| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 621, 3 August 2015
Welcome to this year's 31st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
People who try out a lot of different distributions, as our readers often do, benefit greatly from being able to run new operating systems in a virtual machine. Virtual machines take a lot of the risk out of testing new software, particularly operating systems. VirtualBox is one of the easier virtual machine technologies to set up and Oracle released a significant update to their VirtualBox product line last month. This week we discuss new features in VirtualBox 5.0 and the software's overall performance. First, though, Brook Kidane takes a look at Point Linux 3.0, a Debian-based distribution which offers users a simple installation process and a friendly desktop experience. In our News section we discuss Debian trimming down its supported architectures, Ubuntu MATE switching package managers and FreeBSD's second quarterly report of 2015. Plus we discuss Fedora package statistics and where to find interesting new software for Fedora. In our Torrent Corner we share the torrents we are seeding and then we provide a list of the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we ask how people contribute back to their favourite open source projects. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Brook Kidane)
Point Linux 3.0 (Agni)
Point Linux 3.0 (Agni) is the latest release of the distribution based on the stable branch of Debian - the current version of which was released in April of this year and is code named Jessie. Point Linux aims to provide a very stable system - thus the Debian base, but with modifications to improve the user experience over a stock Debian system. One of the things the Point Linux developers do to achieve this goal is to provide their own repository, where current builds of Firefox and Thunderbird are available for installation (unless the full installation medium is used, in which case these programs are installed by default). This is in contrast to the Debian experience where only unbranded versions of these programs are available.
Point Linux also chooses default desktop environments for the distribution based on the ease of use of the desktop. This choice has traditionally been the MATE desktop environment, but with this release Xfce has been added as an official desktop environment.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Exploring the MATE desktop
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Point Linux 3.0 - Quick Facts
||32-bit and 64-bit (x86 and x86_64)
||Debian 8.0 Jessie (current stable branch)
||MATE (Version 1.8) and Xfce (untested)
||Full DVD Live ISO; Core Component Live ISO. Both available in either architecture and desktop environment.
||1.1 GB Full ISO, 770 MB Core ISO
||1.0 GB Full ISO, 640 MB Core ISO
||1.1 GB Full ISO, 780 MB Core ISO
||1.1 GB Full ISO, 650 MB Core ISO
||Torrent or direct download from a choice of eight mirror locations.
Hardware Used (Installed on Physical Machine)
||Intel Core-i5 2450M
||Intel Graphics HD3000 integrated
||Intel Centrino® Wireless-N + WiMAX 6150
||Phoenix Technologies EFI v 2.0
Distribution's Goals and Target Users
The distribution's goal is to provide the stability and reliability for which Debian is famous, but with improvements to make the system uncomplicated and easy to use. The primacy of stability for Point Linux, and that appropriate choices have been made to that end by the developers, is evident from the warning in one of the last screens of the installer, the Advanced options screen, where there is a warning that choosing to enable the Jessie Backports repository will reduce stability.
This goal of providing a good desktop experience is realized, first, by providing an installer that is much simpler and more straightforward than the Debian installer, which I recently used to install another Debian based distribution. Even a user new to Linux with the right hardware and without a dual boot requirement could easily install Point Linux.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Running various desktop applications
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The MATE desktop environment, its suite of accessories, and the installed applications allow a computer user with the most common needs, whether at home or at a business, to immediately be productive. If the Full ISO is used, the LibreOffice suite is installed by default, as well as Firefox with the Flash Player plug-in, Thunderbird for email and calendar, and the Atril Document Viewer for viewing PDF documents. A good set of secondary applications for Internet tools and multimedia are also installed by default including Pidgin for instant messaging, VLC for sound and video, and Eye of MATE for viewing images.
The release notes indicate that the target audience is composed of experienced users or those in corporate and IT environments. The impression I got however was that the distribution in its default configuration was very basic and would be more suitable for the average computer user who essentially needs a web browser and an office suite. This doesn't mean that an experienced Debian user, because of Debian's power and flexibility, couldn't turn the installation into something completely different.
My only problem with Point Linux is the lack of support for more modern hardware. The installer doesn't support installation onto EFI/UEFI systems. Fortunately, the installer has the option of not installing a bootloader. EFI/UEFI users can install the system without a bootloader and boot the OS with another distribution's GRUB, install the appropriate Debian GRUB package, and finally install the actual bootloader to the EFI partition and to the firmware, as I have done with other distributions that don't support EFI/UEFI. Unfortunately, in the case of Point Linux, an attempt to install the Debian grub-efi-amd64 package would result in breaking the few Point Linux base packages from the Point Linux repository. As a result I did not install the Point Linux provided GRUB bootloader, but continued to use another distribution's GRUB to boot Point Linux, modifying the other GRUB to enable hibernation in Point Linux and to preserve its Plymouth boot splash.
But for a user without an EFI/UEFI system, the installation experience is excellent, allowing a very simple graphical installation just by selecting a few options and clicking Forward through the installer screens.
Point Linux 3.0 -- The system installer
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Debian is highly regarded for stability and is a good choice for a distribution that values stability. This stability is the result of extensive testing - typically for two years - of packages during the development of a Debian release in a series of branches before being promoted to the stable branch. This standard is so uncompromised that the Synapse launcher, which I find essential to my productivity, has been held back from the Jessie (stable) repository, and is only available in the Stretch (testing) or Sid (unstable) repositories.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Software package sources
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Additions to Debian
The most important addition to the Debian system that will most readily affect the user experience is a set of additional sources for packages. Point Linux adds its own repositories where the most important software packages available in this repository are Firefox and Thunderbird, great additions to a Debian based system, as Debian only offers unbranded versions from Mozilla in the form of Iceweasel and Icedove. Other items in this repository include the custom themes for the distribution as a whole, such as the Plymouth theme, and artwork for the officially supported Point Linux desktops, MATE and Xfce. This repository also includes localization packages, packages that install the Point Linux customized configuration files that, among other things, control the behaviour of APT package management tools, and the lsb-release information.
In addition to these third-party repositories, Point Linux adds a Google repository which makes available the stable, beta, and unstable variants of Google Chrome; a Dropbox repository; an Opera repository; and a VirtualBox repository. The VirtualBox and Dropbox repositories are added using the codename of the previous stable Debian release, Wheezy, which is now the old-stable branch of Debian. This happens to not be a problem with Dropbox as the URL associated with this repository is still valid, and the version available in this repository is the same as that available from Dropbox directly. However, this is not the case with the VirtualBox repository.
Using Point Linux
The developers make many small adjustments to the system for user convenience. The user is made a member of the sudo group by default and a root terminal profile is pre-configured and available from an application icon, which I especially appreciated. Unfortunately a bit more could have been done in this area. For example, the sparse Point Linux wiki provides instructions on enabling an "open as administrator" menu in the Caja file browser; it would have been helpful if this and window snapping had been enabled by default.
Point Linux 3.0 -- A custom MATE theme
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The MATE desktop (version 1.8, latest is 1.10, released after Debian suspended software additions to Jessie) as offered by Point Linux is an extremely simple and straightforward environment. The desktop has not been modified by Point Linux and features the standard two panel interface, with the top panel providing the three cascading menus at the left and the system tray at the right. The bottom panel shows the task switcher, a "show all desktops" button, and the workspace switcher. One of the best features of MATE is the Control Center. It is functional without overwhelming the user with an abundance of hidden options. The MATE desktop also offers the full range of accessory applications that make a desktop environment complete. I found that the support for zip files was included by default in the MATE file archive tool Engrampa; this is not always the case with other distributions. However, MATE does not have some of the extras of other desktops environments which use compositing window managers with advanced effects which, in addition to eye candy, have some productivity enhancing features.
I missed a window manager with compositing 3D effects in this implementation of MATE because some of the effects, such as displaying all workspaces and displaying all windows, are very useful for multitasking. A previous version of Point Linux had an option in the installer to install the Compiz window manager, which could provide these capabilities, but this has been removed in this version. However, the lack of multitasking convenience offered by these tools is a trade off, allowing for a very lightweight system. When Point Linux is idle with no applications running, RAM use is around 350MB and load values are consistently much lower than I typically see with other OSes installed on this computer.
Point Linux 3.0 -- Monitoring system resources
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The appearance of the distribution is obviously not a priority with Point Linux as much as is stability. But it does have a customized Faenza icon theme and two Clearlooks themes. Fortunately the MATE desktop allows easy customization with minimal effort after themes are installed. Different components from various themes can be combined into a custom theme using the easy to use Appearance component from the Control Center.
Documentation and Help
Point Linux documentation is very minimal. The community tab on the website provides links to the wiki and forums as well as social network and chat contact information. The wiki had only a handful of links and one of these - an important topic, testing for and enabling the fastest APT mirror - was outdated. Fortunately, because of the Debian base, there is no shortage of information from Debian resources.
Point Linux is a solidly stable, responsive OS with a good user experience and low system resource use, as the developers intended to make it. It offers a very straightforward graphical installer which installs a system that is fully capable for the most common use cases out-of-the-box - if using the Full ISO live medium. However, this uncomplicated installation will only be available to users without EFI/UEFI firmware.
* * * * *
Brook Kidane is a Linux enthusiast who writes Linux reviews, guides and offers tips on running Linux distributions for Ordinatechnic.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian drops the Sparc architecture, Ubuntu MATE removes Ubuntu Software Centre, FreeBSD posts quarterly report and a look at Fedora package statistics
Last week Joerg Jaspert announced to the Debian community that the Sparc architecture was being dropped from Debian. The venerable CPU architecture was once popular, particularly among UNIX administrators, but has been increasingly pushed out of its niche by x86- and ARM-powered computers. "As Sparc isn't exactly the most alive architecture anymore, not in
Jessie and unlikely to be in Stretch, I am going to remove it from the
archive this weekend. (This does not block it coming back as sparc64!)" More details on the removal can be found in this post.
* * * * *
Martin Wimpress reported on his Google Plus page that Ubuntu MATE will be dropping their graphical package manager (Ubuntu Software Centre) from future versions of the distribution. Wimpress said the Ubuntu MATE developers have a replacement in mind, but did not say what it will be. "Ubuntu Software Centre has been removed from the default install of Ubuntu MATE 15.10. There, I've done it. It will not feature in Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Alpha 2. You can stop sending me messages about it now. We have something else lined up by way of a replacement. No, it's not Synaptic."
* * * * *
The FreeBSD project has released its second quarterly report of 2015. The report details many of the developments which have happened over the past three months. Some key areas include improved security (in part due to work imported from the HardenedBSD project), the bhyve virtualization technology and Linux compatibility. The report also touches on new sleep state code which reduces energy usage when the CPU is idle, new features coming to ZFSguru and FreeBSD's improved ARM support. Warren Block summed up the report, writing: "Projects ran the gamut from security and speed improvements to virtualization and storage appliances. New kernel drivers and capabilities were added, while work to make FreeBSD run on various ARM architectures continued at a rapid pace. The Ports Collection grew, even while adding capabilities and fixing problems. Outside projects like pkgsrc have become interested in adding support. Documentation was a major focus, one that is often complimented by people new to FreeBSD. BSDCan 2015 was a great success, turning many hours of sleep deprivation into an even greater amount of inspiration." The full report can be found on the FreeBSD website.
* * * * *
There is an interesting post on the Brno's Hat blog which talks about the number of packages available in the Fedora repositories. Specifically, the author talks about how the number of packages being added to Fedora's official repositories has stalled. "I went across statistics from Fedora Package Database and what caught my attention is that the increase of number of packages in the official Fedora repository has almost stalled. The number of packages in Fedora 22 is 17,021 and is not going up much since Fedora 20. Does it mean there are no more projects worth packaging? I don't think so. The number of open source projects goes up like never before, just look at GitHub." The post goes on to suggest software is still being packaged for Fedora, but it is being placed in Copr repositories. Copr is a build service which helps developers test, build and publish packages for Fedora. The Copr build service currently hosts about 3,000 projects.
|Application Review (by Jesse Smith)
First impressions of VirtualBox 5.0
Anyone who does a lot of distro-hopping or who likes to test out a piece of software before installing it on their computer is probably aware of how useful virtual machines can be. A virtual machine allows the user to install and run multiple operating systems on the same computer, test new code and experiment with new configurations, all without rebooting or risking harm to the computer's primary operating system. Perhaps one of the easiest virtual machine technologies to use is VirtualBox. The VirtualBox software, which is currently owned by Oracle, is popular largely due to its point-n-click interface and helpful default settings. It's a technology I use nearly every day.
A few weeks ago, Oracle announced the launch of VirtualBox 5.0, a major new release of the product line. For the past several years VirtualBox has been receiving mostly incremental updates, keeping the software relevant without introducing significant new features. Version 5.0 offers users five new notable features which are outlined in the release announcement:
VirtualBox provides packages for most Linux distributions, as well as a number of other operating systems. The project also offers repositories to help users install VirtualBox and stay abreast of software updates. I downloaded the project's Debian package for 64-bit processors and gave it a test drive.
- Paravirtualization support for Windows and Linux guests: Significantly improves guest OS performance by leveraging built-in virtualization support on operating systems such as Oracle Linux 7 and Microsoft Windows 7 and newer.
- Improved CPU utilization: Exposes a broader set of CPU instructions to the guest OS, enabling applications to make use of the latest hardware instruction sets for maximum performance.
- Support of USB 3.0 devices: Guest operating systems can directly recognize USB 3.0 devices and operate at full 3.0 speeds. The guest OS can be configured to support USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0.
- Bi-directional drag and drop support for Windows: On all host platforms, Windows, Linux and Oracle Solaris guests now support "drag and drop" of content between the host and the guest. The drag and drop feature transparently allows copying or opening of files, directories, and more.
- Disk image encryption: Data can be encrypted on virtual hard disk images transparently during runtime, using the industry standard AES algorithm with up to 256-bit data encryption keys (DEK). This helps ensure data is secure and encrypted at all times, whether the VM is sitting unused on a developer's machine or server, or actively in use.
VirtualBox 5.0 -- Launching a virtual machine
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VirtualBox will not play nicely with other versions of itself, so if you are running VirtualBox 4.x, you should un-install it prior to installing VirtualBox 5.0. The friendly VirtualBox interface has remained mostly the same with this new version. There are a few small changes. For example, the button to start a virtual machine now includes a drop-down selector which allows us to choose whether the new virtual machine should be launched in a window or in a headless state. People running guest servers with VirtualBox will probably want to try this headless option as it avoids cluttering the desktop.
One of the big changes is the acceleration feature which allows VirtualBox to use various virtualization technologies to offer better performance. In theory I think this is a great idea as it will allow VirtualBox users to benefit from built-in virtualization technology in their host operating system. From a practical point of view, I think most home users will not notice a difference. I tried running a virtual machine with the Default, KVM and Hyper-V acceleration settings. Tasks were performed in the same amount of time with each option, so (in my case at least) the benefits are not significant.
VirtualBox 5.0 -- Selecting acceleration settings
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Another new feature, encrypted virtual machines, looks attractive. The encryption option will certainly appeal to people who wish to insure the privacy of their data, though enabling encryption may result in poorer performance. I tried to enable encryption on a virtual machine and was told I needed to install a VirtualBox extension. I downloaded the extension and tried to enable it through the VirtualBox Preferences screen. The extension failed to install, meaning I could not take advantage of VirtualBox's encryption functions.
VirtualBox 5.0 -- Enabling encryption
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Personally, I do not typically use USB devices directly from within VirtualBox, but I'm still happy to see USB 3.0 support being included. I think this will make it easier for people to access their storage devices and access gadgets such as digital cameras and music players.
I have played around with VirtualBox 5.0 a little and, besides the features listed above, I feel the product is quite similar to VirtualBox 4.x. That is, people who have used VirtualBox before should still feel completely at home with the new release. VirtualBox 5.0 feels a little faster, I think guests perform just a little quicker than they did under VirtualBox 4.x. The interface hasn't changed much, but a few new options (like acceleration and encryption) have been added to the Settings window. I think my favourite feature though is the headless mode. While it was technically possible to run VirtualBox machines before without their own display window, there wasn't an obvious way to launch operating systems in headless mode. Now, launching a server that will be accessed exclusively using a web browser or secure shell is much easier and keeps the desktop clean.
VirtualBox is probably my favourite virtual machine technology, simply because it is so easy to use and set up. While other virtualization suites might offer more features or additional flexibility, VirtualBox is dead simple to use and will probably perform any tasks someone distro-hopping or experimenting at home will need. The interface is friendly, the performance is good and VirtualBox works with just about every operating system available. This latest release offers a few new features (including some welcome items like better performance and encryption, if you can get it to work), but it still looks and feels very much like previous versions of VirtualBox. This new release is definitely a step forward, an evolutionary step, and it's nice to see performance enhancements and things like USB support included in this very useful application.
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 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. 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: 91
- Total downloads completed: 46,784
- Total data uploaded: 9.5TB
|Released Last Week
Chris Buechler has announced the release of pfSense 2.2.4, a FreeBSD-based firewall solution. The new release mostly includes bug fixes and security updates. The bug fixes include patches to prevent cross-site scripting attacks against the web interface, a fix for a TCP resource exhaustion attack and enhancements to prevent file corruption during unclean shutdowns. Buechler points out that a recent patch to FreeBSD's OpenSSL implementation was not needed as pfSense did not ship the vulnerable version of the OpenSSL software. "As always, you can upgrade from any previous version straight to 2.2.4. For those already running any 2.2.x version, this is a low risk upgrade. This is a high priority upgrade for those using IPsec on 2.2.x versions. For those on 2.1.x or earlier versions, there are a number of significant changes which may impact you." The release announcement has more details and a full list of changes since the last version of pfSense can be found in the New Features and Changes document.
VectorLinux 7.1 "Light"
Robert Lange has announced the release of VectorLinux 7.1 "Light" edition, a Slackware-based distribution featuring the lightweight IceWM window manager: "Vector Linux Light 7.1 is released and available for download. The 'lightness' of this edition is relative to our Standard edition, and is achieved by using the lightweight IceWM window manager in place of the Xfce desktop environment. You may also choose bare-bones X Window with just TWM. Otherwise the base system and installation experience is the same as Standard. IceWM is old school. It uses a manual approach, much like a stick shift instead of an automatic transmission. It doesn't change unless you tell it to. Configuration is managed by editing plain text files. To make things easier and get you started, some of the most common tweaks are also scripted and controllable by a GUI app. The target audience consists of those who like and prefer IceWM, owners of older computers, and users who want a minimal, yet functional starting point for their own creation. Minimum recommended hardware: an Intel Core class CPU, 1 GB of RAM, and 10 GB of drive space." Here is the brief release announcement.
Kai Hendry has announced the release of Webconverger 31.0, the latest update of the project's specialist Linux distribution for web kiosks: "Webconverger 31 release. Two months ago was our momentous Jessie-based Webconverger 30 release and since then we've: fixed an issue with printing; pushed Firefox 39; further locked down some new Mozilla anti-features like social services, pocket and hello URLs; received a fantastic endorsement from the (Internet) famous security pundit SwiftOnSecurity. What next? We could really do with your feedback, help and support on a couple of goals for the next release: making wireless setups easier; improve boot times; perhaps work on efficient sharing a single machine with multiseat if there is a demand for it. Managed to integrate the EETI eGalaxTouch driver for some models of resistive touchscreens. It works well as your can see by this touch screen demo video and it's typically deployed in point of sales in retail. Unfortunately the driver is in a private branch since the end user of license is very limited and a good case study of how not to write a license." Here is the full release announcement.
Oracle Linux 6.7
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 6.7, the latest release of the distribution's legacy branch based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7: "We're happy to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 6 Update 7, the seventh update release for Oracle Linux 6. You can find the individual RPM packages on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and our public yum repository and ISO installation images are available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Notable features in this release include: Open Security Content Automation Protocol (OpenSCAP), including the oscap utility for enhanced security auditing and compliance; Load Balancing and High Availability with Keepalived and HAProxy, supported under Oracle Linux Premier Support subscriptions; enhanced SSSD support for Active Directory, including dynamic updates to DNS, group and user lookups of NetBIOS names, site discovery of domain controllers..." See the release announcement for more information.
blackPanther OS 14.1
The developers of blackPanther OS, a Hungarian distribution that originally forked from Mandriva, have announced the launch of blackPanther OS 14.1. The blackPanther distribution ships with the KDE 4 desktop and offers users a unified settings panel that combines KDE's System Settings and Mandriva's Control Centre. "We are sure you’ll enjoy the many improvements. We’ve done our best to bring the latest technology to blackPanther while still maintaining the stability and security that you have come to expect. blackPanther OS is well known for its simplicity and the fact that we try to bring software to you in the condition that the authors intended. blackPanther OS v14.1 (Walking Dead) brings many updates and enhancements, KDE 4.14, a recent stable release of the 4.1x.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment." Further information is available in the project's release announcement (English, Hungarian).
blackPanther OS 14.1 -- Running the KDE 4 desktop
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Zorin OS 10
The developers of Zorin OS, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu which strives to present a friendly interface for people transition from Windows, have announced the release of Zorin OS 10. The new release is based on Ubuntu 15.04 and features a new visual style with new fonts and icon themes. "With Zorin OS 10, we have refreshed the selection of default applications with the addition of a streamlined new Media Player, the gorgeous Geary Mail client, Calendar app and the new Activity Journal, which lets you see the files and documents you have worked with based on duration and the time throughout the day. Our existing app selection has also been treated with updates, bug fixes and design enhancements throughout. Zorin OS 10 is based on Ubuntu 15.04 and comes pre-installed with the updated Linux Kernel 3.19 & systemd for performance boosts, stronger security and improved hardware support. As always, Zorin OS 10 uses the Zorin Desktop environment with Zorin Menu for unparalleled customization and the Zorin Look Changer for ultimate ease of use. We also include our Zorin Web Browser Manager to ease the installation of web browsers." The release announcement supplies additional details along with screen shots.
Chris Smart has announced the release of Korora 22, a set of user-friendly, Fedora-based desktop Linux distributions with a choice of Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE 5, MATE and Xfce desktops: "It has been a long road to the Korora 22 (code name 'Selina') release and we're sorry that it has taken so long. However, it is now finally available for download. KDE 4 is no longer supported in Korora 22. If you do not wish to upgrade to KDE 5 then please stick with Korora 21. With this release we've decided to no-longer include Adobe Flash out of the box, due to the continued high number of security flaws. The repository is still enabled, however, and if you wish to use Flash you can install it using the package manager, or command line 'sudo dnf install flash-plugin' - or install and use Google Chrome which has the current up-to-date version of Flash." Continue to the release announcement for a full list of new features.
Korora 22 -- The welcome screen
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* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Contributing to open source software
In recent weeks several open source projects have put out calls for assistance, seeking help from coders, artists, document writers and administrators. Open source projects typically give away their work for free and rely on contributions to keep the projects alive. This is especially true for larger projects which require funds to keep their servers running.
This week we would like to know if and how our readers contribute to open source projects. Do you donate money, write code, package software for a distribution, write documentation or submit artwork? Do you file bug reports or post bounties to encourage developers to work on specific problems? Let us know how you get involved in the comments section.
You can see the results of last week's poll on backup methods here.
I contribute to open source software by
|Writing code: ||80 (11%)|
| Writing documentation: ||35 (5%)|
| Creating artwork: ||11 (1%)|
| Donating funds: ||150 (20%)|
| Providing equipment: ||5 (1%)|
| Submitting bug reports: ||129 (17%)|
| Packaging software: ||26 (3%)|
| Designing user interfaces: ||17 (2%)|
| Supporting other users: ||211 (28%)|
| Other: ||97 (13%)|
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 August 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 • Point Linux review (by brad on 2015-08-03 01:06:47 GMT from North America) |
I like the structural elements incorporated in this week's review (the Quick Facts and Hardware Used tables). Well done (and no disrespect to you, Jesse).
For a future DW topic, could someone explore (in some depth) the method(s) used for installing a bootloader to an EFI partition, to allow for distros that don't support EFI/UEFI installation? I'm somewhat of a noob, and I've not investigated distros that lack this kind of support. I use refind, but I find Rod Smith's explanations and amplifications too obtuse for my simple mind.
2 • Survey (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-08-03 01:20:06 GMT from North America)
Not a multiple-choice poll? Really?
3 • Survey (by brad on 2015-08-03 01:29:42 GMT from North America)
I've donated money to LinuxMint, and I occasionally participate in the forums, if I think I can help.
4 • Poll (by Gustavo on 2015-08-03 01:38:00 GMT from South America)
"Supporting other users:"
I've installed Linux on about a dozen machines from friends and relatives. I always use Xfce with panel on bottom and Ubuntu base (previously Xubuntu and now using LinuxMint Xfce).
Almost everyone finds Linux much better than Windows and won't go back, and most are running Linux for more than a couple of years.
A single day or two is enought to then to notice how much better their system run with Linux.
I think the only reason people don´t use Linux more is because they don´t know it or don´t have someone to configure their system.
5 • Nice Review of Point (by Lefty on 2015-08-03 02:25:22 GMT from North America)
Really nice review. I liked the Quick Facts and Hardware listing. Might be nice to adopt for other reviews as well.
6 • Contributing (by lashley on 2015-08-03 02:37:49 GMT from North America)
Contributing in some form is important if you are a Linux user, the developer could always use a monetary thank you to help with hosting, etc. Small amounts add up, and help keep the free software coming. Contributing in some fashion, or form either by writing script, code, or offering artistic abilities on the forums or websites makes Linux great. I do contribute in more than one way, but also contribute funds to opensource applications, and distros that I run, if I keep it more than a few weeks, I will always send a few buck if they got a donate button. Linux doesn't happen by accident, a lot of very dedicated people, numbering in the tens of thousands donate to put a distro on your laptop or desktop machine, and other devices. I say contribute, even if it is a small amount. What would be your alternative? Support Linux.
7 • donate (by DJ on 2015-08-03 03:13:21 GMT from North America)
I tend to donate money to whichever Linux is my main fallback. I figure i used to pay to upgrade Windows. Why not donate to Linux projects?
8 • Opinion poll (by Fernando on 2015-08-03 03:34:11 GMT from South America)
"Other" -I contribute where whatever the projects need (manuals, web site, interfaces, etc).
9 • poll (by Bill S on 2015-08-03 03:54:15 GMT from North America)
We should have been able to choose more than 1.
Since I started with Linux about 4 years ago now, I have donated to 7 different distros. I also donated to gparted and DW and others. I have helped in some forums, and I have submitted bug reports and tested solutions. I love my Linux and open source.
10 • To brad (comment #1) (by Ron M on 2015-08-03 04:08:00 GMT from North America)
Try Rufus (https://rufus.akeo.ie). It will create a bootable EFI CD, DVD or USB memory stick you can use to install non EFI distro in UEFI environment.
Download Rufus, no installation needed. Put USB memory stick in your computer, start Rufus, point it to Point Linux.iso and make sure you check EFI boot in options. After a while you will have your distro ready to use or install on EFI computer. You can do it in Windows (XP or later, 32 or 64 bit).
11 • the quote from Ubuntu Mate dev (by robert on 2015-08-03 04:24:39 GMT from North America)
I do applaud the change away from Software Centre, but what's with the arrogant(?) tone in the dev's quote? WE have something in mind as a replacement but no, you peon users aren't privy to that info.
12 • Re 1: UEFI boot laoder (by hobbitland on 2015-08-03 05:35:35 GMT from Europe)
Actually I use the Ubuntu 13.10 signed UEFI boot loader and GRUB 2.00 to boot Debian 7 & 8. Both from HDD and remastered Debianlive USB stick. I have never ever got Debian 7/8 UEFI to boot correctly on any of my 4 UEFI systems.
Using Ubuntu's boot loader allows me to boot correctly on all my systems both when installed on HDD and from live USB stick. Actually, I remastered Debianlive ISO to support isolinux, syslinux & UEFI booting. Debian UEFI still does not work properly.
13 • Poll’s options (by SuperOscar on 2015-08-03 06:56:11 GMT from Europe)
I wonder why localisation/internationalisation is not mentioned as an independent option in the poll. I would think that’s one of main ways for anyone to contribute in FOSS development?
14 • Point Linux (by Sondar on 2015-08-03 07:13:14 GMT from Europe)
Good review. Brook's email handle wasn't appended and didn't care to register through his website.
Based on DWW readers' stated preferences, surprised that the reviewer didn't choose the Xfce version, which is also somewhat slimmer. Not sure why he bangs on about EFI/UEFI and 32 vs. 64bit, either. Most folks on this page are adept, have older kit available for testing, and understand that a 32bit install is entirely acceptable - even on a 64bit machine! Most distro-surfers also prefer AMD technology - don't they? One attraction of Linux is to abandon the WIntel cartel, isn't it? Good to see a distro from the nation with the best chess players!
15 • The Three S' that Make Linux Superior to Windows (by Scott Slayton on 2015-08-03 07:47:04 GMT from Planet Mars)
First off, I am the guy who left Windows for Linux, then went back again. Last week I told everyone that I was forced to install Linux on my third computer, because Windows 10 Beta expired. Since then, I was able to buy a legal copy of Windows Vista on sale for it. Now, I am totally Windows on all my computers and laptops.
To the subject at hand. I believe Linux is superior to Windows in three areas. It is superior in Speed, Stability, and Security (the three S'). Even with Windows 10 can't match what I've witnessed in Linux (Windows 10 is faster than its predecessors). Windows hiccups too much (if you don't see, you are blind), slowing down at times, even with new installs. Windows crashes 10 times more than Linux (I made that up, but I think it is true). Windows relies on Security software for protection while Linux (minus Wine kind of software) does not need protection (unless amateurly handled).
I am not a Linux preacher. I am sure someone could reply with better facts, but I have covered some basics here without swamping anyone with detail.
I switch from Linux to Windows, because Windows has much more variety of software. No longer do I find software I can't use, because I am stuck with Linux. I have converted to Windows. Windows dominates Linux in software availability.
One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. But, when, I don't know.
16 • applications availability (by Dave Postles on 2015-08-03 08:21:57 GMT from Europe)
Obviously needs are different, but I find that I have all the applications that I need available in OpenSource packages running on Linux:
R (but now not Rcommander);
and, of course, LibreOffice.
The beauty of Linux is that I am not forced to have one kind of DE.
17 • The right hardware (by ou_ryperd on 2015-08-03 08:22:16 GMT from Africa)
"Even a user new to Linux with the right hardware and without a dual boot requirement could easily install Point Linux."
What is the "right hardware" ?
18 • Missing option (by ferri on 2015-08-03 08:40:31 GMT from Europe)
There is missing very important activity - translating/localisation of software into other languages in Opinion poll section.
19 • Opinion poll (by Charles on 2015-08-03 08:58:14 GMT from Europe)
Primarily, I help out in the Arch Wiki where I'm able so I chose documentation. I do agree with @2 though - this should have been a multiple choice poll.
20 • I just don't get it (by lupus on 2015-08-03 10:08:50 GMT from Europe)
I think you have your facts straight but why in hell buy vista for an obviously older machine that will at least in the nearer future not work.
A few years back I began to change my older machines to Linux for the S-reasons you mentioned. I was intrigued cause I found out that my just replaced machine worked faster and more reliable under Linux than it ever did under Windows and even better than the newest Window machine I just got. Since then I never bothered to look back till last wednesday when ill advised me decided to give win10 a try!
On both machines I had to get win 8.1 up tu snuff you can imagine how much fun that was. This however is totally my fault for don't keeping windows up to date.
After a long days work finally both machines started windows 10 and I have to admit it is very pretty and the Desktop environment was consistent...... BUT....
then it hit me Driver that were installed didn't work ootb, Reeinstalling them sometimes took 2 reboots. My ISP USB Stick wasn't detected as network device so I had to WLAN into it (oh my god) and every piece of Software I install is to be updated by me on a regular basis some reboots included....
To sum it up... another day wasted in microsoft country
If you are a gamer it indeed does make sense to keep your most up to date equipment running windows cause gaming I get but other I don't can't won't unsderstand you ever
21 • @15 (by Charles on 2015-08-03 10:16:55 GMT from Europe)
"Last week I told everyone that I was forced to install Linux on my third computer, because Windows 10 Beta expired."
I think the preview versions also have a free upgrade path to Windows 10 just so long as you're a member of the Windows Insider Program (which is free to join).
22 • @11 -- Arrogance? What Arrogance? (by joncr on 2015-08-03 11:31:00 GMT from North America)
It's not arrogant for Wimpress to avoid publicizing what Software Center replacement they "have in mind". They obviously have not made a final decision, but are leaning to one. That's what "have in mind" suggests.
As soon as they publicize any choice, they'll be pestered by people complaining about one thing or another,
The "community" needs to get beyond this notion that engineering decisions should be made by vote, and that users get a vote. What users get to do is decide not to use software they don't like.
23 • @15 and @21 -- Wind10 Preview Do Not Expire (by joncr on 2015-08-03 11:42:40 GMT from North America)
Yes, legitimate Win10 Insider Preview installations did not "expire" on 29 July. To be legitimate, the user needs to be in the Insiders program and the system needs to have been upgraded/installed as an Insiders preview.
The Insiders program continues. It did not end on 29 July. Microsoft has said as long as a user remains enrolled in the Insiders program and keeps that machine in sync with Insider updates all will be well. (Insiders will, in effect, be the testers for updates before they are pushed out to regular users.)
On 29 July, legitimate Windows 10 Insider machines really didn't see much happen because they had been upgraded to the release image the previous week.
Vista, of course, isn't eligible for the upgrade.
24 • poll (by Skynet on 2015-08-03 11:47:50 GMT from North America)
I would donate, if I had money to do so.
25 • win 10 (by erinis on 2015-08-03 12:55:03 GMT from North America)
Enough with the Microsoft gibber jabber. I'm getting ill and nauseated. Zorin 10 is a fine distro for newbies to Linux as is Point Linux. A small donation from everyone if possible will make a difference. Thanks
26 • Identify Tool (by Sorin on 2015-08-03 14:19:09 GMT from North America)
Hello. Can anyone tell me what's the tool used in the terminal from the screenshot titled "Point Linux 3.0 -- A custom MATE theme" (5th screenshot). It's like a TOP alternative.
27 • System Monitor (by brad on 2015-08-03 15:24:01 GMT from North America)
@26 - it's the GNOME system monitor (or some slight variant thereof).
28 • System Monitor (by Sorin on 2015-08-03 16:09:09 GMT from North America)
@27 - That is the 6th picture. Was looking at the 5th picture actually. The tool with CLI interface.
29 • Ubuntu Mate "switching package managers" (by AnklefaceWroughtlandmire on 2015-08-03 17:07:02 GMT from South America)
I think a correction to the intro paragraph is in order. The statement "Ubuntu MATE switching package managers" isn't really accurate, as they're not moving away from DEB / apt-get. They're simply offering more choice in package manager *frontends*.
30 • @26 (by Charles on 2015-08-03 18:09:55 GMT from Europe)
I found this tool eventually, it's called glances
Many more such tools here: https://blog.serverdensity.com/80-linux-monitoring-tools-know/
31 • System Monitor (by Sorin on 2015-08-03 18:32:41 GMT from North America)
@30 - Thanks man. Now that's a comprehensive list.
32 • Point Linux 3.0 (by Shashi on 2015-08-03 18:39:17 GMT from Asia)
I've been using the Xfce flavour of Point Liniux 3.0 for a couple of weeks now without any trouble whatsoever. Your review is spot on.
33 • Virtualbox (by Charles Burge on 2015-08-03 20:05:08 GMT from North America)
I've been using Virtualbox for a few years now, and I eagerly downloaded the new version as soon as it was released. I was not disappointed. I really love the new feature that allows you to start a VM in a headless state. But the feature is a bit more robust than you let on. What it does is allow you to start the VM and the GUI in separate processes on the host. So that way, you can start it as headless but then bring up the console if you want to see it, or you can start it with the console running, but dismiss the console while the VM continues running. That's really handy for something like Windows Server, where you might need the GUI for just a minute or two, but then you can get it out of the way.
Another feature is hot-swappable SATA disks, which may be handy if you have a virtual disk that you want to move from one machine to another,
By the way, I installed version 5 on top of my existing 4.x version, and I've had no problems at all.
34 • Poll (by a on 2015-08-04 01:54:11 GMT from Europe)
As others said, this should have been a multiple answers poll. Or at least there should be a "Several of the above" answer, but that would be kind of useless, probably. Skipping this one.
35 • poll - other (by forlin on 2015-08-04 03:08:38 GMT from Europe)
Under "other" there may be a big slice of those who cooperate by doing translations. I did it before, too, so my vote on it.
36 • Poll (by GuntherT on 2015-08-04 04:51:59 GMT from North America)
I don't agree that the poll should have allowed for multiple selections. Despite doing several, I found myself choosing the item on the list I do most often. Giving equal weight in the results for multiple answers doesn't feel representative when I don't put equal effort into the different items on the list. I think the question should have instead been worded "My biggest contribution to open souce is made by"...
37 • Virtualbox (by far2fish on 2015-08-04 06:46:46 GMT from Europe)
Both at home and at work I suppose Virtualbox is the piece of open source software I rely most on. And it keeps getting better and better.
With the easy way to start a headless guests now, I think the only GUI features I miss is the ability to compact a VDI, and the ability to use more than 4 network adapters. But both features can of course be done from the command line.
38 • Point Linux (by jymm on 2015-08-04 11:04:48 GMT from North America)
I have been using Point Linux since the demise of Solus. I have to say it is the best OS I have used. I use the Mate desktop. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great OS.
39 • Point LInux and mailing addresses for donations (by Ted H on 2015-08-04 12:17:28 GMT from North America)
Point Linux 3.0 removed the Configuration Edito that was in version 2.3.1, which is the only way I can defeat/turn off the touchpad! So I will be staying with version 2.3.1
Also, I would like to donate, but not all of us have credit cards, so if a developer/OS site would list a postal address to mail a donation to, that would be great. I particularly want to donate to Point Linux.
Point, do you have a postal drop box address in the United States that I could send a postal money order donation to you??
40 • @39 (Disable touchpad) (by Charles on 2015-08-04 15:05:36 GMT from Europe)
$ synclient TouchpadOff=1
$ xinput set-prop "Device Enabled" 0
Get the from running: xinput list
41 • Correct error in @40 (by Charles on 2015-08-04 15:10:01 GMT from Europe)
$ xinput set-prop (id) "Device Enabled" 0
Get the (id) from running: xinput list
(Comment form didn't seem to like angle brackets for some reason...)
42 • 41 • Comment form (by Charles from Europe) (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-08-04 15:18:13 GMT from North America)
Angle brackets imply HTML, as in bold or underline.
43 • @42 (by Charles on 2015-08-04 15:26:37 GMT from Europe)
Ah yes, silly me. Thanks @42.
44 • +1 for Installing bootloader on EFI (by jared on 2015-08-04 20:32:32 GMT from North America)
@1 I would love to see and instruction on installing a bootloader on EFI.
45 • Bootloader instructions (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-08-04 21:47:15 GMT from North America)
(U)EFI "standards" have left "implementation" up to the same hardware vendors enamored of monopolistic dreams who build pranks galore into drivers, thus instructions vary from one firmware model/version to the next. A few distros do have bootloader setups that even work with SecureBoot; how to apply them to a particular model/version firmware varies, of course.
A wise shopper considers this before purchase...
46 • re: #44 and #1 (by brad on 2015-08-04 22:41:33 GMT from North America)
I found a detailed method in the Ordinatechnic review of Tanglu 1.0 (presumably authored by the same reviewer as this week's?):
It's do-able, but it would take an uninterrupted weekend afternoon (for me), and several repetitions to feel comfortable with the technique...
47 • Anyone have an acceptable (usable) plasma-5 desktop? (by RollMeAway on 2015-08-05 02:35:41 GMT from North America)
I have kubuntu-15.04, openSUSE tumbleweed, debian testing & sid, plus a couple others I don''t recall offhand, with feeble attempts.
None are usable for daily work, and all have the bland 'breeze' theme that I cannot change.
If you have plasma-5 working in your distro, please brag about it here!
48 • Donation Poll (by cykodrone on 2015-08-05 03:47:12 GMT from North America)
I should have clicked 'other' instead of just a monetary donation, because I make bug reports and forum work as well, oops. Can the DW admins change my vote for me please?
49 • plasma5 (by linuxista on 2015-08-05 06:25:01 GMT from North America)
I have a plasma 5.3 running well on a Manjaro install that I upgraded from kde 4.16 (I think). Plasma 5.1 was decent, way better than KDE 4.0 - 4.6, though changing themes resulted in overwriting the some of the themes, and I couldn't get the basic Breeze or Breeze dark back. Eventually deleted the whole KDE 4 and/or Plasma config directories in order to get back to default desktop appearance. Still lacking important applets though. The upgrade to 5.3 resulted in a CPU leak that had the distro running at 12-14% cpu at idle on all cores of an i7. That lasted through a few update cycles, probably 3 or 4 months, where I would update it to see if it changed, but stopped using it. Finally in this last update the CPU leak is fixed. Everything is smooth and working bug free now as far as I know, which is not my usual experience with KDE. I haven't had the courage to change themes, though. Just using default Breeze, which is to my liking. Maybe I'll wait for 5.5 or 5.7.
50 • poll results (by pollster on 2015-08-05 07:50:07 GMT from Europe)
The poll results are odd. Most popular are Donating funds (21%), Submitting bug reports (18%) and Supporting other users (27%). Least popular are Creating artwork (2%) and Designing user interfaces (0%). So where are all the people working on icons, wallpapers and DEs for the many flashy spinoff distros without much else changed in them?
# 48, I guess you're not a forum mod for any distro with systemd in it, and your specialty wouldn;t be init systems :)
51 • @23 (by Buck on 2015-08-05 08:56:38 GMT from Europe)
I think you've stumbled upon the wrong comments section.
I don't see Microsoft or Windows listed as a valid distribution here.
52 • RE 50 (by dbrion on 2015-08-05 09:03:05 GMT from Europe)
someone writing code can find and adapt/ design, **if needed *** a logo or an icon, or provide a decent user interface... this is a small (very small, for icons) part of his coding work, and cannot be counted in a one-answer poll (every answers are mutually exclusive). They can support users for alpha,beta, perhaps gamma versions and I hope this is a small part of their coding work...
53 • Point Linux (by JohnLinkletter on 2015-08-05 09:41:57 GMT from Europe)
I have been using Point Linux 2.3 as my main desktop distro for close to two years after migrating from Linux Mint for better performance all around.
The main reason was the fact that Point was optimized to integrate compiz effects with the mate desktop - and it works great - unlike Mint where the integration of compiz to mate has always been buggy.
In that respect, Mint 10, the last Mint version to use Gnome 2 still remains its best spin and I still use it on an ageing HP laptop. It's been going downhill for Mint ever since as it becomes increasingly bloated, buggy and slow.
And that seems to be the fate of most mainstream Linux distros - start out great, reach a height, and then the slow decent down into bloat and bog. Point 3 is not an exception. Compiz no longer works and the entire distro seems like a buggy downgrade on the previous release Point 2.3.
I've tried Point 3, tested it, and am sticking to Point 2.3. Newer is not necessarily better in the Linux word. In fact these last fewer years, newer usually means worse.
For you guys who are new to using Linux as a OS, I pity you. You have missed the best. And it is probably never coming back.
54 • Contributing to open source software (by Sadi on 2015-08-05 11:08:24 GMT from Europe)
It's pity that you didn't choose to let us readers select multiple options, which I'm sure is true for many people ;-)
55 • @47 KDE5 (by pfb on 2015-08-05 11:41:29 GMT from North America)
KDE5 is working fine on Fedora 22. But, it was not always. When I first installed it, things were fine. Then an upgrade rendered it unusable. I switched to Cinnamon for a spell and eventually to Xfce. Then after a number of upgrades, KDE5 returned to an operable status.
I do not believe that Fedora is the only distro with which I have experienced killer upgrades. I usually load multiple DEs because of this. So single DE distros are out for me.
It might be an equipment thing. But, I doubt it. My Fedora computer is an HP pavilion, quad core AMD, recently discontinued last year (when I bought it).
56 • FOSS support (by fatmac on 2015-08-05 17:23:35 GMT from Europe)
Whilst I have marked [B]Supporting other users[/B], as I'm on quite a few forums.
I also donate small sums of money to both operating system projects & to help keep forums running, so I guess I do a bit to help.
57 • @53 Point Linux (by Rev_Don on 2015-08-05 17:34:53 GMT from North America)
I pretty much agree with you on Point Linux. There is one exception though. I have been able to get Compiz working (at least to some extent) on Point 3. The problem is getting the compiz-fusion-plugins-main installed. Everything else works, but anything from the plugins-main is unavailable. Had to use a snapshot of a repo to get that far.
But don't blame Point for the Compiz problem. That falls squarely on Debians shoulders. Unlike most other major distros, no one at Debian has been maintaining the Compiz files in the repos so they made the decision to just remove them instead of fixing them. Not the best choice if you ask me (and obviously you), but it is what it is. Funny how other distros have been able to maintain their Compiz files in working condition in their repos, but Debain can't.
Once I can gain access to the proper compiz-fusion-plugins-main file(s) that will work with the rest of the Compiz from the snapshot Compiz in all of it's glory should work again.
58 • Re: Opinion Poll (by Aaron on 2015-08-05 19:02:28 GMT from North America)
I selected "Other" because I've donated funds, submitted bug reports, written some documentation and offered help and advice to other users on various occasions.
Allowing multiple options on these kinds of polls would be a good idea.
59 • missing poll question (by pollarizer on 2015-08-06 06:27:08 GMT from Oceania)
The poll is missing the option for "contributing malware code" to the Linux (and FOSS) community. How are we ever going to learn about the number of people involved in malware production - like root kits, heartbleed, SSL exploits, etc - if we don't actually ask?
Don't forget that evil coders / hackers crave some recognition too. So if distrowatch could get a handle on the number of people involved in malware coding, it might be a start to heading off a tsunami of malware (as in Windows, Mac, and Android) before Linux becomes wildly popular.
60 • Another missing question is about translations (by dbrion on 2015-08-06 08:14:44 GMT from Europe)
That astonishes me :Canada respects native American languages -I do not know whether one can find an Inuit keyboard (whale bones made?) , and minoritary langages (French, Kalderash among others). Money/time spent in translations can be huge (and developers cannot know each and every language) and it is sometimes difficult to find good translations (once I was asked about a help menu translation and explaines ... it should remain in English, as my collegues and I knew every technical notion from English/Omericon litterature)
61 • Nvidia (by Ralph Smole on 2015-08-06 12:57:01 GMT from North America)
After exhaustive searching,I have finally found a distro that supports NVIDIA cards natively..and it's PCLINUX OS. Love it. Does anyone know of ANY others?
62 • Nvidia auto detect distros (by cykodrone on 2015-08-06 22:33:26 GMT from North America)
@61 There are plenty, can't name them off the top of my head but most of the "beginner" friendly distros do auto detect and use the proprietary Nvidia driver blob (especially during a 'live' trial boot from DVD, etc), even some of the not so n00b friendly do as well. :)
Personally, I have an AMD/ATI video card and prefer the open source driver, even though my machine can handle the proprietary driver, I just find it too 'blobby', more trouble than it's worth. The open source driver has DRM (Direct Rendering Manager), I don't game but do watch the occasional video/movie, it works fine, it's not buggy and doesn't tax my system's resources unnecessarily.
I too am a PCLOS user, I can run any distro I want but I prefer it.
63 • Seeling_video_out_fix_for_Skype_on_Linux_64_bit_with_i386_architecture_added (by k on 2015-08-07 08:30:34 GMT from Europe)
Have been using Skype for Linux on 32 bit distros fine for some years but, after switching to 64 bit, with i386 architecture added, now unable to 'feed' out video. Audio fine both directions, and able to receive video fine, but no video out, even
on 64 bit LMDE2. Tips much appreciated.
64 • Thank You (by Ted H on 2015-08-07 13:04:27 GMT from North America)
Thank you #40, Charles, for your solution to turning off the mouse touchpad.
65 • RE: 53 • Point Linux (by DarkMatter on 2015-08-07 16:25:05 GMT from Africa)
John, I completely agree with you. There's no need for Linux to get bloated like Windows. I loved the Point Linux 2.3.x series -- rock solid, looks great and uses minimal RAM. Great stuff.
LXLE is also a remarkable distro that I've installed on many netbooks. Ditto for Xubuntu - especially now it's using Xfce 4.12.
On more powerful systems, the latest Linux Mint 17.2 Cinnamon looks really good with lots of bug fixes and general improvements. Well, that's what they say. Trying it out tonite.
66 • #53 (by zykoda on 2015-08-07 19:05:38 GMT from Europe)
Yes, I agree with you about mint 10 and its descent. I still use 9 since it's LTS. 17.2 Mate, also LTS is the next better and still not EOL.Just updated a Windows 7 from an old disk. Could have installed a new mint 17.2 in one tenth of the update time. Now there is W10 offered!. Interesting that Debian is making inroads. BSD and Debian/Hurd also slowly coming of age. Minix 3 is still quiet!
67 • Point vs Mint Debian (by M.Z. on 2015-08-07 19:28:55 GMT from Planet Mars)
I suppose Point Linux might be slightly more stable than Mint Debian because it sounds like they don't roll their desktop like LMDE does, but are there any other advantages? I have real Firefox in the LMDE system I'm booted into right now & it's installed by default & I also have all the other browsers the reviewer mentioned via a simple download & GUI install. I also nice Mint designed touches that make things easier like 'Software Sources' repo speed checker/switcher, the Mint Update Manager & Software Center etc. It seems like several of these tools would be absent in Point & the gain would be an ever so slightly more stable locked in version of the desktop. Maybe I'm biased in favor of Mint but it seems like LMDE is a better option to me for most users, thoughts? disagreements? Other things Point does better?
68 • A smaller BSD? (by Jeff on 2015-08-07 19:35:09 GMT from North America)
Is there a BSD distribution that had a desktop oriented download much smaller than 4 gigabytes?
I don't see why I should need to download the full Gnome and KDE and LXDE and.........................just so I can run Fluxbox.
Some people have slow or limited internet access, or an ISP that slows them down or charges them extra after some arbitrary amount downloaded per month.
Are the BSD's so small user base or so well funded that the enormous bandwidth is no problem for them?
69 • re: 67 • Point vs Mint Debian (by Jeff on 2015-08-07 19:40:20 GMT from North America)
That sounds a lot like SolydXK is what you are looking for.
They started with the Mint LMDE tools and built from there.
70 • #68 (by Corbin Rune on 2015-08-07 20:08:32 GMT from North America)
Try GhostBSD. About 1.9 or 2GB, FreeBSD based, uses MATE for its DE, if my memory is accurate.
71 • Point vs LMDE & eye candy (by M.Z. on 2015-08-08 20:37:32 GMT from Planet Mars)
A good suggestion as Debian based distros go, but I was actually wondering what specifically Point offered that might actually make it better than LMDE. I think Mint & it's various flavors have become one of the standards by which other distros are judged, especially in the easy to use desktop area. I know some distros do specific things than Mint doesn't like offering a choice of KDE or XFCE on top of a Debian base in the case of SolydXK. The offering of those two great DEs on a Debian base with the great tools provided by Mint is a good reason to consider SolydXK, but is there something in particular that makes Point stand out in comparison? To me LMDE Mate or Solyd XFCE would offer all the stuff in Point + Mint tools & a bit stronger brand assurance at least from Mint. I guess it sort of boils down to the old 'but isn't it just a respin of distro x?' question. I'd like to know if there were a better package/software manager or some other feature that makes this particular Debian based system better than other big name alternatives.
No need to pity anyone, KDE does most of the old compiz tricks in a more reliable & easy to use fashion. The best is quite subjective of course, but I prefer KDE & it's eye candy over the old compiz stuff. I also think Cinnamon offers lots of nice touches in the effects department & from what I can see both it & KDE are moving in the right direction by offering ever more slick looking options in a well integrated & stable package. The desktop cube & other effects are well integrated into KDE & the Flipper extension in Cinnamon is fairly nice too. I know some people may always claim that they don't make them like they used too, but I see constant improvement & change most everywhere I look & the Linux desktop isn't too different. Things will never be exactly like they were before, but eventually they'll likely be better.
72 • LXQt (by Bill S on 2015-08-09 03:24:18 GMT from North America)
Anyone know how to autologin the new ExTiX 15.3 LXQt? I chose it at install but it didn't take. Most of the goggle info is outdated or foor debian. Thanks.
73 • 72 • LXQt autologin (by Bill S from North America) (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-08-09 08:54:35 GMT from North America)
Maybe edit "lxqt-lightdm-greeter" configuration?
74 • LXQt (by Bill S on 2015-08-09 18:38:00 GMT from North America)
Ah ha - Edit /etc/slim.conf..
Number of Comments: 74
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|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
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|• Full list of all issues|
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