| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 626, 7 September 2015
Welcome to this year's 36th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There are lots of new technologies on the horizon for Linux and BSD users. Some of these will affect our desktop environments, some will change the way we store files while others will improve security. This week we touch on a number of new technologies that are in development and coming soon to an operating system near you. We begin with a look at the Wayland and Mir display servers, technologies which are expected to soon replace the venerable X display software. We also touch upon DragonFly BSD's HAMMER2 file system, a new hypervisor for OpenBSD, changes to the way PC-BSD builds packages and improvements to the Cinnamon desktop environment. In our Questions and Answers column we talk about monitoring processes and the trials developers face getting open source operating systems to work with UEFI. Plus we share the torrents we are seeding and provide a list of releases from the past week. In our Opinion Poll we ask about running non-native software and how our readers deal with the games or Windows applications they cannot run directly on Linux. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
The status of Wayland and Mir
Manjaro Linux 2015.08 "KDE-Next"
A little while back the Manjaro Linux project put out a release announcement for a development branch called KDE-Next. The announcement mentioned the Manjaro developers were working on including the Wayland display server technology in the new development release. At the time, I saw the terms "KDE" and "Wayland" together and thought this would be a great opportunity to see how well KDE's Plasma desktop works with the Wayland display server technology. After all, Fedora has been driving toward getting GNOME 3 to work well with Wayland and I thought this would be a great chance to compare the two experiences.
A short time later, once I had downloaded the 870MB ISO and installed Manjaro's KDE-Next image, I realized I had misunderstood the release announcement. Had I paid closer attention or done a little more investigating up front I would have realized Manjaro's KDE-Next testing disc did not include a Wayland session, but rather was paving the road for an eventual Wayland session. Some pieces of Wayland (or, more precisely, the Weston implementation of Wayland) are included in Manjaro and there are Wayland-compatible libraries available to Manjaro users, but there is not yet (as of time of writing) an option to log into a Wayland session on Manjaro's KDE-Next spin.
Still, I was not willing to give up so easily, I had already installed the distribution so I set about to see if I could get Wayland to run on Manjaro. There does not appear to be much documentation available to assist us in enabling Wayland on Manjaro, apparently such tasks are best left to the developers. However, looking through the distribution's repositories I did find a number of Wayland/Weston packages and compatibility libraries. I installed these and, while I was not able to get an independent Wayland session operating, I was able to launch a Wayland session on my Plasma desktop. Basically, I could run Wayland in a window on my X-powered session. From there I could run a terminal and various test programs inside the Wayland window on my desktop. It's not exactly what I set out to achieve, but it was interesting to see Wayland working, even if it was doing so on the back of the X display server.
Manjaro Linux 2015.08 "KDE-Next" -- Running Wayland in a window
(full image size: 217kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The Wayland window and the test programs I could run all worked well. The Wayland environment was responsive and all the test programs, most of which display simple graphics or animations, worked. The one quirk I ran into with Wayland was the way keys would sometimes stick. Every so often, while I was typing a command in the Wayland virtual terminal, I would get additional key strokes mixed into my input. This would result in command lines which looked like "pacmannnn -S" instead of "pacman -S". I'm uncertain whether this behaviour was a problem with Wayland itself or perhaps due to the way X and Wayland communicate.
While I was playing with Manjaro a few details stood out and I'd like to briefly touch on them. One is that Manjaro has one of the most elegant and fast graphical system installers I have had the pleasure to use. The installer has a streamlined interface that still allows for a decent amount of customization. For example, we can select where to install our boot loader or even whether to install a boot loader using a drop-down box on the disk partitioning screen. Manjaro supports a wide variety of file systems and the installer can work with ext2/3/4, Reiserfs, XFS, JFS, Btrfs and LVM volumes. The whole installer looks a lot like Ubuntu's installer, but with a nicer colour scheme and Manjaro's installer is notably faster to respond to user input on my hardware. I think this is because Manjaro collects information from the user up front and then performs all of its work at the end, while Ubuntu's system installer begins work in the background while we are still making configuration choices.
The test version of Manjaro I was using ships with version 4.1.5 of the Linux kernel and systemd 224. The KDE's Plasma 5.4 desktop environment is very fast and responds quickly to input. I especially like how polished and quick the new System Settings panel is where we can configure most aspects of the Plasma desktop environment.
In the end, while my exploration of Wayland was limited, I had a very positive experience with Manjaro's KDE-Next spin and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what new developments come out of this experimental branch of the project.
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Fedora 23 Alpha "Workstation"
Around the same time I was experimenting with Wayland and Manjaro KDE-Next, I read this blog post which discusses Wayland support in Fedora. The Fedora developers have been offering experimental GNOME on Wayland support for a few versions now, but do not plan to make it the default desktop session until at least Fedora 24 (likely to arrive in mid-2016). Though I have had poor luck getting a GNOME session on Wayland running in the past, I downloaded the latest Alpha test image for Fedora 23 Workstation and gave it a try.
The ISO for Fedora 23 Alpha Workstation was about 1.4GB in size. The live environment and graphical system installer have not changed much since Fedora 22 was launched earlier this year. The one thing that stood out as being different was that the installer insisted I use long passwords on my user accounts. Usually I like it when a distribution defaults to strong security so long as the user can override the option. Fedora's previous versions allowed the user to confirm they were okay with using weak passwords, which is nice for people like me who are running the distribution for just a few hours. Fedora 23 Alpha insists we create long passwords, but not necessarily complex passwords, which further confuses the issue. So, for example, "hbx#i8D" is considered weak and rejected while "MyPassword" passes the test.
At any rate, putting aside password requirements, the Fedora installer completed its work successfully and when I rebooted I was brought to a graphical login screen. From the login screen we can select to sign into GNOME running in an X session, GNOME running in a Wayland session and GNOME Classic, which also runs on X. While both X session options worked for me, selecting the GNOME on Wayland session would simply cause the screen to briefly go blank before kicking me back to the login page. I was hoping for an error message to help me trouble-shoot the issue, but the system was enigmatic as to why Wayland was not working for me.
Apart from the Wayland session, Fedora 23 Alpha looks to be a fairly solid operating system at the moment. I think GNOME Shell is more responsive now than it was in past releases. The Anaconda installer, by contrast, feels slow and heavy, especially when compared side-by-side with Manjaro's installer. The only other point of interest I found while playing with the Fedora Workstation Alpha was that I needed to supply my root password in order to shut down the computer. Fedora kept insisting other users besides myself were logged in and it needed root permissions in order to shut down the machine. This seemed odd as no other users were connected to the computer.
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Ubuntu 15.10 Alpha
Having experimented with Wayland for a bit, I decided to check out the latest test build of Ubuntu to see how Mir was doing in comparison. Mir is an alternative display server with similar goals to Wayland, though so far the Mir technology appears to be exclusive to experimental spins of Ubuntu. The most recent Ubuntu Next images I could find (which I had used to experiment with Mir previously) were old, dating back to May 2015. So last week I downloaded a 1.2GB development snapshot of Ubuntu Desktop with plans to add Mir packages after performing the initial installation.
The installation of the Ubuntu 15.10 development snapshot went well. Once I had installed Ubuntu and signed in, I used the package manager to add Mir packages. As it turns out, this does not enable running the default Unity 7 desktop on Mir. To get a desktop session running on Mir we need to add more packages, specifically we need to install Unity 8 as well as the Mir packages in order to have access to a Mir session. In total, I ended up installing about 160MB of additional packages. While I was using the Unity 7 desktop I was bombarded with a long series of error messages, letting me know errors had occurred on the system and requesting permission to send bug reports to the developers. Eventually, I went into the Unity settings panel and disabled error reporting so my desktop would not be overwhelmed by bug report messages as new pop-ups were appearing faster than I could close them.
Later, when Mir and the Unity 8 desktop had been installed, I signed out of my account and tried to log into the Unity 8 session. My screen went blank and the operating system locked up. Following a hard shut down, I tried to boot into Ubuntu once more to have another try at the new Unity on Mir desktop session. Ubuntu failed to boot, locking up early in the boot process. After trying to boot a few times, and with various kernel parameters, I finally put aside my tests with Ubuntu and Mir.
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I like the design concepts and performance the Wayland and Mir projects are offering and I have heard good things about Wayland in particular from a few people who have managed to get it working. Unfortunately, for me at least, these technologies are not yet practical alternatives to X. Hopefully, by the time Fedora makes Wayland the default session option the remaining issues will have been fixed.
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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)
HAMMER2 gets deduplication, OpenBSD to get its own hypervisor, PC-BSD changes its release schedule and Linux Mint introduces new features for Cinnamon
Matthew Dillon has announced that the HAMMER2 file system, the second generation of DragonFly BSD's advanced file system, now has deduplication capabilities. Deduplication allows a file system to appear to host multiple copies of a file (or chunks of data) while using only a little more storage space than would be required to keep one copy. This is especially useful in environments where multiple users may wish to keep copies of the same file. Dillon writes, "This 'live' dedup should catch most typical 'cp' or 'cpdup' style commands. There will also be a bulk dedup capable of catching everything. Note that 'df' output might be a bit confusing because the 'Used' field represents the topology and does not take into account dedups." According to some tests Dillon has run, a copy of a directory containing 872MB of data requires a mere 160MB of space for each additional copy when deduplication has been enabled. More details on HAMMER2's deduplication can be found in Dillon's post.
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Unlike their Linux and FreeBSD counterparts, the developers of OpenBSD have generally avoided the topic of virtualization. Virtual machines, while they can be useful for process separation, introduce an extra layer of complexity the OpenBSD project has appeared unwilling to include in their operating system. That stance may be changing as Mike Larkin announced last week he is working on a hypervisor for OpenBSD. "For the last few months, I've been working on a hypervisor for OpenBSD. The idea for this started a few years ago, and after playing around with it from time to time, things really started to take shape around the time of the Brisbane hackathon earlier this year. As development accelerated, the OpenBSD Foundation generously offered to fund the project so that I could focus on it in more earnest. At this point, I think I've made sufficient progress that a public announcement is in order. I've also reached the point where I think other developers can step in and help out as much of the gooey bits in the core of the vmm are functioning the way I want. Presently, the vmm code I've built is capable of launching a kernel and asking for the root file system; it doesn't do much more than that for now." More information is available in Larkin's announcement.
* * * * *
A few weeks ago we discussed a new package repository for the PC-BSD and FreeBSD projects which would offer security fixes for packages without new features or dependency changes. This past week a new post on the PC-BSD blog discussed still more changes to the way PC-BSD packages will be built and tested. "In the past, we tracked FreeBSD major releases, and also added our own quarterly updates that tended to add in a good bit of code for new features and utilities. Going forward, PC-BSD releases will track FreeBSD releases only, such as 10.2 -> 11.0 -> 11.1. Once the code base is frozen for a major release, an update can be pushed out to Edge users who wish to act as advanced users and beta testers for the updates. During that several weeks testing period, if something goes wrong we'll count on Edge users to help report issues so that we can quickly get those bugs fixed during the code freeze. After the several week testing period, we can release the update for Production users, once we are confident that the kinks are worked out and Edge users are happy. We're also changing the way the Edge and Production branches work a little bit. Edge packages will now only be built with the 'stable' branch of PC-BSD code, to avoid radical changes that could break functionality to the PC-BSD tool-chain. This also allows us to focus our QA and testing on the new third-party packages themselves. More details are available in the blog post.
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Clement Lefebvre made a blog post last week in which he talked about the new work going into the Linux Mint distribution with special attention paid to the distribution's Cinnamon desktop environment. Cinnamon uses modern GTK 3 libraries to create a feature-rich desktop while maintaining a traditional desktop layout. "Cinnamon was the first project to receive attention. Its power applet now shows vendor and model information, box pointers look better, and multi-monitor support was further improved: When switching workspaces, the workspace name now appears on all relevant monitors, output names (i.e. plug names) are shown alongside monitor names." More information on the work going into Cinnamon can be found in Lefebvre's blog post.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Exploring process information and UEFI
Wondering-what-a-process-is-doing asks: What does "usem" mean in the top process table?
DistroWatch answers: In case you have not seen this before, "usem" is one of the possible process states on FreeBSD. Often a process's state will be "run" or "pause" or "wait", which are fairly self explanatory. However, "usem" is a little less descriptive.
I checked the ps manual page, the top manual page and even did a search through the source code for top on FreeBSD and "usem" is not referenced in any of the above locations. This only deepens the mystery. The only explanation I could get comes from Dan Nelson who responded to a similar query years ago on the FreeBSD Questions mailing list. Back in 2011, Mr Nelson wrote:
States that aren't in caps are either wait channels or mutexes, and their initialization is scattered all over the kernel. There isn't one comprehensive index. "usem" sounds like maybe a semaphore operation? A quick grep of the kernel doesn't show any strings starting with "usem", though. Maybe if you run "procstat -k <pid>" on one of those processes you can narrow down what part of the kernel it's waiting in.
So it sounds as though the "usem" state indicates the process is waiting for something. It's hard to know what it is waiting for exactly, but perhaps it's a threaded process waiting for a lock to be released.
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Curious-about-UEFI asks: I've installed Windows on many UEFI and EFI machines, and OS X on many EFI machines. Never faced any problem with (U)EFI. Why do so many Linux distributions have problems with installing onto UEFI/EFI? What might be so horribly broken in those UEFI/EFI installations since they clearly work well with Windows or OS X?
DistroWatch answers: The above question was in response to a news item we ran a little while ago where we talked about Debian developers documenting UEFI bugs. It's a fair question, why do open source operating systems struggle with something that works on proprietary systems? In this case I believe "broken" means the UEFI firmware is not working according to specifications or expected behaviour.
Hardware companies will probably make sure their UEFI implementation works well enough to boot Microsoft Windows with the default settings, but they may not go to the effort of making sure their implementation of UEFI works the way it should in all cases.
Take this example from the wiki the Debian developers created: "The Lenovo ThinkCentre M92p initially shipped with a firmware which would only let you select boot entries where the Boot#### variable label was `Microsoft Windows' or `Red Hat Enterprise Linux'." This means Lenovo shipped UEFI firmware that would boot Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but would prevent any other operating system, including other flavours of Linux, from booting.
Going back to the question "Why do so many Linux distributions have problems with installing onto UEFI/EFI?", the answer is because some manufacturers explicitly blocked most Linux distributions from booting or only tested their UEFI implementations against one operating system. With regards to Apple computers, there are several wiki entries explaining the numerous hoops developers need to get through to get Linux to boot on Apple's firmware.
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: 106
- Total downloads completed: 50,046
- Total data uploaded: 12.3TB
|Released Last Week
The developers of LXLE, a lightweight desktop distribution built using packages from the Ubuntu repositories, have announced the availability of LXLE 14.04.3. This update to the 14.04 series includes a number of package updates while some default applications have been changed. "Delays, delays. First with SeaMonkey then Lanshop. Still, moving forward with the release of LXLE 14.04.3 OS for both 32 & 64-bit machines. 12.04.5 32-bit has also been updated to reflect the same changes. Notable new features in this release include, 'Xautolock' providing a top left hotcorner that invokes the 'WinPick" script which is an expose like utility and finally 'OpenSnap' added true aerosnap with just a simple drag & drop. All software has been updated to its latest stable version given its availability in the main software repositories and additional PPAs." A full list of changes and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
LXLE 14.04.3 -- Running the LXDE desktop
(full image size: 2.0MB, resolution: 1280x960 pixels)
Linux Lite 2.6
Jerry Bezencon has announced the release of Linux Lite 2.6, an updated build of the project's novice-friendly Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop - now with a brand-new control centre: "Linux Lite 2.6 final is now available for download. This release cycle has seen a number of improvements and additions to Linux Lite. With the introduction of the Linux Lite Control Center, we aim to provide one central location for everything that you need to configure your computer. What's new: Systemback - a system restore and creation tool; Disks - an easy-to-use partition, hard drive and SSD manager; new Dark Theme; updates to some of our Lite applications. Changelog: Firefox 40.0.3; LibreOffice 5.0.1 RC2; based on Ubuntu 14.04.3; new wallpapers; new Lite Welcome; new root terminal theme; updated help manual; added Crtl+Alt+Del - brings up logout, restart and shutdown dialogue; added VLC browser plugin; latest WhiskerMenu." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information, screenshots and system requirements.
The developers of Netrunner, a desktop distribution based on Ubuntu packages and featuring the KDE desktop, have released an update to the project's 14.x series. The new release, Netrunner 14.2, features and updated kernel and desktop applications. "The Netrunner team is proud to announce the release of Netrunner 14.2 LTS -- 32-bit and 64-bit ISOs. This is the second point-release based on KDE4 SC and comes with the latest updates and fixes. This includes security patches like the Kernel upgrade to 3.13.0-62, as well as software version updates like Firefox 40.0.3 and Thunderbird 31.6.0 including the Plasma Integration patches. Netrunner 14.2 also includes a new default window decoration Carbon. Those who are running 14.1 can upgrade with a normal software update via Muon or apt-get." Information on the new version and a screen shot can be found in the project's release announcement.
Netrunner 14.2 -- Exploring the KDE desktop
(full image size: 946kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Porteus Kiosk 3.5.0
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the release of Porteus Kiosk 3.5.0, the latest quarterly update of the project's minimalist Gentoo-based distribution designed for web kiosks: "I'm pleased to announce that Porteus Kiosk 3.5.0 is now available for download. The new version sums up all the development which happened in the last three months. Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.1.6, Mozilla Firefox to version 38.2.1 ESR and Google Chrome to version 44.0.2403.157. Packages from the userland are upgraded to portage snapshot tagged on 20150830. Here is a short overview of the most notable features introduced in this release: implemented support for nested configurations in remote management; added support for managed bookmarks which allows accessing predefined set of web pages; SSL certificates can be imported automatically during kiosk boot from provided URLs; slideshow of images can be used as a screensaver; video outputs can be disabled completely or set in certain position to create for example 'video wall' for digital signage...." Read the release announcement and check out the changelog for a complete list of changes and improvements.
elementary OS 0.3.1
Daniel Foré has announced the release of elementary OS 0.3.1, an updated build of the project's Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a custom desktop environment called "Pantheon": "After just a few months, we're excited to announce a major upgrade for elementary OS Freya. This new version 0.3.1 closes about 200 reports and brings new features, tons of fixes, better hardware support, visual polish, and enhanced translations. At the heart of this upgrade is the latest hardware enablement stack from Ubuntu 14.04.3. It includes version 3.19 of the Linux kernel and an updated Mesa that fixes the dreaded 'double cursor' glitch. Workspaces in the multitasking view also now work properly on NVIDIA Optimus. The new hardware stack also brings better support for backlights and touchpads on certain laptops, a host of performance and power-related improvements, and support for 5th generation Intel processors. This release should also improve support for (U)EFI systems, especially when installing without an Internet connection." Read the rest of the release announcement for more information.
Robolinux 8.1 "Xfce"
John Martinson has announced the release of the latest variant of Robolinux, a commercial Linux distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux and featuring a pre-configured VirtualBox: "Announcing a brand-new Robolinux `Xfce Raptor' 8.1 LTS 2020. Robolinux is very pleased and excited to announce its absolutely brand new 'fast as greased lightning" Robolinux 'Xfce Raptor' Version 8.1 LTS 2020 based on 100% rock-solid Debian 8 stable source code with the 3.16 Linux kernel. It is loaded with many popular user applications such the newest, Tor browser, i2P, Firefox, Thunderbird, Kazam screencaster, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Skype and VirtualBox 4.30, plus 12 incredibly powerful security and privacy applications to keep our users safe. The 32-bit edition uses only 185 MB of RAM. It has far better graphics and audio quality, boots up and runs much faster than our Debian 7-based Xfce edition and is also compatible with newer hardware, drivers and most notably the Intel Haswell chipset." Visit the project's release page on SourceForge to read the full release announcement.
The developers of HandyLinux, a French language desktop distribution based on Debian, have announced the launch of HandyLinux 2.2. The new release is based on Debian 8 "Jessie" and is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. The latest version of HandyLinux ships with Iceweasel 40, an updated version of the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a new Handy menu for launching desktop applications. HandyLinux 2.2 replaces the simple image viewer with Cyclops and screen magnifier has been replaced. The project's forums and wiki can now be accessed through secure HTTPS connections and PulseAudio has been removed from the distribution (though PulseAudio is available in the repositories for users who need it). Further details and a screen shot can be found in the project's release announcement (written in French).
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Running non-native software
Often times, due to work, entertainment or habit, people who run Linux or BSD on their computers will want to use software built for other platforms. For instance, some people like to run games designed for Windows while others use multimedia software built for OS X. This week we would like to know if you need to run software designed for another operating system and, if so, how do you manage to run Linux/BSD while also running non-native software?
Do you dual boot to play games, perhaps run accounting software using WINE or use alternative operating systems in a virtual machine when you need them? You can share the details of your setup in the comments below.
You can see the results of last week's poll on preferred file systems here.
Running non-native software
|I do not run non-native software: ||413 (21%)|
| I dual boot: ||463 (24%)|
| I use virtual machines: ||359 (18%)|
| I run WINE: ||388 (20%)|
| I use other compatibilty software: ||44 (2%)|
| I use a different PC for those tasks: ||251 (13%)|
| Other: ||33 (2%)|
Improving package searches and dealing with cookies
In July we rolled out a new feature to our Search page which would make it easier to find distributions which do or do not feature a specific software package. We wanted to make it easier for people to find distributions that support running on computers with Secure Boot, for example. We also wanted to make it easier to find projects which do not include certain technologies. The full explanation of the feature with some examples can be found in DistroWatch Weekly Issue 618.
One of the common pieces of feedback we received was that the results returned by the new search feature could be confusing since both active and inactive distributions were mixed in the search results. This could be a problem since searching for a distribution which does not support Secure Boot (a relatively new feature) would provide a list of just about every distribution in our database, whether the projects were still active or not.
To avoid confusion, package search results are now sorted by the distribution's page hit rank. Projects which are no longer active are still listed (for historical purposes), but appear at the bottom of the results. The new approach means active (and popular) distributions are more prominently featured. We hope this new approach to listing search results will be more practical and easier to explore.
We try to avoid using cookies, in fact the only times we use them directly are to keep track of language preferences and which announcements readers have viewed on the front page. This enables us to put a "New" label next to announcements we believe our visitors have not read previously and show translated pages where they are available. Some of our advertisers use third-party cookies and, if a web browser's security settings are set to allow third-party cookies, these bits of data from advertisers may be saved in the browser.
With all this in mind, we need to obey the EU law and so have added a notification which will be displayed at the bottom of the site to people visiting DistroWatch from the EU. We have tried to keep the notice from being distracting. Also, we are aware many notification bars that inform readers of tracking cookies often include their own tracking cookies and/or report back to third-parties, tracking the website's visitors. The irony of these notification bars is they often introduce more user tracking than the cookies which they were created to warn people about.
In an effort to protect our readers we have implemented a locally hosted solution which does not require closed-source libraries, does not report back to any third-parties and does not collect information from the browser. We feel this solution allows us to comply with EU law without intruding upon the privacy of our readers.
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Distributions added to the database
Parrot Security OS
Parrot Security OS is a security oriented operating system designed for pentesting, computer forensics, reverse engineering, hacking, cloud pentesting, privacy/anonymity and cryptography. The distribution is based on Debian, features the MATE desktop environment and is developed by Frozenbox network.
Parrot Security OS 2.0-rc10 -- Running the MATE desktop environment
(full image size: 207kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Trenta OS. Trenta OS is a desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It is designed to look nice while offering users an easy path to running games and Windows applications.
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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, 14 September 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 • Poll (by Chris on 2015-09-07 00:24:33 GMT from Oceania) |
Mainly running Visual Studio and SQLyog with Parallels on osx.
2 • Non-native software (by lashley on 2015-09-07 00:32:44 GMT from North America)
Leaving windows for Linux was not just quitting windows but complete abandonment of anything windows, or even anthing that resembles windows, behaves or wannabe.
Linux Debian has all the apps I need to do what I enjoy. I can however understand those who game and need the extra apps to play their games. Linux will have to work on that more I suppose.
Can anyone guess why windows 10 is free, because it is not worth having, nor is it logical to subject yourself to what they have to offer.
3 • Non-Native Opinion Poll (by Roy H Huddleston on 2015-09-07 00:46:21 GMT from North America)
"Due to work" was one of the prerequisites. I used to be able to take my CNA tests Online to keep my license at home. But according to Website.Informer.Com The reason I can no longer log on with my Lubuntu distribution is because the site requires Windows and a higher version of Adobe Acrobat than I can get with Linux. A few months back that wasn't the case. So now I take the tests at work.
4 • Non-native software (by jrapdx on 2015-09-07 01:42:46 GMT from North America)
I've done it different ways: with VM, WINE, dual-boot, separate machines. Under Linux and FreeBSD it's kind of a gamble whether a Windows program will run using Wine. Often enough, real Windows OS will wind up being necessary. OTOH Windows Hyper-V supports Linux, BSD and others pretty well, so that's a practical approach for Windows users.
It used to be easy enough to dual-boot Windows and Linux/BSD, but recent hardware (Secure Boot) makes it much more difficult to do that successfully. Some of the reasons for this were discussed in the Q & A above. Maybe more commentary about this crappy situation will lead to improvements.
5 • USB External Hard Drive (by MrOats on 2015-09-07 02:14:41 GMT from North America)
Been digging my external usb hard drive for a year now! Allows me to boot practically anywhere (assuming it is USB 2 we are booting to, I got really close to booting on a USB 3 port... would of love to seen the speed on that). I haven't ran into an issue with UEFI yet, as long as there was CSM support, I was set.
In my house, there's a family computer here that is the only "high-quality" computer here, so I've used that for gaming since it's running Windows. My laptop from 2007-2008 is great and all, but Mobile Integrated Graphics isn't much of a beauty.
6 • Wayland - Drivers (by simon on 2015-09-07 02:32:07 GMT from Oceania)
Not that I know much about wayland, but did you check if the drivers you were using support wayland yet? From people i've spoken to / from what i've read if you want to try wayland natively the intel drivers are by far your best bet.
7 • Wayland (by Reuben on 2015-09-07 03:19:42 GMT from North America)
Yep I have an ivy bridge processor, and have run both gnome wayland and weston on my computer. On gnome my mouse cursor lagged, and xwayland didn't work on weston. I believe one of the things that's holding back Fedora's adoption of wayland is a lack of support from certain graphics drivers.
8 • Non native (by ben on 2015-09-07 04:19:32 GMT from North America)
I run vbox with windows 7 as guest and debian jessie as a host at work for UPS Worldship. It is the only software that we need in windows. I have converted everything else ie access to mysql visual basic to python, ms server to centos ...its the dang UPS shipping that is holding us in limbo..it will not work in wine. The good news is no more Photoshop, Dreamweaver, ms office, and the like ;)
9 • Wayland (by Simon on 2015-09-07 04:34:05 GMT from Oceania)
@Reuben, yeah I don't think anyone will make it default until the NVIDIA Binary driver support it well, thats the main reason I haven't tried it yet.
10 • Why Windows 10 is free (by Ben Myers on 2015-09-07 04:41:01 GMT from North America)
Windows 10 is Microsoft's trojan horse to try to have its not-very-good Bing search overtake Google, and to sell people apps from the Microsoft Apps store. Microsoft also believes that by making Windows 10 free, it is re-creating the significant amount of good will lost because of the Windows 8 debacle.
If one installs Windows 10 (and even 8), mindlessly taking the default settings, this allows Microsoft to track every little move a computer makes. With all this data collected, Microsoft's browser will "enhance your browsing experience", i.e. serve you ads from Bing for things you are more likely to buy, just like some of the browser add-ons widely classified as malware.
11 • @5 • USB External Hard Drive (by MrOats)--Drive Dock! (by Roland on 2015-09-07 04:52:51 GMT from Planet Mars)
I assume you mean an enclosed box with a hard drive and a USB port. I suggest you check Newegg or Amazon for a drive dock. These run ~$20+ and have both USB & SATA interfaces. If your motherboard doesn't have an eSATA port, the unit comes with an adapter that plugs into a SATA port on the motherboard. You can plug in any hard drive you want. SATA is much faster/better for running an OS, but USB is more convenient for incremental backups. You do backups, right? Naked disk drives are cheap, you may have some lying around.
12 • Much_thanks_for_practicals_of_Wayland_and_Mir (by k on 2015-09-07 04:56:32 GMT from North America)
Jesse, excellent quality reporting, much thanks. You probably saved many of us much effort, and frustration, with those practical and factual reviews. Fine -- honest and concise -- writing too.
13 • non-native software (by Vu on 2015-09-07 05:11:20 GMT from Europe)
I dual boot for games, use a virtual machine for work (windows developer because that was what the job marked offered when I started working) and wine rarely for some programs that actually work in wine (which is rare, usually running something in wine is too buggy).
I didn't vote because it is not possible to select multiple options.
14 • Wayland (by Framl on 2015-09-07 05:49:11 GMT from Europe)
Try Arch! I'm writing this post on Arch Linux with Gnome Wayland session on X64 machine. Works without any glitches.
15 • New displays & co (by Sondar on 2015-09-07 07:07:03 GMT from Europe)
What a great champion we have in Jesse, testing Wir, Mayland, Untie (sic) saves us all a lot of head-banging. As for the 15.10 'buntus, personally, I don't usually bother with the Cinagain, Gate, Minnamon, desktops but decided to run Xbuntu 15.10beta 64bit and was impressed, very much so - highly recommend it. Xfce and K.I.S.S. rule. As for UEFI, can't see the problem? So far all "advanced" BIOSes either work o.o.t.b. and/or offer "legacy" options, i.e. switch off the clever stuff - RTFM. For those who insist on buying ready-made boxes with ditto rogue-OS installs, it's always possible to access, modify and reflash BIOSes using third-party utilities. Maybe we could ask Jesse & resident gurus to teach us about BIOS access and manipulations, particularly with reference to Linux installs? Does the Rojak site still exist?
16 • non-native wares (by zykoda on 2015-09-07 08:02:09 GMT from Europe)
Pragmatism is the name of the game. Sometimes performance, convenience, cost and lock-in come into play. Dual boot, WINE, VMs, and availability of software under specific OS are all useful. Make the OS/API fit the application because that is what is the overriding consideration to fulfill the task in hand. At the coder level application software should NOT be OS specific as then the OS is not fulfilling its primary purpose: to make available the hardware for general use.
17 • Non-native apps (by Stan on 2015-09-07 08:08:51 GMT from Europe)
I'm using all options to run non-native apps in this order of precedence:
0.Fin a native replacement
Unfortunately good old games were not made for Linux (with some exceptions).
18 • Non-native software (by Rajesh Ganesan on 2015-09-07 10:44:01 GMT from Asia)
Only to run an Accounting Software http://www.tallysolutions.com/website/html/downloads/tallyerp9.php which runs only on Windows. No equivalent professional software available as replacement for now
19 • Non-native software (by Cy Halothrin on 2015-09-07 11:47:11 GMT from Asia)
US citizens and green card holders who have a bank account outside the USA are required to file an FBAR, a form which can only be completed online. There are draconian penalties for not doing so. Anyway, try as I might, I cannot do it with Linux, or Android. Seems to require Windows, despite the FBAR web site not saying that. I wasn't able to get it working under WINE.
I don't happen to have a Windows computer, so once a year I'm forced to borrow one. It's my one Windows experience a year - very traumatic, but so far, I've survived.
20 • non-native software (by Minty on 2015-09-07 11:52:59 GMT from North America)
I use Wine to run X-10 Firecracker software, occasionally Proxomitron to view http header traffic and run a few filters, and occasionally old PCMag utilities such as Mailcall. I am sure there are Linux replacements for Proxomitron and Mailcall but I haven't found them yet.
I'm not a gamer so I rarely boot Windows. Not much use anymore.
21 • Non-native software (by wrkerr on 2015-09-07 12:25:24 GMT from North America)
I'm surprised to see so many people report they use Wine... I've never had much success with it.
I voted that I use a separate PC, because I have a work provided laptop with Windows 7 that I use for Visual Studio and PL/SQL Developer. In the past I have had Arch Linux installed in VirtualBox, and as a dual boot option on the work PC, but that's been just for playing around on, really. For the most part, everything personal I do on my home Arch Linux desktop, and everything work related I do on my work Windows 7 laptop.
22 • @ Jessie Ubuntu Next (by Wse on 2015-09-07 12:41:56 GMT from Europe)
Did you by any chance downloaded Ubuntu Next from here, http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-desktop-next/daily-live/current/?
Have you checked here too, http://ubuntuforums.org/forumdisplay.php?f=427
The guys don't even test it any more.
23 • Porteus kiosk (by Sebastien on 2015-09-07 13:16:55 GMT from Europe)
"the project's minimalist Gentoo-based distribution"
Is this right ? Porteus would be based on Slakware while Kiosk would be based on Gentoo ?
24 • user-agent switcher (by r newlon on 2015-09-07 13:38:27 GMT from North America)
For those having problems with specific websites requiring windows. Have you tried user-agent switcher? Addons are available for Firefox and Chrome, Konquer web browser has it built in. I have used them successfully in the past. You "lie" to the website and tell them you are using windows.
25 • Linux and Windows PCs (by Jordan on 2015-09-07 13:49:47 GMT from North America)
It's just best to leave Linux to Linux and Windows to Windows, I think.
So, one laptop with Mint and one with Windows 10.
Settings in W10 can disallow the "calling home" junk in there. Gotta do a bit of digging
around, but it can be done.
In Linux it's about the browser settings for privacy. Very cool and very superior to Windows.
26 • re.19 (by Someguy on 2015-09-07 13:56:16 GMT from Europe)
You should report them to the US DoJ. In the long -running case against M$, they were warned that their submissions would not be accepted in .doc format, only .pdf. Public bodies are not permitted to show favour in your country (nor mine). The company stands as convicted felons: time for the good lady judge to start putting their management in the slammer.
27 • I use a different PC (by MC on 2015-09-07 13:58:34 GMT from North America)
@25: "It's just best to leave Linux to Linux and Windows to Windows."
+1 I agree.
I've NEVER been a fan of WINE, so I have an off-line XP that I use for old third-party Windows software that never migrated to Vista-7-8. (My brother still runs a Windows 95 for the same reason.) As for my Linux machines, there is a lot of "cross-over" software that works on both systems, (GIMP is a good example.) So, as far as the poll goes, I don't run any non-native software on my Linux machines, and I'm content with what is available in the repos.
28 • Cookies (by Damien on 2015-09-07 14:36:31 GMT from Europe)
Living in EU ;(
29 • Trenta OS (by Tran Oldrr on 2015-09-07 14:51:15 GMT from Asia)
Trenta OS looks like a new reincarnation of the now defunct Pear OS. If you don't have enough bandwidth capability to download the Alpha ISO, you can also have Trenta lookalike OS by
1. Install Ubuntu Gnome 14.04.3 LTS.
2. Install Gnome Tweak Tool and install the GnoMenu extention and the Simple Dock extension and the User Themes extension :-)
3. Add Rainier icons and themes :-)
Add Macbuntu icons and themes :-)
4. Install Wine/Play on Linux
5. Add some wallpapers.
30 • @ 29 (by Olszt on 2015-09-07 15:32:52 GMT from Europe)
Or have a look here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hR_kIYzrZXA You might find a distro that was there for a long time.
31 • Wayland and Mir (by Johanns on 2015-09-07 15:43:16 GMT from Europe)
Thank you for reviewing Wayland and Mir. They have been developped for years now, and I don't think they'll ever be stable.
All this energy, time, money would have been better put in improving X.
This is a really, really old but excellent article about re-starting software from scratch:
BTW, It's so great to see DWW being so interesting, even after so many years. Congratulations!
32 • I prefer to run windows in a virtual machine (by John on 2015-09-07 15:57:21 GMT from North America)
I run some flavor of Linux Mint on my laptop as well as dual boot with the windows 7 that was originally installed on the laptop. I seldom boot the bare metal windows unless there is an occasional need for it (rare). I prefer instead to run Win 7 and/or XP in a virtual machine on the Linux partition as I have several pieces of hardware that won't run on win 7 as the mfg didn't see the need to update the drivers.
With no Internet connection for the win vm's they run a lot faster in the virtual machine than on the bare metal as I don't have to run an antivirus plus I don't have to contend with windows updates which in my opinion takes too long to download, shutdown and boot back up (upwards of 10 or more minutes if it hasn't been updated in a long time).
I didn't have much luck with wine. Too much configuration and usually it didn't work very well even then. Besides why expose my Linux machine to possible windows malware.
My preferred virtual machine is VMWare Player as opposed to Virtual Box. It's not open source but it runs well and for non-commercial use it cost nothing to download and use.
33 • OpenBSD and virtualization / non-native OS's (by Will B on 2015-09-07 16:43:25 GMT from North America)
[ OpenBSD and virtualization ]
I believe OpenBSD didn't want to add anything to their kernel that would open it up security vulnerabilities, so that is why virtualization on OpenBSD isn't that important. I tried using OpenBSD for a while, but I absolutely *need* at least one Windows virtual-machine for work purposes. I tried qemu on OpenBSD, but it didn't end well.
[ Non-native OS's ]
As mentioned above, I absolutely must have a Windows virtual machine for work purposes. I support many customers who run Windows and maintain legacy Windows apps, so I need access to VB6, etc. (Yeah, yuck). VirtualBox does runs Windows just fine on FreeBSD.
34 • Fedora/GNOME on wayland (by Noitatsidem on 2015-09-07 17:04:12 GMT from North America)
Last I knew, you needed xwayland to run the GNOME Wayland session in Fedora, if you didn't have it installed, that may be why you couldn't get it running. (I believe the apps still run as xorg apps through xwayland, while the shell runs in wayland, this may have changed since I last tested it)
35 • Cookies (by a on 2015-09-07 18:28:14 GMT from Europe)
This EU law is incredibly stupid, useless and annoying… It causes troubles for everyone and solves nothing.
36 • Stop the madness (by Ari Torres on 2015-09-07 19:19:09 GMT from North America)
way too many new distros and must are just garbage,some won't even boot up,most look the same or they just add a dock bar and give it a name.
look at the luninux,wtf is that? ubuntu gnome with docky,give me a break please!!!
distrowatch.com should at least try all these crap isos before they even make it to the site,for quite sometime now nothing new or exciting has happen in the linux distro world
I go distro hunting every day to try and find something exciting,unique and what to I get? someone's copied and rebranded distro.
Please distrowatch.com respect yourself!!!
37 • running non native software... (by tom joad on 2015-09-07 19:24:40 GMT from Europe)
My tower has hot swappable hard drive bays. It is easy to swap one hard drive for another even on the fly in some circumstances. But I have a linux / windows dual boot hard drive too.
I love Linux but Windows does have the way better games. It can be kind of knarly to run time some times but I like them. The only game I play in Linux is Pychess. I have yet to out grow Doom. And I hope that day never comes. Doom just endures the passage of time for me.
38 • running non native software (by Sanjay on 2015-09-07 19:37:54 GMT from Asia)
Adobe Software like illustrator , photoshop (Gimp is good but not true alternative) , Video Editing softwares like premiere has no alternatives thats why Linux popularity is increasing in slow rate, once these professional software ported to Linux or our community develop some true alternative ,no body looks for windows / Mac
39 • non-native software (by email@example.com on 2015-09-07 19:44:55 GMT from North America)
I use Wine whenever possible, but I have a couple of CAD packages that I cannot live without that simply refuse to run under Wine (or I just haven't been able to figure it out). I run these with a Virtual Box setup of Windows7.
40 • Virtualization (by Karl Mccray on 2015-09-07 20:04:25 GMT from North America)
FreeBSD developers avoiding virtualization? Really?
Bhyve is pretty amazing, can't wait to see what Mike and crew comes up with for FreeBSD.
41 • @40 - Re: Virtualization (by Will on 2015-09-07 20:51:46 GMT from North America)
> FreeBSD developers avoiding virtualization? Really?
No, it's *Open*BSD, not FreeBSD. FreeBSD has VirtualBox, bhyve, etc. That's why I have to use FreeBSD instead of OpenBSD.
42 • Compatibility software: DOSBox (by Thomas Mueller on 2015-09-08 05:34:46 GMT from North America)
Nobody seems to mention DOSBox, used to run DOS games and other DOS software from modern Windows, Linux and BSD. I use DOSBox to run Borland Quattro Pro 5 for DOS, the last DOS version of Quattro Pro; also, less frequently, dBASE IV 1.5. But I also migrate spreadsheet applications to Gnumeric. I have tried Wine but never progressed far; NetBSD version built from pkgsrc seems unstable.
43 • Compatibility software: DOSBox (by zcatav on 2015-09-08 07:50:54 GMT from Europe)
I'm also use DOSBox for a DataBase program from late 80s. It runs a clinical database system compiled with clipper and database back-end is dBASE. It builds for cardiovascular clinical usage. It is multitasking and multiuser on a novell network.
44 • @29, 36 - new distro or glammed-up respin? (by Hoos on 2015-09-08 07:53:04 GMT from Asia)
I think there's a fine line between the 2 descriptions and where that line is, is different for different people.
The above posts do have their point about Trenta OS and Luninux OS but to be honest I've not tried them.
I also have a question mark over OzonOS (still in beta), which appears to be Fedora Gnome with nice wallpaper/icons and a gnome shell extension to place the Gnome dock permanently on the bottom edge.
On the other hand, elementaryOS started off as just an icon theme, then a beautified 'buntu, but it has grown to something more, whether you agree with its design/interface ethos (or how the developers handle tech support) or not.
In time, it is possible that some of these "questionable" distros could see real growth and development.
In contrast to OzonOS, I would consider Korora a valid Fedora derivative in its own right. It is more fully and competently realised, with samba and printing all working OOTB, multimedia codecs enabled, etc. It hangs together nicely. Their website is honest that it is a Fedora Remix and explains its goals and reason for being. The differences from base Fedora are set out.
However, someone else may see Korora differently.
45 • Robolinux (by Cruz on 2015-09-08 10:01:46 GMT from North America)
I have seen Robolinux announcements on Distrowatch several times. I have downloaded and attempted to install it several times. It always opens up a webpage and asks for credit card info before it for installation to complete. Yet Robolinux is listed as a free install on Distrowatch. I have seen nothing about this on either Distrowatch or the Robolinux site. Is Robolinux free? It asks for a small amount, but it doesn't seem like a secure page. Does Robolinux charge for every install? If so why isn't it listed as a commercia; distro?
46 • Non Native Software (by kc1di on 2015-09-08 10:41:16 GMT from North America)
I use Play on Linux (wine) Have one program that i use pretty much daily that has no Linux alternative that rises to it's level of ease of use
But it runs fairly well on wine so that's what I use. Every thing else has a good Linux alternative and I use them. -- May be some day the developer will put our a native linux spin , but not holding my breath he seems to be tied into that other O.S. pretty tightly.
47 • Non-native software (by Wse on 2015-09-08 15:03:57 GMT from Europe)
Just installed Windows 10 on Virtualbox, just to reply to this "poll." Anyway, that's the only place I'd install Windows 10. It took nearly an hour to install it. I'd play with it for a while. Took 6.2 GB of my home folder. By the way, writing from it. Bing sort of responses quicker, but maybe it is because of the host Linux system.
48 • Whither WINE? (by Charles Burge on 2015-09-08 17:56:38 GMT from North America)
Reading these comments, I see a lot of dissatisfaction with WINE - either it doesn't support a needed program, or it takes too much effort to configure and keep running smoothly. This has me wondering: what exactly is the issue? The WINE project started more than 20 years ago, so you'd think by now it would be a stable and mature product. Why isn't it? Is it a problem with resources (personnel and funding) or is it a problem with insurmountable technical challenges? If the former, does lack of funding (or volunteers) suggest that there isn't a high demand for it within the Linux community? If the latter, would the lack of progress be due to the closed nature Microsoft's DLL's? Assuming that's the case, is there a reasonable hope for any breakthroughs?
I guess what I'm getting to is this: After 20+ years of work on the WINE project, we have a product that still doesn't work as advertised in many cases. Is it still a worthwhile pursuit?
49 • WINE issues (by Garon on 2015-09-08 18:55:15 GMT from North America)
Really WINE is just a test bed for Codeweavers "CrossOver" application. CrossOver is a pay application and at one time I used it quite often. My experience with CrossOver was always positive and support was good. Most of the times I've used WINE I have had very good success with it because of the Codeweavers site. Codeweavers makes a version for Macintosh computers also.
50 • Rockstor & Windows 10 (by Simon Plaistowe on 2015-09-08 22:25:24 GMT from Oceania)
Looking forward to trying Rockstor, seems it has a lot of great features. When I'm done I'll post a review. Anyone have any specific requirements you'd like me to test while I'm at it?
Totally agree with Ben Myers' opinion of windows 10 (comment #10 above).
51 • Wine works for me (by Paul on 2015-09-09 01:10:47 GMT from Europe)
WINE permits me to run one of my favourite apps that isn't available on Linux: MyLifeOrganized (MLO). It works fine. Better than setting up a VM for one app. Another must-have app, Beyond Compare, has a Linux version. Not free, but worth paying for.
52 • another vote for Codeweavers (by Matt on 2015-09-09 02:08:51 GMT from North America)
The commercial version of Wine made by Codeweavers is great. I have to keep a copy of Office 2007 installed on my computer to deal with all the knuckleheads at work who send me *.docx files.
53 • non-native software & Windows "10" (by M.Z. on 2015-09-09 05:19:46 GMT from North America)
I never really need any non-native software so I use Linux almost exclusively. There are a couple of computers that I could use Windows on, but I never actually do. As for WINE, well I played some StarCraft on WINE using Play On Linux & everything went smoothly, but I don't really bother with it any more. If I want to play a different game I just download something from the repos. It's a lot cheaper & more convenient than back when I forked over $ for Windows PC games regularly.
As for what # 10 & 50 are saying about Windows, well it seems to me that MS wants to adopt all the worst features from Linux & incorporate them into Windows. Gnome 3 came out a year or so before Windows 8 & despite the obvious uproar MS still happily sent their new OS off the 'convergence' cliff. They tried to convince PC users that giant full screen launcher menus & hidden option menus were the future of the desktop because 'tablets are in' & failed much like Gnome 3.
Even before the dust had settled Canonical started to try & push spyware down the throats of unsuspecting users while banking on their indifference to the new Unity 'features'. Thoughtful folks in the know were pissed & Ubuntu lost a fair amount of user trust while endlessly delaying any real fix. Now here we sit & wait for MS to play the same dirty games with Windows users while promising great new things from Windows '10', or whatever the marketing morons at MS are calling it. Isn't it odd that history repeats it's self over such short time frames, or is that a result of the rapid pace of modern software development cycles?
54 • Software not native to GNU/Linux, UX and the flaws of capitalism (by slice on 2015-09-09 09:21:30 GMT from Europe)
The only non-native Linux software I really must use is a swedish identification tool called BankID, used for signing into banks and government services like the tax department and stuff. This software runs on Windows/OSX/Android so the only extra management I have to deal with is an Android x86 VM in VirtualBox. I have never figured why they couldn't use certificates and one-time pin codes sent by sms instead as this would be equally secure as far as I understand and much less of a hassle. Perhaps they need someone (the company maintaining the Bank ID software) to be formally accountable...
Regarding UI design and desktop/tablet-convergence my personal opinion is that as technology stands today the two needs to be separate. I really like the design philosophy of elementary OS for the desktop and generally avoid tablets/smartphones if I can as I appreciate the ability to bring my mind rest by disconnecting from the 'Sea of Information' as the internet is described in Ghost in the Shell.
The general disability of companies like MS, Canonical, Apple, etc to provide useful products/services and their tendency to backstab their customers can easily be attributed to the fundamental flaws in capitalism but that is a different discussion altogether.
55 • Distros you don't see the point of @36 (by tim on 2015-09-09 17:53:07 GMT from Europe)
Hi, I am a sort of windows like Linux user, pretty incompetent, and I'm playing with an Iconia Tab x86 tablet. Android x86 is nearly perfect and good fun but I want real Linux and openSUSE Tumbleweed with some tweaking is pretty good. Then I put Hanthana (just another Fedora respin with nice wallpaper so what's the point of it?) on there and it worked out of the box better than I could get Tumbleweed going. Pointless to some people I'm sure but I think it's great. What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?
56 • The stupid (U)EFI firmware (by Stella Linux user on 2015-09-09 19:44:08 GMT from South America)
Quote from Jesse Smith:
"This means Lenovo shipped UEFI firmware that would boot Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but would prevent any other operating system, including other flavours of Linux, from booting."
Does it mean the RHEL clones Stella/CentOS/Scientific/Oracle are also bootable in such a hardware, or do they will fail to boot up?
By the way, let me know the names of the manufacturers who restrict the Linux "bootability", and I shall BOYCOTT each and every product from those bastards!!!
57 • New to the waiting list - Apricity OS (by Ppoiema on 2015-09-09 20:07:22 GMT from North America)
Trying Apricity OS as I type this. Although I haven't had any real chances to break this new Arch Based distribution, I haven't had any issues in 3 days. If it wasn't for the package manager and available wiki/docs, it would be tough to tell this isn't based off of a more beginner friendly distro like Ubuntu. So far this beta has been one of the more user friendly and attractive distros I have used in over 15 years of 'hopping'. And it is essentially pure Arch underneath the custom Gnome and Settings tools. Thanks for sharing this Wait List distro DistroWatch Team!
58 • Polls about Linux/Windows (by Jordan on 2015-09-09 22:09:16 GMT from North America)
Wondering if a poll here would fly:
- I use Linux/BSD and will never use Windows again, won't look back
- I use Linux/BSD for my personal computing but have to use Windows at work
- I use Linux/BSD and Windows because each has its own merits/uses for me
- I mainly use Windows and like to fool around with Linux
59 • Multiple Kernels. (by Williamp on 2015-09-10 10:25:04 GMT from Europe)
A number of Distro's offer several different kernels at installation, but how do you know which to chose or which one is needed. The installation guides are good, they explain how to change or how to remove the kernels that are not wanted but none of the guides tell you what you really want to know, and that is which is the right one for your machine. Please help an old fool.
60 • Kernels (by lupus on 2015-09-10 13:11:12 GMT from Europe)
@59 Rule of thumb
If you don't have anything exotic which may be dropped in newer Kernel Versions I suppose you follow the Kernel numbers and go ahead and always take the newest build. Reasons for that:
better hardware support for newer hardware.
old bugs might be smashed
61 • re Kernels (by M.Z. on 2015-09-10 19:39:15 GMT from North America)
@59 & 60
Also the PAE kernels are for 32-bit operating systems running on either 64-bit PCs or not too old 32-bit machines (either the 686 or 586 series of processors) that have more than 4 GB of RAM. There are also real time kernels for specialized tasks (mostly audio production I think). Of course anything ARM is for smart phone & Raspberry Pi style ARM processors (not for any normal desktop). The only desktop machines to commonly use PowerPC were old 32-bit Macs. There are also lots of other processor types in the search list here at DW that probably mostly relate to servers & other specialty tasks; however, for most newer desktops you usually want AMD64/x86 64/64-bit, which are all interchangeable names for the current generation of desktop processors. Honestly I can see how it could get confusing if you weren't much of a computer nerd.
62 • @Jesse Smith (UEFI boot) (by EnquiringMind on 2015-09-10 20:10:37 GMT from Europe)
Quote: Going back to the question "Why do so many Linux distributions have problems with installing onto UEFI/EFI?", the answer is because some manufacturers explicitly blocked most Linux distributions from booting or only tested their UEFI implementations against one operating system. With regards to Apple computers, there are several wiki entries explaining the numerous hoops developers need to get through to get Linux to boot on Apple's firmware.
Question: Why, is this some kind of anti-Linux campaign? Is it somehow related to Linux spyware issues (i.e. http://community.linuxmint.com/software/view/zeitgeist)?
63 • @ 56 • The stupid (U)EFI firmware (by Wse on 2015-09-11 05:23:12 GMT from Europe)
If you are buying a new laptop, carry a Linux live usb with you and try to boot it from it, before buying it. If it doesn't boot, don't buy it, or ask the seller to check if he can disable Uefi.
64 • re, Kernels. (by Williamp on 2015-09-11 08:16:44 GMT from Europe)
Thank you lupus and M.Z. for your replies, and yes, I'm not much of a computer nerd. I'm just a satisfied Linux user these 15 years (Mandrake, PClos, Manjaro) without getting involed. It doesn't seem to affect my installations, but I'm still curious that distro compilers put extra Kernels on their ISO's without any explanation.
65 • spyware (by M.Z. on 2015-09-11 20:20:13 GMT from North America)
@62 - spyware
The only true spyware issue that is pervasive in Linux is stuff built into the Unity desktop used in Ubuntu. Those issues are related to information gathered about what is typed into the Dash search function inside Unity & sent off to Canonical (the corporate backers of Ubuntu) & their funders like Amazon. This is a serious issue because anyone unaware of the 'feature' will have information about them sent off to Canonical & friends with out their consent. This is well known in many Linux circles; however, Canonical intend to bring in new users with the Ubuntu distro & every time I've checked they have never explicitly stated anything about the feature on their info or download pages. The only way to turn the feature off is to a) know/find out it exists & b) go into the settings & turn it off. This betting on the unawareness of users & sending of information off to Canonical or possibly others via the internet constitutes spyware.
I'd say that the zeitgeist software you mention is relatively benign as it never sends any information off through the internet. If it doesn't report to anyone or anything about your behavior except locally installed software then it is not spyware. I've read about the software before & it basically serves a function similar to 'recently open documents' for any software on Linux that cares to grab the info. Only Canonical have used such programs to send info about Ubuntu users out over the internet, & I don't think anyone else has tried to do such things to Linux users. All that being said any untrusted program on your Linux install could use zeitgeist to compromise your privacy. If you aren't an Ubuntu user & only use trusted programs supplied in your repos then zeitgeist should be entirely benign, which is what I believe it was intended to be. On the other hand if you ever install a PPA, RPM, or DEB file from an untrusted source you could have any easy target for data gathering if you have zeitgeist installed. All in all I think you would lose a minimal amount of extra functionality if you remove the software & I don't think it would hurt to avoid the package even though it isn't meant to be harmful.
@64 - kernels
It's cool, you get a few computer nerd points just for using Linux & asking such questions. On the other hand digging through Wikipedia & other more obscure sources of info to find out for yourself would get you even more nerd points. As for the inclusion of such things, well I think most distros that make such options available are either power user distros or they expect most users to just take the defaults.
66 • nerd point (by lupus on 2015-09-11 22:00:26 GMT from Europe)
Knowing Distrowatch reading commenting and asking informed questions gives you nerd points that last a lifetime. At least in my Book.
67 • Non-Native Software (by frodopogo on 2015-09-12 01:33:06 GMT from North America)
I've never felt the need to use Wine, but I'm glad the option exists.
I did have a running Windows computer until last December.
Maybe the reason to try Wine will be more likely to present itself now. We'll see.
68 • fine line (by jo on 2015-09-13 02:37:58 GMT from North America)
In my opinion, there's fine line between spyware and 'privacy leak'. Many audio applications that are preinstalled in various distros nowadays are preconfigured to (scan all my f'ing partitions, create a manifest/library and) call out to various internet servers, in order to "retrieve missing cover art" or "find similar music". WTF? Who considers this to represent "acceptable" defaults? Obviously many distro maintainers do (or, stupidly, don't care), package maintainers do, and the various program authors do.
Exfiltrating details of what song/video titles are present on my system, without asking my permission, without any visual indication... amounts to 'spying'.
69 • 59 • Multiple Kernels. (by WilliamP from Europe) (by Fossilizing Dinosaur on 2015-09-13 13:39:34 GMT from North America)
How do you know which one to choose for your hardware? If you lack suitable documentation, consider "benchmark" testing all your hardware, and select for best performance.
Which do you need? Any that works with all the parts (and filesystems) you have to do all the tasks you need.
Of course, before updating a kernel, always rehearse (or write down) recovery procedure, which may be as simple as (interrupting boot splash and) choosing an "Advanced" option on boot and locking your best working version. Make backup copies of your system regularly, test restore-from-backup periodically as well. .
Updates (also called upgrades) always bring changes, usually security patches, bug-fixes, new features, and, of course, the occasional drop of support for (your) old hardware - and (to keep us alert?) new bugs. Enjoy!
Number of Comments: 69
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