| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 585, 17 November 2014
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! At the start of November the openSUSE project launched their latest release. The new version of openSUSE promises a new and improved user interface, faster administrative tools and automatic file system snapshots. In our feature story this week we explore this latest offering from openSUSE and report on its perks and problems. Our News section this week covers a range of new and experimental developments. The PC-BSD project is experimenting with Roles, a way to pre-select groups of packages at install time. Over in the Debian community there is a vote in progress that will determine the distribution's approach to init software. The OpenBSD team has announced their operating system now supports USB 3.0 devices and Mint reports they will ship a MATE desktop with Compiz support when Mint 17.1 launches. Plus the Mageia developers push out a long awaited beta and explain why the development release was delayed. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss software management and cached packages, why packages are cached and how long they should be kept on the system. As usual, we look back over the distribution releases of the past week and turn our eyes forward in anticipation of new developments to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Meeting the green lizard of openSUSE 13.2
In the first week of November the openSUSE team launched the latest version of its operating system. The project's release announcement highlights such new features as faster boot times, KDE 4.14, GNOME 3.14 and a technical preview of KDE's Plasma 5.1 desktop. The new version of openSUSE has undergone some visual changes and presents us with new artwork and a more streamlined system installer. The distribution also offers updated versions of Linux containers and Docker. The project's configuration panel, YaST, underwent a major re-write last year and should now be faster. The project claims better integration with systemd too. Prior to installing or upgrading to openSUSE 13.2 I recommend reading the project's release notes where we can find a list of known problems and workarounds.
The new openSUSE release is available in several editions, including a full DVD installation disc, a minimal net-install disc, a live GNOME DVD and a KDE live DVD. There is also a small rescue disc. The distribution is available for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 machines as well as the ARM architecture. I opted to download the KDE edition of openSUSE which is 909MB in size. Booting from this live media brings up a menu where we are asked if we want to check the disc's integrity, launch the live environment or start the distribution's system installer.
Launching the system installer brings up a graphical application that shows us the distribution's license agreement. On this page we can set our preferred language and adjust our keyboard's layout. The next page of the installer lets us select our time zone from a map of the world. The system installer next asks us to partition our hard drive or allow the installer to automatically set up its own disk layout. By default, the system installer will create a root partition with Btrfs, a separate /home partition formatted with XFS and a swap partition. We can give the installer hints, directing it to use different file systems and to drop the separate /home partition. We can also choose whether to automatically create Btrfs snapshots when the operating system changes in some fashion.
We then create a user account for ourselves and we can choose to give this user account administrative access. We can also tell the installer to automatically log this user in at boot time. The installer then shows us a list of actions it will take. Next to each action is a link that allows us to change the installer's configuration. For instance, we can change the location of our boot loader and we can choose whether to boot to a text console or graphical interface. The installer then copies its files to our hard drive and, when it is finished, we are asked to reboot the computer.
openSUSE 13.2 - the software update widget
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When we boot the computer we are briefly shown the GRUB boot loader menu. This menu allows us to boot into openSUSE normally or we can browse through past Btrfs snapshots of the operating system and load read-only versions of the distribution. This allows us to boot into previous configurations and restore them, rolling back our operating system to a working state. Loading openSUSE in the normal fashion brings us to a graphical login screen decorated in bright green. The first time a user logs into their account the distribution displays a welcome screen. This screen provides a brief summary of the project along with links to openSUSE's documentation. When we dismiss the welcome screen we see the KDE desktop. Our application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the display. Icons on the desktop enable us to launch the Firefox web browser, the LibreOffice productivity suite and a hardware information browser. There is also an icon that opens openSUSE's on-line support portal.
Shortly after I signed into my account a notification appeared in my system tray letting me know software updates were available. I clicked on the notification and a small widget appeared giving me the option of updating the two new packages. I opted to proceed and noticed these updates were for Flash and audio codecs. Choosing to update these packages would draw in four more packages as dependencies. Since I wanted multimedia support I went ahead and agreed to download all six packages. At this point the update widget stalled, unable to proceed, reporting it was waiting on other tasks. I experienced something similar all through my rolling release trial and so I terminated the PackageKit process. This unblocked the package manager, but also crashed the update widget. In short, PackageKit prevents the update widget from working, but the widget won't run without PackageKit. After fiddling with PackageKit and the update widget for a few more minutes, I switched to a terminal and ran the zypper command line package manager. The zypper program will run without PackageKit and it smoothly downloaded the waiting updates and installed them without any problems.
openSUSE 13.2 - KDE desktop settings and the Zypper package manager
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The openSUSE distribution ships with a large and helpful collection of software. We are given the Firefox web browser (along with a Flash plugin), the Konqueror web browser, the KMail e-mail client and the LibreOffice productivity suite. The application menu includes the KTorrent bittorrent software, the Choqok micro-blogging client, the Konservation IRC client and the Kopete instant messaging software. The distribution includes the Amarok music player, the k3b disc burning software and the digiKam camera manager. The Dolphin and Midnight Commander file managers are installed along with a remote desktop client and the GParted partition manager.
Accessibility tools are available, including the KMag screen magnifier, a virtual keyboard and the KMouseTool. I found a text editor, calculator, archive manager and the Grsync file synchronization software. KGpg and Kleopatra are available for managing security keys and encrypting files. I found openSUSE ships with the KDE System Settings panel to help us manage the look and feel of the desktop. Java is available on the system and the Network Manager software is there to help us get on-line. In the background openSUSE runs a mail service and the OpenSSH secure shell software. Behind the scenes we find the Linux kernel, version 3.16.
By default, I found there were no video players and no video codecs included in openSUSE. When attempting to play a video file the distribution would offer to search for appropriate software to display the media. Automated searches failed to find any suitable software, but I was granted the chance to manually add software repositories that would help me play multimedia files. I added the appropriate repositories (including the popular Packman repository) through YaST, manually installed a video player and tried accessing a video again. Once more openSUSE was unable to play the file and unable to locate suitable media codecs. I manually installed all the media codecs I could find and tried again. This time openSUSE played the video, but only in some applications. I found, for example, the VLC multimedia player could not play videos until I had added yet another package (vlc-codecs), but the MPlayer software could make use of general purpose codec packages. On the other hand, music files played without any problems.
openSUSE 13.2 - playing media files
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I ran openSUSE in two environments, on a physical desktop machine and in a virtual machine provided by VirtualBox. In both environments openSUSE ran smoothly. My display was set to its maximum resolution, sound worked out of the box and I was automatically connected to the Internet. The distribution booted quickly and the desktop was always responsive. When running inside VirtualBox, the distribution integrated well with the virtual environment and automatically made use of VirtualBox's guest additions. What surprised me about openSUSE was how little RAM the distribution used. When logged into KDE openSUSE required a mere 240MB of RAM. Less was required when I disabled desktop search, the mail server and secure shell. That makes openSUSE's memory footprint about half that of other mainstream distributions I have run recently with the KDE desktop.
openSUSE 13.2 - the YaST configuration panel
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One of central features of openSUSE is the YaST configuration centre. The YaST utility went through a big re-write recently and the new version is supposed to be faster and more streamlined, making it easier for newcomers to navigate. For the most part I found YaST was indeed faster than it was before and the YaST modules appear to either be the same visually as before or slightly less cluttered. In short, people who were familiar with YaST before should feel right at home while newcomers should find YaST to be fairly user friendly. Using the YaST control centre we can work with software updates, manage software repositories and install new software. We can work with the boot loader settings, change the date & time and work with disk partitions. We can monitor and enable/disable system services, set up a mail server and configure network time synchronization. Using YaST we can set up Samba shares, join a Windows domain and work with AppArmor security profiles. YaST also helps us work with the firewall, the sudo utility and managing user accounts. YaST has a log viewer and a module for working with Snapper, the Btrfs snapshot manager.
There are a few aspects to YaST and openSUSE's configuration in general that I feel should be mentioned. For instance, when trying to manage software packages through the YaST utility, I ran into a strange bug. Whenever I attempted to install a new package through YaST, the package manager would also pull in dozens of unrelated software. For example, when I attempted to install the GNU Image Manipulation Program the graphical package manager insisted it also needed to install 32-bit compatibility libraries, Samba, extra LibreOffice-related programs, a PDF viewer and a telnet client. Trying to install Rhythmbox caused the "screen" command line utility to be installed too. When I attempted to install these same programs from the command line using zypper none of these unnecessary extras were even mentioned let alone downloaded.
Another configuration module which exhibited strange behaviour was the system services utility. The system services module shows us which services are running and which ones will be enabled at boot time. We can enable/disable services with a click and start/stop services by clicking a second button. I found the enable/disable feature worked. I could order services to either be enabled or disabled at boot time. When I tried to start/stop services the system services panel would show the service had indeed been started (or stopped) as requested. However, if I manually checked if the service was running I would find the system services utility had not done anything. I tried stopping several services and none of them responded to the system services module. On the topic of running services, I found openSUSE ships with secure shell running by default and remote users can login as the root user. The distribution's firewall is disabled by default. I feel this combination of settings, no firewall and remote root logins, should be considered a security issue.
Another YaST module which did not work for me was the system log viewer. Attempting to run this module would result in a cryptic error being displayed and then the log viewer module would close. One module which did work very well for me was the Snapper utility. Using Snapper we can browse through Btrfs snapshots and quickly see which files have been changed. With just a few clicks of the mouse we can restore files from old snapshots, delete new files that have been created since the last snapshot and compare changes to files between two snapshots. This last feature is especially useful when dealing with configuration files which have changed in subtle ways, Snapper will highlight the differences between old and current versions of the configuration for us.
openSUSE 13.2 - browsing the application menu
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Running openSUSE 13.2 these past few days has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, hardware support and virtual machine integration have worked well for me. The distribution ships with lots of great software, offers good performance and has a surprisingly small memory footprint. The system installer has received a few minor updates, making it slightly easier to navigate and I think it is a little faster now than it was in previous versions. The YaST control panel, for the most part, worked really well with just the few exceptions listed above. I found openSUSE to generally be a solid release and I really appreciate that this distribution is taking the lead on integrating Btrfs and boot environment snapshots. In fact, I think openSUSE is the only mainstream distribution that really makes use of Btrfs and the file system's advanced features. Several other distributions allow users to install on Btrfs, but do not make use of the many features Btrfs provides.
There were a number of problems I ran into with this release. The graphical package manager and the graphical upgrade utility simply did not work in any meaningful way. This appears to be partly PackageKit's doing, but I don't think PackageKit is responsible for the package manager trying to download dozens of unnecessary packages whenever I tried to add new software to the system. By contrast, the zypper command line package manager worked perfectly, operating quickly and installing, removing or upgrading exactly as excepted.
Multimedia support was hit or miss. I like that openSUSE has made it easier to get audio codecs onto the system, but video support (and video player applications) still pose a problem. I can accept openSUSE may be concerned about the legal problems with providing video codecs. However, that doesn't explain why the automated search for codecs fails after the necessary third-party software repositories have been enabled. New users should not need to manually add extra repositories and then run a command line package manager just to watch a video.
I want to say that I am happy with the new system installer and most of the various YaST configuration tools. YaST went through a big re-write and a re-write can cause a great deal of problems. The developers also tried to adjust the user interface. The YaST re-write reminded me a lot of Fedora's plans to overhaul the Anaconda installer and the vast user interface changes that project created. But where the Fedora project completely changed their installer's interface, disorienting veteran users, I found openSUSE took a different approach. The YaST installer may be built using new technology, but the interface has remained mostly the same, just operating a little faster and with a little less clutter. People who have used openSUSE before should feel right at home with the new version of YaST, and the system installer, as the changes (while big in the background) look minor from the user's point of view.
While I was playing with openSUSE, noting what worked beautifully and what did not, I found myself noticing what might be a pattern. Command line utilities, file system snapshots and command line package management all functioned well for me. Graphical front ends to those same functions tended not to work as well. This made me wonder if there might be a lack of novice users in the openSUSE community. Developers and experienced users often spend a lot of time on the command line and may, through habit, stick to command line tools. Newcomers often stick to graphical interfaces and these utilities are where the bulk of my problems seemed to be. This makes me wonder if perhaps the distribution needs more novice users fiddling with the tools and reporting on their experiences.
In the end, I was mostly happy with openSUSE's latest release. A few problems with package management and service management aside, the distribution performed well. It ships with useful software, it's fast, openSUSE is far ahead other Linux distributions when it comes to utilizing Btrfs and the distribution requires a remarkably small amount of memory.
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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)
PC-BSD experiments with roles, Debian votes on init coupling, Mint rolls out new desktop features, OpenBSD adds USB 3 support, Mageia shares progress report
The PC-BSD project has announced they will begin experimenting with a new feature called "Roles": "We are considering a new way to install a more customized PC-BSD experience called 'Roles'. Roles would be an installation experience for PC-BSD that would allow more flexibility and a more focused package installation based on what you need or want for your role. If you are a web developer maybe you need an IDE or packages specifically focused on that. If you are wanting the best desktop workstation experience maybe you would get an installation with LibreOffice and some other productivity apps." Essentially, a role will allow users to tell the PC-BSD installer what function their desktop or server will perform and the installer will automatically select a group of packages to provide the desired functionality. People who would like to get more information about PC-BSD roles, or suggest new roles the installer should understand, can join in the discussion on the PC-BSD forum.
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The Debian GNU/Linux project is currently voting on a general resolution (GR) put forward by Ian Jackson which would prevent packages included in Debian from depending on one specific init system. If the resolution passes then Debian users will be able to swap out their default init system for another without worrying about broken packages. However, if the resolution does not pass then applications that rely on a specific init technology will be accepted into Debian and changing init systems may break other packages on the operating system. The vote on the general resolution concludes November 18th and the results will be posted on Debian's website.
On a related note, The Debian Technical Committee has released an update on bug #746578, reported in May 2014, which compromises the safety of upgrades from "Wheezy" to "Jessie" by changing the existing init system. Don Armstrong reports on the debian-devel-announce mailing list: "The technical committee was asked in #746578 to override the ordering of the alternative dependencies on systemd-sysv and systemd-shim to prefer the installation of systemd-shim in cases where sysvinit-core was already installed. Currently libpam-systemd (which is pulled in by quite a few dependency chains) Depends on 'systemd-sysv | systemd-shim (>= 8-2)'. The effect of this is that installing some packages which depend (directly or indirectly) on libpam-systemd can cause a user's init system to be switched to systemd, even on systems where a user has deliberately chosen not to use the default init system, and even when the switch is unnecessary. Swapping the order of these dependencies would avoid that and has no harmful effect."
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The Linux Mint team posted their monthly report on Friday and the announcement provided a glimpse into new features the project is working on. One key feature coming to Mint 17.1 is MATE working with the Compiz window manager out of the box: "The MATE edition sports out of the box support for the Compiz window-manager (which comes pre-installed, pre-configured and which you can switch to with a click of a button). The Cinnamon edition features the new Cinnamon 2.4 desktop." The Debian Edition of Mint is also being actively developed. "On the LMDE side, work is continuing on Betsy. Debian Jessie is getting ever more stable, Cinnamon 2.4 is being ported to it and adapted to components which Linux Mint doesn't use (GTK+ 3.14, Upower 0.99 and systemd)."
Although security support for Microsoft's Windows XP was terminated in April 2014, many users continue to use the operating system (as of November 2014, 3.9% of visitors to DistroWatch.com still browse this site with Windows XP), exposing their computers to ever higher risks of being compromised and infested with malware. But what are their options? Der Spiegel, one of Europe's most influential magazines, recommends that users switch to Linux Mint (article in German). While the story does mention other popular Linux distributions, it concludes that, in terms of ease of use, Linux Mint beats the competition thanks to excellent multimedia support and availability of applications familiar to Windows users (e.g. Skype) that can be installed from Linux Mint's software centre. Furthermore, asserts the article in Der Spiegel, those running older computer systems will be pleased with the smooth video playback under Linux Mint, contrary to what the authors experienced after trying Windows 7 on the same machine.
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The OpenBSD operating system is famous for its tight security, proactive code audits and up-to-date documentation. The security-oriented project has another feature to add to the list: USB 3.0 support. An announcement was made on November 10th letting everyone know that initial USB 3.0 support had arrived and asking people to test and report any issues with the new feature: "For those of you who missed it on Friday, Martin Pieuchot (mpi@) enabled USB 3.0 support in OpenBSD. Not everyone missed it, of course, with problem reports and fixes being seen over the weekend. For those of you who'd been looking forward to using those blue USB ports of yours, now's the time to plug in as many 3.0 devices as you can find!" People who still have older USB 1.x devices can continue to use them in USB 3.0 ports on systems running OpenBSD.
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Fans of the Mageia distribution have been waiting for a beta release for a while now and the project, along with releasing the delayed beta, has posted an explanation for the delay. It seems the problems started when Mageia upgraded their version of the RPM package manager. "The new RPM version introduced changes that were significant enough to break a lot of core packages during the mass rebuild, and lots of packages failed to build in a chain reaction. It took a couple of weeks to fix and we were already long past the planned deadline for Mageia 5 Beta 1." Further problems appeared with the installer and the freshly updated GNU C Library. However, all bugs have been resolved and the first beta made available for testers. Mageia currently plans to publish their next stable release at the end of January 2015.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Cleaning up the package cache
Cleaning-house asks: Having come relatively recently to rolling releases, I can see a number of issues related to caches: From a user perspective, when should caches be purged? Should the rolling releases automate the process in some way (as perhaps Debian has)? What are the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining a (fairly large) cache?
DistroWatch answers: Regarding when you should clean out cache and when you should keep packages, there is a balancing act there. Unless you are pressed for hard drive space I would urge you to leave your package cache alone. Packages usually don't use up a lot of room (I ran into space constraints in my rolling release trial because I was using virtual machines with small virtual drives). You may be able to leave your cache, letting it grow, for as long as you continue to use your distribution.
The benefit to keeping packages in cache is that there is a backup there in case you want to re-install a package. If an existing piece of software is corrupted or needs to be rolled back due to a conflict then you can use an old version of the software from the cache to re-install it. The package may be removed from your distribution's repository (or you may be off-line), but if you still have a copy locally then that can re-install at your convenience.
Cleaning the cache really only helps to free up hard drive space, so if you have plenty of space left on the drive there isn't much motivation to wipe your cache. For this reason I don't think I know of any distribution that automatically wipes the package manager's cache.
If you do decide to clean out your cache, I recommend waiting until you A) perform a successful series of upgrades and B) you take time to make sure your system can still boot and your critical applications still work. The time you usually want a package in your cache if right after an upgrade if something breaks. Once you know the update completed properly and everything on your system still works, that is the ideal time (in my opinion) to wipe your package cache clean.
|Released Last Week
John Martinson has announced the release of Robolinux 7.7.1, a new update of the beginner-friendly, Debian-based distribution with a pre-configured VirtualBox that can run Windows seamlessly alongside Robolinux: "The Robolinux development team is very excited to announce our new Robolinux Xfce and GNOME versions 7.7.1. Now you can enjoy watching thousands of live streaming TV shows and movies instantly on your PC or laptop. You can even Chromecast them directly to your TV. We added Popcorn Time which requires the newest Debian 2.19 glibc libraries. We also added Xarchiver, so it is easier for our users to create archive files in dozens of formats, DNS utilities for system administrators and two more custom BCM WiFi drivers. Plus all Debian upstream security updates along with the latest new and improved Debian stable version 7.7 kernel and the newest Oracle VirtualBox version." See the project's SourceForge page to read the rest of the release announcement.
Q4OS 0.5.20, a lightweight and minimalist desktop Linux distribution featuring the Trinity desktop (a fork of KDE 3.5) and based on Debian GNU/Linux 7, has been released: "Significant update 0.5.20 of Q4OS is out. The essential new feature is the KDE 4 desktop integration into Q4OS system. It is comprised of two Plasma themes, converted crystalsvg icons, splash theme and original Q4OS desktop look and feel configuration. A single-command script (kde4-install) for easy automatic installation is included. If users want to set up a complete KDE 4 desktop alongside the standard Q4OS desktop, they will need to run the 'kde4-install' script from the terminal. They will be able to choose the 'KDE Plasma Workspace' session type option from the KDM login screen and experience the brand-new environment. They will be able to select the classical Q4OS desktop too, of course. This Q4OS release brings many more improvements, notably new desktop cursor theme...." Read the full release announcement for more details.
Univention Corporate Server 3.2-4
Nico Gulden has announced the availability of a new point release of Univention Corporate Server 3.2, a Debian-based server distribution featuring an intuitive web-based server management panel: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 3.2-4, the fourth point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS). It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 3.2-3 and comprises the following highlights: improvement for the operation of UCS in Microsoft Windows Active Directory domains; improvement for the migration of Active Directory to UCS; increased security in UCS by activating perfect forward secrecy by default and using SHA256 as default hash. A detailed list about the changes can be found in the release notes. Questions can be asked in the Univention forum in the UCS section." Here is the brief release announcement.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.11
Neophytos Kolokotronis has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2014.11, the project's latest update featuring KDE 4.14.2, the Pacman package manager and a custom installer called Tribe: "The Chakra team is happy to announce the second release of the Chakra 'Euler' series, which follows the KDE Applications and Platform 4.14 releases. The main reason for providing this new ISO image, in addition to providing a new KDE release, is that Chakra has now implemented the /usr merge changes. If you already have Chakra installed on your system manual intervention is needed, so please follow the instructions on how to properly update. For new installations using this ISO image, this is of course not needed. Core packages: Linux kernel 3.16.4, X.Org Server 1.15.2, systemd 216." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information and an important link to update instructions.
Scientific Linux 6.6
Pat Riehecky has announced the release of Scientific Linux 6.6, the latest update of the distribution built from source package for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6, with additional software meant for use in scientific and academic environments: "Scientific Linux 6.6 i386/x86_64. Major differences from SL6.5: OpenAFS has been updated to version 1.6.10 from openafs.org; X.Org Server features a new ABI. Users of proprietary drivers may experience issues with the X server loading due to changes between X.Org Server 1.13 and 1.15. Users of the 32-bit iSCSI utilities on x86_64 systems may experience multilib complaints. The 32-bit iSCSI utilities are not provided by upstream on x86_64 platforms. We have removed them from 6.6 to follow their behavior." Here is the brief release announcement, with further details available in the release notes.
FreeBSD 10.1 has been released: "The FreeBSD Release Engineering team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.1-RELEASE. This is the second release of the stable/10 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE and introduces some new features. Some of the highlights: the new console driver, vt(4), has been added; support for FreeBSD/i386 guests has been added to bhyve(4); the bhyve(4) hypervisor now supports booting from a zfs(8) file system; support for SMP was added to the armv6 kernels and enabled by default in the configuration files for all platforms that contain multi-core CPUs; initial support for UEFI boot has been added for the FreeBSD/amd64 architecture...." See the release announcement and the release notes for a full list of changes.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to waiting list|
- JuJu. JuJu is a small and portable GNU/Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. It allows user to have an isolated GNU/Linux environment inside their home directory, without the need to have root privileges, that is accessible via chroot and run on another Linux distribution.
- DRUMS. DRUMS is an operating system for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer which will turn the Raspberry Pi into a music server.
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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, 24 November 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 • OpenSUSE (by Billy Larlad on 2014-11-17 09:26:09 GMT from United States) |
I heard a really funny comment about OpenSUSE. It was along these lines: "OpenSUSE is very popular in Germany. This reflects well on OpenSUSE but poorly on Germans."
I try OpenSUSE every couple of years. I want to like it. I just can't. In my experience, there's just too many rough edges and weird bugs. For instance, some strange software is installed out of the box. (Sorry, I can't quite remember what.) Not only do I not want this, but the icons are super low-res and look horrible under GNOME 3. I also find YaST to be more complex compared to the more distro-agnostic config tools. As for bugs, I've had 'em. My parents were running OpenSUSE 12.2 for a while until an update seemingly broke their network connectivity. It was hard to troubleshoot from across the country. :(
2 • One-Click install (by Eric Yeoh on 2014-11-17 09:53:51 GMT from Malaysia)
You can easily click on the links on http://opensuse-community.org to get repos enabled, software/codecs installed. No major distro I know has this feature. The one-click install feature is easy as it gets.
3 • openSUSE Broken? (by Eric Yeoh on 2014-11-17 10:04:58 GMT from Malaysia)
At #1 openSUSE has so far not failed me nor my customers. I agree that it is not perfect, no distro ever is and thus we geeks actually relish the time we spend making any GNU/Linux distro comfy for us. Many people hate YaST possibly because they are not used to it; gimme one guy who hates it and I'll show you ten who adore it - it is a matter of taste. The openSUSE community is working hard towards making it more palatable for absolutely newbies while not alienating old school geeks, that is not an easy task - perhaps you can help us to make it better? Tell us your honest and constructive opinions - not just "I hate it coz it's weird". If you see where we can improve, do tell us. However, I would not go so far to say that the perceived performance / failures of one GNU/Linux distro should be in any way reflective of an entire nation.
4 • OpenSUSE (by kc1di on 2014-11-17 10:46:01 GMT from United States)
Thank you Jesse for the review of OpenSUSE ,
Very helpful here. My test mirrored yours pretty well , Only wish they would do something about the ugly fonts. Takes me way too much time to make it look decent.
Also the Packagekit thing , Had the same problem when I tried Fedora Kde last time also.
Think KDE should just scrap that one and start over .
5 • OpenSUSE (by greg on 2014-11-17 11:57:58 GMT from Slovenia)
So far i tried it 3 times live. it just looks so good on descriptions and all. btu everytime something was missing., something was not working as expected, something was wrong. last time was when trying to get preinstalled SUSE EL replaced with opensuse. booted up into live session and there was no networking. upon further investigation it was known bug, manualy editing something a few commands and an "easy solution" etc.the solution would be to work as expected from the start. it was even more ridiculous as thig bug was solved with updates, yet the image was not pacthed. it was enough to turn me off and so we used something else that worked.
@ #2 - in ubutnu you tick a box during install to get the necessary codes. no visits to community pages etc.
@ # 3 - that nation thing was a joke on stereotype that germans are "very pedantic and make high quality products only" :-)
6 • OpenSuse (by arnold on 2014-11-17 12:19:29 GMT from United States)
I have tried every version of OpenSuse since 9.something. It looks interesting every time, but there is always two or more nagging problems that just make it non-usable. It's just never quite enjoyable to use.
7 • Packagekit blocking zypper (by Carlos on 2014-11-17 12:29:10 GMT from Portugal)
Every time i tried OpenSuse, I had to kill and remove PackageKit.
LOL, does that still happen?
That PackageKit thing must be as good as Pulseaudio.
8 • Packagekit (by kc1di on 2014-11-17 12:56:11 GMT from United States)
I haven't had a good relationship with Packagekit here. It never seems to work well and is slow. However in my last post I mistakenly attributed it to KDE - Which of course it not their problem. it's the freedesktop.org program.
it intent is good, it just has not worked for me well.
9 • OpenSUSE 13.2 (by Ericcat on 2014-11-17 13:18:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
I too have tried OpenSUSE 13.2, installing it on my test/dev laptop replacing Mint 17.
I came across the same Packagekit bugs that are mentioned in the review, even though I'm using Gnome 3 interface, not KDE. That I consider to be a minor bug, as I don't check for updates every time I use it.
I'll probably keep OpenSUSE, at least for a couple of months to give it a thorough test and to allow the release to settle down, but one big feature that attacted me to keep it is the installation onto encrypted LVM without any fudges and hacks with a live CD and command line rebuilding of Grub.
I was a big user of OpenSUSE for a long time, from version 6 to 10, then switched to Ubuntu for a while when I no longer liked the look of OpenSUSE. With the new release, I might be tempted to stay with it.
10 • LMDE & systemd (by chemicalfan on 2014-11-17 14:00:46 GMT from United Kingdom)
I see that systemd is mentioned in the context of LMDE's development, and thought that quite interesting. I couldn't find any answers as to what init system LMDE will use when "Betsy" goes live, but I'm quite interested due to how political the subject has gotten in the Debian camp. I guess this question also affects all other Debian-derivatives, and could be complicated if they have init-dependent "custom"/non-Debian packages.
11 • @1 OpenSuse (by jaws222 on 2014-11-17 14:18:55 GMT from United States)
I too initially struggled with OpenSuse. I first tried the "11" series which was a complete nightmare, not there best work. Network Manager was hosed. However, with the '12" series I noticed a lot of improvement. My biggest issue with OpenSuse is Samba, It seems like it always takes a day or two for me to get it working and I have to use a different process each time. Other than that it's been really good. 13.1 and 13.2 were easy to setup (except for Samba) although my 13.2 Gnome broke for some reason, but I now use LXDE and it works flawlessly.
12 • RE: #9 (by Ericcat on 2014-11-17 14:51:41 GMT from United Kingdom)
Apologies, I thought that Packagekit was a KDE product.
Also, I need to clarify something in my earlier post:
OpenSUSE will install into encrypted LVMs alongside a Windows install. There are checkboxes to select this type of installation in the YaSY installer. In my experience with recent (last couple years) Ubuntu derived distros, they cannot install in encrypted LVMs alongside a Windows installation, without a lot of post-install/pre-first-boot commandline work.
13 • One-click install (by linuxista on 2014-11-17 15:36:02 GMT from United States)
@2 "You can easily click on the links on http://opensuse-community.org to get repos enabled, software/codecs installed. No major distro I know has this feature. The one-click install feature is easy as it gets."
With Manjaro it's no-clicks for codecs and no-clicks to get repos enabled.
14 • openSUSE - don't install from live CD's (by Andy Prough on 2014-11-17 16:07:51 GMT from )
The openSUSE forums have advised users on one key point for years - When installing openSUSE, don't install from the live CD's. Instead, download the full DVD and install from there. openSUSE has never put out decent live CD's for installation like Ubuntu does - you'll always end up with a variety of weird problems if you install from anything but the full DVD.
If I were assisting Jesse with his weird YaST module problems, the first thing I would say is "let's re-install from the full DVD and go from there". More than half the time, the problems will disappear.
As far as problems with the KDE software updater - all I can say is I can't recall it ever working well under openSUSE. Most of the time it just simply crashes. zypper and the YaST software module both work very well - but in both cases you've got to take a bit of time to learn all their different features in order to use them well, as both tools are highly advanced, with a lot of different options to filter software based on its repository, version number, etc.
15 • OpenSUSE (by EricP on 2014-11-17 16:08:40 GMT from United States)
I always try OpenSUSE. Was looking forward to this release, but the ease of use just isn't there. I always have difficulties with trying to get my Broadcom wireless device working and when the answer I get from the community is "plug it in and do x", then that is not really what I was hoping for. Sure, I can do it, but why bother when other distributions do it for free? It's a huge DVD, bake it in. LOL.
16 • RE: 15 (by EricP on 2014-11-17 16:34:18 GMT from United States)
And by free, I mean it's done by default.
I can install any flavor of Ubuntu, or PCLinux, or Mandriva, and who knows what else at this point and it's done. Connected and good to go. It's most unfortunate.
17 • One Click install (by Eric Yeoh on 2014-11-17 16:36:16 GMT from Malaysia)
@13 Obviously you are unfamiliar to the fact that openSUSE is a community distro sponsored by SUSE, who until recently was owned by American companies Novell and then Attachmate. Due to the litigatious nature of the US system, no major American Linux distro (including RHEL, Fedora) can be bundled with many patented codecs. Manjaro is an European distro and so is Ubuntu. Seems em Europeans have more say and freedom when it comes to software.
18 • Broadcom wireless (by Eric Yeoh on 2014-11-17 16:50:08 GMT from Malaysia)
@14 That is interesting. Would you be so kind to share with me a link to that advise? Not tryong to be an ass but am seriously intrigued. Installing from DVD, please note that the kernel-firmware package is not installed by default unlike if you install from Live CD. Why they do that, I am really unsure.
@15 Broadcom wireless firmware is not free and so cannot be easily bundled since there are legal landmines that needs to be treaded carefully. European distros or smaller purely community distros have better luck compared to American corporation sponsored ones like openSUSE or Fedora. I have a Broadcom wireless on my Inspiron 14 and it installed fine.
19 • OpenSuse 13.2 (by Richard Carlson on 2014-11-17 16:52:04 GMT from United States)
I'm using it right now on an older machine. Works well. I don't have packagekit installed so I can't testify to problems or issues there. Overall it works good but I couldn't get it work on a newer machine with a GTX750 Ti Nvidia Graphics card. The Noveau graphics dvd disk when it boots up on an older system works great but with the 'newer' Nvidia (750Ti ) graphics card the screen is in a low res mode and not possible to read or follow. I is the case for all distro's untill the graphics can be worked out for the newest Nvidia cards with the newest redesigned gpu's. I was only able to install it in Ubuntu 14.10 by swapping out Nvidia cards and installing the edger's ppa which installed the 340.58 driver which I am now currently using in Suse 13.2 distro on this older system. I hope the future install dvd disks fix the graphical install that uses the Noveau driver for desktop systems that have the newest Nvidia gpu cards.
20 • OpenSuSE (by Sam on 2014-11-17 17:03:47 GMT from United States)
I remember Packagekit and the update widget crashing in versions 9.x, 10.x, 11.x, and 12.x. Wait a second! It's not broken, it's a feature!
21 • @18 (by Andy Prough on 2014-11-17 18:06:22 GMT from )
The warning about problems with the openSUSE live CD's has even made it into an official warning on the openSUSE main download page - you have to click a box with the following warning prior to even seeing the listings for the live CDs:
"Some alternative media (eg. live and rescue systems) are also available, although they are less tested and recommended for only limited use. Click here to display these alternative versions."
A good, current discussion of the issues with live CD's on the forum is here:
If you go back through the history of the forum, you'll find a lot of warnings to not install with live CD's over the years. As one user also stated, I have used the live CD's to boot into a rescue situation, but would not advise them at all for installation in any kind of a production environment.
Keep in mind, openSUSE is a big professional project, and the distro is not really built for light web browsing, watching videos and playing games. It can be made to do all those things, but there are much simpler distros available for those purposes. I personally use Ubuntu or Mint when I want an entertainment or multi-media setup.
22 • @19 - openSUSE and Nvidia 750Ti card (by Andy Prough on 2014-11-17 18:13:26 GMT from )
I have not tried to install openSUSE with an Nvidia 750Ti card, but you may need to use "nomodeset" or some similar flag or instruction at boot to get it running properly. I've had that issue with both Nvidia and Radeon cards in the past. There are usually folks on the openSUSE forums who have experience with the hardware you are having trouble with - I would post a message there. You should get a helpful response within a short period of time. Unlike some of the forums (like Ubuntu), most of the advice on the openSUSE forums comes from engineers and people with years of experience. If you stick with it, you are almost certain to find a decent solution to the problem.
23 • OpenSUSE 13.2 (by ontobelli on 2014-11-17 18:18:28 GMT from Mexico)
Great distro and great release. Very polished.
Zypper kills packagekit automatically. No big deal. And you should disable Apper if you prefer CLI zypper.
For me everything is working flawless. Btrfs gives a very smooth experience.
Congratulations openSuSE team!
24 • PackageKit (by Teresa e Junior on 2014-11-17 18:26:25 GMT from )
Tested openSUSE around 18 months ago, same PackageKit problems...
25 • openSUSE papercuts (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2014-11-17 18:43:59 GMT from Ecuador)
Thanks for the nice openSUSE review. I agree that some of the issues mentioned by Jesse and in the comments are a bit annoying, but in my opinion it's more of a documentation issue.
For example, the extraneous software installation is easily solved by the YaST Software manager setting: "Options -> Ignore Recommended Packages for Already Installed Packages." Additionally, I also set an option in /etc/zypp/zypp.conf:
solver.onlyRequires = true
And in /etc/zypp/zypper.conf I changed the option:
installRecommends = no
(Don't ask my why there are two text settings and another GUI setting.)
26 • @10 LMDE systemd (by cykodrone on 2014-11-17 19:49:39 GMT from Canada)
First a disclaimer, I have nothing against Mint whatsoever, that being said, they 'go with the flow', meaning their Ubuntu based releases are already systemd enabled (boot a live Mint-buntu disk and hit escape to see the CL, that's systemd flying by). Now on to LMDE, Debian, it seems has already decided on systemd as the default init system (right now they're deciding on whether to make the init system swap-able without breaking the OS), that being said, I really can't see the Mint folks reverse engineering Debian Jessie to change the default init system, that's a huge amount of work and considering some DEs and app devs are caving to the systemd oligarchy (apps and tools now having to be compatible with systemd instead of the other way around), it would be even more work to maintain packages for a non-systemd Jessie based LMDE in the long run. Bottom line, you can safely bet the next LMDE will use systemd if Jessie does.
I hope the Debian dev voters see sense, Linux is supposed to be somewhat modular, compatibility works both ways.
Personally, I don't like systemd, I don't like the fact in controls networking (and way too many other processes) and it's slowly turning Linux in to a proprietary OS. Redhat is a corporation, they could suddenly decide to license systemd at anytime. Mind you, the GPL versions already out in the wild should be safe from any future possible licensing...hopefully.
27 • One-click install (by linuxista on 2014-11-17 20:40:51 GMT from United States)
@2 "You can easily click on the links on http://opensuse-community.org to get repos enabled, software/codecs installed. No major distro I know has this feature. The one-click install feature is easy as it gets."
@18 "Obviously you are unfamiliar to the fact that openSUSE is a community distro sponsored by SUSE, who until recently was owned by American companies Novell and then Attachmate."
OpenSUSE ownership/copyright issues are understandable but do not make it "easier" than distros where you don't have to install any codecs. So you should say "as easy as it gets for a major distro with an American corporate presence. All terms subject to change. Please consult you local dealer for full details." :-) You also forgot to address how the one-click "enabling repos" feature, which is unnecessary on Arch/Manjaro/Ubuntu/Mint, etc., is "as easy as it gets."
28 • Package Kit - same old s*** (by mikef90000 on 2014-11-17 22:35:30 GMT from United States)
I've said it before, PK is a big steaming pile of crap whose time is past. Besides the mediocre functionality, NO ONE seems to know how to configure the daemon to not interfere with other package install clients. PK is especially useless for distros that add a more user friendly Software Manager that views packages by their top level GUI.
First step - disable the PK daemon. Update the cache manually just before you need to install. Duh.
Second step - remove PK completely. If it does not break anything else, success!
Distro authors - why do we still need PK?
29 • YMMV - openSUSE-13.2 works great for me (by oldcpu on 2014-11-17 22:50:24 GMT from Germany)
I successfully installed openSUSE-13.2 on three complete different PCs:
(1) ancient MSI KTI Ultra motherboard with 2GB RAM and with Athlon-1150 CPU that does not have SSE2 cpu support. This blocks some distributions but not openSUSE which does install and work nicely. Ancient nVidia FX5200 graphics. I did have to use a boot code "vga=normal" during initial install. I selected LXDE desktop. I'm very happy with result. Its great how openSUSE runs on this old hardware.
(2) Asus P6T Deluxe V2 motherboard with 6GB RAM and with Intel Core-i7-920 CPU. nVidia GTX-260 graphics. Installed KDE desktop. Install was smooth and uneventful. Again very happy with result.
(3) Toshiba Satellite Z930 ultrabook with UEFI BIOS and GPT partitioning. Installation using USB-3.0 memory stick on USB-3.0 port was smoothest and by far the fastest I've had since moving to GNU/Linux in 1998.
In all cases I added the openSUSE packman packager repository to obtain superb multimedia. Anyone who uses openSUSE really should add that massive 3rd party repository.
Also, for anyone new to openSUSE - I recommend you make full use of the IRC channel for SuSE support, or the mailing lists for SuSE support, or the openSUSE forums. Don't be shy. Politely ask a question and many volunteers will chime in to help. I also recommend (for problems) a Google search for "openSUSE wiki < subject here > " often gives the answer one needs for many problems.
I highly recommend this openSUSE version.
30 • @29 (by Andy Prough on 2014-11-17 23:10:29 GMT from )
oldcpu - I know you've been using openSUSE for a long time now and that you lend a lot of support on the forums - I'm interested to know, did you use the full DVD version to install on those three systems?
31 • Salix 14.1-"Slackware for lazy people" (by Roland on 2014-11-18 00:03:04 GMT from United States)
I dual boot, and left Slack in the '90's for the ease of the Debian family. Currently Mint 17 XFCE is my base OS, but I just installed Salix 14.1 and I'm very impressed. There's a LOT of software available, and after a little config work, it's almost caught up with Mint for usability. Still having problems with Google Earth, but everything else is there. Gpredict, Stellarium, Flightsim, clementine, espeak, streamripper, etc. Haven't found marble, qemu, a few others. Very promising, and worth a try for you dual-booters. No systemd! Bonus: no PulseAudio, ALSA works great!
32 • @15 & @18 openSUSE 13.2 & Broadcom wireless, @Jesse (by KickRocks on 2014-11-18 00:10:05 GMT from United States)
I have Lenovo IdeaPad Z585, released mid-2012. It has a Broadcom wireless, not sure right now which model, but on openSUSE 13.1 the wireless was problematic.
The openSUSE 13.2 install DVD, has thus far installed flawlessly. Also I tried the openSUSE 13.2 RC release Live KDE, and it also installed without issue.
The big issue with the 13.1 release on the Live disks, was during the live environment I could get the wireless to work, but the settings would not "hold", on install.
@15 There maybe, a One-Click install package for your particular model of Broadcom wireless, if not now, then shortly. Worth checking into?
@Jesse, another good and fair review. Thanks.
Everyone have a great week.
33 • OpenSuse's "benefits" (by k_tz on 2014-11-18 00:35:36 GMT from Germany)
The fact that commandline tools are working better than their GUI counterparts may be related to the parallel development of SLES12 during the openSUSE 13.2 release cycle.
A few weeks ago it was not possible to use GUI-Yast and Ruby onto a system with a processor without SSE2 instructions. But - and in my opinion this is one of the great strengths of openSUSE - they solved the corresponding bug report as quick as they could. Therefore, openSUSE runs now on my old PIII 1,13GHz box with 1,5GB RAM without any major problem.
It is hard to describe the benefits of openSUSE 13.2. It is technologically very advanced (look at the fully functional systemd integration, for instance), but also incorporates a preconfigured Fvwm2 desktop as well as three Enlightenment versions (E16, 17 and 19) and Mate, KDE3, Icewm, Fvwm-Themes, Awesome and Windowmaker. It is always a little bit from anything but never only one "big thing" or philosophy. They publish Yast always in three versions, a QT, a GTK and a ncurses commandline version, because they want their central configuration tool to be desktop-agnostic. They did not complain about Gnome3 but developed one somewhat special SLES12-Gnome3 desktop GUI. On the other hand openSUSE contains one of the best KDE4/KDE Plasma 5 desktops in the whole distribution world.
If you look at the Btrfs "experiment" you will recognize that SuSE/Suse/openSUSE has not changed its behaviour over the past 15 years: The Btrfs introduction is similiar to the Reiserfs introduction in Suse 6.4 in March 2000 when something like the Ext3 journaling file system was not available. They went the Reiserfs route because they needed a reliable Linux journaling file system and not only good old Ext2. Now they do the same thing with Btrfs, because they desperately want and need its snapshot function.
So, in this regard, openSUSE 13.2 provides a few "special" benefits.
34 • openSUSE is a General purpose distro - not elitist (by Eric Yeoh on 2014-11-18 05:35:58 GMT from Malaysia)
@21 , I disagree that openSUSE cannot be used for simple end-user computing like Youtube, watching movies or playing silly online flash games - just because it is a "professional" project. I would say that it was designed not with the total newbie in mind. I personally find that openSUSE strikes a good balance between the cutting edge Fedora and the user-centric xBuntus/Mint. Great for academia or work uses. Thank you for the link you have posted. This is indeed news to me since I started with SuSE 9x and then to openSUSE - probably because none of my peers or myself have experienced any weirdness with it so far. Thanks for link again.
35 • My "distro upgrade" experience with openSUSE 13.2 (by eco2geek on 2014-11-18 06:59:51 GMT from United States)
I've been running openSUSE for a number of years; it's got a dedicated spot on my PC.
I decided to do a distribution upgrade from 13.1 to 13.2, using "zypper dup" on the command line, after resetting my existing repositories to the new 13.2 ones (and nuking any that didn't have 13.2 versions).
There were a couple of problems. First, after the upgrade was done, I couldn't delete the two old kernels I had installed using the package manager, because, for some reason zypper "forgot" they were installed.
The second, worse problem (possibly related to the first), was that when the NVIDIA drivers were upgraded from...well, whatever version they were before the current one (340.58), although the installation went without a hitch, the X server wouldn't start. The error message was that there was an ABI mismatch in NVIDIA kernel module versions. For some reason, the system kept "seeing" both the old version and the new version, and refused to run X.
(The nouveau driver had no problem working during all of this.)
The problem with the NVIDIA driver made me give up and (since I have a dedicated /home partition) reinstall openSUSE 13.2....from the live KDE media. It's gone without (much of) a hitch after that.
36 • Some general openSUSE observations (by eco2geek on 2014-11-18 07:18:58 GMT from United States)
- One systemd complaint: If you install a new distro, and it re-formats the partition, it usually changes the UUID. If another distro on another partition has an /etc/fstab that references the old UUID, usually it'll keep trying to mount the partition using the old UUID for some period of time, then fail and dump you at an emergency prompt.
Ubuntu's solution - to bring up a message asking if you want to fix the problem now, or just want to skip mounting the partition and fix the problem later - is superior...and faster.
- Most openSUSE multimedia apps (e.g. audacious; qmmp; VLC) are "crippled" by default out of the box due to legal concerns. You have to enable the Packman repository, and then you absolutely _have to_ use the "Switch system packages to the ones in this repository" function in Yast's software management module, in order for the crippled apps to be replaced by the fully functional ones in the Packman repository.
- Sometimes it's easier, if you know what you're doing, to simply edit configuration files by hand rather than use Yast modules. For example, Yast seems to expect you to put a ".something" after your hostname, so you end up with "linux.site" rather than just "linux". Easier to just edit /etc/hostname and /etc/hosts than to fight with it. Another example: if you know your way around grub's configuration file, /etc/default/grub, you may want to just edit it by hand rather than using Yast's configuration module, which may not give you the results you were expecting.
37 • OpenSuse (by Carlos on 2014-11-18 09:13:42 GMT from Portugal)
I've always installed OpenSuse from the full DVD, but still always that problem with Packagekit.
There's no excuse, after all these years.
Packagekit should be dumped for good, along with Pulseaudio.
38 • Systemd (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2014-11-18 11:35:27 GMT from Belgium)
I have written a few lines on systemd:
39 • Another systemd bashing and how to kill open-source credibility. (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-11-18 12:40:27 GMT from France)
@38 : stopped reading your article when I saw this : "However, as a mere init system, systemd already found some opposition from system administrators who preferred human-readable init scripts as opposed to a poorly-documented, highly-obfuscated, ever-evolving and ever-growing binary blob. Soon, others pointed out that such large black-box was a perfect place for back-doors to be hidden…"
What a bag of non-sense. Is systemd closed source ? No. Stop spraying hoaxes.
From a user who don't care a buck about this init war which is killing the open-source credibility.
40 • Font rendering & Character Assassination (by Joncr on 2014-11-18 13:32:39 GMT from United States)
1. OpenSuse 13.2 installs and runs fine here. Not using it, though, because of the poor font rendering. Infinality doesn't cut it anymore and the Ubuntu patches aren't available.
@39 -- Well said. The groundless hysteria about systemd has devolved into character assassination. Why should I trust software made by these petty, juvenile, zealots? Shame on them!
41 • agree with 38 about systemd (by anonymous on 2014-11-18 13:59:39 GMT from United States)
Agree 100% with comment 38. I have followed it and used it and see that it is trying to take over. I have used it in Fedora. There are too many things running in the background. CPU was at 100% and ran top from terminal and systemd was taking it, a single process. Even some Fedorans do not like that it is taking over. They are thinking of it as a pile of merde(manuere).
Yes it is OpenSource, yes it is already there; but it is trying to do too much. It seems to me that it wants to take over the WORLD!
42 • systemd (by linuxista on 2014-11-18 15:23:55 GMT from United States)
@41 "CPU was at 100% and ran top from terminal and systemd was taking it, a single process." Did you ever consider that there is a bug in your version or installation? Do you think Red Hat would be using it in their enterprise OS if it used 100% of the CPU? You must come back to earth before being subject to the conquest. :-)
43 • Packagekit, NVIDIA (by Bob on 2014-11-18 16:44:58 GMT from Austria)
So far no problems with Packagekit:
- "Apper Monitor" service disabled,
- Apper updates disabled,
- Software management exclusively done via Yast,
- I have a DE here not a server, why torture my keyboard with CLI (aka zypper)?
NVIDIA reply @35:
Nouveau won't cooperate on any of my systems with KDE and Gnome (XFCE and LXDE are ok), so I was forced to install NVIDIA. Works fast(er) and flawlessly - no regrets so far.
My 13.2 experiences are matching some of those mentioned above. oSuse is not perfect, but definitely faster and better than the previous versions. Obsessive distro hopping comes to an end ...
44 • UUID and partitions (by Carlos on 2014-11-18 16:59:19 GMT from Portugal)
@36: just mount the partitions in fstab with the nofail option.
If the partition doesn't exist anymore (or the UUID changed) the error is ignored.
You'll then take care of that, but at least the machine has booted without a problem.
45 • Systemd stupidity. (by Garon on 2014-11-18 17:11:36 GMT from United States)
This is total nonsense. You have tried to push that article before and it doesn't sound any smarter the second go around.
More nonsense. You people need to stop being a bunch of lemmings before you go over the edge of a cliff.
It all boils down to people not wanting to learn new things. It seems that we have a lot of script kiddies here.lol
46 • @45 (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2014-11-18 17:31:41 GMT from Belgium)
You are wrong: I had never written an article on systemd before. The referred one is my first and last one ;-)
The story about the lemmings committing mass suicide is just a myth: It is now well established that they don't do that and they never have.
And, finally, no, this is not about new technologies. This is all about politics and strategies to take control (or at least extended influence) over an interesting piece of cake: the Linux kernel.
Instead of creating a new operating system and convincing people to try it, they have devised a strategy to swallow the whole Linux user base.
47 • @46 : hoax and company ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-11-18 17:50:58 GMT from France)
This post is your only article. What a great technical writer you are. I only blog about free software for... 9 years or so.
It seems you copied and pasted some sentences from boycott systemd site.
I'm using linux distributions as mono-boot on my computers since... Ubuntu 6.06 LTS.. An article made in june 2006. http://frederic.bezies.free.fr/blog/?p=257
And my last article was made today.
So, just give us real arguments instead of hoaxes. Your article seems to be resumed as is : Red Hat is screwing linux distribution world. Kill it with fire...
48 • Discounted systemd hysteria and concern (by cykodrone on 2014-11-18 18:57:14 GMT from Canada)
Simply put, people who don't fully understand the implications systemd has for the Linux ecosystem in its entirety have either not read enough on the subject, really don't understand software, or don't mind 'hand-holding', buggy, secretive bloatware, if the latter is the case, then why did you ever leave W*nd*ws?
It might make me feel a bit better if I saw a legal declaration from Redhat that it will never patent license systemd, and they scale it back, I really don't like the network handling aspect, or handling my 'security', can anybody guarantee Redhat has not been approached by the NSA? Other huge corporations have been (no tinfoil hat required, this is the reality in today's world), just use a search engine, you'll see. "Only the Paranoid Survive" (Andrew S. Grove).
I pity the naive, one day systemd will turn out to be a nasty slap in the face, hopefully then you'll remember how you were repeatedly warned by people who truly do understand the far reaching implications, including the possible death of truly libre Linux. Enjoy what's left of your Linux 'free ride'.
49 • systemd hysteria (by linuxista on 2014-11-18 23:22:10 GMT from )
Systemd is published as free and open-source software under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1 or later. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemd
50 • Debian & DistroWatch (by Max on 2014-11-19 00:51:54 GMT from Netherlands)
In light of the recent Debian general resolution vote, what long-term plan does DistroWatch have for its own servers?
51 • @44: Good tip (by eco2geek on 2014-11-19 03:34:34 GMT from France)
Using "nofail" as a mount option in fstab, that is.
(It appears that openSUSE has systemd set to attempt mounting a partition with a non-existent UUID for a minute and a half before it fails to the login prompt.)
52 • @cykodrone : what about your hoax ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-11-19 09:50:40 GMT from France)
"I pity the naive, one day systemd will turn out to be a nasty slap in the face, hopefully then you'll remember how you were repeatedly warned by people who truly do understand the far reaching implications, including the possible death of truly libre Linux. Enjoy what's left of your Linux 'free ride'."
"[...]This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details. [...]"
You're spreading hoaxes and lies. Nothing new on earth. So, just switch to BSD. And stop breaking nerves of people which are using linux distributions, using systemd or sysV init to boot their computers.
What about eudev ? OpenRC ? Runit ? Init system used by slackware linux ?
Just stop spreading lies.
53 • SystemD again! (by Craig on 2014-11-19 13:29:10 GMT from United Kingdom)
What is terrible is that SystemD was foisted upon the communities without much, if any, consultation.
Enough is enough. I'm off to the freedom of BSD land.
Good luck with the rest of your life.
54 • systemd (by Obama_supporter on 2014-11-19 14:14:42 GMT from United States)
If you like systemd, you can keep systemd :)
if you like upstart you can keep upstart!
if you like SysVinit you can keep SysVinit!
if you like openrc init, you can keep openrc init!
if you like your linux system you can keep your linux system!
55 • @49, 52 & 54 (by cykodrone on 2014-11-19 16:54:51 GMT from Canada)
@49 Everybody knows systemd is GPL...for now, nobody said it wasn't. True or false, have their been court battles over code in the past? Have some corporations took out patents on code they bought and stopped its free distribution in the past? Enough said.
@52 What lies or hoax am I perpetrating? I did not say anything is written in stone, hypothesizing is not lying.
If what I've been saying about the systemd situation is not a distinct possibility, then when are Debian devs leaving in droves? Why the huge backlash from people who know what they're talking about?
You sound like a conservative politician, bible good, science and knowledge bad, be quiet while we rape the earth so we can fill our pockets. Only people with something to lose try to quash discussion and dissenting voices. The systemd devs have even tried to con Linux Torvalds in to putting buggy, poorly tested code in the kernel to suit them, regardless of how it affects others (I read Linus' mailing list response, let's see you call him a liar, that will be good for a laugh).
@54 "Keep your Linux" with an init other than systemd may not be possible in the near future because systemd devs are making it so devs of other parts of a Linux OS have to write theirs around systemd (instead of the other way around), so all those other init systems you mentioned may be smothered by systemd compatibility 'winning' out.
We're on a very slippery slope, I'm getting off it now, I'm not waiting for the bottom to fall out of the Linux ecosystem. I'm kicking the tires of Salix, PCLinuxOS and PC-BSD on my old machine right now, I need a replacement for Wheezy on my new machine, before Jessie is released.
56 • @55 (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-11-19 17:41:18 GMT from France)
Well. I don't know Canada was full of... what you want-holes :)
"I did not say anything is written in stone, hypothesizing is not lying.".
So, let's replace lies by hoaxes.
"Why the huge backlash from people who know what they're talking about?"
s/they're talking about/they want to bash both Red Hat and Lennart Poettering/g
"You sound like a conservative politician, bible good, science and knowledge bad, be quiet while we rape the earth so we can fill our pockets."
So, I'm like a Tea Party member ? You're as wrong as it is possible to be.
"Only people with something to lose try to quash discussion and dissenting voices."
And people like you are spreading hoaxes.
"The systemd devs have even tried to con Linux Torvalds in to putting buggy, poorly tested code in the kernel to suit them, regardless of how it affects others (I read Linus' mailing list response, let's see you call him a liar, that will be good for a laugh)."
It was not about systemd but about something else, you're lying again. And if you were so sure, you will have add a link. Why not ? Because you're lying and spreading hoaxes.
So, what's next in your lies and hoaxes ?
57 • flame wars (by Guido on 2014-11-19 20:37:13 GMT from Austria)
I wonder why there are so many fundamentalists in the open source community? I love to read the articles and comments on distrowatch, but I am tired of all the flaming. The targets change, but the tone stays the same. At the moment it is systemd, in the future there will be another topic with the same emotions, or we go back to "nice targets" such as Ubuntu or Gnome 3. You need not like it, but please keep the discussion fair.
It is unfair to insult people who write free software and companies that support the development of free software. Linux would be much worse off without companies like Red Had and Suse. Not everything they do is good, and you have the right to criticize them, but keep in mind that nobody forces them to write free software we all love.
58 • OMG, Another Lightweight Piece of Software (by Ben Myers on 2014-11-19 22:33:21 GMT from United States)
The word "lightweight" has become trite in the Linux community. It is very much over-used. It also begs the question: "Lightweight compared to what???"
Everywhere I go, most every distro and lots of packages all claim themselves as lightweight. Either stop using the term, or be more specific. To use the word lightweight these days to describe software is just plain lazy and intellectually bankrupt.
There, I've said it. Now all the defenders of the word can flame back at me.
59 • systemd gpl (by linuxista on 2014-11-19 22:52:39 GMT from United States)
@55 >>"Everybody knows systemd is GPL...for now, nobody said it wasn't. True or false, have their been court battles over code in the past? Have some corporations took out patents on code they bought and stopped its free distribution in the past? Enough said."
Well, the linux kernel is GPL, too. Where are your warnings about the Linux Foundation suddenly taking out patents on and stopping distribution of the kernel itself, or the FSF revoking the gcc and a slew of userspace tools? Maybe you don't get to keep your pure linux system at all, with systemd or without? This of course generously assumes that your understanding of the GPL is correct.
60 • @55 (by Milo on 2014-11-19 23:33:51 GMT from Poland)
"...when [sic] are Debian devs leaving in droves?"
A lot of the frayed nerves are due to the flaming and poisonous environment that have been created, largely from sources external to the Debian Project. It's gotten so bad several DDs have unsubscribed from a couple of the Debian mailing lists until things cool off. But I haven't seen evidence that developers are "leaving in droves". As of this moment, the number of developer entries listed at https://db.debian.org/ = 1086. The stated developer count at the time of the issuance of the just now resolved GR on init system coupling = 1006 - https://www.debian.org/vote/2014/vote_003#quorum. The stated developer count earlier in the year at the time of the 2014 DPL election = 1003 - https://www.debian.org/vote/2014/vote_001#quorum. The stated devoloper count at the time of the 2013 DPL election = 988 - https://www.debian.org/vote/2013/vote_001#quorum.
There have, however, been notable examples of developers being worn out, three of which have mostly been advocates of systemd, and one of which did leave the Debian Project:
1. Joey Hess is no longer a Debian Developer.
2. Colin Watson announced his intent to step down as a Technical Committee member, but he will still be a Debian Developer.
3. Tollef Fog Heen left the pkg-systemd-maintainers team, but he is still a DD.
4. Russ Allbery has stepped down as a TC member, but he is still a DD.
5. Ian Jackson has stepped down as a TC member, but he is still a DD.
61 • systemd and swap partitions (by Carlos on 2014-11-20 09:19:45 GMT from Portugal)
I have Mageia in my laptop for a long time (using the Cauldron repository = rolling) and in the fstab of course, the swap partition was configured.
At a certain point I noticed some "FAIL" in red in the boot process and investigated.
It turns out that starting at a certain version, systemd ignores the fstab and mounts the swap partition(s) by its own. Not one, but all that it finds.
I had to comment the line in fstab for the swap partition and the boot "FAIL" disappeared but systemd still mounts every swap partition it finds (I had a usb stick with some distro installed and it mounted that swap partition too).
Systemd has a mind of it's own, it sniffs everywhere, some things are apparently not configurable (but I might be wrong here...) and sudently changes the behavior of linux and the way we had always configured our machines.
Looks like the fstab manuals have to be changed, to remove the configuration of the swap partition.
62 • AMD IOMMU and Via USB 3.0 (by cykodrone on 2014-11-20 10:45:32 GMT from Canada)
I just discovered adding... iommu=soft ...to live distro boot lines lets you leave IOMMU disabled (default) and the Via USB 3.0 controller works (if you have one like I do on my mobo). A mouse plugged in to a USB 2.0 won't work if you don't, it just freezes, doesn't even light up (the laser). I've confirmed this with Salix live, Gentoo live and PCLinuxOS live. I should mention I have my BIOS in legacy mode as opposed to UEFI, now all y'all can accuse me of being a backward Luddite, lol. This is useful information when you are distro hopping for a new 'home' without systemd. PCLinuxOS likes my printer without a proprietary driver and Bill Reynolds is not fond of systemd, which is a good thing in my book.
Oh, one more tip, the CUPS "recomended" printer drivers are not always the best or work, the guten bombed, the foomatic works.
63 • @58 "OMG, Another Lightweight" (by gregzeng on 2014-11-20 11:41:12 GMT from Australia)
Lightweight, "old hardware" does not upset me. If I see this, I suspect the distro creators lack the ability & resources to optimize/ speed the distro any further.
For the many individuals without people skills, this is ok. One day they might become able to be part of a large, complex team, with its personality disagreements, purists & "fundamentalists". We might value their coding, or literary skills, since they may not shown any obvious marketing skills.
The simpler distros (LXDE, etc) sometimes lack the read-ahead, cache abilities, crash-recoveries, ... of a full distro. If I value that distro, I can add this myself. Often I missed some macros, or eye-candy on the simpletons. So on my LXDE distros, I might add Docky, gkrellm, Onboard, Bleachbit, qBittorrent, Lucky backup, gdmatp, and other favorites.
If it uses an old kernel that poorly handles SSD's, USB3, etc, then I upgrade it to the latest stable kernel. This is much quicker, easier if the distro is able to use Ubuntu's PPA update system.
64 • systemd (by Kazlu on 2014-11-20 16:44:08 GMT from France)
@All: please, people. Until now the argument around systemd has remained correct in style. People talking about it may have been pissed, whatever side they're in, but they stayed polite and (quite) respectful. The comments of this week fall into hatred and disrespect, that doesn't help anyone's point. Please keep this respectful, so it still has some sense.
@cykodrone (#26, #48, #55): I'm not as pessimistic as you are. First, the GPL licencing prevents Red Hat to relicence systemd (which would be very improbable since they release the source code of an entire GNU/Linux distro). And even with bad intentions, if it becomes unacceptable people will just stop using it and fork it or find an alternative. Like it happened with OpenOffice when Oracle bought Sun (who uses OpenOffice now?). Even if systemd becomes dominant and THEN becomes more and more of a problem (which I reckon may happen), distributions will simply look for alternatives. You cannot take down GNU/Linux by ruining a part of it, even if that part seems mandatory. That's the power granted by a (still) modular libre and open source operating system. That being said, I won't upgrade my Debian Wheezy when Jessie comes out, I will wait and see what happens with systemd probably until Wheezy's EOL, knowing that Salix is still an option, just in case.
It's understandable that systemd behaves differently than sysv init. Just like it's understandable GNU/Linux behaves differently than Windows. You can't say GNU/Linux is bad just because, by default, you activate elements with a simple clic instead of a double clic. It's just differently designed and does not necessarily goes with our habits.
That being said, I can perfectly understand that this change of behavious does not suit you. For the fstab and swap problem, if I think about it it won't change anything for me since I have one swap partition per machine but I wonder what does systemd does with the *other* partitions that are listed in fstab... But I understand you don't want your USB swap partition to be mounted, the fact that probably only a few people use USB swap partitions would not be a sufficient answer. I suppose it's parametrable though, just need to find where and how.
But since you use Mageia Cauldron, I suppose you're prepared to face unplanned modifications in behaviour like that. Thanks for sharing your discovery by the way :)
65 • Debian resolution concerning init systems (by Kazlu on 2014-11-20 16:58:31 GMT from France)
So, Debian has decided... not to decide: https://vote.debian.org/~secretary/gr_initcoupling/index.html
That sounds like a "do whatever you want". I see that, behind the winning option, the option "support for other init systems is recommanded, but not mandatory" has had more success than those deciding clearly to allow or not init coupling, which indicate that Debian developpers do not want to upset anyone or to set limitations on this subject. As a consequence, I suppose there will still be some fighting...
66 • systemd, Linux ... (by Carlos on 2014-11-20 20:11:30 GMT from Portugal)
@64 Kazlu: I didn't say Linux is bad, I've just pointed out a systemd "feature" that I've discovered for myself.
Yeah, I like Mageia Cauldron and I'm willing to take the risk. It has been more consistent/reliable than Arch or Debian Sid.
About the USB stick, yes, I know swap is bad there, but it was a "portable" installation, it had a small swap partition but vm.swappiness=1.
Man, I love Linux since the late 90's (it was '97 or '98...) when I installed RedHat at home in an old 486 PC with a 2GB HDD and 4MB RAM.
I was amazed with the virtual desktops. It was a new world. On such a limited machine with a very basic video card.
In the early 90's I worked with SCO Unix, but that didn't have a graphical desktop.
Windows, I know since version 3.0 and I must refrain to qualify the consistent &$%&$#$$# Microsoft has put out over the years - and that people tolerate.
67 • systemd (by Luce Bree on 2014-11-20 22:47:18 GMT from United States)
Void Linux contains the option to move from runit to systemd.
There are other options/distros out there as well.
Linux is about choices, among other things.
68 • distro derivatives and forks (by cykodrone on 2014-11-21 18:50:22 GMT from Canada)
I'm seriously considering creating a non-systemd fork or derivative and sarcastically naming it Redbuntian (Redhat+Ubuntu+Debian), for real, cuz dats da way I roll (my own). :D
69 • Systemd (by loup on 2014-11-21 22:05:22 GMT from United States)
No no no systemd again ...., by the way, Gentoo as far as i know does not use systemd, and if you look at the harden project page, among the contributers .... NSA !!! ???
Sitting beside NSA, lil blue and little blue refers to the same develop team then .... thinhat. Yes yes the thin hat working totally from ram. I remember in 1998 or 1999 purchasing a red hat distro, trying for 3 weeks to install and finally ending up with mandrake ... mandrake figured out my screen upon first try while i was lost in red hat wiki's docs etc ... As a Nortel tech i was maintaining voice mail systems and acd system on Os2 up to 2010 ( sold my business that year ...) ( for people who doesn"tknow Ibm os2 ... grandfather of windows ) Nortel used that system up to introduction of flash base voice mails. New technologie does not mean better, most people like their old slippers. The nice thing with linux is the freedom of choice. Hopefully it's going to stay that way regardless of all that drumming around systemd.
Number of Comments: 69
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