| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 780, 10 September 2018
Welcome to this year's 37th issue of DistroWatch Weekly!
Running a rolling release distribution is one approach to keeping an operating system up to date without needing to re-install (or perform a large upgrade) periodically. The week we begin with a review of Netrunner's rolling release branch, which is based on Manjaro. Joshua Allen Holm takes Netrunner's rolling edition for a spin and reports on his findings in our Feature Story. In our News section we discuss language and font improvements coming to the Fedora distribution along with tips on customizing the Kali Linux distribution. Plus we pass along a reminder from the FreeBSD team that FreeBSD 11.1 is nearing the end of its supported life. Finding the right video drivers for your distribution can make a world of difference to system performance and, in our Questions and Answers column, we talk about how to find video drivers for your distribution. Plus we discuss trying to switch which init software is installed on a distribution. As usual, we share the releases of the past week and we are pleased to share a list of the torrents we are seeding. We wish you all a wonderful week and happy reading!
- Review: Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling edition
- News: Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali, FreeBSD 11.1 nearing end of life
- Questions and answers: Finding video drivers and switching init implementations
- Released last week: NetBSD 7.2, Univention 4.3-2, Tails 3.9
- Torrent corner: Antergos, IPFire, KaOS, KDE neon, Linuxfx, NetBSD, Nitrux, Omarine, OSGeoLive, Parrot Security, Q4OS, SystemRescueCd, Tails, Univention
- Upcoming releases: Elive 3.0
- Opinion poll: Open versus proprietary video drivers
- Reader comments
Listen to the Podcast edition of this week's DistroWatch Weekly in OGG (14MB) and MP3 (10MB) formats.
|Feature Story (by Joshua Allen Holm)
Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling edition
Netrunner comes in a several different versions. There is a stable release, which is based on Debian; and a rolling release version based on Manjaro, which, in turn, is based on Arch; plus a few others. For this review, I will be looking at the latest version of Netrunner Rolling, version 2018.08.
Installing Netrunner Rolling
I began by downloading the 2.6GB ISO and copying it to a USB flash drive. I then rebooted my computer, disabled Secure Boot (per the Netrunner documentation), and booted from the flash drive. A boot menu appeared with several options for changing things like language and keyboard layout, but I just left everything as is and selected the "Boot: Netrunner.x86_64 kde" option. It took a while for the system to boot to a usable desktop, but once the system was ready, I had a nice live desktop to try out before installing.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- Live media boot options
(full image size: 40kB, resolution: 1280x1024 pixels)
I only spent a short while with the live desktop, but found that it performed well, even when running from a rather slow USB flash drive. I did try to look at the Readme file linked to on the desktop, but that did not work. Clicking on the "Readme" shortcut opened Firefox, but the page on the Netrunner website could not be found. Even as I write this review, a couple of weeks after my initial attempt to view the Readme file, the link is still returning a "page not found" error page.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- The Calamares installer
(full image size: 271kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Since I planned on exploring the desktop more after I installed Netrunner Rolling, I clicked on the installer shortcut on the desktop and started the install process. The installer used by Netrunner Rolling is Calamares, which provides a pretty standard installation experience. I configured my location and keyboard settings, partitioned the hard drive, created a user account, and then let the installer do its job. Overall, the experience was straightforward, but I did have a problem with the first of my install attempts; when the computer was supposed to reboot itself based on the option I selected in the installer, there was a kernel panic during the shutdown process and after forcing a shutdown and rebooting the computer, Netrunner could not successfully boot. I rebooted using the USB flash drive and reinstalled. Everything worked perfectly this time. The error with the initial installation attempt was probably a random fluke, not something caused directly by the installer, but I still had to install Netrunner twice before I had a working installation.
Netrunner Rolling's KDE desktop
Netrunner Rolling uses KDE Plasma 5.13 with version 18.04 of the KDE applications package for its desktop environment. While the KDE desktop used in Netrunner is close to the standard KDE settings, it comes with a few nice changes from the Breeze or Oxygen look and feel options. Instead of using the Application Launcher widget, Netrunner uses the Application Dashboard widget, which provide a full screen search interface similar to, but not exactly like, GNOME 3 and Unity. There are other various tweaks throughout the desktop, but the different application menu is the biggest one.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- The default KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 578kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
While most of the tweaks to KDE are little things here and there, they do add up to a very nice user experience. I switched back and forth between the Breeze look and feel and the Netrunner look and feel to try to spot the differences, and while both are completely usable, I found myself preferring the Netrunner option. The bottom panel was slightly smaller in the Netrunner option and I really liked the Dashboard application menu. Granted, I could easily customize the Breeze look and feel to have the same settings, but Netrunner already made those tweaks for me.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- The application dashboard
(full image size: 870kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Netrunner Rolling's default application selection
There is a lot of software included by default in Netrunner Rolling. Beyond the KDE applications that make up the basic system utilities. There is Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Qtransmission, and Skype for Internet applications; GIMP, Inkscape, and Krita for graphic editing; LibreOffice for document editing, though, oddly, Netrunner Rolling ships with LibreOffice 5.4, despite almost every other software package being the latest release (subsequent updates have bumped LibreOffice to version 6.0 and 6.1 is available by installing a different package: libreoffice-fresh); and Audacious, gmusicbrowser, HandBrake, Kdenlive, SMPlayer, vokoscreen, and Yarock for audio and video playback, recording, and editing. There is also a modest selection of games, mostly simple puzzle games, but the Steam client is also included.
While not every program that Netrunner ships with is my preferred application, I found that I was able to do everything I wanted without installing any additional software. I could play audio files and videos, including DVDs, without having to install any additional software. I could edit graphics with any off the installed programs. Browsing the web and accessing my e-mail was easy using Firefox and Thunderbird, but I could not use Thunderbird for IRC until the update to version 60. Before that, Thunderbird would crash whenever I tried to connect to IRC. Overall, Netrunner Rolling comes with a very nice selection of quality open source software, plus a few proprietary applications that might be useful for some users.
Installing & updating packages
Netrunner Rolling provides two graphical options for installing software packages. The Discover application provides a way to search for graphical applications, and Octopi provides access to all the packages in the distribution's repositories. Octopi is the more power-user oriented application, but I found Discover to be well organized and easy to use to install graphical applications. When, on the rare occasion that I needed to install something that was not listed in Discover, I found myself just using the pacman package manager in a terminal to search for and install packages.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- The Octopi package manager
(full image size: 122kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
A notification appears in the bottom panel when updates are available. Clicking on the notification provides a button that opens Discover to handle the update process. The first time a large group of updates were available for Netrunner, I selected the option to install all of them. This process took a while, but no worse than is typical for over a gigabyte of updates.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- System updates in Discover
(full image size: 141kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
After I rebooted and logged back in, a second update tool, this one specific to Manjaro (and Netrunner by extension) told me that a new kernel version was available. This updater listed all the available kernels, and let me update from a kernel in the 4.17 series to the 4.18 series, with several other older and newer options also listed. If I really wanted, I could even update to a pre-release 4.19 kernel.
Netrunner 2018.08 "Rolling" -- Manjaro Settings Manager
(full image size: 451kB, resolution: 1366x768 pixels)
Netrunner Rolling is a distribution I thoroughly enjoyed using. There we a few minor issues, but overall everything worked great. The distribution came with enough software pre-installed that I really did not need to install any additional software to perform most basic tasks. Were I to use Netrunner Rolling long term, I might want to swap a few of the included programs for ones that were my own personal preference, but the software Netrunner Rolling ships with are good defaults. The only software oddity was being stuck on LibreOffice 5.4 for a while before finally upgrading to 6.0. Most of the other packages are up-to-date, often the absolutely newest possible version, but updates to LibreOffice packages are more conservative.
Users wanting the Arch Linux experience without the effort should give Netrunner Rolling a try. It provides a nice, polished KDE experience with a decent selection of software included by default. Netrunner's KDE customizations create a desktop experience that is simultaneously traditional and modern, providing a nice middle ground between the classic Windows-style desktop and GNOME 3 & Unity.
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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
Netrunner has a visitor supplied average rating of: 8.3/10 from 59 review(s).
Have you used Netrunner? You can leave your own review of the project on our ratings page.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Fedora improves language support, how to customize Kali, FreeBSD 11.1 nearing end of life
The Fedora team is working to improve internalization language and font support, with specific enhancements coming to Chinese, Japanese and Korean fonts. These changes are expected to arrive in Fedora 29 and are currently being tested. "Fedora 29 development and testing is currently in full swing, and Fedora 29 features a range of improvements to Internationalization (i18n) support. Major improvements in Fedora 29 include better font support, and improvements to the iBus input method. All this week, the Fedora i18n Team is running a Test Week to try out these new features. More details on helping out and testing is available at the Test Day wiki page. In Fedora 29, the default font for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) languages is now Google Noto. This provides better quality of rendering for Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters. This change provides a Serif face default for Japanese and Korean. Additionally, it provides a Monospace typeface for all of CJK languages, improving visual consistencies among the typefaces." A post on Fedora Magazine offers further details.
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Kali Linux is a Debian-based distribution which provides security and forensic software on a live disc. The project has shared steps one Kali user, Jacek Kowalczyk, took to customize Kali to better suit his needs. "We love it when community members come up with new ideas or interesting builds, and this one caught our attention. Jacek Kowalczyk hit us up on Twitter with a really interesting story. His approach to tweaking Kali to be specific to his needs is exactly why this feature is so important to us and we wanted to share his story more widely. Jacek's live-build recipe was for a lightweight version of Kali using his favourite desktop environments, including some nice desktop configurations. We thought it would be best to let Jacek share his process with you step by step, in his own words." A blog post shares the details of Kowalczyk's process in creating a custom spin of Kali Linux.
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The FreeBSD security team has sent out a reminder that FreeBSD 11.1 will reach the end of its supported life at the end of September 2018. People still running version 11.1 are encouraged to upgrade to version 11.2 to continue receiving security patches. "As of September 30, 2018, FreeBSD 11.1 will reach end-of-life and will no longer be supported by the FreeBSD Security Team. Users of FreeBSD 11.1 are strongly encouraged to upgrade to a newer release as soon as possible."
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These and other news stories can be found on our Headlines page.
|Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)
Finding video drivers and switching init implementations
Cannot-see-a-thing asks: Where can I find video drivers for Linux? Mine are not working correctly.
DistroWatch answers: Most distributions ship with open source video drivers already installed. If your distribution does not, then you can probably add the appropriate open source driver from your distribution's package repository. On Debian-based distributions video drivers typically have a name like xserver-xorg-video followed by the brand or model of the card. For example, we might install xserver-xorg-video-intel or xserver-xorg-video-ati, depending on which card our system uses. A list of options can be found by running the command
apt-cache search xserver-xorg-video
The equivalent command on the Arch Linux family of distributions is
pacman -Ss xf86-video
Most distribution do not ship closed-source video drivers, which often offer improved performance at the potential cost of instability and licensing restrictions. Instead, mainstream distributions tend to provide a driver manager utility which can be found in the application menu. This makes installing alternative drivers a point-n-click experience. If your distribution does not offer a tool for accessing alternative drivers, official video drivers can be downloaded from their respective vendors. NVIDIA and AMD have download pages for accessing their official drivers.
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Changing-init asks: Is it possible to swap out one init for another, how does one do that?
DistroWatch answers: It is technically possible to swap out one implementation of init for another, at least in some cases. However, it should be pointed out that changing such a low-level component of the operating system will have side effects and should be approached with caution. If everything goes perfectly with the swap you will notice very little practical difference (unless your are administrating a server), but if things go poorly then the system may not boot anymore.
Some people are sceptical of distributions like Devuan because it is "just Debian without systemd", but the alternative for people running Debian who want to switch away from systemd is a risky procedure of removing one init package and installing another. Which is why I typically suggest performing a fresh install of a distribution with the desired init software included.
Each distribution family will have a slightly different approach to changing the init process. For those brave enough to want to change their init implementation on a running system I recommend checking out this Arch Linux wiki page and the links at the bottom of the alternatives to systemd page. I also recommend making backups of your system before trying to change low-level components like init.
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Additional answers can be found in our Questions and Answers archive.
|Released Last Week
The NetBSD project develops a lightweight operating system which runs on a wide range of hardware architectures. The project's latest release in the 7.x series is NetBSD 7.2, which offers USB 3.0 support, enhancements to Linux emulation, support for running on the Raspberry Pi 3 computer and updated drivers. "Some highlights of the 7.2 release are: Support for USB 3.0. Enhancements to the Linux emulation subsystem. Fixes in binary compatibility for ancient NetBSD executables. iwm(4) driver for Intel Wireless 726x, 316x, 826x and 416x series added. Support for Raspberry Pi 3 added. Fix interrupt setup on Hyper-V VMs with Legacy Network Adapter. SVR4 and IBCS2 compatibility subsystems have been disabled by default (besides IBCS2 on VAX). These subsystems also do not auto-load their modules any more. Various USB stability enhancements. Numerous bug fixes and stability improvements." Further information can be found in the project's release announcement and in the release notes.
Nitrux is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, with an innovative desktop called "Nomad". Nomad attempts to extends KDE's Plasma with a special blend of aesthetics and functionality. The distribution's developers have addressed many of the issues reported in early reviews and believe it is now a much more mature, stable and polished product. The latest version is Nitrux 1.0.15, released late last week: "We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.0.15. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements and ready-to-use hardware support. Nitrux 1.0.15 presents an updated hardware stack, among other things. The recently included Linux kernel 4.18.5, as well as an updated graphics stack, adds support for newer computers and hardware in Nitrux. In addition, new patches for system vulnerabilities are included in this release, so you can rest assured that you are using the most secure version of Nitrux. What's new: updated packages from Ubuntu 'Cosmic'; updated Plasma 5 (5.13.4), KDE Applications (18.08), KF5 (5.50.0) and Qt (5.11.1); updated Kvantum to version 0.10.9; added Mesa (18.1.5) drivers for Vulkan, VDPAU and support for VP-API...." See the release announcement for more details.
Nitrux 1.0.15 -- Running the KDE Plasma desktop
(full image size: 494kB, resolution: 1920x1200 pixels)
Univention Corporate Server 4.3-2
Univention Corporate Server (UCS) is a Debian-based server distribution that offers an integrated management system for central administration of servers, Microsoft Active Directory-compatible domain services, and functions for parallel operation of virtualised server and desktop operating systems. The Univention team has published a point release update for the distribution's 4.3 series, Univention Corporate Server 4.3-2. The new version contains mostly bug fixes and minor updates as listed in the distribution's release announcement: "During the upgrade to new UCS release- or patchlevel versions, the Univention Management Console is put into maintenance mode. While the maintenance mode is active, the progress of the update is displayed on a simple web page. Samba has been updated to version 4.7.8. For security reasons, authentication with NTLMv1 is no longer allowed. If there are still old systems or applications in use that absolutely need NTLMv1, this can be reactivated via the Univention Configuration Registry. The AD connector has been enhanced with tools to synchronize individual objects or entire subtrees again and to specifically remove rejects. Various security updates have been integrated into UCS 4.3-2, e.g. Apache2, the Linux kernel and Samba4." The release notes contain further details.
The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) is a Debian-based live distribution with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user. The project's latest version, Tails 3.9, makes it easier to install additional software when the distribution boots. The new version also supports working with VeraCrypt encrypted storage volumes, along with reading news feeds in Thunderbird. "You can now install additional software automatically when starting Tails. When installing an additional Debian package from Tails, you can decide to install it automatically every time. To check your list of additional software packages, choose Applications->System Tool->Additional Software. The packages included in Tails are carefully tested for security. Installing additional packages might break the security built in Tails, so be careful with what you install. To unlock VeraCrypt volume in Tails, choose Applications->System Tool->Unlock VeraCrypt Volumes. The integration of VeraCrypt in the Files and Disks utilities was done upstream in GNOME and will be available outside of Tails in Debian 10 (Buster) and Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish)." Further information and screen shots can be found in the project's release announcement.
Q4OS 2.6 has been released. Q4OS is Debian-based Linux distribution which ships with the Trinity desktop (a continuation of the KDE 3 desktop environment) or KDE Plasma 5.8.6 (a version found in Debian 9). This version is a routine update that brings the latest Trinity, version 14.0.5: "An update to the Q4OS 2 'Scorpion' stable LTS is available for download. The new 2.6 release is based on and upgrades to the latest stable versions of the Trinity 14.0.5 desktop and Debian 9.5 'Stretch' projects. Q4OS-specific fixes and patches are revised and provided as well. All the updates are immediately available for existing Q4OS users from the regular Q4OS repositories. Q4OS Scorpion LTS release (supported for 5 years) is based on Debian 9 Stretch and it features the Trinity 14.0.5 and KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environments. It's available for 64-bit and 32-bit (i686-pae) computers as well as i386 systems without PAE extension. ARM 64-bit (arm64) and 32-bit (armhf) ports are provided as well. Q4OS offers its own exclusive utilities and features, specifically the 'Desktop profiler' application for profiling your computer into different professional working tools...." Here is the brief release announcement.
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Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
The table below provides a list of torrents DistroWatch is currently seeding. If you do not have a bittorrent client capable of handling the linked files, we suggest installing either the Transmission or KTorrent bittorrent clients.
Archives of our previously seeded torrents may be found in our Torrent Archive. We also maintain a Torrents RSS feed for people who wish to have open source torrents delivered to them. To share your own open source torrents of Linux and BSD projects, please visit our Upload Torrents page.
Torrent Corner statistics:
- Total torrents seeded: 1,016
- Total data uploaded: 21.1TB
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
Open versus proprietary video drivers
In this week's Questions and Answers column we talked about how to track down and install free and proprietary video drivers. This week we would like to know if you are currently using open or closed source video drivers on Linux.
You can see the results of our previous poll on verifying ISO downloads in last week's edition. All previous poll results can be found in our poll archives.
Open versus proprietary video drivers on Linux
|I use open source drivers: ||679 (39%)|
| I use closed source drivers: ||369 (21%)|
| I do not know: ||98 (6%)|
| I use both across multiple computers: ||554 (32%)|
| I am not running Linux: ||25 (1%)|
DistroWatch database summary
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This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 17 September 2018. Past articles and reviews can be found through our Article Search page. To contact the authors please send e-mail to:
|Linux Foundation Training
|Reader Comments • Jump to last comment
1 • Video Drivers (by TuxRaider on 2018-09-10 01:24:29 GMT from United States) |
my thinkpad has nvidia and i just use the FOSS nouveau, i have a optiplex desktop with intel video and use what antiX (mostly debian) supplies (probably an open source driver provided by xorg, and my newest PC has a AMD Radeon RX580 and i use the amd-graphics kernel firmware
2 • nvidia drivers (by Vytas on 2018-09-10 05:34:43 GMT from Lithuania)
Sadly OSS nvidia driver spins on my GTX430 (I think or 420) fan on one PC always to max or sth. close to that so I have to install proprietary there.
3 • VDs (by zykoda on 2018-09-10 06:32:14 GMT from United Kingdom)
Pragmatism and the law of least effort rule: I resort to proprietary when FOSS fails expectations. A single PC may have both in multiboot. Switching graphics cards. DEs, WMs ..etc or software eg CUDA Opengl version, may dictate.
4 • Video Drivers (by kc1di on 2018-09-10 08:47:34 GMT from United States)
I chose use both, on my machines with Nvidia cards the nouveau driver does not work well and I'm forced to use Nvidia's drivers if I want the machines to do any real demanding stuff. I will say that Nvidia has tried to supply Linux drivers for most of their cards and they work quite well at least the ones I have tried. Nouveau work ok with some cards but not all. only alternative would be to install a different card. So that's how it stand as of today.
5 • Video drivers (by Argent on 2018-09-10 09:15:55 GMT from United States)
Not a gamer by any description but do enjoy video from various sources. Run strictly AMD and Xorg does the job with my Asus Radeon RX560-04G-EVO video card. The card is quite sufficient for anyone's needs but strictly watch videos. Also use GIMP, Inkscape for image manipulation and editing, with a really good HD LED monitor the graphics are amazing. Trust Xorg throughout my PC although have ventured with proprietary AMD drivers with great success. Maybe it is easier with Xorg and experience really no distinct differences with proprietary.
Linux and Xorg apparently have better results with Radeon versus NVidia or perhaps a better relationship with development with Radeon.
To me less is more, less you have to fiddle around to get something working OOTB then it's the best and safe bet. Xorg works great!
6 • fglrx (by Tim on 2018-09-10 09:42:35 GMT from United States)
This is something I have to admit I don't understand very well
For years, I used Debian with the closed-source AMD Catalyst driver (fglrx.) but it stopped working when stretch was in testing (AMD dropped support upstream.)
The open source radeon drivers work ok with my card (an older AMD Cedar one) but on Debian I could never get the right aspect ratio on either a 16:9 monitor or a 16:10 one. No luck with xrandr. On Ubuntu/Mint they detect the proper resolution automatically. Usually that means there's some non-free firmware, but I for the life of me couldn't find it. Hence we've been using Ubuntu since 15.04
7 • Poll, Netrunner,Kali, and TAILS (by cykodrone on 2018-09-10 11:11:07 GMT from Canada)
I chose open-source in the polll, BUT, I will use the non-free firmware in the distro's repo if the FOSS driver doesn't cut the mustard. Does firmware count as a 'driver'?
I used Netrunner back in the day, I can't even remember what it was based on back then, that being said, it changes its base distro as often as I change my underwear. I have no problem learning new commands for different base flavours, noobz, not so much.
Kali and TAILS: Anything that runs systemd under the hood is always OFF my radar. The corporation that writes and maintains secretive and system enveloping systemd has many contracts with numerous government agencies, including law enforcement. Systemd has become the actual distro, the kernel, package manger and GUI are now just 'necessary evil' extra layers to the author. Have a nice day. :)
8 • sceptical? (by dxrobertson on 2018-09-10 11:28:23 GMT from United States)
'Some people are sceptical of distributions like Devuan because it is just Debian without systemd'.
Thats exactly what Devuan is, Debian without systemd. Simple. What in regards to 'distrubutions like' Devuan is sceptical (mistrusting, doubtful)?
Distrowatch provides a good answer to the posted question, not sure why this skepticism phrase was included.
9 • skeptical (by Tim on 2018-09-10 12:47:50 GMT from United States)
I think he was defending Devuan. A lot of times people will say that a particular distro isn't anything new because it's "just a respin" of Debian or Ubuntu. Jesse's point I took to mean that it's a lot of work to make a distro with very different defaults than the base, even if you're using the base repositories.
10 • Netrunner Rolling review: unanswered question (by curious on 2018-09-10 13:17:07 GMT from Germany)
Thanks for the review.
You recommend Netrunner Rolling for "users wanting the Arch Linux experience without the effort". This immediately brings up the question of how this distro compares to Manjaro - I always thought that Manjaro was meant to provide exactly that: an Arch(-like) experience without the effort. And Manjaro has a KDE flavour.
So, what sets Netrunner Rolling apart from its immediate parent, Manjaro KDE?
11 • Arch Linux experiance (by silent on 2018-09-10 13:55:57 GMT from Hungary)
"Users wanting the Arch Linux experience without the effort should give Netrunner Rolling a try." The effort itself is the Arch Linux experience, I guess: sort of do it yourself from some prebuilt elements. Could any binary distro provide LFS/BLFS experience?
12 • Open versus proprietary video drivers (by YumaJoe on 2018-09-10 15:02:15 GMT from United States)
I sort of remember at least one distro that selects the proper proprietary driver by default during installation. When I first started exploring Linux, it was not uncommon to ruin a fresh installation by trying to switch to proprietary drivers (in my case Nvidia). In most cases, for me, what ever is default is good enough.
13 • Devuan (by anonymous on 2018-09-10 15:12:50 GMT from United States)
I agree with #8.
14 • video drivers (by Johannes Kirk on 2018-09-10 15:30:00 GMT from Canada)
I run 'nvidia-detect' script which checks for an NVIDIA GPU in the system and recommends one of the non-free accelerated driver.
sudo apt-get install nvidia-xxx (For Nvidia driver package)
sudo apt-get install fglrx (AMD/ATI drivers)
mostly serves the purpose.
15 • Why wouldn't you use proprietary? (by DriverGuy on 2018-09-10 15:39:13 GMT from United States)
I don't understand why you wouldn't use proprietary graphics drivers when manufacturer makes it available. If it is a licensing issue, well didn't we buy our graphics cards? Wouldn't support drivers, manuals, etc...come with the purchase of the card? I don't mean this to be trolling, this is an honest question for my own curiosity. If the manufacturer of your graphics card makes available a driver for your operating system, why not use it? Unless it out right breaks your graphics, why use FOSS?
16 • fglrx (by Tim on 2018-09-10 16:00:21 GMT from United States)
fglrx isn't in Debian or Ubuntu anymore and hasn't been since 2016. AMD dropped support for it.
I think that's one part to your answer... if you're using the manufacturer's driver and they stop supporting it, you're out of luck. If there's a FOSS one that works and you know it works that's some piece of mind (although not entirely- the switch from nv to nouveau EOL'd one of my computers)
The other part is that if there's a bug in the driver your distro can't fix it, only, the maintainer
But honestly the main part is that if the computer's working right with the default driver (the FOSS one) then going through the extra effort to set up the manufacturer's one isn't something most will bother doing. As @12 said, it's sometimes not trivial to switch.
17 • Proprietary Video Drivers (by penguinx64 on 2018-09-10 16:11:28 GMT from Bahrain)
Intel processors and chipsets seem to work just fine with no driver hassles using Linux. Intel is much more Linux friendly than AMD/ATI/NVidia. The same thing with Intel Wifi adapters instead of Broadcom or Realtek. But these alternatives to Intel seem to work just fine with Windows. Shouldn't Linux be able to handle these as well?
18 • Proprietary Wifi Drivers (by Justin on 2018-09-10 17:04:09 GMT from United States)
I know this week's topic is video, but the proprietary drivers got me thinking about wifi. Intel provides kernel drivers for their laptop wifi chipsets, so if you have a laptop with one, you're in good shape. USB dongles, on the otherhand, are a crap shoot. Does anyone know why Intel wifi chipsets aren't used in USB dongles? All I can find our internal PCI cards that may or may not work in a desktop (and definitely aren't portable).
Similar question for chipsets that use the ath9k driver. Last time I researched this I recall seeing explicit disclaimers of not using the ath9k driver with them even though the chipset was supposedly the same. Wireless AC support on Linux seems like basically Intel.
19 • @15, 17 Proprietary Drivers (by cykodrone on 2018-09-10 17:30:01 GMT from Canada)
Since beginning of time when CPUs were chiselled from stone and Linux was written on punch cards...just kidding, seriously, been fiddling with many diff flavours of Linux since the middle 00s, went full blown Linux in 2010 (propane torched my XP install disk), tried MANY proprietary and non proprietary drivers of all flavours. Overall, the proprietary drivers were buggy bloat, rarely ever had a problem with FOSS drivers, after install settings, etc. I also found that proprietary drivers are resource hogs (too many CPU cycles and hot running GPUs), aside from their annoying advertising GUI omnipresence. Even though I am an AMD fan and user now, Nvidia's worked the best, but they cheesed me off when they refused cooperate with Linus (angering my god turned me off of them). My AMD CPU/GPU machine works fine, firmware does help though, enables sensors and extra features, etc. I do get the occasional full screen video tearing, but nothing I can't live with, it's a reasonable trade off for a lack of trouble shooting, and a cooler running machine with with plenty of overhead processing power. Each to their own.
20 • video cards (by DB on 2018-09-10 18:04:20 GMT from Canada)
I don't know about how amd/ati works with linux, but I've been using PCLinuxOS with the Nvidia drivers now for a few years and have had Very good results. Now on Mint, at least untill recently, I've Always had a problem using the nvidia drivers in there as as soon as I reboot the font is SO SMALL that I can't even read it, and shame on Mint as this went on from the fist time I used it (15) untill the most recent version before they finally fixed the problem (19). Now they seem to have the Best set up for my laptop, which uses both Intel and nvidia. Thank You Mint.
21 • Proprietary video cards and... (by Kazan on 2018-09-10 20:11:26 GMT from United Kingdom)
Proprietary video cards and...the firmware that runs them.
If a company makes video cards, graphic cards, etc they do so to earn money, and not to give them away for free. 2% users in the world won't make that money, so sometimes those manufacturers pay the good guy by releasing some firmware that might, yes might, work with Linux. We, who use Linux and other open source operating systems, would always get 2nd rated firmware, so called drivers. Or, all you have to do is to make open source video cards, graphic cards, etc.
22 • @ # 20 • video cards (by Johannes Kirk on 2018-09-10 21:35:07 GMT from Canada)
@ # 20
MX linux ships with VLC, rest can be installed by Package Installer.
Mint used to bundle VLC in the ship-box, in latest you have to install it.
with MX and Mint, I hardly install any additional drivers.
23 • Thank God for SystemrescueCD... (by Kingneutron on 2018-09-10 21:37:05 GMT from United States)
They finally revved another one, I was worried it was no longer being maintained ;-)
24 • @22 Re: Video Cards (by Rev_Don on 2018-09-10 23:34:41 GMT from United States)
And what does VLC have to do with Video Cards and Video Card Drivers? Plus, VLC ships with the majority of Linux Distros and can easily be installed on the rest so what makes MX Linux special or pertinent to Graphics Drivers?
25 • we have choices :) (by mmphosis on 2018-09-11 01:44:31 GMT from Canada)
I come from a "there is only one way to do it" kind of philosophy (ie. the Python programming language), although now there are two ways with python2 vs python3 but I digress. I am seeing how great Linux can be because: we have choices :)
Open source video driver or closed source video driver? Your choice. Maybe even boot up with different choices. Systemd or another init? Your choice. Swap out one init for another init? Your choice -- and even though swapping inits on the fly might cause a problems it is doable, again your choice. Swapping out the init system is probably next to impossible on MacOS and Windows (not too many choices there.)
26 • re #12 Test X and video drivers (by More Gee on 2018-09-11 04:40:14 GMT from United States)
The only one that I remember offering choices of drivers to to try and switch between VESA and X.org was Puppy Linux. I uses to use it try and debug the resolutions and scan rates. In the past I had issues in Linux from video cards that had HDMI or s-video or composite ports or were SiS or Intel direct X accelerated cards that came with buggy XP drivers that would not display 640x480 text without direct x or a generic windows driver.
27 • @ 21 Video and graphics cards (by OstroL on 2018-09-11 18:32:43 GMT from Poland)
True, there are no non-proprietary video and graphics cards, so if the manufacturer kindly decides that they should provide the 2% of us Linux users with (most times 2nd grade) drivers for Linux, all we can do is be thankful to them.
28 • @ 10 - difference between Manjaro and Netrunner (by brad on 2018-09-11 22:37:56 GMT from United States)
I'm a Manjaro KDE user, but I've never used NetRunner. Based on the review, the only differences that I can spot are the use of a NetRunner "theme", and the Discover package manager, vs. pamac on Manjaro (this difference is surprising to me, since Discover is "typically" used with Kubuntu).
The reviewer points out that there aren't many differences, and that one can tweak Manjaro to emulate the NetRunner "look and feel".
I guess it comes down to preferences, but I will note that Manjaro has been relatively stable since 2016, but when I tried NetRunner during that time frame, I found it to be lacking in certain aspects.
29 • Video Drivers (by Ken on 2018-09-12 04:47:31 GMT from United States)
On my LIbreboot Thinkpad x200 running Parabola, I use the nouveau driver which works flawlessly, as it should.
For my desktop, the goal was to be able to dump Windows but still play my favorite games. My previous Nvidia graphics card had no problem with the nouveau driver. Unfortunately, I now have a GTX 970, which hasn't yet been reverse-engineered (and may never be), so nouveau doesn't work well with it. So running Manjaro, I use the distribution-provided proprietary driver out of necessity.
30 • @29 GTX970 card... (by Kazan on 2018-09-12 12:42:28 GMT from United Kingdom)
"Unfortunately, I now have a GTX 970, which hasn't yet been reverse-engineered (and may never be), so nouveau doesn't work well with it."
I just can't understand people, who pay a lot of money to buy an excellent graphic card to NOT to use it, just because of some ideological problems. But have use it, using the "proprietary" driver, hiding the same ideological matter under a pillow, while using the driver to play games, one has to buy, also from companies, which are there to make profit.
(By the way, reverse engineering is equal to stealing, after all.)
31 • @30: (by dragonmouth on 2018-09-12 15:37:08 GMT from United States)
"reverse engineering is equal to stealing"
It depends on who does it. If it is an individual or a small, insignificant company, then it is called stealing. But when Microsoft, Google, Intel or any large company, with plenty of high powered lawyers, reverse engineers anything, it is called a business strategy or a business tactic.
32 • @31 stealing... (by OstroL on 2018-09-12 20:00:32 GMT from Poland)
>> "reverse engineering is equal to stealing"
It depends on who does it. If it is an individual or a small, insignificant company, then it is called stealing. But when Microsoft, Google, Intel or any large company, with plenty of high powered lawyers, reverse engineers anything, it is called a business strategy or a business tactic.<<
Are you saying that those lawyers of your country are helping those big companies, which also are in your country, to steal?
33 • @32: (by dragonmouth on 2018-09-12 20:40:19 GMT from United States)
The lawyers know who is signing their checks. In my country, in your country, in any country.
34 • Reverse Engineering (by M.Z. on 2018-09-13 16:03:05 GMT from United States)
The truth about reverse engineering is that it is very much a 'it depends' type of situation. ReactOS doing a version of Windows as a non-profit hobby project? That's fine by everyone.
China & North Korea doing state sponsored espionage to get technology transferred to their countries from everyone else? The whole world hates that, or practically all of it anyway.
Likewise the corporate world has an 'it depends' attitude.
The last case I heard was of a German company tearing down a Tesla Model 3 & and doing a thorough product & engineering analysis. There was a cost estimate for the total parts, ($28,000 US if I remember right), & an estimate on what would have to be sold to generate a profit at various average price points. They also complimented the electronics as the best they saw in automobiles & said various other things in their report to a German auto company. That got a reply of 'the cost sounds about right' from Musk, & everyone went on with their business.
Of course if someone tried to get those engineers to wholesale ripoff the Model 3 design & start profiting off copies, it would be a very different story with a very different reaction.
35 • Closed or open source drivers for proprietary graphic, sound or video cards (by Pierre on 2018-09-14 07:43:47 GMT from United Kingdom)
"This week we would like to know if you are currently using open or closed source video drivers on Linux."
The question above appears to be a straightforward one, but it hides a trap in it. There aren't any open source graphic, sound or video cards or any other device cards, so even the more or less adequate drivers for Linux to them come from the manufacturers themselves. Whatever drivers made by the Linux distro makers are general ones, which might or might not work with a given card, or a given laptop or a given configuration of a computer.
The manufacturers would most times provide drivers for Linux for their cards, just to show that they are not bad guys, but they don't really have to work too hard on giving fully up to date drivers. On the other hand, high praise for the Linux distro developers for providing us with those general drivers.
Some work, some don't though. I have a laptop, where every Linux general driver work, but not the driver for the touchpad, not even the proprietary Linux driver for it. I have to use a mouse to get things done.
36 • Open Source Video Drivers (by debianxfce on 2018-09-14 10:46:28 GMT from Finland)
For the open source drivers, use a rolling release os, Mesa git and the latest available kernel. Mainline Mesa and kernels do have buggy and partially implemented gpu drivers. These are in my distribution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKJ-IatUfis
Number of Comments: 36
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