| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 639, 7 December 2015
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Over the years the OpenBSD project has become well known for its focus on security. However, the OpenBSD developers have also created many new tools, documentation and utilities which tend to be adopted by other projects. This week we begin with a look at OpenBSD and some of the new features the project's developers have created recently. In our News section we discuss openSUSE's call for project ideas and Linux Mint's website outage. Plus we talk about Enlightenment's latest release which features support for Wayland and tools for monitoring a running Linux system. In our Questions and Answers column we explore how to run Windows software from a Linux live disc and then we share the torrents we are seeding. Plus, we share the distributions released over the past week and introduce DistroWatch's new search features. In our Opinion Poll we ask whether our readers use webmail or run local e-mail clients to access their electronic messages. We wish you all a fantastic 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)
Guarding the gates with OpenBSD 5.8
The OpenBSD project has long held a reputation for producing a secure operating system. The project boasts just two remote security holes reported over a span of about twenty years. It's an impressive accomplishment for the developers and a good indication of why OpenBSD is so often trusted for security oriented tasks like running firewalls. However, the OpenBSD team has been steadily working on other projects too. The team behind OpenBSD also creates the widely used OpenSSH software which is used around the world by system administrators to remotely work on servers and securely transfer files. The OpenBSD project also spawned the LibreSSL software (a replacement for OpenSSL) following the Heartbleed vulnerability. In the latest release of OpenBSD we also saw improvements to the project's lightweight and secure web server (called httpd), the introduction of the doas command (a replace for sudo), a new implementation of the file command and W^X support for i386 processors. The latest version of the operating system, OpenBSD 5.8, also switched to denying root logins in the default installation.
OpenBSD is available for several different architectures and, for the purposes of this review, I decided to try the 64-bit x86 build and run it in a virtual machine. The ISO I downloaded was 220MB in size and, upon booting from the disc, I was presented with a text console where I was asked if I would like to perform a new installation, upgrade an existing copy of OpenBSD, perform a quick "auto-install" or drop to a command shell. I decided my best option was to perform a fresh installation.
OpenBSD's system installer displays a series of prompts on the text console and we type in our answers. Many of the prompts provide a good default option and we can simply press the Enter key to take the default setting. The installer walks us through the steps of getting us to select our keyboard's layout, set the hostname for our computer and configure our network card. The installer supports DHCP and manually supplied network settings for both IPv4 and IPv6. We are asked to provide a password for the root account and we are asked if we would like to run the OpenSSH secure shell service. The installer then asks if we would like to enable graphical desktop software. We then have the option of creating a user account for ourselves. The next section walks us through partitioning the hard drive and OpenBSD's installer will suggest layouts and mount points for us that should work in many cases. We are next asked where OpenBSD's source files are located (in my case on the CD) and we can then select which OpenBSD packages we want to install. The various packages include the base operating system, various kernels, documentation, games and graphical utilities. The operating system's files are copied to our hard drive, after which we are asked to supply our time zone. With all the installer's steps completed we are dropped to a command line where we can reboot the computer.
The first time I went through the installer I took the suggested disk layout on blind faith, which was clearly (in hind-sight) a poor choice. While my 8GB of free space was more than enough room for OpenBSD and all of its components, those 8GB had been divided by the installer into about eight separate partitions (and swap space) which meant there was very little free space under any mount point other than /home. This meant, in brief, I was unable to install new packages or software updates as the space set aside for the root file system and /usr were nearly full following the initial installation. I went back through the installer, performing a fresh installation with fewer mount points and ended up with plenty of room for the operating system and its packages.
OpenBSD 5.8 -- Installing new software packages
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Since I had installed packages with graphical support at install time, my copy of OpenBSD booted to a graphical login screen. From there we can sign into a bare bones window manager where we are given a virtual terminal and workspace switcher. I found that when logged into this graphical environment, OpenBSD used about 120MB of memory in total.
Package management on OpenBSD works in a similar manner to the other members of the BSD family, but is a little different from Linux distributions, so I want to go over it briefly. On OpenBSD the system is divided into the base operating system and third-party software. We can install third-party items, like web browsers, desktop utilities and extra services, using the pkg_add command or through a ports system. Using pkg_add tends to be a lot faster and easier, but it does require that we set an environment variable with the name of the repository mirror we want to use. Fortunately this is all nicely documented for us on the OpenBSD website. I installed a few packages this way and found the pkg_add command line utility handled software for me well. My one issue with pkg_add is that it does not warn the user when a repository mirror has not been set. This means if we run "pkg_add firefox" without specifying a mirror first, pkg_add simply fails without telling us if it is because the package does not exist or it just did not have a mirror to search.
Updates to the base operating system are installed from source code and the OpenBSD website lists available security updates and errata. Since downloading, compiling and installing security patches can be a complex undertaking, there is an unofficial website which supplies binary software updates. The mtier.org website actually supplies a shell script which can be run manually or from a scheduled job that will detect and install binary security updates. I tried this update script and found it worked very well and it makes updating OpenBSD a much faster and more streamlined experience.
One of the reasons I wanted to try this version of OpenBSD was the project's new doas command which is intended to replace sudo. Both commands allow a non-privileged user to perform actions that would normally be restricted to another user such as root. According to the OpenBSD developers, the sudo command's code and configuration file are too complex and the complexity may mean unexpected problems lurk in the sudo code. There is also the risk of an administrator accidentally introducing a security hole in the sudo configuration file due to the complex nature of sudo's configuration syntax. The doas command is not enabled by default, but creating a configuration file for the doas command enables it.
I found I very much appreciated the doas command, its documentation and configuration file. The doas configuration file is much easier to read than sudo's and the available options are well explained. The doas command allowed me to assign root access to a user given the proper password and doas worked as advertised.
I also decided to try out the latest version of OpenBSD's built-in web server, called httpd. The server has a very straight forward configuration file which, for simple websites, makes httpd very attractive when compared next to the Apache web server or nginx. I had to read a little documentation to find out how to properly enable PHP support on the web server, but the steps were straight forward and would be easy to reproduce. In the end, I ended up creating a small website and was happy with the results I got from httpd, whose configuration file was a total of about five lines.
OpenBSD 5.8 -- Testing the httpd web server with Firefox
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A lot of people use OpenBSD as a firewall operating system and I feel the system delivers there. I quite like the PF firewall. I find its syntax easier to read than rules for Linux's iptables and it is easy to set up lists of addresses to ban. Plus I like how straight forward it is to block brute-force attacks against services like OpenSSH. In short, PF on OpenBSD is just like any other service the project creates: it is easy to set up, has a clearly written configuration file and the documentation is useful.
What I really took away from my experience with OpenBSD is something I (and I think others) often forget about OpenBSD and that is: the project values documentation and clean design. I spend a lot of time on Linux which often has poor or non-existent documentation for a lot of services. Too often on GNU/Linux distributions the manual pages are vague and include instructions to find the complete documentation elsewhere. FreeBSD has good documentation, but it is in the project's handbook. OpenBSD is one of the few, perhaps the only, project I can think of that keeps almost all of its documentation in the operating system's manual pages where we can find examples and clear explanations. It's a remarkably pleasant feature.
OpenBSD may be very secure, but I think what sets the operating system apart are its documentation and clean system design. It is so easy to find things and understand the configuration of an OpenBSD system. The file system is organized in a clean and orderly manner. It always takes me a while to get accustomed to using OpenBSD, as for me it is a rare occurrence, but once I get settled in I like how straight forward everything is. I can usually find and configure anything on the system without referring to external documents or searching for answers on-line and that is quite an accomplishment for an operating system where virtually everything is done from the command line.
In short, I was happy with OpenBSD 5.8. I like how httpd is coming together, I like that the installer defaults to disabling root logins, I enjoy working with the PF firewall and doas is such a wonderful replacement to sudo I hope it is widely adopted by other open source projects. This feels like a solid release from the OpenBSD project and I was quite happy using it.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE seeks Summer of Code ideas, Mint's website outage, Enlightenment ships with Wayland support and tips for monitoring Linux
The openSUSE team is already looking ahead to next year's Summer of Code, a program sponsored by Google where the company pays students to work on open source projects. The openSUSE project plans to participate in Google's Summer of Code (GSoC) in 2016 and is looking for a list of things openSUSE users want to see fixed or added to the distribution. "Mentoring is important for the future of open source software and for openSUSE. It introduces students to the culture and practices of open source. It can provide lessons for building interpersonal skills and the results of GSoC produce open-source code, which benefits everyone. openSUSE is actively searching for mentors, students and projects for GSoC as well as administrators for openSUSE's involvement with GSoC. Students are matched with a mentoring organization like openSUSE and given projects to work on over a three-month period, but project ideas must be submitted for openSUSE to take part in GSoC. Ideas can be submitted to openSUSE on the wiki under the GSoC ideas 2016 page." Further information on openSUSE's participation in the Summer of Code program can be found on the project's blog and suggestions can be submitted to openSUSE's wiki.
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Last week fans of Linux Mint had been expecting to witness the launch of Linux Mint 17.3. Instead, visitors to the project's website encountered a message saying the distribution's website was off-line and would be back in a few days. On Friday, a message appeared on the Linux Mint blog explaining what had happened: "I would like to apologize for keeping you in the dark. You probably noticed our website and forums were down and even though it's early December, Linux Mint 17.3 isn't officially out yet. We've been hit by a series of disk issues on our main server and we made a critical mistake which resulted in data loss when trying to solve them. We then discovered our daily backups only covered part of what we lost. We're working day and night to recover the data and to bring everything back to normal." By the weekend most of the project's website was back on-line again and Linux Mint 17.3 had been released.
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A new release of the Enlightenment desktop software was announced last week. The new version, 0.20.0, offers several interesting features, including a new audio mixer gadget and improved FreeBSD support. "The E20 development cycle has come to a close, with 1,890 patches submitted by over 50 developers in the course of 441 days. 25+ reported Coverity analyzer issues and 165 tickets were addressed during this time (based on commit message tagging). I'd like to personally thank everyone who contributed, whether by submitting patches, writing documentation, reporting bugs, or simply providing feedback on IRC." Perhaps the most interesting new feature is full Wayland support. Wayland is the planned replacement for the X display software and support for Wayland is being added to cutting edge distributions such as Fedora and KaOS. Notes on building Enlightenment with Wayland support enabled and using this new feature can be found in this document.
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The Netflix organization sends a lot of data across the Internet and needs to maintain a large and responsive infrastructure. As a result, the company's system administrators need to be able to quickly check on their servers and make sure they are running smoothly. The company recently blogged about some of the monitoring tools they use which are common across most Linux and BSD systems and can be used by people at home. "In 60 seconds you can get a high level idea of system resource usage and running processes by running the following ten commands. Look for errors and saturation metrics, as they are both easy to interpret, and then resource utilization. Saturation is where a resource has more load than it can handle, and can be exposed either as the length of a request queue, or time spent waiting." The blog post covers ten commands for monitoring resource usage and how to use the tools to check a system for common problems.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
WINE and Mono on live media
Seeking-live-distros-with-WINE asks: Today I found myself recovering data from some "dead" storage devices. Of all the tools that I used, the only one that successfully recovered the data was DiskDigger. Although I generally loathe using Windows software, this was borne out of necessity, not even old faithful TestDisk could find the files.
The application runs under Mono and worked very well with my Debian install (LMDE). But it got me thinking: if I was not near a computer running Linux, how could I have run the Mono application (please don't tell me to use Windows!)? I generally carry several USB flash drives containing various live bootable distros, but none of them come with Mono (or WINE) included.
Do you (or any of your DistroWatch readers) know of any current Linux live distro that includes Mono and/or WINE as standard, or is it that those packages are too bloated and problematic for them to work successfully in those circumstances?
DistroWatch answers: While most Linux distributions do not include WINE or Mono with their live media, there are a few exceptions. For people who want to run Windows applications from a live disc using WINE, one of the best options is probably Zorin OS. The Zorin OS distribution is designed specifically with former Windows users in mind and I think WINE is available from their live media. I'm not sure if Mono is included, but their live disc does feature packages with the term "mono" in the packages names.
Another way to go would be to install Mono packages while running the live distribution. Most live distributions will allow you to temporarily install new software packages and run them in memory. So, assuming you have an active Internet connection and the computer you are operating on has a few gigabytes of RAM, you should be able to use the package manager to install the tools you need. Then it will not really matter which distribution you start with, so long as Mono and/or WINE are included in the distribution's package repositories.
I have occasionally had to recover files using a live distribution that does not ship with recovery tools, but I was able to install the items I needed (like TestDisk) and run them from memory. It is not an ideal arrangement, but is a solution that works on almost every distribution.
One last option you might want to look at is creating your own live distribution for future use. Tools like SUSE Studio will help you put together a custom recovery disk that includes the tools you want. That way you can put Mono and WINE on the disc and take it with you wherever you go.
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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: 139
- Total data uploaded: 21.8TB
|Released Last Week
Porteus Kiosk 3.6.0
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the release of Porteus Kiosk 3.6.0, the latest quarterly update of the project's single-purpose Gentoo-based distribution for web kiosks. This release introduces a server edition which designed for monitoring, accessing and managing Porteus Kiosk clients: "I'm pleased to announce that Porteus Kiosk 3.6.0 is now available for download. The new version sums all the development which happened in the last three months. Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.1.13, Mozilla Firefox to version 38.4.0 ESR and Google Chrome to version 46.0.2490.86. Packages from the userland are upgraded to portage snapshot tagged on 20151128. Here is a short overview of the most notable features introduced in this release: implemented support for associating the kiosk clients with Porteus Kiosk Server - our brand new operating system which allows monitoring, accessing and managing the clients even if they are placed behind a NAT, proxy or firewall; added support for injecting or replacing default browser preferences with a text file hosted on the network...." See the release announcement and changelog for a full list of changes and new features.
The developers of Q4OS have announced a new version of the project's Debian-based distribution. Q4OS features the Trinity desktop environment and can work on low-resource hardware. "The Q4OS development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new Q4OS 1.4.4 release. It's the maintenance release of the Q4OS 1.4 'Orion' series, and is built on and improves the previous version. The new Q4OS release ships with brand new update notifier and manager, as well as several different improvements. Update notifier pops up an icon in system tray, when updates are available from system repositories and lets administrator to apply them on request. Other improvements include optimized desktop profiles, fast data transfer from Android devices, broader support for various multimedia formats and more. Bunch of more or less important bug fixes, packages updates and security patches has been delivered as usual." Further information can be found on the project's blog. Builds of Q4OS are available for computers featuring 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors and there is an image of Q4OS for the Raspberry Pi mini computer.
Q4OS 1.4.4 -- Running the Trinity desktop environment
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Simon Long has announced the release of Raspbian 2015-11-21, a new update of the Debian-based distribution made for the Raspberry Pi single-board mini-computer: "Amid all the excitement last week, some people have noticed that we also released an updated Raspbian image, and have been asking what is in it. Obviously, one of the most important features of this image is support for Pi Zero (which is also the main reason we didn't make any fuss about it in advance). But there are a few other small changes which apply to all versions of the Pi, so here's a list for the curious. IBM's Node-RED Internet Of Things application is now included - this allows you to rapidly create IoT applications by connecting blocks in a graphical editor. To get started, run the Node-RED application from Programming in the main menu, and then use the web browser to access port 1880 at your Pi's own address to see the editor. Under Preferences in the main menu, you will now find an option for Add/Remove Software. This launches a modified version of the GNOME Packages application, which allows you to add and remove software on your Pi." Read the full release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Linux Mint 17.3
Clement Lefebvre has announced a new release of the Linux Mint distribution. The new release, Linux Mint 17.3, is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and is available in MATE and Cinnamon editions. Some of the key changes in this release involve the handling of software updates and managing hardware drivers. "Linux Mint 17.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2019. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use. Software repositories are very important. We use them all the time when installing new software or performing updates. They need to be fast and reliable. This was a major point of focus in the development of Linux Mint 17.3. Software repositories are mirrored (i.e. duplicated on many servers) all over the world. The main goal of the Software Sources configuration tool is to make it easy to find the best available mirror for you; one that is: reliable and fully up to date; fast and responsive. To find the fastest mirrors, the Software Sources tool now detects your location and starts its speed tests with mirrors near you." Further information can be found in the release announcements for the Cinnamon and MATE editions.
The Robolinux project has announced the availability of a new release of their commercial, Debian-based distribution. The latest version, Robolinux 8.3, includes several new multimedia applications, including Photo Filmstrip, Spotify, Blender, OpenShot and Pinta. Robolinux 8.3 also ships with Wireshark for monitoring network traffic. Additional wi-fi and printer drivers were added while Popcorntime was removed from the list of applications. "As the Christmas and holiday season was approaching Robolinux polled its user base extensively asking `What hot new apps do you want in Robolinux Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce & LXDE Raptors?' An overwhelming number of users responded with "We want more multimedia and privacy apps in Robolinux". Interestingly many users asked for a packet sniffer to monitor their privacy amongst other things." Further information on this release can be found in the project's release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Webmail vs local e-mail clients
Last week we heard from Mozilla that the organization is considering dropping support for the Thunderbird e-mail client. Though the announcement, and its follow-up, do not say for certain what Thunderbird's future may be, it is unfortunate to see Mozilla planning to cease Thunderbird development.
The announcement was not entirely a surprise since Mozilla had already placed Thunderbird in maintenance mode, where the software received security updates and bug fixes only. However, it is interesting to note Mozilla has not put effort into expanding on Thunderbird as a product the same way they have with Firefox. After all, according to Mozilla itself, Thunderbird has around ten million users. Tie-in products such as large attachment storage and on-line message archiving might have funded further development of the popular Thunderbird application.
The above announcement about Thunderbird's future has sparked a lot of debate over the usefulness of local e-mail clients verses webmail. This week we would like to know whether you use a local client, such as Thunderbird or Evolution, for accessing e-mail or if you use web-based e-mail.
You can see the results of last week's poll on web browser extensions here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Webmail vs local e-mail clients
|I use webmail exclusively: ||803 (31%)|
| I use local e-mail clients exclusively: ||828 (32%)|
| I use both webmail and applications: ||905 (35%)|
| I do not use either: ||16 (1%)|
Searching for installation media of a certain size
Two of the most common feature requests we have received at DistroWatch this year have been with regards to installation media. Specifically, our readers have been asking for ways to find installation media (ISO files) of a particular size and find distributions which offer net-install media. We are happy to announce we have updated our Search page to enable finding projects based on ISO size and whether a project supports net-installs.
People who visit our Search page will find two new fields have been added: "Install media size" and "Install method". The former narrows down searches based on the size of a project's ISO files while the latter allows us to locate projects which feature either net-install media or local installs.
These new filters enable us to perform some interesting searches. For example, this one locates Linux distributions with installation media under 100MB in size. We can perform searches to find flavours of BSD that will fit on a CD. Or we could try to find all the projects we know of that offer net-install media. We know some people like to download large ISO files in order to have as many packages available on the installation media as possible. Here is a search for projects with large installation media that also use the RPM package format.
At this point we have a lot of information on ISO sizes and installation methods, but our database is not entirely complete. For instance, it is difficult to find media size information for commercial distributions and so some commercial projects may not appear in the search results. At this time our database contains ISO information for just the main editions of distributions, community spins have been omitted as they can be more difficult to track down and may not be officially supported. If you notice a mistake or missing information, please send us an e-mail with "ISO size" in the subject line.
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Distributions added to the database
RebeccaBlackOS is a Debian-based live distribution which can be used to run Wayland desktop sessions. RebeccaBlackOS can run a number of popular open source desktop environments on top of a Wayland graphical session. The distribution was (and remains) one of the only Linux distributions to run a Wayland session from live media. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.
RebeccaBlackOS 2015.10.21 -- Running the Weston display server
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Distributions added to waiting list
- StarLinux. StarLinux is a desktop distribution which is based on Ubuntu and features the LXQt desktop environment.
- ABXY Linux. ABXY Linux is based on openSUSE and is available in GNOME, KDE and Server editions.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 14 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 • mail applications (by huphrey on 2015-12-07 00:09:13 GMT from North America) |
I use both T-Bird and GMail, but the only reason I use GMail is to send shopping lists from my laptop to my phone, so that I can use my phone while shopping, rather than pen and paper.
I've used Evolution and Opera Mail as local mail clients in the past, but I always came back to T-Bird, with the Lightning extension for calendar functions. It's a shame to think that T-Bird might go the way of the dodo.
I would *never* consider using GMail and Google Calendar as my go-to organizing and communication tools - not secure enough for me.
2 • Thunderbird--s are go! (by Jon on 2015-12-07 00:25:01 GMT from Europe)
Since its inception, it has always been Thunderbird for me, whatever the platform. I do hope that the Mozilla team think long and hard in order to find the best future for this great tool.
3 • mail (by Francesco on 2015-12-07 01:14:08 GMT from Europe)
I'm using Thunderbird since 2006 or so... i hope i'll be able to continue using it, it's simple impossible to manage multiple account (i have 5 accounts) well without a local mail client or without losing a lot of time... and alternatives imho are not as good as thunderbird (that despite being in manteinance mode has all the features i need).
4 • Wine on live media --> Knoppix (by Rel on 2015-12-07 01:46:01 GMT from North America)
The latest version of knoppix just came out and it ships with wine loading in an live lxde environment
5 • E-Mail (by Joe on 2015-12-07 02:30:13 GMT from North America)
I still use SeaMonkey, sort of like Firefox and Thunderbird rolled into one. (Like the old Netscape browser.)
Thanks for giving Sabayon some torrent love!
6 • OpenBSD / Mail client (by Will B on 2015-12-07 02:46:22 GMT from North America)
Thank you Jesse for this week's installment.
== OpenBSD ==
It is a fine BSD and I'd be using it now if it wasn't for the lack of virtualization. Even if they just made a paravirtualized setup, even if it was slower, I could use OpenBSD.
Also, I don't recall having any problems installing packages with pkg_add. I never had to tell it what mirror to use, it just worked. Maybe they've changed it recently?
sshfs doesn't work very well on OpenBSD, which also limits my ability to use it as a primary OS.
== Mail client ==
I have really enjoyed using Thunderbird since the early days. Unfortunately, just like Firefox, Mozilla seems intent on destroying their user-base by unwelcome changes to their software. Now they are begging for donations on the start-up screen of Firefox, and I will NOT give them a dime. They are trying to make FF like Chrome. Why? Firefox was fine before the whole Australus thing. Yuck.
Anyway, I use Thunderbird with New Mail Notify and Lightning. It works pretty good on Linux and BSD, but my Windows customers have had problems, for some reason.
Thanks again Jesse and crew. :-)
7 • Wine and Mono (by Stan on 2015-12-07 03:18:49 GMT from North America)
Knoppix has both.
8 • OpenBSD (by solt87 on 2015-12-07 03:32:45 GMT from Europe)
Thanks for the nice review. Glad to hear OpenBSD is so awesomeness.
9 • Live (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-12-07 03:34:56 GMT from North America)
Some ISOs include persistence options, adding apps, and carrying most such changes into an installation.
10 • Email Clients (by Ken on 2015-12-07 05:13:24 GMT from North America)
I use Thunderbird on my Linux Mint computers and Icedove on my Trisquel. Because I have multiple email accounts, an external mail client is the only way to go. Plus I get the functionality of Lightning, even with my Google Calendar for the office.
I don't really use webmail unless I'm in a pinch on someone else's computer, because webmail is usually bulky and bloated to look "pretty", but is not nearly as customizable as an external client (at least in my experience). Gmail is pretty good, the other accounts I have (some work related) have crappy webmail.
11 • email client (by ken on 2015-12-07 07:01:08 GMT from Africa)
On DesktopI use claws-mail because of it's simplicity and it's clean way of building folder tree for gmail. On mobile I use gmail app.
12 • FreeBSD and OpenBSD docs (by Andy Bear on 2015-12-07 07:29:05 GMT from Europe)
Thank you for devoting some of your precious time to testing OpenBSD. I think it was a good choice :).
I would like to just add that while it is true that FreeBSD has most of its information within the Handbook, one can install it together with the OS so that later it can be read offline.
13 • email client and OpenBSD (by Thomas Mueller on 2015-12-07 07:56:15 GMT from North America)
I find vi editor, msmtp and mpop easier to use than webmail. My main use for webmail is to screen out spams and other junk email without having to download.
On my newer computer, I could not access the Internet from OpenBSD because of bugs in the wireless and Ethernet drivers, not sure now about the new OpenBSD 5.8. OpenBSD was unable to read a GPT-partitioned hard drive, again I am not sure about the situation with 5.8. I like FreeBSD and NetBSD-current better than OpenBSD. Theo de Raadt is very disparaging on the notion of building OpenBSD from source code, another downside in my view.
14 • Email and email clients (by Sondar on 2015-12-07 08:05:49 GMT from Europe)
I never liked the original Thunderbird - too clumsy, often producing unexpected consequences e.g. when trying to manipulated and create files. When they were gifted the industry standard (albeit aimed at USA-only) Eudora from Qualcomm, I thought things might improve. They didn't. IMO, the Claws fork from Sylpheed has become the all-singing, dancing email client of choice. It can run as a simple, fast, secure and reliable option, or loaded with all the bells and whistles as free plug-in choices. Runs on BSD, too, Jesse! As for webmail, I use these for emergencies, from live-CD, etc. Incidentally, versions of Eudora were provided for some early Puppy releases and worked perfectly. Not sure whether those .pup s run on recent offerings like Slacko and Werewolf Puppy?
15 • Web mail (by Stan on 2015-12-07 08:52:34 GMT from Europe)
I don't like standalone mail applications across multiple devices.
Email by nature is an online service, saving local copies when you have more than one device is burden, at least for me it is.
I do agree that is very important to be able to read and at least compose message while you are offline, that should a point of improvement for web mail. I believe that standalone mail applications should evolve from using a local database as it main strength and focus.
16 • Email clients (by Al CID on 2015-12-07 09:52:18 GMT from Europe)
I use Thunderbird on all of my desktop computers and none of them is storing local messages, only storing access data (IMAP)
I like to have all my accounts stored at "one place" even when working with Linux or Windows
...and for me it´s easier to use encryption
17 • Web Mail Too Slow & Cumbersome & Dependent (by joncr on 2015-12-07 11:29:10 GMT from North America)
Dealing with mail in a browser has always been too slow and cumbersome for me.
Using web mail means you are dependent on the corporation providing the service. Plus, since few people are prepared to actually pay for anything they use on the internet, both their mail and their usage pattern will be raked for data to monetize.
You do not need webmail to access mail from multiple devices and locations. If you are using IMAP, as almost everyone does, then mail is accessible from multiple clients on multiple systems.
I delete almost of my mail after reading, store some in an IMAP folder and locally, and print PDF's of really vital mail and move them to off-site storage.
Currently using Thunderbird because there's nothing better. There should be something better. The current state of Linux mail client is poor.
18 • pcninja (by weekly poll on 2015-12-07 11:43:54 GMT from North America)
For a long time I used Thunderbird, but I switched to a fork called FossaMail several months ago and I haven't looked back since.
19 • All webmail, all the time (by Arkanabar on 2015-12-07 12:28:43 GMT from North America)
I'm not willing to pay for my own domain name & email server. And there was a period where I was hopping from one ISP to another pretty regularly, and often lost my old emails as a result. That's when I started using webmail.
I know that Google reads my email, uses the data to sell ad space, shares metadata with the NSA, and would no doubt forward the entire contents of my account to them, or the FBI, if they were asked -- presuming they didn't get it with Carnivore first. My life is pretty innocuous, so I regard this as a tolerable trade-off.
20 • Email (by cykodrone on 2015-12-07 13:23:23 GMT from North America)
Advertisers and the NSA love you webmail users. I have a webmail too, but I only use if a junk site requires a junk address to register. Legitimate and trustworthy sites get my 'real' email. I voted 'both' for those reasons but primarily use a real ISP email in Thunderbird.
21 • Live media (by Peter086 on 2015-12-07 13:29:05 GMT from Europe)
Another usefull tool to make customized Live CD/USB's is Systemback. I find it even better than the turbulent Remastersys. Though it "lacks" persistence options, Unetbootin can add that possibility to the resulting ISO. So including Mono and WINE to a installed system to produce a LiveCD is now much easier.
But now we're addressing live media, I have a doubt maybe some readers could help me with: Is Preload and/or Prelink of any use, or are they a drawback, on a live image when there's no persistence, or when writes to a pendrive are trying to be avoided as much as possible (when using small persistence files)? Thanks in advance.
22 • email (by wrkerr on 2015-12-07 13:46:24 GMT from North America)
I like the idea of using a local email client in general, but gmail is just so convenient. The ability to be able to access my entire inbox from any web portal with no setup is hard to compete with.
I see myself switching to a secure service like ProtonMail or Tutanota before I would switch to a local email client like Thunderbird, Evolution, Geary, or KMail.
23 • multibooting OpenBSD is a mess (by Paraquat on 2015-12-07 14:22:45 GMT from Asia)
I've used OpenBSD in the past and liked it, but I no longer have it installed (for good reason). It's really hard to set it up for multibooting, and the documentation - which used to explain multibooting setup in detail - no longer does. Here's all I could find on the OpenBSD website:
"Multibooting is having several operating systems on one computer, and some means of selecting which OS is to boot. It is not a trivial task! If you don't understand what you are doing, you may end up deleting large amounts of data from your computer. New OpenBSD users are strongly encouraged to start with a blank hard drive on a dedicated machine, and then practice your desired configuration on a non-production system before attempting a multiboot configuration on a production machine. FAQ 14 has more information about the OpenBSD boot process."
I looked at FAQ 14, and it says nothing helpful about multibooting. Sad thing is that just about any Linux distro can be set up by the installer for multibooting, and it's usually a trivial task. With OpenBSD, you are basically expected to devote a full hard disk to the OS, and that is asking too much.
A pity - I'm sure there would be a lot more OpenBSD users were it not for this issue.
24 • Thunderbird (by cor on 2015-12-07 14:27:25 GMT from North America)
I switched 2 weeks ago from Thunderbird because I noticed items affecting its use on my LinuxMint desktop such as clicking on links in email messages stopped working about 2 months ago. No one would answer my requests for assistance other than to state I needed to set Firefox as my default browser; iit already was set and no amount of re-setting it made any difference. I have used Kmail in the past and decided to switch back. Everything is working fine for me now that Thunderbird has been "fired".
There always seemed to be some kind of division or competition within Mozilla with regards to Firefox and Thunderbird, with Thunderbird attempting to do its own thing and not really caring about the consequences to end users.
25 • email (by aragorn on 2015-12-07 15:18:33 GMT from Europe)
I'm using the Sylpheed email client exclusively with 100% pop3. I don't want my communications on anybodys (not even my own) server if it can be avoided. Sad thing that other people don't care as much. Larry and Sergey can still read my email. :/ Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as well i guess (Steve can probably read anybodys email cuz he is livin la vida afterlife) Ah well! Go mailpile (mailpile.is), tox (tox.chat) and Ricochet (https://github.com/ricochet-im/)!!! :)
26 • Email (by Jordan on 2015-12-07 15:28:16 GMT from North America)
I don't use email for personal communication much, preferring (in order of preference): face to face talking with human beings, the telephone, sms, USPS, email.
My email address resides at an enormous web company that may well be taking over most
web based email, so it's seen by many entities as a spam email domain. I like that.
27 • E-Mail (by mehcoj on 2015-12-07 15:36:45 GMT from Europe)
I mostly use local mail-client on my main machines (Thunderbird on desktop, Apple Mail on laptop and Outlook at work), since I have upwards of five addresses to manage. I use webmail on someone else's computer or when travelling. Sad to hear that T-Bird might be near the end of its life.
28 • Email (by Rick on 2015-12-07 16:03:22 GMT from North America)
Thunderbird Maintenance mode is fine with me. It downloads and displays email. What else does it really need to do? Been using TBird for so long can not even remember and will use it until POP3 is dead. Webmail requires giving up control of how I handle my mail.
29 • Re: WINE and Mono on live media section (by Marc Magi on 2015-12-07 16:17:40 GMT from North America)
While Jesse pointed out that SUSE Studio could be used to achieve this and the comments mention other solutions, the need for this would seem to be extremely narrow. Even the software mentioned, DiskDigger, while it works in Windows and Linux, it only undelete files from FAT (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32), NTFS, and exFAT partitions.
30 • Email (by David on 2015-12-07 16:52:13 GMT from Europe)
I certainly don't want my mail kept on servers run by a company from a foreign country! So, for me it's a proper mail client: I've used Thunderbird and Evolution, but I'm now a contented Claws user.
31 • Email (by T-Bone on 2015-12-07 17:38:48 GMT from North America)
Thunderbird could have owned Android if they had devoted the resources to a port. All the existing email clients on Android are tolerable at best. Heck we might even have usable GPG on Android if they had. I can't imagine this wouldn't have been an overall driver to mobile Firefox adoption.
32 • Freebsd docs in handbook (by davej on 2015-12-07 18:36:31 GMT from North America)
One of the first packages I install on FreeBSD, or OpenBSD for that matter, is Lynx the text only browser. Both freebsd.org and openbsd.org detect Lynx and display a well organized / structured site just for text browsers. The Freebsd handbook is right there.
33 • mail (by Fnux on 2015-12-07 20:28:04 GMT from Europe)
Coming from a time when most users had an hotmail account, that's where I started too. Later on they (Ms) had a decent client that I used too ...up to a day when, by accident, all cloud mails went deleted. Only tried a mail client again after reading about Geary. It looks promissing, but seems to be yet in an early development stage. To kiv.
34 • Re: multibooting OpenBSD is a mess (by angstrom on 2015-12-07 22:42:45 GMT from Europe)
Indeed, multibooting OpenBSD isn't for the meek. Nevertheless, you can find hints around about how to do it if you want. If you want to dualboot with Linux, the best strategy would be first to install OpenBSD (preferably in the first partition) and then Linux. Grub can boot OpenBSD by chainloading. (In fact, think of OpenBSD in this respect as though it were Windows: one would also install Windows before Linux.) I suspect that the OpenBSD developers don't encourage multibooting because of their hyper-preoccupation with security (but this is just a suspicion).
35 • webmail (by angstrom on 2015-12-07 23:01:33 GMT from Europe)
Webmail is easy and is in fact the obvious choice for many-many people. By comparison, setting up an email client to use an IMAP server is difficult, and even once this initial difficulty is overcome, many-many people don't perceive a significant advantage in using an email client (which in addition has to be installed and set up on every computer they use). Naturally, it doesn't follow that webmail is better than an email client.
36 • OpenBSD (by PuceBaboon on 2015-12-08 00:40:40 GMT from Asia)
Thanks for the review, Jesse. For users trying it out for the first time, it might be an idea to look at FuguIta first. It has what most people would consider a "useable" desktop environment (at least compared to the base OpenBSD configuration).
It's interesting that OpenBSD is also making progress in the small, ARM-based server environment now too, despite the dreaded "binary blob" problem (not having access to the source code for essential drivers). I'm looking forward to being able to dump some "gas guzzler" servers and replace them with tiny, economical ARM systems.
37 • Web mail (by SlaxFan on 2015-12-08 01:06:19 GMT from North America)
I use Thunderbird and leave the mail on the server so I can also have copies on my other devices. I never click on links in email and use the Enigmail plug in to encrypt my email.
My employer requires gmail. The google people keep notifying our HR department that I access my office email using Tor (when I am offsite) and they complain because I won't give Google my Internet provider, personal MAC address, or phone number for them to "verify" me. My user name and password should be enough for them.
38 • Creepy, Man, Creepy @37 SlaxFan (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2015-12-08 01:58:25 GMT from North America)
Wow, so creepy. In fact...someone made a website about it!
Not me but I agree. GMail is infiltrating domains as a "service" paid with your privacy. You never know if your mail lands in a GMail backend without a private investigator. Even ibiblio uses it, those boneheads. A lettered agency could not create a more ideal platform for criminal antiprivacy. I do not think the Google ToS should be legal.
Try RetroShare.org instead.
E-mail is a crap protocol from 40 years ago anyway. It's long overdue for the scrap heap. I can't believe geeks run their whole lives on it in 2015. What did Zuck said about his dumb users?
39 • http://www.gmail-is-too-creepy.com (by starskeptic on 2015-12-08 03:20:49 GMT from North America)
gmail-is-too-creepy.com is a domain for sale.
40 • Re: Creepy, Man, Creepy @39 starskeptic (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2015-12-08 04:38:33 GMT from North America)
Sorry! Well that guy's site just said any non-Google user communicating with a Google user enjoys creepy spying without informed consent.
This info lives elsewhere. Eric Schmidt even used the word "creepy."
The postal equivalent is:
You send a paper letter to a businessman. His secretary opens it first and makes copies. She walks some home for her personal files. She mails others to paying "partners" in the marketing and lettered agency worlds. Then she hands the original to the actual addressee.
Skype is also creepy.
41 • Mail Clients... (by Zork on 2015-12-08 07:40:08 GMT from Oceania)
It's very much a case of it doesn't matter to me... I don't truly have a choice about using web or application email as our provider outsources its mail servers to outlook.com anyway... So for me it's either trust that M*Sux aren't data-mining my email or use gMail and hope Google aren't... And like I trust EITHER of them...
Whether you use a web-based interface or stand-alone application is almost irrelevant from a point of view of security... You have to take on "faith" that whoever owns the mail server your A/C is on is doing the right thing by you...
From the point of view of usability and flexibility a stand-alone application ( I use Evolution ) wins out hands-down...
42 • Writing about Linux distributions; unfriendly! (by Greg Zeng on 2015-12-08 12:27:17 GMT from Oceania)
Most Linux material that is available to non-Linux people is unconsciously written with an insider-only approach. Reviews, "Sales" material, release notes, etc. All these avoid the use of key words, at the moment, excepting some of the open-market publications: "Linux Format" & "Linux Voice" (UK).
The Distrowatch review of OpenBSD is also only for BSD insiders, who know that servers do not need GUI friendliness. Some Linux Insiders might know that this version of BSD is the FIFTH most "popular" versions of BSD, after this week's release of the FreeBSD fork, DragonFly.
This latest BSD release has no reviews ever, it seems. Wikipedia fails writing about "DragonFly BSD", based on an old version of it; key words; CLI, DE, etc are unknown.
FreeBSD is the Distrowatch's number one BSD distro, which was reviewed about 22 months ago. Wikipedia claims FreeBSD: "accounting for more than three-quarters of all installed systems running open-source BSD derivatives". However, they also claim "FreeBSD does not install the X Window System by default", which seems quite wrong, since this depends on which version of the ISO is downloaded.
Poor Linux documentation is very common to all engineering products. Lay-language writers ("teachers") are extremely lacking in all engineering fields, in both staff numbers, skills, remuneration, etc. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) seem to make the best engineers and scientists, e.g. the reasons for dropouts from the Linux kernel developers. This is a standard human dilemma that non-engineers cannot yet solve.
As I am barely medically surviving on my life-support-machinery, that poor engineering documentation is my main issue, for the moment. Perhaps this Linux community might have insights into how the Linux world might try to improve its own lay-language outputs, with GUI interfaces that uses graphics, instead of only alpha-numerics.
43 • #42 (by jadecat09 on 2015-12-08 13:27:45 GMT from Europe)
"FreeBSD does not install the X Window System by default", which seems quite wrong, since this depends on which version of the ISO is downloaded.
The X Window System is a third-party application that can only be loaded on to FreeBSD via Packages or Ports. PC-BSD - a FreeBSD derivative - does, however, have the X Window System by default.
44 • Re: the posts about "creepy" email (by Jordan on 2015-12-08 16:21:05 GMT from North America)
So, after about 20 years of using email, have I suffered in some way(s) that I do not know about? Has some nefarious creep out there mined my emails for clues as to my shopping habits? My kid's school stage-play and sports schedules? My copy-and-paste jokes from various web sites?
What have they done with that info, besides buy and sell it to one another (leaving me out of the cash flow)?
45 • Mint Release (by G Savage on 2015-12-08 18:09:25 GMT from North America)
Congratulations to Clem and team for pulling through a very difficult situation.
46 • Creepy (by Semiarticulate on 2015-12-08 22:53:07 GMT from North America)
@44 Whether or not anything "nefarious" is done with your emails is not the issue. On principle alone, this should not stand. I remember principles. Most people had them, and they stood on them. When did people become so laissez-faire about their personal matters? As a child, I asked my father how much money he made. His response left absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was none of my damned business.
If you care little, or not at all, that strangers are perusing your private emails then that is your business and your's alone, but do not insinuate that others should adopt your point-of-view.
47 • Madness of Crowds (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2015-12-08 23:23:38 GMT from North America)
"So, after about 20 years of using email, have I suffered in some way(s) that I do not know about?"
Yes, and your correspondents. You exchanged human interaction for teletype. RetroShare shows the other person's face and voice and does an e-mail equivalent too. Can we evolve yet?
The net has suffered and you with it. 99.99% of all e-mail is SPAM. It's clogging the works. Half the labor, cost, and bandwidth of your e-mail provider is just for SPAM. Your ISP disables SMTP from your house. The protocol is so crap, even ISPs must cripple it, just to make it less crap.
Wait til you have an ex-wife and get back to us on how your kid pics worked in family court. Not using e-mail wasn't the point. There are better providers than Google, either by ToS or zero-trust design.
And to explore e-mail alternatives,
"I don't truly have a choice about using web or application email"
And I thought geeks on Distrowatch were all about CREATING CHOICE.
48 • OpenBSD (by Semiarticulate on 2015-12-08 23:43:43 GMT from North America)
I thoroughly enjoyed the review. OpenBSD 5.7 is my daily driver on my Toshiba laptop. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how simple it was to install and fully functional desktop using this operating system. Your review has reminded me that I have not yet updated. I suppose I'll be doing that this evening. :0)
49 • mono also in paldo linux live images (by subg on 2015-12-09 03:11:42 GMT from North America)
It's not hard to find mono in live images, if that's somehow helpful for edge uses or development involving .net. Paldo's live cd/usb images include mono. Actually, upkg, paldo's package manager, runs on mono. Wine is available but not in the live image, though. Repos are rolling release.
50 • @49 - paldo linux, mono (by Hoos on 2015-12-09 08:00:50 GMT from Asia)
Are the paldo repository servers regularly maintained though?
I heard about paldo in the DW comments section about 7 weeks ago and was intrigued enough to install the then current image in a free partition.
The first one or two times I tried updating my installation with upkg, the upgrade went fine. I was also able to install additional packages, e.g. browsers to replace the one that comes stock with Gnome 3.
However from about 2-3 weeks ago, the upgrade commands no longer worked. There were error messages in the terminal about being unable to run the upgrade script, something about files/locations not being found. I could not install new packages. At first I thought either their repo servers were down or maybe one of my updates had messed up the system.
I noticed last week that they were still churning out fresh live images, so I installed the new image to see if upkg would work better.
The answer is no. With the freshly installed new image, I am unable right from the start to upgrade the system and no new packages can be installed with upkg.
It looks to me that the issue stems from the repository end of things. For now, I don't think paldo is fully usable unless you are willing just to to use the live image as is.
51 • Email (by BuckARoo on 2015-12-09 10:15:40 GMT from North America)
My preferences, in order: FossaMail, Kmail, Thunderbird and Claws. When necessary I use webmail, not as comfortable, thou.
52 • PartedMagic provides wine and mono (by burdi01 on 2015-12-09 10:40:52 GMT from Europe)
PartedMagic is a live CD distribution that provides wine and mono as (optional) bundles.
Disclaimer: I maintain those (and other) bundles and packages.
53 • OpenBSD (by mechanic on 2015-12-09 12:10:58 GMT from Europe)
Is there a way of generating VirtualBox guest additions yet? Jesse usually tries a virtual install so should know...
54 • @46/47 email creeps (by Jordan on 2015-12-09 13:55:05 GMT from North America)
I do recall the warnings and concerns years ago about using email, especially web based email. So, guess what, as mentioned in my post up there I found myself with another reason to just write a letter via snail mail, call on the phone, etc.
The other reason has to do with just plain old being old enough to feel like email is too impersonal, etc.
As far as spam goes, I can't see much of it as the on line email company I use has filters. The spam I do see sure cannot be "targeted" very well to me, as it appears to be for products I have never heard of or at least never purchased.
I still don't get it, the fuss about this, the "principal alone" stuff. How about common sense?
55 • Common sense (by Jordan on 2015-12-09 13:57:55 GMT from North America)
as in don't email stuff that could be used against you or whatever the concerns are.
56 • emal (by etherworld on 2015-12-09 14:25:22 GMT from Europe)
I have high hopes for https://tox.chat/ - seems to me it's the only true independent, distributed, anonymous app out there. Hoping for an email UI since I don't really like the chat paradigm, it stresses me out. Also hoping for a file syncing implementation like https://syncthing.net/ and why not conferencing/screen sharing. :)
57 • @50 paldo (by subg on 2015-12-09 23:34:03 GMT from North America)
@50 yes, paldo servers are regularly maintained. I upgrade at least weekly from the repos. Post on the paldo forum or better yet, irc, if you're having trouble.
58 • Good Stuff from etherworld (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2015-12-10 08:14:55 GMT from North America)
+1 and +1 to both ... Tox isn't yet ready for Grandma and Bubba. Syncthing is best for home LANs and not every distro packages the server. RetroShare already does an e-mail sort of thing, file sharing, and conferencing. It's a Qt app.
What people miss on e-mail is that other s writing about you 'privately' between themselves creates a Google trail. It doesn't need your involvement.
In this new normal Facebook/Twitter/Google-plex, all but gov types and CEOs are transparent. CEOs spy on employees, ISPs on users, government on everyone. But you often need a FOIA filing and sometimes a lawsuit to get info from them. Hillary set up her own (illegal) server just to avoid transparency. Amazingly, we yawn. I consider our situation very East Germany, on its way to North Korea.
59 • email (by M.Z. on 2015-12-10 09:08:24 GMT from North America)
There are plenty of things to worry about with regard to surveillance & email without buying into made up garbage & tossing FUD around the Internet. There is at least some serious talk of reigning in excessive surveillance, and citizens in the US & similar countries are aware of what is happening & have the right to vote in new representatives who can change the laws. In addition Snowden & others who help bring the situation to light still have the right to due process under the law, so comparisons to any totalitarian regime are deeply ill founded. In addition the claims that some candidate violated the law with private mail are flatly false, because not only was there no law against private servers for government employees, but every single single US Secretary of State prior to Kerry who used email had a private server. Of course partisan media wants to make an issue of it, but there are real reasons to vote for other candidates that aren't made up. Oh yeah, & this site is about OSs & open source, not political FUD throwing.
60 • Email (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2015-12-10 14:37:27 GMT from North America)
It's best-practice to have two fully separated servers - one for personal, one for "business". (Business-persons need a third for politics.) I recall an apology for a shortcoming on this particular point.
61 • FUD versus CREEPY (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-10 18:51:11 GMT from Europe)
@59 CREEPY versus FUD. Hmm. There is no Doubt that all kinds of organisations TRY VERY HARD to track people through the content of web sites visited and the content of their email messages [if they can]. Is it something to be Feared? Yes, I think so. Not least because most powerful organisations are also mostly powerless to stop this information from leaking to hackers/criminals. There is what we know for Certain, and things we Suspect [on the grounds these organisations have "form"]. Comparisons with East Germany [as was] and North Korea, I think, depend on the intentions of those powerful organisations [protect people from external threats or suppress their populations]. FUD? There is too much evidence of this kind of activity by large organisations and governments that the Uncertainty is down to what else is there to be discovered.
Having said that, I feel that the comments on Hillary Clinton were uncalled for.
62 • Email etc (by Kragle on 2015-12-11 01:43:06 GMT from North America)
One comment (by AW#/NA) contained one slur too many, true. What Clinton did was legal, though not perfect. Many government communications need to be protected from publication, personal data even moreso. Recipients of her business messages should have retained proper records; many did not.
More disturbing is an apathetic attitude toward communication privacy and security. Privacy is necessary for sanity, yet few message systems provide any.
63 • Email privacy @62 (by Jordan on 2015-12-11 18:34:01 GMT from North America)
Kragle said, "More disturbing is an apathetic attitude toward communication privacy and security. Privacy is necessary for sanity..."
Well, now we're getting somewhere. Now I see what may be the engine that is driving all the fuss about email not being secure: it's about a threat to our "sanity."
Pardon me, but I think the sanity has been chipped away a bit already, irrespective of what email security concerns some may have, if they honestly hold the belief that there is a connection between email privacy and one's "sanity." Apathetic attitude or no, email, like talking or skywiting or any other form of communication, is the responsibility of the talker, writer, emailer, not the company that provides or the ones harvesting the communication.
Again, it is all rendered moot by simple discretion, if one thinks her or his emails are being harvested. What's happened to that? To personal responsibility lately?
64 • Email, browsers, and tracking (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-11 18:37:56 GMT from North America)
I have long used Google search in my business (computers, etc). So Google keeps track of what I search for? So what? I can depend on Google to respond with what I am looking for, in one of the first few citations it returns. And I really could care less that the Google or the NSA knows what I search for.
Now and again, I try Yahoo. Ugh! Ads, ads, ads and more ads about stuff I do not need. And then maybe something useful. Bing? Idem!
Windows 10 is Microsoft's Google killer. The Edge browser searches with Bing, of course. And, Microsoft, if you take the express settings when installing, wants to track your GPS-enabled computer, and accumulate a COMPLETE dossier about your computer use, maybe to give to the NSA, maybe not, but certainly to all the advertisers who pay Microsoft to get information about Edge users. And sell you Microsoft's Cloud products like Office 365 and apps from the Microsoft app store.
As for email, whatever I do, I see a few ads along the way, but not enough to be really bothersome.
65 • Google bubble (by M.Z. on 2015-12-12 05:23:33 GMT from United States)
@64/Ben - Google bubble
There is actually some potential harm done by the massive profile Google creates on it's customers, & it's because many are likely unaware of the bubble effect created. If Google knows your political preferences you may well receive nothing but more of the same every time you search. In a country as politically divided as the US this sort of thing can compound confirmation bias & help maintain the political divide. Perhaps the effects of creating such bubbles for customers are debatable; however, I do consider there to be a potential to harm society at large, especially give how partisan & disingenuous many media outlets are here where I am in the US.
@61/nolinuxguru - truly totalitarian
As I indicated there are serious overreach issues/things to worry about with regard to Government surveillance in the age of endless 'wars on terror'. None of that makes comparisons to truly totalitarian regimes like North Korea anything but foolish & overblown. I seem to have a strong memory of seeing something about the 'Cultural Revolution' in Communist China, can you guess who were trained as spies there? I have a vivid memory of people describing being brainwashed as children & coached to turn their parents in for voicing dissenting opinions. I feel that this is a reasonable approximation of North Korea at it worst. If you really think such totalitarian acts could happen in a currently democratic society then I can only invite you to remove your tinfoil hat.
66 • Wine (by anonimo on 2015-12-12 13:26:13 GMT from South America)
I think Chapeau includes Wine in the live system.
67 • Snooping (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-12 16:40:54 GMT from Europe)
@65 I did say "Comparisons with East Germany [as was] and North Korea, I think, DEPEND ON THE INTENTIONS of those powerful organisations [protect people from external threats OR suppress their populations].". I added upper case where I intended stress.
Maybe I should have said explicitly, so that I could not be deliberately mis-understood, that I believe the intentions of most of the snooping activities of western governments [UK, US, France, Germany for example] are to protect their populations. There are governments, like North Korea and Syria that snoop on their people to oppress them. Ironically, the latter use snooping software written in the West. It's all down to intentions not technology.
Most of this snooping is enabled by shoddy software and practices. If these could be eliminated, would we want that? You decide.
68 • means & reasons (by M.Z. on 2015-12-12 18:42:52 GMT from North America)
Part of my point is that comparisons are invalid due to _Both_ means & reasons of spying. I doubt there are many people in North Korea who have access to computers, so what good does spy software do? There is little in the way of spying both physically & otherwise that can't be done on a whim in such a place, although passive digital data collection isn't likely to be a widely used tool there. My impression of N. Korea is that there are a lot of programs that amount to 'chat your neighbor up, catch them saying something bad, & turn them in for a reward'. While the erosion of civil liberties in democratic countries is terrible, the passive electronic surveillance used in such places is of a fundamentally different character than the vast majority of what happens in North Korea.
69 • @65 Re: Google bubble, Yahoo bubble, Bing bubble. What's the diff? (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-12 22:50:18 GMT from North America)
I do not dispute the potential ill effects of yet another bubble created by ANY of the on-line search engines. (We already have the Fox News, MSNBC religious TV channel, and WSJ bubbles, coupled with greatly diminished critical thinking skills of most American.) That's why I use Google for 99.9% non-political searches, relying on it to find me useful tech info and information about my largely non-political recreational pursuits. However, in a country obsessed by American football, with many businesses dependent on American football, my pursuit of the original football (Most native-born Americans call it soccer. Italians call it calcio. Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking call it futbol.) is often viewed as political.
70 • confused (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-13 01:16:06 GMT from Europe)
@68 I am confused. East Germany no longer exists, vanished before the internet got going properly. North Korea is one of the states like Syria where a battle rages between the guys at TOR and snooping attacks by governments that control all communications and power. These people in countries like Syria, Libya, Egypt rely on TOR to communicate safely [if they are not careful, they ARE tortured and killed].
In the case of governments in the West, I am torn. I do not like the idea that my personal email messages are have been and will continue to be monitored by GCHQ [or NSA]. At the same time I like the idea that communications by ISIS etc are monitored [if they are that stupid]. The difference between big business and governments in the West is that the former have a habit of leaking personal data like a sieve.
I am not aware of saying that [for want of brevity] Eastern and Western snooping are "comparable". But they CAN be compared. And contrasted.
As far as I can see, we would only disagree on relative importance of the different forms of snooping: I think we agree that there is too much snooping in on OUR information. However, there are many totalitarian states out there that snoop on their people as a means of control.
71 • Enlightenment (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-12-13 01:23:51 GMT from North America)
Last I checked, the E version of gPartEd was a nice improvement.
Number of Comments: 71
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