| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 592, 12 January 2015
Welcome to this year's 2nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Computers can be complex and confusing devices. A multi-purpose operating system has so many different components that a person can quickly become lost trying to map out what each one is and how things work. This is why distributions which can simplify the user experience are so popular. Many of us want our computers to work with a minimal amount of effort and maintenance. This week we turn our attention to the Mint distribution which has become popular in recent years for its user friendly approach to computing. Read on to find out what is new in the project's Cinnamon edition. In our Questions and Answers column this week we discuss load averages, what they are and how they are calculated. We also talk about the benefits and drawbacks of different log formats. In the News this past week there was some debate over what an application is and how software managers should organize packages. Plus, we celebrate NetworkManager's 1.0 release along new improvements coming to PC-BSD and the openSUSE distribution. We also share a tutorial on working with processes on Linux and BSD systems. Don't forget to check out our Torrent Corner where we share and seed distribution images. Finally, be sure to browse our list of recent release announcements and upcoming distributions. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First Impressions of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon Edition
Linux Mint is a desktop oriented operating system based on the Ubuntu distribution. Mint takes Ubuntu packages, adds some of its own software and attempts to form a more polished, user friendly desktop experience. Mint's 17.x series is based on Ubuntu 14.04 and is supported through to 2019. In June 2014 I reviewed Mint 17 MATE edition and found it to be a pleasant experience. Last week I decided to give the project's Cinnamon edition a try, partly to see how the two flavours compared, but mostly to find out how the Cinnamon desktop has been progressing.
The Mint distribution is available in several flavours. There are two main editions (MATE and Cinnamon) along with several community spins, including KDE and Xfce flavours. Editions of Mint can be downloaded with or without multimedia codecs and each flavour is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. The latest version of Mint's Cinnamon edition mostly features small improvements. Cinnamon's code has been cleaned up to offer faster performance and less memory usage. The project's update manager has been tweaked a little to improve the organization of information and the update manager now has a separate window for handling alternative kernels. Mint features a pastebin command to facilitate posting information on-line. The project's command line search program has been improved and the APT command line package manager now features BASH completion. Further information on the release can be found in the project's release notes.
I downloaded the 64-bit build of Mint 17.1 Cinnamon edition and found the distribution's ISO was 1.5GB in size. Booting from the media brought me to the Cinnamon desktop. I found the desktop interface was presented with a traditional layout. The application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find icons for launching the system installer and exploring the file system. The background, controls and window borders are mostly grey or silver. When I tried running Mint in a virtual machine a notification appeared on the desktop and informed me video performance may be reduced (or CPU usage elevated) as Cinnamon was not able to rely directly on hardware for rendering the desktop. Despite the warning, I found Cinnamon was responsive when run in a virtual environment and the impact on CPU usage was minimal.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- Welcome screen
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Mint's system installer is a graphical application. The program starts by offering to show us the distribution's release notes. This first screen also allows us to select our preferred language. We are then asked if we would like to manually divide up our hard disk or if the installer should automatically partition the disk. I found the manual partitioning process was quite straight forward and setting up partitions was pleasantly easy to do. The system installer supports the ext2/3/4, JFS and XFS file systems. Once our disk is partitioned we are asked to choose our time zone from a map of the world and then confirm our keyboard's layout. The final screen of the installer gets us to create a user account for ourselves. When the installer finishes copying its files to our local drive we are asked to reboot the computer.
Mint boots to a graphical login screen. The background cycles through a series of images while the operating system waits for us to login. Once we sign into our account we are shown the Cinnamon desktop and a welcome window appears. The welcome window provides us with links to various Mint resources, including tutorials, release notes, the project's donation page, the distribution's IRC channel and one button opens the distribution's package manager. Once this welcome screen is dismissed we are left to play in the Cinnamon environment. Cinnamon, I found, tended to stay out of the way. Occasionally I would see a notification or an icon in the system tray would let me know software updates were available, but for the most part Cinnamon was calm and offered very little in the way of distractions. I found the desktop was responsive and, though I didn't care for the default grey theme, I found it was easy enough to tweak the style of the desktop to suit my preferences.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- The Cinnamon application menu
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Shortly after logging into Mint for the first time an icon in the system tray let me know security updates were available in the distribution's repositories. The project's update manager lists software updates and assigns each updated package a safety rating. This allows users to filter out upgrades which are more likely to break the operating system. We can select which items we wish to install and I found the update manager performed well, smoothly upgrading 38 packages (324MB in size) during my trial. One feature of the update manager I appreciate is the kernel manager. While running the update manager we can open up a second window which lists kernels available in Mint's repositories. Each kernel is listed along with its version number and any known fixes or regressions. By default Mint ships with the 3.13 Linux kernel, but more recent kernels, up to version 3.16, are available at the time of writing. I experimented with installing more modern kernels and the kernel manager worked well for me. Newly installed kernels automatically become the default while older kernels can be selected for use at boot time via the GRUB boot manager.
I tried running Linux Mint in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox and on a physical desktop computer. In both environments the distribution performed well. Mint booted very quickly, the desktop was always responsive, tasks completed quickly and all my hardware was properly detected. I had been worried Cinnamon might lag when used inside VirtualBox. Desktop environments which use 3-D effects sometimes become quite slow when they do not have direct access to video cards (and drivers) that will facilitate 3-D features. I was pleased to find Cinnamon worked well in VirtualBox and the desktop performed smoothly. Audio and networking functioned properly in both environments. The distribution's memory footprint varied a little through the week as I experimented with various themes and backgrounds. Mint's default configuration used about 300MB of RAM and, once I was finished tweaking the interface, the distribution used 360MB of memory.
Mint ships with a useful collection of software and, for the most part, seems to have stuck with the most useful/popular applications available in the open source community. Mint offers us the Firefox web browser (with Flash plugin), the LibreOffice productivity suite, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin instant messaging software and the Transmission bittorrent software. Mint provides us with the VLC multimedia player, the Banshee audio player, the Totem video player and the Brasero optical disc burning software. The edition of Mint I installed provides a full range of multimedia codecs. Looking further through the application menu we find the GNU Image Manipulation Program, an archive manager, a calculator, a document viewer and a text editor. Mint ships with a simple backup utility, a domain blocker, a driver manager for installing third-party drivers and two software managers I'll talk about later. Mint offers users a wide range of easy to use configuration tools that allow us to alter the style of the desktop and adjust the underlying operating system. Most of these configuration modules are available through the distribution's System Settings panel. Mint ships with Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. Network Manager is available to help us get on-line. In the background the operating system runs the Linux kernel, version 3.13. A range of kernels from version 3.13 through to 3.16 are available if users require a more modern kernel.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- The System Settings panel
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I quite enjoyed using Mint's System Settings panel. The panel provides a central location for configuring the operating system. Through the panel we can change the look of the desktop, work with desktop widgets, configure notifications, alter workspace behaviour, change visual effects and select preferred applications. The list of features available through the configuration modules go on. One question which came to my mind while I was using the System Settings panel was: What is the difference between a desklet, an applet and an extension? There are modules for working with all three, but there isn't any immediate explanation as to what each one does and the configuration modules are quite similar. As it turns out, applets are small programs that are added to our desktop panel. For example, we can add a trashcan or other applet to the system tray. A desklet is basically a desktop widget, a small program that sits on the desktop, similar to KDE's Plasma widgets. An extension is a module that adds functionality to the desktop (or changes existing functionality). An extension might change the way we switch between windows, for instance, or add visual effects to the user interface.
Mint provides two graphical package managers. The main package manager offers users a nice interface with large icons representing software categories. Clicking on a software category brings up a list of applications with a brief description for each one and an icon. Clicking on a package brings up an information screen with a detailed description of the program, a screen shot and a user-supplied rating. Programs can be installed or removed with the click of a button. We can also search for applications by name and filter items based on whether they are currently installed. There are a few things about the software manager that ships with Mint that I quite like. One feature I like is we can continue to browse for software while items are being installed in the background. I also quite like that the software manager prompts for our password when it opens and then remembers our credentials for the remainder of the session. This means we do not need to periodically re-enter our password if we continue to use the software manager. The Synaptic package manager is also available for Mint users. Synaptic has a simple interface where we are shown packages in alphabetical order. Synaptic can be quite flexible, filtering package lists and searching for items. Synaptic performs quickly, but has a less novice-friendly interface.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- Managing software packages and desklets
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There are a few features included in Mint 17.1 that I grew to appreciate. For example, the command line completion feature with APT worked well for me. The feature allows us to start typing an APT command and use the Tab button to complete the command line. This cuts down on typing a little. I didn't use the feature often, but it can be handy. A feature I think is more helpful is the pastebin command line utility. The pastebin command allows us to post the contents of a file (or the output of a command) directly to a public website maintained by the Mint project. Usually when we go to forums or chat rooms for help we need to get some output and copy/paste it, or upload it manually to a website. The pastebin command requires no on-line account, formatting or copy/pasting on our part. This makes sharing information and getting assistance much easier as pastebin automatically posts our data and provides us with a URL we can share with others so that they may see the same data. It's all quite fast and painless and I hope other distributions follow this example as it removes one of the hurdles in the trouble-shooting process.
I generally have good experiences with the Linux Mint distribution. The project puts together a solid desktop operating system, complete with popular open source applications, multimedia support, a friendly system installer and configuration tools which are easy to navigate. Mint makes tasks such as installing third-party drivers, popular software (both proprietary and open source) and alternative kernels easy. Most users will probably be able to sit down and simply start using Mint and its small collection of desktop software with a minimal amount of work.
Going into this review I was mostly interested in Cinnamon. I was curious to see how it would perform (especially in a virtual machine). I wondered how Cinnamon would compare with MATE and with GNOME 3. I was happy to find Cinnamon has become a polished desktop environment. It has the modern features and extensions of GNOME 3 combined with the classic desktop layout of MATE/GNOME 2. Cinnamon, as it is presented in Mint, has a nice set of defaults. It has a minimum amount of visual effects, it stays out of the way and performs quickly. People who like to tweak their desktop environments will be able to experiment with themes, different icons sets, extensions and widgets. Of the various desktop environments related to GNOME (MATE, GNOME Classic, GNOME Shell and Cinnamon) I think Cinnamon may present the best balance of features, performance and familiarity.
Mint 17.1 is an incremental evolution from previous versions. The distribution was stable for me, the distribution performed well, offered a lot of functionality out of the box and was beautifully easy to use. I would feel quite comfortable introducing novice users to Mint. I think the distribution has a very gentle learning curve, but enough flexibility to appeal to more advanced users.
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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 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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In last week's review of Manjaro I compared the Manjaro distribution to two other distributions, specifically KaOS and ArchBang. In that review I said KaOS "offers an Arch base with KDE/Qt software." In fact, KaOS is an independent distribution and does not use Arch Linux as a base. The two projects both use the pacman package manager and both distributions are rolling releases, but KaOS is not based on (nor binary compatible with) Arch Linux. For more information on KaOS and its relationship with other distributions, please see the KaOS FAQ response to Isn't KaOS just another Arch based distribution/What is different with Chakra?
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debates over GNOME Software, Network Manager reaches 1.0, PC-BSD gets a new update manager, improvements coming to openSUSE's Tumbleweed and controlling UNIX processes
On the Phoronix website there is an interesting discussion over the question: what is an application? Is a command line program an application, is compatibility software such as WINE an application? Also, should applications displayed by a package manager be filtered based on which desktop the user is running? These questions arise from a number of posts on the Fedora mailing lists where the behaviour of the GNOME Software package manager is discussed. It has been pointed out that GNOME Software does not display console applications and GNOME Software, by default, does not show applications designed for desktop environments other than GNOME. Some people feel that editing an environment variable to force GNOME Software to show applications designed for other desktop environments is not user friendly. Others have raised concerns that GNOME Software will not display console applications and therefore a second package manager is required to handle packages on Fedora. As Hedayat Vatankhah writes, "I don't mind if GNOME doesn't consider console applications as applications; but I really think that Fedora should not go that route. Certainly, the concept of 'console applications' is a widely recognized
concept; and I find associating 'applications' with .desktop files, icons and windows just ridiculous and confusing." Richard Hughes countered that the GNOME Software program recognizes a strict definition of what an application is and will not display programs which do not fit this definition.
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In lighter news, the NetworkManager project has launched its 1.0 release. The NetworkManager software was first introduced to the world about ten years ago and strived to make connecting to networks (especially mobile and wi-fi networks) easier. Today, NetworkManager is widely used and is included in most Linux distributions. Fedora Magazine carries more details: "At its inception, NetworkManager was built to manage laptops that move from one network to another. Over time, it grew a rich set of integrated capabilities to manage complex network profiles across all sorts of systems. Here's an interview with Dan Williams, one of the principal authors of NetworkManager, during the Fedora 13 cycle in 2010. He also wrote a blog entry around that time, mentioned in the interview, about the new technologies (at the time) supported in NetworkManager such as 3G modems and Bluetooth networking through your phone."
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The PC-BSD project has unveiled a new update manager for the desktop edition of their operating system. The new package manager makes it easier to select the types of updates to be downloaded and will perform automated checks for new software updates. The PC-BSD blog has more details: "The PC-BSD team is happy to announce we've put the finishing touches on the new Update GUI. Users on Edge will be able to download and test out the new update GUI with their next update. The new Update GUI will also enable automatic updates which will happen at boot up or every 24 hours. You will also be able to choose what parts of your system you want to update (i.e. Packages, Security, etc.)."
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The openSUSE team is starting 2015 with a number of new improvements to the community distribution. The openSUSE blog has a post which outlines new developments coming to the project's Tumbleweed repositories. New items include improvements to the AppArmor security software, bug fixes for the Digikam camera manager and upgrades to Python Qt5 libraries. A more detailed list of changes can be found on the project's Factory mailing list.
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The ability to exercise fine control over running programs is one of the features which make Linux and BSD operating systems so powerful. However, there is a learning curve involved and some people struggle when it comes to finding out what a process is, how to find information about running processes and how they can be manipulated. There is a quick introduction to UNIX processes by nixCraft which talks about finding processes, gathering information, changing program priorities and shutting down processes. The post is a good starting point for people who want to take more control over the software running on their computers. Though the article focuses on examples from the FreeBSD operating system the examples provided should work on Linux distributions and other UNIX-like platforms.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Mysterious load averages and binary logs
Balancing processes asks: I have five scripts running in my single core server. Once I start those processes, the server becomes slow and the load average goes up to four or five. Looking at "top" none of my processes use more than 1%-2% of my CPU. What causes high CPU utilization based on average load values while there are no processes using high CPU percentage?
DistroWatch answers: Quite often when we see high load averages it indicates there is an application running amuck, taking up most of our CPU's processing power and making everything else run slower. This is especially true on a desktop machine where, usually, most applications require little CPU time and our load average stays low. But one process, suddenly becoming greedy, might start using 100% of our CPU and cause the load average to spike. However, this situation isn't the only scenario where load averages rise and our system becomes sluggish.
Load average measures the number of processes that are currently running combined with the number of processes actively waiting to run. Different operating systems calculate load numbers a little differently, but essentially the load average tells us how many programs are trying to run at a given moment.
How can you have a high load average while your processes are each using a small amount of your CPU's resources? If you have several processes all competing for the CPU at the same time, even if each one wants just a sliver of the CPU's resources, many processes working at the same time can raise your load average.
I like to think of the CPU's load as a line up at a bank. The load average, in this example, would represent the amount of time each person needs to stand in line, waiting. A long wait time could be caused by one of two things. There could be a short line, but one person is taking a long time to complete their business. Alternatively, there could be many people in the line and each one takes a little bit of time to complete their business. Either way, getting to the head of the line takes a long time.
My guess is that each script being run on the system is creating new processes and all these processes are trying to run at once. Each process might not want much of the CPU's resources, but there are enough of them it is driving up the load and reducing performance. Next time these scripts are active, run the "top" command and, near the top of the page, look at the number of processes with the status "running". If you see more than two or three processes marked as "running" that is likely the source of the high load.
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A-log-by-any-other-name asks: I don't quite understand the problem with the binary logs. Straight text files still need a program to access them, whether cat, less, cp or an editor of some sort. How is that any different than using the viewer for systemd? After all, whether text or binary, it's all stored as ones and zeros and needs to be converted by a program to be read or printed.
DistroWatch answers: There are three problems with binary log files. These problems are not specific to systemd, but systemd's default behaviour with regards to binary logs does create issues.
The first problem with binary logs was pointed out in the question above. Specifically, with a binary log file there is one program which acts as the gatekeeper for the log. The initial output from the log needs to come from that one application. There are hundreds of programs which can be used to view, search, format and process text logs. With a text log we can use any number of programs (grep, less, cat, etc) to view and parse the data. We can manipulate data with a binary log too, but first we need to convert the data into text using the log reader if we want to parse the log. This can be a problem if the binary log reader is not working correctly.
If all you ever want to do with the log data is view it all at once, then there isn't much difference between running "journalctl" or "cat mylog.txt". However, if you want to parse or filter output or examine the data in some fashion, then sifting through binary logs requires the extra step of translating the data from binary format to text. For example, "journalctl | grep mystring" instead of just "grep mystring mylog.txt".
This brings me to the second important difference. If you are a person sitting at home and you only look through your logs rarely and do so manually, then binary logs are probably fine for you. However, over the decades most system administration tools which watch log files (or create summaries and reports based on log files) have been written to process text logs. Programs that, for example, monitor logs and warn you about package changes or attempted break-ins were probably written to handle text logs. If your logs are in another format then those tools either need to be altered to work with the new format (while maintaining compatibility with text logs) or you need to produce log files in text format for these tools.
The third problem is corruption. File corruption does not happen often, but when it happens with a text log, you might miss a few characters or a few lines. When corruption hits a binary log, it can be problematic.
In short, if all you do with log data is dump it to the screen, then a binary log is not much different (practically) to a text log. But if you want to search, print, manipulate, scan or otherwise make use of log data, having that data in a text file is more convenient and will work better with existing system administration utilities. After all, to do something useful with log data it needs to be in text format. For most use cases it makes sense to start with the log data already in the desired format.
All that being said, the systemd journal program does have some convenient features. Sometimes a binary log file can offer shortcuts to information, or provide meta information about the log that would be harder to find with plain text logs. This blog post outlines a few handy systemd commands with regards to logging.
The Arch wiki also has some great tips for using the systemd journalctl command. As with most things, there are trade-offs between binary logs and text logs. Text logs are more accessible and more universal, while binary logs offer some quick search functions, built in filtering and easily accessible meta data.
Bittorrent is a great way to transfer large files, particularly open source operating system images, from one place to another. Most bittorrent clients recover from dropped connections automatically, check the integrity of files and can re-download corrupted bits of data without starting a download over from scratch. These characteristics make bittorrent well suited for distributing open source operating systems, particularly to regions where Internet connections are slow or unstable.
Many Linux and BSD projects offer bittorrent as a download option, partly for the reasons listed above and partly because bittorrent's peer-to-peer nature takes some of the strain off the project's servers. However, some projects do not offer bittorrent as a download option. There can be several reasons for excluding bittorrent as an option. Some projects do not have enough time or volunteers, some may be restricted by their web host provider's terms of service. Whatever the reason, the lack of a bittorrent option puts more strain on a distribution's bandwidth and may prevent some people from downloading their preferred open source operating system.
With this in mind, DistroWatch plans to give back to the open source community by hosting and seeding bittorrent files for distributions that do not offer a bittorrent option themselves. This is a feature we are experimenting with and we are open to feedback on how to improve upon the idea.
For now, we are hosting a small number of distribution torrents, listed below. The list of torrents offered will be updated each week and we invite readers to e-mail us with suggestions as to which distributions we should be hosting. When you message us, please place the word "Torrent" in the subject line and please make sure the project you are recommending does not already host its own torrents. We want to primarily help distributions and users who do not already have a torrent option. To help us maintain and grow this free service, please consider making a donation.
The table below provides a list of torrents we currently host. If you do not currently have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
All torrents we make available here will also be listed on the very useful Linux Tracker website. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 9
- Total downloads completed: 535
- Total data uploaded: 259GB
|Released Last Week
Openwall GNU/*/Linux 3.1
Alexander Peslyak has announced the release of Openwall GNU/*/Linux 3.1 a new stable version of the project's small security-enhanced Linux distribution for servers, appliances and virtual appliances: "The Owl 3.1 stable branch forked off Owl-current in mid-2014 is finally available on our FTP mirrors, including ISO images, OpenVZ container templates, binary packages for x86_64 and i686, and full sources. This officially ends the life of Owl 3.0-stable. Also, Owl-current is not currently in a stable state that it usually happens to be in. Thus, Owl 3.1-stable is the branch that we currently intend for actual use, with Owl-current temporarily intended for development experiments only. Recent changes in Owl 3.1-stable include update to RHEL 5.11-based Linux/OpenVZ kernel along with Red Hat's fix for a local privilege escalation vulnerability on x86-64 (CVE-2014-9322). So please upgrade." Here is the brief release announcement.
Linux Mint 17.1 "KDE"
Clement Lefebvre has announced the availability of an updated build of Linux Mint "KDE", a version based on Ubuntu's latest long-term support release: "The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 17.1 'Rebecca' KDE. Linux Mint 17.1 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2019. The previous version of Linux Mint used KDE 4.13. In this release, KDE is upgraded to version 4.14. Support was added in MDM and in the session for the KDE wallet to be fully integrated with Linux Mint. Although a Wallet Manager is present for configuration purpose, no interaction is needed for the KDE wallet to work. The wallet is created automatically with your first login, and it opens automatically in the background with every new session. The Update Manager now groups packages together according to their source package." See the release announcement, as well as the more detailed release notes and the what's new page for further information and known issues.
Linux Mint 17.1 -- Default KDE desktop
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Tim Booth has announced the release of Bio-Linux 8.0.5, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution with a collection of scientific software for use in the field of bioinformatics: "An updated Bio-Linux 8 version is now on the website in ISO and OVA variants. The key changes are: addresses a recent issue with the desktop failing to start on VirtualBox due to incompatible drivers; updates various packages, notably QIIME and Bowtie-Bio tools; adds the pandaseq paired end assembler; adds the updated beginner's tutorial specific to Bio-Linux 8. As usual, there is no need to download this version if you are an existing user. All updates to existing packages will be applied to your system through the update manager and new packages are all available via apt-get or Synaptic." Here is the brief release announcement as published on the project's mailing list.
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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|
- LibertyBSD. LibertyBSD is a 64-bit x86 fork of OpenBSD with non-free firmware blobs removed.
- ChaletOS. ChaletOS is a Xubuntu-based project with a desktop theme that resembles Microsoft Windows.
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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, 19 January 2015. 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Devuan dis-freedom (by PC Inquirer on 2015-01-12 02:24:23 GMT from Australia) |
The non-systemd Devuan distro eulogises the philosophy of openness and freedom. It's main advocate on distrowatch is "cykodrone". He posted a list of links to the project and stated that he is on their mailing list - in order to convince us that the project is legitimate - and that we should use the distro to enjoy its freedom attributes. So a query was sent to the mailing list as to who cykodrone was. There was no reply.
Most people use their own names when they advocate items for the public to use. In computing this helps to establish what projects they have worked on, what languages they code in, if they've been involved in previous disputes, etc. But the Devuan team have deemed that the public is not allowed to have freedom of information when it comes to their own advocates. What has the Devuan team got to hide? Double standards anyone??
2 • First Impressions of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon Edition (by Georgia on 2015-01-12 02:32:17 GMT from Canada)
I don't want to have learn an operating system, because I've got work to do. Mint gets out of my way, and let's me get things done - that's why it's my daily driver. Congrats to Clem and team for their hard work. Their polished result really shines.
3 • FYI - basic torrent client (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-01-12 02:24:33 GMT from United States)
Transmission-Qt 'plays well with others', especially at SourceForge.
A recent (2014JAN08) "experimental" 64-bit version 2.84+ is available.
4 • on #2 (by Rajesh Ganesan on 2015-01-12 03:06:45 GMT from India)
Fully agree with Georgia! :)
5 • @1 - Don't let it get under your skin (by Milo on 2015-01-12 04:27:19 GMT from Poland)
I hope this message is received in the spirit it was intended, that of friendship.
Set the standard for better behaviour, even if it isn't repaid in kind. Adding a disruptive message to the Devuan mailing list is no better than the disruptive messages that have been added to the Debian mailing lists over the last several months.
Just leave it be. It's a waste of your time.
6 • Set Sail For TAILS (Linux) Fail! (by whit nee hew stone on 2015-01-12 04:32:05 GMT from Austria)
Hell, IMO if TAILS were serious they would roll a hardened Gentoo distro (or OpenBSD) without so many packages and without so many odd additions, including:
1) The 'Whisperback' package
2) Not shipping with 'autotest_remote_shell.py' and 'do_not_ever_run_me' in /usr/local/sbin and removing all traces of debugging scripts - go ahead and read both files on TAILS and question why a distro such as TAILS needs these.
Don't suggest liberte linux, development has stalled since it's first version a long time ago. Don't suggest the OpenBSD Anonymous Tor CD, it's outdated and won't connect to the Tor network.
7 • Mint 17.1 KDE (by rich52 on 2015-01-12 05:25:18 GMT from United States)
Gave the newest Mint 17.1 KDE a run for the money. Works well. Runs smoother than Kubuntu which has been a big time favorite of mine. I'm now using Manjaro (both KDE and Gnome). None-the-less I like to distro hop to see how different distro's are shaping up. Mint has smoothed out a lot of the rough edges that I have seen in some of the others. Installation has never been easier and this is a plus for newbies to Linux. Keep up the good work.
8 • Load average (by Manish Jhawar on 2015-01-12 05:52:55 GMT from Qatar)
As answered, the "load average" is an indicator of the "process load" on the kernel and is loosely related to the "CPU load", especially in cases of throttled I/O. To demonstrate this, I often use the following shell command line which will cause your "load average" to shoot up by 100 while having minimal overall performance impact:
for i in `seq 0 99`; do echo $i; (nice dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/null bs=1 &); done
After executing the above command, wait for the full output from 0 to 99 which may take some time. While waiting, you may want to run top in another terminal and watch the load average go up.
To end the experiment and remove these extra processes, just kill them with (make sure no other dd processes are running that you want to keep):
I have gone uo tp 1000+ "load average" frequently on my modest desktop for days on end without noticing any performance delays. Do write to let me know how you felt or have other comments to share.
9 • On bluetooth... (by Vakkotaur on 2015-01-12 06:00:31 GMT from United States)
The one issue I've had with recent distributions is that bluetooth will only appear to try to work with a headset, but won't really work until "sudo pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover" is invoked.
Supposedly there was an issue where either bluetooth (Blueman?) and/or PulseAudio didn't play nice together and the 'solution' was to have one disable part of the other. The original reason has gone away, but the 'solution' lingers on, causing problems. When I last looked at it, it was acknowledged, but it would be nice to know when the correction propagates so one can have a Linux install that works as well as a telephone does.
I left Xubuntu 12.04 for something more recent, but lost bluetooth working correctly in the process. This has been across *buntu 13.10, 14.04, Mint 17, and PCLOS.
10 • Not Just Mint (by ForkYourSelf on 2015-01-12 06:00:52 GMT from Indonesia)
There are many other distros that 'get out of the way', and are just as or even more polished.
My beef with Linux Mint is its developers' insistence on applying filtering on updates rather than improvements or fixes, which makes the distribution practically less credible. I just hope they change the practice rather than try to justify it.
11 • red herring (by Milo on 2015-01-12 06:32:06 GMT from Poland)
Out of curiosity, and hoping to avoid further rancour, I looked into this. If the described communication from #1 mentioned cykodrone by name, I'm not certain it exists. At least, I was unable to find it- https://lists.dyne.org/lurker/search/20161201.000000.00000000@ml:dng,cykodrone.html. Expanding the search to all dyne.org mailing lists also yielded no results. https://email@example.com.
I have no reason to believe it was deleted, as there are plenty of colourful messages which haven't been. It's possible the name was misspelt, but this appears to be a nonissue. Clearly it's best to move on.
12 • Load average on Linux (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2015-01-12 06:53:49 GMT from United States)
A little-known fact about the load average on Linux is that I/O bound processes also contribute to the total. The load average is a weighted average of the number of processes in either the "R" state *or* the "D" state! Processes in the "D" state are usually waiting for a read operation to complete.
13 • Great Issue (by Nicholai on 2015-01-12 08:05:25 GMT from United States)
I'm glad I found out today that DistroWatch has a weekly publication. I enjoyed reading it. Kudos.
14 • Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon - USB Image Writer (by WhoDat on 2015-01-12 09:29:58 GMT from United States)
Anyone used the USB Image Writer, on an installed version of Linux MInt 17.1? When I use this tool (USB Image Writer), its locks up the desktop, but does write an image to USB. Crtl+Alt+Backspace, to unlock and go to login screen. Anyone else?
15 • Mint 17.1 KDE (by kc1di on 2015-01-12 12:08:07 GMT from United States)
Just downloaded and installed the newest version of Mint 17.1 KDE and must say it's very simple and impressive- had it up and running and doing work with it in less that 30 mins. It's just smooth here.
Keep up the good reviews Jesse and Thanks :)
16 • Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon-USB Image Writer (by Dave on 2015-01-12 12:11:46 GMT from United States)
Right after release there were a few bugs here and there -- the image writer lock up being one of them,I even experienced some random freezes that required a hard reboot.Clem and crew seem to have them sorted now and every thing seems smooth to me.I used the upgrade method from Mint 17 and thought that might have been the problem but after digging a bit I discovered it was a Cinnamon thing as some Ubuntu users were experiencing the same freezes. Bug reports https://bugs.launchpad.net/linuxmint/+bug/1321623 but the Mint crew pushed a load of updates on 12/13/2014 and I haven't had a problem since
17 • Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon (by Marc Visscher on 2015-01-12 12:29:46 GMT from Netherlands)
@10: Could you name one or two distros which are "just as" or "even more" polished than Linux Mint? I tried a lot of distros, but I haven't seen a distro as polished as Mint yet. But please name a few if you like...
18 • AliyaLinux (by Aliya on 2015-01-12 12:30:24 GMT from Poland)
The distribution is called AliyaLinux, where Aliya is Elephant in Sinhalese language. The link is; https://sourceforge.net/projects/aliyalinux/
19 • Mint Cinnamon Excellen\; Package Manager Poseurs (by joncr on 2015-01-12 12:48:57 GMT from United States)
1. Mint 17.1 Cinnamon is an excellent piece of work I'd happily recommend to anyone who wants a non-Windows machine with minimal fuss. For someone who thinks Linux is supposed to be all about endless configuration and noodling around, not so much.
2. Go hang out in the newbies section at Ubuntuforums before telling Gnome and Fedora how their package managers should work. If you assume -- decided to limit -- your target audience to people who want to use console apps and who know that adding a KDE application to an XFCE desktop can easily bring in hundreds of megabytes of dependencies, then you can make a case for exposing those things in the package managers GUI front end.
But, if you also want to attract an audience from among users who don't want to use console apps, who don't know how dependency resolution works, and who think of an "application" as a single unitary blob, then you just might want to take a different approach with the GUI front end to your package manager.
Taking the approach that Linux is supposed to be about using console apps and getting diwn in the weeds is perfectly legitimate. But, that decision has costs and repercussions that should be recognized.
"Most people use their own names when they advocate items for the public to use."
So I guess your real name is "PC Inquirer."
Gosh, it must have been tough growing up with a name like that. I bet you never forgave your parents.
20 • @1 RE: Devuan dis-freedom (by PC Inquirer) (by Paraquat on 2015-01-12 14:30:09 GMT from Taiwan)
"Most people use their own names when they advocate items for the public to use."
So I guess your real name is "PC Inquirer."
Gosh, it must have been tough growing up with a name like that. I bet you never forgave your parents.
21 • Gnome Software and editing environment variables (by vw72 on 2015-01-12 14:34:15 GMT from United States)
Yes, a user shouldn't have to edit environment variables so Gnome Software will see applications specific to other desktops. That is the job of the distro developers.
The problem with Gnome Software, is not not Gnome, per say, but that Fedora tends to ship as close to vanilla packages as possible. Yes, Gnome developers could make their software manager look for other desktops, but is called Gnome Software.
If Fedora, or any other distro using Gnome Software, wants to make it easier for their users, all they need to do is default the environment variable to be all inclusive. Not everything is the responsibility of upstream.
22 • a (by a on 2015-01-12 15:05:23 GMT from France)
"If you are a person sitting at home and you only look through your logs rarely and do so manually, then binary logs are probably fine for you."
On the contrary, people who rarely need to read logs (like most desktop users) will have to read the documentation every time to remember what are the required commands to get access to the information…
23 • Mint updates (by M.Z. on 2015-01-12 19:13:10 GMT from )
I think most Mint users consider more control over the update process to be a good feature. I've had updates do bad things to my system on multiple Distros including Mint, but for Mint it was an issue I created by enabling level 4 & 5 updates. I don't do that anymore, but I do force all security updates. I get the updates I want & need, & I have both increased stability & complete control of my system. Other Distros may lead you off a cliff, but Mint is better & it is one of the reasons I use & enjoy the distro. Unless you can think of a reason why blind updates to packages that cause system instability & don't affect security is a good thing, I'm going to say you need to rethink your position.
Agreed. I don't remember anyone coming onto disrowatch claiming to be the Clem/Texstar of Devuan, so why bother people about some random person who supports their project?
24 • @10, Re Mint (by Rev_Don on 2015-01-12 21:10:42 GMT from United States)
Personally, I appreciate the filtering that they do on the updates. It isn't that difficult to work with and helps a newer user gauge whether they want to apply a specific update or not. Too bad more distros don't do the same, especially rolling releases.
I'll agree that there are other distros that are just as polished and get out of your way. I've yet to find one that is more polished though, but that can come down to personal preferences. It's one of the reasons I use Point Linux 2.3.1 as my main Linux distro. It's polished enough for my needs and gets out of my way when I want it to.
25 • re: everyone (by brad on 2015-01-12 23:25:27 GMT from United States)
I've used Suse, Mandriva, Slackware, Ubuntu, Mint, Pclinuxos, Manjaro, Sabayon, Gentoo...
Not all were success stories: Mint makes Ubuntu easy, Sabayon makes Gentoo easy, Manjaro makes Arch easy, PcLinuxos makes mandriva easy, etc etc etc.
Most of us that distrohop, base our future using said distro on that one install, working or not. I think that Linux "should" be for the masses! Mint, Manjaro, Sabayon, Ubuntu, PcLinuxos all have their niches, their places.. on our computers, in our minds, and most of all they have our time. The less time configuring, tweaking, figuring stuff out, we can all enjoy the positives Linux provides over windows and the freedom to enjoy your computer not spend endless time researching how to fix the registry, hosts file, bat files, antivirus, antimalware, antispyware, deframentors etc. etc..
EVERY single "easy" distro still has CLI for every single use, I for the life of me have no idea why hardcore users of many distros bash, belittle, harass, condemn users that use distros that are "based" on a more "hardcore" distro.. why cant people just celebrate Linux being used by just one more person at a time..
Why can't we all just get along.. that's all I'm saying. sorry for the semi-run on sentencing etc.. I'm at work.
That's my .02 now I'm broke!
26 • What's an app? (by cykodrone on 2015-01-12 23:41:32 GMT from Canada)
IMO, any code that allows a user to accomplish a particular task or tasks through keyboard mouse or touchscreen initialization and manipulation, regardless of its working interface.
Redhat, aka Fedora is slowly creeping towards being the W*ndows of the Linux world, you can call me tinfoil hat all you like, the writing is in the terminal window, or not, especially in this case. ;D
27 • Linux Mint Cinnamon 17.1 (by brad on 2015-01-12 23:45:52 GMT from United States)
Re: "Cinnamon's code has been cleaned up to offer faster performance and less memory usage." Although this is touted as a "small improvement[s]", in my mind this is the killer improvement! Cinnamon no longer chews up memory. If only browser and email apps could follow suit...
28 • Freedom of Information vs. Security of Persons (by Fairly Reticent on 2015-01-13 00:59:50 GMT from United States)
The right to privacy is necessary to freedom for all, thus hated by trolls and paparazzi.
29 • @16 Dave & @27 Brad (by WhoDat on 2015-01-13 05:43:01 GMT from United States)
@16 Dave, thanks for the response and the link, much appreciated. I am glad you are problem free, since the updates. :)
@27 Brad, I agree. Less memory usage is a major plus, no wasting of resources is great.
Have a great week. :D
30 • Re: What's an app? (by far2fish on 2015-01-13 06:03:42 GMT from Denmark)
"Redhat, aka Fedora is slowly creeping towards being the W*ndows of the Linux world, you can call me tinfoil hat all you like, the writing is in the terminal window, or not, especially in this case. ;D"
Funny you should say that in relation to the Gnome Software controversy.
The Software application is pretty unusable in Fedora 21, and frankly since Fedora is not targeted for a beginner audience, I would guess most people are/were using command line yum anyway for software installs.
Even though Fedora contributes a lot to Gnome, it does not sound fair to blame every "bad design" decision on Fedora and Red Hat.
31 • Re @17 (by Frank on 2015-01-13 11:53:27 GMT from United States)
@17 for me linux mint did not work as good as Pinguy or Makulo
32 • Mint 17.1 Cinnamon (by Jordan on 2015-01-13 14:32:39 GMT from United States)
It only took a few days of trying the Fedora latest release to regret taking my Mint hard drive out just for that little experiment.
Are those people serious? Mint is solid, simple and "just works." Fedora is not and does not.
It's not a complicated machine: HP Pavilion M7.. blah.
33 • Mebel Jepara (by Gebyok Jati on 2015-01-13 15:30:57 GMT from Indonesia)
Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic. This has really made me think and I hope to read more.
34 • Re: Mint 17.1 Cinnamon (by far2fish on 2015-01-13 18:48:29 GMT from Denmark)
Fedora works fine for me, and have mostly done so for the last 10 years.
Mint is targeting regular users, while Fedora targets developers. At the end of the day developers are regular users too, so to some degree I have to agree with you. In particular as I grow older and begins to appreciate LTS vs leading edge. Fedora requires some work after install to be usable as a home distro. At a minimum add rpmfusion repositories so you can install codecs to play video and music. Possibly install Chrome to get easy flash support and so on.
Frankly I have begun considering abandoning ship as well, and are looking for a more user friendly distro. I am not so fond of Mint with Cinnamon, but the KDE build could be an option. But so far I think Manjaro stands out as the best alternative as it is both user friendly as more leading edge than most distros...though way more conservative and careful than Arch :)
35 • Windows what? (by Garon on 2015-01-13 19:58:41 GMT from United States)
#26 said, "Redhat, aka Fedora is slowly creeping towards being the W*ndows of the Linux world, you can call me tinfoil hat all you like, the writing is in the terminal window, or not, especially in this case."
What does that even mean? Is it because, that they are making money? That it's a commercial enterprise? That it confuses Unix loving types and they can't understand what is going on? That comment is just as about as useless as mine but I couldn't let such stupidity slide. Time to grow up a little bit people.
36 • Does anybody read the articles? (by cykodrone on 2015-01-14 02:16:27 GMT from Canada)
I do, that's what this comment section is for, commenting on the articles. W*ndows, for years, has went to great lengths to hide the CL in their OSes, that's the parallel I was drawing, nothing more, nothing less, so please, save your personal attacks. But yeah, I did mention RH and Fedora, the main architects behind systemd, if the init fits (svchost), lol, coupled with hiding the CL, their direction is looking pretty obvious. Just because Redhat is enterprise now, doesn't mean it can't go mainstream, XP was 2K under the hood, 2K was an enterprise OS. Do the math.
37 • Charlet OS (by Charlie Z on 2015-01-14 03:36:01 GMT from Puerto Rico)
The developer needs to base this distro on Linuxmint 17.1 14.04 LTS minus the kernel panic's of Linux Mint Rebecca and not Xubuntu is buggy as hell....
38 • Fedora targeting (by Jordan on 2015-01-14 17:11:07 GMT from United States)
Developers? Really? I'm asking honestly.
"Fedora Workstation is a polished, easy to use operating system for laptop and desktop computers, with a complete set of tools and helpers for developers and makers of all kinds."
The word "developers" is in there, in the context of tools being included for them. But I didn't now it was considered "targeting" developers.
Now I know why it's not useful to me (along with it not working well at all on my computers).
39 • Re: Fedora targeting (by far2fish on 2015-01-14 18:20:54 GMT from Denmark)
Do a google search on "5tFTW: Five Fedora 21 FAQs". The top result should be a article by the Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller where he tries to explain this. Scroll down to the heading saying "Does Fedora Workstation mean Fedora is abandoning regular users?"
Read his reply, and and interpret what he means.
40 • Fedora (by Milo on 2015-01-14 22:14:58 GMT from Poland)
I would really like to see fedoraproject.org/wiki/Statistics updated.
41 • LXLE, flash and older PCs (by libtim on 2015-01-14 22:19:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just downloading Mint. Expecting to enjoy it. I think people can be a bit harsh. the majority of distros, various Ubuntus, Debians, Fedoras and Suses etc work fine. they are free and fun. we can all dual boot.
I'm looking for a distro for a friends old PC and checked out LXLE, has it gone completely commercial?
About old PCs. Mint once run great on 512MB. I'm not clear why something as good still can't. I don't think nowadays there is anything full featured that just runs out of the box on ab old PC. MX14 is great but not quite as straightforward for a windows user as Mint then and now so struggling with what to offer friend,
And another worry is that I'm struggling to keep up with flash on any PC
42 • @40 - Alternative to Mint (by Uncle Slacky on 2015-01-14 23:16:53 GMT from France)
If you like MX-14, SolydX might be worth a look (it's derived from the old Mint Debian XFCE spin). Also Peppermint OS if you want something Ubuntu-based.
43 • #41 One For Older Pc's (by sasdthoh on 2015-01-15 02:38:16 GMT from United States)
I spend a lot of time making older systems usuable again and I have found, to my amazement, that Lubuntu 32-bit works really well.
Granted, a dual core processor and 2-gigs of ram is desirable but I just finished a setup on an older Dell desktop with 512-mb of ram and it runs really well. I think it was nine years old.
I think the majority of readers here will agree with me on this one. Its simple and fast with a modern Ubuntu base. It's a really great choice for someone that doesn't want to spend time with configuration issues.
44 • Users need compilation but no YouTube players? (by gregzeng on 2015-01-15 04:34:06 GMT from Australia)
Linux version of "enduser friendliness" includes GUI hostility; eg comments on real time monitoring of resources, which XFCE & KDE can easily do without CLI rubbish.
Comments in DW disregard user friendly distros, preferring USA-legal compliance, which means GNU-LINUX only; hence Debian, Redhat, Fedora & other bare-boned operating systems.
I prefer user friendly distros, like Netrunner (in Manjaro-KDE & Kubuntu bases), or Mint, based on Ubuntu, like most of the user-friendly distros. Mint offers easy installatiom of the widest selection of Desktop Environments (DE). Also praised in noob-friendly forums are Deepin & Zorin, but they suffer from a smaller coder base, and just one DE.
In the RPM-based distros, only PCLOS seems noob-friendly. However they lack the ability of Ubuntu-based distros, to immediately downgrade or upgrade any packages, almost instantly. Kernal, etc changes are days ahead of the clumsy distros like Arch, Manjaro, etc. IMHO.
45 • Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2015_01_13 (by Yo on 2015-01-15 05:30:57 GMT from United States)
Why are we advertising non-free software here? Has Verner tossed you a few bucks for server maintenance?
46 • Parted Magic (by Hoos on 2015-01-15 06:06:18 GMT from Singapore)
I'm happy for Distrowatch to continue to inform us of Parted Magic's releases. At least the developer's announcements are clear that payment is required. As I recall, there was a recent distro release announced here, where it was not made clear that a fee would be charged until you actually downloaded and tried to install it.
Nothing says people can't charge for open source software. It's up to us whether we want to pay for it or not.
Parted Magic is pretty useful as a nice toolbox distro that can run live from RAM alone.
Unfortunately I made a paypal donation to the developer just before he started charging for the later releases, so I'm not willing for now to pay more.
Maybe in due course I might pay for an updated release, or maybe I will just use other tools.
For instance MX14.3 runs very well from live USB and comes with some useful tools like a Grub repair application. Also, I think Puppy variants will run live (and as root) from RAM.
47 • Free or Freed (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-01-15 08:50:55 GMT from United States)
How quickly someone tries to conflate free-of-charge with Freedom-Licensed, or Open Software with open targets. we live in a challenging world.
I, too, donated to PartEd Magic just before the sole maintainer-developer realized leeches would never support the distro, but don't begrudge. Perhaps he's still trying to find the perfect business-model - recently I noticed forum access appears restricted to supporters.
48 • Feedback (by Milo on 2015-01-15 10:53:14 GMT from Poland)
The change doesn't bother me, but I prefer the "Latest News and Updates" on the home page without screenshot thumbnails; however, I would like any remaining screenshot-less database entries for active distros which do have a default DE/WM/Web interface to have screenshots added.
As long as the GUIs aren't customised (beyond whatever the distros do themselves), are reader screenshot submissions accepted?
49 • @44 : user friendliness or laws issues ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2015-01-15 11:06:30 GMT from France)
"Comments in DW disregard user friendly distros, preferring USA-legal compliance, which means GNU-LINUX only; hence Debian, Redhat, Fedora & other bare-boned operating systems. "
Correct me if I'm wrong, but RH and Debian are US native distributions. So they have to follow US laws. It is true too for Free Software Foundation.
"I prefer user friendly distros, like Netrunner (in Manjaro-KDE & Kubuntu bases), or Mint, based on Ubuntu, like most of the user-friendly distros. Mint offers easy installatiom of the widest selection of Desktop Environments (DE). Also praised in noob-friendly forums are Deepin & Zorin, but they suffer from a smaller coder base, and just one DE. "
Correct me again. But Netrunner is german, Kubuntu is Isle Of Man native, so no software patents for them.
Deepin ? Chinese. Zorin ? Irish. So no software patents for them too. So they can had patents crippled software without legal problems.
This is not a "user friendly issue", this is a law issue. Nothing less, nothing more.
And about youtube ? No need to use flash player to use youtube. You can use HTML5 video and audio within Mozilla Firefox (since version 32 or so) or with chromium. You just have to install all gstreamer plugins.
50 • Maybe Rpi package lists can give ideas for olds PCs (by dbrion on 2015-01-15 13:18:44 GMT from France)
As Rapsberry Pi (ARM processor) need 256-512 (depends on version RAM), desktop structures are CPU-agnostic and one can manage to have a desktop with everything one needs (at least I need) under Rapsbian (if one does not have a RPi, it can be qemulated from windows XP -special qemu port- and any flavor of GNUlinux : this is enough to know/choose what can be installed for desktop appilications -not HW related ones : qemu cannot do)
51 • Fedora/Gnome software (by Beejay on 2015-01-15 14:15:36 GMT from United States)
@34: Think about auditioning Debian, which I keep handy because it is stable and it does work. My pattern is to download the new stable and after 6 mos or so add the backport repos so that I can check newer versions of applications. I watch testing and when it seems solid I let it take over my major computing duties. I am on testing right now and I have been for some months, It is working extremely well for me. Hardware is a main-stream i5 laptop with integrated graphics from System76.
I agree as well with the Manjaro endorsement. It is a very nice system if you prefer it.
I also have Salix running and it is a very nice, easy way to get into Slackware if you want to try that route. I also have Slack 14.1/Xfce running. Darned good choice as well.
Want a darkhorse? Investigate antiX. It is terrific on light systems especially.
52 • @49 Confirming Red Hat is a US Company (by Ben Myers on 2015-01-15 15:50:10 GMT from United States)
Red Hat is a US company with HQ in Westford, Massachusetts, about 10 miles (16 km) from here. I drive by it often.
53 • @41 - LXLE, what you pay for and what you don't (by Ben Myers on 2015-01-15 15:56:21 GMT from United States)
LXLE is a free download, impeded slightly by the insistence that one must use a torrent client to download it. (Let's face it. The unwashed do not know much about torrent clients.) I was attracted to LXLE by the statement that one can easily(!) set up a Windows XP or 7 (maybe even 8 or Vista, heaven forbid) virtual machine. So I torrented it, installed it and quickly learn that one has to pay for a download of the VM component. I never did find out whether the VM download was torrent or not. Instead, I moved on... Ben Myers
54 • LXLE, Elive, Other scams? (by linuxista on 2015-01-15 16:19:36 GMT from United States)
I had no idea LXLE did that. Now we know 2 distros (LXLE and Elive) reel you in with a free download, then, after you have invested time and effort installing, hit you with a surprise demand for payment for certain productivity software.
Does anybody know any other distros that need to be added to this list?
55 • @53 LXLE (by linux user on 2015-01-15 17:01:16 GMT from United States)
For what it's worth, I'm in the process of a direct download (no torrent) of LXLE 64 bit 14.04.1 ...direct from Sourceforge.
Link on the LXLE download page, not real hard to find.
56 • far2fish post #39 Fedora (by Jordan on 2015-01-15 18:33:36 GMT from United States)
Naive I am about all this. I used to routinely install RedHat back when it and Mandrake were about it for people who wanted off the Windows crash wagon, with a few notable other linux distros of course.
But, yes the scheme has changed. I didn't keep up with all that. Years later here I am dismayed at it and I needn't be of course given the linux landscape outside the RedHat/Fedora atmosphere.
Looks like Debian/Ubuntu names are in a very high percentage of distro "based on" names. That's an interesting development (no pun intended). I remember when I thought Slackware would be there for us as the main speedy, light distro all forked from. Vector and a few others is about it, I guess.
Just thinking out loud. Thanks for the info and heads up.
57 • Windows VM (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-01-15 20:04:57 GMT from United States)
How many distros offer virtual machines customized for versions of Windows? Are any of these free-of-charge (does Microsoft require a fee for such things)?
I remember a distro that offered such things - for a fee, of course - at first, then offered them for several other popular base distros as well. (I had to filter out the hype back then.)
(LXLE has 'em? News to me. Didn't see any indication on their main website - is it buried somewhere in the forum?)
58 • @55 LXLE - A recent change (by Ben Myers on 2015-01-15 21:17:06 GMT from United States)
The direct download of LXLE is a recent change, made after I torrented it.
59 • RE #41 small distros for older PC. (by More Gee on 2015-01-15 21:23:30 GMT from United States)
I agree that there are very few Linux distributions that are light on resources that don't double install (one time from the CD and the other from the web leaving no room for updates), have broken package managers or networking issues. The only ones I would add to the list is Elementary and a recent Puppy pup that I suddenly can not remember the name of, it had everything I could want right out of the box and took only about 2gb of disk space with no drama. MX 14 took almost 5gb to get everything I wanted installed, it is pretty basic when you install it.
60 • elive (by AleCon on 2015-01-15 23:56:26 GMT from Italy)
Can someone update on the "elive" policy? After some complains elive page on Distrowatch was completed with info regarding an "installation fee" of 15$. The beta version is however presented as free, does this refer to download only? would it be possible to install it?
61 • @53 Ben Myers, LXLE misinformation (by Angel on 2015-01-16 04:05:19 GMT from Philippines)
I believe you must be confusing LXLE with Robolinux. Robolijnux is the one advertising a VM and itself as a cure-all snake oil for all PC ills.
LXLE has direct download and torrent, and there's no such thing as a pay beforehand VM whatchamacallit. I re-purpose quite a few old PCs here in the Philippines, and LXLE has been one of my favorite distros for that purpose. It has been excellent, but since they decided not to release an Ubuntu 14.04 based 32 bit version, I have moved on to others like Quelitu, Zorin Lite, Lubuntu, et al.
62 • @49,52. USA; most advanced, loved nation on the planet! (by gregzeng on 2015-01-16 05:38:06 GMT from Australia)
Thank you. I'll soon upload my study-tour, completed last week, of USA, etc. DW is legally based in the USA, but Burger King is moving out. Financially & legally, many smart corporations have also left. Australia (where I live) is moving closer to the financially unstable, innovation-hostile USA, with its crazy patent & copyright restrictions.
As you suggest, other operating systems should move to Canada, Ireland, etc - but not to Australia, where we have ex-patroit Britishers systematically "punishing" this renegade British colony.
63 • @60 elive (by Angel on 2015-01-16 05:48:14 GMT from Philippines)
Last time I tried it, about 3 months ago, the download was free and it would run live on DVD or USB, but when I tried to install, that's when the payment demand came.
64 • Vintage, version, vinci (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-01-16 05:53:35 GMT from United States)
"32bit machines will receive an updated 12.04 shortly, this is due to the understanding that most 32bit machines are better supported under 12.04 kernel/drivers/modules." ...
"To better support 32bit hardware we updated 12.04.4 to be virtually identical to LXLE 14.04 64bit release including features, updated software and system components."
Matching software to hardware begins with kernel and (device) drivers - vintage reigns supreme, version bigtime; all else is rolling (hardware-vendor-loaded) dice ... in the dark. Many distro ISOs are light-weight - most of them are also minimal, as in minimum function.
(For good respect of user freedom, also consider the (French?) distro Voyager)
65 • Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2015_01_13 (by YO on 2015-01-16 07:17:11 GMT from United States)
@46 47 Free as in freedom, free as in gratis, it's all the same to me broseph. I'm sure you'd be better able to justify the leech aspersions if we were talking about a tool that offered unique useful tools, like an Encryption tool that isn't backdoored and also actually secure for example, not a bare-bone distro that follows the slackware tool-chain, and contains a bunch of unchanged free-software programs written by somebody else being sold as a utility. Just mah two cents.
Also just picked up a copy of 2015_01_13 from The Pirate Bay for giggles. I've donated to the FSF etc, but credit where credit is due folks.
#6 Donate to the Mempo project, those folks are doing things right.
66 • @49 software patents (by Kazlu on 2015-01-16 10:34:08 GMT from France)
It's not the country of origin that counts, but the country of destination. So whatever country the distro is native from, if the distro is to be used in the USA, it has to respect USA's laws. That's why every edition of Linux Mint, a distribution born in Ireland, is declined in a "main" version including multimedia codecs and a "no-codecs" version that is legally usable in USA (and Japan, and maybe other countries). Besides, Debian now includes multimedia codecs by default, considering (after having recieved legal advice) that they *should* not be sued for this.
67 • LXLE, and @59 "light on resources" (by Hoos on 2015-01-16 10:36:46 GMT from Singapore)
LXLE - I don't think the direct download thing is that new a thing. I'm sure I downloaded the original 12.04 version (not the updated one) quite some time ago as a direct download.
There was no request for payment at any time.
@59 - surely "light on resources" doesn't refer to how much space a distro takes up on your storage media after you've installed all the packages and programs you want to use. I think it refers to the amount of RAM it uses while the system is running, the burden on the CPU, etc.
Due to my experience with both MX and Elementary (which are still both installed on my computer), I'm also puzzled by your statement that: "...only ones I would add to the list is Elementary ..... [removed reference to Puppy, which is certainly lightweight] , it had everything I could want right out of the box and took only about 2gb of disk space with no drama. MX 14 took almost 5gb to get everything I wanted installed, it is pretty basic when you install it."
MX14 has a stated aim of trying to have as full-featured an installation image as possible that can still fit into a CD-ROM. And yet it still comes with Iceweasel, Libreoffice, its own suite of useful tools and a reasonable set of multimedia, office, network/internet and graphics programs. I think that's impressive.
RAM-usage - the blogspot review by mylinuxexplore compares MX to other XFCE distros and it does very well.
As far as I can recall, Elementary Luna's installation image is very bare bones, no Libreoffice off the bat, Midori as browser (not my favourite), certainly fewer utilities and range of programs unlike MX. I remember having to install LO, PCManFM, Leafpad, Iceweasel, and Chromium, and probably more. Wasn't keen on their own applications. Pantheon is a nice DE, though, and it is quite snappy. Better looking out of the box than MX14 certainly.
68 • LXLE @67 & 59 etc. (by kc1di on 2015-01-16 11:59:58 GMT from United States)
LXLE has always been free as far as I know. I've used it several time in the past and never had to pay for any software to use on it.
Virtual box is a freedownload - other virtual machines may charge a fee but that's not LXLE's fault they would have to pass on that fee if they allowed it to be down loaded via a software center or Such ,that's no different than Ubuntu or others.
LXLE is a very capable distro for old hardware.
69 • @55 (by jaws222 on 2015-01-16 14:55:38 GMT from United States)
"For what it's worth, I'm in the process of a direct download (no torrent) of LXLE 64 bit 14.04.1 ...direct from Sourceforge."
You won't be disappointed. LXLE is a really good distro. The only bug I've found is when trying to logoff or reboot/shutdown it is unresponsive so I do sudo poweroff or sudo reboot in the terminal.
70 • @61 (by jaws222 on 2015-01-16 14:58:13 GMT from United States)
but since they decided not to release an Ubuntu 14.04 based 32 bit version, I have moved on to others like Quelitu, Zorin Lite, Lubuntu, et al."
Have you tried Q4OS? Really lightweight and they have a Windows theme.
71 • @32 (by jaws222 on 2015-01-16 15:00:48 GMT from United States)
"Are those people serious? Mint is solid, simple and "just works." Fedora is not and does not"
True, Mint is easier and I believe much more solid. Fedora has always been a pain as far as Samba and sharing. However, F21 is a huge improvement over 17-20 IMO.
72 • PM (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-01-16 20:35:34 GMT from United States)
"a bare-bone distro that follows the slackware tool-chain, and contains a bunch of unchanged free-software programs written by somebody else being sold as a utility" is about two-cents' worth of derogation, yes.
Quite a few find this toolset useful enough to support it, one way or another. I commend the producer's ongoing search for a viable support-system/business-model for Open Software work.
If it's so trivial, why are so many torrenters so eager for it? Why so little competition?
73 • 72 (by Yo on 2015-01-16 23:41:52 GMT from United States)
"If it's so trivial, why are so many torrenters so eager for it? Why so little competition?"
It's not exactly the most widely distributed utility on torrent sites. All the tools I use are available from most any Distro's PPA, with maybe the exception of the wiping tools, Dban; even those can’t wipe SSDs/SD Cards. Many Distros will even run from memory with the toram argument at boot.
74 • PM toolset (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-01-17 02:06:07 GMT from United States)
Partitioning (MBR and GPT), Benchmarking, Cloning, Rescue, Erasure (including Secure Erase for SSD). Not for everyone, but there is a loyal following.
In a Free society, one may, of course, collect (and compile) Freed source-code, sometimes even a few packages, from many sources, and host the result. That takes work, distribution takes resources ... and then there's support.
Is all this really so trivial?
75 • Parted Magic, More than a Business Model Needed (by Ben Myers on 2015-01-17 02:13:27 GMT from United States)
So you have to pay $9.95 for the current Parted Magic, or more for an annual subscription. What comes along with commercialization is a demand that the software work correctly. Parted Magic still is not there yet, sadly. So its business model is one thing, but the need for thorough in-house testing or beta testing before release is evident. Twice now, I have anted up for the product, downloaded it, and immediately found warts that compelled me to stop using it, reverting back to the last free version. To his credit, Patrick issued refunds. The latest download goes beyond its original scope, adding other diagnostic features unrelated to hard drives. This adds some limited value to the product, but the added features duplicate what is found in other software that focuses on diagnostic and repair.
76 • @69 Direct Download of LXLE (by Ben Myers on 2015-01-17 02:16:43 GMT from United States)
Interesting that there is presently no link to the direct download of LXLE on its web site, only torrents. Equally interesting that the direct download of LXLE can be found with a simple search on SourceForge.
77 • @61 Q4OS (by Angel on 2015-01-17 02:36:05 GMT from Philippines)
I've tried many distros, including Q4OS. Windows looks are not a priority, and there would be others I prefer. For refurbished PCs I stick to lightweight distros based on Ubuntu LTS and I limit updates a la Linux Mint. If there were a lightweight enough Mint, I would happily use that and save a few steps. These PCs go to people who have few resources and the idea is that they'll be able to use them with access to software and updates for a few years, and without my continued involvement. I've found Ubuntu derivatives work best for me.
78 • @76 Ben Myers, yet more LXLE misinformation (by Angel on 2015-01-17 02:41:27 GMT from Philippines)
I don't know what you have against LXLE, but if you are going to keep spreading false information, at least make sure it can't be easily verified with a few clicks. Just went to the LXLE website. Links to direct downloads (sourceforge) are there just as before.
79 • LXLE (by Bi on 2015-01-17 03:30:53 GMT from )
I can verify that. I am downloading direct download from the LXLE website with no problem whatsoever. I am even using an accelerated download manager.
80 • Sorry for misinformation about LXLE (by Ben Myers on 2015-01-17 04:10:14 GMT from United States)
The LXLE website has changed over the last month or two, and I did not track the changes before posting earlier which I ought to have done. It did not used to be that you could do a direct download. I brought that to the attention of the team, and apparently they acted and now provide a direct download. Now that there is the direct download, I have no issues whatsoever with LXLE. My apologies.
81 • PartEd Magic FYI (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-01-17 14:45:22 GMT from United States)
The recent pay-to-view restriction of forum access may have been joined by restriction of access to non-source auxiliary downloads (bundles and modules).
82 • LXLE (by linuxista on 2015-01-17 15:29:46 GMT from United States)
@53 So I torrented it, installed it and quickly learn that one has to pay for a download of the VM component.
@61 I believe you must be confusing LXLE with Robolinux. Robolijnux is the one advertising a VM and itself as a cure-all snake oil for all PC ills.
Can we confirm that LXLE is on the up and up, and leave it off the list of "gotcha" distros, now only Elive and Robolinux?
@60 Can someone update on the "elive" policy? After some complains elive page on Distrowatch was completed with info regarding an "installation fee" of 15$. The beta version is however presented as free, does this refer to download only? would it be possible to install it?
There have been numerous reports on these forums that Elive lets you install for free, then, after you've gone to the trouble, they demand payment to install productivity software like LibreOffice and a number of other bits of useful software. You can search comments to (late) last year's issues of DW for more details. I can't tell you b/c I won't go near Elive. I consider that very tricky, and I wouldn't want to depend on a project like that.
83 • @82, LXLE is fine, eLive not so fine (by Angel on 2015-01-17 18:08:13 GMT from Philippines)
LXLE is a community distro with no for sale VMs or any other tricky stuff. They do ask for donations, as do most others. I've used it in the past and have their latest ISO. Verifying by checking their website is as easy as asking here.
I like Enlightenment and run it in an older laptop. When Bodhi went out, I downloaded eLive to try in a VM. When I clicked on the installer, payment was demanded for an activation download. So instead I got BlueStar, based on Arch, and Quelitu, based on Lubuntu LTS. Both are good distros. I prefer Quelitu because it gives me a choice to also boot into LXDE if I feel like it.
84 • Elive clarification (by linuxista on 2015-01-18 07:37:01 GMT from United States)
Here's the comment about Elive last fall that was most disturbing:
61 • Elive @55 (by fernbap on 2014-09-20 13:47:26 GMT from Portugal)
GPL? Who said anything about GPL?
Elive asks you to pay for their distro. I have nothing against it, i was even curtous about it enough to pay for it and install it on my computer.
Then i found out that i had no package manager whatsoever. Selling a debian based distro that has no access to the debian repos? really? And the only way i could get it was to pay (again) for the "office disk" which included Open Office, apt and synaptic.
And all of that i learned only after i had installed a linux distro that i had payed for.
No, that is not a GPL breach. That is a conn job. People are intentionally fooled into having to pay again in order to have a funcional system. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.... http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20140915&mode=67
85 • Elive (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-01-18 08:44:08 GMT from United States)
Full-Disclosure would include prominent up-front mention of pricing (a required payment means the transaction is a purchase, not a donation) for installation, office and/or package-management, and any other pay-to-play items. Clearly not following Best-Practice, and likely to alienate prospective buyers.
DW lists 23 distros with Enlightenment DE, 6 based on DebIan, thus 5 DebIan-based alternatives to Elive (including Bodhi, rumors of demise notwithstanding), 17 with other bases.
86 • 85 • Elive by Kragle von Schnitzelbank (by Alex on 2015-01-18 10:30:42 GMT from Poland)
The problem with Elive is that it doesn't have an installer for which the 'developer' is asking some money. There is few ways to put an installer to that 'live' iso, and I might try to attach to it. What stopped me trying this Elive is that I don't really like E DE. If I get it done, I'd post how to do it, or post a recreated iso.
87 • Elive (by Kragle on 2015-01-18 14:06:18 GMT from United States)
Perhaps the developer needs to improve the marketing/business-model. Any recommendations (other than depending solely on donations)?
Number of Comments: 87
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