| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 651, 7 March 2016
Welcome to this year's 10th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
While some of us like to build and shape our operating systems from the ground up, most people like their computers to provide a wide range of functionality right from the start. This explains why Korora, a Fedora-based project, has been successful. Korora takes the Fedora Workstation distribution and adds various repositories, codecs and other extras that most desktop users will want. This week we kick off with a review of Korora 23 and the project's many editions. The Fedora developers have acknowledged people would like to have more functionality in their Workstation edition and, in our News section, we discuss plans the Fedora's team has for making the distribution more friendly. We also talk about steps the Linux Mint developers are taking to secure their website in the wake of an attack and we celebrate the availability of an edition of Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. Plus we mention Google dropping support for 32-bit builds of Chrome, a side-effect of this change and a workaround. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss using different file systems for different situations and, in our Opinion Poll, we ask which flavour of Ubuntu we should review next month. As usual, we provide a list of the torrents we are seeding and share the distributions released last week. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (12MB) and MP3 (24MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Korora 23 review
Korora 23 is Fedora 23 plus some customizations and extra software installed by default. There are five different editions of Korora, each with a different desktop environment. There are ISOs for Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, MATE, and Xfce, each of which is about 2GB in size. Unlike Fedora, where GNOME is the default and the other desktop environments are classified as "spins" offering alternative desktop environments, Korora does not make any one desktop the official default.
Each of the Korora downloads can be burned to a DVD or copied to a flash drive. The media will boot to a live desktop environment the user can test out before installing it to their hard drive using the Anaconda installer. The install process should be extremely familiar to anyone who has used Fedora. During the install process, the user will be able to change language and keyboard options; set the location, date, and time; configure hard drive partitions, configure the network; set the root password; and create a single non-root account.
What sets Korora apart from its Fedora base is all the extras. The Fedora Project sticks very close to the defaults set by the upstream projects and does not ship non-free software or anything patent encumbered. Fedora users who want such things need to add extra repositories. Korora, on the other hand, includes the Adobe, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Talk plugin, RPM Fusion Free, RPM Fusion Non-free, and VirtualBox repositories, plus a repository for Korora specific packages. Several of these repositories are disabled by default, but enabling an already installed repository is far easier than having to install them, assuming the user is even aware such repositories exist.
A fresh install of any of the Korora variants comes with far more software out of the box than its Fedora equivalent. As with most distributions, the user will find the near ubiquitous Firefox and LibreOffice and various desktop environment specific utilities and applications, but Korora adds Audacity, Darktable, GIMP, HandBrake, Inkscape, OpenShot and VLC media player, plus a few other odds and ends. Just after install, Korora is ready to go for most audio/visual and graphical editing tasks, but if something is missing, Korora includes Yum Extender to install additional software. It also includes GNOME Software in the GNOME variant and Apper in the KDE variant.
Korora 23 -- Running Yum Extender on the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 705kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Korora 23 runs a very recent version of the Linux kernel (currently version 4.3.5) so there is good hardware support for Linux-compatible hardware. If the user does have hardware that does not have open source drivers, or if the user wants to use proprietary drivers instead of the open source ones, Korora's Pharlap utility is designed to assist the user with installing drivers. Unfortunately (at least for the purposes of this review), my hardware is fully supported without needing any proprietary drivers, so I cannot attest to how well Pharlap works.
Beyond just making Fedora easier for newcomers by adding things to Fedora, Korora has done an excellent job at crafting a unique experience that separates it from the distribution it is based on. Like I stated above, Fedora sticks very close to upstream default settings, but Korora tweaks and adds things to each of the five desktop environments. With the exception of KDE (which uses its own Breeze icon set), each of the desktops uses a special Korora icon theme. This theme features matching round icons for every single application included in the default install. All the applications having stylistically similar icons creates a unified experience. Though, I am sure there are applications available in the repositories that do not have a custom icon available.
Korora 23 -- The Cinnamon desktop and application menu
(full image size: 1MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The distribution includes more tweaks unique to each desktop environment. However, the KDE desktop seems largely untouched. The KDE desktop looks nice, but unlike the other four variants, KDE looks like generic KDE instead of like Korora's own KDE. Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce each receive several tweaks to their themes. All three of those desktop environments have dark themes for their panels, which looks nice with the custom Korora icons. In Cinnamon, the panel moves from its default bottom position to the top with few other changes. MATE has a few theme and colouring changes, but still uses the familiar GNOME 2-style panel layout. Xfce uses an auto-hiding dock on the left side of the screen as one of its panels with another panel at the top of the screen. One major frustration I had with these customizations is the fact that these changes are not saved as a theme. For example, in MATE the Korora default theme is just "Custom" and selecting any other theme makes it a little hard, but not impossible, to get things back to the way the Korora developers configured it.
Korora 23 -- The MATE desktop and Caja file manager
(full image size: 690kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
GNOME is my standard desktop environment, so I found the changes in Korora's GNOME edition to be the most interesting. I will start by saying that I use GNOME 3 daily with no setting changed from the default settings that come with Fedora 23, and I like it that way just fine. Still, Korora's tweaks to the default GNOME 3 desktop intrigued me. They enabled extensions to enable the GNOME 2-style Places menu; added a menu for removable media to the upper right status area; put a weather applet next to the panel clock; and changed the dash into a dock which is always visible on the desktop. Korora also has a customized GNOME Shell theme, which is nice, but is not different enough to make that much of a difference. I found all of the changes to be nice, usable, and useful, but none of them is going to be something I miss when I go back to using my standard GNOME 3 desktop.
There are a few other tweaks that extend to all five variants, but none are as major as a the Korora icon set. By default, the desktop wallpaper rotates among a selection of images. The wallpapers are nice, but nothing super special. On the command line, the Korora developers have changed the bash prompt so that is prints the current time, the username, and the current working directory. Again, nice but not anything really super helpful. Having a time stamp in the terminal might be helpful for some, but I found it a little distracting.
Korora 23 -- The Xfce desktop and application menu
(full image size: 456kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Performance wise, nothing the Korora developers did had any impact on the distribution's performance (positive or negative) when compared to Fedora Workstation or Fedora's alternative desktop spins. I ran Korora's Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, and Xfce variants in VirtualBox virtual machines and as live distributions from a flash drive where they were very responsive. I did a bare-metal install of Korora 23 GNOME and it worked just as well as Fedora 23 Workstation does on the same machine.
Korora is a good effort to create a Fedora-based distribution that extends Fedora and also develops its own unique identity. Each of the five variants had something to offer, and I would gladly recommend any of them to users searching for a way to use Fedora without having to deal with manually setting up RPM Fusion's repositories. Having extra software on the install media is also helpful. More applications installed by default means that users can get started using their computers right after the operating system is installed. However, I have mixed feelings on Korora's various customizations. Some, like the consistent icon theme, are nice, but others (e.g. the customized bash prompt) do not really work for me. Heavy emphasis on "for me." That is not to say they are bad. I can see how other users might find the customization I do not like to be extremely helpful. So, if you are looking for a beginner friendly, Red Hat-style Linux, give Korora a try (or five) and see if one of its variants meets your needs.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was an Acer TravelMate X483 laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: Quad-core 1.5GHz Intel Core i3-2375M CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Qualcomm Atheros AR9462 Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 3000
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint recovers from website attack, Ubuntu MATE supports Raspberry Pi 3 computers, Fedora wants to make installing third-party software easier and Google drops 32-bit Chrome
Last month, the Linux Mint website was compromised and, when the Mint developers learned of the attack, they took most of their website and forums off-line to deal with the issue. In the project's monthly newsletter, Clement Lefebvre addressed the attack and the steps the project has taken to improve security. "To protect you and reduce the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks, almost all websites moved to HTTPS so you're guaranteed you're looking at the real Linux Mint server and the communication between you and us is encrypted. These measures protect you against local attacks (somebody listening to your local network, somebody maliciously opening up free wi-fi to capture passwords being typed in a public place or, even on a greater scale, fake DNS resolution pointing you to malicious servers). Note: The blog is yet to switch to HTTPS, we're working on that still. To make ISO verification more accurate we'll communicate SHA256 sums and GPG information more prominently going forward. MD5 was displayed as the primary mean of verification, with SHA256 and GPG being available for people who wanted them. We'll review the way this information is shown and try to make more people use SHA256 and hopefully also GPG by default." Further details and plans for future improvements are listed in the newsletter.
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The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently launched a new model of their small, single-board computer. Last week the Ubuntu MATE project announced they have already published an edition of their distribution which is compatible with the new Raspberry Pi 3 computers. "The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is here and we are delighted to announce the immediate availability of Ubuntu MATE 15.10 for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B! Many thanks to Ben Nuttall, Simon West, Liz Upton and Phil Elwell from the Raspberry Pi Foundation for providing Martin Wimpress with a Raspberry Pi 3 and engineering assistance over the weekend. The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is the same form factor as the Raspberry Pi B+ and Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the RAM remains 1GB and the USB and wired Ethernet port arrangement and configuration are unchanged." While Ubuntu MATE's Bluetooth support for the new Pi is still in development, all other features are expected to work. Further details on the Pi's new hardware and the new edition of Ubuntu MATE can be found in the project's announcement.
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PCWorld has run an article which talks about recent changes to the Fedora distribution and future plans to make Fedora a more friendly desktop operating system. In the article, Fedora's Project Leader, Matthew Miller, weighs in on what changes are coming to the distribution: "If developers want to play games on their laptops, there's a good chance they'll need closed-source graphics drivers like those from NVIDIA or AMD. Fedora has never officially supported these drivers due to its focus on free software, and has no plans to do so. However, the Fedora project would like to make the process of installing them less painful, and there will be a big conversation about that in the next year. `If you need to have those graphics drivers and you're a grown-up, you can make that decision yourself,' said Miller. Fedora's new attitude will extend to patent-encumbered codecs for playing various types of media and closed-source software, too. As Miller tells it, Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers on Fedora, despite the fact that users have to get it directly from Google. Miller believes Fedora is actually losing an educational opportunity here. If users would search for Chrome in Fedora's Software application and see instructions for downloading Chrome and an informational message about why it's not free software, Fedora would be able to educate its users and help them find what they're looking for." Additional information on Fedora's adoption of Wayland and how the project plans to make contributing easier can be found in the PCWorld article.
* * * * *
Last week Google dropped support for the 32-bit version of its Chrome web browser on all flavours of Linux. This planned obsolescence had been in the works for a while, with Google recommending people who are using 32-bit operating systems either upgrade to a 64-bit platform or switch to using the open source Chromium web browser. One side-effect of 32-bit builds of Chrome being dropped was that many people who were already running the 64-bit build of Chrome on 64-bit operating systems could no longer receive updated versions of the web browser. Users running Debian, or children of the Debian distribution, saw the error message "Unable to find expected entry 'main/binary-i386/Packages' in Release file (Wrong sources.list entry or malformed file)" when checking for software updates. The Pinguy OS developers have addressed the issue and provided a workaround.
As an update to the advice provided by Pinguy OS, we would like to add that the official google-chrome.list file can be over-written and the changes are lost when performing this workaround on Debian (and possibly related distributions such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint). This means the above fix gets lost and the Chrome web browser will not receive security updates. It is our suggestion that the line in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list be edited to include a leading "#" character to look like this:
# deb http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main
Then create a new repository file as follows:
sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/chrome.list
In this file, insert a single line:
deb [arch=amd64] http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main
Then save the file. This new repository file has a different name and will not be over-written with the old repository data. This should provide a more permanent fix.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Trying different file systems
Exploring-alternative-file-systems asks: Is there a benefit to using alternative file systems in different use cases? As an example, does it make sense to use a different file system for a laptop versus a desktop?
DistroWatch answers: There are some situations where using an alternative file system makes sense. In situations where we have a vast amount of data and need a high degree of reliability it makes sense to use ZFS. If we need to store data on a file system that can be read by virtually every operating system then we might want to use FAT. When we need file system snapshots or boot environments we will almost certainly end up using Btrfs or ZFS.
For most people at home the above requirements are unusual and, when looking at desktop vs laptop situations, there are no significant gains to be made by using an exotic file system. In most situations it is best to stick with your operating system's default file system, which usually means ext4 on Linux and UFS on members of the BSD family. These are the file systems that tend to have the most users, which means bugs are likely to be noticed and repaired quickly. Other file systems might offer slight advantages in performance or other benchmarks, but I recommend sticking with file systems that have been around for a long time and which have proven themselves reliable when in use by millions of people.
In short, unless you have a pressing need to use one file system over another, I recommend sticking with the default. For most people at home there is not a strong incentive to use different file systems on different computers.
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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: 170
- Total data uploaded: 31.0TB
|Released Last Week
Porteus Kiosk 3.7.0
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the release of Porteus Kiosk 3.7.0, a new update of the single-purpose Gentoo-based distribution designed for web kiosks: "I'm pleased to announce that Porteus Kiosk 3.7.0 is now available for download. New version sums all the development which happened in the last 3 months and which can be tracked with details in the changelog to the Porteus Kiosk 'automatic updates' service. Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.4.3, Mozilla Firefox to version 38.6.1 ESR and Google Chrome to version 47.0.2526.111. Packages from the userland are upgraded to portage snapshot tagged on 2016-02-28. We have moved early to the kernel 4.4.x LTS line as we need better support for PCs powered by the Intel Skylake processors. Please note that kernel and userland packages are compiled for i586 architecture, that means Porteus Kiosk does not support i486 CPUs anymore." See the release announcement and changelog for an overview of the most notable features introduced in this release.
Christian Hewitt has announced the release of OpenELEC 6.0.2, the latest stable version of the specialist distribution featuring Kodi, an open-source media entertainment software: "The OpenELEC 6.0.2 release has been published. Users running OpenELEC 5.95.1 thru 6.0.1 with auto-update enabled will be prompted on-screen to reboot and apply the update once it has been downloaded. Users running older OpenELEC releases or with auto-update disabled will need to manually update. If you would like to update from an older OpenELEC release please read update instructions/advice on the wiki before updating. Manual update files can be obtained from the downloads page. OpenELEC 6.0.2 is a maintenance release but has some new features backported from our upcoming OpenELEC 7.0 release. The main fixes are: full RaspberryPi 3 support including onboard WLAN and Bluetooth; fixes to our settings add-on, including fixes for backup and restore; add more USB-WLAN drivers to WeTek Play and WeTek OpenELEC box builds...." Continue to the release announcement for more information.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2016.02
Neofytos Kolokotronis has announced the release of Chakra GNU/Linux 2016.02 (code name "ian"), the latest stable version of the KDE-centric distribution originally forked from Arch Linux: "We are happy to announce the release of Chakra's first 2016 ISO image, codenamed 'Ian', in memory of the late Ian Murdock, the founder of Debian. This ISO image doesn't introduce any major changes, but it offers an updated snapshot of our stable repositories to new users. It can be considered a maintenance release, providing all the bug fixes and package updates that occurred in the last three months, ever since the previous ISO image was released. As always, we ship the latest available versions of KDE's Plasma, Applications and Frameworks. The 2016.02 'Ian' ISO image ships with the following notable packages: KDE Plasma 5.5.4, KDE Frameworks 5.19.0 KDE Applications 15.12.2, Calligra 2.9.11, Linux kernel 4.2.6, X.Org Server 1.17.4, systemd 228, Qt 5.5.1, MESA 11.0.6, NVIDIA 358.16, Catalyst 15.9...." Read the release announcement for more details and a screenshot.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2016.02 -- Running the Plasma desktop
(full image size: 1MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Untangle NG Firewall 12.0
Untangle has announced the release of Untangle NG Firewall 12.0, a major new update of the specialist distribution designed for firewalls and gateways. This is the project's first version based on Debian 8.0: "12.0 is a major release. Major user interface updates, a new dashboard and many new features. The admin interface received a major overhaul. The organization didn't change much so there isn't a big learning curve to re-learn everything. However, visually it is very different. The new admin interface is simpler, cleaner, faster and more responsive. The two tabs (apps, config) on the left are gone. Now there are 4 global tabs. The dashboard is a new customizable view into your system and important topical information. By default the dashboard shows an assortment of 'widgets' which show you different information about your system. You can also add more widgets to show various information. Apps shows the new apps view. By default and on upgrade this is the traditional rack view." Here is the standard press release while useful technical details are more readily available in the release notes.
Josh Strobl has announced the release of Solus 1.1, an update to the project's inaugural stable release delivered in December. Solus is a simple desktop Linux distribution featuring a home-made desktop environment (Budgie) and a custom package manager (eopkg). This minor point release brings improvements to the Budgie desktop, streamlined system installer and updated software packages: "We are proud to announce the release of Solus 1.1, the first point release in the 'Shannon' series of releases. Solus 1.1 builds upon the groundwork of 1.0 with subtle refinements and improvements to Budgie, large core and graphics stack improvements, and furthers us on our journey to create something that you can just use, something that just works. Budgie is our flagship desktop environment, developed and designed for the desktop, with every inch of it catering to a desktop workflow. We have continued to improve Budgie, with version 10.2.4 shipping in Solus 1.1. This release features a multitude of bug fixes, improvements and updated translations." Here is the full release announcement with screenshots.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Ubuntu community editions
Next month we will see the release of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. As Ubuntu is widely used and the distribution functions as a base for many other projects, we naturally plan to review the new release. There are many community editions of Ubuntu and we are considering which of the community editions we might also review.
This week we want to know which, if any, of Ubuntu's community editions you would like to see DistroWatch review next month.
You can see the results of our previous poll on learning resources here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Review which Ubuntu community edition?
|Kubuntu: ||603 (20%)|
| Lubuntu: ||271 (9%)|
| Mythbuntu: ||64 (2%)|
| Ubuntu GNOME: ||307 (10%)|
| Ubuntu MATE: ||851 (28%)|
| Ubuntu Kylin: ||40 (1%)|
| Ubuntu Studio: ||135 (4%)|
| Xubuntu: ||516 (17%)|
| None of the above: ||302 (10%)|
Distributions added to the database
Whonix is an operating system focused on anonymity, privacy and security. It is based on the Tor anonymity network, Debian GNU/Linux and security by isolation. Whonix consists of two parts: One solely runs Tor and acts as a gateway, which is called Whonix-Gateway. The other, which is called Whonix-Workstation, is on a completely isolated network. Only connections through Tor are possible. With Whonix, you can use applications and run servers anonymously over the Internet. DNS leaks are impossible, and not even malware with root privileges can find out the user's real IP.
Whonix 220.127.116.11.2 -- Running the KDE desktop
(full image size: 537kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 14 March 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Joshua Allen Holm (feature review)
- Don Low (podcast)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Lubuntu Version (by Roy on 2016-03-07 00:54:39 GMT from North America) |
I have ran Lubuntu even when it wasn't officially Ubuntu. Really been staying with it since the chain from 15.10 this time. Glad that I was able to try the 64 bit version for the first time. Preferred the Gnome desktop so it is the first thing I change. I think it is the best of three worlds considering the Debian installer; The weightlessness of Lubuntu and the innovation of Ubuntu.
2 • Privacy (by get2gether on 2016-03-07 02:04:20 GMT from Oceania)
I really want to see MORE effort in addressing user privacy across the board. Instead we are seeing more and more online apps, online everything. This is NOT the way to provide and look after user privacy! Good to see Whonix now on the register, at least one developer has it right!
3 • google-chrome (by denflen on 2016-03-07 02:19:41 GMT from North America)
Many thanks, Jesse, for the info about google-chrome. I have had several problems with apt-get update/upgrade on my Lubuntu systems. I had no idea what was going on. I thought maybe Ubuntu was having repository issues. Your simple solution worked for me! Just another good reason to keep DistroWatching....
4 • Chrome fix (by Nimbus on 2016-03-07 02:26:05 GMT from North America)
For a permanent fix to the Google Chrome update bug, open a command prompt and enter these two commands:
sudo sed -i -e 's/deb http/deb [arch=amd64] http/' "/etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list"
sudo sed -i -e 's/deb http/deb [arch=amd64] http/' "/opt/google/chrome/cron/google-chrome"
5 • File systems (by D_CR on 2016-03-07 02:56:03 GMT from North America)
I've traditionally used ReiserFS (not to be confused with Reiser4) for OS partitions and other partitions where there's likely to be many small files.
6 • Lubuntu Version, comment to #1 (Roy) (by BeGo on 2016-03-07 03:28:16 GMT from Asia)
LXDE + Ubuntu = Lubuntu (means "You are clueless" for Indonesian),
LXDE + RazorQt = LXQt,
then, may be,
LXQt + Ubuntu = LQuntu (can be read "Lakiuntu", means "male / lucky tooth" for Indonesian) :P
About time for canonical community to adopt Lubuntu?
7 • Voted for the Mate version (by Tom Joad on 2016-03-07 03:35:34 GMT from Europe)
I voted Ubuntu Mate as that is the one I on occasion use. I like it nearly as well as Mint 17.3. My hope is that more than one Ubuntu flavor is reviewed too. I would suggest Gnome and Xfce.
But I was disappoint that straight Ubuntu was not included in the poll. I know it was a poll of the community versions. Still it would have been nice to see how 'all' of them fared in competing for a review. Also I think it odd the Kylin, strictly Chinese version was included on the poll.
As of this writing Kylin has four votes.
8 • Chrome (by M.Z. on 2016-03-07 07:04:20 GMT from North America)
Very good to know indeed, I had the same issues with Chrome on LMDE & Mint 17 KDE, though no issues on my rpm distros like Mageia. I half way expected it to hit them all, but it didn't & I was really starting to wonder & think that I was going to have to do a lot of trouble shooting. Netflix is saved, though I don't really use Chrome for anything else.
9 • #6 (by Tran Older on 2016-03-07 07:10:10 GMT from Asia)
In the Vietnamese language, Lubu means "being very busy" ; tu means "being a monk or a nun".
Jokes aside, we wait for 16.04 LTS.
10 • Kubuntu 5+ version & Bittorrent privacy comment? (by Ghosty Toast on 2016-03-07 07:21:09 GMT from Europe)
I voted for Kubuntu, the 5 version of KDE seems interesting. I would click to read the review.
@Mystery comment: I thought I seen a comment about privacy using bittorrent, but not vpn. Inquiring minds want to now.
Is this legit http://www.tribler.org/
11 • Filesystem (by Alexandru on 2016-03-07 07:45:17 GMT from Europe)
For my home needs ReiserFS (version 3.6) is the best for the following reasons:
- Never data loss,
- The journal doesn't eat much of the space,
- Great performance for many small files in depth directory hierarchy (usual situation in Linux),
- More optimal space occupancy for many small files in depth directory hierarchy.
12 • Vote (by lupus on 2016-03-07 08:24:35 GMT from Europe)
I've voted Xubuntu cause it is as mature as it gets while beeing ressource friendly. As much as I admire the beauty of KDE it always just gets in the way. Too much bling bling too much to configure too heavy for older machines. So if a friend wants some nice small bling I tell him to go for Solus or Elementary. Those are not mature but nice to look at and just not as heavy as KDE ore Gnome which btw can be brought to look nice as well.
13 • Fedora - PCWorld article (by Stan on 2016-03-07 09:07:26 GMT from Europe)
About time, Fedora is not endorsed by FSF anyway they were just hurting their popularity and adoption. I hope Fedora realizes that average desktop user has simpler requirements than developers, most of the time you can easily please them with just delivering ~4 applications.
14 • Korora 23 (by Dave Postles on 2016-03-07 09:41:22 GMT from Europe)
The installer (Anaconda) hangs or breaks when I try to install it.
15 • Voyager Live X8(Debian) with XFS File System (by Muthu on 2016-03-07 10:59:57 GMT from Asia)
iam using Debian(XFCE) with XFS File System and it is fast compared to EXT4 File System.
16 • File systems (by Karibou on 2016-03-07 11:20:01 GMT from North America)
I am running Debian Jessie 64bit MATE with ext4 File System for /root and XFS File system for /home.
17 • Opinion Poll (by justme on 2016-03-07 12:06:44 GMT from Europe)
I vote for the Core-Edition of Xubuntu
18 • Fedora's scope (by far2fish on 2016-03-07 12:25:34 GMT from Europe)
"If users would search for Chrome in Fedora's Software application and see instructions for downloading Chrome and an informational message about why it's not free software, Fedora would be able to educate its users and help them find what they're looking for."
That sounds like a lot of effort for nothing assuming they will do this for more than Chrome.
Fedora is currently targeted at developers, and I would be very surprised if these are not tech savvy enough to either with common sense or with a google search couldn't figure out this themself.
If however Fedora is re-scoping to target all sorts of end users they would need to make this available in there own repositories, and opt-in for adding these third party repositories during installation. Or else they have already lost to user friendly distros like Mint, Ubuntu, Manjaro ro Korora for that matter,.
19 • Opinion poll: Ubuntu derivative to be reviewed (by Kazlu on 2016-03-07 13:07:24 GMT from Europe)
I voted for Ubuntu GNOME. I do not intend to use it, it's not my favorite by far, but I'm still curious so I would like to see where this particular one is going, whithout having the motivation to try it myself. I am not waiting any surprises from Xubuntu or Lubuntu. I like those better, but these are pretty conservative distros so in my opinion these are less interesting to be reviewed (and Xubuntu was already reviewed in 14.04). Save the Lubuntu review fot when they switch to LXQt maybe. With Ubuntu MATE reviewed in 14.10, I am not interested in a review of the others.
Well, I have a soft spot for Ubuntu Studio but it is very specialized and it would be interesting for fewer people I guess.
20 • Fedora gets religion... again. (by vtpoet on 2016-03-07 13:31:13 GMT from North America)
This isn't the first time Fedora has gotten religion when it comes to consumer-ready (or whatever you want to call it) usability. When I tried getting back into Linux in 2004 (or so) I wanted to go with Fedora (because I'd dabbled with RedHat around 1998-2000. RPM was the wave of the future. But then Ubuntu showed up.
"plans to make Fedora a more friendly desktop operating system"
Uhuh. Fedora has just never seemed willing to do what it takes to be the distro for everyman. That's okay. They fill a niche; but this dog has barked before. What do they want? Sounds like they still can't decide. If I hadn't seen this so many times before maybe I'd be less cynical.
21 • Reviewing Ubuntu flavours (by Tom on 2016-03-07 14:16:54 GMT from Europe)
I voted for Mythbuntu. While Ubuntu MATE has made some interesting progress recently, Mythbuntu, though admittedly being more of a specialist distro, hasn't been reviewed in a long time.
22 • Ubuntu Flavors (by dragonmouth on 2016-03-07 14:33:57 GMT from North America)
I voted "None of the Above". They all are Ubuntu but with different desktops. Other distros like Debian, Fedora, Slackware or Gentoo come with different desktops too. Yet, I don't see DW reviewing those versions as separate distros. Why all this deference to *buntus?!
23 • Fedora User-Friendliness (by Sam on 2016-03-07 14:50:43 GMT from North America)
I too have heard Fedora devs claim they sought to make their next version more "user-friendly." They did, back when I was running Fedroa 10 as my daily distro. Then 11 came out, broke software I used regularly, didn't work well with my laptop's wifi (neither Fedora's fault per se), and 12 didn't change the matter. Then came Gnome 3... so, forgive me if I resist what could be another "bait and switch" where "user-friendliness" gets some love one year, and is abandoned in subsequent editions.
24 • Poll (by a on 2016-03-07 14:51:17 GMT from Europe)
I voted for Lubuntu because I’m interested in LXQt. Will Lubuntu 16.04 use it? That’s the DE I’ll switch to when Xfce is full of the Gtk3 abomination. Or maybe I’ll use no DE at all.
25 • @22 agreed and more.. (by Jordan on 2016-03-07 14:55:49 GMT from North America)
Canonical flavors.. no real vote ("none of the above").
For the reasons talked about here and in Windows forums ("the most popular linux has spyware too.. what's the big deal about Microsoft's spyware..").
Kudos to the Ubuntu based distros that remove that stuff. And huge kudos to Debian, Gentoo based etc that would never THINK of including such code in their products.
26 • Fedora more user-friendly (by Andy Mender on 2016-03-07 14:59:50 GMT from Europe)
I am not sure what would be the point of making Fedora more user-friendly and stuffing it with proprietary, third-party software. If someone wants such software, the RPM Fusion repos are extremely easy to install. Almost a click away. Also, Korora (reviewed in this week's edition of DistroWatch Weekly) fills the niche left by Fedora not being user-friendly enough. There are plenty of other rpm-based distributions, too - Mageia, openSUSE, etc.
I think this blending trend leads to extensive duplication in the GNU/Linux ecosystem. Distributions don't differ as much as they used to years ago.
27 • Fedora vs. CentOS (by Microlinux vs. Fedora on 2016-03-07 15:00:18 GMT from Europe)
Good old Red Hat Linux was just the right support cycle. Then folks at Red Hat decided to wreck it, so now you have either a decade of support, or a year and a half.
So I moved to Slackware.
28 • Enough is enough. People need to chill out. (by Grumpy Old Man on 2016-03-07 16:04:50 GMT from North America)
@22, The reason may be that they don't have any community editions that are officially recognized and also not as many people use the distros that you mention as mush as the community editions of Ubuntu. The distros you mention have been reviewed and will continue to be.
@25, Same old nonsense. Starting with 16.04 everything dealing with online searches will be opt in. That is so the less enlightened will not have to try to figure out how to disable online search. What the online search did was useful to many and not hidden and as such was not spyware in my opinion. Regardless the next LTS version will not have that feature unless enabled.
29 • Xubuntu Core (by albinard on 2016-03-07 16:15:34 GMT from North America)
Agree with 17 - Xubuntu Core installs what is essentially a desktop version of a terminal: something operated through a GUI that lets you choose any applications you want, and none that you don't. Compared to my usual Ubuntu+Xfce setup, the version I put together with Xubuntu Core does everything my workload/funload requires, and does it with less than half the disk usage.
30 • chrome auto-update repo config (by David on 2016-03-07 18:37:27 GMT from North America)
You can stop its cron job from messing with your repo config by adding this to the file /etc/default/google-chrome:
31 • OpenElec - No HTTPS (by SamG on 2016-03-07 19:50:34 GMT from North America)
After the Mint hack, I'm very conscious of non-HTTPS sites. Why is OpenElec still one of them? The download page isn't encrypted, the files aren't encrypted, and the whole update process itself relies on an HTTP download! There are no repos, and the system runs as root. I love this distro on my Pi, but I feel compelled to keep it off the net and isolated.
Seems easy to fix in 2016... They're forum has several requests and assurances that they have "security conscious developers," but come on...
32 • Poll + Korora (by Bonky Ozmond on 2016-03-07 20:49:58 GMT from North America)
I voted non of the above....I have never seen anything new or different in any so you just as well review any....but its not something i want to read...
Interesting to see Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu and Mate, all being selected higher than Gnome....
Korora is a quite nice usable Fedora based Distro which I could probably get used to it seems to improve every new version.....Fuduntu being probably the only other Fedora based one that was good......
Fedora iself has always been a PITA. which in general has never run without proprietry software..
I have heard the User friendliness is coming from Fedora before.. i doubt it will be any time soon
33 • Fedora repos, XFCE future (by mikef90000 on 2016-03-07 21:17:27 GMT from North America)
For users new to Fedora, how to add the RPM Fusion repos was needlessly obfuscated and many people complained to the devs at their last survey. It remains to be seen if they will add them (unactivated of course) to the default distro.
@24, the XFCE devs are proceeding slowly with GTK3 migration as long as the toolkit allows the classic DE look-and-feel to be maintained. On a parallel track the Mint devs have started the X-Apps project which should help that philosophy out. I don't know the details, but it sounds like adding some 'classic widget' functionality in separate libraries rather than a full (maintenance intensive) GTK3 fork.
34 • @ 32 (by vtpoet on 2016-03-07 21:49:30 GMT from North America)
//Interesting to see Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu and Mate, all being selected higher than Gnome...//
I'm sure that reflects its continuing failure in the marketplace of public opinion. From what I can tell, those who run Gnome (and like it) usually run it without any Gnome Shell Extensions (in its vanilla state).
Last time I tried it (which was a while ago) I could imagine liking it **with the extensions**. But about half of them didn't work and then *all* of them stopped working when Gnome Shell was upgraded.
That's when I gave up on Gnome.
What's really perplexing is that the Gnome Shell Extension Page remains in BETA and the devs (which never liked extensions to begin with) still haven't made upgrades extension-friendly.
My betting is that that's part of reason there's not that much interest in the DE.
35 • misplaced faith (by timothy on 2016-03-07 22:06:02 GMT from North America)
HTTPS wouldn't have prevented Mint's site from being hacked
36 • MATE on RPi (by Joe on 2016-03-07 22:25:09 GMT from North America)
A review of Ubuntu MATE that included performance on a Raspberry Pi would be especially interesting. For a year I used an Android box for Kodi. It was satisfactory. The new RPi is far more powerful. If MATE works as on a regular PC, then this combo might become very popular.
37 • solus (by koffee konnexion on 2016-03-07 23:27:37 GMT from Oceania)
solus 1.1 is very nice and all. i would use it if it could run the apps i want. but with linux distros if you use uncommon apps from outside of repositories its pot-lock if you can get them installed and working. this is probably why linux has so many specialist distros - you need the developers to get all the apps working properly on the system.
38 • Drive-by Shotgun Comments (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2016-03-08 04:07:10 GMT from North America)
#13 at http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20150831&mode=67
tl;dr - make a root password, ignore dev wailings
#36 at http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20150608&mode=67
tl;dr - they're breeding like cockroaches, call an exterminator
+1 and "recent documents" is a privacy issue for all apps, distros to solve
Use ext4 without journal to make it reliable: -O "^has_journal"
btrfs not ready for prime time
ReiserFS - defunct
XFS now has checksums, but only use with kernel 4.4+ and beware GRUB2 in the new cksum format. Very good in general, extremely solid. Should be compiled into every distro kernel (not as module - compiled). Competitive with ZFS unless you are fancy-dancing with true multi-platter storage pools.
On BSD use ZFS. (UFS, are you kidding me?)
FAT/exFAT and family should be compiled into every distro kernel for one reason. That FAT is the only cross-platform filesystem showcases walled gardening better than anything. Apple's own staff knows HFS+ blows. FAT is also the default fs for many devices like cameras.
LXQt / Lubuntu interested - Watch this space
(artoo being main man at Manjaro OpenRC and developer of LXQt spin)
39 • Google Chrome (by flinx101 on 2016-03-08 04:50:16 GMT from North America)
My solution to the problem was quite simple, uninstall chrome and delete the repo. Problem solved.
40 • Linux distributions, DEs. Biological-car genogram? (by Greg Zeng on 2016-03-08 06:43:29 GMT from Oceania)
Linux is generally software. But most people better understand hardware. Street cars, and biological families. Discuss, debate, modify as you wish ...
The engine of the street car maybe RISC (ARM, ...) or CISC (x86, x64, etc).
Some computer operating systems are spaghetti-threads, without any strong mathematical foundations. The Unix-derived systems are the computer engine of the good systems, similar to the electronic computer in a motor vehicle (e.g. street car).
Linux based operating systems use a software computer created by the Linux Kernel group. Cars can have Unix derived skeletons. These are not always Linux, but often BSD-based: BSD-type or Apple's IOS. This car's computer is very often being tweaked & debugged to better fit the other components of the car.
The car's skeleton (body?) or "Package Management" may be: Source-Code-Assembly, RPM, DEB, PUP, AUR, etc.
Based on these incompatible skeletons, we have family trees, or Linux distributions: Grand-mother, Mother, Daughter, Bastards, Brothers & Sisters. So the Flavors of Canonical are Brothers & Sisters. Similar to a genogram of a biological family.
The First-born child is "Core". Asexual, boring, bare, like the original "Jesus" of the year 0 AD. The second-born child is Male. Not pretty but very practical, with no legally complex codecs, etc. The latter children maybe ambisexual, male or female, depending on the compromises for pragmatics versus "popularity". Hybrids are the donkeys that cannot have children, and look ok, but are so different that they can only have their own especially compiled food. Bastards (not always bad) are those that try to hide their parentage, compatibilities and their food-types (applications that have questionable workability).
Each car usually has a car-body, with its user-parts being Desktop Environments (DE), such as Gnome, XFCE, LXDE, MATE, Unity, etc. Canonical wrongly calls these "Flavors". For example, Lubuntu 16.04 pre-release is now closer to XFCE. These car-bodies imitate, copy and learn from each other.
With this biological genogram, Grandmothers might be Arch, Debian, Gentoo, Red Hat, ... ?
Mothers are generally more adventurous in their alliances: Manjaro, Ubuntu, Sabayon, Fedora, ..., with codecs & parts of debatable purity, that are more useful.
Children (if any survive that are not still-born) are again more dangerously experimental: Mint, Zorin, etc. These children try to also maintain contact with the Mother. Mother & Grandmother may try to use some proven experiments & ideas of the children. Canonical's "Unity" is such an attempt, still trying ideas from XFCE, KDE, etc.
Most human resource engineers have complex genorams to describe families and workspaces. In my aged retirement, I am basing this car-family metaphor on our professional knowledge.
41 • Ubuntu Community Editions... (by Zork on 2016-03-08 07:29:56 GMT from Oceania)
I voted for NONE OF THE ABOVE...
More useful would be an article comparing each DE's advantages/disadvantages, recommendations for level/type of hardware it is suited to, etc...
There doesn't seem much to be gained from reviewing a *ubuntu edition where the only real difference apart from the DE is the "packaged apps" list as a large percentage of users will install what they're used to using anyway if it's not already in the distro.
42 • @40 - Interesting analogy (by Stan on 2016-03-08 09:18:33 GMT from Europe)
After reading your point your view I have a stronger reason to stick with DIY distros :) too bad they are not user friendly, however I think a powerful graphical installers which groups applications in a smart way.
But then I wonder what will happen to distro specific tools like Yasy, Mint tools, Ubuntu software center, etc. Linux is a weird ecosystem...
43 • How about Ubuntu vs. openSUSE? (by Poet Nohit on 2016-03-08 14:55:38 GMT from North America)
A fair comparison of Ubuntu and openSUSE would be nice. What I mean is, go into detail about installation and package-handling differences and especially the way KDE differs between Kubuntu and openSUSE's defaults.
This is really the true question: Is Plasma 5 anywhere near ready to be an honest-to-goodness desktop?
44 • Very involved. (by Garon on 2016-03-08 15:14:00 GMT from North America)
Very nice and enjoyable to read. Are you a professional writer?
The best tools will stay around in one form or the other. Time brings changes. For example, Canonical phasing out the Ubuntu Software Center. Evolution continues.
45 • @39 (by Ari Torres on 2016-03-08 16:22:56 GMT from North America)
like it or not we still need chorme regardless,flash is still a big part of the www unfortunately adobe stopped serving linux therefore chrome is the best choice,firefox and freshplayer work but with limitations.
Until Flash is Gone Here I Chrome!!!
46 • Gnome popularity (by linuxista on 2016-03-08 19:48:08 GMT from North America)
@32, @34: My guess as to the lack of popularity of gnome in this specific survey (not in general as it appears to be one of if not still the most used linux desktop) is that it is not very interesting to review. 1) Regardless of what distro uses it, they almost always have gnome-shell presented in its plain vanilla state, and 2) given that, it pretty much functions the same without any surprises regardless of distro. All of the other desktops are generally tweaked, have different colors, different features enabled, and can vary in stability depending of patches/plug-ins.
47 • @38, Manjaro OpenRC LXQt (by a on 2016-03-08 20:55:37 GMT from Europe)
Nice, an LXQt spin of Manjaro OpenRC is indeed much more interesting than the systemd-infested Lubuntu!
48 • @43 Opensuse vs Ubuntu (by Jack on 2016-03-08 21:46:51 GMT from Europe)
I happen to be using Ubuntu 15.10 on my personal computer and Opensuse leap on my work one.
Ubuntu 15.10 is excellent, especially at providing a working desktop to get some things done without any hassle. I've found myself using HUD quite a bit in Gimp and Libreoffice too, and I find the Unity dash to be an efficient way of getting to things. Selection of software in the repos and the ease of installing the (slightly broken) Spotify for Linux without having to use Wine are big advantages for me too.
Suse absolutely amazed me because it is super responsive and smooth even though my laptop is quite aged and has struggled with Unity, Gnome shell and KDE in the past, with slightly long wait times for things to happen and choppy animations- but there is absolutely none of that here. Only irritation was I had to dig through settings to get it to see a Samba share I have at home.
As a side note, I tried Kubuntu based on my success with Suse to try and get the advantages of Ubuntu and the nice plasma 5 desktop, but Plasma say totally unusable, it kept crashing and was awful with my two monitor set up, something main Ubuntu and suse have no issue with.
49 • plasma5 (by linuxista on 2016-03-08 22:35:28 GMT from North America)
@43 I have plasma5 on Manjaro, and it's "stable" as long as I don't try to tweak anything. I had the breeze dark, but that doen't work because certain apps don't respond to the inverted colors for the fonts, so I can't read anything. So I'm stuck with the default breeze theme. I'm afraid to try other themes, because when I did before they would not switch back cleanly and the various themes seemed to overwrite each other and ended up a total mess.
It's quite weird that it's basically stable, but I'm in this straight-jacket where I'm afraid to configure anything for fear of triggering bugs. This perception I have of it being highly fragile is a semi-conscious barrier to my desire to use KDE more. I end up just kind of keeping it updated as a backup OS still waiting for the day when I feel it is robust. It's kind of ironic that for me the desktop that supposed to be the most configurable loses out to the one that's supposed to be the least configurable, gnome3, because robustness.
50 • @6 I am glad Lubuntu got adopted (by Roy on 2016-03-08 23:24:04 GMT from North America)
I wonder why there are no BeOS versions of Ubuntu? Laughter is good medicine.
51 • Spyware is Spyware (by M.Z. on 2016-03-09 00:56:20 GMT from North America)
I find your accusation that anyone concerned about the very real spyware issues in Ubuntu Unity to be completely short sited & filled with a certain ugly indifference to the reality of the situation & the users victimized by Ubuntu. To be fair there was no massive cover up on the part of Canonical; however, the fact is it has been very easy for average users to run Ubuntu & have information about what they were searching for on their desktop sent off over the web without their knowledge.
I've checked the Ubuntu download site numerous times & read numerous reviews since the controversy begin & I have never seen Ubuntu explicitly admit to the issue in an upfront & direct way that all users will notice. To me that means some people must be having information sent over the net without their knowledge. This is the very definition of spyware, period.
Canonical did an absolutely terrible thing to the Linux community for their own profit, & as a result those Widows users #25 talks about are entirely correct & the reputation of Linux has been damaged as a result. The difference between 'there is never spyware in Linux' & 'there is only spyware in the most popular version of Linux' is more than enough to turn off large numbers of potential converts who may have wanted a refuge from the spyware issues in the latest version of Windows.
Calling bad actors on their bull is never nonsense, it's vital. If no one had called Ubuntu/Canonical on the spyware issues the spware would never be removed & the last part of your comment would be entirely moot. That's why defending bad behavior is doing nothing but enabling future abuse & Linux users deserve better.
52 • mal & spy ware (by saving travel $$ on 2016-03-09 03:59:31 GMT from Oceania)
@51 Besides ubuntu's spyware, have you noticed the increasing reports lately of malware/exploits attacking linux & FOSS - no doubt because they hold up the Internet? maybe their trouble-free days are coming to a close. if this gets worse it will be interesting to see if people move on mass to support a new emerging OS just to get that sense of freedom again.
53 • need_to_upgrade_Tails 2.2~rc1_to_2.2_not_detected_by_default (by k on 2016-03-09 06:41:54 GMT from Europe)
for simple terminal command line solution.
Also, Re: 2 • Privacy by get2gether: "I really want to see MORE effort in addressing user privacy
across the board... Good to see Whonix now on the register, at least one developer has it right!"
Useful to know about Whonix, but Tails is a fairly advanced, powerful and user-friendly
Debian-based privacy operating system, and it is 32-bit, so users of any hardware can
access, whereas Whonix is only available for 64-bit(?).
54 • Deban testing Xfce instead of Ubuntu community editions (by debianxfce on 2016-03-09 07:53:18 GMT from Europe)
Ubuntu is a derivate that adds unneeded software on top of Debian. Ubuntu spoils everything, for example in xubuntu there are no virtual desktops and in the configuration you can not add more.
Ubuntu is like windows, slow from the installation to the usage. It is better to have some small base os and tune it to your liking. Debian testing is a rolling release distro, so you can have software fixes every week. Xfce can be tuned freely, install whiskermenu (set hovering on) and autohide all panels. From the top right remove the system menu, it is already in the whisker menu and put weather and orange calendar plugin.
By default Debian testing comes with pulseaudio, disable it and use gstreamer and alsa if you want to have problem free audio. Debian testing installs easily to intel hardware, but realtek need network driver firmware to be in the installation media. Amd crimson driver does not support xorg 1.18 that comes by default ,so you need to downgrade to xorg 1.17. Also network manager can cause problems (like other redhat software: gnome, pulseaudio), use wicd. Remove unneeded systemd services to speed up booting. You can also use kernels from kernel.org and tune your own kernel by removing unneded drivers and features.
With my Amd A8-7600 and wine-staging I have 50 fps at 720p normal settings in the Tomb Raider 2013 benchmark. That is faster than in windows. My system with ssd boots this fast:
sudo systemd-analyze time
Startup finished in 1.086s (kernel) + 1.641s (userspace) = 2.727s
55 • don't need startup time wankage (by watching you on 2016-03-09 11:11:09 GMT from Europe)
Please keep religious beliefs ("Ubuntu spoils everything") out of this.
Maybe YOU prefer Debian testing, but your post shows clearly why it is no good for many users:
- you have to disable pulseaudio, use gstreamer and alsa
- need network driver firmware - if not there, no network so you can't fix it
- must downgrade xorg
- replace network manager with wicd
Most users, and certainly the less technically minded ones, will not think that such a system is "better" - on the contrary: they want something that works, preferably right off the installation media.
There are plenty of Debian AND Ubuntu derivatives that provide just that - Debian testing itself doesn't. And you can tweak any Linux system to your liking, once you get it running properly in the first place. Potentially having to download stuff off the network to get network connectivity is just not acceptable.
Unless you spend most of your time booting your system (perhaps after applying fixes needed by Debian testing?), startup times are irrelevant. I usually boot my computer ONCE per day - even if that took minutes (which it doesn't), I wouldn't care too much.
56 • Are installation times relevant? (by dbrion on 2016-03-09 17:42:29 GMT from Europe)
Do ordinary users want " something that works, preferably right off the installation media."
Does an ordinary user know what is Windows installation media?
Does s/he know what is an installation media, whatever the OS?
Does s/he need to know it?
I agree that people want "something that works" (though a working definition might be very difficult), after a friend/a specialist / both have installed/tweaked the something.
But the distinction between people who install/tweak and people who use should be kept in mind (for instance : I could not manage to install FC 22 -too much time, too complicated- ... but I know that, once installed , it might be very good: I had better luck with FC23 ).
OTOH : few people keep their PCs open all day ; they are accustomed to "phones", to days, where startup times are relevant. May be this is an error, but things are like that : they switch on their PC when they "need" it , say evry day... and install / have things installed at most every year,
57 • Startup time (by Bill on 2016-03-09 18:13:02 GMT from North America)
I tried the "sudo systemd-analyze time" as suggested by (54). Seems this command does not reflect a true boot time. The "sudo systemd-analyze time" for debian testing and Manjaro were 20.74s and 10.73s. However the actual boot time that I measured by my watch was 30s & 27s. The computer is not always right is it?
58 • Attacks against Linux (by M.Z. on 2016-03-09 21:20:56 GMT from North America)
I have noticed the increasing issues related to attacks against Linux; however, from a desktop user perspective it isn't a huge issue yet. We should all be wary & update our desktop distros, but most attacks like heartbleed have hit server systems not desktops. In fact from my understanding the vast majority of major attacks have actually hit poorly administered/non-updated server systems through Internet facing software designed to communicate on the web.
All that being said security is a serious issue for all computers that are connected to the Internet & Linux desktop systems are no exception. The attacks against Mint are the only major problem I have seen & most issues related to the initial attacks were solved in fairly short order. Still the problem should serve as a strong reminder that all PCs have potential security issues even if they run a reputable version of Linux.
There are still many upsides to Linux security on the desktop & if you want a secure & useful OS I really can't see anything beating Linux anytime soon. The strengths of Linux desktop security are numerous & include: easy system wide software management; a tiny desktop market share full of relatively well administered systems that are hard targets & uninviting for attack; a multitude of different system configurations that are all differently setup & potentially have different weaknesses (begging the question can you hit both software x in Debian & Fedora?); & last but not least a multitude of different security tools that may have to worked around for a successful exploit such as SELinux, AppArmor, the MSEC tools in PCLinuxOS & Magia family distros, & the Firejail sandbox tools covered in the recent tips section of DW.
I firmly believe that if most distros pick one of the security tools I mentioned above & both enabled it by default & make easy to deal with by average users that Linux will be by far the most uninviting target desktop for any potential attackers for the foreseeable future. If the Linux distro makers keep deploy these security tools it would be a hell of a lot of trouble to go through to break one security tool & only get a portion of the small Linux desktop as an exploitable target. In comparison Windows & Mac are not only relatively similar & consistent targets, but they are more plentiful as well. I really can't see Linux as anything other than a leader in the security realm & if things are done right I don't think anything else anywhere near as good will come along & compete for Linux's share of the desktop in the foreseeable future.
59 • OSS and sofware complexity (by debianxfce on 2016-03-10 02:22:13 GMT from Europe)
in 55:"Potentially having to download stuff off the network to get network connectivity is just not acceptable."
"There are plenty of Debian AND Ubuntu derivatives that provide just that"
Try windows 10 and huawei e182 3g stick, no netwrok connection. With Debian e182 works, because most drivers are in the kernel but not non-free stuff (like realtek network firmware) that is the Open Source idea behind Debian default installation. With intel hardware the is no problems, because intel has only open source drivers. But better perfomance/price ratio you will have with Amd and realtek.
Debian derivates adds unneeded complexity and bugs to the system. Keep it simple, stupid.
60 • Ubuntu Bashing (by GuntherT on 2016-03-10 03:59:13 GMT from North America)
I, too, have a hard time understanding the point of bashing Ubuntu. Ubuntu has accomplished a lot in making Debian more accessible to less technical users. Another thing to consider: No Ubuntu equals no Mint, arguably the most popular Linux distro out there. I also wouldn't equate internet search capabilities from the desktop as spyware. What user would see internet search results and be shocked to find out that some basic information from their computer has been sent online? Isn't the same thing happening once you open a browser and type something? I can totally understand why Ubunru is not a person's preferred distro for a lot of reasons, but portraying them as evil because they added functionality that some don't like is just absurd.
61 • follow-up on Mint forum hack.... 3 basic kinds of distros. (by frodopogo on 2016-03-10 04:15:17 GMT from North America)
A lot of news sources only seem to report problems, they never seem to do follow ups, and Ihis can make even a conscientious distro look back. I'm glad to see a post about the solutions to the problems.
Another issue that comes up in the middle of all this: There are corporate distros.
There are "hobbyist" distros.
I've heard Mint get slammed as a hobbyist distro, but while it may have started out as one, it's really a mature community distro.
It obvious from Clem's posts over the years, and even the blog post about the security efforts is that Mint has a relatively small community of developers supported and surrounded by a largr community of enthusiastic users who help in various ways, including financial support, testing, bug spotting and suggestions for imprrovments.
Mint can get so much done because they focus all the developers on one project at a time, get that out of the way to their standards, then go on to the next. Needless to say, the recent project has been security. But Clem laments that that means software development has stopped. It is also one reason why Mint tends to take a conservative approach and changes slowly, and also why they tend to have cut back desktop projects in recent years in recent years rather than add than add them
62 • @60 If Ubuntu went away... (by imnotrich on 2016-03-10 07:37:29 GMT from North America)
Let's not forget that Ubuntu is derived from Debian, you might even say Ubuntu (without unity or gnome 3) is a less buggy version and more user friendly than Debian.
Ubuntu's not going anywhere, but if it did Mint's plan B could easily be Debian.
63 • Two kinds of distros (!= fanboyism) (by dbrion on 2016-03-10 09:19:54 GMT from Europe)
One can classify distros into two categories:
those whose security was compromised (of course, they fixed that quickly and , anyways, they were talked about : that is good for P.R.) and those whose security has not (yet) been compromised.
Other classifications might be based on the quality of their books/ wiki:
Ubuntu is known for its excellent documentation.Debian, (B)LFS and Arch, too (and I believe I am indebted in this respect to these four distributions, though I only once installed Ubuntu -not for me-, used BLFS book to understand some arm cross toolchains, and never used Arch).
Oh, BTW a) does Mint have any documentation?
b) if yes, is it of good quality?
64 • (! = fanboyism)? (by frodopogo on 2016-03-10 12:32:31 GMT from North America)
Is this a commonly held belief?
I didn't notice any exclamation points in my post, but maybe I've used them before.
I take it you were aiming at me because of the similarity in titles.
I think there is also another category besides "fanboy". Satisfied and perhaps somewhat enthusiastic end user.
A "fanboy" in my book is extremely unlikely to have ever tried another operating system or distro. This would include many Mac users and Windows users.
I have tried a number of others including:
Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Knoppix, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu MATE, Fedora Mate, Manjaro MATE, LMDE2, Salix, LXLE, Handy Linux, SolydX, and a few others that wouldn't boot.
So I've TRIED to be objective. But, years of using Mint and enjoying its look and features has biased me, I admit. I'm just at home in the distro.
And that has bred a certain satisfaction and enthusiasm that might use an exclamation point now and then!
I do find myself defending Mint now and then here, because I feel there is a bias against it, sometimes from people who haven't even tried it, and others seem to give it a once over lightly, and then make judgements.
My point about three kinds of distros is actually that not all distros are equal when meeting challenges like cracking. Hobbyist distros are at a distinct disadvantage. Corporate distros should have an advantage due to deeper pockets.
Small to moderate sized community distros are somewhere in between, and a lot depends on the leadership of the developer community, and the efficiency they can work at.
65 • Should one try everything when life is short? (by dbrion on 2016-03-10 13:07:59 GMT from Europe)
I am very sorry, but if a physician told me "I have TRIED (case copied) cholera and plague" ... I would not trust him at all.
One cute way of not losing one's time is .. to read and understand documententation instead of blindly TRYING.. Then, one uses distributions one is at ease with (I use Mageia and Fedora on PCs, Rapsbian on RPis : I did not try them and gave up until something had great leadership , I just use them...)
And I do not download leadership of the developper community -PCs and RPis are not interested in that- .
66 • Mint Documentation (by Jake on 2016-03-10 14:35:08 GMT from North America)
@63: There is some documentation, but in my opinion, it isn't very complete. Based on @61's comments, they don't focus on it the same way (and I have no problem with that). To be more specific, the install and setup stuff is fine. They do a good job there. They warn well about possible pitfalls, and I've saved myself headaches with it. Documentation on software packages and using more technical parts of the distribution is lacking. Arguably the latter is not their job, and with the amount of Ubuntu stuff that carries over (and the number of people that write blogs about it), it doesn't really matter. Security notifications is non-existent, but so is the security team. In that case, I rely exclusively on Debian/Ubuntu.
In general, I use a mix of Debian and Ubuntu sources to generally get what I want since I've moved passed just the basics. I can live with it as long as they don't stray too far from stuff. When they do (I've found a few things), it's really annoying because I can't really get answers. Then again, I don't use their forums, which is where a lot of more-specific questions for Linux (like Ubuntu) really get documented.
67 • Yes Ubuntu Is Spyware (by M.Z. on 2016-03-10 22:58:48 GMT from North America)
I don't mean to bash anything just for the sake of attacking, but let's get real, Ubuntu Unity is spyware. The 'Dash' search function is built directly into the desktop & it sends all the information you type off over the Internet regardless of whether you intended to do anything over the net or not. As I mention above the level of transparency leaves something to be desired (a simple opt in/out screen during install would suffice in my view).
I really can't see how the feature can be described as anything but spyware; however, if you can jump through enough mental hoops to tell us all why sending everything you type into a part of the desktop out through the network without 100% transparency is anything other than spyware, then by all means do so. I'm sure there were lots of great rationalizations & mental gymnastics going on over at Canonical to justify what they did. Regardless of the justifications it was still an unethical thing to do to any end user who wasn't fully informed of the so called 'feature'.
I should mention as well that lots of smart & well intentioned people in the Linux community have also rightly interpreted Unity as being spyware. I tend to think Richard M. Stallman is a bit too impractical in his interpretations of how free & open software should work; however, RMS quite rightly identifies Ubuntu as spwware & he is the guy who started the GNU project & wrote the GPL license. Both of those are core to how Linux works. RMS may go too far in encouraging users to give things up to improve free & open software, but the guy is the philosophical founder of the entire free & open software movement that is at the very core of Linux & he is 100% correct about there being spyware in Ubuntu.
From the time the PCs began to communicate over networks we have expected things that happen on the desktop to stay on the desktop & things that happen in the browsers to go off over the web. There is a fundamental difference in expectations & privacy when it comes to the desktop vs th browser. You can only surrender so much privacy on your computing devices before you have none left at all & to me that is unacceptable. Indeed in my country we demanded privacy so much that we put it in our constitution. You can give up your privacy if you want to, but frankly unless you have a good justification other than 'i like /sympathize with Ubuntu' or 'I don't care about my rights', then saying Ubuntu is anything other than spyware is just absurd.
68 • @27 (by Oldskule on 2016-03-11 02:05:14 GMT from North America)
Yeah, I miss RedHat 9. It was just right. I never could get into Fedora for many reasons; mostly because it has been so erratic from version to version. Something works, then after a new release it doesn't. I am an apt/Debian guy these days. I like consistency. Mate is all the desktop I really need.
69 • Not spyware (by mcellius on 2016-03-11 02:10:32 GMT from North America)
Nah, it's not spyware. Not at all. The whole thing is optional and well-publicized; there is nothing hidden or deceitful at all. If you don't want it, it's a cinch to turn it off (which I've always done) in just a few clicks. The name "spyware" means that someone is gathering information on you without your knowledge, and this is not at all the case with Ubuntu. Further, all it does is expand your searches to include other online sources, if that's what you want. If you don't, turn it off.
Don't try to say that the setting is difficult to find: it's right there under "Security and Privacy" in System Settings. Don't tell me that a novice can't find such an obvious setting, or that someone new to Linux won't - or can't - check out what's in System Settings. If you know users so stupid it's beyond them, they probably can't type or read, either, and turning on the computer is likely too tough for them, too.
I turn the setting off because I'm very concerned about privacy, as you are, also, but having done so I have no further concerns. That isn't the case with Windows, where you can go through many, many settings trying to figure out all the pieces that need to be turned off, and even then you're never really sure that your information isn't being sent to Microsoft. Ubuntu doesn't do this at all so the comparison with Windows is pretty lame.
I'm guessing you change all sorts of settings and do all sorts of customizations when you first install a Linux distro; you install some new programs, too. So do I, and so does about anyone else. When I install Ubuntu, I also go to "Security and Privacy" in "System Settings" and click on a button that then keeps all my searches local and not over the Internet. Simple, easy, clear, and my privacy paranoia is satisfied. (At least with regard to searches: my paranoia also drives me to do all sorts of other things, including setting up a firewall and also use, on a separate computer, a firewall distribution, as well as change all sorts of browser preferences. I really do overdo it, probably, but I have no worries and certainly not any about my privacy while using Ubuntu.)
70 • Spyware (by M.Z. on 2016-03-11 07:27:04 GMT from North America)
If there is no guarantee that users know, then it is effectively spyware for some, which means it is spyware period. You sympathizers provide a lot of talk about how publicized the problem is, but fail to acknowledge that Ubuntu is targeted directly at new users who are more likely to be uninformed. If I'm wrong & there is some 100% fool proof guarantee that _All Potential Users_ will know about the issue, then go ahead & point it out. Otherwise it's basically guaranteed that Ubuntu is acting as spyware for some & is spyware whether you want to admit it or not.
I suppose it all comes down to the fact that some of us care about all users & some can't see past themselves. Of course some may also have taken the facetious phrase on that old Dead Kennedys album to heart & boldly declared - 'Give me convenience or give me death!'
71 • Ubuntu No Spyware at all! (by lupus on 2016-03-11 07:47:42 GMT from Europe)
I think we M.Z. and I had this argument some time ago and I stand by my opinion that it is totally legit for Ubuntu to try to make some money out of their effort to provide us with a free (as in beer) open source OS. The Amazon feature is not concealed and easy to be removed, so no problem at all.
In an ideal world this would be opt in I admit, but cause of all those nitwits in Zombieland unable to remember anything I suppose opt out earns some money which canonical is needing for their good product given to all of us freely.
So if you don't like don't use it but please stop spreading FUD. Spread Linux instead. I think at the moment we have an angle here if we as the educated computer people pulled our act together instead of fighting one another about true freeness (as in speech).
For me it is really strange to see how imbecile we appear having the knowledge and the better product at least for a large portion of the existing market (heavy gaming still aside)
and still not getting it above measly 2-3% on the desktop.
So please stop fighting start promoting
72 • Cinnamon DE on Ubuntu. Ok, but ?? (by Greg Zeng on 2016-03-11 12:26:49 GMT from North America)
Not yet known to Distrowatch, etc. I've tried the beta version. The Frenchman did not know how to use English to express days of the week that time. This final release?
It has a url on Wikipedia. It seems reliable, etc. like a standard Ubuntu distro, but with lots of inbuilt additional PPAs, etc. Like all other Ubuntus, it can be very easily and quickly have its Linux kernel changed to any kernel version (old, new, testing) with just a few clicks or double-clicks, on any GUI. No silly CLI rubbish.
73 • Marketing fail(s) (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2016-03-11 17:37:40 GMT from North America)
Neither concealed, nor advertised, was Canonical's Amazon connection. Perhaps those who already knew what to look for could find, control, and fully comprehend it, but many new to Ubuntu would not. Integrating local searches with online searches may, on occasion, be desirable, but where was the effort to educate the uninformed? How was the difference between local and online results to be discerned (or was it hidden)?
(Why wasn't anything learned from the marketing errors in Microsoft's Windows_98 web-integration introduction?)
Would a simple on-demand desktop toggle for local search integration have saved so much acrimony?
Would it have been so hard to present a simple, clear, and complete opt-in for scopes (including Amazon integration) prior to installing them?
Perhaps, in the long run, the "big conversation" (RedHat/Fedora) on better presentation of issues with proprietary drivers and "patented" codecs will lead to a less extreme approach to licensing and support, or at least better marketing of Freed software.
74 • Exactly (by M.Z. on 2016-03-12 03:54:27 GMT from North America)
You do a good job describing how the whole scope/search thing could have been done correctly & not stepped over the line into unethical territory. There have been serious ethical breeches here & I hope that fact that it still seems so contentious encourages Canonical/Ubuntu to finally follow through on their promises & either fix the feature or drop it permanently.
75 • Unity searches (by Ben on 2016-03-12 16:10:44 GMT from North America)
I think the important thing is Canonical finally acknowledged it will be better to disable on-line searches by default. People who want it can turn on the feature and the rest of us get an OS that respects our privacy.
76 • @28 ("opt in") (by Jordan on 2016-03-12 17:07:09 GMT from North America)
You're mistaken. 'Nuff said (read subsequent .posts to yours)
77 • "Spyware" operating systems. Windows, Linux, Android, ... (by Greg Zeng on 2016-03-13 08:12:08 GMT from North America)
Google has my thanks for its "re-ahead spyware" in my searches, word-spells and word-predictions. For serious computer users, we need software intelligence to help us achieve better results with our gadgets. Small-minded purists are not concerned work-effectiveness. Just with grumbling, imho
Missed by many comments here are the "spyware" injected by so many operating systems. Windows, Apple, Android have strong limits on "authorized" packages. Many Linux distros offer web tools (browsers, torrents, etc) with unusual selection of addons and preferred-suppliers, especially commercial retailers.
Some of us here value helping Linux-type communities ans organizations. We enable "spyware" monitoring f our hardware, software and any disasters the software might have created. The secretive terrorists and thieves here will not want to help ANYONE with creative better software. They should move to North Korea to feel better.
Number of Comments: 77
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