| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 604, 6 April 2015
Welcome to this year's 14th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Several major distributions are about to launch new releases and the coming weeks will provide a feast of new software to install and test. This week we discuss some of the important new releases and features coming down the pipe. In our News section we talk about the Linux Mint team polishing their desktop offerings and celebrate Debian developers selecting a release date for Debian 8 "Jessie". The Devuan project may see its first release later this month and we examine some of the differences between Devuan and its parent, Debian. The openSUSE distribution maintains a rolling release branch called Tumbleweed and we share some exciting developments coming soon to Tumbleweed users. Haiku is being coupled with commercial products and we also discuss how companies are working with the Haiku project. Running and experimenting with multiple distributions can play havoc with a person's boot loader configuration and so we share a special tool for working with the GRUB boot loader in our Tips and Tricks section. The Void distribution is one of the latest projects to be added to the DistroWatch database. Void offers binary and source package management as well as an alternative init technology called runit. Our review this week explores Void and its unusual init software. As usual, we share with you the distribution releases of the past week along with a list of distribution torrents we are seeding. We wish you all an amazing week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Looking into the Void distribution
The Void distribution was added to the DistroWatch database last month and I've received requests to review this unusual project. According to the Void distribution's website, the project can be described as follows:
Void is a general purpose operating system, based on the monolithic Linux kernel. Its package system allows you to quickly install, update and remove software; software is provided in binary packages or can be built directly from sources with the help of the XBPS source packages collection.
Currently there are over 4,500 optimized binary packages for the x86, x86_64, ARMv6, ARMv7 architectures; also there's support to build (natively or cross-compiling) from sources any package easily that is available in the XBPS source packages collection.
Void is an independent distribution and offers a rolling release approach to package management. There are many Void editions we can download. There are Void images for the BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi computers along with builds for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 machines. In addition, there are spins of Void for specific desktop environments and we can download images for Cinnamon, Enlightenment, MATE and Xfce flavours. I decided to begin my trial with the 64-bit Cinnamon build of Void. The download for the Cinnamon image is 454MB in size.
Booting from Void's "Cinnamon" media brought me to a blank console screen. Pressing the ALT key followed by a function key, such as F1, allowed me to access terminal screens with login prompts. However, a second or two after I switched to a terminal, the screen would go blank again. The pattern of switching to a text-based terminal, only to have it go blank, persisted. In short, I could access text consoles for brief periods of time and login, but the screen always went blank within three seconds, making it impractical to use the system or attempt to install the distribution.
Not yet ready to give up, I downloaded the Void "Base" edition to see if it would offer a different experience. The ISO for the Base edition is 188MB in size. Booting from the live media brings up a text console. This time the screen did not get wiped and I was able to read the instructions printed on the screen. The Void terminal provides a little documentation, offering us the login credentials for the root account and for a regular user account. We are also told how to launch the distribution's system installer and we are given the name of the package manager.
Void's system installer has a text interface that is arranged with a central "hub" menu. From this hub we can visit configuration options in the order of our choosing. The installer walks us through selecting our keyboard's layout, configuring our network interface, selecting the source location of Void's packages, setting our computer's hostname and selecting our language settings. We are also asked to select our time zone from a list and create a new password for the root account. We are further asked to select where Void should install its boot loader. When we get to partitioning our hard drive, the Void system installer launches the cfdisk partition manager. Once the disk has been partitioned we can select file systems for our partitions. I found ext2/3/4, Btrfs and XFS are supported by the installer. Once all the steps have been completed the installer copies its files to our hard drive and prompts us to reboot the computer.
The first time I booted my local copy of Void, the distribution locked up early in the boot process. However, this was the only time I saw Void lock-up. When a reboot was forced, the Void distribution booted cleanly and presented me with a text console and login prompt.
Signing into the root account presents us with a minimal command line interface provided by the Dash shell. We have access to GNU userland utilities and manual pages. The Void operating system is very light, using approximately 24MB of memory. I found my network connection was enabled automatically and, in the background, Void runs an OpenSSH server to allow remote logins. Void is a rolling release distribution so packages will be updated on a regular basis, but at install time I found the operating system ran on version 3.18 of the Linux kernel.
One unusual feature of Void's that has captured attention is the runit service manager. The runit software handles starting and stopping services a little differently than other init software. There is not much documentation on runit on the Void website and the links provided take us to other websites with, again, not much documentation. Following the instructions provided I was able to enable and disable system services such as the secure shell server. I found Void booted very quickly, going from the GRUB boot loader to a login prompt in under five seconds and I suspect part of the reason the distribution boots so quickly is runit's minimal approach.
Once I had a chance to play with the distribution's command line for a while I decided to add some additional software to the system, including a desktop environment. Void ships with a custom package manager called XBPS. There is a brief guide to using XBPS on the Void website and it seemed straight forward enough. I began with performing searches for packages using the xbps-query application. People familiar with Debian's apt-cache program will probably note similarities between apt-cache and xbps-query. I searched for a handful of programs, including the GNU compiler, Xfce, various login managers and the Xorg display server with none of these searches returning any results. I did note packages already installed, such as Bash and Dash, would show up in search results. At first I thought, and xbps-query seemed to confirm, that no remote repositories were enabled. However, a quick check through the XBPS configuration files showed there was a repository already set up. I tired manually adding a repository to xbps-query's command line, as shown in the XBPS manual and, again, no searches for new software returned any results.
Eventually, I gave up trying to find new applications and attempted to install all available software upgrades. This is done using the xbps-install program which appears to be similar in form and function to Debian's apt-get utility. Once xbps-install had downloaded the waiting package upgrades, 68MB of software in total, xbps-query started returning results for searches, I suspect because xbps-install updates the local package database. Still, xbps-query seemed to only be able to find some command line programs and not any desktop-related software. To find out what was available in Void's repository I had to visit their website and search for packages there. Using the Void website I tracked down the Clang compiler, Xorg packages, a login manager and two desktop environments (Xfce and Cinnamon). Sometimes while installing new packages the xbps-install package manager reported it was unable to find dependencies, but I found re-running the same install command a second time always fixed the problem.
After installing the Xorg software, additional video drivers, a login manager and desktop environments (along with enabling the desired services) I was unable to get Void to launch a graphical user interface. There is a small portion of the Void documentation which talks about enabling X, but I was unable to get a working desktop following the provided instructions.
With my hopes of running Void as a desktop operating system crushed for a second time, I turned my attention to experimenting with the command line interface. I found I was able to create and use regular user accounts, enable some network services and use the compiler. Unfortunately, I was not able to play audio files as Void was unable to make use of my sound card, whether the distribution was running on physical hardware or in a virtual machine. Void was very light on resources, rarely using more than 70MB of memory. When running in a virtual environment, Void barely used any of the host computer's CPU resources. During the week I occasionally downloaded additional software updates, about 50MB or so in total.
Perhaps much of my poor luck with Void was a result of hardware incompatibilities, it certainly seemed that way when I was trying to use the Cinnamon edition of the distribution. However, whether due to software bugs or drivers or hardware, my time with Void was unfruitful. The distribution's Cinnamon edition did not work for me in any practical sense and the Base edition, while it installed, offered only minimal functionality. The functionality that was provided was sometimes flawed. For example, the xbps-install program worked well for me, but xbps-query regularly failed to locate software, even when given the exact name of a package I wanted (and had located through the project's website). I could install multimedia programs, but audio didn't work. I could install X, but did not get a working graphical interface.
The main reason I tried Void was to get a look at the runit init software in action. Void starts up faster than perhaps any other Linux distribution I have worked with, so runit would appear to have its good points. I was able to enable and disable services without any trouble, so that is another point in runit's favour. I was not able to find much documentation about runit on Void's website, but a little looking through the local manual pages turned up information on how to start, stop and check on the status of background services. At this point I am very much a beginner when it comes to using runit, but I like what I have seen thus far. The runit software appears to be very lightweight (using only 1MB of memory compared to Upstart's 33MB and systemd's 185MB*), the service management commands have simple syntax and the runit scripts for managing services appear to all be just two or three lines of text apiece. This may be the most straight forward approach to managing services I have encountered, at least based on the experimenting I've done so far with Void.
A minor point I'd like to bring up is the use of Dash as the default shell. Dash is great for bringing operating systems on-line as it is designed to be fast and lightweight, but as an interactive user shell Dash leaves a lot to be desired. Bash is available on the distribution and I think it would have made more sense to have made Bash the default shell for the root account.
In the end, I appreciate what Void's developers are trying to do. I like the runit service manager and I'm open to new approaches to package management. However, at this time I think Void would benefit from more documentation to assist new users and bug testing to smooth out the user experience.
* * * * *
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
* The memory statistics provided come from running the top command and checking the virtual memory usage of PID 1 on Void 20150221 (runit), Ubuntu 14.04 (Upstart) and Korora 21 (systemd).
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint desktop improvements, Debian picks release date, Devuan chooses Xfce for its default desktop, Haiku in commercial products and openSUSE unveils new Tumbleweed features
The Linux Mint team has been hard at work, polishing the release candidate that will become Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), version 2. In the project's monthly newsletter some improvements to the login screen and Cinnamon desktop environment were discussed. "A huge amount of work went into making Cinnamon load faster. Sadly, we're only half-way there and the results aren't conclusive yet. On one of our test machines Cinnamon is able to load in less than a second in normal conditions, but can take up to 12 seconds to load the very fist time the computer is turned on. Investigations showed that this delay took place in cinnamon-menus and cinnamon-desktop, during the initial loading of application info (from /etc/xdg/menus, /usr/share/applications) and icon themes. Through optimization, the loading time was reduced from 12 seconds to 7 seconds average which is a first step but doesn't yet solve anything ("slow" and "slower" both feel "slow"). We're still working on this and hoping we'll be able to drastically reduce that initial loading time." The work being done on Cinnamon and the MDM login screen will debut in the upcoming release of LMDE 2 and will likely appear in the next point release of Linux Mint's main edition.
* * * * *
The release date for Debian 8 "Jessie" has been announced and it looks as though April 25th will be the launch date for Debian's next stable release. The developers are currently busy fixing the remaining release critical bugs. Niels Thykier wrote in a mailing list post, "We now have a target release date of Saturday the 25th of April. We have checked with core teams, and this seems to be acceptable for
everyone. This means we are able to begin the final preparations for
a release of Debian 8 "Jessie". The intention is only to lift the date if something really critical pops up that is not possible to handle as an errata, or if we end up
technically unable to release that weekend." The Debian distribution is the parent or grandparent to over one hundred Linux distributions and the work done to "Jessie" will soon spread throughout a large portion of the Linux community.
As the launch of Debian 8 approaches, so does the release of related projects. Some people are wondering if we will soon see the first stable version of Devuan, a fork of Debian which removes systemd components. In a post last week the Devuan team presented their progress and the differences between Debian and Devuan. One of the interesting changes happening in Devuan is the adoption of Xfce as the distribution's default desktop environment. "As Xfce 4.12 was released on the 28th of February, it was also chosen to become the default DE in Devuan, which makes it the first non-systemd difference between [Debian] Jessie and [Devuan] Jessie. David Harrison talked with the Xfce team, and @jaromil confirms existing coordination and good terms between Devuan and Xfce."
* * * * *
The Haiku operating system is often seen as an interesting project and a welcome descendant of BeOS, yet Haiku is rarely seen in the wild, being used mostly by hobbyists and people interested in operating system development. That may be changing as Haiku is increasingly being used in commercial products. The latest Haiku monthly newsletter discusses two companies that are shipping products coupled with Haiku with donations and improvements to the operating system being sent back to the Haiku project. "TuneTracker Systems is one of the professional users of Haiku, and they contribute to the project by providing a lot of testing and feedback, donate money to Haiku inc. whenever possible (all their computer purchases are done using goodshop, for example), and pay developers directly when they really need a problem solved (this year they paid mmlr to work on the CDDA issues). izcorp is another company planning to use Haiku in a commercial product. Their line of studio recording systems is currently running BeOS and Zeta, but they are working on an update to Haiku. Ithamar is working with them to get their hardware fully supported, and the changes will be upstreamed to Haiku in the coming weeks. This includes several fixes to the USB stack, the intel_extreme driver, and there could be more to come." It is great to see companies working with open source projects to the benefit of both parties.
* * * * *
Tumbleweed is the rolling release edition of openSUSE and a good place to see what technologies will be appearing in future fixed releases of the great green distribution. The next set of Tumbleweed images are expected to feature a few important changes. "It's official, GNOME will be in the next Tumbleweed snapshot and the development experience is highly anticipated. A clean installation works, but the guys are working on one last test before it's released. We're not promising an early Easter gift, but Tumbleweed users won't have to wait long for GNOME's latest upgrade. A small change to Linux can be seen in Tumbleweed with a change from the syslog to systemd-journal; the systemd-journal as a binary file needs special tools to look at it. The topic was discussed on how to provide the ability to import structured log messages from systemd journal to syslog and you can read more about this discussion. App Armor service is causing a longer delay on start-up, but the solution is on the mailing list link above." Other upcoming events include the availability of Firefox 37 and the transition from KDE 4 to Plasma 5.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
I frequently receive questions asking how to work with or customize the GNU GRUB software. GRUB is a boot loader, the software which loads our operating system when the computer boots. GRUB not only enables the booting of our operating system, it also allows us to select which operating system to boot from a list of multiple options. Unfortunately, the current version of GRUB (GRUB 2) can be awkward to work with. The GRUB configuration files and utilities are scattered around the operating system and sometimes need to be modified in unintuitive ways in order to reach the intended result. This used to be a problem, especially for those of us giving technical support from a remote location. However, I am pleased to say there is a convenient and friendly tool which makes customizing GRUB much easier.
Grub Customizer is a graphical application which makes adjusting GRUB's configuration a simple point-and-click exercise. According to Grub Customizer's Launchpad page, "Grub Customizer is a graphical interface to configure the GRUB2/BURG settings and menu entries." The software includes the following features:
Grub Customizer is divided into three tabs with each tab containing configuration options for a particular aspect of GRUB 2. The first tab is the List tab. The List tab shows the menu entries which will be displayed to the user when the computer boots. Typically the menu entries include installed operating systems, possibly older versions of the operating system's kernel, a recovery option and a memory test. The List tab allows us to add, edit or remove menu entries, changing the boot options the user has when the computer powers on.
- move, remove or rename menu entries (they stay updatable by update-grub)
- edit the contents of menu entries or create new ones
- support for GRUB2 and BURG
- re-installation of the bootloader to MBR
- change settings like default operating system, kernel parameters, background image and text colours
Grub Customizer 4.0.6 -- List configuration tab
(full image size: 68kB, resolution: 902x629 pixels)
The second tab is the General tab. Here we can set the default menu entry, the one which gets selected if the user does not interact with GRUB at boot time. We can also decide whether the boot menu will be visible or not (many distributions default to hiding the boot menu) and how long GRUB should wait before loading the default entry. We can also specify custom kernel parameters to be passed to the operating system at boot time.
Grub Customizer 4.0.6 -- General settings tab
(full image size: 62kB, resolution: 902x629 pixels)
The third and final tab is the Appearance tab. Here we can set the font and background colours for GRUB, add a background image and add a theme to our boot menu. During my time playing with Grub Customizer, this was the one weak point of my experience. I found my background image and font selections were ignored and my boot menu always displayed white text on a blue background without any sign of the image I had selected as my GRUB wallpaper.
Grub Customizer 4.0.6 -- Appearance settings tab
(full image size: 292kB, resolution: 908x629 pixels)
What I like about Grub Customizer is it puts all our options in plain sight and makes it easy to find and adjust the settings we want to change. Applying our new configuration is as easy as clicking the Save button in the upper-left corner of the window. Grub Customizer is definitely a time saver for me and it makes adjusting the GRUB boot menu a lot easier, especially when walking new Linux users through the process of changing their boot options.
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, make sure to include a link to the ISO file you want us to seed 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.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found here. All torrents we make available here are also 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: 40
- Total downloads completed: 22,367
- Total data uploaded: 4.0TB
|Released Last Week
BlackArch Linux 2015.03.29
Gaurov Soni has announced the release of BlackArch Linux version 2015.03.29, an Arch Linux-based distribution designed for penetration testers and security researchers: "Today we have released new BlackArch Linux ISO images. The new ISO images include over 1,200 tools for i686 and x86_64 architectures and over 1,000 tools for armv6h and armv7h architectures. Here's a short changelog: lots of bug fixes; change splash for bootloader (syslinux / GRUB); updated pacman.conf settings; updated /etc/motd and /etc/issue updated BlackArch install scripts (version bump: 0.8); minor tweaks related to ISO builds; updated menu entries for Fluxbox, Awesome and Openbox; updated all tools; added more than 150 new tools. We wish to thank all of BlackArch's users, mirrors, and supporters. Thanks for your help." Visit the project's blog to read the brief release announcement.
Linux Lite 2.4
Jerry Bezencon has announced the launch of Linux Lite 2.4. The new version of Linux Lite features smooth ugrades between point releases. There have also been a number of improvements, including VPN support and the installer now supports disk encryption. "With the release of Linux Lite 2.4 Final, we continue to evolve into a fully featured, light weight free operating system. Major announcement - there is now an upgrade path on Linux Lite from within the LTS series for each release, update your current install from now until April 2016 with one click, see below for details on this. There are enhancements to Lite Software, Install Updates, Lite Tweaks and Network Share Settings. Bountysource has been a major factor in our ability to enhance our software. By paying developers to help improve our software, we improve the quality and usability of our applications. Disk Encryption and LVM is now supported - see below for details. There is added support for exFAT, Android MTPFS, VPN connections and NTP to name a few. You get the latest Whisker Menu, there's a new default Terminal theme, and the Windows (Super) key now opens the Menu." More details (and screen shots) are available in the release announcement.
Linux Lite 2.4 -- Welcome screen
(full image size: 254kB, resolution: 1280x1024)
Karanbir Singh has announced the availability of the first point update to CentOS 7, a Linux distribution built by compiling the source code of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7: "We would like to announce the general availability of CentOS Linux 7 (1503) for 64-bit x86-compatible machines. This is the second major release for CentOS 7 and is tagged as 1503. This build is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1. This merges in all base, updates, and CR (continuous release) components released in the month of March 2015. If you have been using the CR repositories on your previous CentOS Linux 7 install, you already have all the components used to compose this new release. This release supersedes all previously released content for CentOS Linux 7, and therefore we highly encourage all users to upgrade their machines. Information on different upgrade strategies and how to handle stale content is included in the release notes." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Emmabuntüs 3 1.01
The Emmabuntüs team has announced the availability of a new release of their lightweight distribution for recycled computers. The new release is based on Xubuntu 14.04.2 LTS and features a range of useful desktop software. "This new release is designed to improve the efficiency of the refurbishing tasks within the Emmaus communities which use Emmabuntüs, and also for our friends JerryClan in France and Africa (Ivory Coast, Togo, Cameroon, Chad, Benin and Senegal) who smartly practice the hardware re-use by making Jerry Do-It-Together – which also uses Emmabuntüs - to develop locally innovative usages. This version 1.01 includes the following fixes and enhancements: Based on Xubuntu 14.04.2; plugins update for Firefox, Chromium, Thunderbird; Ltools 2.8 extension update within Libre Office; fix of the Calibri font non-installation; addition of Minitube; addition of smb4k; the Accessibility category was added which includes a Virtual Glass Magnifier and a script to ease the cursor customization; fix of the keyboard mapping back to QWERTY after the install." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Emmabuntüs 3 1.01 -- Xfce desktop and application menu
(full image size: 558kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
LXLE 14.04.2, 12.04.5
The developers behind the LXLE distribution have announced the availability of LXLE 14.04.2 and LXLE 12.04.5, the project's respective 64-bit and 32-bit branches. The new release features a number of important application changes. For example, Firefox, Thunderbird and Filezilla have been replaced by the SeaMonkey suit and FireFTP. The Vokoscreen reader has also been replaced by the RecordMyDesktop application. Plus the update manager application has been dropped in favour of the Synaptic package manager. "The next incremental update of LXLE has been released, ticking it up to 14.04.2 along with the last 32-bit version of LXLE ever, which is based on 12.04.5. The 32-bit closely mirrors the changes to the latest 64-bit edition of the OS. As announced in our beta release LXLE now sports a highly customized version of the SeaMonkey Internet Suite. A fairly lengthy article was written on why this decision was made and that it wasn't something taken lightly. To add to that the other underlying reason was we wanted the distribution to showcase an excellent community driven browser to help spur support and perhaps encourage developers to join the project and lend a hand to the overworked small team of Mozilla volunteers still moving forward with Netscape's original suite idea." Further details and screen shots are included in the project's release notes.
LXLE 14.04.2 -- Running the LXDE desktop
(full image size: 1.7MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
MakuluLinux 8 "Unity"
Jacque Montague Raymer has announced the launch of a new branch of MakuluLinux 8. The new MakuluLinux edition is based on Ubuntu 14.04.2 and features a customized Unity desktop. Apart from a special look, the MakuluLinux edition of Unity features three panels where users can access information and features. "Now sporting a unique three panel system that allows the user complete control of his system without even needing to minimize a window. This release is 64-bit with EFI support and offers the Constructor tool to re-spin your own custom ISO." The announcement goes into more detail on the unique desktop layout: "MakuluLinux Unity now sports a fully operational bottom panel, this panel includes a classic menu, window list, update notifications and a clock. It acts and functions just like a normal bottom panel, and it makes use of a multi mode system. When not needed it will auto-hide itself, when in fullscreen mode it will reserve panel space. When not used it will also auto-fade into background." This release also features the Steam gaming client, WINE, PlayOnLinux, support for watching Netflix and the Popcorn Time client. Further information on the release, a list of features and a video tour can be found in the project's release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to the database|
ChaletOS is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Xubuntu and featuring the Xfce desktop. It provides a simple and intuitive desktop interface, modest hardware requirements and five years of security support. The name ChaletOS is derived from Swiss mountain houses whose concepts of simplicity, beauty and recognisability inspired the creation and design of ChaletOS.
ChaletOS 14.04.2 -- Default desktop
(full image size: 87kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Astra Linux. Astra Linux is a security oriented Linux distribution developed in Russia. Developed and included in the operating system are software components that extend its functionality and increase the level of security and convenience of use. Built-in security is designed and developed in collaboration with the Academy of the Russian FSB.
- Crossfade GNU/Linux. Crossfade is a cross-platform digital DJ system for USB flash and portable hard drives. Crossfade GNU/Linux allows you to use a USB drive with your music collection to DJ on any modern PC (with an x86 or x86_64 CPU), including Apple Macs, using the DJ program Mixxx.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 April 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 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|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Vinux is an Ubuntu-derived distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users. By default Vinux provides two screen readers, Braille display support and a friendly community. When booting the live Vinux image, the users are greeted by the Orca screen reader that enables them to navigate the graphical Unity desktop using keyboard commands. Additionally, Brltty provides grade 1 and 2 Braille output via Orca.