| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 741, 4 December 2017
Welcome to this year's 49th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
These days it is increasingly common for companies selling computer hardware to offer Linux as a pre-installed option. However, most hardware retailers do not create their own Linux distributions. This week we look at one of the rare exceptions: Pop!_OS, an Ubuntu-based distribution created by System76. In our Feature Story, Joshua Allen Holm takes an early release of Pop!_OS for a test drive to find out how it performs. In our News section we explore a new feature for openSUSE Tumbleweed users who want temporary reprieve from package updates and talk about installing Q4OS on a Windows partition. We also talk about Fedora 25 reaching the end of its supported life and link to upgrade instructions. In our Tips and Tricks column we discuss a variety of command line tools for keeping processes running in the background, scheduling tasks and connecting to computers behind a firewall. Task scheduling is also the subject of this week's Opinion Poll and we hope you will share your preferred method for automating jobs in the comments section. Plus we provide a list of the distributions released last week and share the torrents we are seeding. This week DistroWatch.com will be transitioning to sharing all our web pages over a secure connection and we have the details below. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Pop!_OS 17.10
- News: openSUSE's Tumbleweed snapshots, Q4OS can be installed on a Windows partition, Fedora 25 reaching its end of life
- Tips and tricks: Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections
- Released last week: Linux Mint 18.3, Black Lab 11.5, Lakka 2.1
- Torrent corner: Alpine, Antergos, Black Lab, deepin, Lakka, Linux Mint, Raspbian, Sabayon, SalentOS, SwagArch, Univention
- Opinion poll: Scheduling tasks
- DistroWatch.com news: Moving to HTTPS only
- New distributions: Janus Linux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Pop!_OS is a new Linux distribution from System76, a company that has been in the Linux hardware business for twelve years. Until recently, System76 computers shipped with Ubuntu as the only pre-installed operating system option, but now System76 is taking more control over the user experience offered on their computers by releasing their own Ubuntu-based distribution.
I was recently at All Things Open, a technology conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, where System76 had a booth. At their booth, they had Pop!_OS 17.10 running on a laptop for people to try. Their booth was very busy, but during one of their brief lulls, I went over to their booth and had a brief chat, and I got one of the USB flash drives they were giving out with the Pop!_OS installation image on it.
For this review, I installed Pop!_OS 17.10 using the flash drive I got at All Things Open, but Pop!_OS ISOs are available to download on the System76 website. They have an image for computers with Intel and AMD graphics and a separate image for computers with NVIDIA graphics. The NVIDIA image comes with the proprietary NVIDIA drivers pre-installed. The Intel/AMD image is 1.75GB and the NVIDIA image is 1.91GB.
I should note that while System76 does sell hardware, a System76 computer is not required to run Pop!_OS. The testing for this review was done using the Lenovo Ideapad that I currently use for all of my reviews. There were no compatibility issues beyond a problem with my laptop's webcam that is consistent across every Linux distribution I have tried.
The installation process for Pop!_OS is similar to Ubuntu, but there are some key differences. The process begins by booting a flash drive or DVD, which loads the live desktop. The live desktop can be used to try out the distribution to see how it works before running the installer. The installer used by Pop!_OS is Ubiquity, just like Ubuntu, but Pop!_OS only uses Ubiquity to select the language and keyboard layout, and partition the hard drive. New user creation in Pop!_OS is moved to the system's first-boot process and is handled by a modified GNOME Initial Setup.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- The customized Ubiquity installer
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The two-stage installation process reflects System76's experience as a hardware company. The first part of the installation, the part handled by Ubiquity, includes the things that someone setting up a computer for someone else needs to handle, while the user gets to set up their own machine at first boot. This change to the installation work-flow is really handy for people who configure computers for others. Just install Pop!_OS through the end of the Ubiquity process, shut off the machine, and the machine's new owner can create their own username and password when they boot their new machine.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- New user creation on first boot
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The Pop!_OS user experience
Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu, but it has some notable and significant changes compared to Ubuntu 17.10. The most visible change is Pop!_OS's use of a customized GNOME experience that does not use the various tweaks found in the latest release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu customized GNOME their way and Pop!_OS went in a different direction. Pop!_OS is closer to the stock GNOME experience, but with a custom GTK theme, an icon theme based on the Papirus icon set, different fonts (Fira and Roboto Slab), and a collection of desktop wallpapers. There are also a few GNOME Shell extensions used to tweak a few behaviors: a suspend button in the top-right settings menu, an altered Alt-Tab behavior, and workspaces are always shown in the Activity overview without having to mouse over them to make them pop out.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- GNOME Files with custom theming
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The biggest usability change comes in the form of customized keyboard shortcuts. Pop!_OS changes the default GNOME keyboard shortcuts to prioritize different things when compared to stock GNOME. For example, switching virtual desktops is SUPER+UP or SUPER+DOWN, while functions for adjusting a window within a desktop are handled with CTRL+SUPER+UP for maximize, CTRL+SUPER+DOWN to restore to a non-maximized state, CTRL+SUPER+LEFT and +RIGHT to tile to the left and right halves of the screen, and moving a window to a different desktop is SHIFT+SUPER+UP or SHIFT+SUPER+DOWN. There are several more keyboard shortcuts, some new, some left as the GNOME defaults; the whole list is available on System76's Pop!_OS Keyboard Shortcuts page. As a GNOME user, it took some time to get used to the changes and I am still fighting muscle memory for some of the more common tasks, but the Pop!_OS shortcuts make sense and are well thought out.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- Live desktop showing applications
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While the aesthetic and usability tweaks are the most noticeable change, Pop!_OS's divergence from Ubuntu goes beyond a different look-and-feel. The software included on the ISO is very different from the selection included in Ubuntu. Pop!_OS's GNOME session uses Xorg, not Wayland, and it has a much smaller collection of graphical programs installed by default. Firefox serves as the default web browser, Geary is the e-mail program, LibreOffice (except for LibreOffice Base) is included and put into its own App Folder in GNOME Shell, but that is about it. The default software selection is so slimmed down that GNOME Videos pulls double duty as the default video and music application, instead of using Rhythmbox as the music player. The rest of the software included is the standard collection of GNOME utilities and a few Pop!_OS tools for installing additional software.
For developers, Pop!_OS comes with git, gcc, make, and other build tools pre-installed. While Pop!_OS does not pre-install every single possible program language, including some basic development tools by default provides a nice starting point and really sets Pop!_OS apart from many of the other Ubuntu-based distributions. Node.js, R, Ruby, Rust, etc., programmers will need to add packages to suit their needs, but thanks to Pop!_OS's Ubuntu-base, there are plenty of packages available.
Overall, the user experience in Pop!_OS is very good and well thought out, but there are a few issues. The biggest one is the fact that the Help application is a unmodified Ubuntu Desktop Guide, which in turn is GNOME Help re-branded and edited. Most of Pop!_OS does a good job at re-branding itself to differentiate itself from Ubuntu (at least where necessary; it makes sense that sources for software packages still say Ubuntu because they are pointing at Ubuntu repositories), but the Help program is the one major exception. Even if they tweaked the Help package to re-brand it, there is still the bigger problem, which is that the information contained within is sometimes inaccurate because the keyboard shortcuts listed in the help file do not match Pop!_OS's customized shortcuts. One other issue worth noting is that because Pop!_OS uses a custom icon set, the default icons for various applications are overridden by Pop!_OS specific icons. While I personally love the visual consistency and found that many of application icons were close enough to projects' official icons to be instantly recognizable, I can understand that this might not be preferred by upstream developers who view their icons as part of their brand (there is a GitHub issue open about this).
As noted above, the default selection of graphical software is slimmed down, so most users are going to want to add packages of their choosing to their systems. Pop!_OS provides two graphical tools for doing this, both of which are forked from projects for elementary OS. Of course, for the command line savvy, apt and dpkg are also available.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- The Pop!_Shop
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The main program for installing and updating software is Pop!_Shop, which is a fork of elementary OS's AppCenter. This is a standard App Store-like experience with programs grouped by category. Pop!_Shop is really easy to use and has a nice selection of applications, but it does require AppStream metadata for applications to show up, so some applications might not appear in Pop!_Shop.
Pop!_OS 17.10 -- Eddy package installer
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The other tool is Eddy, which is for installing .deb packages downloaded from sources outside the Pop!_OS and Ubuntu repositories. Eddy is the default application for running .deb files, so a .deb file downloaded for an external source, e.g., GitHub's Atom, can be installed just by double-clicking on the .deb file. If launched from its own application icon instead of by opening a .deb file, Eddy allows for dragging a .deb onto its window to install, or it can open a file picker dialog. If .deb packages are available in the Download folder, Eddy shows an option that will list all the packages available and let the user install one or all of the available .deb files.
Pop!_OS is incredible, especially for a first release. There are various minor things that need to be fixed, and they really need to replace the Ubuntu-branded Help file with a Pop!_OS specific one, but it is easy to tell that a lot of thought went into this release. System76 has spent the past twelve years making informed choices about hardware to provide their customers with a good Linux experience, now they are leveraging that expertise to curate software into their own distribution. Yes, at this stage Pop!_OS is mostly curating the good parts from upstream, but the overall package is what matters and, in this case, the overall package is great. If System76 can build solid relationships with various upstream sources, make UX decisions based on real user testing (like their design documents say the plan to do), and grow Pop!_OS's brand recognition in the maker-space and education fields, they have a distribution that is really, really worth watching. I highly recommend Pop!_OS to anyone, but especially to those looking for a distribution that is designed by makers for makers.
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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
Pop!_OS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.8/10 from 122 review(s).
Have you used Pop!_OS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE's Tumbleweed snapshots, Q4OS can be installed on a Windows partition, Fedora 25 reaching its end of life
Rolling releases, such as openSUSE's Tumbleweed, provide a regular stream of package updates, keeping users on the cutting edge of software. One of the drawbacks to using a rolling release distribution is there are a lot of updates and an upgrade in one dependency can trigger the upgrade of many related packages. Jimmy Berry is working on a solution which maintains the benefits of a rolling release while providing a snapshot of recent packages to cut down on the number of upgrades required when installing a new package. "Tumbleweed, being a rolling distribution, is constantly changing and packages are constantly being rebuilt against one another and updating requirements. As such it becomes necessary to update even when undesirable. For example, one is running snapshot 17 and the next day snapshot 18 contains a Qt update that rebuilt a large number of packages. When attempting to install an application that depends on Qt one is greeted with an ugly unresolvable error. It is then necessary to run a full update, likely very large with many unrelated changes, in order to simply install an application as would have been possible yesterday.
If a remote repository containing historical snapshots was available one could
simply install the application and perhaps the handful of new dependencies it
requires rather than having to update the entire system. This provides one with
the benefits of a rolling distribution without requiring the constant change. A
week later when a new kernel and DRM stack provides an exciting feature it is
still easy to update everything and be running the latest code, but the user is
not interrupted by having to update when it should not be necessary." More details on Berry's ideas and how they can be used with openSUSE's default file system (Btrfs) are described in his mailing list post.
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The Q4OS team has introduced a new way of installing the lightweight Q4OS distribution on computers which run Microsoft Windows. Since partitioning a hard drive and installing a new operating system can be daunting tasks for new users, the Q4OS developers are making it possible to dual boot Windows with Q4OS without any partitioning required. "We are happy to introduce a first stable release of the Q4OS for Windows 10 installer. It allows everyone to install Q4OS alongside Windows in an easy way, with no need of modifying an existing Windows operating system, nor any of software installed, even with no need of repartitioning your disk drive. Simply download and run Q4OS installer, just like any other Windows application, and follow the installer instructions. The installer will install and configure your computer to be able to run Q4OS or Windows 10 in a dual boot mode. Once you perform the setup, you will be able to switch back and forth between Windows and Q4OS each time you restart your computer. This installer is compatible with Windows 10, as well as the 7 and 8 versions, and it's able to use Secure Boot, if available in the PC firmware. Secure Boot will allow you to boot Q4OS in a smooth and safe way." The Q4OS installer is able to install its operating system on the existing Windows partition by using a large loopback file which contains the Q4OS distribution.
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Ryan Lerch has reported that Fedora 25 is nearing its end-of-life and will no longer receive security updates after December 12, 2017. "With the recent release of Fedora 27, Fedora 25 officially enters End Of Life (EOL) status on December 12th, 2017. After December 12th, all packages in the Fedora 25 repositories no longer receive security, bug fix, or enhancement updates. Furthermore, no new packages will be added to the Fedora 25 collection. Upgrading to Fedora 27 or Fedora 26 before December 12th 2017 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 25." Upgrade instructions for migrating from Fedora 25 to version 26 are provided.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Keep terminal programs running, using the at command, reverse OpenSSH connections
This week I would like to share some commands I find useful on a regular basis. There is no theme tying them together, other than I find myself using them about once a week.
The first command line tip I would like to look at covers ways of launching applications and having them run in the background, even when the terminal closes. We can accomplish this by placing the & suffix at the end of commands. For example, we can launch Firefox and have it run while we continue to use the terminal by typing:
Some command line shells will terminate programs they started when we close the terminal in order to clean up after themselves. We can avoid having our application closed by telling the shell to disown the program we launched. In the following example we open Firefox and then disown the browser's process to make sure it does not get terminated when we close the terminal:
While the above commands work well enough, there is one problem: desktop applications will often spew debugging information to the terminal while they are running. This means Firefox (or another application) may dump information into our terminal window where we are trying to work, which is both messy and distracting. We can work around this by redirecting output and having it discarded. We do this by sending all output to a file called /dev/null where the operating system merely discards it rather than saving it. The following example starts Firefox, sends all of its debug output to /dev/null to be deleted and disowns the browser so it will continue to run if we close the terminal. The "> /dev/null" part indicates where we want to send text output, in this case the null file. The "2>&1" lets the shell know it should send both normal output and error messages to the null file to be discarded.
firefox > /dev/null 2>&1 &
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Sometimes we want to perform an action in the future, but do not want to sit around and wait to type in the command. There are a few approaches to scheduling tasks. Generally people use the cron command to schedule repeating tasks, or maybe sleep to handle short-term delays. Neither is ideal if we want to schedule one event to happen just one time in the semi-distant future.
For cases like this the at command is ideal. at lets us set up a command to be run at a specific time and date in the future. The at command is pretty good about recognizing dates and times in human-readable format. On the command line we specify the time we want something to happen and then the at command will display a prompt where we can type in the program we want to run. After we type the program to be run we can press Ctrl-D to return to the shell. Here is an example where we copy the contents of our Documents folder to a Backup folder at 5:30pm.
We can specify different days too. The following command clears out the contents of a temporary directory on the last day of November.
> cp ~/Documents/* ~/Backup/
at 6:00pm Nov 30
There are limitations, because of the way at processes jobs, by default it will not open graphical applications on our desktop at a set time. The at command is designed to handle non-interactive tasks and situations. Once a job has been run once, at forgets about it. This means if we schedule a task to happen at noon, it only happens at noon today, the task is not repeated at noon tomorrow.
> rm ~/temp/*
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Have you ever wanted to set up an OpenSSH server on your computer for remote access, but found there was a firewall in the way you were unable to adjust to allow connections through? Sometimes businesses or ISPs will block incoming connections and this gets in the way of people who want to be able to work on their computers while away from the home or office. There is a possible workaround for this situation which involves using another computer to relay the connection
Basically, we can tell our computer which is behind the firewall to connect to another computer where we have access. This other computer could be one of ours or a personal server or a VPS, the important thing is wherever this other computer is, it needs to be running OpenSSH and we need to be able to log into it remotely.
In this example I will refer to the computer behind the firewall as PC-Home and the remote system we can access whenever we want as PC-VPS. To grant ourselves access to the computer behind the firewall we need to open a connection from PC-Home to PC-VPS. The connection we will open will have a special property which allows the remote computer (PC-VPS) to send signals back to PC-Home, as if the firewall were not in the way.
On PC-Home we can initiate this connection by running the ssh command and specifying which remote computer (PC-VPS in this example) will act as our proxy.
ssh -R 12701:localhost:22 pc-vps
What the above command does is contact the remote computer PC-VPS and tell it to forward any connections it receives on port 12701 to our home computer (PC-Home) on port 22. Port 22 is the default OpenSSH port.
Now, if we are away from home, we can connect to PC-Home by bouncing the connection off PC-VPS. We can do this by running
ssh -p 12701 pc-vps
Whatever computer we are running contacts PC-VPS, which forwards our request to PC-Home along the channel which was set up earlier. Since the computer behind the firewall initiated the connection, the firewall does not block the incoming traffic and we can establish a shell session on our home computer.
The PC-Home computer can close the link at any time by terminating its OpenSSH connection to PC-VPS, disappearing again behind its firewall.
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More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Linux Mint 18.3
The Linux Mint team has announced a new update to the project's 18.x series. The new version, Linux Mint 18.3, is a long term support release and will receive updates through to the year 2021. The new release features an updated software manager which makes it easier to install third-party applications and should be noticeably faster. This release also includes Flatpak support and the software manager can work with Flatpak packages. "Popular software applications such as Spotify, WhatsApp, Skype, Google Earth, Steam or Minecraft are now featured and very easy to install. The user interface looks more modern and its layout is inspired by GNOME Software. It's simpler, more consistent than before and it makes the application look much cleaner. The Software Manager is now also much lighter and faster than before. It no longer uses Webkit, browsing categories and apps is almost immediate, and it launches 3 times faster than before. The backend was ported to AptDaemon and the Software Manager now runs in user mode. Consequently you do not need to enter any passwords to browse applications, and if you enter a password to install or remove an app, the authentication is remembered for a little while so you can install or remove other apps without having to enter that password again." Further details can be found in the project's release announcements for the Cinnamon and MATE editions.
Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5
Black Lab Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution which is currently available in two editions, Core and Desktop. Core is intended for use in low resource computing, server environments and embedded systems while Desktop features lots of applications for end users. The developers have announced the release of Black Lab enterprise Linux 11.5: "Today the PC/OpenSystems Open Source development team is pleased to announce the public release of Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.5, the latest development of our open source project. We have made several enhancements which benefit both new users or veterans upgrading from our last release, or the one before that. Black Lab Enterprise Linux is a an excellent drop-in replacement for Windows, macOS or other distributions of Linux. BLEL 11.5 is distributed in two flavors, Desktop and Core. The first is full featured, offering everything users need : productivity software, games, software development tools, cloud and business applications. It's optimized for general everyday desktop use. Core is designed for embedded systems, IoT devices and users who want to build their own systems from the ground up; servers, appliances and specialized desktop environments can be brought out of Core. The user has total control of what is installed, including only a web browser and media player by default." Further information can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
Lakka is a minimal Linux distribution which turns a computer into a gaming console. The distribution is based on LibreELEC and runs the RetroArch console emulator. The Lakka project has released a new version, Lakka 2.1, which features an updated Linux kernel, Samba 4 support and RetroArch 1.6.9. "After six months of intense development and bug fixes, the team is proud to announce the stable release of Lakka 2.1! This release is a huge step forward in many aspects: UI, emulator cores, and supported hardware. Change log: Merged LibreELEC 8.2 stable. Kernel updates for PC, RPi and more. New wifi drivers and fixes. Samba 4. RPi firmware updates. Switch back to OpenSSL. RetroArch updated to 1.6.9." People who are already running Lakka 2.0 can upgrade by placing the 2.1 image file into their system's Update directory and rebooting the computer. Lakka is available for many types of computers, including x86 PCs, Raspberry Pis, WeTek boxes and Odroid.
Gabriele Martina has announced the availability of a new version of SalentOS, a lightweight Debian-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager. The new version, SalentOS 2.0 (code name Neriton), is based on Debian 9 "Stretch" and features UEFI support (though not support for Secure Boot). "With great pleasure the development team is pleased to announce the release of SalentOS 2.0 Neriton! The system, remember, is based on Debian Stable (Stretch) and is in continuity with the previous release (Luppìu). The main innovations: Debian Base Stretch (Stable). Kernel updated to version 4.9.0-4. Compatibility with the new UEFI standard - no Secure Boot. Updated and optimized all system management tools (Styler, Yanima). Introduced Dockbar (tint2). New wallpapers on-line verification system. Optimized the first installation wizard." More information can be found in the project's release announcement.
SalentOS 2.0 -- Running the Openbox window manager
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Univention Corporate Server 4.2-3
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is an enterprise-class distribution based on Debian GNU/Linux. It features an integrated management system for central administration of servers. Univention has released an upgrade to their 4.2 series, Univention Corporate Server 4.2-3. The new version features diagnostic tests to help trouble-shoot server and domain issues, along with various improvements to the web-based interface. The release announcement reports: "We are pleased to announce the availability of UCS 4.2-3 for download, the third point release of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.2. It includes all errata updates issued for UCS 4.2-2 and provides various improvements and bug fixes especially in the following areas: For the UMC diagnostic module, a large number of additional functional tests have been added to help the administrator check the health of the server and the entire domain. The usability and configurability of the management system were further expanded. The design of the assistants and dialogues of the management system was revised with regard to usability aspects. Additional configuration options for the single sign-on of the management system have also been added, e. g. the configurability of the certificate used. When a UCS system joins a Microsoft Active Directory domain, more checks are now performed. This allows to display information about known problems, including hints on how to correct them." Further information can be found in the release notes.
deepin is a Debian-based distribution featuring a custom desktop environment, called Deepin Desktop. The latest version of the distribution, deepin 15.5, introduces several important features, including HiDPI support, fingerprint scanner, wi-fi hotspot sharing and support for installing Flatpak packages. "deepin is a Linux distribution devoted to providing beautiful, easy to use, safe and reliable system for global users. deepin 15.5 mainly added HiDPI, fingerprint scanning and Flatpak application format. It migrated Deepin Crosswalk to the new web application framework, pre-installed Deepin Clone and Deepin Recovery, newly added touchpad gesture, wi-fi hotspot sharing and color temperature adjustment as well as comprehensive optimization of network module and desktop environment. Applications in Deepin Family and applications related to Deepin Wine have been upgraded to the latest version. Details of these new features, a video of the Deepin desktop in action and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Simon Long has announced the release of an updated build of Raspbian, a Debian-based distribution designed for the Raspberry Pi single-board computers: "We're pleased to announce that we are releasing the latest version of Raspbian 'Stretch' for your Pi today. This new release is mostly bug fixes and tweaks over the previous Stretch release, but there are one or two changes you might notice. The file manager included as part of the LXDE desktop (on which our desktop is based) is a program called PCManFM and it's very feature-rich; there's not much you can't do in it. However, having used it for a few years, we felt that it was perhaps more complex than it needed to be - the sheer number of menu options and choices made some common operations more awkward than they needed to be. So to try to make file management easier, we have implemented a cut-down mode for the file manager." Read the full release announcement for more information and screenshots.
Rocks Cluster Distribution 7.0
Philip Papadopoulos has announced the release of Rocks Cluster Distribution 7.0, a major new update of the project's specialist operating system for easy deployments as computer clusters. Rocks Cluster 7.0 is based on CentOS 7.4: "The latest update of Rocks, code name 'Manzanita', is now released. Manzanita is a 64-bit only release and is based upon CentOS 7.4. The Rocks-supplied OS rolls have all updates applied as of December 1, 2017." The brief release announcement doesn't give many details about the release, but the distribution's user guide has been updated to include notes about the "significant differences" compared to Rocks 6: "This section describes how to install your Rocks cluster frontend for Rocks 7. It is significantly different than Rocks 6. The minimum requirement to bring up a frontend is to have the following rolls: Kernel, Base, Core, CentOS, Updates-CentOS. Rocks 7 supports a network-only installation. All rolls must be located on a roll server on a network that is accessible by your frontend."
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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: 665
- Total data uploaded: 16.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
In this week's Tips and Tricks column we discussed scheduling tasks to be completed in the future, using the at command. While at is good at setting up one-time jobs, regular tasks are often started by another tool called cron. This week we would like to find out how you schedule jobs which need to be run in the future.
You can see the results of our previous poll on battery life time in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
|I use at: ||32 (3%)|
| I use cron: ||377 (30%)|
| I use "sleep && command": ||37 (3%)|
| I use a combination of the above: ||123 (10%)|
| I use another tool: ||59 (5%)|
| I do not schedule tasks: ||632 (50%)|
Moving to HTTPS only
DistroWatch has been available over secure, HTTPS connections for about two years now. With more and more of the web switching to encrypted connections we wanted to make sure our visitors had the option of visiting us using a verified, secure connection. At the time we continued to provide a plain HTTP option for people who were using older web and RSS clients, or who were facing performance issues when trying to use encrypted connections.
Since then the web has generally transitioned to enforcing HTTPS encrypted connections as the default behaviour. So much so that some browsers and extensions now flag DistroWatch as being insecure because we still provide unencrypted connections as an option. We have also found some search engines and distributions still link to us using the insecure option, though we have been providing HTTPS for almost two years.
In order to better protect our readers and to avoid being marked as insecure by security tools, we are going to start enforcing secure, encrypted connections to DistroWatch.com. This change is scheduled to take place on December 8, 2017. This transition should require no effort on the part of our readers, attempts to reach us using the insecure HTTP protocol will simply be redirected to the secure method.
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Janus Linux. Janus Linux is a small and very lightweight distribution which features the musl C library and Busybox userland tools. The distribution provides a terminal interface only with no graphical desktop.
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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, 11 December 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 • HTTPS Only (by sad on 2017-12-04 00:27:41 GMT from United States) |
I'm sad about the enforcement of HTTPS only. It doesn't work *nearly* as well, and sometimes not at all, on slow cell phone connections. Will you please reconsider?
If you are concerned about the issue of automatically redirecting all of the old links from various places on the web, that might be easy to address. E.g. if the Referrer is a special page on your site, e.g. "distrowatch.com/http", then you could still skip the redirection to HTTPS.
2 • Pop OS (by linuxista on 2017-12-04 02:25:14 GMT from United States)
>Pop!_OS is incredible
I had to go back and double-check to make sure it wasn't Jesse who did the review. Sure enough. Hard to imagine what's so incredible about a rebranded Ubuntu on top of a rebranded Gnome shell. Oh, I almost forgot the slightly different default kbd shortcuts and slightly different set of default applications. Wow.
3 • HTTPS Only & ... (by anon on 2017-12-04 04:53:15 GMT from United States)
64-bit Only & Windows Only & Proprietary Drivers & Region Restricted Access & Paywall Restricted & Expired Certificates & Browser Conformity & Unsafe Websites & Net Neutrality & Blacklists/Whitelists & Deprecated Standards & WTF Else...?
Whatever happened to "If it ain't broke don't fix it" or "Backward compatibility" or "Quality first"...? The ideal solutions are not "New & Improved", "Beta Testing by paying customers", "Paid reviews", "The latest & greatest & top tier tech", or "Planned Obsolescence", it should be "Give the customers what they want & need at a price they can afford".
As long as companies have EULAs, arbitration clauses, annual product cycles, & limited warranties they're going to screw the consumer to benefit their own economic bottom line.
Sad that "Bah! Humbug!" isn't a year round slogan.
4 • #2 Pop "OS" (by Andy Prough on 2017-12-04 05:01:47 GMT from United States)
Hey, but it says "OS" right there in its name, so it must be a complete, stand-alone operating system. And it has "Eddy". So, totally different from Ubuntu.
Speaking of respins, I just heard about GeckoLinux for the first time, a variant of openSUSE that's modified with better fonts and out-of-the-box media codecs. And I see that Jesse gave it a decent thumbs-up review last June. Sounds intriguing.
5 • Opinion Poll -- cron = crontab (by Andy Figueroa on 2017-12-04 05:32:09 GMT from United States)
I'm thinking that users don't ordinarily use cron directly but put their repetive tasks in their crontab, or root's crontab if sysadmin permission is needed. At least that's what I do.
6 • @1 - Re: Pop!_OS (by eco2geek on 2017-12-04 08:37:05 GMT from United States)
You're incorrect in calling Pop!_OS "a rebranded Ubuntu on top of a rebranded Gnome shell". (That doesn't even make sense, really.) Pop!_OS is a completely re-themed version of plain vanilla Gnome shell (apparently with a bunch of new and different keyboard shortcuts, which I don't use much).
If you're unaware, you can still install plain vanilla Gnome shell on Ubuntu 17.10. See, for example,
The Pop!_OS GTK and icon themes are pretty compelling, even for a person like me who prefers KDE and other distros with more conventional user interfaces. Having run it off of a USB key several times since Distrowatch first mentioned it, I think that, were I to use Gnome shell, Pop!_OS is probably the version I would install.
(One thing they could use is a statement on how they plan to address updates between versions of Ubuntu. I couldn't find anything on their web site about what they plan to do when 18.04 LTS is released.)
7 • https (by Mark E on 2017-12-04 11:28:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
I don't see how Distrowatch could be insecure over http; after all it has no logins. Or am I missing something?
Those people who label every http site as insecure are making erroneous generalisations and they should maybe redirect their energy to real problems.
8 • Keep terminal programs running (by Matt on 2017-12-04 12:24:17 GMT from Croatia)
A small point but I think you meant this:
firefox > /dev/null 2>&1 &
9 • Pop! OS (by Microlinux on 2017-12-04 13:22:23 GMT from France)
I gave Pop! OS a spin recently, and I must say I like it. It seems to be to GNOME what KDE neon is to KDE. I'm a bit puzzled though that it is based on a non-LTS release. But I guess they'll provide one with the release of 18.04.
10 • Pop_OS optimized? (by justin on 2017-12-04 14:11:12 GMT from United States)
Is Pop_OS optimized for System76 hardware? I know you didn't test it on their hardware but if it eeks out more battery life, that is a plus.
11 • Pop! OS (by Sam on 2017-12-04 14:13:50 GMT from United States)
I understand System76's intentions to offer their customers some sense of stability at a time when Ubuntu is going through significant and uncharted changes in the desktop space. Having been a company whose entire revenue stream relied on Ubuntu being the "best of the Linux breed," I can only imagine the nervous conversations in the break room and the board room following Shuttleworth's announcement of pulling back from Canonical's past business strategy.
But Pop! OS? I don't get it. Using your already limited in-house resources to respin a variant Linux OS when the whole appeal of your business was to offer Ubuntu Linux on cheaply-built Chinese Clevo laptops? (And yes, I bought one out of curiosity, then sold it a few months later on eBay with some significant depreciation) Should have called it "Flash In the Pan OS"
12 • Post # 6 (by Winchester on 2017-12-04 15:19:07 GMT from United States)
So,the person's post should have said "(partially) rebranded Ubuntu and re-themed Gnome". Not too far off.
I don't think the fact that a plain vanilla Gnome shell can be installed on Ubuntu 17.10 changes the evaluation of "Pop! OS" in any way.
Furthermore,the icon theme looks familiar. I believe it's the same one used in "Parrot Security OS" ..... maybe "Voyager Linux" , "Porteus Desktop 3.2.2" , and a few others as well.
Not bad if you like flat icons,except for the horrible "text editor" icon with the red circle in the bottom corner which looks more like some kind of a warning icon. It's used as the default for almost every popular text editor in that icon theme. So,if you have more than one text editor,they all have that same ridiculous icon , unless you modify things.
13 • chron (by Mike W on 2017-12-04 15:52:37 GMT from United States)
Maybe a bit of a newbie question, but:
Most of the Linux distros I've seen come with chron enabled by default. If 54% of Linux users don't use it - and I get that polls in Distrowatch might not be fully representative - why do most distros set it up as a default? If I never use it, then is removing it a good idea or a bad idea?
14 • A answer for post #13. (by James Notals on 2017-12-04 16:07:13 GMT from United States)
You forget, Mike W, that not everyone here uses Linux. I am a Windows 8 user who used Linux in the past. People here who use Windows are obviously going to be a part of that 50%+ group (I am). Windows users come here for all sorts of reasons, one of them being that some of them are planning to switch to Linux, but are still doing research and learning. So, maybe slice 20-25% off that number, and the answer becomes more logical.
15 • Pop!_OS (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-04 16:11:53 GMT from United States)
No matter how you slice it, Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu respin. So what is the big deal about System76 offering Ubuntu or Pop!_OS? They're basically the same with different eye candy.
16 • @13: (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-04 16:19:08 GMT from United States)
Many Linux users do not bother to delete unwanted/unneeded packages. They just use the distro(s) as installed by default. They may have chron installed but choose not to use it. Also many distros, especially Ubuntu-based ones, do not allow the uninstalling of certain packages (chron).
17 • Using cron (by Jesse on 2017-12-04 16:35:49 GMT from Canada)
@13: You may not be using cron directly, but almost all distributions use cron for automated system maintenance. Your log files get rotated, your package manager checks for updates, security software checks logs, etc. If you look in /etc/crontab you will almost certainly see multiple jobs that your OS runs using cron. If you delete cron you will break all those jobs and need to perform all those tasks yourself manually.
18 • SwagArch (by dick on 2017-12-04 17:08:56 GMT from Canada)
the first Arch-based distro that has worked well for me.
Everything hunky-dory, except would like to find _Artha_ in repository.
19 • HTTPS (by zykoda on 2017-12-04 17:12:42 GMT from United Kingdom)
The final blow will be having to register!
20 • Pop! OS or Guntu (by lenn on 2017-12-04 17:37:39 GMT from Netherlands)
What is better? Pop! OS or Guntu? http://distrowatch.com/weekly.php?issue=20171127
At least Guntu is clean vanilla Gnome based on Ubuntu 18.04
21 • https only is a problem for many (by Sherman Jerrold on 2017-12-04 17:41:15 GMT from United States)
Distrowatch allowing http (non-secure) connections has been needed by many of my non-savvy computer clients that use live linux CD's that have older browser versions that work fine for many sites but won't load some of the new https sites at all. This lack of backward compatibility of browsers and security protocols is a real problem. I have found that if a computer clock is set wrong, some browsers will not load pages saying 'invalid SSL cert' set to time in the future. There should always be a fall-back method to prevent blocking users that don't have the latest (bloated) browsers and PCs, or are using a non-standard browser. The Open Internet is being stolen by Corp. money. Just like everything else in this world, if you don't have big money for the latest and greatest, you get locked out. Please help provide a level-playing field by allowing plain http access. If you don't transfer sensitive data, SSL is not needed.
22 • Never Remove Random Packages! (by M.Z. on 2017-12-04 19:58:55 GMT from United States)
"... If I never use it, then is removing it a good idea or a bad idea?"
As a general rule, packages are there to do something. Removing any random one without being totally sure what it does is often very bad for the health of your desktop system. I learned that the hard way at least once or twice when I was a newbie, & let me tell you that some things mess up everything as soon as they are removed. That of course means that even if you plan to reinstall something soon you can still bork your desktop to the point of being unusable before you get the chance. For example, don't remove python if you want to keep using your Cinnamon desktop.
Over my time running Linux, I've decided to just leave all the default background things as is in order to avoid such problems. Perhaps it's a bit lazy, but I think the additional research I would need to do to figure out if I can remove something safely will, as a general rule, waste far more time & resources than just leaving the default packages in place. Of course the whole journey of digging into the guts of the OS can be a big part of the joy of open source; however, for the most part I think a majority of users are better served by finding the right distro for them & trusting the devs to find the right balance of bloat vs useful features.
23 • HTTPS-only (by Sitwon on 2017-12-04 20:28:41 GMT from United States)
It's about time!
HTTP is broken. At least using HTTPS-only (with TLS) addresses most of the security concerns.
Any modern browser can handle HTTPS, and anyone that has problems with HTTPS is either using a BROKEN browser or is on a BROKEN network. Accommodating the minority of broken clients should not be considered sufficient reason to downgrade the security for the rest of your readers who have functioning, compliant clients.
24 • Some points on HTTPS (by Boink on 2017-12-04 21:09:10 GMT from Norway)
Great to see DW going HTTPS only.
* HTTPS isn't just about confidentiality, it also provides integrity. It's not just to prevent attackers reading your passwords and credit cards, it's also about preventing attackers from manipulating the website you visit - be that foreign intelligence or just a crappy ISP you can't avoid. Many of you probably download complete operating systems with direct links from Distrowatch, you *do not* want those links to be trivially manipulated to point to a malicious operating system (with a matching checksum inserted on the fly).
* HTTPS doesn't have to cost money. Let's Encrypt is completely free and open, and is trusted in all major browsers. DW already uses Let's Encrypt, and doesn't sponsor the CA industry with a penny.
25 • Please, please, PLEASE stop whinging about HTTPS... (by Anonymous on 2017-12-04 21:12:40 GMT from United Kingdom)
No websites and download services need to use plain HTTP any more. TLS greatly improves the confidentiality, integrity and authenticity of what you browse and download - so please don’t insist on dragging the rest of us back into the last security century just because you don’t care about any of those three things yourself. That’s like being the one nurse in the clinic who can’t be bothered to wash their hands between patients, or the one buffoon at the shooting range who can’t be bothered to make their weapon safe before turning uprange - a needless bad example and a hazard to everyone else.
There are people on this site bleating that “HTTPS breaks if your clock is set incorrectly.” So set your clock correctly! Seriously, you’ve got access to both a computer and the internet and you can’t figure out the date and time to within the nearest few minutes? You don’t know what timezone you live in? Next you’ll be moaning that your car stops working if the gas tank gets empty, and why doesn’t everyone else sort this out for you so you don’t have to :-)
26 • System 76's cheap Chinese laptops (by Clicktician on 2017-12-04 21:20:05 GMT from United States)
I got my first System 76 last week with Pop!_OS. I paid about 10% more than I would have paid for an identical Clevo notebook. But I have a quirky loyalty about spending money inside the Linux domain, so it was worth it to me. I thought this review was fair. Is Pop!_OS the next evolution in desktop distros? Well, I have seen respins with significantly less. Honestly, it was the default on the order, and there was no button that said, "don't bother, I'm going to wipe it just as I would if I bought a Lenovo." Lol.
27 • GeckoLinux (by Lawrence on 2017-12-04 21:56:12 GMT from United States)
GeckoLinux is indeed an excellent GNU/Linux distribution, in my opinion. As said here, it is based on OpenSuSE with some significant improvements.
The latest Tumbleweed release so far is from March 3, 2017 but, if you install it (and make a few necessary tweaks, instructions for which you can find in the forum), and update it regularly, you will have a distro which "just works."
There is a static version of GeckoLinux too but I prefer the rolling release, which my wife and I have been using on three computers, since last December.
The maintainer is working on a new release for the program but you do not have to wait for it.
Installing is easy using the Calamares installer. Updating is easy too via the Command Line (as root, enter , We like it!
28 • Keep terminal programs running (by Bruce Fowler on 2017-12-04 23:03:42 GMT from United States)
...Or even simpler:
$ firefox &>/dev/null
According to the bash manual, "&>" redirects both
standard output and standard error.
"Of course it's arcane, if it wasn't arcane, it wouldn't be Unix!"
29 • @27 - GeckoLinux (by Andy Prough on 2017-12-04 23:20:58 GMT from United States)
The author of GeckoLinux hasn't released new live ISO's since March because he's transitioned from using the SUSE Build Service to make his respins to Kiwi. He claims he's getting a much better live ISO from Kiwi, and that we should just be patient for a bit longer. He posted this information on October 29th to the GeckoLinux Google group.
30 • HTTPS only (by Jesse on 2017-12-05 00:30:14 GMT from Canada)
>> "There should always be a fall-back method to prevent blocking users that don't have the latest (bloated) browsers and PCs, or are using a non-standard browser."
At this point virtually all web browsers, even very minimal ones, offer https support.
The problem we face is, if we continue to keep the old fallback option (http), then many people do get blocked. Some browsers flag the site as insecure, some extensions block non-https connections, at least one major search engine doesn't list our https site as an option, search engines in general are starting to rank sites with an http option lower in results.
Which means if we keep offering http, then many people won't be able to reach us, or will need to jump through hoops to do it. If we do go with https exclusively then more people will be able to reach us, but a few very small corner cases (like people running exclusively on outdated live CDs) will miss out.
Basically, at this point, more people are cut off by us offering both options than going https-only. It seems counter-intuitive, but the market has spoken in favour of enforcing https connections exclusively. We have been trying to server everyone using both options for two years now, but it's been causing more issues over time and it looks like https-only is our best option for the most number of people.
I am considering keeping an alternative option open for die-hard http fans. I may set up our backup domain (distrowatch.org) to continue serving http while distrowatch.com goes https only. That way, if it is really needed, people will be able to use the solution that suits them best while our main site avoids getting flagged by security software and extensions.
31 • http (by More Gee on 2017-12-05 04:45:08 GMT from United States)
As a ham radio operator with a mesh network, I'll just have to add some rules to the PiHole until you add a login then I'll have to switch to a RSS feed.
I really don't care now that we have lost net neutrality and only tv boxes can access the 5g wifi. The ads will start eating our 2g wifi bandwidth anyway and then it will be time to connect a PiHole to every router. Then when PiHole and TOR is blocked, I will stop paying for internet. I will have tons of spare time not trouble shooting and listening to people complaining of slow internet when it their website that is stealing CPU cycles/bandwidth to mine crypto coin.
What ever happened to non pay www2.?
32 • @30 abuse of power by search engines (by curious on 2017-12-05 10:17:50 GMT from Germany)
You state, "search engines in general are starting to rank sites with an http option lower in results".
That is a blatant abuse of power on the part of the search engines, and shows that they are not really interested in providing their users with the results the users are searching for. They have a different agenda - and apparently that is not merely data mining and advertising, but also censorship and enforcing what they consider "right".
Search engines (esp. Google and the chinese one, whatever it is called) already have far too much power. Lets bow down further to the almighty search engines!
33 • Pop OS (by Jim on 2017-12-05 11:27:29 GMT from United States)
I have not used Pop OS but I thought that System 76 having it's own OS would be to make sure the OS preformed well with System 76 hardware more than for any other reason. Maybe that is not the case?
34 • @22: M.Z. (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-05 12:58:20 GMT from United States)
Not random. I know exactly what I want to remove and I am sure there are thousands of other users who also do.
Language packs for every dialect used in the world. I speak and use only 4 or 5 languages.
Drivers for every video card on the market. I only use one or two in my system. If I change cards, I will install a new driver.
Drivers for every printer on the market. I only need drivers for the printers I am actually using.
Redundant packages that do the same thing.
Silly, useless programs like 'fortune' and 'cowsay'.
I have no issues with everything being installed during the initial install because the distro packager has no idea what mix of applications the end user will want. Distro packager also has idea whether the end user is a Linux expert or a neophyte. HOWEVER, once the distro is installed, the end users should be able to tailor his/her system by getting rid of unneeded/unwanted packages. After all, users are allowed, even encouraged, to add applications. Why aren't they allowed to subtract them?
Linux is supposed to be all about choice and modularity. With Ubuntu-based distros the only choice the user is given is between installing or not installing them and which distro to install. With Ubuntu-based distros, the entire distro is one module. There is no way to uninstall a package without making the system inoperable.
35 • Gecko Linux : Posts # 4 , # 27 , # 29 (by Winchester on 2017-12-05 13:13:48 GMT from United States)
I installed Gecko Linux Rolling LXQt about a year ago on my desktop. I like it very much as far as systemD distributions go. I also installed the official Tumbleweed on a netbook a few weeks ago.
However,for the desktop Gecko Linux installation,I transitioned to the official OpenSUSE Tumbleweed repositories after a few months because the "Packman" repository used in Gecko Linux was causing conflicts with official Tumbleweed packages. This is the way from the official OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Upgrade page :
Start by removing the existing repositories :
mv /etc/zypp/repos.d/*.repo /etc/zypp/repos.d/old
Then add the new repos :
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/oss repo-oss
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/non-oss repo-non-oss
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/debug repo-debug
zypper ar -f -c http://download.opensuse.org/update/tumbleweed/ repo-update
Then, "sudo zypper dist-upgrade".
This method maintains the fonts etc. from Gecko Linux. Although,I added a few more fonts .... Maven Pro etc. .
Additionally,as I posted last week :
Be aware though,OpenSUSE's GRUB bootloader may be installed into the MBR even if you tell the installer to just install it into the partition. Not a problem if that's alright with you , or not a problem if you know how to re-install your previous or preferred bootloader back into the MBR.
Also,the most foolproof option for an OpenSUSE installation on a multi-boot system seems to be to install it to a pre-formatted ext3 partition. Otherwise,if you want to use BTRFS for the main operating system,I would still use a seperate /boot partition (as small as 3 GB) formatted to ext2 or to ext3. This seems to make it easier for other OS GRUB's and bootloaders to be able to boot OpenSUSE.
36 • https (by Ramsey on 2017-12-05 18:34:16 GMT from United States)
HTTPS only is a great idea.. at least for US visitors. Two examples: Verizon was injecting a header into requests for ad tracking. And Comcast wifi injects ads.. that are served on websites (not owned by comcast) served over http. So https will put a stop to things like that. That's the problem with HTTP... ISPs and other MITM parties altering pages. So thanks for enabling it.
37 • The main point is caution (by M.Z. on 2017-12-05 20:03:47 GMT from United States)
"...After all, users are allowed, even encouraged, to add applications. Why aren't they allowed to subtract them?"
That was never the point of the previous post. The main point was that there are lots of little things on desktop distros like python or cron that are relied on by other parts of the system & care should be taken when removing many such packages. I agree that there are often too many language packs & graphics drivers installed, but certain packages like cron will be very mysterious to new users & may seem like some weird random useless bit of software even though they are needed. As in the previous post, you should be fairly sure of what your doing in removing something & have done a decent amount of searching to figure more mysterious packages out before removing. Given the amount of searching required to be sure, there is a bit of a cost benefit question of 'should I bother to worry?'
If you are really interested in the guts of your OS at more than casual level then go for it & dig into what the package does. Indeed it's probably a fun & interesting learning experience for many users & can help turn you into a great power user. That being said most mystery stuff does something, at least that's what I found looking up a few random bits here & there. After nuking a desktop system or two & doing some searching I've concluded that I & most others shouldn't worry much about a mystery package or two being on your distro of choice. Please do look it up if you have any interest in what it does at all, but I discourage anyone from even thinking of removing something if they can't answer the question "... If I never use it, then is removing it a good idea or a bad idea?" before they seriously consider removing anything.
For some things like 'GB english' or 'NewZeland english' on a distro in the US, then by all means remove them if you don't want useless updates. Those aren't things to be worried about removing. Indeed one thing I like about PCLinuxOS is that it removes useless graphics drivers. I think it would be nice if more distros did that & offered ways to comb through the packages on the system most likely to be useless & remove them. Barring that, use caution & do your research on things that aren't fairly obvious. Also most people will only think mystery packages are fun to dig into the first few times & will promptly forget what they do anyway. Those that go the other way with it & figure out a lot about their system may be destined to be masters of the universe; however, there probably won't be very many mystery packages that do nothing & free up much in the way of system resources.
Interesting article for those interested in the subject, which I found when searching for useless daemons/ background processes:
38 • @30 fall-back method (by ned on 2017-12-05 20:08:03 GMT from Austria)
It's a very good idea to set up the backup domain distrowatch.org as http-only if possible - so nobody will be closed out for whatever reason.
39 • @ 38 Correction (by ned on 2017-12-05 21:23:11 GMT from Austria)
For "nobody will be closed out" read "nobody will be locked out"
40 • @37: (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-05 23:22:01 GMT from United States)
" care should be taken when removing many such packages"
I definitely agree with you on that point. That is why beginner Linux users should use a GUI package manager, such as Synaptic, that provides dependency checking, rather than a command line utility. While it may be macho and sexy to use apt and dpkg and other command line package managers, they do not hold the user's hand.
41 • removing unwanted crud (by dick on 2017-12-06 00:07:18 GMT from Canada)
Bleachbit... seems to do a very good job
42 • typo in 40, or misinformation? (by tim on 2017-12-06 00:15:43 GMT from United States)
Cannot understand why are you averse to the prospect apt commands issued via commandline. The same dependency checking is performed as would be if the command is initiated via synaptic. Unless one types (pastes?) a commandstring which specifies --force, the user is presented noticication of any consequential additions/removals and is asked Y/N whether to proceed.
43 • GeckoLinux updates (by sb56637 on 2017-12-06 03:17:01 GMT from Ecuador)
Hi everyone, GeckoLinux creator here. Glad to see the interest and positive comments about GeckoLinux. Sorry for the delays, but we will indeed have updated releases based on Leap 42.3 and Tumbleweed before too long, with significant improvements.
44 • Random Packages (by argent on 2017-12-06 04:49:12 GMT from United States)
@22, 34, 41: Found deborphan commandline tool finds and offers to safely remove orphaned packages.
Also fslint for duplicate files plus other tools that are a bit vague, regardless a great application with gui.
@ 41: Use Bleachbit and found it to be both powerful and quite safe, best tool for cruft.
For Debian, found smxi a very useful tool, lot of options and downright awesome!
Big fan of getting rid of cruft and anything not needed to run my install.
45 • @42: (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-06 13:36:18 GMT from United States)
Do you really expect beginner Linux users to be capable of using apt to manage their software packages without corrupting their systems? Many people using Linux never bother to learn CLI, especially since Linux is advanced enough to be used without resorting to CLI. The command line is very useful but learning it is not a priority for many Linux users. For them, GUI is more than sufficient.
46 • unneeded files/apps (by OstroL on 2017-12-06 14:09:41 GMT from Poland)
The commands apt autoremove, apt clean, apt autoclean don't clean everything. I wonder how Bleachbit cleans more. It is a GUI app, though. Is there a way to clean everything as Bleachbit does through CLI?
47 • @46 - Bleachbit CLI (by Chris on 2017-12-06 16:41:58 GMT from United States)
@46 - "Is there a way to clean everything as Bleachbit does through CLI?"
Sure, use Bleachbit (https://www.bleachbit.org/documentation/command-line).
Tip (Oversimplified): Remember that Linux apps are often a lot like a layer cake with a GUI app, over a CLI frontend app(s), over sometimes another CLI frontend app(s), and finally over the core CLI app(s). Sometimes all these layers are by the same developers, but often they are not, in whole or in part.
A good first-step is to check for a man page (i.e., > man bleachbit), a help flag (i.e., > bleachbit --help), or failing at those a web search (i.e., "bleachbit cli"). If those fail you, just dig into any GUI apps dependencies list (check the dependencies' dependencies too) and you will usually find what app you are looking for if you dig far enough.
In this case (again oversimplified), you will find that the Bleachbit GUI uses its own internal CLI (to both some internal code and as a frontend to some third-party apps, i.e., apt).
I hope this helps you now and in the future.
48 • https only reply (by sherman jerrold on 2017-12-06 18:35:29 GMT from United States)
Reply to 30 • HTTPS only (by Jesse on 2017-12-05 00:30:14 GMT from Canada)
Jesse, thank you. I understand and agree with many of the security concerns and think that if distrowtch.org uses plain http that would be a very considerate and responsible option, since dozens of novice and low income users I work with (with live CDs of older distro versions) use them because they can't afford to buy new computers that will run current versions of the distros. Also, some of them are not savvy enough to understand about hardware clock vs. o/s clock setting, GMT vs. their time zone etc. In Arizona there is no Daylight Savings Time, further complicating things for novices. In summary, my organization works to provide an equal playing field for all people, expanding internet access to low income people in our area and we decry the 'money solves everything' attitude that discards opportunity for many of meager means. One of the great strengths of Linux is that is is egalitarian, providing opportunity for all.
49 • @ 47 Chris (by OstroL on 2017-12-06 22:12:17 GMT from Poland)
"Is there a way to clean everything as Bleachbit does through CLI?"
"as Bleachbit" is not how to use Bleachbit in the terminal. The keyword is "as" meaning some other way than using Bleachbit.
50 • Plain HTTP (by Jesse on 2017-12-07 02:23:03 GMT from Canada)
@48: The distrowatch.org domain is now serving up over plain http and should remain that way when distrowatch.com makes the transition on Friday. If anyone has trouble reaching either domain, you can e-mail me at the address attached to this post.
51 • @49 (by Chris on 2017-12-07 02:36:10 GMT from United States)
@49 - Please see again my prior answer, @47.
52 • @50 • Plain HTTP - Jesse (by ned on 2017-12-07 10:11:00 GMT from Austria)
Thanks! *My* circumstances happen to allow me to use https, but it's great that people who for some reason can't also have the possibility to access Distrowatch.
53 • ReactOS (by OstroL on 2017-12-07 14:17:12 GMT from Poland)
Did anyone booted ReactOS live? It gives a blue screen of death every time I try it. This time too.
54 • http on alternative site and security problems (by Dxvid on 2017-12-07 14:44:05 GMT from Sweden)
@50 having distrowatch.org serve http is a great solution for the very few who can't use modern TLS encryption.
I'm a bit surprised that there even exists hardware which can't handle TLS, but if some old equipment has survived over 15 years why not please the few using extremely old equipment? Enabling http on the .org site is a good middle ground. These days even extremely low budget "computers" like Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 can handle https traffic, they don't cost much more than a few hamburgers or hair styling products. Browsing the net on a R-Pi works good as long as you don't open too many tabs simultaneously.
However using an old distro installation or liveCD that can use only http will result in a system lacking the latest decade of patches and will leave the user vulnerable to hundreds of different security problems if they leave their computer on for more than a few minutes at a time. Scanning for vulnerable systems is automated these days and using an old unpatched system will result in security problems within a few minutes. Forcing those who use old unpatched operating systems to upgrade to a recent liveCD or installed distro would actually be a good thing as they leave their computers vulnerable to attacks by continuing to use extremely old unpatched OSes. I've tested this a few times when I've set up new servers and reviewed the logs, it usually takes 5 minutes or so before the various types of attacks start on a new server using a previously unused IP-address. After a few hours the logs show hundreds of thousands of attempts to find vulnerabilities from IPs all over the world, after a day there's millions of attempts. An old unpatched system will probably get hacked or get infected within an hour. An old liveCD will get compromised every time a user connects to the internet, but with every restart of the machine it will be cleaned.
55 • ReactOS (by Somewhat Reticent on 2017-12-08 05:11:25 GMT from United States)
Can't boot from USB device - since 2014-01-30_04:14 [bug CORE-7826] - live or not. Many reasons, no excuses.
56 • @53 • ReactOS BSOD (by Woodstock69 on 2017-12-08 06:46:15 GMT from Australia)
Works fine under VBox. Have not tried a physical install. Have you verified your image checksum is valid?
57 • Nvidia binaries in live images (by Nate on 2017-12-08 17:41:06 GMT from United States)
Pop!_OS's offering of live image with the nvidia binaries already baked in is appealing. It would be great if we could search your database using that as criteria.
58 • quickie distro reviews (by cleva puta ppl on 2017-12-09 21:54:56 GMT from Australia)
"88% Windows Compatibility [using only WINE]
100% Chrome App Compatibility
81% Android App Compatibility"
"Code life into the machinery of the future...create incredible robots to do nearly anything...Teach computers to discover planets, a car to drive, or a city to manage itself... Calculate the size of stars or a path to Mars. Smash atoms and fold proteins."
blue screens, limited or no USB support.
Clearly the problem with ReactOS is that it's not buntu-based, and it has no new wallpapers. If it had these features its functionality would skyrocket.
59 • Bodhi, Peppermint and Pop!OS vs ReactOS (by edcoolio on 2017-12-09 23:56:07 GMT from United States)
Firstly, let me say how happy I am about the Bodhi and Peppermint updates!
Bodhi in particular as they still have 32 bit distributions (Legacy) for Non-PAE processors. I have a couple of these kicking around, running Pentium M 2.0 Ghz, 2GB RAM, and 16GB SSD via IDE adapter laptops. I can force PAE with this processor with Lubuntu. One is running like that. However, there is a lot to be said for the no-hassle Bodhi distro on these machines. Nice and easy with an outstanding interface for such an old laptop that still kicks around decently on the modern web.
@58 As for ReactOS, they clearly state they are an Alpha release software. Unfortunately, it looks like they will stay like that for the next decade. I love the work they are attempting to do, but it is only for playing.
Pop!OS is more like: Oh look, another one. I like more distros, to be sure, but this is yet another one that doesn't really ADD anything other than new wallpapers and a few different apps IMHO.
In this way it reminds me of LXLE. It is basically Lubuntu with makeup. Not impressive. In fact, the extra "junk" slows down the computer I listed above. The problem I have noticed with these distributions for "old" computers is that the only thing that seems to be taken into account is RAM. That is helpful, but frankly I'm more worried about CPU cycles on a single threaded computer. Let's not even discuss the poor GPU.
60 • Week-end thoughts (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-12-10 17:14:04 GMT from United States)
I thought Pop!OS was primarily about making sure (System76) hardware works. Thankfully, sometimes concern for the brand motivates quality as well. Nice to see them hobble Intel's Management Engine (ME) for individuals.
LXLE aims at responsiveness, taking a more complete look at what makes a system a better toolset (rather than tunnel-vision on RAM) to make the user more effective, choosing settings and apps accordingly. Like most distros, they list minimum and recommended system capabilities.
A general classification like "for older computers" is a nice start, but it's best to examine the details - how "old", what specs exactly, etc.
Tumbleweed app-snapshots - like app-images?
Q4OS loopback install - like frugal? Tradeoffs?
"cheaply-built Chinese Clevo laptops" - they barebones-OEM good chassis from high-end top-quality workstations to affordables (and thus re-sell-ables) but no, not 'ruggedized' like a ToughBook.
ReactOS - keeping Microsoft off their backs by never threatening to displace XP in the real-world market, even though "not supported" (and still present in, say, ATMs)?
61 • Debian (by Werner Meidlein on 2017-12-10 21:59:28 GMT from Canada)
I find Debian is not getting the Credit for being easy to install, all it takes, read a few Lines answer a few Questions and you have a great stable System! Give the many who make it so easy,Credit!
Number of Comments: 61
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|• Issue 795 (2018-12-24): Running a Pinebook, interview with Bedrock founder, Alpine being ported to RISC-V, Librem 5 dev-kits shipped|
|• Issue 794 (2018-12-17): Void 20181111, avoiding software bloat, improvements to HAMMER2, getting application overview in GNOME Shell|
|• Issue 793 (2018-12-10): openSUSE Tumbleweed, finding non-free packages, Debian migrates to usrmerge, Hyperbola gets FSF approval|
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|• Issue 791 (2018-11-26): Haiku R1 Beta1, default passwords on live media, Slax and Kodachi update their media, dual booting DragonFly BSD on EFI|
|• Issue 790 (2018-11-19): NetBSD 8.0, Bash tips and short-cuts, Fedora's networking benchmarked with FreeBSD, Ubuntu 18.04 to get ten years of support|
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|• Issue 784 (2018-10-08): Hamara 2.1, improving manual pages, UBports gets VoIP app, Fedora testing power saving feature|
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|• Issue 781 (2018-09-17): Linux Mint 3 "Debian Edition", file systems for SSDs, MX makes installing Flatpaks easier, Arch team answers questions, Mageia reaches EOL|
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|• Issue 779 (2018-09-03): Redcore 1806, keeping ISO downloads safe from tampering, Lubuntu makes Calamares more flexible, Ubuntu improves GNOME performance|
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|• Issue 777 (2018-08-20): YunoHost 22.214.171.124, limiting process resource usage, converting file systems on Fedora, Debian turns 25, Lubuntu migrating to Wayland|
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|• Full list of all issues|
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