| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 549, 10 March 2014
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! A great deal of what our computers do happens behind the scenes. We see what happens on the surface, typically in graphical application windows, but we are generally spared the technical details of what our operating system is doing. Most of us do not think about the kernel, the application code or the network services functioning out of sight. This week we tip our hats to the developers and projects which work to make using computers easier for the rest of us. We start off by examining two server distributions which try to make system administration a point-n-click experience in the latest edition of our Server Showdown series. In our News section this week we cover an interview with Gentoo developer Sven Vermeulenm, discuss Ubuntu's call for new app developers and talk about projects being sponsored in this year's Summer of Code. Plus we cover Fedora's position on vetting code contributors and discuss Ubuntu GNOME's bid to become an official member of the Ubuntu long term support release community. We also share with you a book called Into the Core which introduces users to the power and flexibility of one of the world's smallest Linux distributions. As usual we cover the distribution releases from the past week and look ahead to exciting new developments to come. We wish you all a splendid week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Server showdown - part 3
At the start of the year I began a series of reviews with a focus on open source server operating systems which would be appropriate for home and small office environments. The responses I received in the wake of these reviews were mostly positive and several people e-mailed me with requests to do more server-focused articles. I also got many requests to cover specific distributions in future reviews. The two most often requested server-oriented distributions were ClearOS and Univention Corporate Server. With that in mind I decided to spend one more week covering server distributions suitable for home and small business environments and downloaded these two distributions.
As with my previous experiments with server distributions my test equipment this week was a VirtualBox virtual machine. I gave both of the operating systems I tested 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of hard drive space in the virtual environment. Both distributions were given bridged networking access to the outside world.
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Clear Foundation is the organization behind ClearOS, a platform built using Red Hat Enterprise Linux software packages. The distribution is designed for "small and distributed organizations" and is available in Community and Professional editions, with the latter edition featuring commercial support. The ClearOS distribution is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and can be downloaded as a 510MB ISO file. Booting from this media brings up a menu asking if we would like to run the system installer (in order to perform an upgrade or fresh installation) or we can start a rescue environment to repair an existing system.
Taking the system installer option brings up the graphical Anaconda system installer which should be familiar to people who have used earlier versions of Fedora or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Anaconda walks us through selecting our preferred language, confirming our keyboard's layout and setting the computer's hostname. We are asked to select our time zone from a map of the world and then we are asked to set a password on the administrator's account. Partitioning the hard disk comes next. Here we are given a few guided options which will allow us to install ClearOS on available free hard drive space, replace an existing Linux operating system, use the entire disk or we can choose to manually divide up the disk. I went with the manual partitioning option and found ClearOS supports ext2, ext3 and ext4 partitions along with LVM and RAID configurations. Partitions can be encrypted to protect our privacy. The following screen allows us to select where we want to install the project's boot loader and then Anaconda goes to work copying its files to the local hard disk. The entire installation, from start to finish, lasted about ten minutes in my test environment.
ClearOS 6.5 - the initial configuration screen
(full image size: 107kB, screen resolution 800x600 pixels)
The first time we boot into ClearOS we are brought to a graphical welcome screen. This screen displays links to where we can access network settings and the command line. There are notes displayed letting us know how to access the distribution's web-based configuration panel. I was happy to note that accessing the command line on the local machine or changing system settings required the password we set during the installation. Once I confirmed my network settings were correct I opened a web browser and pointed it at the ClearOS server. Connecting to the web portal walks us through configuring the network or confirming our existing network settings. We can set our IP address here and point ClearOS to custom DNS servers if we wish. We are then asked if we would like to install the Community edition or Professional edition of ClearOS. I opted for the Community edition. Some files were installed and then the interface set up software repositories and downloaded available security updates. This all proceeded smoothly.
The next step asks us to create an account with the Clear Foundation so that we may register our installation of ClearOS and download applications from the organization's Marketplace. I was not eager to create an account or register my installation, but these steps are not optional. I created an account easily enough, but when I attempted to register my computer the registration step failed. The system reported that it could not register me because my server was not on-line. The reported cause was obviously incorrect as I had just installed security updates and I was able to ping remote servers from the command line. I made three attempts to walk through the initial configuration process. Each time the web portal assured me I was on-line, it confirmed my DNS servers were answering, downloaded security updates and then failed to register my installation saying the system was not on-line.
ClearOS 6.5 - online registration error
(full image size: 153kB, screen resolution 1280x997 pixels)
At this point I am not sure which is worse, making registration to free software repositories mandatory or having a registration process that fails without apparent reason. Or, for that matter, gives a false reason for the failure. At any rate, as I was unable to proceed this brought my trial with ClearOS to a close.
Examining the Clear Foundation website and exploring the operating system's command line I gathered some more information for people who may wish to try ClearOS and have better luck than I getting the system up and running. ClearOS appears to be based on the latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux which means the current distribution will be supported through to 2017. The project does have an upgrade path and is likely to be stable during its lifetime, being based on Red Hat's flagship product. The documentation I found on the project's website is clear and fairly well detailed. It should be enough to get most people up and running. I did not find any advanced file system support in ClearOS, nor did I find Btrfs or ZFS support in the project's software repositories. All in all, ClearOS looks very promising, the installation is friendly, the web interface looks very clean and professional, but sadly the distribution failed to work for me.
- Advanced file systems (Btrfs/ZFS): 0
- Documentation: 3
- Ease of installation: 3
- Ease of maintaining/upgrading: 3
- Length of support for each release: 5
- Performance: 4
- Stability: 4
- Steps required to enable services: 0
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Univention Corporate Server 3.2
The second server distribution on my list this past week was Univention Corporate Server (UCS). The UCS platform is based on Debian and promotes itself as a "cost-effective alternative to Microsoft's server solutions". UCS is a commercial product with a free edition for personal use (for up to five users). I filled out a registration form on the UCS website in order to access their download options and grabbed the free edition for my trial, opting to take a 32-bit x86 build. I believe there are 64-bit x86 builds as well, though revisiting the download options appears to require a second registration. The ISO image I downloaded for UCS was 1.8 GB in size.
Booting from the UCS installation media brings up a text-based system installer. The installer has an unusual form of navigation where moving between on-screen elements is often done using function keys. The installer walks us through selecting our preferred language, choosing our time zone from a list and confirming our keyboard's layout. We are asked which role the UCS server will perform with options including domain controller (master), domain controller (slave), domain controller (backup), act as a member of a LDAP domain or perform as a stand alone server. I selected the last option. We are then asked to provide a hostname for the server and set a password on the root account. I found the installer is picky about our initial password, requiring at least eight characters.
Next up is partitioning the hard disk. We have the option of taking an automated partition layout, which takes over the entire disk, or we can manually divide up the disk ourselves. I found navigating the partitioning screen to be a bit awkward, but I was able to stumble through. The partition manager supports ext2, ext3 and ext4 partitions along with LVM and Btrfs volumes. Once the disk has been divided we are walked through configuring the network and I was pleased to see both IPv4 and IPv6 settings are supported. We can then select optional components to install. Some of these components include a graphical desktop environment, KVM and Xen virtualization technologies and the CUPS printing service. After that the installer asks for confirmation to proceed and copies its files to our local disk. The entire installation process took around 15 minutes in my test environment.
Univention Corporate Server 3.2 - the system installer
(full image size: 13kB, screen resolution 800x600 pixels)
The first time I tried to boot UCS the system failed to start, reporting no boot media could be found. It appeared as though no boot loader had been put in place during the installation process. I went back through the installer and this time allowed the installer to perform automated partitioning. This created LVM volumes for me and installed a boot loader. This time, when the installer was finished, I was able to boot the UCS distribution.
The UCS boot process brought me to a text console where I was shown a login prompt and advised I could access the system's web portal using the HTTPS protocol and pointing my web browser to the server. Naturally I opened a web browser and tried to reach my new server. The server did not respond. I went back to the UCS console, logged in as root and confirmed I was on-line. I was able to ping remote servers which seemed promising. UCS comes with the nmap port scanner installed by default and I did a quick scan, finding a mail service and secure shell running on my system, but no web service. In fact, I found OpenSSH and a mail service were the only network services running. I was able to login to the secure shell from my remote machine, but there was no web portal for me to access. I checked the project's documentation which appears to say the web portal should run automatically following an installation. I further tried going through the UCS trouble-shooting guide, however it is written in German, a language I cannot read. With no accessible trouble-shooting documentation and no admin console my experience was once again brought to an unfortunate halt shortly after it had begun.
For brave souls who want to try UCS despite my difficulties with the distribution I am pleased to say the project does include a good deal of detailed documentation. I was happily surprised with the amount of material covered and I suspect, had the web console worked, the documentation would have proved invaluable. UCS is Debian-based with a recent 3.10 kernel. I am not sure as to the project's life cycle, but if they track Debian's Stable branch I suspect UCS will be supported for around four years. The project does ship with some advanced file system support via Btrfs. The Btrfs features offered are not as rich as openSUSE's, but the basic utilities are there. I did not find any ZFS support in the project's repositories.
As a footnote to my time with UCS, once my trail was over I began receiving e-mails from UCS concerning their products, apparently as a result of filling out the registration form I had to complete in order to download their free edition. Getting removed fro the UCS mailing list requires filling out another form on their website.
At the end of the day I found my experience with UCS to be quite similar to the experience ClearOS gave me. Both projects have pleasant installers, good documentation, both have commercial support and both look great. Unfortunately neither worked for me in any meaningful sense, grinding to a halt after the installation and before the initial configuration could be completed.
- Advanced file systems (Btrfs/ZFS): 3
- Documentation: 4
- Ease of installation: 2
- Ease of maintaining/upgrading: 3
- Length of support for each release: 3
- Performance: 3
- Stability: 4
- Steps required to enable services: 0
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A follow-up to my Mageia 4 review
Last week I posted a review of Mageia 4. As many people correctly observed, my review was negative and reflected the frustrations I encountered during my time with the distribution. Following the review appearing on DistroWatch several people messaged me to say they had similar experiences while a handful commented they had a much better time with Mageia. One review I read recently in Linux Voice declared Mageia as being "highly recommended" and gave it four and a half stars out of five. I think this range of opinions is great. Different people with different expectations, perhaps using different editions of an operating system, on different hardware reported different results. I think that is all well and good. What really made me happy though was the response I received from multiple Mageia developers who politely asked if I would submit bug reports detailing my issues with Mageia so that they could investigate and fix the problems I had encountered. I immediately signed up for a Mageia bug tracking account and filed some reports.
This reaction on the part of the Mageia developers is an example of why I appreciate the Mageia/Mandriva community. Most times when I review one of these distributions I have a good experience and have positive things to say. On the few occasions when I have reported problems with the distributions I am typically contacted by a developer offering assistance within two days of my review appearing. That, is, in my opinion, a classy way to respond to negative comments. When I review other distributions the best I can usually hope for is a lack of response. Other times I get angry messages from developers, QA testers and the general user community. I'm not using their software correctly, they claim, or I must be mistaken or I am secretly working as an enemy of open source. Seeing community members respond in a way which is not only not hostile, but also constructive is a very positive experience for me. The Mageia/Mandriva developers have consistently encouraged open discussion in a positive manner and I commend them on their constructive attitude.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Interview with Gentoo developer, Ubuntu announces app creation contest, Fedora discusses export restrictions, Ubuntu GNOME seeks LTS status,openSUSE approved for SoC
The Gentoo Monthly Newsletter continues its tradition of interviewing members of the Gentoo development team. This month the spotlight is turned on Sven Vermeulen. In the interview Vermeulen discusses, among other things, his start in computer programming, his work with the Gentoo project and his book, Linux Sea. When asked why he works on Gentoo when so many projects could benefit from his talents, Vermeulen talked about the flexibility of the Gentoo project: "I switch between many interest fields, and Gentoo is one of the few distributions that caters for it. If you need a responsive desktop, Gentoo can offer that. You want good support for many graphical environments? Gentoo can offer that. Need to implement a secure server: yes, Gentoo can offer that. Want to run Gentoo on a very small, lightweight device? Gentoo can offer that. Want to create a Linux router? Of course Gentoo can offer that."
* * * * *
With plans for releasing Ubuntu-powered phones later this year, Canonical is hoping to expand the list of applications available to its users. With that in mind Canonical is launching the Ubuntu App Showdown, a competition in which developers will port or create applications. The company is offering prizes, including Nexus 7 devices, for the best apps submitted. One of the contest's judges, Jono Bacon, has published a list of applications he would like to see developed. His list includes a new e-mail client, social media apps and an audio recorder. Project ideas can be discussed and voted on at Reddit.
* * * * *
We tend to think of open source software as existing without borders. The Internet allows almost anyone to contribute code, documentation and artwork to virtually any software project. Many contributors to the same project may never need to meet in person, greatly expanding the pool of potential developers. However, open source projects do not exist in a vacuum and some countries, such as the United States of America, place restrictions on software distribution based on a person's nationality. This brought up a touchy subject in the Fedora community last week when the question was put forward as to whether Fedora sponsors should question the nationality of a contributor. Further, should packages be accepted into Fedora if the software's developer is in a country embargoed by the United States government? The Fedora team has settled on a policy of not asking where contributors are from, stating, "Sponsors (or any other contributors) in Fedora should not make any effort to determine a contributor's nationality, country of origin, or area of residence." They go on to note that, in cases where a contributor's nationality is known to be on the embargo list, that information should be presented to Fedora's legal team.
* * * * *
The Ubuntu GNOME distribution is an official flavour of Ubuntu which features the GNOME Shell as the default desktop environment. Leading up to the Ubuntu community's 14.04 release, due to launch in April, Ubuntu GNOME is hoping to become a supported, long term support release. This would mean the packages in Ubuntu GNOME would receive approximately two years of security updates, increasing the length of the distribution's life cycle up from the current nine months. For the distribution to become a long term support (LTS) release in time for the launch of version 14.04, a number of packages would need to gain official support from the Ubuntu community. The Ubuntu GNOME proposal lists the required packages.
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Each year Google sponsors a number of programming students to work on open source projects. This sponsorship program, called Google's Summer of Code, is a way to introduce students to open source and to advance key open source technologies. The openSUSE project is one of many mentoring projects this year and openSUSE appears to be focused on end user software and graphical interfaces. Some of the key openSUSE projects which may be worked on by students include improving the ownCloud file synchronization software and the MATE desktop environment. Other distributions, such as Debian, are focused on more behind-the-scenes efforts to improve portability and security. The list of sponsored organizations in this year's Summer of Code reads like a who's-who of the open source community, including Fedora, FreeBSD, Gentoo, KDE, GNOME, LibreOffice, Mozilla, OpenBSD and many more.
|Book Review (by Jesse Smith)
Into the Core: A look at Tiny Core Linux by Lauri Kasanen
"Your DVD player doesn't need to print. Your thermostat doesn't need to browse the web. The Core project is here to provide you a base to build on, one that includes nothing unnecessary," reads the back cover of Into the Core. Tiny Core is a Linux-based operating system which approaches computing with the philosophy that it makes more sense to start with very little and add required components than it does to start with many unwanted components and remove them. In the book Into the Core Lauri Kasanen explores what Tiny Core Linux is, how it works, the distribution's approach to working with software packages and how to get the most out of the diminutive operating system.
Into the Core is different from most of the technical books I review. While most of the texts I read and recommend start with very few assumptions about the knowledge of the reader, Into the Core is not here to hold our hand and start from square one. People reading Into the Core should already be comfortable using GNU/Linux operating systems and should have, according to the text, "no fear of the command line." That being said, while we are expected to be comfortable editing configuration files in a text editor and passing boot parameters to the kernel, the reader is not expected to know anything about Tiny Core Linux itself. This book is also unusual in that it focuses almost exclusively on working with the Tiny Core distribution and much of the material covered will not be transferable to other Linux-based operating systems. The book walks us through the beginning stages of working with Tiny Core, installing the operating system, setting up our data files and tweaking the initial configuration. Once we get settled in with the Tiny Core basics then the book ramps up, getting into package management, the pros and cons of certain types of configurations and how to make the most of boot parameters.
As we proceed through the book we learn how to make our own Tiny Core extensions, remastering the operating system and making our own boot codes. Along the way the internals of the Tiny Core distribution are laid bare and we are invited to explore the inner workings of this surprisingly low-resource operating system. There is a certain elegance to its simplicity and compact nature. I like how, as Kasanen walks us through the various steps of customizing Tiny Core, we are shown examples, sample output and, where appropriate, screen captures. I found these examples made the text easier to follow and kept me on track when working along with the included projects.
Which brings me to my favourite part of the book. We typically run operating systems in order to accomplish a task. Tiny Core, with its ability to breathe new life into older hardware, is no exception. The small operating system is ideal for running on an older computer in order to share files or act as a web server. The final section of Into the Core covers an array of projects we can attempt with Tiny Core, including setting up a web kiosk, creating a web server and configuring a file server. These are fun and useful projects to try if we have aging equipment lying around and we want to either tinker or create something new on a budget.
In the past I've often thought of Tiny Core as being an interesting project just for its accomplishment in being so incredibly small. The distribution earns my respect from its fine craftsmanship, its ability to be tiny. In the past I have been impressed at Tiny Core's ability to be a minimal foundation for other modules, but I never really took the time to experiment with the distribution to see what could be accomplished. This book is full of suggestions as to what we can do with Tiny Core, ranging from creating a stand-alone RDP client with less than 17MB of disk space to running a FTP server that requires less than 1MB of memory. Into the Core pops the hood on this little distribution and shows us not only what makes it tick, but how to get the most out of the technology available. I found the book to be a fascinating read and I recommend getting a copy it if you find yourself either wanting to tinker or if you simply want to get more out of less.
* * * * *
- Title: Into the Core: A look at Tiny Core Linux
- Author: Lauri Kasanen © 2014
- Publisher: Self published
- ISBN: 978-952-93-3391-2
- Length: 163 pages
- Available from: Amazon, Lulu and as a free download (PDF)
|Released Last Week
Version 4.8 of Wifislax has been released. Wifislax is Slackware-based live CD with an extensive collection of tools designed to perform various wireless connection analyses and related security tests. Like Wifislax 4.7, this latest release is also built from packages found in Slackware Linux 14.1, but several of them were deemed important enough to warrant an upgrade. The Linux kernel is at version 13.3, patched for better wireless auditing as well as the "Channel -1" bug fix. Many of the included security applications were also upgraded and several new ones were added. The two available desktops, KDE 4.10.5 and Xfce 4.10, come from the original Slackware 14.1 repository. Much work has gone into making the operating system stable for everyday use. As always, the Wifislax developers provide a number of extra modules (using the xzm extension) which make it easy to install extra software and to extend the system. See the release announcement (in Spanish only, although the distribution also supports English) for further information.
Salix 14.1 "Xfce"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix 14.1 "Xfce" edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the Xfce 4.10 desktop environment: "After a long development period Salix Xfce 14.1 is ready. There have been many and important changes since our last release. One of them is that now the 64-bit installer supports installation on (U)EFI systems. In (U)EFI enabled systems, the 64-bit release should prompt to install ELILO instead of LILO at the end of installation. GPT-partitioned hard drives are also now fully supported by both 32-bit and 64-bit installers. Another very important change is that we switched completely to sudo, abandoning the use of su by default. If you wish to give sudo privileges to any user, you should just make him a member of the wheel group. The first user that is created during the installation process automatically becomes a member of the wheel group and gets sudo privileges. Any other user that is created after that does not enter the wheel group automatically and does not get sudo privileges by default." See the release announcement for further details and links to useful documents.
Calculate Linux 13.11.1
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the availability of Calculate Linux 13.11.1, an updated release of the project's Gentoo-based distribution with separate editions for desktops (with KDE or Xfce), servers and media centres: "We are happy to announce the release of Calculate Linux 13.11.1. Major changes: big updates (Linux kernel 3.12, KDE 4.12.2, LibreOffice 4.1, Chromium 33); in CLDX, session lock will be performed with light-locker; Clt templates now run correctly, as we fixed the file binding problem; a new DM theme is available in CLDX; users' avatars are now supported at log-in time; pastebin on calculate-linux.org can receive colored console output via wgetpaste; the tmux tool was added to all CL distributions." Read the brief release announcement which includes a short list of applications included in each of the available editions.
Point Linux 2.3
Peter Ryzhenkov has announced the release of Point Linux 2.3, an updated build of the project's desktop Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux 7.4 and featuring the MATE 1.4 desktop environment: "These release notes for Point Linux 2.3 (taya) provide an overview of the release and document the known issues with Point Linux 2.3. What's new? Point Linux 2.3 brings the new 'debian-backports' package that allows you to easily enable updates from the debian-backports repository. Changes in distribution: Firefox 27.0.1, Thunderbird 24.3.0, LibreOffice 4.1.4; new debian-backports package; up-to-date Debian packages. Changes in Point Linux installer: three checkboxes to install Compiz, enable debian-backports updates and non-free repositories during installation; US keyboard layout is not installed by default for Latin keyboard layouts." See the release notes for a brief overview of the distribution's latest stable release.
Beyond Linux From Scratch 7.5
Bruce Dubbs has announced the release of Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) 7.5, a book that builds on top of the Linux From Scratch (LFS) project by adding additional desktop and server software. From the brief release announcement (as published on the lfs-announce mailing list): "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) version 7.5. This version includes approximately 750 packages beyond the base Linux From Scratch version 7.5 book. The book has over 700 significant updates from the previous version as well as numerous text and formatting changes." The BLFS 7.5 release includes a number of programming and scripting languages (PHP 5.5.9, Python 3.3.4, Ruby 2.1.0), server software (Apache httpd 2.4.7, BIND 9.9.5, Dovecot 2.2.12, Postfix 2.11.0), databases (MariaDB 10.0.8, MySQL 5.6.16, PostgreSQL 9.3.3), X.Org Server 1.15.0, desktop environments (KDE 4.12.2, the latest Xfce and LXDE), window managers (Fluxbox 1.3.5, IceWM 1.3.8), LibreOffice 4.2.0 and the usual mix of open-source software for graphics editing, multimedia playback and printing. The BLFS 7.5 book is available for online viewing as well as download in HTML format.
SparkyLinux 3.3 "LXDE", "E17", "Razor-qt"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.3 "LXDE", "E17" and "Razor-qt" editions, a set of Debian-based distributions featuring the three lightweight desktop user interfaces: "SparkyLinux 3.3 'Annagerman' LXDE, Razor-qt and E17 is out. The new ISO images of SparkyLinux provide tons of updates, some changes and system improvements, such as: Linux kernel 3.12; all packages upgraded from Debian's 'testing' repositories as of 2014-03-04; new installer forked from LMDE/SolydXK (no support for EFI yet); new wallpaper 'Strange Nature' and artwork of GRUB, Plymouth and installer based on the wallpaper; sudo is active by default after installation; SparkyLinux default repository has been changed; new, refreshed logo. The old installer is still available in the live system and it is recommended for old machines." Read the release announcement for more details.
Linpus Linux 2.1 "Lite"
Linpus Technologies has announced the release of Linpus Linux 2.1 "Lite", a desktop Linux distribution with a customised GNOME 3 desktop and out-of-the-box support for touch screens: "Linpus announces the latest version of their Linux distro, Linpus Lite 2.1. Linpus Lite is an extremely powerful yet versatile desktop, notebook, and hybrid Linux operating system. This latest version continues with the theme of making Linpus Lite unique in its support for web applications and touch screens. It also has the following improvements: enhances power saving; brings boot time down by around 4 seconds, making it one of the quickest Linux distros avail; App center – adds system update support and many more applications; icon mode – now has native applications as well as HTML 5; can now access all open windows from bottom left corner and workspaces in top left; dual-boot with Windows 8 UEFI and secure boot on...." Here is the full release announcement.
Slackel 6.0 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 6.0 "Openbox" edition, a lightweight Linux distribution based on Slackware's "Current" branch: "Slackel 6.0 Openbox has been released. It includes the Linux kernel 3.10.30 and the latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. Slackel 6.0 Openbox 32-bit image includes both PAE and non-PAE kernels with older hardware support. The ncurses installer includes the option to install either the LILO or the GRUB bootloader. After installation users can use the grubconfig utility to reinstall GRUB or to change the bootloader from LILO to GRUB. Users can also use update-grub to update GRUB menus any time they upgrade their kernel or install another Linux distribution. The os-prober tool is used to probe for other operating systems and to update GRUB menus. Slackel 6.0 Openbox includes the Midori 0.5.7 web browser, Claws-Mail 3.9.2...." Read the full release announcement for more details.
Joël Cugnoni has announced the release of CAELinux 2013, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a large collection of software designed for scientific tasks: "Although seriously delayed, we are pleased to announce our new release, CAELinux 2013. CAELinux 2013 is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit distribution and it contains a unique suite of open-source simulation tools for FEA, CFD or multiphysics simulation, but also a large panel of other engineering software for CAD-CAM and 3D printing, electronics, mathematics and programming. CAELinux 2013 represents a complete rebuild of the distribution with up-to-date software for better support of modern hardware and significantly enhanced ease of use, and we hope that you will enjoy it. This release is available in the form of a live DVD image for AMD/Intel 64-bit CPUs that can be burned on a DVD or installed on a USB key for mobile use and testing and then installed on hard-disk for best performance." See the full release announcement for a list of features and a screenshot.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- bittixlinux9. bittixlinux9 is a 64-bit only Linux distribution which ships with the Xfce desktop by default.
- Raspberry Video. Raspberry Video is focused on quick-to-set-up video slideshows for the Raspberry Pi.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Honeywall CDROM was a CentOS-based distribution with the goal of capturing the activities of cyber threats and analysing the captured data. It has a GUI-based interface for system configuration, administration, and data analysis, and supports the new 3.x branch of Sebek. The CD, release under the General Public License, was a product of the Honeynet Project, a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the security of the Internet by providing cutting-edge research for free.