| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 704, 20 March 2017
Welcome to this year's 12th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A lot of work goes into developing and packaging an operating system. Thousands of people contribute to the Linux kernel, desktop environments and applications we use each day. With all of the hours of coding that go into making an operating system one might wonder just how much of an impact one person can have. This week we begin with a look at ToaruOS which is largely the work of a single developer. ToaruOS features a desktop environment, Linux-like command line and a handful of applications and we explore the project in our Feature Story. In our News section we discuss Debian's upcoming election for the position Project Leader as well as the distribution's packaging of the Android SDK. Plus we share a link to Linux Mint's updated install media for Linux Mint Debian Edition and talk about Ubuntu 12.04 reaching the end of its supported life. We also share a tip from the MX Linux team about dealing with an expired repository signature. Then, in our Myths and Misunderstandings column, we talk about Linux Mint and perceptions surrounding the project's security. Plus we share the releases of the past week and list the torrents we are currently seeding. In our Opinion Poll this week we present a potential new header bar design for DistroWatch. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the tuxtrans and feren OS distributions to our database and hope their friendly tools will prove helpful. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: ToaruOS 1.0.4
- News: Mint publishes updated install media, Debian packages Android SDK and starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches its end of life, fixing an expired MX Linux signature
- Myths and misunderstandings: Linux Mint's security record
- Released last week: Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0, Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.03, NetBSD 7.1, FreeNAS Corral
- Torrent corner: Chakra, FreeNAS, Linux Mint, NetBSD, PCLinuxOS, Porteus Kiosk, Rancher OS, SolydXK, Zorin OS
- Upcoming releases: Univention Corporate Server 4.2-RC, Fedora 26 Alpha
- Opinion poll: Changing the look of our header
- DistroWatch.com news: Recommending visitor reviews
- New additions: tuxtrans, feren OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (46MB) and MP3 (34MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Most of the projects we talk about on DistroWatch are variants of Linux or, occasionally, one of the BSDs. However, there are other open source operating systems out there, smaller projects which rarely get attention because they have fewer developers or are not as rich in features. This week I would like to discuss a project that has been put together as a hobby, but which has a surprisingly rich feature set, especially when we consider the operating system appears to be mostly the work of one developer. The operating system is called ToaruOS and the project's website describes it as follows:
ToaruOS is a complete hobby operating system, including a kernel and userspace with many graphical applications. This is the first release considered to be "user-ready", but please keep in mind that ToaruOS is a hobby project and it may not be stable or suitable for any purpose you might have for an operating system. This release represents the culmination of many years of development, research, and learning.
The ToaruOS project is relatively young, about five years old at the time of writing, but offers a surprising large list of features. The operating system supports running a graphical desktop environment, running multiple processes, threaded applications, basic networking, a virtual terminal and using the ext2 file system.
ToaruOS's kernel in its current form is 32-bit, non-SMP, monolithic (but modular), and Unix-like. It supports processes, threads, shared memory, files, pipes, TTYs, packet-based IPC, and basic IPv4 networking. Driver modules allow for access to ext2 and ISO9660 file systems,
ToaruOS can even run Python and the GNU C compiler. The operating system is open source and available under the NCSA/University of Illinois software license.
Version 1.0.4 of ToaruOS is a mere 25MB download for x86 computers. The ISO file we download can be burned to a CD/DVD, copied to a USB thumb drive or mounted and used in a virtual machine. I spent most of my time experimenting with ToaruOS in a VirtualBox virtual machine, but also booted the operating system on a desktop computer to confirm it would run. I will talk about how ToaruOS worked with my desktop computer's hardware later, but for now I'd like to focus on how the operating system worked inside VirtualBox.
ToaruOS 1.0.4 -- The welcome screen desktop tour
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Booting from the ToaruOS media brings up a menu offering to boot the operating system into a live desktop environment, boot to a graphical login screen or boot to a text mode terminal. The default login credentials for the live disc are displayed at the bottom of the screen. Choosing to boot into graphical mode almost immediately brings up a desktop environment that I think somewhat resembles the Xfce desktop. There is a panel across the top of the display, playing host to the application menu, task switcher and system tray. There are a few icons on the desktop for launching a virtual terminal, accessing the file system and launching a package manager. The wallpaper displays a lovely, outdoor landscape. Shortly after the desktop loads, a welcome window appears and offers to give us a tour of the desktop. The welcome window shows us how to launch applications as well as manipulate windows.
ToaruOS 1.0.4 -- Running a collection of desktop applications
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ToaruOS automatically detected my local network and set up an Internet connection. The desktop was attractive and responsive. Controls responded to input right away and applications launched quickly. One of the few features I missed while exploring the desktop was the ability to minimize/maximize windows. I could resize windows by dragging their corners and close them by clicking an X in the corner of the window, but ToaruOS does not offer minimize/maximize window controls.
Looking through the operating system's application menu, I found a small collection of demo programs. There is a simple drawing program, a desktop clock widget, a program for displaying fractal images and a few programs which draw lines or gears on the screen to show off the operating system's graphic capabilities. There is a virtual terminal program, a graphical file manager and a documentation viewer which shows us an introduction to ToaruOS.
ToaruOS 1.0.4 -- Displaying the help documentation
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Opening up the virtual terminal program I discovered ToaruOS offers its users a Unix-like command line environment. From the command line we can run Python 3 and Python applications, get a list of running processes and kill misbehaving applications (via the ps and kill commands). ToaruOS does not include many of the common Unix or GNU command line programs, nor do we have access to man pages. However, it is possible to install the GNU C compiler, so it may be possible to adapt and build additional command line programs for ToaruOS.
ToaruOS 1.0.4 -- Running Python and a clock widget
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If we want to install additional applications, we can visit ToaruOS's package manager. The package manager has a simple layout. We are presented with a short list of available programs, each one is listed with a version number, but no description. There are around 30 packages in total and we can check a box next to any package we wish to install. So far as I could tell, there was no way to remove programs once they had been installed. Some of the available programs include an mp3 player, the Vim text editor, the GNU C compiler, development packages and header files. For the most part, these add-ons worked for me, but I was unable to get the Vim text editor to work, it would crash at start-up.
ToaruOS 1.0.4 -- The package manager
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One category of applications I missed while running the operating system was Internet-related programs. We do not have access to a web browser, FTP client or the OpenSSH secure shell and file transfer programs. We may be able to add these features with some work, but they are not available by default.
I was impressed with how smoothly ToaruOS worked inside the VirtualBox environment. The operating system booted almost instantly and responded quickly to input. The operating system integrates into the VirtualBox environment, allowing full use of the host's screen resolution. The operating system is fairly light, using around 100-150MB of RAM while I was exploring the graphical environment. When I tried running ToaruOS on a desktop computer the experience started out well. The operating system booted within three seconds and presented me with the desktop environment. Unfortunately, my experiment was stopped short because ToaruOS could not recognize my USB mouse or keyboard. This made it impossible to interact with the operating system when running it on physical hardware.
As the project's website states, ToaruOS is not a good platform for day-to-day use. This is a small, one-person project and not developed with typical desktop usage in mind. It is more of a learning and research project, an exploration of how a modern operating system can be created. ToaruOS is very minimal and does not yet have much hardware support.
What ToaruOS does have though -- a desktop environment, package manager, Python support, super fast boot times and working command line -- make this an impressive hobbyist operating system. I played with ToaruOS for a few days and found the system to be stable and very fast. There are not many features in place, but what is there works well. ToaruOS is a very young project and mostly a one-person effort and yet the system has a working desktop, some command line tools and a package manager, that puts ToaruOS almost on a level with some more mature projects such as Haiku or MINIX.
I wouldn't recommend running ToaruOS as a primary operating system, but for people who want to explore how operating systems work, or who are just curious as to what a small development team can accomplish in a short time, ToaruOS is an interesting project to explore.
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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)
Mint publishes updated install media, Debian packages Android SDK and starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches its end of life, fixing an expired MX Linux signature
The Linux Mint project has published updated installation media for the distribution's Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), version 2. The new ISO files contain updated packages and security fixes for LMDE 2, but do not represent a new version of the distribution. People who already run Linux Mint's Debian Edition can get the latest packages and security fixes through the distribution's package manager. "LMDE 2 received many updates in the last two years, including many improvements which were ported from Linux Mint as well as all the new versions of MATE, Cinnamon and the Xapps. This release provides a new set of installation images for LMDE 2 which includes all these updates." Mint's Debian Edition is available in two editions, Cinnamon and MATE. Further information can be found in the project's announcement.
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The Debian project is one of the largest Linux distributions and one of the oldest. Debian is also perhaps the most democratic, with the distribution's Project Leader voted in through elections participated in by Debian Developers. This year the Debian project has two candidates for the coveted title of Project Leader: Mehdi Dogguy and Chris Lamb. Both candidates have posted platforms (Mehdi Dogguy, Chris Lamb) in which the developers share their views on Debian and how they hope to lead and improve the venerable project.
People who wish to build Android applications on Debian will soon be able to install Android development packages directly from Debian's software repositories. Android SDK support is available in the upcoming version of the distribution, Debian 9 "Stretch". "In Debian Stretch, the upcoming new release, it is now possible to build Android apps using only packages from Debian. This will provide all of the tools needed to build an Android app targeting the platform android-23 using the SDK build-tools 24.0.0. Those two are the only versions of platform and build-tools currently in Debian, but it is possible to use the Google binaries by installing them into /usr/lib/android-sdk." Information on how to set up the Android development packages can be found in this announcement.
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Version 12.04 of the Ubuntu distribution was a long term support (LTS) release and received five years of support and security fixes. Adam Conrad has sent out a reminder that Ubuntu 12.04 will reach the end of its supported life on April 28, 2017. People still running Ubuntu 12.04 are encouraged to either perform live upgrades to version 14.04 or install Ubuntu 16.04, both of which are also long term support releases. "Ubuntu announced its 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) release almost 5 years ago, on April 26, 2012. As with the earlier LTS releases, Ubuntu committed to ongoing security and critical fixes for a period of 5 years. The support period is now nearing its end and Ubuntu 12.04 will reach end of life on Friday, April 28th. At that time, Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 12.04. The supported upgrade path from Ubuntu 12.04 is via Ubuntu 14.04. Users are encouraged to evaluate and upgrade to our latest 16.04 LTS release via 14.04." People who wish to continue receiving security updates for Ubuntu 12.04 can purchase a extended security maintenance (ESM) package from Canonical. Dustin Kirkland provides more information on the ESM offer in a mailing list post.
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The MX Linux team has reported that one of the GPG digital signatures on a repository expired before it was caught and renewed. The signature is used to verify package downloads to insure software packages are not corrupted or tampered with prior to the package arriving on the user's system. The MX Linux blog has tips for MX users impacted by the expired signature. "Recently the GPG signatures on one of the upstream repositories expired before it could be renewed. A fix should have propagated to all mirrors by now, and may require action on your part to correct. For unknown reasons, the correct solution appears to vary somewhat by user, so multiple methods are given here that have proved to be successful..." The four methods for dealing with the signature can be found in the project's blog post.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint's security record
Some of the more common misunderstandings I have encountered recently have involved the Linux Mint distribution. Mint has been a popular project in recent years and, with many people using the distribution and talking about the project, there is bound to be some mis-communication. In particular, most of the rumours and misunderstandings I have encountered have revolved around Mint's security practises and history. I would like to clear up a few of the more common rumours.
Linux Mint blocks security updates
Perhaps the most common misconception I run into is that Linux Mint's update manager blocks access to security updates. This is not entirely accurate, but it is easy to understand where the idea came from. In the past, Mint's update manager would display a full list of available security updates with each update assigned a safety rating. A rating of one or two indicated the software was safe to install. A rating of three was the default and considered mostly safe, if untested. A rating of four or five indicated the update was likely to cause stability issues. Installing a poorly rated update might prevent the system from booting or cause the desktop to stop working properly.
Under older versions of Mint, the update manager would let the user see available updates, but would only automatically select packages with good ratings (1 through 3) to be installed. The user could select the remaining packages to be downloaded if they wished to take the risk. Users could also adjust the update manager's default behaviour, causing it to install packages in any or all rating levels.
Mint's update manager -- Adjusting update settings
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In short, older versions of Mint would hold back updates known to cause problems unless the user selected them. This was the default behaviour, but the user could adjust the update manager to suit their needs.
Modern versions of Linux Mint do things a little differently. The old method caused some confusion and now Mint's update manager will display an information screen the first time it is run. The update manager will ask the user if all updates should be installed, only updates known to be stable should be installed or if the old default of striking a balance between the two extremes should be used. The user can, as before, change the update manager's behaviour later if need be.
In no case has Mint been blocking users from installing updates. Under the old method users were shown available updates and could check a box next to the ones they wanted. The current version of Mint tries to make this process more clear to avoid situations where people might not know they need to manually select updates considered to be unstable.
Security updates are delayed
Another common rumour is that Mint delays security updates, causing fixes to arrive in Mint later than on other distributions such as Debian or Ubuntu. This rumour is entirely untrue and I have so far been unable to find a cause for the claim. Mint has two upstream distributions, Ubuntu for the main editions of Linux Mint and Debian for Linux Mint Debian Edition. Both flavours of Mint pull in security updates directly from their respective upstream distributions. The updates are not filtered. This means that as soon as security updates appear in Debian's repositories, the updates are available to Linux Mint Debian Edition users. Likewise, when Ubuntu publishes a security fix, it can be instantly downloaded by Linux Mint users. There is no delay or hold placed on packages before they become available to Mint users.
People who would like to confirm Linux Mint is pulling in software directly from upstream sources without a speed bump can check Mint's APT repository settings, specifically those found in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/official-package-repositories.list. The Debian Edition pulls in security updates from debian.org servers and Mint's main editions pull in software from a ubuntu.com sub-domain.
Mint's website was hacked and their installation media replaced
This rumour is half true and perhaps all the more powerful for it. It's true that about a year ago Linux Mint's website was broken into. The attacker was able to place a link on the Mint website to their own, compromised copy of the Linux Mint install media. The issue was soon noticed and the security hole plugged.
The part of the rumour which is not true is that Mint's own ISO files were compromised. This may seem a small distinction, but it is important for a few reasons. The first is that existing links and torrents would continue to work as before. People downloading Mint from, for example, DistroWatch or Linux Tracker would be safe. Only people who stumbled across the bad link on Mint's site on the day it was visible would be affected. The second reason the link replacement is important is the attackers were unable to do anything about Mint's checksum or signature information. Anyone who checked the MD5 hash or publisher signature of the ISO file they downloaded would have immediately known they had the wrong ISO.
On a side note, it is always a good idea to verify the hash and signature of installation media before using it. Not just to avoid compromised ISO files, but also to avoid complications from corrupted downloads due to network problems. We have a tutorial on confirming the validity of download media.
The rumour about Mint's website being hacked, while it has some truth in it, tends to snowball. People start to assume that a security flaw in the website means the operating system provided by the website is also vulnerable. This is a leap in logic similar to suggesting that because you can break the window at a car dealership that the cars inside are unsafe to drive. One does not relate to the other. And, as noted above, most of Mint's packages and security fixes come from upstream sources.
Another side effect to the website compromise is that people tend, in my estimation, to act as though Mint is somehow more vulnerable than other popular Linux distributions. This is a pattern which seems to get repeated a lot in the open source community. A project's website is compromised or a problem is reported, the project fixes the problem and then the community avoids them. The problem is fixed, but people's confidences have been shaken. The truth is though that most of the major Linux and BSD projects have gone through similar events. Digging back through archives will turn up reports of website or package repository compromises or other unpleasant events which shake the confidence of the project's users. It is a part of doing business in the digital age. I think it is unfortunate that people tend to focus on the "This project had a problem," part of events rather than the more complete picture of: "This project had a problem and now it is fixed."
As it stands, Linux Mint's security record is about the same as other popular Linux distributions. There have been a few minor problems, but nothing out of the ordinary. For the most part, Mint's reputation concerning software security mostly seems to grow out of misunderstandings about how the distribution's update manager works.
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We have more myth-filled topics in our Myths and Misunderstandings archive.
|Released Last Week
Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0
Tomasz Jokiel has announced the availability of a new version of Porteus Kiosk, a lightweight Gentoo-based Linux operating system which has been downscaled and confined to allow the use of one application only - a web browser. The new release, Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0, features Firefox 45 ESR, Google Chrome 55, Adobe Flash 24 and version 4.9.14 of the Linux kernel. "I'm pleased to announce that Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0 is now available for download. Major software upgrades in this release include: Linux kernel 4.9.14, Xorg Server 1.19.2 Mozilla Firefox 45.8.0 ESR, Adobe Flash 22.214.171.124 and Google Chrome 55.0.2883.87. Packages from the userland are upgraded to portage snapshot tagged on 20170311. Short changelog for 4.3.0 release: Configuration parameter 'client_id=automatic' will automatically assign client ID to the kiosk - no need for manual configuration per device. This parameter makes client installation easier and faster especially for large deployments. Serial backend for the CUPS printing service has been enabled by default. Some usb printers still require it for direct USB connection. If system installation fails then debug info will be displayed in order to help identifying the problem, e.g. I/O errors on target device. OpenDNS is used as a secondary DNS server in the installation wizard for static IP configurations..." Further details can be found on the project's news page.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.03
The Chakra GNU/Linux project, a semi-rolling desktop distribution, has received an update. The developers have announced a new version, Chakra 2017.03, which carries the code name "Goedel". The new snapshot features the Calamares 126.96.36.199 system installer which includes support for installing the distribution on Btrfs and LUKS encrypted partitions. "We are excited to announce the first Chakra release of 2017, codenamed Goedel, to honour the logician, mathematician and philosopher Kurt Goedel. The 2017.03 release introduces two noteworthy changes: 1. The installer, Calamares, has been updated to version 188.8.131.52. As a result, users are now able to install Chakra on Btrfs and LUKS encrypted partitions. Calamares has received lots of partitioning enhancements and bug fixes since our previous ISO release and the installation process should be smoother than ever. 2. Our homegrown Heritage theme for Plasma got a refreshing face-lift that we hope you will enjoy." Further details and version information for key components can be found in the project's release announcement.
Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.03 -- Running the Plasma desktop
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The NetBSD project develops a lightweight operating system which runs on a wide range of hardware architectures. The project's latest release, NetBSD 7.1, features support for running on the minimal Raspberry Pi Zero computer and includes initial KMS support for NVIDIA video cards with the nouveau open source driver. NetBSD's Linux compatibility layer has been updated and can now run the Linux version of Adobe Flash Player. "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 7.1, the first feature update of the NetBSD 7 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons, as well as new features and enhancements. Some highlights of the 7.1 release are: Support for Raspberry Pi Zero. Initial DRM/KMS support for NVIDIA graphics cards via nouveau (Disabled by default. Uncomment nouveau and nouveaufb in your kernel config to test). The addition of vioscsi, a driver for the Google Compute Engine disk. Linux compatibility improvements, allowing, e.g., the use of Adobe Flash Player 24." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
The developers of FreeNAS, a FreeBSD-based operating system for network attached storage devices, have announced the release of FreeNAS Corral. The new release (which previously carried the version label 10 during the development phase) provides users with a friendly web-based interface for managing storage, includes ZFS support out of the box and allows the administrator to run containerized applications. "The FreeNAS Development team is very happy to announce the launch of FreeNAS 10 RELEASE and, at the same time, the renaming of 10 to Corral, a new name befitting what is also a radically new version of FreeNAS! With all of the new features in FreeNAS 10, as well as its entirely new look, we decided that just slapping a "10" into the release string simply didn't do justice to the giant evolutionary step we took with this release, nor has the version numbering scheme we've been using been increasingly accurate, since we stopped basing our release numbers on that of the underlying FreeBSD OS. "FreeNAS Corral" provides a more holistic description of this release and sets it apart from previous FreeNAS versions: It manages storage, containers, and VM services through one unified interface, making it the most powerful FreeNAS release yet. So, what you knew as FreeNAS 10 is now FreeNAS Corral!" The project's release notes contain further information on FreeNAS Corral and the life cycle of FreeNAS 9.
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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: 339
- Total data uploaded: 59.3TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Changing the look of our header
One of our readers, Antony, wrote in with suggestions on how we could improve the look of the header which appears at the top of every DistroWatch page. The proposed layout design keeps all of the same elements and links we have now, but rearranges them to make the name of the site more central.
This week we would like to find out how many of our readers like the new design compared to the one we have been using. The mock-up can be seen here:
Proposed new header layout
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You can see the results of our previous poll on running a personal server here. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Changing the look of our header
|I like the new mock-up design: ||419 (28%)|
| I prefer the existing header: ||610 (41%)|
| I have no preference: ||459 (31%)|
Recommending visitor reviews
Earlier this year we launched a new feature where our readers can submit their own reviews and ratings of distributions. We hope the ratings people provide will be helpful and we use the ratings to rank projects to help people find distributions that best suit their needs.
This past week we introduced a new feature to our ratings page which allows visitors to mark reviews as being useful to them. In the past reviews were always displayed with the most recent reviews at the top of the page. Now reviews can be ordered by the number of recommendations they receive. Over time we hope this will allow detailed and helpful distributions reviews get more attention.
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New projects added to database
tuxtrans is a desktop Linux distribution developed for translators on the basis of the widely used Xubuntu distribution. tuxtrans features the Xfce desktop environment and also includes a broad collection of software applications which allow a translator to do his/her job. tuxtrans comes with a lot of applications suited to the everyday tasks of a translator or anybody dealing with multilingual texts. The included software ranges from an office suit and DTP software to specialized translation memory systems.
tuxtrans 16.04 -- The translation menu
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feren OS is a desktop Linux distribution based on Linux Mint's main edition. The feren OS distribution ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment and includes the WINE compatibility layer for running Windows applications. The distribution also ships with the WPS productivity software, which is mostly compatible with Microsoft Office, and the Vivaldi web browser.
feren OS 2016.2 -- Running the Cinnamon 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, 20 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 • Myths and Misunderstandings (by 2damncommon on 2017-03-20 00:43:21 GMT from United States) |
I liked your article about Linuxmint.
I have seen some posts around that warn about the security of Linuxmint like it was a tornado warning.I had assumed it was possible the Mint updates might not be as fast as the source distribution but was not worried so long as issues were addressed promptly. I like seeing some actual facts about that issue.
2 • Linux Mint - Defaults of the Update Manager (by Bbig on 2017-03-20 00:47:19 GMT from Germany)
The "problem" with Mint is not, that the "site" was "hacked". It looks like the "hackers" guessed the password of the wordpress-admin b/c is was a common and short one. The team and Clem should know better. But as you said, that is history.
The problem is the updater and the defaults of the updater.
The level 5 updates include the kernel. So the default is to never update the kernel? That is a security nightmare. That is why i will never recommend Linux Mint.
3 • Kernel updates (by Jesse on 2017-03-20 01:12:47 GMT from Canada)
@2: >> "The level 5 updates include the kernel. So the default is to never update the kernel?"
I think the default is to show the available kernel update and, if it is fixing a security issue, to mark the kernel update as a security update. The user then decides whether they wish to install the newer kernel or not. (I think the default is not to select it.) This behaviour can be changed in the update manager to automatically select security updates, regardless of their safety rating.
Mint isn't the only distribution to take an approach like this. Server distros will often hold back non-critical packages that may cause security issues unless the admin specifically selects them.
It was suggested not updating the kernel is a security nightmare, but consider the situation. Mint is a desktop distro. Most kernel security issues are local exploits, not remote. This means it is unlikely the problem will be exploited on a Mint installation. Most home users will still be safe.
However, kernel updates often break the boot process or video drivers. For most home users having a system that doesn't boot with default settings or breaks a video driver is a bigger issue to their workflow than a potential local kernel security bug. ie They care more about their computer continuing to work as it did before than about the chances of a local attacker taking over their computer. Which is why, for most non-technical users, the Mint defaults make sense.
Mint is taking a reasonable approach. They know non-technical users want stability over kernel security and technical users who understand kernel issues will simply check the box to install the security update.
4 • New header (by brad on 2017-03-20 01:30:09 GMT from United States)
I didn't vote, because I like the "new" header, but feel that there's a little too much white space, or wasted space. Could a tweak of that design allow for slightly larger links/boxes? Some of us who are getting along in years may have trouble either seeing the links, (especially in a mobile device) or targeting the links, because of diminishing fine-motor skills.
I realize that there are assistive technologies to help "us", but I would rather use them when all else fails.
5 • Not another Header/ (by tom joad on 2017-03-20 02:13:28 GMT from France)
I voted to keep what is up there now if the choice is the 'New and Improved' header.
I like the new header though with some changes. Make Distrowatch much smaller, maybe 2/3's of what it is on that header. Then make the boxes and their text considerably larger. Do that and keep the same basic layout which I do like.
Otherwise, leave what is up there now up there and move on.
6 • The "Main Course" should be the content, not the logo (by BeGo on 2017-03-20 02:30:13 GMT from Indonesia)
That is why, I like the current one better than proposed new one. :)
7 • So the default is _not_ to update the kernel (by Bbig on 2017-03-20 02:38:48 GMT from Germany)
@3 Thank you, Jesse. For both your time and dedikation!
Defaults matter so much. Especially to the new and novice user.
And as you just said, the default setting in the Mint Update Manager is _not_ to update the kernel.
There are so many distros to choose from, which all do not do that.
Linux Mint is setting Security to the sideline, which, in our information era or "internet era", is not ok.
So yeah, that is why i will never recommend Linux Mint.
8 • @5 • Not another Header (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-20 02:58:28 GMT from Australia)
seems poor presentation of the "alternatives" atm. What does the proposal look like on a smartphone? DW already should have stats on which items in the old header are the "most clicked". This will ofer guidance to what presents on the TOP-LEFT. AFAIK the most use of the header for me is: "DISTRIBUTION SEARCH" (2 possible choices, both which I use often).
These most used options should be both LARGE & TOP-LEFT. The tiny-small-fonts are for the less used selections, so should NOT be the first option to view, marketing-wise. Greater color-contrast might be worth following. Font-color & background colors are too similar & not contrasting enough. So similar to Mint's marketing "wisdom": white fonts on pale background.
Random Distro? Curious as to how you "choose" it. There are so many distros, that a poor choice is the most likely for most users. Hardware, software & user-niche is so unique, that only the highest-powered users could dare try any "random" distro.
9 • Have a Mint Your Way (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2017-03-20 03:17:21 GMT from United States)
Power users appreciate notification of an "update", but research it first (worthless "security"? nasty breakage?), often allowing the more simplistic beta-testers the honor of hacking out coping techniques.
For ordinary users, indicators like Levels Keep-It-Short+Simple. Clem did it right.
Beta-testers can simply change the default (they'll tweak everything anyway, right?) at least it's easily found and adjusted to taste.
10 • Header style (by John on 2017-03-20 04:26:31 GMT from United States)
Mostly I use the header to find a given distribution. So the old does that.
Also useful would be the distribution's size and 'activity' level whatever that means?
I tend to use Knoppix, but recently I had to compile Kicad from source since I could not find a dist. that had a recent version of it.
So that would be a nice feature. Which dist. has what version of the specified program. For example version 4.0.0 of PCB.
I am waiting to try the most recent Knoppix when available. I am typing this on an SD -- USB2 live CD of Knoppix 7.2. Seems to be very reliable. No use of built-in hard drive at all. VERY convenient way to change dists.
11 • Linux Mint and securtiy (by kc1di on 2017-03-20 10:42:38 GMT from United States)
I have to say there is so much fud passed along about Mint and I guess it's to be expected for the Distro that's been #1 on Distrowatch for so long.
Most Distros that have LTS type releases do not automatically update the kernel, except if there is a major reason , such as security Ubuntu LTS releases are like that. and Mint is based on Ubuntu LTS. Mint offers the newer kernels when they become available from Ubuntu and Deb. Heck debian's default is still in the 3.x.x series.
If you need to have the very latest kernels available then I suggest you go to a distro like Arch or Manjaro- Both fine distros but the results of fast up grades is that they may be a bit unstable at times.
Mint's team does a great job of balancing security with stability and I've never found them less secure than others in the same category. If anything I've noticed is that Mint may not work out of the box on some very new computers and you if you want to use mint on those may have to manually update the kernel to get functionality on those machines.
Mint is a great daily desktop workhorse that works and many have found it to be so.
12 • Mint Updates (by Bob on 2017-03-20 11:31:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
Mint packages a lot of their own stuff. They use their own version of Firefox for example which always updates to a new version a few days after Ubuntu. So security updates are delayed in that respect.
13 • 'buntus (by Wally on 2017-03-20 11:40:29 GMT from United States)
I would love to see the Ubuntu based distros separated from the other distro types. The 'buntus and distros based on them are pretty much all the same in how they act and feel as they are used. Give the 'buntus their own page. Give the other distro types a better chance to be found and used.
14 • @ 11 (by morgan on 2017-03-20 12:04:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
The issue wasn't that they were not bumping the kernel version, rather they were not applying security fixes to the kernel they were using like all other versions of ubuntu were - i.e the ubuntu point releases.
So previously if you ran Mint (only), nut ubuntu,kubuntu,xbuntu, etc you were running a desktop with known root exploits
15 • New header, seriously? (by A on 2017-03-20 12:18:50 GMT from United States)
You're wanting to change something that is fine the way it is that works and looks perfectly fine the way it is now? I really thought I got away from the microsoft world from the obsessive want to change things when things work fine, I guess it seems like the Linux world is being infected by this nonsense. Keep the header the way it is.
16 • Mint / Peppermint (by Winchester on 2017-03-20 12:36:47 GMT from United States)
If Linux Mint is Ubuntu done right,then perhaps Peppermint O.S. is Mint done right .... or both of them done right.
17 • @1 Myths and Misunderstandings (by deme on 2017-03-20 12:41:36 GMT from United States)
"I have seen some posts around that warn about the security of Linuxmint like it was a tornado warning.I had assumed it was possible the Mint updates might not be as fast as the source distribution but was not worried so long as issues were addressed promptly. I like seeing some actual facts about that issue."
Who actually (or really) check in the "Mint team", which apps to be upgraded, which shouldn't? Or is it just a marketing gimmick?
18 • Proposed header (by 10_second_bob on 2017-03-20 13:08:31 GMT from United States)
I rarely even look at the header, only to sometimes lookup a distro directly. There might be a way to make it more aesthetic and functional, but the current header is already better looking than what's being proposed.
19 • Oh dear, the Mint-haters are out in force today ... (by curious on 2017-03-20 13:14:52 GMT from Germany)
.. seems like they can't take it when their FUD is debunked. (Thanks, Jesse!)
Look, people, if you want the newest stuff faster than everyone else and don't care about the breakage that fast untested updates (i.e. no quality control) can cause, then Arch and similar distros provide that - go use them. Other people might favor the stability of a running system. Neither option is WRONG.
Just get over it that there is a very popular distro that doesn't follow your personal ideals.
20 • Mint kernel updates (by Jesse on 2017-03-20 13:22:56 GMT from Canada)
@7 >> "And as you just said, the default setting in the Mint Update Manager is _not_ to update the kernel."
I should have been more clear in my previous post. The default _used to be_ the kernel updates were only shown but not applied unless selected. That was the case with Mint 17 and earlier (and with older versions of LMDE). Modern versions of Mint (18 and newer) do not have a default. As I mentioned in the article above, when the update manager first runs it specifically asks the user if they want a policy that favours stability or security. The user is informed what each choice means and they pick one before being shown available updates.
So the default used to be not to update the kernel, that is not the case with versions of Mint released in the past year. They did away with the default and get the user to pick their policy.
21 • @19: (by dragonmouth on 2017-03-20 13:30:55 GMT from United States)
How dare you criticize my Mint! Right, curious?
Just because someone has a negative comment about Mint (or anything else for that matter) does not mean they "HATE" it. Nowadays the term "HATE" is being thrown around too liberally. Many times negative comments lead to improvements.
22 • DWW Header. (by Antony on 2017-03-20 14:31:49 GMT from United Kingdom)
DWW is such a great resource and I have been following it, pretty much on a daily basis, since the first publication. I have thought for some time though, that due to the somewhat messy appearance of the header, coupled with the existing (muted) placement of the site logo, that Distrowatch is kind of ‘selling itself a bit short’, which I think is a shame really.
What prompted me to submit my idea for the header though, was the navigation-bar option proposed by Jesse in issue 702, two weeks ago. I very much liked his idea, but I actually voted against it seeing as the existing header links would have to remain, regardless. I just thought that in addition to the overall existing layout and its various styles, there would be just a bit too much going on.
My submission was an attempt at rearranging the existing elements and to try and reduce the styles/replication which, to me, looks cluttered and a bit messy (replication introduced by new navigation-bar). I appreciate that my proposal may not be perfect - I just thought that something along those lines could be used as an idea for more consistent styling and a cleaner appearance.
23 • Linux Mint's lack of security (by Jor-El on 2017-03-20 15:18:14 GMT from Norway)
The issues you list about the default setting in the update manager and the hack of their websites are much more than rumours. They are facts.
The update manager does not give you kernel updates by default, which means that new users that would probably not change this setting are insecure relatively fast after a new version of Mint is out. Security vulnerabilites are discovered all the time and patched by Cannonical. Since the kernel has for years had a policy of not borking userland, the concerns about kernel updates ruining your system is just oxen feces. By warning users in their update manager against changing the setting to what should have been the default, ie, the only secure setting, Linux Mint is making their users more vulnerable and at the same time giving Linux a bad name, since it is only a matter of time until vast amounts of Mint users will get hacked. You do not have to be a valuable target to be hacked, the black hat hackers scan the net for vulnerable machines, so even if you have a firewall at home, if you are in the coffe shop with your laptop and running Linux Mint without having changed the settings in the updte manager, you will get hacked.
When Linux users get hacked (even if it is their own fault for using an obviously bad default setting in a distro that do not understand security), it is newsworhty and there will be articles everywhere on the internet that make open source and free software associated with security problems, when if used properly, it should actually be a model that is more secure than the closed sourced competition.
The second "rumour" is also a fact. They got hacked by not securing their webserver. Their ISOs were replaced for a while. Some of their users might not have heard the news and might still run a distro that makes them part of a botnet without knowing it. If the project cannot update their web servers in a timely fashion to avoid being hacked, and in addition do not think that kernel vulnerabilities should be patched by default, then that bares witness of a culture of not understanding security, or worse: not caring. This is especially bad for a project that appeals to many new users coming from Windows (since it looks similar). The problem isn't that advandec users get to choose not to install all updates, but that the new users do not get ALL the security updates by default.
24 • Change in policy between 17 and 18 in Mint (by Jor-EL on 2017-03-20 15:30:51 GMT from Norway)
Even if the Mint team now "do not have a default", the highest level (where you get al the updates and which is the only setting that actually makes you secure) is warned against with words saying "they may cause instability" in the dialogue where you choose which type of updates you want. This means that new users will probably not choose the only setting that make them secure.
Another issue: why do you even have to select which security updates you will get? You should get all by default and only be able to downgrade from the only sane setting by holding packages with the command line and other practices only people that really know what they are doing and why would even consider. Not getting all the security updates by default means that you are insecure. That the distro even lets you choose to be insecure means that they do not understand security. They should not give you a choice. (Except of course when you want to update, like in any distro.)
If they had just followed upstream, then this problem would have been avoided. The forked a fully function update manager and made it insecure by default. after criticism, they made the new version not have a default, but guide new users towards an insecure setting. This means that these people do not understand or care about security. I would never trust them with my data.
25 • Debian and Poll (by cykodrone on 2017-03-20 15:32:39 GMT from Canada)
Debian is a democracy? Not when they lock in to a piece of software that was developed by corporation. Same goes for third party app developers, shame for drinking the Kool-Aid, your apps should be init agnostic.
Comparing the 'old' header to the proposed example (spellcheck red squiggly lines included, lol), I voted stick with the old one for now. Change is inevitable, but not to more boring and bland.
26 • @25 How do you define a democracy? (by Jor-El on 2017-03-20 15:35:25 GMT from Norway)
They are a democracy since proposed changes are voted over in a democratic fashion. Pleasing everyone is not the measure of a democracy. Being able to elect your leaders and influence changes through your elections are.
27 • About the Mint updates (by Nick on 2017-03-20 15:44:32 GMT from Germany)
Thanks for taking time to explain that, Jesse. Too bad some people don't get the point. As a system administrator I had both Windows and GNU/Linux crashes as a result of installing all the available updates. But although I'm qualified to come up with solutions, most people aren't.
It amazes me how some people miss the point of being aware of some risks. A computer user must be aware that updates can break things. Once they become aware they will choose their update policy as they see fit, but at least until the know bad stuff can happen, or until they have their backs covered, their computers will be usable.
What I'd like to see in Mint's update manager is a short/tiny security guide, explaining why updates are very important, and why you should always try to have updated software. Choosing an update policy should be done consciously. And in the cases where the users choose a more strict update policy, it would be awesome if the update manager would periodically recommend the assistance of a qualified person to take care of the sensible updates.
Having an updated operating system is extremely important, but nothing beats the importance of having a working PC. This is the least the users must know.
Not recommending an operating system just because it doesn't allow blind updates by default seems immature to me. It only means you care more about the updates than the users and their needs.
28 • @27 "blind updates" (by Jor-El on 2017-03-20 16:11:09 GMT from Norway)
The "Blind updates" come from upstream and are tested on Ubuntu LTS before shipped to users of Ubuntu, flavours and derivatives (like Mint). Of course, they have in the past caused issues once in a while, but since these are security patches to the kernel, not new kernel version, that probably only happens once or twice in a decade. The downside of not being secure is much larger than the upside of maybe avoiding a problem once or twice in a decade, but having to be insecure and vulnerable to hacking.
If you are a sysadmin, then your network is probably properly secured and even if there should be a kernel vulnerability on a machine, the hackers won't be able to find that machine behind your corporate firewall. For your users, the downside of not getting all the updates are probably less than for most home users, since your job is to secure the rest of the environment.
Home users are often in a different position. Laptops are brought to different networks at different places all the time. Their home router might have a working firewall, but it might also be one of the millions of home routers that are hacked since the devices themselves were not properly secured by Netgear, Linksys and Tp-Link. The rest of the devices on their home network might be unfirewalled Windows HTPCs that have not gotten updates in years... Ever defence against malware helps. Being up to date with the latest security patches to all your software, including the most important package, the kernel, is not a minor detail, it is vital. Even if I am behind a firewall at home, I also run one locally on my machine in case something else on the network is hacked.
Users in the know can use Mint with the most secure setting, but most normal users will be put off by the stern warning that their machine may be unstable and go for a less secure setting. This is such a fundamental flaw in the design of the distro that one cannot wonder how insecure the Xapps, desktop themes and other packages the Mint team maintain themselves are. Even if you and I can get our kernel updates, trusting a team that obviously do not understand security with your data is risky.
Ubuntu MATE is a good alternative if you like MATE, Xubuntu is great for XFCE users. Cinnamon is installable from the Ubuntu repos (or on most other distros). Exactly what do you gain from using Mint except a few desktop themes and maintainers you cannot trust with your security?
29 • Blind updates (by Nick on 2017-03-20 16:23:59 GMT from Germany)
Breakages still happen. I'd love not to have to worry at all about updates, but reality is different. As a sysadmin I value security more than most users, but while I keep trying to make people understand that ignoring the updates is wrong, I can't ignore the fact that the first thing they need is to get their job/fun/whatever done.
So if a user wants to be idiot as a choice, then so be it. I've burnt a lot of gas explaining the risks brought in by vulnerabilities, but that's just as much as you can do as a tech person. You can't and shouldn't force someone to install the latest stuff just because it's supposed to keep them safer. That's what Microsoft does and look at what their users have to say.
Especially, with GNU/Linux being about choices, the users must grow up just enough to understand their options, the risks, and take just a bit of responsibility along with their demands of having a stable PC. Having the power to upgrade vital components when there's a qualified person around is an important feature of an operating system, not something to complain about. That's what you gain with the misunderstood Mint update manager.
30 • DW headers, format (by Jordan on 2017-03-20 16:41:45 GMT from United States)
The top of the page has always been fine, and a bit "simplistically unique," in my opinion.
The proposed change seems to waste a bit of space.
Speaking of space, my only beef with this site is the way this comments area is formatted to make us read across about 85% of the screen. I wish it was set up like the home page, with comments down the center.
31 • @29 Not new versions, just security patches... (by Jor-El on 2017-03-20 17:07:44 GMT from Norway)
But this isn't about forcing people into new version of software like in Windows 10, this is about getting security patches to the versions of software you already use. It's not really a fair comparison. New versions might break stuff, but security patches generally do not. And the patches are tested upstream by Cannonical.
32 • @31 (by Nick on 2017-03-20 17:24:43 GMT from Germany)
The comparison with Windows 10 is partially wrong, obviously. But the existence of a tool that allows you to avoid potentially disruptive updates is a good thing. I don't think the updates should be swept under the rug. As I said, it would be great if the users would be periodically advised to update under the supervision of a qualified person.
But even security patches can break things. They have, and they will, because the tests don't offer 100% guarantees - any IT guy with a decent experience can admit to this. I can also say that most updates are actually not disruptive, but again, the users will always care about the PCs functionality first, and that makes perfect sense.
33 • @32 (by Jor-El on 2017-03-20 17:49:08 GMT from Norway)
Seems like we are more in agreement than I first thought! :-) Most of what you say here is common sense in an enterprise environment. Again, there is the difference between enterprise and home users. Your users have you to protect them. Home users do not.
I still think the problem is that new users are advised against all security updates by words indicating they will probably bork their system, which is rarely the case, but I agree that having such a tool might be useful sometimes for more experienced users. The problem is really that the people that know the least are guided away from the most secure option. The wording in the box where you choose which updates you want really makes all the difference.
I still think it is very unwise by the Mint team to guide users away from updates, and I would never trust people with that mindset with my data. Let's just agree to disagree about that.
34 • DW Header (by Martin on 2017-03-20 18:05:06 GMT from United Kingdom)
Another plea to keep the existing header please, I see very little wrong with it and an awful lot right, it's simple and easy to find whatever you are looking for.
And thank you for DW weekly, I read it every week and it is always informative and interesting to read. I learn something new nearly every week! Well done DW!
35 • conversion of updates (by Eddie Wilson on 2017-03-20 18:24:06 GMT from United States)
@ Jor-El and Nick. This is the kind of conversions I look forward to when reading Distrowatch. I am not an admin by any means but I do a lot of PLC programing and automation programing. With the advent of the IoT security is now more important than ever. Thanks to everyone for their insight.
36 • Mint (by Kleer Kut on 2017-03-20 18:32:41 GMT from United States)
Wasn't one of the main problems the wording of the wizard for the system updates? I seem to recall it say something to the effect of 'Don't break my computer!' which can be very misleading to newcomers. I would hope someone trying out Linux for the first time would be smart enough not to do banking or punching in sensitive information before they have at least a cursory understanding of security measures, but my hopes are regularly let down.
I think some of the other issues people have with Mint are a little over the top. I have yet to see anyone provide evidence that anyone was actually robbed of cash via the old Mint security problem they had. Contrary to the popular phrase, I don't believe time equals money.
37 • Mint updates and Ubuntu (by deme on 2017-03-20 20:52:44 GMT from United States)
My question still is,
"who actually (or really) check in the "Mint team", which apps to be upgraded, which shouldn't? Or is it just a marketing gimmick?"
If someone doesn't like Ubuntu and its "updates," then he should find another base to "base their minty distro," shouldn't he? Or create a base by oneself.
Ubuntu is becoming more and more different, Snaps and all and there won't be a base to copy on, would he?
38 • @33 (by Nick on 2017-03-20 21:44:16 GMT from Germany)
I do not disagree with your personal opinion and trust. Everyone makes their choice, and you are obviously an informed person. But everyone should be allowed to make their own opinions and build trust on their own, while being informed.
I can give you two opposite cases of home users which I informed and advised about the risks and benefits of updates. One of my clients listened, pondered for about 5 seconds and then refused the update. The other one took advantage of the fact that I was there to fix whatever might have broken and told me to go ahead and update everything.
I feel blessed when people understand, and I feel bad when people don't. But I can't impose anything on their time, money and PC's stability when I can't guarantee everything will go smoothly, especially when everything worked just fine before my arrival, which is what anyone wants to leave behind - a working environment.
From my point of view, the Mint update manager is still a work in progress. It needs more polish on wording, on security awareness, on whatever it can do to help the users do the right thing. But being able to avoid a broken system when they have to finish their papers for school, bank statements, whatever it is that's very important for them, that's a good thing. For a few days, that is, because if they rely on that computer for serious stuff, updating is a must.
But again, and again, and again: for them it's important to be able to update only what doesn't break the environment, if that's what they need. And that's precisely because they need updates but don't always have the tech person next to them. It's easier to choose a policy instead of un-checking the boxes of some packages that don't ring any bells to the average users.
I've done sysadmin stuff in both business environments and home offices, and I've served a lot of users and needs. Especially when I found the updates disabled by the idiots who installed those operating systems I stressed the importance of updates to the users and generally they understand. But ultimately it's their choice and if we don't respect it then we're in the wrong business.
39 • Myths and Misunderstandings... (by kaczor on 2017-03-20 21:44:58 GMT from Germany)
When you look in Linux Mint, it says
"Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated
When you look in Ubuntu, it says
"Ubuntu is an open source software platform that runs from the cloud, to the smartphone, to all your things"
When you look in Ubuntu desktop download page, it says
"Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS
Download the latest LTS version of Ubuntu, for desktop PCs and laptops. LTS stands for long-term support – which means five years of free security and maintenance updates, guaranteed."
5 years means 5 years. Guaranteed means guaranteed!
The "long term support" that Linux Mint says it can give comes from Ubuntu. And, if and when Ubuntu asks (tells) its users that it would change to the new way, the majority of them would agree to that. Then what with Linux Mint?
Also what are these "updated software" that Linux Mint 18.1 is coming with? Have the Mint dev done any updating of the Ubuntu base apps? Well, if you want the newest and guaranteed apps, then you should use Ubuntu, not Mint - common sense.
40 • Mint updates ? (by bigsky on 2017-03-20 21:50:08 GMT from Canada)
My question is I still don't know what your talking about ? No it's not a gimmick ? and pretty straight forward to understand and works well. How do you know it's a he, it could be a she ? Have a nice day. Merci
41 • @39 (by Nick on 2017-03-20 21:52:55 GMT from Germany)
If the updates come from Ubuntu, they are the same - aren't they? So what the users get on top of Ubuntu is what Mint offers, and whoever chooses Mint does so for that extra. It's the same with other distros based on Ubuntu or based on Arch, or Fedora, or anything else.
But by your reason we should simply use Debian, because that's Ubuntu's foundation. Common sense... right? Come on, everything is subjective to the user's taste and needs.
42 • Misunderstandings ? (by bigsky on 2017-03-20 21:59:22 GMT from Canada)
@ 37 and 38 and39 Yes their is a lot of misunderstanding here in the comments and it appears to be from people who don't use Linux Mint ( much ). That's my take anyhow. Jeeeez Eh.
43 • @ 12 Mint Updates. (by lenn on 2017-03-20 22:23:52 GMT from Canada)
"Mint packages a lot of their own stuff. They use their own version of Firefox for example...."
Most of you people install a distro without much thinking. All you see is the gui and whatever the "developer" wants you to have. You don't have a choice. Same here with "their own version of Firefox" in Linux Mint.
Some of you know, what the folder skel is doing. The "developer" puts what he thinks you want in the folder skel. That's how you get this "own vesion" of Firefox. If you look in skel, you'd see there is a hidden folder called mozilla, and inside that there is a folder called firefox, and inside that you'd find a folder called mwad0hks.default, and inside that the "developer's own" Firefox "adjustments."
Now, before you install Linux Mint, go to /etc/skel and delete the .mozilla folder. Then, in your newly installed Linux Mint, you'd get the default Firefox.
44 • Blind leading blind (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2017-03-20 23:03:11 GMT from United States)
Are all "security" updates equal? Does every one apply to all uses?
How much explanation and perspective comes with each? Notices that differ only in whether an attacker would be remote or local are not informative, and often worse than useless. Where are the links to more information?
Other than moving the logo to the center, what's the difference in headers? Do the menus etc on either side duplicate the function of the bar with drop-down sub-menus? Could the sponsor(s) notice move to the top right? How should the layout adjust for different displays? Do drop-down submenus hide what's available at first glance?
45 • @11 • "need to have the very latest kernels available" (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-21 00:00:08 GMT from Australia)
" ... then I suggest you go to a distro like Arch or Manjaro- Both fine distros but the results of fast up grades is that they may be a bit unstable at times. ... "
More myths. All the DEBIAN-based distributions (including Ubuntu & Mint-based) are far superior to Arch Manjaro, etc ... in terms of installing ANY Linux kernel. You can easily & instantly install ANY Linux kernel. No compiling, no wasted time, no errors nor skills needed.
Just put the needed Linux kernels onto your desktop, then install. Reboot, Done! Install by double clicking on the DEB files of the Linux kernels, or running in the terminal, started on the desktop: "
sudo dpkg -i *.deb"
http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/ are the already-safely compiled files, from the oldest (v2.6.24-hardy) to the latest (v4.11-rc3). All these are available days before other Linux distributions. Using either "grub-customizer" or its clones, you can easily choose which of many distro to boot from a menu, and with each distro, which of many kernel versions to boot,at each boot-time. No silly CLI rubbish needed.
If you have the latest hardware, or want the most malware-free, choose the latest STABLE.
For example, installing Kernel 4.10.4, add the files to the desktop, from http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.10.4/:
3) linux-image-4.10.4-041004 generic_4.10.4041004.201703180831_amd64.deb
If you want the low-latency version, choose that instead. So simple. If DW was Google-robot ready, you will see that this message is an updated version of many like this, that I have posted before in DW.
46 • @25 and @26 (by Chris on 2017-03-21 00:01:39 GMT from United States)
Simplified but technically, Debian is an open constitutional oligarchy with some politically interesting combinations of sub-structures, practices, and methods. Just saying for accuracy purposes.
Note: I love Debian (YMMV) and use it extensively, but I do not always agree with it as an organization, and its system of governance leaves me with a headache - and I have an advanced degree in political science.
47 • oligarchy ? (by bigsky on 2017-03-21 01:15:25 GMT from Canada)
@ 46 Microsoft and it's system of governance always leaves me with a headache- and I have a degree in nothing of special interest to anyone. Funny that eh. Merci
48 • My PhD in FUD? Yes I've Earned It (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-03-21 01:52:01 GMT from United States)
@19 Your FUD slinging got me thinking. I suppose anyone answering you is racist, too. Anyway, moving on, I speak from experience with self-labeled "stable" distros.
Drop that smelly fud-stuff about "breakage" and "no quality control" before it poisons your food. Rolling distros are *more* stable than Debian/Ubuntu. I lived the difference and grew up. It's urban myth and propaganda. (PS @45 kernel installs are no differentiator, and work the same.)
Debian's workflow is borked. The cover story is QA, but that "QA" is the problem. It introduces as many bugs as it solves. Debian fanbois map their update crashes onto updating as an abstract concept. That's their whole fallacy.
Yes updating Debian too eagerly crashes it. What does not follow is pretending updating is wrong. What does follow is that Debian is borked. Correctly designed distros do not crash on updates. Actually I got 10x more crashes in Debian stable than Arch.
Upstream changes are mostly bug fixes that assist stability. I've never encountered so much FUD gardening as Debian propaganda artists do. The claim that upstream changes are tipsy new features is delusion. I've never seen objective metrics proving it.
That said, I'm glad somebody considers average folk as Mint does. We need more such distros. If Mint is the difference between someone using Windows/Mac or Linux, then long live staleware, smelly as it is.
Next topic, oddball distros. I wish one would grow around rumpkernel.org because the monolithic Linux kernel makes problems and divisions of its own. All anyone needs from it are hardware drivers from OEMs and filesystems. The other fluff any team can develop. Linux luvers scarcely know how bad their kernel is compared to QNX or a dozen other examples from academia or industry. The rumpkernel.org project simply admits Linux has the FOSS drivers we want, and then does the correct thing: rip them out!
49 • @47 (by Chris on 2017-03-21 02:38:28 GMT from United States)
The primary point of my post (@46) is to point out that by most current, formal political science definitions and interpritations, which many wish to apply to FOSS projects, calling current Debian a democracy is technically incorrect. Current Debian is most accurately politically defined as a open constitutional oligarchy with authoritarian, oligarchtic, and democratic (direct and republican) sub-aspects.
I added my note in @46 in a admittidly poor, abbreviated attempt to say that the Debian organization has an extremely unique and complex structure when applying political science terminology to it (i.e., my headache comment), and that I am not intending to be for or against Debian (or any other organization) in defining Debian as an open constitutional oligarchy (i.e., my love and use vs. sometimes disagree comments).
50 • Mint installer and kernel updates (by Hoos on 2017-03-21 09:02:57 GMT from Singapore)
Regarding the update manager's "safety" levels for updates, my view is that the updater should be improved so that where a kernel update is also a security update, it should be automatically selected for update where the kernel in question is in the same LTS series that came as default with the original iso (and perhaps also for kernels in the same series as the one currently in use by the user when the updater is opened).
Yes, regressions can happen in newer kernel series if certain drivers are no longer included. But if the user installed an Mint iso that came with a 4.4-LTS kernel, I fail to see what is the harm in automatically updating that kernel when there is a security threat.
Other than that, where it is not absolutely necessary to update the kernel, I can understand not doing it automatically.
Another thing I notice in Ubuntu-based distros is that there are many updates within a kernel series. In a Ubuntu-based distro that does not have the Mint system of holding back kernel updates by default, the number of kernels in that series accumulates in the /boot directory and is not removed automatically. A newcomer might not actually know this, and the remaining space in the root partition will keep getting less and less for no good reason.
Perhaps the Ubuntu/Mint update managers need to automatically remove kernels beyond X number of kernels, like Fedora's and OpenSUSE's do.
51 • Mint misunderstandings.. (by kaczor on 2017-03-21 09:43:04 GMT from Germany)
One says, why not use Debian, because Ubuntu is derived from Debian. OK, but Ubuntu's deb packages are different from Debian's, even though they are named deb.
Another says, you should use Mint to know Mint. Well, you can try it, but when you find you are becoming a prisoner of Mint dev's wants, you'd stop using it. For example, why should you have to use Yahoo, just because Mint dev is earning money from Yahoo? Also, why not try all the Ubuntu official derivatives to get to know Ubuntu?
Another says, Mint is looking carefully at upgrades, and stop you from upgrading what Ubuntu does. Are you sure the Mint dev sits all day and check all the apps? The getting late to release (month or so after an Ubuntu release) and saying that Mint dev checks upgrades are just a marketing gimmick.
Mint is always late. Ubuntu gives you a guarantee, but Mint can't.
52 • DW Header (by argent on 2017-03-21 09:48:33 GMT from United States)
Definitely appreciate the change with the header, use it every time I visit DW. Modern and easily navigated. The newer proposed option is bit outdated and just old school look. Vote to keep what is currently present.
Thanks to the folks at DW, visit often and spend about a week touching base with about all subject matter, very informative and a plethora of news under one roof. Each week over the last year have noticed that there is a point to have a really fresh collection of news, data and technology based information.
Kudo's to Manjaro, although I do not use the distro, do appreciate the uniqueness and awesomeness of the look and feel. Make it a point to take a spin and spend a while with the install. Popularity has gained the folks at Manjaro the # 3 spot on DW, well deserved.
53 • @48 • My PhD in FUD? Yes I've Earned It (by mandog on 2017-03-21 11:41:06 GMT from Peru)
I always follow your comments, This weeks are really spot on, you take every seriously and analyse them very well,
Carry on with your weekly comments
54 • @48 Rolling FUD / Debian (by linuxista on 2017-03-21 19:11:56 GMT from United States)
I strongly second your comments about FUD re rolling distros. I have also lived the difference, which is why my primary OS is Arch, and has happily been for the past 7 years. My experiences with Debian stable, testing and sid (I've used them all) also mirror yours, which is why Debian is the last distro I recommend to anybody in almost any use case. Ironically, it is Debian users that tend to be the most ardent proponents of FUD against rolling distros in order to justify to themselves their 2-3 year old systems with all the bugs and lack of features frozen in.
55 • Mint Security Updates (by Justin on 2017-03-21 20:33:27 GMT from United States)
Several people have made several points, like @12 and Hoos, and I wanted to echo this. Mint maintains their own versions of key packages, and they are not quick to update them. I switched to the Ubuntu Mozilla PPA to get browser updates as fast as possible (this was actually Ubuntu's fault for holding back a version because it broke on some architecture). I watch the PPA update come in, then maybe a week later than Ubuntu one arrives, and a few days after that, Mint's version (seen as an upgrade) shows up. Also, the Mint version is not repackaged Ubuntu but has other changes. I remember one version (can't remember the number) actually broke some functionality that I had to revert. Now I blacklist the Mint firefox package and only use the Ubuntu one.
With kernels, when I installed 17, they locked you into a particular one because by default the mint packages was installed (kernel-linux or something like that instead of linux-kernel). It *never* updated, and the only reason I knew I was missing stuff was because I had a Mint 13 install at work that received regular updates. Since Linus doesn't treat security updates differently from regular bugs, the kernel needs to be updated every time regardless (LTS kernel is usually safe).
Finally, Mint's own description of LMDE used to state explicitly that if a user was concerned about security, LMDE was not the distro for you. The description has since been changed, and presumably security is taken more seriously. This position kept me from trying LMDE. I want newer packages, but I need security to be the first priority.
I'm a generally happy Mint user, but when Mint 17 leaves LTS, I'm probably going to move on. Unless you stay on the latest release, you don't get the latest Cinnamon updates either, which was main reason I wanted Mint. At the same time, I'm thankful for Mint for the transition from Windows. I never could have handled something like Arch from the beginning, so it does have it's place. And yes, apparently, if it's a little slow at security updates but faster than Windows, then it is a transition indeed.
56 • Mint Updates (by youBobo on 2017-03-22 07:33:00 GMT from Philippines)
I used to install all updates,levels 1 thru 5 on Mint. Not until some kernel update broke my system.
I install both Mint 17 and Ubuntu 14.04 on similar machines. A kernel update broke both my systems, both on Ubuntu and Mint (with all updates).
I tried to fresh install both from scratch, update everything, and broke again.
I tried to fresh install again from scratch with Mint 17 on both machines and dont apply kernel updates. System never broke.
You may say that my system have vulnerabilities, well, it's better this way. At least I am able to use my machine.
If you haven't encountered problems before due to kernel updates, be security updates or not, then you would disagree with Mint's way of updating. If you have encountered it, then you would have understand why it' the right way.
Kernel updates, security related or not, always have regressions. That's what Mint is trying to avoid.
Anyway, most of those security updates (kerne) are actually not a security concern for a desktop users.
57 • @48, 54 - rolling distros, Debian, "staleware", "lack of features" " (by Hoos on 2017-03-22 09:02:43 GMT from Singapore)
Pure Debian is certainly very conservative and many of their packages are versions behind the rolling distros, not counting security updates. However, distros that are Debian derivatives often supplement the Debian base with updated versions of certain packages, and so are more up to date than their parent (often also more beginner-friendly). There is also the Debian Backport Repository.
Yes, the Debian derivatives may not have package versions as up to date as Manjaro for example, but that does not necessarily mean those versions are staleware. Not every user needs the absolute latest version. New features may be introduced in newer versions of the application, but does every user need them? Everyone's mileage varies.
Personally I have tried quite a few Debian Stable derivatives and found them quite quick and light on resource-use (more than Ubuntu-based ones). I have not found updates that crashed on me.
As for rolling distros, I agree that they can be more stable than fixed distros if one is referring to much more regular bug quashing and program improvements, but this is based on the assumption that both the stable and the rolling user maintains and updates their respective distro in a knowledgeable way suitable for that distro. I have read on the Manjaro forum of new users who simply click on the update manager and then run into problems because they didn't read the update announcements. There are others who then instead of trying to figure out and fixing the problems, simply reinstall the whole iso and start anew. That defeats the purpose of a rolling distro, does it not?
My point is that not every "ordinary" user of a computer wants to have to do necessary reading up to fix problems that once in a while crop up after an update in a rolling distro. Hasn't Arch recently had a notification about the ca-certificates-utils update needing manual intervention? There are users who don't want to have to check for such notifications, do web research or read the manual when they update their computer. They just want to use their computer as an appliance for their everyday tasks.
One may bemoan the fact that there are more and more people who want to use Linux without actually knowing a lot of the nuts and bolts behind it, but as Linux usage increases among people that previously would have used Windows or Macs, that is inevitable. Therefore you need beginner-friendly distros that make updates a click-and-forget step away. That is where some of the Debian and Ubuntu derivatives come into the picture.
You may have to reinstall Debian derivatives every few years, but with Debian's security updates lasting some time, you could probably stretch it to a reinstallation every other release, if you are happy to just use your computer as is. You could also just choose to keep your /home partition when installing the new release.
In the same way that some Debian supporters exaggerate the instability of updating Arch-based distros, I find some rolling proponents seem to exaggerate the difficulty of reinstalling Debian or its derivatives when a new release comes up.
Note: I use Manjaro and MX Linux.
58 • Korora .. rolling (by Jordan on 2017-03-22 14:55:59 GMT from United States)
No mention of Korora in here wrt updates and releases. Just want to bring it up as remarkably stable.. as in nothing breaks after any update and they happen several times a month, including kernel updates (on 49.14 -200 now).
Anything can happen in linux, I know.. but this is the only distro I've had after 21 years of hopping around with them that is this stable and requires no fixing on my part after updates. I do look at the list (running dnf --refresh upgrade) prior to approving, installing and applying the updates just to know what's going on. But as I say, no breakage. I do reboot right after each update.
59 • @51 (by Nick on 2017-03-22 15:21:42 GMT from Germany)
Just because Ubuntu repackages stuff doesn't mean it's not based on Debian. "Ubuntu builds on the foundations of Debian's architecture and infrastructure [...] Ubuntu is an open source project that develops and maintains a cross-platform, open-source operating system based on Debian":
Of course there are differences from Debian, because they repackage stuff. And guess what, Mint also repackages some stuff but you go criticizing them because of it, like it's not the nature of free software - the freedom it provides in order to serve the users' preferences and requirements.
I think whatever one would say, you would still bash Mint because you want to misinform or you are misinformed yourself. In the case of the search engine, you went as far as implying that the users are trapped with it, which is sadly wrong of you. You don't like a search engine? Then change it. It's in the browser's preferences, and you get pointed to a page where you have a good list of choices.
.... long list ....
Some of the most popular engines were added above. To add one of them, click on its logo.
Now if you don't use Mint, it's understandable not to know this stuff because you didn't try to change it. But you do know Ubuntu also changes the default page of Firefox, right? It's not unheard of, it's not forbidden, it's just whatever the people in charge decide to do. Isn't the free software supposed to allow you this kind of freedom?
"Oh, they're making money off of Yahoo searches" - yes, Mint has a small team compared to Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat and others. But they don't hide the fact that they make money from searches. That's the first thing you see on the search engines page if you want to change that.
Then you mention Ubuntu's guarantee and the fact that Mint can't offer that. How can you miss the fact that whatever Ubuntu releases in their repositories is freely and immediately available world-wide for everyone using Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros?
What Mint repackages comes in good time. Sometimes the packages come the same day, sometimes it takes a few days, not more. As for testing, not even Canonical doesn't manually test their thousands of packages. They have an automated testing infrastructure for that:
The level 4 packages are those which are known to cause troubles, and they are marked manually if necessary. Because normally nothing should cause troubles, but when something is found to do so, it gets marked, and the users will be able to avoid it or install it and fix themselves whatever breaks.
You would know this stuff if you would actually use Mint and learn about it. But if you don't, then you should reconsider your public voice and get informed before you do that.
60 • Erratum (by Nick on 2017-03-22 15:27:48 GMT from Germany)
* yes, Mint has a small team compared to Ubuntu, Debian, RedHat and others, and also much less funds, so they can't advertise like Ubuntu for instance. So they did their best to get additional funding even if the users can't or don't donate.
61 • @58 - Korora is not rolling.... (by Hoos on 2017-03-22 15:50:10 GMT from Singapore)
...since it's Fedora-based. But Fedora always provides an upgrade path to the next release, which seems to work well.
62 • Korora rolling (by Jordan on 2017-03-22 16:54:00 GMT from United States)
@61 yes you are correct of course and my error in reporting Korora as a rolling release in my post there.
I'm seeing it as sort of "functionally rolling," as I use it and do not upgrade often. I've kept the released version on at least one machine through one or two new releases and just followed updates as they came.
But no, Korora is as you say Fedora based and allows a nice upgrade path. Thanks for catching me on that. ;)
63 • @57, Competing Goals (by Justin on 2017-03-22 17:01:43 GMT from United States)
I looked back at the news, and from what I can tell, the certificate update is the only manual update in the past few years. The other "recent" one was part of the xorg drivers were no longer being supported, mostly older stuff. The one time I had borked my machine with an Arch update in the year I've been using it was because my setup never actually worked properly in the first place. Had I taken the time to read the wiki page on my hardware, I could have avoided a lot of trouble. That is your point about the user needing to do a little homework sometimes, and I fit that class, so it's not a problem.
I see the other side, too. I would still be on XP if it were receiving support. It does what I need, I don't need anything "newer" other than the web browser, so why upgrade? That's the place I think distros like Debian Stable fill: I have older hardware, my needs are being met, and I just want to keep stuff the same (stable == same, not necessarily bug free).
Linux is great because we have these choices. These are competing goals, and it's good to have a choice to meet both. I use a rolling distro on one machine and a fixed distro on another. It's my experiment to see which I like better. I do like not needing to check the updates too carefully on my fixed machine, and there are just fewer updates over all. At the same time, the rolling machine has better hardware and feature support that I can't match on the fixed machine without experimenting with PPAs and then having potential conflicts in software versions (e.g., I can't use a newer kernel because mesa/xorg/some graphics stack needs an update, so I miss out on some fixes/improvements for Intel OpenGL that any Windows or other distro user has had for a few years).
Great discussion this week, I enjoy all the comments, people arguing for one side or the other. At the end of the day, we need both, it's great to have both, and it sure beats the alternatives like Windows, Mac, etc., that make you go their way and leave you little recourse.
As users, we should decide what we want and pursue that. I agree with the IT guy who kept talking about presenting information but leaving choices to the user. The best part about choice is you can choose what suits you best. The worst part is you can make stupid choices and have no one to blame but yourself. Vive le Linux!
64 • @51 (by bigsky on 2017-03-22 22:59:14 GMT from Canada)
@51 Mint is always late. Ubuntu gives you a guarantee, but Mint can't. What are you talking about ? Their both free to use at your own will and nobody forced you to try either.
65 • "Private" Linux kernels. Be afraid! (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-23 00:16:41 GMT from Australia)
Each "official" Linux kernel researched & developed by the "Linux Foundation" (incorporated) has a defined "support". Some releases are "LTS": Long Term Support. After the official support time has past, the necessary support for the kernel MIGHT be done by other organizations or individuals.
Often one of the official supporters of the "Linux Foundation" might take responsibility for supporting older or other Linux kernels. These "private" Linux kernels are usually NOT OPEN-SOURCE. Being privately compiled from unseen code, they might (will?) have coding bugs, and perhaps backdoors and even malware included into their unseen, unsupervised Linux code. Some of this might be be mistakes. Some of it might be deliberate. So be wary of these "private" Linux kernels, imho.
Of course the bulk of Linux desktop users (based on Debian) always have the full range of (official) Linux kernels easily, quickly available for them, in any of upto six types of CPU. Latest stable release is now waiting, at: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.10.5/
66 • @ 57 rolling distros, Debian, "staleware", "lack of features" (by lenn on 2017-03-23 10:45:58 GMT from Canada)
"Note: I use Manjaro and MX Linux."
Well, you'd know something about Debian, for you are using MX based on Debian, but what would you know about Ubuntu, or Mint?
"In the same way that some Debian supporters exaggerate the instability of updating Arch-based distros..."
You use a distro, you know it, you don't use it, you are only presuming.
67 • @66 - what do I use? (by Hoos on 2017-03-23 13:21:30 GMT from Singapore)
I am a bit of an obsessive multibooter.
What do I know of Ubuntu or Mint?
- currently running: Mint 17, elementaryOS Freya, Peppermint. Also testing Mint 18.1 in Virtualbox but I don't really like it which is why I am sticking to my Mint 17 installation in the hard drive
- in the past: crunchbang 9.04 which was Ubuntu-based, WattOS (2011 to 2014), Kubuntu 12.04 to 14.04. Netrunner 15 to 17.
Admittedly, not Ubuntu with Unity, which I do not like.
past - crunchbang 10 and 11,
now - bunsenlabs; SolydX.
MX and Manjaro are my main distros nowadays and I find myself logged into these 2 more as my usage of the other distros wanes. But I think I'm entitled to make comments on Ubuntu-based distros as I used them a fair bit in the past and even now.
68 • @67 (by lenn on 2017-03-23 14:24:10 GMT from Canada)
"But I think I'm entitled to make comments on Ubuntu-based distros as I used them a fair bit in the past and even now."
I don't think so. If you use Ubuntu now, you can make a claim of knowing it. Past is past and things are changing.
I used to 'hate' windows seven, but I can't make a claim of knowing windows 10, if I am not using it. Btw, the Crunchbang creator had also left for windows ten.
69 • @68 (by Hoos on 2017-03-23 15:52:16 GMT from Singapore)
Perhaps you've mistaken me for another poster as I noticed you were debating with poster of @12.
My comment on the Mint installer and the accumulation of kernels when updating Ubuntu-based distros was post @50. Is my knowledge outdated on those 2 points?
As for my comment "In the same way that some Debian supporters exaggerate the instability of updating Arch-based distros..." that you quoted, that has nothing to do with my knowledge of Ubuntu-based distros and everything to do with having read the comments to almost every DW Weekly issue for the past few years.
I have from reading the comments section seen posts that talk about how buggy/terrible Debian is because often non-security bug fixes and new features don't come until the next Debian release, and also seen posts by presumably users of Debian (or of fixed release distros in general) talking about how Arch's rolling system leads to breakage and instability. That is an observation of OTHER people's posts.
70 • Header (by Billy B on 2017-03-23 16:45:38 GMT from Spain)
There shhould be another option in the poll: "I dislike both headers", for people you have a preference and it's none of the two options.
I thought that the remodeling was to update a bit the style. The new header is just the old one a bit rearanged.
71 • GPL vs FUD (by M.Z. on 2017-03-23 18:26:32 GMT from United States)
'...These "private" Linux kernels are usually NOT OPEN-SOURCE.'
That's a bit nutty. Who ever does the support on any specific version of the kernel can't change the GPL on 99.9% of the code, & using closed code for the changes they make would likely violate the GPL. How do these versions of the kernel magically become non-GPL?
72 • 71 • GPL vs FUD (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-24 02:14:51 GMT from Australia)
Some comments here in DW are just questions. Android & its spins (Maru, Phoenix, Sailfish, ...) are based on a Linux kernel. However these kernels have been so modded, that they cannot be upgraded or downgraded into another official Linux kernel.
I have seen other Desktop Linux distributions also issue their own private compilations of the official Linux kernels. When RedHat, Intel, etc release their own security-maintained versions of "dead" Linux kernels, I don't think it's "a bit nutty", nor FUD. If you examine the "ReadMe" of every open-source kernel, you will see a series of bug-fixes that were fixed. Not mentioned are the bugs that were not fixed. These two lists exist for EVERY large piece of software.
73 • Linux MARKETING STANDARDS ... alpha, beta, RCx (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-24 02:41:03 GMT from Australia)
Comments here seem often personal: knowledge of Linux, Ubuntu, Arch, etc. Self-administered "quizzes" need to be created for measuring "expertise" levels in each of the distros. Or "BETA", "ALPHA" or "RC" standards?
If ever exists a Linux marketing group, we need to set standards for these terms. When does an "apha" become a "beta" release. Is there any difference between a "beta" & "RC" (release candidate)?
IMO: "alpha" is only issued to self-selected, identity-known INSIDERS. It is too buggy otherwise. Like Windows-10 INSIDERS, it tests also the reliability of self-updates. It is guaranteed buggy, with many unfinished and unknown "surprises".
BETA can be shown to high-risk public "tasters". It has already been "stable" enough to not be thrown out, a its ALPHA stage. It has known & unknown bugs, but needs testing on a wider range of hardware & usages.
RC seems to me, to be almost another term for BETA. In the "Linux Foundation" & Ubuntu-world, each beta-release is regularly programmed, towards a final, fixed date for the Final Release.
The final release however, still has known & unknown bugs, insecurities and wastefulness. These final releases are updated with "point" releases, where (open-source only, often) the differences can be (sometimes) shown in the file: "Changes.txt". For example, Linus himself has written that he sometimes does not broadcast some of these changes, until much later.
74 • Linux Mint => Sour Patches (Over by the time) (by Koshnick Khushkov on 2017-03-24 02:41:48 GMT from Canada)
Linux Mint => Sour Patches (Over by the time).
Just enough said. Nothing more.
May be popularity index should be read reversed, as well.
75 • 73 • Linux MARKETING STANDARDS ... alpha, beta, RCx (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-24 06:37:17 GMT from Australia)
LibreOffice is extremely influenced by Linux. ATM in a very bad way.
https://www.libreoffice.org/download/download/?type=win-x86_64&version=5.3.1&lang=en-US Why is Libreoffice so bad? Because it imposes Linux file-name standards onto operating systems which are not Linux. They do not know that Windows is cAsE-iNsEnSiTiVe for application files.
1) (RC): "The latest "fresh" version of LibreOffice, recommended for technology enthusiasts." ["FRESH"
2) (LTS) "The mature "still" version of LibreOffice, recommended for enterprises." ["STILL"]
Debian has similar unconventional labels, familiar only to certain insiders (white USA boys: "Bruce Perens"), . 1) "JESSIE" (LTS), 2) "BUSTER" (BETA), 3) "SID" (RC). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debian
Many ego-publishers in the Linux distribution world try to inflate the stability of their "superb work" by overstating the supposed stability of their baby. It's just standard human psychology at work, independent of reality, as usual.
Linux needs MARKETING STANDARDS. One of my previous working committees (ISO-Australia, via Standards Australia) cannot yet enforce marketing standards in the computer world. If computers are to move beyond the control of certain university graduates, they need to have open & agreed standards, instead of the little-boy anarchy that exists at the moment.
76 • Still GPL (by M.Z. on 2017-03-24 06:38:40 GMT from United States)
I'll certainly believe that the version of the kernel shipped with most versions of Android is far from standard & doesn't have anything close to a normal upgrade path that can be found on the desktop. That being said it's still GPL software & any changes made should still be able to be received by users requesting a copy of the kernel/source code via their rights in the GPL. If the code is available it's not closed, full stop. Their are already communities working on Android based devices & if anyone has a device they have kernel issues with they can get a copy of their kernel version & work with members of the community to dissect the code & do whatever they want with it.
As for Red Hat, I've heard plenty of FUD thrown at them over the years. I'm glad they are there doing so much hard work on the kernel, even if I find the Gnome project that they support to be useless as a DE. Their versions of the kernel are still GPL, & if you have a copy of RHEL or CentOS you should be able to get the code. What's to complain about? Red Hat sells support for their RHEL distro & has become the industry leader in Linux for business, while they simultaneously give away their code & let other projects reuse their code as a base for another distro. If fact if you search DW there are over a dozen projects like Scientific Linux that are based on Red Hat & CentOS. It looks to me like Red Hat is basically doing the right thing by the community. Claiming any version of the kernel is '...NOT OPEN-SOURCE' is ill-informed FUD regardless of how you want to spin it & is a disservice to the quality of the discussion here on DW. Try & chose your words more carefully so they don't come off as fear mongering.
77 • Delayed updates in Mint ? Example from today: Thunderbird (by L.M. on 2017-03-24 19:42:44 GMT from United States)
Testing a Mint 7.2 install today (24 March) - update for Thunderbird arrives.
The changelog says:
*New upstreaam stable release...
-- Chris Coulson...Wed, 15 Mar 2017...
Question: Is this delayed getting into the Ubuntu repo? Or, is the delay via Mint? If the former, then the "delay" is realy just the difference between the date listed in the changelog and the date Ubuntu actually releases the patch. Anyone have technical insight into this? Thanks!
78 • Linux (mint?) = BugiX (by Lana Khushkov on 2017-03-24 19:50:23 GMT from Canada)
I just lost the counts.
So far how many exactly?
Have a look at RedHat Bug(s) List, which in fact is too long, but limited only to 1000.
No wonder why Hat has turned red, upto the Hat it is OK coz head must not turn red.
And look at groff and linux (b)addy keep releasing one after another with window closed.
Groff and linux (b)addy, please add my two or three bugs too in next release or commit or what so ever.
May I release BugiX - you can download and install for sure. How about RuN? - No Answer.
79 • this week dw = distro wars (by far2fish on 2017-03-24 19:55:55 GMT from Denmark)
To oversimplify it; a summary of all opinions above could be:
Debian and downstream:
Stable and secure OR unsecure staleware?
Arch and downstream + other rolling distros:
Bleading edge, secure and stable OR experimental and unstable?
While I am fond of rolling distros myself, I can certainly respect other peoples opinions. After all, our attachments to certain Linux distros are a lot more than just their patching policies. Package managers, community support, personal use cases and a lot more sum up why we use the distros that we do.
Second point is that the weakest link in every home distro is the user that is using it, not the distro itself.
80 • Bugs & rolling (by M.Z. on 2017-03-24 22:33:40 GMT from United States)
I'm not really sure what you're trying to get at but I looked over the Red Hat bugzilla a bit & decided that you have to be a software expert to truly understand what all those bugs you linked to really meant. Are they even confirmed bugs or just reported potential bugs? There are huge numbers of ways to filter the bug list on the Red Hat site.
While it's hard to wade through the depths of the Red Hat bug tracker I doubt that you will find any other major commercial OS that is as open about their security as Red Hat. The core competition of Red Hat seems to be from MS Windows & far smaller Linux/BSD companies. There are also other miscellaneous Linux & Unix like OSs & open projects, but Red Hat seems to be the go to default for major companies wanting Linux. According to their website there are several major sectors where every global fortune 500 runs at least in part on Red Hat.
Software is inherently imperfect & buggy, so the goal is always to get it to work well enough & reliably for everybody while maintaining good security & mitigating still open bugs. The need for work arounds & the piling up of other small bugs is probably magnified to some extent in all point release software used by Red Hat, MS & all other major OS vendors. From what I can tell everyone seems to use point releases in any 'mission critical' environment. Running point release OSs seems to be the general wisdom of IT departments. They also seem to strongly prefer Red Hat & trust their security & bug mitigation, even if it wouldn't be my first choice for an easy to use desktop:
As I mentioned above, all IT departments seem to strongly prefer stable point release systems. From what I can gather on the subject all good IT departments have a system in place that effectively acts like the Mint Update Manager & filters all updates based of potential problems. I think they test everything & then move all updates across like hardware after they are sure of the ramifications. I think a rolling release would create a lot more work & headaches for IT departments & they just don't want to do things that way in mission critical environments.
I think I've asked the rolling advocates for a counter example at least once or twice on DW, but nobody seems to respond. By all means somebody or anybody tell me if there is an example of a 'just works' rolling distro used by IT gurus in mission critical spaces.
At any rate the Mint Update Manager seems like it hands tools to do updates in a similar fashion to IT departments to uses of Mint & lets them decide how to do things. Given that I've seen Windows, FreeBSD, PCLOS, & Ubuntu based systems borked by updates, I think this level of control is a useful tool to any semi-aware user. The tools can also take care of security fears by checking a few boxes. I personally always apply security updates in Mint while ignoring other level 4 & 5 updates & I have little or no worries about either security or stability.
There are lots of great things about both rolling & stable point release systems, but both also have issues & neither is a silver bullet. I think rolling releases are like to do great at serving certain home users, especially power users; however, I'm not convinced that the anecdotal evidence from the hardcore rolling fans amounts to much of anything useful. It's great if you find a rolling distro that works for you, but that's still anecdotal & others need different options.
81 • Linux Kernel (by Lana Khushkov on 2017-03-24 23:56:04 GMT from Canada)
WTF, Are you folks just fooling yourselves? or just passing your time.
I bet, any linux power user, developer, or even Groff and linux (b)addy can point me to at least one linux kernel which is absolutely BuG FREE. So far, size of the linux kernel has grown from 1 MB to 100MB+ over, and so far more than thousands of total kernel release. Guys, again, Which One?
Rolling or stable does not matter here.
82 • Non Sense (by M.Z. on 2017-03-25 01:07:44 GMT from United States)
Software is written by people. People make mistakes. Therefore bugs exist in virtually all software & bugs will certainly exist in any software anywhere near the size & complexity of the Linux kernel. If you think there is a totally bug free version of the Linux Kernel you don't understand the nature of bugs & the Linux kernel.
There were over _15 Million_ lines of code in the Linux kernel 6 years ago. There will be bugs in anything with millions of lines of code. There are lots of good procedures & testing in place to mitigate bugs, but they will exist & needing to fix them is in the nature of any complex software. Many bugs are tiny & unnoticeable to the vast majority of users, but some are more significant. Regardless bugs exist & will exist in any software development system that looks anything like modern software development practices. To think otherwise is to assume some sort of magic perfection.
Source of the figure:
83 • Arch and or Manjaro (by bigsky on 2017-03-25 02:39:28 GMT from Canada)
When using Arch and specificaly, Manjaro keep an eye on the firewall settings. They will change ? with out your knowledge. Thanks
84 • 76 • Still GPL (by M.Z. "... don't come off as fear mongering." (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-25 05:37:41 GMT from Australia)
Juniors cannot handle uncertainty. So when we tell juniors that ALL hardware & ALL software have compromises, bugs, malware & missed-optimizations. Juniors freak out. Ethanol, Police, guns, etc!
The big advantage of "openness" is the acknowledgement of the "Johari Window". It is on the compulsory learning list for all juniors who want to one day grow up. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johari_window
The "gods" (Microsoft, Apple, IBM, RedHat, Google, etc) have their secret, closed source codes (hardware & software). Insiders only! All organizations have a "known": (UNKNOWN-UNKNOWN), which they have calculated, with their insurance actuaries. Outsiders only see one part of Johari's four parts. Insiders who dare disclose the contents on the two hidden parts are banished, imprisoned, or confined for years in a foreign embassy in London, etc.
If you dare examine good open-source products, they might openly publish some internal documents that outsiders can understand. These would try to estimate the bugs-malware-imperfections in every "version", to then decide if it is low-enough risk to release to the "outsiders". Using DW resources, gave: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuWeeklyNewsletter/Issue503 which led to:
" ... The Bug Squad is an essential asset in progressing Ubuntu and its derivatives ... On average, over 1,800 bugs are filed every week with more than 500,000 bugs filed so far. The Bug Squad is always in NEED of more help from the community! ... "
This explains why ALPHA, BETA, RCx exist. The privatized "gods" pretend to outsiders that the Johari Window does not exist. Only "PERFECTION"! Windows and Apple are "perfect". Debian and Red Hat (STABLE version only) are "perfect".
Manjaro seems confused; is a RC stable? In a "semi-rolling" beta release.
At least they are openly admitting that human craftware is not perfect. Unlike the gods, and their worshippers. Sorry that these management secrets need to be explained. Not many people however have done the MBA, or its equivalent.
85 • BSD, Linux ready for benchmarking? (more than one year ago). (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-25 06:33:44 GMT from Australia)
"How Three BSD Operating Systems Compare To Ten Linux Distributions" by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 15 January 2016.
The results show remarkable differences between the Linux operating systems, which are mainly on EXT4 partition. Like all tests from this link: it claims compatibility with Apple & Windows, but seems to avoid showing comparative results from these operating systems. http://www.phoronix-test-suite.com/
BENCHMARKING: DragonFlyBSD, OpenBSD, & PC-BSD (3 x BSD)
Antergos 2015.12, CentOS 7 1511, Clear Linux 5700, Debian Linux 8.2, Debian Stretch/Testing, Fedora 23, OpenSUSE Linux 42.1, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, Ubuntu 14.04.3, & Ubuntu 15.10. (10 x Linux)
Easily understood bar graphs (8) of up to thirteen operating system are shown. Brief summaries are below each graph. Outstanding overall performances came from Ubuntu 15.10, Debian Testing and Intel's "Clear Linux 5700". https://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=clear
It'd be interesting repeating this test every year, to see if the overall "rankings" have changed, and why. The Linux's should have used only EXT4? Does using the latest available stable Linux kernel make any difference? Many angry fanboys hate comparative testing. Too rational & too scientific. If only Phoronix could dae to produce the equivalence ratings with the two "big boys", like it claims ...
86 • @84 - still GPL (by Hoos on 2017-03-25 08:15:23 GMT from Singapore)
I don't get your response. It doesn't seem to address @76's point about GPL and the sources being available.
What's the point of bringing up Microsoft, Apple, etc (all but Redhat) since they don't use the Linux kernel? Google as I understand it does reveal the source for the open source part of their Android OS, including their modified Linux kernel.
You keep shifting ground and bringing up new things. Example: you bring up the Manjaro iso images for no reason. Manjaro has 3 branches, Stable, Testing, Unstable. It's as if you've never seen a Debian Stable-based distro (for example) issue a RC of their coming Stable release before.
Worse, what does it have to do with your earlier insinuations that @76 called you out on?
87 • @80 Bugs and rolling (by far2fish on 2017-03-25 09:31:56 GMT from Denmark)
M.Z., it sounds like we are talking about two different segments.
I was talking about home users. You talked about enterprise users and mission critical systems.
I work for a Fortune 500 company, and we use strictly Red Hat for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I am not employed as a Linux admin, but know at least the internal servers get
patched every quarter in a rotating fashion. I would imagine any DMZ server would be operating under a more frequent patching regime.
88 • More Linux Thoughts (by M.Z. on 2017-03-25 17:14:04 GMT from United States)
I think #86 pointed out some flaws in your logic there. The ani-Red Hat stuff really makes no sense. Red Hat makes about as much closed source software as Microsoft makes jet engines, which is to say it just isn't done from everything I can see.
That being said parts of your comment do explain the situations I was discussing with #81 well.
I was sort of responding to the general feel from the hardcore rolling advocates that you were in part describing. Sorry if that wasn't clear, but I felt that parts of the discussion were missing a significant part of the reason point releases exist. I think it helps to understand the the core context of why both methods of releasing distros exist.
I am glad to hear someone closer to those big server farms than I am thinks my understanding is on the right track though. Thanks for confirming that part of my discussion points.
89 • Google Chrome (by F.X on 2017-03-25 19:12:45 GMT from Canada)
Another disturbing fact is Google Chrome hand over full and total control of your device to Google. You are just trapped into highly controlled environment.
90 • Google Chrome (by bigsky on 2017-03-25 23:00:28 GMT from Canada)
True but you don't have to use it. Switch to another browser and make the default search engine DuckDuckGO ?
91 • Standards of Linux journalism. (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-26 01:06:45 GMT from Australia)
"Ubuntu vs Arch Linux", by "quidsup". (13'09")
Read from a well-researched script, it has both video & audio quality far beyond most types of Linux journalism. Ant Linux Marketing Group should consider it the first outstanding entry for Linux Marketing, in 2017.
Because "quidsup" is not yet a "god", there are some obvious architectural misunderstandings common to "expert" Linux obsessives. Fanboys believe that the GUI-based Linux distributions (Debian & Red Hat families) cannot do the CLI-rubbish of compiling from source-code, just as Gentoo-based primitives MUST do.
In my forced "medical retirement", I would create and then mentor the growth of another of my history of non-government organizations, but other priorities are demanding my attention (semiotics engineering, and medically-prolonging my very impaired-medical-life).
Then, like other good technical industries (photography, movies, arts, politics, engineering, science, education, retailing, wholesaling, manufacturing, ... ), we could have our annual awards: best journalist in the categories of hard-copy, soft-copy, & multi-media. Then quarterly awards, and monthly nominations, to be considered for the awards, by either insider-votes, or "open" votes. I should be in "heaven" by then.
92 • more distro testing (by bestatesta on 2017-03-26 01:59:32 GMT from Australia)
distro hopper musings:
feren OS: buntu-based live DVDs are slowish to boot, but feren takes the cake - very slow. you wouldn't want to have to reboot this distro too often
Zorin OS: a windows-like distro for more reasons than looks. The logs show that it constantly tries to call the London Embassy - oops, I mean, call home. This option should be off by default and let the user decide if they want it. Makes you wonder what else it does behind the scenes that the user doesn't know about.
93 • Alpha, Beta, definitions: openSUSE-Leap (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-26 11:48:36 GMT from Australia)
Within the openSUSE websites, they use many terms, and mixed terms. "openSUSE-Leap-42.3-DVD-x86_64-Build0147-Media.iso" is not their "LEAP" version, as indicated by its file-name.
Their "Leap" version is the same as Debian's "Stable" [FINAL RELEASE]. Their "Tumbleweed" version afaik, is Debian's "Testing" [BETA]. Inside openSUSE they have their "FACTORY" version, which is their insider's ALPHA version, or [RCx], [Release Candidate] ??
The openSUSE public website only offers two of the three official versions:
"Tumblweed", labelled as "openSUSE 42.3 Alpha" https://software.opensuse.org/developer/en?release=developer
"Released Version" version: "openSUSE Leap 42.2".
94 • Snap, Flatpak, OBS, ... (by Greg Zeng on 2017-03-26 12:48:09 GMT from Australia)
Linux is driving application creators crazy. So many incompatible Linuxes. Java had high hopes: one container for ALL operating systems: (Fail).
Linux had hopes with "AppImage" (fail). Then Canonical, with its One-DE for Everything (Unity & Mir) launched "Snap". Then minutes later, Red Hat announced its launch of Flatpak. Both packages are still trying to outdo each other.
The third un-recognized competitor to Canonical & Red Hat is openSUSE: https://build.opensuse.org/
"The openSUSE Build Service is the public instance of the Open Build Service (OBS) used for development of the openSUSE distribution and to offer packages from same source for Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, SUSE Linux Enterprise and other distributions.."
This third service seems to not (yet) try to tackle the far more meaningful & useful applications of the two biggest desktop computer systems. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snappy_(package_manager)
This task of using the biggest store of applications in the Unix-derived systems (Linux, BSD, Apple & Android-types) must rely, for the moment on virtualization (eg Virtualbox) or reverse-engineering: WINE (opensource-freeware), or "CrossOver" (a closed source, derivative).
95 • More - One Person's Contribution (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2017-03-26 13:49:45 GMT from United States)
Linus Torvalds - Linux kernel (QA)
Patrick Volkerding - Slackware (noticed Unified Slackware package Manager lately?)
Number of Comments: 95
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