| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 726, 21 August 2017
Welcome to this year's 34th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
The Gentoo project develops a popular, source-based operating system that is well known for its flexibility. Not many projects are based directly on Gentoo these days, but one young project, Redcore Linux, is working to provide a user friendly desktop distribution based on Gentoo. Our Feature Story explores Redcore Linux and what it is like using it as a desktop system. Rolling release platforms are also the topic of our Questions and Answers column. Rolling release operating systems are a good way to keep up to date with the latest available software and we explore rolling release options for BSD users. In our News section we talk about Snap support arriving on Solus, KaOS adopting a hardened Linux kernel and mobile devices running Debian. We also report on Gentoo phasing out their security hardened kernel. In our Opinion Poll we ask how many of our readers are running a flavour of BSD. Plus we share the releases of the past week and provide a list of torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: Redcore Linux 1706
- News: Solus adds Snap support, KaOS provides hardened kernel, Gentoo drops hardened kernel, running Debian on mobile devices
- Questions and answers: Rolling releases and BSD
- Released last week: Solus 3, Raspbian 2017-08-16, feren OS 2017.08
- Torrent corner: feren OS, NuTyX, Raspbian, SharkLinux, SmartOS, Solus, Voyager
- Opinion poll: Running a BSD flavour
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (69MB) and MP3 (57MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Redcore Linux 1706
Redcore Linux is a desktop distribution based on the source-based Gentoo project. Redcore is designed to be quick and easy to install on laptop and desktop computers. The distribution ships with LXQt as the default desktop environment and there is just the one edition of Redcore we can download. Its installation media is built to run exclusively on 64-bit x86 computers.
Booting from Redcore's installation media brings us to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the live desktop environment using "redcore" as both the username and password. Later, if we need to access administrative functions we can elevate our privileges using "root" as both the username and password.
Signing into the live session brings up the LXQt 0.11.0 desktop. A panel runs across the bottom of the screen, providing us with access to the system's application menu, task switcher and system tray. On the desktop we find icons for launching the project's system installer and another for getting help. The latter icon opens a web browser and connects us to a web-based IRC chat room where we can interact with other Redcore users.
Redcore utilizes the Calamares graphical system installer to get the distribution installed to a local disk drive. Calamares begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. We are then quickly walked through picking our time zone, confirming our keyboard's layout and partitioning the hard disk. Calamares supports either automatically taking over a portion of the disk or letting us manually partition the drive. Manual partitioning is fairly straight forward and I found Calamares provides a fairly streamlined series of options. The partitioning screen also lets us choose where to install the distribution's boot loader. Calamares then asks us to create a username and password we can use to login later. We then wait for Calamares to copy its files to our drive and, afterwards, we can reboot the computer to try our pristine copy of Redcore Linux.
When Redcore boots, we are presented with a graphical login screen where we can sign into either the LXQt desktop or a minimal, Openbox environment. I stuck with using the LXQt environment during my trial. Next to the application menu, on the panel at the bottom of the display, there is an area where we can drag-and-drop icons. This allows us to grab icons from the application menu and pull them down to the panel, creating quick-launch buttons.
Redcore Linux 1706 -- The default LXQt theme
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The LXQt environment was responsive and rarely did I see any notifications or other distractions. Though I did find my eyes tended to be drawn toward the red border that surrounds open application windows. The borders are not only colourful, but also thin and I found it difficult to click the edges in order to resize windows while the default theme was in use.
Also on the subject of the appearance of windows, I noticed different applications featured different colour schemes. For example, the QupZilla web browser uses just about every colour of icon and decoration, LibreOffice offers a blue-on-grey theme which reminds me of Windows 95. The VLC application mixes greys and red while the file manager uses a lot of yellow and red. With the default theme the Notepadqq text editor and qBittorrent application were unable to display their drop-down menus. When the menu was clicked, an empty, black box would be displayed where the menu should be. The user can still click on menu entries, but cannot see what they are selecting as the text and background are both black. This can be fixed by switching to an alternative theme in the desktop's settings panel.
Redcore Linux 1706 -- Trying a lighter theme
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The LXQt desktop includes a settings panel where we can open modules for adjusting the look and feel of the desktop environment. Most of these tools deal with application themes, the wallpaper and window behaviour. There are also tools for changing our locale settings, setting up new user accounts and connecting to printers. The settings panel also includes a launcher for the Connman UI network configuration utility. These tools all worked well for me. There are relatively few tools in the settings panel, but each module contains many options, giving us a good deal of power over Redcore's desktop interface.
Redcore Linux 1706 -- Adjusting network settings with Connman
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I explored running Redcore in two test environments, a desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. Redcore ran fairly well in the VirtualBox environment. It automatically integrated with VirtualBox and I was able to use my host computer's full screen resolution. Redcore's desktop was responsive and the distribution proved to be stable.
When I tried to run Redcore on the desktop computer I ran into a number of problems. The distribution's live disc was unable to boot at all when my desktop computer was set to boot in Legacy BIOS mode. When my computer was booting in UEFI mode the distribution's live disc would lock up during the boot process. I was able to work around this by booting with the "nomodeset" kernel parameter, but this left me with a live environment that was command line only. The X graphical display software would fail to launch, cutting me off from the LXQt desktop and the Calamares system installer. This left me to play with Redcore in the VirtualBox environment only.
Redcore ships with a desktop utility for setting up printers, however the distribution does not include drivers for my HP wireless printer. This driver needs to be found and installed manually in order to get the printer to work.
Redcore Linux 1706 -- Exploring applications and alternative themes
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A fresh install of Redcore Linux, when sitting idle at the LXQt desktop, used 190MB of memory. While Redcore was light on memory, the distribution used an unusually large amount of disk space. A fresh install of Redcore took up 6.6GB of disk drive space. After I had installed software updates, this expanded further, to 11GB of disk space. This was before I had added any applications of my own. For comparison, most Debian-based distributions I use require about 11-12GB of space with multiple desktop environments, applications, libraries and development tools installed.
Redcore ships with a slightly unusual collection of default software. For instance, the distribution uses QupZilla (without Flash support) as the default web browser. Redcore ships with the WMail e-mail client for accessing GMail accounts and qBittorrent for downloading and sharing torrents. The distribution also supplies users with the QuiteRSS feed reader, the Konversation IRC client and the FileZilla file transfer program. The Connman UI application is present to help us connect to the Internet and qpdfview is available for reading PDF files. The default music player is the minimal Qmmp application and virtual machines can be managed with the AQEMU application. There is a TV viewer which offers dozens of channels we can supposedly watch for free. I tried a handful and the TV client was unable to successfully connect to any of them.
There are some more common applications in the mix too, including the LibreOffice suite, the KDE Partition Manager and the K3b disc burning software. The VLC and mpv media players are present too. Inkscape and GIMP are available to help us edit images. Redcore's default file manager is PCManFM. Steam is present to help us download and run games from Valve's store.
Digging further we find Redcore ships with two compilers, the GNU Compiler Collection (version 5.4.0) and Clang (version 4.0.1). The distribution runs on version 4.9.30 of the Linux kernel, though these versions will ease upward over time due to Redcore's rolling nature. The SysV init software is present, but service management on Redcore is handled by OpenRC.
Redcore Linux 1706 -- Running QupZilla and LibreOffice
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Software management on Redcore can be handled through a number of tools, but the project's documentation focuses on the Sisyphus package manager. Sisyphus acts as a friendly front-end for Gentoo-based technologies such as the emerge software manager. Using Sisyphus, we can issue simple command line instructions to install, find, remove and upgrade software on the operating system. Sisyphus, and the emerge back-end, function well, but they are quite a bit slower than other package managers such as Pacman and APT. It takes a few minute to even check for new software upgrades after we have already updated our repository information. Despite this speed penalty, Sisyphus completed all of its functions successfully.
When I first started using Redcore there were 110 software updates waiting to be installed; their total size was not given. These upgrades were installed successfully. I noted that, following a kernel update, the next time I booted Redcore, the operating system paused to rebuild kernel modules. This added a few minutes to my boot time. Something else I noticed when using Sisyphus was when I was installing updates I received a steady stream of warnings concerning my locale settings. I ran into no problems as a result of these warnings, but I did decide to adjust my locale settings in the distribution's settings panel to remove the warnings.
Redcore Linux 1706 -- The Sisyphus graphical package manager
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Sisyphus has a graphical front-end. This program, sisyphus-gui, displays a list of available software along with a brief description. The Sisyphus front-end does not have many features. We can highlight a single package and click a button to install or remove the package. We can also click a button to install all available software updates. The graphical front-end appears to still be in its very early stages and does not appear to offer methods for searching for specific packages or filtering packages.
Going into this experiment with Redcore Linux, I was cautiously optimistic. It is not all that often I come across Gentoo-based desktop distributions (Calculate Linux and Sabayon being notable exceptions). I was aware Redcore was a relatively young project and I was curious to see what, if any, unique experiences the project could offer.
Redcore is definitely unusual in a few ways. Apart from being a relatively rare Gentoo-based distribution, the project ships with an unusual collection of software, much of it Qt-based. I find it interesting Redcore is working on its own graphical package manager to work with software. I also find it appealing that Redcore defaults to using binary packages, but the user could easily use Gentoo's source-based Portage system to build software from source code.
There were several minor issues I ran into throughout the week which started to add up after a while. While Redcore worked inside VirtualBox, the distribution did not play well with my desktop computer, particularly the video card. The package manager, while powerful, was slow and installing new packages and upgrades took an unusually long time.
There were a number of theme and locale issues on Redcore which caused me to switch themes, tweak the window manager and change my locale during my week with the distribution. Each of these were small issues, but ones which should be sorted out to provide a smooth desktop experience.
On the whole Redcore offered a fast, responsive environment in which to work and up to date software. The application selection is a little unusual, but I welcomed the variety as it introduced me to a few desktop applications I hadn't tried before.
Redcore might need a little time to mature before I will recommend it, there are still rough edges to polish. I like the general design, but there are some implementation issues to sort out which will hopefully be addressed as more people try Redcore and submit bug reports.
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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
Redcore Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 7.8/10 from 28 review(s).
Have you used Redcore Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Solus adds Snap support, KaOS provides hardened kernel, Gentoo drops hardened kernel, running Debian on mobile devices
The Solus project has announced that support for installing and running Snap portable packages has been added to their distribution. Ikey Doherty posted the change, writing simply: "Include snapd in the Budgie ISO by default." Back in January the Solus project announced that the distribution would provide third-party software to its users using Flatpak portable packages. At this time, Solus is one of a growing number of Linux distributions which support both of the increasingly popular portable packaging formats.
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The KaOS project develops a rolling release distribution which focuses on providing a polished experience with the KDE Plasma desktop environment. The project's latest status update, mentions a number of changes coming to the distribution, including changes to the default look and the availability of new packages in the project's repositories. One of the big changes involves the Linux kernel: "The biggest change to announce is one that is being tested with the Linux-next kernel. This kernel has moved to the hardened patch set, which provides an improved implementation of Address Space Layout Randomization for userspace processes. Linux-hardened started after Grsecurity was no longer available as an open source option and is a supplement to upstream kernel hardening work by the Kernel Self Protection Project. See the Linux ASLR comparison for more information. Testing is going well, so expect the next stable kernel to move to hardened too. The plan is to have this happening in early September and with that, a new ISO will be released."
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While the KaOS team prepares a new hardened kernel for their distribution, the Gentoo project is planning to discontinue their hardened Linux kernel. This change is largely due to restrictions placed on the distribution of security patches from grsecurity. "As you may know the core of sys-kernel/hardened-sources has been the grsecurity patches. Recently the grsecurity developers have decided to limit access to these patches. As a result, the Gentoo Hardened team is unable to ensure a regular patching schedule and therefore the security of the users of these kernel sources. Thus, we will be masking hardened-sources on the 27th of August and will proceed to remove them from the package repository by the end of September. We recommend to use sys-kernel/gentoo-sources instead. Userspace hardening and support for SELinux will of course remain in the Gentoo package tree." More detailed information can be found in the Gentoo project's announcement.
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One of the topics up for discussion at the DebConf17 conference was Debian on mobile devices. W. Martin Borgert reports that over 50 people gathered to discuss Debian running on handheld devices. "Work on Debian for mobile devices, i.e. telephones, tablets, and handheld computers, continues. During the recent DebConf17 in Montréal, Canada, more than 50 people had a meeting to reconsider opportunities and challenges for Debian on mobile devices. A number of devices were shown at DebConf: PocketCHIP: A very small handheld computer with keyboard, Wi-Fi, USB, and Bluetooth, running Debian 8 (Jessie) or 9 (Stretch). Pyra: A modular handheld computer with a touchscreen, gaming controls, Wi-Fi, keyboard, multiple USB ports and SD card slots, and an optional modem for either Europe or the USA. It will come pre-installed with Debian. Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G: An Android smart phone featuring a physical keyboard, which can already run portions of Debian userspace on the Android kernel. Kernel upstreaming is on the way. ZeroPhone: An open-source smart phone based on Raspberry Pi Zero, with a small screen, classic telephone keypad and hardware switches for telephony, Wi-Fi, and the microphone. It is running Debian-based Raspbian OS." More information on the efforts to port Debian to mobile devices can be found in this news post.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Rolling releases and BSD
Rolling-with-a-different-operating-system asks: I've been using rolling releases like Manjaro/Arch for a while now and love them. I'm thinking of trying BSD for something new and wondering if there is an equivalent BSD rolling release?
DistroWatch answers: The popular flavours of BSD (FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD) are structured a bit differently than most Linux distributions, which means rolling release Linux distributions will not offer a direct apples-to-apples comparison with the BSDs. Most Linux distributions are organized in a way that means all the various packages on the system are either fixed or rolling. If you run a fixed release Linux distribution then your kernel, desktop environment and productivity suite are usually all set at a fixed version. And, if you run a rolling release Linux distribution, then your kernel, desktop and productivity software all get regular upgrades. There are a few exceptions, but most Linux distributions are either entirely fixed or entirely rolling as all packages are upgraded (or not) under the same policy.
The BSDs separate their core systems (kernel, compiler and core command line tools) from the software which is packaged for the operating system. This means, with the default configuration, most BSDs will offer a fixed, stable operating system. However, the packages which we install on top of the BSDs typically get regular upgrades. This means the kernel, drivers and some necessary tools are stable while the desktop software and services we run on the BSDs are usually up to date in a rolling (or semi-rolling) release manner.
While the default behaviour of the BSDs is usually to provide a stable, fixed core under steadily updated applications, we can adjust the system to behave differently. Each of the major BSD projects has a development branch (also known as a "-current" branch) as well as a stable branch (sometimes called a "-release" branch). This means that if we really want to, we can set up a BSD installation so that both the core operating system and its packages are constantly updating. This is a bit more risky and probably not a benefit unless we want to try out the latest drivers or engage in development efforts, but the option is there.
The TrueOS project, which is based on FreeBSD, is unusual in that both the core system and the packages we can install on it are designed to receive regular updates. TrueOS uses FreeBSD's development branch at its core and offers either full rolling or semi-rolling package upgrades. If you really want to be on the cutting edge of BSD development then TrueOS is probably your best chance to experience a rolling release BSD flavour. TrueOS also has the benefit of featuring a graphical system installer which makes it fairly easy for newcomers to try the operating system.
Before you decide whether you want to run a completely rolling release BSD system or a fixed release with up to date packages, there is another piece of information to consider. Because the BSDs separate their core operating system from third-party software, the core system remains relatively small. It is possible (one might say expected) that BSD users running a stable branch will upgrade the core of the operating system on a semi-regular basis, perhaps once per year. This upgrade of the base system is usually quick and relatively painless when compared next to upgrading the entirety of a GNU/Linux distribution. When most Linux distributions upgrade, all the packages on the system are upgraded as a whole. With the BSDs, the separation of core system and packages means the small core can be updated quickly to the latest, stable release. This leap frogging between stable versions is less risky than running the latest development snapshots while still keeping the base system fairly to date with new features.
Before selecting a flavour of BSD to try, I recommend reading the documentation on upgrading each project to get a better feel for how each operating system is maintained. Here is some relevant documentation for each project: OpenBSD flavours and upgrading OpenBSD; upgrading FreeBSD; upgrading NetBSD; and updating TrueOS.
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More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Solus is an independently developed desktop Linux distribution. While the distribution is available in three editions (Budgie, GNOME and MATE), the project is perhaps best known for its work showcasing the Budgie desktop environment on a rolling release platform. The project's latest release, Solus 3, features Firefox 55, LibreOffice 5.4, and a cutting edge version of the Linux kernel: "This new major version of Solus is now based on the latest stable branch of the Linux kernel, 4.12.7. This switch enables various hardware improvements for the latest AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA hardware. Users of the existing Linux-LTS kernel will continue to receive updates indefinitely, with the next major update to this branch scheduled to land in or around September. Furthermore, we've enabled AppArmor LSM by default to provide functionality for snapd confining, as well as the introduction of a fully functioning Linux Security Module within our kernel builds." Additional information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Solus 3 -- The Budgie desktop
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Raspbian is a special build of the Debian operating system for Raspberry Pi computers. The Raspbian project has released a new version of their operating system which is now based on Debian 9 "Stretch". "It's now just under two years since we released the Jessie version of Raspbian. Those of you who know that Debian run their releases on a two-year cycle will therefore have been wondering when we might be releasing the next version, codenamed Stretch. Well, wonder no longer - Raspbian Stretch is available for download today! Debian releases are named after characters from Disney Pixar's Toy Story trilogy. In case, like me, you were wondering: Stretch is a purple octopus from Toy Story 3. Hi, Stretch! The differences between Jessie and Stretch are mostly under-the-hood optimisations, and you really shouldn't notice any differences in day-to-day use of the desktop and applications. (If you're really interested, the technical details are in the Debian release notes." A list of important changes and screen shots can be found in the Raspbian release announcement. The distribution is available in full and Lite editions.
feren OS 2017.08
The feren OS distribution is a desktop operating system based on Linux Mint that ships with the Cinnamon desktop environment. The project has announced that it is moving forward as a rolling release distribution, based off Linux Mint 18.2. The new snapshot features a number of other improvements, including making optional components available through the Welcome screen. "After a long time, lot of blood, sweat and tears put into it, and lots of password entering, feren OS is a rolling-release operating system built on the foundations of Linux Mint, designed to be stable. This Snapshot is based on Linux Mint 18.2, and is a defining point for feren OS as a distribution. Changes in this release: Linux Mint base upgraded to 18.2; some applications were removed and are now available for installation from the Welcome screen, Recommended Applications; alternative theme utility Themes is now download-only; feren Welcome has received a huge upgrade, now resizable, movable, themeable; the USB boot issue has now been fixed...." Further information, along with instructions for dealing with incompatible video drivers can be found in the project's release announcement.
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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: 535
- Total data uploaded: 15.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Running a BSD flavour
The various BSD projects tend not to get as much attention as their Linux cousins, but flavours of BSD run a significant number of the world's servers, NAS devices, firewalls and workstations. This week we would like to find out how many of our readers are running a flavour of BSD. Please let us know which BSD operating system you run, if any, in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on playing games on Linux in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Running a BSD flavour
|I do run a flavour of BSD: ||378 (20%)|
| I run multiple flavours of BSD: ||118 (6%)|
| I do not run any of the BSDs: ||1366 (73%)|
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 28 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)
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • BSD flavor (by Gilbert Sanford on 2017-08-21 00:44:38 GMT from United States) |
I've been an OpenBSD user for about ten years. OpenBSD-current is hard to beat in my opinion . . .
2 • I do not run any of the BSDs, however (by OhioJoe on 2017-08-21 00:52:03 GMT from United States)
I am interested in running a version of BSD and occasionally test one, generally in VirtualBox. Thanks for the reviews.
3 • BSD's (by drlong on 2017-08-21 01:07:57 GMT from United States)
I agree with Gilbert, OpenBSD is hard to beat. It has to be hands down the easiest os to installl and maintain. Just my 2 cents and its worth exactly what you paid.
4 • Bsd flavour (by Gagandeep Singh on 2017-08-21 01:27:14 GMT from India)
I use true os (previously pc-bsd) from about an year and it's currently my most favourite thing...
5 • BSD flavors (by Blue Jay on 2017-08-21 01:30:58 GMT from United States)
I've used FreeBSD and TrueOS (back when it was still called PC-BSD) on a few occasions. Definitely robust systems and I can easily see why they have a dedicated following.
I've considered trying them again if/when the hardware support improves. (The open-source AMD stack on FreeBSD is unfortunately still far behind the current Linux developements, and my specific GCN 1.0 hardware lacks acceleration on FreeBSD as of yet.)
6 • BSD lfabor (by DaveW on 2017-08-21 01:35:50 GMT from United States)
I have been intrigued by GhostBSD for some time. While it is not my primary OS, I am trying it out on a virtual machine.
7 • OpenBSD (by Billy Larlad on 2017-08-21 01:49:15 GMT from United States)
I've been using OpenBSD on my server and my laptops since 2011 and 2013, respectively. It's really great. Generally everything Just Works. There is a real focus on sane defaults and simplicity. Bugs get fixed FAST.
Certainly, it's not for everyone. Linux is a better platform by far if you need proprietary or obscure software, use hardware not (yet) supported by a BSD, or need a GUI for everything (and I don't mean that as an insult; the lack of a way to graphically select wifi networks is a small weakness of OpenBSD, for instance).
So I keep around a Debian install, but I'd like to replace even that with OpenBSD one day.
8 • Redcore and re-sizing windows (by Alexandre Dumas on 2017-08-21 01:57:21 GMT from Australia)
Thanks Jesse for reviewing Redcore (and Calculate a few weeks back). Redcore is an interesting project.
Note that to re-size or move windows in LXQt, Openbox, XFCE and others just hold the Alt button and use the left or right mouse buttons, pointing anywhere in the window. No need to grab the edge of the window!
9 • BSD flavors (by DjangoSR on 2017-08-21 02:19:24 GMT from Suriname)
I've always been a (Free)BSD user but switched to Ubuntu server when I noticed how better Ubuntu server performed with postgresql server.
Lately due to web development In switched to MySQL/mariadb and with that decided a freebsd 11 vps was worth it.
So a mixed environment works best
10 • Redcore & Bsd.. (by what_If on 2017-08-21 04:21:27 GMT from Australia)
I've been testing Redcore for over a month, now i've installed it on 2PC's . Love it, fast & very stable. Easy install & updates so efficiently. Support on there Irc & facebook pages are great. What I like about it is ease of use & installing software binaries.. It also give you the choice to install directly from source & decide what parts of the src pkg you wish to install. That's fantastic if your a gentoo jedi master. For those not quite so literate as them, but like something more challenging & evoking your computer skills; Redcore may provide the solutions, with it's ease of installing binary software & mixed source mode.
I like to dabble in different OS's, BSD is a different kettle of fish. Love it's concept, stability & for some it's purism of BSD. Apart from TrueOs & Ghost, the two fundamental issue for linux user to make the change is the installation & driver support/compatibility (Gpu). I've installed FreeBsd/Netbsd. Not being a techie, was to hard for me a couple years ago to maintain. What is amazing is seeing how far TrueOs has come in the last 12 months from the merging of Pc-Bsd/TrueOs. In that time it has become the number one BSD distro on Distrowatch. Implemented innovative ideas that are foreign to Bsd. It's Implementation of it's own Desktop "Lumina" written primarily for "BSD". This is one of the major struggles with BSD, as most DE are written for linux, so when an update comes to the Linux DE it requires a great deal of work to maintain it BSD. A big thanks to Ken More @ ToS for his work there. Although Lumina at this point does not have a lot of the enriched features that some other DE have, It certainly will not eat up resources of some of those highly credited DE. Based freebsd 12.
I have always been a fan of rolling releases, & a dislike to SystemD. So I constantly test different OS that are free of SystemD. I was disappointed to hear last week that termination of manjaro-openrc. I tried the migration to "Artix" & it did not end very well. With benefits of Arch & open-rc, made it an easy to install Arch Non SystemD. I would love to try out PacBSD. I have not succeeding in installing PacBsd so far. On a positive not it's really easy to install OpenBsd, I've been it's supposedly the most secure OS out there. A positive about OpenBsd, is there is a default build for Tor-Browser s it's not available in the in FreeBsd ports tree so that includes other FreeBsd based distros like (Trueos, DragonFly OpenBsd PacBsd).
If you guys got this far, a big thanks for reading, my ramble ! Cheers.
11 • BSD (by Vukota on 2017-08-21 04:50:09 GMT from Serbia)
I have a VM with pfSense that I use for development, so I count that as “running“.
12 • pfSense and BSD (by edcoolio on 2017-08-21 05:16:33 GMT from United States)
Great catch @11.
It didn't even occur to me, which speaks volumes about how rock solid it can be.
@5 @7, I agree. Hardware support is lacking, which tends to make it a distant choice at times (for me) as a daily driver.
13 • Redcore Linux (by Sanjay Prasad on 2017-08-21 06:38:56 GMT from India)
lxqt the new desktop environment is not still mature but distrowatch review is quite optimistic.
Redcore provide both look and performance , idle for old computer. Tried Fedora based LXQT
it was fast and quite stable , one can try it from here
14 • Rolling BSD (by TheMsDosNerd on 2017-08-21 06:42:04 GMT from Netherlands)
Besides TrueOS, there's also pacBSD. It's an Arch-Linux based distro with the BSD kernel.
I believe it is also possible to use the 'unstable' rolling release model of Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.
15 • FreeBSD all the way (by RoboNuggie on 2017-08-21 07:14:25 GMT from United Kingdom)
Used to be a Linux distro hopper, never quite happy with the one installed.... not quite sure.
Saw someone running FreeBSD as their desktop.... curious, installed FreeBSD 7 around 2009, and never looked back.
Using FreeBSD 10.3 & 11.1 for all desktop, laptop and server needs.
16 • BSD (by Romane on 2017-08-21 08:44:37 GMT from Australia)
I have tried the various BSD's at various times, including recently. Have never really found it to my liking, on the few times it would install. And that was the key issue that turned me off trying BSD's again in the future - too hard to get installed and running.
17 • BSD (by Stefan on 2017-08-21 09:10:47 GMT from Germany)
I used NetBSD for about 8 years, first on server, then also as desktop. The reason for the choice was siplicity, bloatlessness (well, FreeBSD isn't really bloated, but it's bigger than NetBSD) and support for acpi-things that OpenBSD lacked at the time -- not sure if that changed. The reasons i use different things now: work requires docker and other linux-things (i make my life easy (compatible) by using linux). And on the Desktop: I've a microsoft surface device as my primary working computer (with docking stations at work and at home), and since windows 10 includes a usable bash, that's good enougth as a shell, and the brilliant hardware just works best with windows. My big home-pc runs Windows for gaming :-)
18 • BSD (by Trihexagonal on 2017-08-21 11:41:39 GMT from United States)
I helped beta test PC-BSD beginning in 2003 and in 2005 switched to vanilla FreeBSD. I currently have 5 laptops with 4 running FreeBSD and the other OpenBSD. I've also ran a home brewed pfSense firewall/rounter but am not doing so ATM.
I've tried several different Linux distros, my first being Puppy Linux on a 100MB Zip Disk, and till recently had a Debian box, but wiped that drive in favor of OpenBSD and prefer BSD over Linux.
19 • BSD Flavours (by Neville on 2017-08-21 11:42:03 GMT from Japan)
I'm currently using GhostBSD 11.1 and 10.3. Both run very well and are very easy to install. Much easier and quicker to get installed and running than vanilla FreeBSD.
20 • BSDs (by TheTKS on 2017-08-21 11:56:17 GMT from Canada)
Tried a month ago to install several dual boot with Win 10 on only one device so far (mid range HP laptop 3 years old, AMD/Radeon), partially succeeded only with Free so far. Have read the distros' reasons for being, lean toward Open for their approach to correctness and security.
Attempts: Free, Net, Open, True, DragonFly, and Ghost (also tried it live on the laptop and an old desktop, which worked only sometimes [why?].) So far, only got Free to install didn't succeed in installing a GUI. All others, either got installation failed message or it looked like they would only install whole disk, not recognizing that there was unallocated space alongside another OS, although I had had Linux installed and removed its partition with gparted, not actually removing its data from the disk (could that have been a problem?)
Fairly new to non-Win OSS, Linux with Windows since Jan 2017.
Setting BSDs aside for now and have since managed to install Slackware, would really like to try a BSD though and will get back to trying when I can set aside enough time for it.
21 • FreeBSD (by Phil on 2017-08-21 12:30:06 GMT from United States)
I've been running FreeBSD on ThinkPads (R61 then T430) since 2008. Started with FreeBSD 7.0, just upgraded to 11.1. I appreciate the excellent documentation.
22 • Memo to Rolling-with-a-different-operating-system (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-08-21 12:46:40 GMT from United States)
Void Linux may suit you. Its leader came out of NetBSD. It resembles BSD (binary/source options) and Arch (fast rolling). It avoids systemd, something quite specific to Linux.
For adventure try PacBSD. You already know pacman. You get choice of init and core utils. Overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udGaooPIIKw
BSDs are slow on apps. When BSDs keep them fresh, I'll ditch Linux. Here is FreeBSD lounge chair advocacy for curious Linux folks.
It's fun inside baseball, but as usual, neglects app deadwood to dwell on dev tools, server bandwidths, ancient history, attracting banks as users, and related non-app crap. All I want for Christmas is for FreeBSD to ship apps in harmony with upstream.
23 • setting up a GUI on FreeBSD (by Trihexagonal on 2017-08-21 12:59:48 GMT from United States)
@20 "So far, only got Free to install didn't succeed in installing a GUI."
FreeBSD doesn't come with Xorg included with the base system and has to be built separately, along with the DE or WM you prefer and other 3rd party programs. If you use the pkg system it's a matter of minutes to set it up as opposed to hours compiling ports, which I personally prefer to use.
OpenBSD does include Xenocara in the base system and you boot directly to a desktop after the base install.
I have a tutorial on my site that guides you through the whole process of getting a fully functional FreeBSD desktop up and running, complete with security and system settings, that spells it out step by step and is geared toward people with no prior UNIX or command line experience.
I have also posted it to the FreeBSD forums and you can receive further guidance there if need be.
24 • BSDs are nice but Linux is too good (by robert on 2017-08-21 13:50:33 GMT from Austria)
I have a soft spot for the BSDs but after using Linux for about 15 years, I think my tinker-days are over.
The systemd invasion forced me to use pure distributions that are not tainted by systemd; most of the time I end up doing LFS and BLFS anyway though. On my Linux system this workflow works very well and I can update what I want to, when I want to, without others interfering in this process.
I am unaware of whether BSD allows such customizations.
25 • Using BSD (by Matthew Rivers on 2017-08-21 13:59:56 GMT from United States)
For about 4 months, I used t1n1wall, as a router/firewall. It's based on m0n0wall.
I decided to switch to IPfire, because i needed some more features, but t1n1wall did what it promised very well.
26 • freebsd (by tma on 2017-08-21 14:06:05 GMT from United States)
I’ve been using freebsd as the primary OS on my thinkpad for a few months, and it’s generally been going well.
(In previous freebsd efforts, living elsewhere, wifi was shaky and freebsd-update/pkg weren’t robust enough—-at least at the time—to cope well.)
I tried openbsd briefly a couple of years ago but the lack of package updates for stable releases was just crazy.
27 • I have (by Job on 2017-08-21 14:11:29 GMT from United States)
I once had an installation of FreeBSD but it was a pain to set up the xserver for a BSD newbie. The latest release came out and I did not bother anymore but I am planning to go back to FreeBSD.
28 • BSD Poll (by cykodrone on 2017-08-21 14:30:05 GMT from Canada)
BSD is certainly a different 'animal' than Linux, even though they're cousins, I found it to be like learning another 'language'. My dabbling occurred when systemd was swallowing almost every Linux distro like an unstoppable cult, I'm not one to easily jump on a bandwagon like a fanboi distracted by shiny objects. I even buy hardware that has matured on the market, not only do I get a better prices, the bugs have been worked out of the hardware and it's almost always Linux supported and compatible. But I digress, BSD seemed stable and all, but it felt like reviving a dinosaur, I tried several flavours, researched like crazy, printed out phone books of documentation, but in the end, I've been too spoiled by Linux and its user friendly distros to bother scraping some knuckles and getting dirty up to the elbows. Maybe if I was previously a Mac guy, I would have already had wet feet.
29 • The BSDs are awesome on the server; desktop--not so much (by Andre on 2017-08-21 14:44:27 GMT from Canada)
I have FreeBSD running on a couple of machines. It's a great OS in many respects. But I wouldn't recommend it as a desktop platform. The unfortunate reality is that the BSDs are second-class citizens when it comes to open-source desktop software development. Most of what you will run on the desktop will have originally been designed for and tested on Linux, and that comes with all sorts of consequences--not the least of which is that sometimes porting can take a while. For instance, as far as I'm aware, none of the BSDs currently offer KDE Plasma 5 without you going out of your way to get it from some developmental repository or trying to build it yourself.
Now, if you don't care about running the latest bits, then the BSDs are great. I even have one application, Trojita, which has been less buggy for me under FreeBSD than Arch Linux. But that's a rarity. You have to be prepared to make a lot of exceptions in most cases if you want to use a BSD operating system on your desktop PC.
30 • BSD (by rdaniels on 2017-08-21 15:02:38 GMT from United States)
I do not currently run any BSDs, but in the past I've used (in order): OpenBSD, DragonFly, FreeBSD, and most recently PC-BSD (now TrueOS).
They all work mostly fine, and there are some interesting features out there in BSD land, but I still would rather not use one as a daily driver. Mostly because I'm just used to Linux. Whether I spend 6 hours, days, or months on a BSD, it just feels slightly alien. But there are also issues with the third party applications. Most open source development is Linux first, BSD second if at all. So apps tend to become buggy and/or out of date.
31 • BSD? No. No thanks (by tom joad on 2017-08-21 15:35:33 GMT from Finland)
I have never done BSD. I have thought about it but that is as far as I have gotten.
The principle reason being I have hundreds of versions of Linux to use, play with, look over, work through, etc. Some of those versions are really nice specialty versions setup for specific needs and purposes.
Another reason is development is much better in the Linux field than in the BSD area. I always suspected that. After reading some of the comments I now know my suspicions were true.
Last, Linux runs the software that I need and that selection is wider and more current.
I am sure BSD is nice and functional and all. If it were not for Linux we would all be over there. Luckily we have it better over here though who knows what the future will bring.
32 • GUI on BSD (by TheTKS on 2017-08-21 17:47:43 GMT from Canada)
@23 FreeBSD doesn't come with Xorg
I knew that and followed the installation instructions, but think I did something wrong (rather than there being a hardware or software issue) and ran out of time to dig into it. It'll have to wait until I have time for another go at it. If that still doesn't work, I'll give the tutorial on your site a try. Thanks for the suggestion.
33 • Redcore Linux (by Ghiunhan Mamut on 2017-08-21 19:36:15 GMT from United Kingdom)
First of all thank you for the review, it is a very honest one and is highly appreciated.
Second of all, most of the issues you encountered are already fixed, or in progress of being fixed.
The ugly UI you faced was just a Qt qgtkstyle regression, it was fixed.
Libreoffice UI is now fixed as well. Default theming was also fixed, apps will look more uniform from now on. That being said, I'm happy that most issues you mentioned are cosmetic ones.
Regarding booting on real HW :
- booting from DVD should work without any issue be it MBR or EFI.
- booting from USB should work without any issue as long as the thumb drive label is set to REDCORE . This is actually our fault, documentation is still our weak point.
And in the end, let me address the concern about space. Yes, Redcore will take more space than many other distros for several reasons :
- libraries are built both as shared and static
- packages are built as upstream intended, there is no package splitting (wine, wine-devel, wine-mono, wine-d3d9), so development headers are included
- packages downloaded during an upgrade are being kept in cache, and not removed (I'm working to provide a way to clean the package cache)
34 • BSD (by vic on 2017-08-21 21:51:22 GMT from Canada)
I currently do not run any, just too comfortable using Linux. Every once in a while I do get the urge to give it a test run on a spare system. Generally a decent experience but it doesn't take long before I'm missing something or stumble enough that I move back into a more comfortable deb or arch based distro again.
35 • DragonFly BSD (by dirk on 2017-08-21 23:03:31 GMT from United States)
DragonFly BSD user on an HP i5 laptop and an ASUS Celeron netbook. I may be the only one on my block though...
36 • RE #33 Redcore (by More Gee on 2017-08-22 03:20:55 GMT from United States)
I am seeing a lot of sloppiness with booting and installation on most new Distros. It started with Debian 9 and seems to have spread across to others. I never did get Ultimate edition 5.5 to install. The boot-loader would only run the first option on menu which was run live from DVD, when it did come up about 5 minutes later all the fonts were washed out the KDE windows in the graphic install program. No desktop would work so I went into the loaded font and turned it to bold so I could at least read the menus. Then an old bug that I have not seen in while came up where it would not recognize any FAT entries in any drive (even ultimate edition) and wanted me to chose which drive to format and install. Even mounting the drives did not help so I stopped right there. Ultimate edition also comes with a bunch of dead apps that are either miss-configured or out of date. The last time I installed it it took 18gb and CUPS did not work as it could not see anything on the network.
37 • bootloader.. (by what_if on 2017-08-22 05:04:39 GMT from Australia)
If your PC is EFI , consider trying rEFInd boot loader.. It's quite impressive, I discovered it TrueOs, as there dual boot option. It picks up just about every Os with ease, & no modifications to grub required ( that is, if an existing Os is using grub) or even a live installer that uses grub.
I know it works MacOS, I have run it with Windows, every linux I have tested it on 2 BSD's, TrueOs & OpenBsd. I will not use anything else anymore.
really easy to install.. No more grub-update, while testing out other distros.. No more grub failure or kernel crashing..
38 • BSD (by zykoda on 2017-08-22 06:40:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
Have tried several BSD in the past (5 years) when I've had a spare primary partiton to format.Quite impressive. Running Windows/linux multiboots means having at least a second disk on which to install a BSD flavour. Thus, the reorganisation of disk space deters from installing any BSD.
39 • Some of the reasons that I do not use FreeBSD based distributions (by Paschalis Sposito on 2017-08-22 07:16:44 GMT from Greece)
ZFS moans if the drives sizes are different,
No LVM2 equivalent...gvinum or gconcat ? Root, Home, Swap on LVM?
Lack of Desktop applications, such as Skype e.t.c.
No compatibility with XFS, Ext4 e.t.c. filesystems....
40 • BSD FileySystem Compatabilty (by what_If on 2017-08-22 08:35:35 GMT from Australia)
What you state is true.
On my Desktop I have an internal Drive formatted to ext2. I save everything in that ext2 drive, so regardless if I'm using either Linux/Bsd I have access to or my data. If using windows tools like Ext2Fsd are available.
41 • Redcore (by Mr. J on 2017-08-22 10:46:30 GMT from Slovenia)
It would be great if Redcore would have a persistant option for USB use...
42 • BSD (by me2 on 2017-08-22 12:47:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
I just about run freebsd. I do mean just about. Sometimes it seems like its one step forward one step back. I have been tempted on several occasions to ditch freebsd. But I do have it on both my laptop and desktop - but not run all the time - only when I have the time. Its not good with everything and it is like taking a large ten year step back in time; all those problems that linux has ironed out that bsd still has. I cant see it being my main rig/desktop.
43 • bsd (by me2 on 2017-08-22 12:50:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
@41-yeah I know the filesystem compatiblity thing is a problem. I did the same as you and have an externale usb drive formatted to ext2. But it still sucks as too often the filesystem to to be rechecked. Recently I pluggeb that drive into a rpi and have the rpi run a nfs server that bsd can access; no reformatting needed.
44 • BSD (by Todd Firkins on 2017-08-22 13:11:38 GMT from United States)
I just started to dable with FreeBSD that is part of an OPNSense firewall I just installed. I just added NUT to the firewall and that was a bit of a project but the firewall is working well. I have not tried a desktop variant yet.
45 • using BSDs (by M.Z. on 2017-08-22 19:01:26 GMT from United States)
I'm running pfSense as a FreeBSD based firewall distro, though it's off & on when I have the right old hardware that is working properly. If the fan on a seconhand box of mine weren't making a grinding noise I'd be running it right now & feeling even more secure than I do with just Linux.
I have had some significant hardware compatibility issues when I tried to run BSD on the desktop in the past. I think I'm the only one on my block running Linux as a desktop & I'd guess that #35 is the only one for many blocks around running BSD on the desktop, given how rare it seems to be. I do hope it gets to the state of being at least as good on the desktop as Linux is now. BSD has been a really good firewall for me though.
Also BSD pumps vast quantities of video streams off the netflix servers. It seems to truly excel at streaming TV. I'd still like to put BSD to more direct use though.
46 • Alternate Universes Beckon BSD (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-08-23 03:40:25 GMT from United States)
A thought occurred to me. Rather than try desktops, BSD should play to its other strengths: Write open-source firmware for motherboards.
BSD succeeds in embedded systems and networking servers. The devs love low-level tinkering. The license appeals to vendors. BSD needs drivers.
A move into motherboard firmware would one-up Linux and help libre life. Linux has little presence in firmware, though lots of drivers.
If a vendor ships closed forks or clones, we could just reflash with public firmware. Where compatibility prohibits, reverse engineering remains possible, but I see a different outcome.
Many firms want outsourcing and crowdsourcing help. They profit on hardware markup, not code. Even walled-gardener Apple tried a FOSS kernel and OpenFirmware. Most mobos already use third-party firmware of some standard flavor. It's just closed source so these third parties can profit. They will die, I hope. Libre people would not buy boards lacking a 'BSD inside' approval sticker. So the market could drive vendors towards FOSS.
Example. If OpenBSD sold a motherboard running OpenBSD firmware with all necessary drivers and kernels on board, I'd be the first to buy it. Imagine all the security gurus lining up behind me...
47 • BSD's (by commenter 47 on 2017-08-23 06:01:52 GMT from Australia)
#42 BSD "is like taking a large ten year step back in time"
Well said. The current trend in OS development is microkernels with verified code, concurrency, and built-in hypervisers. But they're usually for embedded devices. Exception is Minix with a microkernel + OpenBSD compatibility. But it still doesn't have USB support yet.
It seems that OS projects don't progress much if they don't get a large userbase who like to hack the code. That means both good and bad stuff: apps, hacking, malware etc. Without that, OS's are just a basic codebase, with a lot of developers' dreams on top.
48 • BSD (by scuttlebuck on 2017-08-23 08:51:41 GMT from Nicaragua)
Many moons ago When i first found Linux I was working as a windows Virus remover and found in invaluable in my quests....
Then someone Mentioned BSD. and being seen as the real computer expert (i used Linux) expected this to be an easy task......Oh My how wrong....Probably the only OS that lost me and beat me completely
Since then I have had regular attempts with one or the other different BSDs and now at least I can regularly get a running Machine, all be it feeling like i have installed an Old Linux Distro.....which is great .....But not what I can use for much anymore
I Did try GhostBSD recently that was showing a lot of Promise
I Can't fault any of the BSDs I have had running servers, firewalls and Desktops and have all seemed very stable,
Maybe im getting Old and Lazy now but i find it easier to not spend too may hours trying to fathom something out when i can Install something else that i can use out of the blocks
49 • Black Labs Gnome edition is Unity (by tim on 2017-08-23 12:00:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
just downloaded Black Labs Gnome edition and it has Unity desktop not Gnome. Nice though and on my windows tablet works a little better than Ubuntu
quick comment on the surveys. Before you ran them comments were most about your reviews and recent releases and additions. Now mostly comments ae about the survey. I used to learn more from the comments before
a favorite site still though
50 • Is Simplicity Linux still active? (by Pestokiwa on 2017-08-23 12:03:16 GMT from United States)
Can anybody tell if Simplicity is still developed/maintained? On Distrowatch it is listed as 'active', but the last post on their homepage is from August '16, last activity on their Github page was on November '16 ...
51 • Torn apart between Black Lab and SolusOS (by Hornero on 2017-08-23 15:16:03 GMT from Canada)
i downloaded Black Lab (XFCE) yesterday, and I'm already torn apart, as fell in love with its beauty, lightness, lightning speed, and user-friendlies ... Therefore, I'm now seriously thinking to use it permanently on my desktop, instead of SolusOS, which i have been very happily using for a long time as my favorite distro.
By the way, i understand that the latest release of Black Lab's Enterprise edition comes with Linux kernel 4.10.0-37. And, now, i wonder if the current edition of Black Lab's XFCE flavour is, also, using the same Linux kernel 4.10.0-37.??
52 • BSD? Oh yes. (by azuvil on 2017-08-23 17:41:46 GMT from United States)
The workhorse router that serves my entire network has a stock OpenBSD-current installation on it. The computer I'm using right now was a dedicated FreeBSD machine for quite awhile, and now I run different BSDs in virtual machines from time to time. Really, it's hard to go wrong when you know what you want from the operating system and it delivers so well.
Come to think of it, the last few GNU/Linux distros I've been using seriously (Slackware and Gentoo) have stretched closer to BSD territory. It's funny how tastes develop.
53 • @49, BSDs (by Jake on 2017-08-23 18:52:41 GMT from United States)
I think it depends on the week. I like having a lot of discussion about anything here: polls, review, etc. I also get a lot out of the comments, which is why I read every week.
I have yet to try BSDs. I've looked at them more because of systemd (their lack thereof). I tried OpenBSD in a VM many years ago when I was fed up with Windows and was ready that weekend to wipe my XP partition. I was very glad I didn't. That was the first time I learned about mounting disks, and the whole experience at the time was very frustrating (not OpenBSD's fault; I was over my head).
54 • BSD as bloatware? (by M.Z. on 2017-08-23 19:12:36 GMT from United States)
"BSD succeeds in embedded systems and networking servers. The devs love low-level tinkering. The license appeals to vendors. BSD needs drivers.
A move into motherboard firmware would one-up Linux and help libre life. ..."
So you're saying you don't think people are complaining enough about bloated OSes & you'd like to load an entire BSD operating system into all PC firmware by default? It's not just bloat either, a complicated universal firmware could create significant security holes that would likely either go unnoticed & un-patched by typical users, or create a huge number of failures after patching.
I've seen the failure after patching happen on pfSense when the upstream folks at FreeBSD decided that some old serial hardware wasn't worth supporting. My free old junk firewall PC became nearly worthless, as a boot time of what was probably less than a minute began taking hours. I'm not sure how long I actually gave it but after a couple of resets & some 30 plus minute waits while I was off doing other things, I decided there was something seriously wrong. I'm sure the average Linux user wouldn't be all that bothered by going to the forums to troubleshoot & finding the correct settings in BIOS to turn of the old legacy serial support; however, it's still a pain & probably a massive problem for average PC users as a whole.
There are plenty of merits to open hardware & firmware as a whole, but I think stuffing an entire Unix-like OS of any kind down into firmware would be a bad move. Unless of course we all have 12+ CPU cores, a very durable on board SSD for firmware, 16+ GB of RAM, & a very good system in place for handling the patching of BSD 'firmware'. On the whole, not really worth it.
BSD is great for firewall OSs & servers that stream netflix & such, but I just don's see why it would mix very well with firmware. BSD getting more common on the desktop seems far more realistic to me.
55 • Firm where? (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2017-08-23 22:29:18 GMT from United States)
Perhaps @46 meant "embedded" systems?
Open-Source firmware does sound like a very good idea.
(Don't some motherboards advertise Linux onboard?)
56 • Mighty Zany Strikes Back (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-08-24 01:50:25 GMT from United States)
Hi MZ @54, you're not mad at me, you just don't know it yet. You're mad at FreeBSD and your loopy self for not RTFM. I work in embedded systems, the final holdout for DB-9 serial ports, often mandatory in development. Read my postings. They advocate old h/w support and rib kernel devs chasing shiny shiny from Las Vegas consumergizmocons.
Your anecdote proves my point, thank you. Had your BIOS been BSDIOS, not an import-export mystery chip, it would have had docs and support.
Hypothetical BSDIOS for any given board would by definition include all the drivers for it. If "universal" political decisions are your problem, dedicated firmware is your answer.
We already got insecure bloatware BIOS, BECAUSE FOSS FOLKS WERE NOT OFFERING SOMETHING ELSE. We got UEFI, courtesy vendor committees. Using FAT filesystem. Go, security!
Embedded whatzits at Big Box Suckermart often run DOS. Yes, Miscreant DOS. Embedded SDKs are based on DOS. Would you prefer FreeBSD, or not?
If the shiny whatzit doesn't run DOS, it boots a custom hackathon created by backroom nerds trying to make sales happy. Sales doesn't give a fig about bugs, bloat, or security. What sales execs obsess upon is OPAQUENESS and DON'T LET THE CUSTOMERS KNOW WE GOT BUGS OR HOLES. And if customers do find out, issue press releases on our deep concern for quality.
I notice people booting SSDs nowadays. Meanwhile with UEFI firmware is getting big. So these days the distinction between firmware and boot disk is getting silly. Half the arguments about systemd were boot times. And nobody thought about putting the kernel in the firmware?
I see plenty of room for BSDs to offer libre boards and/or libre bootware for 3rd-party boards. How much OS code belongs on board will depend on its design specifics.
DD-WRT fits *nix into 4MB or 8MB flash space across for dozens upon dozens of models. I don't see why something similar can't be done for mobos. It's been twenty years and BSD has shown very little interest in good desktop support. Does your printer work? How about that monitor? Never mind ancient serial ports.
What BSD has shown is a whole lotta kernel cruftwerken. I merely opined that such natural interest is better targeted at firmware, a market nobody in FOSS is serving. The Raspberry Pi success story is also a good lesson. BSD nerds could design new libre mainboards with whatever flash size seems best, and open-source schematics.
57 • Simplicity Linux (by Winchester on 2017-08-24 13:18:50 GMT from United States)
In response to post # 50 ......
Simplicity Linux was a clone of LxPupSC (Simplicity 15.1) and LxPup (later versions of Simplicity).
Simplicity just added some more wallpapers and the wBar launcher.
They couldn't even figure out the script to delay launching the wBar 8 to 10 seconds to avoid a black rectangle around the wBar.
Then,they said that they would be switching the base to antiX or maybe it was Knoppix but,either way it seems pointless when you could just use antiX or Knoppix or Debian or LxPupSC. Pointless besides additional wallpapers.
I believe that it is a mistake by DistroWatch to not include LxPup / LxPupSC as "not ready" especially when a clone with more wallpapers (Simplicity) is included as ready.
LxPupSC has a weird name but,it is one of the best distributions going. Blazing fast,run in RAM. I am a little bit uneasy about running as root but,I run FireFox as a normal user. The default desktop is cluttered and looks dated,especially the menu but it can be adjusted and it is well worth the time.
58 • OpenBSD-6.1 (by MENSKY on 2017-08-24 21:14:18 GMT from United States)
Every time I install OpenBSD I can't get my HP PSC 1500 printer to print. I even tried the lpr thing that comes with BSD which says print to file,well I don't want to print to file, I want to print to paper. I used many distros and always return to linux mint which always works without doing any configuring after install.
59 • BSD chill pill (by open OS user on 2017-08-24 22:48:01 GMT from Australia)
@56 Archy, you reply as if people are attacking you personally. That's not the case. We all come here because we like using Linux and other open OS's. Everyone has useful comments to make according to their own experiences and expectations. Your own comment on using BSD as firmware is also of interest. I think we all help developers since some of them drop in here from time to time. So relax and enjoy the to-and-fro of conversations. .
60 • @54 Linux is Already in Firmware (by Jake on 2017-08-25 16:09:11 GMT from United States)
Most BMCs (board management controllers) are already running stripped down versions of Debian or other distributions. These ICs are used for IPMI and remote system management. And yes, they are open to all sorts of vulnerabilities because they do not get regular patches (one of many reasons not to put IPMI on a public connection). I like the idea of BSD being used for a similar purpose if only to put some pressure on treating these embedded systems as updatable systems. There are only a few vendors that actually write BIOS or BMC firmware. Sometimes I'm amazed that stuff works considering all the bugs/issues we find at work.
61 • @56, @59 (by Jake on 2017-08-25 16:22:13 GMT from United States)
I think Arch Watcher's comments are spot on if you're in that part of the industry. I can confirm everything he was saying and think what he proposes would be a good idea. There is definitely a space for better solutions in these low-level spaces.
Think about it this way: why do people say "unless you're having a problem, don't update your BIOS/firmware/etc"? The real reason is that this stuff is full of problems, and you're likely to introduce bugs or brick your hardware or something else bad happening because it is so closed and of such low quality. Seriously, it is that bad. I wish there was more incentive to do something about it because a lot of corporate profits drive keeping things the way they are.
The point I see in bringing stuff like this up is to make people aware and get people talking about it. I love the suggest of the BSD teams taking stuff like this on, but of course, I'm not them, and they are free to do whatever they want. This is the first time I've heard such an idea, so maybe if people talk about stuff like this enough, the right people will take notice and give things a try.
62 • Freebeastie 11 (by Simurgh on 2017-08-25 21:38:25 GMT from United Kingdom)
Once the beastie took hold, am reasonably sure its goodbye to GNU/linux at least for the time being. There's a purity in the BSDs that the penguins cannot match, if that makes any sense at all. Running 11.1 on a mainstream AMD 64 machine and ARM raspis currently. Loving it.
63 • @61 (by edcoolio on 2017-08-25 21:47:15 GMT from United States)
That may all be true, but it was still very, very annoying to read #56.
#59 was correct in this regard.
64 • @62: FreeBSD (by dragonmouth on 2017-08-26 14:19:27 GMT from United States)
If FreeBSD or any other BSD were as easy to install and maintain as Ubuntu, I would agree with you. However, based on the comments so far, it seems that even the most user-friendly BSDs are not ready to supplant the penguin. Just because you have the BSD expertise does not mean that many others do too. Neurosurgery and/or rocket science are easy if you know them.
65 • BSD (by Jordan on 2017-08-26 19:45:12 GMT from United States)
Tried a few here and there over the years. Found them primitive and requiring too much effort to get things going as I need and to just do work. Lately it's gotten much better and had Dragonfly and TruOS on my old laptop for a while.
Linux won, though. Just my familiarity with the system and my druthers.
66 • firmware & stuff (by M.Z. on 2017-08-26 22:08:18 GMT from United States)
& @60: "Most BMCs (board management controllers) are already running stripped down versions of Debian or other distributions..."
That being true, BSD probably would be a reasonable choice for similar operations & it could pick up better hardware support by performing such a role; however, the real problem would be getting enough community buy in to really do it right & make it wide spread.If equipment makers are having trouble now, how do you create any more accountability in the future when they can point at the community & say, 'well what were they doing about it?". I mean how do we avoid an OpenSSL situation? I don't think putting a BSD there soles the issue any more than any other firmware option, the real problem is buy in & accountability.
67 • BSD (by sverige on 2017-08-27 20:33:42 GMT from United States)
I tried many different distros of Linux and the BSDs about 7 years ago, and occasionally since then. None have proven to be as stable, simple, correct, and secure as OpenBSD. It may take a little more work to get things set up the way you want initially compared to something like OpenSUSE or Mint, but once that's done, it's very easy to maintain. There has been no reason to go to something else since. And since systemd has been forced into the Linux world, if there were only Linux and Windows, I think Windows would be the better option.
68 • systemd (by Winchester on 2017-08-27 22:33:18 GMT from United States)
The prior post goes off the rails towards the end.
There are plenty of Linux distributions without systemd as noted last week. Notably PClinuxOS , almost the entire Gentoo family besides Sabayon, Devuan, Nelum, Refracta, MX-Linux,the SlackWare family, Void Linux, and Alpine Linux.
I am sure that I am leaving some out also.
Additionally,systemd doesn't make a Linux distribution worse than Windows. Not by far,in my opinion.
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