| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 606, 20 April 2015
Welcome to this year's 16th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This is an exciting time for open source enthusiasts as there are a lot of changes on the horizon. Our News section is packed this week with new features and ideas being shared, such as changes coming to Ubuntu's imminent 15.04 release and the Debian developers electing a new Project Leader. Debian recently received the green light to provide DVD and ZFS support and we talk about these upcoming changes. NetBSD 7.0 is just around the corner and the highly portable operating system has a lot of new features prepared, including new graphic capabilities. FreeBSD developers are considering a new method of maintaining the base of their operating system that has some wondering if FreeBSD is becoming more Linux-like. Plus we talk about GNU Hurd 0.6, changes coming to Xubuntu 15.10 and Evolve OS's name change. First though we start this week with a review of Linux Mint's new Debian Edition release, the first version of Linux Mint to be based on Debian's Stable repositories. In place of our usual Questions and Answers column this week we launch the first in a series of articles examining common misunderstandings in the open source community with this week's Myths and Misunderstandings tackling ZFS. Plus we hear from Fedora's Matthew Miller in our Ask A Leader column as Miller discusses security, touch screens and licensing. Then check out our Torrent Corner where we share the distribution torrents we are seeding. We wrap up this issue with the distribution releases of the past week and a donation to the GIMP project. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition"
- News: Features coming to Ubuntu 15.04, Debian elects new Project Leader and considers ZFS & DVD support, changes coming to NetBSD 7.0, using pkgng to manage FreeBSD's base system, GNU Hurd 0.6 released, Xubuntu changes productivity packages and Evolve OS undergoes a name change
- Myths and misunderstandings: ZFS
- Ask a leader: Matthew Miller of the Fedora Project
- Torrent corner: Antergos, Linux Mint, pfSense, Toutou
- Released last week: Scientific Linux 7.1, Toutou Linux 6.0 "SlaXen RCX", Hanthana Linux 21
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 15.04, Debian 8.0
- Donations: The GNU Image Manipulation Program receives $350
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition"
Linux Mint is one of the world's most popular Linux desktop distributions. Interest in the project has kept Linux Mint at the top of DistroWatch's page hit ranking charts for quite some time and the current trends suggest it will remain there. Mint's success seems to stem from the project's willingness to listen to user feedback and the developers' conservative approach when it comes to Mint's desktop interface. While other popular distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu have radically changed their desktop environments in recent years, Mint has largely stayed consistent, introducing small, evolutionary changes. Mint, unlike some other mainstream distributions, provides Flash and multimedia support in the default install, further adding to the project's appeal.
The latest release to come out of the Linux Mint project is a special version. This new release is only the second version of Mint to be based on Debian rather than Ubuntu and the first version to be based on Debian's Stable repositories rather than Debian's Testing branch. Linux Mint Debian Edition (version 2) marks the creation of a new branch of Linux Mint and I was very interested to see how the new release, code named "Betsy", would perform.
Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) is based on packages from Debian "Jessie" and is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds. There are two flavours of LMDE, one ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment while the other ships with the MATE desktop. I decided to try the Cinnamon spin of LMDE and found the ISO for this spin to be about 1.5GB in size. Booting from the LMDE media presented me with the Cinnamon desktop. Cinnamon has a traditional layout with icons on the desktop and a panel placed at the bottom of the screen. The icons on the desktop can be used to open the distribution's file manager and launch the LMDE system installer. On the panel at the bottom of the display we can find the application menu, task switcher, a few quick-launch icons and the system tray.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- Running the backup utility
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Mint uses a different system installer for its LMDE branch than it does for its Ubuntu-based editions. The installer is a graphical application which begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. We are then asked to select our time zone from a map of the world. The following screen asks us to confirm our keyboard's layout. The installer incorrectly assumed my keyboard was of French design, but I was able to select the correct "US" layout from a list of supported options. The next screen asks us to create a user account and to create a password for this account. Partitioning the hard drive comes next and we are shown a diagram of disk's current layout. We can click a button to launch the GParted partition manager from this page and, using GParted, change our partition layout. Once we have the partitions we want we can then return to the system installer and right-click on partitions to assign them mount points and file systems. Once our disk has been partitioned we are shown a summary of the actions the system installer will take and we are asked to confirm the installer's actions are correct before it will begin the installation process. For the most part I like the LMDE installer, I found it to be a lot faster and easier to navigate when compared next to Debian's system installer. However, I did run into two problems while installing LMDE.
The first issue came up while I was installing Mint in a virtual machine. The virtual machine had a pristine storage drive without any partitions on it. When I got to the partitioning screen, Mint's installer correctly identified that no partitions were present and offered to create a default layout. If I chose to accept the default partitioning layout (one swap partition and a single ext4 partition for the entire file system) then the installer would proceed normally. When I opted to manually partition my blank hard drive the installer would immediately crash. This happened multiple times, forcing me to accept the default partition layout. The second bug came about when I tried to install Mint on a partition formatted with Btrfs. While the system installer claims to support Btrfs, attempting to install LMDE on a partition formatted with Btrfs caused the installer to crash. I decided to fall back to using Mint's default file system, ext4, for all my installations.
Once Mint's installer finished copying its files to my hard drive, I rebooted the computer. The first thing I noticed about my fresh installation was that Mint's boot loader (GRUB) displays a list of boot options when we turn on the computer. Some distributions hide the boot loader if they are the only operating system available, but even in a fresh virtual machine, Mint's boot loader shows up, giving us access to extra options. I like this small touch that makes the distribution just a little more accessible. Mint proceeds to boot to a graphical login screen. The first time we sign into our user account we are shown a welcome screen. The welcome screen contains many links to Linux Mint resources. With a click of a button the welcome screen will connect us with a list of Mint's features, take us to the community forum, bring up a hardware compatibility database or open the package manager. Clicking one button will make sure multimedia support is installed on the distribution (multimedia support was already available in my case), clicking another button opens the distribution's package manager and yet another connects us with the distribution's on-line chat room where we can seek support. Other buttons launch Mint's backup utility and bring up the project's errata and donation pages.
Once the welcome screen has been dismissed we are presented with the Cinnamon desktop. During my time with LMDE I ran the distribution in two test environments, a desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. When running on the desktop computer LMDE ran flawlessly. My screen was set to its maximum resolution, networking and sound worked out of the box and the desktop was responsive. When running LMDE in a virtual machine the experience was generally good. Sound, networking and my display were all set up properly. I did find when I logged into Cinnamon while running LMDE in VirtualBox a notification would appear warning me Cinnamon was unable to use hardware rendering and the system was falling back on using software rendering. The user is warned software rendering may use more CPU, possibly making the desktop sluggish. I did find Cinnamon was a little slower to respond in the virtual machine, but not terribly so. A trip into the distribution's control panel allowed me to disable visual effects and shut down a few services I was not using. After that Cinnamon ran very well in the virtual environment and was pleasantly responsive. I hope in a future release the developers will automatically disable visual effects when Cinnamon in is software rendering mode, similar to the way KDE handles the situation. In either test environment LMDE used approximately 380MB of memory. With a few services turned off and visual effects disabled I found the distribution's memory footprint was reduced to 320MB.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- Installing software updates
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In the Cinnamon system tray we find an icon which lets us know when software updates have become available. When the icon turns blue we can click it to open the distribution's update manager. The update manager displays a list of available package updates and each update is assigned a safety rating in the range of 1 through 5. A rating of 1 indicates the update has been tested and is considered safe while packages with ratings of 4 and 5 are filtered out by default as installing them may cause regressions. We can choose which safety levels the update manager should filter. The first day I ran LMDE there were six updates available, totalling 18MB in size. Through the week a few more package upgrades trickled in, each one installing cleanly and I did not encounter any problems from software upgrades.
Earlier I mentioned Mint's control panel and I feel it deserves some attention. Mint's control panel provides users with a central location where we can adjust desktop and system settings. The control panel is populated by modules that are represented by large, colourful icons. We can search through the control panel, using key words to find the settings we wish to adjust. Using the provided modules we can change Cinnamon's background, enable or disable visual effects, change the theme and adjust the fonts. There are modules for adding applets and extensions as well as modules for configuring the desktop's hot corners and there is a module for changing the style of notifications. Additional modules allow us to manage user accounts, configure our network settings, set up printers and manage software repositories. I did not find a module that would allow me to enable or disable background services, but there is a package in the repositories called "bum" that will provide a graphical service manager. I generally found the configuration modules to be easy to navigate and I encountered no problems while using them.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- System Settings panel
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LMDE ships with two graphical software managers. The first is appropriately labelled "Software Manager" and shows us categories of software that are represented by large, colourful icons. Selecting a category of software brings up a list of applications in the given category. Each application is presented with its icon, a brief description and a user supplied rating. Clicking on a package brings up a page with a full description of the software, screen shots and reviews supplied by other users. We can install or remove a selected package with a single click. Software Manager performs new installations and package removals in the background, allowing us to continue browsing through lists of packages. I performed several installations and a few package removals using Software Manager and they all went well. I like that Software Manager allows us to search for items by name. While Software Manager focuses on desktop applications we can search for and locate command line software too.
Synaptic is the second graphical package manager. Synaptic shows us a simple list of packages available to us, sorted alphabetically. We can click on a package to install, remove or upgrade our selection. Using Synaptic we can create batches of install/upgrade/remove actions and the package manager then locks the interface while it works. LMDE pulls packages from a combination of Debian "Jessie" software repositories and its own, custom repositories. One aspect of LMDE I enjoyed was, after installing a new desktop application, a new entry would appear in the Cinnamon application menu, displayed in bold text. The bold text makes finding newly installed applications easier.
Linux Mint 2 "Debian Edition" -- Installing new applications
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LMDE ships with a small, but very useful collection of desktop applications. We are presented with Firefox (with Flash enabled), the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin messaging software, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Transmission bittorrent utility. LibreOffice is available along with the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a document viewer and an image viewer. We are given the Banshee audio player, the Brasero disc burning software, the Totem video player and the VLC multimedia player. Mint ships with multimedia codecs, enabling us to play media files. The distribution ships with an archive manager, a calculator and a text editor along with a backup utility and a tool for blocking access to specified Internet domains. The Network Manager software is included to help us get on-line. In the background we find Java is installed for us, the GNU Compiler Collection is available and the distribution runs on the Linux kernel, version 3.16.
While experimenting with Mint I found all the software that shipped with the distribution worked as expected. I had wondered if LMDE might be missing some functionality available in Mint's Ubuntu-based products. For the most part, Mint's branches are very similar in functionality and I encountered no problems. LMDE may be missing a few things, such a PPA support, and I have yet to try out some corner cases such as mounting uncommon file systems, but so far LMDE appears to be almost exactly on par with Mint's Main edition.
One aspect of LMDE I found interesting is that it is perhaps the only mainstream Linux desktop distribution shipping this year without systemd as the default init software. While LMDE does include some systemd libraries, they are kept to a minimum. The distribution ships the older SysV init software rather than systemd (the default for Debian "Jessie") or Upstart (used by Mint's Main edition). I am not sure if the decision to ship with SysV init is a technical one or a political one, but it does make LMDE stand out from most other Linux distributions, including its own parent distribution.
Despite a few problems I ran into early on with the system installer, in the end I formed a very positive opinion of LMDE. The distribution offered quick boot times, a responsive desktop (even in a virtual machine), lots of functionality out of the box and a very friendly user interface. I found the control panel easy to navigate and the software managers were pleasant to use. I like the Cinnamon application menu and find it slightly easier to navigate and search when compared next to the Mint menu. Cinnamon proved itself to be a flexible desktop environment and I like that the developers mostly disabled flashy effects and hot corners in the default configuration. We can add eye candy and extensions later, but we start out with a clean and responsive interface.
Mint ships with multimedia codecs and Flash, plus a selection of some of the best (in my opinion) desktop applications currently available in the open source community. LMDE handled my hardware without any problems. In addition, the project has lots of great resources for new users, such as a hardware compatibility database, active forums and community chat room. These are nice extras to have and I appreciate that Mint makes these resources easy to find through the welcome screen.
Apart from the difficulty I faced trying to set up LMDE on the Btrfs advanced file system, I had only good experiences with the distribution and I think, despite the project's warnings that LMDE is not as "mainstream" or stable as Mint's Ubuntu-based editions, LMDE provides a newcomer friendly, useful and stable operating system. I definitely recommend giving it a try.
* * * * *
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)
Features coming to Ubuntu 15.04, Debian elects new Project Leader and considers ZFS & DVD support, changes coming to NetBSD 7.0, using pkgng to manage FreeBSD's base system, GNU Hurd 0.6 released, Xubuntu changes productivity packages and Evolve OS undergoes a name change
Very soon we expect to see a new release of Canonical's Ubuntu operating system along with the usual torrent of Ubuntu community distributions. An article on ZDNet sums up some of the more interesting features users can expect to see in Ubuntu 15.04. Chief among the changes coming to Ubuntu are local application menus, applications will contain their own menu rather than using a global menu bar at the top of the screen. Ubuntu 15.04 will also introduce systemd as the default init software. "Ubuntu's developers decided that, even though they were a few days past the feature release freeze date, they would switch 15.04's default to systemd. The change will affect `Ubuntu desktop/server/cloud and the flavors like Kubuntu, but not Ubuntu Touch.' Ubuntu Touch, Canonical's Ubuntu for smart phones and tablets, is sticking with Upstart because, `Migration to systemd is blocked on Touch (too old kernels, some unported jobs), and was not scheduled for Vivid.'"
* * * * *
Changes are coming to the Debian project. Not only is Debian 8.0 "Jessie" expected to arrive before the end of the month, the Debian developers have just finished electing their new Project Leader. The votes have been tallied and Neil McGovern has been elected as the new Debian Project Leader. Neil McGovern was elected on a platform which promotes the implementation of personal package archives (PPAs) which have been popular in the Ubuntu community for years. McGovern also said he will encourage people to contribute to Debian in ways other than creating packages. "I will promote and encourage engagement in non-packaging aspects of Debian contribution. We need to reach out more to people who aren't involved with these teams, and encourage them as an important part of producing the distribution. One method to help achieve this is via a mechanism we've had for a while - mentoring, but applying it to non-packaging work. I'd like to see this embedded into all of our processes."
Following the election, departing Debian Project Leader Lucas Nussbaum posted a note in which he summed up the state of some ongoing projects and conference plans. Two interesting points were raised in Nussbaum's note. The first was a link to an ITWire interview Nussbaum gave recently in which he discusses systemd and diversity in Debian. The other point was the announcement that Debian had been seeking legal advice regarding whether the project can include support for playing DVDs (via libdvdcss) and the ZFS advanced file system. The Software Freedom Law Center has given the go ahead for Debian to distribution both ZFS and libdvdcss packages and we should soon see these features appear in Debian's repositories.
* * * * *
The release of NetBSD 7.0 is expected to arrive soon. Youri Mouton recently posted a list of changes and new features coming to the highly portable operating system. NetBSD 7.0 will run on 39 different architectures, offer multi-processor support for many ARM cores, run on the Raspberry Pi mini computer, introduce Clang as an optional compiler and LibreSSL will be available as an alternative to OpenSSL. The post further talks about new video card support coming to NetBSD: "Taylor Campbell (@riadstradh) has been working hard on getting DRM/KMS, the kernel graphics drivers from Linux 3.15 ready. It supports many cards like the Intel, up through Haswell and many Radeons. He also imported Nouveau code, which would make recent NVIDIA cards work; it compiles and links, but it is very much a work in progress." More details on NetBSD 7.0 can be found in Youri Mouton's post.
* * * * *
Last week the BSD Now podcast conducted an interview with pkgng developer Baptiste Daroussin. In the interview it was revealed pkgng, the current package manager for FreeBSD, may soon be used to manage and update components of FreeBSD's base operating system. This would be a shift from the current model where the core of FreeBSD is treated more or less as one whole component while third-party software is treated as a collection of add-on packages. Breaking the base operating system into a collection of individual packages would make FreeBSD administration and patching more flexible. The proposed changes to pkgng would further make running and maintaining custom kernels on FreeBSD easier as the kernel would no longer be firmly tied to the rest of the platform.
* * * * *
GNU Hurd is the GNU project's microkernel which is designed to act as the underlying kernel to the GNU operating system. Though Hurd has never really gained popularity and wide-spread use the way the Linux kernel has, developers continue to work on Hurd. Hurd's microkernel design and focus on technical correctness make it an interesting project. GNU Hurd 0.6 was released last week, presenting some new features and a clean-up of the code. The Hurd kernel has been worked into some GNU distributions, perhaps the most functional being Debian's GNU/Hurd port.
* * * * *
The Xubuntu project recently held a vote over which image manipulation and productivity applications should be included in a default installation. The developers made the decision to drop AbiWord, Gnumeric and the GNU Image Manipulation Program in favour of including LibreOffice. Sean David, Xubuntu's Technical Lead stated bugs in AbiWord made LibreOffice a better choice for users who need productivity software. The changes to Xubuntu's default software will be made during the 15.10 development cycle and be shipped in October 2015.
* * * * *
The Evolve OS project is undergoing a name change to Solus. According to a blog post on the project's new website the change in brand comes about as a result of a trademark conflict. "Firstly we'd like to apologize for the downtime, confusion and general inconvenience of late. In short we've been involved in a naming dispute for the previously named `Evolve OS' project. On April 1st (yep, really) we were contacted regarding a naming dispute over the use of 'OS'. In the past the Evolve OS project had applied for a trademark in the name of `Evolve OS', which was going through a 2 month period in which those opposing the mark can file their objection. UK law requires the opposing party to first make contact before filing against a claim, which is what happened here. As our project is based in the UK (primarily due to my presence here, as its sole legal entity) I must of course oblige with UK law (UK trademark application)." Since Solus OS was created by the same developer as Evolve OS, changing the project's name to Solus takes the project back to its roots, in a fashion. Under any name, we wish the distribution the best of luck.
| Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Myths and Misunderstandings: ZFS
As someone who sets up, maintains and trouble-shoots computers, one of the most interesting (and often time consuming) aspects of my work is trying to understand and correct the misconceptions people have when it comes to technology. Calls to my phone and messages to my inbox frequently show that people carry with them a great deal of misinformation about what technology is and how it works. For instance, many people believe their computer cannot be infected with malware if they run anti-virus software. Many people use cloud synchronization software in place of backups, not realizing an accidental file deletion will remove the file from all their devices. Many people do not understand copyright and software licensing restrictions. I try, whenever possible, to clear up these misunderstandings in the hope of making computers less confusing to the people who use them. With this in mind, I present the first of a series of columns dedicated to common questions and misunderstandings I encounter on a regular basis, particularly in the open source community.
This week's subject is ZFS. ZFS is an advanced file system and storage management technology. Using ZFS it is easy to manage multiple storage devices (usually hard drives), create file system snapshots, work with RAID configurations and mirror disks. I probably run into more misinformation about ZFS than any other open source software, so I will try to tackle several aspects of ZFS quickly.
Perhaps the most common misunderstanding I run into is that ZFS is designed exclusively for enterprise level hardware, particularly machines with ECC RAM and a lot of memory. It is understandable many people believe this since many blogs and technical forums have kept the myth alive. However, there is very little truth behind the idea ZFS is resource hungry and there is no truth to the idea ZFS requires a specific type of RAM to run properly. The truth is I usually run ZFS storage pools on machines with very little RAM and there is no need to use a particular type of RAM.
So, if ZFS does not require a lot of memory or special hardware, such as ECC RAM, where do these ideas come from? The Z file system was developed with huge amounts of storage in mind and is often run in environments where accuracy is a top priority. While ZFS was designed with these environments in mind, the file system can be run just about anywhere, including on cheap consumer machines with less than 1GB of memory. The ZFS on Linux project has this to say about ZFS and ECC RAM:
Using ECC memory for ZFS is strongly recommended for enterprise environments where the strongest data integrity guarantees are required. Without ECC memory rare random bit flips caused by cosmic rays or by faulty memory can go undetected. If this were to occur ZFS (or any other file system) will write the damaged data to disk and be unable to automatically detect the corruption.
As you can see, the ECC RAM suggestion only applies to enterprise environments with strict integrity requirements. Also, it is important to note that data corruption can happen under any file system, there is nothing special about ZFS that would make it more vulnerable to corruption using non-ECC RAM.
As for the amount of memory ZFS requires, some people will throw out strange ideas like 8GB of RAM are recommended or that ZFS will not run properly on machines with less than 2GB of memory. This is completely false. The reason many people think ZFS needs a lot of memory is ZFS will aggressively cache data in memory using Adaptive Replacement Cache (ARC). Basically, a computer running ZFS will try to use up to 50% of the computer's memory (or all RAM, minus 1GB) for caching. On machines with 2GB of RAM, ZFS will use about 1GB. On machines with 16GB, ZFS might use 12GB. But, like any other file system, when the memory containing cached data is required for something else, ZFS frees the memory and gets out of the way, allowing the operating system to repossess the memory. When the operating system no longer needs the memory, ZFS will take it back. Further, ZFS can be tuned to use a smaller percentage of a computer's memory, so only 30% or 25% of memory will be used for cached data.
This behaviour of ZFS is very similar to the default behaviour of Linux and BSD operating systems. Any memory not being used, the wisdom goes, is being wasted. Linux and the BSDs will use all spare memory to cache files until such a time when memory is needed for something else, like an application. ZFS does the same thing. Unfortunately, people tend to see ZFS using a lot of otherwise unused memory and assume ZFS requires that much RAM, rather than realizing ZFS is only using that memory because the memory is not needed by any other processes.
Another common misunderstanding about ZFS is the idea that it cannot be legally shipped with Linux distributions due to licensing restrictions. This is not entirely correct. ZFS and the Linux kernel have licenses which are both open source, but not quite compatible. This means ZFS cannot be integrated into the Linux kernel, the source code of the two projects cannot be merged together and then distributed. However, there is nothing in either license preventing ZFS modules from being built for Linux and shipped with Linux distributions. Again, from the ZFS on Linux documentation:
ZFS is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), and the Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2). While both are free open source licenses they are restrictive licenses. The combination of them causes problems because it prevents using pieces of code exclusively available under one license with pieces of code exclusively available under the other in the same binary. In the case of the kernel, this prevents us from distributing ZFS as part of the kernel binary. However, there is nothing in either license that prevents distributing it in the form of a binary module or in the form of source code.
On a related note, I often hear people claim ZFS is not stable or ready for use on Linux. Usually, I hear this claim from people in the FreeBSD or Solaris communities. The truth is that while the Linux port of ZFS may not have all the features that are implemented on other operating systems, ZFS runs quite well on Linux. In fact, in a recent BSD Now podcast, two developers from the OpenZFS project confirm the Linux implementation of ZFS lags only a few months behind parity with other ZFS implementations.
Another comment I hear often is that ZFS, while suited for enterprise deployments, does not carry any benefit for people at home. This is more an opinion than a fact, but I want to address it anyway. I certainly agree some of the promoted features of ZFS are more suited to businesses than home users. Most people working at home do not need deduplication or multi-disk RAID configurations or mirroring. However, ZFS has some features that are very useful in home situations. The ability to quickly make snapshots of the file system is one such feature. Having automated daily or weekly snapshots makes it easy to recover a file (or entire directory) we have deleted by accident. I think most of us have erased a file by mistake and wanted to quickly recover it and ZFS excels in this scenario.
Boot environments (closely related to snapshots) are a great tool for people running rolling release distributions. Back when I was engaged in my rolling release trial I noted that the operating systems which broke the most also offered boot environments, allowing the user to instantly rollback any broken packages. In short, boot environments make the operating system virtually immune to upgrade issues which is ideal when running development or rolling distributions.
Finally, the ability to store multiple copies of files and automatically recover files that have become corrupted is a great feature to have. ZFS is very robust, generally heals itself automatically if something goes wrong and provides built in repair tools in the event the file system becomes corrupted. All of these features are helpful on any system, whether it is at home or in a data centre.
|Ask A Leader
Matthew Miller of the Fedora Project
Matthew Miller carries the weighty title of Fedora Project Leader. Fedora 21 was released during his watch and we should soon see Fedora 22 launch under his careful guidance. Mr Miller kindly agreed to answer questions our readers submitted and he offers us insight into the work that goes into developing an open source operating system. Here are the questions readers asked and Mr Miller's responses.
Question: Does the study of Heartbleed and Shell Shock et al improve developers quality assurance & security auditing ability? Has your project changed its approach to security or QA testing in the past year?
MM: I think there's something to be learned from every security flaw or incident, and it's always valuable to do a postmortem. These particular vulnerabilities were somewhat special in that they existed in widespread, long-standing, and crucial free software / open source programs, and that certainly caused some soul-searching in the technology world overall, including industry-funded code audits and foundations to better support these important projects.
Question: In my opinion, Unity and GNOME are, currently, the only desktop
environments to realize there are computers out there with touchscreens, and even some convertible laptops. However, I feel the support for touch inputs needs much more attention and development.
For Fedora in particular, one thing we're working on is the ability to push critical updates to our users more quickly -- our current process is optimized for daily updates, which is generally fine, but frustrating when there's a high-profile vulnerability being exploited in the wild and a fix actually already produced and tested, but not yet showing up to users.
We're also working on more automated QA and our Security Team has stepped up its efforts in helping packagers clean up lingering vulnerabilities -- however, these are really ongoing projects and not a particular response.
And, we're also working on increased user communication via Fedora Magazine, and that's been quite
well received -- see for example my article Shellshock: How does it actually work? Having this line of communication open helps when we need to explain important issues to our userbase -- to use another example from a different named-and-hyped vulnerability, Worried about GHOST? Don't be, on supported Fedora versions.
Unity makes a lot more sense in a touchscreen computer, although the
virtual keyboard is not always present (for example, when using my Dell
in "tablet" mode, I can't activate the virtual keyboard to unlock the
screen - and don't even get me started with special characters). As does
GNOME, but I've been using Unity recently.
So, I would like to know from all leaders, what is the roadmap to fully support touchscreens, so we'll all be able to use our favourite operating system exclusively in tablet mode?
Also, would the leaders please share their feelings about two
1) How they feel about Chromebooks, their fast adoption and ease of use.
I, for example, was sceptical until I got one and put some effort into
using it. I was amazed how it fulfilled my needs, how its battery lasted
and how fast it performed, considering all its shortcomings and price.
Is the way of ChromeOS doing things (web apps and cloud stuff) a trend?
Would you expect more distros to behave like that? Would you consider
ChromeOS something harmful for the adoption of more conventional
Linux/BSD distros by the general public?
2) What is their opinion on Unity and how Canonical seems to be shaping
an OS to support many different devices? How are other distros planning to follow the same path, if there are any plans to do so?
MM: It's an interesting segment and I wish the best of luck to those
working on bringing free software and open source there. It's also a
very hard area, where even big, well-established companies have a
hard time getting a foothold. So, while upstream GNOME and KDE are
working on touchscreen support and we'll certainly include that, the
tablet market isn't currently one of our main focuses.
Question: Collaboration between projects typically flows either from upstream to download (ie GNOME to Fedora) or from downstream back to upstream (ie
Fedora back to GNOME). Do any of your projects see collaboration between distributions? For example, does Bodhi share ideas or code with Mint or does PC-BSD cooperate with OpenBSD?
As for Chromebooks: unlike most readers of this site, the vast majority
of the consumer public has never really wanted general-purpose
computers. They want the things a computer lets them do: create
documents and edit photographs, communicate for work and home, and so
on -- and they put up with the horrible, confusing pain of a computer
to get them. Simplified user environments like that provided by
ChromeOS -- or Android or iOS -- promise the benefits without the pain,
and it's no wonder that they're taking off (now that the devices are
powerful enough under the hood, connectivity is ubiquitous, and the
utility-computing backends no longer just a nice idea).
But, there will always be a segment of people who need more than that --
who really want a general-purpose computer. This includes
programmers, sysadmins, tinkerers and creators -- not to mention those
of us who want to have ownership over our own devices and data. We
still want the slick convenience offered by modern operating systems,
of course, and here I think there's a lot of room for actual growth for
general-purpose Linux desktop distributions. We may be some single-digit
percent of the overall desktop market, but take a look at the 2015
Stack Overflow Developer Survey, where Linux is a respectable 20%. As the mass market goes more towards Chrome and phone/tablet OSes, I expect to see that grow.
MM: Some. I don't think anyone is opposed to this, but... we're often so
busy working on our own things, which requires a lot of effort around
communication and collaboration, that outside collaboration is hard
to add in. But we do try to collaborate when it makes sense. For
example, Debian is using our
fedmsg system, and we are working
on integrating openSUSE's openQA into
our test automation system.
Question: Richard Stallman recently advocated for free software projects to avoid working with open source software, indicating a strategic conflict
between the two (free software and open source software). Most Linux and
BSD OSes ship software distributed under a mix of licenses. Do you see
any conflict between free software, open source and other licensing
And, of course, with Red Hat's new friendly relationship with CentOS, we have some more opportunities for collaboration within our own ecosystem.
MM: I see them as different approaches, with different goals and values,
and certainly, that can cause some conflict. But Fedora is an
integration point, and in general we take a broad, inclusive view and
have a mission which includes the advancement of both free and open
source software. If you're interested in reading more about licensing
within Fedora, see our wiki page on
licensing, or read about our Freedom foundation.
Thank you, Matthew Miller, for your time and insight.
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. 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.
Please note: Two weeks ago we were seeding a torrent of Linux Lite 2.4. Over the weekend one of our readers pointed out the checksum on the file we were seeding and the checksum provided by the Linux Lite project did not match. After some investigation it was revealed the Linux Lite team replaced their original file, fixing an issue with the original ISO. We uploaded our torrent of Linux Lite 2.4 on March 31, 2015 while the current Linux Lite 2.4 ISO was uploaded on April 2, 2015, two days later. What this means is our original torrent was legitimate, but Linux Lite quietly updated their ISO and its checksum information while maintaining the same version number. This made it look like our file was corrupt when, in fact, it was merely an older build. The Linux Lite project has updated torrent and direct HTTP download options on their website. We have taken down our out of date torrent to avoid further confusion.
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: 49
- Total downloads completed: 13,399
- Total data uploaded: 5.4TB
|Released Last Week
Scientific Linux 7.1
Pat Riehecky has announced the release of Scientific Linux 7.1, a distribution compiled from the source code for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 and enhanced with extra scientific applications: "Scientific Linux 7.1 x86_64 released." This release delivers a number of changes, including: "abrt - removed the recommendation to open an upstream support case; Anaconda - modified the installclass library so that it correctly identifies Scientific Linux; DHCP - changed to remove upstream's bug report URL; GRUB - this package has been modified to recognize the Scientific Linux Secure Boot key; Apache httpd - changed the default index.html to remove upstream's branding; ipa - changed package requirements to remove upstream's branding; Linux kernel - this package has been modified to recognize the Scientific Linux Secure Boot key..." See the release announcement and release notes for further details.
Toutou Linux 6.0 "SlaXen RCX"
Toutou Linux is a lightweight operating system based on the Puppy distribution. Toutou is optimized for French speaking users and provides a friendly user interface based upon Openbox. The latest release of Toutou, SlaXen 6.0 RCX, offers users Openbox 3.5.2 and a new side panel for quickly launching new applications. Though SlaXen 6.0 does not offer a default web browser, there are six different browsers available to the user at install time. SlaXen 6.0 ships with mtPaint, Foxit Reader, AbiWord and Gnumeric. Additional software can be acquired from available PET packages. Further information on this release can be found in the brief release announcement and the project's README file (both in French).
Toutou 6.0 -- Default desktop
(full image size: 1.6MB, resolution: 1600x1200 pixels)
Hanthana Linux 21
Danishka Navin has announced the release of Hanthana Linux 21. The new release is based on Fedora 21 and is available in several desktop flavours. "This new release, Hanthana Linux 21, ships with several desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Sugar, LXDE. There are several editions of Hanthana 21, for general usage (Hanthana 21 live DVD), educational purpose you can use Hanthana 21 Edu and Hanthana 21 Dev can be use for software development purposes. For those who just use office packages, you can download either Hanthana 21 Light) or Hanthana 21 Light2. Each of these editions comes with both i686 and x86_64 architectures and 10 ISO images are available for download. Hanthana 21 is named as "Sinharaja" (rain forest). This tropical rain forest was named as a World Heritage from the UNESCO in 1998. To inform the society about this world heritage, we named our latest Hanthana Linux distribution as 'Sinharaja'." Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
MakuluLinux 8.0 "LxFce"
Jacque Montague Raymer has announced the release of a new flavour of MakuluLinux which combines elements of both the LXDE and Xfce desktop environments. The new edition, called "LxFce", mixes technology and programs from the two desktops in order to create a hybrid which will hopefully supply the best of both environments. "MakuluLinux LxFce combines both LXDE and Xfce to bring a `best of both worlds' desktop environment to the end user, making use of the LXDE backend allows the system to run smooth and snappy no matter how much RAM is being used. Xfce frontend brings more user friendly front end applications to manage your system. The combination has been designed to compliment each environment offering strengths on both sides and none of the weaknesses." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.2.2, the latest update of the FreeBSD-based operating system made for firewalls and routers, providing several security fixes: "pfSense software version 2.2.2 release is now available, bringing a number of bug fixes and a couple low-risk security updates that don't apply to most users. This release includes two low-risk security updates. FreeBSD-SA-15:09.ipv6 - denial of Service with IPv6 router advertisements. Where a system is using DHCPv6 WAN type, devices on the same broadcast domain as that WAN can send crafted packets causing the system to lose IPv6 Internet connectivity. FreeBSD-SA-15:06.openssl - multiple OpenSSL vulnerabilities. Most aren't applicable, and the worst impact is denial of service. As always, you can upgrade from any previous version straight to 2.2.2. For those already running any 2.2x version, this is a low-risk upgrade. This is a high priority upgrade for those using IPsec on 2.2x versions." See the release announcement for full details.
Arne Exton has announced the launch of ExTiX 15.2, currently available in two editions, KDE and LXQt. The two editions are based on packages from the recently frozen Ubuntu 15.04 repositories and Debian "Jessie". "ExTiX Linux Live DVDs (64-bit) are based on Debian Jessie/Ubuntu 15.04. The original system includes the desktop environment Unity (Ubuntu). After removing Unity I have installed LXQt 0.9.0 (in ExTiX 15.2, build 150417) and KDE 4.14.6 together with KDE Frameworks 5.9.0 in an extra version also of 150417. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the lightweight desktop environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment. And KDE Frameworks add 60 add-on libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Anke Boersma has announced the release of KaOS 2015.04, the latest update of the project's rolling-release Linux distribution featuring KDE's Plasma 5 desktop: "A nice way of celebrating the second anniversary if this distribution is releasing KaOS 2015.04. The previous two releases were the result of some drastic and fundamental changes to this distribution (new desktop environment, new installer, move to UEFI). With this release it is finally back to a much more simple focus as always intended. Most attention has gone in updating and rebuilding well over 1,200 packages the last two months. As for the desktop this release brings all the latest of Plasma 5 (Frameworks 5.9.0, Plasma 5.2.95) and KDE Applications 15.04.0. All built on Qt 5.4.1. Many more applications are now fully ported to Qt 5 and Frameworks 5, among those re-added since their ports became available are Skrooge, Kid3, Choqok and Kgamma. New additions to the repositories includes applications very recently switching to Qt 5, examples are Wireshark, Frescobaldi and Musescore." Read the full release announcement for more information and screenshots.
KaOS 2015.04 -- Running the default KDE desktop
(full image size: 1.6MB, resoltuion: 1280x1024 pixels)
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
March 2015 DistroWatch.com donation: GIMP|
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the March 2015 DistroWatch.com donation is the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP). It receives US$350.00 in cash.
The GIMP website explains the function of the application as follows: "GIMP is a multi-platform photo manipulation tool. GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GIMP is suitable for a variety of image manipulation tasks, including photo retouching, image composition and image construction. GIMP has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc." Many artists and photographers use GIMP on a daily basis to touch up photos, design logos and customize images. The application provides a huge number of features and a powerful toolbox of plug-ins.
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$43,225 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), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 27 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • libdvdcss (by George Washington on 2015-04-20 02:02:48 GMT from Europe) |
"The Software Freedom Law Center has given the go ahead for Debian to distribution both ZFS and libdvdcss packages and we should soon see these features appear in Debian's repositories."
Well, well, well. It's about time!
2 • Myths and Misunderstandings ZFS (by EarlyBird on 2015-04-20 02:44:55 GMT from North America)
Have never had the time to dig into the ZFS documentation. Was aware of the "features", but had also come across all the "myths and misunderstandings" referred to in this weeks Distrowatch article. Many many thanks for the review and clarifications from those of us without enough time in our lives to explore these things on our own.
Once spring has sprung, spring cleaning is finished, the Stanley Cup playoffs are over, the kids are out of school for the summer, etc. etc, may FINALLY have a chance to play around with ZFS for myself. A great example of what makes this website so valuable!
(meant sincerely; some "troll" is likely to to even misrepresent a heartfelt complement. Geeze, I'm getting cynical in my old age....)
3 • ZFS (by Jonathan Vasquez on 2015-04-20 03:52:44 GMT from North America)
As a person that has been using ZFS on Linux for more than 3 years and develop tools and tutorials for people installing Gentoo Linux completely on ZFS, I'm extremely glad to hear you debunk most myths. You are completely right about all of them. Great job!
4 • Myths and Misunderstandings ZFS (by Ham Hamington on 2015-04-20 03:55:50 GMT from North America)
> As you can see, the ECC RAM suggestion only applies to enterprise environments with strict integrity requirements.
No. It doesn't *only* apply. It's strongly recommended as business data = money. However, my family photos from years gone by are priceless to me and I want to take precautions to keep them safe forever. Yes, I back them up, but a flipped bit won't show up until years down the line when my grandkids want to look at the photos.
I agree with you that ECC isn't required/minimum specs but it's recommended. I've never had a hard drive fail in 15 years but I still have redundancy. I've never had a cosmic ray flip bits but I have ECC just in case.
I wear my seatbelt every time I get in a car, but in 30 years I've never had a car accident.
5 • Prodigious LMDE2 offspring sets example for Debian parent (by k on 2015-04-20 06:31:17 GMT from Europe)
Excellent review of LMDE2, thank you. Outstanding quality and user-friendly contribution from LMDE team, kudos. Would be much appreciated to have similar Debian (Jessie) installer.
6 • LMDE2 (by Rufovillosum on 2015-04-20 08:26:31 GMT from North America)
As a longtime LMDE user, I'm waiting for Mint to release its update path to LMDE2. We should also point out that LMDE2, like LMDE, is intended to be a rolling release distribution.
7 • LMDE2 - rolling release? (by Hoos on 2015-04-20 09:51:29 GMT from Asia)
This is from the first post of the Mint "Betsy" FAQ thread: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=197&p=997249
"2.3) - The switch to Debian Stable was decided in August 2014. LMDE 2 aka Betsy is directly following Jessie since its release in March/April 2015. Advantages and disadvantages of using Betsy over the main edition are explained here"
If it's now tracking Jessie directly, it's not really rolling anymore. Previously LMDE tracked Debian Testing.
8 • Non systemd distros (by nematoad on 2015-04-20 10:47:10 GMT from Europe)
I'm not sure that I agree with the statement that Mint is the only mainstream distro shipping without systemd. PCLOS has stated that they see no reason to move to systemd.
Whether you class PCLOS as "mainstream" I don't know. I do, and I am really pleased to have an alternative to systemd.
9 • Evolve OS (by Ariszló on 2015-04-20 11:39:39 GMT from Europe)
How can a common abbreviation like OS be disputed?
10 • Comment # 9 (by brad on 2015-04-20 11:56:35 GMT from North America)
Think of iOS, for instance - probably a trademark, if not more protected. Although some people may think that intellectual property is a BS concept, others are willing to sue (and win!) over it.
11 • Non Systemd distros (by Jose on 2015-04-20 12:11:29 GMT from North America)
As comment #8 pointed out, PC Linux OS does not use systemd.
I should also point out that the oldest Linux Distro, Slackware, does not use systemd.
You may not consider either to be "mainstream" but that is a matter of opinion.
I use both and I am quite happy with them.
12 • Solus OS (by ceti on 2015-04-20 12:51:08 GMT from South America)
Glad that the Solus OS is back in track (sort of). I loved the project in the past and hope to see a new version very soon. Welcome back!!!
13 • Manjaro Linux without systemd (by Paraquat on 2015-04-20 13:04:47 GMT from Asia)
Manjaro Linux is a popular distro, based on Arch. When Arch went with systemd, so did Manjaro, but now the project is offering an alternative release that inits with OpenRC instead. This does not mean that Manjaro is planning to abandon systemd, but OpenRC is now supported as an option.
There is an excellent thread about this topic on the Manjaro forum:
And you can download Manjaro-OpenRC here:
14 • @9_OS_dispute (by gee7 on 2015-04-20 13:26:22 GMT from North America)
OS is a copyright of Ordinance Survey maps, which is funded and controlled by the UK Government. Mr Cameron is just protecting the country's assets.
This copyright applies only to the UK, so there will be no dispute with, for example, PC Linux OS, whose developers have US residence, but the lead developer of Solus lives and works under UK law.
15 • ECC RAM (by Jesse on 2015-04-20 13:52:35 GMT from North America)
>> "No. It doesn't *only* apply. It's strongly recommended as business data = money. However, my family photos from years gone by are priceless to me and I want to take precautions to keep them safe forever. Yes, I back them up, but a flipped bit won't show up until years down the line when my grandkids want to look at the photos."
I do not think storing family photos will be affected by the use of ECC RAM, for two reasons. First, a few bit flips are unlikely to be noticed while viewing the photos. Your photos are likely to be affected by bitrot less than a physical phtoto would fade over time. Second, unless you are looking at (and editing) the photos on a regular basis, the photos will spend almost zero time in RAM. Photos will almost certainly spend 99.9% of their lives on a hard drive or other storage media. Having ECC RAM would only affect your photos if you were opening them, editing the photo and then saving the result on a regular basis, which seems unlikely. ECC RAM will not protect you against bitrot on the storage media.
Financially you (and the photos) would be much better off investing in an extra external hard drive or optical media so you can store multiple backups of your photos. ECC may have uses outside the enterprise, but protecting family photos isn't likely to be one of them.
16 • #14 (by jadecat09 on 2015-04-20 14:32:53 GMT from Europe)
So Pinguy OS is not safe either?
17 • You're always startled when a GUI is responsive. (by sniggle_bits on 2015-04-20 14:43:05 GMT from North America)
On dual-core 2.8GHz. To me, that says current GUIs are far too complex. The 1984 Macintosh (not that I'm an Apple fan) was impressively snappy on 8MHz 68000, as was the somewhat later Amiga. Graphical desktops should by now be instant. Programmers need to stop adding excess. -- If want to try zippy, Puppy Simplicity. Also has no major flaws except see my #3.
2nd topic: my experience with ZFS on FreeNAS 8 (or whatever, last year) wasn't so great. The data drive went flaky (though Windows XP is now "happy" on it...) and the system wouldn't even boot from its USB drive. So, hmm.
3rd topic: a personal triumph. Puppy, along with nearly every Linux I've ever tried, will not actually respect keyboard rate settings except for the session: it pretends to save, but every power-up resets to max (33cps in Puppy). All Linuxes have ridiculous high default rate. -- Anyway, after a couple hours of experiment, I managed to find xset and its syntax, and then, DESPITE reading a how-to, got a script working in Startup that sets it to the desired 10cps.
Point is, what's easy in Windows -- meaning STAYS SET when says it is -- can be a severe trial in Linux.
Oh, and PCLinux 2013 is so rabid about number-lock being on (for the password that I don't use!) that it will reset it to on at least two dozen times if pressed during boot-up.
People :just leave my keyboard rate and number-lock as set in BIOS. That really is enough irritation to despise Linux. Not everyone wants the full UNIX experience.
18 • Xubuntu becomes Abi-free! (by albinard on 2015-04-20 14:56:38 GMT from North America)
At last, Xubuntu has shaken off Abiword! For years I installed Xubuntu, but immediately had to ditch Abiword and replace it with LibreOffice, and all that on slow DSL. The endless document corruptions of Abiword will, I hope, also vanish from other lightweight distros like Lubuntu.
19 • LMDE2 - rolling release? (by bison on 2015-04-20 15:25:54 GMT from North America)
More info from the LMDE 2 MATE release notes:
Edit by Clem: No, it’s a frozen release as far as the base is concerned. We’ll respin the ISOs and update the desktop layers though.
20 • @16_Pinguy_OS (by gee7 on 2015-04-20 16:09:23 GMT from North America)
If Pinguy OS applied to copyright protect their name in the UK, as Ikey Doherty did with Evolve OS, then yes, they would be requested to stop using that name by the UK Government. Filing an application draws attention to the applicant.
I notice that it is spelt as one word - PinguyOS - on their homepage but the use of OS as a suffix would still break copyright law, I think.
However, if they just use the name Pinguy OS (from developer's nickname name Pingu, see: http://forum.pinguyos.com/Thread-What-does-Pinguy-mean?) , and go quietly about their business of making a good distro, I think they will pass underneath the radar, unless they suddenly become a billion pound success story.
Whatever the case, I wish both developers good luck and sharp coding, and personally, I think Solus is a much better name that Evolve - to throw light on the world (Solus) gives benefit to more people than to keep continually changing (Evolve).
21 • OS (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-04-20 17:04:32 GMT from North America)
"OS is a copyright of Ordinance Survey maps" - it should be a trademark: the context is maps, and should not be generalized to all markets.
22 • Couplacomments (by Coolsville on 2015-04-20 17:11:09 GMT from North America)
I don't know much about ZFS and btrfs, but I've heard they are similar, and btrfs is having its problems. I wonder if this will spell the end of btrfs.
I know that the dispute of the EvolveOS name is just to protect UK IP, but why couldn't the UK license the "OS" part for, say, 1 pound, in perpetuity? Given the nature of Linux distros, I don't think there's much chance here of EvolveOS running anybody over.
At least, that's what's sometimes done on this side of the lake. Maybe licensing, like tea, is different over there. (The tea is better, anyhow).
23 • Mint LMDE 2 discrepency (by cykodrone on 2015-04-20 17:15:53 GMT from North America)
It's touted to be based on Jessie, which is not even officially released yet and is supposed to go full blown (or almost full blown) systemd. Now according to this LMDE 2 MATE package list,
it would appear systemd is only 'shimmed' in, it still contains sysvinit elements. Does this mean updates during the length of the release (LMDE 2 and Jessie) will gradually see more systemd elements added as it goes along? What a dog's breakfast. I'll be staying far away from this, I pity the brave that will take the plunge, Jessie will go down as a perpetual systemd beta release, *rolling eyes*, wait for the next befouled T*y St*ry character, lol, skip this perpetual beta release. I too am a PCLOS user, I contributed financially while the project was still young, I'm glad I did, it paid off. I recently called PCLOS a 'hybrid', apt-tified RPMs, rolling install (huge bonus, aging installs and new version installs can be annoying, 'upgrades' rarely go as planned), custom tailored packages (some are even cutting edge, if it works well, they'll use it). If it aint broke, don't pull a 'Lennart'. ;D
24 • @20 (by jaws222 on 2015-04-20 17:16:32 GMT from North America)
"I think Solus is a much better name that Evolve "
I was hoping that he would just call it IkeyOS
25 • LMDE2's init program (by frodopogo on 2015-04-20 19:15:44 GMT from North America)
The reason LMDE2 "still contains sysvinit elements" is because sysvinit, NOT systemd is the init program. Clement Lefebvre decided that whatever people say about it, systemd is NOT a mature technology, and decided not to use it at this time. You should be commending him for his prudent "wait and see" attitude, and NOT just blindly going along with Debian's adoption of systemd.
26 • Re: LMDE2's init program (by cykodrone on 2015-04-20 20:15:58 GMT from North America)
@25 How is that even possible, doesn't LMDE 2 track the Debian Jessie repos? Aside from freezing/pinning those packages out, it's still Debian Jessie under the hood. That being said, how long until serious bugs, conflicts and breakages start to appear because of the two different levels of systemd usage and inclusion? Mint is getting away with this for now because they're not using a systemd dependent DE, like Gnome 3.x for example. Aside from Mint and LMDE 2, Debian is rushing a beta release with a beta init to market, reminds of a proprietary OS I used to use, lol. :D
This situation is indicative of the systemd growing pains and headaches for re-spins and derivatives of their systemd loving parent distros. I like Clem and I like Mint, but I wouldn't want to be him or his devs right now. :/
27 • init software and Mint (by Jesse on 2015-04-20 22:17:32 GMT from North America)
>> "How is that even possible, doesn't LMDE 2 track the Debian Jessie repos?"
Yes, but Debian has multiple init systems in its repositories. Users can (and frequently do) swap out one for another. In fact, we've linked to tutorials which show users how to do these init swaps. The systemd init software is the default for Debian "Jessie", but it is not the only option. Mint's LMDE is not just Debian "Jessie" with a new theme, they use Debian's packages, but in their own configuration.
>> "That being said, how long until serious bugs, conflicts and breakages start to appear because of the two different levels of systemd usage and inclusion?"
This will not and cannot happen during the life span of the distribution. Debian "Jessie" is a stable release of Debian which means it will not change for the next four years, apart from security updates. Since LMDE is based on Debian's Stable repository people using LMDE will not need to worry about init compatibility during the supported life cycle of the distribution. Now, LMDE 3 may change course, but that is years down the road and people will need to expressedly upgrade to it to get the new software.
It sounds to me like you're confusing Debian Testing or Unstable (which change over time) with Debian Stable which does not change its software or configuration during its life span.
28 • Re: init software and Mint (by cykodrone on 2015-04-21 00:49:26 GMT from North America)
I hear what you're saying and I realize you are far more knowledgeable than I am, but I have also done some time in the Debian trenches. What I'm referring to is the dependency variable caused by the unknown of what users may install post installation. Unless Clem and crew tested every single package in the Jessie repo, there's a lingering possibility that package 'x' will require Jessie's level of systemd as opposed to LMDE's, best case scenario, FULL Jessie systemd gets installed in LMDE because the user didn't read the pre-installation dependency list, worst case scenario, breakage of varying degrees. One more variable is Debian devs could 'fix' some packages any time during the release cycle due to bug reports, making them more systemd dependent in the process and possibly conflicting with LMDE's custom config. We are wasting keystrokes on this because LMDE is considered a use at your own risk side project anyway. What will be really interesting to watch is when Mint's core base parent (Ubuntu) goes full systemd. :D
I don't know if you were reading my Ubuntu Mini CD CL Xubuntu LTS install on my spare SSD updates in the last DW Weekly comments but a similar thing happened to me, in case you didn't read them, I successfully 'roto-rooted' any 'scope', 'unity', 'pulse' and 'am*zon' related packages out, when I tried to install Shotwell, it wanted to drag some of those packages back in, after reading that dependency list, I declined the install.
29 • Solus. (by Kubelik on 2015-04-21 01:01:04 GMT from Europe)
"to throw light on the world (Solus) gives benefit to more people than to keep continually changing (Evolve)."
Sol is Latin for sun. Solus means alone.
"I was hoping that he would just call it IkeyOS".
I think you got a point. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing to do what your genius tells you. - But that is what it is. And this probably is not the last time Ikey is changing:)
30 • @29 Solus (by IkeyDoherty on 2015-04-21 01:09:37 GMT from Europe)
Solus means alone in Latin. In old Irish it means light, it purposefully has a double meaning, and when you combine those meanings you get closer to what the project is.
"And this probably is not the last time Ikey is changing"
You speak as if you know me on a personal basis, and I'm sure this isn't the case. We've changed our name due to legal issues, what's the problem with that?
"IkeyOS" - that's a bit ridiculous now isn't it? "OS" is half of the problem here, plus I'm building for more than myself. Now, what makes that name awkward (ignoring the intent of the comment):
ikey.com -> keyboard manufacturer. Can't use my own name :)
..What would you shorten "IkeyOS" to? :P
31 • systemd (by Kubelik on 2015-04-21 01:53:30 GMT from Europe)
"Jessie will go down as a perpetual systemd beta release"
Debian is a fairly conservative distro and has just before the freeze of Jessie in november last year pulled systemd in as default. With some small problems initially, since it was still rolling.
But systemd being beta? I have been using it for years in Fedora, openSUSE, Mageia etc. without problems.
Does it still evolve? Yes. So does GRUB 2 even though its replacement, Gummiboot, is already being rolled out (Antergos).
PCLOS is much more conservative than Debian. It kept KDE3 alive to the last minute, before switching to KDE4. And it is just now switching to GRUB 2. - Nothing wrong with that. But that's it.
"Clement Lefebvre decided that whatever people say about it, systemd is NOT a mature technology, and decided not to use it at this time."
Maybe you should notice that Clem's own current Cinnamon 2.4 is not fully compatible with systemd. So who is mature is maybe open for discussion?
32 • @30 Solus. (by Kubelik on 2015-04-21 02:30:50 GMT from Europe)
Sorry Ikey. No personal offence intended. But we are producing/discussing free software. I try to be as objective and contructive as I can. I have no other agenda.
That also includes a fair amount of critical spirit.
"You speak as if you know me on a personal basis". I don't think so. I base myself on your own writing. See for yourself here:
This is the last communication from SolusOS, and will be for a little while. To speed up the changes, we're going to be turning everything off soon.
All legacy support for SolusOS Eveline will end with the follow up post. SolusOS 2 Alpha images are no longer supported
Updates will not travel to either release
We're redoing SolusOS inside out, and shaking off the dust we've gathered over our existence. We're relaunching, babyfaced and new. The old SolusOS (and connections) will disappear completely.
When we come back, all services will have completely changed, as will SolusOS itself. We're aiming for stable release in a matter of months. Not years. We're not looking for team members now or external assistance, please just pretend we don't exist until we return.
Estimated return, 2-3 weeks."
"The old Solus OS was killed early to prevent destruction. It was being killed from the inside out.
“started contributing to Evolve OS.” – I am the founder and owner of what was called Evolve OS, which is now once again Solus."
33 • GNU Hurd and Myths and Misunderstandings: ZFS (by Oko on 2015-04-21 03:57:25 GMT from North America)
I am very excited to see the new minor version of GNU Hurd which has been in works for the past 17.5 years and I can't wait to try Debian GNU/Hurd in production on my servers in particular in the light of the systemd fiasco.
I am glad Distro Watch myths busting machine has been in full swing this week:
"On a related note, I often hear people claim ZFS is not stable or ready
for use on Linux. Usually, I hear this claim from people in the FreeBSD
or Solaris communities."
Well at least people from those two communities have heard of Linux which can't be said for most members of Linux monoculture. On the more serious note is ZFS now Linux file system flavour of the week? What happened to superior BTRFS file system? Do we have to wait for BTRFS 0.1 minor version release 17.5 years like for GNU Hurd?
Finally we can all breadth easier as 3025 the year of the Linux on desktop is closer than ever thanks to the hard work of Linux Mint developers.
34 • Debian Jessie free spirit blooms off LMDE2 and Ubuntu (by k on 2015-04-21 05:34:06 GMT from Planet Mars)
Naturally, having enjoyed LMDE2's fine quality, had to experience Jessie free spirit. After repeated failed Grub boot load attempts to 'raise' Jessie, alongside her 'parents', Ubuntu's boot-repair tool delivered. Thank you teams Debian, Ubuntu and Linux Mint.
35 • @ 32 (by IkeyDoherty on 2015-04-21 06:44:39 GMT from Europe)
There's still a direct line of continuation between the projects.
SolusOS 2 - became Evolve OS - which is now Solus, because of naming issues.
SolusOS did face serious issues, and was shut down with good cause. Pasting comments doesn't alter that.
Like it or not its still the same codebase to this day, the same mission and the same objectives :)
36 • LMDE2 and systemd (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2015-04-21 07:32:07 GMT from Europe)
I have followed with interest the exchange of ideas cykodrone and Jesse and my personal impression, having been a Debian user for a decade (and now searching for a new home), is that Jesse is right.
The scenario that cykodrone would certainly become true for Testing or Sid, but I think it is unlikely with stable. Debian has decided not to prevent any package from having systemd dependencies (even if they are not strictly required), which, in practical terms, means that it will not be possible to produce a systemd-free Testing or Sid re-spin.
With Stable it should be possible, for, once the re-spin developers had built purged versions of the concerned packages and configured apt to install only those regardless of the version number, you should be safe. Of course, they will need to rebuilt the packages each time that a bug-fix or vulnerability-patched release is available, which can be tedious if the concerned packages are many.
Now, this is true as far as you stick to "vanilla" LMDE2. Meaning that you will certainly run into issues if you start to pull packages from Testing/Sid (which a lot of people do when stable starts to get outdated) or if you add certain 3rd party repositories.
Finally, someone else has mentioned Debian's conservative approach. My personal impression, yet to be confirmed, is that notion belongs to the past. It is clear that using half-backed quickly-evolving technologies such as systemd or adding PPAs, just to mention a couple of examples, do not fit on my idea of a conservative approach. I expect this new approach to have an impact on the distro's stability and reliability.
37 • LMDE and systemd (by Jesse on 2015-04-21 12:57:39 GMT from North America)
I'd like to point out that there are two things which will prevent systemd from being a dependnecy issue with LMDE 2. First, for new systemd dependnecies to get pulled in, it would require that the dependencies on packages change. That is highly unlikely in Debian Stable. Changing dependnecies mid-life cycle would be a big no-no for Debian developers (or any other distro with LTS).
Second, very few packages rely directly on systemd and those are typically changed to pull in a shim instead of systemd. This means that if a user installed a package that wanted systemd, they would just get the compatibility layer. The Mint team does not need to test all packages against systemd, they just need to make sure the small handful that do rely on systemd directly pull in the alternative compatibile software. It should be virtually impossible for a user to accidentally pull in an altnerative init system do to unforeseen dependencies.
This has been discussed at some length on the Debian forums and in the Without systemd wiki.
38 • LMDE2 & systemd (by linuxista on 2015-04-21 14:55:15 GMT from North America)
Does anyone know whether systemd will be optionally supported by LMDE2, i.e. choice for those who prefer it as an init system? Otherwise, LMDE2 seems to be hitting the balance just right for reasons to use Debian (Debian stable) while mitigating the major downside (having updated applications without package and dependency conflicts).
39 • Linux kernel Hijack (by Luke on 2015-04-21 17:32:17 GMT from North America)
Is it just me or do others think the devs of systemd are trying to hijack the Linux kernel. I think for what they are trying to accomplish they come up with their own kernel. Just my opinion.
40 • April fools (by M.Z. on 2015-04-21 18:01:04 GMT from Planet Mars)
@39 - hijack
Well that was the April fools joke around here at the beginning of the month, & it was discussed at length despite how absurd it was. You can't hijack something with a free/open license that is designed to allow users to fork and take control. The GPL gives control to whoever has a copy of the software, so how the hell can any single group take control? It makes no sense, full stop. If you have a problem follow the LibreOffice model & get some devs to fork your open project, problem solved. How can one piece of GPL code invalidate the GPL license on the Linux kernel? If you can't explain that one then the whole hijacking thing makes about as much sense as Bigfoot shooting JFK from the grassy knoll.
41 • Fedora Beta (by forlin on 2015-04-21 19:15:06 GMT from Europe)
A new Fedora release is always a landmark, even that the just released is still a Beta. I've just installed it and will reboot after this comment. The install process was really fast and easy, except on this, that I would like to bring to the attention of the developers. It's the mount points. A think some more guidance could have been provided. like an hint about the various possible ones. Thinking about newcomers, perhaps it would not be excessive to suggest the / though I never found yet a Distro doing so.
42 • ZFS compatibility (by GrzegorzW on 2015-04-21 21:23:17 GMT from Europe)
I wonder if BSD ZFS and Linux ZFS are binary compatible - i.e. is they can mount and read-write each other file system. The long time pain with BSD and Linux systems was poor support for their counterpart system (BSD has full support only for ext2 system, while Linux never had really good support for UFS system). The irony is that only one common file system they both supported was propeirteary NTFS. So if I wanted to setup e.g. Linux/PC-BSD dual boot system with shared /home partition it was very hard or not possible. Now I count it may be possible with ZFS for user data. Enybody did such exteriments ?
43 • @15: ECC/bitflips (by Will B on 2015-04-21 21:24:26 GMT from North America)
"Having ECC RAM would only affect your photos if you were opening them, editing the photo and then saving the result on a regular basis, which seems unlikely. ECC RAM will not protect you against bitrot on the storage media."
That is true to an extent, but don't forget when files are copied, transferred, etc. I imagine some part of the file is in RAM for a moment somewhere along the line.
I personally have a very large collection of photos that I treasure, but ECC isn't in the budget for me, and I'm not really concerned.
Thanks for the LMDE and ZFS articles! :-D
44 • ZFS and ECC RAM (by Jesse on 2015-04-21 22:38:53 GMT from North America)
@42: >> "I wonder if BSD ZFS and Linux ZFS are binary compatible"
They should be so long as you are using the same feature set. Newer versions of ZFS can work with files and storage pools ceated by older versions of ZFS. However, older versions of ZFS may not be able to work with files/pools created by newer versions of ZFS. So long as both your Linux installation and BSD installation are using the same feature set of ZFS then you should be okay.
@43: >> "That is true to an extent, but don't forget when files are copied, transferred, etc. I imagine some part of the file is in RAM for a moment somewhere along the line."
Yes, but in none of those scenarios is the data in RAM written back to the original files, changing them. In theory the new copy of the file might suffer from a problem, but the original would still be fine. A simple checksum of both files would verfiy whether the new file had been corrupted during the copy/transfer. So long as you verify your new files are identical to the originals the lack of ECC RAM is not a problem.
45 • ZFS (by E.L on 2015-04-22 05:48:38 GMT from North America)
I think the reason why ZFS forums generally insist on ECC RAM is because of the "self-healing" aspect of the file system.
Typically, you'd schedule scrubs once or twice a month. During this time, the file system checks your disk for any errors and automatically corrects them if corruptions are found.
ZFS, however, cannot detect bit errors in RAM and so, this could result in the file system actually "correcting" your file that is perfectly fine, which inadvertently corrupts it instead.
In best case scenario, you'd simply end up with a file that you cannot open or incorrect characters/colors. At worst case scenario, you could potentially result with a zpool with a completely thrashed meta-data, which would cause you to lose the ability to mount your pool
No other file system has this extensive scrub system that could inadvertently thrash your entire file system. With that being said, I don't particularly think it's bad design, it's just ZFS was built with enterprise systems in mind and as such, it assumes that enterprise-grade hardware is used and completely trusts your RAM 100%.
46 • @29-Solus @24 (by gee7 on 2015-04-22 11:14:22 GMT from North America)
Thank you, Kubelik, for trying to clarify.
I already knew that Sol is Latin for Sun and as each word carries its own significance and associations, there is, in my reading of the word Solus (besides Solus meaning Alone as in its derivatives Solitary and Solo) the meaning of light, and of a new dawn. This was my reference and my interpretation of the word's ambience.
@24 If the suffix OS remains a problem, it may have to be shortened from IkeyOS to Ikey's, which is a friendly name for a distro, as if it were a coffee shop or club in which you could pop in to chat to friends ...
47 • ZFS, BTRFS default on which distros? (by Greg Zeng on 2015-04-22 11:38:13 GMT from Oceania)
Search in Distrowatch does not know about ZFS nor BTRFS. Some very daring distros allow BTRFS to be chosen, or even to be the default file system.
What is not mentioned is that the file systems have different release versions, but the discussion is hard to find on these versions. On my computers, NTFS-comprssed partitions can be accessed (read & write, if permitted) by all my operating systems, for data. BTRFS, which was betaware until August last year, is the closest to the several versions of NTFS. So should Linux standardize on the free version of NTFS?
I found that Linux's Grub-Customizer had trouble with my Linux distros which did not install on EXT4. Perhaps that has changed sometimes?
48 • @45 ZFS (by E.L) (by ILoveLinux on 2015-04-22 12:50:06 GMT from Germany)
>>ZFS, however, cannot detect bit errors in RAM and so, this could result in the file system actually "correcting" your file that is perfectly fine, which inadvertently corrupts it instead.
But that would be true for the Windows "Check Disk" (chkdsk) utility, too, wouldn't it? Faulty RAM can cause chkdsk corrupting a perfectly fine FAT/FAT32/NTFS partition or single files.
Many help forums strongly advise against the use of such automated file system repair utilities.
So when using ZFS on a non-ECC system, I'd say it'd be wise not to schedule any scrubs at all or to do so only after powering the system down and using a utility like memtest86+ run off a bootable USB stick to detect faulty ram prior to a scrub.
It's the way I've been running PC-BSD since their 10.0 release and I haven't run into any ZFS related problems so far on my non server-grade hardware.
49 • ZFS Scrub (by Jesse on 2015-04-22 15:51:32 GMT from North America)
@45: >> "Typically, you'd schedule scrubs once or twice a month. During this time, the file system checks your disk for any errors and automatically corrects them if corruptions are found. ZFS, however, cannot detect bit errors in RAM and so, this could result in the file system actually "correcting" your file that is perfectly fine, which inadvertently corrupts it instead."
You are half right. When ZFS performs a scrub it does check the data on disk against a checksum to make sure the data's integrity has not been comprimised. However, ZFS only attempts to correct the bad checksum if it is used in a RAID or mirrored disk scenario. What this means is if the checksum of one copy of the file is bad and another copy of the file is good, then the bad copy is replaced with the good copy.
For a ZFS scrub to over-write a file, it needs to have another good copy of the data to use. The corrupted file is overwritten by a known good copy. Even if ZFS mistakenly thinks a good file is really corrupted, it will only replace that file with a verified good copy of the data. This is discussed in the zpool manual page under the "scrub" sub topic.
The scenario you are describing where ZFS wipes out good files with corrupted data because it mistakenly thinks the checksum no longer matches the data cannot happen because the only time data is overwritten is whenthere are multiple good copies of the data available to act as backups.
>> "No other file system has this extensive scrub system that could inadvertently thrash your entire file system."
Neither does ZFS. This is why I started this Myth and Misunderstanding series. A lot of people have these ideas that are partitially correct while leading to the wrong conclusions, or have heard misinformation repeated often enough it has become "common knowledge".
50 • @41 Fedora partitions (by far2fish on 2015-04-22 16:57:22 GMT from Europe)
Try searching for "fedora 21"+partition+scheme in Google. Brings up a link to the official doc with recommended partitions and sizes if you prefer custom partitioning.
I have not seen a similar doc for Fedora 22, but I expect if to be pretty much like in F21.
In the Anaconda installer, you basically choose custom disk layout, then suggest that the installer create the defaults for you, finally remove / and /home, and re-create those to your likings.
51 • PPA? (by nobodyspecial on 2015-04-23 08:17:35 GMT from Oceania)
Is there going to be some kind of reputation/vetting process for upcoming Debian PPAs?
Or will Debian want us to install random binaries from untrusted users like they do in Ubuntu land?
52 • @49 ZFS (by anon on 2015-04-23 11:26:53 GMT from North America)
If the memory corruption occurs in the checksum, you would have a checksum that does not match the written data. This would result in a permanent, unrecoverable error.
It is also possible as the original reader suggested to corrupt the data file in a mirror.
If the memory of the data block was flipped momentarily while the checksum was computed for it, and flipped back again as it was written out to disk, then it would be possible for one side of a two-way mirror to have bad data which corresponds to the checksum, and another side to have good data which does not correspond to the checksum, and the good side will thus get ovewritten during scrubbing.
53 • ECC (by anon on 2015-04-23 11:35:04 GMT from North America)
Also wanted to add:
out 15 years of building machines and testing them (and software dev), and running memtest and I have seen a couple flipped bits. Once which ECC caught on a system running 24/7 for many, many years. Another time during memtest after a few days. One particular location had exactly one bit flipped twice (2 one-bit errors at the same location our of hundred iterations over it)
So from my experience, it is indeed rare. But it does happen.
Also, 1 or two or a few bits of error can ruin a photo. Arstechnica did this experiment as they were testing bitrot in their articles about BTRFS and ZFS. But furthermore, it can ruin a any document too. 1 bit can make a gigantic difference in the some financial value for example.
54 • Bad checksums (by Jesse on 2015-04-23 14:04:06 GMT from North America)
>> "If the memory of the data block was flipped momentarily while the checksum was computed for it, and flipped back again as it was written out to disk, then it would be possible for one side of a two-way mirror to have bad data which corresponds to the checksum, and another side to have good data which does not correspond to the checksum, and the good side will thus get ovewritten during scrubbing."
If you are in an area that experiences so much radiation interference that you're gettng that many flipped memory bits back-to-back, you have much more serious things to worry about than file corruption. You're dreaming up a scenario that is so unlikely your odds of winning the lottery while getting struck by lightening are better. This scenario also seems to assume you don't have backups, which if your data is that important, you will have.
55 • @51 (by Corbin Rune on 2015-04-23 14:40:48 GMT from North America)
Considering how long it took the Debian folks to go for systemd ... I'm willing to bet that "Debian PPAs" would be much more reputation-based. Just call it a hunch, considering the distribution's known conservatism.
56 • LMD2, Entroware, Ubuntu_Mate (by gee7 on 2015-04-23 22:11:27 GMT from North America)
For those who live in the UK, it's a refreshing change to see a company selling computers pre-loaded with Linux, in this case Ubuntu Mate, see:
I have never been a fan of Ubuntu because of various concerns, much preferring Mint, and am looking forward to trying Mint Debian 2 when the upgrade pack is ready (LMD 1 is feeling rather clunky these days). Thank you Clem for bringing us a distro without systemd, it may well attract users from other distros.
However, for the first time in five years, I am giving Ubuntu a whirl with Ubuntu Mate on my Raspberry Pi - it feels zippier than Raspbian, and whether I keep it on the Pi or no, it must be said that it is the best general system for the Pi I have come across. I'm also trying Ubuntu Mate 14 LTS on a laptop, using Ixquick as a search engine and the command line or Synaptic for Downloads, to offset some of my privacy concerns. Ubuntu Mate is a first class operating system, no wonder it can now be bought on laptops or desktops. Their team really would have a great distro if they added privacy safeguards to the default ... I wish, huh? I just hope that LMD 2 can reach the same level of performance.
57 • Graph with donations (by Ricardo Sohn on 2015-04-23 22:17:00 GMT from South America)
I have made 2 graphs with gnuplot from data donations of DistroWatch up to March 2015
the links are:
58 • to anaconda and 2fish (by forlin on 2015-04-24 00:36:07 GMT from Europe)
far2fish: fish where you like, I keep mine:
Anakonda is great and could be perfect.
You know why?
59 • Build Your Own Linux Distro (by fr33 on 2015-04-24 02:46:41 GMT from Europe)
Build Your Own Linux Distro
Ben Everard | April 23, 2015
"Do you have a favourite distro that you’ve spent hours customising? Mayank Sharma shows you how you can spin it into a live distro that you can pass to friends, family, or even on to DistroWatch!"
60 • Quick Look at and Commentary about Ubuntu Mate 15.04, Mint Mate 17.1 and Mate (by Ben Myers on 2015-04-24 03:32:48 GMT from North America)
I took the opportunity to download the fresh new Ubuntu Mate 15.04 and boot it up on one of my elderly laptops which I'll put affordably into somebody's hands once I get all decent parts for it.
The system is a Dell Inspiron 6000 with 1.7GHz mobile P4, Intel mobile 915 chipset,1680x1050 graphics on a 15.4" screen, 2GB of DDR2 memory, 60GB IDE drive, and a 32MB ATI mobile X1300 video. The latter is important, because it tells me how low I can go on graphics memory with a modern operating system. DDR2 laptop memory is really cheap these days, so it makes no sense to have less than 2GB of system memory. Older laptop DDR is less plentiful and more expensive.
My criteria for selecting a distro are really simple. It needs to have contemporary software like LibreOffice, GIMP and Firefox for people to use. And it needs to have these and other productivity software installed as part of its installation process. it is also important that the distro provide a non-PAE option to run on some elderly laptops.
Ubuntu Mate 15.04 meets these criteria and runs smoothly with the 32MB graphic subsystem. The same is also true for Mint Mate 17.1.
My takeaway here is that Mate is lightweight enough to run well with 32MB graphics, and its desktop is attractive with neither too much glitz nor too many rough edges. Cinnamon is also an attractive desktop, but Mint Cinnamon would run only with degraded graphics on the Inspiron 6000, so it does not fit the category of lightweight.
The Inspiron 6000 is typical of the low range of computer I would consider for Linux. Others would include the Dell Latitude D610 and the IBM Thinkpad T43. All have similar specs, but different screen resolutions.
Next, when I can scare up an even older laptop, I can see what happens with Mate on an even more constrained 16MB graphics subsystem, maybe a 12" IBM Thinkpad X31.
61 • Ubuntu Unity is anti-privacy/LMDE 2 (by M.Z. on 2015-04-24 07:17:23 GMT from Planet Mars)
It's really only Ubuntu Unity that is anti-privacy, though I see no reason to use any distro directly affiliated with such a bad actor as Ubuntu. If you don't care about privacy enough to avoid all Ubuntus on principle, then use the non-Unity versions as you would any other distro. Me I won't do it until I'm convinced that they have finally fixed their main edition, which is sad because I sort of want to try kubuntu with KDE 5, but not bad enough to use an Ubuntu. Of course if you care about the principle of privacy but like the Ubuntu/Mint family I'd try Mint 17.x with either XFCE or Mate for a light weight desktop, or perhaps LMDE 2 Mate.
I'm actually dual booting LMDE 2 Mate with Bodhi 3 on my old backup PC, & it seems at least as fast as Bodhi on the same hardware & it's running under 300MB of RAM according to the Mate system monitor. I think the free & top commands are only reporting more because using less would be wasted RAM according to the folks who design those bits of Linux that eat idle RAM. At least that's my understanding of why both lightweight distros report eating half my 1.5 GB of RAM according to those command line system monitors.
62 • anti-privacy (by gee7 on 2015-04-24 08:49:19 GMT from North America)
I already have LMDE 1 (it's been on my computer since it first started years back) running Mate and am eagerly awaiting the update pack for LMDE 2 ... I would never touch Unity but first tried Ubuntu Mate out of curiosity because of some enthusiastic reviews on Jupiter Broadcasting ... What is a cause for worry is the Software Centre - it links the user's ip address to commercial enterprises trying to sell books and computer parts, by the look of it. Perhaps the developers can explain more about that. That is why I installed Synaptic Packet Manager - to avoid the Software Centre - though I usually find it easier to get get new software using "apt-get install" on the command line ...
I still use Gnome 2 on Debian Squeeze for many things but my hard drive is failing, so I need to clone it at some time fast as I will never be able to set it up again, because of problems of finding old software - Mate is a sweet system running much the same as Gnome 2 , now it has become more polished. I also use Debian Jessie with XFCE.
63 • Mint 17.1 (by zykoda on 2015-04-24 13:18:14 GMT from Europe)
Could not get an install to work (hung midway without messages) for 32 bit Cinnamon and Mate. LMDE 2 Cinnamon goes to fallback. On the other hand LMDE 2 Mate is the star on this occasion with full installation and boot. Ubiquity seems at fault on the ubuntu versions. LMDE 2 Cinnamon fallback is a graphics card(ATI 9200)/Xorg issue. LMDE 2 Mate is not happy with Firefox, Opera or Chrome browsers as thay glitch out with Flash issues; however Dillo comes to the rescue. Of course the machine is 2004 vintage with ASUS A7V333 rev 1.04 motherboard, 1.5GB ram Athlon 2200+ at 1800MHz. I do like the LMDE 2 installer with gparted.
64 • Ubuntu gives a choice. (by Eddie on 2015-04-24 18:53:45 GMT from North America)
Well with all the talk that has been going on about init systems I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that Ubuntu now gives you a choice on which one you want to use. I wonder how many other distros will give you a choice with that. As far as privacy goes, people here are professional enough that it would not be any problem to go completely private if that is even possible. The general public doesn't care, they are just one big happy online family. So it's really a non issue.
65 • privacy (by BluPhoenyx on 2015-04-24 20:17:23 GMT from North America)
When everyone ignores the situation because most people don't care, then those who are trying to take advantage of people's ignorance automatically win. When your principles don't matter enough to take a stand, of any sort, then you deserve to be taken advantage of which is exactly what companies like Canonical are doing when they configure software to default to spreading your information or opting you in for whatever.
The real problem isn't dissembling your searches or passing your information to other businesses. It is doing so by default, not telling anyone about the situation AND assuming that it is okay to do this without asking the user.
For myself and those systems that I manage, we choose a distribution that gives us more control and more privacy. At the very least, this is an OS such as Salix or Slackware, however, Manjaro with preinstalled OpenRC looks interesting.
66 • PCLinuxOS (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2015-04-24 22:02:13 GMT from Europe)
I am trying the different systemd-free alternatives:
- Lubuntu-LTS is nice even it not as stable as one would expect. After upgrading I logged into a blank screen and ended up switching to LXQt. So far so god, but this is just a provisional solution.
- Mint-LXDE (unofficial respin). Same problem as with Lubuntu. When trying to fix it the MDE got replaced with LightDM and that was the end of my Mint experience. Another problem is the uncertainty concerning systemd adoption in the future.
- LMDE2. I have not tried yet because of the uncertainty concerning systemd adoption in the future.
- Manjaro-OpenRC. It was great but did not survive the first upgrade.
- PCLinuxOS (LXDE). I am writing from it and so far it has been a delightful experience. The performance and the responsiveness is excellent (among the best with any OS I have tried this far). Operation and upgrades are flawless. System management (both GUI and CLI) feature-rich and trouble-free. The only issues are: 1) Aesthetics, it is ugly as hell but that is very easy to fix; and 2) After using Ubuntu you can miss a few packages from the package manager. This one looks like a keep.
If the lack of packages becomes a real issue, I might try some Gentoo derivative.
67 • Re: PCLinuxOS (by cykodrone on 2015-04-25 04:51:26 GMT from North America)
I'm running PCLOS MATE, I love it, I'm not a huge LXDE fan, I like some meat on the bones of my DE, lol, but no too much like KDE (bloat). Anyway, about packages, join the forum, they have a section there where you can ask for a package to be built, I asked for gelemental and it was in the repo in a few days (I had stated in my request there was no rush). KDE has been their main DE so the repo is a little shy of gtk apps...for now.
MATE was a bit ugly OOTB too, but I quickly remedied that. I think their thinking is MATE is supposed to be their 'lite' alternative so they use low resource GUI choices (like the Square icon set, blech).
I say PCLOS is more n00b friendly than Mint, it has far more custom system admin tools, etc. I've used both, Mint was never perfect, PCLOS comes closer to perfect. I vote PCLOS to be the best Windows refugee distro too, bar none. I used PCLOS way back in '06/'07, it was pretty good then already, it just got better over the years, no crazy over engineering or fixing things that aren't broke. PCLOS is a hybrid, Mint is Ubuntu with a buggy tweaked DE. O_x
68 • privacy & PCLOS (by M.Z. on 2015-04-25 06:08:50 GMT from Planet Mars)
I wouldn't put any sort of privacy violation of marketing scheme past Canonical, but I haven't heard about the software centre, only the Dash/Unity search functions.
Agreed 100% on Canonical & their abuse of power over the noobs that they try to attract with their distro. Privacy is a real issue to me, & I use Linux in part because I try to be a conscientious consumer. I don't see the point of switching from Windows or Mac to Ubuntu if Canonical makes their distro a free/open OS that is as bad for consumers as the big proprietary players. What's the point of free & open software that plays catch 22 with the privacy of insufficiently wary users? It's against the spirit of the GPL & much of the purpose of 'free as in speech' software.
I like PCLinuxOS too, but I got to say that Cinnamon is the best modern Gtk desktop around. On most of my hardware Mint Cinnamon doesn't seem buggy at all, & is great for everything but online streaming.Their DE also available in the PCLOS repos, though I have only used the PCLOS version a little bit. If PCLOS had something as nice as the Mint Software Centre & the Mint Update Manager for user friendly software browsing & updates I'd agree that PCLOS would be better, but it isn't quite there yet in my opinion. I can also get a few important bits of software in Mint & other members of Debian family that I can't get in PCLOS. It's still very close in my mind because I like some of the more up to date software in PCLOS & the lack of any need to reinstall. I think PCLOS is definitely a keeper on at least one or two of my systems, but I sure like Mint in both Cinnamon & KDE flavours & I'm glad that both PCLOS & Mint are around.
69 • Debian_lights_way_for_Archlinux (by k on 2015-04-26 10:11:16 GMT from North America)
Salient, informative and timely comments above, thank you. Team Debian has really gifted Linux users and would be users with a very powerful, secure and stable information and innovation technology. Also brilliant and promising, the Archlinux team and community provide a highly educational :) , customizable, and secure alternative, if one gets it installed and running in their lifetime. :)) Joking aside, Deb and Arch are flying off together, and soon, very soon, others will have faded back to black.
70 • Mint 17.1 review (by imnotrich on 2015-04-26 19:30:45 GMT from North America)
I've been running Ubuntu Studio 14.10 with mostly good results for a while now, a few frustrations like fslint not deleting duplicates even when run as root and being unable to print pdf files, Ekiga is no longer compatible with Ubuntu and won't register with my voip provider (which is ok - SFLphone works perfectly) and after some recent updates borked my install further I decided it would be easier to start fresh. Instead of using a regular hard drive for the OS, I installed a 32gb SSD for the OS and a freshly formatted 1tb hard drive for my home partition. Debian 7.8 attempted, No joy, Debian failed to get grub correct and I booted to a blank screen. So I tried Ubuntu Studio 14.10 again. No joy. While Ubuntu did a proper job with the partitions, Ubuntu couldn't figure out permissions. I couldn't run any programs, I could put launchers on the desktop but they would not launch and other issues. Plus Ubuntu STILL hasn't fixed the wrong language bug, it assumes you want Spanish/Spanish numbers, money and other formats based on your time zone selection rather than the OS and keyboard language you specify during the install.
So rather than get my fingernails dirty and spend two weeks struggling with everything that Ubuntu didn't do right, I decided to try something different.
In the past I've been critical of Mint based on previous experiences, but Mint obviously does something right because lots of people are very fond of this OS.
So I grabbed Mint 17.1 xfce and installed it. The live install disk was very snappy (hope so-I have a quad core and 16gb of RAM) and I was excited.
Sadly, I found the xfce install to be clunky, slow, they did get permissions and language correct but lots of system hangs. I couldn't use usb hard drives or thumbs because tumblerd would cause the system to lock up and corrupt ntfs file systems (ouch). Multiple other bugs. So I deleted Mint 17.1. Zap.
Not convinced my experience was the last word about Mint, I grabbed the Cinnamon version.
INCREDIBLE! It's a fast, classic interface that is intuitive and most everything seemed to work with little or no configuration. I can print pdf's from Adobe reader again! Fslint failed the same way as with Ubuntu, but I found a previous version of fslint and that solved it. Streamtuner2 in the repos was broken, it wouldn't call audacious but that was easily fixed upgrading to the newest version not yet in the repos. The only issue I have not been about to fix after two weeks is printing. The printer works fine locally, and CUPS has been directed to publish/share on my network. My Windows laptop can see the printer, but for some reason it won't print from Windows even though I have the current, correct driver installed. I thought it might be a firewall issue and it may still be, however CUPS log shows the print jobs as having completed successfully even though they did not.
Interestingly, when I try to pint the linux box by name or ip I get a response but when I try to ping cups port 631 I am blocked. But when I open the firewall configuration gui, it says the firewall is not enabled. How can this be?
Another possible firewall issue that I had with both Ubuntu Studio 14.10 and Mint 17.1 is with Spideroak, my cloud back up app randomly connects/disconnects or gets a "reconnecting too fast" error. Spideroak support insists this is a network or firewall issue, and there is nothing wrong with my network plus Spideroak works perfectly fine on all my other machines - so again I believe the firewall is at fault.
Even more interesting, thanks to shields up I learned that none of my ports are in stealth mode. Hey, even Microsoft Firewall can do THIS correctly. What's the malfunction, MINT? Overall a much improved use experience, but printing/network printing and firewalls are basic functionality for most users. Why version 17.1 was allowed out the door without these basic functions working OOB is perplexing.
71 • I neglected to mention (by imnotrich on 2015-04-26 21:35:39 GMT from North America)
Another problem with CUPS that Ubuntu had - always thinking my usb printer was disconnected or off line, when in reality it was plugged in and turned on.
Fortunately, Mint solved that bug.
However, now I'm also fighting with cgminer and bfgminer. They refuse to detect any usb devices unless run as root, and then only sometimes.
Still fighting with Spideroak too. Took two weeks to get the sync folder working properly, it would only download 14mb of 4gb before stopping. In the past when that's happened I've had sync folders on other machines get nuked. Fortunately, that didn't happen this time. I finally fixed the sync problem by deleting the partially downloaded "hive" as they call it, and copying in a backup copy from a usb hard drive. Of course Spideroak still doesn't download or upload consistently. It's offline much of the time. Very frustrating.
In the meantime though I've managed to get network printing to function by completely disabling the firewall on Mint. Not optimal and as time permits I'll have to experiment with firewall settings so CUPS can communicate with trusted devices on my home network, and my ports are stealthed as they should have been OOB. Linux=the freedom to be frustrated by bugs.
72 • 70/71 • … review (by Kragle on 2015-04-26 22:03:20 GMT from North America)
Normally, someone who tries many apps and notices errors would be valued as a tester (assuming such concerns are reported, of course), but does a grating whine offset favorable prospects of reception? Perhaps enlisting the aid of a translator could be helpful in such a situation. I recommend one versed in Polite, or Civil … both dialects are popular in Franch-speaking areas, and others. Of course, not every distro's dev-community is receptive to such information.
That said, even a snarky review can be informative, and thus useful.
SFLphone.org, from 2009 … spun-off (Very recently - the 14th) to new SourceForge-project; originators (Montreal/Quebec_City/Paris) replacing with Beta Ring.cx … both GPL3 … intriguing. Expansion of anti-privacy laws in the U.S. (relieving businesses of liability to customers for giving private data to government agencies) about the same time … coincidence?
Number of Comments: 72
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