| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 594, 26 January 2015
Welcome to this year's 4th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
What makes a distribution attractive to its users? It may be specific tools or a particular default desktop environment, it may be hardware support or a friendly package manager. The KaOS distribution has a strong focus on packaging, putting the operating system together in a way that is attractive, clean and avoids unnecessary extras. Read our feature review below to learn more about the KaOS distribution. In the news last week there were interesting updates from a number of projects. The Ubuntu team is trying to lower the bar to community participation, plus Canonical has announced Snappy Ubuntu Core for embedded devices. In other news, Debian announced its first release candidate for the new "Jessie" installer. We share a tutorial on using file snapshots with Hammer on the DragonFly BSD operating system, along with bug fixes and planned features coming to Fedora users. We also link to FreeBSD's quarterly update that outlines the work currently being done to the venerable operating system. In our Questions and Answers column we talk about commercial Linux distributions. This week we seed and share more torrents in Torrent Corner, plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and look forward to new releases to come. In addition, we talk about the AWStats project which is this month's recipient of the DistroWatch monthly donation. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Reviews: First thoughts on KaOS 2014.12
- News: Getting involved with Ubuntu, Snappy Ubuntu Core for embedded devices, Debian releases new installer for "Jessie", using DragonFly BSD's Slider, Fedora fixes PackageKit, features coming to Fedora 22, and FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report
- Questions and Answers: Commercial distributions and DistroWatch
- Torrent Corner: 4MLinux, ArchBSD, MakuluLinux, OpenBSD
- Released last week: MakuluLinux 2.0 "Cinnamon", HandyLinux 1.8, Q4OS 0.5.24
- Upcoming releases: Mageia 5 Beta 3
- Donations: AWStats receives $300
- Distributions added to the database: NethServer, Porteus Kiosk
- New distributions: ubermix
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First thoughts on KaOS 2014.12
The KaOS distribution has been one of the most popular downloads from our new torrent seeding initiative. The project's website describes KaOS as follows: "The idea behind KaOS is to create a tightly integrated rolling and transparent distribution for the modern desktop, built from scratch with a very specific focus. Focus on one DE (KDE), one toolkit (Qt), one architecture (x86_64) plus a focus on evaluating and selecting the most suitable tools and applications. All work is geared toward packaging, not developing new tools or applications."
The latest snapshot of this rolling release distribution includes initial support for UEFI, the KDE 4.14 desktop, systemd version 218 and the Qupzilla web browser. I mention Qupzilla because I feel it is a rare gem in the open source world, a quick capable browser that perhaps does not get the attention it deserves. KaOS is available in just one edition, a 64-bit x86 build. The ISO we download for KaOS is 1.6GB in size.
Booting from the distribution's live disc brings up a menu where we are asked if we would like to run a live desktop environment, run a hardware detection tool where we can find detailed information on our hardware and there is an option to test our computer's memory. Taking the live desktop option brings up the KDE desktop. A welcome screen appears on the desktop and offers to provide us with information such as a list of installed packages, the default passwords for the live disc and the project's user guide. The user guide, I found, covers how to install KaOS and includes screen shots of the project's installer. The welcome window further provides us with buttons that will connect us with the distribution's user forum and launch the operating system's installer.
KaOS 2014.12 -- The project's user guide and welcome screen
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KaOS provides users with a graphical system installer. I found the installer to be friendly and straight forward to use. We are quickly walked through selecting our preferred language, selecting our time zone from a map of the world and choosing our keyboard's layout. The installer warns us at a few points that there may be issues with setting up GPT disk layouts and/or booting on systems with UEFI enabled. The installer provides links to these topics on the project's website to help users work around potential problems. The KaOS installer offers to automatically set up disk partitions or we can divide up our hard disk manually. I like the distribution's partition manager, it is straight forward to use and supports a wide range of file systems, including ext2/3/4, JFS, XFS, Btrfs and LVM volumes. I decided to install KaOS on a Btrfs volume. Next, the installer asks us to create a user account for ourselves and set a password on the root account. From there we are shown a confirmation screen where the installer's pending actions are listed and we are given a chance to go back and make changes to our configuration. Then the installer quickly copies its files to our hard drive. When the installer finishes its work we are returned to the live KDE desktop.
KaOS 2014.12 -- The KDE System Settings panel
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Once we reboot the computer the KaOS distribution boots to a graphical login screen. Signing into our account brings us back to the KDE 4.14 desktop. A folder view widget sits on the desktop with shortcuts provided to our personal files and deleted items. The desktop is mostly decorated in grey. An application menu, task switcher and system tray sit at the bottom of the screen. I found the default theme quite drab, almost depressing, and was pleased to find KaOS ships with several alternative wallpapers and themes. KDE makes it easy to adjust the look of the desktop interface through the System Settings panel.
Shortly after signing into my account I noticed an icon in the system tray which resembles a red octopus. This icon indicates software updates are available in the distribution's repositories. Clicking the icon gives us the option of opening the distribution's package manager, Octopi. The Octopi package manager is a graphical program roughly divided into three sections. On the left side of the window we see a simple list of available software packages. Over on the right we see filters we can use to narrow the list of displayed items. We can also search for specific packages by name. The pane at the bottom of the screen shows status information and details about selected packages. I found Octopi worked quickly for me. The package manager may not be pretty, but it is fairly easy to use. Right-clicking on packages brings up a menu showing what actions we can perform on the selected package. Octopi makes it easy to upgrade packages and I encountered no problems while using the software manager. During my trial with KaOS I upgraded 29 packages (44MB in size) and all the updated packages installed without any problems.
KaOS 2014.12 -- The Octopi package manager
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The KaOS distribution ships with a relatively small collection of software, most of it either related to the KDE desktop or built using the Qt toolkit. Looking through the application menu I found the Qupzilla web browser, the Quassel IRC client, the KGet download manager, the Seafile software and a link to Appear. The Calligra productivity suite is installed for us along with the Okular document viewer. The Clementine music player, the Kdenlive video editor and the SMPlayer media player are available out of the box. KaOS further ships with multimedia codecs, allowing us to play most media files. The k3b disc burning software is provided along with the miniBackup utility, the KUser account manager and the KInfoCenter hardware browser. KaOS ships with the Yakuake drop-down terminal, the Ark archive manager and the Kate text editor. The distribution provides us with Network Manager to help us get on-line and the KPPP dial-up networking software. The GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us and, in the background, I found the 3.17 release of the Linux kernel. Given that KaOS is a rolling release distribution, I suspect all of these components, including the kernel, will receive regular updates.
There were a few programs included in KaOS that I usually do not see featured in Linux distributions and so I'd like to cover them here briefly. For instance, the Qupzilla web browser is an unusual find. I quite like Qupzilla, it has a clean layout and reminds me a bit of the Opera web browser before Opera's recent interface redesign. KaOS does not ship with Flash, but I found a Flash plug-in in the distribution's repositories and Flash, once installed, automatically worked with Qupzilla. The Seafile application was new to me. The program starts by asking us for a server, username and password without any context for what we are signing up for. I soon found out Seafile is a cloud file synchronization and messaging service. The miniBackup program does not, as one might suspect, backup regular files or our home directory. Instead miniBackup creates archives of our settings and known e-mails. This can be useful, but probably not what most people are expecting. Finally, I'd like to touch on the distribution's "top" command. The "top" program on KaOS has some unusual defaults, including displaying information in red text, showing related processes in a family tree and sorting processes by PID rather than by CPU usage. The "top" program is quite flexible and I found it interesting the developers went with these unusual defaults.
I tried running KaOS in a VirtualBox virtual machine and on a physical desktop computer. When running inside VirtualBox the distribution performed fairly well. For some reason I could not get KaOS to display at higher resolutions in the virtual machine, even with VirtualBox add-ons installed. Other than dealing with lower screen resolution, I had no problems with KaOS in the virtual environment. The desktop was responsive, the distribution booted quickly and smoothly completed tasks. When running on physical hardware I found the distribution performed well. Once again KaOS booted quickly and ran smoothly. My screen was automatically set to its maximum resolution and the system was stable. My one issue when running KaOS on the physical computer was that periodically the audio volume would suddenly be maximized. This meant that a few times an hour an audio notification would suddenly blare out of my speakers. I would turn down the audio volume, only to be surprised ten minutes later when another blast would thunder from my computer's speakers. I found this audio bug almost as interesting as annoying since I haven't heard a distribution behave this way since PulseAudio first appeared years ago. In either environment, I found KaOS used approximately 240MB of memory when logged into the KDE desktop.
I noticed a few other small things of interest during the week. One is that KaOS always seems to respond quickly. This is a nice feature to have, I like it when a distribution manages to ship a desktop interface that is both feature rich and responsive. Another thing I noticed was that there isn't a lot of software in KaOS by default, nor is there a lot of software in the repositories. Popular items such as LibreOffice, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and the VLC multimedia player are in the repositories. However, people who like a large variety of software will note KaOS provides about a tenth of the software packages larger projects, such as Debian, do.
I have not used the Calligra office suite much over the past year and I was happy to find the flexible productivity software appears to be both stable and functional. Calligra now offers support for opening Microsoft Office files, though it appears Calligra is not yet able to save files in Microsoft Office formats. I like that Calligra feels lighter than LibreOffice and I think, for many home users, Calligra will provide all the necessary features.
KaOS 2014.12 -- The Calligra word processor
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Though the KaOS website points out the distribution is not technically based on Arch Linux and therefore KaOS is not directly related to Arch-derived projects such as Manjaro or Chakra, I couldn't help but notice these distributions all share a similar feel. KaOS, for example, uses the pacman command line package manager and, like Manjaro, uses the Octopi graphical front end to pacman. KaOS has a fairly narrow focus with the developers putting their efforts into packaging a small selection of software rather than making new tools. KaOS is a rolling distribution and, as with Arch and Manjaro, there is a certain stark simplicity to the distribution. The operating system has a no-frills feel to it and a small memory footprint.
That's not to say KaOS isn't friendly. I found the distribution easy to set up and fairly straight forward to use. But while KaOS is functional and fast, this is not a distribution that does much hand holding. Nor are there a lot of administration tools or extras like we might find in distributions such as Mint or openSUSE. To me, KaOS feels like a slimmer Manjaro in darker clothes, or like a simplified Chakra. All in all, I think the distribution is functional and, despite a few minor bugs, the operating system worked well for me. However, I also feel KaOS has not yet distinguished itself, separating itself from the pack. I'm hoping the coming year sees KaOS set itself apart in some fashion.
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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
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Getting involved with Ubuntu, Snappy Ubuntu Core for embedded devices, Debian releases new installer for "Jessie", using DragonFly BSD's Slider, Fedora fixes PackageKit, features coming to Fedora 22, and FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report
For people who want to get involved in open source projects it can be difficult to know where to start. A lot of people want to give back to open source communities, but do not always know where to begin and who to talk to. The Ubuntu team wants to lower the bar for volunteers and make sure people with the right skills can get involved with the right tasks. With this in mind the Find A Task page has been created. The Find A Task page helps volunteers find categories of tasks they may be interested in such as coding, writing documentation, software testing and community support. Within each task there are sub-projects looking for help that visitors can explore. Once a volunteer has picked a task they are interested in, they are directed to a page with more information on the sub-project and given contact information for people already involved. This helps new community members find mentors and will hopefully make contributing easier for more people.
Snappy Ubuntu Core is a new spin on the Ubuntu operating system where administrators begin with a minimal installation of Ubuntu and software is added (and updated) via transactional updates. The idea is to provide a reliable core operating system with isolated services and applications where updates are always applied cleanly and can be rolled back. Snappy Ubuntu was originally released for cloud services, but new work has gone toward porting Snappy Ubuntu Core to network enabled embedded devices. The Ubuntu website has more details, "Snappy Ubuntu Core on smart devices delivers bullet-proof security, reliable updates and the enormous Ubuntu ecosystem at your fingertips, bringing the developer's favourite cloud platform to a wide range of Internet things, connected devices and autonomous machines." Snappy Ubuntu Core is now being tested on various minimal computing devices such as the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black.
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The Debian team has announced the availability of a new system installer to accompany the upcoming Debian "Jessie". Cyril Brulebois posted on Sunday, "The Debian Installer team is pleased to announce the first release candidate of the installer for Debian 8 "Jessie". Note: One shouldn't worry about the noticeable delta between the file timestamps (which match when the build happened) and the date of this announce. The delay in announcing this release is entirely my fault, and I'm very sorry the inconvenience." More information on the Debian installer, its features and 75 supported languages can be down on the project's website.
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The DragonFly BSD advanced file system, called Hammer, tends not to get as much attention as other modern file systems such as Btrfs or ZFS. However, Hammer is a very capable file system with desirable features like snapshots. Often times the hurdle with using snapshots is the complex syntax involved when it comes to locating and recovering data. John Marino has written an excellent tutorial on accessing Hammer snapshots and historical data using the Slider utility. Marino shows us how to easily locate snapshotted files, compare them with other versions of the same file and how to recover old versions of a file. The tutorial includes screen shots of Slider working with files on Hammer to help us follow along.
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Adam Williamson has announced some bugs were found and fixed in the PackageKit software which ships with Fedora. Since the PackageKit service is involved in updating software on the operating system, this means users may need to take additional steps to update the problematic software. Williamson's post on Fedora Magazine outlines the steps users can take to resolve the issues found in PackageKit.
Though Fedora 21 was released only last month, the Fedora team is already planning ahead for the release of Fedora 22. There are some exciting new changes planned for the upcoming release of the Red Hat sponsored community project. Some items at the top of the list include improved GNOME on Wayland support, better battery life for laptop users and third-party application support. The last item is perhaps the most interesting as Fedora has traditionally been reluctant to facilitate the installation of, or even officially link to, third-party software. "How to deal with 3rd party software has been a long and ongoing discussion in the Fedora community, and there are a lot of practical and principal details to deal with, but hopefully with this infrastructure in place it will be a lot easier to navigate those issues as people have something concrete to relate to instead of just abstract ideas and concepts. One challenge for instance we have to figure out is that on one side we don't want 3rd party software offered in Fedora to be some form of endorsement or sign of being somehow vetted by the Fedora Project on an ongoing basis, yet on the other side the list will most likely need to be based on some form of editorial process to, for instance, protect both Red Hat and Fedora from potential legal threats." Christian Schaller has all the details on the upcoming release.
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The FreeBSD project posted its Quarterly Status Report for the final quarter of 2014 last week. The report includes status updates on new FreeBSD features and features-in-progress and explores all aspects of the FreeBSD operating system. "The fourth quarter of 2014 included a number of significant improvements to the FreeBSD system. In particular, compatibility with other systems was enhanced. This included significant improvements to the Linux compatibility layer, used to run Linux binaries on FreeBSD, and the port of WINE, used to run Windows applications. Hypervisor support improved, with FreeBSD gaining the ability to run as domain 0 on Xen's new high-performance PVH mode, bhyve gaining AMD support, and new tools for creating FreeBSD VM images arriving." The report goes on to cover information about software ported to FreeBSD, including updates to the GNOME and KDE desktop environments.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Commercial distributions and DistroWatch
Filtering-the-commercial-distributions asks: Does Parted Magic have a place in your distro line up, or should they be put in an ad column? I have never seen a commercial distro posted before. You don't seem to have a filter to weed out the commercial distros and if they're going to make money maybe you should charge them. I have recommended DistroWatch to many people over the years and thank you for supporting free and open source software. Please keep up the good work.
Jesse Smith answers: Thank you for the recommendation, it is appreciated.
Parted Magic, while commercial in nature, is still an open source, Linux-based distribution. As such I feel it has a place on DistroWatch. I know some people feel commercial software should be kept separate from free-cost distributions, but there is quite a spectrum of commercialization in the Linux ecosystem.
Over the years DistroWatch has always been supportive of Linux distributions, regardless of their level of commercialization. For instance, DistroWatch reports Red Hat Enterprise Linux releases on the front page and Red Hat is a commercial company. DistroWatch has also featured SUSE Linux Enterprise which is free to download and try, but security updates require payment after 60 days. We have listed Hymera and Elive which are commercial distributions. Ubuntu is a free-to-download distribution, but the company sells support, making Ubuntu a semi-commercial distribution. I feel there is a bit of a grey area between completely free and commercial products in the open source community.
In the instance of commercial distributions DistroWatch tries to make it clear when a distribution is commercial in nature on the distro's information page (see the links above for examples) and in release announcements. This should avoid any confusion as to which projects are exclusively commercial and which downloads are offered without charge.
Regarding the idea of charging commercial distributions, I am not sure what it is we would charge them for. We list distributions and share release announcements with our readers in the hope of being a good resource for the community. I feel it is our priority to provide information on as many options and products as possible to better inform our readership. Removing commercial distributions from our listings or insisting on a fee for release announcements is not, in my opinion, the best way to serve our readers.
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: 13
- Total downloads completed: 900
- Total data uploaded: 392GB
|Released Last Week
MakuluLinux 2.0 "Cinnamon"
Jacque Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 2.0 "Cinnamon" edition, an updated build of the project's Debian-based distribution featuring the Cinnamon desktop environment: "MakuluLinux Cinnamon 2.0 is a continuation of the first release, with focus on updating, polishing, refining and fixing issues reported in the previous release. There are many little changes throughout the system to give it a smoother and more refined feel. There are also some major changes in this release; some will be backported to 1.1, some won't. if your existing systems runs to your satisfaction then continue using it and wait for the 1.2 patch that will backport some of these changes. If however you want all the changes you will need to download 2.0 and reinstall Cinnamon. Features: based on Debian 'Testing'; PAE i686 Linux kernel 3.16.7; updated Cinnamon core desktop...." Continue to the release notes for further details.
Makululinux 2.0 -- Running the Cinnamon desktop
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Arnault Perret has announced the release of HandyLinux 1.8, a Debian-based desktop distribution with some innovative features, designed for newcomers to Linux. The release announcement (in French only, although the distribution supports both French and English languages) provides some details about the improvements in this version: removal of the Videolan repository which is now replaced with an in-house repo due to problems with the availability of the libdvdcss2 library; upgrade of Iceweasel to version 35; deactivation of several Iceweasel plugins to improve browser launch times; switch to StartPage as the default search engine and addition of new search options (Wikipedia, Searx, Daily Motion...); update to HandyMenu and an addition of links to Wikipedia and to HandyLinux wallpapers; addition of gpart, a simple data recovery program; removal of non-free music.
The developers of Q4OS have announced the availability of an updated build of Q4OS, a Debian-based Linux distribution with Trinity (a fork of KDE 3.5) as the distribution's preferred desktop: "Q4OS 0.5.24 released. New command-line tool to globally change display DPI is introduced in Q4OS to be usable with high-DPI screens. Important core system packages updates and security fixes applied. Users can appreciate better system integration and cleaner dependencies of Adobe Flash Player, especially in combination with Firefox 34 or later. The new version brings improvements for Q4OS developers too. The underlying development pack API has been extended with localization and internationalization tools and unique Q4OS installer has been integrated into core system, so Q4OS self-extracting setup files can be packed much more efficiently. We are getting ready to bring a stable version 1.0 in expectation of the forthcoming Debian 'Jessie' release, stay tuned." Here is the brief release announcement.
Q4OS 0.5.24 -- The Trinity desktop
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Proxmox 4.0 "Mail Gateway"
Daniela Häsler has announced the release of Proxmox 4.0 "Mail Gateway" edition, a specialist email proxy based on Debian GNU/Linux 7.8: "Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH has released version 4.0 of its antispam and antivirus solution, Proxmox Mail Gateway. All packages have been updated and the new version is now based on Debian 7.8. The product, available on the market since ten years, continues its focus on stability and performance. Proxmox Mail Gateway is an email security system protecting email servers from spam, viruses, trojans and phishing and is managed through an easy, web-based interface. In the integrated Proxmox Message Tracking Center users can get an overview of all email logs. The Mail Gateway can run on a physical system (bare-metal) or as a virtual appliance. For this, the customized Linux kernel already contains all the necessary drivers for QEMU/KVM (virtio), VMware tools or Hyper-V integration services." Read the rest of the press release for more information.
Tiny Core Linux 6.0 "piCore"
Béla Markus has announced the release of version 6.0 of Tiny Core Linux "piCore" edition, a minimalist distribution designed for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: "Team Tiny Core is pleased to announce the immediate availability of piCore 6.0. The most important change is the use of the official long-term 3.12.y (3.12.36) Linux kernel to offer more stable operation over experimental kernels and to get wider range of hardware supported, specially audio devices. The FLTK library has been updated to 1.3.3 to enable Unicode. FLTK 1.1 and 1.3 can be installed at the same time, and old applications using 1.1 will continue to work. The size of SD card images has been reduced. It boots in safe overclocking mode to shorten boot time by 20% with performance governor; switch to 'ondemand' when startup completes. Other changes: Core base synchronised with the common 6.0 base; Raspberry Pi firmware updated to January 19, 2015 version; e2fsprogs updated to 1.42.12..." Here is the full release announcement.
John Martinson has announced the release of Robolinux 7.8.1, the latest update of the project's beginner-friendly distribution based on Debian's stable branch: "Robolinux is quite proud and excited to announce its brand new 'Supersonic 3D Speed' GNOME version 7.8.1. A massive amount of time and effort was spent to significantly speed up this new Robolinux GNOME version by creating a more streamlined menu system, removing the Nautilus file manager load time lag to zero seconds, and optimizing many other GNOME core applications. The 32-bit and 64-bit variants are based on the newest rock-solid Debian stable 7.8 kernel and source code. Please note that the Robolinux GNOME FAQ section is being edited as fast as we can to reflect the completely new user interface. We also upgraded Robolinux Xfce and LXDE with the newest Debian upstream 7.8 kernels and security updates..." See the project's SourceForge page to read the rest of the release announcement.
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.2, a major new update of the project's FreeBSD-based specialist operating system for firewalls and routers: "I'm happy to announce the release of pfSense software version 2.2. This release brings improvements in performance and hardware support from the FreeBSD 10.1 base, as well as enhancements we've added such as AES-GCM with AES-NI acceleration, among a number of other new features and bug fixes. In the process of reaching release, we've closed out 392 total tickets (this number includes 55 features or tasks), fixed 135 bugs affecting 2.1.5 and prior versions, fixed another 202 bugs introduced in 2.2 by advancing the base OS version from FreeBSD 8.3 to 10.1, changing IPsec keying daemons from racoon to strongSwan, upgrading the PHP backend to version 5.5 and switching it from FastCGI to PHP-FPM, and adding the Unbound DNS Resolver, and many smaller changes." Read the rest of the release announcement for a complete list of changes and new features.
Clemens Toennies has announced the release of Netrunner 14.1, an updated build of the project's Kubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring a customised KDE 4.13 desktop: "This is the release announcement of Netrunner 14.1 Main edition 'Frontier'. The '14.1' indicates an updated and polished release of Netrunner 14 LTS on the same underlying base. Since 14.1 is using the same 'Trusty' base as Netrunner 14, there is no need for users of 14 to migrate; simply updating from the shared backports ppa of the Frontier release cycle should give the same result, while keeping customizations in place. So 14.1 is a fresh starting point for new users who want to install an up-to-date KDE 4-based system from the ISO image. This is the first time we are working on both updating our current LTS base (Frontier), while at the same time preparing the next release, Netrunner 15 (Prometheus), with the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.2." Here it the full release announcement with a screenshot.
Netrunner 14.1 -- Default desktop environment
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IPFire 2.15 Core 86
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.15 Core 86, a new stable build of the project's specialist Linux distribution for firewalls: "This is the official release announcement of IPFire 2.15 - Core Update 86 which brings various security fixes across several packages. Hence we recommend installing this update as soon as possible and to execute a reboot afterwards. The openssl library which implements the TLS/SSL protocol and is used by various other packages in the system has been updated to version 1.0.1k. This release fixes eight security issues that have all been classified with 'moderate'. OpenVPN has been updated to version 2.3.6 which also fixes a security vulnerability that allowed remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service. strongSwan has been updated to version 5.2.1. Originally, Core Update 86 was planned to become IPFire 2.17. This release has been postponed because we still require some people to send us feedback." The release announcement.
Zbigniew Konojacki has announced the release of 4MLinux 11.0, an updated version of the project's lightweight desktop Linux distribution built from scratch and featuring a customised JWM window manager: "The status of the 4MLinux 11.0 series has been changed to stable. Major changes in the core of the system, which now includes GNU C Library 2.20 and GNU Compiler Collection 4.9.2. The development of some of the 4MLinux editions has been dropped, but at the same time new 4MLinux spins have been announced. The most important one is 4MRescueKit, which has started its journey to become a lightweight alternative to other system rescue live CDs (there's a detailed description on the 4MLinux blog)." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot of the JWM desktop.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
December 2014 DistroWatch.com donation: AWStats|
We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the January 2015 DistroWatch.com donation is AWStats, "a free powerful and featureful tool that generates advanced web, streaming, ftp or mail server statistics, graphically." It receives US$300.00 in cash.
AWStats is a log analyzer that can look through large logs files to extract and summarize the data contained in the logs. AWStats can process log files produced by Apache, IIS, Webstar, several streaming servers, web proxies, along with most mail and FTP servers. Data can be extracted either from the command line or via CGI scripts.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and crypto currencies are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$42,275 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300)
* * * * *
Distributions added to the database
NethServer is a CentOS-based Linux distribution for servers. The product's main feature is a modular design which makes it simple to turn the distribution into a mail server and filter, web server, groupware, firewall, web filter, IPS/IDS or VPN server. It also includes a comprehensive web-based user interface that simplifies common administration tasks and enables single-click installation of several pre-configured modules. NethServer is designed primarily for small offices and medium-size enterprises.
Porteus Kiosk is a lightweight Linux operating system which has been restricted to allow only use of the web browser. Furthermore, the browser has been locked down to prevent users from tampering with settings or downloading and installing software. When the kiosk boots it automatically opens Firefox to your chosen home page. The history is not kept, no passwords are saved, and many menu items have been disabled for total security. When Firefox is restarted all caches are cleared and browser the reopens automatically with a clean session to ensure no trace of history is left.
Porteus Kiosk 3.2.0 -- Initial setup wizard
(full image size: 337kB, resolution: 1020x768 pixels)
Distributions added to waiting list
- ubermix. The ubermix distribution is based on Ubuntu and is geared toward fulfilling roles in education. The ubermix oeprating system is designed to install quickly and provide software useful for teachers and students.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 2 February 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 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|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Polar Bear Linux
Polar Bear Linux was a source-based GNU/Linux distribution derived from Linux From Scratch. All software packages are provided in the form of source code, which are compiled during installation. This has many advantages, as well as a major drawback in the time it takes to install the system (approximately 9 hours for a base system). Polar Bear Linux uses a simple package manager called Tarball Package Manager (TBPKG).