| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 614, 15 June 2015
Welcome to this year's 24th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Exploring the landscape of open source software sometimes turns up unusual combinations of software and solutions working together. This week we examine some unusual approaches and experiments involving open source operating systems. We begin with a look at Chromixium, a full featured GNU/Linux distributions which imitates Google's Chrome OS. Find out in our Feature Story what it's like to turn a generic desktop computer into a Chromebook. In our News section we talk about Debian's updated "Jessie" images, what it takes to run OpenBSD in the cloud and work Ubuntu developers are doing to make Snappy, Mir and Unity all work together. We then turn our attention to the sudo command and some common misconceptions about sudo in our Myths and Misunderstandings column. Plus, we share the torrents we are seeding in our Torrent Corner and provide a list of the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll this week we ask whether distributions tied to one specific platform are of interest to you, our gentle readers. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of Chromixium OS 1.0
Chromixium OS is a recent addition to our database of open source operating systems. The project has an interesting goal: to mix the user interface style of a Chromebook with the power and flexibility of a full featured GNU/Linux distribution. The project's website sums up its characteristics as follows: "Chromixium combines the elegant simplicity of the Chromebook with the flexibility and stability of Ubuntu's Long Term Support release. Chromixium puts the web front and centre of the user experience. Web and Chrome apps work straight out of the browser to connect you to all your personal, work and education networks. Sign into Chromium to sync all your apps and bookmarks. When you are offline or when you need more power, you can install any number of applications for work or play, including LibreOffice, Skype, Steam and a whole lot more. Security updates are installed seamlessly and effortlessly in the background and will be supplied until 2019."
At the time of writing, Chromixium provides one build for 32-bit x86 machines. The ISO we download for the distribution is 800MB in size. Chromixium's one edition provides users with the Openbox window manager and some LXDE components for the distribution's desktop environment. Booting from the Chromixium live media brings us to a graphical login screen. The default password for the live user account is "user". Signing in brings up a desktop environment with a scenic background. At the bottom of the screen we find a transparent panel. This panel is home to quick-launch buttons, an application menu and the distribution's system tray. One of the quick-launch buttons opens the project's system installer.
Chromixium 1.0 -- Default desktop and application menu
(full image size: 812kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Chromixium's graphical system installer has a similar style to the installer used by its parent, Ubuntu, but there are a number of small differences. The installer begins by showing us the project's license agreement. We are then asked if we would like the installer to automatically partition our hard drive or if we would like to manually divide our hard disk. Taking the manual option, I found, launches the GParted partition manager. Using GParted, we can create the partitions we want and, when we close GParted's window, the installer moves on to the next step. The following screen asks us to create a user account for ourselves and then we can optionally enable the root account and create a password for the root user. The next screen asks us to assign mount points to the partitions we created earlier. We can also select the location of Chromixium's boot loader from this screen. There is a checkbox on the page which toggles "Transfer user settings" on/off. I enabled this option and nothing happened so I'm not sure if importing or transferring user settings has been implemented yet. The system installer then formats our disk and copies its files to our computer. When it is finished we are asked to select our time zone and then confirm our keyboard's layout through a series of menus. We then select our preferred language and reboot the computer.
Our local copy of Chromixium boots to a graphical login screen. Signing into the account we created at install time brings us back to the Openbox powered interface. Opening the distribution's application menu reveals an icon for launching the Chromium web browser. There are also icons for launching a minimal Chromium browser in order to access such Google services as Google Drive, YouTube, Google Docs and Web Store. The quick-launch buttons at the bottom of the screen provide access to these same services, plus there is a quick-launch button for opening the distribution's file manager.
Chromixium 1.0 -- Desktop and system settings
(full image size: 1.1MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
At this point in my trial I was wondering where the usual collection of GNU/Linux applications might be found since they were not available in the visible application menu. I found that by right-clicking on the desktop I could bring up a context menu. This menu gives us access to the distribution's settings panel and an application menu. The application menu takes several seconds to load, but it does give us a classic menu tree of software, with applications sorted into categories. The applications provided in the default installation include the Chromium web browser with Adobe's Flash plugin, the Transmission bittorrent client, an image viewer and an application for retrieving data from an attached scanner. The Brasero disc burning software is included along with the Parole media player. We are given the GParted partition manager, a hardware/system information browser and an on-screen virtual keyboard. Network Manager is available to help us connect to the Internet. We find such small applications as a text editor, archive manager and calculator. The GNU Compiler Collection is installed for us too. In the background we find the Linux kernel, version 3.13.
Chromixium does not ship with multimedia codecs. However, attempting to open a media file brings up a window letting us know we are missing codecs. The system then offers to locate appropriate codecs for playing our files. During my trial Chromixium successfully found and installed the codecs I required, allowing me to play my media files. In the application menu there is a launcher for a program that will hunt down codecs and software for reading video DVDs from the Ubuntu software repositories.
Chromixium 1.0 -- Software management
(full image size: 510kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The distribution provides users with two graphical package managers. The first offers a web-based interface and is called Ubuntu Apps Directory. Launching this package manager brings up a website which looks and acts in a very similar manner to the Ubuntu Software Centre. We can search for packages, browse through categories of software and click on packages to bring up a summary of the selected application. Unfortunately, I found whenever I clicked on the button to download and install a package the Apps Directory displayed an error saying the package could not be found. This made the Apps Directory entirely unhelpful. Luckily there is a second graphical package manager which runs as a native application. The Synaptic package manager is present to help us locate, install, update and remove packages on our system. Synaptic worked well for me and the native package manager worked quickly. My one complaint while using Synaptic to add software to my system was that freshly installed desktop software would not appear in either of the distribution's application menus. The user needs to log out and then sign back into their account before new software is added to the context application menu. During my trial a number of software updates were made available. I downloaded 33 updated packages, totalling 70MB in size. Each of these software updates installed cleanly. Chromixium pulls software from Ubuntu's repositories. There are a number of extra add-on repositories configured on the system, but they are not enabled by default. We can enable these extra repositories via Synaptic.
I tried running Chromixium on a desktop computer and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both environments the distribution functioned well. My screen was set to its maximum resolution in both environments and both networking and sound worked out of the box. I found the distribution's desktop was a bit sluggish, especially when accessing either application menu. Opening the main application menu took a few seconds and opening the context application menu (where the native applications are stored) took about four seconds. Launching programs tended to be unusually slow too when compared with other Ubuntu-based distributions. In either environment Chromixium required about 290MB of memory to log into the Openbox interface. This seems like a large amount of RAM for such a light graphical interface, almost twice what Debian running the MATE desktop used earlier this month.
Chromixium 1.0 -- Browsing the application menu
(full image size: 931kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I want to make it clear I do not own a Chromebook and, unless I'm mistaken, I've never used a Chromebook computer. I mention this because one of Chromixium's goals is to provide a Chromebook-like experience and, honestly, I have no idea whether it accomplishes this goal. Assuming, for a moment, that it does, I have to admit I'm entirely outside the target demographic for such a device. A computer which deals almost exclusively in on-line web services and web applications would not be useful to me. However, for a person who wants to use their computer almost exclusively for browsing the web, watching YouTube videos, checking e-mail and social networking sites, I can see how such a simplified user interface would be appealing. In a lot of ways I think Chromixium has similar design goals to Peppermint. Both projects have minimal interfaces, a focus on web apps and use local programs to round out their functionality.
My point is that people who are likely to enjoy Chromebooks and use their computers almost solely for accessing the web will probably find Chromixium quite useful. However, while it is technically possible to access more features and off-line software through Chromixium's application menu, the process is slow and awkward when compared with other desktop Linux distributions. Granted, Chromixium is still in its early stages, it just hit version 1.0, so the standalone features will probably improve in time. For now, I think Chromixium offers an interesting web-focused environment with the fallback option of using locally installed applications. The implementation has some rough edges at the moment, but I suspect it will get better in future 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)
Debian releases an update to "Jessie", running OpenBSD in the cloud and Ubuntu mixes Mir, Unity and Snappy
The Debian project has released updated media for the Debian GNU/Linux "Jessie" distribution. The new media, which has been assigned the version number 8.1, is not a new version of Debian, rather it is a simple refresh of the distribution's installation media. Debian's announcement explains: "The Debian project is pleased to announce the first update of its stable distribution Debian 8 (codename jessie). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that this update does not constitute a new version of Debian 8 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old jessie CDs or DVDs but only to update via an up-to-date Debian mirror after an installation, to cause any out of date packages to be updated. Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won't have to update many packages and most updates from security.debian.org are included in this update." The announcement goes on to provide a list of updated packages and security fixes included in the Debian update.
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When people consider OpenBSD, we often think about the operating system's impressive security record, the developers' insistence on correct documentation and OpenBSD's conservative nature. Rarely do we hear people talk about OpenBSD running as a cloud instance. However, Steven McDonald has posted an article exploring the steps required to launch an instance of OpenBSD on OpenStack. McDonald writes, "One of my recent personal interest projects was to get OpenBSD cloud images running on our OpenStack cluster. I used and extended the same pcib software we use for building our Linux images. In doing so, I learned some cool new things about OpenBSD and learned more about its limitations. Overall, I found adapting OpenBSD to the cloud to be a surprisingly straightforward experience, given that the OpenBSD developers eschew the complexity of x86 virtualisation. I credit this to the OpenBSD project's approach of emphasizing simplicity, correctness and portability in its design choices." The details of getting OpenBSD to run on OpenStack can be found in McDonald's article.
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The developers at Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, have a lot of new technology in the pipeline. Canonical is developing its own display server (Mir) to run its own desktop environment (Unity) and its own package manager (Snappy). So far Ubuntu users have typically seen these technologies working separately in test builds. Canonical employee Will Cooke has posted news which indicates we will soon see these various technologies all working together. "Sebastien Bacher has got a Snappy build of Desktop Next for i386. We need to turn it into an installable image now, and work out why amd64 didn't work. Progress is being made every day." The Desktop Next branch of Ubuntu is where Mir and the latest version of Unity are being tested. By the time Ubuntu 15.10 arrives later this year we may see all three technologies working together on one platform.
|Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Myths and Misunderstandings: sudo
A common query I encounter on technical forums is whether a given distribution uses a root account or if it uses sudo. Some people, particularly those who have learned how to use Linux from running older distributions, tend to have a preference for managing their operating systems using a root account. They do not want to see the root (administrator) account replaced by sudo. In a similar vein, I sometimes encounter people asking why distributions such as Ubuntu do not have a root account. In both cases there is a misunderstanding as to what sudo does and how systems using sudo are configured.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when it comes to the root account vs sudo debate is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Distributions, such as Ubuntu, which use sudo for performing administrative tasks also have a root account. Likewise, distributions which primarily use a root account for system administration purposes can be made to work with sudo.
All Linux distributions (at least all the ones I have encountered) have a root account. You can confirm this by opening a terminal and checking the list of user accounts on the system. This can be done using the command
One of the first lines you should see from the above command will look like the following, indicating the root account is present:
The reason people often think distributions which use the sudo command do not have a root account is the root account is usually locked by default. This is done for security purposes. The first thing a remote attacker is likely to do when attempting to gain access to your system is guess the root account's password. An attacker knows all Linux systems have an account called root and they probably do not know your login name, so the easiest way to break into your system is to try to login as root while guessing commonly used passwords. Distributions which leave the root account locked by default automatically close this common avenue of attack.
Now, if you are a person who wants to use the root account instead of using sudo, then all you need to do to use the root account is unlock it and create a new password for the root user. This can typically be done by running the following commands
sudo passwd root
The two commands above create a new password for the root account and unlock it. Afterwards anyone who knows the password will be able to sign into the root account to perform administrative tasks.
sudo passwd -u root
Some people may wish to adjust their systems in the opposite way, ignoring the root account and working with sudo instead. Most distributions have a sudo package in their repositories which can be installed and documentation explaining how to switch from using root to using sudo. The Arch wiki, Debian wiki and the CentOS wiki all provide fine examples of enabling sudo on systems that traditionally use root for administrative tasks.
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: 72
- Total downloads completed: 42,625
- Total data uploaded: 7.4TB
|Released Last Week
REMnux is a lightweight, Ubuntu-based Linux distribution for assisting malware analysts with reverse-engineering malicious software. Designed to be run as a virtual machine appliance, REMnux ships with a number of debugging and software analysis utilities. The latest release of REMnux, version 6, offers users several application updates and improved upgrade tools. "I'm excited to announce the v6 release of the REMnux distro, which helps analysts examine malware using free utilities in a Linux environment. REMnux v6 updates the tools that were present in the earlier revisions of the distro and introduces several new ones. Moreover, it implements major architectural changes behind the scenes to allow REMnux users to easily apply future updates without having to download the full REMnux environment from scratch. The simplest way to get the latest REMnux distribution is to download its virtual appliance OVA file, then import it into your favorite virtualization application such as VMware Workstation and VirtualBox. After starting the imported virtual machine, run the `update-remnux full' command to update its software. For detailed instructions, please see REMnux installation instructions." A list of analysis tools REMnux provides is available in the distribution's release announcement.
Arjen Balfoort has announced the release of SolydXK 201506, an updated set of the project's Debian-based Linux distributions with a choice of Xfce (SolydX) or KDE (SolydK) desktops, plus several community-built editions: "It is time for a new release. The new ISO images are based on Debian Jessie's first point release. Several bugs have been patched since then and this release promise to be absolutely rock solid. Frank has built the 32-bit community editions. These community editions are built and supported by the community. You can download these ISOs from the Community editions page. From the same page you can also download a SolydX edition for the Raspberry Pi 2. I was looking for a cheap system for my son to learn Linux and some programming but perhaps there are people out there that could use it. You can find installation instructions on the download page." Here is the full release announcement.
SolydXK 201506 -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 200kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Clonezilla Live 2.4.2-10
Steven Shiau has announced the availability of a new version of Clonezilla Live. The Clonezilla distribution is a Debian-based live disc for manipulating, copying and restoring images of hard disks and disk partitions. The new release, Clonezilla Live 2.4.2-10, offers bug fixes for restoring partitions on machines with UEFI support and cloning swap partitions on disks with GPT layouts. There are also a number of new features and package upgrades: "The underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded. This release is based on the Debian's 'Sid' repository as of 2015-06-08; Linux kernel has been updated to 4.0.2; the default Unionfs file system has been changed to overlay, therefore if you edit boot parameter manually, you have to use 'union=overlay', no more using 'union=aufs'; switched to use systemd instead of SysVInit, following the way in upstream; switched to use live-config v4, all boot parameters should remain the same; Partclone has been updated to 0.2.78..." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement.
Anke Boersma has announced the release of KaOS 2015.06, the latest release of the rolling-release Linux distribution featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop: "KaOS is proud to present the 2015.06 ISO image. The policy is, once a first 'pacman -Syu' becomes a major update, it is time for a new ISO image so new users are not faced with a difficult first update. With the magnitude of changes the last two months, the new ISO image is more than due. Most notable major updates are the Boost/ICU stack, GnuTLS/Nettles stack, a new glibc 2.21 and Binutils 2.25-based toolchain, a move to libpng 1.6 series, Linux kernel 4 (4.0.5) and systemd 220. The latter now made the logical step to merge a bootloader with an init system. With this ISO image KaOS moves to the systemd-provided systemd-boot for UEFI installs, while gummiboot is depreciated. With Linux kernel 4.0.5, a much simpler way for users to make sure their Intel microcode is always updated on boot, is implemented. The needed in-kernel modules are now built in such a way that systemd can handle the microcode updates." See the release announcement for more details, screenshots and known issues.
The IPFire project, which makes an independent open source firewall solution, has announced an important security update to their distribution. The new release, IPFire 2.17 Core Update 91, patches known OpenSSL and IPsec vulnerabilities. "This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.17 – Core Update 91. This update comes with various security fixes - most notably fixes for six security vulnerabilities in the OpenSSL library and two more vulnerabilities in strongSwan. OpenSSL security vulnerabilities: There are six security vulnerabilities that are fixed in version 1.0.2b of openssl. This version contained an ABI breakage bug that required us to wait for a fix for that and rebuild this Core Update... StrongSwan IPsec security vulnerability: In strongSwan 5.3.1, a security vulnerability that is filed under CVE-2015-3991 was fixed. A denial-of-service and potential code execution was possible with specially crafted IKE messages. IPFire ships now version 5.3.2 which fixes an second vulnerability (CVE-2015-4171)." The IPFire project recommends installing the new security update and rebooting the distribution to make sure these serious vulnerabilities have been patched. Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Voyager Live X8
he developers of Voyager Live, a Debian-based distribution, have announced the release of Voyager Live X8. The new release of Voyager Live is based on Debian 8 "Jessie" and ships with Xfce 4.12 as the distribution's default desktop environment. According to the project's website, Voyager X8 ships with version 3.16 of the Linux kernel and seeks to gain performance by shipping with Xfce desktop environment. The release announcement also lists popular desktop software available in, including Conky, Smtube, Kodi/XBMC Media Center, VLC, GIMP, Clementine, CoverGloobus, RadioTray, Slingscold, Skippy-xd, Kazam, and Transmission. This release of Voyager includes support for booting on UEFI-enabled hardware and offers different installation media for people who wish to work with (or without) UEFI support. Version X8 of Voyager is intended to be a long term support release with five years of security updates. Further information on Voyager X8, along with a collection of screen shots, can be found in the project's release announcement (in French).
Voyager X8 Live -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 596kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Philip Müller has announced the launch of Manjaro 0.8.13. Manjaro is an Arch-based distribution with friendly text and graphical system installers and the project offers many desktop utilities out of the box. "After four months of development we are happy to present to you Manjaro 0.8.13. This time we ship Xfce 4.12 tweaked and patched to have the best Xfce experience possible, Plasma 5.3.1, KDE Frameworks 5.10.0 and latest KDE Apps 15.04.1!" The announcement goes on to list specific upgrades to the project's Xfce and KDE editions. New improvements can also be found in the distribution's system installer: "We worked also hard to improve our graphical installer Thus and our system tools to make the installation and usage of Manjaro as easy and smooth as possible. With this install media we now support Manjaro to be installed on MMC/SD-Cards as well. This will allow some of you to install our distribution to smaller devices without hard drives. Also this install media fixes the issue we had with RAID0 and ext4." Further information on this release can be found 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
Reviewing obscure distributions
Last week we asked what sort of feature reviews you, our readers, were interested in seeing. Most people voted either for a variety of different topics or in favour of more obscure Linux distributions. This week we have a follow-up question: When we review more obscure flavours of Linux, are you interested in Linux distributions which are tied to a specific platform? For example, are you interested in projects like Raspbian or the Amazon Linux AMI distro which are designed to work with one particular platform? Or would you rather we focus on general purpose operating systems design to run on any desktop, laptop or server? Alternatively, would you like to see us focus more on what unique features a distribution offers rather than where that distribution runs?
You can see the results of last week's poll on review diversity here.
Obscure distribution reviews
|Review platform specific distributions: ||53 (4%)|
| Review general purpose distributions: ||376 (29%)|
| A mixture of both: ||409 (32%)|
| Focus on unique features: ||448 (35%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- SmallWall. SmallWall is a fork of the now discontinued m0n0wall project. SmallWall provides an easy to use embedded firewall solution based on the FreeBSD operating system.
- GNUrama Linux. GNUrama Linux is an independent distribution which features the pan package manager. According to the project's website, GNUrama Linux is intended for use by developers and advanced users who want to exercise complete control over their distribution.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 June 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 • Chromixium (by vaithy on 2015-06-15 03:03:08 GMT from Asia) |
Thanks for Chromixium review..I've dusted off my Lenova Thinkpad X120e and try it..experience asper your review..but I didn't install any multimedia codecs to play parole.. during the install I was connected with internet through wifi.. Further, webapplications startup and boot time is instant where as desktop applications drag a bit..
2 • Chromixium 1.0 (by Ben Myers on 2015-06-15 05:26:57 GMT from North America)
I don't own a Chromebook, but I previously installed Chrome OS Linux on a laptop, which is about as close as you can get. I have also had hands on with other folks' Chromebooks. I installed Chromixium 1.0 on a spare Lenovo Thinkpad X200 with 4GB memory and a 32GB SSD, for possible use by one of my clients, needing a more-or-less browser-only laptop. The result operates very much like a Chormebook, but with the extra flexibility of being able to install programs directly on the computer, something well nigh impossible to do with a Chromebook. Chromixium 1.0 is a pleasant surprise.
3 • Obscure distributions, or any distributions at all (by Ben Myers on 2015-06-15 05:37:48 GMT from North America)
Whether I see the announcement of a new distro or a full-blown review of a distro, I keep asking myself what sets the distro apart from all the others. This is really a question that the developers of a distro need to ask themselves before they start. In some cases, like CloneZilla or SmallWall or CAINE or even CentOS, the answer is obvious. These are specialized distros intended to accomplish a narrow and specific task like cloning hard drives, acting as a firewall, doing forensic investigations or acting as a server. I use some of the specialized distros pretty regularly. They are handy to have, and, in many cases, better than products for which one must pay out too much real money. Some distros are intended for older computers with more limited resources available, others customized for a language or a country, and that is just fine, too..
But for the rest, it is rarely worth the time to try anything other than a "top 10" distro or maybe one of its close derivatives. I do not need to see more pretty new wallpaper or yet another desktop environment. Am I the only one who does not get it?
4 • Distro objectives (by Sondar on 2015-06-15 06:00:47 GMT from Europe)
- and then there are some distros that can span several specialised and/or generalised functions, even if their original objective was rather different. Thinking especially of Puppy and variants. Primarily and originally a liveCD, I find it especially useful for diagnoses, repair and augmentation as well as reinvigorating ancient hardware. On the other hand, an inspection of the Forum indicates that it has expanded into a plethora of complementary options, including server, basic firewall, (not sure about cloning other than dd copying via the CLI, though), etc. Its options have exploded into 64bit, ARM and devices along with Slack, Deb/'buntu, and other bases. There are many experimental versions, although Puppy, like other Linuxes, might be criticised for spawning doggies that come and go at the whim of passing developers. Meanwhile, the original developer. Barry Kauler, now officially in retirement, is still active at the bleeding edge and occasionally offers new and innovative solutions, the latest being super-light, super-fast 'April' capable of being installed (or not) on almost any media - maybe.
5 • sudo passwd alternative (by far2fish on 2015-06-15 08:21:49 GMT from Europe)
Most old timers would of course know this already, but the simplest access to a locked root account would be:
sudo su -
Comes in handy if you want to do a lot of administrative commands in sequence, and you won't have to unlock root.
6 • Distro duplication (by salparadise on 2015-06-15 11:06:04 GMT from Europe)
But for the rest, it is rarely worth the time to try anything other than a "top 10" distro or maybe one of its close derivatives. I do not need to see more pretty new wallpaper or yet another desktop environment. Am I the only one who does not get it?
Yes and no. Primarily it's about the freedom to take the code, fork it, give it a new name and release it. If the range on offer is self duplicating and often a waste of time, that's sort of up to the individuals concerned. It's also a consequence of the price tag involved. If all distros were sold, there'd be about 95% fewer distros around as most are unviable. It's arguable that we'd be poorer and not just financially, if that were the case.
7 • Chromixium and menu updating (by TO on 2015-06-15 11:23:34 GMT from Europe)
I installed Chromixium in VirtualBox, updated/dist-upgraded, rebooted, installed gimp and as I opened the openbox context menu with the right-click on background I got gimp in the applications/graphics submenu...
8 • Chromixium and menu updating/ ubuntu apps directory (by TO on 2015-06-15 11:30:20 GMT from Europe)
I was also able to install geany through the ubuntu apps directory and it appeared in the openbox context menu within the automatically created new submenu "development".
In ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml I saw that the "applications" submemenu calls for the xfce-applications.menu, which is automatically updated after installing new applications.
9 • Chromixium runs very well on old hardware. (by Mint 2 is not my style on 2015-06-15 12:13:58 GMT from Asia)
Install Chromixium. Add the Buuf icon theme. Add Macbuntu gtk theme. What I get could be called Makulu Chromix. :-)
10 • Chromixium & Debian/Mate Broken Link (by vt on 2015-06-15 12:46:23 GMT from North America)
First, the "Debian running the MATE desktop " link appears to lead nowhere. I was interested because I was recently looking for a Debian/Mate Distro for an older system. Is Point Linux the only Debian/Mate Distro? Other than that, it would seem that installing Debian from a Minimal ISO, then installing MATE is the only way to get it.
Tried Chromixium. Also noticed the extreme delay accessing the Applications menu. Since this was a much older system, the delay was actually 13 seconds. That's a deal breaker. I was hoping the DE would be extremely lightweight, being OpenBox, but not (which is why I'm looking for MATE).
Also, Autologin doesn't appear to be possible and I couldn't discover how to turn off the auto-lockscreen feature. This meant that if I was streaming, the system booted me right out every time.
@3 The reason to try it is that ChromeOS is a light, clean and fast/responsive desktop. I was hoping to find the same traits in Chromixium, but didn't. Maybe in the next interation?
11 • trying new kernels (by Vince on 2015-06-15 13:13:41 GMT from North America)
I've been using linux since Red Hat 6.0. I have always downloaded a fresh distro and used the kernel that comes installed. Most distros have some kernel customization which make installing a new kernel a task for experts. So my question is – which distro has the least customized kernel and would be 'best' for my to try trying out one of Linus' latest and greatest?
12 • @10 - Debian Mate distro (by Hoos on 2015-06-15 13:28:40 GMT from Asia)
" Is Point Linux the only Debian/Mate Distro?"
What about Linux Mint Debian Edition, or LMDE for short? Version "Betsy" is just (well, April) out.
13 • @5 silliness of sudo su (by David on 2015-06-15 13:31:35 GMT from North America)
Apparently there are some technical reasons you shouldn't run "sudo su," which I don't know the details of, but what I can tell you is that sudo has options for this (I assume for a reason). If you want to keep your present environment (like su), there's "sudo -s." If you want root's environment (like su -), there's "sudo -i."
14 • @10 Debian Mate and @11 Trying new kernels (by snowdust on 2015-06-15 13:51:54 GMT from Planet Mars)
@10 : as already suggested by Hoos#12 you should try LMDE-2 Betsy w/ MATE. It is currently running on my workstation and is rock solid and look so professionally done. Kudos to Clem and devs team.
@11 : I have installed the recently released Manjaro 0.8.13 w/xfce 4.12. It comes with Linux kernel 3.18.14-1 installed; however in Manjaro Settings Manager/Kernel you will find a selection of Linux kernels ranging from 3.10.80-1 to the latest experimental 4.1rc7-1. By the way, this distro is a gem and runs great on my core 2 duo test box.
15 • @10 Debian Mate (by snowdust on 2015-06-15 13:58:00 GMT from Planet Mars)
@10 : forgot to mention this option, follow this link http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/8.1.0-live+nonfree/amd64/iso-hybrid/
Hope this helps.
16 • Firewall and Anti-Virus??? (by F150SVTRaptor on 2015-06-15 15:00:07 GMT from North America)
Not sure if this is the place to ask this question.......I'm still a bit confused on whether running a firewall or anti-virus program is needed on a linux desktop system? I generally use my system for online banking, gaming and surfing pretty much.
17 • take the code, fork it, give it a new name and release it? (by Ben Myers on 2015-06-15 15:06:09 GMT from North America)
"take the code, fork it, give it a new name and release it." And this accomplishes what? Or, to be more specific, what does this do for anyone other than the forker, who has all the freedom to do what he or she pleases? What is new, different or better about the forked code? Tell me again why I would want to try this forked distro. Tell me what's new or wonderful about it. Sell it!
18 • @15 debian + non-free (by Napoli Bona on 2015-06-15 15:46:45 GMT from North America)
Thank you so much, snowdust from mars, I look forward to downloading and trying some actual debian distros with the nonfree stuff already installed.
19 • @3/17 Regarding obscure distros (by Ben Mendis (@sitwon) on 2015-06-15 16:24:59 GMT from North America)
You are certainly not the only person with this concern, and it is certainly not a new one. As long as I've been involved in the community (north of 15 years) I have seen this debate rage on in newsgroups, mailing lists, and comment threads. I have often written at length about this topic, on both sides of the issue. With first-hand knowledge, as I've also been on the side of creating and releasing obscure distros.
I agree with the root of your concern. There are a lot of distributions out there vying for our attention, and many of them are often very poorly differentiated. As a developer of multiple distros, I can tell you that each time I start or participate in such a project I do think very deeply about what differentiates the project and the specific contribution we are making.
However. (You knew this was coming.) I don't agree with your derision of the plethora of distributions as mostly useless. Even though many of them might not be directly useful to you, that doesn't mean they are a waste of time or effort.
To put it simply, it's not about you. You aren't going to be the target audience for every distribution out there. Many of them (perhaps most of them) were created to address problems that don't affect you. And that's fine, because just like those distributions are narrowly tailored to a different audience, there are some out there that will be narrowly tailored to your concerns as well. That's just a byproduct of the diverse ecosystem that has developed around this set of tools.
If a distribution isn't for you (and many won't be), there are still reasons to support the effort of the developers who are creating it.
1. Building a distribution, even if it's just a cosmetic remix, is an educational experience. I have used this very exercise to train new Linux admins and developers. Building and sharing vanity distros is a stepping stone for newcomers who are eager to learn and contribute. You want them to feel encouraged so they continue to grow and contribute. Eventually, they may work their way up to being a contributor to a project you do care about.
2. Many times what look like vanity distributions to experienced users like you or I are actually addressing problems or barriers that affect new users, but are invisible to us. I have seen this time and again where new users rave about some distro that looks, to me, like a trivial re-spin. But their reasons for loving that trivial re-spin is that it makes some simple thing easier for them that I would have never noticed as being a challenge. This helps encourage new users to make the switch to Linux, and thereby strengthens the community and increases our market share and bargaining power with the corporations we rely on (such as hardware manufacturers).
3. The larger a distribution grows, the more risk-averse they become. When every change you make carries the risk of upsetting thousands of users, it becomes difficult to experiment with radically different tools or techniques. Smaller, more obscure distributions offer a safe environment where new technologies can be developed, tested, and proven, without the risk of negatively impacting existing users. Many times these new ideas, will end up going nowhere and fizzle out, but sometimes they show real promise and work they way up into mainstream adoption. It's important to give these esoteric distros, and their often eccentric creators, the encouragement and support they need to innovate and experiment. Their contributions are what keep the community moving forward, and give us a critical advantage over the monolithic development structure of commercial competitors.
The TL;DR: Diversity is inherently a Good Thing, and we should support and encourage it. Sometimes criticism is called for, but we should strive to keep it constructive and encourage more participation, not less.
20 • One more thought (by Ben Mendis (@sitwon) on 2015-06-15 16:40:09 GMT from North America)
You'll notice that I linked to Project Byzantium, as evidence of my credentials. However despite some press attention Byzantium is not tracked by DistroWatch. In fact, none of the projects I have directly contributed to are currently tracked by DistroWatch.
We made a conscious decision NOT to submit Project Byzantium to be included on the DistroWatch list, because we determined that the contributions we were making were not relevant in the context of Linux as an OS. Rather, our contributions were relevant in the contexts of mesh networking and disaster response. Posting it here would have just added to the noise for most regular readers of DW, and those who might be interested would have likely noticed us anyways through other forums.
21 • @16 (by Chris on 2015-06-15 17:31:17 GMT from North America)
Firewall = Maybe. Do you use a laptop that you use, or may use, away from your primary environment? If so, YES, you need a software firewall. If you use a fixed location PC behind a NAT/Router/Modem and no other PCs are on your network, then it may not be necessary.
Either way, Linux distros come with a built-in firewall currently called Iptables; however, it needs to be setup with rules. While this can be done manually it is rather complicated for the new user. But there are tools to make it easier. While there are many good firewall apps (command line and gui), for new users I recommend gufw. Look for it in your systems' package manager. Start it up, turn it on (requires root or sudo password), and make sure it shows Incoming=Deny All; Outgoing=Allow All. This should be a good safe place to start until you become more experienced and need to set more complicated rules.
Anti-Virus = Maybe. While many would accurately tell you viruses under Linux are like finding a unicorn, especially if you only install apps from your distros' repositories, but such is not impossible. Many Linux users still interface with users of proprietary OSs who are easily subject to infections by viruses. While Windows and Mac viruses cannot harm Linux, a Linux system can spread those viruses. Therefore, to be a good citizen, it is wise to install a simple virus scanner and manually check any files downloaded from the web or shared via email, etc. A good simple gui based app is clamtk. Again, look for it in your distros' repositories. Setup is pretty straightforward.
If you need more info on gufw or clamtk, feel free to ask or use a search engine. Both have been around quite awhile and there are many online guides.
Once you become more linux savy, you can learn about system hardening, rootkits, anonimity apps/protocals, etc. But one step at a time...
Hope this helps.
22 • @12 (by jaws222 on 2015-06-15 17:49:42 GMT from North America)
There are others. You can actually go to the search option here at DW and filter.
23 • Distro's (by Ron on 2015-06-15 18:00:28 GMT from North America)
Why not keep the info you have as is but just reorganize. For example keep a list of all linux distros, as you do now. Well the ones you have the time to approve. But put more of a focus on a top ten list of sorts of the most popular ones.
And make a third list of the Distros waiting to be approved or denied. Leave a comment area specifically for this and let anyone who wants to test and review the distro to do so. Allow the community to take a more active role in this area.
Despite comments to the contrary, what makes opensource and/or linux strong is the huge variety of Distros and the freedom we have with linux and/or opensource. We always need to keep it that way but to ease confusion, especially the average new users, it needs to be organized better so they don't get scared off.
24 • @10 Debian MATE link, @19/20 obscure distros (by champted on 2015-06-15 18:40:28 GMT from North America)
@10: vt, give this link a try, for what you were trying to link to originally: http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20150504#debian
@19 and 20: Ben, thank you very much for the very well-thought-out treatise on the "obscure distros" topic, and for the link to Project Byzantium. I'm a ham interested in public-service / disaster response communications, and I hadn't heard of it before. I plan on looking into it more thoroughly.
25 • sudo usage (by Dale F on 2015-06-15 19:38:18 GMT from North America)
I use Linux Mint everyday and love it.
When I want to do something needing root/superuser status, I just fire up "sudo bash", and run the commands.
26 • Debian MATE (by Tim Dowd on 2015-06-15 19:39:08 GMT from Planet Mars)
You don't seem excited about installing MATE right on a Debian netinstall. Can I ask why not?
That's what I'm currently using, and I love it.
There are a lot of respins of Debian and Ubuntu. Some are interesting in themselves, many are not. I try and explore many. For someone entirely new, some of the spins that keep you off the command line might play a role. Some of the spins that tweak openbox to be very lightweight clearly play a role as well. But if you know how to deal with apt, which isn't that much to learn, Debian itself is a really good choice. I don't know why it doesn't get more credit.
As far as this poll goes, I voted for new features. If a distribution isn't in the top ten, I only really need to know about it if it does something unique. Then I'm curious.
27 • Too much choice (by cpoakes on 2015-06-15 20:07:35 GMT from North America)
While we're at it, what's with all the choices for books? Amazon should only offer the top ten on the NY Best Sellers. When it comes to beer, they're all just remixes of the same thing, aren't they? And wine, only if it comes in a box. And what is up with all those different types of apples?
28 • @10vtDebian/Mate broken (by gee7 on 2015-06-15 21:24:05 GMT from North America)
I recently downloaded the default Debian dvd iso to put another version of Debian on my system (I already use XFCE).
During installation, you are given a choice of which Desktop Environment to use: Gnome 3, KDE, XFCE, Mate.
Select Mate and there you go.
The choices are on the default iso.
29 • Plain Kernels (by Anna Merikin on 2015-06-15 21:25:28 GMT from Planet Mars)
#11: Are available in source form from www.kernel.org. They are not hard to compile; there is/are tools to help. The ones I tried used checkboxes to build in features or to delete them. I tried this back when the 2.x series was current. In practice, I was not able to find any advantage to optimizations in desktop usage under RH-6.2 (the first one from ~1999.)
Some distros provide a choice of kernels either during install or during post-install configuration. Liquorice is a fave, I hear. I tried it and noticed no advantage or disadvantage, even on audio playback/recoding, which was supposed to be its strong point.
Bottom line: Unless you need hardware support in order to boot, there is no advantage to changing kernels -- or even updating them (except, of course, for relevant security upgrades.)
30 • Font Rendering in Debian (by Neil on 2015-06-15 22:50:28 GMT from North America)
I presently use Debian 8 xfce, LMDE 2 and LM xfce. Font rendering is best in LM xfce, almost as good in LMDE 2 and less good in Debian. Firefox looks fairly good in Debian, but I am unable to get Chromium/Chrome to look good. Any others having similar experiences?
31 • @19 - Not necessarily useless (by Ben Myers on 2015-06-15 23:07:04 GMT from North America)
I never said that any distro was useless. But whoever promotes a distro needs to tell me and others why I would want to spend time trying that distro. What is it that compels me to try it? What sets it apart from all the others? Mind you, there are hundreds of them, and after culling out and often using some of the specialized ones, there are still hundreds to try and not enough hours in the day to try them all. If a visit to the distro web site after reading the summary on Distrowatch does not motivate you or me to try the distro, the developers of the distro have fallen short somehow. Same if running a distro live elicits a ho-hum response.
I keep thinking that the reason someone does a distro is for other people to use it, too.
32 • Firewalls (by M.Z. on 2015-06-15 23:26:40 GMT from Planet Mars)
@16, 21, & 32
I agree entirely with #21 about the anti-virus stuff, though for the firewall my question would be why not enable once & forget it? I think it's just good security to turn the firewall on even if it's rarely needed in Linux, & to my memory it could prevent big problems in one of those rare zero day bugs that happened recently. I think it was the shell shock bug that hit recently & started a giant discussion among security folks, but PC Linux users could have prevented any problems by simply turning on a firewall. That's not always an option for servers, but it's a really simple ounce of prevention that I doubt has much cost in terms of time or hardware resources.
Of course you could also go all in on prevention & put all your personal network behind a firewall distro like pfSense. I never felt as secure as I did after putting a junk PC with pfSense between me & the Internet & using snort to block all malicious activity. I still leave all my firewalls turned on in my Linux boxes though, because why not?
33 • chrome font rendering debian (by Tim Dowd on 2015-06-15 23:39:29 GMT from Planet Mars)
Looks good on this computer using Debian 8.1 with MATE.
I wonder if maybe there's a proprietary video driver that Mint is using but Debian by default isn't? If that's the case, enable the contrib and non-free repositories and you should be able to install your driver.
34 • Chrome book (by Christian on 2015-06-15 23:52:27 GMT from South America)
I will try Chromixium when i have the time. However, I had the opportunity to own a Chromebook (Acer C720 - Brazilian model - 2gb ram and 16 gb SDD).
I was a bit cautius at first, but I've got to say that I was really surprised, in a good way. The system was really fast. Fast to boot (3 to 5 seconds) and fast to launch any application (well, Chrome). All the updates were installed automagically without disturbing my work.
And, by the way, I could get most of my work done with that computer. It was cheap, light and fast (I work mainly with word processors, spreadsheets,PDF files and some graphics). I, myself, was amazed how many online tools have evolved.
Of course, I still had the need of another computer (my desktop in this case) for some tasks, nevertheless, I really enjoyed my chromebook.
It was burned during a storm and I replaced it for a Dell, by far a more powerfull computer, but I still miss the simplicity and speed of ChromeOS.
When installing Linux on this new computer I saw a new advantage of Chrome OS. When formating, you don't have to reinstall anything. All your stuff is back there, where it was, the way it was. Fast and simple.
But, again, it suited me well for my tasks... and it didn't cover everything i needed in a computer system... but,,, neither does linux... I still have to relly on windows for some brazilian courts... yeah, sucks.
35 • @32 (by Chris on 2015-06-16 00:11:37 GMT from North America)
@35 - I completely agree with you, with something like ufw/gufw it is so easy to set your software firewall and forget it, allowing it to help protect you without further thought. However, I wanted to provide a fully honest answer to an apparent new user - If one is ALWAYS behind a hardware firewall in your NAT/router/modem and there is never another PC on the internal network to possibly open security holes, you technically can live without a software firewall. If this is not the case, one should absolutely consider activating a software firewall.
When I was a new Linux user, I hated only getting partial answers. I would be told something and then later learn there was more to the story. Not that thise answers were innaccurate, but hearing multiple factors helps me learn more, quicker. Therefore, when I answer a question, I try to answer that specific question plus a couple of potential future ones.
36 • @34 Chromixium 1.0 again (by Ben Myers on 2015-06-16 01:49:46 GMT from North America)
Chromixium 1.0 on a laptop with an SSD boots up very quickly. Especially if you can get an SSD (32GB minimum), give it a try. I think you will be pleased.
37 • Distro Duplication (by frodopogo on 2015-06-16 02:44:00 GMT from North America)
"Am I the only one who does not get it?"
Some people think of an OS as a tool. Who cares what a tool looks like? You just need it to do what it was intended to do, and do it well.
Other people see the OS as a nest, or a home, or an extension of themselves. For such people, the esthetics of a distro can be hugely important.
These are such different ways of looking at an OS, that if you have one mindset, you will not "get" the other.
Similar things come into play with cars. Some people just want a utilitarian vehicle, and that's all. Some people want a car to be an expression of themselves.
Or maybe some people have a utilitarian nature, and something too gaudy isn't "them".
My sister had a wreck, had to get a new car right away, and the only one she could find that was mechanically sound for a good price was red and sporty.... and every time she talked about it, she'd say "It's just not "me"! She finally found a small green Japanese SUV that was "her", and the red sporty car found a new owner.
Anyway, such considerations DO enter into OS choice as well, so someone who can in effect "reskin" the operating system so it offers the same functionality but a different look is offering a real service to such people. And very often the kind of people who want the different esthetic either are not capable of tweaking the OS themselves, or they just don't have the time required to do it. The international nature of computers has an effect on this, because different countries and cultures have different senses of esthetics. Sometimes there are designs that can jump cultures well, and there are others that can't.
Again you can see the same thing with automobiles. Honda Accord tends to have a classic look that appeals in a lot of cultures... the Nissan Qube, not so much!
With OSes, however, the appearance can be changed without changing the functionality.
38 • Chromixium vs Chromebook (by RO on 2015-06-16 04:31:18 GMT from North America)
I had a Samsung low-end ARM-powered Chromebook for the last 2 years as an ongoing proof of concept, with the concept being "what can I do with this thing?". As long as what I wanted to do was supported by the Google apps ecosystem, it was very useful, and that ecosystem matured quite a bit during the 2-year experiment. However, I found that we have not used it enough to justify keeping it around when I could get a $75 gift card from Best Buy for "trading in" the CB to apply to purchasing a new tablet PC that would be a lot more useful to me.
We did find the CB useful for a couple of special situations. The obvious one was for visitors to our house who wanted to access the web when they did not have their own PC with them, and their phones were not up to the task at hand. If they had a Google account, they were quite impressed with how transparently and quickly they could get up to speed on the CB by means of their Google account as the CB login.
The other main use case had been for watching multiple basketball and football ("American style") games on ESPN while we would be watching our favorite teams on the regular (cable) TV. Connecting a 21-inch monitor to the CB via HDMI made it much like having a second TV for the secondary game of the moment (aside from some network lag sometimes).
So after trading in the CB, I wondered if I could achieve a similar online "web appliance" experience with a specialty Linux distro on a spare laptop, and had downloaded Chromixium a few days ago to see if it would be any better than my first try with Porteus Kiosk based on Chromium. Porteus works fairly well - it boots into Chromium in essence, for a web login (Google account being the most "obvious" choice), and loads in about 15-20 seconds on a Fujitsu P1630 with 1.2 Ghz Core duo, 2GB RAM, and SATA HD.
I found info on Chromixium indicating that it would expand on this capability with a full Linux distro to complement the web processing with a typical array of local apps I would be comfortable with, as well as my wife, since I converted her from Windows 98 about 10 years ago as an alternative to an "upgrade" to Windows XP that I was not looking forward to at the time for reasons of cost, and all the security issues it was having back then. My recent experiences at that time with Mandrake 9, and this newfangled Ubuntu (5.04) and its Mint 3/4 derivative showed me that, with Open Office and Firefox, desktop Linux seemed mature enough for our personal use (I was still using XP for work, and she was on a hodgepodge of Windows 95 and Mac OS 9 at the school where she taught).
The review seems to portray Chromixium, though, more as a standard sort of Linux desktop with a local Linux account login, and having a web focus and Chrome "look and feel", but not really a web appliance as with a real ChromeBook, or even the Porteus Kiosk distro. Does that seem like a fair summary?
39 • Debian MATE @10, 26, 37 (by Hoos on 2015-06-16 04:41:51 GMT from Asia)
You don't seem excited about installing MATE right on a Debian netinstall. Can I ask why not?
That's what I'm currently using, and I love it....."
I'm not the poster of @10, but speaking for myself, one reason why I might choose LMDE over Debian netinstall+MATE is time and pragmatism. Mint was one of the earliest Ubuntu/Debian distros to have MATE as their default DE. They've had a long time to refine it for use in their own distro, both in terms of how it runs and in the looks department.
So I agree with @37 about the time factor. If you compare LMDE with Debian netinstall, I don't have to spend the time to tweak the aesthetics, multimedia is OOTB, I like the mintmenu with the search function, and the suite of applications provided is fine for me although what is considered bloated differs for everyone.
I have checked out MATE versions of WattOS (in their short dalliance with Debian), PCLinuxOS and Salix, and in my opinion Mint MATE looks prettier OOTB. :-)
If time/looks aren't important or it is important to you to tweak everything yourself, then the above reasons will not apply to you. But it will for other people.
Ironically after the spiel above, I admit that the only Mint version I'm currently running is the Ubuntu-based Mint 17 with Cinnamon, because I finally have a computer that can run Cinnamon!
40 • @5 • sudo passwd alternative (by Alexandru on 2015-06-16 07:56:06 GMT from Europe)
The sudo command is nice when using a single-account system. Now imagine you have a system with separate accounts for each family member (for different reason: security, disk quota, preferences, etc).
Normally the first user gets sudo access. And now, under some other's account you try to do administrative task, e.g. install the updates. The sudo command is useless, because this account doesn't have access to sudo and you as computer administrator don't want to grant it. With root account unlocked it is simply to achieve with su.
41 • @40 (by Kazlu on 2015-06-16 11:03:58 GMT from Europe)
"this account doesn't have access to sudo and you as computer administrator don't want to grant it. With root account unlocked it is simply to achieve with su."
That does not seem logical: either you want your second user to be allowed to do administrative tasks, or you do not. Either way it can be done with sudo or with root.
You want to grant administrative rights to your second user?
- with root: give the root password to your second user (the physical person)
- with sudo: add your second user (the system user) to the sudoers, allowing him/her to use sudo.
You don't want to grant administrative rights to your second user? Don't do those things.
42 • Obscure distribution reviews poll (by Kazlu on 2015-06-16 11:11:09 GMT from Europe)
I would be equally interested in the review of Raspbian to see what it can or cannot do (general purpose or unique features likewise), a review a specific obscure desktop distribution proposing something unique or a review of the last version or Ubuntu. What I like with free software is precisely its diversity and its ability to be shaped as a general purpose tool or a specific tool. I am always happy to learn new things and to see where popular general purpose distributions stand.
To be a little more specific, here are some reviews I particularly liked in the past months:
- the series of server reviews (SMS, SME Server, OpenSUSE and Zentyal): I learned a lot with that ;
- the time when Ubuntu and then one of its variants were reviewed (proposed to vote, Xubuntu was elected): we could have an idea as to what is the same and what is different between Ubuntu and Xubuntu ;
- the review of NixOS and the focus on its package manager, very instructive.
The Chromixium review fits particularly well in the category of what I wish to know more about but do not have enough time to try myself :)
The one thing that I would not like to see is monotony: only general purpose distros with the same DE for example. But I think generally DW's reviews do not stay too long on the same ground.
I voted "Focus on unique features", because I suppose it's the closest answer to what I think, but ideally I would like to see a bit of everything.
43 • Chromixium 1.0 (by Joe on 2015-06-16 13:56:08 GMT from North America)
I installed Chromixium 1.0 on a Toshiba Satellite M45-S359 notebook with 3GB of RAM. Overall, it works well. I found that right-clicking the desktop to access the applications menu took too long. This has to do with the time it takes to render the icons for the applications menu. There is a work-around on the Chromixium wiki that will remove the icons from the menu and allow it to open much faster. There is also an option to add the menu (with icons) to the system tray; and, instructions for adding Chrome. I'm pleased so far and think the distro will be useful. I was contemplating hacking my Chromebook to add Ubuntu. Now I might not have to...
44 • Chromixium review (by RichJack on 2015-06-16 14:00:09 GMT from Europe)
Thanks Jesse for your fair review of Chromixium. I am the developer and I hear what you and others have said about the slow applications menu. This will be fixed very shortly with an updated 1.1 release and a service pack download for existing users.
The Ubuntu Apps Directory relies on your software sources being up to date. If you are connected to the internet during installation, they get updated. As other users have found, it does work and the applications menu does get updated after installation, not sure why yours didn't.
One last thing. The reason that RAM usage is high when you first log in is because Chromium is preloaded to help you get online quicker.
I hope you revisit Chromixium in future as it matures and thanks again for the review and exposure.
45 • @43 (by Joe on 2015-06-16 15:09:17 GMT from North America)
Chromixium was installed on a Toshiba Satellite M45-S359 with 2GB of RAM. Fat-fingered the 3.
46 • kernel tests (by whitebox on 2015-06-16 16:27:46 GMT from North America)
I use PCLinuxOS, and kernels are installed just like any other software, from Synaptic,
When a new kernel installs, its added to grub by default, you just select it when booting. The first time it runs, though, it takes an extra minute or two to start, because the system autoinstalls some modules on it, like graphic drivers.
You can of course have installed as many kernels as you want, but if you have too many, grub looks horrible.
47 • Manjaro 0.8.13 Install (by bushpilot on 2015-06-16 18:31:59 GMT from North America)
Just installed Manjaro 8.13. Lots of learning required to get things working. Getting my HP printer to work was a real challenge. Removed gutenprint to get it working. The only app that I could not install and get working was jpilot, which works in Debian 8. On the plus side, I was able to install unetbootin, which I could not do in Debian. All in all, Manjaro is a great disto.
48 • Unetbootin (by Neil on 2015-06-16 19:09:30 GMT from North America)
I am running LMDE 2 and also could not install unetbootin. I read somewhere about installing unetbootin from the Index of / debian / pool / main / u / unetbootin:
I chose the most recent .deb was successfully installed unetbootin in LMDE 2
49 • kernels (by M.Z. on 2015-06-16 19:27:08 GMT from Planet Mars)
I'd say #46 is about spot on with regard to an easy to use way to get close to the latest & greatest version of the Linux kernel. I'm currently on kernel 4.0.5 on PCLinuxOS & if I'm reading the little green lettering in the DW information pages correctly it's genuinely the freshest version available. I have noticed that when a new major version comes out the PCLOS crew wait a while for bug fixes, like how they waited for kernel 4.0.3 to hit before they made the 4.0 kernel line available. If you want a stable & bug free kernel that's still fresh, yet easy to install I doubt you could to much better, though I'm not sure how generic it is.
While I think PCLOS would be best for average users I'd also guess that there were other options that may be some combination of fresher &/or more generic. I think Arch may generally run very generic versions of the kernel & other software, & they also have kernel 4.0.5 available in their 'current' version. From what I know I'd guess Arch might be your best bet for the freshest & most generic version of the kernel, though I'd guess that the PCLOS kernel would be more stable. There are plenty of other options if you look down the left most column in the DW page about specific distros & look for the Linux package See here directly under the third black row in the table:
50 • aesthetics of Debian (by Tim Dowd on 2015-06-17 00:49:22 GMT from Planet Mars)
I understand the aesthetics argument. I'm not anti LMDE or Ubuntu MATE (I use the latter too.) My concern is seeing Debian, which is a pleasure to use, routinely dismissed as a poor choice for the desktop. It's not. For anyone who is familiar with apt (and that's most people who have dabbled with Mint or the Ubuntus) initial setup after an install is about 5 minutes and then you pretty much don't have to worry about it for 2 years as long as you occasionally check for updates. It is one of the few things in life that really, truly, just work. So by all means use a Debian based distro, but dismissing Debian as hard, or boring, or not a prime choice for desktop use isn't fair.
51 • @50 aesthetics of Debian (@39) (by Hoos on 2015-06-17 06:05:42 GMT from Asia)
@50 That's a fair point, and it is also true I haven't tried pure Debian for some time.
So I used the link provided in an earlier post to download the non-free Mate version of Debian 8, and wrote it onto a thumb drive.
I booted it up and:
1. very pretty splash screen and wallpaper
2. the aesthetics for the Mate desktop are certainly much better off the bat than PCLinuxOS Mate (I have the latter installed, so can be honest about it!). I would say Mint Mate still shades it though.
3. very pleasant usage nevertheless. Used some of the applications like Libreoffice, image viewer, terminal, file manager, and they seemed fine. No media players but those can be easily installed.
EXCEPT, the sound didn't work in the live USB. I tried opening Youtube videos, no sound. I opened the pulse audio volume control to test the sound, trying different options, but still couldn't get the sound going.
I'm sure I could sort it out, but most live distros nowadays have no problem with getting my sound set up out of the box, or the sound can in any case be easily activated from pavucontrol.
So my conclusion has changed - I have no problems with the aesthetics of Debian 8 + Mate, but there is at least 1 niggly usage issue I would have to sort out. Maybe I'm lazy, but I don't see why I should have to bother about things like this if there were other choices.
However, if nicely set-up alternatives like LMDE didn't exist, Debian-based or otherwise, I wouldn't have a problem giving Debian Mate a go.
52 • @50 Debian for desktop (by Kazlu on 2015-06-17 11:50:05 GMT from Europe)
"initial setup after an install is about 5 minutes and then you pretty much don't have to worry about it for 2 years as long as you occasionally check for updates. It is one of the few things in life that really, truly, just work."
I disagree with that. I have been running Debian Wheezy Xfce (installed from the liceDVD) for about one year and a half, and although I must say that indeed, installation and eventually a bit of initial setup are quickly done, everything does not "just work". There have always been one thing here and there that required particular intervention, online searching and command line usage whereas in any of the other distros I have tried it is already taken care of. These are small details like:
- being able to print. It was not working, I searched the web, found out I had to add myself to a specific group to enable printing, did that via command line, then it worked ;
- adding new users: no GUI utility, all done via command line, which required some research to set the rights and permissions like I wanted ;
- time setting: ok, I must admit it is partially my fault since I still rely on local time instead of UTC. Still, to change the time when we went on summer time, I had to go command line...
And of course should I want to do that once more (add a new user, allow him/her printing, change the time...) I will have to search the Internet again, since I forgot the commands.
Globally, Debian works really great, one of the fastest and definitely the most stable distro I have ever tested. But some things that are natural in a lot of desktop distros are not in Debian and require some work. Maybe "the universal operating system" is very basic because that way, you only install and activate what you need, and in some use cases you don't need what I mentionned.
However, I have yet to find a replacement. The closest would be LMDE, but it is not in its philosophy to use only free software. Should I reinstall tomorrow, I might try ConnochaetOS: supposedly easy to use, free software only, no systemd. I may embrace systemd in a couple of years, but not yet. I like that Debian let you start off with free software only, but then allows you to use one single piece of non free stuff, like a printer or WiFi driver. I know it uses systemd, but does the Mageia kernel include non-free blobs? If yet, is it optional, for example if we do not check the nonfree repo at install time?
53 • Debian as a desktop OS (by Devesh on 2015-06-17 12:16:56 GMT from Africa)
I totally agree, I decided to use Debian as my desktop distro after trying both Linux Mint DE and Ubuntu with both not working as smoothly as I thought they would.
Been using Debian on my desktop and laptop and it has been great.
54 • printing (by Tim Dowd on 2015-06-17 13:57:08 GMT from Planet Mars)
They're fair points. I guess I've been using Debian long enough that I find the command line way of adding users is actually easier for me at this point. So ultimately that post above about the green car versus the red car makes sense.
I don't typically give Debian to a new Linux user (unless their hardware needs something very lightweight), choosing Ubuntu MATE for them for the reasons you've mentioned. But people learn quickly- even the more polished distributions send you to the command line to install from outside the distro's repositories, or change permissions on a individual file, for example. Anyone who's used LMDE or Mint or Ubuntu a few years won't find managing Debian very hard.
I do stand by my comment that Debian "just works" once you've gotten it set up. There's sometimes just a bit of extra work on that front part :)
55 • @54 (by Kazlu on 2015-06-17 14:21:16 GMT from Europe)
"So ultimately that post above about the green car versus the red car makes sense."
That's where I join you. I don't consider the command line usage is a problem in itself, but although I see CLI as right enough for specific and outside of daily use tasks like managing permissions of files for example, I consider tasks so basic and regular as creating a user, printing or setting the time should not require command line. But that's already subjective, red and green car story again. That being said, and that's why it's so wonderful to use Linux, I could get it to work thanks to online documentation and if it's really a deal breaker I have plenty of choice for another distro :)
56 • Un-Sound (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-06-17 16:21:16 GMT from North America)
Would the layer of complexity pavucontrol adds (PulseAudio-server-layer) be necessary if a similar GUI were available for ALSA or OSS (clearly, completely and correctly documented) configuration?
57 • Acid_test_please (by k on 2015-06-17 18:20:12 GMT from Europe)
Asked by a senior, e.g. retiree, pensioner, with limited computing resources, budget and skills, to help them gain access to information technology and the internet, which distro would you recommend? Confident it would enhance their quality of life, with minimal investment and stress, maximal fun. :) Learning with some challenge has positive value, but frustration perhaps more stressful, with negative value. Thank you.
58 • newbie Distro (by M.Z. on 2015-06-17 19:16:57 GMT from Planet Mars)
I think Linux Mint is generally the best bet for average PC users of all stripes. The desktop should feel familiar to PC users, the installer is amongst the easiest to use, nearly all the essentials are preinstalled, & the software center is easy to navigate & has a massive collection of all sorts of programs. Of course it's a very subjective question with a large number of possible answers like PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, & Mageia, but Mint is both #1 in the hit page rankings here at DistroWatch & #1 in my book for easiest to use. If you've got any question as to the age/compatibility of your computers graphics then download the MATE version & give it a go, it's a little less slick than some of the other desktops like Cinnamon & KDE, but it's reliable.
59 • 57 • Senior support (by Fairly Reticent on 2015-06-17 19:57:30 GMT from North America)
You'll get many different answers, depending on the source of installation and/or support, available hardware and internet access, and the interests of the individual. Some distros have very supportive communities.
60 • Packages in the repos (by imnotrich on 2015-06-17 20:57:54 GMT from North America)
Not long ago someone commented that it would be rare for packages in your distributions repos to actually break your install and I mostly agree.
However, there ARE lots of packages in repos that do not work properly with your distro. Why is that? Lack of testing, I would think.
For example, Mint 17.1 w/Cinnamon - an excellent distro btw. Lightyears ahead of Ubuntu and Debian on usability and functionality.
However the following programs FROM THE REPOS do not work properly:
1. xsane - preview window shows some garbled colors but is mostly blank. Workaround? rm -r ~/.sane/xsane every time you want to run the program. Clumsy. This bug has been known for almost 5 years, but not addressed.
2. Streamtuner2 - does not call the default player. Workaround? Install the latest Streamtuner2 direct from the developer's website. Annoying.
3. FSlint - will scan but does not delete files. Solution? Install previous version. Oops.
4. CGminer & BFGminer - does not detect usb devices unless run as root. I have found no suitable solution so far.
5. Armory - says it can't communicate with Bitcoind or Bitcoin-qt when first opened. Solution? Close Armory, then Killall bitcoind and Bitcoin-qt, restart Armory.
6. Firefox w/Noscript - constantly freezes for no valid reason and is not compatible with some websites. Chrome is faster anyway, even with the built in ads and spyware but I am reluctant to use Chrome if I can't block active content - a known attack vector.
7. Ekiga - will not register with my VOIP provider and often causes the system to crash/freeze completely. Solution? Install SFLphone. But SFLphone is no longer being maintained so I don't know how long that's going to work.
8. Pulse - barely compatible with usb and regular headsets/microphones. Requires much tinkering to operate with Skype, SFLphone, Audacity and so on. I was never a fan of Pulse and it IS getting better, but still I should not have to edit config files every time I change from recording my voice to making a phone call. Plug and play for usb and old style sony plugs should be basic functionality.
9. CUPS - sometimes thinks my printer is turned off/disconnected, when it is not. I experienced this bug early on and I think a MINT update fixed it as I haven't seen the issue recently.
10. No firewall - well, at least no firewall enabled by default and the "firewall" that comes with MINT is impossible to configure to allow network printing. So your choices are forget about network printing and be safer on the web, or remain vulnerable in order to allow networking printing. Awkward.
There are other examples, like the dreaded "error splicing file" message when trying to copy something from a usb hard drive, another bug that has been known for years.
Overall, I highly recommend Mint as the least annoying and most user friendly distro out there right now - but there remain daunting issues that would send less persistent users back to Windows, MAC or even Chrome in search of that "just works" myth.
61 • Senior support (by Jordan on 2015-06-17 22:14:59 GMT from North America)
Mint. Reasons? It's just a simple yet fun, robust distro like many others. The options and
choices don't overwhelm, and the defaults are fine, too.
62 • @57 Mint a good choice for seniors (by Ben Myers on 2015-06-18 02:20:42 GMT from North America)
I keep trying various distros and desktops, and Linux Mint remains my favorite, and I think it would be good for seniors with limited computer knowledge, because it is pretty intuitive and easy to use. Now for the desktop choice. I can recommend Cinnamon for systems that are dual-core or better, and no less than 2GB of memory. But Mint Cinnamon has not run well or even not at all on single core systems, for which the more lightweight (Oh, how I detest the word! less ponderous?) Mate or XFCE work much better.
63 • @52 LMDE - no systemd? (by Hoos on 2015-06-18 04:48:39 GMT from Asia)
"The closest would be LMDE, but it is not in its philosophy to use only free software. Should I reinstall tomorrow, I might try ConnochaetOS: supposedly easy to use, free software only, no systemd. I may embrace systemd in a couple of years, but not yet..."
I'm not sure, but I got the impression that LMDE Betsy is based on Debian Jessie but without systemd.
Does LMDE use totally libre software? Probably not, but I assume you could stick to free drivers, and not use encumbered media codecs which are not preinstalled but for which Mint provides easy access in the welcome window.
64 • Review of distributions for kids ? (by far2fish on 2015-06-18 07:53:00 GMT from Europe)
My six years old is starting school after the summer, so I prepared an old laptop for her. I did try out a few distros before ending up with with Xubuntu with 15.04 with the following packages: ubuntu-edu-preschool and ubuntu-edu-primary.
The main reason for choosing Xubuntu was that it was the only distro that run well on that laptop, and found all necessary HW drivers out of the box.
I also tried Edubuntu (useless for a six year old due to Unity), Debian (difficult with the login box), Fedora SOAS spin (too alien).
Since SkoleLinux/DebianEdu is about to release their latest version, I would like to see a review of it, and possible also OpenSuse-Edu.
65 • Mint R.C.s (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-06-18 16:13:36 GMT from North America)
A stable ("LTS") base facilitates system completion. (Polishing?)
57 • Senior access to IT and www
Isn't that what their local library is for? Or internet café?
60 • Broken in repo
A few frustrations would "send less persistent users back to Windows, MAC or even Chrome"? Why'd they come into the Linux badlands in the first place?
(Hey, are you keeping a list?)
66 • for kids (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-06-19 01:42:58 GMT from North America)
64 • for kids • far2fish - and maybe DouDouLinux, or PicarOS?
67 • Command Line PTSD (by Ron on 2015-06-19 19:17:05 GMT from North America)
I just can't imagine why so many people are living in fear of the command line for new (or) older experienced users.
Most keyboards still have the letters visible - yes, unless worn out from much use, which suggests command line experience already.
Do we (inclusive Linux lovers really want boobs who cannot figure how to use the command line? What good are they to anybody on themselves?
68 • @67 (by Ron on 2015-06-19 19:19:33 GMT from North America)
Still, after all this time, I fail to spell check, sorry - hope you know I ment OR instead of on!
69 • 67 • CLI Avoidance Preference (by Kragle on 2015-06-19 22:23:12 GMT from North America)
Why assume it's fear? Many would rather not be harassed by irrelevancies like tool syntax (or spelling). Are all Linux geeks so very lazy they shun documenting code, or providing an interface that allows users to focus on their task?
70 • Senior distro (by cykodrone on 2015-06-20 00:19:56 GMT from North America)
@57 PCLinuxOS is very user friendly, easy to install and use and the most Windows-like (XP-ish) experience in my opinion.
71 • @65 (by imnotrich on 2015-06-20 04:30:47 GMT from North America)
A few "frustrations" that prevent a user from getting work done? Things which should be basic functionality? Yes, more than frustrations. Annoying.
People venture to the Linux badlands for a variety of reasons, but it will never be more than a hobby for most users because no matter what distro they try, no distro "just works." More things are broken than not.
Nuclear Missile silos in the USA still run DOS, and the IRS still runs XP. And the Office of Personnel Management runs COBOL. The latter two have been hit with some huge hack attacks recently and you can't tell me DOS is any safer.
Linux for me was an alternative to buying an overpriced MAC, built on the same Chinese production line as a POS e-machine. But then is Mint any more secure than XP, when Mint's firewall is worthless? You tell me.
72 • it 'just works' for me (by M.Z. on 2015-06-20 07:50:29 GMT from Planet Mars)
I think Linux should work fine for everyone, regardless of how much they initially fear the command line. CLI is an advanced tool for intermediate & advanced users & there is no reason that it should be a necessity for all users. That being said it's always a good idea to learn a little & know where to look to find more info about using CLI.
Actually there are many mission critical applications where Linux is chosen over all other products because under the right circumstances it can be far more stable & reliable than most other options. Not only are many of your claims misleading, but Linux runes everything from Formula 1 cars, to stock exchanges, to 95% of the worlds 500 fastest supercomputers. The fact is if you have a must work mission critical application you're just as likely to be running RHEL as anything else, though I'll admit that for home PC users Linux is imperfect like everything else.
We all know Mac is an OS with a very limited set of hardware that needs support, and Windows has hardware vendors & PC makers working together to iron out most bugs. On PC versions of Linux there is the problem of meeting all the hardware needs of Windows with less outside support compared to Windows. This will inevitably cause some issues, but I actually find that Linux 'just works' more often than not, & if one version gives me issues I switch to an unrelated version & generally everything goes smoothly. I usually switch between PCLOS & Mint & the only thing that seems guaranteed to never 'just work' for me is PC-BSD, which of course isn't Linux. I'd also point out that the US navy trust Linux enough to make it a core component of their most advanced ship:
73 • @72 (by Brandon Sniadajewski on 2015-06-20 11:38:20 GMT from North America)
Yes! I agree with you onthe first statement. It's best for most people starting with Linux to start out with the GUI and then you one feels proficient enough and chancy go start on working on the command line. That's how I got into Linux myself. It was KDE (still is) and then started working on some commnad line tools (only a select few like the apt tools and such.
74 • clownhat (by gnomic on 2015-06-20 14:00:49 GMT from Oceania)
'but it will never be more than a hobby for most users because no matter what distro they try, no distro "just works." More things are broken than not.'
Oh good grief. Have you nothing better to do? Perhaps get another hobby, one that gives you some joy? Or you are some sort of shill from the dark side? Or perhaps retire into a cave and come out with THE PERFECT LINUX DISTRO (TM) BY IMNOTRICH. I thought not.
75 • All_current_Linux_Mints_systemd-free (by k on 2015-06-20 15:56:30 GMT from Europe)
@52 and 63, I have not used Robert Storey's tip to determining init protocol: typing command "cat /proc/1/comm" and return, in terminal console on Linux Mint, but I understand from Clem comments that all Linux Mints are systemd free until 18(?). Rafaela is supposed to be "truly excellent", but LMDE2 is fine enough. :)
76 • 72 • XP (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-06-20 16:49:16 GMT from North America)
MZo'PM: Many people wouldn't recognize XP as used by the U.S. military - "power" users?.
It's also popular in North Korea. And many ATMs.
77 • @74 (by imnotrich on 2015-06-21 05:27:22 GMT from North America)
Ah, freedom of speech always brings lunatics to the forefront.
So tell me, do you think a distro should include video support?
What about Wireless networking?
The ability to respect the language choice you make during the install (another MINT/Ubuntu bug)?
If you tell an installer to install the OS to your SSD, and mount your HDD as "home" should it be smart enough to get the permissions right?
How about an anti-virus program in the repos that doesn't have 99% false positives?
What do YOU consider basic functionality? Developers seem to spend too much time designing counter-intuitive UI's and other "improvements" (pulse, systemd, kms, blah blah blah) which when released are actually regressions. I do not have the time or skills to code, and in the past when I've tried to file bug reports in many cases bugs in the bug reporting system prevents me from doing so. Therefore my only contribution to the future of Linux has been some cash here and there. I know I'm only one user, but dang it I'm not asking for developers to spend time on obscure obsolete stuff. Basic functionality is all I'm asking. And in many cases I've found, that is asking too much.
78 • Basic functionality (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-06-21 21:06:59 GMT from North America)
Hardware vendor pranks can grind you down a bit. For example, wired ethernet was standardized long ago; wireless still suffers from churn.
Best reason to put the horse before the cart - first tally the tasks to do, then the tools that can do them, and only then consider which hardware supports your choice of software. A little patience up-front, less pain later.
But yes, licensing extremes generally prevent robust support, and it is too much to expect a few spare-time volunteers to keep up with hardware pranks. One good thing, though: hardware vendors motivated to clear old stock miraculously become supportive to "open", which (when combined with a tendency for hardware capacity to exceed credible need) implies hope remains.
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Nonux was a Dutch Linux distribution, a combined live and installation CD based on Slackware and GNOME. It was optimised for business use, with some applications localised into Dutch. The main features of Nonux are automatic hardware detection, careful selection of business and office applications, and presence of tools for a seamless integration into an existing (Windows) software and network environment.