| 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: 8.6/10 from 563 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Debian 9 (by sofisamith on 2017-06-26 00:39:32 GMT from Spain) |
Thinks I do not like:
1. Libinput instead of synaptics.
2. You can not install flashplugin-nonfree from official repos (unlike wheezy, jessie and sid).
All the others thinks run smooth.
2 • Flash Plug-in Adobe (by Winchester on 2017-06-26 01:27:59 GMT from United States)
Do we really need or want the Adobe Flash Plug-In any longer ??
In Solus O.S. , all content that used to require the Adobe Flash plug-in worked WITHOUT it using,I believe, the latest GStreamer plug-ins. That is except for an online photo editor which still required the Adobe plug-in. Good enough for me to maintain Adobe Flash on only one operating system of many.
3 • 32-bit poll (by DaveW on 2017-06-26 01:36:19 GMT from United States)
I voted for "not older than i686" because the three computers I use with any regularity are. However, I have a Gateway laptop that has a Pentium 4 CPU (i386) that I boot occasionally just to make sure it still works. It is 15 or more years old, dual boots Linux Mint 13 and WinXP, and runs just fine.
4 • Olde Tyme Boxen Run the Industrialized World (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-06-26 01:47:11 GMT from United States)
One of these days some genius will realize C barely beats labeled assembler, thus explaining 99% of all Linux kernel bugs, and the goofiness of LKML.
Then he'll write a better kernel in a language with a retargettable backend, letting libraries like Yeppp.info chase vendor instruction set mods year to year. Such details the distro shopper should not need to know. Throw tomatoes, but ask, does the average phone shopper know what CPU runs his shiny toy?
Before Linux hit I remember DOS emulation toolkits for embedded systems. Older chips still run embedded systems and will for years. Why? Cost drives designs and old chips are cheap.
5 • Debian 9 Stretch (by mike on 2017-06-26 01:50:04 GMT from Australia)
As a long time Debian user I was disappointed with this release. Difficult to find correct iso, I tried a cinnamon release which would fail when trying to install. I then downloaded the full 3.5Gb iso, all 9 hours of it on a 100MB/s fibre connection! Install ok with Cinnamon desktop but a lack of information on how to set up repositories. Lack of printer utility was strange. As I slowly installed my preferred software and settings it just get hanging. While checking the user forum I was surprised at the amount of vitriol from some users. Not to me but between others. After 2 days trying to solve all problems I gave up and went back to Mint 18; Only 4 hours to setup with all my preferred settings and software. Polite and helpful forum. High speed downloads for updates. No hangups so far. Now just waiting for next LMDE version of Mint.
6 • older than 686? (by jay coeli on 2017-06-26 01:53:18 GMT from Asia/Pacific Region)
still own several "legacy" puters, running off freedos, win xp & such linux distros like mepis & puppy...
7 • Debian and root account (by Sean Smith on 2017-06-26 01:55:37 GMT from Canada)
During setup of Debian, you can opt not to enter in a root password. By not entering the root password during setup, Debian will use the first account that will be used for admin tasks.
See the following page:
8 • 32-bit poll Ref #4 DaveW (by Mike Cebula on 2017-06-26 02:02:50 GMT from United States)
I also run a Pentium 4 and the lscpu command indicates it is a i686 CPU. Am running XP and Mint Mate 18.1 XFCE on it. A little slow, but usable. I keep the laptop mostly because the XP on it runs my color Lexmark 4079 PS2 printer - Linux won't, and the laptop has a parallel port. I sneaker-net files via flash drive to XP to print on that printer.
9 • Poll (by Zork on 2017-06-26 02:16:30 GMT from Australia)
Was a badly worded question...
If you are running an i686 it is not "Older than..." but the focus of the question is "Are you still using a 32-bit computer?"
10 • Debian 9 (by Bll S on 2017-06-26 02:50:12 GMT from United States)
I spent an evening last Friday, downloading the 3 4 gig DVD's and install Debian 9 with Mate DE alongside my Debian 8 partition and tried to configure 9 like the 8 is. I found the media & non-free repositories and had just about everything tweaked the way I like it including Compiz reloaded and wine and cairo-dock. But the additions just wouldn't play nice together, it seems I had to make choices about which of my favorite add ons I was willing to let go. Also, the desktop themes which look so beautiful in Debian 8 are hideous in Debian 9, so again I had to make compromises. Finally when my favorite Pandora music player would not install even though it works great in DEbian 8 and I ended up in dependency hell, I just deleted the whole partition. Forget it! I'll stick with Debian 8 for 3 more years. And Mint 18.2.
11 • Flash plugin packages for Debian stretch (by eco2geek on 2017-06-26 02:52:20 GMT from United States)
You can download both the Flash plugin for Firefox and for Chromium from the deb-multimedia repository. See
for more information.
(Or, if running the amd64 version of Debian, you could download and install Google Chrome, which comes with its own version of Flash.)
12 • Pentium 4? (by DaveW on 2017-06-26 03:02:42 GMT from United States)
@8 Mike: The lscpu command on my computer had a floating point exception, so I couldn't get any information there. I searched for Pentium 4 on Wikipedia and it said i386. Apologies if that's wrong.
13 • 32-bit os (by Lao Tzu on 2017-06-26 03:14:53 GMT from United States)
Have an Acer laptop with an AMD Sempron cpu and 756 Mb RAM running q4os Orion quite well.
14 • Well... (by azuvil on 2017-06-26 03:59:06 GMT from United States)
Do my OpenBSD router and grid machines count? :P
They're not exactly daily drivers, but I wouldn't want them to disappear, especially where some of the machines are running Plan 9. It's amazing how well it all works together.
15 • i586 (by cpoakes on 2017-06-26 04:42:22 GMT from United States)
Any processor with Pentium in the name is at least i586. Pentium (Pro,II,III,M,4) are i686 or newer architectures. If it is "Intel Inside" and released after 1995 it is generally i686 or newer. VIA and Cyrix chips held on to the i386 architecture past 2000. Can't speak to the AMD timeline.
Some Pentium M (Banias) chips have trouble with i686 PAE kernels, but the correct solution is the forcepae boot flag not an i386 kernel.
16 • Should 32 bit still be supported. (by RISC guy on 2017-06-26 04:52:16 GMT from United States)
YES, absolutely. Computers only supporting 32 bit processors still exist and some of them are still being used. Beyond x86, some architectures still sell 32 bit processors to this day. The ARM powering the Pi Zero is a 32 bit processor.
But really supporting these, even unofficially, doesn't require too much extra work for large distributions. Stuff like Ubuntu though it makes sense to drop it since Ubuntu's system requirements are above most 32 bit processors.
17 • Atom Processors (by cpoakes on 2017-06-26 04:54:47 GMT from United States)
Atom processors are newer than i686 but early models were 32-bit only. Eliminating the 32-bit option abandons 7-year old netbooks and thin clients.
18 • 32-bit vs 64-bit (by Trihexagonal on 2017-06-26 05:00:58 GMT from United States)
Of the five laptops I own four are running the 64-bit version of FreeBSD and the other the 32-bit version of FreeBSD.
I'm not aware of plans for FreeBSD to drop 32-bit support anytime soon and that machine still serves me well as a back-up and for less processor intensive tasks like listening to music, text editing, playing Moria, etc.
19 • i586 operating systems (Pentium, AMD K6, etc.) (by jg on 2017-06-26 05:09:32 GMT from United States)
Salix 14.1 with the Openbox desktop has an i486 kernel (choose 'huge.s' option) that boots fine on my AMD K6-III CPU. Salix is a derivative of Slackware. Salix 14.2 is out now but I haven't tested it on the K6-III yet.
20 • @16: Ubuntu understanding is wrong, again (by Greg Zeng on 2017-06-26 05:28:33 GMT from Australia)
> "Architecture: armhf, i686, powerpc, ppc64el, s390x, x86_64"
Ubuntu family is the very biggest family in all the Linux distributions. The "Debian" family might claim to be bigger, but as shown in Comments last week, this Debian family is very guarded, conservative and not really family friendly as the Ubuntu family.
The Linux distribution families have a "mother-base". "Children" from this base may or may not be approved by the mother-base. Approval usually means avoiding too radical, too innovative alterations to the mother-base. Xubuntu is officially "in", at Dw-Rank-4, but Mint, Lite & Peppermint are not in (Dw-Rank 1,2 & 3).
All fifty-eight (58) of the Ubuntu family members as far as I know, can supposedly change their Linux kernels to any (?) of the versions available on: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/ Within these "official" 1,769 ready-to-quickly-run compilations of the Linux kernel, you can select the CPU of your choice, to run with any (?) of the 58 members of the Ubuntu family. Lovely theoretical possibilities, except most of the 58 distributions are probably too demanding to run on the smaller CPU, with their smaller memory limits.
21 • i586 operating systems (Pentium, AMD K6, etc.) - continued (by jg on 2017-06-26 05:39:27 GMT from United States)
Mageia Linux has an i586 build that is able to run on a vanilla Pentium or AMD K6 processor.
22 • .i386 Lubuntu 16.04.0 LTS (by Bobbie Sellers on 2017-06-26 05:58:18 GMT from United States)
I think this might be an ideal distribution for older machines.
I have been impressed by some of its facilities and though it
requires a DVD amount of space it requires just a couple of
hundred megabytes over a CD.
23 • debian 9 32bit (by george on 2017-06-26 06:40:27 GMT from Italy)
Debian 9 is ok (i tested the mate version) also if it is better waiting few weeks for the 9.1 more robust version before updating from version 8. But Debian 9 32bit version has an incredible bug for a so long tested distribution: Libreoffice writer does not start from menu or command line and crashes with no error indication. It shall be interesting to see if
this macroscopic error will be corrected in few time (debian reaction times are often very long)
24 • puppy linux bring my old laptop to life (by Mohamed on 2017-06-26 06:42:33 GMT from Algeria)
i use puppy linux in my old computer and it work just fine.
25 • Ubuntu won't run on an i586-class processor (by jg on 2017-06-26 06:44:49 GMT from United States)
Ubuntu won't run on an i586-class processor, like a Pentium 1 or AMD K6. It generates boot-up errors like:
'This kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: PAE
Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.'
'This kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: CMOV
Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU.'
26 • Old kit (by Someguy on 2017-06-26 07:34:23 GMT from United Kingdom)
Problem is that not all nations are as prosperous, (nor profligate!) as others. In some quarters, P4 may be considered 'new', 'unaffordable', whatever, but probably unnecessary anyway. Electronic kit may fail, but lots far exceeds its MTBF rating due to the vagaries of the skewed bell curve. Landfill is never a smart option; ingenuity, repair and plain old intelligent, inspired redeployment can keep many of our cherished toys working for extended times. Just what is needed to do a little surfing?
By way of example, recently managed to resurrect a PII/300 laptop with 128k memory using a (live)CD with ThinSlacko 5.3.3t (a Puppy derivative).
Obsolete is just a word - 8bit games have been ported to 64bit recently, large sums being exchanged for licensing rights. 8bit machines from 30yrs ago are selling for more than their original cost.
27 • Debian 9 (by Andy Mender on 2017-06-26 07:54:50 GMT from Austria)
Many of the features Debian 9 introduced were part of either Ubuntu + flavors or any other distribution out there, especially the "new" network interface naming scheme. Not very exciting. On the flip side, I'm disappointed that erroneous configurations (installation medium left in sources.list, some long-standing installer bugs) are still not fixed and every time one installs Debian anew, those have to be addressed personally. Should some sort of automatic QA not pick this up?
I used to really like Debian in the past, however recently I realized most of its pros are nowadays better covered by CentOS or openSUSE - projects that can afford both better support and software quality. Stability is very relative and even my Fedora systems are perfectly stable.
28 • Debian install (by Alexandru on 2017-06-26 08:14:34 GMT from Romania)
As a long term Debian user, I like the way Debian installer works. For some very limited purposes, it may seem odd, but with versatile flexibility you can easily find the logic of all the screens.
"Debian's installation process ... 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."
These 3 screens look redundant only when you speak the official language of the country you live and this country happens to have a good high speed Debian mirror. But consider you live in country A, speak a language B (and want to install Debian with this locale) and for some reason choose the Debian mirror from the country C. Then all 3 screens have their purpose (with logical default choices). For me, the time zone is Romania, the locale is Russian (not available by default in Romania) and the most up-to-date and high speed mirror is in Germany. I thank Debian developers to let me choose all them.
"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."
This decision seems logical to me. When someone downloads the Debian install disk with some subset of packages (i.e. other than netinstall and minimal), it will always be included in repository. The "error" is actually a feature asking to insert the installation / packages disk when you want to install something available in it. And why do somebody want to download the package over internet if it is available locally on already downloaded disk? Consider you have no or poor network connection at home, so you managed to buy or download the full Debian repository on DVD set or its essentially part on just 1 DVD or CD. Do you really want Debian to ignore what you already have downloaded and download again the very same package over internet each time you install something? This is equally true for partly network install. A package is only installed from internet when newer version is available there. Of course, if you downloaded the full CD/DVD and install from it, you can exclude it from the installation sources after install either from Synaptic or by editing /etc/apt/source.list. But please, do not pretend this behavior to be the default one, it is very unintuitive.
29 • Debian 9 (by Romane on 2017-06-26 09:18:06 GMT from Australia)
Have been running Debian testing since Larry entered testing. Have tried a large variety of distros, both Debian based and other, and always return to the current Debian testing of the time. 9 had a little hiccup about half way through its development process (my choice to run testing), but otherwise, it has proved true to the Debian reputation of been solid and stable. My server was running Jessie (8) until the release of 9, and with the update it still remains reliable and stable.
Kudo's to the team at Debian.
30 • Debian 9 "Stretch" Review (by djme on 2017-06-26 09:48:13 GMT from Europe)
I also installed Debian 9 and was disappointed with a couple of things including soundconverter opus encoding producing an instant error, even though it is a selectable option out of the box.
In the Distrowatch review of Debian 9 with the MATE desktop, Jesse Smith mentions that the idle install used about 200Mb of RAM.
Can you please confirm how you checked this (“free”, “top” or via the MATE system monitor etc?). Apologies if I missed it in the review, but did you install the 32 or 64bit edition?
For my 64bit Debian 9 MATE install, the memory use after a fresh startup is about 450-500Mb of RAM according to the MATE system monitor. This is quite a jump from Debian 8 MATE which used about 200Mb of RAM.
31 • i686 (by Francesco on 2017-06-26 09:50:03 GMT from Italy)
Maybe a Duron 850 i have is not full i686 compatible, i use it as a music player daemon player with ubuntu server 14.04 and mpd, but it still works fine enough ;) .
32 • Minimalist (by jymm on 2017-06-26 10:24:09 GMT from United States)
I guess different people have different preferences. I prefer less software on an install than a OS that tries to include everything. I spend to much time un-installing software I do not want or need on many installs rather than installing what I want and will use. An example is Cheese. I do not have a Web-cam, so I do not want or need that software. I have my preferences on DVD burning and music players, yet the software I want is usually not the default software.
I prefer installation disks to be small and I will add what I want for software. I like installs less than one gig, and would love some that would fit on a CD instead of a DVD.
33 • Debian 9 Live Images: Installer Bug when a root Password is Set (by luvr on 2017-06-26 10:50:42 GMT from Belgium)
If you install Debian 9 from one of the Live disc images, then be aware that you will run into a bug if you attempt to set a password on the 'root' account. If you try to do so during installation, then you will effectively be locked out of the 'root' account on the installed system.
This happens because the installer fails to write the 'root' password to disk, but instead marks the 'root' account inactive (as if you had left the password blank, which you would do if you want to use sudo ITMOTB*), but will disable sudo. Trying to become 'root' through 'su' will produce an authentication failure, while using 'sudo' will tell you that your account isn't in the sudoers file.
To avoid this issue, do not set a 'root' password during install. You can then set one up later on, once you're running the installed system. If you get bitten by the bug, then the easiest way out is to clear the 'root' password (though you will have to boot another Linux system somehow, e.g., again from the Live disc), and set one up immediately after you reboot the installed Debian 9 system.
For more details, see http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=133596&p=647964#p647964
(*) ITMOTB=In The Manner Of The 'Buntus (courtesy the PCLinuxOS team.
34 • 1686 (by Bonky Ozmond on 2017-06-26 11:28:29 GMT from Nicaragua)
I have a range of old and newish machines I think I have a i486 which is still running though i gave up updating it , I have a i286 compaq which runs at times,
I have quite a few 32bit machines mostly dual booted with a variety of linux OSs running as servers desktops and my main lappy is 32bit running Gentoo,
My 64bit machines really offer no more than the 32 bit machines, i wish distro developers would stop phasing out the 32 bit , many people specially in 3rd worldy type places rely on them
in some 12 yrs of Linux i have rarely had a Debian Distro even run at new release , rarely had any run fullstop ..convinced it never will...yet Antix and Sparky have both run admirably ....I was planning on trying but reading so many people have issues i doubt i will for a while
@32 I agree I would rather have an installation with the OS , a Browser and little else, in the app sense, I usually have to uninstall a heap of stuff which i would never use or change a lot to preferred apps
35 • Minimal Debian with mini.iso (by Dojnow on 2017-06-26 12:06:56 GMT from Bulgaria)
If you prefer minimal distributions the Debian mini.iso from http://ftp.debian.org/debian/dists/stretch/main/installer-amd64/current/images/netboot/ or /installer-i386/ (cp mini.iso /dev/sdX;sync) is the match - choose "Advanced options" > "Expert install"; Go directly to "Detect network hardware"; You can choose stable, testing or sid (unstable). For modules in initrd choose "targeted". Skip "Select and install software" (tasksel) item; If you have BIOS, install the LILO with "compact" option enabled in /etc/lilo.conf; 'apt clean; systemctl disable rsyslog' and you will have a minimal clean easy upgradable system; apt install --no-install-recommends Only what you need.
36 • Debian 9 (by César on 2017-06-26 12:36:04 GMT from Chile)
I perform the install process of Debian 9 with Mate desktop environment, and:
- Uses more memory than Debian 8 (x2)
- No Flash plugin in repos (yes in Jessie)
I think if you install Debian (or Slackware), you don't need SUDO (use Ubuntu for this), but during the installation process you can choose use root or not.
And whit the question, is better: "you still use 32 bits CPU?"
Greetings from Santiago de Chile.
37 • Debian memory usage (by Jesse on 2017-06-26 13:17:16 GMT from Canada)
@30: "Can you please confirm how you checked this (“free”, “top” or via the MATE system monitor etc?). Apologies if I missed it in the review, but did you install the 32 or 64bit edition?"
I always check the memory usage of Linux distributions using the "free" command. This is to maintain consistency across distros and to avoid the overhead introduced by graphical system monitors. I also, unless otherwise stated, use the 64-bit build of every distribution I test.
When I review BSD systems I use the "top" command to check memory usage as the BSDs do not have a "free" command by default.
38 • @4 (by Svantevit on 2017-06-26 14:11:05 GMT from Sweden)
The entire computer (PC) paradigm is keept on artificial life support by an industry that has outlived its usefulness. We're stuck in the land of brand managers and rights holders skimming off their IP while manufacturing has shifted to low-wage zones in East Asia. This entrenched clique uses their political capital to keep the show going for the sake of their performance bonuses.
Information needs to be set free and data made secure by design, not monetized and secured behind walls of patents and prorietary formats.
It's long overdue that Digital Rights are enacted for people, not corporations, so that people own data about themselves.
39 • Older computers (by John on 2017-06-26 14:52:20 GMT from United States)
Am I the only person in the world still using an IBM PC with 5 1/4 floppydrives as a production tester.
40 • Poll - 32 bit / i686 (by Roy Davies on 2017-06-26 15:06:21 GMT from United Kingdom)
Currently I have a Dell Latitude D610 32 bit m/c running Peppermint 7 (i686). It has previously run Linux Mint 17 and 18 i386, among others.
I also have a Dell E6400 32 bit m/c running Devuan 1.0 (i686 pae). It also has run Peppermint 7, Linux Mint 18, SolydX, PeachOSI, Ubuntu Mate, and many other i386 / i486 / i586 Debian/Ubuntu distros.
The decision by many developers to drop 32 bit is a travesty. There are many serviceable older computers out there that will be confined to the scrap chain if this trend reaches it's logical conclusion.
I totally agree with @32 and @34. The K.I.S.S. principle will keep everything light and uncluttered with unwanted packages. Install a 'bare bones'/minimum distro and add just what you want to do what you need, nothing more.
41 • Debian and PPAs (by DollyP on 2017-06-26 15:23:34 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'd love to try Debian but need a couple of utilities that only exist in PPAs, particularly Touchpad Indicator.
42 • Debain 9 and... (by OstroL on 2017-06-26 16:03:54 GMT from Poland)
Last week someone mentioned that you have to be a little masochist to use Debian. And someone else said there are developers, who had gone through the the masochist phase, for others to stay normal.
Instead of waiting for Debian 9 to be released, one should've installed Debian Testing (Stretch) sometime ago and gone through al the tiring stuff as getting your wifi working.
One might remember that "freeze" had happened sometime in February this year. The Debian 9 was released in 17th June. The DW issue last week (19th June) had a Debian 9 based distro AIMS Desktop added to the waiting list. We see 3 other distros in the front page, Sparky, Voyager and Xolydxk. They were ready, before 17th June. Some had to change the repo name from "testing" to "stretch" in the sources.list, some already had the name stretch in it.
I also had my own install of a "testing" version of Debian, which simply became stretch few weeks ago. So, once the next "testing" version is announced, you can move to next Debian 10, which might (or not) appear in next few years.
The AIMS Desktop is pretty good. I tried it live and installed on bare metal. I am not sold on Gnome 3. Tried Voyager few weeks ago I can clone it, for its only added scripts on Debian (XFCE) or Ubuntu (Xubuntu). Voyager is nice. Not tried XolydXK, but know from earlier tries that it would be good. Best of all is Sparky Linux. If you want to install Debian 9 without a headache, try Sparky. (Disclaimer: I am not saying this because, I am also from the same country.)
43 • THE POLL IS WRONG (by vasea on 2017-06-26 17:06:34 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
There are people who voted that they have older than 686
while not knowing they are wrong
(look comment 3)
please add some explanation
44 • Pentium IV is P68 architecture (by vasea on 2017-06-26 17:13:42 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
7th generation of x86 architecture
judging by comments, a lot of people voted incorrectly.
older than 686 means:
do you have Intel 386 Intel 486 or Pentium and Pentium MMX
all those who have:
Pentium Pro, II, III, IV have i686
those who have Pentium M have i686 but don't have PAE
45 • @39 (by azuvil on 2017-06-26 17:51:08 GMT from United States)
Yes. Yes you are. Good on ya.
In all likelihood though, probably not. I'm sure there are a zealous few who love software only available on older machines and don't want to emulate. I don't blame them for thinking that way. The other crowd might be government machines with software which is either really difficult to port or that would require way too many resources to re-write. I understand some Lisp machines still exist that fit under that umbrella.
46 • Poll, wrong answers (by a on 2017-06-26 17:57:49 GMT from France)
Looks like many people misunderstood the poll question. i686 was released in 1995.
24% Linux users running 20 year old computers?
47 • Debian 9 KCE Live amd64 (by Bobbie Sellers on 2017-06-26 19:11:07 GMT from United States)
I am seeing the same problem with failure to read the DVD or to find
the DVD to be read when using the Graphical Installer from the
bliss "running light (as well as fast)" on PCLinuxOS64-2016.03
GNU/Linux 4.11.6-pclos1 #1 SMP Sat Jun 17
48 • Debian 9 (by Victório on 2017-06-26 19:19:54 GMT from Brazil)
I'm using Debian 9 since rc1 with gnome3 and it's working best than Ubuntu Gnome 16.10. I just swapped Firefox ESR with latest vanilla version from Mozilla.
I have only 1 problem: copying files to usb pen-drive slows down the system. It happens on Ubuntu too.
49 • 46 (by azuvil on 2017-06-26 19:37:11 GMT from United States)
You're most likely right, though I took it to mean "ANYTHING older than i686". That still probably doesn't boost the numbers by much. Not sure how many people are lucky enough to have a VAX or old SPARCstation they're still using.
50 • Oh, and... (by azuvil on 2017-06-26 19:45:44 GMT from United States)
Yes, I know that BSD support for the machines I mentioned is a lot more likely (and current!) compared to anything from the GNU/Linux side. I think that's awesome.
51 • Computers I use (by Richmond Mathewson on 2017-06-26 20:09:49 GMT from Bulgaria)
I employ 10 PCs that are about 10-12 years old in my EFL school: they are all doing very well indeed with Xubuntu 16.04
52 • Free Hardware is Your Friend & Debian stuff (by M.Z. on 2017-06-26 20:10:18 GMT from United States)
My oldest Machine that I have a desktop Distro on is an old single core Celeron 2.5 Ghz that is an i686, though I have had older stuff in the past that I had either a desktop Linux distro on or pfSense before giving up on it & sending it to the recycling center or giving it away.
"24% Linux users running 20 year old computers?"
If they are anything like me they probably have a nice 64-bit multi-core or two around for their main desk & or laptop & have other stuff that was essentially free. I mean all that old stuff has to go somewhere & I'd bet Linux users are more likely than most to re-use such old hardware. That is especially true given that most old versions of windows are a non-starter from a security perspective if they are going to be connected to any network, & of course Mac is not likely to be any better.
"Ubuntu family is the very biggest family in all the Linux distributions."
You know of course that Ubuntu IS in the Debian family, right? I mean all those children of Ubuntu are really grand children of Debian.
"Many of the features Debian 9 introduced were part of either Ubuntu + flavors or any other distribution out there..."
Just proving that Ubuntu is a child of Debian & uses Debian testing as a guide post in helping determining how to set things up. That's almost certainly where they got the idea from, or at least that's what I would assume unless someone had evidence to the contrary.
53 • Debian 9 KCE Live amd64 (by Bobbie Sellers on 2017-06-26 20:22:28 GMT from United States)
I am seeing the same problem with failure to read the DVD or to find
the DVD to be read when using the Graphical Installer from the
bliss "running light (as well as fast)" on PCLinuxOS64-2016.03
GNU/Linux 4.11.6-pclos1 #1 SMP Sat Jun 17
54 • Debian 9 and older 32 bit systems (by mikef90000 on 2017-06-26 22:25:42 GMT from United States)
I'm not that concerned with preserving 32 bit x86 systems.
My 10+ y/o Gateway laptop runs LM 18 and Debian 9 pretty well, but the battery drain makes it almost unusable. Finding old laptop replacement parts is difficult and often expensive. Modern 64 bit desktops use far less power, very noticeable on my electric bill.
Here in California we don't need to put toxic electronics material in the landfill. Most locations have free 'e-waste' disposal for consumer quantity drop off and the single stream recyclers take it from there.
I reluctantly install Adobe Flash. I would be surprised if gstreamer plugins support the DRM'ed flash players used on Thousands of US based TV and radio media web sites.
Debian 9 installation issues have been minor so far. The Xfce clock widget often doesn't store non-custom settings, and for unknown reasons the critical net-tools package is not installed by default. Who doesn't use ifconfig for network troubleshooting ??
55 • Experienced fail. (by OS2_user on 2017-06-26 22:52:25 GMT from United States)
Again experienced Jesse flails and flops, practically says Linux isn't ready for the desktop, then dismisses basic flaws: "[Debian] doesn't offer a lot of modern conveniences or hand holding." -- Worse than that, GUIs are becoming unusable. Sure, you (few) here will claim otherwise, despite weekly evidence as given by Jesse and comments above, but you're fooling yourselves. Just STOP changing and adding frills, instead make the basics WORK.
@33: In the link on how to overcome bug from foolishly setting a root password is this gem: "If you cannot find a text editor that you're comfortable with on this system," ... So it's not just me. -- In fact, it's probably nearly everyone! Linux has no command-line editors that anyone can use without reading the "manual" and then much tedious random testing to discover what doesn't say about basic operation. You must BE SHOWN how to use "vi" because it's non-obvious. It's ridiculous that one is forced to hideous antique "vi" or "vim". Though I once successfully used vim in an emergency, later versions on same distro just don't work the same. Even its F1 Help (which says on-screen) doesn't work! Someone should long ago have written a minimal editor that anyone can use just by reading its embedded help. -- Still should be done! Especially since as so often noted here, you'll need to edit system files.
So there's a niche for anyone looking for project: simply port a... No, second thought, can't be done. You'd find it impossible to get a good editor into even one distro precisely because it's not "vi". This is a problem I go round and round on: those who know Linux resist all change, and those who don't know Linux are essentially locked out. To me, the prior looks like intended to accomplish the latter. And so I keep concluding that Linux is doomed.
Those at Debian should go through what Jesse writes and FIX all. He's highly experienced yet can't get your system to work? And you expect it to spread?
56 • Debian 9 in Virtualbox (by Charles Burge on 2017-06-26 23:03:13 GMT from United States)
For Debian 9 in Virtualbox, I was able to follow the instructions here: https://virtualboxes.org/doc/installing-guest-additions-on-debian/ to install the guest additions (I simply googled "debian 9 virtualbox guest" to find that page. I didn't spend much time after that playing with the installation yet, but at first glance it looks a lot like Debian 8 (Jessie). I used the netinstall CD and I installed my favorite desktop, xcfe4.
57 • VirtualBox guests (by Jesse on 2017-06-26 23:26:00 GMT from Canada)
@56: The instructions you linked to are exactly the same ones I mentioned finding in my review. They do not work on a clean install (from the CD) of Debian 9.
58 • vi and gnu/linux (by alejandro paz on 2017-06-27 00:59:03 GMT from United States)
vi is not for everyone. it is important that one becomes comfortable with a text editor. it is more important that one become comfortable with CLI. if this is not possible, then there are many wonderful gnu/linux distributions available for immediate use.
my preference is openbsd. in my opinion, this is the best OS available. again, this OS is not for everyone. if one is comfortable with the CLI, then this OS is the most powerful. I continue to learn new features after many years of use. openbsd and vi is powerful and the best approach.
59 • AMD Geode 500Mhz (by Jeff P. on 2017-06-27 01:19:52 GMT from United States)
I have a couple of old DT166 thin clients with 500Mhz AMD Geode-LX CPU that are more-or-less equivalent to an Intel i586. I'm using one for a radius server and the other for a wifi repeater. Running Alpine Linux Edge. Last time I checked the vanilla Alpine kernel worked fine, but I'm running a custom kernel to avoid installing a bunch of uneccesary kernel modules since they only have a 1GB SSD. I bought these little boxes second-hand on eBay and they've been running practically 24/7 for 3 years since then. (BIOS date is 2006, so they already had some miles.) Not planning on upgrading any time soon.
60 • text editor (by Doug M on 2017-06-27 01:50:04 GMT from United States)
Have you ever tried nano?
If you just need to edit a system file, nano is great.
It is simple and quick.
Instructions on how to use it are at the bottom of the screen.
do your editing
Hit Ctrl + o to write what you have done
Hit Ctrl + x to exit
61 • Debian 9 aka Stretch (by Shaun Maximusp on 2017-06-27 01:59:57 GMT from Singapore)
As with the Jessie install, I can foresee a new, inexperienced user having some frustrating moments installing Stretch. Namely:
1.) Exclusion of nonfree firmware from the default installer
2.) Non inclusion of apt-transport-https
If you really do need an installer to support your proprietary firmware, there is always the option of getting the unofficial one that do include non-free firmware include. Otherwise sticking with the official (no firmware incorporated installer) users without any broadcom wireless in their system, circumventing 1.) should still not be much of an issue. In my instance, the installer had no support for my atheros formware but nevertheless, the installer was able to connect me via wireless to fetch the necessary updates, packages that it wants. However this is where 2.) will come in.
Newcomers to Debian may be stumped as to why the install may seen to fail in downloading any needed packages and kinda "hang". The cause of the problem is as as identified above i.e. the non inclusion of apt-transport-https. Most of the repositories won't work. You'll need to find one that will do e.g. http. In my case, ftp.jp.debian.org .
The debate over whether proprietary firmware should or should not be included in the default installer has been longstanding, acrimonious and divisive within Debian. Albeit maybe not as damaging as the many other quarrels (yes, Debian is famed for its countless internal arguments) e.g. systemd, the inclusion or non-inclusion of MONO, paying some external entity or a few DDs (i.e. Debian Developers to shorten the time to polish up and do an official release, etc. While I cannot state that the same motivations are true for all longtime Debian users but for me, these quarrels are but like those within any a biological family. I see Debian as part of my family. Hence I'm used to them. While I have used and in some cases, on some of my various boxes, continue to use some other distros e.g. Arch, Manjaro, VoidLinux & NixOS, the relatively carefree post install aftermath, the ease of configuring and maintaining a robust system post-install too are some of the other reasons why I've stuck with Debian since the Woody 3.0 release. That is I think, for some 14 years and counting.
62 • Virtualbox guests (by Roger on 2017-06-27 02:31:24 GMT from Australia)
You most likely only had to install the relevant kernel header files - with that done the instructions you refer to will indeed work (tested on two different PC's in VirtualBox 5.1.22)
63 • Debian live-cd: not just mate version (by tonny on 2017-06-27 06:16:01 GMT from Indonesia)
Not just MATE version that have installer problem. I've downloaded XFCE and KDE version with same problem.
64 • Debian vsDebian (by Daz on 2017-06-27 06:46:49 GMT from New Zealand)
Using Devuan and Refacta instead of Debian very stable and installer figured out my wireless unlike Debian.
65 • @ 63 and others...Debian Live install problem (by OstroL on 2017-06-27 11:40:53 GMT from Poland)
"Debian can be great.
But depending on who you are, where you come from, and who your friends are, Debian can also be hateful and full of deceit."
"Debian Live is dead, hijacked by the debian-cd and the
The live.debian.net server will be shut down end of month, the Git
repositories are read-only as of now and mirrored to GitHub for archival.
So long, and thanks for all the fish."
Can you guys remember, who wrote this?
We can see the problems of "backstabbing" had resulted. Some say people can be changed for a given job, but that's not entirely true, for you just can't think exactly as the other person. You may copy some work, but not the thinking.
(It happened in Nov 2015.)
66 • VirtualBox guest modules (by Jesse on 2017-06-27 11:56:37 GMT from Canada)
@62 "You most likely only had to install the relevant kernel header files"
I had the kernel header files installed and, no that doesn't fix the issue. As you might imagine I've done the manual install of VirtualBox modules a few hundred times, across most distributions; it's a familiar process. I note though that you are using a different version of VirtualBox.
67 • i686 and older (by HiRisc on 2017-06-27 12:52:44 GMT from United States)
I have multiple "older" pentium laptops that I use for testing in my lab. My "go-to" distro for these older laptops was Crunch Bang Linux (#!). When that died off I was a bit sad, but kept my install disk around just in case I needed to refresh one of these older units. Then I found #!'s replacement Bunsen Labs. Again, runs smooth as my older #! distro but has the support I love for anything funky in the world. Fast, easy and has the tools I need for my lab and I now use it for classes I teach.
68 • DRM - Post # 54 (by Winchester on 2017-06-27 13:01:25 GMT from United States)
I am using the PALDO Linux (Pure Adaptable Linux Distribution) live iso right now.
With the pre-installed Web Browser (Epiphany) , http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/about/ says "Plug-in Missing" but yet I am still able to watch the videos on ESPN.com .
In other Linux distributions,for DRM protected content such as NetFlix etc. , you can just copy libwidevinecdm.so from a Chrome installation /opt/google/chrome/libwidevinecdm.so into the appropriate folder of almost any Chromium based browser. It might even work with FireFox based browsers as well : ~/.mozilla/firefox/*.default/gmp-widevinecdm/*/libwidevinecdm.so .
69 • antiX Linux makes Debian Linux easier to use (by jg on 2017-06-27 14:31:15 GMT from United States)
Debian can be difficult to setup and use, so there is a deriviative distro called 'antiX Linux' which is based on the Debian stable branch, has a non-PAE kernel (Pentium 1 and AMD K6 compatible), has a user-intuitive desktop interface and pretty much everything works out-of-the-box for a pleasant experience.
70 • remember (by sim on 2017-06-27 15:37:58 GMT from United States)
"Can you guys remember, who wrote this?"
Written by the former debian-live package maintainer, Daniel Baumann
71 • Old distros (by lenn on 2017-06-27 15:52:29 GMT from Canada)
Just for fun, tried to find out how many old distros are here with Distrowatch. In the Distrowatch filters, there are 55 distros starting with the letter A, but only 11 are active. There are some from 2004, and had been gone out in the same year. If you try to check the announcement, all you get is "An error occurred.
Sorry, the page you are looking for is currently unavailable.
Please try again later.
Faithfully yours, nginx."
In a way, its nice to see some memory about those long gone distros, but aren't they blocking the chance for newer ones to get in? Maybe, these should be placed in an archive, and make space for new ones?
72 • Pentium 4 distro? (by DaveW on 2017-06-27 16:00:55 GMT from United States)
I have a Pentium 4 computer, which is i686. If I am not mistaken, this is a 64-bit machine. Is there a 64-bit distro that will run on it? I did the DW search for i686 architecture, and a lot of distros were listed. However the list includes those such as Devuan, the i686 compatible versions of which are i386 32-bit.
If there is a better place to ask this question, please advise.
73 • Old junk poll (by cykodrone on 2017-06-27 16:11:09 GMT from Canada)
If it's more than 10 years old, fuh-ged-dah-boud-dit, you're just wasting electricity. I can see saving old junk for sentimental reasons or there's something on the machine that got left behind in the tsunami of progress, and is not compatible with current software. Personally, I'm more concerned about biometrics in the NWO.
74 • @72 (by azuvil on 2017-06-27 18:49:45 GMT from United States)
I have a couple of Pentium 4 machines that run other 64-bit operating systems just fine, though I don't know specifically about GNU/Linux distros in this case. You could always try to boot a livecd with a distro build for AMD64 and see what happens.
Although, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Pentium 4 64-bit support introduced a few years after its initial release? I've had one Pentium 4 that was a bit older and strictly 32-bit iirc. You might want to check on that.
75 • Pentuim 4 (by nano-me on 2017-06-27 19:23:57 GMT from United Kingdom)
@72,74: Pentium 4. I have one of these, but retired it to the stored room due to being too energy thirsty [100 Watts]. I only ever ran 32-bit Linux. The only PCs contemporary with the Pentium 4 that were 64-bit were AMDs [I think].
76 • "Easy to install Debian, Derivative of Debian, Based on Debian is NOT Debian" (by Shaun Maximusp on 2017-06-27 19:59:24 GMT from Singapore)
Unless it is an officially recognized Pure Blend. See https://www.debian.org/blends/
Unless these derivatives have active irc/chat app help channels, forums, mailing lists with knowledgeable devs and experienced users, if you stumble into a problem, expect no help from Debian itself. You have been warned!
77 • @75 (by azuvil on 2017-06-27 20:01:45 GMT from United States)
Just checked Wikipedia out of curiosity.
"In 2004, the initial 32-bit x86 instruction set of the Pentium 4 microprocessors was extended by the 64-bit x86-64 set."
78 • @ 76 pure blends...? (by OstroL on 2017-06-27 20:24:10 GMT from Poland)
Does anyone care, if anything is "pure blend?"
Some of those "knowledgeable" devs had gone away. Some created Devuan.
"if you stumble into a problem, expect no help from Debian itself. " When did Debian 'itself' helped you?
You 'stumble' into a problem, you help yourself, asking from 'uncle Google.' Forums? Well!
79 • Debian (by DaveT on 2017-06-27 20:38:59 GMT from United Kingdom)
Unless you are running a server install debian sid (unstable). Despite the warnings it rarely breaks. Use the small net install ISO, install the most minimal jessie or stretch that you can, and then point /etc/sources.list to unstable, apt-get update then apt-get dist-upgrade. Then install whatever you want.
As for editors, nano is almost always available, and after a while you learn how to shout at vim to make it useable! About 10 years in my case, and at work I still use gvim whenever I can. 21st Century and all that...
80 • Looking for the right things in the right places (by M.Z. on 2017-06-27 21:46:09 GMT from United States)
"Again experienced Jesse flails and flops, practically says Linux isn't ready for the desktop, then dismisses basic flaws... ...Those at Debian should go through what Jesse writes and FIX all. He's highly experienced yet can't get your system to work? And you expect it to spread?"
You do understand that this is Debian we are talking about right? Why would anyone at Debian care, so long as a child distro can come along & give it the kind of polish you seem to think is a necessity for all projects? Linux is already on the desktop & working well for millions of users, so talking like it isn't there already based on experience from one particular project with one particular set of goals is highly misleading at best.
Would you go chew out people making replica Shelby Cobras & call them a pack of idiots for only offering a stick transmission when most people prefer automatics? The creators of such a car may feel that kind of hand holding isn't in the spirit of that particular high performance automobile, & in much the same way Debian teams may not feel the need to provide much of any desktop polish on their project. That says nothing about the utility of all Linux Distros on the desktop, it just says you need to look further downstream for a good Debian based desktop that's more suitable for most desktop users. In a similar way most consumers, & especially new drivers, would likely prefer an automatic Focus over a Shelby Cobra replica with a stick & a 400 or 500 hp V8.
The speed & ease of getting to a fully functional desktop on something like Linux Mint Debian Edition when compared to straight Debian might well be like the learning curve in a Ford Focus compared to a Cobra replica. Of course in LMDE you still get the extremely useful core of the Debian project, much like you get a Ford engine in both the Focus & our hypothetical Cobra. The core blueprint that Debian gives away for re use in desktop projects like LMDE, SolydXK, & MX Linux is far more useful to most desktop users than straight Debian. This is because of the more focused nature of the projects. You just have to look in the right place to find what you are asking for.
" If I am not mistaken, this is a 64-bit machine. Is there a 64-bit distro that will run on it?"
I get the impression there is a fair amount of confusion over which architecture is which caused by things like some distros calling all 32-bit versions i386 even if they were really i586 compatible. Or at least I think I heard of some Free & Open OS doing that.
At any rate, if your CPU is 64-bit I think it should work properly with any 64-bit distro, or 32-bit for that matter. I got some good info typing that lscpu command into yakuake & scrolling to the top where I got this from the first couple of lines:
CPU op-mode(s): 32-bit, 64-bit
Try & give it a look & decide if you throw a 64-bit distro at you machine afterward.
81 • @80 (by azuvil on 2017-06-28 16:30:53 GMT from United States)
*slow clap escalating to applause*
I don't think I've heard a better defense of free software project goals in a long time. We users get the tools, the code, the complete system without asking permission and often gratis. That was a conscious choice by the developers so that others could make the system into whatever they wanted and freely share it. Asking them to cater to every user demand that comes in from that point on is terribly disrespectful and not ultimately not constructive.
If you don't like it, fix it. If you can't fix it, find someone who can. If that doesn't work, find something else you like. It's not like there's any shortage of options.
82 • @ "Why would anyone at Debian care..." (by OS2_user on 2017-06-28 21:27:15 GMT from United States)
@80: Why would anyone at Debian care, so long as a child distro can come along & give it the kind of polish you seem to think is a necessity for all projects?
Not sure what you mean, there, but to rebut your car analogy with better one: the internal commands / programs of Linux are literally same vintage as 1970s Harley-Davidson motorcycles, which did not have electric start; one could easily break a leg kick-starting even if followed the right procedure. Like a 45-degree opposed V-twin that cannot run evenly but goes thump-thump...thump-thump (though the intrinsic vibration is now much reduced with balancing, along with the "luxury" of electric start), Linux is fundamentally crude. But yes, I understand some like it crude. REAL Harley riders want a "hard-tail" for even more crude. To wind up silly analogy: I simply don't want to waste time and risk a broken leg just getting my vehicle up and running only to watch it sit vibrating because too unreliable and uncomfortable to ride (that was literally true back in the 70s), but want to GO places.
And to answer about Nano: problem is it's not standard on every system, won't be there when NEED it.
83 • @82 (by OstroL on 2017-06-29 06:50:45 GMT from Poland)
" Linux is fundamentally crude. But yes, I understand some like it crude. REAL Harley riders want a "hard-tail" for even more crude."
In a way, you are right. Same as we have religions that are 2000 or so years old, and we seem to like them. Windows and OSX are crude too, the base in them. Only, the users get the eye-candy and blink. Underneath, all these operating systems are old and crude.
84 • you say tomato/I say tomato (by Trihexagonal on 2017-06-29 14:03:14 GMT from United States)
@83 "Underneath, all these operating systems are old and crude."
I prefer to think of them as being "tried and true".
I was a beta-tester for PC-BSD in 2005 when it was using FreeBSD 5.3 as a base IIRC. (I do still have the 0.75 disk.) After a couple years I struck out on my own in 2007 to build vanilla FreeBSD from scratch, using a tutorial somebody else made.
I still remember the elation and sense of accomplishment I felt with my first build. It's been my main OS for the past 10 years and I've written my own tutorial as a thanks and to give back to the community in hopes somebody else will benefit from it.
A pre-rolled distro like Debian has a lot to be said for it if you just want to install Linux, have it be up and running in no time at all and not have to put in the time and effort required to building it from scratch. You'll have most if not all your favorite programs, along with some others you'd just as soon not have, and chances are everything works out of the box without much tweaking, I have on occasion used a Live cd to check Debian and Kali and they're alright.
However, I really prefer BSD and the granular control and customization options you get from building it from the base system up and can make it a lavish or spartan build as I see fit,
85 • @82 (by azuvil on 2017-06-29 16:39:21 GMT from United States)
Interesting counter-argument. I'm very curious as to what is meant by "old and crude" though. If you mean that the operating system is in some way limited or can cite examples where it is inelegant, that would be one thing, but the age seems to be a major hangup as well. I tend to think when you're talking about software, you've entered a realm of abstraction which no amount of analogy really can capture - more often, we're talking about ideas, algorithms, and ways of doing things that have a bit more staying power than the latest design of a motorcycle. Do people disregard Euclidean proofs or lambda calculus simply because they are "old"? If these ideas are rejected, it should be on the basis of their validity and continued utility in the presence of better solutions, if there are any. And the fact is, the utility of operating systems based on Unix has had to stay very high indeed for them to last this long.
Again, expectations have changed and will probably continue to do so. One who is experienced with the system might find it just as bothersome as you do when things are "simplified" for some nebulous notion of what the average user wants. That simplification inevitably involves imposing a paradigm with which some people will take exception. It makes far more sense to find a distribution that agrees with your particular mindset than to fire fierce criticisms at one that does not, acting as though their efforts MUST be a particular way to be of any real value.
From my end, there are times when it's nice to have a "default" install that requires little effort. But that's not a preference, it's related to the amount of time and energy I have. Generally, if I want to enjoy and tweak the operating system long-term, a pre-packaged and easy approach doesn't work, nor can it be expected to. I guess I sympathize more with the more advanced GNU/Linux and BSD crowds in this regard. The sheer versatility, opportunities for learning, and efficiency when I do it right are just too good to pass up.
86 • "crude" vs old, tried and true, etc.. (by Jordan on 2017-06-29 17:17:02 GMT from United States)
Huh? No analogy fits the linux/unix experience over time. None needed. After finding the one we like (of so many, made by so many dedicated and hard working devs and bug reporting helpers out there), we click the "install" icon or menu item and away we go.
Then we do our work and play.. on linux. Cars are cars and Harleys are Harleys and linux is linux.
Step right up and name your distro. Come one come all. One thin dime gets you an OS. ;)
87 • searching for the right distros (by M.Z. on 2017-06-29 19:54:31 GMT from United States)
"Not sure what you mean, there,..."
So you're saying you don't even get the entire point of open source? These projects all build on each other & do different things with the same core software. There are _Lots_ of Linux distributions built on the same core as Debian & many of them have a very polished desktop experience. Do you dislike the way Debian has a manual process for configuring software repos? Try Linux Mint Debian Edition & open the system settings then click the 'Software Sources' option. If you click the 'Base' repo selector a window pops up & automatically tests the speed of the software repos & ranks them by which is fastest! It's very fast, simple, efficient & elegant once you've done it. It's also both built on top of the Debian distro to the extent that it even uses many of the same software repos, yet it's an entirely different experience than anything in vanilla Debian.
"...the internal commands / programs of Linux are literally same vintage as 1970s Harley-Davidson motorcycles..."
I don't really care how old Unix is, I find Mint to be the most polished & elegant desktop experience out there among any OSs I've ever tried. I think Mac has many people sold on the idea that they are despite the fact that they are also based on Unix & heavily derived from BSD; however, I would put forth Mint as a better experience unless I got good evidence to the contrary. At any rate your analogy really falls flat on in face when you put the slightest consideration in to what Linux _Can_ look like on the desktop when you look in the right places. I'd aslo point out that in a recent DW poll there were a percentage, admittedly small, of DW readers that reported that they never even used the command line. What are these Linux users to take of your complaints about the old stuff down in the guts of their OS that they never see? It's meaningless to them, though it can be a useful tool to the rest of us regardless of age.
As a more proper point of analogy, we can consider for a second that the Internal Combustion Engine/ICE that powers nearly every car on the road has been around for over 100 years. Are all ICE powered cars today to be thought of as crude because of the age of this underlying component? In a similar way we can look at technologies in Linux like SELinux, AppArmor, & Firejail & see clearly that Linux has integrated the latest security systems the same way that many cars have integrated theft deterrent systems, some of which can even track vehicles via GPS & turn vehicles off remotely. Likewise we can look at how Linux is used heavily in high performance computing & how rapidly it integrates the latest & greatest in CPU technologies & conclude that it uses the newest technology in CPU performance & efficiency the same way that modern ICE engines do when they use electronically controlled direct fuel injection to inject multiple precision calculated fuel pulses in during the compression stroke of a modern engine. When we really dig into things does your motorcycle analogy make any sense here?
I'd also point out that the look & feel of Linux distros that most people use on the desktop is equally modern. The Cinnamon & KDE 5 desktops are both being updated constantly & are very different when compared to old command line only Unix systems. Modern Linux desktop distros are the same as Unix to the same extent that the new 647 horse power carbon fiber bodied Ford GT is the same as a Model T Ford.
As a more general note of Debian derived dsitros, you can easily find things based on Debain that are actually intended to be polished desktops by using the DW search page here:
Scroll down to "Distribution category" & check the boxes next to Beginners & Desktop, then check "Debian (Stable)" under "Based on". The distro pages have links to reviews both by users & by independent testers so you can get a little taste of what each desktop focused Debian derivative is actually like. The way these derivatives are different from straight Debian is 'what I meant there', in addition to the previously mentioned example of Mint Debian Edition.
88 • slackware (by lenovo t-500 on 2017-06-29 20:14:12 GMT from Canada)
Kernel: 184.108.40.206.t5 i686 (32 bit) Fluxbox Slackware 220.127.116.11.0
LENOVO 2055A38 ThinkPad T500 Intel Core2 Duo CPU T9400
Do you think I am missing something ? what need is there for more OS ? or KDE ?
89 • Better Analogies (by M.Z. on 2017-06-29 21:24:52 GMT from United States)
"Modern Linux desktop distros are the same as Unix to the same extent that the new 647 horse power carbon fiber bodied Ford GT is the same as a Model T Ford."
Actually I thought about it a little bit more, & given the context of how Moore's Law works, the pace of software development, & the relation of Unix to Linux & decided that there is a far better analogy here. @82 is basically trying to compare a new Mustang GT350R or Dodge Viper ACR to whatever rolled out of David Dunbar Buick's horse buggy factory before he started messing around with new engines & toying with cars. Why are you comparing the comfort of a buggy at mild trot to a GT350R/Viper ACR's comfort in a traffic jam? Those were never build for comfort like Debian proper was never built for every desktop user to set up quick & easy. Go look over a LMDE or another Debian derivative & see how much closer it is to a new Lincoln Continental than to a GT350R. And of course the underlying technology behind any modern desktop Linux is as different from the command line only original Unix as any modern car would be from those things that rolled out of the Buick factory before they became real cars. Again, it's at least reasonably accurate when when count the speed of computing changes under Moore's law.
90 • @ 71 • Old distros (by OstroL on 2017-06-29 22:42:51 GMT from Poland)
I rarely look in that Distribution search list in the DW Home Page. There are lot of old distros there. There are more of discontinued distros than existing ones. Some have only names, but some had pictures, which brought in happy memories. Out of those with pictures, about 90% had been checked in the course of last 10 - 12 years. I can also still remember some of those without pictures.
There was one made by a Spanish schoolboy, who created a very interesting DE at that time. There were others, who stopped for lack of money (people don't pay to use). Many promising distros died that way. Few students, who created interesting distros, and some desktop environments had also stopped continuing. Their forums are now infested with spammers, who advertise products. Even the websites, forums are abandoned.
91 • old computers (by jmac on 2017-06-30 01:00:11 GMT from France)
I spent some time finding a compatible distro for a Pentium laptop, but many links were broken. I was able to run an old version of AntiX and Puppy which were fast. Win95 was a better experience, Win98 was too slow.
For 32bit, I had an old Atom based netbook, and I loved an old Ubuntu (8?) before the new Unity. I liked that it made programs full screen and with a menu on the side, maximizing screen space.
92 • @38 Roger That I Guess? (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-06-30 01:14:06 GMT from United States)
I think we're on the same team...? Digital Rights are why I'm here. Read my past remarks to find I promote freedom down to firmware and hardware. Read my anti-corporate-FOSS-takeover rants if you're into that subject.
I neither understand nor see relevance in your PC "paradigm" statement, as I wrote on embedded systems. In fact it was my whole point that another "paradigm" exists, with a giant insustrial market, and far wider variety of CPUs than the PC Macwintelopoly.
Thus I argue for support of ALL architectures by FOSS, not just the latest Macwintelopoly hotness hitting consumer shelves. My advice on liberating kernel code from vendor instruction set dictatorship is just another angle on such Digital Rights strategy.
And those rights can help both end users and free market corporations building embedded devices, with us as device consumers. I'd rather see the IoT Apocalypse with FOSS run amok than closed blobs. GPL makes that happen. Some actual legal victories for GPL have happened in the embedded systems sector. Vendors were forced to disclosed their embedded code. Digital Rights man!
Distro geeks who don't tune old systems fail to see how they get conned by the Macwintelopoly CPU cartel. The bottleneck was always disk I/O and RAM limits, not CPU, though you can argue on motherboard buses and bridges.
93 • Limited RAM Good Reason for 32-bit still? (by RO on 2017-06-30 03:29:22 GMT from United States)
There are plenty of current Windows 10 low-cost laptops/tablets currently being sold that are running 32-bit mode Windows 10 since they only have 2GB (some even 1GB) of RAM, and require 32-bit UEFI even though their Atom CPU's can run in 64-bit mode. If MS, and PC makers, are still supporting a 32-bit mode of the latest Windows version, why not Linux?
94 • @93 why (Linux) developers are dropping 32-bit (by curious on 2017-06-30 08:58:34 GMT from Germany)
because the developers - or at least the paid ones - all have shiny new hardware with LOTS of RAM to play with - and "RAM is cheap", and anyway the company is paying whenever an "upgrade" becomes necessary.
So why should they care?
And in the modern corporate world, where the cost of every lifting of the little finger is calculated and optimized, the little extra work for building and maintaining the 32-bit version alongside the 64-bit version is seen as inefficient - to be dropped as soon as possible in order to be able to afford whatever is seen as really important (e.g. gold toilet seats for the top management).
95 • @90 (by lenn on 2017-06-30 12:39:27 GMT from Canada)
Interesting how people think these days. Do you know, who wrote this?
"I should probably mention that before purchasing the MBP (Macbook Pro), I had considered (read as agonised over) buying a new ThinkPad t460s and installing Linux on it, but after watching a few YouTube videos of people suffering all the usual Linux compatibility headaches, I thought to myself, “Bollocks to that, I want something that just works.” Also, I have said before that I believe my previous MBP (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013) was the best computer I’ve ever purchased, and I’ve no reason to believe the 2015 model should be any different."
The MBP or any other Apple gadget comes with THE proprietary operating system, which is not allowed (officially) to be installed in any other hardware, other than ones produced by Apple. If that's the best computer, the author of the above lines ever purchased, he automatically stresses that the OS that comes in it it the best.
Unfortunately, this comes from a person, who had created a nice Linux distro, but left it few years ago. Of course, he could uninstall the original proprietary OS and install Linux in it, but then, it won't be the best computer, would it? The "usual Linux compatibility headaches" seems to tell all.
96 • Old distros abandoned (by Jordan on 2017-06-30 14:18:59 GMT from United States)
Yoper. Andreas Girardet and Tobias Gerschner were very much ahead of their time, imo. I miss that distro. Of course there are others.. but I do miss that one in particular.
97 • Computers older than i686 (by Jay on 2017-06-30 14:57:23 GMT from United States)
I run 32-bit Linux Mint 18.1 xfce on an old Acer 9" netbook. Perfect size computer and perfect for what I use it for. Still runs great with an Intel Atom N270, 1.5G RAM (non-upgradable), and 160G HD. How would I be better off with a new i686, with 2G RAM and 16G storage?
98 • Old Distributions 96,90,71 (by Mittchell on 2017-06-30 15:38:35 GMT from United States)
The discontinued distribution that I wish most would have carried on forward is "Foresight Linux".
Honorable mention goes to Granular Linux, MCN Live, Moblin, Oz Unity, Yoper, Legacy OS, Lighthouse Linux and Slax.
99 • Yoper (by Doug M on 2017-06-30 15:59:49 GMT from United States)
Now that was a really great distro.
I was saddened when I found out it was discontinued.
100 • Yoper (by Doug M on 2017-06-30 16:06:02 GMT from United States)
Found this link after I posted.
101 • @95 (by OstroL on 2017-06-30 21:03:18 GMT from Poland)
Of course, I know who he is. But, I'm not going mention his name here. Its a free world, and anyone can move away from Linux to the proprietary OS/hardware blob. I am not interested in giving him or his former distro any advertising.
On old distros, I still have some of them saved in my portable hard disks. I still have a working Meego in one of my partitions. Its 32 bit and still very pretty. Pity it didn't go further.
102 • debian 9 (by tux user on 2017-07-01 15:45:21 GMT from Canada)
Well Well Well after 3 download DVD live Debian, on with nonfree driver impossible to install on my old Lenovo T400. Tried on all process install and no chance Debian9 installation crash all the way.
My first time it so hard to install Debian on this laptop.
I hope the install step will correctly soon !
103 • CrunchBang (by Jordan on 2017-07-01 18:10:15 GMT from United States)
@101 What is so evil about that distro and its dev that it cannot even be named in here by you?!
CrunchBang! Philip Newborough!
104 • RE: Debian 9 (by debianxfce on 2017-07-02 04:45:07 GMT from Finland)
Best way to install Debian to a PC is to use the netinstaller. It is better to use the Debian testing distribution, then you can use packages from unstable and some ubuntu ppas like OIbaf and Padoka ppa for fresh Mesa drivers. You do not have to care about os releases when you use a rolling release os.
105 • 32-bit poll (by Gentoo on 2017-07-02 06:48:52 GMT from Germany)
Gentoo, being a source based distro, has optimal support for 32 bit.
106 • Why I use Linux (by Dave Postles on 2017-07-02 08:40:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Because I don't think Linux developers are major gross global tax avoiders like the proprietary OS incs, because as far as I am aware none of the workforce have been disadvantaged (even unto suicide) by the production,because because I do not have to pay an astronomical markup which is parked offshore (again to avoid tax), and finally (I think) because I object to the commodity fetishism which just illustrates the enormous inequality which has developed in our society. If I want BSD Unix, I'll try BSD Unix, not OSX. Sorry to be off Linux topic, but it matters to me.
107 • @ 103 (by OstroL on 2017-07-02 09:56:52 GMT from Poland)
Nothing evil at all. Only didn't care to reply to the question of #95 with a name. On the other hand, when I look at that distro, I find that it is such an easy distro to create. Its a question of few scripts, very simple scripts, even for me. It had only 3 releases from 2009 to 2013 and 2 years later it had gone.
108 • CrunchBang dev etc (by Jordan on 2017-07-02 16:19:11 GMT from United States)
@107 Thanks for responding.
Your "I am not interested in giving him or his former distro any advertising" seems strangely negative toward a dev who well explained his moving forward with his work choices, and is well respected in his fields of endeavor, and who needed no "advertising." Thus my query.
Perhaps your perceived negativity was about the short life of the distro, which would mean you liked it?
Either way, the linux universe is populated over time by he comings and goings of a lot of people of varying talents and passions. I'm glad CrunchBang was here, and yes I do wonder if it has had influence on others.
109 • @ 108 (by OstroL on 2017-07-02 21:21:52 GMT from Poland)
I am actually not interested in giving him any advertisement. It was not he, but the forum gave that distro its popularity at that time. There were lot of problems, so the users asked questions, and other users answered. Some went wild with playing with conky and tint2. Slowly, but surely users started losing interest and left to other distros. The 3 releases were just the same, with different bases, Ubuntu and Wheezy and Jessie. Same look and same scripts. Pretty simple scripts, even for me. LXDE arrived and took the audience away.
Actually, those scripts lost appeal, after so many auto updating menus started arriving. Users don't want to keep on adding a newly installed app into the menu manually. The time of masochists is gone. The users want the app just installed to appear in the menu, even if they love to use only Openbox. I'm one of those, who like to use Openbox without fancy DEs, but is happy with an auto updating dynamic menu. I don't mind not having a wallpaper, just a dark greyish background is enough. No one is going to keep on looking at the wallpaper all the time.
Yes, I was influenced by that distro, but I never used it. Of course, I have tried it out live. I had a Debian through netinstall and Openbox. At that time there were only static menu. Later dynamic menus started arriving, making life easier. I have an Ubuntu install with the same setup. Earlier, I used to have wallpapers, but after seeing Crunchbang, I got the dark grey tile as the background.
Philip said, "I’m leaving it behind because I honestly believe that it no longer holds any value, and whilst I could hold on to it for sentimental reasons, I don’t believe that would be in the best interest of its users, who would benefit from using vanilla Debian."
I knew that long time ago. If you are Debian person, its always best to use vanilla Debian. Its same with Arch, its always best to use vanilla Arch. Then configure your install to your liking.
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