| 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora 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.
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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."
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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.
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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
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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.
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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
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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, 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Opinion Poll (by twodogs on 2016-11-28 00:06:51 GMT from United States) |
Please, please keep Distrowatch the way it is. I think the website looks great.
I did notice a few days ago on my cell phone that it now shows a 'mobile' version of Distrowatch. Uh, I don't like that and have to 'request desktop site' to see it the way it was. I like more information and I could see it all before the mobile version.
Anyway, keep up the good work. This site is awesome!
2 • The site (by John on 2016-11-28 00:21:59 GMT from Canada)
Your site is famous because of the content, not the design. If you want to update, then fine, but don't cave to a redesign just for the sake of it. People come here for the info, and you do a great job of providing that. :-)
3 • Opin Poll (by Strmbringer on 2016-11-28 00:46:47 GMT from United States)
The coloration to me is a bit outdated, the vanilla yellow could go in my opinion. But, it is not my website and you guys did ask. So yea, maybe something in grey or blue.
Honestly very much like the side panel layout, easy to scan while scrolling. Regardless keep up with the good work and excellent coverage of our favorite distros.
Maybe go with what you think and surprise us all! That would work for me!
4 • Opinion Poll (by 2damncommon on 2016-11-28 00:46:52 GMT from United States)
"Different" or "New" can be nice sometimes but New + Weird or Different + Confusing is not so great. I'll guess that's what's behind most of the answers on the poll. I chose "other".
5 • look (by rich on 2016-11-28 00:51:38 GMT from United States)
web layout is fine, maybe different color combinations would be the way to go.
6 • KISS (by Chris on 2016-11-28 01:15:20 GMT from United States)
So long as the site is kept simple and clean, I don't care. The color scheme does seem a little outdated but I don't mind as long as its easy on the eyes.
7 • Website (by Dion on 2016-11-28 01:37:59 GMT from United States)
I think an update would be good. Even if it is just new color. If you are asking the question, then I am sure you are thinking about a face lift to the site is needed.
I do enjoy the mobile site. It does make reading it on my phone a bit easier.
8 • Layout (by Zork on 2016-11-28 01:52:37 GMT from Australia)
As with anything, People like the familiar because they feel comfortable using it... This is a big part of why Windows remains the OS of choice for desktops for a lot of people...
Asking if you should change the look of DW is a bit of a loaded poll considering none of us have seen what you're proposing to do to it...
Would it be possible for you to run a "Test" web-site in parallel to the current web-site for a month so we can make an informed decision on whether we want/like the change???
9 • Design (by Dou on 2016-11-28 01:53:06 GMT from United States)
I like it the way it is now. Functional.
And the only thing that i would consider adding, but not necessary, would be pages in the comments section.
Where you could go to the last page instead of scrolling through 50 or 60 comments.
10 • Rolling Distros Trial? (by Niko Z. on 2016-11-28 02:07:46 GMT from India)
I was looking looking forward to reading part 5 this week. Has the the trial been concluded already? That wasn't obvious from last week's article.
Regarding the website design, I wouldn't mind a small cosmetic face-lift, as long as the layout doesn't change significantly. Distrowatch carries a huge amount of information, and current structure works well for me.
11 • Mobile site / face lift (by user1397 on 2016-11-28 02:11:40 GMT from United States)
I'm surprised the mobile site wasn't a part of the weekly news! Seems like a pretty big change.
I welcome it as it is easier for mobile users, plus if you need the full site you can always switch to it if you want.
12 • Distrowatch redesign (by arms10 on 2016-11-28 02:21:24 GMT from United States)
You could include a user-selectable background option, but the content layout is great.
13 • Opinion Poll (by jonathon on 2016-11-28 02:29:26 GMT from Australia)
Please do what ever is best to maintain this wonderful website long into the future!!!
14 • Website Design (by TheChickenMan on 2016-11-28 02:37:43 GMT from United States)
I agree with the above comments about the design being fine but the color scheme needing some work. The off-white / yellow looks kind of old and bad but the underlying layout is great. What about a darker theme maybe?
15 • A button and a menu? (by Dave on 2016-11-28 02:41:59 GMT from United States)
How about a small 'button' at the top of the webpage to change between desktop and mobile views?
As far as the website update itself.. maybe you could have a small menu, or prehaps a color swatch with, say, five different good looking colors that the user could click one of the colors and the site would reload with that color complementing the website design.
Awesome content, I really like the side columns as there is a lot of information there.
16 • Website Design (by Barnfire on 2016-11-28 03:27:55 GMT from United States)
Should the Yankees lose their pinstripes? Should Tiffany choose a different blue for their jewelry boxes?
Through it's longevity DistroWatch is entering the rarefied air of the classics. Don't go changing for change's sake.
Personally I love the color scheme. It reminds me of the background color in the Terminal window in CDE.
17 • Content over aesthetics (by cpoakes on 2016-11-28 03:34:20 GMT from United States)
Content matters so much more than aesthetics. With the small team, revamping the website is likely to suck resources and time from content and content management. A "minor revamp" like a stylesheet color change and new logo could freshen the look without a painful restyle/reorg. But restructuring the pages? No.
18 • Layout (by DaveW on 2016-11-28 03:40:33 GMT from United States)
I visit DW for information. I want the site to load fast and have current info available immediately. The current format works fine. Don't change it just for the sake of change.
19 • @9 - Distrowatch designs re: comments link (by Hoos on 2016-11-28 03:40:52 GMT from Singapore)
I'm very comfortable with the layout but my one annoyance is how the link to comments work for every Distrowatch Weekly edition: you click on "comments" on the home page and you either get the comments if there are less than 50, or if more than 50 comments you are directed to the bottom of the weekly edition and have to click on another link to get to the comments.
Why not just have one consistent link and location for the comments regardless of the number?
20 • Distrowatch Design (by Andy Figueroa on 2016-11-28 03:52:00 GMT from United States)
"Modern" web designs are annoying. Content is king and functionality is good and familiarity is pleasant to return to and use.
21 • "Modern" web design is terrible (by David on 2016-11-28 04:18:22 GMT from United States)
Modern web design typically means horribly inefficient use of space, being completely unusable on 1024x768 screens, and practically needing a 4K tablet to be usable. Please don't do that.
As long as the design uses space efficiently and doesn't waste it with lots of empty space, and the rankings, list of updated software packages (left column on the front page), and DWW are visible and easily accessible, it's fine, so if you think you can come up with a better design, that's fine, but don't do it just to do it. Too many websites do redesigns for no reason and end up worse.
22 • Web Site Design (by Wedge009 on 2016-11-28 04:18:37 GMT from Australia)
In my experience, 'modern' just means big, flat blocks and over-sixed text that might be helpful for people using so-called 'smart' phones but is an annoying waste of space for desktop users. Don't change just for the sake of it. If some subtle improvements would help people, go ahead. As one example, seti@home just changed to a 'modern' site design a few days ago and while it's not as bad as some 'modern' redesigns I've seen, I'm starting to find some of the changes unhelpful and a waste of screen space.
23 • Web Site Design (by ttoilleb on 2016-11-28 04:34:28 GMT from United States)
As someone who is considered by many to be old fashioned, to me it boils down to the point of the site. That is, is it to be informative and/or educational, or is it for entertainment. This site falls into the first category and therefor should remain as clean and simple as possible with very little eye candy. Though some touch-up etc would probably go a long way.
Just my 4 cents worth (accounting for inflation)
24 • DW website (by billc on 2016-11-28 04:41:44 GMT from Australia)
Why not buck the trend towards complexity, obfuscation and discombobulation by making the site more simple? One which could be read in a non-graphical browser and on an ancient machine in the spirit of UNIX and the command-line? The OpenBSD site, for example, works OK in Lynx.
25 • Keep It Short & Simple (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2016-11-28 04:49:19 GMT from United States)
Only if there's an "advanced" layer/option-set available, of course.
26 • Poll (by mcellius on 2016-11-28 04:53:17 GMT from United States)
Since "I Can't Bring Myself to Care" isn't one of the poll's choices, I selected "Other."
I read Distrowatch for the reviews and some bits of news, and if the topics interest me I'll sometimes follow the comments, but we site design really plays no role in my decision. Of course, a nice web design never hurt any site, so go for it if you want, but it really won't matter to me.
27 • website layout (by Ken on 2016-11-28 05:09:28 GMT from Australia)
I congratulate you on finally implementing a mobile layout. It was annoying having to scroll sideways and magnify to read on a small screen. It needs tweaking but it's a start. People who want the desktop layout can be provided with a link to access it, in addition to using Request Desktop Site.
28 • site design (by M.Z. on 2016-11-28 05:28:40 GMT from United States)
I'm not sure sure if a redesign of the main site is really needed, though I can certainly see both sides of the issue. I do however agree with the previous statements about needing some form of better mobile compatibility, especially give how heavily modern smart phones are used in general. If it's a question of not seeing much of that kind of traffic, I might suggest that there could be a 'chicken & the egg' type situation because I avoid using my Android on this site due to the way it doesn't scale down well.
Anyway, my suggestion would be to keep as much of the basic layout as would seem reasonable to make things work well with a mobile & later try bring in some of the changes to the main 'desktop' version of the site. Perhaps just a theme tweak to align the two after a mobile version is rolled out would work, but at any rate more mobile friendly would be nice.
29 • A new look is not necessary (by Misalf on 2016-11-28 06:38:57 GMT from Germany)
"Modern" looking web pages are usually just slower to load.
If more useful functionality needs to be provided, it might be considerable.
I think a new theme just for "the looks" is not a great idea and unnecessary.
However, providing an appealing looking web page, as opposed to a bad looking one, is a good idea. I wouldn't say the DistroWatch page looks bad though.
30 • No need to change (by Дмитрий on 2016-11-28 06:48:57 GMT from Russian Federation)
Don't fix if it's not broken
31 • Opinion poll (by Ennoia on 2016-11-28 07:19:53 GMT from France)
A new design that can easily been displayed on a 3,5" smartphone would be great ! I mean a website that change is display depending on the size of the screen. But it's definitively the information that I care about.
32 • Comprehensive_and_connected_review_of_openSUSE_42.2_Leap (by k on 2016-11-28 08:14:13 GMT from Japan)
Kudos Jesse and DistroWatch, this weeks feature story/review is
a timely and masterful reference for Linux users and developers,
especially developers of openSUSE Leap.
Jesse, your conclusion: "This is not an operating system I would
recommend to newcomers", perhaps true before the publication
of your comprehensive review, but with it as guide, and openSUSE's
fine documentation, even beginning users of Linux and DistroEatch's
resources should have a really positive experience from it.
Pity about lack of live DVD, repository more limited than Debian's,
and the codecs "business", but openSUSE developers should be
motivated and focused by your shared experience and expertise.
33 • the site (by Jeff on 2016-11-28 08:24:56 GMT from United States)
Another vote for keeping things as they are.
So often 'modern' websites seem to sacrifice usability for bling.
34 • Opinion poll (by Jerry on 2016-11-28 08:42:56 GMT from New Zealand)
56% (as of the writing of this post) would like to see some kind of theming improvement. I think that's a good indication of how visitors view DW these days. My personal view is that it is somewhat dated and could benefit from a 'facelift' without losing any of the useful features. Think 'minor cosmetic surgery' to enhance what is already there rather than a 'total body makeover'.
35 • margins (by shams kitz on 2016-11-28 09:06:42 GMT from United States)
A max-width on the main text content and some margins around it.
Send the 'trademark' vanilla-yellow to the background and try a neutral bg.
horizontal rules -- make em solid.
Other than that I wouldn't change much.
36 • Mobile view needs a tweak (by David Tillotson on 2016-11-28 09:22:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
I really appreciate the new mobile view - it saves my old routine of zooming to get a single column of the latest updates. Only issue is that it has now lost the tagging of new entries. If we can get that restored, I can't realistically think of any other *required* changes.
37 • If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it... (by Adrian on 2016-11-28 09:30:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
Nothing wrong with this website! I like the mobile view too.
I appreciate the content above all and I kinda like the "classic" look and feel.
38 • look (by Alan on 2016-11-28 10:00:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Nothing wrong with a refresh, but remember form follows function.
39 • Old look vs. new look (by jeff on 2016-11-28 10:02:31 GMT from Europe)
I think this is a rolemodel for how it have to look a site.
The only think that have to change is the reason for deleting some comments.
40 • Old vs New (by Marco on 2016-11-28 11:06:20 GMT from United States)
The only change I would ask is to make it easy to switch between mobile and "full" web interface. One laptop would default to mobile, and I could not get it to switch.
41 • Distrowatch design (by Romane on 2016-11-28 11:18:58 GMT from Australia)
maybe I'm just old and don't like change. But then, my Internet connection is so slow that Distrowatch is one of the few sites that loads in a passable passing of minutes. Too many sites have too much flashy that forces me to wait in terms of minutes before I see the content - please don't destroy Distrowatch by making it so flashy I abandon it because I have to wait for the unnecessary and non-function flashy to load. Too much focus by too many people on looks which really mean nothing except vanity, and too little focus by these same people on functionality.
42 • Leave design unchanged, functional and familiarity rule. (by Screw on 2016-11-28 12:13:12 GMT from New Zealand)
Current website and colours are just fine and even refreshing as they are. Why change it to someones favourite colour of the week? It'll just be someone elses least favourite colour. And to poster of comment # 9 (Dou) - Scrolling through 100's of comments takes one or two seconds using Pgup and Pgdown keys. It's quick and easy to find where I was at, if I come back after a couple of days. I hate it when I have to click on page 3 and then find no that's not it I have to try page 5, etc...So Distrowatch please don't add pages to the comments unless there is the option to define how many comments I can see on one page. (and preferably an option to define 100 comments or more)
43 • New look (by Pikolo on 2016-11-28 12:21:55 GMT from United Kingdom)
tl,dr: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Current desktop site is a perfect example how to make functional websites. The new mobile site is nice, though I've never read DW on my phone before so I have no comparison to using the desktop site there.
I'm against change, because it almost never improves things. The only times I think a design update is warranted is when a site doesn't work, and that definitely isn't the case with DW. When most sites get updates they load slower, start depending on CSS and CDNs, loose RSS feeds(though I trust you wouldn't jump on the "follow me on FB/twittter/random_'social'_media" bandwagon), waste screen space and so forth. And they load slower, though I only notice that on wacation. Library WiFi could race a turtle and loose ;) Oh, and gain annoying popups too.
One thing that could use an upgrade is the comments section. I really like the "answer to" comments concept, though I'm not sure how hard that would be to implement.
If you're not content with the current look, please let users test the new design before implementing it.
44 • website_colour_scheme (by gee7 on 2016-11-28 12:30:55 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thank you, Distrowatch, for another interesting week of informative articles.
Please do not change the colour scheme.
My favourite colour scheme for easy-on-the-eye reading is one of black on light yellow. I also use this combination in all the terminals of my different Linux systems.
I peer and curse at faint on dark such as light grey on dark grey but accept the traditional black on white, a continuation of the typewritten page.
Easy access to links, interesting content and being easy on the eye are the prerequisites of good web design.
45 • openSUSE review (by ferri on 2016-11-28 12:45:15 GMT from Slovakia)
For the author of the review
46 • Time for a new look? (by Jim on 2016-11-28 12:59:12 GMT from United States)
Wow, judging by the responses, looks like this is a hot topic of debate. Judging by the votes, looks like nearly 74% prefer to keep things "as is" or with "minor changes". With no additional information to consider, I put myself in that number. I find Distrowatch to be well-designed, visually appealing, intuitively functional, and comfortingly familiar. However, I have to ask the question "what are you trying to accomplish with a UI refresh?"
Is there an issue to be remedied? Or repeated comments/feedback to be addressed? Tweaks in the linux world are allowed (if not expected?), in the pursuit of perfection. Perfection, once achieved, is a dynamic concept that may change. Change for the sake of change is just busy work.
Do what you must in order to achieve "perfection", but in this user's eyes, you already have. FWIW...
47 • the poll (by dmacleo on 2016-11-28 13:21:09 GMT from United States)
I voted minor changes, very little needs to be done really if anything.
its the content that matters, but maybe re-arranging how the content is displayed may help.
I have no firm opinions on any changes, maybe stuff like making dw weekly always show comments and not bother with the no comments option but thats a purely opinion driven suggestion.
48 • Changes, changes (by Andy Mender on 2016-11-28 13:43:16 GMT from Austria)
I'm on board with people saying that DistroWatch should not succumb to the temptations of modern web design. It's mostly for hand-held devices, not for computers. Not to mention it's a passing fab started by Windows 8 and 10. It will go eventually. We know the current design and we've learned how to navigate it well. Lets stick to that :).
About openSUSE - whenever I try it, it gives the impression that it's a solid enterprise-class Linux-based operating system. Then things start breaking or don't work to begin with. If something is not right between 42.1 and 42.2, I would not choose it as a company GNU/Linux distribution. Jesse, you mentioned you managed to fix your issues within 1 day. You do point, however, that openSUSE is not for everyone. What if we're talking about several hundreds of users? The IT department would have their hands dirty for weeks, right?
Also, YaST is a double-edged blade in the end. It's complexity to fight issues resulting from complexity. It sounds to me a lot like a Windows-centric problem. I think it's much better to go for simple wrapper GUIs around basic system tools. In my experience, this works much more reliably.
49 • Distrowatch layout (by Quan on 2016-11-28 13:54:20 GMT from United States)
KISS! KISS! KISS!
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
Maybe adding an option to easily switch color scheme.
The layout has been working pretty well for many, many years because it was simple and efficient. Hell, I have been a visitor to Distrowatch since beginning of time (I really date myself, don't I? :))
Anyway, my 2-cent worth
50 • A new look? Forgetaboutit!!! (by tom joad on 2016-11-28 14:13:21 GMT from United States)
I voted to leave the page EXACTLY the way it is. I spend enough time on the internet searching for this and that, here and there everyday. I don't want to have to do that here. Pleeeeeze!
Leave the page alone already!
51 • Intro needed (by jim rich on 2016-11-28 14:16:15 GMT from United States)
What is needed is new intro screen that has "DistroWatch" from edge to edge across the bottom of the screen. This would be 1/4 screen high. In the mean time we could have 'Dancing Baby' going back and forth across the top of the DistroWatch. Baby would travel at 6 inches a min. We would need a Java script to change the background color every second. NOTE: Make sure that the color to be presented will not conflict with any color previously used. After 30 seconds or so DW could make some money with a 10 second advertisement about how to make money at home by visiting aaa-
howToMakeMoneyAtHomezzz.nada. And last but not least the intro would go to the present day 'DistroWatch.com' web site where nothing has been changed. A poll should be started requesting input about 'How well do you like our new intro'.
52 • site design (by SlaxFan on 2016-11-28 14:18:40 GMT from Germany)
I have been on the Internet since 1993 and got my cable modem connection in June 2001. The first thing I did with the higher speed connection was to search for DemoLinux. I found Distrowatch on my first day with the cable modem and have checked it almost every day since.
I find Distrowatch still relevant and useful as well as easy to use. The current design allows me to check for package updates as well as new releases quickly.
I have seen lots of changes on other web sites. Some of them, I no longer bother with due to their changes. Distrowatch is the only bookmark I still use 15 years after discovering it.
53 • The poll (by Vukota... on 2016-11-28 14:19:10 GMT from Montenegro)
I voted minor improvements, as the site (parts of it) does not look nice on some Linux and mobile browsers. I would like for the look to stay clean and usable as it is today and that we can find things where we used to, though minor improvements coupled with minor modernizations so that content looks correct in different browsers/OSes and load times improved/optimized would be well appreciated as well.
I personally would not mind that mobile site look is different, as long as main areas of the site stay functional and without loss of information. I hate those "mobile" sites when they dumb down UI so that it is unusable for all but one use case.
Areas #1 where I would like to see improvements (this is more functionality rather than a look) is search results. Whenever I search for some DWW article I remember reading (or comments related to it), I can't find it as I get too many useless results back that doesn't even tell me whether that is the page I am looking for.
Area #2 where I would like to see improvements (this is more functionality rather than a look) is comments. Why not provide some kind of "non-manadatory" way to sign-in, so that we can update our posts or maybe have them grouped by topics (responses to the original "Topic") if we wish to? Why not allow comments to be tagged, so that we can later search by those "tags"? I found at the time some very helpful comments in the DWW, but the problem was that later I was unable to find them again few weeks/months later. Good example how this is implemented is IMHO dslreports forums, though DW's look is cleaner.
54 • DW website (by Dave Postles on 2016-11-28 14:24:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
Content is King.
No annoying scripts which keep running.
55 • DW Theme (by Sam Graf on 2016-11-28 14:26:36 GMT from United States)
As a rule, I don't revisit a site that uses overlay advertising or "before you go" nags. That's just me. I also don't watch inserted ads on YouTube (there are other devices at hand), and I dropped cable television because of disruptive advertising. I'm not at all opposed to DW generating revenue, but I hope it doesn't require "modern" (as if modern is always better) site treatments to make it happen.
56 • site design 2 (by SlaxFan on 2016-11-28 14:28:14 GMT from Germany)
"the only thing that i would consider adding, but not necessary, would be pages in the comments section.
Where you could go to the last page instead of scrolling through 50 or 60 comments."
I like having the comments all on one page because sometimes comments have good discussions with lots of useful info. I have printed some comment pages to a PDF for reference. It was helpful when PDF/A was discussed.
57 • poll (by zykoda on 2016-11-28 14:47:44 GMT from United Kingdom)
Remove the Ads, The web and TV are oversubscribed with Ads, They take valuable bandwidth, clutter the screen and raise the price of the advertised wares.
58 • Read Distrowatch with Dillo. (by Sofia Smith on 2016-11-28 14:57:26 GMT from Spain)
I prefer distrowatch.com not changed, BUT if it is necessary, make a web that I can read with Dillo, please! (my hardware is low resources).
59 • openSUSE Review (by vw72 on 2016-11-28 14:58:46 GMT from United States)
I just wanted to make a couple of comments on the openSUSE review.
While OS Leap is stable, Plasma, itself can be buggy. It is important to differentiate between the distro and the plasma. If one had installed the Gnome or one of the other stable desktops, you would not have had the issue with the warning gongs. (Because of the nature of Plasma being in heavy development, Leap developers will updated it more often than the other desktops throughout 42.2's life cycle).
As for the comment about new users not needing YAST or btrfs, I would beg to differ. If these users are coming from Windows or OS X, they would be use to a graphical interface to do system administration. YAST provides a consistent interface and goes beyond what most distros offer in this area. Granted, there are many more tools in YAST that most users won't need, unless they are running a server, but that is a different issue. With regards to btrfs, again, using the recommended partitioning scheme allows for an upgrade that won't boot or otherwise function properly to be rolled back. A new or inexperienced user would be less likely to drop to the command line to fix a problem and the rollback feature can be quite useful (although more so with their rolling release, Tumbleweed version).
All, in all, though, a good and fair review.
60 • Site design (by Rel on 2016-11-28 15:05:40 GMT from United States)
Overall, I think the site design is functional on my desktop, but Distrowatch badly needs a mobile version that makes it easy to read new stories on my phone. As it is now, one must pinch and zoom around on the homepage to check out the content.
Keep up the good work!
61 • Site design (by Rel on 2016-11-28 15:15:08 GMT from United States)
Ok... So you rolled out a mobile site today.. I didn't notice that!! Nice.
62 • Re-design (by dragonmouth on 2016-11-28 15:15:31 GMT from United States)
I come to DW for content, not for artsy-fartsy, stomach-turning glitz and eye candy. The color scheme may be considered "old fashioned" by some but it easy on the eyes and eminently readable. And readable is what's important.
It AIN'T broke so DON'T fix it or try to 'improve' it.
63 • Site design (by Ray on 2016-11-28 15:18:05 GMT from Australia)
Please don't mess with it. Leave it how it is. Simplicity is the key. We know where to find things. I hate it when a site changes to some fluffy bullshit design.
It is good the way it is.
64 • Responsive Design (by tonny on 2016-11-28 15:27:21 GMT from Indonesia)
Use responsive design, something like bootstrap. It will help you much :)
65 • openSUSE and mobile site (by Jesse on 2016-11-28 15:28:34 GMT from Canada)
>> " If one had installed the Gnome or one of the other stable desktops, you would not have had the issue with the warning gongs."
Yes, I probably would have had the same issue. I tried installing a distro with GNOME yesterday and the same gong sounds quickly drove me up the wall. Granted, GNOME makes it a little easier to turn them off once the user finds the appropriate setting (it's not in a logical place), but the same issue is there.
>> "As for the comment about new users not needing YAST or btrfs..."
I didn't mean that. I think YaST and Btrfs are extrmely useful, for anyone willing to use them. The issue I was pointing out was that less experienced users tend not to understand what a snapshot is or how to use it. Most newcomers could greatly benefit from Btrfs and YaST but will not have the knowledge (or often the desire) to dig into the features offered. I have tried explaining snapshots, sudo, MAC controls, etc to people (even more experienced Linux users) and their eyes tend to glaze over. Which leads me to believe they are not going to use the features. They would benefit from them if they did, but many won't try them out.
>> "my cell phone that it now shows a 'mobile' version of Distrowatch. Uh, I don't like that and have to 'request desktop site' to see it the way it was"
The good news is once you select the full desktop version of the site once, you shouldn't ever need to do so again. A cookie will be saved in your browser remembering your preference. If you wipe cookies on your phone then it'll keep sending you bck to the mobile version of the site. If you want to always get to the full version of the site, then when you select "Full Webiste" on your phone, it'll take you to distrowatch.com?mobile=0 (forcing the desktop version to be displayed). You can bookmark this link to always see the desktop version and skip the mobile version of the site.
66 • Site Design (by Rcik on 2016-11-28 15:56:30 GMT from United States)
I have permanently fled from sites that adopted a more modern look, i.e. "Metro". News sites were the worst. What good is screen real estate when the childish links and tiles are so large that only 4 or 6 show at a time? I like my information compact and fast to scan.
67 • new look = Other (by far2fish on 2016-11-28 16:06:39 GMT from Denmark)
I have for a while hoped there would be a "Mobile" version of DW as I often read it on my phone. Now there apparently have been made one, and thank you for that :)
One suggestion to the Mobile version though: Please make the fonts a big bigger please. I still need to scale the page up to about twice the size to read it comfortable :)
68 • Site Design (by Bill S on 2016-11-28 16:08:21 GMT from United States)
Minor tweaks to feel like you're doing something, otherwise -- If it ain't broke, don't fix it. #5.
69 • GUI &c (by Kragle on 2016-11-28 16:28:01 GMT from United States)
Dumbed-down is not better, it's only "simpler" for lazy devs and IT staff. For example, YaST is a tool that brings organization "to fight issues resulting from complexity" inherent in all systems.
(If "their eyes glaze over", you're not presenting it right.)
Smaller screens or 'touch' controls require thoughtful accommodation; thanks, Jessie, for mobile version control - may come in handy when vision/device requires. (But is it support-able?)
I wouldn't recommend OpenSUSE Leap to a novice (just like DebIan/Devuan) but I would suggest trying a Gecko spin or two. That's what some spins are for.
70 • Site design (by David on 2016-11-28 17:05:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
If it's not broken, don't mess with it! As for the colour, black on yellow is the most legible combination: that's not mere opinion, but a fact established experimentally many years ago.
71 • @19 - DWW comments - Hey, waitaminute.... (by Hoos on 2016-11-28 17:08:09 GMT from Singapore)
I just noticed that currently we have 70 comments (ie > 50) for this issue of DWW and the link on the Home page has brought me straight to the comments, which remain underneath the issue of DWW, instead of a separate comments page, which it used to do once comments exceeded 50.
Apart from that, I don't have problems with the current layout and site design.
72 • Site Design (by Justin on 2016-11-28 17:11:45 GMT from United States)
73 • What Fresh Hell... (by cykodrone on 2016-11-28 17:35:37 GMT from Canada)
I'm so sick of sites changing their look and kabillions of scripts like underwear, and mostly never for the better. DW is a constant in a very messed up world, an island of sanity. I was going to vote 'some changes', but then changed my mind. I will say this, it is still looking a little last millennium, like late 90s/early 2000s.
74 • Site Design (by DelD. on 2016-11-28 19:06:09 GMT from Hungary)
I'm lurking around VMS/UNIX since late 80's. Later on, when the 'distro big-bang/inflation' happened I was lost, and also because my work forced me to switch over Win, nevertheless, which was a nightmare/shock for me. When I've came to this site many years ago - so I've sneaked back to the Linux world. And yes, I came to this site for the content. Not cared about the LaF (look-and-feel). Until I've tryed to persuade two of my friends to give a try for Linux on their old hw. When I've presented them DistroWatch first time, their reaction was "I don't want to go back into the 90's! My Vista is slow as hell, but at least pleasant for my eyes!" Told them: this is the site where they can find the most important infos about distros, and the site is not to be confused with the UI of modern Linux. After a few minutes explanation, they've understood it, then said "it is still ugly".
So, to answer the question in Opinion Poll, you have to answer a few other questions:
- Who is the targeted audience?
Looking around the site, I can hardly say the main purpose of the site is only to attract old-school Linux fans.Why are then here ads for "Linux Beginners", or distro reviews? I doubt any review is made for old Linux users only. I personally read its "conclusion" chapter only. I can "review" it for myself, if I'm really interested in one of the distros. So I think we can safely say: the site is for old-hands and newcomers too.
- What is the purpose of the site?
Is DW really wanna be only an on-line database of distros? I doubt it. I honestly think, Jesse's and others mission is also to advocate Linux/alternative solutions too. And "advocate" means: you have to attract the audience.
So, after the long intro, I think these are the rules to stick to:
- Rule Nr. 1: you have 30 seconds to attract your _NEW_ visitor's attention
- Rule nr. 2.: rule #1 doesn't apply to old, returning visitors who are coming to read "content only"
- Rule nr. 3.: if you wanna convert the "newcomers" into "old-hands", you have to stick rule nr. 1
Personally, I don't really care of how "modern" the site is. But don't drive away the new generation of internet (and possible Linux) users.
And yes, there is a danger to make the site with a new look-and-feel unusable, overbloated, fancy, useless "modern" site. But I don't think we need tons of Java scripts, frameworks, whether it is jQuery or MooTools (or whatever) to make a nice, pleasant site. Just use pure CSS - and you can make wonders.
75 • Please NO! (by Steve on 2016-11-28 19:21:26 GMT from United States)
Change for the sake of change is, quite frankly, stupid. And, based on my experience, most new and improved elements frequently are not improvements at all, usually quite the opposite. The only change that makes much sense is to SIMPLIFY but that is rarely the direction change takes.
I'm surprised at the number of comments saying that the color scheme is "outdated". What does that even mean? The current color scheme provides good contrast with easy reading and little eye strain. I, for one, would hate to see that changed. Why change what works just because it's been around longer than you've been alive?
And just to show what a grouchy old fart I am... my win 7 desktop is still configured to look like win2k. As far as I'm concerned that is the last time they had a decent desktop experience. All the changes I've seen since just made things worse, not better. I use a Mate desktop on Linux and BSD because Gnome new and improved themselves way past being a good desktop experience.
But that's just my opinion, obviously not shared by many, otherwise we wouldn't see functional being replaced by so many dancing cows... now get off my damn lawn! 8^)
76 • Site layout (by Pearson on 2016-11-28 20:49:30 GMT from United States)
First, i like that Distrowstch looks great on my phone now. I had to zoom in to see it, before.
Overall, i like the look and feel. A small recommendation would be to update the comments section, to perhaps allow threaded conversations, or at least link related comments (maybe convert an @xxx to a link? ). Definitely a minor nit pick.
77 • GUIs across devices (by Ron on 2016-11-28 21:08:30 GMT from United States)
I would be crazy to want a Desktop with a touch screen! (sore elbow!) What's wrong with people who would want that, just because it can be done!
Actually, I would much prefer a mouse (wireless) for the phone/pad, sure, a small thing to carry in my pocket, but oooohhhh the improvement.
Maybe its just me, but I have endless trouble with finger swiping, missed aim, etc (ok we're talking computers here, ha, ha.
Have all a great day. Ron
78 • New Theme Distrowatch (by Ron on 2016-11-28 21:14:50 GMT from United States)
Don't mess with it. Pretty darn good like it is. I love the black on yellow - too bad more sites are not doing this, very easy on the eyes, not like a deer in headlights!
79 • Distrowatch looks (by a on 2016-11-28 22:47:07 GMT from France)
Like everybody above except one or two people I’d rather not see any change than see the site require JS enabled for a dozen different domains and lots of scrolling due to the wasted space.
The yellow bg is much better than white; maybe you could drop the white bg everywhere there is one as it looks ugly and hurts my eyes. I’m using a custom style sheet most of the time anyway as 99% of all web sites are too bright.
The text is too small and I have to zoom it to 115% to reach a normal size (but it’s still too small in this text edit box). Web pages should never specify a custom font or font size; then the font the user has chosen in his browser settings is used, and it’s perfect for them.
80 • New Page Layout (by Jon Spoonamore on 2016-11-28 23:17:33 GMT from United States)
The main problem with this page is... TOO MUCH SCROLLING!!!
Overall, the page layout is fair. But, it's time for a stationary Nav-Bar.
It would also be nice to see better stats on Distro Popularity over time. Maybe a Time-Line chart.
And, I would like to see two more options: (1) A better Base Distro listing and other Distro based on the selected Distro and (2) Listing of Distro's based on either keyword search or classification. It would be nice to search for a Distro based on certain functionalities like Science, Server, Math, Gaming, Desktop, etc....
81 • website botox (by wallpaperer on 2016-11-29 00:53:26 GMT from Netherlands)
It would be good to see the wallpaper of the distros on the Page Hit Ranking list featured on the background of each distrowatch edition - especially on the comments page (e.g., one large image, or tiled small images):
* the number one distro each week gets its wallpaper featured on distrowatch background.
* if the number one spot doesn't change much, then you could cycle through the top ten.
* or if there are 50 editions of distrowatch/year, you could feature one distro's wallpaper/week as background by counting down from 50 (from January) to a Xmas finale of revealing the end of year number 1 distro.
Otherwise, you could feature the faces of prominent linux/open source people as a different background each week - e.g., Torvalds, RMS, Ritchie, Pottering, Trump, etc.
82 • site change (by Not-Ever on 2016-11-29 01:55:48 GMT from United States)
I've probably been with distrowatch since day 1, but this is my first comment.
Please, please keep things exactly the way they are.
The comments about sites changing to the preposterous 'so-called' modern looks are spot on.
83 • DW Stats (by Kragle on 2016-11-29 02:21:23 GMT from United States)
DistroWatch 'hit' counts aren't about updates, installations, or downloads - they're about 'eyeballs' looking at distro pages. This implies curiosity, not popularity, but advertisers love such stats.
84 • INFORMATION!!! #6 I need INFORMATION! (by woodsmoke on 2016-11-29 02:24:32 GMT from United States)
To paraphrase the sixties t.v. show "The Prisoner".
It is my perception that "almost all" people who REGULARLY come here want information, detailed information.
It has also been my perception that "almost all the time" when a site tries to "get into the more modern style"....that detailed information goes by the by.
The colours may be "old" to the folks who have been here a lot, but the colours are also "easy on the eye".
The format is just about as good as it can get in terms of a person being able to "skim for the highlights" and also quickly get to the details.
As to the adverts, if the advertisers are paying to put them up then there is an old saying to the effect of "follow the money". If they are paying then they must at least not be UNhappy with the present adverts.
There will always be people who want change and there will always be people who don't want to change anything.
But, it would seem that "most" people like it as is, and that should maybe have some weght in forming a decision.
85 • Vote for the Old Look! (by Some Guy on 2016-11-29 04:50:55 GMT from Germany)
I'd really like for you to go back to your old DW banner, featuring the good-looking sweetheart.
86 • Why would you want... (by A on 2016-11-29 06:23:26 GMT from United States)
Why would you want to change the site? I like the look of it, it loads fast and I find information quickly. I feel the Windows cult is coming here to say it should change thendeisgn just for change. The old saying is correct, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And there isn't anything broken on this site and I do like this off-yellow color. I don't think anything needs to change and it should stay exactly the same.
87 • @74 (by billc on 2016-11-29 06:25:16 GMT from Australia)
"Rule Nr. 1: you have 30 seconds to attract your _NEW_ visitor's attention"
Peer-reviewed references please? Including definitions of "attract", "new" and "attention"? We also need to determine whether the existing site actually fails in this important mission.
Or is this just the usual marketing claptrap to justify change for the sake of change?
88 • DW and beginners (by Jeff on 2016-11-29 06:34:04 GMT from United States)
DW isn't really high on the radar for beginners, there are other sites and pages that cater to them.
The mentions and reviews here of beginner distros are themselves more aimed at the experienced user looking for an easy transition to set up for someone else.
So redesigning DW for them is not worth doing.
Far better to have this be the information site that the experienced users go to.
89 • Colour (by What is web"design"? on 2016-11-29 09:21:43 GMT from Germany)
First off, I like the current design. For me the whole point of a web site is information and how to present it, and DW is spot-on in that regard. No excessive JS bollocks, good use of space, looks good on both 1024*768 and HD displays etc.
I voted "minor improvements" because the colour scheme is what looks a bit dated to me and could be changed without changing the parts that the current design does exactly right in my books.
To me, web design has become a term for saying "create web pages that are slow, waste space and time, and try to distract from the content, or the lack of it".
90 • DW pages (by noar on 2016-11-29 13:02:01 GMT from United States)
Of the sites that I frequently visit, the ones with the "new improved" web interface are usually the first ones to get dropped - because while "new", they are almost never "improved" when it comes to actually interacting with them. DW works. It is intelligently laid out, puts the info we come for out in front, then gets out of the way. (If only desktop managers these days could do the same.)
So please don't go nuts. You are one website that would be hard to replace.
91 • website (by Roy Davies on 2016-11-29 14:43:55 GMT from United Kingdom)
There is an old saying 'if it ain't broke don't mend it'. The DW website definitely 'ain't broke', so leave well alone. Tweak colours if you must but keep the format, it's great as it is and long may it be so.
92 • DW theme. (by tuxedoar on 2016-11-29 15:10:02 GMT from Argentina)
Even though I wouldn' reject the idea of DW website being redesigned, I also wouldn't care if you don't do that. I'm perfectly fine if you leave it as it is!. :)
93 • DW's website color scheme (by Ted H in Minnesota on 2016-11-29 15:37:56 GMT from United States)
Re your DW weekly question:
Your "yellow/yellow-brown"? background color. Someone else (Reader nr 3) called it "Vanilla yellow", tint color on my Chromebook, always excessively grabs my attention. Perhaps a black text on white background wouldn't, and might save you some bandwith and be a bit less distracting or might load faster? I don't care about flash and style, I am just interested in the informational content.
I notice that a number of other readers mention the the site's color, probably something to examine and evaluate here. Otherwise, the layout of your website is fine - no need to change anything there.
Nr 8 has an interesting proposal, about showing us some of the proposed changes you envision!
Nr 44 wrote: "I peer and curse at faint on dark such as light grey on dark grey but accept the traditional black on white, a continuation of the typewritten page".
- His black on light yellow color-scheme would work.
I myself am "color-confused" (not color-blind!) And I can say to every web developer, and consumer food product ad/soup can label, art-director everywhere: IT'S THE CONTRAST, STUPID! Amongst the worst color-schemes to read is black text on a red background!... But I digress.
Whatever way you go, Jesse, I look forward each week to reading your inciteful and comprehensive reviews, et al. DW is one of the highpoints of my week! I look forward to dling (downloading) it every Monday!
Thanks for the fine job that you do with DistroWatch!
P.S. Someone wrote; "The only thing that has to change is the reason for deleting some comments."
- [Out of curiosity, what are the criteria for deleting comments?? While some are quite off-topic, many/most excised/deleted comments seemed inoffensive. ?? You'd see the comment one day and it would be gone the next day. What is the criteria?]
94 • @93Ted_colour_scheme (by gee7 on 2016-11-29 17:42:11 GMT from United Kingdom)
Just to clarify: although I wrote in post 44 that I would not mind black text on a white background, my strong preference is actually for DistroWatch to keep the current colours of black text on a light yellow background.
Also I would like to point out a young person, say a 15 or 16 year old who has been introduced to Linux using a Raspberry Pi and is now interested in a desktop Linux distro, may mostly have encountered bling websites in his or her life and find this website something "new" to them. The need here for an easy-on-the-eye presentation and for uncomplicated access to information is just as important as when a seasoned Linux user comes to the site.
95 • More Modern Theme. (by Edward W. Fischer on 2016-11-29 18:17:17 GMT from Canada)
I Believe That A Newer Modern Theme Will make Distrowatch.com More Noticeable
To The People Of The Linux World. But! That is only My Opinion. Thanks and God Bless The Linux World.....
96 • Colors (by Jay on 2016-11-29 18:40:13 GMT from United States)
I didn't even notice that the background on my screen is yellow. I turn down the brightness to protect my eyes from staring at screens all day, so maybe that's it (white looks similar). I agree with protecting eyes. Maybe just invert all the colors and be done with it.
97 • Website (by Mitch on 2016-11-29 20:14:08 GMT from United States)
As many point out, it's the info and content which drive Distrowatch's popularity, not it's design. The layout works: ads are definable and definitive, non-intrusive. So many modern sites are plagued with the up-sale, ad push, sale push push and click bait . Their ads clog virtually every facet and block any ease of use; try and halt with a click of the x, and the page reloads in an endless cycle, the sale is king...there! Not here! Most of the content on these sites is parroted from others, hard to tell their news is real news or viable. Distrowatch clearly highlights comments, quotes and story tidbits from the original source. There's no guessing on the part of the reader as to who said what or when. One of my old pet peeves: clerks roaming the floor trying to talk everyone into buying. Stand at the counter, where everyone can find you, smile and be attentive. I also tip any waiter more for the same attentiveness and non-intrusive behavior. It's the details and functionality here which I find as relaxing as an old friend. Over a decade of viewing and no complaints. If it ain't broke don't fix it...they're called trends for a reason.
98 • minor change? suggestion (by Frank on 2016-11-29 20:43:32 GMT from Netherlands)
I would like to suggest to index the reviews on certain distro's. Of course I can find the reviews but it is a bit of a drag
Keep up the great work
99 • website look (by sylvester on 2016-11-29 22:50:35 GMT from United States)
Would it be possible to show examples of different website themes in upcoming newsletters, that we could vote on ? Any vote at present, is not going to reflect a well thought out response.
100 • Site update (by Pete on 2016-11-30 00:21:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
Whatever you do ... Keep the site roughly looking like this ... it's classic! ... I'd love slightly more information .. perhaps a few more links (to the 32bit stuff too) ... I love the fast load times ... I love the top 100 down the side ... (increase to top 150?) ... distro weekly is also awesome .. maybe another stats page thats easy to click on? ... I've visited probably ten times a day for the last 15plus years ... it's a winning formula! don't mess it up! lol ... I used to visit frozen techs live cd page but it changed and went off the boil ... ? Thanks for all you do!!
101 • Site (by Barone on 2016-11-30 01:10:26 GMT from United States)
Hi...I'm an old nerd that's been reading for years. You can't change the format because I use DW to test and see if I have a trackpad or mouse setup properly. If it scrolls DW it's ready for production !!!
102 • New look? (by Silent Warrior on 2016-11-30 05:25:33 GMT from Sweden)
Not that I particularly like the present look of the site, but Windows 10 is ample evidence that a "modern look" can be unforgivably ugly. Maybe you could try to emulate a popular GTK2/GTK3/KDE3/KDE4 theme? There should be relevant filter settings at gnome-look.org, for example, to help narrow things down.
103 • better look (by Regis on 2016-11-30 08:27:28 GMT from United States)
This site has lots of readable and useful content, and that is the opposite of modern --Text as content. I read the page. The modern look is widely spaced lines of pale text decorating a multi-layered page with transparencies that vary with scroll/swipe/mouseover --Text as texture. The page reads me. The look is already good for what you do here, and what I come here for.
104 • DW web design (by Andy Mender on 2016-11-30 10:54:09 GMT from Austria)
I think Regis (#103) struck jackpot with his observation. It's about absorbing the content. The current web design allows that and "new" is quite seldom "better".
The only bit that might need polishing is the Comments Section. Scrolling down through tenths of posts is a bit inconvenient. A "posts per page" mode would probably solve the problem. With an added "Show All", of course, to not take the old default away from all of us grumpy geezers ;).
105 • website look (by Mark D on 2016-11-30 11:13:45 GMT from United Kingdom)
The website is clear and has all the useful information I enjoy. No need to change, IMO!
106 • openSuse (by Bob on 2016-11-30 11:47:01 GMT from Austria)
The current Leap 42.2 seems to be way better than their previous Leap 42.1. A bunch of users (including myself) obviously decided to stick with 13.2 after the first Leap distro became available. Despite the somewhat infantile setup (sounds, bouncing cursor, unneeded animations) Leap 42.2 might end op on 3 of my computers if hardware is happy with it.
The first installation worked like a charm (after disabling all the crap of course). On desktops I'd usually replace the default Btrfs by proven EXT4. Btrfs still feels like beta testing to me.
107 • Whatever you do ... (by curious on 2016-11-30 13:25:45 GMT from Germany)
... please DON'T equip your pages with "social media" share-functions, especially the dreaded F***book "like"-button.
108 • The ONLY thing CONSTANT is CHANGE (by RollMeAway on 2016-11-30 21:11:18 GMT from United States)
Seems to apply to most everything in life.
For desktops, kde3 and gnome2 were stable, reliable, fully functional desktops.
Nothing more to change, so the developers threw them out and started something
new, so they have something to CHANGE.
Grub-097 had not been changed is a while, everything worked fine.
Can't have that! More developers fork it so they have a more complicated thing
they can CHANGE, constantly.
The list is endless, but this make my point.
109 • Look, change and contents (by monara on 2016-11-30 21:47:56 GMT from India)
Distrowatch comes out once week. Its contents appear to be written by one person. I feel this because I keep someone's website on all the time - all text, pictures etc is mine, and that is going on for more than few years. After a while, the contents get the same style, and another guy would have had a hard time change it. The web designer even does things the way I want now. But becoming routine is not good, and business might fall. So, change is desired. Here at DW, change is a must.
110 • The site (by Dan on 2016-11-30 22:04:40 GMT from United States)
"Your site is famous because of the content, not the design. If you want to update, then fine, but don't cave to a redesign just for the sake of it. People come here for the info, and you do a great job of providing that. :-)"
Echoing John from Canada's sentiment. I would just add that, if you were to "modernize", I hope it won't be a bear to load your pages on my less than optimal Internet connection.
111 • The Site (by Clarke Sideroad on 2016-11-30 22:58:03 GMT from Canada)
It is the information that matters and the current desktop layout delivers.
By all means feel free to change the colours or top banner, but please keep it easy on the eyes. My old eyes think attention grabbing is tiresome.
112 • Colors (by Jeff on 2016-12-01 05:15:43 GMT from United States)
I actually like the colors, much like a US legal pad they are a very readable, the contrast is good, but not as glaring to the eye as text on white.
My favorite non-electronic note taking method.
113 • Background Color (by Ross on 2016-12-02 04:59:18 GMT from United States)
When I went to MIT, every student had a slide rule. (I know that dates me, but if I didn't date myself, I wouldn't get any action at all.)
The division was between the K&E (light yellow background) and Post Versalog (white background). As I had gotten it in HS, so my Post was what I had.
In any case, the background color reminds me of the K&E slide rules I used to see at MIT.
114 • New Site (by KJ on 2016-12-02 12:31:45 GMT from Australia)
Most Linux distro sites now have a nice new look, I think Distrowatch should follow suite. Forget about the old stick in the mud, bite the bullet and show us a nice new refreshing site with lots more content.
115 • Site is Good (by Justin on 2016-12-02 14:54:08 GMT from United States)
"Forget about the old stick in the mud, bite the bullet and show us a nice new refreshing site with lots more content."
Interestingly, I think this makes the point that the content is king here. I bet if we could all get more content (which, btw, is independent of a website redesign), we'd all love it. That being said, I like the format as-is because it maximizes the amount of content I can absorb. I am against a site redesign on the grounds that I don't see how that would improve an already streamlined site. Additional content (or links/partnerships with other major Linux sites) to make more of a portal here would be fine. But again, without new content, new dressing for the current content isn't worth it.
116 • DW page look (poll) (by Jordan on 2016-12-02 15:46:53 GMT from United States)
Can't predict the future, but I'm thinking that changing this site much will have little if any effect on popularity. DW is one of several good sites about linux.
I voted with those who want it to stay the same, though. It's very readable and so very easy and intuitive to navigate as it is.
I've noticed a commonality in newer sites, especially the look of various distro home pages. One word: YUCK!
Please don't do that (see Korora, Manjaro, etc). Please.
117 • Beauty (by Somewhat Reticent on 2016-12-02 16:16:39 GMT from United States)
Most browsers allow users to adjust colors and fonts to suit. Layout and style, not so much. Some facilities give users a choice of theme templates … tracking usage thereof could be a useful survey.
The latest PartEd_Magic ISO image file's background is one example of trying out (a little) change. For fun.
118 • Upgrading to Leap 42.2 (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2016-12-02 16:21:55 GMT from United States)
Haven't seen many (thorough) descriptions of how to upgrade Live from 42.1 to 42.2 offline, even with a Gecko spin.
119 • Change is a must (by mn on 2016-12-02 17:43:40 GMT from United States)
Its the end of 2016, and the world had seen man changes. Today, people carry computers on their wrists. A simple smartphone has more power than any computer in the 60s. If change is thought about, then the change must be. Old fashioned is not always nice. No one wants to use kernel 2.26 today.
120 • Current state of DW Website. (by Michael on 2016-12-02 19:22:28 GMT from United States)
Although I agree with many of you that DW's strength lies in its content, we can still do a lot better for ourselves and those new to Linux and BSD. Bear in mind that this site is over fifteen years old, and even if the "look" remains unchanged, the site needs a major front-end overhaul.
At the time of this writing, these are a few of the issues I see with DW.
2. HTML tags are misused. Instead of being used to delineate content on a page. Markup is often used for page layout. Once again, this is an accessibility issue and may also cost us some valuable SEO points.
3. The site navigation is confusing. Additionally, there is uneeded duplication of effort when it comes to searching for distributions. I mean, do we really need two search fields, a drop down menu and a link, just to find Ubuntu?
4. Images on the site take a long time to load.
5. The web site needs to be responsive. Through the use of modern CSS, DW could be made to support devices of different resolutions without changing the codebase, or referencing a barely visible link in the site navigation. Once again, this move will also help our SEO.
I realize that many of us come here strictly for content, but for new users it doesn't matter if we're the best at what we do if we ignore user experience.
121 • mx 15 (by loader72 on 2016-12-02 21:31:22 GMT from United States)
windows oldie here.. been messing with linux for awhile hoping for a painless weaning from MS tit... gotta say mx 15 live booted up faster than any live usb I've ever seen. omg, this damn thing was amazing fast. whoa... smokin...
122 • I voted modern (by Claus Futtrup on 2016-12-03 18:01:33 GMT from Norway)
When I read some of the comments here, I'm surprised how conservative people are - and how some people associated web design by the color layout (??). I voted for "modern" user interface. By this I mean an interface, which works better on a tablet or possibly even in a browser on a smartphone.
123 • re #28 (by M.Z. on 2016-12-03 20:12:09 GMT from United States)
As an addendum to my previous statement about the mobile version of the site, I have to admit that it does look fairly decent in Firefox when I turn DW weekly sideways on my Droid, but in Opera Mini or when held upright the mobile site still needs a fair amount of work. The text is very tiny by default & the columns that give so much interesting detail on the desktop crowd out everything else from being big enough to be useful.
124 • Distrowatch site design (by Simon Wainscott-Plaistowe on 2016-12-04 00:31:50 GMT from New Zealand)
For many years Distrowatch has maintained a distinctive, clean and functional design. It's your trademark look, recognizable at a glance. No need to change it, the site draws viewers for content not bling.
125 • Readability for DW site is paramount (by R O on 2016-12-04 03:27:38 GMT from United States)
I'm with Minnesota Ted H: it is definitely the contrast that makes/breaks readability. Dark on light - i.e. very pale colors of any sort work fine. I usually set my browser to override backgrounds, especially white, with very pale blue or green, but the yellow used by DW works equally fine. Whatever you do, keep that sort of color scheme for a text-rich resource (at least as an option). And, PLEASE, do not use pale grey fonts for the text!
126 • FastMail recently did "Modern" w/o losing simplicity (by Chris on 2016-12-04 17:54:46 GMT from United States)
I vote for "Modern" b/c sometimes I send my clients here, or they'll happen to see me checking here for reference while looking over my shoulder as I work. I think something more current, which doesn't scream 'outdated' would better do justice to the quality content- the current look doesn't compliment the fact that the site is a world-class leader in its field.
A few years ago, my email provider, FastMail did a new modern look after having been spartan forever. Very much similar to what DW faces here. They were able to pull off a newer look without sacrificing their snappy-quick UI with its built-in simplicity. I'd love it to see DW follow their lead & do something similar.
127 • gripes and aggravations (by Anonymous Old Fart on 2016-12-04 18:27:50 GMT from United States)
Peer-reviewed references please? Including definitions of "attract", "new" and "attention"? We also need to determine whether the existing site actually fails in this important mission.
Are you really serious? Is this your way to quell any dissent and discourage anyone from making ANY comment about ANYTHING? Why should the poster be required to perform 600 hours of research and find all the references, and compile them into an annotated report with bibliographic references JUST to have the right to say ANYTHING on the internet?
I have been around since the 90's and have always found this kind of thing to be the most annoying thing about the community.
128 • DistroW.W.S.Design (by CucumberLinux on 2016-12-04 23:09:04 GMT from Germany)
I am here for the Information, not for some fancy looks.
This DistroW.W.Site has suited me very well in the past!
It is perfectly functional, the way it is.
Number of Comments: 128
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
|• Issue 841 (2019-11-18): Emmabuntus DE3-1.00, changing keys in a keyboard layout, Debian phasing out Python 2 and voting on init diversity, Slackware gets unofficial updated live media|
|• Issue 840 (2019-11-11): Fedora 31, monitoring user activity, Fedora working to improve Python performance, FreeBSD gets faster networking|
|• Issue 839 (2019-11-04): MX 19, manipulating PDFs, Ubuntu plans features for 20.04, Fedora 29 nears EOL, Netrunner drops Manjaro-based edition|
|• Issue 838 (2019-10-28): Xubuntu 19.10, how init and service managers work together, DragonFly BSD provides emergency mode for HAMMER, Xfce team plans 4.16|
|• Issue 837 (2019-10-21): CentOS 8.0-1905, Trident finds a new base, Debian plans firewall changes, 15 years of Fedora, how to merge directories|
|• Issue 836 (2019-10-14): Archman 2019.09, Haiku improves ARM support, Project Trident shifting base OS, Unix turns 50|
|• Issue 835 (2019-10-07): Isotop, Mazon OS and, KduxOS, examples of using the find command, Mint's System Reports becomes proactive, Solus updates its desktops|
|• Issue 834 (2019-09-30): FreedomBox "Buster", CentOS gains a rolling release, Librem 5 phones shipping, Redcore updates its package manager|
|• Issue 833 (2019-09-23): Redcore Linux 1908, why Linux distros are free, Ubuntu making list of 32-bit software to keep, Richard M Stallman steps down from FSF leadership|
|• Issue 832 (2019-09-16): BlackWeb 1.2, checking for Wayland session and applications, Fedora to use nftables in firewalld, OpenBSD disables DoH in Firefox|
|• Issue 831 (2019-09-09): Adélie Linux 1.0 beta, using ffmpeg, awk and renice, Mint and elementary improvements, PureOS and Manjaro updates|
|• Issue 930 (2019-09-02): deepin 15.11, working with AppArmor profiles, elementary OS gets new greeter, exFAT support coming to Linux kernel|
|• Issue 829 (2019-08-26): EndeavourOS 2019.07.15, Drauger OS 7.4.1, finding the licenses of kernel modules, NetBSD gets Wayland application, GhostBSD changes base repo|
|• Issue 828 (2019-08-19): AcademiX 2.2, concerns with non-free firmware, UBports working on Unity8, Fedora unveils new EPEL channel, FreeBSD phasing out GCC|
|• Issue 827 (2019-08-12): Q4OS, finding files on the disk, Ubuntu works on ZFS, Haiku improves performance, OSDisc shutting down|
|• Issue 826 (2019-08-05): Quick looks at Resilient, PrimeOS, and BlueLight, flagship distros for desktops,Manjaro introduces new package manager|
|• Issue 825 (2019-07-29): Endless OS 3.6, UBports 16.04, gNewSense maintainer stepping down, Fedora developrs discuss optimizations, Project Trident launches stable branch|
|• Issue 824 (2019-07-22): Hexagon OS 1.0, Mageia publishes updated media, Fedora unveils Fedora CoreOS, managing disk usage with quotas|
|• Issue 823 (2019-07-15): Debian 10, finding 32-bit packages on a 64-bit system, Will Cooke discusses Ubuntu's desktop, IBM finalizes purchase of Red Hat|
|• Issue 822 (2019-07-08): Mageia 7, running development branches of distros, Mint team considers Snap, UBports to address Google account access|
|• Issue 821 (2019-07-01): OpenMandriva 4.0, Ubuntu's plan for 32-bit packages, Fedora Workstation improvements, DragonFly BSD's smaller kernel memory|
|• Issue 820 (2019-06-24): Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1, running Android applications using Anbox, Zorin partners with Star Labs, Red Hat explains networking bug, Ubuntu considers no longer updating 32-bit packages|
|• Issue 819 (2019-06-17): OS108 and Venom, renaming multiple files, checking live USB integrity, working with Fedora's Modularity, Ubuntu replacing Chromium package with snap|
|• Issue 818 (2019-06-10): openSUSE 15.1, improving boot times, FreeBSD's status report, DragonFly BSD reduces install media size|
|• Issue 817 (2019-06-03): Manjaro 18.0.4, Ubuntu Security Podcast, new Linux laptops from Dell and System76, Entroware Apollo|
|• Issue 816 (2019-05-27): Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, creating firewall rules, Antergos shuts down, Matthew Miller answers questions about Fedora|
|• Issue 815 (2019-05-20): Sabayon 19.03, Clear Linux's developer features, Red Hat explains MDS flaws, an overview of mobile distro options|
|• Issue 814 (2019-05-13): Fedora 30, distributions publish Firefox fixes, CentOS publishes roadmap to 8.0, Debian plans to use Wayland by default|
|• Issue 813 (2019-05-06): ROSA R11, MX seeks help with systemd-shim, FreeBSD tests unified package management, interview with Gael Duval|
|• Issue 812 (2019-04-29): Ubuntu MATE 19.04, setting up a SOCKS web proxy, Scientific Linux discontinued, Red Hat takes over Java LTS support|
|• Issue 811 (2019-04-22): Alpine 3.9.2, rsync examples, Ubuntu working on ZFS support, Debian elects new Project Leader, Obarun releases S6 tools|
|• Issue 810 (2019-04-15): SolydXK 201902, Bedrock Linux 0.7.2, Fedora phasing out Python 2, NetBSD gets virtual machine monitor|
|• Issue 809 (2019-04-08): PCLinuxOS 2019.02, installing Falkon and problems with portable packages, Mint offers daily build previews, Ubuntu speeds up Snap packages|
|• Issue 808 (2019-04-01): Solus 4.0, security benefits and drawbacks to using a live distro, Gentoo gets GNOME ports working without systemd, Redox OS update|
|• Issue 807 (2019-03-25): Pardus 17.5, finding out which user changed a file, new Budgie features, a tool for browsing FreeBSD's sysctl values|
|• Issue 806 (2019-03-18): Kubuntu vs KDE neon, Nitrux's znx, notes on Debian's election, SUSE becomes an independent entity|
|• Issue 805 (2019-03-11): EasyOS 1.0, managing background services, Devuan team debates machine ID file, Ubuntu Studio works to remain an Ubuntu Community Edition|
|• Issue 804 (2019-03-04): Condres OS 19.02, securely erasing hard drives, new UBports devices coming in 2019, Devuan to host first conference|
|• Issue 803 (2019-02-25): Septor 2019, preventing windows from stealing focus, NetBSD and Nitrux experiment with virtual machines, pfSense upgrading to FreeBSD 12 base|
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Full list of all issues|
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The goal of Hedinux GNU/Linux was to develop an easy-to-use Linux operating system, accessible to all users, irrespective of whether they are computer savvy or not. Hedinux will come in two editions - one for Linux beginners with an intuitive graphical installer and easy system administration tools, while the other will be "from source", designed as a modular system with binary packages built by the user directly from source code. Hedinux was an independently developed distribution inspired by the Linux From Scratch and Beyond Linux From Scratch books.