| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 572, 18 August 2014
Welcome to this year's 33rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! Having a powerful tool, such as an advanced file system can be very appealing. However, having a powerful tool is only helpful if we have a way of understanding and making use of the tool. This is why it is important for operating systems to ship with documentation and comprehensive interfaces. This week we begin with a review of ZFSguru, a FreeBSD distribution which offers users an intuitive web-based interface for controling the operating system's advanced file system. In our News section we discuss changes coming to Fedora and some presentations shared at Flock, the Fedora contributor conference. We also cover Debian's progress with regards to supporting ARM64, the appointment of new members to the Gentoo Board of Trustees and share a tutorial on managing system processes, provided by openSUSE. Then we tackle the question of why many developers and users find rolling-release distributions so appealing. We wrap up this week by sharing news of recently released distributions and we look ahead to exciting new releases to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring ZFSguru 10.1
A project that was recently recommended to me is ZFSguru. What is ZFSguru? According to the project's website, "ZFSguru is a multifunctional server appliance with a strong emphasis on storage. ZFSguru began as simple web-interface front-end to ZFS, but has since grown into a FreeBSD derivative with its own infrastructure. The scope of the project has also grown with the inclusion of add-on packages that add functionality beyond the traditional NAS functionality found in similar product like FreeNAS and NAS4Free. ZFSguru aims to be a true multifunctional server appliance that is extremely easy to setup and can unite both novice and more experienced users in a single user interface."
Put another way, we might think of ZFSguru as distribution of FreeBSD with a user-friendly, web-based interface which makes system administration tasks easier. The latest edition of ZFSguru is available as a 64-bit x86 build and comes in two editions: Regular and GNOME. An older version of ZFSguru with 32-bit x86 support is available. In addition, it is possible to download the ZFSguru web interface only and install this front-end on an existing FreeBSD server or workstation. The download for the main edition of ZFSguru is 378MB in size and the GNOME edition is 676MB. I opted to download the former.
Booting from the ZFSguru media brings up a text-based menu where we are given a few options. We can exit the menu and access the live media's command line, we can attempt to detect our IP address or we can reset the configuration of the web interface. There are also options for shutting down or rebooting the computer. Near the top of the menu ZFSguru displays our current IP address. Copying this address into a web browser allows us to bring up the operating system's web interface. I found that, by default, ZFSguru presents us with a web interface over the HTTP protocol only, there is no secure HTTPS option.
ZFSguru 10.1 - overview of system status
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The first time we connect to the web interface we are presented with a few configuration screens. The first one contains security options and here we can set a password for the web interface. We can also tell ZFSguru to accept connections only from certain locations. For example, we can have ZFSguru restrict access to just computers on our local network or, alternatively, to one specific IP address. The second configuration screen shows us a list of disks connected to our server, confirming we have the correct number of storage devices. The third screen allows us to either import an existing ZFS storage pool or create a new pool using the attached storage devices. The forth and final screen asks if we would care to send feedback or hardware related information to the ZFSguru project to help the developers improve their software. Once the configuration steps have been completed we can decide whether we wish to continue running ZFSguru from the project's live media or we can install the operating system locally in our storage pool.
The ZFSguru installer runs in the project's web-based interface and consists of three screens. First we are asked which storage pool should host our local install of the operating system. Then we confirm which version of ZFSguru we want to install. Next, we can optionally tune the ZFS storage pool, adding file system compression, file redundancy and the amount of swap space to use. The installer then shows us detailed progress reports while it copies the required files and configures the new operating system. I found my installation went very quickly, requiring about three minutes. Once the system installer finished a prompt appeared asking me to reboot the computer. Booting the local copy of ZFSguru brings up the same text-based menu we saw in the live environment and the web interface is automatically enabled for us.
For my experiment with ZFSguru I ran the operating system in a VirtualBox virtual machine. FreeBSD-based projects tend to take longer to boot than Linux distributions (at least when run in VirtualBox), but ZFSguru booted fairly quickly, requiring less than a minute to come on-line. Once up and running, ZFSguru worked quickly and the web interface was highly responsive. The operating system does not require much memory either. My installation of ZFSguru used approximately 23MB of active memory and, in total, used less than 200MB. In the past I have heard people express concern that ZFS might require too much memory to be run on low-resource machines, but I found that even with file duplication, compression and its web interface enabled, ZFSguru required only a few hundred megabytes of memory to function.
The web interface presented by ZFSguru is clean and well organized. Along the top of the screen we find a series of tabs which represent broad categories of information or actions we can explore. These tabs (Status, Network, Disks, Pools, Files, Access, Services and System) each contain their own sub-categories of options and I found most functions quite easy to locate. What follows is a summary of what each category (and sub-category) has to offer the system administrator.
The Status tab shows us a general overview of the operating system. Its various sub-tabs allow us to monitor specific aspects of the operating system. There are sub-tabs for monitoring system logs, watching processor usage and checking memory consumption. Under the Network tab we can find a list of our computer's network interfaces, the IP addresses in use and other details on the network configuration. It appears as though we cannot alter the network configuration from this tab, though we can access the operating system's command line to adjust network settings.
The Disks tab shows us the status of all connected storage devices. It also allows us to format our storage devices and monitor the health of our disks using SMART. There are utilities under the Disks tab for monitoring storage input/output and running read/write benchmarks. I ran a benchmark and was shown a graph with the results. However, the two axis of the graph were not labelled, so I was not sure what to make of the results.
In the Pools tab we can view a list of ZFS storage pools and examine feature flags enabled on the file system. Under this tab we can enable ZFS scrubs and upgrade our pool's file system. We can also delete existing storage pools, export pools, rename a pool or search for pools we may wish to import. We can further create a new storage pool, expand an existing pool to include new devices and add a "hot spare" disk. A hot spare is a disk which is not currently in use, but can be activated in the case one of our active storage devices fails.
The Files tab allows us to create new file systems within an existing storage pool. Using the Files tab we can create file system snapshots, clone a snapshot or rollback the file system to an older snapshot. The Files tab contains a file browser and offers us point-n-click ways to share our file systems using either Samba or NFS. In addition we can change the permissions and ownership of files using the Files tab.
ZFSguru 10.1 - working with file system snapshots
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Exploring the Access tab we find the ability to create Samba network shares and user accounts. We can also create NFS shares and set a password for the operating system's secure shell account. The user account set up for secure shell access does not have special (administrative) permissions by default, but the account can be used to access the root account without a password.
The Services tab provides us with the ability to enable/disable system services. Some available services in the default installation include a secure shell, a name server, the Cron daemon, Samba, NFS, a network time synchronization daemon and a packet filter. There are additional services we can install through the web interface, about 90 in total. These services include web browsers, more network services, bittorrent clients and anti-virus software.
ZFSguru 10.1 - managing system services
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Finally, the System tab allows us to check for software updates, perform new installations and shutdown or reboot the computer. I found the installation function worked well and, during my trial, there were no new versions of ZFSguru available. The update feature appears to check only for updates to the web interface, not the underlying FreeBSD operating system. I tried to check for updates to the core operating system from the command line, but found ZFSguru would not successfully connect to any FreeBSD mirrors to fetch updates.
When I went into this review I did so with the impression ZFSguru was mostly about storage and designed to deal with NAS devices. For the most part this seems to be true. ZFSguru does feature a number of functions which make it suitable for a more general purpose operating system, but the bulk of the functionality deals with disks, RAID configurations, network sharing, ZFS tweaking, snapshots and file systems. As ZFSguru is a storage-focused operating system based on FreeBSD with a web interface, I found myself constantly comparing my experience with ZFSguru to my experiences with FreeNAS. Both projects make working with ZFS easy, both automate the initial installation and configuration of the operating system, both have polished web interfaces and both projects allow the user to install additional services to extend functionality. The two projects appear to diverge in two ways. First, FreeNAS has a lot of features, many of them probably only useful in business environments. ZFSguru, on the other hand, feels more streamlined, more geared toward home and small office installations. FreeNAS has a nice, but busy interface with a large tree of option screens. The ZFSguru interface feels cleaner to me, perhaps easier to navigate because of its fewer options.
ZFSguru 10.1 - checking the status of storage pools
(full image size: 135kB, screen resolution 1221x1000 pixels)
Taken on its own, ZFSguru struck me as being a very easy to use operating system. The scope of the project may be relatively narrow when compared against a general purpose operating system such as Debian or FreeBSD, but there is a great deal of storage- and services-oriented functionality presented in the web interface. The operating system is wonderfully easy to set up, makes managing disks, pools and snapshots remarkably easy and uses very few resources. The FreeBSD base is stable and the underlying ZFS technology is very powerful and flexible. ZFSguru does a great job of presenting the powerful aspects of ZFS while being simple to use. It only took me seconds to find features I wanted, there was no extra clutter and the web interface is quite snappy.
If pressed to criticize something I would say the one issue I ran into was with regards to security. ZFSguru was unable to download security updates for the underlying FreeBSD base, HTTPS was not enabled when the operating system was installed and, by default, there is no password on the administrator account. Granted, we can create a password for the root account and manually enable HTTPS, but I felt these could have been part of the installation process. These aspects of ZFSguru bring me back to the idea that the project seems best suited to home and small office environments while projects such as FreeNAS are more geared toward bigger organizations.
All in all, I really liked ZFSguru. It takes complex pieces of technology (FreeBSD and ZFS) and makes them surprisingly straight forward to install, configure and use. With the streamlined interface, the ZFSguru project makes a lot of tasks surprisingly easy and I think this project will appeal to people who want to set up a backup solution at home with a minimum amount of fuss.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Fedora contributors share ideas at Flock, Debian releases first beta installer for "Jessie", Gentoo appoints new board members, openSUSE provides tutorials on system processes, Ubuntu Core update
Flock is a conference for Fedora contributors where people can come together to share ideas and present new concepts. Fedora Magazine covers many of the highlights from this year's conference. Two key points are likely to be of use to system administrators and end users. One is a smaller Linux kernel along with support for the 64-bit ARM architecture. "During the Fedora.next process, the Fedora Cloud Working Group made requests of the kernel team to shrink down its size. There are a lot of optional components built into the kernel and many of these weren't actually needed in a cloud environment. So the kernel team went and broke out the available modules into a core set and a common set above that. This made the minimal installation set much smaller and reduced the space on the cloud images substantially."
Another talk concerned package and application management on Fedora. As Fedora Magazine reports: "PackageKit just isn't a real solution. A software installer that actually deals with users' needs is called for. This is a paraphrase of Richard Hughes first statement at his presentation on the GNOME Software and how to connect users to the applications they want." The post goes on to describe some changes coming to Fedora that will make managing packages and getting information on available applications easier for users of the popular distribution.
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Fedora is not the only distribution working on an ARM 64-bit build. This post to the Debian ARM mailing list shows building packages for the 64-bit ARM architecture is underway in the Debian community. Not all packages in the Debian repository currently build on ARM64, but progress is being made and there is hope ARM64 will be an officially supported architecture in time for Debian's next release, code name "Jessie". "The ARM64 port is now open in the main archive and the initial (build-essential) bootstrap set of packages was uploaded on Friday. We expect official builds to come on-line this week and start churning through the rebuild of everything. Meanwhile the debian-ports archive is at 84.5% built, having been hovering tantalizingly close to the official qualification percentage of 85% for the last couple of weeks."
Speaking about "Jessie", the Debian developers are clearly entering the final stages of its development. Last week, Cyril Brulebois announced the availability of the first beta build of the Debian installer for the distribution's upcoming new release: "The Debian Installer team is pleased to announce the first beta release of the installer for Debian 8 'Jessie'. Important changes in this release of the installer: GNOME installation images have been fixed - they will now really install GNOME (instead of Xfce); a major parted release was merged lately, and many related components needed an update accordingly; a major release of syslinux also appeared, with incompatible changes; the default init system on Linux is now systemd." Those who would like to test the new installer and check out the current state of "Jessie" can get the "netinst" images from the Debian Installer page.
* * * * *
The Gentoo distribution holds regular elections for seats on their Board of Trustees. There were two open seats on the board for the 2014-2016 term and these seats have been filled without need for a vote. The Gentoo Monthly Newsletter explains, "The two open seats for the Gentoo Trustees for the 2014-2016 term will be: Alec Warner (antarus) [and] Roy Bamford (neddyseagoon). Since there were only two nominees for the two seats up for election, there was no official election. They were appointed uncontested." Congratulations to the two nominees and good luck!
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Being able to control the programs which are running on our computers is a very important aspect of maintaining any operating system. Often times a program will misbehave or refuse to close or take up too many resources. When this happens it is good to know how to locate and handle the offending program. The openSUSE blog continues their tutorial series, this week talking about process management. The tutorial covers running programs, directing tasks to run in the background, finding misbehaving programs and terminating them.
* * * * *
Finally, some useful information for those readers who enjoy the Ubuntu distribution, but would prefer a variant that would allow more fine-grained customisation options. As this blog post by Dustin Kirkland reminds us, the popular distribution project does indeed produce a highly minimalist Ubuntu in just 63 MB when compressed. Formerly called JeOS (Just enough OS), it is now known under the name of Ubuntu Core: "JeOS has been here all along, in fact. You've been able to deploy a daily, minimal Ubuntu image, all day, every single day for most of the the last decade. Sure, it changed names to Ubuntu Core along the way, but it's still the same sleek little beloved ubuntu-minimal distribution. 'How minimal?, you ask. 63 MB compressed, to be precise. Did you get that? That's 63 MB, including a package management system, with one-line, apt-get access to over 30,000 freely available packages across the Ubuntu universe."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
The appeal of rolling-releases
Curious-about-rolling-releases asks: Why is there such an interest in rolling-release distributions? Variants of Arch Linux and Debian "Testing" are cropping up everywhere and now openSUSE too. What do rolling-release distributions have to recommend them?
DistroWatch answers: With a traditional, fixed-release operating system the idea is that we install one release and the software which is included in our operating system stays pretty much the same for the duration of the product's life cycle. When a new version of a fixed-release operating system becomes available (six months or a year or a few years later) it is typically recommended that we wipe out the old version of the operating system and replace it with a fresh copy. This means there is some additional work involved in re-installing applications, restoring settings from our original install and so forth.
The fixed-release model has some nice features to recommend it. Our software should continue to work without any surprises or broken dependencies for the duration of the operating system's life. Typically, distributions providing fixed releases only provide security updates and minor fixes to released products and this usually makes for a stable operating system. People who run servers or people who are not familiar with Linux tend to like fixed-release operating systems as there is very little maintenance involved and rarely any unpleasant surprises. Plus, fixed-release systems are typically supported for three to ten years in the Linux community, depending on which distribution we are using. This means upgrades need happen only rarely.
A rolling-release model is quite different. The repositories of a rolling-release distribution are typically not frozen at a fixed point in time. Packages in a rolling-release distribution are regularly updated with new features as well as security fixes. This means we regularly have access to new versions of applications very shortly after they are created. People who like to try out the latest features and software changes tend to like rolling-release distributions as there is always something new in the software repositories. In theory rolling-releases have another advantage: a rolling-release distribution does not have an end-of-life, a point where they are no longer supported. With a rolling-release the distribution is constantly being updated so the software never goes out of date, never reaches a point in time where it is no longer being supported. The idea is we can install a rolling-release distribution once and continue to use it for the full life time of our computer's hardware, all the while benefiting from the latest versions of open source software.
Rolling-release distributions are appealing to a few groups of people. Distribution developers often like them because it means less work. The developers are not forced to juggle maintenance for older packages, plus security patches, plus new releases coming in for testing. The distribution developers can focus on one branch of their operating system and keep it up to date. With a rolling-release distribution there is no backporting bug fixes or features because the project's users are always running the latest software version.
People using a rolling-release distribution may appreciate it for a few reasons. Perhaps they are a developer who wants to use the latest technologies in their own software project. Others simply like to try out and test new technologies and a rolling-release distribution provides an endless supply of new software. Others like the idea of being able to install a distribution once without concerning themselves with fresh installations in the future.
Rolling releases do tend to have their downsides though. For instance, it is difficult for third-party developers to create software for rolling-releases as a rolling-release distribution is a moving target. It is difficult to target and support an operating system which is changing on a regular basis. This is, in part, why we see companies like Oracle, Valve and GOG support long term support releases and not rolling-release distributions. Users of rolling-release distributions also tend to face issues arising from broken software or dependency problems. A modern operating system contains thousands of packages and, when many of them are constantly changing, this can make for a less stable environment.
Now, whenever we discuss rolling-release distributions on this site and their potential stability issues come up there are people who comment, pointing out their installation of Arch Linux or PCLinuxOS has been running smoothly for years. I don't doubt their sincerity. However, while some people may have had success maintaining long running rolling-release installations, I receive a regular stream of e-mails from people who are dealing with broken rolling-release systems (usually Arch-based) who are looking for help. I get enough of these e-mails describing broken dependencies that I created a form letter to assist with all the replies. What I take away from this is, with a handful of exceptions aside, rolling-releases are statistically less stable than fixed releases.
What it really comes down to is a rolling-release distribution typically appeals to people who want to be on the leading edge of software development. If you want to regularly see new features and get a peek at features most people will need to waits months to experience, then a rolling-release is appealing. On the other hand, a fixed release is geared toward people who want their computers to work the same way tomorrow as they did yesterday. People who rely on their desktops and servers working in a consistent manner probably will not find what they are looking for in a rolling-release distribution.
|Released Last Week
Univention Corporate Server 3.2-3
Nico Gulden has announced the release of an updated build of Univention Corporate Server 3.2, a Debian-based server distribution with a web-based server management system: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 3.2-3, the third point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS). It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 3.2-0 and comprises the following highlights: the new module Active Directory Connection merges the domain administrated by UCS and an existing Active Directory; the UCS setup wizard has been completely overhauled and now guides users particularly comfortably through the domain configuration of UCS and detects; PHP 5.4.4 has been back-ported to UCS 3.2; the OpenLDAP replication has been improved significantly by tracking changes in the directory service with unique IDs; Linux kernel has been updated to version 3.10.11...." Read the brief release announcement and check out the detailed release notes for more information.
Zorin OS 9 "Lite", "Educational Lite"
Artyom Zorin has announced the release of two new editions of the Ubuntu-based Zorin OS 9 distribution, the i386-only "Lite" and "Educational Lite" variants: "We are pleased to announce the release of Zorin OS 9 Lite and Educational Lite. These releases are the latest evolutions of the Zorin OS Lite series of operating systems, designed specifically for Linux newcomers using old or low-powered hardware. This release is based on Lubuntu 14.04 and uses the LXDE desktop environment to provide one of the fastest and most feature-packed interfaces for low-spec machines. This new release includes newly updated software as well as new software inclusions for the best lightweight desktop experience. The Educational Lite edition adds educational software to the desktop, making it the ideal choice for students, teachers and schools with low-powered hardware. All Zorin OS 9 editions are Long Term Support (LTS) releases." Here is the brief release announcement.
Robolinux 7.6.1 "Xfce"
John Martinson has announced the release of a new edition of Robolinux (a Debian-based distribution designed for newcomers to Linux) featuring the Xfce desktop: "Robolinux is pleased to announce a brand new Xfce edition based on Debian stable. A much more advanced operating system with far greater productvity, but incredibly easy to use for Linux beginners. Plus expert tech support is free. Robolinux Xfce 7.6.1 is extremely optimized, using only 140 MB of RAM in full composite video. It is very stable and has been fully tested for months. It doesn't require a video driver to be installed when running in full composite graphics mode (which is the default). If you are a Windows user this new streamlined Linux OS will blow your mind because it's so fast, super easy to use and highly reliable. Best of all it runs your favorite Windows apps natively with its built in Stealth VM software." Visit the project's SourceForge page to read the release announcement.
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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|
- Debox GNU/Linux. Debox GNU/Linux is a Debian-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager.
- livarp. livarp is a Debian-based distribution designed to run on low-resource computers.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 25 August 2014. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Mockup was a desktop operating system, based on the Morphix live CD. The project's goal was to create an Open Source operating system that was easy to use - a live CD which can be installed on a hard disk. The desktop environment was based on new and exciting technology, such as udev, hotplug and HAL for hardware detection and automatic device files creation. The whole desktop was written using Trolltech's Qt 4 with both vector and bitmap graphics, with antialiasing. Where supported by the hardware, translucency and drop shadows are also provided for interesting effects.