| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 551, 24 March 2014
Welcome to this year's 12th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Linux distributions are becoming more sophisticated, adopting more powerful tools and growing in market share. This expansion in capability and userbase results in more software companies moving to support Linux and more hardware companies providing device drivers. This week we focus on the expansion of Linux distributions, new markets, opportunities opening to Linux users and powerful technologies available to Linux administrators. In the News section this week we follow Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth's call for an end to proprietary firmware. We also discuss game retailer GOG's decision to support Linux, openSUSE's plans for their next major release and Debian's tentative plan to extend support for Debian Squeeze. In our Tips and Tricks column, Jesse Smith talks about the advantages of advanced file systems and gives a tutorial on using Logical Volume Management. In our feature this week we cover Linux Mint Debian Edition, a rolling release platform which mixes the power of Debian with the convenience of Linux Mint. Read on to find out how the Debian Edition of Mint compares to the Ubuntu-based flavours Mint offers. Plus we cover last week's distribution releases and look ahead to new developers to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403
The Linux Mint distribution has become one of the most popular desktop distributions available. The project has a few official editions and a handful of community editions, most of which are based on the Ubuntu operating system or a member of the Ubuntu family. Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is a branch of the Mint project which combines Mint's popular and convenient utilities with Debian packages. LMDE uses Debian Testing as a base and adds a nice, graphical installer and a number of useful administrative tools. According to the Mint website, LMDE offers two benefits over Mint's Ubuntu-based editions. The first is that Debian's base requires fewer resources, making for a lighter, faster desktop system. The second benefit is LMDE is a rolling release distribution which means packages are constantly upgraded, removing the need to re-install or upgrade the operating system -- the operating system does not hit an end-of-life, it is continuously supported. LMDE does have some drawbacks though. The project's website mentions that LMDE is not as user friendly as the Ubuntu-based editions of Mint and LMDE users will not be able to make use of Ubuntu's PPA repositories or other Ubuntu-specific technologies.
The latest version of LMDE is available in two editions, MATE and Cinnamon. Both editions are available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. I opted to try the MATE edition and found the provided ISO file was 1.3GB in size. Booting from the installation media brings us to the MATE desktop. The user interface is arranged in the traditional style with an application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. Icons sit on the desktop, providing access to the file system and system installer. The application menu uses a custom layout that matches other Mint editions. The Mint menu is arranged in a way which combines file locations and popular applications (by default) while allowing us to click a button in order to browse all available desktop applications in a classic manner.
Jumping into the LMDE graphical installer we are asked to provide our preferred language and then select our time zone from a map of the world. We then confirm our keyboard's layout. Next we are asked to create a user account for ourselves and assign our computer a hostname. The following screen features disk partitioning. By default the Mint installer will suggest a partition layout for us and this layout should work for most people. Should we wish to customize our partitions clicking a button will launch the friendly GParted partition editor. Once GParted has been closed we can assign mount points to our partitions by either double-clicking on them or right-clicking a partition. The final page of the system installer asks if we would like to install the GRUB boot loader and, if so, where. The system installer then quickly copied its files to my local drive and prompted me to reboot the computer.
Booting into LMDE the first time brings us to a graphical login screen. The background is green and, on my systems, looked to be slowly falling, like an emerald waterfall. Logging in brings up a welcome screen which offers us links to the project's forums, documentation, known issues page, hardware database, tutorials and the donation page. Dismissing this welcome screen returns us to the MATE desktop. On the day I installed LMDE the project's main package repository went off-line. Following the steps provided on Mint's blog I switched to a fast package repository in my region before attempting to install or upgrade any software.
Linux Mint Debian 201403 -- Adjusting repositories and desktop settings
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Shortly after I switched software repositories a notification appeared in my system tray letting me know software updates were available. Clicking the notification icon brought up a graphical update manager which listed the possible updates. There were just six small packages waiting and these all appeared to download and install without any problems. Once they finished downloading I clicked on the update manager's Update Pack button to see if I was using the latest available group of packages. This caused the update manager to freeze and I had to force it to close. I tried a couple more times over the next few days to check for update packs and each time the update manager froze.
Soon into my experiment with LMDE I noticed my "?" key was not working properly. Instead of a forward slash or a question mark the key was producing an accented "e" on my screen. I had seen this before and went to change the keyboard layout in the MATE desktop settings. Attempting to open the keyboard layout app caused the configuration app's window to freeze as it was opening. I found the Appearance app, also a MATE configuration tool, would lock-up upon opening. Rebooting the operating system and approaching these configuration apps from Mint's Control Centre fixed the problem. I was then able to change my keyboard's layout from French to US. During the installation I'm quite sure I opted for the standard US keyboard to begin with, but I have run into similar layout issues with other distributions and I believe the problem stems from the installer using my location (time zone) in Canada to (incorrectly) guess my keyboard's layout.
Another problem I ran into while using LMDE was that a variety of actions would cause an endless stream of file manager windows to open, quickly filling the display. Sometimes this endless flow of file manager windows would appear while I was saving a file in an application, other times the windows would start appearing if I tried to open the Caja file manager. A few times the endless stream of windows began spawning when I tried to play a music file. Anything and, seemingly, nothing would cause the screen to fill up with file manager windows. Trying to close them didn't work and killing all the Caja processes did not work either, more windows would continue to appear. I also found logging out of my account and logging in again would just resume the spawning of new windows. The only (temporary) fix I found was to reboot the computer. Even wiping all of my user's configuration files did not fix the glitch. Eventually this regular stream of infinite windows appearing on my display caused me to put aside LMDE, but not before exploring the distribution a bit more.
Linux Mint Debian 201403 -- Various desktop applications
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LMDE comes with a useful collection of desktop software. Poking through the application menu I found the Firefox web browser, the VLC multimedia player, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Pidgin messaging software. The distribution also ships with the Transmission bittorrent client, the XChat IRC client, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and LibreOffice. LMDE ships with a document viewer, the Totem video player, the Banshee audio player and the Brasero disc burning software. Further exploring the application menu we find a system monitor, a whole collection of desktop configuration applications for MATE, an archive manager, virtual calculator and text editor. The Network Manager software assists us in getting on-line. There are several administrative tools too, such as a services manager, a network configuration utility, a printer manager, a website blocker and a backup app. LMDE ships with the GNU Compiler Collection, Flash support, Java and popular multimedia codecs. Under the hood I found the Linux kernel, version 3.11.
Should we wish to download additional software LMDE provides two graphical package managers. The first is Synaptic, a classic package manager that allows us to browse lists of software and create batches of actions to perform. Synaptic generally works quickly, but has a technical style which may be intimidating to new users. The second package manager, mintInstall, provides a nice, friendly interface where we browse through categories of software. Clicking an application's icon brings up detailed information on the package along with a screen shot, a single-click Install button and reviews from other users. The mintInstall application allows us to queue software for installation or removal and then continue to browse for further software packages while our software downloads in the background. And there are many software packages from which to choose with over 40,000 items in the combined Debian and Mint repositories. Early on I experienced some trouble with LMDE's package managers. The first time I tried to install software I was informed there was a problem with the underlying dpkg package manager. Resolving this issue eventually required a trip to the command line where I found dpkg needed to be run with the "--configure -a" parameters before I could install, add or upgrade any software. Once dpkg had been sorted out, further package installations and removals went smoothly.
Linux Mint Debian Edition 201403 -- Managing software packages with mintInstall
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I tried running LMDE in two environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a physical desktop machine. In both environments LMDE detected all of my hardware, automatically set up a network connection and set my display to its maximum resolution. Audio worked out of the box and the MATE desktop was very responsive. LMDE used more memory than most other distributions shipping with the MATE interface; I found LMDE required 290MB of RAM to login to the default desktop environment.
After a few days with LMDE I came to the conclusion that the distribution does live up to its description. The Mint website says LMDE may have some rough edges and be less convenient for users when compared against the Ubuntu-based editions of Mint. I agree. The LMDE experience is quite similar to Linux Mint's main edition on the surface, but there were various problems present which I do not recall experiencing when running Mint's other editions. Some of these problems were minor, like my keyboard mapping defaulting to French or the MATE desktop configuration apps locking up. Others were a bit more serious such as when I had to drop to a command line interface to fix an issue with the package manager. The file manager window spawning an endless supply of new windows was also most unwelcome. All in all, LMDE may provide the convenience of a rolling release distribution and the power of Mint's many utilities, but I also found it came with some nasty surprises which, eventually, made me abandon it as a desktop solution. Individually the bugs I encountered were not show stoppers, most of them were minor, but they added up. In short, I suspect most users will be better served using Mint's Ubuntu-based, long term support edition.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Shuttleworth calls for an end to proprietary firmware, GOG to offer Linux support, openSUSE plans 13.2 release, Debian considers extended support for Squeeze and the election for Debian's new Project Leader begins
In a blog post last week Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu distribution, called for an end to proprietary firmware. Proprietary firmware, he argues, is likely to be buggy, insecure and may even be maliciously used against the computer's owner. "In ye olden days, a manufacturer would ship Windows, which could not be changed, and they wanted to innovate on the motherboard, so they used firmware to present a standard interface for things like power management to a platform that could not modified to accommodate their innovation. Today, that same manufacturer can innovate on the hardware and publish a patch for Linux to express that innovation -- and Linux is almost certainly the platform that matters." Shuttleworth goes on to say that the Linux kernel is the place to deliver software innovation and solutions and urges developers to avoid proprietary firmware, especially firmware containing executable code.
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GOG is a popular website for purchasing DRM-free games, particularly older games. To date the GOG website has offered games for the Windows and OS X platforms only and has avoided calls asking them to offer products for Linux users. That is about to change. In an announcement GOG made it known they will soon be selling DRM-free games for Linux Mint and Ubuntu users. "We're initially going to be launching our Linux support on GOG.com with the full GOG.com treatment for Ubuntu and Mint. That means that right now we're hammering away at testing games on a variety of configurations, training up our teams on Linux-speak, and generally getting geared up for a big kick-off in the fall with at least 100 Linux games ready for you to play. This is, of course, going to include games that we sell which already have Linux clients, but we'll also be bringing Linux gamers a variety of classics that are, for the first time, officially supported and maintained by a storefront like ours."
* * * * *
In an announcement which may bring on feelings of déjà vu, the openSUSE project has reported, for the second time in two months, that their rsync server is off-line. The openSUSE website reports, "As the hardware is located in the data center of our sponsor IP Exchange, we apologize for the delay it will take to fix the problem: we just need a field worker at the location who has the appropriate permissions and skills. During the downtime (and maybe also a good tip afterward), please check ... for the closest mirror nearby your location that also offers rsync for you."
In happier news, the openSUSE project is planning their next release, version 13.2, which will probably arrive in November 2014. "Our normal 8-month release cycle would warrant a release in July, but the openSUSE team has proposed to change the schedule due to the work they are doing on our tooling and infrastructure. In the discussions on our mailing list it became clear a November release has much support." One of the primary features planned for openSUSE's 13.2 release is the inclusion of the advanced file system, Btrfs, as the distribution's default. The next version of openSUSE will likely also feature early KDE 5 support and Wayland display server packages.
* * * * *
Good news for fans of Debian Squeeze may follow a recent meeting of the Debian Security Team. One of the items the Debian Security Team discussed was the possibility of making Debian Squeeze a long term support release, extending the supported life span of Debian's 6.0 branch. "It needs to be pointed out that for this effort to be sustainable actual contributions by interested parties are required. Squeeze-LTS is not something that will magically fall from the sky. If you're dependent/interested in extended security support you should make an effort to contribute, either by contributing on your own or by paying a Debian developer/consultant to contribute for you. The security team itself is driving the effort, not doing it." The Debian Security Team is not yet certain if there are enough people interested in long term support for Squeeze and interested parties should contact the group.
In other Debian news, the venerable open source project kicked off the election race for Debian's next Project Leader. There are just two candidates in this year's election, current Project Leader Lucas Nussbaum and challenger Neil McGovern. The two candidates will be putting forward their positions and answering questions on the Debian-Vote mailing list from now until March 30th. Voting will commence on March 31st and run for two weeks. Both candidates have put forward ideas on ways to improve Debian. Some ideas that have been suggested include improving the project's security, porting Debian to more mobile devices and introducing support for personal package archives (PPA).
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Advanced File Systems and Logical Volume Management
On occasion I have written about advanced file systems and some of the benefits technologies such as Btrfs and ZFS provide. One form of advanced and flexible storage technology I tend to skip over is Logical Volume Management (LVM), which is commonly used in Linux distributions. What is LVM, why do people use it and how does it work? These are questions I have received recently and I would like to tackle all of those questions here, together.
First, before we talk about the advantages of a technology like LVM, it is important to understand the limitations of standard file systems so we can appreciate what LVM improves. With traditional file systems we divide a hard disk into partitions. Each of these partitions is then assigned a mount point. This means we may have one partition for our root file system, another for our home directory and maybe a third for the /var directory. The one-to-one arrangement of one partition to one file system branch makes it fairly easy to visualize how standard file systems work. Where traditional file systems are limited is in their flexibility. Imagine we have a 100GB hard drive and we divide it into three parts, assigning 10GB for our root partition, 10GB for /var and the remaining 80GB is used for our /home file system. That seems fine for now, but what if we find out later that 10GB is not big enough for our /var file system? We could shrink our /home partition (if it is not full) and expand /var, but that requires taking our machine off-line. We could buy a new hard disk and make a /var partition there and then erase the existing /var, but again that requires taking the system off-line and resizing operations are awkward and time consuming. Basically, the big problems with traditional file systems are they are not fluid, resizing them is awkward and they have a strict one-to-one relationship with the underlying partitions. To get around these limitations we can use LVM.
The hardest part about learning to use LVM is the jargon involved. With LVM there are three terms which get thrown around a lot and it is important to understand them. The first term is physical volume. A physical volume is another way of saying a hard drive or a partition. The second term is volume group. A volume group is simply a collection of physical volumes. Let's say we have three hard drives (A, B and C), if we link drives A and B together we can consider them a volume group. Another hard drive, such a C, could be made into a separate volume group consisting of a single physical volume. The third term is logical volume. A logical volume is basically a file system which exists inside a volume group. If this is difficult to visualize I find it helps to think about cookies.
Traditional file systems are like baking cookies. We scoop out some raw dough onto a pan. Each cookie is physically separate from all other cookies. Once we put the pan in the oven the cookies harden and come out of the oven as fixed-sized individual snacks. A cookie and a traditional file system are both of a fixed size, separate from all other cookies or partitions. They cannot be merged once made and resizing them is difficult. If you make eight cookies and ten friends come to visit you cannot simply make each cookie smaller, freeing up dough for the extra two guests. Likewise, if six people arrive you cannot dynamically erase two cookies and make the remaining six cookies bigger to satisfy your guests. Now, let's re-imagine cookie baking with LVM. With LVM what we do is take all of the cookie dough and spread it onto the pan as one big block. We put the block of dough in the oven and, when it comes out, we have a solid sheet, a giant cookie that we can then carve into as many pieces of any size we wish. It doesn't matter how many people show up now, because we can dynamically carve the block of cookie so each person gets a fair share. LVM lets us group all of our storage devices (cookie dough) into one big block so that we can carve up the block into separate, dynamic file systems.
By now you are probably enlightened (or hungry) and ready for an example. For the purposes of this tutorial I am going to say I have two hard drives (sda and sdb). I will also assume we have our distribution's LVM packages installed. First I am going to create a LVM-compatible partition on sda. This partition will be called sda1. To do this I launch cfdisk or another partition manager and create a partition which takes up the entire drive. I set the partition type to be Linux-LVM, which is numerically identified by the code 8E.
Our next step is to mark our device, sda1, as being a physical volume which can be used by LVM.
Now we have a physical volume and we want to use it to create a volume group. We can create a volume group called datapool using the following command:
vgcreate datapool /dev/sda1
Now that we have a volume group consisting of one partition, sda1, we can divide the group into separate file systems or logical volumes. Here we create a logical volume called myhome and make it 50GB in size.
lvcreate -n myhome -L 50g datapool
Now we have a virtual partition, or logical volume, called myhome. The next thing we need to do is format it with a file system. In this example we use the ext3 file system to format myhome. Remember, the logical volume myhome exists within the volume group datapool.
Finally, we get to mount the logical volume and start making use of it. Here we create a new mount point, called Data, and attach our new logical volume to the Data directory.
Were we to run the df command right now we should see a 50GB file system mounted under the Data directory. This is great, but earlier we talked about resizing and how dynamic LVM can be. What if we want to make the logical volume myhome larger? We can do that by extending the logical volume and then resizing its file system. Here we grow the myhome volume by 100GB.
mount /dev/datapool/myhome Data
lvextend -L +100g datapool/myhome
We do not even need to take the file system off-line or reboot or anything of that nature. Simply running these commands expands the logical volume and the file system on it. We now have a 150GB storage pool under the Data directory.
At the moment we just have one device, sda1, in our volume group. What if we run out of space and want to add a new hard drive to our storage pool? In that case the steps are similar to creating the volume group in the first place. We create a partition on our second disk, sdb, and make it of type Linux-LVM. We then mark the new device as a physical volume.
Next we add the new device to our volume group.
vgextend datapool /dev/sdb1
This gives us a whole new device in our volume group which we can then assign to a logical volume. We can either create a new logical volume and assign it its own mount point or we could add the new storage to our existing myhome logical volume using the lvextend command. If at any point we would like to see a list of physical volumes, volume groups or our logical volumes we can run special list commands to display the existing groups and their sizes. The commands pvs, vgs, and lvs list the existing physical volumes, volume groups and logical volumes, respectively.
A word of warning about using LVM: It is a powerful and flexible technology which can be very useful in situations where data storage requires change. This makes LVM especially useful on servers where data can grow quickly and, sometimes, in unpredictable ways. However, there is a potential problem with using LVM and that is if one physical storage device fails we can lose all of the data stored in the volume group. For instance, if I have drives A, B and C in a volume group and drive C fails, I may have just lost all of my data stored in the entire volume group. For this reason it is very important to make regular backups of data stored on a volume group as files may be stretched across any or all devices inside the group.
|Released Last Week
SparkyLinux 3.3 "MATE", "Xfce", "Base"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.3 "MATE", "Xfce", and the newly introduced "Base" (Openbox) editions, a set of Debian-based distributions featuring various lightweight desktop user interfaces: "SparkyLinux 3.3 'Annagerman' MATE, Xfce, and Base is out. New ISO images of SparkyLinux provide updates and some improvements. All packages upgraded from Debian testing repositories as of 2014/03/16. This is the end of Sparky Ultra and CLI Editions. Instead of them, there is a new 'Base' Edition which is a combination of Ultra and CLI. Sparky Base Edition is targeted to people who want to build their own desktop on the top of Debian testing base. Compared to the CLI Edition, Sparky 'Base' works in graphical mode so it will be much easier to install and configure additional applications than before. Sparky Base is very light and its size is about 600 MB. The 'new' installer is recommended for a hard drive installation." Check the release announcement for further details.
José Antonio Calvo has announced the release of Zentyal 3.4, an updated version of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution for small and medium businesses: "Zentyal development team is proud to announce the release of Zentyal 3.4, a new Zentyal Server Community Edition. Zentyal Server is the open source alternative to Windows Small Business Server, including native replacements to Microsoft Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server. Among all the changes Zentyal 3.4 introduces, we would like to put the focus on: High Availability for Unified Threat Management (UTM) and Gateway; Outlook Anywhere support; New restyled Zentyal webmail UI; Out of Office support for OpenChange. Core Changes: New base distribution: Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy; Removal of Apache instance for Zentyal; Administration Improved system of bug reports; Improved management of exceptions...." Read the official announcement for more details such as upgrading instructions and the lengthy changelog.
Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) 0.23, a security upgrade of the Debian-based distribution and live CD pre-configured for anonymous web browsing, has been released: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 0.23, is out. All users must upgrade as soon as possible: this release fixes numerous security issues. Security fixes: Upgrade the web browser to 24.4.0esr-0+tails1~bpo60+1 (Firefox 24.4.0esr + Iceweasel patches + Torbrowser patches). Major new features: Spoof the network interfaces' MAC address by default - It can be disabled in Tails Greeter; Rework the way to configure how Tor connects to the network by using bridges, proxies and restrictive firewalls - This option can be set from Tails Greeter, and replaces the old experimental 'bridge mode' feature...." Read the full release announcement with links to changelog, known issues, and calendar/roadmap.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 24.0, a new stable version of the Debian-based distribution designed primarily for web kiosks with Firefox as the only user application: "It has been 3 months since the Webconverger 23 release which has been a fine stable release. Now it's time to upgrade for Live users for security reasons and a couple of new features mainly driven by Firefox. Detailed changes between 23.0 and 24.0: Firefox 28; MP4 video playing support, so you can use an MP4 video now to attract patrons to your service when idle; Flash security updates, though do try HTML video instead, so we can deprecate Flash; Linux kernel 3.12, a longterm stable kernel; New filter= API which complements our new (yet to be launched) filter.webconverger.com service for fine grained blacklisting (think OpenDNS, but cheaper). For install users of 23.0, the upgrade delta is about 178M, when automatically upgrading...." Read the full release announcement.
Euan Thoms has announced the release of Kwheezy 1.5, which is a Debian-based distribution with a pre-configured KDE desktop, designed for general-purpose desktop computing: "Version 1.5 is now available from the download page. This release improves the installer, ships Debian updates, changes and adds some new software. Changes in version 1.5: Improved installer - add boot flag to root partition, try to fix progress bar not updating; New App 'Kwheezy Connector' will easily setup mounted WebDAV and SFTP connections; Updated to Debian 7.4; Default font changed to Deja Vu Sans; Google Earth updated to version 7...." Here is the brief release announcement with upgrade notes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- LaciOS. The LaciOS project is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian's Testing repositories. The distribution strives to be an easy to use desktop operating system.
- CruxEX. CruxEX is a CRUX-based distribution which ships with the LXDE graphical user interface.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 31 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 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
NixOS is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution that aims to improve the state of the art in system configuration management. In NixOS, the entire operating system, including the kernel, applications, system packages and configuration files, are built by the Nix package manager. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other; as a result there are no /bin, /sbin, /lib or /usr directories and all packages are kept in /nix/store instead. Other innovative features of NixOS include reliable upgrades, rollbacks, reproducible system configurations, source-based model with binaries, and multi-user package management. Although NixOS started as a research project, it is now a functional and usable operating system that includes hardware detection, KDE as the default desktop, and systemd for managing system services.