| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 689, 28 November 2016
Welcome to this year's 48th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Transitioning from one version of an operating system to another can be a difficult process. One of the many challenges distribution makers face is helping their users stay up to date with supported versions of their operating system without losing functionality or settings. This week we discuss upgrading operating systems with our Tips and Tricks section explaining how to live upgrade a fixed-point PC-BSD system to a rolling release TrueOS system. In our News section we share ways of upgrading Fedora 24 to the newly released version 25 and plans for the upcoming Korora 25. Plus we report on Webconverger's new reproducible builds. First though, we have a look at openSUSE 42.2, the latest version of openSUSE Leap. The openSUSE Leap distribution shares code and technology with SUSE Linux Enterprise and we report on how well the new release functions. Plus we provide information on last week's distribution releases and share the torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we question whether it is time to change the look of the DistroWatch website. Plus we are happy to welcome the Keysoft distribution to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (54MB) and MP3 (53MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE 42.2 Leap
openSUSE is a community distribution which shares code and infrastructure with SUSE Linux Enterprise. The openSUSE distribution is available in two editions. The first is a stable, point release edition with a conservative base called Leap. The second edition is an experimental rolling release called Tumbleweed. The openSUSE project recently released a new update to the Leap edition, launching openSUSE 42.2 Leap in mid-November. Leap editions receive approximately three years of security updates and minor point releases are published about once per year. The new 42.2 release includes a long term support kernel (Linux 4.4) and KDE's Plasma 5.8 desktop which is also supposed to receive long term support from its upstream project.
openSUSE 42.2 is available primarily for 64-bit x86 computers. There are ARM ports available, but they need to be tracked down through the project's wiki and are not available through the main Download page. The new release is available in two builds, a 4.1GB DVD and a 95MB net-install disc. I opted to download the larger of the two ISO files for my trial.
Booting from the DVD brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot from an existing operating system on our hard disk, perform a fresh installation, perform an upgrade of an existing copy of openSUSE or launch the distribution's rescue console. There is no live desktop option available. openSUSE uses a graphical system installer which begins by showing us the project's license. On this first screen we can select our preferred language from one drop-down box and our keyboard's layout from another. The next stage of the installer covers partitioning the computer's hard disk. openSUSE's installer will offer to set up a swap partition and Btrfs volume by default and we have the option of tweaking the suggested layout or manually partitioning the drive. The manual partitioning screen offers a lot of options, spread across many screens and includes controls for working with NFS shares, tmpfs file systems and regular partitions. There is a lot of power in openSUSE's partitioning tools and I found them to be well organized.
The next screen of the system installer gets us to select our time zone from a map of the world. We can then select which user interface to set up, with options including KDE's Plasma, GNOME, Xfce, a minimal X session or a text console. The default interface is the Plasma desktop. We can then create a user account for ourselves and we have the option of giving our user account administrator access. The installer then shows us a list of actions it plans to take and we can adjust these by clicking links provided in the summary. This allows us to adjust where the openSUSE boot loader is installed, which software packages to install and what background services to run. The installer copies its files to our hard drive and then reboots the computer. On the surface, the installer is easy to navigate and we can often take the default settings provided. However, the installer does give us the option of digging in deep, performing surprisingly detailed customizations, making openSUSE's system installer one of the most flexible I have used.
openSUSE 42.2 -- Running LibreOffice and VLC
(full image size: 255kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
openSUSE boots to a graphical login screen. The login screen offers four graphical sessions, which actually turn out to be two pairs of duplications - there are two entries for the Plasma desktop and two entries for an IceWM session. The IceWM environment is minimal and reminds me a bit of Windows 95 in its style and layout. I think this is a handy option to have in case we need to rescue the system without access to the Plasma desktop, but I think the full featured Plasma environment will be more appealing to most people.
I tried running openSUSE 42.2 in two environments, on a desktop computer and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. The distribution performed well in VirtualBox. The desktop was fairly responsive and openSUSE automatically integrates with the VirtualBox environment, allowing me to make use of my display's full resolution. I had a little trouble at first with the desktop computer. openSUSE would boot on the desktop machine, but turned off my monitor early in the boot process. This meant the operating system was running and would respond to keyboard input, but I could not see anything. Booting the computer with the nomodeset kernel parameter fixed this issue and provided me with a working display. openSUSE ran smoothly on the desktop computer after the screen issue was resolved and presented me with no further problems. In either environment, when logged into the Plasma desktop, the distribution required about 380MB of memory.
When I first began using openSUSE with the Plasma desktop, I noticed a few small annoyances. One was that openSUSE, like several other distributions, locks the screen after just five minutes. This can be distracting when reading or addressing other tasks at one's desk. Fortunately, the screen lock timer can easily be adjusted from the Plasma settings panel. Another feature I did not like was the loud "bong" sound which would play whenever I closed a window or received a notification. Audio notifications can be disabled, but in Plasma 5 it appears as though notifications must be disabled for each specific application and service that makes noise, I could not find any system-wide way to disable the notifications. One final issue I had was font sizes, especially in the virtual terminal where the font size was unusually small. Font sizes can be adjusted as needed.
Shortly after signing into my account a notification appeared in the system tray letting me know there were software updates available in the distribution's repositories. On the day openSUSE 42.2 was launched, there were six new updates available (of unknown size). Clicking the notification icon brought up a small widget which listed the available packages and presented me with an Update button to click. The updates then downloaded and were installed without any problems. Later in the week a few more updates trickled in and I think the total count by the end of the week was just under 20 updates.
openSUSE 42.2 -- Checking for software updates
(full image size: 107kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
In the system tray there is a widget which shows us information on various services. The widget has tabs which we can click to see information on available software updates, printers and devices which have been paired using the KDE Connect service. I found these status panels to be useful, but I did find myself wishing there was a button within the widget to configure the listed services. To actually set up a KDE Connect pairing or configure printers we need to visit the Plasma settings panel.
openSUSE, when installed with the Plasma desktop, ships with a wide range of software, much of it built using the Qt framework. The distribution offers us the Firefox web browser (without Flash support), the KMail e-mail client, the Konversation IRC client and the Kopete messaging software. LibreOffice is available along with the KOrganizer personal organizer software and the Okular document viewer. We are given Cloud Storage Manager for synchronizing files across cloud services. The Amarok audio player, the Dragon Player video player and KsCD disc player are included. openSUSE does not ship with codecs for most popular media formats and I will come back to multimedia support later. The K3b disc burning software is included for us along with the KGet download manager, the Ark archive manager, the KWrite text editor and a hardware information browser. The distribution offers a number of applications for acquiring, editing and managing images, including digiKam, Gwenview, showFoto and the GNU Image Manipulation Program. openSUSE provides some accessibly tools, including a screen magnifier. The Qt 5 Designer application is featured for people who want to design their own desktop software. openSUSE ships with a few games and the KDE Connect software for pairing and working with Android devices. Java is present and the distribution runs an e-mail server in the background. I found openSUSE ships with systemd 228 and version 4.4 of the Linux kernel.
While exploring openSUSE's collection of software, I ran into some quirks of the distribution. For instance, selecting the Manage Printing tool from the application menu launches Firefox and opens the local CUPS web interface. This is probably not what most people want. On the other hand, there is a second entry in the application menu called Print Settings which opens the CUPS configuration application where we can set up and manage printers. Having these two functionally different tools with similar names is likely to cause a bit of confusion. While the CUPS web interface could not find my printer, the Print Settings panel easily found and set up my printer for me.
I experimented with the Cloud Storage Manager application which helps us connect to file synchronization services like Box and Dropbox. I found that taking the default settings when connecting to a Dropbox account would report an error saying no suitable encryption key could be found. The application tells us to go away and create a security key and try again, without any option to automatically generate a new key. This is also likely to confuse and frustrate users, especially those used to running Dropbox on other platforms where there is no mention of security keys. In all fairness, we can opt to use password protection instead of a key, but this does mean we need to create an extra password to sync our files across services.
In the Plasma application menu we can find a launcher called Install/Remove Software. This entry launches a YaST module for managing software on the system. The default interface shows us a search box on the left side of the software manager where we can provide keywords or package names. Over on the right side of the window we see a list of packages matching our search parameters. I suspect most people will prefer to see grouped categories of software which can be accessed by clicking the View button and selecting Package Groups. This shows us a tree menu of software categories on the left side of the package manager and packages in the highlighted group on the right. We can click a box next to packages we wish to install or remove. I found the software manager generally worked well for me, quickly downloading and installing (or deleting) packages. For people who prefer working with packages from the command line, openSUSE provides the quick and friendly zypper command line package manager.
One minor issue I had with the software manager was applications are sometimes located in different categories in the software manager than they are in the Plasma application menu. For example, the Cheese webcam utility is listed in the Graphics category in the software manager, but once installed Cheese can be found in the Multimedia section of the Plasma menu.
openSUSE 42.2 -- Browsing available software
(full image size: 232kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Earlier I mentioned openSUSE does not provide Flash or popular media codecs in the default installation and these items are not available in the project's main repositories. There are a few ways we can go about acquiring these media-related extras. Perhaps the most popular method is the "1-Click" installation method. I gave this a try, first going to the openSUSE wiki and doing a search for "multimedia codecs". This took me to a page on media codecs which explained the 1-Click installation method. Following the provided link took me to a third-party website where we can click an installation button. This downloads a file which causes the YaST software manager to launch. YaST warns us that enabling a third-party repository may damage our operating system. Assuming we choose to continue, YaST then asks us if it okay to break our installed copy of the K3b disc burning software. Assuming we bravely continue, we are asked to confirm we are okay with the necessary media packages being installed. When these steps have been completed, I found I could play audio files in Amarok, but Dragon Player failed to play any video files. I had to go back to the software manager and install another video player (VLC in my case) in order to watch videos. Flash support is not included either and requires another trip to the software manager.
When I first tried the 1-Click method, the first time through the enabling of third-party repositories failed due to an error communicating with the server. The second time I tried, another process had locked the package manager and I had to make a trip to the command line to kill the offending process. The third time around, the installation worked. Please bear in mind, the 1-Click approach outlined above is generally presented as the easy way to install media codecs. An alternative approach involves looking up community repositories in openSUSE's documentation and using the zypper command line package manager to enable the necessary repositories. Neither approach is particularly user friendly.
While multimedia is probably the biggest chink in openSUSE's armour, the YaST system administration panel is probably the distribution's strongest feature. The YaST panel is divided into eight sections: Software, Hardware, System, Network Services, Security and Users, Virtualization, Support, and Miscellaneous. Using YaST we can launch configuration modules for managing software on the system, managing software repositories and updating packages on our system. There are modules for setting up printers and scanners, browsing our hardware information and changing the keyboard's layout. There are also tools for adjusting the computer's clock and working with user accounts. There are disk partitioning tools, a module for adjusting network settings and another for working with the firewall. There are also tools for setting up NFS and Samba shares and configuring the e-mail server. Going further down the list we find modules for working with sudo, viewing the systemd journal and working with Snapper file system snapshots.
openSUSE 42.2 -- The Plasma and YaST settings panels
(full image size: 221kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
While all of the YaST modules worked well for me, two really stood out as being useful. One was the sudo configuration editor. This tool makes dealing with sudo's somewhat cryptic syntax much easier. We can select a user account and the program (or programs) the user should be able to run and the module works out the details for us.
The other utility I enjoyed a lot was Snapper. The Snapper module shows us a list of Btrfs snapshots and lets us browse them and compare the contents of snapshots side-by-side. This makes it easy to see what changes have been made on the system and, if need be, we can revert old configuration changes. The YaST modules automatically create new snapshots whenever we make changes to the operating system. Snapper provides us with both an audit trail of changes and a way to fix bad changes. If a configuration change breaks the operating system, we can reboot and boot from an older snapshot of the operating system to roll back the change.
openSUSE 42.2 -- Browsing Snapper snapshots
(full image size: 203kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
If you read the approximately 2,400 words of my review which led up to this point, you probably noticed I ran into a number of annoyances with openSUSE 42.2, particularly with regards to the desktop making frequent "bong" sounds, small fonts and getting multimedia support enabled. While these issues did cause a good deal of frustration on my first day with the distribution, things quickly got sorted out thanks to the excellent settings managers provided by openSUSE and the Plasma desktop. Soon, I had a nicer theme, a quieter desktop and my multimedia files were playing. This meant most of my issues were solved on the first day and, after that, I was able to relax and enjoy a pleasantly stable, quite polished experience.
openSUSE succeeded in providing a stable, responsive environment in which to work. The YaST configuration modules made tweaking the underlying operating system much easier than it is on most other distributions and I like that openSUSE Leap users can expect three years of security updates. openSUSE may not have quite as much software in its main repositories as Debian and its children have, but community repositories fill in most of the gaps for openSUSE users.
Generally speaking, I was happy with openSUSE and I especially like how the administration tools automatically create file system snapshots, which protect the operating system against changes we make. This means openSUSE is nearly invincible in the face of bad configurations or package upgrades and it will usually take hardware failure to knock the operating system off-line.
This is not an operating system I would recommend to newcomers. The advanced features of the installer and the pain of setting up media support are likely to put off beginners. And novice Linux users are not as likely to benefit from the powerful features of YaST and Btrfs. However, for people who have been using Linux for a while, openSUSE provides a wonderful collection of very powerful tools which I find appealing.
* * * * *
Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora provides upgrade path, Korora bringing back Plasma edition, Webconverger's reproducible builds
Now that Fedora 25 has been made available for download, many people will be planning to upgrade their installations of the Red Hat-sponsored distribution. Fedora Magazine has a helpful tutorial on how to upgrade from Fedora 24 to version 25, using either the graphical software manager or the command line. "On occasion, there may be unexpected issues when you upgrade your system. If you experience any issues, please visit the DNF system upgrade wiki page for more information on troubleshooting in the event of a problem. If you are having issues upgrading and have third-party repositories installed on your system, you may need to disable these repositories while you are upgrading. For support with repositories not provided by Fedora, please contact the providers of the repositories." The tutorial can be found in the Fedora Magazine post.
* * * * *
The Korora project would like to remind its users that Korora 23 will soon be reaching the end of its supported life cycle. As a result, the Korora 23 ISO files will no longer be available for download. For now, people can continue to download Korora 24. The project has also announced the Plasma edition of Korora will be returning for the release of Korora 25. "Very soon the beta release of Korora 25 will be available for testing. It is planned that all five desktop environments will be available for 25. Yes, KDE Plasma will make a return. When 25 beta is released Korora 23 will no longer be available. The stable release of Korora 24 will still be available."
* * * * *
Reproducible builds are a method by which a person with access to source code can verify the binary file (or ISO image) they have was created using the corresponding source code. An executable program or image file created using a reproducible method will be the same each time it is compiled, making it easier to confirm no back doors or flaws have been introduced in the build process. The Webconverger project has introduced reproducible builds for their Linux-based kiosk software: "Webconverger was started because I couldn't trust those terminals and kiosks in public spaces to browse the Web. I trust my work because I had a hand in building it, though there are some technical features which may convince you to trust it too. First every commit is made publicly on Github. You can see me transparently make changes. You can verify every changed file. Every upstream file is a binary built by Debian, Mozilla and for Flash, Adobe, again you can verify that using file checksums. However how can you infer that the head of Webconverger git repository corresponds to an ISO release you downloaded which you would use to deploy to your hardware? Previously you would have to trust the checksum I provided on the release page, but if you built Webconverger yourself, you would get a different checksum. Why? Because the build chain would typically use the current date and when bundled up, the checksum is different. We have fixed this now and now you can too can produce independently verifiable ISO builds of Webconverger. This security feature is called reproducible builds." Further information is available on the Webconverger website.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS
In September we reported the PC-BSD project, a user friendly desktop and server platform based on FreeBSD was changing its name to TrueOS. The project is also undergoing a number of other changes. While PC-BSD was typically used as a stable, point release operating system which followed FreeBSD's release cycle, TrueOS is a rolling release platform which pulls in changes from FreeBSD's development (-CURRENT) branch. TrueOS no longer uses separate tools for maintaining the core operating system and third-party ports. Instead, TrueOS keeps the base system and third-party software up to date using the pkg package manager. In addition, people running the Desktop edition of TrueOS will find it defaults to using the Lumina desktop.
The shift to TrueOS raises an interesting issue for former users of PC-BSD. In the past, it was possible to perform a live upgrade of PC-BSD from one version to the next. This kept workstations and servers running smoothly while the upgrade was happening. However, it is less clear as to how people already running PC-BSD can upgrade to TrueOS. On the forums some users have reported success in performing off-line upgrades using the TrueOS system installer while others have reported failures. I wanted to see if I could find a way to upgrade from PC-BSD 10.3 to a rolling TrueOS system without taking computers off-line for more than a single reboot. As it turns out, it is possible to do this, but there are several steps.
The first thing anyone should do before attempting the upgrade is backup their files. With any upgrade, things can go wrong and we should have a spare copy of our files on another system or removable disk. The next thing we should do is create a new file system snapshot (or boot environment) of the existing PC-BSD system. The following command, run as the root user, does this for us:
beadm create pre-upgrade-to-trueos
We then want to make sure both our core operating system and packages are as up to date as possible. This is accomplished by running the freebsd-update and pkg programs.
What we need to do next is change the pkg package manager's configuration so that it works with the TrueOS software repositories. First we make a copy of the package manager's fingerprints directory.
pkg update -f
Next we remove the old repository information and replace it with new links to the TrueOS repositories. This can be done with the following commands:
cp -R pcbsd trueos
We then make sure the pkg utility knows which branch of the software repositories to use:
rm -f *
echo 'ABI = "freebsd:12:x86:64"' >> /usr/local/etc/pkg.conf
At this point we need to refresh our local software repository information. We can do this using the pkg command.
pkg update -f
Our next step is to update the software on our system to match the versions in the TrueOS repositories. Because this upgrade will break the pkg package manager, we use a statically built version of the utility called pkg-static. The pkg-static program performs the same functions, but will not break when libraries on the system change.
Now it is time to install the TrueOS specific components. This next command will be different depending on whether we are upgrading a server or desktop installation. For servers we run:
pkg-static install trueos-server trueos-utils trueos-libsh
However, if we have a desktop system we should run:
pkg-static install trueos-desktop trueos-utils trueos-libsh trueos-utils-qt5 trueos-libqt5
The next line installs the new TrueOS kernel and a missing library we will need later for the pkg package manager:
pkg-static install FreeBSD-kernel-generic libelf
Our next step is to install and upgrade the base system components. This can be accomplished by running a rather lengthy command which finds and installs all the base (FreeBSD) userland components in the package repository.
pkg-static install `pkg-static search FreeBSD | grep -v debug | grep -v lib32 | grep -v development | grep ^FreeBSD | cut -f 1 -d ' ' `
Finally, earlier the pkg package manager was broken by the upgrading of libraries. We can fix pkg by running this command:
pkg-static install -f pkg
At this point we can reboot the operating system. The new TrueOS system should come on-line as before, just with newer versions of packages. If the system does not boot properly, we can roll back to our old PC-BSD 10.3 installation by rebooting and selecting the pre-upgrade-to-trueos snapshot from the boot menu.
Assuming the system boots properly we can run the following command to check which version of the operating system we are running. The output from the freebsd-version command should read "12.0-CURRENT" twice.
At this point we are done. I have performed the above steps to upgrade five PC-BSD boxes to TrueOS so far, all without any problems. Of course, if things do not go as planned, we can always roll back to the last good snapshot by restarting the system and selecting an existing boot environment from the GRUB boot menu.
|Released Last Week
Clonezilla Live 2.5.0-5
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.5.0-5, a new stable version of the project's Debian-based live CD containing specialist tools designed for disk cloning and backup tasks: "This release of Clonezilla Live (2.5.0-5) includes major enhancements and bug fixes. Enhancements and changes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2016-11-22; Linux kernel has been updated to 4.8.7; p7zip-full, sysstat and iftop packages have been added; the ca_ES language file has been updated; update gen-rec-iso by adding option -k1 in ocs-sr. Bug fixes: choose 'Enter_shell' should not give any error; timezone issue; remove partprobe command after ocs-scan-disk, sometimes it delays the GPT partition to be shown in /proc/partitions." Here is the brief release announcement as published on the project's mailing list.
The Fedora project has announced the launch of Fedora 25. The new version of the Red Hat sponsored community project features version 3.22 of the GNOME desktop environment, a new media writer to make it easier to download and copy the distribution to a USB stick, improved Flatpak support and MP3 playback is now included in the project's official software repositories. "This release includes a plugin for MP3 decoding such as playing music. If you play a MP3 file from your collection, GNOME Software detects it and helps you install the plugin. For developers, Fedora 25 Workstation introduces improved Flatpak support. These enhancements now make it easier to install, update and remove Flatpak software. The improvements make this application packaging standard more user friendly." Additional information can be found in the release announcement. Fedora 25 is available in Workstation, Server and Cloud editions as well as many community spins featuring alternative software and desktop environments.
Fedora 25 -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 533kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
ALT Linux 8.1
Michael Shigorin has announced the release of ALT Linux 8.1, the latest release of the project's independently-developed distribution that uses the RPM packaging format and APT for RPM as its package management tool. The new version comes in two "Workstation" variants, with a choice of MATE or KDE desktops: "BaseALT Ltd announces the release of ALT Workstation 8.1 aimed for corporate and personal desktop use. Features: the distribution includes operating system and a set of applications that can be used directly off a bootable live USB stick or installed permanently; MATE desktop environment; wide range of software to connect to corporate and cloud infrastructure, work with internet, documents, complex graphics and animation, to process audio and video, to create and run virtual machines and access those. Changes in version 8.1: Linux kernel 4.4.34, LibreOffice 5.2 suite...." See the release announcement for more details.
Maui Linux 2.1
Clemens Toennies has announced a new release of Maui Linux 2.1, an updated version of the project's distribution featuring the KDE Plasma 5.8.3 desktop. It is based on Ubuntu and KDE neon. This version represents an updated installation image for new installations: "Maui installation ISO image has been updated to 2.1. This mainly focuses on fixing some reported installer issues and it comes with some newer package versions, otherwise it is the same as Maui 2. Due to Maui being a part-rolling distribution based on Ubuntu 'Xenial', updating to Maui 2.1 is not required, nor is it technically correct. All versions of Maui share the same base, so the Backports channels is the common shared source where updated packages from Maui and KDE neon land after being tested for all Maui versions. So if you installed from any Maui version so far and enable the Backports channels and Update, you should have the same updated system. We release updated ISO images from time to time so that new users don't need to update too many packages right from the start." Here is the full release announcement.
* * * * *
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: 259
- Total data uploaded: 47.6TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Time for a new look?
We get a fair number of comments from both sides of the argument and would like to get an idea of the numbers behind each opinion. This week we would like to know if you think DistroWatch should keep its existing visual appearance or if we should embrace a more modern look? Specific suggestions on what a new theme (or improved existing theme) should include can be provided in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on cross-platform graphical user interfaces here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Time for a new look?
|Embrace a modern theme: ||792 (24%)|
| Keep things as they are: ||1191 (36%)|
| Make some minor improvements to the existing theme: ||1261 (38%)|
| Other: ||44 (1%)|
New distributions added to database
Keysoft is an openSUSE-based distribution designed with visually impaired users in mind. The distribution ships with the GNOME desktop environment, the Orca screen reader and Braille display drivers. Keysoft ships with the WINE compatibility software to facilitate working with software built for Windows. Keysoft is primarily a German distribution, though multi-language support is available.
Keysoft -- Running the GNOME desktop
(full image size: 858kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 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: 3, value: US$30.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• 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|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Super OS (formerly Super Ubuntu) was a modified version of Ubuntu with the goal of making it more usable, in particular for users without an internet connection, while trying to remain compatible with Ubuntu. Features compared to Ubuntu include better multimedia support, improved Internet experience (aMSN, Opera, Flash), App Runner, and other software, such as Java, Ubuntu Tweak and live USB creator.