| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 607, 27 April 2015
Welcome to this year's 17th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Last week we saw the release of many distributions, including new versions of Ubuntu and Ubuntu's many official community distributions. We begin this week with a review containing first impressions of Canonical's flagship product, Ubuntu 15.04. Of course, there were developments outside of the Ubuntu community last week, including the launch of Fedora 22 Beta, and we cover the new features Fedora is testing in our News section. In other news, Debian's Long Term Support team is planning to extend the life of Debian "Wheezy". Plus, the Debian project has released a new stable version, Debian 8.0 "Jessie", and we discuss some key highlights available in Debian "Jessie". We also link to a script which will seek out and download the latest releases of many popular distributions. This week we are happy to share a second review containing observations and commentary on Chapeau, a Linux distribution based on Fedora Workstation. In our Torrent Corner we share the distributions we are seeding this week. Then we are pleased to provide a list of all the distribution releases of the past week and we look ahead to exciting announcements to come. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Ubuntu 15.04
Canonical's Ubuntu operating system is probably the most widely used Linux distribution in the world. Ubuntu is made available in several editions, including desktop builds, server builds and there is a branch of Ubuntu for mobile phones. Ubuntu provides installation images for the x86, ARM and Power PC architectures, allowing the distribution to run on a wide variety of hardware. The most recent release of Ubuntu, version 15.04, includes a fairly short list of changes compared to last year's Ubuntu 14.10, however some of the changes are significant. Some small changes include an upgrade of the kernel to Linux 3.19 and placing application menus inside the application window by default. A potentially larger change is the switch from Canonical's Upstart init software to systemd.
I downloaded the 64-bit x86 build of Ubuntu's desktop edition. The ISO for this edition is approximately 1.1GB in size. Booting from the live media brings up a graphical screen where we are asked if we would like to experiment with the distribution's live desktop environment or launch the project's system installer. On the left side of the window we can select our preferred language from a list.
Ubuntu's graphical system installer begins by asking if we would like to download software updates during the installation. We can also select whether to install third-party software such as multimedia support and Flash. I opted to include multimedia support, but I did not wish to download software updates right away. Downloading updated packages from Ubuntu's servers on launch day can be a slow process as many other users will also be accessing these same servers. We are next asked if we would like to have the system installer partition our hard drive for us, perform some guided action or if we would like to manually partition our disk. I decided to take the manual partitioning option. I found Ubuntu's partition manager to be easy to navigate and options are presented in a friendly manner. The partition manager allows us to set up swap, ext2/3/4, JFS, XFS and Btrfs partitions. I chose to install Ubuntu on a Btrfs volume. The following screens ask us to select our time zone from a map of the world, confirm our keyboard's layout and create a user account for ourselves. We can choose to encrypt our user account's files. With these steps completed we wait while the installer copies its files to our disk and configures the operating system. We are then prompted to reboot the computer.
When we boot into our fresh installation of Ubuntu we are brought to a graphical login screen. From this screen we can sign into the user account we made during the installation or we can sign into a guest account. The guest account can be accessed without a password and, when we end our guest session, the guest account is wiped clean, removing files and resetting the guest account's configuration. Signing into our account brings up the Unity desktop environment. The default background is bright purple. On the left side of the screen we find the application launcher, populated with quick-launch buttons for popular applications. In the upper-left corner of the screen we find Unity's dash where we can search for programs, documents and other items. In the upper-right corner of the screen we find the system tray and user menu where we can access system settings, access documentation or logout.
Ubuntu 15.04 -- Unity's dash
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One of the first features I explored was Ubuntu's "Help" documentation. This documentation deals mostly with the Unity interface, how to navigate it and how to adjust the desktop's settings. I found the documentation to be well presented and easy to navigate. Another feature which stands out is the Unity dash will perform on-line searches for items when we try to locate programs or documents. The on-line searches can be disabled through the settings panel, specifically in the Security & Privacy module. While exploring the Security & Privacy settings I also noticed Ubuntu can automatically send bug reports and usage data back to Canonical. What is sent in these reports is laid out in the Security & Privacy module and we can disable the reports if we wish.
Not only can we search for programs and documents through the Unity dash, we can also install new applications from the dash. When we search for a program from the dash's application scope installed items matching our search are shown. We are also presented with a list of applications in Ubuntu's software repositories which match our search terms. Clicking on an available item gives us the option to install the selected software. Alternatively we can turn to the Ubuntu Software Centre when we want to install or remove applications.
The Ubuntu Software Centre is an application that displays categories of available software and can present us with lists of available programs, sorted by category and popularity. Clicking on an application brings up a full screen information window with a summary of what the program does, reviews of the application and a screen shot. We can install or remove applications with the click of a button. The Software Centre installs new programs in the background while we continue to browse through lists of available software. I found the Software Centre worked well for me. Searches returned relevant items quickly, the Software Centre has an interface I found easy to navigate and all the installations I queued completed quickly.
Ubuntu 15.04 -- Browsing the Ubuntu Software Centre
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A while after I logged in, the distribution's update manager appeared in the Unity sidebar. Clicking the update manager's icon brings up a small window which shows us a summary of available software updates. We can click items to learn more about them and select which updates we wish to install. During my time with Ubuntu a few packages were updated and these all installed cleanly without any problems.
I tried running Ubuntu 15.04 in two test environments, a desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. Ubuntu ran well in both environments. Networking and audio worked out of the box and my desktop was set to its maximum resolution. Unity was quite responsive on my desktop computer, but lagged a bit in VirtualBox until I enabled 3-D acceleration for the virtual machine. Once 3-D support was enabled Unity ran smoothly in the virtual environment. In either test environment I found memory consumption varied quite a bit. Whenever I would log into Unity I would check memory usage before doing anything else and found Ubuntu would consume anywhere from 380MB to 440MB of RAM when logged into Unity. In both test environments Ubuntu remained stable during my trial.
Ubuntu ships with a useful collection of desktop applications. We are given the Firefox web browser with Flash support. The Thunderbird e-mail client and the Transmission bittorrent software are included along with the Empathy messaging software. There is a remote desktop client, a document viewer and the LibreOffice productivity software included in the default installation. Ubuntu ships with an image viewer, the Shotwell photo manager and a handful of small games. The distribution provides us with an archive manager, a backup utility, a calculator and a text editor. The Brasero disc burning software is available along with the Cheese webcam utility. The Network Manager software is present to help us get on-line. The Rhythmbox audio player and the Totem video player are present and I found they would play common media formats out of the box. Ubuntu offers a few accessibility options such as the Orca screen reader and a virtual keyboard. In the dash we find an icon which brings up an application that allows us to locate and install third-party hardware drivers. Java is not included in the distribution, but the GNU Compiler Collection is available and the operating system runs on version 3.19 of the Linux kernel.
Ubuntu 15.04 -- Creating backups of our files
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What I have talked about so far with regards to Ubuntu 15.04 also applies to the previous two versions of the operating system, so let's examine some of the differences present in the latest Ubuntu release. As I mentioned above, Ubuntu 15.04 places application menus within application windows by default. I like this approach as it makes Unity act more like other desktop environments and it means I do not need to move the mouse as much to access menus. The previous behaviour of putting application menus in the global top bar is available as an option in the settings panel.
One of the changes I was interested in exploring was Ubuntu's switch from the Upstart init software to systemd. In this regard I was pleasantly surprised. I find most distributions, when they initially make the switch to systemd, introduce bugs or, at the very least, break backward compatibility. Sometimes service managers stop working properly and network device names usually change. Even if everything works as it should, the administrator needs to adjust to systemd's approach to logging and adopt a different method of managing services. Ubuntu has taken an approach I like with regards to adopting systemd. While systemd functions as init, the old methods of managing the system still exist on Ubuntu. For example, services can be started or stopped using either the old style "service" commands or systemd's "systemctl" command. Ubuntu still maintains log files in text format which means daemons that monitor logs (such as security applications) do not need to be patched to work on Ubuntu. The systemd binary journal is also present, so people who want to take advantage of the journal's search features can do that too.
Ubuntu recognizes runlevels, allowing administrators familiar with traditional approaches for initializing and shutting down the system to continue to work as they have before. Device names, such as network interfaces, still use the traditional naming conventions rather than systemd's new naming style, maintaining backward compatibility with previous versions of Ubuntu. I really appreciate this nearly seamless approach to adopting systemd as it means virtually all the old commands and concepts still work while the new systemd approaches and concepts are there for people who wish to adopt them. I know CentOS tried to perform a similar smooth transition with CentOS 7 and mostly succeeded, but there were a few things which did not transition properly and text logs had to be enabled manually on CentOS 7. Other early adopters of systemd generally have not made an effort to be backward compatible and it makes switching between different versions of those distributions awkward. Ubuntu has smoothed out the rough edges and made the transition to systemd virtually invisible. As an added perk, we can launch the older Upstart init software from Ubuntu's boot menu, disregarding systemd completely. I think this makes Ubuntu the only distribution I know of which supports multiple init technologies installed side-by-side.
Ubuntu 15.04 -- Unity's settings panel
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Another feature I was curious to try was Unity 8 running on Mir. By default, Ubuntu 15.04 still runs Unity 7 on the X display server, but Unity 8 and the Mir display server are available in the distribution's repositories. The first thing I discovered about the experimental Unity 8 desktop was it does not run in VirtualBox. However, it will run passably on physical hardware. The first time we log into Unity 8 the desktop walks us through an initial configuration where we are asked to select our preferred language and we are given a chance to place a password (or passcode) on our lock screen. Unity 8 consistently refers to the device it is running on as a phone. Once the initial configuration is done we are brought to a desktop that has the same basic layout as Unity 7. There is a small collection of applications available via the sidebar and we can access some desktop settings. We can also put the desktop in "airplane mode" and lock the screen to prevent it from automatically rotating. Unity 8 is set up to be used as a touch screen interface and some applications require we "swipe" or use "touch and drag" gestures to navigate them rather than using traditional mouse clicks and scroll bars. From Unity 8 we cannot access a terminal or any of our desktop applications from Unity 7.
The Unity 8 desktop has its own application store and we can access this store to find and install new applications. Downloading programs from the app store requires an account with the Ubuntu One service. Once I installed a new application I was unable to find a way to launch it as the program does not end up in the dash or on the Unity 8 sidebar.
In short, Unity 8 technically works, but it is very limited and seems to be exclusively designed to work on mobile devices with touch screens. Performance appears to be fine and the app store, while short on options, does work and is easy to navigate.
Ubuntu 15.04 -- Running Unity 8 on Mir
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On the surface, Ubuntu 15.04 does not bring many changes. There are a few cosmetic adjustments, but nothing major that desktop users are likely to notice. Most of the interesting work appears to be going on behind the scenes. Unity 8 on Mir, for example, is an experimental add-on option. While I like to see Unity 8 and Mir progressing, they are not yet ready to be rolled out to the general public. Another big change is the move to systemd from Upstart and I am really impressed with the way Ubuntu developers handled this shift from one init technology to another. With both systemd and classic init commands, services and logs supported out of the box it makes the transition seamless for almost every use case, both on the desktop and on servers.
The last few releases from Canonical have been relatively calm, introducing only minor changes in the user interface and generally improving things. Ubuntu 15.04 feels very stable and easy to configure. This is an operating system that is virtually effortless to set up and run and I feel the Unity 7 desktop does a nice job of providing lots of features while staying out of the way. In fact, what I have come to like about Unity is there is a lot of information around the border of the display while the central work area remains calm, letting the user focus on the task at hand. Updates, new messages notifications and such are presented via subtle visual changes along the edges of the screen rather than popping up and distracting me from my work.
All in all, I like what Canonical has done with Ubuntu 15.04. This feels like a small, incremental evolution for Ubuntu and Unity. The init switch, which has disrupted the users of several other distributions, goes largely unnoticed in Ubuntu and I think that is worthy of praise. I would still like Ubuntu to default to not sending search queries and usage data to Canonical, I think those features should be "opt-in" rather than "opt-out". Ubuntu makes it easy to toggle these features on/off, but I think most people would feel better if their privacy were given a higher priority. Privacy concerns aside, Ubuntu 15.04 feels like a stable release and an evolutionary step forward from previous releases.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora releases new Beta, Debian Wheezy may get extended support, Debian 8 offers better EFI support and live CDs, and a script for finding recent distribution releases
The launch of Fedora 22 is still a month away, but the Fedora Project does have some new features to show off in the project's latest Beta release. "The Beta release contains all the exciting features of Fedora 22's editions in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is meant to be feature complete and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 22 is expected in May." Fedora 22 Beta offers a number of interesting features and improvements. For instance, the Wayland display server is moving forward and will now be the default display server for showing Fedora's login screen. The Cloud branch of Fedora will be getting a new command, Atomic, to help administrators manage Linux containers. Plus, Fedora 22 will be using the new DNF package manager by default. DNF is a drop-in replacement for Fedora's old YUM package manager. Both programs use the same commands and syntax, but DNF is reported to work faster than its predecessor. Further details can be obtained from the project's release notes.
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While the Debian distribution has relatively long development cycles of approximately two years, the supported life span of Debian releases tends to be fairly short, around three years. This means Debian users need to keep upgrading to the latest stable release and may not be able to wait and upgrade later, skipping a version of Debian Stable. The Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project has changed that for users of Debian "Squeeze", extending the life span of Debian "Squeeze" by at least a year. The Debian LTS team now wants to offer extended support for Debian "Wheezy" and, down the road, Debian "Jessie". "Almost a year after the birth of the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) project, Squeeze LTS can be considered a success. Thanks go to the many volunteers and sponsors! Debian 6 `Squeeze' has seen more than 200 security uploads since the start of its extended support period. The most widely used packages have been fixed in a timely fashion and many organizations can thus safely rely on the continued maintenance of Squeeze LTS. Given this experience, we are confident that Debian 7 `Wheezy' and Debian 8 `Jessie' will benefit from Long Term Support." The LTS team is hoping to attract developers and financial support to extend the life cycle of all present and future versions of Debian.
The highly anticipated release of Debian 8.0 "Jessie" was launched over the weekend. The new Debian Stable release offers a number of new features and improvements that will, no doubt, benefit not only Debian users, but the many people who use distributions based on Debian. Debian 8.0 offers improved EFI support for 32-bit x86 machines and Intel-based Apple Mac computers. Debian 8.0 not only offers installation media, but live discs are also being supplied as official release images. Further, Debian 8.0 runs on two new architectures. Steve McIntyre wrote in a mailing list post, "We've added installation media for the two new architectures added in Jessie: arm64 and ppc64el. I'm particularly proud of the arm64 images. With help from Ian Campbell, Leif Lindholm and Thomas Schmitt I've managed to make EFI-compatible CD images in an isohybrid design that means they should also work when copied directly to a USB stick. Hopefully this will help this new platform to become just as easy to install as any x86 PC is today. Hopefully post-Jessie we'll even be able to start providing live images and OpenStack images for more architectures too."
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Have you ever wanted to download a copy of the latest version of your favourite Linux distribution, but didn't want to go hunting for a link to the download image? Or perhaps you want to download multiple distributions and try out several at once? Peter Paskowsky likes to experiment with multiple distributions and seed torrents for various projects. To assist with his endeavours he has written a script which seeks out the most recent releases of popular distributions and downloads torrent files for the latest versions of each distribution. Paskowsky writes, "I've always been looking for ways to donate my home bandwidth to good causes. One of the best ways I've found is seeding Linux ISOs with bittorrent using my trusty QNAP NAS (which is running Debian and Transmission). The problem with seeding Linux distros is that new releases are always coming out, meaning you may be seeding old versions unless you're constantly on top of it. To solve this issue I wrote a bash script to automatically download the newest torrents for my favourite Linux distributions. The script is hosted on my GitHub." The script downloads torrent files for the latest releases of Arch, CentOS, Debian, Fedora, Kali, openSUSE, Raspbian, Slackware and Ubuntu and can be patched to seek out torrent files for other distributions.
| Bonus Review (by Jesse Smith)
A new Chapeau
Chapeau Linux is a desktop distribution based on Fedora. The Chapeau project's website lists a number of advantages the distribution provides over Fedora's Workstation offering. Chapeau ships with multimedia codecs, Flash, anti-virus software, data recovery tools, WINE, PlayOnLinux and Steam. In addition, third-party software repositories are enabled by default giving users access to a larger collection of software. At the moment, one edition of Chapeau 21 is available. It is a build for 64-bit x86 machines that offers users the GNOME 3.14 desktop environment.
I downloaded Chapeau's 2.2GB ISO file. Booting from the live media brings up a graphical screen where we are asked if we would like to try running the GNOME desktop (specifically GNOME Shell) or if we would like to launch the project's system installer. Chapeau's system installer is the same one provided by Korora and Fedora and I have talked about it before. The same features, quirks and awkward partitioning screen are present. Still, the installer worked for me and provided me with a functioning installation of Chapeau when it was finished. Once the installer completes its work we can continue to use the live GNOME desktop or reboot the computer.
Booting into our new copy of Chapeau we are brought to a graphical login screen featuring a plain grey theme. From the login screen we can sign into one of three desktop sessions. Chapeau provides access to GNOME Shell, GNOME's Classic desktop and a version of GNOME Shell running atop a Wayland display server. At various points during my trial I attempted to use all three desktop environments. The GNOME on Wayland option did not work for me at all and attempting to access GNOME on Wayland simply brought me back to the login screen. Attempting to sign into the GNOME Classic desktop usually worked, providing me with a GNOME 2/MATE style desktop. However, with about one in every three login attempts I found the GNOME Classic session would also kick me out, sending me back to the login screen. Most of the time I used GNOME Shell (running on the X display server).
Chapeau 21 -- GNOME Shell's Activities menu
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The first time we sign into our account we are shown a configuration screen and asked a few questions. New users are asked to select their preferred language and confirm their keyboard layout. The first time we access our account we are also asked if we would like to connect our local user account with remote services such as ownCloud and Google Drive. Once we move beyond these configuration screens we are shown another window containing GNOME's Getting Started guide. The guide provides links to documentation explaining how to use the GNOME desktop. I found the documentation to be suitable to beginners and easy to navigate. Once we dismiss the documentation we are shown a fairly typical GNOME Shell interface. The Activities menu is located in the upper-left corner of the screen, the user menu is in the upper right and the desktop is otherwise empty.
I tried running Chapeau in two test environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a physical desktop computer. In both environments I found the distribution performed well. The system ran smoothly, networking and audio worked out of the box and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. Desktop performance was middle of the road, I found. Both GNOME Shell and GNOME Classic were neither highly responsive nor were they sluggish, the desktops seemed quite average in their performance. I found GNOME Shell used approximately 370MB of memory while GNOME's Classic session used 410MB of memory.
Chapeau 21 -- GNOME's desktop settings
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Another feature I noticed early was the size of the fonts used. I found Chapeau used fonts that were quite small and there did not appear to be any way to select alternative fonts or set fonts to a specific size. In the settings panel there is an accessibility option to use "large text", but this is an on/off option, not something that can be customized. I actually found the "large text" option made the fonts on my screen display at about the same size as (or just slightly larger than) default fonts on most other desktop distributions I have used recently.
Software management on Chapeau is handled by a graphical application called Software. The Software application is divided into three tabs. One tab shows us available software, the second shows us items that have been installed and the third tab offers to show us available package upgrades. The Software utility shows us desktop applications only, it cannot display available libraries or command line programs. To find an application we want we can browse through featured software or perform searches for items based on their names. Clicking on a package's entry brings up a full page description of the software and we can click a button to install the selected item. I found Software did a good job of displaying available packages and installing items I wanted. Performing searches for specific packages was very slow though. Early on in my trial I used Software to check for package upgrades and none were found. I switched over to the YUM command line package manager and YUM reported 405 new packages were available, totalling 718MB in size. Later in the week I checked for package upgrades using Software again and the second time around Software located available upgrades and offered to install them. Unfortunately, Software refused to install the software upgrades unless I rebooted the computer first. Requiring a reboot to install new packages is strange behaviour which I have only seen before when using Microsoft Windows. Whichever utility we use to install software and updates, Chapeau pulls packages from a variety of sources. The Chapeau distribution pulls in software from the official Fedora repositories, Korora, PlayOnLinux, RPMFusion, Adobe, VirtualBox and its own custom repositories.
Chapeau 21 -- Running various applications
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Most of the time we probably will not need to go looking for additional applications since Chapeau provides many out of the box. Looking through GNOME's application menu we find the Firefox web browser with Flash support, the Empathy messaging client, a Dropbox file storage client, the Steam gaming portal and the Transmission bittorrent software. Users have access to the Evolution e-mail client, the LibreOffice productivity suite, Darktable, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and Shotwell. The Brasero disc burning software is installed for us along with the Cheese webcam application, the Rhythmbox audio player, the PiTiVi video editor, a sound converter, the VLC multimedia player and an audio recorder. Chapeau also provides multimedia codecs, allowing us to play just about any media file. Gamers will be pleased to find Steam and PlayOnLinux are provided along with WINE. Chapeau provides a few administration tools, including one for managing user accounts, one for configuring the firewall and another for trouble-shooting SELinux. Yum Extender (YumEx) is included as an alternative package manager. We also find the Clam anti-virus software, a simple weather app, a text editor, calculator and archive manager. There is a document viewer, Network Manager to help us get on-line and an application for displaying street maps. Chapeau provides us with a remote desktop client, Java and the GNU Compiler Collection. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.18.
Chapeau 21 -- Accessibility options
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While experimenting with Chapeau I encountered a few features I feel are worth mentioning. One is the Pharlap application. Pharlap will examine our hardware and attempt to locate appropriate third-party device drivers. We can then browse through the available drivers, see which ones are recommended and install them. Pharlap takes a surprisingly long time to load (several minutes in my case), but once it is running the interface is nice and the utility worked well for me.
Something else I noticed was I regularly saw warning messages when I logged into my account. Early in my trial these warning notifications mostly indicated there was a problem with the kernel package. Chapeau offers to send an automated bug report for the kernel package, which I appreciate. I like it when operating systems offer to send appropriate information to the developers so that issues can be fixed. Other notifications I saw upon logging in typically reported warnings from the SELinux security software. These can be important as SELinux is designed to prevent misbehaving software from damaging the rest of the operating system. I went through the warnings, there were 50 on my first day of using Chapeau, and found they were all seemingly minor issues caused by low level services. Some programs which were triggering the SELinux warnings included FirewallD, CUPS, systemd and the fingerprint management daemon. I like that the SELinux trouble-shooter will offer us tips on how to prevent similar warnings in the future if we feel an application is behaving as it should and we want SELinux to allow the program to act as it wishes.
The Maps application is one I do not typically see shipped with distributions. The Maps program displays road maps from around the world and appears to pull its map data from MapQuest. The Maps program worked well for me. I have always been a big fan of studying maps and I wasted more time than I would care to admit playing with the Maps application.
Two other programs that worked well for me were the weather application and the Clocks program. The weather application allows us to provide the name of a city and the program looks up the weather in the given location. It's a simple program and does not appear to handle forecasts, it simply reports current conditions. My only issue with the weather application was it insisted on using Fahrenheit units for temperature and I couldn't find an option to switch to using my native Celsius. The Clocks program looks a lot like the Clock application that ships with Android. Clocks allows us to set up clocks in various time zones, set alarms, run a stopwatch and set short timers. Personally, I feel as though the Clocks program is better suited to a tablet or mobile phone, but I'm sure some people will find it useful.
While using Chapeau it was tempting to regularly compare the distribution to Korora. Both projects have similar goals: to make Fedora Workstation a more attractive desktop solution, mostly by adding third-party software the Fedora project will not include in their repositories. Chapeau even connects to the Korora software repository, demonstrating just how closely related these two distributions are.
When I reviewed the Korora distribution I said it had fixed most of the problems I had with Fedora. Korora packs in more functionality, reduces initial configuration steps and has some extra administration tools. However, while it tried, Korora did not really fix the problems I had with Fedora's software manager. I feel Chapeau can be summed up in much the same way. This distribution certainly offers a lot of good software and it takes the Fedora base and turns it into a friendly, functional desktop operating system. However, Chapeau does not fix software management. The Software package manager is still slow and cumbersome and YumEx, while it shows individual packages and not just desktop applications, really does not offer an attractive solution.
But let's focus on what Chapeau does do. The distribution offers a friendly, functional desktop experience right out of the box. There are administrative tools, documentation for beginners and the operating system's performance is pretty good. I think Chapeau will appeal to people who like the cutting-edge technology Fedora offers, but who want to jump right into using their desktop operating system without configuring additional repositories and hunting down codecs, hardware drivers or other extras. One might consider Chapeau to be related to Fedora in much the same way Linux Mint Debian Edition is related to Debian. There is a stronger desktop focus and more functionality out of the box, but the same basic technology exists at the core and therefore the distributions share most of the same strengths and flaws.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
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.
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: 51
- Total downloads completed: 15,582
- Total data uploaded: 5.8TB
|Released Last Week
Calculate Linux 14.16
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 14.16, a new stable release of the Gentoo-based distribution for desktops (with KDE or Xfce), servers and media centres: "We are happy to announce the release of Calculate Linux 14.16. Main changes: UKSM (Ultra Kernel Samepage Merging) and KSWAP (Kernel Swap Patches) enabled to reduce disk load; trim settings activated for SSD volumes; kernel and kernel modules packed respectively with lz4 and gzip; Noop used as the default scheduler on SSD and virtual machines, BFQ everywhere else; shorter animation launch at boot / logout time; disk operations got lower priority for the package manager; Calculate Utilities optimization; caching of packages to be configured with templates; optimized system setup at first launch..." Read the rest of the release announcement for a detailed changelog.
IPFire 2.17 Core 89
Michael Tremer has announced the launch of IPFire 2.17 Core 89. This new release brings a number of new features to the specialist firewall distribution, including VPN connection graphs, a list of new providers and improved error handling. "This is the official release announcement of IPFire 2.17 - Core Update 89. This one comes with some new features, many updates of software packages and various minor bug fixes. OpenVPN Net-To-Net Statistics: Connection statistics of OpenVPN net-to-net connections are now collected and graphed. They show incoming and outgoing traffic of the VPN connections and compression ratios. Dynamic DNS Updater: The dynamic DNS updater tool ddns has been massively extended - A database is used to track successful and failed updates. ddns will automatically back-off when an update could not be performed and will re-try after a longer time. nsupdate.info asked to never repeat any updates after one has failed for any reason..." Further information can be found in the project's release notes.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 28.0, the latest update of the specialist Linux distribution designed for web kiosks, based on Debian 7: "28.0's most exciting new feature is opted in with the instantupdate API option which allows you to change the homepage remotely for one or many of your devices in an instant. No reboot required. The technology behind this is Websockets and the service runs upon wss.webconverger.com. The detailed changelog between 27.1 and 28.0 otherwise shows a raft of security updates and minor bug fixes. If you are Live user, you really must update for the Flash fixes alone. For install users, you should have nothing to worry about. Do double check the version on about: in case something is amiss. ii's never a bad idea to re-install (it only takes a couple of minutes)! Coming soon: a major update where we will upgrade from Debian 'Wheezy' to 'Jessie' smoothly. Work in our testing branch is well underway and we hope to release the next version of 'stable soon after Debian makes the switch." Here is the full release announcement.
Canonical has announced the launch of Ubuntu 15.04. The new release, which will be supported for nine months, features LibreOffice 4.4, version 3.19 of the Linux kernel and a switch from Canonical's Upstart init to systemd. "systemd has replaced Upstart as the standard boot and service manager on all Ubuntu flavors except Touch. At the time of the 15.04 release there are no known major problems which prevent booting. The only service which does not currently start is Juju, which will be fixed in a post-release update soon; all other packaged Ubuntu services are expected to work. Upstart continues to control user sessions... You can boot with Upstart once by selecting `Advanced options for Ubuntu' in the GRUB boot menu and starting the `Ubuntu, with Linux ... (upstart)' entry. To switch back permanently, install the upstart-sysv package (this will remove systemd-sysv and ubuntu-standard)." The new release offers several updates and improvements for LXC containers and this is the first version of Ubuntu to offer the LXD container management utility. Ubuntu is available in a number of editions, including Desktop, Server and Snappy, a minimal "core" installation. More details on Ubuntu 15.04 can be found in the release notes.
Ubuntu 15.04 -- Running the Unity desktop
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The Kubuntu project has announced the release of Kubuntu 15.04, a distribution built using packages from the Ubuntu repositories and featuring desktop software provided by the KDE project. Kubuntu 15.04 offers users the Plasma 5 desktop environment and nine months of security updates. "Plasma 5, the next generation of KDE's desktop has been rewritten to make it smoother to use while retaining the familiar setup. The second set of updates to Plasma 5 are now stable enough for everyday use and is the default in this version of Kubuntu. Kubuntu comes with KDE Applications 14.12 containing all your favourite apps from KDE. This is the 14.12.2 update with bug fixes and translation updates. Several applications have been ported to KDE Frameworks 5 but those which aren't should fit in seamlessly. Non-KDE applications include LibreOffice 4.4 and Firefox 37." Further information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
The Xubuntu development team has launched Xubuntu 15.04. The Xubuntu distribution is based on packages pulled from the Ubuntu repositories and offers users Xfce as the default desktop environment. The latest version of Xubuntu ships with Xfce 4.12 and improves the appearance of Qt-based applications running in the Xfce environment. "Xubuntu now uses Xfce 4.12, which was released on February 28. The new release has brought both some new features and many bug fixes over the old 4.10/4.11 components. For a complete changelog for Xfce 4.12, see the 4.12 changelog on Xfce.org. In addition to the new Xfce release, the 15.04 release has the following highlights: New/Updated Xubuntu Light/Dark colour schemes in Mousepad, Terminal; Mousepad colour scheme set to Xubuntu Light by default; Better appearance for Qt applications out of the box (default to GTK theme); Redundant File Manager (Settings) menu entry removed." Further information can be found in the release announcement and a full list of changes are provided in the release notes.
Xubuntu 15.04 -- Running Xfce 4.12
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The developers of the Lubuntu distribution have announced the availability of Lubuntu 15.04. Lubuntu is built using packages from the Ubuntu repositories and features the LXDE desktop. This release of Lubuntu offers nine months of support and focuses on minor bug fixes as the development team prepares the distribution for a switch to the newer LXQt desktop environment. "New Features in Lubuntu 15.04: General bug fix release as we prepare for LXQt; Many LXDE components have been updated with bug fix releases; An update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities." Lubuntu is available in two editions, one edition for most desktop computers and an "Alternative" edition for computers featuring less than 400MB of RAM. A list of features available in Lubuntu 15.04 along with known issues and a list of hardware requirements can be found in the project's release announcement.
Ubuntu MATE 15.04
Martin Wimpress has announced the availability of Ubuntu MATE 15.04, the project's first release as an official member of the Ubuntu family of distributions: "Ubuntu MATE 15.04 is now available for download. This release builds on Ubuntu MATE beta 2 and mostly fixes bugs. Here is a run down of some of the new features in Ubuntu MATE 15.04 compared to Ubuntu MATE 14.10: Ubuntu MATE 15.04 is an official Ubuntu flavour; established a hardware partnership with Entroware; added PowerPC and Raspberry Pi 2 as supported hardware architectures; added a new default theme called Yuyo; added user interface switching to MATE Tweak; added fully integrated Compiz support; added Tilda pull-down terminal; added Folder Color; added LightDM GTK+ Greeter Settings; added categories to the system menus; added new community contributed desktop backgrounds; updated to Linux kernel 3.19; updated to MATE Desktop 1.8.2; updated to Firefox 37; updated to LibreOffice 4.4..." Read the release announcement for more details and known issues.
Ubuntu Kylin 15.04
Ubuntu Kylin, a custom edition of Ubuntu tailored to Chinese speakers in mainland China, was released yesterday and announced earlier today on the project's website: "We are glad to announce the release of Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 (code name 'Vivid Vervet'). In this release, we have fixed many internationalization and localization bugs in Ubuntu itself and bugs in software written by the Ubuntu Kylin team. This release is based on the 3.19 linux kernel with the support of Intel Braswell SoC and initial support of Intel Skylake. Transition to systemd is also completed in this release. These applications have been updated to their latest versions: Firefox 37, Thunderbird 31.6, Chromium 41 and LibreOffice 4.4. In 15.04, we have turned on LIM (locally-integrated menu) and 'click to minimize' on by default. These two new features will make it easier for Windows users to adapt to the Unity user interface. We have also released Sogou Pinyin 1.2, it is not included in the image by default, but you can install it easily from the Software Center." Read the release announcement (same in Chinese) and the detailed release notes for further information.
Ubuntu Kylin 15.04 -- Running the Unity desktop
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Ubuntu GNOME 15.04
Ali Jawad has announced the release of Ubuntu GNOME 15.04, the latest stable version of the official Ubuntu variant featuring a vanilla GNOME 3.14 desktop: "The Ubuntu GNOME Team is glad to announce the release of Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 (Vivid Vervet). Most of GNOME 3.14 is now included, the few missing bits of 3.14 are available in ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3. We do NOT use gnome-software to install applications, instead we use Ubuntu Software Center. GNOME Maps and GNOME Weather are now installed by default, GNOME Photos, GNOME Music and Polari are available to install from the Ubuntu archive. GNOME Classic session is included. To try it, choose it from the Sessions option on the login screen. Numix is now installed by default. Applications in Ubuntu GNOME 15.04: GNOME Shell - the GNOME desktop environment from where you can search and start applications, switch between windows, etc; Nautilus - an easy-to-use file manager for organizing your documents, music, pictures, videos and files in general; Firefox - browse the web with one of the most popular fast, flexible and secure web browsers..." See the release announcement and release notes for more information, known issues and upgrade instructions.
Ubuntu Studio 15.04
The development team behind Ubuntu Studio has announced the availability of Ubuntu Studio 15.04. The new release ships with the Xfce 4.12 desktop environment and a new meta package which draws in all required dependencies for a multimedia workstation. "Another short term release is out. Not much is new, but some of the most obvious changes are: New meta package: ubuntustudio-audio-core (includes all the core stuff for an audio oriented installation); Xfce 4.12." Further information can be found in the project's release notes. A list of hardware requirements can be found on the distribution's download page. "The minimum RAM memory requirement for Ubuntu Studio is 512 MB. It is highly recommended that you have 2 GB, or more, as some applications use up a lot of RAM. You will also need at least 10 GB of hard disk space."
Debian GNU/Linux 8.0
The Debian project has announced the release of Debian GNU/Linux 8.0, code name "Jessie". The new stable version is the first Debian release to use systemd as the default init software. It offers support for two new architectures, arm64 and ppc64el, while dropping support for the IA-64 and Sparc architectures. Debian Jessie ships with GNOME Shell 3.14 as the default desktop environment and a number of code hardening features have been added to the build process. "After almost 24 months of constant development the Debian project is proud to present its new stable version 8 (code name 'Jessie'), which will be supported for the next 5 years." Jessie can be downloaded in several editions, including a full DVD set, a CD image, a set of live DVD images with popular desktop environments, and a minimal "net-install" image. See the release announcement and release notes for more information.
Debian 8.0 -- Running the GNOME Shell desktop
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The Q4OS team has announced the launch of Q4OS 1.2. The latest release is based on packages from Debian 8 "Jessie" and features the Trinity desktop environment. "We are proud to announce the immediate availability of the new Q4OS 1.2 release, codenamed 'Orion', supported until 1. May 2020 at least. The Q4OS Desktop is a powerful and reliable operating system based on proven desktop model, represented by the recent Trinity desktop environment. Q4OS comes with its own exclusive utilities and features, especially with the 'Desktop profiler' for profiling your computer into different professional working tools, 'Setup utility' for the smooth installation of third-party applications, a 'Welcome Screen' with several integrated shortcuts to make system configuration easier for novice users, KDE4, XFCE and LXDE alternative environments installation scripts and many more." Further information is available in the project's release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Distributions added to the database|
Baruwa Enterprise Edition
Baruwa Enterprise Edition is a CentOS-based, commercial Linux distribution delivering fully-fledged mail security solutions. It provides protection from spam, viruses, phishing attempts and malware. It is designed for organizations of any size from small to medium businesses to large service providers, carriers and enterprises. Baruwa Enterprise Edition works with any standard SMTP server and it comes with automated installation and configuration management tools. The web-based management interface is implemented using web 2.0 features (AJAX) and available in over 25 languages. Also included is reporting functionality with an easy-to-use query builder and advanced search options.
Baruwa 6.6 -- The web administration interface
(full image size: 61kB, resolution: 1210x725 pixels)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 4 May 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 • Debian 8.0 EFI support? (by Brad on 2015-04-27 00:37:51 GMT from North America) |
Just installed this on an old i386 laptop. It works very well, although I was surprised by the installation message informing me that the software had detected an EFI environment. I'm quite sure one does not exist for this laptop (Compaq nc6120). In any case, I let the installer do as it wished, and the install completed without issue. The laptop is very responsive, and I think I'll stick with this environment for a while.
2 • Debian 8 (by cykodrone on 2015-04-27 02:36:29 GMT from North America)
I have to admit I'm very tempted to download the netinst and try this...
...but all my USB sticks are 'busy' and I'm down to only one blank DVD (I may need it for something more important). Not only that, my spare SSD now has a slim install of Xubuntu 14.04.2 LTS stripped of Ubuntu's spyware (Ubuntu Mini CD install). To be a guinea pig or not to be a guinea pig, that is the question. Even if I do do this, I shouldn't have to surgically replace the init, it *should* be an install option, before the user picks the DE. I guess the little ginger cowgirl will just have to wait until I feel like it, sorry Jessie.
3 • @2: Make A Backup, Then Experiment On Live Install (by Serge on 2015-04-27 03:17:29 GMT from North America)
Do you have an existing Debian install somewhere already? I have a suggestion: make a backup of the file system, upgrade to Jessie, and then experiment away with no remorse. When you're done, restore the machine back to the way it was from the backup.
4 • Debian 8 Maté vs Cinnamon (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-04-27 06:16:22 GMT from North America)
I can echo 'cykodrone' to a degree: I tried these two DEs Live on an old Intel box. For me, with Maté, testing HDMI sound circuits failed, even though system sounds worked. With Cinnamon, HDMI sound settings worked - and an icon labelled "Install Debian Sid" was on the 'desktop', which suggests minimized (non-critical, ignore) QA. I am reminded of the reason I prefer pulseaudio - heaps of confusion sabotage ALSA documentation, and I have yet to see a working GUI for its settings.
But surely it isn't major "surgery" to opt for a non-default init-daemon or process-manager?
5 • @2 No need of USB/DVD to install Debian (by bobzr on 2015-04-27 07:23:07 GMT from Europe)
I also like to test a lot of distros. Many of them have live CDs images (ISOs files) that can boot straight from grub2. It's just a matter of adding some lines to the /etc/grub.d/40_custom file and then update grub. You'll have them listed in the grub menu, load them to RAM and you have a live system up & running without using any USB stick or CD. You can install if you unmount the partition where the iso file is stored.
6 • @5 No need of USB/DVD to install Debian (by condor from Europe on 2015-04-27 08:34:29 GMT from Europe)
Excellent idea! Could you be more specific about the line/lines from /etc/grub.d/40_custom file ? Many thanks!
7 • how to boot iso from grub (by forlin on 2015-04-27 10:03:56 GMT from Europe)
8 • Vivid Kubuntu and Xubuntu (by jg on 2015-04-27 10:43:23 GMT from Europe)
I decided to be a guinea pig and installed first Kubuntu vivid. After a couple of hours I decided to wipe it out. It was like using an amateur student programmer work for perhaps an exam. There were fonts of uncoordinated size and type, cryptic icons of dubious style in all uncoordinated sizes and several color themes instead of one. Solution = make a fundraiser (I'll chip in 5$) and hire a professional to do it. Many applications would not work or work improperly, this was really an unpleasant surprise. One thing - the system was snappy - this one was a real positive thing. But this is still just a work in progress. So next come Xubuntu. All perfect for the first 3 days and then, the system starts to fail to mount partitions first from sdb, then randomly from sda. User permissions conflicts start to appear at random, then some launchers on the desktop stop working. Finally, the main boot option - Xubuntu with system.d would boot no more. Thanks to Distrowatch I found the upstart option - it works, hurrah, a miracle indeed. Just as a side note - Xubuntu Vivid boot times - with system.d - 27 sec., with upstart - 6 sec. This is what we call the advantage of system.d over other legacy init systems, as documented by my latest experience. "Quicker boot times and greater system stability". Indeed, you may count my experience as testimony that system.d, while brilliant in design, is creating problems where there were none. If you were running a nuclear power station, managed transportation vehicles, satellites or anything of use, would you use a system which more like windowz or Unix? I think Red Hat is going to see itself in big trouble, as customers will start questioning the sanity of its choices.
9 • Ubuntu review (by Jeff on 2015-04-27 11:08:42 GMT from Europe)
Thanks for an excellent Ubuntu review. I have one suggestion: since the positioning of menus was new, I'd like to see that in a screenshot. An old/new comparison would even be better.
Also a question, does Unity allow discovery of applications without having to think up a name of what you are looking for? It's just that I don't even know that something exists to even search for it, that I might like. I like to discover things by looking through menus/icons/categories.
10 • Kubuntu 15.04 Gorgeus!!! (by Ari Torres on 2015-04-27 11:11:49 GMT from North America)
I have never been a big fan of KDE always sticking with the big players,Ubuntu-Unity,Ubuntu-Mate,LinuxMint-Mate but after these waves of new releases a downloaded Kubuntu and went for a live boot on my desktop,nah! it was ok BUT and yes BUT and later on decided to try Kubuntu on my little ASUS X200CA laptop with a 64GB SSD and 4GB DDR3 and boy was I in shock!!! Kubuntu 15.04 Plasma 5 it absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! no other words and everything worked right out of the box,no errors just AMAZING!!! the eye candy effects,the glide,the air look,glass look I am using Kubuntu more and more everyday now.
Good job Kubuntu team,Kudos!!!
11 • Unity applications (by Jesse on 2015-04-27 12:15:19 GMT from North America)
@9: Yes, with Unity you can browse through applications just like you can with any other application menu. Click the dash icon and then click the application buttion. All installed desktop software is listed. You can filter it by category too.
12 • Debian 8.0 (by Rick on 2015-04-27 13:37:11 GMT from Planet Mars)
With the release of Debian 8.0 and live images again, I gave it a try. Alas, it still would not recognize my wireless setup. I tried to configure it but the screen froze and I simply had to shutdown. The same thing happened with Debian 7.0. In this age of very user friendly distros, Debian still continues to be difficult to use. As such, I will stick with Linux Mint.
13 • Kubuntu 15.04 (by kc1di on 2015-04-27 13:54:24 GMT from North America)
@ 10 I too love the look and feel of Kubuntu 15.04. it's working real well on my laptop but have been unable to get it going on my desktop machine (Nvidia drivers not working yet. ) anyway I concur with you that it's a very good release.
14 • Antergos Review (by Marco on 2015-04-27 14:37:36 GMT from Europe)
When shall we have a review of Antergos distribution on this site?
I am unable to sucessfully install from the live CD but i love the concept behind this distro: users can decide which desktop and packages to include in the system at installation-time.
15 • Debian 8.0 in Mars (by Uncle Martin on 2015-04-27 15:01:32 GMT from South America)
@12: Ask to Curiosity the driver for your laptop.
16 • comment # 12 (by Brad on 2015-04-27 15:34:20 GMT from North America)
FWIW, wireless never works out-of-the-box for me on Debian; however, it usually doesn't take too long to find the correct firmware package and install it. Google is your friend here.
17 • search vs select (by M.Z. on 2015-04-27 16:24:54 GMT from Planet Mars)
All the times I've played with Unity versions of Ubuntu I came away with the conclusion that while menu based selection was possible, it was rather messy in Unity. I think that this is also a weakness in the default KDE kickoff menu, but there is more clicking & hunting in Unity's Dash than most other GUI driven menus. I do think Gnome 2 is worse in this regard, but Unity comes in second for most inefficient menu design. Personally I think the Dash GUI was made defective by design so Canonical could rake in more search money by getting users to rely on search almost exclusively while sending related data to third parties; however, their Dash search privacy issues have made me a cynic about all things Canonical.
18 • Debian 8 and wireless (by Ralph on 2015-04-27 17:11:20 GMT from North America)
@12, 16 - if your wireless works with Mint but not Debian (out-of-the-box) chances are all you need to do is enable the non-free repo on Debian and the requisite firmware will be there. There is a firmware package called 'firmware-linux' which is a metapackage that includes most non-free firmware. Or you can install just the package for your specific wireless by locating it on Debian's website package search and typing in 'firmware'.
19 • Antergos (by Jesse on 2015-04-27 19:32:17 GMT from North America)
@14: We reviewed Antergos here last year. http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20140721#feature
20 • Ubuntu (by silent on 2015-04-27 20:04:15 GMT from Europe)
My first experience after upgrade from Utopic to Vivid was that Synaptic has rejected to run because of unavailable default Utopic repositories. However, the APT configuration files were correct. After some websearch I could find that a line in the synaptic config file in 'root' should be modified. It was a rather unfortunate bug: although I generally only use apt-get, but right after an upgrade synaptic is useful.
Another strange point was that unity-tweak-tool was missing something. After some search I have found the missing package. But it would have been more than 50MB download just for tweaking. I mean that a lightweight fully functional WM is less than 1MB with completely customizable and transparent text configuration files.
21 • grub ISO booting and DW reviews (by cykodrone on 2015-04-27 20:10:55 GMT from North America)
Re: grub ISO booting, thank you all for your suggestions, you're very kind, great info. :)
@14 DW reviews are listed in the reviews section of each distro's page on this site as themselves ('DistroWatch'), just below the description/introduction section (scroll down a bit). I read a lot of reviews, that is why I know this. ;)
22 • Debian 8 Live CD / Installers with non-free drivers (by Freddy on 2015-04-27 20:41:44 GMT from Europe)
if you would like to install Debian Jessie with working Intel WLAN drivers out of the box just use the unofficial Live CDs:
23 • GrUB4dOS ISO booting (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-04-27 21:19:30 GMT from North America)
Another choice/option: http://rmprepusb.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/linux-script-to-install-easy2boot-to.html
allows multiple ISOs on one stick (space permitting, of course!)
Still handy for demo of multiple DEs, architectures, toolsets, distros, etc.
24 • This and that (by eco2geek on 2015-04-27 22:55:30 GMT from North America)
> a slim install of Xubuntu 14.04.2 LTS stripped of Ubuntu's
What "Ubuntu spyware" is in Xubuntu?
@9 - You can install an "application indicator" named ClassicMenu Indicator, that puts a GNOME2-style hierarchical menu in the top bar of your Unity desktop. It's in the repositories, or you can download it from the author's web site:
Re: changing font sizes in Chapeau:
The Chapeau review complained about its using small font sizes. Probably the best way to change this is to use "gnome-tweak-tool". You can set the fonts used in the UI, their sizes, the hinting, etc. (along with a whole lot of other things). Many GNOME-based distros come with it pre-installed.
25 • @2 easily booting ISOs (by just Bob on 2015-04-28 02:08:36 GMT from North America)
You could also simply try grub-imageboot (a standard package)
Once installed, it lets boot ISO files by just putting them in /boot/images/
then run update-grub2
Another great solution (for USB, already mentioned above) www.easy2boot.com
26 • Booting image: RAM=ISO+OS (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-04-28 02:27:30 GMT from North America)
Some methods require enough RAM to hold the entire image, plus enough to run the distro … sometimes this is not optimal.
27 • Worrying Package Management on Fedora (by Richard on 2015-04-28 07:16:31 GMT from Europe)
Am I the only one worried about naming the new Fedora package manager DNF, which I've always known from sporting events as standing for Did Not Finish?
# dnf install Shiney-New-Kernel
# Error! dnf DNF!
28 • DNF, Kubuntu (by Johannes on 2015-04-28 10:57:24 GMT from Europe)
@ Richard on Fedora's 'DNF': as non-native speaker such mistakes are really difficult to avoid - in an international team probably no one did realize what DNF could mean. It remembers me the German city of Mannheim, near the frontier to France, which renamed its Opera 'NTM'. Fine for Germans, but it is so gross in French that I can't even mention it here.
Anyway, who cares about a bad name when the software works well enough?
29 • @27 Worrying Package Management on Fedora (by far2fish on 2015-04-28 12:02:16 GMT from Europe)
@27 Am I the only one worried about naming the new Fedora package manager DNF, which I've always known from sporting events as standing for Did Not Finish?
No, that was my first thought as well. And the first time I ran dnf, I was also behind a proxy that required authentication, so dnf timed out :)
(yum had of course the same problem)
30 • Kubuntu 15.04 (by Bernard Victor on 2015-04-28 16:44:10 GMT from Europe)
Why use Kubuntu when you get the same thing from Netrunner plus more applications. Rocksteady and beautiful.
31 • Re: Linux spyware (by cykodrone on 2015-04-28 16:57:39 GMT from North America)
Are you denying a certain distro is purposely writing many packages in to their default installs that 'phone home' to their and other corporate servers? I keep up with tech news and pick everything apart on my own machine just to see for myself, and sadly, it's true. Xuspyware removed, replaced with Salix 14.1 MATE. Salix is still very pure, ZERO traces of a certain unnamed init, Salix and Slackware should be worshipped like gods.
32 • Desktop Debian 8 without *any* systemd (by solt87 on 2015-04-28 17:21:47 GMT from North America)
Up until now, I didn't know how to replace Jessie's systemd with sysvinit *while* keeping my LXDE desktop. Now I found a solution.
1. Install Jessie as you would do normally.
2. Install sysvinit and purge systemd as per http://without-systemd.org/wiki/index.php/How_to_remove_systemd_from_a_Debian_jessie/sid_installation
3. Add the "angband" repo as per http://lkcl.net/reports/removing_systemd_from_debian/
gpg signing key here: http://angband.pl/deb/archive.html
4. Do an apt-get update and upgrade
5. Check for any systemd leftovers (dpkg --get-selections | grep systemd), and purge them. (I had to purge libsystemd0 this way.)
It works for me on my LXDE desktop machine, I trust it may work for other non-Gnome DEs/wms too.
33 • DNF (by BlueJayofEvil on 2015-04-28 21:32:18 GMT from North America)
As a long time gamer, DNF will always be synonymous to me as "Duke Nukem Forever".
34 • DNF, APT, & RPM (by M.Z. on 2015-04-29 03:59:23 GMT from Planet Mars)
I've seen DNF fairly often at sports car races & in other auto racing. A fair amount of vehicles will DNF at say the 24 hours of Daytona or the other big 24 hour race held at Le Mans. Then again according to my dad APT is for programming at machine shops rather than managing Linux packages, and he is right it was associated with parts manufacturing long before Linux even existed:
Of course we all know that 99% of everyone associates RPMs with rotations rather than Red Hat family distros. I think most acronyms are probably used in at least two if not a dozen totally unrelated places, so I don't really see anything new here. In fact if you check acronymfinder.com all three Linux package management terms are associated with dozens of different things.
There are 30 different meanings for DNF:
89 for RPM:
and 110 for APT:
The only real surprise for an acronym would be to find one that's truly novel & unused elsewhere. Anyone who does any digging into such terms would likely realize how common acronyms are rather than make spurious associations.
35 • April releases (by forlin on 2015-04-29 04:56:44 GMT from Europe)
As usual, April was a month of great releases, this time with the added bonus of Debian.8.0. Sometimes a look into the DW's PHR disclose the rising stars and give an idea about user curiosity on new launches, in this case if using 7 day data span. It's what I did right now and found a massive number of hits in the top 10 with *buntu adding 5700+. This is very good. Not to Linux, because Linux was/will always be fantastic. It's good for the regular computer user, because more and more people are now finding what's better for them to use. Regarding Ubunto, though many criticism all over the world is still the preferred distro.
36 • Zen_in_the_art_of_ArchLinux (by k on 2015-04-29 09:30:10 GMT from Europe)
Many like Debian, and Tails, for fine and free qualities, security and privacy, Ubuntu for some of same and customization, so how about trying the one that offers all those attributes, with steep Zen 'learning curve', ArchLinux. Remember Dennis Brown's wisdom, "take it easy, take it slow, just enough now, just enough". :)
37 • DNF (by Anglican on 2015-04-29 09:33:47 GMT from Europe)
From Charles Dickens' "Little Dorrit":
DNF = Do Not Forget
38 • Chromixium? (by frank on 2015-04-29 17:21:45 GMT from North America)
"Announced" on the distrowatch homepage. I've never seen it listed on the "waiting list". Somebody paid to jump the line and get immediate exposure on distrowatch?
39 • Chromixium (by RichJack on 2015-04-29 21:32:07 GMT from Europe)
@38 I actually submitted my distro back in November when Chromixium was still in testing stage. There was no queue jumping or money changing hands. I was pleasantly surprised to be listed so soon after releasing the stable version.
Anyway, thanks Distrowatch for listing Chromixium it's much appreciated :)
40 • Chromixium (by forlin on 2015-04-29 22:17:37 GMT from Europe)
Good note, RichJack. I've been following DW since a few years and learned by myself and others long before me, that Distro entrance in DW is about merit, nothing else. As DW is weekly, I guess it would no be fair to drop the announcement of a new release of a new Distro due to a mere timing issue. That said thanks both, for the opportunity to bring fore and test a relative novelty (Chrome based) in distroland.
41 • Ubuntu MATE (by Tim Dowd on 2015-04-30 11:55:24 GMT from Planet Mars)
I'm a bit religious about keeping old hardware going and out of a landfill, and I'm so excited about Ubuntu MATE 15.04. My two old Pentium 4s are running quickly and so far bug-free in one of the best looking desktop environments I've seen in years. The default software is well curated, the customization to the vanilla MATE desktop improves efficiency, and I think it's a distro you can just give to someone who wants to "try Linux" that will keep them using it. Great Job, Ubuntu MATE team.
42 • MATE (by M.Z. on 2015-04-30 18:31:24 GMT from Planet Mars)
The Mate DE has been available in Mint for the past three years or so & I think LMDE 2 Mate seems like a perfectly decent choice for a semi-light distro. Sorry to be negative but I really don't see what any Ubuntu respin brings to the table at this point besides mistrust & the fear of spyware. Canonical have just been far too underhanded toward users for me to use anything released under the Ubuntu label, at least not until all privacy concerns are remedied. There are also plenty of other Distros like Mint & PCLOS, and if the DW search filter is to be believed over two dozen others that ship Mate versions, so why use an untrustworthy Distro vendor when there are so many good choices out there?
43 • Not all Martians wear blinders (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-04-30 20:54:10 GMT from North America)
Even a sociopathic purely-proprietary distro can be brought to heel and trained (usually when the would-be master is trained in tandem); even a distro that proclaims great virtues has its seamy underbelly. If you choose to see only the unattractive aspects, you miss the rest - persist in that practice, and eventually you see nothing good anywhere, become depressed, lose hope, and despair.
Open your mind; just make sure you don't let your brains fall out…
44 • please be specific about privacy concerns (by Tim Dowd on 2015-04-30 22:35:52 GMT from North America)
Correct me if I'm wrong about this, but the only privacy concerns I've ever heard with regards to Ubuntu are from the unity 7 dashboard searches. As Ubuntu MATE by definition doesn't use Unity, I don't see how it can be considered tainted. Are there other concerns? I tend to agree with the criticism of the Amazon searches, but I don't think that smears the entire Ubuntu family tree.
45 • Privacy Concerns (by Chris on 2015-05-01 01:15:39 GMT from North America)
@44 Even if Ubuntu hasn't infected with spyware its entire product family YET, they have shown that they are willing to do so. 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.'
Ubuntu's amends, you can now opt-out of their spyware instead of opting into it... Gee, thanks Canonical.
There are too many quality, ethical, distros today to tolerate such behavior. As such, I now avoid all Ubuntu distros, even independent respins (e.g. Linux Mint (not LMDE), Linux Lite, etc.). And I love what Linux Lite is doing, but I won't risk upstream spyware.
46 • Privacy (by M.Z. on 2015-05-01 01:54:38 GMT from Planet Mars)
I agree with much of what you said wholeheartedly; however, I don't really think that Mint should be defacto grouped in with any of the Ubuntu family distros. If anything the Ubuntu based versions of Mint provide an outside auditor who is far more trustworthy & could potentially point out a privacy breach deeper in the Distro if one were to exist. That being said I can respect wanting to avoid the entire Ubuntu family tree, even if I personally draw the line at direct members of the Ubuntu family. Canonical has done too much to destroy trust & privacy rights for me to use anything with the label Ubuntu, but I have a fair degree of trust in Mint & their intentions. I also think that given the blow back against Canonical over the _relatively_ benign spyware in Unity they would not be likely to put anything deeper into the Ubuntu base. Of course trusting a distro vendor or even their base product is a personal decision. I personally will treat anything with the Ubuntu label as toxic until I'm confident that their behaviour has changed, though I won't treat Mint as guilty by association unless I see a compelling reason to distrust the Ubuntu base.
47 • Privacy Concerns 2 (by Chris on 2015-05-01 03:14:14 GMT from North America)
@46 Thank you for the feedback. The third-party audit function is an excellent point; however, such requires one: 1. Trust the third-party; 2. Know that the third-party has the time/resources to adequately investigate any upstream spyware infestation; and 3. Know the third-party can fully purge any upstream spyware infestation.
Many Ubuntu respin distros, such as but not limited to Linux Mint and Linux Lite, likely meet requirement numbers one and two listed above (I know via Linux Lite forum discussions that the removal of Ubuntu's known spyware (zeitgeist and Firefox extensions) is attempted). However, due to various software dependencies (see gedit, etc.), small parts of Ubuntu's zeitgeist remain as requirements or are introduced by users adding common apps, and every user update of Firefox from Ubuntu's repositories reintroduces Ubuntu's browser extension which must be manually purged each time by the user. While an Ubuntu respin could use a different repository to provide a clean Firefox, Ubuntu's zeitgeist cannot be completely eradicated or avoided while being based upon Ubuntu. Therefore, condition number three listed above is practically impossible even for the most diligent of Ubuntu respins.
Ultimately, it comes down to each individual's or organization's level of trust. A trust hopefully rooted in knowledge over hope.
48 • Privacy (by M.Z. on 2015-05-02 21:53:15 GMT from Planet Mars)
After checking though most of the stuff you mentioned on my Mint systems I only found one minor annoyance. A single library related to zeitgeist is present on Mint 17.1 Cinnamon, while the 17.1 KDE & LMDE 2 versions of Mint seem to not have any of the software you mentioned. It's really only a single library & not all of zeitgeist & I believe its related to the Gnome media player Totem & allowing media playback on Firefox. I never particularly liked the 'recent documents' functions built into most desktops I've used since some old version of windows started doing it long ago, & I think recent applications is nearly pointless. That being said I'm no too worried about one annoying internal software usage monitoring package on my system especially since the rest of zeitgeist is listed as uninstalled by Synaptic.
I've been running Mint 17.x on the same since it came out & nothing ominous has spread, so I'm still not worried about it even if Ubuntu is a bad actor upstream of Mint. I'm also fairly confident that zeitgeist is just giving those still using Gnome a little bit more convince in their odd ball DE & giving Unity users the same, though I wouldn't put bad use of the software past Canonical. I suppose giving up on privacy all goes back to the words of The Dead Kennedys "give me convince or give me death", though they weren't being serious when they said it. I guess Ubuntu users have simply taken that notion to heart.
49 • 48 • "Hardcore Punk" quote (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-05-03 06:36:50 GMT from North America)
Liberty\\\\\\\Convenience or Give Me Death" was indeed intended as parody (of a line from a speech given by a legislator from the first colony of the British Empire) suggesting consumerism displacing patriotism. The reference is an apt application of such satire, however crass.
I was born before suitable devices were available for people dependent on them for smart began appearing in the gene-pool, though I suspect the gene involved was rampant before technology began to accommodate those affected. I don't know whether this is a beneficial mutation, but it does seem to be associated with privilege or artistic talent.
I would expect any normal business to be unabashedly sociopathic (amoral) in separating such individuals from their funding. I would be concerned if government allowed excesses in such practice, or if they failed to confine the same to those particular persons.
Certain OS+DE versions may be aimed primarily toward that demographic, and understandably so. I suggest Truth-in-Labeling laws should provide sufficient notification to allow the rest of us to keep a safe distance, but should not be required to prevent intended customers from happily enjoying their services. Such labels should not be over-generously applied to other versions, DEs, OSs, remixes, spins or derivatives, of course. (TL;DR?)
50 • Privacy Concerns 3 (by Chris on 2015-05-03 18:20:45 GMT from North America)
@48 As previously noted, I have no doubt that Linux Mint and other quality Ubuntu respins do their best to eliminate/reduce Ubuntu's 'convenience' spyware (I appreciate The Dead Kennedys quote), but questionable upstream dependencies tie their hands. Mint Cinnamon 17.1 stock shows such with the single lib noted. Mint KDE 17.1 stock obviously avoids it based upon default app choices, but beware any dependencys of newly added apps. LMDE, being based on Debian, avoids it and therefore would be my choice of Mint distros (YMMV).
BTW, make sure to check your Ubuntu respin's browser addons. It has been quite awhile since I ran Mint, etc. and things may have changed, but 'Ubuntu's Appearance' addon is nothing but their tie to various search engine's for revenue, etc. It can be disabled/removed if you choose.
@49 Ubuntu certainly is a useful addition to the Linux community, if for no other reason than their product's 'convenience' to new Linux users. I agree with your Truth-in-Labeling proposition, but would also like to see an Opt-In philosophy (e.g., Debian's Popularity Contest) and better dependency limitations (but such a discussion is a bigger can of worms).
51 • Ubuntu/privacy (by Dave Postles on 2015-05-03 18:52:21 GMT from Europe)
I expect that I should post this on the Trisquel forum, but does anyone know whether Trisquel strips out all the Ubuntu spyware (as a proprietary add-in)? It would be an issue for FSF.
52 • Ubuntu Privacy (by Chris on 2015-05-03 23:06:26 GMT from North America)
@51 I have never tested Trisquel, but as an Ubuntu respin it is possible such spyware is lurking in the repos. Easy way to know, start Trisquel, fire up the package manager, and search for 'zeitgeist'. That should tell you if it is installed by default, not installed but in the repos, or clean of zeitgeist. Be sure to also check the browser addons as discussed above.
BTW, Richard Stallman commented on this a couple of years ago... https://www.fsf.org/blogs/rms/ubuntu-spyware-what-to-do and https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ubuntu-spyware.html
Number of Comments: 52
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