| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 660, 9 May 2016
Welcome to this year's 19th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Earlier this year we asked our readers which, if any, community editions of Ubuntu you would like to see reviewed. The poll results showed people favoured Ubuntu MATE and so this week we explore this versatile edition of Ubuntu. Read on to find out what is new in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 and how the distribution performs. This week we also talk about software license violations and what steps a person can take when they spot GPLed software being distributed in violation of its license. In our News section we cover the highlights of FreeBSD's latest Quarterly Report, look at changes coming to Linux Mint and compare flavours of Ubuntu. Plus we share changes in Debian's processor support and we talk about new security features becoming available to Linux users through the Firejail utility. In this issue we provide a list of the torrents we are seeding and cover the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we ask if our readers prefer to perform fresh installations, live upgrades or off-line upgrades when it is time to update an operating system. This past week we added a graphical representation of the Linux family tree to our website and we welcome the BunsenLabs Linux distribution to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (28MB) and MP3 (39MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS
Ubuntu MATE is a community edition of the Ubuntu distribution. Ubuntu MATE provides users with the MATE desktop environment set up in a way that resembles Ubuntu's default look before the parent distribution started shipping with Unity as the default interface. This gives Ubuntu MATE, in my opinion, a look and feel that I have come to think of as the classic or traditional flavour of Ubuntu.
The latest version of the distribution, Ubuntu MATE 16.04, includes several key software updates, including version 4.4 of the Linux kernel, MATE 1.12.1 and support for Snap packages. The distribution has also been working on Raspberry Pi support and can be run on Raspberry Pi 2 & 3 computers. Looking over the download options we find that, apart from Raspberry Pi images, the Ubuntu MATE project supplies us with downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 computers and there are builds for PowerPC computers.
Prior to downloading the distribution, I recommend looking over the list of known bugs, some of which affect the project's system installer. I did not see any major issues listed and so downloaded the 64-bit build of Ubuntu MATE which is 1.5GB in size.
Booting from the Ubuntu MATE media brings us to a graphical screen where we are asked if we would like to try the distribution in a live environment or install the operating system. On this screen we can also select our preferred language from a list that appears on the left side of the display. At the bottom of the display there is a link to the project's release notes and clicking this link launches a web browser. On launch day, when I began this trial, the new release notes had not yet been published and the most recent documents were for Ubuntu 15.10 rather than the new 16.04 version.
Taking the install option from the aforementioned screen launches the graphical system installer. The installer asks if we would like to download software updates during the installation process and whether we would like to install third-party software such as proprietary drivers, Flash and multimedia support. I selected Yes for third-party software and No for downloading updates. At this point the installer appeared to freeze for a few minutes and, just when I thought I would have to reboot to start the process over, I was asked if the installer should automatically partition my hard drive or if I would like to manually divide up the disk. The manual option presents us with a partition manager that is quite streamlined and I found it to be both fast and friendly to navigate. The partition manager gives us a nice, visual representation of our disk and makes it easy to add or remove partitions. Ubuntu MATE supports working with ext2/3/4, Btrfs, XFS and JFS file systems. While Ubuntu reportedly supports ZFS, in the Ubuntu MATE installer I did not find ZFS listed as a file system option. For people who do want to work with ZFS, there are ZFS kernel modules, userland utilities and FUSE packages in the default software repositories. I decided to use Btrfs during my trial. The following screens ask us to select our time zone from a map of the world, confirm our keyboard's layout and create a user account. We can click a box to enable encryption in our user's home directory. The installation completed quickly on my system, taking just over ten minutes. When the installer is finished we can reboot the computer to start using our new copy of Ubuntu MATE.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 -- Welcome screen
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Ubuntu MATE boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into our account. Upon signing in we are presented with a Welcome screen. This screen actually offers us several resources. The first page provides us with links to a beginner's guide, a features list and links to community forums along with the project's social networks. Another button launches the project's software manager. I will come back to the software manager, Boutique, later. For now I am happy to report I was able to install some packages from the software manager and the interface was both simple and easy to navigate. In general, I quite like the Ubuntu MATE Welcome screen. It provides us with lots of resources and links to documentation. Plus the quick access to a friendly package manager is helpful. My only complaint was a visual one, specifically that the Welcome application features globs of green snow that fall across the screen. It's a bit distracting and not visually appealing in my opinion.
With the Welcome screen dismissed we find ourselves in the MATE 1.12.1 desktop environment. The wallpaper is a mixture of the night sky with the Ubuntu MATE logo. At the top of the screen we find a panel that hosts the Applications, Places and System menus on the left and the system tray on the right. At the bottom of the display is another panel that acts as the task switcher. The desktop was very responsive during my trial and, personally, I found the default theme attractive. The dark colours offered both a nice frame for applications and a solid background for menu icons.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 -- The application menu and account manager
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Running Ubuntu MATE got off to a rough start for me. When I ran the distribution in a VirtualBox virtual machine I ran into two problems. One was that the distribution did not support VirtualBox modules automatically. I had to download VirtualBox guest packages from the distribution's repositories in order to achieve full screen resolution. By default, Ubuntu MATE did not power off completely when run inside VirtualBox, though installing the guest modules seemed to clear up that problem as well.
Ubuntu MATE did not play well with my desktop computer either, but did so in a way I have not witnessed before. When booting off the live media, in either UEFI or legacy BIOS mode, Ubuntu MATE would start to boot, display the project's graphical splash screen and then turn off the video display. At first I thought the distribution had simply crashed, but a few seconds later I heard the familiar Ubuntu start-up sound, indicating the system had successfully booted. I found that while I was unable, across multiple boots, to get the system to display any visual output, I was able to use the keyboard to access the system and trigger events, such as making sounds or causing a reboot. This would indicate the system was mostly functional, but unable to display anything on the screen.
The distribution's odd behaviour prevented me from using Ubuntu MATE on my desktop computer and kept me focused on using the distribution in a virtual environment. Ubuntu MATE was stable in VirtualBox and required approximately 290MB of memory to sign into the desktop.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 -- Running LibreOffice
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The distribution's application menu supplies us with a nice collection of popular open source programs. Firefox with optional Flash support is included along with the Thunderbird e-mail software. We are given copies of the HexChat IRC client, the Transmission bittorrent software and the Pidgin instant messaging client. Ubuntu MATE ships with LibreOffice and the Atril document viewer. We also find the Brasero disc burning software, the Cheese webcam manager, the Rhythmbox music player and the VLC multimedia player. At install time we have the option of enabling media codecs, allowing us to play a wide range of multimedia formats. The distribution provides us with the Shotwell photo manager, the Eye of MATE image viewer and a document scanner. The application menu also provides us with an archive manager, calculator and text editor. Digging in further we find a process monitor, the Caja file manager and the dconf desktop configuration manager. Also available are the Deja Dup backup software, the Synapse program launcher and the Plank dock. To help us get on-line Network Manager is available. In the background we find the GNU Compiler Collection, systemd 229 and version 4.4.0 of the Linux kernel.
There were a few entries in the application menu I thought were worth mentioning. The backup application, Deja Dup, is a very friendly backup manager and possibly the nicest tool I have encountered for creating and restoring backup archives. The program makes setting up scheduled backups wonderfully easy. The software only has a few screens and reasonable defaults. It also helps us save backup archives to a variety of locations and restoring archives is a click-click-done process.
Synapse is a program I may have used before, but I had forgotten about it.. Synapse is basically a "run program" dialog box with filtering options. It's not fancy, it just lets us type in commands we want to run and it works. Plank was another menu entry which caught my attention. I was not sure what Plank did and so I checked its description which reads "Stupidly simple" and is not at all helpful. Plank is a dock that sits at the bottom of the screen and we can launch programs from it. Plank tends to stay out of the way, with the program's default settings, hiding behind active application windows. This makes it fairly hassle free and possibly useful if we want to have a quick-launch bar at the bottom of the desktop.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 -- The Control Centre
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One of the nicer features of Ubuntu MATE is the distribution's Control Centre. This panel gives us a central point from which to configure both our desktop environment and the underlying operating system. From the Control Centre we can set up printers, configure the network connection, tweak the look and feel of the desktop and select which applications will run when we login. The Control Centre also features modules for working with user accounts, setting the system clock, configuring the firewall and updating software packages. Each of the configuration tools worked well for me. They are generally newcomer friendly and responsive. One tool in particular I was happy to use was the Sound configuration application. By default the MATE desktop played sound effects when I changed settings or closed windows and that got annoying quickly. The Sound module gave me a way to disable desktop sound effects.
A few other configuration tools stood out during my trial. The graphical firewall manager, for example, caught my attention. The gufw program has always struck me as being a good, basic firewall utility that keeps things very simple. The latest version adds a few features. For example, we now have the ability to switch between profiles, allowing us to have one set of firewall rules for work, another for home and a third for public spaces. This can be useful when we are using a laptop or other mobile device. Logging is more up front too and available in a tab. To balance these new features and the complexity they add to the interface, a new tab has been added to gufw that provides documentation explaining the various controls. I had mixed feelings about the new arrangement. I think gufw's strength has always grown from its extreme simplicity, so I was not thrilled with the extra features. However, I am very happy to see beginner friendly documentation added and I am pleased to report the profiles feature does work. All in all, I think the changes are generally positive.
Setting up printers in Ubuntu MATE was very straight forward, involving about three mouse clicks. This year I have encountered a handful of distributions which featured a printer manager that would not work because the necessary background services were not enabled and, for a new user, there was no obvious way to enable printer services. Ubuntu MATE works with printers out of the box with no need for installing or enabling anything extra and I appreciated the ease with which I could add my printer to the system.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 -- The Boutique software manager
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Ubuntu MATE ships with a graphical front-end for software management called Boutique. Boutique is arranged with icons representing software categories along the top of the window. Popular desktop applications in each category are listed below this top bar. Each application in Boutique is accompanied by the program's icon and a paragraph describing its function. I like that some descriptions include an "alternative to" tag. For example, the GNU Image Manipulation Program is described as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop and the Evolution e-mail client is described as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook. This gives newcomers a point of reference that I think will be useful. After each package description is an Install button we can click to download the application. Once a new program has been installed the Install button changes to become a Remove button for the application.
I found Boutique was fairly quick to respond to input and allowed me to continue browsing software categories while installations happened in the background. The one drawback to using Boutique appears to be that the program only provides us with access to a handful of programs in each category. If we want to access more niche applications or low-level packages, we will need to either use the command line APT utilities or install another package management front-end. The good news is that Boutique includes a category dedicated to providing us with other popular software managers such as Synaptic and the Ubuntu Software Centre.
One of the features of Ubuntu 16.04 which has gained a lot of attention is Snap packages. Ubuntu MATE offers the snap command line package manager in the default installation. The snap package manager appears to have changed its command syntax a good deal since we reviewed it last year. Either that or the snap package manager which ships with Ubuntu MATE is entirely different from the Ubuntu Snappy package manager that was demoed last year. The snap command line help and the manual page did not offer much assistance in discovering the features of the snap package manager. We are provided with a list of supported commands, but little in the way of an explanation of how they work. There is also no documentation, so far as I can tell, on setting up or connecting to alternative software repositories. I found that snap connects to a small default repository of software that contains about twenty applications. Installing applications using snap places the new software in the /snap directory of our operating system.
I tried a handful of available Snap applications and found that some, like the Links web browser, would work. Others, like the sshtron game and the calculator app, failed to load. At this point it seems Snap packages are still very much in the early development stages and not ready to be accessed by end users.
Earlier I mentioned that while ZFS support is not included in the system installer directly, curious users can find ZFS packages in the default repositories. I installed the available ZFS kernel module and userland utilities and confirmed they can be used to create or import ZFS storage volumes. The memory required was minimal, putting my total RAM usage just over the 300MB mark.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 -- Running the Firefox web browser
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My experiment with Ubuntu MATE got off to a rocky start due to an unusual hardware issue and less than stellar support for running the distribution in VirtualBox. However, with those initial hurdles aside, I was quite happy with the distribution. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 offers a very light and responsive desktop while still providing modern conveniences. The project runs on a range of hardware (common desktop and laptop computers, Raspberry Pi devices and PowerPC computers) and offers just about everything desktop users will probably want right from the start.
The new Welcome screen provides us with lots of friendly resources and I like the Boutique package manager, I think it is very newcomer friendly and Boutique makes it easy to access more powerful package manager front-ends. The snap package manager was a bit of a disappointment as the technology is still limited and not friendly, but at least we get to see a preview of what Canonical has planned with Snap packages.
I like the distribution's Control Centre and Deja Dup backup utility, both are easy to use and powerful. I am also happy to see ZFS gain more mainstream support. We may not yet be able to set up ZFS volumes from the Ubuntu MATE installer, but having the packages in the default repositories is a step in the right direction.
Despite my initial problems getting Ubuntu MATE installed and running smoothly, I came away with a positive view of the distribution. The project is providing a very friendly desktop experience that requires few hardware resources by modern standards. I also want to tip my hat to the default theme used on Ubuntu MATE. The desktop's darker backgrounds with white text and colourful icons were much easier on my eyes than the transparent or grey-on-grey themes some projects use. Seeing full, detailed icons rather than vague, abstract shapes was a nice touch too. I feel too many modern themes look like they are designed to intentionally cause eye strain and Ubuntu MATE's high-contrast, colourful look made it easier for me to read the menus and find the controls I wanted to access.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, Mint's xapps, a comparison of Ubuntu flavours, Debian updates 32-bit policy and Firejail to protect against key loggers
The FreeBSD project has released a Quarterly Report for the first three months of 2016, providing a list of completed and on-going tasks related to the FreeBSD operating system. Some of the key sub-projects include implementing liberally licensed ELF utilities, separating GPLv3 components into a separate source tree, the implementation of a new I/O scheduler and new translations of the FreeBSD Handbook. The Ports tree continues to grow slowly, with 25,000 ports available, being maintained by over 100 committers. "As of the end of Q1, the ports tree holds a bit more than 25,000 ports, and the PR count is below 1,900. The activity on the ports tree remains steady, with almost 7,000 commits performed by around 120 active committers. On the problem reports front, the encouraging trend observed during the previous quarter is confirmed, with again a significant increase in the number of PRs fixed during Q1. Indeed, almost 2,400 reports were fixed, which allows us to go below the threshold value of 2,000 open PRs." All the details are available in the report.
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The next version of Linux Mint is expected to launch later this year with the beta for Linux Mint 18 tentatively scheduled for June 2016. The upcoming release will feature a couple of important changes: xapps and a new way multimedia codecs will be handled. Mint's xapps are GNOME-based applications that are designed to provide a consistent user experience across multiple desktop environments. "April saw the releases of Cinnamon 3.0 and MATE 1.14 which will be featured in the upcoming Linux Mint 18. As part of the "xapps" initiative, which aims to produce cross-desktop and cross-distribution software, we also released the following applications: A media player based on totem, called xplayer. A text editor based on pluma, called xed. A picture viewer based on eog, called xviewer. A document reader based on atril, called xreader. These 4 applications will be featured as default in Linux Mint 18, where they will replace totem, gedit, pluma, eog, eom, evince, atril and possibly ristretto."
Linux Mint 18 will no longer provide separate, codec-free installation media for OEM and magazine distribution. Instead, the distribution will ship without multimedia support while making it easy for users to acquire media codecs during the initial installation of the operating system. "OEM installation disks and NoCodec images will no longer be released. Instead, similar to other distributions, images will ship without codecs and will support both traditional and OEM installations. This will reduce our release cycle to 4 separate events and the production and testing of 12 ISO images. Multimedia codecs can be installed easily: From the welcome screen, by clicking on "Multimedia Codecs", or from the main menu, by clicking on "Menu"->"Sound and Video"->"Install Multimedia Codecs", or during the installation process, by clicking a checkbox option." Additional information on the upcoming release of Linux Mint 18 can be found in the project's monthly newsletter.
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Following the release of Ubuntu 16.04 and the distribution's many community editions, Hectic Geek decided to explore the differences between the various community flavours. Apart from shipping with different desktop environments, are there significant stability or performance gains to be had with one edition compared to the others? The Hectic Geek article explores Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME and compares the installation processes and performance of each distribution. "The main focus of an Ubuntu LTS is stability and performance. And in that regard, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS did really well. And performance-wise, the memory increase is the major negative element. Other than that, it's very stable and as mentioned in my original review, many of the subtle issues have also been addressed as well."
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The Debian project supports a wide range of hardware architectures, including 32-bit x86 CPUs. Changes are happening in Debian's development branches which will make older versions of the 32-bit architecture obsolete. Ben Hutchings provides the details: "Last year it was decided to increase the minimum CPU features for the i386 architecture to 686-class in the Stretch release cycle. This means dropping support for 586-class and hybrid 586/686 processors. (Support for 486-class processors was dropped, somewhat accidentally, in Squeeze.) This was implemented in the Linux kernel packages starting with Linux 4.3, which was uploaded to Unstable in December last year. In case you missed that change, GCC for i386 has recently been changed to target 686-class processors and is generating code that will crash on other processors. Any such systems still running Testing or
Unstable will need to be switched to run Stable (Jessie)." A list of processors which will no longer be supported after Debian "Jessie" can be found in Hutchings' mailing list post.
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Firejail is an application and service sandboxing utility which isolates programs for added security. We previously talked about Firejail and FireTools in an earlier issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next version of Firejail will include a significant new feature: X11 sandboxing support. The X11 sandbox will protect users against malware that includes key loggers and screen shot stealing code. "Firejail X11 sandboxing support is built around an external X11 server software package. Both Xpra and Xephyr are supported ('apt-get install xpra xserver-xephyr' on Debian). To allow people to use the sandbox on headless systems, Firejail's compile and install is not dependent on Xpra or Xephyr packages. The sandbox replaces the regular X11 server with Xpra or Xephyr server. This prevents X11 keyboard loggers and screenshot utilities from accessing the main X11 server." Details can be found on the Firejail blog.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Addressing GPL violations
Legal-eagle asks: When I see software being used in violation of its license (ie GPL software sold without its source code), what should I do? Is there some place I can report it, like the Free Software Foundation?
DistroWatch answers: There are a few organizations which offer advice, protection and legal assistance in the case of free and open source license violations. However, before contacting one of these organizations, I recommend making sure the person or company distributing the software really is violating their license. As I have discussed before, software licenses such as the GPL are frequently misunderstood. Often times people think that free software means there is no monetary cost associated with the product, or that people who sell GPL licensed software must provide their source code for free to the public. These are common misunderstandings and I recommend reading up on the license in question prior to reporting a violation.
Another thing we might do is contact the open source project whose license is being violated. Some projects may look into the situation and decide to handle the matter themselves. Others might examine what has happened and decide they are okay with the situation, in which case there is not much reason to proceed further.
Assuming we have confirmed a license violation is taking place, the Open Source Initiative website mentions three organizations we can contact. The first is the Software Freedom Law Centre which offers legal advice to free and open source projects. They also have mailing lists and an IRC channel where people can ask for advice.
The next option is the GPL-Violations website. The organization helps to bring companies into compliance with the GPL and, whenever possible, finds a way to encourage compliance without legal action. There is an e-mail address at the bottom of their page people can use to report GPL violations.
Finally, if the license violation affects one of the members of the Software Freedom Conservancy then a report can be made to the Conservancy.
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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: 192
- Total data uploaded: 35.5TB
|Released Last Week
Simplicity Linux 16.04
The Simplicity Linux project, a Puppy-based distribution, has announced the launch of a new stable release. The new version, simplicity Linux 16.04, is available in three flavours: Mini, Desktop and X. The Mini and Desktop editions are available in 32-bit builds while the X edition provides a 64-bit build. "As with recent versions of Simplicity, it is based on the excellent LXPup and uses LXDE as the desktop environment. Mini and Desktop come with the 4.0.4 kernel, and X comes with the 4.4.5 kernel. As with our previous releases, Mini (Previously Simplicity Linux Netbook Edition) is our heavily cut down version. It comes with Flash pre-installed, the latest version of Firefox, and web versions of Spotify, Dropbox, Gmail, Google Docs and many other applications. Desktop is our fully featured distribution, based on the same base as Mini but rather than web based applications; it comes loaded with Flash, Firefox, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, GIMP, and MPlayer." Additional details can be found in the release announcement.
Sam Geeraerts has announced the release of a new version of the gNewSense distribution. gNewSense is based on Debian and is assembled using free and open source software exclusively. The distribution is sponsored by the Free Software Foundation. The latest release, gNewSense 4.0, is available in three architectures (i386, mipsel and x86_64). "I hereby announce the release of gNewSense 4, codenamed Ucclia. It's based on a solid Debian, modified to respect the Free Software Foundation's and is available for three architectures: i386, amd64 and mipsel (Lemote Yeeloong). Torrents for the live DVD images are available, as well as direct downloads and netboot images." Links and further information can be found in the mailing list announcement and following thread of e-mails.
gNewSense 4.0 -- Running the GNOME desktop
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Upgrade vs fresh install
When installing a new version of an operating system, there are a few ways we can go about getting the latest release. Some of us are inclined to wipe our existing operating system and start fresh with a new version. Others may wish to perform an off-line upgrade, allowing the system installer to upgrade packages. A third option is to perform a live upgrade, updating the operating system while it is in use.
This week we would like to know which method our readers use when upgrading to a new version of their distribution. Do you perform fresh installations, off-line upgrades or live upgrades?
You can see the results of our previous poll on compiling custom kernels here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Upgrade vs fresh install
|I perform a fresh install: ||1051 (48%)|
| I perform an off-line upgrade: ||78 (4%)|
| I perform a live upgrade: ||443 (20%)|
| I use a rolling release: ||585 (27%)|
| None of the above: ||31 (1%)|
Visual family tree of Linux distributions and frequently asked questions
The Linux family of distributions is large, varied and complex. There are hundreds of Linux distributions in the world, many of them with close ties to other projects and it can be difficult to keep track of the relationships between distributions.
Using the DistroWatch database, one inspired developer has created a series of scripts which assembles a family tree of Linux distributions, showing the life spans and relationships between projects.
We have created a new page which displays the visual family tree of Linux distributions. This image can be found through our sitemap under the Resources section.
In other news, we have updated our Frequently Asked Questions page. We tend to receive a lot of questions about open source, distributions, and licensing. The frequently asked questions page will provide our answers and links to resources we hope will be useful. This page has been added to our sitemap in the DistroWatch.com and meta information section.
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Distributions added to the database
BunsenLabs Linux is a distribution offering a light-weight and easily customizable Openbox desktop. The BunsenLabs distribution is based on Debian's Stable branch and is a community continuation of the CrunchBang Linux distribution.
BunsenLabs Linux Hydrogen -- Running the Openbox window manager
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Distributions added to waiting list
- ProxLinux. ProxLinux is a Lubuntu-based distribution which features the Openbox window manager as its default user interface.
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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, 16 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Visual Linux Tree (by 2damncommon on 2016-05-09 01:05:42 GMT from North America) |
The chart seems to show Mandriva in 1998. Shouldn't that be Mandrake and then change to Mandriva at a later date?
2 • Prefer rolling.. (by Jordan on 2016-05-09 01:32:33 GMT from North America)
Fresh installs at times on thumb drives etc..
3 • Tough question for me, about Ubuntu updates (by BeGo on 2016-05-09 01:56:33 GMT from Asia)
I vote for fresh install due to Ubuntu distro update is buggy at best. :(
When this sorted out, then I choose rolling update. :)
Snap Ubuntu should be rolling release by concept. :)
4 • Upgrade (by Gustavo on 2016-05-09 02:56:57 GMT from South America)
Just erase all directories except /home then install from USB without formatting target root partition.
I think this method should be suported automatically by the installer.
Of course you will need to reinstall all the extra software you installed before, but all your configuration will be preserved.
5 • Upgrade vs Fresh Install (by Josep on 2016-05-09 02:59:37 GMT from Europe)
I use Arch rolling on 4 desktop pc: plasma, cinnamon, lxde and i3 since juny 2015.
Arch has a reputation on being unstable and hard to use, but in my experience is as rock solid as debian stable. And very easy to install in less than 30 minutes.(i3 DE).
In one year only 2 issues: 1. with systemd 22x, shutdown -h not run and 2. setxkbmap changed to us after xorg update.
And the receipt is simple: pacman -Syu every two days.
6 • *buntu 16.04 installer glitches (by mikef90000 on 2016-05-09 03:00:54 GMT from North America)
I suspect but can't yet prove it that install difficulties may due to new EFI related support.
I could not boot the Xubuntu 16.04 iso live in VBox without setting the guest to EFI BIOS mode. OTOH the cd would boot on 'bare metal' where the BIOS is in legacy mode. Installation of several different 16.04 DEs in VB all worked when starting with the 'mini' iso. Arggh.
It is worth pointing out that the alternate application installer is the "GNOME Software Centre". The Ubuntu version has been deprecated for some time.
Besides Mint I use SolydX, what I would call a 'semi rolling' release system. It seems pretty reliable but occasionally something minor breaks.
I agree that snap packaging isn't ready 'for prime time' yet. Few apps and no GUI found.
7 • Upgrade (by Bonky on 2016-05-09 04:17:17 GMT from North America)
I have been Using Rolling release as main OS for quite a few years, 4 maybe and pretty much the only issue is the sudden theme failure but that is usually expected and planned for
I have found it a lot less problematic than re-installing etc every so often
*Linux Map @1 Yes I agree it should be Mandrake which was my first Distro
I did try freeBSD as well around that time with rather less than successful results
It was bizzare looking at so many names of Distros I had tried during many years of Distro-hopping that I even forgot existed,
8 • *buntu 16.04 installer glitches (by Cook Alvega on 2016-05-09 05:35:52 GMT from Europe)
"selected Yes for third-party software and No for downloading updates. At this point the installer appeared to freeze" Same with me, with 16.04 Gnome in a no uefi pc.
The problem started (maybe) at the first update of previous LTS.
I thought it wouldn't pass the freeze. Same happened with the following releases. Couldn't install any. It's only now with 16.04 that I was able to install Ubuntu again. As apparently it was just me, I decided not to report the issue.
9 • Rolling Release and Fresh install (by Bobbie Sellers on 2016-05-09 05:38:10 GMT from North America)
I use both Mageia and PCLinux OS as well as some live distros like Knoppix.
So I like to do a clean install for Mageia and nearly every day I see updates
I started with Mandriva thus my fondness for the use of the Drakxtools through
the MCC or PCLCC interface.
Struggling with salvaged Dell Latitudes with unknown admin passwords and
one has Windows 10 though it came with Windows 7. Learning a lot.
10 • Visual Family Tree of Linux distributions (by Marc Magi on 2016-05-09 05:45:26 GMT from North America)
"Using the DistroWatch database, one inspired developer has created a series of scripts which assembles a family tree of Linux distributions, showing the life spans and relationships between projects.
We have created a new page which displays the visual family tree of Linux distributions."
This looks exactly like the visual maps that Andreas Lundqvist and others at futurist.se/gldt used to publish.
11 • family tree (by Rainer on 2016-05-09 05:51:05 GMT from Europe)
Doesn't the script generate a SVG file?
Might be a bit smaller than 6MB.
12 • Linux Family Tree (by Eric Brandon on 2016-05-09 05:54:32 GMT from North America)
Visual Family Tree of Linux distributions (by Marc Magi)
Yes, they do look very similar. But, the names and dates are different. The 1st commenter points out that the new chart shows Mandriva as debuting in 1998 when it really was Mandrake.
I noticed that the new charts shows SUSE as debuting in 1998 but the older charts show it to be older than Red Hat and launching in 1994. And there are other name and date discrepancies.
13 • confirming_understanding_of_online_vs_offline_upgrading_methods (by k on 2016-05-09 06:47:19 GMT from Europe)
Referring to Tails excellent as usual documentation at https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/upgrade/index.en.html ...
...I understand Tails routine "automatic" -- still requires user input/authorization -- updating is "online", vs "manual" upgrading that is "offline".
Does this agree with your definitions?
The choice really depends on the distro, mostly running off flash drives.
Tails is exhaustively tested and developed, for most highly protected privacy and security, so I follow the developers' excellent -- often graphically illustrated -- instructions exactly as proscribed. Online routinely, offline when the developers demand it.
AntiX is another expertly-crafted distro, with excellent documentation, offering more -- risky -- "flexibility" with really well explained installer that permits more user control, e.g. saving live session selections, and removing bluetooth service. So, if developers specify a critical need for upgrade, I confirm certain documents copy/saved to "storage" drive, totally erase/copy with dd and urandom and install new version from Live off ISO exhaustively verified as per Jesse and Tails instructions.
14 • Rolling vs Upgrade vs Fresh Install (by far2fish on 2016-05-09 07:53:17 GMT from Europe)
My current distro is Antergos, and for me the rolling upgrades has been working fine most of the time. Nothing I couldn't fix myself or by checking the Antergos forums. Not quite sure for how long I have been using Antergos. Perhaps a year or a bit more. Had to reinstall once though after I manually messed up my login manager config, and figured it would be better to spend 1 hour on reinstall than multiple hours to manually fix it.
When using Fedora, I used 'fedup' upgrades. Can't recall I have had issues with it.
When using Ubuntu based distros, I would prefer a fresh install.
15 • Blank screen after install on Ubuntu MATE (by John on 2016-05-09 08:23:48 GMT from Europe)
I had a similar problem (on a Lenovo laptop) with openSUSE. I eventually worked out that the brightness controls worked backwards. As the default was 100% brightness, the screen was blank.
16 • Upgrade method (by Kazly on 2016-05-09 09:30:05 GMT from Europe)
I voted "I perform an off-line upgrade" because that is what I do... when I am given this choice! Like with an Ubuntu or Mageia installation media for example. I stay away from live upgrades as much as possible because of the amount of time involved and the level of risk (although I must admit I never had a single upgrade failure back to the time when I upgraded live).
But actually, the way I upgrade is often guided by two things:
- if I have been wanting to switch to a new distro for some time but did not really have the time to do so, I do the switch when upgrade time comes, so fresh install it is;
- if not, most distros recommend one upgrade method more than any other and sometimes provide extra tools and help to do so, making it easier, so I usually follow the recommanded upgrade path.
After years of distro-hopping with a rate slowing down to "I distro-hop when I need to upgrade", I may finally settling down with MX Linux. With MX, live upgrade and off-line upgrade are not supported and the recommended upgrade path is fresh install, so I will actually perform more fresh installs than any other upgrade type in the future, which is totally fine by me.
I still have one machine running Ubuntu Studio though, this one will still be upgraded via off-line upgrade.
17 • Ubuntu review and news (by Andy Mender on 2016-05-09 10:23:16 GMT from Europe)
I haven't read Hectic Geek's review yet, though I highly recommend those from dedoimedo.com:
He too writes about consistency among Ubuntu flavors.
Finally, are we starting some sort of cycle of Ubuntu flavor reviews?
18 • black screen on boot (by Arkanabar on 2016-05-09 11:24:43 GMT from North America)
Were the virtual terminals also affected?
19 • Upgrade method (by Zork on 2016-05-09 12:13:21 GMT from Oceania)
I have an advantage of using a Desktop/Tower over a Laptop...
Slap a spare HDD into the system and do a fresh install for dual-boot...
Once I'm confident that the new OS is doing everything I need and have migrated anything necessary across THEN I can get rid of the old OS...
No matter how careful you are with an upgrade something always seems to not quite work as intended or expected... At least, I have a fall-back that is working... Just in case...
20 • @19: upgrade method (by Kazlu on 2016-05-09 12:35:47 GMT from Europe)
I almost do the same thing when I want to upgrade via fresh install, only I use an additional partition on the same HDD instead of an additional HDD. Of course, I do that only when I have completely backed up both my working system partition and my data, just in case. But the goal is the same: I use the new OS while keeping the old and reliable one for a while. The benefits in security and peace of mind are great for just 20 GB of disk space...
21 • opinion poll(s) (by zykoda on 2016-05-09 14:17:48 GMT from Europe)
There is, maybe, a bug in the opinion poll voting system. "Vote" without a selection adds to at least two categories (1 and 5 this week). The results do not reflect the votes intended therefore.
22 • Linux Family Tree (by Greg Zeng on 2016-05-09 14:39:36 GMT from Oceania)
Outdated (2013) Linux Family Tree exist in Wikipedia:
"When updating the timeline, please upload a new version of this file, rather than creating a new file. This will allow all wikis get the new version immediately. You are strongly encouraged to rebuild the timeline from the source distribution to avoid the license-encumbered Red Hat logo."
I once did think of updating this ... but was sidetracked by other projects.
"Original file (SVG file, nominally 2,620 × 10,574 pixels, file size: 387 KB)"
from the same url in message: http://futurist.se/gldt/ -- @10 • Visual Family Tree of Linux distributions (by Marc Magi).
23 • Voting (by Jesse on 2016-05-09 14:49:26 GMT from North America)
>> "There is, maybe, a bug in the opinion poll voting system. "Vote" without a selection adds to at least two categories (1 and 5 this week). The results do not reflect the votes intended therefore."
Clicking "Vote" without making a selection does not add a vote to any category. What you are probably seeing is other people voting at the same time your browser is reloading the page.
24 • #23 (by zykoda on 2016-05-09 14:59:54 GMT from Europe)
Must just be coincidental that two repeats within 4 seconds just added 1 to the same two categories! Thx for the verification.
25 • Black Screen On Boot (by Thomas Taylor on 2016-05-09 15:12:59 GMT from North America)
Had the same problem in Linux Mint Rosa.
Mine was the system defaults to a higher screen resolution than my monitor can handle.
I have to leave my monitor off till after the system makes it's first beep.
So it sets the system to a lower resolution.
26 • poll (by Arkanabar on 2016-05-09 15:28:16 GMT from North America)
I use two distros right now -- Ubuntu MATE 16.04 and PCLinuxOS. PCLOS is my primary, and a rolling release distro, so that's how I voted. But when I upgrade any distro that does point-release, I nearly always perform a fresh install. I keep enough paritions floating around that I can install up to 4 or 5 distros at a time if I am so inclined.
Glad to see BunsenLabs is now in the database! I have it installed too, but haven't bothered yet to configure it to my taste, so it tends to get neglected a lot.
27 • Upgrade vs fresh install (by tuxedoar on 2016-05-09 15:51:57 GMT from South America)
I perform a live upgrade on most ocassions. Even though I am a Debian stable branch user, sometimes, I migrate to the testing brach for a while, till testing becomes stable. I do this once the testing branch has been frozen.
Live upgrades on Debian has worked well for me, up to now. I am particularly cautious in the process, which means that I don't do a "dist-upgrade" directly without doing a preventive series of steps before.
One disadvantage of doing live upgrades that I think is worth mentioning, is the fact that you miss fixes and/or new features at the filesystem level. I mean, you don't get those unless you format the partitions involved, with the new components versions. However, I know that, for example, you can do a filesystem upgrade from, let' s say, ext3 to ext4 without formatting. Even then, I think you don't catch all the goodies and not all the filesystems support this feature.
28 • poll (by The Five Thousand Year Leap on 2016-05-09 17:38:40 GMT from North America)
29 • mint's xapps & stupid project names (by dave on 2016-05-09 17:56:15 GMT from North America)
To me, one of the best results of mint's xapps will be getting away from mate's rebranding of all those gnome programs. Nothing fundamentally against non-english languages and the gnome names were pretty stupid, to begin with.. I think we've long since passed a point where programmers are trying way too hard (or maybe not hard enough?) to be creative with their little project names. For example, why do so many projects have to be appended with food and animal names? Isn't this practice played out yet? A simple name with version numbers isn't good enough? Look at how ubuntoids are made to have minor stress about voting for these meaningless codenames. Did they not realize that they alphabet ended, or did they just not have confidence in making it that far?
How many mango-tango-cinnamon-minty-yerba-werewolves do we really need out here? The linux arboretum/bestiary is getting a bit crowded and I think it's high time that developers cut the marketing crap.
Sorry, that rant got a bit off the xapps topic.. I just think it's a mistake to have such a confusing assortment of names for such basic, core programs. Clearly, we could always use generic aliases to hide the weird names, but we wouldn't need that feature if they programs had simple, logical names.
Oh and since I'm already in complaining-mode, totem has got to be the worst video player I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. While I do honestly hope the mint/xapp devs are able to carve it in to fighting shape for once in its miserable life, I'm not holding my breath. Time would be better spent trying to figure out how to legally package VLC as a default player for the average distro, or start from scratch.. or fork a better player.
30 • Clarification(s) (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2016-05-09 18:43:20 GMT from North America)
A fine point, to be sure: Linux_Mint's Xapps are GTK3-based, but not GNOME-based; liberating such apps from GNOME so they can be cross-DE is a prime factor
A not-so-fine point - weasel-wording about the GPL isn't helpful. Cost-free source code may not be required for the "General Public", but it IS required to be available for any recipient of binaries - at distribution cost, NOT whatever-the-market-will-bear. Thus EACH recipient has a right to source code - and to re-distribute that source code without ANY further obligation to the coder/packager. All leverage is thus at risk from the start; there's zero guarantee of revenue after the first - fine for a one-off custom project, but not for volume or repeat
It may involve a tiny bit more procedure, but keeping data and configurations separate from software is one hedge against OS-change issues. Separate partitions (or drives) can hold a prospective new OS, or allow multibooting several OS variants.
A "fresh" install should not require prior wiping of all.
31 • Linux Family Tree (by Jake on 2016-05-09 18:44:23 GMT from North America)
I think the family tree may be based on entry dates into the Distrowatch database, not actual project start dates. For example, find ReactOS (after RedHat, CentOS, Yellowdog group). It shows a "start" of ~2015. In previous DW comments, there's some discussion about when it started (initially a Win95 clone that is now cloning XP). The first distro entry is November 2014 (so, pretty close).
Same for Mandriva/Mandrake/etc. The oldest DW database entry is 5.1 venice from 1998-07-23 (see https://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=mandriva).
In any case, it's still a pretty cool picture. You get a real sense of what projects really like to be forked.
32 • *buntu install (by Risto Alanko on 2016-05-09 18:57:40 GMT from Europe)
I tried Kubuntu and Lubuntu on Virtualbox. Lubuntu installer only showed a fuzzy 800x600 screen with a ghost of the giant mouse pointer arrow. Kubuntu installer worked, but in the first installed bootup, the same ghost screen appeared. No luck, I just couldn't get any command through. I have to get a real PC to try them.
33 • Poll (by somedude on 2016-05-09 20:06:06 GMT from North America)
Manjaro - Rolling Release. Got tired of fresh installs every 8 months.
34 • FreeBSD First Available in 93 (by Facts Straight on 2016-05-09 22:53:11 GMT from North America)
The first CD-ROM (and general net-wide) distribution was FreeBSD 1.0, released in December of 1993.
35 • distribution family tree (by Ezra on 2016-05-10 00:57:27 GMT from North America)
Although a nice idea, the family tree produced from Distrowatch database is too flawed for historical purposes. Examples: Opensuse shows no lineage to SuSE, which should show links to LST, SLS, and Slackware. SCO Linux should show lineage to Caldera, which should derive from LST and Redhat before that. Mandriva should show lineage to Mandrake and Redhat before that. ALT and Mageia should show lineage to Mandrake and Mandriva. TurboLinux was derived from Redhat, I think. There are way to many errors in the chart, and hence too many errors in Distrowatch's database to be reliable. Good try.
36 • Family tree (by Jesse on 2016-05-10 01:42:06 GMT from North America)
@35: I don't think it's errors in the database so much as the database being used for a purpose it was not designed to fulfill. For example, we don't have much in the way of data going back before DistroWatch was created, or information on distributions which were inactive by the time this site came along. Our information is accurate, but our data is not designed with historical purposes in mind.
Still, I think it's interesting to see the result of the developer's script. The branches of the family tree are interesting to look at, especialyl Debian's.
37 • Ubuntu boot issue (by Scott Eno on 2016-05-10 02:40:13 GMT from North America)
All you need do to get Ubuntu 16.04 on a uefi system is press f2 add the grun loader to security approved f10 to save and reboot. That or change your window uefi to legacy mode f10 save abd reboot. That's what I did on my acer v3-475t. Just with they get Bluetooth support for my network combo card.
38 • Poll (by BobsYourUncle on 2016-05-10 02:40:17 GMT from Europe)
Poll: Rolling Release, Manjaro I choose rolling release, because I am too flipping lazy to wipe and do a fresh install. ;)
39 • Flush goes the codecs? (by <0rd Europe)
No reason for me to use Linux Mint anymore. No codecs baked in by default. Have a nice day, Mint, but you lost me.
40 • fresh vs live upgrade (by imnotrich on 2016-05-10 04:29:45 GMT from North America)
Depends on why I'm upgrading.
If I'm trying to resolve a problem that I probably created, or there's an issue with the OS caused by an update or whatever I don't just do a fresh install. I DBAN. Then I do a fresh install. It's an anger management technique.
But normally, if I'm just upgrading to upgrade I give the distro's live upgrade routine an opportunity. It's not that risky because my OS is on an SSD and my home partition a separate HDD.
I've had mixed results with the live upgrade method though. Mint 17.-1-2-3 has been flawless for me.
Other distros not so much.
41 • poll - upgrade or fresh install (by Hoos on 2016-05-10 08:05:56 GMT from Asia)
I didn't respond to the poll because I'm a multi-booter and my answer is "all of the above".
As a preliminary point, I back up all my distro root partitions once a month. In the very rare event that I have to restore a messed-up partition from backup, it's no big deal if I lose a whole month's package updates since my data and media are in a separate shared Data partition which is backed up more frequently. I don't bother with a separate /home partition for each distro.
Once you have that safety net, the upgrade vs fresh install vs rolling release thing is not a major issue.
For my rolling distros - Manjaro, Semplice, PCLinuxOS - they have all been pretty trouble-free. There have been a few minor problems but those were easily solved by some reading on the forums.
For fixed release ones, it depends.
If the developers provide an upgrade path, I'd use that.
If there is no upgrade path and the distro is one of those I consider my "serious/for-work" distros, then I would install the new version on a fresh partition then copy over the relevant configuration files from the old version. Like @20 above, I won't delete the old version until I'm sure the new version works well.
If there is no upgrade path and the distro is one that I don't mind losing or reconfiguring again, then I would just install over the old partition.
42 • Upgrade vs Fresh Install (by Fernando Santucci on 2016-05-10 10:10:14 GMT from South America)
I really would like to perform an online upgrade, but at least on Ubuntu Unity it never worked for me. The system always caught in the middle of the update and even performing several attempts to rescue, the system became dead.
So I am forced to perform a fresh install and reinstall all packages from repository and PPAs again to restore my working enviroment.
This process sounds to me counterproductive and ineffective, only working to end users that maintains the original factory system without any application, configuration or PPA tampering with its operation, as my father 78 years old.
43 • Ubuntu_upgrade_troubles_and_antiX_and_DW_solutions (by k on 2016-05-10 11:23:52 GMT from North America)
@42 Upgrade vs Fresh Install by Fernando Santucci
I have not used Ubuntu for a fairly long time. You probably already read remarks about alternative online apt commands for upgrading Ubuntu at the link below but, just in case you have not, at:
Otherwise, perhaps try the latest antiX live off a flash drive, e.g. a 4 GB USB DataTraveler 100 G2, with your father, and if -- most probably -- he likes it, you can even make another USB Live installation with persistence, following instructions at http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Howto_articles#antix2usb_.28for_antiX-M11_series.29.
Also see my comment 13 above. It is fairly certain that even if Ubuntu cannot provide you a satisfactory solution, one of DistroWatch's experts (Jesse) and/or readers will, and soon. :)
All the best to you and your father.
44 • @41 Hoos (by One Distro on 2016-05-10 14:16:41 GMT from North America)
What is the advantage of maintaining so many distros? What do you use them all for? I see several people have more than one, but I don't quite understand. Even for my live USB, I have a hard time justifying having more than one or two; the rest feel redundant.
I also see a lot of Arch/Manjaro/Antergos (the DW package manager poll brought that out too). I like @16's method of hopping when it's time to upgrade anyway. That's how I came to Linux (XP support ran out). I'm interested in giving them a try, but to be honest, I wish they didn't have systemd. I think that's what's holding me back.
45 • which codecs? (by conky Joe on 2016-05-10 14:17:49 GMT from North America)
wondering which codecs Mint was pre-installing that will now be absent. Is there a list somewhere?
46 • Maintaining_more_than_one_distro (by k on 2016-05-10 16:43:47 GMT from Europe)
@44 (by One Distro)
It really depends on user's need at different times. As explained in comment 13, run live off flash drives with persistence, "for most highly protected privacy and security", Tails is my most reliable choice -- always finds a Tor route and reveals tiniest fingerprint data, but it has used systemd since version 2.0. If fast on/fast off and less private use -- e.g. Skype -- is needed, antiX with Firejail sandbox is really excellent, very fast and secure. Linux Mint's Debian Edition (2, Betsy?) had to be installed on a hard drive, it is is very slow off flash, but really user-friendly and reliable, mostly for storing data from the two Live systems.
By the way, Tails has a really simple, efficient and reliable -- persistence fully intact -- offline upgrade, even though it does require a 2nd flash drive. As for antiX,seems as Kazly explained for MX Linux in comment 16, antiX does not, so very few data files saved on that flash system's persistence.
47 • @45 • which codecs? (by mandog on 2016-05-10 17:57:02 GMT from South America)
Along with Ubuntu I'm led to believe codecs are 1 click when installing to me that makes sense as they now don't need to produce 2 ISOs that costs money and seeing they are actually illegal in the USA/Japan you can thank to the governments for that.
48 • @44 rolling with Arch or downstream (by far2fish on 2016-05-10 18:21:33 GMT from Europe)
If you want to try a rolling release based on Arch I would definitively recommend that you start out with Manjaro. It is very solid and polished distro that "just works", with sane default software and settings. I beleive it also has a edition with openrc if you want an alternative to systemd.
If you want to try something much closer to the Arch experience, but without going hardcore, then Antergos is an excellent distro. Some tweaks needed after some upgrades, but with an active and friendly forum when you need help.
49 • @44 - having more than one distro (by Hoos on 2016-05-10 19:39:22 GMT from Asia)
Obviously if I only saw a distro as a necessary tool to get work done or merely something used for the purposes of browsing, email and enjoying/creating media, I wouldn't bother with so many.
But for me, the idea of the distro itself is interesting, and I'm sure I'm not the only one here in DW.
I like to try new distros, see how the developers put their particular distro together, test different desktop environments, see how different Linux families handle package management, experience the differences between rolling and fixed releases.
Since my usage is pretty standard, the distros are not difficult to maintain. I shut down my computer when I'm done, so I just make sure to boot into a different distro the next time I turn the computer on. Then, while I'm using that distro, I'll take the time to update it. Once in a while I'll update-grub in the main distro.
50 • Tails grows stronger with every version (by Ned Ryerson < on 2016-05-10 20:03:13 GMT from Europe)
Tails now supports playback of encrypted DVDs. They appear to be open to (maybe) adding codecs in a future version. See their development mailing list archives and maybe post a request for this:
- Public archive of tails-dev: https://mailman.boum.org/pipermail/tails-dev/
51 • @49 distros (by Jordan on 2016-05-10 23:12:52 GMT from North America)
Yes I do similar. Also to add I have found myself over the years settling on and then changing my "default/usual" distro.
PCLinuxOS was my first real "go back to" distro. For years. But then I noticed that Arch based rolling releases were more to my liking. Also I liked the idea of moving to a distro based on much more community input. PCLOS is still on a thumb drive, but Manjaro has taken over my daily use.
Messing with Korora now. Seems okay but a few niggling issues with fonts and a sluggish sort of feel to it (noticed that about Fedora itself, as well).
Booting to and then updating different distros is the way to learn mostly about what the user needs and feels is best, but also about linux in general.
52 • multiple distros to upgrade (by M.Z. on 2016-05-11 02:43:41 GMT from North America)
As with others I do multiple things from the poll depending on the distro. On the Mint systems on my laptop & old computer I do a clean install over the old system, while I roll with PCLOS on my main desktop & I'm planning to upgrade Mageia on my laptop when the next version comes out. If things go wrong with one distro during upgrades or otherwise I have at least one other on all my machines & can easily access the shared /data partition & have other copies elsewhere so I shouldn't loose any files if one OS goes down.
53 • @44 - want to try Arch/Manjaro/Antergos but systemd.... (by Hoos on 2016-05-11 05:36:11 GMT from Asia)
Manjaro has a community release with openRC instead of systemd as the init system.
You could try that, and since it's your trial run, that is a prime reason for having more than one distro on your system - keep your stable go-to distro, while testing another one you're not sure about on another partition.
PCLinuxOS is also a no-systemd distro, and it is a rolling release that issues updates are a more cautious pace, so there shouldn't be the cutting edge problems that sometimes arise with Arch and Arch-based distros.
54 • El miedo constituye la mayor talanquera para el cambio. (by k on 2016-05-11 07:19:10 GMT from Europe)
@44 (One Distro)
As stated by 50 • Tails grows stronger with every version (by Ned Ryerson),
and as someone else stated "we are all children of our environment",
Tails and Tor (developers) and the EFF have effectively minimized the "threat(s)" current internet users might face and fear, thankfully, so enjoy and protect the freedom.
55 • Linux Family Tree: @22 and @35 (by Hoos on 2016-05-11 09:51:36 GMT from Asia)
I think the Tree linked to in @22 may be more accurate.
Examples (will start with the entries in the @22 Tree in the comparisons below):
Kanotix's lineage is traced to Knoppix unlike in the DW-linked Tree.
Chakra's initial Arch lineage is shown. In the DW Tree, it is shown as a separate indie distro far away from Arch.
Fuduntu's initial Fedora lineage is shown. In the DW Tree, it is shown as a separate indie distro far away
Mageia, PCLinuxOS and Rosa's Mandrake/Mandriva roots are reflected. In the DW Tree, they are each shown as separate and unrelated to Mandriva
The DW Tree also inexplicably shows OpenMandriva separate and far away from Mandriva.
56 • Cub Linux, ex-Chromixium (by Ben Myers on 2016-05-12 21:46:29 GMT from North America)
I downloaded Cub Linux 1.0RC and installed it on an elderly but sturdy Lenovo Thinkpad X200. Gee, it works just like a ChromeBook, even with access to the Google store, plus the possibility of installing software from the Ubuntu repositories. This seems to be a good approach to extending Google's branding, making the Chrome metaphor visible on even more computers. Now why did Google play the bad guy and tell these folks not to use the name Chromixium? I guess I'll never understand the collective mindset in and of a large corporation. Didn't understand the groupthink either when I was employed by a large corporation. Volunteered for layoff, left on my own terms, learned a lot about how NOT to run a corporation.
57 • Visual family tree of Linux distributions (by Geo. on 2016-05-13 02:09:49 GMT from North America)
I just want to say thank you for posting the tree. It is a lot of work to prepare and maintain, so your effort is very much appreciated. I like the way the Distrowatch team is always trying to make continuous small improvements.
58 • Family Tree (by pfb on 2016-05-13 19:04:32 GMT from North America)
Wow! I get so disoriented when I shift into a parallel universe. I do not remember the family tree in the way depicted.
I had thought that SuSE was derived from Slackware. I do not even see SuSE.
Redhat and Fedora were created at the same time? I am sure I used Redhat before Fedora was even announced.
Corel was derived from Debian? Really? If you say so.
And where is Mandrake? Mandriva was a merger of Mandrake, Connectiva, and some obscure west coast distro (maybe Lycoris?). Mandrake does not even show in your tree.
Neither does Lindows ( the first computer I got devoted solely to Linux). I tried to replace it with Redhat, but the Lindows machine did not have enough memory.
Still the tree is a good effort, and well appreciated. Thanx.
59 • Family tree (by Jesse on 2016-05-13 19:44:28 GMT from North America)
>> "I just want to say thank you for posting the tree. It is a lot of work to prepare and maintain, so your effort is very much appreciated."
I am glad you enjoy it. Though I'd like to point out DistroWatch did not create the visual family tree and we cannot take credit for it. The image was created by an independent developer who agreed to allow us to post it here. I hope as the tree grows and is refined we will be able to post updated copies.
>> "I like the way the Distrowatch team is always trying to make continuous small improvements."
Thank you, we are trying to grow and improve, a little at a time.
60 • Upgrade or fresh install, Ubuntu. (by aary on 2016-05-14 01:16:36 GMT from Asia)
Fisrt try the upgrade path if it is available, after a while I will do a fresh install.
On a rolling distro, I usually keep it rolling.
Keep config files and backups, because even a solid distro will break sometimes.
Or I can break them by messing things up myself.
Speaking of Ubuntu, has anyone mentioned about this KDE wallet like dialog suddenly popping up and ask you to register your settings ?
Is this a new feature? This happens in Unity and LXDE (Lubuntu).
Also, Gnome edition seems not yet supporting multilingual settings. FYI.
I could not make fcitx (Japanese input) to work. This is a rare case in Ubuntu.
Kubuntu, on the other hand, supports multilingual but has this certain habit of handling locale/ language system.
If you set a locale to activate a language input system, then the whole system including desktop, file names, terminal would change to that specific language, and is hard to configure them separately.
This is for mostly all Plasma/ KDE Dsitros, not only Kubuntu, but I think most people using *nix do not like it this way.
Macs (even iPhones/ iPads) handle OS language/ input very smartly and recently Windows too.
Sorry about my English.
61 • Multi-booting. Pro & Con ... (by Greg Zeng on 2016-05-14 03:31:26 GMT from Oceania)
... (responding to a few comments earlier, here)
1. Immunity from bugs, virus, crashing, faults.
2. Instant start into specific tasks (linked to op sys)
3. Instant trial of the New or the Old (kernel, apps, ver).
4. Quick testing, debugging, 3rd party assisting; self & others.
5. Low costs, $$ & time for both user & sys admin.
6. Extremely quick recovery from crashes, bugs.
1. Slower boot, running, unless tweaked.
2. Longer, harder to setup, maintain, update.
3. Clear-head system administrator required; it's so confusing.
4. High costs: computer skills & know-how
1. SSD, very fast flash drives (USB3, Ultra, Grade 10)
2. Removable hardware drives, with fast ports
3. Firefox, Chrom* based browsers with quick re-install of settings & addons.
4. Realtime & periodic backups, with both online & offline storage.
5. All DATA, ARCHIVES to be accessible by all operating systems.
6. If running Windows-NTFS for DATA, ARCHIVES, then special Windows tweaks needed (anti-virus, NTFS-error removal, defragmenting, etc).
Allow 10 minutes to USB3 flash drive install the new op system. Another 10-60 minutes to customize to user practices.
Backups, etc are done in the background, whilst doing normal functions.
62 • @39 and others.. codecs: Mint (by Jordan on 2016-05-14 17:11:35 GMT from North America)
From the "omg ubuntu" site, installing the codecs in Mint is as easy as:
Checking a box during installation, or;
Clicking a button on the Welcome screen, or;
Installing them via Menu>Sound and Video>Install Multimedia Codecs
63 • @44 @53 Manjaro OpenRC Status Alert (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2016-05-15 07:27:50 GMT from North America)
Manjaro OpenRC has quasi-official support. Manjaro "officially" supports OpenRC, unlike Arch. There is an "official" OpenRC Team. Manjaro's lead regularly coordinates with his OpenRC Team.
There are several sub-spins of Manjaro OpenRC for different DEs. Right now the Manjaro website is dicey because:
Direct URLs for OpenRC spins are currently
KDE or LXQt
Depending on DE, consider hunting down a more recent test version or release candidate. Until Manjaro's website is relaunched they'll usually live somewhere up the food chain at SourceForge.
Actually some forum stuff said June would be the next shipment target for OpenRC spins, I guess that'll be 16.06 by their scheme. If you can wait a month things may be much nicer for OpenRC tryouts.
64 • @63 ArchBang and OpenRC (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2016-05-15 09:02:44 GMT from Europe)
ArchBang (Arch) also has OpenRC versions:
LinuxBBQ (Debian Sid) has several flavours with sysvinit:
65 • TRIOS Linux (by Linux Apocalypsis on 2016-05-15 09:15:35 GMT from Europe)
I have just discovered TRIOS Linux, which seems to be based in Debian Stable and comes with OpenRC as default init system and out of the box ZFS support (Serbian only):
66 • Rooling or Stable Distro (by BushPilot on 2016-05-15 14:16:04 GMT from North America)
Have been running Debian stable Version 6, 7 and now 8. No issues or complaints, except for for not having a usb utility like imagewriter.
Have been dual booting Debian with Manjaro & Antergos. Experienced too many issues with them to stay with a rolling release. The disappointing thing with them was the fact that they did not offer any additional benefits than a stable version. I particularly liked Antergos xfce for its overall performance and easy install. Hopefully Manjaro and Antergos will spend a little more time on getting things right before upgrading their distro, Stability is important with any rolling release in my view.
67 • @63 • @44 @53 Manjaro OpenRC Status Alert (by mandog on 2016-05-15 15:51:24 GMT from South America)
Please get it right Manjaro oficial spins are XFCE/KDE, OpenRC is community Manjaro members spins not officially supported or maintained.
Yes PhillM does help them when they need it but it does not take away the fact they are nothing but community member spins nothing more.
It takes minuets to turn Arch into OpenRc if you are foolish nothing wrong with other inits but why turn a silk purse into a sows ear when you can use a distro that is designed sysdemD free in the 1st place
68 • @67 OpenRc Manjaro (by Jordan on 2016-05-15 16:11:14 GMT from North America)
"...nothing wrong with other inits but why turn a silk purse into a sows ear when you can use a distro that is designed sysdemD free in the 1st place."
"...they are nothing but community member spins..."
Why is the Manjaro community spinning the openrc versions if it is such a useless endeavor?
Isn't it about more linux choices. Vive le linux choices. ;)
Number of Comments: 68
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