| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 773, 23 July 2018
Welcome to this year's 30th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
A lot of Linux distributions have relatively short lives. New projects or spins will appear, demonstrate interesting approaches to computing and then disappear as developer attention focuses elsewhere. One of the key exceptions to this pattern is Slackware Linux. Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution still in development and we are pleased to mark the project's 25th anniversary in our News section. We also talk about pfSense releasing subscription services and documentation for free, and discuss the Pentoo project correcting an update bug. The Linux Mint project has faced its own share of bugs lately and we cover how those are being addressed. Our Feature Story this week is a review of Peppermint OS, a distribution which ships with a mixture of local and web-based applications. Joshua Allen Holm provides details on Peppermint OS 9 below. Our Opinion Poll also explores the topic of web applications and we would like to find out how popular web-based solutions are among our readers. Plus we discuss the various types of security offered by different open source operating systems and welcome the NomadBSD project to our database. Below we list the distribution releases of the past week and share the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a fantastic week and happy reading!
- Review: Peppermint OS 9
- News: pfSense Gold resources become freely available, Pentoo corrects update bug, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25
- Questions and answers: Types of security provided by different projects
- Released last week: SUSE Linux Enterprise 15, NetBSD 8.0, Neptune 5.4
- Torrent corner: ArcoLinux, Neptune, NetBSD, SmartOS
- Opinion poll: Web apps versus desktop applications
- New additions: NomadBSD
- New distributions: Slontoo, Bliss, ZoonityOS
- Reader comments
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Peppermint OS 9
Peppermint OS is a lightweight, Ubuntu-based distribution. Its default desktop environment is a hybrid of LXDE and Xfce. What sets Peppermint apart from other distributions is its reliance on site-specific browsers to provide easy access to web-based applications. This reliance on web-based applications makes the distribution a decent alternative to Chrome OS while still providing a full, traditional Linux desktop experience.
I should admit up front that my normal workflow involves using a lot of traditional desktop applications and very few web-based applications, so trying out Peppermint 9 was a major shift from my normal combination of working in Evolution and LibreOffice. That said, for this review I did switch as much as possible to using the web-based options included in Peppermint 9.
Installing Peppermint 9
Peppermint 9 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The ISOs for both images are 1.37GB. For this review, I downloaded the 64-bit image and copied it to a flash drive using the dd command. After the flash drive was ready, I booted the computer from the flash drive into a live desktop environment, which had an icon for the installer on the desktop. I opted to start the installation right away, instead of trying out the live environment.
Peppermint OS 9 -- The Ubiquity installer
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Peppermint 9 uses Ubuntu's Ubiquity installer, so there will be no surprises for anyone who has installed Ubuntu, or any Ubuntu-based distribution, in the past several years. For my installation I simply accepted all the defaults, selected the correct timezone, created my user account, and waited. There is really not much to say about the process, the only difference between Peppermint 9 and Ubuntu is the information presented in the slide show while installing.
Peppermint OS 9 -- Default desktop
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The Peppermint 9 desktop
After logging in, I was presented with the default Peppermint 9 desktop environment. The desktop's look is pretty typical, but built from components from various different desktop environments. The base session comes from LXDE, but the bottom panel and application menu comes from Xfce. The default file manager is Nemo, which comes from the Cinnamon desktop. Despite the diverse origins of the various components, the desktop fits together well. With no applications running, Peppermint's desktop typically consumed between 350MB and 400MB of RAM.
Peppermint OS 9 -- Running Microsoft Word
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The default software included in Peppermint 9 is a combination of traditional desktop software and site-specific browsers for web applications. The traditional desktop software includes Firefox, VLC media player, and various utilities. The site-specific browsers include Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Microsoft Office Online, a few utilities, and six simple games.
The default selection of software is pretty good, but I found the site-specific browser applications to be a little limiting. They worked well enough, but I found the choice of using web applications for all of the default games to be a little odd. If I am stuck off-line, I cannot even play a basic game of solitaire to pass the time, despite there being many different, non-web-based solitaire options to pick from. There are plenty of options available in Peppermint's software repositories, so it would have been nice to pick just one to include by default.
Peppermint OS 9 -- Advert Blocker
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One really interesting application worth specifically mentioning is Advert Blocker, which is a utility that blocks advertisements by modifying the system's /etc/hosts file. The program supports three different block lists, which can be selected separately or combined. I tested the Advert Blocker program with all three lists enabled and found that it worked well at blocking advertisements without breaking basic web browsing.
Peppermint OS 9 -- Peppermint settings panel
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While the default settings for Peppermint are nice, it is possible to customize it using the Peppermint Setting Panel. This panel has options for accessing most settings, including changing the look and feel of the desktop and windows, configuring hardware, and updating the system. The settings panel is, for the most part, well organized, but I found it a little odd that the "Software & Updates Settings" option was in the "Tweaks" section. Granted, making adjustments to which software repositories are enabled could be classified as tweaking those settings, but the classification seems a little off to me. There are also a few advanced configuration tools that are available from the applications menu.
Installing traditional desktop applications
There are many different ways to add software to Peppermint 9. For non-web-based software, Deb packages can be installed from Ubuntu's repositories and the Peppermint PPA. Peppermint 9 also supports Flatpak and Snaps. GNOME Software, Software Manager (mintInstall), and Synaptic Package Manager are the GUI options for browsing and installing applications. Each of the three applications provides different features, so it is nice to have all of them available by default, but three different GUI package managers might overwhelm new users. Peppermint also comes with GDebi for installing Deb packages that come from outside the distribution's repositories.
Peppermint OS 9 -- Software Manager
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Of all the installation methods available, GNOME Software and Software Manager were the easiest to use. I could easily find all the applications that I wanted to install in either of them, but it was nice to have Synaptic around for installing non-GUI applications. Of course, the command line was also a valid alternative, and I often found myself using apt, snap, and flatpak on the command line just because doing so was quicker.
Creating and using site-specific browsers
Peppermint uses a program called Ice to create site-specific browsers. The Ice application makes it really easy to add any website to the application menu. The process is very straightforward. Just enter a URL, select what section of the application menu it should appear under, pick an icon (or use the site's favicon), and select which browser to use. The default is to use Firefox, which is the only browser installed by default, but Ice also works with Chrome, Chromium, and Vivaldi. That is all it takes to create a new site-specific browser application. I was able to quickly create application launchers for GitHub, GitLab, OpenShift, and a few other sites I would want to access on a regular basis as applications.
Peppermint OS 9 -- Ice
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I found it a somewhat useful to have web-based applications in the application menu and to be able to quickly alt-tab between them as separate applications, but I could honestly make do without them. Having a few pinned tabs in Firefox works just as well for me, but I fully understand that other people might feel differently. That said, Ice is nice utility that more distributions should consider including just to make life easier for people who do want to create site-specific browser applications for the sites they use most frequently.
While I have to admit that I am not the target audience for a distribution focused on web-based applications, I found Peppermint 9 to be a solid distribution. Despite pulling components from multiple desktop environments, Peppermint 9's desktop is well integrated and easy to use. It was also easy to add both web-based and traditional applications to the system, so the distribution can be adjusted for users who prefer either.
Peppermint 9 is not for everyone, but users who do most their work in Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online should give Peppermint a try. However, users accustomed to using traditional desktop applications might want to stick to one of the many alternatives out there. Yes, Peppermint 9 can be easily adjusted to use traditional desktop applications, but many of the other distribution options out there come with those kinds of applications pre-installed.
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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
Peppermint OS has a visitor supplied average rating of: 9/10 from 232 review(s).
Have you used Peppermint OS? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
pfSense Gold resources become freely available, Pentoo corrects update bug, Mint reacts to bugs in core packages, Slackware turns 25
pfSense Gold is a subscription service which provides a number of benefits to its clients, such as additional documentation and a secure, on-line backup service (called AutoConfigBackup or ACB). These and other components of the pfSense Gold service will soon be made available to pfSense users for free. "You may be wondering why we made this change, and why now? The pfSense book and the monthly pfSense Hangouts have proven valuable to many over the years. We decided to open them up to all for free. This brings us to ACB. We've always believed ACB is useful, and that everyone should have it. But, the resource usage required by the package design meant we had to pass some costs onto users. Earlier this year, the Netgate development team rewrote ACB - enabling us to make it available for free. Additionally, while the legacy package version relied on a username/password and a hostname, the new integrated ACB conforms to GDPR best practices. No private information at all is passed to ACB servers." More information on the change can be found in this blog post.
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Pentoo is a Gentoo-based distribution used for penetration testing. This week some users of the distribution ran into an issue where the operating system was unable to update. "If your system works, you have no need to read this. You won't hit this issue, it's already fixed. If your system is unable to update, or you have schadenfreude, read on. Sorry. My bad. Very recently some changes were pushed to Pentoo which moved the Pentoo Overlay from /var/lib/layman to /var/db/repos, for a few reasons, none of which are hugely relevant (although one of them was to make gpg verification work). When this was done, it passed a test case on my system, and was pushed without extensive testing. As such, a few issues popped up, all relating to stupid mistakes made my me personally." The project's blog post includes instructions for fixing the potential update errors.
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The Linux Mint project has been dealing with a number of bugs in core packages since the release of Linux Mint 19. The new release, which is based on Ubuntu 18.04, has run into regressions in the MESA, GRUB, kernel, and WINE packages. In the project's July monthly newsletter the team addresses some of the concerns and discusses efforts being made to fix these problems. "More recently, a GRUB update triggered an issue in one of our own packages. That issue could only be triggered by a new GRUB update and so it had gone undetected during QA and the beta test. Although it was fixed in a matter of hours in the repositories, it still affects our installation ISO images and it breaks EFI installations when the live session is connected to the Internet. The release notes were updated to ask people to install off-line. New 64-bit ISO images for Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce were produced with the fixed package and they passed QA yesterday. These new ISOs will replace the current images in the days to come.
Be careful with kernel 4.15.0-24. A critical issue causes some computers to boot really slowly, or not to boot at all. Ubuntu is aware of it and working on a fix. We've also received negative feedback from the 4.15 kernel series in Mint 18.x (based on Ubuntu Xenial). Although Ubuntu decided to switch the HWE series towards it, the 4.15 series doesn't appear to support some proprietary drivers yet (nvidia-3.04 and nvidia-340 among them).
We're also aware of regressions in the Bionic base affecting VPN, Samba, WINE (recently fixed). Ubuntu 18.04 is a brand new base and we're sure it will settle, receive bug fixes and get more mature with time."
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Slackware Linux is the world's oldest surviving Linux distribution, well known for its stability and conservative approach to adopting new technologies. The Slackware project turns 25 years old this month (Slackware Linux 1.00 was released on July 16, 1993). Though it has been about two years since the last stable version of Slackware was published, work continues in the project's "Current" branch. Happy 25th anniversary, Slackware!
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Types of security provided by different projects
Locking-down-everything asks: Which distro between Qubes, OpenBSD and a hardened one, like Debian, offer the best security against exploiting the OS?
DistroWatch answers: I think it is interesting you chose those three examples, because not only does each of those projects have quite different styles from the end user's point of view, but they take different approaches to security. Qubes OS places a lot of focus on security through isolation. This means that the Qubes team expects applications and services on their operating system may become compromised, but the various components can be kept separate from each other. If an attacker exploits a weakness in one piece of software, that does not grant them access to the rest of the system. Projects which emphasize security through isolation acknowledge that bad things will happen, but by keeping a barrier between different programs, the damage can be minimized. Common examples of security through isolation are running services sandboxes and virtual machines.
The OpenBSD team focuses on security through correctness. Basically, the core operating system is kept as clean and bug free as possible. The idea being that if each program and service is implemented properly, then it cannot be exploited. This is a good approach to take as it makes it very hard to break (or break into) a correctly implemented operating system. The problem is making bug free software takes a lot of effort, both in writing and in auditing the code. As a result, security through correctness does not always scale well. This is why OpenBSD is famously secure, but the third-party ports of software which can be install on OpenBSD may not be audited and installing new programs carries added risk.
Not all, but many, of the hardening techniques projects (such as Debian) employ a third approach called security though obscurity. The obscurity approach gets a lot of bad press, but is often effective, particularly against simple or automated attacks. Security through obscurity relies on hiding things, moving things around, or by keeping secrets. For example, a common hardening practice is to randomize the layout of data in memory so attackers do not know where to find it. Another approach, sometimes used by Debian and FreeBSD, is to hide processes from other users so that other people accessing the computer do not even know what programs you are running.
Ideally, we might imagine that an operating system would strive to use all three methods to secure the system. However, each layer of security takes time and effort - some may even be mutually exclusive. The OpenBSD team, for example, has historically downplayed using virtual machines or sandboxes (security by isolation) because such tools add complexity. Larger, more complex code is harder to audit for correctness and may contain its own bugs.
Which approach is best will depend on what you are protecting yourself from. If you are looking for a way to compartmentalize your life and make sure that if someone compromises your web browser they don't get your work credentials then Qubes is probably the best option. If you plan to run a firewall or web server and hope to guard against remote exploits then OpenBSD's approach will be a good fit. On the other hand, if you plan to run a lot of software and want to guard against the most common automated attacks then Debian probably offers the most practical approach.
While it is not convenient to use all three approaches at once, you can try to combine aspects of correctness, isolation and obscurity at the same time. For example, running a hardened Debian system with network facing programs running in a sandbox (such as Firejail) will provide an extra layer of protection. The important thing, in my opinion, is to figure out what kind of attacks you want to guard against and pick the best tool to defend against those attacks.
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Additional tips can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
SUSE Linux Enterprise 15
SUSE has announced the availability of a new version of the company's SUSE Linux Enterprise distribution. The latest release, which was originally announced on June 25 with the trial download becoming available on July 17, is version 15 and includes a focus on lowering the barrier for transitioning between the openSUSE community distribution and SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). "SUSE today launched SUSE Linux Enterprise 15, the latest version of its flagship operating platform that bridges next-generation software-defined infrastructure with traditional infrastructure technologies. The modern, modular operating system helps simplify multimodal IT, makes traditional IT infrastructure more efficient and provides an engaging platform for developers. As a result, organizations can easily deploy and transition business-critical workloads across on-premise and public cloud environments." Further information can be found in the company's press releases and in the release notes.
The NetBSD team has announced a new version of their project's highly portable operating system. The new version, NetBSD 8.0, included support for USB 3, reproducible builds, in-kernel audio mixing and address layout randomization for improved security. "USB stack rework, USB3 support added. In-kernel audio mixer (audio_system(9)). Reproducible builds (MKREPRO, see mk.conf(5)). Full userland debug information (MKDEBUG, see mk.conf(5)) available. While most install media do not come with them (for size reasons), the debug and xdebug sets can be downloaded and extracted as needed later. They provide full symbol information for all base system and X binaries and libraries and allow better error reporting and (userland) crash analysis. PaX MPROTECT (W^X) memory protection enforced by default on some architectures with fine-grained memory protection and suitable ELF formats: i386, amd64, evbarm, landisk, pmax. PaX ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) enabled by default on: i386, amd64, evbarm, landisk, pmax, sparc64. Position independent executables by default for userland on: i386, amd64, arm, m68k, mips, sh3, sparc64." Further details can be found in the project's release notes.
Leszek Lesner has announced the release of Neptune 5.4, an updated build of the project's desktop Linux distribution based on Debian's "stable branch" and featuring the KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop: "We are proud to announce version 5.4 of Neptune. In this update we introduce a new look-and-feel package called 'Neptune Dark'. It comes together with a modified icon theme, called 'Faenza Dark'. We improved hardware support further by providing Linux kernel 4.16.16 with improved drivers and bug fixes. Other main changes in this version are the update of KDE Frameworks to version 5.48 and KDE Applications to version 18.04.3. As the new KF5 version is not compatible with Qt 5.7 anymore we had to backport its patches to version 5.45. VLC has been updated to 3.0.3 to provide more speed and lots of bug fixes. Thunderbird 52.9 fixes issues with encrypted HTML e-mails. The Excalibur menu is now available in version 2.7 which provides some bug fixes in regards to multiple activities and moving favorites around. KWin, the default window manager for Plasma, got an update to version 5.12.5 which is now the real version and which we adjusted to be compiled against Qt 5.7." See the release announcement and changelog for further details.
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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: 944
- Total data uploaded: 20.7TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Web apps versus desktop applications
In our main story this week we discussed Peppermint OS, a lightweight distribution which mixes web-based applications with local, desktop programs. This week we would like to learn how popular web apps are among our readers. Do you use a few (perhaps for e-mail), a handful, or do you run virtually everything through a web browser?
You can see the results of our previous poll on using boot environments in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Web apps versus desktop applications
|I do not use any web apps: ||785 (52%)|
| I use one web app: ||194 (13%)|
| I use a few web apps: ||452 (30%)|
| Most of my tasks are performed through web apps: ||71 (5%)|
New projects added to database
NomadBSD is a 64-bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery.
NomadBSD 1.1 -- Running the live desktop
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Distributions added to waiting list
- Slontoo. Slontoo is a Funtoo-based distribution featuring the Linux Mint system installer and three optional desktop environments (MATE, LXDE and Xfce) on the installation media.
- Bliss. Bliss is an Android-based operating system designed to run on mobile devices as well as laptops and workstation computers.
- ZoonityOS. ZoonityOS is a distribution based on Xubuntu that features an Xfce desktop theme which resembles Unity 7.
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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, 30 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 • web apps (by ddk on 2018-07-23 00:38:19 GMT from United States) |
WebApps pretty much worthless considering any web page can be tabbed. The idea is to mimic mobile apps, on a desktop feels out of place and really needs ad blocking (like almost everything else online) to be of any productive use.
2 • re: Types of security provided by different projects (by jsh on 2018-07-23 00:52:00 GMT from United States)
OpenBSD has additional security features that Mr. Smith did not put the effort into learning about.
Among these are periodic sanitizing of 1/2 the RAM, PLEDGE where an application cannot stray out of pledged resources and memory mapping.
3 • Web Apps (by John on 2018-07-23 00:55:34 GMT from United States)
An accountant friend of mine explained that she could not do taxes without doing it on-line. This was followed by the usual BS about 'the web is secure', etc.
A banker also tried to tell me the same thing....
I doubt anyone reading this believes that the web can or will ever be secure?
I am not sure why anyone [with a brain] would even ask the question?
John NH USA
4 • WebApps (by Pikolo on 2018-07-23 01:10:04 GMT from United Kingdom)
I honestly believe that the 56% of DW readers who answered "I don't use any webapps" must be using a different definition than mine. I find it so puzzling I suggest making the question "What is the difference between a website and a webapp" the next weeks poll.
My definition of a webapp would be something along the lines of "A website that I can use to create or edit information useful beyond that website".
1. Webmail is the obvious example - while I use an email client on my phone, on the desktop I tend to stick to a browser.
2. Online banking is another.
3. Social media is debatable, and I think it doesn't qualify as a webapp in the majority of cases. However, I'd say it does qualify when you organise a protest which then happens offline through it.
5 • WebApps (by DaveW on 2018-07-23 01:28:08 GMT from United States)
If sites like Gmail and IRS/Freefile, when accessed in a normal browser, count as webapps, then probably just about averybody with an internet connection uses multiple webapps. If, however, webapps are basically single-site browsers like those created by Ice, then my vote for not using webapps is correct.
6 • Nothing is 100% secure on the internet (by Brad on 2018-07-23 02:10:28 GMT from United States)
Everything that's out there, will stay out there for as long as the internet exists..
Nothing is 100% secure/safe/locked down.. you can just do your best to educate yourself on how to make yourself secure as possible..
The only 110% chance of being perfectly secure on the internet is unplugging your computer, turning it off, packing it up, and destroying it... lol
7 • Firejail (by Jon Wright on 2018-07-23 02:44:24 GMT from Vietnam)
Very interesting to read about Firejail. Sandboxing with a nice GUI - yeah! Running down the rabbit hole I also came across ParrotOS - includes Firejail, based on Debian, pretty bleeding edge (Linux 4.16, Mate 1.20), rapid release schedule. Moves to base off Devuan were afoot but they haven't got there yet.
8 • Peppermint (by hotdiggettydog on 2018-07-23 04:07:08 GMT from Asia/Pacific Region)
Web apps are a small part of Peppermint and I consider them a bonus for those who require them.
It does not take a lot of time to install your fave software . Personally, I would rather software be my choices. Pepper can be anything YOU want it to be.
The team behind this OS knows what they are doing. Their nemo, xfce, lxde combo is genius and delivers a solid, stable, and intuitive experience.
I love this OS.
9 • Web apps (by Brenton Horne on 2018-07-23 04:37:59 GMT from Australia)
The main web app I use, if it counts, is gmail. If Netflix also counts, I use that too, although frankly if it does I'd suspect YouTube would too. Recently, I've started using Authy (one for Google Chrome) to authenticate my logins to sites like Facebook and Twitter and the game, RuneScape. Most tasks not related to viewing/editing content on websites I do outside the browser.
Although web apps sound like the ideal way of making cross-platform applications. So long as the required browser is available, and it doesn't rely on anything outside browser, such applications should work.
10 • The real problem with web apps (by Style Nine on 2018-07-23 06:52:29 GMT from United States)
I find that web apps tend to consume and leak memory like there's no tomorrow. Compared to a traditional desktop app, memory handling is generally far worse in a web app.
11 • Webapps (by isndw on 2018-07-23 07:54:32 GMT from Austria)
Not every website has the ability to be a webapp. Websites that have webapp abilities have specific code for it. For example google use progressive web apps for that:
Google has already some of their services as progressive web apps, for example google maps:
Here the normal website:
And here the pwa version:
The pwa version can also be used as app for mobile phones.
Here is a directory progressive web apps:
12 • Webapps (by OstroL on 2018-07-23 07:59:49 GMT from Poland)
In this "webapps", you can't go back and forward, while in a tabbed web page you can do that. Webapps are practically useless these days. I have tested Pepeprmint. Btw, the creator of Peppermint has long gone from his creation.
In the question of online banking, the bank should give you a safe banking method, rather than you trying to make it safer. Some banks are pretty good at that, so you have to find one and change your bank to a safer one.
13 • Webapps (by isndw on 2018-07-23 08:04:45 GMT from Austria)
Here a very good example of a really good webapp is use to have access to my android phone:
14 • web apps (by Romane on 2018-07-23 08:12:43 GMT from Australia)
One - why would I trust something out on the web? Yeah, I know, lotsa people repeat the mantra: "the web is safe". Yeah, right! Plus, what happens to my data if the site itself goes out of business? Anyone says that won't or can't happen is living in some fairy-tale land. And hacking? Only a matter of time before a major major major breach occurs. Simply put - the web aint safe even for cruising, let alone data.
Two - why would I chew up my valuable bandwidth? Everything I need runs on my computer, and is available to me quickly and easily *without* costing me my bandwidth. I can back my data up to my own drives, and not rely on another somewhere "out there" to do the chore.
I have looked, yes. Not a single service that I have seen has the capacity nor the interface that I can get with my applications being local. Maybe one day, but I find the services available too restrictive in their interfaces.
15 • One – a few – most (by SuperOscar on 2018-07-23 09:29:48 GMT from Finland)
There should’ve been one more choice after “one” and “a few” webapps in use. I think I use two, if online banking is not taking into account: Google Docs/Sheets and Overleaf (a collaborative TeX writing app). Both are indispensable when you need to work together with someone on a document. Otherwise I consider web apps a waste of my time.
16 • Webapps (by aguador on 2018-07-23 11:15:29 GMT from Netherlands)
@5 makes a good point, and is precisely the reason I have skipped this survey. What is the definition of webapps? For me they would be so-called cloud-based applications like Adobe Acrobat or Zoho or similar office applications. To me the defining characteristic is that you are using a program on a machine other than your own to produce a personal document that has nothing to do with the service itself and may not be stored there. You use the apps to create a file whose data has nothing to do with the service provider. It is just providing a means to your end.
Should webmail count? Maybe, but even though the data may be stored on the provider's server, the data itself and its purposes have nothing to do with the service provider. Furthermore, is there a real difference in these days of IMAP between using the web interface or interacting via Evolution or Claws Mail?
Should on-line banking count? Probably not as the data involved are not just yours, but the bank's account of your money and activities. The data are shared and an integral part of the service, unlike the foregoing examples.
Given the vagary of what a webapp is, it would be good to repeat the survey providing the definition(s) of what is meant, and, perhaps, creating separate categories of webapps.
17 • Peppermint and Web Apps (by Chris on 2018-07-23 11:30:04 GMT from United States)
I'm a Peppermint user, have been for years. I'm not a web app user and, to be honest, I usually remove them and the Ice software to leave me with a pretty basic OS, ready for me to install whatever I want. I like this a lot, as I prefer an OS that's light on preinstalled software, so I get the software I want and not someone else's idea of what is ideal, software wise.
However, I recently found a use for web apps, or at least one SSB. I got tired of sites with auto play videos (not ads, just videos) so I disabled that function in Firefox. However, that made Pandora video not work, as I guess it only works with media auto play enabled. Obviously, I could have installed another browser for Pandora, but I didn't have to. Since I use Firefox, it saves the settings for each SSB independently. (Chrome and Chromium don't work this way) I was able to use the Ice program to create a SSB for Pandora with media auto play enabled by default, and still have it disabled in my main browser. You can't do that with tabs.
So, there's an example of a use for SSBs/web apps by a person who usually doesn't use or like them. That's the only one I have installed, by the way.
18 • Webapps (by isndw on 2018-07-23 12:29:37 GMT from Austria)
Here a comparition of the difference of a website and a webapp:
"A website is informational"
"A web application is interactive"
Here a other main point:
"Progressive Web Apps are user experiences that have the reach of the web, and are:
Reliable - Load instantly and never show the downasaur, even in uncertain network conditions.
Fast - Respond quickly to user interactions with silky smooth animations and no janky scrolling.
Engaging - Feel like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience."
So the client side of the webapp normaly is already installed on the computer and do not need to be loaded from the internet.
19 • Peppermint 9 OS (by R. Cain on 2018-07-23 12:32:31 GMT from United States)
From the Peppermint 9 OS review--
"...The default selection of software is pretty good, but I found the site-specific browser applications to be a little limiting. They worked well enough, but I found the choice of using web applications for all of the default games to be a little odd. If I am stuck off-line, I cannot even play a basic game of solitaire to pass the time, despite there being many different, non-web-based solitaire options to pick from. There are plenty of options available in Peppermint's software repositories, so it would have been nice to pick just one to include by default..."
I was starting to get interested; then I went back and re-read the review; two more times.
Certainly this does NOT mean that you cannot install stand-alone applications from Mint's or Ubuntu's repositories into Peppermint...or does it? Why is this presented as a negative, if the solution is so easy?...or is the solution not so easy?
20 • Web Apps vs Desktop Apps (by Kevin on 2018-07-23 13:32:29 GMT from United States)
I use web apps and/or desktop apps when there's no other choice. I prefer command line and/or ncurses based apps, aka Linux console apps. I use mutt for e-mail, vim for editing, etc.
21 • Theo? Is that you? (by CS on 2018-07-23 14:17:55 GMT from United States)
@2 "OpenBSD has additional security features that Mr. Smith did not put the effort into learning about."
Don't OpenBSD users (or is it user?) value the obscurity of that system as one of its key security benefits?
22 • WebApps and Security (by The OpenBSD User on 2018-07-23 17:18:31 GMT from United States)
Self-hosted Nextcloud is the only WebApp that I choose to use (other than those forced on me at work)
@21 "OpenBSD users (or is it user?)"
If it is indeed singular, then I am he. Anyone else making this claim is lying and probably uses some insecure spyware like a Microsoft, Google, or Apple product. They probably use email providers that harvest their data, too. Those hypocrites.
Sent from my iPhone
PS. Actually, in all seriousness, Distrowatch's comment function appears to be broken on Falkon (both Slackware and Gentoo), so I'm typing this in links. Anyone else experiencing this? Is it a qtwebengine issue?
23 • Peppermint OS (by Glenn Condrey on 2018-07-23 17:38:58 GMT from United States)
I myself use Peppermint. I have for years now.
I don't make a great use of the web app feature...but its nice to know it is there if I do in fact need it.
I was a Xandros refugee.....one of the very last users of Xandros 4.5
I kept it updated with more modern Debian applications without breaking the Xandros File Manager...no easy task in itself...let me tell you.
I found a linux distribution that I feel at home with for the first time in a long time.
My ONLY complaint...is that upgrading from Peppermint isn't as straight forward as upgrading from Ubuntu for instance.
Other than that..I want to thank the Peppermint team for all of their hard work on this distribution.
Its very polished...and easy enough for a intermediate user like me to use as an everyday OS.
24 • SUSE -> Gecko? ... s*****d ... DW comment function (by Somewhat Reticent on 2018-07-23 20:59:03 GMT from United States)
SUSE - gives me hope of more Gecko-Linux update releases.
(Any way to rank marketing's 'content' on number*fuzziness of buzzwords?)
Would s*****d have been so polarizing if it had been presented with humility and without the constant barrage of spaghetti-code full of expanding dependency-creep mandated by management anticipating world conquest?
@21 Looks like DW's comment works on Firefox ESR 52.9, but not version 26 ...
25 • Peppermint and Web Apps (by edcoolio on 2018-07-23 23:11:38 GMT from United States)
Let me start off by saying I really like Peppermint. They get extra credit from me just because they still have a solid 32 bit iso available. Unfortunately, I ran this on a 2.0ghz Pentium M with an SSD and 2GB ram and found that its parent, Lubuntu, is a hair faster. A hair faster on old equipment always wins in my universe. Anti-X and Bodhi also both winners in this race as Puppy seems limited.
After using it for a solid 4 months on the Pentium M and a 64bit version on an i5, I found myself bypassing all the "Web Apps" I had set-up. It is just flat out too slow compared to real applications.
I have come to the conclusion that I do not like Web Apps, if given a choice.
Essentially, I believe the local code and optimizations to be found in dedicated applications gives me an ease of use and speed that cannot be found in Web Apps.
A good piece of software will run everything locally at full speed, specifically designed for the task at hand. The only connection to the Internet is to update the raw data, everything else runs locally, leaving my bandwidth open for other purposes.
If given a choice, I do not like web apps. They tend to be much slower, clunky, and have formatting issues. Chrome is a browser trying to be all things to all people, but all people do not require all things... just some. So pick some things, write a good application for it, and I'll remain happy while saving bandwidth.
26 • OpenBSD (by Semiarticulate on 2018-07-24 00:23:27 GMT from United States)
While it is true that code correctness is a major focus for OpenBSD and that it goes a long way to improving security, I think it's important to mention that the project has also done a LOT of work in the way of mitigations; privilege separation, W^X, stack protector, ASLR and PIE to name a few.
27 • Web Apps and security... (by Bobbie Sellers on 2018-07-24 04:59:08 GMT from United States)
Web apps lets your information or your creation loose on the Internet...
As close to a Web app as I get is to go to the mail server and delete
the posts I have downloaded, using Firefox.
Your home computer is slightly more secure and you could separate
the content creation from the creating tool more easily. You could
even do a lot of good work with minimal internet contact and even
separate your creating device from your internet device.
The Internet is inherently insecure. That is because the creative
scientists and technologists who created it did not understand
the depths to which people can sink our of greed, jealousy and
envy not to mention the sexual aspects.
Which reminds me of a funny story about Bayer Pharms in Germany in
the 19th Century. They were trying to find uses for opium-derived drugs
and one of the products they developed was heroin. They thought it
would make a great cough medicine and they tried it out on themselves
and their families. They had no problems with addiction because they
focused on the cough suppressant action and led their families to
treat it in a detached scientific manner.
Well the rule is that the moral, hardworking scientists with their eyes
on the prize can seldom imagine the uses to which "normal" folks
will put the results of their efforts to benefit mankind and increase
28 • Calling back third parties. (by Foxy Foxx on 2018-07-25 23:36:18 GMT from Canada)
I use Linuxmint whith default browser Forefox 60.x.
When I start Firefox it just circling round-n-round and remained unavailable until it finishes calling back home to Daady Joe and Mom Akamai plus every single parties concerned. It still remained unclear how many parties will be called back using such web apps.
29 • Mint 19 - subject to 'twiddling' (by emarlow on 2018-07-26 02:25:36 GMT from United States)
Sometimes things that work just have to be fussed with; the Desktop for Mint 19 Cinnamon is now cursed with a Computer icon that is not user accessible. Can not move it, change nor renamed it.
Was this a much requested change...I doubt it -- just a bad idea.
30 • webapps (by buntublooms & sidgars on 2018-07-26 05:25:53 GMT from Australia)
WebOSs are also a useful concept and are supposed to provide security for use of their webapps. Although you don't hear much about them nowadays - they may have gone out of fashion.
But using webapps on their own - sounds risky security-wise.
31 • web apps and ham radio (by Roy on 2018-07-26 05:51:43 GMT from United States)
I generally just use the web browser but then I saw a YouTube video on Skywave Linux. It is Ubuntu based. But after watching the video off it web apps for Software Defined Radio for Global Online Listening I might change my mind.
32 • Peppermint (by mosomoso on 2018-07-26 07:31:05 GMT from United States)
Just a note of appreciation for Peppermint. I'm a slow non-techie who hasn't even bothered to find out about web apps. I've used Linux exclusively for years, mostly going with light desktops and Ubuntu derivatives like Lite, Mint, LXLE, Lubuntu etc though I've mucked around with Manjaro and the odd straight-from-Debian.
Peppermint is my fave, attractive, zippy and reliable. No problems with software because it's a matter of minutes to get the little I need. Vivaldi has won me over lately and that's not likely to come with any install. Dropbox is better if I just use the site rather than load stuff on with the app (or whatever I should call it). My VPN, Mullvad, works just fine.
We all do different things and work different ways, but I can recommend Peppermint from years of heavy personal use of several versions. It's just somehow...mmm...niftier.
33 • Silly FUD (by M.Z. on 2018-07-27 19:32:17 GMT from United States)
What kind of silly FUD is that? All you need to do in Mint is turn on tracking protection in Firefox & you have the most private browser there is, at least among the major options. The privacy/tracking defaults aren't any better or worse than any other major browser, but the privacy options in Firefox clearly are the best.
Also there are add-ons like Privacy Badger & uBlock Origin, just in case the best built in tracking protection available in a major browser isn't enough.
How about doing some homework before spreading misleading & malicious rumours? Everything I've ever seen says Firefox is the best option for privacy, unless you want to use something obscure & privacy focused like Tor browser, which is of course based on Firefox anyway.
34 • @ # 33 • Not A Silly FUD (by Foxy Foxx on 2018-07-28 12:30:38 GMT from Canada)
To avoid arguments back and forth I will reply ivery shortly.
I have a powerful watchdog to watch, monitor and register any programs micro behaviors.
35 • @ 29 • Mint 19 - subject to 'twiddling' (emarlow) (by frisbee on 2018-07-28 14:04:18 GMT from Switzerland)
"Sometimes things that work just have to be fussed with; the Desktop for Mint 19 Cinnamon is now cursed with a Computer icon that is not user accessible. Can not move it, change nor renamed it."
Computer icon on your Mint desktop?
You can easily add / remove it any time you desire.
36 • Credibility Issue (by M.Z. on 2018-07-29 05:15:04 GMT from United States)
And when a widely trusted source says something strange is happening by default and/or continuing to happen with tracking protection turned on, then I will take it seriously.
BTW, it is often worth checking out your add-ons, at least according to one of my most trusted sources:
37 • @ # 36 • Credibility ---> Credibiity? What is that? (by Foxxy Foxx on 2018-07-29 12:02:33 GMT from Canada)
Credibiity? What is that?
It is always better to face the reality and dance accordingly.
The "Boss" wanna plant a microphone in a mouth and GPS sensor in dutt of every living entity on this planet. Firefox is still just a fox as well that can not escape.
I appreciate your dependency, reliability and trust on add-ons so called Ultimate Privacy and toggled-switched security settings that simply toggle the switch from off-to-on just on the screen and do absolutely nothing.
Thanks for ArsTechnica informative link, I have read similar news on other website(s), according to recent research, The rate of infections in smart devices is very high in four-figures/minute.
We live in a world where "Seeing is believing-in". But negative of this remains unknown.
By the way I have settled on linuxmint and ubuntu latest versions for my surfing needs just to know them well as I am a newbie to couple of things like systemD. Just for hackers to be informed, I use without any security settings as well, you are well-come through OpenGate, as in OpenSource.
Number of Comments: 37
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