| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 724, 7 August 2017
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Arch Linux is a popular rolling release distribution which maintains a simple design. Arch's do-it-yourself approach and constantly updated repository of software have made it an attractive operating system for many people. However, getting started with Arch Linux takes an investment in time and effort. This has given rise to a large number of Arch-based distributions which automate much of the installation and initial configuration. One such project is SwagArch, an Arch-based distribution featuring the Xfce desktop environment and graphical installer. Our Feature Story this week explores SwagArch and reports on the project's features. In our News section we talk about Fedora 24 approaching the end of its supported life, Manjaro's OpenRC community spins branching off to become a separate distribution and Red Hat planning to drop support for the advanced Btr file system. We also link to a discussion on whether Debian will continue to create live desktop ISO images. Plus we attempt to clear up common misunderstandings about the Unity desktop, Ubuntu Touch and related technologies in our Myths and Misunderstandings column. The Unity desktop's future is the subject of our Opinion Poll and we hope you will share your thoughts on Unity with us. We are pleased to bring you the project releases of the past week and the list of torrents we are seeding. Plus this week we added a new project to our database, Nitrux, which features the custom Nomad desktop. Finally, we are happy to donate funds to the Krita project which develops powerful drawing and painting software. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: SwagArch GNU/Linux 2017.06
- News: Manjaro's OpenRC spin becomes its own distro, Fedora 24 approaching its EOL, Red Hat plans to drop Btrfs support, Debian discusses future of live desktop images
- Myths and misunderstandings: Myths and misunderstandings: Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch
- Released last week: Ubuntu 16.04.3, DragonFly Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, BSD 4.8.1
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, Antergos, AUSTRUMI, Bluestar, DragonFly BSD, Lliurex, NethServer, OPNsense, SmartOS, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie
- Upcoming releases: Tails 3.1
- Opinion poll: The Unity 7 desktop environment
- DistroWatch.com donation: Krita
- New additions: Nitrux
- New distributions: Artix Linux, AmorodLinux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
SwagArch GNU/Linux 2017.06
SwagArch GNU/Linux is a relatively new addition to the DistroWatch database. The distribution is based on Arch Linux and is developed for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. Like its parent, SwagArch is a rolling release distribution. Unlike its parent, SwagArch's installation media ships with a live desktop environment and a graphical system installer which should make it a lot easier to set up the distribution quickly.
I downloaded the distribution's sole edition which is available as a 1.1GB download. Booting from the downloaded image launches the Xfce desktop environment. The desktop is arranged with a panel at the top of the screen which holds an application menu and system tray. At the bottom of the screen is a panel containing quick-launch buttons and icons representing open windows. Once the Xfce desktop finishes loading, the distribution automatically launches the Calamares system installer to assist us in setting up our new copy of SwagArch.
Calamares is a graphical installer which has been increasingly popular among Arch-based distributions recently. The installer is quite friendly and streamlined, reminding me a lot of Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer. We are walked through the usual steps of selecting our preferred language, our time zone and providing our keyboard's layout. Calamares offers both automated and manual disk partitioning options. I mostly used the manual options during my trial and found the manual options to be both flexible and easy to navigate. We conclude by creating a username and password for a new user account and then wait while Calamares sets up the operating system.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The Calamares installer
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The first time I went through the installation process, Calamares locked up 83% of the way through its work. The status bar in the installer indicated it froze while "Running mrpacman operation". I left the system running to see if it would sort out the problem, but after two hours I gave in and started over. The second time through I switched from manual to automated partitioning to see if a default disk layout would help. This time Calamares crashed almost immediately after I created a user account.
The third time I went through the installation process, Calamares again froze at the 83% completion mark. I opened a terminal and did some looking at the running processes. I discovered a number of package management processes were running, including pacman (specifically the "pacman -Syyu --noconfirm" command) and the Pamac daemon process. Forcing these two processes to terminate unlocked Calamares and the installer completed its work successfully.
Once Calamares finished its work, I rebooted the computer and SwagArch presented me with a graphical login screen. Signing in brought me back to the Xfce desktop environment. I explored running SwagArch in two environments, a VirtualBox virtual machine and a desktop computer. When running in VirtualBox SwagArch worked smoothly. The distribution was responsive, stable and automatically integrated with the virtual environment. I had a fairly positive experience with SwagArch on my desktop computer too. The system was quick to boot, Xfce was responsive and the operating system worked well with my computer's hardware. In either test environment SwagArch required about 330MB of memory when sitting idle at the desktop.
I had just two minor complaints related to hardware during my trial. The first was SwagArch's printer manager was unable to properly set up my HP printer as the distribution does not include the necessary driver. This could be worked around if one is willing to hunt down additional drivers, but most Linux distributions can automatically set up my printer without extra steps. The other item which bothered me was clicking the logout button in Xfce would cause my computer's internal speaker to beep. Most distributions do not (thankfully) make any use of my computer's internal speaker and it was an unwelcome feature.
SwagArch ships with a small collection of desktop software. Looking through the application menu we can find Firefox is installed for us. Flash is not available by default, but we can install Adobe's Flash plugin from the distribution's repositories. Network Manager is present to help us get on-line. The GNU Image Manipulation Program and the Risteretto image viewer are present to help us view and edit image files. The VLC multimedia player and the Rhythmbox audio player are included along with a full range of media codecs. The Xfburn application assists us in burning optical media. SwagArch also features a text editor, the Thunar file manager, an archive manager and document viewer. There is a tool for renaming files in bulk and the KeePassX password manager is included to store account credentials for us. In the background we find the systemd init software, version 4.11 of the Linux kernel and version 7.1 of the GNU Compiler Collection.
One application which stood out was GNOME Encfs Manager. This utility creates, manages and mounts/unmounts encrypted volumes. With a few mouse clicks we can create a new encrypted storage space and select a folder where our encrypted files should be stored. Files saved in this folder are automatically encrypted (as are their file names) and stored in a hidden directory. We can mount or unmount this encrypted volume with a mouse click. When attempting to create or mount an encrypted volume we are prompted to provide a password. GNOME Encfs Manager is probably the easiest encrypted volume manager I have had the pleasure of using and it worked for me without any problems. I definitely recommend it for people who want a lightweight security option for casual encryption.
SwagArch 2017.06 --The GNOME Encfs Manager application
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There were some other features of SwagArch which stood out. For example, there is an icon in the system tray that, when clicked, opens a window where we can search for files by name. This gives us quick access to files not only in our home directory, but anywhere on the operating system. The search feature works very quickly and has a simple interface.
Another characteristic I noticed is the distribution's default command line prompt is unusually long and colourful. The prompt is spread over two lines and contains six distinct colours. I found this loud and long prompt distracting and chose to change it, but I can see how the various colours could help a person quickly find a piece of information such as the current time, directory or username.
Unlike most Linux distributions, SwagArch does not feature a desktop task manager in the usual sense. There is a panel at the bottom of the screen which displays quick-launch buttons and icons for open windows. However, this panel is often covered by the windows of running applications. We if wish we can add a classic task manager to Xfce's top panel with a few mouse clicks.
One surprise the distribution gave me was the OpenSSH client software (including ssh, sftp and scp) is not present by default. It is an unusual omission and the OpenSSH software can be installed from the distribution's software repositories.
When software updates are available for the distribution a red icon is displayed in the system tray. Clicking on this icon opens a graphical update manager. The update manager shows a list of new packages along with a comparison of the old vs new package versions and the size of each new package. We can click a box next to each entry in the list to select or dequeue a package.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The update manager
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The first day I was using SwagArch there were 101 updates totalling 148MB in size. When I attempted to install all the available updates a warning was displayed letting me know the package manager had detected a dependency loop. Choosing to proceed anyway initiated a download process which almost immediately stalled. After waiting for several minutes, I paused the download and restarted it. This caused the update manager to completely lock up and it failed to proceed. Re-launching the update manager and attempting to install new packages a third time began okay, but I found my download speed was limited to 2kB/s.
The underlying package manager used by SwagArch is pacman and I found its default repository mirrors included a server in China. Removing this mirror (along with other distant mirrors) from the list of available servers greatly improved the update manager's speed, increasing my download speed to about 20MB/s.
I continued to receive a fairly steady supply of updates during the week, usually around ten a day. Most of these installed quietly without issue. One update caused a warning to be displayed letting me know the update had changed the permission settings on my sudoers file, the file which dictates which users on the system can perform administrative actions. I then checked the file, but found its permission were the same as they had been before and secure, so I'm unsure why the update manager reported an issue.
Apart from the update manager, SwagArch includes a graphical package manager called Pamac. This simple package manager displays a list of available packages. We can click a box next to each package to mark it for installation or removal. We can search for software by name or we can filter software using pre-defined groups. These groups tend to have technical names such as "vim-plugins" or "qtcurve" rather than "Office" or "Internet" and probably will not help newcomers.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The Pamac software manager
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Pamac worked quickly and was pretty easy to navigate. However, I did run into one problem which I think is a bug. If the user selects a package to remove then the package is removed along with any other packages which depend on it. This happens without any warning being displayed to let us know other packages will be removed. In other words, if we remove a library we do not think will be needed any longer, Pamac will quietly remove the library and other software that uses the library, which may be an application, a game or even the desktop environment.
SwagArch features a settings panel which is very similar to the control panel found in Manjaro's Xfce edition. The settings panel provides simple configuration modules which help us change the look of the desktop, tweak the window manager, change the keyboard's layout, set up the firewall and adjust the display settings. Like Manjaro, SwagArch's settings panel features an icon which launches a second control panel that features modules for managing users, language support and changing the system clock. I am not a fan of having one small control panel hidden inside another and I hope both distributions unify their settings into one panel in the future.
SwagArch 2017.06 -- The settings panels
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My time with SwagArch got off to a rough beginning. While the live environment worked well enough, the Calamares installer ran into a conflict with the pacman package manager and it took a while to sort out which processes were preventing the distribution from installing. Once the distribution was installed, things mostly went smoothly. SwagArch worked well with my hardware and with the test environment. However, package management was consistently a sore point during my week. I ran into a dependency loop, a false warning about sudoers permissions and the default pacman repositories left me with very slow software downloads. It was possible to work around these issues, but requiring the user to trouble-shoot package management and adjust the default repositories does a lot to negate the benefits of using a distribution like SwagArch over plain Arch Linux.
Apart from the package management issues I encountered, SwagArch generally offered me a positive experience. The distribution provides us with a small, yet useful, collection of default applications. The distribution offers good performance and, during my week with the project, the distribution was stable.
Perhaps my favourite feature was the encrypted volume management tool which makes setting up encrypted storage space very straight forward. For people who want simple point-n-click encryption of local files, GNOME Encfs Manager is a good option.
SwagArch has a slightly macOS style feel. The bottom panel with its bouncy icons and the spinning "beach ball" mouse pointer being the most obvious examples of macOS-like customizations. Personally, I'm not a fan of the macOS desktop, but I can see how someone coming from a macOS background would feel more at home with SwagArch as a result of these little touches.
This distribution appears to be fairly young and there are a number of little issues to work out, but nothing major that can't be fixed for the next snapshot. I think the minimal application set along with the responsive Xfce desktop and easy to use system installer will appeal to people who like the philosophy of Arch Linux while also wanting a distribution that can be set up with a handful of mouse clicks.
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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
SwagArch has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.8/10 from 39 review(s).
Have you used SwagArch? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Manjaro's OpenRC spin becomes its own distro, Fedora 24 approaching its EOL, Red Hat plans to drop Btrfs support, Debian discusses future of live desktop images
A post on the Manjaro Linux forum indicates that the distribution will no longer feature community editions offering the OpenRC init software. Manjaro primarily uses systemd for its init implementation, but has also provided community spins which run OpenRC. These community editions are being discontinued and the OpenRC flavour is becoming a new distribution, called Artix Linux. "I am sad to inform you that Manjaro OpenRC will be discontinued, won't receive updates any longer. You might think that is bad news, but it really isn't, since OpenRC and non-systemd moved to its own distro called Artix Linux. More details to come, we are currently working on a home page, and transition instructions to convert your Manjaro into Artix." Further discussion on this topic can be found in this forum thread.
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A post on Fedora Magazine reminds readers that Fedora 24 will reach the end of its supported life on August 8, 2017. "With the recent release of Fedora 26, Fedora 24 officially enters End Of Life (EOL) status on August 8th, 2017. After August 8th, all packages in the Fedora 24 repositories no longer receive security, bugfix, or enhancement updates. Furthermore, no new packages will be added to the Fedora 24 collection. Upgrading to Fedora 25 or Fedora 26 before August 8th 2017 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 24." The post includes links to articles explaining how to upgrade Fedora 24 to more recent versions of the distribution.
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Red Hat announced a new version of their Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution on August 1st. The new release, version 7.4, contains mostly minor updates and a few security improvements. Old and vulnerable cryptography functions were removed and file system improvements were introduced. One of the more popular additions to Red Hat's product may be the real-time kernel which will be useful for systems with timing consistency requirements. One announcement that caused some surprise was the plan to remove the advanced Btr file system from future releases: "The Btrfs file system has been in Technology Preview state since the initial release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6. Red Hat will not be moving Btrfs to a fully supported feature and it will be removed in a future major release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The Btrfs file system did receive numerous updates from the upstream in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 and will remain available in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 series. However, this is the last planned update to this feature."
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Paul Wise has echoed a concern by Steve McIntyre about Debian's live desktop images. During the release of Debian 9 "Stretch" it was discovered that the live images included a flaw which prevented people from installing the operating system. This same bug was not included in the standard installation media. The existence of this bug at the time of release suggests live images are not being tested thoroughly and the Debian team is wondering whether it is worth keeping the live images if they are not receiving enough attention. Wise wrote: "Steve McIntyre is questioning if Debian Live has a future and calling for help with testing and developing the Debian Live images. If people do not show up to help, then he will disable building live images altogether and the only option for using Debian will be to install it before using it." McIntyre's original message about maintaining live images and the ongoing discussion can be found on the Debian Live mailing list.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Myths and Misunderstandings (by Jesse Smith)
Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch
When Canonical announced in April that the company, which supports the development of the Ubuntu distribution, would cease work on the Unity desktop environment and its Ubuntu Touch technologies, it created a good deal of confusion. Over the past few months I have encountered many people who are unclear on what this change means, particularly for Ubuntu desktop users and the Ubuntu GNOME project. There are also unanswered questions about the current status of Unity 7, Unity 8, Mir and the mobile version of Ubuntu. In this column I will try to clear up some of the common misunderstandings about these technologies and their futures.
What is Ubuntu's new desktop environment?
Let us begin with the Desktop edition of Ubuntu. What technologies will future versions of Ubuntu run if the Unity desktop is no longer being developed? Future versions of Ubuntu, beginning with version 17.10, will feature the GNOME desktop. At this point in time there is some debate as to whether Ubuntu 17.10 will run GNOME with the X display server or using Wayland. The developers appear to want to move toward Wayland (and that is the likely course of action), but there are some issues to deal with before GNOME running on Wayland offers an experience on par with GNOME on X.
Is Unity 7 dead?
Unity 7 was the default desktop environment for Ubuntu users for the past several years. While new development on Unity 7 has ceased, existing versions of the desktop are still being supported. Unity 7 shipped with Ubuntu 16.04 and will continue to receive security fixes through to the year 2021. This means if you were already running Unity 7, you can continue to do so for about four more years.
What happened to Unity 8?
While Canonical has stopped work on the Unity 8 desktop for mobile devices and desktops, the open source community continues to work on the desktop. A team has launched Yunit, a community run fork of Unity 8. The Yunit project has brought the Unity 8 desktop experience to Debian (and its derivatives) along with packages for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and its derivatives.
There has been some debate over whether Yunit will remove Mir support and create their own implementation of the Wayland protocol, or work to add Wayland support to the Mir display software which Yunit currently uses.
The question as to whether Yunit should use Wayland or Mir in the future has caused some confusion, in large part because of misunderstandings about these two technologies. Wayland is a protocol which can be implemented by desktop developers. This is why KDE, GNOME and other desktops each have their own development efforts to support the Wayland protocol through their individual window managers. Mir, on the other hand, is a display server. It is not just a protocol, it is an implementation. The Mir software could, in theory at least, implement the Wayland protocol.
Wasn't Mir discontinued too?
While Canonical is no longer working on the Unity 8 desktop environment, the display software Unity 8 was running on, Mir, is proving to be useful in other areas and Canonical is still working on it.
The MATE and Yunit projects may benefit from ongoing work on Mir as both desktop environments want to implement the Wayland protocol, but have limited resources with which to implement Wayland support. Using Mir as a common component and adding Wayland support to Mir would allow these desktop environments to share resources and gain Wayland support without needing to write it from scratch.
One way or another, Yunit should work with the Wayland protocol in the future, but whether this is achieved by adapting Mir to support Wayland, or whether Yunit will develop its own Wayland implementation remains to be seen.
What about Ubuntu GNOME?
With the main edition of Ubuntu switching to the GNOME desktop, what does this mean for Ubuntu GNOME and its users? The community edition Ubuntu GNOME is going to be discontinued. The Ubuntu GNOME project's resources and efforts are going to be shifted to help with Ubuntu's Desktop edition. People who are currently running Ubuntu GNOME should be able to upgrade to future versions of Ubuntu using the system's update manger.
Is the Ubuntu Phone dead?
Canonical has stopped working on the Ubuntu Touch operating system for mobile devices. However, a community project called UBports has taken over development of the mobile operating system. UBports is supplying updates to devices which already run the Ubuntu Touch operating system. The project is also expanding support to new devices.
At the moment no retailers are selling Ubuntu phones in stores, but it is possible to purchase a supported Android phone and install UBports, or to ask someone familiar with UBports to install the operating system on your phone.
The UBports project is upgrading their software to use Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as a base and pairing with the Yunit project to maintain the mobile operating system's touch interface.
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More commonly misunderstood topics can be found in our article archive.
|Released Last Week
Robert van Papeveld has announced the release of a new version of OPNsense, a FreeBSD-based operating system for firewalls and routers. The new version, OPNsense 17.7, features SafeStack hardening, many updated language translations and an updated Realtek driver which should improve network stability. "We are writing to you today to announce the final release of version 17.7 'Free Fox', which, over the course of the last 6 months, includes highlights such as SafeStack application hardening, the Realtek re driver for better network stability, a Quagga plugin with broad routing protocol support and the Unbound resolver as the new default. Additionally, translations for Czech, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and German have been completed for the first time during this development cycle. Focus in OPNsense has shifted to improving and streamlining its various systems and providing continuous updates, which amounts to over 300 individual changes made since 17.1 so far. The plugin infrastructure is growing as well thanks to our awesome contributors Frank Wall, Frank Brendel, Fabian Franz and Michael Muenz. And we, last but not least, have been working more closely than ever with HardenedBSD by unifying our ports infrastructure." More information is available in the project's release announcement.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4, the latest update of the company's enterprise-class Linux distribution. This version focuses heavily on mitigating current IT infrastructure threats: "Red Hat, Inc. today announced the general availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, the latest version of the world's leading enterprise Linux platform. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 offers new automation capabilities designed to limit IT complexity while enhancing workload security and performance. This provides a powerful, flexible operating system backbone to address enterprise IT needs across physical servers, virtual machines and hybrid, public and multi-cloud footprints. As threats to IT infrastructure evolve, enterprises require more security innovation in their software stack to help prevent breaches and more proactively manage vulnerabilities. This innovation starts at the operating system level, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 brings to bear new and enhanced features." See the official press release and the technical release notes for further information.
DragonFly BSD 4.8.1
Justin Sherrill has announced the availability of a new update to the DragonFly BSD operating system. The new release, version 4.8.1, includes a number of kernel performance improvements, better Intel video driver support, and installing in UEFI environments with GPT disk layouts is now supported. "The installer can now create an EFI or legacy installation. Numerous adjustments have been made to userland utilities and the kernel to support EFI as a mainstream boot environment. The /boot file system may now be placed either in its own GPT slice, or in a DragonFly disklabel inside a GPT slice. DragonFly, by default, creates a GPT slice for all of DragonFly and places a DragonFly disklabel inside it with all the standard DFly partitions, such that the disk names are roughly the same as they would be in a legacy system. The i915 driver has been updated to match the version found with the Linux 4.6 kernel. (Linux 4.7 in the DragonFly 4.8.1 release.) Broadwell and Skylake processor users will see improvements." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement. Download: dfly-x86_64-4.8.1_REL.iso.bz2 (245MB, MD5, pkglist).
Adam Conrad has announced the release of a new maintenance update for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and the Ubuntu Community Edition projects. The new version, Ubuntu 16.04.3, provides fresh installation media with bug fixes and minor updates, but does not represent a new version of the open source operating system. "Like previous LTS series, 16.04.3 includes hardware enablement stacks for use on newer hardware. This support is offered on all architectures except for 32-bit powerpc, and is installed by default when using one of the desktop images. Ubuntu Server defaults to installing the GA kernel, however you may select the HWE kernel from the installer bootloader. As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS." Additional information can be found in the release announcement and in the change summary.
Ubuntu 16.04.3 -- Running the Unity desktop
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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. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 521
- Total data uploaded: 14.9TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
The Unity 7 desktop environment
Earlier this year Canonical announced they will no longer put new development efforts into the Unity 7 & 8 desktop environments. Some open source developers have forked Unity 8, the experimental convergence desktop, into a project called Yunit and picked up development where Canonical stopped. While Unity 8 lives on in Yunit, no equivalent team has stepped forward to keep Unity 7 development going, despite the fact Unity 7 was the default desktop environment for millions of Ubuntu users. Some people have put forward the question whether the community should fork and maintain the Unity 7 desktop for laptop and workstations.
What do you think? Is it worthwhile for the open source community to keep Unity 7 running, or should Unity 7 fade away and be replaced by other desktop environments?
You can see the results of our previous poll on transferring packages to a different operating system in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
The Unity 7 desktop environment
|I want to see Unity 7 continue: ||419 (19%)|
| Let Unity 7 die: ||1160 (53%)|
| No opinion: ||603 (28%)|
July 2017 DistroWatch.com donation: Krita
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the July 2017 DistroWatch.com donation is Krita. The project receives US$250.00 in cash.
Krita is a free and open source drawing and painting application. It is often used to make digital concept art, illustrations and comics. The Krita software is cross-platform and releases are made available through AppImage packages so users do not need to wait for new versions to appear in their distributions' repositories. Recently the Krita Foundation received a large and unexpected tax bill and the project is raising funds to continue to pay the developers.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and crypto currencies are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has made 149 donations for a total of US$47,339 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350), Kodi ($300), Devuan ($300), hdparm ($350), HardenedBSD ($400), TestDisk ($450)
- 2016: KeePass ($400), Slackware Live Edition ($406), Devil-Linux ($400), FFmpeg ($300), UBports ($300)
- 2017: Armbian ($308),
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New projects added to database
Nitrux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution focusing on portable universal app formats, using the Nomad desktop environment, built on top of KDE Plasma 5 and Qt. Nitrux features the Babe music player and the Nomad Firewall utility.
Nitrux 1.0.2 -- The default Nomad desktop and application menu
(full image size: 56kB, resolution: resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Artix Linux. Artix Linux is a rolling release distribution in the Arch Linux/Manjaro family. It features the OpenRC init software and the LXQt desktop environment.
- AmorodLinux. AmorodLinux is a Debian-based distribution used for system maintenance. AmorodLinux is built using packages from Debian's Unstable (Sid) branch and includes anti-virus, disk partitioning and partitioning imaging tools. The default desktop environment is Xfce.
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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, 14 August 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)
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1 • Swag Arch (by Linuxista on 2017-08-07 00:28:20 GMT from United States) |
I can't see the point of Swag Arch. If you want to install Arch from a respin, use Archlabs, Archbox or OB Revenge. At least with those you get a well-configured Openbox desktop to start with, or Openbox AND i3 in the case of Archlabs. This is real value added by the distro developers that would take hours of configuring to get to an equivalent point of usability and attractiveness. XFCE is so easy to install and configure on Arch there is almost no value added to having it pre-installed as your desktop. Swag appears to be nothing more than an (badly implemented) installer and a vanity distro project, like all the Ubuntu respins of yore.
2 • RE: Swag Arch (by M. Edward (Ed) Borasky on 2017-08-07 01:09:59 GMT from United States)
Yeah, as far as I'm concerned Arch is fine as is - no extra package managers, live media, etc. Yes, it could use a better installer, but I'm fine with "ArchBoot".
3 • Debian - its not just the LiveCD that has boot/install problems (by DistroRolling on 2017-08-07 02:29:56 GMT from Philippines)
Oh, Debian Stretch... Its not just the live cd that is having install or boot problems. i have been using the normal dvd install disks and when you install on a system with an already installed windows on a separate harddisk, this will not install the necessary boot files needed for the system to boot up. whether you use grub or bios mode, or uefi system will not boot up. You need to manually fix and reinstall grub/eufi using another debian/ubuntu livecd.
The KDE install also is very unstable.
4 • Debian Live (by Ben Myers on 2017-08-07 03:37:49 GMT from United States)
I urge the Debian crew to keep the live desktops and to test them well. I use the live distros to test and evaluate their features, and it takes a lot less time to do it live than to run through a full install. Who knows? Maybe some day after running a live Debian distro, I may be convinced to make it my go-to distro.
5 • Swag Arch & too many Linux distros ? DISTROWATCH !! (by Greg Zeng on 2017-08-07 03:43:19 GMT from Australia)
This a standard "human resource management" issue. It will never be easily solved. Open source operating systems (BSD, Linux & Blockchain) attract many innovators, who cannot work well in teams, or with other people. For example, "parenting" distributions (Red Hat, Debian, Arch, etc) spawn many children & grand-children. Generally the parents are being so true to themselves, that they ignore the suggested "innovations" of their offspring.
In the "individualism" bias, it is easiest to avoid group discussion-decisions by sole-hero bravery, or vanity-publishing. This explains DIVERSITY. Cognitive overload prevents everyone benefitting from so much diversity. This is why "DISTROWATCH" exists. DISTROWATCH "summarizes" overwhelming complexity (too much DATA) into rational, digestible INFORMATION.
6 • Swag Arch (by Roger Brown on 2017-08-07 03:59:30 GMT from Australia)
I tried Swag Arch a couple of weeks ago on a VM (which I still have). I had no issues with the installer and found this distro to be a quite effective and fast method of getting a reasonably 'pure' Arch installation going.
I thought it had some of the user friendliness of Manjaro without the disadvantage of the delayed updates.
Like all these 'Arch inspired' distros, it *is* Arch under the hood - at least a basic knowledge of the underlying OS is always an advantage.
But it's well worth a try.
7 • Debian CD1 & Live ISO installer broken (by Re: 3 on 2017-08-07 05:38:29 GMT from United Kingdom)
Debian 9 live ISO insatller requires network to install. Wont proceed without setting up soruce.list. FAIL!
Debian 9 CD1 which comes with XFCE installs without network in VirtualBOx but won't even boot in real machine. FAIL AGAIN!
Debian need to fix their live ISO installer and it should be default not dropped. Debian 4 installer was also broken which drove me to Ubuntu. Unity drove me back to Debian 7/8 with XFCE. Now I am in process of moving from Debian 8.9 to Xubuntu 16.04.3 for all my machines.
8 • Debian Live (by Simon Morgan on 2017-08-07 07:56:30 GMT from United States)
The issue is not just the Live images. Debian Stretch is quite a disaster and not what one would expect.
9 • Oh Dear (by Darren Hale on 2017-08-07 09:58:59 GMT from New Zealand)
Sad times for a once great distro. Debian wouldn't release till the bugs were worked out. Conservative was their mantra then they force systemd - try removing that from Buster.
I have one message for Debian - check your work before releasing.
10 • Swag-ger (by Simpleton on 2017-08-07 10:39:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
As usual, Jesse's review is comprehensive, informative and honest - but Jesse may be far too generous? His comments might suggest it's an unnecessary lemon. That seems to concord with No. & No.2, above. Show-stoppers from the start, lotsa bugs to squash. The main conclusion from his review is that Xfce is still a great DT, despite the ham-fisted application of those developers.
11 • Debian LiveCDs (by Someone on 2017-08-07 11:09:21 GMT from Greece)
I was thinking lately about how much Debian changed from version 5 to version 9. I concluded that Debian is a Server OS with Desktop features on top. Reading about the LiveCDs today, I was right. Ubuntu and its derivatives are more important that I used to think.
12 • Unity, Artix (by a on 2017-08-07 11:49:21 GMT from France)
I voted "let it die" because I tried to use Ubuntu 17.04 and couldn’t even find how to list the installed programs or open a terminal… I don’t understand how this can be the main/default user interface for that distro…
About Artix, it’s good news because using OpenRC under Manjaro was too complicated. But without 32 bit packages it’s of no use to me. Anyway since it’s based on Arch it will break too often for my taste (and yes I know what I’m talking about, I used Arch for five years.)
13 • Swag Arch + Debian (by Bonky Ozmond on 2017-08-07 12:17:14 GMT from Nicaragua)
agree with (No1 +5) I applaud any new Distros its great people still develop them I just wish people would try to do something different as many could almost be exactly the same with different wall papers,
Linux used to be great distro hopping every new distro when it came out as people had different ideas and tried different things, now i have to check which one i am trying as it's hard to find differences
I guess the will to compete against MS and recently systemD has unified a lot
Swag installed ok But i dont like Installers prefer old ways...
I cant say its is a bad distro it kept things minimal and i liked the encrypt thing like jesse
I like Arch and i liked Manjaro,and Arch bang....and i could just as easy like Swag......though ill stick with Gentoo and Sackware for now
On the Manaro subject The RC community edition was seen as a big thing for them at one time...now its gone on its own ....wonder if there was bickering in the forums again, one reason i stopped using Manjaro.
Debian oh Debian what are you doing...you used to be THE reliable distro people could depend on well tested....(never liked me much i must say) but i cant install it at all ...not going to try to hard either but surely the installer was tested on more than one computer
14 • Unity living on... (by OstroL on 2017-08-07 12:51:28 GMT from Poland)
>> Is Unity 7 dead?
Unity 7 was the default desktop environment for Ubuntu users for the past several years. While new development on Unity 7 has ceased, existing versions of the desktop are still being supported... <<
You can install Unity in default Ubuntu 17.10 and use Unity without the Gnome shell, GDM, Gnome session etc. Unity works quite well with Ubuntu 17.10 and you can see this happening in here, https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2367282.
15 • I hate Unity Desktop, but doesn't means it should be sent to the grave :) (by BeGo on 2017-08-07 13:02:46 GMT from Indonesia)
I am confident there Those who love Unity and willing to create Unibuntu :P
16 • Debian live (by seacat on 2017-08-07 14:03:11 GMT from Argentina)
It would be a pity if Debian live is discontinued, because is very useful this version on several situations
17 • @3, @11 Debian Installer Problems (by Mike on 2017-08-07 14:37:49 GMT from Kenya)
Yes, admittedly Debian Stretch has had some problems with the installer. But once installed I have found it to be as stable as usual. I think that we shouldn't forget that as users of FOSS, we too have a responsibility. And that is we should try to help these projects, either by volunteering or by donating money to support them and thus help to improve the quality of the product!
18 • @15 (by lenn on 2017-08-07 14:39:04 GMT from Canada)
Its not a case of love and hate. Its a case of testing the Unity DE with care in the Ubuntu Forums. Its interesting that this testing is done by someone, who uses Openbox. People, who use Openbox don't care too much about DEs, but are open to test any DE without prejudice.
Debian Live was discontinued by the person, who created it, as it appears because of backstabbing. The guys, who sort of hijacked it cannot really create a good live iso, it seems.
19 • Unity (by Sasi on 2017-08-07 15:14:06 GMT from Kuwait)
Realization comes very late, for some people, be it an individual or be it an organization. The users of Ubuntu have a big sigh of relief that at least now the widely used, admired, distro has finally taken a wise decision. Gnome is slowly but steadily improving - polishing - the interface so that the large number of users can come back to its fold, as being the most user friendly environment. So, the combination would definitely take the Linux usage go a long way and would surpass the leader, in the near future. Best wishes!
20 • Unity Panel (by Paperless Tiger on 2017-08-07 15:21:33 GMT from United States)
Unity was a good idea, but they kept making it worse, less customizable and less modular. I ran Unity 2D Session for a while, because I liked the Panel, but I didn't like the clunky Dock, and I hated having to deploy the awkward, bloated Dash just to launch a program. Unity Panel with a regular menu button would be great.
21 • UNITY and Debian (by edcoolio on 2017-08-07 17:43:43 GMT from United States)
I don't cold install any distro without checking it out live. Fix the installer. No matter what anyone says, there is no excuse. This is Debian, what ever happened to no-fuss clean installs with complete distro stability as the goal before release?
Ubuntu Unity @12, 19, 20:
DIE! Die I say! All of those resources wasted on the most annoying, non-flexible desktop ever created by man. Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my drift.
I attempted to use Unity for a week and discovered very quickly that I would have to relearn everything in order to use this desktop. Needing actual production, I let it go. It occurs to me that there are many people out there that love Unity and took the (long) time to figure it out. Those people will now be rewarded with their loyalty and effort by being dropped like third period French.
Just a few changes for the people that stuck with Unity:
To quote Didier Roche (https://didrocks.fr/2017/08/03/ubuntu--guadec-2017-and-plans-for-gnome-shell-migration/)
"some things will change for our user coming from an Unity experience. Off the top of my head, global menu, the HUD, alt-tab behavior, messaging menus, volume notifications, launcher integration via running apps & software center, lenses & scopes, and other tweaks are thus not be part of the default experience anymore"
Gee... is that all? I'm sure those users that learned and stuck with the bizarre desktop will not be upset at all.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
22 • Quick search application (by Jesse on 2017-08-07 18:59:02 GMT from Canada)
Since someone e-mailed me to ask, I thought others might want to know the answer to this. The quick file search application I mentioned in the SwagArch review was called FSearch. You can find out more about the software at fsearch.org
23 • Swagarch, unity, debian live, (by RICK on 2017-08-07 19:21:18 GMT from United States)
Swagarch - welp, this seem's like a waste of resources to me...
Debian live - kinda sucks but would you really miss it? If you want a live debian-esque environment there's always ubuntu...I only use debian for servers anyway
Unity 7 - I say let it die. An idea or a feature can live on and perhaps it is a great idea to keep working on something like the HUD (perhaps making it something universal that can be added to any DE with relative ease), but we don't have to keep a whole DE going just for the sake of it "staying alive". Ideas, features, concepts can live on. A DE can die for all I care.
24 • Unity - Never liked it. Never used it. (by VT on 2017-08-07 19:36:02 GMT from United States)
Never liked the mobile/smartphone interface on the desktop --- didn't like it in Unity and don't like it in Gnome. Whether its Unity's bloated dash or Gnome's mobile inspired activities window, it's just hopelessly inefficient on a desktop. I'm not sad to see Unity go, but it's a shame they had to trade Unity for the marginally extensible, resource hungry mess that is Gnome --- the very desktop they rejected.
25 • @24 (by OstroL on 2017-08-07 20:58:07 GMT from Poland)
"Unity - Never liked it. Never used it."
and then the guy goes on to say,
"Whether its Unity's bloated dash or Gnome's mobile inspired activities window, it's just hopelessly inefficient on a desktop."
Very exact thoughts of a guy, who had NEVER used it.
26 • Red Hat and btrfs (by Simon on 2017-08-07 23:03:37 GMT from New Zealand)
Interesting that Red Hat's announcement says "FedFS has been deprecated because..." whereas its dropping Btrfs is merely announced, with no "because" to explain it.
27 • Debian Live (by MoreGee on 2017-08-08 03:13:58 GMT from United States)
I am really getting tired of forced upgraded into non booting mess.
Be it Debian or their children. All of the installers think they know better and mess up a multi boot system or create their own in compatible file system that can not share files with each other on the same box. Debian took it to a new low by letting me bypass the boot loader on install and yet messed up the boot loader. I then fixed the boot loader and every time it updates it messes up the boot loader again. I wouldn't dare try to dual boot this with windows 10. I also think it does not like IDE hard drives very much, the installer takes forever. BTW as someone else has mentioned, wifi is horribly messed up on the install programs, and will try and use it even if you want to install from the DVD. For starters the DVD should have every network driver from the dawn of time if it really has to have it. I couldn't even get a Raspberry Pi USB wifi plug to work with the installer to use to get past the first screen.
28 • Collaboration for Freedom (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-08-08 03:36:36 GMT from United States)
@13 "On the Manaro...RC community edition...gone on its own..."
There's much collab among systemdfree Arch/Manjaro devs, not bickering. Manjaro has always loved its OpenRC folks. The Artix announcement should have been phrased as a birth, not a funeral or divorce. It had a needless negative tone.
The plans I read include support for various inits in the long run, s6 and runit plus OpenRC. Artix Linux can go 100% systemdfree without following Manjaro's roadmap. So between ArchBang, Obarun, and Artix, the systemdfree folks across Archlandia can focus on systemdfreedom. I expect the pace to pick up as collaboration gathers momentum. Now may be a good time for interested devs to join.
29 • @28 Collaboration for Freedom (by mandog on 2017-08-08 03:48:49 GMT from Peru)
For once we totally agree,
Artix is doing what needs to be done to get viable alternative to Systemd.
Unfortunately that could never happen under Manjaro I said this a long time ago but was shot down in flames.
I run Artix at the moment it has a few teething problems and is based on arch this will gradually change as the Artix repros populate arch core is already gone.
Good times ahead
30 • Unity (by TheTKS on 2017-08-08 03:53:37 GMT from Canada)
First reaction to Unity was "meh", but I'm more interested in the packages than in the DE, as long as the OS just works (at least mostly) and the DE or WM is reliable and easy to use (good looking is a bonus.)
Unity grew on me enough in a week to say that it works for me, so I'm not strongly in the "kill it" camp, but other DE's appeal to me more and a slight majority seem to want something that's not Unity, so I voted kill. If enough people want to keep it going outside of Ubuntu, they can.
I'm most comfortable with Xfce (Xubuntu) and JWM (Puppy), but I'm test driving KDE and Pantheon to see if I can convince any of the visually-oriented artistic types in the family (whose computers I buy, set up and maintain) to move to or add Linux.
Basic user - email, spreadsheet, word processor, web browser cover most of what I do, but starting into CAD and graphics/animation packages, maybe will start into programming. Pretty new GNU/Linux user (Jan this year.)
31 • Btr or Naught (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-08-08 04:33:10 GMT from United States)
@26 Red Hat's phrase "Technology Preview" refers to unsupported pre-release demo software which may never reach their standard for "enterprise viability". Bug reports for such software may be stored temporarily in case the software attains supportable release.
32 • debian (by vic on 2017-08-08 05:20:02 GMT from Canada)
I went through hell also trying to get the debian installer to work, was pleasantly surprised that I could install mate (or any desktop environment) from the installer. I forget what eventually worked but at first the installer would just freeze on the second screen or something.
33 • Debian live (by denk_mal on 2017-08-08 06:40:13 GMT from Germany)
If you sit back and think of the goal for such a live distro then you maybe came to the same point as I.
- use Ubuntu for finding out the experance of Linux/Debian
- use Knoppix or some other specialized Distros for reparing and other maintaining things that need a stopped system.
- use the standard installer cd/dvd for installing.
IMHO there is no need for a debian live CD/DVD.
34 • Debian Live DVD (by Torsten on 2017-08-08 06:52:52 GMT from Germany)
Well, it's really better to install Debian 9.0 (Stretch) from Debian's netinstall. At least, this worked for me.
On the other hand, I really cannot understand why Debian's maintainers didn't tested their Live images BEFORE they released them. This really is embarrassing, I think. Such things shouldn't happen.
35 • Unity will survive. (by Garon on 2017-08-08 12:48:26 GMT from United States)
A lot of comments about Unity. Some based on fact and some based on just an opinion, some informed and some uninformed. When Unity came out on Ubuntu I had a hard time with it for a couple of days. When a person puts a little effort into something they can usually find success. That's how it was with me. I think it's funny when people diss Unity and haven't tried it or spent much time with it. Unity is customizable very much. People who say that it wasn't was very wrong. After you used Unity for a short time and was serious about it you would learn that it was very efficient. Unity will not die. It will live on in other distros whether as the default desktop or as an addon. Whole or in parts. There were certain aspects of Unity I wish were done different and maybe that could happen now. I voted to let Unity continue whether I use it or not. That's the way it should be.
36 • Btrfs in RedHat? Not invented here ... (by curious on 2017-08-08 13:00:42 GMT from Germany)
That was to be expected. RedHat will always prefer to support technologies developed by themselves, even if they are inferior. As to filesystems, they obviously prefer Ext4.
XFS support (actually the default now iirc) ONLY came about because some of their enterprise customers demanded it. And that will be the only realistic scenario for Btrfs - enterprise customers would have to demand it. This might actually happen someday, if one considers all the advanced features that make a lot of sense in an enterprise/server environment.
Of course, many other distributions support the whole range of filesystems that linux can potentially support, and leave the choice to the end user / admin - as it should be.
37 • Unity / Debian 9 (by Winchester on 2017-08-08 13:41:22 GMT from United States)
I am not a huge fan of Unity but,I used it with the Oz Unity "Star Sapphire" 14.04 LTS distribution. I would say that it is slightly more usable than Gnome 3 for my purposes. If the machine it is deployed on is strong enough to handle it. The zeitgeist packages eat up system resources. I am not a big Gnome 3 user either although I do like having the "Nautilus" file manager and "File Roller" on at least one partition.
"Oz Unity Star Sapphire" has been discontinued but,the 14.04 LTS base is still supported with updates for another year and a half plus. Not much different than its parent but,slightly more visually appealing if you like this family of distributions. I don't use it much but,once every so often,I do.
As far as Debian 9 goes,there is plenty of time for them to sort things out. Debian 8 is still supported with updates for 2 and a half more years. One could just continue with Debian 8 while waiting to see if Debian 9 gets ironed out over the next 30 months. Derivatives are also an option.
38 • Technology previews (by Microlinux on 2017-08-08 14:16:57 GMT from Austria)
In my brain, the term "technology preview" is wired somewhere next to "wisdom tooth extraction" or "waiting line at the embassy". It's OK to include these in Fedora or similar bleeding edge distributions. But as a sysadmin, I only want to use reliable components. Understand: those that can be used even by folks with blood pressure issues. Hence my preference for RHEL/CentOS, where everything JustWorks(tm).
39 • @ 35 Unity will survive. (by lenn on 2017-08-08 14:19:13 GMT from Canada)
I think it will. There is no pressure on the devs at Cannonical to keep developing it. All the pressure is with the "gnome devs" there now to get a working distro out by the release day of 17.10 Artful. Like the guy at Ubuntu forums, who is testing Unity on Ubuntu 17.10 and without the Gnome shell, I also did the same thing after reading what he did.
It is as though a normal Ubuntu release with Unity as default. Few days ago, there were even few Unity only upgrades. If upgrades are coming, someone is working on it. When Unity works well, even without upgrades means that Unity is good. I am going to keep on testing it in day to day work.
I have a feeling that Unity would come alive later. The people, who say "let it die" are those, who had never used it, and those simply like to hate something. In the Linux world, such haters shouldn't be. This is a community world.
40 • Artix or Dead-Endix ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2017-08-08 18:49:48 GMT from France)
I'm not that optimistic about artix future, for two main reasons.
1) Since october 2012 when Archlinux switched to systemd, arch-based + other inits distribution were not very lucky. Besides Obarun S6 and Archbang, which one survived ?
2) If I want binary packages + OpenRC in a rolling release model = Calculate. For runit ? I'll choose void. If I want s6, I'll choose Obarun.
And some other little things :
1) how many people working on it?
2) how many users?
3) why choosing lxqt by default? Lxde is far more complete for a daily computing work.
I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see what is the user market for Artix, besides die-hard "pro-init choice" people. Where pro-init means anything but not systemd.
41 • Unity fork hardly noteworthy (by david esktorp on 2017-08-08 18:53:04 GMT from United States)
I fail to see the significance of such a small group of people trying to keep Unity going. It was reported upon and relatively nothing has happened since then-- why dredge it up? Yunit? Cmon gtfo here with this stuff guys. How about Junkit? At this point, there are probably more people using i3 than Unity. How much longer are we going to be expected to care about that whole mess anyway? Is it noteworthy / newsworthy simply because it was jettisoned from Ubuntu's stinking maw? Can't we just toss it in the growing pile of failures called Unity and move on? How many half-assed, abandoned desktop environments do we need?
Linux: Land of the Divided and Conquered
42 • @29 (by Justin on 2017-08-08 19:11:34 GMT from United States)
I'm still not clear on what Artix is when it comes to packaging. Is it going to be like Arch and stay up to date, or will it be like Manjaro and hold stuff back? I like the consolidation if it will mean a better overall system (I was fine with arch-openrc, so I'm having trouble seeing how this is better, but it's still early). Being able to use s6, runit, etc., would be a welcome change. I read some of the Manjaro exchange, and I like the idea of being able to select the one I want. That's how systemd should have been in Debian and elsewhere. I also want to see projects like Archbang continue, so combining with arch-openrc and Manjaro, if it does that, then that's a good thing.
43 • Artix Is Not Ready (by Jay on 2017-08-08 19:51:07 GMT from United States)
I downloaded the base image. It booted to a large bootloader screen (not VGA resolution but something hi-res that makes Virtualbox jump to a different monitor). I picked the "CD" option (not sure what the heck this is versus USB nor why I need to tell the boot media what it is) and booted to the command line. From there... nothing. I couldn't find a way to start an installer. I went back to the boot menu (the place where I couldn't figure out why I had to tell it if I was on a CD or USB) and selected something that sounded like it might be install. That caused the VM to hang. Okay, scrap that, and let's move on.
Next, I tried the LXQT version. I took the same steps and got to a LXQT desktop. Yay! I went to the menu and selected "Calamares" (not probably obvious to a new user, but hey, a shortcut at the top could fix that). Then I went through the install and took the defaults. I need to maximize the window because it was large than the VM screen resolution (640x480), and I couldn't see buttons on the partition screen (other distros have this problem without virtualbox-guest-utils). After quite a long wait at 24% (probably pacman downloads), the installation completed. What did I get? Not an LXQT desktop! Not even a tty login! First, booting stopped on a GRUB menu with a goofy set of options (whatever happened to "Boot Artix" KISS). My timezone and keyboard layout are separate boot options? Second, just hitting enter to "boot" whatever was selected by default (I think it was the keyboard) gave me about 20 messages that said "error: unknown filesystem." Hitting enter just continued to print those messages (they look like they are being piped to more). If I went far enough, I could get to another GRUB boot menu with "Cancel (us)" as the only option. Hitting enter did nothing after this point. Sort of ironic... yeah, I'll cancel you for now.
I'm sure this stuff will be sorted out in the months ahead, but in the meantime, wtf? I guess the silver lining is that their live installation is already on par with well established distros like Debian 9... ;)
Seriously, though, I'm a huge fan of non-systemd distros and Arch ones at that, but perhaps it would have been better to slowly move forward and release something a bit more polished. This experience is what the Arch haters talk about when they mean Arch breaks too often... except in this case, it's not Arch so much as it is Artix. It's too bad because their waiting list announcement is getting them some press, but it's going to make their adoption harder long-term with starts like this.
44 • @42 and @43 : artix is far from being ready (by Frederic Bezies on 2017-08-08 20:32:57 GMT from France)
Answering to both comments here.
Their repository policy? If someone can tell me, I'll be happy to understand.
For now, core repository is replaced by 3 smaller repositories, extra and community from archlinux are still used. Well, that is what you can guess looking at /etc/pacman.conf file.
A true init choice not the "kill systemd with fire" is a great idea, in theory. The only distribution providing this is Gentoo, even if OpenRC is the only really supported choice ;)
Manjaro OpenRC was the only really working project using an arch-related base and OpenRC. I also hope ArchBang won't "commit suicide" and stay apart from this project. The same for Obarun s6.
Calamares on Artix? The horrible hybrid installer tool which makes you wait an hour to grab packages from the internet. Good old calamares gives you a working installation in less than 15 minutes.
I looked at base image : no script or tools to launch installation for now.
Artix is a god send gift for archlinux haters. To me, an archlinux user since early 2009, this project is in alpha state to be gentle for now. I mean in the early august 2017.
45 • debian 9 (by jason d on 2017-08-09 00:45:09 GMT from Australia)
Been using Debian for years and absolutely love it...but unfortunately stretch is completely broken, its a total mess. I am so devastated it just locks up my machine randomly and i have to hard power off. I have 2 desktop machines both dell optiplex which have been running on debian 8 with no problems. Debian used to be super stable but now its just released full of bugs, why o why.
46 • @44@42@43artix is far from being ready (by mandog on 2017-08-09 01:12:43 GMT from Peru)
Actualy its is ready for a metal install
I'm running it now with cinnamon all the openrc packages come from Gentoo then repackaged, all packages in extra, community, are on par with arch, at the moment only core is not needed so core is replaced, in the future all packages will be repacked so that their will be no compatibility issues i'm led to believe.
The long term aim is for a serious alternative to systemd on Arch based systems so platforms for S6, Runit, are being put in place if all devs work together then this will be a reality.
At this time it is testing and many changes on a daily basis are being made.
For me its in a better state than Manjaro openrc now its the same developers just moved on from the constraints of having to try and work with a reluctant Systemd distro so now the chains are off they can hone Artix to Artoo and his goals that could never happen with Manjaro as a side project.
47 • stretchy stretch (by stretchy on 2017-08-09 02:00:15 GMT from Canada)
stretch... stretch.., and stretch.
Where as developers can stretch it in all possible directions to tear it apart into broken pieces offering Apple and MS easy-joyful-rides just for FREE with torn pockets and without a penny in the wallet.
48 • Unity (by Scuttlebuck on 2017-08-09 04:18:09 GMT from Nicaragua)
I hope Unity survives and someone makes something out of it, the more Options we can have in Linux the better,
I tried it on something but it really wasnt for me....but then the only DE i have use in quite some time is XFCE....and only that because my GFs anger at trying to get to grips with i3 or flux/ openbox, ....I used to like KDE or Gnome many years back but they loused themselves up, I can adapt to use any of the DEs if i really wanted to many i just dont see the reason for much of the gumph in them...
I tried Artoos OpenRC Manjaro and was impressed and thats when he first started it ..have yet to think about artix yet,
I rarely try Debian though thats more than Ubuntu which i havent tried since the horrid Brown themed thing came out in 2005 ish....Though I like Antix and Knoppix,
After reading all the negative comments I thought this is BS as Debian has always been very good and stable, even on testing .....so I tried to install it on 3 different machines all with failures by chance i got it installed on one only to suffer a complete freeze up, then it wouldnt install again.....Shame that a great Distro with its History is turning out stuff like this ....maybe payback for some unwanted technology it forced on us who knows
49 • @46 : Artix is in alpha stage... @48 : hardware issues ? (by Frederic Bezies on 2017-08-09 06:34:37 GMT from France)
And its site is not ready. Also, do you think that people behind Obarun S6 or ArchBang will kill their "old" projects?
I don't think so.
"I'm running it now with cinnamon all the openrc packages come from Gentoo then repackaged, all packages in extra, community, are on par with arch, at the moment only core is not needed so core is replaced, in the future all packages will be repacked so that their will be no compatibility issues i'm led to believe."
Only time will tell if it will work. I said before, Arch switched to systemd back in october 2012, and the only working projects still alive and not in alpha state are both Obarun and ArchBang.
"For me its in a better state than Manjaro openrc now its the same developers just moved on from the constraints of having to try and work with a reluctant Systemd distro so now the chains are off they can hone Artix to Artoo and his goals that could never happen with Manjaro as a side project."
I do a migration from Manjaro OpenRC to Artix in video. When artix-keyring was installed, there were only 4 gpg keys grabbed and actived. So, there is only four developers behind this project.
I'm not really optimistic about this project. Too small team = dead project within a year.
I'm not an ideologist, just someone running linux as my only daily OS since 2006, and which have known and used : sysVinit, upstart and now systemd. I also used some times OpenRC.
All of these are working. I don't care which one is running my OS. I just care about getting services run, like 99,5% of linux users.
Have a good day.
@48 : you're talking about freezes. What is your hardware? Some distributions are not working correctly with some computers.
50 • Debian (by rooster12 on 2017-08-09 10:11:44 GMT from United States)
Think it would behoove Debian greatly to finally admit that systemd has strangled what was once a great distribution, a real power house like Wheezy. That is all gone now, Stretch is something that is beyond most experienced users or derivative developers skills and experience.
Perhaps the folks at Debian should eat crow and admit they made a mistake going with systemd, something is quite wrong and it wasn't a mess before.
Simply no longer usable!
51 • @ 48 Unity (by OstroL on 2017-08-09 12:33:56 GMT from Poland)
"I hope Unity survives and someone makes something out of it, the more Options we can have in Linux the better, I tried it on something but it really wasnt for me..."
"...Ubuntu which i havent tried since the horrid Brown themed thing came out in 2005 ish..."
Just can't imagine where you "tried" Unity as you've not used Ubuntu since 2005.
52 • Cleaning up Arch with Artix (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-08-09 12:42:00 GMT from United States)
@40 @44 @49 Collaboration is happening as you post; thank you for vigorously bringing attention thereto.
Perhaps you would also like to help test the latest ArchBang beta?
53 • @49 Artix is in alpha stage (by mandog on 2017-08-09 16:58:39 GMT from Peru)
Really Artoo is worth 4 on his own did more work for Manjaro apart from Openrc the net installer was one of his projects. He is a fixer most things reported to him are fixed in 24 hrs if possible.
Slackware. Mint. 2 big hiters. are basically one man bands so where do you get the pesemisam from.
Then choose to use it beats me.
They have stated they need testers, wellcome bug reports etc but not here that is no good. Its not alpha its beta and the lxqt and cinnamon versions are stable well enough for me to work on.
54 • Unity (by Massimiliano on 2017-08-09 17:50:32 GMT from Italy)
AHAHHAHAHA ... Unity bye bye...
I used Unity only few times when I tryed Ubuntu. It failed because Canonical decided to not hear user reviews. Mir and Unity are only a lost work and time. They coulded be help the Wayland development.
55 • Debian (by Bill Donnelly on 2017-08-09 22:19:12 GMT from Canada)
In response to 50, I have been using Debian 7, 8 & 9. I have found that all of these distributions have slowly improved over time and all have been rock stable. In my experience with Debian 9, it has proven to be a little more polished than Debian 8 and has more features like improved firewall "gufw" and pulse audio panel control and newer version of Virtualbox. I am presently running Deb 8, 9 & 10 on my 2 year old desktop computer and very happy with all of these distros. Also running Antergos and OpenSUSE Leap with good results too. However Debian live iso's are still a problem. Hopefully that will improve over the next few months.
56 • @52 about artix and Arch ideological cleanup (by Frederic Bezies on 2017-08-09 22:51:25 GMT from France)
Well, to stay gentle : I don't care a dog poo about these projects. If I want to use OpenRC, I'll switch to Gentoo or Funtoo.
If I want to use runit, I'll switch to Void Linux. If I want to use sysVinit, I'll switch to Slackware.
I prefer older and more polished distribution. Have a good day.
57 • Unity (by scuttlebuck on 2017-08-10 03:57:10 GMT from Nicaragua)
oh damn you caught me out as a Liar !!!!!
oh no I remember i tried it out on my Gentoo......https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Unity
I believe also that it's available on Fedora and open suse... oh and i think it may have been available to install on Arch for 2 yrs....actually it may have been Arch i tried it on.....no matters
58 • Unity (by Andy Figueroa on 2017-08-10 04:15:14 GMT from United States)
It was really gratifying to see that only 18% voted that Unity should be kept alive.
59 • "The Unity 7 desktop environment" (by eco2geek on 2017-08-10 06:35:56 GMT from United States)
I'm sorry to see Unity go away. Not because I liked its UI design all that much, but it was another alternative offered to Linux users. (And they did put a lot of time and effort into making it look good and making it stable.)
I would have liked to see Unity continually developed by Canonical, into version 8 and so on, not just left to die at version 7.
I'm trying out a daily build of Ubuntu 17.10, which (as Jesse said) uses the gnome desktop. Personally I think that gnome's UI design just sucks rocks, although it appears that Ubuntu has added a whole lot of gnome shell extensions to their 17.10 repository to make the switch easier. There's no need to use the "activities overview" or the application picker if you don't want to.
Unfortunately, since it's gnome, you do have to deal with a lot more so-called client side decorations and a lot fewer menus.
It's pretty stable (no surprise, since it's gnome 3.24). The main thing that stands out is that Ubuntu hasn't yet finished working out the cosmetic differences between Ubuntu's traditional brown and orange theme and gnome's gray and blue theme. Right now they're clashing with one another.
60 • @58 (by lenn on 2017-08-10 14:59:07 GMT from Canada)
> It was really gratifying to see that only 18% voted that Unity should be kept alive.<
This shows how human one can be. One is gratified that someone, something might die. Lovely!
61 • Debian (by menski on 2017-08-10 16:32:40 GMT from United States)
What happened with the Debian developers? They spend years and years working on a new system and years making sure everything works before the final release, yet they screw up. The cd iso does not work and in the full dvd the root password will not work. Still no update notifier after all these years. It would seem important to be notified of security updates.
62 • @46 (by Jay on 2017-08-10 19:35:44 GMT from United States)
I'm going to give Artix time to settle. The fact that I couldn't install it in a VM was just bad. I've done probably 20+ arch-openrc installs in the past 6 months with no problems, so I know it's possible. Regarding bugs and testers, I'm not really sure what to report other than it seems to work for you but didn't work for me. For me, it sucks that arch-openrc just stopped and everything became Artix. I would have liked some transition time. Right now I'm afraid to try a metal install or a metal upgrade to my working install because I don't want it to stop working. I'm not sure where you got the Cinnamon ISO from. When I looked, there was only base and lxqt. But, as you say, things are changing quickly, so perhaps I caught things at a bad time.
Unlike @56, I do care about this project and hope it is successful. I also hope it goes faster than Devuan took. Regarding your comments in @53, the point about Mint is well-taken. You don't need an army of people--a small team of good people can do good work. I like seeing Artoo (Manjaro OpenRC), Chris (arch-openrc), MrGreen (Archbang), you and others joining up to make something better than their individual projects. That's the power of Linux.
I also hope you guys fall more on the Arch side of things rather than the Manjaro way. The held-back updates really bugs me. Arch is very good at keeping things up-to-date with a legion of maintainers. I hope you'll have an automated build system that can keep up with them. Good luck!
63 • Debian 9 (by Debbie on 2017-08-10 19:38:18 GMT from United States)
What hardware are people running that are having problems? My friend started with 7, upgraded to 8, then upgraded to 9. He hasn't told me of any problems, but his hardware is at least 10 years old at this point. Maybe that makes a difference.
64 • @62 : I prefer older and well maintained projects. (by Frederic Bezies on 2017-08-11 08:31:08 GMT from France)
Just a small reply to your point :
"Unlike @56, I do care about this project and hope it is successful. I also hope it goes faster than Devuan took. Regarding your comments in @53, the point about Mint is well-taken. You don't need an army of people--a small team of good people can do good work. I like seeing Artoo (Manjaro OpenRC), Chris (arch-openrc), MrGreen (Archbang), you and others joining up to make something better than their individual projects. That's the power of Linux."
There are already successful projects in this domain. Why reinvent the wheel? Why wasting resources in this project?
Because you can? Because fork is life? :D
Well, the more I see """linux world""", the more I think BSD world is the way to go sometimes. In order to get working and more reliable softwares... It is sad for me to say that, after 11 years using only linux distributions as my daily OS.
Have a good day.
65 • Das Order (by Kragle on 2017-08-11 15:25:37 GMT from United States)
"There are already successful projects in this domain." Details, evidence? Your definition of "successful"?
"Why reinvent the wheel? Why wasting resources…" Why so much denigration?
What's your preferred alternative? What are your vested interests?
After the elephants stomped the room, survivors needed time to shake off their shock, clear their minds, and begin anew.
Small fork projects form, collaborate where applicable, and hopefully grow.
Life persists, though individuals may not.
What's the best way to get reliably-working software?
66 • @64 (by Jay on 2017-08-11 16:49:48 GMT from United States)
Choice is Linux's greatest strength and greatest weakness. People can make good choices, bad choices, and waste their time on both. I like that there exists a system where you and I can have different preferences yet still get what we need (and want most of the time). I also agree with your general frustrations as I have them too. I'd definitely encourage people that want to get involved to join existing like-minded projects. At the same time, if no like-minded projects exist, it's nice that people can start them.
67 • Salvaging some parts of Unity (by M.Z. on 2017-08-11 22:18:37 GMT from United States)
@24 & @25
"...Very exact thoughts of a guy, who had NEVER used it."
I have to say, I've only dabbled lightly in either Gnome or Unity over the years, but I concur that they could both easily be a bad experience for those of us who like normal desktop environments. Most users want something that they can transition into very easily from Windows with a minimal learning curve & perhaps then begin to find additional power user feature that add value. That was certainly where I come from & those typical users I've discussed desktops with tend to want the same, just without the extra features because "that's just making things more complicated...'' or something to that effect.
All that being said, & with apologies to those few who actually like Gnome, but Unity was a genuinely attractive alternative to Gnome 3. Both are fairly marginal compared to KDE, Cinnamon, or XFCE; however, Unity was a fair bit better than Gnome for most potential coverts. The big downsides were the still odd DE design & the former privacy problems. On the whole i think moving back to Gnome is still a big regression for average users wanting to pick up the default version of one of the biggest names in desktop Linux & just go.
The thing I think is fairly positive about all this is the possibility of using Mir for Wayland support. It would be a bit ironic, but salvaging some of those Unity parts like Mir to bring greater compatibility with more mainstream projects like Wayland is a great bit of added value to the community. I really don't want to see all those efforts go completely to waste, so reusing Mir this way, or any other Unity parts in a similar fashion, would be a great way to salvage something useful.
@51 & @57
Indeed, there are at least 7 distros that the DW search page list as having Unity as a DE. I wanted to check how widely used the top DEs are by various projects using http://distrowatch.com/search.php & found the following:
Unity - 7 distros
Cinnamon - 22
Mate - 52
Gnome - 71 (not sure why the list includes Mint)
KDE/KDE Plasma - 75
XFCE - 89 distros
So, while Cinnamon was a relatively small project supported mainly by the community driven Mint distro, it still managed to spread to about 3x as many distros as the Unity DE. Anyway, I thought the numbers were an interesting indication of the demand for support for various DEs across distros. I do think Gnome is so wide spread due mostly to sheer institutional momentum, (i.e. we've always had it, why change?); however, the numbers are interesting regardless of possible explanations. The low uptake for Unity probably indicates that the project wasn't receiving much support outside Canonical, though there could well be enough for the project to continue independently.
68 • @67 (by OstroL on 2017-08-12 07:47:14 GMT from Poland)
"So, while Cinnamon was a relatively small project supported mainly by the community driven Mint distro..."
It still is, for it is only a desktop environment, while Debian and Ubuntu is a much larger projects. Mint being community driven is I'm not very sure. It may still be a one man project.
69 • Installing Debian 9.0 (by Jörg on 2017-08-12 08:00:55 GMT from Germany)
Well, @34 is absolutely right! You all should install Debian 9.0 from "Netinstall". It really works so much better, than Debian's Live images!
70 • @61, 69 etc, Debian (by Damski on 2017-08-12 08:19:57 GMT from United States)
Maybe you should look in here, http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20170619 and go to the bottom to find AIMS Desktop, which is a Debian 9 distro. It was released simultaneously with Debian 9 and It really works.
71 • @65 and @66 : is 11 years being a full time linux user an answer ? :) (by Frederic Bezies on 2017-08-12 08:27:22 GMT from France)
I can tell you that : just open a dictionary and look for definitions.
In France - I'm a frog eater ;) - we use to say a project that is more than 5 years old is really successful. So I do prefer a 5 years old project than a new one that can die within a year.
I'm just somebody who have seen a lot of great distributions that are pushing up daisies. Like ApricityOS, PearOS to list the two first names that came to my mind.
My vested interests? Working and reliable software for a daily use. Nothing less, nothing more.
The best way to do this? Stop to fork compulsively and do it for good reasons, not for ideological ones.
@66 : "I also agree with your general frustrations as I have them too. I'd definitely encourage people that want to get involved to join existing like-minded projects."
Problem is forking too easily, compulsively. How many distributions are only : ubuntu + wallpapers + another browser ?
I know, it is kinda cartoonish, but is that completely wrong? :)
72 • Installing Debian (by debianxfce on 2017-08-12 16:50:51 GMT from Finland)
Modern os is a rolling release so install Debian testing Xfce. Use the following installer and after installing change the buster repository to testing. Then you have a rolling release os forever. For latest Mesa drivers, use Oibaf ppa yakkety version.
73 • Debian 9.0 (by fumblefingers on 2017-08-12 19:04:47 GMT from United States)
@34 & @69
Agree with you: Debian 9.0 netinstall works without problems - at least for a base command line system at the console including disk encryption. After that installing the xorg, xterm and icewm packages will give you a basic window display that can be started from the console with the command startx. Icewm seems to integate well with Debian, and both the xorg and icewm packages come automatically configured for startx.
74 • DE projects (by M.Z. on 2017-08-13 05:45:43 GMT from United States)
"...Mint being community driven ... It may still be a one man project."
Actually that's not true of either Mint or the Cinnamon DE. There are at least half a dozen people that have made hundreds of commits to the Cinnamon project & there are over 100 others that have also made contributions. Oddly enough Clem is actually listed as second on number of commits, though you'd have to know a lot more than me to know what the numbers listed on github actually mean. See here:
At any rate it still seems odd that an organization with the resources of Canonical put a DE out there that had so much less uptake than the Cinnamon DE did among distros. There is a lot that could potentially be read into that. Canonical have certainly produced a large amount of software that is widely used, but I wonder what people on the inside the organization think of the apparent lack of uptake of their main DE prior to it's demise.
75 • @74 (by OstroL on 2017-08-13 08:20:14 GMT from Poland)
>> "At any rate it still seems odd that an organization with the resources of Canonical put a DE out there that had so much less uptake than the Cinnamon DE did among distros."
Because, we are sort of old fashioned, we like the bottom panel and a searchable menu at the left bottom edge--even Microsoft found that out after trying to push Win 8.1 and finally cam back to the more original Start Menu in Win 10. But, there are people, who like newer ideas and got used to Unity or Gnome 3.
76 • Better Options (by Better Options on 2017-08-13 14:13:58 GMT from Canada)
I am absolutely NOT married to Debian at all,
But to "the absolute freedom", I do.
Therefore, there exists life even without Debian,
and it won't be dull!
Most of developers might have heard of "tao of programming",
But, there exist absolute pure honey stream called "Zen of Programming".
There are always better options for better replacements.
Number of Comments: 76
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