| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 738, 13 November 2017
Welcome to this year's 46th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Some Linux distributions go out of their way to provide options for everyone, offering up multiple desktops, toolkits, editions, and some even support many hardware architectures. This week Robert Rijkhoff starts us off with a look at SparkyLinux, a distribution which serves up dozens of desktops, browsers and flavours of installation media. Read on to learn about Robert's experiences and let us know in the Opinion Poll what you think about projects which provide many different editions. In our News section we talk about the Slax distribution coming back to life and its developer's views on selecting an init implementation. Plus we report on Arch Linux dropping 32-bit packages and share an overview of LineageOS - what it is and how to install it on a smart phone. In this week's Questions and Answers column we talk about rumours of spyware and malware in open source operating systems. Plus we are happy to share the releases of the past week and the torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the HardenedBSD project to our database. We wish you all a terrific week and happy reading!
- Review: SparkyLinux 5.1
- News: Slax developer explores init options, Arch Linux drops 32-bit packages, an overview of LineageOS
- Questions and answers: Worried about spyware
- Released last week: Redcore Linux 1710, Parrot Security OS 3.9, SharkLinux 4.13.0-17
- Torrent corner: Antergos, IPFire, KDE neon, Netrunner, PCLinuxOS, Redcore, SharkLinux
- Upcoming releases: Fedora 27
- Opinion poll: Number of supported editions
- DistroWatch.com news: New statistic added to Ranking page
- New additions: HardenedBSD
- New distributions: postmarketOS, Regata OS, HasCoding-OS
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (61MB) and MP3 (76MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Robert Rijkhoff)
SparkyLinux is a Debian-based distribution for 32- and 64-bit computers. According to Sparky's website, the distro aims to "provide a ready to use, out of the box operating system with a set of slightly customised, lightweight desktop environments." There are no less than 24 desktops to choose from, as well as various "Special" editions.
Like Debian, Sparky has three branches, which Sparky refers to as 'editions': Stable, Rolling and Development. For each edition there is a "Home" and "Minimal" version and, to make your choice yet more overwhelming, for each version various ISOs are available. Among others, the Home versions include ISOs for four different desktop environments and the Minimal versions include a "Linux Freedom" ISO. I couldn't find any information about the Linux Freedom version on the Sparky website but I am assuming that it ships with a libre kernel and no non-free packages.
If the download options sound complicated then that is because they are complicated. It doesn't help that the download section on the Sparky website is poorly designed. The pages feature long lists with links to dozens of ISOs and virtually no information to help you pick a suitable image. Worse, what little information is available is ambiguous. Various pages on the Sparky website state that the distro uses Debian's Testing branch while it is in fact built on all three Debian branches. Also, the download page suggests that the Stable editions are recommended - the link to the Stable ISOs is listed first and features an icon of a computer with a green monitor. The Rolling ISOs use the same icon with a red monitor, while the Development branch uses the colour black.
While trying to decide which version of Sparky to install I made the following table, which might make the available flavours a little easier to digest.
• Calamares installer
• ISOs for LXDE and Xfce
• Basic GUI or CLI installer
• Single ISO with choice of 24 desktops
• Linux Freedom edition
• Calamares installer
• ISOs for LXQt, Xfce and MATE
• Basic GUI or CLI installer
• Single ISO with choice of 24 desktops
• Linux Freedom edition
• Calamares installer
• ISOs for GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue edition
• Linux Freedom edition
• Calamares installer
• ISO for Xfce
• Basic GUI or CLI installer
• Single ISO with choice of 24 desktops
• Linux Freedom edition
Table: a simplified overview of Sparky Linux editions.
Sparky Rolling with the LXQt desktop
I decided to go with the Rolling edition and to try two different desktops: LXQt and Manokwari. I started with LXQt, for which there is a ready-made ISO.
The Home versions use the Calamares installer which, as always, worked flawlessly. The installer did have a few defaults which I hadn't seen before though. I was missing the option to encrypt the installation and by default the installer will configure the system so that users are logged in automatically (without entering a password). Also, unless you tell the installer otherwise the root password will be the same as your user password. My guess is that Sparky uses these defaults to make the distro more user-friendly.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- The Calamares installer's Users tab
(full image size: 499kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The LXQt desktop has a traditional layout with a modern look and feel –
Sparky uses the Numix theme with the Flatabulous icon set (which have
been renamed Sparky5 and Ultra-Flat-Icons). The desktop is quite
configurable but some of the settings menus are somewhat basic. For
instance, there isn't an easy way to change the default wallpaper or to
use a background colour for the desktop. I should note, however, that
LXQt is a relatively new desktop environment - the version that was
installed was 0.11.1.
There were a also few small tweaks that I hadn't come across before and
which I quickly changed. Most notably, by default task manager buttons
have a width of 400 pixels (which makes them a lot wider than I'm used
to) and the system tray displays items for windows on any desktop. The
desktop is quite configurable but some of the settings are basic.
Even though LXQt uses the Qt framework there are various non-Qt applications pre-installed. We get the Firefox browser, Thunderbird e-mail client and HexChat IRC client. LibreOffice is the default office suite and we can edit plain text files with Leafpad. For scanning documents we can use Simple Scan and Xfburn is available for burning CDs. The most prominent Qt applications are QTerminal and the Clementine audio player. I would have liked a few more Qt applications but it didn't really bother me. All the pre-installed applications have the same look and feel, so I never really noticed I was using, say, a GTK application in a Qt environment.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Installing QupZilla using Web Browser Installer
(full image size: 417kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Sparky doesn't have a software centre. To manage software we can use Synaptic, the command line or APTus. The latter is in effect a graphical front-end for Debian's package management tools (APT and dpkg) and can be used to manage third-party software. APTus also features a web browser installer. If you like to try different browsers you will feel like a child in a sweet shop - there are 24 browsers to choose from.
Aesthetics, bugs and aiming to be user-friendly
LXQt certainly looks good for a lightweight desktop. That said, there were various minor aesthetic imperfections. Somehow the font for the user interface was set to point size 11, which is quite large when the font used for title bars is size 9. The relatively large fonts might also explain why notifications were sometimes truncated (the text didn't fit in the available space). A more annoying issue was that icons in the system tray are white and displayed against a light-grey background. These are minor issues but I hope the out of the box experience will be improved. With a little more polish LXQt would be a very compelling desktop environment indeed.
Perhaps unavoidably, I did encounter a few more serious issues. After playing with Sparky for a couple of hours my laptop suddenly suspended itself. The reason was that the battery was nearly empty. It was only then that I realised that the system tray didn't include a battery status indicator. There are plenty of widgets available for the system tray but nothing to show how much life is left in the battery. I later discovered that there is an 'Enable Battery Watcher' check box under "Power Management Settings", with a separate check box for displaying a system tray icon. It is not really a bug, but not showing a battery icon when a laptop is being used is an odd default setting.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Font size and power management settings
(full image size: 487kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
A second issue worth mentioning is that I couldn't open an external encrypted drive. Sparky would recognise the drive but after entering the pass phrase I got the cryptic error "function bd_crypto_luks_open_blob called but not implemented". I couldn't find much information about the error, other than a suggestion to install the package libblockdev-crypto2. Luckily that worked; after also rebooting the laptop I was able to mount the drive. My guess is that the initial error was the result of Sparky's attempt to create a user-friendly distro. Earlier I mentioned that the installer didn't provide an option to encrypt the hard drive - it appears that encryption is poorly supported all around.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Error while mounting an encrypted drive
(full image size: 682kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
There are other areas where Sparky is trying to make Linux more user-friendly. To mention some random examples, a screen-saver pops up after ten minutes of inactivity but the screen is never locked, so you never need to log back in by entering your password (the setting to change this is hidden in the above-mentioned "Power Management" menu). The sudo utility is enabled and you can perform tasks that need root privileges by entering your user password. Non-free and contributed packages are available out of the box (no need to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file to add repositories) and the vi and vim text editors aren't installed - you get the nano editor instead.
Most Debian users will probably frown upon such customisations but those users are clearly not Sparky's intended audience. And there were convenient features I liked. For instance, Sparky makes it very easy to access various third-party repositories. In the /etc/apt/sources.d directory we find Sparky's repositories as well as third-party repos for, among others, Dropbox, Google Earth, VirtualBox and PlayOnLinux.
Many of these third-party packages can be enabled via the above-mentioned APTus application. APTus mostly worked well. It failed to install Skype and when I installed the non-free codecs I found the installer only wanted to install two packages: flashplayer-mozilla and gsfonts-x11 - dozens of forbidden fruits such as libdvdcss2 for playing encrypted DVDs were already installed. I had no issues installing Google Earth, SpiderOak and various web browsers.
My only real APTus criticism is that some of the options should arguably be a bit more hidden for new users, or at least come with a prominent warning. For instance, I am not sure if it is a good idea to let users install the Liquorix Kernel or remove all non-free packages with a click on a button and without any information about what exactly the scripts do. And I also encountered a bug when I re-installed Sparky LXQt towards the end of my trial - APTus was no longer installed because of a dependency hell.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- APTus can't be installed because of unmet dependencies
(full image size: 610kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
With the release of Sparky 5.1 the project added Manokwari to its collection of desktop environments. I had not heard of Manokwari and thought it would be interesting to see what it has to offer.
There is no ISO with Manokwari pre-installed and the Minimal editions don't give you the option to select the Manokwari desktop, which means we need to use APTus to install the desktop. I didn't want to install Manokwari alongside LXQt as this would leave all the applications that came with LXQt on the system. My plan was to use the advanced installer to completely wipe LXQt; to not select any desktop environment in the installer and to then install the sparky-desktop-manokwari package.
The minimal ISO boots to a nicely themed Openbox desktop. The installer is quite minimal and not recommended for people who are new to installing operating systems. In particular the first steps - choosing the locale and keyboard layout - can be awkward if you're not in the US (and therefore need to change the defaults). Partitioning wasn't much easier. The installer first gives you the option to set up partitions and then asks where different file systems should be created. The installer works but provides very little guidance, and I was missing an option to go back to the previous page. The absence of a "Back" button meant that I couldn't, for instance, double-check which partition was meant for which file system.
Towards the end of the installation you can pick one of 20 desktop environments. As said, the new Manokwari desktop isn't listed and I therefore decided to skip this step. I had expected that the result would be a system without X11 and a desktop environment but that wasn't the case - after rebooting my laptop I was again presented with Openbox.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Selecting a desktop in the advanced installer
(full image size: 788kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
For many years I used CrunchBang, a now discontinued distro that combined Debian with Openbox. I still have a soft spot for Openbox and have to say that Sparky has done a great job setting up Openbox so that it is nice looking and usable out of the box. It features a panel (tint2) and the same Numix theme that is used in LXQt. Also worth mentioning is that applications you install are automatically added to the menu (something that normally needs to be done manually in Openbox).
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Installing Manokwari using Desktop Installer
(full image size: 535kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Strictly speaking Openbox is a window manager rather than a desktop environment. It is therefore a good base for installing another desktop environment. The APTus application includes a desktop installer and Manokwari is included in this list, so I decided to install Manokwari on top of Openbox. Running the installer opened a terminal window via which the desktop was installed, without any further prompts. Once the installer had finished I unfortunately encountered a Sparky Openbox bug - the "Logout" button doesn't work. The "Reboot" option did work, although I had to enter my password twice, in separate windows. The first window was particularly confusing: it said "Authentication is required to set a wall message".
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Trying to reboot in Openbox
(full image size: 731kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
While installing Manokwari I realised that Sparky's desktop installer will install just the desktop and nothing else. Applications that are likely to be useful, such as an office suite and e-mail client, are not included. I suspect that largely explains why Manokwari turned out to be hardly usable. Before I get into that, though, I should explain what Manokwari is.
The Manokwari desktop is based on GNOME 3 and appears to have been created for BlankOn Linux, a Debian-based distro developed in Indonesia. The desktop features a single panel at the top and clicking on the menu-icon in the top-left corner opens an application menu. A second menu is revealed when you poke the top-right corner of the screen with your mouse.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- The Manokwari desktop
(full image size: 141kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The main menu is quite neat. A search box lets you to quickly open installed applications or to search for something in Google or on Wikipedia. It is also possible to enter a command to be run in a terminal window but that feature didn't work for me because GNOME Terminal wasn't installed. As said, I suspect this is a Sparky-related issue - presumably GNOME Terminal is installed out of the box on BlankOn Linux.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Running the top command from the Manokwari desktop
(full image size: 117kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
The second menu is similar to the Raven menu in the Budgie desktop but not quite as useful. Manokwari's implementation features four bookmarks (which are all links to BlankOn Linux websites and social media accounts, and which cannot be changed); a set of audio controls which can only be used in combination with the Audacious audio player; a weather applet; quick access to menu settings and the current date and time. I didn't use the menu at all but other people might find it useful.
To say that Manokwari is a minimal desktop environment is an understatement. In fact, if you feel GNOME 3 is too minimalist than you don't want to go anywhere near Manokwari. Various basic features appear to have been disabled and there is very little that can be customised. To mention just a few examples, the super (Windows) key does nothing and right-clicking on the desktop has no effect. GNOME Tweaks isn't installed, which means you can't, for instance, use a different theme (Adwaita is the default) or add a "Minimise" button to windows. It is not even possible to set up work spaces or to change the wallpaper - there is a "Backgrounds" menu in the settings but the active wallpaper isn't shown in the list and picking another wallpaper doesn't do anything.
Again, Sparky is to blame for at least some of these issues. The gnome-tweak-tool package, for instance, isn't a dependency of the sparky-desktop-manokwari package (it's a "recommend" item). It appears to be an odd omission but my guess is that the Sparky developers may have left out Tweaks by design - after I installed Tweaks I found several options didn't work. For instance, I could change the theme (the Numix/Sparky5 theme was still there) but I couldn't add a minimise button to windows. I also found that Tweaks showed that four work spaces had been set up but I still had no way to switch between desktops.
SparkyLinux 5.1 -- Customising Manokwari using GNOME Tweaks
(full image size: 138kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
At this point I have strayed into the topic of bugs, of which there are plenty in Sparky Manokwari. None of the sound buttons and Fn keys on my laptop worked. The Alt-Tab behaviour was completely broken - sometimes random windows were displayed, other times Manokwari cycled back and forth through two windows, even though many more windows were open. Windows you open don't always get focus and may therefore hide behind other windows, and the same was happening with the "fly-out" panel. There is no network applet in the system tray, which makes it awkward to use wireless networks, nor is it possible to use the volume applet to quickly change the sound level - the volume icon simply opens the settings menu. The screen-saver is configured to come up after ten minutes of inactively but it never does. Applications you install don't appear in the applications menu until you have logged out and logged back in again. The list goes on.
It is not that easy to review Sparky. The project spreads its wings far and wide and there isn't a flagship version of the distro. To get a good feel for the project I looked at one of the Home editions (LXQt) and one of the Minimal editions (Manokwari).
By and large I enjoyed Sparky LXQt. The desktop could have been a little more polished out of the box and there were a couple of annoying issues but I ended up with a nice looking, fully functioning and lightweight operating system. My time with Manokwari was a different story. The desktop had plenty of eye candy but was hardly usable. My guess is that the Sparky developers mainly focus on the Home editions and that alternative desktops are made available on a 'why not' basis. That theory could be wrong though, as Sparky's Openbox spin is very nice indeed. Perhaps Manokwari was the rotten apple among the available desktop environments.
Still, it is probably fair to say that Sparky is biting off more than it can chew. For a small project it is maintaining an incredible number of spins. Getting a single desktop environment to work nicely is hard work. Getting 24 desktop environments to work nicely is an enormous task - and then I haven't even mentioned the Linux Freedom and Special editions. As a result at least one of the Sparky versions is, quite frankly, an embarrassment.
I would argue that the scale of the project also explains why Sparky has an off-putting download page and why the project seems to be confused about whether or not it is based on Debian's Testing branch. The same goes for the documentation. Sparky's wiki is rather basic. The page about the Manokwari desktop, for instance, includes only a very short description and basic installation instructions. That is still better than the page about the LXQt desktop though as it doesn't exist. Again, I don't think at all that this is because of incompetence or laziness. I think it is simple a case of there not being enough hours in the day to give everything the attention it deserves.
A final thing that stood out for me is Sparky's focus on providing a convenient system. My daily driver is a Fedora install with an encrypted hard drive and SELinux in enforcing mode. Sparky's default configuration felt wrong but I realise it will suit other users.
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Hardware used for this review:
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Z570 laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2350M, 2.3GHz
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Wireless network adaptor: Qualcomm Atheros AR9285
- Wired network adaptor: Realtek RTL8101/2/6E 05)
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Visitor supplied rating
SparkyLinux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.2/10 from 106 review(s).
Have you used SparkyLinux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Slax developer explores init options, Arch Linux drops 32-bit packages, an overview of LineageOS
Last week we mentioned the Slax project may be returning to life and switching from using Slackware as a base to using Debian. Following this shift in its package base, fans of Slax have raised questions about the future of the distribution and which tools it will use. One question in particular which has come up a lot is whether Slax will migrate to using systemd along with the transition to Debian. A recent post on Slax's blog reads: "As long as somebody else prepares things up for me (by packaging it), and as long as it works and makes my life easier, I am not affected by that (as a developer of Slax!) in any negative way. And I believe that the end users of Slax are even less affected by systemd. I didn't notice any single place where systemd would affect the end user's experience (except the fact that the system boots up faster). So after all, I don't mind using systemd in Slax. I am not pro- or against- it, my position is best described as neutral. If you have faced any issues as the end user, I welcome your comments. Thank you!"
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Earlier this year the Arch Linux project announced it would be phasing out support for 32-bit x86 installation media and packages. The Arch developers are now following through and plan to purge 32-bit packages from the distribution's repositories by the end of November. "Following nine months of deprecation period, support for the i686 architecture effectively ends today. By the end of November, i686 packages will be removed from our mirrors and later from the packages archive." Arch Linux users who cannot upgrade to a 64-bit installation may wish to migrate to a community maintained repository of 32-bit Arch Linux packages.
* * * * *
Our readers may be familiar with the name LineageOS, an open source operating system with its roots in Android. LineageOS uses a modified Linux kernel and open source applications to provide a complete mobile operating system that runs on a wide range of devices. Gael Duval, founder of the Mandrake Linux distribution, has written an overview of LineageOS - what it is, why it is special and how to install it on a smart phone. "A LineageOS ROM provides all those system layers, from the kernel to pre-installed applications. And this is built from, mostly, open source software. Not entirely open source software, because most low-level device drivers are made by hardware makers and released as proprietary software, without sources. This is the limit of LineageOS as an open source operating system: it will hardly ship with 100% open source low level drivers. There are some initiatives in that direction though, in particular the Replicant project plans to release a fully free Android distribution that will run on several devices." The complete article can be found on Duval's blog.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Worried about spyware
Avoiding-information-leaks asks: Are there distributions which include spyware? I have heard some distros install malware to monitor users.
DistroWatch answers: Generally speaking, reports of malware or spyware being installed on Linux distributions are based more on fear than fact. Some people like to speculate that American distributions include spyware from the NSA and Russian distributions have been compromised by their government and Chinese distributions are loaded with spyware from the Chinese government, and so on. However, these allegations do not come accompanied with evidence.
I can think of only two reports of Linux distributions being compromised in some way where there was evidence to back up the speculation. The first was regarding Red Star OS, a Linux-based system developed by North Korea. The distribution reportedly watermarked files on the user's computer to make it possible to trace leaked documents and media sharing.
The other example of a distribution including spyware is a bit more open to debate depending on how you choose to define the meaning of spyware. For a while the Ubuntu distribution sent local search queries to Canonical by default, a move some qualified as spyware while others viewed the behaviour as a useful feature. Ubuntu has since ceased sending local searches to Canonical by default and modern versions of the distribution (versions 16.04 and newer) do not send search queries unless the user opts into the feature.
There are some distributions (or specific applications in a distribution) which will send telemetry data or crash reports back to the developers. The Clear Linux project, for example, is up front about the fact it collects telemetry data. This feature usually is not qualified as spyware when distributions are up front about the fact they collect data and provide a method for disabling the feature.
Claims that some Linux distributions contain malware are almost always motivated by politics rather than facts. If someone suggests an operating system is compromised I recommend asking them for evidence of their claim.
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More answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Redcore Linux 1710
Redcore Linux is a Gentoo-based distribution featuring the LXQt desktop environment. The project has released a new update of its rolling release distribution, Redcore Linux 1710. "Hey there Redcore lovers. It is my pleasure to announce that Redcore Linux 1710, codename Helvetios, ISO is now ready and available for download from the usual place. This one is very special, as Redcore Linux just turned one year old. So, we packed it with plenty new features and we did our best to make it the best Redcore Linux release to date. Here is a brief change log: Resync with Gentoo ebuild tree (03.11.2017). Linux 4.9.53 LTS kernel with BFQ and UKSM enable by default, Linux 4.12.14 kernel available in the repository. Graphics stack is once more on the edge with mesa 17.2.4, LLVM 5.0.0, libdrm 2.4.87, xorg-server 1.19.5. LXQT is now at 0.12.0 and I'm proud to say we are the first distro to release it to the masses; we built it and played with it since the release day. Printer drivers are now pre-installed and pre-configured, so everything should just work. Sisyphus package manager received much love this cycle, it is now better than ever: it can search by name, category or description, it can install/remove multiple packages at once, it is multi-threaded, it can filter and display all, installed or upgradable packages and, last but not least, it can recover from database corruption or deletion. Vasile (our Swiss Army knife) also received much love, it was rewritten from scratch with modularity in mind, and we have many more plans with it." More information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Redcore Linux 1710 -- Running the LXQt desktop
(full image size: 1.3MB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Parrot Security OS 3.9
Lorenzo Faletra has announced the release of Parrot Security OS 3.9, an updated build of the project's specialist distribution featuring a collection of tools for penetration testing and forensic analysis, based on Debian's "Testing" branch. This release brings a major new feature - an introduction of application sandboxing via Firejail: "Parrot 3.9 is now ready and it includes some important new features that were introduced to make the system more secure and reliable. The most important feature is the new sandbox system, introduced to protect many applications from 0-day attacks out of the box. The sandbox is based on Firejail, a suid program which is very easy to configure and customize to protect many critical applications in a quick and effective way (if an application does not work as expected, customize the corresponding Firejail profile to be more permissive). The other characteristic of this release is a long list of little details we wanted to fix to make the system look better, and the new Debian updates we have introduced to include the latest technologies." Read the brief release announcement for further information.
SharkLinux is an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the MATE desktop environment. The project has released new installation media labeled SharkLinux 4.13.0-17. "This release comes with several system changes from previous builds which aim to increase system efficiency and allow greater control for user configuration. The more significant upgrades include changes to package management and the new 'pkg' command which significantly reduce install times and provide fallbacks in the event of mirror outages, configurations at startup are no longer network dependent and finish in 50% of the execution time from previous builds and tools added to allow easy toggling of both the automatic system maintenance and default sudo behaviour. As well SharkLinux has adopted the 'edge' variant of Ubuntu's HWE kernel and now features the 4.13 series kernel." Further details on the new features and package updates can be found in the project's release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 636
- Total data uploaded: 16.4TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Number of supported editions
This week we explored the SparkyLinux distribution which features many branches, editions and desktop environments. One of the concerns Robert Rijkhoff raised was that Sparky may be spreading itself too thin by offering so much variety to its users.
We would like to know whether you prefer it when a distribution offers many desktop environments and editions, providing something for everyone, or do you find yourself gravitating toward projects which focus on one, polished edition?
You can see the results of our previous poll on distributions with familiar looking desktop environments in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Number of supported editions
|I like a project to offer one focused edition: ||725 (42%)|
| I prefer multiple editions: ||583 (34%)|
| I do not have a preference: ||424 (24%)|
New statistic added to Ranking page
One feature that has been asked for is additional statistics on our Ranking page where our readers can submit reviews of distributions. This week we added a column to the rankings which shows which rating (out of 10) has been submitted the most frequently.
Sometimes two projects may have the same average rating, but different groupings of ratings. For example, a project which has two ratings of 6 will have the same average rating as a project with ratings of 10 and 2. Showing the most popular rating will, we hope, make it easier to get a sense for what most reviewers think of a distribution while paying less attention to outlying ratings.
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New projects added to database
Founded in 2014 by Oliver Pinter and Shawn Webb, HardenedBSD is a security-enhanced fork of FreeBSD. The HardenedBSD Project is implementing many exploit mitigation and security technologies on top of FreeBSD. The project started with Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) as an initial focal point and is now implementing further exploit mitigation techniques.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- postmarketOS. postmarketOS is an Alpine-based distribution for use on mobile devices such as smart phones.
- Regata OS. Regata OS is a Brazilian Linux distribution based on openSUSE Leap and designed for developers and gamers as well as beginners.
- HasCoding-OS. HasCoding-OS is a Turkish Linux distribution featuring KDE's Plasma desktop software and is based on the Ubuntu operating system.
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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, 20 November 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 • The Poll (by Rev_Don on 2017-11-13 00:40:34 GMT from United States) |
I prefer that a distro have fully functioning and stable editions. For some larger groups more than one would be fine as long as the quality remains high for them. But smaller groups with limited man power quite often struggle enough with a single edition so attempting multiple editions would lower the quality of all of them.
2 • Sparky Linux and more (by mikef90000 on 2017-11-13 01:02:31 GMT from United States)
A very timely review of Sparky as I had attempted to install both stable and rolling in Vbox about a month ago. Unfortunately that wasn't very successful as the Vbox guest utilities installer could not find sources, even though linux-headers was installed. Otherwise I like the default Xfce menu layout and that it feels lighter than Linux Mint and SolydX (my main desktop o/s).
As a 'panel focused user', I'm still not happy with LXQt or MATE yet; they haven't come up to the elegance of Xfce functionality yet. Monitoring and waiting ....
3 • The Poll (by JImmy_Dean on 2017-11-13 02:25:17 GMT from United States)
i like distros to offer at least one or two light weight window mangers as an alternative to their big desktop whether it is gnome or kde, or mate or trinity, it could be openbox, lxde, icewm, or fluxbox, anything that is lightweight and stable, and handles the windowing of apps good
4 • Sparky (by Sparkyuser on 2017-11-13 02:59:17 GMT from Australia)
Been using sparky rolling for over a year. I'm a fairly inexperienced Linux user but I like to tweak the look and feel etc.
Sparky (XFCE) has been rock solid for me with a good selection of apps. It's also blazing fast. I recommend it to Linux users looking to move from 'completely user friendly' into 'I like getting my hands a bit dirty.' I also game and have used Unreal Editor/Unity and Steam which worked well.
5 • Poll (by meanpt on 2017-11-13 03:49:48 GMT from Portugal)
Depends on the purpose of the distro creator and communities. If the main purpose is to provide a lean and functioning OS, as Bodhi, LXLE and Tory seek, or something very specific, like the rare but working implementation of Enlightenment as provided by Bodhi, it wouldn't make any sense to provide more than an optimized desktop for that specific purpose. In this case, the choice of a desktop serves a purpose. The implementation of KDE by the Kubuntu community also serves a purpose and have resulted in a damned good KDE. The developers of Cinamon and Mate also had and have a strict purpose of not using Unity nor the last iteration of gnome, which is shared by the distro communities implementing them. So, provided the distro communities have the knowledge and the resources to fill their purposes, they should optimize and implement their purposeful sought desktop environments.
6 • Poll Response (by david esktorp on 2017-11-13 04:04:21 GMT from United States)
Generally I prefer a 'distribution' to focus on 1 default interface. However, that depends on the number of users and developers, their needs / wants, etc.. For example, a one-man team should probably not be focused on multiple interfaces unless that's a primary feature of their project. There is also the matter of the core distributions vs those farther downstream. I would say the closer you are to the core distribution, the more excuse there is for preparing all those extra DE, WM, etc..
I'm surprised this poll was instigated by Sparky and not Ubuntu, which is notorious for dominating the entire Distrowatch news page every time they release a new version. Ubuntu gets away with it though, because Canonical has the resources to present their sauced up DE packages as separate distributions, simply by adding a letter and buying a few extra domain names.
Maybe if Sparky called their KDE edition SparKDEy and bought sparkdey.com, people would see a development team stretched too thin, but the expansion of a thriving brand!
The term 'distribution' has failed us, because it leads to weird apples and oranges discussions and also because many (most?) desktop linux distributions are barely more than theme packs. The copycat wannabe marketing has thankfully died down a little bit. Seems like everyone got a little tired of trying to redo the pretentious "linux for everyone" "linux for people" "linux for human beings" slogan.
I know there is lots of talk about choice and that's fine, but with each passing year, Linux seems to be about endlessly reinventing the wheel and providing bloated solutions for problems that do not exist. I don't know how you can judge whether Sparky or any other distribution is stretched too thin without having a somewhat accurate count of the userbase and then statistics of their usage. Then and only then could you know what is excessive and what is appropriate.
7 • Slax (by david esktorp on 2017-11-13 04:18:36 GMT from United States)
Why is he even bothering with this? There are already too many poseurs 'lead developers' running around with this "so long as somebody else packages it for me" attitude. Dude, if you're reading this, go contribute to one of the gajillion of existing distributions instead of clogging up the works with your withered husk of a product. Geez, at least call it something else. Why are you calling it Slax if it's based on Debian? Let sleeping dogs lie, slaxguy.
8 • Sparky Linux explained (by dhinds on 2017-11-13 04:57:22 GMT from Mexico)
I've used Sparky since v. 3.2 and consider it to be the best Debian derivative.
Offering three versions is a recent development. Sparky was based on Debian Testing.
The main version was LXDE but of course LXDE forked, and worked on developing LXQt jointly with Razor Qt.
Both LXDE and LXQt use Openbox as their window manager.
The other flavors were added on as additional programmers joined the team.
Sparky Ultra Openbox (no longer offered) was a far better distro than CrunchBang, IMO.
Sparky's forums are excellent and I have received as many as responses in a single day from Sparky's main developer in spite of his being in Warsaw.
Sparky's Multi-Media edition is based on Openbox alone with neither LX. (The GameOver edition may be also, I'm not sure).
Like Xfce, the LX desktop environments are modular and all are compatible with each components of each other. (I use the Xfce4-panel with all four, for instance).
Like all derivatives of Debian Testing it can break, but that is rare and is quickly repaired.
I an glad to see Sparky attracting more attention but feel that the review was a bit unfair.
9 • Poll (by argent on 2017-11-13 05:19:54 GMT from United States)
Odd question to ask and more difficult to give a good answer. Most distributions that are a single distribution and maintained by many are seldom polished and also among the highest ranking on DW.
Guess the real question should be what is considered a polished distribution, in the 10 years with Linux can say that only a few are in that terms of being polished.
There are many very good to excellent distros that are basically maintained by one developer. However, many others are in direct collaboration with each other's derivatives, etc. Believe there is some confusion that one person by their lonesome is responsible for a multitude of distributions. Perhaps in rare cases, someone might have many distributions they maintain. There are a few that I do know of. The honest answer is all developers collaborate their builds. All of them ask questions too!
The build in which distros are compiled maybe a mystery to some, and there are various build configurations. Switching from an Openbox Wm to a Lxde DE and then to E17 might be a simple process using any base.
To ask a question without really knowing what is involved or capable explaining could leave someone very confused.
The real question these days to me is "does it work" which leaves out most of those so-called polished distros.
10 • Err, about poll, it depends on the very definition of multiple version. :) (by BeGo on 2017-11-13 06:20:44 GMT from Indonesia)
Yes, I don't like Linux Mint approach for different DE, but,
I like Bodhi approach for "thin" distro and "App Pack" distro, or
I like Ubuntu Studio approach that every version for Photography, Image, 3D Design, etc, or
I like Lakka approach for different installable system. :)
11 • Poll (by zykoda on 2017-11-13 08:18:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
The poll sweeps with a very broad brush, Multiple editions allows for architechure, hardware and software requirements, Version caters for stability, leading/edge, support time..usw. Distribution (distro) is often dictated by package support (eg cuda, anbox, CAD, IDEs ...what you want to do). Thus, I distro hop, running usually 3 versions of Debian, Mint(LTS) and 2 of Centos, sometimes a newish Ubuntu. With the advent of a recent fibre optic FTTH connection (250Mbit down) whole distros are now easily downloaded in a few minutes...installation and setup takes considerably longer ...but a GRUB2 booted iive CD/DVD is quickly checked out once the GRUB2 stanza is figured out (Is there a convenient source?).
12 • Sparky Linux (by lenn on 2017-11-13 08:24:46 GMT from Canada)
Sparky Linux is more than a mainline distro. It has more DEs than any other "mainline" distros, and everyone of them is done very well. There is no company behind Sparky. All distros are done with love by Pavroo and his team.
13 • @ Robert Rijkhoff - Sparky and other DEs (by OstroL on 2017-11-13 08:39:15 GMT from Poland)
Manokwari is a DE available in Sparky repos. Manokwari is created by Blankon developers, not by Sparky devs. It is just a DE you can try at your risk. You can get rid of any bugs by yourself or by discussing it in the forums, that is, if you find another guy trying out Manokwari.
The main Sparky desktop is LXDE, not LXQT.
"In general, Sparky is not targeted to Linux beginners, rather to users with some amount of Linux knowledge."
"Anyway, the Linux beginners are welcome too – our forums is open for any question."
14 • Poll response/Slax news (by Steve on 2017-11-13 10:05:52 GMT from United Kingdom)
I personally would rather a distribution focus on one thing, and to do it well. Why bother having loads of different DE's when they are all a bit 'meh' - just focus on one DE/WM and do it well!
Side note: Slax, what on earth is the dev thinking? smh...
15 • LXQt (by Dojnow on 2017-11-13 12:01:40 GMT from Bulgaria)
LXQt is quite suitable for old PCs or for users of Qt-programs (Konqueror, Kile, Calligra, ...) - it uses only 64--67 MB (on 32b Debian) and does not require SSE2 instruction set whereas some components in KDE5, even in 32b Debian, require SSE2 thus discarding otherwise capable Athlons.
16 • Never blame Sparkylinux! (by Gerhard Goetzhaber on 2017-11-13 12:06:35 GMT from Austria)
More than ever, this time seeing Ubuntu desparately shifting towards GNOME as well as splitting their development sources into too many in-between-editions we should think back towards the good old Debian and it's closest relatives. The more pure Debian herself has not ever been easy to deploy a universally usable (especially concerning multimedia matters) system out of the more we should be happy about being able to meet a few fine and pretty complete derivatives built on top of pure Debian - as there is Sparky! The more Debian by establishing Stretch has closed up to the state of time in general Linux development, too.
Me, I always hold one Sparky installed on my disks, the rolling edition with Xfce which I would strongly recommend to everybody. It really works great! The lonely deficiency I myself can report is the fixing for Ext4 at setup time - for I would prefer Xfs evenly on the system partition. But this is just peanuts ...
17 • Linux FreedomISO (by pavroo on 2017-11-13 12:32:37 GMT from Poland)
a "Linux Freedom" ISO / a "Linux Freedom" edition - it is only one of the official mirrors which host Sparky iso images, not a separated edition.
18 • Sparky (by Frank on 2017-11-13 13:32:15 GMT from Canada)
I've been using Sparky for awhile, (LXQT Debian testing). LXQT is stable but needs some polishing around the edges, e.g. you have to install lxappearance to make GTK apps follow your theme. Yes their are alot of choices on the website but is that a bad thing? If you do a net install of Debian you also get a choice of desktops. I agree about the 11pt font, I installed the noto fonts for a better look. On a Quad-Core machine with 6G RAM it's blazing fast.
19 • Poll question - supported editions (by TheTKS on 2017-11-13 14:10:07 GMT from United States)
I like projects that offer and stick to a clear mandate, and offer as many editions as they are willing and *able* to support, but no more.
20 • Poll (by dragonmouth on 2017-11-13 14:12:44 GMT from United States)
What is the difference between a system of various "editions" as provided by Sparky and the system of "re-spins" provided by the Ubuntu family (Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Zorin, Elementary, Mint, etc, etc, etc)? To me, the Sparky way present a more coherent and a more controlled approach. In the Ubuntu universe any script kiddie can change an app here or there and regurgitate a new respin. Canonical doesn't seem to care about the quality of or the need for all these respins.
21 • Poll questions - supported editions - continued (by TheTKS on 2017-11-13 15:01:27 GMT from United States)
Further, I like projects that are clearly different from others that came before. I would rather the people supporting "just another me too" projects either direct their energy to fixing and improving those earlier projects, or come up with something actually original.
But the proliferation of weapons of mass DISTRACTION seems inherent to open source. What’s “me too” and what’s original is endlessly debatable. To get the good stuff, I’ll take the noise and do my sorting and selecting. Many thanks and a few of my dollars to Distrowatch for helping me with that. But still – I really, really wish that each project would clearly state their reason for being.
And finally, I want at least one of those projects to just work. I see nothing wrong with distros that regularly break, if bleeding edge with breakage is part of their clearly stated mandate, I see nothing wrong with distros with lots of ***FLASH!!!***, but I’ll mostly use my stable and non-distracting distro(s) to get my stuff done and play with a few of the others from time to time, because I also like to explore what’s different and new.
22 • Systemd (by pfbruce on 2017-11-13 15:02:05 GMT from United States)
From a Slax post:
And I believe that the end users of Slax are even less affected by systemd. I didn't notice any single place where systemd would affect the end user's experience (except the fact that the system boots up faster).
This may be true, but I frequently encounter:
"A start/stop job is running for..." These events make the system extremely slow. Fedora often starts with start jobs for every drive on my system. And I have many. Opensuse often shuts down with stop jobs for users who are not logged in or even allowed. There is a workaround that allows me to shorten the time interval for start/stop jobs but I haven't had much success trying to make it work.
This does not make me a systemd hater, but it certainly is inconvenient.
23 • SLAX, THE REVENANT (by Szulejmán on 2017-11-13 15:12:11 GMT from Canada)
Truly delighted to hear that SLAX is making a come back after being dormant for so many years .....
And, hey Tomas, please do not forget to add the built-in USB persistence feature as you had done previously. ....
24 • The Sparky Advantage (by dhinds on 2017-11-13 15:14:19 GMT from Mexico)
No other distro includes so many useful additional tools as Sparky.
This saves a considerable time and added functionality.
Furthermore, support is readily available for the rare glitch or confusion that may develop.
It is an usually functional and reliable distro.
25 • 16 • Never blame Sparkylinux! by Gerhard Goetzhaber (by lenn on 2017-11-13 16:17:47 GMT from United States)
>>The more pure Debian herself has not ever been easy to deploy a universally usable (especially concerning multimedia matters) system out of the more we should be happy about being able to meet a few fine and pretty complete derivatives built on top of pure Debian - as there is Sparky! <<
Sparky had been there for so long, and while others struggled, Pavroo kept at it, making it better and better.
In his own words,
"Why is Sparky free?
I think, all of the above!"
26 • Distro Editions (by rdaniels on 2017-11-13 16:50:42 GMT from United States)
I tend to think distros should limit themselves on the number of "editions" they release. Package managers exist, users don't need a KDE edition, GNOME edition, MATE edition, Ratpoison edition, etc. They can install what they like themselves. Distros can polish and optimize whatever desktops they want whether that's one or 10, they just don't need to bother with a separate ISO for each.
I think Fedora does the idea of "editions" right, along use-case lines. Workstation, Server, and whatever they're calling their container thing this month.
27 • ubuntu spins (by Tim Dowd on 2017-11-13 17:28:58 GMT from United States)
The conversation always seems to spiral back towards whether Ubuntu should have multiple re-spins, and I think the review of Sparky shows why the Ubuntu approach makes sense.
People want to think of Ubuntu-MATE, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc as just "different desktops." But they aren't. They're a complete default install from a single iso of unique collections of packages from the Ubuntu archives. Because they're done by different teams, the packages are checked to make sure they work together, and that the default experience works. They use the Ubuntu archive, but they're internally coherent. At this point there's pretty significant difference between them, including using X or Wayland, etc.
Of course you can install any set of packages on most systems. That doesn't mean that they work well or even will install without crashing. And if the desktop isn't the primary focus for the distro, it is more likely to have bugs that haven't been noticed. By treating the different flavors of Ubuntu separately, it means communities get built around similar user experiences. "I had this problem with Lubuntu" is an easier starting place than "I had this problem with base Ubuntu and these are my packages and I installed these recommends but not those..."
28 • multiple and polished editions (by matt on 2017-11-13 18:28:59 GMT from United States)
The poll needs another option: I prefer a distro that has multiple editions that are polished and stable. It isn't necessarily either/or. (Having multiple editions versus polished and stable.)
I use Debian exclusively. On my Desktop and newer laptop, it is with the Cinnamon desktop. On my older netbook, it is with the MATE desktop. On my wife's very slow Acer Aspire with limited memory, it is with the LXDE desktop. All of them work well and are stable.
Sometimes you need installation media with a desktop environment that matches the abilities of the hardware. My wife's Aspire came with Windows 7 and it was literally unusable because it was so slow. It is at least functional using LXDE. If all Debian provided was Gnome or KDE, I probably would have never been able to install it at all.
29 • Poll - Depends on definition of "distribution" (by Andy Prough on 2017-11-13 21:33:44 GMT from Asia/Pacific Region)
I can't think of any real distributions that have only a single desktop. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubunto, Mint, Bodhi, etc are all just respins sitting on a Debian base. Debian is the community that puts the actual work into creating the massive software repositories - Debian is the distribution.
Others that qualify as a distribution are Slackware, Fedora, Gentoo, Arch, Solus, openSUSE - all of which have options for a wide variety of desktops.
30 • @ 29 Debian (by OstroL on 2017-11-13 22:15:17 GMT from Poland)
>> Debian is the distribution.<<
No, Debian is the Universal Operating System.
31 • @30 (by Andy Prough on 2017-11-13 22:45:02 GMT from United States)
>> No, Debian is the Universal Operating System.
Brought to life because Ian was tired of dealing with buggie Slackware.
32 • Sparky Linux appearance (by mikef90000 on 2017-11-14 03:07:48 GMT from United States)
Forgot to mention above, their default icon set used on Xfce is Terrible !!
Stimpy meme: "Ugly. Flat. Icons."
They also have excessive 'white' space around them so they appear absolutely tiny. Hard to think this passed some kind of QA .....
Easily fixed by changing the icon set though.
33 • sparky linux (by rohan on 2017-11-14 03:37:17 GMT from Indonesia)
I used sparky linux for couple years. Until it dump flash player. So I moved to ultimate edition 5.5. It's run slow on my 2gb notebook, but it has dozen of software and flash player. Even hassle free install of google chrome.
So goodbye sparky for me, I'm happy with ultimate now.
34 • Number of comments (by sglnx on 2017-11-14 07:51:02 GMT from Singapore)
The number of comments indicated is not tally to the actual number of comments published.
It's been like this for quite a while.
35 • Wrong impression. (by Scott on 2017-11-14 08:39:31 GMT from United States)
A project that is focused on one distribution seems to come across as a smaller, one-person show. It gives the impression that not many people are working on it, and therefore, support and development will be slow. I am sure someone can find me an example where this does not apply, but overall, single projects give off the wrong impression.
Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying either way that projects that are focused on single distributions are the smaller ones. I am only implying that most of time, they come across that way.
36 • multiple edition (by zcatav on 2017-11-14 10:29:34 GMT from Turkey)
I use Debian Testing for new hardware,
MX Linux on older hardware,
antiX on oldest hardware.
37 • SparkyLinux (by William Purkis on 2017-11-14 11:24:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
Forced to find a new Distro when my long term preference dropped 32bit, I spent time trying-out some on offer. I quickly learned that I had to have xfce with Wiskersmenu (which is by far the best desktop once you stop it calling for signing-in every three minuets) and Synaptic. Anything Ubuntu or suggesting that CLi existed was to be avoided. I am just a home workstation user, not a gamester or Linux hobbyist, and I need a reliable easy to use computer for the family. Sparky came out head and shoulders above the rest in all respects, highly recommended.
38 • Poll (by rooster12 on 2017-11-14 11:41:27 GMT from United States)
@9 Argent: Great point, who has a "polished" distribution? Never used one myself, something is always amiss but that is the fun of Linux!
Found the more the distro is a minimalist release and sporting a Window manager the better chances it being error free.
39 • Poll / Post # 33 / Ultimate Edition (by Winchester on 2017-11-14 15:53:30 GMT from United States)
As far as the poll goes,I would say a few editions can be well maintained. Korora Linux is an example. Void Linux is another example. But,once you go beyond a few,things usually are spread too thin.
Regarding post # 33, in most cases the Adobe Flash Player plug-in is not really needed. Most flash based content plays fine under Solus Linux via FireFox WITHOUT the Adobe Flash Player plug-in. Likewise,the same is true in PALDO using Epiphany (Web).
If you like "Ultimitate Edition" , the MATE LTS versions run faster than the KDE Plasma editions such as version 5.5. In any case,support for version 5.5 of Ultimate Edition ends in early 2018 based on the information in the release announcement. The MATE LTS Ultimate Editions are nice if you want the Ubuntu base,and if you do a little bit of fine tuning to the appearance. There are quite a few pre-installed themes to choose from.
40 • distro family trees (by Tim Dowd on 2017-11-15 16:29:10 GMT from United States)
@ 29 I don't dispute what you're saying, and I once thought exactly the same way. But I think it misses the point. Debian and Ubuntu are not competitors with each other, they're upstream and downstream from one another. Ubuntu is part of the Debian community.
Everything in the apt world is based on Debian Unstable (sid.) Most people don't use sid as a daily driver because it constantly changes and stuff breaks, unbreaks, and dependencies change and packages disappear and reappear. So we use a distribution that is frozen from sid and brought to stable enough condition.
Which distro is that? This is where I think it's important to lose the "Ubuntu is just a copy of Debian" or "Mint is just a copy of Ubuntu" mindset. The most important choice for the end user is "which snapshot of sid makes this particular computer work the best.?"
In my usage of the Debian family, the most important questions are:
1.) What version of the Linux Kernel and drivers do I need? For newer computers, you want a version with a newer kernel. For older computers, especially ones with relatively rare hardware, you might want a version with an older kernel and drivers that you know work well with your device
2.) What version of a particular package do I need? This for me has only really been important when a piece of software gets major improvements (like the jump from LibreOffice 4 to 5.) It also matters if a package you like is being removed.
3.) Does the frozen distribution have a package you need with a major bug in it? If so, report it, but probably the easiest thing for you is to pick a different distro.
4.) How much do you want to update this computer?
For my life right now, these 4 questions have resulted in 2 computers that are not connected to a network running Debian 8, 3 daily driver computers using Ubuntu MATE 17.10, one computer running Linux Mint 18.1, and a virtual machine running Debian 6. My primary distro has ping-ponged from Debian Stable to Ubuntu LTS to Debian Testing to Ubuntu interim to LMDE and then back to Ubuntu. They're essentially interchangeable based on my current needs, and that's the mindset I think people ought to have. You can be a productive member of all of these communities, and given their interdependence, it's good to be.
41 • Nr of supported editions (by DipDiDu on 2017-11-15 17:55:09 GMT from Netherlands)
I have voted in the OpPool;
I like a project to offer one focused edition.
Choosing LMint I pick Cinnamon..Any other D.Offering Cinnamon Env. I do not care for.
Thanks G. Mint finally started to boot up fast, from the
version 18.2, so I can present it to others. But who knows, there is 18.3 now, maybe they have screwed it up all over again. Fast boot Time and the fact what you can do with it in daily task, is very important to most of us. Desktop Env.I use is Xfce and Cinnamon.
But for Xfce I do not pick LMint. By the way, Linux Mint Distribution I really did like allot, was the "Isadora9", based on Ubu10.4...Till the version 18.2 I never did like this Distro, now I am
coming back to it, who knows for how long, wish they keep on the current Track of 18.2
upwards, it starts to look good again and being productive in daily tasks.
I have strong Hope, that D.Watchs OpPool, will lead towards something constructive, and
is not just Infohording, for who knows who.
Thank you Distrowatch for your Work.
42 • Desktop Environment (by Harry Hopper on 2017-11-16 05:19:59 GMT from Canada)
I do not any particular preference for DE. Just for change, I hop DE too. I am using KDE, GNOME. MATE, Cinnamon, Enlightenment, LXQt, XFCE and LXDE. Till last year I have used UNITY as well.
43 • @ 42 Unity (by OstroL on 2017-11-16 08:58:31 GMT from Poland)
Unity 7 is not dead. You can find a fresh ppa on ubuntu-unity-desktop in https://code.launchpad.net/~unity7maintainers/+archive/ubuntu/unity7-desktop
It is on 18.04 development branch.
44 • burning iso to usb. (by Stone L on 2017-11-16 09:40:36 GMT from United States)
We need a better way to burn(record) an iso to USB.
So far I know 2, one is unetbootin and the other is Sudo dd; both have a lot of limitations.
some isos can be handled with unetbootin, some other with sudo dd but is chancy.
45 • burning iso to usb (by argent on 2017-11-16 11:21:34 GMT from United States)
Personally prefer dd, never an issue and test a lot of different distros. Works perfectly with Arch, Debian, Devuan, Void, Manjaro and a host of others. Don't use or test Ubuntu, but like LMDE2.
There is Mintstick, works well on Debian based distros, used it in the past and currently maintained with a new release this month. You can find it at the link below.
Hope this helps!
46 • Burning iso to usb. (by William Purkis on 2017-11-16 14:14:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
@44 There is a truly simple and precise utility for doing just that on SparkyLinux xfce. Go to 'USB Disc Formatter' to clean up and prepare the USB stick, then open 'Live USB creator'. Have your Iso ready (I put it on the Desktop beforehand) then move it across as it's called for. 3 or 4 minutes, all done
47 • Burning ISO's to USB (by Winchester on 2017-11-16 14:45:58 GMT from United States)
There are plenty of tools to burn ISO files to USB.
I have found the most reliable to be "ROSA Image Writer". It handles both clearing and formatting the USB stick as well as writing the ISO to the stick. (Linux,Windows,Apple Mac)
Another application which I use for this task is "Etcher".
"Rufus" for Windows only.
There is also the "OpenSUSE Image Writer" and the "Gnome Disks Utility".
There's one pre-installed in RedCore Linux as well.
All better and more reliable than Unetbootin.
48 • Slax : New Version (by Winchester on 2017-11-16 14:54:15 GMT from United States)
Basing the new version of Slax on Debian does not seem like the best idea to me. (Should the name of the distribution not be changed ??)
There is already Knoppix , E-Live based on Debian. Refracta based on Devuan.
I think that basing the new version on PClinuxOS would have been a better idea.
49 • Slax (by rooster12 on 2017-11-17 07:05:51 GMT from United States)
@48 Winchester: Slax should be changed, maybe something more Debianish, like Slacker!
50 • Burning ISO to USB (by Bunty Buntu on 2017-11-17 07:37:27 GMT from Canada)
I usually buy pre-installed USB from locally. If I have access to windows machine, I use Win32 Disk Imager which worked well for all Ubuntu's flavors.
For Ubuntu lovers:
51 • rename Slax @48, @49 (by curious on 2017-11-17 09:03:08 GMT from Germany)
The new Slax is obviously very different from the old one. And since it has nothing to do with Slackware anymore - neither in packages nor in philosophy - its name should be changed, perhaps to Debix or Dex?
The old Slax was interesting because it had a very LIGHT (yes, really!) version of KDE4 as desktop. I can't imagine that the new version still has the same combination of lightness, simplicity and ease of use.
52 • Rufus versus Win32DiskImager (by Winchester on 2017-11-17 12:55:00 GMT from United States)
I have used both "Win32DiskImager" (once about a year ago) as well as "Rufus" and I would say that "Rufus" wins hands down.
The main reason is that it was a huge hassle to get the USB stick re-formatted back to a usable state after using "Win32DiskImager". Maybe better now in newer versions?? I don't know .... as I have had no reason to try it again because there is "Rufus" for Windows and since I use GNU / Linux operating systems and the iso writers mentioned in post # 47.
53 • Reformatting USB (by Fillo Pucker on 2017-11-17 14:28:04 GMT from Canada)
On linux, while using linux most of time storage media is getting worse and worse by FUSE which kicks-in at almost every file operation. While inspecting hidden files, one may realize that storage space is getting almost full by .fuse_hidden files.
Check it out : what is a .fuse_hidden file and why do they exist?
I have some .fuse_hidden files which are hard-linked 256 times.
54 • Slax rename (by Ubuntu and Gnome user on 2017-11-17 15:17:42 GMT from United States)
To most people Slax name was a play on the Slackware name, just as the Slax distribution was a derivative of the Slackware distribution.
So retaining the name may be good for the Slax devs, but seems slightly confusing to everyone else. Now we have to stop and think about the Slax not anymore being a derivative of Slackware.
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