| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 638, 30 November 2015
Welcome to this year's 48th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The open source community is full of all sorts of different experiments and projects exploring concepts in various ways. This week we cover a range of different projects, each with its own focus. In our Feature Story we quickly cover Qubes OS, a project focused on security; KaOS, a distribution that offers a polished and up to date desktop environment; and NetBSD, a highly portable and lightweight operating system. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss the ELF file type and secure HTTP connections. This week we also talk about Fedora's call for people to test their Wayland desktop session, a new desktop application for scheduling tasks and what to do when a malware scanner detects a problem on Linux. Plus we share the torrents we are seeding and cover the distributions released in the past week. In our Opinion Poll we discuss web browser extensions designed to protect the user from tracking. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (24MB) and MP3 (18MB) formats
• Music credit: Clouds Fly With Me by Matti Paalanen
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Qubes OS 3.0
Sometimes, rather than take a long look at a single distribution, I like to quickly check in on the progress being made by several projects. This week I would like to rapidly walk through my brief experiences with three interesting open source projects: Qubes OS, KaOS and NetBSD.
Qubes OS is an interesting experiment in isolating processes and tasks from each other. In computer security there are a number of ways to tackle keeping systems secure. Since no method of securing software works perfectly, isolating tasks in virtual machines (VMs) limits the amount of damage a misbehaving (or compromised) process can inflict. As the project's website states, "In general, Qubes takes an approach called security by isolation, which in this context means keeping the things you do on your computer securely isolated in different VMs so that one VM getting compromised won't affect the others. This allows you to do everything on a single physical computer without having to worry about one successful cyber attack taking down your entire digital life in one fell swoop."
One might think of Qubes OS as a way to keep one's work life, personal life and financial life locked away in separate compartments. This way if a web browser is compromised in the Work virtual machine, it will not put one's personal financial records at risk.
The latest release of Qubes OS includes a number of technical improvements. Curious to try it out, I downloaded the ISO for Qubes OS 3.0 which is 3.5GB in size. Booting from the Qubes installation media brought me first to a menu where I could either check the media's integrity or launch the project's system installer. In my case, selecting to run the system installer launched the Anaconda installer (the same installer currently used by Fedora) in text mode. The installer guided me through selecting my time zone, protecting the root account with a password and choosing whether to install Xfce, KDE or both desktops together. Where I ran into trouble was with the disk partitioning section.
I tried running through the partitioning section of the installer several times, selecting different options for file systems (standard partitions, LVM volumes and Btrfs are supported). I tried telling Qubes to use just one free partition I had set aside and, other times, offered to let Qubes take over the entire hard disk. In each case, the installer reported I had not provided a root partition for the operating system and refused to proceed. I found this odd as I had, on a few occasions, instructed the installer to use the entire disk. After a handful of attempts, I gave up on trying to install Qubes.
I am sorry to say I have tried each major release of Qubes OS released to date and, so far, none has installed successfully for me. I admire the goal of the Qubes project, making it easy for users to isolate separate tasks in order to improve security. I am of the opinion the concept of a user (and a user's processes) having full access to everything in a user's account raises security concerns. I would like to see more effort put into projects like Qubes and AppArmor in order to make it easier for a user to compartmentalize their digital life.
* * * * *
KaOS 2015.10 and Plasma on Wayland
KaOS is a distribution which takes an approach I find interesting. Rather than adding features or creating new utilities, the KaOS team strives to offer cutting edge software that has been neatly packaged. The distribution focuses on one architecture (64-bit x86) and one desktop environment (KDE). This gives KaOS a narrow, yet polished, focus. I decided to download the latest installation media for KaOS in order to try out two new features: KDE's Plasma 5 desktop running in a Wayland session and improvements to KaOS's installer.
The ISO file I downloaded for KaOS 2015.10 was 1.6GB in size. Booting from this media brings us to the Plasma 5 desktop, running on a traditional X session. A welcome screen greets us and offers to provide us with information about this new release or launch the distribution's graphical installer.
KaOS 2015.10 -- Running the Plasma 5 desktop
(full image size: 745kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
I like KaOS's implementation of the Calamares system installer. The installer has a layout and style similar to the system installer used by Ubuntu or Linux Mint. It's one of those installers where the user can pretty much just click "Next" a few times and end up with a functioning operating system. That being said, we do have some options available to us and I particularly like how streamlined and easy to navigate the disk partitioning section is. KaOS, due to its inclusion of some non-free components, has added a screen to the installer which displays licensing information for these non-free packages.
Once the installation was finished, I booted into my new copy of KaOS and experimented with the desktop session options. The Plasma on X session worked well. The desktop was responsive and everything worked as expected. The Plasma on Wayland session did not work for me. This was not entirely unexpected. In the recent past I have tried running GNOME Shell on Wayland (via the Fedora distribution) without success. However, where trying to login to a Wayland session on Fedora would cause the screen to briefly go blank before I was returned to the login screen, signing into Wayland on KaOS caused the display to blank and the system to lock-up. This meant I had to hit the power button to trigger a reboot in order to get back to a login screen.
In short, my exploration of KaOS's new features was mixed. The Calamares system installer is beautiful, it works well, it's fast and I was very happy with it. I hope more distributions adopt Calamares as their graphical installer as it really makes getting a new distribution up and running a pleasant process. Wayland, unfortunately, continues to be problematic on my test equipment. This is probably a driver-related setback which I hope gets resolved in the near future.
* * * * *
NetBSD is a fascinating project, largely due to the operating system's portability. NetBSD runs on a vast array of CPU architectures and the project's tag line is, "Of course it runs NetBSD." The latest release of NetBSD, version 7.0, includes support for a number of new devices, including the Raspberry Pi 2 and BeagleBone mini computers.
NetBSD is available for many architectures and I decided to download the 64-bit x86 installation image which is 372MB in size. Booting from NetBSD's disc brings up a text menu where we are asked if we would like to perform a regular installation, try to install without ACPI support or try to install with no ACPI or SMP support.
NetBSD's installer consists of a series of text screens, most of which ask us to select items from menus. We begin by confirming our keyboard's layout. The installer then asks if we would like to perform a fresh installation, upgrade an existing copy of NetBSD, re-install over an old copy or access system utilities. The utilities offered include tools to partition the hard drive, a useful function since the installer seems to assume we already have a spare partition set aside for NetBSD. Choosing to perform a fresh installation of NetBSD kicks off a series of screens where we are asked which hard drive to use. We are then shown a default partition layout and given the chance to change mount points or partition sizes. I found the partition managing screen difficult to navigate. I did not feel as though there was a clear path through the process and so I fumbled around a bit before, essentially, taking the defaults offered. Next, we are asked what sort of installation we would like to perform with options including Full, Text Only, Minimal and Custom. I went with Full since a complete installation of NetBSD takes up less than 2GB of disk space. We then choose where to install packages from with choices including local optical media, FTP/HTTP servers, NFS network shares and floppy disks. Files are copied to our hard drive and then we configure our network connection, pick out our time zone from a list and set a password on the root account. The next few screens ask if we would like to enable a binary package manager (with the alternative being to install software from source code using a collection of ports) and we can optionally install the operating system's source code. The next series of screens asks if we would like to enable a secure shell service, enable network time synchronization, enable a display manager and add a regular user account.
When we boot into our fresh copy of NetBSD we are brought to a simple graphical login screen. Or at least I was, given that I had installed all the available packages. I found that I could sign into my user account and, upon doing so, I was presented with a blank screen. Shortly after logging in a mini terminal window would appear in the bottom-right corner and display login/logout and system messages. I was able to click in this terminal window and scroll through the messages, but otherwise the graphical environment was unresponsive to input. I was unable to type or click on anything, other than the message window, and I was unable to logout. In short, graphical software is present, but we do not have any desktop environment in which to work.
I very rarely work with NetBSD systems so I looked up a tutorial on how to easily install and enable the Xfce desktop on NetBSD. Since the guide was originally written, some things have changed on NetBSD, but stumbling through the guide resulted in me being able to sign into the Xfce 4.12 desktop environment. This greatly improved my experience as I was better able to run multiple terminal windows and look up further information using the Firefox web browser right from my NetBSD installation.
The easiest way to handle packages on NetBSD is with the pkgin package manager. The pkgin command line utility has a syntax similar to pkg-ng on FreeBSD and dnf on Fedora. The package manager smoothly handles installing, removing, upgrading and searching for packages. I found pkgin had terse output and functioned well during my very brief trial. Unfortunately, I only had time this week to play with NetBSD for a day and in a virtual machine, so the experience was a bit limited. However, I was pleasantly pleased to find NetBSD includes a range of useful desktop applications in the project's software repositories.
NetBSD 7.0 -- Running the Xfce desktop
(full image size: 182kB, resolution: 1024x768 pixels)
Security updates to the base system involve either checking out source code and building it, or downloading and unpacking binary builds from the project's server and manually putting the new files into place on the operating system. This makes handling security updates to the core system a bit more involved on NetBSD than it is on most Linux distributions or FreeBSD.
NetBSD is fairly light on memory. While using the command line interface and with just an empty X session running, the operating system used approximately 100MB of memory. When I installed Xfce 4.12 and was logged into the desktop environment, NetBSD used about 200MB of memory. Even with Xfce installed, NetBSD only used about 2GB of disk space.
One feature of NetBSD that does not get talked about much is that the portable operating system includes support for ZFS, an advanced file system. I experimented with setting up a ZFS volume and found the utilities worked well. From what I could find, ZFS is only supported on the 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures, other platforms, such as ARM, are still a work in progress.
At the end of my day with NetBSD I came away feeling pretty good about this highly portable operating system. I like the pkgin package manager, it's fast and pretty easy to use. I like that, with a short tutorial, it's pretty easy to set up a desktop environment and I like that NetBSD includes ZFS support.
I was a little less thrilled with the system installer. I have used a lot of different installers, including those put forward by FreeBSD, OpenBSD and MINIX and I think NetBSD's was, for me, the most difficult to navigate with regards to partitioning the hard drive. The installer works and, I presume, works across more platforms than I have encountered in my life, but I think it might scare off some newcomers.
What I really liked about NetBSD though was that the system was light and it should work the same across multiple platforms. The operating system took me a little while to get up and running, but once some basic tools were in place, I had a stable and pleasant experience.
* * * * *
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)
Fedora seeks Wayland testers, a new application for scheduling tasks and how to deal with rootkit warnings
Two weeks ago we mentioned the Fedora developers have been experimenting with making GNOME on Wayland the default desktop session for the upcoming release of Fedora 24. The Fedora project is now asking people to experiment with the new default desktop session and report any problems. "Before GNOME on Wayland becomes default in Fedora, we need to ensure the transition is smooth and the user won't recognize a difference. So we need reports on deficiencies that occur on Wayland but not X11. Kamil Paral of the Fedora QA team has written a comprehensive guide how to debug Wayland-related problems. If you want to provide developers with useful reports, please read it carefully. It has useful information such as how to find out whether a particular app is running on Wayland or on XWayland, and what to include in bug reports." People who would like to help can find more details on the experiment and where to file bugs in this Fedora Magazine post.
* * * * *
Scheduling tasks to take place at a certain time is one of those things that has long been an easy thing to do on Linux, so long as a person is familiar with the command line. However, most people are not comfortable typing commands and learning the proper syntax for setting up scheduled jobs. The When desktop application bridges the gap and makes it easy for people to schedule tasks to occur at a given time (or following an event) from the comfort of their desktop. Hectic Geek has a nice write-up on When and how it can be used. "When lets the user to define when a certain task should be executed based on Time (using the system clock), Intervals (if the task is set to repeat), Command (after running a command prior to the execution of the actual task), Idle (after the system is idle for a certain period of time), Event (system start-up, suspend, shutdown, after connecting to a network etc), File Change (after the state of the file is changed)." Further exploration of the When application along with screen shots can be found in the Hectic Geek article.
* * * * *
A common question that appears a lot on distribution support forums is, "Do I need to run anti-virus software on Linux?" A common follow-up question is, "My anti-virus scan found a problem, what do I do next?" The Dedoimedo website talks about the nature of malware scanners on Linux and suggests some things to do following the discovery of a potential infection. "All right so you've run chkrootkit, what about rootkit hunter (rkhunter)? After all, you've executed one program, you might as well run both of them. This will help you narrow down your anxiety. If both tools report the same issue, you might need to investigate more, but if only one does, it increases the chance of this message being a false positive." The post points out a lot of infection warnings are false positives and offers ways to check to see if there really is an issue or if the malware scanner has incorrectly reported a problem.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
What an ELF is and an HTTPS option
Searching-for-an-elf asks: I occasionally check the properties of files. Some are ELF. What is an ELF file?
DistroWatch answers: The term ELF stands for Executable and Linkable Format. It is a commonly used file format for executable files and shared libraries on Linux distributions and some other Unix and Unix-like operating systems. When you check the properties of a file and find it is listed as an ELF, that means the file is intended to be run as a program, or a part of a program in the case of shared libraries.
* * * * *
Seeking-privacy asks: Does DistroWatch support HTTPS for encrypted web traffic?
DistroWatch answers: Not yet, all of our data is publicly available and we do not deal with sensitive information like login credentials or financial information through our website, so encryption has been a low priority item. However, some people have been asking about it and we are planning to implement HTTPS soon. We hope to be one of the early adopters of the Let's Encrypt software.
* * * * *
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: 137
- Total data uploaded: 21.2TB
|Released Last Week
Juergen Daubert has announced the release of CRUX 3.2, the latest stable build of the project's lightweight, x86-64 optimised Linux distribution designed for experienced Linux users: "The CRUX team is happy to announce the release of CRUX 3.2. CRUX 3.2 comes with a multilib toolchain which includes glibc 2.22, GCC 5.2.0 and Binutils 2.25.1. The kernel is Linux 4.1.13. CRUX 3.2 ships with X.Org 7.7 and X.Org Server 1.18.0. The ISO image is processed with isohybrid and is suitable for burning on a CD and putting on a USB drive. UEFI support is available during installation with dosfstools, efibootmgr, and grub2-efi added to the ISO image. Important libraries have been updated to new major versions which are not ABI compatible with the old versions. We strongly advise against manually updating to CRUX 3.2 via ports, since these changes will temporarily break the system. Please note that there may still be packages that need updating which are not included on the ISO image. These packages will need to be updated/rebuilt manually." See the release announcement and release notes for more details.
The developers of Netrunner, a Kubuntu-based Linux distribution with useful extras such as Java, Flash and multimedia codecs, have announced the launch of Netrunner 17. The new release features a number of package updates, including the Plasma 5.4 desktop, VirtualBox 5, LibreOffice 5, Firefox 42 and version 4.2 of the Linux kernel. "The Netrunner team is happy to announce the release of Netrunner 17 (codename Horizon) - 64-bit version. (Note that the 32-bit version remains at 16 until 18 LTS). Netrunner 17's codename was chosen as an indication of a mature Plasma finally emerging at the horizon with another update of KDE Plasma, Frameworks and Applications. The desktop is now at Plasma 5.4.3 together with KDE Applications 15.08.2 and many more programs and libraries updated to their latest versions. Firefox with built-in Plasma support ships as 42.0.3." Further information and screen shots for Netrunner 17 can be found in the project's release announcement.
Klaus Knopper has announced the release KNOPPIX 7.6.0, a brand-new version of the distribution's Debian-based live CD/DVD with a choice of LXDE, KDE 5.4 and GNOME 3.18, as well as a separate edition designed for visually impaired users: "Version 7.6.0 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian stable and newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages from Debian testing and Debian unstable. New in 7.6.0: Linux kernel (still 4.2.2, thorougly tested) and system software (Debian 'Jessie') updated; new experimental version of Compiz 0.9.12.2 3D window manager; LXDE (default) with PCManFM 1.2.3 file manager, KDE 5.4 (boot option 'knoppix desktop=kde'), GNOME 3.18 (boot option 'knoppix desktop=gnome'); WINE version 1.7.50 (git) for integration of Windows-based programs; QEMU 2.4 for (para-)virtualization; Electrum 2.5.4 for managing Bitcoin wallets...." Read the detailed release notes for a full list of changes and new features.
Knoppix 7.6.0 -- Running the LXDE desktop
(full image size: 1.1MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The developers of KaOS, a rolling release distribution with a strong focus on KDE software, have announced the availability of a new installation snapshot. The new installation media, KaOS 2015.11, offers a number of package updates, new artwork and experimental support for running the Plasma desktop in a Wayland session. "As always with this rolling distribution you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.16.0, Plasma 5.4.3 and KDE Applications 15.08.3. Most notable major updates to the base of the system are the Boost 1.59.0/ICU 56.1 stack, Glib2 2.46.2 stack, a move of Mariadb to the 10 series, Perl 5.22.0 stack, Linux 4.2.6, all Texlive packages updated to their 2015 versions, Qt 5.5.1 and systemd 228." At this time, KaOS supports booting in UEFI-enabled machines, but does not support the Secure Boot feature. Further information on KaOS 2015.11 can be found in the project's release notes.
Oracle Linux 7.2
Oracle has announced the release of Oracle Linux 7.2. Oracle Linux is built from Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code and is designed to be binary compatible with Red Hat's product. Oracle Linux 7.2 ships with two kernels, a "Red Hat Compatible Kernel" and Oracle's "Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel", and by default the latter is booted. "We're happy to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 Update 2, the second update release for Oracle Linux 7. You can find the individual RPM packages on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and the Oracle Linux Yum Server and ISO installation images are available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Oracle Linux 7 Update 2 ships with the following kernel packages: Red Hat Compatible Kernel (kernel-3.10.0-327.el7) for x86-64; Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) Release 3 (kernel-uek-3.8.13-98.6.1.el7uek) for x86-64. By default, both the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel and the Red Hat Compatible Kernel are installed and the system boots the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel." Further information on this release can be found in Oracle's release announcement. The distribution can be downloaded from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (requires registration). At this time the update has not been pushed to Oracle's download mirrors.
Kwort Linux 4.3
David Cortarello has announced the release of Kwort Linux 4.3, the latest stable built from the project developing a lightweight, CRUX-based distribution with Openbox and a custom package manager called kpkg: "A new version of Kwort available, this one is 4.3. Get it while it's hot! As always, we remain fast, stable and simple and now we have grown up a little to include a lot of Linux firmware available for tons of devices. As usual, everything has been built cleanly and from scratch. The most significant technical aspects are: Linux kernel 4.1.13; new kpkg version providing exclusion support during upgrades (to avoid upgrading configuration files); Chromium 47.0.2526.69 (beta); the init scripts are more unified now with start-stop-daemon. As usual, we want to thank the people helping the project: the infrastructure providers, the people from PGHosting for the package mirror and development environment in the UNR; the CRUX folks for developing it as it's Kwort's base...." Visit the distribution's home page to read the release announcement.
MakuluLinux 10 "Aero"
Jacque Montague Raymer has announced the release of MakuluLinux 10. The new version, which is built from Debian and Ubuntu packages, ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment and a theme designed to make former Windows users feel at home. "Makulu kicks off the 10 series with the release of the Aero Edition, built from the ground up it offers the end users everything they have asked for, a Linux edition that has a similar look and feel to the familiar Windows environment and is ready to use straight out of the box, not only does it make it comfortable and easy for Windows users to jump ship, but its extremely fast, stable, and extensively tested for many months." MakuluLinux 10 "Aero" ships with version 3.19 of the Linux kernel and Cinnamon 2.6. Further information on this release can be found in the release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Web browser extensions
Web pages have become increasingly complex over the years. Websites these days tend to display a lot of different elements in various formats with websites pulling in content from third-party locations. Our web browsers are called on to display text, images and video, display ads, provide interactive content and run plug-ins.
With all of this complexity, and the large amount of data travelling across the Internet, some people have chosen to simplify their web browsing experience using browser extensions. Some of these extensions block ads, others try to prevent website from tracking them, others disable scripts. Extensions like Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere from the Electronic Frontier Foundation have become particularly popular.
This week we would like to know if you use browser extensions to simplify your browser experience or to prevent sites from tracking you. Please let us know what your favourite extensions are in the comments.
You can see the results of last week's poll on encumbered media codecs here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Web browser extensions
|I use one privacy/security extension: ||350 (22%)|
| I use multiple privacy/security extensions: ||1010 (63%)|
| I do not use privacy/security extensions: ||220 (14%)|
| My browser is not compatible with these extensions: ||19 (1%)|
| Browsing in text mode addresses my concerns: ||15 (1%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Iro. Iro is a live distribution for artists, graphic designers and videographers. Iro is based on Ubuntu 15.10 and runs on 64-bit x86 processors.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 7 December 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)
- Michael DeGuzis of Libre Geek (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • security extension (by Bill S. on 2015-11-30 01:12:57 GMT from North America) |
I use DuckDuckGo w/ Adblock Plus and Ghostery.. Couldn't live without them. lol
2 • poll (by pcninja on 2015-11-30 01:16:49 GMT from North America)
I use multiple privacy/security extensions.
I use uBlock Origin, Encrypted Web (fork of HTTPS-everywhere), NoScript, and uMatrix.
3 • NetBSD's Rumpkernel (by flies on 2015-11-30 01:53:00 GMT from Asia)
NetBSD also has something very similar to Qubes, which is Rumpkernel. it is a very small kernel which can run in userland.
4 • Browser Extensions (by Michael on 2015-11-30 01:54:58 GMT from Oceania)
I use AdBlock Plus, Flagfox, ImTranslator, save-to-read and for searches I use ixquick. All useful from time-to-time but the first 2 essential.
5 • Extentions (by Marv on 2015-11-30 02:03:52 GMT from North America)
I Use AdBlock Plus, Ghostery and Web Of Trust.
6 • How about old/legacy DEs/WMs? (by kneekoo on 2015-11-30 02:18:04 GMT from Europe)
Nice reviews. I was disappointed about the issues of Qubes 3.0 on your test environment. I don't know if it was a hardware problem but I hoped to get more information about the distro without having to test it on my own.
"Knoppix 7.6.0 -- Running the KDE desktop" <- the screenshot shows LXDE
How about interviewing the developers of old and legacy Desktop Environments about their DEs and their adoption and relevance today?
Trinity DE, MATE, Enlightenment and Openbox would be good starters for the following questions:
1. Where do you stand with the development (bugs, features, requests)?
2. How satisfied are you with the current state of the project?
3. How did you manage to keep a balance between resource consumption and users' demands?
4. Are you satisfied with the adoption rate of your project and what do you think could rapidly change that for the better?
5. Name a few big distros having your project available in the default repositories.
6. Do you feel the need for a more modern/appealing look of the DE/WM?
7. Do you envision something big or radical in the project's future 5 years from now?
7 • Interviewing developers (by Jesse on 2015-11-30 02:34:20 GMT from North America)
>> "How about interviewing the developers of old and legacy Desktop Environments about their DEs and their adoption and relevance today?"
I would love to do that. Unfortunately it is difficult to get developers to return e-mails requesting an interview. On average only about one in ten responds at all and, of those, not all want to answer questions.
That being said, if any developers want to talk about their projects, desktop environment or otherwise, I am happy to hear from them.
8 • KaOS / Calamares (by Reuben on 2015-11-30 02:35:28 GMT from North America)
I tried the KaOS image in VirtualBox. All I got was a python error after starting the installation. So I was not able to test out KaOS itself. It also lacks many features. I like the idea of several distributions cooperating on a single installer, but it's simply not ready yet.
9 • Here are the Firefox add-ons I can't live without: (by Brian_H on 2015-11-30 02:40:18 GMT from North America)
Here are the Firefox add-ons I can't live without:
Adblock Plus - Been using this for at least 10 years Be sure to disable the "let a few ads slip through" option.
Classic Theme Restorer - Banishes Mozilla's awkward Australis GUI theme.
DictionarySearch - Allows you to right click on a word and get a dictionary definition. Handy!
Download Youtube Videos as MP4 - Adds a download button to Youtube video webpages. Allows you to download YT videos as regular files and watch them anytime offline.
Load Tabs Progressively Fixed - Just as the name suggests, it throttles the number of webpages that load simultaneously. Absolutely fantastic on older computers and something all web browsers should have implemented years ago.
Middle Click To Go Back - Re-maps your middle mouse button as a "go back to previous webpage" button. Been surfing the web this way ever since I bought my first wheel mouse back in 1999. Back then I had to use Microsoft's Intellimouse software to remap the middle mouse button.
NoScript - Another one of those essential add-ons to keep the non-sense on webpages from getting out of hand. Really helps lighten the processing burden on old computers.
Smoothwheel - This add-on replaces the native smooth-scrolling on Firefox. It's smoothes out screen scrolling better and uses less processing power. I use the "1/3 page" step size.
X-notifier - Adds a button to the toolbar that fetches your webmail from several services such as Gmail, Hotmail, etc
10 • @1 (by Dr.Chimpanski on 2015-11-30 03:53:37 GMT from Europe)
DuckGo is tracking and it is not fast as it used to be 4-5 years ago.
Yandex is faster.
(We at work call it DuckF..kGo and the avatar speaks pages for itself)
Have funn using it.
PS: In the past (years ago) DuckFGo was not tracking but that has changed :)
11 • @10 DuckDuckGo (by linuxista on 2015-11-30 04:51:07 GMT from North America)
I use DDG and was surprised by your assertion that DDG tracks. I searched around...
and couldn't find any evidence of it. Can you point out what has changed about their tracking policy and where you got the information?
12 • Privacy-Security & KaOS 2015.10? (by NuBee on 2015-11-30 05:20:36 GMT from North America)
Privacy-Security: DuckDuckGo, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, Better Privacy.
KaOS 2015.10: On my desktop, when trying to boot into the live DVD option, I keep getting a reboot "loop". Any ideas what is causing this? Thanks.
13 • AddOns (by noOne on 2015-11-30 05:52:40 GMT from Europe)
I use different stages of content filtering and all my add-ons are 100% FOSS:
- HTTPS Everywhere
- uBlock Origin (with Disconnect block lists enabled) <-- block list filter
- Privacy Badger <-- filter based on algorithms
- NoScript <-- disable scripts
- Request Policy Continued <-- prevent sites from chainloading contents from other sites
14 • µblock origin not adblockplus (by Frederic Bezies on 2015-11-30 07:48:26 GMT from Europe)
I was a long time user of adblockplus. But I switched to µblockorigin and it is far.
Not really fancy to set up, but powerful. I was using also disconnect, but as long as disconnect list are used with µblock origin... :)
Speaking of privacy badger ? Well, it used to work on my nightlies of Firefox. Not anymore :(
15 • browser privacy & security add-ons & DDG (by M.Z. on 2015-11-30 08:09:50 GMT from North America)
In Firefox I use the following privacy & security add-ons:
I leave all but WOT turned off in Opera 33, but I only use that for a few select sites that I trust & want to help out via full proper page views. It's sort of a gratuity for sites I like because as I understand it this helps pay for things far better than page visits with full blockers enabled, whether you click the ads or not (I never do).
@10/Dr.Chimpanski & 11
I use DuckDuckGo for nearly all my searches & agree with #11, which is to say any claims against DDG should be backed up with evidence. I find it to be a fast & competent search alternative & don't appreciate spurious accusations (which of course could be valid if backed with actual evidence). If you're going to make such a claim by all means tell us why you believe such or thing, or better why any reasonable individual should believe some accusation posted on the web rather than the stated policy of DuckDuckGo.
16 • Browser extensions (by Someguy on 2015-11-30 08:33:34 GMT from Europe)
Don't bother. Ads pay for the success of 'free' software. Apart from which, my friends credit me with being immune to hyper-suggestion, subliminal persuasion, overt blasts, and most other mind-infiltration attempts. Besides, I might miss something....
17 • Ad block encourages ignorance. (by Greg Zeng on 2015-11-30 09:00:02 GMT from Oceania)
Please do not allow the paranoid to control the internet. Experts dealing with users of DuckDuckGo, adblockers, etc are upset with ignorance of these users. In some medical areas, so many are unaware of the popular commercial advertisers, their services, products and end-user guides.
Cookies and web-scripts help web users better their internet life so much that I'm very puzzled why the paranoid dare look a the internet. They do not want the internet to help them be sensitive to the end-users needs.
Adblocks, etc are always used in my case, but I do allow Google ads to appear. HTTPS etc were too damaging and restrictive to my use of the internet.
Generally I like web browsers with very many add-ons and extensions. So Safari, Internet Explorer, & Midori are too simple for a modern web user IMHO. But this issue is off-topic to this week's survey.
18 • Browser add-ons (by Ghost Sixtyseven on 2015-11-30 09:33:46 GMT from Europe)
On Firefox I use:
uBlock Origin - previously I used AdBlock Plus
19 • Browser extensions (by John on 2015-11-30 10:13:47 GMT from Europe)
As an old Opera user, I just moved to a Free browser that has everything built-in, Fifth :)
- built-in ad blocking: check
- built-in HTML5 video downloading: check
- traditional good UI: check
- can disable JS per-site or per-tab: check
- doesn't track you or send anything anywhere: check
- fully Free Software: check
It doesn't support add-ons, everything is implemented in native C++. Too bad it's not really packaged in most distros.
20 • Multiply Browsers (by GrzegorzW on 2015-11-30 15:34:53 GMT from North America)
With Firefox I only use AdBolock Plus, but I don;'t care too much when doing some shoppings or reading news or reading distrowatch or LWN - who. My approach is following: use dirrefent browsers for different purposes.
- For reading technical documentation guides etc. (including offline in /usr/share/doc) I use Konqueror - because it is integrated with KDE sessions and after reboot opens where I finished.
- For on-line banking I SOLELY use QupZilla, and I DON"T USE this browser for anything ELSE.
- For all other, free browsing, shopping etc. I use Firefox.
In addition I keep my sensitive information in files encrypted using encfs, and I decrypt folder only when I need this information and unmount it imadiately after I used it. When using those files I avoid doing anything else on computer I typically doing it just after system boot.
I'm aware that this may be is not top enterprise security, but as relativly normal, not rich ;) user it mekes me feel quite secure.
BTW: Answering Nix question from last week: Nix creates /nix folder and installs all software into this folder. So yes installing LibreOffice pulls down to /nix entire X.org and even glibc. But htis is only with first program, next ones uses already installed nix delendencies. Otherwords - nix create kind of paralel software stack when used on not NixOS system.
21 • Web browser extensions (by Fernando Santucci on 2015-11-30 15:39:49 GMT from South America)
I do not use privacy/security extensions:
Why? Because if the Youtube content providers run out of coins dropping into their pockets, soon YouTube will also start charging the public to watch your content and will transform the Internet on the same cable model with paid access and advertising.
However, I preserve my privacy with the following actions:
* Using Firefox as default browser;
* Using DuckDuckGo the default search engine on the desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone;
* Not using Google Chrome browser;
22 • #21 (by jadecat09 on 2015-11-30 16:01:24 GMT from Europe)
I do not use privacy/security extensions:
Why? Because if the Youtube content providers run out of coins dropping into their pockets, soon YouTube will also start charging the public to watch your content and will transform the Internet on the same cable model with paid access and advertising.
The exact same reason I will not use Adblock/Adblock Plus.
23 • Browser privacy extensions / KaOS (by Will B on 2015-11-30 18:55:30 GMT from North America)
I use PrivacyBadger and uBlock Origin, and use DuckDuckGo for my search engine.
Here's the deal (@22, for example)...I *want* to help support sites I frequent by allowing them to show me ads, but with all of the crazy stuff going on with ad networks, and because I'm autistic and most of these ads are crazy distracting, I use PB and uBlock Origin. Because of my sensory issues, I just can't read an article with an animated gif anywhere within sight...it just messes me up too much.
== KaOS ==
I've tried KaOS in live mode and I really like it, although it's a little too 'heavy' resource-wise for my tastes. Wayland didn't work right for me, either. I tried a Wayland session and my screen went all nutzo...reminded me of the old days when trying to get CGA/EGA/VGA going with early Windows and Linux ;-)
24 • NetBSD review (by email@example.com on 2015-11-30 22:55:20 GMT from Europe)
Nice to see you have reviewed the latest NetBSD release. NetBSD is really an interesting project; why ? Take a look to the website, handbook, system installer as Jessie has reviewed: all of those are 'old', 'incomplete', 'complicate'; that's it ; nobody cares about NetBSD.. take a look of DWW comment.. nobody are taking about NetBSD. Amen.
But, who cares? Are you a UNIX guru, are you not? Who cares, again. NetBSD is a beautiful niche where cool people can publish good source code or good documentation for the handbook. Really, get NetBSD a try: join the mailing list and contribute. Surely, you will see your name printed in a couple of NetBSD project. Take it different, take NetBSD.
25 • reasonable ads (by M.Z. on 2015-11-30 23:16:23 GMT from North America)
@21/22 - unilateral disarmament is stupid
I agree that there are lots of nice websites that provide useful services & deserve ad revenue; however, there are also sites I like that use giant pop over ads & a vast array of sites I'm unsure of. Why not block bad behavior that I don't want to put up with? If there were an easy solution that made everyone happy & created both happy web surfers & revenue for websites I'd go for it. Sadly bad behavior exists, as does excessive tracking, so I will continue to block things in my default browser while giving sites I like a try in another unblock browser after looking trying them in Firefox w/ blockers.
I honestly don't think blockers would even exist if some companies hadn't gone too far in their quest for profit. Now they have millions of power users blocking them & millions more threatening to do the same. If the online ad agencies behave well the trend may well reverse, but they need to change in order to earn back the trust of users.If I never see another pop over ad in an unblocked website & receive feed back from reliable sources that websites aren't doing excessive tracking, then I'll start removing add-ons to block such behavior. I would like to see it happen, but I'm not going to roll over & let them destroy my web browsing experience for their profit. Maybe some are lucky enough never to have see some of the giant annoying ad; however, form my perspective unilateral disarmament is stupid, because it only encourages bad behavior.
26 • Uninformed NetBSD Review (by Oko on 2015-12-01 01:45:39 GMT from North America)
NetBSD review as it stands does more harm than good to already vulnerable NetBSD project. Namely ZFS has been "experimental file system" in NetBSD for a number of years now. The truth of the matter is that if the core wanted to have ZFS they would have it many years ago. The truth of the matter is that core doesn't want it and we my argue if the 64-bit kitchen sink volume manager/file system in one is appropriate for the project which prides itself with being portable and light. However NetBSD indeed has a pure gem of a file system WAPBL which is the best thing after the slice of bread if you play with embedded hardware. It also has seldom advertised Xen Dom0 support (not sure how that would be relevant for desktop crowd frequenting Distro Watch) besides great regression testing tools and few other things like famous pkgsrc. Whether it has anything to offer to a typical desktop users is a different story. What is more worrisome project has been on steep decline for a number of years and has less and less to offer even to hardcore UNIX users besides ability to run on retro hardware.
27 • Browser extensions & BSD distributions (by Frosch on 2015-12-01 03:02:23 GMT from Europe)
I use Qwant as my default search engine, for better privacy, and I use uBlock Origin as add blocker, which is very nice.
I liked your review of NetBSD. I wonder however how many people use it as a daily-use desktop system. I can't see many advantages of doing so. It may work fine, but most apps available are not very up to date, and configuring the system is quite difficult compared to most desktop operating systems. You did not tell much about setting up Xfce, but I read the tutorial you followed and it is not very easy for the average desktop user. So I think the only people running NetBSD as a desktop must be NetBSD developers or people using it daily as a server or for special tasks, who are accustomed to it and want to use the same OS on their desktop.
In my opinion, FreeBSD is better for desktop use. DragonFly can be good as well, since it has access to the huge FreeBSD ports. DragonFly 4.4 is upcoming, you should review it when it is out :)
28 • Extensions (by a on 2015-12-01 03:24:28 GMT from Europe)
Way too many extensions…
For privacy/security: Ghostery, NoScript, uBlock Origin, Cookie Controller, BetterPrivacy, RefControl, Privacy Badger (not sure if useful), HTTPS Everywhere, Web of trust (that one is mostly useless, annoying or even misleading).
Can’t live without: Stylish (to make the web dark).
Others: Greasemonkey (to improve/fix a couple sites, and for ViewTube which prevents youtube videos from starting automatically), Screen Dimmer, Classic Theme Restorer, Autohide RSS Icon, Classic Toolbar Buttons, Context Search, Copy Pure Text, Downloads Window, Fire Gestures, GNotifier, DownThemAll (downloads manager), Lazarus Form Recovery, Linkification, NoSquint, Status-4-Evar, Switch to tab no more, Tab Mix Plus, Tabs on bottom.
29 • Extensions (PS) (by a on 2015-12-01 03:26:32 GMT from Europe)
Oh that was for Firefox. And I also use ixquick as a search engine.
30 • Web Browser Extensions (by Rick on 2015-12-01 03:48:08 GMT from North America)
Not really an extension, but I use a 'host' file from http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm. Easy. Blocks most stuff (which is all I really care about). Imperceptible performance hit. No extra network traffic to do it job.
31 • NetBSD (by Mitt on 2015-12-01 08:36:45 GMT from Europe)
I use NetBSD on my desktop and here's what I like about it:
- really HUGE amount of documentation on their site, it is organised, of high quality, man pages are more comprehensive than in Linux, pretty much everything you google will point you to either the site or mailing lists;
- tons of different packages in pkgsrc repositories (by the way, pkgsrc is ported to all Unix'es, including OS X and Linux), among these packages there is GNOME 2 (!!!);
- binary compatibility with older releases, which means, binaries that you've made ten years ago will work without recompiling (mostly);
- the same NetBSD across all platforms, including some exotic, like toaster;
- friendly community, every question gets its answer, folks are always ready to help, no flamewars and no guttermouths;
- it's one of the most traditional Unix'es, almost completely a POSIX compliant;
- the license which is clear and easy to understand without a lawyer.
32 • browser add ons... (by tom joad on 2015-12-01 14:06:33 GMT from Europe)
Over the years I have become a privacy-aholic over the years.
I use noscripts, adblock, ghostery pretty consistently. I use ixquick too. I use tor most of the time. I spook my MAC address. I have asked for a protonmail.com account. I just learned about them a few days ago. They are fast growing so I will have to wait to see if I can get in. I make sure all my accounts are available to TOR or Tails including online storage.
I will be ditching Yahoo everything ASAP.
The folks 'out there' just don't have the need to know.
33 • Browser Extensions + NIX (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-01 14:12:15 GMT from Europe)
OS=Debian7Linux, desktop=XFCE4, browser=Chromium, privacy=uBlock Origin + HTTPS Everywhere.
@20 thanks for the NIX info, I guessed it must have been something like that. I was looking at GUIX [GNUs adaptation of NIX] as a way into using their "distro", but the complexity turned me off. My search for a ready-made distro kit continues [not LFS!].
34 • Browser Extensions (by wrkerr on 2015-12-01 14:50:29 GMT from North America)
I browse with Firefox and I search with DuckDuckGo.
On the desktop I use Adblock Plus (while allowing exceptions for non-intrusive ads), Privacy Badger, and HTTPS Everywhere.
On mobile, I also use the HTTPS Everywhere extension. Privacy Badger isn't yet supported on Firefox Mobile for Android, so there I turn on Firefox's new built in tracking protection (privacy.trackingprotection.enabled). This is essentially a clone of Disconnect's functionality, which isn't as intelligent as Privacy Badger but has a similar effect. On my rooted Android devices I use AdAway instead of Adblock Plus, but on the devices I won't root, I still use the Adblock Plus browser extension.
35 • Webrowser extensions that work well. (by H. Hornblower on 2015-12-01 19:52:45 GMT from North America)
[Self Destructing Cookies] removes the website cookies that accumulates during every online visit. This browser extension really removes the tracking cookies within 15 seconds after every website cookie is strored at the computer system's operating system installed browser folders. Have tested this with multiple versons of LinuxOS, Win 7, and Win 8.1. Note that some variants of Firefox browsers like IceWeasel and Seamonkey did not allow web browser extension (add ons) to install.
[Print Edit] is a wonderful print preview utility for Firefox browsers.
This browser extension really allows the user to preview an HTML or PDF document online web page, edit each unwanted web page element before removing said elements, and then allows the user to save as PDF format, or print out to Laser or Inkjet printer. This action saves a lot of Laser toner powder and Inkjet ink fluid. No more extraneous distraction from the printed documents. This worked well for LinuxOS, Win 7 and Win 8.1.
Favorite Firefox browser search engines include the https://www.duckduckgo.com
Users wanting more privacy should visit mostly "https" websites when available instead of the usual "http" websites.
Best yet inquire and query the website host and personnel whether they have an "absolute secured" data and application mainframe that has no operating systems installed to any permanent memory storage hardware. This means using only the "light speed" Magneto-optical drives that have no re-write capability once the data is "snapshoted" which is impossible to hack by humans and impossible to hack by any cybernetic means.
This way enabling the stored data to be impossible to alter and corrupt. Access times are in the "atto seconds" which also enables "quantum relativity fuzzy logic" type of dynamic amorphous poly-dimensional encryption with this type of storage device. SSD and USB (Static RAM) are too slow, not reliable after several sustained passes, and not have good longevity for the price paid. Keep it simple and compatible.
36 • Holy Tinfoil! (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-12-01 20:50:30 GMT from North America)
"Magneto-Optical (CD-MO) technology allows tracks to be erased and rewritten on 12cm CDs that are rated to allow millions of rewrites. These drives use two heads (one to write and the other to erase), in a double-pass process. System information may be permanently written in a small, premastered area, but the rest of the area is available for recording, and re-recording many times." Brought to you by Philips & Sony in 1990.
37 • @11 linuxista & @15 M.Z. (by Dr.Chimpanski on 2015-12-02 03:06:04 GMT from Europe)
@11 The Information on DDG Website is all nice written. Thank you for pasting it over, for all of us to look at. (You will not find anything there regarding uncomfortable privacy data).
(Also. Statements like , they would face serious consequences if abusing their policy is the same o same o...No consequences will ever happen. You use this thing and if you find little thing, what will you do? Pay an attorney on some one who has good Intention, creating a private Browser, yet nothing is perfect?)
Almost every VPN service acts this way to, but it is not always the way its written.
It is written also that USA is a free Country..
Coming back to DDG;
Now, yes some basic check on privacy by using this Search engine shows greater privacy compare to Google we admit that. Strong TLS encryption
managed by DigiCert Inc. This company has very good reputation. Those 2 Companies located in the US. Good good now Is DDG hanging in the Air suspended from Gravity? Not really , do they use any servers? Amazon maybe? Another US Company.
DDG do not operate their own data-center, but instead are “hosted”. Could there be some SSL decryption key installed? (Easy!)
Sorry about our harsh first comment (10), it was written little under time pressure.
No precise technical data will be shown here, nor do exist any on our hardware.
No need to spoon feed anybody. Fact is that we are done with this Search engine and from 5 years
ago are not missing anything by not using it.
You like using DDG, be happy using it and have blast. Have some what peace of mind you are not being tracked as heavy , maybe like any other Search engine do the tracing. We wish them all the best , especially as it is very hard to come up with the financial in order to maintain the existence.
We like: Ixquick / Google / Yandex / Bing and many others, just alternating. Never sticking to one.
There is no search engine really out there publicly available that is anonymous or you name it all you want. The Bills must be payed by some one.
@15 You are all right. Sure it would make the comment (10) more credible if shown some technical data to back it up. There is no intention to do that either. Do what you want to do and believe. But it is not always possible to spoon feed Information as you and others would love to see. The test was done some what 5 years ago and we do not have precise data on our hardware anymore, . We are simply done with DDG. Our decision. No further discussion is being taken on this subject anymore.
As far as Add blocking software we like to add, that we use Add block and we turn it off on content, we like to support. However if even on content we support and like, if the Adds start to be animation alike and annoying or on you tube one 30 Min. Video clip starts displaying Adds every
5Min. Then the Add block is turned back on in no time. So much for that.
On Distrowatch We have partial disabled the Add blocker (not only one is installed), so view ADDS make it through and those do not bother at all, as long we do not see the naked Girls from Dating Advertising we are all good.
Also people, please stop writing with all the (naive) good intention what Browser extensions
(Addons) you use , because this Website is not being read by only the good people so to speak. You start being very naive, in giving way to much Info. Am sure Advertising companies and who knows what other Institutions, just now read what you have given them for free with probably big pleasure.
38 • Web browser extensions and annoying ads (by Thomas Mueller on 2015-12-02 03:07:38 GMT from North America)
I had the problem with Firefox or Seamonkey that whenever I visited a commercial web site such as tigerdirect.com or staples.com, I would subsequently get a bombardment of ads from those businesses on other web sites, even distrowatch.com. I had the feeling of being stalked online. I found in the privacy settings the option to block third-party cookies, and that stopped all those ads from businesses whose web site I had recently or previously visited without compromising browser functionality on sites that require cookies such as online banking. I still avoid clicking on ads that go through a third-party advertiser such as anything with doubleclick.net or googleadservices.com (among others). I prefer to go to the desired website directly rather than a third-party advertiser.
39 • netbsd (by Tim Dowd on 2015-12-02 21:29:05 GMT from North America)
I am a fan of NetBSD and use it weekly (it keeps my old iMacG4 working.)
I've got XFCE 4 installed and mostly run X clients tunnelled over ssh from one of my Debian boxes.
This is not a flame on NetBSD because I really love it, but do you really find it the best choice for desktop use?
As Jessie said above, keeping the system up to date is quite a chore. It's not impossible but it's not straightforward.
Also, just because GNOME2 is in pkgsrc doesn't mean you can build it. There's a lot of dependencies that are broken at this point as they've moved on. I've failed to complete a build on both PowerPC 32 and i386.
I love that NetBSD is here for exotic hardware (like my iMacG4, which no modern Linux distro supports (its got a graphics card that requires the nv driver instead of nouveau) and I think it's a great choice for a server or a computer without X. I'm impressed that you've got it up to speed for desktop use and I'm curious why that's your choice.
Again, not a criticism. I really enjoy tinkering with it too.
40 • Gnome 2 & DDG (by M.Z. on 2015-12-03 04:24:25 GMT from North America)
@31/39 - Gnome 2
It does seem odd to get hyped up about Gnome 2 at this point. I get not liking Gnome 3, but of course Mate is widely available, actively supported, & a direct copy/replacement for Gnome 2. Why not use Mate instead if you like Gnome, because as #39 indicates, there are likely to be a lot more problems in something depreciated like Gnome 2. I prefer other alternatives, but Mate does seem nice from the time I've used it.
@37 - DDG
So you have no good reason for the negativity against DuckDuckGo. Why not just say you prefer another search engine instead of being pointlessly negative & tossing FUD? That sort of thing is in bad taste.
41 • @39 @40 (by Mitt on 2015-12-03 09:06:18 GMT from Europe)
First of all, I have a working desktop with GNOME2. I didn't meet any broken dependencies, but I installed package by package maybe that's why. Anyway, I enjoy Xfce as well.
Mate is not available in pkgsrc. GNOME2 is *much more* stable than 3; it's still in CentOS 6, by the way, which is supported until 2020. But for sure, Mate is somewhat enhanced GNOME2. I pointed it, because, for example, in Debian 7/8/Sid, if you will try to install GNOME2 (not Mate), you'll break everything, because libraries are incompatible (I've tried it hehe), and it is not recommended anyway.
Keeping the system up-to-date is quite simple, a command to update repositories, and a couple of commands to upgrade pkgsrc. It's usable, everything is pretty straightforward.
Of course, it's a matter of taste. I've tried a dozen of different distributions, Linux or BSD, user-friendly or for more advanced users, and comparing to them I'd say it's one of my most favourite choices so far.
42 • security extensions (by GreginNC on 2015-12-03 10:19:22 GMT from North America)
I use NoScript, HappyBonobo - both webrtc and mime types, Ghostery, HTTPS Everywhere, BetterPrivacy, Blender, Self-Destructing Cookies and last but not least Flashblock. A couple of those have overlapping funtionality but I disabled those in one so there would be no likely conflicts.
43 • i'm glad it works (by Tim Dowd on 2015-12-03 21:34:26 GMT from North America)
Your last statement (it's a matter of taste and it's my favorite) is pretty much what matters. I really enjoy using it too and I find it's a good learning tool.
The machines I use it on are really resource limited so building is a hassle for me, but that's just my use case. There are many use cases and thus room for many distros! I was honestly just curious about your use.
44 • Mint site down (by Firstserve Netter on 2015-12-04 01:46:46 GMT from North America)
For two days there has been a message at the Mint website that they know the site is down, that they are working on it, and that they expect to be up tomorrow. Anyone know what is going on?
45 • #44 Mint down (by zykoda on 2015-12-04 07:51:55 GMT from Europe)
Hard drive failure muted, but unconfirmed.
46 • #44 further (by zykoda on 2015-12-04 07:57:37 GMT from Europe)
47 • Release cycles.. (by Jordan on 2015-12-04 18:49:57 GMT from United States)
I just saw this phrase at Keith Curtis' bloggy site, reviewing Arch's latest release:
"..I think Arch is a great OS for the desktop where things are evolving so quickly, and each component has its own release cycle."
Eh.. this whole notion has me puzzled about the Windows vs Linux thing.. I'm not
geeky (smart) enough to know how much of the Windows updates are "component"
updates and how much are .. other stuff ("security," and all that.. yeah I know
about the id numbers they assign to each update but a lot of that info seems
cryptic to me and a lot seems like it could be lies). I also obviously do not know
what the Linux updates really entail, although I see the list when alerted.
Mint alerts me to updates now and then and I look at them and run them and see
that it's components in the system, and yeah I do keep wondering just what is at
the base of all this.. why do components in a good distro need to be updated at all.
What is evolving? Degenerating? I know that evil hackers want to exploit certain
ports etc, so security has to be patched for that. But what's the rest of it about?
48 • Release cycles (by M.Z. on 2015-12-04 21:46:19 GMT from North America)
@47 - Linux release models
I think Windows is like FreeBSD & has updates to the core system separated from other updates to a far greater extent than most versions of Linux. There is some similarity between old Windows service packs & updates like Red Hat 7.1, but high stability distros like RHEL & Debian tend to have a lot fewer updates to all their packages & get bug fixes rather than new features. This is in part because all software in the default repos of such distros is treated more like a piece of the entire OS as a whole, while other systems like Windows are only concerned with their core OS & a handful of components like Internet Explorer that are treated as 'in house' items. For stable versions of Linux the work on testing & validation of software is done my distro makers because those using the distro want some sort of assurance that they are getting more than fly by night small open source software projects in a stable OS. When you get RHEL you get their Quality Assurance/QA system on thousands of pices of software that are in the default Red Hat repos & have one point of contact for all that software. Of course with Windows such business have MS to help with a few things, but most other software is commercial & supported by independent vendors.
This stable release model is great for businesses that want reliable software backed by a name they can trust like Red Hat, but some desktop users, especially certain power users, want what is hot & new so they use a rolling release distro. That it what Arch & other rolling distros are for. They are far more experimental & tend to either be supported by an independent non-commercial group like Arch or are upstream of a stable project like Fedora Rawhide (upstream of Fedora & Red Hat). Some rolling distros will aggressively roll out updates that would be akin to service packs in a very rapid fashion & I hear Fedora Rawhide in particular tends to break things a lot with buggy updates. Others rolling distros, like PCLinuxOS, are slower to update base components, but in either care you are more reliant on upstream projects & their QA system & don't have as much of the extra layer of protection/cover a commercial entity can provide an IT department. For some home users this doesn't matter, but other are happy to jump on something like Debian because they aren't interested in hot new software.
Anyway that is my understanding of the different Linux release models & why they exist. In either care you get both bug fixes & security updates, but if you get a rolling distro you get more features faster. For instance with PCLinuxOS you get the latest version of Firefox by default, while Debian, & presumably RHEL, use something like the Firefox ESR, (or the identical Debian Iceweasel), for their default browser.
49 • How many $$ to download the RoboLinux 8.4 installer? (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-04 22:00:08 GMT from North America)
Just read the announcement which says that RoboLinux provides free download live distros, but one has to pay to get the installer to put it on a computer for real.
Then I went to the RoboLinux web site and was unable to find out how much the charge is for the installer. Well, maybe the amount is buried somewhere, like on the installer download page. But the amount sure is not shown prominently.
I have no objection to paying for software. Maybe it's me, but I like to know up front and in advance how much I might have to pay for the installer or any other software. Or a used car, for that matter.
Since the RoboLinux web site is moot on the amount of the installer charge, I guess won't download it and try it live. Pity. I may be missing out on something wonderful, although I find the default fighter jet desktop is a bit off-putting.
50 • Mint is good now (by M.Z. on 2015-12-04 23:19:36 GMT from North America)
They got everything back up & Mint 17.3 shipped. It looks like a good release, & I especially like the sound of the new & improved software sources tool. It has always looked like a killer feature that put Mint ahead of the pack & now it's got even better location based sorting. They also got LibreOffice 5 in the upgrade. I hope the KDE release goes far smoother though, give the website problems.
51 • Release cycles.. @48 M.Z. (by Jordan on 2015-12-05 01:36:05 GMT from North America)
Thank you. Your explanation is a keeper.
52 • Browser Extensions (by cykodrone on 2015-12-05 11:03:48 GMT from North America)
I use NoScript and Adblock Plus, that and I have Firefox set to delete everything except passwords on close. I don't use Goggle, haven't for years now, or Snoopbook.
53 • Robolinux (by Jesse on 2015-12-05 14:51:06 GMT from North America)
@49: According to the Robolinux website, the fee is about $3 USD. http://robolinux.org/ROSSF-membership/lxde-v8/
54 • 49 • 53 • Robolinux (by Kragle on 2015-12-05 18:45:30 GMT from North America)
Yes, a minimum of "$3.00 plus .37 cents Paypal fee", which includes one year's monthly "significant upgrade"s - otherwise priced at $1 each for a "Non Member" (running Live only?).
According to another page, each "membership" is specific to a DE (Desktop Environment), such as KDE or Xfce. Each month's "audit" appears to list names and revenues; no expenses are shown.
Still another page notes that a VM tailored to Microsoft Windows version XP or 7 (or 10) requires another "tiny donation". (Use the Microsoft license from the PC you're replacing, right?) Claims of running virus-free are based on keeping a backup VM "mirror clone" copy of all software and data in a separate partition which does not sync while the VM is running. This implies greater storage and performance requirements, of course. Emphasis on Windows malware doesn't consider malware targeting Linux, or browsers (or other apps) on multiple platforms, or time-delay factors. I saw no mention of incremental backups on that page, though compression was mentioned elsewhere.
"Extensive" support or phone support is extra, as is supporting more than one computer or VM. Though a global support team is implied, support is only available during business hours on Eastern Standard Time - or by email? There is a limited FAQ; no wiki or forum was apparent.
While this may not suit everyone, clearly some prefer this pay-as-you-go business model.
55 • @ 53 @54 RoboLinux fees (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-05 22:06:13 GMT from North America)
Well, the good news is that some of the fees are visible somewhere on the RoboLinux web site. The bad news is that they are not too easy to find, and the description of the fees (according to 54) is a little vague.
I don't mind paying for someone's hard work, and software development is darn difficult. But how about a clear and concise easy-to-find table of the amounts charged and what one gets for the money? This does not seem to be asking too much.
56 • Release methods (by M.Z. on 2015-12-05 22:09:44 GMT from North America)
Glad to help. One other important thing I forgot to mention is that all versions of Linux tend to use shared libraries very heavily, while I think this is less the case in Windows. For stable distros it's sort of like having only one go to version of DirectX or Java in Windows & doing updates to fix bugs & security issues. This help create far less bloated software, while something like a PBI in PC-BSD & I think many Windows programs tend to pull in all needed dependencies into a larger software package. These are easier to upgrade without disturbing other software at the previously mentioned cost of bloat. The way things are much more interdependent in most Linux systems helps create the incentive to stay with one version & patch, because if you change on library to support a new program things will be far more likely to break. This is the main reason stable systems like RHEL & Debain are considered by their fans to be less likely to break. In a rolling distro everything has to be carefully managed & timed correctly so as to minimize the chance that a program & dependent library don't end up on incomparable versions which will make things break.
I think that this is really at the core of why stable versions of Linux exist,. It's a space saving measure that has become adopted by most distros which allows the central repos to exist & provide consistent software in smaller packages. Of course nothing prevents you from installing bigger self contained software packages alongside smaller pices of software from the main repos of your distro, & I believe that this is how businesses receive most commercial software fro Linux. If the software is designed correctly & properly self contained you could also install different versions of software alongside things from the default repos, as I did with LibreOffice 5 in my LMDE 2 install. It sits quite happily along side the version of LibreOffice that shipped by default with LMDE, but I think it is a bigger piece of software & it was designed not to hook into the package management system. I think that LO 5 is the only piece of software on my laptop that has to be managed independently/WO a package manager like a Windows program. That's one of the trade offs in big independent self contained software packages vs small interdependent packages.
57 • @56 Shared Libraries (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-06 05:58:36 GMT from North America)
Windows DOES use shared libraries. Badly. With Microsoft having been a 99.0% marketing driven company ever since the intro of Windows 1 in 1985, the care and feeding of DynaLink Libraries (DLLs), Windows' software sharing mechanism, has been chaotic at best, and often disastrous. There have been and continue to be occasions of DLL hell, wherein various versions of the same DLL get in the way of one another. The DLL mess is what happens in software development when either standards are not followed, or they are incomplete or they get changed ad infinitum. Developing software for Windows has always been a very difficult proposition, which is what happens when a single organization has total control over the software environment, and there is no open source.
58 • I should have remembered (by M.Z. on 2015-12-06 12:52:44 GMT from North America)
Now that you mention it, I should have remembered running into 'DLL hell' on some old Windows versions. It really was fairly terrible. PC-BSD PBI are the major alternative.
59 • 57 • 58 • Standards!? (by Kragle on 2015-12-06 17:48:16 GMT from North America)
"when a single organization has total control over the software environment," yet refuses to control vendor pranks (esp. anti-standard "lock-in" strategies), giving both Apple and Linux/BSD market opportunity. (All sorts of authority, yet no responsibility?)
"and there is no open source" was not true. Freed Open-Source brought benefits of competition and standards, and a surge in market growth. Of course, with versions after 7 Microsoft wants to lock users back into a "store" (taking market control back from Google?).
Speaking of "major alternative" to version-hell, how does PC-BSD's PBI stack up to cross-platform ZeroInstall?
Number of Comments: 59
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