| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 770, 2 July 2018
Welcome to this year's 27th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
This past week several projects focused on making minor improvements and polishing their distributions. The SUSE team continued its work toward providing reproducible builds while Solus made improvements to their software manager and the Budgie desktop. We cover these updates in our News section along with changes coming to the Fedora system installer. The popular Linux Mint distribution received an upgrade, based on Ubuntu 18.04, this week and we discuss hardware designed specifically for Mint users. This new hardware, called the MintBox Mini, is also the subject of our Opinion Poll - let us know what you think of the MintBox Mini below. Plus we cover the latest Linux Mint 19 release and its new changes in our Feature Story. Then we talk about Manjaro's rise in our page hit rankings and the future of PCLinuxOS in our Questions and Answers column. We are pleased to share the releases of the past week along with the torrents we are seeding. Also this week we welcome the Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre distribution to our database. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Linux Mint 19
- News: SUSE's reproducible packages, Solus polishes the desktop experience, new Fedora changes, the new MintBox Mini 2 computer
- Questions and answers: Rise of Manjaro and the future of PCLinuxOS
- Released last week: Linux Mint 19, KaOS 2018.06, Tails 3.8
- Torrent corner: Alpine, AV Linux, FreeBSD, KaOS, KDE neon, Mint, Nitrux, Pinguy, Raspbian, Redcore, Star, SwagArch, Tails
- Opinion poll: The MintBox Mini 2
- New additions: Hyperbola GNU/Linux-libre
- New distributions: alumaOS, Astronomy Linux
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
Linux Mint 19
Linux Mint is a popular desktop distribution which is available in two main editions. The main series of releases is based on Ubuntu and the project maintains a second series based on Debian, appropriately named Linux Mint Debian Edition. This week I am going to talk about the project's latest Ubuntu-based release, Linux Mint 19.
Mint 19 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and comes in three desktop flavours: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. Each of these flavours is set up to look and act approximately the same and ships with mostly the same software; the only significant different is the desktop environment.
Mint 19 is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and will receive approximately five years of security updates. The new version also features a number of changes and improvements. For instance, Mint now includes a welcome window that runs when the user logs in and guides the user through steps that should be performed immediately after the operating system has been installed. The Mint update manager now installs all software updates by default. Previously the update manager could be used to filter out risky software upgrades, but that has been phased out in favour of operating system snapshots. Speaking of snapshots, Timeshift, a snapshot manager is included by default and I will talk about it more later. The project's documentation also points out that MATE now includes HiDPI monitor support.
One interesting feature worth mentioning is Mint supports home directory encryption. This may not seem like a big deal since previous versions of the operating system included it in the past. What makes it noteworthy is Ubuntu dropped home directory encryption in favour of whole disk encryption and, following its lead, most Ubuntu-based distributions no longer support encrypting just the home directory. Mint is a rare exception which has kept the feature and it can be enabled at install time.
Linux Mint 19 -- The application menu
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I decided to try Mint's MATE edition for 64-bit systems. The ISO I downloaded was 1.8GB in size. Booting from the live disc quickly brought up the MATE desktop with a one-panel layout. The panel is placed at the bottom of the screen with the application menu, a few quick-launch icons and the system tray. There are a few icons on the desktop for opening a file manager and launching the system installer. While using the live desktop I encountered no surprises, no pop-ups and no welcome window.
Mint uses the Ubiquity system installer which it inherits from Ubuntu. The graphical installer begins by asking us to select our preferred language from a list. We are then asked to confirm our keyboard's layout. The following screen gives us the option to install third-party software such as non-free firmware, Flash and media codecs. We are then given the chance to have our hard drive partitioned automatically or we can divide up the disk manually using Ubiquity's built in partition manager. I took the manual approach and found the partition manager to be very straight forward with support offered for a range of filesystems, including ext2/3/4, XFS, JFS and Btrfs. I opted to set up my system with a Btrfs volume with the intention of making use of Timeshift snapshots later. The final two screens ask us to select our time zone from a map of the world and pick an account username and password for ourselves. The account creation screen provides the option to encrypt our user's home folder, an option Ubuntu has dropped in its latest release. The installer quickly completed its work and offered to reboot the computer. Mint, like its parent distribution, offers an easy install process that requires very little user interaction or knowledge.
Mint boots to a graphical login screen where we can sign into our account to start a fresh MATE desktop session. When we sign in a welcome window appears and displays a brief greeting. Tabs in the welcome screen give us access to suggested first-run actions (creating a snapshot of the operating system, downloading software updates, installing third-party drivers, adjusting system settings through the control panel, and launching the software centre). Other tabs in the welcome window provide us with links to the project's documentation, release notes, support forum and IRC channel. The welcome window has a nice, clean layout and I like the inclusion of suggested first-run instructions as it takes care of one of the first questions new users are likely to ask upon installing an operating system: "Now what?"
Linux Mint 19 -- The welcome window
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Mint's desktop defaults to a silver/grey theme with dark wallpaper. It is a fairly clean look that avoids distractions. One of my few concerns with the desktop's appearance is the default (or selected) buttons in dialog windows do not stand out. This makes it hard to see which button in a confirmation dialog is selected. My only other complaint was that, like many other distributions, Mint's desktop session locks itself quickly, locking the user out after just five minutes without input. I find this delay too short and soon changed it in the distribution's settings panel. Otherwise I liked the way Mint sets up MATE. The session was responsive and the desktop uncluttered.
Mint's application menu is divided into three main panes: Favourites, software categories and launcher. There is a search box too for people who want to jump to a specific program. The menu combines classic tree-style navigation with some modern search and bookmark options and I think it's a useful combination.
Updates and Timeshift
In the past, Mint took an approach to software updates where the user could select which new updates to install based on a safety ranking system. Packages that had been tested and were deemed safe got a good ranking, packages that were known to cause problems were assigned a poor ranking with most software landing in the middle. Using this system, Mint's update manager gave the user control over whether they preferred stability (avoiding updates that might break the system) or security (protection from outside attacks). While this approach was very useful, particularly to new users who would not know how to fix a problem with a kernel or video driver update, the ability to hold back risky security updates drew criticism.
Perhaps in part because of the criticism, Mint has stopped ranking updates with the update manager's new default behaviour being to install all new software fixes. The update manager can even be set to automatically download and apply all new updates periodically. To guard against new packages breaking the system, the user is advised to use a tool called Timeshift to take regular snapshots of the operating system. These Timeshift snapshots are not taken by the update manager, but can be set up to be taken automatically once a day or week (or other interval of time) by the user.
Linux Mint 19 -- Adjusting update settings
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Timeshift can be found in the application menu or launched from the welcome window. The Timeshift application begins by walking us through a setup wizard. We can choose to make file archive backups using the rsync utility or we can create filesystem level snapshots if we have installed the system on a Btrfs volume (which I did). Timeshift lets us decide how often to take snapshots and how many snapshots of the operating system to keep. When using Btrfs we can decide whether to include the /home sub-volume in our snapshots, which makes for a handy recovery option if we delete a document. Timeshift snapshots are stored locally and will be lost if the computer's disk is damaged or corrupted.
I tested creating, using and recovering from Btrfs snapshots. They work, but with a few necessary disclaimers. First, the only easy way to restore a snapshot is by using the Timeshift application. This means that if Timeshift works (and the system boots), restoring files just takes two mouse clicks and is wonderfully easy. However, if the system fails to boot or Timeshift is damaged, we need to have another way to mount and work with the Btrfs volume, such as a live disc. Btrfs snapshots cannot be booted into from the boot menu, as with openSUSE, but older kernels are accessible from the boot menu which should allow us to recover from most update-related problems.
Finally, I think it is worth noting that while browsing for a file and restoring a file from a Btrfs snapshot is point-and-click easy in most situations through Timeshift's interface, we run into a problem if our home directory is encrypted. The links which normally cause an encrypted volume to be mounted do not work inside a Btrfs snapshot, meaning restoring specific files from a snapshot require quite a bit of manual work. Rolling back an entire snapshot is easy, but rescuing specific, encrypted files takes manual, command-line work.
Linux Mint 19 -- Scheduling Timeshift snapshots
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All in all, I think Timeshift and the new approach to updates is probably a good thing. And I like how easy it is to create, clean-up and rollback entire snapshots. However, these snapshots are not a cure-all and should be used with another backup method in mind, one that will save user files on a remote (or removable) hard drive. Fortunately there is another backup utility for users, which I will touch on later.
The main utility for installing and removing software on Mint is called mintInstall. It's a software manager with a modern look that begins by showing the user a collection of popular applications or "editor's picks". Underneath the featured items are categories we can browse and, near the top of the window, there is a search box we can use to locate applications by name. Clicking on a program's listing brings up a full page description of the software with screen shots and user-supplied reviews. New software can be installed with the click of a button.
The mintInstall utility will locate and work with Flatpak packages too. Flatpak bundles get their own category and show up in searches. Something mintInstall does well that most other software managers do not is it clearly identifies when a software package is a Flatpak. It does this by putting the name of the Flatpak repository next to the application's name. For example, a search for the VLC media player returns "VLC" for the traditional Deb package and "VLC (Flathub)" for the Flatpak.
Linux Mint 19 -- Browsing available software in mintInstall
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The software centre worked well for me and my only complaint was the questionable way size information is displayed or estimated for Flatpaks. For instance, the Minitube video player Flatpak claims it will require a 772MB download to get the package, but will only use 335kB of disk space. In reality, Minitube used nearly 2GB of disk space.
Mint does not ship with Snap package support enabled by default, however we can install Snap support by installing the snapd package from the distribution's repositories.
Mint ships with the Synaptic package manager for people who want to work with individual packages instead of applications. Synaptic worked for me and provides a pretty easy way to handle low level packages and manage repositories.
Mint 19 ships with a fairly standard set of popular open source applications. Digging through the application menu we turn up the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird, the HexChat IRC client and the Transmission bittorrent application. LibreOffice is provided alongside the GNU Image Manipulation Program and a couple of image viewers. Rhythmbox is available for playing audio files while Xplayer and VLC play videos. I opted to install third-party packages at install time and was able to play all media files out of the box.
Mint ships a number of other useful tools, including an on-screen keyboard, an archive manager, a dictionary and version 7.3 of the GNU Compiler Collection. The Redshift utility is installed for us which adjusts the display's colour temperature based on the time of day. Digging further we find Mint runs the systemd init software and version 4.15 of the Linux kernel.
Earlier I mentioned Mint provides a backup utility designed for archiving a user's files rather than snapshots of the entire operating system. The backup utility is called mintBackup and it is capable of making archives of files in a user's home directory as well as saving a list of installed applications on the system. The latter function makes it straight forward to migrate our installed programs to another computer. I tested mintBackup and found the archives it makes are simple tar files with the day's date included in the filename for easy indexing. I like mintBackup as it makes it possible to save a copy of our files with just a few mouse clicks and virtually no configuration steps.
Linux Mint 19 -- Creating backups and enabling the firewall
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I started off by trying Mint in a VirtualBox environment. Mint performed well and was stable in the virtual environment, but was not able to make use of my host computer's full screen resolution. To get around this limitation, I went into Mint's driver manager which lists third-party hardware drivers we may find useful. VirtualBox modules were listed in the driver manager and installed successfully. There was a side-effect though: installing VirtualBox modules caused the welcome window package (mintwelcome) to be removed. The welcome window seems to be the only feature that gets removed when VirtualBox add-ons are installed.
When running on a physical computer Mint performed very well. The desktop was responsive, all my hardware was detected and the operating system was stable. The only hiccup I encountered running Mint on my desktop was that, when I booted from the live disc for the first time, the MATE desktop did not finish loading. The MATE panel appeared, but the application menu and desktop icons did not. My keyboard worked, but the mouse did not. Killing the desktop session by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace restarted the MATE session and everything worked well from there on.
Once Mint was installed I found clicking and dragging windows around the desktop would cause windows to drift behind the mouse pointer, sliding a bit as though they were being pulled on a rope. Window movement could be made more snappy by adjusting visual effects settings in the control panel.
Linux Mint 19 -- The settings panel
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Mint used about 6.6GB of disk space for a fresh installation and logging into the MATE desktop required 360MB of memory.
I was very happy this week running Linux Mint 19. The distribution gave me better than average performance, a relatively low memory footprint and a friendly interface. All my hardware was supported, I liked the default collection of applications and the distribution was very easy to set up. The new welcome window is a good addition. I think it'll make things easier for first-time users looking for tips on getting up and running.
I also must tip my hat to Mint's software centre, it is perhaps the first software manager I have encountered that makes working with traditional Deb packages and portable Flatpak packages seamless while clearly flagging Flatpaks as being different.
At first I was sceptical about the update manager's new approach to applying all updates. The ranked updates approach Mint used in the past made it easy to set up the distribution to be more stable for family and friends. Having all available security updates is nice, but when providing tech support for new Linux users I am more concerned with a kernel update breaking the system than I am the possibility that a remote kernel exploit will get through their firewall. (The former happens semi-regularly with other distributions, the latter has never happened to my knowledge.) It is too soon to tell if the overall effect of this change will be good or bad for the people I support. However, I will say that I like the way Timeshift integrates with Btrfs. With most update problems I will be able to boot an old kernel and rollback to an earlier Timeshift snapshot and that may prove to be a suitable trade-off; balancing improved security with a fairly straight forward recovery process.
Speaking of Timeshift, while it does have a few limitations with regards to transferring snapshots to another computer and it is awkward working with encrypted home directories, otherwise Timeshift is a wonderfully friendly way to safeguard the operating system. I'm happy to see Mint support Timeshift and Btrfs snapshots, more distributions should make these technologies a priority in my opinion.
Mint's default selection of software is nice. I like that the team picks the more capable and user-friendly applications over programs that use a specific toolkit or design. The default look is fairly attractive without being distracting too. Personally, I would like a darker theme, but that is easy enough to change.
Early on there were a few minor things which annoyed me (trigger happy screen saver, window visual effects), but these were easily fixed and a matter of personal preference rather than bugs. I don't think I encountered any serious issues during my trial. There were no performance issues and no hurdles to getting work done. Using Mint was a pleasantly smooth and trouble-free experience for me.
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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
Linux Mint has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.7/10 from 1012 review(s).
Have you used Linux Mint? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
SUSE's reproducible packages, Solus polishes the desktop experience, new Fedora changes, the new MintBox Mini 2 computer
The SUSE Linux Enterprise team is working towards providing reproducible builds - packages which can be recreated exactly across multiple builds and different machines. At the moment, most of SUSE's packages will build in a reproducible fashion. A post covering the status of reproducible builds in openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) states: "Currently 263 of 10,650 Factory packages have major reproducibility issues. Another 305 have minor issues that are already ignored by build-compare. So those are good from the OBS point of view, but they do not give perfect bit-identical results yet. There are also 31 packages that I found to not build in 15 years from now. This timescale is relevant for maintaining an enterprise distribution. Because many users pick up new versions slowly and are reluctant to do major upgrades. However, packages built in Tumbleweed, are not fully reproducible, yet. This is because they contain the build time and build hostname in rpm headers. Probably because people feel that they want to know. Possibly in case there is some problem with a certain build host, it makes it easier to track the issue."
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The Solus team is polishing their software centre, driver manager and the Budgie desktop in preparation for the upcoming release of Solus 4. While each of the changes mentioned in the project's news roundup may seem small to the end-user, they combine to offer a smoother desktop experience. One example of polishing the user experience is the way the software centre will use a sidebar instead of confirmation pop-ups. "The upcoming redesign of the Software Center has seen some significant progress in the last few days. During installation and removal of software, we're now utilizing our new sidepane to provide a list of what will be installed or removed. Previously, we would prompt the user in a separate window with a list of packages and a button to accept the changes, now it’s all integrated into one place!" More details and screen shots can be found in the project's news post.
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The Fedora installer, Anaconda, is gradually being changed and becoming more modular. This should allow for more flexibility and the ability to perform installations that are not tied to a user interface. "Fedora 28 was the start of the ultimate goal of modularizing Anaconda. The main idea is to split the code into several modules that will communicate over DBus. Ultimately, this will enable a UI-less installation process. The goal in Fedora 29 is to move all the storage-related code to the storage module. Additionally, plans are in place to extend some of the other modules and introduce installation tasks, so you can monitor the installation steps." More on the Fedora team's plans for Anaconda can be found in this Fedora Magazine post.
The Fedora distribution will also be changing executable paths for new users, starting with Fedora 29. The change will give priority to executable files in the user's own path to avoid conflicts with system binaries. "Changing user PATH ~/.local/bin and ~/bin to be moved to the top of the PATH list instead of the end. This will bring Fedora in sync with other distributions which already fixed this issues (Debian/Ubuntu) and will make it easier for users to install and use their own command line tools, also fixing multiple bugs where user installed tools cannot be accessed because the system installed ones took precedence." Details can be found in Fedora's wiki.
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There are a number of Linux-based operating systems which are designed to work with certain hardware. System76 publishes Pop!_OS, for example, and Raspbian was developed with the Raspberry Pi series of computers in mind. It is less common to see hardware developed specifically to work with a distribution. However, that is what users can get with the MintBox Mini, a small, fanless computer which ships with Linux Mint installed. Mint's June newsletter states:"'MBM2', the MintBox Mini 2, is live. CompuLab is working hard to get it ready with the announce of Linux Mint 19. Worldwide shipping from Israel will be available in a few days and Amazon.com will provide shipping to the USA and Europe in a few weeks." Information on the MintBox Mini and its specifications can be found on its product page.
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Rise of Manjaro and the future of PCLinuxOS
Topping-the-charts asks: What caused Manjaro's rapid rise in the PHR stats? Are they really that popular or are they gaming the system?
DistroWatch answers: Before getting into the apparent rise in interest where Manjaro Linux is concerned, I'd first like to remind everyone that the page hit ranking (PHR) table does not necessarily reflect the number of people running a distribution or its quality as an operating system. The PHR table displays the average number of visits a project's DistroWatch page gets per day. (We filter any duplicates from the same IP address.)
With that out of the way, what caused Manjaro's PHR counter to jump over 60% in the past twelve months while most other distributions in the top ten maintained fairly steady numbers? There are a handful of possibilities and the answer is probably a combination of factors. I suspect one of the big factors is Manjaro started publishing near-weekly updates, plus various pre-releases and community spins. This resulted in more announcements, more people talking about the latest snapshots, more news sites linking to the new media. The PHR tables tend to reflect the amount of "buzz" around a project rather than the number of people using it and the more frequently a project publishes fresh media, the more interest it generates, causing it to rise up the charts. Most projects get a little bump in our PHR when they publish a new version and Manjaro's installation media is on a rapid update cycle.
PHR rankings sometimes have a positive feedback cycle too. Once a project climbs a little (possibly because of a new release) more people see it near the top of the charts. Then more people talk about it, which gathers more attention and the project climbs more. The same thing appears to have happened in the past with Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS, and may be happening with elementaryOS at the moment.
I would also observe that Arch-based distributions are fairly popular right now (new ones are added to our waiting list virtually every month) and distributions which can take Arch Linux and make it easy to set up and use (as Manjaro's team has) is something a lot of people seem to desire right now.
As for the question as to whether someone is gaming the PHR system, I feel that answer has two parts. The question appears to imply that the Manjaro team themselves are somehow trying to boost their PHR rank and that idea strikes me as highly unlikely. The Manjaro developers have lots of better things to do with their time and don't directly benefit from having a higher PHR spot. The second half of my answer is that while some community members (of one distribution or another) sometimes try to encourage people to visit their favourite project's DistroWatch page, any bump in traffic tends to be short lived. It also tends to be small and cancelled out, effectively, by fans of other projects doing the same thing. To date, we have not discovered an evidence that increased interest in Manjaro is anything other than the combination of factors mentioned above, which when added together, caused a rapid rise in PHR numbers.
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Planning-ahead asks: When Texstar is gone, what will happen to PCLinuxOS? Can the community fork it and carry on?
DistroWatch answers: I suspect this question is in response to a forum post by Texstar (aka Tex) which read: "Hey guys, I'm not doing well. Cancer is kicking my butt. I just wanted you to know that I most likely won't be around much longer. I also wanted to thank you all so much for your friendships and sharing the PCLinuxOS journey with me through the years. Please pray for me."
The report of cancer is sad news, both on a personal level (it is always unpleasant when someone is battling a serious disease) and for the Linux community. Texstar's PCLinuxOS is an interesting, user-friendly distribution. Its combination of rolling release updates, conservative design and user friendly tools have made it a popular operating system for many years.
I don't want to speculate much on what the next chapter in PCLinuxOS's story might look like. Partly because it feels rude to question what might happen in a post-Texstar world while he is still with us and still posting updates. Personally I am hopeful for a recovery, much like we saw from Slackware's Patrick Volkerding over a decade ago. Volkerding recovered and continues to run Slackware 13 years later, I'm hoping the same for Texstar.
Alternatively, if Texstar does leave the project, then there is a fairly large community around PCLinuxOS. I suspect its volunteers and contributors will make an effort to continue developing the distribution.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
AV Linux 2018.6.25
Glen MacArthur has announced the release of AV Linux 2018.6.25, an updated build of the project's Debian-based distribution featuring a "real-time kernel" (with the PREEMPT_RT patch) and a large collection of audio and video applications. This version brings un updated 4.16 Linux kernel and improved support for newer AMD video cards: "AV Linux 2018.6.25 has been released. The April AV Linux 2018.4.12 release had a lot of improvements and updates with regards to the audio and video applications, but some improvements needed to be made for systems with UEFI booting and systems with recent AMD video display adapters not covered by SGFXI. I personally have no UEFI (or AMD) computers to test with, so I could only use VirtualBox for UEFI testing. Thanks to bug reports from a few users and several fixes provided by a forum member, I think many of the issues for actual hardware UEFI machines have now been addressed. If you have already successfully installed and updated AV Linux 2018.4.12 then you will not really need to be concerned with the updated June ISO images." See the full release announcement for more information.
KaOS is a rolling release, desktop Linux distribution that features the latest version of the KDE desktop environment. The project's newest snapshot, KaOS 2018.06, features KDE Plasma 5.13 and Croeso, a first-run wizard that helps customize the operating system. "Just days after Plasma 5.13.1 was announced can you already see it on this new release. Highlights of Plasma 5.13 include optimising startup and minimising memory usage, yielding faster time-to-desktop, better runtime performance, and less memory consumption. System Settings with KDE's Kirigami framework gives the pages a slick new look. KWin gained much-improved effects for blur and desktop switching. Wayland work continued, with the return of window rules, the use of high priority EGL Contexts, and initial support for screencasts and desktop sharing. And a tech preview of GTK global menu integration. This ISO has a complete redesign of the Midna theme for 2018. Some 2,500 new icons in use, rewritten SDDM login theme and a KaOS community selected new wallpaper (created by Jomada). Also new is KaOS' creation Croeso (Welsh for welcome) for helping with configuring a new install. It will run on the newly installed system and offers to adjust some 15 commonly used settings and replaces the formerly used, PyQt based first run wizard Kaptan." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement.
Alpine Linux 3.8.0
Alpine Linux is a lightweight Linux distribution designed with performance and security in mind. The project's latest release, Alpine Linux 3.8.0, includes support for Raspberry Pi 3computers and the 64-bit ARM (aarch64) architecture. The distribution has also added support for the Crystal language. The release announcement reports: "We are pleased to announce the release of Alpine Linux 3.8.0, the first in the v3.8 stable series. New features and noteworthy new packages: Support netboot on all architectures; Add arm64 (aarch64) Raspberry Pi image; Add support for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+; Support ISO image on s390x (KVM installation); End of support for hardened kernel (unofficial Grsecurity); Support for Crystal language. Significant updates: Linux 4.14, Go 1.10, Node.js 8.11 (LTS), Rust 1.26, Ruby 2.5, PHP 7.2, ghc 8.4, OCaml 4.06, R 3.5, JRuby 9.2."
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 latest release, Tails 3.8, introduces a number of minor fixes, including making it possible to import security keys from e-mail attachments, correcting web browser translations and fixing the EFAIL e-mail client bug. The release announcement states: "Upgrades and changes: Upgrade Enigmail from 1.9.9 to 2.0.7 which fixes some of the EFAIL attacks on OpenPGP. When starting Thunderbird for the first time after upgrading to Tails 3.8, you have to go through the Enigmail Setup Wizard again. Your OpenPGP keys and your per-recipient rules are preserved. Fixed problems: Fix importing OpenPGP keys from email attachments. Fix the translations of the homepage of the Unsafe Browser. For more details, read our changelog." A list of known issues and limitations is also available.
The FreeBSD team has announced an update for the operating system's 11.x series. The new version, FreeBSD 11.2, introduces updates to OpenSSL and OpenSSH in the base system, includes version 6 of the Clang compiler and makes new versions of KDE4 and GNOME Shell available through the project's ports tree. "The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 11.2-RELEASE. This is the third release of the stable/11 branch. Some of the highlights: OpenSSH has been updated to version 7.5p1. OpenSSL has been updated to version 1.0.2o. The clang, llvm, lldb and compiler-rt utilities have been updated to version 6.0.0. The libarchive(3) library has been updated to version 3.3.2. The libxo(3) library has been updated to version 0.9.0. Device driver updates to cxgbe(4), ixl(4), and ng_pppoe(4), and the new mlx5io(4), ocs_fw(4), and smartpqi(4) drivers have been added. The dwatch(1), efibootmgr(8), and etdump(1) utilities have been added. Various miscellaneous kernel, userland application, and library updates. KDE has been updated to version 4.14.3. GNOME has been updated to version 3.18.0." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Simon Long has announced the availability of a new build of Raspbian, a Debian-based distribution for the Raspberry Pi single-board computers. The 2018-06-27 version brings a brand-new setup wizard, a Recommended Software utility and a much improved PDF viewer called qpdfView: "It's time to release another update to the Raspberry Pi desktop with a few new bits and a bunch of bug fixes (hopefully more fixes than new bugs, anyway). So, what's changed this time around? One of the things about Raspbian that has always been a bit unhelpful is that when a new user first boots up a new Pi, they see a nice desktop picture, but they might not have much of an idea what they ought to do next. With the new update, whenever a new Raspbian image is booted for the first time, a simple setup wizard runs automatically to walk you through the basic setup operations." Read the full release announcement for further information and screenshots.
Linux Mint 19
The Linux Mint team has released a new version of the project's Ubuntu-based editions. The new version, Linux Mint 19, is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and receives five years of security updates. New changes in version 19 include the Timeshift operating system snapshot tool, the update manager now installs all security updates by default, the software manager is able to seamlessly work with both Deb and Flatpak packages, and there is a new welcome window to help users get started setting up the operating system. "Thanks to Timeshift you can go back in time and restore your computer to the last functional system snapshot. If anything breaks, you can go back to the previous snapshot and it's as if the problem never happened. This greatly simplifies the maintenance of your computer, since you no longer need to worry about potential regressions. In the eventuality of a critical regression, you can restore a snapshot (thus canceling the effects of the regression) and you still have the ability to apply updates selectively (as you did in previous releases). Security and stability are of paramount importance. By applying all updates you keep your computer secure and with automated snapshots in place its stability is guaranteed. The Update Manager no longer promotes vigilance and selective updates. It relies on Timeshift to guarantee the stability of your system and suggests to apply all available updates. If it cannot find your Timeshift configuration, it shows a warning." Further information and screenshots can be found in the project's release notes for its three editions (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce).
Linux Mint 19 -- Running the MATE desktop
(full image size: 568kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
Recore Linux 1806
Redcore Linux is a Gentoo-based distribution designed to be easy to set up for desktop use. It ships with the LXQt desktop environment and provides a repository of pre-built binary packages. The project's latest snapshot, Redcore Linux 1806, includes many package upgrades from Gentoo along with improvements with the Sisyphus package manager. VirtualBox guest modules were dropped from this release and there is a new KDE Plasma meta package for people who want to run an alternative desktop environment. "Over 1,000 packages were updated during this cycle (that's about half of our whole repository), you'll find some of them bellow: graphics stack updated with mesa 18.1.2, LLVM 6.0.1, libdrm 2.4.92, nvidia-drivers v390.59 (nouveau is still the default choice) LibreOffice updated to v220.127.116.11, VLC updated to v3.0.3, GIMP updated to v2.10.2 all major web browsers received some love, you'll find Firefox v61.0, Google Chrome v67.0.3396.99, Vivaldi v1.15.1147.47, Opera v53.0.2907.99, Falkon v3.0.1 WINE also received some much needed attention, now it's at version 3.11 with different flavours available (staging, d3d9, vanilla, any...details) Qt5 toolkit updated to v5.9.5 LTS, KDE Frameworks updated to v5.47, KDE Apps updated to 18.04.2. Plasma v5.12.5 LTS is now packaged and ready to install, in addition to LXQt. No Plasma ISO yet though, most likely next release will have a Plasma spin as well. to install Plasma simply run "sisyphus install plasma-meta kdecore-meta". This will give you a rather minimal Plasma session to play with." More details can be found in the project's release announcement.
* * * * *
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: 919
- Total data uploaded: 20.3TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
The MintBox Mini 2
In our News section we talked about a new, small computer that ships with Linux Mint pre-installed. This device, called the MintBox Mini 2, is one of a growing number of device/distro combinations (such as Raspbian for the Raspberry Pi and System76 selling laptops with Pop!_OS). This week we would like to find out what you think of the MintBox Mini and whether you plan to purchase one.
You can see the results of our previous poll on using FreeBSD in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
The MintBox Mini 2
|I like the look of the MBM2 and plan to get one: ||121 (11%)|
| I like the look of the MBM2 but do not plan to get one: ||520 (47%)|
| I do not like the MBM2 / Will not get one: ||128 (12%)|
| No strong take on the MBM2: ||336 (30%)|
New projects added to database
The Hyperbola project is a community driven effort to provide a fully free (as in freedom) operating system that is stable, secure, simple, lightweight that tries to Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) under a Long Term Support (LTS) way. Derived from Arch snapshots, plus stability and security from Debian, Hyperbola provides packages that meet the GNU Free System Distribution Guidelines (GNU FSDG) and offers replacements for the packages that do not meet this requirement. Packages are provided for the i686 and x86_64 architectures.
* * * * *
Distributions added to waiting list
- alumaOS. alumaOS is an Ubuntu-based distribution featuring the custom Affinity desktop environment.
- Astronomy Linux. Astronomy Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution which ships many applications for astronomy amateurs.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 9 July 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 • MintBox and other small computers (by pc-cobbler on 2018-07-02 01:04:35 GMT from United States) |
The MintBox is a great idea, both the hardware and software. The MintBox Mini 2 only has an Intel Celeron, which makes it easy to cool but does not give amazing performance.
I'd like to see a company use the latest ARM architecture -- Cortex-A76 processor accompanied by a Cortex-A55 secondary (two quad-cores working as a team), Mali-G76 GPU, and Mali-V76 display controller -- along with a fast SSD, which would make for a responsive system without Meltdown or vPro/ME/AMT vulnerabilities. If case anyone is interested, I sent Samsung a lengthy suggestion along these lines and posted it on my blog.
2 • Manjaro and popularity (by Brad on 2018-07-02 01:18:08 GMT from United States)
Actually, Manjaro's release cycle has slowed a little lately. They are gearing up for the next major release.
I can't speak for others, but when the release cycle slowed, I tended to visit the site a little more often than normal, wondering if there was a reason for the slowdown, somewhat aking to rubbernecking at a traffic accident.
: - )
When they are in the middle of a cycle, I hardly ever visit the site, even though I check for updates almost daily, using pacman or (occasionally) Octopi or pamac. I'm assuming that these visits don't count against the PHR, do they?
3 • The future of PCLinuxOS (by Guido on 2018-07-02 01:18:19 GMT from Philippines)
Texstar - get well soon!
By the way: this is written on a PC with Linux Mint 19 installed, runs fantastic! Very good review.
4 • MintBox - EXPENSIVE (by sofiasmith on 2018-07-02 01:51:00 GMT from Spain)
MintBox (299 $) is very expensive in comparation to any basic laptop with windows10.
Acer Aspire ES1-132-C61W - 11.6" HD (Intel Celeron N3350, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, Intel HD Graphics, Windows 10). 209 €.
5 • Page Hit Ranking. Meaning? (by Greg Zeng on 2018-07-02 03:25:20 GMT from Australia)
There are several ways to show these figures. It is unclear which is best, to me. "Trending past 7 days" or "Last 7 days", or "Trending past 12 months" or "Average rating"? Manjaro inconsistently, in he rankings.
Why do the results vary? In the words of Australia's top populist female politician (Pauline Hanson): "Please Explain!"
6 • Timeshift and multiple kernels (by Andy Prough on 2018-07-02 03:35:40 GMT from United States)
Does Mint allow you to keep multiple kernels installed? I've been running openSUSE Tumbleweed in "multiversion" mode for several years now and always keep my last 3-4 good kernels installed and ready to boot in the grub menu in case something goes wrong with the new one.
Btrfs can get you out of a lot of trouble, but usually the best way to get back up and running is to simply boot into the last known good kernel.
7 • FreeBSD 11.2 "Live CD" means (by OS2_user on 2018-07-02 03:47:59 GMT from United States)
text mode login. Took me half hour and five boots to learn that, not counting download and burn time, and a DVD for its over 3 gigabytes.
First attempt I bailed out of Install after noticed the "Live CD" option. Okay, my fault, hastily just pounded . Next boot I clicked mouse and got a text login. -- Without name or password supplied, should have noted those down, right? -- Thinking I'd again missed an option, rebooted but locked up twice, so powered down fully. 5th boot got to the options again. -- YUP. "Live CD" goes only to a text login!
And I actually READ the online install instructions! You see, I decided MUST BE way out of date, that in 2018 they couldn't possibly expect anyone to wade through text screens checking off many options only to get to a command prompt where could manually install a GUI.
But they do. I will never again over-estimate Unix types.
You could at least WARN will need and WRITE the password on the download screen besides during install! What if I don't have internet handy later? Will it KILL you to make it obvious at install time as PCLinux does? Do you think that preset login is a SECRET? Too much convenience? Do you NOT want people to try it? Do you wonder why so few run this?
Serious question, FreeBSD: have you EVER even looked at PCLinux last ten years? -- You get quickly to a LIVE GUI and can surf the internet WHILE install!
8 • FreeBSD 11.2 "Live CD" means (by R. Cain on 2018-07-02 04:24:37 GMT from United States)
Quote from last week's 'Readers' Comments':
"...still on track to install FreeBSD 10.4. 10.4 has been downloaded, and am in the process of RTFM (Reading The utterlyFantastic Manual), as I’m not not gifted enough to simply “...slap BSD [without a graphic installer] on a system..."
"There is one slight problem with any UNIX, which tends to weed out the hacks from those who understand, or sincerely WANT to understand, operating systems: you have to actually THINK. Bummer, huh?"
Let's see, now--you actually READ the installation instructions, right? ... and then decided that those very instructions from the distro maker COULDN'T be correct, because in 2018 no one would expect you to work without a GUI...right?
Beats me as to what the problem might be...
9 • Texstar (by cykodrone on 2018-07-02 05:40:39 GMT from Canada)
REALLY sad news, he's a great guy that kept up a great distro for years, not happy about this news at all. We should crowd fund some treatment for him.
10 • FreeBSD installer (by Tim on 2018-07-02 08:34:52 GMT from United States)
I actually love FreeBSD's installer. I'm always shocked at how quickly it gets you to a working system. Everytime I install I end up being done at least a half hour before I expected to. It's possibly the friendliest community in FOSS software too, so any questions you can't figure out its pretty easy to get help.
11 • Mint (by alotovk on 2018-07-02 09:16:10 GMT from France)
Hi, Having read your review I am less tempted to try it. I make regular backups of my OS using dd. Snapshots look to copying windows which has had that feature for ages. All in all it looks like a distro for the less than knowledgeable user - at least as far as linux goes; a real hand holding distro; not that there is anything wrong with a newbie or slightly better user. Strange really as I run as a backup LMDE on both desktop and laptop. I like that one can deselect updates that have more of a chance of breaking the system when updating.
12 • Question + comment (by Pat Huff on 2018-07-02 10:01:16 GMT from United States)
Does the btrfs file system have any advantages over ext4? The only thing I could find is that it might be faster on SSDs
Also, I like the Mintbox2 but am worried it is built in a country known for its spying and hacking even more so than the NSA.
13 • Mintbox (by Betonforce on 2018-07-02 10:33:08 GMT from Poland)
Well it has certain advantages over laptops since it's based on fitlet. It's airtight (I think) and has no mechanical parts, which makes it resistant to dust and humidity. It has a robust passive cooling system which supposedly works well even at high ambient temperatures. It also requires very little maintenance.
I think it might be a bit over-engineered for an average Mint user, though.
14 • Linux Mint 19 MATE (by Rick on 2018-07-02 11:18:47 GMT from United States)
You said: Mint 19 MATE has "a relatively low memory footprint". Compared to what? On my Lenovo Thinkpad T420 with an i5 processor it takes up about 700 MB at idle. Mint 17.3 MATE on my T400 idles at about 275 MB. Today's crop of distros are simply not efficient at all.
15 • Mint changes (by MikeOh Shark on 2018-07-02 12:02:10 GMT from Moldova, Republic of)
I installed older versions of Mint to a Cruzer Fit flash drive and then tweaked to reduce writes and preserve the life of the flash drive. I ran Mint 13 Mate for almost 6 years with no problems. I use dd to make backups to a hard drive but only needed it once when I did something stupid. Snapshots will increase writes to the flash drive.
I don't think installing all software updates by default is a good idea. I am used to installing the smaller updates and holding Firefox, Thunderbird, and other huge updates a day or so when I have time to install them.
Encrypted home directories are a huge deal to me. I tried multiple times to get full drive encryption to work on the flash drive. It would boot two or three times and then get hosed. Encrypted home directories worked.
16 • Linux Mint 19 MATE (reply on #14's post) (by MArc Visscher on 2018-07-02 12:16:31 GMT from Netherlands)
That's something I've noticed too. But the main suspect in this case is GTK3. Since GTK3 got around the corner, software and system are getting heavier. MATE dropped GTK2 completely, and since then the GNOME influence kicked in. Which I think it's a bad (sad?) thing. System's getting heavier, software uses more RAM, the interface needs more pixels because of ugly big buttons, form fields and lots of space between them.
GTK3 makes every lightweight desktop behave like a midweight (at least). Xfce has the same problem as MATE, but a bit less at this moment. Because GTK3 starting to sneak into the Xfce-base as well (damned, no please!), things are getting heavier on resources. And that means that a freshly started system takes up almost 50 to 100% more RAM when idle, in comparison of an earlier version. That explains it all.
I have Mint 17.3 MATE on an old laptop with mediocre hardware, but it runs fine on that machine. But if I decide to switch to Mint 19 MATE on the same machine, I'm pretty sure Mint 19 is slow, sluggish and practically unusable because the hardware can't put up with so much (GTK3) weight anymore.
17 • Update Manager in Linux Mint 19 Tara (by Pjotr on 2018-07-02 12:21:56 GMT from Netherlands)
Fine review! Note that you can still activate the protective level system in Tara's Update Manager, like this:
(item 2, left column)
Like you, I prefer cautious settings for people I support. :-)
18 • @13 Betonforce: (by dragonmouth on 2018-07-02 13:02:35 GMT from United States)
Mintbox sounds like the original Mac - a sealed black box. It's a total non-starter for me because I like to fiddle. A hard-wired O/S is another big turn off.
19 • @14 Rick: (by dragonmouth on 2018-07-02 13:13:48 GMT from United States)
It's a vicious circle. Because there is more storage and RAM available on a system, the software developers add more features and do not feel the need for efficiency. As software gets larger, more storage and RAM is needed. Rinse and repeat.
Once upon the time Linux distros fit on diskettes, then on CDs. Now many of them come close to filling up entire DVDs. Pretty soon we will need BDs. Topsy keeps growing and efficiency suffers.
20 • Linux MINT 19 Review (by R. Cain on 2018-07-02 13:14:51 GMT from United States)
Your review was a very good one, and no doubt due in no small part to your tremendous level of experience and expertise. It does not, however, square with the majority of comments on Linux Mint's 'final release' Blog, or with (some of) the comments seen here (when you read the 'Blog', get past the almost-seemingly obligatory "great job" TO the fact that the comment is in regards to a problem with version 19).
Linux Mint is simply not the elegant distribution it once was...
21 • Linux MINT 19 Review (by Wiill on 2018-07-02 13:34:11 GMT from United States)
I've used mint since version 17, it just keeps getting better. I use the XFCE version and it's a pretty flawless experience on my Lenovo Thinkpad T430, Dell Optiplex 755, and Macbook Pro. Installing 19 has been simple and it has worked fine for me (both the beta and release) The comments about inelegance are ridiculous. Everybody's got their own taste, I guess. Timeshift is amazing and I've tested full backups and restores including kernel updates and suchlike - painless. Timeshift is included in the live usb image and booting to the installer gives you a couple-click restore ability that I've been looking for for ages. I have used the rsync version and it's beautiful - access to the backup from a terminal, or from timeshift. Scheduling is straightforward, too. I particularly like the on-boot snapshot option for my server.
22 • @2 Manjaro and popularity (by kelvin on 2018-07-02 14:04:13 GMT from Peru)
Actually, Manjaro's release cycle has slowed a little lately. They are gearing up for the next major release.
I can't speak for others, but when the release cycle slowed, I tended to visit the site a little more often than normal, wondering if there was a reason for the slowdown, somewhat aking to rubbernecking at a traffic accident.
: - )
When they are in the middle of a cycle, I hardly ever visit the site, even though I check for updates almost daily, using pacman or (occasionally) Octopi or pamac. I'm assuming that these visits don't count against the PHR, do they?
If you did not know Manjaro is a rolling release it just releases snapshots no new major releases where did yo get that from, its called marketing I call it deceiving the user, a change of theme wallpaper and icons is not a major release as it all can be updated if the user wishes, Many new users beleave that you reinstall every snapshot, they do not understand rolling rolling is install it once forget it apapart from updates and guess what after 10-15 years you still are on the latest greatest linux operating system.
23 • @7 FreeBSD 11.2 "Live CD" (by MarsPC on 2018-07-02 14:22:52 GMT from United States)
Anyone who is unfamiliar with FreeBSD should first understand that ALL the BSDs are NOT Linux. If you are are wanting to test the FreeBSD waters and are somewhat familiar with Linux, then I would suggest giving TrueOS a try. TrueOS takes the FreeBSD installation to a whole new level, and includes the Lumina desktop as the default user interface when completed. As I mentioned earlier, FreeBSD is NOT a Linux distro, so don't expect it to install like one.
Personally, when I first tried FreeBSD, I was frustrated as well, but that's because I was already familiar with Linux. As soon as I dropped the Linux mindset, and RTFM, I was then able to see how easy it really was to install and work with FreeBSD. My initial tests were all conducted using VirtualBox and the "FreeBSD-x.x-RELEASE-amd64-bootonly.iso" (which allowed me to start with a very minimalist installation that I was able to build and customize to my own personal specifications). I currently have one of our servers at work running FreeBSD 11.1
I'll admit that FreeBSD is NOT everyone's cup-o-tea. But for those who are willing to explore the benefits, then by all means, definitely give it a try. And once again remember...
FreeBSD is NOT Linux!
24 • RE: 4 and 18 (by denPes on 2018-07-02 14:41:52 GMT from Belgium)
What do you mean with hard wired os?
It's just a mini pc with Mint installed. You can remove mint, and install any gnu system or windows if you want
The device itself is very nice. Unlike a similar intel nucs, that have the same specs, this one has a rather nice casing, which also cools the system. The price is not too high at all when you compare them with similar systems (if new, with same specs AND fanless).
also, comparing this with a basic 300 dollar laptop is not a decent comparison. it is not the same form factor at all. Also one can already predict the quality of that NEW 300 dollar laptop.
25 • @22 (by brad on 2018-07-02 15:41:58 GMT from United States)
I was referring to the V18 beta currently being tested - you can find out more about it here:
I do realize that it is a rolling release; however, it's the middle of 2018, and V18 has yet to hit stable. Of course, one could always just do a fresh install of V18 when it's ready, or just keep rollin' along...
26 • Texstar (by Antony on 2018-07-02 16:19:00 GMT from United Kingdom)
Absolutely gutted to read this news about Bill (Texstar). Mandrake was my first (and fondest) distro, and I used PCLinuxOS for a long time afterwards.
Thanks ever so much Bill, and I wish you the very best.
27 • Mint-19 (by TuxRaider on 2018-07-02 16:54:53 GMT from United States)
i have to agree with those that say Mint is running top heavy, i tried it just a couple of days ago and it had some noticeable lag compared to other distros, i was typing commands in to an x-terminal and the keystrokes had some serious lag to it that was really annoying, i got frustrated enough with it that i booted back in to debian jessie and reinstalled debian's grub to the MBR and fdisked mint off my extra disk partition, and this is a fairly new computer with good specs (less than a year old)
28 • Mintbox (by Betonforce on 2018-07-02 17:55:55 GMT from Poland)
Whoa, I didn't say it was sealed shut. In fact, the website of the producer says fitlet2 is moddable and easy to open. You can also buy one without an OS, so tinker away!
29 • Texstar's health (by Mike on 2018-07-02 18:33:55 GMT from Kenya)
It's saddening to hear about Texstar's health. As Jesse Smith notes, Patrick Volkerding did fall seriously ill several years ago, but he recovered and Slackware is still running strong. I believe that Warren Woodford the creator of Mepis was also having health issues a while back. Little has been heard of him since and work on Mepis seems to have ground to a halt. Perhaps someone out there might have some news on him?
30 • Mint 19 (by DB on 2018-07-02 19:53:24 GMT from United States)
Everything was looking Great, till I wanted to install wine for a couple of programs. Apparently you can't use wine in the bionic installation........Bummer things were looking so promising till then. Oh well, maybe they can fix this one of these days. Till then no bionic installs for me, thanks anyway Mint.
31 • Mint 19 (by pengxiun on 2018-07-02 20:24:25 GMT from New Zealand)
tried to install 2 applications (Stellarium and Vlc) from Mintinstall.
hiccupped and spat them out.
didnt install either.
tried again, but no, only allowed to install one at a time.
I guess Mint users /installers have lots of time to add missing applications to their systems after install.
Me: install and go
32 • @29 Mike (by dragonmouth on 2018-07-02 20:46:30 GMT from United States)
To the best of my knowledge, as of couple of years ago, Mepis has become a discontinued distro. Woody Woodward has ceased working on it and nobody has picked it up. Mepis was my daily driver. Some time before Woody stopped working on Mepis, anticapitalista forked it and first created antiX and then MX.
33 • Re: Mintbox (by M.Z. on 2018-07-02 21:16:42 GMT from United States)
To further on @28 & the point about not being sealed- it says right on the product page that you CAN install another OS & it was designed with that possibility in mind:
Let's not make up random things or 'alternative facts' about a product, especially one from someone that seems to be trying to foster good relations with the Linux community & donates to the projects they use.
34 • Continuity after founder leaves distro (by Richard on 2018-07-02 21:49:28 GMT from United States)
Many distributions have a single key person, the founder, who is the one who personally owns the intellectual property and personally leads development, no matter how many are on the development team. What happens when that person is no longer there running the show?
What will happen to PCLinuxOS without Texstar, or Mint without Clem, Zorin without Artyom, Knoppix without Klaus, Slax without Tomas?
With a succession plan, the projects can continue, as community-run distros.
Debian has shown the way, after Ian left.
35 • Texstar's Health -- Linux Mint 19's release.. (by Az4x4 on 2018-07-03 01:29:35 GMT from United States)
The news that Texstar is battling cancer is tough to handle. I wish him all the best in this fight, and pray for his recovery. Texstar's PCLinuxOS has been a favorite of mine for many years. Loved it from the early days. It was and is a great example of what "Desktop Linux done Right" is all about. When PCLinuxOS rose to the top of Distrowatch's page hit rankings and stayed there for quite some time showed that what PCLinuxOS offered users was hugely appreciated. PCLinuxOS has consistently provided the sort of operating system goodness that's highly sought after, and that's saying something in today's top tier distro world.
I've run Linux Mint on a wide assortment of machines for more than a decade and found it consistently satisfying. So I have to admit that while all that Jesse said about Mint 19 out of the box I'd basically agree with, the deal breaker for me this go round, having installed a fresh instance of Mint 19 Mate' on my ASUS i7 Zenbook test machine, is the disappointing failure of WINE to successfully install so I can run Photoshop 7 with it. For that reason I'll stay with Mint 18.3 Mate' on my daily driver machines until such time as this aggravating issue is resolved, and look at other top tier distros on my test machine in the meantime.
36 • Texstar (by jonourable on 2018-07-03 03:18:30 GMT from Australia)
@9 "Texstar,.. REALLY sad news, he's a great guy"
Some of us Linux users are also fighting the big C. We understand Texstar's frustration Stay positive bro. It may not be time yet to meet the great coder in the sky.
37 • 5 years (by George on 2018-07-03 04:17:11 GMT from United States)
Thanks for the thorough review of Mint 19 MATE, a leading candidate to be next everyday OS on several of our PCs. In particular, your comments about encryption, Timeshift, Flatpak, and your tip are all pertinent to me. Usually it's good to wait a few weeks before installing a new release, but after your review and a quick read of the Mint forums and blog comments, I'm going forward now.
Mint MATE and Ubuntu MATE have been roughly competitive operationally, IMO. However, Mint MATE has a support period of 5 years, compared to only 3 years for Ubuntu MATE "LTS".
Texstar has been a key part of my Linux experience going back over a decade, when his KDE 3 releases set a high standard. He made an impact. Hard to tip my hat, salute, and bow at the same time, but he deserves it all.
38 • @29, 32 - Mepis (by Hoos on 2018-07-03 05:40:56 GMT from Singapore)
@32 - "...Woody stopped working on Mepis, anticapitalista forked it and first created antiX and then MX..."
Just to clarify that MX was not purely anticapitalista's creation but a collaboration with Mepis forum members.
Around end 2013, the Mepis community in conjunction with anticapitalista and the antiX developers discussed and decided to make an MX-14 distro, built on antiX's base and its excellent live USB tools, but using XFCE instead of window managers. The MX-Tools come mainly from the Mepis/MX community, from what I can see.
It must be noted that anticapitalista first released antiX in 2007 as a window-managers-only version of MEPIS (which was KDE-only). Over the years antiX has evolved and changed to what it is today. However, antiX co-existed with Mepis from 2007 until Mepis' demise after the release of the beta of Mepis 12.
Mepis users have had their own forum, called MepisLovers, for a long time. Quite a few members use both distros and visit both forums, so there's always been a connection between both communities. That is why collaboration was possible.
39 • @38 (continued) - Mepis, antiX (by Hoos on 2018-07-03 05:49:43 GMT from Singapore)
I should clarify that by the phrase " first released antiX in 2007 as a window-managers-only version of MEPIS", I actually mean that antiX was originally based on Mepis' base, not that it was an official version of Mepis.
So it was indeed a fork, and through the years as it developed, it of course depended less and less on the Mepis base.
40 • RHEL and Fedora Wayland Screen Sharing Support (by Calvin Centies on 2018-07-03 06:31:21 GMT from Canada)
RHEL, Fedora, CentOS etc...
Anybody tried firefox-61.0-50 in Fedora 28 or RawHide with Firefox with WebRTC supporting screen sharing on Wayland feature? ATM, screen-sharing support using WebRTC as found within web-browsers like Firefox and Chrome. WebRTC screen-sharing also works on Wayland.
So, If fedora is installed on two machine on local network would able to share screen with another?
41 • @ 39 MEPIS and SimplyMEPIS (by Calvin Centies on 2018-07-03 08:18:55 GMT from Canada)
SimplyMEPIS was the distro I switched from Mandriva. Both were beautifully crafted distros. Till today no distros ever ran like Mandriva. I remained a long time user of SimplyMEPIS and liked it very much because even though it was with KDE by default it picked my hardware nicely and ran nice all the times.
Even anticapitalista and the antiX developers did a good job on antiX. While MX-16.1 it offered almost everything out-of-box. Both remain light weight distros. MX/antiX filled the void created by demise of MEPIS.
Today's Linux World News Line:
EQT Sweden adds SUSE in it's portfolio of acquisitions for approx. $2.2bn.
42 • PCLinuxOS (by OstroL on 2018-07-03 09:25:28 GMT from Poland)
One of the most interesting thing about PcLinuxOS is its monthly magazine. Even though, I don't use PCLOS for a long time, I still read it every month. PCLOS magazine is a great source of knowledge. Also, PCLOS has a small, but very close community.
I wish Texstar return to good health!
43 • HiDPI... or Not (by lostmoonofsaturn on 2018-07-03 15:47:58 GMT from United States)
On Mint and elsewhere, HiDPI compatibility seems to be achieved by integer doubling, i.e., scaling by 2X. For the relatively common 3840x2160 displays, that can mean everything is "too big". That's the result for me. There's fractional scaling available via Gnome on Wayland, which works OK on my hardware. But it would nice to have viable non-Gnome Xorg solution.
(Note: There is an xrandr solution to this problem. I've found that it works, but it also breaks when my display wakes from sleep.)
44 • HiDPI (by Calvin Centies on 2018-07-03 17:02:49 GMT from Canada)
with xorg you may try
xrandr --output HDMI-1 --mode 1920x1080
xrandr --output HDMI-1 --auto # for max.
45 • alumaOS (by Alan Illingworth on 2018-07-03 17:48:02 GMT from United Kingdom)
So alumaOS has just comes out and uses it's own desktop. I didn't think new distros made those. Tried it, word of warning, it looks a lot like macOS, more so than elementary.
46 • Distro Suggestions (by Calvin Centies on 2018-07-03 18:32:35 GMT from Canada)
@ # 45
Suggesting any new releases of any distro to anyone without knowledge of what is packed in risking or jeopardizing anyone's privacy out of ignorance. I have seen big linux clouds and crowds - developers and users, both, disappearing or moving away. Many distro brewers have gone into absolute silence to refrain from jeopardizing someone's/strangers privacy knowingly.
It's better to let buddy or user know what he is actually getting where back side of so called transparency is way too dark.
47 • continue... # 46 (by Calvin Centies on 2018-07-03 19:06:24 GMT from Canada)
In # 45 I told so, because,
Well known Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal is so deep rooted than any average layman could ever imagine, and total disaster of 87Mn (official) Americans Privacy beyond any controls. ATM, DOJ - Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FBI, and America's financial watchdog the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are now all kicking-in to dig into.
It is worthless effort to join the propaganda unknowingly without making even Centies cent.
48 • @6 and Mint/ PCLinuxOS (by kc1di on 2018-07-04 00:08:40 GMT from United States)
@6 Yes mint will allow as many kernels as your drive will hold. I usually keep one older one I know works with my hardware for a few weeks until I'm sure the new one will work for me.
Mint- Thanks for a nice review of a great distro. Mint 19 has been solid for me.
Sad news about Texstar/PClinuxOS. it's always been my go to distro for some machines I've had. Just a solid workhorse.
49 • PHR and elementary (by Andy Figueroa on 2018-07-05 02:43:43 GMT from United States)
It seems to really beg the question how a non-transparent, pseudo-commercial distro like elementary can get so high in the Page Hit Ratings. The reviews are mediocre at best, looking like just another Ubuntu knock off with its own special problems. What am I missing?
50 • @ # 49 (by Billy Goes on 2018-07-05 05:03:08 GMT from Canada)
@ # 49
What am I missing?
just to knock it off.
51 • Weird Tunes. (by Billy Goes on 2018-07-05 05:11:49 GMT from Canada)
Recently I was trying few more distros and BSDs. BSDs need more serious efforts to catch up with linux in many regards. Linuxmint down on quality and preformance after 16.x, as version number incereases, user's performance experience decreases.
One very weird European distro, weird because nothing is straight in this distro, I came across pays following tunes,
at the time of booting " Billy Goes has to born again and again!"
and at shutdown "Billy Goes rest in peace with broken dreams!"
Any help for boot and shutdown parameters to shut-it-off?
52 • #51 (by jadecat on 2018-07-05 09:15:12 GMT from United Kingdom)
No BSDs are not Linux and so do not need to 'catch up with Linux'. If anything the BSDs are trying to get away from Linuxism's. Their words not mine. All the best.
53 • just google 'supercomputer running BSD' (by Willie Buck Merle on 2018-07-05 17:12:08 GMT from United States)
No mysteries really about its adoption, among these many results Hacker News "Ask HN: Why are supercomputers all running Linux and not BSD?" is a suitably adequate examination of its HW compatibility problems within general computing (IMHO).
54 • Linux Mint 19 (by jaws222 on 2018-07-05 17:12:28 GMT from United States)
I installed the XFCE version last week on a laptop with 8GB of RAM and was very impressed. it is faster than ever. Now just need to figure out the Playonlinux/Office issue and it will be perfect
55 • 54 • Linux Mint 19 (by R. Cain on 2018-07-05 23:21:00 GMT from United States)
Congratulations, and best of luck to you.
Being a 'faithful' solid Mint Linux user since switching from Ubuntu 9.10, it is saddening to see all the problems people are having with Mint's latest.
I tried 18.2 and 18.3, and then switched back to 17.3; never HAD a problem at all with 17.3; still have yet to encounter one now. With comments like "...I reported this problem in 18.x...you never fixed it then...it's still here..."; things are not looking too bright.
Simply read all the 210 (or so) entries (as of 5 July) in the "How to upgrade to Linux Mint 19" Linux Mint Blog since 'Clem' posted it on 4 July.
Except for Cinnamon, it's hard to distinguish between Ubuntu and Mint any more--and don't even mention 'Timeshift', or whatever they call it, as one of the 'benefits'; that seems to be one of the (many) major problems ('Clem' offers a command-line, TERMINAL, solution for the objectors, and all you people who don't want Timeshift forced on you. Read the Blog. This is not progress, folks.
p.s.: the bug you just mentioned is mentioned in the Blog also.
"Originality is no excuse for ignorance".--Fred Brooks
56 • Linux on Super Computer (by Sam SuX on 2018-07-06 09:17:58 GMT from Canada)
open source variants such as FreeBSD failed to gain popularity on supercomputers.
To summarize the list of top 500 supercomputers based on OS this year:
Because linux is most flexible to adopt various hardware configurations from single to massive parallel processors with i/o scheduling.
57 • Change in Technology. (by Billy Goes on 2018-07-06 05:40:44 GMT from Canada)
Change in technology where hardware itself, OSes components and Web Browsers are acting as data-sucking-pump at regular intervals for newly tracked files required end-users to change their surfing habits as well.
58 • @54 (by on 2018-07-07 22:16:27 GMT from United Kingdom)
I would Install LMint19 XFCE, on 1GB RAM, and then see how fast it is.
8GB RAM is overkill. But you do what you do. Thank you.
59 • BSD vs. Linux (by R. Cain on 2018-07-08 14:05:41 GMT from United States)
"...BSDs need more serious efforts to catch up with linux..."
"No mysteries really about its adoption...'Why are supercomputers all running Linux and not BSD? 'is a suitably adequate examination of its HW compatibility problems within general computing..."
BSD has no inclination whatever to “...catch up with Linux...”, or any concerns about its adoption. It has been, and is, adopted by people who want to seriously learn Operating Systems and OS administration and development.
Fact: BSD *is* UNIX. Follow closely here: AT&T's UNIX SystemV, Rev4 (ATT UNIX SVR4) was changed, because of licensing reasons--by U.C. Berkeley--to Berkeley Systems Division UNIX, or BSD Unix, or simply BSD Unix (notice the drop of upper-case) when UCB obtained ATT's SVR4.
UNIX was created in the 1970s. It's still going strong, and getting stronger as development increases continually...as is the C programming language, which was created to aid in UNIX’s development.
What perversion of human nature makes it mandatory to not just assume, but to absolutely KNOW that something which is long-lived and successful just has to be worse than the latest and greatest fad? And ‘fad’ is precisely what the answer to what Linux’s over-riding problem is, and why it will never be "...the desktop of the year..."
Ever hear of that NEW addition to Linux, whose adoption is absolutely and completely unrelated to the simultaneous decrease in the quality of all Linuxes which have adopted it, ‘systemd’?
60 • PClinuxOS (by Winchester on 2018-07-08 14:26:35 GMT from United States)
Sorry to hear the news of the PClinuxOS developer.
One of the absolute best distributions out there .... if you ask me.
I prefer PClinuxOS to most others in the top of the popularity lists. Better than Mint , more stable than Manjaro in my experience.
PCLOS is probably the best multimedia distribution even though it's not really advertised as such.
61 • Berkeley Systems Dogma UNIX (by Willie Buck Merle on 2018-07-08 16:17:38 GMT from United States)
"What perversion of human nature makes it mandatory to not just assume, but to absolutely KNOW that something which is long-lived and successful just has to be worse than the latest and greatest fad?"
Certainly the way evolution itself looks like to the many obsolete efforts that a few nonces still hold as sacred. The fanatics bristle over the realization of the computing language C being superseded by Python & Java, systemd supersedes the shortcomings of SysV, etc... fearful to admit any as basic progress taking place in the Linux realm.
ps. Many people repeat the past, some of them not voluntarily.
62 • Texstar, if we can help we will (by Tony on 2018-07-08 19:17:07 GMT from United Kingdom)
Fingers crossed for your treatment, you have done a great service for people around the world with all your hard work and we are happy to help repay that debt if we can.
63 • @8 re BSD no GUI (by OS2_user on 2018-07-08 23:40:36 GMT from United States)
You merely repeat me when: "in 2018 no one would expect you to work without a GUI...right? Beats me as to what the problem might be..."
Except that you appear to think it's a user problem rather than obvious lack -- of making it EASY, I admit. You typifiy the notion that persons are there to learn how operating systems work, rather than actually USE it for higher level tasks. -- In short, not making it easy after FORTY YEARS NOW is why Microsoft has over a billion systems running at this very moment (for which many people even PAY!), and FreeBSD probably doesn't get into 5 digits -- because the COST of learning is too high.
Now, I was willing to give FreeBSD a chance, and DID. My "decided" was based on HOPE, as I'd LIKE to have an alternative. I may even go back to it sometime, despite the trouble, as it surely works (if ever past the deliberate obstacles). But gosh, it IS 2018, and there ARE many good Linux distros that don't torture you to become a guru. I expected more -- after FORTY years, remember.
64 • One always has a choice... (by R. Cain on 2018-07-09 01:55:23 GMT from United States)
"...The fanatics bristle over the realization of the computing language C being superseded by Python & Java, systemd supersedes the shortcomings of SysV, etc... fearful to admit any as basic progress taking place in the Linux realm..."
"...You typifiy the notion that persons are there to learn how operating systems work, rather than actually USE it for higher level tasks. -- In short, not making it easy after FORTY YEARS NOW is why Microsoft has over a billion systems running at this very moment (for which many people even PAY!), and FreeBSD probably doesn't get into 5 digits -- because the COST of learning is too high..."
There's always the Chromebook.
"..."There is one slight problem with any UNIX, which tends to weed out the hacks from those who understand, or sincerely WANT to understand, operating systems: you have to actually THINK. Bummer, huh?"
Number of Comments: 64
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