| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 588, 8 December 2014
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly! While many of the open source projects we cover are Linux-based, there are plenty of open source operating systems in the world which are built on different core technologies. This week we turn our focus toward the PC-BSD project, a FreeBSD-based operating system that has been gaining popularity as a desktop operating system. We talk about PC-BSD and its many useful utilities in our Feature this week. However, despite its many promising characteristics, no operating system is without faults and we talk about problems people have been having upgrading PC-BSD and what the project is doing to fix the issues in our News section. We also discuss running Ubuntu GNOME as a rolling release platform, the differences between Debian and Ubuntu and how to get Debian running on a graphing calculator. Plus we share news of a fork of OpenBSD that plans to modernize the security oriented platform. In our Questions and Answers column this week we respond to concerns about systemd, how it is spreading and which projects are avoiding adopting the new init software. As usual, we cover the latest open source releases of the past week and look ahead to fun, new releases to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Experimenting with PC-BSD 10.1
PC-BSD is an operating system that uses FreeBSD as a base. The latest release of PC-BSD, version 10.1, was launched in November and carries a number of interesting features. The new version of PC-BSD features support for ZFS as the root file system, hard drive encryption, booting from UEFI and an updated version of the Lumina desktop environment. PC-BSD 10.1 also ships with an updated version of the pkg-ng package manager. This new version of PC-BSD is available in a variety of flavours, including a 3.3 GB edition that enables users to install either the desktop or server variant of the operating system. Alternatively there is a 615 MB server-only edition. Various downloadable images are available for running PC-BSD in virtual machines too. Each edition of PC-BSD is available exclusively in a 64-bit x86 build.
I decided to download the desktop edition of PC-BSD. Booting from the project's media brings up a menu asking if we would like to launch the operating system's graphical installer, run the installer in a safe graphics mode or if we would like to run a text-based installer. I took the default option, which is to run the graphical installer. The first screen of the installer asks us to select our preferred language. We are then asked if we would like to set up PC-BSD with a desktop environment or we can install the project as a server with a command line interface. This screen also gives us the option of restoring our operating system from a saved snapshot. Once I selected the Desktop option I was offered the chance to customize the installation.
By default, PC-BSD installs with the KDE desktop and a few other packages. However, we can select other desktop environments, including MATE, Xfce, Lumina and LXDE. Fans of lightweight window managers also have many options from which to choose. There are additional packages we can install such as NVIDIA video card drivers, the LibreOffice productivity suite, VirtualBox and VirtualBox guest add-ons. The installer lets us select an IRC client, remote desktop software, VPN software and we have the choice of running the Firefox or Chromium web browsers. Once we have made our software selections we are asked where we should install PC-BSD. The PC-BSD operating system uses the ZFS advanced file system and we have the opportunity to tweak the ZFS settings. For instance, we can enable or remove data compression and adjust the size of our swap space. From there the installer copies its files to our hard drive and then asks us to reboot the machine.
There are a few things I like about PC-BSD's installer. One is that most options are hidden away. We could, if we wanted, pretty much click "Next" a few times and let PC-BSD take over our entire computer with reasonable defaults. We access most features by clicking a "Customize" or "Advanced" button on each screen. This gives the user a good degree of flexibility without cluttering the interface. I also like that there are buttons placed at the bottom of each page of the installer. These buttons bring up extra features. One button lets us change our keyboard's layout, another opens a wizard to configure our network settings and a third opens a command line terminal. Other buttons let us check our hardware for compatibility issues, bring up a virtual keyboard and display helpful tips about the options displayed on our screen. I especially appreciate the hardware compatibility tool as it shows us a list of our hardware devices along with an indication of whether PC-BSD can work with the hardware.
PC-BSD 10.1 - documentation provided by the PC-BSD handbook
(full image size: 744kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The first time we boot into PC-BSD we are greeted by a configuration tool which allows us to change our video driver and, optionally, our screen resolution. Once we select a new screen resolution we are shown what our settings will look like and given the opportunity to go back and select new settings. We are then asked to confirm our time zone, create a password for the administrator account and create a user account for ourselves. With these steps completed we are brought to a graphical login screen. I had selected the Lumina desktop as my preferred graphical interface during the installation process and this meant I could login to either Lumina or the Fluxbox window manager.
The first time we login to PC-BSD a welcome window greets us. This window displays a series of tips on how to connect to wireless networks, how to launch the project's package manager to find additional software and how to access settings through the Control Panel. We are also shown where to find the Life Preserver backup utility and how to check for software updates. The last screen of the greeter displays links to the project's website and on-line documentation. Lumina, by default, places the application menu, task switcher and system tray at the top of the screen. Opening the application menu shows us an unusual arrangement. The menu shows us favourite applications on the first screen and there are tabs to browse through a complete list of applications, directories and files.
We can also access our desktop settings through this menu. Each application and directory shown to us has a star placed next to it and clicking this star adds the item to our favourites list for easy access. By default, our favourites list includes the project's Handbook, a link to the AppCafe package manager and the operating system's Control Panel. In the system tray, over in the upper-right corner, we see icons for launching the Life Preserver backup tool and an icon indicating software updates are available. One item I recommend looking at right away is the project's Handbook. The manual is over 300 pages long and presented to us as a PDF document. The document provides detailed documentation on how to install and use PC-BSD, it covers the operating system's features and includes screen shots with its explanations.
Shortly after I logged into PC-BSD the update notification icon in the system tray indicated there were software updates available in the project's repositories. Clicking on the notification icon brings up the project's Update Manager. The Update Manager downloads a list of available upgrades and displays them. Hovering the mouse over an upgrade provides us with a list of files that the upgrade will install on our system. We can mark which items we want to install and click a button to download the waiting upgrades. The Update Manager then creates a snapshot of our operating system in case something goes wrong, downloads and installs the waiting items. I found Update Manager worked slowly during my trial, it took several minutes just to display a list of waiting items and installing updates took a few minutes more than I had expected. However, in the end, all waiting updates were applied cleanly. Plus it was nice to have a snapshot of the file system created automatically during the update process so we can easily revert any unwanted changes. During my week with PC-BSD I downloaded a total of eight updates which came to approximately 110MB in size.
PC-BSD 10.1 - the AppCafe package manager and the Life Preserver backup utility
(full image size: 610kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
Another utility for interacting with software packages is AppCafe. The AppCafe program acts as a graphical front-end to the pkg command line package manager. Using AppCafe we can search for software by name and filter items based on the type of software we are looking for. For example, we can search for desktop software or all available packages. Clicking on a package brings up a detailed summary of the software with a screen shot and user supplied rating. We can install the software with the click of a button. One thing I like about AppCafe is that it's easy to use, the interface is fairly streamlined, but it also gives us a good deal of flexibility if we want to search through the menu for extra features. As an example, we can install packages directly into a FreeBSD jail or lock packages at a specific version to prevent them being upgraded. There is also a button we can click to show us recent security notifications.
A second tab in the AppCafe shows us a list of installed items and we can use this screen to remove software or add a program's icon to our favourites list. AppCafe gives us access to approximately 23,000 packages, which reflects the growing FreeBSD ports collection. Some items AppCafe provides for us result in larger downloads than we might expect to see on a Linux distribution. As an example, the Firefox package is 83 MB in size rather than 20 MB, the Chromium web browser package is 151 MB and the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is 64 MB. There is a second GIMP package that includes documentation and extra features that is a full 600 MB in size.
The desktop software we have access to out if the box can vary depending on which desktop environment and features we select during the installation process. I started out with a fairly bare bones install of the Lumina desktop. In my application menu I found the Firefox web browser, a remote desktop viewer, the SMplayer video player and the LibreOffice productivity suite. The operating system ships with codecs for playing popular audio and video formats. The VirtualBox virtual machine client was installed along with the Midnight Commander file manager and the Insight file manager. Both the Emacs and Vim text editors were installed and, in the background, I found the FreeBSD kernel (version 10.1) and the FreeBSD userland tools. Looking through PC-BSD's running services I found Fail2Ban, the proactive security software installed and enabled, though no remote login services such as OpenSSH were running. PC-BSD also comes with a firewall enabled by default, protecting us in case a network service is activated.
I tried running PC-BSD on a physical desktop machine and inside a VirtualBox virtual machine. PC-BSD refused to boot on my desktop computer. I found this odd as PC-BSD 10.0.3 ran well on this hardware earlier in the year and, since I did not get as far as a boot menu, I suspect the new UEFI support may be a factor in this problem. (FreeBSD 10.1 offers separate installation media for machines with or without UEFI support. The FreeBSD 10.1 ISO with UEFI support does not boot on my test machine, but the ISO without UEFI support boots normally. This seems backwards to what we might expect to see as my test computer is equipped with UEFI.) When running inside VirtualBox the operating system performed well. PC-BSD integrates nicely into VirtualBox and performs quickly. I did find PC-BSD uses a large amount of the host computer's CPU when running inside VirtualBox, especially when accessing the network. However, despite the guest operating system using much of my computer's CPU, PC-BSD ran smoothly. I found the operating system required approximately 300MB of RAM to login to the Lumina desktop.
One of the central features of PC-BSD is the operating system's support for ZFS, an advanced file system that makes working with multiple devices and file system snapshots quick and easy. ZFS is a key component of PC-BSD, enabling us to take snapshots of the operating system prior to running software upgrades. ZFS is also an important part of the Life Preserver backup utility. Using Life Preserver we can schedule snapshots of our home directories and, optionally, schedule backups of our data to remote computers. We can also create traditional archives of the files in our home directory. Life Preserver enables the user to browse through snapshots of files, using a slider bar to move through time and a regular file manager interface to navigate directories. We can then restore files and folders by clicking a button. If we try to restore a folder from an archive that already exists on the system a new directory is created with the suffix "-revision" to avoid overwriting the existing directory.
PC-BSD 10.1 - running Debian GNU/Linux using Warden and checking for updates
(full image size: 485kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
The Warden is another interesting feature of PC-BSD. FreeBSD has a lightweight container technology, called jails, that allows the administrator to run services or other software that should not come in contact with the rest of the operating system. Essentially it is a way to isolate processes without using a full featured virtual machine. PC-BSD expands on FreeBSD jails by making the process of creating jails, updating them and configuring them a simple point-n-click experience. Users can create minimal FreeBSD jails or Linux jails (based on Debian Wheezy). I found jails to be quite helpful when I wanted to experiment with software or compile a program in an environment that could be cleaned up (destroyed) afterwards. Like the rest of the PC-BSD operating system, jails created with the Warden utility can be saved as snapshots. This means if an update breaks our jail's environment or a running service, we can simply rollback the jail to an earlier state. This makes jails even more appealing when we want to experiment with software and configuration changes.
Another tool which stands out is the boot environment manager. This utility allows us to browse, create and remove operating system snapshots. When we rename or create a boot environment PC-BSD updates our boot loader so we can select our preferred operating system snapshot at boot time. In essence this means if our operating system ceases to function properly, we can simply reboot the computer and select a different version of the operating system to boot.
PC-BSD's Control Panel is a central location for configuring the underlying operating system. Through Control Panel we can launch utilities such as the AppCafe, the Update Manager, the boot manager and the operating system's hardware compatibility checker. There is also a services manager, a firewall configuration application and a user account manager. There are tools for setting up printers, a module for launching the Warden and a network configuration utility. I also found a bug reporting tool and a remote desktop server module. These tools typically worked beautifully for me and I appreciate the power and flexibility PC-BSD's configuration modules provide. The one module which did not work was the remote desktop server module. Launching this module did not appear to do anything. The rest of the configuration modules worked well for me and I found them easy to navigate.
PC-BSD 10.1 - configuring the operating system from Control Panel
(full image size: 672kB, screen resolution 1280x1024 pixels)
One final feature I wish to touch on is the Lumina desktop environment. Over in the BSD communities there has been some concern that porting desktops to work on FreeBSD, OpenBSD and PC-BSD may become more work, especially with technologies like Wayland and systemd on the horizon. Lumina is a cross-platform desktop environment that is primarily developed on (and for) PC-BSD. It is fairly lightweight and I found it to be flexible in its layout. Lumina is still in the beta stages, but it was stable for me and worked well. The desktop is responsive and typically works well with the underlying Fluxbox window manager. I did run into a few instances where applications would launch without window controls or title bar, but this was rare. I'm not sure if the problem with window controls lies with Lumina itself or Fluxbox. At times it took me a little adjusting to get used to the way the Lumina menu is presented, but I do like the way the interface handles favourite applications and the Lumina configuration modules worked well for me.
I feel the PC-BSD project does a very good job of taking the FreeBSD operating system (typically considered a server oriented platform) and turning it into a user friendly desktop system. The installer is quite easy to use, there are lots of useful (and friendly) configuration tools and the operating system is very flexible with regards to what software we install and which desktop environments we can use. The way the operating system integrates ZFS and its many advanced features is also appealing as it makes backing up data and recovering from broken upgrades quick and easy. The operating system ships with a great deal of documentation, lots of system administration utilities and a friendly package manager that gives us access to a huge collection of open source software.
The one concern I had with PC-BSD is hardware support. FreeBSD, and projects derived from it, tend to lag a little behind Linux when it comes to hardware support. For instance, while NVIDIA and Intel video cards are well supported, ATI cards are less likely to work with PC-BSD. I had trouble booting PC-BSD at all on my desktop machine and I've been told by various people in the PC-BSD/FreeBSD community that suspend and resume does not always work well. However, if you do have hardware that is compatible with PC-BSD then I highly recommend giving it a try. The project makes a lot of tasks easy and the operating system performs well.
* * * * *
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 upgrade woes, Ubuntu GNOME as rolling-release distro, comparing Ubuntu and Debian, Debian on graphing calculator, Bitrig, interview with Mageia's David Walser
Last month the PC-BSD project released version 10.1 of their FreeBSD based operating system. Some PC-BSD users reported problems upgrading from the 10.0 to the 10.1 release and the PC-BSD team has responded to these issues. In a blog post the PC-BSD developers report they are looking into the issue and taking steps to avoid upgrade problems in the future: "We are working on a new upgrade patch that will hopefully solve the upgrade problem for some of you who have still not been able to successfully upgrade to 10.1. What we are planning on doing is incorporating just freebsd-update to handle this upgrade for the kernel and let the packages be installed separately after the kernel has been upgraded. Going forward we have some ideas on how we can improve the updating process to give a better end user experience for PC-BSD. Just one idea we've been thinking about is giving ourselves a little more time before letting RELEASE updates become available to the public."
* * * * *
People who enjoy the GNOME desktop environment and would like to experience the thrill of running a rolling release distribution can find what they are looking for with the Ubuntu GNOME project. Though Ubuntu GNOME usually is not thought of as a rolling release, the developers have created a brief tutorial on how to turn their distribution into a rolling platform. To summarize, people who install daily test images will automatically find themselves running a development/rolling distribution.
* * * * *
When searching for a distribution to try, people are often torn between similar platforms. While there are many small differences between, for example, Linux Mint and Ubuntu or Ubuntu and Debian, the similar technical bases are likely to seem much the same to an outsider. The Datamation website has a side-by-side comparison which contrasts Debian and Ubuntu. People who are unsure of which distribution best suits their needs can get a list of differences between these two projects that share a lot of common ground from a technical perspective: "No matter how you decide, you can hardly go too far wrong. For all their differences, Debian and Ubuntu did not become the leading distributions in free software by chance. Their joint dominance suggests that either is a valid choice, so long as you understand your priorities."
* * * * *
Debian GNU/Linux is a very flexible project and the operating system runs in a lot of different environments on different types of hardware. Eric Evenchick posted a short guide to getting Debian running on a graphing calculator: "The root file system is built on a PC using debootstrap and the QEMU ARM emulator. This allows you to install whatever packages are needed via apt, before transitioning to the calculator itself."
* * * * *
OpenBSD is a conservative operating system that focuses on maintaining clean, secure code and accurate documentation. The OpenBSD operating system is often deployed as a firewall or server where security is a top priority. However, the project's conservative nature means OpenBSD users often do not get access to new or useful features. The Bitrig project has forked OpenBSD with plans to modernize the platform: "OpenBSD is an amazing project and has some of the best code around, but some of us are of the opinion that it could use a bit of modernization. OpenBSD is a very security-conscious project and, correspondingly, has to be more conservative with features. We want to be less restrictive with the code base when it comes to experimenting with features." Bitrig supports modern architectures exclusively, specifically 64-bit x86 and ARMv7, an optimized tool chain and FUSE support. Bitrig also plans to add virtualization support to future releases.
* * * * *
Finally, a quick link to an interview with David Walser, a Mageia developer responsible for the highly unglamorous task of providing security updates for the distribution: "Security has always been important to me. It is something I always took seriously in setting up Linux systems for myself and my family in the early years, as well as Linux and Solaris systems that I administered for my college department in 2002. In fact, my very first contribution to Mandrake was a patch to a script in their CUPS package, whose purpose was to automatically generate cupsd.conf, to make it not listen on a network interface connected to your WAN). I stumbled into my current role at Mageia completely by accident. I had upgraded my sister's laptop from Mandriva 2010.2 to Mageia 1, and noticed one Mandriva package left on the system because it had a newer release tag than the Mageia package."
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
The adoption of systemd
Concerned-about-systemd asks: I write to you in hopes that you can do a bit of digging and reporting on what is going on over in Debian-land in regards to systemd becoming the default init system for their next stable release. Also in light of Ian [Jackson]'s GR getting side-stepped. I think one does not have to look far to see the controversy over systemd, and I think it's important that you please spend more time covering it. I really want to know why the heavy handed push for systemd? Why the need to subvert Debian with moving away from their bedrock conservatism? There is much more going on beneath the surface on this one that a good journalist won't have to dig far to strike gold. Thanks for all you have covered thus far. I hope you pick up the torch and see what the light sheds.
DistroWatch answers: One of the nice things about Debian is that everything the project does is out in the open. Mailing list discussions, bug reports, packaging, source code and votes are all done in full public view. Anyone can visit the Debian mailing lists, bug tracker or wiki and read up on what the project is doing. Just about anything you might want to know about the project with regards to systemd is available for everyone to see. The debates on technical merit, the general resolution proposal and vote on init coupling are all viewable by the public. For this reason it doesn't take much digging to find what each developer in the Debian community thinks about systemd and why.
As for systemd, what it is, its wide adoption and the heated debates surrounding it, I think we have covered that pretty thoroughly. Our coverage of systemd, its adoption and controversy, goes back a full three years. I'm not sure there is much more to be said about the systemd project. At least not in any objective sense. If you're looking for subjective opinion, well, I shared my personal thoughts on systemd elsewhere.
Since the whole discussion and the votes concerning systemd and Debian have been made out in the open, I don't think there is any "heavy-handed push" involved in Debian adopting systemd. I think there are probably a few reasons Debian is making systemd its default init software. One reason is that systemd, despite its faults, does do some things well. Some things previous init systems either did not do or did not do well. Clean dependency resolution, small and readable configuration files, process monitoring and fairly good backward compatibility all spring readily to mind. While systemd does have issues (compatibility with some existing daemons, binary logging by default, creeping scope, lack of cross-platform support and large size), some developers obviously feel the benefits outweigh the problems.
I would also point out that since most other Linux distributions have already adopted systemd, Debian is left in a strange position. Either they can remain conservative and possibly struggle to patch software and find ways to make systemd dependent programs work with SysV init, or they can jump on the bandwagon and do what other distributions are doing. There is a line between being functionally conservative and being stuck in the past. I suspect Debian's developers want to avoid the latter.
Finally, of course, there is the tendency of Linux developers to adopt new technology, even when it does not yet work as smoothly as the software it is replacing. KDE 4, GNOME Shell, PulseAudio and GRUB 2 are all fine examples of software projects that were adopted early and while they still had growing pains. Trying new software is more exciting than maintaining old software. I suspect some Linux distributions, perhaps Debian included, are enabling systemd while there are still wrinkles to iron out partly because systemd is new and interesting.
I think any of the above are possible reasons for Linux developers, including Debian's team, to adopt systemd as the default init technology. I do not think there is a deeper reason or a plot to subvert Debian involved. Partly because it is hard to imagine who would benefit from such a plot. The systemd project is entirely open source, so hiding a backdoor or intentional bug would be difficult. The systemd software is free to use, so there isn't any money to be made by expanding its adoption. I may personally not like systemd or its expanding scope, but I suspect those aspects of the project are motivated by developers' visions of what a Linux operating system should be. There does not appear to be any heinous plot afoot.
I'd further like to point out that any underhanded efforts to force Debian into using systemd would require quietly corrupting hundreds of people (many of whom voted during the init coupling general resolution). That idea strikes me as being both unlikely and, since I happen to know a few of the Debian developers, somewhat offensive. Whether you like systemd and whether you agree with the choice to make systemd the default init software in Debian, the debates, decisions, votes and source code were all open to examination. It would be difficult to shine any more light on the process than the Debian project has already done. I personally do not agree with Debian's decision, but I do have respect for their methods.
* * * * *
Avoiding-systemd asks: Maybe do a story about which distros and desktop environments are resisting systemd or staying compatibility neutral? An accompanying list would be great too.
Jesse Smith answers: For those who missed it, back in September I put together a short list of Linux distributions and open source operating systems which have not adopted systemd. I'm going to expand on that list a little, breaking it down into three parts.
First, let's look at distributions which are adopting systemd, but still have long term support releases that feature other init software. This list includes: Debian Wheezy which should be supported for a few more years. The upcoming Debian Jessie release will ship with systemd as the default init software, but systemd can be swapped out for another init technology post-installation. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS along with the many community spins of Ubuntu, such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Linux Mint, are supported through to 2019 and run Upstart as their default init software. The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 distribution and its clones, including CentOS 6 and Scientific Linux 6, are free of systemd and will continue to be supported until 2020. Keep in mind the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its clones do feature systemd and Ubuntu has stated they will move to systemd sometime in the near future, following Debian's lead.
Next, let us look at Linux distributions which have not adopted systemd and probably will not, at least in the near future. These include Slackware and Slackware's many community distributions. The Void Linux distribution uses runit by default with systemd as an optional component. The PCLinuxOS distribution appears to be avoiding systemd as is CRUX. Gentoo and its children have avoided adopting systemd as the default init software.
Finally, I feel it is worth mentioning that systemd is designed to run on Linux distributions only and other operating systems are not adopting the new init software. Instead, many other open source operating systems are creating systemd compatibility layers that will allow software depending on systemd to run without actually having systemd running as init. Such operating systems include PC-BSD, FreeBSD, GhostBSD, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFly BSD, OpenIndiana, Haiku OS and MINIX. (Admittedly the last few items on this list are unlikely to be practical alternatives for most people.)
Over on the Debian forums there is an ongoing discussion about operating systems that do not use systemd by default. Contributors to the discussion have put together a fairly complete list of alternatives to operating systems running systemd.
As for desktop environments, to my knowledge GNOME is the only desktop that is forming ties to systemd. Even in the case of GNOME the dependency appears to be optional up to this point. There has been talk of KDE adding systemd as an optional dependency, but KDE developers are trying to maintain compatibility with operating systems not running systemd. Most open source projects, including desktop environments, do not stand to benefit from forming ties to any one init technology and so systemd is unlikely to become a hard dependency for most desktop environments.
* * * * *
Following the Questions and Answers column where we talked about application-aware firewalls for Linux, one of our readers shared an interesting project. Douane is, according to the project's website, "a personal firewall that protects a user's privacy by allowing a user to control which applications can connect to the Internet from their GNU/Linux computer." The firewall project's website claims it will block all network traffic by default and allows applications to access the Internet only after the user has granted access. The Douane software is designed to run on modern Linux kernels (version 3.0 and newer) and is available as a source code download. At the time of writing I do not believe any distributions have included Douane in their software repositories.
|Released Last Week
Manjaro GNU/Linux 0.8.11
Phil Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.11, the latest update of the Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the Xfce and KDE desktops: "We are happy to announce the final release of Manjaro Linux 0.8.11. The Xfce edition remains our flagship offering and has received the attention it deserves. Few can claim to offer such a polished, integrated and leading-edge Xfce experience. We ship components from the Xfce 4.11 series after having tested them in-house, ensuring suitability for everyday use. This edition now uses LightDM for login management, display locking and user switching, including custom integration for Xfce. Spearheaded by the Turkish Manjaro community, our KDE edition continues to deliver this powerful, mature and feature-rich desktop environment with a unique look-and-feel and with the perks of Manjaro's latest tools." Here is the release announcement with screenshots.
Linux Lite 2.2
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 2.2, an updated build of the project's lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and featuring the Xfce desktop: "Linux Lite 2.2 final is now available for download. This release is a product of the incredible contributions from both the community and the developers. We've added Backups, a very simple to use backup utility, Date & Time, File Search, and our newest members to the Linux Lite software family - Lite Cleaner, an easy-to-use point and click system cleaner and Lite Welcome which greets you on first boot, gives useful information about Linux Lite including updates, support and development. We've also added Light Locker as the new default screen locker. There are also improvements to Install Additional Software, allowing you to choose multiple programs at once to install. There is also Check Install Media that has been added to the live boot menu." Read the rest of the release announcement which includes screenshots and hardware requirements.
antiX 14.3 "MX"
antiX 14.3 "MX" edition is a bug-fix update of the earlier release, an antiX flavour developed in collaboration with the MEPIS Community and featuring the Xfce desktop: "Upgraded bug-fix versions (PAE and non-PAE) of MX-14 are now available. This version has fixed some bugs found in MX-14.2 and Debian upstream. Major applications have been upgraded. We have added some new features, e.g. MX-Tools. MX-14.3 is based on Debian 'Wheezy' and therefore uses sysVinit. Now that Debian has frozen 'Jessie' and has moved to systemd, MX-14.3 offers a rock-solid systemd-free experience for those that would prefer to stick with sysVinit. MX-14 series will be supported until the end of life of Debian 'Wheezy'. Features and changes since MX-14.2: in order to fit on a CD, Java has been removed; upgraded to Linux kernel 3.14; new MX-findshares; new libparted2; galculator upgraded to version 2.1.3; Iceweasel upgraded to version 31.2.0esr...." See the project's home page to read the full release announcement.
MakuluLinux 7.0 "Xfce"
Jacque Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 7.0 "Xfce" edition, an Ubuntu-based distribution with a custom Xfce desktop: "Here is it, ladies and gentleman, this is what you have been waiting for, the fastest and most beautiful Xfce on the whole planet. Thought only true love could make you weak in the knees? Wait till you fire up this baby. There is a reason this version is code-named 'the concorde' or 'the bullet' as I have come to know it. I have drawn on all my experience and instinct as a Linux developer and pushed the limits and boundaries on this edition. This build has even surpassed my own expectations when I started working on it. So let’s get into the release notes and look what's inside the box: MakuluLinux Xfce 7.0 was built from the ground up; based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS PAE 3.13 i686 Linux kernel, 5 year support life; a blend of Xfce 4.10 and 4.11 packages." Read the rest of the release notes for a more details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to waiting list|
- Pearl Linux MATE. Pearl Linux MATE is a distribution designed for novice Linux users and featuring a desktop with a layout similar to OS X.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 15 December 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 • FreeBSD UEFI support (by Reuben on 2014-12-08 09:34:49 GMT from United States) |
UEFI support in FreeBSD is still in it's infancy. It seems that many people have trouble with it. Counter-intuitively, I can only use the EFI bootloader on my system when I enable legacy booting.
2 • rolling ubuntu (by Terence on 2014-12-08 10:17:55 GMT from United States)
If it's just a matter of DLing the latest daily image, then changing the sources then is there a reason you cannot do this with any of the buntu family of distros?
Also, can anyone tell me why ALL Debian based distros (including the buntus) cannot retrieve updates while in China? It errors out every single time and cannot connect to the repositories. I have no problem with OpenSUSE, Fedora, or ARch distros, just the Debian family.
3 • #2 (by Teresa e Junior on 2014-12-08 10:36:14 GMT from )
"Also, can anyone tell me why ALL Debian based distros (including the buntus) cannot retrieve updates while in China?"
Never heard of the Great Firewall of China? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Shield_Project
4 • rolling ubuntu (by Toran.firstname.lastname@example.org on 2014-12-08 11:14:16 GMT from Belgium)
Weird you have only troubs with the Debian-updates. Debian works worldwide. It might be coz Debian is blocked as it seems to be the favorite distro of hackers. However, Ubuntu has develloped a special flavour for China, being Ubuntu Kylin.
5 • Ubuntu Gnome Rolling? (by alpensepp on 2014-12-08 12:06:21 GMT from Germany)
After reading the tutorial about changing Ubuntu Gnome into rolling, could somebody explain to me why pulling in the required repositories for a rolling release are restricted to Gnome?
what influence would a different desktop environment have? what would not work with KDE, XFCE, Mate, LXDE and so on?
thanks for putting some light in my thoughts ;-)
6 • systemd (by Wine Curmudgeon on 2014-12-08 12:06:25 GMT from United States)
Jesse, another excellent piece about the systemd controversy, in which you are fair, sensible, and even-handed. Would that more people had your approach.
7 • @5 : rolling release gnome-restricted ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-12-08 13:02:06 GMT from France)
Well, looks like Ubuntu gnome wants to transform development version into a rolling release one.
If you look at instructions, rolling release repository is clearly named :
"That is very easy:
There is a release called “devel“.
If you put that in /etc/apt/sources.list instead of utopic/vivid etc, you will be kicked over the new devel version a few days after it opens.
No need to ever upgrade to the next version/release; just a dist-upgrade is enough."
Well, it looks like it is a "rolling-release" look-alike, not a true one, like Archlinux or Gentoo for example.
You could make a Xubuntu / Kubuntu looks like a rolling the same way, modifying sources.list.
How useful... Or not ! :)
8 • @3 (by Terence on 2014-12-08 13:16:30 GMT from United States)
You did see the part where I said all other family of distros work without even a hiccup here in China? What is going on with Debian that I cannot update? And this is a problem that has been happening since I moved here in 2011. Definitely not a recent development.
9 • #8 (by Teresa e Junior on 2014-12-08 13:30:21 GMT from )
With any censorship system you are subject to false alarms, so it is hard to believe there is something wrong from Debian's part.
Here they have a few suggestions for using APT with Tor: http://tor.stackexchange.com/questions/831/can-i-use-the-tor-browser...
10 • @Jesse: Systemd: (by dragonmouth on 2014-12-08 14:00:41 GMT from United States)
"I would also point out that since most other Linux distributions have already adopted systemd"
"or they can jump on the bandwagon and do what other distributions are doing."
As our mothers use to say "If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you?"
Just because most distros are going or have gone to systemd does not mean that Debian has to also. Just a philosophical point.
11 • "Rolling Release" (by Davidnotcoulthard on 2014-12-08 15:39:35 GMT from Indonesia)
@7 It is useful.
What it isn't (from the looks of it) is new and original, but the same goes for a lot of things that might wow people like accessing Natty's repositories in late 2014.
12 • RE: #2 (by More Gee on 2014-12-08 16:01:41 GMT from United States)
I could be a downstream or flavour specific issue or the package manager is broken. Also some are not supporting 32 bit any more and the package manager is falling back into incopatable parent repositories that are probably using systemd. With this and PAE and UEFI downstream package managers are crashing all over the place. Most recently for me was a promising install of Centos, after I installed codecs for MP3 playback the whole thing fell apart as they were for a previous version. Others have been kicked out of the ubuntu repositories, ie Lubuntu and 32 bit mint rolling and upon re-install won't update properly.
13 • @11 Rolling or development ? ;) (by FredBezies on 2014-12-08 16:42:08 GMT from France)
Of course, it is useful. But it is not strictly speaking a rolling release. It could be named : development release.
Looks like rolling release is a new buzzword nowadays.
14 • wondering why BSD ISOs are larger? (by Jeff on 2014-12-08 17:06:48 GMT from United States)
Lately I've been giving another look at the BSD's and noticed again that their ISOs are about three times as big as the Linux ISOs that I'm used to.
Google is turning up the usual irrelevant stuff, so I thought to ask here why this is so?
15 • @10 Out of context (by Ricardo on 2014-12-08 18:40:51 GMT from Argentina)
Those quotes are way out of context, and that's exactly the kind of childish behaviour that makes me dismiss such comments as "systemd-haters", even if I don't like systemd myself, because it seems there are no real arguments against systemd (and there are a lot).
So please, refrain to make that kind of comments in the future, instead try to make a sane point against systemd (in my case, featureitis and external projetcs dependency on systemd-only features are my biggest fears, for example).
To be clear on my first point: Jesse Smith is not saying Debian switched to systemd just because everybody else is doing it, but that it could have been one of several reasons (and he provided a few).
Qoute: "I think any of the above are possible reasons for Linux developers, including Debian's team, to adopt systemd as the default init technology"
16 • @2 Debian blocked in China (by Ricardo on 2014-12-08 18:46:05 GMT from Argentina)
What mirrors are you trying to connect to? Maybe you can find some China mirrors and try them in your sources.list.
Or maybe try Ubuntu Kylin and check what mirrors are they using.
17 • @2 Debian blocked in China (by linuxista on 2014-12-08 18:56:00 GMT from United States)
Debian has at least one mirror in China. Have you changed your sources.list as @16 suggested?
18 • re: PC-BSD (by caieng on 2014-12-08 19:03:16 GMT from United States)
*** There are a lot of great features in this release I would love to see ported to Linux ***
Thanks for the review, again Jesse. This is the third review of PC-BSD this year.
I confess it has been several years since I last attempted to install it. I am undoubtedly completely behind the times. Please take my comments that follow with a grain of salt. At that time, many years ago, I was annoyed that a Personal Computer operating system, any PC operating system, would act as though it were 1974, again, when we had been obliged to have multiple keystrokes for user name and password. That relationship changed, in the late 70's with the first personal computers, and PC-BSD refused, (at least as of several years ago) to accept the notion that the user, not the designer of the OS, should decide how many keystrokes would be required. Linux, at least the versions I use, do not oblige the user to follow the ancient UNIX religion, as the orthodox BSD folks follow. With Linux, a user name can be a single character, and passwords are optional.
My concern about this review, is that Jesse does not identify which of these features, that he so admires, ought to be incorporated into Linux. My primary concern, the one that prompted this verbose response, is that Jesse has not yet, despite so many reviews of BSD, offered us even the simplest benchmark comparison, so that we could better appreciate why the true religion, UNIX, is superior to the protestant Linux? If PC-BSD is as remarkable as Jesse would imply, by virtue of writing about it, three times in one calendar year, then, shouldn't it be easy enough to devise a couple of simple benchmark comparison tests, e.g the time needed to boot up, shut down, access internet, load a standardized pdf or jpeg file, or whatever, something concrete, to justify our inquiry into this ancient behemoth? I would much prefer to read about distros other than BSD related, unless those distros have truly thrown off the ancient yoke which demands that a minimum of 37 users must all be accommodated to access the same household or small business computer, as though it were still 1974.
19 • PC-BSD (by M.Z. on 2014-12-08 20:47:52 GMT from United States)
I for one think that the snapshot management & ZFS integration stuff is quite innovative & a big advantage that no version of Linux can fully compete with. There may be one version of Linux that has a basic utility that does something similar with Btrfs, but it doesn't look nearly as good as what PC-BSD has. I don't know why minimum security standards are a bad thing, or what that user limit stuff is about, but you seem to want arbitrary new tests to justify the usefulness of BSDs. The reviews here generally don't have performance data, & I don't see why a BSD should receive special treatment in that regard.
I for one like to hear about the BSD projects, as they provide some much needed variety to the world of open source Unix clones. Isn't that whole choice thing a big part of what open source software is about? I don't see how a handful of BSD reviews a year could be anything but good, so long as they follow the same format & standards as Linux reviews.
20 • re: #19 M.Z. (by caieng on 2014-12-08 22:04:42 GMT from United States)
Thanks, M.Z. your comments are welcome, and certainly have a lot of merit:
***I don't know why minimum security standards are a bad thing ***
and I apologize to you, and to the other readers of this excellent resource, if I have given you the wrong impression. I am not opposed to "minimum security standards". I am opposed to an operating system compelling the user to adopt your standards, or anyone else's.
Your "minimum security standards" should be optional. The Personal Computer operating system, as opposed to Server operating system, should allow the user to set and define those "security standards", individually. That's what "personal" means. You want them, you should be able to impose them on yourself at your own workstation in your own home.
The question is whether or not you should ALSO be able to impose your standards on me, in my home, working on my own computer. I deny that you should be able to tell me how to run my house. I do not insist that you ignore the security that you love by having complex passwords and login id's, and neither should you demand that I follow your "minimum security standards".
So long as there is freedom, then one can call the operating system "personal". The moment that you impose some other notion, then, it is really incorrect to claim "PC...whatever", for it is no longer "personal"
***The reviews here generally don't have performance data, & I don't see why a BSD should receive special treatment in that regard.***
I share your opinion, there is no need for BSD to receive special treatment, that's why I noted the frequency with which that particular distro receives accolades at this lovely web site. Maybe some other distro should be getting three reviews in one year, I don't know, but if it were up to me, before I wrote three reviews on a single Operating system, in a single calendar year, I would want to have some actual data, supporting the conclusion that this "special" operating system, which IS receiving "special treatment", in terms of the frequency of its reviews, ought to have some hard data, to support that special frequency of reporting on its progress.
Does Distrowatch provide three updates per year on Debian, Slackware, Puppy, Arch, Lubuntu? To me, that would suggest that PC-BSD is superior, to those other alternatives, and if so, why not show us just what we have been missing? When I tested PC-BSD, several years ago, it was much slower to boot than Linux, that does not necessarily translate into slower performance, once booted, but I gave up on it, because of frustration that I couldn't simply turn it on, and start working, as I am accustomed to, with Mint/Cinnamon, my distro of choice. In my experience, admittedly, not extensive, Crunchbang is even faster. Of course, some folks don't really care how fast an OS operates. I am still recovering from those nightmares of four decades ago, working alongside twenty other folks with the tiny brain of a PDP-10, running Unix!
21 • @20 (by Paraquat on 2014-12-08 22:58:35 GMT from Taiwan)
...Your "minimum security standards" should be optional. The Personal Computer operating system, as opposed to Server operating system, should allow the user to set and define those "security standards", individually. That's what "personal" means. You want them, you should be able to impose them on yourself at your own workstation in your own home...
Tight security is a feature of PC-BSD, and the developers feel that this is crucial. If you want a Linux distro that (at least optionally) takes a lax view of security, I'm sure you can find one. The developers of PC-BSD aren't necessarily trying to please everyone - they want to please themselves and their loyal users. It's pretty much this way with every distro - use the ones that have the features you like. If features were standardized for every BSD and Linux distro, we wouldn't need distros, or Distrowatch.
One thing that you may or not realize is that the same disk that installs PC-BSD also can be used to TrueOS which is actually a server edition of FreeBSD. It's probably fair to say that many or most PC-BSD desktop users have at least a passing interest in configuring a server. And with servers, you can never have too much security.
22 • PC-BSD and security requirements (by Jesse on 2014-12-08 23:03:43 GMT from Canada)
Regarding the password requirements of PC-BSD, if you don't want to supply a password for your account, you can enable auto-login. Alternatively, the root user on a PC-BSD system can set any password they like on an account, including a blank password. So if you are setting up your computer at home there is absolutely no restriction on what password you can have for your user account. In short, PC-BSD does not place any restrictions on you as far as password complexity/length is concerned so long as the root user (presumably you in a home environment) is okay with it.
As for as doing three reviews of PC-BSD this year, it's true I have an interest in this OS. I think the developers are doing good things and I find their work intriguing, that's why I cover their releases. Debian and Slackware usually only release once every year or two, that's why they aren't getting covered more. I do tend to cover every Debian and Slackware release, they just have a slower cycle. I also usually cover the major Puppy releases, all Ubuntu releases, Mint's releases, etc. Last year I believe I did three reviews of Fedora (as the project put out three major releases in 2013).
Basically, I tend to review all the significant releases from the big open source players and the frequency of the reviews tends to follow their release cycles. It's not that one project is superior to another, it's just the frequency of their releases and how interesting I find their new features that determines how many reviews they get.
I've said many times in the past that I review projects that fall into one of three categories:
1. The mainstream distributions (Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, etc)
2. Projects people request I review
3. If I don't have any of #1 or #2 in my queue, I review whatever looks interesting to me. If you'd rather I review something different, just drop me an e-mail and ask. If no one asks, I just review whatever catches my eye.
As for performance, PC-BSD performs about the same for me as most of the major Linux distributions. PC-BSD boots a little slower, but once it is up and running I'd say PC-BSD offers similar performance to Ubuntu or Fedora, assuming you use similar hardware and have the same software installed. ie PC-BSD with KDE will probably run about the same as Kubuntu on the same hardware.
23 • PC-BSD Xfce (by cykodrone on 2014-12-09 01:26:46 GMT from Canada)
I'm not sure how well the KDE version of PC-BSD performs (default native DE) but the Xfce version didn't do so well in my test run. Missing menu icons, clumsy volume mounting (the volume mounter is down by the panel clock), dead menu icons (App Cafe said things were installed but some refused to start or resulted in error dialogue windows). FYI, missing icons can be fixed by installing a more complete set, manually (that requires root, have fun figuring that out) or otherwise, I have no clue as to why a more complete icon set wasn't be installed in the first place.
I found App Cafe a little strange too, the navigation can be confusing and tedious. I hate package installer GUIs that don't let you go back to where you just left off, meaning the exact item you just installed when you go 'back' for example. You can get lost in numerous tabs, each tab being a different 'search', etc. Typed in search terms are not like most Linux package GUIs either, if you are searching a particular app, be prepared to try many different search terms, even obvious terms failed to deliver results.
Don't get me started on the installer, be very careful, my old machine (tester) has 4 HDDs on the main mobo SATA controller and 1 HDD on a JMicron SATA controller (on purpose, to keep it 'separated'), under Linux they are properly 'seen' in order (sda, sdb, sdc, sdd + sde), but in the PC-BSD installer, 'sde' is 'seen' as the first drive in the machine (even though it's fifth in the BIOS boot order), stupid me assumed it to be the equivalent of sda in Linux, anyway, even though it wasn't selected (space-bar), it still got wiped anyway, good thing there was nothing too important on it.
The ZFS file system is certainly a different animal, if you're coming from Linux, it will take some getting used to. The mounted partitions GUI thingy was a little confusing to read, but after staring at it for a few minutes, it sunk in, but it still seems a little over-engineered and complicated. Whatever happened to KISS? BSD is an ancient server OS and it shows in this desktop iteration.
Some good info here:
PC-BSD's heart is in the right place, but maybe I've been spoiled by more thorough distros. Too bad I can't stand KDE anymore, or I would give that version a spin too, it's probably much better supported than Xfce. Who knows, I may be forced (by systemd creep in Linux) to try the KDE version eventually, Xfce was sadly a fail. I haven't tried it on my new AMD/Radeon machine, but it did OK on my old Intel/Nvidia box.
@Jesse...thanks ever so much for the systemd research and story.
24 • @14 • wondering why BSD ISOs are larger? (by Thomas Mueller on 2014-12-09 03:47:58 GMT from United States)
BSDs I am most familiar with are FreeBSD and NetBSD. Linux ISOs range from small in the case of Tiny Core, Damn Small Linux, Puppy Linux to much bigger in the case of full distributions with many applications, such as Ubuntu, Slackware and Mint. PC-BSD ISO would be big, since it is FreeBSD dressed up with many applications to make it more comparable, functionally speaking, to the bigger Linux distros.
25 • RE:#24 - + Powerful "and" Minty Fresh (by Landor on 2014-12-09 04:35:51 GMT from Canada)
It's the exact same reason Gentoo is.
RE: Powerful and Minty Fresh....
I was surprised to see the announcement for Clem's "Fresh" offering being stated as "Powerful".
What makes it powerful? Is it now trying to take on Listerine? Seriously here though, I really want to know. Is it the fact that it's made for the kiddies with all the whiz-bang extras installed for them that makes it powerful? Are there additions that just blow away any other offering by its "brute strength"?
What's the benchmark that it's measured by, anyone know? Clem? (I know you still lurk here)
Keep your stick on the ice...
26 • @24, BSD ISO size (by Jeff on 2014-12-09 15:06:34 GMT from United States)
I am comparing for example:
PC-BSD 10.1 (3.3gb)
All of these ISOs come with a fairly large assortment of applications including LibreOffice or another comparable office suite.
The Linux distros are nearer 1gb to 1.5gb while the BSDs usually are well over 3gb.
Why more than twice as large?
27 • ISO size (by Jesse on 2014-12-09 18:00:57 GMT from Canada)
@26: You kind of answered your own question. If you look at the SparkyLinux ISOs, for example, you see one ISO for LXDE, one for MATE, one for Xfce, etc. With Tanglu you see one for GNOME and another ISO for KDE. The PC-BSD ISO contains all of those desktop environments in one download. The PC-BSD ISO contains KDE, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, Lumina and a bunch of window managers too. There is no PC-BSD MATE edition or KDE edition because everything is provided in one download.
28 • ISO size (by Fox on 2014-12-09 21:03:25 GMT from Canada)
@27: But Jesse, a lot of the software on the different desktop isos of sparkylinux would be redundant applications. I suspect that only a small fraction of it is the desktop environment because adding another desktop doesn't require that big of a download (at least not on Ubuntu). Perhaps PC-BSD just gives one "the kitchen sink" in apps?
29 • PC-BSD dual boot with linux Mint (by Neil on 2014-12-09 21:41:36 GMT from United States)
Is it possible to partition HDD with Linux Mint Mate 17.1 on it and install PC-BSD in the newly created partition?
30 • Manjaro offering OpenRC alternative (by aguador on 2014-12-09 21:56:06 GMT from Spain)
I did not notice Manjaro mentioned in the section about alternatives to systemd, but it now offers OpenRC as an alternative. See Manjaro's OpenRC wiki: https://wiki.manjaro.org/index.php?title=OpenRC,_an_alternative_to_systemd
31 • PC-BSD/Dual booting (by Corbin Rune on 2014-12-09 21:58:53 GMT from United States)
Feel free to correct me if this is wrong.
I believe you can dualboot (Type "X") Linux and a BSD. It's just that you'd need ZFS partitions for the BSD install, and any data you want to share between both. Although, I'm still in the pre-planning stages, RE: BSD on my box. (Part hardware issue research, part deciding which flavor of BSD to try. So far, I'll say ArchBSD looks rather interesting, as does PC-BSD. /shrug)
32 • Alpine Linux: OpenRC; Slitaz: Custom Scripts (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2014-12-09 23:53:08 GMT from United States)
A fine contender missing from Jesse's systemd-free tips (I looked) is Alpine Linux.
Alpline is built atop OpenRC and the innovative musl runtime.
Slitaz offers custom init scripts.
Given all the bloat in systemd, I am tempted myself to drop Arch for more sensible design, much as I love its large set of prebuilt, up-to-date packages.
33 • why BSD ISO is larger (by Simon on 2014-12-10 00:28:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
My understanding is that with BSD each application comes complete with its own set of library files. This saves the complexity of managing dependencies and versions, but the cost is in the size of the ISO.
34 • ISO sizes (by Jesse on 2014-12-10 01:26:51 GMT from Canada)
>> But Jesse, a lot of the software on the different desktop isos of sparkylinux would be redundant applications. "
Sure, a lot of it is. But remember, PC-BSD has around half a dozen desktop environments and another half a dozen window managers on the ISO. Plus extra drivers, some admin tools, plus the whole base system, developer tools, etc. If you squeezed all of that into a Linux ISO (like openSUSE does) you would end up with a similiar sized ISO. There isn't anythign special about the BSDs that make them bigger or smaller. Quite the opposite, in fact. Linux distros with similar software to BSDs have almost identical sized ISO images.
>> "My understanding is that with BSD each application comes complete with its own set of library files. "
That is false. The BSDs use shared libraries just like GNU/Linux distributions do. For a while PC-BSD provided fat packages in their repositories, but those are not part of the ISO.
35 • @26 BSD ISO size (by Thomas Mueller on 2014-12-10 03:20:21 GMT from United States)
"The Linux distros are nearer 1gb to 1.5gb while the BSDs usually are well over 3gb."
PC-BSD is the only BSD I know of with such a big ISO size.
You cite Sparky Linux, Tanglu and Makulu, less than half the ISO size of PC-BSD, but what about straight FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD, and Bitrig?
It's the bulky applications including KDE and GNOME 3 that bloat an ISO, and if you're looking for something to rival MS-Windows or Mac OS X desktop straight from the DVD, then sure, the ISO will be huge.
36 • ISO size (by M.Z. on 2014-12-10 07:05:02 GMT from )
For a point of reference I just checked the size of PCLinuxOS FullMonty, which is 4 GB in size & includes nearly all the software available for PCLOS. There might be other distros that ship with everything including the kitchen sink too, just check out kwheezy which is 3.7+ GB in size. It all comes down to how much software is included out of the box, & I suppose more is better if you want to download one image & install on multiple computers.
37 • Light? (by Carlos on 2014-12-10 11:04:16 GMT from Portugal)
You guys want light?
No installation CD/DVD/USB stick needed. :')
38 • RE: Manjaro offering OpenRC alternative (by kernelKurtz on 2014-12-10 11:05:31 GMT from Netherlands)
Hard installed to SSD and working beautifully here. Almost half the size as the 0.8.11 from earlier in the week; 3.33 GB out of the box according to gParted.
The AUR plus Phil's aesthetic plus OpenRC plus XFCE is pretty close to perfection.
39 • Conspiracies (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2014-12-10 11:59:55 GMT from Belgium)
By definition, a conspiracy is a plot known only to a few. This means that most people involved in a conspiracy are not fully aware of it. They do things either because it is their job, or because it is convenient for them in a way or another and therefore they prefer not to give the thing a second thought, or because they are persuaded that what they do is good.
In the case free software, there are a lot of jobless developers and developers who have jobs they dislike and that hope to get a job as Linux developers by pleasing the corporations.
40 • @38 Manjaro OpenRC has some problems. (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-12-10 12:18:02 GMT from France)
Maybe a great version, but as I tested it - looks like I will be burn to death soon - I found some annoying bugs, such as :
1) Installer doesn't restart automatically after it done its work.
2) If you're using a not qwerty keyboard (like an azerty or dvorak one), you have to change it in xfce after first start.
3) LibreOffice is not installed by default, neither Mozilla Firefox
4) Pamac is not working correctly, Octopi does.
Besides this, it is an interesting project. Only time will tell if it will live longer than a single version.
41 • Systemd does it all (by Carlos on 2014-12-10 14:07:16 GMT from Portugal)
systemctl enable terminald
systemctl enable editord
systemctl enable calculatord
systemctl enable browserd
systemctl enable emaild
systemctl enable mediaplayerd
systemctl enable officed
What are you complaining about? :')
42 • systemd (sigh) (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-12-10 14:58:34 GMT from United States)
If not for the barrage of hype from Poettering (and what sensationalist *bleep* let him out of that ivory tower?) et al systemd[process-mgmt] might not have been so controversial - I recommend Russ Allberry's comments for level-headed clarity.
"It's monolithic" - so is the Linux kernel; want to use Minix and thrash?
"It's not the Unix Way" - neither is Linux, but it works.
"It's a huge buggy mess" - so was the prior system; maybe the developer community can handle it - after all, it's been coming for what, three years now?
"It's a RedHat conspiracy" - and HP, and Intel, and Canonical (nobody complained before when they gave Linux massive support) and ... and the internet is for military research collaboration. Make something good come of it, or go fork ... - after all, it's Freed Open-Source Software.
"Logs aren't readable text" - nothing prevents logging in readable text (even relational databases can be implemented in text), except perhaps the question of efficiency, of course.
"It's change!" - growing pains. So?
"Gnome depends on it!" - maybe the gnomes have finally found a way to sink their DE?
(Hmm - has ReactOS gone there?)
43 • @40 (by Corbin Rune on 2014-12-10 16:15:22 GMT from United States)
I'd either guess that's an Xfce (I'm running mainly LXQT/E19/KDE5) issue, or your system. I did the OpenRC bit in my own install from scratch. Heck ... swapped over then reversed back to systemd, just to see how things play out. My only "issues," OpenRC-wise dealt with
lacking startup scripts for a few things. (For example: clamd, dnsmasq. SDDM was expected, since it's a newer DM and lacks ConsoleKit support). But, mileage varies. /shrug
44 • Systemd and Debian Stable (by Debian Fan on 2014-12-10 16:54:13 GMT from United States)
"Finally, of course, there is the tendency of Linux developers to adopt new technology, even when it does not yet work as smoothly as the software it is replacing. KDE 4, GNOME Shell, PulseAudio and GRUB 2 are all fine examples of software projects that were adopted early and while they still had growing pains. Trying new software is more exciting than maintaining old software. I suspect some Linux distributions, perhaps Debian included, are enabling systemd while there are still wrinkles to iron out partly because systemd is new and interesting."
This alone speaks to the point the questioner was trying to get at (and which you did not try to answer with objective journalism). Debian, and in particular Debian Stable is supposed to be conservative by nature. New fangled thingamabobs are not supposed to be made default in it. Debian has always prided itself in the old saying, "release when ready." This does not just speak to when Debian releases the next stable distro. It also encompasses the Debian philosophy of staying with tried and true technology on a stable base of older software. The point of it all is to provide users with a stable (and I would emphasize the word - STABLE) operating system that any IT/Server administrator would be happy to use for his or her enterprise servers. Debian has never before taken this kind of approach to their stable releases with this decision to move to a still experimental technology like Systemd (experimental in the sense that it is still in heavy development and huge scope creep).
Anyway, that is just one reason why the debate over Systemd rages in Debianland, and will continue to rage for years to come.
45 • @43 (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-12-10 17:47:10 GMT from France)
I used official Manjaro Linux OpenRC 0.8.11 ISO to do these tests.
By the way, OpenRC is great on distribution build on it like gentoo or funtoo.
Only time will tell if this ISO will live longer or not. I'm happy to see it. Will there be a big community using it ?
That is the main question.
46 • @44 -- Debian Stable, systemd and GRUB2 (by Ralph on 2014-12-10 18:45:45 GMT from Canada)
I think what you are saying about Debian's release-when-ready policy is partly contradicted by their employment of GRUB2 at an early stage -- they started using it iirc even before Fedora. Ironically, it was working well for me when it was introduced during the first year when Squeeze was Testing, but I had problems with it by the time Squeeze became Stable.
47 • Systemd podcasts (by linuxista on 2014-12-10 18:52:25 GMT from United States)
The linux action show and linux voice podcasts both have interviews with Lennart Poettering about Systemd
48 • @46 - GRUB (by ezsit on 2014-12-10 21:55:46 GMT from United States)
The first version of GRUB never reached a 1.0 release, so any use of GRUB or GRUB2 could be considered experimental. GRUB2 started to appear in use around version 1.97 beta and did not reach 2.0 status until years later.
49 • DebIan - Testing vs Stable (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-12-11 08:22:35 GMT from United States)
Yes, normally systemd would've started out in Sid/experimental, but moved into Jessie/Testing rather abruptly - I'd ask how many years/months left until it becomes Jessie/Stable, but answering that would require predicting the future ...
Allowing Lennart Poettering to patter away in interviews for public consumption (not just "developers") is like trying to put out a fire by hosing it with gasoline.
50 • @49 (by jaws222 on 2014-12-11 13:36:22 GMT from United States)
"Allowing Lennart Poettering to patter away in interviews for public consumption (not just "developers") is like trying to put out a fire by hosing it with gasoline"
Agreed. I watched the LAS interview and he was all over the place. Can anybody say ADHD!
51 • RE: 49-50 (by Landor on 2014-12-11 21:01:44 GMT from Canada)
Poettering in my personal opinion is a perfect example of why RH is nothing but bullshit for our community. His actions are an exact mirror of theirs if you look at theirs very closely. Thinking he's right. Using the "don\t force it, use a bigger hammer" philosophy to get his buggy, unwanted piece of shit creations used by the wider world. Everyone goose-steppin' to the Pottering Party.
If there's anything I like less than RH/Fedora (and possibly the bullshit of AW), it's Poettering and his one party solutions for our community.
Keep your stick on the ice...
52 • Out of the Jaws of Victory, ... (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-12-12 03:42:34 GMT from United States)
It's a shame such abysmal presentation accompanies a change with good potential. Not the first time ego pushed verbalization beyond wisdom; likely not the last. "We've got root!" comes to mind, bring echoes of "all your base belong us". Success at preaching to the choir rarely indicates similar prospects in an open market.
53 • LAS thoughts (by M.Z. on 2014-12-12 18:59:27 GMT from )
I guess my two big takeaways from the LAS interview are #1 Red Hat didn't even want systemd until after Pottering & others did some work & convincing, & #2 Red Hat employs less than half of the lead devs for the systemd project. Other distro makers like SUES & Canonical have apparently been there working with RH devs for a long time. There seems to be fewer problems with systemd than some of the detractors would have you believe, although I still don't get why Debian doesn't want to give users the choice of what init to use. Some of the hot plugging stuff did sound like a solid technical improvement, though I think I may have heard about that before. I'm still not sure how big an issue this init stuff really is, so I'll keep using the same distros regardless of systemd.
54 • What DebIan devs don't want (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-12-12 21:03:34 GMT from United States)
Perhaps supporting multiple choice (BY DEFAULT) of complex systems nobody's wanted to fix for decades would be daunting and boring at least and likely verging on torturous. Many distros don't even support multiple architectures (like amd64 AND i686 AND i386 AND ppc ...) or Desktop Enviroments, much less process-management systems. Think about exponentially increasing testing matrix.
If OpenBSD adopts, now that would be impressive ...
55 • Mint 17.1 Mate x86 and old Thinkpad (by Ben Myers on 2014-12-12 22:39:50 GMT from United States)
Ran the full install of Mint 17.1 Mate x86 on an elderly IBM Thinkpad R52 today, after live testing of both Cinnamon and Mate. To run well, Cinnamon needs better graphics than the weakish in the R52, and its desktop did not look right, apparently operating in a degraded mode.
So I ran the Mate install, forcing PAE, and it all came out just fine. The Mate desktop looks really good and it is clearly lighter in weight than Cinnamon. The selection of software pre-installed by Mint is quite extensive, and I didn't need to separately install LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird or GIMP, for example.
Mint Mate definitely does a lot for an older system.
56 • @#53 Debian not gicing choice of init systems? (by davidnotcoulthard on 2014-12-13 02:33:01 GMT from Indonesia)
@#53 I though Debian do give users a choice of init systems, just that they don't stop app developers from not doing so?
57 • @56 : nothing happened between february and october for init choice... (by Frederic Bezies on 2014-12-13 08:28:27 GMT from France)
Problem is that the resolution to support both systemd and another init was "sent" very late.
If I remember well, one week or two before freeze. And correct me if I'm wrong, but systemd as default init was decided back in february 2014, eight months before Jessie freeze day.
58 • Debian (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2014-12-13 10:14:02 GMT from Belgium)
I have two machines running Jessie. In the notebook the arrival of systemd did not bring about major issues. In the workstation (with RAID and LVM2 setups) it was (and still is complete chaos). The list of problems is too long to enumerate them all. Maybe a fresh reinstall (which is a pain) will fix the problems, maybe not. I believe I will go with Antix. Debian is no longer the "universal operating system".
59 • 56 - Choice is allowed, but ... (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2014-12-13 13:31:05 GMT from United States)
There's only one officially-supported default, as in default. Downstream distros are always free to make their own choices, but upstream support for non-default options won't be as robust. Some choices will risk major support work.
It's not just about init, it's process-management; though much of the ruckus has been (and will likely continue to be) from ever-expanding ripples of unintended (and some intentional) consequences throughout the rest of the systems. This time around, Testing-Freeze will likely include notable birthing pains, and the arrival of Stable may require marathon-level patience.
Number of Comments: 59
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
|• 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 a 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 the 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 the 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 the 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, the 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 the 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|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Full list of all issues|
Star Labs - Laptops built for Linux.
View our range including the Star Lite, Star LabTop and more. Available with a choice of Ubuntu, Linux Mint or Zorin OS pre-installed with many more distributions supported. Visit Star Labs for information, to buy and get support.
|Random Distribution |
Porteus Kiosk is a lightweight Gentoo-based Linux operating system which has been downscaled and confined to allow the use of one application only - the Firefox web browser. The browser has been locked down to prevent users from tampering with settings or downloading and installing software. When the kiosk boots, it automatically opens Firefox to the user's preferred home page. The browsing history is not kept, no passwords are saved, and many menu items have been disabled for increased security. When Firefox is restarted all caches are cleared and the browser reopens with a clean session.