| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 561, 2 June 2014
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! When it comes to discovering and experiencing Linux distributions we all need to start somewhere. At one point or another we were all beginners and, with that in mind, this week we focus on projects and documentation which are geared toward beginners. We start with a review of the OpenMandriva distribution, a project focused on making computing easy and friendly. In our Tips and Tricks column we cover some common newcomer questions concerning malware, anti-virus software and security. Plus we share the latest news about the TrueCrypt privacy software. In the News section this week we talk about improvements to the lightweight LXQt desktop environment, advances in Debian's GNU/Hurd port and a new terminal emulator which unites text consoles with graphical user interfaces. We also share a beginner's guide to developing Linux kernel modules. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to exciting new developments to come. We wish you all a marvellous week and happy reading!
- Review: Initial impressions of OpenMandriva 2014.0
- News: Debian's GNU/Hurd improvements, Lubuntu's new LXQt features, new terminal emulator for Fedora, introduction to kernel hacking, TrueCrypt's status
- Tips and tricks: Linux, anti-virus software, encryption and firewalls
- Released last week: Linux Mint 17, Kali Linux 1.0.7, Linux Lite 2.0
- Upcoming releases: Mageia 5 Alpha 1
- New distributions: emmbux, linuxBean, Vectorinpup
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Initial impressions of OpenMandriva 2014.0
The OpenMandriva project is a member of the Mandriva family of distributions, a family which includes such projects as ROSA and Mageia. Recently, the OpenMandriva team launched their second release, version 2014.0. Looking through the release announcement we find a few highlights, including the availability of KDE 4.12, LibreOffice 4.2 and the adoption of systemd as the default init technology. The release notes contain further information. OpenMandriva 2014.0 features UEFI support and is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. At the time of writing there is no support for alternative hardware architectures. This version of OpenMandriva makes the switch from MySQL to MariaDB and the release notes point out parental controls are no longer available in this version. OpenMandriva is available in just one edition and the download image for this edition is 1.5 GB in size.
Booting from the OpenMandriva media we are presented with a menu which allows us to either launch a live desktop or start the project's system installer. Assuming we take the live desktop option we are then presented with a series of graphical configuration screens. We are asked to select our language from a list, confirm our time zone and select our keyboard layout. Optionally we can choose to enable some background services, including Samba shares, CUPS printing and secure shell. From there we are brought to the KDE 4.12 desktop. The desktop is presented with bright colours and some basic visual effects are enabled.
The OpenMandriva system installer is a graphical application that does not appear to have changed much since the project's last release. The primary focus of the installer is getting the hard drive partitioned. We can choose to let the installer take over all free space on our drive or we can manually divide up our disk. The installer's partition manager supports a wide range of file systems, including ext3, ext4, JFS, XFS, ReiserFS and Btrfs. We can further enable RAID and LVM volumes. I like the layout of the partition manager. It does a nice job of covering the basics without making things complicated. For people who need more features, like resizing existing partitions, there is an Advanced button which enables additional options. The first time I ran the partition manager I ran into an odd error where I was told not enough space was available for my desired layout. The error shown warned me "1.1GB is available, but 0B needed". I went back a step, deleted my partitions and created them again the same way. The second time through the system installer accepted my drive layout and began copying files to my hard drive. Once the necessary files are copied to the local drive we are asked where the GRUB2 boot loader should be installed. Once the boot loader is in place the system reboots.
OpenMandriva 2014.0 - the Welcome screen and configuration portal
(full image size: 470kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The first time we boot into OpenMandriva we are asked to complete a few more configuration steps. We can optionally remove unused hardware support and localization files. We are then asked to set a password on the administrator account. Clicking the "Advanced" button on the password screen further allows us to enable a guest account on the system. The following screen asks us to create a regular user account. From there we are asked which services (CUPS, Samba or OpenSSH) we would like to enable. After that we are brought to a graphical login screen.
The first time we login to OpenMandriva a welcome screen greets us. This welcome screen contains several tabs. The first tab provides a brief introduction to the distribution. Another tab lists key features of the OpenMandriva operating system. Another page contains links to configuration modules, letting us manage printers, software repositories, themes and security updates. Another tab lists popular applications that are available in the distribution's repositories and, with a click, we can install these items. Yet another tab includes links to the distribution's forums, bug tracker, the OpenMandriva IRC channel and other helpful resources. This welcome screen, which acts as a portal to so many key parts of the distribution, is beautifully presented and I suspect it will be very helpful to new users. Given how easy the welcome screen is to navigate I was happy to find that, once the welcome screen was dismissed, there was an icon on the desktop to bring it back, should we wish to further browse configuration modules or popular software packages.
One of the modules I opened from the welcome screen was the distribution's software update manager. This utility brings up a window where a list of available updates is shown. The day I installed OpenMandriva there were 75 packages (totalling 80MB in size) waiting to be downloaded. These packages all downloaded and applied without difficulty. The software updater which comes with OpenMandriva tends to err on the side of caution, warning us if it needs to acquire additional software to complete an update and letting us know if unnecessary packages remain on the system.
My first impression of OpenMandriva's KDE desktop was quite positive. KDE is presented in the traditional manner with an application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. Icons for accessing the welcome screen and the project's website sit on the desktop. The application menu opens up into a full-screen view that is divided into four tabs. The first tab is the Home tab where commonly accessed programs and documents are represented by large icons. The second tab contains a list of desktop applications stored on the system. We can filter these programs based on their software category using a series of buttons on the left side of the screen. The third tab lists files and folders in our home directory. The final tab displays logout and shutdown options. One thing I enjoyed about the OpenMandriva menu was that it was easy to add and remove items from the Home screen. Right-clicking on an item gives us the option of placing it on the Home screen. Likewise, right-clicking on an item on the Home screen gives us the option of removing it. It may be a small detail, but the feature makes it easy to customize our menu and can greatly speed up navigation.
The application menu also features a search bar where we can search for items. I found the search function worked well in some instances, but not in others. For example, searching for the words "text" or "edit" failed to present me with a text editor, but the word "write" brought up the KWrite editor. On the other hand, searching for "burn" brought up the k3b disc burning application. So it seems the search feature can find some items based on a vague description, but not all. Overall, my first impressions of KDE on OpenMandriva were good. The colours were bright and items clearly labelled. I like that OpenMandriva has not surrendered to the "flat" style themes gaining popularity in some circles, buttons are generally clear to see and widgets are pleasing to my eye.
OpenMandriva 2014.0 - the distribution's application menu
(full image size: 224kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The distribution comes with a collection of useful software, most of which is part of the KDE/Qt family of software. We are given the Firefox web browser, the KMail e-mail client, the Konversation and Kopete messaging clients and the KTorrent bittorrent software. The OpenMandriva Network Centre is available to help us get on-line and the KPPP dial-up software is present for people requiring dial-up networking. LibreOffice is installed for us along with the KOrganizer calendar software. The Okular document viewer is present as is the Kamoso webcam utility. OpenMandriva ships with the Amarok music player, the Amazon music downloader and the Plasma Media Centre software. The VLC multimedia player is installed too. I found OpenMandriva was able to play all media formats I tried during my trial. No Flash plugin was available by default, but Adobe's Flash player is present in the distribution's software repositories. The distribution provides an archive manager, virtual calculator and text editor. The Kleopatra certificate and encryption software is present too. Two configuration panels are present, the KDE System Settings portal helps us adjust the look & feel of the desktop while the Control Centre lets us configure the underlying operating system. In the background OpenMandriva runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.13.
The most impressive aspect of OpenMandriva is probably the distribution's Control Centre. This application provides a central location for the configuration of the entire operating system. The Control Centre is nicely divided into clearly defined sections. One section contains modules for configuring software repositories, installing security updates and managing software packages. Another screen contains modules for viewing and configuring our hardware. A third page allows us to configure our network connection, enable Internet sharing and define host names. Another screen contains modules for working with NFS and Samba shares. Using the Control Centre we can also manage disk partitions, configure the firewall and enable/disable system services.
OpenMandriva 2014.0 - Control Centre and System Settings panels
(full image size: 366kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Most of the Control Centre modules worked well for me. I found each module worked quickly and was presented in a way which I feel will be easy for novice Linux users to navigate. The one module which did not work properly for me was the Backup utility. When I attempted to make a backup of the home directories on my system the backup utility failed silently. When I attempted to view the module's log files to locate the source of the problem I was told I would need to install the syslog daemon to access the log files. I granted the system permission to install this daemon. The installation process failed without providing a reason for the failure. The end result was backups did not work for me and, using the graphical tools, there wasn't any way to discover why the backup did not work. On the positive side of things, I found a module in the KDE System Settings panel which makes working with systemd very easy. The System Settings utility lets us manage system services and other features of systemd with a nice, simple graphical interface.
When I installed OpenMandriva I opted to run the distribution on the Btrfs advanced file system. I found the distribution came with the Btrfs command-line utilities installed, allowing administrators to check the file system's status and perform snapshots. While OpenMandriva does not appear to come with a graphical utility for working with Btrfs, I feel the distribution has made a good first step toward working with the advanced file system. Another feature of the distribution I appreciated was that when I tried to run a command-line program that was not yet present on the operating system, OpenMandriva would offer to install the program for me. This might eventually become annoying if one makes a lot of typos, but I found it to be a useful feature.
OpenMandriva 2014.0 - software and system service management
(full image size: 298kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
I tried running OpenMandriva in two environments, a desktop computer and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both situations OpenMandriva performed well. All of my desktop hardware was recognized and used properly, sound worked out of the box and the desktop was responsive. Boot times were a touch slower than I usually experience with Linux-based distributions, but not by much. When running inside VirtualBox I found the distribution worked well, running quickly and without any problems. OpenMandriva used a surprisingly large amount of memory during my tests, requiring approximately 620MB of memory to login. This is more than twice the amount of memory I usually expect a Linux distribution running KDE to utilize.
Over all, my time with OpenMandriva this past week was pleasant. Following the first release of OpenMandriva I had questioned whether the world really needed one more branch in the Mandriva family tree. We already had ROSA and Mageia, making OpenMandriva seem redundant. Now, I can't say OpenMandriva has completely changed my mind. I do not feel there is a great distinction between Mageia and OpenMandriva. In fact, apart from the application menu, I am not certain I could tell the two distributions apart if sat in front of both them at the same time. That being said, while OpenMandriva may not be exactly pushing into new and exciting territory, I did enjoy my time with this second release a good deal more than I enjoyed the project's debut version. Over the past several months the OpenMandriva developers have smoothed out the edges, made some behind-the-scenes changes and generally got the project on track.
Apart from a minor error during the install process I was able to work around, the distribution gave me no problems. The system was stable, quick to respond, very beginner friendly and attractive to look at. The welcome screen is one of the best greeters I have seen, the installer is pretty friendly and the Control Centre is probably the best configuration panel in the open source world in terms of balancing function with form. I like the systemd configuration module that was added to the System Settings panel and I think it will lower the bar for people who wish to work with systemd. The desktop is a good mix of traditional and new and I feel the developers have found a good balance. In short, OpenMandriva gave me a very capable, very friendly desktop operating system and I think it is one of the better novice-friendly Linux distributions currently available.
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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 2.8 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
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian's GNU/Hurd improvements, Lubuntu's new LXQt features, new terminal emulator for Fedora, introduction to kernel hacking, TrueCrypt's status
The Debian project contains many branches, including ports which combine the GNU userland utilities with alternative kernels. This allows Debian developers to experiment with unusual software combinations, test the robustness of application code and generally just have fun. One of the Debian branches merges the GNU userland software with the Hurd kernel and Debian's package repositories. The Debian GNU/Hurd project has made slow progress over the years, but the developers recently shared some good news: "In late April, the hurd-i386 port has achieved the 80% mark of packages built for the first time[png image], an improvement of 10% since the last bits in 2012. This is on the one hand due to improvements and better compatibility in glibc, and on the other hand due to the work of many porters." One of the packages available for GNU/Hurd is the Iceweasel web browser.
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A few weeks ago we talked about a new desktop environment called LXQt. The new desktop project combines the design of LXDE with Razor-Qt to produce a lightweight, Qt-based interface. The Lubuntu developers see the benefits of the new desktop environment, but felt some features were missing. The Lubuntu blog reports: "It's known that system admin tools for LXQt were lacking. This is no longer true. A new component, lxqt-admin, landed in our git repo. ... These are 'desktop-independent', pure Qt tools based on system-tool-backends." The blog contains screen shots of the new utilities.
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Some people like to get their work done in a classic UNIX text-based terminal and others prefer to work within the comfort of a graphical user interface. Terminal emulators help to bridge the gap between these two environments, but a terminal emulator is still basically a simple text console floating in a graphical user interface. Final Term is a project which weds these two user interfaces together, blurring the line between one and the other. The new terminal emulator features smart command completion, context-aware menus, graphical progress bars for running processes and plug-ins. Early builds of the new terminal emulator are available for Fedora users in this unofficial software repository.
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Have you ever thought about getting involved in developing the Linux kernel? Kernel development can be a rewarding experience, but it is difficult to know where to get started. Last week Linux Voice ran an article on how to dip one's toes into the world of kernel hacking. "Probably the easiest way to start kernel programming is to write a module -- a piece of code that can be dynamically loaded into the kernel and removed from it." The feature goes on to describe the steps involved in creating a simple kernel module that extends the functionality of the operating system.
* * * * *
In a move which surprised many people last week the TrueCrypt website announced the popular volume encryption project was coming to a close. For years the TrueCrypt software has been used by thousands of people to keep their data private and it was an unpleasant surprise when the following message appeared on the TrueCrypt website: "Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues. This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt." No explanation for the open source project being shut down was given, leading to much speculation as to the developers' motivations. Since TrueCrypt's surprise announcement, a new project has started up which provides TrueCrypt packages and, the team claims, will continue work on the TrueCrypt software.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Linux, anti-virus software, encryption and firewalls
Most days I find myself on various technical forums where I am either offering help, asking for it or sharing ideas. Some of the questions I frequently read from newcomers to the open source community are: Can my Linux distribution get a virus? Should I run anti-virus software? If I encrypt my data can someone hack into my computer and access it? What does a firewall protect me from?
These security-related questions come up quite often and so I would like to address them all together. First, I would like to tackle the question of whether Linux distributions can catch a virus. Malware, such as a virus or a trojan, does exist in the Linux ecosystem, but it is rare. In my personal experience malware is much more likely to target Linux-based smart phones (such as Android) than it is to target desktop distributions. There are a number of reasons for this general lack of malware on Linux-based desktop systems. For one, the GNU/Linux desktop community is relatively small when compared next to the Android smart phone community or the Microsoft Windows desktop market. Being a smaller target, malware authors are less likely to target GNU/Linux. The Linux desktop market is also diverse. A malware author targeting Windows usually looks for vulnerabilities in specific, wide-spread applications such as Adobe Reader or Office. In the Linux community there are many different web browsers, document readers and productivity suites and these are typically patched against security threats quickly. This makes desktop Linux a small, heterogeneous target that quickly guards against new, known vulnerabilities.
Linux distributions have other benefits too. Unlike some other desktop operating systems, Linux typically does not try to run executable files it finds on CDs or USB thumb drives, at least not automatically. This guards against malware that is distributed on removable media. Linux distributions also do not allow files downloaded from the web to be run, at least not by default. This means if we download an infected file and click on it, the contents of the file (the malware) is not activated. In addition, many mainstream Linux distributions feature low-level protection against misbehaving software. Technologies such as SELinux and AppArmor help protect against common threats. Finally, most Linux users acquire new software using vetted repositories. Malware is often encountered by people installing programs from unknown third-parties and so people who use their distribution's package manager gain a level of protection. What this all comes down to is it is possible to be infected by a virus while running Linux, but it rarely happens.
With this in mind, I rarely recommend anti-virus software to people who run Linux desktop distributions. While I have seen plenty of Linux-based servers become infected, usually via unsecured network services, it is very rare to find a Linux desktop machine that has been infected. Anti-virus software is one thin layer of protection when compared against the many security barriers already in place on most Linux distributions. Still, for people who prefer to have that extra layer of protection, there are anti-virus scanners available for Linux distributions. Perhaps one of the most popular anti-virus programs available for Linux users is ClamAV. The ClamAV software is open source and freely available. The Ubuntu wiki maintains a list of other anti-virus programs available for Linux.
Next, let's have a look at data encryption. Encryption is a term we often hear thrown around in movies and TV shows, but what does it actually do? Encryption is a method of scrambling the contents of a document or a hard drive so that the content needs to be unlocked (usually with a password) before the data can be accessed. Having one's files encrypted is a little like putting important documents in a vault. The only people who should be able to open the vault and read your documents are the people who know the password. Encryption is especially useful for keeping your files private in the case your computer is stolen. Any files on your hard drive which are encrypted should remain locked up if a thief tries to access the contents of your hard drive. However, encryption does have its limits. A weak password will render encryption virtually useless, much the same way as putting the combination "1-2-3" on your vault will not protect your physical documents. Directory or hard drive encryption also does not protect you if someone manages to remotely gain access to your account. Should an attacker manage to compromise your account, either via a remote login or web browser exploit, then any files you can read they can too. This makes encryption more effective against people physically stealing your computer than against people breaking into your machine remotely.
Finally, let's talk about firewalls. A firewall is usually used to prevent people from remotely contacting (and possibly exploiting) network services you run on your computer. If you have no network services running (or want everyone to be able to access them) then you do not gain from running a firewall. You don't really lose anything from having a firewall in place either, so when in doubt feel free to enable your distribution's firewall. A firewall is a little like a shield which deflects incoming network connections from accessing the services on your computer. It can be used to filter out attacks against services like secure shell. On the other hand, having a firewall in place does not protect a person against web browser exploits or software installed onto the system from removable media or third-party websites.
In short, anti-virus software protects against malware which might be accidentally run on your computer, a firewall guards against remote intrusions and encryption keeps your data private in the case someone gains physical access to your computer. None of these is fool-proof, but each tool offers protection against a specific threat.
|Released Last Week
MakuluLinux 6.0 "Xfce", 6.1 "Xfce"
Jacque Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 6.0 "Xfce" edition, a Debian-based desktop distribution: "MakuluLinux Xfce 6.0 is part of the series dubbed 'Imperium' (Latin for 'power to command'). Once again we focus not only on bug fixing and new features, but also putting the power into the user's hands; the main goal here was choice. To feature pack this edition and give the user many choices that he can navigate with a simple few clicks. This is just one more step in enhancing the total out-of-the-box experience for the end user. MakuluLinux Xfce 6 continues to push boundaries in the Linux world. After much consideration and input from users and suggestion from the tester team, I decided to try out a new installer." Read the rest of the release announcement for a full list of features and a couple of known issues.
MakuluLinux 6.1 "Xfce" - a Debian-based distribution for the desktop
(full image size: 1,365kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Alex Filgueira has announced the release of Antergos 2014.05.26, an Arch-based distribution featuring the GNOME 3.12 desktop: "Antergos 2014.05.26 available. At last! Here it is... a new stable release of Antergos. A lot of bug fixes and improvements... and the long-awaited KDE option in our installer (KDE 4.13.1 at the time of writing), along with MATE (MATE 1.8 at the time of writing). And another announcement. We are now working with the Numix guys and Antergos will have the Numix icon theme replacing the old-but-always-remembered Faenza. We are using also Numix GTK+ themes and the GNOME-Shell theme, customized for Antergos with the name 'Numix Frost'. In the future we will help the Numix project to provide a Plasma theme for our Qt desktops." Read the full release announcement which includes many screenshots.
Antergos 2014.05.26 - an Arch-based distribution with GNOME 3.12
(full image size: 584kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Kali Linux 1.0.7
Mati Aharoni has announced the release of Kali Linux 1.0.7, the latest update of the specialist distribution designed for penetration testing and forensic analysis: "Kali linux 1.0.7 has just been released, complete with a whole bunch of tool updates, a new kernel, and some cool new features. Check out our changelog for a full list of these items. One of the new sought-out features introduced (which is also partially responsible for the kernel update) is the ability to create Kali Linux live USB with LUKS encrypted persistence. This feature ushers in a new era of secure Kali Linux USB portability, allowing us to either boot to a 'clean' Kali image or alternatively, overlay it with the contents of a persistent encrypted partition, all within the same USB drive." Read the release announcement for more information and upgrade instructions.
Linux Mint 17
Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Linux Mint 17: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 17 'Qiana'. Linux Mint 17 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2019. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use. The Update manager has been hugely improved. It shows more information, it looks better, it feels faster, and it gets less in your way. It no longer needs to reload itself in root mode when you click on it. It no longer checks for an Internet connection or waits for the network manager and it no longer locks the APT cache at session startup. The UI has been improved, the icons were modified a bit and the changelog retrieval is now much faster and more reliable." There are separate release announcements for the Cinnamon and MATE editions.
Linux Mint 17 - the MATE desktop and application menu
(full image size: 391kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Salix 14.1 "MATE"
George Vlahavas has announced the release of Salix 14.1 "MATE" edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the MATE 1.8 desktop environment: "Salix MATE is officially back. Our previous MATE release (back in 13.37) came with high praise from a lot of our users, with many considering it as our best release ever. Salix MATE 14.1, built around the latest MATE 1.8 desktop environment comes to follow up with that. The MATE desktop environment brings a familiar and user-friendly approach to the desktop, with sane defaults and a great selection of application bundled with it. Included in this release, alongside the MATE desktop applications like the Caja file manager, the MATE Control Center and all the MATE panel applets and utilities, is the latest Firefox ESR browser, the LibreOffice suite, GIMP, the ClawsMail e-mail client, the Transmission torrent client...." Continue to the release announcement to learn more.
Linux Lite 2.0
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 2.0, the new stable version of the project's lightweight Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop: "Linux Lite 2.0, code name 'Beryl', is now available for download. This build is the work of four months of constant development and the implementation of the best ideas from the team and the wider community. This also marks the beginning of our own repositories for our custom software so that changes and improvements to the operating system can be offered regularly. Now Lite User Manager, Lite Manual, Lite Software (install and remove additional software) and Lite Fix can evolve more easily to meet the needs of the user. In this release we wanted to combine the newest versions of well-established and supported software like LibreOffice, VLC, WINE and GIMP so that people have access to the latest features in those programs." Read the full release announcement which includes numerous screenshots.
Linux Lite 2.0 - the Xfce desktop and application menu
(full image size: 276kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
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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|
- emmbux. emmbux is a Linux distribution based on Xubuntu.
- linuxBean. linuxBean is a lightweight Linux distribution derived from Ubuntu.
- Vectorinpup. Vectorinpup is a lightweight distribution based on Puppy Linux using Slackware's software packages.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 June 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 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Polar Bear Linux
Polar Bear Linux was a source-based GNU/Linux distribution derived from Linux From Scratch. All software packages are provided in the form of source code, which are compiled during installation. This has many advantages, as well as a major drawback in the time it takes to install the system (approximately 9 hours for a base system). Polar Bear Linux uses a simple package manager called Tarball Package Manager (TBPKG).