showing my age here, but when I was in school some people passed around contraband content on floppy disks since most of us did not have web access at the time. Your web filtering and log files will not work against sneakernet.
My point is that if the restrictions are tight at home, chances are they will get their unfiltered content elsewhere. May I humbly suggest that you sit down with your children and explain to them, in general, what is out there you would rather they do not see and, more importantly, why you do not want them to see it. They may be curious, they may peek at some unfortunate material, but you may find your children keep it to a minimum if you can reason with them. Plus, if you can get them to self-regulate to an extent, it avoids an ongoing conflict where the three of you covertly battle over content, which (I assume) only increases tension in the home.
|Released Last Week
Patrick d'Emmabuntüs has announced the release of the latest update to Emmabuntüs, a Xubuntu-based distribution made specifically for refurbished computers destined for humanitarian organisations: "The Emmabuntüs team is pleased to announce the 6th maintenance release of Emmabuntüs 2 1.07 based on Xubuntu 12.04.4. This distribution was designed to make the refurbishing of computers given to humanitarian organizations, especially Emmaüs communities (where the name comes from), and to promote the discovery of Linux by beginners, but also to extend the lifespan of the equipment and to reduce over consumption and over waste in electronics. For this version, the following fixes and improvements have been made: updated packages for Xubuntu 12.04.4, codecs and extensions contained in web browsers (Firefox, Chromium) and Thunderbird mail reader; update the extension Language Tools 2.4 for LibreOffice...." Read the full release announcement (PDF) for more details.
AV Linux 6.0.3
Glen MacArthur has announced the release of AV Linux 6.0.3, a new minor update of the Debian-based distribution featuring a good collection of audio and video production software: "An unscheduled surprise updated for the AV Linux 6.0 series has been released, addressing a few bugs in 6.0.2, some important software updates and a move to a newer 3.10.27-PAE low-latency default kernel. Please note that an optional full pre-empt RT kernel with headers is also conveniently placed in the home folder for those who feel they may need it. For people using PCI Audio cards and FireWire devices the default low-latency kernels provide very good performance since AV Linux provides rtirq out of the box. Highlights of this release are the newly released Ardour 3.5.357 with critical bug fixes and fixed detection of linuxVST plugins, the latest JACK1 0.124.1...." See the full release announcement for a complete changelog.
AV Linux 6.0.3 - running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 712kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Tiny Core Linux 5.2 "piCore"
Béla Markus has announced the release of "piCore", an edition of Tiny Core Linux designed specifically for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the availability of piCore 5.2, the Raspberry Pi port of Tiny Core Linux. It is an independent system architected by Robert Shingledecker and now developed by a small team of developers with strong community support. Changes from 5.1: Linux kernel updated to 3.13.3; updated RPi firmware; use BusyBox in tc-functions changed to eliminate interference with certain installed GNU apps; rebuildfstab: do not replace fstab entries for a device that does not have 'Added by TC' on the line; init: increase the default inode count; ondemand: don't list extensions under subdirs in onboot maintenance; BusyBox split suid/nosuid for better security; ldd - added quotes for binaries with spaces in their names; /etc/services - modified to suit rpcbind rather than portmap...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a complete changelog.
SME Server 8.1
Ian Wells has announced the release of SME Server 8.1, an updated build of the project's CentOS-based distribution for servers: "The SME Server development team is pleased to announce the release of SME Server 8.1 which is based on CentOS 5.10. Please note that CentOS 5 has dropped support for i586 and therefore SME Server 8.1 will not work on i586 hardware. Changes in this release: packages altered by CentOS, Red Hat, and Fedora-associated developers are not included; latest version of Dar, 2.4.11, for workstation backup; workstation backup allows the day of the week to be specified on which a full backup occurs, this now works correctly for all days of the week; to increase reliability of backups to a Microsoft Vista drive, a one-second delay was added to the backup; allow user setting of compression level for desktop and console backups...." Read the detailed release announcement for a a full changelog.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.9 "Community"
Following last week's release of the official edition of Manjaro Linux 0.8.9, a set of seven new community-built flavours are now also available: "Our official releases went very well, but we aren't stopping there. We've now finished all of our community editions, which include Fluxbox, MATE, Cinnamon, GNOME, Enlightenment, LXDE and Netbook. Community editions are released as bonus flavours in addition to those officially supported and maintained by the Manjaro team. The main things we've changed are the artwork and themes, as well as all of the notable package updates." Here is the complete release announcement.
Linux Caixa Mágica 21
Flavio Moringa has announced the release of Linux Caixa Mágica 21, a new stable version of the Portuguese project's Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution with GNOME Shell. This release provides some interesting enhancements, such as built-in file synchronisation with remote online storage services, including Google Drive and Dropbox. It also comes with updated software packages and the "Classic" user interface built into GNOME 3. For those users who prefer other desktop environments, KDE, LXDE and Xfce are now available from the distribution's online repositories. Caixa Mágica 21 includes GNOME 3.8, LibreOffice 4.1.3, Linux kernel 3.11, GIMP 2.8.6, Grive 1.4, Flash Player 188.8.131.521, Skype 184.108.40.206, Cartão Cidadão 2.2.0, Adobe Reader 9, WINE 1.4.1 and Boot-Repair 3.199. The brief release announcement (in Portuguese) includes a screenshot of the default GNOME desktop, while this report by pplware (also in Portuguese) includes first impressions and a few additional notes.
Caixa Mágica 21 - a Portuguese Linux distribution with GNOME Shell, based on Ubuntu 13.10
(full image size: 494kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Linux Mint 201403 "Debian"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 201403 "Debian", the distribution's rolling-release variant based on Debian's "Testing" branch: "The team is proud to announce the release of LMDE 201403. Highlights: update pack 8; Cinnamon 2.0; MATE 1.6; latest Mint tools and improvements; support for EFI and GPT. If you're new to LMDE, welcome to Linux Mint Debian! LMDE in brief: Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a semi-rolling distribution based on Debian 'Testing'; it is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants as a live DVD with Cinnamon or MATE; the purpose of LMDE is to look identical to the main edition and to provide the same functionality while using Debian GNU/Linux as a base." Here is the brief release announcement with screenshots, system requirements and links to known issues and the changelog.
Linux From Scratch 7.5
Armin K has announced the release of Linux From Scratch (LFS) 7.5, a book of step-by-step instructions on how to build a base Linux system from scratch - from an existing Linux system or a Linux live CD. The comprehensive 351-page publication serves primarily as an educational exercise for those who want to learn about Linux internals in a hands-on, practical manner. From the brief announcement on the project's news page: "The Linux From Scratch community announces the release of Linux From Scratch (LFS) stable version 7.5. It is a major release with toolchain updates to Binutils 2.24, glibc 2.19 and GCC 4.8.2. In total, 32 packages (of 62) were updated since LFS 7.5 and changes to bootscripts and text have been made throughout the book." Other notable changes include updates to Linux kernel 3.13.3, kmod 16, Perl 5.18.2 and systemd 208. See the changelog for a full list of package updates.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
February 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: Pitivi|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the February 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is Pitivi, an open-source video editor. The project receives €280.00 in cash.
The Pitivi project has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise €35,000 for the full-time work on the upcoming 1.0 milestone release: "Our goal with this fundraising campaign is to take Open Source video editing to the next level. This is not an easily achieved objective, but the foundations are here. To push the envelope and make Pitivi the rock-solid video editor that we all deserve, we need to be able to work on it full-time. When Mathieu last summer was assigned to the GES and Pitivi projects full-time as part of a Summer of Code project, the pace of development, the quality of our architecture and the reliability skyrocketed. It is largely thanks to Mathieu's efforts that we were able to release Pitivi 0.91." Please visit the above-mentioned page to learn more, to watch a promotional video and to contribute towards the grand goal.
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$38,785 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)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- B Linux OS. B Linux OS is a KDE-focused distribution based on Linux Mint.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 March 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
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on the command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Blin Linux was a stable, fast, universal, multi-purpose and 100% free Linux operating system for x86 processors. It doesn't need to be installed on a hard disk as it was run directly from the bootable CD. The comfortable graphical user interface and excellent support for Cyrillic alphabet (Russian, Ukrainian...) makes Blin Linux a useful alternative to similar existing products. It was designed for novice users who have just started using Linux as well as for experienced system integrators.