| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 719, 3 July 2017
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Last week we talked about Debian, a stable, highly versatile, conservative distribution which is usually updated infrequently. This week we begin with a review of a distribution which is Debian's opposite in many ways: Manjaro Linux. The Manjaro project builds a rolling release, desktop-oriented distribution that ships with multimedia support and many convenient utilities. Read our Feature Story to learn more about the Manjaro project. In our News section we cover a number of new developments, including Fedora's Atomic Host edition getting a new life cycle and Qubes OS experimenting with a configuration feature called Admin API. Plus we share a few new developments coming out of the Ubuntu MATE project. In our Questions and Answers column we explore whether an ISO file can be linked to a specific user. Plus we share the distribution releases of the past week and provide a list of torrents we are seeding. In our Opinion Poll we ask if our readers are interested in seeing more information about single purpose, single platform distributions and we hope you will share your thoughts with us. Finally, we welcome the Photon OS distribution to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 "Xfce"
- News: Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle, Ubuntu MATE working on new features, Qubes unveils Admin API
- Questions and answers: Linking an ISO file to a specific user
- Released last week: Mint 18.2, Manjaro 17.0.2, Linuxfx 8.0
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Calculate, Clonezilla, Linuxfx, Manjaro, Mint, Netrunner, PClinuxOS, Q4OS, RancherOS, Sabayon, SwagArch, Thinstation
- Opinion poll: Single purpose, single platform distributions
- New additions: Photon OS
- New distributions: Pop!_OS, Redcore Linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (108MB) and MP3 (83MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 "Xfce"
Manjaro Linux is an Arch Linux-based desktop distribution. Like its parent, Manjaro features a rolling release approach to software updates, providing its users with cutting edge applications. Manjaro is currently available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds and there are several desktop editions from which to choose. New Manjaro users can download the project's Xfce, KDE or GNOME editions as well as a wide variety of community editions. Most of these editions feature the systemd init software, but a handful of the community editions feature the OpenRC init technology, though it can take a little digging to find the OpenRC editions among the other installation files.
For the sake of my experience, I decided to download Manjaro's Xfce edition for 64-bit computers. The download for this edition was 1.5GB in size and booting from the media presents us with the Xfce 4.12 desktop environment. Xfce is presented to us with the application menu, task switcher and system tray placed at the bottom of the screen. Icons on the desktop are available to open the Thunar file manager, a user manual, the HexChat IRC client and the project's system installer. The user manual is a 134 page PDF document that explains how to obtain a copy of Manjaro, install it, change settings and perform some common tasks. The HexChat application will, by default, open a connection to the Manjaro support channel so we can get help. Shortly after the Xfce desktop loads a welcome window appears. This welcome window supplies us with buttons we can click in order to get access to support, documentation and release notes.
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 -- The Xfce application menu
(full image size: 277kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Manjaro uses the cross-distro Calamares system installer. The installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. We are then walked through selecting our time zone from a map of the world, confirming the keyboard's layout and partitioning the hard drive. Calamares has a fast and simple built-in partition manager that supports working with ext2/3/4, Btrfs, XFS, JFS, f2fs and Reiser file systems as well as LVM volumes. For my experiment with the distribution I decided to use the ext4 file system for my partitions. The Calamares installer then asks us to select a username and password for ourselves and copies the distribution's packages to our hard drive.
The fresh, new copy of Manjaro boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into our user account. Signing into my account launched the Xfce desktop again and presented me once more with the welcome screen. A few seconds after signing in, a green icon appeared in my system tray which was accompanied by a small notification window that told me there were software updates available. Clicking on the green icon opened a graphical update manager which displayed a list of available package upgrades along with their total size. We can click a box next to each update to enable or disable it. During my trial I performed two batches of updates, the first included 19 updates totalling 146MB and the second featured 25 updates totalling 111MB. Both groups of updates installed without any problems.
Manjaro features a graphical package manager called Pamac. The Pamac application displays a simple list of available applications in a pane on the right side of the window. On the left side we can provide search terms or category filters to narrow down the list of packages shown to us. Right-clicking on a package gives us the option of seeing more details about the selected software. We can click a box next to a package to mark it for installation or removal.
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 -- The Pamac software manager
(full image size: 829kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
People who prefer to use the command line can use the pacman software manager from a terminal. Both Pamac and pacman work very quickly. I find pacman's syntax to be relatively short and cryptic when compared against other package managers, but it is fast and worked well for me.
Manjaro is based on Arch Linux and can make use of the Arch User Repository (AUR) of contributed software. However, Manjaro draws binary software packages from the project's own repository servers.
There is one more software management utility built into Manjaro: the kernel manager. When new versions of the Linux kernel become available in Manjaro's repositories, a notification will be displayed on the desktop. The user then has the option of opening the kernel manager (which is also available through the settings panel). The kernel manager lists the available kernel versions and we can click a button to install new kernels or remove old ones. For the most part, Manjaro provides long term support (LTS) kernels, but there are some newer, development kernels present too. I took the opportunity to install a newer kernel during my trial and found it worked well. Though the kernel was bumped up a version, the new kernel worked (as far as I could tell) exactly the same as the default kernel.
As I mentioned previously, the kernel manager utility can be found in a second settings panel and that is one of the few odd design choices I ran into while I was using Manjaro. The distribution features a settings panel which is pretty standard for distributions running the Xfce or MATE desktop environments. From the settings panel we can adjust the window manager settings, change the look of the desktop, configure the firewall and change notification settings. One of the modules in the settings pane is called the Manjaro Settings Manager which opens a second control panel. This second panel provides us with utilities for working with user accounts, installing language packs, changing the keyboard's layout and installing new kernels.
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 -- The settings panel and kernel manager
(full image size: 689kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
This approach to putting a second settings panel inside the first is a bit unusual. To make matters worse, searching the first settings panel for a keyword (like "users") does not indicate the Manjaro Settings Manager contains the module we want to access - the user needs to find the hidden settings through exploration. Another quirk of the settings panel is there is some overlap in functionality and nomenclature. For example, there is a Notification Settings module and a Manjaro Notifier, a Settings Manager and a Settings Editor. There are also two keyboard layout managers. Once again, the user is left to explore and discover the differences through trial and error.
It may seem I was frustrated by the Manjaro settings panels, but on the whole both worked well. Some trial and error aside, I found all the settings I wanted to adjust and found the individual modules easy to use. I especially appreciated how easy it was to disable notifications by enabling "do not disturb" mode and that there is a setting to prevent new windows from automatically stealing focus.
Manjaro ships with a fairly typical collection of desktop software. The distribution features the Firefox web browser (without Flash support), the Thunderbird e-mail application and LibreOffice. The distribution also includes the HexChat IRC client, the Pidgin messaging software and the Guayadeque music player. The VLC media player and Xfburn disc burner application are included. Manjaro ships with codecs which allow us to play most media files. I also found a calendar & appointment application and a dictionary. Manjaro provides users with a document viewer, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, an image viewer and a tool for renaming files. The distribution uses Network Manager to help us get on-line and features a sensors viewer so we can keep tabs on our hardware.
Digging deeper we can find Java installed for us and the GNU Compiler Collection (version 7.1). Manjaro's main editions run the systemd init software, though there are community editions that use OpenRC in place of systemd. The version of Manjaro I installed shipped with version 4.9 of the Linux kernel, but both 4.10 and 4.11 were available through the distribution's kernel manager utility.
For the most part Manjaro's applications worked for me and my experience was generally smooth. There were just two exceptions to this general rule. The first was that the Steam gaming portal, which is included by default, failed to launch. No error was displayed when trying to launch Steam. The other problem I ran into was, when I tried to open the Printer Manager utility, the Firefox web browser would launch and report it was unable to connect to the local service. This would seem to indicate the CUPS web-based service is not running by default. It is possible to work around this, but it would be nice if a local desktop application was present for setting up printers.
Something else I noticed while exploring Manjaro was several command line programs are aliased. For example, the copy (cp) command is aliased to cp -i to avoid overwriting files. The dh, free and more commands are also modified using aliases. These aliases are probably meant to make the commands easier for newcomers to use, but it meant the commands failed to work the way I expected them to when I first used them.
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 -- Listing default aliases
(full image size: 938kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I tested Manjaro in two different environments, a physical desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. In both environments the distribution performed very well. The distribution booted quickly, was fast when launching applications and completing tasks. The Xfce desktop was very responsive and all of my hardware was automatically detected. When running in VirtualBox, the system automatically detected and integrated with the virtual machine, allowing me to make use of my host computer's full screen resolution. In either environment, Manjaro used approximately 275MB of memory when logged into Xfce.
Earlier I mentioned the default printer manager utility did not work. To work around this I downloaded the system-printer-settings utility which gave me a friendly, graphical tool for setting up printers. Manjaro was able to detect my HP printer and setting up the printer required just a few mouse clicks.
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2 -- Trying to set up a printer
(full image size: 262kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Sometimes after I write a review people will e-mail me and ask, in so many words, "Never mind the overview, why would I use this distribution over another one?" In Manjaro's case this is an easy question to answer as the distribution does a lot of things well. Manjaro is a rolling release, cutting edge distribution so the project consistently provides the latest and greatest open source software. Apart from the programs in the distribution's repositories, people running Manjaro can also make use of AUR (the large collection of software submitted by Arch Linux users). This provides Manjaro users with a huge collection of packages, most of them consistently kept up to date with upstream sources.
I found Manjaro's Xfce edition to be very fast and unusually light on memory. The distribution worked smoothly and worked well with both my physical hardware and my virtual environment. I also enjoyed Manjaro's habit of telling me when new software (particularly new versions of the Linux kernel) was available.
I fumbled a little with Manjaro's settings panel and finding some settings, but in the end I was pleased with the range of configuration I could achieve with the distribution. I especially like that Manjaro makes it easy to block notifications and keep windows from stealing focus. The distribution can be made to stay pleasantly out of the way.
In short, I think Manjaro is the ideal distribution for people who like the simple, cutting edge philosophy of Arch Linux, but who would like to set up the operating system with a couple of clicks and have settings adjustable through a friendly point-n-click interface. Manjaro has most of the same capabilities of Arch, but with a friendly wrapper which makes installing and working with software packages a quick, click-and-done process.
* * * * *
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
* * * * *
Visitor supplied rating
Manjaro Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.5/10 from 858 review(s).
Have you used Manjaro Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle, Ubuntu MATE working on new features, Qubes unveils Admin API
The Fedora distribution maintains several editions and one of the lesser talked about editions is Atomic Host. The Atomic Host edition is a lightweight platform for running containers. Due to Atomic Host's minimal and fast-moving nature, the Fedora team is changing the edition's life cycle to be different from the life cycles of Fedora's Workstation and Server editions. A post on Fedora Magazine explains: "The Fedora Atomic Working Group will then collapse Fedora Atomic into a single version. That release will track the latest stable Fedora branch. When a new stable version of Fedora is released, Fedora Atomic users will automatically shift to the new version when they install updates. Traditional OS upgrades can be disruptive and error-prone. Due to the image-based technologies that Atomic Hosts use for system components (rpm-ostree) and for applications (Linux containers), upgrading an Atomic Host between major releases is like installing updates within a single release. In both scenarios, the system updates are applied by running an rpm-ostree command and rebooting. The release provides rollback to the previous state available in case something goes wrong. Applications running in containers are unaffected by the host upgrade or update."
* * * * *
When Canonical announced it was no longer developing the Unity 8 desktop environment, many people assumed they would also cease work on the Mir display software, an underlying component Unity 8 used. However, Mir is still being worked on and developed for certain Internet of Things (IoT) scenarios. Mir may also be useful for desktop environments such as MATE. Martin Wimpress, of the Ubuntu MATE distribution, has put forward the idea that Mir could be used as a Wayland compositor. "Implementing a Wayland compositor is a massive undertaking. Just look at the investment in time that was required for Mutter and Kwin to land Wayland implementations. Both of which extend the Wayland specification in different ways to accommodate their needs. The rumours of Mir's death are greatly exaggerated. MATE is a very small team, with extremely constrained time. Implementing Wayland directly is, at our current development velocity, several years away in my opinion. If Mir could provide us a fast path to supporting Wayland we (and possibly other desktops without Wayland support) should explore it."
The Ubuntu MATE team is also working on a new version of Software Boutique, a graphical package manager. The new version of Software Boutique will work as a stand-alone application and will no longer be tied to the Ubuntu MATE Welcome greeter. The new version of Software Boutique will also support working with Snap packages. Martin Wimpress shared details on Google Plus: "While the Software Boutique will still be a carefully curated list of applications we plan to change the way the search works so that it will now interrogate the Snap store and Ubuntu archive in full. This will allow Software Boutique to be used as a general purpose package manager. Decoupling Software Boutique has several advantages: it can be installed and used on other distros (something we regularly are asked about), Software Boutique and Ubuntu MATE Welcome use fewer system resources and Software Boutique will dynamically adapt to the currently selected theme to better fit in with your preferred look and feel."
* * * * *
Qubes OS is a security-oriented operating system which places a strong emphasis on isolating processes and information. The Qubes OS project is experimenting with a new concept which should allow certain virtual machines in the Qubes platform to perform a limited selection of administrative functions. Joanna Rutkowska explains: "The main concept behind the Admin API is to let select VMs preform various select administrative functions over the Qubes OS system. If this idea scares the hell out of you, then, my dear reader, we're on the same side. Indeed, if we're not careful, we can use the Admin API to shoot ourselves in the foot. Moreover, it might look like we're actually adding complexity and enlarging the amount of trusted code (TCB) in Qubes OS. All good intuitions. But below I argue that the opposite actually holds, i.e. that the Admin API allows us to actually shrink the amount of trusted code, simplify trust relationships in the system, and ultimately to improve the overall security at the end of the day. It's a bit like comparing SSH to Telnet. Admittedly, at first sight, the SSH protocol has much more complexity than Telnet, yet no one questions today that SSH is actually significantly more secure than the much simpler Telnet." A complete explanation of the Admin API feature can be found in Rutkowska's news post.
* * * * *
These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Linking an ISO file to a specific user
Chasing-Tails asks: Is it possible to track an ISO from a distro like Tails or Kali? If I download Tails for a friend and they get caught with it, does the ISO have unique tracking information that can lead back to me?
DistroWatch answers: While it is technically possible for an ISO file to be altered prior to, or during, a download in order to insert user-specific tracking information into each copy, it is unlikely that will happen. Each unique ISO would need to be generated for a specific user or region and it would result in ISO files with different checksums. Security-oriented projects like Tails would not do this intentionally as it would be fairly easy for people to discover and then no one would trust the distribution anymore. So as long as you verify the checksum (and signature) of the ISO you download, you can be fairly certain it has not been tampered with and does not contain unique tracking information. If you want to be extra careful, ask someone else to download the same ISO file from a different location and confirm they get the same checksum you do. That will confirm the ISO file itself does not feature a digital fingerprint specific to you.
However, there are other ways a download could be tracked to you, though many of them require some investigation. If you are really worried about a state-level agency trying to find out where a copy of a distribution came from they have easier ways than watermarking a digital download. Following your friend or having someone ask them about Linux would likely lead them back to you. The DVD or USB drive you installed the ISO on probably has a serial number that could be tracked to your neighbourhood. You might leave fingerprints on the USB drive or DVD you passed to your friend. Your ISP may have records indicating you download Linux distributions and visit sites like those run by Kali and Tails.
My point is that while it is theoretically possible to tag and track an installation image file, it is fairly easy to guard against such methods. It is probably easier for people to track the origins of an ISO through other means, particularly traces left in the physical world. If you are worried about privacy-protecting media being tracked back to you, it may be a better option to teach a friend how to download Linux distributions in general and let them select the one(s) they want, rather than creating a ready-made installation media for them. I am not a lawyer and if distributing Linux distributions could result in legal ramifications, I recommend talking to a legal expert.
* * * * *
More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Manjaro Linux 17.0.2
Philip Müller has announced the release of Manjaro Linux 17.0.2, an updated build of the project's "Gellivara" set of distributions featuring KDE Plasma 5.10, GNOME 3.24 and Xfce 4.12: "Manjaro Gellivara was a great release. Now we are proud to announce 17.0.2 which fixes a lot of issues we had with our original release of Gellivara. It took us almost three months to finish this updated version. We improved our hardware detection, renewed our installer (Calamares), added the latest packages available to our install media and polished our release as a whole. Everyone who used older install media than this release should also read this announcement about password weakness and follow its advice to secure your systems. Features of this updated release Gellivara: latest LTS kernel from the Linux 4.9 series; latest X.Org stack from the 1.19 series; latest KDE Plasma 5, Applications, Framework and Qt; updates to our graphical package managers; enhancements and improvements to our Manjaro Tools and Profiles...." Here is the brief release announcement with a screenshot.
Clonezilla Live 2.5.2-17
Steven Shiau has announced the release of Clonezilla Live 2.5.2-17, an updated build of the Debian-based live CD with specialist utilities for disk cloning and backups: "This release of Clonezilla Live (2.5.2-17) includes major enhancements and bug fixes. Enhancements and changes: the underlying GNU/Linux operating system has been upgraded, this release is based on the Debian 'Sid' repository as of 2017-06-26; Linux kernel has been updated to 4.11.6; Partclone has been updated to 0.2.91; languages file de_DE, es_ES, fr_FR, hu_HU, it_IT, ja_JP, sk_SK, and tr_TR have been updated; add SMB version selection when mounting CIFS; add brltty and espeakup packages; add sshpass and keychain packages; a lite server has been added to Clonezilla Live, it can be used as Clonezilla server, with limited features, but should work in most scenarios; re-arrange the main menu of Clonezilla live as 'device-image', 'device-device', 'remote-source', 'remote-dest', 'lite-server', 'lite-client'; boot parameter 'ocs_litesrv_mode' has been added for lite server pre-setting - use-existing-dhcpd, start-new-dhcpd, auto-detect, no-dhcpd." Read the rest of the release announcement for further details.
Rafael Wagner has announced the launch of a new version of Linuxfx, a Brazilian distribution based on Ubuntu and featuring the KDE Plasma desktop. The new release, Linuxfx 8.0, is based on Ubuntu LTS packages and features the Plasma 5 desktop environment. Linuxfx also includes the WPS productivity software which offers strong compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. An English translation of the release announcement reads: "The latest news of the most advanced Linux system with all the stability and security of the LTS version. Fully compatible with programs developed for Debian and Ubuntu and always with the latest stable versions of KDE. All this is updated automatically, without the need of any technical knowledge! Install programs with the Discover facility, surf the internet with Chromium, or edit your documents and spreadsheets with the WPS Office. Meet Plasma, the most beautiful high-end Linux desktop, why we believe your computer must be unique just like you. For OEM integrates, the Sentinel ctOS - access control platform for biometrics, vehicle license plate reading and virtual concierge - is already shipped."
Linuxfx 8.0 -- Running the Plasma 5 desktop
(full image size: 459kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Calculate Linux 17.6
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of an update build of Calculate Linux, a set of desktop and server distributions based on Gentoo Linux, free of systemd. This version is provided in four desktop variants, featuring KDE Plasma 5.9.5, Cinnamon 3.4.2, MATE 1.18.0 and Xfce 4.12.3. "We are happy to announce the release of Calculate Linux 17.6, marking the 10th anniversary of the project. This new version features installation in LXC/LXD containers, theme customization, more stability with automatic dependency support, better security as editing the kernel parameters now requires a password and system update can be only performed by users authorized to do so. Main changes: Calculate gets a new flavour, 'Calculate Linux Container', to be installed on a LXC/LXD virtual machine; no default password is provided on a newly installed system - instead, a user password is prompted for at installation time; you can manage access privileges via Calculate Console; the 'sudo' group was added for sudo authentication...." Read the full release announcement for further details and upgrade instructions.
The Netrunner project has announced the availability of Netrunner 17.06, a desktop distribution built from Debian Testing packages. The new version ships with the KDE Plasma desktop, Linux kernel 4.9.0 and Firefox 52 ESR. "The Netrunner Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Netrunner 17.06 'Daedalus' 64- bit ISO. Netrunner 17.06 ships with an upgraded stack of KDE Plasma, Frameworks and Apps on top of an updated Debian Testing, plus the usual selection of applications like LibreOffice, Kdenlive, GIMP, Audacious, Steam, Skype, Transmission, VirtualBox, Krita, Inkscape and many more. Here is an excerpt of some major version numbers shipped in Netrunner 17.06: Linux Kernel 4.9.0-1, Plasma 5.10, Frameworks 5.34, Qt 5.7.1, KDE Applications 17.04, Firefox 52 ESR, Thunderbird 52.1." Information on the new update to the Netrunner distribution, along with screen shots, can be found in the project's release announcement.
Netrunner 17.06 -- Featuring the KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Zbigniew Konojacki has announced the release of 4MLinux 22.0, a new stable version of the project's fast and lightweight mini Linux distribution featuring JWM as the preferred desktop user interface. This version comes with several new features, including the ability to set it up as a LAMP server: "The status of the 4MLinux 22.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Create your documents with LibreOffice 5.4.0 and GIMP 2.8.22, share them using DropBox 28.4.14, surf the Internet with Firefox 54.0 and Chromium 59.0.3071.86, stay in touch with your friends via Skype 184.108.40.206 and Thunderbird 52.2.1, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 3.8.2, watch your favorite videos with MPlayer and VLC 2.2.6, play games powered by Mesa 13.0.4 and Wine 2.10. You can also set up the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 4.9.33, Apache 2.4.25, MariaDB 10.2.6, PHP 5.6.30 and PHP 7.0.15). Perl 5.24.0 and Python 2.7.12 are also available. 4MLinux 22.0 comes with some amazing new features (Skype, FreeCol game, support for the LUKS disk encryption). However, the biggest changes are related to the 4MLinux Server, which is now feature-rich and the lightest and fastest server suite available on the market." Here is the full release announcement.
Linux Mint 18.2
Clement Lefebvre has announced the availability of a new release of Linux Mint. The new version, Linux Mint 18.2, is the latest update in the 18.x series and is built upon a base of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The new release will be supported until 2021 and is available in four editions (Cinnamon, KDE, MATE and Xfce). Linux Mint 18.2 features improvements to the X-Apps cross-desktop applications with improved short-cuts coming to the Xplayer video player and line sorting coming to the Xed text editor. The login screen is now powered by LightDM running the Slick greeter and includes support for HiDPI. The update manager has been tweaked to help users find their ideal balance between security updates and system stability: "The Update Manager received many improvements. It still has the same mission and tackles the same issues as before (keeping your computer safe, providing bug fixes and protecting you from regressions) but it presents things slightly differently. Policies and level definitions were refined to better filter updates depending on their level of impact on the operating system and without worrying about their origin. Most updates are now level 2. Application updates which do not impact the OS are level 1. Toolkits and desktop environments or libraries which affect multiple applications are level 3. Kernels and sensitive system updates are level 4. Level 5 is extremely rare and not used by default. This level is dedicated to flagging dangerous or broken updates." Further information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcements (Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, Xfce) and in the release notes (Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, Xfce).
* * * * *
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:
You may note that this week's "Total data uploaded" torrent statistic is lower than last week's. This is because the old stat, which we were importing from the Linux Tracker server, included all data uploaded by both ourselves and any users who were using torrents linked to our Linux Tracker account. The new, lower value represents only data our server has uploaded.
- Total torrents seeded: 472
- Total data uploaded: 14.2TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Single purpose, single platform distributions
Most of the time, we here at DistroWatch, focus on exploring flavours of GNU/Linux and BSD which run on generic, x86 computers. We generally try to explore and share computing options our readers can try at home without purchasing dedicated hardware in order to run the operating system. In some rare cases we have made exceptions to this rule. For example, the Raspbian distribution is a general-purpose operating system which is designed specifically to be run on the popular Raspberry Pi computer. Some similar operating systems, such as RaspBSD, have also been added to our database because, while they run on one specific set of hardware, RaspBSD and Raspbian are still general purpose operating systems and useful in a wide range of situations, potentially useful to millions of people.
Typically, up to this point, when an open source operating system worked with just one type of hardware and was designed for one specific purpose, we did not add the project to our database. Instead we have added these single-platform, single-task operating systems to our list of embedded systems.
While this approach of covering general purpose distributions has generally worked well for us, it has been noted that an increasing number of the projects on our waiting list are single-purpose, single-platform projects. Right now, we have at least four single-purpose distributions on the waiting list just for the Raspberry Pi platform (Raspberry Digital Signage, Raspberry Picture Frame, Raspberry Slideshow and RasPlex). These projects, like Raspbian and RaspBSD, run on the Pi series of computers, but have a dedicated purpose in mind. We have also had queries about tracking the UBports project, a community continuation of the Ubuntu Touch operating system for Android phones. UBports only runs on a handful of devices at the moment and has a narrow focus: running smart phones.
This week we would like to know what our readers think about adding these highly focused projects, dedicated to a specific use on a narrow range of hardware. Do you think having updates on Raspberry-based, dedicated systems is useful? Are you interested in the latest updates from UBports? Or are you more interested in general purpose distributions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
You can see the results of our previous poll on running distributions on CPUs older than i686 in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Single purpose, single platform distributions
|I would like to know more about Raspberry-based projects: ||334 (26%)|
| I would like to know more about UBports: ||126 (10%)|
| I would like to know more about both: ||360 (28%)|
| I am not interested in either: ||467 (36%)|
New projects added to database
Photon OS is a minimal Linux container host, optimized to run on VMware platforms (though it is capable of running in other environments). Photon OS includes a small number of packages and offers users a command line interface. The default installation will often require less than 100MB of memory to run. The operating system comes with Docker pre-installed.
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Pop!_OS. Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution developed by System76 and designed with developers and 3-D model creators in mind.
- Redcore Linux. Redcore Linux is a Gentoo-based distribution for desktop and laptop users. It includes desktop, multimedia and productivity software in the default installation.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 10 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
|• Issue 802 (2019-02-18): Slontoo 18.07.1, NetBSD tests newer compiler, Fedora packaging Deepin desktop, changes in Ubuntu Studio|
|• Issue 801 (2019-02-11): Project Trident 18.12, the meaning of status symbols in top, FreeBSD Foundation lists ongoing projects, Plasma Mobile team answers questions|
|• Issue 800 (2019-02-04): FreeNAS 11.2, using Ubuntu Studio software as an add-on, Nitrux developing znx, matching operating systems to file systems|
|• Issue 799 (2019-01-28): KaOS 2018.12, Linux Basics For Hackers, Debian 10 enters freeze, Ubuntu publishes new version for IoT devices|
|• Issue 798 (2019-01-21): Sculpt OS 18.09, picking a location for swap space, Solus team plans ahead, Fedora trying to get a better user count|
|• Issue 797 (2019-01-14): Reborn OS 2018.11.28, TinyPaw-Linux 1.3, dealing with processes which make the desktop unresponsive, Debian testing Secure Boot support|
|• Issue 796 (2019-01-07): FreeBSD 12.0, Peppermint releases ISO update, picking the best distro of 2018, roundtable interview with Debian, Fedora and elementary developers|
|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
|• Issue 792 (2018-1203): GhostBSD 18.10, when to use swap space, DragonFly BSD's wireless support, Fedora planning to pause development schedule|
|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
|• Issue 789 (2018-11-12): Fedora 29 Workstation and Silverblue, Haiku recovering from server outage, Fedora turns 15, Debian publishes updated media|
|• Issue 788 (2018-11-05): Clu Linux Live 6.0, examining RAM consumpion, finding support for older CPUs, more Steam support for running Windows games on Linux, update from Solus team|
|• Issue 787 (2018-10-29): Lubuntu 18.10, limiting application access to specific users, Haiku hardware compatibility list, IBM purchasing Red Hat|
|• Issue 786 (2018-10-22): elementary OS 5.0, why init keeps running, DragonFly BSD enables virtual machine memory resizing, KDE neon plans to drop older base|
|• Issue 785 (2018-10-15): Reborn OS 2018.09, Nitrux 1.0.15, swapping hard drives between computers, feren OS tries KDE spin, power savings coming to Linux|
|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
|• Issue 783 (2018-10-01): Quirky 8.6, setting up dual booting with Ubuntu and FreeBSD, Lubuntu switching to LXQt, Mint works on performance improvements|
|• Issue 782 (2018-09-24): Bodhi Linux 5.0.0, Elive 3.0.0, Solus publishes ISO refresh, UBports invites feedback, Linux Torvalds plans temporary vacation|
|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
|• Issue 780 (2018-09-10): Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling, Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali Linux, finding the right video drivers|
|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
|• Issue 778 (2018-08-27): GuixSD 0.15.0, ReactOS 0.4.9, Steam supports Windows games on Linux, Haiku plans for beta, merging disk partitions|
|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 220.127.116.11, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
|• Issue 776 (2018-08-13): NomadBSD 1.1, Maximum storage limits on Linux, openSUSE extends life for 42.3, updates to the Librem 5 phone interface|
|• Issue 775 (2018-08-06): Secure-K OS 18.5, Linux is about choice, Korora tests community spin, elementary OS hires developer, ReactOS boots on Btrfs|
|• Issue 774 (2018-07-30): Ubuntu MATE & Ubuntu Budgie 18.04, upgrading software from source, Lubuntu shifts focus, NetBSD changes support policy|
|• Issue 773 (2018-07-23): Peppermint OS 9, types of security used by different projects, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25|
|• Issue 772 (2018-07-16): Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre 0.2.4, UBports running desktop applications, OpenBSD auto-joins wi-fi networks, boot environments and zedenv|
|• Issue 771 (2018-07-09): Linux Lite 4.0, checking CPUs for bugs, configuring GRUB, Mint upgrade instructions, SUSE acquired by EQT|
|• Issue 770 (2018-07-02): Linux Mint 19, Solus polishes desktop experience, MintBox Mini 2, changes to Fedora's installer|
|• Issue 769 (2018-06-25): BunsenLabs Helium, counting Ubuntu users, UBports upgrading to 16.04, Fedora CoreOS, FreeBSD turns 25|
|• Issue 768 (2018-06-18): Devuan 2.0.0, using pkgsrc to manage software, the NOVA filesystem, OpenBSD handles successful cron output|
|• Issue 767 (2018-06-11): Android-x86 7.1-r1, transferring files over OpenSSH with pipes, LFS with Debian package management, Haiku ports LibreOffice|
|• Issue 766 (2018-06-04): openSUSE 15, overview of file system links, Manjaro updates Pamac, ReactOS builds itself, Bodhi closes forums|
|• Issue 765 (2018-05-28): Pop!_OS 18.04, gathering system information, Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie|
|• Issue 764 (2018-05-21): DragonFly BSD 5.2.0, Tails works on persistent packages, Ubuntu plans new features, finding services affected by an update|
|• Issue 763 (2018-05-14): Fedora 28, Debian compatibility coming to Chrome OS, malware found in some Snaps, Debian's many flavours|
|• Issue 762 (2018-05-07): TrueOS 18.03, live upgrading Raspbian, Mint plans future releases, HardenedBSD to switch back to OpenSSL|
|• Issue 761 (2018-04-30): Ubuntu 18.04, accessing ZFS snapshots, UBports to run on Librem 5 phones, Slackware makes PulseAudio optional|
|• Issue 760 (2018-04-23): Chakra 2017.10, using systemd to hide files, Netrunner's ARM edition, Debian 10 roadmap, Microsoft develops Linux-based OS|
|• Issue 759 (2018-04-16): Neptune 5.0, building containers with Red Hat, antiX introduces Sid edition, fixing filenames on the command line|
|• Issue 758 (2018-04-09): Sortix 1.0, openSUSE's Transactional Updates, Fedora phasing out Python 2, locating portable packages|
|• Issue 757 (2018-04-02): Gatter Linux 0.8, the UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook, Red Hat turns 25, super long term support kernels|
|• Issue 756 (2018-03-26): NuTyX 10.0, Neptune supplies Debian users with Plasma 5.12, SolydXK on a Raspberry Pi, SysV init development|
|• Issue 755 (2018-03-19): Learning with ArchMerge and Linux Academy, Librem 5 runs Plasma Mobile, Cinnamon gets performance boost|
|• Issue 754 (2018-03-12): Reviewing Sabayon and Antergos, the growing Linux kernel, BSDs getting CPU bug fixes, Manjaro builds for ARM devices|
|• Issue 753 (2018-03-05): Enso OS 0.2, KDE Plasma 5.12 features, MX Linux prepares new features, interview with MidnightBSD's founder|
|• Issue 752 (2018-02-26): OviOS 2.31, performing off-line upgrades, elementary OS's new installer, UBports gets test devices, Redcore team improves security|
|• Issue 751 (2018-02-19): DietPi 6.1, testing KDE's Plasma Mobile, Nitrux packages AppImage in default install, Solus experiments with Wayland|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
Stella is a CentOS-based Linux distribution with focus on user-friendly desktop computing with GNOME 2 and out-of-the-box support for many popular multimedia formats. Besides standard upstream software, the project also maintains its own repository containing LibreOffice and a variety of useful desktop applications.