| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 667, 27 June 2016
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
There are a lot of competing standards in the Linux community and a lot of different methods for solving the same problem. The friendly competition between developers and distributions leaves Linux users spoiled for choice, but also sometimes wondering which solution will best suit their needs. In our News section we talk about two package formats, Flatpak and snap, and the distributions backing them. These competing package formats are the topic of our Opinion Poll and we hope you will share your thoughts on these technologies in the comments. Solus was also in the news last week as the project unveiled some of its upcoming features and we share the highlights below. Our Feature Story this week talks about the GeckoLinux distribution, a desktop oriented derivative of openSUSE. Read on to find out how GeckoLinux compares to its parent. In our Questions and Answers column we discuss tablets powered by Linux and then we share the torrents we are seeding. As usual, we provide a list of the distributions released last week and we are pleased to welcome two new entries, KDE neon and RancherOS, to our database. Last week we updated the set of upstream packages we track and we list both the new and retired packages below. 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 (40MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
GeckoLinux is one of the more recent distributions to land in the DistroWatch database. GeckoLinux (or Gecko, as I will refer to the distribution) is based on openSUSE. Gecko offers two key features above and beyond what its parent provides: patent encumbered software installed by default and live desktop editions. The openSUSE project avoids shipping software with licensing or patent restrictions and offers just two editions of Leap (a full DVD and a net-install disc). The Gecko distribution provides some extra packages, including multimedia support, and provides live discs for seven different desktop environments: Budgie, Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE Plasma, LXQt, MATE and Xfce. For people who want something lighter, Gecko offers an eighth "Barebones" edition.
I decided to try Gecko's MATE edition which is available as a 966MB download. While I was downloading the ISO file, I looked into why Gecko uses such long version numbers, such as 421.160527.0. I learned the first part indicates which version of openSUSE Gecko uses as a base, in this case openSUSE 42.1. The second number is the date the ISO was created, 27th of May, 2016. The final number is reserved for revisions or re-builds. In this case the trailing zero indicates no rebuilds were necessary.
Booting from Gecko's media brings up a boot screen where we are asked if we would like to launch the distribution's live desktop environment, run a memory test or boot from a local drive. Here I ran into different behaviours, depending on whether I was running Gecko in a VirtualBox environment or on my desktop computer. When running in VirtualBox, both the live desktop option and booting from a local hard drive worked as expected. When running on the desktop computer, taking the boot from a local drive option simply brought me back to the menu. Taking the live desktop option caused the system to boot, but brought me to a blank graphical screen where all I could see was my mouse pointer. I was able to switch to a text console and log into a default user account and then run startx in order to access the live desktop environment. When running in VirtualBox, the system boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign in using the user "linux" and the password "linux".
Regardless of which method was used to arrive at the desktop environment, we are treated to an implementation of MATE with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. The wallpaper is green and there are two icons on the desktop. One icon launches the system installer while the other offers to install language packages. I will come back to the language packages later, but for now I would like to mention that performing any administrative action (such as launching the system installer) prompts for a password. The password for the root account is "linux".
Gecko uses its parent's graphical system installer. The installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. This first screen also gives us the chance to change our keyboard layout, again by picking the desired option from a list. At the bottom of the window we see Gecko's license agreement which simply states: "I agree not to do anything bad with GeckoLinux." The system installer then gets us to select our time zone from a map of the world. Partitioning the hard disk is dealt with next. By default, Gecko offers to automatically partition our hard drive, setting up a Btrfs volume and swap space. We can manually partition the drive if we wish. Gecko's installer offers a lot of different partitioning options and there are all sorts of different ways to view the available storage space. I think newcomers will find manual partitioning overwhelming, but if they do venture through the process they will have the ability to set up Btrfs, XFS and ext2/3/4 file systems.
One aspect of the partition manager I enjoyed was that it is possible to edit fstab options, so we can do things like set file systems to be read-only or disable access time information. The installer then gets us to create a user account. We can choose whether to give this account admin access (via sudo). By default, the account will sign in automatically and we can disable this option. The final screen of the installer shows us a list of actions and configuration options which will be used when setting up the operating system. We can click links in the summary to change options and jump to configuration screens. I noticed that the installer does not install a boot loader to the local disk's MBR by default, but clicking a button changes this, installing GRUB to the MBR. Once the installer has copied its packages to our hard drive we have the option of rebooting the computer or returning to the live desktop environment.
GeckoLinux 421.160527.0 -- Running various desktop applications
(full image size: 246kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
When booting into my local copy of Gecko, I found it was possible to log into either the account I created during the installation process or the default "linux" account that was present on the live disc. The "linux" user's password still works, so it is a good idea to disable this default user account early on to avoid leaving a security hole.
I found Gecko worked well in VirtualBox and included VirtualBox modules, allowing the operating system to make use of my screen's full resolution while running in its virtual machine. The MATE desktop was responsive and everything generally worked well. When running on my desktop computer, Gecko ran quickly and, once installed, worked properly with my desktop's hardware. Sound and networking functioned properly and the distribution automatically made use of my display's full resolution. Gecko's MATE edition is fairly light on resources, requiring approximately 260MB of memory.
Digging through the MATE application menu we find a collection of popular open source applications. The Firefox web browser is present along with the Thunderbird e-mail client, the Pidgin messaging software and the Transmission bittorrent client. LibreOffice is available along with the Atril document viewer. Gecko ships with the Clementine audio player and the VLC media player. The distribution ships with a full compliment of multimedia codecs, enabling us to play most media formats. The distribution provides us with the Eye of MATE image viewer, a scanner application and the Caja file manager. An archive manager, calculator and text editor are present. Network Manager is present to help us get on-line. In the background I found systemd 210 and version 4.1 of the Linux kernel.
GeckoLinux 421.160527.0 -- Managing software packages
(full image size: 639kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
After using Gecko for a while I realized I had not yet noticed any indication as to whether there were security updates available for the distribution. My initial reaction was to open the application menu and launch the YaST software manager. After looking around the software manager for a while, I was unable to find any view or tab which would let me know which updates were available. I next tried going into the YaST control centre and launching the "Online Update" module. This module opens what appears to be the software manager, but with one extra tab labelled "Patches" at the top of the window. The Patches tab shows us a list of available security updates and we can check a box next to each update to indicate if we want to download it. The available software updates downloaded and installed on my machine without any problems. When core system components, like the kernel, are updated, the software manager will advise us that we should reboot the computer in the future to apply the new changes.
The software manager, in general, is an unusually complex application. It offers us a lot of different ways to view available software and we can organize software by various groups. Despite the many tabs and groupings cluttering the interface, the software manager does work and I was able to add and remove software without any technical issues getting in the way.
GeckoLinux 421.160527.0 -- Working with Btrfs snapshots through Snapper
(full image size: 617kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
The YaST control centre is probably one of the more interesting facets of any openSUSE-based distribution. From within YaST we can launch configuration modules to perform all sorts of low-level tasks, including setting up services, managing software packages, browsing hardware information, configuring security, setting up printers and managing file system snapshots. I talked about YaST and its many friendly configuration modules in some detail last November when I reviewed openSUSE 42.1. I don't want to duplicate what I said then, as Gecko's copy of YaST works exactly the same with the same strengths (such as manipulating file system snapshots) and the same weaknesses (unable to local and configure my printer).
GeckoLinux 421.160527.0 -- The MATE settings panel
(full image size: 141kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
One aspect of Gecko's MATE edition which new users may find confusing is Gecko has two settings panels. The first is the YaST control centre mentioned above and the other is MATE's configuration panel for managing the look and behaviour of the desktop environment. For the most part the two settings panels perform different tasks. One deals with the underlying operating system and the other handles the desktop environment and there is not a lot of overlap. However, there are some exceptions. For example, the MATE settings panel has a printer module which, when launched, opens the Firefox web browser and connects to the local CUPS web-based administration page. YaST has its own printer module which is a locally run application with a completely different interface.
Earlier I mentioned an icon on the desktop which can be launched to install additional language translations. I did not need to install any language packages, but went through the process, just to see what it would be like. Clicking the icon prompts for the root password and then opens a virtual terminal. At the terminal we are prompted several times to confirm the validity of third-party repository signing keys. Next we are asked for permission to install the "desktop-translations" and the "MozillaFirefox-translations-common" packages. Once these are installed we are then given the chance to install the "MozillaThunderbird-translations-common" package. Once these have been installed, the virtual terminal closes. There are no follow-up instructions or any indication anything has changed. Virtual terminals, signing keys and specific packages are not things most end users are going to feel comfortable working with so I'm a bit puzzled as to why language translations are handled this way. It seems to work, just not in a way I suspect newcomers will enjoy.
This week what I was interested in was exploring the differences between GeckoLinux and openSUSE Leap. Do they share the same strengths and weaknesses, does Gecko follow through on its promise to provide a working live disc and patent encumbered extras?
Gecko does follow through on its plans to provide live discs which gives us the chance to demo many different desktop environments with openSUSE as the underlying operating system. I think Gecko does a pretty good job of this. I did run into a little hardware related trouble early on where, it seems, my video card did not want to work with Gecko's live disc. However, this problem was worked around by signing into a text console and running startx. Gecko does provide media codecs and I was able to play all my media files without jumping through the many hoops required to get multimedia working properly on openSUSE.
While Gecko does follow through on its goals (and does so fairly well), Gecko still does not feel like a beginner-friendly distribution. The tools provided by openSUSE are very powerful and I very much enjoy working with YaST and I greatly appreciate the way Btrfs snapshots are integrated with the rest of the operating system. I have no complaints about Gecko (and openSUSE) on a technical level, only with regards to the distribution's user friendliness. In other words, I feel Gecko makes openSUSE more convenient for intermediate and experienced Linux users, but not necessary more accessible for beginners.
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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)
Fedora supports Flatpak, an overview of Fedora's software licenses and Solus plans new features
Last week we talked about efforts to port Ubuntu's new snap packages to other distributions. Snap packages contain applications or services along with their dependencies, allowing them to run (in theory) just about anywhere without affecting other installed packages on the operating system. Snap has competition though. Flatpak is another package format which bundles dependencies and strives to make application packages work across multiple distributions. The Flatpak website states: "The Linux desktop has long been held back by platform fragmentation. This has been a burden on developers, and creates a high barrier to entry for third party application developers. Flatpak aims to change all that. From the very start its primary goal has been to allow the same application to run across a myriad of Linux distributions and operating systems. In doing so, it greatly increases the number of users that application developers can easily reach." The rest of the Flatpak release announcement lists some available applications and the security features of the package format.
The Fedora distribution has already unveiled support for Flatpak packages, stating the distribution's graphical software manager will work with Flatpak: "Flatpak (formerly xdg-app) is another building-block feature, with Software able to track installed Flatpaks and adding more features in the future as the technology develops."
Marking the release of Fedora 24 last Tuesday, Anwesha Das published some statistics relating to Fedora's software packages and their licenses. The blog post includes charts which show how many packages are distributed under each software license. The MIT, GPL and BSD licenses were clearly the most popular and Das has further provided statistics on the various versions of the GPL. "To give a shape to this project I have downloaded all the .spec files using 'Python Request Module' (a thanks to Kenneth Reitz for writing it). I have downloaded only the approved packages for Fedora. There are total 19,221 approved packages in Fedora repository as found on 20.06.2016, among those 1,124 were dead packages. Another note of gratitude must be given to the Fedora Infrastructure developers who wrote, and maintained such nice documentation which a newbie like me can easily understand."
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The Solus project is planning to publish a minor update release next month. The project has published a list of features users can expect to see in the point release, including full disk encryption and improved language support. Users can also expect to see enhancements to the project's graphical software manager: "The Software Center in Solus 1.2.1 will feature a background service to automate the checking of software updates, which will discretely notify users of updates and will remain in Raven's Notification View until the user has acknowledged it. The background service will also abide by the user's connection settings, such as disabling the background service on a metered connection, and provide the user with the ability to toggle that functionality on/off. In addition to the background service, the Software Center will include a more advanced mechanism for installing third party software to replace the existing, admittedly primitive prototype."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Running GNU/Linux on tablet computers
Wanting-Tux-on-a-tablet asks: Are there any tablets that work properly with Linux? I'm not interested in Android, but being able to run something like Debian on a tablet without a lot of fussing about with config files. Does this exist?
DistroWatch answers: When we put aside Android tablets and focus exclusively on tablets powered by GNU/Linux, the list of options shrinks considerably. Bq sells a tablet that ships with Ubuntu pre-installed. You can find specifications and purchasing links on the Ubuntu website.
There are other options, but they tend to stray into do-it-yourself (DIY) territory where you will need to either install the operating system or assemble some parts. For example, you can purchase a Raspberry Pi with the Raspbian distribution and attach a case and touch screen to it. See the Adafruit website for more details on how to assemble a Raspberry Pi powered tablet running Linux.
It is possible to install Linux distributions on some tablets, usually by either rooting the device or disabling Secure Boot. For example, the Geek.com website has a tutorial that walks the reader through installing Ubuntu on a Surface Pro.
For other devices, it is worth looking at the Linux on Android website for ways to turn an existing Android mobile device into a tablet running a GNU/Linux distribution.
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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: 207
- Total data uploaded: 37.9TB
|Released Last Week
Josh Strobl has announced the release of Solus 1.2, a new version of the project's Linux distribution that features a custom desktop (Budgie) and package manager (eopkg): "We are proud to announce the release of Solus 1.2, the second minor release in the Shannon series of releases. Solus 1.2 builds upon the groundwork of 1.1 and 1.0, with continued improvements to Budgie, a huge focus on software optimizations, in addition to laying the framework for providing a performant gaming experience. Solus 1.2 furthers us on our journey to realizing the future of home computing. We have continued to improve Budgie over the course of the Solus 1.2 development cycle, with development changes shipping in Solus 1.2. This release features a multitude of bug fixes and some of the following highlighted improvements: fix stretching of GTK+ Switches in CSS themes; fixed some untranslatable strings; icon and GTK+ themes are now properly detected using our new ThemeScanner; notifications will no longer expand Raven; resolved drawing issues for Calendar, Sound and MPRIS applets...." Continue to the release announcement which includes a number of screenshots.
Solus 1.2 -- Default desktop and application menu
(full image size: 898kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Suman Chakravartula has announced the release of Rockstor 3.8-14, an updated version of the project's CentOS-based distribution designed for use as Network-Attached Storage (NAS) nodes: "I am happy to announce that Rockstor 3.8-14 is now released. We've added big new features including an interface to power down HDDs to reduce noise and conserve electricity, and a way to browse and download logs almost too easily with a few clicks on the UI. As usual, there are many enhancements and bug fixes. 34 issues were closed altogether by the hard and smart work of eight different contributors. We welcomed new contributors in this 3.8-14 release cycle, the most we've had so far working together on one release. ... Here is the long list of issues we closed in this cycle: add anacron-like feature to task scheduling; add support for policy driven powering down of HDDs from the UI; add feature to browse and download various log files from the UI; significantly improve UI templates; add different support flows for stable and testing channel users; improve Active Directory info pop-up...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a detailed list of changes.
Alessio Fattorini has announced the release of NethServer 6.8, a new stable version of the server-oriented distribution, featuring a web-based management console and based on CentOS 6.8: "I'm proud to announce that NethServer 6.8 has been released and is publicly available. It is the newest long-term support release. There are tons of major changes to NethServer and it's impossible to cover them all in detail here, so here are some of our favorite highlights: based on the recently-released CentOS 6.8 operating system; SELinux policy changed from permissive to disabled; package collectd upgraded from version 4 to 5; new interface module for managing policy routing rules; new configuration for the multi-WAN monitoring along with a new interface; better spam filtering by using the DNS-based Blackhole List (DNSBL); support for CIDR and IP ranges as source and destination for proxy bypass; it's now possible to create a bond with specific mode from the Network page...." See the release announcement for a detailed introduction to all the new features.
Emmabuntus 1.00 "Debian"
The Emmabuntus project has announced the launch of a new branch of the distribution. Emmabuntus releases to date have been based on Xubuntu, but the distribution's new branch is based on Debian Stable. "On the technical side, this new version looks a lot like Emmabuntüs 3, which is based on Xubuntu 14.04 LTS, but is lighter and faster, according to our very first tests. So we are able to reuse the full set of the Emmabuntüs 3 tutorials hosted on the Developpez.com site, with the noticeable exception of the installation guide which shall be edited to take into account the specific Debian Life Installer." A full list of features and tweaks to the underlying Debian platform can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Ultimate Edition 5.0
Ultimate Edition is a distribution based on Ubuntu which strives to provide an easy to use desktop operating system. The project has announced the launch of Ultimate Edition 5.0 LTS which is based on Ubuntu 16.04. The new release is currently available in a MATE 64-bit edition, though other desktop flavours and 32-bit builds are planned. " What is Ultimate Edition 5.0? Ultimate Edition 5.0 was built from the Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerius tree using a combination of Tmosb (TheeMahn's Operating System Builder), almost completely re-written & work by hand. Tmosb is also included in this release, allowing you to do the same. This release is a long term supported (LTS) release, supported until the year 2019. This release is most certainly worthy of the Ultimate Edition title. I have received 0 and I do mean 0 negative feedback! Currently I have only built the tip of the iceburg, initiating with a 64-bit Lite based on MATE 1.14.1. I have full intentions of building a 32-bit of the same, a Full version based on GNOME, a Gamers Edition, perhaps another Lite version based off Xfce and, time permitting, a Developers Edition." Additional information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Point Linux 3.2
The Point Linux project, a desktop distribution based on Debian's Stable branch, has announced the availability of Point Linux 3.2. The new release is available in MATE and Xfce editions and is based on Debian 8.5. The two editions ship with MATE 1.8 and Xfce 4.10, respectively. Key features of the new version are listed in the release notes (MATE, Xfce): "Inability to install from custom made flash drives fixed. Firefox package replaced with Debian's firefox-esr. Thunderbird is not installed by default. Flash plugin removed due to security reasons. Plymouth theme changed to spinner. Up to date Debian Packages. Do not show 'virtualbox kernel service is not running' banner. Boot from local drive ability fixed in LiveCD boot menu." Point Linux 3.2 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds.
The Fedora Project has announced the launch of Fedora 24. The new version of Fedora ships with GNOME 3.20 and the Fedora graphical package manager supports working with Flatpak packages. Though Fedora still uses X as the default display server, Wayland is available as an alternative display technology. "The Fedora 24 Workstation release features GNOME 3.20, with many usability improvements such as easier input device and printer settings, a better search interface, shortcut windows for keyboard commands, and more convenient music controls. Flatpak (formerly xdg-app) is another building-block feature, with Software able to track installed Flatpaks and adding more features in the future as the technology develops. The Software app has also grown features to provide a full system upgrade directly from the desktop from one Fedora release to the next, and the ability to provide labelling as well as reviews of available software. Fedora 24 continues our work on the X replacement, Wayland, a next-generation graphics stack. Although this release will not default to Wayland, it includes many improvements and is available as an option for users to try out, and potentially will be the default stack in Fedora 25." Further details can be found in the release announcement. Fedora is available in Workstation, Server and Cloud editions.
Fedora 24 Workstation -- Running GNOME Shell
(full image size: 714kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Peppermint OS 7
The developers of Peppermint OS have announced the launch of a new version of the lightweight Ubuntu-based distribution. The new version, Peppermint OS 7, is based on Ubuntu 16.04 and uses LXDE as the default desktop environment. "Team Peppermint are pleased to announce our latest operating system Peppermint 7, it comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions with the latter having full UEFI/GPT/Secure Boot support baked in, a new version of Ice (our in house Site Specific Browser framework) is also included with full Firefox web browser support as well as Chromium/Chrome. Along with the shift to the 16.04 (Xenial) code base, Peppermint 7 continues our policy of choosing the best components from other desktop environments, wherever that may be, and integrating them into a cohesive whole with our own software. This time around whilst staying with LXDE core session management for lightness and speed, we've listened to our users who demanded a more modern, functional, and customizable main menu and switched out lxpanel in favour of the xfce4-panel and whiskermenu. We've also added a new 'Peppermint Settings Panel' to further consolidate settings into one place." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement and release notes.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Cross-distro package formats
A week ago we talked about snap packages and how Ubuntu is hoping to get their package format adopted by other distributions. This week we learned Fedora is supporting another packaging format called Flatpak. At this time it appears as though the Canonical and Red Hat backed distributions will be focusing alternative cross-distribution package formats.
This week we would like to ask which format do you think is likely to gain wider adoption - Flatpak, snaps or another format like AppImage?
You can see the results of our previous poll on using 32-bit vs 64-bit operating systems here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Cross-distro package formats
|AppImage: ||189 (13%)|
| Flatpak: ||144 (10%)|
| Snap: ||226 (16%)|
| Other: ||15 (1%)|
| Too soon to tell: ||636 (44%)|
| None of them: ||241 (17%)|
Updated list of tracked packages
We have a tradition where once a year, in June, we update the list of open source packages we track. Obsolete packages or packages no longer receiving support from upstream are dropped from our list and new, interesting or popular packages are added.
This year we dropped three packages from the list of upstream software we track: KDE Workspace, ndiswrapper and ixnetd.
And we added five new packages to our list:
As new distribution releases come out, we will add information on these new packages to our software database. If you would like to suggest additional software we can track, please e-mail us with the name of the upstream software and its website.
- Budgie Desktop - a simple desktop environment featuring heavy integration with the GNOME stack
- Calibre - an e-book library management application
- Firejail - a Linux namespaces sandbox program
- Lumina - a lightweight desktop environment for use on any UNIX-like operating system
- Qt Creator - a cross-platform IDE tailored to the needs of Qt developers.
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Distributions added to the database
KDE neon is a Kubuntu-based Linux distribution and live DVD featuring the latest KDE Plasma desktop and other KDE community software. Besides the installable DVD image, the project provides a rapidly-evolving software repository with all the latest KDE software. Two editions of the product are available - a "User" edition, designed for those interested in checking out the latest KDE software as it gets released, and a "Developer's" edition, created as a platform for testing cutting-edge KDE applications.
KDE neon -- Running the Plasma desktop
(full image size: 901kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
RancherOS is a tiny Linux distribution that runs the entire operating system as Docker containers. This includes system services, such as udev and rsyslog. RancherOS includes only the bare minimum amount of software needed to run Docker. This keeps the binary download of RancherOS very small. Everything else can be pulled in dynamically through Docker.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- MyNAS. MyNAS Storage Appliance is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) platform to store your data in a robust and secure manner using the ZFS advanced file system. MyNAS is based on CentOS.
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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, 4 July 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 • Gecko Linux review (by Jordan on 2016-06-27 00:28:56 GMT from North America) |
Thank you for that. I like seeing a review that bears out my own experiences with a distro. The drop in to the black screen and needing startx has happened a time or three with various installs, Gecko included on an intel chipset.
The rest of the review was exactly as I surmised as well.
2 • Multimedia support (by mixing powder on 2016-06-27 01:05:38 GMT from North America)
It would be a great article, one that explains why some distros include support for multmedia, while other don't.
For instance: I find it hard to believe that Ubuntu doesn't, when it has deep pockets and it's based on South Africa, while PCLinuxOS does, and compared to Ubuntu, budget-wise it's the beggar on the same street, and it's not only based on the US, home of the MPAA, but in Texas, world capital of the patent trolls.
Is fear of litigation overblown?
The developers that don't include multimedia support: Are they just too careful? Too lazy? Fear of legal implications? Do they know something that the others don't?
The developers that include multimedia support: Are they fearlessly walking the edge of a knife that might hurt them someday? Do they know something that the others don't?
what's the game here?
3 • @2 Multimedia support (by mandog on 2016-06-27 01:44:33 GMT from South America)
Simple large companies R/Hat Ubuntu etc. Make money from Linux they are multi million $ earners and risk getting sued as they are used by the US, goverment.
Pclinux is not profit making its a community distro. Mint has been under pressure for a while and has followed ubuntu but with them all its only a click or 2 for full multimedia support any way
4 • Snap packages (by Paraquat on 2016-06-27 02:55:42 GMT from Asia)
I didn't really know what Snap packages were until I saw this article, and went looking for info about it, which was not hard to find:
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS introduced “Snap” packages, which are a great new way of installing apps. Snaps require different terminal commands–apt-get and dpkg will only allow you to install .deb packages the old way, not Snaps. Snaps–which have the “.snap” extension–are more similar to containers. Applications in Snaps are self-contained, include all the libraries they need to function, and are sandboxed. They’ll install to their own directory and they won’t interfere with the rest of your system.
OK, I think I get it. If it's all self-contained with dependencies, you'd think there would be some effort to come up with a single format that would work across all distros. It sure would be nice to just download a single package and now you could install it on any distro. This might (not sure, but hoping) that this would rid us of dependency hell, and hopefully even set aside any disputes about systemd dependencies. One thing I worry about though - am I wrong in thinking that Snap packages would be HUGE?
5 • cross-distro package (by slick on 2016-06-27 02:59:18 GMT from North America)
Mere mention of ubuntu or redhat causes me cringe and duck for cover. Wouldn't put it on a usb drive of fear of cross contamination.
Just not interested in of that and why all the greed?
6 • GeckoLinux (by Sam on 2016-06-27 03:59:59 GMT from North America)
Hi there, GeckoLinux creator here. Thanks a lot to Jesse for the thorough and balanced review. Just a few more observations:
I have installed GeckoLinux on dozens of different systems, mainly laptops, and I have seen scattered problems with the graphical interface not coming up with the live system, as described here. The most problematic is Radeon graphics, as was the case with this review. There is also a "nomodeset" boot option that can help on troublesome systems. After installation, there should be no more issues and the graphical login screen will come right up.
Regarding the printer configuration utility, the recommended one is "system-config-printers", which is one of the 3 options in the menu. I agree that this plethora of printer configuration tools is rather confusing, and I should look for a way to at least remove the CUPS web config utility from the menu. But system-config-printers is excellent, and generally works easily for local and network printers.
The reason for the language installer utility is kind of a long story. Basically, to prevent zypper from installing a barrage of unwanted packages, I disable the installation of recommended packages by default. The problem is that the language packages are also listed as "recommended" packages when enabling additional locales. So openSUSE's normal method of automatically installing additional language support doesn't work without recommended packages enabled, and in my opinion is fatally flawed anyway. So I use a script to allow for installation of the Mozilla language packs, as well as all of the *-lang packages for the other installed packages. From there, it requires a trip to the YaST Software Manager, "Languages" tab, and add any additional general language support packages such as "desktop-translations" and spellcheckers.
Updates: I also admit that this could be easier. I don't include the normal system tray update manager, because it uses PackageKit, which, in addition to adding a LOT of bloat to the system, has a bad habit of locking the package database and interfering with normal package manager operations. As for the YaST "Update" manager with its "patches", that also seems to be a tool that openSUSE has abandoned and it generally doesn't work well. The easiest and most reliable method for updating the system is to open the YaST Software manager, and use the menu option: "Package -> All Packages -> Update if new version available".
So it looks like I have a lot of work to do still on documentation. We're getting there. :-) Please let me know if you have any comments, and thanks again to Jesse and Distrowatch for the coverage!
7 • @6 GeckoLinux @Sam (by Hoos on 2016-06-27 04:23:37 GMT from Asia)
Hi Sam, is zypper up a valid way to update your distro as well, or will it mess up the priority settings you have in place for the multimedia and non-free repos?
I tried it on my new installation and I had a series of questions as to whether to trust certain repos or not. Should I answer yes to them?
OpenSUSE repo structure is confusing to me.
8 • Flatpak and snap (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2016-06-27 04:25:29 GMT from North America)
I've seen so much hype about Flatpak and snap that I decided to try them out. I'm on Ubuntu 16.04 and they're both available.
I know they're young technologies, but so far the best I can come up with is "meh". Snap is a *tad* better than Flatpak because;
1. It does both desktop and servers, and
2. Since it's older, there are more packages available.
But there was nothing in the snap listing I couldn't get for any reasonable distro, and, of course, neither of them runs on Windows or MacOS.
That said, I like where *Fedora* is going with Project Atomic and ostree a lot better than Ubuntu's snap. But really, neither one of them will save me money, make me money or save me time.
9 • GeckoLinux (by Sam on 2016-06-27 04:39:48 GMT from South America)
> Hi Sam, is zypper up a valid way to update your distro as well, or will it mess up the priority settings you have in place for the multimedia and non-free repos?
Yep, that also works correctly. I just prefer the graphical method, but it does the same thing. The multimedia (Packman) repo will always be treated with higher priority and continues to have the correct package sources after upgrade.
> I tried it on my new installation and I had a series of questions as to whether to trust certain repos or not. Should I answer yes to them?
Yep, that's normal and safe. I wish I could find an easy way to avoid those confirmations, but I haven't yet. After you trust them they won't bother you again.
> OpenSUSE repo structure is confusing to me.
I'll admit that. :-) But the default GeckoLinux repo configuration "just works" and should offer everything you need without having to mess with the repos. In cases where the same package is in multiple repos it will prefer the one that is best for multimedia functionality.
10 • Solus (by sparky on 2016-06-27 06:58:42 GMT from North America)
Installed Solus 1.2 and am pleased. It's booting fast and it uses only 270MB of RAM.
The graphical software installer is OK, however there is always room for improvement (like everything in life).
Example: browsing a list of software is easy, but I have to select the arrow to the left and get to the next page (or whatever it is called) just to see if this app is installed. I'm constantly bouncing back and forth, just to see if it's installed.
I know there is the possibility to see all installed apps, but while browsing a category of apps I have to drill deep for this info.
IMHO Solus is on the right track, happy I found it.
Just wish the confirmation email from registering to the forums would show up after waiting for a week...
(Was on the IRC channel today and several people said they have the same problem...)
11 • @2 Multimedia support (by far2fish on 2016-06-27 07:50:42 GMT from Europe)
While Mark Shuttleworth is indeed from South Africa, Canonical is based on Isle of Man, Europe. As far as I know, there are no countries in Europe that recognize software patents. So legally I am sure Ubuntu could have shipped with multimedia support.
But I guess they have chosen to have an opt-in selection for multimedia support during Ubuntu install to avoid any lawsuits in countries that do have software patents, like USA.
12 • DistroWatch Weekly (by Andy Mender on 2016-06-27 08:31:15 GMT from Europe)
I agree with OP @8. I'm not sure what either Snap or Flatpak would bring to the table. I took a look at Flatpak when it was featured in a Fedora Magazine article and I found it quite complicated. I might be entirely ignorant, but would it not be simpler to use a .tar.xz or .tar.gz derivative with GPG keys for safety?
Also, I do appreciate the effort behind GeckoLinux, though openSUSE is already a huge undertaking and producing yet another distribution based on it is pointless. For custom setups and disc images, openSUSE offers the Studio online facility and additional software (sometimes with proprietary licenses) can always be supplied/submitted as semi-official external repositories. No need to spawn a whole new distribution, right?
13 • Geckolinux (by travis on 2016-06-27 09:29:03 GMT from Asia)
Have a look at Geckolinux site. You will understand it's points for sure.
14 • Geckolinux (by Andy Mender on 2016-06-27 09:32:53 GMT from Europe)
My apologies, I guess I jumped the shark a bit too soon. It seems GeckoLinux takes advantage of openSUSE facilities quite well. Nevertheless, I would still install openSUSE proper via the official discs to be closer to the main distribution.
15 • @12 GeckoLinux (by Hoos on 2016-06-27 09:35:59 GMT from Asia)
I think the developer does make it clear that it's a spin, not a whole new distro, and that it is made using Studio.
Also, I have installed OpenSUSE 13.2 and Leap 42.1, and even after I enabled the Packman repos and installed what I thought was all relevant restricted packages, I still had problems with some codecs like mp4 even on VLC.
So I welcome this spin, if just for the sake of having the Packman repos and the codecs properly configured.
16 • Geckolinux (by travis on 2016-06-27 10:29:15 GMT from Asia)
I think Geckolinux is for newbies and Windows migrants who want to use more ready to use openSUSE based distro for their daily tasks. Sam have done a great job with tweaking openSUSE for desktop. There aren't many ready to use rpm based distros and Korora and Geckolinux are nice efforts which provide more options outside deb ecosystem.
17 • GeckoLinux (by Gavin on 2016-06-27 10:53:35 GMT from North America)
It's good to see GeckoLinux finally getting some attention, as there's really nothing else like it in the OpenSUSE world, except for maybe Newt OS.
The only real niggle I've found with it is the lack of an update notifier, but this isn't an issue in practice as long as one updates weekly.
OpenSUSE is something I've always wanted to like, as it's kind of the underdog compared to Ubuntu or Fedora, and it had a lot of cool features like Yast and the OBS...But the way it comes out of the box has always put me off it. Gecko was what finally made it palatable for me.
Very much hope Gecko gains popularity in the near future. With more manpower and polish, it could be a serious competitor to Manjaro, Korora and Linux Mint!
"Nevertheless, I would still install openSUSE proper via the official discs to be closer to the main distribution."
I'm not really sure why you would want to choose OpenSUSE over GeckoLinux? It appears to essentially be OpenSUSE, but with all the pre-configuring already done. Otherwise, everything should be 1:1.
18 • Gecko license agreement (by Sebastian LaPenne on 2016-06-27 12:20:54 GMT from Europe)
"I agree not to do anything bad with GeckoLinux."
Dear Gecko dev, I am sure you mean well, but such a license agreement is against the spirit of free software. In fact, it is in direct conflict with the first of the four freedoms:
Freedom 0: The freedom to run the program for any purpose
19 • Packaging (by Cág on 2016-06-27 14:16:33 GMT from Europe)
The best package management systems to me are ports and pkgsrc. To resolve dependency and cross-distribution portability problems I'd rather use static linking.
20 • @Sam re Gecko (by Jordan on 2016-06-27 14:33:59 GMT from North America)
Way to come in and explain things, Sam!
My intel based laptop did install Gecko fine after the startx episode with the live environment. My reasons for opting away from Gecko for now had to do with wanting to move through a few other distros (limited in resources here) for now. But I do see myself going back.
That's a very needed and cool idea, in my opinion, basing on openSuse and adding features etc.
21 • @20 (Sam) re: GeckoLinux (by Sam on 2016-06-27 14:36:41 GMT from South America)
Thanks Jordan, I really appreciate the encouraging comment!
22 • Snaps and Flatpack (by dragonmouth on 2016-06-27 15:21:09 GMT from North America)
It seems to me that with Snaps and Flatpack, Linux is heading down the same dark hole that Windows has gone, i.e. anybody will be able to create a package for the users to download. On the face of it, that may sound great. However, with nobody vetting these packages, malware developers will have a field day and Linux users will be in the same position as Windows users, unsure whether the package they are about to download is "clean" or does it contain malware. Right now Linux users are assured that the packages they download from distro repositories are free of malware. With Snaps and Flatpack I'm expecting an explosion of malware on Linux systems.
23 • Snaps and such (by Poet Nohit on 2016-06-27 17:04:46 GMT from North America)
I don't think it's really fair to ask desktop users to judge snaps and other package methods (that are mainly intended for server users).
Whenever I run Ubuntu, one of the first things I do on the desktop is remove snapd and anything that depends on it, as it clearly has nothing to do with running a desktop. In fact, compiling my own apps and kernel seems like a more logical and user-friendly packaging system than trying to use snap to do the same thing.
If I were in charge of dozens of servers, I might think again about snap and the ways I could use it for THAT environment.
24 • @18 GPL violation (by PePa on 2016-06-27 17:21:14 GMT from Asia)
I agree that an additional license requirement is not legal -- even if added half in jest. I think all these extra "license restrictions" actually constitute a GPL violation, and by adding them you legally forfeit the right to use GPL licenced software.
25 • Cross-distro package formats (by Justin Ridgers on 2016-06-27 18:13:25 GMT from North America)
It just seems like every distribution is going to adopt their own package formats and the fragmentation problem doesn't go away but becomes all the more complex. Maybe the answer lies in the different package formats being cross-distro compatible then letting he user select the one they want to use with their chosen OS like we currently do for desktop environments.
26 • @22, New Package Formats (by Justin on 2016-06-27 18:31:36 GMT from North America)
I completely agree with this statement. I'd further add that the burden to patch security flaws and other bugs will now grow since each application developer has to keep them updated rather than relying on a (good, existing) system that handles libraries quite nicely IMHO.
I don't remember the number of times I've seen old, exploitable DLLs sitting on Windows systems because of this (let's fact it) "zip file" portability. It only takes one really popular, exploitable app to have a huge problem. One of Linux's advantages now _is_ the centrally maintained repository. If that were truly a bad idea, why would we have an Apple Store, Play Store, Windows Store, etc. Newer computing platforms recognize the importance of that model and of making sure patched software gets out quickly.
I think these new formats are putting convenience too far ahead, and I agree it will lead to more fragmentation and malware problems than the creators realize.
27 • Wordstar? (by John on 2016-06-27 18:39:23 GMT from North America)
It would be nice to just load old software and have it run!
Perhaps this should be a Linux goal. We run their software.
And just like Linux it works on our hardware even if it does not on theirs :).
Lots of fun :).
28 • Licensing restrictions (by Jesse on 2016-06-27 18:46:39 GMT from North America)
>> "I agree that an additional license requirement is not legal -- even if added half in jest. I think all these extra "license restrictions" actually constitute a GPL violation, and by adding them you legally forfeit the right to use GPL licenced software."
This is a common misconception, but if you if read the GPL it has two sections which deal specifically with additional permissions and restrictions. Section 7 of the GPL actually lists a bunch of situations where you can place additional restrictions on software. It covers things like legal liability, removing trademarks, etc. Section 10 points out that, in essence, the distributor can add whatever restrictions they like and (apart from some exceptions) the end user can ignore them (within the limits of the GPL's scope).
Not only is adding licensing restrictions to GPLed software legal, the GPL goes into detail of how to handle it, when and what to do about it.
29 • GeckoLinux license (by Sam on 2016-06-27 18:53:59 GMT from South America)
Whatever the terms are of the GPL, nobody in their right mind should construe that placeholder single-line vague sentence as a legally binding license. It exists simply because openSUSE's live installer throws an error unless a license file is included. So to avoid controversy, the next "license" version 2.0 in GeckoLinux will be: "By checking the box I agree that 1+1=2" ;-)
30 • Snap etc (by Scrumtime on 2016-06-27 19:30:42 GMT from North America)
I haven't really bothered looking into the flatpak and snappy stuff as i don't really see a need for it.. Must admint I havent found any packages i want in others repos that havent been in Distros or i cant build from source.
Do i get this right that these Snappy / Flatpak Boxes contain the app in question to suit all the dependencies etc for your system....so if i install an package on Openbox through it do i get all the KDE ,Gnome etc etc dependencies...and if in install another do i get them all a second time..
Maybe i misunderstand this idea completely
31 • Flatpak & Snap (by Head_on_a_Stick on 2016-06-27 21:23:42 GMT from Europe)
The real future of distribution-agnostic packaging is outlined in this blog post by Lennart Poettering:
32 • @30 • Snap etc (by mandog on 2016-06-27 21:56:59 GMT from South America)
If you check out Spatrys vid snapcrap you also get ubuntu base so it not a universal package its ubuntu virtual snap
33 • Snaps, Flatpaks and Dark Holes (by Angel on 2016-06-28 05:02:56 GMT from Asia)
Macs have long been able to download applicartionbs as .img files, extract and run. So far I'm not aware that OS X (Now MacOS) has fallen into any dark holes.
34 • GeckoLinux (by Bob on 2016-06-28 06:53:20 GMT from Europe)
Thanks to GeckoLinux I can finally "use" openSUSE. Compared to its parent distro, Gecko feels slim and everything is ready to use (codecs, etc.). I especially like the fonts rendering. Don't know what's Sam's secret to do this, but fonts in Gecko look clear and sharp like those in Ubuntu. If I can give my advice, GeckoLinux is in urgent need of a good community FORUM where its fans can express their experiences, advices and questions. Now comments are scattered here, on the openSuse studio pages and a google page (why google?). Please let's have our GeckoLinux forum! all major distros/spins have one.
35 • Gecko license agreement (by Carlos on 2016-06-28 10:59:38 GMT from Europe)
@18 - "I agree not to do anything bad with GeckoLinux."
This is indeed a very vague statement.
What is "bad"?
Watch some p0rn?
Vote for Brexit?
36 • @34 (Bob) re: GeckoLinux (by Sam on 2016-06-28 14:10:59 GMT from South America)
Yep, font rendering is one of the perennial complaints about openSUSE. I was pleasantly surprised at what was possible in GeckoLinux with openSUSE's normal font rendering libraries and just some configuration tweaks. Wasn't even necessary to recur to patent-encumbered 3rd-party font rendering libraries.
About the forum, well, lets just say that I prefer to let a multi-billion dollar company run my forum for free instead of me doing all the dirty work. :-) I actually do administer some forums on other subjects, and it's a *LOT* of work. Google Groups works perfectly well for our simple GeckoLinux communication needs so far. The official link is at the top of the GeckoLinux website (in the link in my name above this post).
37 • @35 (Carlos) re: Gecko license agreement (by Sam on 2016-06-28 14:13:38 GMT from South America)
Let's just say that for all intents and purpose, "bad" is whatever you want it to be, given that I have absolutely no way of knowing what you do with GeckoLinux anyway. That's an intentionally vague statement that is only there to fill some space in the openSUSE Live Installer, which requires me to put some text there.
38 • @4, snaps and systemd (by a on 2016-06-28 14:46:26 GMT from Europe)
Unfortunately both snaps and flatpaks required systemd, so instead of solving problems they are creating them.
39 • GeckoLinux (by Andy Mender on 2016-06-28 15:41:36 GMT from Europe)
36 wrote: "Yep, font rendering is one of the perennial complaints about openSUSE. I was pleasantly surprised at what was possible in GeckoLinux with openSUSE's normal font rendering libraries and just some configuration tweaks. Wasn't even necessary to recur to patent-encumbered 3rd-party font rendering libraries."
I am then wondering why does openSUSE font rendering have to be so abysmal? Not a single of the Linux distributions I tried had problems with font rendering, except for openSUSE. Has no one looked into the problem?
I would like to try GeckoLinux if only for that. However, since I'm a fan of self-built systems, I'd rather do a minimal net install and get everything later on.
40 • @39 (Andy) re: GeckoLinux (by Sam on 2016-06-28 16:01:19 GMT from South America)
> "I am then wondering why does openSUSE font rendering have to be so abysmal? Not a single of the Linux distributions I tried had problems with font rendering, except for openSUSE. Has no one looked into the problem?"
Over the years I've written them multiple times about the issue. For legal reasons they prefer to completely avoid the font rendering libraries that give Ubuntu its fantastic font rendering. To their credit, they also created a YaST module to tweak font rendering. But the whole thing is very arcane and complicated to a new user, which is one of the major motivations for GeckoLinux.
41 • GeckoLinux (by Pedro on 2016-06-28 17:20:13 GMT from Europe)
i would like to thank you for this cool spin. I use the xfce rolling gecko :)
Did you see thsi wired test of the static plasma Version here?
42 • @41 (Pedro) re: GeckoLinux (by Sam on 2016-06-28 18:25:48 GMT from South America)
Yep, I did read the Dedoimedo review. I appreciate him taking the time to persist with it even though he originally had BIOS incompatibilities that prevented it from booting. And once he got his system working correctly I appreciate the thorough review.
I don't necessarily agree with all of Dedoimedo's conclusions, as most of the negatives were due to hardware incompatibilities that I don't really have any control over, and not due to some oversight on my part. It seems like the most important lesson from his review is to not buy a Lenovo G50 if you want to run Linux on it. :-) The networking, printing, and smartphone issues he ran into about are areas where I specifically tested and configured GeckoLinux for optimal functionality, so I would appreciate some more details from him about his setup and if he knows which openSUSE package(s) are necessary to make those features work the way he expects.
43 • Snaps & Red Hat (by M.Z. on 2016-06-28 22:19:26 GMT from North America)
>>"One thing I worry about though - am I wrong in thinking that Snap packages would be HUGE?"
From what I've read on the subject, yes snaps _Can_ be huge if your grabbing something that has a lot of dependencies that aren't already contained in your snap sub directory; however, after you install those dependences in a snap package all subsequent snaps are brought in without downloading those dependences again. Also other packages that require different versions of the same dependencies are installed along side other snaps & have their own versions of the dependencies installed along side the other existing versions of the dependencies. That way two snaps can point to & use 'LibraryA version 1.1' & another snap can do the same with 'LibraryA version 1.2' & version 1.1 is only downloaded once. At least that was how I understood it.
Many of us know about the spyware 'feature' that Ubuntu introduced some time back & recently removed, so I can certainly understand the distrust there. I do wonder though what exactly did Red Hat do besides letting their engineers/developers have free reign? They charge for the main 'Enterprise Linux' version sure, but they also work with the CentOS folks who give the same basic product away for free & they support Fedora, which is also given away for free. Where is the 'evil greed' I keep hearing about from those that dislike Red Hat?
Let me state that I'm well aware that Red Hat devs head up some controversial projects & have royally screwed up Gnome 3 (at least in my opinion) & of course they are also involved in the systemd controversy, but I still see no issue with greed there. From my understanding some senior folks at Red Hat had to actually reign in the folks who work for the on Gnome 3 & forced them to include a bunch of extensions that act as a 'classic mode' so normal PC users can feel comfortable using Red Hat by default. To me this is indicative of the problems that cause all the controversies that Red Hat is at the center of & it has nothing to do with greed. It looks to be like Red Hat puts technically competent people in the lead of projects & lets them do as they please. It doesn't really matter much if some big & radical change pisses off some Linux users, so long as Red Hat maintains its reputation for quality open source products & sells more support subscriptions for the stuff that CentOS is giving away for free.
I really don't think Red Hat, either collectively or at the senior management level, cares much if the vast bulk of desktop Linux users run any particular distro for free be it CentOS, Debian, PCLinuxOS etc. The Red Hat folks seem to have a core target audience in mind & it looks like big businesses who want to have back up plans & reliable support for the OSs they are dependent on. The driver of controversy here seems to me to very much be the design decisions that were made by folks like the devs for Gnome. This to me is a sign of a very 'hands off' corporate culture where decisions are made based of the preferences of the devs, not due to some deep seeded greed. If it was money from the desktop that Red Hat were after they would have made their Gnome team go in a direction that targeted either Mac or Windows directly & attempted to eat some market share. Instead they went off in a radical new direction & had to be brought back to a point where customers would be comfortable with their strange new design.
I see lots of controversial decisions driven by people in high places at Red Hat, but I really don't see any particular indications of greed in the decisions. To my knowledge all Red Hat software is either GPL or some other open source license & when they buy a company that doesn't do open source it becomes relicensed as open source soon after. To me this proves that Red Hat is driven by a commitment to open source as much as the desire for success in the market. Red Hat seems more than happy to let the open source community use their code & products for free. They just happen to have a very hands off policy similar to the 20% rule at Google & employ some folks who use that sort of extra time in ways that stir up controversy.
If those who dislike Red Hat can come up with a better explanation for the controversies emanating for the company I would like to heart it, but I really don't get all this 'Red Hat = greedy & evil' stuff.
44 • Gecko (by brad on 2016-06-28 23:22:44 GMT from North America)
@42 - "It seems like the most important lesson from his review is to not buy a Lenovo G50 if you want to run Linux on it. :-)"
A bit broad of a statement, but I saw the smiley.
It does bring up a good point, though - and I think that others may agree; hardware compatibility is an issue. I have discovered the "best" distros for my hardware, and it's a pretty safe bet my "best" will probably not be someone else's best. Hence, the dreaded Linux "fragmentation".
Not necessarily a bad thing, IMHO.
45 • Installing Linux on tablets (by K.U. on 2016-06-29 00:49:45 GMT from Europe)
There are several other possibilities installing Linux on tablet devices in addition the ones mentioned in the Q&A section. I know the possibilities best for Allwinner based devices, because I have one. Older Allwinner devices are supported better than new ones. See http://linux-sunxi.org for general information about Linux on Allwinner devices. Many Linux distributions for ARM are very device specific. There exists, however, a few alternatives that run on large number of different devices including tablets, see the following links:
linux-sunxi.org isn't specially enthusiastic of the third alternative in the list above, Berryboot. linux-sunxi bootable OS images web page states: "Keep in mind berryboot is not a recommended boot image for A10 devices". That's probably because Berryboot is primarily targeted for Raspberry Pi devices and they are supported better than Alwinner devices. Despite that Berryboot provides very easy Linux installs also on Allwinner devices and I am happy with my Berryboot based system on my Allwinner A10 based device.
To find suitable Allwinner tablets I recommend searching tablets with processor name/type using the advanced search feature in eBay.
46 • Running GNU/Linux on tablet computers (by TheOneLaw on 2016-06-29 01:01:39 GMT from Asia)
Make certain it is not a Baytrail barfbag - get something that has i3 or i5 maybe.
There are older tablets which work stably: hiton on alibaba has an intel 2820 cpu item.
Ruggon PM311 installs linux very nicely, resistive touchscreen, wifi works immediately.
I suggest Debian but the quality if this device is such that it should run almost anything.
I know - I own one - NOT the PM-311B which has a crapacitive screen.
47 • Running GNU/Linux on tablet computers (by TheOneLaw on 2016-06-29 01:33:17 GMT from Asia)
@45 K.U. - thanks to your tip I will check
- it appears THAT an Ainol Novo 3G AW1
could be tricked out to run a real linux,
according to webpagecontent.
cheers and a big thanks for the sunxi link
48 • Cedarview Trail Driver (by Budiarno on 2016-06-29 06:42:05 GMT from Asia)
Does Gecko support cedarview trail? I wish I could try new distros instead of being with Linux Mint 13 or Ubuntu 12.04 forever just because it's the only distro I found to be the best on supporting it.
49 • @44 and Linux Hardware compat (by Andy Mender on 2016-06-29 06:45:59 GMT from Europe)
44 wrote: "@42 - "It seems like the most important lesson from his review is to not buy a Lenovo G50 if you want to run Linux on it. :-)"
A bit broad of a statement, but I saw the smiley.
It does bring up a good point, though - and I think that others may agree; hardware compatibility is an issue. I have discovered the "best" distros for my hardware, and it's a pretty safe bet my "best" will probably not be someone else's best. Hence, the dreaded Linux "fragmentation"."
I would say the problem is not hardware compatibility, but the reluctance of laptop vendors to provide full specs of their offerings. HP and Lenovo seem to do a really good job. Unfortunately, not the case for Asus, because of which I bought an ultrabook with a crammy wireless network adapter and with no knowledge of prospective RAM expansions. It continuously eludes me why providing the output from 'Devices and Drivers' or the 'lspci' command is considered unnecessary :(.
I guess next time I decide to purchase a laptop, it will most likely be one of the L or E Lenovo series for businesses and developers :).
50 • GeckoLinux and openSUSE (by Andy Mender on 2016-06-29 06:51:05 GMT from Europe)
On the matter of GeckoLinux, I installed openSUSE Tumbleweed just yesterday and had zero problems with configuring the system. Granted, I started off with the netinstall .iso on a USB stick and hand-picked relevant packages. In the end the only problems I faced were missing devel packages for compiling C code and the dismal font rendering. On the upside, I could avoid unnecessary bloat coming with the defaults.
Still, I did go to some trouble and GeckoLinux is probably more suited to people who might not be versed in the arcanes of GNU/Linux.
51 • @48 (Budiarno) re: GeckoLinux and Cedarview (by Sam on 2016-06-29 14:02:26 GMT from South America)
Regarding Cedarview trail, the most important factor is if your machine supports 64-bit. From what I've read, some Cedarview systems do, and others don't.
52 • Hardware support (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2016-06-29 15:06:20 GMT from North America)
Isn't this mostly a matter of locking kernel version (to security updates only), and perhaps a few drivers?
53 • Flatpak, snaps, and systemd (by bison on 2016-06-30 17:00:24 GMT from North America)
> Unfortunately both snaps and flatpaks required systemd, so instead of solving problems they are creating them.
I know this is true of flatpak, but are you sure about snap?
54 • Linux Mint 18 is too heavy (by Awas on 2016-06-30 18:52:27 GMT from North America)
Isn't it strange that Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon is 1.62GB, while the mother Ubuntu 16.04 is 1.4GB and Linux Mint (and fanbois) always claimed that Ubuntu 's Unity DE is heavier than Cinnamon. Looks like that's not true!
Mint 18 appears to be quite sluggy.
55 • @54 (by J on 2016-06-30 20:08:51 GMT from North America)
Awas, you've commented on this topic for a few weeks now. You're comparison isn't fair because you're not comparing the same thing. If you want to compare Unity and Cinnamon in this way, then look at the installed package sizes. There are numerous other reasons why the ISOs aren't the same size. Here is one example: Mint may include certain packages by default that Ubuntu doesn't carry to make things easier for their users. GeckoLinux includes additional packages/setup from openSUSE to make it more user friendly and have more features work out of the box. Mint does the same type of thing. They include a whole host of packages that have nothing to do with Cinnamon but are there to make things easier for users. If you don't like them there, then that's fine. You can uninstall them (like I did; deborphan is your friend), or you can just ignore them.
Also, IMHO, for Cinnamon vs. Unity, you're thinking is a bit too narrow. Install size is not the only factor: you need to look at other resource usage (e.g., RAM, I/O, and time). If you can produce data beyond an ISO size, then you might have something to argue.
56 • @55 (by Minty on 2016-06-30 21:30:15 GMT from Europe)
To see why Mint Cinnamon iso is heavier than Ubuntu, install it and see.
57 • 200 MB? (by M.Z. on 2016-07-01 22:02:14 GMT from North America)
Why complain about 200 extra MB when they will both need a DVD or 2 GB USB? What possible substantive difference could that make, especially considering the vagueness & meaninglessness of your 'sluggy' complaint? I've used various versions of Mint with Cinnamon for years & have never experienced problems with it being 'sluggy', but like I said that's too vague to be a real complaint.
If you want to know why someone would pick Mint Cinnamon over Ubuntu Unity, look at the basic desktop design. Unity wants to reinvent the wheel while Cinnamon provides an UI that is instantly familiar to most any PC user. In addition Cinnamon is easy to customize out of the box while Unity require special extra 'tweak tools', though I suppose Unity has gotten better in that regard as time has gone on. There were also some serious privacy problems with Unity in the past, though those too have been fixed in the current version of Ubuntu. There are probably lots of reasons to like Unity, but it certainly isn't something that fits my preferences with the speed & easy that KDE & Cinnamon do, so I use those.
Please note I gave you 3 concrete reasons why Unity is my cup of tea: a needlessly odd basic design, lack of customization, & former privacy issues. If you have a complaint about Cinnamon & want to discuss it, do us a favor & give a concrete reason/point of discussion & don't be vaguely & needlessly negative.
58 • Linux Mint (by slick on 2016-07-02 01:12:37 GMT from North America)
@57: Installed Linux Mint Cinnamon on a desktop separate machine, use LMDE and not a fan of ubuntu for obvious reasons.
Found that what #54 correctly implied as sluggy is correct, sluggish would be a more modern word usage. Found at idle after update and reboot is running about 480mb of memory and have way too many startup programs running. Mouse is slow to respond and opening applications are slow. Would say something is dragging the speed down tremendously, probably the DE. Really, it seems to just drag and not very responsive.
Run 4 other distributions on a separate machine and all run under 200mb at idle after fresh reboot. Something is very excessive in memory usage, and won't bother to discover exactly.
59 • LMDE Cinnamon (by M.Z. on 2016-07-02 05:36:22 GMT from North America)
Well I run LMDE 2 on my laptop & have no problem with either mouse response or the RAM usage of the system compared to other distros running feature rich modern DEs like Cinnamon. I suppose my main point of reference is KDE, which isn't especially light, but that's what things like LXQT & XFCE are for. I'd point out that poster #54 makes reference to the main edition of Ubuntu which includes Unity as the DE, & from what I've read of the reviews it's far from a lean DE & may well be heavier on RAM than either Cinnamon or KDE. I did try to install the new Ubuntu in a VM just to check it out, but it never really worked. I'm with you on the not liking Ubuntu that much so I didn't bother to go further than the VM & I can't say definitely, but I see no reason to think #54 would find Cinnamon any heavier than Unity.
Anyway Cinnamon always felt like a fast & responsive DE on my admittedly newer laptop hardware & I think it's a bit lighter on RAM than KDE & very much in line with direct competitors like Gnome & Unity. I will admit though that on the oldest PC I use I have Mate & XFCE based distros, because they are the right DEs for the old 32 bit machine.
60 • @59 Mint Cinnamon is sluggish! (by dcrunch on 2016-07-02 06:24:34 GMT from Europe)
When one says Mint Cinnamon, one doesn't mean LMDE, but the Ubuntu-based Mint version. There is no Debian Unity, only Ubuntu, and that Ubuntu is quite snappy. much snappier than Mint Cinnamon.
If one wants to use the Cinnamon DE, it might be a better idea to install it in Ubuntu, even alongside Unity. Mint's attitude of creating a better than the "mother" distro is utter nonsense.
61 • Desktop environments (DEs) (by Litvi on 2016-07-02 11:11:43 GMT from Europe)
We keep things on a work desktop, so we'd like the computer screen to hold things for us, so we can clik on an icon to bring the app/folder/file up quickly. So, Windowz put icons on the screen, called it a desktop. Linux devs copied the same idea, and desktop environments (DE) came by. Linux devs create DEs and depend lot of apps together(meta packages), not 100% knowing that all those apps would work together without eating up RAM. By trying to beat others (devs), all they do is making the DE sluggish. A whole lot of apps would start at boot and stay working, even if most of them are not at all needed by the user.
This is the problem of the Mint Cinnamon dev, and that's why Mint Cinnamon is becomming more and more sluggish. If the "Cinnamon DE" is just the panel and menu and a way to put an icon on the screen (desktop), then the whole Cinnamon would've been quick. But, the way it goes now, more the Cinnamon DE number goes up, eg, its development, Mint Cinnamon would be more sluggish.
62 • Responsiveness (by Kragle on 2016-07-02 13:35:48 GMT from North America)
Sluggish for some, snappy for others; snap judgements after limited exposure are good enough for fanbois and trolls, but a lack of due diligence does imply deliberate ignorance.
Some systems seem distracted at first, while building internal cross-reference tables or AI databases, or reloading from a repository, gaining speed once fully configured. Others seem well-tuned on certain hardware and buggy outside what may seem like a lucky roll of dice.
A system can become rather preoccupied with re-establishing a 'lost' connection, problematic if freshly reincarnated without it. These days some web pages stubbornly (re)try to contact disallowed tracking servers.
Some distros are developed for installations on real hardware, not VMs - and some VM configurations don't play well.
Sometimes a failure says much about the tester...
63 • slackware (by tuxtest on 2016-07-02 14:09:00 GMT from North America)
Always a good new when new slackware is out...
Zenwalk 8 is reborn ! But it seen we cannot test in virtualbox.
I tried to test Zenwalk in virtualbox but it seems that this is not possible. After several time without no result. It seen the installation system can create any partition. Stop at swap partiton step.
I hope a better results with Slackware.
Long life to Slackware
64 • DE distros phr etc (by Jordan on 2016-07-02 16:22:39 GMT from North America)
This all ties in for me. The DE discussion, the distros ("mother" and "child" distros) and DW page hit ranking.
Mint, a "child" of mommie Ubuntu, has been at the top for some time now. I do wonder about the self-perpetuating thing, as the top ones on the list and especially the top one itself will get clicked more often by a long shot, keeping those top ones there artificially.
Perhaps a way to find out how many of those clicks end up as downloads.. or something to water down that artificiality.
Some desktop environments are being trashed by their devs, it seems. Gnome has fallen apart more with each release lately. Cinnamon is a big slow mess (to me and others reporting "sluggish" issues). The tie-in here is successful devs applying their hands to something that needs nothing but ongoing security upgrades. But instead they keep "improving" the DE with strange features etc.
65 • Slackware/Zenwalk (by pfb on 2016-07-02 16:55:28 GMT from North America)
It was a long wait. And a big disappointment. Neither will boot on my EFI computer.
Loading huge.s kernel and installer initrd. Please wait...
I assume 10-15 minutes is sufficient time to wait?
66 • Snap or Flatpack - it DOES NOT MATTER. Uninstall is the PROBLEM! (by Drone on 2016-07-02 19:28:19 GMT from Asia)
1. IMO there is NO Linux package scheme that allows easy-simple & reliable software uninstall. Until this happens (I've been waiting for years), Linux will never flourish on the desktop. Yes, I know how to deal with this myself in Linux - but 95+% of the people I know will NOT be able to deal with this problem once it breaks.
2. The other problem is that Linux repositories are LOCKED to the version you are using. If you are using v20.x of a distro, you will only get packages that are "compatible" with that distro version - FOREVER. This is ESPECIALLY BAD for people (and/or companies) that install Long Term Support (LTS) versions. It's like being stuck in a time warp - with no package upgrade future.
67 • @66 - repositories are locked?? (by Hoos on 2016-07-03 02:55:33 GMT from Asia)
Not if you're on a rolling distro. And there are user/newbie- friendly ones like Manjaro or PCLinuxOS.
And there are upgrade paths for some LTS distro releases. Otherwise you can preserve the /home partition and just reinstall the / partition.
68 • Mint Cinnamon (by M.Z. on 2016-07-03 05:32:16 GMT from North America)
Again I want to state that Cinnamon is very snappy on my hardware (Intel HD 4000 graphics & plenty of RAM). I also find Mint 17.3 KDE fairly fast & others might see it differently. I do think there are some issues related to needing 3D acceleration to really get the full effect of Cinnamon, but I think that was inherited from Gnome 3 & likely wouldn't be unique to Cinnamon if Gnome used the same fall back rendering system as Cinnamon (processor based if memory serves). At any rate if the problem weren't limited to certain pieces of hardware, likely older, then I doubt that Mint would be #1 on DW hit ranking. I know there are situations where Cinnamon might not be a great fit, but Mate ships beside it as a main edition of Mint in part for that reason.
Much of that is actually completely irrelevant as I was responding directly to #58s comments regarding LMDE. Oh & the 'utter nonsense' part is needlessly negative. I find many Mint tools to be quite valuable & unique parts of the Linux ecosystem that set it apart & make it a top choice for me. If you like something else fine, but there is no need to be so negative about the success of Mint. I happen to think any distro that does well & helps bring new users to Linux while respecting said users & the community is a good thing for all of Linux.
69 • Slackware derivatives - slackel's GUI installer (by Hoos on 2016-07-03 13:49:42 GMT from Asia)
As a multibooter who didn't want the slackware derivative to be the main grub-booting distro on my machine, I found the Salix, Vector Linux, and possibly Zenwalk (can't recall for sure if I tried it) text-based installers all very hard to work with because there weren't many options.
You CAN'T not choose swap, and that automatically formats the partition even if it was already the existing swap partition. That changes the UUID of your swap partition, which messes with the other distros' fstab files. I also couldn't choose to install grub in the root partition.
The only slackware derivative that played nice with my multiboot system was slackel with its GUI installer.
70 • Linux (by www.zarszerviz24.eu on 2016-07-03 20:16:14 GMT from Europe)
I tried to test Zenwalk in virtualbox but it seems that this is not possible. After several time without no result. It seen the installation system can create any partition. Stop at swap partiton step.
I hope a better results with Slackware.
71 • Linux (by Locksmith on 2016-07-03 20:17:26 GMT from Europe)
Please note I gave you 3 concrete reasons why Unity is my cup of tea: a needlessly odd basic design, lack of customization, & former privacy issues. If you have a complaint about Cinnamon & want to discuss it, do us a favor & give a concrete reason/point of discussion & don't be vaguely & needlessly negative.
72 • Hardware (by Zarcsere on 2016-07-03 20:25:12 GMT from Europe)
Isn't this mostly a matter of locking kernel version (to security updates only), and perhaps a few drivers?
73 • Licenc (by Zarszerviz on 2016-07-03 20:26:12 GMT from Europe)
Let's just say that for all intents and purpose, "bad" is whatever you want it to be, given that I have absolutely no way of knowing what you do with GeckoLinux anyway. That's an intentionally vague statement that is only there to fill some space in the openSUSE Live Installer, which requires me to put some text there
Number of Comments: 73
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