| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 701, 27 February 2017
Welcome to this year's 9th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Some people like to treat computers like an appliance, a device that has a few dedicated functions and works without any tweaking or configuration. Others prefer to tinker and to craft their operating systems, building a custom experience from the ground up. This week we focus more on the latter category, exploring distributions and projects which involve some hands-on effort on the part of the user. We begin with a look at OBRevenge, an Arch-based distribution that make installation easy, but then encourages the user to decide the shape of their operating system. We also talk this week about running media applications on Raspbian and attempts to stream video on a Raspberry Pi computer. Plus we talk about delays on the road to the launch of Mageia 6 and the NetBSD developers working on reproducible builds. Red Hat has published a short talk on whether swap space is still a good idea and, if so, how much swap space is enough and we provide a link to the full article. Plus we are happy to share the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. Finally, in our Opinion Poll, we ask how many of our readers own hobbyist computers like the BeagleBone Black or the Raspberry Pi. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Reviews: OBRevenge OS 2017.02
- News: Mageia 6's ongoing delays, NetBSD offers reproducible builds, Red Hat considers if we still need swap space
- Myths and misunderstandings: Can Netflix run on a Raspberry Pi?
- Released last week: pfSense 2.3.3, Rebellin Linux 3.5, Zenwalk 220217
- Torrent corner: AUSTRUMI, Elastix, KaOS, Rebellin, TrueOS, Void, Zenwalk, Zorin OS
- Opinion poll: Hobbyist and single board computers
- DistroWatch.com news: New menu bar
- New additions: Minimal Linux Live
- New distributions: Ultron OS, ULinux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (31MB) and MP3 (44MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
OBRevenge OS 2017.02
OBRevenge OS was added to the DistroWatch database at the start of February. The desktop distribution is relatively new and is based on Arch Linux. OBRevenge provides its users with a live DVD with a desktop environment, a friendly, graphical system installer and a number of convenient tools to help users get set up. The project provides 32-bit and 64-bit installation media and the ISO file we download is approximately 1GB in size.
I downloaded the 64-bit build of OBRevenge. Booting from the installation media brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot the distribution's live mode, run a memory test or run a hardware detection tool. Loading the live environment brings up a desktop powered by Openbox and (mostly) Xfce components. A panel runs across the top of the desktop, providing us with access to the application menu, task switcher and system tray. Shortly after the desktop loads, a welcome window appears and presents us with buttons to quickly access helpful resources. Specifically, the welcome window's buttons launch the Calamares system installer, open user documentation, launch a text-based web browser to the project's Google Plus page, launch a simplified software manager and assist us with managing VirtualBox and NVIDIA drivers. I like that OBRevenge supplies both on-line and off-line documentation options through its welcome screen as there is no assumption about there being an Internet connection present. In the background, behind the welcome window, we find a clock and readouts showing our system's CPU, memory and bandwidth usage which regularly update.
OBRevenge OS 2017.02 -- The welcome window
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OBRevenge uses the Calamares distribution-independent system installer. Calamares is a graphical application which elegantly walks us through selecting our time zone from a map of the world and gives us a chance to select our preferred language and locale settings. We are then asked to select our keyboard's layout and walked through partitioning our hard drive. The Calamares installer offers us both guided and manual partitioning options. I used the manual partitioning approach and found it to be both flexible and easy to navigate. The installer supports working with a wide range of file systems, including Btrfs, JFS, Reiser, ext2/3/4, LVM and XFS. Once our drive has been partitioned we are asked to create a user account for ourselves. Then the installer shows us a summary of the actions it will take to install OBRevenge and waits for our confirmation. When the installer has finished its work it offers to reboot the computer for us.
The freshly installed copy of OBRevenge boots to a graphical login screen. Signing into our account brings us back to the Openbox environment and displays the welcome screen. This time the welcome screen is displayed with an option to update packages where previously the button to launch the system installer was displayed. The other options on the welcome screen for managing software, displaying documentation and managing drivers remain the same.
On the desktop panel there is an icon which turns red when there are software updates available. OBRevenge is a rolling release distribution and supplies both feature updates and security fixes together. Clicking the notification icon gives us the option of launching the Pamac software manager or an update manager. The update manager is a simple graphical application which displays a list of available upgrades along with the new package's version number, source repository and size. We can check or uncheck boxes next to each package to indicate which ones we want to download. Updates came in frequently when I was running OBRevenge. At one point I experimented with a month-old copy of OBRevenge and a check for software updates revealed 209 updates had been made available during the month of January. These updates totalled 405MB in size.
OBRevenge OS 2017.02 -- The update manager
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People running OBRevenge can make use of the pacman command line package manager to handle installing, removing and upgrading software. However, the distribution provides two graphical front-ends to software management that we may find more convenient. The first software manager is called Pamac and it presents us with a fairly simple interface. Software packages are listed in alphabetical order down the right side of the screen and, on the left side, we can perform searches and select filters to narrow down the list of items we are shown. When we find a package we want to install or remove we can click a box next to the package's name. Pamac is fairly straight forward to use and works quickly, but it is easy to get bogged down in the massive amounts of available software. To make finding popular applications easier, there is a second software manager.
OBRevenge OS 2017.02 -- The Pamac software manager
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The second software manager can be launched from the welcome screen and it displays three tabs. These tabs (Internet, Media and Office) show us a short list of popular applications in each of the three categories. For example, the Office tab has Abiword and LibreOffice, the Media tab features VLC and a few other multimedia programs and the Internet tab includes such items as Firefox and Chromium. We can check boxes next to which items we want to install. This trimmed down package manager does make it easier to find popular items. My one concern with the simplified package manager was that it only shows users the short package name of each application with no description or hint as to what the program does. This leaves the user to guess what packages named "gnumeric" or "totem" do.
OBRevenge OS 2017.02 -- The settings panel and the simplified software manager
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The OBRevenge distribution does not ship with a lot of desktop software. Looking through the application menu we find the Elinks text-based web browser, the Qt Designer application, an archive manager, file manager, calculator and text editor. There are plenty of configuration utilities for adjusting settings which I will come back to later, along with the Htop task manager and the GNU Compiler Collection. The distribution ships with systemd 232 and version 4.9.6 of the Linux kernel. As OBRevenge is a rolling release distribution, new package versions will be introduced as they become available.
While OBRevenge is light on desktop applications, the distribution features many utilities for managing settings. These utilities can be accessed through the application menu or through a settings panel. The settings panel is divided into four tabs to help us find the modules we want to access. The Customization tab handles adjusting the look of the desktop and its components. The System tab handles working with most of the underlying operating system. The third tab, Software, provides launchers for accessing the distribution's software managers and software updates. The final tab is labelled OBR-Tools and includes a miscellaneous collection of small programs for adjusting system settings.
OBRevenge OS 2017.02 -- The application menu
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The layout of the settings panel is pretty straight forward and there are lots of useful modules we can access. My one complaint with the settings panel was many of the configuration modules require root access and the panel does not remember our credentials. This means almost every time we open a new settings module, we are prompted for our password. I prefer to input my password once and have it remembered while I am exploring a settings panel.
I tried running OBRevenge in a VirtualBox virtual machine and then on a physical desktop computer. The distribution operated well in the virtual machine and automatically sets up VirtualBox modules, nicely integrating into the guest environment. I had similarly good results running OBRevenge on the desktop computer. In both instances, the distribution booted quickly, the desktop was responsive and all my hardware was properly detected. The system used just 255MB of RAM to login to the Openbox interface and was stable during my trial. I tried booting OBRevenge in both legacy BIOS and UEFI modes on my desktop computer and found the distribution ran well in both situations. One of the few issues I ran into with regards to hardware was trying to set up my network printer. OBRevenge was able to detect a printer was present, but could not find any suitable drivers for the device.
Apart from the difficulty I faced getting my printer working, I ran into a few other bumps along the road while I was using OBRevenge. The distribution features a configuration tool which allows us to switch out the Xfce desktop panel for alternative panels. This gives us the flexibility to make our desktop act more like LXDE or another, custom environment. I found that changing the panel also swaps out the application menu for a different menu with different software categories. This means if we switch panels we need to also get used to finding our software in new locations. Later in the week, I tried to switch back to the original desktop panel. Selecting the Xfce panel caused an error to be displayed which told me I could not change panels because the system was running in "kiosk mode". When I dismissed the error message I found the Xfce panel had been loaded, but the LXDE panel was still in place, resulting in two overlapping (and visually confusing) panels. I had to manually kill one panel's process in order to use the other.
OBRevenge OS 2017.02 -- Exploring alternative themes and wallpapers
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For the most part, I enjoyed OBRevenge's dark theme. I liked the visual contrast and I usually enjoy darker themes as I find them easier on my eyes. A minor issue I had with OBRevenge's default theme was window borders were not always distinct. Sometimes, when I had multiple smaller windows open, they all bled into each other, making it hard to tell which controls were in which window. I was able to adjust the look of the windows and their borders in the settings panel.
Perhaps the most curious issue I ran into concerned the system clock. When I first started using OBRevenge the clock had the wrong time and this confused Firefox and caused me to see an error message whenever I tried to visit secure websites. This inability to visit HTTPS-secured sites is a common issue when a computer's clock is set to an incorrect time or time zone. I opened the clock's settings from the desktop panel and found I could either manually set the time or enable automatic time synchronization using NTP. I opted to use NTP, as I usually do on other distributions, and an error message appeared telling me NTP was not installed. This seemed unusual and I went into the Pamac software manager to install it, only to find NTP was already installed. I then dropped to a command line to confirm NTP was enabled and running, and I restarted the service using systemd. I then returned to the clock's settings, which gave me the same error reporting NTP was not installed. In the end, I gave up on automatic time synchronization and manually set the clock's time.
One final problem which developed over the week was menu clutter. OBRevenge ships with very few desktop applications, but lots and lots of configuration tools. These tools are present in the application menu and in the settings panel. At first, they present minimum clutter, but as I added applications I wanted to use, the already full menu became more difficult to navigate and I found myself increasingly using the menu's search function and Favourites sub-category in order to keep my application launchers organized.
The OBRevenge distribution is unusual in a few ways and I sometimes struggled with aspects of the project's design. As an example, the distribution does not ship with a graphical web browser. There is a launcher for a text browser in the application menu and we can find a second text browser launcher by using the menu's search feature. It is unusual to find a desktop distribution with just a text browser, but what I found really strange was selecting the on-line documentation button on the welcome screen launches a Python script whose sole job is to open a minimal, graphical web browser to display the documentation. The minimal browser has no menu or address bar, but we can use it to view web pages and click through links. This seems to indicate the developers decided it would be better to create their own website viewer in Python and only use it for documentation while supplying desktop users with a text browser rather than use a graphical browser (such as Firefox or Chromium) for both tasks.
Little design choices like this show up in other places. For example, there is a settings module which downloads new wallpapers and then opens a file manager to show us the new images. But the file manager cannot change the desktop wallpaper so we need to return to the settings panel and launch a second module to actually access the new wallpapers while other distributions usually integrate the two steps into one utility, downloading and selecting wallpapers together.
Something which stood out while I was using OBRevenge was that my learning curve with the distribution was almost backward. Usually, when I start using a new distribution, I spend a day or two getting used to how things are set up and fixing minor issues. As the week progresses, things gradually get easier and I settle into a new routine. With OBRevenge, things started out well. The distribution ran well in both of my test environments, the welcome screen offered me documentation and a good first impression. The system was light and the Calamares installer made getting the distribution installed a breeze. For the first few hours, OBRevenge was looking very promising, friendly, fast and with cutting edge software.
Over time though, I started running into the problems I mentioned above. Firefox wouldn't display secure websites until I fixed the clock, my application menu soon became cluttered, adjusting settings took longer than expected because I was regularly prompted for my password. My usually Linux-friendly printer was not recognized and switching desktop panels did not go as smoothly as I had hoped.
During my time with OBRevenge I tried to figure out who the distribution was targeting. It is easy to install, but there is a lot of work to do afterward installing software, codecs and possibly drivers. These characteristics, along with the style of the software managers and many configuration tools led me to believe this distribution is targeting people who have run (or who would like to run) Arch Linux, but who want to skip the initial installation process. The distribution seems to be made for people who want to install the system with just a few clicks, but then wish to heavily customize it and manually select all of their own desktop software.
OBRevenge seems to be taking the stance that we, the users, know what we are doing and we want to customize our system from the ground up, we just want a minimalist foundation in place first. The distribution does a great job of making a first impression and helping us get the core operating system installed, but then largely steps out of the way and leaves us to install and manage the system as we like. I feel as though OBRevenge takes a similar approach to Tiny Core Linux or Arch Linux in that we are given some basic tools and left to craft our own system. I can see why this approach appeals to some people, it starts us off with a fast and light system. Personally, I found it meant I spent more time getting the pieces I wanted in place and adjusting things than I would usually like.
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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)
Mageia 6's ongoing delays, NetBSD offers reproducible builds, Red Hat considers if we still need swap space
The long anticipated release of Mageia 6 has been delayed for several months, causing some people to wonder at the health of the project. The developers have posted a commentary on the current situation on the distribution's blog: "For months we've been saying 'the next ISO images will be published within a few weeks.' And that's still how we see it. And actually lots of ISO images have been made, each one improving over the previous one, and Mageia 6 Stabilization Snapshot 2 will be very different from Stabilization Snapshot 1, because during all this time development has been going on, bugs have been fixed, packages have been updated, artwork has been integrated, etc. The good news is: Mageia 6 is really going to be good. And actually it already is, for all those who already run the packages from Cauldron, the development branch. So why not release it now? Well, let's try to give you some insight..." The Mageia project has encountered a number of issues during the testing phase, some of which have the potential to cause serious problems at install time. The developers are being cautious and holding back the release of Mageia 6 until all the significant bugs have been squashed. You can read more on the current status of Mageia 6 in the project's blog post.
* * * * *
Last week we reported that the FreeBSD team was working on making builds of the FreeBSD operating system and its ports reproducible. Another project which is trying to make their builds consistent and reproducible is NetBSD. A blog post on the project's site covers many of the steps the NetBSD developers had to take to create reproducible builds. "I have been working on and off for almost a year trying to get reproducible builds on NetBSD. I did not think at the time it would take as long or be so difficult, so I did not keep a log of all the changes I needed to make. I was also not the only one working on this. Other NetBSD developers have been making improvements for the past six years. I would like to acknowledge the NetBSD build system (aka build.sh) which is a fully portable cross-build system. This build system has given us a head-start in the reproducible builds work. I would also like to acknowledge the work done by the Debian folks who have provided a platform to run, test and analyze reproducible builds. Special mention to the "diffoscope" tool that gives an excellent overview of what's different between binary files, by finding out what they are (and if they are containers what they contain) and then running the appropriate formatter and diff program to show what's different for each file." NetBSD builds are now reproducible on amd64 and sparc64 architectures with work on-going for other hardware platforms.
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Swap space is a method by which an operating system can move information out of memory and store it elsewhere until it is needed again. Swap space can generally be thought of an extension of the computer's memory which lives on the hard drive. In the past, having swap space was important as computers had relatively little memory and could quickly run out of available RAM. Unused data could be punted to swap while more urgent tasks were handled in memory. These days though computers tend to have a lot of memory and it raises the question of whether there is any point in having swap space anymore and, if so, how much? The Red Hat team has explored this topic in a post called Do we really need swap on modern systems? "In the past, some application vendors recommended swap of a size equal to the RAM, or even twice the RAM. Now let us imagine the above-mentioned system with 2GB of RAM and 2GB of swap. A database on the system was by mistake configured for a system with 5GB of RAM. Once the physical memory is used up, swap gets used. As the swap disk is much slower than RAM, the performance goes down, and thrashing occurs. At this point, even logins into the system might become impossible. As more and more memory gets written to, eventually both physical and swap memory are completely exhausted and the OOM killer kicks in, killing one or more processes. In our case, quite a lot of swap is available, so the time of poor performance is long. Now, let us imagine the above situation with no swap configured. As the system runs out of RAM, it has no swap to hand out. There is almost no time frame of reduced performance - the OOM kicks in immediately." The article goes on to talk about issues to consider when deciding whether to use swap space.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Can Netflix run on a Raspberry Pi?
About two years ago I purchased a Raspberry Pi computer to play with and to use as a home server. At the time, after confirming the little Pi computer could run a desktop and perform tasks such as playing music and browsing the web, I relegated the device to acting as a headless backup server. More recently I have been thinking about setting up a media centre and, knowing the Pi was capable of playing music, I wondered if the tiny device had enough power to also play videos and watch Netflix.
Here I ran into an interesting puzzle. I looked around to try to find out if the Pi, running Raspbian, would be able to display Netflix streaming videos. Of about a dozen websites I consulted, most reported there was no way to get Netflix playing natively on a Raspberry Pi, but at least four sites claimed it was possible and provided tutorials for streaming Netflix videos. These contradicting views intrigued me. Usually when I consider writing Myth and Misunderstanding columns it is to talk about incorrect information that gets repeated so often it becomes common knowledge. The ideas that software licensed under the GPL cannot be sold and ZFS requires 8GB of RAM to work properly being prime examples. But here I had a topic where the Pi community appeared divided and I was curious to see if any of the tutorials worked or if the Pi really would be unable to play Netflix videos.
If you haven't tried this experiment before, you might be wondering why a Raspberry Pi computer, assuming it has enough processing power, couldn't stream videos from Netflix. The primary reason is Netflix uses DRM and we need to have either a dedicated application to play Netflix videos (the way Android does) or we need a web browser which can run the necessary plugin to interpret and play streams from Netflix. Since desktop Linux (Linux distributions built for the x86 architecture) does not have a native Netflix client, we can use the Chrome web browser or (in some rare cases) another web browser which can use Chrome's Widevine plugin.
The bad news is that the Chrome web browser does not run on Linux distributions that run on ARM processors. Further, the plugins we would normally use work on x86 processors, but not the Raspberry Pi's ARM processor. This leaves us in a bit of a corner when it comes to looking at solutions.
While I was looking around for options I found three types of tutorials for watching Netflix on Raspbian. The first group of tutorials actually use another computer or service to stream Netflix. That remote computer handles the DRM and then forwards the video to the Pi computer. These services generally cost money and/or require setting up a second computer, which somewhat defeats the purpose of having the Pi. I skipped these tutorials as I wanted to play videos natively without relying on another computer or service.
The second class of tutorials suggested using a Kodi extension which would decode and display the videos. I looked into this and, as far as I can tell, the extension only actually works on x86-powered computers, making it unsuited for the Raspberry Pi.
A third, and somewhat promising option, proposed a tricky solution that basically involved two key parts: Grab a copy of the Widevine Chrome libraries from Chrome OS, which runs on ARM processors, and transfer these to the Raspberry Pi. Then install the libraries on the Pi with a couple of extra packages and the Chromium web browser. The concept seemed solid, but finding a complete tutorial was difficult. There are (or were) videos of people performing the necessary actions, but the references to these tutorials I found all pointed to videos which have since been taken down. Other tutorials were presented in text, but these all included broken links or were missing steps. This left me to assemble bits of tutorials from a variety of sources and merge them into one, continuous process (see below).
After trying a few of these tutorials, trying different user-agent switchers for the Chromium web browser, installing the Widevine libraries in a few different places and trying suggested tweaks, I came to the conclusion that none of the available tutorials worked. These guides may have worked in the past, but either due to missing steps or changes to Chromium or to Netflix's service, the guides are no longer functional. It would seem that the Pi, running GNU/Linux, is not suitable for playing Netflix videos.
That being said, I did find I was able to play videos and stream YouTube content from my Pi. The Chromium web browser is slow to load pages, but content plays in the browser smoothly once it has finished loading the page. This means if you are looking for a media centre that does not need to attach to Amazon's video streaming service or Netflix then the Pi is up to the task.
In case anyone else is interested in trying the steps I took and, hopefully, improving on the experience, I have posted the steps I tried to get sound working on my HDMI TV, extracting the Chrome OS Widevine libraries and enabling Netflix. These steps can be run directly on the Raspberry Pi running a fresh copy of Raspbian and do not require another computer.
* * * * *
Download and extract the Widevine libraries from a Chrome OS recovery image. This requires downloading the recovery image and using the kpartx tool to mount the image. We then access the mounted image and extract the specific libraries we want.
The next step is to download and install a special build of the Chromium web browser, codecs and supporting libraries. We will also need to remove the existing Chromium browser from Raspbian.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kpartx
sudo kpartx -av chromeos_7077.134.0_daisy-skate_recovery_stable-channel_skate-mp.bin
sudo mount -r /dev/mapper/loop0p3 disk
sudo cp disk/opt/google/chrome/libwide* /usr/lib/chromium-browser/
sudo umount disk
Finally, we run the Chromium browser and install a user-agent switcher extension. This allows us to change the way Chromium identifies itself, which will hopefully bypass any blocks Netflix has in place to prevent Chromium from accessing its service. The desired user-agent string is:
sudo apt-get remove chromium-browser
sudo dpkg -i libgcrypt11_1.5.0-5+deb7u5_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra_45.0.2454.85-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1097_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i chromium-browser_45.0.2454.85-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1097_armhf.deb
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; CrOS armv7l 6946.63.0) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/45.0.2357.130 Safari/537.36
I have tried other strings, but so far without any success.
Last, but not least, I have found that some HDMI connected televisions will not play audio with Raspbian's default settings. If you run into a similar situation where videos (or audio files) are playing, but no sound is coming from the TV or monitor then you can add a line to your Pi's /boot/config.txt file and reboot the Pi.
sudo echo "hdmi_drive=2" >> /boot/config.txt
If anyone can improve on the above steps or has had better success, please let me know.
|Released Last Week
Jim Pingle has announced the release of pfSense 2.3.3, an updated build of the FreeBSD-based specialist operating system designed for firewalls and routers: "We are happy to announce the release of pfSense software version 2.3.3. This is a maintenance release in the 2.3.x series, bringing numerous stability and bug fixes, fixes for a handful of security issues in the GUI, and a handful of new features. The full list of changes is on the 2.3.3 New Features and Changes page, including a list of FreeBSD and internal security advisories addressed by this release. As always, you can upgrade from any prior version directly to 2.3.3. The Upgrade Guide covers everything you'll need to know for upgrading in general. While, nearly all of the common regressions between 2.2.6 and 2.3-RELEASE have been fixed in subsequent releases, the following still exist: IPsec IPComp does not work, this is disabled by default; IGMP Proxy does not work with VLAN interfaces and possibly other edge cases; those using IPsec and OpenBGPD may have non-functional IPsec unless OpenBGPD is removed." Continue to the release announcement for more information.
Rebellin Linux 3.5
Utkarsh Sevekar has announced the release of Rebellin Linux 3.5, a set of two distributions with a choice of GNOME or MATE desktop environments, both based on Debian's "unstable" branch: "Rebellin Linux 3.5 released. Built on the goodness of Debian and the previous Rebellin, it's the best Debian Sid-based distribution you can get. Know why? Cos it comes with email support! Download Rebellin now and end your search for the perfect Linux distro! The big news is our tiny WhatsApp client for Linux. Nothing fancy, it just works. List of updates: GNOME Shell upgraded to 3.22.2; MATE upgraded to 1.16.1; Linux kernel upgraded to 4.8-liquorix; brand-new Material Design theme now completes the look; plenty of package and driver updates; MTP support added; Rebellin now works perfectly with AMD APUs, tested on a tiny AMD A4-1200 (Temash, 1 GHz) processor and Rebellin just ploughs through...." Read the rest of the release announcement for more details.
Rebellin Linux 3.5 -- Running the MATE desktop
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Zenwalk Linux 220217
The Zenwalk Linux distribution is a desktop operating system built on the foundation of Slackware Linux. The project has announced a new rolling release snapshot of Zenwalk Linux which carries the version number 220217. The new snapshot reintroduces the Firefox web browser in the default installation and offers a number of updated packages. "The main change is the comeback of Firefox, built with GTK+ 3 and multi-threading enabled by default: This build of Firefox starts and reacts nearly as fast as Chromium, and with many tabs opened: scales much better in terms of responsiveness and memory footprint. You will also notice some improvements around FFmpeg, and MPV which is from now the main media player in Zenwalk. GStreamer has been dropped from ISO but is still available from Slackware repositories. Of course this ISO image contains many updated packages." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
TrueOS is a rolling release operating system based on FreeBSD. The TrueOS team has released a new snapshot of the operating system's Desktop and Server editions. The new snapshot includes several bug fixes, a few new services and package updates. TrueOS 2017-02-22 also includes support for automounting devices and a new jail management utility: "Automounting - This new feature allows auto-detection and mounting of inserted USB devices. It also automatically unmounts USB devices when the user ceases accessing the device. See the blog post on automounting for more details about this useful new feature. New jail utilities jbootstrap (requires being run once to fetch base packages), jinit, and jdestroy are available. These support OpenRC development and add other functionality. See the blog post on these new jail utilities for more details." The release announcement has further information.
Linux From Scratch 8.0
Bruce Dubbs has announced the release of Linux From Scratch (LFS) and Beyond Linux From Scratch (BLFS) 8.0, a major update of the do-it-yourself books providing instructions on how to build a base Linux system from scratch, then compile and configure many popular software applications on top of it: "The Linux From Scratch community is pleased to announce the release of LFS 8.0, LFS 8.0 (systemd), BLFS 8.0 and BLFS 8.0 (systemd). This release is a major update to both LFS and BLFS. The LFS release includes updates to glibc 2.24, Binutils 2.27 and GCC 6.2.0. In total, 29 packages were updated, fixes made to bootscripts, and changes to text have been made throughout the book. The BLFS version includes approximately 800 packages beyond the base Linux From Scratch version 7.10 book. This release has over 775 updates from the previous version including numerous text and formatting changes." Here is the full release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not 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 in our Torrent Archive. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 308
- Total data uploaded: 57.5TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Hobbyist and single board computers
Small, low-power computers have become increasingly popular in recent years. These little computers, such as the Raspberry Pi, make for inexpensive learning tools, great low-traffic servers and can even be used as a minimal desktop computer in some cases.
This week we would like to find out how many of our readers own one of these little computers, like a BeagleBone Black, Banana Pi or Raspberry Pi. If you own one, please leave us a comment letting us know what tasks you have assigned to your device.
You can see the results of our previous poll on time spent using the command line here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Hobbyist and single board computers
|I own multiple single board computers: ||561 (29%)|
| I own a single board computer: ||462 (24%)|
| I do not own a single board computer: ||921 (47%)|
New menu bar
Over the years DistroWatch has added several resources. We not only cover distribution releases and reviews, we also seed torrents, have a glossary page, list news stories, provide a way for people to vote for projects on our waiting list and compare packages between distributions. Plus we list security advisories for some of the major projects and have data on page hits and trends. While these resources are available through our sitemap, we realize some digging was required to find the new resources. With this in mind we are trying out a new feature, a drop-down menu bar that is displayed in green near the top of each page.
It is our hope that the new menu bar will be useful in helping people explore our available resources and new features. We are going to run with the new menu bar for a week and then, next Monday, let people vote on whether they find it useful or if it is just unwanted clutter.
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New distributions added to database
Minimal Linux Live
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Ultron OS. Ultron OS is an Italian Linux distribution which is based on Ubuntu. It is a commercial distribution with a free edition that can be accessed with website registration.
- ULinux. ULinux is a free openSUSE-based operating system that aims to be as minimal as possible, yet easier to set up than something like Arch Linux. The most notable differences in ULinux compared to openSUSE is that ULinux has extra repositories for installing Budgie/Cinnamon and uses Nano as it's default text editor instead of Vim.
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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, 6 March 2017. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. 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 • OB Revenge (by gekxxx on 2017-02-27 00:51:30 GMT from Belgium) |
Honestly OB Revenge is the best distro I ever used. Fast, clean, simple,stable. Support for my Samsunf CLX3180 through AUR. No isues with the clock. Did not use the Panel Switcher however. Openbox combined with xcfe4 rocks. REALLY happy with OB Revenge.
2 • Single Board Computers (by OldManRohr on 2017-02-27 01:51:51 GMT from United States)
7 RPi's 1 - Temperature/Humidity controller, 2 - web server, 3 - data backup, dns, ntp, dhcpd, etc 500G HD. 4 - work and testing 1T HD. Three others as backup, and/or retired.
3 • OB Revenge (by bigsky on 2017-02-27 01:55:44 GMT from Canada)
@ 1. The best distro I ever used. Your kidding right oh please. Thanks
4 • Tiddlers (by Bob on 2017-02-27 02:07:57 GMT from New Zealand)
If the option had been there, I would have ticked the 'Intend to " box. A pal has two and is an enthusiastic promoter of the species.
5 • "menu bar for a week" (by Greg Zeng on 2017-02-27 02:50:31 GMT from Australia)
" ... We are going to run with the new menu bar for a week and then, next Monday, let people vote on whether they find it useful or if it is just unwanted clutter."
Excellent. Should have been done years ago. Discovered DistroWatch valuables that were long hidden from us.
On the MENU-BAR, could you make the MENU-HEADINGS into BOLD-CAPS please? This would give us more eye-candy, to guess that a CLICK on the TITLE would expose other click-bait items. Peaceful, relaxed browsers love click-bait and eye-candy.
Your FAQ could include how to switch-off Scripts & Java-Scipts if readers seem bothered. I would suggest that they use a web-browser insensitive to these scripts. If they use a high-powered browser (based on Chromium or Firefox), then there are several add-ons to control these scripts, per page, or per web-site.
6 • menu bar (by bigsky on 2017-02-27 03:09:57 GMT from Canada)
@5 Jeeeeze Greg have a Fosters and relax a bit. Holy smokes it's only rock and roll and we like it. Merci
7 • SBC's (by Geek on 2017-02-27 03:21:10 GMT from United States)
The Panda was purchased years ago. Wanted to see if an Arch Linux with XFCE install would run on the then current smart phone hardware. Ran fine other than accelerated GPU drivers never materialized. Used the fbdev driver. Had the crazy idea of a dual boot Android / Linux X11 when plugged into monitor, smart phone. The lack of graphics drivers for Linux X11 continue to be an issue with ARM hardware.
The Pogo's were used as super inexpensive Linux install and hardware hacking projects. Learned a bunch and had fun at the same time. I use a v4 and v3 for NAS rcync backup storage and multimedia storage.
I'd be cool if ARM based hardware could standardize like X86 for at least the boot process, among many other areas. I don't see that ever happening though...
Would be nice to see widespread adoption and standardization of an open source hardware, non x68 processor. Something like OpenRISC or RISC-V based, replacing the current ARM SBC's.
Possibly better hardware documentation leading to better hardware driver support?
8 • SBC single board computers (by jon on 2017-02-27 03:34:49 GMT from United States)
although I don't own one, with an eye to the future I would be interested in reading DW reviews of distributions which support SBCs
9 • SBC (by bigsky on 2017-02-27 04:15:44 GMT from Canada)
@10 There are several but I'm holding back for USB 3 ? Why is it taking so long. I can only guess it's a heat issue.Thats my best guess.
10 • single board computers (by kevin on 2017-02-27 04:52:18 GMT from Canada)
i on mutliply raspberry pi's my neest pi3 is for retropie for gaming, the pi2 is for kodi and my pi model b is current out of commision still deciding what to do with that. i have experimented with multiple OSs on them as well
11 • Menu Bar (by Simon M. on 2017-02-27 06:42:49 GMT from South Africa)
Please do what you need to do. Its really great to get feedback from this community but there is a word of caution: I have hardly come accross as many Luddites as in the Linux community. There seems to be a fragment for which any change is the end of the world.
12 • Single Board Computers (by Hannes Worst on 2017-02-27 08:11:49 GMT from Netherlands)
I own a Raspberry Pi 1 for managing a weatherstation, an Orange Pi One as webserver and a Banana Pi M1 for desktop-purposes.
13 • Dumb browsers (by John on 2017-02-27 08:26:04 GMT from United States)
I am glad to see distrowatch supporting DUMB browsers.
I think a good question would be what is the dumbest, smallest useful browser?
I am viewing this and writing this using DIllo which recently seems to be getting MUCH too smart.
So I am using a DUMBER old version of Dillo !!
How many Gig does your PIG browser require?
How badly does it harass you with unwanted videos and other vomit?
Does anyone remember Dr. Dobbs - running light without overbyte :).
Does anyone care?
14 • Netflix (by G.B. on 2017-02-27 08:40:20 GMT from Austria)
There is Android for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 called RaspEX:
Perhaps this would be a solution to stream videos from Netflix ... has someone already tried?
15 • @14 (by G.B. on 2017-02-27 08:47:32 GMT from Austria)
Sorry its called RaspAnd. Here the latest build based on Nougat 7.1.1:
RaspEX is the Ubuntu-Version.
16 • OBR, RPi & RPi (by Sondar on 2017-02-27 08:48:18 GMT from United Kingdom)
Can we ever be more grateful to Jesse than for his contributions today?! His review of OBR has saved this distro junkie oodles of wasted time. Thanks Jesse - I'll never use it!
As for the Netfix-on-RPi, his how-to is priceless and a great contribution to maintaining freedom on this platform against those who would subjugate world+dog in pursuit of $$$.
Turning to this weeks POLL, can recommend the incredible little RPiZero for $5/£4/EU5, even for hobbyists not given to frequently burning fingers on soldering iron. No need to throw more $$$ at the expensive add-ons, get a $0.99 dc-dc converter from eBay and it'll drive a relay to switch all your sensor-based projects directly from the GPIO. Minimal cost, minimal knowledge, all info easily accessible from the InterWeb.
17 • OBrevenge (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2017-02-27 08:51:11 GMT from United States)
So ... not much testing live?
Most live ISOs reveal the administrative password ...
18 • TrueOS (by Eddy on 2017-02-27 09:47:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
I don't like the policy of the guys that manage their site, I posted some comments about the fake claims of their devs that the recent versions support radeon gfx , and they deleted them, I would avoid this
19 • @6 • menu bar (by KangarooCourt on 2017-02-27 10:23:57 GMT from Australia)
*sigh* No-one drinks Fosters in Australia...
Jesse PLEASE add this to your Myths and Misunderstandings section next week i.e. Aussies don't drink Fosters!
But the second part was spot-on... smokes... we sure do. It assists with relaxing...
20 • single board computers (by Steve Dietz on 2017-02-27 11:36:40 GMT from United States)
I use my pi zero to run kodi, and the other pi's to experiment with (to use as a cheap desktop or with a tiny screen from adafruit).
21 • Single Board computers (by excollier on 2017-02-27 12:20:17 GMT from Ireland)
I have owned a RaspberryPi since 2013. I use it as a torrent box, in that I use it to download and seed Linux and BSD OS torrents, and I rarely shut it down. It just sits there on my lan and connected to the internet slowly sharing goodness (lol)
22 • Openbox is great (by far2fish on 2017-02-27 12:26:22 GMT from Europe)
And so is many panels and menus (lxpanel, xfce4-panel tint2, plank and so on).
But it seems a bit excessive to me provide whole distros just to give out some eye candy or lightweight features. I think the effort could be better spent if the developers of these niche distros rather made their panel configs public available and easy to install or well documented for those without prior knowledge for a given panel.
23 • Reproducable builds (by Will senn on 2017-02-27 14:09:57 GMT from United States)
What, in a technical sense, is meant by reproducable build? Does it mean the user can rebuild the os or the distro folks can or what?
24 • RE: Single board computers (by AndyMender on 2017-02-27 14:50:45 GMT from Austria)
Does anything with a processor count as a single board computer? I have an Arduino Leonardo with a couple of shields I haven't put to any use just yet. Would fancy some electronics projects soonish :).
25 • How I use Raspberry PI SBC (by tinkerer09 on 2017-02-27 14:53:04 GMT from United States)
I have an owncloud server, web development server (Laravel), local git version control server, retropi (4 kids), Kodi media server. A mix of B+, Pi 2 and Pi 3 boards many on 24/7 for months at a time. Great, well documented/supported platform to learn on.
26 • Dumb Browsers & NEW LINUX DISTROS (by Manolo on 2017-02-27 14:53:39 GMT from Spain)
@13 Agree with you. I use to use dillo for pir4t3 torrent webs to avoid adds. But, for other webs I also browse with firefox or chrome.
On my laptop I have 3 distros: Mint, Arch & Slack because all of them have minor bugs on different aspects.
Instead of split more and more new linux (and bsd) distros, why not merge and joint movement to create a more perfect Linux distro.
HOW MANY THOUSANDS LINUX DISTROS WILL BE NECESSARY TO CREATE A LINUX FREE BUGS? (at least at same level to win or apple)
27 • @26: Manolo (by dragonmouth on 2017-02-27 15:10:05 GMT from United States)
I agree with you. But don't waste your breath. You might as well be talking to a wall. The Linux community celebrates choice, the more, the better. Besides, every budding developer wants his 15 minutes of fame. So instead of contributing and improving an existing project, they slap some modules together and 'create' a new distro.
28 • Single Board Computers (by Glen on 2017-02-27 15:12:51 GMT from United States)
3 rPi's one as NAS and 2 running openAPS. 2 Intel Edison's; one on an Intel mini breakout board, and one on Explorer board, both running openAPS. openAPS is a project that type 1 diabetics develop and use to close loop control an insulin pump.
29 • OBRevenge (by Chris on 2017-02-27 15:13:34 GMT from United States)
OBRevenge is a decent project, and they seem to be trying very hard. I agree that they don't seem to have found a footing as far as what they're trying to do. Obviously, with a graphical installer and easy driver installation, they're trying to be easier for people newer to Linux to use than Arch, but at the same time it is pretty bare bones out of the box. But, I actually like a bare bones OS, so that doesn't bother me. I presently have it on my desktop, though I'm not running it at the moment. I have it on a dual boot with Peppermint, which is what I run daily. Still, I like to run OBRevenge, it's just not quite at the level where I'd consider it a full time distro. But, I like what they're doing and the team seems pretty cool, from what I can tell. It's still in very early stages of development, so I'm looking forward to seeing where they take it.
30 • "a more perfect Linux distro" @26 (by a on 2017-02-27 15:48:45 GMT from France)
The whole point of free software is to let everybody do what they want. Not everybody wants the same thing. A perfect Linux distro can only be perfect for one person.
31 • @ 30 (by Corentin on 2017-02-27 16:30:16 GMT from France)
'perfect' is maybe excessive but the idea is good. The Linux fragmentation is just one of its problems...
32 • RE: Reproducible builds (by Andre on 2017-02-27 16:40:37 GMT from Canada)
@23 There are all sorts of reasons why two machines compiling identical source code might produce binaries that actually differ when compared bit for bit. A reproducible build is one that doesn't differ in its final result. This is important for security reasons, among other things. Basically, it's about having a verifiable path from source code to machine code.
33 • RE: Single board computers (by Fatmac on 2017-02-27 19:35:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
I just bought into the Raspberry Pi phenomina, now that it has 1GB of ram & wifi on the Pi3, I decided to try it out as a desktop substitute.
I mainly use my computers for internet, email, music, & watching videos. Happy to say the Pi3 can cope with these tasks.
34 • @26 Manolo, please read it (by Distrohopper on 2017-02-27 20:07:42 GMT from Brazil)
Well, Manolo Garcia, I understand your point of view. Since the very first day I joined the UNIX community, my main concern was testing as many distros I could install in a "sparring PC" just to find out that ALL OF THEM SUCK in some aspect. And look at the European Union to realize why the Linux world NEEDS diversity: Immigration problems in the old continent (especially in Sweden and France) led the British people to realize they would face a social and economic catastrophe. So they decided to vote for Brexit... (In geeky slang: They "forked" U.K. from E.U., just like Devuan forked from Debian.)
Yes, diversity rules! I love it. How desperately sad would be the UNIX world if we had only one Linux and only one BSD. During the World War II, this was the situation in Germany: "EIN Volk, EIN Reich, EIN Fuehrer." Presently, fanatical Muslims are trying to impose their stupid philosophy and religion to each and every European, Christian or not. No choice is given, other than convert to Islam and follow the Shariah Law.
Now you understand why an overwhelming distro diversity is so wonderful? YOU HAVE CHOICE. If you hate Ubuntu (like me :), then you can try Debian. If Mandriva doesn't make you happy, then PCLinuxOS may put a smile in your face. But what seems to be a fantastic distro for thousands of users around the world not necessarily fits your requirements. Just take the time to judge for yourself, no matter how many people try to influence your judgement.
After YEARS of hard work, my final conclusion was: If you want a decent Linux desktop system, by all means stick to a Debian STABLE based distro. Forget those HORRIBLY BUGGY variants of Fedora/Ubuntu/openSUSE and even Arch. Slackware based distros are fine, but only if you don't use the CURRENT version, which is also buggy (like any other cutting-edge system).
As for the choice of a "dumb" browser, Dillo is certainly your best bet: Fast as hell, absolutely stable, standards compliant... By the way, do you build it with a PATCH to provide HTTPS compatibility? As far as I know, Dillo defaults to HTTP only. Correct me if I am wrong.
Have you ever tried MX Linux? Or SolydX? In my opinion, either of them is a logical replacement for both Mint/LMDE and PCLinuxOS.
35 • Cubietruck for squid (by Kingneutron on 2017-02-27 20:13:33 GMT from United States)
I've been using a Cubietruck for a Squid proxy server for the past several years. Works well, especially when plugged into a UPS.
36 • RE: #26 - Disjointed thoughts in opposition to one way (by x on 2017-02-27 20:18:45 GMT from United States)
Why not have one automobile manufacturer that only produces one vehicle? How about only one political party or only one family rule a country. One electronics manufacturer and one software company.
Having only one way to do things is efficient, all training would be exactly the same. Development would slow to a crawl. New ideas would be rejected because we do not do things contrary to the current ones.
Distributions are created to accommodate the needs of the developers and are then shared with others that may find that version useful.
'Bugs' - Most programming languages were not developed with security in mind. C was developed by computer scientists for computer scientists. Most programmers are NOT computer scientists. Computer scientists make mistakes programmers make more. Much of the software today is focused on new features and errors are addressed long after it is released for general use. It appears to me that few want continuously review code thoroughly searching for potential errors and take corrective measures that eliminate errors. Many times one correction creates a number of issues in other areas.
So I have to ask of the OS's ever released, how many are focused on 'bug' free code. The non-core software situation is even worse. I encourage new development, but would like to see more focus on correcting what already exists, so forking a project just to make corrections would not be necessary.
37 • Whoa ToaruOS (by RoestVrijStaal on 2017-02-27 20:51:09 GMT from Netherlands)
Thanks to drag ToaruOS in the spotlight at the 700th issue.
It's interesting that some people still wriite their own kernel and carry themselves by their hobby away so it becomes a working operating system.
38 • Small computers (by Jordan on 2017-02-27 21:21:18 GMT from United States)
Really small. Gizmo 2 came my way for my birthday early this year. Having fun with it at odd times but see little use for it as a go-to machine. Just a gadget.
39 • streaming content on rpi (by Diggi on 2017-02-27 22:24:45 GMT from Germany)
@ Jessie: did you try void? they have libdrm for aarch64 (rpi3) and other arm
40 • @34 (by Corentin on 2017-02-27 23:33:54 GMT from France)
I don't buy this. It's just bullshit.
Maybe not "only one Linux and only one BSD" but for example, at least some unity, compatibility between the distros, packages, desktops, less bugs, etc.
41 • Swap (by Pat Menendez on 2017-02-27 23:34:19 GMT from Canada)
I think that every article I've seen regarding the use of swap space is using a computer with 2 gig of RAM. How many people only have 2 gig of RAM? I'd like to see an article dealing with whether or not swap space was needed on real world home computers today with 16 or 32 gig of RAM that even running for days on end doing graphics editing and spread sheets never use more than 8 gig of it's RAM. I have never seen my swap files used on any of my computers! I have seen NO negative consequence of not having a swap file on the computers I tried it on. Yes, absolutely, the swap file had it's day in the sun but the reasons for it's existence I think have largely gone they way of the 32 bit single core CPU and 2 gig RAM, the digital dinosaur. So, what is the cut off point where having a swap file is unnecessary? What could be the reasons for keeping it with 16 or 32 gig of RAM in a home computer? Would having a swap file be more useful for a home file server? Or, if you never have less than 16 gig of RAM are you just as well off without it? I remember reading an article on optimizing or speeding up Linux. They talked about adjusting the "swapiness" to reduce the use of the swap file to increase system performance. To me that indicates that if you have sufficient RAM eliminating the swap file altogether could well result in a more responsive system.
42 • 40 (by x on 2017-02-27 23:55:34 GMT from United States)
It is called standards. Maybe you should examine some of the less than perfect code out there, you might understand. Just because it is open source does not mean that it is correct code, it just has the potential to be corrected. Openssl is a prime example of error prone code not being corrected. Several people noticed problems and offered corrected code. The requests were ignored. One solution was to fork the project and rewrite the code.
If you feel that one distribution is not good for you to use as is, feel free to customize and modify to fit your needs so only one is necessary. The primary open source licenses allow anyone to do this. Or maybe you should just use MS or Apple software and accept what they give you.
Constructive criticism is useful, general complaining is a waste of everyone's time. Get involved.
43 • My SBCs (by Tuxedoar on 2017-02-28 00:19:04 GMT from Argentina)
I have two Raspberry Pi I (model B) and a single Raspberry Pi II. I don't have a single and fixed porpouse for each of those, yet!. I`ve been experimenting with different things, mostly, with pieces of electronics. In particular, I have been playing around with LEDs, a temperature sensor and a relay module. In addition, I`ve built a web site using the Python Bottle microframework to display data collected by the temperature sensor and also to control some LEDs.
On the other hand, I`ve a NodeMCU which, I guess, can't be considered an SBC. Rather, a microcontroller. I have built a robot with it and a web page to control it!.
44 • mini pc (by antiphibian on 2017-02-28 01:37:34 GMT from Australia)
I use a zotac nano pc + portable monitor + usb hub. it's a jungle of cords, but a great power-saving combo for typing.
@6, @19: surely a croke is better than a fosters!
45 • 41 • Swap (on Linux). FAQ needed. (by Greg Zeng on 2017-02-28 01:46:29 GMT from Australia)
Mostly myths exist here, based on old hardware & software technologies, which were slow & very expensive. Most good operating systems offer real-time swap-monitoring systems. 3rd-party ones are far better than "originals". In Linux, I use GKREL, which then has a desktop monitor on all your "windows". With 16 GB of DDR3 memory, I have never needed swap memory with Linux.
Good Linux operating systems detect if your hardware already has a partition in the system that is devoted to Linux Swap. They all detect I have such a partition (4 GB) on my onboard SSD. Bad operating systems use the user-memory, booting medium (slow flash-drive?) rotating-storage, or operating-system partition. Bad operating systems (e.g. Windows) need swap memory becaue of poor design, even if there is lots of unused main memory.
Swap memory has been greatly discussed in Linux, especially easily seen in the many YouTube recordings of the annual Linux Conventions. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeKeRXssKqbK4XHqLYrctQ LinuxFest Northwest
linux.conf.au 2017 – Hobart, Tasmania
Linux.conf.au 2015 -- Auckland, New Zealand
46 • @45 SBC, IoT, "perfect" Linux, rudeness, BSD, ... (by Greg Zeng on 2017-02-28 01:59:16 GMT from Australia)
All these above topics have been well debated, internetted, and PUT-TO-REST, every year at the annual Linux face-to-face conventions.
If you are living in a hospice (like myself), then the only way I can "attend" these is to watch (or listen) to the above YouTubes in @45. Look especially at the forums that featuring: Linus Torvalds (founder of Linux) & Bryan Lunduke. E.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu0l-Ac7fTU "Windows is AWESOME!"
47 • Single Board Computers (by S Savage on 2017-02-28 02:12:16 GMT from Canada)
Do most Android TV boxes count, or is that a different animal?
48 • SBC and more (by mikef90000 on 2017-02-28 02:34:32 GMT from United States)
Besides my RpI3, there are other inexpensive computers that are useful for experimentation and specific tasks. My $50US, MIPS based Edgerouter X runs a Debian fork, has plenty of RAM, flash and can run other packages if properly chosen. I've also been tinkering with a $25 GLI AR-150, another small MIPS based router running OpenWRT out of the box.
49 • SBC (by argent on 2017-02-28 03:15:51 GMT from United States)
Glad this topic came up, have friends and work associates that discuss this small wonder often enough that I think it's time to dive in and experience SBC.
Thanks for all have commented on this topic, time for a new toy!
50 • Swap Space (by cykodrone on 2017-02-28 14:32:31 GMT from Canada)
Every time I build a new machine, everything doubles, including the memory, I currently have 16GB, that being said, I haven't really needed swap space in almost 10 years. If I remember to and get around to it, I tweak swap usage to its absolute minimum. Shutting it completely off could be a mistake, especially for power users, would you install a sink without an overflow?
51 • Deepin (by Ari Torres on 2017-02-28 15:10:00 GMT from United States)
Slowest download speed ever,how can we try it if we can't even download it? any torrents for the latest ver? thanks.
52 • Swap (by Corentin on 2017-02-28 20:02:00 GMT from France)
Swap is necessary in all OS. suspend-to-disk (hibernation) uses the swap partition...
The design of the Operating Systems is stupid and it requires swap. This is also valid for Windows.
53 • Chromium RAM hog (by jAKEOV on 2017-02-28 23:03:28 GMT from Canada)
I never had a problem with my Debian/Xfce notebook using swap until within the last year. My system has 4GB RAM and equal size swap space. I use the Chromium browser and now I regularly see up to 10% swap usage. Chromium really is a memory hog. I've tried Firefox but I find it just doesn't compare in speed to Chromium. My solution will be to double the RAM to 8GB.
54 • Swap space and SBCs (by sherman jerrold on 2017-02-28 23:26:42 GMT from United States)
Thanks again for all the great info. The amount of O/S info and number of opinions seems to double every week. Despite all the less than kind remarks, you guys do a great job of keeping us informed. Diversity in O/S is not a problem, it allows for individual choice and creativity. I've used a number of distro's without having bug problems or crashes. RE: Swap Space, I'm using a Dell Dim2400 sgl Intel P4 2.4GHz with only 768MB RAM and Kubuntu 14.04 and firefox 51 (which keeps getting slower with each update), so swap space is critical. In the past year, I've re-built ~12 PCs for people using Puppy and this level of hardware. RE: SBCs, I'd like to experiment with one, but I keep finding old laptops that are cheaper and almost as capable to play with.
55 • @52 (the mythical Swap space) (by Distrohopper on 2017-03-01 13:14:40 GMT from Brazil)
"Swap is necessary in all OS. The design of the Operating Systems is stupid and it requires swap."
Wrong! Almost no operating system "requires" a swap space, just because it is OPTIONAL. Even laptops don't need it if they have plenty of RAM and "suspend-to-disk" is not a requirement for a particular user. I never use swap space in anyone of my three computers, including a laptop. The only one of them which got a physical swap partition (located in the second HDD) keeps it DISABLED from the bootup time. Also, for SECURITY reasons, computer users should avoid swap space like the plague when it isn't really, REALLY necessary.
"This is also valid for Windows."
Because Windows sucks. But even this obsolete OS can be set up to use a real swap PARTITION instead of its default swap FILE, what could eventually speed up that horrendous bloatware.
56 • SBCs (by nightflier on 2017-03-01 13:22:23 GMT from United States)
Home: rPi3 - Kodi. Adapteva Parallella-16 which I bought mainly to support the project - never got to take advantage of the 16 cores, but it's running an internal Apache server.
Office: An rPi playing infotainment on TV in lobby, and a Cubieboard serving a custom web app.
57 • Amount of RAM memory and Swap files (by Ted H in Minnesota on 2017-03-01 15:12:47 GMT from United States)
@41 wrote: "How many people only have 2 gig of RAM?"
Well, I have 9 notebook computers and only two of them have more than 2 GB of RAM! (Both have only 4 GB of RAM.) While you are undoubtedly right that for those who have lots of RAM memory, a swap file is unneeded, but just because you and others have lots of memory, doesn't mean that swap files are not needed, because lots of the rest of us run with lesser minimal amounts of RAM! Not everyone is "state of the art" - or likely to be anytime soon!
58 • Swap (by curious on 2017-03-01 15:46:33 GMT from Germany)
So, to summarize:
- people who can afford new computers with lots of RAM and who don't care about saving power by using suspend mode do not need swap.
- everyone else needs a swap area at least the size of the computers RAM.
59 • Chromium Widevine Plugins (by Glenn Condrey on 2017-03-01 16:22:36 GMT from United States)
I installed two Chrome WIdevine plugins into Slimjet, which is based on Chromium's browser, and got Netflix playing in Trisquel Linux.
Maybe you could use the same two Widevine plugins in Chromium under the Pi?
60 • Swap (by Jay on 2017-03-01 18:20:10 GMT from United States)
I haven't used swap since turning it off in XP. I used to show people at work how to turn off swap on their machines for the performance boost.
Swap was needed when I had only 256MB in my machine (AV is a hog). Once I got somewhere between 512MB-1024MB, I could switch it off. When I was almost at 1.5GB, I could run VMs without worrying about swap (XP in 512MB, Puppy, etc., in 256MB or less).
These days I have 32GB RAM because I want to have very large RAM disks. I don't think my PC ever goes above 1GB during normal usage (no VMs).
61 • Netflix on Linux (you can use Firefox too) (by M.Z. on 2017-03-01 21:18:00 GMT from United States)
I actually can get Netflix working in a nearly default Firefox in PCLinuxOS. In truth it should work in the current (non LTS) version of Firefox just by going to Preferences > Content and checking the 'Play DRM content' box. Unfortunately Netflix throws up some useless message about supported browsers; however, if you use a user agent switch add-on to tell Netflix that Firefox is Chrome everything plays fine. I really wish that they would allow content to just play in Firefox on Linux, but perhaps I should complain more.
At any rate I think the real problem described in DW is related to using the plugins on ARM processors rather than being a problems with the Widevine Plugins themselves. Those are now included in Firefox & as I mentioned they seem to work fine there as well so long as Firefox on Linux isn't being excluded by default.
62 • SBC (by zykoda on 2017-03-01 23:31:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
2 Pink pogoplugs running wheezy as nameservers and general USB backup (ssh) Also run C, Fortran and python on them. Arduino for small scale solar panel pointing using LDR sensed control of stepper motors..and other projects. Linksys wrt54g(s) versions 4,5,6 as wireless access points (dd-wrt mini and micro firmware 2.4 kernels). All fun in retirement!!
63 • Has Lubuntu/Ubuntu run out of Wine? (by Basil Fernie on 2017-03-02 07:22:01 GMT from South Africa)
Just installed Lubuntu16.04.2, more or less by reflex. Now find that there is no Wine version running on 'buntu later than 14.04, aoocrding to Lubuntu site commentcs. This is particularly bad because qpdf fails to open some recent PDFs - and now I can't even run Adobe Reader on Wine. What's going on? Help!
64 • Swap (by swapless on 2017-03-02 15:39:51 GMT from United States)
My Archbang uses <100MB with openbox on a low-end netbook. Who needs swap? I don't understand who puts swap on an SSD. Anyone remember Vista had a feature to use a thumb drive as swap? It killed drives fast! Cut all the memory hogging, processor eating eye candy! Linux desktops can be fully functional without swap even with modern browsers and low RAM!
65 • systemd, Distrowatche searches, etc (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-03 00:35:55 GMT from Australia)
The new menu bar showed me how to detect that only ONE (1) distribution , Minimal linux Live, does not have systemd (<1). The search function atm does not show which distrowatch.com have qbittorrent, nor snappy applications - yet.
Only ONE distrowatch.com atm has the very latest Linux kernel (4.10.1): Slackware linux. Easy upgrading is available on many distros, by inbuilt applications. Easy upgrading by 3rd party applications could be made possible by smart script creators,if they exist.
Another Distrowatch.com feature is the distrowatch.com comparison. http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=compare-packages
66 • Fedora 25 slow & sloppy? (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-03 00:49:56 GMT from Australia)
Many reviews show & explain Fedora 25 behaviors. Slow start & stop times. Poor driver supports, etc. http://www.hecticgeek.com/2016/12/fedora-25-review/#comment-715501
Distrowatch.com explains why Korora 25 (one of the children of Fedora) betters it's parent and grandparent (RedHat). http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?firstlist=fedora&secondlist=korora...
Only 224 packages are tracked by Distrowatch.com atm. It's partly obvious how conservative and guarded the parental generations are. http://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?secondlist=korora&secondversions=0...
Every sensible review of Linux distributions should now be using this Distrowatch.com ability. However it needs upgrading to cover Wayland, Mir, non-free codecs, unetbootin, gtk, gparted, etc. Surprisingly it includes qt.
67 • @65 Only "Minimal linux Live" refuses SYSTEMD? (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-03 06:04:06 GMT from Australia)
is the url for the above "evidence". It seems.
68 • @66 - Fedora 25 review (by Hoos on 2017-03-03 07:30:57 GMT from Singapore)
Didn't seem too bad a review except for the boot and shutdown times being a little slower than the other 2 distros it was compared to. Is that small time difference really a showstopper?
And I'm not sure the DW link you gave actually "explains" anything about why Korora 25 "betters" its parent. If you are referring to the availability of non-free codecs and other packages OOTB, it must be noted that Redhat is probably constrained by US IP rules being a "proper" corporation operating under US law, while Korora is Australia-based, not created by any corporation, and not subject to the same laws.
It's not to say I don't appreciate Korora - which I'm using - but it couldn't have existed without its parent.
69 • @66 and 68 (cont.) (by Hoos on 2017-03-03 07:42:35 GMT from Singapore)
Also, do you know if Korora 25 boots up and shuts down faster than Fedora?
70 • @67 strange way of searching (by curious on 2017-03-03 12:13:10 GMT from Germany)
You searched for distros *having* systemd version less than 1 in any release.
The more correct search for systemd >= version 1 "Not in latest release" gives a long list of distros (starting with PCLinuxOS), although I haven't checked whether the results are all correct.
71 • re: "systemd: Not in latest release" search results (by kriv on 2017-03-03 16:40:50 GMT from United States)
@70 I would point out the following caveats regarding the current "systemd: Not in latest release" search results:
Univention Corporate Server (134) --- has a long development cycle, and: their "current stable" is perhaps to old/stale to be attractive, and the forthcoming release will (does) ship systemd init.
SymphonyOS (214) --- Feb 2015 beta (stalled?) --- forum link is dead-end. This stalled (inactive) distro lands in search results perhaps misleadingly (due to its age).
Finnix (224) --- June 2015 --- no mailinglist activity --- This stalled (inactive) distro lands in search results perhaps misleadingly (due to its age).
VortexBox (235) 2015 (Fedora-based) --- This distro lands in search results perhaps misleadingly (due to its age).
Grml (261) Nov 2014 --- mailinglist & github reflect intent to ship systemd (if/when the distro devs manage to produce a future release)
Overclockix (276) June 2015 --- This stalled (inactive) distro lands in search results perhaps misleadingly (due to its age).
SME Server (Fedora-based) Dec 2015 --- This distro lands in search results perhaps misleadingly (due to its age).
Also, bear in mind that the DW search results are not comprehensive ~~ obviously, only distros which are "recognized" (recognized by DW) appear in the search results. A more extensive list is maintained at without-systemd.org
72 • non-systemd (by Jesse on 2017-03-03 16:43:57 GMT from Canada)
If you really want to find distributions without systemd, don't type in the search manually, just click the link at the top of the Search page which says "do not use systemd". You will get about three pages of results for projects which do not include it in their latest release. Or use this link:
73 • SBC (by Mike on 2017-03-03 17:08:31 GMT from United States)
Running https://pi-hole.net on a RPi3.
74 • @72 - without systemd (by Hoos on 2017-03-04 09:29:00 GMT from Singapore)
There is a detailed list here:
75 • 74 • @72 - without systemd (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-04 21:39:06 GMT from Australia)
Thank you for the different search methods. But why the differences in Distrowatch searches. Jesse claims: "distributions without systemd, don't type in the search manually" ?? My original "<1" seemed more logical; with one only live result. Also logical is ">1" - "not in some releases"; 274 or 222 "live" results.
Using the DW "automated" (?) method shows 93 "live" results. Using @74: http://without-systemd.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page gives:
(100+38+13) distributions, or about 151 results, since it includes some which are not Linux, and perhaps uncertain "live" status.
The historians would need more rigorous tools to check. Is systemd OK? Internal checking by many distro creators seems OK to me. So I'll just trust them. Systemd is the better way to go?
DW & other stats about published Linux distros will "always" be inaccurate. Many publications are just vanity, self-published & private. Many are beta-releases pretending to be final releases. Many "final releases" are such low quality that they should have been aborted at birth, despite the "pride" of the parents.
DW however still gives Linux shoppers our tool to window-shopping, before committing. It hasits essential distro comparison tool: distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=compare-packages
76 • list accuracy, as in, curation best effort (by kriv on 2017-03-05 02:03:35 GMT from United States)
Regarding "uncertain live status", you'll find a dozen or so distributions listed on the without-systemd.org "Discussion" page -- absent from "Main Page" due to their current status. Among those is Kwort, which DW still lists as "active", although the Kwort site has been unavailable for a while. They (Kwort) just this week, have renewed their website/hosting and AFAICT we will soon hear "Kwort v4.3.2" release announcement.
77 • @68 Korora (by Jordan on 2017-03-05 19:22:32 GMT from United States)
I think a lot more people use Korora than the DW PHR would indicate. It's not just Fedora with codecs, etc. It's quicker on shut down by far, and a bit faster on boot from cold. Not to mention its parent doesn't keep an eye on various media programs, etc. It's been my only distro on two machines for quite some time now. No reason to even consider anything else.
78 • @64 (by Corentin on 2017-03-05 21:48:33 GMT from France)
Absolutely not. If you believe this... good for you. :)
79 • @64 (by Corentin on 2017-03-05 21:54:47 GMT from France)
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I answered has your last sentence:
"Linux desktops can be fully functional without swap even with modern browsers and low RAM!"
Number of Comments: 79
Display mode: DWW Only • Comments Only • Both DWW and Comments
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