| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 574, 1 September 2014
Welcome to this year's 35th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! One of the strongest characteristics of open source software, with its freedom to develop and tweak, is choice. The open source ecosystem provides us a massive range of choices from distributions to desktop environments to text editors and web browsers. This gives us a great deal of flexibility when it comes to setting up our computers. This week we focus on alternative technologies and options. In the News section this week we discuss Haiku OS, an operating system which carries the legacy of BeOS, and ponder whether the Haiku project should adopt the Linux kernel rather than continue development on its own kernel. We also talk about Wayland, a new display server technology, and how it is being supported by two major open source desktops. We also talk about progress being made on Lumina, a desktop environment specifically developed for PC-BSD, and we wish the Linux kernel a happy birthday. Also in this week's edition we talk about Ubuntu Kylin, a community project based on Ubuntu that ships with some special features. Plus we discuss making the Linux command line more context aware. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the August 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is the iTALC project. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (34MB) and MP3 (38MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Ubuntu Kylin 14.04 "Enhanced"
Following my review of the Deepin distribution I was asked if I would also give my impressions of the Ubuntu Kylin project. Like Deepin, the Ubuntu Kylin distribution is based on the Ubuntu operating system and is developed in China. The latest release of Ubuntu Kylin, version 14.04, is a long-term support release and includes some enticing features.
"In this final release, the Linux kernel is upgraded to 3.13 and Unity is upgraded to 7.2. Specifically designed for efficient Chinese input, 14.04 LTS has the Sogou Input Method, a typing tool that provides intelligent predictive search and auto-complete. Sogou, combined with Kingsoft WPS office suite, makes Ubuntu Kylin 14.04 LTS even faster and easier to use when creating documents and browsing the web. The new release also includes Kingsoft Kuaipan, the cloud file syncing application, which offers a maximum of 2TB personal cloud storage and provides rapid access to files and content to any Kuaipan-compatible device over the web. A lightweight Ubuntu Kylin software centre is provided to support both Ubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin archives. Users can easily enjoy popular Chinese applications co-developed by [the] Ubuntu Kylin team!"
Ubuntu Kylin (hereafter referred to as Kylin) ships in two flavours, Community and Enhanced. The Community edition features open source software only while the Enhanced edition offers proprietary applications and codecs. Both editions of the distribution are available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The first problem I ran into with Kylin came when I tried to download the 1.5GB ISO for the Enhanced edition. Each time I tried to download this ISO I would get about half of the desired file before my connection to the server would drop. Attempts to resume the download would fail with an access denied error. I believe this issue arose from problems with the cloud storage/distribution provider which hosts the Kylin images. I contacted the Kylin project and was quickly given a direct (and working) link to the distribution's Enhanced ISO.
Booting from the distribution's image brings up a graphical screen where we are asked if we would like to try a live version of Kylin or launch the distribution's system installer. Opting to launch the installer brings up the Ubuntu system installer. We are asked to select our preferred language and offered a chance to read the distribution's release notes. Clicking the link to see the project's release notes opens the Firefox web browser and displays the Ubuntu website. Next we are asked if we would like to download software updates and if we would like to enable third-party multimedia support.
Next we can choose whether to let the installer partition our hard drive for us or we can manually divide up the disk. Taking the manual option gives us plenty of flexibility as JFS, XFS, Btrfs and the ext2/ext3/ext4 file systems are supported. The manual partitioning screen further gives us the ability to select where the distribution's boot loader will be installed. The following screens ask us to confirm our time zone, select our keyboard's layout from a list and create a user account for ourselves. We can optionally choose to encrypt our home directory. Once the system installer finishes copying its files to our hard drive we are asked to reboot the computer.
Kylin boots quickly to a graphical login screen. From this screen we have the option of logging into the user account we created during the installation process or, alternatively, we can login to a guest account which is wiped clean after each use. Upon logging in we are brought to the distribution's Unity desktop. The background features a range of bright colours. Down the left side of the screen we find quick-launch icons (this side bar also acts as Unity's task switcher). Along the top of the screen we find a unified menu bar and the system tray. On the desktop are two icons that open the file manager to our home directory and the system's trash can. Most items we can see display text using the language we selected at install time. For example, the calendar, the Unity dash and most programs displayed text to me in English. However, the desktop icons and a few of the apps running in the system tray (including a weather app) displayed information in (I believe) a Chinese dialect.
I tried to run Kylin in two environments, on a desktop computer and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. Kylin refused to boot on my desktop machine which surprised me as Ubuntu and Xubuntu ran well on the same hardware. Kylin did run in the virtual environment, though the desktop interface was sluggish when responding to input. Unity is not a desktop that performs well in a virtual machine. Other than the slow interface, Kylin ran well in VirtualBox, it booted quickly and I experienced no stability issues. The distribution required approximately 500MB of memory when logged into Unity.
Ubuntu Kylin 14.04 - Unity's dash
(full image size: 395kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Back when I reviewed Ubuntu 14.04 I talked a bit about the Unity dash and HUD. While I don't want to repeat everything I wrote before, I do want to touch on these features. The Unity dash is a one-stop menu for locating applications, documents, music and other items. The dash allows us to see lists of items (applications for example) and we can type search results, filter displayed items and even install software from the repositories via the dash. I like that the dash can be navigated with either the mouse pointer or the keyboard. By default Kylin displays search results from third-parties such as Amazon in the dash. This feature can be disabled in the System Settings panel.
The HUD is a utility I find very useful. When running an application we can tap the ALT key and then type the name or description of a feature we want to utilize. For example, while creating a text document we can tap ALT and then type "spell" to bring up the application's spell checker. The HUD is useful to me for two reasons. First, it means I can easily access the features of an application even if I don't know where a feature is located in the program's menu. This is especially nice to have when using applications that have large menu systems such as LibreOffice or the GNU Image Manipulation Program. Second, I like to keep both hands on the keyboard as I find switching to using the mouse breaks my work flow. The HUD lets me quickly access features using only the keyboard without requiring that I learn application-specific short-cuts.
Ubuntu Kylin 14.04 - running Kingsoft Office
(full image size: 367kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Kylin ships with a useful collection of software. Digging through the Unity dash we find the Firefox web browser with the Adobe Flash plugin enabled. I also found the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Pidgin messaging software and the Transmission bittorrent client. The dash featured the Empathy messaging software, a remote desktop client and document viewer. Both the LibreOffice and the Kingsoft Office productivity suites are installed for us. I find LibreOffice does a nice job of providing a wide range of features and applications while supporting open document formats. The Kingsoft Office software has a more narrow focus and beautifully supports Microsoft's proprietary document formats. My only complaint with regards to Kingsoft Office was that the suite's applications did not integrate well with the Unity desktop and maintained its own menu and window controls.
Kylin supplies us with a Chinese calendar application, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, an image viewer and the Shotwell photo manager. We also find a few games, the Brasero disc burning software and the Cheese webcam utility in the dash menu. Kylin ships with the Rhythmbox audio player and the SMPlayer video player along with a full range of codecs for playing popular multimedia formats. I found an archive manager, text editor and backup utility in the dash too. There are programs for changing the appearance of the desktop, managing user accounts and Network Manager helps us get on-line. The distribution ships with the GNU Compiler Collection and the Linux kennel, version 3.13.
Two applications in particular caught my attention while I was running Kylin. The first was Youker Assistant. This application is present on the quick-launch bar by default and acts as a control panel for Unity and the underlying operating system. Youker features a series of tabs that allow us to clean up cache files, purge our account of browser cookies, change desktop themes and get information on our computer's hardware. I especially like that Youker will hunt down and remove cookies and cache files used by multiple web browsers as using Youker for this task is faster than launching multiple web browsers and hunting for the proper clean-up feature in each one. I found that some settings that Youker adjusts do not take effect until after the user logs out of their account and logs in again. For example, desktop themes and the appearance of the mouse pointer require a logout/login.
Ubuntu Kylin 14.04 - Youker Assistant
(full image size: 479kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The second application to catch my attention was labelled Kuaipan. According to the Kylin website this application is a cloud storage client. "Kingsoft Kuaipan for Ubuntu Kylin is the Linux client of Kingsoft Cloud storage service co-developed by Ubuntu Kylin team and Kingsoft Cloud Company, which allows safe and fast synchronization between your Linux machine and the Kingsoft Cloud." This was a welcome feature to find, especially when we consider Canonical shut down their Ubuntu One cloud storage platform earlier this year. I did run into a snag though when I discovered the sign-up website for Kuaipan is written entirely in Chinese so I was not sure of the directions provided or the terms of service. In the end I opted to not sign up for a storage account. It is my hope the website will be translated (the local client software already features an English translation) as I am sure many Ubuntu users would be interested in a native cloud storage client.
Package management on Kylin is handled by three graphical applications. The first is Ubuntu Software Centre, a modern package manager which allows us to browse through categories of desktop applications and click on items to see full descriptions, screen shots and user reviews. New software can be installed with the click of a button and removing unwanted software also takes one click. The Software Centre downloads and installs new packages in the background while we continue using the package manager. The second front end is Ubuntu Kylin Software Centre. This application features a similar interface to Ubuntu Software Centre, but the text in the interface is written entirely in Chinese. So far as I could tell, the two programs look and work in a similar manner.
The final front-end is a small software updater and this application simply shows us a list of packages which can be upgraded on our machine. The software updater then downloads and installs newer versions of available packages. During my trial with Kylin I did two batches of updates. The first day I ran the distribution I grabbed 42 MB of packages and, a few days later, I downloaded another 94 MB of updates. In both cases the software updater retrieved and installed the updates without any problems. Kylin pulls some software from the Ubuntu repositories while also maintaining its own software repositories for custom extras.
Ubuntu Kylin 14.04 - managing packages with Ubuntu Software Centre
(full image size: 360kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
In most ways Ubuntu Kylin is very similar to its older sibling, Ubuntu. The distribution has a very friendly installer, five years of support, features the Unity desktop and ships with a lot of great desktop software. Users have the option of installing proprietary software and multimedia support at install time. Kylin pulls much of its packages from the Ubuntu repositories, providing users with a large collection of software.
There appear to be three areas in which Kylin breaks away from Canonical's flagship distribution. The first is language. Kylin is specifically built with Chinese speakers in mind. The system installer defaults to Chinese (or more precisely, simplified Chinese as used in mainland China; there is no support for the traditional Chinese character set preferred in Taiwan and Hong Kong and no support for other Chinese dialects, such as Cantonese, either) and the default keyboard layout is also set up for mainland Chinese speakers. While most utilities will work in a variety of languages, a few applications display Chinese characters exclusively. I found this characteristic of the distribution to be in contrast to Deepin. While the Deepin project is also based in China, Deepin takes a neutral stance on language and all of Deepin's tools appear to be multilingual.
The second key point of contrast I found was that Kylin ships with some configuration tools in the default install that Ubuntu does not. The Youker utility stands out as it provides several helpful configuration options and the ability to clean up unwanted files. Kylin also ships with a few nice extras such as a weather applet and a nice system monitoring applet. The same or similar tools are available in Ubuntu's software repositories, but I enjoyed having them installed by default.
Third, I found Kylin ships with some proprietary extras that will probably appeal to most users. Specifically the cloud storage software and the Kingsoft Office suite. I know some people are not fans of Kingsoft due to its closed-source nature, but I must admit it is one of the more user friendly office suites available to Linux users. Kingsoft also does an excellent job at handling Microsoft document formats and, in my tests, Kingsoft imported Microsoft Word documents a little more reliably than LibreOffice did. Given Canonical's recent move to shut down their cloud services, I think it is nice Kylin is filling that vacuum, offering their users on-line storage. I did not get a chance to try the on-line storage feature, so perhaps people who have tried Kuaipan cloud storage can share their experiences in the comments section below.
During much of my trial with Kylin it was terribly tempting to simply think of the distribution as a re-spin of Ubuntu with a different default language. However, this thinking is unhelpful for two reasons. First, a Chinese language re-spin of Ubuntu on its own would be a worthwhile task as it would appeal to around a seventh of the world's population. Second, as I pointed out above, Kylin does expand upon its Ubuntu base, adding a few helpful features, a capable office suite, online storage and a few other goodies. Kylin provided me with a stable working environment, a friendly desktop and a wide range of tools. The interface was sluggish when run in a virtual environment, but otherwise I had no complaints during my time with Ubuntu Kylin.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8 GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500 GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6 GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith and Ladislav Bodnar)
Haiku developers consider adopting Linux kernel, GNOME and KDE improve Wayland support, PC-BSD updates Lumina, Linux turns 23 and GParted 10
Should an operating system still under heavy development adopt mature components from an existing operating system or create their own? That is the central question in a discussion on the Haiku Development mailing list. One Haiku team member, Sia Lang, suggested Haiku OS might benefit from adopting the Linux kernel rather than continuing to craft their own kernel. Linux already has many hardware drivers, is stable and works in many environments, making it an attractive component. However, other developers feel the Haiku project would be better off forging its own path and using its specially crafted kernel. It is an interesting discussion with many good points being made by both sides of the debate.
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Wayland is a promising new display server technology which may soon replace X, the software which draws images on the screen and allows us to interact with application windows. Transitioning from X to Wayland will require desktop environments and graphical toolkits that interact well with the new technology. Both GNOME and KDE are moving forward with their support for Wayland. Fedora Magazine reports on GNOME's Wayland status: "There are some very attractive features to test, for example captive portal support in GNOME Shell and better RDP support in Vinagre." Meanwhile, in the KDE camp, developer Martin Graesslin is moving forward on getting the KDE window manager working on Wayland: "With the initial release of Plasma 5.0 behind us I also started to look more in the direction of Wayland again. Now I'm kind of in full flow on Wayland work and kwin_wayland is progressing nicely. Yes, KWin 5.1 will introduce a new binary called kwin_wayland to complement the kwin_x11 binary which got introduced in KWin 5.0."
The continued delay of the alpha release of Fedora 21 may be frustrating for some Fedora fans (currently the release date is set to 9 September), but others are patiently looking forward the project's first "nameless" release. Last week the FedoraFTW website posted a good summary (with screenshots) about some of the new and exciting default applications in Fedora 21 "Workstation" edition: "I've downloaded the latest pre-alpha Fedora Workstation 21 and ran it inside GNOME Boxes to look at what applications were in the Live media by default. DevAssistant - this is a tool aimed at developers, featuring a clear Welcome screen where various programming languages are presented. GNOME Logs - namely, a newly-redesigned logs application that follows the latest design trends. GNOME Maps - a map application that has seen a significant evolution when compared to its Fedora 20 incarnation. Notes - with it you can create and organize your notes, this application feels more robust and crash-prone in Fedora Workstation 21 pre-alpha."
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Back in April we discussed a new desktop environment being developed by the PC-BSD team. The new desktop, called Lumina, sits atop the Fluxbox window manager and is put together using the Qt toolkit. A post on the PC-BSD blog talks about the many improvements to Lumina. When we first reported on the project Lumina was very much in its infancy, but now the desktop boasts several key features: "The major new utility is the 'Insight' file manager with ZFS snapshot integration, multimedia player, and image slide show viewer capabilities built right in by default. It also has a new snapshot utility and the desktop configuration utility has been completely rewritten." The latest version of Lumina also supports plugins and a new configuration panel. Ken Moore gave an interview on BSD Talk last week in which he covers the new desktop environment in detail.
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August 25th marked the 23rd anniversary of Linus Torvalds unveiling the Linux kernel to the world. Torvalds acknowledged the occasion in a mailing list post in which he also declared Linux 3.17-rc2 available for testing. Linux had humble beginnings as a hobby operating system with Torvalds stating: "I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like GNU) for 386(486) AT clones." When asked if Linux would be portable to architectures other than x86 Torvalds replied: "Simply, I'd say that porting is impossible. It's mostly in C, but most people wouldn't call what I write C. It uses every conceivable feature of the 386 I could find, as it was also a project to teach me about the 386." Today Linux runs on many different hardware architectures and is the kernel behind such powerful and popular operating systems as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu and Android.
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Finally, a note about one more anniversary - maybe less glamorous than the one mentioned above, but still extremely useful. GParted, a popular graphical utility for managing disk partitions, celebrated 10 years of existence last week: "The GParted team is happy to announce the tenth anniversary of GParted. The first public release of GParted was version 0.0.3 on August 26th, 2004. Over the past 10 years, much has happened. Following are some statistics: over 300 people have contributed to GParted; many GNU/Linux distributions now include GParted; translators have worked to make GParted available in over 50 different languages; GParted is used in over 220 countries around the world; there have been over 17 million downloads from Sourceforge alone. To mark the occasion, questions were posed, and following are responses shared by some key contributors."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Working with Bash completion
Feeling-incomplete asks: I installed the package bash-completion on openSUSE, but it does not become active whatsoever. User intervention is needed, but I don't know where to look and what line to change in any of the Bash configuration files to enable it. And YaST has offered no luck either. Any ideas?
DistroWatch answers: First, for people who may not know, the bash-completion package is a bit of software which makes the Bash command line shell more context aware. Normally, when we run the Bash shell (or most other command line shells) we can begin to type the name of a file and press the TAB key. The shell will try to figure out the full name of the file we began typing and fill in the remainder of the file name. This is quite convenient when working with files with long names or files which contain unusual symbols in the name. What the bash-completion package does is allow Bash to be aware of the context in which it is used.
As an example, on most distributions if you open a Bash shell and type "sudo rebo" and press TAB, the shell probably will not be able to find any programs or files matching that series of letters. However, if you have the bash-completion package installed Bash will be smart enough to figure out that commands starting with "sudo" may be followed by a command stored in a location the super user typically accesses while a regular user does not. When bash-completion is installed typing the command "sudo rebo" and pressing TAB will cause the shell to locate the reboot command and you end up with:
Having Bash act in a context aware fashion can be more useful. For example, when bash-completion is installed Bash will recognize known host names. This means we can use the secure shell program to access a server with a long name such as williamthegreat.com simply by typing "ssh will" and tapping the TAB key, assuming the hostname is in our /etc/hosts file. Likewise the bash-completion package lets us quickly access jobs running in the background or the names of users on the local system, given the proper context.
I had a chance to sit down in front of an openSUSE machine and installed bash-completion. Just installing the package is not enough to make it work. To activate the software one needs to logout of their account and then login again. This performs a sort of refresh on the Bash shell, enabling context aware completion.
If the completion feature is not working for you I recommend checking out the bash-completion README file. There is an on-line copy on Debian's website. Otherwise, bringing up the issue on the openSUSE forums may provide answers.
|Released Last Week
Zbigniew Konojacki has announced the release of 4MLinux 9.1, a minimalist and lightweight desktop Linux distribution featuring the JWM window manager: "4MLinux 9.1 'Allinone' edition final released. The status of the 4MLinux 9.1 series has been changed to stable. The final release has all the features included in 4MLinux 9.1 Rescue, Media, Server and Game editions. Two major changes in the 4MLinux 9.1 series. The first one is the replacement of thttpd with Apache, meaning that 4MLinux has joined the family of LAMP servers. There is a self-explanatory online demo at server.4mlinux.com. Skype is now available as a downloadable extension. UVC and gspca webcams are supported out of the box. The minimal build of PulseAudio (required by the newest Skype for Linux) has also been added (more info available here)." Read the brief release announcement which includes a screenshot of the default desktop.
4MLinux 9.1 - the default window manager
(full image size: 576kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Kali Linux 1.0.9
Mati Aharoni has announced the release of Kali Linux 1.0.9, a bug-fix update of the Debian-based distribution designed primarily for penetration testing and forensic analysis tasks: "Now that we have caught our breath after the Black Hat and DEF CON conferences, we have put aside some time to fix an annoying bug in our 1.0.8 ISO releases related to outdated firmware as well as regenerate fresh new ARM and VMware images (courtesy of Offensive Security) for our new 1.0.9 release. With this release come a few more updates worth mentioning. We are pleased to announce that we have updated our Raspberry Pi Kali image to support the new B+ model so that now it works out of the box. This single image now supports all Raspberry Pi models. We have also included two more images to our Kali ARM image collection for the Odroid U3 and Cubox-i ARM computers." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and to learn about the new Kali tools website.
Absolute Linux 14.10
Paul Sherman has announced the release of Absolute Linux 14.10, a new version of the project's lightweight desktop distribution based on Slackware Linux 14.1 (with updates from Slackware's "Current" tree) and featuring the IceWM window manager: "Absolute 14.10 released. This is a 'first' release based upon Slackware Linux 14.1 It has been a long road back, but here it is. Everythibng has caught up to Slackware (x86), up to and including a recompile with patch for the latest glibc security patch of 20140826. Even have PulseAudio working to keep the Skypers happy. The base install still fits easily onto a CD. If you want to burn a DVD or, more likely, plop the ISO image onto a USB stick, there is also a 'large' version of the ISO image, which includes LibreOffice, the kernel source, Calibre, Inkscape, Skype, Artha dictionary and thesaurus and several developer tools." Visit the distribution's home page to read the brief release announcement.
Cathy Lin has announced the release of Deepin 2014.1, a bug-fix update of the Ubuntu-based community distribution with a highly customised and intuitive desktop environment: "Deepin 2014.1 released. In this version, we focus on enhancing the system stability. Meanwhile, the system performance has been optimized thoroughly and the major improvements are as follows: added the anti-freeze function of Dock in background; fixed the system freezing bugs caused by Dock; for desktop, we have resolved the problems of right-click menu and multiple screen display; the response speed of the right-click menu has been improved significantly and its memory has been reduced by 90%; muti-display function has solved the problems of novice guide malposition and wrong display of wallpapers; a soft control function of screen brightness has been added in Control Center's display module...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details and screenshots.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
August 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: iTALC|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the August 2014 DistroWatch.com donation is iTALC, a didactical tool for teachers. It receives US$350.00 in cash.
Teachers and the outmost benefactors of this specialist software. Some of its features include: "see what's going on in computer labs by using the overview mode; control computers remotely to support and help students; show a demo screen (either in full screen or in a window) - the teacher's screen is shown on all student's computers in real time; lock workstations to get undivided attention of students; send text messages to students; remotely reboot students' computers; remote log in and log out and remote execution of arbitrary commands or scripts; home schooling - join lessons via VPN connections just by installing iTALC client." Visit the project's home page for more information.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and Bitcoins are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$40,825 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC
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New distributions added to database
- Exherbo. Exherbo is a source-based Linux distribution inspired by Gentoo Linux. Designed primarily for developers and advanced users who are expected to take an active role in the development of the distribution, Exherbo offers a decentralised development model, original code, and a fast and flexible package manager called Paludis.
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New distributions added to waiting list
- Porteus Kiosk. Porteus Kiosk is a lightweight Linux operating system which has been restricted to allow only use of the web browser. Furthermore, the browser has been locked down to prevent users from tampering with settings or downloading and installing software.
- Wallstone Creativity Desktop. Wallstone Creativity Desktop is based on openSUSE, has many of tools for writing, editing, converting documents, scanning documents, handling images and photos.
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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, 8 September 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
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • bash completion: faster refresh? (by dbrion on 2014-09-01 09:59:49 GMT from France) |
"Just installing the package is not enough to make it work. To activate the software one needs to logout of their account and then login again. This performs a sort of refresh on the Bash shell, enabling context aware completion."
in a console terminal refresh bash environment (at least in this terminal) -same thing would apply with xterm &), without shutting down/on?
2 • Haiku + Linux (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2014-09-01 14:46:35 GMT from Ecuador)
I know absolutely nothing about the development process of Haiku, but it would seem to me that their kernel developers probably don't spend much time on the UI, and UI devs probably don't muck around in the kernel too much. So why not create two editions? Haiku+Linux and Haiku Pure? I can't imagine that it would be a misuse of their human resources, since the Linux compatibility API would make it possible to code one UI that would work on both kernels. That way traditionalists could run Haiku with their in-house kernel, and users who just want Haiku to work on their system can run the same UI but on top of a Linux kernel with some special compile flags and scheduler settings to make it behave more like a Haiku kernel.
3 • Congrats GParted (by Reuben on 2014-09-01 16:10:24 GMT from United States)
It was sad when Partition Magic stopped being updated. I've used GParted many times since then to save my butt when I've made a partition too small.
4 • Xfce and Wayland (by cykodrone on 2014-09-01 17:53:16 GMT from Canada)
"Both GNOME and KDE are moving forward with their support for Wayland."
No mention of Xfce, I find this alarming, Xfce is my DE of choice now. I would really dread having to move back to a DE I don't much care for, I could go back to KDE (Gnome 3 is out of the question), but I really don't want to be forced to go back.
Anybody have any information on Xfce's Wayland roadmap?
Excuse me while I go slip on some Depends before I poop my pants, lol. :D
5 • failed downloads as a hindrance to awareness of a distro. (by frodopogo on 2014-09-01 18:59:29 GMT from United States)
When reading the review of Ubuntu Kylin, I noticed the incident about the failed download and the workaround.
"The first problem I ran into with Kylin came when I tried to download the 1.5GB ISO for the Enhanced edition. Each time I tried to download this ISO I would get about half of the desired file before my connection to the server would drop. Attempts to resume the download would fail with an access denied error. I believe this issue arose from problems with the cloud storage/distribution provider which hosts the Kylin images. I contacted the Kylin project and was quickly given a direct (and working) link to the distribution's Enhanced ISO."
Not everyone would know how to contact the project.
During this last summer, I had similar things happen while trying to download several distros.
It was very frustrating- the download would end for no apparent reason.
When I tried to download again, it would fail again at about the same point.
These were distros that only had ONE clearly marked download site, and so I couldn't try the distro.
I've noticed some distros have both an iso on Sourceforge AND one on their own website.
This is much better, as it gives you at least one option in case of failure.
I think I managed to download one ISO this way after a failed download from the distro's site.
Anyway, I'm writing this to say that I think that projects ought to put more effort into the mirrors. There ought to be instructions and links in case of a failed download ON THE DOWNLOAD PAGE, and there needs to be at least one (preferably more of course) clearly designated alternate download mirror. I think one time I found the alternate site by poking around the distro's distrowatch page, but the info should really be on their own site too!
They say "You only get one chance to make a first impression!" I had read reviews that got me interested in a few distros, got inspired to try to download them, and never got to try them. I can't even remember what those distros are now!!!
I'm not really knowledgeable about this (I'm not really a computer geek), but doesn't physical proximity play some role in this in avoided bottlenecks in the Internet between continents? When I download Linux Mint, I always pick a site no more than a couple of states away, and never have a problem. In contrast, many of the failed downloads are in Europe and I'm in the US. Many of the mirrors for Mint are at university computer science departments. I think projects ought to make more of an effort to get their distro mirrored on different continents. It seems like a great waste to put all that effort into a distro, and then not maximize the availability. State University sites often have the plus that the name with the state's name contained in it tips the downloader off as to how close the download site is, at least if they have an elementary knowledge of U.S. geography. Linux Mint is a European based distro, but they really seem to have the US mirroring thing down pat, and I think that's something worth emulating.
This is all the more important for user-friendly distros that want to appeal to musicians or other non-geeks!!! The download experience has to be user friendly too!!!
6 • Xfce & Wayland (by M.Z. on 2014-09-01 20:01:55 GMT from United States)
Well as mentioned in the post "Transitioning from X to Wayland will require desktop environments and graphical toolkits that interact well with the new technology."
I think the 'graphical toolkits" part of the question is central to answering what Xfce will do when Wayland comes out. I don't think Xfce has done much to move to a modern toolkit like Gtk3 or Qt4/5, or at least they haven't been very vocal about it. I think after they decide what toolkit to move to and when to do it they will then start to think about Wayland; however, I think X still has more than enough life left in it to only make Wayland support an issue for the KDE & Gnome, which are big projects meant to create modern and up to date desktops for newer computers. For projects like Xfce backward compatibility is more important than new technology like Wayland, so I'd expect it to take a while, probably years, before Wayland is supported.
7 • @3 Parted Magic (by Rev_Don on 2014-09-01 20:03:03 GMT from United States)
Parted Magic is still being updated. The latest update was July 2014. He just doesn't release a free version any longer.
He has been donating to GParted though. From what I can see, he is one of the top 3 donators to it.
8 • RE: "Haiku developers consider adopting Linux kernel" (by :wq on 2014-09-01 20:47:17 GMT from United States)
I think whether a project makes use of the Linux kernel comes down to what they are trying to achieve. For those open-source projects more focused on trying to engineer a reimplementation of a closed operating system (ex. ReactOS, AROS, Haiku), I have a feeling they will pass on the Linux kernel (http://www.hackmeeting.org/hackit09/presentazioni/ReactOS_is_(not)_Windows.pdf provides some answer as to why ReactOS doesn't use the Linux kernel). For those wanting to use the Linux kernel, projects like AEROS (AROS + Linux kernel) and the now inert BlueEyedOS come into being, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is what happens in this matter, i.e. a new project based on Haiku + Linux kernel. If this is about moving beyond a niche, these are inherently niche projects (at best, ReactOS might be adopted as a replacement for Windows for some interactive kiosks that are currently Windows-based), and moving to the Linux kernel won't change that. GNU and Linux came together at a time when the pairing was beneficial to both, and success didn't happen over night (and the Linux kernel has seen greater success beyond the GNU/Linux pairing, though due in part to having GNU as a springboard). I don't see that pairing ReactOS, AROS, or Haiku with Linux will improve the appeal of those systems, if anything, I think it might detract from it. Choosing the Linux kernel would certainly be helpful on the support front and might/would probably ease developer burden, but if functionality in any form takes primacy over re-creation, then why not go full Linux distribution, and just mimic the look and feel, à la ZevenOS?
While projects need pragmatism, they also need a clear vision, and sometimes championing a change can contort more than clarify the core vision. The issue at hand seems to be as much about Haiku's identity as it is about Haiku's development status.
9 • Resuming Downloads (by Chris on 2014-09-01 21:03:18 GMT from New Zealand)
Opera browser has a resume download ability which is handy if a download ceases midway, this would save you having to start from the beginning again. hope that helps.
10 • @10 (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2014-09-01 21:47:58 GMT from Ecuador)
@10: The server also has to support resuming downloads in order for the resume functionality to work, which the one in question here apparently didn't.
11 • @7 Parted Magic vs. Partition Magic (by EdKed on 2014-09-01 21:52:22 GMT from Canada)
I think he's talking about the old (originally OS/2, later windows) application Partition Magic, not the Parted Magic utility distro.
I remember when Partition Magic was new, and people were impressed by its ability to alter partition sizes on the fly, which had been pretty much undoable before that.
One of those products bought out by a bigger concern (I think Symantec) then left to die, so I think that's what the guy you're replying to might be talking about.
12 • @6 Re: Xfce and Wayland (by cykodrone on 2014-09-02 01:35:23 GMT from Canada)
M.Z., thank you ever so much for your thorough and informative answer. I can breath a little easier for a while, it seems. (:
13 • @7 Parted Magic version (by Pedro on 2014-09-02 01:58:58 GMT from United States)
Looks like Parted Magic is at 2014_08_14. For some reason distrowatch quit listing releases since it went pay. Maybe free as in cost is what is most important to this site?
14 • Partition magic (by David on 2014-09-02 02:14:50 GMT from United States)
Yeah partition magic was an old windows application.I even remember server magic from them.Symantec didn't do anything with it once it was acquired.
15 • RE: 13 Parted Magic (by ladislav on 2014-09-02 02:43:19 GMT)
For some reason distrowatch quit listing releases since it went pay.
That's not true. The Parted Magic page is up-to-date and the news section also had two announcements of Parted Magic releases that were no longer available as free downloads:
We will continue announcing Parted Magic from time to time, but not every release. Why? Firstly, I think Parted Magic is less interesting to most readers now that it's no longer available for free. And secondly, they release often. Many commercial projects do this to get free publicity at regular intervals. So not announcing their every release sort of keeps them from releasing a new version too often. I think two announcements per year is all they are going to get here.
16 • Parted Magic - Partition Magic (by Rev_Don on 2014-09-02 03:11:55 GMT from United States)
Looks like I dropped the ball on that one. I used to use Partition Magic when Powerquest had it, but pretty much stopped using it a year or so after Symantec acquired it. MiniTool's Partition Wizard and Easus Partition Master are very similar to Partition Magic though. I tend to use the Self Booting MiniTool version personally for Windows systems as I've had better luck resizing NTFS partitions with it than GParted or Parted Magic. Other folks mileage may vary..
17 • Parted Magic (by EarlyBird on 2014-09-02 03:25:58 GMT from Canada)
re 7) 13) and 15) Parted Magic (Not the Symmantec Windows version)
Generally find GParted does everything I ever need. However, favourite item to keep in the toolkit would be Systemrescue, which includes GParted. If you are comfortable around the command line, Finnix is another remarkable distro to keep in the toolkit. The last version (think it was 110) has text option for those of us who appreciate not having to squint at tiny letters on the screen. When booting-up, after clicking on the text-mode option, you can hit tab to edit the line, and add the toram option. Another nice thing about these two distros is, they don't automatically mount. You have to first specify what and where to mount an item. While doing so, you can specify ro (read-only) for forensic work.
Getting back to Parted Magic; It is only $5.00 (at least last time I looked). That can still be a problem if you are not comfortable using a credit card online and don't have a paypal account (lots of legitimate reasons for that). Still waiting to see how Bitcoin does. That may be a solution for me.
The second thing about Parted Magic is it does include some unique tools. One that caught my attention was a graphic front end to secure delete. If you are not comfortable at the command line, that can be a dangerous tool. A gui makes it generally safer. For anyone not familiar with it, secure delete supposedly securely deletes (wipes, erases) all data on a hard drive faster and more securely than previous tools you may be familiar with. It does this be addressing a built-in firmware (in the drive) instruction that causes the writehead to track to both sides of the guard band in each track. This takes far fewer writes than previous software where the head stayed in the middle of each track, and you depended on doing multiple writes over the same track hoping you "hit" each area of magnetic data (literally "hit or miss") to ensure complete erasure.
There are some aspects I haven't investigated such as password locking the drive, what the heck the default passwords are, etc. If anyone has firsthand experience with this on a spare drive, please provide some feedback.
So yeah, while I think we all prefer "free as in free beer", there are some merits to Partedmagic.
As far as the OTHER Partedmagic which Symmantec "buried", from the CD, you could create a DOS rescue version that fit on a floppy. Unlike the full Windows version, that MIGHT still be semi-useful (eg.- how many desktop PC's still have floppy drives?). Don't know what would happen if you tried it out on a recent multi-Terrabyte drive. I would much prefer a recent, stable, tested utility for use on something that is going to store my data.....
18 • RE: 15 Parted Magic (by Ben Myers on 2014-09-02 04:02:13 GMT from United States)
I don't mind paying a small amount for an update to Parted Magic, but I'd like to know what I am getting for the $5 compared to what I paid $5 previously. If it's updating the Linux kernel or changing the wallpaper background or updating to the latest greatest Clonezilla, it's not worth it. But if there is something NEW that it can do for me, I'll consider it. So tell us what's new please and make the new feature(s) useful. So make sure the Parted Magic web page describes what is in the latest.
19 • RE: 15 Parted Magic again (by Ben Myers on 2014-09-02 04:05:16 GMT from United States)
I just looked at the Parted Magic web site. To be sure, the home page tells about the product, just like it should. But the changelog? Meh! So???
You want someone to pay? You gotta sell it!
20 • RE: 15 Parted Magic again & again (by Ben Myers on 2014-09-02 04:07:10 GMT from United States)
Just now, I looked at the Parted Magic news page. Meh!
21 • @4,6 (by :wq on 2014-09-02 04:24:44 GMT from United States)
XEmbed isn't available in Wayland, so that will be an issue (maybe use XWayland). Regardless, X11 isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
As for the toolkit, it will be GTK+ 3, eventually.
But all this talk about Wayland and toolkits doesn't really matter. Xfce is dead (https://mail.xfce.org/pipermail/xfce4-dev/2014-August/030831.html). Just like CentOS was dead when version 6 wasn't expeditious. Just like Slackware was dead when its server went down. Just like the BSDs are dead every year.
22 • Thanks (by M.Z. on 2014-09-02 06:44:54 GMT from United States)
Thanks for providing some good info. I would have guessed there might have been a move to Gtk3 in the works somewhere at Xfce & you tracked it down. That extra 50% of RAM bloat is certainly not ideal for a lighter DE like Xfce, which is likely a good reason for them to stay with Gtk2 for a bit longer.
23 • Haiku Article Errata (by BeDucky on 2014-09-02 08:45:33 GMT from United States)
> One Haiku team member, Sia Lang
If I followed the thread correctly, Sia Lang isn't part of the Haiku development team. He began working on his project to adapt the Haiku UI to the Linux kernel on his own.
24 • Xfce (by Kazlu on 2014-09-02 11:26:17 GMT from France)
@6 M.Z.: I fully agree. X is not going to disappear any time soon. Actually, since it is included in RHEL 7, we can assume that X will at least be supported by Red hat until 2024 :) Although this would be far less efficient than today when X is used by every GNU/Linux distro and every GNU/Linux user, no hurry yet.
That being said, although I am a happy Xfce user and not willing to go anywhere else until forced out, I have to admit the roadmap for Xfce 4.12 is completely exploded: https://wiki.xfce.org/releng/4.12/roadmap. The links provided by :wq prove that developpement is still going on and Xfce is not that dead! If it's "dead" just like BSDs are "dead" just for not being what GNU/Linux users want, or "dead" like CentOS for having a slow developpement pace, it's good enough for me :) I'll wait and see. Or make a donation so that I do not just wait.
25 • Kingsoft Office (by Kazlu on 2014-09-02 11:28:06 GMT from France)
Closed source, does not support OpenDocument (and is not going to any time soon: http://wps-community.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26). If it was libre software, some people would probably help supporting OpenDocument format. But it's not, so they have to deal with it. Although it's nice to have another contender in the Office market, we don't need another one which does not support open formats and will be at the mercy of Microsoft's will regarding file formats. Plus, at least in Xubuntu 12.04 when I tried it a few months ago, Kingsoft Office did not support .docx files better than LibreOffice. Maybe Kingsoft Office's .docx files support is better than LibreOffice's one in some cases, but it will never be full like the one of Microsoft Office (provided you have the correct version of course), so why bother. The interface maybe, but even if it may resemble Microsoft Office's one, it is still not the same and there will still be people saying Microsoft Office is easier to use because of its interface. So why bother.
26 • @22 (by :wq on 2014-09-02 11:42:40 GMT from United States)
The initial porting back in 2012 was to GTK+ 3.2, so hopefully things have improved. While I don't really think it's in Xfce's best interest to bother moving to a toolkit other than GTK+ 3 or Qt 5, I would have liked to see test ports of a couple programs to Qt, EFL and FLTK as well, just to make certain that GTK+ 3 was the best match to Xfce's goals, but I understand that there are constraints on development resources.
27 • @26 toolkits (by Kazlu on 2014-09-02 11:56:19 GMT from France)
Xfce is a mainstream DE and as such I suppose it is smart to think first about GTK+ or Qt. A lot of distros based on Xfce include GTK+ apps and I suppose it is natural for Xfce to follow the next version(s) of GTK+ instead of changing the base toolkit. LXDE is the only I know which decided to change its toolkit ; I assume LXDE based distros xill swap some GTK+ apps for Qt apps. But I don't know well other toolkits, I suppose they are rarely used by applications and using one toolkit for the DE and another for the apps may result in more libraries loaded in RAM and possible theme incoherences. Please correct me if I am wrong, maybe the benefits overcome the drawbacks and maybe there are possible solutions.
28 • @25 Kingsoft Office (by Hoos on 2014-09-02 15:04:57 GMT from Singapore)
" ...Maybe Kingsoft Office's .docx files support is better than LibreOffice's one in some cases, but it will never be full like the one of Microsoft Office (provided you have the correct version of course), so why bother.... "
When I have docx files from work that have tables and comments within, Kingsoft does a better job reading them than Libreoffice. Some comments don't even appear if I open the file in LO. And writing changes to the files in Kingsoft instead of Libreoffice reduces the risk that other people - using Microsoft Office - cannot open the amended file.
I have Libreoffice installed in all distros, and also installed Kingsoft in Mint 17 (14.04) and Manjaro. I use LO for most things, even for work, and Kingsoft for the types of work files described above. Unfortunately, that's real life.
I doubt people choose to use Kingsoft purely because it has a similar interface to the newer Office's ribbon style! In any case, Kingsoft allows you to choose the classic or ribbon styles.
29 • Kingsoft Office (by Kazlu on 2014-09-02 15:31:14 GMT from France)
I must admit I rarely use docx/xlsx files at home, so I did not experiment very much on those files support by various office softwares. I tried, it was not satisfying, so I quit. Thanks for sharing your experience. After all, if it's usable, running Kingsoft under Linux is still less bad than running Office under Windows :)
30 • @25 (by Tyrforfreedom on 2014-09-02 16:49:48 GMT from United States)
Get the best of both worlds and use AbiWord? AFAIK both .DOC and .DOCX files are supported. I don't usually use an office suite, a word processor is all I need. I still think Office 2000 had the easiest interface.
31 • @17 Parted Magic (by Reuben on 2014-09-02 23:34:01 GMT from United States)
But in essence it's a redistribution of tools that a freely available right?
Also, if you tried partition magic, it wouldn't know what to do with the current filesystems, like ext4, btrtfs, newer versions of NTFS, etc. And probably wouldn't recognize GUID partition tables. I do miss the redistribute free space option.
32 • Kingsoft, Libre/Open Office, Abiword and .DOCX files (by Rev_Don on 2014-09-03 00:07:13 GMT from United States)
Here's a hard truth. While Kingsoft, Libre/Open Office, Abiword, and any number of other word processors can open SIMPLE DOC and DOCX format files they can't handle the kinds of complex documents that typically come from an office setting. If you regularly need to open, edit, print, or work with these more complex files your only viable solution is to use MS Word (and/or Excel for complex XLS and XLXS spreadsheets). There are a lot of Linux fanboys who will attempt to convince you otherwise, but the cold hard truth is that it simply isn't possible to deal with these complex MS Office files in anything but MS Office. Not even WordPerfect, the absolute best word processor ever produced can do it.
This is especially true if you are working on documents with built in macros, comments, equations, tables, etc. I know that a lot of people don't want to admit it, and most Linux users never have to deal with files like this, but there is a significant amount of people who do and it can be a deal breaker for them. I know as it's one of the main things that prevents me from switching to Linux full time and I've been trying to do so since the late 1990's..
33 • PM, ofc.docs, kernel, DEs (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-09-03 02:41:44 GMT from United States)
PartEd Magic is a polished toolset. gPartEd is one tool, TestDisk another. It draws from many sources, and properly honors their licensing. It's kept fairly leading-edge, though not bleeding, integrating upstream fixes. Current issues (like trouble-tickets) find support comes in the forum, moving into the "solved" heap over time. While access to the latest fashion/bugfix version requires a modest contribution to that diligent effort, older versions (some more compatible with old finicky hardware) can be found - and may be updated, if you're willing to do the work yourself.
Frankly, even Microsoft doesn't support document complexities all that enthusiastically, especially for prior versions. I suggest it's rare that people actually need to exchange all that complexity.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if Haiku avoided the corrupting influence of hardware vendor antics a monolithic kernel is so vulnerable to?
From the outside, many DEs just seem like re-shuffles of the same GUI elements, re-inventing the same API over and over again, endlessly repeating attempts to complete (and own?) the system.
34 • @32 (by :wq on 2014-09-03 03:46:12 GMT from United States)
As the MS Office user base undertakes the protracted process of transitioning to Office 2013 or future versions (for those that don't choose to move to other office suites altogether), and more of those users begin saving documents to OOXML ISO/IEC 29500 Strict, my hope is that act in and of itself will further compatibility.
As for ODF, I doubt it will gain much in popularity among MS Office users in environments where it's not mandated.
35 • WordPerfect (by linuxista on 2014-09-03 04:37:16 GMT from United States)
@32 You're right that WordPerfect was the best. It was the standard among law firms in the 90s, and it was great, especially the reveal codes feature, which got everyone a few hours sleep when a 400 page document printed out with 30 pages of italics or bold. You could just hunt down the offending tag and be done with it. Not so when law firms were forced to switch to MSWord to be compatible with their corporate clients. I can remember nights at 3am when lawyers and secretaries would have strangled Bill Gates if they could've got their hands on him. Fix one formatting problem only to have another one surface 50 pages later. Infuriating piece of junk. I'm sure it's improved somewhat, but it was just another example of Microsoft forcing inferior products on the world.
36 • @32 office (by greg on 2014-09-03 08:11:56 GMT from Slovenia)
I don't know about macros but there is actually a compatibility test file online that help you test compatibility. previous libre offices couldn't pass that test. however I tried it with latest version and it seems to go through.
I am not exactly sure why it is so difficult to accommodate docx MS format (it's a zipped XML). but then again even MS can't do it propperly when opening older .doc files.
37 • Parted Magic (by earlyBird on 2014-09-03 09:06:05 GMT from Canada)
31) Correct about it being a redistribution of freely distributed tools. Still, if you look at the package list, it seems impressive that just one person is able to spend the time and effort to maintain it and keep all the individual tools up to date. Most distros rely on a team of supporters.
Re the Symmantec Partition Magic and how it would cope with modern filing systems: Don't know how it operated "under the covers". If it was simply doing bit-level copy 'a la dd, it might not matter. Then again, as you pointed out, it might clobber the partition table, and be incompatible with GUID. Thats what I was alluding to in saying I would not trust my data to it.
Re there being newer versions of NTFS: Last version of Windows that I used was win98. Win ME was to be avoided. Then came Windows XP with option to use NTFS (think it might have been the default for win2000?). Finding out that win xp "phoned home" was the final straw for me. I switched to Linux and never looked back. So never occurred to me there might be any radical changes or "improvements" in that file system. Anyone have a timeline on that?
32 + 35) There was ONE good version of MS Word - that would be the last DOS version. All kidding aside, agree with you that Wordperfect was way better. Still have fond memories of WordPerfect 6.1 for DOS, and not so fond memories of versions prior to 5.x Supposedly, after Wordperfect 8 for Linux, Corel "lost" some of the source code needed to maintain a Linux version. And of course, who could forget Wordstar? All irrelevant now. then again, Vi (Vim, elvis, etc.), Latex, Lyx, (insert your favourite here), soldier on, immune to the vagaries and pressures of the commercial market. So when the chips are down, who y'a gonna' trust your data to? (Ghostbusters theme playing in the background.... hey, don't laugh - they're supposed to be coming up with a "re-issue" of THAT too!)
38 • @37 MS Office alternatives (by Kazlu on 2014-09-03 09:47:02 GMT from France)
Sure, there are way better solutions than MS Office, as long as you get to decide... It's easy when it's just for you, it's a little less easy but still possible in your family, perhaps in your company if you have enough influence and a few backers, but sometimes you just don't have that choice. Your client, your provider, the entity that publishes those documents you need, might use MS Office and only that, and only accept/demand MS Office files. And then you're screwed. There are even some companies that demand a .doc version of your resume when you apply for a job. I don't respond to those demands anymore, but go ask that to someone who hasn't have any job for two years...
39 • ODF/OOXML (by Dave Postles on 2014-09-03 11:45:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Since July, UK government requires word-processed documents to be in .odf format and does not support ooxml.
40 • TAILS (by Terence on 2014-09-03 11:40:19 GMT from Iceland)
For the last month and some odd weeks, I have been using TAILS almost exclusively (save for my Windows tablet) and I am pretty happy with its performance and general security stance. In fact, I am so impressed, I acually sent the developers $50 via Bitcoin, something I never do. I felt compelled to donate to quality software. For those tin foil hatters like myself, please download the new 1.1.1 version and compute knowing you are helping to complicate the NSAs job. Job well down to the developers.
41 • @38 Document file format issues (by cykodrone on 2014-09-03 12:33:00 GMT from Canada)
I have had the same experience, even sending my resume in both .doc and .odt with a small explanation in the email body about the .odt file so the receiving party is not all virus paranoid, not everybody knows what a .odt file is (also, I've noticed collusion between MS and anti-virus makers, anti-virus makers have their programs set to quarantine .odt on purpose in a default installation, the average office worker won't have admin rights or even know how to set their anti-virus to ignore .odt files, or a .odt resume may wind up in their spam folder), but after a while I just sent the .doc version only (sad). Anyway, I have been surviving with just LibreOffice, if I want to create a new .doc, I either just give the file the extension while naming it or make a copy of an old .doc, delete everything existing in it, rename it and start new that way (I find this to be the most reliable way), but I still have LibreOffice set to ask me what format to save in anyway. For my own personal documents, I only use .odt. The moral of this story, it is possible to get by with just LibreOffice. I have been on interviews where the interviewer had a printed copy of my aforementioned 'converted' resume in their hands. (:
42 • @25 Kingsoft Office (by once&done on 2014-09-03 13:39:55 GMT from United States)
What I found when I tried out Kingsoft Office, other than the fact that it is closed source developed in China, is that it is the ONLY free office software that can open Microsoft Office encrypted files. None of the others really even try.
I have no idea how they can manage that, but they do it. I'm going to keep my speculations beyond that to myself.
43 • tails (by linuxista on 2014-09-03 15:00:36 GMT from United States)
Do you take all the precautions to avoid man-in-the-middle iso downloads?
I'm starting to throw in the towel on the whole privacy issue. The effort involved gets more and more, and then it's revealed it wasn't secure in the first place. Discouraging.
44 • office files (by Kazlu on 2014-09-03 15:57:00 GMT from France)
@41 cykodrone: "anti-virus makers have their programs set to quarantine .odt on purpose in a default installation"
Really?? I don't know if it's a rule that states "if extention is .odt, set to quarantine" or "if extension is not in the whitelist, set to quarantine", but that's really bad :(
Also, starting from an existing .doc is probably a good idea, the problem being when you want to transfer a document you created or in which you did a lot of specific work (for example: basic graphics in a resume :) ) using LibreOffice... I don't want to start my resume over from a .doc file, I'm not even sure it will work!
45 • Kylin (by Chinese goodness on 2014-09-04 03:45:56 GMT from Australia)
Kylin is a smooth enough distro. The boot into live desktop is similar to Zorin or Antergos - with the option to try it live or install. These latest distros seem to be moving to a more tablet-like desktop environment. The youker assistant has some useful features, like hardware info and dead pixel checker. The more info and configuration software the better I reckon. However, IMHO, the left panel of icons combined with the left-side window buttons make the desktop feel too cluttered.
46 • @43 (by Terence on 2014-09-04 10:55:57 GMT from United States)
Yes, I follow the instructions provided on the website. I actually find it pretty painless on the whole. Once you download TAILS, the upgrade process to the next version is very easy. A prompt appears letting you know you can upgrade. Click to start the process, it downloads the changes, then auto installs itself. Reboot and you are all finished.
47 • Haiku (by Justus on 2014-09-04 11:47:26 GMT from United States)
From what I've read about BeOS, the precise thread management and snappy responsiveness aren't possible on the Linux kernel without a significant amount of rewriting. Beyond that, if you're going to simply adopt that much of the Linux infrastructure, you're no longer your own OS but merely yet another distribution, of which we already have far, far too many.
48 • @35 (by Smellyman on 2014-09-04 12:02:06 GMT from Taiwan)
Amen. I did IT in law firms for years and the headaches with MS Office are outrageous. Corrupted docs, poor formatting, problems between office versions etc. I had to use Libreoffice to save the day sometimes.
Wordperfect just worked great. Users liked Wordperfect better too. MS Office just keeps IT people and trainers employed.
49 • tails security (by linuxista on 2014-09-04 21:12:50 GMT from United States)
Did you verify your signing key by 1) correlating multiple signing keys from international locations, 2) against the Debian keyring or 3) or by web of trust? Otherwise apparently the issue is you could be using an official "NSA" version of Tails.
50 • @43 (Tails, Tor, GPG, and the right to privacy) (by not using Tails on 2014-09-04 22:01:26 GMT from Brazil)
"__ I'm starting to throw in the towel on the whole privacy issue. The effort involved gets more and more, and then it's revealed it wasn't secure in the first place. Discouraging."
Yes, the NSA hackers probably CAN track your IP address, even under the Tor network. But you should at least try to protect your emails using the GPG cryptographic technology.
Hey, linuxista, take a look at this: http://lavabit.com
Will you let those "feds" spy on your private messages? You live in a democracy, not in a dictatorship.
51 • re 48 (by corneliu on 2014-09-04 22:06:26 GMT from Canada)
WordPerfect did not work that great in the end. Microsoft made sure that WordPerfect run very slow and crashed in Windows so that people would switch to Office. This is just one aspect of how Microsoft competes.
52 • Tails, Lavabit, Privacy (by linuxista on 2014-09-05 02:22:54 GMT from United States)
@43 Google Chrome puts this up when I follow your link.
Your connection is not private
Attackers might be trying to steal your information from lavabit.com (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards).
And I use gmail. Oh, the shame! My face is off.
I do want privacy, but I'm also lazy and want reliable tools, like most users. I encourage all of you in the vanguard, but I will probably adopt when it gets closer to mainstream. (Firefox allowed me into the lavabit blog.)
53 • Wordperfect (by Hoos on 2014-09-05 09:56:39 GMT from Singapore)
Add me to those who much preferred Wordperfect. I thought it had sane tabbing, numbering and indentation functions that were completely within the control of the user and didn't seem to have a life of their own.
I never feel like I'm in full control of Word's indentation and auto-numbering, LOL.
54 • Re@51, Re: WordPerfect (by Rev_Don on 2014-09-06 04:14:22 GMT from United States)
"WordPerfect did not work that great in the end. Microsoft made sure that WordPerfect run very slow and crashed in Windows so that people would switch to Office. This is just one aspect of how Microsoft competes."
I don't know where you got your misinformation, but WordPerfect runs just as well today as it did back then. It might load a bit slower due to MS including several hooks to MS Word into Windows so it was partially loaded with Windows, but it runs faster than Word and always has.
As for crashing, that's just plain bull. WP doesn't crash any more than Word does, and with the exception of WPWin 6.0 it never has. In fact, it was (and still is) a darn site more stable and crashes less than Word.
55 • Latest Gentoo Live DVD release (by cykodrone on 2014-09-06 04:43:33 GMT from Canada)
The livedvd-amd64-multilib-20140826.iso specifically, it's a chubby download, 2.8GB but worth the fun. It went on to and booted from an 8GB USB stick created with Unetbootin in Debian Wheezy. I booted in to the default KDE, same old same old, way too much eye candy on by default (I hate fade in and out anything, it makes any OS feel slow), the good news is, tons of apps and tools, there should be considering the size of the download. It worked and ran pretty smooth, very impressive. The only thing that tripped me up was trying to be root anything while live, let me save you the search for the answer, lol, in a terminal type sudo su, then hit Enter, magically you become root, but wait, there's more, if a GUI app requires the root password, Gentoo doesn't tell you what it is so you have to make one, in that same terminal type passwd, hit Enter, type a new root pw, hit Enter (you will get a short lecture on how lousy the pw you chose is, ignore it, lol), type the same pw again to confirm, hit Enter, voila, now you have a root pw. Enough of that, logged out of the KDE session, chose the Xfce session (I'm a convert from KDE to Xfce so naturally I'm gunna wanna try it), so now I'm at the login with gentoo in the username field, I type gentoo in the pw field because the Gentoo site said so, nope, no login, so then I just hit Enter with the pw field empty, BINGO, pw not required for user gentoo, go figure. Anyway, Xfce was pretty nice too, version 4.10, and the same gazillion apps that I found in KDE. Another thing that stumped me, since I'm a Synaptic idiot (yes, I can do command-line apt, I just choose not to) I gave Porthole a spin (as root, hence the aforementioned root pw fiasco), I tried to install DeVeDe while live, no go, I must have missed something or you can't install more apps while live for some reason. Aside from that, it was pretty fun and interesting, Gentoo is not the scary OS it used to be. Speaking of DEs, there were many to choose from in the login screen, quite a few actually.
56 • gentoo (by linuxista on 2014-09-06 14:44:54 GMT from United States)
I was going to install gentoo a number of years ago, but it made arch look like a walk in the park. I'm wondering whether this new live dvd is for live only, or does it serve as a shortcut to install gentoo to a hard drive, sort of like Bridge Linux for Arch? After installation, does anybody have a pros/cons gentoo vs. arch re compiling vs. binaries, rolling, range of available apps (i.e. AUR)?
57 • Re: Gentoo Live DVD (by eco2geek on 2014-09-07 07:28:14 GMT from United States)
I don't know much about Gentoo. Regarding the new Live DVD, however, some things are fairly clear:
- The DVD will auto-log in to KDE, whereupon you can start up a terminal (or press F12 to use Yakuake, the drop-down terminal), and enter "sudo passwd root" to set a root password, or "sudo passwd gentoo" to set the password for the default user, "gentoo" (there doesn't appear to be a root password set by default)
- Use "sudo " in a terminal to execute said command as root, no password needed
- When installing DeVeDe from the command line, it indicated it wanted a "USE" flag set. Fortunately, there's a Gentoo handbook included to explain USE flags, at least enough to install DeVeDe. The command "sudo USE="ffmpeg-2.3 mp3" emerge devede" worked to install it
- The DVD doesn't have an installer. However, the Gentoo forum post about it tells you how you can save your changes (i.e. use it as live media with persistence)
Installing DeVeDe from the command line highlighted the difference between a distribution like Debian, which has a large repository of pre-compiled binaries, and Gentoo, which compiles packages from source. DeVeDe and its dependencies took some time to compile and install. Would it be worth the time and effort to learn the complexities of how to install Gentoo, and then spend the time compiling a ton of packages from source?
58 • Tails & tracking (by M.Z. on 2014-09-07 07:44:39 GMT from United States)
From what I can remember using Tor or something like Tails is actually probably going to get you put under for more scrutiny by various spy agencies than simply browsing the web would, because of course why would you use such a thing if you had nothing to hide? Flawed as that logic is, it provides a way for spy agencies to be more targeted when examining the excess terabytes of data collected. I do think that using Tails would throw off less sophisticated spy agencies, & it makes a statement about your insistence of privacy while annoying those looking through Tor related 'leads' by giving them more of nothing to look at. On the whole it is still a big win for privacy & a worthy project, but the added scrutiny is still an issue. Personally I just use Duck Duck Go so as to avoid most tracking by Google & use Ghostery to block ad trackers in Firefox & call it close enough; however, for those willing to go the extra mile Tails is a wonderful thing.
59 • @57: Correction on the root password in Iron Pengin (by eco2geek on 2014-09-07 17:24:03 GMT from United States)
There does seem to be a default root password, although I don't know what it is.
But since you're automatically logged in as root in VT1, and changing the root password in a terminal in KDE is easy ("sudo passwd root"), it doesn't really matter.
60 • @58: Hell, just browsing Linux Journal's web site makes you a target... (by eco2geek on 2014-09-07 19:03:31 GMT from United States)
...for extra surveillance from the NSA. See:
(On the one hand, this has never made any difference in my private life. On the other hand, it's disturbing that my interests in Linux and in privacy on the Internet makes me subject to increased surveillance by my government.)
61 • They must have it in for the DoD (by M.Z. on 2014-09-08 07:19:54 GMT from United States)
Well here I thought that they just wanted to go after the Navy for creating Tor, but now you tell me anyone interested in Linux is a threat that must be monitored? The NSA must really hate the guys at the DoD that created their own Linux distro:
Of course the Germans who claim to be big privacy advocates got caught spying on their fellow NATO member in Turkey after getting all mad at the US for doing the same thing, so it seems like everyone is guilty:
When the Germans make such a fuss over privacy & can't even set a decent example of what they expect from others I have to wonder if any half rich country can be trusted to provide any amount of privacy.
Number of Comments: 61
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