| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 576, 15 September 2014
Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! One of the most important aspects of any operating system is how accessible it is, especially to new users. Different projects take different approaches to being accessible. Some focus on making their documentation complete and easy to read, others attempt to present friendly and intuitive interfaces and some lower the bar to experimenting via live media. This week we examine projects that are improving accessibility and user friendliness. We begin with a review of the PCLinuxOS distribution, a popular fork of the Mandriva family tree. Read on to find out how the PCLinuxOS developers are making their distribution user friendly. In the News section this week we talk about Linux Mint's improving documentation and how the Debian project is teaming up with h-node to create a large database of hardware that works with Linux distributions. PC-BSD is also featured in the news, having just released a new version and the project presents us with new install media and desktop environments. The openSUSE project and Ubuntu have both been gaining new users by branching out and engaging new communities and we carry the details below. In our Questions and Answers column this week we tackle the common problem of porting software across dissimilar distributions. Plus we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look ahead to fun new developments to come. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Initial impressions of PCLinuxOS 2014.08
I spend more time looking at the family trees of Linux distributions than I do looking at my own family tree. I find it interesting to see how distributions grow from their parent distribution, either acting as an extra layer of features which regularly re-bases itself or as a separate fork. New distributions usually tend to remain similar in most ways to their parent distro, using the same package manager and maintaining similar philosophies. When I look at the family trees of Linux distributions one project stands out more than others: PCLinuxOS.
Why I find PCLinuxOS interesting is that the project, after forking away from Mandriva, went off in its own direction, quite divorcing itself from many of Mandriva's key characteristics. The Mandriva project maintains distinct versions of its operating system, PCLinuxOS is a rolling-release distro. Mandriva uses the urpm package manager, PCLinuxOS uses an unusual combination of APT with RPM packages. Mandriva and most of its forks seem to feel staying on the cutting edge is the way to be user friendly while PCLinuxOS is conservative in its presentation. PCLinuxOS may still use many of the same components as its original parent, but its style is certainly different.
The PCLinuxOS distribution is a desktop oriented operating system which ships in a variety of editions. The main edition features the KDE desktop and there are several community spins which include LXDE, MATE and other configurations. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. I opted to try the main KDE edition of the distribution and downloaded the 64-bit build. The ISO for this build was approximately 1.6 GB in size.
I tried running PCLinuxOS in two environments, in a VirtualBox virtual machine and on a physical desktop machine. I found that when I tried to run the distribution on the physical machine the live environment would load and ask me to select my keyboard's layout from a menu. Once my keyboard's layout was confirmed the live environment would launch the project's graphical system installer. Closing the installer, rather than bringing me to a live desktop, would cause the computer to reboot. This was in contrast to how PCLinuxOS behaved in VirtualBox. Booting from the project's live media in the virtual machine would ask me to select my keyboard's layout and then present me with a functional KDE desktop. I could explore the KDE environment which was laid out with the application menu, task switcher and system tray at the bottom of the display. On the desktop I found icons for displaying user account credentials (for root and the common user account), bringing up documentation on how to use the system installer and there was another icon for launching the installer. I looked through the provided documentation and found it dealt briefly with how to use the system installer without going into a great deal of detail.
The distribution's system installer is a graphical application that features very few steps. We begin by diving straight into partitioning the local hard disk. If we wish, the PCLinuxOS installer will automatically divide up the disk for us. We also have the option of manually managing our partitions using a straight forward graphical interface. I found PCLinuxOS supports several file systems including ext3, ext4, JFS, XFS and ReiserFS. We can also work with RAID configurations and logical volumes. I wanted to work with LVM volumes and this required that the installer download additional packages from the project's software repositories. This means people wanting to take advantage of LVM features should have a network connection enabled prior to launching the installer. Working with LVM is beautifully simple as a LVM manager appears in its own tab on the partition manager screen and the LVM manager is laid out much the same way as the existing partitioning screen. I liked the ability to quickly switch between normal partitions and my LVM volume using tabs. This was much nicer than switching between separate windows as some installers do.
Next, the system installer offers to remove support for hardware not found on our system and then begins copying its packages to our local hard drive. Once all the required files are in place we are asked if we would like to install either the GRUB boot loader or the LILO boot loader. We are also given the chance to add entries to the boot loader's menu in case PCLinuxOS fails to detect all available operating systems. Then we are asked to reboot the computer. The first time we launch our fresh copy of PCLinuxOS we are asked to perform a few configuration steps. We are asked to set the system clock or enable network time synchronization. Next we are asked to create a password for the administrator account and then create a regular user account for ourselves. A few seconds later we find ourselves looking at a graphical login screen that features an attractive blue background.
PCLinuxOS 2014.08 - configuring and monitoring a network connection
(full image size: 319kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
When we first sign into our user account we are greeted by a window which tells us PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution and we should update the system regularly. Steps are shown explaining how to do this using the Synaptic package manager. When this window is closed another opens. This second window shows us detailed information with regards to launching Synaptic, finding available software updates and installing these updates. The documentation warns us we should perform regular system updates with the Synaptic package manager and that upgrading the operating system from the command line is not the recommended method of installing updates. Shortly after reading this documentation an icon appeared in the KDE system tray letting me know software updates were available. Right-clicking on this notification icon gives us the option of launching Synaptic. The update notification icon has a few other options such as refreshing our package database or checking the PCLinuxOS project's Twitter feed for news. Clicking the Twitter option brings up a window that displays news and announcements from the PCLinuxOS team.
Getting back to Synaptic, the graphical package manager performed well during my trial. During my week with PCLinuxOS I used Synaptic to download new software, upgrade over 80 packages and remove a few items. The venerable package manager performed all of the tasks I gave it without any problems. Synaptic may not have the eye candy and smooth interface some modern package manages display, but it does work quickly and without any unpleasant surprises.
While I was using PCLinuxOS the distribution performed well, both in the virtual environment and on physical hardware. The operating system boots quickly and the KDE desktop is responsive. I found the distribution presented an attractive interface while keeping visual effects turned off. This made for a desktop that was nice to look at without being distracting. Running on physical hardware PCLinuxOS automatically set up a network connection, sound worked and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. When running in the virtual machine I found the distribution did not properly detect my screen resolution, even when I made sure VirtualBox's guest module was loaded. I soon found my screen's resolution could be adjusted to match my hardware via the distribution's Control Centre. PCLinuxOS used around 430MB of memory when sitting at the KDE desktop.
PCLinuxOS 2014.08 - running Google Earth
(full image size: 1,028kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The PCLinuxOS distribution ships with a massive amount of desktop software, much too many programs to list here without expanding this review into War and Peace proportions. Some of the highlights include Firefox with Flash support, Google Earth, Filezilla, a Dropbox client, the KPPP dial-up software, KMail, KTorrent, Skype and Thunderbird. LibreOffice is installed for us along with the Calibre e-book library manager. There are several small games, a document viewer and a few image editors, including Inkscape, KolourPaint and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. There is a Documentation Portal which lists many documentation and support resources provided by the PCLinuxOS project. Selecting an item from the list opens our web browser to the specified resource. KMyMoney is included along with the K3b disc burning software, a text editor and the Ark archiving utility.
The distribution ships with several multimedia applications including the KsCD audio disc player, the VLC media player, Dragon Player and the JuK audio player. The distribution offers a full range of multimedia codecs, enabling us to play a wide array of media. PCLinuxOS ships with the Kamerka webcam utility, Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. In the background we find a secure shell server running, though the default firewall configuration blocks all incoming network connections. There are several educational applications and even a program whose sole function is to hide/show the KDE cashew button that typically displays in the upper-right corner of the desktop. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.15.
PCLinuxOS 2014.08 - the Synaptic package manager
(full image size: 374kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Of all the many software packages PCLinuxOS ships with I felt a few stood out. It is rare to see a Linux distribution offer Google Earth in the default installation. I felt the feature was welcome, if only because people sometimes ask me if they can still run Google Earth after I install Linux for them. Another feature which stood out was the My LiveCD utility. This program takes a snapshot of the operating system and saves it in an image we can them burn to a DVD. This command line program can be very useful if we want to take our operating system with us when we travel or if we want to create a re-spin of PCLinuxOS to demo software to others. One final point which caught my attention was that, by default, the distribution does not ship with manual pages. Old timers, such as myself, use man pages as our primary source of documentation and it is not often I find a distribution without the man package installed. The man package is available in the project's repositories.
PCLinuxOS 2014.08 - the KDE System Settings panel
(full image size: 458kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The distribution ships with two control panels. The first is the KDE System Settings panel which assists the user in changing the look and feel of the desktop environment. I feel the System Settings panel is the heart of the KDE desktop and it allows for an amazing degree of flexibility when configuring the graphical interface. The second control panel is the PCLinuxOS Control Centre which deals more with the underlying operating system. PCLinuxOS's Control Centre is very user friendly and nicely organized into categories of functionality. Using the Control Centre we can manage the computer's hardware, configure network shares, share network connections, enable fine-grained security measures and change boot options. We can enable automatic login, configure web proxies, work with DNS settings, configure the secure shell service, enable a FTP server and set up a web server. We can tweak authentication methods, create user accounts, partition hard drives and change video card settings. It is a wonderfully flexible control panel and all of the modules I used were beginner friendly. All of the modules worked well too and I encountered no problems with the Control Centre.
PCLinuxOS 2014.08 - the control centre
(full image size: 481kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Earlier I mentioned that PCLinuxOS strikes me as being an unusual distribution in some ways, especially when compared with other distributions which grew out of the Mandriva family. PCLinuxOS is perhaps a bit odd in that it is a rolling release distribution, but at the same time the tone of the project is conservative. There isn't a lot of eye candy or flash or experimental features. The distribution has a calm approach, a traditional looking desktop that is attractive without being trendy. The operating system appears to be stable while maintaining a rolling release style of package management.
The distribution throws a lot of software at the user right from the start. The application menu is full of useful software and we are not left wanting any functionality. This may be a little overwhelming for newcomers when they first start digging through the application menu, but once one gets used to the organization of the applications it is fairly easy to find the software we want.
There wasn't a lot which really stood out while I was using PCLinuxOS. I didn't encounter any serious bugs or problems, the distribution performed quickly and it was stable during my trial. I was really happy with the Control Centre, which is polished, functional and very friendly. I liked the system installer which makes partitioning straight forward while allowing expert users additional flexibility if it is needed. In general, everything about PCLinuxOS was, in a word: good. The system installer worked well, the package manager worked well, the distribution ships with lots of great software and the default applications all seem to be popular and useful items. Performance was good and there were very few distractions while I was working.
I'm not sure I would recommend PCLinuxOS to a complete Linux novice, the distribution has a lot of features and flexibility that might be overwhelming. However, for someone who has become comfortable using a Linux distribution geared toward novice users, someone who has graduated a step beyond newcomer status, I think PCLinuxOS is an excellent choice. The distribution has a lot of functionality, is friendly and has a conservative rolling release nature while means it can probably be run for a long time without re-installing it. If you haven't tried PCLinuxOS before I think you are missing out on a good experience.
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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)
Mint improves documentation, Debian contributes to hardware database, PC-BSD introduces CD media, openSUSE reports on Factory interest, Ubuntu gains adoption in Europe, Bodhi project leader quits
The Linux Mint team has been hard at work on the upcoming release of Linux Mint "Debian" edition which will be based on Debian 8.0. The Mint developers are also working on a few other helpful features users will soon be able to access. One of these features is the ability to change the appearance of specific directories in the Nemo file manager. This makes navigating and finding key directories easier. Mint is also working on improving their documentation: "The 'Official User Guide' is now automatically generated to various formats such as PDF, ePUB, HTML, translated in various languages on Launchpad and integrated within the OS as a Yelp DocBook guide. In Linux Mint 17.1 you should therefore see it in your own language by just pressing F1. We're also tying various parts of the OS with the help system to give better contextual help. Pressing F1 in the Update Manager for instance will show the appropriate relevant paragraph on Software Updates."
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The Debian GNU/Linux project is teaming up with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and h-node to build a database of hardware that works with GNU/Linux distributions without the need for proprietary software. The Debian website has more details: "While other databases list hardware that is technically compatible with GNU/Linux, h-node lists hardware as compatible only if it does not require any proprietary software or firmware. Information about hardware that flunks this test is also included, so users know what to avoid. The database lists individual components, like wifi and video cards, as well as complete notebook systems. The compatibility information comes from users testing hardware on systems running only free software. Previously, h-node site guidelines required they be running one of the FSF's endorsed distributions. While the FSF does not include Debian on this list because the Debian project provides a repository of non-free software, the FSF does acknowledge that Debian's main repository, which by default is the only place packages come from, is completely free." As Debian is more widely used than the distributions on the FSF's list of endorsed distributions this move will likely expand h-node's hardware database quite a bit.
Recent news about Debian extending security support for its "oldstable" release (version 6.0 "Squeeze") was warmly greeted by many system administrators who wanted to postpone the upgrades of their installations. In fact, this move by Debian was a response to numerous demands by large companies with many servers and their promises to sponsor Debian's security experts. Unfortunately, many of these promises have yet to materialise and Debian's security support for "Squeeze" is still underfunded. Raphaël Hertzog reports: "We have not yet reached our minimal goal of funding the equivalent of a half-time position. And it shows in the results, the dla-needed.txt still shows around 30 open issues. This is slightly better than the state two months ago but we can improve a lot on the average time to push out a security update. To have an idea of the relative importance of the contributions of the paid developers, I counted the number of uploads made by Thorsten and Holger since July: of 40 updates, they took care of 19 of them, so about the half." While the author clearly appreciates all the active sponsors, he also appeals to those companies that promised to help, but haven't done anything about it: "Quite a few companies that promised help (and got mentioned in the press release) have not delivered the promised help yet."
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The PC-BSD project released its quarterly software update last week and there were a few key points of interest in the new release. PC-BSD typically releases fairly large ISO images, suitable for USB or DVD media, but this release included a CD-size image suitable for performing minimal or server installs. Version 10.0.3 of PC-BSD also supports full disk encryption. As the project's blog states: "This update includes a number of important bug-fixes, as well as newer packages and desktops. Packages such as Chromium 37.0.2062.94, Cinnamon 2.2.14, Lumina 0.6.2 and more. This release also includes a CD-sized ISO of TrueOS, for users who want to install a server without X."
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In August we reported the openSUSE project was making their Factory repository into a proper rolling release distribution. This made Factory more than just a collection of cutting edge software, the repository could now be considered a proper distribution on its own. How have people reacted to openSUSE's new rolling release branch? The project's blog claims over 6,000 installations of Factory have been performed and there has been a strong increase in the repository's popularity. "We can observe a big increase of the number of users in Factory during this July and August (from 1952 in June to 5969 at the end of August). Factory nearly tripled the number of installations."
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The Ubuntu distribution is becoming increasingly popular in Europe. At the University of Nantes in France the distribution was deployed on over 1,700 computers on the campus. These Ubuntu installs replace Microsoft Windows as the operating system of choice. The report states, "As Yann Dupont, Head of infrastructure management at the university's IT and digital services department, explained 'We support open-source solutions and have long been using Ubuntu. In switching our desktop computers to Ubuntu, we have reduced our total cost of ownership in a significant and meaningful way. We also like the freedom it gives us from licensing fees and the ease with which we can deploy and manage Ubuntu systems -- and because it's so easy to use, we had no problems with users accepting the new software. Productivity was unaffected.'"
Ubuntu has also gained adoption in Turin, Italy. The capital city government of the Piedmontese region hopes to save approximately six million euros by switching to the Ubuntu distribution rather than upgrading their ageing installations of Windows. As ZDNet reports: "The move will mean installing the open-source operating system on 8,300 PCs, which will generate an immediate saving of roughly €300 per machine (almost €2.5m altogether, made up from the cost of Windows and Office licences) - a sum that will grow over the years as the need for the renewal of proprietary software licences vanishes, and the employees get used to the new machines."
* * * * *
Finally, sad news for the fans of Bodhi Linux, one of the few Linux distribution with exclusive focus on integrating the Enlightenment desktop into an existing distro. Jeff Hoogland, the founder and project manager of this unique project, has decided to abandon Bodhi Linux: "I am sure anyone who has been following the Bodhi project has taken note that the 3.0.0 release timeline has not happened as expected. Due to a variety of reasons I would like to announce today that I will no longer be actively developing Bodhi Linux." All is not lost though; as part of the blog post, there is also an appeal to find a replacement who'd continue with the development: "With that being said, even though I no longer have the bandwidth to actively develop Bodhi, I know many enjoy using the project. So if you are reading this and have an interest in picking up where I am leaving off, please contact me. All Bodhi related code can be found on my GitHub page and I am more than happy to help guide you in the right direction with how things work as you are getting started."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Running applications across Linux distributions
There is a scenario I see too often. One person is running Linux distribution ABC and other person is running Linux distribution XYZ. The first person, usually me in these situations, is running an application they would like to share with the second person. However, the second person is running a distribution that has a different package repository that does not feature the same software, they may not even have a compatible package manager, making sharing the application difficult.
What can we do in this situation? Well, if we are very lucky the upstream project might have pre-built binary packages that will work on multiple Linux distributions. We might be able to direct our friend to the project's website and have them download the proper file and, hopefully, there won't be any extra dependencies to worry about. If we are slightly less lucky the upstream project may supply archives of their source code and have a clear list of dependencies that are available on the second person's distribution. This may very well work if the other person is comfortable hunting down dependencies and compiling software from source code, but those people are rare, even in the Linux community. In short, if the software we want the other person to run is not in their distribution's repository, our options for getting them to run the same application we have are limited. At least this has typically been the case.
These days there is an excellent solution for transferring application between computers running different flavours of Linux. This solution is called CDE, for Code, Data and Environment. What CDE does is give us a method for taking an application that is running on our computer, packaging it up with all of its dependencies and configuration files and transferring this portable package to another person's computer. Creating the portable CDE package takes just two commands and the resulting archive can be opened and run on almost any computer running a GNU/Linux operating system.
How does it work? What happens is CDE takes an application and all its dependencies and configuration files and places these items in a directory. This directory can be archived and moved to another machine. Once on another computer, the archive can be run in an isolated environment, a sort of container where all the components needed are already in place.
I downloaded the CDE application and went through the manual, taking the opportunity to package a couple of programs. The steps are fairly simple and the following is an example of me transferring the game Atomic Tanks (atanks) from one computer to another:
The above command runs the atanks application and begins building a directory where all of the components of Atomic Tanks are stored. When the program exits, we are left with a directory called cde-package. We can then create an archive of atanks and all of its dependencies:
tar czf atanks-archive.tar.gz cde-package
This creates a compressed archive file we can transfer to another computer. This could be done via e-mail for small packages or cloud storage or secure file transfer, depending on the environment. Once the second person has the atanks-archive.tar.gz file on their computer they can use whatever method they like best to unpack the archive. Inside they will find the cde-package directory. Inside that they will find a file called atanks.cde which they can run. As an example, the command line could be used as follows:
tar xzf atanks-archive.tar.gz
One important piece of information I found is that all the files the ported application needs are stored under a directory called cde-root inside the archive. If we want to know exactly which files have been transferred we can find them in this sub-directory. The person who receives the archive can venture into this directory to explore the files and run them.
I found that CDE did a good job of working for me, transferring files between distributions. I only tried a few small applications, but these ran on the target machine without any problems and without any extra work on my part. The receiving machine doesn't even need to have a copy of CDE installed, the archive just runs on its own. There was one side-effect of this form of packaging which I think is important to mention. Since CDE packages configuration files and, for that matter, I believe it packages any files the target software opens, this means CDE will happily package configuration files it finds in our home directory. If we run CDE on an application which opens files in our home directory or if our application accesses a database we use privately, it is entirely possible CDE will bundle these personal files up and add them to the archive. For this reason, if you use CDE to transfer software, take a look in the cde-root directory of the archive you plan to send and make sure no private files have been packaged along with the library files and other dependencies.
CDE is small, portable and makes it very easy to share software with people who run very different flavours of Linux. It is easy to tweak the CDE archives in order to add or remove files after CDE finishes its work and the person who receives our archive does not need to handle dependencies or install any software. This makes CDE a very convenient solution when we need to port functionality between computers and even different Linux distributions.
|Released Last Week
Kris Moore has announced the release of PC-BSD 10.0.3, the latest quarterly update of the desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD 10: "The PC-BSD team is pleased to announce the availability of the next PC-BSD quarterly package update, version 10.0.3. This update includes a number of important bug fixes, as well as newer packages and desktops. Packages, such as Chromium 37.0.2062.94, Cinnamon 2.2.14, Lumina 0.6.2 and more. This release also includes a CD-sized ISO image of TrueOS, for users who want to install a server without X. PC-BSD notable changes: NVIDIA Driver 340.24; pkg 1.3.7; various fixes to the Appcafe Qt UI; bug fixes to Warden / jail creation; fixed a bug with USB media not always being bootable; fixed several issues with X.Org setup; improved boot environments to allow 'beadm activate' to set default...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information and upgrade instructions.
Q4OS is a lightweight and minimalist desktop Linux distribution featuring the Trinity desktop (a fork of KDE 3.5), based on Debian's stable branch. Version 0.5.18, a minor update with some security fixes, was announced yesterday: "New update of the Q4OS distribution, version 0.5.18, is available. The new version includes several security updates and updated packages. Lookswitcher, the tool to easily switch between classical and modern user interfaces, has been rewritten and bunch of GUI improvements have been made. Script for APT database lock detection has been ported to the C programming language. Prepared underlying API for easy installation of recent application versions from the backports repository and automatic detection of national environment and language. Q4OS is now stable enough to be recommended for everyday use." Here is the brief release announcement.
Q4OS 0.5.18 - the default Trinity desktop
(full image size: 362kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.15 Core 82, a new stable release of the specialist distribution designed for firewalls: "This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.15 Core Update 82. This Core Update's main features are the inclusion of the crowd-funded Windows Active Directory Single Sign-On Web Proxy and the option to disable masquerading (NAT) on the local networking interfaces. In addition to that, several system libraries and tools have been updated, and minor bugs have been fixed. Proper and secure authentication against the Squid web proxy has not been possible in IPFire before. The 'Windows' authentication has been broken for a long time since there were bigger changes in the Windows Domain Controllers. This update adopts IPFire to the new and secure Active Directory authentication interfaces which use the SMB and Kerberos protocols." Read the rest of the release announcement for a more detailed changelog.
Slackel 6.0.2 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the release of Slackel 6.0.2 "Openbox" edition, an updated build of the project's lightweight Slackware-based Linux distribution: "Slackel 6.0.2 Openbox has been released. This is an update release. Includes the Linux kernel 3.14.18 and latest updates from Slackware's 'Current' tree. Slackel 6.0.2 Openbox 32-bit includes both PAE and non-PAE kernels with older hardware support. The ncurses installer includes the option to install LILO or GRUB boot loaders. After installation users can use the grubconfig utility to reinstall GRUB or to change the boot loader from LILO to GRUB. Users can also use update-grub to update GRUB menus any time they upgrade their kernel or install another Linux distribution. The os-prober tool is used to probe for other operating systems and to update the GRUB menus. Slackel 6.0.2 Openbox includes the Midori 0.5.8 web browser, Claws-Mail 3.9.2, Transmission, SpaceFM, OpenJRE 7u51_31, Pidgin 2.10.9, gFTP 2.0.19, AbiWord 3.0.0, Gnumeric 1.12.2...." Here is the full release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
New distributions added to database|
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Console OS. Console OS is an Android-based distribution for desktop computers, currently in fund-raising stage and without a release.
- Micro-R OS. Micro-R OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution for French speaking users. The project's website is in French.
- SELKS. SELKS is both live and installable network security management project based on Debian GNU/Linux, implementing and focusing on a complete and ready-to-use Suricata IDS/IPS ecosystem with its own graphic rule manager.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 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
|• Issue 848 (2020-01-13): elementary OS 5.1, accessing USB ports directly, NetBSD expanding Wayland support, Fedora phasing out old Python packages|
|• Issue 847 (2020-01-06): Android-x86 9.0, Hypberbola switching to BSD base, Debian votes on init diversity, slow adoption of Wayland and delta packages|
|• Issue 846 (2019-12-23): NomadBSD 1.3, Tails publishes boot fix, Arch update requires intervention, Purism launches server lineup, password protecting files|
|• Issue 845 (2019-12-16): OpenIndiana 2019.10, BunsenLabs' "Lithium" preview, MX-Fluxbox, 10 years of Tails, installing local packages|
|• Issue 844 (2019-12-09): Project Trident Void alpha, alpha installer for "Bullseye", SparkyLinux portable edition, dealing with large log files|
|• Issue 843 (2019-12-02): Obarun 2019.11.02, Bluestar 5.3.6, using special characters on command line, Fedora plans to disable empty passwords, FreeBSD's quarterly status report|
|• Issue 842 (2019-11-25): SolydXK 10, System Adminstration Ethics book review, Debian continues init diversity debate, Google upstreaming Android kernel patches|
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Why was Virtual-Linux created? Well, I was pretty tired with the silly bootdisks you can download, plus I wanted to learn more about the Linux core. I then decided to build a ramdisk based system of my own, and after a while I ended up with a cdbased rescue system with a builtin firewall. Then, after having tested a few of the existing big cdbootable systems that were very slow and had very poor performance, a new project started to take shape in my mind. After some late nights investigating some existing soloutions, my own concept was born: 1. Use a commercial distribution as base (Mandrake Linux). 2. Implement as much as possible of the original functions without many hardware/memory requirements. 3. Put as much software as possible on one cd. 4. Make it easy to configure / Autodetect as much as possible. 5. Implement live filesystem compression. 6. Ramdisk Compression.