| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 640, 14 December 2015
Welcome to this year's 50th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Digital privacy is a significant concern when our lives have an on-line component. Knowing what our computers are transmitting over the Internet, and being able to control that flow of information, is important. This week we discuss how to locate and remove meta-data from documents in our Questions and Answers column. Plus, we talk about Canonical turning off on-line searches in Ubuntu's dash, a move which privacy advocates have been seeking for some time. We also talk about openSUSE's upcoming Board election and a powerful systemd feature being showcased in Fedora Magazine. Our Feature Story this week is a review of Chakra GNU/Linux, a semi-rolling distribution with a strong focus on KDE software. We also share the torrents we are seeding and provide a list of distributions released over the past week. In our Opinion Poll we talk about source-based distributions and ask how many of our readers are building their packages from source code. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (25MB) and MP3 (18MB) formats
• Music credit: Clouds Fly With Me by Matti Paalanen
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11
The Chakra GNU/Linux project produces a Linux distribution with a strong focus on the KDE desktop and software which uses the Qt development libraries. Chakra maintains a semi-rolling release where the core components of the operating system remain fairly stable while desktop software is updated frequently. The project's website explains:
Chakra is a GNU/Linux distribution with an emphasis on KDE and Qt technologies that focuses on simplicity from a technical standpoint and free software. With our half-rolling release model we provide a thoroughly tested core layer of software - such as the Linux kernel, GNU coreutils and common libraries - while the software in the applications layer is updated more frequently.
The latest release of Chakra was version 2015.11 "Fermi" and it features a number of important changes. Perhaps the most visual change for this release was the removal of the Tribe system installer in favour of Calamares, a distribution-neutral installer that is becoming increasingly popular. This release also sees Chakra's GTK repository of software packages enabled by default and the adoption of the SDDM display manager. The greeter application which helped new users customize their desktop has been removed from this version of Chakra. This release also features some key package upgrades and includes KDE's Plasma 5.4 desktop environment.
The latest version of Chakra is available as a 2GB download. Booting from the Chakra media brings up a menu asking if we would like to load the distribution's live desktop environment, start a live desktop with non-free drivers or run a hardware detection tool. Starting Chakra's live desktop environment brings up KDE's Plasma desktop. The desktop is presented with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. On the desktop we see a welcome widget that summarizes what Chakra is and what the distribution does. The welcome widget also provides us with links to the project's Beginner's Guide and the Chakra website. There are also buttons that will provide us with a list of software packages on the installation media and passwords for the default user accounts. Plus there is a button which launches the Calamares system installer.
The Calamares installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. This first screen also provides buttons that will bring up Chakra's release notes, known issues and other information relating to the project. The following page of the installer gets us to select our time zone from a map of the world. We are then asked to confirm our keyboard's layout. The installer offers two partitioning options. We can either let Chakra take over the entire disk or manually divide up our hard drive. I decided to take the manual option and I quite like how easy Calamares' disk partitioning screen is to navigate. The partition manager offers a simple layout with a graphical representation of our hard drive. The installer supports working with a wide range of file systems, including ext2/3/4, Btrfs, JFS, XFS, Reiser and LVM volumes. The partitioning page allows us to change where the distribution's boot loader is installed. The next screen gets us to create a user account and set a password for the root account. The last page shows us a summary of the actions Calamares will take and awaits our confirmation. The installer then copies its files to our hard disk and offers to reboot the computer.
Booting our fresh copy of Chakra brings up a graphical login screen where we can sign into the Plasma desktop environment. Unlike previous versions of Chakra, 2015.11 does not walk new users through a series of customization screens. That may change in the future, but for now we are given a fairly simple, dark themed Plasma desktop and left to customize it (or not) using the KDE System Settings panel. The System Settings panel offers us a great deal of flexibility and virtually every aspect of Plasma can be adjusted
I tried running the latest version of Chakra in two test environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a physical desktop computer. I noticed that when running from the live disc, Chakra was very slow to boot, but once the distribution was installed, it booted quickly. I also found it interesting that when run on my physical hardware Chakra would not boot successfully when UEFI was enabled, the operating system would hang before reaching a login screen Booting with UEFI in Legacy mode allowed Chakra to boot successfully. The distribution did not integrate well with VirtualBox and was not able to make use of the host system's full display resolution until VirtualBox guest modules were installed from the distribution's software repositories. Once installed on the physical computer, and in VirtualBox, Chakra performed well and the Plasma desktop was pleasantly responsive. The distribution required about 470MB of RAM when sitting idle at the desktop.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 -- The Octopi package manager
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Chakra uses the Octopi package manager which shows us a simple list of available software packages sorted alphabetically. We can search for software we want by name, filter down the list of software using categories or simply browse through the list for packages we wish to install or remove. Octopi will also install software updates from the Chakra repositories. Octopi is fairly fast and has a minimal interface which I find easy to navigate. The filters and categories are not as nicely laid out as they are in other package managers, but I feel Octopi gets the job done. The first day of my trial with Chakra, about a week after the distribution was released, there were 280 new software updates waiting for me, totalling 830MB in size. Though all of the new updates installed cleanly, it did feel like I was replacing half of the operating system immediately after installing it.
The distribution ships with a small and somewhat unusual collection of default applications. Looking through the list of available software we find the Qupzilla web browser, the Konversation IRC client, the KMail e-mail application and the KGet download manager. Network Manager is present to help us get on-line. The KOrganizer personal organizer is included along with the Calligra productivity suite and Okular document viewer. Chakra ships with the K3b disc burning application, the Tomahawk audio player and the bomi video player. To work with digital photos we have the digiKam application and Gwenview is available for looking at images. There is an application included called miniBackup which backups up a user's configuration files, security keys and other hidden files, but does not archive our documents. The KInfoCenter is available for browsing hardware information and we can partition our hard drive with the KDE Partition Manager. The Dolphin file manager, Ark archiving utility, Kate text editor and KCalc calculator are also included. In the background we find the GNU Compiler Collection, systemd 227 and version 4.1.4 of the Linux kernel. I got the impression that Chakra's default applications were selected based on which software libraries were used to create them rather than which applications were best suited to the job.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 -- The Calligra productivity suite
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Chakra does include codecs for playing multimedia files. The bomi video player worked well for me and played the video files I threw at it. Tomahawk, the distribution's default music player, was unable to start-up, crashing immediately upon launch and I was unable to get it working. I found I could play audio files in bomi though. Flash was not available on the system by default and I found the Qupzilla web browser sometimes had difficultly playing HTML5 video streams. About a third of the time Qupzilla would play videos or audio files, but the other times either the video would not play at all, or I would see video without sound.
One problem I ran into concerned printing. When I went into the System Settings panel and tried to add a printer I was presented with an error messaging saying "Print service unavailable." I confirmed the CUPS printing software was installed. Then, using the systemd command line utility, I enabled the CUPS services (there were two) and started them. The print service was still unavailable and remained that way even after a reboot.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 -- Trying to add a printer to the system
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Another tool which did not work as I had hoped was the Backup module in the System Settings panel. I was able to configure scheduled backups of my files, but I was unable to take a snapshot of files manually. Selecting the option to manually start a backup produced a message telling me to initiate a backup from the backup icon in the system tray. Clicking the appropriate icon in the system tray brought up a menu where the option to manually start a backup job was disabled.
There were a number of things I liked about this release of Chakra and a few things which did not work well for me. I really like the Calamares system installer. It is fast and blissfully easy to use. I like the latest version of KDE's Plasma desktop, it feels faster and more streamlined than the KDE4 series, in my opinion. The Octopi package manager has a simple presentation, similar to Synaptic, and I think it might be difficult to navigate for new users, but it does work well and I had no complaints with using it.
On the other hand, a few things did not work for me, such as the backup utility and the printing service. The music player would not launch for me either. It's these little things that add up over time to give the impression a distribution could benefit from additional testing.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 -- Backing up settings
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Perhaps what stood out the most about Chakra 2015.11 though was the default applications. To really feel comfortable and get things done I ended up replacing most of the default programs with ones I felt better suited to the tasks. This may be mostly a personal preference issue, but I think the developers' focus on KDE/Qt purity is getting in the way of practical concerns.
One thought I had toward the end of my week with Chakra was that the distribution, while it does seem to working toward being more practical and more appealing to the mainstream, it also appears to be losing the characteristics that made Chakra interesting (at least to me). Early on, Chakra stood out by being (at the time) one of the few pure KDE/Qt distributions, the developers would only allow GTK-based applications to be installed using a separate package manager from a separate package repository. Chakra had a custom graphical installer, Tribe, which, despite its rough edges, got the job done and Chakra allowed for a lot of customization of the desktop and background services right up front.
Over time the Chakra project has relaxed its stance on avoiding GTK-based software, allowing it to be installed using the main package manager, but with the repository disabled by default. Now the GTK repository is enabled by default and GTK software mixes seamlessly with all the other packages. Tribe has been removed in favour of Calamares. Calamares is a good system installer, but I did enjoy the flexibility of Tribe. The account customization utility is missing from this release too, removing another component of Chakra's uniqueness. Finally, other cutting edge distributions, such as KaOS (which is also KDE-focused), have come along, giving Chakra some competition.
In short, I think Chakra is leaving behind the things that made it unique in favour of appealing to a wider audience. This might make Chakra more approachable and easier to adopt, but it also raises the question in my mind why someone might choose Chakra today since there is less to distinguish the distribution from other projects focused on similar features.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE to hold Board elections, Ubuntu disables on-line searches for 16.04 and Fedora Magazine showcases systemd features
Three members of openSUSE's Board are nearing the end of their terms and their seats are up for election. According to an e-mail sent by Andrew Wafaa, elections will take place next month to determine who will fill in these three seats on openSUSE's Board. "It's that time of year when we (openSUSE members) need to elect
representatives for the openSUSE Board. This year, there will be three seats to be elected, all for a standard two year (24 months) term: Andrew Wafaa, Bruno Friedman and Robert Schweikert seats all need filling. Due to busy schedules, it was very difficult to start the election process until today. The openSUSE Election Committee is aware that running elections during Christmas period is not the best period, with many people being away from their computer. Therefore, in agreement with openSUSE Board chairman and current board, openSUSE Election Committee is extending all current board member terms by one month and announcing the election schedule." A copy of the election schedule can be found in Wafaa's message.
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Will Cooke, an employee at Canonical, the company that develops the Ubuntu distribution, posted a note last week which said future versions of Ubuntu will feature a dash where searches will no longer display on-line search results by default. The dash, which acts as a central location for finding programs, documents and media, has been controversial since it was introduced with on-line searches enabled by default. The Free Software Foundation even referred to the dash's default behaviour as spyware. According to Cooke, the dash will no longer search for on-line items by default, but the feature can be enabled for those who want it. "First of all, on-line search will be off by default. This means that out-of-the-box none of your search terms will leave your computer. You can toggle this back on through the Security & Privacy option in System Settings. Additionally, if you do toggle this back on then results from Amazon & Skimlinks will remain off by default. You can toggle them back on if you wish." The change will take place in Ubuntu 16.04 which will launch in April of 2016.
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Moving on from news to useful tips, Fedora Magazine has published a tutorial explaining how users can run multiple instances of a service using a single systemd unit file. While the instructions were written for Fedora, they should work on any distribution that uses systemd. "A brand new feature in systemd is the template unit file. What are template unit files? Template unit files allow systemd to address multiple units from a single configuration file. You can call a systemd template unit file using a special format to use this feature." Examples of how templates can be used and reasons why they are useful can be found in the Fedora Magazine article.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Finding and removing meta-data
Stopping-the-leak asks: I'd like to make sure the files I e-mail to people do not contain meta-data which will share information about me and my system. What tools are available to detect and remove meta-data from multiple file formats?
DistroWatch answers: There are a number of utilities that can help locate and remove meta-data from your documents and images. Some tools are designed to simply locate meta-data while others will go a step further and scrub meta-data from files.
The exiftool command line program is available in the software repositories of most distributions and will locate (and display) the meta-data in most types of files, including common image formats, audio files and Open Document Format files. Though exiftool offers users several options, most of us can get by by just supplying the command utility with a file to work on. For example:
The above command will dig through the myphoto.jpg image and display all the meta-data the tool can find.
Another useful utility is the Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit (MAT). This program will locate and remove meta-data from a wide range of file formats and offers users a nice graphical interface. MAT is quite easy to use and is available in most distributions' software repositories. MAT is also included as part of the Tails distribution.
While MAT will remove meta-data from files, the authors stress that MAT cannot anonymise files or remove data contained in files which may be used to track the user. "MAT only removes meta-data from your files, it does not anonymise their
content, nor can it handle watermarking, steganography, or any too
custom meta-data field/system." In other words, if an image contains a watermark or an audio file has an intentional imperfection or a text document uses canary traps then MAT will not guard against these methods of tracking. MAT only scrubs common meta-data fields in a given file. This should be enough for most users, but will not help people who wish to forward documents created (and uniquely marked) by others.
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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: 142
- Total data uploaded: 22.4TB
|Released Last Week
DragonFly BSD 4.4.1
Justin Sherrill has announced the release of DragonFly BSD, the latest stable release from the BSD-derived operating system that features the Hammer file system, virtual kernels and other other unique characteristics. This first point release in the stable 4.4 series is provided due to the late inclusion of an important OpenSSL security update: "DragonFly BSD 4.4 has been tagged and built. DragonFly version 4.4 brings further updates to accelerated video for both i915 and Radeon users, a new locale system, and a new default linker. Significant behind-the-scenes work has also been done, with symbol versioning, Hammer1 improvements, and other changes. Version 4.4.1 was the first release due to the late inclusion of OpenSSL update 1.0.1q. ... If you have an existing 4.2.x system and are running a generic kernel, the normal upgrade process will work. Change your local /usr/src to 4.4." See the brief release announcement and the more detailed release notes for further information.
The Chapeau project has released a new version of its Fedora-based distribution. The Chapeau distribution offers users a Fedora-compatible desktop distribution for the 64-bit x86 architecture. Chapeau ships with third-party software which is not available in Fedora by default due to packaging or licensing concerns. The latest version, Chapeau 23, offers users GNOME 3.18, LibreOffice 5, PlayOnLinux, Steam and Firefox with Adobe Flash enabled by default. "New features in Chapeau 23: We have a new Hardware Helper Tool (hht). Inspect your hardware and manage your Nvidia drivers with ease, even with Nvidia Optimus!. The Korora repository has been removed. The default display server remains to be X in Chapeau 23, unlike Fedora 23 Workstation Wayland is disabled by default. More wallpapers! Gnome 3.18 now has Google Drive integration. Other noteworthy changes inherited from Fedora 23 are: Python 3 is now the default implementation." Further information can be found in the distribution's release announcement for Chapeau 23.
Chapeau 23 -- Running GNOME Shell
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elementary OS 0.3.2
The developers of elementary OS have announced the launch of an updated version of the project's Freya series. The new version, elementary OS 0.3.2, fixes a number of issues, including boot issues with UEFI and Secure Boot systems. "Just in time for the holidays, it's a new release of elementary OS! Freya 0.3.2 is a minor release, mostly focused around solving some issues folks have had with UEFI & Secure Boot, but we've also managed to sneak in some internationalization updates and a couple new features. With the help of incredibly useful tips, advice, and code snippets from Antoni Norman (aka Pinguy), Cody has almost completely rewritten our .iso build system since 0.3.1. We've tested these new builds on 64-bit (U)EFI, and BIOS machines, with and without Internet, with Secure Boot and legacy boot, and everything in between. No more infamous GRUB boot error!" Further information on elementary OS 0.3.2 can be found in the project's release announcement.
SME Server 9.1
Terry Fage has announced the release of SME Server 9.1, the first update to the stable 9.x branch of the project's server distribution based on CentOS 6: "Koozali is pleased to announce the release of a new version of the Koozali SME Server distribution. SME Server is intended for use on servers in small and medium businesses and is based on CentOS. The latest release, SME Server 9.1, provides users with an update to the distribution's 9.x series and is based on CentOS 6.x. SME Server 9.1 introduces support for Windows 10 domains and includes OpenSSL packages from the project's upstream distribution. Major changes in this release: added functionality to use a dummy NIC for the internal interface; set the check update frequency of 'smecontribs' through the server-manager; disable SSLv3; added Windows 10 support for SME Domain." See the release announcement and release notes for a complete list of changes.
Proxmox 4.1 "Virtual Environment"
The developers of Proxmox, a commercial distribution based on Debian, have announced the release of Proxmox 4.1 "Virtual Environment". The new release features improved support for ZFS, an advanced file system, and Linux containers (LXC). "The recent release is based on the latest Debian Jessie and on the 4.2.6 kernel with LXC and QEMU 2.4.1. Based on the feedback from the Proxmox community and customers, countless small improvements and bug fixes went into the product. Included are better ZFS integration for the ISO installer, better start-up and shutdown behaviour, disk resizing for LXC containers, and also several LXC technology previews like for example support for unprivileged container or LVM thin support. All TurnKey GNU/Linux V14 Appliances are now available as LXC templates." Further information on the release of Proxmox 4.1 "Virtual Environment" can be found in the company's release announcement.
IPFire 2.17 Core 95
The developers of IPFire, an independent distribution which focuses on security, have announced a new update to their distribution. The latest release, IPFire 2.17 Core Update 95, offers users a number of improvements to the IPsec VPN software and an updated Linux kernel. "This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.17 Core Update 95 which is a bigger release with a new kernel and various smaller feature enhancements and bug fixes. This update contains a minor update to the Linux kernel IPFire is using based on Linux 3.14.57. Various device drivers for Intel network controllers and some other hardware have been improved. strongswan has been updated to version 5.3.3 and much work was done on the IPsec VPN stack. The changes include feature enhancements and bug fixes. It is now possible to configure more than one subnet per IPsec net-to-net connection- That makes configuration for more complex networks easier and also reduces the overhead for the IPsec connection." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
ROSA R6 "Desktop Fresh LXQt"
Sergey Aleksandrov has announced the release of ROSA R6 "Desktop Fresh LXQt" edition, a lightweight edition of ROSA that features the LXQt desktop for the very first time: "After several months of ROSA Desktop Fresh R6 KDE release, we are happy to announce a lightweight edition of Desktop Fresh R6 which uses LXQt desktop environment. Up to Desktop Fresh R5, we used to release lightweight editions on the basis of LXDE. However, LXDE is based on GTK+ 2 library stack which didn't get significant updates since the year 2011 - all new features are now implemented in the GTK+ 3 series. The old GTK+ 2-based LXDE is not dead and is still developed by a group of volunteers, but their progress is not as significant as LXQt's one. In particular, there was almost no significant difference in LXDE components between LXDE editions of ROSA Desktop Fresh R4 and Fresh R5. But our distribution has a 'Fresh' word in its name, so we decided to give a chance to a new desktop environment. And after several months of experiments, integration work and bug fixes, we are ready to present a new edition of ROSA Desktop Fresh which is based on LXQt." Continue to the release notes for further information.
ROSA R6 "Desktop Fresh LXQt" -- Running the LXQt desktop
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Suman Chakravartula has announced the release of Rockstor 3.8-10, the latest stable build of the project's CentOS-based specialist Linux distribution for Network Attached Storage (NAS) tasks: "Rockstor 3.8-10 is now available. This is our second release in the Stable updates channel. We closed 13 issues in this release, compared to 20 in 3.8-9. And this release took a bit longer. If you are wondering why, it’s because of the big feature improvement in this release: asynchronous replication. This feature efficiently replicates Shares on one Rockstor appliance to another by using Btrfs send/receive functionality. While this feature was added a while ago, it was a bit over-engineered and buggy, so it had to be improved. I started refactoring the existing pub-sub design and ended up completely redesigning it. The result is a much simpler and more robust implementation. I plan to write more about it here and the community wiki soon." Read the rest of the release announcement for a further details and a list of bug fixes.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Source-based distributions, such as Gentoo, offer their users a great deal of flexibility as packages can be configured to include or omit features as the user desires. A source-based distribution will also provide packages which are optimized for the user's computer architecture, potentially improving performance.
On the other hand, installing software upgrades on a source-based distribution can take more time as the system needs to rebuild packages from their source code.
This week we would like to know which of our readers are running source-based distributions and why. Please leave us a comment saying why you do (or do not) run a source-based distribution.
You can see the results of last week's poll on local e-mail clients verses webmail here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
|I run source-based distributions: ||235 (15%)|
| I do not run source-based distributions: ||1026 (65%)|
| I am not familiar with source-based distributions: ||321 (20%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Raminos Linux. Raminos Linux is an independent desktop distribution. The operating system features the pacman package manager, the Xfce desktop environment and Upstart as the init software with OpenRC as the service manager.
- PhoenixOS. PhoenixOS is a desktop distribution which is based on Kubuntu. It strives to be easy to use and provides compatibility software to run Windows applications out of the box.
- Keysoft. Keysoft is a German language Linux distribution that is based on openSUSE.
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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, 21 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 • Source-based distros (by brad on 2015-12-14 01:41:40 GMT from North America) |
Not now. Perhaps, when I retire, and have boatloads of free time.
I did put aside two days of a long weekend to install Arch on an old 32-bit laptop. It took the better part of a day just to install and compile the base system, and part of another day to get X and a DE installed. It worked, after a fashion. It was nice to know that I could do it, but I decided I didn't want to dedicate so much time until I actually had the time to waste.
2 • Surprizing move from Canonical (by kneekoo on 2015-12-14 01:42:42 GMT from Europe)
I didn't expect them to change the defaults because a bad decision is not that hard to spot and revert when the feedback pours in. I guess the defaults no loger generate enough profit/advantages for Canonical to counter-balance the negative feedback.
3 • re: Brad (by NotJob on 2015-12-14 02:07:00 GMT from North America)
Brad #1 you know that Arch isn't source based, right? You can install all those packages with pacman and be up in running in less than an hour.
4 • Arch (by brad on 2015-12-14 02:16:41 GMT from North America)
@3 - yes, I know you can do that - it was more of an intellectual exercise, just to see if I could do it.
The laptop is old (Pentium M, 2GB memory) and I wanted to see if it would be noticeably faster with a kernel tweaked for best performance. It *was* very fast, but the amount of effort to get there (and the realization that I might need to do it repeatedly for each new stable kernel), was more time than I wanted to spend, in aggregate.
The other thing that bothered me about the effort was that I wasn't always sure that I was picking out the best kernel optimizations during the kernel configuration stage. Again, a major time sink. As I said previously, I'll do it when I have boatloads of time.
5 • advanced age... (by brad on 2015-12-14 02:18:29 GMT from North America)
My comments # 1 and #4, should refer to Gentoo, not Arch. I'm getting closer to retirement by the second...
: - )
6 • Kernel updates (by arve on 2015-12-14 05:59:30 GMT from Europe)
@brad Once you have that first kernel up and running, re-using your kernel config for a kernel upgrade removes all the work, except for taking a stand on new kernel features.
7 • Source-based distros (by captainkats on 2015-12-14 07:14:45 GMT from Europe)
As I've studied electronics & did some programming before, I understand that you can get A LOT of performance by building from source & excluding some features (or adding some that you actually need). That's why I admire these source-based distros.
However I don't want to spend time & effort to build my system. Yes, I know this will be done once & then the only time effort will be the updates, but... time, effort & patience. And of course some reading as I don't know all the steps correctly.
Just don't wanna invest time on this... for now at least...
8 • Source based distros (by Simon on 2015-12-14 08:01:23 GMT from Oceania)
I ran Gentoo for many years, and I still miss its flexibility. Nothing else gives you as much freedom to set up your system exactly how you want it. Unfortunately, Gentoo only offers a "rolling release", which means that (as with every other rolling release distro) you're not sheltered from bugs the way you are on distros with traditional "frozen" testing -> stable development cycles. It's actually amazing that Gentoo works as well as it does, given this rolling release approach, and the fact that its users are basically running their own unique distributions (within the Gentoo "meta-distribution"), due to the extensive customization options Gentoo gives them (building all their packages with or without certain libraries, optimizations, etc.). It's a testament to the skills of the Gentoo developers and the technical brilliance of portage that it all runs as smoothly as it does. For work though, the giants (the Red Hat and Debian/Ubuntu clones) have caused me fewer headaches, even though they're ugly and unprincipled. If "principled" (UNIX-wise) matters to you, and you prefer building packages from source, Slackware is another distro that's worth considering: you install the base system, and then typically you build everything else from source using either your own or community (slackbuilds.org) slackbuild scripts. Its offshoot "Salix" does a nice job of automating all this. Now that systemd and all the other insanely complicted interconnected Windows-like gloop is becoming more and more accepted, the Slackware-based distros are quite a breath of fresh air: simple, human-readable and editable init scripts that get things up and running just as quickly as systemd but with about a tenth of the complexity. The "purest" source-based distro is LFS: it's basically just a few patches and some documentation to walk you through building things from upstream sources. At the other extreme, Gentoo is about the richest and most sophisticated set of tools for building stuff from source that anyone could ever want.
9 • from source (by zykoda on 2015-12-14 08:21:11 GMT from Europe)
Tried Gentoo from source many years ago. To reach a GUI took me three days and nights on a rather under-resourced Pentium box. I gave up on a diminishing returns basis. Comments #1,7 about time still seem very relevant. One could assert that to gain performance at execution requires even more performance at compile. However a special purpose continuously running application might benefit rather than a general purpose desktop. Software security may be another reason to compile from source...but there are other concerns about security...firmware, hardware..etc. vulnerabilities on a networked machine not in a electromagnetically
10 • end to spyware? (by M.Z. on 2015-12-14 09:00:45 GMT from North America)
I've long had a suspicion that Canonical was in some way on the hook contractually to continue putting the spyware into Unity for some period of time. I'd guess that Amazon wanted some assurance that they would be getting a reliable source of revenue built into desktop for some minimum guaranteed amount of time. The idea may be speculative, but I suspect it's the most likely reason that they didn't respond to the negative feedback far earlier. It would certainly seem to me that a legal difficulty would be far more likely to cause delayed action on fixing Unity than any technical reason, especially give how quickly other pieces of software tend to change these days. I hope it all comes to an end sooner rather than later as I feel this spyware crap may have hurt desktop Linux in general.
11 • Source-based? (by Hans on 2015-12-14 09:26:18 GMT from Europe)
First time I didn't vote (lack of options) and wrote a comment.
I'm running FreeBSD on a lot of machines and it gives you the best of both worlds (binary packages vs source-based). For mainstream architectures and packages with default options I use binary packages. For non-default options or old machines (e.g. PowerPC's) I build from sources. On machines where both are available, they can be mixed freely without any problems.
12 • paldo linux (by Hoos on 2015-12-14 11:07:42 GMT from Asia)
This is a follow-up from my post in last week's comments section. I mentioned I had problems updating my paldo installation and was not sure their repository servers were still maintained. One poster replied and said he'd been doing so regularly without issue, and that I should join their forum to ask for help.
So I tried to register with the forum. It told me to expect an email to activate my forum account. However, close to a week later there is no email from the forum administrator. There's nothing in the Spam folder.
I thought maybe I had made a typo mistake when I gave them my email address, so I tried to re-register with a different name. But it didn't allow me because there was "another member with the same email address". For the moment, I'm holding off creating a new email account just to to try registering again for one forum, particularly since I'm not sure whether the problem lies with my end or the forum end.
There does not appear to be any other method of contact listed on paldo linux's website or forum.
Would appreciate it if the poster from last week - or any of the paldo linux forum administrators - respond to this post/comment.
13 • Mobile OSs (by G Savage on 2015-12-14 13:19:50 GMT from North America)
Really disheartened to see what's going on in the mobile OS world with some operations scaling back. It is my hope that the people who contributed to the Firefox OS and Sailfish projects will continue their good work with Mer, Ubuntu-Touch, or CyanogenMod. Thanks for your efforts and wishing you all the best.
14 • Removing metadata from image files (by Mark D on 2015-12-14 13:47:55 GMT from Europe)
You can use Imagemagick's convert or mogrify for this,
eg. 'mogrify -strip image.jpg'
Removes the exif data from image.jpg.
15 • Raminos Linux (by a on 2015-12-14 13:59:05 GMT from Europe)
Glad to see a new systemd-free distro, using a good selection of technologies (pacman, Xfce, upstart and openrc), but… Upstart seems like a strange choice since Canonical has dropped it, and OpenRC can also do the same job.
Also, the web site needs work. At least with NoScript I only get a small intro text and a screenshot, and Firefox says it has blocked some content. Obviously it’s very early still for that distro.
16 • Source based distros (by a on 2015-12-14 14:12:58 GMT from Europe)
I switched to Gentoo this year to get away from systemd. It wasn’t my first choice but after trying many systemd-free distros, it was the only one that I could actually install and use (even though it took me a long time).
After struggling for a few months I now have a great system configured how I like it. I could even block gtk3.16+ in order to keep sane scrollbars in the only gtk3 application I use.
Updates sometimes require a bit of searching or asking on IRC (#gentoo on Freenode is great!), but most of the time everything works fine with no need for manual intervention.
Installing or updating software doesn’t take a long time with a fast CPU, except for some packages like webkit-gtk or libreoffice… (You can use libreoffice-bin instead to get it pre-compiled, but there is no webkit-gtk-bin.) I even installed Gentoo on a low-power computer recently and so far so good, didn’t even need to set up distcc (but I will avoid webkit on that one!).
17 • Raminos Linux (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-12-14 17:25:39 GMT from North America)
Project may be listed at SourceForge as "Raminux" ...
18 • Source based distros (by SilentSam on 2015-12-14 18:44:50 GMT from North America)
Well, Arch _does_ have its Arch Build System (ABS): https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Arch_Build_System
So I guess technically it can be considered Source Based? I don't think anyone runs Arch solely using ABS, but it should be possible.
Even the BSDs are favouring binaries over ports these days.
19 • Gentoo (by Nathan Zachary on 2015-12-14 19:21:05 GMT from North America)
I have been running Gentoo since right after the Enoch days, and love it. Yes, it takes time to compile from source. No, I don't do it for performance reasons. I like the flexibility compiling provides, and I also have grown to like having complete control over my system (configuring my own kernel, choosing to use OpenRC over systemd, et cetera).
To each their own, though. I definitely understand the time that is required to run a source-based distribution.
20 • Source Based (by More Gee on 2015-12-14 19:23:11 GMT from North America)
Only game in town other than Puppy if you got only 256mb of memory or less, soon to be 512mb if the installers get any more bloated. I remember saying the same thing on this site about 2mb/640kb computers (P2, AMD K6-2) about 10 years ago. i still use GentooX on my old xbox, when it wants to turn on. I may port it over next year to a raspberry Pi and an old xbox 360 that lost bluetooth next year
21 • source based distros (by denflen on 2015-12-14 19:33:41 GMT from North America)
I love the idea of souce based distros, but I don't want to spend more time setting up my computer than actually using it. I know this is a little off subject, but I did install Ubuntu 15.10 using just the minimalCD, (with Lubuntu based enviroment when possible) which allows the user to select or not select a lot of packages. I wound up having a bigger (sized) installation than what i got using the full desktop CD of Lubuntu 15.05. Is Lubuntu 15.10 that much bigger than 15.05?
22 • Сеть автомастерских (by enotilus on 2015-12-14 20:16:38 GMT from Europe)
Сеть СТО “Alt-Star” предлагает http://starters.kiev.ua/remont-starterov?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=2076&category_id=94>Ремонт кондиционера Mercedes-Benz Clk Каброилет (A209) Ремонт стартера Audi 80 (89, 89q, 8a, B3)
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23 • Raminos Linux & systemd free distros (by nothing on 2015-12-14 22:49:15 GMT from North America)
@15 AFAIK OpenRC needs an init (normally SysV) and it looks like they chose Upstart.
Another arch based systemd-free spin (not a distro): obarun.org
They use runit.
It seems though that these efforts are all "a one-man-show."
24 • Alternative Source Based Distros (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-15 00:27:48 GMT from Europe)
@15 The Nutyx Linux distro is systemd-free, LFS based, uses source and binary packages, and still actively developed in France [documentation in French and English]. Although it is at position 216 in the Distro Watch rankings, it is relatively easy to install.
I installed it on a spare machine/partition. For binary packages it uses its own "cards" system. It can also build packages from source in a similar way to Slackware's SlackBuild system [I haven't fully understood this bit yet]. This mixed source/binary system means that it can be installed very quickly, unlike pure source-based Distros, like Gentoo, which require hours to be set aside just to get a basic system.
So far I have a working XFCE desktop and I installed Chromium from the repository.
The only slight negative, so far, is that it overwrites the GRUB settings on a multi-boot machine [so keep a copy of the old /boot/grub/grub.cfg and do a grub-install of the merged file after Nutyx has been installed].
I can't recommend it all users as it requires a bit of DIY. I will report back when I know more. I would be interested to hear from others who have tried or who use Nutyx. Why is it at No. 216?
25 • chakra and uefi (by brikler on 2015-12-15 09:40:39 GMT from Europe)
"I also found it interesting that when run on my physical hardware Chakra would not boot successfully when UEFI was enable, the operating system would hang before reaching a login screen Booting with UEFI in Legacy mode allowed Chakra to boot successfully."
the reason is the different boot loader.
if you install on uefi mode systemd-boot will be used and it works.
if installed in bios mode grub will be used but you can't switch between with out any work.
26 • Source Based (by Florin on 2015-12-15 10:04:13 GMT from Europe)
I use and maintain the Lunar Linux source based distro. It's a rolling distro. I like it very much because it offers the maximum of freedom to configure your system and the performance is very good. It is a time consumming task however to keep it updated. But it compensate with the great knowledge about the Linux ecosystem.
27 • Source based distributions (by Fred on 2015-12-15 14:30:46 GMT from North America)
I'm not really inclined to mess with them. I'm not a computer aficionado. I just need a computer to do daily tasks with. Standard Mint or Kubuntu type distributions work just fine for that.
28 • systemd (by Dave Postles on 2015-12-15 20:08:27 GMT from Europe)
I thought that AntiX15 did not include systemd.
29 • Source based (by Bonky osmond on 2015-12-16 03:14:19 GMT from North America)
I run mainly Arch or Manjaro on my machines but Just for variety I installed Gentoo on my GFs Machine and it is great..it has never had any issues at all...Libre office and Firefox took a while to compile. but it was done overnight when we wernt around so was not a problem..very fast very light on resources.
I also have a Slackware Machine in my other house which sadly I rarely use..apart from it being my first attempt with a source based type distro it wasn't so bad had to redo a lot of things a few times to get it right but once it was it has been rock solid for 4 yrs...
apart from absolute laziness on my side I should install Gentoo on My machines as well....maybe
30 • Source based distros (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-16 04:39:12 GMT from North America)
Life is too short to take the extra time to build a source-based distro, and I have no need for one anyway. What is available already built as an ISO is fine for me.
31 • #28 AntiX15 (by zykoda on 2015-12-16 07:26:33 GMT from Europe)
sysvinit default, but includes systemd if required after install.
32 • antiX-15 ans systemd (by anticapitalista on 2015-12-16 09:03:55 GMT from Europe)
antiX-15 does not come with systemd nor is it available after install. It uses sysvinit without any shim and eudev is in the repo (though not on the released iso)
The upcoming antiX MX-15 also ships with sysvinit as default, but does include the shim so users can (if they wish) switch to systemd after install.
33 • Easy operating system to replace windows 10 (by Scott Eno on 2015-12-16 12:06:39 GMT from North America)
I would like to recommend Antergos to any linux newbie like me looking to escape spyware named Windows 10. First easy to set up using live install with pick of top 6 desktop interfaces. Up to date because downloads new system as installs. If set up updater right desktop feeds updates to you just click after reviewing them. Very fast based on Arch so highly secure most require password before install to prevent unwanted software entering system. Works with my tv tuner and bluray player as well. So for my needs a 10 for 10.
34 • LXQt... looks nice! (by Baltazar on 2015-12-16 20:59:21 GMT from North America)
I think there should be more distros with LXQt... looks nice and it seems to be exelent for old PCs... or just for the quickness of it!
Mint LXQt could be nice!
35 • Mint Release 17.3 missing wifi drivers (by Yogidaddy on 2015-12-16 21:39:35 GMT from North America)
I read somewhere that Broadcom has a sizeable piece (20%) of the market for WiFi. So when Mint rushed it's 17.3, to release without a Broadcom WiFi Driver the response was underwhelming. The majority of new Mint users will probably never try Linux again. This is not OK. If Mint failed to obtain a licence for Broadcom drivers then they need to say so up front, please don't waste my time. While it is true that if you had a previous installation of 17.x then the drivers were available, but that is no excuse for having a major release without the software to make it work. I believe the community should call out these issues, there are ways to handle driver issues, Ubuntu seems to do it well enough, such as MP3 codex's etc. We are not fools, then the Live version works fine with Broadcom and the final installation does not then it is not OK. Get your act together Mint!
36 • Easy OS to Replace Windows (by M.Z. on 2015-12-16 22:24:09 GMT from North America)
@33/Scott - Easy OS to Replace Windows
I've thought about playing with an Arch based distro myself, but in my mind Mint 17.x KDE is a perfect fit for anyone wanting an easy & reliable way to replace any recent version of Windows. It has a huge number of advantages including: one of the easiest & most reliable installers, (which the latest review on the Antergos DW page claimed was an issue for the distro); massive repos that can easily be augmented with point & click installs from .deb files & easy to configure PPAs; great/easy admin tools; & its intuitive, configurable & has nearly flawless media playback. I advocate for the KDE version mainly because of the smoothness of streaming video playback in KDE while in other DEs I tend to get tearing; however, the trade off is that KDE may have too many config options buried in the system settings. Overall I think Mint totally kills it in the 'easy to use replacement fro Windows' department, though I am also partial to the also fairly easy to use rolling distro PCLinuxOS.
Anyway my main point is that while I like Mageia & PCLOS & am interesting in rolling distros like Manjaro/Antergos, I have never read a review of a distro I though sounded better than Mint as a replacement for Windows. And I read a fair number of Disro reviews. I think Mint has done a lot to earn it's position at the top of the DW hit chart, & if you want to avoid the spyware in Windows 10 it's the best choice for newbies. The old top dog Ubuntu does much of the same terrible things as Win 10, & while others like Antergos may have a lot going for them I think Mint is still the best for most users.
Of course if Antergos has something to compete with Mint tools in terms of easy setup & config of things repo mirrors & 3rd party software like PPAs, then I'd be interested to hear about it.
37 • Gentoo Flag Space Coordinates (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2015-12-17 01:42:37 GMT from North America)
Gentoo needs a wizard to define CFLAGS and USEFLAGS without study hall. Autodetect hardware and CPU, ask usage scenario (dekstop/server/robotics/av/kiosk/embedded/security). Then emit flags. Ditto desktop (KDE/Gnome/XFCE/Mate/E20/LXDE/LXQt) and init (systemd/sysvinit+openrc/runit+openrc/runit/s6). Do Gentoo users know of anything close to this kind of wizard? Even in derivatives? Let me know. You see something already similar with alien sub-distros like ArchServer.org, ArchAudio.org. Plenty of binary distros have desktop spins, of course.
Conversely a Gentoo generic install on external drive to boot any PC seems unavailable. Arch has a wiki page on the subject. Any live CD will work. Gentoo ties you to one machine unless you are careful with flags. You can copy flags from a binary distro's makefiles. By then you may as well use the binary distro as Gentoo.
Gentoo could conquer Linux with preset profiles and buildbot.net farms to manufacture them. Gentoo is an almost-there distro. It just needs to take the final step from "geek's compiler helper" to a "autonomous buildfarm buffet."
Even FreeBSD finally has binary packaging, but without profiles. Correct me if wrong, but you just have an arch (x86_64/i386/ARM), like any Linux distro. The profile is generic.
The sweet spot I envision gives profile tweaker choices, but not so many you get lost. Gentoo is the closest candidate. Alpine Linux is built with Gentoo and perhaps an example of one coordinate in "flag space" if you will. And a very good one.
38 • Why I Use A Source Based Distro. (by Anonymous on 2015-12-17 02:18:38 GMT from North America)
I choose Gentoo as my first distro after looking through the their community hangouts. They seemed really helpful and layed back, (as long as you could RTFM) so I figured it was as a good a place to jump in as any.
Now that I've been using it for around 6 month, I've come to appreciate the flexibility in choices, from use flags to init systems, and not really notice the compilation times.
Overall the community of Gentoo is what has kept me sticking around, and from what little research I've done into other source based distro's, they also seemed to be filled with nice people too. If something catastrophic happened to Gentoo, I would probably try out another source based distro before giving the binary one's a go.
P.S: It's really not as hard to maintain as I thought it would be, only Xorg and kernel updates cause me any trouble.
39 • @37 (by jdavidson on 2015-12-17 05:47:27 GMT from North America)
For Flags you can use commands such as gcc -c -Q -march=native --help=target to detect flags after a base install using native flags to start, As for source-based I've used Linux since I gave up on Windows ME and after trying many different distros for years I settled on source based, I currently run ArchLinux on my desktop, ARM Tablet and Server which though is a binary/source mix gives me the choice with the AUR it's just as easy to build your own binary as when I used to make .debs from source, and with DistCC running I can compile anything relatively quickly and must agree with #38 it's really not as hard as most people think it would be and I like the freedom to run what I want not what I am told to want. I also must agree having used Gentoo before that Arch and Gentoo both have amazing wiki's and communities if you ever need any help.
40 • Wifi Drivers and Linux, all distros (Obliquely @35) (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-17 05:50:48 GMT from North America)
Intel continues to set the gold standard for Linux wifi. Broadcom wifi has long been painful, due to Broadcom's stubborn unwillingness to release source code. No so sure about Qualcomm/Atheros wifi drivers. Atheros wifi seems to show up in Toshiba laptops and as second choice to Intel in Lenovo laptops. Last of all, there is the more recent entrant in the wifi world, RaLink, now owned by MediaTek. MediaTek gets credit for having Linux source code for its drivers on its web site, but I am unsure as to which distros have placed compiled MediaTek wifi drivers into their ISOs. Pity, because there are numerous vendors of inexpensive and very functional 802.11ac USB sticks using the MediaTek chips. It's a bargain way to crank up an older laptop or desktop with modern fast wifi, but only with Windows to date, AFAIK. Xaomi also has a USB stick with MediaTek chip to turn your laptop into a wifi access point, but only under Windows with either a hacked-English or Chinese driver install.
41 • #32 systemd (by zykoda on 2015-12-17 07:28:03 GMT from Europe)
Thank you for the correction. My misinterpretation of what I read for MX-15.
42 • Tails_privacy_perfection (by k on 2015-12-17 08:59:19 GMT from Europe)
Now with much experience of Tails and most similar systemd-free Debian variant -- at least that I have been able to find and use --, Tails 1.8 continues to provide most reliable performance and privacy. Much thanks to the Tails development team, and Happy and Peaceful Holidays and New Year 2016 to all.
43 • Additional distro search criteria (by JACK MCMAHON on 2015-12-17 15:02:33 GMT from North America)
I think a search selection should now include the non_X86 hardware, Line the Raspberry BeagleBone, Banana,, , and non Intel hardware. More of the micro cost boards that will run Linux should have a way to find distros as they are ported to the newest hardware. The old mainframes are supported shouldn't it be easier to find distros for ARM, RISC, etc., processors?
44 • Search crtieria (by Jesse on 2015-12-17 15:35:17 GMT from North America)
@43: We already have that option. It's covered by the Architecture field on the Search page. The boards you mention (Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi etc) use ARM processors. Specifically, I think you are looking for distributions with support for "armhf".
45 • usefulness of these discussions/polls (by Tim Dowd on 2015-12-17 15:39:57 GMT from North America)
I just wanted to comment on how useful I'm finding these polls and the discussions they've generated. The filesystem one in particular really got me thinking about a topic that I should have considered long ago. I had several multi-TB external hard drives still formatted in their original NTFS, which is a problem because the chkdsk utility isn't available except on Windows and got me into trouble. Luckily I work on a Windows computer and have some IT friends that logged me in as an administrator so I could run chkdsk. I'm migrating all my data currently to a FreeBSD ZFS server and formatting the ones directly attached to my Debian box as ext4. It's just a really important topic that its nice to be reminded to think about, and I think a lot of these polls do that.
As to the discussion this week about source-based distros... I think their advantages are really only for the people that know exactly what they're doing. Gentoo has great documentation for getting a working Gentoo system running, but I never really found much of a discussion of why you'd have or have not certain use flags, or what should be in a kernel and what shouldn't be. Clearly some advantage can be had if you really know what you're doing and these distros (and pkgsrc, and ports on the various BSDs) are essential if you have odd or new hardware.
I'd love to see resources that discuss the various options but I also understand that these options exist for people with specialized knowledge and I'm ok with that. They serve their purpose well.
46 • Gentoo - NOOB shaming? (by brad on 2015-12-17 20:16:42 GMT from North America)
"[...] I never really found much of a discussion of why you'd have or have not certain use flags, or what should be in a kernel and what shouldn't be.[...]
@45 - I agree - if someone out there could point to some useful documentation on these points, it would help "tip the scales", as it were.
I'm probably imagining this, but I've always feared that asking these questions in the Gentoo forums would generate "NOOB-shaming" responses...
47 • gentoo forums (by Tim Dowd on 2015-12-17 20:18:10 GMT from North America)
I've always found those forums to be really helpful places, so I don't think they'd be mean :)
48 • TAILS 1.8.1 (by and my axe! on 2015-12-18 13:49:11 GMT from Europe)
Expect TAILS 1.8.1 soon. If you haven't downloaded version 1.8, you may want to wait for version 1.8.1. See the TAILS Development Mailing List for more.
49 • NUTYX Linux - first look (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-18 15:22:52 GMT from Europe)
At the start of the week I said I would report back on my findings with the relatively obscure Nutyx Linux as a new user. In summary, it was hard work getting to grips with Nutyx Linux, but worth the effort. As mentioned, it is systemd-free, based on Linux From Scratch, and supports both binary and source packages.
I mentioned that it zapped my multi-boot GRUB setup, and so I had to do a "grub-install /dev/sda" of my old [backed-up!] /boot/grub/grub.cfg, adding the extra lines produced by Nutyx. As I have been playing with lots of distros, I was not as scared of this as I should have been.
The worst problem I encountered was that it refused to setup a "gb" keyboard layout using the XFCE4 settings menu: I could set it, but the setting was ignored, and I continued to have a "us" keyboard. The not very elegant solution was the setxkbmap -layout "gb" command in .bashrc.
Apart from those two "hurdles", Nutyx behaves like a sysvinit Linux should behave. Coming from Debian, it takes getting used to Slackware-style packag management [ie no automatic package dependency resolution]. I have still not had time to explore the source based method for installing new packages. However, the repositories are very up to date.
I still have lots to explore as I think this is a good candidate/platform for replacing Debian7 on my everyday work machine. It is very frugal in memory usage: XFCE4 with Chromium starts at 350mb, compared to 760mb on Debian7.
I must stress that this is probably not for Linux beginners, mainly as there are lots of places where the installer can summon up surprizes. Once installed, it appears a solid Linux system.
50 • @46 (by Bonky Osmond on 2015-12-18 16:09:25 GMT from North America)
Gentoo wiki / documentation is very good you just need to search a bit
https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Handbook:AMD64/Working/USE there is a little page on USE flags.
explains a little on Kernels but there is a lot of other links and pages you can read.
I installed Gentoo and i am no way a Geek or any expert..it took a lot of reading and was a bit slow for me doing the Kernel..
try not to do it with an annoyed Latino GF screaming at you or 15 huskys whining for your attention ....full concentration is needed not to miss something or you go and do it all again haha
51 • Poniters... (by brad on 2015-12-18 16:25:42 GMT from North America)
@50 - thanks!
The Genkernel link contains another link I haven't seen before, which might prove useful for those wanting to attempt "true" manual kernel configuration:
52 • Beware the Dark Side of the Source (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2015-12-19 00:58:37 GMT from North America)
Even for Linux gurus, AUR and Gentoo often produce compiler errors. Packages disappear entirely from AUR without notice. Dependencies in AUR and Gentoo are frequently borked. In other words, they can be tricky to use.
Arch has yet to train AUR devs to keep MD5s current via updpkgsums. My tip: MD5s should be automatic. No PKGBUILD can post without valid MD5 hash; and weekly automatic fixups drop into extant PKGBUILDs without intervention. Automation would stop half the errors in AUR comments.
I credit Gentoo for offering recent versions of all packages. In that respect it's as good as Arch. Some Gentoo derivatives, despite bold website claims, are not as good as Gentoo. Some do however approach the use case profiling I suggest. Calculate Linux offers an enterprise server setup.
BSDs have nice ports trees, but horrible package update sloth. I contacted some BSD devs about delays. They yawned. "I'll look into it sometime." You never hear back. I would be most happy for BSD packaging to improve.
53 • Dark Side of Source Builds (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-19 13:26:56 GMT from Europe)
@52 I am "looking forward" to building some packages on Nutyx Linux from source. I am forced to do this for the rare cases of packages not in the repos that I need [eg Bleachbit]. Nutyx follows Slackbuilds lead in starting from the original source location rather than a source repository.It is not far from what I did compiling the Kernel, except that it keeps track of the results in its ports repository.
In the days before I "discovered" Debian, there was often the battle you described of missing libraries and other things. These days, the shear size of even the simplest package means that getting compiler errors is a killer.
54 • @49, Xfce keyboard setting (by a on 2015-12-19 19:50:34 GMT from Europe)
"The worst problem I encountered was that it refused to setup a "gb" keyboard layout using the XFCE4 settings menu: I could set it, but the setting was ignored, and I continued to have a "us" keyboard."
I had the same issue with my latest Gentoo install. Fixed it by running the consolekit service and starting Xfce with startxfce4 --with-ck-launch.
55 • XFCE keyboard on NUTYX (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-19 21:06:42 GMT from Europe)
@54 Thanks, I just tried your suggestion, but the ck fix doesn't work for XFCE+NUTYX [I couldn't see why not, as the polkit daemon is running]. So many bugs, so little time.
56 • Grub2 bug (by Jordan on 2015-12-19 23:19:20 GMT from North America)
"Linux is usually touted as the operating system of choice for those concerned about privacy, but a recently discovered bug makes it unbelievably simple to bypass authentication. A vulnerability in Grub2 -- the bootloader used by many Linux distros -- means that all it takes to take control of a computer is to press the backspace key 28 times
Man o man...
57 • GRUB2 bug (by nolinuxgutu on 2015-12-20 00:16:09 GMT from Europe)
@56 Thanks for pointing that out. Major distros have created fixes for this bug, but you have to have updated your software recently/often. On reading about this [just search online], it appears that it only applies if the attacker has physical access to your computer while it is actually booting [am I correct?]. So not such a big problem?
58 • Alpine Linux puzzling (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-20 00:54:45 GMT from North America)
The Alpine Linux Downloads page has numerous ISOs that one can try. I get the difference between X64 and not-X64. I have a good idea how the releases for Xen, Raspberry Pi and Generic ARM would be used. But what are the Standard, Mini and Vanilla versions, and why would one choose one or the other? Not apparent to the casual observer. I don't get it. Needs explanation.
59 • 58 • Alpine Linux flavors (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-12-20 07:33:37 GMT from North America)
Not puzzling at all, if you read the announcement.
60 • @57, grub2 bug (by a on 2015-12-20 15:11:58 GMT from Europe)
That bug is really not an issue, yet unfortunately it is being spread all over the web by microsoft fanboys who have no idea what they are talking about.
1) have you ever seen a login prompt in your bootloader? this is an extremely rare case. Not a single distro I have tried in my life had setup a login prompt in the bootloader. Not sure it serves an actual purpose.
2) requires physical access. If you have physical access then you might as well boot on a live usb and access everything you want.
3) people who don’t want physical attackers to access their systems use full disk encryption. This "attack" certainly does not decrypt the disk.
61 • Grub2 bug @60 (by Jordan on 2015-12-20 15:34:58 GMT from North America)
It's not a "microsoft fan by" article and it's not being propagated "all over the web" by anyone. It's an informative piece of bootup info.
Stop the FUD and just test this bug, as I did. It works and in some work environments it could be dangerous/pranky etc.
62 • @59 - Alpine Linux (by Ben Myers on 2015-12-20 15:48:41 GMT from North America)
Too true. So says the announcement. Am I being too picky to expect the same information clearly on the Alpine Linux web site?
63 • 62 • Alpine Linux (by Somewhat Reticent on 2015-12-20 16:58:17 GMT from North America)
No, that would be best-practice documentation.
Perhaps this page http://forum.alpinelinux.org/downloads will eventually replace http://alpinelinux.org/downloads/ or at least be merged with it?
64 • 52 • Beware the Dark Side (by Linuxista on 2015-12-20 19:50:24 GMT from North America)
The cautions about the Arch AUR are overstated (adjectives like "often," "frequently" and "tricky") in my opinion. I've had about 100 packages from AUR installed on my system for years now, and, on the whole, I'd describe it as easy, painless and almost a complete non-issue. When I find out a package is in the AUR rather than in one of the official repositories, I'm almost wholly indifferent. In general, the AUR is great, very useful, and way bettter and easier, in my opinion, than my experience dealing with PPAs.
65 • GRUB2 bug - be a little afraid! (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-20 20:02:06 GMT from Europe)
@60 Only because I had physical access to my own computer:
1. I logged in as root from the GRUB2 prompt by editing the boot command. I was then able to remount / as rw and create a file anywhere I wanted.
2. Installing a boot loader password would have stopped me from doing this.
3. Encrypting the root file system would have also have stopped me, but is costly.
The problem of these 0-day bugs is they are disclosed by security experts in obscure locations, read by hackers but not everyday users.
66 • GRUB2 bug [I forgot to say} (by nolinuxguru on 2015-12-20 21:44:52 GMT from Europe)
@65 I forgot to say that I was logged-in as root WITHOUT any login password.
67 • re no chkdisk in linux (by EarlyBird on 2015-12-20 22:58:06 GMT from North America)
45) re fixing ntfs volumes without windows:
under linux, you have ntfs-3g. Among it's tools is ntfsfix. While this is not chkdisk, it can cope with some problems (run man ntfsfix for specifics).
There are tons of utilities in bootable rescue disks such as SystemRescue, and UBCD (Ultimate boot CD, with versions for win7 through to win 10).
Under file systems, most of the utilities listed can check ntfs file systems, but I did not spot anything specific about repairing them (short of using a disk editor).
There is also the possibility of building a BART disk which would presumably allow you to actually run chkdisk off a bootable media.
Ultimately, your choice of using an alternative files system on an external drive is a good choice, but then you loose universal file system compatibility with whatever pc you plug the device into. Also, formatting a multi-terrabyte drive with another filesystem can be "somewhat" time-consuming.....
65) re security experts in obscure locations:
actually, for anyone interested in security, there are 4 main hacker conferences to keep track of: Blackhat, Defcon, Schmoocon, and sorry, forget the 4th one. After a conference, the videos and proceedings are usually available for download; often very interesting reading. If you Google "security conferences", you will find tons of such material, including more specialized conferences targetting hardware, banking, and even spotted a chinese one for automotive security. With all the computer chips we now have in cars, and self-driving cars in the works, and the IOT (internet of things where ALL your appliances can be hooked up to and exposed to the hazards of the internet), it's not just your desktop that's at risk! We all need to take security seriously (or stick your head under the covers and read Walden).
Another resource is "Cryptogram" by Bruce Schnier, and there's always the entertaining 2600 - The Hacker Quarterly _IF you can find it at your news stand; should be available online, but either way, that's not a "free" resource)
Hope this hasn't been too "off-topic", but always like to insert useful stuff from left-field when the opportunity arises and the reader questions/comments warrant.
68 • zfs makes reformatting worth it (by Tim Dowd on 2015-12-20 23:46:39 GMT from North America)
Thanks for the info about ntfs-3g. I probably should have tried this before hauling it into work and begging for administrator access for a few hours.
At the end of the day, it's still good to be thinking about file systems and I just think the majority of users don't. It was shockingly easy to set up a spare computer as a ZFS file server and I'm pretty thrilled with this technology. I can't think of anything better to deal with these hard drives. They're cheap and huge. Copying from one drive to another is a real pain (using USB2 it can take 2 days, as 4TB is really an astronomical amount of data) and they're not super-reliable. ZFS basically solves the issue... use a mirror or raidz and once a drive starts behaving badly, swap it out and resilver. No down time. It was just amazing to me that something like this was available for free and I didn't know about it.
FreeBSD is also one of the easiest installations you can imagine. From the first boot of the installer to creating the zpool it took about 20 minutes.
FYI, using gparted, reformatting a 4TB drive as ext4 took about 30 seconds. I would have thought it would be longer, but that was it. You are of course right that losing interoperability can be a problem, but not for these drives in my home. The only downside for me is that using a windows filesystem means that it will ignore UNIX permissions which is sometimes a easy way to avoid having to get all your machines having the same UIDs and other housekeeping stuff but that's probably good stuff to be consistent with anyways.
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