| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 668, 4 July 2016
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
In June we thought it would be fun to mix things up and so we arranged to swap reviews with FOSS Force, a website which covers news relating to free and open source software. As a result, our Jesse Smith has his review of Tiny Core Linux 7.1 posted on their website and FOSS Force's Christine Hall shares her experiences with Fedora 24 in our Feature Story this week. In our News section we talk about file system enhancements coming to FreeBSD and DragonFly BSD. We also share a warning for users upgrading their copy of the screen utility and talk about Linux Mint's planned features. In place of a Questions and Answers column we share an opinion piece on the Flatpak, Snap and AppImage package formats. In the Torrent Corner we share the torrents we are seeding and then we share a list of the distributions released last week. In our Opinion Poll we talk about preferred command line shells. This week we are happy to report the last of the unsecured (HTTP) resources have been removed from DistroWatch.com and we have set up a collection of signing keys to make verifying distribution ISO downloads easier. Plus we welcome the Apricity OS distribution into our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Fedora 24 - It isn't for everybody, but then, it doesn't try to be
- News: FreeBSD improves ZFS cache handling, Arch warns about updating screen, DragonFly BSD improves HAMMER2 and Linux Mint plans for 18.1
- Opinion: Flatpak, Snap and AppImage
- Torrent corner: antiX, KDE neon, Linux Mint, Slackware Linux
- Released last week: Linux Mint 18, SolydXK 201606, Slackware 14.2, antiX 16
- Opinion poll: Favourite command line shell
- DistroWatch.com news: Pure HTTPS and a collection of signing keys
- Distributions added to the database: Apricity OS
- New distributions: LibreELEC, Photon OS, Linux Kote, Endless OS, Gmac
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (36MB) and MP3 (42MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Christine Hall)
Fedora 24 - It isn't for everybody, but then, it doesn't try to be
On June 23, after installing Fedora for my first ever look at the distro for this review of Fedora 24, I pinged a friend who writes about Linux seeking help for a pesky configuration problem. I was trying to get GNOME to quit demanding a password every time I walked away from the computer for five minutes or so, which I thought should be easy, but wasn't. After finding sort of a solution for the problem, I sent him another email.
"I would expect Fedora to have an easy way to deal with this," I wrote. "Actually, I find very few configuration tools in this installation of Fedora, which surprises me. This must be what you get when you have server people supervising the development of a desktop OS."
"Exactly," he pinged back with record speed. "I've never cared much for it myself. Never really found it that compelling. Arch/etc I get; Ubuntu/Mint, I also see the appeal. But Fedora and SuSE always lost me. Nothing negative about them, rather, I fail to see the appeal unless you're someone who uses these at work."
My friend had hit the nail on the head. Fedora isn't a distro for people who need to get work done, unless that work happens to involve IT. Nor is it necessarily for gamers who need a highly configurable operating system optimized for resource intensive games. Fedora 24, and I presume previous versions of the distro, is first and foremost for developers and admin types who spend their days keeping RHEL and CentOS servers up and running. It's a system by developers for developers, a conclusion you may argue with if you wish.
This isn't its reputation, however -- at least, not completely. In the forums, users write that they like it because it's a cutting edge distro with the most up to date software and with a commitment to software freedom, certainly not a distro for newbies, but great for those who want to be on the cutting edge.
Fedora 24 -- Running GNOME Shell 3.20
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As is my habit when looking at a new distro, after downloading via torrent I ran the live version, mainly to make sure I had a Wi-Fi connection and Internet access before attempting an install to the hard drive. Wireless connected perfectly and I verified that Internet was working by briefly opening Firefox. After closing the browser, however, I ran across one little glitch: GNOME's "Activities" button quit responding. GNOME wasn't frozen and everything else worked fine. I figured this was a live mode problem, probably connected with my hardware. It did necessitate a reboot in order to reach the installer's launcher.
Upon reboot I clicked "Install to Hard Drive" and sat back for my first look at Fedora's installer, Anaconda, in action. Fedora offers a detailed installation guide, but I chose to fly by the seat of my pants to see if the process was intuitive. I was installing onto a laptop I reserve for testing, an older System 76 Pangolin with a quad core 2.53 GHz processor and 4 GB RAM, Nothing special, but a machine that has Linux in its DNA.
The installation was reasonably straightforward and easy to understand, although I thought the partitioning tool could be a little more clear. I was able to get the job done and install Fedora alongside a small Windows partition I use once a year without having to seek online help.
Fedora 24 -- GNOME's Getting Started screen
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Running Fedora 24
Like most modern distros, Fedora doesn't install with a boatload of programs. GNOME 3.20 is the default desktop, so GNOME apps and applets are installed, including Evolution as the default email client. In addition, there's version 5.1 of LibreOffice and Firefox 47.0. Other than that, you're on your own.
Since you're reading this on DistroWatch, you probably already know that Fedora uses RPMs. After checking Fedora's documentation for the proper command and syntax, I installed GIMP from a terminal with the command "
su -c 'dnf install gimp'" . After being prompted for a password, Dandified YUM (Fedora's current package manager) compiled a list of the required dependencies and asked "Is this OK [y/N]"? I typed "y", hit "enter" and waited for the download and installation. In other words, just the same as with apt or any other command line package manager.
After that, I installed the Bluefish text editor that I'm using to write this review. This time I used Software, Fedora's default graphical software installer, which I found to be intuitive and not much different from the installation tools included with other distros.
The next thing was to add RPM Fusion as a repository, since the Fedora repository doesn't contain any non-free software. This is especially necessary if you want to watch videos or listen to music, as you'll need to download and install the codecs before you can listen to your MP3s.
Fedora 24 -- Listening to musing on Rhythmbox
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Fedora's Breakable Linux
Unfortunately, I found it easier than expected to break things in Fedora.
On the day after I'd successfully installed programs and added RPM Fusion from the command line, both actions requiring use of the sudo command, I tried to run a command requiring sudo, only to be told "christine is not in the sudoers file." Evidently, something I'd done the day before -- I have absolutely no idea what -- had inadvertently removed me from the sudoers list.
I completed the task at hand by logging in as root, but that's not a long term solution for a variety of reasons. And because I'd never lost sudo privileges on any distro -- I didn't even know it was possible -- I had to go looking to figure out how to fix the problem. As expected, I'd need to edit a file -- "sudoers" -- so I logged in again as root and opened the file in a text editor. Alas, the file opened in "read only" mode with a message that editing sudoers required the use the visudo command. This required more searching to learn how visudo worked.
Eventually the file was edited and the use of sudo was restored, but…grrr.
Yeah, I get it. If I were a real Linux user -- meaning a sysadmin or some such -- I would have had no problem with such a simple task because I'd most likely spend time each day removing sudo rights from users whom I didn't want to try to do anything requiring root privileges. However, that doesn't begin to explain why it was so easy to accidentally remove myself from the elite group of sudoers to begin with.
I guess I should be happy I learned something.
Fedora 24 -- Updating Fedora 24 from the command line.
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If you spend your time getting your hands dirty working in IT, I'm sure you'll find much to like about Fedora 24. Also, anyone who would like to learn all of the ins and outs of running a Linux system could definitely benefit from spending some time with Fedora, as the distro will force you to learn to do many things that are made easy in some other distros.
In some ways, it's like the Linux version of a Ferrari. It's great if you have the skills, time and tools to tinker with it, but if your job isn't to keep Red Hat or CentOS servers operating smoothly and you don't particularly enjoy spending hours completing simple tasks that should be handled in a few seconds with a couple of clicks, then you might want to consider another distro.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
FreeBSD improves ZFS cache handling, Arch warns about updating screen, DragonFly BSD improves HAMMER2 and Linux Mint plans for 18.1
The ZFS advanced file system maintains its own information cache in memory called the ARC. The ARC allows data to be retrieved more quickly by keeping frequently accessed information in RAM, which can be accessed faster than data stored on a hard disk. While it is possible to change the minimum and maximum limits of the ARC cache's size, changing these limits has historically required rebooting the operating system. The FreeBSD team has introduced a new feature which will allow ZFS's cache limits to be adjusted while the operating system is running. "Prior to this change ZFS ARC min/max could only be changed using boot time tunables, this allows the values to be tuned at runtime using the sysctls..." The variables which can be adjusted at run time are mentioned in this post.
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People who run the Arch Linux distribution, or other rolling release distributions, should be aware that upgrading the screen terminal multiplexer may break compatibility with long running screen sessions. A post on the Arch Linux website warns: "As you upgrade to screen-4.4.0-1 you will be unable to reattach sessions started with earlier screen versions. Please make sure all your sessions are closed before upgrading." If any long running jobs are running in a screen session, hold off upgrading the screen package until those jobs have completed and their sessions terminated.
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The DragonFly BSD operating system is perhaps most famous for its advanced HAMMER file system. The developers have been hard at work on the next generation of HAMMER (HAMMER2) and have been making strong progress. The DragonFly BSD Digest page outlines the new features coming to the operating system's file system: "HAMMER2 now has inode indexing, which Matthew Dillon was avoiding while trying to create more efficient hard link support. The result is now with that problem solved, more updates can come in: NFS support, mtime updates, output changes, code removal, and lots of other changes, not all of which I'm even linking."
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Following the release of Linux Mint 18, the Mint developers have published their plans for the next Linux Mint update, version 18.1. The upcoming version will include many improvements to the Cinnamon desktop environment, a transition from GTK 2 to GTK 3 for the MATE desktop, bug fixes for X-Apps and a command line update utility. The full list of planned features can be found in the project's roadmap.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Opinion (by Jesse Smith)
Flatpak, Snap and AppImage
Over the past few months we have been hearing a lot about two new package formats, Flatpak and Snap (aka Snappy, aka snaps). These two new methods of packaging software have been getting a lot of attention, especially in the Ubuntu and Fedora communities. Both package formats attempt to make packaging easier for developers as all of an application's dependencies can be bundled in the one portable package. Both Flatpak and Snap also claim to be (in theory at least) universal. The idea here is that any distribution which provides the Snap framework will be able to run any Snap package. Likewise, any Linux distribution with the Flatpak software installed should be able to run any Flatpak package. This should make it possible for developers to make one package for their software which will run on any distribution.
Here is what the Ubuntu website has to say about their Snap technology:
Developers from multiple Linux distributions and companies today announced collaboration on the Snap universal Linux package format, enabling a single binary package to work perfectly and securely on any Linux desktop, server, cloud or device. This community is working at snapcraft.io to provide a single publication mechanism for any software in any Linux environment.
Please note that to separate the Snap technology and framework from the associated command line tool and the package format, I will use the following convention: The Snap technology in general will be referred to using proper case ("Snap"), the command like utility will be referenced as "snap" (with italics) and packages created for Snap will be called "snaps" or "a snap package".
Flatpak's website offers the following description of their competing technology:
Distributing applications on Linux is a pain: different distributions in multiple versions, each with their own versions of libraries and packaging formats. Flatpak is here to change all that. It allows the same app to be installed on different Linux distributions, including different versions. And it has been designed from the ground up with security in mind, so that apps are isolated from each other and from the host system.
Where things get complicated is figuring out which distributions support which "universal" package format. Snap is backed (almost exclusively) by Ubuntu and its community editions. Despite the Ubuntu's website claiming "multiple" Linux distributions are collaborating on supporting Snap, so far it appears as though Ubuntu and its community flavours are the only projects that offer built-in support for Snap. Meanwhile Flatpak has not enjoyed a widespread welcome either with Fedora being the only distribution to claim support for Flatpak packages at the time of writing.
I thought it would be interesting to test drive both Flatpak and Snap on Ubuntu and Fedora to see how the experiences would compare. Both Flatpak and Snap packages have been created for the latest version of LibreOffice and I wanted to see how each package format performed.
But wait! There are other package formats which claim to run universally across Linux distributions, bundling any dependencies as needed. Perhaps the most popular is AppImage, a format which has been around for years, under one name or another. AppImage, unlike Flatpak and Snap, claims to need no framework. AppImage needs no other packages or technologies to be installed. The project's website claims:
Download an application, make it executable, and run! No need to install. No system libraries or system preferences are altered. Can also run in a sandbox like Firejail. Distribute your desktop Linux application in the AppImage format and win users running all common Linux distributions. Package once and run everywhere. Reach users on all major desktop distributions.
This sounds a bit less complicated while offering similar sandboxing technology to what Snap and Flatpak offer, so I decided to also try running a complex application bundled as an AppImage on both Fedora and Ubuntu to see how this unsung third-party package format would compare. I could not find any AppImage bundle of LibreOffice, so I grabbed a copy of the Krita drawing application to test on both distributions.
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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
I started my experiment on Ubuntu's latest release, Ubuntu 16.04. Ubuntu 16.04 has built-in support for Snap. I found no mention of Flatpak or, as it used to be called, xdg-app. I began my trial by grabbing a development snapshot of LibreOffice. There does not appear to be any official snap for LibreOffice, leading me to follow the steps provided by the Sky From Me blog to get a third-party snap package of the productivity suite.
The LibreOffice package must be installed from the command line and was 286MB in size. The snap command line tool (which must be run with root privileges) also had to pull in 64MB of dependencies to support the LibreOffice package. I noticed that once installed, no launcher for my new copy of LibreOffice was added to Unity's dash. This means the user must install and run snaps from the command line. Attempting to run the LibreOffice snap caused my terminal session to simply hang and the productivity suite failed to start. Removing the snap after my trail could be accomplished through the snap command line utility.
As my experiment with Snap had failed, I turned to Flatpak. Ubuntu does not ship with Flatpak included by default. Searching through the distribution's repositories, I could find no mention of either xdg-app or Flatpak, preventing me from attempting to install the LibreOffice Flatpak package.
Next, I downloaded the official AppImage package from the Krita website. The Krita bundle is 76MB in size. As the AppImage documentation says, all that is required to launch an AppImage program is marking the downloaded file as executable and running it. This can be accomplished though any modern file manager by right-clicking the bundle to change its properties and then left-clicking the file to run it. The Krita application ran smoothly and with no issues on Ubuntu 16.04. When I was done with the application, removing it from the system was as simple as deleting the AppImage package I had downloaded.
It may be worth noting AppImage does not require a package to be installed in the traditional sense, merely downloaded and marked as executable. This means the user does not need to have administrator (or sudo) access to work with AppImages. Both Flatpak and Snap require admin access to install or remove applications.
Ubuntu 16.04 -- Running the Krita AppImage bundle
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While running Ubuntu, I had failed to get two of the three package formats to run and so I turned to Fedora with hope of better results. The Fedora 24 release announcement mentioned support for Flatpak and I started there.
I found that Fedora 24 Workstation does not, in fact, include Flatpak in the default install, but the Flatpak software is available in Fedora's official repositories. This is a fairly small download, I did not catch the exact size, but installing Flatpak took just a minute of my time.
There is an official LibreOffice Flatpak package, available through the LibreOffice website. Prior to installing the package, we first need to perform several steps from the command line as the admin user. First, we need to install the GNOME security keys. Then we enable the GNOME repositories and download LibreOffice's Flatpak dependencies. This download is about 171MB. Then we can download and install the LibreOffice Flatpak, which is another 156MB download. Once these steps were completed successfully, I tried to run the new LibreOffice Flatpak, which must be done from the command line. An error message appeared and told me LibreOffice was not installed.
I went through the process again and found myself in an odd loop where, whenever I attempted to install the new LibreOffice package, I would encounter the error "LibreOffice branch fresh already installed". Attempting to run the application would report the contradicting error "not installed". In the end, despite downloading over 300MB of packages and dependencies, the LibreOffice Flatpak failed to run.
Testing Snap on Fedora was quite a short experience. Fedora 24 does not include support for Snap in the default installation. Snap is not available through the official repositories and it is not available through the RPMFusion community repositories either. This effectively blocks Fedora users from installing snaps.
Once again, I downloaded the 76MB Krita AppImage on Fedora. I was able to make the application executable with a few mouse clicks and run the application with another click. Krita performed smoothly on Fedora and, when I was done with the application, I removed it from the system by deleting the AppImage file. No elevated access was required.
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Admittedly, both Snap and Flatpak are in relatively early stages of development. It's not fair to expect them to work perfectly or to have nice, polished graphical user interfaces. I was certainly willing to overlook a few rough edges. However, what I experienced this week with Snap and Flatpak was a disaster. A large part of this, I think, comes from (as Fedora QA Lead, Adam Williamson, pointed out) the fact no one is working together. Ubuntu wants to push Snap, but no one else seems interested. Fedora is backing Flatpak, but no one else seems to be on board with it yet. Which means, for now at least, neither of these two package formats is universal.
What made my experience more bitter this week was that not only were Flatpak and Snap not universal across distributions, the packages I tried did not even work on the distributions which claim to support them. Snap, on Ubuntu, looked promising. The snap command line utility feels a lot like apt-get and automatically handles dependencies. It might not work yet, but the concept seems viable once the edges get polished. Unfortunately, it looks as though Snap's backend (the server side of things) is proprietary and unlikely to be accepted in the larger Linux community.
Flatpak though is broken by design. Like Snap, Flatpak has a rough command line interface, but it also requires far too many steps to get it working. These steps involve installing Flatpak, then typing out long, complex commands which will immediately turn away most users. To even try to run a Flatpak application the user must import signing keys, manually install dependencies and then hope that is enough to get the application working. Further, Flatpak relies on systemd and only works in desktop sessions, preventing the package format from working on servers and in embedded environments. This makes Flatpak a non-starter in the race for universal packages.
The most frustrating thing in this situation is we already have a cross-platform package format which works. AppImage has been around for years, automatically handles dependencies, truly works across multiple distributions and does not require root/sudo access to install. AppImage requires no additional framework or libraries to be installed, there is no new package manager to learn and AppImage programs can be launched through any distribution's file manager.
In the blog post from Adam Williamson I linked to above, Williamson questions whether AppImage is secure enough. Both Flatpak and Snap have sandbox capabilities which isolate programs from the rest of the system, an important feature to have when installing software from third-parties. And Williamson raises a valid point, sandboxing is a critical feature these days and AppImage does not have sandboxing built-in. However, AppImage programs do work inside Firejail sandboxes. This secures AppImage programs with virtually no extra effort from the user, so long as they have Firejail installed. Recent versions of Firejail even guard against X display server attacks, like key logging, which makes AppImage programs protected by Firejail more secure than Snap and Flatpak packages running on X.
For now, it looks like two of the biggest names in the Linux community are going to compete with separate, incomplete "universal" package formats which will have limited cross-distro support. Meanwhile we have a working alternative that is easier to use, works across platforms and offers better security. Hopefully more distributions will turn their focus on supporting AppImage, ideally running these bundles in a sandbox, to provide a better user experience.
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: 211
- Total data uploaded: 38.7TB
|Released Last Week
Arjen Balfoort has announced the release of SolydXK 201606, a new stable release of the Debian-based desktop Linux distribution offering separate editions with Xfce 4.10 or KDE 4.14 desktops, as well as an Xfce variant for the Raspberry Pi single-board computer: "It is time again for the new SolydXK ISO images. These are some of the changes: Firefox ESR is now used from the Debian repository instead of custom built and installed from the SolydXK repository; you can now use custom mount points in the live installer, double click on a partition to select a pre-defined mount point or write your custom mount point; improved command handling of SolydXK applications for the Enthusiast's editions; SolydX RPi has been built from scratch and is based on Raspbian..." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
The antiX team, which produces a lightweight Debian-based distribution, has announced the availability of antiX 16. The new release is based on Debian 8.5 (Jessie) and deviates from its Debian base by not using the systemd init software. "Debian 8.5 (Jessie), but systemd-free! And it fits on a CD! Great Live USB features! We initially set out to add a few enhancements on top of antiX 15 in preparation for a stretch release, but we got carried away and added lots of features particularly when running live. As usual antiX comes in three flavours for both 32- and 64-bit processors." The three editions are Full (which provides several window managers), Base (with three lightweight window managers) and Core-Libre (no graphical environment). Details on antiX 16 can be found on the project's News page.
Linux Mint 18
Clement Lefebvre has announced a new release of Linux Mint. The new version, Linux Mint 18, is a long term support release which will receive support through to the year 2021. This release is based on Ubuntu 16.04 and is available in Cinnamon and MATE editions. There are several new features in this version, including an enhanced update manager which supports installing different versions of the Linux kernel. The update manager will also be easier to configure to offer a balance between security and stability. Linux Mint 18 further introduces X-Apps. "A new project called X-Apps was started and its goal is to produce generic applications for traditional GTK desktop environments. The idea behind this project is to replace applications which no longer integrate properly outside of a particular environment (this is the case for a growing number of GNOME applications) and to give our desktop environments the same set of core applications, so that each change, each new feature being developed, each little improvement made in one of them will benefit not just one environment, but all of them." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement (Cinnamon, MATE) and release notes (Cinnamon, MATE).
Linux Mint 18 -- Running the MATE desktop
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Slackware Linux 14.2
The Slackware project has announced a new stable release of the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution. The new version, Slackware 14.2, ships with Linux kernel version 4.4, KDE 4.14, Xfce 4.12 and the 64-bit build of Slackware supports booting on UEFI-enabled hardware. "Slackware 14.2 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.12.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy to use desktop environment, and KDE 4.14.21 (KDE 4.14.3 with kdelibs-4.14.21) a stable release of the 4.14.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment. These desktops utilize eudev, udisks,and udisks2, and many of the specifications from freedesktop.org which allow the system administrator to grant use of various hardware devices according to users' group membership so that they will be able to use items such as USB flash sticks, USB cameras that appear like USB storage, portable hard drives, CD and DVD media, MP3 players, and more, all without requiring sudo, the mount or umount command. Just plug and play. Slackware's desktop should be suitable for any level of Linux experience." Additional information can be found in the project's detailed release announcement.
Zenwalk Linux 8.0
Jean-Philippe Guillemin has announced the availability of Zenwalk Linux 8.0, a major new release of the project's Slackware-based distribution with Xfce as the default desktop and a number user-friendly enhancements: "Zenwalk is back after a long development blackout, with the latest best-of-breed software (LibreOffice 5.1.3, Chromium 51, MPlayer 1.3, FFmpeg 3.0.1), the latest Slackware base system featuring the Linux kernel 4.4.14 and a new desktop layout for the user-friendly Xfce 4.12.1. Zenwalk 8.0 is a 'less than 1 GB ISO image' pure Slackware system with added post-install configurations, optimizations and tunings already done out of the box, with a ready-to-use polished desktop environment, added graphical system tools, added office and multimedia applications, and striped to keep just 'one application per task'. Beginning with 8.0, Zenwalk is a 64-bit only Linux distribution. As it is hard to find 32-bits CPUs nowadays, I believe that the old 32-bit architecture is for small specialized systems only, not for the desktop." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details and a screenshot.
Debian Edu/Skolelinux 8+edu0
Laura Arjona Reina has announced the release of a new major version of Debian Edu/Skolelinux, a Debian-based distribution tailored to educational institutions, computer labs and school networks. Labeled as version 8+edu0, this is the project's first stable release based on the Debian 8.0: "The Debian Edu developer team is happy to announce Debian Edu 8+edu0 'Jessie', the latest Debian Edu / Skolelinux release, entirely based on Debian 8 update 8.5. Upgrades from previous beta releases of Debian Edu 'Jessie' to this release are possible and encouraged. New features for Debian Edu 8+edu0 'Jessie': if a system is installed via network boot the firmware for the hardware present is now installed automatically; MATE 1.8 is now available as optional desktop environment; in addition, a Dutch translation of the manual is available, and the Norwegian Bokmål one is now complete." Read the rest of the release announcement which provides several real-life usage examples from schools in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Favourite command line shell
Most of us who run Linux, when we use the command line, we run Bash, a popular terminal shell. Bash is usually the default shell on most Linux distributions, but there are plenty of other shells with various interesting features and scripting syntax. In the BSD communities csh and tcsh are more commonly used. In addition, there are plenty of other shells, such as Fish and zsh, each which offers its own unique style.
This week we would like to know which command line shell is your favourite? Do you stick with the default shell your operating system provides or do you like to customize your command line environment?
You can see the results of our previous poll on universal package formats here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Favourite command line shell
|bash: ||1220 (75%)|
| csh: ||24 (1%)|
| dash: ||19 (1%)|
| fish: ||69 (4%)|
| ksh: ||35 (2%)|
| tcsh: ||49 (3%)|
| zsh: ||156 (10%)|
| other: ||46 (3%)|
Pure HTTPS and a collection of signing keys
At the beginning of the year we rolled out secure web connections (HTTPS) to DistroWatch.com, with the wonderful help of a free security certificate from Let's Encrypt. This allows people to verify that they really are visiting the DistroWatch web server and the information shown has not been tampered with. When we first rolled out the encrypted connection option, some of the items on our site (particularly ads or resources loaded from other websites) were not served over an encrypted connection. This caused some web browsers to either display warnings or block these unsecured resources. We are happy to report all of our website and the resources we load from third-parties are now secured by encrypted HTTPS connections.
People who would like to continue using the old, unsecured HTTP protocol may still do so. We have maintained the unsecured option to avoid breaking web and RSS clients which do not support secure connections.
If you wish to make sure you always get a secure connection when visiting DistroWatch, we are registered with the HTTPS Everywhere browser plugin. Anyone with this plugin installed in their web browser will always be directed to the secure version of our website.
* * * * *
Further on the topic of security, back in March we ran an article which explained how to use signing keys to verify a distribution's ISO file was authentic and had not been corrupted or maliciously modified. While readers generally reported the information was useful, some pointed out that it is hard to find a distribution's signing keys. Most distributions do not publish information on their signing keys (or if they even use keys). Figuring out where signing keys are stored and whether they are legitimate is often left for the user to guess.
In order to make finding signing keys and validating them easier, we have set up a collection of signing keys. We have hunted down as many distribution signing keys as we could and verified them to the best of our ability. Copies of the keys are stored on our server and can be downloaded in a plain text file, which can be imported and used by the GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) application.
We hope this will make it easier to find developers' keys and reduce the effort it currently takes to verify installation media is authentic.
To further protect our readers, if any developer e-mails us and lets us know the key we have is wrong or out of date, we will remove it from our collection. When a developer e-mails us and confirms we are sharing the right key, we will sign their key, increasing its trustworthiness.
The new collection of signing keys can be found through our sitemap under the Resources relating to free and open source operating systems section.
* * * * *
Distributions added to the database
Apricity OS is a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. Apricity features a trimmed down desktop (GNOME or Cinnamon) and provides the ICE Site Specific Browser to integrate web-apps into the desktop environment.
Apricity OS 05.2016-rc2 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- LibreELEC. LibreELEC is a Linux distribution built to run Kodi on current and popular media centre hardware. The distribution is an evolution of the OpenELEC project.
- Photon OS. Photon OS is a minimal Linux container host, optimized to run on VMware platforms.
- Linux Kote. Linux Kote is an Arch Linux based distribution for Russian speaking users. Linux Kote strives to be more user friendly than its parent project.
- Endless OS. Endless OS is a Linux-based operating system with a heavily modified GNOME Shell desktop environment. Endless OS strives to provide a simple end-user experience via a combination of open source and proprietary software.
- Gmac. Gmac is a Linux distribution featuring the GNOME desktop environment and a theme which makes the interface resemble that of OS X.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 11 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 • Unfair to Fedora (by M. Reynolds on 2016-07-04 00:31:22 GMT from North America) |
I think the review of Fedora was a bit harsh. It can be a bit of a pain when you need to get the non-free software from outside repositories but I don't think it's appeal is only to developers. It's also very vanilla and simple. There is really nothing non-essential installed with the system. It's great when you want to only install what you need but don't have time to do a setup of something like Arch. It also has enabled SELinux by default which is key if you're looking for the added security.
2 • Apricity OS At last ! (by drac on 2016-07-04 00:41:20 GMT from Oceania)
I've been waiting for this to released for some time. I've been using the Beta since Dec.
I found it incredibly stable. For the last 3 years my choice OS has been elementaryOs.
IMO, this exceeds the sheer beauty of elementary, and the ease of use for novices, by having almost everything already configured correctly; yet offer the full power for experts & all the benefits of Arch & it's rolling updates.
Guy's watch this Os, shoot up the rankings. I encourage you all to discover the beauty of this OS as I have. BTW I have no personal interest in this OS. other than the fact I love using it.
3 • sudo (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-04 01:35:04 GMT from North America)
While I don't use Fedora, I think the problem the reviewer had was more a misunderstanding on their part. Various distributions do not use sudo by default and thus, don't add the users to the file. Most likely, they would never have been allowed sudo access without editing the file. Unfamiliarity with any OS will make installing and using it more difficult than necessary.
As for the weekly question, BASH is the default on many systems so a lot of average users may not realize that alternatives exist. Hmmm, average Linux users. Been waiting a long time to say that!
4 • Fedora's screen locker problem: whose fault? (by Ralph on 2016-07-04 01:57:15 GMT from North America)
I would have thought that the screen locker configuration problem the reviewer experienced with Fedora was more a problem with GNOME than the distro itself....
5 • Other reasons for Fedora (by vw72 on 2016-07-04 02:21:29 GMT from North America)
One reason to favor Fedora is if you want a truly free (as in beer) distro. Fedora only includes open source packages. They aren't the only distro to do this, but they are major one (so is debian).
Another reason to use Fedora is that they take security really, really seriously. Not all distros do this.
Another reason to run Fedora is if you really like Gnome. Fedora packages it pretty much exactly as the Gnome developers intend it to be.
Another reason to run Fedora is they push a lot of patches and fixes upstream. In short they give back to the communities they draw their code from.
Another reason to run Fedora is that you want relatively current software, that has been tested and you don't want to have to compile it yourself. Again, they aren't the only one, but they are a major one.
While not all of these may be important to everybody, they are to many people. I've seen octogenarians using Fedora without a problem. I've seen pre-teens using it, too. It's not as simple as Ubuntu, but part of that is that Canonical has different core values for Ubuntu than Fedora does.
Fedora is great if you have stuff, whether professional or personal, that you want to get done.
6 • Flatpak - Snap - AppImage (by Joseph J. on 2016-07-04 02:30:28 GMT from North America)
I run a triple-boot system: Arch, Mint, and whatever distro I happen to be experimenting with at the moment (which, for the last few days happends to be Fedora 24). I just wanted to chime in on the Snap / Flatpak / AppImage thing...
When Canonical started talking about the new Snap package "thing", it sounded vaguely... vague. Not being a developer, the amount of utility that would be offered to me, a simple end-user, seemed questionable at best. But I love new toys and new technologies, and so I waited with baited breath. And was totally disappointed.
Basically, all this does is totally f**k up my screen when I do a simple lsblk! I need to use a separate package manager to employ snap packages- which is unfortunate because it offers far less functionality than apt-get - and the sad list of "snaps" available? Forget about it! To me, this seems like nothing more than Canonicals attempt to get the linux community to populate the the Ubuntu Phone store on it's behalf. The (sad) list of available packages seems to answer my nagging question: who exactly needs this? Maybe I'll give snaps another shot when Canonical gets around to delivering Unity 8. If that ever happens. To me, snaps offer exactly none of the benefits of Ubuntu... namely,the huge collection of decently current debian packages. Next!
Flatpak? Honestly, I havent given it any real consideration - mostly because it's backed by Fedora. But the little experience I've had with it makes me think that Red Hat and Canonical should just throw in the towel and merge. Again, from this end user's perspective, much more trouble than payoff.
AppImage, on the other hand, is a delight. Download one, chmod +x FILE, and ./FILE and we're off to the races. Simple, easy, and most importantly it JUST WORKS. No additional back-end installation of necessary tools. I honestly wish some major company would get behind the AppImage project, because it is the only one that makes sense from an end-user perspective... or at least this user.
7 • Fedora is Modern Art (by Yithar on 2016-07-04 03:35:52 GMT from North America)
>Never found it compelling
Yeah, I see absolutely zero reason to use Fedora unless you're required to
>Unfortunately, I found it easier than expected to break things in Fedora than expected
Notice the "might break at any moment if you try to sit in it"
That being said, you did something wrong if the sudoers file was changed and you didn't mean to change it. Or you never changed it in the first place, because you should have known about visudo if you had modified it in the first place.
8 • Fedora 24 (by bonifaci on 2016-07-04 03:42:19 GMT from Europe)
@1 @5 Fedora's security is a myth, IMHO.
All major distros take really seriously his security. Three evidences:
The user is, and will always be, the biggest threat on security.
9 • Fair to Fedora (by Brenton Horne on 2016-07-04 03:43:59 GMT from Oceania)
I think this review of Fedora is entirely fair. vw72 was somewhat right, although Debian / Fedora both use binary blobs on their kernels so if FOSS is really that important to one I would probably use a distribution certified by the FSF as being free (https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.en.html). I have found Fedora less stable than openSUSE Tumbleweed and Arch Linux, even though both use more up-to-date software. Then again, most of my experience with Fedora has been in VirtualBox VMs, although I have also used it on an actual (non-virtual) system for a few days. Mostly just used it for such a brief period of time because of its instability and it otherwise didn't suit me.
10 • @9 -Debian and binary blobs (by Ralph on 2016-07-04 05:30:50 GMT from North America)
Debian does not use binary blobs in a default installation, and hasn't for a few years. The reason it is not FSF-"certified" is that it makes obtaining non-free software *relatively* easy.
11 • apricity (by hide&theef on 2016-07-04 05:42:24 GMT from Africa)
Apricity's strange install process - download from Windows then burn to USB?
12 • Fedora 24 review was interresting (by far2fish on 2016-07-04 07:25:13 GMT from Europe)
I have been using Fedora with Gnome on/off from version 1 until version 21. Been rolling with Antergos since then, but installed F24 last week to try it with Plasma desktop. Was pleasantly surprised to see that Plasma was not taking ages to load any longer
About the review:
As a long time Fedora user I was biased when I read the review, but I must say I really enjoyed it. I think Christine really hit the nail on several points. I agree with her that Fedora is more appealing to developers and sysadmins. The disk partitioning page is quite alien the first time you use it, so frankly I am surprised she did not struggle more with it, but I guess she has used Red Hat or CentOS and recognized it from there.
When installing Fedora and creating a personal user, you have to put a checkmark in "Make this user an administrator" if you want sudo access.
According to your own writing you used 'su -c' not 'sudo' the first time you installed software from the command line.
Overall I liked the review, and hope to see more review swaps in the future too :)
13 • AppImage vs Snaps & Flatpak (by user1397 on 2016-07-04 07:57:23 GMT from North America)
Why doesn't AppImage gain more steam? Most of the complaints I've seen are about it not having sandboxing capabilities, but as was pointed out, it does have this capability if you use Firejail along with it.
It has been pointed out that AppImage doesn't offer transactional or atomic upgrades. Is there something preventing it from offering these types of upgrades? I'd like to know...
14 • Fedora & sudo vs su - (by M.Z. on 2016-07-04 08:21:30 GMT from North America)
As #3 & #12 hint at, some distros use just 'su -' rather than 'sudo'. The Mageia system on my laptop does it this way, though I think most Debian family distros use sudo. I don't really know how exactly Fedora does it, but I think there are numerous distros that are like Mageia & don't use sudo unless you configure it. That being said, Fedora does give me similar general impression of being for it's target audience rather than average desktop users. Of course I was just playing with it in a VM to try it out & check out Gnome, which was not any better than I thought it would be as a DE. The older version 22 also had a fairly large amount of rebooting required after updates compared to other distros. At any rate PCLinuxOS seems to do a far better job giving me fairly new kernels & up to date applications, though I suppose some may be more interested in the things Fedora is updating under the hood.
15 • Suse is not lumped together with Fedora (by Bill Savoie on 2016-07-04 08:43:05 GMT from North America)
I love using Suse. I stared out on Fedoria, it seems around 2004, but soon switched to Suse. Occasionally I would need to work with Fedoria, when the boss wanted it, but I just felt that Suse had more tools, and it seemed easier to adjust all the little things. I have tried many versions of linux, like most of them, but feel most at home in Suse.
16 • Fedora & shells (by Cág on 2016-07-04 09:27:12 GMT from Europe)
Every time I try Fedora LiveCD it fails. Either GNOME freezes, systemd shows errors in itself, shutting down freezes or takes helluva amount of time and I need to hold my power button. Updating repos and installing software takes time galore as well. Also "free -m" shows about 650MB in use right after boot, like seriously?
My favourite shells are mksh and NetBSD sh; hence "other" choice. They are lightweight, simple and not overly engineered like bash or zsh.
Greetings to Slackware team for finally releasing 14.2. Though it never was "my" distribution, their community is by far one of the best.
17 • Fedora (by Fernando on 2016-07-04 10:12:11 GMT from Europe)
I also find the Fedora review a little bit too harsh. These days, I think that Fedora is the easiest linux desktop operating system. It contains lots of really supported packages in the main repository. The default desktop environment has a simple default configuration. Getting proprietary software, for those who want/need it, is also very easy following the instructions of e.g. RPMFusion. Updates come in due time. Less things break or they are more quickly fixed than in Ubuntu or derivatives, or Opensuse... and I could keep on with this list! PS I'm not a developer, I'm a scientist (not a computer scientist).
18 • Don't talk Fedora down! (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2016-07-04 11:32:07 GMT from Europe)
In fact, no unixoid system is an OS just for getting simply used nor is any Linux, farly rather needs a pretty bit love while learning and seeking for so much wonderful things to discover. When I had decided to definitely damn Microsoft a two years ago, at the beginning with distros derived from Debian and Ubuntu, I had to start in an adventure having first appeared quite more than a challenge. Meantime, however, it has become a great success gaining in a mighty enrichment of my computing skills. And while turning more and more towards rpm-based systems I have finally run into Fedora as the best one:
As of today Fedora's dnf offers the best dependency resolution found anywhere. Getting rid of that quirky GNOME desktop environment by installing KDE Plasma isn't really a huge effort, and having done so from fc23 on one will see it working more hassle-free than any other distro today succeeds in. As easy, (for fc23 and up) UnitedRPMs' repo can be added to receive all MM software ever desired. Sticking at trifles like having fallen out of sudoers is ridiculous. Just learn the howto with managing commandline, vi and so on! (As just a counsel, you may alternatively install Midnite Commander to open it in terminal as su and then easily handle some configuration files!)
Fedora's only true competitor, I think, is openSUSE Tumbleweed, but as of now in some way may suck a lot as well as in comparison with other rpm-based ditros showing several peculiarities so keeping the second ranking behind Fedora ...
19 • Fedora 24 (by Chris on 2016-07-04 11:32:49 GMT from Europe)
I really like fedora, but I have a long history with this distro trying to recognise USB devices, even now, no way to use a couple Samsung laser -mod. 2011, well, I tested almost every distro incl BSDs and Solaris, its just fedora so problematic with (some) USB printers, I will stay with OpenSUSE and Debian.
20 • FreeBSD 11 (by Paraquat on 2016-07-04 11:51:23 GMT from Asia)
I've been wanting to install FreeBSD on my desktop machine for the past two years, but haven't been very happy with FBSD 10.x because it lacks video acceleration for my Intel graphics chip. Ditto for my Toshiba laptop, which coincidentally requires the same driver.
The good news is that FBSD 11 has Intel graphics support, and that the beta1 version is due out on July 8 (this coming Friday). If the developers can stick to the planned release schedule, we'll be seeing beta2 on July 15 and beta3 on July 22. You can view the schedule here:
Exciting times just ahead.
21 • @18 If true, this is really BAD. (by user on 2016-07-04 12:10:33 GMT from Europe)
"In fact, no unixoid system is an OS just for getting simply used nor is any Linux"
Why ever not? Many people need "an OS just for getting simply used". Are you trying to say that people who just want their computer to work MUST stick with Windows? (Note that MacOS is also unixoid.)
What kind of OS can such people use?
Perhaps you really mean that _Fedora_ is not for "getting simply used". Thats ok - I'm not interested in an OS that needs a complete update every 6 months anyway.
22 • If You Run Fedora on a Server, You Wouldn't Be Fussing with Gnome and Codecs (by joncr on 2016-07-04 12:26:01 GMT from North America)
First, if you're running Fedora on a production server, why? Like all those updates? Like that 12-month support lifetime?
Second, if you do run Fedora on a server, why are you fussing with Gnome and codecs?
Fedora *does* have considerably less hand-holding than distros like Ubuntu and Mint that target naive users. However, Debian, for example, is much like Fedora in that regard and that distro is consistently, and inappropriately, recommended to naive users.
Sudoers: When you create your user during the install, there is an option to set that user as the "administrator". This is accomplished by adding that user to the wheel group (a very common approach in Linux). The default sudoers file in Fedora enables all wheel members to escalate privileges with the use of "sudo". Not sure what happened to the reviewer's sudoers file. but the message she saw would be displayed if she had neglected to make her user an "administrator". (Or if that file had been somehow mangled, which seems unlikely.) A user can be added to any group, using a GUI or the command line.
I prefer the desktop experience Fedora provides over other distros. I prefer the rapid-but-not-rolling updates. I find it's graphic stack for Intel is snappier than others. I use my own post-install script.
23 • LibreOffice AppImage (by Klaus on 2016-07-04 12:35:13 GMT from Asia)
Here is a direct link to a LibreOffice AppImage:
As indicated on the official AppImage page here we can find AppImages of many common applications: https://bintray.com/probono/AppImages
Once you are on the application page, click on the Files tab.
I tried the LibreOffice 5.2beta on a Ubuntu 14.04 and it seemed to work perfectly, fast, and even concurrently with my already installed 5.1 version.
Very positively impressed!
24 • @21 Please, don't misunderstand me! (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2016-07-04 13:07:52 GMT from Europe)
What I want to say is that everybody should catch the opportunity and understand the benefits of at all being able to go deep inside a system later on. From Windows 7 on Microsoft has made such attempts more and more difficult. Windows XP and Server 2003 (The latter, I was loving it!) were the last good products of MS. And, compared with the progress of IT as it's happening among all software architecture as well as demanded by most people I think Linux' many little foibles should gratefully be accepted aware of the gift having the holder of a PC though remain it's master:
These days I'm going to litter my last MS system (Windows Server 2008 R2) I've kept for any emergency request presumed in the past - for I've learned there's nothing not to get working on Linux if only seriously tried to target ...
25 • Breaking sudo on Fedora (by Scott Dowdle on 2016-07-04 13:31:57 GMT from North America)
@Christine: The correct way to give someone sudo access is not to edit the /etc/sudoers file but to add them to the wheel group. I had not previously ever heard of someone losing sudo access after the install... so I'm guessing that you did something to remove yourself from the wheel group. Does that ring a bell?
I don't think your review was especially helpful. You took a supposition that Fedora is for IT people who use EL... and then molded everything to support that. You are completely new to GNOME 3 and didn't know what you were doing during the short time span involved in writing a review. Not a surprise. I imagine if you tried any distro and picked a desktop environment that is completely new to you, it is going to take a while for it to grow on you... and probably not in a couple of days to a week... if at all. GNOME 3 does have quite a following outside of Fedora but it isn't my preferred environment either.
The main reason I'm a Fedora fan is because Fedora and Red Hat sponsor / are the major developers on a lot of software I care about... and using Fedora allows me to keep up with that software and more directly interact with the developers if desired. Things like the Linux kernel, gcc, GNOME, KVM, virt-manager, libvirt, sssd, only to name a few. Very few other distros actually develop much software. You actually get to use much of Fedora / Red Hat's work in all of the other distros, just usually a release or two after its in Fedora.
With regards to having to use third-party repos for multi-media codecs... yeah, Red Hat has two options... pay royalties or risk getting sued. How do other distros do it?
26 • Fedora (by Bob on 2016-07-04 14:08:43 GMT from Europe)
Quite agree with @25. And for the sudo "mystery", she said she did "su -c 'dnf install gimp". So I suspect she never used "sudo". She just forgot to tick a box during install, for using her account as admin. Sorry but I've seen better reviews of Fedora.
27 • Fedora (by Moldo on 2016-07-04 14:56:09 GMT from Europe)
Maybe we do download and have a look at it, but how many of us ever use it in day to day work?
28 • Fave shell (by Jordan on 2016-07-04 15:35:04 GMT from North America)
Is okay to admit googling a couple of those on the list? :D
I like the ones that function in different colors and don't yell at the user for making a mistake. lol
29 • Fedora Review (by Donnie on 2016-07-04 16:15:41 GMT from North America)
For the most part, I do enjoy Christine Hall's writing over at FOSSForce. But, I do cringe whenever she tries to review a Linux distro.
Even though Christine has been a technical writer for many years, she's apparently been trapped in the world of *buntu/Mint for most of those years, and doesn't know how to act when she has to deal with something outside of that world. Her failure to become familiar with the basics of setting up a Fedora system caused her to create a review that contains some glaring technical inaccuracies, especially concerning "sudo". (Other folk have already pointed out what the technical inaccuracies are, so I won't belabor the point.)
Frankly, had I been the chief editor of Distrowatch, I would have rejected this review, and I would insist on reviewers being able to actual figure out how to use a distro before reviewing it.
30 • Fedora review (by Jesse on 2016-07-04 16:25:04 GMT from North America)
>> "Frankly, had I been the chief editor of Distrowatch, I would have rejected this review"
I edited Ms Hal's review and also tested Fedora for myself to compare notes. Frankly, I think she went easy on the distro. Fedora 24 was slow, buggy, the package manager frequently locked up and, upon installing the first round of updates, the system faieled to boot on my equipment. I have not had an experience with Fedora this bad since Fedora 9, about eight years ago. What she wrote about sudo is not inaccurate. There may (or may not) be a misunderstanding regarding sudo's defaults, but the painful way Fedora handles permissions is enitrely on point.
31 • This Week Distrowatch (by John on 2016-07-04 16:32:50 GMT from North America)
@Christine and @ Jesse: Finally - some reviews with practical points of view - like about Fedora or the supposedly Universal Apps.
Yes the great thing about Open Source is the choice and freedom available, but the Linux world will never really make the headway it could until it gets the necessary polish and cooperation.
Too often, Linux users are dismissive of suggestions that make things easier and smoother to use, saying stuff like "oh - just do a quick edit of these config files and everything will be fine" or "just read the manual" or the constant forking of everything. If people stopped trying to make "their way" the best way and instead focused on actually making a way that really was universal, and making sure that way "just works" we'd all be better off.
And before you all say I'm just lazy or not technical enough, I've been working in IT for over 20 years and using Linux since Slackware 2 - but just because I can make something work, doesn't mean I want to waste the time doing what other distros do for me. I want to use my computer to actually get stuff done, not spend time and effort on just making it work, and based on what I read here today, obviously I'm not the only one.
32 • Thanks for keys + snap/flat review (by Brisn on 2016-07-04 16:33:41 GMT from North America)
Thanks for confirming my gut on snap/flat and existence of a third option I didn't know that existed. There lies the problem with a lot of things in Linux/BSD land: lack of marketing and the belief that Linux is for geek/engineering types only which simply isn't true.
Also very thankful to making keys available, we (collectively as a community) have needed this for some time! Two suggestions: couldnt find on site map, and link to source of keys *and* your copy. This protects us and helps us see sources match.
33 • Apricity (by Mike on 2016-07-04 17:30:23 GMT from North America)
Hey #2 drac, great comments. I have been running Apricity Cinnamon on my HP Chromebook 14 for a little over a month now and the experience has been better than expected. It's been quick, clean and stable so far with a very well thought out and attractive interface. I hope they they keep up the good work. I've tried a boatload of arch derivatives and this seems to be a distro with a future.
34 • kudos_for_keys (by k on 2016-07-04 17:35:48 GMT from Europe)
Seconding Brisn's comment # 32, thank you very much DistroWatch for the signing keys, really essential and timely.
35 • Fedora 24 experience so far (by far2fish on 2016-07-04 17:53:00 GMT from Europe)
Perhaps I have been lucky so far, but for me Fedora 24 has been a smooth experience. I installed the KDE Plasma spin and installed all the latest updates. Then I installed Google Chrome, VirtualBox, Keepass, ksuperkey, LibreOffice, Eclipse Neon Java IDE, rpmfusion free and non-free and uninstalled Calligra, Konquerer and a few unwanted utilities.
Have only had two minor problems so far:
- When running the KDE Plasma spin Live disk I was unable to connect to my wifi network. After install no problem with Wifi.
- Applications added to the Plasma panel have disappeared from the panel after a reboot. No major issue as I can launch them from the Favorites tab on the pop-up menu instead.
36 • Fedora (by hw on 2016-07-04 18:04:25 GMT from North America)
I thought the review of Fedora 24 was well written and probably truthful. I have never used Fedora but have looked at it in the past.
With all the different distros out there, most people don't want to have to learn how to dig into the install to get things working for them, they just want a distro that works when they get it installed. Of course, at my age (73), I like things easy.
37 • Fedora cost/benefit don't add up (by linuxista on 2016-07-04 18:25:57 GMT from North America)
I installed Fedora once years ago, and it didn't last long in the darwinian struggle of distros in the various partitions on my machine. I'm sure it can be a great distro, particularly for those who are already familiar with it, but for the the cost / benefit of it just doesn't make sense. If I wanted cutting or bleeding edge and the newest desktops as soon as they hit downstream, I can use an Arch respin or Manjaro. If I wanted a release upgrade model that really upgrades, I would use Ubuntu or Mint. If I wanted purely free software, I could use Trisquel or the like. If I wanted to spend time manually configuring things, I could use Gentoo, Slackware or install Arch from scratch. Maybe a Fedora user could explain the advantages, or if it sort of hits the sweet spot among this criteria. I must be missing something.
38 • Apricity (by linuxista on 2016-07-04 18:38:01 GMT from North America)
As an Arch user with a new machine, I'm on the verge of doing a fresh install of Arch. I don't want to migrate my still sweetly functioning 6 year old arch install from my old machine, primarily because of UEFI on the new box.
So I was curious about Apricity and the strong recommendations. Their website seems to stress that it's optimized or built around web apps which, for me at least, is a strike against it. Can a user of Apricity make an argument for the distro for someone who would be disabling all of the functionality of the web apps?
I've already got Manjaro installed on one of two root partitions. On the second I'm considering using Architect Linux, Antergos (since Gnome3 will be my primary desktop), or Pacbang to install. I used Archbang as the install medium for my previous Arch but now it's OpenRC only, and I like (sorry purists :) ) systemd.
Any useful tips or suggestions would be appreciated.
39 • Knowledge and universal packages (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-04 18:39:53 GMT from North America)
@31 If you've been in IT for that long, then you know that there is no universally easy way of doing anything. People that possess very little knowledge of the device or its OS will find a way to break things. Attempting to alleviate this through software just places more software layers in the system and this slows things down. The key, as always, is knowledge. The problem is how to teach the users some basic skills without making them feel stupid. I have always believed that every computer user should have an understanding of the system they use, if only to avoid unexpected data loss.
What concerns me about universal packages is the amount of duplicated software or rather multiple versions of support libraries. One of the reasons for using libraries was to reduce redundancy. IMHO, package repos operated by the distro maintainers or support sites still provide the best options for package management.
40 • love the distro website (by Bill Savoie on 2016-07-04 19:06:27 GMT from North America)
I got hot about Suse @15, but I really wanted to thank Christine Hall. Talking about Linux is like arguing religion. Everyone is an expert, and they all think they are right and you are wrong. Such is the life of freedom, and dealing with big egos.
Your article was informative, and you told it from what you understand. That is all we can ask for.. Long term, the hammer shapes the hand, as Jackson Brown tells us in one of his songs.. (The size of hammer you pick up will dictate how strong your hand becomes.) which translates into, you will learn a lot about linux if you keep reporting. Wisdom comes the hard way, if you are thin skinned. See the ego, and religion in your readers. Bottom line is that we all love what you do, and keep doing it and more.
Keep shining.. you are a good writer and more needs to be spoken about linux. Thanks for the work you choose to do.
41 • @37 Fedora cost/benefit (by far2fish on 2016-07-04 20:31:14 GMT from Europe)
It probably depends why some people enjoy Fedora. Take a look at fedoramagazine.org and read the "How do you Fedora?" series for a few answers.
Or you could look for interviews with the man himself. Linus Torvalds is a Fedora XFCE spin user.
Personally I enjoy Fedora because it is a futuristic view into what Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its downstream CentOS and Oracle Linux will (most likely) contain a few years from now. Also I like the fact that Fedora and its sponsor Red Hat are very good at contributing upstream as well. Kernel development and Gnome development as prime examples.
My major issue with Fedora, and is why I don't have it as a primary distro any longer is the frequent upgrades/reinstalls model. Twice a year is far too often for my taste. So I get your drift with using an Arch based distro instead.
42 • @13 (by matteo on 2016-07-04 20:38:00 GMT from Europe)
the biggest annoiance in this corporate-oriented open source developement is the NIH syndrome. the case of AppImage vs snap and flakpak is evidence that reinventing the wheel is a really stupid thing.
43 • @31 distros (by Moldo on 2016-07-04 20:40:27 GMT from Europe)
Most people use computers the same way as point and click cameras. Most don't even know how to install the distro/OS, and would aks someone else to install it for them. All they want is to use the computer. Some maybe artists and would like to do some graphic stuff, some may want to play music, some even write articles. All they want the computer to work. Not go about correcting this and that. That's exactly what Linux distros usually doesn't give the user. Fedora wouldn't at all. Fedora's mom, Rhel would of course install it for money and the end users (the corporate desk workers) would only have to use the computer, not correct problems. Fedora is asking you to correct the problems, sop Rhel won't have much for its money making.
44 • @37 • Fedora cost/benefit don't add up (by mandog on 2016-07-04 22:44:45 GMT from South America)
Fedora, Arch, Gentoo, which is the odd one out Gentoo as its unix based, Linux is Linux what ever flavour you use.
What Has Ubuntu/ Fedora in common they are both experimental and tied to there mothership what they are now is the snapshot of what is to come in a couple of years in the mother stable distribution.
So how do you get cost/benefit don't add up from Did you pay for Fedora do you pay for Ubuntu, I never have. I have used most Linux flavours none are perfect,
Some try to hold your hand some basically tell you to go away and learn before you try to install. If you don't like the way a distro or its community addresses the user go somewhere else or have a hard think why is it so popular, maybe its not that bad Fedora is in the top 10 along with Mint/ Ubuntu/ majaro/ arch / Debian why. Cause it might not be fore you but certainly is for a lot of users. Look at a recent Cent review that was fedora a few releases ago and that reviewer does not take prisoners when he does a review, see your self why Fedora is worth it.
45 • correction (by mandog on 2016-07-04 22:48:17 GMT from South America)
When I say Gentoo is unix based I don't mean its based on unix but uses the unix file system principles as did Arch before systemD
46 • Favourite command line shell (by cykodrone on 2016-07-04 22:55:55 GMT from North America)
I chose 'other', because whatever comes with the distro. In my current case, bash.
47 • Fedora 24 Review. (by fr4nk1yn on 2016-07-04 23:29:41 GMT from North America)
I'm a long time Linux user but still a n00b.
I don't develop and don't admin systems. I just like that it's free and much more responsive than Windows on the same computers.
I find Fedora 24 a joy to use in every aspect, But then again my long time distro of choice before was OpenSUSE.
48 • Fedora wheels (by ilambs fleecing ihumans on 2016-07-05 00:44:28 GMT from North America)
Appreciate Fedora's development of cutting edge software and concern for security. And "boxes" in gnome is a useful app. However, it is development that is in line with a standard linux distro format. There are other distros that are pushing the boundaries in a more innovative way - such as NixOS for package management, and Qubes, TAILS, Parrot for security.
# 42 Agree linux does have a problem: either it's forging new pathways - which then become slow to mature - or it's reinventing wheels. Exciting but frustrating at the same time!
49 • Fedora's strengths really are worth considering. (by Warren Postma on 2016-07-05 01:01:18 GMT from North America)
I am a bigger fan of Debian than Fedora these days,but I have been completely away from the RPM-based distros for years and having come back to spend time with them, I find a lot to recommend OpenSuSE and Fedora.
Fedora's installer is pretty good. It's package maintainers do just as good a job as Debian's legendary team at making a stable distribution. This is why we use distros. Because we might even know how to download some source code and build it all ourselves, but unfortunately things break a lot when we do that.
Fedora's repositories may lack non-free stuff but it's not exactly difficult to configure. Frankly the big difference between Fedora and OpenSuse for me is that I miss YAST, a fantastic configuration tool which works when the X11 server is up (as a gui) and works when it's not up and you only have a text console. It's impressed me enough that OpenSUSE is now my main distro at home.
I am surprised at anybody who tries OpenSUSE and is not at least a bit impressed by it. I'm a long time apt-get using Debian loving linux geek but the RPM distros are worthy of time and attention too.
50 • sudo, AppImage, Fedora (by mikef90000 on 2016-07-05 01:33:20 GMT from North America)
@3 and all, unless you need to create some finer grained permissions one does Not have to edit the sudoers file to give a user sudo rights.
Just add the user to the appropriate group (Debian / Ubuntu = sudo, IIRC Fedora = wheel)
Thanks for the heads up on AppImage, I've tried snapd and it is in a pretty primitive state.
No Fedora fan either. I find the installer still unintuitive as hell. Some metapackages have wierd dependencies. DNF still seems much slower than APT (synaptic rocks!). I've had much better success with CentOS for setting up a stable desktop environment.
@6 re merging RedHat and Canonical, that would be the WORST of both worlds! Don't even think that! Canonical keeps reinventing the wheel, and RedHat still doesn't get that large corporations need a 'lighter weight' DE than GNOME or KDE for older systems.
51 • Fedora 24 setup (by Chris on 2016-07-05 04:34:38 GMT from North America)
For easy install of apps, from the Sayak Biswas (Distrowatch Fedora page) review of Fedora 23, install 'fedy':
bash -c 'su -c "curl http://folkswithhats.org/fedy-installer -o fedy-installer && chmod +x fedy-installer && ./fedy-installer"'
My Fedora 24 install is pretty simple:
install cinnamon desktop,
dnf install @cinnamon-desktop
install Google Chrome browser:
use google search in Firefox for 'google chrome browser download', Save the file.
install yumex, Fedora graphical package manager,
in 'preferences' reset refresh interval from 12 hours to 1 hour
use yumex to install Google Chrome Browser.
I've installed Fedora 24 on all seven of my computers, all 5 years old or more. No problem.
Each computer has Debian Jessie 8.5, stable, which I use for boot loader. Fedora's boot loader syntax is too complex to remember. Disable Fedora boot loader install: from the link, in fine print, on the bottom of the drive selection page. (Yes, make the user an administrator.) The reviewer, Christine, seems a bit naive.
Each computer has Debian siduction, unstable, which keeps me upgrading frequently.
Each computer has openSuse, it has drivers for my Adaptec SCSI controller and old HP ScanJet 4P out of the box.
Each computer has Windows 10.
Well, that's what I have to say about Fedora 24. I use it to read the NY Times and download and view pictures.
52 • wheel group (by BluPhoenyx on 2016-07-05 05:42:00 GMT from North America)
@50 One issue with always using the wheel group is that every distro that does so now has a common weak point. This actually breaks security just to make the desktop a little easier for John or Jane Doe. Granted, this is a choice that each user must make on their own, but most distributions take this option away by configuring an easy way out. That is the problem with making an OS for everyone. The more it gets dumbed down, the easier it is to wreak havoc on the system.
53 • @23 AppImage (by Moldo on 2016-07-05 09:26:56 GMT from Europe)
Thank you for directing to AppImage. Tried it and its good, really good. Must learn how to.
54 • Fedora 24 (by Sayth Renshaw on 2016-07-05 09:31:45 GMT from Oceania)
24 now has to be one of the simplest distro's to install, it has one confusing step with disks fibrin people need to forget old Reputation and view with new eyes.
With dnf the upgrade from 23 to 24 was flawless.
Until 23 I had been an on again off again user of fedora because of the instability so mainly used ubuntu. Now have to say at most productive in a long time with the latest fedora workstation releases
55 • My way of having happyness risen on Fedora all along (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2016-07-05 10:42:48 GMT from Europe)
Well, I'm still testing new OS editions, more'n'more, for I simply like it. Thus, I'd to find a way to set up systems straightly as well as in short time only. While doing like this again'n'again my personal files must be held all available as well as in some secure technical distance equally from what system ever. So I created a lot of logical drives on my SAS-RAID, each one appearing to any OS as a complete device. One of these devices is my personal storage. In every newly installed system's /home// I create a subfolder where by fstab the distant personal drive's data partition gets mounted. Practically I've the same user name and password everywhere.
So far ever possible I work on KDE Plasma, if necessary having it installed first of all. On a new mainstream (with that ugly GNOME) featured Fedora the way to do so is "# dnf group install kde-desktop-environment" followed by a reboot and at the new login (picking the gear symbol) choosing "Plasma". All next I'll install Yakuake, a drop down terminal simply to be opened and closed by calling F12. Therein I log in by typing "su -" holding this status open to always be able to do administrative tasks. First of all I use this to install mc (Midnite Commander). That's an old style file manager, may be still wellknown to people from MS-DOS. It runs in terminal and has a simple text editor included which will enable a user to change system configuration files on avoiding vi (brrr), after just been called by typing "mc" in Yakuake. Next steps are creating the subfolder already explained, then writing a corresponding mount entry in /etc/fstab followed by calling "mount -a", afterwords substituting home subfolders like Documents/, Downloads/ and so on with symlinks to certain folders of the freshly mounted personal drive. So I always have the same personal files available from each of my currently five systems. Completing an installation of Fedora using "dnf config-manager --add-repo='...' | update | search | info | install '...'" is a pushover and as I think because of the descriptive output a better way than each graphical tool.
I'm going to close telling you that presently KDE Plasma 5.x really works best in Fedora (from 23 on, including the good clones Korora and Chapeau, the latter natively with GNOME, yet), whereas the only "debioid" distro equally succeeding now seems to be Neon ...
56 • Just one important matter to talk about: hardware! (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2016-07-05 11:27:56 GMT from Europe)
As I think many a PC user wants to be able to print and to scan, nearly as often to use other special peripherals, a lot of them all to have been set up and got functional by proprietary drivers.
I've been so sorry I had to leave very interesting systems behind me, as there are Arch, Slackware, Gentoo, some LFS and many clones - for drivers mostly are exclusively available as .rpm or .deb, and though having saught many many hours everywhere across the web I havn't found useable tools or at least sufficient documentation (!) of system architecture differences to recompile the ones needed by myself to get them work on any of those exotic systems.
I am the proud owner of a Canon colour laser printer i-sensys LBP7100Cn (a model working only UFRII printer language), an Epson Perfection V370 Photo scanner and an Eaton Ellipse ECO 1200 UPS.
Driver installation CAN be done on a debioid OS, but because of dependencies that's pure horror, and on some versions of Ubuntoids it will lack service. However, installing an .rpm by Yum as well as by Zypper is so much easier - and by Dnf has simply brought me nothing than wishless fun ...
57 • @38, Apricity @linuxista (by Hoos on 2016-07-05 11:31:50 GMT from Asia)
"... curious about Apricity... Their website seems to stress that it's optimized or built around web apps which, for me at least, is a strike against it. Can a user of Apricity make an argument for the distro for someone who would be disabling all of the functionality of the web apps?"
Actually Apricity is in essence just an installable image of a very beautified Arch installation. Aesthetics-wise they have done a good job.
From what I can see, by web apps optimization, they mean they have ICE to help create web apps out of webpages from the internet. That way you can click directly on the created link/icon and have just that webapp open in its own window without opening the whole browser. Peppermint Linux has had this for years.
They also pre-install Syncthing, some sort of tool that works through browsers to help you store and share your data among all your own computers.
Apart from that it's a normal Arch Linux installation and there is not much webapp-related stuff to uninstall, I think.
I installed their beta in Dec 2015 just to try alongside my Manjaro installation, since Apricity is supposed to be using Arch repos primarily instead of its own, except maybe for the aesthetics-related packages plus packages they use as default in their installation image, e,g, pamac and ice.
It's been rolling since, and runs well and quick. However my usage is standard with only about 4 AUR packages, so it has not really been tested seriously.
I would consider it a quick way to get an all-tricked-out, mainly-Arch installation, similar to Antergos.
The question is, who is behind Apricity? Is the "Chicago-based team" a one person show? Will it last?
But even if it didn't, the Arch parts will keep on rolling, I should think.
58 • Fedora (by Jordan on 2016-07-05 12:45:44 GMT from North America)
That review bears out my experiences with Fedora (I only try it once every couple of years).
Interestingly, CentOs behaves in a similar manner on my test laptop as Fedora. A bit "heavy," buggy and with occasional issues after updating things. Of course Gnome sucks on both of them.
Anyway, I've always wondered about Fedora (and Suse); such grand old distros but not up to par as Manjaro, PCLinuxOS, or even Netrunner.
59 • Fedora 24 (by rcec52 on 2016-07-05 13:28:54 GMT from North America)
No bad comments here from me. Fedora 24 was a simple install. . .dnf update
installed all of the latest packages. It works for me on my old laptop. I use yumex to install all of the rest of the stuff I needed. I think the review was a bit harsh on Fedora but won't hold anyone over the fire for it. Gnome 3.20 works well. I typicall use Manjaro and Antergos on my other desktops so it was a surprise that Fedora installed without any glitches. . .
60 • @57 Apricity is beautified Arch? (by far2fish on 2016-07-05 13:41:39 GMT from Europe)
Based on the screen dumps provided, it looks to me that Apricity is simply using the Numix circle icons theme, which is indeed very beautyful.
But you can of course install Numix icons for other distros and other DE's too, at least for Gnome, Unity, Xfce and Openbox.
61 • Fedora, Gnome and Sudo, oh my! (by Karl on 2016-07-05 14:18:54 GMT from North America)
Fedora was my second ever daily driver, years ago, after a long affair with Linux Mint. I remember there was a learning curve and a whole lot of google searching. Gnome added to Fedora's "free only' policy really makes the usability limited. Since then I've used a couple dozen distros from all over the Linuxsphere and almost every D.E. available. Somehow I've come back to Gnome and a Fedora based distro. Gnome is so much better with extensions, extensions and more extensions. After installing the Tweak Tool you'll find there's pretty much an extension to customized or add functionality to any aspect of Gnome. Couple that with learning a few keyboard short-cuts and Gnome can become a very productive desktop environment. These days I skip most of the effort required by using Korora. Korora comes with all the non-free goodies out of the box and some nice tweaks of there own.
And yes, Sudo is not installed on Fedora by default. Same with Debian. Type "su then your password and away you go.
And no, I have no experience in IT, software development, or system administration (well I guess my system) I'm a carpenter from California. So if I can do it believe me anyone can. :)
I really liked the review because it brought back a lot of memories of me asking myself "What the hell kinda distro is this?" and "How is Fedora raked to high on the Distrowatch chart?" If you stick with it, it is interesting to learn.
62 • Fedora is what it is... (by Karl on 2016-07-05 14:24:35 GMT from North America)
Also, let's not forget, Fedora is essentially the testing grounds for Red Hat.
63 • Fedora (by scrumtime on 2016-07-05 14:33:47 GMT from North America)
When anyone reviews Fedora I always ebding up agreeing with the good and the bad parts....
I actually used to like Fedora a few years back then it seemed to go to the dogs big style and has never fully recovered...I don't remember if it was a different machine or an upgrade but the effort to fix it was way too much for the final products benefits....and the Forum was less than friendly and helpful....
I have a lot of machines and have been happily running a selection of distros with none of the stress that fedora caused....i.e Gentoo, Calculate, Slackware, Manjaro..
i had a little use with Fuduntu (fedora based) which was refreshingly good I could even leave my wife on it unsupervised with no disasters...
I Think I have only Used BASH shell I rarely do much more than Basic usage ..i am not nor have any wish to be a scripter so many Nuances of other shells are lost on me unless they write their own scripts..
Outstanding to see another New Slackware Distro... well done
64 • @60 - apricity (by Hoos on 2016-07-05 14:47:42 GMT from Asia)
Beauty is of course subjective, but the Numix Circle icons are very nice IMO. Gtk3 theme used by Apricity is Arc or a variant thereof.
Also they have used the dash to dock gnome extension to make the dock horizontal, and modified the icon for the "Show All Applications" button on the dock. Open gnome-terminal and you see powerline-shell. And there are lots of nice wallpapers.
Like I said, totally "tricked-out" (pimped) Arch.
Obviously anyone can customise their already-installed distros or other DEs to make it look like Apricity.
But linuxista asked if there were any reasons why he should install Apricity instead of Antergos, Arch via Architect, or Pacbang, on his new computer.
So the take-home point from my @57 post is that it is "a quick way to get an all-tricked-out, mainly-Arch installation, similar to Antergos." If you like the apricity look or setup, go for it. If you find it over the top with too much stuff you deem unnecessary, there are other choices for Arch-based.
65 • Apricity and Fedora users (by linuxista on 2016-07-05 14:48:42 GMT from North America)
@57 and others. I appreciate the very informative comments about both distros. It seems that Fedora is doing some things right, especially recently, but I'll wait a bit before I try it out again. I'm so satisfied with Manjaro and Arch for my use case that it's difficult to convince myself to take on the (small) learning curve of another distro family. In fact, I've never had much experience with any RPM distro, my distro-hopping days probably occurring at the nadir of OpenSuse and Fedora stability. But one of these days when I feel like experimenting, I'll probably take another look.
66 • @ 64 beauty (by Litvi on 2016-07-05 15:04:42 GMT from Europe)
Maybe this kind of launcher with round icons is nice, https://s6.postimg.org/ntne64yxt/The_launcher.png
67 • Fedora (by David Hess on 2016-07-05 15:57:21 GMT from North America)
I have been a long time fedora user on my personal PC. It certainly has its faults, and the stability of the individual pieces (Kernel, Desktop Environment, Etc) does vary from release to release, because they so closely track upstream packages. But i find it to be perfectly usable and love using it.
But i found this review to be frustrating, because it falls into the type of review that basically follows the formula: i tried this, didn't work, failed. A review should be providing expert knowledge. Yes it is helpful to provide feedback of what issues a new user might run into, but that is better provided as User Acceptance Testing, not a review.
The main section of this review is just called "Fedora's Breakable Linux". and that conclusion is 100% flawed as has been pointed out many times.
If reviewing Fedora 24, i would expect at least a mention of what any new features might be.
68 • Reveiwing the review (by Scott Dowdle on 2016-07-05 17:13:12 GMT from North America)
@30 Jesse - it would be nice to be able to somehow investigate the issues you report and make progress on them. I haven't experienced any of the problems you mentioned... but I rarely run my systems in a default state. I avoid GUI package managers and I turn off the dnf-makecache.timer unit.. which I suspect would be the root cause of perceived GUI package manager "lock-ups". So far as "slow and buggy" goes , that is pretty much subjective... and given the rate of updates and fixes during Fedora's lifecycle if a bug gets reported and a developer cares, it should get fixed if it isn't overly difficult. Not booting after a kernel update is a major issue. Were any third-party kernel modules involved? I don't want to shy away from bug reports but they really should be reported especially if they can be duplicated.
I realize that Fedora isn't for everyone. no distro is... but the differences in perceived reality is rather striking. How does one explain everything working well for some users and horribly for others? I know hardware differences can be a big issue but I don't want to simply blame it on that. I think most everyone has the best intentions... and that no one is making things up.
I'm not sure what you mean by "but the painful way Fedora handles permissions is enitrely on point" but I would like to find out. Are you generally referring to GNOME 3.x's settings? Or something that trickles throughout most or all of Fedora's spins?
What I want from a Fedora review (or any distro review):
1) How does the new release differ from the previous one... aka what's new?
2) How does Fedora's implementation of GNOME 3 in Workstation differ from another distros? (if reviewing the GNOME 3 spin)
3) A brief mention of any "known issues" both as reported by the distro at release time as well as any encountered by the reviewer
4) An overview of the general landscape for the uninitiated... what are the default applications... what other spins are available... where is community support found, etc.
5) What if anything has the release contributed to the overall Linux ecosystem?
A review of... "I'm fairly ignorant about this distro as well as the desktop environment but look, it isn't like what I'm used to... therefor it is harder to use and isn't for me... but I had to write this thing anyway... oh and by the way here are the issues I encountered" again... isn't really helpful. It isn't that I'm adverse to criticism towards Fedora... and I do think that distrowatch is an equal opportunity criticizer most of the time. I have written a fair share of distro reviews over the years and realize they are generally not fun to write... especially when we've been through this cycle of... write a review... some don't like it and they complain at me... repeat... for a couple of years now.
69 • Fedora Review (by kc1di on 2016-07-05 22:16:43 GMT from North America)
I must say that this review is more negative than normal. And I find it quite biased. I'm not Fedora expert , but just a casual user of that Distro. and I haven't got quite the negative feel you seem to have.
There are problems in every new release of any distro. So I think I'll that this review with a grain of salt. And form my own opinions about Fedora 24 .. It has not been that difficult to use in my experience.
I have not try the cloud stuff though.
70 • package management alternative (by LinuxLitefingers Jonny on 2016-07-06 04:16:18 GMT from Europe)
With competing package managers and dependency hell still a problem, there is still room for USB-run apps, like Orbital Apps. Dependencies are included, which may make the files larger, but there are GBs of storage available nowadays. This would be most useful for uncommon apps that always seem to have dependency problems.
71 • @ 23 AppImage - there'd be app watching in the future! (by OstroL on 2016-07-06 05:54:50 GMT from Europe)
Thank you very much for giving the link to AppImage. I was thinking of something like this for a long time and like you, I am very positively impressed!
This makes my "installed" linux system really portable. I don't exactly need to have apps installed anymore. I can use my capacitive hard disk to hold documents, books, music, videos and so on, rather than keeping a large installed "distro." The idea of a "distribution" suddenly vanishes.
Now, the road is open for something I wanted from "Linux" for long, long time. All I need now is a simple operating system, some sort of a graphical system (server) to show my apps on the screen, a simple file manager (more likely a file holding app) and learn what Simon Peter (probono) is telling.
Gone is the need of a desktop environment (DE)! Gone is the need of Gnome, KDE or XFCE or whatever. A simple (and highly reliable) window manager like Openbox is all that's needed. And, few "installed" apps to conect to the internet, show your battery state and few more apps. If you are using a laptop, you don't even need apps that control the light and sound.
The apps I need can be carried in a usb stick. The OS can be carried. The hard disk becomes back again, what it should be, a holding place for your private data.
In the very near future, we may not be "watching" for distros, but looking for real small operating systems and "watching Apps."
72 • appimage, snap and flatpak (by orbitalbob on 2016-07-06 09:48:11 GMT from Europe)
Seems to me that what appimage lacks is auto upgrades and delta downloads.
73 • 72 • appimage, snap and flatpak (by Alex on 2016-07-06 10:18:35 GMT from Europe)
If the app works, there is no real need to upgrade, especially auto-upgrade. The whole idea is not to give the right to the app to auto-upgrade. You keep that right. You decide if you want to upgrade. That way, you are safe.
74 • appimage, snap and flatpak (by orbitalbob on 2016-07-06 11:27:42 GMT from Europe)
@73 What if a security hole is discovered in the application or one of it's dependencies? I don't want to constantly grind the web for new about how secure my applications are.
75 • 74 • appimage, snap, flatpa orbital (by Alex on 2016-07-06 11:58:11 GMT from Europe)
>>@73 What if a security hole is discovered in the application or one of it's dependencies? I don't want to constantly grind the web for new about how secure my applications are.<<
Did you buy them? If not, wait till the person, who gave the app free to find a correction, or throw away your computer.
Or buy proprietary apps.
76 • Fedora - I liked the review (by btroy on 2016-07-06 13:10:45 GMT from North America)
I enjoyed the review of Fedora. A fresh take. Hey, I've tried Fedora back maybe three versions ago and went. Hmm. Okay, I have other choices and I've been doing Linux for 10+ years.
From a person who just wants to use it, I agree with Christine. Go pick something else or you'll be fiddling for life.
It is experimental, so walk that path with that knowledge and enjoy the journey.
77 • Distros or non-distros (by OstroL on 2016-07-06 14:18:33 GMT from Europe)
Take Fedora, we have a fullscreen menu and some useful applets. Take Unity, we have the same. Take XFCE or LXDE, we have the same, a menu that has links to /usr/share/applications. Even the small apps, called applets are being accessed from /usr/share/applications.
These DEs make everything complex by interconnecting file managers and so on, even when that is not at all necessary.
What's in this /usr/share/applications is not yours to do anything with, but owned by some strange fellow called root. Take for example, this Fedora 24; when you (try to) install it, you are installing the this strange guy root's system, in which the Anaconda installer (which is also owned by root) create you as the user, and your home folder and allow you to use some apps as far as you don't try to interfere. Root is the boss, not you. If you are connected to a (distro's) repo, again you are being controlled by the owner of that repo. You just cannot install anything, without becoming the root (at least for a while).
Now, if you have your apps in your home folder, this root and its connected bosses don't have any power over you. That's why self contained apps are good for you. They live in your home folder or in something you own. This is why apps like AppImage would take precedence in the future. It can be appimage, flatpak, snaps or orbital or more. These are going to make you free. You'd also learn to create such apps.
78 • 74 • What if, indeed? (by Somewhat Reticent on 2016-07-06 14:42:35 GMT from North America)
Perhaps there's a market opportunity for a security news feed aggregator+filter generated by a package manager's installed list?
(@78 - @74? or did you intend @75?)
79 • @ 78 • What if, indeed? (by Alex on 2016-07-06 14:57:28 GMT from Europe)
>> What if, indeed?
Perhaps there's a market opportunity for a security news feed aggregator+filter generated by a package manager's installed list? <<
You learn to create the self-contained apps yourself. https://github.com/probonopd/AppImageKit/wiki or https://www.orbital-apps.com/blog/2016/orb-creator-now-available-package-any-linux-software-into-an-orb
80 • @77 root the boss, etc (by Jordan on 2016-07-06 15:12:55 GMT from North America)
Thank you for that perspective, OstroL.
More than interesting.
Using antiX at the moment, and have the real root account with my own password set up (almost said "the root account with its own password").
/usr/share/applications is there. But things can be changed. For now they won't be, but I appreciate that bit of control as need be.
81 • @80 80 root the boss (by ostroL on 2016-07-06 18:25:33 GMT from Europe)
A few years ago, there was a heated argument about Puppy Linux not been safe enough, because it doesn't have a user account. It booted up without a "username." The Puppy creator never hid that root account, and showed us what we really have as a distro (or OS). Btw, I have my own password for root in all my systems, but its still root's password, and I know that password and I am the root. I make a point of not updating or upgrading automatically.
Regarding the "menu," if you have a way to create link(s) to /usr/share/applications, you have a menu, your own one, not what the DE devs push down your throat.
Regarding self-contained apps, I had two before I found out about AppImage, and they were Chrome and Firefox. I also have some other apps, which live in my home folder, some as scripts, some abandoned ones such as old Slingshot launcher. They were uncompressed, but this AppImage one is compressed like an live iso. Something to learn.
82 • @81 • @81 81 root the boss ( (by mandog on 2016-07-06 22:09:02 GMT from South America)
You have a point of sorts with the menu I use JWM wm and write my own as do hardend Openbox/ and other WM users but the point you miss is unless you roll your own they are still there just you don't see them. Putting apps in the home folder is kind of dumb that is the 1st place hackers target you might as well use XP that had no security
83 • @ 82 Root the boss (by OstroL on 2016-07-06 22:28:43 GMT from Europe)
Everything you have in your "installed" system is root owned. You are given a chance to place some stuff inside your "username" folder. You can add or delete any folders/files inside that "username" folder (or directory), but you can't delete your "username" folder. It is root-owned. If you want to delete that /home folder or the ?home/username folder, you have to have the super user privileges. In other words, if any "hacker/cracker" finds out your su password, they might make havoc in your system. So, make your password hard to guess.
Then, you can keep anything in your /home/username folder.
But, do you have to keep your own stuff in exactly /home/username folder? You can make another say, /home_sweet_home/username or /parliament/brexit, right?
84 • package management (by krookedrone on 2016-07-07 03:34:16 GMT from North America)
With all this effort in developing new, easier to use, package managers like flatpack and snappy, we have the solus devs planning to write a new package manager for their distro. So even with such hyped improvements in linux there is still a desire to reinvent wheels.
Then there's the other extreme of solving the packaging problem, such as what blackarch does. It includes all of its app repository within the distro itself. Thousands of apps, which has the advantage of having no need to download anything further. Unfortunately, this leaves no room for everyday productivity software like editors, graphics, etc. So it's another case where some apps on a USB drive would be useful.
85 • User, root and security (by Alex on 2016-07-07 08:37:32 GMT from Europe)
With a Linux live iso, anyone can look into any installed systems in your computer, except of course, if you take away your systems in a portable storage. A little bit hard to look in to a installed win10 ntfs partition, if the win10 user had not put that system fully off, otherwise it is in a suspended still working mode, its pretty hard to look in.
But, any Linux based system in your computer can be accessed by a Linux live iso, and any thing can be done to them. Your Home folder can be accessed, even if it is encrypted. The Home folder can be taken off and send over the internet to any other computer for later checking.
Most distros don't allow you making a root password, claiming that the system would be safer without that password and you gaining access to root. Strange (and funny) state is by using the su (or sudo) you gain access to everything inside your system and all other systems in your computer (except the suspended win10 system). If you use the live iso of the same distro, and write sudo su or su, you are in as the root.
If you have a habit of saving passwords in your web browser, someone can take away your browser's config file (from your Home) to find your passwords. And, so on...
As your Linux system is owned by root (/), you can use your su powers to create another folder in it and hold your private data in it, and that folder can be (tried) to be encrypted. If you are the only user in your computer, creating a user(name) for you in that is somewhat nonsensical. The Linux systems we use today are created for many users, but who would give one's private computer for others to use?
Isn't it interesting to use your computer as the root and have a password for that, which might stop other people with live isos looking in your system?
86 • Please use long gpg key IDs in your database view (by love_long_ids on 2016-07-07 14:35:08 GMT from Europe)
87 • Linux security (by Jordan on 2016-07-07 14:52:55 GMT from North America)
Interesting that such a fundamental thing about linux is being discussed as non secure and difficult to render secure. After all these years of linux users bragging about superiority to Windows and Mac, we can't even keep our files from the eyes of just about anyone with a live linux cd/dvd?
Maybe I'm missing something. I put a live antiX disc in my antiX installed machine and I see locked files in the file manager view.
What did I do right?
88 • @87 Linux security... (by Alex on 2016-07-07 15:12:13 GMT from Europe)
In your booted live iso, open the terminal and write sudo su and the write the name of your file manager. When the file manager opens, do you see "locked" files?
89 • @ 87 Linux security (by Alex on 2016-07-07 15:27:31 GMT from Europe)
Whatever Linux live iso you use, the "user", whose dessktop that opens is called live in many ditros. Some of them open without a password. Some need a username, and a password to open the "live version." For Ubuntu, Fedora for example live session opens automatically, meaning the live session user is without a password.
The live session user's password is created as "no password." In some distros such as Manjaro, you need a username and a password. You write sudo su (for most Debian based systems) su in others and you become Live system's root. Then you break into any part of your system and your installed systems. If you still use win7, you can break into it too.
90 • Cristine's sudo problems... (by moldo on 2016-07-07 16:28:01 GMT from Europe)
GIMP from a terminal with the command "su -c 'dnf install gimp'" . After being prompted for a password, Dandified YUM (Fedora's current package manager) compiled a list of the required dependencies and asked "Is this OK [y/N]"? I typed "y", hit "enter" and waited for the download and installation. In other words, just the same as with apt or any other command line package manager. <<
>> On the day after I'd successfully installed programs and added RPM Fusion from the command line, both actions requiring use of the sudo command, I tried to run a command requiring sudo, only to be told "christine is not in the sudoers file." Evidently, something I'd done the day before -- I have absolutely no idea what -- had inadvertently removed me from the sudoers list. <<
I thought I should read Cristine's narration again on Fedora 24. She was complaining where did sudo go, only she had never used it to install any apps in her installed Fedora. I won't say she is telling a lie, but not exactly the truth. She did not install any apps in that Fedora install using sudo, but using only su. Cristine was never in the sudoer's file right from the beginning.
91 • Linux security @Alex (by Jordan on 2016-07-07 19:32:10 GMT from North America)
Thank you for that.. and yep the folders/files are accessed easily via sudo (and a few other easy methods as you know).
Well.. between that and systemd I guess I'll go back to Windows 10. See ya.
Just kidding of course. I'm one who has no sensitive matter in my computer, unless the perps want to access my Facebook account and make fun of my garden and cat.
92 • @90 Christine's sudo problems (by Awas on 2016-07-07 20:56:58 GMT from North America)
I also think Christine's was not sure what she was doing with Fedora 24.
I don't even have a Facebook account...
93 • @84 package management (by IkeyDoherty on 2016-07-07 23:27:51 GMT from Europe)
> we have the solus devs planning to write a new package manager for their distro
No, I'm rewriting our *existing* one in C to enable greater performance and extensibility.
94 • Fedora kernel issues for Skylake systems (by Scott Dowdle on 2016-07-07 23:31:26 GMT from North America)
This just showed up on Fedora Planet regarding kernel issues after upgrading on Skylake systems. I guess I don't have any of those yet.
95 • @ 93 • package management - IkeyDoherty (by OstroL on 2016-07-08 07:10:01 GMT from Europe)
Would you be doing something on self-contained apps, Ikey?
96 • appimage, snap and flatpak (by orbitalbob on 2016-07-08 08:15:28 GMT from Europe)
Personally I would suggest an app store for appimage files, probably in the style of F-droid. A local daemon keeping tabs on new releases is necessary for a smooth UX IMO. Only problem would be to find someone willing to fork out the $$ and do maintenance. Users probably won't pay. App- and distro devs neither since most of them are giving away the fruits of their labour for free. The likes of Canonical and RedHat allready have their own competing solution so they are out as well.
Maybe someone else can see a silver lining where I only see a dark cloud... :)
(and yes, I intended @75)
97 • @96 pessimists galore! (by Alex on 2016-07-08 08:43:50 GMT from Europe)
>> Maybe someone else can see a silver lining where I only see a dark cloud... :) <<
Those, who always see black clouds are called pessimists...
Some people saw black clouds, when Unit DE came bay, some when Gnome 3 came by. Now some see black clouds because AppImages, Snaps and Flatpaks come by. The world is full of pessimists!
98 • AppImages, Flatpaks, Snaps etc (by OstroL on 2016-07-08 11:15:24 GMT from Europe)
There'll be more such systems in the future to make self-contained apps, so we'd have real portable apps for Linux based operating systems. There'd be also simple operating systems, which would work as platforms for those apps. I hope, the separate main distro/operating systems get together and create a general simple Linux kernel based operating system, as these new self-contained apps would push them to do so.
Those devs (or companies), who would create an operating system, which would use only thesee self-contained apps, that OS would become much more near to the users. User here means not a geek or a semi geek, but an ordinary user, just like billions of Win and Mac users. A user wants to use an app, and that's all a user wants or have time for.
Next is let go of all kinds of extensions, meaning .snap, .AppImage etc, as a binary doesn't need it and Linux system doesn't need it.
And, of course, no one would be worried about "breaking Debian" for example (or Fedora).
99 • @98 self contained apps (by far2fish on 2016-07-08 11:21:27 GMT from Europe)
Quote: "Those devs (or companies), who would create an operating system, which would use only thesee self-contained apps"
The technology is more or less already there. Docker or other implementations of Linux containers.
100 • @99 (by OstroL on 2016-07-08 11:52:04 GMT from Europe)
>> The technology is more or less already there. Docker or other implementations of Linux containers. <<
Not exactly. Too geeky for ordinary users.
A simple operating system - a window manager, a panel or a deck, system tray, a file manager (with or without the ability to take over the desktop), a menu to direct to your apps/files etc, a self-contained web browser and a few more necessary stuff.
Ubuntu and Fedora appears to be creating something like that, but with their own blockades (so-called DEs).
101 • @97 (by Jordan on 2016-07-08 13:37:49 GMT from North America)
Oh come on, Alex. The world is not "full of pessimists" so much as people who want discussion on a full range of issues with regard to linux. All possibilities need to be hashed out.
102 • @101 (by Alex on 2016-07-08 14:42:20 GMT from Europe)
I looked in how to do AppImages, Orbital Apps and Snaps. I created a few AppImage apps. I'm actually seeing Silver Clouds.
103 • Alternative to Snap or Flatpack (by M.Z. on 2016-07-09 17:51:12 GMT from North America)
I saw an interesting article today on an alternative to either Snap or Flatpack that has apparently also been around before the new contenders much like AppImage. Not sure what all the trade offs are between a Nix based system like Guix and something like Snap, but it sounds like a good alternative. It might be worth checking out:
104 • Nix/Guix (by Jesse on 2016-07-09 17:56:35 GMT from North America)
>> "Not sure what all the trade offs are between a Nix based system like Guix and something like Snap, but it sounds like a good alternative. "
Nix and Snap are designed to solve different problems and take completely different approaches to package management. They aren't so much alternatives to each other as different ways of looking at package management. Snaps are supposed to be portable while Nix offers function/recipe style package management. Snaps use a base framework and isolated packages vs Nix setting up atomic snapshots and integrating into the rest of the file system. We have a write-up on Nix here: https://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20151123#nixos
105 • Oops. moldo is right (by Christine Hall on 2016-07-09 19:06:48 GMT from North America)
I think moldo found the problem, and I apologize. I'm so used to using sudo that I didn't notice that when I found a way to stop the constant need to unlock the screen with a password, that the solution was using su instead of sudo. Hence, as many here have surmised, I didn't lose the ability to use sudo, I evidently never had it from the beginning.
This is a big lack of observation on my part, made possible because during installation I'd used the same password for both root and my the user account, which is my practice when installing a distro that will only be used for as long as it takes me to write a review. I would think I would have noticed this however, since when I was working to "restore" sudo I was purposefully using su to gain root access, but there was no ah! moment.
Problem solved. But I apologize to Distrowatch readers for the confusion and to the development team at Fedora for what turns out to be an unwarranted accusation on my part.
And I think Distrowatch user moldo for figuring this out.
106 • Solus (by DR.LONG on 2016-07-09 19:14:28 GMT from North America)
I have recently switched to solus and find the Budgie desktop as well as the distro itself both stable and responsive. Really enjoy using it on a daily basis.
107 • Solus @Dr LONG (by erinis on 2016-07-09 20:33:18 GMT from North America)
@ Dr LONG .. You got it Sir . She works like a charm. Now can anyone tell me or Xplain why my Apricity firewall keeps on getting disabled ? Love the SOLUS yet have options open. Thanks
108 • don't mind christine (by aary on 2016-07-10 15:12:00 GMT from Asia)
To enable sudo during the install process of Fedora/ CentOS is just a matter of checking a single check box, that is, if you happen to know it. If you don't, it's too bad because the installer does not tell you in a clear way. (Which kind of sucks.)
And Fedora is not for noobs anyway. That's true.
Fedora is Debian strech as CentOS is Debian stable.
Sure they are siuper for a cutting edge distro but still.
And like you have Ubuntu and Mint, you always have Korora.
Sorry my English. And BTW, Solus is nice !!!
109 • @108 • don't mind christine (by aary on 2016-07-10 15:12:00 GMT from Asia) (by Finalzone on 2016-07-10 17:53:41 GMT from North America)
"To enable sudo during the install process of Fedora/ CentOS is just a matter of checking a single check box, that is, if you happen to know it. If you don't, it's too bad because the installer does not tell you in a clear way. (Which kind of sucks.)"
It is a matter of refining the information which can be requested via Bugzilla.
The installer actually does by letting the user setting either root and user account. Normally, post-install allows user to set up account and check the administrative status which is valid for Fedora Workstation.
Note the majority of ordinary users doesn't install their own operating system, their friends or vendors do.
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