| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 765, 28 May 2018
Welcome to this year's 22nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Over the past month we have talked a good deal about popular distributions such as Ubuntu and Fedora. These two distributions act as parent projects for several other distributions which add their own special twist on these operating systems. This week Joshua Allen Holm takes Pop!_OS, a customized version of Ubuntu developed by System76, for a test drive and reports on the distribution's special features. Our Opinion Poll this week talks about custom distributions developed by OEMs like System76. What do you think of hardware retailers bundling their own flavours of Linux with their equipment? Let us know your thoughts on custom OEM distributions in the comments. In our Tips and Tricks column we talk about two tools which are used to gather key information about the underlying operating system when trouble-shooting problems. Plus we talk about Haiku's effort to unify its ARM support and Solus taking back control of the Budgie desktop's development. We also share a link to a questions and answers thread with members of the KDE team. This past week we updated our Compare Packages page and we have the details below, along with the releases of the past week and the torrents we are seeding. Finally, we are pleased to welcome the Obarun distribution to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS
Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution from System76, a Colorado-based company that sells computers with Linux pre-installed. The first release of Pop!_OS, version 17.10, was interesting and provided a very nice experience, but mostly involved pulling what System76 felt was the best bits from various upstream sources and combining them into a cohesive whole. While Pop!_OS 17.10 was fairly conservative, Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS provides some major new features, some of which are quite interesting. For example: GRUB has been replaced with systemd-boot and a tool called kernelstub, and there is a recovery partition, so a USB flash drive is no longer needed to rescue a system (at least in theory, the recovery partition is still a work in progress).
Pop!_OS 18.04 -- The default GNOME desktop
(full image size: 323kB, resolution: 1366x768)
Like the previous release of Pop!_OS, there are two different ISOs, one for systems with Intel and AMD graphics and another for computers with NVIDIA graphics. For this review I downloaded the Intel/AMD image and copied it to a USB flash drive. It appears that the installation images get refreshed periodically as Pop!_OS specific packages get updated, with the current Intel/AMD image being 1.91GB and the current NVIDIA image is 2.07GB.
One of the major new features in Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS is the new installer. Gone is the customized Ubiquity used in Pop!_OS 17.10. In its place is a new installer that has been designed to fit in with the overall Pop!_OS theme. This installer treats all installations as OEM installations, which means that setting up a user account is handled on first boot, not during install. However, this new installer does provide a clean user interface with some nice graphics, and it defaults to setting up full-disk encryption. While I opted for the default disk partitioning, the installer does allow the user to customize their hard drive partitions, if they so desire.
Pop!_OS 18.04 -- The new system installer
(full image size: 199kB, resolution: 1366x768)
The second phase of the setup process began after I rebooted the computer. The first thing I was presented with was a text prompt to enter the password to decrypt my hard drive. Other than this text prompt there were no other text status notifications and no graphical boot splash screen. A recent update has added a boot splash screen with a graphical prompt for unlocking the hard drive. Even before the update to enable a graphical boot splash, the very spartan boot process looks very clean. The only oddity is the absolutely huge text size on the console (Terminus 16x32 is what the default settings are in /etc/default/console-setup), which is probably to make the console font readable on HiDPI displays, but on my non-HiDPI 1366x768 display it ends up looking comically large.
Once the very, very fast boot process was over, GNOME Initial Setup handled setting up various options like keyboard layout, privacy options, and setting up a new user. The process should be extremely familiar to anyone setting up Linux in the past several years. The only difference is when the steps take place. Instead of setting up everything in one step, Pop!_OS moves various configuration options and new user creation to first boot which makes it easier to set up a new computer for another user.
Pop!_OS's GNOME desktop
Aside from the custom fonts, theme, and icon set, Pop!_OS's GNOME desktop mostly sticks close to the GNOME default settings. There are a handful of tweaked settings and several extensions, but overall it is much closer to the standard GNOME experience than Ubuntu's GNOME. The extensions added in Pop!_OS provide minor enhancements, not major changes, unlike Ubuntu's more heavily customized GNOME with a dock instead of the standard dash. The new extensions in Pop!_OS 18.04 provide the ability to select various power profiles from the setting menu in the upper-right corner of the screen and a "Do not disturb" option in the notification area to silence notifications. There is also an extension that is supposed to fix the battery icon so it displays accurate charge levels, but the battery in my laptop is so old that I could not figure out if it works correctly.
Pop!_OS 18.04 -- Power management settings
(full image size: 342kB, resolution: 1366x768)
One of the things that sets Pop!_OS apart from Ubuntu is the default selection of software. Pop!_OS comes with Firefox and LibreOffice like most distributions, but opts for using Geary for e-mail and having GNOME Videos serve as default player for both videos and music. The rest of the applications are various GNOME and Pop!_OS-specific utilities. Overall, there are fewer desktop applications installed by default, but there are enough available to do most basic computer tasks. However, if a user wants to switch to applications other than the default, a small problem arises—uninstalling any of the default applications also removed the pop-desktop package, which is how new features and new default applications get pulled in (e.g., the boot splash screen mentioned above). If I attempt to remove Geary and replace it with a different e-mail program, pop-desktop also gets uninstalled, which would mean that my computer would not get all the new Pop!_OS features.
Pop!_OS 18.04 -- Default applications
(full image size: 474kB, resolution: 1366x768)
Of all the GNOME settings tweaked in Pop!_OS, the biggest ones are the various customized keyboard shortcuts. In many ways, they are very different from stock GNOME's shortcuts. I am honestly torn on this customization. On one hand, the shortcuts make sense and provide a logical workflow, but they are non-standard. If I used only Pop!_OS, it would not be a problem, but I regularly use GNOME on CentOS, Fedora, and other distributions. I always end up using the "wrong" shortcuts when I switch back and forth between GNOME implementations. I do not expect every desktop environment to behave the same way, but having Pop!_OS's GNOME use different shortcuts than standard GNOME is a bit like if Dell or HP computers had non-standard keyboard shortcuts in Windows that only worked on Windows as installed by that particular manufacture.
If the default selection of software is not enough, the Pop!_Shop application can be used to install additional applications. On the main screen there is a selection of curated applications that fit with System76's vision of Pop!_OS as a distribution for makers and computer scientists. GitHub's Atom editor, Microsoft's Visual Studio Code, Chromium Web Browser, Steam, Signal, Slack, Telegram, and Mattermost are some of the curated options. Other applications are grouped by category and come from the Ubuntu repositories, so if a package is available in Ubuntu, it is available in Pop!_OS. The only difference is that Pop!_OS does not enable snaps by default. Snapd can be installed, but it is not included in the default Pop!_OS packages.
Pop!_OS 18.04 -- Pop!_Shop
(full image size: 234kB, resolution: 1366x768)
Other programs for installing and managing packages included Eddy, a graphical application for installing Deb packages, and Repoman, a new program for managing repositories, which provides many of the same features as Software & Updates does in Ubuntu, but fits better with Pop!_OS and Pop!_Shop. And, of course, apt and dpkg are available on the command line.
Pop!_OS 18.04 -- The Repoman repository manager
(full image size: 128kB, resolution: 1366x768)
The recovery partition
The recovery partition is a very interesting new feature, but it is not really ready to use yet. A user asked about it recently in the Pop!_OS subreddit, and they were told that it was still being worked on. However, since the top bullet point in System76's Differences Between Pop!_OS and Ubuntu document is the recovery partition, I decided to take a look at it anyway to see how it works so far.
The recovery partition can be accessed by holding down the space bar when starting up the computer. This brings up a menu that lets the user boot the current kernel, the previous kernel version, or the recovery partition. Selecting the recovery partition booted a copy of the live ISO that had been installed into a 4GB partition on my hard drive. It booted fine and I had a functional live desktop, but that is just about it.
The first time I tried out the recovery partition was on a system that had a fully encrypted drive (i.e., the default Pop!_OS installation option). However, the installer, which automatically runs when the recovery mode starts, crashes when it gets to the point where it wants to start working with the hard drive partitions. I looked through the recovery.conf configuration file and found that the ROOT_UUID option was set to the UUID of the un-encrypted partition where Pop!_OS was installed, but the partition was not decrypted and mounted. Manually trying to decrypt and mount the encrypted partition was convoluted and not exactly user-friendly. Instead, I tried to reinstall Pop!_OS without full disk encryption to see if that worked better. It did, to a point. The installer no longer crashed when it got to the partitioning options, and I could tell the installer to install Pop!_OS, but that installation failed. When I rebooted my system, I could no longer boot into Pop!_OS because the recovery installer completely messed up everything.
Despite all the problems with the recovery mode, I think it was a good idea for System76 to include the recovery partition now with the intention of fixing it in the future. Adding a recovery partition needs to be done at install, so it is not something that can get added in several months after the distribution is released without making everyone reinstall. However, given the state that the recovery partition is in, it really should not have been the top bullet point in the document describing what makes Pop!_OS different from Ubuntu. The rest of the documentation for the recovery feature seems to be held back, but that bullet point is something that should have been removed.
Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS is not perfect, but it does offer several interesting new features. The tweaks to GNOME provide some nice usability enhancements without radically changing how the GNOME desktop works. Some of the other features, like moving away from using GRUB and adding a recovery partition, are very interesting and other distributions might wish to take note of them. Granted, at present, the recovery partition does not work, but the underlying idea is a good one. Hopefully, the recovery functionality will be fixed in the near future and improved in future Pop!_OS releases. If you are looking for a solid, Ubuntu-based Linux distribution for desktop use, Pop!_OS is certainly a good choice.
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Hardware used in this review
My physical test equipment for this review was a Lenovo Ideapad 100-15IBD laptop with the following specifications:
- Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-5020U CPU
- Storage: Seagate 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive
- Memory: 4GB of RAM
- Networking: Realtek RTL8723BE 802.11n Wireless Network Adapter
- Display: Intel HD Graphics 5500
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Visitor supplied rating
Pop!_OS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.8/10 from 135 review(s).
Have you used Pop!_OS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Haiku unifying ARM builds, Solus resumes control of Budgie, KDE team answers questions
Haiku developers have been working on ARM hardware ports of their operating system for some time. The ARM ports, along with the project's m68k and PowerPC builds, are still considered experimental and are not presented in the same tier as Haiku's x86 builds. However, work is moving forward and an effort is being made to unify the ARM ports. A blog post on the Haiku website explains: "Up until recently, Haiku builds for ARM have targeted individual ARM boards. The compile process for ARM images required two things: an architecture, and a target board (such as the Raspberry Pi 2). This board setting adjusted a large number of defines throughout Haiku at compile time to set the operating system up for the target ARM device. The board selection also handled placing all the propriety bits (a lot of which have sketchy licensing) into the Haiku image during compile. Haiku would then have to distribute these files (sketchy licensing and all). Over the past few years, François Revol, Ithamar R. Adema, and others have worked to add Flat Device Tree (FDT) support to Haiku. FDTs enable operating systems to obtain core knowledge of the devices they run on by simply swapping one or more compiled binary files. These files describe critical things the operating system needs to know about the hardware they run on. Really important things such as what devices exist at what memory locations. (Think video frame buffers, serial ports, etc). In a series of cryptic commits in July 2017, I removed these board-centric build steps with grand plans of making testing (and running) Haiku on ARM devices easier." The Haiku post credits the Fedora ARM port for providing the inspiration for the new, unified approach.
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The Budgie desktop environment began its life as a part of the larger Solus distribution. However, as Budgie's popularity grew, it was spun off as an independent project. This made Budgie a more distro-neutral project, open to contributions from other Linux distributions. Budgie is now returning to its original home, under the care of the Solus project. An update to Budgie's README file states: "This decision has been made after a long time having Budgie Desktop being a separate project, which to this date has only repeatedly harmed the Budgie Desktop project due to other projects specifically looking to add vendor specific value-add and ensuring it is never upstream within this project. As such the project is now officially back under the stewardship of Solus (original authors) and will be developed with our goals in mind, as it once was. It should also be observed that Budgie has been an incredibly quiet project for almost the entire duration of the project being split out from Solus. This will now be remedied as we merge back into Solus, and all previous decisions will now be re-evaluated (Qt? Wayland? GTK+4? etc)."
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The KDE team has published a new set of goals for the Plasma desktop and its applications. Some of these goals involve providing better privacy protecting software while others are related to infrastructure and making it easier for new contributors to join the project. "The following goals were chosen for the next three to four years: Top notch usability and productivity for basic software - this is all about getting the little details right and making KDE's software a joy to use for everyone. Privacy software - here we focus on making sure KDE's software helps you protect your privacy where you need it and gives you the necessary control. Streamlined onboarding of new contributors - KDE's software is created by volunteers from all around the world. We want to put effort into making it easier to contribute and become a part of the community." Members of the KDE team took to Reddit this weekend to answer questions and discuss the new goals.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Tips and Tricks
Gathering system information
I really like the Tips and Tricks articles, they're very helpful. I recently found lsb_release and thought it might be worth sharing with the DistroWatch community. Although some of the more seasoned Linux users are probably already aware of this command, many other readers could find this to be a useful little tool.
I'm running Xubuntu 16.04, since 16.04.2. For a while now, I wondered how to verify that my system is up to date when LTS release updates are issued, for example, from 16.04.3 to 16.04.4. Using inxi -F only shows "Distro: Ubuntu 16.04 xenial". So, after a bit of searching on the Internet, I found what I really wanted: lsb_release. (I did notice during my search there are pre-installed GUIs for this information, but I'd rather use the command line when possible.)
After reading the man page, I found running lsb_release -d -c is exactly what I wanted.
$ lsb_release -d -c
Description: Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS
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As a regular reader, I notice there are usually a few different tips in the articles. If you like this idea, maybe you can also include some inxi tips since inxi is another useful tool for system information.
(Editor's note: For those unfamiliar with inxi, it is a command line tool which collects key pieces of system information which are useful for debugging technical problems. This information is formatted in a way that makes it suitable for copying & pasting into a forum post or IRC channel.)
Many times over the years I've seen, on forums, where a user needs help with a problem, and is asked to post the results of inxi -F. The output of that command includes the users mac address. So, by running inxi -Fz, the mac address is hidden from public view.
Here is a customization trick to change the font colour scheme:
inxi -c 95
Note: 95 is for a terminal, running in X - like xTerm. Running inxi -h will show a short list of choices, from 94 to 99, for different display types in the -c options.
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More tips can be found in our Tips and Tricks archive.
|Released Last Week
Emmabuntüs is a desktop Linux distribution designed to be run on older computers. The project has released a new version based on Debian 9 Stretch featuring the Xfce desktop environment. The LXDE desktop can easily be installed as an alternative interface. "This Debian Edition 2-1.02 version includes the following fixes and enhancements: Based on Debian 9.4 Stretch. Addition of utilities to automatically detect and configure the printer devices. Addition of Shutter. Addition of Darktable, but only for the 64-bits version. Addition of the LXDE installation icon within the Xfce menu. Modification of the script handling the screen saver images in order to be able to turn it off. Update of the Wiki. Updates of HPLip 3.18.4, TurboPrint 2.45, Skype 8.20 (64-bits version only), VirtualBox-guest-dkms 5.2.10, MultiSystem 1.0423." Additional information on the new version can be found in the project's release announcement.
The openSUSE team has announced the release of openSUSE 15, a new major milestone for the distribution which allows for easier migration to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). The project's release announcement states: "openSUSE Leap 15 now allows migration to SLE, brings a new partitioner, integrates the Groupware Kopano, moves to Firewalld - and also comes distributed by Linode (for Cloud and infrastructure setups) and on high-end hardware like Tuxedo Laptops (other Cloud and hardware vendors will follow). On top of that, Leap 15 introduces a system role selection with classic 'server' or 'transactional server' role with transactional updates and a read-only root file system. This brings in all the benefits of atomic updates to the full scope of deployments, from the Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices to classical server and desktop roles. Apart from that, Leap 15 has been continually optimized for cloud usage scenarios as virtualization guest and at the same time offers a great variety of desktops, including KDE and GNOME and features the return of Live images for simple test-driving." The distribution's download page offers full DVD and net-install images. There are also live disc editions for KDE Plasma and GNOME.
openSUSE 15 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 435kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
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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: 864
- Total data uploaded: 19.8TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
OEMs shipping a customized operating system
This week we shared a review of Pop!_OS, an Ubuntu-based distribution developed by System76. Pop!_OS is offered as a pre-installed option on System76's laptops and desktops. Having a custom distribution like this lets the OEM better control the user experience, tailoring the desktop and drivers to match their hardware.
We would like to know what our readers think of OEMs creating a customized distribution as opposed to using an available distribution like Fedora or Ubuntu. Is having a custom distribution an appealing option, or would you prefer to see OEMs sell their hardware with an existing flavour of Linux?
You can see the results of our previous poll on GNOME removing the ability to launch programs from Nautilus in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
OEMs shipping a customized operating system
|I prefer the custom distro option: ||221 (12%)|
| I prefer OEMs use a generic distro: ||571 (30%)|
| I prefer to have no OS pre-installed: ||784 (41%)|
| No preference: ||323 (17%)|
Improvements to the Compare Packages page
Our Compare Packages page provides a way for DistroWatch visitors to quickly compare the available packages between two distributions. If you want to know which project is more cutting edge, Manjaro Linux or Fedora's Rawhide branch, the Compare Packages page can show you.
This week we made some improvements to the comparison table. When a package in a distribution is up to date with its upstream stable version, the package's version number is displayed in green. Packages in a distribution which are development releases are shown in red with a broken-line border.
* * * * *
New projects added to database
Obarun is an Arch Linux based distribution featuring the S6 init software in place of systemd. Obarun provides a live disc featuring the JWM graphical interface. Utilities, such as pacopts, are included for working with Arch's repositories, including the Arch User Repository (AUR).
Obarun 2018.05 -- Running the JWM graphical interface
(full image size: 1.1MB, resolution: 1232x943 pixels)
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Distributions added to waiting list
- MODICIA OS. MODICIA OS is a desktop Linux distribution, based on Xubuntu. The operating system features an interface which should appear familiar to macOS users. Samba and WINE are pre-installed to make it easier to share resources over the network and run Windows applications.
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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, 4 June 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Poll (by DaveW on 2018-05-28 00:58:32 GMT from United States) |
In general, I have no problem with a vendor customized distro, so I voted no preference. However, I really don't like Gnome on a desktop computer. So that particular combo gets a thumbs down.
2 • OEMs Shipping computers with Linux preinstalled (poll) (by TuxRaider on 2018-05-28 01:09:43 GMT from United States)
i have no preference, they can roll their own custom distro if they want or ship a pre-made distro such as that listed right here on distrowatch, either way is fine with but i am really happy to see any Linux being shipped on an OEM PC, at least that gives people a choice other than MS_Windows, which is still a monopoly on IBM compatible PCs (which the government continues to ignore) and i wont be happy about that until i can walk in to any store selling computers and be able to pick any OEM Laptop or PC and choose my Linux distro of choice and the people at the store have several distros to choose from on DVD or thumbdrive, since i am spending hundreds or possibly over a thousand dollars on a Laptop or PC i should be given that choice during the purchase
3 • OEM Customized Linux Install (by Rev_Don on 2018-05-28 01:36:54 GMT from United States)
I have no problem with an OEM Customized Linux install, as long as it's done well. The problem is that most of the time they do a poor job of it, like the way Pop!_OS handles uninstalling any of the default apps. OEM's need to limit their customizations to drivers and optimizations pertaining to the hardware and leave the software packages separate from the desktop package.
4 • poll (by Tim Dowd on 2018-05-28 01:51:52 GMT from United States)
I voted I'd rather see a generic distro, but my vote should be taken with a grain of salt as most of my computers are surplussed junk that I enjoy keeping out of the eWaste stream. I'm not buying the kind of high end machine that this market is about, so I really should defer to the companies in terms of what their customers want.
The reason for my vote though, is that I think there are a number of distros now (Ubuntu MATE, Mint, Manjaro, Xubuntu) that out of the box are nearly perfect. I just would rather see their branding not diluted so that the public knows that these are good choices for machines other than just OEM.
But this is the great thing about open source: if this works for these companies and helps them sell machines and GNU/Linux, who am I to judge?
5 • Haiku (by Vern on 2018-05-28 02:02:30 GMT from United States)
I read a lot recently of Haiku. Mainly because it is/as inspired from BeOS. It would have been interesting had Apple taken that route.
Also, I was interested in BeOS and so were a lot of others, but developers leaving for whatever reason, left it flat. Still an interesting OS.
6 • Modicia (by Rebecca on 2018-05-28 02:30:59 GMT from New Zealand)
I've just downloaded Modicia... and after an hour in a Fusion VM, I hope they improve the installer - as in 'make it work'.....
7 • Poll - Generic OS? (by Dude on 2018-05-28 02:31:50 GMT from Bahrain)
I prefer a generic OS. I don't want to deal with proprietary driver hassles. I want my audio, video and wifi to work every time out of the box when I install the OS of my choice. An example of this is the Beebox mini PC that only supports Windows. I returned my Beebox when I found out Linux Mint was not supported.
8 • Pop! and @2 (by Angel on 2018-05-28 02:32:58 GMT from Philippines)
Installed Pop!_Os. Worked very well dual-booting with Windows 10. I like their theme and icons, although I think they may want to talk to a good graphics designer (or at least a good photographer) about their default background. I still prefer Ubuntu's version of Gnome, so I uninstalled, reinstalled Ubuntu, and got the Pop theme and icons from the PPA.
@2 Good God! There are 310 active distributions listed in Distrowatch, and many of them have multiple versions and DEs. Do you really expect computer retailers to keep that many on hand for your perusing pleasure? Think what it would do to the cost of a PC, for one. I live in the Philippines, where I can purchase just about any PC without an OS. An 8g USB key costs about 4 or 5 USD, and it takes me less than and hour to download and install most distros. Still, I generally buy with Windows already installed. Price difference is not much if any, and in my experience, branded PCs with Linux tend to cost more, not less. I use Windows, but even if not, Windows 10 can be wiped and reinstalled at any time in the life of the PC. Can make a difference should I want to dispose of the unit in future by selling or donating. Most people do nothing but Windows.
9 • Poll : custom distro,,, (by Rebecca on 2018-05-28 02:36:21 GMT from New Zealand)
My preference would be no OS of any kind - because we all prefer our own little tweaks to linux... and having to deal with a possibly unknown distro to bring it up to spec - it's easier by far to just slap in a Mint disk or an OpenSUSE disk... and get on with it!
Having seen what dealers are like when it comes to computers... even what they can recognise as a cimputer.... I have no faith that an OEM could come up with something that would be acceptable; I'd rather have $10-20 off the sales price!
10 • @8 Re Linux Distros in Stores (by Rev_Don on 2018-05-28 02:39:34 GMT from United States)
You need to read post #2 again. He does NOT say EVERY Distro. He says "the people at the store have several distros to choose from on DVD or thumbdrive".
11 • Reader Ratings (of each individual distribution) (by R. Cain on 2018-05-28 02:46:36 GMT from United States)
When I discovered the 'Reader Ratings' a while back, it seemed as though this was the answer to the "echo chamber" of self-congratulatory praise which most all distributions' 'forums' have degenerated into. It hasn't taken long to realize that the fanboys and girls know how to game the system, and will pad the venue with "10-ratings" after an objective lower rating review appears which points out shortcomings and cracks in the distribution which have been occurring for a long time, and getting worse; and which are, furthermore, common knowledge. That's what's so maddening--an objective comment followed by a whole lot of 'tenners' similar to, "It's great..."; "It's wonderful..."; "Never had any problems..."; "My grandma loves it..."; "I recommend this distro to ANYbody...". You get the idea (you probably got it way before this was posted).
It'd be nice if you could arrive at a scheme to deal with this problem without sacrificing civility, though that would be a Herculean challenge, I'm sure. Probably best to let the system be gamed, although some sort of a 'disclaimer message' to readers that any ratings which are obviously only the commenters' personal feelings should not be taken too seriously.
12 • Poll -- OEM Customizing Distro (by Andy Figueroa on 2018-05-28 02:53:48 GMT from United States)
As usual, the poll is worded such that I find no choice satisfactory. I do have a preference, and that is to let OEMs do whatever they please. Free Open Source software is about having the freedom of choice.
13 • POP! OS (by Andy Figueroa on 2018-05-28 03:06:12 GMT from United States)
Wow, both ugly and dysfunctional at the same time. I don't see anybody wanting that as their main desktop OS. But, since they are innovative, I think they should contribute their innovations to some established distro upstream.
14 • Custom distro on OEM machines (by argent on 2018-05-28 03:37:57 GMT from United States)
Never heard of System76 or Pop, it's a no-go with me.
Would steer clear of any deal like this, just an empty drive suits me.
Now we are all dumb for using Linux!
15 • Poll--Customized Linux Distribution by the Hardware OEM. (by R. Cain on 2018-05-28 03:54:03 GMT from United States)
It's time to grow up, boys and girls, and pull on your big-boy/girl pants,
Just who do you think is paying the tab for Pop!_OS? You think maybe System76 developed this and is GIVING it to you, for like FREE? Grow up, and fast,
This type thinking is exactly why the state of Linux is in a shambles; everybody just KNOWS that 'free software' means that nobody ever pays. Anything. And that anybody, including System76, can absolutely develop one dynamite distribution, And to Hell with all that QA and validation testing nonsense. What do you expect from a one-, two-, or at most a three-person development team. And you expect them to keep at it forever, right? For free, right?
The data is right here on DistroWatch, folks. There are 888 distributions in The Database; 524 discontinued distributions. Why do you think this is? Simple. No money for quality.
The only way to stop stop the 'System76 Nonsense' is to vote with your feet: let System76 know that you're not stupid, and that you absolutely KNOW how they plan on being compensated for yet one MORE Linux distribution which all the statistics--you know, that very pesky Mathematics of Large Numbers?--say is doomed to failure.
Recent history says that System76 knows how to make very good, dynamite hardware.
Much more ancient history says they will absolutely fail at making a very good Linux distribution.
I'll install my own Linux from amongst the top ten on DistroWatch, thanks very much.
16 • He, who pays the piper... (by Thom on 2018-05-28 04:01:55 GMT from Sweden)
One of the real turn-off when buying any form of computing device, be it a PC or a smart phone, is the pre-sale choice made by the vendor, who also sticks a sundry collection of crapware in their products that are useless, annoying, unwanted, and, worst of all, next to impossible to get rid off.
One of the good things about the BSD/Linux ecosystem is the freedom of choice and control in the hands of users rather than manufacturers or vendors.
The temptation to do a deal to preinstall and bake in a piece of shoddy software could be hard to resist and offering the paying customer a choice of OS/distro could be a way to prevent the creeping crapware itch and revive that old virtue of giving customers what they want.
17 • @#10 (by Angel on 2018-05-28 04:04:15 GMT from Philippines)
I did read it: "i wont be happy about that until i can walk in to any store selling computers and be able to pick any OEM Laptop or PC and choose my Linux distro of choice"
18 • re #11 (by x on 2018-05-28 04:20:27 GMT from United States)
I never read any reviews in the top rating categories for any product. Most of them are from people with a vested interest or just want attention. The lowest ratings are usually from those who do not know how to correctly use an item or who just want to trash something because they have nothing better to do.
The most honest reviews seem to be in the middle. I am able to make a more informed decision based on these and am more satisfied with the result. It is always about making concessions based on what is available vs the ideal.
19 • Pop Os (by lupus on 2018-05-28 05:27:15 GMT from Germany)
System 76 is well known for beeing a high priced top tier vendor of linux based computer systems. Not knowing them says mor about you than you´ll like to admit.
For me they should just offer a ppa. or other kind of means to get the drivers for the hardware they identified as working solidly for them and us in the Linux Realm.
Making a whole Distro with repositories and updates and whatnot is a tedious job for professionals that you have to pay one way or the other.
Using Linux the last couple of years taught me how to get along with older Hardware and I strongly believe most of the Linux enthusiasts enjoy the same view..... we're cheap.
All in all I don't see much use for another Vendor based Linux Distro. Cut the crap, do only the necessary minimum. Be prepared that once we'll maybe get our governments to use Data Secure Linux instead of Microsoft Data leak hellhole, then might be the time, but till then it's a waste of good money and intentions.
20 • opinion poll (by denk_mal on 2018-05-28 06:37:56 GMT from Germany)
I prefer a pre-installed oem distro even when I am using my own choice of distro because this will give a good base for hardware related problems.
Or to say it in other words; It the hardware is working in the oem distro but not on my choice I will have to search for the problem/solution but if the hardware fails on the oem distro then I have a change that the oem/community will help me.
21 • Reviews (by Hait on 2018-05-28 07:27:21 GMT from Germany)
I do not want a user experience decided by an oem, if i wanted that i could stay with windows. Something like buntu with gnome would send me straight out of the shop.
Reading reviews more or less reflects the views of an internal distro watch review reviewer. Write an honest review on a distro including bundled software,it might never get published, compare the reviews to forums and experience, read back away, you will find cut and paste 10 star reviews, same style in reviews of many distros. Statements like never had an issue in two years abound where honest reviewers had broken systems after updates. Reflected in forums but as my daughter tells me a number of critical reviews out of her school classs were never published.
22 • System76 etc... (by OstroL on 2018-05-28 08:06:48 GMT from Poland)
14" System76 is $1,118 with 8GB Ram, 120GB SSD and i7.
A 15" HP i7-7500U, 6GB Ram DDR4, 1TB hard disk with Windows 10 can be bought for the equivalent of $540 in my country. http://allegro.pl/laptop-hp-15-i7-fhd-6gb-1tb-r7-m440-windows-10-i7272729284.html?
How many Linuxes can I add to it, keeping Windows10 also? As the Linux distro is supposed to free, then how come the Linux laptop is so expensive?
23 • #15 (by denpes on 2018-05-28 08:10:05 GMT from Belgium)
No reason to be so preachy to the crowd. Most people know that the tab is paid by the customer. And that's how it should be. I can't afford their hardware, but I'm glad that there are companies like System76. At least you know for sure that their hardware is fully compatible with the linux kernel. And they are one of the gears that keep that market alive. It's fine that they create something to try to stand out. It's your choice to use it or not.
Now I have no preference what distro OEM's put on their hardware, only that they put a Linux distro on it. That way you are sure that all the hardware works with what's in the linux kernel. And then you can keep that install, or pick your own distro.
24 • Linux pre-installed is useless (by Kim on 2018-05-28 08:32:54 GMT from Austria)
Since Linux desktop market share hovers around 2% it is not worthwhile for most vendors to offer a Linux alternative. Preinstalled Windows is cheap enough, one can delete it without remorse. If parts of KDE tend to "close unexpectedly" and Gnome feels terrible the user can always go back to Windows without problems. Also, for people who value their time Linux might be a bit costly. Just my thoughts ... written on a Linux system ;-)
25 • System76 etc... ... ... (by Dude on 2018-05-28 08:35:25 GMT from United States)
I agree with #22. Why are Linux laptops so darned expensive? All of them cost more than a Windows laptop, and most of them cost more than a MacBook Air. I'd love to see a 13.3 Linux Laptop with a Core i3, 4gb of RAM and a 128gb SSD for $500. And of course easy RAM and SSD upgradeable (not soldered to the motherboard). Why, oh why, do Linux laptops have to cost over $1000???
26 • @#8 about 2 (by TuxRaider (me the author of #2 on 2018-05-28 08:47:52 GMT from United States)
they have high speed internet, they can download any distro available and put it on a DVD or thumbdrive in a few minutes, if i can do it in my home they can do it at their store
27 • Re: #22 (by silent on 2018-05-28 08:51:44 GMT from Hungary)
Comparing notebooks is not only about CPU power and storage capacity. The chassis can be made of plastics, aluminum alloy, magnesium alloy, carbon fiber, etc. A keyboard for IT professionals is not the same as a keyboard for home multimedia, or office. Reliability requirements can be quite different. Battery capacity and lifetime is also important. Some people are also willing to pay more fore a nice, thin design, especially if they travel a lot. HDD's are just heavier, slower, noisier than SDD's, use more electric power, therefore generate more heat, they are also more sensitive to mechanical shocks. It is up to you to decide what you need and how much you are willing to pay for it.
28 • Clevo and Sagar laptops... (by Kazan on 2018-05-28 09:09:54 GMT from United Kingdom)
System76 buys in bulk Clevo or Sager laptops. Unit price for an individual is bit higher, but around $800.
https://www.sagernotebook.com/Notebook-NP3141.html - $849
Interesting how much System76 prices its PopOS added to a laptop costing around $400 (bulk buying price)?
29 • None for me, thanks (by Trihexagonal on 2018-05-28 09:32:27 GMT from United States)
When I purchase a computer it can come without a HDD and be alright with me, much less one with someone else's idea of an Operating System pre-installed.
30 • Opinion poll @1 (by kc1di on 2018-05-28 10:44:44 GMT from United States)
I Agree with the first poster, voted no preference but have tried pop and just don't like gnome on it at all
cinnamon or kde would have been a better choice. IMHO.
Don't know why so many stick with gnome -- Think it's a heard mentality and Red Hat drives it some what with there RHEL Which is very gnome centric.
31 • OEM distro (by MikeOh Shark on 2018-05-28 11:32:38 GMT from Germany)
I think it highly unlikely that I would want to stick with an OEM version of a distro over the awesome choices which we find on Distrowatch. Of course, it is good to know that the hardware works and is supported by the OEM.
I would prefer to see the OEM provide a live Linux with persistence on a flash drive. Then even Windows users could know they have an emergency boot option and can set it up with their email and favorites so they can get online after the malware infection or Windows Update.
32 • @#26 (by Angel on 2018-05-28 11:41:07 GMT from Philippines)
Let me see: You want stores to keep a supply of several PCs and laptops, with no OS installed, just on the off-chance that you may walk in and demand a particular Linux distro on a particular laptop. Or maybe you want them to wipe Windows from any computer you may like and install your Linux for you, therefore voiding the warranty. Time is money, and the time involved in the downloading, burning and installing will be added to the cost. Never mind the expense of keeping a bunch of laptops and USB key around to please the minute percentage of demanding Linux users like you. Right!
Yes, God is a myth, and so is the year, month, week or even hour of the Linux desktop.
33 • shambles (by Tim Dowd on 2018-05-28 11:58:59 GMT from United States)
In what way is the state of Linux a "shambles?" It's honestly the best experience one can have with a consumer grade computer at this point.
With commodity amd64 hardware, I've had exactly 1 issue on default installs of Ubuntu MATE or Mint since 2015 and that is that some wifi cards don't have good Linux support. The fix is pretty simple - buy a 15 dollar dongle that's known to work with Linux and you're off and running.
Everything else is polished, fast, and exactly what I want, because there's tons of choice. Walk into a big electronics store and buy their cheapest 15 inch laptop. It will run (out of the box) pretty slow with Windows 10. Pick the desktop you like, find a distro that's known to support it well, install it, and you've got a cheap computer that performs about as well as a laptop costing a thousand dollars more. You've also got desktop programs like Gimp, LibreOffice, Shotwell, and Kodi which rival anything else out there.
We keep descending into fights in these forums because of things like people not liking one desktop. That's fine. There's no less than 7 major desktops out there with at least one distro that polishes them up great. That's not chaos- it's choice. We talk so much more at this point about which desktops suck than we do about which desktops we love and that's the wrong way of thinking about things.
34 • @15 I agree... (by brad on 2018-05-28 12:46:54 GMT from United States)
I really like the hardware specs of system76! And if PoP OS works on it, then most likely any established linux will work on it.. that takes the guess work (not that there's much these days) about hardware compatibility... so I'd get a system76 system and throw Arch Linux on it!
35 • @34 I'm on my 2nd System76 (by Clicktician on 2018-05-28 13:57:16 GMT from United States)
One reason I buy System76 gear is that they honor the warranty and support the hardware no matter what operating system I install on it. Try getting that from HP.
How hard is it to nuke an operating system and install something of your choice? We're all used to it. Having the box come with no operating system is of no advantage to me. I'm going to do exactly the same "partition and format" operations regardless of what's already on it. What I really want is for the vendor to stand behind the product no matter what software I install.
36 • @Andy Figueroa 12: (by dragonmouth on 2018-05-28 14:27:38 GMT from United States)
"Free Open Source software is about having the freedom of choice."
That choice is MINE to make, not the OEM's. OEMs should stick to providing hardware and leave the choice of software to the users. I can see providing pre-installed O/S for clueless Windows users but Linux users are capable of installing their own O/S and other software. After all, the vast majority of them installed Linux when they switched from Windows.
37 • OS tailored to hdw (by Jordan on 2018-05-28 14:04:28 GMT from United States)
We do that as we install our preferred distro. But the idea of having that done by the makers of a machine is appealing.
I voted that I'd rather purchase a computer with no OS at all on it, although I've never done that. Windows was on every computer I've ever purchased.
38 • @32 Angel: (by dragonmouth on 2018-05-28 15:01:13 GMT from United States)
I went to the local mom and pop to buy a laptop. I asked that they replace Windows with Linux. They were perfectly willing to do it for a fee. But their aim is a happy and satisfied customer, unlike the big box and chain stores whose only aim is to sell as many units as possible.
You assume that just because someone is using Linux, (s)he would want that kind of replacement done for free. We Linux users may be cheap but we are not freeloaders.
Computer stores do not need to keep a bunch of USB sticks. If someone requests that Linux be installed on the PC they are purchasing, the store can download it just as you and I would. So what if the warranty would be voided? It is not the store's problem but the customer's. You're just inventing straw man arguments.
39 • Choice of distro to review this week (by Brenton Horne on 2018-05-28 15:26:18 GMT from Australia)
I'm surprised that arguably the most important distro release of the past week, openSUSE Leap 15.0, wasn't reviewed in this week's DistroWatch. Pop!_OS is just another Ubuntu derivative tbh, nothing really impressive about it but openSUSE is an independent distro and Leap 15.0 has a few new innovative features. I'm guessing next week's DistroWatch will review Leap 15.0.
40 • openSUSE (by Jesse on 2018-05-28 15:46:47 GMT from Canada)
@39: >> "I'm surprised that arguably the most important distro release of the past week, openSUSE Leap 15.0, wasn't reviewed in this week's DistroWatch. "
openSUSE 15 was released approximately two days before this weekly was published. That is not enough time to properly evaluate a distribution, its changes and features. All the useful information I could have told you in that amount of time was "It installs in multiple environments and the live disc works."
>> "I'm guessing next week's DistroWatch will review Leap 15.0. "
41 • @17 Re: I did read it (by Rev_Don on 2018-05-28 16:09:41 GMT from United States)
You need to read ALL of the original post. It's the next section of that very sentence that places it all in context.
42 • POPos (and Lindows) are already flat fizz (by Willie Buck Merle on 2018-05-28 16:24:07 GMT from United States)
linux-for-desktop is 98% dinky distros and 2% useful/worthwhile endeavors. Far too many game the setup here on DW ratings, jez sayin FOSS fanboyz.
43 • OEM's load loading custom Distros on their hardware... (by tom joad on 2018-05-28 16:52:44 GMT from Netherlands)
It makes little difference to me much but I would prefer something Linux generic like Ubuntu or Mint. I voted that way too. Having a plain Jane distro loaded would clearly demonstrate the hardware will run Linux.
Over the years I have only bought one computer with Linux on it. It was a System76 too. The other computers I bought were windows machines that I careful researched before the buy.
I have used Pop_os on my HP Envy but Pop had an odd quirk to it so I moved on.
44 • Vendors using custom Distros (by George on 2018-05-28 17:25:41 GMT from United States)
Over the years I have purchased boxes with Linux installed, and also a couple commercial Linux OSes. All of these products worked well - better than my proprietary experiences. e.g. Libranet and its forum provided helpful solutions tailored to my problem. Commercial Open Source has saved me a bit of money and lots of time/effort.
However, half of these vendors are no longer operating. So I would not pretend to know what the best course is for a vendor like System 76 (and for its clients).
My basic personal preference is for fewer but more polished, more feature-packed, better supported distros. I'd like to see System 76 "use a generic distro", perhaps working directly with an established developer to implement a feature that clients request. However, regardless of my druthers, the best course for System 76 and its client base may be the "custom distro option" that it has taken.
Most likely this issue should be decided on a case-by-case basis, and not by applying some general preference to all cases.
45 • System 76 laptops & Pop!_OS (by fox on 2018-05-28 17:40:46 GMT from Canada)
@22, you are talking about apples and oranges when comparing a System 76 laptop to the HP you referred to. The System 76 is an ultrabook with a high speed SSD, not a heavy computer with a 5400 rpm drive (albeit 1 TB). I think that what System 76 is offering is comparable or maybe slightly more expensive than comparable ultrabooks, but you know it's going to work with Linux without a lot of the compromises one makes installing Linux on a Windows laptop.
Personally, I like Pop!_OS, enough that I installed it on two of my computers (just to play with it) and also, I like the theme enough (though not the default desktop picture) to install that in my Ubuntu partitions on those computers. Pop has nice design touches and several of their programs are, in my opinion, as good as or better than the Ubuntu equivalents. Also, I found that their 17.10 to 18.04 upgrade worked well. I'm glad they developed this and made it available to folks who have non-System 76 computers. I'm sure their distro will improve with time.
46 • System 76 and @#38 (by Angel on 2018-05-28 18:20:10 GMT from Philippines)
I don't know what all the fuss is about System 76. They offer a product for sale. If enough people find it of value so that the company can make a profit, they will succeed. They would like to make money, so what is wrong with that? If the opposite is true, they will fail. I don't need it, so I won't buy it. Others may want it and buy it. My opinion on the matter is only relevant to my actions. Others may. differ.
@#38, don't tell me about straw men. If I ran a computer store, I might do the same as your mom and pop's, as long as the customer will sign a release absolving the store of responsibility. But that's not what the OP wants. He wants to walk into ANY store, choose ANY computer, and have ANY distro he wants installed.
47 • Pop_OS! (by Sam on 2018-05-28 19:44:08 GMT from United States)
Good Lawd. Am I the only one here who thinks the folks at System76 should focus more on getting better battery life out of their kinda pricey computers and less on customizing Ubuntu?
48 • Pre-installed Pop (by Roy on 2018-05-28 20:25:09 GMT from United States)
I like building my computers from scratch. But if I was going to buy a whole computer I would like the idea of knowing it worked. So I opted for for the pre-installed Linux since I like distrohopping.
49 • @46 the problem... (by OstroL on 2018-05-28 22:26:07 GMT from Poland)
System76 buys Clevo and Sagar laptops for about $400 apiece, someone posted. The thing is, no one knows the brands Clevo or Sagar. Even, if they have i7 and 500 SSD, no one I know would buy that with even Windows 10 on it at $500. Its a no-name laptop. Those companies would produce a laptop with your name even. So, how much is Pop OS? Another $500?
50 • Pop! OS... (by Marc Visscher on 2018-05-28 22:28:54 GMT from Netherlands)
Very funny, because Pop! OS is exactly what GNOME 3 does to it's users: leave no choice than what THEY have in mind for an OS. It's ridiculous to see that if you install something else than the base software given in Pop! OS, that the whole theme uninstalls itself. I know why they do it, but come on... just develop a good theme so that every program in the Pop! OS theme looks uniform in looks style.
Pop! OS, GNOME 3... are they really part of the Linux ecosystem? Linux stands for choice, and that's exactly what's missing in both projects. In other words: they are both not for me.
51 • Pre-installed Linux systems (by Bobbie Sellers on 2018-05-28 23:18:51 GMT from United States)
Well I can scarcely afford a used computer these days.
When I was buying new stuff it had Windows installed
and that Windows partition quickly was reduced to as
small as I could get it then the Linux OS of my choice
went on .
Present notebook is a Dell E6520 and the 700 Gigabyte
hard drive in it is from the last new computer, I bought,
an HP had a 4 core AMD and Windoze 8.1, That
Windows is still on the drive but it is dead as the Dell
cannot run it. Perfectly fine waste of hard disk space and
if I feel richer some day may get the Dell verision of 8.1
to just have a working copy at hand to complain about.
My favorite Linuxes went on the old HP, Mageia and
PCLinuxOS64. Currently running KDE Plasma 5 which
gives me plenty to whine about, but it still
lets me compose my Virtual Desktop as I like it.
Last week I downloaded the latest CentOS Live KDE
and it had version Plasma 4.15.8 and I nearly moved to it.
52 • Opinion Poll - OEMs and custom distros install. (by Ralph on 2018-05-29 00:13:24 GMT from United States)
I think that OEM's should follow generic distros or have no OS pre-installed. Custom pre-installed distros negate one of the fundamental learning processes of Linux. DYI will most surely die and ops will only 'look' for some script to do the work for them, learning points earned 0. I came to Linux know I would get a blank slate every time I Installed a new distro.
Now I do believe a distro can offer flavors, like Ubuntu and others do. They seem to be in the correct position to do so. Following user request to do so.
For me its never been about the speed of getting my system up and running as fast as possible but the knowledge of what exactly has been added to the bare disto to have what I want and nothing more. BTW, I am an old guy whos first computer was a Comodore PET with 8K of RAM. So from the get go I have been very aware of whats loaded into memory and Windows TSR crap drove me to Linux. The best drive I've ever been on!
53 • @#50, choice (by Angel on 2018-05-29 00:30:57 GMT from Philippines)
I love it when people claim Linux is all about choice, but if someone dares to offer a choice they don't like, they want to ban them from the "Linux ecosystem," whatever that is. Must be some quasi-official Linux cult from which one can get excommunicated.
In just about all surveys I've read asking about the best loved distro, (not in Distrowatch) Arch usually comes out on top. Now go on the Arch forums and try telling them that Arch should do things your way, and you will get a choice: Go use something else. That, my friend, is choice. You don't like Pop!_OS? (Wish they'd come out with an easier to type name.:)) Use something else. You want to keep the theme? It's freely available on a PPA, so I have no idea what you are complaining about. I am using it right now on Ubuntu, because I like it, my choice. But you seem to think that choice is about anyone offering anything Linux allowing you to do whatever you want with it, with no effort whatsoever on your part. Maybe you should go try Arch, then you can do what you want with it, as long as you put in the time, the learning and the effort. You will surely learn about choice.
54 • Opinion Poll (by Fantomas on 2018-05-29 00:33:44 GMT from France)
I prefer to have no OS pre-installed. Thank you very much. And no System76, for me. Thank you very much. (Its the Price)
55 • poll (by figosdev on 2018-05-29 02:38:19 GMT from United States)
"no preference" was closest to how i feel, but it depends.
custom distro option: i have nothing against a vendor creating a distro, olpc is the best example in my opinion
use a generic distro: for most vendors this is probably better, in theory
no OS pre-installed: it certainly ensures choice, doesnt it?
i love distros, but people are so "distrocentric" when its really about "the software." if the team or the players become too much more important than the game being played. i love when its about "the love of the game," when its about the software, not the brand or the culture of each distro. i mean even that "local culture" is fine if its opt-in, but how many subcultures really deliver on that level of freedom? who is going to tell me how i should be using ubuntu? but it happens all the time.
56 • Pre-installed distros from hardware vendors (by Ben Myers on 2018-05-29 04:54:22 GMT from United States)
Pre-installed is fine. Vendor "customization" of a distro may be fine or maybe not so fine. I take no issue with a vendor-specific screen when the system boots up. And I have no problem with other bits and pieces and bitmaps proudly identifying the vendor. But vendors have to make up their minds whether they want to be in the hardware business or the software business.
So what business are the Pop!_Os people in? Selling hardware with Linux pre-installed or peddling their own unique distro plus hardware. Pre-installation is added value, especially for the people who cannot do it themselves or do not have the time to do it. As always, I have to wonder whether the other unique elements of Pop!_Os (like other distros) are worth the time, effort and money to develop them, or if these are simply an attempt to set the distro apart from others.
I talking about Pop!Os here simply because it was reviewed this week. The same questions apply to other distros.
57 • Pre-installed OS (by JIm on 2018-05-29 10:22:44 GMT from United States)
I am with Ostrol and Dude. I would love to by a Linux laptop but I am not spending that kind of money. I have bought refurbished computers, with no OS or a sketchy version of Windows which I wipe, and then install a Linux OS. I get more bang for my buck and have had as good of luck with these as with new compuiters.
Another problem with Linux computers is the life of the pre-installed OS. Why is Dell offering their new Precision Mobile Workstation with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS when 18.04 is out and available? Why buy a computer that has very limited time left on the pre-installed OS?
58 • System76 vs Pinebook vs HP Pavilion vs Chromebook (by Tech in Warner Springs on 2018-05-29 11:19:50 GMT from United States)
I just ordered a 14″ PINEBOOK LINUX LAPTOP w/o the OS for $99.99. Now, I fully understand that you get what you pay for, but it does come with some respectable specs. It reminds me of a Pi on steroids. At any rate It will be an interesting little project and at $100 dollars it's worth a try. I'd be interested in sharing my review of the unit if anyone is interested. Here is the URL if you want to take a closer look at the unit. https://www.pine64.org/?product=pinebook
As far as the rest of the hardware I have listed in my subject line, I have tried them all but I keep coming back to the old trusty HP Pavilion line of laptops. The last one I purchased from Amazon was under $400 bucks and while it was a dog trying to run Windows 10, its perfect for Linux. For those who are skeptical I have included the specs for that unit as well.
2017 Newest HP Silver 17.3" Pavilion 17-g121wm Laptop PC with an AMD A10-8700P Quad Core Processor, 8GB Memory, 1TB Hard Drive and Windows 10 Home. Sold by: MobileMonster at $390.00.
Compared to System76 and the latest craze in Chromebooks, I find it difficult to justify the price for one of these units. It's like a status symbol, "look man, I just bought this cool iPhone and it only cost $1,200 bucks and it matches my iWatch!, and the best part is, with the money I had left over I purchased this cool Chromebook".
For the life of me I don't understand why anyone would purchase an under performing and expensive piece of hardware, it's just beyond belief.
If I get enough interests in the Pine-Nuts Laptop from the DistroWatch regulars, I will write a review of the unit and share my findings with the group.
All the Best!
Tech in Warner Springs
PS My current Pavilion is running MX Linux 17 w/37 VM's installed of which I have 3-5 running at once to power my telescopes.I even have a copy of Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 10 just for nostalgia's sake.
59 • @50 Angel: (by dragonmouth on 2018-05-29 12:52:41 GMT from United States)
The kind of choice you are talking about is the arrogant "My way or the highway" choice Microsoft gives people which many Linux distro developers seem to have adopted. Nowadays, to get any meaningful choice in Linux, one must get into a DIY distro such as Gentoo, Linux From Scratch or Source Mage.
60 • System76 vs Pinebook vs,,, (by R.Cain on 2018-05-29 13:27:40 GMT from United States)
'Flabbergasted' is the only word which is applicable here,
A Linux computer for 99 DOLLARS ? !
You say, "...you get what you pay for...", and, in the main, you're right; but I just now searched on "pinebook linux laptop" and was blown away by the great reviews this machine is getting in reviews as late as early 2018, and in the same reviews with other machines (not AGAINST other machines, but WITH other 'low-cost' machines; like $250 and more).
I don't have time to pursue this further, but when I get back, I'm definitely ordering one of these for my wife (and for me to play with), who needs a new e-mail checker (only) to replace an old netbook. One of my first projects will be to see if installing AntiX will be a performance-enhancer; it definitely should be.
"... I'd be interested in sharing my review of the unit if anyone is interested...". By all means. Please.
My only complaint? The $89, 11.6" unit is no longer available. This would have fit nicely into my briefcase. I know: 'bitch, bitch, bitch..."
61 • Pop OS review: what is missing (by curious on 2018-05-29 14:50:13 GMT from Germany)
With "systemd-boot", it would be very interesting to find out how multi-boot friendly it is, i.e. whether it can actually replace Grub without causing trouble with other installed operating systems (especially those that don't have systemd).
The other really important aspect that was not tested: installing a useful desktop environment (i.e. not Gnoem3 or Unity).
62 • oem distro (by eznix on 2018-05-29 17:16:42 GMT from United States)
If I ever bought a new system I would like to see system retailers install a generic, vanilla, Debian or Fedora install on the system so I can be assured most any Linux I choose to use will work out of the box on my purchased system. I am going to wipe and install what I want anyhow, so why waste my time with OEM customized distros - a grand waste of time for the retailer and no proof that special drivers and setups are not needed on their hardware.
I buy only used desktop systems, never laptops, and I like my systems about 3-5 years behind the times. I do not use Windows or Mac ever, I could not care less about them. Since I buy used desktops, I usually get a Windows license if I want it.
63 • small linux computer (by Tim Dowd on 2018-05-29 17:52:31 GMT from United States)
If you want a small cheap 11inch computer running Linux, I'd recommend a second-hand ARM chromebook from a few years back. It's not too hard to put a linux environment into a chroot using the program Crouton.
It's a little tricky and I know some people won't trust using the Chrome kernel, but it's been an awesome thing and cost me 40 bucks. I've had good luck using Debian Buster in the chroot running XFCE.
64 • Custom distro actually great for custom solution though (by BeGo on 2018-05-30 03:01:00 GMT from Indonesia)
That because the vendors could specialized their laptop according to the target segment, for example,
Uberstudent inspired laptop and OS for students. :)
65 • New-Linux-Distribution-Development by a hardware vendor. (by R. Cain on 2018-05-30 03:15:41 GMT from United States)
"... Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.” --Prof. W. Kotschnig, 1940.
1. Users of Linux, particularly those who have no problem using another tool when that's appropriate, are probably as good an example of an extremely open-minded group of people as one can find.
2. It seems that paying--and a lot, at that--for a Linux distribution which has no track record and nothing to recommend it, from a source which has no track at writing a Linux operating system constitutes not any semblance of open-mindedness but, rather, having one's brains fall out.
3. If one feels an uncontrollable urge to spend several hundred dollars on an operating system, demonstrate your level of seriousness by contributing that amount to any one--or several--of the very good distributions on DistroWatch; you just may ensure the survival of one which deserves to survive.
Strictly a personal opinion; nothing more.
66 • @50 (by desktop on 2018-05-30 04:38:55 GMT from Portugal)
If it makes sense that 90+ in 100 desktop users believe Linux isn't good enough, then, to say Linux desktop a, b, c, isn't good enough, is common sense :)
67 • Pop, no-OS or Linux-preinstalled machines (by Hoos on 2018-05-30 05:43:45 GMT from Singapore)
What harm is there having an aspirational Linux machine? It's another choice, innit?
If it's not for the majority of users, that's fine, but perhaps there are people who want to run Linux on something nice that didn't originally hold a Windows OS?
As for whether or not a hardware seller should also "dabble" in making a bespoke distribution, I guess the question is whether it's executed well. I can't really comment on how well Pop OS works. But looks-wise I can see it fitting the hipster vibe of their marketing for their Galago Pro ultrabook.
I've think it's good that Linux-only hardware sellers exist. I wish them all the luck. It can't be easy going up against sellers of Windows machines who might be able to sell at lower prices due to discounts or cash incentives given by Microsoft to sellers to preinstall Windows on their machines.
It's better than not even having that choice in the market.
Of course I also wish that brand name manufacturers more readily offered a no OS choice with their machines.
So I think the best scenario is for shops to offer also to install one of a few selected (ie, more well known) distros on no OS machines. But I won't criticise Linux-computer sellers trying to find their own distinctive niche in the market.
68 • Use Linux (by Wakeup on 2018-05-30 06:48:53 GMT from Germany)
90+ in 100 desktop users believe Linux isn't good enough, then I think they have never used it.
Of more than 70 installations only one went back to windows for a while, the user complained something was wrong because his computer had become so slow. It was mining some crypto but not for him.
His desktop is now XFCE.
I have to use win on occasion for the simple reason that workshop car diagnostic will only run on that, answer is an ancient notebook used for no other purpose, connect to the internet and a few hours later our internal data is somewhere else. If the shop burns down maybe I can ask for my data back from the blue screen champs.
69 • User ratings of distros (by Jordan on 2018-05-30 10:44:12 GMT from United States)
@11 Yes. I think you're right. Similar to the PHR, there are fans of distros who come to just promote the distro. I've done it with "fly by" visits here for the sole purpose of clicking my favorite two distros. But the user rating of the distro I'm using or testing I take more seriously and do assign the number of stars to it that I feel is truly appropriate in my opinion.
But yes I do wonder about some of those 5 star ratings in there, especially for distros that reviewed here badly, or on other sites badly.
70 • Pop! OS... (reaction to #53) (by Marc Visscher on 2018-05-30 12:36:16 GMT from Netherlands)
You're funny dude! Linux IS what choice is all about, in every way possible. Maybe it's okay for you that a software programmer of FREE (you know RMS's meaning of that word, don't you?) software builds in restricitions so that it behaves as commercial or proprietary software. That's not the experience I prefer. If software feels or behave like that, I might as well stay on Windows.
Pop! OS and GNOME 3 are all about making restrictions to the user and take away the user's experience in a way the user see fit best to themself. It behaves more and more like Android. And therefore I don't use, want it or even support it. And that's exacly what I do: walk around it with a wide angle. I don't buy Pop! OS (but still respect System76 for selling at least Linux hardware!) and I'll never use GNOME 3. And concerned the latter: what's the use of being "minimal", while GNOME 3 only runs on heavy specs machines? A lightweight desktop environment does exactly the same, but better and with a lot lower footprint.
To me Xfce, MATE and KDE are the most flexible desktop environments of all, and they fit into what Linux should be: free to make the choice YOU want how you want to use it and/or behaves (within the boundaries of what it's capable of course). And to me Xfce is the champion in this Top 3. I can make Xfce look exactly like Gnome 2/MATE, KDE, GNOME 3, Unity and even Windows and MacOS. That's flexibility, my friend.
You like GNOME 3? You like Pop! OS with all the restrictions that comes along with it? Fine! Good for you. It's just a matter of taste. Like it should be.
And for your information: I'm using Linux, BSD, Windows (for work), MacOS (occasionally, for music production) and even sometimes Unix on a very old SPARC-machine. Linux and BSD are my OS'es of choice since 2003, and I've played around with every major distro and even a lot more since then. So yes, I do use Arch too. Along with Xubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE Tumbleweed and Fedora on multiple machines in multiboot. But all these distro's respect me to make my own choices how I use it.
Again, what I said is not a flame to System76. I still respect their effort to put Linux hardware into the market, and I give them big credit for that. The only thing I criticize is that their OS is behaving a bit too much like a commercial product. The same criticism is for the underlying OS of Pop! OS, GNOME 3. Is this a "today's trend" by the way? If so, I'll hope this trend will be over soon.
If I decide to buy a System76 laptop, the first thing I do is get rid of the OS pre-installed and replace it with something which suits me better. At least that's still a choice nobody can take away from me. ;-)
71 • @68,50 (by desktop on 2018-05-30 13:46:38 GMT from Portugal)
"90+ in 100 desktop users believe Linux isn't good enough, then I think they have never used it." Same goes for Linux users of desktop K, who never used desktop x,y,z. Of course...
72 • @71 etc (by Kazan on 2018-05-30 15:44:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
"90+ in 100 desktop users believe Linux isn't good enough, then I think they have never used it."
It is the same for those who had not used Windows 10...they have not used it.
73 • Reaction to #71 and #72 (by Marc Visscher on 2018-05-30 19:49:51 GMT from Netherlands)
Since my first experience with Linux back in 2003 I've used lots of desktop environments. Since 2003 KDE 2, 3, 4 and 5, Xfce 3 and 4 up til version 4.12. Further I've used GNOME 2 and 3, but since version 3.18 GNOME totally lost me as an user. I've used (and in some cases still use: Unity, MATE, LXDE, LXQt, Enlightement, Moksha, Lumina (on BSD) Budgie (also too much GNOME 3 for me), Cinnamon (maybe the best implementation of GNOME 3 and not so bad at all at this moment), IceWM, Fluxbox, Openbox, i3WM, JVM, TWM, Trinity (continuation of KDE 3), Equinox (looks like Windows 95/98/2000), Project Looking Glass on Solaris (Sun Microsystems), CDE on Unix and on Debian, Windows from 3.0 'til Windows 10, MacOS(X) and a couple of desktops I probably forgot to mention.
So... I did use enough desktops to compare them with each other. GNOME 3 is not even in my top 20 anymore. ;-)
74 • @67 What he/she said (by TheTKS on 2018-05-31 00:08:08 GMT from United States)
My sentiments exactly, except Hoos probably wrote it better than I would have.
And I would have used Canadian spelling and idiom...
75 • Gathering system information using "dmesg" (by jg on 2018-05-31 07:26:07 GMT from United States)
You can gather hardware system information using "dmesg|more" at the command prompt. "dmesg" is piped with "more" so you can scroll page by page through the all of the hardware information collected when Linux boots.
76 • Windows 10 (by Jordan on 2018-06-01 11:57:24 GMT from United States)
@72 baloney (bologna if you're a purist). Moving from Windows to linux distros is an ongoing dynamic that begun in the early/mid 90s and continues through Windows 10.
77 • @76 (by OstroL on 2018-06-01 13:22:02 GMT from Poland)
>>Moving from Windows to linux distros is an ongoing dynamic that begun in the early/mid 90s and continues through Windows 10.<<
Users move around, but that doesn't mean Linux is becoming better than Windows. It had become better by keeping one OS and upgrading every few months. 1 OS, not 500. Its always easy to look after 1 OS, than fighting over a lot. In our Linux world, it looks like a car with different size tires in all four wheels.
Linux is doing well in Android, for it is One OS, owned by one company, and given free to anyone, who can install it on a device. It uses an old kernel too. and, millions people use Android, without knowing it is Linux. That company, carefully forgets to say that Android is Linux, and by doing so pushed Windows mobile out of the market, and kicks at Apple.
All Windows users have One OS, while we here have different ones, and we fight each other. The devs too, even though they don't openly say so. A divided society doesn't grow.
78 • OEM Distro (by CS on 2018-06-01 14:17:28 GMT from United States)
Anything but raw "ship it as soon as it builds" Ubuntu please.
It's reassuring to know that someone has put in an effort to ensure the OS won't burn out your BIOS (like Ubuntu) or randomly freeze every 24-48 hours (like Ubuntu "LTS" releases on every machine I've managed to try it on), and that the wireless adapter actually works out-of-the-box rather than relying on you to download it from some random person's dropbox account. These kinds of compatibility certifications serve a valuable purpose.
79 • not fair (by Tim Dowd on 2018-06-01 16:17:32 GMT from United States)
You're criticizing Ubuntu for stuff that happens on every OS.
In the decade I've been using Linux, I've come to the realization that the vast majority of problems I encounter (on any distro and any release) have something to do with the specific combination of release and computer I'm trying to use. Think of how many different versions of drivers get written, updated, frozen, compiled in different ways, given different default behavior, etc. It's amazing that any OS works as well as it does given all of the machines it runs on. And sometimes there are problems. Even Apple has problems with iOS updates and it builds both the machine and the operating system. The measure of an OS's strength is not being free from such bugs but how quickly they're fixed.
You can test software until the cows come home, but until it's in the wild, bugs for very specific hardware problems aren't going to show themselves. 17.10 was not an LTS release, it wasn't going to have a huge number of users installing it, and the bug only affected very specific computers. So it took some time to get discovered. After it was, it was promptly taken care of (initially by pulling all 17.10 images until they could be fixed) and a way of fixing the bios was released once they figured it out. On my non Lenovo laptop I went through the entire 17.10 life cycle with no significant issues.
Some adapters have bad Linux support. That's not Ubuntu's fault, or even Linux's fault, but the manufacturer who doesn't supply a good FOSS driver's fault The problem is no worse on Ubuntu than any other distro. Just get a $12 wifi dongle and forget about the useless adapter.
In the context of a builder selling a Linux laptop, presumably they would not be shipping a wifi adapter without Linux support. So what you're talking about is a non issue.
80 • Opinion Poll--Custom Linux Development, and Vendor Installation. (by R. Cain on 2018-06-01 16:23:18 GMT from United States)
As of 1 June, 2018, only 12 % of poll respondents say, "I prefer the custom distro option."
Notice what the respondents are implicitly ALSO saying: "i prefer SOME custom distro option," Not phrasing the question this way is a case of 'biasing the poll' (a less charitable characterization is "poisoning the well.")
Here's another case of 'biasing the poll' (or 'leading the respondent', most prevalent in political polls)--
[From the poll description]: "...Having a custom distribution like this lets the OEM better control the user experience, tailoring the desktop and drivers to match their hardware..."
1. WHAT?! This sounds as if it came straight out of Microsoft's play-book, and it did. Microsoft was the first entity to burn the phrase "user experience" into the collective conscious and subconscious with non-stop, massively blatant overuse.
2. This is specifically what I DON'T want from a distribution; if an OEM "...control[s] the...desktop and drivers to match their hardware"..., does it not logically follow that that same hardware will be less than general-purpose enough for a user to install ANY OTHER DISTRIBUTION on?
Ever hear of Microsoft's attempt to convince all of us of the desirability of those all-encompassing universal panaceas--which are, arguably, one of the worst things to ever happen to easy Linux adoption--called UEFI and Secure Boot, System76? DistroWatch?
Same exact thing with "...lets the OEM better control the user experience...".
Not on my watch.
81 • @77 Ostrol: (by dragonmouth on 2018-06-01 19:29:28 GMT from United States)
You have the right industry but the wrong analogy. Linux is precisely like the auto industry. Numerous manufacturers, each with numerous models. They all fight each other for a slice of the pie but, overall, they are doing quite well. In your opinion, should we have only one car maker with only one model so we can have "unity" in the car industry?
82 • Linux OS Choices (by Dude on 2018-06-02 02:55:11 GMT from Bahrain)
There are hundreds of Linux distros. The only ones that matter for Linux certifications are Debian and Red Hat, and possibly OpenSuSE. Of course Ubuntu can be used for study instead of Debian, and Fedora or CentOS instead of Red Hat. I plan to take the LPIC Level 1 Linux certification soon. So, I run Debian and Fedora virtual machines with VirtualBox to study. Wish me luck!
83 • @81 (by OstroL on 2018-06-02 06:23:00 GMT from Poland)
Not sure, whether we should have one OS in Linux. Android is such an OS, which actually troubles Linux. Android is not Linux friendly. But, being only OS in that section, it has gained the market, beat MS, Apple and everyone else.
Its nice to have many distros, just play with them, but that way, Linux won't take the market from either MS or Apple. Maybe someday, someone would come with another Android-like desktop Linux and take the market. But, with the infighting that might never happen.
84 • #77 OstrolL (by George on 2018-06-02 19:12:31 GMT from United States)
Important truth in your post. Certain detail needs work, or perhaps it's my interpretation. +1 for the guts to say it here, and saying it well.
"better" is such a subjective concept. I must admit that it has been a while since I've been asked to save data from a Windows desktop PC that stopped booting. But Windows users have done plenty of complaining after Windows 7, and have pretty much rejected some MS products.
Of course Windows is not One OS in the sense that all versions are interchangable. At any point in time there are several supported versions that have their own capabilities and limitations. MS does offer some choice, but MS makes sure that choices don't interfere with success.
It's been pretty well established that developers will fight each other. Not unique to Linux. The bummer is the extent and depth of the failure to cooperate in the Linux desktop realm. If *success* is defined in terms of providing open source software to the great bulk of desktop users, the factions here can't cooperate enough to succeed even when MS makes mistakes.
85 • Linux-on-Desktop SIMPLIFIED for devs & fanboys (by Willie Buck Merle on 2018-06-02 19:42:55 GMT from United States)
Actually not much to do with the way a DE looks or anything, ur not even there yet don't worry. The hurdle is completely HW. Eliminate these four replies:
~ The Driver doesn't work... yet
~ The Driver is crippled, forever.
~ There is to be no Driver.
~ There actually IS a Driver, now figure out how to install it yourself with one of these 17 buggy package managers.
And majority OS adoption will follow. Most people who actually use computers want capability over creed.
86 • Ubuntu fail! or Why Pop! OS is a good proposition (by cuvtixo on 2018-06-02 23:44:23 GMT from United States)
System76 computers used to come with Ubuntu, but Canonical has made several bad decisions, including Unity, and poor support of Nvidia video. And it effects most Ubuntu derivatives, too. I'm having issues with Mint and Nvidia, and trying out Pop! for this reason. It sounds nice to give maximum "choices," but is it really so restrictive when you can install another linux distro for free alongside Pop! or reinstall Pop! for free? Not to mention VirtualBox? Chromebooks are much more difficult to install linux on (Gallium tries, Crouton really doesn't cut it), yet are popular and successful enough to make critics sound a little silly. The ideologues come out of the woodwork on linux polls like this, but as a practical matter, real choice is when the customer can use their PC out of the box, with major software like VLC pre-installed, OR install their own (plug for OSDisc here), or even "roll their own." So users have a choice of NOT figuring out what Windows alternative to install or try to build upon. This is what Ubuntu attempted to be, the easy default choice, and in System76's specific case, has failed to follow through. And the person who says Windows is a single unified OS is delusional. Wasn't true when DOS, Win9x, and NT were simultaneously in use, and still today, now Windows that 10 is radically, but stealthily, different from Win7,8, and 8.1 in ownership and privacy rights. "One OS" is the fantasy they sell, not the actual situation. #86. here is quite correct, and that's why Pop! is good and preferring "no OS' is a silly bragging point and not a reasonable option for PC sellers. Finally #82., you're forgetting Kali. Offensive Security Ltd. is quite deliberately pursuing a strategy of being a certification platform for Computer security/"ethical hackers". Which I'm afraid makes for counterproductive decisions. Kali on WSL on Win10? C'mon.
87 • One OS or not... (by OstroL on 2018-06-03 07:33:11 GMT from Poland)
For the users, it is a One OS. I know people, who still use XP, even Vista, and don't want to change to the newer release, for what they want works. They have old Office that works, and newer web browsers can be installed. And, talking about Office, that's the success MS achieved, not really the OS. People all over the world needs Office. That was what MS marketed all the time.
88 • @83 Ostrol: (by dragonmouth on 2018-06-03 14:10:05 GMT from United States)
"Linux won't take the market from either MS or Apple"
WHO decreed that Linux MUST take the market from MS or Apple??? SUSE, Red Hat, even Canonical are doing quite well without owning the market.
Why are you so insistent the there must be ONLY one Linux? Who is going to be in charge of it? Who is going to control its development? Windows has always been controlled by one entity. Where has that gotten us? Having one Linux is like having one automobile manufacturer. Out of competition comes progress. If there was no Apple and Linux, MS would still be selling Win 95 or ME. Monopoly stifles innovation. As General George Patton was wont to say "If everybody is thinking the same way, then nobody is thinking." If everybody is using the same O/S, then there is no incentive to improve it.
While I am against ONE AND ONLY Linux that you are advocating, I would like to see a reduction in the number of "me too" copycat distros. Why do we need 50 or 75 Ubuntu-based distros which differ from each other only minimally? Now people are starting to churn out Arch knock offs. Arch may be a great distro but do we need as many versions as there are for Ubuntu? There comes a point of diminishing returns when nothing new is being added. Only the old pieces being re-arranged.
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