| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 687, 14 November 2016
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
These days many of us have a lot of files and they take up a lot of disk space. With so much of our lives tied up in electronic documents, digital photos and e-mail it is important for people to have a safe place to store (and backup) their files. This week we begin with a review of NAS4Free, a network attached storage system based on FreeBSD which can be used to store large amounts of data. In our News section we talk about how to manage software repositories on Fedora and new compatibility work being done on ReactOS. Plus we report on Ubuntu-based budgie-remix's new name and compare the performance of several Ubuntu community editions. As usual, we share the distributions released last week and provide a list of torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we talk about how people verify downloaded ISO files they plan to use to install a new operating system. Plus we are pleased to welcome the Endless OS project to our database. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (59MB) and MP3 (45MB) formats
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Storing files with NAS4Free 10.3.0.3
A phrase I find myself repeating over and over, to family, friends and clients is "Make backups of your data." If a file is not backed up then it is one electrical storm, hardware failure or accidental key press away from no longer existing. This naturally leads people to wonder where copies of their data should be stored. There are any number of solutions from optical media to external hard drives, cloud storage to backup tapes. This week I want to talk about a network attached storage (NAS) solution which uses the NAS4Free operating system to manage disks.
NAS4Free runs on ARM and x86 processors which are found in most personal computers and servers which means we can run the operating system on just about any spare computer we have lying around. The project's website describes NAS4Free as follows:
NAS4Free is an embedded Open Source NAS (Network-Attached Storage) distribution based on FreeBSD.
NAS4Free is available for ARM, 32-bit x86 and 64-bit x86 builds. I decided to download the 64-bit installation media which is 357MB in size. Booting from this media brings us to a text console. The console displays a welcome message and the computer's IP address. Under the address is a menu where we can kick-off certain administrative functions. I soon found the menu will display different options depending on how much memory is available. For all of the menu options to be shown, the NAS needs to have at least 2GB of memory available, when less is present some options are hidden.
It supports sharing across multiple operating systems, including Windows, Apple, and UNIX-like systems. NAS4Free is easy to set up in most home and enterprise environments and will allow you to manage and share large amounts of data easily across your network. NAS4Free also incorporates many different streaming features for sharing your multimedia with other devices on your network.
Looking over the menu we can find options for configuring our network connection, running ping tests, resetting the NAS's web interface and restoring the operating system to "factory defaults". We can also shut down the NAS, access a command line and run the project's system installer.
NAS4Free's system installer shows us a series of text-based menus. We are first asked what type of installation we would like to perform (Full or Embedded) and whether we would like to use GPT or MBR disk layouts. These options are covered in the project's documentation. Next we are asked which disk in the NAS will be used to hold the operating system. We can then set the size of the system's swap partition and I found swap had to be 512MB or larger. The installer then told me it was setting up the disk with at least three partitions: partition #2 would hold the operating system, partition #3 would be set aside for swap space and partition #4 would be reserved for data. With this information shared, the installer finishes its work and we can reboot the computer to start using the NAS.
NAS4Free 10.3.0.3 -- The status overview page
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The first time I started NAS4Free from my computer's hard drive I noticed it was booting slowly. It appears as though the entire operating system is loaded into RAM during boot. This makes the initial boot time longer, but makes for a very responsive system once it is up and running. Once the operating system boots, we are once again shown the device's IP address and the options menu. Using the menu, I configured the network interface to use a static IP address, reset the web interface's password and told the NAS to block all connections to the web interface which did not originate from the LAN. I particularly like this last option as it provides an extra layer of protection against outside attacks.
NAS4Free uses a web-based interface to manage services, set up storage and monitor the system. By default, the operating system uses plain HTTP connections, though we can switch to using HTTPS exclusively once we get signed in. We can login to the web interface using the username "admin" and the password provided when we reset the account from the text console. Upon logging into the web interface we are shown a status screen. This screen displays the NAS's uptime, memory usage, available disk space, some hardware information and the status of any connected UPS device.
A menu across the top of the web interface offers us general categories of options we can access. The menus drop-down to provide more specific tools. Selecting a tool loads a new page which may have its own sub-menu near the top of the window. This gives us three levels of menus to browse, which may seem like a lot, but I found the available options were well organized and I always found it easy to find what I wanted.
There are a lot of options and controls available through the NAS4Free web interface and I'd like to quickly go through them, menu by menu.
The first menu is System and here we can find options for dealing with the NAS4Free operating system, software updates and some basic security options. Looking through the System menu we can find options to change the administrator account's username and password. We can also toggle between accessing the web interface over the HTTP or HTTPS protocols. We can also set DNS servers and set the system clock.
There is a section of the System menu dedicated to downloading and installing operating system (firmware) updates. NAS4Free does not download software updates directly. Instead we are given a link to available upgrades and we can download the new version using our web browser. Once the file has been downloaded to our local computer we can then upload it to the NAS through the web interface. During my trial, one update of 133MB was available and it installed cleanly.
There are additional options for backing up and restoring our NAS's configuration settings and there is an option to reset the NAS to its default settings. There is also an Advanced section where we can specify kernel parameters for the NAS, set up e-mail notifications and create extra swap files/devices for the system. We can create cron jobs and use the web interface to set system variables in the operating system's start-up configuration files. Perhaps my favourite "Advanced" feature though is the ability to lock the NAS's text console. This prevents people who have physical access to the machine from being able to use the admin menu to change settings.
The next menu over from System is labelled Network. As one might expect, here we can configure our network interface, set our NAS's IP address and configure network proxies. We can also supply a list of known host names and enable blocking certain remote hosts from accessing the NAS. The Networking menu also features a page for configuring the NAS4Free firewall. I found the firewall blocks incoming connections to the FTP and OpenSSH services by default.
The primary reason to use a NAS is to store information, usually large amounts of it on multiple disks. The Disks menu provides us with tools for managing physical disk drives, setting up volumes and working with partitions. NAS4Free is capable of formatting partitions with UFS, ZFS and FAT file systems. The Disks menu also gives us the option of mounting existing disks and ISO images which may be useful if we have old archives we wish to make available to the NAS's users.
NAS4Free 10.3.0.3 -- Managing storage pools
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One aspect of using NAS4Free I found interesting is, when we use the web interface, it insists we create a virtual device from available disks/partitions before we can create a ZFS storage pool. There are reasons this is a good idea, but it is not always required by other platforms that leverage ZFS for storage. Once we have created virtual devices from the disks, we can then create a storage pool and set up mount points inside the pool. Once a ZFS pool has been created we can manually create (or schedule the creation of) snapshots of each mount point, giving us archives we can go back to and access later.
The Services menu helps us set up background services and methods for accessing the files on the NAS. The NAS4Free operating system supports working with Samba shares, FTP, OpenSSH, NFS, AFP and rsync. This should make it easy for us to remotely access our files in just about any environment. I focused on working with OpenSSH and Samba shares and found they worked well. NAS4Free also supports setting up a web server and bittorrent to help us share files. Each service has its own configuration page with an enable/disable toggle switch. The default options will usually be suitable, but we can tweak each service quite a lot when it is needed.
NAS4Free 10.3.0.3 -- Configuring the bittorrent service
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I was a little puzzled by the purpose of the next menu, called VM. The VM menu has a section for VirtualBox and selecting this option brings up a page in the web interface where we are asked to supply the "home directory of VirtualBox". I'm not sure what this function intends to do and I did not find any reference to it in the NAS4Free documentation.
The next menu in the list is labelled Access. There are just three entries in this menu. Two assist us connecting to Active Directory and setting up LDAP authentication. The third entry brings up a page where we can manage user accounts and groups. The account management screen is straight forward and makes it easy to set up new users on the NAS.
Something I find interesting when working with different NAS technologies is some systems want us to create a user first and then create a storage volume which will be owned by that user. Others want the storage pool to be in place first and then we place a user's directory into the pool. NAS4Free falls into the latter category - we need to have a storage pool in place so we can create a home directory inside the pool for our user.
Next, we come to the Status menu. This menu provides us with several options for checking on running processes, seeing which services are active, the status of our disks and the amount of memory being used. The Status menu also helps us create and schedule e-mail reports for the administrator. While most of this section contains fairly standard monitoring options, I do like how detailed we can make e-mail reports, including specific logs and information.
NAS4Free 10.3.0.3 -- Checking the status of services
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The Diagnostics menu helps us trouble-shoot issues on the NAS. Through this menu we can check logs, see a list of who is accessing the NAS, see what disks are attached to the system and how much space is being used. We can also test network routes and ping remote hosts to make sure our network connection is working.
The penultimate menu is called Advanced and contains just a few entries. The first Advanced page we can access brings up a file editor. The file editor helps us edit text files through our web browser. We cannot open any configuration text files which are part of the operating system, but we can access and edit text files in the users' directories. A user's files are, by default, stored under the /mnt directory.
The Advanced menu also includes a file manager. Any user with an account on the system can sign into the NAS's file manager where we can browse and manipulate files. The Advanced menu features another option which allows the administrator to run any command line on the NAS or execute supplied PHP code. I'm a bit wary about having these options available at all as they are likely to be used to do more harm than good, but it does give the administrator access to a command line through the web interface.
NAS4Free 10.3.0.3 -- The web-based file manager
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The final menu is called Help. The Help section mostly provides links to on-line resources. From the Help menu we can access the NAS4Free documentation, open the project's on-line forum in a browser tab, see a summary of the project's release notes and send NAS4Free a donation via PayPal. There is a menu entry for accessing an IRC chat room to get live help, but the website hosting the IRC channel was off-line at the time of writing.
NAS4Free has a nice, fast interface. The operating system, even when loaded in memory and managing a ZFS volume and running the web interface, only used about 300MB of RAM (including inactive memory). This makes NAS4Free suitable both for larger deployments and use in low-resource environments.
Most of the NAS operating systems I have used in the past were built around useful features. Some focused on making storage easy to set up and manage, others focused on services, such as making files available over multiple protocols or managing torrents. Some strive to be very easy to set up. NAS4Free does pretty well in each of the above categories. It may not be the easiest platform to set up, but it's probably a close second. It may not have the prettiest interface for managing settings, but it is quite easy to navigate. NAS4Free may not have the most add-on services and access protocols, but I suspect there are more than enough of both for most people.
Where NAS4Free does better than most other solutions I have looked at is security. I don't think the project's website or documentation particularly focuses on security as a feature, but there are plenty of little security features that I liked. NAS4Free makes it very easy to lock the text console, which is good because we do not all keep our NAS boxes behind locked doors. The system is fairly easy to upgrade and appears to publish regular security updates in the form of new firmware. NAS4Free makes it fairly easy to set up user accounts, handle permissions and manage home directories. It's also pretty straight forward to switch from HTTP to HTTPS and to block people not on the local network from accessing the NAS's web interface.
All in all, I like NAS4Free. It's a good, general purpose NAS operating system. While I did not feel the project did anything really amazing in any one category, nor did I run into any serious issues. The NAS ran as expected, was fairly straight forward to set up and easy to manage. This strikes me as an especially good platform for home or small business users who want an easy set up, some basic security and a solid collection of features.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Managing Fedora repositories, Fedora to offer MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared and ReactOS works on application compatibility
The upcoming release of Fedora 25 is scheduled for November 15th. As Fedora has strict rules against distributing non-free or patent encumbered software in its repositories, many Fedora users enable third-party software repositories on their computers. To show users how to manage extra repositories, Fedora Magazine has a helpful tutorial. "Your Fedora system gets its software from repositories, or repos. Each of these repos can have any number of software apps available for you to install and use. The official Fedora repos contain thousands of free and open source apps. Some repos may have free or proprietary apps. Some only contain one. You may want to configure software repositories at certain times." The tutorial covers enabling, listing and disabling repositories which should be useful for Fedora newcomers.
Christian Schaller has indicated that MP3 playback and decoding support will likely be available in the upcoming release of Fedora 25. While the Fedora distribution will not ship with MP3 support installed by default, Schaller has written that MP3 codecs should be available in the official Fedora repositories. "In Fedora Workstation 25 I am happy to tell you all that we are taking another step in improving our codec support by adding support for MP3 playback. I know this has been a big wishlist item for a long time for a lot of people so I am really happy that we are finally in a position to fulfill that wish. You should be able to download the MP3 plugin on day one through GNOME Software or through the missing codec installer in various GStreamer applications. For Fedora Workstation 26 I would not be surprised if we decide to ship it on the install media."
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The budgie-remix distribution offers its users a combination of the Budgie desktop environment running on top of an Ubuntu base. The project has announced budgie-remix has become an official Ubuntu community edition. With this change in status, the project has changed its name to Ubuntu Budgie. "The budgie-remix team is pleased to inform the community that the Ubuntu Technical Board has granted official community flavor status to our distro. We are pleased to join and be part of the superb Ubuntu family. Starting from today the distro will be known as Ubuntu Budgie. We now move full steam ahead and look forward to working with the Ubuntu Developer Membership Board to examine and work through the technical aspects. Working together will allow us to adhere to community standards that other flavors follow. 17.04 will be our first official release under the new name." The Ubuntu Budgie website has more details.
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The many community flavours of Ubuntu, while they share a common set of base packages, each provide their own desktop environment and offer different user experiences. The Hectic Geek website has taken Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Xubuntu (version 16.10) and compared them side-by-side. "Unlike Ubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu 16.10 uses the 'CFQ' I/O scheduler (this is the utility that controls read and write requests to the main storage device) and under it the responsiveness was horrible! Twice the system completely got stuck for about 3-4 seconds and most 'heavyweight' applications were only opened after the file copy finished. There was also a big delay for VLC to open the multimedia file too. However, then I changed the I/O scheduler to 'deadline' (the kernel comes with three actually), the one that's used by Ubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME by default, rebooted the computer and ran the test again. And after the switch the responsiveness was so impressive that I would say that it was even slightly better than what I observed in Ubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME!" Additional details, screen shots and performance graphs can be found in the Hectic Geek article.
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The ReactOS project develops an open source operating system which strives to be binary compatible with Microsoft Windows. Though the ReactOS project is relatively small, its developers have made a good deal of progress in creating a platform which runs many applications built for Windows. The project has hired a new developer who will help get popular Windows applications running on ReactOS. "Today we are happy to announce yet another step. Hermes Belusca-Maito is being hired to make another most voted application, in the IGG campaign, work properly in ReactOS: Word 2010. You decided. We're working on making it happen! Hermes will be digging through the Word 2010 setup to understand why it doesn't work in ReactOS, which will hopefully open the door for other software setups to start working. He will also analyze the APIs that get called by Word 2010 itself, fixing the existing features and implementing the missing ones, in order to ensure a high degree of usability. We do expect that his Word 2010 work will have a significant impact on other office suites too." This work will likely benefit Linux users as ReactOS shares some technology with the WINE compatibility layer which allows Linux users to run many Windows applications.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Rolling release trial #2 (by Jesse Smith)
Rolling release trial #2: Week three
The third week of my rolling release trial with Arch Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Sabayon and TrueOS passed without many new developments. Both Arch Linux and openSUSE updated with no fuss. While updating openSUSE's tumbleweed branch, I observed yet again that the distribution pulls in a relatively large number of updates compared to the other projects in this trial. However, despite the many changes happening in openSUSE's repositories, the distribution continued to work as before.
One minor annoyance I have found with Sabayon is the distribution will always pop-up a notification when I sign into my desktop session reporting the distribution is up to date. However, if I manually check for new packages using the equo package manager, equo does find new software in the distribution's repositories. I think this is a matter of the system tray application reporting on whether updates are available before it performs its on-line check.
TrueOS did not have any new packages for me for the second week in a row. The operating system continued to give me trouble on the desktop, with the panel containing the application menu and task switcher disappearing. I also found that if I clicked (or right-clicked) on any part of the Lumina background, all open windows would disappear. I could still Alt-Tab to these open windows to make them visible again, but it was unpleasant to have windows disappear whenever I tried to bring up Lumina's context menu.
All of the projects in this trial are rolling releases and therefore are expected to regularly update their software packages with new versions. For comparison's sake, I decided to see what a static distribution like Debian Stable would offer for security updates. Each of the past two weeks, I've been running Debian's Stable branch and had about 20 updates per week, with total download sizes weighing in at just over 50MB. Debian tends to require less bandwidth for updates by only updating packages with security updates and remaining on older versions of applications without introducing new features.
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||FreeBSD 12.0-CURRENT (20161028)
||Bandwidth required (MB)
|Released Last Week
The developers of KaOS have announced a new snapshot of their KDE-focused, rolling release distribution. The new snapshot, KaOS 2016.11, supports UEFI (though not Secure Boot), improves support for AMD video cards and addresses some issues with Wayland. The old Qt 4 libraries, which are no longer maintained, have been dropped. In their place, Qt 5 continues to be provided. "Most notable major updates to the base of the system are a Glib2 2.50.1, FFMPEG 3.2, Linux 4.8.6, Systemd 232, Mesa 13.0.0, Gstreamer 1.10.0, Poppler 0.48.0 and MariaDB 10.1.18. Linux 4.8 has included support for many more ATI/Radeon cards to start using the amdgpu driver. KaOS repositories no longer provide Qt 4. It is a good three years ago that development for Qt 4 stopped, late 2015 all support including security fixes ended. Any application that has not made the transition to Qt 5 in all this time can no longer be supported in KaOS. Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit. The Linux kernel has all the needed ucode build-in for a fully automated Early Microcode update." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement and release notes. Download (MD5): KaOS-2016.11-x86_64.iso (1,779MB, pkglist).
KaOS 2016.11 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
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Univention Corporate Server 4.1-4
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is a Debian-based distribution for use on servers. The Univention team has announced the availability of an update to the UCS 4.1 series: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 4.1-4 for download, the forth point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.1. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.1-3 and provides various improvements and bug fixes especially in the following areas: The installation wizard and the UCS management system are now also available in French. Samba has been updated to version 4.5.1. This includes various improvements, among other things the DRS replication, the Active Directory compatibility, the file services and the printer handling. The Linux kernel has been updated to the latest stable version of the 4.1 long term kernel. This includes several security updates, improvements in the stability, as well as newer and updated drivers for a better hardware support. Dockerized apps can now use the database on the UCS system using a simple configuration setting, which simplifies the migration to dockerize apps." Additional information on Univention Corporate Server 4.1-4 can be found in the release announcement and release notes.
SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP2
SUSE has announced the release of a new service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise. The new software, SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 2, offers a number of performance improvements and bug fixes. However, the biggest news is SUSE's support for a wide range of hardware, such as ARM-powered devices. The distribution is also introducing enterprise level support for Raspberry Pi computers: "Go ahead and adapt to new technologies in your data centers to reduce power hungry infrastructure and replace it with power efficient ARM 64 architectures. Don't be left behind in catching the wave of new uses for the Raspberry Pi. SUSE is one of the first to bring enterprise support for Raspberry Pi and 64-bit ARM v8-A platforms. In mixed IT environments you can easily stay ahead of the curve with full support for IBM Power Systems, OpenPOWER servers and the newest virtualization capabilities of IBM KVM and z/VM." Further information can be found in the Highlights document. SUSE Linux Enterprise is a commercial product with 60-day free trials available from the company's Download page.
Suman Chakravartula has announced the release of Rockstor 3.8.15, the latest stable version of the project's CentOS-based specialist distribution for Network-Attached Storage (NAS) deployments: "I am thrilled to announce the release of Rockstor 3.8.15. It has been a long release cycle and it's our 30th release. We have entered a new phase of Rockstor community growth with steady patches from dedicated contributors. A total of 43 issues were closed, making this a substantial update. Several enhancements were made to the user interface, prominently to the dashboard. I'd like to also highlight the big (design and implementation) refactoring of our backend disk management. Last but not least, numerous improvements and bug fixes were committed throughout the stack. List of issues we closed in this cycle: overhaul pagination, sort and search on UI using DataTables; revise internal use and format of device names; support customizing web-ui port; improvements to password recovery system...." Continue to the release announcement for a full list of fixes and improvments.
Black Lab Linux 8.0
Black Lab Linux is a desktop operating system based on software provided by Ubuntu packages. The Black Lab Linux project has announced the availability of a new version, Black Lab Linux 8.0. "Today our development team is pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 8.0, the consumer version of PC/OpenSystems LLC's flagship distro and a culmination of over a year's worth of work. This Black Lab release moves from the previous 14.04 LTS base to the newer 16.04 LTS base. A major difference in this version is in the inclusion of available desktop environments. Currently, we are the only major Linux distributor outside of Ubuntu that ships Unity as an option. In addition: the KDE Plasma 5 desktop, LXDE for older/legacy hardware, GNOME 3.18. Xfce is included on the GNOME ISO and GNOME Flashback session is available within Unity." Further details and a list of supported features can be found in the project's release announcement. Black Lab Linux 8.0 is a commercial distribution and purchase links are available through the release announcement.
Oracle Linux 7.3
Oracle has announced the release of a new version of Oracle Linux. The new version, Oracle Linux 7.3, represents an incremental update to the company's 7.x series. The new version supports booting on UEFI-enabled computers and will run on machines with Secure Boot turned on. Oracle Linux provides two flavours of the Linux kernel: Oracle's Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) and a Red Hat Compatible Kernel (RHCK). "The Oracle Linux and Virtualization Team is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 Update 3 for x86-64 servers. Users with a support subscription can download ISOs from My Oracle Support. ISO installation images can also be downloaded from Oracle Software Delivery Cloud. Individual RPM packages for Oracle Linux 7 Update 3 are available on the public yum server and the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN). This is the first Oracle Linux 7 ISO to include UEK Release 4 (UEK R4). Please note that new installations of Oracle Linux 7 Update 3 will install and boot the UEK R4 kernel by default. However, updates to existing Oracle Linux 7 environments require the user to explicitly install UEK R4 and will not automatically replace existing UEK R3 kernels." Further information can be found in the release announcement. Oracle Linux can be downloaded from the company's Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (requires subscription).
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
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: 255
- Total data uploaded: 46.4TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Verifying ISO downloads
Once a new operating system has been downloaded, a good next step is to verify that the ISO file we downloaded was not corrupted during the transfer. It is also a good idea to make sure the file has not been tampered with and is, in fact, exactly the same as the file the developers published.
There are a few ways of doing this and most distributions provide checksums (also known as hashes) of their files. This assists users in confirming the files they have are exactly as they should be. Some projects also provide signatures and signing keys which can be used to verify the integrity of a file.
This week we would like to find out what, if any, steps our readers take to verify the ISO files they have downloaded are identical to the files published by the distribution's developers.
You can see the results of our previous poll on searching vs browsing application menus here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Verifying ISO downloads
|I verify downloads with published checksums: ||752 (39%)|
| I verify downloads using signatures: ||38 (2%)|
| I verify downloads using torrent hashs: ||102 (5%)|
| I use a combination of the above methods: ||265 (14%)|
| I use another verification method: ||10 (1%)|
| I do not verify downloads: ||756 (39%)|
New distributions added to database
Endless OS is a Linux-based operating system which provides a simplified and streamlined user experience using a customized desktop environment forked from GNOME 3. Rather than using a traditional Linux package management system, Endless OS uses a read-only root file system managed by OSTree with application bundles overlaid on top.
Endless OS 3.0.5 -- Running the EOS desktop shell
(full image size: 2.0MB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- BackSlash OS. BackSlash OS is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution which offers a commercial support option. BackSlash OS is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
- Raspberry ownCloud. Raspberry ownCloud is a play-n-play operating system for the Raspberry Pi computer which automatically enables ownCloud storage and file synchronization.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 21 November 2016. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews/submissions, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, donations, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (podcast)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Full list of all issues|
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