| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 659, 2 May 2016
Welcome to this year's 18th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
For people who run Ubuntu, or one of the many distributions that are based on Ubuntu, April brought about a significant new release. Ubuntu 16.04 is a long term support release and the technology included in the new version of Ubuntu will make its way into dozens of community projects. This week Joshua Allen Holm takes Ubuntu 16.04 for a spin and reports on his experiences. We also discuss compiling custom kernels and reasons for compiling a kernel in both our Questions and Answers column and in our Opinion Poll. In the News section we discuss a new version of the Cinnamon desktop and talk about Debian Wheezy receiving security updates through the project's Long Term Support Team. We also cover the first beta release of Devuan, Sabayon's new Raspberry Pi edition and a new security feature introduced in NetBSD. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of torrents we are seeding. We have updated our Package Management page and are in the process of reorganizing our Waiting List and we cover these changes below. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (26MB) and MP3 (26MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
It is always a big deal when Canonical releases a new long-term support version of Ubuntu. Despite Ubuntu's important place in the Linux distribution ecosystem, I should admit right off the bat that I am not a regular user of Ubuntu. I try out each new release of the desktop version Ubuntu and occasionally use Ubuntu Server, but I tend to use Fedora and CentOS for almost all of my daily desktop and server needs. Still, I've always been fascinated by what Canonical is doing with Ubuntu and their Unity desktop environment. Below, I take a look at Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and share my thoughts on the Unity desktop environment and the distribution as a whole.
Ubuntu 16.04 -- Running Unity from the live media
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After downloading the 1.4 GB ISO and copying it to a USB flash drive, I rebooted my computer and started Ubuntu 16.04 from the flash drive. I have to admit, I was extremely impressed by how quickly it started up. Even though I was using a fairly slow USB 2.0 drive, I had a fully working desktop ready to use in slightly less time than it takes for Fedora 23 to boot off the laptop's hard drive. The system was very responsive and used approximately 460MB of RAM with no applications running.
Ubuntu 16.04 -- Running virtual terminals
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Convinced that the distribution did not have any issues with my hardware, I installed Ubuntu 16.04 on my hard drive. The experience was exactly what I have come to expect from any distribution that uses the Ubiquity installer. The installation process is straight forward and easy to understand. There are a few tweaks to the installer compared to the version used in Ubuntu 15.10, but they are very minor.
What's New in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
Ubuntu 16.04 is the sixth long-term release of the distribution, and like all of the previous LTS releases, tends to be fairly conservative in its changes. Beyond updated versions of applications and a newer Linux kernel (version 4.4), users of Ubuntu 15.10 will find only a few differences. In fact, most of the new features from the official announcement are server-focused technologies, though there are a few interesting new features for desktop users. Users upgrading from the previous LTS release will, of course, notice far more changes.
Many of the small changes are things that some people have been very vocal about on-line. The much reviled on-line search results in the dash feature now defaults to off instead of on. It is now possible to move the launcher from the left side of the screen to the bottom, but there is no setting to do so in the control panel. If you want to move the launcher, you will need to use Unity Tweak Tool or edit the setting directly using dconf. One other minor tweak is a setting to turn make it so that application menus are always visible instead of only being visible on mouse over.
Ubuntu 16.04 -- The Unity dash
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Beyond the little tweaks, Ubuntu 16.04 has a few other changes. Brasero (CD burning software) and Empathy (instant messaging software) are no longer installed by default. GNOME Calendar now serves as the default calendar application and is installed by default. One other interesting new addition is the inclusion of log off, restart, and shutdown in the dash's application search results. These entries allow the user to quickly perform that task just by searching for it. Of course, all the software has been updated to newer releases. Recent releases of Firefox, Thunderbird, and LibreOffice are included and plenty of other software is available in the repositories. Developers will find recent releases of many programming languages, including Python 3.5 and Go 1.6.
Ubuntu 16.04 -- Ubuntu Software
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Installing software is probably the most noticeable change in this new release of Ubuntu. The old Ubuntu Software Center has been replaced with Ubuntu Software, which is a re-branded version of GNOME Software. This change might take a little time to get used to for some people, but I found that Ubuntu Software performed much better than Ubuntu Software Center did in Ubuntu 15.10 on the same computer. An even bigger change than the transition to Ubuntu Software is the ability to install software using "snaps" instead of standard .deb packages. Snaps are basically containerize applications. While I found the command line interface for managing snaps easy to use, it is still too early to tell how significant the new feature will become.
The Unity Desktop
My preferred desktop environment is GNOME 3, so Unity is a somewhat familiar experience. With the application launcher on the left and a full screen interface for searching for applications, Unity is like GNOME 3's cousin. (Given the history of Unity's development, that is more than just an analogy.) There were plenty of similarities, but there were enough differences to make the experience interesting.
I tend to use GNOME 3 without any tweaks, unless I am using CentOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, where I use GNOME 3's Classic Mode, so I am accustomed to having to go into the Activities overview (or using keyboard shortcuts) to do most tasks. I do not mind this in the least, but having Unity's launcher always displayed was handy. It did take up a little screen real estate, but it was not too intrusive. Of course, there are options to hide and resize the launcher, so it can take up less space or only show when the cursor moves to left side of the screen. Given the massive amount of news coverage that the new, hidden, move the launcher to the bottom feature received in the lead up to the release of Ubuntu 16.04, I tried moving the launcher to the bottom, but I did not really like it. To each their own, but on a wide-screen display, I much prefer losing a little width instead of a little height.
Ubuntu 16.04 -- Exploring the Unity control panel
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While Unity does not have the plethora of customization options found in the GNOME 2 desktop Ubuntu used before developing Unity, I found the options available to be useful and a good balance between too many to the point of being overwhelming and too few. Sure there are only two colour themes (not counting high contrast), but Radiance and Ambience are both very nice looking. I slightly prefer Radiance, but either way, the themes help provide a unique Ubuntu experience and look-and-feel. The other options, like the choice to "Enable Workspaces" and "Add show desktop icon to the launcher" provide a nice option for customizing a user's workflow. A single screen might work for some, but others might want to use multiple desktops. Some people do not like Ubuntu's default setting being the simpler, single screen workflow, but I can understand the logic behind the decision.
The one thing I had a hard time adjusting to was having application menus at the top of the screen in the menu bar. I am sure I would get used to it if I used Ubuntu long term, but during my brief testing of Ubuntu 16.04 it was the one thing that really caused me to pause and very briefly think when I wanted to use the menus. Thankfully, there is the option to put the menus in the application's title bar and to make them always visible, so there are ways to change the default behaviour.
One other menu related issue that bothered me a little was the fact that Ubuntu's use of GNOME applications leads to somewhat inconsistent menus. GNOME uses a single application menu for most of its applications, and while Ubuntu has made an effort to change this behaviour back to the old style of File, Edit, etc. menus, this is not always done. Cheese, the webcam application, has a menu that is just labelled "Cheese". It is not a big deal, but it is an inconsistency. Hopefully as Ubuntu moves towards Unity 8 and convergence, new Ubuntu specific applications will emerge making the user experience even more cohesive.
Unity, just like my preferred GNOME 3 desktop environment, tends to be something users either love or hate (or love to hate). It does not feature the multitude of built-in window decoration and theming options that can be found in KDE, Xfce, and many of the other desktop environments. Unity has a limited set of options, but that limited set of options creates a consistent experience. I can understand that might not appeal to everyone, but I like it.
Ubuntu 16.04 is a very nice release. It will be supported until 2021, so it is an excellent choice for users looking for a desktop focused distribution with long term support. The constant update cycle on non-LTS Ubuntu releases and other distributions with short support windows can become tedious. Ubuntu 16.04 provides a nice remedy to constant distribution upgrades while still offering a pleasant and fully functional desktop experience.
While I found Ubuntu 16.04 to be very stable, it seems like some others have not had the same experience. Cautious users might want to wait until Ubuntu 16.04.1 is released before upgrading from Ubuntu 15.10. Users of Ubuntu 14.04, the previous long term support release, will not even be prompted to upgrade until 16.04.1 is out, but now is a good time to check out the live media and see if it is worth it for them to make the upgrade.
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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 unveils new version of Cinnamon, Debian Wheezy gets long term support, Devuan releases beta, Sabayon supplies ARM images and NetBSD gains ASLR support
The Linux Mint team has announced the release of Cinnamon 3.0. The Cinnamon desktop environment is based on GTK 3 and offers a combination of modern conveniences with a traditional desktop layout. Some of the new features in Cinnamon 3.0 include "Window management improvements on tiling, mapping and unmapping windows, compositor's window groups and tracking of full screen windows. Improved out of the box touchpad support (edge-scrolling and two-finger-scrolling can now be configured independently and are both enabled by default). New accessibility and sound settings (both rewritten as native cinnamon-settings modules). Battery powered devices can be renamed." The complete list of changes can be found in the project's blog post. Cinnamon 3.0 is likely to debut in the next major version of Linux Mint later this year.
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The Debian project has announced that regular security support for Debian 7 "Wheezy" has reached its end. For people who wish to continue running Debian Wheezy, this version of Debian will be maintained by the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) Team. "As of 25 April, one year after the release of Debian 8, alias "Jessie", and nearly three years after the release of Debian 7, alias "Wheezy", regular security support for Wheezy comes to an end. The Debian Long Term Support (LTS) Team will take over security support. Information for users: Wheezy LTS will be supported from 26 April 2016 to 31 May 2018. For Debian 7 Wheezy LTS there will be no requirement to add a separate wheezy-lts suite to your sources.list any more and your current setup will continue to work without further changes." Additional information on Debian Wheezy's transition from regular to LTS support can be found in the announcement.
The Devuan project, a fork of Debian which does not feature the systemd init software, has released its first beta. The new development release strives to supply a safe upgrade path from Debian Wheezy for people who wish to avoid installing systemd packages on their system. "Debian GNU+Linux is a fork of Debian without systemd, on its way to becoming much more than that. This Beta release marks an important milestone towards the sustainability and the continuation of Devuan as a universal base distribution. Today Devuan Jessie provides continuity as a safe upgrade path from Debian Wheezy and a flawless switch from Debian Jessie, avoiding most of the problems introduced by systemd." The release announcement contains additional information and download links.
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Ettore Di Giacinto has announced that the Sabayon project has released an ARM-based build of their distribution. The new ARM installation images are designed to run on Raspberry Pi computers, specifically version 2 and 3 of the Raspberry Pi single board computer. "We are glad to announce the immediate availability of Sabayon ARM (hfp) for Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. This is our first step towards ARM support, the package release scheduling will be different from our amd64 variant. Updates will be on a period of 6 months, except for security or special updates. The image comes out of the box with the latest 4.4.y kernel and with the rpi-update tool that can be used to update kernel and firmware. The username/password is sabayon:sabayon, and sudo is already set-up. Just flash the image with dd, and attach it to a network (it will get an IP automatically from your network). The OS is set to automatically boot and start eth0 and sshd (so you can connect to it via ssh)." Download links and additional information can be found on Sabayon's website.
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Though it was introduced with little fanfare, the NetBSD operating system now includes support for address space layout randomization (ASLR), a feature which makes it difficult for attackers to guess the locations of data in memory. The feature was added by Christos Zoulas and enables the security feature on 64-bit x86 machines. The added security will make it harder for attackers to compromise applications running on the highly portable operating system.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Compiling a custom kernel for performance gains
Feeling-the-need-for-speed asks: I want to dive in and compile my own kernel. If I rip out unnecessary drivers and other things I don't need, what kind of performance gains can I get? Are there specific compiler settings that will improve my custom kernel's performance over the default one my distribution provides?
DistroWatch answers: Building a custom kernel that does not include driver modules you will not be needing will reduce the size of your kernel, but it is unlikely to give you a performance gain. At least not a noticeable one. Drivers the kernel does not use will not be run and therefore will not impact performance.
If you want to improve the performance of your kernel you might be better off enabling the BFS process scheduler, which has been shown to improve desktop responsiveness when compared against the stock CFS scheduler.
As for changing compiler settings, I recommend against trying to switch compilers or change the default compiler flags. The Linux kernel is a complex piece of software and is pretty closely tied to the GNU C compiler. Changing compiler flags on such a large and complex code base is as likely to cause problems as boost performance.
My suggestion, if you want more speed, is to look at things you can change outside of the kernel. For instance, using a lighter desktop environment (such as LXDE) will free up resources and possibly result in a more responsive desktop. Disabling background services you do not need, such as file indexing, will free up some memory and might make your system faster. Assuming your computer has a lot of memory, you might look at decreasing your system's swappiness level in an effort to avoid accessing slow swap space. Again, assuming your computer has lots of RAM, running a service such as preload can keep more of your applications in memory, reducing load time.
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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: 190
- Total data uploaded: 35.2TB
|Released Last Week
The Lubuntu team has announced the release of Lubuntu 16.04, a lightweight community edition of Ubuntu that features the LXDE desktop. The new version is a long term support release and features mostly bug fixes and new artwork. "Thanks to all the hard work from our contributors, Lubuntu 16.04 LTS has been released! With the codename Xenial Xerus, Lubuntu 16.04 LTS is the 10th release of Lubuntu, and the second long term support release. Lubuntu 16.04 LTS will be supported until April 2019, with three years of support." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes. The current version is available in 32-bit, 64-bit, PowerPC and Raspberry Pi editions. Future editions, according to the release announcement, will switch to using the LXQt desktop environment.
Slackel 6.0.5 "Openbox"
Dimitris Tzemos has announced the availability of a new version of Slackel, a distribution that is based on Slackware and Salix. The new release, Slackel 6.0.5 "Openbox", is based on Slackware's 14.2 (-current) branch and features support for booting on UEFI systems. The release announcement offers several tips for various installation configurations: "The Slackel Live Installer (SLI) now support installation on different file systems (btrfs, ext2, ext3, ext4, jfs, reiserfs, xfs). Note that you cannot use the xfs file system and grub because after installation the system will not boot. So for xfs choose (e)Lilo instead. Both /root and /home partitions (if you create a separate partition for /home and choose to format it) will be formatted on the same file system type. A trick can be used, to format /home with GParted on a different file system and choose to not format it. So you can have /root and /home with different file systems type. Installation on EFI GPT partitions is also supported for 64-bit iso. In this case you have to create a GPT partition table with GParted and the first partition, the EFI partition, has to be at least 300MB FAT32."
Black Lab Linux 7.6
The Black Lab Linux team has announced the release of Black Lab Linux 7.6, a new update to the distribution's long term support series which will receive security updates through to the year 2019. The new release features UEFI support (in the 64-bit build) and version 3.19 of the Linux kernel. "Today we are releasing Black Lab Linux 7.6. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is the latest release of our stable 7.x series of OS's. Black Lab Linux 7.6 is supported long term until April 2019. What's new? There are a lot of changes to Black Lab Linux 7.6 some of which include: Linux Kernel 3.19.0-58, LibreOffice 5.1.2, Firefox 45.0.2, Thunderbird 38.6.0, Gmusicbrowser, GNOME Documents, Tracker fast search, HexChat IRC client, Xfce 4.12 enhancements, Skippy XD Expose style task switcher, Spotify, Steam game client..." Additional information can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
The developers of Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) have published a security update which fixes a number of bugs and updates the software on the distribution's live disc. The new release, Tails 2.3, includes Tor Browser 5.5.5 and addresses these security issues. "Upgrades and changes: You can now copy and paste your GnuPG passphrases into the pinentry dialog, for example from KeePassX or the clipboard. Upgrade Tor Browser to 5.5.5. Upgrade I2P to 0.9.25. Upgrade Electrum from 2.5.4 to 2.6.3. Fixed problems: Clarify that users migrating from Claws Mail to Icedove should delete all their Claws Mail data to remove the warning when starting Icedove. Make both panes of Onion Circuits scrollable to fix display issues on smaller screens." Further information can be found in the Tails 2.3 release announcement.
Tails 2.3 -- Typing with virtual keyboard
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Parted Magic 2016_04_26
The Parted Magic distribution, an independent commercial project that provides partitioning and data recovery tools, has released a new version. The new release, Parted Magic 2016_04_26, includes several updates, including version 4.5.2 of the Linux kernel and TestDisk 7.1. The Chrome web browser has been dropped from this release. "This version of Parted Magic supports Secure Erase of NVMe SSD. These are different than ATA Solid State Drives, so a new GUI had to be written. The new GUI is very similar to the ATA Secure Erase GUI. It's located in the 'Erase Disk' menu right under the ATA Secure Erase button. I'll be working on another Secure Erase page for the new NVMe GUI. On the downside we removed Google Chrome because they quit releasing 32-bit builds. There are 64-bit Chromium modules in the Support Forum if you really need a Chrome like browser." A complete list of changes can be found on the project's News page. The Parted Magic distribution can be purchased through the project's Downloads page.
Ubuntu GNOME 16.04
The Ubuntu GNOME project suffered some website issues last week, delaying their announcement, but the project has officially launched Ubuntu GNOME 16.04, a long term support release that will receive security updates for three years. "Ubuntu GNOME is an official flavor of Ubuntu, featuring the GNOME desktop environment. Ubuntu GNOME is a mostly pure GNOME desktop experience built from the Ubuntu repositories. This version is based on the GNOME 3.18 release - Why not GNOME 3.20? Please visit the See Also section for more details." Apart from GNOME 3.18, the distribution has swapped out the Ubuntu Software Centre for GNOME Software and supports the installation of snap packages. Further details on Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 can be found in the project's release notes.
Proxmox 4.2 "Virtual Environment"
Proxmox is a commercial company that builds Debian-based specialized products. The company has released Proxmox 4.2 "Virtual Environment" with support for running LXC containers alongside KVM virtual machines and out of the box ZFS support. "Vienna, Austria - April 27, 2016 – Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH, the company developing the server virtualization platform Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE), today announced the general availability of version 4.2. The open source virtualization platform Proxmox VE is a hyper-converged solution enabling users to create and manage LXC containers and KVM virtual machines on the same host, and makes it easy to set up highly available clusters, as well as to manage network and storage via an integrated web-based management interface." Additional information on Proxmox 4.2 Virtual Environment can be found in the company's release announcement.
Pawel Piganowski has announced the release of Sparky Linux 4.3. The SparkyLinux distribution is based on Debian's Testing branch and provides users with a variety of desktop editions. In the latest release, the Linux kernel has been updated to version 4.5.1, the Iceweasel web browser has been replaced with Firefox and the Turpial microblogging client was replaced with Corebird. "New, updated ISO images of SparkyLinux 4.3 'Tyche' are available now. As before, Sparky 'Home' editions provide fully featured operating system based on the Debian Testing, with desktops of your choice: LXDE, LXQt, KDE, MATE and Xfce." A complete list of changes to the distribution can be found in the project's release announcement.
SparkyLinux 4.3 -- Running the LXQt desktop environment
(full umage size: 1.6MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
GParted Live 0.26.0-1
The developers of GParted, the GNOME Partition Editor, have released GParted Live 0.26.0-1. The new release is based on Debian's Unstable branch and features read support for LUKS. The new release ships with version 4.5.1 of the Linux kernel and has added progress bars for several file system copy operations. "The GParted team is pleased to announce a new stable release of GParted Live. This release includes GParted 0.26.0, patches for libparted for FAT file system operations, and other improvements. Items of note include: Based on the Debian Sid repository (as of 2016/Apr/29). Linux kernel updated to 4.5.1-1. Includes GParted 0.26.0 which implements read-only LUKS support, adds progress bars to NTFS, XFS, and EXT2/3/4 file system copy methods, fixes operations sometimes fail with 'No such file or directory'." Additional details can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
The 4MLinux project has announced the release of a new version of the miniature Linux distribution. The new version, 4MLinux 17.0, provides mostly package updates, including Firefox 46 and LibreOffice 5.1.3. "The status of the 4MLinux 17.0 series has been changed to stable. Create your documents with LibreOffice 220.127.116.11 and share them using DropBox 3.18.1, surf the Internet with Firefox 46.0 and Chromium 50.0.2661.75, stay in touch with your friends via Skype 18.104.22.168 and Thunderbird 45.0, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 3.7.2 and aTunes 3.1.2, watch your favorite videos with MPlayer SVN-r37590 and VLC 2.2.2, play games with Xorg 1.18.1/Mesa 11.1.1 support enabled. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 4.4.1, Apache 2.4.20, MariaDB 10.1.13, and PHP 5.6.20). Perl 5.22.1 and Python 2.7.11 are also available." A screen shot and complete list of packages cane be found in the project's release announcement.
Voyager Live 16.04
The developers of Voyager Live, a desktop distribution based on Xubuntu, have released a new version. The new release, Voyager Live 16.04, is based on Xubuntu 16.04 and ships with the Xfce 4.12 desktop environment. The new release will receive three years of security updates. The release announcement includes a list of updated packages: "Xfce 4.12 Xfdashboad 0.5.92, 0.0.2 plugin Xfce4 hotcorner, Plank 0.11.1 Dock, Conky, Yad, Smtube 16.3.0, Kodi Media Center 16.1 Mpv Media Player, Word, Caffeine, GIMP 2.8.16, Gthumb, Pitivi 0.95.1, Clementine 1.3.1, 1.7.3 CoverGloobus, RadioTray 0 / 7.3, Kazam, Transmission, Terminator, Ranger Terminal, Moc Audio, Lynis, rkhunter, Clamav Antivirus 5.20.1 clamtk, Repair Boot, OS-Uninstaller PulseAudio Equalizer, Cheese, Impulse, Screenlets 0.1.6, Déjà Dup, GRUB Customizer, BleachBit, Firewall Gfuw, Synaptic, Corebird Twitter 1.1.1, Thunderbird 38.7.2, Firefox 46, Pidgin, LibreOffice 5.1, GNOME Calendar, Kupfer, Mintstick USB 1.2.8, Ubuntu After Install Mod 2.7, GNOME Software, Xscreensaver 5.34..."
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Compiling your own kernel
The kernel is a core component of any operating system. It is the part of the system which communicates with the computer's hardware. The kernel is also responsible for loading programs, scheduling tasks and enforcing low-level security.
There are all sorts of reasons someone might compile their own, custom copy of the kernel. Some people do it for the educational experience, others do it to add features, some try to make their kernel as small and efficient as possible. Of course kernel developers compile their kernel as part of their job.
This week we would like to know if you compile your operating system's kernel and, if so, why? Are you doing it for work, fun, education or another reason?
You can see the results of our previous poll on using HTTPS here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Compiling your own kernel
|I compile my kernel for the educational experience: ||160 (8%)|
| I compile my kernel as part of my job: ||32 (2%)|
| I run a source-based distribution: ||107 (6%)|
| I added/removed features in my custom kernel: ||131 (7%)|
| I enjoy it/it is fun: ||93 (5%)|
| I do not compile my kernel: ||1379 (73%)|
Reorganizing the waiting list and snap package management
A few weeks ago we broached the subject of improving our waiting list and the process of moving distributions from the waiting into our database. The waiting list is quite long and as each project needs to be evaluated manually, and sometimes reviewed again later for progress, combing the waiting list for viable distributions has become more time consuming.
One way we hope to reduce time distributions spend on the waiting list (and the time we spend evaluating them) is to reorganize the list. Up to this point the list has all been one big group of projects waiting in limbo. From now on the waiting list will be divided into categories. This should help us reduce the amount of time we spend looking at the same projects multiple times, allowing us to focus on interesting projects we can add to our database.
Roughly speaking, the waiting list is now divided into four main categories: projects we plan to evaluate soon and will either be placed in our database or shuffled into another category; projects which either do not work on our test equipment or could use more infrastructure such as forums or documentation; projects that feature some roadblock such as trademark disputes, translations or licensing concerns; and projects we feel are ready, but have not published a release for a while and will be added once we know the project is active.
In other news, with the release of Ubuntu 16.04 we noticed that the Snappy package management guide we published last year was obsolete. The Package Management page has been updated with the new Snap package manager syntax.
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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, 9 May 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)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
TA-Linux was a free Linux distribution that targets Linux power users. Its main goal was to have a small base installation that the end-users can expand to include the software they need. The secondary goal was to support as many different architectures as possible, at this time x86 was fully supported with Alpha, Sparc, PPC and PA-RISC around the corner. Extra software not included in the base was handled using a system resembling the *BSD ports system, called Collection, which handles installation, upgrading and dependencies. The primary way of installing new software was to download the source, compile and install it (totaly automatic). The user can also choose to install already built binary packages, also automaticaly using the Collection system.