| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 735, 23 October 2017
Welcome to this year's 43rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Last week was an eventful one in the open source community. Early in the week developers were racing to push out security patches to fix a bug in wireless network encryption and later in the week we saw the release of Ubuntu 17.10 and its many community editions. In our News section we cover these events along with improvements to the Solus distribution, Parabola GNU/Linux-libre experimenting with OpenRC builds and Manjaro trying to make using the on-line version of Microsoft Office feel more like running a native Linux application. First though, Joshua Allen Holm takes the ArchLabs distribution for a spin and reports on his experiences. Plus we explore how to set up and use a new software build system called Ravenports. Ravenports is able to build the same software ports across multiple operating systems and we talk about its uses in our Tips and Tricks column. In our Opinion Poll we ask our readers if you use cross-platform port systems, like Ravenports or pkgsrc. Plus we share the distribution 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: ArchLabs Linux Mínimo
- News: Solus updates, Manjaro improving on-line MS-Office integration, Ubuntu's changing desktop sessions, Parabola creates OpenRC spin, information on the WPA vulnerability
- Tips and tricks: Building software with Ravenports
- Released last week: Ubuntu 17.10, Ubuntu MATE 17.10, DragonFly BSD 5.0.0
- Torrent corner: Artix, AUSTRUMI, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu
- Opinion poll: Cross-platform ports and packages
- New distributions: Retrobuntu, Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre, MultiBootUSB-Live
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
ArchLabs Linux Mínimo
ArchLabs is a lightweight Linux distribution designed to provide a BunsenLabs-like experience based on Arch instead of BunsenLabs's Debian base. While there are certainly many stylistic similarities shared by ArchLabs and BunsenLabs, the latest ArchLabs release, named Mínimo, is clearly something that is inspired by BunsenLabs, but not a straight port of BunsenLabs onto Arch. ArchLabs has forged its own path, resulting a distribution that is BunsenLabs-like, but very much its own thing.
To find out what ArchLabs had to offer I gave it a try inside a VirtualBox virtual machine and bare metal on my laptop. Below, I take a look at the desktop environment, the install process, a handy setup script called AL-Hello, and more.
The install disc for ArchLabs Linux Mínimo is 956MB. For users just wanting to try out the distribution, the image comes with VirtualBox guest additions pre-installed. Booting the ArchLabs image in a virtual machine or from a USB drive on bare metal should be a familiar experience for anyone experienced with any modern Linux distribution. The live desktop environment boots quickly and the installer can then be run from the live environment.
ArchLabs 2017.09 -- The Calamares system installer
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The installer for ArchLabs is called Calamares. While much easier than Arch's do-everything-yourself install process, Calamares works pretty much like every other standard Linux installer out there. There are really no surprises here. The installer asks for the same information and does the same things as all the other Linux installation programs.
The only issue I had with Calamares happened the first time I tried to install ArchLabs in VirtualBox. For optimal installation, Calamares needs an Internet connection, but it only checks to see if there is an active network connection. When I was installing, my host computer was not connected to the Internet. The virtual machine had an active network connection, but when it finally tried to get data from the Internet near the end of the installation process, the installer failed, and it did not do so cleanly. Since this problem might also occur in situations where the machine is connected to a LAN with no outside access to the Internet, the installer should really start by checking to see if it has Internet access, not assuming it has Internet access just because it has an active network connection. In situations were there was no network connection or there was a network connection with an active connection to the Internet, the installation process worked as expected.
ArchLabs desktop environment
The desktop for ArchLabs is based on Openbox with a Polybar panel at the top of the screen. This top bar has four virtual desktops; a small shortcut menu for accessing the default web browser, terminal, and file manger, and logging out and shutting down the system; a window switcher that displays a count of how many windows are open; a network connection manager; volume control; and a clock. The application menu is accessed by right-clicking on the desktop. While lightweight, the desktop is aesthetically pleasing with nice transparencies, polished icons, and clean window decorations. On my system, I found that the desktop with nothing extra installed and no applications running used between 160MB and 180MB of RAM, but the blog post announcing the release of Mínimo lists RAM usage closer to 260MB. Either way, much, much lighter than some of the alternatives.
ArchLabs 2017.09 -- The default desktop
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The default ArchLabs desktop does not come with much software. Firefox for web browsing, Geany for text editing, Audacious for audio, MPV for video, Thunar for file management, and a few other utilities come pre-installed. However, installing additional software is very easy using the AL-Hello script that runs after the system has been installed. This script asks dozens of questions, letting the user customize their system to their liking. To give just a few examples: the script asks if the user wants to add a dock, what office software they would like (if any), if they want to install Steam, if they want to install extra media codecs and fonts, and the list goes on.
ArchLabs 2017.09 -- The customization script
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While very thorough, the AL-Hello script is not perfect. Each question is just a single line in the terminal with no context. If a user is unfamiliar with a particular option, they have to look elsewhere to find out what the programs mentioned are and what they do. Because each prompt is a single line in a standard sized terminal window, there is plenty of room to provide more text explaining what various choices are. Another minor problem is that some of the options give multiple options and an “install all” option, but if the choices are A, B, and C, with D being install all, there is no way to just install A and C, for example. Don't get me wrong, the script is wonderful, but both of these issues are usability enhancements I would very much like to see in future releases.
ArchLabs 2017.09 -- The Pacli package manager
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The AL-Hello script does a great job of getting a system up and running with a large selection of packages, but it does not cover everything. After the initial setup, ArchLabs uses Pacli to handle installing and updating software. This text-based utility has options for installing software, updating the system, and all the other traditional package manager tasks. If the text-based interface is too spartan, Pamac is available as one of the many options available in the AL-Hello script. Pamac provides a graphic interface for installing and updating software, for users who prefer graphical interfaces to text-based ones. Either way, there are plenty of software packages available, so installing all of their favorite applications should not be a problem for most users.
ArchLabs is a great combination of lightweight and, thanks to its Arch base, constantly up-to-date software. While probably not for everyone, ArchLabs is a polished distribution that anyone looking for an Arch-based distribution that has a pre-configured desktop and software selection should check out. The only drawback is that, like many lightweight distributions, selecting applications based on what is deemed best for an individual task can result in an odd hodgepodge of applications that all behave differently. Of course, the choice of what to install is up to the user, so that might not be a problem for some, but having applications from Xfce, GNOME, KDE, etc., can lead to a jumbled user experience.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Ideapad 100-15IBD laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-5020U CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8723BE 802.11n Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 5500
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Visitor supplied rating
ArchLabs has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.9/10 from 16 review(s).
Have you used ArchLabs? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Solus updates, Manjaro improving on-line MS-Office integration, Ubuntu's changing desktop sessions, Parabola creates OpenRC spin, information on the WPA vulnerability
The Solus project published a newsletter this week which laid out several important changes and upgrades coming to the distribution. Among the key changes are an upgrade of the GNOME desktop to version 3.26.1 and getting the Control Centre to better integrate with the rest of the distribution. Behind the scenes, the LLVM compiler has been upgraded to version 5.0.0. Several changes have been applied to the Steam gaming portal too: "Linux Steam Integration has seen three releases this week and features a new 'liblsi-intercept', which controls the dynamic linking for Steam binaries, resolving some long-standing issues such as crashes on start, broken full screen views, and ensures that the Steam client uses OS-provided libraries. liblsi-intercept also provides a whitelist to allow Steam to continue to load its own private libraries and our intercept behaviour is controlled on a process-name basis. What does this mean? Well it means the Steam client is now using more system libraries, such as SDL, which fixes crashes as well as full screen issues when watching a game trailer in the store."
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The Manjaro Linux team is working to integrate the on-line version of Microsoft Office with the Linux desktop using the Jade Application Kit. The new functionality, which makes Microsoft's on-line productivity tools appear to run like native Linux applications, can be set up on Manjaro by installing the ms-office-online package. A discussion on the new functionality can be found on the Manjaro forum.
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This past week there has been a lot of talk about a vulnerability in most implementations of WPA2 which could make it possible for attackers to break the encryption on wireless network traffic. The vulnerability is widespread and affects most major desktop and mobile operating systems. The FreeBSD team has a good summary of the issue: "A vulnerability was found in how a number of implementations can be triggered to reconfigure WPA/WPA2/RSN keys (TK, GTK, or IGTK) by replaying a specific frame that is used to manage the keys. Such reinstallation of the encryption key can result in two different types of vulnerabilities: disabling replay protection and significantly reducing the security of encryption to the point of allowing frames to be decrypted or some parts of the keys to be determined by an attacker depending on which cipher is used. We are actively working on a patch for the base system to address these issues. Current users who use Wi-Fi with WPA2 should use a wired connection as a workaround, and we strongly recommend using end-to-end encryption methods like HTTPS or SSH to better protect against this type of attack."
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With the launch of Ubuntu 17.10 this week, the distribution is making GNOME the default desktop instead of the formerly used Unity desktop. With this change, some people running Ubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME may be wondering about how to upgrade and which desktop sessions will be available. The DidRocks blog has some answers and a guide for navigating the various desktop options: "The 'Ubuntu' session corresponds to GNOME Shell experience with our modifications (Ubuntu Dock, appindicator support, our theme, small behaviour changes). You have probably seen those and followed their development on previous blog posts. This is the default session running under Wayland. The 'Ubuntu on Xorg' session, being similar to the previous one, but running on Xorg as the name indicates. Users who can't run Wayland (using NVIDIA proprietary driver or unsupported hardware) should be automatically fallbacked and only presented with that session."
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The developers of Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, a free software distribution based on Arch Linux, are experimenting with new spins of their operating system. The new spins will feature the OpenRC init software instead of systemd. A post on the project's news page reads: "Since a considerable amount of Parabola developers and users prefer to use the OpenRC init system instead of systemd, which is the default, we are proud to announce the first releases of Parabola GNU/Linux-libre OpenRC Edition ISOs! As of now they are still in beta, you can get them here. These are not official, yet, but we are working on fixing all their issues. You can help by testing them and giving us some feedback so we can improve them. Besides this, due to a bug in MATE, we are planning to replace MATE with LXDE in the graphical ISOs (available with systemd and OpenRC) and include the Calamares installer for a more user-friendly experience for newcomers."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Building software with Ravenports
One challenge software developers and packagers constantly face is the effort required to get new projects packaged for the wide variety of operating systems and package managers present in the open source community. If I write a new utility and want to share it with the community, then I (or other packagers) need to create a variety of packages in various formats. Traditionally, I might need to make an RPM package for the Fedora family of distributions, a Deb package for the Debian family, and another package for the Arch family. If I want to support the BSDs, then each flavour (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc) has their own unique style of creating and testing ports & packages.
Portable package formats such as Flatpak and Snap reduce the effort package maintainers and developers need to put into supporting each separate platform, but we can still easily run into cases where we need to work with four or five separate package formats to support a wide range of open source systems. This results in a lot of duplicate effort, basically teaching each package manager how to build and install the software. Ideally, it would be nice to create just one package or port script for the software we write and have it work across all open platforms. This is where a young project called Ravenports shines. The Ravenports website describes the project as follows:
Ravenports is an integrated system designed to build packages of complex software on all UNIX-like platforms. It is considered "universal" because Ravenports is not anchored to any single operating system; once the build procedure for a particular software is created, that software is then available for all supported platforms. The simplest use case is to access the freely available prebuilt package repository for each supported platform.
What this means is I, as a developer, can create one set of rules for building my software on the Ravenports framework. That one recipe can then be used to build native packages that will install and run on DragonFly BSD, FreeBSD and almost all flavours of Linux. This has the potential to be a huge time saver for developers and people porting software. We do not need a separate build file or script for every operating system and package manager, we just need one Ravenports port and the software should build and run everywhere.
This idea sounds good, at least for hardworking developers and package maintainers, but does Ravenports deliver on its lofty goals? I decided to test Ravenports on a copy of Manjaro Linux and find out.
Ravenports does have a few restrictions in its current form. Right now, Ravenports runs on 64-bit x86 systems exclusively. Some of the tools used to set up Ravenports are 64-bit executables and simply will not run on 32-bit computers. On Linux, there is a library dependency, but this should not be an issue for any mainstream Linux distributions.
The Ravenports project has documentation which explains how to set up the ports system on Linux distributions. The initial set up of Ravenports just takes a minute and, when it is completed, we essentially have two key tools available in our operating system's /raven directory.
The first significant tool is a native, statically-linked version of the FreeBSD pkg package manager. This package manager can be used to find packages in the Ravenports test repository, install packages (either from a remote source or locally), display package information and statistics and remove unwanted Ravenports packages. The pkg package manager is located at /raven/sbin/pkg-static. I like the pkg package manager, it is fast, has informative prompts and offers a fairly straight forward syntax.
The second tool we get when we install the Ravenports framework is a utility called ravenadm, which can be found in the /raven/bin directory. The ravenadm program can be used to discover what ports are available, whether we have installed a specific port or not, and build local copies of a port. The main function of ravenadm is to turn source code into binary packages and we can do this using the build keyword. For example we can fetch and package the curl application using:
sudo /raven/bin/ravenadm build curl
Ravenports has a much more elegant approach to showing us what it is doing than most other port build systems I have encountered. Most port systems flood the terminal with each instruction the build is performing and any output from the compiler or other build tools. This show-everything approach can be useful for debugging issues, but it is ugly and typically unhelpful in other situations as the user is not shown useful progress information or statistics. Ravenports takes a cleaner approach. Instead of being shown step-by-step instructions, we are given a general overview of what the build process has done and plans to do. While it is working, Ravenports displays a dashboard in the terminal which shows how many ports it is going to build (including dependencies), how many it has built and how many ports have been completed successfully. The messy step-by-step details are logged to text files in the /var/ravenports/primary/logs/logs directory in case we need to go back and investigate a port which failed to build. Each port gets its own log file which greatly reduces the amount of scrolling we need to perform when searching for problems in the build information.
Ravenports -- Showing build status information
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When my build process finished I was curious to see if my newly built software would run natively on my Linux box. However, it was not immediately clear where my freshly built packages had been stored. They were not in the /raven directory and the new software had not been copied into my user's path. I eventually found new packages were stored in the /var/ravenports/primary/packages/All directory. These packages could then be installed using the pkg package manager by running
sudo /raven/sbin/pkg-static add /var/ravenports/primary/packages/All/package-name
The above command installs our new package into the /raven directory. We can then run it using the program's full path or by adding /raven/bin to our user's executable path.
At this point it may be clear that installing software from Ravenports is not exactly convenient for end users. Which is fair, Ravenports is not attempting to make package management easier for end users, this is a framework for developers and packagers. Which means the questions we should be asking are whether or not Ravenports works and whether it makes packaging easier?
I am happy to report Ravenports definitely works. I tried installing pre-built software from the test repository and built three ports at random. All four packages installed and worked properly on my Manjaro Linux test box. And, assuming the framework is functioning as expected, I should be able to build the same ports on any other Linux distribution, DragonFly BSD or FreeBSD. This is a big step forward for people who maintain ports and packages. Typically I need to maintain separate build instructions for RPM- and Deb-based distributions as well as BSD ports. With Ravenports, I could use one set of instructions and have my software automatically packaged everywhere. It is potentially a huge time saver.
The only drawback I see with Ravenports is it requires each operating system to support it in some way, either by setting up a Ravenports software repository or linking to the Ravenports testing package repository. In theory, in a few years each distribution could compliment (or even replace) its existing build system with a Ravenports system and every upstream software project would only need one person to maintain the cross-platform port. But that would require each operating system to feature a way for users to easily install Ravenports packages. Historically it has been difficult to get open source systems to standardize on any one system, there is a lot of inertia when it comes to packaging open source software. Still, I think Ravenports holds a lot of promise as a cross-platform, write-once-package-for-everyone framework. It has the ability to do for packagers what Flatpak and Snaps have done for end users, reducing the effort required to create and distribute software packages.
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More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
DragonFly BSD 5.0.0
The DragonFly BSD project has announced the release of a new version of their operating system. The new version, DragonFly BSD 5.0.0, introduces a number of new features and improvements. In particular, version 5.0.0 features the advanced HAMMER2 file system, updated video drivers and the IPFW firewall has gained improved performance. "Preliminary HAMMER2 support has been released into the wild as-of the 5.0 release. This support is considered EXPERIMENTAL and should generally not yet be used for production machines and important data. The boot loader will support both UFS and HAMMER2 /boot. The installer will still use a UFS /boot even for a HAMMER2 installation because the /boot partition is typically very small and HAMMER2, like HAMMER1, does not instantly free space when files are deleted or replaced. DragonFly 5.0 has single-image HAMMER2 support, with live dedup (for cp's), compression, fast recovery, snapshot, and boot support. HAMMER2 does not yet support multi-volume or clustering, though commands for it exist. Please use non-clustered single images for now. IPFW has gone through a number of updates in DragonFly and now offers better performance. pf and ipfw3 are also still supported." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Adam Conrad has announced the availability of a new version of the popular Ubuntu distribution. Ubuntu 17.10, which carries the codename "Artful Aardvark" switches the default desktop from Unity to GNOME. "Codenamed "Artful Aardvark", Ubuntu 17.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technology into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. As always, the team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.13-based kernel, glibc 2.26, gcc 7.2, and much more. Ubuntu Desktop has had a major overhaul, with the switch from Unity as our default desktop to GNOME3 and GNOME Shell. Along with that, there are the usual incremental improvements, with newer versions of GTK and Qt, and updates to major packages like Firefox and LibreOffice." Additional information can be found in the release announcement and in the release notes.
Ubuntu 17.10 -- The GNOME application menu
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Ubuntu MATE 17.10
Martin Wimpress has announced the release of Ubuntu MATE 17.10. The new version features a number of desktop changes, including a global menu bar placed at the top of the screen. The 17.10 release also features an improved Heads-Up Display (HUD) which makes it possible to search through application menus using only the keyboard. "This is something we started during Ubuntu MATE 16.10 and never perfected, but is now ready for prime time. A favourite of Unity 7 users is the Heads-Up Display (HUD) which provides a way to search for and run menu-bar commands without your fingers ever leaving the keyboard. So if you're trying to find that single filter in GIMP but can't remember which filter category it fits into or if you can't recall if preferences sits under File, Edit or Tools on your favourite browser, you can just search for it rather than hunting through the menus. Just like Global Menus the HUD is currently only available via the Contemporary, Cupertino and Mutiny [layouts]." Further information on this release, along with screen shots, can be found in the project's release announcement.
The Xubuntu team has announced the release of Xubuntu 17.10. The new version includes significant improvements to accelerated video playback on Intel video cards. The distribution also includes support for driverless printing and includes the GNOME Font Viewer by default. "The GNOME Font Viewer is now included by default. This application simplifies viewing and installing fonts. Client side decorations (CSD) now consume much less space with the Greybird GTK+ theme. New device, mimetype, and monochrome panel icons have been included with the elementary-xfce icon theme. We usually link directly to the Ubuntu release notes, but there are several significant improvements that affect all flavours and our users: Accelerated video playback with Intel hardware should now work more reliably out of the box. The changes might also bring some performance improvements for Parole and Chromium users. Bluetooth and USB audio devices should now work better by default due to changes in BlueZ and PulseAudio. Driverless printing has been added to Ubuntu. This provides support for most modern printers: IPP Everywhere, Apple AirPrint, Mopria, PCLm, and Wifi Direct as supported. Other printers can still be added from the Printers dialog." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
The Kubuntu team has announced the release of a new version of their Ubuntu Community Edition featuring the Plasma desktop. The new release features Plasma 5.10, version 4.13 of the Linux kernel and upgrades to most of the operating system's desktop software. "Kubuntu 17.10 has been released, featuring the beautiful Plasma 5.10 desktop from KDE. Codenamed 'Artful Aardvark', Kubuntu 17.10 continues our proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.13-based kernel, KDE Frameworks 5.38, Plasma 5.10.5 and KDE Applications 17.04.3. Additional information and screen shots can be found in the distribution's release announcement and release notes.
Ubuntu Budgie 17.10
David Mohammed has announced the release of Ubuntu Budgie 17.10, a desktop Linux distribution featuring the simple but elegant Budgie desktop (originally developed by the Solus distribution). The new release comes with a refreshed look as well as a number of new desktop applets: "We are pleased to announce the release of a new version of our distribution, the second only as an official flavor of the Ubuntu family. Based on 17.04 experiences, feedback and suggestions we have received from our users, the new release comes with a lot of new features, fixes and optimizations: more customisation options via Budgie Welcome; complete desktop look and feel changes - more options; lots more Budgie applets available from independent developers; the best from the GNOME family as well as the fantastic Tilix terminal emulator with Quake mode enabled; stylish new login screen; latest upstream Budgie desktop version 10.4; Nightlight and Caffeine applets as standard." Here is the brief release announcement, with further technical details provided in the release notes.
Ubuntu Budgie 17.10 -- The welcome screen
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Ubuntu Studio 17.10
Ross Gammon has announced the release of Ubuntu Studio 17.10, the latest version of the project's official Ubuntu variant designed for audio, video and graphics professionals. This is routine release with the usual round of software updates and a new experimental feature for improved performance during recordings: "We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 17.10 'Artful Aardvark'. As a regular version, it will be supported for 9 months. Since it's just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. The Ubuntu Studio Controls package has been updated to provide an experimental option to set the CPU governor to performance mode. This is important for recording. At the moment, the setting is not persistent, and needs to be reset at every reboot. BIOS settings may need to be changed for this setting to take effect. Audio - removed zynjacku as this software is no longer maintained by the original developer." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Simon Quigley has announced the release of Lubuntu 17.10, a desktop distribution built from Ubuntu packages, but featuring the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) which is suitable for older computers: "Thanks to all the hard work from our contributors, Lubuntu 17.10 has been released. With the code name 'Artful Aardvark', Lubuntu 17.10 is the 13th release of Lubuntu, with support until July of 2018. What has improved since 17.04? We now ship with Linux kernel 4.13; general bug-fix release as we prepare to switch to LXQt; LXDE components have been updated with bug fixes; the artwork has received an update; the latest release of Audacious, version 3.9, is included by default; Hardinfo has been updated to the latest upstream snapshot." Also available is the Lubuntu "Next" variant, an experimental build of Lubuntu with the LXQt desktop: "Alongside Lubuntu 17.10 featuring LXDE, the Lubuntu team is proud to announce an early adopter's release of Lubuntu Next, featuring the LXQt 0.11.1 desktop environment which is the Qt 5 port of LXDE." Read the release announcement and release notes for more details.
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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: 612
- Total data uploaded: 16.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Cross-platform ports and packages
In our Tips and Tricks column we discussed Ravenports and how it can be used to build packages cross multiple operating systems. Ravenports is not the only cross-platform ports system and other projects, such as pkgsrc, assist users in installing applications on a variety of platforms.
This week we would like to know if you use a cross-platform ports framework or cross-distro package manager, like Ravenports. Please leave us a comment letting us know which one you use on your computer(s).
You can see the results of our previous poll on keeping utility discs on hand in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Cross-platform ports and packages
|I use multiple cross-platform ports systems: ||50 (5%)|
| I use one cross-platform ports system: ||83 (8%)|
| I do not use a cross-platform ports system: ||921 (87%)|
Distributions added to waiting list
- Retrobuntu. Retrobuntu is a Linux distribution based on Xubuntu 16.04 LTS. It features the RetroPie gaming software and Kodi media player.
- Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre. Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre is an Arch-based distribution featuring free (as in freedom) software only. The distribution uses OpenRC as the default init software.
- MultiBootUSB-Live. MultiBootUSB-Live is a portable, live desktop distribution based on Debian. It can be used to write multiple Linux distributions to a USB thumb drive.
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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, 30 October 2017. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Ubuntu and Lubuntu (by edcoolio on 2017-10-23 00:31:19 GMT from United States) |
So, I guess Unity is officially dead. May it RIP. Personally, I hated it.
I'll also repeat my comments on the upgrade from 17.04 to 17.10 Lubuntu.
It did not go well, at all. Have a backup, always.
I ended up doing a complete format and clean load. Everything runs well, as usual, but it seems that the upgrades are always a hassle.
2 • @1 Unity / Ubuntu (by linuxista on 2017-10-23 00:52:18 GMT from United States)
Though I started with Ubuntu, I have avoided it studiously since the switch to Unity. Also a loss to the Gnome project and linux community itself through fragmentation of efforts. Glad they finally came around. Ubuntu, at least for installing on newb friends' machines, has suddenly become the most attractive option again.
As far as dirty/broken upgrades, you should consider a rolling release like Arch or Solus. In the long run it's less work and far, far less prone to catastrophic breakage than point release distros. (I've never had to reinstall Arch, and my first install is almost 6 years old now.)
3 • Ubuntu 17.10 (by Ti-Paul on 2017-10-23 01:10:19 GMT from Canada)
First impression : buggy (crash when login) and little bit slow (animations not fluid)... compared to my Manjaro KDE main install. Plus Ubuntu bootloader listed my Manjaro install but wasn't able to boot it (kernel panic), had to re-install Manjaro bootloader... Now i can boot Ubuntu or Manjaro. But as of now i don't think Ubuntu will last long on my drive. Maybe testing a lighter Ubuntu variant... even if i read that some variant are also having crash after login.
My background :
I started using Linux 20 years ago.
Ubuntu was a big help from a desktop perspective (originally with Gnome 2).
Since i'm a distro-hopper, i kept coming back to Ubuntu. Then came Linux Mint and it replaced Ubuntu as my main system.
More than 2 years ago, i tried Manjaro KDE and now i'm stuck on it. Every time i install a new distribution i keep thinking that it offers nothing new and stumble upon crash or slowiness on my 2010 i5/nvidia/4GB ram laptop..
4 • s6 Future Proofer (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-10-23 01:21:08 GMT from United States)
Nice to see distros playing with OpenRC, but if starting afresh, especially with Arch, why not play with s6? It's moar better. Go visit Obarun.org which made the switch. You can run OpenRC on s6, but I'd go whole-hog. Help Obarun help you. Eric is very nice.
5 • Portable package formats such as Flatpak and Snap (by tim on 2017-10-23 03:34:15 GMT from United States)
Yet again, DW omits mentioning AppImage.
6 • @Ti-Paul - Ubuntu vs Manjaro (by Rajesh G on 2017-10-23 05:03:28 GMT from India)
I agree with you. I was also a distrohopper - Fedora, Suse, Ubuntu, etc. Somehow, I liked Ubuntu, including Unity (innovative thinking). By Feb-2015, I installed Manjaro. Yes, you are right! I am also struck with it. Though I like to try Ubuntu-17.10, something stops me ;). Having spent hasslefree 2.5 years in Manjaro, there is no compeling reason to try another! :D
7 • Ubuntu 17.10 (by Sanjay Prasad on 2017-10-23 05:45:59 GMT from India)
Installed 17.10 version of ubuntu works fine on my old laptop acer emachine 732z with 4GB of RAM. But none of the Screen Recorder works may be because of Wayland, tried kazam, ,vokoscreen, my favorite simple screen recoreder also tried wayland supported Green Recorder but result in System Hang, if any one has solution then please help ...
8 • Parabola, Hyperbola, OpenRC (by kernelKurtz on 2017-10-23 06:49:53 GMT from France)
Glad to see a recent relative proliferation of Arch-based OpenRC distros.
Above, the news item mentions that it's so with Parabola, and the Waiting List mentions Hyperbola (who only this week released their upgrade to OpenRC).
Seems like there's a bit of history (and maybe a good story) behind these two distros and their relationship to each other and to non-systemd approaches. I'd love to hear it--not that it really matters. I'm testing the Hyperbola offering because of their stated commitments and actions in the direction of being serious about privacy.
9 • Too much *buntu (by RoboNuggie on 2017-10-23 06:59:58 GMT from United Kingdom)
If it's Ubuntu based, thats ONE OS, you can put as many desktops or Window managers as you want, but it's still one.... so eight sections to just one OS.... ludicrous.
Too many iterations of Windows is silly, but is it no wonder that potential users are put off Linux, no because of diversity, but by simply too much duplication?
So much talent that could be redirected....
10 • Ubuntu (by dragon3 on 2017-10-23 07:27:10 GMT from United States)
@9 RoboNuggie: Have to agree totally. A Ubu for every possible configuration is a bit overboard.
Ubuntu as with Debian has been releasing their final upgrades incomplete, honestly not since wheezy has their been a stable release that just works OTB.
So many issues this time around is not worth counting and the trend seems to get worse with each so-called final release.
Have moved on to Artix, easy to use and quite stable. Devuan is a possibility too, at least their distros work!
11 • Opinion Poll (by P.R. on 2017-10-23 08:16:11 GMT from Germany)
I use void linux and therefore xbps, which is a multiplatform port system (i686,x86_64,armv6,armv7,armv8,mips).
So i can use void on all raspberryPis and odroids and similar, as well as on my laptop and my server and run the same software from the same build-template.
Thanks for the insight in ravenports Jesse!
12 • Ubuntu & Gnome (by Mark E on 2017-10-23 10:11:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
Ironically, Ubuntu switching to Gnome is bringing some welcome 'unity' to the Linux OS, as most of the major distributions, Redhat/Centos, SUSE etc. are using Gnome as well.
13 • Ubuntu (by Rick on 2017-10-23 12:29:26 GMT from United States)
It used to be Gnome 2 and KDE for desktops. Now it is ....whatever you want. The result is very sluggish and buggy distros. When will it all end and when will developers start writing good software again? Meanwhile, I will continue to use Mint 17.3 even though it is old. However, VERY stable compared to what's being offered today.
14 • Xubuntu (by Diego Rodrigues on 2017-10-23 13:46:28 GMT from Netherlands)
My upgrade to Xubuntu 17.10 went smooth! I only had to check my repo's after the upgrade but other than that everything worked as expected. As a big fan of Xfce I would like to say thanks to The Xubuntu team. You guys did it again!
15 • Ubuntu (by Geo. on 2017-10-23 14:05:40 GMT from Canada)
Ubuntu, that's nice and all, but still holding out for the next break through with Haiku.
16 • Opinion Poll (by Nathan on 2017-10-23 14:09:48 GMT from United States)
My cross-platform ports system is make.
17 • cross-platform packages (by dogma on 2017-10-23 14:44:12 GMT from United States)
In a way it feels like a power struggle. A system is central and you get your software here and there and compile it, then distributions take over and people get their software through packages and forget that anyone out there is actually writing this stuff, and then cross-platform package systems come along and people will forget that there used to be distributions at the focus. It either says something about what is important or else it says something about how we adapt to complexity and endless monstrosity of ecosystems.
(plus at-least-half-serious systemd-replacing-linux)
18 • *ubuntu inflation (by Dxvid on 2017-10-23 15:10:34 GMT from Sweden)
In my opinion distrowatch should stop marketing every flavor of Ubuntu as a separate distro release with one post each. It's always irritating to get 7+ messages about the same distro getting a new release twice a year, thus hiding other recent releases. Why not treat Ubuntu the same way as Fedora, OpenSUSE, Mint, Debian and others? Please create one news in the rss feed and one post on distrowatch.com containing all torrent files. Are they paying you money to get more publicity or why this special treatment? ;-)
Ubuntu have chosen to not include all different graphical environments on the same installation media, so they get a lot of more attention here at distrowatch. But Fedora has done the same but get only one post per release! Mint has also done the same and gets 2 posts per release as they don't get them all ready at the same time (double marketing value due to poor release planning?). This way of releasing distros requires more DVDs/isos if people want to try different graphical environments before they settle for one.
OpenSUSE, Debian and CentOS are more practical as there's one installation disc and you choose window manager during installation in a practical manner, free choice and only one DVD to burn (you only need the first iso if more than one). They only get one post here per release and releases come less frequently than Ubuntu as they focus more on stability. These distros come with many popular graphical environments too, probably more than Ubuntu.
So distros which make it easy for users to choose graphical environment and focus on stability get less publicity. But among those who have chosen to put the same release in 7+ different iso-files, only Ubuntu get extra marketing space every half a year.
And now I haven't even mentioned distros which uses only rolling release and thus hardly get any posts at all, as a matter of fact I only know of Arch and OpenSUSE Tumbleweed as this kind of distro get very little attention here while I could probably out of my head list at least 50 normal distros with stable releases and liveDVDs that I've read about here and tested. Google for some weird reason favors answers in the Arch wiki even though searches are made for other distros, and OpenSUSE very recently decided to market Tumbleweed on the front page instead of hiding it like before, so I see info about those 2 every now and then and get reminded they exist. But I understand why rolling releases can't get the same attention on distrowatch, I just added as comparison.
19 • AppImage and Ubuntu (by Jesse on 2017-10-23 15:21:03 GMT from Canada)
@5: We have talked about AppImage plenty in the past, even recommended it over other package formats. But there isn't any benefit in listing every single portable package type every time the subject comes up, there are probably at least a dozen popular portable package options.
@18: The debate about Ubuntu and whether it should be treated as one or many distributions comes up a lot. There are a lot of people on both sides of the debate and you can read our reasons for treating it the way we do here: https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=faq#ubuntusplit
20 • Finally...and long over due... (by tom joad on 2017-10-23 17:04:26 GMT from United States)
Finally...and long over due that unity is dead, dead and dead. Good F#$%^&* riddance to pure rubbish dreadful. One could see that coming, the passing of Unity, a long way down the road. I did.
Thanks Heavens for Mint with Mate. I like that a lot and keep coming back to it.
@9 I agree. Ubuntu is ubuntu is ubuntu is... Ubuntu is the same 'stew' with small variations of seasoning. There is not any Earth shaking break out difference between them. Personally, I do like Ubuntu mate though. The rest...whatever.
21 • Same old comments lol. (by Garon on 2017-10-23 17:45:15 GMT from United States)
Here we go again. Every Time Ubuntu and its child distros release a new version you hear the uninformed commenters say there are too many Ubuntus. That makes Jessie comment again on why or where to find the information as to why it is what it is. People need to remember that many active distros, including Mint, exist because of Ubuntu. That's a fact that cannot be denied. And then we have the little comments about Unity. Some people really hate Unity and I'm not sure why. How can you hate something that you never use nor plan to. That's very strange and child like. So sad. Here's my opinion. Unity was nice and useful. I found benefit in the system. It's really bad that it was so hard for so many people to learn how to use Unity. It seems people were more use to the Mac or Windows look of other desktops lol. I'm not even going to get into the systemd debate again. Like all these other useless little squabbles, they all should be dead, dead, dead. Now, how about some useful comments.
22 • ubuntu (by matt on 2017-10-23 17:59:09 GMT from United States)
I wish there was a JWM varient of ubuntu.
23 • not claiming "too many buntus", just begging clarity and CONSISTENCY (by tim on 2017-10-23 18:19:51 GMT from United States)
"Jeremy Bicha has posted an answer, indicating Ubuntu GNOME will be discontinued."
"The latest Long Term Support release is Ubuntu GNOME 16.04.3
The final stable non-LTS release is Ubuntu GNOME 17.04"
April 13, 2017
"As a result of this decision there will no longer be a separate GNOME flavor of Ubuntu."
Last Update: 2017-08-26
Status: Dormant (defined)
"A distribution which has not put out a new release in two or more years is marked as being Dormant in our database."
24 • 'Same old comments lol' (by Dave Postles on 2017-10-23 18:25:19 GMT from United Kingdom)
Here's another one: I will not support a product that gets into bed with Amazon, an alleged tax avoider, which has also had reports of poor working conditions in Europe - even if I can remove the Amazon lens.
25 • Unity (by Peter Burns on 2017-10-24 00:27:32 GMT from United Kingdom)
Maybe the fact that a lot of people struggled to get used to Unity is an indication that it's just bad UI?
It should be intuitive, not a huge learning curve to access basic functionality like a programs list.
26 • One build system, multiple platforms (by Andre on 2017-10-24 01:06:52 GMT from Canada)
I'd love to see Ravenports, or something like it, take off. As a user of multiple operating systems, I try my best to maintain as much symmetricity between them as is reasonable. There's nothing I'd like more than a unified package manager/builder; it's kind of like the holy grail. It's a real shame there isn't more impetus in the open source community to try and adopt one. There's certainly no shortage of candidates.
27 • 10k posts (by david esktorp on 2017-10-24 02:35:34 GMT from United States)
Congratulations on the 10,000th post!
28 • Unity (by Bobbie Sellers on 2017-10-24 02:43:41 GMT from United States)
I don't hate it but I think it lacked features that are more easily accessed from other
It was designed to be used on Ubuntu Phones and another group is taking care
of the telephony. Canonical gave it up. Eventually it may show up as a cell phone
29 • Unity: What's wrong with letting others use it? (by Jason Hsu on 2017-10-24 02:51:40 GMT from United States)
I hate the Unity interface, but I'm glad that it's being forked as Yunit, just as the popular GNOME 2 desktop was forked as MATE (which proved to be a big hit when the Linux Mint team took over). I won't be using Yunit, but I'm glad that the people who liked the controversial Unity interface won't be left in the lurch.
I cannot understand why people want Unity to go away. Ubuntu's following is smaller now than it was in its GNOME 2 days, but it's still substantial. I wish its users the best, and I hope that the GNOME 3-based Ubuntu has a similar look and feel as the Unity-based Ubuntu had. Ubuntu users are clearly the people who like Unity. The new GNOME 3-based Ubuntu won't attract the people who jumped ship because of Unity, because these former Ubuntu users are now satisfied users of Linux Mint, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, and various other distros.
This is a free world. Nobody is forcing us to use Ubuntu or Unity. We can use whatever Linux distro we want to use. I also hate the vim editor and cannot understand its logic at all, but I'm happy that it works extremely well for some people.
30 • The objections to Ubuntu derivatives (by Jason Hsu on 2017-10-24 03:01:56 GMT from United States)
Every week, people complain that there are too many Ubuntu derivatives. Even though I dislike Ubuntu (because it's bloatware), I don't object, because nobody is forcing me to use any of the Ubuntu derivatives. Remember that Linux Mint is a Ubuntu derivative, and it provided a continuation of the old GNOME 2-based Ubuntu when its parent distro veered into its controversial Unity direction.
Ubuntu's Unity controversy proved that well-established distros with a large following should be conservative, and it's better that bold new ideas be implemented through new distros. Ubuntu with Unity and GNOME 3 wouldn't have been so controversial if they had been rolled out as brand new projects instead of continuations of the older versions.
I'm glad that the Linux world offers so many choices. When a distro makes a controversial change that people don't like or becomes defunct, its users have alternatives available. When Windows makes controversial changes that people don't like, its users have to suck it up. I'm so glad that I don't have to as a Linux user.
31 • @4 S6 (by mandog on 2017-10-24 03:14:46 GMT from Peru)
Wow we agree again S6 is excellent even boots HDDs lightening fast.
Eric is a great guy we need more like him to get Linux back on track
32 • MultiBootUSB-Live added to waiting list (by 2damncommon on 2017-10-24 05:08:08 GMT from United States)
This distro sounds tempting.
With a quick try:
I attempted to install 3 live distributions. Austrumi, Knoppix, Parted Magic to a 32GB USB 3.0 drive.
Although my USB drive was auto detected my hard drive (where the ISO files were) was not. I was able to mount the drive manually VIA the terminal.
Attempting to add Austrumi resulted in the program terminating. Tried multiple times.
Partition Magic was added.
Knoppix was added.
Partition Magic would not boot with 64 or 32 bit options.
Knoppix started just fine.
I finally tried adding another live distribution - MultiBootUSB-Live.
It was added okay.
It booted okay and auto detected my hard drive although the DVD had not.
Didn't have any further live distributions to add though.
Interesting but I've gotta give it a thumbs down at this point.
33 • Happy 10,000th!! (by Bashir Barrage on 2017-10-24 05:30:20 GMT from Lebanon)
Just wanted to wish you a happy 10,000th post from Beirut!
34 • kubuntu (by Mac on 2017-10-24 11:46:43 GMT from United States)
KDE, dolphin locked from root. Just what I wanted someone else telling me what I can and can't do. That is the hole point for me on linux is having it my way!! KDE fan for years but that sucks.
35 • The Archlabs review and thoughts on AntiX (by Barnabyh on 2017-10-24 12:08:16 GMT from United States)
Thank you for an interesting review of something that is more up my street. It's a bit odd to read though when these days RAM use of 180MB or even 250MB is classed as light. That's the amount of RAM GNOME 2 was using and it was seen as a heavy DE once upon a time, when LXDE was using 50 and one could even run XFCE with as little as 80MB, without any daemons like Dropbox in the background obviously.
I used to like Arch(bang) a lot and ran it for a few years until they adopted systemd early on. Crunchbang was and BunsenLabs is great but as they are also infected I'm currently running AntiX stable and really enjoying it. Works great as a Kodi media box too with the laptop attached to an old TV (that doesn't have USB yet for FireTV stick and so on).
One could of course build their own system based on Devuan but with AntiX 17 having a rc now I'll probably stick with it for a while longer. It got me hooked! So, at some point, I'll probably have to write another review to give anti the credit that is due as in the past I had always found some faults with earlier versions. Or just have it noted here.
Archlabs sounds good but as it's also using systemd I'll probably rather try the openrc spins of - was it Arch or Manjario? Absolute Linux would be nice too, sort of the AntiX of the Slackware world.
Anyway, sorry to bother you with my random thoughts.
36 • @34 Dolphin as root (by OstroL on 2017-10-24 13:05:18 GMT from Poland)
Have a look here, https://iwf1.com/how-to-add-open-as-root-entry-manually-to-kdes-dolphin-file-manager/
37 • @21 about Ubuntu (by OstroL on 2017-10-24 13:23:20 GMT from Poland)
Actually there is one Ubuntu, and the rest is Ubuntu + desktop environments. Whatever "derivative" you install, you get Ubuntu. Check nano /etc/lsb-release in terminal in any Ubuntu derivative.
You can install JWM very easily in Ubuntu. You can use mini.iso and start through that, or install a derivative without Wayland and install JWM. JWM package is in the Ubuntu repos.
38 • Memory Consumption (by Rick Smereka on 2017-10-24 17:27:04 GMT from Switzerland)
@35 The QNX internet challenge published in 1999 on a single 1.44mb floppy disk (OS, Photon GUI, Voyager browser and tools) is the baseline I use for operating system memory consumption. Everything above this is bloat.
I have been systematically trying all the non-systemd OS's (rolling release, i386[non PAE] preferred) and I concur with your comments about AntiX. Combined with the Debian 'testing' repo, it is the best thing going in the Linux world (IMHO) right now. I also use Devuan daily and other than being a fixed point release and also being a lot more bloated than AntiX, it's ok.
I have been ignoring all these Arch releases since almost all of them are infected with systemd. The other Arch-based non-systemd distros that I have tried (Manjaro OpenRC, Artix) either do not install correctly to break soon after installation.
More random thoughts for the bit bucket.
39 • well I've never managed to boot Austrumi (by tim on 2017-10-24 19:55:20 GMT from United States)
Across a span of several years I've failed to successfully boot Austrumi. I tried using dd, tried using various other tools... fail. Aptosid is another which has, more often than not, fail to boot for me.
Devuan: someone posted a reddit comment describing it as "like puppy linux for graybeards". Made me laugh but, wow, yeah that sounds about right. Maybe soured grapes because I failed to achieve network connection (connman?) when livebooting several devuan derivatives. Searching online, I discovered that others have met the same no-network fate.
We have a Catch22 when trying to assess "which desktop environment" or "which distro" is quote unquote lightweight. Formal reviews, as well as anecdotal reports, fail to note important details and report from a fixed baseline. For a distroX, which ships desktop environment "Y"... the reporter usually neglects to note, and to mention: as-shipped, services A B and C are autostarted (adding __MiB overhead) and helpers, like a clipboard manager and a conky and a wonkydock are auto-started by default. Omission of those details winds up leading to reviewers and readers guessing (blaming?) a particular desktop environment for being quote unquote heavy, or lightweaight.
40 • Gotta be something better than Ravenports (by technosaurus on 2017-10-25 04:14:07 GMT from United States)
The article on Ravenports makes it sound great, but I'm a "show-me-the-code" kinda guy and OMFG what a total mess - it makes the mozilla source tree look clean. Everything is in folders named bucketXX with no organization whatsoever and its a new project, so it will proabably only get worse.
I'm not saying there isn't a niche to be filled; there is, but Ravenports does not appear to be the answer.
A better solution would be to implement a new XDG specification for package specs - modeled after the desktop entry specification so that individual packages could output a single file that any distro could grok into their own format (for backward compatibility) or use directly. It could be added into the auto-tools suite or provided as a standalone script.
In addition to the (localized) keys in .desktop files, you would have package sizes, various checksums, (build) dependencies, source url, VCS url, maintainer, license, etc... See links at the end of this post for the random stuff some distros have in their package control files.
The reason I mention the desktop files is that they already contain much of the useful information and it is commonly already localized. For example:
* Localization (as in the desktop files) would allow more user friendly package management for non-english users because each translatable field "Key=" can have a corresponding "Key[lang]=" equivalent
* Mimetype (as in the desktop files) could be used by the package manager to handle an xdg-open of a file with no default handler for its Mimetype. Then the Exec field (as in the desktop file) could open it directly when it is installed... Come on even MS can handle this one (OK, they just use extensions, but the concept is the same)
* XDG specified Categories (as in the desktop files) could be used directly by package managers or mapped to legacy groups for backward compatibility. Using the same categories in the package manager as in the menu would make it more user friendly.
* The Icon field (as in the desktop file) could be used in graphical package managers, if available, to help the user quickly find what they installed.
Integrating the package info into the build process would use information that is normally already available anyhow and thus eliminate a lot of cross-distro duplicated effort. Most of the rest of the data that isn't contained in the desktop files, is already part of the build process (dependencies, build dependencies, sizes, checksums, maintainer etc...). Just have a package.spec.in file similar to the already existing package.desktop.in files
Other fields that could be useful:
Memory usage, CPU usage, ProjectURI, DonationURI, DocumentationURI, ScreenshotURI, BugsURI, SupportURI, WikiURI, ForumURI, etc...
Then you have the various ways of package splitting: from a simple slackbuild that produces one package per source tarball to splitting out binaries, libraries, development (DEV) files, documentation (DOC), data and localization (NLS) into separate packages. These can be split even further: NLS to each language such as package-*-NLS-en_GB. Split DEV so includes, pkgconfig files, etc... are in one package and the *.so links in a DEV-shared and *.a libs in a DEV-static. Split DOC into man, info, html, etc...
Moving the majority of this stuff into the upstream repositories would be better for upstream developers too. That way they can directly update changes to things like links, repositories, contact info etc... I still see distros that list a package's homepage as freshmeat, berlios, codeplex or google code and have even seen dead guys as the contact. It's better for up to date localization too.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of autotools, but an improved version with hooks for different types of build failures that could be integrated with the package manager would be nice. Instead of a cryptic failure message, get something like Can't find "X": _Install, _Build, _BuildStatic, _Disable, _Quit (with install being the default if available followed by _Disable if it can just be disabled) ... but we need _something_. With no defacto standard, each distro does their own thing - badly. For example: Alpine Linux started as a small distro so they don't yet have package categories - just one big pile, but at least they aren't arbitrarily divided into ambiguous bucket** folders. If you look through the distro build systems of your favorite distro (all/any of them) 90% of the BS code is related to this one thing. If each package automatically output this to a specified format, most of that code could be eliminated.
And how various distros (random sampling) do it
41 • Austrumi : Post # 39 (by Winchester on 2017-10-25 13:30:07 GMT from United States)
Austrumi 64 version 3.5.8 boots fine on my hardware. I burned it to a CD-R using either "K3B" or "XFburn". I can't remember which one but either probably will work. You likely could just update the software sources after it is up and running.
Austrumi 3.7.0 would not boot for me and I have yet to try 3.7.1 ; Earlier 32-bit versions booted fine just as 3.5.8 did.
For writing iso's to USB drives,I usually use "ROSA Image Writer" under Linux , sometimes "Etcher" or the Gnome Disks Utility or the OpenSUSE image writer ......... "Rufus" when I used to have a Windows installation.
42 • Ubuntu, Kubuntu, etc. (by David on 2017-10-25 15:07:14 GMT from United States)
When there are Development Releases of the 'buntu family, all (or at least a substantial collection) are grouped into the announcement on D'watch. When there is a Distribution Release, members of the family are treated separately.
43 • Escape from New York (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-10-25 23:40:16 GMT from United States)
@38 Speaking as a Debian escapee who used Arch before the systemdeath outbreak -- you're not dropping in random thoughts, you're spilling that bit bucket.
1. Debian sucks with or without systemdeath. The almost-good Debs try to roll like Arch, but it's hard fighting Momma Debian. Things get far better than AntiX once you kiss Momma goodbye.
2. You haven't tried SliTaz, Void, Gentoo, Alpine, Puppy, PCLinuxOS, et al. By all means ignore Arch. It's a big world out there.
3. You listed only one "Arch-based non-systemd" distro. Artix is just Manjaro OpenRC gone indy. It's the same people. Artix is too young to condemn, and Parabola is just now toying with OpenRC. Let them grow. That said, I'm with you on diseased Arch spinoffs; I will never touch one.
4. If you insist on Arch qua Arch sans systemdeath, use Obarun. It positions itself as a kit not its own "distro," but its s6 scripts could work anywhere. Obarun is the first "distro" to use s6 and Eric is eager to collaborate on cures for systemdeath.
44 • Re: Too much *buntu (by Mar Visscher on 2017-10-26 12:58:36 GMT from Netherlands)
To #9 (RoboNuggie)
I totally understand what you're saying and I dig you. ;-)
Lately I was thinking: "Why so many *buntu's? Why doesn't Ubuntu switch to a model that releases only the core Ubuntu, and while installing the system to offer a menu to choose from multiple desktop environments, so you can easily choose for yourself what suites you best? Ubuntu (now with GNOME), Xubuntu (Xfce), Lubuntu (LXDE, later LXQt), Kubuntu (KDE) Ubuntu Budgie (why not calling it "Bubuntu" to stay in line with the rest) and so on maybe nice to choose from, but I think it's not really effective or efficient. Not for the development teams nor for the end-users. And I also think it's a good idea to offer just the core Ubuntu + desktop of your choice WITHOUT all the extra programs that comes along with it. Just Ubuntu and - let's say - Xfce (which now becomes Xubuntu because you chose Xfce as the prefered desktop).
Later, after installing, people can install their own programs they would like to use, instead of de-installing software that came pre-configured with it and could break something because of certain dependencies while removing it. When I install Ubuntu on someone's machine, it comes along with pre-installed software. But for some that particular software is not the best choice for them (for many reasons).
So... Ubuntu Core + desktop of choice in a menu, and later adding programs by the user itself after installation. That way you get a much leaner, cleaner and more adapted to the user kinda system. A win-win situation. How about that?
45 • @44 'Buntus (by OstroL on 2017-10-26 13:30:11 GMT from Poland)
" Ubuntu (now with GNOME), Xubuntu (Xfce), Lubuntu (LXDE, later LXQt), Kubuntu (KDE) Ubuntu Budgie (why not calling it "Bubuntu" to stay in line with the rest) and so on maybe nice to choose from, but I think it's not really effective or efficient. "
Well, the default is Gubuntu, then we have Bubuntu, Kubuntu, Kyubuntu (Ubuntu Kylin), Lubuntu, Stubuntu (Ubuntu Studio) and Xubuntu.
What's missing is Ubuntu-Unity or Uubuntu. I have seen such an Uubuntu (Unity7 iso) available. Tried it and it works, just as it was in the default Ubuntu 17.04, but based on 17.10.
46 • @36 (by Mac on 2017-10-26 13:32:55 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the link! But it is sad that KDE thinks we are not smart enough to take care of ourself. Not everyone is a noob. There is several ways around it but that just made me mad!
47 • Bride of Frankenstein (by Arch Watcher 402563 on 2017-10-26 22:32:04 GMT from United States)
"P.S.: My personal opinion: The whole Debian approach is a mess. Rather
than contributing upstream and trying to improve the code there, they
are making frankenstein builds that were never intended in this way by
the upstream projects. Nobody knows which patches they do and do not
backport and in general Debian packages are massively outdated."
48 • The vocal minority spews out FUD about Unity, systemd, Ubuntu etc. (by A. R. Chuser on 2017-10-27 22:37:54 GMT from Norway)
People calling systemd systemdeath and an infection seems quite childish. I know some people have reasons for disliking it, but some haters just seem to enjoy hating, without even being able to articulate what it is that they dislike. I guess many of these users are newly saved Linux noobs that have read something somewhere about how systemd does not follow the Unix philosophy, and therefore use it to project all their hatred through. A constructive debate is nice, and it is good that there are alternatives out there being actively maintained to avoid a monoculture, but "systemdeath" and "infection"... come one, you can at least try to come up with some serious arguments against the thing if you avoid it like the plague.
Also, the hate for Unity has always been quite irrational. There are too many desktop environments and window managers available for Linux for anybody to need to complain about Cannonical trying out some new ideas on their own distro and giving their work away for free. Linux is not like other OSes where you have no choice but to take whatever the corporate overloads give you.
By the way, Unity was developed years before the Ubuntu phone came along, so if you think it is made for convergence, you don't know what you are talking about. Unity 8, which never shipped on the desktop, but ran on Mir on the tablets and phones, was the converged desktop. Unity 7 that you could get on Ubuntu (desktop) was an offshoot of the netbook remix back in the day. I also find it funny how people say Mir never worked, when many of us ran it on our phones and tablets for a year or two before Wayland was in a usable state on Fedora. Cannonical just did not get to shipping Unity 8 and Mir on the desktop before it was killed off by Shuttleworth, but they both ran fine on my Bq Aquaris M10 tablet. My point here is that if you are going to criticise something, it is better to know at least the basic facts about the thing you are criticising in stead of just regurgitating childish hatred.
I think many people dislike(d) Unity because its UI is different than Windows. Personally, I find it uses screen real estate far more efficiently than gnome (both 3 and especially 2) and that pressing the super (windows) key is a faster way to find my programs than to press the mouse twenty times to go through menus, but that is just a personal preference. It is probably shaped by me having used Macs for twenty-five years before coming to Linux. I use LXDE on my main machine for maximum speed and tweaked to give me minimum clutter. Some people like tiling window managers and some even like Englithenment. Let's let a thousand flowers bloom, and pick the one that we like. This is why we all love Linux, right?
I find that many of the Ubuntu haters are Linux Mint users. This is extremely ironic, since Linux Mint is Ubuntu LTS with a desktop environment and the Xapps. In addition, Linux Mint users do not get security updates for their kernel by default, so it is obviously a less secure distro to use than upstream Ubuntu. Without Cannonical doing all the hard work, Linux Mint would never exist, so the criticism seems extremely misplaced. On the other hand, Cinnamon and MATE are really nice desktops and the XFCE and KDE edition of Mint are also very nice, but that is no reason to hate your upstream distro.
I'm so tired of all these noobs, trolls and haters spewing out comment after comment of misinformation, non-constructive criticism and general hatred. I often get the feeling that these people represent a small, vocal minority. The Linux landscape is quite small, and even if we like different distros, desktops, init systems... Why not focus our energy on making cool stuff and showing our enthusiasm for it in stead? I don't use Ubuntu, but I applaud the effort of Mark Shuttleworth in building up Cannonical and basically giving away a lot of work and his money for free. Many projects are constantly working towards their own goals and contribution to the further development of the Linux ecosystem. Let's applaud these people and projects when they deserve it, and let's criticise their choices constructively when we disagree with their choices, but let's not be greedy children crying out in hatred against the people and projects that provide us with all of the technology we love. That is just stupid.
49 • unity, systemd, (by edcoolio on 2017-10-28 00:52:03 GMT from United States)
Agreed, 100%. In particular, the systemd emotional outbursts and name calling. It reminds me of politics in the sense that I immediately stop reading an opinion the moment a politician's name is turned into a negative childish nickname.
My only disappointment in Ubuntu stems from those that put the time and effort into learning the Unity interface. Many people did this because it was Ubuntu that was doing it. Otherwise, I suspect it would have been just another middling DE.
Now, they are (for the most part) being left in the dust.
I guess what I'm saying is that although I dislike Unity, I empathize with those peers that put the time into it and now feel as if they are being abandoned. Are they actually being abandoned? I don't know, but I do know that is the feeling around the water cooler.
As you point out, to each their own. That IS why we all love linux!
50 • Systemd and unity (by Doug on 2017-10-28 18:06:31 GMT from United States)
Systemd goes throughout the system. It is much more than an init. It has tendrils in all parts of the system. This is a fact, not FUD. "Infection" is an appropriate name.
The big problem with Unity was that it was sending any thing you searched for on your own computer back to Canonical. "Spyware" is a good word to describe it. Now they disabled that feature by default in 16.04, but not until people complained about it.
51 • ubuntoo (by David Whattson on 2017-10-29 01:14:19 GMT from Canada)
Folks just cool down and FOCUS.
Regardless of Amazons Lens or Unity Spyware, Ubuntu's UooThoo-BooThoo remained my favorite distro till today as Ububtu maintained its rank in top three or top five on Distrowatch.
52 • @51 (by OstroL on 2017-10-29 09:36:26 GMT from Poland)
Amazon "spyware" is still on in the new default Ubuntu with Gnome-shell.
Number of Comments: 52
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