| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 732, 2 October 2017
Welcome to this year's 40th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A lot of server work these days is handled by virtual environments, either lightweight containers or virtual machines. One operating system which is trying to make working with virtual servers easier is ClonOS. The ClonOS platform is based on FreeBSD and features web-based administrative controls. We explore ClonOS further in our Feature Story. In our News section we discuss reducing the size of Snap packages for GNOME applications, Ubuntu's plans to phase out 32-bit installation media and we cover highlights from FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report. Our Questions and Answers column this week talks about partitioning disks with ZFS. Plus we share a list of the distributions released last week and provide links for the torrents we are seeding. Our Opinion Poll this week asks how many of our readers feel comfortable running non-free web browsers verses entirely open source browsers. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the BeeFree OS distribution to our database. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Managing virtual environments with ClonOS 12
- News: Reducing Snap size, Ubuntu Desktop to drop 32-bit media, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report
- Questions and answers: Partitioning disks for ZFS
- Released last week: SparkyLinux 5.1, KNOPPIX 8.1
- Torrent corner: 4MLinux, feren OS, KNOPPIX, Nitrux, Sparky, SystemRescueCd, Tails
- Upcoming releases: FreeBSD 10.4, Fedora 27 Beta
- Opinion poll: Web browsers and non-free DRM
- DistroWatch.com news: Mobile app for getting distro news
- New additions: BeeFree OS
- New distributions: eXtern, Advanced Persistent Security
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (23MB) and MP3 (28MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Managing virtual environments with ClonOS 12
ClonOS is one of the latest operating systems to be entered into the DistroWatch database. The project's website describes ClonOS as follows:
ClonOS is a free, open-source FreeBSD-based platform for virtual environment creation and management.
The operating system uses FreeBSD's development branch (12.0-CURRENT) as its base. ClonOS uses ZFS as the default file system and includes web-based administration tools for managing virtual machines and jails. The project's website also mentions the availability of templates for quickly setting up new containers and web-based VNC access to jails. Puppet, we are told, can be used for configuration management.
ClonOS can be downloaded as a disk image file (IMG) or as an optical media image (ISO). I downloaded the ISO file which is 1.6GB in size. Booting from ClonOS's media displays a text console asking us to select the type of text terminal we are using. There are four options and most people can probably safely take the default, xterm, option.
The ClonOS installer then launches. The installer presents us with simple text menus were we are tasked with configuring our network interface (providing an IP address and Internet gateway), selecting which hard drive should be used to install ClonOS and creating administrator passwords. We are asked to come up with two passwords, one for the operating system's root account and one for accessing the web-based control panel. As I found out later, it does not matter what passwords we provide during the installation. With these three sets of questions answered, the installer copies its files to our hard drive, taking over the entire disk. We are then prompted to restart the computer to begin using our new copy of ClonOS.
When the freshly installed copy of ClonOS boots, it brings us to a text console and automatically signs us in as the root user. If we log out of the command line interface, ClonOS automatically logs us back in. Presumably, it is assumed the ClonOS server will be kept in a locked room to protect the operating system from people walking by the terminal.
The operating system, on the surface, appears to be a full installation of FreeBSD 12. The usual collection of FreeBSD packages are available, including manual pages, a compiler and the typical selection of UNIX command line utilities. The operating system uses ZFS as its file system and uses approximately 3.3GB of disk space. ClonOS requires about 50MB of active memory and 143MB of wired memory before any services or jails are created.
ClonOS 12 -- Checking the task logs
(full image size: 88kB, resolution: 1240x1004 pixels)
Web-based control panel
Most of the key features of ClonOS, the parts which set it apart from vanilla FreeBSD, can be accessed through a web-based control panel. When we connect to this control panel, over a plain HTTP connection, using our web browser, we are not prompted for an account name or password.
The web-based interface has a straight forward layout. Down the left side of the browser window we find categories of options and controls. Over on the right side of the window are the specific options or controls available in the selected category. At the top of the page there is a drop-down menu where we can toggle the displayed language between English and Russian, with English being the default.
ClonOS 12 -- Browsing jail templates
(full image size: 201kB, resolution: 1240x1004 pixels)
There are twelve option screens we can access in the ClonOS interface and I want to quickly give a summary of each one:
- Overview - this page shows a top-level status summary. The page lists the number of jails and nodes in the system. We are also shown the number of available CPU cores and available RAM on the system.
- Jail containers - this page allows us to create and delete jails. We can also change some basic jail settings on this page, adjusting the network configuration and hostname. Plus we can click a button to open a VNC window that allows us to access the jail's command line interface.
- Template for jails - provides a list of available jail templates. Each template is listed with its name and a brief description. For example, we have a Wordpress template and a bittorrent template. We can click a listed template to create a new jail with a vanilla installation of the selected software included. We cannot download or create new templates from this page.
- Bhyve VMs - this page is very much like the Jails containers page, but concerns the creation of new virtual machines and managing them.
- Virtual Private Network - allows for the management of subnets
- Authkeys - upload security keys for something, but it is not clear for what these keys will be used.
- Storage media - upload ISO files that will be used when creating virtual machines and installing an operating system in the new virtual environment.
- FreeBSD Bases - I think this page downloads and builds source code for alternative versions of FreeBSD, but I am unsure and could not find any associated documentation for this page.
- FreeBSD Sources - download source code for various versions of FreeBSD.
- TaskLog - browse logs of events, particularly actions concerning jails.
- SQLite admin - this page says it will open an interface for managing a SQLite database. Clicking link on the page gives a file not found error.
- Settings - this page simply displays a message saying the settings page has not been implemented yet.
While playing with ClonOS, I wanted to perform a couple of simple tasks. I wanted to use the Wordpress template to set up a blog inside a jail. I wanted a generic, empty jail in which I could play and run commands without harming the rest of the operating system. I also wanted to try installing an operating system other than FreeBSD inside a Bhyve virtual environment. I thought this would give me a pretty good idea of how quick and easy ClonOS would make common tasks.
First, I tried to create a Wordpress jail using the provided template. Clicking the Wordpress template brings up a screen where we are asked to provide some configuration details. Basically, we are given the chance to select passwords for the blogging software's database and administrator login. We are then taken to the jails management page where we can see our new Wordpress instance being created. The set up process just takes a minute and then the jail automatically launches.
ClonOS 12 -- The VNC console for accessing jails
(full image size: 116kB, resolution: 1240x1004 pixels)
On the surface, it looks like nothing happens as the jail runs silently in the background. We can click the VNC icon on the jail management screen to open a terminal window inside the Wordpress jail. The first hurdle I ran into was the jail was not connected to the network. I tried to bring the jail's network on-line, but kept running into “permission denied” errors. I later found jails are created in what is essentially read-only mode and deactivating this made it possible to adjust jail settings. At that point I could get on-line, but network options had to be set manually; the DHCP client software failed to acquire an address from the network.
I ran into a similar problem when I set up a generic, empty jail. The jail itself was created successfully, but it was unable to connect automatically to the network. This resulted in some fiddling to try to get the jail on-line. I have run into this issue before and it seems to be a problem with certain specific jail managers. Some jail management tools set up networking that functions automatically, while others leave us to tweak the jail manually to get a working network connection.
One last problem I ran into with jails was I had set both jails to automatically start when ClonOS booted. Despite this setting being selected, neither jail would start when the host operating system came on-line. Each jail had to be started manually.
The final task I had set for myself was to install an operating system on ClonOS using the Bhyve virtual machine manager. To make things easy on myself, I decided to install OpenBSD, which is a relatively small download of 209MB and OpenBSD has a simple system installer. I downloaded the ISO to my workstation and then tried to upload it to ClonOS using the storage management panel. The upload failed and I was shown an error saying the file I was uploading was too large. Since OpenBSD has one of the smaller ISO files available (apart from niche systems like Tiny Core Linux and a few net-install options) this limitation rules out most open source server platforms I might wish to install. This meant I didn't get to test Bhyve as most ISO files I could download would not get by ClonOS's upload size limitation.
ClonOS 12 -- Trying to upload an ISO file
(full image size: 84kB, resolution: 1240x1004 pixels)
One set of features I felt was missing from the ClonOS control panel were methods for managing the underlying operating system. I found no button for rebooting the computer, checking for software updates or checking process information. We can turn to the local terminal and its command line for these features if need be. During my trial there were 753 software updates available for ClonOS's FreeBSD base system and these updates totaled 657MB in size. The updates installed cleanly using FreeBSD's pkg command line package manager and the system continued to work the same way once package update had been installed.
ClonOS appears to be in its early stages of development, more of a feature preview or proof-of-concept than a polished product. A few of the settings pages have not been finished yet, the web-based controls for jails are unable to create jails that connect to the network and I was unable to upload even small ISO files to create virtual machines.
The project's website mentions working with Puppet to handle system configuration, but I did not encounter any Puppet options. There also does not appear to be any documentation on using Puppet on the ClonOS platform.
One of the biggest concerns I had was the lack of security on ClonOS. The web-based control panel and terminal both automatically login as the root user. Passwords we create for our accounts are ignored and we cannot logout of the local terminal. This means anyone with physical access to the server automatically gains root access and, in addition, anyone on our local network gets access to the web-based admin panel. As it stands, it would not be safe to install ClonOS on a shared network.
Some of the ideas present are good ones. I like the idea of jail templates and have used them on other systems. The graphical Bhyve tools could be useful too, if the limitations of the ISO manager are sorted out. But right now, ClonOS still has a way to go before it is likely to be safe or practical to use.
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Visitor supplied rating
ClonOS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 7/10 from 1 review(s).
Have you used ClonOS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Reducing Snap size, Ubuntu Desktop to drop 32-bit media, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report
Snaps are software packages which can be installed and run on any Linux distribution which supports the Snap software. The Snap packages are portable and bundle their dependencies, which reduces reliance on the operating system's default libraries. Bundling dependencies can make Snap packages quite large, but this may be changing for packaged GNOME applications. Experimenting at the Ubuntu Rally has reduced Snap packages down to less than 20% of their original size. "At Ubuntu Rally we put Snaps on a snapdiet. GNOME Calculator Snap is down from 17.4MiB to 1.6MiB. gedit is down from 26.3MiB to 3.3MiB." This will make downloading and installing new Snap packages faster and reduce disk space requirements.
With the release of Ubuntu 17.10 coming up in a few weeks it looks as though one significant change will be the removal of 32-bit installation media for Ubuntu's Desktop edition. John Ledkov wrote on the Ubuntu Release mailing list: "Please action the below and remove Ubuntu Desktop i386 daily-live
images from the release manifest for Beta and Final milestones of
17.10 and therefore do not ship ubuntu-desktop-i386.iso artifact for
17.10. As a follow-up to this thread it has been confirmed that argumentation
below is sound, and furthermore there is no longer any effective QA or
testing of the desktop product on actual i386 hardware (explicitly non
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The FreeBSD project has released their latest Quarterly Status Report detailing recent updates and improvements to the venerable operating system. New changes coming to FreeBSD include using the LLVM linker more, slowly replacing the previously used GNU tools. The GNOME and KDE ports on FreeBSD are also getting some important updates: "After the X.Org and GNOME ports teams, the KDE on FreeBSD team has moved its development repository to GitHub. This should make it easier for others to collaborate with us via pull requests, and by basing all our changes on top of the official ports tree we also hope this reduces the amount of conflicts and churn we need to deal with when landing big updates across the tree. We would like to thank iXsystems for hosting and supporting our area51 Subversion repository for many years. FreeBSD has finally joined KDE's CI (Continuous Integration) system as a tier-1 platform. KDE CI builds all the KDE sources - 70 frameworks, the KDE Plasma Desktop and a plethora of KDE Applications - continuously, straight from KDE's git repositories. There is strong commitment from upstream and the downstream KDE-FreeBSD team to reduce the amount of patching in the KDE ports to as little as possible."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Partitioning disks for ZFS
Exploring-a-new-file-system asks: I have heard of the benefits to using ZFS and I want to put a ZFS partition on my disk. How do I format a partition for ZFS on Linux? There isn't an option for ZFS when I use GParted.
DistroWatch answers: One of the convenient characteristics of ZFS is the file system does not require you to format the partition or device where the file system will reside. When creating a ZFS storage pool, the zpool command will accept the name of any storage device, partition or even file and automatically take care of the low-level details for you, including formatting.
Should you find yourself using a partition manager that insists you format your partition with a file system, feel free to format the disk with any popular file system you like, such as FAT or ext4. When you instruct ZFS to take over the partition, ZFS will adjust the partition to suit its needs.
Once you have initialized the ZFS pool, assigning it the partitions or disks you want to use, you do not need to add ZFS entries to the operating system's fstab like you would with other file systems. ZFS automatically seeks out and mounts ZFS volumes for you when the operating system boots.
Before you get started using ZFS, I recommend reading a quick overview of its features. The FreeBSD Handbook has a great section on ZFS. Though the device names used in the guide are specific to FreeBSD, the ZFS commands shown use the same syntax and keywords across operating systems, so the same instructions will work on Linux and Solaris.
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More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
SparkyLinux is a Debian-based lightweight and fast Linux distribution designed to run on both old and new computers. The project's latest release, SparkyLinux 5.1, is based on Debian's Testing branch, codename Buster and offers a rolling release upgrade path. "Changes between version 5.0 and 5.1: full system upgrade from Debian testing repos as of September 25, 2017; Linux kernel 4.12.13 as default (4.13.3-sparky is available in Sparky 'unstable' repo); gcc 6 removed from the live media, the default compiler is gcc 7; - obmenu-generator updated up to version 0.80 (MinmalGUI edition), what speeded up launching the menu with SVG icons; the default system installer Calamares updated up to version 3.1.4; added new tool for installing a web browser: Sparky Web Browser Installer; new desktop environment added to Sparky repos: Manokwari; live system's memtest86+ issue has been fixed." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Klaus Knopper has announced the release of KNOPPIX 8.1, the latest stable version from he project that pioneered the concept of an easy-to-use Linux live CD with complete hardware support. This release comes with LXDE (default desktop), KDE Plasma 5.8 and GNOME 3.24: "Version 8.1 of KNOPPIX is based on the usual picks from Debian stable (Stretch), testing (Buster) and unstable (Sid) for newer graphics drivers or desktop software packages. It uses Linux kernel 4.12.7 and X.Org 7.7 (Core 1.19.3) for supporting current computer hardware. New in 8.1: BFQ (Budget Fair Queue) scheduler, now included in the standard kernel within the multi-path scheduler, automatically activated for slow disks, kernel and system software (Debian Stretch + Buster) updated; LibreOffice 5.4.1, GIMP 2.8.20; Chromium 60.0.3112.78 and Firefox 55 web browser with Ublock Origin and NoScript security plugin; automatic expansion of overlay partition on USB flash without reboot after 1:1 copy of ISO hybrid image on USB flash...." Continue to the detailed release notes for a full list of changes.
KNOPPIX 8.1 -- Running the LXDE desktop
(full image size: 1.2MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Version 3.2 of Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System), a Debian-based live DVD/USB with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user, has been released. This is mostly a security update, although it also comes with some component upgrades, including Linux kernel 4.12: "Tails 3.2 is out. This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible. New features: we added support for PPPoE and dial-up Internet connections, please tell us if this still doesn't work for you; we installed BookletImposer to convert linear PDF documents into booklets and vice-versa; we added GNOME Screen Keyboard to replace Florence, the previous virtual keyboard, which had many issues. Upgrades and changes: upgraded Linux to 4.12.12, this should improve the support for newer hardware, especially NVIDIA Maxwell graphics card; upgraded Thunderbird from 45.8 to 52.3. This version requires an 8 GB USB stick to install Tails, any 4 GB USB sticks that are already installed can still be upgraded." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information, screenshots and known issues.
* * * * *
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: 586
- Total data uploaded: 15.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Web browsers and non-free DRM
Last week we discussed the W3C declaring non-free DRM would become a web standard to allow compliant browsers to play DRM-protected media content. The new standard will require web browsers to include non-free modules in their code, posing a dilemma for free and open source web browsers.
We would like to find out how our readers feel about their web browsers including non-free code. Would you use a browser with non-free modules, do you require that your browser be entirely open source? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on open source desktops running on mobile devices in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Web browsers and non-free DRM
|I already use a non-free browser: ||448 (26%)|
| I will use non-free browsers: ||207 (12%)|
| I will not use non-free browsers: ||721 (42%)|
| Unsure/Other: ||334 (20%)|
Mobile app for getting distro news
For a while now DistroWatch has had a mobile-friendly website. This allows people with smaller screens to check up on the latest news, events and our Weekly newsletter.
Last week Md. Emran Hossain published an Android app which enables Android users to use a streamlined app to check on the latest distribution releases, new open source package versions and news Headlines. The app is still in its early stages and is intended to give our readers quick access to new developments while they are on the go, it's not designed to be a full replacement for the mobile edition of our website.
The Android app is called LinTree and is currently available through Google Play. If you like the app, please send feedback to its author. Md. Emran Hossain has generously offered to share any proceeds from the app with the DistroWatch team to help us keep this site running.
* * * * * *
New projects added to database
BeeFree OS is a Linux distribution based on Linux Mint. BeeFree OS features the Cinnamon desktop environment, a Unity theme and an application menu which resembles the Windows 7 Start menu. BeeFree OS features the BeeBEEP secure LAN instant messaging software and the ability to install portable, off-line applications from the CenterFree.cf store.
BeeFree OS 18.1.2 -- Running the Cinnamon desktop
(full image size: 790kB, resolution: resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- EterTICs GNU/Linux. EterTICs GNU/Linux is a libre distribution for radio stations in Latin America. It is based on Devuan.
- Advanced Persistent Security. Advanced Persistent Security is a Linux distribution designed for secure and anonymous web browsing.
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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, 9 October 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 • Web browsers and non-free DRM (by Marco on 2017-10-02 00:28:13 GMT from United States) |
I will continue to have multiple browsers installed. My go-to browsers will be those that respect my rights, however, if I really need some content, I will fire up a non-free browser. If the site feels a bit creepy, then in private mode, and sometimes even in a VM in private mode.
2 • Web Browsers and DRM. (by Rev_Don on 2017-10-02 00:32:29 GMT from United States)
I'll use whatever browser allows me to view/play the content I want.
3 • Browsers and DRM (by edcoolio on 2017-10-02 01:45:30 GMT from United States)
I agree completely @1, 2
I have multiple browsers.
I prefer private, open browsers if give a choice.
If I must have access to DRM restricted content, then I am left with no choice.
Like most, I don't like it, but if you wish to consume DRM restricted content - then there is really no choice.
4 • Web Browsers and DRM (by historyb on 2017-10-02 02:27:03 GMT from United States)
I must agree with the others I use whatever browser will let me watch my content
5 • Non-free module in browser (by Andy Figueroa on 2017-10-02 02:58:14 GMT from United States)
Not enough choices. I don't want my browser to have to include non-free modules in order to be considered compliant. Big mistake going on here.
6 • Non-free web browser (by Charlie on 2017-10-02 03:19:29 GMT from Hong Kong)
I am currently using Vivaldi as my main browser, though I have multiple browsers in my system.
Strictly speaking, Vivaldi do not use any OSI permitted license for their browser, but the team takes a very open approach for people viewing their code and submitting patches.
In recent years I've become a more pragmatic free software supporter, it is good to hear that a software is free (as in freedom), but I think there is also some good non-free software. At some point they can and should be co-existed for users to make a choice.
7 • backsliding (by tim on 2017-10-02 03:30:40 GMT from United States)
by the end of last week's comments (including a reply from Jesse), I thought we were all "up to speed" as to the status quo. DRM, EME, CDM.
Firefox skirts the issue by providing an inbuilt component which supports (Widevine, etc) proprietary Content Decryption Modules... but pre-installs only the non-proprietary ClearKey module. Doing so "meets the W3C spec", and avoids shipping proprietary binary blobs. Upon first time use browses to a page where Widevine decryption module would be required to playback protected content, a popup (doorhanger) notification alerts the user and asks permission to install Widevine (or cancel).
I expect I will no-time-soon be willing to authorize installation of a proprietary decryption module ~~ but never say never, eh? If I'm ever forced to do so (by an online banking site, for instance?) I expect it will be a throwaway browser, spun up for one-time-use, within sandbox or ephemeral VM.
Do you use flash? If so, it's likely you'll cave, you'll install Widevine or equivalent, first time its absence interferes with accessing your pr0n (or whatever had led you to install Flash).
8 • No dilemma. (by Babalembi Mofalatindasi on 2017-10-02 03:31:19 GMT from United States)
It's simple and I see no dilemma. If you want to consume protected content then you make your pact with the devil. If you resist you remain free and seek out better and free content.
9 • DRM Web browsers (by James B on 2017-10-02 05:12:29 GMT from Australia)
I'm with the EEF.
One option will hasn't been voiced is the getting together of the major and minors browser producers and get them to refuse and set their own standard.
If the standards agency is going off the rails, get a new agency!
And yes I know, easier said than done, however, its still possible.
Microsoft for years influenced the standards, now perhaps, a group of companies??
Live free and prosper :)
10 • browsers (by figosdev on 2017-10-02 05:42:52 GMT from United States)
if w3c compliance should ever require non-free components, i am more than ready to ditch the idea of w3c compliance.
i think its a mythology. yes, browsers have always differed in what it takes to get the same layout. now its a lot more complicated, and they still differ in practice. officially theyre all compliant, but the w3c is one of the largest purveyors of elephant whistles i know. the elephants are rare, so i guess their whistles are pretty good these days.
11 • Nobody understands the W3C anymore (by mark on 2017-10-02 06:39:27 GMT from Austria)
I already do not use DRM and would not use browsers who attack me with DRM.
But the more interesting question is - why can the W3C dictate onto mankind
non-free enslavements such as the DRM?
12 • Browsers and DRM (by Mohamed on 2017-10-02 07:37:42 GMT from Algeria)
I use the fine old Opera Classic + PaleMoon for sites tha opera can't handle :)
13 • Browsers (by LK on 2017-10-02 08:11:08 GMT from Finland)
Free Software browsers only. I went so far that I wrote my own (Fifth) when none of the existing options suited me.
14 • Possible to have everything, just depends on what you trust (by Farflung on 2017-10-02 08:32:13 GMT from Canada)
To reader above who compared Wine-shackling a browser to using Flash. I don't feel this is the same; I do allow controlled viewing of video content on my web browser, but I get to decide what's happening, not my browser And I don't use Wine or Widevine except on one device that exists solely for that purpose.
. Most people with security and testing in mind use different browsers for different things. I use Chrome on a Mac solely to watch youtube or movies on Netflix with a person. I don't use it for for any other purpose, while Google's constantly burbling background process is scrutinized. Open source is necessary and my first choice, but Chrome is still by far the most "secure" browser out of the box for most types of users, Opera is at the bottom of the list in terms of security for any user. Firefox, the choice of Tor and the Swowden guy, will be mine for almost all net use. You just fine tune noscript and a few other plugins to have pretty fantastic control over script injections and poisoning, control of what flash and .js, java, webgl (which you my as well substitute with flash since they aren't being used for open sourcy things here) is coming onto your machine if you have to. I would feel much worse if Firefox came mounted with no choices to disable WebRTC and DRM.
15 • fifth browser (by nano-me on 2017-10-02 10:07:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
@13 I have been searching for alternative browsers, and am interested in the ideas behind Fifth [your sourceforge and github web sites]. Sadly, in the past, my attempts to build it from source failedl when I try to satisfy the libraries. I will have another go.
16 • About browser (by César on 2017-10-02 10:35:40 GMT from Chile)
I use Opera, why?, because works in the pages i visited without any trouble.
17 • Killing the internet further with DRM (by cykodrone on 2017-10-02 11:26:08 GMT from Canada)
TLDR version: I'm not weakening my surfing privacy and security (block settings and security/privacy add-ons) just to bow to a few greedy internet media oligarchs, they just won't get my traffic or business anymore.
I dumped Firefox for Pale Moon long ago because Mozilla went over to the dark-side with built in (tracking) spyware. I also have ad and script blockers, I whitelist some sites like this one for support through traffic reasons. I have also dumped all the major social media platforms for the same or similar reasons, I refuse to be part of the digital cattle, their lives (surfing habits, demographic and personal info) auctioned off and sold in milliseconds. I am tired of having my privacy violated, FB has been busted numerous times changing privacy features and settings without notifying users, and actually putting some of them in danger. The other giant (that orange person's megaphone) will harass you for your cell phone number with relentless and unjustified account suspensions (aka as a brute force phishing attack, your cell number is the ransom). Same goes for anything Goggle or the companies they swallowed up (like u-tube) over the years, their scripts don't need to be snooping what I'm looking at on totally unrelated sites. The interwebz aint what they used to be, huge corporations have commercialized it to death (with skeezy tactics), the more they muddy the waters, the less I go in them, it's that simple, I've wasted too much of my life on the internet anyway.
18 • Web browsers and non-free DRM (by Fernando Santucci on 2017-10-02 11:32:38 GMT from Brazil)
Historically Mozilla deeply respects W3C, ISO and ECMA standards in its Firefox browser. However, I think if they are forced to implement a non-open source by an industry maneuver, then an alternative fork will emerge from her source code without this implementation and I believe it has instant adherence because its audience is captive due to respect for privacy and open standards.
19 • Browsers (by John on 2017-10-02 11:56:09 GMT from United States)
"Information wants to be free!"
I use a neutered version of Dillo as my go to browser. Fast. Works. I am typing this into a Dillo window.
I didn't bother with it.
Most news sites are MUCH easier to read with Dillo.
20 • DRM (by Mike on 2017-10-02 12:21:30 GMT from Canada)
@17 hit the nail on the head.
Closed source DRM can do anything including extracting our IP addresses (for those who surf with anonymising services), machine names, and whatever else they want to do to include our browsing in their databases. It is the end of privacy in the service of marketing more comprehensive databases on us.
Don't the credit bureaus, search engines, and phone companies have enough info on us to sell?
21 • Web browsers and non-free DRM (by Ralph on 2017-10-02 12:28:53 GMT from United States)
I never really gave it a thought. FireFox was it. Now I see that there is going to be a riff in browser usage and the fallout of that will point the way to alternate browsers, I'm sure. Non-free is non-me.
22 • RE: Web browsers and non-free DRM (by ptyerman on 2017-10-02 12:42:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
It was already forked a long time ago, it's my browser of choice and has been for some time, it's called Pale Moon.
It can use Firefox add-ons and extensions and unlike Mozilla, does not screw over its user base with horrible Chrome like GUI choices you can't change.
The devs have stated that the upcoming web DRM will NOT be added to Pale Moon as that is what their users voted for in a recent poll. They listen to their devs and users!
23 • I'm surprised! (by Garon on 2017-10-02 12:53:52 GMT from United States)
I'm really amazed and surprised that so many are using a totally free distro. You may say, we are talking about browsers not distributions. What makes a person believe that it's so noble to use a totally free browser and not use a totally free distro? Really, 40% of the opinion poll does say that they WILL NOT use a non-free browser. I assume these same ones also WILL NOT use a non-free distro. Some say they won't use a non-free browser unless they have to for certain content. Why would you do that? People need to remember, blobs are blobs. No matter if they be DRM blobs or Kernel blobs or non-free driver blobs or whatever. To not feel dirty you have to go 100% free, or do like cykodrone and go totally, "OFF THE GRID."
24 • "totally free distro" (browsers) (by Jordan on 2017-10-02 13:05:50 GMT from United States)
@23 These polls are responded to by frequenters of this linux-based website. A high percentage of people who land here and become regulars read the site Weekly and answer the polls. Thus the inflated numbers as to interest in "totally free distros/browsers," I think.
25 • Web browsers provide the main attack surface (by Ista on 2017-10-02 13:23:42 GMT from United States)
@23 I think it makes sense that people are less willing to use non-free browsers than they are to use other non-free software. Browsers are the primary contact between the user and the cesspool that is the internet. Webbrowsers are the portal through which every detail of you on-line activity is vacumed up. Using a non-free word prosessor might be leave a bad taste in your mouth but it doesn't have the same privacy concerns.
26 • RE: non-free browsers & DRM (by Stevo on 2017-10-02 17:44:35 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have just recently started using free (as in freedom) software, in the past I have used mostly Firefox and never really thought to much about it. Then I started looking into ethical distros and what free software actually means, anyway - I now use a totally free version of Iceweazel, no DRM. Also use NetSurf as it is ethical as well. My reasoning for choosing free software is because I do not like being told how I should do things, why should I have java/flash enabled to 'view' content? hint; so I can be tracked. No thanks.
27 • I use Opera (by OstroL on 2017-10-02 18:55:37 GMT from Poland)
I use Opera. It has everything. Its created by our people, who knows what we want. And, its always evolving. It is also free.
When you are using an app made by others, you use it the way its created. And, you are thankful its there and free.
If you want a web browser to do everything the way you want, then create one, keep it in your own box and don't show it to anyone.
28 • Pale Moon UK (by Dave Postles on 2017-10-02 19:15:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
29 • Free Non/Free Browsers (by dcarter on 2017-10-02 20:00:56 GMT from United States)
I already use the linux kernel which has some binary blobs in it. So what's the difference if my web browser has a few binary blobs in it too?
30 • I'm selling Tin-Foil hats.. (by Brad on 2017-10-02 22:33:06 GMT from United States)
I wear my tin-foil hat no matter what browser I use.. no issues..
but on a serious note.. I use ad blocking (noscript on firefox, ScriptBlocker for Chromium...or Opera in free vpn mode) and I have a 10mb hosts file.. and I use firefox focus for android
31 • Killing the beasts (DRM EME, CDM) & Side note (by Glenn on 2017-10-03 01:43:24 GMT from Switzerland)
I agree with a lot of the comments here, as far as steering way clear of these beasts. @8 and @9 both, well said. For me, only open and free browsers. With the closed source garbage, anything can be put in the code, spyware anyone?? Or worse! Shove those beasts off the cliff and burn them back to the pit of hell, where they came from. Yup, I am telling you what I really think and feel.
The last closed source browser I used was Opera (Presto Engine). Once it was killed off, no tears, just my attitude was "Right and Good, now I can fully move to FOSS browsers ONLY.
Keep your "protected" content, stick it where the sun don't shine and don't let the door hit you on the backside, on the way out. Good riddance DRM, EME, CDM and don't come back...ever.
*Side note: https://puri.sm/shop/librem-5/ Bring it!!
32 • Otter Browser (by Glenn on 2017-10-03 03:41:27 GMT from Switzerland)
Here is one to consider, it is coming along nicely. https://otter-browser.org/
GNU GPL v3
Nice tag line "A browser controlled by the user, not vice-versa".
33 • Free vs. non-free (by Gary W on 2017-10-03 06:11:52 GMT from Australia)
I use free browsers wherever possible. But Chromium has memory leaks, rendering and performance problems with more and more sites each upgrade, and Firefox has got the GNOME disease (breaking stuff for what must be good reasons to the devs, but breaking stuff important to me, e.g. Panorama).
So no one browser suits all my requirements, and like many others, I have to use non-free browsers when the free browsers are not up to the job. I hold my nose, but as others have mentioned, my hardware is non-free, the kernel is tainted, and every second web site is booby-trapped, so the whole thing is a cesspit of despond. I struggle on as best I can.
34 • Ubuntu 32bit support (by rooster12 on 2017-10-03 07:09:08 GMT from United States)
Personally don't use 32 bit or Ubuntu but respect those who has given up 32bit support. There are many folks who rely upon 32 bit.
Do want to comment about those who have made a point to try and force people who develop Debian derivatives or other distributions into building 32 bit releases. Trolling them on their websites or giving them poor ratings on SourceForge or like websites will not help their cause. Devuan forum was plagued with this behavior and many developers do offer support but those who choose not is their right. After all it is free and open source software. Devuan does offer 32bit for their releases while some derivatives may not. Please respect others for their choices.
The Devuan derivative I use was attacked on SF in this fashion by a troll who made a point to embarrass themselves daily on the forum.
Thankfull to DW to keeping Linux a priority and news that is important to us all. My go-to information website. Thanks to DW and all who contribute their efforts.
35 • DRM Browsers (by Brian on 2017-10-03 16:24:39 GMT from United States)
Glad to see I am in the majority who don't like the idea of non-free modules being added to browsers. @17 and @20 are exactly right. The information will be used to sell advertisements and extract IPs. It could, however, turn into a sizable boost to VPN services or those who can come up with virtual access to non-free browsers to play content from.
36 • 32 bit is still crucial for many (by sherman jerrold on 2017-10-03 17:08:52 GMT from United States)
My team rejuvenates PC's for people on low and fixed incomes. They almost all have old 32bit computers. The distributions that offer 32bit versions are critical for them. Many of them like lubuntu and kubuntu when I show them a number of options on live media. Now I'll have to track lubuntu and kubuntu development to see if and how they can continue to support these 32bit PC's. There are still at least many tens of thousands of them in use. I thank those that expend the effort to produce 32bit distros to help us. I'm viewing and posting this using my 15 year old dell p4 32bit with xubuntu and 768MB RAM.
37 • you're good through 2021.... (by Tim Dowd on 2017-10-03 18:11:22 GMT from United States)
That's awesome what you're doing. I often wonder about whether the solution for the eWaste problem and the digital divide is often the same thing- save older systems.
Two points on why it's not such a big deal
1.) Ubuntu 16.04 is supported through 2021. That's still more than 3 years away before Ubuntu support is lost
2.) Debian is probably going to support 32 bit longer, so if the machines are actually still useful, there's probably still going to be Linux support of some sort.
One other point, the Pentium 4 is actually a 64 bit processor
38 • Browsers & DRM related issues (by M.Z. on 2017-10-03 19:28:03 GMT from United States)
@17 , @20 & @35
How can # 17 'Hit the nail on the head/ be exactly right' with paranoid ranting like this:
"... went over to the dark-side with built in (tracking) spyware..."
Sorry but no, Mozilla has a fairly clear & strong record on privacy issues & is probably the only serious advocate for your rights as a user among the major browser makers. If you have a serious accusation & reliable sources to back it up, please do tell, but otherwise you destroy what ever shred of credibility you have as 'some DW poster' by attacking Mozilla. The only thing they ever did to provoke much privacy controversy was to introduce some sponsored tiles in order to become less financially dependent on Google, who actually does have serious privacy issues.
"... Firefox has got the GNOME disease (breaking stuff for what must be good reasons to the devs..."
The most annoying part to me was always stuff that could be fixed with things like 'classic theme restorer' & there is generally a work around of some kind with Firefox.
For my part I have to agree with the sentiments of the first few posters & admit that while a 100% free & 100% open web that had no DRM would be preferable, it's not actually all that realistic. Given how much content investors often put into things like the shows on Netflix it's reasonable for them to want a good return & fear the sort of piracy that DRM is supposed to prevent. I don't like it & wish there were a better way, but I don't see one that seems reasonable to both hard line 'free & open web' advocates & those seeking to ensure a fair profit from their media investments. Throw in the hard line profit maximizers who seek unlimited power over their content & unlimited copyright power (see Mickey mouse & copy right for an example) & you have a intractable argument on your hands.
see here about Mickey:
The things that # 29 & others point out are also quite valid & reasonable. I use Linux Mint, PCLinuxOS, & Mageia, not a hard line 'Libre Only' distro. Likewise I use a mix of browsers including Firefox, Vivaldi, & occasionally Chrome (even though I don't really like it) based on what gets my media displayed best. Trying to tell people they can watch Netflix on Linux but shouldn't won't win us any new users. I think it's far more realistic to accept a degree of DRM, while still encouraging a free & private internet by sending out signals using things like the 'Do Not Track Me' header & backing it up with things like the Privacy Badger extension from the EFF.
Also, if they allow that sort of thing where you are, contact your representative in government anytime someone attacks a free & open internet directly. Always be on the look out for serious problems like this one:
And if there is a chance to voice your opinion, like there was earlier this year here in the US with Net Neutrality, then speak up. I certainly did.
39 • Pentium 4 @37 (by Rev_Don on 2017-10-04 01:14:06 GMT from United States)
Only the Socket 775 Pentium 4s are 64bit. The original Socket 423 and 478 are all 32bit, and I'm betting that a lot of the systems he is refurbishing are Socket 478s.
40 • DRM / non-free browsers (by P.Th on 2017-10-04 08:10:21 GMT from Germany)
As I do already, you should at least jail the browser using drm/videwine with firejail.
As for example, using netflix with a netflix-only firefox profile, secured with firejail you would have to launch:
firejail --ignore=seccomp firefox -p Netflix -no-remote
(seccomp prohibits the use of drm, according to firejail's author netblue30)
Unfortunately i didn't manage to use the firejail --private flag yet, as this prohibits netflix from working (not sure if drm as a whole is affected).
So for sure, if firefox will adopt drm as a hardcoded component, i'm out and maybe move on to LuaKit or sth else, more innovative and probably freedom-respecting, and still have jailed nonfree browsers for the aforementioned streaming services, although i hate to have to do that...
41 • Mozilla spyware? @38 @17 (by curious on 2017-10-04 08:26:26 GMT from Germany)
The accusation of "(tracking) spyware" against Mozilla by @17 is definitely more serious than a "paranoid ranting".
I assume it refers to their telemetry data gathering functionality in Firefox ("Lightbeam" maybe? I forget what it was called exactly). This WAS (don't know if it still is) enabled by default and could only be turned off by delving deeply into the options menus - i.e. most non-technical users will never have noticed it. And such a functionality definitely IS a privacy/tracking issue.
So, while I still consider Mozilla to be more trustworthy than Google or MS, they and their products should be approached with a bit more caution and less automatic trust.
42 • @38: M.Z. (by dragonmouth on 2017-10-04 12:13:57 GMT from United States)
If "Mozilla has a fairly clear & strong record on privacy issues" why does it allow Google to track Firefox users? See the following article:
Many of these settings are hidden from the user and can only be changed by editing about:config.
43 • Paranoid ramblings (by cykodrone on 2017-10-04 12:23:09 GMT from Canada)
I had no idea I was supposed to keep links from hours of research before dumping my favourite browser (Firefox) after years of using and loving it. Comment 41 by curious pretty much got it right, extremely hidden reporting services sending out mulitiple specific identifying bits of information. If the average user doesn't know about these HIDDEN privacy issues and can't easily shut them off, it's nefarious behaviour. I have no problem with organizations raising cash with something like tiles, some distros have tweaked the default install to redirect users to corporations that have 'donated' money. That's not the issue, the issue is secretive nefarious behaviour much like that of MS over the years. Why would I dump Internet Exploder (and the OS it was surgically married to) to learn Linux and use something from a corporation that mirrors the exact same behaviour? If you were in to privacy and freedom as much as I am, you would have already been aware of these issues, not being as informed as I am does not give you the right to troll me. My motives have nothing to do with paranoia or hiding illegal activity, I just don't like my PERSONAL habits and information taken, used, and sold without my permission. It's equivalent of somebody stealing a credit card statement from a mailbox, making photocopies of the statement and throwing them around the neighbourhood. Some of the tech giants constantly share data with governments without warrants, in the hood, we call somebody like that a rat. Have a nice day.
44 • Security (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-10-04 14:22:12 GMT from United States)
Paranoia? Just remember that "If you have nothing to hide…" means you shouldn't wear clothing…
You don't have to be overtly giving permission for your private data to be compromised - just trust government (or a credit-report agency) to perform their due diligence in keeping it secure. When (not if) they're "hacked", your data will be added to a massive database of prospective victims.
This has nothing to do with software licensing - even strictly-socialist apps routinely blab your details in the normal course of operation, and such practice is grandfathered as historical customary practice. There's a learning curve that starts out gullible, nearly deliberately ignorant.
I could respect a Freed Open-Source (and well-audited) browser that kept any additions (plugin, extension, DRM API, etc) under strict user-managed control (a portable instance of FireJail for FireFox in Qubes, anyone?)
That may be the future, where every such app-instance is in its own Virtual Environment to minimize its vulnerabilities. Not pretty, definitely more work (complicated and tedious), but like all security, necessary.
45 • security and privacy (by nano-me on 2017-10-04 15:21:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
@44 I use Firejail to keep Firefox, Thunderbird etc in their own jailed worlds, with improved profiles to preclude writing anywhere except ~/Downloads [got to write somewhere]. However, protecting against Firefox "phoning home" with private information would need help from a custom Iptables firewall rule or two [not for everyone]. This still doesn't stop any web site that you register with passing on your data to "friends". To think I was thinking of signing up to Equifax until...
46 • Post # 36 and Post # 37 (by Winchester on 2017-10-04 16:38:05 GMT from United States)
Even when Ubuntu and then Debian drop 32-bit support / operating systems,after 2021 it looks as though there will still be the following options for 32-bit GNU/Linux operating systems (as I posted a couple of weeks ago) :
1) Gentoo / Calculate etc.
2) Mageia / Alt Linux
3) Slackware and derivatives such as Slackel , Salix, and probably Absolute Linux as well.
5) Vine Linux which has an English install option but,the continuation of a 32-bit Vine Linux is not for sure.
6) Puppy Linux and most derivatives such as X-Slacko and LxPupSC.
7) 4M Linux
8) Tiny Core / Core Plus
Plus some others for sure but,these seem to be the main groups for 32-bit operating systems beyond 2021 or beyond whenever Debian gets out of the 32-bit scene.
47 • 32bit and 64bit and distros (by sherman jerrold on 2017-10-04 16:56:12 GMT from United States)
Thank you @37 @39 @46. However, when we repair some old computers, even though the main processor may support 64bit, often the video or sound cards we must add to replace failing onboard ones are 32bit.
Also, even though Ubuntu 16.04 will last for 3 years, there are some people who really want like the latest version and while I like and use Debian and it can be lightweight and good for most old PC's, some people prefer other interfaces. I also really love many of the puppy variants and recommend them. While @46 makes many good recommendations, most of the people we work with have very limited PC knowledge and need a very simple and complete 'out-of-the box' distro.
Again, thank you to those distros that support us 'dinosaur riders'. And, kudos to the wealth of info provided by DistroWatch and all the commentators.
48 • "Lightbeam maybe?" - Nope (by M.Z. on 2017-10-04 18:30:36 GMT from United States)
"...telemetry data gathering functionality in Firefox ("Lightbeam" maybe?..."
Here is the actual website & what it does, if you care to put it into the privacy respecting search engine Duckduckgo & search for a few seconds:
And from this link we get a clear attitude:
"See who’s tracking you online
Lightbeam is a Firefox add-on that uses interactive visualizations to show you the first and third party sites you interact with on the Web...
Tracking & privacy
Not all tracking is bad. Many services rely on user data to provide relevant content and enhance your online experience. But tracking can happen without the user’s knowledge. That’s not okay for some. It should be you who decides when, how and if you want your browsing data to be shared..."
So are you mad that Mozilla went out of it's way to highlight the issue, or that they are nuanced & concerned about your privacy rather than setting their hair on fire & spouting some hard line position?
I will certainly admit that other organizations may well go further to defend a more private web & may not care for the nuance of phrases like: "...It should be you who decides when, how and if you want your browsing data to be shared..." It's certainly true that Mozilla is a big organization with a fair amount of industry ties & more sympathy for the possibility of 'reasonable/good tracking'.
The simple fact of the matter is that there are no perfect solutions & that sort of nuance is deeply unsettling to people looking for easy answers. Mozilla often takes realist positions on things like DRM, & may not have privacy settings designed to completely shield you from all tracking out of the box because of their assumption that it's not all bad. I'm sure there are real & valid reasons to go elsewhere for your browsing needs & that there are some settings people would like tailored better to their privacy concerns. That's all fine, but when we start going hard line, looking for easy answers, & making spurious accusations things can get bad fast. I for one have a distinct memory, or nightmare perhaps, of an evil orange Oompa-Loompa marching around the land declaring that only he new the answers to all the problems & rather than offer any actual solutions to problems he simply said "believe me!". Each hard line position was of course followed by an accusation of the other siding being simply evil & an indictment of the big evil conspiracies of everyone who would stand against the one true position. It was utter BS, & we should all try to avoid falling into that kind of thinking no matter how temping & easy it can be.
There is some grey in the positions Mozilla tends to take on important issues & that is deeply unsettling for those who like black & white problems & solutions. The truth is we would all like black & white problems & solutions, but they rarely exist. If you want to take your privacy back I can offer a simple solution; however, you might have to do some digging & may find that there are actually many possible solutions & that none are perfect. Try digging around here & taking control of your own privacy:
Adding a few of the right solutions together should more than make up for any deficit you find in the nuanced defaults that Firefox uses.
49 • DRM browser (by noar on 2017-10-05 11:46:09 GMT from United States)
Unfortunately I will be forced to use a DRM enabled browser, because the browsers required to do my online banking will have it.
Outside of that, I will use non-DRM, even non-html5, until I can no longer access sites like DistroWatch and my email. (Currently using Opera 12.16.)
50 • 32-bit : Post # 47 (by Winchester on 2017-10-05 13:02:47 GMT from United States)
I forgot to mention OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. There's still a rolling 32-bit option there. I don't know for how long it will continue but,it's currently being maintained.
Mageia is "a very simple and complete 'out-of-the box' distro" in my opinion. More so than Ubuntu,the way I see things.
SliTAZ really is not very difficult either. I felt the need to add more software (PaleMoon , IPtables, PeaZip etc) after I installed it to a partition but,that is usually the case for most distributions. I also had to look up the procedure to activate the firewall. Very similar look and feel to Lubuntu and LXLE only it runs faster.
Calculate Linux is like a beginner's introduction to Gentoo. Not as difficult as people make it out to be. Maybe there is a learning curve there if you want to build your own software packages from the source code however,there are plenty of binary packages available. All that one has to do is to read the Emerge manual page.
Anyway,there are not too many distributions which are completely "complete" out of the box. Windows is not complete out of the box either. That's because different people want to use different types of software for the most part. Which means adding some programs on your own which were not initially installed. Nothing too advanced.
51 • DRM and Browsers (by Jonathan Vasquez on 2017-10-05 16:20:23 GMT from United States)
I agree with 1, 2, and 3.
52 • blurred lines (by Jordan on 2017-10-05 17:07:34 GMT from United States)
So the line between what MS did to us that drove many of us to Linux is being blurred by the browsers we use?
And some of us are attempting to define the differences now between MS and Linux?
So Linux has sold out to those corporations and private data mining entities via the browsers which are common in Linux distros?
53 • No sell-out needed (by Kragle on 2017-10-05 23:53:07 GMT from United States)
Unix and Linux grew due to big business server interests. Lots of startups sound idealistic (marketing?) but if they discover some profitable angle most succumb to greed, or at least desperation while trying to cover costs. Not all, but a business model that copes well with extremist licensing is rare.
54 • Browser (by Dick Runningman on 2017-10-06 00:39:10 GMT from Australia)
I run Microsoft Edge inside a Windows 10 Vmware virtual machine running on Trisquel.
55 • I'm shopping around for a decent VPN (by cykodrone on 2017-10-06 01:25:20 GMT from Canada)
I've had enough, I'm fed up. I'll still practice my anti snoop measures, but the odd time I have to relax them, the VPN's server IP will be logged in the snoop's database, lol. If the site rejects the VPN connection like some do for Tor, too bad for them. Fight fire with fire. :D
56 • Privacy, DRM, Tor, VPN, etc (by Greg Zeng on 2017-10-06 03:25:44 GMT from Australia)
Interesting comments worth following, which I did. Discovered many relevant security-based add-ons. These add-ons are probably available in the 2nd most popular web browser (Gecko): "Proxy SwitchySharp", "META SEO inspector", "Lighthouse", "Google Analytics Debugger", "BuiltWith Technology Profiler" and "Tampermonkey".
These privacy issues also concern experts & "heavies", besides the lightweights here in the comments. The add-on tools listed above are used by the heavies, to control, monitor & measure the spying activities of normal web usage. There are many more professional tools used by the heavyweight experts, besides those listed above.
As end-users, we also have free access to the above tools. Encryption, Proxy, Tor & VPN can be added, turned-on-off as needed. There seems to be no reason to be paranoid about the internet, as far as I know.
57 • simplicity (by glop on 2017-10-06 07:10:10 GMT from Canada)
My solution is quite simple and i am pragmatic.i suggest this to Mozilla (per exemple): why not than, doing two version of the same browser. is it difficult to do this:
Firefox with no DRM and a second version with DRM ? ... no comment.
58 • @48: M.Z. (by dragonmouth on 2017-10-06 12:45:46 GMT from United States)
"Not all tracking is bad."
That is only your opinion and that of those doing the tracking.
"Many services rely on user data to provide relevant content"
Sounds very much like 'I'm from the government. I'm here to help you.'
I don't need somebody to 'provide relevant content.' I can find it myself.
" and enhance your online experience. "
In exchange they will harvest all kinds of data on me. Thanks but no, thanks. I don't need my experience 'enhanced' that badly.
"their assumption that it's not all bad"
You do know about the word 'ASS-U-ME', don't you?
Mozilla arrogantly assumes that user are stupid enough not to notice the stealth tracking code into Firefox, Thunderbird and other of their products.
59 • @57 (by Justin on 2017-10-06 19:21:08 GMT from United States)
I had to bring up a Windows 7 machine for work. I found the installers for Firefox 56, and if you go to their installer FTP site, they offer two versions currently: one with EME and one without. I took the "without" installer and used on the machine. I don't know what the stub installer gives by default (probably DRM), but it looks like they are dividing out the EME code or preparing for it.
60 • Expectations & misleading statements (by M.Z. on 2017-10-06 20:26:54 GMT from United States)
"...So Linux has sold out to those corporations and private data mining entities via the browsers..."
I'd say "Linux" by definition can't really sell out, because what happens in your distro is the fault of the makers of your individual distro & has fairly little to do with upstream decisions at the Linux foundation proper. It is also well worth noting that the definition of 'sell out' is entirely drive by both context & expectations. If a project like TAILS handed a third party any sort of back door to track all it's users, that would absolutely count as 'selling out'; however, such lines are drawn at the distro level according to the goals of the project.
If you want to know about terrible behavior regarding spyware & tracking of user habits, then look into the deeds of Canonical & their 'shopping lens' feature in the Unity desktop of their Ubuntu distro. The feature was built directly into the desktop & turned on by default. It was used by Canonical & Amazon to monetize Ubuntu users & serve them ads directly into the desktop based on what they were searching for in what many would have thought was their private desktop. They sent everything users were searching for out over the network. To me the way the feature was implemented & executed were absolutely terrible from a user rights & privacy perspective; however, many Ubuntu users here & elsewhere insisted to vocal critics like myself & others that it was 'no big deal'.
If Ubuntu had a clear goal of being a no cost OS supported by ad revenue, or had made it clear directly to all potential users at any point in the download &/or install process, then it would count as 'no big deal' to myself as well because they would be meeting their goals & user expectations. Sadly they remained focused on average users who may or may not have known about the issue & insisted on their website the 'it's no cost, because it's open source'. On the upside they killed the idea even before they killed the Unity desktop; however, they still have a long way to go to get people like myself to trust them. Many others felt differently & didn't see the spyware as a 'sell out' at all.
For my part I understand both the goals & expectations of Mozilla & the larger Linux ecosystem & I believe they constitute both a beautiful vision & a fairly grounded reality. The goal of 'free as in speech' software is to put you the user & the wider community of users in control of their software. If you believe that any sort of tracking online is an unforgivable sin against users, then I suggest that you avoid Ubuntu like the plague & try checking out privacy focused distros like TAILS.
For my part I find the rather sensible & middle of the road defaults offered by Firefox to be somewhat inadequate. I don't like any sort of tracking & add things like Privacy Badger to both ask politely to not track me & to automatically back it up with blocking action when tracking is detected. That being said I also recognize that the web has fundamentally become an ad driven space & I try not to block revenue streams too severely when they are from websites that I like & trust. On sites like Ars Technica & DistroWatch I either minimize blocking, or switching to a browser that doesn't have blocking installed so as to 'tip the server of your webpage'. This is a method strongly supported by Firefox & their add on ecosystem. It's also worth noting that this 'putting me the user in control' thing is exactly what Linux, Firefox, & other Open Source Software was intended to do. I'm glad that I can chose any path from ignoring the issue completely like Unity apologists, to locking everything down & blocking everything possible. That sort of choice was always the core of the vision of Open Software.
' "Not all tracking is bad."
That is only your opinion and that of those doing the tracking....'
You're flagrantly ignoring who said what to try to make an attack. It's very convenient that you ignore the actual source, but deeply misleading. That is the stated position of Mozilla, not myself & if you bothered to try to understand the full context rather than attacking you may have actually understood that.
"... Thanks but no, thanks. I don't need my experience 'enhanced' that badly..."
That's actually a sentiment I agree with entirely. That's why I look to the Mozilla add ons to enhance my privacy, rather than waiting to see what website with trackers want to do to 'enhance' the web.
"...stealth tracking code into Firefox..."
I hate to say it, but that is an outright lie. No one here or elsewhere has ever shown a shred of credible evidence that Firefox had any sort of tracking code built in. I'll say that Canonical did use spyware & greatly wronged all Ubuntu users & Linux users in general, all in the process of seeking profits.
We all know that there aren't great tracking protections in any mainstream browsers. That is sort of a given & I wish Firefox would pop up some strong privacy settings or add on options the first time you turned it on. That being said, Firefox does nothing to actively compromise your privacy any more than any other mainstream browser. There aren't a lot of anti-tracking features enabled by default, but you certainly have options from the add on ecosystem.
If you have credible evidence that a browser maker did wrong I'm willing to hear it, but don't throw ugly FUD around about the best free & open browser on the web.
61 • DRM Is Very Mutual, Number Six (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-10-07 06:40:25 GMT from United States)
Hollywood CIA penetration is legend. Laurel Canyon rock idols were spawn of spooks. Amazon streams Hollywood movies and now Amazon Studios flix. Leaks show it interdicts shipments for spooks. It runs a mega cloud for CIA. Bezos owns the notoriously CIA-influenced WaPo and summits annually with political bigwigs.
Just thinking out loud, what could go wrong with DRM? I can't wait til Netflix joins PRISM.
DRM is the perfect infection: (a) secret blobs that (b) must go online that (c) you install with (d) foreknowledge and consent to (e) service an addiction -- the centerpiece jewel. Nerds bend for flix and rock. Resistance is futile, assimilation inevitable, just sing "I have nothing to hide," "everyone does it," "there's no other way," and party like it's 1984.
There is another way, it was done before, and still works. RedBox stands see regular traffic, no W3C. Amazon kindles play flix, no W3C. Remember cable TV boxes? Closed hardware, no W3C. Moguls have billions. They can make apps and hardware. They don't need W3C.
Someone else does. Whistleblowers said cable TV boxes brought secret mics and cams into homes. Think 1984 telescreens. Now, to infect every PC, target W3C standards. Brilliant!
Pretty soon you'll need ID to get online, your activity scored like a video game. Citizen, do you commit wrongthink? Tsk tsk.
I doubt Amazon deleted Orwell's 1984 from kindles by accident. It was an inside joke. Unis are scanning books and some are shredding hard copy. Once books are just digital, imagine editorial possibilities, never mind access controls.
Proles, I know you hate books anyway. How about some flix? Watch "Max Headroom," a 1980s prophecy of phone zombies. Hear "Network" beg you to turn it off. Compare "The Prisoner" shows to BiggerThanSnowden.com victims. See "Roller Ball" distract from key history in secret computers of a future corporate earth. Google Books and Amazon are already deleting material they find un-mutual, you know.
Nerds have flix addictions, but FOSS righteousness, not so much. Mozilla spat fire over politics du jour affecting 0.5% of the population (most gays don't marry). Meanwhile 13th- and 18th-century wins affecting 100% of us slide down Winston Smith's memory hole into Roller Ball mainframes. YAY, PRINCIPLES. Fight for that 0.5% but not that other 0.5% with such horribly un-mutual ideas in nasty, wicked books. Some sicknesses must be rooted out of society.
I thought for a time the Internet was a new Gutenberg press, but now, I think it's gone Hollywood. So here's the formula for your next blockbuster. Just keep un-mutual ideas on the cutting room floor if you expect Amazon and GoogleTube distribution.
62 • Web Browsers / Iridium Browser (by Winchester on 2017-10-07 13:22:43 GMT from United States)
I like to have a few web browsers installed on each distribution that I use.
I use PaleMooon as my main browser. There are a couple of rare web-sites that don't work well with PaleMoon though so,just for those sites,I like to have FireFox or IceCat installed and ready to go as back-up options.
The latest Epiphany in PALDO is not bad except for the fact that most of the controls have been stripped away.
I also use Vivaldi from time to time. I'm thinking about trying the Iridium Browser which is supposed to be a security enhanced Chromium but,I don't know if it can be trusted or not.
63 • @60 (by A-hole-Linux on 2017-10-07 22:05:41 GMT from Netherlands)
Thank you !
It is easier to stay out than get out. (Mark Twain)
64 • @60 (by OstroL on 2017-10-08 09:45:16 GMT from Poland)
"If Ubuntu had a clear goal of being a no cost OS supported by ad revenue, or had made it clear directly to all potential users at any point...:
How do you think Mint earns its money? By sticking to Yahoo, that is, by going against Google for not agreeing to pay...
65 • Post # 28 : PaleMoon Web Browser (by Winchester on 2017-10-08 14:56:49 GMT from United States)
That's the default start page "Start.me" and not the PaleMoon Browser itself using cookies.
You can change the start page to " https://start.duckduckgo.com/ " or to the PaleMoon New Tab page or to " about:newtab " .
You can also edit Tools >> Permissions in order to disallow cookies etc. .
66 • Opera (by Gekxxx on 2017-10-08 17:50:18 GMT from Belgium)
I have the idea people think Opera to be free. Opera however lives of ads...It is a commercial product.
67 • Slackware-Salix (by Gekxxx on 2017-10-08 17:54:04 GMT from Belgium)
Any idea when the next version comes out of Slack and Salix? I find no info at all, while 14.2 is already from 2016. The older kernel does not run on AMD Ryzen which needs at last 4.10.
68 • @67 - Slackware/Salix (by Chris on 2017-10-08 20:39:02 GMT from United States)
@67 - Slackware releases, and therefore all derivitives including Salix, are the epitome of "its ready when its ready". However, "packages," including the kernel, are regularly updated or made available. I recommend you inquire on their forums about needing to update your kernel. There are great and helpful members on both forums, but I have historically had good success working with 'gapan' on the Salix forum.
BTW, make sure to check their guides first, kernel updates may already be discussed. A quick DDG search should get you there.
Number of Comments: 68
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