| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 609, 11 May 2015
Welcome to this year's 19th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A lot goes on in the open source community. Every week there are multiple releases and exciting new developments. It is hard to keep track of it all and this week we are embracing the rapid rate of change. We begin with a series of short, rapid-fire reviews of three different operating systems running on three separate kernels. Many projects connected to Debian have been waiting to begin new development until after Debian "Jessie" was released. In our News section we talk about new work being done within the Debian project to create reproducible builds, work happening in Ubuntu to improve systemd integration and Linux Mint's desktop enhancements. We are also happy to report the Korora distribution has expanded its list of available spins. In our Questions and Answers column we talk about how to create an ISO file from optical media. Then we hear from Peter Ganten, the CEO of Univention, as he answers readers' questions about open source, security and user interfaces. Plus we share the torrents we are seeding in our Torrent Corner and we provide a list of the distributions released last week. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Rapid fire reviews: OpenIndiana 2015.03, LXLE 14.04.2, PC-BSD 11-Current
Most of the reviews I write for DistroWatch come about after I have installed and run a distribution for a week. I have worked my way into a routine where I grab a couple of new installation images each week, select one that looks good and/or interesting, run it for a week and then write about the experience. However, I rarely write about the distributions that, for whatever reason, do not make the cut. Each week I end up with a small collection of ISO files that will not be written about for one reason or another. Sometimes a distribution I have downloaded is too similar to one I have written about recently. Other times the rejected software did not install properly. Sometimes I think an operating system has promise, but it is still in beta and not yet ready for release. The end result is, unfortunately, that a lot of the interesting material I download does not get talked about. This week I want to take a break from my usual reviewing style and talk briefly about some operating systems I downloaded this month that I found interesting, but did not get selected for a full trial.
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My first taste of Unix came in the form of Solaris, a product created by Sun. Over the years open source branches of Solaris have been made available. OpenSolaris came out of Sun and, following Oracle's take over of the Solaris brand, OpenIndiana took up the open source torch for people still interested in an open source version of Solaris. Though I do not use Solaris (or its open source siblings) professionally, I still like to check in and see how projects like OpenIndiana are progressing. When I was in college I very much wanted there to be a free and open source version of Solaris I could use at home and OpenIndiana provides just such a product.
The latest release of OpenIndiana, version 2015.03, is a development release and is probably not intended to be run in a production environment. The new release ships with an updated copy of GNOME 2, new Intel drivers and some miscellaneous software updates. The ISO for OpenIndiana 2015.03 is 1.2GB in size. You can learn all the details of the recent changes to OpenIndiana from the project's release notes.
The first thing I noticed about OpenIndiana is that it refused to boot on my desktop computer. I was not expecting great support for modern desktop hardware, but I was disappointed to find OpenIndiana would not boot at all on my desktop machine. OpenIndiana did boot in a VirtualBox virtual machine and my brief time with the operating system was spent running it in this virtual environment.
OpenIndiana ships with the GNOME 2 desktop. The background is blue and the desktop is presented with two panels, one at the top of the screen for menus and the system tray while the panel at the bottom keeps track of open windows. The desktop was fairly responsive and I really like the icon and desktop themes used by OpenIndiana.
OpenIndiana 2015.03 -- Exploring detected hardware devices
(full image size: 190kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
The operating system ships with a fairly small collection of desktop software. Firefox and Thunderbird are presented along with the usual collection of small desktop programs and GNOME configuration tools. We are given an audio player and a video player, but the system lacks multimedia codecs to play common media formats. Java is available on the system, though we appear to be lacking a compiler. The usual Unix command line programs and manual pages are present.
I like the array of administrative tools available on OpenIndiana as they make working with user accounts, printers and services fairly easy. I particularly appreciate a tool called Time Slider which allows us to browse file system snapshots from within the graphical file manager. By simply sliding a control back and forth we can switch between file system snapshots and restore old copies of files. I did not find a graphical package manager on OpenIndiana, though that may have been due to my rush as I am fairly certain older versions of the operating system shipped with a graphical package manager.
Perhaps one of my favourite OpenIndiana applications is the Device Driver Utility, a graphical program that displays a list of hardware it detects on our system. The Device Driver Utility lets us know when it finds hardware it cannot work with, making it easy for new users to test hardware compatibility prior to launching the operating system's graphical installer.
About seven or eight years ago I tried a release of OpenSolaris and found the experience to be quite good. At the time OpenSolaris had some great software and administration tools. Debugging and package management tools worked well, the operating system shipped with fairly modern software and OpenSolaris featured the powerful ZFS file system technology. At the time I thought, with a little work, OpenSolaris might catch up with Linux with regards to hardware support and be a strong contender for the desktop.
Unfortunately the operating system we now call OpenIndiana has not advanced much in recent years. Some desktop components have been updated, but it feels odd to see a desktop operating system still running GNOME 2 when most of the world has moved on to MATE, GNOME 3 or Cinnamon. The list of default packages is still small and hardware support appears to lag behind. The great system administration tools which once set Solaris apart have been ported to other open source operating systems, eroding the platform's competitive edge. While OpenIndiana appears to still be stable and functional, it also gives the impression of being stuck in the past, possibly due to a lack of developers willing to work on the project. OpenIndiana runs and may still be useful in situations where, for various reasons, the administrator really needs a version of Solaris, but it seems to me as though OpenIndiana has not moved forward in the past seven years. The operating system still features some great ideas and good technology, but it does not appear to have made any progress in recent years.
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While OpenIndiana development has been relatively calm recently, the LXLE developers have been making changes to their Lubuntu based distribution. LXLE is built upon the latest Lubuntu long term support release (Lubuntu 14.04) and introduces customizations to make the lightweight desktop distribution increasingly user friendly. I downloaded the latest release of LXLE, version 14.04.2, and gave it a quick test run. The ISO for LXLE 14.04.2 is approximately 1.3GB in size.
I tried running LXLE on a physical desktop computer and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both test environments the distribution performed well. Networking and audio worked out of the box and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. The LXDE desktop was very responsive and the distribution was stable during the brief time I ran it.
LXLE ships with a graphical system installer that I found easy to navigate. This appears to be the same installer that ships with Lubuntu and similar to the installer we find in other Ubuntu community distributions. When the installation finishes we are presented with an operating system that is light on memory and runs quickly.
LXLE 14.04.2 -- The LXDE desktop and Conky system monitor
(full image size: 1.7MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
LXLE ships with a collection of software that seems to tip back and forth between being lightweight and being highly functional. For example, LXLE ships with the Seamonkey web browser rather than Firefox, but on the other hand LXLE also provides the LibreOffice productivity suite, Flash and a full range of multimedia codecs. So sometimes the developers appear to be offering popular applications with lots of features and other times they appear to be trying to keep the distribution small and tidy. In general, I think a balance is struck that provides both a fast, light desktop and feature-rich applications.
LXLE ships with the Synaptic package manager for dealing with low-level packages and the Lubuntu Software Centre for locating and installing desktop applications. We can also shift to the command line and use apt-get for working with software packages.
I feel I do not have a lot to say about LXLE because the distribution ran smoothly and offered no surprises. LXLE was stable, friendly and provided a lot of the functionality I think most average computer users will want in their desktop operating system. LXLE seems stable, responsive and worked well with my hardware (thanks to version 3.13 of the Linux kernel). I always enjoy finding a distribution that works as advertised. LXLE 14.04.2 managed, in my opinion, to be user friendly without being distracting and my overall impressions of the distribution were positive.
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The PC-BSD operating system has been putting out monthly snapshot releases of its Current (ie development) branch. The latest snapshot features the Lumina desktop, version 0.8.4, PersonaCrypt (a method for storing files on an encrypted external drive) and a utility for forcing network connections through the Tor network. The snapshot released in April was 3.9GB in size and it runs on the 64-bit x86 architecture exclusively.
When booting from the installation media on my desktop computer, PC-BSD would lock-up when the graphical installer launched. I suspect this is because PC-BSD and the underlying FreeBSD operating system do not have solid support yet for all AMD/ATI video cards. I switched to running PC-BSD in a virtual machine and found the operating system installed quickly. The graphical system installer is very easy to navigate and most users can get through the process by clicking "Next" a few times. However, there are a lot of advanced options users can bring up in order to customize the installation. We can also tweak the file system settings to better suit our needs. I decided to perform a fairly standard install and opted to include the Lumina desktop and the Firefox web browser in my installation.
My first impression of the new Lumina 0.8.4 desktop was that the interface is more responsive now than it was during the 0.7.x series. This is especially noticeable when working with the application menu. I also like that Lumina now supports desktop icons and the desktop environment as a whole just looks more polished. Lumina is a very young desktop environment and it is nice to see it progressing so quickly.
PC-BSD 11.0-Current -- Lumina desktop and application menu
(full image size: 1.5MB, 1280x1024 pixels)
It is also good to see the PC-BSD user's manual displayed on the desktop, making it easy for new users to find important information. The system's Control Panel, with its wide range of configuration options and administrative tools, is also presented on the desktop. This makes it easy to adjust our screen resolution, set up printers, create FreeBSD jails, work with system services and configure the firewall.
Previously, accessing the PC-BSD Update Manager would show us a list of packages we can upgrade. Now the behaviour has changed. When I accessed the Update Manager it asked which kind of packages I wanted the system to automatically install. We can have the system automatically install security updates or all packages, install all updates or not automatically upgrade any packages at all. I performed a few manual checks for updates and did not find any upgrades at the time.
On the subject of packages, I tried launching the PC-BSD project's new AppCafe. The AppCafe failed to load completely, locking up 10% of the way through reading its package database. The new AppCafe is supposed to offer a web-based method of exploring and installing software. I believe it is designed in a way which should allow administrators to remotely work with packages on both PC-BSD's desktop edition and the project's server edition. However, at the time of writing the AppCafe does not load for me, limiting its usefulness. I could, however, manage packages from the command line using the pkg command.
I set up PC-BSD with a small amount of desktop software, but even just the minimum package bundles and Lumina gave me most of the functionality I wanted. The Firefox web browser was available along with Flash and a lot of system administration tools. I was given the SMPlayer multimedia player, a full range of multimedia codecs, a document viewer and text editor. The number of packages in PC-BSD's repositories has been growing and the project provides access to over 24,000 ports and packages.
One of the features I was most interested in exploring was the Tor network utility. Clicking the Network & Update icon in the system tray brings up the option to enable/disable Tor. When Tor is disabled our computer accesses the Internet normally. When Tor is enabled all network traffic is forced through the Tor network, making us somewhat more anonymous and possibly bypassing censorship efforts. There is a second option in the Network & Update menu that checks to see if Tor is working, allowing us to check whether our Internet traffic is passing through the Tor network.
On the whole, I think the development snapshot of PC-BSD 11-current holds promise. I did run into a few bugs, but there are a lot of good administration tools present and the work being done to Lumina is quickly advancing the young desktop environment.
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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)
Debian works toward reproducible builds, Ubuntu prepares for new packages and systemd updates, Korora re-launches MATE spin and Linux Mint plans improvements to Cinnamon
Reproducible builds are an important component of confirming the binary package we are installing was put together properly using the publicly available source code. If a build cannot be reproduced then it brings the safety and validity of the binary package into question. The Debian project has been working toward making all their builds consistently reproducible. With the release of Debian "Jessie" completed, work on making reproducible builds has kicked into high gear. According to this report, a new build system is in place, more packages are being confirmed as reproducible and all three of Debian's development branches (Testing, Unstable and Experimental) are now included in the reproducible build tests.
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Now that the Debian developers have launched "Jessie" and are looking ahead to the future, distributions based on Debian are looking forward to seeing what new packages and features may appear in Debian's Unstable package repository. Ubuntu team member Adam Conrad posted this optimistic statement, "This is fairly good timing, as we'll have a bunch of new shiny in [Ubuntu] 15.10, and some time to polish all of that for 16.04, so get to merging and let's make this another awesome release! Also of note, the systemd transition went quite smoothly last cycle, thanks in large part to the amazing efforts of Martin Pitt (thanks pitti!), but there are still rough edges, lots of packages without native systemd units, etc. Keep an eye out for merges from Debian with systemd fixed/additions and pull those in when you can, and of course, don't be afraid to scratch your own itches when you spot a bit of buggy behaviour."
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When the Korora Project released its latest version, Korora 21, one edition of the the popular Fedora-based distribution was missing. A spin with the MATE desktop was not offered during the initial release. However, due to popular demand, the Korora developers have published a new spin featuring the MATE desktop environment. "The Korora Project is very pleased to announce that the final release of the MATE edition of version 21 (codename "Darla") is now available for download in both 32- and 64-bit, (we strongly recommend using bittorrent). Due to popular demand we decided to bring back the Korora MATE edition, which took us a few months to get it where we wanted it. The desktop layout has been customized to resemble the look of our Xfce and GNOME editions and we replaced some of the default applications that were in the previous release." MATE is a continuation of the classic GNOME 2 desktop environment, which was once the most popular desktop in the Linux community. It is interesting to see a classic desktop, such as MATE, continue to be a common favourite.
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Linux Mint's monthly newsletter was published last week and it quickly covers a number of sub-projects being worked on by the Linux Mint team. The newsletter reports users of Linux Mint Debian Edition (version 1) will soon have an upgrade path to the second version of Linux Mint Debian Edition. The next version in the Linux Mint 17.x series is expected out at the end of June and will probably include version 1.10 of the MATE desktop. Some of the most interesting changes happening to Linux Mint are occurring within the realm of the Cinnamon desktop environment. "Cinnamon 2.6 will reach feature-freeze mid-May and become stable at the end of the month. It's already full of improvements and new features, but there are a couple of very important sub-projects we wanted to put in it: The ability for users to change whether Cinnamon works with ConsoleKit or logind without recompiling, a queue for file operations in Nemo so they can be performed one after the other, actual screen savers in cinnamon-screensaver (we've got support for xscreensaver and WebKit screen savers already, we need to work on the configuration UI) etc."
| Questions And Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Creating an ISO from a disc
Giving-back-ISOs asks: Here's a question for you, a thought first: I have hundreds of installable distros burned onto CDs and DVDs from the last year saved up. I noticed on the Linux Tracker site there is a Wanted Torrents section. It's possible that I have one or two of the distros they are wanting. Is it possible to take a DVD or CD that has an installable distro and convert it back into a file for torrenting? And, if so, how? At the same time I have lots of ISOs already on a backup drive, from Arch to Zorin. Can they ever be useful?
First, a thought of my own: Most of the distributions on the Linux Tracker's "Wanted" list are quite old (by computer standards) and probably should not be used anymore. I went through the list a little while ago and most of the "Wanted" torrents are no longer supported, are beta test releases or are several versions out of date. The most recent distribution on their Wanted list is from 2013. The items on the wanted list are probably from stale connections and won't be of much good to anyone.
However, to answer your questions, yes it is possible to turn a burned disc back into an ISO file. If you have a disc burning program like K3b then you can make a copy of your disc and save it as an ISO file. In the K3b application this is done by selecting Copy Medium from the Tools menu. Then, in the window that appears, make sure the Only create image option is checked. Under the Image tab you will be able to select where to save your new ISO file.
K3b 2.0.2 -- Create an ISO image from a disc
(full image size: 74kB, resolution: 506x535 pixels)
Personally, I think most of those discs will no longer be of use, at least not to you. However, you might consider giving them away. Perhaps offer to donate the discs to your local library or to a computer club in your area. Often times people with slow or limited Internet connections can make use of installation discs, even if they are a few versions out of date.
|Ask A Leader
Peter Ganten of the Univention Corporate Server distribution
Peter Ganten is the CEO of Univention, the organization which creates, distributions and supports Univention Corporate Server (UCS). UCS is an enterprise-class server distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and designed with central management of large networks in mind. Mr Ganten recently volunteered to answer questions our readers had submitted and we share his responses below.
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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?
PG: Software is written by human beings and unfortunately they sometimes make mistakes - even mistakes which can breach security. There are numerous blood curdling examples for this in proprietary software. Open source
software in general is relatively secure, especially if it is widely used open source software like the Linux kernel or the Apache web server. The code often
is read by many different parties with different interests and thus the chance for errors or mistakes to be spotted often is much higher. But Heartbleed
and Shell Shock reminded the community that this is not guaranteed per se. But these events showed us also how quickly and in what a responsible way the open
source community can respond. I think, these events reminded everyone that code
reviews for critical components are needed and that everyone has to be careful.
Most open source developers have always felt very responsible for their code,
maybe because it can be read by everyone and we have to encourage and support
this responsibility. At the same time, Linux distributors like Univention who
sell maintained and supported software to professional users bear the
primary responsibility to deliver a trustworthy and secure product. We have
always taken this responsibility very seriously. As to the fixing of the aforementioned bug, see here and here.
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.
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?
PG: The primary focus of Univention is to provide an easy to use and easy to manage, rock solid solution to run and manage servers and server apps in corporate environments and in the cloud. We provide this manageability through APIs, through command line interfaces and in the first place through a
Web-Interface. And we are putting a lot of effort into making the Web UI to behave like a first class citizen on mobile devices. But that is a different story than pushing Linux desktop environments in that direction. However we have a Linux-based client which in fact in its core is an Ubuntu LTS client and we would love to see better support for mobile devices and touch screens there.
Question: How do you 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?
PG: It is never harmful to make something better than others do. Chromebooks do many things in a great, sophisticated way and for sure web apps and cloud applications are a better solution for many problems.
Question: 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?
However we feel that customers should always have the choice where to run their
applications or where to store their data. For cloud based apps this
means it always should be possible to get the same app from different providers
or to run it on premises. Only this ensures competition and innovation in the long term. Furthermore the value of open source decreases extremely if only the
client is open source but the source code of the server application which runs in the cloud is not available to anyone. We observe that there are only a few
cases where Google makes server or cloud based applications like GMail or Apps
available, which reduces the value of these applications.
PG: As said above, we are in a passive role here as we concentrate on server and app management via a Web UI, CLIs and APIs.
Collaboration between projects typically flows either from upstream to
downstream (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?
PG: In the technical teams there is a lot of cooperation between
distributions. We once worked together with engineers from SUSE to fix a bug in the Xen Hypervisor using Red Hat's infrastructure. Also in security-related things fortunately there is a lot of cooperation.
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 approaches?
But of course sometimes there is also the not-invented-here-syndrome
which has to be fought wherever possible. What you see a lot of times is that
there is a new concept how to solve a problem and than there emerge two or three
projects implementing this concept, like for example with CloudStack, OpenNebula and OpenStack for cloud management or even with KDE and GNOME. These different
projects are in a healthy competition for concepts, community engagement
and users and eventually one will win but sometimes they can co-exist over a
very long period.
PG: It is our belief that "free software" and "open source software" are
basically different terms for the same thing: software which you are free to
understand, to change and to distribute to others in a modified or unmodified way. Free or open source software adds an incredible amount of value to any solution and it is in the core of our company to deliver this value not only to our customers, but to anyone interested. Thus, we do not think statements like these are helpful as they put the focus on ideology and not on creating value and
achieving technical results. The distinction between "free" and "open"
divides people working on the same, important goal which is neither good nor
* * * * *
Our thanks to Peter Ganten for taking the time to talk about open source, computing and Univention.
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: 55
- Total downloads completed: 24,370
- Total data uploaded: 6.4TB
|Released Last Week
Superb Mini Server 2.0.8
Superb Mini Server (SMS), a Slackware-based distribution for servers, has been upgraded to version 2.0.8. This is a maintenance and security release. "Superb Mini Server version 2.0.8 released (Linux kernel 3.14.40). It has been almost a year and SMS 2.0.8 comes with LTS Linux Kernel 3.14.40 and many server package upgrades. This is a maintenance and security release, many security fixes applied to this release, nothing new though for users that keep their server up to date with SMS-Current. For our default webserver we choose again httpd 2.2.29 but we move to PHP 5.4.40. Apache httpd 5.4.12 with PHP 5.4.40_httpd_2.4 is available int he testing repository. Apache httpd 2.4.12 is quite stable. We don't have PHP 5.6 builds yet for SMS and I don't see a reason yet, but they will come sooner or later. New packages in this release is hostapd, wireless access point daemon, nginx 1.8 and Samba 4.2.1 in testing. We have removed php-json for rtorrent + wtorrent since we now use PHP's built-in json. We have also removed the outdated Linux-HA packages from the distributed ISO images. Postfix got a new major release update 3.0.1 which is backward compatible, but you can always find updated releases for 2.11.x in extra." Continue to the release announcement for more details and changelog.
MakuluLinux 9 "Xfce"
Jacque Montague Raymer has announced the launch of a new version of MakuluLinux. The new release, MakuluLinux 9 "Xfce", is available in two flavours, Normal and Lite. "MakuluLinux kicks off the 9 series with Xfce, which comes in two flavors. A Normal edition and a Lite edition. The Normal edition sports all the Makulu magic that users have come to love. It sports a very beautiful and feature rich desktop, easy to use, easy to navigate. Comes packed with everyday software ready to use out of the box, It is fast, it is rock solid stable. The Lite edition sports the same look and feel the Normal edition does, but comes with almost no software installed, just all the backend basics already setup, it clocks in at 693MB, small enough to fit on a CD and leaves the power in the users hands to install their own selection of software." Technical details regarding this new version of MakuluLinux can be found in the project's release announcement.
MakuluLinux 9 -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Tiny Core Linux 6.2
The developers of Tiny Core have announced the release of Tiny Core Linux, version 6.2, the new stable build from the project that attempts to build the world's smallest Linux distribution with a graphical desktop: "Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Core 6.2. Changelog for 6.2: tce-audit - similar speedup patch from aswjh; tc-config - nfs4 mount changes from gerald_clark; tce-load - 2% speedup from aswjh; tce-size - apply patch from Greg Erskine for no-deps files; tce-remove, rc.shutdown - update copy2fs name; tce-ab - convert to a symlink; tce-load - awk recursion changes changed to a subshell, so exit status needs to be passed; tce-setup - wait for slow CD drives. In addition, TinyCorePure64 6.2.iso is now legacy-BIOS/(U)EFI multi-boot." Here is the brief release announcement.
The 4MLinux blog has announced the launch of 4MLinux 12.0 "Allinone" edition. The latest version of this independent distribution features PAE support in the kernel, the Chrome web browser and a number of package updates. "4MLinux 12.0 'Allinone' edition final released. The status of the 4MLinux 12.0 series has been changed to stable. Major modifications in the core of the system, which now include the GNU C Library 2.21. Additionally, PAE support has been enabled in the Linux kernel. The most important new applications are: Asunder (CD-ripping program), aTunes (audio player) and Chrome (web browser). The net browsing software available in 4MLinux has been significantly improved." A package list and screenshot are available in the project's release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Introducing the DistroWatch screen shot gallery|
A picture is worth a thousand words and a screen shot can tell us a lot about the way a distribution is presented. Screen shots can show us a distribution's default desktop environment, its utilities and window controls. In an effort to provide our readers with more information, and a bit of colour, we have added a new feature to DistroWatch: a screen shot gallery.
When visiting a distribution's information screen there is a table containing links to the distribution's home page, forums and documentation. This table also contains a field labelled Screenshots. This field contains a link to the DistroWatch Gallery which will display recent screen shots we have collected for the selected distribution.
The screen shot gallery may also be accessed from the front page. When a new version of a distribution is released we post a release announcement with a screen shot thumbnail. Clicking the thumbnail in any release announcement will bring up the gallery with recent images taken from the selected distribution.
We hope you find the new screen shot gallery both informative and entertaining.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- EBOS SE. EBOS SE is a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu. It ships with the GNOME Classic desktop as its default graphical interface.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 18 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)
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|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
RUNT (ResNet USB Network Tester) was Slackware Linux designed to run from a 128MB USB pen drive. It consists of a boot floppy image and a zip file, similar to "zipslack". It was intended to be a fairly complete Linux installation for use as a testing tool capable of booting on any x86 computer with a USB port and a bootable floppy drive. The boot floppy was based on Slackware's bare kernel. It contains an initial ramdisk to load USB-storage related modules and it pauses for 5 seconds to allow the drive to initialize. The bootdisk also contains Memtest86, a very useful RAM testing tool, which can be started by typing memtest at the boot prompt. The zip file contains a UMSDOS filesystem designed to be extracted onto a 128MB pen drive with an MSDOS filesystem using 2K clusters.