| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 628, 21 September 2015
Welcome to this year's 38th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
It has been said, especially in system administration circles, that when someone is doing their job well, you don't even notice they are doing anything. This reflects the fact that we typically notice what our operating systems are doing wrong rather than all the things they are doing right. A good operating system will usually become part of the background, quietly doing its job and staying out of the way. We begin this week with a look at Neptune, a Debian-based distribution which strives to function well enough that it will go unnoticed. Read our Feature Story this week to find out how the latest version of Neptune performs. In our News section we talk about changes to the way pfSense is developed, cover Pinguy OS's fix for UEFI issues and talk about how Linux Mint is making their MATE and Xfce desktop editions more flexible. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss accessing data stored in hard disk images and share a follow-up to last week's question on creating PDF/A documents. Plus we share the torrents we are seeding and provide details on last week's releases. There are several distribution releases anticipated for next week and we provide a list of new versions to watch for. In our Opinion Poll we ask our readers whether they use disk encryption and, if so, just how much. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Taking a voyage through Neptune 4.4
- News: pfSense changes its development process, Pinguy OS releases fix for ISO images and Linux Mint unveils new features for MATE and Xfce users
- Questions and answers: Accessing hard disk images and creating PDF/A documents
- Torrent corner: Antergos, Parsix GNU/Linux, ROSA
- Released last week: Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0, TurnKey Linux 14.0, Semplice Linux 2015.2
- Upcoming releases: Tails 1.6, Fedora 23 Beta, openSUSE 42.1 Beta, Ubuntu 15.10 Final Beta
- Opinion poll: Disk encryption
- New distributions: BunsenLabs Linux, Nitrux OS, Asril OS, Darkiban
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Taking a voyage through Neptune 4.4
The Neptune distribution is a Debian-based project which offers users a friendly, desktop-oriented experience. Neptune uses KDE 4 as the default desktop environment. The latest release of Neptune, version 4.4, includes mostly minor upgrades with an eye toward improving the graphics stack and desktop performance.
Neptune is available in just one edition for the 64-bit x86 architecture. The ISO file we download is 1.8GB in size. When we boot from Neptune's live media a menu appears and asks if we would like to explore Neptune's live desktop environment using English or German as our preferred language. Neptune then boots to the KDE desktop. The desktop environment is presented in a traditional manner, with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we find icons which will grant us access to documentation, the distribution's package manager and Neptune's graphical system installer.
Neptune's installer quickly walks us through a series of screens which ask us to create a user account and set a password on the root account. We are then presented with the GParted partition manager and asked to make sure our disk has the partitions we need. We are then asked to assign a partition to be used as the main (root) partition for the Neptune distribution. When we assign a partition to be mounted as the root file system we have the choice of selecting either Btrfs or ext4 as the file system to use. I was a little surprised to see our options narrowed down to just these two file systems and further surprised to see Btrfs selected as the default. Not many Linux distributions (apart from openSUSE) are pushing Btrfs as a default option these days. The installer gives us a chance to place our home directories on a separate partition and then asks us to select our preferred language from a list. The installer then copies its files to our hard drive and exits, leaving us to continue exploring the live environment. The installer is quite easy to navigate and, in my test environments, worked very quickly.
Booting our new copy of Neptune brings us to a graphical login screen featuring a grey background. When we sign into our account we are presented with the KDE desktop once more. On the desktop are icons for opening a file manager, launching the Software Centre and there is an icon which opens Neptune's support forum in a web browser. The application menu is presented using the Lancelot menu. The Lancelot menu strikes me as being large and dynamic, shifting entries around as we explore categories of programs we can launch. It gets the job done and the Lancelot menu is fairly easy to navigate.
Neptune 4.4 -- Installing software with Apper
(full image size: 488kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Since I had not noticed any icon or message letting me know if software updates were available, one of the first things I did with Neptune was launch the distribution's graphical package manager. Neptune uses Apper as its primary package manager. Apper displays categories of software and invites us to explore these categories. Each category offers a simple list of packages, sorted in alphabetical order, and with an accompanying brief description of each package. We can click a button next to each package to queue the selected software for installation or removal. Once we have marked off all the items we want to install we can click a button that will process all the queued packages in a batch, locking Apper's interface. I found installing and removing packages worked well.
Apper also offers us an Updates module where we can check for newer versions of packages in Neptune's repositories. Accessing the Updates module shows the package manager checking repositories, but then nothing much seems to happen. Sometimes the Updates module would just hang, refusing to let me know if new packages had been found. Other times I might see an error message saying there was a problem with Apper failing to communicate with PackageKit. In any event, I was not able to see or install any software upgrades. However, if I switched to the Muon package manager or the APT command line tools, I could see and install new versions of the packages on my system. Muon focuses more on individual packages than desktop programs. It works well and allows us to search for and install software and upgrades. The Neptune distribution pulls in packages from a few sources, with most items coming from Debian 7 "Wheezy" repositories.
Neptune 4.4 -- Installing software updates with Muon
(full image size: 375kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Looking through Neptune's application menu we find a large and useful collection of software. The distribution includes the Chromium web browser with Flash enabled. The Icedove e-mail client is installed for us along with the KGet download manager, the Konversation IRC software and the Kopete instant messaging software. The KTorrent torrent software and the Wireshark network monitoring tool are also included. To help us get on-line, Neptune ships with Network Manager and the KPPP dial-up networking software. The application menu includes the LibreOffice productivity software, a personal organizer and the Okular document viewer. Neptune ships with the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a simple image editor called KolourPaint. Neptune ships with several multimedia applications, including the Amarok audio player, the Audacity audio editor, a desktop recorder and the VLC multimedia player. We are also given an audio/video converter, the Kdenlive video editor, the K3b optical disc burning software and a program for downloading YouTube videos. Neptune ships with a full set of media codecs, enabling us to play and edit multimedia files. Neptune also ships with a number of administrative utilities, including a partition manager, the KDE System Settings panel and a hardware information browser. We also find the Back In Time backup utility, a LVM storage volume manager and a printer manager. Neptune offers users a simple text editor, an archive manager and a virtual calculator. A copy of the TrueCrypt encryption software is also included. The distribution offers us a few accessibility tools such as a screen magnifier and a virtual keyboard. Neptune ships with Java, the GNU Compiler Collection and the systemd init software. In the background we find version 3.18 of the Linux kernel.
While I was exploring Neptune's bountiful collection of software, I found most applications worked well. The distribution offers a lot of functionality out of the box and I quite like the array of powerful applications that are available right from the start. I particularly like the KDE System Settings module for interfacing with systemd. The systemd module displays lists of services available on our system. Using the module we can browse through these services and start/stop them. We can also enable/disable services so that our configuration will survive a reboot. I like that the module allows us to filter systemd units based on their type and status.
Neptune 4.4 -- Adjusting system settings
(full image size: 490kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
One application I thought would be more useful than turned out to be was the YouTube Downloader application. This program offers to download and, optionally, convert the format of YouTube videos. While the program does do what it says (download and convert videos), the application is unable to browse for or search for videos. This means we need to locate the video we want using a web browser and then switch to the download application. YouTube Downloader does not display progress information and it is often unclear whether the application is working or whether it has stalled while downloading a file. The Downloader did work most of the time, but it could benefit from more progress information and a search feature.
One of the few problems I ran into with Neptune came about while I was connecting a printer to the system. Neptune's printer manager was able to locate my printer and enable it. However, whenever I attempted to access the printer's settings, the printer manager would crash. I was still able to make use of the printer, but I could not set up access controls or otherwise adjust the printer's settings. Another problem I encountered was the Back In Time backup application would not open. There was no error message, the application simply refused to launch from the Lancelot menu.
I tried running Neptune in two test environments. When running in a VirtualBox virtual machine, I found Neptune performed well. The distribution booted quickly, ran smoothly and integrated nicely into the virtual environment. When running on a physical desktop machine the distribution again proved up to the challenge. All of my hardware was properly detected, my audio volume was set to a medium level, networking was enabled automatically and my display was set to my monitor's maximum resolution. In either environment I found Neptune would use about 480MB of memory when logged into the KDE desktop.
Neptune 4.4 -- Browsing the web and playing a game
(full image size: 868kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Neptune is a distribution which does not offer many surprises or exciting new features. What the distribution does offer is a solid, useful and easy to use desktop operating system. Neptune ships with a lot of great software, the distribution is easy to install and most of the software included works as intended. I found Neptune offered good performance, it detected all of my hardware and there was enough software included by default that I rarely had to install anything.
One of the few weak points of Neptune, for me at any rate, was the Apper package manager. Apper worked well when I wanted to install or remove packages, but I kept running into problems when it came time to install updates. Apper tended to either lock-up or crash when I tried to install updates. We can work around this limitation by using Muon or the command line package manager, but Apper was the one notable weakness in an otherwise excellent experience.
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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)
pfSense changes its development process, Pinguy OS releases fix for ISO images and Linux Mint unveils new features for MATE and Xfce users
The pfSense project, which provides a FreeBSD-based packet filtering solution, is changing part of its build process. In the past, the pfSense developers kept a separate repository of patches which could be applied to FreeBSD and FreeBSD's collection of ports. However, this method of maintaining a separate group of patches was a source of additional work and the pfSense developers have transitioned to a new approach. Now, the pfSense code is maintained as a git branch of FreeBSD. "The former structure, where a set of discrete patches were kept against a given version of the FreeBSD source and ports trees, has now been replaced by a system where those patches are kept on a vendor branch of these trees. This improves both the process of bringing new versions of FreeBSD and ports to pfSense and the process of upstreaming changes we make to these. By upstreaming, we make both FreeBSD and pfSense better." More information on this move can be found on the pfSense blog.
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Just over a week ago, the Pinguy OS project released Pinguy OS 14.04.3. One of the distribution's new features was the ability to boot on computers with UEFI firmware. The project has received some bug reports indicating the project's new installation media would not boot on UEFI enabled computers. "I have had a few reports of people not being able to boot the ISOs on UEFI systems. After some research this was due to there being no EFI/FAT partition on the ISO. People that used 'dd' to write the ISO to USB or were trying to boot from a DVD had issues. If you used Unetbootin you should have been fine. Due to these problems I have updated my ISO building script so it adds a small EFI/FAT partition to the ISO. This will enable the ability to boot the DVD with UEFI systems. I have made no other changes to the OS. I only modified the way the images are created. If you have had no issues installing then you do not need to re-download. The update is only for people that were having issues with UEFI system." Further details can be found on the Pinguy OS website. People affected by the missing partition can download new ISO images from the project's download page.
* * * * *
Some new features are coming to the MATE and Xfce editions of Linux Mint, including the ability to switch window managers while logged into the desktop. Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint's lead developer, explained the feature in a blog post: "There's something cool in store for MATE and Xfce users. It was implemented this week and it's coming in Linux Mint 17.3. The Desktop Settings tool will now support the following window/compositing managers under MATE and Xfce: Marco, Metacity, Xfwm4, Openbox, Compiz and Compton. A new help section was added to explain various concepts around window managers and compositing. Switching window-managers takes effect immediately so you no longer have to log out." The new feature will allow users to experiment with different window managers to find the style and performance which best suits their needs.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Accessing hard disk images
Accessing-images asks: A friend told me to make a backup of my hard drive in case I needed to restore it someday. I've got the image, but I want to access the files on just one partition inside the image. Is it possible to read files from just one partition without copying the entire image to a disk?
DistroWatch answers: It is possible to access a full disk image and read the files stored on just one partition of the image. That's the good news. That bad news is: accessing a specific partition within an image of an entire hard disk takes a few extra steps.
Let us assume that you have a file containing an image of your entire hard drive and this file is called full-disk.img. We want to access one partition contained in the full-disk.img snapshot of your disk so that you can browse and read the files it contains. To access the files we will need a copy of the parted disk partition manipulator. If it is not already installed on your operating system, chances are your distribution has a parted package in its software repositories.
We begin by running the parted program and handing it the disk image.
Running the above command should display a welcome message and conclude with a prompt which reads (parted). At the prompt, we type "unit".
The parted program will then ask us for the type of unit we want to use and we will type "B" for bytes. What this does is insure whatever information parted displays for us will be shown using bytes as the unit of measurement rather than kilobytes or megabytes.
Unit? [compact]? B
This will bring us back to the (parted) prompt and we will next ask for a print out of the partitions on our disk image. We need to pay special attention to the Start column.
When the (parted) prompt appears again, type "q" to quit the program, we have the information we need. What we now need to do is identify which partition we want to access and mount it. In this example I am going to assume we want to access the contents of the partition formatted with the ext4 file system. That is the second partition in the drive image and its start point is at byte 270,532,608.
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
We now create a mount point for our files and use the offset information from parted to mount the partition, providing the mount command with the image we want to access and the offset of the partition within the disk image. The final bit of information we pass to the mount command is where to place the files it finds inside the partition, in this case the my-data directory.
The files we want to access will be available to us in the my-data directory. We will not be able to change the files in that directory as the image is read-only, but we can make copies of the files and alter those copies if we wish. When we are done accessing the partition we need to unmount it.
mount -o loop,ro,offset=270532608 full-disk.img my-data
* * * * *
Last week we ran a Questions and Answers column in which we talked about various ways to create PDF/A documents. One of our very helpful readers managed to find a convenient method for creating PDF/A documents from any program using a virtual printer. The steps for setting up the virtual PDF/A printer are included below.
I found the solution to this week's reader question about printing directly to PDF/A from any program.
Thank you, Sam, for sharing this solution with us.
Hope this helps! The trick is the "-dPDFA" switch. Thanks to this page for the tip.
- First, install the cups-pdf virtual printer. (The package is called printer-driver-cups-pdf on Debian/Ubuntu.)
- Open the /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf file in a text editor as root.
- Search for GSCall in the configuration file and add the following line to modify the defaults: "GSCall %s -q -dPDFA -dCompatibilityLevel=%s -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -dSAFER -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile="%s" -dAutoRotatePages=/PageByPage -dAutoFilterColorImages=false -dColorImageFilter=/FlateEncode -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress -c .setpdfwrite -f %s"
- Save the edited config file.
- From any program's print dialog, print to the newly created "PDF" or "CUPS-PDF" printer. (If it doesn't exist, you'll have to add a cups-pdf virtual printer using your distro's printer config system.)
- Look in your home directory for a newly created PDF file in the newly created "PDF" directory. If the PDF directory isn't in your home folder, look in the /var/spool/cups-pdf directory. Open that file in your PDF reader and look at the document file properties. You'll see that its format is "PDF/A - 1b".
* * * * *
Past Questions and Answers columns can be found in our Q&A Archive.
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: 112
- Total data uploaded: 13.8TB
|Released Last Week
Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0
Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 has been released. Parsix is a desktop Linux distribution based on the latest stable Debian release, but shipping with the latest stable GNOME build. From the release announcement: "We are happy to announce the immediate availability of Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0, code name 'Mumble'. This version is our first release using Debian 'Jessie' as the base platform. Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 ships with the GNOME 3.16 desktop environment, Linux 4.1-based kernel and an improved installer system officially supporting UEFI based systems. All base packages have been synchronized with Debian 'Jessie' repositories as of September 12, 2015 and we are shipping GNOME Shell 3.16.3 and Linux 4.1.6. Updated packages: X.Org Server 1.16.4, GNU Iceweasel 40.0.3, Chromium browser 45.0, LibreOffice 4.3.3, glibc 2.19, GParted 0.19.0, Empathy 3.12.10, GIMP 2.8.14, Grisbi 1.0.0, VirtualBox 4.3.28, VLC 2.2.1." See also the detailed release notes for additional notes and software repository information.
Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 -- Running the GNOME Shell desktop
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
TurnKey Linux 14.0
Jeremy Davis has announced the release of TurnKey Linux 14.0, a major new version of the project's extensive set of highly specialised virtual appliances made for severs. The new version is for 64-bit systems only, it is based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.0, and it includes a number of interesting new appliances: "Ansible is an IT automation tool, it can configure systems, deploy software, and orchestrate more advanced IT tasks such as continuous deployments or zero downtime rolling updates. EspoCRM is light-weight CRM platform targeted at small to medium business. The Foodsoft appliance has been a long time coming. Laravel is a PHP framework with the tagline of 'The PHP Framework For Web Artisans'. SuiteCRM is a CRM suite forked from SugarCRM provided with additional modules." See the full release announcement for more information.
Semplice Linux 2015.2
The developers of Semplice Linux, a Debian based distribution, have announced the launch of Semplice Linux 2015.2 for Workstations. The new release is based on Debian 8.2 and includes version 4.1.7 of the Linux kernel. "It's our pleasure to announce the first stable release of Semplice for Workstations 2015, codenamed `Jethro Tull'. After a month since the release of the preview version, we now feel confident to release Semplice for Workstations 2015 to everyone. Huge thanks go to everyone who took part in the testing phase and has thus contributed in making this release possible. This release is based on Debian 8.2, plus the updates available at the moment of build (2015-09-18). The ISO images ship with Linux kernel 4.1.7." The new release is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. Further information on this release, along with known issues and upgrade instructions, can be found in the project's release announcement.
Lucas Holt has announced the availability of MidnightBSD 0.7, a new stable release of the project's FreeBSD-derived operating system with focus on desktop use: "I’m happy to announce the availability of MidnightBSD 0.7 RELEASE. This release is primarily for stabilization, ZFS and mport package tool enhancements. Upgrading from source - when upgrading from 0.6, you will need to install src/kerberos5/lib/libroken before building world. Security: expat - multiple integer overflows have been discovered in the XML_GetBuffer() function in the expat library; kernel - fix a security issue on amd64 where the GS segment CPU register can be changed via userland value in kernel mode by using an IRET with #SS or #NP exceptions; TCP Reassembly resource exhaustion bug - there is a mistake with the introduction of VNET, which converted the global limit on the number of segments that could belong to reassembly queues into a per-VNET limit..." Read the detailed release announcement for a complete list of changes.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Using disk encryption is a good way to protect data on hard drives which may fall into someone else's hands. Encrypting files or partitions is a good way to prevent thieves or the simply curious from plugging your hard drive into another computer and accessing your documents, preferences and e-mails.
This week we would like to know how many of our readers use encryption and, if so, what kind? Some people like to encrypt just the files in their home directories, others might wish to encrypt entire partitions. Others encrypt everything, hiding swap space and even the system configuration from prying eyes. Let us know in the comments below what sort of encryption you are using, if any.
You can see the results of last week's poll on running selecting distributions for various tasks here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
|I encrypt my home folder: ||75 (4%)|
| I encrypt my /home partition: ||97 (5%)|
| I encrypt /home and swap space: ||38 (2%)|
| I encrypt the whole disk: ||345 (19%)|
| I do not use disk encryption: ||1105 (62%)|
| Other: ||126 (7%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- BunsenLabs Linux. BunsenLabs Linux is a Debian-based distribution offering a light-weight and easily customizable Openbox desktop. The project is a community continuation of CrunchBang Linux.
- Nitrux OS. Nitrux OS is a desktop distribution that is based on Ubuntu and features the KDE Plasma desktop environment.
- Asril OS. Asril OS is a desktop Linux distribution which has been set up to use the Indonesia locale. Astril OS ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment.
- Darkiban. Darkiban is a Debian-based operating system with many desktop applications installed by default.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 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
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
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Polar Bear Linux
Polar Bear Linux was a source-based GNU/Linux distribution derived from Linux From Scratch. All software packages are provided in the form of source code, which are compiled during installation. This has many advantages, as well as a major drawback in the time it takes to install the system (approximately 9 hours for a base system). Polar Bear Linux uses a simple package manager called Tarball Package Manager (TBPKG).