| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 562, 9 June 2014
Welcome to this year's 23rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! It has been said that the one constant in this world is change. This week we take a look at projects which are embracing change, be it in the form of new people, new policies or new approaches to package management. We begin with a review of the GoboLinux distribution, a project which takes an unusual approach to file system structure and software management. In our News section this week we discuss the Gentoo Council's views on packaging and configuration. We also hear from Gentoo developer Brian Dolbec and his views on Gentoo and open source software. Last year Ubuntu began raising funds by way of donations and we link to a report on how that donation money is being spent. Fedora chose a new Project Leader, Matthew Miller, last week and we share Miller's initial thoughts on his new position. In our Tips and Tricks section we discuss command line tricks and link to a fun command line resource. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to fun, new releases to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Introducing GoboLinux 015
As you may remember from my review of NixOS, I appreciate projects which attempt to deliver alternative approaches to software management. There are problems inherent in any package management system and it is good to explore alternatives which may make life easier for either the people who package software or the end-users. One distribution which takes an unusual approach to delivering software is GoboLinux. As the project's website states, "GoboLinux is an alternative Linux distribution which redefines the entire file system hierarchy. In GoboLinux you don't need a package database because the file system is the database: each program resides in its own directory."
In essence, GoboLinux organizes software on the system differently than most Linux distributions. Software is stored in a directory hierarchy which divides software by name and by version. This allows users to locate and manage software using directories based on the package's name. New software versions can be installed alongside older versions of packages. Old versions of software we no longer want can be removed simply by deleting the program's directory. This means that, rather than having most of our executable files all collected together in the /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin directory while data files are scattered through /usr/share and configuration files reside in /etc, we might have a directory called /Programs/Firefox/28.0 or /Programs/Firefox/29.0. All of a program's configuration files, data and executables reside in these self-contained directories. On paper, at least, it makes the organization of the file system much cleaner.
The latest release of GoboLinux, version 015, includes some brief release notes and a list of available software packages. There is just one edition of GoboLinux. It is built for the 32-bit x86 architecture (with PAE support) and features the Enlightenment graphical user interface. Prior to trying GoboLinux I recommend reading the distribution's documentation as GoboLinux does a few things differently from most other Linux distributions. The download for GoboLinux is approximately 1.5 GB in size.
Booting from the GoboLinux media brings up a screen with text-based menus. Using these menus we are asked to select our preferred language from a list and choose our keyboard's layout. We are then presented with a text console where we are logged in as the user "gobo". Instructions on the screen tell us how to bring up a graphical user interface and how to launch the system installer. The graphical environment turns out to be the Enlightenment window manager. On the desktop are icons for running the GParted partition manager and the system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find an application menu, task switcher and system tray.
GoboLinux 015 - the graphical system installer
(full image size: 1.4MB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Opening the graphical system installer we are first shown a screen which lets us know we should partition our hard drive prior to going through the installation process. Assuming we have already partitioned our disk the installer asks us which partition we should use for GoboLinux and what file system we would like to use. Our file system options are limited to ext2, ext3 or ext4. We can choose to create a swap file within the GoboLinux partition if we wish. We are next asked whether we would like to perform a Base, Typical or Full installation. The Base set of packages appears to provide a text console interface only and requires 1 GB of hard disk space.
The Typical installation gives us a minimum graphical environment. The Full option installs all available packages from the GoboLinux media onto our hard drive and uses about 4 GB of space. I opted to perform the Full installation. We are next asked whether we want to install the GRUB 2 boot loader and, if so, where. The installer then walks us through choosing a hostname for our computer, selecting our keyboard's layout, selecting our time zone from a list and guarding the root account with a password. We can then add regular user accounts to the system, several accounts if we like. The installer then copies its files to the local drive and, when it is finished, we are asked to reboot the computer.
GoboLinux boots to a text console and presents us with a login prompt. We can get back to the Enlightenment graphical interface if we want by signing into our user account and running the "startx" command. At this point I had a running installation, the distribution seemed to be working okay and I had some desktop application to play with. My next step was to try to figure out how to install security updates and download additional software and that is when things started getting tricky. My first problem was I could not find a package manager in the application menu. Browsing through the website I had trouble finding documentation which related to package management, which struck me as odd since the distribution has a focus on alternative software management. Next I tried to access the user forum, but it was down (at the time of writing). I also tried the GoboLinux wiki and ran into a series of database errors.
Next I considered downloading packages directly from the project's mirrors, but most of the mirrors were off-line. I eventually found a Wikipedia entry which talked about the Compile program and how it is used to download and build third-party software on GoboLinux. I tried running the Compile program on a few packages. Typically Compile would fail to download the source code it needed or it would fail to locate a dependency and exit with a message telling me I should run InstallPackage instead. The InstallPackage program appears to handle pre-built binary software. However, each time I ran InstallPackage it failed to find the software I wanted. I tried running both utilities in an attempt to grab a variety of software including Inkscape, Java, Gnash, a few command-line shells and other desktop programs. The only item I successfully managed to download and install was the tcsh command-line shell, which Compile downloaded and built from source code. All other items I attempted to download failed at some point in the process.
GoboLinux 015 - the Enlightenment desktop and Firefox web browser
(full image size: 996kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
GoboLinux comes with a handful of desktop applications. We are given the Firefox web browser, the Epour bittorrent client, the Pidgin messaging software and the Econnman network manager. The VLC multimedia player is included for us along with the Audacious music player and the Rage video player. GoboLinux ships with multimedia codecs for playing most media formats. Flash is not included by default, though I did find an entry for the Gnash open source Flash player in the distribution's collection of build scripts. The installation of Gnash eventually failed. Digging into the application menu further we find the LibreOffice productivity suite, a PDF document viewer, the Htop process monitor and the Enlightenment File Manager. The distribution ships with the GNU Image Manipulation Program, the Mirage image viewer and the GParted partition manager. In the background GoboLinux runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.14. Typing in a command which is not available locally, but is in the repositories, will bring up instructions for acquiring the package using Compile or InstallPackage. Running either of these commands to install packages usually failed during my trial.
I tried running GoboLinux in two test environments, on a desktop machine and in a VirtualBox virtual environment. In both environments GoboLinux performed well. All of my desktop's hardware was properly detected and utilized, the distribution ran fairly quickly and the Enlightenment desktop was responsive. While sitting at the command line GoboLinux used approximately 32 MB of memory and, when logged into Enlightenment, the distribution required approximately 140 MB of RAM.
When considering GoboLinux I think it is important to divide the conversation into two parts, the design of the file system as a theory and the functionality of the package management tools in practice. Looking at the theory first, the idea of placing software into modular directories to make organization easier has been tried a number of times. The idea is appealing because it makes finding software and organizing the file system easier from a human point of view. This approach feels more tidy and makes directory structures easier to read.
However, to implement these alternative file systems we need to teach the computer to find and use resources and that is where the idea typically starts to break down. How does one tell the computer to find the executable files in the correct spot? Do we hack in symbolic links and, if so, how do we manage multiple versions of files? Do we add additional paths to our list of areas where executable files can be found? In both cases the package manager needs to know how to cleanly remove software we no longer need without orphaning remaining versions. Finally, how do we deal with legacy issues when older (or unpatched) software wants to use standard file system layouts? In a perfect world software would be flexible on the locations of files, but the reality is software often looks for files in standard locations.
GoboLinux 015 - the alternative file system layout
(full image size: 344kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
What the GoboLinux distribution has done is create a new file system layout that lives alongside the original. The original file system structure is filled with symbolic links to the new, modular locations. Then the standard file system is hidden from the end-user using a kernel module. The standard file system is still there, full of symbolic links, but we cannot see it by default. This means if something goes wrong and we need to access a file in the traditional file system we need to either have a good idea of where everything is located or we need to disable the kernel module which hides directories from us. What I took away from my time with GoboLinux is the developers have put forward an interesting concept, but to do so there are several layers of hacks in place which use (and hide) the traditional file system. Which leaves me wondering if we might be better off with less complexity and stick to the traditional file system layout.
The second aspect of GoboLinux, the practical side of package management, is basically broken. There are two tools I found for working with software, InstallPackage for dealing with pre-built binary files and Compile for building software from source code. The InstallPackage program failed on every bundle I attempted to download. This was especially frustrating when, after trying to run a program that was not yet installed, the system would prompt me to run "InstallPackage package-name". Following the instructions always resulted in the system telling me it could not find or install the package. Using the Compile utility to build software from source code rarely worked either, most packages failed to build due to missing dependencies or broken links to source code. The end result was that I was stuck using just the software which was provided in the installation image as the package management tools were rendered ineffective.
In the end, I appreciate the GoboLinux developers for trying something different. I always like to see someone come along and try to improve software management. I even appreciate trying to shake up the arcane Linux file system. However, GoboLinux, from a practical point of view, simply did not deliver an alternative file system or effective package management. Perhaps, down the line, the software management tools will improve and the collection of available packages will grow. For now, GoboLinux presents some interesting ideas, but not a practical implementation.
* * * * *
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)
Gentoo shares developer interview and software packaging policy, Ubuntu reveals community funding, Fedora announces new project leader
Each month the Gentoo Monthly Newsletter interviews a member of the project's development team and this month it was Brian Dolbec's turn. In the interview Dolbec discusses his background in Linux, his profession, his involvement in various projects within the Gentoo community and open source software he would like to see developed.
In other Gentoo news, the Gentoo Council recently discussed an interesting issue. When bugs like Heartbleed are discovered it is often found that exploiting the bug relies on the software being configured in a specific way to enable certain features. This raises the question of which features should be enabled by default in distribution packages. Disabling the heartbeat feature in OpenSSL, for example, would have protected the servers where the OpenSSL package was installed and the OpenSSH daemon enabled. The Gentoo Council decided the subject was too broad for a one-size-fits-all policy and encouraged package maintainers to stick to the default configuration provided by upstream projects.
* * * * *
Though the Ubuntu distribution is free to download and use, the project does attempt to generate revenue via various methods. One of the methods Ubuntu uses to raise funds is accepting donations from people downloading installation images from their website. Some people have wondered how this money is spent and Michael Hall, a Canonical employee, addresses this in a blog post. "As part of our commitment to openness and transparency we said that we would publish a report highlighting both the amount of donations made to this category, and how and where that money was being used. Linked below is the first of those reports." The report can be viewed on Google Docs.
* * * * *
In May we reported that Fedora Project Leader Robyn Bergeron was stepping down from her position with the Red Hat sponsored community project. On June 3 eWeek announced a new Fedora Project Leader had been appointed. Matthew Miller is stepping into the leadership position and is aware he has a difficult job ahead. "As the FPL, you've got the responsibility, but no actual authority to tell anyone to do things,' Miller said. 'So you have to find people that have an interest and are aligned with the direction you want to go.'" Long time Fedora fans may recognize Miller's name, he is a regular contributor to Fedora Magazine and was a member of the Fedora Legacy project which extended the life cycle of early Fedora releases. Miller shared more thoughts about his new role in Fedora Magazine saying: "I'm proud to have been part of the Fedora community since the early days. I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on Fedora as my full-time job for the past year and a half. And now, I'm excited to be stepping into a new place within the community as Fedora Project Leader. These are incredible times in computing and in free and open source software, and we have incredible things going on in Fedora to match -- the next years are full of opportunity and growth for the whole project and community, and I'm thrilled to be in a position to help."
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Command line tricks from climagic
It is not easy to convey useful information in 140 characters or less, which is why I usually do not place much interest in Twitter feeds. However, there is one topic for which Twitter is unusually suited and that is sharing cool command line tricks. The Twitter account climagic has been holding my attention recently by publishing useful or interesting command line tricks. Some of the ones I think are useful I would now like to share with you.
The first command line trick I would like to share involves finding a collection of songs and then playing that group of songs using the mplayer multimedia player. Let's say we have a collection of music files and folders under our Music directory. The music files are not organized in any meaningful way, but we know the file names include the name of the artist and song. Using this information we can use the find command to locate all songs by The Pretty Reckless. We use the find command to create a playlist file, called mylist in the example below. We then launch the mplayer command and tell it to play all of the music files in our newly created playlist. Putting all of that together gives us the following command:
find ~/Music -iname "*the*pretty*reckless*" -type f > mylist ; mplayer -playlist mylist
Have you ever plugged a USB thumb drive into your computer and wanted to either mount it or copy an image to the drive using the dd command? It is handy to be able to quickly find the name of the newly attached device without wading through the dmesg log entries. There are two commands which will quickly show us the names of all attached storage devices, including hard drives, optical drives and USB devices. Running either lsblk or lsscsi will display a short list of available storage devices and their device names.
The printf command can be very helpful when it comes to displaying information. It can be used in many situations, but one handy feature of printf is its ability to give us the character code for a particular symbol. Knowing the proper character code for a symbol can be useful when writing a program or creating a web page. Here we get the character code for the * symbol:
printf '%d\n' "'*'"
Here is another example where we get the character code of an accented é:
printf "%d\n", "'é'"
Sometimes it is useful to be able to use a form of shorthand for things we have already typed. Linux shells have all sorts of short-cuts for accessing previous commands and arguments. One of the more useful command line short-cuts is the symbol for accessing the last parameter of the previous command. The $_ symbol will always give us the last parameter of the last command run. For example, if we run:
mkdir -p /tmp/a/b/c
then the $_ symbol can be thought to hold the value /tmp/a/b/c. In the following example we create a new directory and then move into the new directory in one command:
mkdir -p ~/Web/DWW/20140609 ; cd $_
Earlier I mentioned the dd command can be used to transfer an image from our hard drive to a USB thumb drive. This is something I do on a regular basis in order to test distribution releases. One problem I have with the dd command is that it does not display progress information. When waiting for a large file to transfer it is nice to be able to see regular status updates. The following command shows us the status of all dd jobs in progress:
killall -USR1 dd
We can take this a step further and see updated progress reports every few seconds by using the watch command:
watch killall -USR1 dd
The above command displays status updates every few seconds until we press CTRL-C.
To get more fun command line tricks you can follow climagic on Twitter.
|Released Last Week
Tango Studio 2.2
Tango Studio is a Debian-based Linux distribution featuring an extensive collection of free and open-source software for sound, video and graphics editing and creation. A new stable version was released earlier today: "Six months after the release of the first version, we are pleased to announce the release of Tango Studio version 2.2. This new version has been updated to Wheezy 7.5 and it contains some new features and bug fixes, as well as an update of the best open-source applications available for sound creation. Users of 2.1-rc1 do not need to re-install, the distribution can be updated via Synaptic or apt-get. Changes: add quick search filter for Synaptic; add ntpdate to make computer clocks accurate; add information about audio and video files via the properties of Caja; fix to open shell script with Pluma...." Read the full release announcement for a full changelog.
Tango Studio 2.2 - a Debian-based multimedia distribution
(full image size: 319kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
SparkyLinux 3.4 "LXDE", "E18", "Razor-qt"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.4 "LXDE", "E18" and "Razor-qt" editions, a set of Debian-based distributions with a choice of three lightweight desktop interfaces: "SparkyLinux 3.4 'Annagerman' LXDE, Razor-qt and Enlightenment 18 is out. The new ISO images of SparkyLinux 3.4 provide tons of updates, changes and system improvements, such as: Linux kernel 3.14; all packages upgraded from Debian's 'testing' repositories as of 2014-05-31; LXDE 0.5.5; Openbox 3.5.2; Razor-qt 0.5.2; Enlightenment has been updated up to version 18 (0.18.2/0.18.5); support for installation on machines with EFI; systemd is the default init system now; Sparky Center – our system control center for LXDE desktop has been rebuilt, added tabs for every option and upgraded to version 0.2.1...." See the release announcement for more details and screenshots.
SparkyLinux 3.4 - live LXDE interface
(full image size: 1.2MB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Alpine Linux 3.0.0
Natanael Copa has announced the release of Alpine Linux 3.0.0, a security-oriented distribution designed primarily for servers: "We are pleased to announce Alpine Linux 3.0.0, the first release in the 3.0 stable series. This is the first release with musl libc instead of uClibc and is not ABI compatible with earlier versions, so special care needs to be taken when upgrading. Since v2.7, among the various bug fixes, several packages have been upgraded: Linux kernel based on 3.14.5, LXC 1.0.3, QEMU 2.0.0, Asterisk 12.3.0, OpenSSH 6.6p1, OpenJDK 7, Varnish 4.0.0. Some of the desktop applications that got upgraded and are available for 3.0: X.Org Server 1.15.1, Firefox 29.0.1, Gnumeric 1.12.8, Evince 3.12, VLC 2.1.4, Inkscape 0.48.4, GIMP 2.8.10. A port for ARM has been created, but it is still experimental and not included in release builds." Here is the full release announcement.
Dragonfly BSD 3.8.0
Justin Sherrill has announced the release of DragonFly BSD 3.8.0, a new version of the UNIX-like operating system created in 2003 by Matthew Dillon as a fork of FreeBSD 4.8. This will be the last release supporting the i386 architecture. From the release announcement: "DragonFly release 3.8. Big-ticket items: dynamic binaries in the root file system; DragonFly binaries in /bin and /sbin are now dynamic, which makes it possible to use current identification and authentication technologies such as PAM and NSS to manage user accounts; some libraries have been moved to /lib to support this; USB4BSD is now default in DragonFly, USB3 devices are supported, though some network devices may not be recognized; the drm/i915 driver had originally been ported from FreeBSD, an ongoing synchronization work with the version present in the Linux 3.8 branch is now going on."
John Martinson has announced the release of Robolinux 7.5.3, an updated version of the project's Debian-based distribution featuring a pre-configured VirtualBox for running Windows as a "guest" operating system: "Announcing global private internet access for all of your Internet devices. Protect your privacy and say good-bye to the NSA, also stops ISP torrent throttling. Now you can protect your PC, laptop, phone, tablet, TV and gaming console too. In fact anything you own that is connected to the Internet can now be protected with just one VPN account. The Robolinux VPN is fully integrated to a global private Internet access provider and takes less than 30 seconds to set up. We added Lucky Backup. The 64-bit edition has a new kernel from Debian upstream; Robolinux has also released an updates repository so users no longer need to reinstall Robolinux when new versions come out." The announcement is available on the project's SourceForge page.
Superb Mini Server 2.0.7
A new version of Superb Mini Server (SMS), a Slackware-based distribution designed for servers, was released yesterday: "Superb Mini Server version 2.0.7 released (Linux kernel 3.10.41). After almost 8 months we have a new release with LTS 3.10.41 linux kernel, many server upgrades and security fixes, including OpenSSL 1.0.1h. The main reason for the delay, was four hard disk failures. Although I couldn't prepare a release, updates were right on time, regarding security and regular packages updates, so those who track the 'Current' tree will have little to upgrade. For this release we had a dilemma for our web server, to either switch to PHP 5.4 or stay with PHP 5.3. We decided to stay with 5.3 for now, but there is a 'php54' package in extra, built for httpd 2.2.27, if someone wants to upgrade their PHP package, but beware to remove php package first." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details and a full changelog.
Julius Hader has announced the release of LinuxBBQ Cream, a small Debian-based distribution that offers a choice of 76(!) window managers: "LinuxBBQ is proud to announce the immediate availability of 'Cream', an installable live session that features no less than 76 window managers, untouched and vanilla from the developers' sources. Cream is an easy and quick way to test window managers, even those obscure ones that have never been featured in other Linux distributions before. We made sure to create a uniform look and feel, while staying on the light side in resource usage. Cream runs smoothly on any IBM-compatible PC with at least 256 MB of RAM. The live ISO image weighs in at 478 MB, so it can be put on a small USB stick or on CD. As an extra, there are framebuffer, tmux and TTY sessions included, as well as the Enlightenment desktop environment." Here is the brief release announcement.
LinuxBBQ Cream - a distribution showcasing 76 window managers
(full image size: 810kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Wifislax 4.9 has been released. Wifislax is Slackware-based live CD with an extensive collection of tools for performing wireless connection analyses and related security tests, although it can equally serve as a general-purpose desktop Linux distribution with a choice of KDE or Xfce desktops. This is a release that corrects the recent security issues with OpenSSL, as well as a bug in Linux kernel that could cause memory overflow. It includes a patched version 3.13.11 of the Linux kernel and the application set has been synchronised with Slackware's "Current" tree. There have been no changes on the desktop front where KDE remains at version 4.10.5 and Xfce on 4.10.2. Some of the package updates include OpenSSL 1.0.1h, GCC 4.8.3, Hydra 8.0, Crunch 3.6, FFmpeg 2.2.2, Firefox 29.0.1 and Wireshark 1.10.7. Read the rest of the release announcement (in Spanish only, even though the distribution also supports English) for further information and a detailed changelog.
Wifislax 4.9 - a Slackware-based security distribution
(full image size: 1.2MB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to waiting list|
- Black GNOME Linux. Black GNOME Linux is a distribution for beta testers. The project combines Ubuntu's 14.10 software branch, GNOME 3.10.4 and the latest release of the Linux kernel.
- VyOS. VyOS is a community fork of Vyatta, a Linux-based network operating system that provides software-based network routing, firewall, and VPN functionality.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 16 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 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 220.127.116.11, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Why was Virtual-Linux created? Well, I was pretty tired with the silly bootdisks you can download, plus I wanted to learn more about the Linux core. I then decided to build a ramdisk based system of my own, and after a while I ended up with a cdbased rescue system with a builtin firewall. Then, after having tested a few of the existing big cdbootable systems that were very slow and had very poor performance, a new project started to take shape in my mind. After some late nights investigating some existing soloutions, my own concept was born: 1. Use a commercial distribution as base (Mandrake Linux). 2. Implement as much as possible of the original functions without many hardware/memory requirements. 3. Put as much software as possible on one cd. 4. Make it easy to configure / Autodetect as much as possible. 5. Implement live filesystem compression. 6. Ramdisk Compression.