| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 744, 1 January 2018
Welcome to this year's 1st issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
We have lots to cover, so let's dive straight into our first review of the year with MX Linux 17. MX Linux is a middle-weight distribution with its roots in Debian and with some convenient tools to help configure the operating system. Jesse Smith shares his experiences with the MX project below. In our News section we explore openSUSE experimenting with using the kernel to display the system's boot splash screen and Ubuntu pulling install images over a bug which could affect the BIOS of some computers. We also report on PureOS being endorsed by the Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD considering turning on Wayland support by default, Manjaro continuing 32-bit package support and UBports experimenting with running Android apps. Plus, in our Tips and Tricks column, we share examples of working with multimedia files from the command line. As usual, we share the releases of the past couple of weeks and provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. Finally, in our Opinion Poll, we would like to find out how many distributions our readers tried while we were away on holiday and what was your favourite? Let us know in the comments. We wish you all wonderful new year and happy reading!
- Review: MX Linux 17
- News: openSUSE experiments with kernel-powered splash screen, Ubuntu pulls downloads over BIOS bug, PureOS is endorsed by the FSF, FreeBSD considers easier Wayland access, UBports to run Android apps, Manjaro to continue 32-bit support
- Tips and tricks: Managing multimedia files
- Released in the last two weeks: Endless OS 3.3.5, ArchLabs 2017.12, Slax 9.3.0
- Torrent corner: Archlabs, Calculate, Endless OS, FatDog64, Manjaro, NetBSD, Nitrux, ROSA, Sabayon, Slax
- Upcoming releases: Ubuntu 18.04 Alpha 1
- Opinion poll: How many distributions did you install in the past two weeks?
- New additions: DietPi
- New distributions: Shiba_lnu, LinuxCNC, batocera.linux
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (31MB) and MP3 (39MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
MX Linux 17
MX Linux is a desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's Stable branch which uses Xfce as the operating system's default desktop environment. MX grew out of a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. The latest release of MX Linux is version 17 and it is based on Debian 9 "Stretch". Unlike Debian, MX does not use systemd as the system's init software, instead using SysV init.
MX Linux 17 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the installation media we can download is about 1.2GB in size. Booting from the live media brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot normally or boot MX with VirtualBox support. The VirtualBox option enables MX to integrate with a VirtualBox virtual machine environment and use the host system's maximum screen resolution.
Whichever option we select brings up the Xfce desktop environment. On the left side of the screen we find a panel which holds the application menu (at the bottom), some quick-launch icons and a clock is placed at the top of the panel. The application menu is powered by the Whisker menu, a two-panel menu with a search box for finding specific items. On the desktop we find an icon for launching the distribution's system installer.
MX Linux 17 -- The welcome window
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While exploring the live desktop environment, I found the system had two key user accounts, root (for administrative tasks) and demo for normal user access. Both accounts are password protected ("root" is the password for the root user and "demo" for the demo user).
MX uses a graphical system installer which features several steps and takes a bit longer to get through than Ubuntu's Ubiquity or the Calamares installer popular among Arch-based projects. However, the steps MX's installer puts us through offer a great deal of customization. The installer begins by asking us to select on which disk we will install the distribution. We then have the option of launching the GParted disk utility to set up partitions. When we return to the installer we are asked which partitions will be used for our root file system, swap and /home directories. MX supports formatting our partitions with a range of Linux file systems, including Btrfs, ext2/3/4, XFS, JFS and Reiserfs. The installer then copies its files to our hard drive.
Once packages have been placed on our hard disk, we are then given the option of installing the GRUB boot loader and we can select where GRUB is placed. We are also given the chance to give our computer a hostname and enable Samba file sharing. We are then asked to select our language preference, time zone and our keyboard's layout from drop-down lists. We can even choose whether we prefer our desktop's clock to display in 12 or 24 hour format. The installer has a screen dedicated to enabling services where we can check boxes next to items such as OpenSSH, scanning, CUPS printing, cron and sudo. The final page of the installer gets us to create passwords for our root and regular user account. We can optionally enable home directory encryption and automatic logins from this page. With all these steps completed, the installer exits, returning us to the live Xfce desktop.
While MX's installer is not as streamlined and requires a bit more understanding of the system than some beginner friendly installers, it also provides us with a good deal of flexibility. In essence, a lot of the system configuration is handled up front at install time rather than after the system is up and running.
Booting a fresh copy of MX 17 brings up a graphical login screen where we can sign into the account we enabled at install time. Logging in brings up the Xfce desktop again. In the upper-right corner of the desktop a Conky status panel is displayed. In the middle of the desktop a welcome window opens. The welcome window provides us with a link to the project's user manual in a PDF reader. The welcome window also gives us quick access to the distribution's forum, a desktop tweak tool, the project's wiki, a simple package manager for installing popular applications and the MX Tools panel. I will talk about the MX Tools settings panel later. Once we dismiss the welcome screen we can display it again later by launching MX Welcome from the application menu.
The simple application installer available from the welcome window is a desktop program which displays a list of categories of software. Clicking on a category opens a list of popular programs in that category. For example, Firefox and Chrome are in the Browser category, gFTP is in the FTP category and Steam can be found under the Games category. We can check boxes next to each package we want and click a button to install these extras.
MX Linux 17 -- Adding popular packages
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Earlier I mentioned the Conky status panel in the upper-right corner of the screen. I'm not a fan of status panels in general as I find them distracting. I was happy to note that while some projects make it difficult to turn off Conky, MX has a toggle button to display/hide Conky in the Favourites section of the application menu. If we hide the status panel, Conky will come back the next time we login.
I explored running MX in three test environments. When run in a VirtualBox virtual machine, on a desktop computer or on a laptop, the distribution consistently performed well. The Xfce desktop is very responsive and the system boots quickly. Suspend & resume worked as expected, my network cards were detected automatically and I was able to use my host computer's full screen resolution when running MX in VirtualBox. The distribution tended to use between 280MB and 290MB of memory when signed into Xfce and used approximately 4.5GB of hard drive space.
MX ships with a fairly typical collection of open source software. The distribution offers us the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client and the Transmission bittorrent software. Network Manager and GNOME PPP are available to get us on-line over either high-speed or dial-up networks. MX provides us with LibreOffice, the FBReader e-book reader, a dictionary, the qpdfview PDF viewer and the Orage Calendar app. The distribution covers multimedia playing with the Clementine audio player, SMTube for finding and playing YouTube videos and the VLC media player. I didn't have trouble playing media files, but if we run into a situation where a codec is missing, there is a tool for installing additional media codecs in the MX Tools panel. Xfburn and Asunder are present to help us burn and rip CDs, respectively.
MX Linux 17 -- Running the Firefox web browser
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The distribution further provides us with the GNU Image Manipulation Program, a desktop application for connecting to printers, a few arcade games and luckyBackup, which I will talk about later. We are given an archive manager, text editor, calculator and hardware sensor viewer. In the background we can find the GNU Compiler collection and Java. MX uses SysV init as the default init software. By default the distribution runs on version 4.13 of the Linux kernel, but other versions are available in the project's software repositories.
Earlier I mentioned the distribution ships with a program called MX Tools. This application acts as a configuration panel from which we can launch other, small applications to adjust the operating system. Some of the MX utilities include a snapshot tool for making bootable ISO images of our system, installing all available media codecs and managing user accounts. The account manager, I discovered, can also be used to clean up old temporary files to free up drive space. There is a tool for enabling/disabling Xfce sound effects and another for working with network drivers. I like that the networking tool not only lets us use Windows wireless drivers, but also lets us enable or blacklist drivers which might cause us trouble.
MX Linux 17 -- The MX Tools panel
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There are a handful of other tools for adjusting the look of the desktop and the panel. Plus we can tweak the window manager, enable compositing and adjust a range of window behaviours. I like that most extra features, like desktop sound effects, are disabled by default.
I don't think the MX Tools panel has the same pretty and user friendly approach as, for example, the OpenMandriva settings panel, but the MX panel covers a wide range of functionality. The tools are fairly well arranged and, if we get lost, we can search for a specific settings module through the distribution's Whisker application menu.
MX Linux 17 -- Using the account manager to clean up old files
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MX offers several approaches to package management. The flagship package manager for the distribution is Synaptic, a flexible package manager that allows us to install, upgrade and remove packages by checking boxes next to package names. Synaptic does not make it particularly easy to find types of applications we might want to install, it's more of a low level package manager. If we want to browse categories of software and select popular desktop applications then MX provides the MX Package Installer which can be launched from the distribution's welcome window or from the MX Tools panel. I touched on the Package Installer before and I think it's a pleasantly simple tool to use and it gives us quick access to many popular applications.
MX Linux 17 -- Enabling new software repositories
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When software updates are available a small notification is displayed along with a green box icon in our system tray. Clicking the green icon opens a window where we are shown the command line output from the APT command and asked if we would like to proceed with downloading the available software upgrades. The update utility can work in two modes, the first is a plain "upgrade" which will just update installed software. The second option is to perform a "dist-upgrade" which attempts to intelligently upgrade, install or remove packages as necessary to keep our system up to date. Either approach should be relatively safe since MX is based on Debian's Stable branch which does not see much change during its lifetime. My only concern with the update utility is it is basically just a window for running the APT command line tools, which is effective, but not at all visually appealing and may scare off new Linux users.
MX Linux 17 -- The update manager
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Being based on Debian, some of MX's packages are a bit old, and some were around a year old by the time MX 17 launched. The QupZilla web browser, which is available through the MX Package Installer, is already over two years old. I looked at some portable package options, to see if that would help me get more up to date desktop software. Flatpak and Snap are available in the repositories if we want to try them. I did attempt to use Snap, but found I was unable to download Snap packages. When I asked about this problem on the MX forums, I was told Snap relies on systemd, which is not enabled by default on MX.
Backups and bugs
Earlier I mentioned MX ships with luckyBackup. The luckyBackup tool is a desktop application for creating backup jobs. The utility allows us to set up multiple backup jobs and then run them manually or schedule the jobs to run later. The luckyBackup tool is not as streamlined as some other backup tools, like Deja Dup, but it offers a great deal of flexibility along with the option to test "dry runs" to confirm a backup job will complete successfully.
Like many of the tools MX ships with, I don't think the backup utility is the most user friendly option available, but I do think it is one of the more flexible options available in the open source world.
MX Linux 17 -- Backing up files with luckyBackup
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While I was using MX, I didn't run into many bugs. The distribution was surprisingly responsive and stable. One of the few issues I ran into was about one in five times I would try to logout (or reboot the computer) a message would appear on my desktop saying the requested task could only be completed when the session manager is idle. If I tried to logout again immediately, the same message would reappear. If I simply left the computer alone for about 30 seconds, my account would be logged out successfully.
Having used MX for a week now, I think it is fair to say the developers have done a lot of things well and I believe a lot of their success stems from finding good compromises. MX is based on Debian's Stable branch which gives a good, solid core and a huge collection of packages. While Debian's packages tend to be older, MX updates some key components, such as the kernel and Firefox, to give users the benefit of newer technology. We can downgrade items, like the kernel, if we wish.
MX also finds middle ground in the size and performance of the distribution. MX certainly is not the lightest distribution I have used lately, in terms of memory and hard drive space consumed, but it on the lighter end of the spectrum. MX is smaller and faster than many of the mainstream distributions, such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora while offering most of the same features.
One of the few areas where I think MX loses out to the big, mainstream Linux distributions is in beginner friendliness. The installer, configuration tools and package management are all (in my opinion) geared toward people who have used Linux a time or two before. MX appears to be aimed at people who already know what packages, window managers and media codecs are. The graphical tools provided are powerful and flexible, but there isn't much hand holding. The installer expects you to know what CUPS is and the desktop configuration tool expects users to be familiar with virtual desktops, APT and compositing. If you understand those concepts and like the idea of a distribution which offers good performance with a little eye candy, then MX Linux is probably a good match for you.
Personally, I was very happy with MX, more so than I have been with most operating systems I have experimented with in the past six months. Not necessarily because MX is an objectively better distribution, but because I think the developers have similar tastes to my own. This shows up in little details. For example, I like my system to be quiet and not distracting. MX features very few notifications and sound effects are disabled. The theme is slightly dark, but not so dark as to make the contrast jarring. There is just one desktop panel, aligned vertically down the left side of the display, just the way I like it. The developers walk a middle road I like on performance, features and visuals. In short, there was very little I had to do to get MX looking and acting exactly the way I wanted and this meant I spent very little time adjusting settings or turning off features I didn't want and more time getting things done.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a desktop HP Pavilon p6 Series with the following specifications:
I also ran MX Linux on a de-branded HP laptop with the following
- Processor: Dual-core 2.8GHz AMD A4-3420 APU
- Storage: 500GB Hitachi hard drive
- Memory: 6GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8111 wired network card
- Display: AMD Radeon HD 6410D video card
- 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
MX Linux has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9/10 from 890 review(s).
Have you used MX Linux? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE experiments with kernel-powered splash screen, Ubuntu pulls downloads over BIOS bug, PureOS is endorsed by the FSF, FreeBSD considers easier Wayland access, UBports to run Android apps, Manjaro to continue 32-bit support
Max Staudt has announced a new approach to displaying a boot splash screen on GNU/Linux distributions. The Staudt has published patches which enable the Linux kernel to display a splash screen during the boot process. In theory, this will provide a smoother, more consistent boot image than the one provided by userland tools such as Plymouth. Staudt writes: "This is the initial prototype for a lean Linux kernel bootsplash. It works by replacing fbcon's FB manipulation routines (such as bitblit, tileblit) with dummy functions, effectively disabling text output, and drawing the splash directly onto the FB device. As it is now, it will show a black screen rather than a logo, and only if manually enabled via the kernel command line." Further details and the benefits of moving this functionality into the kernel can be found in Staudt's mailing list post.
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The download links for Ubuntu 17.10 were temporarily removed from the distribution's website while the project's developers responded to a serious bug. The bug in question revolves around a kernel driver which affects Lenovo computers, corrupting their BIOS. The bug prevents users from adjusting and saving new BIOS settings. "Basically on Lenovo Y50-70 after installing Ubuntu 17.10, many users reported a corrupted BIOS. It's not possible to save new settings in BIOS anymore and after rebooting, the system starts with the old settings. Moreover (and most important) USB booting is not possible anymore since USB is not recognized. It's very serious, since our machines do not have a CD-ROM. Lenovo forums at the moment are full of topics regarding this issue." Further information, a workaround and a list of affected Lenovo computers are listed in a bug report on Launchpad.
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PureOS is a Debian-based distribution which goes to great lengths to provide free and open source software exclusively to its users. The efforts of the PureOS team have been recognized by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and PureOS is now one of the few operating systems endorsed by the FSF. Donald Robertson wrote, on behalf of the FSF: "The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the addition of PureOS to its list of recommended GNU/Linux distributions. The FSF's list showcases GNU/Linux operating system distributions whose developers have made a commitment to follow its Guidelines for Free System Distributions. Each one includes and endorses exclusively free 'as in freedom' software. After extensive evaluation and many iterations, the FSF concluded that PureOS, a modern and user-friendly Debian-derived distribution, meets these criteria." PureOS is partially supported by Purism, a company which sells computer hardware designed to work with free and open source software, without non-free components.
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Some FreeBSD developers are discussing whether to make it easier to use Wayland (an alternative to Xorg) to power desktop environments on the FreeBSD operating system. Johannes Lundberg commented, "I want to suggest that we enable Wayland by default. In current state, having some parts of Wayland in ports is basically useless, the end-users themselves re-build GTK30 and mesa-libs with Wayland enabled. libwayland-egl.so from mesa-libs and the extra libraries and headers from GTK30 adds like a few KB, a drop in the ocean compared to Xorg packages." Lundberg points out Wayland has technically been available on FreeBSD for over a year, but needs to be enabled manually, slowing adoption. The discussion on whether to enable Wayland can be found on the FreeBSD Ports mailing list.
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UBports, the project which took over maintenance of Canonical's Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system, has announced a long-awaited feature: UBports may soon be able to run Android apps. If successful, this would allow users to run an open GNU/Linux operating system with a mobile-oriented interface and popular Android applications. The project's blog reports: "UBports, the maintainer and community behind the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system, is pleased to announce that the long-awaited feature of being able to run Android apps on Ubuntu Touch has reached a new milestone with the inauguration of 'Project Anbox'. Anbox - a shorted form of 'Android-in-a-Box' - is a community effort which allows Android apps to execute in a container in a more native way rather than the more common approach of using an Android emulator, which compromises performance and usability. During the next few weeks, UBports will release a pre-alpha version of Anbox with setup instructions. People have come to depend on certain applications that are not available on Ubuntu Touch. In order to become a full-featured and mainstream mobile operating system, Ubuntu Touch needs to offer its users the proprietary services they depend on, at least until the point when free and open source alternatives are viable." The Android compatibility feature will be an optional component of UBports.
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While Manjaro Linux's parent distribution, Arch Linux, has dropped support for 32-bit packages, members of the Manjaro team have decided to continue supporting 32-bit computers. Manjaro developers, along with some other Arch-based projects, are continuing 32-bit support through the archlinux32 community repositories. Technically, 32-bit support is being continued through a separate effort from the main Manjaro project and will not have the same range of installation options. People running 32-bit builds of Manjaro should be automatically set up on the new repositories, but for those who are not, there are update instructions on the Manjaro forum.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks (by Jesse Smith)
Managing multimedia files
A few weeks ago we shared some tips for manipulating image files from the command line using a suite of tools called ImageMagick. This week we are going to quickly cover some useful command line tricks for working with multimedia files.
Have you ever found an audio track you liked that was part of a video file and you just wanted the audio? We can extract the audio from a video file and save it separately using the ffmpeg command line tool. This can be accomplished by passing the ffmpeg program the -i flag and the name of the original video file, followed by the name of the file where we will save our audio:
ffmpeg -i video.mp4 just-audio.mp3
The -i flag just lets ffmpeg know which of the files we are specifying is the original input file, in this case it is video.mp4.
In a similar manner, ffmpeg can convert one video type into another. This example converts an .avi file into an .mp4 video file:
ffmpeg -i original.avi new-and-improved.mp4
Also on the subject of ffmpeg, this tool can take screen shots for us from a video file. The following example takes one screen shot 12 minutes and 44 seconds into a video called family-trip.mp4. The image will be saved under the name family-snapshot.png.
ffmpeg -ss 12:44 -i family-trip.mp4 -frames 1 -f image2 family-snapshot.png
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Sometimes I encounter audio files which are difficult to hear due to having a very low volume. We can boost the audio output using the sox command. The sox command will adjust volume up or down using the -v flag followed by a multiplier. The following example doubles (x2) the audio volume of a file.
sox -v 2.0 original-music.ogg louder-music.ogg
We can do the reverse, making a loud file softer by using a multiplier smaller than 1.0:
sox -v 0.25 original-music.ogg quieter-music.ogg
The sox command has other uses, for example it can be used to trim audio files. The following example extracts the sixty seconds from 1:30 to 2:30 in an audio file and saves this to a separate file. The new, shortened file is called just-a-minute.mp3.
sox original-music.mp3 just-a-minute.mp3 trim 1:30 60
The sox package features a second tool called play which can be used to play an audio file from the command line. This is handy for times when we are making adjustments to audio files and want to immediately test our output.
What is your favourite audio or video editing command line trick? Leave us your tip in the comments.
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More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Endless OS 3.3.5
Endless OS is a Linux-based operating system which provides a simplified and streamlined user experience using a customized desktop environment forked from GNOME 3. The Endless team has announced the availability of Endless OS 3.3.5. The new version makes it easier for multi-language users to switch languages, even before signing into their account. "Here's what's new in Endless OS 3.3.5. Sign-on improvements. We've made it easier for users who mix English and non-English languages in their password to switch languages while signing in to unlock their computer. Improvements to apps. The new version of Flatpak and Flatpak Builder adds new features and fixes many bugs. This means users will see improvements to their apps such as: Missing icons will now appear in some apps like Telegram; prevented a situation where apps wouldn't be able to connect to the internet after changing from one wireless network to another; improvements to language and localization selection." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement. Endless OS is available in multiple languages and the distribution's ISOs are offered through a variety torrents on the project's Download page.
ArchLabs is an Arch Linux-based distribution featuring the Openbox window manager. Matt Dobson has announced the release of new installation media for ArchLabs bearing the version number 2017.12. Early versions of ArchLabs featured the Calamares graphical system installer, but the newest version swaps out Calamares for an alternative installer called ABIF. "The biggest addition to ArchLabs this time around is the removal of Calamares and the re-appearance of ABIF. There are a couple of reasons behind this. Firstly, both Nate and I prefer ABIF as our method of installation and secondly, we managed to trim down the ISO by a few more MBs. ABIF has been fine-tuned to suit ArchLabs needs and is a bit more of an in-depth way of installing ArchLabs. Don't be scared off by ABIF, it is surprisingly simple to use. For those of you who have never used ABIF, you will be able to find a walkthrough in the next coming days at our forum." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Slax is a Debian-based distribution designed to be run from a USB flash drive. The project has released a new version of the live desktop distribution carrying the version number 9.3.0. The new version's major change is the introduction of additional firmware for wireless networking devices. "Lets recap all the changes since previous stable version: First of all, I've added lots of firmware drivers to support various WIFI devices. It is around 40MB compressed, so Slax is a bit bigger now due to this, but I fully understand that a computer without network connection is completely useless, so this had to happen. I spent some time testing Slax to boot from many different file systems and I was able to identify some problems, which are now fixed. Most importantly this includes NTFS and ext4 support, so Slax is now capable of booting from them as well." Further details can be found in the project's release announcement for Slax 9.3.0. ISO images can be downloaded from the distribution's home page.
The FatDog64 Linux team have announced a new stable release of their distribution. FatDog64 is a lightweight distribution which has a similar style to Puppy Linux, but focuses on supporting 64-bit computers. "The Fatdog team (Kirk, James, SFR and step) is happy to announce the next version of Fatdog64, 720 Final. Fatdog64 720 Final is the next iteration of Fatdog64. It is still built on the same base as Fatdog64 710 so it has a high-degree of compatibility with 710 packages; however it has been expanded, improved, and modified to meet today's challenge. Much of the improvements in this release are from SFR and step. We like to thank those who have provided feedback, suggestions, advice, bug reports, bug fixes in the Beta cycle and in the previous releases. You know who you are." A list of key package updates and major changes since the Fatdog64 710 release can be found in the project's release announcement. More specific package information can be found in the release notes.
Soren Jacobsen has announced the release of NetBSD 7.1.1, a security and bug-fix update from the project that develops a lightweight operating system that runs on a wide range of hardware platforms: "The NetBSD Project is pleased to announce NetBSD 7.1.1, the first security/critical update of the NetBSD 7.1 release branch. It represents a selected subset of fixes deemed important for security or stability reasons. The following security advisories were fixed: buffer overflow via cmap for 4 graphics drivers; x86 - vulnerabilities in context handling; Vnode reference leak in the openat system call. Userland changes: dhcrelay(8) - fix bug that prevented proper operation when run in the background; Heimdal - update to 7.1; mtree(8) - don't modify strings stored in hash, otherwise filling up of directory hierarchy stops if the same hash value occurs in directory and leaf...." Here is the brief release announcement, with a detailed changelog provided in the release notes. Installation images of NetBSD 7.1.1 are available for 54 different platforms.
Calculate Linux 17.12
Alexander Tratsevskiy has announced the release of Calculate Linux 17.12, a set of desktop and server distributions based on Gentoo Linux. This release is comes in four desktop flavours, with KDE Plasma 5.10.5, Cinnamon 3.4.6, MATE 1.18.0 and Xfce 4.12.3: "On the New Year's eve, meet Calculate Linux 17.12! This latest release features installation on software RAID and offers still better load and memory balance. Main changes: added SoftRaid support; fixed auto-partitioning problems; third-party overlays supported; the Calculate Utilities server does not run on the background, it is launched by D-Bus; the MuQSS patch was included to the kernel configuration for better application task scheduling; the UKSM patch was included in the kernel configuration for less memory load; PAE binary kernel supported for 32-bit systems; all server kernel settings optimized; GCC updated to 6.4 and the kernel updated to v 4.14...." Read the full release announcement for further details and upgrade instructions.
Calculate Linux 17.12 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
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ALT Linux 8.2
Michael Shigorin has announced the release of ALT Linux 8.2, a set of independently-developed, RPM-based distributions designed for desktops, servers and educational institutions: "BaseALT Ltd announces the release of ALT Server, ALT Workstation and ALT Education distributions version 8.2, aimed at corporate servers and desktops, educational and personal use. Changes in version 8.2: critical security fixes in Linux kernel, Samba, OpenSSL and other software packages included along with bug fixes; iucode-tool is now used to load updated CPU microcode. ALT Server 8.2 changes: the link to access System management center printed to console; FreeIPA server added. ALT Workstation 8.2 changes: Chromium browser is not installed by default but provided in the image; FreeIPA client added...." Read the rest of the release announcement for further information and links to product descriptions.
Manjaro Linux 17.1.0
Philip Müller has announced a new update to the rolling Manjaro Linux distribution. The new installation media, labeled Manjaro Linux 17.1.0, ships with several package upgrades. "This is our second try with Xorg-Server v1.19.6. This time we also updated our Mesa-Stack and changed the handling of DRI/DRM. Some reported Compiz not working with this. Therefore we had it updated to the latest source currently available. Friends of GIMP may try out the latest development edition of this fantastic graphical art app. Again we have the latest Firefox and WINE added. Also linux49 and linux414 got updated to their latest point-releases. This marks the last update of Manjaro in 2017. We wish you all the best for next year. Have fun and celebrate with family and friends!" The release announcement mentions Manjaro Linux will no longer officially support 32-bit packages, but 32-bit support can be found through the related Manjaro32 project.
Ferdinand Thommes has announced the availability of a new snapshot of siduction, a rolling release distribution based on Debian's Unstable branch. "Today we are proud to release siduction 2018.1.0 with the flavours KDE, LXQt, GNOME, Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, Xorg and noX. The released images are a snapshot of Debian Unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2017-29-12. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, a brand new installer and a custom patched version of the Linux kernel 4.14.10, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.5 and systemd 236. KDE Plasma stands at version 5.10.5, while GNOME comes in at 3.26 with some packages still at 3.24. LXQt ships at 0.12.0 and Xfce at 4.12.4, while Cinnamon comes in at 3.4.6 and MATE at 1.18.3. Sadly, right now, GNOME, MATE and LXDE are largely unmaintained. If no one steps up to keep them in a releaseable state, we might have to drop these flavours with our next release. The corresponding packages will stay in the archives." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
siduction 2018.1.0 -- Running the Cinnamon 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: 689
- Total data uploaded: 17.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
How many distributions did you install in the past two weeks?
Our last issue of DistroWatch Weekly was published two weeks ago and, in the gap between then and now, we have been looking at several projects and exploring operating systems on our waiting list. We would like to find out if you have been exploring new distributions too. How many distributions have you installed in the past two weeks? Let us know which ones in the comments.
You can see the results of our previous poll on running a dedicated computer for playing media in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
How many distributions did you install in the past two weeks?
|0: ||816 (48%)|
| 1: ||266 (16%)|
| 2: ||269 (16%)|
| 3-5: ||270 (16%)|
| 6-10: ||67 (4%)|
| 11+: ||24 (1%)|
New projects added to database
DietPi is a Debian-based Linux distribution, primarily developed for single board computers such as the Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi or Odroid. DietPi also supplies builds for 64-bit x86 personal computers and virtual machines. DietPi ships with a number of menu-driven configuration tools which can be run from a terminal.
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- Shiba_lnu. Shiba_lnu is a distribution based on the Slackware-based flavour of Puppy Linux. The distribution ships with the Openbox window manager.
- LinuxCNC. LinuxCNC is a Debian-based distribution for working with computer numerical control (CNC) machines.
- batocera.linux. batocera.linux is a distribution for personal computers and single board ARM computers (like the Raspberry Pi) which runs classic console games through RetroArch.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 8 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 • Distros I've given a whirl (by Brenton Horne on 2018-01-01 01:36:40 GMT from Australia) |
In the past fortnight or so (maybe a month for some of these) I've tried installing distros like:
* Arch Linux (my primary OS but I've re-installed it so I'm counting it :P)
* Black Lab Linux 8.0
* Debian 9.3
* elementary OS 0.4.1
* Fedora 27 & Rawhide
* feren OS
* Gentoo Linux (my secondary OS for a while now but I did re-install it so I count it too)
* KDE Neon git unstable (what can I say I sometimes get the itch to test out the latest and greatest KDE has to offer)
* Linux Mint 18.3
* Mageia 6
* NixOS 17.09
* OpenMandriva Lx 3.03
* openSUSE Tumbleweed (chose it partly as I want the latest stable GNOME release as soon as possible after it is released, without having to build it myself. After all it got GNOME 3.26 just two days after its release, as opposed to five days for Arch, if I'm feeling particularly itchy to get it I can add the GNOME:Next repository and install it from it)
* Peppermint OS 8
* Q4OS 2.4
* ROSA 10
* Slackware Linux 14.2
* Ubuntu Kylin 17.10
* Void Linux
* Zorin OS Core 12.2
. Needless to say I have experienced a few bugs (e.g. one with Solus made it unusable after the first upgrade, OpenMandriva Lx 3.03 had WiFi problems https://forum.openmandriva.org/t/dkms-broadcom-wl-a-missing-file-dkms-was-expecting-and-erroneous-sed-command/1550) and other problems with them, after all there is no such thing as the perfect distribution, or operating system for that matter. Others I abandoned as I found them so boring because they differed so little from their base, especially the Ubuntu derivatives, Black Lab Linux and Peppermint OS.
deepin was the most beautifully out-of-the-box, with Broadcom WiFi support out-of-the-box and being able, out-of-the-box, to sign in with my fingerprints was a nice touch. Its repositories being vaster than its parent distribution, Debian (unstable), was also a nice touch. You can even install Atom and Visual Studio Code from its official repositories. Fedora also came with this nice fingerprint login feature and being able to search for packages from GNOME's overview was nice.
2 • New (kernel) approach to boot splash (by Simon on 2018-01-01 01:36:51 GMT from New Zealand)
For many years, those of us who wanted graphical boots used to patch the kernel for a graphical startup: the bootsplash patch (and other similar, more sophisticated framebuffer handling patches that were produced by a Gentoo developer) and the themes designed for it were widely used as they'd work with any distro. Now and then the bootsplash patch wouldn't apply to the latest kernel so we'd have to tweak it...but apart from that (i.e. some occasional inconvenience around kernel version upgrades) it was reliable and worked well.
One advantage of Plymouth over the older kernel-based approach was that it could transition seamlessly (without a graphics mode change) from the boot splash to the X windowing environment: with kernel-based framebuffer loading screens there was always an ugly break between the startup splash and the login screen. Based on the mailing list post re this new approach, it looks as though they're building it so that it doesn't clash with kernel mode setting and so will eventually provide the same kind of seamless bootup-to-login backgrounds as Plymouth provides. This is good news for fans of simplicity (Slackers etc.) who aren't so fanatical about it that they want all the boot messages dumped to the screen even when there are no errors or warnings: if it's done well it should mean that the (userspace) system becomes a bit tidier.
3 • Manjaro-17.10 (by Linux_chopper on 2018-01-01 01:37:36 GMT from United States)
it installed good, booted up fine, too much crazyness with various kernel versions, the updater thing in the taskbar says my kernel is too new and unstable and i should get a stable one, so i get the LTS kernel installed 4.9.x, remove the new one 4.14.x and fix up grub and reboot, then it wants me to upgrade to a newer kernel again, sheesh what a mess, so i try to install & run some SDR software (hackrf one) and gqrx is broken because of version problems with boost and icu-59 or icu-60, i just cant debug a rolling release, that is the job of the developers, if i wanted to do all that kind work i would have just install linux from scratch, then at least it would be mine and my mistakes, not fixing other people's mistakes
4 • MX Linux (by Ron on 2018-01-01 03:13:05 GMT from United States)
Jessie I concur, MX is my favorite for now. Still using MX-16. Tried 17 but seems to be very slow - I suspect something wrong with my USB stick causing this, still experimenting.
Happy New Year All
5 • How many distros (by Rooster12 on 2018-01-01 03:22:57 GMT from United States)
Off work as many are for the holidays, and yes a distro hopper!
Won't list them all but they are all mostly Devuan, Arch, Void, and Debian, say about 25 with 3 permanently installed.
Not impressed with Ubuntu, nothing I would chance having on my machine.
Particularly enjoy Devuan and Void as my new installs.
Happy New Year DW!
6 • Distros Installed (by Eamon on 2018-01-01 03:55:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
For the first time in nearly 10 years,,, wait for it,,,, I installed Windows 7. It broke my heart to have to do it but pcsx2 doesn't play nice with my graphics card in linux. I blame intel for not giving us proper drivers for linux, tossers that they are!
Thanks to all @ DW and have a prosperous year :)
7 • Well, technically... (by azuvix on 2018-01-01 04:14:55 GMT from United States)
Do Qubes templates count? ;) The way I use it involves managing at least 2 distros at once, usually.
The last ten years of GNU/Linux and *BSD experimentation have been great, though I did have to hop around dozens of projects to find what I like. Every distro or variant has its own interesting ideas and offerings. Eventually, though, I came to the realization that, with enough experience, users know what they want from any distro and adapt best to distributions that allow them to easily set up what they want with a minimum of fuss. Well, unless the fuss is actually kind of fun... *cough* Gentoo *cough*
So nowadays, I do have favorites, but I'm not wedded to anything. Most of my distro-hopping is totally experimental with no intention of replacing my day-to-day OS, though I did step out of my shell a bit for Qubes' unique design. If I ever switch again, it will probably be for something just as robust, configurable, and forward-thinking. There are certainly a few out there that fit the bill.
8 • Distros (by Carson on 2018-01-01 04:32:59 GMT from Canada)
Debian 9 with i3 with a slightly altered configuration
9 • About manipulating video files (by LiuYan on 2018-01-01 05:17:21 GMT from China)
This is a helpful article about convert video file to high quality GIF using ffmpeg:
I also use mediainfo to get well formatted information about the video file.
10 • Jesse (by Sondar on 2018-01-01 08:57:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
Another tour de force from Jesse with a superb review of MX-17 and CLI sox commands: thank you, Jesse. If you liked MX-17, probably be amused if not liking 4M, which is certainly different.
11 • MX-17 (by Chris Whelan on 2018-01-01 09:17:09 GMT from United Kingdom)
@#4 - Ron
There were some speed issues identified during testing, but they were resolved early on in the testing phases. There shouldn't be any noticeable difference in speed between MX-16 and MX-17.
As you suspect, your USB stick might be the problem. If you are unable to resolve this yourself, MX users also benefit from a friendly community, accessible through the forum. Enquiries are usually dealt with quickly, and everyone there understands that they were all 'newbies' once!
12 • How Many Linux Installs (by Phillip Chandler on 2018-01-01 12:01:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
Why do linux users bash windows ? Do you use linux just to look cool, bragging rights ? Or because you really need linux ?
I have a PC with Windows 10 and a dual boot laptop with Windows 7 and Manjaro Linux. I dont brag or bash which would make me look childish.
Instread of bashing windows and saying its not secure, look at the real reason. After using computers for 35 years Ive realised that the biggest threat to any security, is the stupidity of the end user, NOT the OS.
Ive also read one uk lug user complaining when having to reinstall win 7 and the amount of updates. Must be nice to install an iso the day after its released and have more updates than a reinstall of win 7
13 • Installed (by pfbruce on 2018-01-01 12:52:03 GMT from United States)
Got a new laptop for Christmas. Took a couple of days getting it running well, updates mainly. Then I installed Fedora 27 on half the drive. I kept W10 because it is a touch screen Dell. I am not a fan of peanut butter and jelly all over my screen, but I also have other uses for W10 (weather station, taxes, GPS, etc.)
14 • installs (by wally on 2018-01-01 13:27:26 GMT from United States)
3 installs because I was replacing my main box; after 10 years my old build was getting long in the tooth. My systems always run multiple distros, in this case: debian (my preferred), mint, ubuntu, win 10(some proprietaries just aren't possible on linux/wine) .
15 • MX-17 (by Chris Whelan on 2018-01-01 13:31:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
Great to see such a positive review of MX-17 - thanks.
One thing that to some degree mitigates aspects of MX being fairly comprehensive, and thus somewhat overwhelming for a complete Linux beginner, is the excellent user manual. This is written from the point of view of meeting the needs of a newcomer, and is regularly re-appraised to make sure it is understandable without previous Linux experience.
16 • MX Linux (by aguador on 2018-01-01 13:33:18 GMT from Spain)
I have generally not gone for Debian-based distros, but MX Linux caught my eye a while back and I follow it because of three features: a) up-to-date applications (essential if using the Debian stable base that tends to have out-of-date ones), b) monthly snapshots for those downloading for the first time between releases, and c) a great set of tools. All of this simply complements a very nice implementation of XFCE and a well-chosen set of default applications. Given Jessie's review, I do need to do a virtualbox install to see how difficult it would be fore newcomers as it is a distro I am likely to recommend to newbies over the *buntus and *buntu-based distros.
17 • MX Review. (by dragonmouth on 2018-01-01 13:37:50 GMT from United States)
"Synaptic does not make it particularly easy to find types of applications we might want to install"
In the lower left hand corner of the default Synaptic screen is a "SECTIONS" button. Click on that and you will see available applications listed by type. What could be easier?
"One of the few areas where I think MX loses out to the big, mainstream Linux distributions is in beginner friendliness."
Why does MX and every other Linux distro have to be dumbed down to the level of a 2 year old?! Next you'll be complaining that Linux From Scratch or Gentoo are not " beginner friendly" enough. For those that want "beginner friendly" there's DouDou and Emabuntus.
I am sick and tired of the demands that every distro be "beginner friendly" and looking and working like Windows. Linux is NOT Windows. It is not supposed to be, If people are so hard-up for Windows look-and-feel and 'beginner friendliness", they should stick with Windows and let Linux be Linux. Come to think of it, when I was learning Windows, it did not seem particularly "beginner friendly" either.
18 • MX Linux (by Rick on 2018-01-01 13:49:12 GMT from United States)
I tried MX Linux. But it appears that you can not force or downgrade a program to a previous version like you can with Ubuntu or Mint. As a result of that, I have rejected this distro and will try others.
19 • MX-17 "unexpected" sluggishness (by Distrohopper on 2018-01-01 14:03:40 GMT from Brazil)
Ron (#4) wrote:
"... Tried 17 but seems to be very slow - I suspect something wrong with my USB stick causing this, still experimenting."
Chris Whelan (#11) answered:
"... There shouldn't be any noticeable difference in speed between MX-16 and MX-17. As you suspect, your USB stick might be the problem."
And this is my opinion about Ron's problem:
I think there's NOTHING wrong with their USB flash drive!
MX Linux itself is a lot slower than other similar (Debian based) distros. By the way, it takes a lifetime just to shutdown, when Kali Linux LXDE does it almost instantly, also running from a USB flash drive.
The OS I'm using right now to post this message is MX-16. In comparison to Kali LXDE, it's like a handicapped snail, especially when the Firefox Web-browser decides to "freeze" for tens of seconds from time to time, not allowing the mouse pointer to freely move...
Firefox not the culprit for that strange behavior? Well, maybe XFCE got too bloated and should be replaced. So I don't understand why LXDE is not the default desktop environment in such a wonderful distro as MX Linux.
I'm now convinced that lightning-fast software (such as LXDE/LXQt, Seamonkey/Vivaldi/Netsurf, etc) built on top of a rock-solid base without the systemd init daemon is the way to go. And the MX community should start to realize that Devuan STABLE (as in Star Linux) seems to have advantages over Debian STABLE. In my opinion, Slackware RELEASE might be the ideal solution due to the fact that even its CURRENT branch is surprisingly stable.
In 2018, my goal is to find out the "perfect" Devuan variant for my desktop and the "perfect" Slackware variant for my laptop (with a bunch of firmware packages for WiFi NICs). Bug-ridden distros not allowed: No more Ubuntu, no more openSUSE, no more Fedora. Let those ugly birds die! (I'm kidding, of course. :)
Yes, I shall have a truly happy New Year. Wish the same for all Linux/BSD communities around the world, today and forever.
Other than the excessive verbosity at bootup time, the sluggish XFCE (maybe the real problem with Ron's MX-17) and the apparently buggy Firefox (not an ESR edition), MX-16 is certainly the best desktop-oriented distro out there. A phenomenal work. Long live anticapitalista and collaborators. I love you!
20 • Installed OpenSUSE 42.3 (by Dxvid on 2018-01-01 14:06:48 GMT from Sweden)
Installed OpenSUSE 42.3 on an old laptop from 2006 with an early i5 CPU. Everything worked fine.
21 • MX Linux 17 (by Jerry3904 on 2018-01-01 14:25:39 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the thoughtful review Jesse; we greatly appreciate your taking your time to test it depth.
Since you mention old software as a potential issue, I thought I would signal two important errors in your package list on the MX page:
--qt 5.7 is installed
--gtk+ 3.22-0.1 is installed
The second, of course, is the version adopted by the Xfce devs as the base for the next release.
FWIW: in the MX Test Repo are vlc 2.2.8 and gimp 2.8.22, where they are waiting for user testing feedback before being loaded into Main
22 • Tried Slax (by MikeOh Shark on 2018-01-01 14:33:34 GMT from United States)
I was enticed by the Slax announcement that they had 40MB of drivers for wireless. Unfortunately, there was no driver that would work with my TP-Link T2U wireless USB. I was hoping for support for 5ghz wireless AC. I blame TP-Link and mediatek.
I did not see an easy way to replace the XFCE style launcher in the middle of the screen with a corner menu and taskbar which I strongly prefer for productivity so I probably will abandon Slax.
23 • Post # 12 (by Winchester on 2018-01-01 15:08:26 GMT from United States)
So,the blame for inherent security flaws in an operating system should be placed on the end-user??
The update procedure in various editions of Windows compared to the update procedure in most GNU / Linux operating systems is not in the same stratosphere. The Windows Update process is one of the main reasons that I bailed out on Windows. An agonizing waste of time which doesn't even address third party software.
The amount of updates for a GNU / Linux operating system will depend on the release model and the specific distribution. So,there are actually choices that you can make.
24 • MX-17 (by Chris Whelan on 2018-01-01 15:12:51 GMT from United Kingdom)
I helped to test the development versions of MX-17, using a total of 10 very different pieces of hardware. None of the issues you mention with regard to speed were found, or reported by other testers.
I just tested the shutdown time of my own Core i5 laptop, running MX-17, and it was 7 seconds. I don't know how that compares to other distros, but it seems pretty fast to me.
There were multiple reasons LXDE was not chosen for MX; development on LXDE has been very slow, it has much reduced capability compared with XFCE, and for those wanting a super-light system antiX is a better fit. The MX Linux mission statement describes it as a midweight OS.
There have been no reports on the MX forum that would equate with your issues with Firefox freezing, so I don't know why you are experiencing that problem.
25 • MX-17 versus MX-14 (by Winchester on 2018-01-01 15:14:47 GMT from United States)
I posted the following in the prior "DistroWatch Weekly" but,this might be a better place for it :
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.
Has anyone noticed if this particular problem exists in MX-17 or in MX-16 ??
26 • Distros (by Bill Donnelly on 2018-01-01 16:05:56 GMT from Canada)
I have installed Debian 9 and Debian SID on different hard drives. I have also installed Antergos xfce, Opensuse leap 42.3 and Fedora 27 xfce in Virtualbox.
All of these distro's have been installed without too much difficulty. My preference is Debian 9 for its overall stability. Debian SID is more up to date but dosen't give me anything more than Deb 9 does. I have tried to get Skype working in all of these distros without success.
One of my favorite distros is Antergos xfce. It is easy to configure and updates are fast. Tried MX 17 a few weeks ago and liked it too.
27 • mx linux (by dogma on 2018-01-01 16:30:36 GMT from United States)
I’ve been somewhat intrigued by mx linux in part for systemd-free reasons, but not tried it. This is very idiosyncratic, I know, but the fact that they don’t supply USB images I find offputting. To the question Do I want to get and use unetbootin, the answer has so far been No. Maybe when wheezy hits eol…
28 • MX-17 (supplement) (by Jerry3904 on 2018-01-01 16:35:05 GMT from United States)
Since you mentioned the old version of QupZilla, I should have added that 2.1.2 is also in the MX Test Repo awaiting user testing reports.
29 • MX-17 (by Chris Whelan on 2018-01-01 16:45:11 GMT from United Kingdom)
Not many distros have USB images available in my experience. MX has two tools available for creating those images however - a CLI one, and one using a GUI. For creating bootable USB's the in-house ones work better than unetbootin.
Perhaps availability of USB images is something that might be looked at in the future.
30 • How Many Distros (by Phillip Chandler on 2018-01-01 17:08:11 GMT from United Kingdom)
@23. Basically.... Yes.
In the UK when wanting a car, you take driving lessons, theory / driving test, you get a car, you have to get tax, mot, insurance etc, and maintain the car. You have rules about speeding and drink driving, and you know the consiquences if you fail to stick to the rules.
No one tells you the basics of computer / internet use. Youre not understanding the basics of scammers and script kiddies. We all make mistakes, I did from learning. Im now able to say that with my setup and basic common sense, I dont have any problem with either windows or linux. I do not fail for all these scams who are trying to get as much money out of you very quickly for small outlay, unlike people who go on talk shows to say they were scammed and it wasnt their fault. It wasnt the fault of the OS either.
If youd like to chat via email, rather than have a flame war here, Id be happy to hear from you.
31 • Distro's installed? (by Jim on 2018-01-01 18:13:49 GMT from United States)
First the last two weeks with the end of year holidays is bad timing to ask that question. People are traveling and busier than usual.
Second, what do you consider "installed"? I use a USB drive to test most distros before installing them. Is that installed or not?
As for installed, I have Debian Mate and Ubuntu Mate installed and am happier than hell with them. I have tried other more numerous than I want to list here. Some good, some bad. some okay, just didn't fit my needs. I still love looking at new distros, and will continue to test them on USB drives and an older desktop I use for just such matters.
32 • How many distros (by Andy Figueroa on 2018-01-01 18:21:10 GMT from United States)
I just marked one because they were all Gentoo. :-)
Security issues aside, I would definitely change my video card before installing Windows. The Windows user experience is totally substandard. The Windows user experience is based on the need to sell software to the user. I'm definitely bashing MS Windows.
Great review of MX. It looks like there is hope for Debian core without systemd after all.
33 • MX-17 (by jotatb on 2018-01-01 18:37:23 GMT from Brazil)
I love it.
I haven't experienced any of the problems reported by other users. No Firefox freezes, no slow shutdowns, nothing.
MX17 is not pefect, but it's a very decent distro, and it's getting better each release. The expanded MX Tools is a breeze.
34 • MX-17 scratches a unique itch for me. (by Clicktician on 2018-01-01 18:42:28 GMT from United States)
I've used MX since the 2014 release, and MX-17 is the best yet.
I don't carry a laptop to and from the office. I just use MX on a USB and borrow whatever box is available. My criteria are simple:
1) run the live version entirely from RAM, ejecting the boot media.
2) generate a .iso from the live system currently running in RAM.
3) write that .iso to a USB live media drive and run anywhere.
4) never have to install the distro to maintain or customize it from cradle to grave.
I was able to get the excellent Systemback software to make Ubuntu workable in this portable scenario, but MX has all of this stuff native stuff. Not many distros are built to let you roll your own live isos without ever having to install.
35 • Two Distros to Love (by spankmon on 2018-01-01 19:19:10 GMT from United States)
Bodhi, my new go-to favorite, and Mint XFCE 18.1 upgraded to 18.3 (prefer an upgrade in this instance)... my long term daily driver. I really enjoy the Moksha desktop in Bodhi, but also have an Openbox session which I tend to spend more time using. Love it so much that I gave it the coveted linux partition on my ssd, and Mint was relegated to one of the hard drives. A fresh install of Mint 18.3 wouldn't work for Diablo 2 in Wine. The upgrade from 18.1 would.
36 • Firefox random "delays" in MX-16 LiveUSB (by Distrohopper on 2018-01-01 19:31:31 GMT from Brazil)
Hello, Chris Whelan! I'm glad you tried to enlighten me. As somebody
relatively new to the Linux world (using it since January 2015), I still
don't understand a lot of stuff (almost everything, to be honest :).
So be patient with this stupid n00b.
Okay, let me try to explain a bit better the "freezing problem" I have with
the Firefox v50.0.2 in MX-16 Linux. I'm using your own comments to argue:
"I helped to test the development versions of MX-17, using a total of 10
very different pieces of hardware. None of the issues you mention with
regard to speed were found, or reported by other testers."
| Ten different machines? Did you run it in a pathetic Intel Atom D2500?
| This is the "very low end" hardware I use to test 32bit distros. If
| something boots in this machine and performs decently, then it is
| really fast. By the way, both the XFCE and LXDE spins of PCLinuxOS
| run nicely in my Core i3 'Skylake', but they show horrible issues
| in the Atom. Their X server implementation even had compatibility
| problems with the onboard video... The only other distro that made
| such an absurd mistake was Scientific LiveMiniCD (a RHEL clone with
| the IceWM window manager). In contrast, antiX performed gloriously
| in this very same hardware. No problem at all, and its shutdown
| time is very short.
"I just tested the shutdown time of my own Core i5 laptop, running MX-17,
and it was 7 seconds. I don't know how that compares to other distros,
but it seems pretty fast to me."
| 7 seconds to shutdown a distro installed in the HDD (or SSD) of a
| Core i5 is not bad. But switch to a distro running from a LiveUSB
| (as I did with MX-16) using an Atom D2500, and you will see how
| much time it takes to boot and shutdown...
"There were multiple reasons LXDE was not chosen for MX; development on LXDE
has been very slow, it has much reduced capability compared with XFCE, and
for those wanting a super-light system antiX is a better fit. The MX Linux
mission statement describes it as a midweight OS."
| Yes, the LXDE development is not as fast as that of most popular desktop
| environments like XFCE or MATE. But it makes continuous progress since
| the very beginning. LXDE is getting better at each new release. Presently,
| I can surely state that it will never become a behemot like KDE or GNOME.
| Even XFCE is now a lot bloated than it was years ago. That's the reason
| why I'm abandoning just about every distro that doesn't carry LXDE/LXQt
| out of the box, including MX Linux. And there is no special capability
| in XFCE/MATE/GNOME/KDE that LXDE/LXQt doesn't have. Both are speedy and
| very mature graphical interfaces packed with useful tools. Thus I have
| "multiple reasons" to never touch XFCE/MATE/GNOME/KDE anymore.
"There have been no reports on the MX forum that would equate with your issues
with Firefox freezing, so I don't know why you are experiencing that problem."
| Well, we finally came to the point... In reality, I have no clue on what is
| causing these "delays" (a word that describes much better the problem with
| Firefox). Forgive me for saying things like "freeze" and "not allowing the
| mouse pointer to freely move", instead of a more descriptive wording like
| "Firefox in MX-16 sometimes has momentary delays that keep it stuck/halted
| for tens of seconds till recovering to normal operation". Either way, my
| intention is not to bash MX Linux, the distro I consider THE BEST amidst
| the whole bunch of Debian variants using XFCE.
A last detail: Because of my testing rig being limited to just 1GB of RAM,
I didn't try MX-16 totally loaded into memory. And I connected the system
to the Internet using a TP-Link TL-WN722N, a WiFi NIC with the very well
supported Atheros AR9271 chipset. Not sure whether the "random delays with
mouse freezing for several seconds" issue with Firefox might be something
related to networking. Every time they occur, the WiFi NIC keeps flashing
their blue LED...
37 • pursuit of "user friendliness", and blowback (by tim on 2018-01-01 19:58:58 GMT from United States)
ironic: Users (reviewers) demand that everything should "just work", so distros release with a kitchen sink of services enabled. Users (reviewers) then lament the inherent "overhead" and potential "slowness" of the default provided configuration. Clearly, the pursuit of "user friendliness" has proven to NOT be a win-win.
A single "iPhone connector widget daemon thing" may not add considerable overhead but the cumulative result of all the shoehorned and auto-started "amenities" can be noticeable on lower-specced machines. Hoorah for the folks who publish various articles & guides like "38 Thing To Do After Installing Geshundu", but we would all be further ahead if distros would provide force-fed onboard docs and tutorials (I don't mean "let's configure you system autowizzards") using gamification toward fostering "user education".
Users must be brought to understand that a distro release provides a base, a starting point. Thousands of softwares are installable from AUR or PPAs, or are are available from repositories or elsewhere as .deb files or flatsnapImage executables. That availability, without enforced education, seems to have bred an expectation that "my local distro" is obliged to be aware of, be familiar with, provide helpdesk support for whatever I choose to install (or that I try to install, without RTFM, and fail).
38 • IEEE 802.11ac (5GHz WiFi band) support in Linux (by Distrohopper on 2018-01-01 20:08:21 GMT from Brazil)
MikeOh Shark wrote:
"I was enticed by the Slax announcement that they had 40MB of drivers for wireless. Unfortunately, there was no driver that would work with my TP-Link T2U wireless USB. I was hoping for support for 5ghz wireless AC. I blame TP-Link and mediatek."
This webpage may give you a clear picture on what WiFi NICs are suitable
for connecting a Linux machine to the Internet by means of the 802.11ac
and the 802.11n/g/b wireless protocols:
Remember that hardware equipped with an Atheros or Intel chipset
is preferable to another one with a Ralink or Realtek chipset.
Don't even think of buying anything with a Mediatek chipset.
It sucks as much as Broadcom.
39 • I installed those Linux distros in last two weeks : (by mim yucel on 2018-01-01 20:16:55 GMT from Turkey)
Mint Cinnamon and Mint KDE (both last versions : 18.3). After a apropriate experimental running time I have uninstalled Mint KDE and decided to run only Mint Cinnamon last version 18.3
( I had also at time tried for experimenting Kubuntu last version and after a short time I had uninstalled it.)
40 • how many? (by jeffrydada on 2018-01-01 20:27:37 GMT from United States)
Voyager Air 18.04 beta
Karumin Neon 16.04
from the waiting list
Secure-K Lite 17.12
My Acer Laptop currently has Backslash Kristoff, Fedora 27 and KDE Neon unstable Developer - These are Subject to change quite often
My Recording Studio Desktop runs, Peppermint with KX Studio repos, Ubunto Studio 17.10, Fedora Jam! 27, And Peach OSI that has several Windows based recording apps running under WINE. These OSes are more permanent and don't change too often.
41 • Distros Tried (by Mitch on 2018-01-01 22:08:51 GMT from United States)
It has been a long time since I have actually made the time to play around with Linux anything, other than what I use daily. For many years this has remained Ubuntu. Although my days in the basement lab have faded, I am excited to read and hear about progress in the Linux world being made daily! I had looked at Mint this Fall, but in the end, I decided to not jump over... Nautilus and the Gnome world will continue to work just fine for me. I had grown to really like the functionality of Unity over the years and plan on hanging out with Ubuntu for many more. I think the diversification of users and distros is still amazing after all these years, sometimes you just gotta function daily while life organically shifts around over time.
42 • Trying new distributions (by eco2geek on 2018-01-01 22:40:45 GMT from United States)
While I haven't actually installed any new distros to my hard drive during the past two weeks, I've run a bunch of them from USB sticks, including:
Trisquel 7 and 8 (v8 is sort of an alpha)
Linux Mint MATE
Trisquel 7 is based on GNOME, while Trisquel 8 is based on MATE. I liked them both better than I thought I would.
43 • distros tried (by Fox on 2018-01-02 00:17:49 GMT from Canada)
I recently purchased a late 2015 27" 5k iMac, and I had great difficulty getting any distro to run on it without a 4-5 minute boot period. Among those tried were Ubuntu 16.04 and 17.10, Fedora 27, Sparky Linux 5.2, openSuse Leap 42.3 and Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.2. Only the last would boot promptly without using "nomodeset" which gives me no control on the resolution. I now have Mint installed (upgraded to 18.3), and it runs beautifully. Eventually I was able to get Ubuntu 16.04 running pretty well with the eventual installation of the proprietary AMDGPU-pro driver. Had it not been for the troubles I had with this iMac, I would have stuck with Ubuntu. I still occasionally try different distros, but I have more or less settled on Ubuntu. I like the Unity desktop, and I like the modified Gnome Ubuntu installs on 17.10.
44 • ffmpeg trick (by Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on 2018-01-02 01:19:07 GMT from Ecuador)
I have found ffmpeg to be useful for eliminating the audio track from a video:
ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vcodec copy -an output.mp4
45 • Happy New Year to All (by Tran Older on 2018-01-02 01:54:24 GMT from Vietnam)
Arch is Up
In the Year of Dog
Purism is Trend
Beyond this Year's End.
46 • Installed releases (by Mike on 2018-01-02 03:16:35 GMT from Australia)
I have just tried Calculate which is best for experienced Gentoo users. Would only install with zfs file system and took over my whole hard drive.
Also just installed Siduction. Worked out of the box but surprised no software installer. Used apt-get to install Synaptic; now it is doing a massive update.
47 • @20 (by Microlinux on 2018-01-02 11:32:21 GMT from France)
"Installed OpenSUSE 42.3 on an old laptop from 2006 with an early i5 CPU. Everything worked fine."
The i5 processor has been released in 2009.
48 • I tried Scientific Linux (by Luiso on 2018-01-02 12:33:30 GMT from United Kingdom)
I tried Scientific Linux (SL) on my ex-chromebook (my ex):
I used my chromebook in developer mode with a crouton chroot for a couple of years before getting brave enough to flash the BIOS and convert it to a permanent Linux laptop. The reason why I converted it to a permanent Linux laptop is that I wanted to have proper SWAP area that can be used for Hibernation to disc. This was impossible from a crouton chroot. Since I flashed the BIOS I call it my ex-cromebook (my ex) and I tried already Debian (My favourite Distro), Kubuntu, CentOS and filially "SL".
My favourite desktop environment is KDE. Before trying SL either KDE or Hibernation to disc failed. So far SL is supporting both magnificently well, so I will keep it in "my ex" for a while.
Debian is still my favourite distro, but in "my ex" for some reason KDE cannot log in when I use Debian I would blame the newness of KDE 5. Luckily SL 7 uses KDE 4 and hibernation to disc work out of the box.
49 • Calculate Linux : Post # 46 (by Winchester on 2018-01-02 13:40:16 GMT from United States)
I can't say that I agree. I have Calculate Linux installed to an ext3 partition of approximately 180 GB on a 3 TB hard drive along with eleven other distributions on other partitions.
I installed it BEFORE ever using Gentoo, I have only been using Linux for 3 years now. Only 2 years of experience at the time I installed Calculate Linux.
No problems using Calculate Linux except for a recent problem with an update of "VirtualBox Guest Additions" ( I think that I need 5.2.x but only 5.1.x seems to be available in Calculate without intervention ) and one problem with LibreOffice Base database software. An old FireFox content color problem has been corrected with updates.
I used the Calculate Linux Desktop 17 - MATE ISO to install the system to the ext3 partition. Updated to Calculate Linux 17.6 and then to 17.12 using the terminal. su and then cl-update commands. (Maybe this approach is still a good option.)
The Cinnamon version was buggy but with the MATE version,smooth sailing aside from the 3 minor issues mentioned above. Even less of a problem when there are other distributions to boot into.
As a side note,the combination of Calculate Linux and the latest Opera Web Browser was one of the very few combinations I have found where my children could play the online National Geographic kids game "Animal Jam" without the video stuttering. It can work with other combinations of distributions and web browsers but almost never (in most combinations) as well as it does with the Opera Web Browser under Calculate Linux.
I would say that Calculate Linux is more of a beginner's introduction to Gentoo.
The only real requirement is to read the basics of the "Emerge" manual pages. No great Gentoo or computer knowledge is required.
50 • Miscellaneous News: Ubuntu pulls downloads over BIOS bug (by Morton on 2018-01-02 14:35:37 GMT from Ukraine)
Anyone noticed arguably the Miscellaneous News of the Year - after booting 17.10 Ubuntu you may need to replace motherboard of your laptop? Thanks to Distrowatch for providing a link to the Bug #1734147 thread, it's quite a reading! I don't understand the Ubuntu's wording "A bug in the Linux 4.13 kernel" on their website. It seems more like an issue with UEFI inherent vulnerability, revealed by a buggy code in the Lenovo's firmware.
51 • How many distros (by Bonky Ozmond on 2018-01-02 15:00:53 GMT from Nicaragua)
I havent installed any at all in the last 2 weeks.....been busy renovating my Gfs familys house (mine)
Have been using a different Distro than normal I installed Salix on an old comp they had some time ago and its still working extremely good...
@46 You must have done something wrong as I use Calculate Linux and have done for a few years .I have it installed on a wide range of comps of various builds all on ext4, and on most there are other distros dual booted
I think Calculate is one of the best distros i have ever used and i have tried most since starting with Mandrake many many years ago.....
52 • Distros Installed (by Tim on 2018-01-02 15:37:22 GMT from United States)
I have finally managed to curb my distro hopping habit. I have had only Arch Linux on my desktop PC for three years (the current install was done on 12/26/2014, although that was even a reinstall of Arch) and Fedora on my notebook PC since it (the PC) was new in Feb, 2017. Yay!
53 • MX-17 (by Chris Whelan on 2018-01-02 16:33:24 GMT from United Kingdom)
Your queries are way outside the scope of DW comments section, and appear to relate to MX-16, rather than MX-17, which was the subject of this week's review.
The 'lowliest' piece of hardware I used for testing was a Pentium M laptop, that requires the forcepae cheat code to even boot MX-17. That machine has 1GB RAM, and as long as you don't want to play HD video, runs acceptably, to a degree that surprised me. Obviously, boot and shutdown times on a machine this old will be significantly longer than something more modern.
For your other issues, I suggest registering on the MX Linux forum. There, you will find a friendly, patient bunch of folk who won't berate you for being new to Linux.
54 • Uncorrupted Distros (by Buntunub on 2018-01-02 17:51:08 GMT from United States)
Nice to see some distros have remained pure of systemd. Been a long time but I switched to Win10 after the Debian coup with systemd and etc. I hope Linux can remain free well into the future, but I guess well see.
55 • Poll (by a on 2018-01-02 20:59:16 GMT from France)
I installed Raspbian on my shiny new Pi 3 during the past two weeks. That’s really a coincidence as I do not distro-hop and rarely try new distros.
MX Linux seems like a great distro; I hope they’ll make an LXQt edition (or anything else that does not use Gtk).
56 • @54 (by loluntu on 2018-01-02 21:07:29 GMT from Portugal)
@54 because windows10 is WAY better than systemd.....
57 • Poll - new distros tried (by TheTKS on 2018-01-02 23:37:00 GMT from Canada)
None. Instead I spent my time learning more about the ones I already had, and Linux and BSD in general: Xubuntu, Slackware, Kubuntu, elementary, Tahrpup and Xenialpup and Slacko, Tiny Core, and OpenBSD.
I did a couple of new (for me) Linux things, though: first AppImage and first installation of a package from SlackBuilds.
I did help someone else along the path to trying a new distro: I tucked a live DVD of Xubuntu into my brother-in-law's Christmas card and emailed instructions. He runs Rasbpian on a RPi, but trying Linux on a laptop or desktop has been on his to do list for quite awhile, so I removed a couple of obstacles.
58 • Just one distro...as per the question (by tom joad on 2018-01-03 01:59:24 GMT from Germany)
I like puppy a lot but I am not fond of the crankiness and can not stand Wicd or wicked as I refer to it. So when I saw Fat Dog I grabbed it and am playing with it. At first blush I like it. It is bloody fast. I put it on a usb drive, 8 gig, and will play with it. I doubt I will load it full time and run it but it is a nice diversion.
Distro hopping is good for the brain and the soul I think.
Lastly, MX has it going on. Those guys are riding a wave I think. MX is a personal favorite though I am running Mint now. I read all the comments here too.
59 • poll - exploring, not installing, distros (by Hoos on 2018-01-03 05:35:01 GMT from Singapore)
I didn't participate in the poll above as I felt the question "How many distributions have you installed in the past two weeks?" was too specific.
I don't distrohop but I am distro-curious (heh!). I would imagine there are a fair number of people like me who are settled with the distros that they use but nevertheless still like to "explore" other distros live without installing them.
The only one I explored the last 2 weeks was Archlabs. I appreciate the elegant and minimalist set-up plus the neat skippy-xd icon on the panel to provide a windows overview, but it's not for me. I already have a long lived Mabox (Manjaro+openbox community spin) Virtualbox installation that is running well. It is a much less minimalist expression of openbox and I prefer that.
However, in Dec 2017 I was testing various pre-release versions of MX17. I'm not sure if that counts because I'm already an MX Linux user and these are all development phases of the same distro which I knew I would eventually install anyway.
60 • Distros installed? (by Trihexagonal on 2018-01-03 07:00:18 GMT from United States)
None. I have 5 laptops running FreeBSD and am very happy with it as a desktop OS. I have another running OpenBSD, but prefer FreeBSD for daily activities.
61 • MX-17, MX-16, etc (by Distrohopper on 2018-01-03 12:06:08 GMT from Brazil)
@53 (Chris Whelan)
Well, I think I must do once more comment (the final, I promise :):
"Your queries are way outside the scope of DW comments section, and appear to relate to MX-16, rather than MX-17, which was the subject of this week's review."
| You're wright! I refer to MX-16. Although "off topic", I don't believe
| the subject is totally "outside the scope of DW comments section",
| simply because I now strongly suspect that the problem I had with
| MX-16 is related to NETWORKING (Firefox itself and the wireless NIC
| connected via the USB bus). Therefore, it probably would repeat in
| MX-17, which I will not try at all. From now on, I'm rejecting just
| about every Linux distro that doesn't use LXDE/LXQt as its default
| desktop environment.
"The 'lowliest' piece of hardware I used for testing was a Pentium M laptop, that requires the forcepae cheat code to even boot MX-17. That machine has 1GB RAM, and as long as you don't want to play HD video, runs acceptably, to a degree that surprised me. Obviously, boot and shutdown times on a machine this old will be significantly longer than something more modern."
| Thus you just confirmed what I said in comment #36:
* "7 seconds to shutdown a distro installed in the HDD (or SSD) of a Core i5
* is not bad. But switch to a distro running from a LiveUSB (as I did with MX-16)
* using an Atom D2500, and you will see how much time it takes to boot and shutdown..."
| By the way, LxPup (Slacko Puppy with LXDE) running from a LiveUSB only takes
| about 6 seconds to shutdown... And no, it's not "off topic"! It demonstrates
| how bloated (inefficient) is XFCE in a Debian base. Star Linux (XFCE in a
| Devuan base) is much faster than MX-16 using the same test rig (a modest
| Intel Atom D2500 with 1GB DDR3 RAM).
"For your other issues, I suggest registering on the MX Linux forum. There, you will find a friendly, patient bunch of folk who won't berate you for being new to Linux."
| No, thanks! If I try another distro with XFCE, it will certainly be Star Linux,
| because Devuan is the way to go. And Vivaldi will be my browser of choice, if
| not Seamonkey (smaller, faster, and much less buggy than Firefox). MX Linux is
| still way better than Star (the one I love) and SolydX (the most beautiful out
| of the box), but the "winds of change" are always changing direction...
62 • Distro's (by Rich52 on 2018-01-03 14:48:12 GMT from United States)
Not in the past two weeks but the past 15 years I've tried about 21 different linux distro's. The one that has worked the best for me now (past 3 years is Manjaro). They seem to be on the ball doing everything right. Manjaro has been my best distro of choice now for some time. When someone else pops up with a new release I generally see what's new and improved and decide if it's worth the trouble.
63 • Found...Snowden / NSA backdoor??? (by tom joad on 2018-01-03 18:03:15 GMT from France)
Was out reading the news when I stumbled across an article that seems to say a 'backdoor' of sorts was found in Intel CPU's. I read the articles and it seems pretty interesting to me. No doubt there will be more news on Intel in the very near future if this is true.
Here is the link...
64 • No back door. (by Garon on 2018-01-03 20:00:42 GMT from United States)
No backdoor per say but a kernel page memory error that has been present in intel processors since the core 2 chips or about 10 years.
65 • MX-16, MX-17 (by Ron on 2018-01-03 21:47:26 GMT from United States)
OK, I had commented earlier about trying MX-17 and finding it slow compared to the MX-16 I have been using. I suspected the USB stick I loaded it on (that's how I run MX) could be the problem. I ran TOP and found CPU use low, all the observed criteria seems fine but for some reason the MX-17 was hanging up for unknown reasons. Well, I have been testing and tried another USB stick and now MX-17 is running nicely just like MX-16. So, yes it was the USB stick a (PNY 32 Gb USB 3. Still have no idea what the cause, but it is definitely the cause of the slowdown. The stick formats OK, it does run without crashing, just slow! My opinion still remains that MX-linux is great.
66 • 802.11ac 5Ghz (by MikeOh Shark on 2018-01-04 13:06:32 GMT from )
Thanks, Distrohopper! I hadn't seen that page in my searches.
I did not know that the TP-Link T2U used a mediatek chipset until I plugged it in to my laptop. The box does not tell you who makes the chip it uses. In fact, here in the US we have almost no consumer protection. I only bought the device because it had a penguin on the box and said it was supported under Linux. As it turned out, it was only for very old kernels.
67 • what's the diff? (by Per on 2018-01-04 13:32:17 GMT from France)
What's the diff between MX-16 and MX-17?
68 • @67 (by dolpin oracle on 2018-01-04 17:02:12 GMT from United States)
besides general updates and such, 16 is based on debian jessie, and 17 makes the jump to stretch. there were some pretty good changes in the antiX 17 live usb system as well that were incorporated.
69 • Emacs (by Alan on 2018-01-04 18:06:01 GMT from United States)
It seems curious, surprizing: among the dozens of GNU/Linux distros I have installed and used, none of them at least in the past decade) has had Emacs installed by default. Yet, equally surprizing, MacOS systems DO, albeit an older version! Just sayin'. Or askin': is there actually any GNU/Linux distro that, out of the box, has an up-to-dfate Emacs installed?
70 • #69 (by jadecat on 2018-01-04 20:07:36 GMT from United Kingdom)
Slackware has Emacs 25.3 installed by default.
All the best.
71 • MX 17 and CUPS (by Jordan on 2018-01-05 01:15:20 GMT from United States)
I moved back to Solus after weeks of trying to get printing going on MX 17. I know I know, millions of you have used it and printing works fine blah. Well it won't fly on one of my laptops but does on the other; both HP but about two generations apart. Many solutions/remedies attempted, no results.
So, back to Solus on this older HP.
72 • MX 17 review (by Jordan on 2018-01-05 01:18:20 GMT from United States)
Forgot to mention that the MX 17 review did not report whether printer(s) setup worked. We seldom see reports of whether printer setup worked in the reviews here. Not a huge deal, but important to some of us, I'm sure.
73 • MeltDown and Spectre (by Monty Molten on 2018-01-05 18:19:30 GMT from Canada)
MeltDown and Spectre
Big Business Corporations are teaming up to sue "BiG RoBBeRS" INTEL, IBM, AMAZONE, AMD, APPLE, MICROSOFT, GOOGLE and more over MeltDown and Spectre for loss of business and damages for the bug intentionally planted after sever testing and burning cycles.
As per latest tech-reports, all smart devices since day one is infected.
It is time to snatch they eye-ball out.
AS THEY ROB YOU SINCE DAY ONE OF DAWN OF DIGITAL ERA,
TEAM-UP & DO NOT MISS YOUR "GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY".
If you do not, Nobody can!
74 • MX and printer (by Bushpilot on 2018-01-05 18:57:40 GMT from Canada)
I have MX - 17 installed in virtualbox and have my HP wireless printer working without and difficulty, for those who are concerned.
75 • Intentional bug? By who? (by Garon on 2018-01-05 19:08:32 GMT from United States)
Hey Monty, where did you find this info? Those people you mentioned are big corporations lol.
76 • Meltdown and Spectre (by Monty Molten on 2018-01-05 19:16:11 GMT from Canada)
"Hey Monty, where did you find this info? Those people you mentioned are big corporations lol."
Still New Year Hang-Over, with eyes and ears both shut.
Already been atleast three law suites already hit the doors of the coutrs.
Intel and IBM may face other law suites to tinker GCC as well.
Groffman & Co. and OpenSUSE or Novell Netware might be in line.
77 • Spectre of a Meltdown (by FOSSilizing Dinosaur on 2018-01-05 21:33:40 GMT from United States)
Suddenly Minix and friends seem a lot less silly … if we'll be swapping kernel anyway …
78 • swapping the kernel? (by lupus on 2018-01-05 21:53:54 GMT from Germany)
If only that would do the trick.
After the switching of the kernel your machine might be safe against the aforementioned exploits, but it will be slower on a measureable scale and noteably so.
Oh my they try so hard to scare us all away from our beloved Intel machines, let us all hope that AMD did a great job (nearly flawless Ryzen) or else we can all go the snapdragon way like Microsoft tries nowadays I hear!
79 • Exploit is at the hardware level (by jadecat on 2018-01-05 22:15:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
Whatever OS you use will not guarantee safety. Also AMD, ARM processors may not be exempt either.
80 • Exploit is at the hardware level (by Distrohopper (again :) on 2018-01-05 23:39:21 GMT from Brazil)
"Whatever OS you use will not guarantee safety. Also AMD, ARM processors may not be exempt either."
Correct! Even OpenBSD may be affected by Spectre...
But the biggest problem is Meltdown, a threat which can only affect Intel processors from 10 years ago up to the present days. It made me think of buying AMD hardware the next time I build a PC. Switching to either ODROID or RaspberryPi is out of question, by obvious reasons. (They are toys, not computers.)
81 • Exploits (by lupus on 2018-01-06 08:55:20 GMT from Germany)
Man I gave up building my own machines some 15-20 years ago realizing that I could never go the upgrading route. Maybe I once enhanced the gfx card in the 15 years before that. Since 15 years at least I went on buying 'mobile' devices only. I changed them to SSD mostly or baught some more ram if necessary. That was all the upgrading I did, no more clunky towers, strapping cables and shit.
The intels got better and better with power consumption and so some of my laptops went really mobile even under linux which I wholeheartedly love.
When I read of Ryzen Power I shortly thought of building one last rack as a complete server for all my needs, but the power consumpition and the heat is just to much for my taste, most of my laptops are fanless, I like that a lot though my now serving laptop is not fanless. How many years will the AMD Ryzens need for a first fanless laptop. Will they than be made secure? One can only hope.
For the moment I am going to refrain from buying Hardware at all. That is some 2000 $ the industry will not get from me each year. But I know for them it does not make a difference cause the need for computational power still rises every day. I think linus is right. Maybe we should hope for ARM64 to do the trick
82 • MX-17 (by Sunnyd on 2018-01-06 14:33:25 GMT from United Kingdom)
Thought I would give MX-17 a whirl after the positives but found for me at least, there are too many programs that I take for granted within ubuntu and debian derivatives missing from MX. I searched via synaptic for Docky, filezilla, pinta etc but none are there. I do not have the time or inclination to dig about finding exactly how to install them or if indeed possible. Yes, I may be spoilt but for me, a no go currently. Otherwise, it looks good.
83 • Missing packages and MX 17 (by Jesse on 2018-01-06 15:31:20 GMT from Canada)
@82: All the programs you mentioned trying to find, Docky, Filezilla and Pinta, are in MX 17's default repositories. If you can't find them using Synaptic, you can install them all by simply running "sudo apt install docky filezilla pinta".
84 • ARM64 and hardware upgrade (by Distrohopper on 2018-01-06 15:47:50 GMT from Brazil)
"Maybe we should hope for ARM64 to do the trick."
No way! The most "powerful" ARM64 based SoC in existence (ODROID-XU4), which is
several times more capable than a typical RaspberryPi, just cannot compete with a
modest Core M. It is an inferior hardware, in terms of speed and connectivity, to
even an obsolete Athlon XP from 10 years ago...
And remember that thousands of people around the world, me included, simply need
a substantial computing power to do "heavily demanding tasks" like virtualization
and gaming. For instance, I know an Architect who runs Windows 7 Pro on a tower
PC with an impressive CPU and an NVIDIA Quadro (professional graphics) plugged
to a 4K display. Compared to it, even my best machine is a "toy", let alone an
ARM64 SoC, which is also beaten by an Intel NUC (miniPC).
Yes, Intel and AMD own the entire desktop/server CPU market. We cannot get free
of them while another giant manufacturer (Samsung?) do not start to fight them
in the same segment of the market (desktop/server), not in the mobile/hobbyist
side of the computer business. So I'm pretty sure that ARM64 will never do the
trick, no matter if it be massively adopted by the laptop industry.
Thus relax. The good guys at linux.org will solve the problems that Meltdown
and Spectre created to us. For now, I just refrain to do online banking and
keep awaiting for a new Linux kernel. And I wish Intel and AMD be sued by the
whole bunch of financial corporations. In response to those bastards, my next
hardware upgrade will only be done when my Core i3 'Skylake' DIE, no more in
2022 or 2023 as planned before.
By the way, I will also stop building "gaming PCs" for my son, replacing them
for PlayStation consoles because NVIDIA video driver suite is a binary blob,
the very same stuff that lets Meltdown and Spectre run from a CPU... Well,
who can trust NVIDIA/AMD/Intel anymore? It's obvious that the NSA controls
all those companies. Even Red Hat is suspect! Who can really guarantee that
the NSA-baked kernel module "SELinux" does'nt have a backdoor? And it runs
with administrative privileges, just as Meltdown and Specter...
85 • Meltdown and Spectre (by jadecat on 2018-01-06 17:48:05 GMT from United Kingdom)
Time to break out the Pentium 4 Blast furnace.
86 • FanTalk? (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2018-01-06 18:32:41 GMT from United States)
Always amusing to see 'need' and 'gaming' in the same sentence.
'most "powerful" ARM64 based SoC in existence (ODROID-XU4)' - so 2015, and so very low-end.
'cannot compete with a modest Core M' - so only an A9?
(Why are Cray and Marvell Tech interested in Cavium? ThunderX? ;-D )
87 • SCRAP ALL, BUY NEW !!! (by Brainless Buyer on 2018-01-06 20:00:08 GMT from Canada)
At some point I was convinced to scrap all my old devices and hardware and purchase high-bucked new sophisticated devices with arrays of microphones, arrays of camera, bluetooth, wifi, retina and finger-print scanners. You just name it, you already have it.
Before I make a final purchase decision,
I have a quick question.
Will there not be cataclysm - double trouble and skyfall doomsday after couples of years like meltdown and spectre?
88 • Intel V//V Quad Core (by Winchester on 2018-01-06 22:55:59 GMT from United States)
So an Intel V//V quad core processor from early to mid 2007 is not impacted by Meltdown and Spectre??
From slightly more than ten years ago.
89 • @88 Older Intel Processors (by Rev_Don on 2018-01-06 23:25:23 GMT from United States)
Intel processors newer than 1995 or so (except Itanium and Atom prior to 2013) are vulnerable to Spectre. A 2007 Intel cpu is more than likely vulnerable to Meltdown. Untill it all shakes out and the information embargo lifts on the 9th it's best to assume that ALL processors are vulnerable to ALL of the bugs.
90 • No FUD please (by M.Z. on 2018-01-07 06:03:28 GMT from United States)
"SCRAP ALL, BUY NEW !!!"
That seems to be a fairly big overreaction. Everything I've been hearing on the issue says that VM using 'cloud computers' are the most vulnerable. In other words if your not doing lots of connecting with other computers & letting them share your computing resources, the new vulnerabilities are not likely to be a big issue for you directly on your desktop. Of course you could be hit via some account you log into on line due to a vulnerability in a computer you connect to. This of course means that 'scrap all & buy new' is a bit of a useless & fairly ineffective over reaction. You will still have all the same vulnerabilities logging into off site hardware & making purchases or doing banking, you will merely reduce the already slim risk of some form of direct attack. That doesn't sound like a particularly good use of your time & effort.
See for example the following quote from Ars Technica:
"For typical desktop users, the risk is arguably less significant. While both Meltdown and Spectre can have value in expanding the scope of an existing flaw, neither one is sufficient on its own to, for example, break out of a Web browser."
"...Even Red Hat is suspect! Who can really guarantee that the NSA-baked kernel module "SELinux" does'nt have a backdoor?..."
Most regular DW readers have heard that same tin foil hated FUD before. You want to know more about the code? It's GPL & you can audit it anytime you want. Furthermore, all versions of Linux tend to attract somewhat above average users, who are far more likely to do things like monitor their network connections with things like Wireshark. It seems to me that your supposed 'big evil conspirators' are unlikely to be able to keep sniffing around on Linux systems a secret.
You want to know who watches the watchers? Your free to be the one who does so, just install a packet sniffer & if you can find any actual EVIDENCE that something is a miss, then give it to a few people with the right amount of authority & respect so the problem can be exposed. Of course until you have actual evidence, it's all so much speculative tin foil hat BS, & frankly I'm tired of hearing every tin foil hat wearing fool on the web who has heard a tiny amount about SELinux spout the exact same BS.
Of course if you, or better yet some technically minded friends of yours, want to prove me wrong then please do install a packet sniffer & prove it! Stop the lazy & mindless speculation & FUD throwing & start some actual investigating! This is a challenge to all speculative FUD throwers out there, if you think something is wrong with a Linux system install the packet sniffer of you choice & investigate! I don't care if the copy of Linux you fear is A RHEL clone, uses SELinux or Systemd, or is an Ubuntu released after the spyware was removed/with a non unity desktop. You have the power to examine it, or can pool resources to have people you trust do so. Either put up the evidence, or shut up with the same speculative FUD!
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