| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 593, 19 January 2015
Welcome to this year's 3rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Development happens quickly in the open source community where any engaging idea can be shared, tested and modified. This week we focus mostly on new developments, beta releases and experimental features. We begin with a look at two experimental projects: the Mir display server and the ReactOS operating system. Both projects are in the early stages of development and we take a sneak peek at the progress both projects are making. We also talk about Bluetooth devices and support this week along with ways members of the open source community can help improve their favourite projects. In our News section we discuss Debian releasing new installation media, the openSUSE's Board election and new audio software entering DragonFly BSD. Plus we talk about a new security feature coming to OpenBSD, attractive features coming to Ubuntu phones, Linux Mint's upcoming Debian Edition and a tutorial on setting up an open source router for the home. Our Torrent Corner column features the new open source images we are seeding, plus we ask readers to weigh in on our new front page feature that shows previews of distributions' desktops. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and look forward to fun new developments to come. We wish you all a great week and happy reading!
- Reviews: The Mir display server and ReactOS
- News: Debian releases updated images, openSUSE is electing new board members, DragonFly BSD gains improved sound system, OpenBSD kernel receives new security feature, Ubuntu phone features, a Linux Mint Debian Edition status report and setting up a home router using open source
- Questions and Answers: Improving Bluetooth support
- Torrent Corner: ExTiX, OpenBSD, NixOS
- Released last week: Parted Magic 2015_01_13, Tails 1.2.3, UberStudent 4.1
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 2
- DistroWatch.com News: Changes to the front page
- New distributions: AliyaLinux, Edu * Ro
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
The Mir display server and ReactOS
Usually, for my reviews that appear on DistroWatch, I stick with distributions and software that are considered stable. I like to focus on final, official releases as it gives developers time to polish their products before I start messing about with their software. This usually makes for a smoother experience. However, sometimes I get the urge to peek behind the curtain, to see what new technologies might be coming, to see what is being created in the lab. Last month I had the opportunity to try GNOME Shell running on a Wayland display server, courtesy of the Fedora distribution. I am sorry to say GNOME running on Wayland did not work for me at all, I was not able to get a session running. But the experience did make me wonder about the status of the Unity desktop running on the Mir display server. Both Wayland and Mir are being pushed as replacements for the X display server and, given that Wayland on GNOME still has a way to go, I wondered if Unity on Mir was any further along.
* * * * *
Unity on Mir
I downloaded the most recent development snapshot of Ubuntu 15.04 "Vivid" which is said to feature Unity 8 running on Mir. I then tried running the technology preview in VirtualBox and on a desktop machine. When running in VirtualBox, at first Ubuntu with Unity 8 seemed quite similar to Ubuntu running the classic Unity desktop. The system booted, asked if I would like to try running the desktop in live mode or if I would like to install the operating system. Attempting to try the live desktop mode brought me to a login screen. I was unable to login or reach a terminal from the login page and so I rebooted my VirtualBox instance and tried installing Ubuntu's Vivid preview.
When I booted from the Ubuntu install media and took the installation option, I found the installer proceeded just as it normally would for stable releases of Ubuntu. The installation process completed without any problems and I was asked to reboot the machine. When I launched my fresh installation of Ubuntu in VirtualBox, I was brought to a login screen. Attempting to sign in caused the display to freeze for a few seconds and then I was returned to the login page. This is as far as I got with the Unity/Mir preview in VirtualBox.
Running Ubuntu's Unity/Mir preview on physical hardware gave an entirely difference experience. When I booted the live media from my desktop computer I found the live operating system acted exactly as I would expect Android to operate. A series of prompts appeared, referring to my computer as a phone. I was walked through a brief tutorial where I was prompted to "swipe" my mouse across the screen to unlock the display, access a status panel at the top of the screen and access an application menu to the left of the display.
Technically, the desktop worked. I could click on icons, launch a very limited number of applications and browse through status and settings information. Keyboard input was ignored and accessing features with the mouse was awkward as any twitch of the mouse would cause my focus to shift to a different window or panel. The desktop interface was mostly empty and windows I had open tended to be either very small or full screen.
In short, running Unity 8 on my desktop computer essentially turned my machine into an awkward mobile phone that acted like a lot like Android, but with more swiping to access features and fewer icons. While I was able to "logout" of Unity to get back to the operating system's lock screen, I was unable to power off the machine from within Unity's interface and I eventually resorted to hard powering off my test computer. I am sorry to say I did not find any utilities which would allow me to take screen shots of the Unity 8 interface.
At the moment, it seems, Unity running on Mir has a long way to go before it is ready for desktop computers. In fact, a good first step would be to have it properly detect when Unity is running on a desktop computer and act accordingly. At any rate, with Unity on Mir not working properly for me, I had several days left in the week and so I decided to install an operating system I have not tried in quite some time: ReactOS.
* * * * *
ReactOS is an open source operating system though it is not a part of the Linux/BSD/UNIX family tree. As the project's website states, "The main goal of the ReactOS project is to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows. This will allow your Windows applications and drivers to run as they would on your Windows system. Additionally, the look and feel of the Windows operating system is used, such that people accustomed to the familiar user interface of Windows would find using ReactOS straightforward. The ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow you to use it as alternative to Windows without the need to change software you are used to."
I have tried running ReactOS every few years, usually in a virtual machine, and have always had poor luck with the operating system. ReactOS has never booted for me, until last week. This is understandable, ReactOS is still in its alpha stage of development and is currently offered up for testing and development purposes only. ReactOS is available in various builds. There is an installation CD (which I downloaded), a live desktop CD and some images for running in virtual machines. The installation image is about 200MB in size.
ReactOS has low resource requirements and some limitations when it comes to running on physical hardware, so I decided to run the operating system in a VirtualBox virtual machine. Booting from the installation disc brought up a text screen with a blue background where I was walked through selecting a preferred language, formatting a disk partition with the FAT file system and selecting a directory where ReactOS would live. We are also asked if a boot loader should be installed. The installation process is very similar, in style and steps, to the installation procedure used by Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Copying files to my virtual machine took less than one minute and then I was asked to reboot.
The first time I booted into ReactOS a configuration wizard appeared. I was asked to select my preferred language and language settings. The first time I attempted to run through the configuration wizard the operating system locked up when I attempted to change my language settings. I forced the virtual machine to reboot and, the second time through, took the default language settings. Once I proceeded beyond the language selection screen I was asked to enter my name, create a password for my account and set the current time (and time zone). The operating system then reboots and, when it comes back on-line, presents us with a desktop environment which looks very much like Microsoft Windows 2000.
ReactOS 0.3.17 -- System administration tools
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One of the first things I noticed when I first started exploring ReactOS was that the operating system is presented to the user almost identically in style and organization to legacy Windows systems. People who have memorized where to find event logs, disk clean up utilities, hardware information, desktop settings or registry information will feel immediately at home. Almost every feature is carefully cloned from versions of Windows around the 98/2000 releases. This makes it very easy to find features and settings if a person is coming from a Windows platform. The second thing I noticed is clicking on the Help button in the ReactOS Start menu brings up a message saying "Help not yet implemented". This is unfortunate for people who are new to ReactOS.
One feature ReactOS has which did not have a direct parallel in legacy versions of Windows is a package manager. Using the package manager we can view packages currently installed on the system (and optionally remove them). We can also browse through lists of available applications and install them. The package manager will attempt to download packages from upstream projects and then automatically launch the program's installer for us. Looking through the list of available software it seems as though there is a balance of open source programs and proprietary applications available. I tried to install a handful of free (as in cost) programs, including LibreOffice, OpenOffice, the VLC multimedia player, Firefox and Putty. I had mixed results. The LibreOffice package would not download at all. The OpenOffice package downloaded and installed. Some errors appeared indicating OpenOffice did not install properly, but I found I was able to launch OpenOffice and use it. The VLC player installed and ran. Firefox installed and ran, but not all the buttons in Firefox worked and sometimes the browser would lock-up. Putty worked well when I wanted to access remote shells, but Putty's secure file transfer program refused to connect to any remote hosts, even ones I could log into via secure shell.
ReactOS 0.3.17 -- The settings panel and package manager
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I tried installing some third-party Windows software not available in the ReactOS package manager. I attempted to install the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), the WinSCP file transfer program and Filezilla. I found GIMP would install, but would display dozens of errors at start-up, one for each loaded plugin. Once GIMP was running, it was quite buggy and tended to lock-up making it impractical to use. WinSCP refused to connect with any servers, much the same way Putty's file transfer program did. Filezilla would not install. Essentially, I found most programs that ran locally without any need for talking to the outside world worked, but any attempt to install or run an application which connected with the outside world ultimately failed.
ReactOS ships with a few programs, cloning the software available in early versions of Windows. For example, we have access to a simple drawing application, a game of solitaire, a control panel and text editor. A DOS command prompt is available too. There is a simple web browser installed for us, but it ran very slowly and so I preferred using Firefox.
ReactOS 0.3.17 -- Running various desktop applications
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ReactOS was only run in a VirtualBox virtual machine during my trial so I cannot say how well the operating system would work on physical hardware. I will say that ReactOS did not always function well as a virtual guest. The virtual machine hosting ReactOS tended to use 100% of the host computer's CPU. I encountered frequent lock-ups with ReactOS, especially when I was running many applications or heavier applications such as GIMP or Firefox. ReactOS never shutdown cleanly, I always had to force the virtual machine to power off. One might sarcastically quip that ReactOS completely captures the legacy Windows experience.
I did find there were some perks to running ReactOS. While few Windows programs worked perfectly, most worked well enough to get up and running and get a few things done. Running native Windows applications in ReactOS was similar, I found, to running Windows applications in WINE on Linux -- it's not perfect, but ReactOS usually gets the job done. ReactOS typically responded quickly. It is a lightweight operating system by modern standards and I found it was usually responsive. In fact, ReactOS in a virtual machine could easily out perform any modern version of Windows I have seen running on physical hardware.
ReactOS is, in a way, an impressive feat of coding. It very faithfully recreates the Windows 2000 experience in style and in features. ReactOS typically offers better performance and a smaller disk footprint. I also like the fact ReactOS has a package manager, which is friendlier and faster than any I have seen on Microsoft Windows. There are rough patches, especially when running larger Windows applications. The system does not appear to be stable and application compatibility is not up to par yet. Neither is hardware support, judging by the project's wiki. However, ReactOS does appear to be getting to the point where it could serve as a drop-in replacement to pre-XP versions of Windows.
* * * * *
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
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian releases updated images, openSUSE is electing new board members, DragonFly BSD gains improved sound system, OpenBSD kernel receives new security feature, Ubuntu phone features, a Linux Mint Debian Edition status report and setting up a home router using open source
The Debian project has made available updated media for the distribution's 7.x "Wheezy" release. The new media does not represent a new version of Debian, but rather fresh images containing the Wheezy release along with security updates and fixes that have become available since Wheezy was first launched. The project's website states, "The Debian project is pleased to announce the eighth update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename wheezy). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 7 but only updates some of the packages included."
* * * * *
The openSUSE project is in the process of electing a new Board. Members of the openSUSE community will be voting for Board members to guide the community project from January 13 through to January 26. One interesting rule openSUSE's election carries is that no single organization can control a majority of the Board's seats. "Note that no single organization or company can control more than 40 percent of the electable board seats (more than 2 seats). For this election, this means that at max two SUSE employees can be elected." This is significant because three of the candidates up for election (Craig Gardner, Peter Linnell and Robert Schweikert) are SUSE employees. More details on the election are available on openSUSE's website.
* * * * *
The DragonFly BSD project recently announced a major overhaul of the operating system's audio software. The new improvements bring DragonFly's sound system into line with the audio software currently available in FreeBSD. Francois Tigeot outlined some of the audio improvements in a mailing list post: "Among many improvements, we get: much smarter volume controls, improved HDMI/DisplayPort audio support, an easy way to switch the default sound device with the `hw.snd.default_unit sysctl', HTML5/YouTube videos should play with sound out of the box. On top of the FreeBSD code, we also have additional support for the Acer C720 Chromebook family of laptops."
* * * * *
Theo de Raadt, founder and lead developer of the OpenBSD project, shared some important news for users of the security-focused operating system. The OpenBSD kernel now features the ability to support W^X (write exclusive-or execute), a feature which prevents data written to memory from being executed. Writing data into a part of memory and having the data run as code is a common attack vector against applications and operating system kernels and the new W^X code will effectively make compromising the OpenBSD kernel harder for attackers. Details on the new feature are available in Theo de Raadt's post.
* * * * *
In February the first wave of Ubuntu phones is expected to become available in parts of Europe. With the mobile market already saturated with Android and iOS and with other players like Mozilla already trying to break into the market, what can Ubuntu's mobile operating system do to set itself apart? The OMG Ubuntu site has some commentary on why consumers may find Ubuntu powered devices appealing. "Mobile devices are our primary way of getting essential information (e.g. bus times, movie reviews, Facebook statues) quickly. The data matters more than the box it sits in, right? One could install and launch three separate apps to check the weather, find a restaurant and view a friend's Instagram photos. That works. Ubuntu Phone evolves the behaviour to its natural endpoint. With a Scope you can see all three items right there, on the screen, at your fingertips, ready to go."
* * * * *
The Linux Mint team posted their monthly status report last Friday and they share some interesting details about the project and the upcoming release of Linux Mint Debian Edition. The project's new Debian Edition will be based on Debian "Jessie" and include software currently available in Mint's Ubuntu-based editions. Another point of interest is that Mint's Debian-based release will differ from vanilla Debian by not featuring systemd as the default init software. "Similar to Linux Mint 17.x, LMDE 2 "Betsy" will be using the traditional sysvinit. The move to systemd could happen with Linux Mint 18 and LMDE 3, giving this new technology and the Linux ecosystem 2 years (or more) to mature and to iron out integration and compatibility issues. Cinnamon in particular is built without systemd support by default and the development team is planning to change this in version 2.6 to give the DE the ability to switch at runtime between systemd and consolekit/upower without the need to recompile anything."
The report from Mint also mentions network traffic to their software repositories grew a great deal in November and December, causing trouble for people trying to install or update software on their Mint systems. This situation resulted in the project setting up new servers to deal with the increased demand. "During a week or so this resulted in very slow response times, download speeds or even in timeouts and errors in various APT applications (apt-get, the Software Manager, the Update Manager, Synaptic etc..). We would like to apologize for this. Although it's good news to see more people use Linux Mint, issues which affect everybody like this are our worst nightmare. A cluster was put in place and two servers now handle requests for the main repositories. We're happy to report that they've been running smoothly for a few weeks now."
* * * * *
Open source operating systems running on old or minimalist hardware provide an attractive alternative to dedicated home routers. Off the shelf home routers are often less flexible than we would like, sometimes ship with insecure default settings and are sometimes harder to keep up to date with security patches than open source operating systems. With this in mind the PC-BSD blog features a how-to where readers are walked through turning a FreeBSD or TrueOS installation into a home network router. "Over the Christmas holidays I had some spare time and was ready to take the plunge and retire an old Asus router. It had begun getting rather slow, due to the increasing number of devices connected to our network, and of course I wanted peace of mind using a FreeBSD system I could be sure was up to date with security fixes. I used PC-BSD's server release, TrueOS 10.1, because I wanted to use ZFS with boot-environments to ensure upgrading and replacing disks would be risk-free down the road. The following details how I setup TrueOS on the new box." The rest of the post can be found on the PC-BSD blog.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Improving Bluetooth support
Has-the-software-blues asks: The BlueZ packages, as they pertain to audio streaming, and Blueman too, seem to be having issues right and left. This appears to have been going on for months, through many operating systems in the Linux family.
My question to DistroWatch is: Can you do an article on it & ask for more people to help fix this problem? In a society with so many Bluetooth devices being used, you would think this would be a forefront issue, not something stuffed in the back of the line. I think it is an issue needing to be addressed ASAP! In my humble opinion, Linux has dropped the ball on this subject.
DistroWatch answers: Before tackling the topic of Bluetooth support, I'd like to touch briefly on an idea I come across quite often. Frequently I hear from people who feel Linux is lacking a particular feature set or that Linux developers should focus on issue A before they tackle project B. I often hear from people who think Linux developers should address, for example, desktop integration prior to optimizing a compiler. When people make claims such as these it gives me the impression that they are unaware of how development in the Linux ecosystem works.
Now, that's not to say the person who wrote the above question misunderstands Linux development, but often times people who suggest Linux developers have misaligned priorities do misunderstand how development happens in the Linux community. The Linux community is a large, largely independent group of people. As a whole, there is no central manager or authority in the Linux ecosystem. People who are familiar with closed source, commercial software companies such as Apple or Microsoft tend to think in terms of a company with limited resources directing developers toward certain tasks. If a serious problem or promising project is noticed by senior management in a commercial software company then developers can be hired or reorganized to make a specific task a priority.
Linux development is different in that development is wide spread and rarely coordinated through a central authority. There are thousands of developers out there working on their various projects and there usually isn't anyone to draw them off one project or assign them to something new. We get a taste of central management from distribution makers such as Red Hat or Canonical, but those organizations are relatively small when we compare them to the overall scope of the Linux community.
My point being that if someone feels their particular issue has been sent to the back of the priority queue it is probably because relatively few people share a passion for the issue, not because an authority figure is directing developers to focus elsewhere.
Getting back to the question at hand: Bluetooth support. If Bluetooth or some other feature is not working well for you, what can be done about it? The tricky part here is you probably need to take the initiative. One way to do that is to contact the developers of the software you are using and provide them with a detailed bug report or feature request. They may not know there is a problem, or they may be able to offer a solution. Likewise, if you use a commercial distribution, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise, then I recommend filing a bug report with the company (or sending in a support ticket). Basically, let the developers know about your issue as politely and in as much detail as possible.
Next, consider contributing toward the solution. The BlueZ team, for example, asks for donations of hardware or money to help them develop and test their software. Most projects will accept money, hardware or other forms of support. It is a good idea to support the people who can fix your problem.
Finally, consider starting a campaign on a site like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Ask people for donations to hire a developer to fix the problem. Alternatively, post a bug bounty, offering to pay the developer who is able to provide the feature or bug fix you desire.
What it comes down to is, if you want something done in the open source community, you have three options: You can do it yourself, you can ask someone to do it and hope they have a passion for the subject, or you can hire someone to do the work. One way or another, when it comes to getting things done in the open source community, it helps to get involved.
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: 10
- Total downloads completed: 719
- Total data uploaded: 324GB
|Released Last Week
Parted Magic 2015_01_13
Patrick Verner has announced the release of Parted Magic 2015_01_13, an updated build of the project's commercial distribution designed mainly for disk management and data rescue tasks: "We reorganized the ISO image and removed a little over 40 MB from the download without removing any features. We actually added a lot of stuff. In the past a few people were getting hung up on 'Setting up system devices'. They had DVD drives hooked to ASMedia SATA3 ports. Parted Magic now boots with a DVD drive hooked to ASMedia ports. In this version you'll notice a set of lips in the panel. A few people requested some sort of speech program, but didn't give many details of what they wanted. I hope this is what they were looking for. You can now do a memory test from the EFI menu. Clonezilla has been updated to 3.12.7. Xfburn is now compiled to use GStreamer. Audacity 2.0.6 was added. Firefox was updated to 34.0.5." See the project's news page to read the release announcement with a changelog. Parted Magic 2015_01_13 is available from the distribution's online shop for US$9.99.
Tails 1.2.3, the latest update of the distribution designed to preserve privacy and anonymity while browsing the Internet, has been released: "Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 1.2.3, is out. This release fixes numerous security issues and all users must upgrade as soon as possible. On January 3rd, the SSL certificate of our website hosting provider, boum.org, expired. This means that if you are still running Tails 1.2.1 or older, you will not get any update notification. Please help spreading the word! Changes: upgrade to Linux 3.16.7; upgrade to Tor Browser 4.0.3 (based on Firefox 31.4.0esr); improve MAC spoofing fail-safe mechanisms, which includes preventing one more way the MAC address could be leaked; disable upgrade checking in the Unsafe Browser; fix startup of the Unsafe Browser in some locales; repair the desktop screenshot feature...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Tails 1.2.3 -- Default desktop environment
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Stephen Ewen has announced the release of UberStudent 4.1, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring the Xfce desktop and specialist software made for students and teachers: "I'm delighted to announce the release of UberStudent 4.1 'Epicurus'. UberStudent is a Linux distribution for everyone, especially higher education and advanced secondary students, people who teach them, and their schools. It is designed for Linux beginners while being equally satisfying to advanced users. System: Ubuntu 14.04 long-term support release base (with updates applied up to Jan 15, 2015), Supported until April 2019. What's New? All known installation and other bugs have been fixed; robust EFI support; much faster boot time; cleaner, faster code throughout; UberStudent Panel Changer to switch between a traditional two-panel desktop (like GNOME 2) and a one-panel desktop...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Changes to the front page|
A picture is worth a thousand words and an image of a distribution's desktop can tell us a lot about the desktop interface a project is using. A screen shot shows us a distribution's default theme and the layout of the user interface. With this in mind, last week we started displaying desktop previews next to distribution release announcements on the front page of DistroWatch. We hope these thumbnail previews will help readers get a feel for new distribution releases.
While we hope our readers will find the screen shots beneficial we also acknowledge showing these preview images adds more elements to our front page and some visitors to our website may find the new layout crowded. We want to hear what you think of having desktop previews on the front page. Is it helpful, is it a welcome splash of colour or are the previews visually distracting? Please let us know what you think in the comments section or send us an e-mail.
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- AliyaLinux. AliyaLinux is a novice friendly Linux distribution designed to be familiar to people coming from Windows environments. AliyaLinux is based on Debian Testing.
- Edu * Ro. Edu * Ro is a Debian-based Linux operating system for use in school environments. This Romanian distribution includes a variety of free educational programs for students.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 26 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• 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|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 184.108.40.206, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Why was Virtual-Linux created? Well, I was pretty tired with the silly bootdisks you can download, plus I wanted to learn more about the Linux core. I then decided to build a ramdisk based system of my own, and after a while I ended up with a cdbased rescue system with a builtin firewall. Then, after having tested a few of the existing big cdbootable systems that were very slow and had very poor performance, a new project started to take shape in my mind. After some late nights investigating some existing soloutions, my own concept was born: 1. Use a commercial distribution as base (Mandrake Linux). 2. Implement as much as possible of the original functions without many hardware/memory requirements. 3. Put as much software as possible on one cd. 4. Make it easy to configure / Autodetect as much as possible. 5. Implement live filesystem compression. 6. Ramdisk Compression.