| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 743, 18 December 2017
Welcome to this year's 51st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Most of the Linux distributions we review and discuss are general purpose desktop operating systems, designed to be run on workstations and laptops. This week however, we begin with a look at a very focused distribution. Daphile is a Linux distribution which turns a headless personal computer into an audio player and CD ripper which can be controlled remotely using a web browser. Read our Feature Story to learn more about this highly focused distribution. This week's Opinion Poll discusses setting aside a computer for playing media and we hope you will weigh in with details of your home media set up in the comments section. In the news last week we learned about the Slax distribution gearing up for a new release with improved wireless support. Plus we discuss a build of SparkyLinux for Raspberry Pi computers, a new cutting-edge spin of antiX and delays in the launch of Fedora's Modular Server edition. In our Tips and Tricks section we talk about rescuing operating systems and personal files, along with useful tools for performing rescue operations. We are happy to provide a list of last week's releases and share the torrents we are seeding. We conclude this week's newsletter with a donation to the PCLinuxOS distribution and a summary of statistics related to reader-submitted reviews we have received, torrents we have uploaded and announcements published to our front page. We will be on holiday next week, but DistroWatch Weekly will return on the 1st of January 2018. To those of you who celebrate, we wish you a wonderful holiday season. And, to everyone: happy reading!
- Review: Daphile 17.09
- News: Slax improves wireless support, a cutting-edge spin of antiX, SparkyLinux runs on Raspberry Pi computers, Fedora's Modular Server delayed
- Tips and tricks: Tools for rescuing the operating system and data files
- Released last week: FreeNAS 11.1, TrueOS 17.12, MX 17
- Torrent corner: antiX, Debian, Fedora, FreeNAS, LinHES, Mint, MX
- Upcoming releases: Black Lab Linux 10.1
- Opinion poll: Dedicated computer for media playing
- DistroWatch.com news: Visitor reviews and statistics
- DistroWatch.com donation: PCLinuxOS
- New distributions: Secure-K OS, Reborn OS
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Daphile is a minimal Linux distribution which is designed to be run on a computer dedicated to playing music. Daphile can be run on headless machines and its media controls are managed through a web-based interface. Basically, Daphile is intended to be run on a computer we can stick in the corner of a room and use it as a media centre without worrying about managing software, tweaking settings or navigating desktop environments. Daphile can be run from a CD or USB thumb drive for maximum portability and does not need to be installed directly on a hard drive to work.
Daphile reportedly has the ability to rip audio CDs, play audio files from a local drive or stream music across network shares (Samba, NFS, FTP and OpenSSH services are supported). This gives us a pretty good range of media sources for our music collection.
Under the hood, Daphile has its roots in Gentoo, though the operating system is somewhat stripped down and we cannot use Gentoo's package management utilities. Daphile runs the Busybox userland tools and a light web server, and very little else. In fact, Daphile does not provide a login interface to allow us to tinker with the operating system. The operating system is dedicated entirely to the task of playing music and our sole access to the media controls are through its web interface.
The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the ISO file we download for Daphile is 195MB in size. While Daphile is capable of running entirely without a screen, when we do boot from Daphile's media the distribution displays the distribution's IP address, which it obtains over DHCP. We can connect to the IP address using any modern web browser which automatically gives us access to Daphile's media controls, there is no user authentication built into the web interface.
Features and options
Daphile's web-based interface has six screens offering us storage options, network settings and player controls. There is the Audio Player screen where we can browse through our music collection, create playlists and play audio files. There is a CD Ripper page for copying audio from a music CD onto a local drive. The File Manager page helps us upload and download audio files. Uploading files can be achieved with dragging and dropping files into the web browser or using an upload dialogue to select specific files to send to the Daphile box.
Daphile 17.09 -- The distribution's audio player
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The fourth screen is labeled Settings and handles a variety of options. Through the Settings page for can adjust networking settings and connect to remote file shares. The fifth page provides information on the operating system and its status. The sixth and final page controls shutting down and rebooting the computer where Daphile is running.
One characteristic of Daphile which I think is important is the distribution plays audio through the speakers of the computer it is running on. Some dedicated audio systems are set up to play audio through the web browser of a client machine, they're essentially streaming servers that send audio to our devices, wherever we are. Daphile plays its music locally, not through the client's web browser. Daphile is meant to be used as a livingroom entertainment centre rather than a streaming server.
Daphile 17.09 -- Uploading audio files from the File Manager screen
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The biggest issue I had with Daphile was getting it to access my audio files. At first I intended to use the distribution's ability to access remote network shares to access my music collection stored on a separate device. However, I was unable to get Daphile to connect over Samba, FTP or OpenSSH connections. I suspect this is because Daphile would not accept new configuration changes. Whenever I tried to save new settings the distribution reported it was running from read-only media. This happened whether running Daphile from a CD or USB thumb drive. Since the distribution is not designed to be installed on a hard drive, I was surprised it could not write to its own USB drive. This is a very severe limitation and means we are restricted when it comes to changing settings or accessing any remote music collections.
I also ran into trouble trying to get Daphile to recognize music on my own, local hard drive. For some reason, the distribution failed to read folders on my laptop's internal drive. The only way I could get Daphile to recognize and play music was to use the File Manager screen's Upload function and upload files a few at a time.
I mostly played with Daphile on a laptop computer. When I first started using the laptop, Daphile booted, but of course could not connect to my wireless network as it did not know the password and I was using the laptop as if it were a headless box, just placed on a shelf in the livingroom. I was pleased to discover Daphile would automatically set up a wireless hotspot if it could not connect to a local network. This allows other computers in the area to connect to the laptop wirelessly using the laptop as its own access point. The only downside to this approach is connecting devices need to choose between connecting to Daphile's wireless hotspot or the regular LAN & Internet, or switch back and forth. The default hotspot password for Daphile can be found in the distribution's FAQ document.
Daphile 17.09 -- The system information screen
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If we do not like the idea of using a wireless hotspot to work with Daphile, we can press the F1 key when booting the distribution and a configuration screen will appear. The distribution's configuration wizard lets us select our preferred language, select a wireless network to talk to and we can provide a wi-fi password. We will also be asked to provide our network's gateway address and the IP address of a DNS server, so it's best to have these on hand if we want to operate Daphile over a secured wireless connection.
When I first started using Daphile, I appreciated the project's focus. The distribution has one task in mind: playing music on a dedicated computer, and any tools, software or services which do not aid in that task have been stripped out of the operating system. Daphile is very lightweight and runs on 32-bit and 64-bit x86 computers, meaning we can turn an old PC collecting dust into a media player.
I really like the wireless hotspot feature mentioned above. Daphile goes out of its way to get us on-line and will work over a wired, wireless or hotspot connection. These options are explored automatically by the operating system at boot time and this flexibility is part of what lets Daphile work as a headless media box.
There were two problems I ran into during my trial. The first was I could not get Daphile to work with most of my existing media collections. I sort of expected problems when trying to access file shares on remote computers, but Daphile also failed to recognize local audio files on my laptop's hard drive. I think this problem arises from Daphile not being able to write new settings to its own USB thumb drive. This issue does not appear to be addressed in the project's FAQ or wiki.
Daphile 17.09 -- Trying to access network storage
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I was able to work around the settings problem by simply uploading music through the distribution's web interface. This presented me with my second problem and that is I feel the Daphile audio player interface is overly complicated for what it does. Ideally, I think all music should be organized in one logical location with all songs (stored locally or remotely) in one location. But the web-based player separates remote and local files. Local files are further separated into hard drives and RAM storage. And then there are separate folders under these locations. To browse music I may need to go as many as four levels deep, if I don't have music further organized into sub-folders. This in itself isn't a big problem, browsing for music is not difficult, but it is an example of what I see as the overall problem with Daphile as a solution: it's too much solution for my problem.
From my point of view, if I already have a computer in the house which is capable of running a web browser, then it makes more sense to use that computer to play music directly. Using one computer to talk to another to play music on the second computer feels redundant and I have not come up with a scenario where having a second, audio-only box makes sense when it needs to be controlled from another computer's browser. If I want entertainment, it is easier for me set up my laptop on a table, login to its guest account and put Rhythmbox in its full screen “party mode”. Rhythmbox will show all my music on one page, offer the same search features, have an interface that is more familiar to guests, take less time to configure to see all my music and I won't even need a network connection. I won't need a separate computer to access the media controls either, I'll be able to work with volume and player controls directly on the machine.
Daphile does what it claims on the project's website - plays music, has a friendly web interface and can work over a variety of networks. This is all great and I am happy the project has achieved its goals. For me personally, the distribution's solution of turning a computer into a remotely managed audio player is more complicated than using that same computer to run a desktop operating system with an audio player.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Intel i3 2.5GHz CPU
- Display: Intel integrated video
- Storage: Western Digital 700GB hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Wired network device: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast
- Wireless network device: Realtek RTL8188EE Wireless network card
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Visitor supplied rating
Daphile has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9.4/10 from 8 review(s).
Have you used Daphile? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Slax improves wireless support, a cutting-edge spin of antiX, SparkyLinux runs on Raspberry Pi computers, Fedora's Modular Server delayed
Slax, which was formerly based on Slackware, is a Debian-based distribution and live CD. When the new Debian-based Slax was launched some users pointed out missing wireless support and a lack of non-free items. These missing components are being addressed in the next version of the Slax distribution. "I noticed that Debian has updated to 9.3.0 so it's time to update Slax too. I plan to release updates with each minor Debian release, if there are any bug fixes or changes (in Slax) at that moment. Currently I've implemented these changes: added wireless tools; added firmware (free and non-free); added contrib and non-free repositories; fixed apt-get alias parameters handling." More details and the project's to-do list can be found in the project's blog post.
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The antiX project has released new network install ISO images based on Debian's Unstable (Sid) branch. A post on the project's News page reports: "For those of you that want to live on the wild side of Debian and basically start out from scratch, antiX has provided Sid-based net images for you. You will need a wired connection since no firmware is included. This is for experts or for those that want to learn and are prepared to search for solutions to any possible issues." The new net-install images carry the version number 17.1 and can be downloaded from SourceForge.
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The Debian-based SparkyLinux distribution, famous for featuring a wide range of development branches and editions, is further expanding its download options. SparkyLinux's Stable branch is now available for Raspberry Pi computers. There are two editions of SparkyLinux's Raspberry Pi build, one which features the Openbox graphical interface and one which presents a command line only. The distribution's website states: "Sparky 4.7 armhf for Raspberry Pi is out now. Sparky of the 4.x line is based on the stable branch of Debian 9 'Stretch'. This release is available in two versions: Openbox - with a small set of applications and CLI - text based." Further details and login credentials for the default accounts can be found in the distribution's announcement.
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Fedora 27 Workstation, and the Fedora Project's many other spins, were released back in November 2017. One edition of the distribution which was held back at the time was the new Fedora Modular Server. The Modular Server edition was designed to replace Fedora's classic Server edition and offered a significant new feature: "Once all of the planned content is in place, Modularity will allow users to choose different streams of runtimes and applications, allowing base operating system updates without disruption to workloads."
The Modular Server edition has run into setbacks however and is going back to the drawing board. In its place, a classic edition of Fedora 27 Server is being made available. "You may remember reading about plans for Fedora 27 Server. The working group decided not to release that at the same time as the general F27 release, and instead provided a beta of Fedora 27 Modular Server. Based on feedback from that beta, they decided to take a different approach, and the Modularity subproject is going back to the drawing board. Fortunately, there is a contingency plan: Fedora's release engineering team made a 'classic' version of Fedora 27 Server - very similar to F26 Server, but with F27's updated package set. The quality assurance [team] ran this version through validation testing, and it's being released." Fedora 27 Server can be downloaded from the Get Fedora Download page.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Tools for rescuing the operating system and data files
There are a lot of open source tools available to help us when things go wrong and we suddenly need to rescue our personal files or even our computer's entire operating system. When a computer stops working correctly, one of the first problems we tend to face is it can be difficult to know which of the dozens of utilities is the right one for the current job. A utility which will help us boot our computer when the boot loader has been corrupted is great, but will not be much help when we want to recover a deleted file. Likewise, a program that rescues deleted files will not help us if what we want to do is clone a partition. This week we provide a quick overview of some useful recovery utilities and the situations where they can be of the most help.
Recovering deleted files
One of my favourite rescue utilities is PhotoRec. PhotoRec is often bundled as part of the TestDisk package in Linux distributions. The PhotoRec program can search through a disk or partition and find deleted files, saving those files to another location. PhotoRec recognizes most types of files and works with virtually every type of file system. The utility works across most major operating systems, including Linux distributions, the BSDs, Windows and macOS.
One of the features of PhotoRec I like most is the utility guides the user through the recovery steps. We just need to tell PhotoRec which partition to search for files and the program then guides us through answering a few questions about what we are searching for. At that point, chances are if any part of our missing file is still on the disk, PhotoRec will find it and create a copy in the folder of our choosing.
Cloning a hard drive or partition
When we have accidentally deleted a file or discovered our hard drive is dying, one of the best things we can do is stop using the disk. The more we use a hard drive once things start to go wrong, the worse things are likely to become. For this reason it helps to work with a copy (also called an image) of the drive or partition where things got messed up. There are many utilities which will clone a hard drive or disk partition for later examination, but my favourite of the bunch is Clonezilla Live. Clonezilla runs from a CD or USB thumb drive and uses a wizard to guide us through selecting which drive (or partition) to backup. Clonezilla will then save the selected partition to a variety of locations, including Samba shares, OpenSSH servers or another connected disk. Clonezilla is very flexible and its curses-based wizard is very straight forward to use.
Clonezilla Live can work in reverse too, restoring a clone of a hard drive back to its original location, or copying the disk/partition to a new device. When I am trying to recover files, one of the first tools I use is Clonezilla to get a snapshot of the partition I will be rescuing.
Managing disk partitions
Also on the subject of working with disk partitions, I like working with GParted Live. GParted Live is a minimal, live Linux distribution which basically exists to run the GParted graphical partition manager. If you need to create, delete, resize or re-format disk partitions, GParted is probably the easiest point-n-click tool for getting the job done.
Corrupted boot loader
One of my least favourite situations to try to recover from is rescuing a system where the boot loader is no longer working. Usually this can be fixed by booting a live disc, creating a chroot environment and re-installing the boot loader. However, there are several steps involved in this kind of rescue and sometimes our priority is to just get our main operating system back on-line quickly. For these situations there is Super Grub2 Disk. Super Grub2 Disk is a live CD which can be used to boot operating systems, even when the GRUB boot loader has been corrupted or overwritten. Super Grub2 Disk is not a full operating system, it just gives us the tools to boot our existing, on-disk operating system so we can start making repairs. This may be easier or faster than trying to repair the operating system from a separate, live disc environment.
System recovery and resetting passwords
A good, general purpose tool to have is Rescatux. While the other utilities on this list accomplish specific tasks, Rescatux is more of a general purpose utility. It can help recover a boot loader that has been over-written by Windows, reset passwords, repair a damaged sudoers authentication file and perform file system checks. Rescatux has a nice, graphical wizard to help us get started with these tasks.
The above tools are all great resources for when things have already gone wrong, but I also recommend taking proactive steps to make system recovery easier. Having regular and frequent file backups is always useful. We do not need to scramble to undelete an erased file if we have a daily backup of our important data. I also recommend using file systems or package managers which support snapshots. Btrfs and ZFS are file systems which support taking snapshots of the operating system and our data files, allowing us to recover from most scenarios short of hardware failure. The Nix package manager creates snapshots of packages in case an update breaks the operating system and we want to revert to an earlier set of packages. These tools can save us a lot of time and effort as a file is easier to get back through an on-disk snapshot than through a recovery tool.
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More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Joon Lee has announced the release of FreeNAS 11.1, an updated release of the project's specialist FreeBSD-based operating system designed for computers providing Network-Attached Storage (NAS) services. This version updates the base system to FreeBSD 11.1: "The FreeNAS development team is excited and proud to present FreeNAS 11.1. FreeNAS 11.1 adds cloud integration, OpenZFS performance improvements, including the ability to prioritize re-silvering operations, and preliminary Docker support to the world's most popular software-defined storage operating system. This release includes an updated preview of the beta version of the new administrator graphical user interface, including the ability to select display themes. The base operating system has been updated to the STABLE version of FreeBSD 11.1, which adds new features, updated drivers, and the latest security fixes. Support for Intel Xeon Scalable Family processors, AMD Ryzen processors, and HBA 9400-91 has been added." See the full release announcement for more details and a screenshot of the improved administration interface.
TrueOS is an open source operating system based on FreeBSD's development branch. TrueOS provides a rolling release platform featuring the Lumina desktop environment and the OpenRC service manager. The project's latest snapshot, version 17.12, includes LibreSSL in the base system (replacing OpenSSL), Bhyve virtual machine support, and the latest drivers supplied by FreeBSD's 12.0-CURRENT branch. "Notable changes: Over 1,100 OpenRC services have been created for 3rd-party packages. This should unsure the functionality of nearly all available 3rd-party packages that install/use their own services. The OpenRC services for FreeBSD itself have been overhauled, resulting in significantly shorter boot times. Separate install images for desktops and servers (server image uses a text/console installer). Bhyve support for TrueOS Server install. FreeBSD base is synced with 12.0-CURRENT as of December 4th, 2017. FreeBSD ports tree is synced as of November 30th. Lumina Desktop has been updated/developed from 1.3.0 to 1.4.1. PCDM now supports multiple simultaneous graphical sessions." Additional changes and a list of key package versions can be found in the project's release announcement.
Linux Mint 18.3 "KDE", "Xfce"
The Linux Mint team has released two new editions of the project's Ubuntu-based series. The project's new offerings include editions for the KDE and Xfce desktop environments. Both new releases are part of the project's larger 18.3 release which already features Cinnamon and MATE editions. Along with support for Flatpak packages and a new snapshot tool called Timeshift, Linux Mint ships with a tool called System Reports which can gather key information to help trouble-shoot problems. "When a crash occurs, information is now gathered and a crash report is generated. The System Reports tool lists the crashes and is able to generate stack traces for them. When developers aren't able to reproduce a bug, that information is very useful. It's always been very difficult for non-experienced users to produce core dumps or stack traces. This tool helps a lot with that. In addition to crash reports, the tool is also able to show information reports. Unlike the release notes which show the same generic information to everybody, information reports are targeted at particular users, particular hardware, particular cases. Each report is able to detect its own relevance based on your environment, the desktop you're using, your CPU, your graphic cards, etc." These pieces of information can be forwarded to the project's developers to help them fix bugs. Further information on Linux Mint 18.3 can be found in the release announcements (KDE, Xfce).
MX Linux 17
The MX team has announced the release of MX Linux 17, a lightweight distribution based on Debian and featuring the Xfce desktop environment. The new release is based on Debian 9.3 and ships with Xfce 4.12. "This release feature the following: 4.13.0-1 kernels for both 32-bit and 64-bit ISOs (yes, we still have 32-bit!) The 32-bit ISO has a PAE kernel for RAM usage above 4GB. Easily change kernels, say to the latest Liquorix kernel or downgrade to Debian Stable kernel (4.9) with MX Package Installer. The latest updates from Debian (Stretch) 9.3 and Xfce 4.12.3. All the antiX live features, including persistence (up to 20GB) and remaster tools. Automatic selection of appropriate driver for most Broadcom chipsets (in most cases, no user intervention required)." Further details, an overview of the custom MX tools and key package versions can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
MX Linux 17 -- Running the Xfce desktop
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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: 679
- Total data uploaded: 17.0TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Dedicated computer for media playing
In this week's Feature Story we talked about Daphile, a Linux distribution which turns a personal computer into a dedicated audio player. We would like to find out how many of our readers have personal computers dedicated exclusively to playing media, such as audio or video files. Do you have a workstation, laptop or Raspberry Pi set up to exclusively be a media box? Let us know about your setup in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using privacy-focused distributions in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Dedicated computer for media playing
|I have a dedicated media desktop/laptop: ||380 (22%)|
| I have a dedicated media console: ||87 (5%)|
| I use media appliances (CD/DVD/record player): ||207 (12%)|
| Other: ||102 (6%)|
| I do not have a dedicated media system: ||979 (56%)|
Visitor reviews and statistics
At the beginning of the year we introduced a new feature which invited DistroWatch's visitors to submit their own reviews of distributions. In the approximately 50 weeks since we first invited our readers to weigh in on their favourite (and least favourite) projects, we have received thousands of ratings & reviews and we would like to share some statistics with you from this experiment.
To date we have received 5,471 reviews, not including duplicates, spam links and support requests. The top five most frequently rated projects are currently Manjaro Linux (377 ratings), Linux Mint (346), Debian (266), Ubuntu (202) and Devuan (178). It would seem members of the Debian family tend to get the most attention as Manjaro is the only non-Debian member in the top five.
More ratings do not always mean higher ratings though. The top five highest ranking projects at the time of writing are Point Linux, IPFire, MX Linux, Slackware and SwagArch GNU/Linux. The more niche status of these projects seems to indicate fewer people experiment with these distributions, but those who do try them appreciate their non-mainstream approaches.
Some phrases or comments keep coming up when browsing the reviews. The term "rock solid" or "rock stable" shows up 165 times, the word "perfect" shows up 380 times, "crash" shows up 205 times and "unstable" was mentioned 88 times. The controversial subject of the systemd init software appears in 273 reviews with most reviewers seeking projects not including the technology. Other init systems came up now and again with 28 posts mentioning OpenRC, 24 reviewers talking about SysV init, 21 talking about runit (mostly with regards to the Void distribution) and 1 mentioning Upstart. Architecture was another common subject, with at least 127 reviewers commenting on 32-bit or 64-bit support.
Visitors rating distributions tended to either heap praise or pain on the projects they rated. Of the 5,471 reviews we have received, about half (2,870) offered a rating of 10/10 for the distribution being reviewed. Another 1,732 provided ratings of 9/10 or 8/10. A total of 189 reviews assigned a 1/10 rating to the project being reviewed. The least common ranking was 2/10 with only 65 reviews assigning this value.
We do not collect personal information on the people submitting reviews so we do not know how many of the people sharing their thoughts are repeat reviewers or first-timers. However, we do know from our web logs that 718 of our reviews came from people on IPv6 addresses with the other 4,753 coming from IPv4. This would suggest about 13% of our readers are using IPv6. That is approximately the same percentage of visitors to Google who were using IPv6 in the first half of 2017.
Thank you to all the people who submitted reviews and shared your thoughts on projects, whether they were good or bad. We hope this makes it easier for people to find distributions which suit their needs. At the moment there are still many projects, over 250 at the time of writing, which have only been reviewed once (or not at all), and we hope those projects will also get some attention from reviewers in 2018 to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.
We have more statistics which may interest our readers. During the 2017 year we made a big effort to clean up our waiting list. Our queue of projects waiting to be evaluated was reduced from 137 down to 48. At the time of writing, no project awaiting evaluation has been in our queue for more than a year. During this calendar year we added 43 new distributions to our database, with several of these projects receiving reviews in DistroWatch Weekly.
Creative distribution makers were hard at work this year and we received 75 new submissions to our waiting list! Look for many of these projects to be discussed and added to our database in 2018. If you know of a project not in our database or on our waiting list, please submit it to us.
Rounding out the statistics for 2017, we uploaded and seeded 413 torrents and published 194 news stories on our Headlines page. In addition, we published 324 project releases on our front page, with 253 of those being stable/final releases. It has been a busy year and we are looking forward to more exciting open source developments in 2018.
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December 2017 DistroWatch.com donation: PCLinuxOS
We are pleased to announce the recipient of the December 2017 DistroWatch.com donation is PCLinuxOS. The project receives US$150.00 in cash to help the distribution reach its 2017 funding goals.
PCLinuxOS is a user-friendly desktop distribution which combines a rolling release platform with a relatively conservative style. This approach provides users with a stable environment while offering up to date desktop applications.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our donations to make a payment (PayPal, credit cards, Yandex Money and crypto currencies are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has made 151 donations for a total of US$47,739 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350), cherrytree ($260), Zim ($335), nginx ($250), LFTP ($250), Remastersys ($300)
- 2013: MariaDB ($300), Linux From Scratch ($350), GhostBSD ($340), DHCP ($300), DOSBox ($250), awesome ($300), DVDStyler ($280), Tor ($350), Tiny Tiny RSS ($350), FreeType ($300), GNU Octave ($300), Linux Voice ($510)
- 2014: QupZilla ($250), Pitivi ($370), MediaGoblin ($350), TrueCrypt ($300), Krita ($340), SME Server ($350), OpenStreetMap ($350), iTALC ($350), KDE ($400), The Document Foundation ($400), Tails ($350)
- 2015: AWStats ($300), Haiku ($300), Xiph.Org ($300), GIMP ($350), Kodi ($300), Devuan ($300), hdparm ($350), HardenedBSD ($400), TestDisk ($450)
- 2016: KeePass ($400), Slackware Live Edition ($406), Devil-Linux ($400), FFmpeg ($300), UBports ($300)
- 2017: Armbian ($308),
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Secure-K OS. Secure-K is a Debian-based live distribution which features the GNOME desktop and the Tor web browser.
- Reborn OS. Reborn OS is an Antergos-based distribution which offers the option of setting up one of nine desktop environments (and two window managers) at install time.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. We will be off next week and will return with the next instalment on Monday, 1 January 2018. 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 • I have a dedicated media desktop (by Jay Speed on 2017-12-18 00:43:28 GMT from Belgium) |
An old PC running Windows 95, MP3 don't need more.
It's not on a lot but still dose the job.
2 • I have a personal online media server (by BeGo on 2017-12-18 00:48:04 GMT from Indonesia)
Well, I use NextcloudSnap + AmpacheDocker as my personal online music and video server, so, yes. :)
3 • For media playing (by G.P. on 2017-12-18 01:30:52 GMT from Spain)
I've got an old desktop PC connected to my TV set running Mint XFCE as a video player.
4 • Multimedia (by argent on 2017-12-18 01:41:18 GMT from United States)
Don't specifically use a separate computer but run a multi-drive PC and have a dedicated Devuan Fluxbox install just for music.
This setup works as I don't fill up my home directory of my daily driver but can access those multimedia files if I needed to do so.
5 • using a media player to stream music (by newby on 2017-12-18 02:10:50 GMT from Canada)
Personally, find that a RaspberryPi works great as a media server. It's tiny, can be slung over the back of a monitor or tv, draws minimal power, and is affordable. There's also the matter of flexability, huge support, and multiple distros for use as a media-center.
Sorry for the "rant". But anyone using a media center is going to run into this problem at some point.
6 • My X61 rocks (by Trihexagonal on 2017-12-18 02:21:11 GMT from United States)
I have a Thinkpad X61 running FreeBSD 11.1--RELEASE-p4 that serves solely as the music source to my vintage stereo system and sits within reach of my recliner. It really shines in this area and I just upgraded the HDD to accommodate my digital music collection.
Since it serves that purpose only I keep a music related theme to it and have posted screenshots of it in the FreeBSD forums.
7 • Media Player Stream (internet radio) @5 (by Jan on 2017-12-18 02:55:13 GMT from Netherlands)
Possibly the following forum message has information:
However I am not sure about it. At present my usual radio streams work again through radioSure (a lot of them seemed silent a few days ago).
8 • dedicated media computer (by Dxvid on 2017-12-18 03:42:19 GMT from Sweden)
I used to have a dedicated media computer but I found out it was too complicated for my wife to use it and my kids couldn't use it at all. I switched to Chromecast a couple of years ago and now everyone in the family can watch films and series or listen to music without me needing to help them too much. Honestly it becomes tiring to have to do technical support in your own home, but with Chromecast I have reduced the need for technical support to about twice a month from previously almost every day. Chromecast has very limited functionality, but at least non technical people can handle it and it's compatible with a lot of popular apps. I sometimes need to do some "technical support" when it looses it's wifi connection, but apart from those times it just works.
9 • cloning software. (by verndog on 2017-12-18 04:58:16 GMT from United States)
While I like and use CZ from time to time, and it does great job on Windows, I now prefer fsarchiver for my clones.
10 • cloning #9 (by verndog on 2017-12-18 05:00:17 GMT from United States)
I should also state fsarchiver does not clone Windows properly: long file names.
11 • Media playing setup (by mikef90000 on 2017-12-18 08:52:41 GMT from United States)
I just started using a Raspberry PI 3 as a media server using the lightweight and easy to configure minidlna package. The image, audio and video files are stored on a 32GB USB flash drive for now.
The media player app in my Roku streaming stick (3600 series) is easy to set up as a client and found the RPI3; unfortunately it only recogizes a few video formats.
The image and audio performance is fine but the video can be slow to navigate; this may be due to the 802.11n wifi connection. Low cost to start and to expand with tiny energy consumption.
12 • both ! (by LAZA on 2017-12-18 09:42:56 GMT from Germany)
Cause i don't own a TV i watch everything on my PC and bought a PianoCraft MCR-840 and a seperate subwoofer to enjoy movies. In my machine i have a BluRay-Player (even it works often not cause of DRM shit) and can switch easily between both whatever is needed.
PC = Music, YT, copied DVD, mkv, Radio
MCR = Radio, DVD, amp for everything from PC
13 • Tools for rescuing the operating system and data files (by burdi01 on 2017-12-18 10:14:18 GMT from Netherlands)
There are several good rescue distributions besides the rescatux one mentioned in the article. Of those the SystemRescueCD comes to mind, as well as my personal favorite Parted Magic.
14 • New Distro Report (by Pat Huff on 2017-12-18 11:19:37 GMT from United States)
Antix is a wonderful distro as is its cousin, MX, but I could not install the new net-install version of Antix because it had trouble connecting (not on my end)...Also, I tried to install the new TrueOS but the installation stopped half way reporting some strange errors I couldn't define. However, Mint 18.3 Xfce installed beautifully on the same machine in about 10 minutes.
15 • MX Linux (by jotatb on 2017-12-18 12:34:08 GMT from Brazil)
MX Linux rocks!!! One of the best distros I have used! There's a lot of little apps to make my life easier, it's highly configurable, fast & reliable. Version 17 is another winner!
16 • Multimedia player (by nightflier on 2017-12-18 13:12:27 GMT from United States)
Raspberry Pi 3 + LibreELEC
17 • Tools for rescuing the operating system and data files (by Slan on 2017-12-18 13:35:53 GMT from United Kingdom)
Another great aid from Jesse. Know about the archive, but maybe publish a complete compendium like Linux Complete?
18 • Media playing setup (by DaveT on 2017-12-18 14:10:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
My audio files are in flac format on a NAS4Free server I built. Being a bit of a sad old audiophile I use the Sonos system as the DAC that then connects into my bi-amplified 100W per channel HiFi system.
I rip CDs using abcde on the command line.
I convert vinyl to digital using Audacity.
However, I am looking for something similar to Daphile for watching DVDs.
19 • Daphile (by Jordan on 2017-12-18 14:26:55 GMT from United States)
Interesting Daphile is based on Gentoo. I learned linux basics trying to get a Gentoo setup going years ago.
20 • Dedicated media pc (by carc1n0gen on 2017-12-18 14:40:41 GMT from Canada)
I use an i3 model intel nuc as a dedicated media player, running kodi
21 • Unnecessary (by Tiger Smith on 2017-12-18 15:42:06 GMT from United States)
I used to dedicate things to certain computers thinking I was cool. Back in that day, it was cool thing to have several computers in your house dedicated to certain functions. However, people started realizing how worthless that was, and that it was smarter to keep things to a single machine. For mobile use or for place they couldn't get a desktop to, they started using either a laptop, tablet or simply their cellphone. This thing about dedicating computers to certain functions to other computers was a cool idea at first until people realized how unnecessary it was.
22 • @22 (by Motor Ola on 2017-12-18 15:51:41 GMT from Norway)
I have all my media on my ThinkPad W520 with an SMB share set up so that I can wirelessly stream my media over Wifi to my Raspberry Pi running LibreElec (a lightweight distro with Kodi). This way I get the advantage of always having all my media with me if I am out and about, but at the same time I get the living room experience on my TV through Kodi and my Raspberry Pi 3 when I am at home. You do not have to choose one or the other, you can have both!
23 • @5 binary blobs... (by Motor Ola on 2017-12-18 16:02:38 GMT from Norway)
Systemd is free software. It is not in any way comparable to binary blobs that make life hard for manufacturers, users and security researchers alike. If you do not like systemd, that is fine, but you have to be aware that the alternatives are running init systems that no longer get security updates by anyone. I would not do that in any serious production environment. It is better to learn to use a few new commands than risk the security of your firm or household, but that is your choice. Just do not spread misinformation.
24 • dedicated media pcs (by dolpin oracle on 2017-12-18 17:52:23 GMT from United States)
I have two. 1 for online streaming media on the television (more flexible than a set-top-box) and an old eeepc904ha converted into a audio player. that one uses antiX as the backend, mpd to handle online radio stations as well as local media. throw in a samba share for ease of adding music to the machine, and a spotify/pandora lash up, and its a great litle device. plugged it in to some nice speakers, perfect for my office. controllable from my android phone... and it was kinda fun to build. see, still some uses out there for old 32 bit machines :)
25 • is Reborn OS the harbinger of a new Linux revolution as Knoppix was yrs ago?? (by Szulejmán on 2017-12-18 18:37:42 GMT from Canada)
Last night I installed this new distro on my spare laptop immediately, and after playing with it extensively, i hit the sack with outright satisfaction ....
Anyway, fast forward, eight hours later in the morning; I get up with a big smile on my face, as i recall this colorful dream in which i see Reborn OS is buoyant and making circles very high above a boring-looking field called The Distro Field where multitudinous trees array myriad fruits, similar in taste and texture :)
26 • #23 (by jadecat on 2017-12-18 19:11:22 GMT from United Kingdom)
You are the one that is misinformed I'm afraid. Try telling anyone that uses Slackware or any of the BSDs that their init systems are not updated. And these OSes have dedicated developers for just such instances.
27 • Media Computers (by sherman jerrold on 2017-12-18 19:12:16 GMT from United States)
My multimedia setup is as follows: I compose music, develop animations and create multimedia works. Linux has a wealth of programs that support that. I have a old Dell Optiplex 270 with Ubuntu Studio and AVlinux on it. It uses a 32" TV for a monitor and it drives old Hafler pre and power amps that I built from kits. I have fairly good quality speakers, too. Personally, I don't want a 'theater' quality video/audio work to be squished onto an 8" screen with tiny tinny speakers. And, the PC also has WinXP on it. I am most comfortable with a couple of Windows exclusive shareware programs for much of my composing and video creation work.
Thanks again to Distrowatch and the contributors for being an excellent source of info/discussion.
28 • @5 radio misconceptions (by Todd Dixon on 2017-12-18 19:40:01 GMT from United States)
I wanted to speak to your question of "why can't radio stations just leave things alone?" As a radio engineer and a frequent reader of distrowatch weekly and its comments, I may be able to shed some light on it for you.
I think that there is a common misconception that local radio stations are flush with money like national TV and other mediums. Unfortunately, that simply hasn't been the case since the late 20th century. Two of the larger radio groups in North America (Cumulus and IHeartMedia) are probably going to go through debt restructuring in the next 12 months. I'm not an employee of either of those companies, but suffice it to say, money in the industry is tight.
The two stations you mentioned (Arkansas State and East Tennesee State Public Radio) are obviously both publically supported. One uses streamtheworld (Triton Digital, which we use for our streams as well) and are paying set prices for per hour listening. They may get some sort of break based on stream ads that are placed on their embedded player. The other is using Tunein as an inexpensive way to at least provide their audio to distant listeners. Tunein takes the onus off the station for paying anything for the service, but put their own advertising in its place.
I promise you there is more of a kindred spirit in radio industry to open source software than you might realize. I can also swear that there is no conspiracy afoot to finally get rid of command line audio stream listening, but more of an economic issue at its heart.
29 • Poll (by Chris on 2017-12-18 20:03:04 GMT from United States)
I hit "other," because game consoles weren't an option. (no, I don't consider those media appliances) I typically use my PS4 for watching media. However, I do have a dedicated media/gaming PC, but it's not currently hooked up. I have an Alienware Steam Machine that I got about half off during income tax time. I rescued it from SteamOS and put a regular Linux desktop OS on it, then I configured the web browser to play my media if I should so desire, along with setting up Steam.
30 • xenialPuppy (by Jason on 2017-12-18 21:26:42 GMT from United States)
If you have used the various puppy linux, this one is on par with the classic tahrPuppy 6.0.5 - I've given this distribution a walkabout and I think it rocks. The Remaster feature works like a CHAMP as well, so it works as a container, or appliance meaning you can install any software on it you like - then remaster the thing - and your remastered ISO will allow you to boot and use your new distribution or install it and all your installated software will be preserved! It also runs by booting off the CD-ROM or DVD and saving to USB - portable for using on any computer you are near without leaving a footprint. Also they tend to make lean versions of popular software on their servers so the whole thing tends to be snappy as all get out - good for using in virtual machines due to their small footprint! This one passes the smell test - Jegas
31 • Media PC (by Big Smelly Jobbie on 2017-12-19 00:21:43 GMT from United Kingdom)
I use a Raspberry Pi 3 with OSMC for playing my media. You can use the TV remote control and the family find it easy to use. The media files themselves are stored on a central server - I use an Odroid XU4 for that. NFS, CIFS, NextCloud with Gigabit Ethernet, USB3 and OpenVPN so I can watch stuff no matter where I am.
Works for me.
I do have a couple of smart TVs - one Sony and one LG. They're terrible. The apps are slow and clunky. I use them for Netflix, Amazon Prime and live TV. And that's about it.
32 • Media Machines (by Peter Besenbruch on 2017-12-19 01:01:40 GMT from United States)
I have a nice speaker system in the living room. They are powered by a longish speaker wire run from a different room. A discarded laptop sits in that room and sends its output to the receiver in that room. The laptop connects via Samba to a server in a different room to access the music files. The files are organized by directory on the server. A computer in the living room connects to the old laptop via VNC. All network connections are wired. The player is Audacious. I also use the laptop to browse Youtube, and play back audio streams. If it's a concert, it can handle 480p video streams scaled to 720p and send it out over VPN.
33 • @25 (by Tran Older on 2017-12-19 02:45:47 GMT from Vietnam)
Until Cnchi fully catches up with Calamares, I give this personal verdict : Manjaro Deepin 17.06 : 9.5, Reborn 17.12 Deepin : 8.75, Pardus 17.1 DDE :8.0, Extix Deepin : 7.0. (No rating for the Wuhan distro.)
34 • Making a mp3 player with Linux (by debianxfce on 2017-12-19 06:05:20 GMT from Finland)
I had old Pentium III hardware and searched a light distribution and found Zenwalk and the Xfce desktop years ago. I broke that mp3 player by building it without a case and the agp socket did bend. I searched a new living room computer for many years and I found the Sunvell T95Z Plus Amlogic S912 TV box. I run my Debian testing Xfce distribution with it.
35 • Followups on my comment number 5 (by newby on 2017-12-19 07:22:34 GMT from Canada)
Re my post #5:
23) Motor Ola - My main distro is Slackware and it faithfully follows the linux mantra that everything in linux that is not compiled should be a text readable file. This is especially helpful when troubleshooting things like init files. BTW - Motorola "spun off" their semiconductor division a number of years ago. It is now know as "OnSemi".
26) Jade Cat - Thanks for backing me up on this; and yup, I use Slackware and like it's reliable and conservative philosophy (including use of POSIX text-based init files).
28) Todd Dixon - Thanks for the insiders's view. I was aware PBS stations are listener supported, but still unclear as to how streamthe world and tunein offer these stations any advantage over simply using Icecast/Shoutcast? My understanding is that Icecast/Shoutcast are open source and free to use, while streamtheworld and tunein are commercial entities that charge for their services. Is it that these companies take over the work of mainting the online stream? These stations already broadcast over the air, and must maintain local engineering support for that aspect of their operation. Does that not also extend to online streaming; or is that aspect of the operation (streaming, and programming skills) deemed a lower class skill set compared to RF engineering, and not worthy of in-house expertise? Considering how much of a stations operations are controlled by software, I would have thought you'd want to maintain that expertise inhouse, rather than "farming it out"? Also, no matter how you handle things, the listener is going to hear your advertising (which helps pay the bills), so still not clear why anyone would make it more difficult to grab the stream? eg - I can grab the same content on say, radiokansas, and as a result, listen to THEIR advertising, and maybe purchase some of their products, or support their fund-raising efforts instead. So it seems entirely counterintuitive to do something that will drive away part of your listening audience. Sorry for the long reply, but maybe you understand the confusion on my part? In taking one last look at your answer to see if I missed anything, the only other possibility that occurs to me is maybe these companies handle the copyright collections aspect of station operation? Lots of books on running Linux, but haven't come across any on running and maintaining a radio station (closest would be some books on running podcasts on Youtube).
36 • media computers, (by PAUL RAWLINS on 2017-12-19 11:34:24 GMT from United States)
I have 6 older Intel quad core computers (3 TV at home and 3 TV at the lake house ) I use for video/ movies / netflix - downloading shows and such. I have Mint Mate running them...love it the freedom I have when I am watching a TV
37 • Media machine (by azuvix on 2017-12-19 17:15:02 GMT from United States)
I've considered making a dedicated media machine more than once, but my wife's smart TV largely filled whatever need was there (she does most of the video watching and music listening).
Having said that, making your own media center is a great idea for versatility and the degree of control you can have over it. If I had a massive movie and music collection that I wanted to be accessible on-demand, I wouldn't think twice about setting one up. Having all that media on a NAS machine with ZFS, guarded by a pfSense or OpenBSD firewall would be useful and fun.
Actually, that's kind of the dream. I'd love to have a home where every important digital device (not counting microwaves and such) was running free software under my full control and my kids could learn to really use it all early on, including programming it if they wanted to. The only barriers to that are time and money, since all the software and hardware already exist.
And yes, I know that you can hack your microwave to work with a Raspberry Pi. No, that is not a priority of mine. ;)
38 • @35 radio streaming audio (by Todd Dixon on 2017-12-19 21:54:14 GMT from United States)
The only answer I can provide to any of your questions is that it is simply cheaper for streamthworld and tunein to carry the actual bandwidth for streaming listeners. As an example, we provide a 64 kbps AAC stream and a 48 kbps MP3 stream for each of our streams (3 of them), so 112 kbps per or 336 kbps total. Not a lot in terms of typical business level service, but we routinely have anywhere north of 200 stream listeners at any given time. If we were having to provide bandwidth to each of them for the 48 kbps stream, you're talking almost a constant 10 Mbps to accommodate the service.
The advertising that tunein and streamtheworld add are banner ads in their embedded players and offset some of the their actual costs. In fact, Tunein is one "listerner" to our streamtheworld audio, and then they turn around and rebroadcast it, adding their own ads.
I'll also add that a number of stations simply have contract engineering services and don't employ on-site engineering staff.
39 • Reply to 38 re streaming (by newby on 2017-12-20 04:32:13 GMT from Canada)
Thanks for the explanation. So if I understand correctly, when a station uses Icecast/Shoutcast, they are paying for the bandwidth. By using streamthgeworld or tunein, that services provides the bandwidth and there is an associated cost savings. So that part now makes sense. That still leaves the question as to why these services can't provide a url style link to their stream, rather than hiding it and depending on an embedded player? Is it technically difficult, a matter of additional labour for programing, or maybe confidentiality as to related to where the advertising would be inserted into the stream? Sorry if I'm persistant, but if I were an engineer, I'd want to fully understand a problem. Or is that the whole point; to not make it easy?
Maybe this is analogus to the "Kodi problem"? Apparently, it IS legal to stream TV programs, but some of the application add-on writers were making it too easy for unskilled viewers to simply click on links to find where broadcasters had hidden their streams. Now the industry has ganged up and threatened these application developers claiming their existance threatens their revenue stream (ignoring the fact they already derive revenue from advertising, and selling content and are double and triple-dipping on the revenue stream). As I think this through, I wouldn't blame you for not answering any futher. Maybe things like the internet freeing people from control of news media, and Bitcoin freeing people from the banking community are related to this issue. When first asking about capturing the stream I was simply thinking about being able to listen and set my own schedule for capture and replay. If the future of entertainment lies in media playack devices, be it a computer, a Raspberrypi, Chromestick, Roku, or "Smart TV", is that a "shakeup" of the present industry? Then again, there's that little conflict of interest as to whether your ISP is a content supplier, or a "pipe".....Depending on whether you talk to a lawyer, an engineer, or a company CEO may affect your answer. Us poor little peanuts in the audience can only feel some empathy for those animated characters in the (was it?) M & M candy commercials.
40 • I use general purpose Linux PCs (by M.Z. on 2017-12-20 18:35:07 GMT from United States)
I for one have a decent set of speakers on my main PC for audio listening & some HDMI cables for my laptop when I want to stream stuff to a good sized TV. From what I can tell my Linux laptop is both far more private & far more secure than many of the so called 'smart' TVs out there. According to what I read on those TVs awhile back they don't always update their OSs & in one case data on your viewing was sent back to the manufacturer.
To me it feels plenty quick & easy to put in a couple of plugs & get my laptop streaming, & I feel like I'm showing video streaming services that Linux is used on PCs & for streaming. Couldn't hurt Linux to stand up & be counted in case some big company tries to ignore my OSs of choice as an edge case.
41 • Thanks for the Daphile feature story (by Kimmo on 2017-12-20 18:36:25 GMT from Finland)
Thanks to Jesse for the nice Daphile review. I'd like mention that Daphile installation media boot has the read-only file system limitation and that's why user should do the final installation via web interface (Settings -> System Firmware} to hard drive or USB flash. More detailed instruction can be found at http://www.daphile.com/download/DaphileInstallation.pdf.
42 • Streaming (by Jesse on 2017-12-20 21:31:21 GMT from Canada)
@39: "That still leaves the question as to why these services can't provide a url style link to their stream, rather than hiding it and depending on an embedded player? Is it technically difficult, a matter of additional labour for programing,"
As someone who runs a streaming server, I can tell you it is trivial to provide a URL to the stream so it can be played using any client such as a web browser or VLC. The embedded player needs to know that URL to connect to the stream, so they already have a link, they just aren't publishing it.
They're probably hiding it so they can collect ad revenue on their website rather than have people side-step their website and connect directly with a media player. After all, they have to pay the bills somehow.
43 • Media server (by More Gee on 2017-12-21 02:32:07 GMT from United States)
Old single core 64 bit Pentium 4 running SMS server. Been running solid for 4 years. It even runs a web server media directory webpage. The only issue of late is the ISP blocks the server from other devices and browsers won't allow access to the Webmin server administrator remotely. But I can log in to the server and do a startx and configure it that way. I also have to log in to the server to shut the server down.
44 • streaming (by newby on 2017-12-21 04:13:30 GMT from Canada)
Thanks to both Jesse and Todd Dixon for their answers to what I thought was a simple question.
Re rescue CDs, favourite is SystemRescue, but have also found Finnix useful, especially on ancient equipment. There used to be one called Trinity rescue; haven't seen it in a while. In some cases, even Puppylinux can be used as a rescue CD. It can boot fully to memory, and does include partitioning and network probing tools.
45 • Media Server (by Mrtin on 2017-12-21 08:45:31 GMT from United Kingdom)
I have a Core i7 mini PC running Linux Mint 18.3, connected via hdmi to my TV and USB to my dac/hifi. It's fanless and uses an ssd ,so is totally silent. I run Roon Server, Spotify, Kodi and use Chrome to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime video. Music files are stored on a Qnap NAS. Server and NAS are on gigabit ethernet.
I also run two Raspberry Pi 3 with IQAudio Dac hats as Roon and Spotify connect endpoints. Both RPis run the Dietpi OS and connect using wireless networking.
Both MInt and Dietpi have been rock solid. The Roon infrastructure is also really stable.
46 • audio streaming (by heme on 2017-12-21 08:54:04 GMT from France)
Isn't it easy to just use the web browser for streaming internet radio?
47 • streaming (by newby on 2017-12-21 10:05:37 GMT from Canada)
46 heme - "Isn't it easy to just use the web browser for streaming imternet radio?"
No, it's not. I use a number of browsers, and for streams with embedded players, only Firefox worked for me. It is far preferable to be able to use your own dedicated player, and specify the stream url. That way, you can do it from X, OR from the console with no X running! Also easier to schedule and play other tricks. No browser needed either....
48 • @40: (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-21 12:38:35 GMT from United States)
" in one case data on your viewing was sent back to the manufacturer."
FYI, not just 'in one case'. All manufacturers and cable providers keep track of your viewing habits. The question is What other information do Smart TVs harvest about their users.
49 • @48 (by Mehe on 2017-12-21 14:08:50 GMT from France)
"All manufacturers and cable providers keep track of your viewing habits. "
I don't think they do, for it is damn too costly to run the cable. It'd be even more costly to keep track of every single person's "viewing habits."
50 • Dedicated media computer (by alexis on 2017-12-21 15:56:17 GMT from France)
I recently purchased a Raspberry Pi with an add-on soud card from IOAudio to serve has a dedicated music player.
My Pi is set to output (through sound card) to a Preamp/headphone amp via RCA that is then plugged into my speakers.
Since I mainly use Spotify to listen to music this is quite practicall has Spotify can be controlled remotely from any device (that has Spotify installed of course.).
But I also have a bunch of ripped music on a NAS.
This setup has 2 main advantages.
1 : The main advantage is that it totally frees my computer from music playback, so say I'm browsing the web and want to watch a quick video or listen to a podcast, well I just throw on my headphones and do just that without it interferring in any way with the music currently playing. Same goes if for example I feel this is a good time to update and restart my computer system, well once again it won't mess with my music.
2: It also allows me to unify the music setup as I have a desktop computer dual-booting Windows and Linux, and a MacBookPro (running MacOSX of course), and setting up access to the remote music on my NAS, as well as choosing and configuring a media player is a bit different on each, and while not really much of a pain, it is just such an inconsistent experience that I feel that having one single device responsible for accessing and playing music on my NAS is the better and simpler solution.
Oh and as an added bonus I now have a Raspberry Pi that I could reconvert into something else if I wanted to.
51 • Web connected TVs Vs privacy (by M.Z. on 2017-12-21 19:27:59 GMT from United States)
"I don't think they do,..."
It doesn't take much searching on serious & reliable websites to come up with plenty of examples of web connected smart TVs reporting your viewing habits. It's been going on for years, but there was some reporting on this back in February 2017 at Wired, the Washington Post, & Ars Technica:
The TLDR version is that many manufacturers have been implicated in the problem, though Vizio was in trouble when the reporting was done in February. In the case of Samsung, Wired mentioned there were even issues with the TV listening to everything going on in the room while waiting for voice commands back in 2015. I'd call that super creepy. Wired also mentioned Roku was pretty bad as well. In an interesting side note, Ars mentioned that the Vizio TVs were every bit as insecure with their spying actions as Ubuntu initially was with it's spyware lens in Unity, meaning it would have been fairly trivial for a third party to get their hands on your viewing habits. As another side note, LG was caught doing this over 4 years back, so this has been going on for awhile:
As for the talk of cable companies, well I'm less well versed in what is going on there & am a bit more skeptical about how serious the problems could be. There is at least some FCC language in the US about respecting privacy & written consent, though that could potentially be waived by many contracts. Not sure what to think there unless I seem some quality sources of information.
Anyway, I think using my open source Linux based laptop for streaming & https connections can at least mitigate the creepy actions of those obsessed with consumer viewing habits. It's definitely way better than a 'Smart' TV or a Roku if you care about privacy.
52 • @ 51 (by Fluff on 2017-12-21 20:36:09 GMT from Netherlands)
I suppose, you are living in a wrong country. You guys have an absolute mistrust toward your govt. You think it is always spying on you. Have you ever been inside a cable provider's operating area?
53 • As compared to what? (by M.Z. on 2017-12-21 21:43:13 GMT from United States)
"I suppose, you are living in a wrong country."
As compared to what? The UK government seems every bit a terrible as the US, though that really doesn't have anything to do with the issues being discussed:
The main issue I was talking about was "Smart" TVs. AS for the US in general & the US gov in particular, well I do know we have some degree of privacy rights spelled out in the US constitution. I'm more worried about what private businesses want to do with data they collect on me than the US gov, but I'm a bit of an optimist about government by & for the people. There are at least people in various levels of government worried about the issues surrounding privacy & willing to come out & talk about it.
My real issues is what are unaware consumers supposed to do about their devices spying on them? How deep in legalese gobbledy goop can they bury disclosures about your lack of privacy with a new web connected device? Perhaps there are other places where that is better handled, but I'm a bit dubious.
54 • @ 53 (by Fluf on 2017-12-21 21:55:43 GMT from Netherlands)
"I'm more worried about what private businesses want to do with data they collect on me than the US gov,"
Come live in the EU.
55 • TV viewing habits (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2017-12-21 23:56:33 GMT from United States)
Isn't this just the internet version of surveying emissions from neighborhood sets to generate ratings data?
Is this like NSA claims they aren't actually collecting all your phone calls - just the metadata (generated by 'AI' analysis)?
Recovery? There's TestDisk …
56 • What is privacy? (by Pittho Potteli on 2017-12-22 00:45:08 GMT from Canada)
@ 53 - 54 - 55
my name is pittho potteli originally italian genovese root. but, i grow potatoes and onion in canada. i still ride horses rather than smart car. my main question is:
what is privacy?
i heard about NSA, BND, and GCHQ collects the data... tons of data. here, i need some help.
in 2012 my all sales records were destroyed by rat attacks in my farm. i can appreciate if any one from NSA, BND or GCHQ can provide high / mean / low prices for potatoes and onions for year 2012. i will give a bag(s) of potatoes and onion(s) free.
should i discuss this matter privately?
57 • Ubuntu 17.10 corrupting BIOS - many LENOVO laptops models (by Bunty Buntu on 2017-12-22 06:34:17 GMT from Canada)
Ubuntu 17.10 corrupting BIOS - many LENOVO laptops models
Ubuntu 17.10 Temporarily Pulled Due To A BIOS Corrupting Problem
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 20 December 2017 at 05:55 AM EST. 70 Comments
Canonical has temporarily pulled the download links for Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" from the Ubuntu website due to ongoing reports of some laptops finding their BIOS corrupted after installing this latest Ubuntu release. The issue is appearing most frequently with Lenovo laptops but there are also reports of issues with other laptop vendors as well.
This issue appears to stem from the Intel SPI driver in the 17.10's Linux 4.13 kernel corrupting the BIOS for a select number of laptop motherboards. Canonical is aware of this issue and is planning to disable the Intel SPI drivers in their kernel builds. Canonical's hardware enablement team has already verified this works around the problem, but doesn't provide any benefit if your BIOS is already corrupted.
NO MATTER WHAT, I STILL LOVE Ooooooooooooooooooooh-buntu!
MAY BE JESSIE, HERE, TOO!
58 • Why? (by M.Z. on 2017-12-22 07:16:41 GMT from United States)
"Come live in the EU."
Why? What possible reason would there be for me to want to do that? Do you think I should be closer to Canonical/Ubuntu & the root of all evil spyware in the Linux world by moving to the Isle of Man/UK? The linked Ars Technica article from 2013/ @51 specifically mentioned that the LG TVs spying on customers in the UK, which was still part of the EU at that point & will be for a while yet. Companies the world over are causing problems over there the same as here. You seem plenty vulnerable to the same issues, though you're certainly more self deluded about it.
59 • Whom do you gonna blame? (by Blameiton Butta on 2017-12-22 08:32:20 GMT from Canada)
Linux world just waking up about BIOS corruption.
For Windows, BIOS corruption by MS-Windows10 is quite an old story already.
Ubuntu BIOS corruption issue is related to kernel driver.
Whom do you gonna blame?
Linux Baddy, Groff or Ubuntu?
In fact, in real world scenario is one is creator while other is promoter.
60 • @ 58 paranoia of some... (by Well on 2017-12-22 10:00:40 GMT from France)
>>"Come live in the EU."
Why? What possible reason would there be for me to want to do that? Do you think I should be closer to Canonical/Ubuntu & the root of all evil spyware in the Linux world by moving to the Isle of Man/UK? <<
We are not that paranoid over here about our governments and our private companies. We have better laws here on privacy of our citizens.
By the way, Isle of Mann is not in the EU and not a part of UK.
61 • Reply to #60 (by Eamon on 2017-12-22 13:46:13 GMT from United Kingdom)
We are not that paranoid over here about our governments and our private companies. We have better laws here on privacy of our citizens.
Well we should be. The UK has allowed the US government to setup spy bases in the UK to which we have no access. All UK and EU citizens are spied on from Yorkshire in England. We pay taxes to fund it too.
And laws on privacy only adhere to the general public, governments break every law they impose upon us.
And.... Sorry to burst your bubble of knowledge but.. The Isle of Man, or Mann Island is a dependency of the UK and the queen is the head of state.
Raspberry Pi 3 media server for me. Reliable, quiet and cheap.
62 • @61 Paranoia of some... (by Terse on 2017-12-22 15:52:36 GMT from France)
"The UK has allowed the US government to setup spy bases in the UK to which we have no access. All UK and EU citizens are spied on from Yorkshire in England. We pay taxes to fund it too.
And laws on privacy only adhere to the general public, governments break every law they impose upon us."
It maybe why there is Brexit now.
"And.... Sorry to burst your bubble of knowledge but.. The Isle of Man, or Mann Island is a dependency of the UK and the queen is the head of state."
Sure! The head of state of Australia and Canada for example, is also the queen. That doesn't mean Australia or Canada are members of EU. Under British law, the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom.
Citizenship in the Isle of Man is governed by British law. Passports issued by the Isle of Man Passport Office say "British Islands – Isle of Man" on the cover but the nationality status stated on the passport is simply "British Citizen". Although Manx passport holders are British citizens, because the Isle of Man is not part of the European Union, people born on the Island without a parent or grandparent either born, naturalised, registered or resident for more than five consecutive years in the United Kingdom do not have the same rights as other British citizens with regard to employment and establishment in the EU.
Anyway, check with your Home Office.
63 • @51: M.Z. (by dragonmouth on 2017-12-22 16:58:17 GMT from United States)
"In the case of Samsung, Wired mentioned there were even issues with the TV listening to everything going on in the room while waiting for voice commands back in 2015."
If you think about it, it is not some nefarious plot by Samsung to gather a dossiers on the owners of their TVs. To be able to instantly respond to a command, the TV needs to be listening constantly because it never knows when a command will be issued. So the acquisition of data is only a byproduct of the TVs function of responding to commands. Unfortunately, invading people's privacy is also a part of that byproduct.
64 • Global Privacy Problems (by M.Z. on 2017-12-22 18:53:34 GMT from United States)
"We have better laws here on privacy of our citizens."
So what exactly am I supposed to make of the whole Ubuntu spyware thing then? And of course there were the repeatedly mentioned TVs from LG that were obviously affecting people in the EU. Those of us in the know are well aware of what Ubuntu, a.k.a. the largest Linux desktop company in the vicinity of the EU, did to their users for years before cleaning up their act:
Now we seem to have some sort of geography debate on the issue of what the Isle of man counts as. There are a couple of relevant facts regarding the debate. The only prominent Linux project claiming to be from there is Ubuntu:
I also had the impression that there was a lot that the company did in London or other parts of the UK, though I could be wrong on that one. At any rate the other important fact is that they were widely acknowledged to have damaged user privacy & trust for years. They certainly affected folks in the EU, & by any measure were very close to there. Given that, what use are these supposedly better laws? It looks to me like you are rationalizing your own complacency.
"...it is not some nefarious plot by Samsung..."
Regardless of the intent, if you read the linked wired article in @51 you may have noticed that there were some fixes that could have been applied even before the technology shipped. From the linked article:
"The company has since amended its voice recognition to listen only when spoken to specifically..."
This seems to indicate to me that the device was designed without any thought to privacy whatsoever. Perhaps the matter is debatable, but given the information at hand I'd say the design had a reckless disregard for the privacy of users. This level of disregard seems to be a problem for companies the world over be they based in the US like Google, EU adjacent areas like Canonical/Ubuntu, or Asia like Samsung & LG.
65 • Bricking firmware (by Kragle on 2017-12-22 20:04:23 GMT from United States)
It's not just Ubuntu, Linux kernel, manufacturer or hardware vendors - it's the complexity of managing accumulating "features", the extremism of proprietary licensing, and a complete lack of open verification and auditing. Lenovo is not the only hardware vendor affected this time, nor is this the only time a device has been "bricked" by a firmware change.
Not that there are any Freed licenses that avoid the same extremism … yet.
66 • OLIGARCHIES RANSOM (by Ronnie Ransome on 2017-12-23 00:59:53 GMT from Canada)
@ #59 - # 63 - #65
Corrupting hardware is not a new practice in oligarchies ransoms collection. Neither it is 1st time for Ubuntu. Ubuntu did same BIOS corruption in past as well.
Apple, Sony, Samsung, McAfee and Microsoft (there are a few more) has being adopted same ransom collection practice to push their new products and also already been sued as well.
Only buyers to decide whether to pay oligarchies ransom or not.
67 • Here come another one from Linux Baddy & Groffermann Gang. (by Baddy Boy on 2017-12-23 10:34:03 GMT from Canada)
Privilege escalation via eBPF in Linux 4.9 and beyond
[Posted on LWN.NET December 22, 2017 by jake]
Jann Horn has reported eight bugs in the eBPF verifier, one for the 4.9 kernel and seven introduced in 4.14, to the oss-security mailing list. Some of these bugs result in eBPF programs being able to read and write arbitrary kernel memory, thus can be used for a variety of ill effects, including privilege escalation. As Ben Hutchings notes, one mitigation would be to disable unprivileged access to BPF using the following sysctl: kernel.unprivileged_bpf_disabled=1. More information can also be found in this Project Zero bug entry. The fixes are not yet in the mainline tree, but are in the netdev tree. Hutchings goes on to say: "There is a public exploit that uses several of these bugs to get root privileges. It doesn't work as-is on stretch [Debian 9] with the Linux 4.9 kernel, but is easy to adapt. I recommend applying the above mitigation as soon as possible to all systems running Linux 4.4 or later."
DOES ANYONE HERE EVER WISH TO MAKE Linux Baddy & Goffermann Gang completely naked in public and release them completely free as Community BuGS.
68 • systemd alternatives: not all are unmaintained (by Brenton Horne on 2017-12-24 15:12:23 GMT from Australia)
Must admit this issue has very little that interests me (which I am not here to whinge about, I know DistroWatch isn't here to entertain me :P) but I just wanted to say that systemd alternatives are not ALL unmaintained. I agree SysV init is old and unmaintained and hence I'm cautious not to use it, just like I'm cautious not to use APT-RPM (utilized by PCLinuxOS, which also uses SysV init) as it hasn't been updated since 2008! I can think of two Linux init systems other than systemd that are maintained and they be OpenRC (with OpenRC-init, which provides its own alternative for /sbin/init, I know by default it uses SysV init as the actual init) and runit (granted updates are infrequent with the last being 2014, but from what I can tell it is still maintained).
69 • "Not maintained" (by Kragle on 2017-12-24 15:51:32 GMT from United States)
As one who learned to never trust an "update" (especially an "upgrade") I have little fear of using software that is "not maintained", since I don't confuse needless incessant fiddling with actual improvements.
Many fixes would not be needed if decent coding discipline were applied.
70 • Linspire/Freespire Resurrection? (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2017-12-24 17:29:37 GMT from United States)
From the people who bring Black Lab Linux comes an OS named Linspire (apparently they picked up some old trademarks) which is free to download from iBiblio for a few days. Freespire is also planned …
71 • Media Server (by falcon52 on 2017-12-26 18:34:09 GMT from United States)
I run a dedicated Intel Atom media server using Vortexbox. It currently runs headless and is very capable for all my needs, which are pretty modest. The vortexbox is incredibly simple, uses a Fedora based OS and hasn't let me down despite running 24/7 for many years. I'm on a older version and haven't seen any reason to upgrade. It's amazingly simple to rip CD/DVDs, fetch art work, catalog and then access/stream my music and videos using Sonic, Plex and a host of other built in media managers.
72 • ? act now, quantites are limited ? (by tim on 2017-12-27 05:10:32 GMT from United States)
"Linspire... free to download from iBiblio for a few days."
What up with that???
73 • What did you do? (by Garon on 2017-12-28 15:23:15 GMT from United States)
To all people suffering from paranoid delusions and shaking in their boots. What's with all the old links and the rehash of old news about spyware and tracking and such? Each person alone is responsible for their own privacy. All the links, links, links trying to prove a point. If it's on the internet you know it's true lol. People who come to this site are not stupid. We all have our own opinions and we need to fend for ourselves. I've used many a different distros and have found that all of them needed some work. Most things you read on the internet, including from RMS, needs to be taken with a grain of salt until investigated personally. In the meantime lets try to be nice to each other.
74 • Naive Complacency Vs Legitimate Concern (by M.Z. on 2017-12-28 18:56:30 GMT from United States)
"To all people suffering from paranoid delusions and shaking in their boots. What's with all the old links and the rehash of old news about spyware and tracking and such? Each person alone is responsible for their own privacy. ... If it's on the internet you know it's true lol."
I sense a deep & naive level of complacency in your comments. The whole conversation started because @49 was even more naive & didn't understand what so called 'Smart' TVs mean for personal privacy when compared to something like my Linux laptop setup streaming that I suggested.
As for all the old links & the talk of 'if it's on the Internet', well yes that can be an issue depending on both the size & legitimacy of the source. In the case of Ars Technica, it's a long established site that is not only run by a major media company, but it has been dedicated to quality journalism in the areas of both science & technology from it's inception. For example the science articles often link directly to peer reviewed literature published in quality science journals & their health reporter has a Ph.D in microbiology, as does their senior science editor. They also wrote some reviews of Distros like Fedora & Mint that DW linked to. The other articles I linked to were from even better known sources, but if you can find a complaint with any of those sites from a source that is legitimate, then do tell us.
On the subject of being 'responsible for their own privacy', well that is yet another example of a complacent attitude. You can say anything is totally up to the individual to handle & that buyer beware is a good policy; however, in my version of the US constitution it clearly states that there is some degree of a right to privacy. I see no good reason not to ask for some common decency & reasonable privacy as a rule & will say so if the topic comes up. I speak on the issue because it is important to me & because I saw a Linux based solution as an attractive & open source alternative to the kind of dedicated media device others were discussing.
I'll let you double check everything said, since that seems to be your bag, but it's fairly easy to verify. Also please note the extreme irony of talking about people having '...paranoid delusions and shaking in their boots...' & then telling us to talk nice. It may not be very nice to point out how self contradictory & foolish such statements near each other may make someone look; however, its no worse that the whole paranoid delusion thing you just accused others of. If you want to pretend to be the adult in the room don't lead with childish & unfounded accusations.
75 • MX antiX 17 (by Oldtimer2 on 2017-12-30 23:16:37 GMT from United Kingdom)
MX antiX 17 is a marvelous distro, small, but complete and works on older hardware in a timely fashion.
Its well designed, with all the bits you could need, a credit to the old MEPIS community.
76 • MX-Linux (by Winchester on 2017-12-31 21:56:36 GMT from United States)
MX is marvelous,yes but not perfect.
I have had MX-14 on an old Asus netbook from 2012. Multi-boot partitioned with a few other Linux distributions. Only in MX-14 there is a problem with the cursor jumping to different lines when editing text files. This DOES NOT happen with the same hardware in OpenSUSE Tumbleweed or in Arch Linux 32-bit or in Puppy Linux derivatives.
Number of Comments: 76
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