| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 718, 26 June 2017
Welcome to this year's 26th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Dozens of the distributions we talk about on DistroWatch can trace their ancestry back to the Debian project. Debian is an exceptional open source project in many aspects. There are over one thousand contributors to Debian who maintain over 50,000 software packages. The project democratically elects its leader and strives to provide builds for a wide range of hardware architectures. This week we begin with a look at the newly released Debian 9 (code name "Stretch") and share more thoughts on the project in our Feature Story. In our News section we also begin with some news on Debian 9 concerning problems with the distribution's live editions and fixes for people who wish to try the live desktop flavours of Debian. We also share news that pfSense is gaining a commercial support option and that Ubuntu is testing a new network configuration tool. We are also pleased to report openSUSE is gaining the ability to play MP3 files without requiring add-on codec packages. In our Questions and Answers column we explore options for people running computers with processors older than the 32-bit i686 architecture. In our Opinion Poll we ask who among our readers still uses older, 32-bit machines and which distributions you prefer. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Debian 9 "Stretch"
- News: Debian updates live media, pfSense gains commercial support, Ubuntu testing new network configuration tool, openSUSE gains out of the box MP3 support
- Questions and answers: Distributions with support for even older hardware
- Released last week: OpenMandriva Lx 3.02, Debian Edu/Skolelinux 9, Univention Corporate Server 4.2-1
- Torrent corner: Debian-Edu, NAS4Free, OpenMandriva, Raspbian, SparkyLinux, TrueOS, Ultimate, Univention, Voyager
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 17.10 Alpha 1
- Opinion poll: Computers older than i686
- New additions: Zevenet
- New distributions: UBports
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (57MB) and MP3 (42MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Debian 9 "Stretch"
The Debian project is one of the world's oldest surviving Linux distributions and can trace its release history back to 1993. The project attracts many developers with over one thousand people contributing to the project with code, artwork and documentation. The Debian project maintains a massive number of software packages with a very open infrastructure which makes contributing to (and borrowing from) Debian quite easy. These factors, along with Debian's famed stability, have caused over one hundred GNU/Linux distributions over the years to base themselves on Debian.
The Debian team released Debian 9 (code name Stretch) on June 18th and the new version offers a number of interesting changes. For example, the MySQL database has been replaced with its fork, MariaDB. The Debian-rebranded packages of Icedove and Iceweasel have been replaced by their upstream counterparts, Thunderbird and Firefox. According to the release announcement over 90% of Debian's huge collection of packages can now be verified through reproducible builds, which is great news for people who want to verify the source code they have access to matches the code used to make their executable files. In some situations administrators can now set up the X display software to run without root user access, making the display software a little more secure.
The release notes also mention updates to the GnuPG security software and PIE security support through version 6 of the GNU Compiler Collection. Also on the security front, Debian supports booting on UEFI-enabled computers, though Secure Boot is not yet supported. This release has changed the way network interfaces are named. Now, instead of eth0 and wlan0, network devices will be assigned names such as enp1s1 or w1p3s0.
Debian provides users with many desktop environments, including GNOME 3.22, KDE's Plasma 5.8, LXDE 0.11, MATE 1.16 and Xfce 4.12. These environments can be tested through Debian's live discs. Apart from these live discs, Debian can be downloaded in net-install (290MB), CD (647MB) and DVD (3.5GB) editions which just include an installer and do not feature live desktop environments.
Debian 9 -- The MATE desktop's Applications menu
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I began my trial of Debian 9 with the MATE live edition which is a 1.9GB download. Booting from this disc brings up a menu asking if we would like to launch the live desktop environment, launch a graphical system installer or launch a text-based system installer. Taking the live desktop option boots the operating system and presents us with the MATE 1.16 desktop environment. MATE is displayed with two panels, one at the top of the screen where we can find the Applications, Places and System menus. A system tray can be found in the upper-right corner of the display. A second panel is placed at the bottom of the screen and features a task switcher. Icons on the MATE desktop open a file manager.
There does not appear to be any way to launch a system installer from within the MATE environment so I rebooted and selected the graphical installer option from the media's boot menu. The graphical installer appears and asks us to select our preferred language from a list, click on our country's name and select our keyboard's layout from a list. At this point the installer produced an error message saying it was unable to read a file from the disc and the installer was unable to proceed. I tried the graphical installer a second time and it ran into the same error again. I also tried the media's text installer and it once again ran into the fatal error after selecting my keyboard's layout.
The live MATE disc's checksum was correct and I heard from other Debian users during the week who reported the same error so it seemed there was a fatal flaw in the MATE live media. I next decided to try Debian's standard CD installation media. The 647MB installation CD does not feature a live desktop environment; when we boot from the disc we are only given the choice of launching a graphical installer or a text-based installer.
The graphical installer walked me through selecting my language, country and keyboard layout. I was asked to create a password for the system's root account and then come up with a username and password for myself. We are then asked to select our time zone from a list. The installer then gets to the disk partitioning stage and we have the option of letting the installer automatically set up disk partitions or we can manually divide up the disk ourselves. The automated partitioning option sets up an ext4 root partition and a swap partition. The manual partitioning option I find a little cumbersome as the steps are broken up into several screens or separate options. However, Debian's installer got me through setting up partitions and assigning file systems to each section of the disk.
The installer then copies some of its files to the hard drive. A few minutes later I was asked if I would like to install the operating system from the local media or download packages over the Internet. If we take the on-line option we are asked to select a Debian software mirror from a list. We are also asked whether we would like to send package statistics to Debian to gauge package popularity with the default selection being to opt-out.
The next stage of the installer gives us the opportunity to select which packages we want to install. These choices are divided into big-picture categories such as Print Server, OpenSSH, Base System and various desktop environments. When installing from the CD, the default desktop selected was Xfce, but I changed this to MATE. The installer then downloads and installs the selected categories of software. The final stage asks us whether we want to install the GRUB boot loader and, if so, on which part of the disk. The installer then ejects the CD and reboots the computer. The new copy of Debian boots to a graphical login screen.
I explored running Debian in a VirtualBox virtual machine and on a physical desktop computer. When running on the desktop box, Debian performed well. The distribution boots fairly quickly, the MATE desktop was responsive and all of my computer's hardware was detected. Debian does not ship with utilities to manage printers, but with the system-config-printer package installed, Debian was able to detect and quickly set up my HP printer. Debian does not require much memory and used just 200MB of RAM when logged into the MATE desktop.
Debian 9 -- The MATE desktop with a dark theme
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When running Debian in VirtualBox the experience started out well. Once again the distribution was fast to boot and responded quickly. However, Debian was unable to automatically to integrate with VirtualBox and use my host computer's full screen resolution. VirtualBox packages do not appear to be available in any of Debian's repositories and the guest modules were not present in the official VirtualBox Debian repository. I tried installing the generic VirtualBox modules following the available documentation and the modules failed to build on Debian 9.
Debian, when set up with the MATE desktop environment, includes a relatively small number of default applications. The Firefox web browser, version 52.2 ESR, is included along with LibreOffice 5.2. The Atril document viewer, the GNU Image Manipulation Program and the Eye of MATE image viewer are installed for us. Debian also provides us with an archive manager, calculator, text editor and system monitor. There are no multimedia applications, codecs or Flash featured by default. Depending on which software repositories we have enabled, these extras may be available and I will come back to the subject of installing additional software later.
Debian 9 -- Running various applications on the MATE desktop
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Debian 9 uses the Network Manager utility to help us get on-line. We are also provided with Java and the Caja file manager. By default there is no compiler present when installing from the CD, but version 6.3 of the GNU Compiler Collection and versions 3.8 & 3.9 of Clang are available in the repositories. Debian uses systemd (version 232) for its init implementation and the distribution ships with version 4.9.0 of the Linux kernel.
The MATE edition of Debian 9 ships with a settings panel which can be found in MATE's System menu. The control panel mostly features modules for adjusting the look and feel of the desktop environment. We can alter the wallpaper, desktop theme, style of pop-up notifications and display resolution. We can also adjust our user's keyboard layout, keyboard short-cuts and mouse sensitivity. From the settings panel we can manipulate the screensaver and make small adjustments to how windows behave when moved or clicked. The settings panel does not feature modules or working with lower levels of the operating system. For example, there are no modules for managing background services, setting up user accounts, enabling the firewall or setting up printers. These tools are available in Debian's repositories and may be installed later, but are not included by default.
Debian 9 -- The settings panel
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Debian ships with the Synaptic graphical package manager. Synaptic is a no-frills package manager that displays a list of available software down the right side of the window. On the left we can find some filters for adjusting which types of packages are shown. We can also search for software using key words. We can click a box next to each package to mark it for installation or removal. The Synaptic application also provides a button that will select all available software upgrades, saving us the time of hunting for them one at a time. I find this short-cut button for upgrading everything is very welcome as Debian does not feature a dedicated update manager and does not automatically inform the user when software updates are available. During my week with Debian only one software update was made available and it was less than 1MB in size. The update installed without any problems.
When I first started using Synaptic I ran into some repository related errors and these could be traced back to the installation media (now removed from its drive) being listed as a software source in the package manager's configuration. The installation media can be removed from the list of software repositories either through Synaptic or by editing the /etc/apt/sources.list configuration file. By default, Debian provides us with free software only via the project's main repository. We can add additional repositories, such as Debian's contrib and non-free repositories, to gain access for a wider range of software. Earlier I mentioned Debian does not ship with multimedia software by default, but we can find media players, Flash and codecs in the project's various repositories. I found these extras worked well for me and installing media players automatically pulled in codecs for playing all my media files.
Debian 9 -- The Synaptic package manager
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People who prefer to manage software from the command line can use the APT family of command line package management tools. These utilities work quickly and, during my trial, functioned without any problems.
While many distributions automatically set up the first regular user account with sudo access, effectively making the first user the system administrator, Debian does not. Instead Debian takes the traditional approach of using a root account with administrative access and any other users on the system have regular, unprivileged accounts. The sudo command is available, it just is not configured to grant access to any users. We can grant sudo access by either adding users to the /etc/sudoers file or by adding privileged users to the sudo users group.
When a CD or DVD is inserted into the computer, Debian automatically mounts it. If there is an auto-run option available on the disc, Debian will offer to run the auto-run script. However, all inserted media is mounted with the noexec parameter, meaning no scripts or executables on the disc can be run. If the user attempts to run an auto-run script it will always result in an error. The noexec option is a good security feature, but it does make the doomed offer to run scripts seem like a bug.
When I was originally setting up Debian I opted to install the print server software. I had hoped this would cause a package for managing printers to be added to the system, but it did not. I had to install the system-config-printer package later to enable my printer from the desktop.
Earlier I mentioned that the live disc, featuring the MATE desktop, contained a bug which prevented me from installing Debian from the live media. About three days into my trial, Debian published updated live discs, carrying the version number 9.0.1, which fix this issue. It should now be possible to install Debian from the 9.0.1 live discs.
I think any review of Debian is going to come across as incomplete because the distribution is so large and flexible. Apart from the live disc and installation CD I explored in this trial, there is an installation DVD, several other live discs and a popular net-install option. Plus there is support for ten hardware architectures and Debian can run a wide range of desktop environments. That's not to mention Debian's popular role as a server operating system. In fact, the lack of customization in Debian's desktop environments tends to give me the impression that Debian is more of a server platform which can be used as a desktop system rather than a distribution designed with desktop use as the top priority. My point here is that Debian is incredible flexible and running desktop environments on generic PC hardware is just one of the distribution's abilities.
There are a lot of reasons to like Debian, particularly this release, but I feel there are also a number of flaws in Debian 9. On the positive side, the Debian project is massive, with a huge collection of software, developers and documentation. The project is very transparent and its infrastructure forms the base, not only for Debian itself (and its ports), but also for dozens of other Linux distributions. Debian strives to be a universal operating system, able to function just about anywhere, in a wide variety of roles, on just about any modern CPU architecture. I admire the project's flexibility and it is no coincidence that I either use Debian or a derivative of Debian every day on my laptop, on servers, on my phone and on my Raspberry Pi.
Debian is unusually flexible and has a well deserved reputation for reliability. At the same time though my week with Debian 9 was not always a smooth experience. Early on I ran into the installer bug on the live MATE medium. That issue has since been corrected, but it got my trial started on the wrong foot. Debian's installation process is unusually long (installing took over an hour in my case) and features several screens, some of them redundant. For example, the installer asked me which region I lived in three times, requesting my country when selecting localization, my time zone and then the country where the nearest package mirror would be. When the installer finishes, even when we install packages over the network, the installer leaves behind the local media in the package manager's sources file, causing errors when we later wish to install new software or updates.
Once the distribution is up and running, Debian is quite functional as a desktop system. It's light, fast and contains a handful of useful applications. I felt there could have been more administration tools to help manage user accounts, the firewall and printers, but that is a personal preference.
For me, I think the experience of running pure, vanilla Debian can be summarized by saying it is an operating system that takes more time than average to set up. We start out with a fairly small collection of tools and each user needs to build upon the small base, adding the applications, codecs and configuration utilities they need. That being said, once Debian is set up and we have everything we need in place, the distribution will run for years without a change or new issue popping up. I think Debian's two main strengths are that the distribution is reliable - it runs exactly the same way yesterday, today and tomorrow - and it has long term support lasting four or five years. This combination makes Debian an excellent choice in any environment where long term stability is required.
Debian may require more effort up front to install and configure the system, and it doesn't offer a lot of modern conveniences or hand holding. The system expects the user to be able to do some early customization and stays out of the way. After that, Debian just keeps on running until someone pulls its plug.
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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
Debian has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.4/10 from 339 review(s).
Have you used Debian? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian updates live media, pfSense gains commercial support, Ubuntu testing new network configuration tool, openSUSE gains out of the box MP3 support
Last week we talked about the release of Debian 9 "Stretch", the latest stable release from the venerable Debian project. This release of Debian featured multiple types of installation media: standard install discs, net-install discs and "live" discs which demoed various desktop environments. Several people reported issues with the live discs, saying the installers on the live discs would fail due to being unable to find certain files. This issue has been addressed and new live ISO files, carrying the version number 9.0.1, have been made available on the Debian mirrors. The installation issue appears to only affect the live editions of Debian and users who downloaded the standard installers or net-install images should not encounter the installation bug.
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The pfSense project develops a FreeBSD-based firewall solution. pfSense is hosted by the Netgete organization and Netgate has announced they now offer commercial support for the pfSense operating system. "pfSense remains an open source project, true to its heritage. But, as with any open source project that achieves a high level of success, there is a demand for business services, and Netgate exists to meet that demand. There is no obligation to purchase a support subscription. Users are free to continue using pfSense software on their own, or through the support of the pfSense community."
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Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre has written about a new network configuration tool which will be present in Ubuntu 17.10. The new configuration tool is called Netplan and presents a declarative way for administrators to configure their network connections: "Since Friday, Netplan is now the default in [Ubuntu 17.10] Artful. It is now included in the minimal seed, and thus part of all installs by default (if you find it missing, it's a bug; I encourage you to report and let me know). It's a direct replacement for ifupdown: I'm still working on making ifupdown properly disappear from default installs (you will still be able to install it if you really want to). Netplan is a framework for configuring networks. It allows you to use a fully declarative syntax to describe how you want your network to look, and will take care of writing the configuration files needed for NetworkManager or systemd-networkd, saving you from having to learn the details of both of these configuration formats." This mailing list post includes an example of a Netplan configuration file and more information on the project can be found on Launchpad.
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With the last of the patents relating to the MP3 format reaching their end of life earlier this year, distributions which previously avoided shipping with MP3 support are starting to introduce the feature. The latest distribution to provide the ability to play MP3 audio files out of the box is openSUSE. This past week the openSUSE team created new snapshots of openSUSE Tumbleweed, the project's rolling release edition, featuring support for MP3 playback. "GStreamer 1.12.0 fixed several bugs in the 20170618 snapshot and enabled mpg123, which provides the out-of-the box functionality for MP3 decoding. Some fixes for integer overflows were made with the upstream release of ffmpeg 3.3.2." Other new features arriving in openSUSE's rolling release branch can be found in the project's news post.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Distributions with support for even older hardware
Nursing-old-computers asks: I've tried running 32-bit distributions on my computer, but most currently maintained distros are i686 only. The problem is most Linux distros don't list precise information about the available kernels and packages. Any suggestions?
DistroWatch answers: It is getting harder to find Linux distributions which are 32-bit compatible that will run on systems older than the i686 family of processors. In fact, the Linux kernel no longer supports i386 which means you are going to be stuck looking for something that is specifically i486 or i586 compatible. That is a narrow road to explore, especially when so many projects are migrating toward supporting 64-bit exclusively.
That being said, if you go to our Search page, we do offer filters for finding distributions tailored to older computers and even specific architectures. If you do not wish to go through the entire list, I recommend beginning with antiX, Tiny Core Linux, SliTaz and possibly Slackware. Each of these distributions is fairly conservative and both Tiny Core & SliTaz in particular are geared toward older computers with very minimal resources.
You may also wish to look into running one of the flavours of BSD, particularly OpenBSD or NetBSD as those projects support a wide array of hardware and both operating systems use relatively few resources.
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More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Debian Edu/Skolelinux 9
Hot on the heels of the new Debian release comes Debian Edu/Skolelinux 9, a new version of the project's Debian-based distribution tailored to educational institutions, computer labs and school networks. Donald Norwood announced the release yesterday: "The Debian Edu developer team is happy to announce Debian Edu 9, the first Debian Edu / Skolelinux release based on the Debian 9 'Stretch' release. Debian Edu, also known as Skolelinux, is a Linux distribution based on Debian providing an out-of-the box environment of a completely configured school network. Immediately after installation a school server running all services needed for a school network is set up just waiting for users and machines to be added via GOsa2, a comfortable web interface. ... These are some items from the release notes for Debian Edu 9: Plymouth is installed and activated by default, except for the 'Main Server' and 'Minimal' profiles; Icinga replaces Nagios as monitoring tool; LTSP now uses NBD instead of NFS for the root filesystem; a Japanese translation of the manual is now available." Here is the full release announcement.
OpenMandriva Lx 3.02
The OpenMandriva project is a fork of the Mandriva family of Linux distributions. The project's latest release, OpenMandriva Lx 3.02, features a number of package updates, including the Plasma 5.9.5 desktop environment, Wayland 1.12.0, systemd 233 and version 4.11 of the Linux kernel. OpenMandriva's kernel uses the BFQ scheduler for improved desktop performance. The project's release announcement declares: "The distribution ISO is bootable in BIOS or UEFI from USB stick or DVD and uses the Calamares installer to guide you through installation with the minimum of effort. The ISO also offers a means of booting EFI partitions should they become inaccessible because of boot order changes. This distribution has been successfully installed and run on a dual graphics chip notebook using Bumblebee. A working i586 image is available however this will only install on genuine i686 boxes. If your machine is 64-bit please use the relevant 64-bit image." The release announcement also features download links. Additional information and updated package versions can be found in the release notes.
OpenMandriva 3.02 -- Running the Plasma desktop
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Univention Corporate Server 4.2-1
Nico Gulden has announced the release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2-1, a new build of the Debian-based server distribution featuring a web-based management system for central administration of servers: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 4.2-1 for download, the first point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.2-1 and provides various improvements and bug fixes especially in the following areas: forwarding of emails can now be set per mail user in the management system; changing the password to log on to the UCS management system has been improved, this allows users from a Microsoft Active Directory domain to change their expired password; when logging on as root user, a hint now appears, since for root the domain modules are not available; the IPv6 configuration capabilities of various services have been improved, for example in the Nagios or proxy server configuration and in the management system; the App Center docker integration has been improved, so it reacts better to errors." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
The SparkyLinux distribution is a Debian-based project which typically tracks Debian's Testing branch to provide a lightweight, friendly desktop operating system. Following the release of Debian 9, the SparkyLinux team has announced the launch of SparkyLinux 4.6 which is built using software from Debian's Stable branch. "There are new live/install ISO images of SparkyLinux 4.6-STB 'Tyche' available to download. This is the first Sparky edition based on Debian Stable line 9 codename 'Stretch'. Sparky 'Home' edition provides fully featured operating system with two lightweight desktops: LXDE and Xfce. Sparky 'MinimalGUI' and 'MinimalCLI' lets you install the base system with a minimal set of applications and a desktop of your choice, via the Sparky Advanced Installer." The new version ships with Linux kernel 4.9 (with newer kernels available in SparkyLinux's Unstable repository) and the Icedove e-mail client has been replaced by Thunderbird. The release announcement for SparkyLinux 4.6 offers further information and a list of changes since the previous 4.5 release.
Simon Long has announced the release of Raspbian 2017-06-21, an updated build of the project's distribution designed for the Raspberry Pi. In case you are wondering, this version is still based on Debian 8 "Jessie" (and not on the just-released Debian 9 "Stretch"). From the release announcement: "Today we've released another update to the Raspbian desktop. In addition to the usual small tweaks and bug fixes, the big new changes are the inclusion of an offline version of Scratch 2.0 and of Thonny (a user-friendly IDE for Python which is excellent for beginners). Scratch is one of the most popular pieces of software on Raspberry Pi. This is largely due to the way it makes programming accessible - while it is simple to learn, it covers many of the concepts that are used in more advanced languages. Scratch really does provide a great introduction to programming for all ages. Raspbian ships with the original version of Scratch, which is now at version 1.4. A few years ago, though, the Scratch team at the MIT Media Lab introduced the new and improved Scratch version 2.0, and ever since we've had numerous requests to offer it on the Pi."
Ultimate Edition 5.5
Ultimate Edition developer "TheeMahn" has announced a release of a new build of Ultimate Edition. Version 5.5, featuring the KDE Plasma 5.9.5 desktop, is based on Kubuntu 17.04, which is a distribution supported for nine months only (until January 2018). From the release notes: "Ultimate Edition 5.5 was built from the Ubuntu 17.04 'Zesty Zapus' tree, using a combination of Tmosb (TheeMahn's Operating System Builder) and work by hand. Tmosb is also included in this release (1.9.9), allowing you to do the same; it can build more then 3,000 operating systems. This release is NOT a long-term supported (LTS) release; it was built in anticipation of the Ryzen build, same as Ultimate Edition 5.4, both rock on an AMD Ryzen. I can almost promise your days of waiting for a releases are gone minus LTS. Polishing releases takes time and I do not care how fast your computer is. I will only invest so much time on a non-LTS. Does not mean it will not rock out on Intel; however, deliberate support has been added for Ryzen. I am going to let this release become what it will be and what it is a non-LTS. Enjoy!"
Ultimate Edition 5.5 -- The default Plasma desktop
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Voyager Live 9
Rodolphe Bachelart has announced the release of Voyager Live 9, a brand-new version of the project's desktop Linux distribution featuring a highly customised Xfce desktop with many user-friendly enhancements. This release, based on Debian 9, is built around the Xfce 4.12 desktop, coupled with Linux kernel 4.9.30. The entire Voyager structure has been re-coded and cleaned up, while the scripts have been modified to accommodate the Xfce 4.12 desktop and its components. This is a version which aims to provide the latest Xfce on Debian for both recent and old machines, with new ergonomics which are already part of the (Ubuntu-based) Voyager 16.04.2, as well as new themes, software and scripts. GParted is now included in the live image so users who have a problem using the Debian installer's disk partitioner, can perform manual partitioning before installation. A tutorial is provided in Thunar live in both French and English. Three editions will be available - two x86_64 image with EFI and non-EFI support (labelled as "gpc") and an i686 PAE variant (not yet released at the time of writing)." See the release announcement (in French) for further information and screenshots. The distribution supports both French and English.
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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: 459
- Total data uploaded: 67.6TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Computers older than i686
In this week's Questions and Answers column we discussed finding operating systems that will run on processors older than the i686 architecture. We would like to find out, in a time when many Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support, how many people are using CPUs older than i686? If you are uncertain of your computer's CPU architecture, the lscpu command can provide this information.
Please leave us a comment letting us know which distribution you are running if your processor is older than i686.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using the command line in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Computers older than i686
|I run a computer with a CPU older than i686: ||570 (29%)|
| I do not use a computer with a CPU older than i686: ||1386 (70%)|
| Unsure: ||29 (1%)|
New projects added to database
Zevenet is a load balancer and application delivery system based on Debian. The Zevenet platform provides HTTP and HTTPS connections for web applications as well as load balancing services for TCP and UDP traffic. Zevenet is available in community and commercially supported editions.
Zevenet 4.0.4 -- The web interface
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Distributions added to waiting list
- UBports. UBports is a community project which maintains a continuation of the Ubuntu Touch operating system. UBports is a mobile operating system which provides a GNU/Linux platform for select phones and tablets.
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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, 3 July 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)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 1, value: US$31.26)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Issue 750 (2018-02-12): Solus 3, getting Deb packages upstream to Debian, NetBSD security update, elementary OS explores AppCentre changes|
|• Issue 749 (2018-02-05): Freespire 3 and Linspire 7.0, misunderstandings about Wayland, Xorg and Mir, Korora slows release schedule, Red Hat purchases CoreOS|
|• Issue 748 (2018-01-29): siduction 2018.1.0, SolydXK 32-bit editions, building an Ubuntu robot, desktop-friendly Debian options|
|• Issue 747 (2018-01-22): Ubuntu MATE 17.10, recovering open files, creating a new distribution, KDE focusing on Wayland features|
|• Issue 746 (2018-01-15): deepin 15.5, openSUSE's YaST improvements, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, details on Spectre and Meltdown bugs|
|• Issue 745 (2018-01-08): GhostBSD 11.1, Linspire and Freespire return, wide-spread CPU bugs patched, adding AppImage launchers to the application menu|
|• Issue 744 (2018-01-01): MX Linux 17, Ubuntu pulls media over BIOS bug, PureOS gets endorsed by the FSF, openSUSE plays with kernel boot splash screens|
|• Issue 743 (2017-12-18): Daphile 17.09, tools for rescuing files, Fedora Modular Server delayed, Sparky adds ARM support, Slax to better support wireless networking|
|• Issue 742 (2017-12-11): heads 0.3.1, improvements coming to Tails, Void tutorials, Ubuntu phasing out Python 2, manipulating images from the command line|
|• Issue 741 (2017-12-04): Pop!_OS 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots, installing Q4OS on a Windows partition, using the at command|
|• Issue 740 (2017-11-27): Artix Linux, Unity spin of Ubuntu, Nitrux swaps Snaps for AppImage, getting better battery life on Linux|
|• Issue 739 (2017-11-20): Fedora 27, cross-distro software ports, Ubuntu on Samsung phones, Red Hat supports ARM, Parabola continues 32-bit support|
|• Issue 738 (2017-11-13): SparkyLinux 5.1, rumours about spyware, Slax considers init software, Arch drops 32-bit packages, overview of LineageOS|
|• Issue 737 (2017-11-06): BeeFree OS 18.1.2, quick tips to fix common problems, Slax returning, Solus plans MATE and software management improvements|
|• Issue 736 (2017-10-30): Ubuntu 17.10, "what if" security questions, Linux Mint to support Flatpak, NetBSD kernel memory protection|
|• Issue 735 (2017-10-23): ArchLabs Minimo, building software with Ravenports, WPA security patch, Parabola creates OpenRC spin|
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Toorox was a Gentoo-based live DVD which boots into a KDE desktop using KNOPPIX hardware auto-detection and auto-configuration technologies. It was a useful tool for backing up data, browsing the Internet anonymously, or taking a first look at the capabilities of Linux. The live DVD can be installed to a hard disk with the help of a simple graphical installer.