| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 746, 15 January 2018
Welcome to this year's 3rd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Over the past week or so there has been a lot of concern and speculation over two sets of serious flaws in popular CPU models. This week in our Questions and Answers column we break down these problems, nicknamed Spectre and Meltdown, exploring what they are, why they are important and how to deal with them. In our News section we talk about Ubuntu's fixes for these flaws along with side effects of early patches. Plus we talk about openSUSE's new YaST features, new installation images for Ubuntu 17.10 flavours and we say farewell to the Devil-Linux project. First though, we share a review of deepin, a Debian-based Linux distribution with an unusual desktop environment. deepin ships with an unusual collection of default applications and configuration tools and Jesse Smith shares thoughts on these in this week's review. We are also happy to cover the releases of the past week and to provide a list of the torrents we are seeding. Then, in our Opinion Poll, we ask how many of our readers are using Wayland display servers as opposed to the classic Xorg display server. Finally, we are pleased to announce we are testing a feature which allows readers to subscribe to news updates from specific distributions and you can get the details below. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: deepin 15.5 - A different desktop
- News: openSUSE unveils YaST changes, Ubuntu kernel update causes boot problems, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, Devil-Linux shutting down
- Questions and answers: All about Spectre and Meltdown
- Released last week: Parted Magic 2018_01_08, Tails 3.4, OSMC 2017.12-1
- Torrent corner: AUSTRUMI, Bluestar, Endless OS, Kubuntu, Live Raizo, Manjaro, OSMC, Tails
- Opinion poll: Wayland vs Xorg
- DistroWatch.com news: Subscribing to specific projects
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (27MB) and MP3 (35MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
deepin 15.5 - A different desktop
deepin is a Debian-based Linux distribution which features the custom Deepin Desktop Environment along with several in-house desktop applications. The deepin project develops its own file manager, media players, software centre and settings panel, along with other desktop applications. Clearly, the deepin team is very busy working on a desktop solution, one which is easy to navigate.
deepin is available as a 3.2GB download for 64-bit x86 computers. Booting from the project's media gives us the option of starting the installation process, booting the operating system in failsafe mode or checking the media's integrity. In both of my test environments, deepin would boot and launch the installer (the first option), but was unable to boot in failsafe mode, whether run in UEFI or Legacy BIOS mode.
Taking the install option brings up a graphical environment where we are asked to select our preferred language from a list. In the upper-right corner of the screen there is an "X" which, when clicked, lets us abort the installation. Quitting the installer immediately powers off the computer. Once we have selected our language we are asked to create a username and password for ourselves. We can then select our time zone from a map of the world.
Partitioning comes next and here I encountered several options. We are asked whether we want Simple or Advanced partitioning. The Simple option takes over the entire hard drive, creating an ext4 file system. A 4GB swap file is set up on the root partition for us. This is the easy way forward, but it wipes out any other installed systems or partitions.
The Advanced option lets us select where to install the system's boot loader and presents us with a list of available partitions and free space. At first I wasn't able to find any way to add new partitions, but eventually found the button for adding and editing partitions is a grey icon on a grey background, making it difficult to spot. Once the button was found, setting up new partitions was fairly straight forward. The deepin installer will not proceed if the root partition is 16GB or smaller in size when we take the Advanced partitioning option. However, I found I could create a root partition smaller than 16GB if I used the Simple partitioning option. Once our partitions are assigned mount points, the installer copies its files to the computer and reboots the system.
Our fresh copy of deepin boots to a graphical login screen where we are shown our username and an empty, unmarked box where we should type in our password. When we sign into our account on a desktop machine with all the appropriate video drivers we are simply brought to the Deepin desktop. However, when running deepin in a virtual machine, deepin detects it is running in an unusual environment and displays a message which reads: "System has detected that you are using a virtual machine, which will affect the system performance and operation experience, for a smooth experience, it is recommend to" This is followed by two buttons, one for Effect Mode and one for Common Mode. The former offers a desktop with nice visual effects, but takes a lot more processing power, causing the desktop to lag badly in the virtual environment. The Common Mode offers good desktop performance with minimal eye candy.
deepin 15.5 -- Exploring available applications
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The deepin desktop is presented with a launch panel at the bottom of the screen. Apart from the panel, there are no icons on the desktop. The wallpaper is a pleasant view of mountains. The left-most icon on the desktop panel brings up a full screen grid of applications. One feature of deepin's application menu I like is we can shrink the large grid of launchers down to a smaller size, approximately the dimensions of a traditional tree-style application menu. This is a time saver on desktop computers where we generally want less mouse movement.
We can right-click on icons on the panel to remove them and, in a similar fashion, we can right-click on icons in the application menu to un-install their programs. I will come back to managing software later, but for now I want to point out the consistency offered. With deepin, we can right-click items on the desktop to remove them and we can click-n-drag icons to reorder them.
deepin's settings panel deserves special mention as it is presented in an unusual style. When we click on the settings icon on the desktop panel, a grey panel appears on the right side of the screen. At first the panel shows us twelve icons for specific settings modules and presents buttons for switching from the settings menu to seeing the local weather or a list of recent notifications. When we click on a settings module we are shown the options in that module, but rather than going back to the module overview when we want to switch to another module, we can scroll up or down through the rest of the settings. The modules are effectively stacked on top of each other and we can browse through them a few at a time. For the most part the settings modules present us with a few basic, top-level options. If we want to dig deeper we can click a button to bring up more specific information or settings.
deepin 15.5 -- The settings panel
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The settings panel remembers where we were last, which can be helpful. For example, early on I wanted to disable desktop sound effects. I right-clicked on the volume control, selected Settings and the settings panel opened to the sound options. Disabling sound effects took a single click. Returning to my work then automatically closed the settings panel. Had I then wanted to turn sound effects back on, I could simply tap the settings icon and the panel would re-open, showing the sound options page again.
This combination of panel memory with the way settings modules blend together in one long page and the organization of the panel makes adjusting settings on deepin a quick and easy experience.
I tried running deepin on a desktop computer and in a VirtualBox virtual machine. On physical hardware, deepin worked well. The distribution detected my hardware, set my screen to its full resolution and generally offered good performance. The desktop was a little slow to load from the login screen, but once the sign-in process was complete, deepin responded quickly.
When running in VirtualBox, deepin worked well, so long as I ran my desktop with visual effects disabled. Enabling effects would quickly bring my desktop to a crawl, but the desktop was responsive when effects were turned off. deepin did not automatically integrate with VirtualBox, but I was able to install VirtualBox's guest modules from the distribution's software repositories and this allowed me to access my host computer's full screen resolution.
The deepin distribution was light in memory, using about 350MB of RAM. The operating system is relatively large on the disk though, using 9GB of space. If we opt to use a swap file (the default when allowing deepin's installer to take over the hard drive), an additional 4GB of space is used for swap, bringing our total to 13GB.
deepin ships with an unusual collection of applications. Many of the programs included are either closed source or custom applications developed by the deepin project. The Chrome web browser is featured with Flash support, the WPS office suite is available for working on documents and the Foxit Reader gives us a tool for reading PDF documents. The distribution also ships with Skype, a Spotify client, the Steam gaming client and CrossOver for installing and running Windows applications. Custom applications include the Deepin Image Viewer, Deepin File Manager, Deepin Music, Deepin Movie and Deepin Screenshot. We also find Deepin Screen Recorder, Deepin Voice Recorder and a launcher called Deepin Feedback which opens Chrome and takes us to a web form where we can leave feedback on the distribution. Rounding out the custom applications we find Deepin Calendar, Deepin Clone for making and restoring backups of partitions and Deepin System Monitor. I like that the Deepin tools are given clear names stating their function as it makes it easier to find what I am looking for, even on a platform I usually do not use.
deepin 15.5 -- Using Deepin Calendar
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The deepin distribution also includes some familiar open source programs, including the Thunderbird e-mail client, the CUPS printing software, the gedit text editor, a document scanner and ChmSee document viewer. deepin features the GParted partition manager, the GNU Compiler Collection and Network Manager is available to connect us to the Internet. deepin uses the systemd init software and ships with Linux kernel version 4.9.
Working with WPS, media files, snapshots and CrossOver
Since deepin ships with an unusual collection of software, I would like to quickly cover some of the items in the distribution's application menu. One of the big differences between deepin and most mainstream Linux distributions is the inclusion of the WPS productivity suite instead of LibreOffice. WPS tries to look and act more like Microsoft Office. The WPS interfaces uses a ribbon-style set of menus and offers good support for MS-Office's document formats. WPS appears to trying to be a MS-Office replacement rather than the everything-in-one-place solution LibreOffice provides.
deepin 15.5 -- Using WPS and Deepin Music
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When I first started working with deepin I found I could play audio files, including MP3 files, through Deepin Music. However, I was unable to play video files using Deepin Movie. I installed the Totem video player and found Totem could play my video files. This would seem to point to an issue with Deepin Movie rather than the codecs available on the system.
One tool I was intrigued by is Deepin Snapshot. This program makes it possible backup the computer's hard drive, or a single partition, and save it as an image file. The tool also performs the reverse action, taking an image of a drive or partition and restoring it. I did not explore using Deepin Snapshot much, but I do think it is an odd choice. Usually snapshots are not performed on running systems and deepin does not feature a live desktop on its installation media. A full partition snapshot is also not ideal for backups and deepin does not appear to include an application for normal file archive backups. In short, Deepin Snapshot appears to be a user friendly way to make disk images, but I think it would make more sense for most users to use a backup tool like Deja Dup or a dedicated clone tool such as Clonezilla.
CrossOver is included to help users install and run Windows programs. CrossOver ships with many recipes for downloading and installing Windows software. This means we can generally install Windows programs with a few clicks. I tested a few of the provided recipes and they worked well, when the Windows installers could be downloaded successfully (some links are old and broken). If someone needs to run Windows applications on their Linux machine, CrossOver is probably the easiest and most reliable way to get those programs working, short of using a virtual machine.
deepin 15.5 -- Running WinRAR using CrossOver
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During my time with deepin I did not see any notifications for software updates. One of the modules on the settings panel handles checking for updates and when I used this, throughout my trial, the update tool only once reported an update was available. When this happens a banner letting us know about the new update is displayed at the top of the settings panel. We can install all updates with the click of a button. At one point I also checked for updates using the APT command line tools and found there was one update available, for Spotify. However, the Spotify package could not be verified due to a missing or incorrect verification key and so the update was being held back.
Most software management is handled by an application called Deepin Store. By default, Deepin Store shows us a selection of features or popular titles. Down the left side of the window are software categories we can click on to browse through. There is also a search box that allows us to find applications by name. Items in a category or search result are displayed with their name and an icon. Hovering the mouse over an icon gives us the option of clicking an Install button or bringing up a full page summary of the package, complete with description and screen shot. Once we have clicked the Install button, a spinning circle appears in the upper-right corner of the window and we can click this circle to see progress information on queued items.
deepin 15.5 -- The Deepin Store software manager
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I could not find a way to remove items through Deepin Store. I did find that right-clicking on launchers in the application menu brings up a menu that allows us to remove the package from our system. Both the install and remove actions can be performed without entering a password or other authorization. I found I could install or remove applications using any user account, even when that account did not have sudo access.
There is a second desktop application for working with packages. The package manager application allows us to select .deb packages we have downloaded. The package manager then attempts to install any dependencies required by the .deb archive and installs the program. Unlike Deepin Store, the package manager does prompt for our sudo password when installing a new package.
There were some other items I noticed when using deepin, small quirks or features which showed up after a few days. One feature I found odd was the prompts deepin displays for passwords almost never indicate what they are asking for. The user almost never sees the word "password" in a prompt. When we sign into our account or are prompted to provide our sudo password there is almost never any indication of what is being asked for, we just see a blank text input box in the middle of the screen. People familiar with Linux will recognize what is being asked for, but newcomers may not recognize the task they are performing is what is triggering the appearance of the empty text field.
I found almost all applications could be easily resized by dragging the corner or side of a window. The exception was the default terminal application. The deepin terminal can be set up as a small box or a full-screen window, but does not have drag-able borders.
When creating new user accounts, each new user is automatically added to the sudo group. This effectively makes all users system administrators. As I mentioned before, even if we take away sudo access, all users can install or remove applications without being prompted for a password.
deepin is one of the few distributions I have encountered which makes it easy to have decimal (rather than full integer) display scaling. Scaling is easily found in the settings panel under the display options.
I like that it is possible to change the size of the application menu, toggling between a classic, tree-style sized menu and a full screen menu. This should make it easy to use deepin's menu whether we are using a mouse or a touch screen. I also like that we can move the desktop panel to any side of the display without warping the look of the panel or its icons.
Playing with deepin this week was an unusual experience in many aspects. The distribution uses familiar technology under the hood (the Linux kernel, APT package manager and GNU userland tools), but deepin ships with its own highly customized desktop environment and many custom applications. deepin further has its own software manager and a nearly unique approach to working with settings. Using deepin is a little like visiting a different country where everyone speaks the same language, but drives on the opposite side of the road.
On the positive side of things, I think deepin and its desktop are very well designed. I like the consistency of the desktop, the way right-clicking and dragging always work the same way, for example. I love the settings panel as it makes browsing settings very straight forward and it is unusually easy to find the settings I want to change.
deepin 15.5 -- Sending feedback to the developers
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At first I thought having a collection of custom default applications, "the Deepin apps" as I came to think of them, would introduce a learning curve, but these applications were mostly designed in familiar ways. The file manager, music player and other tools should all feel familiar to people accustomed to using the equivalent GNOME or KDE applications. I also like that the deepin utilities are named clearly. A new user on another distribution might wonder what "Caja" or "Totem" does, but "Deepin System Monitor" and "Deepin Music" are pretty obvious.
I was disappointed there was no live desktop option. I like to test distributions live before installing them to make sure my hardware is compatible. Hopefully future versions of deepin provide a live environment for testing and showing off the Deepin Desktop Environment.
In the past I have run into performance trouble with Deepin Desktop, but this time performance was smooth. I appreciate that it is easy to toggle visual effects on and off, depending on whether we favour eye candy or performance.
Personally, I am wary of deepin including many non-free software options, such as Chrome. This is an unusual approach for a Linux distribution to take. It may be convenient for many users, but I would have preferred if the distribution had favoured open source solutions.
In the end, I think what deepin is doing is very user friendly. The way all the desktop components fit together and the clearly named applications make me think deepin is doing a great job appealing to newcomers. The installer, if we avoid the advanced partitioning screen, is probably one of the easiest to use in the Linux community.
Sometimes I think deepin favours ease of use over security, for example by giving all users sudo access or allowing all users to install new applications. I wouldn't want to use deepin on a shared computer for these reasons, but for a personal laptop, I don't think I could find an easier, more user friendly solution.
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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:
- 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
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Visitor supplied rating
deepin has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.9/10 from 522 review(s).
Have you used deepin? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
openSUSE unveils YaST changes, Ubuntu kernel update causes boot problems, new Ubuntu 17.10 media, Devil-Linux shutting down
There are some significant new changes coming to the YaST system administration tool included in the openSUSE distribution. People running openSUSE's rolling "Tumbleweed" branch should soon get to see and test improvements in the way YaST handles storage devices. The improvements are largely due to an overhaul of the Libstorage component which handles partitioning, LVM volumes and disk management. "This relatively low-level component has been a constant source of headaches for YaST developers for years, but all that effort is about to bear fruit. The original design has fundamental flaws that limited YaST in many ways and the YaST Team have been working to write a replacement for it: the libstorage-ng era has begun. This document offers an incomplete but very illustrative view of the new things that libstorage-ng will allow in the future and the libstorage limitations it will allow to leave behind. For example, it already makes possible to install a fully encrypted system with no LVM using the automatic proposal and to handle much better filesystems placed directly on a disk without any partitioning. In the short future, it will allow to fully manage Btrfs multi-device filesystems, bcache and many other technologies that were impossible to accommodate into the old system." Further details can be found on the openSUSE news page.
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Over the past week many Linux distributions have published software updates to deal with the CPU flaws commonly referred to as Meltdown and Spectre. Unfortunately, some kernels which include the fix are causing problems of their own. For instance, some Ubuntu 16.04 users who installed kernel version 4.4.0-108 found their systems would not boot with the new kernel. Rebooting the machine and selecting an older kernel from the boot menu works around the issue. Canonical quickly published a new kernel update, version 4.4.0-109, which fixed the issue. More details can be found in this Launchpad report.
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In December we reported that Ubuntu (and its community flavours) were removing download links for version 17.10. The installation images were pulled due to a bug which could corrupt the BIOS of certain computers. The issue has since been fixed and the Ubuntu Community Editions have published new ISO files, carrying the version number 17.10.1. The Lubuntu blog states: "Lubuntu 17.10.1 has been released to fix a major problem affecting many Lenovo laptops that causes the computer to have BIOS problems after installing. You can find more details about this problem here. Please note that the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have not been fixed in this ISO, so we advise that if you install this ISO, update directly after. This release is no different in terms of features from the 17.10 release, and is comparable to an LTS point release in that all updates since the 17.10 release have been rolled into this ISO."
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Devil-Linux is a minimal distribution designed to run on firewalls and routers. After many years of operating, the Devil-Linux project is being shut down. Heiko Zuerker posted to the project's mailing list: "Unfortunately, after almost 20 years, I have to officially stop releasing new versions of Devil-Linux. I simply do not have the time anymore to do this properly. This is in addition to GRSecurity not being available anymore to the general public, which was the core of our security features. It has been a blast maintaining this distro and we had a lot of long-term followers, for which I am very grateful. All current downloads and the sources will of course stay on the websites."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
All about Spectre and Meltdown
There is a lot of information, and sometimes misinformation, about two processor (CPU) bugs which affect millions of computers and their users. This week we are going to try to clear up some of the details of the CPU vulnerabilities commonly referred to as Spectre and Meltdown.
First, let's talk about what each one is. The two issues are similar in many ways, but are two separate set of bugs. Meltdown is the name of an issue which affects Intel x86 CPUs and some complex ARM CPUs. Meltdown allows a malicious program to read parts of the kernel's memory. This makes the whole operating system vulnerable as some important and private information is kept inside the kernel's memory. At this time it appears as though AMD x86 processors and some of the more simple ARM CPUs are not affected by the Meltdown bug.
These two issues are getting a lot of attention. Partly because they are very wide-spread, affecting millions of devices. And partly because successfully exploiting either issue can give an attacker a lot of access to the computer's memory and potentially critical information.
Fixing these two issues is complicated. Unfortunately, since both bugs are located in the CPU hardware itself, the problem cannot be truly fixed in software. At best, software like an operating system's kernel can be patched to work around the flaws. In the case of Meltdown, each operating system's kernel (whether it is Linux, macOS, a BSD or Windows) can be patched to work around the CPU flaw. The kernel patch is applied like any other security update by the operating system's package manager. The fixed kernel may cause some applications to run slower, but usually not to a noticeable amount on personal computers.
So what can we do about Meltdown and Spectre? From an end-user's point of view, not much. These problems exist in the CPU and affect processors going back years. Because the issues exist in hardware which cannot simply be patched, we need to wait for software developers to work around the issues. For most of us, the best we can do is apply security updates through our operating system's package manager when fixes become available. Fortunately, most major Linux distributions have already tested and made Meltdown patches available. Some patches to deal with Spectre have been published and more will likely become available in the coming weeks.
Further information and commonly asked questions about both Meltdown and Spectre can be found on the Meltdown and Spectre website.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
Parted Magic 2018_01_08
Parted Magic, a Linux distribution run from a live disc for managing hard drives and partitions, has been updated. The new version, Parted Magic 2018_01_08, introduces a new kernel with better support for a range of video cards. File system tools, such as those used to manage Btrfs and ZFS volumes, have been upgraded too. "The Linux kernel has been updated to 4.14.11. I have received a lot of glowing reviews of the newer video cards it supports and it's stability. The 2017_09_05 release was our most successful release to date with very little complaints. Instead of changing a bunch of stuff for the sake of changing a bunch of stuff, we basically kept it the way it was. We only addressed the little issues and updated relevant software. GParted has been updated to 0.30.0. I would like to do something different with the artwork though. If anybody out there would like to create something new, contact us. Other updates: e2fsprogs 1.43.8, Mozilla Firefox 52.5.3esr, MESA 17.2.8, X.Org Server 1.19.6, OpenSSL 1.0.2n, Samba 4.4.16, NetworkManager 1.8.4, wget 1.19.2, Python 2.7.14, Ruby 2.2.8, cURL 7.56.1...." A list of new and changed packages can be found on the project's news page and in the distribution's changelog.
The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) is a Debian-based live DVD/USB with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user. The project's developers have released Tails 3.4 which includes kernel fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre bugs, updates uBlock Origin and includes fixes for package installation. "Tails 3.4 is out. This release fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible. In particular, Tails 3.4 fixes the widely-reported Meltdown attack, and includes the partial mitigation for Spectre. Changes: update Linux to 4.14.12 which fixes Meltdown, Spectre (only partially) and many other issues; fix an issue that made Tails start very slowly, in particular on DVD; don't delete downloaded Debian packages after installing them, this is mostly relevant for users of the APT Packages persistence feature; fix an issue that prevented some Debian packages to install properly with the Additional software feature; update uBlock Origin to restore its icon in Tor Browser and make its settings dashboard work again." Additional information and known issues can be found in the project's release announcement and in the changelog.
OSMC (formerly Raspbmc) is a Debian-based minimal Linux distribution that brings the Kodi media centre software to a Raspberry Pi, Apple TV and Vero devices. The OSMC project has released a new version featuring a Debian 9 "Stretch" base and version 17.6 of the Kodi media centre. This release also introduces OpenVPN support. "As you may have noticed, we didn't release an OSMC update in November. After a lot of hard work, OSMC's slightly belated December update is here with Debian Stretch and Kodi 17.6. This yields a number of improvements, and is one of our largest OSMC updates yet: Better performance. A larger number of software packages to choose from. More up to date software packages to choose from. We'd like to thank everyone involved with testing and developing this update." A full list of changes and fixed can be found in the distribution's release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 706
- Total data uploaded: 17.3TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Wayland vs Xorg
These days some of the bigger names in open source operating systems, including Fedora, Ubuntu and FreeBSD, are enabling Wayland support by default. Wayland is the display technology which is designed to replace the aging Xorg display server. We would like to find out how many of you are now running desktop sessions on Wayland.
You can see the results of our previous poll on Linspire and Freespire in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Wayland vs Xorg
|I am running a desktop session on Xorg: ||1444 (71%)|
| I am running a desktop session on Wayland: ||268 (13%)|
| I use both Wayland and Xorg: ||244 (12%)|
| I use neither: ||86 (4%)|
Subscribing to specific projects
One of the most requested features we received during 2017 was the ability to subscribe to one specific distribution's updates, announcements and headline posts. Some of our readers are interested in one (or a handful) of distributions and would like to be able to subscribe to those specific projects while filtering out others. We are testing a feature which enables readers to subscribe to new updates we post for a single distribution using RSS feeds. At the top of each distribution's page, right above the description summary, there is an orange RSS feed icon. The icon links to the project's RSS feed where recent release announcements and news posts will be listed as we publish them.
Locating the RSS feed button
Right now the feeds include headline posts, minor version updates and front page announcements. If people find the feature useful, we may expand it to include distribution-specific security notifications and other updates.
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DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 22 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 • Categorization of deepin: should be it reconsidered? (by Brenton Horne on 2018-01-15 00:49:52 GMT from Australia) |
Jesse said he couldn't find a more user-friendly distro for personal use, does this mean deepin should be added to the "Beginners" category? I suppose technically user-friendly is not necessarily synonymous with beginner-friendly, but I've used deepin and I find it very beginner-friendly. The only aspect of it that is not so beginner-friendly is that the default mirrors can result in slow downloads and changing them does require a little more knowledge than an absolute beginner would have.
2 • Wayland vs Xorg (by John on 2018-01-15 03:17:17 GMT from Romania)
I am using Xorg because Wayland doesn't work at all under Kubuntu with the official Nvidia driver so the is no choice.
3 • Permissions ruin FUN. (by OS2_user on 2018-01-15 03:51:32 GMT from United States)
First a quibble: "I like to test distributions live before installing them to make sure my hardware is compatible." -- Should never be necessary with that you state. Completely standard, major manufacturer.
"deepin favours ease of use over security" -- Good! You are not running a 1970s time-sharing system, but have a PERSONAL computer with adequate physical security. The worst you can do by experimenting is have to re-install, a half-hour tops. I don't want to be too rude here, but the shared / personal distinction that entails password is a key point that simply removes FUN. I think this highly important. First time on Ubuntu (version 8 or so) hit me with "sudo" demand for password just to do a trivial experiment was the last time. If you add up time wasted obtaining "permission", it's substantial.
Most of you here claim to be savvy gurus, and you're NOT always root? I don't think you're either brave or careful, then. -- Just clicking around in a GUI is often more risky than root as such. Actual example: intalled Puppy intending to be permanent, began to select video files to move when finger slipped on mouse. ALL began to open, freezing low-resource machine. After powered off, would not re-boot. Wouldn't even re-install! Had to remove with another. -- AND SO, I gave up on Puppy: its BAD DESIGN of allowing more than one instance of video player convinced me that I couldn't rely on it.
And again, what I think a key point that you Linux types overlook: You simply cannot scare Windows users into "good" behavior! They're used to crashes for variety of causes. But you can take away the fun of Linux with endless "permissions". Just try to warn of the most obvious immediate dangers. Anyone using the command line is "going commando" at own risk, eh?
4 • translucency (by MeKa on 2018-01-15 04:46:10 GMT from United States)
I appreciate that the deepin desktop integrates translucency into the interface (the dock, the settings panel, the launcher). By that I mean the gaussian-blurred bleed-through of colors that ties things together aesthetically. You see simple transparency sans blur often, even in light-weight window managers like xfce, but the added blur in my opinion fixes the problem of competing and overlaid visual elements that require extra attention from the user.
5 • @3 (by Thom on 2018-01-15 06:24:23 GMT from Sweden)
If entering your root password when making changes to the system is spoiling your fun, and you haven't bothered figuring out how to log in as root on startup, maybe Linux isn't for you...
6 • @3 On the subject of permissions (by Microlinux on 2018-01-15 06:46:07 GMT from France)
In other words, when folks care to point out that you risk shooting yourself in the foot (by running X11 and apps as root), here you are claiming BUT IT'S MY FOOT! :o)
7 • @3 (by Bellux on 2018-01-15 07:15:26 GMT from United States)
I agree that permissions do ruin the fun. You can thank hackers for that being necessary. You won't find all that craziness in Windows at the cost of security and privacy. There is quite of bit to learn about Linux before you can safely dive right in. I get your point. Let's go back to Windows (using 8.1 myself). Linux isn't as fun as Windows, but Windows isn't as secure. I used Linux for a year, and regretted it. Oh, it was such a delight to see Windows being installed on computer again. Those permissions get repetitive, but there are ways around them-do your own research. I just dozed off while typing this. I was thinking of a time when my sister was younger, riding on a public bus, and a guy kept putting his hands on her feet. Had she had mace back then, she could have made that guy stop (in the end, I stared him down, and he left her alone). Sorry, I had not business bringing up that personal matter. Anyway, I am very tired now, and will go to sleep. But, you have someone here who understands your point (or most of it).
8 • @3 (by salt on 2018-01-15 08:11:06 GMT from Germany)
actually, permission is fun and useful in a lot of situations as for example at work, when you use a computer embedded in a network, or at home/work when you want that keep files/directories safe from being red from third parties (there are lot more examples). You can also save you a lot of sudo by editing and saving config. files for applications in your home folder etc.
I don't get your point with puppy linux -- it is actually one system among few others that you can use easily even without installing it (keyword poor man install). The ability to work as root is imho not a strength, because you don't need to always be root.
yes, linux is not windows and it can be frustrating -- but it is not for nerd only, and you will probably realize it if you give it another try, and if you are ready to dig a bit in it.
9 • Wayland + Nvidia (by morgan cox on 2018-01-15 10:59:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
I'm still on xorg as I have a Nvidia card.
There is no point trying yet due to lack of xwayland support at present. Idea of using nouveau is insane as that would be wasting my money I spent on my card, if you are doing that you may as well have stuck with onboard intel.
10 • Wayland or Xorg (by JIm on 2018-01-15 12:06:12 GMT from United States)
I guess I really don't know or care. I use Debian and Ubuntu Mate, so whatever they use, that is what I use.
11 • Deepin 15.5 Review (by DistroScreener on 2018-01-15 12:46:28 GMT from India)
// I was disappointed there was no live desktop option.
Just like base distribution, deepin also fails to provide a live desktop. :(
12 • Welcome to Deepin Live... @ Jessie (by OstroL on 2018-01-15 12:54:51 GMT from Poland)
"I was disappointed there was no live desktop option. I like to test distributions live before installing them to make sure my hardware is compatible."
When the Grub screen appears, press 'e' ,and then in the next screen,
>> linux /live/vmlinuz.efi boot=live union=overlay livecd-installer locale=zh_CN quiet splash -- <<
delete livecd-installer, change locale=zh_CN to locale=en_EN
and, press F10.
Welcome to Deepin live!
13 • @Jesse Depin Software Management (by dragonmouth on 2018-01-15 13:15:29 GMT from United States)
Since Deepin is Debian-based, can't you install Synaptic and use that to manege software?
14 • Wayland or Xorg (by Tim on 2018-01-15 13:34:57 GMT from United States)
I run both: Xorg on my Arch Linux desktop and Wayland on my Fedora Linux notebook. Both are doing fine.
15 • at #1, Agree, and should be done to several distro actually (by BeGo on 2018-01-15 14:24:31 GMT from Indonesia)
I fully agree to add new distros for beginner, like Zorin and Deepin
Bodhi Linux should be taken off from RasPi category, cause, we still considering to re-support it.
For multi-version distro, like Mint and Zorin, should they added to each intended category (that means Zorin also encompass netbook category), or separated as different entries (Zorin and Zorin Light separated)?
16 • Jesse's review of DeepIn -- suggestion (by Clicktician on 2018-01-15 15:16:41 GMT from United States)
I have a humble suggestion about Distrowatch reviews (which are excellent, by the way).
Certain distros like PopOS!, and I believe DeepIn, invest considerable development efforts in support of HiDPI screens. Many distros reviewed here are crippled on any screen higher than 96dpi. Yes, you can dance around with Xrandr and reduce your UHD screen back to HD, but that's an annoying waste of your hardware.
Many linux apps and desktops presume they're on 96dpi and even hard code such resolutions in icons, font sets, and GUI features. It wouldn't surprise me if Chrome was oddly included with DeepIn because it requires some tweaks to get it to behave in HiDPI. Firefox is somewhat easier to rig.
If HiDPI support is a requirement for a user, as it is on my current laptop, well over half of the distros on the roster here would fail basic usability tests. They either can't use the max resolution of the display, or the UI is microscopic. Throw in running under VirtualBox or VMware Workstation and resolution problems abound.
Screens in excess of 150 dpi are everywhere in the stores, and their mass adoption is accelerating. If you have access to one, it might be a welcome addition to your suite of review challenges. It may surprise you how many more times you can't even get past the graphical installer.
17 • Deepin (by Jesse on 2018-01-15 15:19:32 GMT from Canada)
@12: You are correct, changing the GRUB boot parameters can give you a live desktop environment. It's an ugly step to make users take to get it, but it does work. One footnote here: With deepin's GRUB menu I need to press Tab to edit boot parameters and Enter to boot, pressing "e" doesn't do anything.
@13: Yes, you can install Synaptic on deepin if you are so inclined.
18 • @3 opening multiple instances (by JG on 2018-01-15 15:22:05 GMT from United States)
It's not a feature of the OS (like Puppy or Windows) to stop or allow opening multiple instances of a program, it's usually a setting in the program's preferences itself.
For example, in VLC's menu under Tools / Preferences / Playlist you'll find a very handy "Allow only one running instance" checkbox. Or, in Firefox for example, it's slightly more complicated, you have to play with the documented "about:config" settings.
Since I can make mistakes like accidental mouse or key presses, etc., I often look for this control setting up my preferences for a program. With windows opening on top of each other it's sometimes hard to notice there's another instance running.
19 • Spectre and Meltdown (by albinard on 2018-01-15 15:50:35 GMT from United States)
There is a Github tool to check what variants of Spectre your computer is vulnerable to:
20 • @12 Deepin Live (by Reinaldo Fernandez on 2018-01-15 16:05:58 GMT from Venezuela)
Last time I tried Deepin 3 weeks ago, on my legacy bios machine it gave me an option for live mode, and on my UEFI laptop just choosing the failsafe option acts as a live mode for some reason
21 • @ 17 Deepin (by OstroL on 2018-01-15 16:35:09 GMT from Poland)
"With deepin's GRUB menu I need to press Tab to edit boot parameters and Enter to boot, pressing "e" doesn't do anything."
Mine is a UEFI laptop, and I just did that and I am writing from the live Deepin 15.5.
22 • deepin booting (by Jesse on 2018-01-15 16:44:10 GMT from Canada)
@21: Perhaps I should have been more specific. Pressing "e" doesn't do anything in deepin's Legacy BIOS boot loader. It does in UEFI mode. Tab is the reverse, it works in Legacy mode, but not UEFI mode.
23 • @ 22 • deepin booting (by OstroL on 2018-01-15 17:28:51 GMT from Poland)
The info is given on the bottom of the grub window. Little bit hard to read the info in UEFI laptop, because of the light blue, white background.
For UEFI, Press 'e' to change the menu entry and press F10 to start.
For an MBR laptop, press Tab and then edit the entry line, and then press F10 to start.
You can play with it, and if you like, and then install it as there is a link "Install Deepin" on the desktop.
I think, Deepin is not giving a live mode, as it has to cater for Chinese and other languages. At the install stage, you choose locale, so the rest is not installed.
24 • @22 continued (by OstroL on 2018-01-15 17:33:36 GMT from Poland)
I wrote the comment #23 from Deepin 15.5 in live mode from an MBR laptop. It would be nice to test any distro in both MBR and UEFI laptops, even though nowadays no new MBR laptops are produced.
25 • Some thoughts about distro reviews (by OstroL on 2018-01-15 18:43:14 GMT from Poland)
After writing the comments on Deepin's live modes (#12, 22, 23), I was thinking about another interesting, and different from others Solus. Someday, there would be a review on Solus 3, and there would be problems on giving a right view about it.
In the last DW review of Solus 2017.01.01 (Issue 698, 6 February 2017), there was a wrong view, "There is no option to mount NTFS/FAT32 partitions so, if you have one, you have to mount these partitions manually after installation." And, nothing else. That sends wrong signal to the readers. That statement is not exactly true. (That was not Jessie's review.)
Actually, if you install Solus on an MBR laptop, os-prober would find all installed distros and Windows too, and the grub login window would have Solus at the top and all other Linux distros and Windows there.
But, if you install Solus in a UEFI laptop, you won't even see Solus anywhere, even if you had another distro's grub login screen. If you'd go to your own distro and update grub, you'd see Solus 3 in your grub screen, but you won't be able to boot it from that. To boot Solus in a UEFI mode, you have to press Esc/F2/F9/F10/F11/F12 during boot (depending on your motherboard) to call your EFI boot options, and then go to Linux Boot Manager and click on it to boot Solus 3. In the UEFI mode, Solus won't dual boot with any distro or OS. You have to use the EFI boot options of your computer to boot Solus. And, you can't have 2 or more Solus derivatives in one EFI install. Maybe in the future, Solus might find another way to boot in UEFI mode. Right now, you can't dual boot.
So, a distro should be reviewed in both MBR and UEFI modes. As there are no more MBR computers produced, more emphasis of distro reviews should be on UEFI ones.
(The newer version of Solus is Solus 3.)
26 • Fair Warning is Smart Design & Running as Root is Dumb User Choice (by M.Z. on 2018-01-15 19:27:21 GMT from United States)
"...Just clicking around in a GUI is often more risky than root as such. Actual example: intalled Puppy intending to be permanent, began to select video files to move when finger slipped on mouse. ALL began to open, freezing low-resource machine. After powered off, would not re-boot. Wouldn't even re-install! Had to remove with another. -- AND SO, I gave up on Puppy: its BAD DESIGN ..."
"...You simply cannot scare Windows users into "good" behavior! They're used to crashes for variety of causes. But you can take away the fun of Linux with endless "permissions". Just try to warn of the most obvious immediate dangers. ..."
So basically, you want fair warning on all GUI programs that could cause an issue, but not on the ones security experts & Linux makers have deemed most wise to safe guard? That sounds like a self contradictory mess of a position that is designed by you to fix your particular preferences while potentially doing lots of damage in the real world. People share PCs in their homes & some users would make better root users than others. That & the case of shared machines in a business are both parts of why security permissions exist. I do think there is some merit to getting some kind of warning if you transfer a large number of files or do something else to cause the system to hang; however, there is no good reason to think removing security permissions is a smarter default. Feel free to find systems that let you log in as root, but complaining about smarter options being available for the rest of us is rather pointless & foolish.
27 • Running Deepin live from USB (by eco2geek on 2018-01-15 22:23:24 GMT from United States)
Another, more permanent way of running Deepin live from USB that also involves modifying its GRUB parameters: Write the ISO image to a USB key using Deepin Boot Maker --
-- (binaries for Mac and Windows are on the ISO image) -- when it's done writing the USB key, go to the
directory, and edit "live.cfg" to remove "livecd-installer" from the line that reads
append boot=live components quiet splash union=overlay livecd-installer locales=zh_CN.UTF-8
and also change "locales=zh_CN.UTF-8" to "en_US.UTF-8".
Then just boot the default entry from the USB key.
28 • @27 - oops (by eco2geek on 2018-01-15 22:25:25 GMT from United States)
That should read, change "locales=zh_CN.UTF-8" to "locales=en_US.UTF-8".
Also, that's the /syslinux/ directory at the root of the USB key.
29 • All is great till try living in America and need check weather. (by Scott Eno on 2018-01-15 22:55:52 GMT from United States)
Deepin has one flaw so I will not use it to addressed. There is no way to get the nice weather program to read in American numbers instead of metric. One that's resolved I will retest this distro.
30 • KDE, Mate (by Kim on 2018-01-15 23:28:23 GMT from Austria)
Lost patience with KDE more than a year ago due to annoying stability issues and ended up with LXDE. The latter does its job but no more than that. I might consider something else as long as it is not called Gnome or Xfce. If someone was recently playing around with DEs and could share his opinion, I'd be grateful. Mate and KDE (again) are on my watch list but I am flexible as long as my next DE proves to be rock solid and does not waste my time.
31 • @30: Budgie, DDE, Liri, LXQt, Pantheon or a nice simple window manager? (by Brenton Horne on 2018-01-16 07:23:12 GMT from Australia)
Guessing you've considered the Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) after reading Jesse's review of deepin? I have found it rather stable, to be honest. It used to be buggy, at least on Arch and Manjaro, but now it is nice and stable. It isn't very customizable, but it is beautiful and light in terms of RAM usage.
LXQt is LXDE's port to Qt and may represent the future of LXDE as LXDE is presently essentially in maintenance mode. LXQt is primarily developed by the same great mind that brought us LXDE, Hong Jen Yee (PCMan, whom happens to be a medical doctor in real life too, ironic as his software also happens to save old hardware and prolong its life). I have only used LXQt a few times, the first couple of times (during its early days) it was buggy as ...., after that it became rather stable. I do not use it because I find it fairly limited in customization options, or at least it was last time I used it (~mid 2017, I think).
Pantheon of elementary OS I find fairly stable running on elementary OS, but on other distros (e.g. Arch) it tends to be quite buggy (granted I last tried it on another distro over a year ago). Customizability options are not all that much, but still it is a pretty DE.
Budgie is also fairly good-looking and I have found it fairly stable on other distros (other than the one it was developed originally for, Solus OS). It is based on GNOME though so depending on what problem you have found with GNOME, it may also have this problem.
Liri (formerly Hawaii desktop) is a desktop environment that can only run on Wayland. Early on its stability was quite poor but recently I've found it getting more and more stable. It is used by its own distribution called Liri OS.
My favourite user interface is usually i3, it is simple, fast, customizable (using shell script-like configuration files) and stable as can be. I do not believe I have ever noticed a bug in it, despite using it 60% of the time (and I use my PC ~15 hours a day) for the past 6 months or more. i3 is available for like >95% of desktop distributions, frankly the only desktop distro I know of that does not have it is GoboLinux (although it does have a i3status package, oddly https://recipes.gobolinux.org/r/?name=i3&search=Recipes), they favour the awesome (Lua configured) window manager instead. Feel free to check out my i3 config files https://github.com/fusion809/i3-configs (an example of what i3 looked running an older version of my configs is shown at the repo). If Haskell is your preferred language you can check out the Haskell-configured xmonad window manager.
32 • @29 weather in 'American numbers' (by Niko Z. on 2018-01-16 08:15:50 GMT from Indonesia)
'Deepin has one flaw so I will not use it to addressed. There is no way to get the nice weather program to read in American numbers instead of metric.'
You mean the 'imperial system'.. ;)
33 • @ 29 a bug in the US (by Per on 2018-01-16 08:16:25 GMT from France)
"There is no way to get the nice weather program to read in American numbers instead of metric. "
That's a bug in the American "numbers", rather than a 'bug' in a Linux distro. Not even the British use the "imperial system."
34 • @30 KDE (by Mike on 2018-01-16 10:13:20 GMT from United Kingdom)
You don't say what you were running KDE on, but that could make a difference. It has been rock solid for me on Debian Stretch for several months.
35 • deepin and CrossOver (by meanpt on 2018-01-16 11:47:39 GMT from Portugal)
CrossOver only provides limited time free trials. Meaning deepin can only ship a free trial.
36 • @30,31 missed the obvious? (by curious on 2018-01-16 13:14:53 GMT from Germany)
I'm surprised that Cinnamon is not on your list. It is quite full-featured and "modern" - but with a classical layout, so no-one is surprised by an unusual workflow and/or missing adjustability. Thus, it is like KDE, but uses GTK technology (like Gnome) instead of QT. I liked it a lot when I tried it last.
On a side-note, what problem did you have with Xfce? In my experience, it is both rock-solid and fast, and thus does not waste time. The only drawbacks are that it sometimes feels a bit simple (and to some people, that is a plus!), and the configuration modules are not always very comfortable to use.
37 • x.org (by Jordan on 2018-01-16 14:01:49 GMT from United States)
Wayland seems to be about 50% evolved. Perhaps less? So x.org it is for many of us, as is borne out by the survey.
Speaking of evolution, the Deepin distro seems to be coming along nicely. The review made it seem tantalizing enough to give it a try.
38 • Deepin 15.5 and WPS (by Jeff Tincher on 2018-01-16 15:31:21 GMT from United States)
I tried Deepin 15.5. I loved the graphics but didn't care for Crossover or WPS. Crossover did not work with my main DAW. I like WPS and it's functionality. But their presentation software is not compatible with Microsoft Office. Being a worship leader at our local church we use Powerpoint as our presentation software. When I created slides on WPS, the fonts didn't match Microsoft Office fonts and I had to make a lot of adjustments to have them work with MS Office. I didn't care for the application menu being spread over the screen. I like the listing application menus than the tile version Deepin has.
39 • 35 • deepin and CrossOver (by aquila on 2018-01-16 16:15:52 GMT from France)
"CrossOver only provides limited time free trials. Meaning deepin can only ship a free trial."
They have some sort of a contract, so the crossover you get with deepin you can use just like another application. It is not blocked in anyway.
40 • OstroL (by @ 38 Powerpoint and church... on 2018-01-16 16:19:16 GMT from Poland)
> Being a worship leader at our local church we use Powerpoint as our presentation software. <
You should ask the Church to buy you Windows...
41 • Deepin (by jeffrydada on 2018-01-16 18:25:26 GMT from United States)
As Mentioned earlier Deepin WILL boot into live mode by selecting "failsafe" in the boot menu. It's another one of those "same language, but drive on the other side of the road " thing.
42 • @31 @34 @36, ..@32 (by Kim on 2018-01-16 23:24:52 GMT from Austria)
Thanks for all your feedback guys.
KDE: I've used it for more than a decade, was excited by the stability of KDE3.something, then witnessed its complete destruction for quite a long time. Finally a late KDE4 became rock solid. KDE5 started to fail on me reliably after a few reconfiguration attempts. Tried it on 3 distros and dumped it for good. But I definitely want me to believe that it will regain stability as suggested in one of the posts.
Cinnamon: Crashed on me some time ago which led me to think that Mate would be better. But it eventually turned out that Mate got confused with my dual head configuration at some point.
Xfce: Was running it several times. Seemed ok but at least as old fashioned as LXDE while it felt slightly less responsive with more memory consumption. So LXDE is still in all of my boxes waiting for its replacement in 2018....
@32: That's a good one :-)
43 • deepin (by david esktorp on 2018-01-17 04:05:53 GMT from United States)
I guarantee anyone processing sensitive data through this distribution will eventually be deepin doodoo. I do not understand the appeal to non-asians and especially to those who don't speak a lick of mandarin. The DE is nothing special. Seems purely novelty of saying you're using a chinese OS; like the handful of americans and brits who use Ubuntu Kylin full-time simply because they're self-loathing sinophiles.
It's bad enough we're forced to buy all of our hardware from China. It is known that the chinese have built back doors in to these products, so why would any sane westerner trust them to deliver untainted end-user software? As bad as our own corporations have been regarding 'open source' and 'free' software, there is no doubt the chinese will be 100x worse. It's absurd to hide behind the the typical FOSS arguments because none of us have the chops to audit such a mammoth collection of code.
Use as close to a domestically produced distribution as possible and unconditionally trust none of them!
44 • @ 43 (by aquila on 2018-01-17 07:44:27 GMT from France)
> I do not understand the appeal to non-asians and especially to those who don't speak a lick of mandarin. <
> It's bad enough we're forced to buy all of our hardware from China.<
45 • @23 david esktorp: "It is known that the chinese have built back doors" (by meanpt on 2018-01-17 08:35:37 GMT from Portugal)
... hum ... Did they also design intel's processors? ... or should we look at somewhere (someone) else?
46 • really GREAT news for KDE/Nvidia users (by curious on 2018-01-17 09:36:34 GMT from Germany)
So now there is an "eternal feature freeze" for KWin/X11. That means, at least until Wayland works with Nvidia (and who knows when that will be?), that Nvidia/KDE users will no longer be bothered by buggy new "features". Stability at last!
Hopefully, that does not mean that in the future, KDE will no longer work with Nvidia cards ...
47 • Deepin - - ArchMan (by Winchester on 2018-01-17 13:59:38 GMT from United States)
I tried the Deepin desktop last year in Manjaro. I might give it a shot in Arch or in ArchMan. Just for the sake of variety on a multi-boot system. Can't see myself ever using it as a primary option. Also,I am not going to mess with the Deepin distribution itself. The Deepin Music player doesn't seem too shabby,though.
48 • Re: 38: Powerpoint (by Mac from ZA on 2018-01-17 14:26:37 GMT from South Africa)
For presentations including of songs, check out OpenLP and OpenSong. (Hint: they can do presentations too)
Fonts can be installed easily enough, they just have to be obtained.
49 • Problematic Sources (by M.Z. on 2018-01-17 17:32:23 GMT from United States)
"> It's bad enough we're forced to buy all of our hardware from China.<...
I for one also find the situation with a near Chinese monopoly on PC & electronics hardware production to be highly problematic. I don't like the way #43 put the part about Mandarin, & don't think there is much merit to such arguments except when there are obvious translation problems, though I have certainly seen those.
The real issues to me are the intertwined problems of an authoritarian market manipulating regime & of big multinational companies stepping in to take advantage of both manipulated markets & sweat shop conditions. That alone is more than enough to make me wary of things coming from a region. When you add to that the deeply ingrained culture of social control from the top with things like the 'great firewall of China', then you arrive at somewhere being worth avoiding as a source for all kinds of software & products due to numerous factors.
Frankly that whole thing where no one in China can run a web search or pick up a book on the goings on in Tiananmen Square in 1989 is deeply creepy. It makes me want to avoid any software from there regardless of how great most of the people are & regardless of whether or not local software & hardware producers are required to do anything on behalf of the 'Peoples Republic' of China & those in power there. I hope that those in power in China eventually give up on being so creepy & controlling, because I'm sure there are plenty of people like myself who are deeply bothered by it & are trying to avoid things coming from there as a result. Most of the Distros I use regularly aren't from my country & they are very solid products that I trust, but I don't feel comfortable with Distros coming from areas where the government has anything like total top down authoritarian control of both products & speech. That's the antithesis of the goals of 'free as in speech' software & is totally contradictory to the freedom for users it seeks.
50 • @ 49 (by OstroL on 2018-01-17 17:43:41 GMT from Poland)
Have you been to China?
51 • @49 • Problematic Sources (by mandog on 2018-01-17 21:28:33 GMT from Peru)
So You don't like what goes on in China I'm sorry the rest of the world does not agree with the US on the Use of water torture used in the torture of terrorists Now not 30 years ago.
Back to Deepin it uses Debian so that means The US Debian is in co-hoots with the Chinese to spy on the world pull another one please.
Regards China manufacturing a majority of goods, well that is easy its called western greed of both companies and the public, companies have no ethics just buy cheap sell for inflated prices a iphone for instance probably costs $5-$10 to produce and sells for a fortune, Trainers cost 50cents to produce sell for over $100, and the public ignorance for buying these inflated priced goods, China is only doing what the west cant do produce top quality goods a low prices.
I have used Deepin its a solid distro its not for me but it at least brings new ideas to the table where Ubuntu failed
52 • @40 and 38 Powerpoint abd Church (by Rev_Don on 2018-01-17 22:53:17 GMT from United States)
> Being a worship leader at our local church we use Powerpoint as our presentation software. <
>You should ask the Church to buy you Windows...<
And how would buying Windows solve anything? Windows doesn't include PowerPoint. He could access the FREE Online version of PowerPoint (and the rest of MS Office) via https://products.office.com/en-gb/office-online/documents-spreadsheets-presentations-office-online
But aside from his not liking the layout of the WPS Menus it sounds more like a Font issue than a program issue to me. I ran into issues with fonts opening LibreOffice Impress files in PowerPoint until I installed the same fonts on both computers.
53 • @44 (by david esktorp on 2018-01-18 04:32:45 GMT from United States)
It's called common sense. You can call it whatever you like. Ask the chinese, japanese, russians, etc; ask any nation if they would like to be 99.9% dependent upon another nation for its electronics, rare earth minerals, etc (ie modern technology) as the West is with China, today. Their answer will be a resounding, "No!" Go call them xenophobic and watch carefully how they laugh in your face.
Why do you think the Japanese discourage foreigners from permanent residency? Why do you think the Chinese are always banning foreign software, sites, etc and replacing them with domestically produced clones? It's because they have no reason to implicitly trust other nations, corporations, etc.
Look for an example no further than your own nation. France has invited in the entire world to suckle its withered teet, while taxing its citizens to death and as a result it is now a rotting, crime-filled husk of its former self. The City of Paris has even allowed CHINESE POLICE to operate on its streets explicitly to protect CHINESE TOURISTS. Look it up if you don't believe me.
We are living in possibly the most precarious economic situation in history.
Welcome to the real world, Aquila.
54 • Just a base (by Garon on 2018-01-18 16:55:48 GMT from United States)
No. What that means is that Debian is used just as a base for Deepin. That's all. The Deepin developers can and did what ever they wanted to do with it. That's their right under the GPL.
55 • fonts and sudo (by Tim Dowd on 2018-01-18 17:08:08 GMT from United States)
If you're using any of the Debian family, the command
sudo apt-get install msttcorefonts
should fix your problem. Microsoft released its most common fonts back in the Netscape/IE days under a license that allows redistribution. You have to accept this license to complete the install.
@ 3 and likeminded
I'm confused about what you think is especially onerous in Linux about permissions. For day to day use, I don't think any of the major desktop distros are significantly different than Windows or MacOS at this point. Every OS asks for confirmation before carrying out a command that makes changes to the system. Sure, in some of them if you have an administrator account it might not ask for a password, but is entering a password all that worse than clicking "yes I really want to do this?"
56 • Deepin (by Xeta on 2018-01-18 20:13:33 GMT from United States)
I've been with Linux since Turbolinux 1998? 20 years? And tasted Distro after Distro through the years - so many I can't count! I must admit Deepin, regardless of ease of use or not- depending on what you try to tweak afterwards, has to be one of the most beautiful distributions I have seen in a very long time. Chose the Pcmanfm file manager though, and I removed some of the default home folders in .config but damn the Chinese really did a fine job here! Easiest install I've seen. The software center is beyond simple and uninstalling a program is also. Very impressed by this system. I'm an e17 fan and have used that the last few years as a desktop. e17 can be installed. But I'm torn between the Beauty of Deepin and the tweaky e17. Kudos to the work involved here.
57 • Re #3: so much mis-understood that must reply. (by OS2_user on 2018-01-19 01:54:51 GMT from United States)
@7 "a guy kept putting his hands on her feet." -- IF you're being sly with an "analogy", no, the situation with "permissions" is that I can't put MY OWN hands on MY OWN feet!
@8 "lot of situations as for example at work," -- NO, I stated a PERSONAL computer.
@8 "I don't get your point with puppy linux" -- It TOTALLY CRASHED AND BURNED after my finger slipped. Someone else advises turning off multiple video instances: YEAH, that should be default for its low-resource targets!
@8 "you will probably realize it if you give it another try, and if you are ready to dig a bit in it." -- No. Gave it TEN years and new GUIs are wretched, as many here complain. I am not "experimenting", I want stability. And to be root. I run WINDOWS and chop out whatever I don't care for, yet it's Linux that NAGS!
XP or W7, though annoying, are stable in comparison to say, PCLinuxOS that ext4 file system rotted away on until lost both superblocks. That drive is now fine on W7.
@26 "not on the ones security experts & Linux makers have deemed most wise to safe guard?" -- The contradiction is of your imagining. I don't want to get permission to change the desktop wallpaper, actual example. I stated a PERSONAL computer, no other users, so don't drag that in for cause.
@26 "Feel free to find systems that let you log in as root," -- Yes, I have: XP and W7 after PCLinuxOS stopped letting me. And XSane NAGS every time when root.
@26 "complaining about smarter options being available for the rest of us is rather pointless & foolish." -- YOU are free to be so smart and enjoy so much security theater as you wish, but clearly you and those who make distros want ME to jump through hoops TOO. It's not necessary. I run WINDOWS without this security theater. WINDOWS. OLDER WINDOWS: XP and 7.
58 • Installation of ANY desired fonts. (by Fonty Funtoos on 2018-01-19 06:32:56 GMT from Canada)
"When I created slides on WPS, the fonts didn't match Microsoft Office fonts and I had to make a lot of adjustments to have them work with MS Office. "
If Windows fonts is only your problem, then,
I hope you are using deepin 15.xx based on debian (unstable) branch.
(1) you can install any fonts (.ttf) or (.otf) by installing font-manager either by synaptic or apt-get.
Manually installation of required fonts,
(2) By login as a root...
a) Run Deepin File Manager and make a mscorefonts directory in /usr/local/share/fonts
so it is like /usr/local/share/fonts/mscorefonts.
b) Manually copy all microsoft true-type .ttf fonts into this "/usr/local/share/fonts/mscorefonts" directory.
c) As a root, open a shell and run following command.
By manual installation fonts will be available globally to all users and all applications.
59 • varied (by verndog on 2018-01-19 15:56:49 GMT from United States)
Usually I just swiftly glance at the opinions and move on. Surprisingly, I found some very helpful comments this week. I had to peruse the fonts and how to install them. Good information.
Also, at some point I tried Deepin, but eventually gave up because I have an older AMD dual-core with an integrated nivida chip. But there are some good comments on Deepin.
60 • @54 • Just a base (by mandog on 2018-01-20 02:11:28 GMT from Peru)
Lets make this clear Deepin is a DE/ window manager I run it on Arch Linux its nothing more, The Deepin distro runs on Debian yes or no, So if their are any back doors they would have to go through the Debian base as they would for me with Arch Linux, Both Debian/Arch would never allow this to happen so the back-doors is pure FUD as is the FUD about RedHAT and the NSA.
61 • @60 Backdoors and Naivety (by Rev_Don on 2018-01-20 03:33:53 GMT from United States)
Are you really that naive to believe that China would care about what Debian or Arch think? What recourse would Debian, Arch, Redhat, or any of the others have if China decided to place backdoors in their Distro?
No, I don't have a tin foil hat on and I'm not certain that there are any Chinese Back Doors in ANY Linux Distro, but I didn't just fall off of the turnip truck and know that they very well could if they wanted to and NOBODY could do anything about it.
62 • Doesn't matter. (by Garon on 2018-01-20 15:41:58 GMT from United States)
Rev_Don is correct. There is no relevance to the base being Arch or Debian, which Deepin runs on. As I said, they can do anything they want to with it and as Rev_Don said, NOBODY could do anything about it. That's just the way it is.
63 • Root Log-In (57) (by Winchester on 2018-01-20 16:18:12 GMT from United States)
Alpine Linux allows root log-in , is much more secure than Windows (especially XP) , runs extremely fast in RAM, and doesn't seem to have a built-in backdoor.
Personally,I decided to add another non-root user to the system but,it's optional.
4M Linux allows a root user log-in as well. I am sure that there's more.
Puppy Linux doesn't re-install is nonsense. If one still has installation media and it worked once,it can work the same way a second time. Not installed through Windows. Installed from a disc ..... frugal install to ext3 partition. Can even be installed "frugal" inside of another Linux OS's partition.
64 • Installation of ANY desired Linux (by Fonty Funtoos on 2018-01-21 00:05:09 GMT from Canada)
@ # 63
If done manually, Installation of ANY desired Linux does not require any sci-fi installer and that can be done as easy as 1) Create Required Partition 2) Transfer Required Files and 3) Install boot loader and transfer system a.k.a make system boot-able. Not going into details, just figure out HOW by yourselves on spare HDD.
65 • Above Post # 64 (by Winchester on 2018-01-21 05:33:32 GMT from United States)
I know that.
The last part of my post # 63 was regarding the erroneous complaint in post # 3 that Puppy Linux "wouldn't even re-install".
I suppose that I was not very clear in that regard.
I just can't follow the line of thought in post # 3. Do they suspect that the running operating system "wirelessly" altered the installation media?? It doesn't seem possible to me outside of perhaps damage to the hardware .... which should be able to be ruled out in this case because the same poster has stated in recent weeks that they continue to use the same hardware or hard drive.
66 • @65 Damage to hardware (by Rev_Don on 2018-01-21 15:06:49 GMT from United States)
I run into people continuing to run their computers with failing hardware all the time. They blame the software or some cosmic power instead of the actual cause of their problems, often because they don't know how to determine what the problem actually is. Some will simply say if it works at all it can't be bad, or it runs well enough, and a few will own up and admit they don't have (or are unwilling to spend) the money to replace it.
To quote the great Forrest Gump "Stupid is as Stupid does".
67 • Rooting out (by Kragle von Schnitzelbank on 2018-01-21 17:39:17 GMT from United States)
Actually, "Foolish is as Foolish does"; the Forrest Gump movie was an excellent demonstration of the difference between intelligence and wisdom (or stupidity and foolishness).
That said, when it's time to use the power of root, shouldn't there be an ("advanced") option on the permission GUI for setting the duration of persistence, and shouldn't that apply to all operations until expired? Refusal to provide such an elementary thing seems like passive-aggressive harassment.
68 • Above (by Winchester on 2018-01-22 00:03:00 GMT from United States)
Maybe,however the log-in display manager is obviously a GUI tool. Log-in as "root" user if needed or if you so choose. Then log-out and log-in as another user. Using distribution(s) which have this option available.
SpaceFM file manager has an option to open a "root" window .... under OpenSUSE Tumbleweed ,anyway (maybe under PClinuxOS as well). You can then launch any application as "root" via SpaceFM file manager root window simply by going to /usr/share/applications or wherever there are desktop file launchers .... /usr/local/share/. The duration of time expires when you close the SpaceFM root window and any windows opened through it.
"su" from the command line is a non-GUI way of operating as the root user. Anything that is done after "su" will be done as root until you "exit".
Number of Comments: 68
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