| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 567, 14 July 2014
Welcome to this year's 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Open-source operating systems come in a wide variety of flavours from conservative to bleeding-edge, experimental to stable. All of them are changing and growing, trying to best fit the needs of their users. This week we examine some projects at opposite ends of the experimental spectrum. We begin with a review of the Manjaro project, a cutting-edge Linux distribution which has been quickly gaining popularity. Then, in our News section this week, we shift focus and look at more conservative projects that are going through changes. We cover PC-BSD's new jail feature and Debian's move to adopt a different C library. We talk about whether clones of Red Hat Enterprise Linux will support 32-bit hardware and cover the results of FreeBSD's Core Team election. Plus, this week we talk about two applications that are not part of the mainstream, but perhaps should be due to their interesting approaches to solving problems. As usual we cover distribution releases from the past week and look forward to fun, new releases to come. We wish you all a pleasant week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 (Xfce edition)
The Manjaro Linux distribution is an Arch-based project which has quickly become popular over the last few years. The distribution's developers are focused on taking the hands-on, fast paced Arch Linux operating system and making it into a newcomer friendly, desktop oriented distribution. As the project's website states: "Manjaro is a user-friendly Linux distribution based on the independently developed Arch operating system. Developed in Austria, France, and Germany, Manjaro provides all the benefits of the Arch operating system combined with a focus on user-friendliness and accessibility. Available in both 32-bit and 64-bit (x86) versions, Manjaro is suitable for newcomers as well as experienced Linux users." Like Arch Linux, Manjaro maintains a rolling release model whereby all system components are regularly updated. Manjaro is available in Xfce, Openbox, KDE and a core (text console only) edition. There are also community editions of the distribution featuring other desktop environments such as MATE, Enlightenment, LXQt, Cinnamon, GNOME and Fluxbox.
The latest version of Manjaro Linux features improved UEFI support, support for LVM volumes and encrypted storage. The developers also claim users will have better control of package management and a new, graphical device driver manager has been added to the distribution. I opted to download the project's Xfce edition, the ISO for which is approximately 1 GB in size. Booting from the Manjaro media brings up the Xfce desktop environment. A welcome screen appears on the desktop, showing icons which allow us to access an overview of the Manjaro project, the distribution's release notes, website, forums and wiki. The welcome screen also provides a button that launches the Manjaro system installer.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 - the welcome screen
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Manjaro's graphical system installer closely resembles the installer used by the Ubuntu family of distributions. We are walked through selecting our preferred language, location and time zone. We are then asked to select our keyboard's layout. I needed to be careful going through the installer, because once most system installers learn I'm located in Canada, they insist on defaulting to a French keyboard rather than my standard (and much more common) US style keyboard. Next we are offered the choice of having the installer automatically partition our hard drive for us or we can manually divide up the disk. We can ask the automated partitioning process to use LVM volumes, set up encryption for us and (optionally) place our home directories on a separate partition. Manually partitioning the drive is pretty straight forward and the partition manager has a friendly, simple interface. We can work with a variety of file systems, including ext2/3/4, JFS, XFS, Btrfs and ReiserFS. Once the disk is carved up the way we like we are asked to create a user account and set a password on our account. Optionally we can create a separate password for the root user. Manjaro's installer copies its files to the local hard drive and then prompts us to reboot the computer.
Manjaro Linux boots to a graphical login screen decorated by a blue sky dotted with clouds. Upon logging into the Xfce desktop a notification icon in the system tray indicated software updates were available in the project's repositories. Clicking on this notification icon brings up a simple software updater application. This application simply shows us a list of available software updates. We are not able to pick and choose which items we want to download, the software updater gives us an "all or nothing" approach to downloading package upgrades. The first day I was using Manjaro there were 98 updates available, totalling approximately 390MB in size. All of these items downloaded and were applied to the system cleanly.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 - managing hardware drivers and desktop settings
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Manjaro's application menu is arranged with categories of software on the right side of the menu and individual programs on the left. A search bar at the top of the menu lets us find applications using key words. Browsing through the application menu we find the Firefox web browser with Flash support. We are given the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messaging client and the Thunderbird e-mail program. LibreOffice is installed for us along with a document viewer and the Orage calendar software. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is installed for us along with a simple image viewer. There are several small utilities available for renaming batches of files, working with file archives and editing text files. There are also tools for changing the look and feel of the Xfce desktop, for managing the operating system's firewall and configuring printers.
There is an application for monitoring hardware sensors and an application for creating and modifying user accounts. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. Digging further we find Java installed for us along with the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). In the background the Linux kernel, version 3.12, keeps the system running. I tried out the new device driver manager and found it did a good job of detecting my system's hardware and locating alternative drivers for my system. The device driver manager has a nice layout and we can acquire additional drivers with a few mouse clicks.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 - managing software packages
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Package management on Manjaro Linux involves a graphical application simply titled "Package Manager". This application is divided into three sections. On the left side of the Package Manager window we find a series of tabs. These tabs allow us to search for software in the repositories based on key words, software categories, status and by which repository an item is in. Each tab gives us a different approach to finding the software we want. Over on the right side of the window we see a list of packages in our currently selected search/repository/category. Clicking on a box next to the package's name causes the software to be queued for installation or removal. At the bottom of the window we find a box containing information on the currently highlighted package. Actions to be performed on packages are handled in batches, locking the application's interface. I located, installed and removed a handful of applications during my time with Manjaro and all actions were processed smoothly and without any problems.
I ran Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 in two environments, a desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both environments the distribution performed very well. All of my hardware was properly detected, the distribution booted quickly and the Xfce desktop was always responsive. Manjaro detected my desktop's hardware, setting my screen to its maximum resolution, automatically connecting to the network and sound worked out of the box. Manjaro also integrates well (and automatically) with VirtualBox. The distribution required approximately 240MB of memory when sitting at the Xfce desktop. This is a bit more RAM than I usually see used by Linux distributions running Xfce, but not significantly so.
Manjaro Linux 0.8.10 - running various desktop applications
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Fans of Arch Linux (and its family of distributions) may not appreciate it when I say that the one characteristic I find most Arch-based distributions have in common is that they are rough around the edges. I have personally found that distributions based on Arch tend to be unstable with prolonged use and regular updates, I find they often have system installers which are problematic and system administration tools which lack polish. Much of these experiences probably grow out of Arch Linux's rolling release nature and philosophy of manual configuration. Distributions which base themselves on Arch Linux and aim to be user friendly desktop distributions wage, I believe, an uphill battle.
While Arch-based distributions may have their faults, most of them also share some key benefits. Arch distributions are typically lightweight, fast and (under the hood) clean in their design. Arch-based projects typically ship with cutting edge software and appeal to people who want the latest versions of applications. My experience with Manjaro this past week showcased many of the typical Arch benefits (speed, new software and clean design) while avoiding the typical drawbacks. Manjaro was stable during my time with the distribution. All of the applications ran properly and I experienced no crashes or lock-ups. Updates applied cleanly, the system was always responsive, the configuration utilities were user friendly and the desktop had a unified feel; a rare sense of polish.
I have tried Manjaro Linux before and, in the past, I felt Manjaro was of good quality, but not particularly remarkable. My experiences from the past week have changed my perspective. The distribution is probably the most polished child of Arch Linux I have used to date. The distribution is not only easy to set up, but it has a friendly feel, complete with a nice graphical package manager, quality system installer and helpful welcome screen. Manjaro comes with lots of useful software and multimedia support. During my time with the distribution I ran into no serious problems, in fact virtually no problems at all, making it one of the more attractive desktop distributions I have run so far this year.
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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 2.8GHz 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
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Last week I posted a review of the LXLE distribution. In the conclusion of that review I commented that I thought it would be nice if LXLE let users know when software updates were available. LXLE appears to be targeting new Linux users and I was concerned that novice users would not know to manually check for software updates. Following the review one member of the LXLE team pointed out that LXLE automatically checks for security updates and downloads them without user assistance. Other updates, those not security sensitive, are manually downloaded by the user. This means that while the user may not be aware of software updates, at least the distribution automatically plugs security holes, protecting unaware users.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
PC-BSD automates jail creation, Debian switches C library, CentOS considers additional architectures, Fedora changes package manager, FreeBSD elects Core Team, Andrew Tanenbaum retires, Raspberry Pi B+
A jail is a container in which we can run programs or services. Running software in a jail isolates the software from the rest of the operating system. This makes jails ideal in situations where an application cannot be trusted or when software is being tested. Installing a new program and creating a jail for it were previously two separate tasks and required some manual work. The PC-BSD project is making life easier for software testers and system administrators by automating the process of creating jails for new applications. As the project's blog reports, "You can now create jails on the fly when adding a new PBI to your application library. For instance, say you're adding a PBI using the "pbi_add" command and you want to install the PBI into a new jail that you haven't created yet. You would specify: "sudo pbi_add -J apache" without the quotes to create a default named jail with the PBI apache installed directly into it. The -J being the new flag that specifies the creation of the new jail." The post goes on to say that it is now possible to create multiple jails with one command using the PC-BSD utility Warden, making jail creation a faster, easier task.
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About five years ago the Debian GNU/Linux project switched from using the GNU C Library (GLIBC) to the Embedded GLIBC (EGLIBC) library. At the time, EGLIBC seemed like the better choice for both technical and political reasons. However, the world of software is always changing and now Debian is migrating back to the GNU C Library. Aurélien Jarno posted on his blog, "EGLIBC is dead for a good reason: the GLIBC development has changed a lot in the recent years, due to two major events: Ulrich Drepper leaving Red Hat and the GLIBC development, and the GLIBC steering committee self-dissolving. This has resulted in a much more friendly development based on team work with good cooperation. The development is now based on peer review, which results in less buggy code (humans do make mistakes). It has also resulted in things that were clearly impossible before, like using the same repository for all architectures." Jarno goes on to report most features of EGLIBC have been merged into the GNU C Library code which should make the transition back to GLIBC a smooth one for Debian.
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When Red Hat launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, the popular Linux company decided to drop 32-bit installation media and support for 32-bit x86 hardware. This move caused some to question whether clones of Red Hat Enterprise Linux would continue to supply 32-bit builds of the operating system. The CentOS project has stated that following the release of CentOS 7, the project will be working on support for alternative architectures. A post from Johnny Hughes to the CentOS developer mailing list states: "We are going to try to build a full i686 tree. This will happen after we do the full release of the actual CentOS-7 x86_64 GA, since RHEL-7 does not have an i686 spin." Hughes goes on to state CentOS also is interested in providing installation media for PPC and ARM architectures.
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Ever since the untimely death of Seth Vidal, the creator and developer of Yum, the Fedora developers have been searching for a replacement to the distribution's well-established package management solution. Today, almost exactly a year since the tragic event, it seems certain that Aleš Kozumplík's DNF will become the new default package manager in Fedora 22. Adam Saunders investigates the change: "Fedora has relied on the Yum package manager since its inception, but that won't last much longer. Last month, the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) approved using the DNF package manager by default for Fedora 22. Since I am a Fedora user who mostly manages the installation, updating, and removal of software through Yum on the command line, this upcoming drastic change (albeit one coming nearly a year from now) piqued my interest. With the current version of DNF available in Fedora 20, I decided to investigate DNF to see how well it could replace Yum as default package manager."
* * * * *
The FreeBSD project maintains a group of elected representatives called the Core Team. "The FreeBSD Core Team acts as the Project's 'board of directors' and is responsible for approving new src committers, resolving disputes between developers, appointing sub-committees for specific purposes (security officer, release engineering, port managers, webmaster, et cetera), and making any other administrative or policy decisions as needed. The Core Team has been elected by active FreeBSD committers every 2 years since 2000." The 2014 election of the Core Team has concluded and the project has made the list of members available. Congratulations to the new Core Team members and best of luck in your future endeavours!
* * * * *
Andrew S. Tanenbaum, the founder of MINIX and one of the world's most respected experts on operating system kernels, is finally set to retire, at the ripe age of 70: "Prof. Andy Tanenbaum is finally retiring. He has been at the Vrije Universiteit for 43 years, but everything must eventually end." The venerable professor is best known in the Linux community for his public argument with Linus Torvalds in 1992, favouring microkernel-based design over a monolithic one and declaring Linux "obsolete". This didn't go down well with the then 23-year Finnish student: "You doing minix as a hobby - look at who makes money off minix, and who gives linux out for free. Then talk about hobbies. Make minix freely available, and one of my biggest gripes with it will disappear. Linux has very much been a hobby (but a serious one: the best type) for me: I get no money for it, and it's not even part of any of my studies in the university. I've done it all on my own time, and on my own machine." It gets still worse: "Your job is being a professor and researcher: That's one hell of a good excuse for some of the brain-damages of minix. I can only hope (and assume) that Amoeba doesn't suck like minix does."
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Finally, a quick link to the hot-off-the-press Raspberry Pi announcement. The amazingly successful single-board computer has become a huge hit with the more technically inclined Linux users, so it's only natural that the ARM-based hardware continues to evolve and improve in order to meet the growing demand. Today, the Raspberry Pi project announced the release of B+, a brand-new model: "In the two years since we launched the current Raspberry Pi Model B, we've often talked about our intention to do one more hardware revision to incorporate the numerous small improvements people have been asking for. This isn't a 'Raspberry Pi 2', but rather the final evolution of the original Raspberry Pi. Today, I'm very pleased to be able to announce the immediate availability, at $35 - it's still the same price, of what we're calling the Raspberry Pi Model B+." Read the rest of the linked blog post for a full list of improvements and a photo of the new board. The first review is also out, courtesy of Linux Voice.
|Applications (by Jesse Smith)
Alternative applications: Xiki and Opera
Sometimes my mind wanders and I find myself exploring places like SourceForge, looking at new, unusual or exciting software I have not seen before. This week I would like to share a pair of projects I downloaded and experimented with recently.
* * * * *
When we open a virtual terminal on our desktop to access the command line the interface we are presented with resembles a text editor where we can only edit the last line of the file. We can type new commands and create new output, but most command shells will not allow us to go back and interact with previous commands or their output. This makes the Linux command line somewhat primitive, especially when compared next to popular BASIC interpreters of the 1980s such as GWBASIC or the one which shipped with the Commodore 64. Those interpreters would allow the user to move the text cursor to any part of the screen and manipulate text on any line, treating old input (or output) as new input.
One project is looking to change the way Linux users interact with their shells. Why not allow the user to simply click on a line containing an old command and alter it? Why not allow the user to interact with output, using it to open files or directories? Why can't we bring up a directory listing in a virtual terminal and click on the name of an executable file to launch it? The Xiki project is working on making the Linux command line more interactive. It also appears to be merging the concepts of a graphical user interface with a text-based command line.
Carla Schroder has an overview of Xiki and a tutorial explaining how to install the Xiki software. I thought the concept looked interesting and downloaded a copy of the project. Unfortunately I found the Xiki would not run on my machine. The Xiki program consistently crashed a few seconds after launching and the background service would not run for more than a few seconds. Hopefully other potential users will have better luck with Xiki as the project has the potential to make the Linux command line much more flexible and productive.
* * * * *
For about a decade I was a user and fan of the Opera web browser. Though not an open source application, I felt Opera was unusually innovative, fast, stable and feature rich. The browser also had a surprisingly flexible user interface for the time. Opera, I was sorry to note, appeared to stop developing its web browser for GNU/Linux and FreeBSD sometime around the middle of 2013. Development continued on for Windows and Android users while desktop Linux and BSD users were left out in the cold for the better part of a year.
Opera recently announced they were bringing a new web browser with a new interface and rendering engine to the GNU/Linux platform. The new Opera web browser, version 24.0, has done away with the Presto rendering engine in favour of Google's Blink engine. The interface now looks like a mixture of Opera's classic browser combined with Google's Chromium browser. I downloaded and installed this development release and gave it a whirl to see how the new Opera browser would compare against the old, Presto-powered browser.
Opera 24.0 - tabs and menu
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My first impression of Opera 24 was that the new browser looks fairly similar to the default layout of Opera 12. We are treated to a similar menu, the same speed-dial feature and similar tab behaviour. Opera was, I happily noted, still remarkably fast and it remained stable during my time with the browser. In short, a lot of the old features that made me appreciate Opera were still in place. However, some things had changed and, I believe, not for the better.
For example, Opera previously had a flexible and easy-to-organize bookmark system. Bookmarks appear to have been removed and replaced with something called "Stash". In Opera 24 we can click a heart icon in the address bar to add a page to our Stash or speed-dial screen. We can then bring up our Stash in a new tab. The Stash tab shows us a list of pages we have marked by clicking the heart icon, optionally with a preview of the Stashed pages. In short, we still have bookmarks, but they are accessed through a separate tab rather than a bookmark menu or toolbar. Personally, this feels a bit more roundabout to me, but I will say that the ability to preview pages in the Stash is a nice touch. Opera 24 still has a built-in extension manager, however all my searches for new Extensions turned up no results. Perhaps the new Opera will not have extensions until it hits a stable release.
Finally, there is the interface. Opera 24 appears to have a one-size-fits-all approach to its user interface. As someone who greatly appreciated the flexibility of Opera's previous web browsers, I was disappointed to see the new browser is more or less locked into one layout. The layout works fairly well, but I do crave the ability to move things around to better suit my personal style. Finally, I note that the settings panel has completely changed. Most of the old configuration options are still there, though a few appear to be missing. In particular, I noticed I could still add new search engines to the list of available search engines, but I could not change existing search engines nor set a newly added search engine as the default.
Opera 24.0 - the settings tab
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All in all, Opera 24 worked fairly well for me, but three things bothered me. First, the new version appears to have been streamlined (some might say "dumbed down"). The interface is simplified, but also requires more steps to get things done. The once-flexible browser is more locked down, more set in its ways. Extensions have not caught up to Opera 24 yet, though those will probably come soon. My biggest concern though is the new Opera browser appears to be imitating Chromium. Which seems a shame to me since Opera used to have so many features and options which made it a welcome (though niche) player in the browser market, it had power and personality. Now Opera appears to be joining Firefox in becoming a clone of Chromium, setting aside personality and power in favour of familiarity and a sleeker interface. Opera 24 feels less like an evolution of the Opera browser and more like a remake of Chromium and we don't need one of those, we already have Chromium. It is my hope that Opera's developers already know this and will work to reintroduce old features onto their new platform, making the Opera browser unique again.
|Released Last Week
The much-awaited initial release of CentOS 7, a distribution built by compiling the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, is out: "We would like to announce the general availability of CentOS 7 for 64-bit x86 compatible machines. This is the first release for CentOS 7 and is version marked as 7.0-1406. Since the upstream EL7 release, there have been some updates released - these have been built and are being pushed to the CentOS mirror network at the moment. They will be available within the next 24 hrs. From this point on we will aim to deliver all updates within 24 to 48 hours of upstream releases. For the first time, this release was built from sources hosted at git.centos.org." See the release announcement and release notes for details information about the product.
CentOS 7 - GNOME Shell Activities
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SparkyLinux 3.4 "GameOver"
Paweł Pijanowski has announced the release of SparkyLinux 3.4 "GameOver" edition, a Debian-based distribution designed for gaming enthusiasts: "SparkyLinux 3.4 'GameOver' is out. It has been built on the top of SparkyLinux 3.4 'Annagerman' and it's fully compatible with Debian's 'testing' repository. 'GameOver' is a special edition of Sparky targeted to game players. 'GameOver' 3.4 features: access to games compiled for Linux platform; access to 'popular' and 'modern' games via Steam and Desura platforms; access to many games created for MS Windows platform via Wine and PlayOnLinux; access to 'old' games created for discontinued machines and systems via emulators. What's under the hood of GameOver 3.4: Linux kernel 3.14.7; all packages upgraded from Debian's testing repositories as of 2014-07-03; LXDE 0.5.5, Openbox 3.5.2, PCManFM 1.2.0, Iceweasel 30.0 and a few important applications; support for installation on machines with EFI; systemd is the default init system now...." Here is the full release announcement with a screenshot.
IPFire 2.15 Core 79
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.15 Core 79, the latest stable release of the project's specialist Linux distribution for firewalls: "IPFire 2.15 Core Update 79 is finally arriving with many bug fixes and enhancements. Among the big changes with this update are lots feature enhancements that massively increase the security level of OpenVPN connections, some enhancements of the web user interface and a lot more awesome stuff under the hood. The OpenVPN capabilities have been massively extended by Erik Kapfer. The certificate authority that can be created on the OpenVPN page now uses much better hashes to protect the integrity of itself. The CA root certificate uses a SHA512 hash and a RSA key with length of 4096 bit. All new created host certificates use a RSA key with 2048 bit length and a SHA256 hash. Additionally, a set of Diffie-Hellman parameters can be generated for better protection of the session keys." Read the detailed release announcement for further information.
Kwort Linux 4.1
David Cortarello has announced the release of Kwort Linux 4.1, a lightweight CRUX-based distribution with Openbox and a custom package manager called kpkg: "Kwort Linux 4.1 is out. This new version is fast, stable, and simple as always. Everything has been built from scratch in a clean way. Most significant technical aspects are: Linux kernel 3.13.7; Chromium 34.0.1847.132 and Firefox 30.0 are both installed by default; LibreOffice 4.2.2 is also available in more/xapps. As usual our system remains light and clean as Kwort users like it. People and projects I would like to thank: our infrastructure providers, the people from PGHosting and Ricardo Brisighelli for the package mirror and development environment in the UNR. As usual, a big thanks to the CRUX people for developing it, as it is the system Kwort is based on; CRUX 3.1 made this version of Kwort really easy to build." Visit the distribution's home page to read the brief release announcement.
Chitwanix OS 1.5
Chitwanix OS is a Linux distribution developed by a community of Linux developers in Nepal. Based on Ubuntu and featuring a desktop environment called Sagarmatha (a fork of Cinnamon), the distribution's second stable release, version 1.5, was announced today: "The team is proud to announce the release of our second version, Chitwanix OS 1.5 'Khukuri'. Some remarkable improvements of this release are: Sagarmatha 1.0.2; HTML5 login screen with a user list and on-screen keyboard; updated software packages; improvements in drivers and supports like WiFi drivers, Ethernet drivers, graphics, HDMI; improvements in Nemo and its extensions; artworks improvements. Sagarmatha 1.0.2 is a desktop environment for Chitwanix OS which is forked from Cinnamon 2.0, featuring a lot of additional bug fixes, features and tweaks. Version 1.0 is the initial version of Sagarmatha which is installed as default in Khukuri." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details and screenshots.
Chitwanix OS 1.5 - a Linux distribution from Nepal
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
|DistroWatch.com News (by Ladislav Bodnar)
Update on distrowatch.com domain status|
Many thanks to all who have taken the time to write in and suggest a new domain name registrar for distrowatch.com. As you can imagine there have been many suggestions, but the one that came up most frequently was GANDI.net, a France-based domain registrar. Apparently, this company is very Linux/OSS-friendly (it's the registrar of choice for kernel.org, gnu.org, gnome.org, debian.org, freebsd.org, mageia.org and many others) and has a reputation for excellent customer support. They also have a very interesting slogan. The transfer of distrowatch.com has been completed already (I am so relieved, believe me!) and the transfer of distrowatch.org will go ahead later this week. Once again, apologies for the downtime.
I'd like to take this opportunity to dispel some of the speculations that appeared here and elsewhere. There was never a problem with the bandwidth or the hosting of the website. Our hosting company (EasySpeedy, based in Denmark) has nothing to do with the domain registrar (Doteasy, based in Canada). It was simply a matter of the domain registrar unilaterally imposing a charge for a service that I had never asked for, didn't need and wouldn't use. When I refused to pay, they simply disabled the entire domain (not just the service I didn't want to pay for), even though the issue had been sorted out (or so I thought) with a support technician. Of course, Doteasy doesn't do technical support on weekends, but the company is quite happy to disable your website on a Saturday night! As they say, fool me once... well, you know the rest.
After being bitten by Doteasy's unscrupulous business practices, I have decided to quickly register a new domain (out of Doteasy's reach, just in case they planned some nasty tricks for distrowatch.org too). I settled on distrowat.ch which I registered last week with a domain registrar in Switzerland. The domain is already active and it currently redirects to distrowatch.com. And it even saves a few characters when typing the name ;-). Of course, there is always our trusty mirror site at distrowatch.gdsw.at, generously provided by the Technische Universität Wien in Vienna, Austria. (Just please be aware of some limitations when visiting the mirror - e.g. clicks on distribution pages are not counted towards the PHR statistics and DWW's comments facility is not available on the mirror either).
One good thing that came up from all of this was fantastic support and many flatteringly worried posts on Linux/IT websites around the world - from major ones like ZDNet to smaller blogs in Canada, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Iran, Portugal and other countries where many fans seemed genuinely concerned. That's nice to know :-) So thanks to everybody for the support and the kind words; rest assured that DistroWatch is not going anywhere (at least not intentionally)!
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Annual package database update
DistroWatch's database of tracked packages (those that appear in the tables of the individual distribution pages) has been updated. New packages added to the database include Cinnamon (Linux Mint's desktop environment and a fork of GNOME Shell that is being accepted by an increasing number of distributions), HexChat (an IRC client and a fork of XChat which looks abandoned), LXQt (a lightweight desktop environment that merges LXDE with Razor-qt) and Wayland (a display server protocol which many believe will eventually become a "better X"). The udev package has been removed from the database since it has become an integral part of systemd.
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New distributions added to database
- CoreOS. CoreOS is a Linux-based operating system for servers. Built from the ground up and designed primarily for the modern data centre, CoreOS provides specialist tools for making the system secure, reliable and up-to-date. Some of the more interesting features of the distribution include reliable updates and patches via FastPatch, a dashboard for managing rolling updates via CoreUpdate, a docker for packaging applications, as well as support for bare metal and many cloud providers.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 21 July 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.
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Freespire was once a community-run Linux distribution sponsored by Linspire. Freespire was discontinued in 2008. Starting in 2017 Freespire became a free operating system based on Ubuntu and run by PC/OpenSystems LLC. Freespire features the Xfce desktop environment.