| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 707, 10 April 2017
Welcome to this year's 15th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Open source software is always evolving with some projects growing and becoming more relevant while others are unable to attract enough attention to sustain themselves. This week we explore a few projects which are struggling and others which continue to develop and grow. We begin with a review of PCLinuxOS, a rolling release distribution which has maintained a significant following using an unusual combination of up to date desktop applications and conservative approach to change. In our News section we talk about Canonical discontinuing development of the Unity 8 desktop and Ubuntu's mobile operating system in favour of shipping the GNOME Shell for future versions of Ubuntu. We also cover changes to Chakra's infrastructure, how to run OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi and the Tanglu project's search for ways to streamline and attract new developers to the distribution. Privacy is always an important topic and this week we discuss using VPNs to hide our network traffic from prying eyes in our Questions and Answers column. Let us know whether you use VPNs or related technologies such as Tor in our Opinion Poll. As usual, we cover the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are happy to welcome the LibreELEC project to our database. We wish you all a superb week and happy reading!
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (98MB) and MP3 (73MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
It has been about a year since I last explored the PCLinuxOS distribution. At that time I was experimenting with the project's MATE edition. Since I have not taken the chance to try PCLinuxOS since the distribution launched an edition with the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, I thought it would be fun to revisit this project. PCLinuxOS currently ships with version 5.8 of the Plasma desktop which is a long term support release of Plasma. The ISO file I downloaded for PCLinuxOS was 1.3GB in size.
Booting from the distribution's live media brings up a menu asking how we would like to launch the operating system. We can choose to launch PCLinuxOS with a graphical desktop with the default settings, load the desktop with safe mode graphics settings, boot to a text console or launch the project's system installer. Taking one of the live desktop options soon brings up a window asking us to select our keyboard's layout from a list. Then the Plasma desktop loads. PCLinuxOS has a varied and colourful wallpaper. There are icons on the desktop which open the Dolphin file manager and launch the system installer. At the bottom of the screen we find a panel which houses the application menu, a few quick-launch buttons, a task switcher and the system tray.
After confirming that the distribution could run in my test environments, I opened the system installer. PCLinuxOS uses a graphical installer which gently guides us through the steps required to get the distribution on our hard drive. We begin with disk partitioning and PCLinuxOS offers to automatically partition our hard drive for us or let us manually divide up our disk. The distribution supports working with ext2/3/4, Btrfs, XFS and JFS file systems as well as LVM and RAID configurations. I found the partition manager to be fairly flexible and easy to navigate. There are a lot of options in the installer, but many of the installer's features are tucked away and only shown if we specifically request Expert or Advanced options.
The installer next offers to remove unneeded software packages from the system. For example, I do not have an NVIDIA video card and the PCLinuxOS installer offers to remove NVIDIA driver packages to free up space. The installer then copies its files to the hard drive. A few minutes later the installer asks which boot loader (LILO, GRUB Legacy or GRUB2) we would like to install and what, if any, special options we would like the operating system to use when it boots. At this point we are finished with the installer and can reboot to start using our brand new copy of PCLinuxOS.
The first time our pristine operating system boots a graphical wizard appears and walks us through a few final configuration steps. We are asked to select our time zone list from a list and we have the option of using network time synchronization or manually setting our computer's clock. We are then asked to make up a password for our system administrator's account and create a regular user account for ourselves. Once these steps have been completed we are presented with a graphical login screen.
Signing into our account brings up the Plasma 5.8 desktop environment. Though Plasma took a while to launch on my systems, once the desktop environment had finished loading the environment was responsive and I experienced no lag or delays. The default desktop theme is fairly bright and offers a variety colours. I found the theme allowed for a good deal of contrast without being visually distracting.
PCLinuxOS 2017.03 -- The Plasma application menu
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For people who do not enjoy the default look and feel of the Plasma desktop, we can adjust most aspects of the desktop environment through the KDE System Settings panel. This configuration panel provides modules for adjusting the desktop's theme, notifications and media support as well as features like file indexing and pairing the desktop with Android phones via KDE Connect. The settings panel is fairly easy to navigate and offers users a search function to help us find the specific option we want to change.
I tried running PCLinuxOS in two test environments, experimenting with the distribution in VirtualBox and on a desktop computer. I found PCLinuxOS was unable to integrate with the VirtualBox environment and therefore I could not make full use of my computer's screen resolution. The distribution does not provide guest modules for VirtualBox environments in its software repositories and the generic VirtualBox modules failed to install on the distribution. I tried installing VirtualBox using a script supplied by the distribution. While this successfully installed the VirtualBox software, it did not provide me with a working guest module. Apart from the poor desktop resolution, PCLinuxOS worked well in VirtualBox. The operating system was responsive, connected to the network and was able to play sound out of the box.
When I started playing with PCLinuxOS on a desktop computer, I ran into a few problems while using the live disc. One issue was that applications could not play sound. My audio volumes (both the PulseAudio and ALSA volumes) were turned up their maximum settings, but I could not get applications to produce sound. I eventually found I could get sound from my speakers by muting and then un-muting the PulseAudio controls. I ran into another problem with the system clock. When NTP time synchronization was enabled and my correct time zone set, PCLinuxOS's clock displayed a time that was off by six hours. Disabling network time synchronization and manually setting the correct time worked around the issue. Both of these problems only appeared when working from the live disc, once the distribution was installed these problems disappeared.
PCLinuxOS 2017.03 -- Adding a printer to the system
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PCLinuxOS was slow to boot in both test environments compared to other mainstream distributions and the Plasma desktop was slow to load. However, I got good performance out of the distribution once the Plasma desktop had finished loading. The desktop and applications were quick to respond. I was pleased to find the distribution properly detected my network printer. During my trial PCLinuxOS and its applications were stable and I encountered no crashes. In either test environment PCLinuxOS required about 420MB of RAM to sign into the Plasma desktop.
The Plasma edition of PCLinuxOS ships with a lot of software. While many of the default applications are Qt/KDE programs, many others are not and I like that the distribution places more focus on providing good tools than providing a pure Qt environment. The distribution ships with Firefox (with Flash support), LibreOffice 5, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the KeePassX password manager and the Pidgin chat client. There are remote desktop viewers, the Choqok micro-blogger, a couple of text editors and a DropBox client. PCLinuxOS ships with an application called Master PDF Editor which makes it easy to edit PDF documents. The Master PDF Editor is free to use for non-commercial purposes, but is provided under a proprietary license. The distribution also ships with the qBittorrent application for downloading and uploading torrents, the Krita drawing program and the BleachBit software for cleaning up temporary files. PCLinuxOS ships with the Dolphin file manager, a process monitor and a live radio streaming client. The distribution also supplies us with the VLC media player, the Kdenlive video editor and the Vokoscreen Recorder. To compliment these multimedia applications the distribution ships with a collection of media codecs so we can play most media files. In the background we find Java, the GNU Compiler Collection, version 4.9.2, and the SysV init software. At the time of writing the distribution runs on version 4.9 of the Linux kernel.
PCLinuxOS 2017.03 -- Cleaning up old files with BleachBit
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Several of the items in the application menu have names which may seem cryptic. In particular I noticed some names like zuluCrypt, MKVToolNix and DeadBeeF scattered through the menu and these are harder to intuit than something like LibreOffice Writer. For people who would like hints as to what these applications do, we can right-click on the application menu and enable program descriptions in the menu's settings. For those of you who are interested, zuluCrypt is a desktop application for encrypting and decrypting files as well as working with encrypted volumes. The zuluCrypt interface is fairly friendly, even for people new to working with encrypted files. DeadBeeF is a simple audio player for listening to music files. MKVToolNix website's contains a blurb which says MKVToolNix can "create, alter and inspect Matroska media files" but I was able to find little else to explain the practical workings of the utility.
I noticed a few applications included with PCLinuxOS do not include documentation. Launching MyLiveGTK or DeadBeeF and selecting items from their Help menus results in an error being displayed that reports the documentation is not available. When running the Click Radio audio streaming application I found clicking the application's About button caused the application to drop the audio stream while it looked for the requested information.
One last application I would like to highlight is MyLiveUSB. This program, and its friendly front-end MyLiveGTK, assist us in making a copy of our live operating system and transferring it to a USB thumb drive. I think this is a handy tool as it makes it easier to take an operating system with us or backup our configuration.
The distribution does not tell us when new software updates are available, we are left to check for new updates ourselves using the Synaptic graphical package manager. Alternatively we can use the apt-get command line package manager. Synaptic is a tried and true package manager which simply presents us with a list of available software and provides us with a search function to find programs based on a name or description. We can check a box next to any packages we wish to install or remove. There is also a handy button which will queue any available upgrades for installation. PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution which means we can expect a fairly steady stream of new package versions. During the week I was running the distribution I upgraded 34 packages, requiring about 33MB of downloads. Something I found interesting about Synaptic was the package manager did not, by default, check packages' signatures to guard against corrupted downloads. It is a feature we can enable though if we want the added security.
PCLinuxOS 2017.03 -- The Synaptic package manager
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One of the best features I think PCLinuxOS has to offer is the distribution's Control Centre. This control panel, which is shared by other distributions in the Mandriva/Mageia family of operating systems, provides the administrator with many useful configuration tools. The Control Centre divides its tools into categories such as Software, Security and Boot. Each category contains modules we can launch which provide us with friendly graphical interfaces for changing settings. The Control Centre makes it easy to do anything from simply launching the Synaptic package manager to setting up a web server to configuring network services such as DHCP, NTP and OpenSSH. We can also browse hardware information, configure the display server, set up printers and share our files over NFS and Samba shares. The Control Centre contains modules for configuring the distribution's firewall, managing user accounts, setting the system time and enabling automatic logins.
PCLinuxOS 2017.03 -- The Control Centre and KDE System Settings panels
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I like the Control Centre as it makes a lot of administrative tasks straight forward and the modules generally provide clear explanations and options. Though I did run into one minor issue when using the OpenSSH module. The first time I went through the module to enable the secure shell service I took the defaults and was unable to connect to the service. I confirmed, using the Control Centre services module, that OpenSSH was running, but it was not accepting connections. I later found the OpenSSH module had incorrectly detected my IP address and caused the OpenSSH service to ignore incoming connections to my real address. Walking through the OpenSSH module and manually specifying my computer's proper IP address fixed the issue.
PCLinuxOS is fairly easy to set up, offers good performance and includes a wide range of software. I generally enjoyed using the Plasma 5.8 desktop and the System Settings panel makes it easy to customize the Plasma environment. I very much enjoyed working with the Control Centre as it makes tasks like setting up network shares or working with the firewall easy. In short, there is a lot about PCLinuxOS that I enjoyed.
However, I did run into several minor problems. Nothing show stopping, but a handful of "papercut" style issues that bothered me. For example, PCLinuxOS makes it easy to install VirtualBox, but not to get working VirtualBox guest modules. When running the live environment on my desktop computer I had trouble with sound and network time synchronization. A few programs were missing their documentation files and I ran into an error while setting up secure shell access. None of these items are big issues in themselves, but when combined they suggest to me that not enough people are testing the distribution and reporting issues to the developers.
In general though what stood out about PCLinuxOS was the distribution provides a rolling release platform that receives regular updates, while also providing a relatively conservative environment. Most distributions either stick with a static, point release system or offer a rolling release with cutting edge packages. PCLinuxOS seems to be finding a pleasant middle ground where core components and the layout of the desktop are conservative while the desktop applications are the latest and greatest. I like the balance that is achieved between providing a traditional environment and newer applications.
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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
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Visitor supplied rating
PCLinuxOS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.9/10 from 222 review(s).
Have you used PCLinuxOS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Canonical pulls the plug on Unity 8 and convergence, Tanglu seeks additional developers, Chakra's infrastructure changes, OpenBSD on the Raspberry Pi
In a surprise announcement, a blog post attributed to Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth claims the Canonical-sponsored distribution will shift its default desktop environment from Unity 8 to GNOME for the next long term support (LTS) release. "I'm writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity 8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. I'd like to emphasize our ongoing passion for, investment in, and commitment to, the Ubuntu desktop that millions rely on. We will continue to produce the most usable open source desktop in the world, to maintain the existing LTS releases, to work with our commercial partners to distribute that desktop, to support our corporate customers who rely on it, and to delight the millions of IoT and cloud developers who innovate on top of it." The change in focus likely means development of the Unity 8 desktop environment, and related technologies such as Mir and Ubuntu Phone, will no longer be sponsored by Canonical. At the time of writing, it is unclear what effect this will have on related community projects such as Ubuntu GNOME and UBports. Since the announcement, a fork of Canonical's Unity 8 desktop has been created at Unity8.org with the source code available through GitHub. The UBports team has also responded to the news with plans to continue porting Ubuntu to Android mobile devices.
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A blog post on Planet Tanglu seems to indicate the Debian-based distribution is struggling due to a lack of interested developers. Matthias Klumpp posted an overview of the project and its history and reported that he no longer has as much time to spend on the Tanglu project. The post echoes the message of many Linux distributions facing the strains of maintaining a large project with few developers and limited resources: "So, what actually is the way forward? First, maybe I have the chance to find a few people willing to work on tasks in Tanglu. It's a fun project, and I learned a lot while working on it. Tanglu also possesses some unique properties few other Debian derivatives have, like being built from source completely (allowing us things like swapping core components or compiling with more hardening flags, switching to newer KDE Plasma and GNOME faster, etc.). Second, if we do not have enough manpower, I think converting Tanglu into a rolling-release distribution might be the only viable way to keep the project running. A rolling release scheme creates much less effort for us than making releases (especially time-based ones!). That way, users will have a constantly updated and secure Tanglu system with machines doing most of the background work. If it turns out that absolutely nothing works and we can't attract new people to help with Tanglu, it would mean that there generally isn't much interest from the developer or user side in a project like this, so shutting it down or scaling it down dramatically would be the only option."
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The Chakra GNU/Linux project is overhauling some of its infrastructure, introducing hardware and networking enhancements to the distribution's build servers. The project is also rolling out some automation on the backend to improve the development process. There are some changes in the works for Chakra's end users too, including package signing and a new community forum: "totte introduced our new forum software, a closed beta for which is already running on community.chakralinux.org. We plan to use this as a replacement of our current forum, mailing list, wiki and news tools and we hope to soon make it available to everyone. totte has also already setup Gitlab, but we still need to migrate pending bug reports before we officially switch to it to host our code and issue-tracker. Samir (Ram-Z), Chaoting (brli) and Luca (AlmAck) are working on finalizing package signing on both our local build systems and on Chakra's build server. This is important in order to improve the security of our packages and repositories." Details on these changes and more can be found in the project's news update.
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The Raspberry Pi is a minimal, single board computer which has proved popular among hobbyists and in educational settings. The Pi's minimal resources are well suited to efficient operating systems that can be customized to the Pi's hardware. Ian Darwin has been working on getting OpenBSD running on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer. "The Raspberry Pi computers are interesting in their own way: intending to bring low-cost computing to everybody, they take shortcuts and omit things that you'd expect on a laptop or desktop. They aren't too bright on their own: there's very little smarts in the board compared to the "BIOS" and later firmwares on conventional systems. Some of the "smarts" are only available as binary files. This was part of the reason that our favorite OS never came to the Pi Party for the original RPi, and didn't quite arrive for the RPi2. With the RPi3, though, there is enough availability that our devs were able to make it boot. Some limitations remain, though: if you want to build your own full release, you have to install the dedicated raspberrypi-firmware package from the ports tree. And, the boot disks have to have several extra files on them - this is set up on the install sets, but you should be careful not to mess with these extra files until you know what you're doing!" Details on Darwin's experiment can be found in this post.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Setting up VPN connections
Hiding-my-connection asks: I have been hearing a lot about VPNs and using them to hide my web browsing habits from ISPs. What are some good tips for using a VPN and how to set one up?
DistroWatch answers: A virtual private network, or VPN, provides a method by which computers can talk to each other over the Internet as though they were on the same local network. This feature is often used to treat a remote computer as our gateway to the Internet. Instead of our Internet traffic leaving our computer and going out into the world directly, our network connection effectively goes out to the VPN server and, from there, goes out into the world. This makes it look like the remote computer is where our network traffic is coming from. The VPN acts as a sort of proxy or gateway between us and the rest of the Internet.
Since it looks like our network traffic is coming from the VPN server and the server can be anywhere in the world, a VPN connection is often used to get around censorship or region limitations placed on on-line media. A connection to a VPN server is usually encrypted to prevent people from being able to see what it is we are sending or receiving between our local computer and the VPN server. Because the traffic between our computer and the VPN server is encrypted, VPNs are sometimes used to hide communications when we are connecting over an insecure network.
Recently, policy changes in the United States of America have made people want to shield their network traffic from the eyes of their Internet service providers (ISPs) to avoid having information about their web browsing habits sold. While a VPN can hide some of the specifics of what a person is doing on-line, using a VPN is not a perfect solution for Internet privacy. Connecting to websites over a VPN may hide the specifics of what we are doing from our local ISP, but it passes the privacy issue further down the line. Now the VPN provider and the VPN's ISP will see which websites we are visiting and when. The issue is shifted more than solved because now we need to trust the VPN to keep our secrets.
A VPN certainly has its uses, such as getting around censorship or protecting network traffic on an open network, but VPNs also have their limits. When trying to avoid being monitored by your ISP it makes sense to look for a VPN provider you can trust to not track the traffic moving through their servers. There is a chart comparing VPN providers and their features on That One Privacy Site which may be useful for people shopping for a VPN.
Another thing to consider is much of the time, when people are on-line, they sign into websites. People often log into places like their bank, Facebook, Twitter, Google and so on. These websites may also use methods to track their visitors. Using a VPN or other anonymizing service and then logging into a website largely removes the user's anonymity.
As for how to set up a VPN, that may vary depending on which VPN provider you decide to use. Your provider should offer basic set up instructions to enable the VPN once you have an account with them. There are a few common types of VPNs, one is OpenVPN which is particularly popular in the open source community. The Linux.com website has instructions for setting up connections to an OpenVPN server using a variety of methods. A second method, which has been around for a while, uses the Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP). PPTP connections are supported by Network Manager on most Linux distributions and can be enabled by adding a VPN connection in Network Manager.
Another approach to maintaining on-line privacy would be to use Tor. The Tor Project uses methods to safeguard traffic which are similar in many ways to VPNs, but with more effort put into anonymizing network traffic. It is fairly easy to set up Tor, the service is free to use and it will offer many of the same benefits as a VPN. Tor connections tend to be a bit slower than premium VPN services, but can be used with similar effectiveness.
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These and other answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Vine Linux 6.5
Daisuke Suzuki has announced the release of a new version of Vine Linux, a general-purpose Japanese Linux distribution with RPM package management. Code-named "Poupille", Vine Linux 6.5 upgrades the Linux kernel to the long-term supported 4.4 branch and provides updates to many popular applications, but it continues to include GNOME 2 as the default desktop environment. From the release notes: "Vine Linux 6.5 (Poupille). Vine Linux 6.5 has following features (highlights): update the software collection; update Linux kernel to 4.4.y; update toolchain (GCC 4.9.3, glibc 2.23, Binutils 2.26); bundle newer software - Firefox 52, Thunderbird 45, LibreOffice 5.2, OpenJDK 188.8.131.52, OpenSSL 1.0.1u; improved stability; improved look and feel; improved hardware support; new user-friendly tools." See also the release announcement (in Japanese) for further information.
Lucas Villa Real has announced the release of GoboLinux 016.01, an updated build of the project's independently-developed distribution with a custom file system hierarchy: "We are pleased to announce GoboLinux 016.01 after roughly 3.5 months since the release of 016. While it features some essential package upgrades, this revision aims at providing a more stable foundation for those who want to try it out. The list of improvements over 016 is extensive. The following is a high level summary of what's new since 016: enabled support for Core2 processors; improved support for UEFI systems and virtualized platforms; improved detection of other operating systems when creating the GRUB configuration file; support for installation to external hard drives; fixes the SSL certificate paths; fixes SSL support in our Compile tool; fixes the /usr/libexec compatibility link; inclusion of CryptSetup to enable mounting of encrypted partitions from the live ISO image; inclusion of Listener, a daemon that automatically cleans up broken links when entries from /Programs are removed...." Visit the project's home page to read the full release announcement and see also the release notes for further details.
Univention Corporate Server 4.2-0
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is a Debian-based Linux distribution for enterprise server environments. The Univention team has announced the release of Univention Corporate Server 4.2-0. The new version shifts the distribution's base from Debian 7 to Debian 8 which also transitions UCS from using SysV init to the systemd init software. "We are very happy to announce the availability of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2. Considerable highlights are: The Debian base in UCS was changed from Debian 7 (Wheezy) to Debian 8 (Jessie). The entire Debian distribution will no longer be rebuilt. This allows security updates to be released even faster, and binary compatibility is increased. This change also involves the switch of the default start-up system to systemd. However, all previous init scripts are still started, so that the apps can be migrated successively. A configurable web portal provides an overview of the services installed in the domain. If there is more than one UCS system in the domain, an overview of servers is displayed." Further information on UCS 4.2-0 can be found in the company's release announcement and release notes.
Johnny Hughes has announced the release of CentOS 6.9, a Red Hat-sponsored Linux distribution built from the source code for the recently-released Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.9. This is the project's legacy branch supported until November 2020. From the release announcement: "We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of CentOS Linux 6.9 and install media for i386 and x86_64 architectures. CentOS Linux 6.9 is derived from source code released by Red Hat, Inc. for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.9. All upstream variants have been placed into one combined repository to make it easier for end users. Workstation, server and minimal installs can all be done from our combined repository. There are many fundamental changes in this release, compared with the past CentOS Linux 6 releases, and we highly recommend everyone study the upstream release notes as well as the upstream technical notes about the changes and how they might impact your installation." See also the release notes for further information and upgrade instructions.
CentOS 6.9 -- Running the KDE desktop
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Thierry Nuttens has announced the availability of a new version of the NuTyX distribution. NuTyX is based on Linux From Scratch (LFS) and features a custom software manager called "cards". The new release, NuTyX 9.0, features some of the latest software (Linux 4.10, Plasma 5.9, GNOME 3.22, MATE 1.16 and Python 3.6) and now supports booting on UEFI-enabled hardware. "The new ISOs can be launch on UEFI machines If you have a UEFI compatible computer, you can now install NuTyX in UEFI mode. If it's your case, the installer will guide the user to make the right choices during installation and the UEFI will take care of booting the machine, no other boot managers are needed by default. It is up to the end user to decide or not for choosing one if needed. You can find a tutorial, how to install on UEFI machines, on the web page documentation and on YouTube channel. ISO can be loaded 100% in memory if the target computer has more then 1GB of RAM. The USB key can then be disconnected and then make the single USB port available. Useful when you want to install NuTyX on tablets having one single USB port." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
TalkingArch is a re-spin of the Arch Linux live ISO image, modified to include speech and Braille output for blind and visually-impaired users. The project's latest release, version 2017.04.04, is the first build that limits hardware support to the x86_64 processor architecture: "The TalkingArch team is pleased to present the latest version of TalkingArch, available from the usual location. This version features all the latest software, including Linux kernel 4.10.6. The most important feature of this live image is the new x86_64-only compatibility, removing the i686 compatibility that was present in previous images. This makes the latest version much smaller, but it will no longer work on older i686 machines. This version is the only one that will be listed on the download page, as it always only includes the latest version. However, anyone needing an image that works on i686 may still download the last dual-architecture image until i686 is completely dropped from the Arch official repositories later this year." Continue to the release announcement for further information and listen to this audio tutorial while installing the distribution.
Ronnie Whisler has announced the release of LXLE 16.04.2. As the name and version number suggests, this is a distribution based on Ubuntu's latest LTS (long-term support) release while featuring a customised LXDE desktop environment. From the release announcement: "LXLE 16.04.2 'Eclectica' released. What's new? Menu layout - reconfigured for cleaner, less cluttered navigation; Control Menu - completely re-worked to act as a dynamic 'Control Panel'; consistency - theme tweaks throughout the system for a more uniform look; Proposed - fixed 'proposed' Ubuntu repository not being included by default; Zenburned - Zenburn theme used as inspiration for custom terminal color scheme; Qt and GTK+ - forced GTK+ theme adaptation for stubborn Qt based default applications; languages - installer slideshow and custom menu entries have been fully translated; htop - replaced LXtask due to memory usage and new enhanced terminal capabilities; GRUB/login - backgrounds set to default wallpaper for overall theme consistency; games - semi-new selection to adhere to 'desktop' games philosophy and to save space; Synaptic - re-configured to showcase more features and facilitate ease of use...."
LXLE 16.04.2 -- The default desktop and menu
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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. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. Thanks to Linux Tracker we are able to share the following torrent statistics.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 362
- Total data uploaded: 61.2TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Using a VPN or Tor
This week, in our Questions and Answers column we talked about virtual private networks (VPNs) and Tor. Both are often used to protect a user's privacy when browsing the web. We would like to find out how many of our readers use these technologies on a regular basis in an effort to get around region blocking, for privacy purposes or to work around censorship. Feel free to share your experiences using VPNs and Tor in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on methods for removing old or temporary files in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Torrent RSS feed and visitor ratings in the PHR table
In an effort to make it easier for people to find, download and seed distributions' torrents, we have created a new RSS feed. This feed provides links to the latest torrent files of Linux distributions and BSD flavours we have either created or shared. The new torrent feed is available over HTTPS and HTTP connections. If you are looking for a way to help promote Linux and take some of the load off projects' servers, this is a great way to assist your favourite projects.
On our front page, on the right-hand side, there is a chart showing projects listed along with the number of times their information pages are visited on DistroWatch. The drop-down box at the top of this chart allows visitors to change the view of the chart to show statistics over various amounts of time. The drop-down box can also show trends in page visits over periods of time.
This past week we updated the PHR chart so that it can also show distributions ranked according to visitor supplied ratings. Two new entries in the PHR drop-down menu allow people to view distributions sorted by average rating and by number of total reviews received.
To avoid skewing the rankings, projects which have only received three or fewer ratings are not displayed in the average rating statistics. This avoids projects with only one perfect rating from dominating the top of the chart.
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New projects added to database
LibreELEC is "just enough OS" to run the Kodi media centre. LibreELEC is a Linux distribution built to run Kodi on current and popular hardware. The project is an evolution of the OpenELEC project. LibreELEC software will be familiar to OpenELEC users. The distribution runs on x86 desktop computers, Raspberry Pi devices and ODroid and WeTek computers.
LibreELEC 8.0.1 -- The settings panel
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Milis Linux. Milis Linux is a Turkish GNU/Linux distribution (with multi-language support) built from Linux From Scratch and Beyond Linux From Scratch, with a custom package manager called "mps". The package manager can install individual binary packages, a group of related binary packages (e.g. desktop packages, such as KDE or Xfce), and compile source packages. Milis Linux has web based system management and wiki program called Komutan.
- Fux. Fux is a desktop Linux distribution which features the DNF package manager for working with RPM packages. The distribution is available in GNOME, MATE, Cinnamon and Xfce editions.
- ARCHLabs. ARCHLabs is a rolling release, Arch Linux based distro, heavily influenced and inspired by the look and feel of BunsenLabs.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 April 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 • Multiple (by Chris on 2017-04-10 00:33:06 GMT from United States) |
As of right now, I do not have any comments specifically for this issue of DWW; however...
First, I just want to thank the DW team for making what appears to be a concerted effort recently to clean-up the waiting list and get more distros onto the main list. The work is noticed and appreciated.
LXDE GTK3 (Continued):
Thanks to all who participated in last week's DWW Comments discussion on this subject. While I do not think we found a difinitive answer, I did post a last minute comment with question. For any interested, please see last week's comments #96.
2 • Waiting list (by Jesse on 2017-04-10 00:35:26 GMT from Canada)
@1: Thanks, Chris. I am trying to evaluate one or two new projects every week, more or less in the order people vote for them. I'm hoping to catch up by the end of the year.
3 • OpenBSD on pi is great (by Tomas on 2017-04-10 00:40:13 GMT from Portugal)
Would be great if OpenBSD came to PI.
I love raspberry pi and raspbian have been the OS just because it works.
OBSD would give other sense of security to my distributed pis.
Been using obsd on laptop and just works for my mini-servers.
4 • BunsenLabs (by bigsky on 2017-04-10 00:44:04 GMT from Canada)
ARCHLabs heavily influenced and inspired by the look and feel of BunsenLabs ? Huuum if i remember correctly that would be a stretch of a claim. Really ??? Thanks Jesse classy as usual.
5 • @1 (by mandog on 2017-04-10 01:37:55 GMT from Peru)
All I know the GTK3 builds are in the official repro and pcmanfm says
Developed by Hon Jen Yee (PCMan)
https://blog.lxde.org/category/pcmanfm/ says a new version was released
Posted on December 12, 2016 so it seems very active GTK wise
this is the only mention of GTK3 Fixed invalid unref on CSS provider (GTK+ 3.0).
6 • @5 - LXDE with GTK3 (by Chris on 2017-04-10 01:58:28 GMT from United States)
Thanks again, I believe you. PCMan could make this easy with a clear LXDE/LXQT overall project(s) update, but your find (@5 - link) is about as difinitive as I think we will get right now, even if it appears to possibly contradict PCMan's previous years-old statements.
Even though Arch is the ultimate in bleeding-edge Linux distro, and I expect them to have most packages built first, I am just surprised not to see any gtk3 versions of LXDE components show up by now in other rolling distros (i.e., Debian Sid).
7 • LXQT should be abandoned like Unity (by Ronnie on 2017-04-10 02:42:50 GMT from United States)
Personally I think the LXDE/LXQT/Lubuntu group should just end the miserable LXQT desktop they've been working on forever that isn't much more than RazorQT with PCmanfm and get back to their roots and do what they do best and stop knifing the baby LXDE.
8 • VPN (by Ricardo on 2017-04-10 03:03:21 GMT from Argentina)
FWIW, I don't usually use a VPN but the latest versions of Opera (my browser of choice) comes with a free VPN integrated since a few releases.
It obvoiusly only works for web browsing but it takes away the hassle of setting a VPN up, which could be a plus for some.
I probably wouldn't recommend it as a 24x7 solution but can come handy in some situations.
9 • LXQt (by Kleer Kut on 2017-04-10 03:34:13 GMT from United States)
Seems to be a bit of misunderstanding with LXQt from comments last week. lxqt.org has updates listed there, Roughly every 6-8 months or so sees a point release. It gets some benefit from KDE working on Qt, so I don't think it is the same as if had nothing upstream to draw from.
Also remember that LXQt is still in beta. My understanding is that both LXDE and LXQt will be around for a while, and that LXQt isn't exactly supposed to be a replacement for LXDE.
The past few updates have fixed many of the problems I was having when I ran it on my laptop last year on top of Ubuntu minimal. I set it up in a VM last night and had it working very similarly to my LXDE desktop (LXLE). The control panel has gotten a lot better, which was my main issue. It has a couple years to go, but it has certainly seen improvement over the past year. If I wasn't so lazy I would wipe LXLE and go back to LXQt. I'm sure I will get around to it by the next Ubuntu LTS release.
10 • PCLinuxOS (by kc1di on 2017-04-10 09:19:48 GMT from United States)
Thanks for another great review of one of my favorite Distros. PCLinuxOS - is a great long term distro, which I usually have on one machine or another. And to add to the discussion it has a great user community. Irreverent at times but always there to help. Like the rolling aspect of the distro. It's not rolling in the sense that it's cutting edge except in a few areas but it's rolling and very stable for the most part. They do Plasma that works also. without a lot of the glitz on the install, you can add it if you like but make my system unstable when I do. Congrats to PCLinuxOS keep it rolling :)
11 • @9 LXDE/LXQT (by Chris on 2017-04-10 11:22:28 GMT from United States)
@9> "Seems to be a bit of misunderstanding with LXQt from comments last week."
Thank you for your comments, but I do not think there has been any misunderstanding. Our previous conversation was less about LXQT, other than to comment at its slow development, but rather about the unclear status of LXDE, whether it is intended to continue development, fork, and if it will transition from GTK2 to GTK3 (and in what distros).
@9>"My understanding is that both LXDE and LXQt will be around for a while..."
And therein lies our/my major discussion point. There appear to be a number of potentially contradicting "understanding"s with regard to LXDE's present and future. There has been no clear status/path forward (or termination) given for LXDE by PCMan in years, if ever.
LXQT is a great active project and I wish it much success in its development. I would just like to have clearer answers regarding LXDE's status and future.
12 • Opera VPN / proxy (by Tom on 2017-04-10 12:04:15 GMT from Netherlands)
@8 I'm not sure if Opera ships with a VPN - I've read a few articles claiming that it's actually a proxy (see for instance https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2016/04/22/opera-browser-vpn-proxy/). Might be a nice topic for a future DW newsletter.
13 • Tanglu Project (by Tim on 2017-04-10 12:08:39 GMT from United States)
This sounds like an opportunity for all the people who are always asking, "How can I contribute to open source development?" to volunteer their skills.
14 • Tanglu (by Domino on 2017-04-10 12:13:11 GMT from Italy)
Watched closely the Tanglu project from the beginning, it had many premises (technical and not) to become something very close to the "community driven Ubuntu done right".
And it proved as a nice working distribution once installed, too!
I hope the project could attract more developers this time and grow.
15 • PCLOS review (by cykodrone on 2017-04-10 12:20:33 GMT from Canada)
I'm surprised it ran OK on your test machine, Plasma/KDE is fairly bloated. I used to run PCLOS MATE, then their updates broke the GUI (discoloured icons, the desktop settings dialogue was totally borked and buggy), I switched to PCLOS Xfce and the discoloured icon problem persisted but was fixed eventually. Don't get me wrong, PCLOS has been fairly reliable, lots of great software that is usually kept up to date, but after having a 2 year old install borked, I now only keep it around because it has some software I can't find for Devuan (I may be switching to antiX soon, Devuan is really slow to upgrade packages and I don't have to have backports enabled in antiX to get a decent modern kernel).
I don't understand the fixation with flat icons and GUI elements, especially in a KDE/Plasma situation (if you CHOOSE to use it, you must already have hardware to handle it, or you just don't know it's bloated yet), people use MATE or Xfce because they have slow hardware or they just want a simple and fast GUI on a fast system. The regression of GUI eye candy is equivalent to switching back to win 95, why, just why. Don't even get me started on the simplification of icons in general, people new to computing or Linux have not been living with the gradual simplification of those icons and would scratch their heads when trying to figure out what they are for. This all makes no sense, computers and GPUs are insanely powerful now, but we are going back cave wall drawing GUIs. My screenshots have been laughed at and chided for not being "modern", I just don't get.
16 • @15 Don't diss Windows 95 :-) (by curious on 2017-04-10 13:29:43 GMT from Germany)
Actually, Win 95 (and especially the following "classic" Windows versions) had a GUI that is much more detailed than the current trends: The widgets were pseudo-3D, all switches and buttons thus clearly "clickable", the window borders were clearly defined (not the lame 1 or eve 0-pixel "modern" invisible borders), and the scrollbars were "grippable" and always there (not an almost invisible thin line that may or may not react if you move the mouse pointer near it).
So, while the underlying operating system with its DOS-era roots wasn't that great, the GUI was actually quite good - and the model from which most later ones have evolved.
Even today, you can try to make KDE or Mate or Xfce look like Windows 95 if you want to. It just takes replacing the vomit-inducing Breeze or Adwaita themes with Redmond (or whatever it is called) -provided the transition to GTK3 hasn't broken the theme again ...
17 • Using a VPN or Tor (by carc1n0gen on 2017-04-10 13:52:04 GMT from Canada)
I use a ssh socks proxy when I need one
18 • @16 • @15 Don't diss Windows 95 (by mandog on 2017-04-10 14:17:35 GMT from Peru)
Off subject on Windows you can make the win10 menu very detailed it just needs menu settings changing and those horrible square buttons removing and then you get more of a win98 menu.
Back on subject I still think the LXDE/LXQT is more a misunderstanding than anything else,
LXDE was never known as GTK2 it was always known as GTK so dropping GTK could of been meant to be taken dropping GTK2 remember the translation thing. Or its been developed by the same team and the creator has stepped down on the GTK side of things, or just a case of "the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence" till you get their But on the QT side i don't know but from what I hear KDE creates its own api for qt and I think that is the stumbling block for others otherwise they are just KDE spins.
19 • to Tor or not to Tor... (by tom joad on 2017-04-10 14:26:06 GMT from Germany)
I use Tor more than ever. Or I use Tails. I don't VPN but should.
Every time I read, hear or see another internet incident or some type of shenanigans I seem to increase my use of Tor. Worse yet, those incidents are coming faster every day it seems.
Being an average joe, a nobody like me, doesn't seem to matter. Everybody and anybody's data just gets 'hoovered' up just the same. So I do what I can to be safe or as safe as one can be these day. (No one can beat the NSA though. Snowden showed us that fact.)
We are all just one 'phishing' attack away from chaos.
Lastly, I am heartened to see a bit more than half of the respondents use some combination of Tor and / or a VPN. Like them I just want to do what I can to protect myself.
To those who tor or VPN I say good, bravo and continue. To those who have yet to get the 'message'...we will be reading about you.
20 • @15 - PCLOS (by Hoos on 2017-04-10 14:35:47 GMT from Singapore)
I have a PCLOS MATE installation that's been running since early 2015 (installed from the August 2014 image without problems because the Dec 2014 iso just couldn't run on my PC), and there came a time when the default theme and icons no longer worked well.
But that could simply be the consequence of it being a rolling distro and gtk3 upgrades breaking various things like themes and icon sets. After all, I had started with an old iso image but things don't stand still in a rolling distro.
But no matter. I just installed newer themes and icons and things are fine again.
21 • PCLOS review (by Carlos on 2017-04-10 14:49:04 GMT from Portugal)
Why am I not surprised about the Pulseaudio problems?
22 • Weekly 707 (by Jessica Metadata on 2017-04-10 14:56:10 GMT from United States)
I use tor a as much a possiple.
23 • LXQt (by a on 2017-04-10 15:35:49 GMT from France)
Not sure why people are talking about LXQt but it’s clearly the best DE at this point in time. There is no present or future for Gtk after Gnome devs have shown they do not care about usability, stability, and their users.
24 • @23 LXQT (by mandog on 2017-04-10 16:11:55 GMT from Peru)
I don't know where you are really coming from its not even classed as a DE its a not even a window manager it relies on Openbox WM, just a set of panels and a few tools, not even stable yet by the rest of the linux community LXDE has been like XFCE stable for years, their is more future for gnome than any small hobby project LXQD will never be a big competitor its not a DE.
25 • @23 - LXDE/LXQT (by Chris on 2017-04-10 16:52:55 GMT from United States)
@18: A fair position, just one on which we will have to agree to disagree. But I think you are absolutely correct on one point, I suspect PCMan thought a port to QT would be beneficial to development; however, approximately two years later and still in beta, he has discovered the transition to not be so simple.
@23>"Not sure why people are talking about LXQt but it’s clearly the best DE at this point in time."
Maybe, maybe not; such is a subjective, individual opinion. But for those who like QT and lightweight DEs, I am sure LXQT seems great.
@23>"There is no present or future for Gtk after Gnome devs have shown they do not care about usability, stability, and their users."
About a decade ago the same was being said about QT4. Time and the overall market will judge.
26 • PCLOS (by Jordan on 2017-04-10 17:46:05 GMT from United States)
Had update breakage on that distro more than others, but always like the project's persona and goals.
Need more stability with my linux machines. So, had to move off PCLinuxOS for good.
27 • @26 expanding on my post (by Jordan on 2017-04-10 17:52:14 GMT from United States)
(I wish we could edit our posts here) ;)
Anyway, I think it's very interesting that my "almost favorite" distro, PCLinuxOS, which I had to dump due to instability and issues following updates, is far more popular on the PHR list than the distro I found to be solid across every machine I have it on.
PCLinuxOS remains up around #12 or so on that list, while Korora sunk to 55 or so and may go further down with time.
I confess to not understanding that, other than the "what works for me may not work for you" thing.
28 • ARCHLabs (by c00ter on 2017-04-10 19:10:02 GMT from United States)
It's always nice to see another Arch+Openbox distro, but especially one following the hearts-and-minds of #! via BunsenLabs. :D
29 • PCLOS: no update announcement? (by Risto Alanko on 2017-04-10 20:04:17 GMT from Finland)
On my PCLOS desktop, a nice orange full-moon-like symbol appears on the taskbar when updates are available. It appeared my last full install about a year ago. My PCLOS installs are "ancient" and usually happen when something breaks in my machines. My last full install "updated" a 2012 install when I purchased a SSD disk. They just work and updates roll...
30 • Regarding LXDE. (by Tuxedoar on 2017-04-10 21:00:30 GMT from Argentina)
I'm an LXDE user and I'd like to point out that, to the best of my knowledge, at least the core components of the LXDE project, are still being maintained by its developers. Most probably, there won't be any major LXDE release anymore, but there will and there has been point releases with minor fixes (bugs fixing), for sure. What's more, you can check what's been going on with LXDE, by visiting its blog site: https://blog.lxde.org/ .
Also, I'm pretty sure that, at some point in the future, LXDE will be replaced by LXQT. I can't say that I'm happy about it, but that's what the plans are for the project, as far as I know!.
31 • PCLinuxOS (by kaczor on 2017-04-10 21:36:45 GMT from Canada)
What's actually interesting is the PCLinuxOS magazine rather than the distro itself.
32 • Tiny Core X86 Aterm doesn't work (by John on 2017-04-10 23:33:05 GMT from United States)
I can't seem to login to the Tiny Core website. Just downloaded TC8.0 for X86 and Aterm doesn't work!!
The 64 bit version seems to work :). Runs from a memory stick as is :).
Nice distro. If I could just load from the Debian repo so I could run Kicad and other engineering tools like LibreCAD, etc. with it.
VERY nice to have small software!
33 • Distro Reviews (by Michael on 2017-04-10 23:43:08 GMT from Australia)
I always enjoy your product reviews but there is one question I would always like answered: Does the install process allow you to select where to put the boot loader or the option not to install a boot loader at all? This is handy information if you are hosting several distros on one system.
34 • Comments • (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-04-11 00:47:41 GMT from United States)
. If you use Tor, the survey doesn't care whether VPN is paid or not?
.Watch without boot-splash sometime: "Thinking" trades live-boot speed for careful analysis of hardware.
No forum should provide a troll with moderator authority.
Floppy distro (tiny) - if it's the SourceForge project with no files.
Lovely website though. All in Indonesian.
35 • PClinuxOS (by Winchester on 2017-04-11 04:47:21 GMT from United States)
I have PClinuxOS with the Trinity desktop ..... one of the community editions.
I have had no trouble with sound and network time synchronization. There are a couple of other minor "papercut" type problems,though. There is an Xauthority issue with the Synaptic Package Manager causing the need for me to log-in to the root account to use the program. I can,however,use the PClinuxOS update notifier applet to install updates as a regular user if I select the "Install Updates Using apt-get" option. The other issue is with getting "Steam" to work. Aside from that,no breakage and no other issues.
The Trinity desktop does look somewhat dated,obviously,in its default appearance but,as is usually the case with a Linux system,it can be modified and adjusted to look better. I changed the wallpaper,adjusted the appearance of the panel a little bit,went with two panels ..... using one panel as an application launcher instead of having all of those dated looking desktop icons.As far as icons go,I have been replacing them little by little.
I also decided to install an alternate file manager because Konqueror won't cut it as the only option.
Anyway,there is a great selection of software in the PClinuxOS repositories. Programs you don't usually find elsewhere. CyberFox as just one example,
36 • PCLinuxOS magazine (by lenn on 2017-04-11 06:10:32 GMT from Germany)
Even though I don't use PCLinuxOS, I read the PCLinuxOS magazine. Its one of the best (or the best) Linux and family monthly magazine available today. It had been there for so many years.
37 • ARCHLabs (by Archguy on 2017-04-11 06:26:27 GMT from United States)
@28 c00ter: Very disappointed with the ARCHLabs distro, suppose I was expecting something even remotely similar to ArchBang or even #!. Gigantic distro coming in at 1.9gib should have given me a idea something wasn't lightweight. Memory usage was high according to the conky at 450mb with login, plus noticed my CPU monitor on my case was peaking at 60C, made a quick survey and shut down my box and uninstalled. It is in regards similar to BunsenLabs, bit bloated and weighed down with way too many pipe menus.
There just was way to much bloat with unneeded software and Chromium as a browser probably didn't help.
ARCHLabs has potential, but rather use ArchBang!
38 • PCLinuxOS (by Dave Postles on 2017-04-11 09:12:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have PCLOS on my desktop (I use notebooks to distrohop). I have it there because I have found it relatively stable and don't need to do anything very often. The audio output issue was easily solved. My kit is a PCSpecialist (assembled in UK) small-form desktop so I would have assumed it might be vulnerable to issues, but it hasn't. Perhaps I'm just lucky. The only small problem that I have is sometimes slowness in getting a TOR connection, so I often revert to TAILS on a notebook (Looking forward to a functional TAILS 3 with an improved desktop)..
BTW, I just use TOR symbolically to demonstrate that the UK IP Act is absurd. If ever I visit the US again, I shall deliberately take a notebook with Parrot or TAILS so that when the Immigration Officials ask for PWs they will be disappointed or enlightened - although I have to say that I am not inclined to visit Fortress USA ever again in the light of this new arrangement.
39 • LXDE vs LXQt • (by Kragle on 2017-04-11 10:26:42 GMT from United States)
LXLE 16.04.2 Changelog item:
Qt>k - forced gtk theme adaptation for stubborn qt-based-default applications.
Upstream devs 'jumping the gun'?
40 • @39 misunderstanding (by curious on 2017-04-11 13:18:50 GMT from Germany)
No "upstream devs 'jumping the gun'" here.
LXLE is *not* LXDE, it is a Linux distro that *uses* LXDE, and therefore downstream, not upstream.
And it makes perfect sense to force applications based on another toolkit to use the appropriate theme adapted to the toolkit used by the distro in question - this has nothing to do with any future plans for LXDE vs. LXQt - and everything to do with quality control and presenting a consistent user interface.
41 • Ubuntu Return to Gnome (by Joselo on 2017-04-11 23:08:50 GMT from Mexico)
Ubuntu 18.04 will run in low resources equipments. good news!
I think the popularity ranking of Ubuntu will recover its first
place in this ranking page.... like it was before Unity.,
By now, Ubuntu has dropped until the 4th place under Mint,
Debian and Manjaro... I'm sure the cause was Unity.
Congratulations Mr Shuttleworth. a very difficult decision.
42 • VPN/TOR (by mystified on 2017-04-12 02:01:16 GMT from Australia)
I'm no techie,
It's important to check that there is no DNS leakage. While using tor & browser proxy switchers, and setup for vpn. there was definite DNS Leakage.
So everyone check this first, to ensure your connection to the web is secure.
43 • ubuntu gnome (by rocket on 2017-04-12 03:17:49 GMT from Canada)
I'm glad that ubuntu will be a bit more like other linux distros now and not have its own desktop environment, and its own display server, and its own init system like they wanted.
44 • ARCHLabs (by zephyr on 2017-04-12 06:08:41 GMT from United States)
@28 & 37: ARCHLabs behaved much like BL in my opinion, except it is an Arch based distribution.
Very pleased with the install, and my compliments to the developers.
45 • Popularity Ranking (by Winchester on 2017-04-12 12:02:40 GMT from United States)
Regarding post # 41 , the cause for Ubuntu's slide in the rankings is probably partly due to Unity but,I doubt that is the only reason. Maybe it is also partly because Ubuntu is based on "Debian Testing" packages or because it doesn't have rolling updates but a point release system causing the need to reinstall the operating system every few years. If people wanted Ubuntu with a different desktop environment,they could have gone with Ubuntu Gnome or Ubuntu MATE.
Why is Ubuntu as popular as it is?? Influential people backing the project?? Countless magazine articles (with discs included) every other month?? The supporting community and documentation?? Google search result ranking??
Furthermore,switching to Gnome 3 is doubtfully going to put Ubuntu into the "low resources equipment" category with distributions such as Absolute Linux , LXLE , Peppermint ,Puppy Linux derivatives, or Tiny Core ......... or for that matter,just about anything with the XFCE desktop or anything with a resource efficient window manager (Fluxbox etc.).
In addition to Post # 35 , my earlier post this week,I neglected to note the great video quality under PClinuxOS.
Under SMplayer, as an example, PClinuxOS video playback quality is top of the line. Obviously graphics card hardware is in that equation but,I figured that I should make note of this,to be fair,at a time when small "papercut" like drawbacks are being pointed out.
46 • PCLinux and Tor (by Jessica on 2017-04-12 14:57:33 GMT from United States)
The last time I knew Ubuntu was still going to use Unity. This is the first site where it can not be called fake news as the others did not even mention the article at all like JupiterBroadcasting's Linux Action Show. This is more evidence that Chris is bought off by the big compnay'.
I use Tor, but now I think I will also move to a free VPN. Has any one at distrowatch tried some thing called Freenet are GNUNet?
I looked into PCLinux OS a while ago because I heard it had a version for TDE lovers. They at the time did not any more, how ever EXE linux and Q4OS both have good TDE desktops. Q4OS looks like and works similary to XP and EXE linux is like a Windows 9x version of LXDE. There are also Tbuntu builds on there site (Trinity uBuntu).
I hope that LXQT forks off from LXDE and we can have both projects. Pepermint uses LXDE with Wiskermenu.
47 • misc (by tim on 2017-04-12 18:12:24 GMT from United States)
@34 "Watch without boot-splash sometime: Thinking trades live-boot speed for careful analysis of hardware". That belief really sounds misguided. I've found no documentation indicating that hardware detection is less robust when the "splash" boot option is used.
While distrohopping, I've sometimes encountered the same issue. It's not specific to PClinuxOS, and it occurs regardless whether or not pulseaudio is pre-installed. My sound hardware is the run-of-the-mill onboard Intel chipset.
This week's review left me wondering "Why the attention to presence (or not) of VirtualBox guest additions?" Did the PClinuxOS release announcement incorrectly state those were pre-installed? Is this (presence of guest additions) now, suddenly, a review criterion & will be included in each weekly review? Midway through my reading, I google searched and found pcloshelp.com wiki within 20 seconds... and, ironically, "howto install guest additions" is mentioned right on the wiki mainpage.
48 • heads up? (by time on 2017-04-12 20:59:27 GMT from United States)
From the "Distributions added to waiting list" section of last week's DW Weekly page:
"heads. The heads distribution is a GNU/Linux distribution which features 100% free/libre software. heads is based on Devuan and runs a Linux kernel with the binary blobs removed. The distribution is designed to protect users' privacy on-line and features Tor integration."
What qualifies as a distro nowadays? How qualified, trustworthy, competent is each given "distro maintainer? In this case, the "distro" is being proffered by someone who uses a l33t handle ("parazyd") and spouts WISDOM like "Don't use uBlock and uMatrix [browser addons] because they are botnets" ( ref: http://archive.is/fTVfL ) Wow. Just... wow.
49 • unity (by jangkrik on 2017-04-12 22:16:46 GMT from Indonesia)
i dont understand why modern ui designers tend to make user life more difficult than it should. take unity or gnome. with windows-like start menu its easy to find a program, on unity/gnome they add a few more clicks to get there. even for a task as ambitious as changing desktop wallpaper, you have to install a new program. jeez. i dont hate changes if they improve on existing stuff..
50 • @49 • unity (by mandog on 2017-04-12 23:43:23 GMT from Peru)
So what's so hard pressing the left windows key its default in windows as well
or right clicking on a picture and selecting "set as desktop wallpaper" is either of these actions harder than the windows way.
51 • @50 - Unity (by Hoos on 2017-04-13 04:17:59 GMT from Singapore)
For me, it was the global menu bar floating at the top (a la Mac OSX) - I didn't like it that everything was up there. I still don't really like the similar concept used in Gnome 3 where the window's options and preferences are also in the top panel.
These are of course subjective preferences. I'm sure most people, if they really have to, can use and get used to any DE and its workflow.
But why should anyone force themselves to get used to Unity if they don't like it? There are so many other choices and everyone should just use what they like.
For those who like Unity and will mourn its passing, my sympathies. But with the right gnome shell extensions, I think you could get Gnome 3 to approximate the layout and workflow.
52 • LXDE Future (by ZKorvezir on 2017-04-13 07:44:27 GMT from Macedonia)
Development of the LXDE is not stop. But now it is pretty slower.
But you must be aware that LXDE is functional and solid desktop environment.
All users of LXDE like his simplicity and functionality. This is not a KDE or GNOME which in every version make radical changes.
Yes now LXDE is more GTK3 friendlier but not fully compatible.
There is still some problems.
You can follow the development of LXDE on:
https://git.lxde.org/gitweb/ - Gtk+ components part.
For example LXPanel component was released on 20.01.2017.
The main coordinator behaind the devlopment of LXDE now is Andriy Grytsenko.
53 • PCLinuxOS (by John on 2017-04-13 23:54:54 GMT from United States)
PClinux was my OS for years, but Java plugin is not fflexible; my favorite solitaire site is not on Java's "Approved List." Therefore, I switched to Linux Mint, which uses IcedTea. Much better!!!
54 • PCLinuxOS (by Spock on 2017-04-14 02:36:48 GMT from United States)
I have been, and always shall be, your friend.
55 • PCLinuxOS (by Kragle on 2017-04-14 06:54:42 GMT from United States)
@47 I suggest you misunderstood.
PCLinuxOS has, over the years, in the experience of myself and many I've met, analyzed hardware encountered on live boot rather carefully. I respect that.
56 • USB thumb-drives that have morphed to read-only; (by dick on 2017-04-14 22:32:10 GMT from Canada)
Have 2 USB thumb-drives that have morphed to read-only;
one is USB-2 ~ 8 gig; one is USB-3 ~ 32 Gig.
Is there any way to return them to read-write mode?
57 • usb sticks (by debianxfce on 2017-04-15 04:27:24 GMT from Finland)
to #56: With the gparted application you can modify the read only bit of the FAT file system. Command line tools are in most Linux distributions too.
58 • read only USB thumb-drives (by dick on 2017-04-15 22:17:28 GMT from Canada)
#57, thanks for the tips.
With Gparted ... returned 32 Gig to read~write,
but was unable to make the 8 Gig behave right,
will try to find the cli tool to resolve my plight.
59 • 58 • read only USB thumb-drive (by Greg Zeng on 2017-04-16 04:12:19 GMT from Australia)
Depends on the type of thumb-drive: brand, model number, etc. Some drives have a (tiny) hardware switch that must be put into RW mode.
GPARTED does not always work. Nor do other Linux & Windows applications always work. Often the hardware is permanently damaged, beyond any repair. Many trial-error attempts are needed, before throwing it away. Even if a "repair" seems to work, it often breaks down again, very soon.
Multi-booting between operating systems is therefore needed. An easy way to multi-boot repair is to boot from a Linux flash stick. Then try to "fix" the problem from the in-RAM operating system.
GPARTED is the best imo. Often you need to remove all the existing partitions. Then install a new partition. Then format to FAT32. Then seT the FLAG of that partition to BOOT. A very tedious process. But the ONLY way that reliably works afaik. Much better than the many other methods that I have tried.
60 • IcedTea (by Winchester on 2017-04-16 13:21:28 GMT from United States)
Regarding post # 53 :
Can't you just use the IcedTea browser plug-in ??
I don't think that you need to resort to using LinuxMint to resolve the situation.
61 • read only USB thumb-drive (by dick on 2017-04-16 20:16:41 GMT from Canada)
#59 > Depends on the type of thumb-drive: brand, model number,
The 32 Gig is a Lexar. The 8 Gig is a no-name.
I'm unable to format the 8 Gig, when I try it just tells me it is write protected.
Haven't yet found a cli tool that lets me access the attributes.
Number of Comments: 61
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